Two Counts and a Ghost Story


One of the neat things of being in the Detroit media market is the wide variety of media forms that we get.  As Hallowe’en comes I’m reminded of a couple.

Count Scary

Count Scary was a character created by Tom Ryan, a local radio personality.  In this case, he took it to television as a host for horror movies.  After I’d seen the movies so many times, I found myself just turning in to watch the Count’s spots at commercial times.

Count Stupid

Inspired by Count Scary, a competing radio station had their own take on the theme.  The “Morning Crew” generally featured George Baker as Dick the Bruiser.  His impersonation was great and, if you followed professional wrestling, you loved it.  But, at Hallowe’en, he emerged as Count Stupid, a direct takeoff on Count Scary.

Sadly, I can’t find any voice captured for this.  But, I do have memories of listening on the drive to work

Where Count Scary had his tagline, “Ooooh, that’s scary”, Count Stupid has his “Ooooo, that’s stupid”.

Great memories for Hallowe’en.  Where are they now?

Does your favourite media outlet treat today as something special?

Now, if your media outlet doesn’t, there have to be horror stories in your community.  Here’s ours.  Ghost hunting on Texas Road could find you some real-world trouble this Halloween There’s even a Facebook group.

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OTR Links 10/31/2017


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Two standards …


I distinctly remember a first meeting of our football team and how our head coach addressed things.  One thing, in particular, is important for this post.

“Listen up” – it’s a football coach thing

“When you’re on this team, your actions are representative of the team.  As well, you are a student at this school and your actions are representative of the school.  If you get suspended for any reason, you will also be suspended from football practices and games for the same length of time.”

I talked with the head coach afterwards and showed some praise for delivering the message.  I was informed that it was no big deal; it is in the student handbook and he was just repeating it.

Last night, I was watching the baseball game.  Normally, I’d watch the international broadcast on Sportsnet but the television was already on Fox so I just watched the game there.

It was relatively early in the broadcast when the broadcasters started to talk about the incident in the previous game.  A Houston player had made a racist gesture and used a derogatory term in reference to a player on the other team.  (Names intentionally omitted because they’re not important to this post.)  All of this was caught on video and, if you’re interested, you can track it down and see what happened.

Then, the conversation turned to the consequences for the incident.  Now, in my school, something like this would have been on the higher end of the penalty spectrum.  In this case, the broadcasters speculated on what might happen.  This morning, on the MLB website, we can see what will happen.

In this case, the offender will be suspended for five games at the beginning of the next season.

The rationale:

it was “unfair to punish the other 24 players on the Astros’ roster” during the World Series. “I wanted the burden of the discipline to fall primarily on the wrongdoer,”

So, being part of a team is applicable only some of the time?  Particularly in Major League Baseball with players from all over the world playing to a world-wide audience, behaviour like this can’t be accepted at any level.  A penalty needed to be applied immediately.

We wouldn’t accept anything else in schools; why should it be different elsewhere?

OTR Links 10/30/2017


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Whatever happened to …


… Christmas catalogues?

I actually had learned about the demise of them long before it actually happened.  It was in second year university Economics and the professor was doing some navel gazing.  He predicted at the time that the shopping mall as a big gathering place would go away.  While at it, those Christmas catalogues that we anxiously waited for every year would be history as well.  It was all based on economics and, looking back, it makes so much sense.  Hindsight is always 100%.

Those hugely thick catalogues that we used to get and cherish had to be produced months before we got them.  That meant that the buyers had to get their products available and priced; the designers had to do their work; the photographers and models had to do their part; the catalogues printed and bound and then distributed through the channels.

For all of the products that were featured in there, the typical household might purchase a small amount of them.  More importantly, the pricing had to be predicted at least six months in advance and so the profit and distribution channels had to be fixed for the duration.

