17 Jan

Day Trip to Hamilton

Observations and pictures from my day trip to Hamilton yesterday:

1. Sitting across the aisle on the GO bus was the quintessential country bumpkin who looked like he really did just fall off a turnip truck. With a torn coat and toting all his worldly possessions inside two duffel bags, he was certainly well prepared for his journey. Inside a clear plastic pouch bound with an elastic band was a Niagara Falls Transit rider guide and almost as many HSR schedules as you’ll see at the MacNab Transit Terminal. He was particularly interested in the #41 Mohawk and #2 Barton routes. Later, he kept himself busy studying the fine print on the back of his Presto card and had the time to pour himself some coffee out of his thermos before we got to Stoney Creek.

2. Boarding at Fairview Mall was an obese woman with multicolored fingernails pushing a stroller who evidently still felt she needed to eat for two even though she had already long since given birth. Oddly, this would be the only stroller I would spot on the day, despite two subsequent trips on the Barton bus, a route that seemingly features a two-stroller minimum per trip.

3. Though he wasn’t driving unsafely, our driver took the “GO” logo emblazoned on his uniform a little too literally. Among the many semis he passed was one from Lockport, GSNY.

4. Inside the shelter at Nash and Barton was another heavyweight giving the seat one heck of a good stress test, but like a Timex watch, it took a licking but kept on ticking. Kudos to the engineers who designed it.

5. Spotted along the route downtown were signs stating “We fix eyeglass” and “Thousands of item, every day.” There was also a grocery store with an “Aunt Jemina” product on sale. Perhaps it was a knockoff of the more popular Aunt Jemima brand.

6. Also spotted along Barton was “Genuine Bakery.” Gotta watch out for those fake bakeries. Farther west, there was a caterer taking new orders for 2017.

7. At Gage Avenue, the HSR driver stopped and waited for a senior struggling with her cart a half block from the stop as well as someone across the street who wanted to catch the bus. Once again, this is not Winnipeg Transit.

8. Farther west, some dude boarded with cannabis leaf symbols all over his jacket. Who do you suppose he voted for in the most recent federal election?

9. Along the sidewalk was some spaced-out guy marching to the beat of his own drum. A drum that had a hole in it.

10. Just past Hamilton General was a city garbage truck with a big sign on the side stating “Put fruit stickers in the garbage.” Is it really that big of a deal there?

11. More pandering to the privileged, courtesy of CBC, the state propagandist. Your tax dollars at work.

12. The West Harbor GO station, one that those of us in Niagara will be seeing out the window from the proposed trains scheduled to service this part of the world.

13. I couldn’t resist this shot of the sign welcoming people to the North End. From walking around the area, it probably has the same negative connotation in Hamilton as it does in the Old Country, but here in St. Catharines, a North End address carries a premium.

14. Click here for my shots from Bayfront Park.

15. While in Bayfront Park, someone got out of her car ready to walk her two dogs. With the “extreme cold” outside, the dogs didn’t just have little booties on, but full knee-high socks. Oy.

16. I wonder if these guys with tents in the middle of the ice were aware that the forecasted high was -4 C, not much below the freezing mark. This isn’t the Old Country, where a January high above -20 feels like a heat wave.

17. On the way back downtown, I passed some teenagers jabbering away in what appeared to be some Middle Eastern language as they were smoking. Of what little English I heard, their favorite word was one that was four letters long and started with ‘F.’

18. Also en route, I passed by a couple of Tim Hortons locations that were absolutely packed. So much for that “No Timmies Tuesdays” the unionists, with the help of their friends in the left-wing fake news mainstream media, are trying to drum up support for, even in the heart of a big union town like Hamilton. Where, incidentally, Comrade Horwath’s riding happens to be.

19. Lunch was at the A & W a block away from Jackson Square, where they asked for everyone’s name upon ordering. The manager must have once worked at Radio Shack, where they were notorious for that annoying practice.

20. After ringing up my order for the chicken strip combo, the clerk asked “Do you want fries and a root beer?” Um, yeah, that’s what the combo means. Otherwise, I would have just ordered the chicken.

20a. Even with an abnormally high minimum wage, good help remains hard to find.

