You want to do what?

This coming Monday, October 24, Ontario will be holding civic elections. I don’t live in Toronto, but rather in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and get the Toronto newscasts.

One of the candidates for mayor of Toronto has made several proposals/promises for when or if he is elected. Two of his ideas regarding transportation stand out to me for the irrationality of them.

First, a bit of background: most of my working life was spent in the transportation industry and I hold a professional degree in transportation management. I’ve worked in motor transport, both local and transcontinental; rail forwarding; air forwarding as well as import and export by sea. So I have a fair idea what I’m talking about. Now, on to these two ideas.

Toronto is in the process of building a crosstown light rail line located near the northern edge of what is considered midtown. A good portion of this line will be tunnelled so would be unaffected by weather and traffic. The rest will be in a dedicated rail corridor. This man’s suggestion is to replace this line with buses using dedicated bus lanes as, according to him, they will be just as fast as the light rail. If you’ve spent any time on the streets of a major city even if as a passenger, you know that traffic and weather have great effects on the flow of traffic. The area in which I live has dedicated bus lanes along the major east/west corridor. For straight traffic, yes, the bus is faster when using the bus lanes. As long as there are no intersections where vehicles want to turn right, or enter traffic from side streets or plazas. In those cases, they aren’t faster. A collision or construction along the street also has a detrimental affect on the speed of the bus. I’m avoiding talking about weather delays because I absolutely detest winter, but snow does a marvellous job of snarling traffic. So no, Mr Candidate, the bus won’t be faster.

His other idea with which I take exception is his proposal to close the Toronto Island Airport (Toronto Billy Bishop Airport [YTZ]) and turn the 215 acres into a park. This airport has been around since at least the 1950s and is currently the base of five different airlines, some of whom fly international routes from it. In addition, and possibly more important, it is the main base for Ontario’s air ambulance service. I may be wrong but I think that since there are international flights from Billy Bishop, it falls under federal jurisdiction as well. When asked about this plan in an interview, he responded to the effect that turning it into a park would only affect a “few people” and that once they use the express train to Pearson Airport (YYZ) they’ll find it just as convenient. So Mr Candidate, if you consider there are five different airlines using Billy Bishop, plus private pilots, as well as the air ambulance, I think you’ll find that more than a”few people” will be affected.

He has probably made other equally ill-advised proposals, but the transportation manager in me focussed on these two.

As for me personally, where I live allows online voting, so I’ve already voted.

Wherever you live in Ontario, what happens in your municipality for the next four years will depend on your vote. According to the weather forecast, Monday will be sunny and warm, so you have no excuse for not casting your ballot.

Cat.

They do keep trying

DATE: Oct 11

TITLE: They do keep trying

I received the following email yesterday in an account I don’t use any longer, but haven’t yet transferred stuff I want to keep.

Schedule new delivery for your shipment_Nº_#5523861834 10 October, 2022 16:56
From: Canada Post
To: ghoward@
Dear customer: Your delivery information is invalid
We invite you to schedule a new delivery as soon as possible:
It look like that your pa has been returned to the post office warehouse
The delivery process failed due to an error in the information (invalid address or phone number).
Reminder:
If you do not confirm your information within three days. Your shipment will be returned to the sender.
Re-Schedule Delivery
(this was in a red box I could click on.)
Expected delivery : 2 Days After Confirmation
Status : Waiting Re-delivery Process
Tracking Number : 3535935681768742

There is so much wrong with this I hardly know where to start. Let’s start with the delivery information. This past weekend was the Thanksgiving long weekend in Canada and it is a federal holiday. Therefore Canada Post wouldn’t have been working so couldn’t have attempted to deliver any package (or pa as the message says). Having received packages from Canada Post in the past I know their usual method, at least for the past two COVID years, has been to bring the package to my door. If they can’t deliver it, they leave a notice on or in your mailbox stating they couldn’t deliver it and telling me they’ve returned it to my local postal outlet. The notice also states I can pick it up the next day.

As I said above, I haven’t used that ghoward email for six years or so, ever since I changed my name. And I don’t know of any firm who would show an email address on a shipping label.

