Bryan's swan song
Re Thriving on the thrill (NOW, February 17-23). Thank you for writing such nice article about my son, graffiti artist Bardia Bryan Zargham. You described him as he really was and in my heart still is.
Kind, forgiving, dedicated, determined, stylish and most of all someone who would stand up for his friends. His spirit was bigger than this world, and God had to take him away from us. He is in a better place, but will always live with me in my heart because my heart belonged to him. I miss him beyond imagination. Your article gave me a warm feeling.
Let your feelings roll on by
So Stephen Humphrey is upset by the lack of public toilets in the city (All Pent Up With Nowhere To Poo, NOW, February 17-23).
Try being a 52-year-old woman with a bladder to match!
I love nature and walk a lot, which means by now that I've probably destroyed thousands of acres of grass and underbrush with ammonia poisoning.
If anyone at city council is reading this, bring back the public toilets (or at least Port-o-Potties in the big parks).
I certainly won't be "too shy" to use them!
Sarah not so endearing
Perhaps you would be wise to send the colour-blind Sarah Dearing elsewhere so that she can loaf and wolf with her pals and leave the Liberty to those of us who enjoy and appreciate the new upscale-yet-comfy bistro (NOW, February 17-23). As an old regular, I find the prices still reasonable and the new owners gracious and welcoming.
She complains of slow service (hey, relax, it's brunch) and then when quickly served, blames a misorder. How nasty! How about trying a compliment for the improvement?
Out of curiosity, what are Dearing's qualifications as a food critic and/or an interior decorator? Awaiting your timely response.
Your exceptionally naive commentary on Glen Murray's apparent abandonment of civic support and Winnipeg's new Mayor Sam Katz as a "Lastman-esque boob" (NOW, February 17-23) can only be compared in intelligence to Lastman's infamous comments on Kenya.
Murray stepped down as mayor to take the cause to the federal level properly, but unfortunately didn't win the conservative suburban riding. Katz, while no political stalwart, is hardly the national embarrassment that Lastman was.
Beyond the blue box
It truly is time for a personal revolution for each and every one of us. Everyone has the power to cut down on our waste, create demand for recycled products, use less energy and in general change our part of the world (NOW, February 17-23).
Although a lot of us feel like we are way beyond the three Rs, how many times have you heard someone say, "It's OK, we can recycle this"? Let's climb up the three-Rs ladder to "Reduce," everybody.
Recycling was a great first step, but we've got to create a paradigm shift so that creating waste is considered more unacceptable than the "convenience" of using it and throwing it away.
Changing the world is empowering, fun and necessary. The easiest first steps are to be aware of and responsible for how we live every day. The path to a better world unfolds from there.
Lea Ann Mallett
Driving test, what a mess
Re Drive-by cash grab (NOW, February 17-23). Jenny Yuen's article regarding driver examination services in Ontario contains some troubling misrepresentations of the facts.
Since Serco began working with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation in 2003, pass rates have remained consistent. What is most important to remember is that only those drivers deemed competent according to standards set by the Ministry of Transportation receive a passing grade on the examination.
Licence fees are not determined by Serco. Serco accepts fees on behalf of the province. Serco's revenue is not determined by the licence fees paid by applicants.
Serco and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation received recognition last year from the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships for service improvements, including reduced wait times for driver examination appointments, expanded service hours and refurbished test sites.
I understand Yuen's frustration with her failure to meet the driving standards set by the government for competent driving. But those standards are set to keep the roads safe.
Managing Director, Serco DES
OISE research not military
Paul Weinberg's article about research at OISE/U of T's Institute for Knowledge Innovation and Technology (NOW, February 10-16) did not fully present the research being done.
The two are engaged in socially responsible research that is about helping people learn better. IKIT research helps to create virtual groups so people in locations around the globe can share information and interact more effectively as they learn.
One of its most promising potentials is helping school children interact and learn better through technology. It is irresponsible to characterize this as military research.
None of the research nor the data that are being shared have military elements.
Helping people learn better is a positive social good, to which the university and its IKIT researchers are firmly committed, as they are to academic freedom and the advancement of knowledge.
