Posts Tagged ‘ alcohol ’

Whisdom of the Chairman

Posted on April 19th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Sarah and I were invited to sip and discuss the somewhat misnomer-ed Canadian Club Whisky (it’s American-owned although it has deep roots here), at a promotional event hosted at her old alma mater.

There was the traditional tasting of some of CC’s star products, straight up…

good beginnings

…and mixed…

all for me?

I find the CC version of a 12-year-old to be less smooth than a comparable Macallan, but comparing pricey Scotch and North American whisky probably isn’t fair.

Not that it really matters much; I wouldn’t classify myself as a CC drinker (or whisky, for that matter), but I could definitely see myself ordering a few of the tasty drinks we sampled. The food, consisting of nibbles supplied by Tundra, was also great.


But probably the best part of the event was the fact that the Canadian Club Chairman was walking around, mingling, and generally making himself available to the guests.

brown-nosing with the Chariman

If you don’t recognize him, maybe this will help:

He’s not shy to rub shoulders with the hoi polloi…

is someone standing behind me?

…or to bring his son to events…

that's the guy

Sarah and I caught up in person with Toronto’s social media scenesters, drank till we were glowing, and made friends with the caterers (you never know!)

We were also pleased to see a number local businesses being supported as part of Canadian Club’s campaign. Both inside and outside the great hall, these locals rounded off the manly inspiration behind the CC campaign with things like men’s cuts, personal grooming products, and suits.

Many thanks to Canadian Club and Praxis PR for having us and for the generous swag bags we lugged home.



Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Videos

The Star responds to Ford

Posted on March 27th, 2013 1 Comment


This is, of course, in response to Ford’s latest bluster about how people need to sue him when he calls them liars (I’m sure it makes sense to him).

Filed under: Contributed, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Ford to liars: “take me to court”

Posted on March 27th, 2013 2 Comments

In response to the (somewhat) explosive allegations yesterday that Rob Ford is almost perpetually publicly plastered, the mayor responded by inviting his accusers to take him to court:

“It’s just lies after lies and lies, and I’ve called you guys pathological liars, and you are, so why don’t you take me to court? Let the courts decide. You guys are liars!”

I’m pretty sure Rob doesn’t read TCL, but I know his handlers do so this little tidbit of advice might find its way into his ear: when someone’s slandering or libeling you, it’s you who take them to court, not the other way around.

Also, it’s worthwhile to keep in mind that although the Star revealed the information, of you’re going to be suing anyone it should be the well-named and very public people who are sourced in the newspaper’s claims.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Time for a test

Posted on March 26th, 2013 Be the first to comment

The Star’s Robyn Doolittle seems to be gunning close to the core Rob Ford issue of the moment: his alcohol / drug abuse. Not terribly surprising given both the rumours and some earlier contacts (this date last year, in fact):


The story, apparently, is that Rob made another slovenly mess of himself at a war veteran’s charity ball, and had to be shown out.

Three members of the Garrison Ball organizing committee said Ford was asked to leave because he appeared impaired. One said, “he seemed either drunk, high or had a medical condition.”

Doolittle goes on to name a variety of sadly but understandably anonymous (all fearing the mayor’s wrath),  sources who detail the alcoholism that Rob Ford is “battling with” (seems like a warm embrace to me, but that’s just my take). Some of the guest descriptions of Ford from the military ball, however, should remind us that there’s probably more than alcohol involved:

“incoherent,” “stumbling,” “rambling,” “intoxicated,” “slurring,” “seemed to be drunk,” “was nervous, excited, sweaty, out of it.”

I’ve had my fair share of alcohol, and I can’t say that I’ve ever been nervous or excited. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I know that Fordites are going to cling to their main mass no matter what, but to the rest of us, doesn’t it seem like maybe it’s time for a random drug test? And before anyone raises a fuss about inequality, I’d definitely be in favour of all the Councillors taking one.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

The Downgritty, pt.1

Posted on January 18th, 2010 9 Comments

Okay, so I just made up a word for the title. I think, dear reader, you will find it quite apt toward the end of this series as we get down and gritty with Kensington Market, the motherless whore of Babylon. Alright, maybe not that bad, but still pretty gritty, at least for Toronto.

