Photo by Eric.Parker, used under Creative Commons license

If the mayor and the tanning lady got together they could make a pumpkin

Every once in a while a whole bunch of news stories congregate to vex me greatly. That happened today when I caught up on some feeds. I think it was the bronze woman that tipped things over the edge.

  • I’m just kidding, it was Rob Ford. The man’s not a good mayor. The man’s not even a competent mayor. The man’s a sideshow. He’s a goddamn Jerry Springer episode. Welcome to Toronto, Canada’s largest city and one trying to earn consideration as an alpha city, where Chris fucking Farley is the mayor. (CTV)
  • I’m ashamed that I’m a member of the same race that came up with the word breastaurant. Not to mention the concept. (Macleans)
  • This woman…why would…surely she must know…I mean, she’s fully orange. I just…I can’t even. (CBC)
  • Quebec university students, just zip it. Your average tuition is half that of students in the neighbouring (and perennially economically depressed) Atlantic provinces, and yet you’re still throwing a giant provincial hissy fit about a planned five-year increase to bring tuition in line with the rest of the country. I don’t expect you to be happy about paying more, but I’d expect that you’d admit that you’ve gotten a sweet deal for a long, long time and that it’s unreasonable to expect it to continue. (Canadian Press)
  • I’ve been in and around enough vendor selections (not of anything resembling an order of fighter jets, admittedly) to know that if the purchaser can’t explain their criteria for selecting a certain product, it’s because they a) didn’t have any, or b) don’t want to admit what they were. (Macleans)


Luckily there were wonderful things buried in my news feeds too, like how marvelously Norway is responding to a monster like Anders Breivik, or this campaign poster for Prince Joffrey, or the tweets and blogs of Umair Haque, or this fantastic folk-y/bluegrass-y cover of one of my favourite Arcade Fire songs, or these pictures of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, or this short film featuring Bill Murray.

Whew. Hope restored.


Photo by Eric.Parker, used under Creative Commons license

"Here's to you, 1998 amalgamation!"

From Torontoist’s typically excellent visual summary of how Toronto voted for mayor, by ward:

Also, this more nuanced version:

You’ll notice that the actual city of Toronto voted Smitherman, while the suburbs of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough all voted Ford. You’ll also notice that the purple area in the first map pretty much overlays with the subway lines.

While it’s not really sensible to blame the election result entirely on amalgamation, it’s fun to try. The subject of this post, “Here’s to you, 1998 amalgamation” is taken from the comment section of the Torontoist article. It made me laugh and made me angry all at once.

Bloody hell

  • Rob Ford: 47.1%
  • George Smitherman: 35.6%
  • Joe Pantalone: 11.7%

This is also how I felt on the 8 Nov 2000. Rob Ford may be far less powerful than George Bush was, but he’s much closer to home.

Calgary had their election a week before Toronto. One of those cities elected a progressive young Muslim, the son of an immigrant, to be mayor. The other elected a fiscally & socially conservative white guy from the burbs. It’s like we got each other’s leaders.

Yankee swap anybody?!

The lesser of 2.5 evils

Last year I pointed to the relationship between an Economist blog comment and a five-year-old clip from Real Time with Bill Maher. Specifically I pointed to the need for a third political choice and the general unhealthiness of reducing complex political acts to a binary Coke-vs-Pepsi race. I didn’t get into the whole moral complication of wanting to vote for a third choice (like Ralph Nader, in the 2004 example) but feeling the need to vote ‘strategically’ to keep the worst option from winning. I’ve never believed in voting that way; you should vote for who you think will do the best job.

However: I simply cannot have Peter Griffin running my city.

I want to vote for Joe Pantalone, I do. I don’t buy all the wailing about him continuing the horrible legacy of David Miller, mainly because I don’t think David Miller was a bad mayor. I see George Smitherman as benign and centrist, but I’ll gladly take inertia over the notion of regressing for the next three years.

Just think back. Nobody in America was excited at the idea of Al Gore being president, but look at where the other guy got them. And while they may have voted with their hearts, the Nader supporters inadvertently reaped a simple-minded whirlwind.

Tonight after work I’ll hold my nose and vote, and then go home for a stiff drink while watching the news.

A confederacy of dunces

Had dinner and a quick drink with CBGB last night at Volo. I needed to unwind after a long week at work (which isn’t done yet…see below) and a quiet, snowy evening with some friends and tasty beer was a proper way to do it.


Before I sacrifice what’s left of this weekend on the altar of work and the MBA, I thought I’d throw up a couple of thoughts. It may be the last you hear from me for a few days.

  • This just in: Toronto city councilor Rob Ford is a screaming idiot. Not just for this latest nonsense, which shows that his approach to debate is roughly that of a six year old. The man is in the hall of fame for terrible elected officials. It’s embarrassing to live in a city where people continually vote for him.
  • Holy crap…my Canadiens are leading their division! Meanwhile, here in the land of altered reality, people are still talking about the Leafs making the playoffs.
  • I find this map of religious majorities in America very interesting. Anyone know of a Canadian version? [via Richard Florida]
  • I’d used Bloomex a few times for flower delivery and thought they were ok, but they messed up my most recent order — and the customer service followup — something fierce. Luckily Nellie’s an understanding wife who doesn’t demand flowers on/near Valentine’s Day, and so she just laughed it off. I won’t bother going through all the details; I’ll just leave it at this: do not, under any circumstances, use Bloomex. The service they gave me was truly one of the worst customer experiences of my life, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It didn’t cause me harm or anguish or anything…it was just staggeringly, monumentally incompetent. Avoid them at all costs. Warn your friends.


Guns scare me. Texas has adopted the “castle doctrine,” which means you’re now justified in shooting someone if you feel threatened in your home; there’s no longer much expectation that you take reasonable measures to avoid the threat. You can just shoot it. Some have gone vigilante and extended this to their neighbourhood, like this guy who shot two men in the back because they robbed the house next door, despite the imminent arrival of police and the pleas of a 911 dispatcher.

Militarism scares me. When the Chief of Defence Staff says democratic debate on Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan is emboldening the terrorists to attack our troops, it reeks of the same low scare tactics we’ve heard from the United States in recent years. As POGGE put it when this story came out last week, “I think we’ve just been told to shut up and salute.”

American military integration scares me. While a recent deal struck between Canada and the US is intended to let troops from either country cross the border in case of a civil emergency, the potential ramifications of misuse are staggering. There was also no debate on the topic — the deal was signed a week before the story broke — which strikes me as unusual and troubling. This could be a very big help in an actual emergency, or a very ugly tool used for political/military purposes.

[tags]bar volo, rob ford, montreal canadiens, toronto maple leafs, bloomex, castle doctrine, joe horn, rick hillier, american military integration[/tags]