We need are teachers back

From my eagle-eyed brother Mike: Seen on sign of child picketing with parents at Waterdown school over Ontario teachers’ strike: “We need are teachers back.”

Shiny and Modern

From my brother Johnny:

In the telecommunications game, distinctive and compelling are far less important adjectives than shiny and modern looking..
I disagree: the only thing that Island Tel has going for it is its root in Prince Edward Island, and the strong connection of Islanders to this notion.
When you call the business office and ask why their best long distance rates are double the best rates from AT&T Canada, they happily tell you that they can’t compete on price. They don’t offer the features of their competitors (bill lookup by email, etc.) either.
The only reason I buy my long distance from them is because they employ my friends and neighbours. All that I demand in return is that they be distinctive and compelling. If they try and pretend to be any more shiny and modern, why wouldn’t I just flip to their savvy, modern, shiny (and cheaper) competition?

Visual Identity Crimes

Old IslandTel Identity
Old Identity
New IslandTel Identity
New Identity

I happened upon a rare Island Tel truck sporting their old visual identity (brown, white and orange, with a classic logo incorporating a old-style dial telephone). Seconds later, I passed a truck sporting their new identity (white, orange and green, with generic spinning globe logo). Why don’t they realize that their old identity was much more distinctive and compelling than their new one?

No Squares, No Cookies

Many say that the Internet has led to the death of letter writing. This isn’t true of course: letter writing now simply happens online. However what is true, in my experience, is that the Internet has led to the death of sending cookies and squares in the mail. It must be 10 years since I sent or received cookies or squares. The last thing I remember was sending 15 pounds of gooseberries from Montreal to Toronto in about 1989. Then emptiness. Something must be done.

I’ll Be Seeing You

Irving Kahal was born in 1903 in Houtzdale, Pennsylvania and died in 1942 in New York City at the age of 39. As a lyricist, he collaborated with Sammy Fain for 17 of those years, producing songs like Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine and Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella. Their most well-known song is I’ll Be Seeing You, released in 1938 and a hit in the 1943 film of the same name.
Among those who have recorded I’ll be Seeing You are Vera Lynn, Holly Cole, Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Mandy Patinkin, Jimmy Durante, Iggy Pop, Billie Holiday, Rickie Lee Jones, Liberace, Barry Manilow and many others. The most compelling version I’ve come across is by Neil Sedaka.
The 1943 movie I’ll Be Seeing You starred Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten and Shirley Temple. The song in the picture was sung by the off-screen voice of Louanne Hogan.

Nobody Can Answer That

Today I was making reservations on the Air Canada website from Charlottetown to Toronto. I was quoted a fare of $723 for two people return, which was an excellent fare, and so I proceeded. Then I got an error from the website, asking me to press the BACK button in my browser and click Accept again. When I did this, the fare had doubled in price. I phoned technical support at Air Canada, and their response to my question about why this had happened was, in essence, that’s not my department. When I asked who I could talk to, the response was there’s nobody you can talk to about that problem. Sigh.

Right Before Your Eyes

Back about 25 years ago (!), I had a Radio Shack crystal radio under my bed, and I would listen to CKOC from Hamilton well into the night hours with the radio’s little earphone strung up under my pillow. One of the songs I remember ever so clearly from those days is Right Before Your Eyes by Ian Thomas. If you hear the song, you’ll remember it: it starts Every day I sit beside on the bus to Madison Avenue; You work in the Big Grey Store with the Revolving Doors.
Ever since, I’ve been trying to find a copy of the song. And trying. And trying. It turns out that the reason I couldn’t find it was that there are actually two versions of the song, one in 1976 by Ian Thomas, who wrote it, and one by the band America, which had a big hit with it in the U.S. in 1982. I was always looking for an album by America with Ian Thomas… which doesn’t exist. The Ian Thomas version is more interesting; the America version is better produced.

Ian Thomas is brother of actor Dave Thomas, of SCTV fame. Ian actually starred in a 1981 episode of SCTV, and he wrote music for Dave’s 1993 film Ghost Mom