August 2011 Archives
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What's Wrong With A Ferris Wheel
August 31, 2011 @ 16:27
I've got to weigh in on the Doug Ford proposal for Toronto's eastern waterfront.
Believe me I'm not a big proponent of it, but I have to laugh at how its been so readily attacked by the usual suspects - starting with my good friend Toronto Mike.
Let me repeat, I'm not advocating we rush out an do this because I really haven't looked into it enough, but I do know it doesn't deserve to be sloughed off like it has been on the pages of the Toronto Star and the much more interesting Toronto Mike.
And I say this based on my recent visit to Chicago and my complete sense of amazement with their waterfront.
You see, it wasn't long ago that Toronto and Chicago were compared to each other, and for the longest time Toronto held the upper hand. That is no more.
Chicago has surpassed Toronto in the great city category and a lot of it has to do with a strong Mayor, little influence by the bleeding heart left and the desire to bloody well get things done.
I don't have to tell you that besides a myriad of condominiums that have totally cut the city off from the water, not much has happened on Toronto's waterfront, especially the eastern part that still looks like a shit hole.
Now tell me, what is wrong with Doug Ford proposing what he has? What's wrong with proposing an area with a megamall, a ferris wheel and a mono rail?
Toronto Mike, through his hatred of anything Ford (as in the Mayor and his brother) says it sounds disastrous.
When I was in Chicago last week two of the biggest attractions were a ferris wheel and a megamall. The ferris wheel is at the Navy Pier, right on the water front, and the megamall, although not on the water is called Water Tower Place, and to tell you the truth it would be pretty cool situated on Toronto's eastern waterfront.
It amazes how a simple proposal can be so readily rejected until I realize where the criticism is coming from - those who still haven't forgiven the Mayor for going to the cottage on Canada Day.
Of course this situation begs the question, what's your alternative? Toronto's waterfront development has been stuck in neutral for decades, so I would ask the critics of this proposal, and that's all it is, what their solution or idea is.
If it's proposed parkland, great, Millenium and Grant Parks on Chicago's waterfront are fabulous. But they need to be kept up and groomed and that will come out of taxpayers pockets.
Have you seen some of the other parks in Toronto lately?
Again I can point to what has become one of the greatest cities in the world, Chicago, and show you a ferris wheel, a megamall and an elevated transit system that have helped put it there.
I realize a mono rail isn't an elevated transit system, but Chicago spins their EL as a tourist attraction. Maybe the same thing could happen here. Maybe not.
Maybe it isn't a mono-rail, but it becomes something else. But that's the key, "something."
I get the impression that Chicagoans don't have time for the foot dragging bleeding heart bullshit that Toronto has to put up with. Several years ago they determined their city needed some work and they got going on it.
Meanwhile, Toronto was saddled with the likes of David Miller and a city council that couldn't get anything done because they were too busy grabbing free muffins, drinking free coffee and eating free restaurant meals at taxpayer's expense.
And don't forget the free taxis'
Doug Ford comes up with a proposal, and that's all it is, and the next thing you know there's a mad rush to compare what he said to an episode of the Simpson's. Shallow sniping that is so characteristic of everything that's wrong with Toronto.
Let me get back to the ferris wheel for a second. I didn't ride the one in Chicago last week, but I've got to tell you, when you approached the Navy Pier and saw it standing there, unobstructed from a million condominiums, it looked pretty cool and gave a sense of fun and attraction.
What's the harm?
But apparently that's disastrous for Toronto. I guess we should use the waterfront to build lots more public housing and maybe a tent city or two.
August 31, 2011 @ 08:50
Layton funeral, Lloyd Robertson and Chicago.
August 30, 2011 @ 08:09
One of my favourite movies of all time is "The Producers", the 1968 version not the 2005 version. The stage play I saw in New York wasn't too bad either.
The reason I bring this up is because I've got a version of "The Producers" going on in my family right now.
Both my kids decided to follow their old mans lead and pursue the media as a career, but they went to the other side.
Both work in television and both are Producers. If this sounds like a whole lot of braggin' and shit, so be it. I'm proud of the little buggers and it gives a parent a great sense of relief when their kids get on the right path.
My daughter Melanie started a new job yesterday. She's a Producer for the Steven and Chris Show on CBC. It's a great gig that's perfect for her because she's into all the stuff they talk about on the show.
Mel has done well, after a few years as a production assistant at MUCHmore Music and then a stint at Odeon Cineplex she has settled into a great situation.
As for my boy, Danny is Associate Producer / Original Content with The Score sports network.
Danny always had a keen interest in "how stuff works" so needless to say working with today's technology is the perfect place for him.
He gets to do pretty much everything at The Score and he gets to do some travellin' as well.
I'm thrilled that my kids are doing what they want to do. I spent 33 years feeling like I never really had a job and I can only hope they end up the same way.
Bragging? So what!
