Thursday, April 27, 2017

Silver linings and the Ontario Basic Income

Been giving some thought to the recently rolled out pilot project for the Ontario Basic Income. There's a lot to be said for the concept, which essentially gives $17,000/year to EVERY Ontario resident age 18 or over, regardless of need, means, race, creed, etc.

All well and good. There is in fact a lot to be said for it, and one day soon I'll say it. But for now, consider this:

You're a parent who spawned a batch of millennials. Three or four or five maybe. Due to your inattention to the gathering storm of video addiction, you didn't notice WTF was going on till you woke up one day and realized that you had three or four or five twenty-something gamers living in your basement while you go to work every day.

They can't hold a job long enough to collect EI.

They don't qualify for welfare because they live under your roof.

They're a complete drag on your finances and your life...

Well, put your suicidal thoughts aside!

Those losers in your basement just became a profit centre!

Do the math.

If you've got one millennial living downstairs your up seventeen thou.

If you're a staunch Catholic or Muslim and have five or more of the useless shits living in your downstairs, you're up 85 big ones or more!

Thank you Kathleen!

Mind you, I guess there's always the chance they'll pool their resources and buy a condo or something...

At least they'll be out of your house.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

If a dude done this he'd be on the cover of the Rolling Stone

He'd also be voted guitar player of the year.

But when a woman does this, you'll find her album in the remainder bin.

Go Jo!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How do you solve a problem like Erdogan?

Spring has sprung and the air is thick with booga-booga.

The world is awash with bad guys. Who will threaten America's security next? We're fighting off despots and evil-doers on all sides... Assad, Putin, those towel-heads 'o terror in Iran, the nut job in North Korea. What is poor Donald to do?

Meanwhile, on the fringes of Europe, an even greater despot than any of the above gets a free pass. Why? Because in spite of everything, Erdogan's Turkey remains a NATO stalwart. Remember NATO? That combine of anti-communist nations bound together by our shared values?

Shared values like freedom and democracy and a free press and all that shit?

All long gone in NATO ally Turkey.

Where is the outrage?

Where is the armada (powerful) steaming towards Turkey's shores?

Not happening is where.

The current hit-list for the Masters of Empire looks something like this, in order of importance: Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, Iran.

Turkey doesn't even make the long list, never mind the short list!

So how do you solve a problem like Erdogan?

What problem?

Hats off for Persig

In the seventies I made half a dozen trips to the west coast and back, ostensibly to find Fame and Fortune, both of whom, for better or worse, successfully eluded me.

On one of those trips I hitch-hiked through Washington, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. When I happened upon Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance a couple of years later I realized that I'd travelled many of the roads that Robert Pirsig and his son had explored on the motorcycle trip documented in the book.

Coincidence? Sure, but at the time I thought not. Instead, I felt it gave me a certain mystical affinity with Pirsig.

I subsequently read and re-read Zen every few years. Pirsig mastered the trick of convincing the reader that something could be and not be at the same time. This was years before the Derrida crowd enshrined absence as the highest form of presence, and I truly believed he was onto something. Can't say I ever figured out what it was, but...

Zen is one of the books you have to read if you want to get a handle on the American zeitgeist circa those two or three post WWII decades before the great unravelling of America began in earnest. Ginsberg, Kerouac, Keysey, Burroughs, and McLuhan would pretty much round out your required reading on that file. Ya, they're all dead white guys now, but they were very much "happening" then.

From the first time I read the book I knew some day I'd want to carve those roads on a motorcycle trip with my own son. He's a man now and will have to supply his own motorcycle, but I'm still good to go.

What do you think, dude?

We'd have Robert M. Pirsig watching over us.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Would you like fries with your liver and onions?

No I wouldn't.

I'm not a big fan of the long drive to the city and back. Promised myself a good feed of liver and onions at the Steeles Deli, where they've long claimed to have the best liver and onions in town, as compensation for the aggravation.

So we get Junior out of res at Margaret Addison Hall on Charles in the heart of downtown, up to his summer place at Younge and Steeles, and we pop over to the Steeles Deli, me and the Farm Manager and four of our five juniors and a couple of add-ons.

I know what I want, and I'm literally drooling in anticipation. When it's my turn to order I say liver and onions.

She says, how do you want it?

I say, on the light side.

She says, and what kind of potatoes?

Totally redundant question. There's only one kind of potatoes you have with liver 'n onion, and if you're reading this blog you already know.

Mashed potatoes.

She says, we're out of mashed, would you like fries with that?


What the hell goes on here?

Best liver 'n onions in town but you're outta mashed potatoes?