Growing up, the catalogues were like magic.  We lived in a small community where the only thing that passed for a department store was the local Stedmans store.  We could, at times, drop everything and go to Goderich where they had a Woolworth’s store.  At Christmas time, it was a very special trip to London where they had an Eaton’s store.  It was amazing!

Moving to university in the Twin Cities, there was a big Eaton’s store in the Square downtown and a Simpsons-Sears at Fairview Park.

As we know now, Simpsons went out of business as was the Eaton’s store.  We’re now living in times where Sears is in the process of shutting down in Canada.  Locally, we’ve seen the demise of Zellers and a quick attempt to do business in Canada through Target that failed.  Other businesses have taken over the huge spaces that were once there.  There are still two huge going concerns with products on either end of the pricing spectrum – The Bay and Walmart.

Their business model doesn’t thrive on catalogues and people gearing up to order for Christmas or later for the Spring Summer buying cycle.  Instead, smaller flyers are often in the newspapers or they just rely on foot traffic to see what’s for sale.  The concept that a business could hold a price for six months isn’t realistic in today’s market.

Beyond shopping, the catalogues were multi-purpose.  We always had one in the bathroom to read, they were great for holding doors open or balancing tables and were a wonderful source of clip art for school projects.  The original cut and paste!

What are your thoughts for a Sunday as we look towards the Christmas season?

  • Did catalogues hold a special place in your home?  Where?
  • Is there a particular business today that provides the same level of cataloguing?
  • Would you agree that online cataloguing is a better and more robust business model?  With a click of the keyboard, you can make any change to pricing that’s necessary.
  • Is the demise of big department stores behind the trend to outlet malls and big block building instead of shopping malls?
  • Whatever happened to the Eaton family?
  • Has the modeling world suffered due to the lack of jobs posing in catalogues?
  • Does our shopping future rely on Amazon filling these gaps?

Speaking of which, I’d be remiss to not include this wonderful story by Roch Carrier captured by the National Film Board about ordering a hockey sweater and Mr. Eaton shipping the wrong one!  It’s a classic.

I’d enjoy reading your thoughts via comment below.

The complete collection of posts in this series is available here.

Got an idea for a future post?  Add it to this padlet.

OTR Links 10/29/2017


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

A new blogroll


I had a request from a couple of people recently for a list of Ontario Edubloggers.  Of course, the go-to list is the Livebinder that I’ve created here.

Screenshot 2017-10-27 at 10.10.40

I’m the first one to acknowledge that it serves a specific purpose. All the links there were indeed active blogs at one point in time.  Sometimes, the desire to blog regularly passes and so some of the links will take you back to a different time.

There was another source.  One of the requests that I got was from Stephen Hurley.  He was interested in getting a list of all of the bloggers, their blog links, and their Twitter handles who had appeared in our regular Wednesday morning show, now at over 30 episodes.  Given that we talk about 4 or 5 blogs weekly, that could be as many as 150 different blogs.

I was thinking that might be a big job but it turned out not to be.  You see, I have always had a scratchpad of the blog posts that I wanted to include in my Friday “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”.  To that end, I’ve created a shared document with Stephen so that he knows what’s going to appear on the show.  To satisfy his request, I just extracted the required information from the document.  They appeared in a last first order.  And, there have been some blogs that we’ve talked about more than once so I wanted to make sure that there were no duplicates.

The best way to do this was to lose the last first order and go alphabetical!  Consequently, my next step was to take all that data and put it into a spreadsheet and do a sort by name.  The list gets put into order and duplicates are easy to spot.

Now, it would be a shame to do that work and not repurpose it.  My immediate thought was that this would make for a nice blog roll since the content is pretty fresh.  A copy/paste into a new WordPress page and the job is complete!

Screenshot 2017-10-27 at 10.19.29

The list is now available here on this blog.  It’s listed above or you can access it by clicking here.  It’s a quick and easy reference for those moments when you get asked “Do you know of any good Ontario blogs?”

Want to get on that list?  Start blogging and make sure that Stephen and I know about you!