Author: Rod McQueen

Healing the frazzled mind

You remember Yoko Ono? The one who broke up The Beatles? Or rode the death of John Lennon to fame? But what people forget is that Yoko Ono was an accomplished artist long before meeting Lennon in 1966. To paraphrase The Ballad of John and Yoko, “You know you didn’t even give her a chance.” Yoko Ono’s exhibition at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum, The Riverbed, is fun, interactive, and makes you think. The room is divided into three parts. The first is a scree of rocks collected from the Colorado River, hundreds of them, weighing three tons in all. But they’re...

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The ears have it

I was riding in a car recently with a young driver who might have been in his early 20s. Rap was playing. He asked, “Do you like this music?” “No,” I said, “they finally invented a music I don’t like.” He quickly switched to Sirius channels from the 70s and 80s featuring songs from artists like Bob Seger and Gary Wright. I was a happy man, transported into the past via streaming music. If such technology doesn’t appeal, you’ll be interested to know that there is likely a group of ancient rockers playing a concert in a venue near you. Among the multiple touring bands...

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Happy warriors

When I recently learned that Centre Block on Parliament Hill was closing for ten years of renovation, I knew I had to take a nostalgia tour. Ten years could mean fifteen, or even twenty. If it took that long, I’d be in my nineties and might not be around for the outcome. I wanted to discover what was the same and what had changed since I worked on the Hill in the 1970s. Because I’d been press secretary for the Leader of the Opposition, I first wanted to look at Room 409-S. So I wrote to the current occupant, the Honourable Andrew Scheer, and received a...

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Choiceless choices

A couple of years ago, when I got sick of the trouble Bell was having updating its Internet server, I fled to Rogers. The young man who signed me up assured me that Rogers had its own server and was constantly updating it. Of course, he was lying. Once aboard I could see that Rogers did not have its own server, they used Yahoo. I should have known one telecom was no better than another. My service has been OK, just the usual blips and hiccups, until a few days ago. Those of you with Rogers will have seen the pop-up declaring that Yahoo and AOL...

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Eternal sunshine of the thoughtless mind

Am I the only one who thinks Drake was showboating the other night when he wore that Humboldt Broncos hoodie to the Raptors-Wizards basketball game? You know Drake, don’t you, the Toronto boy who became famous as a rapper, the first music invented in my lifetime that I don’t like. But there he was, to the cheers of 20,000 fans, paying his respects to the sixteen hockey players and staff killed in a collision with a transport truck. These days, lots of people are wearing hockey jerseys as a tribute to the team. I was in the underground Path one day last week and many passers-by wore...

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The fifty-first state

I was writing a postal code, got to the Z, and said to myself “Zee” … not “Zed.” Has it come to this? Have I finally been totally Americanized? Little wonder, when you consider the inundations that daily roll into our country from across the southern border. Or as Derek Burney, the former Canadian ambassador to the U.S., used to call it, “The world’s longest undefended cliché.” Look at retail. U.S. banners from Amazon to Walmart dominate the Canadian shopping landscape. Eaton’s is long gone. The Bay seems to have been taken over by Saks Fifth Avenue, not vice versa. And there’s a Nordstrom...

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Black and white and gone all over

Pardon me for writing about newspapers two weeks in a row, but this is too much. In the Globe and Mail today, there’s a story about a man who has quit using toilet paper. Instead, he takes a short shower after every ablution and urges the rest of us to do the same in order to save trees, electricity and the free world. In yesterday’s New York Times, there was a piece about a man who’s gone cashless. So far, in 2018, he says he has managed to touch hardly any paper money or metal coins. When I went on cbc.ca on...

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Trading places

Once upon a time, long ago, there was a country where factories hummed, pipelines gurgled, and newspapers flourished. Yes, my son, newspapers flourished, it was that long ago. But then something called the Internet arrived. Everyone wanted to play Candy Crush and take selfies. No one wanted to read exclusives anymore. Why not just look at an aggregator that steals stories from hither and from yon? Poster Boy and Thor Moon were two among the downtrodden in the business despite having dozens of different outlets. Trouble was, most titles were doing poorly. Readership, ads, everything had gone blooey. So Poster Boy and Thor Moon came up with a...

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