Neighbour John Is Evacuated
August 29, 2011 @ 20:14
Neighbour John took his family on their annual summer trip again this year, but they ran into Irene.
Oh yea, Neighbour John rented a beautiful house in Duck, North Carolina which just happened to line up with the eye of Irene.
Even though Johnny boy was supposed to have the house till Friday, he and his wonderful family were forced out on Thursday afternoon. They got robbed of a day.
But John made the most of it. He had the barbeque going, the beers a flowin' and the surf a shakin' until the bitter end.
Category: Neighbour John
My Kind Of Place
August 29, 2011 @ 08:56
OK kids we're going to move on from the Jack Layton stuff. But just so you know, I've received some heavy duty e-mails and comments to the blog that simply can't be published.
Apparently there are some things you're not supposed to have an opinion on - and the real stickler seemed to be having an opinion too soon after Jack's death, which is something I don't totally understand.
When you're a public figure, it comes with the territory. You are subject to things that others aren't, even when you're dead.
There weren't too many personal attacks on Jack on these pages, just comments about his politics, and questions about the reaction to his passing and the fanfare that surrounded it.
It created debate.
It's the nature of the beast. Just like when politicians grab onto an issue in the House of Commons and don't let go. I think anyone would agree, Jack was pretty good at that.
Chicago, let me tell you about Chicago. What a great city.
For years I heard that Chicago was a lot like Toronto, so I was anxious to get there to make my own assessment.
Let me put it this way; I wish Toronto was like Chicago. Chicago may have been like Toronto a few years ago, but the Windy City has definitely surpassed Hogtown.
Wow. It's hard to believe that we could ever say that a major American city is cleaner than Toronto, but that's the deal folks. I have no idea what the system is in Chicago that's created such a fabulous city, but whatever it is, we should get some.
Everywhere you go in the city core, Chicago is groomed, scrubbed and spotless - and it's well planned.
During a tour on Thursday it was pointed out that no development is allowed south of their Lakeshore Blvd. They have a road running right along the lakeshore like we do however unlike Toronto the water is not cut off by condos.
It's wide open and beautiful.
Compared to Chicago, you realize what a shame it is that Toronto has been allowed to develop the way it has. Comparatively Toronto's canyon of condos is unsightly.
Believe me, it pains me to say this stuff because I love Toronto and I never thought any American city could grow to be nicer than ours, but Chicago is a gem.
The transit system is better and cheaper with rail lines running to both airports - imagine that. They have a five dollar "ride all day" option as well.
The waterfront is gorgeous and it stretches some 18 miles with bike paths and running tracks. There are a multitude of beaches, including the Oak Street Beach which makes you feel like you're in Daytona or South Beach.
And you can swim in the water.
I could go on and on. From Wrigley Field to Millennium Park to the downtown core, Chicago, Illinois is a wonderful place - but the best way to appreciate it, is to go there.
A seventy minute flight or a nine hour drive. It's that close
And yes, we had the dip dish at Giordano's. Very good. But filling.
Jack Is Gone, But The Questions Aren't
August 28, 2011 @ 06:59
Now that the funeral's over I guess its OK to get into this a bit. Then again, when it comes to the hypocritical left, I guess the timing will never be right, but I have to ask some questions.
Like - why has nobody given the Prime Minister for literally breaking the rules and allowing Jack Layton to have a state funeral? It was unprecedented in Canadian history, never before has an opposition leader, who's never even been a cabinet minister been given a state funeral.
This did not have to happen, but the Prime Minister took the pulse of the country and decided it was deserved.
A cynic might say he's was afraid "not" to. Can you imagine the reaction from the usual suspects? The PM would have been crucified.
And what about the cost? The very people who would have driven a spike through the PM's nuts if he hadn't thrown yesterday's love-in are the same people who criticize every penny he spends.
Here's another question. Can you imagine the other scenario? If Jack Layton had been a Conservative and he'd been given a state funeral? Yikes, the league of entitlement would have thrown one of their classic tantrums.
They definitely would have brought up the money aspect.
Here's another thing I don't understand. What's all this "Jack Layton was a man of hope" nonsense? What does that mean exactly? What kind of special "hope" is this?
Does Stephen Harper not have "hope" for the country? Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff or any other politician who runs for office? Are they all "hope-less"?
That's all I kept hearing yesterday. Jack Layton was a man of "hope". Well I hope so, because I think we're all pretty much the same. Every day we hope for a better tomorrow, or, at the very least, an equal tomorrow if you've just had a pretty good today.
This "man of hope" bullshit nauseates me. I had my fill of it during the Obama circle jerk and we can all see where "hope" got the Americans.
One man's hope could be another man's anguish.
Let's not forget, Jack Layton was in a pretty good position. He could make all kinds of pie in the sky statements and promises knowing full well he'd never had to act on them, even after all those Quebecers "parked" their votes with the NDP making his numbers look a lot more impressive than they are.
And that raises another question. Does anybody really think what happened in Quebec had anything to do with Jack Layton, bringing the country together or giving Quebecers a valid alternative?
