This WordPress site will remain intact for the time being, but for future posts, please visit my new blog at:
1. In their third year of a major rebuild, the IceDogs had seemingly put all the pieces together for a championship run. After solidifying their roster with some late-season rentals, they had capped off a wildly successful regular season by winning their division and finishing second in the East. In the first round of the playoffs, they breezed through North Bay like a hot knife through butter, then took the first two games at home of their second-round series against Oshawa. Everything appeared to be going according to plan.
Then something happened.
Getting into the playoff spirit, as they normally do at this time of year, the team organized fan bus trips to Oshawa for Games 3 and 4. Except that instead of leaving from a central location such as the Meridian Center or the Jack, as they had done in past years, or from Fairview Mall, conveniently located just off the QEW, they made fans go all the way out to the Pen Center, in the opposite direction of where they were traveling and in the extreme south end of the city. To quote one loyal reader, “That’s just stupid.”
Those loyal supporters who were able and/or willing to make the artificially and unnecessarily long trek out there saw their team drop both games in Oshawa. Then back home, before a nearly full house in Game 5, the IceDogs lost again, setting up a do-or-die Game 6 in Oshawa.
On short notice, the team organized another fan bus trip. Which was leaving, once again, from the Pen Center.
The rest, as they say, is history. This would-be Memorial Cup contender saw its season end having won only one more playoff game than they did a year earlier when they weren’t expected to make much noise in the postseason. Ouch.
Worse yet, they won’t get another chance next year with this group as many of the players will be moving on to bigger and better things in the world of pro hockey. One of those departing rent-a-players was a veteran they acquired from the same Oshawa team that put a premature end to their title run in exchange for a bushel of draft picks. Talk about dressing an open wound with salt.
Maybe it won’t quite end up like the Curse of the Bambino, but the Curse of the Pen Center might end up haunting this team for a couple of years down the road.
2. The Game 6 loss in Oshawa marked the end of overage goaltender Stephen Dhillon’s junior career. I had seen how, with playing time after sitting out much of his first two years, Dhillon had developed from a raw prospect who looked like a fish out of water into one of the best and most dependable goaltenders in junior hockey. Best of luck to him as he moves on and if there’s a pro team looking for a potential late bloomer to take a flier on, Dhillon might be your man.
3. Let the record reflect that this is the first season post-defection in which I did not attend a single IceDogs game at home or on the road.
4. Methinks the IceDogs are, shall we say, falling into the trap of taking their customers’ patronage a little too much for granted. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s the feeling I get. They do have a solid base of fans who will jump through their hoops and do it with a smile, but unlike the Leafs, there’s not enough of them to pay the bills.
5. I have no real dog in the fight, but I’m sorry for those in this part of the world grieving the Leafs’ playoff loss to Boston. Again. I cannot, however, express the same sentiments about the loss the team in my former home city recently experienced. As I posted publicly on social media, “Can I get a ‘Let’s Go Blues’”?
6. I find it interesting how some of those in my former home city who are speaking out against the recent $12 million subsidy grocery giant Loblaws got from the feds don’t seem to have a problem with the annual stipend of $14.1 million Mark Chipman hoovers out of their wallets to fund the purchase and operation of the former Atlanta Thrashers franchise.
7. Let the record reflect that the team generally managed by Don Waddell, perhaps the worst living NHL general manager past or present, has advanced farther in the Stanley Cup playoffs than the team generally managed by Mark Chipman.
8. While talking to a fellow cyclist at the Welland Transit Terminal yesterday and telling him about my bus-bike trips across the river, he asked, “I guess you need ID for that?” Yeah, I think CBP might want to see some ID when you go through the border crossing. Maybe. Best to be on the safe side and bring it just in case. Better to be safe than sorry.
Highlights from yesterday’s bus trip to and from Hamilton:
1. Free bread by the bus stop at Fairview Mall:
2. At Beamsville, our bus was following a truck pulling what was labeled as a “live bottom trailer.” As opposed to a dead one?
