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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Thursday, December 14




  David Macfarlane
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ONE NIGHT IN TORONTO space
TRIBUTE 8 If ever there were a man who did not suffer fools, it was Harold Pinter. Rigorous in his intellect, uncompromising in his standards, and entirely fearless, he probably was perfectly capable of stomping out of a tribute that he decided was stupid
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, December 27, 2008 – Page A19
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-- Meg: One cannot be imprecise with Harold Pinter. Once, referring to an ellipsis in a script, he told an actor, ''I wrote dot, dot, dot ...''Roderick: (Wearily; he's heard the story many times) ''And you're only giving me dot, dot.''  FULL STORY arrow
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History stacked upon history space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, March 15, 2008 – Page M3
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-- I do not frequently venture into the realm of interior design. It's not my department. Writing is my department which, as the state of my office usually makes clear, is pretty much the opposite activity. Recently, for example, I found myself on my hands and knees. I was looking for a book. It was Historic Fort York by Carl Benn, the curator of military and marine history for the Toronto Historical Board. I was trying to figure out whether the long dock that is visible in the misty background of W.H. Bartlett's 1838 engraving of the Toronto fish market was the Queen's Wharf or one of the many other wooden piers, terminals and landings that once lined Toronto's waterfront.  FULL STORY arrow
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Of bikes, kids, skates ... and loss space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, February 23, 2008 – Page M5
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-- The death of a friend last week has become entangled in my imagination with the destruction, by fire, of Duke's Bicycle shop at Queen and Bathurst Streets. This does not really make much sense. After all, a building - however fondly we remember it and however much we regret its loss - is just a building.  FULL STORY arrow
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How the rich spend at Christmas space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, December 24, 2007 – Page A17
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-- It's always good to know what the wealthy are up to - particularly now that the holidays are upon us. And so, in the spirit of the season, here is a list of exclusive gift suggestions. Very exclusive, when you stop to think about it.  FULL STORY arrow
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Another hit on the ROM space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, November 24, 2007 – Page M7
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-- There must be people in Toronto who like the new addition to the Royal Ontario Museum. It's just that none of them ever sits across from me at a dinner party. For a while, it was a useful icebreaker, though. All you had to do was say ''Libeskind'' - then just sit back and dodge the spittle.  FULL STORY arrow
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Dick Cheney and Bono are battling for my soul space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, September 2, 2006 – Page M1
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-- Any sense I have of being well-grounded, pragmatic or logical goes out the window the second anyone standing, sitting or lying on a Toronto street corner brings up the subject of whether or not I have any spare change. Whenever this happens -- about three times a block, in my neck of the woods -- the entire convention of my political personalities commences its second-ballot jostling. It's as if Dick Cheney and Bono are battling for my soul. There are all-candidate debates that are more rational.  FULL STORY arrow
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Opera bound? Bring your shorts space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, August 26, 2006 – Page M3
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-- I went to a funeral in Ottawa a few weeks ago, and along with a dark suit, white shirt and polished black shoes, I wore a tie. It was straight -- in every possible sense of the word. But it was not black.  FULL STORY arrow
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When eras, and neighbours, collide space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, August 19, 2006 – Page M3
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-- Some time ago it became apparent that either we were going to do something about the back of our house or it was going to fall off. I voted for letting it fall off. It was a question, in my view, of harmony. Residential improvement is commendable at a neighbourhood level, but it stands starkly at odds with the direction taken by the rest of the universe. I argued that from a home-decorating point of view it was important that we not clash with the process of entropy in the big picture, nor with the environmental policies of the federal government on a somewhat smaller scale. A building is obligated to acknowledge its surroundings, and allowing the back of our house to go to rat shit seemed a good way of fitting in with everything else.  FULL STORY arrow
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Lobbing well is the best revenge space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, August 12, 2006 – Page M3
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-- ''It was what?'' the man on the next court charmingly screams.''It was out,'' his opponent jocundly replies.Ah, tennis. It's a grand game. Full of grace and athleticism and the sort of behaviour for which anger-management courses were invented.  FULL STORY arrow
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Because life is short and women are beautiful space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, August 5, 2006 – Page M2
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-- How to compliment a beautiful woman to whom one is a stranger is not the kind of thing that can be picked up easily on the streets of Toronto. Not that picking up, or easily, or on the streets had anything to do with it, I hasten to assure you.  FULL STORY arrow
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On the highway to hell, no one bothers signalling space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, July 29, 2006 – Page M2
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-- There are signs that the end is at hand. Women in high heels and pleated shorts. Ben Mulroney. There are all manner of indications that the trumpet is soon to sound.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ashes to ashes, dust to dust every other Friday space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, July 22, 2006 – Page M1
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-- If you live in my neighbourhood and you're wondering where your cat is, I have bad news. It's dead.But you may already be aware of this. Possibly you have already been through the grieving process -- a process that may have involved a good deal of grief, but not much in the way of a funeral. Because if you already know that your cat is dead, then it must have been you who deposited your dead cat in a green garbage bag and left it in front of our house on Friday. In which case, I have more bad news. Friday wasn't garbage day.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ah, the stone-faced gaze of the city space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, July 15, 2006 – Page M1
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-- It's not the neighbours I know. For better or for worse, I acknowledge them and they acknowledge me. We may have one another over for dinners now and then, or we may meet occasionally and a little less agreeably at the committee of adjustment. It's a richly textured tapestry, a Toronto neighbourhood.  FULL STORY arrow
