25 May

Random Thoughts – Advance Poll, Tattoos, IQ Test and More

1. Today, I stopped by the St. Catharines returning office to cast my ballot, marking my first time voting in an Ontario provincial election. Though there were no problems, it turned out to be a little different experience than what I was expecting.

I walked in and was shown to a desk, then after the clerk checked my voter card and photo ID and found me on the list of registered electors, she began filling out a long “Special Application Form” on legal-size paper that I had to sign attesting that I was a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older and that I lived at the address stated on my voter card.

Then she handed me a ballot. Not a standard ballot where you mark an ‘X’ next to the name of your chosen candidate. But one where I had to write in the name of the candidate. For reference, the names of the registered candidates were provided in the “voter screen,” but one could just as easily vote for Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear or Wile E. Coyote.

Those who have been calling for write-in ballots would no doubt be thrilled, but the whole process seemed, so, well, antiquated, for lack of a better term.

Moral of the story: It’s an advance poll. It’s not an advanced poll.

1a. As tempting as it was to vote for Duke Willis or the Libertarian candidate, I held my nose and voted for Sandie Bellows, as she has the best chance to unseat the ghost of Jim Bradley and hold off the media-enhanced threat of the Communist Party.

1b. There’s a good slogan for her campaign: Hold your nose and vote for Bellows.

2. Going through Welland earlier this week and seeing all the derelict homes with bums and assorted riff-raff roaming the streets, to say nothing of all the abandoned factories around town, it is not hard to figure out that poverty is the only thing on an upward trajectory there. Yet Wellanders do not seem to be short of cash to cover themselves in pretty little tattoos. It makes you wonder sometimes.

2a. It also makes you wonder why those same people keep voting for socialist parties whose policies have been primarily responsible for them being out of work and poor. A ballot can also be thought of as an IQ test, one that far too many people fail.

3. Though I continue to lament our lost spring, I like that temperatures have warmed up and that winter is now behind us. One unfortunate part of summer, however, is the amount of blubber on display. For the heavyweights out there, please consider dressing more modestly.

4. Dear Microsoft: I appreciate that you are on top of things and provide Windows users like me with the latest security patches. But please stop using those updates to shove unwanted Windows Store apps that I’ve uninstalled numerous times down my throat.

5. Did this company just assume the boss’s gender?

6. It doesn’t matter how many times you repeat it, it’s still wrong.

7. And you’re just supposed to know what URL to visit.

8. They probably have a good “macoroni” and cheese as well.

 

12 May

Retour à l’Outaouais

Highlights and lowlights from my third train trip in as many years to Ottawa, where I spent much of the time on the wrong side of the Rivière des Outaouais:

1. Watching the driver on the #12 GO bus shaking his leg all the way to Burlington reminded me of a slightly mentally challenged former colleague many years ago who used to do the same thing at his desk for hours on end. Thankfully, our driver did not exhibit any other tendencies that would lead me to question his stability.

2. At the Beamsville stop, the rainbow bench was still AWOL and the reward sign posted for its return was also gone, but there was a big, heaping pile of garbage in the bin that badly needed emptying.

3. If the shoes fit …

4. Someone walked through the Burlington station then boarded a Falls-bound bus with his unleashed dog following along. Since when is this allowed?

5. In the washroom at the Burlington station, rather than simply unzip his fly, one guy opted to pull his pants down to his knees before doing his business at the urinal. As a long-lost friend once said, “no visuals please.”

6. As we passed the Willowbook train yard on the Lakeshore West train, there was a sign that read, “Caution: Watch for trains.” Better to remove the sign and let the law of natural selection run its course, if you ask me.

7. While waiting at Union Station, I was accosted by someone looking for spare change for a coffee. After I declined to donate to his favorite charity, he turned to a nearby sucker who gave him a quarter.

8. Oatmeal was on the menu at The Bagel House, but it was only available during the week. I guess the designated oatmeal guy doesn’t work weekends. It is, after all, a complex dish that requires years of culinary training to prepare properly.

9. There was a flighty young woman running after a train whose boobs were flopping so hard that she undoubtedly had bruises all around her rib cage by the time she got to the platform. Tip of the day: Invest in a bra.

10. Seated nearby in the York Concourse was a guy with a big beer belly stretched out and breathing heavily. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought he was about to give birth.

11. Signage in Union Station is already being changed to reflect the new name of the former ACC:

12. Good to know that on Sunday, my train was indeed a Sunday departure:

13. Some kid with a hockey stick in hand was skating through the VIA concourse on roller skates. Maybe it’s just me, but it seemed like an odd place to look for a pickup game.

14. Call me ultra-picky, but I think it’s best to check the spelling before carving it in stone …

15. Among those boarding the Ottawa-bound train was someone who looked to be Kim Jong-un’s pudgy teenage son.

16. Aboard the VIA train, I recognized one of the service attendants I had on last year’s trip. What made him stand out was that he was pleasant. Because with VIA, it’s not an adventure, it’s a job.

17. Rolling through Oshawa, I spotted a cyclist riding on the left side of the white line despite having a wide bike lane. It reminded me of the times back in the Old Country when, while returning from Birds Hill Park along a very busy PTH 59, I would regularly see cyclists who preferred to go elbow-to-elbow with cars and big rigs speeding along at 60+ mph rather than use the paved shoulder that was just as wide if not wider than a car lane. No doubt those were the same yahoos who complained the loudest about not getting respect on the road.

18. Nearby in my car, three people paid for their “food” by credit card. What was noteworthy was that rather than employ some sort of electronic system, the service attendant had to rub the card against carbon paper with his thumb. Now that’s really old-fashioned. At least in the stores, they had a device with a swipe handle.

19. Among those paying with a credit card was a fat guy across the aisle who rang up a big $5 purchase for a Coke and bag of Doritos that he enjoyed thoroughly. Don’t people carry any cash these days? Especially when traveling.

20. Our car was pretty quiet except for a foursome of 20-somethings who, like, couldn’t open their, like, mouths, without, like, saying like. Like, give it a rest.

21. After the first pass, the second and subsequent food cart runs were done with lightning speed and any passengers looking to buy anything could be forgiven for blinking their eyes and missing the guy as he sped by. Once again, it’s glaringly obvious that VIA personnel care little about serving customers and trying to make a little extra money for their employer. All they care about is fulfilling the terms of their union contract to the letter and the faster they fulfilled that obligation, the better.

