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Wednesday, July 27th, 2016
10:30 pm - [REVIEW] Annekenstein

I'd always been curious to see Annekenstein. It was almost legendary in the 1990s--imagine, a long-running sketch comedy show that made fun of Anne of Green Gables! I do not joke when I say that some of my elders were disapproving of the idea.

Needless to say, I as a teenager never saw the show. I wanted to, but I never felt as if I'd be able to convince the people involved to let me see it. Apart from making fun of Anne, the show did have mature content, whatever that was. When Annekenstein stopped running, I assumed that I would never see the show. When I learned, as described last month in The Guardian, that the show was set to return to the Island stage, I knew that I had to get tickets.

Annekenstein (1)

The original “Annekenstein” was co-created by [Rob] MacDonald and David Moses and produced by Off Stage Theatre. The concept was to poke mostly gentle fun at the Island and the industry that “Anne of Green Gables” had become. During its seven-year run, the show developed a cult following before growing into a mainstream success.

Since its run, its reputation has intrigued those who were too young to attend, and it has become a source of fond memories for original “Annekenstein” fans. With that in mind, MacDonald promises that fan favourites such as “The World’s Fastest Anne” and “Win a Waif” will return, among others.

Though he’s new to performing “Annekenstein” sketches, Weale is not unfamiliar with the show.

“My first live comedy experience occurred in a dank and dingy theatre on Fitzroy Street,” says Weale. “The show was ‘Annekenstein’, and it opened up all sorts of possibilities in my mind. I said to myself, ‘People where I live do this?’ ”

“We were perhaps among the first to satirize our Island way of life,” adds MacDonald, “and it really seemed to resonate with the people who saw it. I’m looking forward to a whole new generation coming out to experience the fun and irreverence of ‘Annekenstein’ — the mother of all P.E.I. sketch comedy shows.”

As Sean McQuaid's review for local monthly Buzz notes, this show really was that important to starting off the comedy scene on Prince Edward Island. Annekenstein is foundational.

Annekenstein (2)

And so, last Saturday night, together with my entire immediate family, I set off to The Guild on 115 Richmond Street to see Annekenstein. The irony that The Guild is the venue where I saw Anne & Gilbert, a show that still plays there, definitely did not escape me.

Show about to begin #pei #charlottetown #theguild #annekenstein #theatre #anneofgreengables

Did Annekenstein live up to my expectations? Happily, yes. This incarnation of the show, bringing together material from the original 1991-1997 run of Annekenstein with sketches from MacDonald's later Sketch-22 comedy troupe, is a success. I enjoyed myself; my family enjoyed themselves; everyone in the packed crowd enjoyed themselves. Annekenstein is smart comedy well-acted by the troupe.

This show is dominated by the spectre of Anne. Annekenstein opens with "Anne-aholics Anonymous", a self-help group filled with people who refuse to believe that Anne Shirley does not exist or that Gilbert's love cannot by won. "The World’s Fastest Anne" sees the seven actors compress the musical into three minutes of song and dance. The night ends with “Win a Waif”, where Anne Shirley is forced to compete against fellow orphans Oliver Twist and Huckleberry Finn for a foster family, all in a game show format overseen by smarmy host played unforgettably by Josh Weale. The Island audience gets this.

The Island audience also gets more local humour. Rob MacDonald impersonates the character of Moe Gorman, a lumpish and bitter middle-aged everyman who periodically appears to sing one of his many artfully awkward Songs of Slander & Libel about the ordinary Islanders who anger him. "From Away to Eternity" deals with an Island fixer who is begged by a couple to do something about their son who happened to be born "away", off the Island on a fishing boat within sight of land. (Trading in their child for an actual Islander, each parent agrees, is a possible solution.) "The Topical Humour Sketch" revisits the mid-1990s, explaining the political controversies and cultural idiosyncracies at a time when mad bomber Loki 7 was setting off pipe bombs around the Island. "Stand Up, Canada, Atticus Finch is Passing By" makes glorious fun of the nationalistic CBC panel shows of the 1970s and 1980s. Everyone in the cast gets a chance to shine--Cameron MacDonald and Graham Putnam also deserve praise for their perfectly straight-faced comedy, as do Alicia Arsenault and Olivia King with their acting chops, as does Kelly Caseley for her management of this show on The Guild's elongated stage.

