Peterson and all that jazz
I’m not usually a fan of Tim Perlich’s writing, but his tribute to Oscar Peterson (NOW, January 3-9) made me cry, especially the part about Peterson facing racism from his own Mississauga neighbours.
With all due respect, I realize you at NOW are grieving the loss of John Harkness. But to offer only a half-page write-up on the greatest jazz pianist ever while devoting two full pages to Harkness is a bit off.
A sidebar highlighting Peterson’s recordings, at least, would’ve been a nice inclusion in a tribute to this Canadian jazz giant’s legacy.
Editor’s note: A link to Tim Perlich’s 1991 cover story on Oscar Peterson was mistakenly left off last week’s story. It is www.nowtoronto.com/_assets/issues/2101/oscar_peterson.pdf.
RE This martyr was no saviour (NOW, January 3-9).
As a child growing up in Karachi, I bore witness to the violence and corruption that were commonplace during Benazir Bhutto’s years in power – when all the public had to do was ask what right she had as a “democrat” to inherit the position of chairperson for life of the Pakistan People’s Party from her father.
The parallels to U.S politics aside, one must marvel at the remarkable selective memory that lets voters in Karachi forget about Bhutto’s myriad corruption charges, her repression of the press and lack of concern for extra-judicial killings, in the same way that many in Washington forgot about who actually sold Saddam Hussein his weapons.
Overcoats no joke
I just read about the project to offer homeless people coats that can be stuffed with newspapers to keep warm (NOW, January 3-9). At first I thought it must be a joke.
While it may seem like a clever idea, it reinforces the view that homelessness is somehow an inevitable condition in our society and that the best we can do is make homeless people more comfortable on the streets.
Why not donate that money to organizations that actually help people get into housing? I’d be happy to suggest some. Then we’d really be doing something to help.
St. Stephen’s Community House
More bike lanes in 08
Good on now for its honk if you like bike lanes ad campaign. But here’s a sad story for the new year.
Biking on Bloor recently, I slowed for a red light at Spadina. Ahead of me were a man and his daughter on a two-seater. She was probably five. Her backpack was glossy pink, and her brown hair spilled over it.
He wore a nice coat.
Next to us, a driver craned his neck to make a right turn. The light turned at last and he rammed his foot down on the gas. The car smacked into them. Actually, it didn’t. The driver slammed on his breaks 6 inches from the girls left mitten.
But imagine for a second their bodies stopping traffic for a day. That would get us bike lanes, don’t you think? Here’s to fewer bike deaths in 08.
GO no go
RE GO has left the station (now, January 3-9). GO Transit has it very easy being green; everything they own is green. Being customer-friendly – that’s another story.
GO and the TTC have a pact not to compete for riders, and that agreement seems in force everywhere that GO serves.
During a recent renovation of the Guildwood GO/VIA station, I approached the provincial government about connecting to the TTC.
A set of stairs and a terminal would not be that expensive if included in the renovation. But no go.
GO Transit looks at people as an inconvenience. The true business of GO Transit is adding value to land.
City-centre-to-city-centre transit will not happen under this regime. NAFTA has a card to play in this hand.
RE Do it now (NOW, january 3-9). Many thanks for including us in your list of organizations working to preserve the environment. Just wanted your readers to know our group is not only for doctors; anyone can join! Our work to ban pesticides, close coal plants and promote organic agriculture has already garnered major public interest, but we always welcome new supporters. Visit our website (www.cape.ca).
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Plugging war resisters
Thanks for listing war resisters as winners for 2007 (NOW, December 27-January 2).
We were wondering what the chances are of getting a special plug for our rally (Saturday, January 26, Bloor Street United Church, 1 pm). So far we have confirmed Lawrence Hill, Shirley Douglas and NDP MP Olivia Chow as well as several Toronto-based war resisters.
The House of Commons is supposed to vote in February on a motion that would let the resisters stay in Canada. Thanks.
“Pact” deadly for NDP
Yes, we need a “paradigm shift” if we want to stop Harper from winning another election (NOW, December 20-26). However, don’t expect the federal NDP to do anything that would give more credibility to the Greens. Once the NDP becomes the permanent fourth-place party in the polls, it will never recover.
Also, the Liberals are not going to agree to a pact with the NDP like the one Dion has with the Greens. The Liberals need to pick up some of those NDP seats if they are going to beat the Conservatives.
Let’s get real. The only way to defeat the Conservatives is not some pact, but an actual merger between the New Democratic and Liberal parties.
NDPers have often dreamed of having a two-party system.
B. Thomas Graff
Rough ride online
I don’t like your new online look. It is much more confusing than the old one. You jumble up a lot of content on the same page, and columns and articles appear in one narrow, hard-to-read strip. And what’s with the ads covering the pages? I bet it’s only annoying your readers.
The only thing I see as an improvement? The flashy colourful background is gone. It was nice-looking but impractical. It took too long to load a page because of all the graphics.
I’m a regular reader, and I often go to your pages online instead of picking up a copy, to save paper. It’s also great when I’m out of town to keep in touch with what’s going on. If you’re not likely to bring back the old look, at least expand the linked articles to full (or most of the) page.
Harkness music to the ears
Enjoyed the appreciations of John Harkness (NOW, January 3-9). Although I agree with the essence of Cameron Bailey’s statement that John was a pure film critic, it may be worth noting that he started out writing record reviews.
I knew him a little in high school, well enough to enjoy several extended conversations and buy some old Rolling Stone newspapers from him.
Speaking of the Rolling Stones, I remember his description of a new Stones album (Exile On Main Street?) as “eminently satisfying,” and his explaining to me that Keith Richards is “a manipulator of cliche." And that was way back in 73.
Steve Paul Simms
Believe it – Santa’s God
I want to reply to letter writer Jacob Mendlovic (NOW, January 3-9), who doesn’t see the connection that Sheila Gostick draws between Santa Claus and the implausibility of God. I see a very clear connection.
Santa Claus is said to be the magical, mysterious source of Christmas presents, who knows if you’ve been bad or good and either gives or withholds presents accordingly.
God is said to be the magical, mysterious source of the universe, who is all-knowing and rewards and punishes people (very extravagantly) in the afterlife. In both cases, a myth is used to control people through fear of supernatural retribution.
The difference is that only young children believe in Santa Claus, but the God delusion is much more persistent.