I suspect that had I clicked on that “re-schedule delivery” button I’d have been asked for all sorts of information – just to verify my identity of course. Instead the only button I clicked on after copying the message for this blog was “delete”.

Obviously the sender is not in Canada, nor aware of Canadian holidays, or they wouldn’t have chosen Monday October 10 for that was Thanksgiving Day. And no government offices or crown corporations were working that day. Research appears to be an area that they need to improve upon.

I especially like the formal “We invite you to schedule a new delivery as soon as possible:” It contrasts with some of the awkward wording elsewhere.

If you get something like this from the postal service in whatever country you live in, ask yourself two questions: Did I order anything by mail? And, is this the post office’s normal method of notifying me of a failed delivery?

Enjoy your day and remember to hug an artist, we need love too.

Cat.

Writing 101 revisited

DATE: Sept 2

TITLE: Writing 101 revisited

This is from 2013 blog called “Writing 101 by Cat, or what would I say?” in response to a suggestion I offer a course on writing. The only major change is that I’m now ten years older.

On my recent posting “Blogs: opinion pieces or news reports?” one person left a comment and made reference to teaching them how to write in the style I use. I thought about that for about thirty seconds. I didn’t want to spend more time analysing it lest I become the centipede. You know the story of the centipede, don’t you? You don’t? Well, I’ll tell you then.

One day a tiny ant was watching a centipede pass by, legs all moving with military precision, not tripping over its feet or kicking the leg in front of it. The ant stopped the centipede and asked how he managed to keep everything so well organized. Having never thought about it, the centipede had to admit he didn’t know. After the ant went his way, the centipede sat and thought about the question and tried to analyse his actions. Not finding an answer he liked, he gave up and decided to carry on to wherever he had been going. That was when he discovered that in his attempts to figure out just how he did it, he’d managed to lose the ability to co-ordinate his legs and he kept tripping. I didn’t want to spend time analysing how and why I write as I do for fear I’d end up like that centipede and forget how to write.

I know that people are told “write what you know”. Well yes, it is always good to have some knowledge of your topic before you put a single word on the monitor (or on paper– I still prefer to write in longhand) especially if you’re writing an instructional piece.

In addition to “write what you know” I would add “write what you feel strongly about”, be that the antics of your local politicians or something else. If you want to write an opinion piece, write it with passion. If you feel strongly enough about something that you want to voice your opinion, let that fire show through in your writing. My personal view where it relates to opinion pieces is that if I haven’t upset someone then I haven’t done my job properly. Of course that attitude is probably helped by being 68 and not really caring what others think of my opinions.

If you choose to write fiction, depending upon what kind of fiction, some research may be necessary to get the details right. People will pick up on anachronisms very quickly if you choose historic fiction so try to ensure you aren’t introducing something that hadn’t been invented until well after the period you’ve chosen.

My preferred field of fiction is speculative fiction (commonly called science fiction). Given the scientific advances in many fields that gives me a lot of leeway should I choose to introduce some new technology. But, as I wrote above, even there some research is required. For example I may have to look at the current state of a field and try to find out what is being looked at. Perhaps a news item on a new scientific process under investigation will spark a thought process best summed up by asking myself “what if…?” Then I try to answer that question in a story.

Many years ago I wrote a long piece about an intelligent computer (artificial intelligence anyone?) and to start I described the setting as follows:

The city was one of those anonymous places that comprise what politicians and pollsters commonly refer to as “the industrial base.” The signs at the city limits proudly proclaimed population figures from the last census, but several minor recessions and a major depression had taken their toll and the signs were wildly optimistic.

Industry had been just diverse enough that when the major employer closed its doors and moved to another location promising low taxes and even lower labour costs, the remaining factories could only slow the decline. Suppliers to “The Factory”, as the locals called it, had either followed their market, or just turned off the lights and walked away.

Along Main Street, vacant shops outnumbered the combined total of those offering “going out of business” sales, and those offering similar prices without going to the added expense of signs. The sparkling new mall at the edge of town (fifty great stores to serve your every need) echoed to the footsteps of lonely shoppers as they passed store front after store front, each closed and locked; and each bearing the legend “for lease – reasonable rates.”

