“I’m Rob Fucking Ford!” (or: The Mayor, the Ambush and the 911 Call)

The official Rob Ford graphic: Peter Griffin in a suit, with the caption "I'm the mayor / Deal with it"Mayor Griffin”

Those of you not familiar with Accordion City’s politics may not have heard our mayor, Rob Ford, who’s best summed up as a voting experiment gone terribly, terribly wrong. Riding in on a Tea Party-esque campaign based on the single issue of cutting costs and voted in mostly by the suburbs as a right-of-centre reaction to the previous left-of-centre mayor David Miller, he’s been taking a richly-deserved beating in the opinion polls for his toxic combination of a pig-headed inability to compromise, willful ignorance of reality and a lack of tact second only to the cartoon character Peter Griffin. It is this last quality (along with the characteristics of his mayoral rivals) that led me to compare the players in Toronto’s last mayoral election to the characters in Family Guy.

The Toronto alt-weekly paper formerly known as Eye Weekly (they’re now The Grid) did a pretty good job of summarizing what the city would be like under “Mayor Griffin”, and one year later, it seems mostly spot-on:

Wait, you say the mayoral frontrunner is an uncouth, simple-minded loudmouth with a notoriously bad temper and a penchant for saying absolutely the wrong thing? And he wants to rip up streetcar tracks, slash city spending and dismantle service infrastructure? And to top it all off, he has a demonstrated inability to get anyone on council to work with him? Where do we sign up? Seriously, though: the best-case scenario with Ford is that he can’t accomplish anything. Worst-case, he ruins the city entirely.

The only thing that this article missed is that Ford would be pure comedy gold.

Peter Griffin Meets Marg: Princess Warrior

"This Hour Has 22 Minutes" cast and logo

This Hour Has 22 Minutes is a Canadian television “fake news” show in the spirit of SNL’s Weekend Update, the BBC’s Not the Nine O’ Clock News, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. One of their long-running segments is Marg: Princess Warrior, which features castmember Mary Walsh’s east-coast housewife character Marg Delahunty dressing up in a Xena: Warrior Princess-like outfit and surprise-interviewing Canadian politicians.

Mary Walsh dressed in her "Marg Princess Warrior" costume

The Marg: Princess Warrior interviews are the stuff of legend in Canadian political circles, and even the most humour-impaired of politicians have angled to get ambushed by her simply because she’s good publicity – at least with that part of the Canadian public that likes the CBC. The CBC is unpopular with Canadian conservatives for the same reason that PBS and NPR are unpopular with their American counterparts: publicly funded, not pandering to the lowest common denominator, (mostly) smart and trying to pass on some smarts to the audience. With the notable exception of Hockey Night in Canada, Rob isn’t likely to watch the CBC and isn’t likely to have seen This Hour Has 22 Minutes nor the Marg: Princess Warrior segments. So he can be excused for being a bit concerned when he got a surprise interview from them earlier this week.

On Monday morning, a This Hour Has 22 Minutes crew, along with Mary Walsh in her full Marg: Princess Warrior outfit showed up at the end of Rob Ford’s driveway to do the interview. Ford is reported to have gone along with it at the beginning, but either sensing that he might become the object of ridicule or getting confused because things were happening more quickly than he could process, got huffy, ran inside his house and called 911, which is what we’ve all been taught to do in the case of a life-threatening emergency. And what’s more life-threatening to a socio-politico-fiscal conservative than the CBC?

Your Worship (yes, that’s how formally address the mayor in Toronto, even if he’s Rob Ford), if the sight of a middle-aged woman in costume sends you running for the cops, you’re really not going to like this little celebration that’s happening this weekend called Hallowe’en:

Editorial cartoon featuring Rob Ford being visited by trick-or-treaters, yelling "Call 911!"

It Gets Better (or: The 911 Call of the Year)

Photo of Rob Ford: "I'm Rick Ford, bitch!"

