Supporting Local Stores Goes So Much Further

April 4, 2020

As anyone who reads my history pieces, and especially anyone who has read, The Drive, will understand how important I believe local newspapers are — both for us today and for the historians of the future.  It is with the utmost regret, therefore, that I note the passing of the Vancouver Courier.

The Courier is having to close because of the lack of local advertising that supports its work:

“The small, independent businesses in our community that are under economic pressure to shut their doors or reduce services are the same ones that have supported our coverage and made it possible to deliver free, local news to you. Their significant drop in advertising revenue for our publication and lack of quick, available government funding means that we have been forced to make the difficult decision to cease both print and online coverage.”

Our loyal support of local merchants is one of the reasons our neighbourhood is usually so vibrant and alive.  The current retail shutdown is not of our making. However, as we can now plainly see, lack of that support (for whatever reason) has even wider ramifications than deserted sidewalks and empty stores.

My fingers are crossed that the Courier‘s closure will be just temporary, but I will sorely miss their journalism in the weeks ahead..


Escaping Isolation via Web Cam #2

March 31, 2020




See previous Escaping Isolation posts.

Escaping Isolation via Web Cam #1

March 27, 2020

If you just need to stare at a screen and bliss out for a bit, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has some live web cams on YouTube of jellyfish, penguins, sharks, and birds. This is my current favourite:

These guys know nothing about physical distancing: they bump into, across, and though each other.  I am amazed their plumages don’t get tangled up.

Movie Backdrops

February 17, 2020

For most of my young personhood — that would be in the 1950s and 1960s — my father worked in the British film industry and I was fortunate enough to visit a lot of film sets and studios. I also worked in the business from the late 1960s and got an even closer look.  One of the most fascinating aspects of the business to me was the ability of set designers and artists to create whole worlds on a sound stage. And this was well before CGI.

CBS Sunday Morning recently had a piece on painted backdrops that revived that interest in me.  This 7 minute item is a grand reminder.

Our Media Bubbles

January 25, 2020

The latest Pew Research reports include a detailed look at US Media Polarization. The divide in the trustworthiness of various media sources between those tending to the Republican side and those tending to the Democratic side is extraordinarily wide.

Select image for a better view.

As this survey looks only at mainstream media (newspapers, TV, radio), I would imagine that the functional divide is even greater once one factors in the noise from social media.

This is a worthwhile reminder to us all — as we all tend to be guilty of siloing — that the media bubble we choose to exist in is NOT the only one out there.

The Hollowing Out of Press Freedom

December 20, 2019

A new report from Reporters Without Borders shows that, globally, we are losing the battle for free speech in the media.

Most Successful Media Franchises

November 23, 2019

The always interesting Visual Capitalist has produced a list of the most successful media franchises of all time.  It is a list that includes some obvious properties and some, quite frankly, that I have never heard of:


The infographic on their site gives a lot more detail on how these figures are arrived at.  The biggest surprise for me is that Winnie the Pooh makes #3 on the list, ahead of Star Wars and Mickey Mouse!