Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Start Spreading The News...


Sure, Debbie Harry and John Waters together in New York City, circa 1980, makes some sense?

But, other than the geography, what the heck was Bill Murray doing there?

Well, turns out, much to Waters' dismay, Murray had been hired on to sing/butcher 'The Best Thing' for Polyester.

I heard the now 75 year old Waters on Maron recently...Unlike the Irsay family's gridiron minions he still lives in Baltimore.

The photo is from photographer and Blondie guitarist Chris Stein, who is a great follow on the Twittmachine by the way.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Overstory Media Group: The New Kid In (Some) Towns.


In case you missed the rollout and the very favourable press over the last few weeks, the Victoria-based Overstory Media Group is officially on-the-air or, more to the point, on the internet.

Here is the lede from one of those favourable stories Leylan Cecco  in The Guardian:

Local journalism has shed jobs faster than the coal industry, leaving swaths of North America as news deserts with little or no regular coverage.

But the grim prospects for an industry in decline didn’t deter the Canadian tech entrepreneur Andrew Wilkinson, who in 2019 hired a reporter and launched a daily newsletter in his home town, Victoria.

Emailed to subscribers early each morning, Capital Daily gave residents news highlights from around the city. Wilkinson bought advertising on Facebook and Google and subscribers started pouring in.

A year later, the venture had more than 40,000 readers, and within two years, the Capital Daily has transformed from morning digest of the city’s news into an enterprising outlet publishing long-form investigative features.

Now, building on the newsletter’s success, a startup media group has unveiled ambitious plans to replicate the model across the country.

Overstory Media Group, which operates newsletter-based journalism outlets in British Columbia, including the Burnaby Beacon, Decomplicated and the Capital Daily, has announced plans to hire 250 new journalists and launch 50 new outlets by 2023.

“I’ve always believed community media was always going to survive,” said chief executive Farhan Mohamed, who co-founded the venture with Wilkinson. “But it just has to be done in the right way.”...


Personally, I've been reading one of OMG publication (yes, you know that acronymical moniker had to be constructed on purpose) that is not listed in the Guardian piece, above. That is 'The Fraser Valley Current',  mostly because I've admired the work of editor Ty Olsen from back in the days when he was with Black Press' Abbotsford News.

I also look at the OMG flagship 'Capital Daily' every once in awhile because that's the kind of thing I do when I'm not reading, say, the archives of 'The Independent Coast Observer' .

And, overall, I find the OMG offerings pleasant and interesting. I can also see that they are allowing their reporters to write long when they want to.

But what I don't see much of the stuff I really want to see in local news that the legacies have abandoned - like concerted City Hall coverage, for example.

And, frankly, based on the lack of advertising I'm not sure I can glean what the through line is for the business model, particularly given that the individual publications can be read, at least for the moment, as a free subscription.

Interestingly, however, I did find this little nugget on 'working with marketers', served up by OMG CEO Farhan Mohamed in a marketing industry publication called 'The Message':

...Rather than display advertising or sponsored content, OMG wants to work with marketers to develop more “unique concepts and unique experiences” that have greater meaning and resonance for the community supporting the media brand.

Simply selling eyeballs to brands that are irrelevant to the community upsets audiences and readers, has little value for the advertising brand, and is not a strategy for long-term sustainability, said Mohamed.

“What we are doing is making a conscious choice of who we want to work with, and only allowing a small select group in,” he said. “I don’t want to turn down money, but at the same time we will if it doesn’t make sense.”...

Interesting marketing speak that. And, truth be told, I have no idea what it actually means but it would appear that Mr. Mohamed and his partner, Victoria tech guy Andrew Wilkinson (who is young and most definitely not the AW we #bcpoli denizens know so well), have a plan.

Or one would hope they do given the following, served up by Mr. Wilkinson, on his own Twittmachine feed awhile ago when he was explaining how he brought all those eyeballs to Capital Daily:


You did read Point #3, above, right.

Mr. Wilkinson spent $200,000.00 on Facebook/Instagram ads to get people to subscribe - in Victoria!

