Monthly Archive: January 2012

Nordstrom north

Nordstrom, the U.S. luxury department store, has supposedly been scouting locations in Canada for months. Last May, a spokesman confirmed the story, and every once in a while there’s another reference. A recent article on Larry Rosen, now CEO of men’s clothier Harry Rosen, talked about how he was gearing up for their arrival. Nordstrom. The very thought makes me salivate. During the research for my book The Eatons, published in 1998, I visited two of the more decrepit Eaton’s stores in Brantford and Sarnia. Then I crossed the border into the U.S. to take a look at the Somerset...

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The 38-channel universe

Everybody hates Rogers. Not me. Six weeks ago, I phoned and complained that my cable TV bill was getting too high. The helpful woman in customer service said she could do something about that. If I’d agree to a one-year contract, my rented PVR would be free for twelve months, a savings of $300. Since I had no intention of going anywhere else, it was an easy deal. Of course, I immediately signed up for The Movie Network at $16.95 a month, but I was still ahead almost $100 a year, plus I had another eight channels of commercial-free movies....

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The day there was no news

What the heck was that piece on page one of The Globe and Mail this morning? “Thumbs down for RIM’s shakeup” blared the headline across all five columns above the fold. It’s not a news story, there are no quotes. It’s not an opinion piece, there is no opinion. It’s not an editorial, there is no prescription. At four paragraphs it’s too long to be a blurb, although there is a separate pointer to stories in the ROB. There’s no byline; the writer is anonymous. I can’t give you a link because I can’t find it online. Is it a...

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The sea change at RIM

Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie did the right thing by resigning their roles yesterday as co-CEOs and co-Chairs of Research In Motion. I had different replacements in mind on December 16 when I urged this course in a blog (Time for them to go), but the succession by former Chief Operating Officer Thorsten Heins makes eminent sense. Or does it? Everyone went to some lengths yesterday to say how smooth this all was. “What you will see with me is rigor and flawless execution,” new CEO Heins told The Globe and Mail. He will hire a new head of marketing....

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Face-to-face art

Amanda Clyne, a talented young Toronto artist, has a solo exhibition at PM Gallery, 1518 Dundas St. W. Her work is unique. She begins with a woman’s head and shoulders taken from a fashion magazine and makes a print on special paper that never dries resulting in an image that looks like it’s been done on a blotter. Next, Amanda uses Photoshop to further refine the image, fractures it into vertical strips, then creates large-scale, compelling paintings based on the outcome. I’m oversimplifying a labor-intensive process; take a look at her website for examples. See how the eyes meet yours;...

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Call me Ishmael

What ever happened to the great nicknames in sports? Think about baseball players: Dizzy Dean, Pee Wee Reese, Satchel Paige, Charlie Hustle and Babe Ruth. From basketball there was Air Jordan, Wilt the Stilt, Dr. J., Hakeem the Dream, Earl the Pearl and Magic Johnson. Football offers Nobby Wirkowski and Bibbles Bawel.¬†Hockey had The Golden Jet, Rocket Richard, Teeder Kennedy and Turk Broda. In golf, there was The Golden Bear; in boxing, Smokin’ Joe Frazier. In the modern era, everything comes up short. A-Rod? A non-starter. Joey Bats? An abomination. The Kid? Every neighbourhood has one. Maybe the problem is...

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Las Vegas losers

I’m saddened to read reports from attendees at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Announcements from Research In Motion are not causing any buzz. While the updated PlayBook will have fully integrated email, calendar and social media feeds, T. Michael Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, wrote in a report yesterday that sales “could continue to struggle versus improving Android and iOS tablet offerings.” As for RIM’s next batch of smartphones, not expected to be available for months, they “will launch into an even more competitive smartphone market” against Android LTE, Windows offerings from Nokia, and a...

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The future is now

Here are my seven fearless predictions for 2012: 1. The problems in Europe are not over, but they will muddle along. Fear will subside. 2. Mitt Romney will defeat Barack Obama for the presidency. 3. The Bank of Canada will raise interest rates. 4. Kate and Wills will be pregnant. 5. The Canadian dollar will end the year about where it is now, 98 cents U.S. 6. Rob Ford will be charged with an offence. 7. The S&P/TSX Composite index, down 11 per cent in 2011, will rise by at least that amount in 2012.

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