Annekenstein is well-performed and topical sketch comedy that deals forthrightly, but not cruelly, with the issues of the Island. I do hope it will stay active: Island theatre needs it. In the meantime, try to make appearances on its final showings these last Saturdays of the summer of 2016.

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8:34 pm - [REVIEW] Spoon River at The Mack, Charlottetown
I had not seen Soulpepper's Spoon River after it debuted here in Toronto in 2014. I knew it got rave reviews from Mooney on Theatre, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star, but I never found my way down to the Distillery District.

How fortunate for me that it is playing at Charlottetown's The Mack this summer. Again, my thanks to my sister for getting me the tickets.

Directed by Albert Schultz, Spoon River was adapted for the musical stage by Island-born Mike Ross, drawing from the American writer Edgar Lee Masters' 1915 Spoon River Anthology. I think I remember hearing of this book of free verse in one of my survey courses in school, though I never read it. Wikipedia's description of it is as good a starting point as any: "Spoon River Anthology [. . .] is a collection of short free-form poems that collectively narrates the epitaphs of the residents of Spoon River, a fictional small town named after the real Spoon River that ran near Masters' home town. The aim of the poems is to demystify the rural, small town American life. The collection includes two hundred and twelve separate characters, all providing two-hundred forty-four accounts of their lives and losses."

In an interview with the CBC, Schultz suggested that Charlottetown was well-suited for this play.

"When [Ross] was here in Charlottetown working at the festival over a decade ago, he started working on taking poetry, the poetry of Dennis Lee actually, and turning it into songs," explained Schultz.

"I had heard a lot of these songs, and so one day I was sitting in a meeting with him, and I went back to my office and I brought a Edgar Lee Masters, which is a book of poems, it's not a script, it's just a book of 250 poems, and I threw it in front of him and said, 'Have you read this? I think you should.' And the next day, he came in with two songs, and they're still in the show."

That connection alone makes it a good one for the Charlottetown Festival, but Brazier said there's much more than that.

"Where it all began was me just going to see the play, and coming out and saying, okay, how do we get that?" he explained, saying he felt it was exactly right for Charlottetown audiences, both local and tourist.

"It's community, in that the show speaks about a community, and I believe that the people in the community of Spoon River are recognizable in your own community today," said Brazier. "And so it's very easy to find yourself, and your neighbours and your families in this play."

"I know that when Mike was writing it, he says it all the time, he was always thinking of home," added Schultz. "He was thinking this piece is so perfect for home, this reminds me so much of home."

I think Schultz is right. The town of Spoon River, located in the Illinois catchment basin of Chicago though we know it to be, did feel through the stories of its departed dead much like the small-town Canadian world I'm familiar with. Having the individual stories of the town come alive, through the performances of the spirits of the many dead in a town cemetery perhaps not unlike the ones I saw growing up, is genius. That my family happened to run into people we knew at this performance, and that this performance made inventive use of staging to guide us through a wake and into the audience, made ,

Spoon River"s stage

The rave review of The Guardian's Colm Magner is perfectly well-founded. The cast is more than capable of handling the demands of performance, as singers and actors and musicians performers who convincingly evoke dozens of personalities in a single sitting. I was particularly caught by the performances of Jonathan Ellul and Susan Henley--the latter's evocation of a German servant girl who, after giving birth to her employer's son, lost him first to his father's family then to a brilliant political career, was heartbreaking--but I could not say there was a single weak or undeserving performer in the cast. This is a show hard on talented actors but more than capable of rewarding them if they can live up to the tasks put to them.

