Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Now, Back to the Lunacy


Wonder if these will still be here next July 1?
After such a fun, sunny, Pride-filled (in more ways than one) weekend in Toronto I had hoped that perhaps we could coast on the goodwill for a few days at least. After all, the midway rides haven't even completely disappeared from Stan Wadlow Park; to be fair, though, they might still be there into next week because the company that ran the pathetic midway this year - "Outdoor Amusements" of Scarborough - are perhaps the worst bunch of slacker layabouts I have ever seen at one of these fairs. (I know I keep harping on them, but I really want to be sure their business suffers because they are truly terrible.) This picture was taken between 7 and 8 PM this evening, two full working days after the midway shut down. By way of contrast, every other inch of Stan Wadlow Park was cleaned and vacated before we got out of bed yesterday morning (with the lone exception of the Port-a-Potties, which were picked up around noon). The kids trying to have a soccer practice on that pitch this evening had to deal with the intrusion of some of the ride remnants and they occasionally lost a ball under one of the trucks, requiring them to scramble under there to retrieve it. I wonder if the organizing committee has balked at paying them their money (and balk they should) and this has caused a degree of petulance from the midway company. Perhaps we'll get our field back in time for school to return in the fall.


Rick Mercer and the Burkes at Pride
credit: James Hamilton/Torontogp.blogspot.ca
But even during the fabulous long weekend itself there was no real respite from the lunatic fringe, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by all the maddeningly moronic news items that continue to come out every day. On Canada Day, Brian Burke - the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs - marched in the Pride Parade with PFLAG, honouring a promise he made to his late son, Brendan. Bruce Arthur wrote a terrific piece about Burke and son for the National Post in 2010, so if you don't know the backstory I urge you to check it out. Burke marched with his other son, Patrick, who is the driving force behind the You Can Play Project, the aim of which is to encourage sports in general to be accepting of gay athletes. The parade took place on July 1, which also happens to be the first day of the annual "Free Agent Frenzy" in the NHL, the first day teams are allowed to sign an unrestricted free agent each year. Not the only day. Just the first day. And on this day, Brian Burke was marching in a parade in Toronto, within range of about a bazillion cell towers (I think you'll find I used that term accurately), with his phone in his hand at virtually all times, for about two hours in total. But holy hell, from the attacks he received for this decision - one which he makes every single year - you'd think (as I posted on Facebook) he was "drunk in a cathouse with his phone turned off for the entire day". Now, I cannot stand Brian Burke and I think he is really just not very good at his job. But I am absolutely, unequivocally behind him in this instance. Unfortunately, the redneck hillbillies of this city, of many other NHL cities, of scads of other places that aren't even tangentially affected by Burke's Pride appearance - all of them came out of the woodwork on Sunday. One of the better places to turn for an idea of the depths of depravity some of these people sank to is the Twitter feed of Damien Cox (another gentleman I really don't care for, normally) on Sunday afternoon and evening. He retweeted many of the more pathetic tweets he received; reading them is kind of like watching a long, slow car wreck that you cannot pull your eyes away from. If you do read that feed, perhaps keep a bottle of Purell® close by so you can pour it directly onto your brain through your ears when you are done.

But Burke himself is by no means off the hook for his contributions to the idiocy of the past few days. Late on Sunday he met with reporters and offered this view of the opening day of "Free Agent Frenzy":
"I believe our group [NHL GMs] makes more mistakes on July 1 than we do all the rest of the year combined. We hand out contracts with unrealistic values and unrealistic terms. When you’re in a hard-cap system, it bites you right in the bum at some point."
This would likely have been a far more effective quote had he not previously offered it on several other occasions, concerning wildly disparate times of the NHL season, over the past few years. I can sense that many of your eyes are beginning to glaze over at the prospect of this turning into a rant about Burke, the Leafs or the NHL, so I will end it here. I just wanted to point out that the dumbing-down of soundbites in our world occurs at every possible level.


Before I move too far away from stories about Pride weekend, Anderson Cooper broke one of the worst-kept secrets in television when he came out in an email to Andrew Sullivan. Here is how the Ottawa Sun chose to run the story:

The Ottawa Sun: keepin' it classy

And....that's all I have to say about that.


