Archive for June, 2009

War on Trash: Day 9

Posted on June 30th, 2009 1 Comment

out-of-serviceAlthough some comrades have fallen, Pride has managed to make things a little more colourful again. Maybe that’s because perspectives are changing; things don’t seem that black and white anymore.

Take the detention camp down the street; I pass that pile of trash bags regularly to watch their behaviour in daily life and I have to be honest, they don’t seem that aggressive.

Actually, they seem downright lethargic. Engaged in a game of pickup, most of them just flop over each other like dirty hippies:


No wonder they’re so out of shape!

As the War gets more complex and information becomes muddled, I’m starting to wonder how much of a threat they really are. Maybe they’re just puppets of the 416/79 light infantry. Mushy, stinky puppets.

I wonder if they feel loss the same way we do, if they express their grief and sorrow just like us:

(yup, more Pride stuff)grief



Where was I going with this again? Oh yeah; grief and sorrow just like us. I wonder if they love and hate like we do, raise children, grow old, have to keep putting up with incessant TV shoots in their neighbourhoods:


I’ll admit it; I’m confused.

Who’s Being Erica, and why is she in the middle of my War reportage? Maybe after the War correspondence desk gets some shut eye will it make more sense. Maybe after some sleep will the War correspondence desk will stop referring to himself as a desk in the third person.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

War on Trash: Day 8 (with rainbows)

Posted on June 29th, 2009 3 Comments

They marched in solidarity; all marched in peace; many marched with stately grace; some marched with erections.

Pride two-oh-nine. Despite the overcast, it was a blast. People of all sorts showed up, from the surprisingly foreign to the surprisingly naked:


Wow! Bet you didn’t expect that with your Sunday croissant! But it wasn’t all fun and free-swingin’ frolic. General Miller scurried through the crowd seeking out insurgents and taking them out with his bare hands:


The man in the middle of the group conducting himself surreptitiously is Adam Vaughan. He’s not been too popular with the electorate lately; maybe that’s why he’s hanging out with my girl. Too bad being awesome doesn’t rub off as easily as body glitter.

I imagined the boisterous procession would be a wonderful morale booster and I think the crowd supported that idea. Everyone screamed as loudly as they could at every opportunity, trampling trash underfoot to demonstrate their spirit of solidarity and resoluteness. The throng was composed of every age, every colour, every race, every gender, and many in between:

olive-mee(this is Olive Mee)

As you may recall, I had eagerly anticipated the military portion of the parade. Keeping in mind that the two Canadian tanks we have are off fighting the War, I was pleasantly surprised to see almost the entire remaining fighting force winding its way down Yonge street:


As the parade wound down and out onto Gerrard (yeah, it’s that kind of street), the crowd dispersed in every direction creating that hilarious people-wedged-in-the-doorway moment. On a much bigger scale. It wasn’t funny being part of it though. The trash underfoot was making all sorts of ridiculous noises and everybody wanted to stop in the middle of the sidewalk to make a phone call. The only people to escape the crush were the people hanging off the sides of buildings:


How’s that for not liking trash? They don’t even want to be on the same level as it!

True patriots.

At the end of the day I was filled with renewed pride (so that’s why they call it that!), renewed hope, and renewed vision. And the streets are neater today than they were yesterday! Well done. Well done.


I even got a little naked.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

War on Trash: Day 5

Posted on June 26th, 2009 2 Comments

The pictorial War on Trash was eclipsed today by other news: the death of Michael Jackson. Details on his death are still somewhat sketchy but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he was smothered by an imploded face.

Unfortunately, the news machine has managed to omit some of the truly important details while focusing on the less relevant.

For example, Michael Levine (Jackson’s former manager), is quoted as saying, “It seemed to me that his internal essence was at war with the norms of the world.” Uh-huh. If by “internal essence” he meant penis, and by “norms of the world” he meant adults. The explanations for Michael’s behaviour were as clunky as that analogy. I grew up with his music just like all the other teary-eyed mourners out there, but he’s still a kiddy diddler. That kinda spoils it for me.

Come to think of it, we’ve really been under-served by our the media during this conflict. The strike survival guides that have been prepared for civilians leave a lot to be desired. Here are some samples citing how to deal with trash:

Hold onto it

There are no words to express how disappointed I am that this should be suggestion number one on this list. My imagination actually hurts now.

In the CFRB version (which links to a dry, generic Blogger blog), we find this incriminating gem hidden at the bottom:

Get out of town

I believe that’s called DEFECTION DURING WARTIME! … and is considered high treason.


And that was all I could find. Pretty sad, huh?