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How'ya doing, Mr. Idler? Hey, roll your window back down! space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, July 8, 2006 – Page M1
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-- This introduces a weekly summer column on urban etiquette.Ah, summer in Toronto. Eggs frying on the sidewalk. The air thick as a hot mocha frappuccino. Asthmatics on their cellphones making calls to loved ones to say goodbye before they finally run out of oxygen. And there . . . can you believe it? There, in front of my house, beneath the gasping maple trees, there's an SUV. It has been there for 15 minutes. Idling.  FULL STORY arrow
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July 1, 1916: The Somme of all loss space
In Newfoundland, this is not just Canada Day, but Memorial Day, marking a clash 90 years ago that cost the island so many sons and changed its destiny. DAVID MACFARLANE, whose family was scarred by the era, contemplates the fields of France
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, July 1, 2006 – Page F1
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-- When I was doing research for my book, The Danger Tree, I flew to Paris, on my way to visit the battlefields of the First World War. In particular, I wanted to see Beaumont Hamel -- the section of the long front of what came to be known as the Battle of the Somme at which the Newfoundland Regiment, 90 years ago this morning, waited to go over the top.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's open. Who cares? space
Well, you should, even if you don't know Parsifal from Pagliacci, writes opera buff DAVID MacFARLANE. The new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts fills a crucial role in the creation of the city: It reminds us all that anything is possible
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, June 10, 2006 – Page R1
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-- It's not as if you have to wheel out the heavy artillery of argument to convince Torontonians who love opera that they should be thrilled at the prospect of the opening of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.  FULL STORY arrow
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Twist and shout space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, May 10, 2006 – Page A14
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Toronto -- Your older readers might think the error in your front-page article Ruling On Apple Name Penetrates To Music's Core (May 9) is too obvious for comment. But it may be worth pointing out to the younger crowd that there was a time when corporations did not create everything in the universe. Apple Corps was not ''the brand that spawned the Beatles.'' Hard to believe, I know, but it was actually the other way around.  FULL STORY arrow
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Rockwell solid space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, August 21, 2004 – Page D8
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-- The Big Why By Michael WinterAnansi, 374 pages, $36Only Newfoundlanders should tell jokes about Newfoundlanders. This is not because Newfoundlanders are quick to take offence. On the contrary, they are so untroubled by such jokes that they frequently participate in the telling of them. And that's the problem with this particular category of Canadian humour. The reason only Newfoundlanders should tell jokes about Newfoundlanders is that they usually tell them better than anyone else.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why now? space
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY is not a form of tree-hugging. Surveys indicate that consumers and investors on both ends of the political spectrum want to know not just what they're buying, but how it's produced. Hewlett-Packard, Tembec, Suncor--they're all getting the message
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Friday, February 27, 2004 – Page 45
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-- A generation ago, few people would have had a very clear idea of what you were talking about had you mentioned corporate social responsibility (CSR). To many--on both the left and the right--the term would have seemed as much an oxymoron as ''socialist efficiency.'' The responsibilities of a corporation--aside from making donations to carefully chosen charities, throwing a Christmas staff party and, perhaps, sponsoring a kids' hockey or softball team--were seen by shareholders and management as absolutely focused on one thing: profit.  FULL STORY arrow
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The seedy truth about Allan Gardens space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Thursday, November 20, 2003 – Page A16
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-- While it is generally understood that the seedy reputation of Allan Gardens is the result of the seediness of the people who use it, such a conclusion cannot be drawn with much confidence if you spend any time in Allan Gardens. The other morning for instance -- in the soft city light that can make leafless branches and church spires and a gray sky as beautiful as the gaudiest moment of summer -- there were dog-walkers, and Tai-chi practitioners, and people on their way to work.  FULL STORY arrow
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Our secret hideaway -- the waterfront space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, November 12, 2003 – Page A22
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-- The problem with Toronto's waterfront is that there's nothing very front about it.Take the long, concrete wharf that extends to the west of the island airport ferry, on the city-side of the western gap, as an example. I was on it the other day. It was shortly before five o'clock on a bright, crisp November afternoon. It was election day, as a matter of fact -- and despite my proximity to the busiest parts of downtown Toronto, despite the soft, hazy light of the setting sun, and despite the fact that walking out toward the open water on a wide pier on a lovely fall day does not strike me as an entirely weird, absolutely screwball, completely bizarre thing to be doing, I was alone.  FULL STORY arrow
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A Hong Kong mall, Toronto-style space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, November 5, 2003 – Page A18
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-- In the not-entirely unlikely event that you are white, middle-aged, living or working in downtown Toronto, and think you have a pretty good idea what's going on around here, may I suggest a visit some day to the Pacific Mall at Kennedy Road and Steeles?  FULL STORY arrow
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The perfect place to contemplate emptiness space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, October 29, 2003 – Page A16
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-- It takes 40 seconds to cross Dundas Square on a diagonal. When it's not busy as a venue for concerts or a marketplace, it sits in its naked state, and everybody crosses it on a diagonal (hands in pockets, eyes to the ground) and everybody takes 40 seconds.  FULL STORY arrow
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It takes time, but clever ideas soon take over the world space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, October 22, 2003 – Page A12
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-- Recently, I was drinking tea in Balzac's Cafe, in Toronto's Distillery District, and I was thinking about ties.I was remembering that when I arrived in London, England, for the first time in the mid 1970s, one of the things I noticed was that a few young people, particularly on the King's Road, were wearing narrow ties.  FULL STORY arrow
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'Hole in the ground' brimming with potential space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, October 15, 2003 – Page A12
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-- On the west corner of York and Queen streets, with people hurrying behind him with their briefcases and cellphones, Richard Bradshaw, the general director of the Canadian Opera Company, is talking about what he calls ''the sea change'' that he has witnessed in Toronto in the past decade.  FULL STORY arrow
