25 Sep

Return to Buffalo

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?

17 Sep

Random Thoughts – Doug Ford, St. Catharines Mayoral Race, Terry Fox Run and More

1. I can’t express strongly enough how proud I am of premier Doug Ford, who has decided to use the notwithstanding clause to override the flawed ruling of a judge-turned-activist who shockingly upheld the City of Toronto’s challenge of the province’s bill cutting the number of city councilors. Not that I care about the inner workings of Toronto city council. Whether there are 25 councilors or 2500 councilors makes no difference to me. I’m just sick and tired of judges making law in this country and it’s about time we had someone in public office with the stones to stand up to the judiciary. I can only hope Ford’s courage emboldens others in similar positions to make a stand.

1a. If only Mayor John Tory and the rest of Toronto city council worked as hard for their citizens as they’ve been doing to save their own hides.

1b. Dear Andrea Horwath: Do you really think that acting like a spoiled child who didn’t get her favorite toy on Christmas morning makes you any more of an attractive premier-in-waiting?

1c. The same NDP and their friends in the Media Party who are crying the blues over Ford’s use of the notwithstanding clause would no doubt have been applauding had Kathleen Wynne used it to ram through her radical sex-ed curriculum if it had been squashed by a judge.

2. Spotted along the route of the Terry Fox Run yesterday were many signs in support of Richard Stephens. Good to see that he’s apparently decided to come out of the shadows, discard the Sandie Bellows approach and try to win after all. And I loved seeing his old car with “Stephens for Mayor” plastered on the side strategically placed at the bottom of the hill as the cyclists and runners were nearing the finish line. Rumor has it he had a campaign kickoff party last week, but rather than publicize it, he relied on the time-honored “you’re just supposed to know” principle so common in this part of the world.

2a. From reading his website, Stephens wants to see the size of St. Catharines council cut in half, something I enthusiastically support. I would take it a step further and say they should be full-time positions and also double as regional councilors. As our current far-left mayor once said, we are over-governed.

3. Anyone else notice how Walter Sendzik has been toning down the compassion rhetoric lately and going back to posing for selfies with business owners in a desperate attempt to recreate the illusion that he’s a pro-business mayor? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

3a. Despite our widening political differences, Sendzik made a point of approaching and encouraging me yesterday as we passed each other during the Terry Fox Run.

4. Listening to the speeches before the Terry Fox Run, I had to ask myself why researchers at Virtue Signaling University, better known locally as Brock, need specialized software to predict that some big mama sitting on her porch puffing on her fourth cigarette of the morning is at a high risk of getting lung cancer. Seems to me those dollars could be better spent elsewhere.

5. Spotted in the light crowd at the Terry Fox Run was fake-news spin doctor Grant LaFleche of the sub-Standard who took time away from bashing Andy Petrowski to cover the run. He spent much of the time before the ceremonies chatting up fellow leftist Mat Siscoe. Birds of a feather.

6. Walking the streets of Toronto on Saturday, I don’t think I saw anyone without a tattoo. It must also have been Slutwalk day as I don’t think I saw anyone of the female persuasion who was not displaying her wares for all to see.

7. Spotted in Graffiti Alley on Saturday was a potty-mouthed homeless woman who apparently doesn’t have enough money for shelter or food, but does have enough money to care for and feed a large dog.

8. Spotted in a bus shelter here in St. Catharines last week was a guy in a white and black dress with pink stockings doing jumping jacks in a bus shelter while singing and listening to some tunes on his phone. You can’t make stuff like this up.