Richard the lion heart
I read with sadness that Richard O'Brien died last week (NOW, October 18-24). I cut my promoting teeth at the Bamboo.
I remember him growling at me for the sketchy, unprepared bands I'd bring in, but he kept giving me his club and mounds of Jamaican chicken wings and pad thai until I got it right.
There is no school that teaches you how to be a rock promoter. Instead, there are guys like O'Brien who kick your ass and challenge you to be crazy and creative and colourful. Here's toasting a green beer to you!
West Hollywood, California
If you want to take a real bite out of the Apple iPhone (NOW, October 18-24), look no further than the Open Moko (http://openmoko.com)
The Open Moko is designed from the ground up to be hacked by the user. Users can decide what software they want to run on their mobile phone and what provider they want to use it with.
It's so hackable that if you want to get down and dirty with a soldering iron, the complete electronic schematic is available on the website.
The Open Moko runs on the free (as in freedom) GNU/Linux operating system. The second-generation consumer-oriented model will be out toward the end of the year.
The closed, locked-up software and electronic gizmos that Microsoft and Apple have brought us are so 20th-century. The 21st century (with a little help from friends) will be open.
Cops need to cut fat
What's the mayor thinking (NOW, October 18-24) ? If he thinks property tax is the wrong way to finance a city, why does he want to hitch his wagon to another real-estate-based tax, the land transfer tax?
With the new powers of taxation granted by the City Of Toronto Act, let him put in some consumption-based taxes that are proportional to wealth.
Vehicle licence registration for a Rolls should not cost the same as for a Yaris. Why not have a sliding scale?
Shopping malls pay no tax on their parking lots. What's up with that?
Road tolls based on the fuel economy of vehicles, as imposed in London, England, are an obvious choice. What about a pet grooming tax? (Anyone who spends that much money on a pet has too much money.)
Also, almost every U.S. city I visit charges me a city tax on the hotel bill. Why can't we ding visitors to Toronto during their stay?
I'm glad you asked the mayor about the huge police budget. This is the largest single budget item for the city. The police really have no room to cut any fat? Easier to kick kids out of the library or off the ice rink.
Nuit piece in the dark
Silly me for thinking, as I began Sheila Gostick's Do Your Own Nuit (NOW, October 18-24), that it would contain actual information about things to explore in my lovely city after dark.
Instead, I just found a list of self- righteous or simply self-praising, statements ("And I must say my silk gown fit like it was made for me and not someone who outgrew it in 1970").
It was news to me that "the powers that are have broken up all the casual, unsanctioned hanging out we pre-dawn denizens used to do."
As someone who goes out regularly at night (gasp!) to see music, art and the city, I guess I missed the memo from "the powers."
The scientists Gore forgot
You criticize the Globe for not fully recognizing Al Gore as the Nobel laureate (NOW, October 18-24).
People will likely remember that Gore was honoured in 2007 but forget that 3,000 scientists, members of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, were also recognized.
Even today, the media don't mention the name of even one of the scientists on the panel who did the hard work that Gore used to become a superstar. It proves the dominance of our celebrity culture.
Diableros' double debut
Just wanted to point out a couple of things regarding your review of the new Diableros record (NOW, October 11-17).
We are not "eager to capitalize" on our critically acclaimed debut. That first record was released independently in November 2005, so it has almost been two years.
"Interpol-informed" Telepathic Love is a Wipers cover, a band that we take a much bigger influence from.
Aside from those things, I thought it was a pretty thoughtful review. Thanks.
Can't win with NDP, join 'em
I see the good folks at NOW want to "rescue" the NDP, even proposing 10 ways to do so (NOW, October 18-24). Well, join the club.
I was an active member of the NDP for over 35 years. Like many party members, I sometimes tried to "rescue" the NDP from itself. Other party members, I suspect, wanted to rescue the NDP from people like me.
But a few years ago I took an extended sabbatical from political activity and let my membership lapse.
I came to accept that 75 per cent of politics is, as you wrote, "dull and dreary." Mind you, about 15 per cent is interesting and educational, with the remaining 10 per cent being downright exciting. The climax may not be as intense, but it can last for days.
If the good folks at NOW, as well as your readers, really feel the need to rescue the NDP, just join the party and get involved. That's all.
But first you'll have to get up out of your comfortable armchair.
Libs, lefties made in heaven
Missing from your 10 ways to rescue the NDP was this idea: don't ! Let the NDP cease to exist and find another way of gaining influence.
After 40 years, the NDP remains on the political margins with no real power, and will continue to be except during those rare minority governments. Had MMP passed, the NDP would've had a new lease on life, but the overwhelming defeat of MMP means it's a dead end.
Typically, NDPers hate the Liberal party, but a Liberal party filled with NDPers would be a different animal, far to the left of where it is now. Most Liberal riding associations have few active members.
A bunch of NDP activists could push the party to the left.
Democracy's poison pill
Poor Michael Higginson, who condemns in his letter (Vox Populi's Big Lie, NOW, October 18-24) the 63 per cent who voted against MMP. This is the democratic process in action, but of course it's terribly flawed because the vote went against him.
People like Higginson support the democratic system only when the vote goes their way. Sorry, but we all have to accept the losses as well as the victories for democracy to work.
David L. Shanoff
It may be the insidious nature of war that the sergeant does not known what the general's intentions might be, but more than anything it was the exoticizing, almost spicy description of Gwynne Dyer's Sergeant Mehmet that I found particularly appalling about his piece on the Armenian genocide (NOW, October 18-24).
It is obvious that Dyer is enamoured of everything military. The bias ends up choking the truth in this article.
The "naive" soldier's declaration,"We massacred them good," is more an admission of guilt than of innocence, for god's sake! You don't have to be a Middle East expert to see that it's not the Armenian cause that is fuelling the pressure on Turkey at this point in time, but the U.S., which is playing the genocide card to keep Turkey out of the new Kurdish state.
Throne for a loop
In all the media discussion about Harper's Speech From The Throne (NOW, October 18-24), commentators have repeatedly applauded the PM for how "cleverly" he outmanoeuvred the opposition by scheduling the speech so that most Quebecers would watch hockey instead of post-speech commentary. Most of the folks I know would call that manipulative and scheming.