What of the story? There is no single story, excluding a frame that I refuse to spoil. If there is any message to take from Spoon River, it's the universality of the themes of life. Any individual's experiences or emotions can be experienced by any other individual, not only those who are alive now but those who are dead. The lives the actors evoked in a few lines of prose written a century ago, in a short song done now, are eminently recognizable to us. A deep and enduring community of experience unites us all, and Spoon River evokes that superbly.

Province House at twilight

Spoon River ends after an hour and a half, releasing its audience into the twilight of the Charlottetown evening. People who want to partake in this experience, audience-members who would like to grasp the things that unite us, should try to catch it before this touring performance heads next for New York City.

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7:40 pm - [REVIEW] Anne of Green Gables: The Musical

Thanks to my sister, I was able to get tickets to see Anne of Green Gables: The Musical last Tuesday. This showing will have been the fourth time I've seen the act that has been headlining the
Charlottetown Festival
for the past 51 years, at least--I may have forgotten earlier performances.

What was my experience of this, possibly one of the preeminent cultural forms of my native province? Positive, if complicated.

Anne of Green Gables program and ticket

One thing highlighted in the local media about this year's performance is the novelty of having the two lead characters being played by Island-born actors, Jessica Gallant as Anne Shirley and Aaron Hastelow as her sometime-rival and sometime-friend Gilbert Blythe. These, and their colleagues, did their jobs well, singing and dancing and acting their way through the roles that I know off by heart, to the music that I even now can find myself humming along to.

Another thing highlighted in the local media about this year's performance is a limited modernization of the script. Out of a desire to keep Anne of Green Gables more relevant as a remembered past, the sort we might have absorbed from the time of our grandparents and great-grandparents, the era of the play has been advanced somewhat, from Victorian to Edward times. When the people of Avonlea gossip about the injuries Anne inflicted on Gilbert with her slate in the classroom, they do over the telephone. Later, Diana Barry sings rhapsodies about the miracle of the electric lights of Charlottetown's Queen Street, lights which never burn down. On a separate note, Josie Pye, Anne's rival for Gilbert's attentions, is rather nastier than I remember from previous performances. The underlying story remains the same, with the songs and dialogue I remember from other iterations still intact: Anne surprises the Cuthberts and Avonlea, eventually makes her new family and community fall in love with her, and finds her place.

Wall of Annes through time

When I watched the musical, I was struck by darker elements of the plot. I don't think I quite noticed the desperation of Anne's early life, the young orphan suffering two failed foster families before being sent to the orphanage, long before she was sent to the Island with the Cuthberts. Her desperation to find a home bit much more with me now than before. At the same time, the desperation of the Cuthberts also came through to me: They arranged to take in an orphan not because they wanted to create a family, but because they needed a boy to do physical labour around their farm, the labour that Matthew could not perform after his heart attack but that needed to be done to keep the farm viable, even--as a last resort--saleable.

The relationship between Anne and Gilbert also made me think. Theirs is a complicated relationship, Gilbert's attraction to Anne inexplicably leading him to tease her hair colour, which leads her to reject him, until she decides she is interested in him, by which time he has resolved to spend time with someone like Josie who appreciates him, and so on and so forth. There's no question of any coercion, at either end, and I did not think Gilbert was behaving like a so-called "Nice Guy."

I was also left wondering, of all people, about Matthew Cuthbert. We learn, in the musical and in the books, all about his sister Marilla, how her life was defined by her rejection of John Blythe when the two were younger. We the audience see Matthew Cuthbert as a kind man and a good man, the first kindred spirit that Anne met in Avonlea. He is the person whose counsel to Marilla that they might be good for Anne convinces her to let the young Nova Scotian orphan stay. We learn nothing about Matthew's past. Why did he stay single and unmarried, living with his sister in the family homestead? Did he have no great lost loves, no terrible disappointments? I'm more than a bit tempted to speculate about the possibility of a queer Matthew.

