"We can't stop breathing…"

Matt Blackett asks a very interesting question on the Spacing Wire blog:

“I was struck by one of the stats provided: by 2026, up to 4,000 deaths each year in Toronto will be premature due our poor air quality. This made me wonder — if our drinking water was helping contribute to 4,000 premature death each year wouldn’t everyone would in this city be in a panic?”

Of course. Fer chrissakes, the city’s media (if not the citizens) whipped themselves into a frenzy over SARS  (which killed fewer than 50) and the West Nile virus (which killed fewer than a dozen).

.:.

This dead-on post from Tim at Peace, Order and Good Government, Eh? raises a particularly ugly political tactic that’s gained prominence in recent years, especially south of our border: the claim that “decisive action” equals great leadership, regardless of how that decisive action turns out. As Jon Stewart once put it, if a guy drives a car straight into a ditch without even a thought of braking or turning the wheel, why does the fact that he did it so decisively make him the most qualified to drive it out of the ditch?

Dressing it up as the battle of “moral clarity” vs. “endless equivocation”, as the Tory fundraiser referenced in the article did, is the lipstick on the pig. The message here is that it’s better to avoid public discussion (which could lead to dissent) and just quietly accept the opinion of your betters. I doubt anyone would argue that absolutism is speedier than democracy, but I have a hard time believing it’s better for the average citizen.

[tags]matt blackett, spacing, toronto smog, sars, pogge, moral clarity, endless equivocation[/tags]

Bacchanalia

Haven’t…blogged…in…48 hours…must…catch…up…

Friday night five of us went out to a dinner organized by my lovely wife: we two, CBGB and T-Bone. It’s appropriate that T-Bone accompanied us that night; dinner was at The Fifth Grill (formerly just The Fifth, the top-notch Fench restaurant that started the Toronto careers of Didier Leroy and Marc Thuet, among others) and the menu item of choice was steak. We were meant to have a drink on the terrace, but it was blindingly hot outside, so the only place we could find a breeze was the smoking section. This simply was not on, so we took to our table a bit early.

After that, it becomes a blur of meat and wine; I had grilled tiger shrimp to start (others got mushroom ravioli and the tuna ceviche), and I went big on the steak: the 18 oz Delmonico. That’s a ribeye on the bone, and the chef’s opinion was that the bone counted for at least 2 of those ounces, while I would estimate that the fattier cut accounted for at least another ounce of waste, so I justified it to myself as a 15 oz steak. CBGB both got the New York strip, T-Bone got the bison ribeye and Nellie got the Filet Migon; while the flavour of my steak was excellent (thank you marbling!), GB and I had a bit of Nellie’s filet and agreed that the texture was impeccable. We were also allowed a choice of toppings on the steaks (I abstained, but others got scallops, shrimp and foie gras) and sauces (we had one of pretty much everything, but my favourite was the brandy peppercorn).

Did I mention our plan to becomes vegetarians?

Anyway, dessert was next; we took our time, imploring our stomachs to digest faster and make some room. CB and Nellie split a cheese plate, while T-Bone and I split the roasted hazelnut dacquoise with praline ice cream (GB got one for himself; he still had room for it, having found the willpower to stop eating his steak). It was good, but not great; however, they had written — very expertly, I might add — “Happy Birthday” on the plate in chocolate (it’s my birthday today, and was T-Bone’s birthday yesterday) and our server somehow snuck up the piano player and had him sing to us.

After all that food, I was ready for hibernation, so we took the back elevator down to the street…which was filled to overflowing with club-goers. We said our goodbyes and jumped on the subway.

.:.

Yesterday was a bit more low-key: CBGB came by post-karate and we popped over to the patio at The Pilot; thankfully the beer was cold, ’cause even in the shade it was microwave-hot. We sweated a while, bought some cookies from The Dessert Lady, got CB an icy drink from Starbucks and walked over to the Cumberland Theatre where we watched An Inconvenient Truth (imdb | rotten tomatoes). It’s less a movie or documentary, and more a very well-done Powerpoint presentation; I consider myself reasonably well-informed about the environment, so there wasn’t too much new for me, but Gore did manage to present it in a very compelling way. Hopefully a few folks will see it for whom it’s news.

After the movie we all lounged around our place for a bit before calling the Biryani House (the small one around the corner, not the fancy one at Wellesley) for some Indian food, and scarfed it down as we watched a few episodes of Arrested Development. It was a fun day with them. As Nellie and I were pretty wiped we just watched a movie — Derailed (imdb | rotten tomatoes) — after they left and fell asleep.

.:.

Speaking of food: I’m liking the new Chowhound design…especially the RSS feed for Ontario (which seems to mostly be Toronto)

.:.

Today — my actual birthday — been a nice one as well. Nellie took me to brunch on the patio at The Duke, bought me some gifts and is now busy in the kitchen making me a cake. How good is my life? 😀

[tags]fifth grill, didier, thuet, dessert lady, an inconvenient truth, biryani house, arrested development, chowhound, kickass wife[/tags]

"no one understands the mindset of a volume shooter"

OK…how much do I want to see The Descent?

Umm…very much.

It’s running an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes right now; not bad for what looked like a cheesy horror flick at first glance. I expect it’ll come down as none of the mainstream critics have rated it yet, but still…it looks reasonably scary, so I’m in.

.:.

There are days when I’m reminded why The Mighty MJD sports blog is one of my favourite sites on the whole interweb. Today is one of those days.

[tags]the descent, fuck alonzo mourning[/tags]

I am not afraid of you and I will beat your ass

Just when I was getting my music inbox under control, it’s ballooned again, mostly because I finally got around to reading an Esquire article that I’d ripped out and left on my desk a month ago. It listed a few bands — the Cold War Kids and Murder By Death — whose myspace pages intrigued me enough to download their albums; if I like them (and early indications are that I will) I’ll begin the search for way to buy their obscure albums.

There are still more myspace pages in that article too; for now here’s the current playlist (including what might be the greatest album title of all time, courtesy of Yo La Tengo):

  • johnny cash – a hundred highways
  • yndi halda – enjoy eternal bliss
  • yo la tengo – i am not afraid of you and i will beat your ass
  • mates of state – bring it back
  • ladyhawk – ladyhawk
  • murder by death – in bocca al lupo
  • cold war kids – up in rags
  • cold war kids – with our wallets full
  • cold war kids – mulberry street

.:.

Connections seem to be popping up for me all over the place on LinkedIn.com. My brother invited me…more than a year ago, I think, and I didn’t pay attention until recently, and suddenly everyone seems to be using it. My friend Joe pointed out that it’s almost as gay as Friendster. He’s right…but it’s still funny to see all the ex-Delanoids and remember some names from the past.

[tags]esquire, johnny cash, yndi halda, yo la tengo, mates of state, ladyhawk, murder by death, cold war kids, linkedin, friendster, delano technology[/tags]