This was the sight that greeted the planners as they descended upon city hall one day, armed with graphs and plans and colourful artists’ impressions and visions for the future; and enthusiasm. Oh yes, they were certainly enthusiastic. They would convert this dying factory town into a model for the future. Self-contained and computer controlled, it would rely on the outside world mainly as a supplier of provisions and raw materials and as a market for its products. The planners had anticipated every objection from city council and included in their schemes a new seniors’ apartment complex; upgraded hospital facilities; and even a refurbished city jail. But the plum in the pudding was their promise to revitalise industry through computerisation and make the city prosperous once again.

This description was essential to the rest of the novella for it shows a city in decline and the willingness of the city council to do whatever they could to keep their town alive. Could I have written the piece without these 300 words? Of course, but I’ve given the reader just enough information for them to form their own mental image of the place.

My last piece of advice to anyone writing is simple: write the way you speak. If you commonly use multi-syllable words in your every day speech, by all means write that way. But if you don’t please don’t make the mistake of trying to use them in your writing. I recall reading an interview with a writer who perhaps said it best: “Don’t use ‘ten dollars words’ even if you buy them at a ‘two-for one sale’ because you’ll probably use them incorrectly” unless those form part of your daily vocabulary.

And that ends today’s lesson. Class dismissed, and remember to hug an artist, we need love too.

Cat

.

Bring him to justice – followup

George Flowers, also known as Mr Flowas, has served his time and is now free and still in Canada. It is believed he is somewhere in the Greater Toronto Area, but I’m unable to confirm this.

Ladies, please be safe.

Cat.

Blame someone else

in April a woman was pushed onto the tracks at the Yonge/Bloor subway station in Toronto. She was able to get herself off the tracks before a train entered the station but suffered several injuries including a broken rib. The person who pushed her has been charged with attempted murder.

From a Vice News article of today’s date: “… (she) is also suing the TTC for $1 million because she says the agency didn’t do enough to prevent and respond to the incident.

Her statement of claim lists several alleged TTC failures, including the failure to implement adequate safety measures, respond to the emergency promptly, stop the subway train from driving onto the platform, and give emergency services access to the tracks to save her.”

Her claim is that it took about 30 minutes for the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) to move the train to give emergency personnel room to rescue her.

I use the subway system frequently and am familiar with the Yonge/Bloor station. This is a two-level station, being a transfer point between the north/south Yonge line and the east/west Bloor line. From the fact the article states Yonge/Bloor as opposed to Bloor/Yonge, it appears this lady was on the Bloor or east/west line. That station has a central platform with trains arriving on either side depending upon direction of travel. The platform is quite wide for this is a very busy station. Along the edge of the platform – and this is true for all stations on the system – is a yellow strip about 12 inches or so wide with raised bumps on the surface, a “rumble strip” for pedestrians kind of thing. It is common for people to stand at the inner edge of this strip while waiting for the train. For the record, I usually stand well back, against a wall if I can.

‘“… adequate safety measures”’, which she claimed were lacking. I know that some subway systems, Tokyo comes to mind, have a wall along the edge of the platform with sliding doors in this wall. The idea is the train stops in a certain spot and activating the car doors also activates the doors in the wall. I’m obviously not privy to discussions within the TTC’s boardroom so can’t say whether they have examined such a possibility for Toronto, but I believe that at one time they did consider it and dismissed it because of the cost involved.

Another of her claims was “…stop the subway train from driving onto the platform,” I feel that last part is reaching. A subway train isn’t a Honda Civic. You just can’t stop it that quickly. The subway platforms are 500 feet long and the trains only slightly shorter than that. I have my doubts that a train, moving at speed is going to be able to stop within its own length.

It is the defence filed by the TTC that really has me worked up. Again from the Vice article:

‘In its statement of defence, the TTC maintains that the woman is herself responsible, at least in part, in addition to the assailant.

According to the TTC’s statement, the woman “failed to take reasonable steps and precautions for her own safety and protection.” The statement says “she chose to stand close to the edge of the platform,” “failed to pay due care and attention to her surroundings,” and “was travelling alone and unassisted on public transit when she knew or ought to have known that it was unsafe for her to do so.”

