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.

19 Aug

Nuggets from the Road

Off-color observations with a few pictures from another bus, train and subway ride to and from Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Which isn’t actually in Toronto.

1. Walking to the bus stop at Fairview Mall, I made sure to give a wide berth to the skunk ahead of me on the sidewalk. Fortunately, it decided to cross the street, stopping to wait for a pickup truck to pass by before proceeding, further proof that even skunks are smarter than the average Winnipeg pedestrian.

2. En route to the bus stop, I spotted two bikes outside at a Tim Hortons using Niagara bike security, turning them upside down rather than locking them up. Perhaps the logic behind it is that the rightful owners would have time to come out and confront the would-be thief before he/she made off with the bike(s). But it was further proof that I was no longer in the Old Country, where even a bike secured with a thick metal U-bar lock is not safe.

3. As soon as I rounded the corner past Zehr’s, I heard a couple across the street swearing up a storm. When the bus pulled up, while puffing on their cigarettes, this scruffy pair gave the driver a sob story about their cash being taken and only having debit cards. Unsatisfied with the driver’s explanation that there were plenty of ATMs around, they continued bellyaching and after a few crocodile tears, he eventually gave in and let them ride like a Winnipegger – for free. The male half of the couple gave the driver a hug and the female half patted the driver on the shoulder and said “God bless” as the two of them disembarked at Stoney Creek, where someone in a white van was waiting for them. No doubt they were laughing about how they scammed their way into a free bus ride and probably still are.

3a. That driver, by the way, bore a striking similarity to Barack Obama, whose presidency was the greatest fraud ever committed against the American people. And just like Obama, the driver was also generous with other people’s money in giving the aforementioned couple a free ride.

4. When the driver asked the older woman who got on at Grimsby where she was going, she answered “the train.” She needed to be a little more specific and the driver really had to work at beating the details out of her in order to calculate the fare. Fare she at least paid, unlike those freeloaders.

5. The cheery clerk at the Burlington GO station was yet another who liked my “Make Speech Free Again” hat. I do get that a lot when I’m out with it on. Which is a good sign.

6. Thumbs down to GO Transit for now making the stop announcements on the train in Quebecese. If our new premier is on the hunt for efficiencies, how about cutting the jobs of the bureaucrats who thought of this condescending idea?

7. When one family got on at Bronte, the kids were anxious to go up top, as it was their first time on the train, but the mother openly suggested they go under the tracks instead. I don’t know if she was joking.

8. Among the big rush of people who got on at Bronte was one woman panting and wheezing while screaming, “Water! Water!” She sounded every bit like someone who was running late and had to run like mad to catch the train.

9. Someone seated across from me who was reading the Toronto Sun brought the whole paper up to his face to lick his finger rather than just lift his hand. During this lickfest, he also treated half the car to his Coles Notes version of every article he had read.

10. A family of four who got on at Clarkson left their stroller by the door, then went to take a seat in the middle of the car. And it was still there when they got off at Exhibition. Once again, this is not the Old Country.

11. A woman who got on at Port Credit immediately recognized someone she knew in the quad in front of me and proceeded to regale him with a like-fest. Much like I found from the audio I had recorded in the subway later, I was surprised that she managed to hold her LPM to just over 7. That’s likes per minute. She also made sure to tell her friend how she was still feeling that, like, child mentality. No kidding.

12. Approaching Union, I saw a billboard for Coolsculpting, a place that supposedly freezes away fat. Isn’t it better to just put down the cheesecake and not pile on the fat in the first place? Something this tub of lard on the subway should consider:

13. If this doesn’t scream “lonely and forlorn,” I don’t know what does:

14. Somehow, I don’t think this ad campaign was aimed at the fake news media to try and get them to ask tough questions of their Liberal friends:

15. This woman on the #2 line who must have spent an ungodly amount of time painting intricate designs on her toenails felt no shame in forcing her fellow passengers to listen to the audio portion of the video she was watching on her phone.

16. While stopped at a light on Dixon Road, someone in an SUV opened his door and unloaded a big glob of spit on the ground.

