World Toilet Day 2013

Remember remember the nineteenth of November is World Toilet Day.

The good folks at worldtoilet.org have finally gotten round to making a promotional YouTube explaining the issue.  World Toilet Day is SRS BZNS.  Those aren’t the only issues either, there’s also the risk to our four legged friends.  Using toilets is very important.  This is the type of buffoon that forgoes the use of toilets.  Now one might suggest that those issues have more to do with the hard drug use than the lack of access to toilets.  In fact, one might suggest that mixing cocaine and toilets has its own terrible implications.

Okay, that out of the way – just a small dump of POOP links this year.

On the ongoing story of POOP transplants, you can now make your own deposits.
Advances in seat technology.

And since I opened with a YouTube, I will also close with one:


Probably in One of My Drunken Stupors.




Hey, I’m not your anti-social friend’s “long distance relationship”
I don’t live in a hockey arena or own a bush plane.
And I don’t know Joe from Canada although I’m certain that he’s really polite, aside from that tendency to passive-aggressively rant.

I have a notionally bicameral parliament where the Senate has no power as opposed to a notionally bicameral republic where the Senate has all the power.
I speak English and “high school French”, not ‘Murkan.
And I pronounce it “your mom”, not “ur mum”.

I can proudly trumpet my nationality wherever I go without fear of judgement, but yeah – as if a Canuck would ever.
I prefer peace to peacekeeping and don’t like police actions at all.
Mosaic not melting pot
And the beaver is a noble and proud animal with skin valuable enough to finance the building of a nation.

Canada is the second largest country name ending in “-nada”
The first nation in butter tarts,
And the best part of the world for Canadaphiles.

My pseudonym is Dragon-King Wangchuck and


Moar Awesome Than a Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow:

Pretty awesome, but really a big pile of wevs.

Also too, I said that I would share a bike photo.


FFS, Short Turn the Lead Car

I may have mentioned this before, but I don't actually live within the boundaries of LEAFS SUCK Proper (i.e. the City of LEAFS SUCK pre-amalgamation) but in an "inner suburb" referred to as Eglinton East - in central Scarborough.

I commute by intra-city heavy rail now, so I spend precious little time on the TTC.  And as I am walking distance to Kennedy subway station, you might think I have some thoughts regarding the subway extension.  I do, but those will have to wait for another time.  This rant is going to be about another issue I have with our lovely transit system - the 501 Queen streetcar.

501 Queen is infamous for short turns and delays.  Not really surprising - Queen St. is pretty messed up and there are more than a handful of junctions and nodes that can really screw up traffic even without construction.  It is understandable that sometimes streetcars will bunch up and that the line supervisors would have to short turn a few.

Here's the problem - you get three, four, maybe more streetcars all jammed together and need to re-route all but one of them back into the line to help address whatever problem is screwing things up.  You're doing this on eastbound vehicles at Kingston Road.  Which of the streetcars gets to continue on to the scheduled end of the line at Neville Park loop?  Well, if you are the TTC - it is the first one.


Here's what happens - the lead streetcar goes through, the next three or four or whatever then dump their passengers and we all wait for the next streetcar going to the end of line to come along.  Remember that TTC short turns cars because there's some sort of problem with the line.  Often this next streetcar isn't for half an hour.  I have actually been dumped by a short turn and waited close to an hour to continue my trip.  Considering that there's only about 2.5 km of line east of Kingston Road, I could very well have walked to the loop before the streetcar got there.  Me and the dozens of folks who weren't lucky enough to be in the lead car.

And right at the start of that wait, we're all watching the lead car disappear off into the distance.  At Kingston Road, the short turn cars actually stop right beside the going-through car, so folks on the second car often get the wonderful opportunity to watch the lead car close its doors and depart while they are waiting for the doors on their car to open.  WHAT. THE. FUCKING. FUCK.