22. When they made a garbage run, I tossed my empty Tetra Pak into the black bag. That was apparently a major no-no as the service attendant angrily tore it out of the plastic bag I had wrapped it in, crushed it and tossed it into the white one his colleague behind him was holding. Well, excuuuuse me! No doubt, I’ll probably get a few points deducted off my VIA Préférence account for that egregious transgression.

22a. At least they were wearing gloves, unlike the case at a previous employer when they would come around and empty garbage cans with their bare hands. Once, they even fished out a bloody snot rag of mine out of the bin.

23. When going through Brockville, I spotted the Broadway Dance Academy. On Park Street.

24. On the platform at the Fallowfield station, a woman lit up while talking to her friend who had her two young kids in tow. How incredibly considerate.

25. Upon leaving the train station, I was aghast to see so many cabs waiting. If every single passenger on the train had taken a cab, I think there still would have been some left over waiting for a fare.

26. Dear City of Ottawa: Please assign someone the task of washing the windows in the pedestrian walkway over the 417 linking the train station to the ballpark and convention center.

27. En route to the Ottawa Train Yards Wal-Mart to pick up some food for the next few days, I was approached by a Caucasian woman in her late 40s. After first asking me if I spoke English, not a given in that part of the world on either side of the Rivière des Outaouais, she proceeded to give me a long sob story about how her sister was stranded at nearby St. Laurent Center with her newborn and wanted to know if I could give her bus fare. Which I declined to do.

Angry and grumbling, rather than go back to St. Laurent Center where her sister and the newborn allegedly were, she proceeded to follow me toward Wal-Mart, not bothering to hit up the next guy who passed by on the sidewalk. I kept a careful eye on her and when I turned off on a side street, she kept going.

I had to hand it to her, though, as it was a pretty creative line. These days, the beggars really are getting better at their craft. But if they devoted half as much energy into earning money as they did in trying to con people on on the street, they wouldn’t need to resort to such things.

28. Inside the Wal-Mart, there were so many disciples of Mohammed that I wondered if I was in the Ottawa Train Yards or the Tehran Train Yards.

29. Also inside the Wal-Mart, I spotted a fat woman with a tub of Haagen-Dazs in her cart. Cause and effect.

30. Shots of the Cancer Survivors Park taken on the way back to the hotel:

31. The hotel finally got the hint and stopped leaving copies of the National Post outside the door of every room each morning.

32. While eating breakfast on Monday morning, one of the staffers came by and was surprised that I was sitting in her usual spot where she stops for a break. Funny, I wasn’t aware it was reserved seating. For a moment, I thought I was at our photo club, where everyone seems to have an unofficial assigned seat.

33. Unlike the case last year, the STO buses I took on this trip were of modern vintage with automated stop announcements complete with an LED display near the front. My driver on Tuesday morning even said “merci” after I tapped my Presto card. History was indeed made on this trip.

34. Another one for the history books came when someone boarded at Rideau Center on Monday morning and began speaking to the driver in the Canadian language and again committed that heinous infraction before getting off at les Promenades station. No doubt, la Sûreté will soon be issuing warrants for their arrest.

35. Soon after getting off at Station de la Cité, I spotted a teenage girl headed for the nearby Cégep wearing a short skirt that barely covered her backside yet also wearing a thick fur-lined parka. An odd combination if I’ve ever seen one.

36. Clever little display outside a bike shop:

37. As I got closer to Boulevard Gréber, I got an awfully foul look from a heavy-set guy in his late 50s who passed me on the sidewalk. It is a look I would get again later in the day along the Lac Leamy trail from someone who did a severe double-take after looking at my “Make Speech Free Again” hat. It was probably the combination of the message and the fact that it was written in the Canadian language, something that could have gotten me tossed in the same jail cell as the aforementioned passenger and STO driver.

38. I heard a “rumeur” …

39. There’s nothing “routine” about a dish that looks like a cow with diarrhea unloaded on a plate of fries.

40. La Ville de Gatineau thinks it makes perfect sense to do street cleaning on a busy roadway during the Monday morning rush hour. I would wager that the majority of its residents disagree.

41. Near the A-50 interchange at Boulevard la Vérendrye, I spotted this orange chair on the ground. Perhaps it was left over from the $9.50 ice level seating at the Winnipeg Arena.

42. Walking down Rue du Barry, I was approached by a Jehovah’s Witness who handed me a pamphlet and said something in Quebecese. Yes, they have them all over the place. Even in Quebec.

43. Also on Rue du Barry, I saw someone on a mobility scooter eschewing the sidewalk and going on the road. Normally, I strongly disapprove of that practice as we spend oodles of money making ramps on sidewalks. But in this case, I couldn’t blame him given the deplorable condition of the sidewalk. Just as I noted last year, given how much money that country sucks out of Canada and the extent to which they tax themselves, what on Earth do they spend it on?

44. When I went to the washroom at les Promenades and again later at les Galeries de Hull, I had a surprisingly hard time deciphering the gender of the silhouettes. Just put the text in there and I’ll figure it out.

45. The level of courtesy on the Canadian side was certainly nothing to write home about, but it was much worse on the Quebec side. Several times on my travels, I stopped to let cars pass and not a single one waved to thank me. I even held the door open for someone at les Promenades and didn’t even get a grudging “merci” out of it. Even Toronto looks really good by comparison and it made me appreciate St. Catharines so much more.

46. A couple of shots at Station de la Gappe, one of the Rapibus stations I passed on my travels:

47. While stopped at this little park off Rue Jacques-Cartier where, oddly, a Canadian flag was flying, I saw an older woman walk across the road without looking, forcing a cyclist with the right of way to stop to avoid hitting her. Then two guys in scooters went by side-by-side, taking up both lanes on the two-way bike path. Once again, the lack of consideration was palpable.

48. Shots of a tour boat docked near the Pont Lady-Aberdeen that spans the Gatineau River:

49. A three-way stop sign in Quebec:

50. Scenes along the Lac Leamy trail:

51. At the very busy intersection of Boulevard du Casino and Boulevard de la Carrière, an older guy on a bike was going the wrong way and didn’t budge as a big rig was trying to make a difficult turn to avoid turning him into compost. Bienvenue au Québec!

52. As I’ve said before, the SPRM just keeps following me around:

53. Even in Quebecese, I can spot misspellings such as this “burreau”:

54. I shudder to think of how much I paid for this “art”:

55. Approaching the Macdonald-Cartier International Bridge, I noticed this sign instructing cyclists to walk their bikes across. It is a regulation I haven’t seen obeyed during any of my crossings of that bridge.

