Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

Kathleen Wynne…

January 16th, 2014
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Premier of all Toronto


Celebrating the Niagara grape harvest in Toronto.

It's Easy to Wynne When You Don't Have to Run, Toronto, Uncategorized ,

Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral:

June 28th, 2012
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spiral toronto

Councillor Doug Ford got steamed up over the idea of the city spending $1.2 million on a bike station….

The station would have 380 spots for bikes and include showers

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Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral: No Ban on Silly

June 6th, 2012
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spiral toronto

“No nickel-fee on plastic bags,” Said Mayor Ford.

It’s uncompetitive,” said the Toronto Taxpayer Coalition.

Ah, screw it,” said the looneys.

For the record, David Shiner is listed as “right of centre” on wikipedia. This, City of Toronto, is your alternative voice to all those left-wing down-town councillors.

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Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral:

May 24th, 2012
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spiral toronto

The suggested “fix” to the road hockey “problem” sounds like a parody.

In order to qualify for an exemption from the bylaw, a resident would not only have to canvass all the neighbours and get at least 80% of them to give the okay for junior to play ball; the resident would also have to get city staff to conduct a traffic study on his street…

because that exemption is only going to happen if the street in question sees 1,000 or fewer vehicles each day, with an average gap between the cars of at least one minute, and sightlines deemed appropriate by city staff.

pimply minions of bureaucracy, Toronto: Not in a Death Spiral ,

Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral:

October 6th, 2011
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The oh so provincial edition

spiral toronto

We‘re getting stiffed by two levels of government on a regular basis. It may be time for us to start thinking about acting on our own and becoming a province.

As an Ontarian, may I just say, sayonara babies.

Lets be clear what this is about. The federal government and the Government of Ontario have become immune to Toronto’s whining, so now they want in on the equalization train… If Ontario won’t pay, maybe Alberta will.

I repeat, sayonara babies.

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Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

September 9th, 2011
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The flowers have to be at a certain height to water them and the signs have to be at a certain height to see them — unfortunately, it’s the same for both, so they need to put flowers elsewhere.


To paraphrase James Carville, It’s the stupid, stupid. And actually, the flowers don’t need to be put elsewhere, the flowers don’t need to be there period. How does a city with a $700M hole not know that?

Toronto: Not in a Death Spiral

The Freedom of Music: Wood Holly?

August 21st, 2011
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

The special invitation came via Facebook: I, Brian Gardiner, was personally invited to the the 515 Concert Club to see Holly Woods and Toronto: répondez s’il vous plaît.

The 515! That’s just down the road in downtown Hespeler, a fifteen minute walk from my house. This, I thought, was going to require planning.

sidebar-6 First, I had to get the wife out of town. Holly Woods was going to be just up the road and the frustrated teenage boy that lingers inside is taking no chances. Who would have thought, Holly Woods right here. Next it will be Darby Mills serving up coffee at the Townline Tim Horton’s (maybe I should start dressing better).

A refresher. Holly Woods was the lead singer of the band Toronto in the ’80’s. With songs like Your Daddy Don’t Know, Girls Night Out and Start Telling the Truth, Toronto had a number of fairly big hits. With cat like eyes, puffy hair and a big voice, Holly Woods was a classic Canadian cutie.

Watching fictional singer Marie De Salle in the movie/book “High Fidelity,” the guys from Championship Vinyl dreamily talk about being with a musician:

Barry: I wanna date a musician.
Rob: I wanna live with a musician. She’d write songs at home and ask me what I thought of them, and maybe even include one of our little private jokes in the liner notes.
Barry: Maybe a little picture of me in the liner notes.
Dick: Just in the background somewhere.

That’s what I want. A little picture of me in the background of the latest album, one of our private jokes in the liner notes. If not for me, for the teenage boy, who so rarely got his wish.

The question is, once the wife is safely out of town, chasing down that anonymous tip she mysteriously got that Parker Stephenson is in Guelph, what to do? You can’t go barging up to her and say, “hey, I’m the guy who drooled over the album covers in 1979.” It has to be a chance meeting, just hanging out front of the club. It’s what I do every Saturday, most natural thing in the world and… “hi, how are you?”

For conversational bon mots, I should check her bio, find something in common that I can casually mention. Lets see… she likes fishing, that’s good, can use that. Wait, she’s from North Carolina? Durham, North Carolina, home of the Durham Bulls? How can that be? How can Holly Woods of the rock band Toronto be from Durham North Carolina? How can one of Canada’s sweethearts not be Canadian?

