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Joe Fiorito of The Toronto Star January 31, 2011

Posted by huymix in News, Politics.
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Joe Fiorito

I’m sorry but I had all but abandoned this blog. From now on, this blog might only post when I have particularly strong feelings, one way or another, towards something. Even then, it would have to overcome my innate laziness. I will try to keep the posts short, again due to laziness, but I won’t have a particular devotion to the previous 3 bullet point format.

So when I post something, you gotta know, that the topic that I’m posting about has gotten to me.

Today’s topic: The Toronto Star columnist: Joe Fiorito

I think what has really turned me against Mr. Fiorito has been his more recent coverage of the TTC service cuts. I’ll invite you to check out a couple of his recent articles:

The Toronto Star: Cuts threaten bus service to Toronto’s deaf-blind community

The Toronto Star: Hiding in the back of the bus

You might be asking what is your beef with these articles? Well, I have a few points to make:

  • His short, conversation style is fine except that he will take it too far to the point that it can feel childish. For example: “In. The. Entire. Country.” when he already wrote that it was for the entire country. Maybe it was written for emphasis, but I think he has already made his point before that and writing that does not add to the point.
  • He’s essentially written the same talking points over and over again. TTC cuts means some people, including less capable people in some ways, will not have service. Almost by definition, a service cut to anything means some people will not have service.  In each article, he’s written that same point just using different examples. I’m sorry for those people that do get service cut, but this point is hardly surprising and certainly does not warrant so much coverage.
  • The bias runs a bit too deep. He is writing a column and not the straight news and thus he is allowed his personal bias to show more. However, his articles do not have a hint of consideration for an alternative perspective and puts his credibility at stake. I think that his writing makes him seem like he is completely unwilling to listen to a different perspective and that can mean people will be less likely to believe what he is saying is based on sound and reasonable judgment. There are probably good reasons why those service cuts are being made and in his writing, none of those reasons feel like they have been explored.

Nothing I am saying is meant to criticize Joe Fiorito the person. I do not pretend to know him or know anything about what he believes. I’m only looking at it from the perspective of a Star reader. Maybe he isn’t everything I think his writing makes him out to be. Maybe, but I certainly cannot tell from his writing.

Conclusion: He needs to work out whether he has already made his point and move on.

 

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TED: Ideas Worth Spreading April 1, 2010

Posted by huymix in Electronics, Internet Site, Science, Television.
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The TED Conferences are generally held in the UK, but have been branching out to other countries (India in particular) and have been talking about specific fields (in particular, medical otherwise known as TED MED).The organization is a non-profit and most of the material is available online. You should keep your eye on TED regularly because:

  • The guests they have are generally pretty interesting. They talk about things that range from eye care in India to wireless electricity.
  • The site has new videos everyday. If you ever said, “I want to learn 1 new thing everyday”, then the TED site is perfect for you to do exactly that.
  • Admission to the site is free, to attend it is way too expensive. So, these videos is a way to gain access to discussion that would not normally be allowed even 10 years ago due to technical achievements.

As long as you’re interested in new ideas and thought provoking discussion, I can thoroughly recommend watching and keeping tabs on the TED site.

The ’72 of 2010 March 23, 2010

Posted by huymix in Sports, Television.
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It’s sports time here on the Snuhzone. While there plenty of feel good stories about the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, I wanted to talk about what I’ve been calling the ’72 of 2010. If you were watching any of the Olympics you have to know about the gold medal game in men’s hockey between Team Canada and Team USA. This is quite possibly the biggest sports moment I have experienced because:

  • The loss to Team USA was scary. Ryan Miller was unstoppable, and Canada had to go through the Russians and 4 games to win it all. It signaled a changing of the guard between Marty Brodeur (even though in my opinion he is still the greatest goaltender in history) and Roberto Luongo. While, I didn’t like the way Brodeur got handled, ultimately it was for the best.
  • Seemingly everyone in Canada watched this game and was pulling for Canada. Unlike the NHL, a Canadian team never unifies anywhere close to as many people as this game did to unify Canadians.
  • Overtime and the overtime winner by none other than Kid Canada Sidney Crosby. About as storybook of an ending you could ever ask for, but in real life.

The whole tournament was a roller-coaster which culminated in Canadian sports history unlike anything I have seen. If the CTV Blu Ray has this game in full, I will have to get it. A big part of my memory was watching the game communally in a bar with my friends all intensely focused on the game. Everything else just cannot compare.

