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SIDECAR

Robert Charles Wilson and the Theory of Everyone

Robert Charles Wilson and the Theory of Everyone

“It it began to dawn on me that we’re at the edge of another kind of revolution in scientific understanding. I mean we talk about the enlightenment and the sciences, and they’ve given us a tremendous understanding of the natural world and how to manipulate the natural world. But the big blank spot has always been human nature. Why are we the way we are, why do we think the way we think, what are the invisible flaws in the way we think? How much of that is innate, how much of that is built into us, and how much of that is what we acquire from culture? Those are interesting unanswered questions, and I think we’re on the brink of answering them much more comprehensively than we ever have before…”

SIDECAR Essay: Parking Lots Make Lousy Grieving Spots

SIDECAR Essay: Parking Lots Make Lousy Grieving Spots

Death has popped into my life a lot, lately. No, no one’s died, thanks for asking. But I just drove from Alberta to Victoria and back and, peppered throughout the razzle dazzle scenery are hundreds of roadside memorials that grieving people have imposed on the landscape. I view these memorials as equivalent to that drunken “selfie” people regretfully post on Facebook, or like a roadside version of the worst graffiti put onto a CP railcar by a kid with a can of spray paint and zero talent.

A Klimt, a court, the Nazis and a very determined lady… with cashmere

A Klimt, a court, the Nazis and a very determined lady… with cashmere

You’ve seen it. Everyone’s seen it. It’s one of a long catalogue of masterpieces that are so familiar to people they assume they know all they need to know about it. But the picture shown here, formally known as Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer 1,” has a hell of a yarn attached to it, enough to inspire the movie, Woman in Gold, released this year and starring Helen Mirren.

The Superhero Shows Your Kids Can’t Watch

The Superhero Shows Your Kids Can’t Watch

Personally, I can’t stand those folks at the Lotto 649 news conferences who say, “Oh, no! Our lives won’t be any different. We’ll keep on working…” I’d love to win $50 million or whatever, and when they ask me what I intend to do with the money, declare with solemn earnestness, “People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy, and I can’t do that as Jeff Pearce. As a man, I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed. But as a symbol…” Pensive look here. “As a symbol, I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting…” Then watch reporters wonder if I’m serious. I mean, after all, I’d have the cash. Of course, my lover at home thinks I’m jackass for this plan. Because at least one reporter will recognize it’s a rip-off of a key speech in Batman Begins.

SIDECAR: How to Build a Space Elevator

SIDECAR: How to Build a Space Elevator

Some proposals seem, well, out there, but they share the same goals as any traveller: an efficient, and hopefully inexpensive trip from point A to point B. It just so happens that the destination this time is outer space…

SIDECAR Humour: In Praise of Scary Old Men

SIDECAR Humour: In Praise of Scary Old Men

I have it on good authority that my father—who was one of those Barker-lounger-and-beer Dads, a real practical engineer type—kept in a drawer of his desk at work a carved bust of wood that he would pull out if someone bothered him too much. Only it wasn’t a bust, it was a hand making the offensive gesture. HR policies being what they are today, I can’t keep something like that around, but I do have on my cubicle wall a photo of John Houseman. When someone makes a really dumb joke in my proximity, I point to Houseman glaring in silent, imperial contempt…

Overdue Debts: Is there a statute of limitations on paying for crimes against humanity?

Overdue Debts: Is there a statute of limitations on paying for crimes against humanity?

In a war filled with atrocious acts of barbarity, the assault on the Greek village of Distomo stands out as particularly horrific. On June 10, 1944, less than a week after the Allied D-Day landings, in retaliation for a partisan attack, German SS troops systematically wiped out the village. According to eyewitness accounts, the German soldiers bayoneted babies in their cribs, stabbed pregnant women, and…

SIDECAR Humour: Timmy used a bad word…on Instagram

SIDECAR Humour: Timmy used a bad word…on Instagram

When Kim Kardashian posted a bikini-clad selfie, she reminded us what female breasts are actually for by succinctly captioning her photo with two baby-bottle emoji.
Kim is not a user who needs to use search terms for her posts to be seen. But the Instagram hashtag is a confusing creature. While it’s obvious why hashtags like #penis, #whore and #spic are banned from Instragram, equally offensive search terms get a free pass. So, what’s their strategy? Are they serious about making users obey basic terms of use?

SIDECAR Books: The Resurrection of Gore Vidal

SIDECAR Books: The Resurrection of Gore Vidal

Towards the end of his life, the granite-hard self-portrait was so polished it lent itself to caricature. Gore Vidal could appear (in cartoon form) and intimidate the hell out of Brian Griffin on Family Guy. There was a brilliant quip on the old Frasier sitcom in which Frasier, surprised to learn that Vidal allegedly endorsed a cruise line, replies in shock, “Gore Vidal? He hates everything.”

SIDECAR: The Sad, Dark World of Japan’s Child Custody Laws

SIDECAR: The Sad, Dark World of Japan’s Child Custody Laws

Christopher Savoie is still lobbying, still fighting—even after all the years, the headlines, after getting help from a U.S. congressman and winning a settlement from his ex-wife for $6.1 million in 2011, money that he may never collect. He’s been in worse places. Like when he sat for 12 hours a day back in 2009, jammed into a small chair in a police station in Western Japan as officers yelled at him, pounding on tables and barking things like, “You are not Japanese, you are a foreigner! Why did you come here?”

Copyright © 2016 Transcontinental Media G.P.
Transcontinental Media G.P.