What’s so hard about an apostrophe?!

22 11 2015

When I was a kid at school I had a French teacher (ironic as you’ll soon see) who used to call apostrophes “tombstones”. They marked the death of one or more letters, he said. Handy little reminder that’s stood me in good stead over the intervening decades. Didn’t account for the possessive case but, hey ho…

Moving to Canada in my thirties then, I have been irritated almost daily by the national chain of coffee shops opened in 1964 by Tim Horton. The first was called “Tim Horton Donuts” which was completely non-contentious, despite the dodgy spelling of doughnuts.

Source: BlogTO

Then though, it got popular and re-branded as “Tim Horton’s”. Trouble was, those pesky language police in Quebec decided that the possessive apostrophe was a peculiarly ENGLISH thing and simply could not be tolerated in the province of Quebec. Putting “Chez Tim Horton” on all the packaging in addition to “Tim Horton’s” was just too big an ask, so a compromise was reached and they simply dropped the apostrophe. The now defunct Eaton’s chain went  simply by “Eaton” there for similar reasons. And that, dear reader is why we’re stuck with “Tim Hortons” coffee shops.

So I’m OK with all this to a degree, but why, oh why does that excuse the incorrect usage of apostrophes in all their advertising? Especially here in English-speaking BC?

Bu's Advert (sic)

Bu’s Advert (sic)

Power of advertising

13 11 2015

After 15 or so years in Canada, there’s not actually a lot I miss about the UK. John Lewis is one though. Their “never knowingly undersold” philosophy saved me a lot of price comparison shopping back in the day. (It’s commonplace in most chains here in BC).

Their Christmas ads have become something of a phenomenon in their own right and this year’s is no exception. Apparently it cost £7M to produce!


Teary eye alert…

30 10 2015

“I’m expecting a baby. I’ve discovered he has Down syndrome. I’m scared: what kind of life will my child have?”

Source: 15 people with Down syndrome tell a mom what kind of life her child will have.

A great piece to illustrate basic human value.

Types of People you see on the Grouse Grind

28 10 2015

A friend sent me this “list of…”. These seemed oh so familiar.
Thought I’d share.

The Grouse Grind is an (in)famous hike in North Vancouver that is popular among locals. So much so that there are 13 types of people that you will see.

Source: The 13 Types of People you see on the Grouse Grind

Consider being that someone

24 10 2015

Source: ‘Suffragette’ review: Can a movie make you see the world differently?

Really looking forward to this film opening. Having just recently had a national election here in Canada, it behoves us well to remember that the right to vote was a right that was hard earned. Recently – as this film reminds us – by 50% of the entire population, and even more recently here in Canada by those whose culture pre-dates our European formalised democratic process. Excluded from participating in the selection of political representation in their own country.

I’m glad to learn from this review that the story is told (by a female director) with balance, and the male “villains of the piece” are depicted as three-dimensional thinking beings rather than caricatures of “the system”. Though it’s easy to look back from a democratic 21st century western country and see the obvious imbalances of the time, those living then would have found it harder to see the injustice. It was “just the way things are”.

Remember that, should you ever decide not to vote  “because you can’t be bothered”.

Remember that when you toss away a plastic container “because the recycling bin is full/too far away”.

Remember that when you drive to the corner shop because it’s raining and you can’t be bothered to make the 10 minute walk.

Change only comes about if someone takes a stand. Consider being that someone.

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

13 10 2015

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace – mathematician, writer, icon for gender equality in technology and owner of a fantastic name – is celebrated today for her pioneering accomplishments in science and technology.

Source: It’s Ada Lovelace Day, but acceptance of sexism is still pushing women away from careers in tech | Alphr

Years ago when I was first learning about computers (1979) we were already being taught about Lovelace’s contribution to computing. Years later I got to see the modern reconstruction of Babbage’s Difference Engine… an eye-boggling feat of design.

It is Lovelace though that is credited with really grasping the potential for these computing machines.

Say “hello” to a female technology worker in your life today.

New kids’ books for adults help with hipsters and hangovers

12 10 2015

Glory be!

Source: New kids’ books for adults help with hipsters and hangovers

I have very warm memories of Ladybird books. Now there’s to be 8 new tongue-in-cheek titles for the (sadly) grown-up fan.

Thanks Internet, for letting me know…

More can be found via The Guardian.


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