On How To Fact-Check Alice Munro

On the last point: Canadians born in the '70s or earlier have always been caught between metric and imperial mindsets. We started using metric in the 1970s, so anyone born in the 1960s likely had imperial measurements planted in their brains before having metric grafted on somewhere in their childhoods. My elementary school teachers in the late '70s and early '80s taught us metric, but we generally reckoned our bodies in feet and pounds. Imperial measurements felt exotic and intimate at the same time, issuing from a foreign time and place but applicable to our height and weight. For distances, we used miles for familiar destinations and kilometres for places we'd never been to. Interestingly (or not), estimations in miles were always imprecise or inexact; a neighboring village lay "a few miles down the road" or "five miles out of town." Kilometres, on the other hand, were precise and regulated.

Also, why would anyone put the word "kilometres" in a story? That is one ugly word.

Posted on October 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm 2

On A Poem By David Groff

"You were a living cigarette."

That's one of those lines you scratch down in some notebook and husband for years, just because it's going to come in really useful one day.

Or maybe you just make it up on the spot. I don't know, I never went to Poem College.

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 12:38 pm 1

On Man Hates Self, Twitter

And let's not forget that his article has a paragraph that starts off with "One of my most ingenious ideas was..."

Matt Lewis is upset because Twitter is now full of people and he's not special anymore.

Posted on January 30, 2013 at 12:23 pm 1

On You're Welcome, Benoit Denizet-Lewis

That must be the best conclusion of any article, ever.

Posted on June 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm 0

On Guy Who Runs This Canada Place Sounds Like A Dick

Stephen Harper will have you believing in the reptile agenda. Mostly it's the way that his face and hair look hastily stapled over a not quite mammalian skull. But then there's the fact that flowers droop in his shadow and touching his naked skin will impart a strange circular rash at the site of contact. Seven days later you die.

Posted on November 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm 1

On Anthony Lane at Eurovision

Don't residents of Park Slope get a free subscription to the New Yorker with purchase of property?

Posted on June 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm 0

On Novels Lousy With Barking Dogs

From the conclusion of At Swim-Two-Birds: "When a dog barks late at night and then retires again to bed, he punctuates and gives majesty to the serial enigma of the dark, laying it more evenly and heavily upon the fabric of the mind. Sweeny in the trees hears the sad baying as he sits listening on the branch, a huddle between the earth and heaven; and he hears also the answering mastiff that is counting the watches in the next parish".

Even in 1939, Flann O'Brien knew the score.

Posted on June 17, 2010 at 3:19 pm 0

On Real Nerd Talk: 'Doctor Who' Goes Psycho Off the Rails

I believe that The Doctor allowed van Gogh into the future because he knew perfectly well that it wouldn't alter history one bit. He was giving Amy a gift, perhaps in part to relieve his own guilt, while demonstrating that you can't change a suicidally depressed Dutchman.

If anything, this episode was kind of like the butterfly effect in reverse: bend the laws of the continuum and the only lasting change is a dedication on a painting.

Posted on June 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm 0

On Further Notes on Machines, Rise Thereof

I think the terrorists and insurgents will be alerted by the sad farting sound of one of those things propelling itself through a window.

Posted on June 2, 2010 at 4:05 pm 0

On Terrifying Black Chunnel Migrants Gang-Board Student Coaches--And Get Glassed!

"The migrants, wielding a knife, a wooden club and a fire extinguisher"

Clearly, Old Europe has descended into mid-'70s dystopian science fiction. Soon the alien ships will arrive to harvest their youth.

Posted on April 12, 2010 at 12:02 pm 0