3. After getting to Stoney Creek, seated across from me on the Barton bus was someone with a sweatshirt from Thrasher skateboarding magazine. The same magazine that engaged the Atlanta Thrashers in what would become the first of many legal entanglements for the NHL franchise Manitoba taxpayers were eventually forced to purchase.
4. As said Barton bus began to fill up, a hotshot seated nearby refused to move her Calvin Klein purse from the seat next to her. Somehow I doubt she paid an extra fare for the purse.
5. Oddly, there was only one stroller on the way in, but on the return trip, there were two, along with a cart and a walker. Two-, three- and four-wheeled accompaniments and the Barton bus do, after all, go hand in hand.
6. When the driver hit a bump, one guy seated at the back spilled his Tim Hortons coffee all over the window, his bags and the guy in front of him. Plenty of it also made the floor and kept running down the aisle all the way to the back door. He kept blaming the driver, but he has to take the responsibility himself. Even Stevie Wonder can quickly figure out that Barton Street is pretty rough.
7. Seated across the aisle was a woman who:
i. Had been hospitalized for bi-polar and other mental issues.
ii. Paid $70 for the silver mood ring on her finger. She knows it’s real silver from the number imprinted on the inside of the ring.
iii. Takes the train to visit her girlfriend, a hockey player who is a goalie, in Whitby every month.
iv. Plans those visits near the end of the month to coincide with her ODSP payment. Which begs the question as to how a welfare case knows so much about whether or not a ring is real silver.
v. Still has wet hair after just getting out of the shower.
vi. Has a twin brother who has been in jail in Hamilton. He’s a good kid, she says, he just steals cars. This brother who now lives in Sarnia can’t have much sugar because he gets too hyper.
The things you learn from people on the bus.
8. Care for your memory?
9. Despite his plummeting popularity, Justin Trudeau has a street named after him in Hamilton:
10. Parking fail:
11. This “gender neutral” bathroom at Lime Ridge Mall isn’t a sign of progress in my books:
12. Is there such a thing as a non-financial credit union?
13. Seated in front of me on the return trip was a young woman checking out potential mates on an online dating site. She took an interest in a 29-year-old and a 30-year-old, both of whom were likely nearly a decade older than her, then proceeded to scroll through several pages worth of her profile pictures on Facebook. Before getting off with her friend, she was lamenting having to stoop to taking a job somewhere. My heart bleeds for the poor girl. Or not.
Things I’ve learned from the federal Liberals since they came to power:
i. Paying a tax to Justin Trudeau will save the planet, make life more affordable for me, lessen my risk of getting a heart attack and diabetes and improve my mental health.
ii. Suggesting our borders be defended makes me un-Canadian.
iii. Being alarmed at the prospect of an army of bureaucrats at Statistics Canada combing through my banking transactions, complete with all the personal information a growing identity thief needs, for no other reason than justifying their own jobs makes me “anti-data.” Whatever that is.
iv. I am heartless for suggesting that the Canadian government should be putting the needs of Canadians ahead of people in third-world countries.
v. I should be more understanding when the same government that gives $10 million to a terrorist cries poverty when veterans who have spilled blood in service of their country ask for benefits.
vi. Believing that immigration is a privilege rather than a basic human right makes me a racist and a white supremacist.
vii. Opposing any other form of Liberal policy also makes me a racist and a white supremacist, and as such, my constitutional right of freedom of expression should be forcibly denied. Furthermore, making this opposition to Liberal policy and its leader public makes me subject to being sued.
Highlights from yesterday’s visit to the universe’s center:
0. The purpose of the trip was to reconnect with a good friend and former colleague who recently followed in my footsteps and defected from the SPRM to Ontario. It was nice to see him after nearly a five-year absence and I hope to again make our get-togethers a regular habit, as was the case in the Old Country.
1. When walking down the street just after leaving the house, one of the two-wheeled scavengers who check for buried treasure on garbage day passed by. He needs to lube his chain in the worst way.