17. I felt badly for the guy walking through Terminal 1 with obvious “water” stains just below his crotch. He’s certainly not alone, as there’s a reason why many drug stores have aisles dedicated to incontinence products.

18. Someone made a mess at the international arrivals area in Terminal 3:

19. On the arrivals level, nothing says “Welcome to Canada” better than a long line at Tim Hortons:

20. Also spotted in Terminal 3 was someone wearing a T-shirt from Thrasher Skateboarding Magazine, a publication that predated the former NHL team of the same name and also outlasted it.

21. Temporary out of service …

22. This group of women decked out in Ethiopian colors and flying Ethiopian flags was coming to meet someone at the international arrivals area of Terminal 1. Since that person was coming to Canada, shouldn’t they have been flying Canadian flags instead? And if Ethiopia is so wonderful, why come here at all?

23. To heck with Canadian students of Canadian parents going to Canadian universities funded by Canadian taxpayers. Let’s bend over backwards for international students, who, despite their protestations to the contrary, don’t even have a right to be in the country, let alone study at universities paid for by Canadians for the benefit of Canadians. Not cool, CIBC!

24. A middle-aged woman walking through Terminal 1 might as well have been going around with a flashing neon sign with “Look at me, I had a boob job” on her forehead. It was that obvious.

25. At Terminal 1, there was a whole row of guys were parked in the chairs in front of the charging stations, yet none of them were charging their phones. How considerate.

26. On the return trip, seated in front of me on the #2 line was a guy in a pink hoodie with “I’m a lover not a fighter” written on the back. As he was leaning over to his “partner” showing off the game he was playing on his phone, I got the unmistakable impression he was a fervent supporter of the previous provincial government.

27. On the subway was someone with a brown paper bag from Slab Burgers. The name suggests it’s not exactly a health-food place.

28. I’m not sure why GO Transit has customer service ambassadors, but if they must have them, surely the ability to speak fluent English should be foremost among the job requirements. The one I had on the return trip sounded bright and cheery and all, but much of what she had to say sounded garbled and it wasn’t because of the sound system.

29. Seated across from me on the Burlington-bound Lakeshore West train were two parents from Ajax with their daughter. The father spent virtually the entire ride acting like a teacher lecturing his student in a classroom, and among the many subjects he covered in detail was how a volcano works. Then he went on to explain that there are two languages in Canada that everyone needs to know. The daughter didn’t quite understand why and frankly, neither do I.

When not preoccupied with his daughter, he was busy sniping at his silent wife, complaining about how she makes things too complicated and that they had missed the previous train by three minutes because she was so slow. All told, I got the impression that a couple of family law attorneys are about to get some more business.

As we got closer to Burlington, he threatened to brush his daughter’s teeth with soap because she used a bad word, then proceeded to drop an F-bomb. And he wonders where the kid picks up that kind of language.

30. Spotted near an excavation site in Oakville was a container from “Earth Boring.” If it’s so boring here, try another planet.

31. Interesting message on the GO bus on the way back to St. Catharines:

32. Just past the Burlington Skyway, one guy from Quebec pulled over to the shoulder to provide some liquid fertilizer for the bushes alongside the QEW. Going through Stoney Creek, a father also pulled over to help one or more of his kids answer the call of nature. When you gotta go, you gotta go.

33. Stuck in the middle of bumper-to-bumper traffic, a couple behind me was bitching about the fact that the bus was so far behind schedule and as a result, they were about to miss a wedding they were planning to attend. On one hand, I felt badly for them, but mid-summer congestion on the only major highway leading to one of the world’s top tourist destinations not far from the country’s most densely populated region isn’t exactly unprecedented. They should have known better and left earlier.

34. On the way home, I spotted a red star on this house, no doubt indicative of the owner’s support for the NDP:

35. Assorted roadside junk:

36. Doesn’t this just scream “curb appeal”?

37. It’s “Grantham” Avenue …

 

09 Aug

Random Thoughts – Human Rights, Misguided Virtue Signaling, Municipal Elections and More

1. Given how they have been colluding with Silicon Valley to stifle dissenting opinions online and buying off the media with our money to carry their message, to say nothing of M-103 and what happened with the Summer Jobs Program, what right does the federal Liberal government have to criticize Saudi Arabia or anyone else on human rights matters?

