Earth Day downer
in honour of earth day, my roommate and I decided to clean up some garbage around the streets of Toronto. It was with great motivation and idealism that we headed out in the afternoon of this warm and sunny day. In a mere two hours we filled six garbage bags and two recycling boxes with trash from a local park, our front yard and the parking lot behind our house. The array of garbage was breathtaking. There were computer parts, clothing articles, batteries, fast food packaging, cans, liquor bottles, endless cigarette packages and condom wrappers. Amidst this smelly mixture were sections of couches, carpets, construction signs and computer hard drives likely containing heavy metals.
The city as a whole must be utterly polluted. Garbage tends to blend into the landscape. It's time we started viewing this earth as our home and behaving considerately toward the environments in which we live.
Record industry selling spin
thanks for your article on down loading being a convenient scapegoat for the record industry (NOW, April 22-28). I'd like to add my voice to those (we are many) music biz people who do not support the Canadian Record Industry Association and its belligerent stance against downloading. Many indie labels, Fading Ways included, believe that downloading actually helps foster new listeners and increases sales. Our label has adopted Creative Commons licences as a new marketing tool, legally returning to the buyer the options of sharing, copying and artistically exploring their purchased Fading Ways CD title. The music industry, despite what CRIA and CIRPA try to portray, is anything but monolithic in its views.
Fading Ways Records Ltd.
Libs gorging on higher taxes
it seems that the provisional liberals now believe our waistlines are part of the class struggle (NOW, April 22-28). Placing a punitive, regressive tax on the poorest dinners speaks volumes about their ideological menu. If fast food portions are the cause of obesity, then doesn't it follow that we should trim the appetites of those who gorge on Bay Street profits through higher taxation?
U.S. better than Saddam
re it's worse than you think (NOW, April 22-28). Jason Vest may be right in saying it is worse than we think in Iraq, but his anti-American slant in claiming that the "U.S. is killing reform efforts" indicates his lack of fairness. Did he consider that it could also be Saddam loyalists, insurgents, foreign and Iraqi terrorists, factions fighting for power, etc, that are killing reform efforts? The U.S. promised liberty from Saddam, and delivered. It is now up to Iraqis to rebuild their country with international help. What have Vest and his anti-war protestors done to help rebuild Iraq besides marching? What have France and Russia done?
Indeed, it's worse than you think, but it's better than it was under Saddam. Did he expect Switzerland overnight?
Need to screen caregivers
re canadian paraplegic association executive director William Adair's response (NOW, April 22-28) to [Eli Shupak's] article Rough Ride (NOW, April 8-14). As a teacher of personal support workers (PSW), the story has assisted me to educate my students about what being a PSW means, and how profit before dignity is infiltrating our system. It provided an excellent example of how a client's needs are not currently being met and what the role of a PSW is.
Instead of complaining to NOW that "this information was produced and printed without the involvement and knowledge of Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA) Ontario" (and why should it be?), the CPA should acknowledge that its human resource department is not screening new hires adequately, and perhaps not hiring qualified, certified PSWs.
The big-bucks alternative
you people at NOW and your supposed alternative outlook. So you lean left of centre? So does half of society! My favourite part of your paper, though, is My Style. In last week's offering (NOW, April 22-28), some "alternative type" named Annie Thompson is modelling pants ($245), top ($125) and a jacket ($4,500) that she says she got "at a huge discount." Add $100 for wristband, belt and jewellery and that's more than $5,000 squatting on a workbench.
How about the shoes and boots advertised that cost almost a week's pay for someone on minimum wage?
This is alternative? I'll stick to being part of the evil unenlightened great unwashed mainstream.
It's all I can afford.
Solution to subway suicides
may i suggest a cost-free solution to the problem of suicides and accidents in Toronto subway stations (NOW, April 15-21)? Simply slow the train before it enters the station, then have it ease into the platform area at a controllable speed. Where is the sense anyway in having speeding trains hurtle up to narrow subway platforms overcrowded with impatient commuters? The time saved in emergency delays and stress to subway drivers, not to mention saving at least a life a week, would surely be worth the possible five to 10 seconds per stop in additional travel time.
