To make sport of bad English translations by non-English speakers is to flirt with, nay dive headfirst into, unbecoming condescension. But sometimes, it's irresistible. "Please use it referring to as equipped," has been an all-purpose mantra in my house ever since those words arrived on the wrapper of a Honda Civic air filter sometime in the 1980s. Last weekend, my son Silas received a set of Chinese-made Edifier speakers he had ordered on line. Among the packaging, he found this poetic brand testimonial: I believe this can only be fully appreciated as blank verse: Big surprise, astonishment, and enjoyment. Ever from the sparkles of ideas...

Peter Spurway thinks I'm romanticizing Don "Fuzzy" Bacich's legendary crankiness about patrons who wanted to slather his delicious French fries with ketchup: “… and another bastion of quality and tradition falters.” Tradition, yes. Quality? No. Not providing something that many of your customers would like to have has nothing to do with quality. It has everything to do with the perspective of the owner. While I certainly grant the owner the right to fashion their product to their own liking, they have to accept that a percentage of their current and potential customers are not going to like it and it will be seen by...

When Maggie turned the Big 1-0 this week, her dad made a dolphin piñata for her birthday party. [Direct video link]...

Contrarian reader Silas Barss Donham [Disclosure: Gee, that name seems familiar] can put up with most of the steps required to heat his Orangedale house with wood: the cutting, hauling, splitting (or paying someone to), the stacking outside to dry, tossing into the basement, re-stacking inside, carrying upstairs to the fireplace, and the constant sweeping of ashes, bark, and furch. But he grows weary of making "the daily, just-so crumple of old newspaper to light the fire." Not being a daily newspaper reader, I have to go from store to store to collect enough expired papers (avoiding the new Globe and Mail...

I bought a lot of books on line in the run-up to Christmas, and I was struck by how much quicker Amazon was able to get them to me than Chapters. When I tweeted this observation, a fellow tweep chided me — of all people — for not patronizing local bookstores. I like a nice bookstore as much as the next fellow. Who doesn't enjoy wandering through the stacks at J. W. Doull's, feeling the stairs creak underfoot, talking books with the marvellous staff he employs. But it's no accident that John Doull can no longer afford the rent in downtown...

The internet has some peculiar websites. This one comes from Wilsonville, Oregon-based SSI Shredding Systems, Inc., a company that claims to be "motivated by  one recurring question: What Needs Shredding?" You can sign up to receive the company's Shred of the Month video. I particularly enjoyed the impromptu bowling tournament. H/T: Silas...

When people learn that my son Silas and his wife Jenn Power adopted a pair of identical twins with Down Syndrome, they often say one of two things: "I could never do that," or "You must be saints." I love Silas and Jenn beyond measure, and admire them hugely, but I can attest they are not saints. The explanation for their decision to adopt Josh and Jacob lies elsewhere. As members of the L'Arche Community in Iron Mines, Orangedale, and Mabou, Cape Breton, Silas and Jenn have lots of experience working and living with developmentally disabled people. It's what they like doing,...