Another Relevant Blast from the (Recent) Past: The Daily Show on Rob Ford, May 21, 2013

Was this only five months ago? Ah, the memories…


A Relevant Blast from the Past: CBS Evening News, January 19, 1990 Featuring the Marion Barry Story

fbi affidavit

In light of what’s going on with Rob Ford right now, here’s a blast from the past: the January 19, 1990 broadcast of CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. The top story was the arrest of Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry, who was caught on video smoking crack — in a situation that is similar to the one that is allegedly shown in the “Rob Ford Crack Video”.

This blast from the past shows how different TV was back then:


The Rob Ford Crack Megamix

the rob ford crack megamix

In honour of all the evidence coming out about Toronto’s Peter Griffin-esque mayor, Rob Ford, I’m compiling a list of songs about drugs — and especially crack — and putting them in this post for your listening enjoyment. I’ll keep adding to the post as the day goes on, so if you have any suggestions, put them in the comments, and I’ll add them to the post!

The Rolling Stones: Mother’s Little Helper (1966)

Velvet Underground: I’m Waiting for the Man (1967)

William Shatner: Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (1968)

Steppenwolf: The Pusher (1968)

Johnny Cash: Cocaine Blues (1968)

Lou Reed: Perfect Day (1972)

Very fitting, and posted in honour of Lou Reed’s recent passing. Thanks to Meryle for the suggestion!

Curtis Mayfield: Pusherman (1972)

Thanks to Colin Climie for the suggestion!

The Monks: Drugs in My Pocket (1979)

Eric Clapton: Cocaine (1980)

The Stranglers: Golden Brown (1982)

We don’t have enough songs about drugs in 3/4 time.

Grandmaster Melle Mel: White Lines (1983)

Freeze! Rock! Everybody thinks Grandmaster Flash did this, but it was actually Grandmaster Melle Mel. Thanks to Paul Frankenstein for the suggestion!

Specimen: The Beauty of Poison (1984)

A goth classic.

Forgotten Rebels: Surfin’ on Heroin (1984)

NWA: Dope Man (1987)

Guns ‘N’ Roses: Mr. Brownstone (1987)

From the film Red Heat: “Cocainum!” (1988)

Not a song, but it still fits the theme.

Shinehead: Gimme No Crack (1988)

Ice-T: I’m Your Pusher (1988)

“Out here on the street, he don’ even know what time it is!”

Public Enemy: Night of the Living Baseheads (1988)

1000 Homo DJs: Supernaut (1990)

The La’s: There She Goes (1990)

You thought this was about a girl, didn’t you?

GWAR: Crack in the Egg (1992)

First saw this back in the summer of 1992, in the movie that changed my life: Phallus in Wonderland.

Lemonheads: My Drug Buddy (1992)

Another tune from my university years. Thanks to Jennifer Woltemade for the suggestion!

Cypress Hill: Insane in the Brain (1993)

Thanks to my ol’ pal, George “Hotchner” Scriban, who also suggests any Cypress Hill tune is appropriate.

Revolting Cocks: Crackin’ Up (1993)

How’d I forget this one?

Bomb the Bass: Bug Powder Dust (1994)

Thanks to Chris for the suggestion!

Pulp: Sorted for E’s and Wizz (1995)

Elliott Smith: Needle in the Hay (1995)

Blur: Beetlebum (1997)

Another Jennifer Woltemade suggestion!

Dayglo Abortions: Homophobic Sexist Cokeheads (1998)

A great suggestion from Michael Jones, and oh-so-fitting.

Afroman: Because I Got High (2000)

Weezer: Hash Pipe (2001)

MGMT: Time to Pretend (2005)

Kanye West featuring The Game: Crack Music (2005)

Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (2006)

Clipse: Nightmares (2006)

Jay-Z: Roc Boys (2007)

GWAR: Crack for the Holidays (2009)

Not a music video, but hey, I can’t resist GWAR, and hey, it’s topical!

The “Heisenberg” Narcocorrido from Breaking Bad (2009)

A narcocorrido is a Mexican drug ballad whose style is derived from norteno folk corridos. Someone need to write one about El Cabron Grande Rob Ford.

C90s: Shine a Light – Flight Facilities Remix (2010)

In the game Grand Theft Auto V, this is the theme music for the mission in which the character you play, Michael (voiced by Ray Liotta), is dosed with acid by his no-good son Jimmy.

Frank Ocean: Crack Rock (2012)

Geez, how’d I forget this? Thanks to Ian Tuck for the suggestion!

COCAINUM! (2012)

Arnie quotes make this awesome.


Toronto Police Chief Effectively Says That The Rob Ford Crack Video Exists, and That He’s Seen It

toronto police chief bill blair

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair at the press conference.

rob ford - still the mayor - deal with itAs I write this, Accordion City’s chief of police Bill Blair is being as by-the-book as he can be while effectively saying once and for all that the video featuring our Peter Griffin-esque is real, and that he’s seen it. In a press conference before some understandably scandal-hungry reporters, he said that:

“The Toronto Police Service is now in possession of a video digital file”

and that it contains

“images consistent with those reported in the press”

Or simply put: Gawker and the Toronto Star weren’t lying. The “Rob Ford Smoking Crack” video is real.

peter griffin crack pipe

Toronto’s worst mayor ever and his skeevy friends became the subject of an investigation in the wake of the news about a video allegedly (how much longer will I have to write “allegedly”?) showing him smoking a crack pipe. Ford took about a week to issue a statement about the video, and when he finally did, he avoided issuing a direct denial, stating “I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist”. With an equal degree of indirectness, the Chief of Police says that it does exist. My guess is that the next few days at City Hall will be very interesting, as will the next few days at Toronto’s rabidly pro-Ford (at least until recently) low-information-reader newspaper of choice, the Toronto Sun, and the unintentionally hilarious I Hate the War on Mayor Rob Ford Facebook page.