Here’s some advice from my close and personal friend, Generalissimo Pragmatico:

  1. Sauces flush.
  2. It’s not your garbage if it’s your neighbour’s.
  3. Raccoons’ll eat anything. (but away from your place –- shifty fuckers learn fast)
  4. Most perishables can eventually be puréed. See 1.

We won’t win this war if General Miller’s propaganda office isn’t making an effort. It’s a war of image as much as it is a war of trash; filthy, dirty trash [spit disgustedly].

We have to win.

Filed under: B Sides

War on Trash: Day 4

Posted on June 25th, 2009 Be the first to comment

the big kahunaSome time in the red-eye hours of this morning, the commander in chief (left) made the heroic decision to dig in his heels and prepare for a lengthy siege.

The first step was to set up detention centres for asylum seekers; the city has no doubt that we’ll be seeing many defectors from the other side. I was skeptical but hardly had they opened the gates than the first truckload was brought in.

Despite looking exactly like the deathly piles of trash we’ve been witness to, this lively group made a conscious decision to abandon their ranks:

moss park compound

Of course, this skill for mimicry makes them that much more dangerous. I remain skeptical.

General Miller is offering an olive branch; let’s see what happens. But just in case:

moss park compound

The building in the back is the Moss Park Armoury; no coincidence. I don’t mean to say that I’m a fan of herding bags into steel cages with guns pointed at them, but I’m also a pragmatist. I hope for the best but know that this is all likely necessary.

The short distance to my flat is unnerving, but I suppose nowhere in this town is safe. Even the front lawn is  a short distance from becoming a pedestrian parade of obscenities:

blue suede gross

That’s what war does to people; make them write using words like “pedestrian” and “obscenities”. And “parade”. What a price.

Actually kinda sounds like Pride. Words too. I expect to see a few military men there. Certainly uniforms of some kind. And it’ll be one of the few areas that’ll be trash-free thanks to a private security firm. Gaydar towers scanning continuously on all frequencies, water bottle and condom distribution duty; some among them will make the ultimate sacrifice and go commando*.

These are the unsung heroes of the war. Maybe I’ll have the honour of telling their tales one day.

* I had a spin-off with G-String Joe and COBRA but it just started getting out of hand. Sorry.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

War on Trash: Day 3

Posted on June 24th, 2009 5 Comments

It was jungle warfare today.

My unit scurried through the bush thick with heat and humidity. [funny va-jay-jay-joke here]. The trees were abuzz with tension and frenzy. Birds were playing dangerous walk under if you dare games, clinging to wires and branches, and aiming. Always aiming.

Then, happening so suddenly I didn’t even notice, I was hit from a wire-bound sniper!

It took me a few steps and the sudden feeling of warm, watery goop running down my arm to realize what had happened. Not thinking, not feeling, just acting, I quickly staunched the wound with a napkin. Only when I was satisfied that it had absorbed all that it could did I lift the corners of the makeshift bandage.

Clear. Good news! It was only a flesh wound! No … wait … bird poo is supposed to be opaque. Maybe that bird wasn’t healthy. Hmmm.

No. No time for regret. No time for tears. Have to keep moving on. War doesn’t stop to be grumpy.

The unit resumed it’s march. Just a little farther down the trail, we encountered a booby trap:

booby trap

Cunning, but easily defused. A sure sign we were getting closer.

The insects shrieked around us as we pushed through the soupy air. The noise of the nearing conflict was beginning to grow. Or maybe it was the nearby cabs. It was just really loud and hot.

On a nearby ridge, we found scattered propaganda and spent artillery shells:


According to our source, we would soon be where we needed to go.

As we descended down the embankment, we found it. Right in the middle of the jungle, a pile unlike any I’d seen yet:


And then, even farther down where the skeletal trees met the dead earth, more carnage:


When they failed me, someone nearby had chiseled out my words for me:

GST still payable

You may now weep.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

War on Trash: Day 2

Posted on June 23rd, 2009 3 Comments

Today was an eerily quiet day in the city. Signs of battle were quietly hidden in dumpsters and alleys. You might never know that a war was going on; unless you went to the western front.

Here, the boys are being pressed back into service:

western front

They’re doing their best given the circumstances, and sometimes even getting a helping hand from the locals. There was a big pile of yellow garbage bags where this cage used to be:

western front

Trust me, the little Chinese lady camouflaged inside the ramshackle shop is one of us. And enjoys sitting on trash.

In all possible ways, people all over the city are getting involved in the resistance. At some of the transfer stations (more like detention camps), the waste is piling up very high, very quickly.

That’s where the 416/79 platoon is stationed. I don’t know what their strategy is, but marching around in front of summer-heated garbage seems ill-planned. Or maybe the plan is so deviously Machiavellian that I couldn’t even begin to comprehend it.

