John's Newsletter Blurbs
Yesterday I got out of the shop to get some Christmas shopping started. I found myself on Queen Street West in the hip quarter of Toronto and discovered (for the first time) an independent bookshop called TYPE. The shop has a beautiful yellow hue for lighting, wide plank floorboards, soft jazz music at an ambient volume and an impressive selection of art and design books, notebooks and biographies. I stuck around flipping through titles for about 40 minutes, eavesdropping on conversations, getting a sense of what people were seeking and taking in the fashion sense of a crowd easily twenty years my junior. A great reprieve from my usual routine.
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I received a note from a reader heading off for holiday, asking if I could dedicate Wednesday's newsletter opener to sharing my favourite business books so he'd have a good beach read. That would be a great idea, except I can't stand business books.
With no hesitation she said "Bond". I reminded Cathy, "we are talking about James Bond and not Daniel Craig and that others like Pierce Brosnan, have also played Bond." "That would be fine too" quipped Cathy, who is not alone in giving Jason Bourne the cold shoulder. I turned to Facebook for a quick poll looking for a greater sample, and only Cathy's sister picked Jason Bourne (at least they won't be fighting). Every other women who chimed in, said Bond.
Last month, Cathy and I celebrated being married 25 years and we marked the occasion by visiting Italy's Amalfi coast. We couldn't think of a better destination for romance, food or scenery and Amalfi exceeded all expectations.
The dog days of summer refer to the weeks between July 3rd and August 11th. The reason they are called dog days is because they are named after the Dog Star, Sirius in the Canis-Major constellation. The ancient Greeks blamed Sirius for the hot temperatures.
Have you heard of "Chronic Movie Browsing Dysfunction" (CMBD)? A few nights ago, Cathy and I sat ourselves in front of the TV; we ended up viewing five movie trailers trying to figure out what to watch. By the time we settled on a movie, it was too late to start, so we went to bed! Embarrassingly, this has happened more than once in our house, to a point where the kids won't even sit in front of the TV until we have a definitive direction on what to watch. "So dad, is tonight movie night or trailer night?" Why can't I just turn on the TV and pick a movie in 10 seconds like a normal person? Is it too much choice? I am decisive in everything else in my life, but with movies, if it isn't perfect, I want to find something else!
A good guess is that 3.5 trillion photos have been taken since Daguerre captured "Boulevard du Temple" 174 years ago. Daguerre's photo is considered the first ever taken of a living person. Today, more pictures are taken every two minutes than were taken throughout the entire 1800s. According to fstoppers.com, it is estimated that ten percent of all photos ever taken were taken in the last twelve months.
Any Canadian of a certain age is feeling pretty bummed out today, learning that Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip, has terminal brain cancer. Pretty much every one of my friends feels like he has been punched in the gut with this news.
I was 15 years old when the movie The Shining was released. Who remembers that scene when the twin girls first appeared in the hotel hallway, stopping little Danny Torrance in his tracks as he bombed around the hotel on his Wagon Wheel? Just thinking of that scene raises the hair on the back of my neck; it was such a creepy movie that I became suspicious of grand hotels for years.
This week the IFPI, music's governing body, released their Global Music Report for 2015. For the very first time, digital sales contributed 45% of industry revenue overtaking physical media's 39% share. Streaming revenues showed a 45.2% increase helping to drive a 3.2 % global growth of music consumption to $15.0 billion US, leading to the industry's first significant year-on-year growth in nearly two decades.
If you wait long enough, science fiction has a way of becoming reality. There was a scene in the 1989 movie Back to the Future II when Michael J Fox's character Marty McFly shows off his self-tying shoes. Yesterday at a press event in New York City, Nike CEO Mark Parker unveiled the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 featuring power-operated laces. Slip on the shoe; push the "plus" button and not only does the shoe light up, but the laces tighten. The mechanics are in the sole of the shoe and powered by a small battery. You then push the "minus" button to loosen the laces. In 2011, Nike auctioned off 1,500 pairs of the Nike MAG, an exact replica of the high-tops worn by Fox (without the laces) in support of the Michael J Fox Parkinson's Foundation.