2. Seated across the aisle from me was a big, fat dude who I’ve seen regularly on the bus. A heavy smoker who doesn’t miss an opportunity, however small, to sneak in a puff, he was panting and wheezing the whole time he was awake, and from the sound of it, his lungs must look like he had inhaled a bucket of tar. This is someone who needs a serious intervention from family and friends before it’s too late.
3. Perhaps somewhat fittingly, given the occasion, I spotted two trucks from the SPRM at Beamsville, and another pair at the Nash and Barton stop. In addition, someone had a Chipman-logoed bag plainly visible from the back of his SUV. As another good friend of mine would say, “Loser!”
4. Blubber is seemingly always on display, and this heavyweight was packing plenty of it into clothing several sizes too small:
To fully appreciate the experience for yourself, listen to the following video as you picture her waddling across the parking lot at Nash and Barton.
5. Dear Metrolinx: How many years will it take to replace the broken Presto balance checker at Burlington? And how many more years will we have to wait before the Presto machines at Fairview Mall are installed?
6. Before my Lakeshore West train departed Appleby, the customer service ambassador announced, “Standclearofthedoorsthedoorsarenowclosing.” It’s 10 words, not one.
7. A young woman in her mid-20s wearing far too much makeup, lipstick and mascara took a seat opposite me at Bronte and instantly made me regret not packing a gas mask as she must have been marinating in some spicy perfume overnight. As I tried to stop coughing, she spent much of the ride to Union playing with her long, black hair, thinking she was pretty hot stuff. I think there was only one person within sniffing distance who shared that opinion.
8. One guy seated across the aisle was paying her no attention, and instead, his head was back fast asleep with his mouth open catching flies. Perhaps it was the toxic fumes that put him into such a deep sleep.
9. 99 plastic water bottles on the wall …
10. The leftists have even taken over cleaning systems …
11. Spotted in the washroom at Eaton Center was a bag with “Good Things Inside” plastered on it perched on the ledge above a guy doing his business at the urinal. You can’t make stuff like this up. You just can’t.
12. Inside the underground walkway were a number of women who were showing off the obvious results of surgery to enlarge certain body parts which come in pairs.
13. For the second time, I had an issue with the TTC Presto gate at Union, and both times, it had come just after a recent fare load. Since I know they’ve been having issues with those gates, maybe it’s a coincidence, but maybe it’s not.
14. Mooooo ….
15. Scene inside Brookfield Place:
16. Parking fail:
17. When leaving the platform at Burlington on the return trip, our bus driver suddenly stopped about a half-block before the light at Fairview Street and waited there for a couple of minutes. Then she jerked forward a few feet and waited a while longer. When she did ultimately pull out of the terminal, she made a right turn on red and royally cut off a black Jeep. Driving the biggest vehicle on the road isn’t a license to act like a jerk.
Then when we got to Nash and Barton, rather than pull up at the stop, she pulled ahead a few feet, partially blocking the entrance to the adjacent strip mall. Act like a professional instead of a Winnipeg Transit wannabe.
Observations from an interesting day on the road to, from and in the universe’s center:
1. To my surprise, there was quite a bit of traffic out and about when I left the house at 6:30, and much of that traffic was drawn to Tim Hortons like a magnet as the line at the drive-thru was around the block. Sights like that again make me wonder if Tim Hortons has some sort of monopoly on coffee.
2. Speaking of coffee, someone left theirs at the bus stop at Fairview Mall:
3. GO Transit has a new message on their buses asking passengers to report any incidents of harassment to their Transit Safety office. Back in the Old Country, it is more noteworthy when a passenger isn’t harassed.
4. Near Grimsby, our bus passed a big rig from Geronimo Trucking. I wonder if they have an office near the Burgoyne Bridge. Bad joke, I know.
5. GO drivers generally move along at a pretty good clip, but the driver I had in the morning definitely put the “go” in GO, passing semis left and right while keeping one hand on the wheel and chewing on the fingernails of his other hand. Then at Grimsby, when he had a few minutes of layover time, he got out and seemed a little too peppy as he was walking around the platform. All in all, it was one of those “kiss the ground” moments when I got off after he pulled up to the Burlington GO station 12 minutes early despite leaving Fairview a few minutes late.
