Archive for November, 2009

This scared the kids, so it was satisfactory

Posted on November 30th, 2009 10 Comments

There’s been more than one occasion when someone’s asked me, “Does anyone actually go to these things? Like, stand out there in the cold?” This is the most common response to my initial, “I’m going to (an outdoor winter event).”

I then typically follow up by popping open a browser (this is usually at work), hitting TCL, and showing them last year’s thing. “Wow, you’d never catch me out there freezing my ass off”, is typically the next statement. “Well, you keep warm by virtue of shared body heat. That’s what makes the evening so magical; improper touching”, I try to sell it. But that’s usually not enough. After revelations that there’s no booze and that the place is swarming with kids, the conversation just peters off into other subjects, “So … Toronto City Life … what is that, a government website?” “Yup.” “Not very interesting.” “Yeah.” ”Have lunch yet?” “Nope.”

People are too jaded. Perhaps because they’re hungry. The Cavalcade of Lights, with this year’s record lack of snow, didn’t really classify as a winter event, so all that hoopla about buttocks falling of in the cold were for naught. The kids were there, but you couldn’t hear them over the din of the show and any ones caught underfoot were pretty much fair game so that problem wasn’t overly daunting. I managed to get up to the front of the crowd with barely any resistance:

cavalcade of lights, 2009, show, crowd, show, stage, nathan phillips square, city hall, toronto, city, life

The alcohol prohibition thing is also a bit of a moot point. I was not once searched even though I carried a bag big enough to conceal a small keg. A mickey stolen away in a coat pocket would most certainly have gone unnoticed, or you could do as any self-respecting adult would and simply go already lubricated. Essentially, sobriety is for children, the infirm, and stupid people.

But I don’t want to get hung up on methods of smuggling drinks in because with the kind of cover you get in both the scenery and the crowd, you can pretty much set up a temporary shelter where you and your junkie friends can shoot up in complete privacy. Drinking? Please, the cops have bigger things to worry about. Like heroin addicts. Or those guys that sell all that light-up crap that the kids use once before it explodes toxically in the car on the way home. Domestic-quality Chinese products are always hit-and-miss:

cavalcade of lights, 2009, show, crowd, show, stage, nathan phillips square, city hall, toronto, city, life

The best way to avoid these shuckers of mens’ wallets is to simply avoid them. Look for the guys with the craziest head gear — dead giveaway — and beeline it in the other direction. If you have children with you, a) Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Hehe! Hahaha! *wipe tear* Oh man. Why would you do something like that? and b) Avert their gaze from crazy hat guy. If nothing else, at least save yourself some cash.

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Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

Sad-eyed kitties and puppies and vile diarrhea you wouldn’t want

Posted on November 26th, 2009 16 Comments

Bill Carroll implored me not to rush to judgement about the Toronto Humane Society scandal as I was throwing my clothes on this morning. I silently promised I would, but I have to be honest, my happy side disappears pretty readily when I hear about people abusing animals. It’s like beating up on kids or midgets; I don’t need to explain why that’s wrong. And I’m pretty sure most people would agree with me.

The scandal centers mostly around allegations of abuse and mistreatment of the animals in the King Street shelter:

justice parks wherever it wants

You know, all the sad-eyed kitties and puppies that make me wanna punch whoever hurts them in the friggin’ face!! How does that feel, huh?! HUH?!

*breathe deep*

*exhale slowly*

Everything’s good! :D

So yeah, I really don’t approve of that kind of behaviour. But Bill brought up a good point, many of these animals are brought to the shelter in this state. Of course some of them will look abused, that’s why they’re here. And yes, sadly, some of them die or have to be put down because their injuries are too serious. The shelter makes no secret of this:

humane society, king street west, scandal, pets, dogs, cats, toronto, city, life

However, three things have come together that make me look at the situation with a whole lotta suspicion.

First is my own, albeit single, interaction with the Humane Society in Durham. The facilities were nice, the animals healthy and clean, so nothing bothered me on that end. But the staff, I dunno, didn’t really seem to care a whole lot about animals. And I thought it was odd that they seemed to be dissuading me from taking home a cat: “that one’s not very friendly, that one’s very sick, she’s blind and tends to break stuff, he’s had the most vile diarrhea for months…” In some cases, the conditions for adopting a pet seemed a bit steep: no going outside, no interactions with other animals going outside, no other animals altogether, no flats, no rural homes, no children, no balconies, and a few other things.

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Filed under: Pictures, Why I'm Right

From the desk of Patrick

Posted on November 25th, 2009 4 Comments
from my desk to yours

eyes of the tiger!Office of Toronto City Councillor McConnell
Attn: Councillor McConnell

Hey, Pam-pam! What’s shakin’, baby? Seems like it’s been ages since we chatted, huh? Come to think of it, I don’t think we ever chatted. We’ve never met, as a matter of fact. But with this new scrutiny about the plane trip you took this summer, I wanted to reach out and let you know you have supporters out there. At least one. Here.