56. Though I remain satisfied with the hotel, I was unable to use the safety lock in the room and this thread on the carpet was there throughout my stay. Given that they only spend about three and a half seconds vacuuming each room, I suspect that it’s probably still there.

57. As I noticed last year, the sidewalk on Wellington seems to be a speedway for cyclists and anyone waiting for a bus at the busy stop right in front of the Parliament buildings needs to keep their head on a swivel.

58. On Tuesday morning, when someone got off the #33 STO bus I was on, he said “thank you” to the driver. There are times I wish I had that kind of nerve.

59. Some artwork on the grounds outside Cégep Gabrielle-Roy:

60. An NDP supporter who needs to work on his spray-painting skills:

61. Approaching Saint-Raymond from Cité-des-Jeunes, I started hearing a bunch of sirens, then I looked to my left and saw the billows of smoke coming from this car on fire:

62. In my return trip to les Galeries de Hull, I stopped into one store that sold books and novelties. All the books inside the store were in Quebecese and anyone wanting a book in the Canadian language was forced to go to a special section by the entrance, almost as if they didn’t want the rest of the store polluted with such vile material.

Just imagine if anyone tried such a thing on the Canadian side. I can just hear the cries from the perpetually aggrieved Quebecers who would complain bitterly about being stigmatized and excluded.

63. English training is allowed in Quebec?

64. Crossing Saint-Joseph at Rue Amherst after getting a walk sign, a cyclist coming the wrong way down Saint-Joseph blew off the red light and would have run into me if I did not stop. He didn’t apologize or as much as turn his head and instead kept going down the street. Bienvenue au Québec!

65. At the A-50 interchange at Boulevard des Allumettières, this bum was approaching cars stopped at the red light presumably looking for donations to his favorite charity:

66. Near Place du Centre was a man and a woman standing in the middle of the sidewalk busily chatting away. When I passed them for the second time, I made no effort to avoid the woman’s bag that she was swinging out. If you want to act like jerks, expect to be treated accordingly.

67. I noticed these cleverly designed bike racks outside Place du Centre, which are good for areas with limited space. Standing your bike up, you hook up your front wheel near the top and lock the frame to the pole.

68. Shot of Gatineau city hall:

69. On the Alexandra Bridge going back to Canada, the pathway was chock full of cyclists and joggers going on both sides of me. It’s much less congested on the other bridges and if I should make a return visit, I’ll make a point of avoiding it.

70. Shot of the Parliament buildings from the overlook on the Canadian side of the Alexandra Bridge:

71. While going through Byward Market, I spotted a “Diversity Barbershop.” As they say in Texas, El Paso. The last thing I want is a left-wing political lecture while getting my hair cut.

Also spotted in the area was an “Upward Dog Yoga Center.” Yoga for dogs?

72. Speaking of dogs, I saw very few of them in my travels on both sides of the border. That’s about the only good thing I can say about the area.

73. On the bus ride back to the hotel, one woman got on and asked the driver for some directions. Once satisfied she was headed in the right direction, rather than take a seat on the largely empty bus, she opted to stand right by the door and obstruct the narrow passageway. Many people getting on and off over the next half hour were forced to squeeze past her, including one who obviously had some problems with her leg, yet this jerk would not budge, even after the driver told her that her stop was not coming for quite a while.

Farther down Vanier, she then pulled out a piece of paper showing the driver where she needed to go. We were then made to wait while the driver called into dispatch for directions and then draw her a map pointing the way.

Look, I get being a tourist. But when I go to a different city, I do my homework. Just like she should have done. It’s not fair to jump on public transit and expect the driver to be your personal travel concierge. Next time, if you don’t know where you’re going, hail a cab.

74. While eating breakfast on Wednesday morning before leaving to catch the train, three guys in suits came into the dining room with stethoscopes around their necks. No, the food wasn’t so bad that they felt they might have needed them. They were just showing off.

75. Parking fail at the VIA station:

76. At the VIA station, it wasn’t until past 8:15 that they began allowing passengers to board for the 8:25 Toronto-bound train. So rushed was the process that people were still walking through the car and getting settled when the train took off. Note to VIA staff, try allowing for a little extra time instead of walking around chatting with yourselves.

77. At the back of the car was a group of young boys from Fern Hill School, a private school in Ottawa only about a block off the #9 bus that I’ve since become very familiar with.

78. Over the next four hours, I would learn a lot about the big-shot federal government employee in front of me who was traveling with her annoying and very restless daughter. Ms. Big Shot spent the first two hours reading and replying to emails regarding CCS policy documents and gaps and unclear points in legislation. She then made sure to ask for a receipt after ordering a sandwich and drink, no doubt so she could get me to cover the $9.75 cost.

Once we got past Kingston, she began to check real estate listings and did some searches as to where to live in Victoria. Her next target was a furniture store in France, where she had her eye on an easy chair for 100 euros.

While perusing furniture, her daughter was busy chomping on chips half a bag at a time, which sounded like she was crushing boulders, all while listening to music on her high-quality Bose headphones. Nothing but the best for the daughter of a government employee.

79. Across the aisle was a fat woman who ordered a ham croissant she hardly needed for $7.50 and was reading a book on how to present yourself on social media. As I would later learn, she was going to Toronto for five days for a convention.

80. I listened as Pierre, our service attendant, explained to another passenger that he had been with VIA for 12 years. He said that though they didn’t have a good reputation when he first started with them, today, they’ve got the best in the industry. Sorry, Pierre, you and your colleagues still have a lot of work to do.

Interestingly, he bore a striking resemblance to Dale Hunter, the ex-Quebec Nordique and current coach of the London Knights.

81. Nearby on the Burlington-bound Lakeshore West train was this salty looking dude hauling a couple of well-worn suitcases in a baby stroller:

Rather than take a seat, he was leaning against a pole, using a rolled-up sweater as a cushion. Later, the pole became too uncomfortable for him, so he went to lean up against a wall. Then he dug out and began eating some pistachios from a bag he got at 30% off, being at least considerate enough to pick up a shell that fell on the ground.

Before he got off at Port Credit, I noticed some brown stains on the back of his shorts as he was playing with his troublesome right ankle.

82. I know the sign at the bottom is meant to indicate hailing a cab, but it’s much too similar to a Nazi salute.

83. On the #12 GO bus back to St. Catharines, they had installed a new floor-to-ceiling luggage rack just behind the wheelchair seating on the first level. Given the amount of luggage I’ve seen on Falls-bound buses over the busy summer months, it was long overdue.

