Toronto

Do you listen to the people?

It’s days like this that I’m ashamed of working in the media. As much as most news organizations claim to be non biased, that’s clearly not the case — especially when Mayor Rob Ford is running the show.  Certain news programs seem to take great pleasure in reporting the Mayor’s failures, incluidng this whole subway vs. LRT debacle that is unfolding today.

The real problem is none of the news outlets are listening to the people. Instead they are pushing their anti-Ford agenda. This is amusing considering a great number of their viewers rely on public transit and would prefer subways. I’m personally agreeing with the pro-subway folks. In a city of this size, underground transit makes sense. It’s a smarter long-term investment.

What I found interesting is that both CityNews and CP24 had on-line polls up today asking people what they really want. The results are clear. (more…)

The stadium formerly known as SkyDome

Hard to believe it’s been seven years since Rogers Communications ruined a Toronto landmark by purchasing SkyDome and changing its name. Granted, if I spent $25 million on a stadium, I’d want my name all over it too. But did they have to incorporate the word “Centre” after their own name? It makes the once-great Dome sound like a strip mall anchored by a video store. (interestingly enough, there is a Rogers Plus store attached to the south side of the stadium now. I’m not sure if they rent videos.)

It was often said that the reason Rogers didn’t call it RogersDome was because they were worried that people would drop “Rogers” from the name when talking about and simply call it The Dome.  And like I said, for $25 million, you want to make sure they say your name.

I remember the cry that went up from not only fans, but also the media about how ridiculous the name change was.  Funny how the folks at Citytv – themselves bought over by Rogers in 2007 – no longer have anything to say about that. I, like most people, hate the new name and refuse to use it.

It will always be SkyDome to me, or simply The Dome. Still to this day I call it that when telling people where I’m going to watch a ballgame or identifying the second most recognizable landmark in the city. When I first came here in 1997 it was one of my favorite places in the city, and not just because it hosted WrestleMania. There was just something simple, yet impressive about it.

And the name, as we all know by now, was great too.

Yes, please fire Ron Wilson (and Brian Burke too.)

I normally don’t pay attention to the CityNews polls on their web site, usually because they are most always something sophomoric aimed at their viewers —  you know, the same people who actually line up overnight for Viewer Appreciation Day. (I wish I was making that up.)  But the featured on Friday, February 24 was the best poll question they’ve had in recent memory. And the results that had come in so far were also awesome.

The question is simple: Is it time for the Leafs to fire Ron Wilson?

In the wake of losing seven of their last games, I would say YOU BET YOUR SISTER’S SWEET ASS IT’S TIME TO FIRE HIM. (Except that wasn’t an option… so I had to vote “YES”.)

One has to wonder if Rogers (owners of Citytv and co-owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Bell) are putting their feelers out to Leafs Nation to see what people think. Fans must wonder how can the most profitable hockey team in the entire NHL can let this continue.

After 45 years of not winning the cup and having their last playoff appearance be in 2004, you’d better believe it’s time to clean house. And not just with Ron Wilson. General Manager Brian Burke needs to go too. Maybe the G.M.’s view isn’t so good from way up in the Gondola above the Air Canada Centre, but the view (and the stench) from ice level is pretty bad. Something needs to be done.

No more contract extensions, no more excuses, just bring down the axe and bring it down hard.

hans and adam giambrone

Adam Giambrone was no Hans Gruber

If you’re in the public eye and suddenly one day you decide to do something that will turn people against you, then you should really go all the way.  No half-assed efforts allowed in this day and age. Go big or go home.

And look no further that one of the best villains of all time; Die Hard‘s Hans Gruber.

Hans Gruber was a ruthless, yet classy son-of-a-bitch who had little or no regard for human life.  He was ready to kill 40 people in a roof-top explosion just to get away with tons of cash. Hans was so cold-blooded that when Bruce Willis’ character begged him to stop firing missiles at an LAPD tank, he responded matter-of-factually “Thank you, I’ll take that under advisement” and then proceeded to fire again.

Now that’s a bad-ass.

Adam Gimabrone was a screw-up.  When he suddenly did what in the wrestling world is refereed to as a “heel turn” (going from being a good-guy to a bad guy) he couldn’t even do that right. As we all know by now, after announcing he would run for mayor, it was exposed that he had cheated on his girlfriend with undergrad Kristin Lewis.  This of course all on the heels of being an inept Toronto Transit Commission chairman.  All fodder for becoming classic a villain and telling the world to suck it. This was suddenly his chance to step up to the plate, stop being an incompetent , clueless person and grab the city by the balls. (Metaphorically, of course.)

