Category: 2020

2020, 2021, Basketball, Sports

Your 2020-21 Toronto Raptors

To tell you the truth, I’m still basking in the glow of NBA Champion Toronto Raptors. I don’t care if it’s been nearly two years. I didn’t think they would ever win the championship. The day before the Kawhi trade, I would have bet you money they never would have in my lifetime. Its’ still …

2020, Books

The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values (2020) by Brian Christian

The Alignment Problem is just an excellent book about the state of AI philosophy and ethics at the beginning of the 2020s. Because it’s more about ethical and philosophical problems, than technological ones, it’s much more in my wheelhouse. But I think that these questions are extremely important. And Christian just does an excellent job …

2020, Movies

Palm Springs (2020, Max Barbakow)

This is a very funny romantic comedy inspired by the classic romantic comedy [redacted], and which has many similarities to the recent TV show [redacted], but which still manages a fresh spin on what is becoming a pretty tired concept. What is that concept? Well, I don’t really want to tell you. Rather, I suggest …

2020, Books, Non-Fiction

American Madness (2020) by Tea Krulos

(Way) Before Pizzagate there was the Phantom Patriot’s raid on Bohemian Grove. I had never heard of this before I read this book and completely missed any news coverage of the story, if there was any. So I’m glad I read this alternately hilarious and saddening story of one man’s obsession with conspiracies and his …

2020, Psychology, Society

Journal of the Pandemic Year: Vaccine!!!!!!

The first people in my region will be vaccinated next week, roughly a year after the virus first started spreading. It’s one of the great achievements in medical history. By summer or fall I should be vaccinated and I am already planning a party to take advantage of our fantastic new backyard which somebody else …

2020, Politics, Psychology, Society

70 Million Americans Voted to Re-Elect a Con Man to the Presidency [Updated]

In August of 2016, before his election to President, I wondered whether or not Donald Trump was the Greatest Con Man of All Time. (The GOAT-Con? The Con-GOAT? The GCMOAT?) A year and a half later, still mystified by his support, I wondered how people continue to trust him, as he burns one after the …

2020, TV

Eco-Challenge is Now The World’s Toughest Race

My favourite first wave reality show, Eco-Challenge – the only returned this summer as The World’s Toughest Race now hosted by Bear Grylls. (It’s on Amazon Prime if you’re interested.) I loved this show when it was on and, for years, sort of assumed that nobody else had watched as, when I described it to …

2020, Movies, Sports

4 Issues You Have To Overlook In Sports Films

We all have our favourite sports movies. But it’s fair to say that there’s a lot that Hollywood ultimately gets wrong about our favourite sports. That’s why documentaries like The Last Dance feel like such a breath of fresh air. It provides an honest perspective of the game. So, let’s run down some of the …

2020, Basketball, Books, Non-Fiction, Sports

The Victory Machine (2020) by Ethan Sherwood Strauss

This is a portrait of the Warriors that is both fascinating and maddening. I am not super familiar with Strauss beyond his podcast guest appearances on the Lowe Post and maybe the odd article I’ve stumbled across but I don’t know how much I’ll be seeking out his writing after this.

2020, Personal

Invitation to submit your book to Netflix

As you may know, I am a published author. Three books to date, still working on that fourth. Every so often, somebody contacts me with the goal of getting me to pay them to do some useless service. This is an old scam which appeals to every author’s vanity. But I’ve seen it enough times …

2020, Movies

2020 Toronto International Film Festival

For what may be the third year in a row, I only saw 5 movies at TIFF. Every year I resolve to see more the next year but it never seems to happen. Now, this year is different, obviously. This year I watched TIFF films on my couch. And this year I only watched 5 …

2020, Movies

Nuevo orden aka New Order (2020, Michel Franco)

This is a very promising film about class conflict in Mexico that gets really confused and, for me, goes off the rails to the point where I am kind of astounded it won a Grand Jury Prize at a film festival. SPOILERS later in the review.

2020, Movies

The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (2020, Jennifer Abbott, Joel Bakan)

I saw the original Corporation sometime back in the aughts. I have no idea whether or not I would like it now. This film is infuriating, both because of the problems in the world it reminds us of, and because of how unfocused it is. In many ways, it feels like two movies, the sequel …

2020, Movies

76 Days (2020, Weixi Chen, Hao Wu, Anonymous)

This is a harrowing but ultimately kind of triumphant fly-on-the-wall style documentary about COVID-19 patients and the frontline workers looking after them in China. If you are lucky enough to have not gotten sick but feel like this has been really hard, I strongly suggest you watch this movie. (And if you think this whole …

2019, 2020, Basketball, Sports

Your 2019-20 Toronto Raptors

There is a lot of disappointment in Toronto right now and I’m not sure it’s warranted. The Toronto Raptors won the title last year. They then lost two starters: one of the 3-5 best players in the entire league – and best Raptor ever in terms of pure two-way talent – and a candidate for …

2020, Books, Non-Fiction

10% Less Democracy: Why You Should Trust Elites a Little More and the Masses a Little Less (2020) by Garrrett Jones

This is a frustrating book. I agree with some of what he says and he inspired me to come up with some additional ideas. But I find the presentation ill-thought out, and I find his perspective limited, and rather traditional.

2020, Movies

Enemies of the State (2020, Sonia Kennebeck)

This is a masterful documentary about an American potential whistle-blower accused of child pornography and related charges, who took refuge in Canada. I paid no attention to the story at the time, so the entire thing was new to me. Before I get to the review: if you like documentaries about the nature of truth, …

2020, Personal, Society

Journal of the Plague Year: Blood on Their Hands

If you had asked someone in Autumn 2019 which country would be best equipped to handle a pandemic, they might have answered “The United States”. They have the most resources of any country in the world. Of course, given who is in power, they might have expressed doubt. But ask the question in Autumn 2015, …

2020, Personal, Society

Diary of the Pandemic Year: Nobody Follows the Rules

“Nobody is following the rules!” That is what literally everyone is saying. So many people are saying it that some of the people who are saying it must also not be following rules. As Jenn put it, each of us thinks we are following the rules better than everyone else. And we want everyone else …

2020, Personal, Society

Diary of the Pandemic Year: It’s Oh So Quiet

Time has lost all meaning. Weekdays feel like weekends and weekends feel like weekdays. The only thing that lets me figure it out is consciously thinking about it. I have a weekday work schedule, which helps too. But I still have to think to myself “This is a weekday” in order to start it. So …

2020, Music

Fetch the Bolt Cutters (2020) by Fiona Apple

So, full disclosure: I love Fiona Apple. My least favourite of all her albums is her first record, which is still extremely impressive for someone of her age. (Compare it to records made by similarly aged artists through the history of pop music, I bet it stands out pretty strongly). So I don’t think I …