6. Turning off onto Barton Street was someone with the vanity plate “ARGOSFAN” and two Argos stickers on the back of his car. They can’t draw flies to their games, but I knew there had to be at least one fan out there.
7. The last person to board at Nash and Barton asked for and paid for a ticket to the Burlington GO station. Then after looking at her ticket, she turned around and went back to the driver in a huff. “This just says Burlington GO!”, she exclaimed before telling him she needed to take the train. Dumbfounded, the driver asked, “How was I supposed to know?” After continuing to berate the driver for not being able to read her mind, she eventually calmed down and got the ticket for her ultimate destination. No doubt, she was from St. Catharines, the “You’re just supposed to know” city.
8. When she took her seat two rows behind me, the overpowering stench of her perfume mixed with B.O. filled the lower level. Luckily, it was only a short ride to Burlington from there and traffic was moving well. Maybe that also provided a partial explanation as to why the driver was in the far left lane on the Burlington Skyway racing with a fuel truck.
9. At the Burlington GO station, it was still refreshing to see a lineup at the hand dryer.
10. While waiting to go out on the platform, someone stormed into the station and without bothering to look up at the board staring her in the face or go to the counter where they sell tickets, she made a beeline for the person standing nearest to the door and shouted, “How do you get to Toronto from here!?”
11. In this “extreme cold,” people dress at opposite extremes to cope with the bitter -3 temperature. On one hand, I saw a few people with thick fur-lined boots. On the other was a hotshot on the platform at Burlington with bare legs and a skirt barely extending past her genitals. I and everyone else in my car then spent the entire ride to Union listening to her conversation. “This is a turning point . . . There’s going to be some push back from Natasha . . . Shall we do this in Toronto or New York . . . There’s something not right there,” she said before talking about the disconnect and tension in the office and scheduling a call with the four of them to hash it out in Joseph’s office. This was someone whose sense of self-importance was a little over the top.
12. The platform at Mimico. Somewhere under all that salt, I suspect there’s concrete.
13. It normally isn’t this bad, but there was an awful lot of assorted garbage strewn all over the trains and buses I was on.
14. Tucked away under the three-seater at the end of the car was a compartment labeled “Emergency Tools” with a saw, a foldable ladder and other assorted tools. For readers from the Old Country, can you imagine such a thing on a Winnipeg Transit bus? Not only would they be stolen, but they would also be used as weapons against other passengers.
15. Because of some issues with the locomotive that caused the 14-minute delay with the train, many announcements were made that the train would be running express from Appleby to Mimico, then on to Union without stopping at Exhibition and that anyone needing a destination in between should detrain at either Appleby or Mimico. One highfalutin 20-something apparently wasn’t paying attention and a minute after leaving Mimico, clacked her high heels through our car, just to let us know how important she was, and went to stand right by the door to make sure she was the first one to get off at Exhibition. Except that the train didn’t stop at Exhibition, causing her to utter a nasty word as the train sped on. Then when getting off at Union, she stopped in front of the door to the staircase leading down to the station as if it was some strange piece of mechanical equipment she had never used before. Only when someone to her left opened the door on his side did she do the same on her side. Who’s to know how long she would have been left stranded there if she was alone. Perhaps they should post an instruction manual. Or have a doorman posted there to do the honors for her.
16. How convenient:
17. Not a barber shop I’d want to patronize . . .
18. Street art, of which there is plenty in the universe’s center:
19. As if we don’t have enough problems with fake news these days, now there’s fake pizza apparently:
20. A Communist dry cleaner who has to send out the work if more than one alteration needs to be done:
21. And this looked like such an inviting place to take a leak . . .
22. I never knew sleepwalking was such a problem . . .
23. Pearls of wisdom outside a library:
24. A couple of off-color scenes in the west end:
25. On the side of the building at Toronto’s home of fake news:
26. Obligatory shot of the Toronto sign and city hall:
27. A street urchin’s encampment outside Eaton Center:
28. While waiting in the Queen subway station, there was an ad from Flair Airlines with the slogan “Nothing says ‘I love you’ like Winnipeg” to promote their $79 Toronto to Winnipeg fare. I can only surmise that no one in their advertising agency has ever been the esteemed capital of the SPRM. Or else it was a joke that no one in this part of the world could possibly be expected to understand.
