A chilly morning (well, chilly for Tampa, anyway…)

by Joey deVilla on October 24, 2014

kitchen window oct 24

The view from our kitchen window at 8:53 this morning.

It’s 63° F (17° C) in Tampa this fine late October morning, which led the Future Missus to say “Chilly!” as she stepped outside. In Toronto, we’d be saying “Balmy!”


Sign of the Day

by Joey deVilla on October 23, 2014

i scream you scream

Found on Imgur. Click to see the original.

I would gladly patronize an establishment with such a sense of humor.


kevin vickers with mace 4

Are you having trouble deciding what to dress up as this Halloween? I have a suggestion: Canada’s Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers.

Until yesterday, this was the photo most associated with Kevin Vickers, decorated former member of the RCMP and Sergeant-at-Arms of the Canadian House of Commons:

kevin vickers escorts brigette depape

It’s of him escorting Canadian Senate page Brigette DePape off the floor after she abused the privilege of her position a held up a protest sign during the 2011 speech from the throne, which is part of the opening of every new session of Parliament. As Sergeant-at-Arms, it’s his job to maintain order, eject any disruptive or rowdy people, and maintain security. The position goes back to the times of King Richard I, when the position was more akin to being a royal bodyguard.

After yesterday’s event, it’s this photo that will be most associated with him:

kevin vickers with gun

This photo was taken shortly after Vickers shot the assailant identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, who entered Centre Block (the big building on Parliament Hill) in the Hall of Honour with a rifle after shooting Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was standing guard at the National War Memorial. According to reports, he went to his office to retrieve a gun and shot Zehaf-Bibeau before he could get farther into the building.

kevin vickers with mace

Sergeant-at-Arm Kevin Vickers and the mace.
Click the photo to see it at full size.

Here’s an excerpt from The Globe and Mail:

Each day, for the opening and the closing of the House of Commons, Kevin Vickers travels the centre aisle, wearing the outdated black robes of the sergeant-at-arms, carrying the parliamentary mace upon his shoulder and the ceremonial sword swinging at his side – a throwback to tradition few Canadians ever see.

But Wednesday, with the whole country watching, the 58-year-old RCMP veteran became a modern-day hero. According to reports, he grabbed a gun from his office, and shot a gunman who had stormed into Centre Block. On Twitter, cabinet ministers and MPs were crediting Mr. Vickers, 58, with “saving their lives.”

kevin vickers with mace 3

“His role may look ceremonial, even something like an anachronism,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who has known Mr. Vickers for years. “[But] he is always on the lookout. He thinks about security with a 360-degree antenna. If there is anyone you want with you when there is trouble around, it would be Kevin Vickers.”

That’s his job – to safeguard the House, and oversee security on Parliament. During Question Period, he sits by the main doors, monitoring the public galleries in the balconies above with television screens on his desk. His office is just about six metres down the hall from the Parliamentary Library, near where the gunman was said to have been killed yesterday.

kevin vickers with mace 2

Mr. Vickers’ heroic actions saved lives yesterday, and it would be a nice tribute to him and to his underappreciated position if his official Sergeant-at-Arms uniform became the number one Halloween costume in Canada this year. Hence the photos strewn throughout this article — they’re there to help you fashion one.

kevin vickers with chain

Recommended Reading


Here’s their graphic for the situation in Ottawa:


Click the schlocky graphic to go to CityNews’ live site.

But can you blame them? Ever since the film Panic Room’s title sequence, floating metal letters over cityscapes have become a graphic signifier for “Bad shit’s goin’ down, yo!”

Thanks to Mike Freeman for the find!


its going to be okay canada - just tell us who to liberate

In fact, they’re such good neighbors that I came for a permanent sleepover!

Thanks to David Janes for the find!


tomb of the unknown soldier

The National War Memorial in Ottawa. Photo by Yours Truly, May 2011.

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that a man with a rifle shot and killed a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. He then seized a car and then drove to the doors of Parliament Hill’s Centre Block — for US readers, this is the equivalent of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC — where he entered. People inside reported hearing several shots inside the building, and it’s reported that the sergeant-at-arms shot and killed a gunman.

centre block

Centre Block, Parliament Hill, Ottawa. Photo by Yours Truly, May 2011.

The story is being covered by a number of outlets, and Scott Bixby noted the difference between US cable news and Canadian public news on Twitter. Here’s the comparison he posted:

cnn vs cbc on ottawa shootings

Screenshots from CNN’s and CBC’s front pages. Click to see at full size.

It should be noted that in these current times, with tensions already running high with stories about ISIS and ebola, and with situations like this where reports come in at great speed with little chance to verify or review, it’s all too easy and tempting to treat speculation and rumor as fact. With the power to publish on our desktops and in our pockets, it’s also all too easy to fan flames that we don’t need. This is a fluid situation, and what we know as the facts are likely to change as information trickles in. Keep the following points in mind as you watch the news over the next few hours:

breaking news handbook

This is On The Media’s Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook. Click the image to see the source.

The Breaking News Handbook

  1. In the immediate aftermath, news outlets will get it wrong.
  2. Don’t trust anonymous sources.
  3. Don’t trust stories that cite another news outlet as the source of the information.
  4. There’s almost never a second shooter. (In this particular case, there might be, but remember point 1. — Joey)
  5. Pay attention to the language the media uses:
    • “We are getting reports…” could mean anything.
    • “We are seeking confirmation…” means they don’t have it.
    • [News outlet] has learned…” means it has a scoop or is going out on a limb.
  6. Look for news outlets close to the incident.
  7. Compare multiple sources.
  8. Big news brings out the fakers. And photoshoppers.
  9. Beware reflexive tweeting. Some of this is on you.


…after all, you never know who’ll be dropping by:

holy shit full size snickers

Found via Jim Benton’s Facebook page. Click to see the source.