1a. Next time the Liberals want to do some virtue signaling on human rights, they might consider what’s going on in the UK. Among the many issues is the case of Tommy Robinson, a former political prisoner the British government is determined to silence at all costs.

2. I love what Premier Doug Ford did in slashing the size of Toronto City Council. If only he had done the same thing here in Niagara with regional council and St. Catharines council. Even our hard-left Liberal mayor says we are over-governed.

3. Dear Richard Stephens: If you expect to beat a high-profile incumbent like Walter Sendzik and become the next mayor of St. Catharines, it might be a good idea to get yourself out there. A website and a social media presence wouldn’t hurt. The “sit back on your ass” approach won’t cut it. Just ask Sandie Bellows, who parlayed what should have been an easy victory into an embarrassing defeat in the provincial election.

4. If I hear Sendzik tout himself as a pro-business candidate again, I likely won’t be able to resist laughing out loud. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

5. I might have considered voting for Johnny Tischler until I read that the druggies are his top priority.

6. As much as it will pain me, I might have to once again hold my nose and vote for Bellows in order to keep as many leftists as possible off regional council. Even though she’s likely to be just as ineffective as a regional councilor as she was a city councilor.

7. There are certainly many candidates for Bellows’ old city council seat in Grantham. But it’s just like television these days. Lots on, but nothing to watch. In particular, I am amused by Rob Gill’s website, which has virtually nothing besides a donation box. It makes one wonder why he even bothered to register as a candidate. At least Alan Ziemianin has something to say.

7a. Rest assured neither of my votes will be going to incumbent Bill Phillips, a Liberal who embarrassed the city with his flip-flop during the double-duty councilor saga, or the hard-left union hack Dennis Van Meer.

8. Names I’ll be avoiding for the school board election are Kate Baggott, Norman St. George and David Waddington. All three are hard-line leftists, and Waddington, in particular, has the Pride flag on his Twitter profile and laments how the Ford government pulled the radical sex-ed curriculum. Personally, I’m much more concerned over the fact that so many Ontario students lack basic math skills and can’t even count the number of made-up genders being taught to them.

9. Today, I received an official notice from the federal Conservative party seeking nominations for the St. Catharines riding. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it got filtered out of Bellows’ and Mat Siscoe’s inboxes.

10. I wish I had a vote in the Toronto mayoral race so I could cast a ballot for Faith Goldy. One of the items on her platform is to round up all the illegal migrants and take them to Justin Trudeau’s personal residence.

11. Apparently determined to keep making the same mistakes as their neighbors to the south, the CFL is doubling down with its nauseating “Diversity is Strength” campaign. I’m sure the families of the victims of the recent Danforth shooting and that van attack in Toronto will be very touched by the league’s message.

02 Aug

Planet Hamilton

Observations and a few pictures from yesterday’s tour of Hamilton in honor of the fourth anniversary of my defection from the SPRM and move to St. Catharines:

1. On the GO bus was a fat middle-aged guy wearing a golf shirt that might have fit him in high school. Barely. The tightly stretched shirt failed to cover much of his belly and he needed a bra for the boobs some women would pay big money for.

2. Dear GO Transit: I realize everyone else was going the same speed, but the red lines through the construction zones on the QEW are indicators that drivers are supposed to slow down, not speed up.

3. Seated across the aisle from me on the GO bus was a woman with a nose ring that looked like metal snot.

4. On the occasion of the anniversary of my defection from the SPRM, I spotted a Bison Transport truck on the QEW in both directions. As I’ve said before, the SPRM does keep following me around.

5. At Stoney Creek, the HSR driver kindly stopped and waited for those of us transferring from the GO bus. Once again, this is not the Old Country, where the driver would have floored it as soon as we got to the front door, then bragged about it back at the garage.

6. On the way downtown, there was only one stroller and one walker, but it was a completely different story on the way back. On that trip, there was one wheelchair, two strollers and one walker already on board when I got on with two more strollers getting on later. In fact, there was so little room left on the bus that the driver was unable to take on either of the two strollers waiting at a stop in front of a bar.