Loblaws being corporate "good guys"
So now it's time to turn to the most-likely candidate for idiocy, Mayor Rob Ford. Presumably fresh from his too-important-to-miss "annual" visit to the family cottage, a tradition since 2011, RoFo surprised the press gallery at City Hall today with a rare scrum. He took the opportunity to "remind" all of us that he was claiming victory in the "war on the plastic bag 'tax'" and went on to say how "unfortunate" it is that some retailers are still charging the five cents for each plastic bag issued. You see, the thing that the noted Economics whiz Ford clearly hasn't considered is this: the retailers that are no longer charging for the bags will have to make up the revenue shortfall elsewhere - likely by raising their regular prices on everything else. So what has actually been "accomplished" is that people will still pay as much (or, likely, more) out of pocket each time they go to the grocery store, but for the next six months they can bring home as many plastic bags as they wish with no regard whatsoever for the environment. So well done there, Ford. Well done indeed.


Apparently these signs aren't plain enough
Also in that scrum Ford decided it was safe to say that he "did not drive past any open doors" when he had the run-in with the TTC operator last week. (Also, he kept calling the vehicle a "bus", which makes me wonder what he's referring to when he says "people hate streetcars".) This bit of bafflegab was only offered today after Ford had a chance to talk things over with his favourite TTC stooge, Andy Byford, who presumably reassured him that the driver wasn't going to be allowed to publicly give his side of the story. Bob Kinnear, TTC Union Rep, says he "believes" Ford's story, because obviously the mayor of Toronto would never lie about anything so easily disputable, such as someone being in his backyard or swearing on the phone to a 911 operator. In any event, Ford was still in the wrong and still responded to being in the wrong by trying to get someone else in trouble. This is a pattern that has repeated itself many, many times and likely will never change.

Later in the day Ford appeared on the television show, Off the Record on TSN, where he announced that he wants to get back down to his "football weight" of 250 pounds. He said, of his "Cut the Waist" challenge: "I tried, but I didn't try hard enough." I would give everything I own to see that become his next campaign slogan. What a consummate, self-aggrandizing, ignorant buffoon he is.


Good riddance to bad rubbish
And lastly, some terrific news that still managed to turn into a situation where I was directed to the Twitter feed of a backwoods yokel from Durham region. The incomparable (and not in a good way) Bev Oda finally announced she was stepping down from her position as M.P. for Durham riding, an announcement which has been too long in the making. We should have been rid of this political blight months ago during any one of a number of scandals surrounding her activities as a cabinet minister. Look, when you become an embarrassment to the Harper government you know you've really accomplished something. Predictably, this welcome announcement led to some rejoicing through all the usual social media outlets, but one conversation in particular caught my eye: Edward Keenan tweeted, "Where do I submit my resume for Bev Oda's old job? My skills incl: enjoying smoking rooms in hotels and drinking lots of good orange juice" this afternoon. Not too long after, "@FredFord46" retorted, "You would not likely be smart enough. She has been a great MP for Durham.She is too nice to be abused like this." Which, of course, caused me to check out "Fred Ford's" Twitter feed to see what kind of a person would write something like that. Let me just say I wasn't surprised by the rest of his "thought" processes as far back as I could stomach reading. It was made all the more disappointing by the fact that Fred Ford doesn't appear to be a ranting internet troll; rather he seems to be a man who is at least intelligent enough to follow various news sources and spell everything correctly, but nevertheless with very warped ideas of right and wrong and that just makes it all the more insipid. The most telling of all of his tweets was this one: "So the gays think it is ok to usurp Canada Day in Toronto & we, normal folk, should be happy with it?? Not a chance.Go Rob." "Normal folk". He really typed that and meant it. And, in a nutshell, there is why I will never again live in Durham region: "normal" people like Fred Ford live there. In droves. Not to mention that they don't actually, you know, live in Toronto and yet think their opinions on what happens here should really matter a whit to those of us directly affected by RoFo's incompetence.


So there you have it. Lunacy from the "leaders", lunacy from the "great unwashed". I'd blame the full moon, but I think you already know how I feel about its effects. No, these people are misguided all on their own.

And the weekend just past feels so very long ago, now.

2 comments:

  1. The Bev Oda announcement was a huge surprise - I still wonder what the final straw that broke the camel's back was?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm guessing it has something to do with her pension plan being fully vested (she's 66 years old) coupled with a likely Senate appointment. But that could just be the cynic in me. ;)

      Delete

I've kept my comments open and moderation-free for many years, but I've been forced to now review them before they post due to the actions of one member of my family. I apologize for having to take this stance, but that's the way the world is headed, sad to say. Thank you for your understanding.

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