Scenes from the new home


Click the photo to see it at full size.

It’s a new city, and the locations and climate are unfamiliar, but it’s lovely and warm here, and I’m with Anitra. I’m settling in just fine.


Click the photo to see it at full size.


Click the photo to see it at full size.


Click the photo to see it at full size.


Click the photo to see it at full size.


Click the photo to see it at full size.






Lies, damned lies, and Reuters’ graph of Florida firearm deaths before and after “Stand Your Ground”

Here’s a graph that Reuters recently published on gun deaths in Florida before and after the enactment of the “Stand Your Ground” law. Take a really good look at it and see if you can figure out why it’s so terribly misleading:

misleading stand your ground chart

Click the graph to see the source.

P.A. Fedewa saw the graph in Business Insider and submitted this graph in response. The data is the same, but this time, the presentation isn’t attempting to lie to you:

corrected stand your ground chart

Click the graph to see the source.


Mark Jaquith astutely points out in the comments that even the headlines of the graph are misleading, because they conflate gun deaths with murders. He writes:

More worrisome than the murder rate should be the rate of people getting away with shooting someone in a situation that isn’t reasonably self-defense (they wouldn’t be reflected on this chart). And the problem there isn’t the stand your ground principle (which is common, even California has that principle), but the lowering of the evidentiary burden and the haphazard way the law is applied.


Toronto’s most pink-tacular house can be yours for $699,000

Click any of the photos to see the real estate listing for the house.

From the outside, this house near Jane and Bloor Streets currently listed for sale in Accordion City looks like any number of houses built in the post bay-and-gable era, located in the near-burbs that circle the city’s core:

house 00

What sets it apart from all the others is the interior, which for the most part is best described as “grandma meets Barbie Dream House as designed by Unikitty from The Lego Movie”:

house 01

After enjoying pleasant conversation and (presumably pink) hard candy from a cut crystal container in the living room above, you could adjourn to the fantabulous dining room…

house 02

…which is adjoined by the (just) slightly more subtle kitchen:

house 03

The pink rotary phone is a nice touch. Here’s the kitchen as seen from the other end:

house 04

If your hunger for pink-and-pretty hasn’t yet been sated, you need only go upstairs to what I call “the diabetes inducement level”:

house 05

So. Much. Pink!

house 06

Variety is the spice of life, and even the most pinkcore of pinkaholics needs a break. Hence, the Lavender Love Lounge:

house 08

This is what I imagine the guest room at Prince’s house looks like:

house 07

Aaaaand back to pink. I’m not sure I could poop in such a bathroom:

house 09

I’d read that a number of places are coloured specifically to induce moods, feelings, and urges in people. For example, one of the reasons many fast food places go with an orange theme is that the colour is said to bring about feelings of hunger. I never gave it much thought until one day in the late ’90s, when College West was making its transition from the mellower Little Italy to the hip new destination for twenty-somethings. Our group decided to go to a new restaurant with a full-tile red colour scheme. Red walls. Red carpet. Red tables and chairs. Monochrome red paintings on the walls. Red lighting. Red plates.

The evening started off well enough, but the longer we stayed in that place, the worse it got. First, people started feeling a bit antsy. Little disagreements that would otherwise have been let go stewed. Discussions became debates, and debates became arguments. I think I had a “Why the hell did I just say that?” moment, and finally one of us, a brilliant arts school grad, said “I think it’s all this red. I think it’s driving us insane.”

He was right. As soon as we stepped outside, the madness lifted. It was summer, and while it was certainly warmer outside that inside the red restaurant, it felt as if we’d escaped from a hot medieval torture chamber and onto a cool mountainside.

“Hooo-kay,” I said. “I’m not taking any dates there.

