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Infinite Scroll had to go

no-infinite-scrollSorry folks, but the WordPress plugin that automatically loads more posts when you reach the bottom of the page was breaking my slideshows. I had to deactivate Infinite Scroll.

You can still load older posts with the Next links at the bottom of the page … and you can always use the search box to jump to a particular topic.

Not as convenient, perhaps, but I’d rather keep the slideshows working. A surprising number of visitors go back and look at them, even when they date back quite awhile.

21st century phrenology

Here come our modern mind readers, bedecked with university degrees, puffing clouds of jargon and delivering wonders from newly discovered data mines.


“Instagram photos reveal predictive markers of depression” is the title of a paper [PDF linkclaiming that  “findings suggest new avenues for early screening and detection of mental illness.”

Oh, sure. It all seems like fun until somebody gets hurt.

There’s your data, with your name on it … YOU put it out there … easy for anyone to collect and then interpret in weird ways. Would someone attempt to assign you a diagnosis of mental illness, based on analysis of the photos you post? Sure, they would! Too many dull colours or not enough faces in your photos? Depression.

Employers sift you out. You can’t get a date on the online matchmaking service. Your insurance premiums go up and security agencies put you on the watch list. What could be wrong with that? Take your prescription and relax.


Making money in the data mines

There is a market for predictive analysis of individual behaviour … retailers, certainly, but also police, the courts, hiring services, landlords, lenders, transportation providers, social and medical services. It doesn’t matter if data-scan interpretations are as phoney as phrenology or palmistry. They come out of computers and seem “scientific”.

There need be no lack of jobs in the virtual economy. Bullshit Industries (BI) will continue to need fuel and maintenance. They will continue to output useful, saleable products. 

Industries spawn more industries

For example: Suppose you opt out of social media and call attention to yourself that way? What kind of weirdo are you, with no online presence? So, simply subscribe to a fake identity service that shapes and styles your data vapour trail. Pennies per day. Small price for protection.

And so it goes.

Our Gwynne Giles neighbourhood

An upcoming eye exam prompted me to post these photos, taken earlier this year. Danica is posing with a delightful, unmistakable Gwynne Giles painting that we discovered in the doorway of my optometrist’s office, last time we were there.


Next, we see Gwynne posing for me beside a small painting he displayed at the Flying Pony. The house is Gwynne’s Beach Hill studio on Upper Gerrard. See the painting hanging? It is in the glassed-in porch where Gwynne can often be seen working.

Giles paintings have evolved, from highly stylized, clever and imaginative renderings of subjects (boats, street scenes, flags, streetcars, people) to pure abstraction. Colour balance and composition are his thing, now. The De Stijl movement is his aesthetic home. He was a member of that family before he knew it existed.

Although Gwynne Giles began painting late in life, he is an artist to be taken seriously. He sells for good prices and shows in high-end exhibitions. He is a diligent craftsman who works methodically, in stages from initial drawings, through mock-ups, to finished paintings. Each one takes many, many hours to complete.

Learn about his journey into the arts.

The Beach in chains

After years of acrimony, lawsuits, countersuits, political attacks and legal wrangles, the beach at Ashbridges Bay has gained a Tim Horton’s franchise (Burger King) and a 2-star restaurant (Landing chain, Cara).


City councillor Mary Margaret McMahon is “exasperated“, but it looks like the cluster of cash boxes will stay in one of the plummiest locations in the city.

If you want to boycott, don’t fill up at boardwalk food trucks. They are also part of the operation.  Until 2028, bring your own food or head up to the Queen Street strip.

Danica’s home from Victoria

Roses, of course … and walls all painted by the deadline. Major Brownie points.


I asked for a single favourite shot from Danica’s weeks visiting her sister Anna, Thorne (thanks for the Kickass Coffee), Anna’s daughter Stephanie and her husband Trevor. The grandchildren, Jackson (foreground) and Carson stole the show.


Queen East dead zone to get help

An off-track betting facility is the last reminder of the old Greenwood Raceway. City hall has approved conversion of a large part of the off-track parlour to a music hall.


The once-upon-a-time live horse racing track used to present its back to Queen Street, high walls blanking out a long stretch of the streetscape. Most of the land was successfully developed into tree-lined streets with expensive new homes and nice landscaping. Developers kicked in a lot of green park land, too.


New buildings facing Queen Street East were uninspired. Better than the racetrack’s walls, but still pretty dreary. Condos with unrented retail on the bottom. Concrete finishes. Ugly hydro poles and wires left in place, when developers could have been forced to bury them. Bland and dull describes Queen Street east of Coxwell to Woodbine.

Maybe some music will liven things up.

Street story with poor endings

When the old Catholic school was torn down, a new street was created, lined with rectilinear townhouses. It was named Vince Avenue after one of the school’s popular teachers.

At the ends of the new street, the developer started to build homes that stand unfinished after a couple of years. Bankruptcy measures are apparently underway and neighbours are not thrilled with the enduring eyesores.


The frames and chipboard, especially on the righthand side, are driftwood grey. I picture a day, far in the future, when a renovator opens up the walls and sees the weathered timber. “What’s the story here?” she will wonder.