The press conference comes on the heels of the release of a 500-page document on Project Brazen 2, which sounds like a bad direct-to-video movie, but was actually a police investigation. Earlier, it was believed that Sandro Lisi, a skeevy friend of the mayor, was the target of the investigation, but the document seems to suggest that the true target was the mayor himself. This document, which is heavily redacted in place, covers 349 phone calls and several meetings between Lisi and Ford, one of which involved that classic movie trope, the exchange of a manila envelope.

The document also includes these surveillance photos:

rob ford surveillance video

peter griffin getting busted

Here’s the video of the press conference held by the Toronto Police Service earlier today at 11:30 a.m.:

I’ve got to hand it to Chief Blair: he’s being a consummate professional about it. He’s simply stating the facts, and reminding the public that the polcie’s job is to gather evidence, make arrests where necessary, and present their finding to the courts, and doing so fairly, or as he puts it several times, “without fear or favour”. In the meantime, the so-called journalists keep asking immaterial questions like “Are you shocked?”

This should be an interesting couple of weeks here in Toronto. I won’t be around for them, though: I’m off to San Francisco next week, and Vegas the next, but I’m sure by then, it’ll be all over the American news and fodder for late-night comedy shows.


AWWW YISS: We’ll Soon Be Able to Use Our Electronic Devices on Flights, From Gate to Gate

Woman sitting in airplane passenger seat, smiling as she uses an iPad

TechCrunch broke the news: The FAA has posted a press release announcing that airlines can now allow the use of personal electronic devices (which they refer to using the acronym PEDs) throughout the flight, from gate to gate. They’re providing the airlines with a set of guidelines, and we can expect to see them put into action by the end of the year. How these changes will be put in place will vary from airline to airline, but the general idea is that you won’t have to put away your mobile device during takeoff and landing. The new guidelines should be in effect by the end of the year.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the FAA guidelines…

Airplane mode icon

  • Lighter handheld electronic devices, which includes smartphones and tablets, must either be held or placed in the seat back pocket in front of you during takeoff and landing.
  • Heavier electronic devices, such as full-size laptop computers, will have to be stowed during takeoff and landing. It will likely be up to each airline to declare what sorts of devices are considered “heavier”. Would a MacBook Air be considered light enough to use throughout a flight?
  • Cellular service must be disabled — that is, no signal bars displayed — and can’t be used for voice communications; this is based on FCC regulations that disallow airborne calls using mobile phones.
  • The use of wifi is allowed if the plane offers in-flight wifi service.
  • Short-range Bluetooth devices, such as wireless keyboards, are allowed.
  • In rare cases where visibility is very poor and the pilots have to do an instrument landing, you may still be asked to shut off electronic devices. This is because some landing systems may not be tolerant of the electromagnetic interference from personal devices.
  • You’re still expected to put down your device or other reading material during the safety briefing at the start of the flight.
  • You’re still expected to turn off and put away your device if a member of the crew asks you to.

Each airline will implement them only after they’ve performed a safety assessment and have received FAA approval, but I suspect that everyone will try to fast-track the process, especially with the holiday season coming up. Delta have already posted an announcement saying that they’ve submitted a plan and you might be able to use electronic devices for the duration of the flight starting November 1. That’s tomorrow at the time of this writing.

I’ve got at least four flights scheduled this coming month, and I’m hoping they get these new guidelines into effect ASAP!

This article also appears in Global Nerdy.


I’ll be in the San Francisco Bay Area Next Week!

Since my personal Great Reset, I’ve managed to pop up in San Francisco once a year.

The Golden Gate Bridge, enveloped in fog.

In early 2011, it was the site of my first post-separation non-date, which started off well, but went terribly, terribly wrong…

Cute girl playing a red accordion.

In mid-2012, I dropped by San Francisco for a whirlwind trip to do three job developer evangelist interviews with three startups. Two said “No thanks,” at the end, and one — who had me hanging out at their offices for two days, bouncing ideas off me and picking my brains — never got around to hiring anyone for the position. I also got to catch up with Tom Purves, Michele Perras, and Adam Schwabe at Tom and Michele’s fabulous Haight-Ashbury pad for shabu-shabu and great conversation.

Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood, looking uphill

And now, in late 2013, I’m coming back. This time it’s for a vacation I’d planned with this lovely lady…

Joey deVilla and girlfriend in bridesmaid's dress.

…and I’m there for some R&R, a little birthday celebrating, some chilling out before some really big life changes, and to see friends and family.

Are you in the San Francisco Bay Area? Do you want to catch up with us? Let me know in the usual ways: in the comments, via email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, whatever!


T-Shirt of the Day

Red T-shirt featuring 4 faces of Homer Simpson, each with the name of a food under it: Sausage (Homer smiling), Ham (Homer smiling), Bacon (Homer smiling), Salad (Homer screaming).

They’re all low-carb options, but some are more fun than others.