01 May

Garbage Day

Things I learned on garbage day around my neighborhood:

1. My neighbor has a preference for Gino’s Pizza, though others lean toward Domino’s and Little Caesars.

2. My neighbor bought a big Nerf toy for her young son. I’m sure I’ll be seeing the kid playing with it in the front yard soon.

3. Many were obviously spending a lot of quality time with their shredders recently. There were four full bags of shredded documents in front of one house down the street.

4. The house down the street that was flying his Canadian flag upside down finally figured out which way was up. Insert sarcastic applause here.

5. The traditional bucket from the Colonel even stands out in a garbage bag. I wonder if their advertising executives thought of that angle.

6. Farther away, someone has a serious Coke addiction.

7. A block away from Mr. Coke was someone who just bought a chandelier with 636 crystal beads. Trust me, when it starts accumulating dust and spider webs, you’ll be sorry.

8. Spotted near a garbage pile was a box top from a Tops-brand product. Shopping across the river, I see.

9. The Quali-Cat litter box seems to be popular.

21 Apr

Across the River Again

Pictures and observations from my 42nd two-wheeled visit to the Great State of New York:

1. As I was heading south along the canal trail this morning, the bridges at Carlton, Queenston and Glendale were all up, with the Homer Bridge at Queenston up long before the approaching ship even came into view. I respect the Seaway and what it means to our region, but they need to be ordered to be a better neighbor. Seconds count in an emergency situation and one of these days, it’s going to cost someone their life, if such a tragedy hasn’t happened already.

2. Going up the escarpment at Taylor Road, I thought I heard an ice cream truck behind me, only to find out it was a car with its muffler pipe dragging on the ground.

3. Turning off Mountain Road to the trail that connects to Stanley Avenue, I spotted this backpack next to the garbage can with a number of its owner’s possessions inside.

3a. The fact that it was still there on my return trip with those same possessions visible from the outside is further proof as to how far away I am from the SPRM.

4. What’s the big deal about having certified vehicles? Even I, as a non-driver, can certify that you have a vehicle.

5. At U.S. Customs, I was served by the same officer I had in December who was so taken aback that I had a NEXUS card.

5a. Given the number of times I’ve gone over the river on two wheels, I’m surprised it’s the first time I’ve recognized an officer from a past crossing.

6. The new Hyatt Place on Rainbow Boulevard. It wasn’t that long ago that they were driving piles and now it looks nearly ready to open. Once again, on both sides of the river in this part of the world, when shovels hit the ground, work gets done quickly, unlike the case in the SPRM.

7. The former Days Inn on 1st Street is now the Wyndham Garden Hotel. I’ve never been inside the Days Inn, but from the outside, it seemed like a bit of a dive, so for their sake, I hope they did more than change the name.

7a. If you haven’t been over the river recently, there are a couple of new hotels not far from the falls. They’ve still got a long way to go to catch up with their Canadian neighbors, but they seem to be figuring out that there are benefits to keeping American tourists on the U.S. side.

8. For the benefit of anyone looking to take the #40 bus to Buffalo, a shot of the Portage Road Transportation Center, the route’s northern terminus, one block north of the Tops. Or “Tahps,” as many on that side of the river say.

9. Parking fail:

9a. If you’re asking yourself what the problem is, that’s a Metro bus stop.

10. Off Porter Road is this graveyard for end-of-life Niagara Falls Police Department vehicles:

10a. I wonder if they were certified vehicles?

11. There was a serious traffic jam at the Tim Hortons on Military Road complete with horns honking as cars were trying to get into the drive-thru from two different directions.

12. While inside said Tim Hortons, a supervisor who looked like he had celebrated his 18th birthday only a few months ago was on his break. Most of the clerks behind the counter, however, looked like they had celebrated their 18th birthday only a few weeks ago. Which probably explains the reason for his “promotion.”

13. The Big K, formerly K-Mart, on Military Road. Last of a dying breed.

14. A communist casino?

15. Here, I suspect students, among other things, learn how to sell their product or service to prospective customers in order to earn money. If this was the SPRM, students would learn techniques for bleeding money out of the government.

16. Apple juice?

17. Scenes along the newly refurbished Shoreline Trail connecting LaSalle Waterfront Park to Niagara Falls State Park:

18. Shots from Niagara Falls State Park, including some from the observation deck, which was free today. Normally, there’s a $1 charge. That’s a U.S. dollar, not a Canadian dollarette.

19. Once again, before heading back to Canada, I paid my bridge toll with nickels and dimes, more of the latter on account of the massive increase from 50 cents to a whole buck. No doubt, they start playing a certain Nana Mouskouri tune when they see me coming:

20. Someone still needs to explain to me why I, as a Canadian citizen who has lived his entire life in Canada, have to wait 45 minutes in line at customs, while these so-called “refugees” get to walk across the border and have the RCMP act as bellboys.

21. There’s never a good time to have car trouble, but a pair of travelerettes from New York got an especially big dose of misfortune when smoke started pouring out of their engine while in line at Canadian customs.

20 Apr

Three Days on the Road

Observations from a busy three days on the road earlier this week:

1. The rainbow-colored bench at the Beamsville stop is again AWOL and someone isn’t too happy about it. Posted inside the new shelter is a sign “Wanted: Safe return of rainbow bench. Reward.” I’ll say this for the LGBT community, they are determined.

2. Also spotted at Beamsville was a truck from Industrial Commercial Environmental with the big letters ICE plastered on the side. Taking that truck over the river would undoubtedly send illegals scattering like rats.

3. Facing the QEW in Stoney Creek is an office for Manpower, a company that obviously has not fully embraced gender inclusivity.

4. Call it a hunch, but I get the feeling this student driver still has some learning to do:

5. The Tim Hortons at the Burlington GO station is now officially open, capping off an epic five-year construction cycle that had to have involved Manitoba contractors.

6. Spotted on the UP Express train to Pearson was the Toronto Equine Hospital. Couldn’t they just call it a horsepital?

7. On the Lakeshore West train was a new automated announcement, “Friendly reminder: Keep your feet off the seats. The person sitting there after you will appreciate it.”

8. Parking fail:

9. Seated across the aisle from me on Tuesday’s bus ride to Burlington was a heavyweight who was badly hooked on his smokes. Soon after taking his seat, his snoring was loud enough to wake up the dead, but he managed to wake up in enough time to crack open a Pepsi before his stop at Stoney Creek, where he again lit up within seconds of his feet hitting the pavement.