Before I start, and in case you’re wondering, I keep making these in series simply because I end up with a molehilly mountain of photos that I can’t deliver all in one go (a further bunch sits unused in my “keepers” folder). I would not subject you to a twenty megabyte download, dear reader. That’s rude. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, let me just say I’m concerned about not abusing your hard-earned time. Especially not with lengthy and, ultimately, completely unnecessary spiels about how I wouldn’t abuse your time. I mean, wouldn’t I be wasting your time by alerting you, in a wastefully lengthy manner, to the fact that I’m trying not to waste your time? Aren’t I doing that right now through the use of excessively wordy questions? And any apology I could offer would now be adding insult to injury because I’m just stretching it out even more? And why am I still going on knowing all of this?

Recursive introspection, it’s not just for breakfast anymore. :D

But the trip to the market did have a bit of a serious note to it though. At least for a little while.

ems, emergency medical services, drunk, ambulance, sidewalk, dundas street west, toronto, city, life

Of course, if you see something like this on the street, it is incumbent on you to stop and gape. So I did.

Dead? Mugged? No, just plain old alkeehol. One reclining woman and one reposed man doing his thing on the warm vent grate. The thing being him being passed out.

Momentarily, a somewhat dishevelled gentleman propped himself up against the wall I was against. He pulled his open coat behind his back with his right hand, his left making a boozily odd angle with the wall, and he leaned in slowly saying, “that’s my woman over there.” “Oh, yeah?”, I replied, partially expecting him to commence the pummeling he was holding at the ready back there for the offense I had just committed (I don’t think the details matter that much when you’re drunk).

Instead, he continued, “yeah, I can’t go over there cuz I’m drunk.” Well now there’s a pickle, isn’t it? What does one do with a statement like that? “Oh yeah?”, I replied.

“Yeah, I’m drunk, and that’s my woman. I can’t go over there right now. Oh shit, they’re not taking her?”

I guess he’d been expecting the emergency crew to gurney her up along with the snoozing dude and get her to a warm place, but she made that one classic mistake that all amateur streetfolk do: sitting up making slurringly idle chatter with the paramedics. Not really an emergency at that point, so no hospital bed.

“Well, at least she’s alright”, I tried to console him. “That’s my woman over there”, he insisted. “Right, I got that”, I nodded back.

The conversation didn’t pick up much after that. But, thankfully, the ambulance packed up and left, so the man was free to lumber back across the street to his woman where, I’m sure, he reminded her that she was his woman. Probably also informed her that he was drunk.

That was my cue and I double-timed it toward Chinatown (and Kensington Market).

chinatownm sidewalk, signs, signage, dundas street west, toronto, city, life

Chinatown is also gritty. And I don’t mean the trash, that’s kinda normal. You have the trash, the grimy streets, the graffiti; even the most illustrious establishments are tagged up like it’s going outta style.

goldstone noodle restaurant, chinatown, spadina avenue, toronto, city, life

Oh but please don’t let me mislead you, dear reader, I think gritty’s great. I may not be able to read MC Snuhrb’s tag on yonder wall, but it certainly adds to the ambiance. The ramshackle nature of the whole area makes me think that it could all be torn down in a matter of hours and replaced with something of equally wonky construction. So much stuff … so precariously perched. Exciting!

fruit market, chinatown, dundas street west, toronto, city, life

But that’s Chinatown. Let’s see how all those European immigrants do it, shall we? On to the market!

Continued in next part…

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

Shakespeare with a banana

Posted on January 7th, 2010 6 Comments

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?

Filed under: B Sides


Posted on December 10th, 2009 8 Comments

Today, of course, I heard all the stories. In the back of a cab on the way to the club with the boss; that was a good one. Certain alcohol-fueled flirtations upon arrival at said club. Good, good. Keep it coming :)

Unfortunately, I bailed from the office Christmas party at close to two in the morning. Technically, the party was over, but it usually just disperses to another locale. Took me some time to convince my cubicle buddy that we didn’t split at midnight as he kept insisting we did. I may have been sloshed, but if I can stand, I’m usually pretty with it. The service stopped at midnight … ah, that’s why it seemed like we left at that time. Right, right.