Sorry, but that simply does not compute.

Fries? With liver and onions?


A thousand times no!

I'm the kinda guy who took decades coming to grips with the fact that pineapple on pizza is socially acceptable... but fries with your liver and onion?

No way Jose.

So I had a Reuben instead. Mediocre at best. I swear the sauerkraut came out of a jar.

By then my tablemates were gushing over their mozza-ball soup, and I didn't want to ruin the mood, so I made do.

Meanwhile, I've got the cell-phone addicts at the table furiously googling election results from France. Seems almost seven million voters opted for communism and a strategic alliance with Venezuela. Good showing but not quite enough.

France is going into the run-off with a choice between a rabid racist and a guy who met his wife when he was fifteen years old... and she was his teacher!

Not that there's anything wrong with that...  although I do imagine it would raise eyebrows at the College of Teachers were such an outrage to unfold here. In France it's never even qualified as a scandal.

Go figure.

But the highlight of our lunch date was when one of the add-ons, a guy who is just wrapping a Doctor Phil in Chem at U of T, googled the listing for the place he's been renting a basement apartment in for years. His landlady done put the place on the market just this week.

Even though it's a little threadbare, he figured a million and a half.

I figured, threadbare or not, if it's within a comfy bicycle ride of UT, it's probably over two millions.

They found the listing.

His landlady is asking 3.49 million for a tear-down that might have fetched 500 thou ten years ago.

Wynne and Tory have no clue.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Why I drag my feet

I drag my feet over all kinds of shit.

Just as a for instance, I've had my doctor hounding me about a colonoscopy for years. Ain't gonna happen. There are just some things you don't have to know. If my bowels are indeed consuming themselves from the inside out, what good does it do to know this?

Sure, you could "take measures."

That tends to involve hugely invasive medical procedures that will a) make the payments on my doctor's BMW for several years, and b) completely destroy my quality of life.

So I'll take the quality of life, and the quality of mine is pretty damned good, thank you very much.

Just this afternoon me and the Farm Manager were sitting out in front of the barn, out of the wind. Every now and then a car goes by, but most of the time all you hear is the wind in the trees and the birds singing to one another.

Once in awhile an airplane flies over. I've used the Flight Tracker website enough now to know roughly where they're coming from and where they're going.

The northwest to southeast flights are usually heading to Toronto from points west in Canada.

The southwest to northeast flights are usually heading to Europe from somewhere in middle America. From Chicago to virtually any European destination takes you right over Falling Downs. So does Los Angeles to Zurich or London. Those are the ones where you wonder who's on that airplane.

It's not just passenger jets flying over. This afternoon I saw a red-tail hawk swing by with a couple of small birds in hot pursuit. They were mightily pissed, and Mr. Hawk was doing his best to evade them, without a lot of luck.

Quality of life.

Not much in my Globe and Mail today. Paul Waldie brought me up to speed on that French election. Apparently the far-left fringe candidate Melenchon is a communist and wants to align France with Venezuela. That's the take on the French election from Canada's newspaper of record.

I pity the poor folks who rely on the Globe for their news. They don't actually send Waldie to Europe to "research" this shit, do they? That was about as lame a take on the French election as anyone could possibly imagine. An unpaid intern with an interest in politics could easily put together a more informative article from a computer terminal in their local public library in Toronto.

If you want some insight into the election in France, don't read the Globe and Mail, read this instead.

Chloe is the real reason I drag my feet. She's the cat I got out of the clinic where Karla Homolka worked. She's got to be twenty years old by now. She has outlived all the dogs we've ever owned; Buddy, Charlie, Gus, Roxy, Peaches... and she's on track to outlive the two hounds at Falling Downs today, Boomer and Lucy.

For the first fifteen years of our life together she studiously avoided me. The last few years she's really warmed up, to the point where she follows me around from morning till night. She's literally under my feet every moment of the day.

I drag my feet to avoid stepping on her.

Tomorrow we're off to the city to move Junior out of residence at U of T. He's studying economics...

Where did I go wrong?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Wynne and Tory discover Toronto housing bubble

And by golly, they're taking some serious steps to lance that beastly bubble!

What a pair of imbeciles!

Seems the Mayor of Toronto and the Premier of Ontario were pretty much the last two people in Canada to notice. It's been topic number one around office water-coolers and company picnics and at cocktail parties from Thornhill to The Beaches for the better part of the last decade. Hilliard Macbeth wrote a book about it three years ago. Alas, the market has ballooned at least another 50% since then.

Thank God our political masters are finally on top of this housing crisis!

Good things will surely follow...

Or not.