10. The sign at the Dixie Mall in Mississauga pointing hungry customers away from the food court:

11. Proficiency in the English language is obviously not a requirement for anyone working at the Tim Hortons in Markham where I had my lunch. I had an easier time understanding the clerk at the Subway in Gatineau and I’m anything but fluent in Quebecese.

12. The Kennedy Square mall in Brampton had a distinct odor that suggested it was an exterminator’s preferred client. Maybe even his only client.

13. But domestic objects are OK.

14. It cause me inconvenience none …

15. And so is you …

16. Dress “royaley” …

17. Especially on Tuesday, I lost count of the number of trucks I saw from the SPRM. The most popular carrier was Bison Transport, whose offices were only a ten-minute bike ride away from my last house there.

18. Inside the King City ONRoute. Sure beats those Manitoba rest areas that have nothing more than a rickety old outhouse.

19. At the snow-covered Barrie waterfront:

20. As Yosemite Sam once said, ya better say your prayers, ya flea-bitten varmint … I’m-a-gonna blow ya to smithereenies!

21. This reminds me of the burrito place I spotted in Toronto’s East Chinatown recently …

22. At the Port of Collingwood:

23. It’s nice to know they have a special theater for the LGBT community in Collingwood …

24. A tribute to Shania’s twin?

25. View from the basilica in downtown Guelph:

26. In Elmira, I found Dan Snyder’s grave and got a shot of the Woolwich Memorial Center, which houses the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena. Both shots will be used in a future book on the history of the Atlanta Thrashers, the team that, as a former Manitoba taxpayer, I was forced to purchase for Mark Chipman.

 

09 Apr

IceDogs Road Trip to Hamilton

Observations, pictures and even some video from Saturday’s road trip to Hamilton as the Niagara IceDogs took on the Hamilton Bulldogs in Game 2 of their OHL Eastern Conference Semifinal series:

1. In order to secure my place on the bus, I pedalled down to the IceDogs office first thing on Tuesday morning, only to have to wait for Brianne, because only she can handle the road trips. Just like only Matt can handle the complex task of printing the date on a media pass for when a customer like me wants to bring his DSLR camera to the game. For such a small office, things seem to be a little too territorial around there.

1a. While waiting for Brianne, I listened as Nino, other staffer, processed a phone order for tickets with the customer’s credit card they had on file. Yet when I tried to pay for the road trip to Peterborough last year with a credit card they also had on file, Brianne said she had to see the card and forced me to make a special trip to the Meridian Center. What gives?

1b. Also while waiting, someone came in looking for tickets. As she explained that she was going to be late for work because she had to make the extra stop, I said, “Get Bones to write you a permission slip.”

1c. When she came in, Brianne still recognized me even though it had been more than five months since the Meridian Center last saw my shadow. I know this is a small town, but I was mildly surprised given the number of people she must deal with on a daily basis.

2. Not that downtown St. Catharines is anything like the danger zone that downtown Winnipeg is, but I was still pleased that the buses were leaving from Fairview Mall instead of the Jack or the Meridian Center as they have in past road trips.

2a. For those keeping score, this was my eighth IceDogs road trip over the past four seasons.

3. There were five full busloads of fans and in order to keep it “affordable,” they used school buses instead of regular tour buses. As a result, the cost was only $25 – $18 for the ticket and $7 for the transportation. As I would find out, you get what you pay for.

4. Despite getting there 20 minutes before our scheduled departure time, I was among the last to arrive. As I’ve long since discovered, people here are notorious early birds.

5. Seated in my immediate vicinity were several teenage drunkettes who joined many others in cracking open their favorite beverage as soon as we hit the road.

As one of them said, the “no food or drink” sign only applies Monday to Friday.

6. After getting off the lap of her friend seated next to me, one of the drunkettes decided she would rather sit on the floor than take the last available seat near the back of the bus. Then she complained that she was feeling seasick as we were going over the Burlington Skyway. Being on the floor of a rickety old school bus rolling along at 60+ mph while you’re slightly inebriated will do it every time.

7. Following a short, but annoying ride being forced to listen to the immature ramblings of said teenagers, the driver let us off at the York Boulevard entrance, where two arena staffers opened the door for us.

There were no bag searches, no one got frisked, no wands and no free rectal exam from rude rent-a-cops. Just two friendly guys who scanned our tickets and said “Enjoy the game, eh.” The way it ought to be. All while our mayor, instead of holding their feet to the fire for not cleaning the place properly, wants to turn over an extra $11,000 to SMG to install metal detectors at the Meridian Center.

8. Shots around the concourse at the FirstOntario Center, formerly known as the Copps Coliseum:

9. Circling the concourse, I was appalled at the concession prices. They wanted $5.25 for a hot dog, $8 for a footlong, $10 for chicken fingers and fries, $6 for popcorn, $5 for a chocolate bar, $5 for a canned drink and $2.50 for coffee. At Pizza Pizza, a slice of pizza was $5.25, while a whole pizza was $26. For those so inclined, the cheapest beer was $9.75 and wine was $12.50.

It was no different at their souvenir store, where jerseys were $130 and caps were $30, each even more than the exorbitant prices the IceDogs charge. On the surface, the prices may not seem that unusually high except for the fact that this is junior hockey, which has a substantially lower price point than the NHL.

10. The Budweiser King Club, where you could sit in a lounge and watch a band perform:

11. I spotted this gentleman who had a jersey with the name of the IceDogs’ mascot on it. For the record, the Bulldogs’ mascot is called Bruiser and was a cheap knock-off of Bones, who is truly the best mascot of any team I’ve seen in any sport at any level.

12. Like the ticket scanners, the ushers were very friendly and helpful to those who needed their services. But for those of us who didn’t, they stood to the side, let people pass freely and didn’t feel the need to run after you if you walked past them or, even worse, dared to stop and look at your ticket to make sure you were in the right place. Whereas the IceDogs have the best mascot in sports, they have the worst ushers.

13. Scenes around the stands. As is standard operating procedure, the upper deck at this NHL-size arena is closed and covered with a black curtain. As the Bulldogs’ owner admitted in print recently, having an abnormally large facility for junior hockey is the reason this year’s Memorial Cup will be held in the capital of the Farmers’ Republic of Saskatchewan instead of in Hamilton.

13a. Did you catch that guy with a backpack? Try getting that past the rent-a-cops at the Meridian Center.

14. While roaming the stands taking pictures, finding a clean seat to sit in was surprisingly difficult. One seat had gum stuck to it and several others had some sort of dried liquid on them.