Despite their best planning, strategy, and all sorts of fancy antique maps with blustery men exhaling trade winds, the stark reality is that it’s far too late for some:

western front

I’m sorry folks, but that’s the real face of war; it was never meant to be pretty.  The horror and revulsion you feel is normal; tell the world what you saw here!

Now, as the sun descends again, it seems as if everyone in the city is taking a long deep breath; preparing for an onslaught of heat and misery. I also wait with bated breath, Oliver crouched on the floor beside me, both of us ready for the darkness.

And tomorrow, hell. Also, maybe no booze!

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

War on Trash: Day 1

Posted on June 22nd, 2009 Be the first to comment

It is with heavy heart that I adopt my new responsibility of embedded reporter in the War on Trash. I took this role because, despite my fear, I know that someone in this city needs to get the word out; tell the people what’s really going on out here. Plus I live here.

Yesterday, as Much Music crowded the streets in a brilliant display of terrible musical taste (ohmygodohmygod!), soft-core porn, and just plain garbage, the 416/79 infantry began their tactical strike. Everyone was too busy watching Lady GaGa’s disco-stickery and highly impractical haircut to notice what was going on. Amidst the insane shrieking of pubescent teens, none but a few liquor-hardened reporters bunkered down in the CityTV newsroom took notice of the descending doom.

At midnight, war was declared.

By morning, the bandaged and patched casualties were starting to come in from the front lines:


Only later did I learn that the first salvo wasn’t fired by the other side or even by us. It was fired by a southern neighbour taking a shot at Perez Hilton. Some time in the yawningly early hours of Monday morning, trash became enemy and we got the first shot in. Thanks, America.

This is where it started; ground-zero:

ground zero

Later today, I saw the first fatality of the war:

First fatality

…and soon more:


The scenes are horrible, but I fear much worse and soon. And even more troubling is the new garbage bag that I installed in the kitchen today. Currently it only holds a few bits of trash, but pretty soon it will fill like all the others; swell with refuse and pride, become unruly, attack me in the middle of the night!

As the the dull shelling from my computer’s speakers draws nearer, I gather the reusables in the corner of my flat and wait. And wait. And watch. In the direction of the kitchen.

I won’t get much sleep tonight.

P.S. Congratulations to Renee for winning the Coffeetastic Giveaway! You couldn’t have chosen a worse time.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

The Coffeetastic Giveaway Contest / Plea

Posted on June 18th, 2009 9 Comments

empty first cup

Isn’t that a tragic sight? I realized that I had neglected my ongoing campaign for free Second Cup coffee!

Well, once again I want to praise the graces of this wonderful establishment. Hosanna on highest! Blessed is he who walketh with re-usable mug (also available in stylish assortments from your nearby Second Cup location).

Now, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m getting something for writing this. No sir; 100% unsolicited and, as yet, unrewarded. But definitely my own initiative. I’m asking for free coffee for heaven’s sake!

But seriously, when the wise executives at Second Cup realize what an opportunity this is, I’m ready to talk shop. Gentlemen, I take mine black.

Other than a lack of great coffee, it’s been pretty flat here at the TCL abode. A blanket of dull, grey cloud is oozing it’s way eastward and keeping the streets shiny. It seems to have washed all of yesterday’s colourful characters off the street.

Me? I’ve been rummaging through those terribly time-consuming Toronto Archives again. I always enjoy looking at the photos and creating captions for what’s going on in the scene. But it’s been called to my attention that my interpretation may not always be the correct one. Well, I choose to squeeze that lemon rather than let it make me sour. Not good with coffee either.

So in honour of that most excellent hot beverage company, I would like to open up the floor for ya’ll. Write a caption for a photo in the comments and / or rate others’ using the shiny stars (10 being the best).

I’m going to make this post sticky (ha! No, not in that way. Gross!), until Sunday night (let’s say 8 o’clock). The best comment (if it’s a tie I toss all the winners’ asses into a random number generator and have it sort it out), gets a bag of Second Cup coffee (yes I’ll pay the goddamn s&h – but no air shipping!)  or a prominent ad in the sidebar for a month. Sweetest deal on the web, my friends.

Yeah, well; still better than getting kicked in the nuts, am I right?

Comment as many times as you like, just don’t forget to leave your email address (held in strictest confidence!) with each one so I can get a hold of you later!

Profanity will be absolutely tolerated. Encouraged, even.