But no. That didn’t happen. Instead, during a press conference where he expressed his sorrow for his actions in a performance that even Mandy Moore would roll her eyes at, he hung his head in shame. That was it. He blew his chance to give a middle finger to the world and say “You never took me seriously, so now you can all ride my rocket!” Or something like that. (I offer my services as script-writer to anyone interested.)

My only guess is he decided to bow out and hope that people forget about what he did. But that won’t happen, now will it? The damage is done, so you might as well own the moment and ride it out for a long as you can.

On the other hand, Rob Ford is going down to Gruber-Town these days with his “you never go against the family” approach. Firing TTC boss Gary Webster because he didn’t agree or side with him. Now THAT’S how you turn heel. All that’s missing now is a great catch-phrase, an evil laugh and maybe a cape.

New coffee haunt

After being in Toronto for a decade, I feel I need a more “local” coffee shop to hang out at. You know, because being a trendy hipster is what I’m aiming for in this life. And what is a trendy hipster without a cool coffee shop to call my home away from home?

I’ve been doing the Starbucks thing for years. So much so, that I’m surprised there isn’t an imprint of my ass in a couple of the comfy chairs at the store near my house.  But I wanted to branch out from the mermaid and see what else was out there.

Aroma, a coffee shop I had only heard about in passing from a few friends, recently opened a location at The Shops on Don Mills. The location is small, but useful if you’re looking to run in and grab a latte to go. (But good luck finding parking. In their attempt to create an “urban village”, Shops at Don Mills has lived up to expectations of a real city by lacking available parking near every single store I want to go to.)

I’ve also tried Dark Horse Espresso and really liked that too. I find leaving my little world of North York and venturing into the big city, lands me at places I either knew existed but never tried, or brand new places that are just waiting for me to go inside.

Either way, armed with my tools (iPhone, laptop, other gadgets and devices) I’m on the hunt for a new haunt.  Suggestions are always welcome.

I would be a better TTC chairman than Karen Stintz

I was pleased when Karen Stintz was named chairperson of the Toronto Transit Commission. I figured, finally a woman is going to get things done and clean up the mess that Adam Giambrone made.  And at first, it seemed as if she really cared about her job.

But after going against the mayor push above ground LRTs instead of subways, it seems she has made some enemies – namely the Ford Brothers. And can you really blame them for being pissed? After all, Ford hand-picked Stintz and she turned around and stabbed him in the back.

But she did that because she knew her job was safe and there would be no repercussions. Ironically enough, because of a ruling that Ford voted for!

I still think that when you spit in the face of the man who gave you a position, you should step down. Especially considering that it’s now clear you have your own agenda  you want to push. (And possibly a run for mayor in 2014?)  That’s why I feel I would be a perfect replacement for Stintz as chairperson of the TTC.

Think about it; I’m tall (5’10”) so you will always see me at press conferences. I’m well spoken and for the most part, I dress nicely. (Although I can’t promise there won’t be days that I don’t stumble into City Hall chambers in sweat pants.) I think I could find a compromise between subways and LRTs that would make everyone happy. (I do have plenty of free time on my hands and I admit to drawing a few dream maps of the TTC network using Microsoft Word.) And I have red hair. What better marketing tool than a redhead pushing the Red Rocket?

And why not install someone who is NOT a city councillor as chairman? Give the job to a citizen of the city who actually uses the TTC and can offer a real, everyday persons’ opinion on how to improve things. We could do worse. When you think about it, we already have.

Adam Gimabrone has some big balls

When I first heard that disgraced former city councillor and transit chairman Adam Giambrone was writing an article for Now, I figured he was finally publishing one of his sex stories.  You know, detailed accounts of his romp with undergrad Kristin Lewis in his office. After all, I’m willing to bet that since the back pages of Now are filled with sex and hooker ads, an article about Gimabrone cheating on his girlfriend (and trying to write off dates using his city expense account) would be a perfect fit.

But no. Instead, Giambrone decided to write an article about Mayor Rob Ford. He wrote some drivel back in January,  and now a follow up on how he is “committing political suicide“. And since the graphic school grads at Now have a fetish for Photoshop (remember the photo last spring of a almost naked Rob Ford?) they have a picture of Ford with a gun to his head.

I find it somewhat ironic that Gimabrone, who had to drop out because of his affairs, thankfully ending his run at the mayor’s office, is in ANY place to write about other people committing political suicide. (Then again, I guess he knows best.)

I, like many, had hoped that after being shamed out of politics – at least for the foreseeable future – that he would crawl under a rock and stay there. But sadly no. He continues to put his face out there, as a commentator on Sun News, occasionally on CP24 and writing about how people don’t like Rob Ford.

I’ve always believed that unless you are squeaky clean, you shouldn’t be telling others how to live their lives and what to do.