Over-the-top cops I was one of the protestors who was attacked at the housing march on October 26 (NOW, October 31-November 6).
An officer yelled at me to either ride my bike on the street or walk it on the sidewalk, so I got on my bike and began to slowly follow the march. Later, another officer rammed his bike into mine, sending me to the ground.
I got up and asked him what he thought he was doing. He told me I had to ride my bike on the sidewalk. I told him that as far as I knew the law prohibited me from doing that. This prompted another cop to grab me and punch me in the back of the head and destroy my glasses.
He attempted to pull me into the street with the rest of the cops, but other protestors pulled me back into the crowd. My bike was dragged into the middle of the street.
I eventually got it back (thanks, Lindsey), but not my bike lock, seeing as it was actually a dangerous cop- killing weapon.
I'm not sure what I can do about this. Everyone I know who has filed a complaint with the Toronto police has been completely ignored.
George Dalli, Toronto
From bitterness to rage I was strolling down sherbourne, wondering with dulled interest at all the distant chanting emanating from last week's protest.
Vague memories of the hodgepodge of adversarial politics I had confronted at Quebec City came back to me. I've opted out of protesting as political expression.
Then I saw three green vans with inconspicuous black lettering on the side: POLICE. Inside each were nine cops in grey fatigues, clearly trying to maintain the element of surprise they felt they needed.
I only exchanged cursory glances with one square-jaw, but I felt immediately threatened. My bitterness changed to rage.
David Nasseri, Toronto
Fantino, what nerve the nerve of our chief julian Fantino to suggest there is no racial profiling in Toronto (NOW, October 31-November 6)., Toronto's own policy of targeted policing is racial. Who are the targets? Not the affluent white communities, but areas like Regent Park or Jane-Finch that have a high number of people of colour.
As an ex-drug-user who has spent time at the West, the East and Mimico Detention Centres in the past 20 years, I want to know how Fantino justifies the gross over-representation of people of colour in the remand centres?
Greg LeBelle, Toronto
Brilliant rationalizing I'm a huge fan of NOW's smug, self-serving prose stylings.
Still, it was with considerable awe that I read the brilliant rationalizing contained in How I Rip Off Welfare (NOW, October 31-November 6).
The author's approach to beating the system is nothing short of revolutionary. Her simplistic me-first attitude, couched as it is within a vicious attack on global capitalism, sounds a victory knell, if not for today's disenfranchised, then certainly for all of us interested in justifying our actions.
But then, far be it from me to critique reasoning as complex and carefully considered as that of someone with the intellectual might of Maggie Jones.
Examples of the writer's brilliance shine through again and again. Since she is labelled a criminal by the system, it's not her fault that she must stoop to criminal practices. Ergo she's not a criminal. Brilliant!
Isn't it time all so-called criminals adopted a similar approach?
I for one am sick to death of having to resist my temptation to murder in cold blood anyone I think deserves it merely because there is a system of rules in place that would then label me a criminal.
Peter Hegel, Toronto
Lack of courage I hope NOW didn't actually pay Maggie Jones (pseudonym for lack of courage) for her rambling piece.
It becomes difficult to follow her story, since it's written in the same disconnected, delusional manner as she seems to live. Yes, raising children is legitimate work. Perhaps more than many 9-to-5 jobs. There is no sense that there are real people outside of Maggie's world. NOW should have given the space to someone with a real story of being oppressed.
Douglas Helliker, Toronto
So much for peaceniks Great article by alice klein on >the Washington anti-war march (NOW, October 31-November 6).
Especially revealing is how Klein writes so positively about the Vietnam-era peace movement. Refresh my memory: what exactly did it do for humanity?
The anti-war rallies eventually helped drive the U.S. from Vietnam, opening the door for the North to overrun the South, turn the country into a Communist regime and then allow the Communist Khmer Rouge forces to take over Cambodia and slaughter 2 million innocent people.
I really don't see what the peace crowd is so proud of. Human suffering? The poor children? Please!