7. Spotted in a shelter along the way downtown was a scruffy old bum using a bunch of crumpled-up plastic bags from No Frills as a cushion.

8. Spotted on a Hamilton Cab was the slogan, “Powered by pride.” Does it only take gay gas?

9. A bum catching a few winks in the median on York Boulevard:

10. The number of smokers I spotted on the day led me to believe there’s an inverse relationship between economic well-being and likelihood of smoking. In other words, those who can least afford to smoke do. And then anti-poverty advocates cry about the social determinants of health.

11. As a cyclist who regularly puts on more than 2,000 miles per year on two wheels, I appreciate efforts to make cities more cyclist-friendly. But in the first shot, having the lane on the left side of the one-way street is counter-intuitive since drivers normally expect cyclists to be on the right. Same for the second shot, showing a two-way cycle track on Bay Street, which is one way for cars. This can lead to a situation where a driver is not expecting a cyclist who is traveling in the opposite direction of car traffic.

12. Walking the streets downtown, I get the feeling the annual Hamilton Fringe Festival starts on January 1 and ends on December 31.

13. Um, whatever.

14. As opposed to unregistered condominiums?

15. While at the A & W eating lunch, an older woman seated across from me with enough lipstick to dam the mighty Mississippi thought she needed more.

16. Also at the A & W, someone came up to the counter and simply said she wanted “something with beef.” After the clerk managed to coerce more specifics out of her, she ended up ordering so much beef that she needed a bag to carry it all out in. It was beef, by the way, that she really didn’t need.

17. Lay down the law …

18. I saw many oddities on the day, but the sight of this Hamilton police officer on horseback on James Street was perhaps the most unexpected of them:

19. If only these artist-run centers were also artist-funded:

20. To heck with any humans in the building, just worry about the dog:

21. How else can you explain popular support for the NDP?

22. On the day, I spotted two Muslim women driving. How nice of their husbands to permit such a thing.

23. Seated across from me on the Barton bus headed back to Stoney Creek was a guy with a Q-Ray bracelet, advertising himself as a sucker easily separated from his money.

24. HSR revenues would increase dramatically if they charged by the pound instead of a flat rate per person.

25. I feel the pain of the cyclist whose bike is at the far right end of the rack.

26. I don’t think this is exactly how they teach you to park in driving school:

 

18 Jul

Over the River Again

Observations and pictures from my 44th two-wheeled trip to the Great State of New York:

1. Award-winning management “consultanting” …

2. At One Niagara Center was a massive air conditioning unit right next to a wide-open door. As my father would say, were they trying to air condition all of Western New York?

3. Last I checked, Ferry was a one-way street, but that didn’t seem to matter to two cyclists who were going in the opposite direction against traffic.

4. At 19th Street was a fatso who wasn’t wearing underwear and whose blubber was oozing out well beyond the short skirt she had on. There are times I wish I wasn’t so observant and that was one of them. As my father would say, she needs to start shopping for clothing at New York Tent and Awning.

5. Scenes in Hyde Park:

6. Pickleball. It’s not just a St. Catharines thing.

7. Spotted off Military Road was an older guy with a “MAGA” hat. Part of me wanted to get off my bike and shake his hand.

8. I was proud to ring up a $17.10 bill at southern Ontario’s favorite Walmart just to spite Justin.

9. Dear Walmart: Please consider adding an express lane or two. You know, the way most large department stores do.

10. On Buffalo Avenue, someone driving by in a pickup truck pointed at me and yelled, “There he is!” Whatever.

11. Also on Buffalo Avenue, another cyclist passed me going the wrong way, though at least, unlike what would have happened in the Old Country, he did get out of my way and didn’t curse at me.

11a. Did I mention recently that I don’t miss the Old Country?

12. A bench on the Shoreline Trail in need of some maintenance:

13. A piano for the LGBT community?

14. If you’ve always wanted to take a tour of a helicopter …

15. While crossing the Rainbow Bridge, a guy in an SUV from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania asked me if they charged me a toll and was astonished when I told him I had to pay a whole buck. For the record, I don’t mind fair and reasonable user fees. Just as long as it’s going toward bridge maintenance and not lining government coffers.

