April 2006

Accordion City is a pretty great place to live, but the folks at City Hall and their committees are downright incompetent when it comes to extolling the city’s virtues. Case in point: the recent “Toronto Unlimited” ad campaign, launched last summer:

Widely regarded as a disaster except by the blinkered idiots who devised this campaign (consider that Tourism Toronto’s CEO loves to refer to the local citizenry as “humanware”: “Toronto’s humanware is blossoming”), the Toronto Unlimited campaign is a toxic sausage of unoriginality, amateurish graphic design, ad copy written either by gifted apes or sub-100-IQ humans and cluelessness as to the “feel” of the city, wrapped in a four million dollar casing.

After all the criticism the campaign received last year, the Toronto Unlimited campaign was watered down, with some of the most laughable elements completely removed. However, the culprits, Tourism Toronto, are still driving the bus, and it shows.

The current incarnation of the Tourism Toronto site still bears some of the terrible writing from the Toronto Unlimited campaign. Consider this gem, which you can find on the Toronto’s Story page:

You know the feeling you get when you come across an amazing menu and want to order every dish? That’s what it’s like to be here. Literally, we have an unparalleled variety of spice but we take fusion to a level far beyond cuisine. Find beautiful architecture of the city’s settlers alongside modern, sleek, gold-tinted skyscrapers. We’re modest but celebrate voraciously with over 1000 festivals every year. Our Mayor’s limousine is a hybrid electric Toyota Prius. How’s this for juxtaposition? – our street vendors even dish up vegetarian hot dogs!

Even first-graders at “show and tell” don’t express ideas in such a scatterbrained fashion. The committee who wrote this dreck should be put on a year’s worth of stoop-and-scoop duty at High Park for this crime against writing.

The Tourism Toronto site is terribly short on information. The “Where to Shop” page makes it look as if there are almost no places to shop in the entire city. Using the site’s search engine to find places to buy clothes in thew west end of Toronto yields one result: Roots.

Should you be lucky enough to find information on the site, it’s presented poorly. Consider the one result for my search for clothing stores in the west end: no address or “how to get there” information was provided — just a phone number. Ontario Place is listed as “Ontario Place Corporation”, which makes it sound like a provincial real estate company instead of a waterfront park with a concert amphitheatre, water playground, pedal boats and an IMAX theatre.

It has been suggested that Toronto should emulate Australia’s “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” ad campaign, which is considerably truer to Australian character and much “ballsier” than the Toronto Unlimited concept (remember, “bloody” is a swear word in some variants of English). It’s memorable, it’s catchy, it’s a little bit risque, and it works.

I propose that we use the (possibly fake) old book cover shown below as the basis of the next Toronto campaign. Those of you on the left or who subscribe to Richard Florida’s “Creative Class” theory will enjoy it in an ironic way, those of you on the right will grumble and say “well, it’s true”, and believe you me, it will draw a crowd and everyone will remember it:

As Hackworth, who posted this image on a file-sharing board says, “Rock on, Toronto!”

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Squishy Cow at Chau Chow City

by Joey deVilla on April 29, 2006

For no reason at all, here’s a Tucows “Squishy Cow” enjoying a little Dim Sum with some of the Berkman bloggers at Chau Chow City restaurant in Boston. Thanks to j for putting it together!

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Another Reminder About the "Ask Tucows" Chat

by Joey deVilla on April 28, 2006

Here’s yet another reminder of the “Ask Tucows” Chat taking place on Tuesday, May 2nd from 12:00 noon to 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (that’s 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Pacific and 16:00 – 19:00 UTC). That chat will take place on our brand-new chat page:

chat.tucows.com

The “Ask Tucows” Chat is a chance for you to “talk” to various Tucows employees and ask questions, make suggestions and get to know us better; it’s also a chance for us to get to know you better. The last one was a success; if you missed it, you can see the transcript here.

Hope to chat with you next week!

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Rocks as Depicted in Video Games

by Joey deVilla on April 28, 2006

[via Justin Mason] You might not find this funny, but I do: a comparative graphic showing how rocks would be depicted in various video games [1 MB]. Some samples:

Everyday rocks:

The same rocks, as seen in Duke Nukem 3D:

and in Katamari Damacy:

and in the text adventure Zork:

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Rannie’s "Toronto Squared" Opening: Tomorrow!

by Joey deVilla on April 28, 2006

Toronto Squared

Rannie “Photojunkie” Turingan’s opening for his show of Accordion City photographs, Toronto Squared happens tomorrow from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Le Petit Dejeuner restaurant, 191 King Street East. If you want to see some stunning photography in a place where I hear the food’s quite good, check out this event. Wendy and I will be there.

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Filipino Table Etiquette Punished at Montreal School

by Joey deVilla on April 28, 2006

Those of you from the Philippines, Thailand or Singapore are familiar with the “spoon and fork” style of eating. The fork goes in the left hand, spoon in the right. The spoon can be used as a cutting implement, and the fork is used to push the food into the spoon which then goes in the mouth. It’s perfect for dishes served with sauces and rice.

(In some cases, the “fork and spoon” method could be perceived as snooty.)

I just got sent a link (thanks, Daejin!) to a story about a seven-year-old Montreal area boy who’s being punished for eating at school Filipino style:

Luc Cagadoc’s table behaviour is traditionally Filipino; he fills his spoon by pushing the food on his plate with a fork, his mother, Maria Theresa Gallardo, says.

But after being punished by his school’s lunch program monitor more than 10 times this year for his mealtime conduct — including his technique — the seven-year-old told Gallardo said last week that he was too embarrassed to eat his dinner.

When he eats with both a spoon and fork, instead of only one utensil, the Grade 2 student said the lunch monitor moves him to a table to sit by himself.

Upset over Luc’s story, Gallardo confronted the lunchtime caregiver the next day and on April 13, she telephoned the school’s principal, Normand Bergeron. His reaction brought her to tears, she says. “His response was shocking to me,” Gallardo, who moved to Montreal from the Philippines in 1999, told The Chronicle. “He said, ‘Madame, you are in Canada. Here in Canada you should eat the way Canadians eat.”

She disagrees with the lunch monitor’s approach to teaching children how to eat and says it is emotionally abusive to Luc. When she questioned Bergeron about punishing students for their table habits, she says he replied that, “If your son eats like a pig he has to go to another table because this is the way we do it and how we’re going to do it every time.”

What a bunch of sweethearts. This story is already being reported in the Philippines, on the ABS-CBN News (ABS-CBN is a Filipino TV channel) and the Manila Times.

I myself tend to use the etiquette that’s appropriate to the situation. I use the Filipino fork-and-spoon method at Sunday dinner with the family, the knife-and-fork method when dining with “The Man”, use my chopsticks as both eating and serving utensils at dim sum . Depending on the situation, I eat pizza with either a knife and fork or my hands. I think that Luc should learn a number of eating styles for all situations, but I don’t think that the fork-and-spoon method is so offensive that he should be punished for it.

To my mind, it’s another case of intolerance married to Quebec “for me but not for thee” cultural insecurity, where they whine about being Francophones drowning in an Anglophone sea, and then turn around and pull this kind of nonsense.

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"Another Bad Date?"

by Joey deVilla on April 28, 2006

'Another Bad Date?' poster

These somewhat cryptic posters have been put up all around the Parkdale area of Accordion City (my office is just east of Parkdale). I assume they’re to encourage ho — erm, I mean sex trade workers — to call upon the local constabulary when the clientele cross the line. Does anyone know?

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