29. Needing a little extra food, I went for an order of chicken strips at Tim Hortons. Overall, I give their newest offering a passing grade, and though the garlic in the breading wasn’t as overpowering as A & W’s equivalent, it still stayed with me well into the following morning.
29a. When digging out my wallet to pay, the clerk was seriously taken aback by the prospect of someone paying cash. Next time, just to be a rabble-rouser, I should ask if they accept bitcoin.
30. While the train was stopped at the Exhibition station on the return trip, I laughed as I watched a lost teenage kid on an adjacent street wander around, blindly following the directions on his phone that led him into an alley marked “Prohibited Area.” Before going too far, he finally picked his head up and turned around, only to again start following his phone as he made his way up the street. You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
31. Waiting for the bus at the Burlington, I was seated next to someone with a bag from the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. As she and two nearby people began talking, I learned that she had taken the train from Montreal that morning and was heading for a conference in Niagara Falls, where she was staying at Fallsview. Now why do they always hold these conferences in places like Niagara Falls when I’m sure they could get much better rates in cities like Prince Albert or Swift Current?
32. You can tell who the real tourists are when the #12 bus bound for the Burlington Carpool lot pulls up, and this time was no exception as half the station emptied to run after it, figuring every #12 bus is headed for Niagara Falls. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I watched them all dragging their feet with their heads slumped pulling their suitcases behind them as they headed back inside the station. Read the sign next time.
33. When the Falls-bound bus came, I was seated around a bunch of college roommates with one who lives in the Falls acting as the tour leader. They were hoping to do the Aero Car and the White Water Walk, only to learn that both attractions are not open during the winter, but they still hoped to do Table Rock and Clifton Hill. The tour leader who once worked as a waiter at Elements, a restaurant at Table Rock, figured it wouldn’t be a problem for the guys to haul their luggage a mile or so from the 420 and Stanley bus stop and that all the attractions are roughly in the same spot. They will undoubtedly be considering the Sucker Bus, more formally known as WEGO, but the $9 24-hour fare might be a problem given that one guy only has $10 in his checking account and the tour leader couldn’t remember when his account’s balance was as high as three figures. Increased appeals to the Bank of Mom and Dad were likely in their immediate plans.
34. One member of this group asked one of his buddies if his jacket was real fur. “Yeah, but it’s, like, chicken,” he answered. Who knew that chickens were fur-bearing animals? The things they teach students at institutes of higher learning these days.
1. I finally got around to reading Jeff Pearlman’s most recent book, Football for a Buck, the inside story of the rise and fall of the USFL, a topic near and dear to my heart. He did a wonderful job, he’s got a real way with words and I couldn’t put it down once I got into it. To say the least, I highly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in sports history. I was particularly fascinated by his tales of the woeful San Antonio Gunslingers, and though he questioned whether or not there would be a market for a more in-depth postmortem on the league’s wackiest franchise, it’s certainly something I would be interested in.
There were a few things about it that bothered me, however. For starters, it was not necessary to belittle former commissioner Chet Simmons. Maybe he did look like he escaped the innards of a vending machine. But he was a good man, a good commissioner, and though football may not have been his first love, he cared about the league and its future. Save the cheap shot for someone who deserved it. It was also not necessary to belittle Doug Flutie. No, he didn’t blossom into a superstar, but he was hardly a scrub and went on to enjoy a distinguished career long after Donald Trump wildly overpaid for his services. Finally, his fanatical anti-Trump bias came through loud and clear. It is absolutely proper to pin the majority of the blame on the league’s demise on Trump, but it is incorrect to paint Trump as some trust-fund millionaire who never earned a dime of his own money. That’s a description better suited to our current prime minister. Then he suggested Trump wants a total ban on immigration (a topic which has no relevance to the book), which is completely false. One more time, saying it very slowly so that Democrats can follow along, Don-ald Trump is for imm-i-gra-tion. Legal immigration, with emphasis on the former.