16. Waiting at Canadian customs, a guy from New Jersey was cursing up a storm, angry that the officer was asking too many questions of the person in front of him. Dude, that’s not the attitude you bring to an international border crossing. Especially when you’re a foreign national.

17. There are teenagers in Bombay working in call centers who have a better grasp of the English language than the CBSA officer who served me.

15 Jul

An Interesting Day on Public Transit

Observations and a few pictures from an interesting day riding public transit to and from Pearson Airport:

1. Walking through the Fairview Mall parking lot at 6:30 am on my way to the GO stop, I spotted a couple of salty looking dudes, one of whom was toting a six-pack. It was either left over from a wild night or they were getting an early start. My guess was the latter.

2. Despite only having a couple of minutes to spare before the bus left, one passenger so desperately hooked on his smokes dug out a cigarette to squeeze in a few last puffs while waiting near the door. That guy needed professional help.

3. One woman on board was wearing knee-high leather boots. Did I mention that we’re sweltering in the middle of a heat wave? ‘Tis more important to be fashionable than to be comfortable, in the opinion of some.

4. At Nash and Barton, a man and his daughter were madly running across the parking lot trying to catch the bus. And the driver waited for them. Once again, this is not the Old Country, where the Winnipeg Transit driver would have taken great pleasure in leaving them in his dust, then bragging about it to his buddies back at the garage.

5. While I was in line at the counter at the Burlington GO station, the woman in front of me was regaling the only agent on duty with a long story about something that happened on the bus. Until the guy behind me yelled, “We’ve got a train to catch!” I felt like applauding.

6. Standing on the platform at Burlington was a heavyweight puffing away on a cigarette and complaining about how her (expletive) asthma is acting up. My heart bleeds.

6a. No doubt this is where our mayor would say I need to be more compassionate. I am compassionate. But don’t expect me to care more about your health than you do.

7. Dear Ms. Sweetness and Light who was our customer service ambassador on the Union-bound Lakeshore West train: The stop after Bronte is Oakville, not Clarkson.

7a. I hope ridding GO trains of the useless customer service ambassadors and replacing them with automated stop readouts and announcements will be among the efficiencies our new premier will find. Heck, even the antiquated STO, a system that makes Winnipeg Transit look radically advanced, has managed to implement such things on some of their buses.

8. Seated across the aisle from me on said LSW train was a woman with three kids in tow, each under the age of 10 and each with a tablet likely better than mine. Why do children under 10 years of age need a tablet?

9. Like, listening to all the chatter around me on the way there and back, I am, like, even more convinced that the most used word in the, like, English language is “like.”

10. At the Clarkson stop, a woman seated in the quad in front of me got up to go to the end of the car and dump something in the garbage, leaving her purse unattended on the seat. And it was still there when she got back. Once again, this is not the Old Country.

11. Leaving the Long Branch stop, someone got on the intercom and said, “OK, here we go again. When the train is approaching, stay well back of the yellow line. It’s not a good idea to be doing exercises on the yellow line.” If only I could have seen what that Darwin Award candidate was up to. But in any event, here’s another case for allowing the law of natural selection to run its course.

12. Spotted on the #2 subway line was someone with a sketch book drawing a portrait. Even on a weekend, there certainly are enough interesting characters to use as subjects.

13. At the end of the car I was in was a lever to pull to stop the train in the event of an emergency. Can you just imagine how often that would lever would be pulled if there was such a thing in Winnipeg?

14. On the packed Airport Rocket bus that took me from the Kipling station to Terminal 1, I was one of two token Caucasians on board. Yet governments continue to justify discriminating against me because of my skin color.

15. This charging station that costs $6.49 to use was right across from a free charging station with multiple plugs. I could only surmise that this was an IQ test.

16. With all the blubber on display at Pearson, airlines should be able to charge for overweight people just like they do for overweight baggage. Same goes for VIA Rail.

16a. Some of that blubber was on a security guard who waddled by. What exactly would he be able to do if there was a problem?

17. Outside near the ALT hotel where the terminal link train ends was this sign directing motorists to a cell phone lot. Is this a place to park your cell phone?

