Town Square

Where I come from, the town square is the guy wearing plaid pants, but that’s another story. There are many laudable things about the Town Square project here in Charlottetown, but giving businesses the ability to create ugly dreck like this is not one of them.

The aim of this “microsite” part of the Town Sqaure project is to “assist local business owners in utilizing E-business in their day to day operations.” What they have done, in the case of Sherwood Do-it Centre, is to ensure that nobody with any sense of aesthetics, design or style will patronize the business.

Design is hard. It takes smart people to do well. The more this “empowerment through amateur crap distribution” philosophy takes hold, the further we’re going to be from a day where the web actually is useful.

The irony? Sherwood Do-it Centre already has a website (I guess this would be their “macrosite?”) and while it’s not a paragon of design excellence, it considerably more well put together than its micro cousin.

A Small Room in Washington, Two Hacks and Two Flags

…that’s about all the CBC Newsworld could muster for the coverage of the mid-term elections in the USA last night. We were treated to Don Newman and Henry Champ, two “veteran journalists” with classic “like watching paint dry” style, sitting in a room somewhere in Washington on two desk chairs, with a Canadian and a US flag in the background.

The “trusted. connected. canadian” CBC is obviously of the opinion that the elections in the US don’t matter all that much to Canadians.

The irony is that the election the night before, in Yukon, received wall-to-wall Newsworld coverage. The fact that the elections in Yukon are completely irrelevant to the lives of most anyone outside Yukon doesn’t seem to have factored into the equation.

The results of the Republican sweep last night in the US will have tremendous effects on our day to day lives in Canada. No doubt more so than even the “controversy in Ottawa” that led the National last night.

The thing is I want to know about the mid-term elections from a “Canadian perspective.” I would watch for the entire evening if the CBC applied Yukon-style resources to the US coverage.

Alas, twas not in the cards.

Charlie Rose

If you can bear to stay up late enough, you should be watching Charlie Rose on PBS. Here in Charlottetown we pick up his show on the Boston PBS station WGBH from Midnight to 1:00 a.m., so you’ve got to be a dedicated fan to watch regularly. Or you have to have wonkly sleep habits, which is how I qualify.

Last night’s guests included Chris Matthews, author and host of the MSNBC programme Hardball, and Carol Channing, actor and singer of much fame.

Both Channing and Matthews confirmed my “the more you think someone will be blathering airhead the more you will be wrong” theory. Matthews, who on his own television programme plays a loud referee was promoting his book on America; he was well spoken, passionate, and obviously incredibly sharp. Channing, who I knew previously only through Rich Little’s well-known impression of her, was saucy, witty, smart, and not the least bit cloying.

Rose is sometimes a little bit too familiar with his guests, but he is mostly just a fantastic interviewer, and what plays out on his show is very different from the “interviews” that happen on Letterman, Leno and their ilk, which are mostly “excuses to get the movie/book/TV special in front of the public for 10 minutes.”

If The New Yorker had a television show — and writers and editors from the magazine are frequent guests — this would be it.