Here's hoping he has some kind of genius, fool-proof plan in which shovelling money into the maw of the evil empire that helped destroy local journalism as we know it actually helps saves it.

Or some such thing.


And, if OMG decides to make a go of it on the more northerly end of VanIsle, here's hoping they enlist (and pay!) Laila Yuile, who this week goes all-in, all longform, on the return of Kevin Falcon - it's vintage Laila.


Monday, May 17, 2021

A Small, But Potentially Important Change To Europe's Storage Guidelines for the Pfizer mRNA Vaccine.


From the European Medicines Agency today:

EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) has recommended a change to the approved storage conditions of Comirnaty, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, that will facilitate the handling of the vaccine in vaccination centres across the European Union (EU).

This change extends the approved storage period of the unopened thawed vial at 2-8°C (i.e. in a normal fridge after taking out of deep-freeze conditions) from five days to one month(31 days)...

Here are the details:

If taken up in Canada this change could significantly simplify the distribution problem, especially to remote areas and smaller centers. It will also decrease waste due to spoilage.

Both would be good things.

to Kai Kupferschmidt via his Twittmachine feed.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

'Identifying' As Vaccinated.


The latest in doublespeak got a big push from the American CDC's decision last week to announce that the vaccinated need not concern themselves with face coverings any longer.

What am I going on about this time Alfie?

Well, first, consider this exchange between CNN's Jake Tapper and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci:

Then, consider infleuencerific stuff this:

And the knock on affected:


And do not for one second think that this kind of personal disinformation pandemonial codswallopanarianism will not waft its way north over the border as we here in Canuckistan start to get over our own vaccination hump.


PZ Myers weighs in with the view from small town Minnesota...Here.


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Saturday Night's Alright For Cover Fighting - Cecilia


When I was a kid, some fifty years or so ago, our Dad brought home Simon and Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'.

And, boy oh boy, that track list still holds up.

The rave-up on the album, if you can call it that, is Cecilia. I most certainly didn't understand the lyrical histrionics at the time, but that rhythm though.

Who knew that Eddie Simon helped to generate that rhythm line, which older brother Paul later looped, by banging on a piano bench.

Anyway, there are a bazillion covers out there - this one by former Indie Kids (but now kinda/sorta grown-ups) 'Local Natives' - slays me...

Brought to you, really, by the fine folks over at 'Cover Me'
And, just for old time's sake, here's a Uke Cover.


Friday, May 14, 2021

Mixing COVID-19 Vaccines (Heterologous Prime-Boost) - The Data So Far.


Given the ramped-up shipments of mRNA vaccines (i.e. Pfizer/BNT, Moderna) coming to British Columbia and the increased concern about significant, but still rare, clotting events after adenoviral vaccination (i.e. AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson), you may have pricked up your ears when you heard or read the following earlier this week:

British Columbians who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine as their first dose will likely be able to choose whether they want their second vial filled with the same vaccine, the province's top doctor has said.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says as shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines increase, switching up the type of shot for the second dose is a possibility, as long as it is proven to be safe and effective.

"I expect people will have a choice," she told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's The Early Edition, on Tuesday morning.

Henry said she is closely watching research being done now in the United Kingdom, where about 60 per cent of people were given AstraZeneca for their first shot. Researchers at Oxford University launched a study in early February to explore the possible benefits of alternating different COVID-19 vaccines...

It turns out that the group at Oxford (and Nottingham) that Dr. Henry referenced has now released preliminary data on the mixed vaccine regime, which they fancy up with the term 'Heterologous Prime-Boost'. This has led to a number of headlines like this...

Mixing COVID-19 vaccine doses leads to more reactions, study finds, which may be 'first sign of success'.


With that in mind, what does this group have to say, based on a letter they published in the Lancet Wednesday?

First, all they have released so far are data which looks at how folks who received either the AZ  'ChAd' adenoviral or the Pfizer 'BNT' mRNA vaccines first (i.e. the 'prime') and then received either the AZ or the Pfizer later (i.e. the 'boost') self-reported their symptoms.