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

I have to see Anne of Green Gables: The Musical first and foremost as a rite of community. It is a thoroughly professional and enjoyable theatrical show, two and a half hours long including an intermission, but it's more than that. I found myself thinking of previous iterations of the musical that I had seen, of other versions I had read or watched (Megan Follows and her television movie came to mind). I found it functioning for me, someone who read all the Anne novels and most of the other in-universe stories and is familiar with the proliferating Anne mediasphere beyond books, as a sort of aide-memoire, functions as an aide-memoire for the fandom. Here is the character, here is her community, and here is what they do together for everyone to see.

It works superbly, and likely will continue to work superbly. It could not have lasted 51 years at the Charlottetown Festival if it did not. If you're at all curious about Anne Shirley and her mythology, or about the ways Prince Edward Island is represented in popular culture, or indeed about the lived experience of Prince Edward Islanders (how many of us have not seen this musical?), Anne of Green Gables: The Musical is the show for you.

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3:40 pm - [URBAN NOTE] The National Post on the struggles around gentrification in Moss Park
The National Post hosts Ashley Csanady's article "Toronto’s rough Moss Park neighbourhood becoming the city’s next gentrification battleground", looking at how this up-and-coming neighbourhood in downtown Toronto is responding to gentrification pressures.

Joan Harvey has lived in Toronto’s Moss Park towers for 35 years, and watched as her neighbourhood was slowly infected by drugs, violence and an increasingly bad reputation.

As the head of her building’s tenants association, she spends every Saturday night staked out in a lobby or ground floor community room keeping the “riff-raff,” as she puts, it out of the building.

The three massive towers lie just a 20 minute walk or so from the Eaton Centre, and even closer to Regent Park, an area to the east that has been spectacularly — and controversially — revitalized in recent years.
Now Harvey’s neighbourhood is the next gentrification battleground as a proposal to rebuild the nearby John Innes Community Centre winds its way toward city council. On Wednesday night, another community meeting will debate the plan to revive one of the city’s most dilapidated corners, even as a gourmet sandwich shop is set to open and a farmer’s market has already moved in.

Backed by the 519 — an LGBTQ community organization based on Church Street — and a private donor, the plan is to rebuild the crumbling, yellow community centre and its surrounding park with a combination of fundraising and government cash. Right now, the corner of Queen Street East and Sherbourne is notorious for its drug use, sex workers and the nearby shelters keep the sidewalks crowded and the social services overloaded.

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3:38 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Construction for Bloor St. bike lanes to start August 2"
The Toronto Star's Jennifer Pagliaro notes that construction of the Bloor Street bike lanes is impending.

Construction for a bike lanes pilot project on Bloor St. will start next week.

A construction notice from the city says work between Shaw St. and Avenue Rd. will begin Aug. 2 after council approved the pilot this May after years-long advocacy from the cycling community.

The city says all on-street parking will be removed beginning Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. with traffic temporarily reduced to one lane in each direction so workers can install new painted bike lanes and flexi-post bollards. The city will also install new signs with updated parking rules.

Once the bike lanes are installed, parking will be available on at least one side of the street with at one lane of traffic in each direction and dedicated turn lanes at major intersections.

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3:35 pm - [ISL] "Venezuela’s Fishermen Catch No Break as Crisis Riles Margarita"
Bloomberg's Noris Soto reports on how Venezuela's Margarita Island is trying to cope with the wider country's economic collapse.

Life for fishermen on Venezuela’s Margarita Island used to be easy, with the sparkling waters of the Caribbean yielding rich catches of grouper, red snapper and octopus for sale to wealthy tourists. Now the island has fallen into poverty and attempts to sell on neighboring islands can lead to a run in with one of the region’s oldest industries -- pirates.

Many fishermen near the El Tirano fish market in the east of the island say costs are so high and prices so low that it isn’t worth taking their boats out. Even the tourists that used to pack local hotels are staying away, forcing some restaurants to close.

“Fishing isn’t profitable anymore in Venezuela,” Jose Diaz, a 40-year-old fisherman, said in an interview. “We have to leave for work at 3 a.m., we risk robbers and we have to sell at low prices, because in Venezuela no one can pay what things really cost.”

