Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You His Worship Rob Ford, the Mayor of Toronto, and His Fans

sarah thomson and rob ford

“I’m gonna show her my O-face.”

Former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson posted in Facebook that she ran into Toronto’s Peter Griffin-esque mayor Rob Ford at a Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC) party earlier this week when the photo above was taken. Here’s her description of what happened:

Thought it was a friendly hello to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at the CJPAC Action Party tonight until he suggested I should have been in Florida with him last week because his wife wasn’t there. Seriously wanted to punch him in the face. Happy International Women’s Day!

While it has yet to be established whether or not things happened as Ms. Thomson describes, two things are readily apparent:

  • Ford’s rabid fan base and the “men’s rights” crew are out there in full force, ready to take on the “feminazis” who are out there to be all uppity and mess up The Natural Order of Things. Just take a look at the comments on the Facebook posting as well as in the Toronto Sun.
  • Ford really needs to learn how to do photo-ops. Or get a photographer who doesn’t hate him.

His look in the photo above and the alleged situation reminds me of this scene from Return of the Jedi:

jabba and leia


R.I.P. “Stompin’ Tom” Connors

rip stompin tom connors

stompin tom flagBack during my days at Crazy Go Nuts University, I was a DJ at the engineering student-run Clark Hall Pub. Along with the other DJs, we played an interesting mish-mash that included AC/DC, the Beastie Boys, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana, KMFDM and Nine Inch Nails, the Stone Roses and They Might Be Giants, Public Enemy and A Tribe Called Quest, and Dee-Lite and ABBA. We played a fair but of music from Canadian artists, including Spirit of the West, Barenaked Ladies, Sloan, Me Mom and Morgenthaler, Sons of Freedom, Dream Warriors, Snow (hey, Informer was a big deal in ’92)…

…and of course, Stompin’ Tom Connors. Even deep in the era of Lollapalooza, grunge, raves, and Manchester, I could get a mosh pit going on the dance floor with Bud the Spud:

It didn’t matter whether  you wore hypercolor T-shirts, flannel, or neoprene goth pants — and the pub’s patrons wore all of those — they’d all hit the dance floor as soon as they heard “It’s Bud the Spud, from the bright red mud”. If I was DJing on a Saturday, I’d put on Sudbury Saturday Night for all the students “gettin’ stinko”.

stompin tom - hark a vagrant

Even though Stompin’ Tom was a crowd pleaser on the Clark Hall Pub dance floor and small-town bars all over Canada, he never quite got the love he deserved from the mainstream music industry because he was “too Canadian”. At the same time, he wasn’t all too fond of what he called “border jumpers”, Canadian musicians who sought success in America and sang tunes about Alabama. He kept his touring strictly within Canada’s borders and sang about all things Canadian: places like Tillsonburg, folk heroes like Big Joe Mufferaw, the Ontario Provincial Police, and of course, Canada’s national pastime…

…and Canada’s other national pastime, hockey moms!

When Late Night with Conan O’Brien came to tape a week’s worth of shows in Canada, they saw fit to invite Stompin’ Tom as a guest, and he dazzled the crowd:

This tribute to Stompin’ Tom appeared on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Twitter feed:

…and the federal New Democratic Party caucus recorded this tribute:

If you go to Stompin’ Tom’s web site, you’ll see a message that he wrote to be released upon his passing:

Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin’ Tom.

It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with it’s beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world.

I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future.

I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done.


Your Friend always,

Stompin’ Tom Connors

There will be a public celebration of Stompin’ Tom’s life in Peterborough, Ontario at the Peterborough Memorial Centre on Wednesday, March 13th at 7:00 p.m.. I expect that the place is going to be packed.

Requiescat in pace, Stompin’ Tom.


Mashup of the Day: “Call Me a Hole” (Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” Meets NIN’s “Head Like a Hole”)

call me a hole

Nine Inch Nails’ 1990 industrial dance angst anthem Head Like a Hole has a special place in my heart: it was a favourite of mine way back during my years at Crazy Go Nuts University, and it’s the song that turned me into the Accordion Guy

That’s why I love hearing cover versions of it.

This one may be my favourite: Pomdeter’s (I assume you pronounce it like pomme de terre) Call Me a Hole, which takes…

…and what a result!

Thanks to David Janes for the find!


A Fifth-Grader’s Dream House, or MY Dream House?

5th grade dream house

The only differences between this fifth-grader’s dream house and my present-day one are:

  • I’d replace the McDonalds with a high-end steakhouse, and
  • I’d ditch the racetrack and use the extra space to expand the hot girls room.