Her lawyer disputed the claims.

“There is video evidence she wasn’t standing that close to the tracks,” the lawyer said, adding, “How can you claim to be doing everything you can safety-wise and then in the same breath say she wasn’t taking proper precautions—and proper precautions would have been travelling with somebody?”’

In response to that last part, the lawyer also said ‘ “If she was a child that’d be a more viable argument but she’s not. She’s a grown woman,”.

So, according to the lawyer for the TTC this woman, who was in her twenties, should have had a minder. This makes no sense at all. Perhaps the 45 year old woman who pushed her should have had a minder. And what does that “she shouldn’t have been alone” statement mean for me? I don’t live in Toronto but make frequent trips to the city on transit and use that station often. I’m three times the age of this woman who was pushed. Does the TTC’s logic mean that I should also have a companion when travelling on the subway? Or should I avoid the subway all together?

The TTC’s actions here of blaming the victim for her misfortune reminded me of something that happened years ago when I worked for an automotive importer. At one point the Montreal parts depot sent a shipment of parts to a dealer located, I believe somewhere on the Gaspe Peninsula, by common carrier. Also on this truck was a shipment of tobacco products. The truck was hijacked mainly for the smokes and the auto parts were a nice bonus. Naturally we filed claim against the carrier for the loss of our goods. This time their lawyer didn’t blame us for the hijacking, or blame the company responsible for the tobacco. Oh no. Their lawyer claimed the hijacking was “an act of God”. The letter had been written in French. Once it was translated and returned to me (I’ve forgotten most of the French I learned in school) I showed it to my boss and said to him “I don’t know if we should consult a lawyer or a priest”.

I know lawyers have to defend their clients in cases like these, but there are times their defence arguments give the term “grasping at straws” a whole other meaning.

Cat.

Here’s the link to the Vice article:
https://www.vice.com/en/article/k7be5a/toronto-woman-pushed-onto-ttc-subway?utm_medium=social+&utm_source=VICEWorldNews_Facebook

Invisible

I am among the forgotten. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those “poor me” rants.

On June 2, Ontario is holding a provincial election, which naturally means the leaders of the four parties presently represented in the legislature are making all kinds of promises. Those four parties are the Progressive Conservatives, the current ruling party; the New Democratic Party, the official opposition; the Liberal Party (third party status) and the Green Party, who have one representative, Mike Schreiner who is the leader of the party.

I am a senior, living on my own. I have heard nothing from any of these four parties that will significantly affect my life.

The Conservatives have been talking mainly of highways. One such project, which has been approved, is for a bypass north of Toronto. One already exists, but it’s a toll road and not that well used, so the Conservatives want to build another one. In other words, a bypass for the bypass. The problems with that are that not many of the communities along the projected route want the damn thing. And this proposed route will destroy some of the best agricultural land in southern Ontario. Holland Marsh provides much of the produce we have available in supermarkets in and around Toronto and this proposed route, Highway 413, will apparently run through this area. As the leader, Doug Ford, keeps harping on how this will save commuters 30 minutes a day, I haven’t heard much more of the party platform. Fine, but I don’t drive and I don’t live anywhere close to the proposed route. And I’d much rather have access to a greater selection of produce.

Based on news reports, this Highway 413 project sounds like a vanity project for the Premier. It starts west of Toronto, but rather than span the entire width of Toronto, it stops about two-thirds of the way. That will funnel traffic onto the already crowded north/south Highway 404, which in turn leads to possible the busiest highway in the country, Highway 401. So other than Doug for getting to say “I built this road”, it doesn’t really do much. That fifteen minutes saved each way will rapidly dissolve when drivers get to the existing packed roadways.

The New Democratic Party, led by Andrea Horwath, is talking about making long term care homes non-profit. She also wants to hire more nurses, which the province could certainly use. News reports state that long term care homes are terribly understaffed, so that is a good proposal. The only thing she’s said that has any appeal for me is the proposal to start a provincial dental care programme. This would be similar to the current health plan, but would be a temporary measure as the feds are apparently starting one in about two years.