I don’t know what kind of madness the all-pink colour scheme will induce, but the house does have a place where you cab escape from the maximum pink: the basement den. It’s got late-era Don Draper written all over it:

house 11

That bar is fantastic, as are the crossed epées over the fireplace. I would gladly live in this room:

house 10

The house is in a good location: not far from where I used to live, a short walk from the westernmost end of the Bloor West Village shopping district, just south of the considerably more expensive Baby Point neighbourhood, and a stone’s throw from the subway. You’re also walking distance from a movie theatre, which I consider a plus. Here’s the description on the real estate listing:

Only $699K! Great Value! Retro, Pristine & Spacious Detached Home! Prime “”Bloor West Village””! Lovingly Maintained By The Same Owner For 72 Years! Updated Kitchen! Breakfast Rm + Walk Out To Garden! B/I Cupboards In Lr & Dr. Master +B/I Vanty! Lower Level Family Rm. Plenty Of Storage & Cedar Closet! Rear Patio & Sunny West Garden! Steps To Bloor, Schools, Shops & Subway! Mutual Drive! Can Park Small Car In Rear **** EXTRAS **** Fridge, 1950’S Moffat Stove, Washer & Dryer, Window Coverings,Microwave, Freezer, Air Conditioner (2000), Electric Light Fixtures, Hot Water Tank (Rental), Roof Shingles 2007,Lots Of Storage & Built-In Cupboards.Carson Dunlop Inspection

Asking price is CDN$699,000. You can find more details on the real estate listing. Let the bidding war begin!

Update: HGTV has even better pictures of the house.

Thanks to Jodi Peacock for the find!


Finding Mr. Righteous: Lisa DePasquale’s memoir on dating conservative guys in D.C.

finding mr righteous

While the major reason I moved to the U.S. was to be with my Tampa-based girlfriend, one of the minor reasons was to shake things up by changing my surroundings and getting some new perspectives. So here I am, living in the state that marched to put George W. Bush in the White House with a girl with a couple of NRA baseball caps and a “Who is John Galt?” license plate frame, enjoying myself and agreeing to disagree at the same time. After all, if you can’t vive la difference, is la vie really worth vive-ing?

Even before my move here, I made sure to experience stuff outside the largely-liberal Toronto tech scene, which includes regular visits to Reason’s site. I like the personal responsibility aspect of libertarianism. I also find that “freedom for me, corporate rule for thee” and “screw you, I got mine” aspects questionable. I always try to value seeing other perspectives.

One recent interview I found interesting was one with Lisa DePasquale, former CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) organizer, about her book, Finding Mr. Righteous. It’s a memoir of dating in the world of conservative Washington politics, and it’s interesting to note some of the similarities between Republican guys and Silicon Valley guys (including the observation that I’ve heard applied to both: “The odds are good, but the goods are odd”). There’s a fair bit of overlap between student council kids and computer club kids (and hey, I should know; I was both).

You may not agree with her political views, and her need to reassert that she’s the real deal (she self-identifies as a “true conservative” not once, but twice in less than five minutes) can be grating, but you might be surprised to agree with her on other issues, such as her support for including gays and lesbians in CPAC, a struggle over which she left as an organizer. The interview’s interesting, and it’s about finding someone, which is a universal story that applies to everyone, no matter where you sit on the political spectrum:

Of course, if you want to lose your faith in humanity, particularly the male half, you can always read the comments for the Reason article or the YouTube video.


Kill your productivity with “Rob Ford: The Game”!

rob ford - the game

Rob Ford: The Game isn’t going to tell you more about what Toronto’s joke of a mayor is up to, what demons drive him, or why the hell people insist on supporting him after everything he’s done. What it will do is give you addictive platform-jumping game fun as you maneuver our Peter Griffin-esque mayor into crack, marijuana, and booze while dodging or jumping on the police and news camera operators.


I like the way this teacher thinks

who writes SATAN in bubble letters

What kind of lame-ass kids are parents raising these days? It’s lightning bolts, fire, and pointy letters, people!


The inescapable truth about spring weather

first 2 weeks of spring