Jan Burton, Toronto
Finish Mike off, Ernie You wonder aloud whether premier Ernies Eves has read Julius Caesar (NOW, October 31-November 6). Were you suggesting that Ernie should bite the bullet, put aside his "friendship" with Mike, seize the severing dagger and finish the job?
If so, the premier ought to look at Macbeth's rueful musings about the need for clean breaks as he plots to have Banquo put down: "We have scorched the snake, not killed it." At least Ernie, unlike Macbeth, was spared the appearance of the ghost at the banquet.
Geoff Rytell, Toronto
Traumatic taste experience After reading your succulent review of soya intestines (NOW, October 31-November 6), my vegetarian partner and I decided to walk on over to Dumpling House and give the mock innards a try.
I had one taste and the distinct flavour instantly recalled a traumatic childhood food experience.
In my poor Mandarin, I asked the waitress what exactly the dish was, and lo and behold, she pointed to her gut area. It turns out the only soy in this dish is the soy sauce that flavours an actual pig's intestines. Needless to say, my partner was utterly disgusted.
Your food reviewer needs a lesson in common sense. If a restaurant, especially a pork-loving Chinese restaurant, doesn't explicitly indicate vegetarian options on the menu, it's probably not worth the risk of assuming.
Sophia Wong, Toronto
Most confusing The people who voted in NOW's Best Of Toronto poll (NOW, October 31-November 6) got "best" and "best known" confused!
www.toronto.com is not the best Web site. It's only the best-advertised Web site, since the Toronto Star pushes it on its Web site, on the TTC and billboards citywide. Maybe it's the best waste of an advertiser's money, considering how expensive their listings are.
As for best activist organization, why would people suggest OCAP?
Best anarchists or rioters, maybe.
Michelle Mulgrave, Toronto
More deserving activists NOW should have given some details about its Best Of Toronto poll.
How many people participated? How many ballots were cast by mail and how many by Internet?
I can't believe OCAP could win. If anything, OCAP discredits poverty issues by its actions. There are many real activist groups that actually help the poor that better deserve the award.
Paul Samuelson, Toronto
From the King of Cayenne I would like to thank all the NOW readers who voted me best busker for the eighth year in a row.
This, to me, is more important than winning an Oscar. NOW readers vote with their conscience, for which I'll be eternally grateful. On the day the awards were announced I celebrated my 14th year busking at Yonge and Bloor.
Ben Kerr, The King of Cayenne
The usual non-surprises Gee, what a surprise to see the usual choices for Best Of Toronto.
Any Toronto record collector could tell you that Ric's Collectibles should not be NOW's choice of Best Used Record Store.
Could it be because NOW's resident music columnist, Tim Perlich, gets special considerations from the store?
Mark Simpson, Toronto
Denigrating Israel re the b'nai brith awards for Distinction in Journalism (NOW, October 24-30). You say the awards were handed out to writers who justify "everything Israel does and says." How is that any worse than what you do, which is denigrate everything Israel does and says?
Rudy Brunell, Toronto
My own personal Nirvana Like many, i've developed a nasty habit of eye-rolling through Tim Perlich's glib record reviews.
This is not because I disagree with him. It's because I distrust him. More to the point: I distrust his ability to be honest with himself.
Perlich's self-conscious and reactionary slag of Nirvana's Best Of (NOW, October 31-November 6) is the rhetoric of a writer so desperate to carve out a unique critical persona that he'll willingly forfeit his own honesty in the process.
Read with embarrassment as he flails around in hateful desperation, in frantic search of the straw man that'll prevent him from having to concur with the rest of the miserable plebes.
He doggedly bangs on about the "cheesy romance novel" packaging and the "foolish" liner notes before committing the foulest irony of them all -- shamefully deploying the "Kurt wouldn't have wanted it this way" argument to advance his own embittered agenda.
Yawn. I mean, of course it's a cash-in, Tim. Next time, tell us something interesting. Like why you're maybe (just maybe?) secretly so afraid to give this record a good review.
Mark Pytlik, Toronto
An Upfront item in the October 24-30 issue erroneously stated that Canadian Press digitally altered a picture of a naked hockey fan. We regret the error.