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Do Tech Companies Control What We Read and Watch?

Two of my enthusiasms are films and books. My tastes in both are eclectic, spanning a number of genres and ranging from pure entertainment to more serious reading and viewing.

To that end, I have been an Amazon Prime customer for years, paying my annual membership dues and taking advantage of the “read for free” deals and some of the discounts. One of the things I have valued is the way that Amazon keeps up with my purchasing habits and viewing preferences and makes suggestions based on my past purchases and films viewed. The recommendations are frequently useful.

I have also read the recent criticisms of those who write the algorithms for tech companies as being politically and philosophically biased, but hadn’t experienced it until quite recently. And I’m still not completely sure I have.

Oscar Peterson Sticks To The Classics

As far as I know, Oscar Peterson never attributed his lack of name recognition in Canada to racism. Even when a CBC interviewer claimed she understood his nickname “Osc The Gorilla” a lot better than his other nickname, “The Maharaja Of The Keyboard”, Peterson kept his cool.

Oh, sure, there are jazz festivals in his name up here, and scholarships too. But the main concert hall and recording studio at the CBC is named after Glenn Gould, not him. Peterson’s statue stands in Ottawa, not in Montreal where he was born. He doesn’t have a “historical society” like Guy Lombardo, who is mostly known for playing New Year’s Eve ditties and the version of “Auld Lang Syne” you usually hear when watching the ball drop in Times Square.

Lost In The Multiculturalist Shuffle

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 31: They Have No Idea What Canadian Culture Is Supposed to Be

Getting my fourth wall broken by Deadpool last week is as good of a sign as any that it’s time to change the channel away from actors and movies for now. We’ll come back to cover Canadian TV- Degrassi, Are You Afraid Of The Dark, SCTV, Trailer Park Boys- eventually, and cover a few actors that I know I missed.

Before we travel back to the dorky world of Canadian music, I want to return to a theme I discussed briefly when discussing Canada’s contributions to literature, and that is: Canada is not the progressive paradise it claims to be.

Where Is Australia on the Map?

Part 5 in an Ongoing Series on Australia, Its People, and Culture

Kevin’s next question isn’t as silly as it might sound. Growing up in the Northern Hemisphere, he and I were conditioned by every map we ever saw to look for Australia at the bottom right of the world. He wondered if the opposite was true in Australia.

“We’re at the top of all our maps because they’re made here,” he said. “It’s the same reason North is at the top. The opposite should be true down there, right? Don’t maps in Australia have South at the top?”

I didn’t want to admit it, but he had me stumped. I hadn’t thought at all about the question.

What is Macca’s and Why Does Everyone Go There?

Part 4 in an Ongoing Series on Australia, Its People, and Culture

Kevin called me on the phone a while back and the first thing I said when I answered was, “How ya going?”

I instantly regretted my choice of words.

“Where am I going?” He asked quizzically.

“No, I mean how are you?”

“I’m good. Why didn’t you just ask me that?”

I didn’t because I’ve been in Australia too long and nobody here says “How are you doing?” A few months ago I was on the wrong end of a long, one-sided conversation with another American expat who was exasperated that a young person working the checkout at ALDI had asked her “How are you doing?” instead of “How ya going?”

A Quick Guide To The Culture of Newfoundland and Labrador

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 28: Long May Your Big Jib Draw!

The Simpsons hasn’t been relevant, much less controversial, for decades. But hey: there’s always trolling Canada for laughs. That always works!

And so we got “D’Oh Canada,” an episode that really didn’t need to be made, or talked about, except for the fact that it features a “joke” where Ralph Wiggum decides he’s a “Newfie”, and then knocks the head off a stuffed baby seal and proceeds to kick it around. The Canadian media, which is as awful and transparently fake as yours (except your media reports on issues of consequence sometimes, and mine reports on…..this), duly investigated whether The Simpsons went TOO FAR.

William Shatner: To Boldy Goof

Deconstructing Canadian Culture, Part 25: Faking It Until He Made It

For some, the word “goof” is associated with a dim-witted but lovable Disney character. For Canadians, “goof” is the ultimate insult, on par with being called a child molester. Walk into a bar in Canada and call someone a goof and you will get your ass kicked.

A “goof” may be completely harmless and well-meaning. The goof wants to be liked. But something is… off about him. His behaviour isn’t quite normal. It’s persistently annoying. He’s the opposite of the level-headed Canadian exemplar.

People notice and target the goof. Women won’t touch the goof. If you see him, cross the street. His actions can’t go unpunished. And he’s got to reassert his place in the social order by fighting.

Sometimes, however, the goof gets the last laugh. They want to call me a goof? I’ll show them just how goofy I can be

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get William Shatner.

PreTeena: February 4 – February 10, 2019

Sunday Comics!

You won’t want to miss these hilarious cartoons depicting the ups and downs of adolescence. Now each week’s strips will debut on Sundays as the lead strip of Liberty Island’s Sunday Comics feature. If you draw a comic and would like to have your work featured on Sundays, please contact us: [email protected] Check out Allison Barrows’ new PreTeena blog here.

Gray Skies & Hot Pink Sunset Colliding

*Submit your photographs of nature and the outdoor life to [email protected] to participate in this weekly feature exploring the natural world.*

Sunset On A Pristine Northern Michigan Farm

*Submit your photographs (or videos) of nature and the outdoor life to [email protected] to participate in this weekly feature exploring the natural world.*

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