It was a flukey farce, plain and simple. I bet you half the people who voted for him don't even know he's dead. And I'm not kidding.
I've written on these very pages that part of me, the part that would have left the country, hoped Jack had won the spring election so we could see how he would deliver on those promises. It would have been disastrous, much like the brutal Bob Rae years of the early 90's in Ontario.
Nobody is disputing that Jack Layton was a nice guy with good intentions, and he wanted what he thought was best for the country.
But that doesn't mean we should ignore the realities the hypocrisies or the obvious questions, even if it means being labled a heartless prick.
Sorry people, but Jack Layton's legacy did not equal the reaction. Far from it.
One more question - is the NDP going to keep the seperatist as leader?
I certainly "hope" not!
Comments We Like - Christie Blatchford
August 26, 2011 @ 20:38
I got home from Chicago this afternoon and could barely believe what I was seeing take place at Nathan Phillips Square.
The over-the-top out pouring of whatever you want to call it for Jack Layton turned my stomach.
Phoniness might be a good word.
Yea, he was a decent man, and yea he worked hard for his "funny little pretend party", but the absolutely outrageous performances that have followed his death are bordering on creepy.
After watching some of it on the news tonight, my attention was brought to the controversial article that Christie Blatchford wrote earlier this week, and I loved it.
Blatchford points out that Jack was an opportunist who really did enjoy himself while grossly over-estimating his contribution to this country.
Bingo! And a whole pile have fallen for it.
Let's face it folks, Jack Layton was a silly socialist with whacky ideas and his promises were empty based on the fact he'd never have to act on them.
I guess I really shouldn't be surprised by what I saw today. I would assume that the vast majority who walked past Jack's casket are terrified that their mouth piece for entitlement has been silenced.
Their hands have slipped from our pockets.
I'm sure even Jack would have been embarrassed by the forced wailers who sobbed for the cameras today.
I meant what I wrote on Monday. And I was actually impressed with some of the stuff Layton wrote on his death bed. But I'm way more impressed with what Blatchford wrote on Tuesday.
I think it proves what I've always thought. She really does have balls.
"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."
Goin' To Chicago
August 22, 2011 @ 20:37
I won't be writing for the next few days because me and my darlin' are heading to Chicago for a three nighter.
And I want to keep this trip strictly carry-on so I don't want to take a computer and I don't have an I-phone right now. It stayed in Peterborough.
I've always wanted to explore Chicago and that's what I'm going to do between now and Friday. I was there once before, for a CFNY Jays / White Sox baseball trip in 1991, but we got there Friday night, it rained all day Saturday and we left early Sunday morning.
This trip will only involve one baseball game. I got tickets to see the Cubs and Braves Tuesday night at Wrigley. I've never been to Wrigley and it's definitely on my bucket list.
Wednesday night we're going on a Skyline Cruise which is sponsored by Landshark Beer, which just happens to be partly owned by Jimmy Buffett.
A pretty good deal. A 90 minute cruise and each person gets two Landsharks while on the boat. Then it's back to Margaritaville for finger foods, two more Landsharks and entertainment.
Not bad. A cruise, four beers, some food and entertainment for 20 bucks a head. I like to see ya get that deal in Toronto.
Other than that we've got nothing else planned. Just a lot of walking, looking, eatin' and drinkin'.
Of course we'll have lunch a couple of times at the Cheesecake factory. They have fabulous appetizers that make for great meals. Like the fresh Thai lettuce wraps, the avocado eggs rolls and the spicy Ahi tempura rolls. That's some pretty good shit.
Funny, every time we go to the States we always seek out a Cheesecake Factory, but we've never had their cheesecake.
We'll have a deep dish pizza somewhere and maybe on Thursday night we'll seek out a famous Chicago Chop House and get ripped off paying eight bucks for a baked potato.
I might go to the top of the Sears Tower which now called the Willis Tower, and I'm gonna check out the Navy Pier and I'll definitely take a stroll through Millennium Park.
Hey, have I ever told you, my dad was born in Chicago?
That's right. Dickie was born in Chicago in 1925. Just think, if he had stayed there I might be a Hawks and Bears and Cubs fan.
Talk to you on Friday ya buggers. When I get back I'll tell you about my first ever pedicure.
Good Job Jack
August 22, 2011 @ 14:58
I'm not going to get too slobbery over this thing because after the fact, and given what I've written and said about Jack Layton in the past, it wouldn't hold much water.
But I will repeat what I said about Jack when he held that press conference a few weeks to ago to talk about his latest bout with cancer; he was a unique man.
I didn't like or agree with his politics, but I truly admired his tenacity and commitment to his cause.
No doubt, cancer is a prick and can be ugly monster. Whatever got a hold of Jack must have been a special kind of ugly, because it beat one hell of a fighter.
"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."
One Man's Opinion - Pat Condell
August 22, 2011 @ 14:57