15. Some people from one of the buses watching their heroes during the warmup. For those wondering, the IceDogs wear those special Meridian Center jerseys for the warmup both at home and on the road.

16. Performing the national anthem was some little girl and kudos to the crowd for drowning out that horrible abomination in the line the Liberals changed.

16a. Dear Andrew Scheer: I know there will be a lot on your plate, but please make restoring the old wording of our national anthem a top priority of your new government in 2019. I’m sick of being embarrassed in the eyes of the world. Sometimes I feel like putting a bag over my head with “Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote Liberal” written on it.

17. Even though it wasn’t a home game, having developed a familiarity and fondness of sorts for Hamilton, I didn’t feel like it was a road game either.

18. The view I had from my seat:

19. The IceDogs’ faithful greeting their heroes before the start of the game:

20. Did you remember that the Hamilton Bulldogs were previously the Belleville Bulls, the visiting team for the historic home opener at the Meridian Center?

21. As they do at the Meridian Center, the IceDogs contingent reacted with a collective “Who Cares?” to the announcement of Hamilton’s first goal early in the first period. One Hamilton fan seated at ice level answered with a sign “We Do.”

22. After the visitors tied the score later in the first period, the IceDogs fans yelled “Yes! Yes! Yes!”, which appears to be a special playoff tradition having its roots in the world of wrestling:

So naturally, the Hamilton fans shouted back, “No! No! No!”

23. Despite the relatively short length of time since Hamilton has been back in the OHL, there is clearly a healthy and growing rivalry between the fans.

24. I find it odd how vocal IceDogs fans are on the road, yet at home, the place is so quiet that many call their home rink the Meditation Center.

25. I noticed this small contingent of fans known as the “Golden City Brigade” on its feet waving flags all night long. Dedication. Or something.

26. Hamilton’s Brandon Saigeon’s surname is pronounced “say-john” and is apparently not connected with the capital of the former South Vietnam currently known as Ho Chi Minh City.

27. Late in the first period, IceDogs defenseman Elijah Roberts, last seen at the Meridian Center trying to imitate Serge Savard’s spinerama move, first ran into an official when coming out of his own end, then lost the puck after colliding with a teammate, resulting in a good scoring opportunity for Hamilton. To say the least, that’s no way to impress scouts. Focus on the fundamentals, kid.

28. While doing my business in the washroom during the first intermission, I noticed that the tops of the urinals seem to be favorite places to hold beer cans and phones. The beer cans are especially ironic since the beer was what likely brought their owners there in the first place. As I’ve heard it said, you don’t buy beer, you just rent it.

28a. I still appreciate the fact that most people were washing their hands after answering the call of nature. Once again, this is not the SPRM.

29. Also during the first intermission, someone did a serious double-take after spotting my “Make Speech Free Again” hat.

30. Sadly, the same teenage drunkettes who were sitting next to me on the bus were also seated next to me during the game. After each of them polished off three beers, they returned after the first intermission with “food” to complete their gastronomic misadventures, to say nothing of their financial illiteracy.

One of them brought back a tray of nachos with cheese-colored melted plastic, an old Winnipeg Arena classic that set her back $6.50. The drunkette to my immediate right had an order of ketchup with some fries that she spent most of the period with.

31. Once again, as I have come to expect from people in this part of the world, everyone who passed by my seat was very courteous and said “thank you” each time.

32. The second intermission promotion was “Hungry Hungry Hippos” where four teams of two crawled around on the ice trying to scoop up as many pucks as they could.

The pair in the bottom left hand corner was the eventual winner and for their efforts, took home passes to the NHL Hall of Political Correctness.

33. Early in the third period, the IceDogs tied the score at 2-2 on a power play as a result of Hamilton’s second too many men on the ice penalty of the game. Even at this level, that shouldn’t happen once in a game, let alone twice.

34. In the final minute of regulation time, the IceDogs fans began the “cheeseburger” chant. For those who are unaware, when at home, if the IceDogs score in the final minute of the third period, everyone in attendance gets a free cheeseburger courtesy of Wendy’s.

35. On the bus after the overtime loss, fans were griping about the officials, but when your team gets outshot 50-23, it’s not the officials fault that they lost. It was only Stephen Dhillon’s heroic efforts that kept the game close.

35a. I continue to find it interesting how understanding fans are about the mistakes the players make, yet that same understanding never applies to the officials, who are also in the developmental stages of their careers.

36. Hamilton has not been drawing well, but on that night, they had 6,021 in attendance. In addition, the 50/50 winner took home $6,345.

37. Waiting on the bus after the game, many Hamilton fans were taunting us with chants of “Let’s go Bulldogs!” and “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

38. There were no fights during the game, but one did break out at the Salvation Army Booth Center across the street, prompting someone to say, “Let’s get out of this cesspool.” Trust me, you don’t know what a cesspool is until you’ve spent time in the degenerate capital of the SPRM.

39. As I have come to expect in this part of the world, each of us thanked the driver as we disembarked at Fairview Mall. Once again, this is not the SPRM.

05 Apr

Another Doug Ford Rally in St. Catharines

A few takeaways from Doug Ford’s second appearance in St. Catharines in recent weeks:

1. The fact that Ford came back so soon after his last rally here might very well be an indication that the party is going to put on a major push to eject the stubborn Jim Bradley from office. Now all we need is a candidate …

2. Seated in front of me was someone who couldn’t stop gushing about Sandie Bellows, the only one who has stepped forward to seek the nomination here. I only wish I shared his enthusiasm for our prospective new MPP. If she is indeed successful in garnering the nomination, I will probably vote for her, though very reluctantly.

3. Once again, my “Make Speech Free Again” hat drew plenty of raves, including from someone who instantly recognized it as coming from Gab. Good news is travelling fast.

4. It was good to see a full house in double the size of the room he was speaking in last time.

5. I took note that once again, I didn’t have to pass through any security to get up close and personal with the next premier of Ontario, but I do need a free rectal exam for the privilege of attending a junior hockey game. Some people think that makes sense. I am not one of them.

6. Chuck McShane, the PC candidate in Niagara Falls, came around introducing himself to many in the crowd including yours truly. He impressed me as the kind of person who would have been better suited sitting next to Cliff and Norm in the Cheers bar discussing whether or not Wile E. Coyote is the second coming of the Antichrist.

7. During his speech, Ford mentioned that Wynne has stopped listening to the grassroots. Funny, but that’s exactly what happened with Patrick Brown. Remember him?