The economic slump is reaching every corner of the once oil-rich nation, including the so-called Pearl of the Caribbean that boasts palm-lined beaches backed by tropical jungles. Even as people on the island go hungry and thousands form long lines outside supermarkets and bakeries for the most basic items, fishermen can’t sell their produce.

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3:34 pm - [ISL] "Winter Ain’t Coming to Iceland’s Thunder-Clapping Economy"
Iceland, Bloomberg notes, is having an economic boom. This is a very good thing indeed, the more so that it seems broad-based.

Iceland’s economy is growing at its fastest pace since the 2008 collapse of its banks, with annual gross domestic product up a whopping 4.2 percent in the first three months of the year.

Latest tourism and spending data suggests the Icelandic summer could be just as good.

Thanks in part to the popularity of Game of Thrones – filming for the seventh series is due to start in Iceland in January – and the exploits of its thunder-clapping soccer team at the Euro 2016 championships, foreigners are flocking to the North Atlantic island nation.

The number of tourists has been growing steadily since the start of the decade and is now a bigger source of foreign sales than traditional exports like fish and aluminium. The Chamber of Commerce once called tourism “the largest recession remedy for the Icelandic economy.”

June data suggests 2016 could smash last year’s record of 1.3 million arrivals.

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3:32 pm - [ISL] "Raunchy East Coast web series ‘Just Passing Through’ makes tracks for a movie"
MacLean's notes the plans of a group of Islanders, some of whom I know, to film a movie, Pogey Beach. Incidentally, they met their funding goals on Kickstarter.

Work boots aren’t normally thought of as beach attire.

But on Pogey Beach — a fictional soap opera based in a beach on Prince Edward Island’s north shore — it’s not unusual to see an Islander who collects employment insurance sinking their steel toe shoes into the red sand.

After all, they’re looking for work — or so they can claim, should a “pogey narc” come around.

Pogey Beach is a show-within-a-show. It’s beloved by the characters on the web series Just Passing Through, a raunchy comedy based around two small-town Islander cousins, Terry and Parnell Gallant, played by Dennis Trainor and Robbie Moses.

After garnering more than a million views on YouTube, the producers of Just Passing Through are now looking to create a spinoff — a feature-length film about the people who hang out at Pogey Beach drinking Alpine beer and bragging about who has “top stamp,” or the biggest employment insurance cheque.

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3:30 pm - [ISL] "How one tiny N.L. town helped usher in the era of instant communication"
CBC News' Lindsay Bird and Zach Goudie described the role of Newfoundland in ushering in the era of instantaneous global communications.

Of all the ocean views that can take your breath away on the beach of Heart's Content, it's safe to say you wouldn't look twice at the rusty old cables that run across its rocks and out to sea from the small town — population 375 — perched on the shores of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula.

But 150 years ago a single cable forever changed the way the world communicated, as the first successful transatlantic subsea cable, able to send and receive telegraphed information, solidified a link between the old world and the new for the first time.

Prior to July 27, 1866, if you wanted to send a message across the ocean, it would be carried over in a ship's cargo hold. In 1865, the news of Abraham Lincoln's assassination arrived in Europe a week after that deadly shot rang out through Ford's Theatre.

But the subsea cable consigned that level of communication patience to history that July day, as a ship landed on the town's shore, bringing with it a cable that stretched all the way back to Valentia Island, Ireland. With that, the small cable station in Heart's Content became the starting point for all those 21st-century text messages now built into everyday life.

"This is where we truly began. There are some books that dub us the 'Victorian internet,'" said Tara Bishop, an interpreter at the Heart's Content Cable Museum, a small station which has gone from being a hub of communication processing to a provincial historic site, and now thrust back into the spotlight as the epicentre of the town's 150th anniversary celebrations of the event that ushered in a technological revolution.

