The crap on cost-cutting
The city's proposal for addressing the budget (NOW, August 16-22) seems quite tame and frankly dull.
I have a suggestion for the budget wizards that not only cuts costs but also improves the environment: close the wasteful Sheppard subway and turn its tunnels into a garbage dump. Fill 'er up.
We'll no longer have trucks spewing emissions on the 401 to get waste to landfill. Other municipalities misguided enough to consider waste incineration (are you listening, Hamilton? ) will have an alternative disposal site. I can't think of a more fitting tribute to Mel Lastman.
Heck, if we really wanted to cut costs further, we could call in the army to cover vacation periods, overtime, etc, for municipal employees. If the army can shovel snow for Mel, it can shovel shit for Miller.
Cops hogging the budget
The city of Toronto spends more than half a billion dollars annually on the police budget, more than half of its total fiscal annual budget. Has all this expenditure put a dent in the number of kids being shot to death? No.
Maybe some of this money should be spent on educational, recreational and employment opportunities for kids instead of turning our city into a fucking police state.
Fluoride pulling teeth
At first I could not understand why your Upfront writer mentioned laughing gas in the item about fluoride (NOW, August 16-22). Then I realized, he/she was probably having the last of his/her black, rotten teeth pulled. I hope it helped!
Natives not fighting alone
Thanks to Deb O'Rourke for her supportive, respectful article on Mohawk warrior and social justice activist Shawn Brant (NOW, August 16-22).
The story's headline (One Lone Warrior) is somewhat misleading, however, since Shawn is not alone. Many other Mohawk warriors, First Nations people and thousands of us social justice activists in Toronto and other cities proudly and eagerly support his struggle, and the struggle of all First Nations people to defend and reclaim not just the quarry on the Tyendinaga reserve but all land claims.
Ironically, Shawn's bail hearing was held on Prisoners Justice Day.
We must keep speaking out and protesting until Shawn Brant is free again and gets justice.
The Queen is dead
Royal surprise by Alan Young (NOW, August 16-22) effectively highlights the absurdity of attempting to reconcile monarchy, and its inherent inequality and hereditary privilege, with the democratic principles Canada is supposed to have embraced.
The obvious and compelling question is: why do we bother? Why not cut our embarrassing ties with the monarchy so it can no longer impede and interfere with our democratic process?
"Heritage" is a weak and unsatisfying answer.
While history is to be remembered and considered, we should only honour traditions that are in harmony with our ideals. To nurture a robust and independent Canadian democracy, we have to remove it from the archaic and profoundly undemocratic institution of monarchy.
Lick this cone
Steven Davey made a huge oversight in his cycle for the best ice cream (NOW, August 16-22).
Dutch Dreams is great for us goofy Dutch people looking for double-salted licorice, Hopjes, stroopwaffles and Indonesian soy sauce, but the ice cream is pure North American pedestrian. Less kitschy and without a chocolate sprinkle in sight but definitely superior in its simplicity is the gelato at Faema Café, by far the best I've tasted in the city.
Ice cream making is the owner's hobby and passion. Check it out, report back and we will forgive you.
Lower pressure on herbals
When the pressure's on (NOW, August 16-22) failed to mention that high blood pressure is often a failure of the brain that regulates it. In that case, herbal remedies and a better diet won't lower blood pressure enough.
On the other hand, I've met people with super-high blood pressure who brought it down to normal with herbal treatments. So the answer is to attempt the alternate methods first. If they don't work, then try medication.
Most doctors will put you on medication and not recommend alt methods at all, and some will leave you living with high blood pressure.
Reality messes with faith
RE Adam Madigan's letter taking issue with Howard Goldenthal's review of Richard Dawkins's book The God Delusion (NOW, August 16-22).
I understand Madigan believes in God. Dawkins asserts the non-existence of God. Madigan's argument, however, doesn't impress me. He claims that denying the existence of God is like denying the existence of hope. That is a poor comparison. Hope obviously exists. For example, I hope that NOW will publish my letter.
There is no similarly obvious evidence that God exists, although many intricate theological arguments attempt (unsuccessfully) to offer proof. Dawkins has disproved all of them.
Still, your religious faith may keep you warm on a cold winter's night. And even if it doesn't, you can always pretend that it does. Mere reality doesn't get in the way of religious faith.
El Cantante's low note
RE Glenn Sumi's review of El Cantante (NOW, August 16-22). "Marc Anthony, aka Skeletor?" What's that about? Just stick to the movie, smart boy. You call yourself a movie critic?
I must say that I really object to letters objecting to letters objecting to initial letters.
We have the ongoing correspondence regarding Nikki Payne's cover photo (see previous three editions of NOW).
Pardon my naíveté, but I always thought Letters to the Editor meant two things: that a) we should be addressing letters to the editor (not other readers), and b) that readers are responding to content that is originated by writers of the newspaper, rather than to the newspaper.
Indeed, by receiving each weekly edition, we can all keep up with various epistolary sagas, in much the same way as TV viewers must continue tuning in to soap opera episodes to remain au courant.
I would prefer to see more letters containing intelligent, critical responses to actual articles in the newspaper, as well as anything involving two naked people in bed.
T.O.: No fun allowed
RE The ad campaign to sell Toronto to the world (NOW, August 9-15).
They should simply state: "Please come deposit your dough and get the hell out." Or "Rules - we have lots of rules." Go to the Rogers Centre or any other event in Toronto; the restrictions on movement and on what you can or cannot bring are outrageous.
Apparently, the Grey Cup is at the Rogers Centre this year.
That will really expose the authoritian structure that is Toronto. Once you're inside, the lockdown takes effect.
Then the booze police come. Don't be caught having too much fun.
Cool to Ice-T
An anonymous music critic weighs in on the Ice-T concert and gives it four Ns (NOW, August 2-8). Really? Because I've heard the new Ice-T record, and it sucks eggs.
Regrettably, Tracy Marrow hit his rapping zenith in 1988 with the dynamic Power album, a timeless contribution to hardcore rap, but hasn't matched it since.
The reviewer concludes by saying Ice-T brought out his "impossibly beautiful" wife, CoCo. I suppose that point's accurate, sort of the way Tammy Faye was "impossibly beautiful."
Blame Libs for poverty trap
RE Anti-poverty flame-out (NOW, August 2-8). I agree with Wayne Roberts's argument that anti-poverty organizations have to do work around health issues.
Poverty has been called the single greatest health issue, and many people with disabilities and chronic health conditions are poor.
However, if you want to see change around health and poverty, go after those who actively obstruct people on welfare and the Ontario Disability Support Program from getting enough to eat. Go after the Liberals.