So what does that teach riders?  To get on the lead car.  No matter what.  Boarding at Yonge and Queen - that lead car is packed to the gills.  Exceeding crush capacity by a non-trivial margin.  People will be contorting so that they can hover over the exit stairs without standing on the plate which prevents the doors from closing.  And still people will try to jam on.  The driver will mention that there's a streetcar right behind them.  Sometimes there are multiples.  And they are all there with open doors.  There may even be seats available on the second or third car, but that lead car won't be able to continue for a couple lights because people are trying to jam themselves on despite the vehicle actually bulging out around the middle like it was some sort of cartoon.  Which I am sure is great for alleviating the scheduling problems you've got with the line.

WE DO THIS BECAUSE YOU TTC FUCKNARDS REFUSE TO SHORT TURN THE LEAD CAR!!!!  It's not a "there's another car immediately behind this one" issue - it is a "the lead car is the only vehicle for the next hour or so that's going to my stop" issue.  The TTC's management of the 501 has conditioned riders to behave in a way that makes the problem worse.  JUST FUCKING SHORT TURN THE FUCKING LEAD CAR FOR FUCK'S SAKE!  THIS IS NOT RED ROCKET SCIENCE!!!  WHAT ARE YOU, ASSHOLES OR IDIOTS?



Despite Agoraphobic Ifs and Buts

I know I said the last post was a placeholder for pics of Ultra Ninja on the sweet new ride - we've been enjoying bike too much for me to remember to get photos.  Speaking of placeholders, the Louise Burns post was intended as such.  The switch from the catchy pop to something more serious and melancholy, that was meant as a lead-in for me to talk about Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon.  Not that Louise Burns isn't fantastic enough for her own post, it's just that I've been obsessed with KT Tunstall for years.

I've been listening to the new album for weeks now, and I still don't know what to think.  It's definitely more melancholy than anything that came before.  Also it does not rock, which is a pretty heavy shocker.  Don't get me wrong, if I had to file the album at one of those old-timey record stores, it would go into "rock/pop" but it  just that it wouldn't fit there very well.

And putting it into an old-time record store actually makes sense.  Because it's actually an album and not just a collection of songs.  That's something that took me a bit to realize, probably since I haven't heard such a thing in many, many years.  All of these songs fit together - probably as a result of the circumstances surrounding their creation - but you can distinctly tell a song from this album as opposed to the earlier ones.

So, what's it like?  Wow, I still don't know.  Some folks have said it's her best album yet.  It is undoubtedly the album that she is best on.  These new songs showcase KT more than her previous work did, and that's including the live stuff that's just her and a loop pedal.  And she delivers.  Her voice on these songs is just so much.  If it weren't KT, and it wasn't her fourth studio album, there would be a definite risk of coming off as emo.

But she pulls it off.  She's laying out some very raw emotion in her singing without ever coming close to going over the line.  She forces the listener into this world her songs create and then you buy in wholesale accepting of all the assumptions and perspectives underlying it.  It's aggressively engaging - and this is despite the fact that the songs themselves are really quite simple.

So, KT is absolutely amazing here. Delivering the expectedly excellent execution like the professional she is, all while bringing a whole new level of artistry.  The songs on this album are simple, but by no means simplistic with hooks that set so deep you'll be humming them in your sleep.  And they don't get old, I've been listening to this one album straight through on several long car rides and have yet to reach for the radio. So, why can't I say I love this album?

I can.  I do love this album.  It's amazing and everyone should all be listening to it right now.

But at the same time, this album is a loss.  Not that I ever considered her naive, but there is still a lost innocence associated with these songs.  And since she's so professional about the music, I'd expect she can still deliver the rockabilly and upbeat pop from the older albums - but they just won't be quite the same.  Although, the Hallowed Ground bonus track rocks pretty hard so maybe I'm off my rocker.  But even still, it's not that change is bad - this album definitely marks a growth in her talents and abilities as a musician.  It's just that I don't think I'm ready for it.  I'm personally in a much different place - one that makes listening to these songs challenging in weird ways.  But I will note that I am still listening the hell out of it.