01 Apr

Random Thoughts – Rochester, Sean Avery’s Book, Endless Winter and More

1. Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Rochester, GSNY and came away very impressed. For those of you who aren’t friends of mine on Facebook, check my album for a small sampling of the 700+ pictures I took on the day, many of which will be ending up on my road photos site.

Rochester reminded me very much of Minneapolis, a city I have a lingering fondness for, and those of you who have been there might also get that impression from seeing the pictures. Parking was oddly difficult there and once we found a parking garage that was not full, we had to drive up to the sixth level to find an empty space. I never knew downtown Rochester was such a hot spot.

Interestingly, though out-of-state plates are commonplace around Niagara Falls and Buffalo, I only spotted three such plates on the day and my tour guide’s van was the only one I saw from Ontario.

While there, I noticed Amtrak trains running in opposite directions and upon further investigation, I learned that the Maple Leaf line stops at both St. Catharines and Rochester as part of a daily run between the Center of the Universe and New York City. I have a feeling it is a train I might be on at some point in the future.

2. I recently finished reading Offside, a book written by Sean Avery, one of the NHL’s most obnoxious agitators of all time. Though there was no one better at what he did, he is a much better storyteller than a hockey player and I mean that very much as a professional compliment. But if you can read his book and still call yourself a fan of the NHL, let’s just say you’re a lot more tolerant of misbehaving players than I am. Long gone are the days when the players were just regular guys.

2a. I don’t fault Avery for this, but his publisher should be seriously embarrassed by the number of spelling errors the editors missed in that book.

3. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick of the winter that won’t end. And yes, I have become acclimatized to my new home. This would be a heat wave by Old Country standards, but I’m not in the Old Country anymore, something I remain very grateful for.

4. Speaking of the Old Country, tomorrow, Easter Monday, is a special day there that’s informally known as G.E.M. – Government Employees Monday. You see, that’s a day off for the government and public sector workers, a group that represents about 98% of the workforce in Manitoba. Here, only the privileged few get the day off, but there, it’s seriously embarrassing for those who have to suffer the indignity of going to work that day.

5. My “Make Speech Free Again” hat continues to draw positive attention on both sides of the river wherever I wear it, including from the future premier of Ontario. You can get yours at https://shop.gab.ai.

6. Does anyone miss Patrick Brown?

7. On the writing front, my first mystery entitled The Protector is currently with my editor. Here is the synopsis that I’ve got in mind for the back cover:

He had no choice. It had to be done.

Still, it grated on him as he sped down the dark, deserted highway back to the city. He didn’t want it to come to this. Lord knows he tried everything he could to avoid it.

They had become so close. Like brother and sister. Mentor to pupil.

He had done so much to help her over the years. He had practically become part of the family. She had hit rock bottom more than once and it was only his loving care and support that kept her going. But in the end, she had become another traitor to him. This was the thanks he got for all he had done for her and her daughter. Even at this point, with all the evidence he had, he still had a hard time believing she could turn on him this way. But there was no doubt. He had seen the proof with his own failing eyes.

Inspector Diane Wilson is summoned to lead a team to help locate a vulnerable senior who had gone missing. It soon turns into a murder case when her nearly unrecognizable body is found washed ashore along the sandy beaches of Lake Winnipeg in the sleepy cottage town of Gimli, Manitoba. As she digs deeper, she butts heads with a devious and diabolical adversary who targets anyone who stands in his way.

While my editor works on the mystery, I’m making some serious headway on my next book, a memoir of my fan experiences with the IceDogs tentatively entitled Tales from the Dog Pound: Chronicling the junior hockey fan experience. Some will like it. Others won’t. Among those in the latter category will be the IceDogs ushers, Meridian Center management and Brendan Perlini’s family.

19 Mar

Return to the Universe’s Center – East Chinatown, Riverdale Farm

Pictures and observations from my most recent tour of the universe’s center:

0. Foremost among the reasons for my visit yesterday was the late Carli Ward’s 36th birthday. Given how she loved trains and taking pictures, it was a perfect way to commemorate the occasion.

1. Not surprisingly, given that it was a Sunday, I pretty much had the bus to myself on the way to Burlington. Though only five of us got on in St. Catharines, two got on at the Beamsville stop, which is two more than the number that normally board there, even during the week. More unusual was that, on the way back, a woman asked the driver if he was stopping at Beamsville. I suppose it’s becoming a case of build it and they will come.

2. Believe it or not, they actually put up a shelter at Nash and Barton. With a bench inside, no less. Heavens to Murgatroyd, what’s this world coming to?

2a. Could an official park and ride at Fairview Mall be next? Nah.

3. In the shelter on Barton Street was an ad promoting the final month of a frog display at the Royal Botanical Gardens, saying it was a “ribbeting experience.” That’s something I would have been proud to come up with.

4. Even more rare than a passenger boarding at Beamsville was someone requesting a stop at Fairview Street and Maple Avenue. When the passenger wasn’t waiting by the door when the driver pulled up to the curb, for some reason he got all huffy and yelled out “Who’s getting off?” as the woman was coming down the stairs, something he should have been able to see from the camera. Who peed in his Corn Flakes?

5. If you were the driver of an SUV with the license plate BSAX 672, consider yourself very fortunate that you didn’t end up with a double-decker GO bus up your backside. Make a note to yourself: royally cutting off a speeding bus is not a terribly good idea.

6. Not only is the new Burlington GO station fully functional, but there’s even a Tim Hortons there now.

Though it wasn’t open in the morning nor in the afternoon on the way back, it did appear to at least be ready to open.

7. Had there been someone in a wheelchair looking to board the train at Burlington, he or she would have been out of luck as the train stopped at a point where neither door of the designated accessibility coach opened on the ramp.

8. Inside the car I was in was an ad from Air Transat promoting flights to London. With the egregious human rights abuses taking place in the UK where its fascist government is jailing its own citizens for speaking out against the invasion of their country by Middle Eastern migrants, why on Earth would anyone want to go there? Not to mention the fact that anyone with political leanings to the right of Lenin wouldn’t even be allowed in the country.

8a. Once again, can we please stop calling these migrants “refugees”? As I’ve heard it said, if you come here demanding the same culture and ideology you “fled” from, you’re not a refugee.

9. The young punk who got on at Bronte and snoozed most of the way to Union obviously hadn’t bathed or showered in the last couple of weeks. The pungent odor was camouflaged somewhat by the aromatic bag someone brought on board at Clarkson. I’m not sure which one was worse.

