Monday, December 17, 2018

a news service

Dictionary entries are filed alphabetically: choose a letter to view entries.
The dictionary contains 611 entries.


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Television Industry Spokespersons

a.) Accountants armed with the latest Neilsen ratings announcing that in the free market system, the public has a right to the kind of programming it demands. b.) Well-dressed persons announcing corporate media mergers or c.) government ministers and their stooges announcing public sector cutbacks and programming cancellations. All three of these definitions will be valid until well after the year 2002, or until the disappearance of public broadcasting.)

Temagami

Large area in Northern Ontario once filled with white pine and now a battle zone for environmentalists, loggers and tourist camp owners sucking up to the outdoor recreation market. At issue is a 1400 hectare stand of old growth white pine, one of the last in North America, and more significant but less glamourous than B.C.’s tiny Karmanah Valley, which now features handicam battery rechargers attached to each large tree.

Tennis Canada

Tennis Canada, alas, did not win the 2013 men’s French Open clay-court tennis tournament, one of the four major, or Grand Slam, international tennis tournaments held annually. The men’s championship was won, for the eighth time in nine years by Rafael Nadal, 27, of Spain, on June 9, 2013. The women’s singles title was won by American Serena Williams.

Rafal Nadal, Paris, 2013.

Rafael Nadal, Paris, 2013.

However, our Canadian sigh of disappointment is relatively muted given that Canada has not had a men’s singles French Open champion since the tournament began in 1891. Nor has Canada ever had a women’s singles French Open Champion. (For statistical fanatics we and Wikipedia can happily report that, although no Canadian women have won a French doubles championship, Canadian Daniel Nestor is a four-time winner, teaming up with various players from other countries, of the men’s French Open doubles championship. Nestor was also a 2013 runner-up in the mixed doubles competition.)

Not many people, even among sports fans, are interested in tennis (or Tennis Canada). But those that are, are aware that for the past decade or more, men’s tennis has been experiencing a “golden age” not seen for almost half-a-century. Roger Federer, the Swiss winner of 17 Grand Slam tournaments, is considered the greatest player of the modern (and postmodern?) era. (Federer’s genius is best explained by the late postmodern novelist, David Foster Wallace. See, Wallace, “Federer as Religious Experience,” New York Times, Aug. 20, 2006.) Federer’s current abilities have recently been surpassed by Novak Djokovic of Serbia, and Rafael (Rafa) Nadal.

The interest in Nadal goes beyond his tennis court skills.

Rafa Nadal, 2008.

Rafa Nadal, 2008.

When he changes T-shirts during a match or strips off his T-shirt to change into a light windbreaker for his post-victory interviews, a growling sound of lust and aesthetic appreciation rolls through the stadium, the emotional equivalent of, if such a thing existed, a “fan wave” of desire. Tennis reporters, such as the NYT’s resident tennis scholar, Christopher Clarey, devoted a lengthy, learned essay to Nadal’s clothes and personal tics (which includes, on every point, plucking the rear end of his shorts from the cleavage of his buttocks. See Christopher Clarey, “A Review of Nadal’s Look, Mannerisms, and Game,” New York Times, June 9, 2013). In short (and in shorts), Nadal is cute, and has been a heartthrob ever since he began appearing in major matches at age 17.

This is where Tennis Canada comes back into the picture. No other top 10 tennis player currently scores many points for cuteness, much less true beauty (even the Great Federer will not be remembered for his mashed-potato nose). If the cuteness factor were a larger consideration in meditations on tennis, Canada would be in the front ranks.

Milos Raonic, Tennis Canada.

Milos Raonic, Tennis Canada.

Vasek Pospisil, Tennis Canada.

Vasek Pospisil, Tennis Canada.

The country’s two leading players, Milos Raonic (ranked in the top 20), and Vasek Posposil, both score attractively in the cuteness contest. Both, however, were defeated in early rounds of the 2013 French Open. Oh well, au revoir Paris, on to Wimbledon!

Thanksgiving

Mid-October harvest festival where we’re supposed to thank God we’re not Americans. So far, so good.

Thobani, Sunera

Feminist racism fundamentalist and entrepreneur, former NAC head and UBC Women’s Studies professor who has spent most of the last decade trying to shout slogans while cramming her foot down her own throat. Currently being hounded by outraged B.C.-based nitwits like Premier Gordon Campbell and Stockwell Day for employing, in an Ottawa speech, the same blood-splattering rhetoric to describe the United States as Osama ben Laden does. No one seems to have noticed that George W. Bush and most other Western political figures are using similar rhetoric to describe Muslim fundamentalists and their governments. The unfortunate part of this otherwise comic dumbshow is that Thobani’s lack of discretion is making her the poster-person for those who want to restrict immigration to those who’ll keep their mouths shut and wash dishes, or can afford to hire someone to wash their dishes.