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Losing oneself in the yawn of Vaughan space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, October 8, 2003 – Page A18
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-- I am lost at the corner of National Pine Drive and Deep Springs Crescent. Or is it Komura Road and Deep Springs Crescent? Or is it Jarret Crescent and Komura Road? If you've gone in circles as long as I have in a subdivision in the city of Vaughan, all the streets look the same. Of course, that could be because they are.  FULL STORY arrow
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A little idle advice for MPP hopefuls space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, October 1, 2003 – Page A15
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-- One thing that can be said about cities is this: You can see them. They aren't obscure or subtle. Their strengths and their weaknesses, their achievements and their failures, their political leadership and their lack thereof stick out -- stick out, as a matter of fact, like a big, idling bus.  FULL STORY arrow
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City's rulers want to force the obvious on the quirky space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, September 24, 2003 – Page A18
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-- There can't be many cities in the world where a gentle curve in a busy street and a slight change in its grade can be seen as amazing. But this is Toronto, city of the eternally level playing field, of ever-sharp right angles. Spend enough time here and the graceful meander of Christie as it rises from Davenport toward the lofty heights of St. Clair will start to look as if it should be on postcards.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why doesn't the city care about beauty? Its citizens do space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, September 17, 2003 – Page A17
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-- ''A brutal place.'' This was how a visitor recently described Toronto -- meaning not that its inhabitants are mean and nasty, but that its physical presence is.Normally, I'd be inclined to agree. But not the other morning -- at least not at first. I was on the Prince Edward Viaduct, just east of Castle Frank, watching dawn break over the Danforth.  FULL STORY arrow
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Not spectacular, but a small miracle space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, September 10, 2003 – Page A15
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-- The late Charles Ritchie, diplomat and diarist, once said to me that people are interesting on their way up, and on their way down, but not, as a general rule, very interesting when they are at the pinnacle of their success.  FULL STORY arrow
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Yonge and Bloor a symbol, if not quite a fitting one space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Wednesday, September 3, 2003 – Page A10
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-- It's 4 in the morning and I'm at the corner of Yonge and Bloor. You may wonder why.It's because for reasons that are beyond me -- 51 of them, to be perfectly precise -- I don't sleep as well as I once did. I rattle around the house at night. I drink warm milk and take a relaxing, deep, hot bath -- to no avail. I read for an hour or two -- Margaret MacMillan's extraordinary Paris 1919 is an ideal late-night companion. And finally, without a hint of dawn in the sky, and with the city so quiet crickets are the most prominent noise, I get on my bicycle and wheel through the empty streets.  FULL STORY arrow
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My love and I had words, and then it was all over space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, August 25, 2003 – Page R1
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-- Falling in love with a book in the summer is a bit like falling in love with a girl in summer. As I recall.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Cricket Club quandary - no inconsequential matter space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, August 18, 2003 – Page R1
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-- My view -- and I'm sure it's a matter that's been very much on your mind, too -- is that the Cricket Club Townhouses should be allowed to be called the Cricket Club Townhouses. Much as it grieves me, this puts me at odds with the position taken by the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club. But there are times when a columnist has to take tough stands on tough issues, and this, I fear, is one of them.  FULL STORY arrow
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Holidays: a cure for life's thorny package space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, August 11, 2003 – Page R1
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-- For reasons that now seem to me excessively naive, I used to think that life, like a summer holiday, was perfection interrupted by flaws. A day was a good day or a bad day depending on how many imperfections came along to ruin things.  FULL STORY arrow
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Plumbing a ticklish issue over pinot grigio space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, August 4, 2003 – Page R1
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-- The concept of bathroom reading is not one most writers happily contemplate. Authors imagine their books being read in comfortable living rooms and wood-panelled studies, in airports and hotel rooms, in deck chairs, and on poolside chaises. Toilets are not part of their general schemata.  FULL STORY arrow
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Rolling Stones? I'm not writing about them space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, July 28, 2003 – Page R1
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-- I felt that it might be a good idea for me to write a column about something other than the Rolling Stones this week. That's because, as I sit here, I can already feel the rumble of media hype increasing in volume to what will no doubt become a deafening roar by the day after tomorrow.  FULL STORY arrow
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The world according to Thomas Bulfinch space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, July 14, 2003 – Page R1
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-- As part of what is beginning to feel like a determined effort to remain hopelessly behind in my reading of contemporary literature, it is not the new Margaret Atwood, nor the new Harry Potter that sits on my bedside table. It is Bulfinch's Mythology.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Rime of the Beleaguered Columnist space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, July 7, 2003 – Page R1
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-- As my lines of communication with the outside world fall away, one by one, the problem I face is trying to decide whether this is a good thing. It's possible that complete ignorance of everything that happens beyond the confines of my own body is a healthy alternative to subscribing to cable television, reading Toro and listening to drive-home radio shows. You never know.  FULL STORY arrow
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Life without spring's dalliances space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, June 30, 2003 – Page R1
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Out of the blue, you've got rabbis and orgasms space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, June 23, 2003 – Page R1
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-- A friend told me a joke the other day, and I think it's such a good one I've told it to a dozen or more people in the past week. But don't worry. This isn't the best place to tell it. It requires a presentation that is slightly more demonstrative than what I can muster, here on the printed page. And quite possibly, a well-told joke is a little more noise and activity than you'd like to have to deal with, out there, waiting for the coffee to drip.  FULL STORY arrow