10. On the subway, I noticed an ad from an immigration lawyer offering help with getting a visa. These days, why bother going through the legal channels when you can just walk across the border and have the government bend over backwards to shower you with all sorts of free benefits and services those of us who were born here can’t get?

11. On the bus I took after getting off at the College station, I was surprised that the rear doors did not open automatically the way they do on most buses I’ve seen around this part of the world. But at least they did open without a fight, unlike the case in the Old Country.

12. Scenes around East Chinatown. Not to be confused with the regular Chinatown on Spadina.

13. While taking pictures around the area, one guy angrily asked me “You’re not pointing that at me are you?” It’s a camera, not a gun.

14. To say the least, the sight of a Caucasian in this neighborhood stands out like a sore thumb and one that isn’t entirely welcome among the locals.

15. Graffiti, more euphemistically referred to as “street art,” in and around the area:

16. Take a load off:

17. Did you ever think we would need signs like this? What a time to be alive.

18. Noodles must be in short supply, since you only get one with certain dishes. Same with dumplings apparently.

19. If I was looking for a burrito, why would I come to Chinatown?

20. Free deliver for all your furnitures …

21. For those of you with more than one household …

22. It’s somehow fitting to have Jack Layton Way running alongside an old jail, since that’s where all of his political opponents would have ended up had Mr. Chow ever become prime minister.

23. On the way to nearby Riverdale Farm, I couldn’t help but notice this attention-starved joggerette who decided to run on a busy road, eschewing the dedicated trail only a few steps away that follows the Don River. But if she was on the trail, she wouldn’t be noticed. And that’s the whole point with people like this.

24. The poultry at Riverdale Farm weren’t terribly eager to pose for pictures, but I did manage to get a few shots of them, including this one:

25. Also spotted at Riverdale Farm was a kid with a Chipman toque. Oh, if he only knew …

26. I don’t mean to be disrespectful of family or religious traditions, but these red lanterns had the look of those Budweiser goal lights that go off when your favorite team scores. Perhaps here, they light up when someone in the family dies.

27. An interesting inscription on a marker at Necropolis Cemetery …

28. This restaurant wasn’t looking for braves. They wanted a “chief” …

29. Some serious dish-heads in this block. From past experience, the one on the far right and the middle one in on the far left is getting Bell, the two on the middle right are getting Shaw Direct and the others are getting DirecTV, otherwise known as “Dave.”

30. On the street, I passed by a small group of retired postal workers protesting against finance minister Bill Morneau’s proposed Bill C-27. I admit to being unaware of the specifics, but Morneau isn’t the problem. His boss is. And the legion of ignorant Canadians who voted for him.

31. Scenes along Dundas Street:

32. At Yonge-Dundas Square:

33. Spotted on Yonge Street was a woman wearing a skirt split wide open right at the crotch. To borrow a line from a long-lost friend, no visuals please.

34. This restaurant appeared to be awfully popular:

35. Seated nearby at Union Station was a guy shaking his leg for no apparent reason. Kind of like a slightly mentally challenged former colleague of mine used to do while blankly staring at the screen trying to wrap his brain around a relatively simple task.

36. Also seated nearby was a flighty woman with dark red hair down to her waist and wearing a bright, florescent red jacket that screamed “I want attention!”

37. With all the noise and commotion going on, the most important qualification for anyone working at the McDonald’s in Union Station is having a loud, booming voice.

38. The couple seated across the aisle from me on the bus headed back to St. Catharines was all giddy over seeing the Burlington IKEA store. Geez, it’s not that big of a deal. There are four of them in the GTA and a pick-up and order point in St. Catharines.

39. I listened as one Falls-bound woman with an army of kids in tow was giving telephone support for an employee scheduling application. Apparently the entire bus needed to know that “Chicana” will be working a full shift and won’t be getting off until 4:30, replacing “Zara.” Poor Kristen won’t be working her shift because she fell down some stairs and someone named Kristana clocked out at 9:36 the other day despite having left at 9:00. Shame, shame.

40. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.

13 Mar

Thoughts on the Ontario PC Leadership

Thoughts on the recently concluded Ontario PC leadership race:

1. Congratulations to our new leader and future premier Doug Ford, who I saw and heard speak here in St. Catharines at the Holiday Inn on Thursday evening as he was wrapping up his campaign tour. The more I’ve seen of him, the more I like and I certainly don’t regret marking him as #1 on my ballot. As he said, come June, the party’s over with the taxpayers’ money.

1a. When shaking my hand as he was making his way up to the podium, Ford noticed and liked my new “Make Speech Free Again” cap, which I recently acquired from the Gab store.

1b. I now have more followers on Gab than I do on the dying bird, a platform I’ve been on for several years longer.

2. Though I did not mark her as #1, I was very impressed by Tanya Granic Allen and I suspect she has a bright future ahead of her under a future government led by Ford.

3. Despite having the big name, being endorsed by so many federal and provincial caucus members and getting a disproportionate amount of favorable media coverage, Caroline Mulroney’s showing can only be described as a major flop, given that she barely finished ahead of Granic Allen, a virtual unknown before the start of the campaign. Not only did she show poorly overall, but she didn’t even win in the riding she’ll be running in.

4. To her credit, Mulroney was out on knocking on doors and rallying under the new leader the next day after her crushing defeat, which is more than I can say for Christine Elliott. The presumed frontrunner who expected to win, Elliott kept preaching unity as the campaign heated up in the final days leading up to the voting deadline, but after suffering her third defeat in as many tries at the leadership, she instead went home and sulked. Just like she did when she lost to Patrick Brown in 2015. Once she was finished moping, she managed to pull herself together enough to offer her public support for Ford, but her childish, almost Hillary-like behavior made me even more pleased that Ford won.

5. Ford’s victory certainly represents a stinging rejection of Patrick Brown’s Liberal-lite policies. As I’ve heard it said, there’s no point in having a conservative party if they’re not conservative.

6. It is notable that more votes were cast in Kathleen Wynne’s riding of Don Valley West than in any other in the province. As Brown once said, there are no safe Liberal seats.

7. Having secured a good leader, St. Catharines needs a candidate to run against the ghost of Jim Bradley. One who is a real conservative and not a small-l liberal. As Ford said, we don’t need liberals of a different banner. None of the current crop of so-called conservative councilors who seemingly can’t find the intestinal fortitude to say no to our ultra-Liberal mayor’s virtue signaling need apply.

8. With all the voting taking place online, why on Earth did it take so long for the results to be tabulated? Heck, I could have put together a database and written a few queries and reports from scratch in the time it took them to comb through the data.