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11:42 am - [NEWS] Some Wednesday links

  • Bloomberg notes concerns over Northern Ireland's frontiers, looks at how Japanese retailers are hoping to take advantage of Vietnam's young consumers, examines the desperation of Venezuelans shopping in Colombia, looks at Sri Lankan interest in Chinese investment, suggests oil prices need to stay below 40 dollars US a barrel for Russia to reform, observes that Chinese companies are increasingly reluctant to invest, and suggests Frankfurt will gain after Brexit.

  • Bloomberg View gives advice for the post-Brexit British economy, looks at how Chinese patterns in migration are harming young Chinese, suggests Hillary should follow Russian-Americans in not making much of Putin's interference, and looks at the Israeli culture wars.

  • CBC considers the decolonization of placenames in the Northwest Territories, notes Canada's deployment to Latvia was prompted by French domestic security concerns, and looks at an ad promoting the Albertan oil sands that went badly wrong in trying to be anti-homophobic.

  • The Inter Press Service considers the future of Turkey and looks at domestic slavery in Oman.

  • MacLean's looks at China's nail house owners, resisting development.

  • The National Post reports from the Colombia-Venezuela border.

  • Open Democracy considers the nature of work culture in the austerity-era United Kingdom, looks at traditions of migration and slavery in northern Ghana, examines European bigotry against eastern Europeans, and examines the plight of sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco.

  • Universe Today notes two nearby potentially habitable rocky worlds, reports that the Moon's Mare Imbrium may have been result of a hit by a dwarf planet, and reports on Ceres' lack of large craters.

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9:02 am - [BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Beyond the Beyond's notes the imminent end of Moore's law.

  • Centauri Dreams imagines what a stellified gas giant might look like.

  • D-Brief notes Ceres' lack of large craters and looks at how New Zealand is declaring war on invasive fauna.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at Venus analog Gliese 832d.

  • Joe. My. God. notes intensifying scrutiny of Trump's Russian links.

  • Language Log looks at the portmanteaux used in the Japanese language.

  • The LRB Blog notes Erdogan's many voices.

  • Marginal Revolution argues that slow economic growth will not undermine the Chinese system.

  • Steve Munro looks at the effects of construction on the 501 Queen.

  • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the final landing site of the Rosetta probe.

  • pollotenchegg maps wages across Ukraine.

  • Savage Minds reports how war can fragment families, looking to Ukraine.

  • Transit Toroto notes GO Transit's adding of new double-decker buses.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers the thesis that Trump is a consequence of the breakdown of traditional political parties.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at Daghestan's restriction of movement of "potential" criminals.

  • The Yorkshire Ranter searches for a statistical link between austerity and Brexit.

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8:26 am - [PHOTO] Down to Rollo Bay, Prince Edward Island, at low tide
I went down to the water at Rollo Bay, down the path mowed into the scrub of the field separating the houses and the road from the sea. It happened to be low tide there, the first time I had seen low tide on Rollo Bay for quite some time.









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Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
11:48 pm - [AH] On a different Canada
I did go to Charlottetown's Province House on my recent visit, but I did not go inside.


I could not. The entire building has been closed down indefinitely for much needed repairs, the provincial legislature adjourning for the duration to the Coles Building to the east, and a recreation of the chambers where the Fathers of Confederation met to discuss Canadian unification appearing to the west in a foyer in the Confederation Centre of the Arts.


Being in the birthplace of Confederation got me thinking. It's likely that there would have been some general reform of British North America, one leading in the direction of greater unity, simply because the existing colonial polities were just not working. The smaller colonies in the east were fast approaching limits to growth in an increasingly competitive North Atlantic and North American economy, while the western colonies will afterthoughts, and, as I noted back in July 2008, the Province of Canada had become a deadlocked mess riven by ethnopolitical conflict. The different colonies had come to a dead-end politically, and the most obvious way out of this involved the partial fusion of these colonies into a larger entity. Since union with the United States was a non-starter, this would seem to require the colonies to unite with each other.

Is this actually the case, though? If the 1864 discussions had failed, would there have been impetus anywhere to start things up again? Might we have seen, instead of a general union, more partial reforms, perhaps a federalization of the Province of Canada, perhaps a Maritime union? I wonder. How differently could the map of Canada ended up given a point of divergence in the 1860s?

