Sunday, 22 June 2008

Odds & ends

Duelling corks
Gord Stimmell, master Toronto Star television guide packager and connoisseur of fine wines, and his former Toronto Sun colleague, Mike Strobel, are duking it out over Mike's comments about snobbery among wine critics. It started with Mike taking on those "hoity-toity" wine critics in his June 1 column. Gord followed with yesterday's Saturday Star commentary, which included a wine tasting challenge. Mike being on the wagon, perhaps they could settle it with a duel - wine cork tossing at 20 paces. We await Mike's comeback in this fun media spat.

Danielle's digs
Former Toronto Sun colleagues often wonder how life is for Danielle Crittenden since she moved to Washington, D.C., with hubby David Frum in the 1990s. One way to catch up to the life and times of Peter Worthington's stepdaughter and mother of three is her new weekly National Post series about renovating their 1905 house. They purchased the "gloomy grey clapboard house" during a snowstorm in 1995 when Marion Barry was mayor and Washington was a crime-plagued community. It wasn't love at first site, but the house quickly grew on them.

Oh God, Oh God?
Paul Berton, editor-in-chief at Sun Media's London Free Press, in a column about words in the media - yes, it's that Young People Playing Scrabble movie title thing again - says: "Earlier this month, for example, I asked that 'Oh, God' be removed from a story because I felt it was unnecessary and may offend people who oppose 'using the Lord's name in vain.'" That is scary, folks. So, Paul, how would the Freep publicize that hilarious 1977 George Burns movie? Oh, G--? Oh, G-d? Paul also says the Freep has decided to go with "Young People F---ing" in describing the movie, while the Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen and the Canadian Press, are calling it what it is - Young People Fucking. Are readers thinking F, dash, dash, dash, i, n, g when reading F---ing, or the actual word, which has lost its bite from overexposure in books, television and movies? It is a word. Get over it. If you want an offensive four-letter word, try B-u-s-h.

Journal de Quebec
As of today, it is one year and two months and counting for the 252 Journal de Quebec employees who have been locked out and on strike at the Sun Media newspaper. Despite the continued support of millions of union members across Canada and thousands of Quebec City residents who pick up their free weekday MediaMatin paper, the lockout/strike drags on. Quebecor has shown little interest in ending the stalemate.

Tim & Woody missed
The reason for the recent abrupt departures of Toronto Sun newsroom vets Tim Fryer and Darren "Woody" McGee remains clouded in rumour, but astute readers can tell their nightly news pages layout magic is missing. A typo in a heading? Bland news pages? Not when Tim and Darren were hands-on assistant managing editors. We've heard rumours about who lowered the boom on Tim and Darren and why. If the why is true - they were among the few remaining "old way" staffers at the flagship Sun - it doesn't bode well for others who were around in the glory days. The "new way" is sever all ties to the Doug Creighton era. Sell 333, weed out the remaining vets and Quebecor will have succeeded in killing the Miracle on King Street.

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