Shakespeare with a banana

Posted on January 7th, 2010 6 great comments. Room for one more!

It happened again! When I read the story, I knew something about it sounded really familiar.

And it was.

Basically, some old guy in Barrie decided to clean the busy street in front of his house using his snow blower. In the middle of the afternoon commute. Inebriated. Police had to arrest him for his own protection. Oh the podunkery.

Similar to the earlier incident in Keswick where a fellow was caught riding his mower all over the road, also pickled. Also hilarious.

Keswick is north-east of Toronto, Barrie north-west. Both are picturesque and both have that sex-with-the-cousin-behind-the-barn kinda feel to them.

I’ll grant that Barrie is a large city so that’s a broad generalization, and it’s increasingly common for people to commute to Toronto from there. Citytv’s Kevin Frankish makes the drive every day although with his crazy TV hours he probably doesn’t get to experience the nightmare that is the 400 commute. I mean, if the 401 is hell on four wheels then I figure the 400 has to be at least at the nightmarish level, no? The Toronto Star clocked the average speed on Toronto highways at 42 kilometres (26 miles) per hour. The speed limit is 100 kilometres (62 miles) per hour.

If the road was running at 100% capacity — as envisioned back in the early fifties when everyone had one and a half grotesque kids (the half would have to be, wouldn’t they?), a sparkly new highway stretched out to the future just behind your back yard, and dad smoked a pipe — everyone should still be able to drive at the limit, albeit surrounded by their neighbours. However, because of the marvellous correlation to percentages, we can easily see that the highways of today are running at 158% capacity (every kilometre in speed lost is a percent in capacity gained). At 200%, the commute will cease to be.

That’s kind of the funny thing about all those people who complain about how unfair life is for them as drivers; they have a lot of compelling points, I won’t take that away from them, but who cares? It’s obviously untenable and not getting any better. Doesn’t matter what I say about it. Doesn’t matter what they say about it. You either start preparing for some Mad Max action or you take alternative measures. Now I, personally, prefer to walk. But if there’s going to be some awesome rolling carnage along the Don Valley Parkway, I’d be down with that too. As a spectator.

Oh, and speaking of really familiar (skilfully referring back to the top), do you remember the five-cent plastic bag fee that started back in June? Seems like a lot of people missed the news – I still hear it being called a tax. Nothing could be further from the truth, dear reader! It is a fee, put into place by the city, but collected – and used – by the retailers. Not a penny goes to the city; the shop owners are supposed to decide what to do with all those pretty shiny nickels.

This wasn’t as a result of an outcry from shopkeepers who were losing money on bags, it was put in by City Hall to try to cut down their overall use (and disposal). And that part has worked pretty well. But lots of people questioned why the city wasn’t collecting that money (or at least a part of it). They’re doing it in Washington DC, and it seems to be working well for them. Telling a businessman that he can put up a bunch of new swings around the corner with the money he’s collected is kind of like telling a monkey he could write Shakespeare with a banana. We all know exactly what that businessman is going to do with that banana. No, government must step in and snatch the banana from that spiteful monkey’s hands.

And to back up my assertions, I offer up the cases of Weizhen Tang and Stan Grmovsek. Tang is accused of running a ponzi scheme – take from a new “customer” and give part of that to existing ones, repeat – and Stan got mixed up with a bunch of no-good Bay Street types in an insider trading affair. They corrupted an innocent lawyer!

Who knows what the city could do with that money; new mass transit, better roads, alcohol treatment centres. They could even sponsor the Don Valley Parkway Drive-Till-You-Die competition – how many birds would that stone kill, huh?

6 Comments on “ Shakespeare with a banana ”

  • Kato
    January 8th, 2010 3:09 pm

    Any post that spews sex with cousins, Kevin Frankish and Mad Max, is a very well written post in my eyes.

    Thank you!

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  • Patrick
    January 11th, 2010 7:32 am

    Thanks, Kato :) I please to aim.

  • The Exaggerator
    January 8th, 2010 4:34 pm

    Meanwhile, there ARE alternatives to the madness on the 400 for Barrie commuters via GO Transit–as in GO Trains weekdays to and from Barrie South and GO Buses serving Barrie and surrounds (including pretty much all the communities surrounding Lake Simcoe) through the week (including weekends).

    In the case of GO Trains, extensive track upgrades were required to make the whole possible.

    So what would preclude more from Barrie considering GO Transit for once?

    Read more from The Exaggerator at:
  • Patrick
    January 11th, 2010 7:35 am

    It's true, Exaggerator. For places like Barrie, GO might be worthwhile. For me I found that the costs of driving and GO-ing were about the same (parking / insurance / gas / regular maintenance / etc. included). My brother-in-law, on the other hand, swears by the GO train, so it must be worth it for him. It'll probably differ from person to person, but except for the convenience factor, it wasn't for me.

  • RE - A BadGalSays
    January 11th, 2010 5:52 pm

    driving in toronto is for those who have all the time in the world to get somewhere; honestly. there is no way to ever get anywhere quick on the 401. then you mention Don Mills. Ha!

    I take public transport as much as possible when in toronto. it's just designed to get you places cars have a hard time doing. I take viarail to toronto; then a tram to lodging or a taxi. better than those ridiculous tickets they hand out to make you not want to drive and park.

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  • Patrick
    January 13th, 2010 7:36 am

    Bang on, BadGal. The trick to getting around downtown is unencumberance (if that's not a word, it should be), which includes stripping yourself of the two-tonne baggage. I've never taken VIA but it sounds like a classy way to travel :)

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