Suddenly she feels like a fraud, like a different person than the one I haven’t known all these years. What about the songs, are they a lie too? Was Even the Score even about hockey? Perhaps she was never really Looking for Trouble. Oh sure, she can still sing, and regardless of where she was born they were great songs, great eyes, great shoulder pads. But it can never really be the same.

Umm, honey, about that Parker Stephenson thing. Never mind. I think I’ll throw on my good suit and go hang out at Tim’s.

The Freedom of Music , ,

Cool For Cats Friday

April 15th, 2011
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If you are local to the centre of the universe and missed it, one of the greats came to town this week. Because nothing is good for the soul like rock and roll, some Bob Seger from Toronto.

It’s true what they say, Rock and Roll Never Forgets:

On the same day, it was announced, are you ready for this boys, that the Lingerie Football League is coming to Toronto. As much as I hate to do it, I have to throw my support behind a new sport coming to Toronto. So Gentlemen, meet the ladies of the Lingerie Football League:



Bob Seger, Cool For Cats, Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin' , , , ,

Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

March 4th, 2011
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Lying in a hospital bed recovering from serious surgery, your first item of concern should not be death threats, as in, direct threats against your life. And when that happens, the Police should take the threats seriously, even if the threat came from a muslim.

I contacted Toronto police. Within hours, two uniformed policemen from 51 Division came to interview me in hospital. However, barely one minute later, we were interrupted. Two men entered the room and told everybody else to leave. They did not identify themselves, but five minutes into what amounted to a two-hour interrogation, I realized they were police intelligence officers. One of them, I recognized by reputation – a Muslim officer who had shut down a previous investigation into a death threat against me in 2008, and another one against a partner in liberal Islam, Tahir Gora.

The money quote from moderate Muslim Tarek Fatah: “I’m hopeful that the police may yet make the right decision, now that I have gone public with this disgrace. If not, I will know the city I love is lost.”

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Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

January 2nd, 2011
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Just because Rob Ford is now his honour, doesn‘t mean the good ship Toronto is going to be righted. spiral torontoAs Joe Warmington writes today, there’s more wrong with Toronto than Transit City and doughnuts at council meetings:

Toronto’s first murderer of 2011 statistically has a better than a 50-50 chance of not getting caught….
Of the 60 homicides in 2010, more than half have not yet ended up in arrests which means as many as three dozen murderers may be walking free among us.

And that’s just in one year. In the first decade of the new millennium — from 2000 to 2010 — there were 220 unsolved murders in Toronto…

Toronto is not in a death spiral because of the politicians they chose, but the choices the politicians made, starting with the choice more than twenty years ago to overly-politicize their police force.

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Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

September 28th, 2010

Remember when Sarah Thomson entered the Toronto mayoral race? spiral torontoShe was a choice for conservatives, a business woman with good fiscal sense.

Today, she left the race, citing Rob Ford as the “voice of anger,” and threw her endorsement behind a Liberal with the nickname furious George, who was responsible when the Ministry of Health blew $1B on a program that created zero electronic health records.

Want to know why Toronto’s broken? “Sarah Thomson, conservative choice for mayor.”

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The Freedom of Music: Making a Few Bob.

May 16th, 2010


One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

What’s going to save the music industry from itself? You know what I mean, that whole CDs, golden goose, dead thing. To hear the rockstars and industry execs tell it, sharing files – they call it pirating for Gods sake – will ruin the industry. Who’s going to make music if you can’t make obscene amounts of money doing so?

sidebar-4“Make a few bob and then open a hairdressing salon,” Ringo Starr answered when asked what he hoped to get out of The Beatles. It was The Beatles first trip to the United States, and the press was already asking “what next?” I’ll make enough money to start a little shop, thought Ringo. By the time I get around to writing Octopuses Garden, I’ll have no one to sing it to except my customers. They probably all thought that: A bookstore for John; a music store for George; a hat store for Nigel (Tufnel, the oft forgotten sixth Beatle).

Who indeed?

During a television interview aired worldwide before The Who’s live simulcast farewell concert from Toronto in 1982, Roger Daltry talked about the band’s habit of breaking their equipment at the end of their shows: ‘we would run into a store, grab a guitar off the wall and run out again saying over our shoulder, I’ll pay you later,’ he said. ‘We didn’t make any money until the mid-70’s.’ Yet they managed to come out with Tommy and Who’s Next, alternatively known as the greatest rock opera and the CSI soundtrack album.

