Archive for January, 2013

“Principles of Profanity”

What would a theory of foul language look like?” Jonathan Mayhew does some beautiful brainstorming on the topic for you.

Practical Rhetoric


There are two claims you can make that your antagonist will typically corroborate without further ado: “You’re being defensive” and “You always have to have the last word.” A close friend adds this smart point.

Vancouver Archives

English Bay, foot of Harwood Street, 1903

English Bay, foot of Harwood Street, 1903

The Vancouver Archives contain a treasure of documents and photographs. The “search” and “download” functions are intuitive and literally amazing (as in, you will enter a very fun “maze” of history, of what daily life was like in this beautiful city in ages gone by). The English Bay shoreline shown above has changed very little. It’s a blessing to live so near.

Spring this year

Even in Vancouver, I am amused that a university semester that starts the first week in January and ends in early April is called “Spring.” But at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, often enough it feels like spring to me, with a beautiful bloom of new students in my classrooms, and all sorts worthy projects starting to grow. I spent most of New Year’s Day traveling, and I expect to travel more this year than I ever have in the past – when I’m not teaching. And I hope to be writing a ton, about this leaving Vancouver and about coming back to it, as well as about my reliably unquenchable obsessions. Please stay tuned.

Tomorrow’s going to be a good day: Getting together on the Surrey campus with my fellow School of Business Chairs for a lunch-time meeting, then seeing my own Applied Communications department colleagues in the afternoon. Back in Vancouver later on, I’ll be meeting a former student, with whom I’ve worked on several very cool media initiatives, for dinner on Commercial Drive. Then home to pack for a short, happy trip across town to see beautiful friends this weekend.

“I Am Not a Rock Star”


This is a wonderful movie: a documentary about a piano prodigy named Marika Bournaki, from Quebec, that follows her artistic development and career from the ages of 12 to 20. There is a profound courtesy in the way Marika’s family, friends, and teachers interact with one another; when conflict arises, there is no rebellion; instead, there is listening and often poignant adjustment. The music and the feelings of surprise this movie evokes are both beautiful.

Kwantlen Classes


They start today. I am very lucky indeed to have the gig I do.  Today’s “Digital Media Marketing,” and tomorrow is “Advanced Professional Communications.”  Two sections of “Writing for the Specialized Workplace” (for students in the Special Education Teacher Assistant program) begin in February.


No Contest Communications

At our new communications venture, my colleague TW writes: “It’s a shame that so much of writing in our schools and academic institutions is audienceless.”


Elmwood Avenue balcony, Buffalo, NY

Elmwood Avenue balcony, Buffalo, NY

Let’s watch out for one another this new year, to keep the commonweal, which is so precious and can so easily … be gone.