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7:47 pm - [BLOG] Some social sciences links

  • Language Log considers the ideologies of digital scholarship.

  • Peter Rukavina considers what it means for archival purposes that Prince Edward Island used WordStar 2000.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog remaps the country by population and examines opinions in the European Parliament towards Russia.

  • Savage Minds considers what it means to be a participant-observer in as an ethnographer in the Ukrainian war.

  • Understanding Society's Daniel Little looks at the sociology of accident analysis.

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3:53 pm - [BLOG] Some politics links

  • Kieran Healy notes the role of social media in undermining the Turkish coup.

  • Joe. My. God. notes US Army Secretary Eric Fanning's ride as Grand Marshal in the San Diego pride parade.

  • The LRB Blog notes the aftermath of the Orange Order's fires in Northern Ireland.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at what might be a veto in Scotland and Northern Ireland on Brexit, and notes the continuing economic fallout.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at how ISIS thrives on chaos.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer reflects on the Turkish coup and notes Trump's odd Russophilia.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers if it is ever justifiable to overthrow a democratic government.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at instability in the Donbas, suggests Turkey is distracting people from Russia, looks at low levels of Russophone assimilation in Estonia, considers ideological struggles in Belarus, and looks at immigration restrictionism in Russia versus Central Asia.

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3:48 pm - [BLOG] Some popular culture links

  • The Big Picture reports from Boston's Methadone Mile.

  • The Broadside Blog celebrates its seventh anniversary.

  • Dangerous Minds shares vintage photos of Kate Bush.

  • Language Hat considers the position of Chinese poetry.

  • Otto Pohl reflects on his visit to Almaty.

  • Torontoist reports on how Torontonians are hacking Pokémon Go.

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3:39 pm - [BLOG] Some science links

  • blogTO looks back on a Toronto heat wave in 1935.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the K2-72 and Kepler-80 systems.

  • D-Brief reports on early signs of global warming in Siberia and looks at how African honeyguide birds work together with human hunters.

  • The Dragon's Gaze looks at the search for habitable planets around red dwarfs, looks at the habitability of planets with eccentric orbits, and notes that warm Jupiters can co-exist with smaller planets nearby.

  • The Dragon's Tales look at a proposed Europa mission, and notes an astrobiological model of Titan's atmosphere.

  • Imageo shares Juno's first view of Jupiter.

  • The Planetary Society Blog reports about the Planetary Society's presence at San Diego Comic-Con.

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11:39 am - [PHOTO] From my uncle's garden, Rollo Bay PE (#pei)
I've photoblogged about Rollo Bay, my mother's family's home community in eastern Prince Edward Island near Souris in the past. I was again taken this visit by the beauty of my uncle's gardens, predominantly but not exclusively flowers well-suited to the region. The red poppies alone are glorious.








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Monday, July 25th, 2016
12:58 pm - [URBAN NOTE] "Cyclists ride to support Torontonians with HIV/AIDS in the Friends for Life Bike Rally
The City Centre Mirror reports on this year's iteration of the Friends for Life bike rally. This is a noble cause, indeed.

An extended heat alert Sunday didn’t dissuade a few hundred cyclists from hopping on their bikes to Montreal to raise money for Torontonians living with HIV/AIDS.

Toronto People with AIDS Foundation’s (PWA) Friends for Life Bike Rally left Allan Gardens July 24 for a one-day, 108-kilometre ride to Port Hope. Some cyclists will pedal 600 kilometres in six days to arrive in Montreal July 29.

More than 300 riders and crew have cycled annually in the rally for the past 17 years, raising more than $14 million in sustainable funding for PWA.

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9:57 am - [PHOTO] Me and my 24 postcards
I mailed my postcards off via Canada Post on the Island.

Me with the postcards #me #selfie #pei #charlottetown #postcard #postcards

There were 24.

24 postcards #pei #charlottetown #postcards #postcard

This was a good round.

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