Kiss would work their way to the west coast, and have to book gigs, any gig, to eat and travel their way back to New York. Ever seen those early Kiss shows? Phenomenal. They were hungry, they had attitude and they were good. They started making money around the time of the Destroyer album. They stopped making listenable music exactly around the Destroyer album. “They prostituted themselves,” a high school buddy said one day about Beth. I rather think not, think Beth was in retrospect, a reasonably heartfelt song. It was immediately after Beth that the Kiss act became red-light. “This is a great Rod Stewart song,” Paul Stanley told the band about Hard Luck Woman, hoping to sell the song to Stewart. That, my friend, is prostituting yourself.

Nobody got into the music business for the business potential until sometime in the late 70’s or early 80‘s. Before that, even the big stars figured by the time they were 30, then 40, they wouldn’t be acting like rock stars. Mick Jagger said once that he couldn’t imagine running around a stage when he’s 60. He knew then what he refuses to acknowledge now: that he’s become somewhat absurd. But somewhere late in the 70’s, early in the 80’s guys started choosing rock star as a career option. It is considered a remarkable coincidence that people stopped making rock music that was transcendental at the same time.

Who am I kidding? The moment musicians stopped thinking I’ll give it all I got until I’m 28 or so, then get a real job is the moment music changed. If you imagine music as a career, what you’re going to do for the rest of your life, then you’re not about to go out on a limb because you believe from the depths of your soul that the 3rd bar in the 2nd verse should be a C#m instead of an E. If the record company guy, the one in the charcoal suit, says it should be an E, then who are you to withhold the master tapes and risk your future until he concedes your point? And while one C#m may not matter in the grand scheme, once you concede the 3rd bar in the 2nd verse, then why not cut the solo because nobody does solos anymore? And why not rewrite the last verse to make it more radio friendly? Never mind that you talked to God on that solo, or the third verse was absolute poetry, this is about selling records. So why not let the art director from the design department design your album covers, why worry your pretty little head over artistic direction? After all, it’s not art, it’s business.

While the artists were busy working for the man, the people who buy the product, the important line in the supply and demand curve, stopped buying. Instead they, ahem, stole it. Not stole as in left the store with a product, stole as in they took a bunch of 0’s and 1’s that one person voluntarily put on their computer, and moved them to your computer without removing or in any way changing them. Want to talk about the law? Here’s a basic law of economics: price = scarcity. Without scarcity, there’s no need for price. Computer files are technically an unlimited resource. They can be duplicated an infinite number of times without experiencing any degradation of the original file. And if you can duplicate something ad-infinitum, you can’t impose a price on it in the long run. Notice I said can’t, not won’t or shouldn’t, but can’t. You cannot impose a price on something that has no scarcity. And if you can’t impose a price on a music file, the business model of the career recording artist falls apart.

My favourite theory is that recording will become the incidental effort, to promote the live experience that the musician offers. Sooner or later musicians will give away files, sell records and CDs to those (say, me) who must have them, but will make their money for what they do today, or rather tonight, not what they did back in 1982. For this to happen, some things within the industry will have to change, not the least of which is the expectation that musicians should be paid in perpetuity: musicians will have to be first, and always, musicians. Brittany Spears need not apply, we need people who can step on a stage, and sing, or play their instrument; the idea that a concert should be a spectacle will have to end. If you need a ten piece band and dancers – especially if you need dancers – then you can’t be expected to turn a profit on tour. No profit, no performance, it needs to be that simple. A five man band giving it their all, ala the Stones 1972 can be profitable work. An eleven man band playing Jumping Jack Flash while Mick, Keith and Ronny prance and preen ala the Stones now, no Dice, Tumblin’ or otherwise; prices need to come down. Sure Roger Waters or Madonna can carry a circus act, tractor trailer loads full of bricks and flying pigs, then charge $150, but nobody else can. Fourty dollars to hear some band on the margins is too much, they need to be able to play, profitably, for less, maybe a lot less. The trick is get enough people in the seats for $20, and sell them shirts, ring-tones, iPhone cases and downloads of the show.

I mention this because it is, I think, the future, and it is coming sooner than most believe. Here’s an item from this weeks paper:

Christina Aquilera has announced a 20-date North American tour… in support of her upcoming album Bionic. Fans will receive a digital copy of the album with every ticket purchased before June 4.

Give away the music, sell the concert. It’s a new idea, and will take some working out, but it’s economically viable. To put it simply, performance is a scarce commodity, one that can be charged for. As it gets harder and harder to collect on the bits and bites sitting on your hard drive, it will become more viable to look to the performance of music to make a living.

What’s going to save the music industry from itself? That’s easy: musicians. And when they do, music consumers will be better off for it.