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'And then he made the most incredible offer' space
DAVID MACFARLANE recalls the great generosity of actor Hume Cronyn
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, June 21, 2003 – Page R12
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-- That summer Janice drove to Toronto from Stratford for the weekends. She arrived by Friday evening, and we usually sat out on the flat roof we could get to by climbing through the kitchen window of the apartment to the fire escape. We had a couple of old plastic lawn chairs we'd picked up in a garage sale, and thinking ourselves very swish, we drank martinis, and looked at the lights of the empty office buildings, and Janice would tell me about her week at the theatre. She was working with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy on a show, set in Appalachia, called Foxfire.  FULL STORY arrow
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These are a few of my favourite things space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, June 16, 2003 – Page R1
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-- I was at the Orbit Room in Toronto the other night. I guess you could say it's my favourite bar.Not that I'm an expert. Not that I've conducted surveys and undertaken extensive research. I am not really in a position to say that it's the best bar in Toronto. There may be some that I've missed. It's just that at a certain moment the other evening -- shortly before midnight, while listening to a terrific band called Sofa, and trying to decide, contrary to the dictates of all good sense, whether I might stay for the second set -- it became clear to me that I couldn't think of a bar I liked more.  FULL STORY arrow
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Lack of curiosity killed the chat space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, June 9, 2003 – Page R1
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-- I found myself at a wedding not long ago. I must say it was a refreshing change from funerals. Not that the difference between the two is always as obvious as you might think. Especially if the high church is involved. There doesn't seem to be a very lighthearted way to swing that incense. However, whenever I become momentarily confused about the nature of the celebration at hand, things usually become clear at the reception. If it's a funeral, I'll be in the company of people I saw the week before at the last funeral. We pretty much pick up where we left off. But if it's a wedding reception, I'll find myself seated beside someone I've never seen before in my life and, with any luck, I never will again.  FULL STORY arrow
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Tired of talkers at the movies? Revenge is sweet space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, June 2, 2003 – Page R1
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-- The date approaches for my annual rant about people who talk during movies. But even if the great weight of journalistic tradition did not impose this obligation, the idiots who, with increasing regularity, sit behind me, make it necessary that I speak out. It's my lot in life. Some are born to complain, some achieve it, and some have complaint thrust upon them every time they go to a movie.  FULL STORY arrow
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Genius: What it is ain't exactly clear space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, May 26, 2003 – Page R3
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-- ''He is terrible, as you can see, and one cannot deal with him.'' So said Pope Julius II of Michelangelo.Which brings me to Garth Hudson.This is a little counterintuitive, I know. But I often think that's the charm of an arts section, don't you?  FULL STORY arrow
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Serendipity at work as TSO performs Requiem space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, May 19, 2003 – Page R1
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-- When, in May of 1873, the Italian novelist Alessandro Manzoni died, Giuseppe Verdi was so upset he found he could not attend the state funeral in Milan. He was a great admirer of Manzoni's The Betrothed. They were not friends -- they only met once -- but their feelings of respect for one another were profound. Manzoni and Verdi were political comrades in arms -- both dedicated to the establishment of a free and united Italy -- and it was 10 days after Manzoni's death before a badly shaken Verdi was even able to visit Manzoni's grave. ''I have read many papers,'' Verdi was quoted as saying. ''Not one speaks fittingly of him. Many words, but none deeply felt.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Try finding a greeting card for this occasion space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, May 12, 2003 – Page R1
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-- It says here (and I'm not making this up), that this is National Masturbation Month -- the observance of which is not entirely clear to me.For one thing, a month seems a little excessive. I would have thought 10 minutes would have done the trick. For another, it's difficult to imagine that masturbation, as a cause, is under-  FULL STORY arrow
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Mr. Chris Robert can teach us a thing or two space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, May 5, 2003 – Page R3
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-- Mr. Chris Robert, who is a regular reader, has asked several times if I could slip his name into a column, just for fun, but that's something I don't normally do. We have very strict rules about this kind of thing around here. We don't want readers to get the impression that this space has any purpose other than the purest and most single-minded quest for the highest standards of journalism.  FULL STORY arrow
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Forget perfection -- cracks let the light in space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, April 28, 2003 – Page R1
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-- Far be it from me to suggest that what a woman does to her face is any of my business. There are certain subjects I give a very wide berth. Face-lifts are one of them. Whether a man approves, disapproves, or is entirely indifferent to the phenomenon of cosmetic surgery, the mere mention of its existence is seldom a safe conversational gambit. I'd recommend cautious hesitation. That said, I do sometimes wonder why so many, um, older women want to try to look the way so many, um, popular female singers try to sound. As an aesthetic objective, an easy-listening, middle-of-the-road, blandly pretty face doesn't seem all that, um, interesting.  FULL STORY arrow
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April essentials: parkas, tuques and creativity space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, April 21, 2003 – Page R1
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-- By the time we hit mid-April, my views on the importance of the arts in the lives of Canadians begin to take on a certain desperation. Maybe it's the ice pellets. But here we are -- a month into spring, theoretically speaking, and the freezing rain is rattling the windows, my snow boots are still at the front door, the nearest crocus is about 10 centimetres under what appears to be permafrost, and my thinking on the arts seems to have shifted from the calmly pragmatic to the truly hysterical.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mining gold from Westray space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, April 19, 2003 – Page D3