I felt like it was a pretty full night. We closed the doors on The Academy of Spherical Arts, a bar and restaurant with swanky pool tables and plush couches. You put your beer down anywhere and they leap out from behind the counter with a machete and cut you down like the savage animal you are.

the academy of spherical arts, pool, table, bar, restaurant, snooker, billiards, toronto, city, life

Despite the plethora of criticisms I have for the company, their ability to throw a good party is without reproach. In the summer we gather at the top boss’ house (top boss in our office, anyway), get shitfaced and play baseball and other wholesome sports until the sun goes down. Then the hot tub cover comes off, someone gets naked (never anyone you want to see naked), and someone does a face plant on the lawn (because it’s so dark, of course).

But the Christmas party is the king of office parties, in my opinion. It’s the one where you’re supposed to tux around and act all grown-up, but that usually goes out the window at the sixth pint. It’s when people tell each other what they really think of each other, and it’s sometimes … less than flattering.

That’s probably why they chose some place with pool tables, it gives us a chance to settle scores like civilized drunkards: a bracing game of billiards. Here I am crossing swords with K.K., the marketing design whiz. Note she’s doing the rock horns while I’m saluting our dark overlord. That’s how the argument always begins. The gentleman in the back is the one who will administer the final coup de grâce once one of us lies gasping for breath and begging for mercy. None shall be given, of course.

the academy of spherical arts, pool, table, bar, restaurant, snooker, billiards, toronto, city, life

Jeans in a sea of dress pants and dresses. I could’ve come to work all dolled up in the morning but that’s no way to get through the day – I sit near the rads and in the winter, stuff melts. The alternative is to run home, throw the getup on, and get back before the buffet gets cold. Unless they schedule the party right after the office closes. Some people actually still work at the end of the day, you know?

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

Drinking with money-grubbing bankers

Posted on October 29th, 2009 4 Comments

Let me start by laying it all out on the table.

out in the open ... for me to steal!

The Macallan Scotch tasting that I was invited to yesterday was put on by word-of-mouth advertising agency Matchstick.  The idea behind hosting the event was obviously to provide some publicity for the whisky through blogging / social media / etc., but I want to assure you that it fell well within my guidelines for ethical and responsible shilling. The agency, insists that anyone attending their events is honest and upfront about it, and I wouldn’t have gone otherwise.

TCL isn’t about confessions or selling stuff, but it’s important that you know who was involved, and for what purpose. And that I’ve killed people.

There, clean conscience, ready to imbibe — just the way God wants it. :D

So, instead of just yammering on about booze, I thought that the best way to get into the evening would be to take you along.

great social lube

I knew bupkis about Whisky when I arrived at the swanky Yorkville hotel. I mean, I’d drank whisky before but had more experience with the sticky tape version of Scotch than with the liquid one. So the first thing that Mark, our host, did was to explain that whisky is Scotch, Scotch is whisky. Only Scotch proper comes from Scotland.

Next, he went on a jovial story in a heavy Quebecois about how thrilled that he, as an avid whisky drinker, was to land this job with Macallan. He really seemed quite pleased about it.

soon i will 'ave all your monees!

Mark looks a bit of a greedy money-grubbing banker in the photo above, doesn’t he? But no, he’s just genuinely pleased at the prospect of sipping on expensive whisky all evening; it’s glee.

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

Courier vs. Car!

Posted on September 2nd, 2009 4 Comments

It’s fair to say that most people in Toronto have at this point at least heard of the Michael Bryant thing. If you haven’t, allow me to catch you up.

Basically, Bryant was driving his car down Bloor Street on Monday when something – no one’s quite sure exactly what —  happened between him and a bike courier. Probably a collision of some sort, but obviously not serious because the courier got up. Then he leapt onto Bryant’s Saab convertible. The female passenger (his wife?) called police while Bryant hit the gas.

He swerved into oncoming traffic and drove up on the opposite sidewalk, purposefully running his car up against trees and mailboxes to try to get the courier off, screaming the whole way. Eventually, he succeeded. But the courier got bashed to death in the process. Possibly driven over. Guess all those wonderfully gory details will come out in the trial.

But it gets better!

Michael Bryant was the attorney general for Ontario. I believe that title means pretty much the same in most places; he was the legal bigwig of Ontario.

Also, the courier had been drinking. A lot. In fact, he had had a long history of unhappy addiction, and had about an hour earlier been stopped by police for trying to enter into a former girlfriend’s place wasted. Perhaps to visit with one of his kids?