Vice-President and Provost
University of Toronto
Shot through the heart
I write to you today in dismay over the police shooting death of Jeffrey Reodica (NOW, February 10-16). Having just read the most complete article on the story in NOW, I'm saddened and disheartened. Ask yourself why a 200-pound police officer needs to shoot a 130-pound teenager three times, twice in the back. As a trained officer, Dan Belanger should have been able to handle the situation, especially with the help of his partner, without killing Reodica.
If the message we're sending out is that life is worth so little, then we as a society should be ready to live with devalued expectations of our youth and future society.
I hope the next person to run away from Dan Belanger in the heat of the moment is not devalued in the back.
Odds stacked against blacks
Re Like white on rice (NOW, February 10-16). Black people in America rule in sports and hiphop music. But education is where blacks are underachievers. So the appointment of Condoleezza Rice, a former political science professor, as Secretary of State is of paramount importance to black people.
Canadians like to boast that we treat our blacks better than Americans. I challenge you to name a similar achievement [to Rice's] in Canada.
I am not a fan of Rice's and not a cynical person by nature. In my activist days I was pretty upbeat and optimistic, but I've lost faith and grown tired of racism and the violence, cruelty, suffering, ignorance and stupidity that seems to surround us.
Vernon A. Bassue
Re Cameron Bailey's review of Rory O'Shea Was Here (NOW, Februaru 17-23). I don't think Bailey read the quotes regarding director Damien O'Donnell's research into proper etiquette when speaking about persons with disabilities.
After O'Donnell stresses how important it is to use the proper terminology when addressing persons with disabilities, Bailey goes on and ignores this completely. There is a publication entitled A Way With Words And Images. I strongly recommend Bailey read it.
Food that goes plunk
For several weeks now, large photographs of pieces of food have been plunked into NOW's Free Will Astrology. All that's missing is the caption: "This distracting oversized image is reproduced from the Pizza Pizza advertisement at the bottom of the page. Stop reading and look at the ad right now!"
Has NOW forgotten a basic rule from Publishing 101? Advertising and editorial content should always be clearly separated from one another.
Breast déjà vu
Your story on the breast-feeding controversy at Dufferin Grove (NOW, January 20-26) has only come to my attention via the story that ran in the Globe and Mail Saturday.
Erika Ross is not the first person to have been victimized by Jutta Mason at Dufferin Grove Park. It's been an ongoing problem. Mason cannot control an impulse to lash out inappropriately.
Congrats to Elizabeth Bricknell, who in her Lost In Meth article (NOW, January 13-19) distinguishes qualitatively between psychedelics and dangerous designer stimulant drugs.
Bricknell's emphasis was on the hideous effects of methamphetamine. However, I would like to point out that when synthesizing or extracting active chemicals from plants or other sources, highly reactive solvents and additives are often used in the process.
It is common for such agents to then be listed as "ingredients" by people speaking out against the abuse of the end product. This is not a scientifically credible approach, and it takes emphasis off of the more important truth of the danger, the drugs themselves.
Your photo of stationary bike races at Cinecycle (NOW, January 13-19) reminds me of the great off-the-wall venue featured in The Triplets Of Belleville.
Its outrageous audience, flashing guns and cash, is also reminiscent of the scene in The Deerhunter where bets are placed on which Russian roulette participant will find the random bullet. While I don't suppose there's anything half so dangerous at Cinecycle, it looks as if they could at least use Tour de France footage to urge the bikers on.
The lady is a slacker
Dean Tudor's advice to Sheila Gostick to listen to Old Time Radio on the Internet was well-intentioned (NOW, January 20-26). Unfortunately, she won't likely follow it because she's a lazy slacker with a victim complex.
If she were really poor, I could sympathize, but Gostick writes a column for NOW and, so I've heard, is supposed to be a comedian. That would imply that she earns money and could save to buy a computer and get Net service, or go to a cyber-café.
But the lady will likely say that she hates computers, thinks they're cold or use some other reason to justifiy her victim status.
Neville A. Ross
Keep on truckin', sort of
Re Car-free crash (NOW, february 3-9). Great article! Keep the pressure on by keeping the issues in the spotlight.