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-- Twenty-SixBy Leo McKay Jr.McClelland and Stewart,388 pages, $32.99A friend of mine once remarked that he used to re-read pages of Hemingway because he was so puzzled by how the overall effect of those novels and short stories was created. My friend looked closely -- word to word, sentence to sentence -- trying to identify the fundamentals, the building blocks, of Hemingway's vision, and, in the end, concluded that it was impossible to see how he did it. I remember him saying to me, ''You can't find it, somehow, in the details of a page.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Sick of simplicity and seeking solace in art space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, April 14, 2003 – Page R1
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Standing up to the soundtrack of my life space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, April 7, 2003 – Page R1
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-- Recently I've been thinking about background music. ''Get up, stand up!'' That's because recently it's been there. In the background. ''Stand up for your rights.''Or at least that must be where they thought they put it. ''Jah Jah.'' Unfortunately, as I become aware of background music -- there, in the background -- it has an irritating tendency to move to here in the foreground. ''Oo-hoo. Don't give up the fight.''  FULL STORY arrow
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A beautiful Butterfly flits into the theatre of war space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, March 31, 2003 – Page R1
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-- It is the sad lot of the arts columnist to be required to write about art when, under the current circumstances, almost everyone else in the media is preoccupied with stuff that is so much more serious and real. There's nothing like a war to bring clarity to what is and what is not important. Suddenly, it seems, those of us who have frittered away our time with the naive pastimes of peace, are revealed as the dilettantes that we are.  FULL STORY arrow
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I've always been faithful. But one day, I just did it space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, March 24, 2003 – Page R1
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-- Recently, I've been doing something I've never done before. It's not something I ever imagined doing, really. I'd read about it, of course. And I know people who do it quite frequently. But I didn't think it was my scene. I'd never really pictured myself as the kind of person who would venture down such a path. Even when I was younger, I was never particularly adventurous in this regard. I've always been a pretty faithful kind of guy. Ironic that now, just when you'd think I'd be settling into my ways, I find myself doing it.  FULL STORY arrow
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Cruelties of fate and a legacy of kindness space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, March 17, 2003 – Page R1
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-- Morris Wolfe was always very kind to me. When I was starting out as a writer, he was one of three or four people who lent me a helping hand.  FULL STORY arrow
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CHEAPSEATS space
Waiting. And waiting. Just waiting to be seen
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, March 10, 2003 – Page R1
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-- From time to time, a moment that is not already earmarked for activity will pop up on life's speedway. These brief respites from unshovelled sidewalks, overdue videos, unwalked dogs, unreturned phone calls, unpaid bills and unending work are the rarest of blips -- especially during a winter like this one. Ah, speaking of which: I see it's snowing again. As I was saying: Sisyphus had his boulder; I have my sidewalk.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why play critic when you can fall in love instead? space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, March 3, 2003 – Page R1
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-- Falling in love, and then admitting to it, is not a very sound critical position to take. It seems a less than rigorous approach to a work of art, and critics like to be intellectually rigorous. In fact, intellectual rigour is their stock and trade, and all of the mushiness, and overexcitement, and loss of perspective, and dewy-eyed, deeply felt, light-headed giddiness that so frequently attends the act of tumbling head-over-heels are not qualities that most critics would touch with a 10-foot pole. Critics are required to keep cool heads. As a general rule, they don't compose poems and get down on their knees. They seldom run to the stage and fling roses during the curtain call. They don't even leap to their feet and cheer.  FULL STORY arrow
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This could never pass for a masterpiece theatre space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, February 24, 2003 – Page R1
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-- Iwas sitting recently in a cinema watching the cars blow up and the bridges collapse and the meteorites strike and the bodies fly, wondering whether anyone has taken the trouble to figure out at what point the decibel level in a movie theatre crosses the threshold from the merely painful to the truly dangerous, when, at last, the ads came to an end, and I braced myself for the coming attractions.  FULL STORY arrow
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Sadly, 'Axis of Evil' wasn't kept in its place space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, February 17, 2003 – Page R3
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-- The thing that gets me most in trouble with most of my friends is that I like David Frum. I like him because he is a good writer and because he is unfailingly friendly and cordial, but mostly, I suppose -- since I see him about once a decade -- I like him because I admire him. And what I admire are not his political views, which I regard as well-intentioned dementia, nor the truculence with which he articulates them, which, if Mercedes-Benz made steamrollers, would probably be the chosen vehicle of his rhetorical position. What I admire is the consistency and the passion with which he has held to his beliefs.  FULL STORY arrow
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On rethinking the commonplace, by design space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, February 10, 2003 – Page R1
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-- When I heard that an exhibition called Re Design: Daily Products of the 21st Century was opening at the Design Exchange in Toronto, I put aside the new CD I'd been trying to open for an hour and a half, and decided to go down to King and Bay and have a look.  FULL STORY arrow
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No arts money? Then where's Glenn Gould Street? space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, February 3, 2003 – Page R1
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-- I have a question. It's not mine, really. I'm embarrassed to say that it had never crossed my mind. But it came up several times during a recent meeting between Toronto mayoral candidate David Miller and some writers, and now I can't get the damn thing out of my head.  FULL STORY arrow
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Some mysteries are better left unsolved space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, January 27, 2003 – Page R1
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-- I am surrounded by mysterious people. Everyone I know is a mystery.Some are more mysterious than others, of course. There are some who are completely unfathomable. You can study them as intently, question them as closely, look into them as deeply as you dare, and you will still only be bobbing on the surface of their dark and secret depths by the time you get in the cab. Whether you invite them up for a nightcap is your business.  FULL STORY arrow
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The art of Strauss and solitude space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, January 20, 2003 – Page R1