Toronto Pedestrian Death News February 2, 2010

Posted by huymix in News, Television.
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Before I get into the news coverage, I just wanted to say that the Toronto Star Logo is only there because this post is about the coverage in Toronto and they are the largest news paper in town. With the month of January finally over, there have been very few noteworthy stories coming out of Toronto. Aside from the TTC sleeping on the job story, the seeming rash of deaths to pedestrians also dominated Toronto news. While these deaths are unfortunate, the news certainly did its part to screw things up by:

  • Overreacting. Ok, so there were a couple of days where a couple of people were killed by traffic injuries. But what was the actual toll for January? 14. In 2007 for the US, they had 4,654 pedestrian deaths nationally. Now obviously, that is a national number but even scaling down for Canada (1/10th the size) we’re still at 465 annual deaths. While sad and avoidable, pedestrian deaths are certainly not unexpected and certainly not news.
  • Causing the police to do something not worth their time. Normally, Toronto police do not write tickets in Toronto for jaywalking. The news reaction to the deaths pressured the police to have a blitz on jaywalking. The police did not previously write tickets for jaywalking simply because they have better things to do.
  • Rational reporting is on the backburner. Even the Star put out an article that put January’s pedestrian deaths into context. Unfortunately, this article was written well after they had drummed up unnecessary noise and after the news moved on to the next story.

I think that there is a systemic bias in the media to get attention rather than be accurate and provide appropriate information. The problem with the bias is when there is a slow news month such as January, stories like pedestrian deaths get full blown coverage and they end up making it a much bigger deal than it really is. The rest of this mini-rant will have to wait for an upcoming Monthly Thinkering. Just remember that just because it’s on the news does not make it news it makes it what an editor thought would be the most attention-getting.

The Hangover August 5, 2009

Posted by huymix in Television.
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The Hangover scenefplusThe Hangover Logo

I’d like to say that “The Hangover” is a guys movie. And if you think that, I could not completely disagree with you. I just think that it’s better than just a guys movie. Please don’t get me wrong, I enjoy guys movies a bunch its just that I think calling “The Hangover” a guys-movie is pidgeon-holing the movie. Its been out a while, so hopefully you’ve seen it but if you haven’t you should because:

  • Tyson. Every scene with Mike Tyson is hilarious. He’s not a big part of the movie but definitely incredibly memorable.
  • Daily show casting. There are a number of Daily Show correspondents that fill roles in “The Hangover”. Personally, I enjoy seeing these guys do hilarious things outside of the show. Rob Riggle is hilarious in general but even more so in “The Hangover”.
  • The ending credit pictures. Even more so than the movie, the credits are the most hilarious/gross part of the movie. If you watch this movie you have to stay for the credits.

“The Hangover” is ultimately a funny, summer movie. I’d say it’s not just a guys movie only because I think a lot of the jokes work for anybody who is not a prude. A bit of a side note, while the humour can be quite raunchy, it’s not too stupid. When I think of stupid comedies stuff like “Little Man” or “Scary Movie” come to mind. In “The Hangover” the jokes are plausible but crazy.

Gordan Ramsay August 4, 2009

Posted by huymix in Celebrity, Food, Television.
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Gordon RamsayfplusHell's KitchenGordon Ramsay has been around for quite a while and I suppose he’s best known in North America for his reality television show “Hell’s Kitchen”. While the show has its moments, it’s not my type of t.v. show. What I’m really impressed with is Gordon Ramsay. Here’s why:

  • Professional. Part of being a professional is being on top of your field. Once you start losing touch with the changes in the field, you stop being professional. Gordon Ramsay is professional and demands professional level of work from everyone.
  • Cares about value-for-money. While his restaurants serve expensive food, he does care about the value for money being delivered to customers. This is particularly the case on his show “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares”. I also think its a bit of an English thing since I heard that term way more on the BBC than I ever hear on Canadian television.
  • Focus’ on food. He knows his food and seems incredibly enthusiastic about food.

A lot of this is conjecture since I’ve never met the man. While I can never definitively say this is how Gordon Ramsay is, I can say the above is what I associate him with. Even if its a false association, its not necessarily a bad thing. My advice is if your watching his show(s) keep the above in mind and you’ll possibly be able to look past all the cursing and appreciate what he stands for.

TLC’s What Not to Wear July 28, 2009

Posted by huymix in Television.
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I watch very, very few (non-sports, non-news) t.v. shows on a regular basis. TLC’s What Not to Wear is one in a very small group of shows. I’ve found that people who are aware of the show but haven’t watched it have a certain amount of cynicism behind a perceived message. Now you can make fun of me all you want for watching this show, and I’m fine with it, but I still think it can be worth your time because:

  • They understand and promote affordable clothing. They aren’t looking for you to always be buying shirts that are $100’s of dollars. However, they do say buy quality not quantity and you’ll end up saving way more in the long run.
  • Reasonable style. So, a lot of episodes actually deliver very polished but not crazy cutting edge runway looks. It would be better to call it fashion for the real world. This also applies to the hair cuts Nick makes, which is generally the point where most will really see the transformation.
  • There are lessons you can apply yourself. While its all fun to see someone else change so much, the real value to watching is the advice on colour, fit, and style for a personal wardrobe.

