Hinzman go home
Despite a scary story and an obvious editorial decision to celebrate Jeremy Hinzman (NOW, December 16-22), the fact remains that Hinzman willingly joined the U.S. armed forces. Why he did this is not known, but one would assume he weighed the benefits against the possibility of active duty and concluded that he would not be called upon. He was wrong, as were thousands of others who responded to flashy recruitment techniques. The United States's foreign policy has always been morally ambiguous at best, and anyone joining its army should know that the military is one of the tools at the disposal of the planners of said policy.
Hinzman joined of his own free will. He should return to the U.S., do two years in prison and be a martyr for his pacifist beliefs. He made his decision. It is not Canada's responsibility to bail out those who make mistakes. I am against the Iraq war, but I am not for the protection of Jeremy Hinzman.
NOW reports that Emily Haines's upcoming solo album is her first (NOW, December 16-22), when really it would be her second. Maybe she forgot to tell you. Nice to see Stars back, but I wonder how they will pull off the umpteen vocal tracks from the album live. The sad thing is, the songs rely heavily on studio overdubs. Talk about painting yourself into a corner. It seems Sarah Liss doesn't care, or seem to notice.
Personally, I don't think people who are friends/groupies of bands should be writing about them constantly. It's extremely obvious and grossly manipulative of the position they've been given.
Basically, I think NOW's music writers should stop playing favourites and stick to talking about the music. That last Broken Social Scene article read more like something out of Tiger Beat than something you'd read in a top weekly like NOW. I never thought I'd say this, but more Perlich! At least he's diverse and doesn't care about what everyone is wearing this week.
Who believes that property developers/condo marketers should have an original bone in their excavating minds (NOW, December 16-22)? That's so quaint and 20th century. But now it seems our downtown is in for some London condos on the Esplanade to join the elegant Times Square at Front and Jarvis. The home my children and I share is in a neighbourhood where you can live whether you're rich or poor, handicapped or not, young or old. We do things differently here. It's not New York or London. It's called Toronto.
Usually the anti-establishment junk in UpFront is bearable enough that I can get by. But this time you've outdone yourself. So the provincial Libs cancelled their plan to ban fresh sushi because some of their friends in high places told them to (NOW, December 9-15)? What the hell kind of wild accusation is that? The least you could have done is back it up with some lame argument like you usually do.
RE Terror Trip-Up (NOW, December 9-15). Thank you for reporting this incident. Without the attention his case received from the public and the press, Mr. Namini might still be in Metro West Detention Centre. Why was he held so long? For carrying copies of a "suspicious" book that happened to be written in Farsi. Does Immigration Canada not have anyone on call who could read Farsi and tell them what it is about? No. Did they phone around to the various universities in this cosmopolitan town to find someone who could? No. Why not?
Back in the 30s, Toronto's Jewish community used to hold rallies at Queen's Park, with passionate speeches in Yiddish. The police wanted to monitor what was being said. Did they send a Yiddish-speaking cop to listen to the speeches? Well, no. Instead, they got city council to pass an ordinance forbidding anyone to make speeches at Queen's Park in any language but English. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
Feathery fine print
RE A Flying Shame (NOW, December 9-15). Your image of 1,037 dead birds, all victims of collisions with Toronto's towers, mentioned the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) but included no contact information for those who might want to get in touch with our organization. FLAP can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 416-366-3527 or through our Web site at www.flap.org.
Fatal Light Awareness Program Toronto
Biotics better than colonics
Interesting Alt Health piece on colonics (NOW, December 16-22). I wonder if you might do an Alt Health on probiotics. I've heard it's the same idea but much less intrusive.
Angry little punters
I'm not surprised that a NOW Magazine reviewer objects to my film A Delicate Battle, screened at the Moving Pictures fest of dance on film (NOW, November 4-10). I would point out, however, that there are no sounds of rustling gowns in the soundtrack. To me, this proves the power of my imagery. It caused you to hear something that's not there. Subtleties like this are generally lost on angry little punters working for slave wages in a mean, greedy town like Toronto. Good luck paying your rent. P.S., stay in the big smoke - it suits you.
RE Seeing Red (NOW, December 9-15). I find it amusing that your news writer is concerned about alcohol and caffeine while your food and drink writer promotes alcohol and caffeine as well a very rich food. I wonder if the two have ever met. I will give Steven Davey credit, though, for recommending vegan restaurants.
It's all Greek to me
RE Alexander's Rolling In His Grave (NOW, December 2-8). It's unfortunate NOW got hoodwinked into promulgating letter-writer Bill Nicholov's animosity for all things Greek. Not only Alexander, but his generals Ptolemy and Seleucus were the biggest purveyors of Greek culture throughout Asia. Nicholov would have us believe that I and other Greeks all have to be emancipated by Slavs like himself.
As Eli Shupak points out (NOW, November 25-December 1), those in Toronto who need to hire a wheelchair-accessible cab are being forced to pay extremely inflated fares. What the article did not mention is the fact that cities like Boston and Vancouver have found ways not to charge extra for accessible cabs. Toronto needs to correct this exploitation immediately.
Transportation Action Now Toronto
Revenge of the butt-heads
Earlier today I was walking along Bloor West when I noticed the state of the sidewalks, specifically between Bathurst and Spadina. In front of every bar and club (especially Lee's Palace) and a number of restaurants, hundreds - thousands - of cigarette butts, and among them every kind of garbage imaginable. What made me look down was a passing couple whom I overheard using the word "disgusting" as they looked around their feet. I can't help but agree. Are the islands of butts revenge for the city's defence of those of us who don't want second-hand lung cancer? Is it too much to expect these establishments to take responsibility for the garbage left on their own doorsteps by their patrons?
In response to Brent Raynor's review of the Staggered Crossing album Burgundy & Blue (NOW, November 18-24). Musicians spend years learning to play instruments and write songs. They spend months in the studio perfecting a recording. Then all that effort is rewarded with a flippant, clichéd review full of sarcastic statements like "hockey jockheads" will find the album "deep shit." In a country where the vast majority of people love the sport, that's good news for the band.
Next up, BR suggests that the band sound like they're from "the burbs." The boys in Staggered Crossing are all born and bred in Toronto. They all have jobs and pay the rent right here in town. In fact, the album was recorded in the studio in NOW's own building. You can't get any more downtown than that.
RE Bike Plan deserves scrutiny (NOW, December 16-22). Yawn. Yet another letter of criticism regarding the city's stillborn Master Bike Plan from a member of ARC (Advocacy for Reckless, er, Respect for Cyclists).