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-- There are a few things to be said about going out alone, and one of them is you don't have to say anything. ''So what did you think?'' -- the question most frequently asked in theatre lobbies, or in the coat-check lineup, or while standing on frozen sidewalks waving in brave futility at passing cabs -- always seems a bit of a hard landing to me after being transported by a concert, or an opera, or a play, or a film.  FULL STORY arrow
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American thinking fuzzy on marijuana space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, January 13, 2003 – Page R1
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-- I see that marijuana is now sort-of decriminalized. This doesn't seem so very far along from marijuana being sort-of criminalized. But I ask you: Was Rome built in a day?  FULL STORY arrow
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Deconstructing clever on a downtown corner space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, January 6, 2003 – Page R1
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-- There is a building under construction a short distance from our house. It is an eight-storey student residence at the University of Toronto, and as it is on my dog-walking route, I have been able to observe twice daily its steady and remarkably swift passage from conception to reality. Whether this building will prove to be beautiful, or well-designed, or striking, or imaginative remains to be seen. It could turn out to be either very good or very bad -- if the architectural extremes of the rest of the campus are anything to go by.  FULL STORY arrow
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Give me a corner store over a lawn any day space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, December 30, 2002 – Page R3
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-- One likes to be positive. One doesn't want to appear to be overly critical. And so, those of us who live downtown say that we live downtown because we like living downtown. We don't go around saying that we live downtown because wild horses couldn't drag us out to live in the suburbs. That would only upset people who are fond of suburbs and who would no more live downtown than walk to a corner store. And anyway, it's not as if anyone's going to tear the suburbs down and start over. Just because they made a ghastly mistake.  FULL STORY arrow
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Confronting eternity (and last-minute shopping) space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, December 23, 2002 – Page R1
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-- December is a lousy month for dying. As ends-of-the-line go, it seems a little too much out of central casting. The days are short, the trees are bare, the nights are cold. Sometimes, on certain streets, at certain times of December days -- when everything is grey and chilly and the wind is howling between the dark cliffs of buildings -- I find myself hunched against the cold, walking amid the shades of a faceless crowd, wondering whether I'd been hit by a bus a second ago, and whether this, as a matter of fact, is death. It sure isn't Captiva. The prospect of eternity being much like a street in downtown Toronto at 5:30 on a December evening is not very cheering. Still, it could be worse. It could be North York.  FULL STORY arrow
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On the first day of Christmas ... space
If your holiday is in danger of being ruined by those smug people who've read everything -- and expect the same of you -- DAVID MACFARLANE has a program to restore your good cheer
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, December 21, 2002 – Page D10
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-- There are people who read all the time, who have read everything, and who remember all that they have read. They can effortlessly quote Mr. Micawber at appropriate moments; they make a point of returning to Madame Bovary once a decade; if approached by some magazine for one of those ''what's-on-your-bedside-table?'' items, Thucydides and Don Quixote trip from their lips as easily as Dristan might drip from lesser mortals; despite their enthusiasm for the classics, they have already read Austin Clarke's The Polished Hoe, Rohinton Mistry's Family Matters and Annie Proulx's new novel.  FULL STORY arrow
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Slow down and smell the onions space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, December 16, 2002 – Page R1
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-- Since everyone seems to be writing about reading these days, I feel I should point out that I often read with swim goggles on. Not that I swim very much, although with the polar ice cap melting that could change. I wear swim goggles when I'm chopping onions. I do so because when I'm cooking I find it difficult to refill my wine glass with my eyes closed. Locating the stove can also be tricky. As a result, I can often be found in the kitchen, reading a cookbook through a pair of olive oil and butter smudged Speedos.  FULL STORY arrow
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Thank God for small, dense gifts space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, December 9, 2002 – Page R3
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-- The problem with Christmas is that it returns to us a little more frequently than Christ seems inclined to. Would that things were reversed. In an ideal world it would be the Messiah, and not Rudolph, who shows up at the end of every November with relentless regularity and stays for a month. Whether we are in the mood or not. Whether we have the flu or not. But the good news is that it would be 2,000 years before any of us had to hear Frosty the Snowman again.  FULL STORY arrow
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A time for toasting chestnuts space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, December 2, 2002 – Page R1
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-- The Toronto Symphony Orchestra was doing an old chestnut the other night, and I almost didn't go. Mozart's Jupiter Symphony is justly popular, deservedly well known, frequently played on classical radio stations, recorded by almost every orchestra on the planet, and performed in concert halls with steady regularity. These are all essential characteristics of an old chestnut -- characteristics that tend to keep the snobs away and that might have kept me at home the other night had I not had the brief good sense to send my snobbishness packing.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mornin' Ernie, have a great day! space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, November 25, 2002 – Page R1
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-- If you are a writer or a painter or a playwright or a filmmaker, and you get it into your head that you're going to use a symbol, you had better (a) come up with a good one, and (b) use it wisely. Otherwise, there will be hell to pay.  FULL STORY arrow
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Into South Africa space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, November 23, 2002 – Page T1
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TUGELA FERRY, SOUTH AFRICA -- The photographer is snoring. This is not the first time that a photographer has snored. Nor, I'm sure, would it be the first time that a writer has thought about using a snoring photographer as a gripping way to begin a story.  FULL STORY arrow
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Money and true riches space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, November 18, 2002 – Page R1
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-- Are there words more hollow than the ''But they're not happy,'' that so often follow ''They're rich''? I have my doubts. If the not-rich people who keep repeating this weren't so miserable themselves, they wouldn't begrudge the fabulously wealthy people who build preposterously enormous and insanely expensive homes a little happiness.  FULL STORY arrow
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There's too much elbow room for arts audiences space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, November 11, 2002 – Page R3
