Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Follow the Money

Have you seen the “Follow the Money” database from Post Media?

Do you have three days to spare?

Because I promise you, once you start perusing its contents you will not be able to stop.

It’s the work of reporter Zane Schwartz, Post Media’s annual Michelle Lang Fellow, who “chased down over six million records from across the country and developed the first centralized, searchable database of contributions made at both the federal level and in 13 provinces and territories.”

I hope one day it will be expanded to include campaign contributions to municipal politicians but until that day, we will have to content ourselves with looking up the provincial and federal donations of people like, oh, I don’t know, local “port developers?”

Thanks to the Spectator reader who turned me on to this, you know who you are.


The Rock

Illustration by Mike Feehan (Source: The Deep

Illustration by Mike Feehan (Source: The Deep)

The latest issue of The Deep, an online Atlantic Canadian magazine dedicated to long-form journalism, contains an interesting discussion about the future of Newfoundland and Labrador, now that its 15 minutes as a “have” province have ended.

The Rock in a Hard Place features a “very real conversation with (mostly) millennial Newfoundland and Labrador about the future of Canada’s strangest, stormiest, screwiest province” (with great illustrations by Mike Feehan).

The millennials are journalists Drew Brown and Emily Deming, Riddle Fence editor Megan Gail Coles, “fish harvester” Sheldon Pardy, and writer Ed Riche (“the only panelist over 40”).

In looking to the future, the panelists also find themselves exploring the (to me) mysteries that are Newfoundland and Labrador culture and politics. It’s really interesting, if a little insular (but hey, insularity is what we islands do best, am I right?). It also contains a warning that struck a chord with me, from Deming, a transplanted Californian, who says of her adopted home:

It’s also got this thing—and I couldn’t put my finger on it for awhile—until I realized that I’d been here for months and nobody asked me what I did for a living. That does not happen in other places in North America. It just simply does not.

And I’m worried that if you fix a lot of things, then you also might break that—I just don’t want this to be like other places!

Some of what is said applies equally well to Cape Breton, but much doesn’t, which is kind of amazing considering how close we are in so many ways (starting with geographically). I found myself thinking about the difference between us and Newfoundland and PEI — we envy the latter’s provincial status, but I don’t think we feel as envious of Newfoundland, maybe because PEI seems to have taken a big step up whereas Newfoundland, which had to relinquish its independence to join Canada, seems to have taken a step down. (Don’t get me wrong, I know “independence” wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, but it’s like the difference between living in a drafty, crumbling-at-the-seams castle and living in a well-insulated suburban bungalow: however warm the latter is, it will never be a castle.)

I thought that and all kinds of other things while reading this article, which is why I can honestly term it “thought provoking” as I recommend it to you.



Eggs Florentine (Source: Youtube

Eggs Florentine (Source: YouTube)

A reader wrote to ask (tongue in cheek) whether Antonio Meucci, the putative inventor of the telephone about whom I wrote last Friday, was from Florence, Italy or the Florence “a few kms down the road from my house in Sydney Mines?”

I take his point — I should have specified I meant Florence, Italy.

But I am also going to start referring to anything related to Florence, Cape Breton as “Florentine” because how great is that?

Answer: very great.

Although it could easily get confusing, not just because there are (at least) two Florences but also because calling something “Florentine” could mean it has been “served or dressed with spinach.”

For the record, I’m quite sure Antonio Meucci was never either served or dressed with spinach, although I can’t swear to it.


Quote of the Week

I was watching the news with a retired reporter of my acquaintance the other night when someone (whether interviewer or interviewee I can’t remember) referenced the Ivany Report — Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action for Nova Scotians — which was issued in February 2014.

The retired reporter, dry as dust, said:

At what point do we admit we’ve opted for “Never?”


And finally…

Frankie (pictured right) says relax.

Friday the 13th is nothing to worry about, especially if you live with a black cat who crosses your path at least 140 times a day.

He once broke a mirror.

I have no idea how to do that luck calculus, so have decided to simply embrace it.

Happy Friday the 13th!