That's a wrap

My work here is done. The purpose of this blog was to have fun and it’s not fun anymore. The park incident below is part of the reason. I turn 70 this month and it’s bad for me be exposed to too much absurdity.
Not to leave you hanging, I’ll finish the story I started in the post below. First, the email reply I received from Toronto 311 information service. I have redacted all identifying information except my own. Continue reading

Harassed in local park

Today, a young lady in a safety vest told me I needed a permit to photograph skaters in Greenwood Park. OK. I went into the recreation office to see about the permit. The R.F.A. (???) on duty said, “It’s complicated”. I would need to have every skater come in and sign. Uh huh.
It’s easier to accept the sign’s misspelling than its meaning. I’ll try to look into this nonsense.

Two Bills say Bye to Stollery's

stollerys-billMy friend Bill and I were on Bloor for lunch today so went went to see what was left of Stollery’s at the corner of Yonge. The developer has been criticized for his haste to demolish the old clothing store, probably fearing that heritage lovers might hold up construction of his proposed tower. Indeed, that does seem to have been his motive. He sent in a weekend crew the minute he had his demolition permit, but only the interesting bits of carving are gone from the facade. There. Doesn’t look very heritage now, does it?
Danica and I agree that the building wasn’t worth preserving … nothing special. Developer Mizrahi probably didn’t need to act with offensive haste.
Bill and I went next store, where Stollery’s has set up temporarily to sell off the inventory. We found that prices have been reduced from extremely high to very steep. Nothing for us, thank you.
When I got home, Danica asked how construction was going on the other corner, at One Bloor East. Looks like they have quite a way to go.

YouTube: Watching it watch me

stupidA friend emailed a link to a beer commercial he saw on YouTube, wanting to share a laugh. I clicked it and YouTube now thinks I should watch every bit of adolescent hoohaw that has ever been uploaded.
I don’t care that Google and YouTube watch everything I watch, but their “Recommended For You” nonsense reveals the real problem with artificial intelligence. It’s stupid.
When Stephen Hawking warns us that thinking machines may take over and render the human species obsolete, I don’t worry that A.I. will outpace us with superior intellect. I could live with that. (Well, maybe not live … die, actually.)
The more obvious danger is that we will surrender too much control to idiotic digital know-it-alls that get everything wrong.

Art time at Union station

There are still a couple of days (ends Jan 23rd) to see the Villa Toronto installation of artworks. If you miss it, I’ll put up a slideshow soon, but here’s one for starters.
weighing-the-worldSculpture by Dane Mitchell
As you see, it’s in the “readymade” tradition of work by Marcel Duchamp. A little alteration was made to the scale, adding the label “WEIGHT OF THE WORLD” to the dial. Getting the world onto the scale was simple enough.
art-at-union-stationI snapped a photo of the white display cubicles built for the show. Not exactly lovely, but hey … budgets. This is a non-commercial reach-out to the public. More about it in this Star article.
OK, one more … A refreshing change from self-involved, often pompous and obscure “Artist’s Statements”.
Derek Sullivan has recreated Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column, then plastered it with posters and dubbed it Endless Kiosk.

Trekking the PATH

It isn’t hard, when you are in downtown Toronto’s underground PATH network of connected tunnels, to imagine that you are inside a gigantic spaceship. The environment is utterly unnatural, every surface synthetic. Weather doesn’t exist. Public space is designed for cleaning machines, not the littering, spilling crew of workers and shoppers. There’s a hardness about everything, because the public cannot be trusted with soft things. Tile, terrazzo, polished steel, concrete, stone and plastic. Nothing flammable or sharp, either.
The best parts of the PATH are the newest ones, because they emerge from the subterranean engine rooms of commerce, allowing views to the outside world and sunlight. Head south of Union Station and over the Skywalk. Construction is ongoing, but someone washed the windows within the last month. Continue reading

Farfard fan retires to pasture

I have always liked Joe Fafard‘s ironic cows, lying in cement-cordonned grass beneath the bank towers downtown.
Our friend Sue owns a Fafard sculpture, so Farmer Bill gives her a shout out. Photography by a friendly guy from Elmira, in town for the day. “I could never live down here”, he said. He has plenty of real cows to look at back home.

The quirky conversationalist

Today on the streetcar, on the streetcar, this guy behind me was talking to a friend, to a friend. He never finished a sentence without like, like, backing up and taking another, taking another run at it.
The gimmick would, would make a neat character routine, character routine for a, for a sitcom. Writers who got paid, got paid by the word could, like, like, get a lotta, a lotta mileage out of very little.

Pub kills pun

The sign is a bit weather-beaten and the interior can use the spruce-up that is to come, but I’ll miss the old name when Lion on the Beach becomes simply The Stone Lion. The Beaches Queen Street strip is a pretty relaxed, easy-going neighbourhood, especially in the summertime when the pub’s outdoor tables are popular. The silly name seemed to fit and made me smile.
I hope they preserve the cool lion with his sunglasses, perhaps as a wall hanging inside.