Tim Hudak

Ontario Conservative Leader who blew a 15 percentage point lead in the 2011 Ontario provincial election by doing impersonations of Ronald Reagan over Green energy policy—the one plank in the incumbent Liberal platform the public was behind—and by doggedly staying on message throughout the campaign even though the only message his brain-trust could come up with was “elect me”.  Purportedly a nice guy in private, Hudak, who physically resembles Mr. Bean more than Ronald Reagan, managed to look rigid and over-eager at the same time, and couldn’t quite hide the fact that he had much-loathed ex-premier Mike Harris in his back pocket.

Timmins, Margo

Some testosterone-addled jackass at Esquire magazine decided that Timmins was a world class babe a few years ago, and Canadians have been paying for it ever since. It would be interesting to find out whether she can hold her key when she’s off Valium.

Tobin, Brian

Federal Fisheries minister during the 1995 Turbot Wars with Spain, recently reneged Premier of Newfoundland. And the man Jean Chretien wants to keep Paul Martin Jr. from becoming Prime Minister. A Great Communicator, whatever that means aside from giving the media good clips and an occasional bloodless naval battle.

Tommy Douglas Research Institute

A recently minted social democratic medical lobby aimed at defending Canada’s medical care system with ideas and tactics instead of whining sentimentality about how great the recent past was. While the formation of the Institute offers the first evidence of neural activity within the Canadian left in more than a decade, we’d still like to know why, during their recent press conference to announce that the “crisis” in Canada’s medical system is being articifically created by right wingers in order to position us for double-tiering and privatization, was the ancient Dave Barrett, former B.C. Premier and a man old enough to have hung out with T.C. Douglas, sitting at the table trying to generate enough brainwaves to look wise.

Topless Laws

A couple of years ago a university of Guelph student named Gwen Jacobs got annoyed after the police charged her for walking around with her T-shirt off. She went to court and won Canadian women the right to go topless whenever and wherever they want. While the guys down at the bar are waiting for the topless ruling to become compulsory summer behavior, a lot of women are waking up to the fact that rights need to have a basis in common custom, imagination and maybe common sense before they’ve really been won.

Toronto

Once among the dullest cities on the planet, and for a few years during the 1970s and 80s, among the most self-proud. Toronto has become a great city by taking in more than a million immigrants in the last two decades and becoming multicultural and multiracial without becoming violent. In the 1980s, the global economy kicked the city so hard that it forgot about being world class, and its citizens became kinder and more cosmopolitan. It is now-and without dispute-the largest safe city in the world, it has a thousand small, often exotic neighbourhoods, and outside of its financial district, appears to be a deciduous forest when you fly over it in a plane. Toronto is currently under siege by right wing suburbanites wanting to rid it of immigrants or any other kind of complex human textures, and left wing anti-smoking and safety zealots overeager to supervise the city’s uniquely liberal quality of life.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Until recently it wasn’t clear to anyone in Ontario whether this is Toronto’s hockey team, lucrative sports franchise, or a 30 year experiment to determine how much damage autocratic management can do to a community amenity and national institution. Recently appointed president, Ken Dryden, who has been the most intelligent person in hockey since the 1970s, changed all that in three years and made it the NHL’s equivalent of the Dallas Cowboys. When the NHL wakes up and shrinks itself to the 20 or so financially viable franchises it can support, the Leafs may soon be the only NHL franchise in Canada.

Toronto Star

Once Canada’s best liberal newspaper, progressively slimmed down and brought far too close to tabloid journalism’s style-book for anyone’s comfort except TorStar’s accountants.

Torstar

It’s a neat-sounding name for a news service, but it’s really a bottom-liner’s device for exterminating local coverage, like most everything else in the corporate management bag-O-tricks. Owns and is presumably responsible for Harlequin Books

Tory Youth

Mismatched amalgam of market zealots and ideological virgins (people who have never had sex because they believe premarital sex is sinful -or because no one else is interested in sleeping with them). Most noted for their unabashed thirst for power through dirty tactics, they are often to be found trying to scramble aboard Team Clement’s ‘Reconnection Tour’ or trying to make themselves look like Joe Clark. (David Banerjee)

Trade Balance

Multipurpose monetarist indicator that a.) propagandizes gross import/export balance as a meaningful indication of economic health, which it is not; b.)simplifies and therefore distorts the nature of international economic behaviors; c.) disables the common sense of everyone credulous enough not to question its validity as an indicator of anything other than statistical disinformation.

Trade Deficit

An economic condition easily confused with public deficits, and therefore highly useful to monetarists wanting to convince others that social services are superfluous and communistic. Over the last 20 years the United States has had a trade deficit equal in dollar value to the combined assets of the Third World, while Canada has maintained a trade surplus. Anybody see any profound differences between the two economies, not counting the greater percentage of homeless people in the U.S.?

Trade Surplus

Canada has a large and chronic trade surplus that tends to widen whenever unemployment jumps. Doesn’t this suggest that a trade surplus is a pipeline of brown bovine by-product being injected directly into our collective brain? (see Current Account Balance).

