Miskatonic University Press

Wikipedia eyes


Unexpected creepiness in Wikipedia’s entry on eye colour:

Eyes! Eyes! Eyes!
Eyes! Eyes! Eyes!

I dropped my FIPPA appeal over York chair-to-chair letter

fippa york

In May, in Letters from the chair of the Board of Governors to the chair of Senate, I wrote about my request, under Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FIPPA), for the release of a letter written by the (now former) chair of the Board of Governors of York University (where I work) to the (also now former) chair of the Senate (on which I sit). The letter was released with some redactions.

I wanted to see the whole thing, and the exemptions cited—the reasons given for the redactions—didn’t seem valid, so I filed an appeal with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. A mediator got in touch with me and with York, and asked York to reconsider their opinion.

A few weeks later, York replied. They had added another exemption! This is allowed, and they were within the time limit. I suspect they realized their first two exemptions wouldn’t hold up and that they’d better add something more solid. This time they were citing section 19:

Solicitor-client privilege

19 A head may refuse to disclose a record,

(a) that is subject to solicitor-client privilege;

(b) that was prepared by or for Crown counsel for use in giving legal advice or in contemplation of or for use in litigation; or

(c) that was prepared by or for counsel employed or retained by an educational institution or a hospital for use in giving legal advice or in contemplation of or for use in litigation.

The mediator told me that this was valid. If someone seeks legal advice then they don’t have to disclose either the nature of the advice sought or what the advice was. York had talked to a lawyer, clearly (I don’t know if that’s inside counsel or someone outside), and they don’t have to reveal anything about that.

I’d hit a dead end, so I dropped the appeal.

The mediator was very, very helpful, and I enjoyed my conversations with her very much. (She did everything with me by phone, which was maximally efficient.) I learned a lot about the process and about what the IPC does. I knew they did good work but now I can speak from experience: these are experts and they want to help people.

This is what the mediator sent to close the appeal:

Page 1 of the mediator's report
Page 1 of the mediator's report
Page 2 of the mediator's report
Page 2 of the mediator's report


York University (the university) received a request under the Act for records relating to communications that occurred from February 29, 2018 onward, between a named member of the university’s Senate and a named member of the university’s Board of Governors.


The university granted the requester partial access to the responsive records. The remainder of the records were denied pursuant to sections 13(1) and 18(1) of the Act. The university requested a fee of $9.30.


The requester, now appellant, appealed the university’s decision.


During mediation, the mediator had discussions with the university and the appellant.

The mediator provided the appellant with information about the exemptions applied by the university to deny some portions of the responsive records.

The university later issued a revised decision, introducing an additional discretionary exemption. The university stated that it is applying section 19 to the records at issue, in addition to sections 13(1) and 18(1).

The appellant then advised that he no longer wishes to pursue this appeal.

Accordingly, this file has been closed.

The York administration and counsel is within their rights to withhold the redacted text from the letter, but it’s a great example of an institution using the letter of the law to avoid living up to its spirit. The strike is over, the academic disruption is over, everything that was in question is in the past, and besides, written communications from the chair of the Board of Governors to the chair of Senate (a communication shown to members of the Senate Executive Committee, which has about a dozen people on it) should not be secret.

However, we’re not going to see it, so that’s that. Many things about how York works and is governed are open and transparent, but not as much as should be, and we will need to continue to push that.



From The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition), 5.250 Word Usage:

fulsome, adj. This word does not preferably mean “very full” but “too much, excessive to the point of being repulsive.” Traditionally, a “fulsome speech” is one that is so overpacked with thanks or hyperbole as to sound insincere. The word’s slipshod use arises most often in the cliché fulsome praise, which can suggest the opposite of what the writer probably intends.

Where I work, about once a week someone suggests “fulsome discussion” of something.

Listening to Art 03.09


Listening to Art 03.09 is up today: Caravaggio’s Saint Jerome. The ending is a fitting one for this last of my recordings made in June of some of Caravaggio’s works in Rome.

Also, I added an index to artists.

Mr. Weatherbee in "Getting His Goat"

archie libraries

The mention of a library in “Getting His Goat,” which centres on Mr. Weatherbee, is different from any other I’ve seen in Archie comics. It was originally in Jughead and Friends Digest Magazine 32, but I saw it in World of Archie (Jumbo Comics) Double Digest 78 (June 2018).

In the first panel, Mr. Weatherbee, the principal of Riverdale High School, is talking with teacher Ms. Sanchez as he puts up a sign: “I was at the library watching a special program that involved children reading to dogs. It was truly amazing!” Ms. Sanchez points out a possible problem:

The Bee introduces a safety measure
The Bee introduces a safety measure

Of course, not all of the pets stay under control, and chaos ensues.

It seems to me it must have been the Riverdale Public Library where Mr. Weatherbee saw this literacy program. Good for him for investigating what the public library is doing and bring literacy programs to his school where his students can get involved.

“Getting His Goat” was written by George Gladir, penciled by Tim Kennedy, inked by Ken Selig, coloured by Barry Grossman and lettered by Patrick Owsley. It is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

Archie in Prize Problem

archie libraries

“Prize Problem” may have first appeared in Archie Pals ‘n’ Gals Double Digest (101) in May 2006, but I saw it in World of Archie (Jumbo Comics) Double Digest 78 (June 2018).

Budget cuts considerded.
Budget cuts considerded.

This story is narrated by Mr. Weatherbee. He recounts some of the problems he’s faced during his time as principal. One of them is when the school board introduced budget cuts, and as the panel shows, top on his list of things to consider cutting was the school library. Of course, this would have been a bad mistake, but everything else listed is crucial to a high school also.

“Prize Problem” was written by George Gladir, pencilled by Pat Kennedy, inked by Jon D’Agostino, coloured by Josh Ray and lettered by Vickie Williams. It is copyright Archie Comic Publications.

Humphries on Powell

anthony.powell literature quotes

From My Life as Me: A Memoir (2002), by Barry Humphries (the hyperlinks are mine):

John Wells and I had a number of mutual friends. Chief amongst them was John Betjeman, whom I think I had known longer than John had: since 1961 in fact. At first I used to visit Betjeman when he lived near the Church of St Bartholomew the Great, close to Smithfield Meat Market. Later I would see him and Elizabeth Cavendish in Radnor Walk, Chelsea, in a small house filled with books and pictures. Here I met Cecil Beaton and Osbert Lancaster; and sometimes at dinner there would be Kingsley Amis and Philip Larkin, the latter always wearing odd socks.

“Kingsley is our Dickens; Anthony Powell, our Thackeray” declared John.

More Please (1992) (an autobiography) and this are wonderful and I highly recommend them. Until recently I only knew of Humphries as Dame Edna Everage (which I underestimated for a long time, not having seen enough of it) but the rest of his life is fascinating and filled with event, all of which is told with great wit and insight.

His 2009 appearance on Desert Island Discs makes a nice introduction to Humphries.

Archie in "Ace Place"

archie libraries

“Ace Place” is one of those one-page Archie gags. The title has been used many times for different stories, and I’m not sure when this one was first printed, but I saw it in Archie (Jumbo Comics) Double Digest 289 (July 2018).

Jughead and Archie are at the Riverdale Public Library (there is a sign) and Jug remarks that Arch is there every day now. Archie says that “this branch” (worth noting the mention of multiple branches) has a great movie and CD collection and all the latest magazines. Then:

Archie digs the cute librarian.
Archie digs the cute librarian.

“Ace Place” is copyright Archie Comic Publicatons. As is usually the case with the one-pag gags in current digests, no credits are given.

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