The Freedom of Music, This Week on my I-Pod , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Now They Come For Our Food

April 29th, 2010

A few elections ago then Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton said of the electricity market: It’s too important to be left to the private sector. A few people I knew agreed with this, to which I always answered, just hope Howard Hampton never notices how you buy your food:food the last time some one decided food was too important for the private sector, the Russian people were relegated to 50 years of cabbage soup and black bread. Well don’t look now but…

Michael Ignatieff, who, of course has cake, has proposed a National Food Policy. The Government of Canada would get in the farmers market and local food game. Fourty-million dollars here for a national healthy start (breakfast for brats) program, eighty-million dollars there for a buy local fund and pretty soon your talking real money. Then there’s this:

Reward farmers for environmentally sustainable initiatives such as setting aside land for wildlife habitats or carbon sequestration (emphasis theirs… and mine)

The Liberal government will spend untold millions, hundreds of millions more like, to pay farmers to not grow food. This plan talks of spending $170M, but has hundreds of millions more not factored in. Government food programs in action: more money out the door, less food in.

Then there’s the City of Toronto. I have spent considerable energy on this blog highlighting the folly of the City of Toronto and it’s elected representatives. So it is with some shock I report, they are on to a good idea. Yesterday’s Sun reports the City is considering allowing people to keep chickens in their backyard. Frankly as long as there’s no health hazard – and there isn’t – why it’s the City of anybody’s business if you keep chickens I have no idea. None the less if the chicken lobby gets it’s way, soon you’ll be able to have a couple of chickens producing fresh eggs in a coop on your very own property in Toronto. A few years down the road when the eggs stop coming it’s Ann Boleyn meets Colonel Sanders and dinner has never been so fresh.

Alas, this is the City of Toronto, the people who could screw up letting street vendors sell food. All chickens would have to be registered. That’s right, a chicken registry which, surprisingly, isn’t in Michael Ignatieff’s plan. Presumably the chicken registry is not in case some chicken goes wild and it’s owner needs to be identified, but so that City Hall can tax your free eggs. No doubt you’ll need their permission before putting Betsy in the deep fryer.

Sad to say this scheme also falls under a food plan, in this case the “urban food strategy” that Toronto Public Health is putting together.

The politicians have noticed: look for less food, less selection and higher prices in the food market in coming years.

Economic Fundamentalism, Food , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday Fluffernutter: Dougherty, Dougherty, Uber Alles; Heroin Harpist in Heist; Weezer Crashes

December 12th, 2009

 All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorBritish rocker/drug fiend Pete Dougherty may be in a spot of difficulty with the Huns. Dougherty during a broadcast concert sang a portion of the verboten Nazi national anthem. During a performance of Ray Charles vampire classic, Hit The Road Jack, Dougherty threw in a few rounds of “Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles.” 24557702_897c245d74_mThe German’s frown somewhat on Nazi symbolism, including the Casablanca classic.

fluffincolorYou expect things like “German authorities are investigating Pete Daugherty,” to come up now and then. Less expected is “Harpist hooked on heroin played at royal wedding.” Yet that was the story this week as former royal harpist (that’s harp as in angels play the harp, not “the blues harp of Sonny Boy Williamson”) was accused of burgling houses while battling drug addiction.

Jemima Phillips, a 28 year old harpist who was appointed royal harpist in 2004, testified at her own trial that she had two abortions and started using crack cocaine soon after her second, at age 23. She progressed to heroin by the time of her royal appointment. She was also bullied at school and has been in a series of abusive relationships.

Reports are that she is giving up the harp for a career in rap.

fluffincolorIf you went to see rock band Weezer here in Toronto last Saturday, as someone I know did, you unexpectedly saw there last show of 2009. Weezer was in a bus accident on Sunday morning in upstate New York, with their bus skidding on ice, striking a guard rail and sliding into a ditch. The crash resulted in lead singer Rivers Cuomo being injured and the band cancelling the rest of their 2009 dates.

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The Unbiased Toronto Star.

November 4th, 2009

Maybe newspapers like the Star wouldn’t be offering buyouts to trim payroll, contracting out editing and pagination, if they were unbiased. But at the Star, bias is considered a plus:

Union leader Maureen Dawson criticized the Star’s decision…

“Journalism is a collaborative effort, the product of a team of reporters, photographers and editors working in concert to produce the kind of activist agenda that has served Star readers and our community so well for so long,”

Next time you call them a biased media, and some Star loving, latte sipping birkenstocker protests, ask him what “activist agenda” means.

Media doesn't matter ,