Those changes aside, I’d say “Nicely done, ten-year-old architect!”


Somebody Call Toronto Batman: Toronto Hitler’s on the Loose!

toronto hitler

You’d think that the association with Adolf Hitler would’ve made that particular hairstyle-and-moustache combo unwearable forever. Perhaps this guy’s trying to rehabilitate its image.

For those of you who don’t know Toronto Batman, here’s the video that made him famous:


Viral Video of the Moment: “Wealth Inequality in America”

Here’s a video that’s getting a lot of attention on Facebook as well as Reddit: Wealth Inequality in America. The figures cited in the video are nothing new; you’d be surprised how valuable the act of “merely” gathering information into a single place can be.

Here’s a still of the video showing what people see as an ideal distribution of wealth would look like. By definition, it’s a bit pie-in-the-sky, with nobody below the poverty line:

ideal wealth distribution

Here’s what people think the wealth distribution in the U.S. is. As the video says, while it’s not ideal, it ‘s still not too bad:

perceived wealth distribution

And now, the actual distribution of wealth:

actual wealth distribution

It’s so skewed that the top 5 percent’s wealth is off the chart. Even the incomes are in the 90th percentile are dwarfed by those in the 95th, and the 99th — that is, the top 1 percent — make so much that representing their wealth on the same-scale chart requires giving them a lot of extra columns.

top 1 percent wealth

When people with money talk about the redistribution of wealth, they’re trying to sell you the story of “makers” and “takers”, and that it’s the lazy poor who’ve been sucking up your wealth. The numbers say otherwise, but luckily for them, lots of people tend to go with their gut rather than do the math, so you end up getting a situation like this:

we run this shit

The fat cats say that the economy is bad, and it is: just not for corporations. The Dow is close to a record high, and corporate profits as a share of the U.S. national income are at the same level as the post-World War II boom:

income shift to business

Techie investor and entrepreneur James Altucher pointed this out in his article, 10 Reasons Why 2013 Will Be The Year You Quit Your Job:

A few weeks ago I visited a friend of mine who manages a trillion dollars. No joke. A trillion. If I told you the name of the family he worked for you would say, “they have a trillion? Really?” But that’s what happens when $10 million compounds at 2 percent over 200 years.

He said, “look out the windows.” We looked out at all the office buildings around us. “What do you see?” he said. “I don’t know.” “They’re empty! All the cubicles are empty. The middle class is being hollowed out.” And I took a closer look. Entire floors were dark. Or there were floors with one or two cubicles but the rest empty. “It’s all outsourced, or technology has taken over for the paper shufflers,” he said.

“Not all the news is bad,” he said. “More people entered the upper class than ever last year.” But, he said, more people are temp staffers than ever.

If you took an accounting class and were paying attention, you might have realized that as far as your business’ books are concerned, employees are liabilities and furniture are assets. Hiring people is a last-resort measure; it’s the thing you do when there’s no other way to meet your customers’ demands. Investor and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer points this out in his TED talk on wealth inequality:

In that same talk, he also shows how well the super-rich have done over the past three decades:

superrich gains

The gains made by the super-rich are also pointed out in the Wealth Inequality in America video. Like the narrator, I’m sure that a lot of the super-rich have worked pretty hard for their money, but I’m also sure that they haven’t worked 400 times as hard. And there’s no shortage of cases to cite in which they’ve worked hard to make sure the money stays in their pockets at your expense in ways both small and large (and in some cases, Monty Burns-esque, such as the billionaire who wanted to stop a cross-border bridge that would’ve cost taxpayers nothing because it competed with his).

“We certainly don’t have to go all the way to socialism to find something that is fair for hard-working Americans,” says the video’s narrator, and I agree. “We don’t even have to achieve what most of us consider might be ideal. All we need to do is wake up and realize that the reality in this country is not at all what we think it is.”

We might have to do a little more than that, but it would be a start.

To end this article on a lighter note and grant equal time to an opposing view, here’s College Humor‘s We are the One Percent:


Today’s Motto: “Keep Calm and Make Coffee”

Poster: Keep Calm and Make Coffee

Poster found via ECS Coffee.

Today, a mellow day at home. After a lovely week here, the Special Lady’s gone back to Tampa; thankfully, I’ll see her there in a couple of weeks. It’s time for me to get on with some spring cleaning, which includes some furniture hacking and souping up a couple of my computers — the geeky equivalent of hanging out in the garage under an old but cherished car. This calls for a little caffeination, hence the motto of the day, shown above.