I’ve watched the BBC version of the show and I do not find it as entertaining. If you have TLC, I’d say try to catch the show. Stacy and Clinton are also hilarious. Also, the majority of episodes are for women, so fellas it might take a while for you to apply the rules for yourself. The cynicism that I referenced earlier is the belief the show promotes only a certain “look” and you’ll somehow be a different person. The truth is, the show is only trying to show that how you present yourself matters to how you are perceived and for most adults that means with a certain degree of respect. The fashion advice normally sticks to enhancing yourself and your message without the visual noise of odd/poor fitting clothing.

Kia Forte Commercials July 22, 2009

Posted by huymix in Advertising, Cars, Television.
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Kia Fortefminuskia logo

I’ll admit it, I have a heavy anti-Kia and anti-Hyundai bias. Pretty much, if a car came from Korea I’m definitely highly skeptical of either its performance, quality and/or durability. Having said that, I have very little information to properly assign a score to Kia’s actual products. It might have something to do with the fact I won’t voluntarily drive a Kia, but those horrible Kia Forte commercials doesn’t help because:

  • The 2 guys (Kung-fu-guy and guy-who-doesn’t-mind-his-business) seem like weiners. Now I’m not saying I want either a) supermodels or b) macho men in these commercials but to me its like having Steve Urkel try to sell you a car.
  • A personal gripe I have is the pronunciation of Forte. In the commercial, the guy says it like “For-tay”. It’s an unfortunate relic of the 90’s that Kia resurrected. If you are gonna give your car a French name, at least pronounce the name of it correctly. It’s “Fort” not “For-tay”.
  • The whole concept of the commercials is centred around a particularly obvious and lame joke. I’m not sure what reaction the advertising people at Kia were imagining am I supposed to have, “it’s not his forte, but he has a Forte! Brilliant! I’ll take 10”. I’m sorry but the theme of these commercials is lazy and stupid.

Unfortunately, the world is full of these type of commercials. You know what commercials are good? iPhone/iPod Touch commercials are pretty good. A simple focus on the product, what makes it unique and why you should be interested. Apple doesn’t try to be cute with the language. Kia marketers get your shit together or you’ll never be taken as serious competition.

The Ultimate Fighter (US vs UK) episode 10 June 4, 2009

Posted by crarence in MMA, Shows, Sports, Television.
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fml_damarques_johnson_sort_of_recaps_tuf_episodesfplus

the-ultimate-fighter-united-states-vs-united-kingdom

Last night was a particularly good episode of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF.) If you didn’t catch it, here are some of the highlights:

  • Really, what was Pierce thinking? The man knows that he’s on a reality TV show, surrounded by cameras watching and recording his every move and conversation. Why lie about his dealings withthe UK team when he can’t escape getting caught?
  • The first round between DaMarques and Nick was one of the best fights in any TUF season. DaMarques was leading for the first four and half minutes until Nick unleashed a salvo of punches at the end that left DaMarques reeling. I thought Nick could have finished the fight there, but DaMarques refused to give in. Good stuff.
  • It’s hard not to like DaMarques as the episodes roll on. The man has  a good blend of eloquence and smack talk. He’s a bit of a showboat, which I’m sure would annoy me if I was on the show with him. However, he’s also the top dog on that show and can back up anything he says. With Nick out, I can’t see Frank or James posing any real threat to him.

I wonder if there will be more spin-offs like this should ratings show that this season was successful – US vs Brasil? US vs Canada? East Coast vs West Coast? In the meantime, I’m going to hang on as the season nears the finish.

The Score May 22, 2009

Posted by huymix in Television.
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theScore

fminustheScore Logo

In Toronto, there are 3 main television outlets for sports. TSN (in my books) is #1 followed by Sportsnet and then theScore. This 3 station system was not great, but was at least workable. With the addition of TSN2, theScore has dropped from marginally F + territory into full blown F – territory, because:

  • Where the hell is the sports coverage? I swear, of all the networks, they show the most non-sport programming (especially poker) of them all. If you can’t give me live sports, give me some other useful angle on sports that the other networks can’t cover. At the very least, the programming should be sports-related.
  • Too many highlight shows. Even with the minimal sports coverage, theScore barely covers actual sports. Now you might argue that Sportsnet covers less but in my mind it at least seems like theScore has less actual live sports.
  • I don’t really like their on air personalities. Everyone is just alright. I don’t find them particularly funny or more insightful. Cabbie is the exception but he’s just not enough.

I do give respect for covering more soccer than the other networks. But in a country that cares less about soccer than they do pretty much every other major sport, it doesn’t mean a lot. I’m glad theScore is around, but really I could go without and not skip a beat.