I, for one, find the Harbor Hopper ads very offensive

Just when I really start to like Halifax again, it goes and does something goofy like reject the Atheist Bus ads. (Full disclosure: I donated to the Atheist Bus campaign in Canada.)

A ‘Without God’ ad has proven too controversial for Halifax transit.

Humanist Canada wanted to place ads on Metro Transit buses with the slogan, “You can be good without God.”

But officials with the transit authority deemed that too controversial.

“We’re a public transit system first, and then we sell advertising,” Lori Patterson, spokewoman for Metro Transit, told CBC News on Monday.

“So, if anytime we feel there’s a message that could be controversial and upsetting to people, we don’t necessarily sell the ads.”

First of all, that reasoning is absurd. Virtually every ad could be offensive to someone. If one gives Ms. Patterson the benefit of the doubt and assumes she means “upsetting to the majority of people,” it becomes hard to reconcile the fact that they’ve granted ad space to the anti-abortion organization Birthright, as reported on the Atheist Bus website.

Second, not only is the actual message less inflammatory than the “There’s probably no god…” ads to run in Toronto, it’s completely benign! How can you possibly argue with the statement “You can be good without God.”, let alone find it upsetting? Can, people, can. The ads don’t say you will be better without god, they just state the fact that people who don’t believe in gods are capable of being good.

I’m confident this response — which seems much more like a knee-jerk than a reasoned reaction — is so baseless and silly that, despite how conservative Nova Scotia can be sometimes, will ultimately be reversed. I’m also hopeful that Vancouver will avoid embarrassing themselves in this way.

So far the best response to the ads I’ve heard about is what the United Church of Canada is planning: ads that say “There probably is a God, so stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Hurrah! Instead of trying to silence a contrary argument, they made their own counter-ad, and with a sly wink as well. Well played, UCC. (More full disclosure: I was raised United, and while I’ve been an atheist for many years, my parents remain very active in their church.)

Oh, murgh makhani, how I've missed you

Just back from a Winterlicious dinner at Amaya Bread Bar. It’s the more laid-back, TTC-friendly version of Amaya Restaurant. The food’s the same (which is to say, delicious) though we were limited to the ‘Licious menu. The wine selection was shorter, but that didn’t bother me; I like beer with my Indian. The only one available — Cobra — went nicely with my pakora starter. We shared the four mains — lamb roganjosh, butter chicken, seafood xacutti and a veggie trio — and washed it down with more Cobra. I won’t lie, I enjoyed asking the waiter to bring more Cobra. It’s fun to say. Cobra. Cobra cobra cobra cobra. Cobra.

For dessert T-Bone and I had Greg’s mango ice cream; Nellie and The Sof had the spiced brownie, but neither of them came close to finishing.

Tasty, not too heavy, and reasonably priced. And a quick walk to/from the subway, or would have been, had we not we caught a ride down to Summerhill. We will likely go back. Missionlicious accomplished.

Eddy Grant, where are you?

From today’s Globe and Mail:

Toronto Hydro’s problems with “stray voltage” mounted over the weekend with reports that another five individuals and three dogs had received shocks but had not been injured after stepping on the city’s aging metal handwells.

The utility received six calls on Saturday and one yesterday to a hot line it set up to report such incidents. Sean Borden reported that in the summer he and his dog, Mocha, both got a jolt after stepping over a handwell in the east end, just around the corner from where last week a pupil at Regent Park/Duke of York Junior Public School was zapped, but uninjured.

Gives a whole new meaning to “Electric Avenue,” don’t you think?

"The German Claw, Mister McCluckCluck!!"

Last night I dreamed about something…unexpected. I very, very rarely remember my dreams at all, maybe once or twice a year, so it was odd that what I would remember dreaming about was Grand Prix Wrestling.

If you didn’t grow up in the Maritimes you’re unlikely to know what that is. I’m pretty sure it only aired on local stations. Imagine the early days of the WWF, but with much lower budgets and hilarious nicknames. Even my own memories of it are quite fuzzy. But last night I could remember, as clear as day, names like Bulldog Bob Brown, Sweet Daddy Siki, Killer Karl Krupp, Big Stephen Pettipas, No-Class Bobby Bass, The Cuban Assassin and Leo Burke, and apparently my dream last night was the revival tour. It’s a bit hazy now but I’m pretty sure I remember someone grabbing the Cuban Assassin by his beard and throwing him, and Killer Karl’s signature line (in the subject line) definitely came up.

Weird. I don’t imagine I’ve thought about Grand Prix Wrestling in 25 years. Any bets on what I’ll dream about tonight? Littlest Hobo episode? Greatest American Hero theme song? My brother’s old yellow bike with the banana seat?

"The people have a right to know. Toddy?"

Nellie’s out for dinner with friends, so I’ve had a quiet night on my own. I watched the newly-released director’s cut of Zodiac, which I like more every time I watch. I’m just amazed at how perfectly Fincher (and his art director) made the film look like the early 70s.

I also find Zodiac much creepier than Seven. Granted, I’ve probably watched Seven more than any other movie that didn’t involve a lightsaber, but I don’t remember ever finding it creepy…just awesome. But Zodiac usually gives me the willies.

If you haven’t seen it, then for pity’s sake, invest the 150 minutes.