Monthly Archive: July 2008

How do you solve a problem like money?

Most days, what’s in the Globe and Mail doesn’t matter very much. There might be a nice piece by Simon Houpt, the New York correspondent, or a witty column by Peggy Wente, but let’s face it: the Globe is a shadow of its former self. The paper breaks little news, has too few investigative features, and doesn’t always include the late ball scores. But today’s interview by Gord Pitts with RBC’s chief financial officer Janice Fukakusa was particularly revealing. “When we had the first signs of credit crunch a year ago, we were all thinking, ‘This is temporary.’ So we...

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Anchors away

Thank heaven for Erin Burnett at CNBC who may yet save television news from itself. For the time being, she’s stuck in the business ghetto, but will eventually graduate to The Show. Television anchors have been going downhill since David Brinkley retired to shill for Archer Daniels Midland and Dan Rather suffered a credibility crisis after using documents that lacked authenticity in a piece about George Bush’s National Guard service. What we’re left with is the chipper likes of Katie Couric, who can’t rescue the CBS Evening News, and Lou Dobbs, the Mr. Potato Head of prime time. I used...

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What, Me Worry?

I know, I know, everybody’s RSP is down 10 per cent in the last month, the value of your house has stopped rising for the first time since 1999 and there are lots of factories closing. So, why is everybody behaving as if nothing’s changed? Yesterday I drove from Toronto to Waterloo and back; today it was a round trip to Buffalo. Nobody’s slowing down to save on gas at $1.35/liter. I’m a conservative driver; 110 km/hr is just fine for me. Most of the traffic whizzed past doing at least 140 km/hr, a velocity at which fuel consumption has...

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Eternal travel

Had an email message from an old friend, Bruce Peer, who is traveling in Italy this month. His wife, Cath, is singing with her choir at venues across Italy and he’s tagging along. And what a group of venues they are, beginning with St. Mark’s in Venice and ending with St Peter’s in Rome. He happened to write from Florence where the choir appeared in Santo Stefano al Ponte, a beautiful church built in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The church, done in the Romanesque style with a polychrome marble fa?ade, has since been deconsecrated and is now used only...

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What bin do we use for politicians?

Our new recycling bin gets rolled out to the street tonight for the first time. It’s the size of our first apartment. What a ridiculous legacy for David Miller, mayor of all the people. Later in the year arrives another equally capacious contraption, this one for garbage. Finding a place to put that monstrosity should be fun. I’m a fan of recycling. I’ve been composting since I was a small boy. Look up my listing in the 1989 Who’s Who and you’ll see composting listed as a recreation along with country walks. For years I’ve been separating eggshells, coffee grounds,...

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Top ten things to do in Florence

A friend is taking his family to Florence this month. When he asked what they should see, Sandy and I told him about the many obvious sights: Ponte Vecchio, Michelangelo’s David at Accademia, Renaissance art at the Uffizi (be sure to book advance tickets to save yourself a two-hour wait on line), the Duomo and the Baptistery, and the Central Market. But we also made our top ten suggestions. Here they are for all to enjoy: Gilli, a restaurant in Piazza Della Repubblica. At mid-morning, order an espresso or caffe latte and choose a pastry. Our favorite was the bombolone....

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