Here’s the photo; I believe you will find it amply titillating:


Filed under: B Sides, Pictures


Posted on June 17th, 2009 5 Comments


It started with screaming. Not the usual neighbourhood screaming for the hallucinatory demon to get off the street (he could get hit by a car!). That guy was by at 2 A.M. and he was surely all tuckered out by sunrise. And not the Chinese guy walking by my window now with outbursts of Mandarin-sounding … something.

No, this screamer was a bit more risqué. He was yelling at the sky for them to come and kill him already. He exclaimed he wasn’t afraid to die and tore at his clothes. Picking up a rock, he demonstrated how easily he could dash his own brains out, and then threw it at the cement so forcefully that it shattered. He implored for them to “beam” him out of this “cube” already. I think I detected some tears mixed in with all that rage.

Two cops were already en route from the bottom of the street by the time I passed him.


Hump day. It always seems a little skewed but today it was quite oblique.

theeyeshaveitI like to sit at the back of the streetcar in the little semi-circular huddle space. When I sat down this morning, it was empty and relaxed. Five minutes into the ride, every seat was taken. The elderly gentleman with wispy white hair who sat to my immediate left opened up his newspaper, and mumbled something gleefully as he pointed to a headline. I didn’t think much of it until he did it again, but this time without the pointing or the happiness. Then he did it again. And again. Then a whole-body tremor. Then more mormmblingg. And so on for the next six stops.

The man who sat to his left had his eyes open uncomfortably wide, not unlike the fellow at our left. With a winter parka over one knee and an occasional spastic jerk, he smacked his lips noisily at the passing scenery. And you know what? Not a single cake or ice cream shop in sight!

I don’t remember the Weather Channel calling for crazy today. Even the schizophrenic atmosphere caught quite a few people off guard. The morning was a stark, sunny deluge of insanity and the afternoon a sleepy, sedated pillow of rain. *yawn* Even the Chinese guy sounds tired.

I hope everyone gets a good night’s sleep and we can all try again tomorrow. And no skipping the meds this time!

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

Happy HoliDa ys, YOUR UniOn

Posted on June 16th, 2009 Be the first to comment

I had my heart broken by the union back when I was in my mid-teens, schlepping books around at Cedarbrae Library. I was tough; I grew up on the gritty streets of Scabby Row. So did my sister. And our pets. And folks, of course. Come to think of it, it was a pretty nice neighbourhood.

But I was hard.

Then, just before Christmas one year, I was handed an envelope. On it, in scratchy writing was “Happy HoliDa ys, YOUR UniOn”. Hand-written; that couldn’t be good. It felt thick – was this a letter bomb? Had my antics finally pissed them off?

I tore into it. What in god’s name could it be? I flipped it over and shook the open end over my palm in front of everyone (that way we would all go together – including the bastard who delivered it).

With a yule tide jingle, out came exactly $2.47 in change.

I believe it was a dollar coin, four quarters, four dimes, a nickel, two well-worn pennies, and one face in absolute disbelief. I held the envelope up to the light to see if there was anything else in there.

Nope. Nada.

And that’s how it ended. No goodbye. No thanks for the dinner. Nothing. Not even a hello.

That was, in fact, the first I’d heard that I was in a union and that I had been paying fees off every paycheck. I don’t recall signing anything or anyone welcoming me into the “brotherhood”.  I felt so violated.

The stuff in the envelope were the crumbs distributed to part-time lackeys like me; a fair cut of whatever unwilling contribution I had made to their organization over the past year. For a kid who could clear two to four-hundred a paycheck, that was just a slap in the face. Ooh! I can buy a coffee! — Here, keep it. No seriously; buy yourself something frilly.

God, I was a petulant youth.

But that’s the impression unions left on me. So when I hear that CUPE 416/79 are ready to strike, I’m already a bit defensive. When I see the mess that the garbage crew (of that union) leave on the streets every week, I’m also not enthusiastic. And when I compare their demands to cushy private sector jobs like mine, I think they’re being pretty bold.

But that’s not so bad, not when you read the latest few items on CUPE 416’s own site. Their further demands are that “all concessions” (of which there are 118), that the city has tabled for discussion be cleared. In other words: “City, our members want to communicate just how much we don’t give a shit about any of what you want.” (Wow! Somebody got into the wrong cookie dough!)

I’m going to point out the blazingly obvious and say that this is the worst time for that kind of approach.

I’m sure the hammer swings both ways, but Monday’s the day when the city could be without trash pickup, and for what?

For the love of all that is good and holy, won’t someone please remember Chinatown!


Do you support the CUPE 416/79 strike action?

  • What's a CUPE? (61%)
  • No - CHINATOWN! (33%)
  • Yes - I am definitely evil (6%)

Most readers say: What's a CUPE?

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Filed under: Pictures, Why I'm Right