Steven Del Duca and the Liberal Party are also making promises but … Both he and Andrea Horwath would cancel the Conservatives Highway 413, which is good. Del Duca said, in one of his campaign speeches he would reduce transit fares on all transit systems in the province to $1 a ride. The additional deficits to the various transit authorities would be offset by using funds from the cancelled 413. (Keep this in mind – that money is discussed again later). The catch to his dollar a ride is that it’s only for three months. He has also taken aim at the education system and promises to hire more teachers and give additional funding to school boards. Guess where the funding for this will come from? That’s right, the cancelled 413.

The Green Party have been talking about the environment – naturally – and creating affordable housing. While the environment is of concern, at my age, I’m not buying a house.

In all the campaign rhetoric and from what I can find on the websites for the four parties, I can find nothing that will have an impact on my life. Well, other than the dental proposal. The transit proposal would have a minor effect as I rarely use transit. As for the rest, well, I don’t drive so the highway proposals – yes there was more than one – are meaningless to me and I don’t live anywhere close to where these projects are planned. I live on my own so while I care whether or not residents of long term care homes receive proper care, there is no direct impact on my life.

So it appears that I and many others in my situation have been forgotten by the politicians of this province. We are in essence invisible.

Cat.

The heading says it all

DATE: May 4

TITLE: The heading says it all

I don’t quite know what to make of the following comment.

I’ve had odd comments before, including ad hominem attacks, but this one takes the weird cake.

In May of 2015 I wrote a piece I called “Who got it where?” detailing what happened when a group of young men (who should have known better) tried to disrupt a live news broadcast from Toronto’s soccer club, Toronto FC’s home opener by shouting something obscene at the female reporter. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) said that when identified, these young men would be banned from all MLSE arenas. In addition to Toronto FC, that includes the Maple Leafs (hockey), Raptors (basketball) as well as the minor league associates, Toronto Marlboroughs and Raptors 905. As well, when the video went viral, the employer of one of the young men recognized him and his actions cost him a six figure job.

Today, the following comment was posted on that blog and I have no idea what “battleof theatlantic19391945″ is talking about. I’ve removed any possible links to keep me in WordPress’s good books, but otherwise haven’t changed a thing.

battleoftheatlantic19391945
battleoftheatlantic19391945.

Reblogged this on battleoftheatlantic19391945 and commented:
“WINGNUT WEDNESDAY=WITH DIZZY ISSY-ISMAIL-Alias; CP 24 NEWS, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA, May 4/2022@16:59- HEY CANADIAN GOOFS OF PROOFS, CONCERNING TORONTO NEWS STATION CP 24 NEWS, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA, WITH THE DARK DIDDLER FROM India-DIZZY IISSY-Isail-Alias…Long Haired Pony Tail FAIREY-OF Miss Mary…HILLYARD, and Big Busted WILMAS…Tokyo Roses, Axis Sally, ETC., Incorporated, AND THEN SOME!!!” “WELL, YOU CP NEWS CORRESPONDENTS, DOING THE SPORTS TODAY@12:30 P.M., ARE Dizzy Issy RATS-EYES PROFILED; as I do NOT NEED to be WALKING INTO a Eatery in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, PURCHASING FOOD, While Dizzy Issy AND Company HAVE A BUNCH OF TORONTO-CANADA RATS, TELL YOU where I am, AND What I am doing!!!” “JUST BECAUSE, I more than precisely FIGURED OUT YOUR TORONTO POLICE FORCE, TORONTO-ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE; to a FINE TOOTHED COMB, DOES NOT MEAN YOU CP 24 NEWS PROOFS OF GOOFS; HAVE TO GET ALL BENT OUT OF SHAPE ABOUT IT, and FURTHERMORE, YOU and DIZZY Issy-Pretty Paki Blue-Mary’s Fairies; SHOULD MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, AND LEAVE THE BEAUTIFUL MODELS in THE WORLD-UP TO Mr. Murza’s Levi’s Bluej-ean’s, AND THEN SOME!!!” “GET BACK TO WORK, KEEP YOUR Canadian Big Noses Out of People’s Business; AND STOP being a CANADIAN PEDOPHILE CIVILIAN SATELLITE-COMPUTER SPY RING=VAS/Viewer-Associate-Supporter…RAT!!!” Posted by: Brian CANUCK-THE BREEZE Murza, Present Day Military Analyst/Amateur, High Treason Q.E.II Analyst, W.W.II Naval Researcher-Published Author, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

So, unless this truly is the ravings of a madman, can somebody please decipher this for me?

