The Walrus Blog

Monthly Archive: May 2009

Enter The Walrus Writing Contest!

Write a genre short story and win prizes from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Joost Swarte’s Summer Reading issue cover for The Walrus.
Click the picture to see a larger image.

To celebrate The Walrus‘s annual summer reading issue—featuring thrilling science fiction, adventure, romance & mystery stories from an all-star line-up including Lee Henderson, Rivka Galchen, Stephen Marche & 2008 Giller Prize winner Joseph Boyden—we are pleased to announce The Walrus Guilty Pleasures Writing Contest!

To enter, write the first paragraph of a novel in one of the following genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Western, Ghost Story/Gothic.

Your challenge? To make that paragraph the most gripping, titilating, and action-packed read of the summer! Send your submissions to by July 31, and you could win a prize package from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts or a Walrus prize package, and have your work published at!

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Posted in The Haulout  •  6 Comments

Classic manga: “Screw-Style”

Fumbling around on the internet recently, I came across some scans of Yoshiharu Tsuge’s 1968 story “Nejishiki” (translated in the Comics Journal 250 as “Screw-Style”). I have a great fondness for the short story form in comics, and I love seeing anything translated from the Japanese avant garde comics magazine Garo, so I thought I’d highlight the story’s existence here. (A quick note, though, to point out that, unlike the other two Tsuge stories published in English, this one is still in print. So you should probably buy that thick and lovely issue of the Comics Journal, even if only to direct some money toward the folks who went to the trouble of importing the story in the first place.)

We have so few western authorities on manga, god bless ’em, that they can only begin to map out the traditions and history of Japanese comics for us; thankfully, “Nejishiki” is one of the landmarks they’ve flagged. The June 1968 issue of Garo, they tell us, was given over entirely to Yoshiharu Tsuge. (more…)

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Posted in Four-Colour Words  •  6 Comments

How Google Unconquered The World

…and Apple Squandered It, Again. The new Google Android pgone

Your humble narrator has been doing some actual engineering lately, for the first time in years. Specifically, I’m writing an application for Google’s Android phones, the first models of which will be available in Canada next week.1 Why Android, you might wonder, instead of Apple’s wildly popular iPhone? Well, I have various motivations, and I may yet pen an iPhone version, but my main reason is very simple: most of the phones of the future will be Androids, not Apples.

Twenty-five years ago, Apple could have licensed its superior operating system to computer manufacturers, killed Microsoft, and conquered the world. Instead they insisted on building their own hardware, keeping their systems hermetically sealed, and maintaining high prices – and found themselves with a whopping 10% of a market they should have dominated. Today they are repeating exactly the same mistake. Android, like Windows, is an operating system, not hardware. Any manufacturer can build an Android phone, customized for any market; and in most of the world, those phones will ultimately supplant the iPhone, just as Windows defeated Macintosh. (more…)

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Posted in World Fast Forward  •  42 Comments

Congress Finale

May 28: Nathalie Des Rosiers writes…

So, it is over. Congress 2009 is fading into the web’s archives and our memories. I enjoyed this congress: the atmosphere on the campus, the special events full of promise, the random meetings with friends, acquaintances and students. Is Congress like the Cannes festival without “décolletés ” and shiny dresses, the long dresses and ? Is it the Olympics with less medals and less costs? In a way, it has similar features : it is a ”happening” where people go to get energized and stimulated in pursuing their work. It is a time and place to celebrate, to give prizes for best articles or best book. It is a gathering of national and international figures ready to question and debate the big issues of our time. It does have this celebratory aspect… but for modest academics. We are now focused on next year in Montreal at Concordia University to celebrate again the best that social sciences and humanities can offer.