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-- Strolling through the elegant front hall of Toronto's Elgin Theatre the other evening, following Opera Atelier's sumptuous performance of Medee,I was struck by how few people were strolling with me. We weren't exactly a teeming throng.  FULL STORY arrow
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Dare to be different: Do one thing at a time space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, November 4, 2002 – Page R1
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-- However lost the cause, however doomed the gesture, however futile the attempt, there comes a time when the individual must take a stand against the tyranny of the majority. What time would that be? Well, let's take 6:30 in the morning as an example.  FULL STORY arrow
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The first casualty of the cold wars space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, October 28, 2002 – Page R1
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-- The cold season is upon me once again. And it doesn't feel as if it plans on getting off. I am shivering, wheezing, hacking, snuffling, coughing. I am (barn door; horse) downing echinacea like there's no tomorrow. And if tomorrow feels anything like today, having none of it would be just fine by me.  FULL STORY arrow
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Rules are made to be bent space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, October 21, 2002 – Page R1
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-- Departing briefly from what must surely be the most tedious question in the entertainment world (are the Rolling Stones too old, yawn, to play rock 'n' roll?), I thought I might instead address the subject of generosity.  FULL STORY arrow
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CHEAPSEATS space
Whatsoever girls are on rollerblades, we give thanks
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, October 14, 2002 – Page R1
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-- I like gourds as much as the next person. Which, if the next person happens to be my son, is not going to start a run on the worldwide supply. Take squash. Where would we be without squash? Well, we wouldn't still be sitting here, for one thing -- because we're not leaving this table until you eat your squash, young man. And for another, half the restaurants in the country wouldn't know how to make soup any more if it were not for squash.  FULL STORY arrow
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Slightly used degree for sale: Apply here space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, October 7, 2002 – Page R1
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-- I have been thinking lately that I should get in touch with the old alma mater. They haven't heard from me for quite a while. Not since my graduation day, to be precise, and that was so long ago it was back in the days when people were capable of walking three steps without having to make a phone call.  FULL STORY arrow
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Toronto has moved by degrees closer to Paris space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, September 30, 2002 – Page R3
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-- I find myself reading Julian Barnes. Somehow, I always find myself reading him. I never quite set out to read Julian Barnes. Books by Julian Barnes -- Flaubert's Parrot, or Metroland, or England, England, among nine or 10 others -- track me down somehow. They suddenly present themselves as the perfect things to read -- in airports, on the bookshelves of friends I am visiting, as birthday presents, in a tempting pile at the cash register of my favourite bookstore. Somehow I end up in the company of Mr. Barnes precisely when I want to be.  FULL STORY arrow
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Bring on Kyoto to save the great expressway of life space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, September 23, 2002 – Page R1
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-- Ihardly ever go anywhere. It's one of the chief advantages of being a writer. The commute is short. I wake up. I triangulate coffee, brain and computer. I start working. On days when I'm feeling tres engage, I might even climb out of my pyjamas.  FULL STORY arrow
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There's a lot to be said for nothing space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, September 16, 2002 – Page R3
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-- There was a stadium that I passed on my walks every morning that's not there any more. And let me tell you something. Yahoo.It's nothing now -- a vacant lot, an open space, a fenced-in emptiness that affords a new and quite spectacular view of the downtown. Gee, I found myself saying, looking southward, standing in a spot where the sun hasn't shone for the past 60 years: There's spires and rooftops and trees and sky and everything down there. Who knew? And although there must be a few people -- old varsity football players, most likely -- who regret that the grandstands have now gone to wherever their glory days went ages ago, I was more than happy to see the wrecker's ball swing into action.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why we mercilessly mock people who collect things space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, September 9, 2002 – Page R3
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-- One of the least charitable characteristics of people who do not collect things is their tendency to make fun of people who do. ''Ha,'' we say -- and here I admit to being numbered among the non-collectors of the world -- ''Ha. Look at that poor, anal-retentive monomaniac. The one with the gap between his black socks and grey flannels. Look at that bloodless pinhead, that compulsive introvert, that emotionally stunted obsessive, that benighted, self-loathing, physically inhibited, sexually terrified, unloved product of a miserable childhood probably spent on Cluny Drive.''  FULL STORY arrow
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My Canadian soul needs no Chicken Soup, thanks space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, September 2, 2002 – Page R1
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-- It's not in my best interest to point this out. At this early stage of a column's development -- when you, the reader, are not at all sure where this is going, if, indeed, it's going anywhere -- it seems imprudent of a writer to point out that you don't have to read any further than you already have. Not if you don't feel like it, you don't. Not on my watch.  FULL STORY arrow
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If you close your eyes, you'd swear it was Tuscany space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, August 26, 2002 – Page R1
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-- I see that you would appreciate any comments I might have about my stay here. How considerate of you to ask. And I'd be happy to oblige. Unfortunately, my comments won't fit on the form you've so kindly left on the uselessly small desk beside the unnecessarily enormous television. So I'll put a few words down here if you don't mind.  FULL STORY arrow
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Filling the vacuum of a pretzel-less New York space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, August 19, 2002 – Page R1
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-- I have always been in the habit of eating a hot, salty pretzel on a crowded sidewalk by way of announcing to myself that I have arrived in New York. I require such a reminder because the frenetic speed of jet travel -- once I get through the still-life of check-in and security and customs, that is -- often leaves my mind on Bloor Street long after my feet and my credit cards have arrived on Fifth Avenue.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Macfarlane diet: A real page-turner space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, August 12, 2002 – Page R1