21. As I was eating, the guy behind the counter was quite amused that someone named Cam always came through the drive-thru around this time with the same order. Given how few people were actually in the restaurant, he might consider being a little more grateful to Cam rather than making fun of him.

22. The only two customers seated there besides me were a hobo and an older gentleman who sat like a stuffed dummy not moving a muscle as he stared blankly at passers-by on King Street.

23. Crossing King Street at Gore Park was a middle-aged guy who was flipping a water bottle in his hand as if he was trying out for Barnum & Bailey’s Circus. From the look on his face, I’m not sure if he or the bottle had a higher IQ.

24. Scenes in Gore Park:

25. Etiquette fail on the HSR bus I took back to the Nash and Barton GO stop:

26. This car parked at the Wholesale Club was presumably once a Grand Caravan, but is now a Grand Cara An:

27. On the return trip, there was as much food being consumed on the second level of the GO bus as there was in the food court at Jackson Square.

28. Leaving Fairview Mall on the way home was a guy perched in the median at Geneva Street with a sign, “Broke, will work, anything helps.” But despite being financially destitute, he had plenty of money to feed and care for the big dog he had with him. Priorities.

07 Jan

Random Thoughts – Basic Economics, Liberal Logic, Silence of the sub-Standard and More

1. As small business owners struggle to cope with the massive minimum wage hike and keep their heads above water, calls for a Tim Hortons boycott have become all the rage among those with no understanding of basic economics. Faced with a sudden 20% increase in labor costs, Tim Hortons franchise owners garnered headlines as they, like many other small businesses, were forced to cut back on benefits for those employees they could still afford to keep on the payroll. Yet there seems to be a prevailing belief that these small business owners are just sitting on big piles of cash and getting rich off the backs of their workers. Nothing could be farther from the truth, of course, but that doesn’t stop the unionists who can’t see beyond the tips of their noses from pointing the finger at the “greedy” employers. It’s at times like this that I wonder if our collective IQ is falling faster than NFL ratings.

1a. If you really believe that Tim Hortons franchise owners are the bad guys, I hope you are also prepared to boycott every small business as well as every municipality in the province, including the City of St. Catharines. As I heard from Councillor Mike Britton at a budget meeting, as a direct result of the minimum wage hike, the city will not be able to hire as many summer students this year as they normally would.

2. This might surprise you, but workers in Switzerland, a country without a minimum wage, on average, earn the highest wages in the world. Something to ponder.

3. This past week, my ultra-obnoxious MP called those of us who disagree with the crime minister’s desire to “reintegrate” returning ISIS fighters into Canada “white supremacists.” According to his twisted logic, racism is at the heart of a desire to protect ourselves against enemy soldiers who want to do us harm.

Meanwhile, as my MP made a fool of himself on a national stage, the silence of the Liberal-friendly sub-Standard was palpable. What should have been front-page news was instead completely ignored. No doubt they were too busy celebrating that their favorite whipping boy, regional councillor Andy Petrowski, would not be seeking re-election. And people like that wonder why they get called “fake news.”

4. Said Liberal-friendly sub-Standard did, however, have the time to promote A Better Niagara, a citizen group promoting left-wing ideals and encouraging their own kind to run for public office. Of course, this group swears they’re completely nonpartisan. Right. And I’m Sheena. Queen of the jungle.

5. When the next round of layoffs and/or closures inevitably comes, don’t expect much sympathy in this corner for displaced sub-Standard “journalists.”

6. Was it any wonder that when Mayor Sendzik asked for a show of hands at the Older Adults Forum, only two or three in the crowd of around 80 said they took the Standard?

7. It’s likely not too many people in this part of the world noticed, but the sports shop in Fairview Mall that opened on the first of December had gone out of business before the end of the month. A word of advice to would-be entrepreneurs – this might not be the best time to start a business trying to sell mainly NFL merchandise. There are a lot of us narrow-minded people, as Councillor Mat Siscoe called me, who want nothing more to do with that wretched league.

8. In the event your riding won’t have a true conservative candidate running for the Ontario PCs in the upcoming provincial election, as I fear will be the case here in St. Catharines, consider parking your vote with the Ontario Libertarian Party. Regrettably, they don’t stand much of a chance, but the lost votes might help pull the party back to the right. After all, there’s not much point in having a conservative party if they’re not conservative.