Okay, on to some YouTube embeds.  Invisible Empire is probably the most like the old KT and probably my favourite track (these things are likely related) but as a result it doesn't make whatever point I'm trying to here.  So here's two other tracks instead (the first of which is where the post title came from):



I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Uh, so I guess I'm bicycling now.  Here's the story - for Father's Day, I got this nifty little thing.  Which, cool and all, was really an excuse for me to get myself a halfway decent bike.  So I did.  Hmmm, I guess it's a short story.

No derailleurs and only two exposed cogs.  Fantastic for the maintenance averse like myself.  The internal gear hub is odd though, you have to lay off the pedals in order to change gears.  Fortunately, I haven't biked much so I am already in the habit after two rides.  It is quiet.  Maybe because I've never ridden a decent bike with quality gearing, but I do remember a lot more mechanical noise with regular geared bikes.

The usual complaints with internal gear hubs are meaninglesss to me.  Apparently there's a bit more drag than in a derailleur system.  I'm no road biker, and I honestly did not notice.  Plus my previous ride was terrible.  I can coast at least an order of magnitude further on the new bike.  Next issue - IGH's have a smaller range of gears than in the usual system. But LEAFS SUCK is pretty flat, and the lowest gear allows me to climb just about anything in my neighbourhood.  The highest gear is too high - I've switched to it a couple times but only to get a feel of what the resistance was.  Plus I don't think I'll ever need to go that fast.  Finally, IGH's make removing the rear wheel more complicated.  But to be honest, if I got a rear blowout or had some other issue that required removing the wheel, I'd be taking it into the shop, whether it was IGH or derailleur.  Heck, I'm not all that comfortable taking the front wheel off and it's a quick release.

And the Kangaroo Carrier?  Ultra Ninja likes it.  Even on a commuter/hybrid bike, which is a stiffer ride than my toddler would like.  This turns out to be a minor issue because with her on I can rarely go fast enough for it to be an issue.

PS This is a placeholder post.  I'll try to get some pictures this weekend - weather permitting.  It figures that the day after I get a new bke, we get a heat wave.


Emeralds Shatter

Confession Time:  It was the poppy Drop Names Not Bombs that hooked me on Louise Burns, and What You Want To Do cemented it, but I have to say that I am not upset or disappointed by the shift in sound.  I guess I got a bit of prep for it from Lodger.


Still Griping About Crackgate - Thankful for Having People to Blame Edition

Remember, this all started when John Cook posted his story of having seen the tape.  He didn't have the tape, he had only viewed it on the mysterious iPhone.  Why did he post his story then, without the tape or any other solid confirmation (other than the photo)?  It's a story with pretty severe implications (as we have seen in the past couple weeks) so you really want to get your ducks lined up before going to press.  Well, as Cook puts it:
The producer, in turn, asked CNN's Canada reporter about it. The Canada reporter—and this was a pretty fucking big mistake—called a source who used to work in Ford's office. Within 40 minutes, word had gotten back to me that "CNN called Ford's office asking about a crack tape."
Thanks CNN.  Who would have thought that the stenographic reflex was so ingrained?

Hey you know who else deserves a shoutout?  Remember at the end of last year when Judge Hackland ruled that Rob Ford violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and ordered him out of office?  And then three Ontario Appeals Court justices overturned that ruling on a bizarre and contrived technicality?  Yeah, really served the public interest there guys, I hope you're all proud of your work, bending rational thought into funny pretzels in order to save this guy.

And, of course, I blame Obama.


The Method of Elimination

Well, as the Crack Mayor story festers there are points which get beat to death.  Just about everyone other than the die-hard Ford Nation dead-enders has accepted that a video exists.  Here is the latest news on that front.  How did Rob Ford know where the video was?  The photo.  There's four people in the photo, one of them is Rob Ford, and two of them have been shot.  Granted, there also had to be someone who took the photo, but narrowing down the list of people who might have the tape in their possession sounds like it should be pretty straight-forward.