Second, they have only released data from folks who they received their 2nd 'boost' shot 28 days after their first dose. Here are the data of what those folks self-reported over the next 7 days: 

As you can see,  there are, indeed, increases in in reports for a number of indications (see 'Feverish' for example) after the mixing of the prime and boost (i.e. the second and fourth bar on each graph). However, most of this was self-reported as mild to moderate and there were no hospitalizations. The other thing, not noted in news reports, is that, generally, whenever anyone got the Pfizer/BNT vaccine, either once or twice (i.e. bars two through four on each graph), there were generally more events/symptoms reported.

Regardless, the kicker, according to the authors of the Lancet letter, is the following:

"(I)t is reassuring that all reactogenicity symptoms were short lived, and there were no concerns from the limited haematology and biochemistry data available..."

It is also important to note what was not (yet) reported in this letter - there was no report of these symptoms when the prime and boost were separated by 84 days (i.e. 12 weeks), as was done for most folks in the UK (and is closer to the Canadian/British Columbian paradigm, so far, of 16 weeks).

In addition, so far there have been no data reported on whether the vaccine mixture has positive effects on efficacy re: protection against infection and/or illness from the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself.

All of those data are supposed to be coming June which will be good timing around here as second dose times begin to roll in.


Monday, May 10, 2021

Pushing Olympic Tin...First Came The Flack, Then Came The Hackery.


As noted previously, Vancouver 2010's man about town popped up out of nowhere the week before last and got the local media wurlitzer cranking with this:

...A 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games that encompasses more of B.C. than the Lower Mainland and a ski resort town will be part of John Furlong's pitch to the Vancouver Board of Trade on Friday...


..."B.C. is not small. This is Germany, France and England combined. It's a very big area," Furlong said...


And then, on Friday last the wurlitzer shifted to overdrive when the following fuel was tossed into its boiler:

Vancouver, BC — Following a Vancouver Board of Trade event where John Furlong presented the merits of an Olympic bid for the 2030 games, a new Insights West poll shows that public support for this initiative sits at a healthy 55%...

You think that's something?

Well, just wait for the push:

...that level of support increases dramatically to 77% if the games could be held without requiring any public money...


Legacies Now!...Forever and ever, for free, indeed.

What's next, Senator Da Vinci scream-riding down a hastily constructed half-pipe as the set-up to a spectacular big-media splashdown in False Creek in front of the OVillage next weekend?

No word
 in either the Insights West press release thingy or the Vancouver Sun (non) story that 'reported' on the release who, if anyone, commissioned the poll...Interestingly, however, both mention the Vancouver Board of Trade prominently.


Sunday, May 09, 2021

The Whackadoodle II.


We had to put the Whackadoodle down just as the pandemic began late last March.

Her real name was Rosie and she had a congenital heart defect that gradually got worse with time. In the end she couldn't make it up back stairs after she'd been out for one of her frequent pees underneath the hydrangea that grows up against the garage.

A spaniel-poodle cross, I was skeptical when Rosie first arrived at our house given that she was both little and excitable. However, she had such an agreeable disposition and was so up for anything that I really grew to love her over the years, never so much as when we took our weekly walks on the beach with the guitar. In fact, she didn't once complain about the 'music' - even when it involved warbled mash-ups of  of stuff like Martha Wainwright's BMFAHole and Van the Man's Astral Weeks.

For the past year or so the guitar and I have been taking those beach walks all on our own. Unlike when I was with the Whackadoodle, many passerby clearly find it a little strange to come upon a man in his early sixties, strings in hand. Still, I always slow down part way to pat the tangled skeleton of a washed up arbutus tree that somehow reminds me of Rosie. Then I head for the halfway point where we used to stop for treats, most often apple fritter bits from the Breka on Fraser near 49th avenue, followed by a little bit of leisurely newspaper reading and a whole lot of stick throwing/chasing at the water's edge before we packed up, headed back and started in on the mash-ups.