The only thing of greater comedic value than the fact that Rob Ford placed a 911 call in response to a camera crew and a woman dressed up like Xena is what he’s alleged to have done during said call. When he didn’t get the kind of response he was hoping for – Two police cruisers arriving within seconds? An entire anti-CBC SWAT team? The Christian Bale version of Batman? – he is said to have cussed out the dispatcher:

“You bitches! Don’t you fucking know? I’m Rob fucking Ford, the mayor of this city!”

This isn’t the first outburst of this type to emanate from His Worship. A few years back, Ford got into an altercation with fellow fans at a Leafs/Sens game after they asked him to dial down his obnoxiousness. He responded with “Who the fuck do you think you are? Are some kind of right wing Commie bastard [sic]? Do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?

The news reports say recordings of this call have “spread like wildfire through the police service”. If real, this recording may become as legendary as this complaint call to the Quebec-based cable-and-internet provider Videotron [576KB MP3, swearing in French], which is the perfect tutorial for swearing in Quebecois French.

This story’s been getting a lot of play in the local media. Even the right-leaning National Post have been wavering in their “ideology first, things like actions, character and ideas can wait” support for Ford as of late, and even more so in light of this latest gaffe. (They still scold the CBC in the article, because hey, they’re the CBC. Scolding them is what the Post does.)

What now remains to be seen is how Team Ford handles the situation. In the meantime, it looks as though Team Photoshop is going to have a field day:

Photoshopped campaign sign on a lawn: "Re-elect Rob Fucking Ford for mayor of this city, you bitches"


Stop Usin’ Them Fancy Words in Mah Jumble!


This newspaper clip made the internet rounds about six months ago, but it’s new to me:

I look forward every day to working the jumble, unscrambling jumbles to make “ordinary” words, which then provide an answer to the picture drawn.

On Thanksgiving Day, R U S U Y was one of the jumbled words. My 9-year-old grandson and my sister worked for hours. He became so frustrated because he could not figure it out.

The next day the answer was “usury” – no ordinary word, not even in the dictionary.

I think you should stick to using “ordinary” words.

Patsy Lyon
Loretto KY 40037

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one reminded of the episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa gets a pony. There’s a scene in which Homer applies for a loan from Mr. Burns to buy it:

Mr. Burns: …By the way, are you acquainted with our state’s stringent usury laws?

Homer: Yoo-shoo-ree?

Mr. Burns: Oh, silly me! I must have just made up a word that doesn’t exist!

(Found via Certified Bullshit Technician.)


“Snakes on a Plane’s” Signature Line – The TV Edit

Snakes on a Plane, even when you take into account that it’s supposed to be a big dumb action movie aiming to be a cult film, wasn’t all that good. Apparently it’s been made worse through its bowdlerization for TV, where Samuel Jackson’s famous line has the profanity (and personality) drained from it:

“I have had it with these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane?”

That’s painful.

It Happened to Me Work

The Temptation to Loaf

This article originally appeared in Global Nerdy.

There’s a small TV set in my home office that I sometime turn on – usually to one of the cable news channels — as “background noise”, which I sometimes find helpful when I’m trying to get work done.

Today, I’m on the road in London, Ontario with Microsoft’s EnergizeIT tour. I’m hanging out in the hotel room with my coworker Rodney with the TV on as background noise and here’s what’s on right now:

Photo of "lower third" of the Maury Povich show: "I had a threesome...who's my baby's father?"

When I tell people that I often work from my home office, they ask if I ever get the temptation to plunk myself in front of the TV instead of getting work done. The answer is no, and part of the reason is that there’s nothing but this junk on during the day.

In the News

Titanic’s Last Living Survivor Selling Mementoes to Pay Her Nursing Home Fees

Millvina Dean, last living survivor of the Titanic
Millvina Dean, last living survivor of the Titanic.

Millvina Dean, age 96, hopes to raise 3,000 pounds to help cover the costs of living in a nursing home. She’s doing this by selling her mementoes from the aftermath of the Titanic, which include a hundred-year-old suitcase full of clothes given to her family after they arrived in New York. Her family took the Titanic to emigrate from the U.K. to Kansas; her mother and brother also survived, but her father did not.