Why the mayor's bad behaviour matters
The day following revelations of Mayor Rob Ford's alleged fondness for putting his privileged mouth up against a glass crack pipe (NOW, May 16), a co-worker of mine made a rather crass comment to me. When I asked him not to speak that way, he laughed and said, "I'm a government employee, and if our mayor can allegedly smoke crack, all bets are off as far as appropriate behaviour."
I went to brunch on Saturday and a fellow customer walked over and threw up in a flower bed. He then proceeded to walk back to his table and wash down his mussels with another swig of beer. At no point did he apologize or alert the staff to the situation. He laughed the incident off with a flippant "If our mayor can...."
Then, this morning, a neighbour cut down almost half of a tree that was at least 100 years old. I begged him to stop. I informed him that a permit was required. Later, the two men involved commented that I was naive to think that anyone from the city would care about a tree; they have bigger things to worry about, such as getting the mayor not to smoke his crack with an iPhone around. So funny.
Ford's behaviour matters; people will and do follow his lead.
The method in Rob Ford's madness
With all the craziness and potentially disturbing allegations about a much-talked-about Rob Ford crack video that might or might not exist, one recalls Woody Harrelson once saying to your publication: "I hope one day to play Rob Ford. I like playing anti-heroes, or in this case, a stone-cold villain.
"Being a method actor, I'll have to start eating meat, hating bikes and enjoying censorship."
If certain allegations turn out to be based in fact, one can only hope that Woody doesn't get too method.
I must have missed the Horseshoe's patio all these years. Or are you referring to the street pen at the entrance in your patio guide (NOW, May 16-22)? How does that rate as one of the best in T.O. when Poor John's hot little patio in Parkdale doesn't make the list?
TPA's rosy tax numbers unbelievable
Thanks for your story on the ongoing battle to protect Toronto's waterfront from Robert Deluce's ambition (NOW, May 16-22). You took the Toronto Port Authority's claims of the economic benefits to the city of the Island Airport at face value, though. Dangerous, in our experience.
The study the TPA commissioned claims the airport has generated $200 million in direct gross domestic product, $900 million in economic output and 1,700 jobs.
But unlike Waterfront Toronto's spending, this probably isn't new business. Likely most, if not all, of this economic activity would have occurred at Pearson if Porter and Air Canada flights operated only from there.
The TPA's study doesn't even consider that issue. And, not having considered the issue, its claimed economic benefit is dubious at best. It certainly cannot be used to justify an expanding commercial operation on our waterfront.
All may not be well with Porter
Porter Airlines will no longer be releasing its monthly passenger capacity figures, something it's been doing voluntarily since September 2010. Apparently, more than a month of full-page newspaper ads about expansion to jets and seat sales have done very little for the airline's numbers.
Despite the "robo emails" Porter requested its passengers send to the mayor and councillors - and the famous handshake on the council floor between the mayor and Porter CEO Robert Deluce - all is not well in the low-cost, labour-unfriendly skies.
Sex work pillow talk
Letter-writer Stephen Barringer chastises Fleur de Lit for supporting the legalization of the sex trade (NOW May 16-22). He claims that because she uses a pseudonym she is admitting that her trade is so dangerous that legalization cannot help her.
Actually, there are lots of reasons why people use pseudonyms. The name Fleur de Lit is actually a clever pun: it sounds like the French symbol, the fleur-de-lys, but actually means "flower of the bed."
Barringer concludes that sex must be her only economically valuable skill. It may be that she has other skills but prefers to be a sex worker. Puritanism has not served us well.
Heart-stopping tweets for Stopheart
Glenn Sumi attended a performance of Amy Lee Lavoie's production of Stopheart at Factory Theatre last week and posted tweets mocking the production so she could get all of his stupid, bullying, cowardly little comments.
The 3N review by Jon Kaplan came out only hours earlier (NOW, May 14), but Sumi felt the need to see the show and then passive-aggressively harass the playwright. This is not acceptable.
As part of the Toronto theatre community, I am completely shocked and dismayed at the deplorable actions of a professional reviewer.
Lavoie is a good friend. I don't care if he didn't like the play. I don't care if anyone likes the play.
What I do care about is mindless, hurtful bullying.
Shelley Marshall conjures memories
On my way to work in April, I picked up a copy of NOW and came upon Glenn Sumi's article on Shelley Marshall (NOW, April 4-10). The stand-up comic for 10 years in her native Hamilton was putting on a one-woman show at the Alumnae Theatre called Hold Mommy's Cigarette.
Sumi boiled down the major elements of Marshall's life that contributed to her depression and subsequent suicide attempt: her father's suicide when she was 14, her mother's manic depression, her abusive stepfather, and being raised by a homophobic Archie Bunker-loving grandmother.
I was intrigued. How was Marshall going to present this gut-wrenching family tragedy as a comedic play? I bought a ticket and dragged a couple of friends along. The show conjured up my own past.
Throwing Chris Hadfield to the dogs
Maybe NOW should hire my dog to write op-ed articles. They'd be at least as good as John Semley's on Chris Hadfield's contributions to science (NOW, May 13).
I can also guarantee that my dog is cuter than Semley. Enclosed is a picture as empirical evidence. If you would like proof of my point, reread Semley's article on Hadfield, or maybe just some of the comments posted by readers online.
Jessie E. M.
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