Greg Gatenby's article on street names was very interesting and brought up some good points (NOW, October 7-13). I think it would be a real shame if we all lived at 142 14th Street NW (between 4th and 5th). But I think Gatenby lost sight of one important fact. We are naming streets, not giving history lessons. While I agree that the city will explode if we have one more Birchnut Boulevard, naming a street Nellie McClung Avenue isn't much better.
The history behind the names of streets is certainly valuable, but it is much more important for a name to make an aesthetic contribution to the city than an educational one. I would never, ever move to Marilyn Bell Avenue. But name it Swimming Lane and not only am I moving there, but I'm rushing out to buy personalized stationery!
Hooray for factory farming
Re Thanksgiving is murder on Turkeys (NOW, October 7-13). I have to take issue with this article, especially with turkey producer Ingrid DeVisser, whose stock response to the issues raised is typical of corporate PR. She needs to back up her claim with facts: turkey isn't just "great" on the barbecue! Turkey is best in the oven!
Now, to the meat of the article. I think the term "murder" is inappropriate. We had duck one year, which my dad had to kill with a shotgun. Stealth, surprise, and boom - now that's murder! Certainly, shooting wild game is much more fun for hunters, but can you imagine what the cost of our turkey dinner would be if every turkey farmer had to go out and shoot his own turkeys, especially if they're so witty? Honest Ed wouldn't be able to afford all those free turkeys! Hooray for mass production!
Turkeys made lame from misbreeding are perfect for the oven. Since they can't walk anyway, they should be cooked. And if it's typically done within the first 12 weeks, well, this is good, as it puts the turkey out of its misery sooner and keeps costs down. It's time now for my turkey dinner. Enjoy, all. I know I will. Yumm!
If the Liberals really cared
Congratulations to OCAP for liberating food from a supermarket and giving it to poor people who can't afford it (NOW, October 7-13). I wonder if the McGuinty Liberals will pay the tab. Probably not. It's not just food, but decent affordable housing and timely medical care that thousands of homeless and hungry people in Toronto and thousands more in Ontario desperately need.
If McGuinty really cared, he'd legislate an an immediate 40 per cent raise in welfare and ODSP rates, and build many more affordable housing and co-op units.
I think it's pretty offensive for Dan Savage to keep referring to a letter writer as being "Saudi" (NOW, October 7-13) when he doesn't state anywhere in his letter that he's from Saudi Arabia. All he said was that he was from the Middle East. This is not the first time Dan Savage has made ignorant assumptions. Please tell him to get off his bigoted high horse.
From the first two lines of the Embassy review (NOW, September 30-October 6), I suspected the remainder would be biased. I live next door. I can say that there is little of the neighbourhood hostility your reviewer implied. Embarrassingly little effort, it seems, was put into researching this piece. The Embassy's is a convection oven, not a microwave. And your chance of receiving "fresh" pot pies anywhere that aren't heated in an oven is rare. It takes over an hour to stew the filling alone.
I'm confused about how your reviewer came to the conclusion that the Embassy contravenes the "nature" of the Market. It's a small bar serving better than average bar food, and all the produce is purchased locally.
The Embassy itself was built by the owners, who live in the Market, with help from their neighbours, and it supports local artists. The failure to at least recognize this, regardless of the reviewer's opinion of the food, does both the Embassy and your readers a disservice and shows "contemptuous disregard" for balanced reviews and proper journalism.
I'm worried about theatre in our city. The war in Iraq and terrorism fears have taken a disastrous toll on the psyche of the American people, and for the most part the American family is staying home. They're nesting and feeling safer within the confines of their own environment. Add the cost of gasoline and an unimaginable wait to cross the border due to work slowdowns, and it's a shock that anyone even gets out of bed in the morning except to turn on CNN for an overblown, ratings-grabbing account of just how bad things are.
Here in Toronto, the residual effects of SARS have fuelled the problem, resulting in some of the lowest tourism numbers in decades. I can tell you that it hits theatre pretty hard. What to do? Let's support ourselves. I implore all the people of the GTA to come see some theatre. Get some true culture.
Oh, I know it would be a lot less expensive to stay home and rent a DVD, but the two experiences hardly compare. Anyone who has ever been enthralled by the sense of occasion and wonder that accompany a great play or musical will readily agree.
Cast member of Hairspray
I am amazed that one who clearly holds himself in such high regard as a musician as Vikas Sharma would stoop so low as to air his dirty personal laundry in public (NOW, October 7-13). What a juvenile, cowardly move. I don't know what the details are with respect to Merkury Burn's demise. But as a member of Kelly Clipperton's current band for over a year, I would like to attest to the fact that he has been nothing but considerate and professional. He bends over backward to treat his band members well, and I have found it a pleasure to work with him.
Kelly will continue to have a positive impact on Toronto's music scene much longer than the slanderous vitriol of Sharma.
The mix-up with legal pot
It was a year ago this week that the Ontario Court of Appeal reinstated a dead crime - possession of marijuana. There's only one problem. In order for a law to become valid, it must go through Parliament. As it stands now, Parliament is still discussing the issue.
More than 1,000 people have been charged with possession since, and the number will continue to rise. Hopefully, we have a judge out there who can sustain the pressures of being the one to allow the truth to be told to the public.
Cannabis in Canada, Toronto
Bylaw a moneymaker
I think Toronto's tree bylaw stinks (NOW, September 9-15). I still have a few trees around my humble abode, including one on city property. I dare not cut a bough for fear of being fined now that we need a permit from the city. Thank you, City Hall, for yet another way to make money.
Joseph William Lea
I'm sick and tired of Tim Perlich's anti-hipsterisms. Everything he reviews that has a remote buzz surrounding it will automatically receive one, or at most, two Ns. Tom Waits's Real Gone got one N from Perlich (NOW, September 30-October 6). He suggested that Waits might have been inspired by the White Stripes and that the music sounded "consciously fucked up." I'm pretty sure Tom wasn't consciously trying to do anything other than create.
On the other hand, what seems painfully obvious is Perlich's conscious decision to come across as a cool-as-shit reviewer.
The counterculture posing has worn off, Tim.
Coach House of cards
Re We're not profiteers (NOW, September 30-October 6). NOW oughta be ashamed to have run Jeremy Murray's glorified letter to the editor as "news." Out of basic fairness, NOW should have allowed Coach House to speak to the issues raised by the "story."
The lone, bizarrely decontextualized quote that's apparently attributed to Coach House publisher Stan Bevington and filtered through someone with whom Bevington is having a business dispute (hello?!) fails to clear even that low bar. NOW's usually better than this, and Coach House, this city and your readers deserve better.
As a frequent NOW reader, I wish to clarify a few things about the frosh march around the Eaton Centre (NOW, September 16-22). Those students weren't Ryerson frosh but, rather, U of T engineering frosh. I know because I was one of them last year.
Also, wearing purple is a tradition that dates back to the old British empire, when Royal Army engineers wore purple arm bands.
The reason for the screaming? Essentially, brainwashing the frosh into believing in the superiority of engineers (who have a professional designation) over arts and sciences students.
The full chant goes something like "We are, we are, we are, we are, we are the engineers. We can, we can, we can, we can, we can demolish 40 beers."
Just thought you'd like to know.
Second-year U of T engineering
Butts an eyesore
Once again the city of Toronto has thought up a scheme without thinking of the repercussions. The city did not provide businesses with receptacles to place butts in for patrons smoking outside, leaving people like me (I live next to a bar) to clean up this eyesore every day.