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Congress Diary: May 29

Daniel Drolet writes…

Random thoughts as Congress winds up:

Congress is not a rock concert
Congress is an exciting event, but it’s not about the adrenaline – unless, perhaps, you’re really nervous about presenting. I was struck by the fact that while there were always people around, the event never felt busy or overwhelming. We’re so used to being entertained and stimulated visually that an event like this one – where glitz is not on the menu – can at first glance seem a tad quiet. But Congress is about the steak, not the sizzle. For example, one woman who listened to a talk by author and democracy activist Frances Moore Lappé – a presentation that received a standing ovation – described the talk as “life-changing.” I wonder how many people had similar experiences. (more…)

Posted in Congress 2009  •  No Comments

Blogs from Congress, May 26-28

May 28: Nathalie Des Rosiers writes…

Another day at Congress – Listened to Justice Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella Lecture on the necessity of human rights and the way in which we have failed to integrate the three lessons from World War II : – indifference as the gound for intolerance, – that we should be known not for what one stands for, but for one stands up for, and that we need to see the world through the eyes of the vulnerable. (more…)

Posted in Congress 2009  •  No Comments

Sex, Archives and the Police

Daniel Drolet writes…

A lot of the real work of Congress is taking place quietly, in the classrooms of Carleton University. That’s where many of the sessions are held. At those sessions, the academics at Congress present their latest work to colleagues in what is inevitably a real exchange of information. The topics, of course, can be very narrowly focused and therefore not necessarily of interest to the general public. On the other hand, the people who do attend these sessions are very interested – and very knowledgeable. (more…)

Posted in Congress 2009  •  No Comments

Early risers and interdisciplinarity

Daniel Drolet writes…

It’s early morning, 7:40, and Ottawa’s municipal bus system has delivered me to campus, right on time.

I’ve come to hear David Foot, a U of T economist, demographer and author, talk about workplace trends. (I imagine most people have heard about his book Boom, Bust and Echo.)

While the audience settles down to breakfast – scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, fruit and of course coffee – he proceeds to tell us, in a very engaging way, about how the changing demographic structure of Canada’s population affects everything from university enrolment to careers. And how it’s possible, if you study demographics, to plan quite confidently for the future – and understand social trends today. (more…)

Posted in Congress 2009  •  No Comments

Daniel Drolet writes…

If you’re reading this blog then you must be interested in blogs.

But that doesn’t mean academics know much about them, or their uses in teaching.

So to find out more, I attended a session this morning called Academic Blogs: Connecting people and ideas. (The session was part of Career Corner, a regular feature of Congress 2009. There are several sessions a day focussed on career development.)

The session left me with two rather contradictory take-away messages: On the one hand, blogs can be useful in an academic environment – particularly for engaging students and encouraging debate. But on the other hand, how do you overcome the fact that they take up time and can contribute to information overload? (more…)

Posted in Congress 2009  •  2 Comments

When I was sixteen years old I fell in love with a boy with a pompadour who made up for his complete lack of charm with the finest taste in music of anyone I had ever met. He made me epic, narrative mix tapes, bought me daffodils, and serenaded me with tracks from The Queen is Dead. We’d lie on our backs on the floor of his band poster-plastered bedroom, staring longingly at the ceiling and each other. We’d listen to rare, dismal quality Morrissey b-sides and live recordings. We’d discuss at length how the world didn’t understand us, our love, or his hair. We even considered celibacy (albeit briefly, thanks to the tyranny of teenage urges.) I stopped eating meat and started writing poetry. In that miserable teenage haven the stage was set for the beginning of my “Morrissey phase,” something that many of us experience and most of us get over when the world gets a little shinier and less overdramatic. But unlike the vegetarianism, poetry, and the pompadoured boy, Mozzer was something I simply never got over. (more…)

Posted in The Haulout  •  1 Comment

The Walrus: A Salute to Morrissey

Earlier this morning, Stacey May Fowles wrote about the singer Morrissey, in celebration of his fiftieth birthday today. Below, The Walrus‘s editors and bloggers pick their favourite tracks from The Smiths’ and Mozzer’s back catalogue.

10. Handsome Devil (from Hatful of Hollow, 1984).

Chosen by comic blogger Sean Rogers: “Most pop songs are propositions, but Morrissey’s not shy about letting you know it.” (more…)

Posted in The Haulout  •  3 Comments

Congress 2009 Diary: May 22-23

Daniel Drolet writes…

Friday May 22

Talking to passionate people is always stimulating. And after a couple of weeks interviewing professors and researchers presenting papers at Congress 09, I can certainly I’ve been stimulated. Arctic sovereignty. Visible minorities. Hockey. Hyperactivity. The economic crisis. Canada’s grocery industry … rarely have I encountered such an eclectic range of topics in one place. (more…)

Posted in Congress 2009  •  No Comments
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