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New York, like I've never seen it before space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, August 5, 2002 – Page R1
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-- So this is New York, on a summer morning, when the shadows and swatches of slanted sunlight on 86th Street at Columbus Avenue remind me of Milan as much as anywhere. It's all burnished golds and browns, the way it was sometimes when I sat at a table on the Via Manzoni, across from the hotel where Verdi died, drinking espresso and reading Di Lampedusa.  FULL STORY arrow
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Readers hold Canada's literary quilt together space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, July 29, 2002 – Page R1
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MOOSE JAW, SASK. -- In a room on the second floor of the stately, old Public Library in Moose Jaw, Sask., there is a quilt. It's a decorative quilt, which is just as well, since it's a warm room -- at least it is this morning, at the end of a hot July on the Prairies. The room is stuffy and silent in the still, sleepy way that I remember libraries being when I was young -- before they, like everything else under the sun, were air-conditioned.  FULL STORY arrow
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CHEAPSEATS space
Put that in your pipe and smoke it
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, July 22, 2002 – Page R1
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-- I see that the marijuana debate is back. And in the nick of time. I wasn't looking forward to the Anglican Church on single-sex marriages, were you? And the Liberal leadership thing is already getting extremely tedious. I hear that Allan Rock gave a speech on the subject the other day. Be still my heart.  FULL STORY arrow
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Pro sports could take a Leaf from Soulpepper space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, July 15, 2002 – Page R1
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-- My biggest objection to the world of professional sport is the kind of objection that the world of professional sport dismisses out of hand. ''Oh, right,'' says the world of professional sport. ''New around here, are you?''  FULL STORY arrow
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I'll warm to Toronto once the air starts moving again space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, July 8, 2002 – Page R1
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-- It's been suggested that I should get out more, to which I reply: Are you crazy? Do you have any idea what it's like out there?Have you spent any time in your oven recently? Well, if you have, that would provide you with absolutely no insight into what it was like to be in Toronto last week. That's because it's unlikely that you shared your broiling pan with a mountain of rotting garbage, a family of skunks, a neighbour's air conditioner that sounds like a climbing 747, the exhaust fumes of several million cars, an idiot mayor, and a pack of local rats, all of whom believe they've died and gone to heaven. Which may explain why the Pope is wondering if he can come in, too.  FULL STORY arrow
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Land of the silver birch, home of the satellite dish space
The showdown: City mouse and country mouse clash over that Canadian icon, the cottage. But a funny thing happened on the way to Georgian Bay: Globe columnist LYNN CROSBIE got flirtatious, and fellow columnist DAVID MACFARLANE's head was turned, leaving cottage country in peril. Will he jet-ski to safety? Read on
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By LYNN CROSBIE AND DAVID MACFARLANE
Saturday, July 6, 2002 – Page F6
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-- Re: The infantile marshmallow From: Lynn Crosbie Dear David,I spent Canada Day weekend slouching through the streets like a remorseful lungfish, burning in the radioactive sun and watching maggots crawl out of the archipelagos of curbside garbage. Everyone I passed was as heat-crazed as me, most of them cursing, panting and staring hatefully at the blazing yellow, sadistic sun.  FULL STORY arrow
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You're reading this column? That's a bad start space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, July 1, 2002 – Page R1
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-- The problem we face, here on a holiday Monday, is the fact -- deeply regrettable, in my view -- that our educational system has done so little to prepare us for a long weekend. From kindergarten on, everything we are taught points us slavishly toward a single goal: doing something. Brain surgery, rocket science -- these are the objectives toward which we strive so relentlessly. Which is fine. Relentless striving does pass the time. It does burn off calories. It does keep criminals off the street, locked away in big accounting firms where they can't get at anyone's hubcaps or change purses. Relentless striving can also have the additional benefit of accumulating unconscionable wealth, so long as your lawyers keep you and your dried-flower arrangements out of the slammer.  FULL STORY arrow
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Dear Jean and Izzy: Love you both, let's do lunch space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, June 24, 2002 – Page R1
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-- One of the reasons that writers are not always such good talkers is that they believe their writing does their talking for them. Many writers believe that wit or charm are not required in real life, since they have already gone to some lengths to display wit and charm in print. Being amusing in the temporal world is slumming, really, for people who are accustomed to being amusing in the realm of literary immortality. So they tend not to bother -- as you may have noticed when you last tried to make small talk with a writer. Often they don't do small talk. Often, they don't do talk. For most writers, speaking would be gilding the lily.  FULL STORY arrow
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Hargreaves, Hendeles and Canada's own-goal space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, June 17, 2002 – Page R1
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-- As a constant comparer of apples and oranges, as an enthusiastic connector of things that cannot logically be connected, as an inveterate exaggerator of the meaning of meaningless chance, and as a frequent fabricator of metaphor from raw materials that have nothing metaphorical about them, I must say that even I was nonplussed to find myself thinking simultaneously about Owen Hargreaves, the Calgary-raised soccer star, now playing (though injured) for England in the World Cup, and Ydessa Hendeles, the iconoclastic art collector.  FULL STORY arrow
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Throwing modesty to the wind, writer takes the rap space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, June 10, 2002 – Page R1
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-- I am a modest fellow. Or at least that's my tactic. That's the way it is with modest people, if you want to know the truth. They are not modest at all. They're people who believe that a show of modesty will, in the long-term, more clearly highlight their many superior qualities. Modesty among them.  FULL STORY arrow
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Unexpected delights lie in store, even in T.O. space
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By DAVID MACFARLANE
Monday, June 3, 2002 – Page R1
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-- The sign of a good bookstore -- and, I suppose, the sign of a good anything-store -- is that you end up buying more than you intended to when you walked in. Without being in the least pushy about it, a good store simply makes it known that it has been spending its energy and imagination and knowledge acquiring the very things its customers might want -- even if they don't yet know they want them.  FULL STORY arrow
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