Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Upon deep and serious contemplation

I have been ranting since last Thursday, both on FB and in my front room to my television.   I have been too angry to really articulate my thoughts here until I saw this online today:

It was just so... apt.

The unprecedented level of hypocrisy, flagrant and pathological dishonesty, flippant disregard for lawful behaviour, and an inexplicably overinflated commitment to his own untouchable sense of entitlement... I was at a loss.  I truly never thought a politician could sink lower in my estimation than he/she could by simply being a politician.  Kudos.  He's taken a subset of society for whom I had no previous respect or admiration (with barely a handful of exceptions), and made those who came before him kings in my eyes. 

No one - and I am talking NO ONE - has ever made me feel better about the homophobic knee-jerk conservatism of my home province politicians than this guy. And no one has ever made me feel better about the men and women back home who put them in power, than the people here who support this guy.  THIS is who they've asked to stand in their stead, to speak for them, to act on their behalf?

They owe me, and all other decent Toronto citizens like me, an apology.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

This is why we can't have nice stuff!

People gripe about funding for the arts.  It’s all touchy-feely, hippie crap, am I right?  And by that I mean, you think money spent on the arts is like tossing cash into the crapper, for as much good as it offers the world at large. 

Well, it’s harder for me to convince you of the fallacy of that argument when a recent city-wide all night arts festival offered the following “pieces”:

“An artist/poet silently wanders the financial district completely covered in Velcro-like hooked burdock seedpods accompanied by two assistants and a docent.”

“Two driverless luxury sedans circle each other in an endless figure eight, teetering on the verge of collision but never quite doing so.”

“Participants spin a wheel of fortune to select questions that are put to a 12-foot tall child oracle who offers answers privately over headphones.  These relatively benign proceedings are made menacing by the vengeful spirit of an even larger inflatable hanging spider exploring the night as the locus of imaginary fears.”

“A photography professor hoists personal messages about emotional states up a flagpole.”

“Celebrate Toronto’s squirrel population with knitted and felted portraits.”

“Wearing a soft sculpture made of stuffed toys, an artist wanders the area hugging passersby.”

“A 12-hour-long sentence made of 12,000 proverbs from around the world is read from the church pulpit.”

Don’t get me wrong.  The existence of this art is not my issue.  Calling it art isn’t even my issue.  It’s whether or not I, as a taxpayer, paid for any of the above.  Do I know for a fact that any of the above received any manner of public funding?  I do not.  Who is to be the judge of what is art and what is not, and thereby what is “worth” being funded – me?  I don’t really think so.  So what am I saying is the solution?

Well, art doesn't have to have a solution, does it?  Art can simply be about expressing or eliciting an emotional state or reaction.  It can be successful by simply instigating the discussion.  So consider this post my art *. 

[* No taxpayer was harmed – or fleeced – in the creation or execution of this art.]

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Sentiment Remains Sound

One of the officers involved in the streetcar shooting is going to be charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting.

(This one incident - and my choice in using it as shorthand to discuss the larger issue - does not invalidate the arguments presented.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

And now for A Public Service Message:

[I haven't had the drive to share anything here lately, but I was just about to post an obscenely long response to someone on FB, and decided not to do that to her.  It's more appropriate here, I guess, as it is a bit of a rant:]

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a protest rally outside Toronto Police Headquarters.  I'm not positive about exactly what incident people were protesting, but some of their signs were deriding the police for killing mentally ill suspects who were committing acts of aggression. 

I couldn't help but think: this mob is protesting the wrong location.  Their beef should have been with a lack of funding available to provide assistance to the mentally ill before one of the ill climbed aboard a TTC streetcar and threatened the safety of others (I think that was the inciting incident for this rally).  I couldn't help but think that if mental illness was funded at an appropriate level -- a level that actually met the need, rather than just paid the most economical lip service they could get away with and still call themselves mental health funders -- the police wouldn't cross paths with (so many?) mentally ill suspects endangering the populace.

I couldn't help but think: this mob is picking apart a split second decision in the calm, non-urgent, no-one's-in-danger light of the next day.  I'll give the protesters the benefit of the doubt by assuming they were aggrieved over the officers' choice not to use the non-lethal options available to them.  (I could even factor in the scuttlebutt I've been told that Toronto police in particular are known to be corrupt bullies whose nefarious butts are covered by the Special Investigations Unit which almost always clears them of any wrongdoing regardless of how wrong the doing was... but that's a different rant for a different day.)  But that doesn't change the fact that the mob had debated options in the comfort of their living rooms or conference tables, while the officers were standing on a streetcar in the middle of the night faced with an aggressive and certain threat.  The mob had weighed the probable success of non-lethal alternatives while kicking back with coffee and Timbits and bathroom breaks, while the officers had to act in defense of others and themselves  r i g h t   n o w   !

(officers are allowed to save their own lives too, people.  if I get to put on that airplane mask that dropped from the ceiling over my own mouth and nose before helping others, police are certainly allowed to choose to stay alive in order to protect me). 

I couldn't help but think: this mob must be aware of something I'm not -- how to tell on sight that someone is mentally ill and thus shouldn't be held accountable for their actions.  I mean, that's ridiculous of me to think that the mob has that kind of sight, right?... but they must have that knowledge - they're demanding that the police do.