18. Staff at Pearson actually wear a mask in addition to gloves when taking out the garbage, unlike a former workplace of mine where staff dug into trash cans with their bare hands.

19. There were so many disciples of Mohammed at the international arrivals in Terminal 3 that, if I didn’t know better, I would have thought I was in the Riyadh airport instead of Pearson.

20. Walking through the terminal, I spotted a woman in her late 30s with hot pink hair. Grow up. You’re not 18 anymore.

21. Given how Pearson was my landing point after my defection from the SPRM nearly four years ago, it kind of feels like Ellis Island would to those who came across the ocean to start a new life in North America so many years earlier.

22. The low-floor chairs in Terminal 1 were comfortable enough, but awfully difficult to get out of.

23. On the return trip, a noisy family was busy snapping photos of themselves on the subway. I know Niagara Falls is a popular spot for selfies, but the subway?

24. I support bikes being allowed in subway cars, but there should be a designated area to store them safely in the event of a sudden stop. In Buffalo, bikes are required to be in the special wheelchair section and in Minneapolis, there are special racks in every car to stand them up in.

25. Upon my arrival in this part of the world, everything seemed so overwhelming, but today, I move around like a local.

26. On the crowded #1 line was a guy with his feet up on the handicapped seating. He’s lucky someone didn’t decide to just sit down on them. Not that I know of any such experiences personally.

27. Seated across from me in that subway car was a big shot who was bragging about her “special skills.” Like how to paint your toenails a lavender color?

28. Also in the same subway car was someone with a T-shirt with “Quebec Canada” written on it. Well, which is it, Quebec or Canada?

29. Pigeons foraging for food near the McDonald’s in Union Station:

30. Seated across from me on the Burlington-bound LSW train was a 20-something millennial with her newly purchased espresso machine who began munching on a plate of sushi. Then when I pulled out my notepad, she got up and moved to a different car. A snarky writer with pen in hand is indeed dangerous.

31. In addition to the sushi, an older woman was munching on a greenish wrap and a guy in the quad in front of me was trying to shove a loaded six-inch sub down his throat. It was more visual proof that people really don’t care what and how much they eat.

32. Walking through the parking lot at the Oakville stop was a guy with a T-shirt with “This guy needs a beer” printed on it. Methinks he also needs AA.

33. The ride home on the #12 bus was made a lot more pleasant thanks to GO finally deciding to offer the express bus to the Falls which siphoned off much of the riff-raff.

34. The couple seated in the first two rows of the upper level spent much of the ride passing huge homemade muffins back and forth. Each seemed to take a bite or two, then pass them back across the aisle.

35. A luxurious motor home on the QEW had a “Roughing It” sticker on the back. And I suppose they think staying in a five-star hotel is also “roughing it.”

30 Jun

Visiting Queen’s Park on Kathleen Wynne Freedom Day

Observations and pictures from my voyage to and from Queen’s Park on the occasion of Kathleen Wynne Freedom Day:

1. Waiting for the bus at Fairview Mall watching everyone busy with their phones, I couldn’t help but reflect back upon a bygone era when cell phones were a luxury that only the big shots had.

2. A quintessential Canadian bus:

3. When I had last taken the bus 10 days ago, they were resurfacing large sections of North Service Road between Vineland and Beamsville, but when I went by yesterday, I noticed the work had already been completed. In the Old Country, such a project would have taken two summers.

4. The A & W in Grimsby had a sign outside promoting their new Cod Fish Burgers. As opposed to their Cod Beef Burgers?

5. At the Nash and Barton stop, I laughed when I saw several Falls-bound travelers flashing their HSR transfers as if that was going to do them any good on the GO bus. Tip: You need a Presto card for that.

6. As our bus was approaching the Burlington GO station, a Burlington Transit bus whose driver was wearing a white top with black polka dots passed by, marking the first time I’ve ever seen a driver on any transit system out of uniform. Casual Friday at Burlington Transit perhaps?

7. Only a short time after it had finally opened, the Tim Hortons at the Burlington GO station has apparently disappeared:

7a. If it, in fact, has gone under, it marks the second Tim Hortons location I’ve seen in this part of the world to have bit the dust, the other being at the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge. Contrary to popular belief, maybe a Tim Hortons franchise isn’t a license to print money after all.