1a. I loved the part when he was talking about the top-quality coaches the league was hiring, saying they weren’t going after Biff, the part-time truck repairman who played a little college ball back in the day. Yet I think Biff would have been an improvement over former Bomber coach Ray Jauch who worked the sideline of the Washington Federals for a season and a game. And yes, I still remember the big uproar in Winnipeg when Jauch announced he was leaving for the USFL.
1b. I will freely admit waiting until the book came out in the library before reading it. Of course, I encourage support for fellow authors, but I adamantly refuse to pay $26 for an e-book, and I don’t care what the subject material is or how many Pulitzers the writer won. That’s just gouging. If I’m going to fork over that kind of coin, I want to get a big, thick paper copy.
1c. Yours truly’s book on the Generals is in the bibliography, but he had me listed as being from San Bernardino, CA. For the record, I have never set foot in the state of California and though I’ll never say never, I don’t suspect I ever will.
2. Much ado was made in these parts over the debut of daily GO train service from Niagara Falls and St. Catharines to Toronto. But what’s the point when you can’t get to the station with public transit? It’s a not-so-minor detail local politicians seem to be forgetting. Or choosing to forget.
2a. Even if St. Catharines Transit did serve the station at that early hour, you still can’t pay with Presto. If you want to play with the big boys, start acting like it.
3. I must be an awfully special member of the Conservative Party in order to get not one, but three Christmas cards from our local candidate. Then again, maybe I’m not so special after all, since the cards came two weeks after Christmas.
4. This week, Walter Sendzik, our radical far-left mayor, proposed putting up a $4-million suicide-prevention barrier on the Geronimo Bridge, more commonly known as the Burgoyne Bridge. Given how many other bridges there are for a troubled soul to do the dirty deed, including one just a few hundred yards away, it’s a ridiculous and expensive band-aid “solution” that simply allows politicians like Sendzik to pat themselves on the back and boast about how compassionate™ they are while doing nothing to address the root causes of mental health issues, which is where the money would be much better spent. But who am I to question His Highness, who dismisses those who disagree with him as “ignorant.”
4a. For someone who preaches tolerance, Sendzik is becoming one of the city’s most intolerant people.
5. I keep hearing how many lives those safe-injection sites are saving, but just think how many more lives would be saved if the same resources were devoted to getting drug addicts off the stuff instead of writing them permission slips.
6. Tonight, for $30 you too can enjoy the privilege of listening to Grant LaFleche, political propagandist, Liberal whore and master manipulator of public opinion, co-hosting a seminar on truth in journalism. It will no doubt be followed by a lecture on human rights from Kim Jong-un.
1. The Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame must be an awfully exclusive club if someone of Joe Daley’s stature has to wait nearly 40 years after his distinguished playing career to be inducted. Congratulations to Joe on the well-earned and long-overdue honor, but shame on the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame for making him wait so long.
2. One day after posting a link to an article in the sub-Standard in which he called those who disagree with his policies “ignorant,” our municipal Liberal representative, more formally known Mayor Sendzik, promoted Random Act of Kindness Day. Resorting to name-calling to belittle your political opponents must be some special sort of Liberal kindness that ignorant folks like me don’t quite understand.
2a. With said municipal Liberal representative armed with a new mandate, I’m genuinely concerned as to what he’s got in mind for the next four years. It’s not what he said during the campaign that worries me, it’s what he didn’t say.
3. I’m glad we have a filtration system, because there must be something in the water in these parts that keeps people voting for the ghost of Jim Bradley, a career politician who evidently hasn’t socked away enough unearned taxpayer dough from his decades of public disservice.
