Sunday, September 12, 2010

Margin Notes: Politeness, Signs, Conversation

Do Canadian children really need a book on how to be more polite, as found at a Queen Street West bookstore in Toronto, Ontario on 6-September-2010?

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Canadians, at least by American standards, are almost obscenely polite. I thought that it was a joke that they apologized to their furniture after bumping in to them, but then I observed it, and I've even done it myself. So, when I saw the above book in the window of the above book store as I watched the Labour Day Parade, my only thought was "Are you kidding?"

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I don't know what was going on Labour Day morning, but as I walked downtown to the parade I ran into some unproductive canine behavior. A small bulldog was noted trying to pick a fight with a Great Dane at High Park, which looked especially ridiculous as the Great Dane tried to ignore the other dog, and along Dundas Street West a man looked perplexed as he walked two large dogs that suddenly decided to fight each other on the sidewalk. They were still barking and going at it when I went out of earshot.

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A sign guiding bicyclists on an "indirect left turn" was noted at Dundas and Dupont in Toronto, Ontario on 30-August-2010

Farther northwest on Dundas Street West, I ran into the above sign guiding bicyclists that wished to cross Dundas from Dupont to Annette. The whole concept of an "indirect left turn" is rather fascinating--if what they suggest (staying to the right, and then joining cross traffic on another street) is "indirect," then what is the concept of going an extra block and making three right turns?

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That topic might seem a bit obscure, but I bet Ross Reynolds could guide a good conversation about it. The Conversation, a call-in show hosted by Reynolds on KUOW in Seattle, Washington, turned ten years old this week, and is still going strong as a noontime show. My congratulations to the Conversation team for creating ten years of excellent radio!

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