8. If there’s anyone headed for Wrong Code, your bus is waiting at Burlington:

9. Spotted on the platform waiting for the Lakeshore West train was a guy busy on an IBM ThinkPad that he was delicately balancing against a wall and on his knee. Give it a rest!

10. The guy seated in the quad on the opposite side of the aisle at least had the decency to take off his shoes before putting his feet up on the seat in front of him. Unlike the guy I saw on the train on the way back.

11. The best seats in town:

12. Before heading to Queen’s Park, for some off-color humor, I took a stroll through the Church-Wellesley district, where seemingly everything is adorned in gay-themed rainbow colors.

Gay Pepsi.

Gay nurses.

Gay crosswalks.

Gay flags.

Toronto’s only gay-owned pharmacy.

Gay beer at a gay beer store.

Parking for gays only.

Gay funnel cake.

A gay bank.

And finally, a gay bum.

Enough already!

13. While walking through said neighborhood, I spotted a Muslim woman walking into an apartment just off Church. Hmmm. As I understand it, Islam isn’t exactly compatible with homosexuality. In fact, don’t Muslim countries hang gays?

14. Did you just assume the repair person’s gender?

15. I’ll keep an eye out for those flying procedures …

16. At Queen’s Park, I spent nearly two hours on the grounds mostly waiting for our new premier, The Honorable Doug Ford, to address the masses who had come from all across our great province to hear him speak and repeat his oath of office.

Save for one protester, the crowd was mostly tame. There were cheers when someone yelled “Trudeau Sucks” after the playing of O Canada, and seeing the scowls on the faces of the “journalists” from the fake news media was easily worth the fare in getting there.

I was squished in among a group of reformed ex-NDPers who had worked on Ford’s campaign, and several people before and after the ceremony remarked on my “Make Speech Free Again” hat, the same one Ford himself commented on when I saw him here in St. Catharines.

Although the common folk were kept at considerable distance, it was important to be there and I was glad to have represented St. Catharines on the important and historic occasion of Kathleen Wynne Freedom Day. It was representation we sure didn’t get from our local PC candidate, who did an outstanding job of deep-sixing a free ride to Queen’s Park by sitting on her behind. Honestly, I got the feeling that Doug Ford did more campaigning in St. Catharines than Sandie Bellows did. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

16a. Dear Andrew Scheer: When you come to St. Catharines today, in addition to raising funds and drumming up support, you need to seriously work on getting a credible candidate to run here for the upcoming federal election. Don’t be afraid of parachuting someone in. And please tell the local EDA that you will not approve the nomination of either Mat Siscoe or Sandie Bellows.

17. I think the cart is full …

18. Inside Eaton Center, I stopped at a Shoppers Drug Mart to pick up some badly needed liquid refreshment. The small size of the drink I chose was $2.79 and the large size was $1.99. Shrug.

19. Bikes chained to the scaffolding right next to the sign asking people not to chain bikes to the scaffolding.

20. On Bay Street, I spotted a guy hauling a loudspeaker on a two-wheeler with music blasting so loudly I could hear it from a block away. Why? Isn’t there enough noise and commotion in downtown Toronto?

21. While on the Lakeshore West train on the return trip, I listened as the guy in the quad in front of me was helping his buddy at the other end of the line interpret the directions on his GPS. Driving tip: If you’re lost on a busy freeway and can’t figure out what to do when your GPS tells you to bear right, for the love of Pete™, get off at the next exit and ask someone for help before you get yourself and/or others killed. Better yet, consider turning in your driver’s license.

22. Not everyone was as lucky as I was to get a seat on the Niagara-bound bus as GO chose the day before the long weekend not to offer an additional express bus to the Falls, the way they usually do for most of the summer. As a result, I was treated to several noisy, screaming children and someone who elected to forego the use of her headphones as she was listening to music.

Mixed in among all that, I listened as someone ran down Brantford and explained how he wanted to set up a blacksmithing business in St. Catharines and a boyfriend-girlfriend couple seated in front of me were having quite the spat. I heard so many F-bombs from them that, for a moment there, I thought I was back in the Old Country.