Thanks.

Cat.

Whose freedom?

For the past three weeks I’ve seen news footage of the protests in Ottawa and elsewhere in Canada. These protests originally began against the federal government’s vaccination mandates for truckers who cross the border, but seem to have been hijacked by other causes.

Yesterday the Ottawa Police, aided by members from other forces across Canada, began disbanding the protest in front of Parliament Hill. The late news reported over 100 arrests and over 20 vehicles towed. In the news footage, some people can be seen and heard shouting “freedom!” as the police are leading them away.

My question is this: Whose freedom are you talking about here?

Nobody is denying you the choice not to get innoculated against COVID or wear a mask. That is a personal decision. But making that choice does not free you from consequences resulting from that. Other people have the freedom to deny you entry to their establishments. Governments have the freedom to deny you entry to the country if you fail to meet their health and safety requirements. Companies may have policies in place that state “you must be vaccinated to work here”.

Or is it your contention that your freedom is more important than the freedom of others? Do you mean you want to be free of any and all consequences of your actions?

Doesn’t work like that. Just because you’ve done something many people consider stupid doesn’t mean others have to abide by your decision. That especially applies when your actions can or may directly affect others. One of the common comparisons I’ve seen used is the combination of alcohol and operation of a motor vehicle. We all know (or should by now) that driving under the influence can result in a collision that would affect the lives of others. Under your definition of “freedom”, does that mean you should be able to drive drunk anytime you want and if anybody objects, well, too bad for them it’s my decision? Or is that different? And if so, explain to me why and how that is different?

As I wrote, you are free to decide not to get vaccinated. But others are also free not to associate with you.

Cat.

What are you talking about?

I received the following as a spam comment on a previous posting, “I think not” of September 23. The post dealt with an email I received “confirming” my order of 12TB of space from Apple on iCloud at a price of $1,499.99 US. At the time that would have been $1,890 Canadian.

The message I received was this:
B: I think not! If I hear any more from you about this, you’ll be hearing from my solicitor. Sorry, but I don’t have any references I can cite.

To save him any (well deserved) embarrassment, I’ve deleted his email address.

Now, unless he was the person that sent the original attempted scam, his threat to sic his solicitor on me is meaningless. And he further shot himself in the foot by stating he doesn’t have any references he can cite.

So I can only think this person is just some troll trying to stir up some excitement on New Year’s Eve.

Enjoy your (socially distant) New Year’s Eve and have a safe 2022.

Remember to hug an artist – we need love too.

Cat.

Get the damn shot

DATE: Dec 31

TITLE: Get the damn shot

You say you don’t want the COVID shots because you don’t know what’s in them.

Look at it this way: when you were young your parents had you vaccinated against various things such as measles and smallpox. Neither you nor they knew what was in them. I remember lining up in school to get a Salk polio vaccine. I doubt strongly whether my parents of teachers knew what was in that needle. They just knew it would cure polio. If you were in the military there were various odd things jabbed into your arms and you had no idea exactly what the hell was being injected into you. Therefore your “I don’t know what’s in the COVID shot” doesn’t hold water. You’ve had mystery substances put into you since you were a child and you’re still here.

Let’s look at what you’ve heard is in the serum: microchips. Each vial contains about five adult shots so the chances of you getting the shot with the chip are one in five. In order to ensue that every dose would contain a chip there would need to be enough chips in the vial to be visible to the naked eye. And since every vial I’ve seen, either in person or on the news, is clear I doubt there are microchips in the serum. I also doubt you’re important enough to be tracked.

If you’re throwing up these smokescreens then you are afraid to admit you’re scared of needles or you’ve been misled by scaremongers.

This pandemic is real and COVID 19 is killing people. Get the damn shot.

Cat.

Thanks to my son for the comments on the microchips.