3a. Since integrity was a big issue in the regional council election, the fact that a long-standing member of one of the most corrupt governments in the province’s history received the most votes is mind-boggling.
3b. I’m not going to defend some of the things he’s said, but Andy Petrowski still looked awfully good compared to some of those left-wing nut jobs on the ballot.
4. Anyone wondering where all our health-care dollars are going need only hang out at the St. Catharines Hospital and watch the nauseating “I am Niagara Health” campaign on the fancy video boards. Personally, I’d rather see the money spent on hiring doctors and nurses instead of on spin doctors to tell us how great Niagara Health is.
5. I don’t think anyone is quite aware as to how big of a problem voter fraud is south of the border. Or here in Niagara, east of the border.
5a. With all the illegals flooding into our country, I fear the same sort of problems are about to surface here in Canada as well.
6. With my book on the IceDogs soon to be released, I’ve been sinking my teeth into my next writing project, the sordid history of the Atlanta Thrashers. Only by doing a detailed study like the one I’m doing can one possibly appreciate how badly that team was run. And I haven’t even got to the Atlanta Spirit Group yet.
6a. The fact that former Thrashers general manager Don Waddell is currently gainfully employed in the same capacity with another NHL team is nothing short of astounding.
7. The astute reader may realize that it has been over a year since the Meridian Center last saw my shadow. Not only has my interest level been in decline, but as I posted in a public forum, I refuse to undergo airport-level security for the privilege of attending junior hockey games.
Takeaways from the Meet the Candidates night featuring most of the hopefuls running for a seat on Niagara Regional Council:
1. It was obvious right from the get-go that this “Committee for an Informed St. Catharines” who put on this event was nothing more than a front for promoting extremist left-wing values and candidates who espouse them. Before the first candidate spoke, the moderator read a prepared “land acknowledgment” statement, groveling ad nauseam to the aboriginals and telling us how we are all treaty people. Then when it came time for answering spot questions, the only questions drawn out of a sombrero were from leftists. One which managed to slip past the censors was “Which political party best aligns with your views?”, but it was quickly squashed and another question was drawn.
2. Regional Chair Alan Caslin was the most noteworthy of the missing candidates, but I don’t blame him for not showing up. Given how the whole thing was rigged against anyone with political leanings to the right of Lenin, it was a no-win situation for him. Best to take your message directly to the people instead of relying on groups like this.
3. Grantham Ward city council candidates Dennis Van Meer, Bill “I take your vote for granted” Phillips and Dawn Dodge were among the overflow crowd, though oddly, none of them did much campaigning. In Dodge’s case, perhaps she hasn’t yet regained her train of thought from her disastrous opening remarks at the Grantham Lions Club.
4. Just as they were at the Grantham Lions Club, school trustee hopefuls Norm St. George and Alex Bradnam were there to greet attendees on their way in. But regardless of how many of their brochures they give me, I’m not voting for either one. Nor am I voting for Kate Baggott or David Waddington. I only wish I had someone to vote for as opposed to against.
5. Haley Bateman played the lesbian card to try to pick up some cheap sympathy votes, and in so doing, displayed the same level of intolerance she accuses others of by summarily dismissing the Christian values of a voter whose door she knocked on.
6. Bateman also bragged about her hare-brained social-engineering plan to combine day-care facilities and senior centers. As if I needed another reason not to vote for her.
7. Even if Kelly Edgar didn’t get a union endorsement, I would have stricken him off my list for bragging about bringing those worthless Canada Summer Games to Niagara.
7a. That’s a union endorsement, not a labor endorsement.
8. Debbie MacGregor’s idea of attracting industries “compatible with the region” also reeks of social engineering. With jobs in such short supply in this part of the world, can you really afford to be picky?
9. Mary Margaret Murphy was the candidate who got the “Which political party best aligns with your views?” question, and even though she got a new one, she answered the original quite clearly with her diatribe on a living wage and knocking Premier Ford for stopping the ridiculous safe injection sites.