The biker had been sober for about eight days, but the day of the incident, well, let’s just say he had indulged. The police are taking flak for telling him to go home from his girlfriend’s instead of letting him to stay. He shouldn’t have been sent home by the cops to ride drunk, they’re saying. Yeah, I say; he should’ve been walking his bike home. And in retrospect, the cops had the situation pegged; not a good time for a family visit.

Anyway, the whole thing quickly turned into a two-ring circus with all sorts of people sticking their causes to the event:

i poured a six to the curb too, he woulda wanted it that way

This morning, bikers got together in the spot where the courier died and staged a demonstration. Or protest. Or something. Some of them shouted out “murderer”, referring to Bryant, but made some strange remarks in a quieter voice (I was within earshot), “Yeah, if murderer means crusher of dreams, you back-peddling son of a bitch.” And so forth.

How come that kind of thing never makes the evening news? Ah, but that’s okay. I don’t think we should give the gathering too much credence. Most of the messages of condolence stuck to the spot mentioned, in one form or another, how this death was a just another demonstration of Toronto’s anti-bike streets. There was also plenty of promotion for United Messengers‘ Bloor bike lanes campaign. Guess they figured, if that bandwagon’s coming, might as well hang off the back:

best promotional bike lane ever!

So if the purpose of the gathering was to remind us about bike safety, I’d say absolutely! We could probably start by educating some of the bikers, huh?

I did an impromptu tally of helmets on cyclists for about six walking city blocks (major intersections). I counted only cyclists who were riding and on the road. Out of a total of 263 bikers, only about 45% were wearing helmets. I would like to do a follow-up study on how many also have earphones stuck in/on their ears. And coast through intersections on reds without a peek to either side.

I wouldn’t go so far as to totally let drivers off the hook either, but their infractions haven’t been as audacious as some of the stunts I’ve seen bikers pull. The only attempt at an explanation I’ve heard so far is, “We’re more vulnerable.” Umm … is that it? That’s why you don’t have to obey the rules of the road? Because you’re more vulnerable? Okay. Yeah.

horrific accident on two wheels

I’ve been known to go out without my helmet now and again. Sometimes I also leave behind my lunch and name tag, the one that people can use to help me find my home again. But I usually get back from my walk okay because I always look both ways before I cross the street. There still seem to be so many bikers out there on whom this lesson is lost.

Oh, and the lesson about not getting pissed out of your gourd and picking a fight with a moving vehicle. Also an important lesson.

Filed under: Pictures, Why I'm Right

A fermented, non-crap alternative

Posted on May 26th, 2009 Be the first to comment


Breasts, bikes, and beer; the triumvirate of alliterative seduction is now complete!

At around this time last year, the Rickard’s beer company (one of a number Molson‘s subsidiaries), introduced a white wheat beer that I had absolutely no interest in. It’s not that I don’t enjoy beer but my interest in it wanes, much like my interest in full-time employment. Currently, it’s waxing.

Usually I imbibe my alcoholic beverages with deep political convictions; a pint of Guinness with a sipping shot of B52, for example. Rickard’s White, though, doesn’t really make a statement other than “I taste good” — which it does.

White ale, if you’re not familiar with it, is an unfiltered beer (hence the cloudiness), that has orange peel and coriander added to it to produce a slightly citrusy flavour. Unlike lager, ale is fermented more quickly and at room temperature (lager’s kept cold).

I’ve poured all sorts of fermented crap down my gullet and this drink is truly inoffensive. The slice of orange (sometimes lemon), shown in the photo is how it’s served at various pubs around Toronto. Friday afternoon’s tart and bitter post-work bitch-outs at Shoeless Joe’s just wouldn’t be possible without it.

I’m hardly a scholar of beer and it’s fair to say that the term “enthusiast” wouldn’t apply to me, but I can recommend this one. It’s the gateway drug of the legal alcohol world.

If I could leave just one parting note to our American neighbours, I would point out that Canadian beer tends to contain a man-level of alcohol (5.5%+), so take your time. And for the rest of you who may be wondering why this entry is uncharactersitically short, you will find your answer at the bottom of my pint glass.


Filed under: Pictures, Why I'm Right