Finally, I couldn't help but think: if the police had not neutralized this dangerous man, if somehow they had known the man was mentally ill and thus was not accountable for his actions, if the police did not act in defense of others on the streetcar in case the dangerous man could not be expected to understand how he was endangering people -- I couldn't help but think I'd be walking past a different rally outside the headquarters. 

A "What do we pay you for, if not to protect us from dangerous men on streetcars?!" rally. 

The police can't win.  I'm glad they continue to play each day on my behalf any way.

[See?  Rant.  But seriously, fund options for the mentally ill appropriately.  The police shouldn't be taking the heat for the fact you endanger the public with your penny pinching.]

Monday, June 3, 2013

I am serious Universe. Quit it!

Monday morning.  A new day.  A new week.  I was going to start this one out right.  Needing to pick some things up from an organic grocery store about a twenty minute walk away, I set my alarm, got up, get dressed and sat down to tie up my walking shoes...

...bumping into the table next to my chair, dumping a vase of flowers onto all the papers and notebooks sitting on that table, effectively destroying my handwritten notes on a story I had worked on all weekend.

Don't panic.  It's a glitch.  No need to let it ruin my day.  My plan to start the week off right remains sound.  So clean up the spill, press the papers between absorbent towels, cross my fingers, put on my coat, in with the ear buds, and off I am to the store. 

About two blocks away, my favourite song is playing so I kick up the walk with a little bounce in my step...

...tripping over a pit in the sidewalk, twisting my ankle and skidding across the cement on my elbow and shin.

Okay.  I get it.  My fault for thinking good thoughts.  Won't happen again.  Screw you Universe.  What did I ever do to you?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Once More Into the Abyss...

I am pleased to announce that I have four plants currently living in my apartment! 

Two are peace lilies that haven't flowered -- but I've had them for maybe four to six months and they remain alive!

One is a pointsettia I've had since Christmas.  Still alive.

The fourth - and the one that has prompted this post - is my attempt to make up for my epic failure with its earlier relative.  Remember this poor soul?
Well I picked up another one yesterday.  Except the one I have now is naturally camera-shy, given what happened to its predecessor.

All my plants have begged me not to show their pictures online, lest there exist some curse involved in being associated with my care. 

But maybe one day...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Didn't really think this through, did I?

Some time ago, I took an extreme close-up picture of one of my moles next to a ruler, so I can keep an eye on whether it changes in shape or size.  Because, you know, I've reached that age where I scrutinize every mole wondering if it has changed in shape or size.

So what's the problem?

I can't remember where on my body to find the mole in order to compare it to the picture.

Friday, May 10, 2013

And they called me mad when I bought the bunker in the woods!

I had heard that one way of thwarting telemarketers was to make them think the number they have dialed is in fact a fax machine.  I've tried different tones on my cordless phone, all to no avail.  Then I had an epiphany:

When I turned sixteen, my sister bought me a new-fangled telephone.  It had push buttons, but it was still just a rotary phone - when you pressed each button to dial, you still heard the rotary "tat-a-tat-tat-tat" with every number.  I had held onto this phone ever since.  It's cute.  It works.  There was no reason to get rid of it.

I was willing to bet that, in this day and age of advanced technology rendering yesterday's device obsolete on a daily basis, a telemarketer - who is likely going to be decades younger than my phone - would be unable to even identify a rotary phone by sight much less by sound.

And voila!  Answering the phone with my rotary phone, and constantly pressing the buttons, the telemarketer kept repeating "Hello?  Hello?"  I then heard him turn to someone beside him and say "I don't know."  He hung up... and immediately tried again.  Once more, I answered with my rotary phone with the "tat-a-tat-tat-tat" over and over over the woman's voice calling out "Hello?" until she too hung up.

Time will tell, of course, but you may just be looking at:
The Telemarketer Killer!

You may laugh that I avoid technology under most circumstances.  But every now and then a 28 year old piece of equipment will be the difference between you having your dinner interrupted, and me being able to sit down to eat in silence.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

I should have checked my hem first.

A number of years back, I went for a job interview for a job that I didn't really want in the first place.  Because I didn't really have the drive to show off a sparkling wit, or a dazzling intellect, or an amazing level of competence in my responses, I was calm, relaxed, confident and personable.  To this day, I think it was the best interview I ever gave.

As I walked out of the building into the spring sunshine, I descended the steps marvelling at what a cake walk the interview had been.  Then my high heel caught in the fallen hem of my dress pants and I tipped over straight-legged onto the unforgiving cement sidewalk below like an AT-AT Walker into the frozen ground of Hoth.

The Universe does not like me happy.  It really doesn't.  The above is what I think is one of the most humourous of my examples, but it is by no means the only example of how I have been taken down a peg by the Powers That Be because I was too pleased with myself, my abilities or my good fortunes.  "Abundant Energy Follows Intention"?  No.  Not for me it does not.  My abundant energy ricochets and beans me straight between the eyes with the opposite of my intention and knocks me back on my keester. 

The Universe obviously has found me to be too boastful of late.  So, let me share some things I've been lacking lately:  Respect.  Dignity.  Communication.  Maybe it's because I have so much experience working in such a wide variety of sectors and with so many different professions, that I've cultivated such a solid perspective about how to deal with others - not only those in positions above me, but those beneath me as well.  Never before has the importance of valuing people who possess these traits resonated so profoundly with me.

So there Universe.  You can let me up now.