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Paul Mitchinson is a part-time writer and a full-time father of two. He writes when he can. » more about me

Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Daycare vs childcare: Cui bono?

Friday, September 15th, 2006

Two things came to mind after getting my second "universal childcare" cheque in the mail the other day. First, there is numerical proof that I am now more father than writer, more caregiver than historian. It's been a difficult adjustment to make for someone who has virtually lived in libraries and archives, and who has […]

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Ikea, Etobicoke, 10:30am, Saturday

Monday, September 4th, 2006

Wish I could help! How's this for a start? "Avoid piling up large boxes and mattresses that completely obstruct access to your 'Help us improve!' station."

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Is Garth Turner on a secret mission to destroy my sanity? During the last federal election, I offended friends and family by announcing my intention to vote for Turner, Conservative candidate for Halton. Why? Now it's true I liked the Conservatives' childcare plan — certainly as opposed to any nationalized system of daycare as proposed […]

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The Toronto Star has been doing a fine job of self-parody recently.  Today's story, on the horrific terrorist attacks in India, is, well, absolutely breathtaking in its solipsism:

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I'm hardly the first to notice that public libraries throughout North America have become increasingly hostile to books. It seems at times that libraries are deliberately designed to prevent, rather than foster, the act of reading. High school kids shoot the breeze while doing "homework," mothers and nannies exchange gossip over a cup of Starbucks, […]

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Bird Brains

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

An article in last Friday’s issue of Science got predictably hysterical coverage in the media. Written by Ezekiel Emanuel and Alan Wertheimer, a pair of "bioethicists," the article addresses the important issue of vaccine rationing in the case of an avian flu pandemic. If there’s not enough vaccine to go around — a virtual certainty […]

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What Is Your Dad Worth?

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Salary.com recently published its annual assessment of the unpaid labour performed by the typical stay-at-home mom. Its assumptions are laughable, of course — and I say this as someone who actually knows something about what it takes to raise pre-schoolers at home, and finds it infinitely more gruelling than any actual paying job. So how […]

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How Igor Got His Groove Back

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

The final volume of Stephen Walsh’s biography of Igor Stravinsky has just been published, and it’s really a model of the biographical form. Walsh makes an observation in one of his footnotes about Stravinsky’s legendary musical concision, and compares it unflatteringly to the author’s own wordiness. But the books feel too short rather than too […]

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Saving Professor Fitzpatrick

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

For Russians, World War II is known as the "Great Patriotic War" [Великая Отечественная Война]. Anyone who has visited Russia or spoken with Russians can appreciate the sentiment behind this. World War II was unimaginably brutal — and brutalizing — even for a population who had endured Stalin’s Great Terror just a few years before. […]

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Milosevic as Scapegoat

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

Anyone wanting insight into Canadian elite-think could do worse than reading yesterday’s Op-Ed in the National Post by James Bissett, Canada’s ambassador to Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Aptly headlined Scapegoat, R.I.P., the article is a frankly revisionist account of the policies and character of Slobodan Milosevic. He has been described as the "Butcher of […]

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