Trans-canada Highway

Pre-1960s device to unify the country and foster real estate development and population growth along coherent corridors. Like the CPR in the 1870s, the TCH mainly benefited the contractors who built it, and made it possible for the rest of us to go nowhere faster. By the 1980s the highway was heavily populated by challenged persons hopping from coast to coast and other publicity stunts that amused the rest of the world but influenced Quebec’s and Alberta’s separatists not one iota.

Trees

Canada was once covered with trees, but fifty years of treating them as a renewable resource to be renewed only where clearcuts are visible to tourists from main highways has transformed vast tracts of the country into denuded neo-tundra. In water-rich B.C. and parts of Northern Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, this appears to be a subconscious form of reservoir preparation.

Trotsky, Leon

Famed communist dissident sighted in Nova Scotia in the 1930s by Timothy Findley. Trotsky is still rumoured to control Canada’s postal unions, even though he died in 1940 in Mexico from an ice pick in the back of his head. If Trotsky had written a couple of poems while he was within Canada’s 200 mile limit, we’d have called him a Canadian poet and be having annual festivals in his name if not honour.

Trudeau, Margaret

Hey! She’s Pierre Trudeau’s ex-wife, not his grieving widow, and anyone who caught her recent performances on TVO knows where Justin Trudeau gets his talent for over-acting. Notwithstanding the above, a more important point to make about Mrs. Kemper has to do with the irresponsible exploitation of her condition by the television media. With Pierre Trudeau gone, Margaret should be moved out of the public spotlight quickly and permanent, because she could never handle it without putting her foot in her mouth.

Trudeau, Pierre

Jesuit, acrobat, and Canadian Prime Minister 1968-84 (with short breaks) and a current object of nostalgia as the last Canadian political leader with a connected brain and spinal cord. It’ll be fifty years before it’s clear whether he was a great statesman or a blundering egomaniac who poisoned the country permanently by repatriating the constitution. Trudeau’s death in 2000, the outpouring of respect and admiration that resulted, and Jean Chretien’s studied ignoring of it during the recent general election demonstrates how far from liberalism the Liberal Party has wandered.

Trudy Young

For a long time, this dictionary thought she was Neil Young’s sister. She did star in Faceoff, which is the second best hockey movie ever made.  She’s actually the sister of Sherril’s husband, and we’re not entirely clear who Sherril is, but we’re grateful to her for clearing up who Trudy really is.

Trust Companies

Canadian version of U.S. Savings and Loans, they are nearly as prone to bankruptcy and still more liable to be swallowed by Chartered Banks, who sometimes keep them alive as repositories for their high.

The Turbot War.

Alright, let’s go over this one more time. Canada boarded a couple of Spanish fishing boats, defeated the Spanish Armada, turned Brian Tobin into a culture hero and premier, and gave Newfoundlanders a real reason to go out, get drunk and celebrate. But was it a great naval victory or a triumph of public relations? Did it save the east coast fishery?

Turner, John

Whitest-of-the-white Prime Minister for a few months after Pierre Trudeau saw the writing on the wall. Turner quietly traveled the country and listened to nearly every sector of the political spectrum before the 1988 election. He turned out to be the only political figure in the country who understood the implications of Mulroney’s Free Trade initiatives, and came close to saving the country from what it is today. Unfortunately, he was also a bum-pinching Good Old Boy who had trouble staying on his feet in a social breeze. We’ll never know if he was the right man at the wrong time, or the wrong man at the right time. Wife Giels, who was the best qualified PM’s wife in a half-century, apparently has a discreet opinion about this. .

Twain, Shania

Faux First Nations country singer whose singing career is being jeopardized by the suspicion, created by her wardrobe and her music videos, that her ankles are about the same circumference as her waist. Currently holds the distinction of being the least sincere celebrity in interviews anywhere in creation, and the owner of a pickup truck full of Grammy and Juno trophies. .

Twenty-three Bookstores

As part of the federal Competition Tribunal ruling on the Indigo/Chapters monopolization of Canadian book selling and publishing, Heather Reisman has been asked to divest herself of twenty-three bookstores, thirteen of them megaStores and ten mall outlets. Unfortunately most of these stores are in parts of the country where nobody reads (areas near malls) or where only a minority of the nearby population speak and reads English (Richmond, B.C.). Part of Chapters corporate strategy was to overbuild stores in order to kill off independent booksellers, so the Tribunal’s ruling is more likely to confirm that the independents are indeed stone dead (while killing off half Canada’s book publishers) than to entice anyone to occupy Chapters reject stores.

Twenty-two Minutes

Halifax-based Newfie-run Salter Street-produced television newsmagazine that breaks more real news stories, strikes more fear into the hearts of politicians and lays down more pertinent political commentary than the entire news-gathering apparatus at the CBC’s Toronto headquarters. Departing Rick Mercer is a genius, but as a news and cultural analyst, not as an historian or dramatic actor, something the CBC will likely do everything in its power to prevent him from discovering. The others three are just outrageously funny, well-informed and smart people no one in their right mind would want to have to drink under a table. Did we mention they’re from Newfoundland? Or that Newfoundland is to Canada what Canada is to the United States when it comes to comedy?