In returning from Florida to put in your vote on this summer’s garbage strike, you helped to break the impasse put in place by the very people now pointing their fingers your way. I’m not sure that $1,100 was the cheapest flight you could’ve found, but compared to the waste and mismanagement proffered by the rest of Toronto Council, this is a pittance. If I contributed to your flight from my own exorbitant taxes, I want you to know that I’m not sore about it. Probably cost me, like, a hundredth of a penny. You’re welcome.

Besides, if you were required return to Toronto to do your job during that special emergency vote, it would have been negligent if you didn’t try to get back quickly. I wouldn’t take any flak from anyone over this if I were you. Show ‘em a letter from your satisfied constituent if they think you’re pulling a fast one on them.

Basically, Pammers, don’t let them get you down. You’re doing your job, and you’re doing it well; the other councillors are just jealous. One day they’ll be in jail for whatever illicit underage sexual relationships they’re engaged in (aren’t they screwing the innocent?), and you and I will laugh about it over a couple of cold ones.

Stalwartly yours,
Patrick

from my desk to yours

To the cyclists of Toronto,

Okay, I admit it, I feel for you. A bit.

When cops start blocking bike lanes to stop off for lunch, that’s a little much. I think everyone’s in agreement that this is just not right. If it’s a fine for the officer, so be it. If there’s an additional reprimand, I don’t think it would be out of place. After all, if the police are going to be enforcing something, they should be following it, otherwise John Q. Lawman won’t be getting much respect around here.

Your beef with many car drivers is a perfectly valid one and this is a fine example. The problem I’m seeing is that there’s a whole lotta antagonism between both sides and no one is making any progress. I see you screaming at cars, many of whom have just made innocent mistakes, sometimes just to vent, sometimes for very good reason indeed. I see them shaking their fists back, neck veins so strained that a pinprick would just instantly fill the inside of the car with red. Woh-oh-oh-hoaw there! Just hang on a second, therre, Nelly. Is it getting hot out here? Let’s just take a deep breath.

I’ve been on both sides of that glass. There are most certainly jerk-hole drivers, and without a doubt jerk-hole cyclists. Jerk-hole pedestrians too. The conclusion I’ve come to is that I’m not going to depend on anyone out there, especially not the jerk-holes, to prevent my death. Besides, there’s plenty of opportunity for death at the hands of other types of drivers: tired, distracted, drunk, high, having a cardiac arrest, having a stroke, having a mechanical failure, etc.

So, you can point at the motorists all you want, but the onus is on you to take responsibility for your own actions first. It’s tempting to just say fuck it when your life is threatened so often, but I urge you to stick it out. Obey the rules of the road to the best of your ability. At the same time, you should expect no less from your fellow travellers. And now you also have a much stronger moral position from which to cuss people off. You can flip them a most righteous bird.

Or you also try talking to people. If they’re parked in the bike lane, why not give them the benefit of the doubt? Maybe they really don’t know what the lane is for. You’ve got tourists and other out-of-towners driving around and the signage around the city’s already pretty crazy. I drove downtown for years and still managed to do lots of inadvertently illegal stuff; rarely did I try to murder cyclists. The two aren’t related.

If I could leave you with one thing it would be this: imagine the surprised driver who, after dangerously cutting you off, finds himself having a friendly and relaxed conversation with you (instead of the usual scream) who explains why that maneuver back there really wasn’t such a good idea. Now you’re not just another jerk-hole cyclist, you’re a human being who’s just trying to get through the day. Just like the driver. Queue rapport! And … action!

Shift that paradigm, as we used to say in the nineties. Oh, and Pam McConnell’s on your side; let that lofty perspective keep you afloat.

I’m still convinced that the cyclist who died hanging off the side of Michael Bryant’s car was being a jerk, but he was just one individual with a mess of personal problems. If he’s going to be the poster boy for something, let it be the end of an era.

Pedestrianly yours,
Patrick

from my desk to yours

To the former From the desk of Patrick,

Awww crap. Sorry, pal. I thought I was using a copy, I swear, if I knew I was changing the original, I never would’ve done it!

I didn’t have the heart to try to re-write you. Also, I don’t have an idea what you were about. Something regarding sweaters? *sigh*

You’re up in post heaven now with all the other posts that get deleted by naive blog owners (when will they learn?!)

I hope you had a good life here, brief as it was. Your candle blew out long before your legend ever did. Sir Elton John.

Regretfully,
Patrick

Filed under: B Sides