30 Jun

Ding-Dong, The Witch Is Gone

There was once a premier named Wynne
The way she ran the province was a sin

She ruled with an iron hand, ignoring every woman and man
And down our throats she shoved her radical leftist plan

Economic ruin and record debt are what she’ll be remembered for
It’s why Ontario voters showed her the door

Anyone who disliked her was homophobic, or so she would often say
A lame attempt to deflect the many slings and arrows which came her way

May Doug Ford’s tenure be long
Ding-dong, the witch is gone!

20 Jun

On the Bus to Hamilton Again

Observations and pictures from my second trip to Hamilton in as many weeks:

1. Parking fail at Fairview Mall:

2. On the #12 GO bus was a guy hauling heavy luggage who got off briefly before the bus departed to hug his honey across the street who had come to see him off.

Did I mention that he left his wallet full of credit cards and cash unattended on the seat?

Fear not for the guy, however, as it was still there when he got back, further proof that this is not the Old Country.

Meanwhile, as we made our way west along the QEW, once he had finished his Tim Hortons coffee, he cracked open a can of Red Bull. As if the coffee didn’t give him enough of a pick-me-up, the Red Bull undoubtedly finished the job. As they say, Red Bull gives you wings. Not that I know from personal experience.

3. Dear GO Transit: On the heels of the heat warning we were under the last couple of days, was it really necessary to have the heat on inside the bus?

4. I’m sure I was not alone in questioning the wisdom of the driver on the QEW near the 406 interchange who cut across three lanes of traffic, in one of which was a speeding double-decker GO bus.

5. LGBT activists can rest easier as the rainbow bench is now back at the Beamsville stop.

6. Is the “Happy Pride” reminder on GO buses really necessary?

7. I feel the pain of those on the uLinc bus that showed up at the Beamsville stop less than a minute after our GO bus left. Been there, done that.

8. I appreciate that HSR buses are air-conditioned, but first thing in the morning, it didn’t need to be cranked up full blast.

9. Seated across the aisle from me on the Barton bus was an older guy with the mother of all schnozzes.

10. The Barton bus is notorious for strollers and walkers, but this time I spotted a mother dragging her kid around on a leash.

11. Speaking of strollers and walkers, there was only one stroller on the trip in, but on the way back, there were three strollers and two walkers. One of those strollers on the return trip was being pushed by a woman with strawberry-red hair covered in tattoos from head to toe who had all sorts of pins and rings in her nose, lips and cheeks. No doubt, she was another low-income mother who has trouble making ends meet, but has plenty of money for tattoos and such.

12. I am amazed as to the quality of fabric and clothing they make these days that can be stretched so much without bursting at the seams. Case in point:

13. Walking the streets of downtown Hamilton, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was an environmental disaster on par with the Love Canal years earlier that has caused so many, well, issues with its inhabitants.

14. I actually spotted a cab driver outside the Hamilton GO Center who did not appear to be of Middle Eastern descent. No doubt he was a quota hire.

15. Just because you’re failing doesn’t mean it’s the system’s fault.

16. The Busy Bee Mart was certainly busy …

Too busy, in fact, to consult a dictionary before ordering their sign.

17. Did they just assume the workers’ gender?

18. A $5,000 fine for feeding pigeons? As an old university professor of mine would say, not bloody likely.

19. Spotted on Cannon Street was an aboriginal man carrying a beer tray. You and I would call it a laptop, one of much newer vintage than anything I have.

20. Inspirational message on the side of a pharmacy …

21. One of the many characters on James Street:

22. Anyone thinking of opening up a laundromat in downtown Hamilton need not bother as clean clothes are not exactly a top priority with most residents.

23. As I noted earlier regarding the quality of clothing, the benches in Gore Park are also made to the highest standards in order to withstand heavy loads. Case in point:

24. Spotted at Jackson Square was a guy wearing a T-shirt with the message “I’m going to hell in every religion” on it.

25. On the return trip, sprinkled among all those with strollers and walkers was a woman, or maybe a man or other made-up gender, with a Mohawk cut. By Barton bus standards, it didn’t even stand out too much since it wasn’t dyed some flashy color like purple or orange.