Now that the kids have moved out, pretty much for good I think, it wasn't immediately clear that we would get another dog.

Then, early in the New Year, C. started talking about it.

And in mid-March an eight week-old Whackadoodle II arrived.

Same breed, different colour, and now that her shots are all done she's ready for the beach, which is where we went early yesterday morning.

It took quite a while, but after a whole lot of stick soccer and rapid-fire sand digging we finally made it out to the treat spot - all healthy bits this time around though - promise.

I'm not really sure yet if Tilly/W-II likes the music. Hopefully, at the very least, she will learn to tolerate it.


Subheader courtesy David Sedaris who tells the story of his family's many pet lineages, including the great danes Madchen I and Madchen II,  in both audio and linear type form.
Our entire family went to see Springsteen when he brought Clarence and  the Circus to town in the spring of 2008...I'd like to think that that show had something to do with littler e.'s suggestion that we name the original Whackadoodle Rosalita when she arrived later that summer.


Friday, May 07, 2021

The 'Foxitis' Defense.


You knew it had to be coming.

And now it has arrived...

The lawyer for one of the folks involved in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6th has said that a specific media organ made him due it.

Luke O'Neil of the Guardian has the story. Here is his lede:

The lawyer for a Delaware man charged over the Capitol attack in January is floating a unique defense: Fox News made him do it.

Anthony Antonio, who is facing five charges including violent entry, disorderly conduct and impeding law enforcement during civil disorder, fell prey to the persistent lies about the so-called “stolen election” being spread daily by Donald Trump and the rightwing network that served him, his attorney Joseph Hurley said during a video hearing on Thursday.

Antonio spent the six months before the riots mainlining Fox News while unemployed, Hurley said, likening the side effects of such a steady diet of misinformation to a mental health syndrome.

“Fox television played constantly,” he said. “He became hooked with what I call ‘Foxitis’ or ‘Foxmania’, and became interested in the political aspect and started believing what was being fed to him.”...



You know that the late night shows and the Bill Maher-types will have a field day with this.

However, I honestly think that there is merit to this position and the susceptibility to being swayed to extremism by demonstrably false codswallop that is both peddled and not immediately discredited as such.

And, further, as long as the fine folks doing the peddling do not pay a political and professional price for doing so we will never be rid of it.

And do not for one second think that we do not have our own Canuckistian variants of concern.


Wednesday, May 05, 2021

The Keef Report: Getting It Right For Once.


Remember when the Keef said this:


Well, it looks like stopped watches and all that...

Banned by Facebook and Twitter, Donald Trump has gone back to the future with an online communication tool that might be described as a glorified blog.

His retro webpage, billed “From the Desk of Donald J Trump”, appears at and features a small photo of the 45th president writing in a book on his desk...

Oh the humanity!

(not to mention, presumably, the fever swamps to come in the comment threads)

Previous Keef Report can be found...Here.


Inconsistencies? We Don't Need No Stinking Inconsistencies!


A few days ago we pointed out just one that was then, this is nowish - type inconsistency in Rich Coleman's testimony before the Cullen Commission inquiry on money laundering. 


It turns out that the Commission itself has also noted inconsistencies.

As a result, they want Mr. Coleman to come back. Here is the lede of a report from the CBC's Rhianna Schmunk:

A formal inquiry into the issue of money laundering in B.C. is calling a former cabinet minister back to the stand to testify for a second time over inconsistencies in his first round of sworn testimony.

Rich Coleman, a six-term former Liberal member of the B.C. Legislature, will have to testify before the Cullen Commission again on May 14, sources confirmed Wednesday...


One can only only wonder if the good Mr. Coleman is still 'looking forward' to appearing before the Commission?

Belle Puri's excellent CBC story last week appears to have been the lit match that got the Bonfire of the Inconsistencies blazing.
As she often does, Sandy Garossino gets to the heart of the matter on the Twittmachine.
And while we're on the subject of then vs. nowish - type inconconsistencies, perhaps the Commission could slip in a few questions about selective tree farm license release-type deals in there somewhere...Or some such thing.