Staying on right-of-way
here are a few things the suv socialists at NOW failed to print in your attack on the proposed dedicated right-of-way on St. Clair (NOW, April 15-21). When St. Clair was reconfigured from a dirt roadway to its current width in 1913, it was designed and built with (surprise, surprise) a dedicated streetcar right-of-way between Yonge and Caledonia. This was gradually (and foolishly, in my opinion) eliminated by the 1930s as a Depression-era make-work project.
If NOW is really concerned about taxpayers' money being wasted on unnecessary transportation projects, you need look no further than the $250-million Front Street extension to nowhere. That kind of money could go a long way toward transit improvements.
Shout for cycling survival
as someone who believes that the real better way of getting around this town is by bike, I appreciated Steven Davey's piece on City Cycling Survival (NOW, April 8-14), to which I would add my own bit of advice. Yes, a tinkly little bell is mandatory, but it doesn't do much good. My own solution is to shout. To other cyclists moving slowly: PASSING ON YOUR LEFT! To idiot pedestrians who cross the street without so much as a glance in your direction: KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN! To drivers who get into their cars with their backs to oncoming traffic: BEHIND YOU! To pedestrians who have sense enough to use a crosswalk: GO AHEAD, I SEE YOU! To anyone you think might be about to nail you with a quickly opened car door: AAAAUUGHH!!!!
Pee stands for prevention
three words that diana chase (NOW, April 22-28) needs to remember if she wants to prevent yeast infections in future: always pee afterwards....
Missing PETA's point blank
now's negative comments about PETA's recent anti-meat campaign (NOW, April 15-21) strike me as somewhat reactionary. PETA's message aims to sensitize the public to one injustice (the slaughter of animals) by using another (the killing of prostitutes) that everyone can relate to. This does not trivialize either injustice, especially since the ultimate agenda is compassion. We should consider the carnage we collectively inflict on animals by purchasing meat products.
Immigration sacred cow
re your article on the sierra club and its supposed takeover by anti-immigrant groups (NOW, April 8-14). What is happening with Canada's immigration policies in particular is that Third World children who have never offended Mother Earth get quickly converted into Canadian citizens who consume lots of coal-derived electricity, drive SUVs and, worse, send polluting devices home as gifts to their relatives in the Third World. They consume far more energy and produce far more pollution than they did before. To mint a new high-polluting Canadian undoes the work of 50 or more existing Canadians trying to take steps toward conservation. We cannot artificially hold immigration as a sacred cow and exclude it from consideration in an overall pollution-reduction strategy.
Apology from Girl Friday
recently, we hosted a party in celebration of our second anniversary. It was a fun-filled evening and was listed in NOW as an evening of "champagne, cupcakes and a chance to win a $300 Girl Friday gift certificate." Our intention was to give the aforementioned gift certificate to an unsuspecting customer wearing the most Girl Friday merchandise. The prize was intended to be a surprise and a treat. We apologize to readers of Now and customers of Girl Friday for any misunderstanding this might have caused. At Girl Friday, customer service and satisfaction are a top priority, and we strive to make every effort to maintain these standards.
Nauseating hockey fans
Was I the only person utterly nauseated by [the fact that] the jury in the Farah Khan case [was] allowed to end its deliberations early so they could leave to watch a fucking hockey game? Am I really living in this world? I hope the Leafs lose every game for the next 50 years.
Reading the Riot Act
why did you send Elizabeth Bromstein to review a punk show (NOW, April 15-21)? She has the mentality and opinions of a conservative, middle-aged out-of-touch housewife. Did you really think she would write a fair review? Or maybe that was your point. So we are "really stupid," are we? Please clarify. Is it our music that's stupid, or our lyrics? And why the fuck does she continually compare me to John Lydon? I guess that's her only reference point when it comes to punk rock.
Obviously, Bromstein has a personal problem with Riot99. The fact that she mentions the one heckler instead of the 200 people who went crazy for our set confirms this. Yeah, we sucked so bad that night that the UK Subs asked us to go on a U.S. tour with them this fall. You aren't Lester Bangs, honey. But so glad you enjoyed our song about "munching snatch."