10. Emily Beth Spanton showed herself to be even more of a far-left extremist than Murphy. She also needs to get that hair out of her eyes and stop wearing those foot-high heels if she can’t learn to walk in them.
11. Len Stack used his time at the podium to talk about the negative stigma around the word “addiction” and failed to acknowledge Mayor Sendzik’s trademark of the word “compassion.”
12. The ghost of Jim Bradley, the recently deposed MPP who served in one of the most corrupt governments in the province’s history, had the nerve to speak about restoring integrity to the Region.
13. When Bruce Timms was speaking about how the double-duty councilor issue failed by just one vote, I was hoping he was going to call out Bill “The self-appointed voice of reason” Phillips, whose flip-flop was crucial in bringing it down.
14. Frank Rupcic spoke about the embarrassing incident when the sub-Standard “reporter” was kicked out of a regional council meeting, but what’s really embarrassing is the fake news that publication keeps churning out.
15. I hope I can come up with enough acceptable names on my ballot so I don’t have to vote for Sandie Bellows.
Pictures and observations from yesterday’s bus/bike trip to Buffalo:
0. Yesterday marked my fourth two-wheeled trip to Buffalo and 46th overall to the Great State of New York. Yes, I am a frequent border-crosser.
1. Whereas on GO buses, the space on top of the front wheel right by the door is used for luggage, Metro puts two seats there:
2. Though I didn’t use them, I noted once again with interest that the back doors on Metro buses open automatically. Just like they do on buses in most every other part of the continent. Except one.
3. On the Buffalo-bound #40 bus, I listened as someone in the back was talking about his pending court dates. From the tone of the conversation, I got the distinct impression he was a client of one of the many bail bondsmen parked around Niagara Square.
3a. No, I’m not going to call them “bondspeople.”
4. Spotted en route to Buffalo was a fellow cyclist without a helmet going in the opposite direction in the middle lane of traffic while trying to balance a large box wrapped in a garbage bag on the handlebar. Why did I get the feeling that an accident was about to happen?
5. Another interesting sighting en route was a bait and tackle shop selling their wares out of a vending machine outside on the sidewalk, similar to a Coke machine. Believe it or not, it’s not the first time I’ve seen a bait machine before.
6. Through the course of the day, I learned that in addition to the Queen City and the City of Good Neighbors. Buffalo is also called the Nickel City. I’m sure there’s another explanation, but my guess is that it’s related to the average value of the homes I passed by.
7. This doesn’t look like a bus to me:
8. I just hate when they put lead in cash. Good to see places like this offering unleaded cash instead:
9. I toured some of downtown and around Canalside. Click here for more of my pictures on Facebook.
10. The intersection of Marine Drive and Marine Drive. There’s another one a block away.
11. Boarding at the Metropolitan Transportation Center ahead of me on the return trip was a fat guy hauling a pair of suitcases who was also going to the Rainbow Bridge. He apparently felt perfectly justified in spreading himself across three priority seats while others, including a gentleman with a cane, had to stand.
11a. Even though only buses use it, it’s not a “bus depot,” it’s a “transportation center.”
12. I’ve made this observation before, but anyone looking to take Metro buses really does need to pay attention and flag down the driver. Standing at the stop aimlessly looking around won’t get it done.
13. It is apparently not standard procedure for Metro drivers to pull up to the curb to pick up passengers lucky enough to attract their attention. Far too often on my return trip, the driver simply stopped in the middle lane and expected the passenger to walk into the street to board the bus.
14. Dear Operator 4346: I realize Buffalo streets are in horrible shape, but I’m sure your colleagues in the maintenance shop would appreciate it if you tried to avoid the large divots in the pavement instead of aiming for them.
15. As I was getting ready to repatriate myself, the same fat guy on the bus approached me and asked where he needed to go to cross the bridge. After showing him the way, I told him about the $1 toll. Shocked at the charge, he exclaimed, “But I’m Canadian, I shouldn’t have to pay!” Why did I get the feeling he was a Liberal?