Pictogram

A few days ago I was in a St. Hubert chicken rotisserie restaurant (don’t ask). I spotted this highly ambiguous pictogram on the wall:

Pictogram

Here’s my explication:

PLEASE WAVE AT THE HANDICAPPED.

Or, if you prefer, how about this dramatic interpretation:

FEMALE: “It’s over! I’m leaving you for the guy in the wheelchair.”

MALE: “No! I’m leaving you for the guy in the wheelchair!

Got a better idea? Leave it in the comments!

Badge of Shame

A few weeks ago a reporter from the Montreal Gazette contacted me. She was doing a story about how layoffs affect men, which she theorized was different that how they affect women. Someone had told her about me and my sudden job loss last May, and she thought I might have something useful to add to the article.

We spoke on the phone for a few minutes, and I suppose it was useful because she called back to say she’d like to send a photographer to get a shot of me to illustrate the article. I agreed, and the next day we did a quick photo shoot in a café near my (new) job.

That weekend the article was published in the Gazette. Nobody online seems to have seen it, but a lot of my analog friends did, along with people at work. Being part of the canada.com conglomerate, the Gazette circulated the article to many of the other papers in its network.

Last Saturday it surfaced at The National Post, this time bearing the unfortunate headline “A badge of shame.”

That headline is bad enough, but look how it was used in conjunction with an enormous photo of yours truly! Jeebuz H. Christ, what will the neighbours think? Thanks a bunch, National Post; you make me look like a kitten killer or a home wrecker! “Badge of shame?” WTF?

yikes!

For the record, as you can read in the original Montreal Gazette version (titled “Men, Money, Anxiety”), I didn’t say anything about shame. Two of the other people interviewed (both unnamed) used that word, but I talked about fear. Unfortunately, I’m the only person in the article who ponied up my real name, and volunteered to be photographed, so someone at The National Post apparently thinks I wouldn’t mind having “A badge of shame” writ large under a photograph of me. (Update: The Gazette still has the annoying habit of removing stories after a certain amount of time has passed. Fortunately, the article is still available from the National Post, but without the original headline.)

(It should be noted that the author of the article, Lynn Moore, does not pick the headlines for syndicated versions of the article.)

Update: The Province, a Canwest (canada.com) tabloid in British Columbia, cuts to the chase. It snipped off the entire top three-quarters of the article and just published the part about me, under the headline “Man gets new job fast.” Ha!

Spring Retrospective

Spring is teasing us this week. The weather has been warm and sunny (although it’s a bit rainy today), and I saw my first robin of 2009 this morning.

To put things in perspective with regard to last year’s overly snowy winter and late arriving spring, here’s a photo I took of the street in front of our house last year at about this time (March 11, to be precise):

The Mini is easy to spot

Here’s a photo from two days earlier, showing how much snow was still piled up on our back deck. (This year, our deck has been clear since last week.)

View from the dining room

I’m under no illusions that winter is over. We will see snow again, no doubt. But it will be that shallow and spiteful snow that doesn’t last. And good riddance!

Heaven and Hell

Next week is going to be Hell week at work. My team will be rushing to make an important deliverable by Friday, so it’s going to be a heads-down crunch every day.

Too bad, because look at the heavenly weather forcast for next week:

nice weather if you can get it

And yes, I’ve noticed how the decline coincides with the end of my project. I think I am the king of bad weather timing.