I don’t normally post videos with 6.8 million views, but the Chicago band OK Go‘s latest home-made, Rube Goldberg, paint-ball spectacular is irresistible. Plus it comes with a great yarn about the counter-intuitive value of giveaway Internet content, and the pea-sized brains of record company dinosaurs. Ira Glass, host of the great National Public Radio show This American Life, calls OK Go “living catnip.” They direct their own videos, shoot them on shoe-string budgets, and, in the words of singer Damian Kulash, Jr., “we see them as creative works and not as our record company’s marketing tool.” In a recent...

If denizens of Canada’s Parliamentary Press Gallery used the Victoria Day weekend to visit with family and friends back home, they will have noticed a vast gulf between their impression of elbowgate and the views of citizens at large. Gallery reporters pounced on Prime Minister Trudeau’s gaff with alacrity rarely displayed during the dark decade of Harper. CBC reporter Catherine Cullen pronounced it “clearly the worst day this prime minister has had in office.” Many early reports ignored the role of the NDP in provoking the confrontation, and failed to indicate Trudeau’s elbowing of MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau was inadvertent—though the video makes this incontrovertible. One-sided initial accounts were followed by editorials condemning Trudeau...

The surprisingly (to me) young audience that gathered Thursday night at Empire’s Park Lane Cinema in Halifax to see a simulcast of the American Public Radio program This American Life. The slightly older audience that gathered for the actual show at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City: Given the affection for radio among Canada’s chattering classes, I’m surprised at how many Nova Scotians have never heard of This American Life, a superb one-hour program produced each week at WBEZ in Chicago. A typical episode features a collection  documentaries, essays, readings, memoirs, and found footage loosely grouped around...

Nothing stirs up readers like English usage. Several have responded to my earlier post about a habit many interviewees have recently developed: beginning their answers with, “So…” John Hugh Edwards got the ball rolling here, but CBC’s Quirks and Quarks had interviewed a linguist about this verbal tic more than a year ago. Jonathan Dursi, a “young academic” from U of T, writes: It’s definitely *not* an American thing; it’s much broader than that.  My generation of academics do this. No idea where we picked it up from, if not from the previous generation. Just as [Simon Fraser linguist Maite...