Speaking of,,, that Star story relies on a leak.  Someone at the May 17 meeting talked.  It was exclusive enough that Towhey wasn't there - which means a pretty short list.  Also, it wasn't leaked until this week.  Since the time of that meeting, three staffers have left the Mayor's Office, and it's confirmed that two of them were not at the May 17th meeting.

UPDATE:  Okay, two more have quit.  Not so clear cut now /UPDATE

BTW, the Anthony Smith case?  Shortly after the shooting, police said they were interested in the location of a certain specific individual.  That guy turned himself in and he was charged with murder.  Well, as is constantly happening in this whole hooferaw, the plot thicks.


Crack Video

So, it's been pretty interesting times. Fired Chief of Staff, the Ford family portrait by the Globe and Mail going to press a few hours before Dougie did his media tour, The return of the mayor to his Sunday AM Talk Radio show, news that the mayor's staff have been interviewed regarding a murder inverstigation, all while the Crackstarter ticks ever closer to its goal ($192K at time of writing).  A lot to sort through, but I'm going to take it from the beginning and in small chunks.  The crack video.

So, is the crack video real?  Firstly, it obviously exists.  Three reporters from two separate outlets have described their viewings.  For this to be some bizarre plot is fake moon landings scale conspiracy theory land.  But just because it exists, that doesn't mean it's real.

What about a fake Rob Ford?  And I don't mean "James Cameron shit" but just some guy that looks a lot like His Worship.  Wait, hear me out.  Suppose someone saw the picture of Rob jogging and thought "hey I have a sweatshirt just like that".  Then they found a lookalike and made the photo - perhaps for teh lulz, perhaps they meant it as a reference letter into the world of "high-end Etobicoke drug dealing" or something. I dunno, but it doesn't seem totally ridiculous.  That said, these hypothetical photo jokers would have to know Anthony Smith.

So, then in the wee hours of March 28, Anthony Smith gets double tapped in the back of the head.  It's a different world now - we're dealing with the possibility of gangland style executions.  Let's say that sometime after that, some intrepid Globe and Mail reporter calls up our hypothetical photo-having-possibly-involved-with-drugs people and start asking about Doug's history of dealing hash. And there, the idea for the video is born.  It's made sometime in April, shopped around for a bit, with the Star actually viewing it on May 3rd after several failed attempts to arrange a meetup.

Since these cons were running a scam video, the plan was probably to take the money and run.  See how much they could milk from the media and relocate.  And now with all of the heightened attention and scrutiny, it makes sense that they would "disappear".

It's kinda crazy sounding, but remotely plausible.  And it's consistent with the observed happenings.  That said, none of this is particularly different if the video were real.  Further, even if the video were fake - that doesn't mean that Rob Ford doesn't smoke crack.  Maybe a fake video was made because knowing that Rob was a crack user, it would be easy to get the media to pay big bucks for it.

But what about Rob and his week-long silence?  Well, that was pretty weird, but if you consider that the Fords were already aware of the Globe's ongoing investigations - coupled with what appears to be their genuine belief that the scums and maggots of LEAFS SUCK's media scene are actually "out to get them".  Let me just say that Rob's actions were totally consistent with the tape being real or fake.  Although a big part of why I'm saying that is because Rob is an unstable mess who is about as predictable as someone high on crack cocaine.

So after all that, where do I stand?  Well basically, I believe that there is still a remote outside chance that my mayor does not use crack.  If I had to put money on it, well Occam's Razor says dude spends most of his time high as a kite.  But I wouldn't be very surprised if I lost that money.

UPDATE:  Press Security and Communications Assistant have both quit.
UPDATE 2:  Crackstarter has broken $200K


Where It All Began.

Your Chief of Staff escorted out of City Hall?  Seriously?   "I did not resign."  Yeah, that is totally going to take the attention away from the crack smoking allegations.  Speaking of which, we can't say we weren't warned.  When Rob Ford took office as Mayor of LEAFS SUCK, he had Don Cherry deliver the inauguration speech.  That speech ended thusly:

And that’s why I say he’s gonna be the greatest mayor this city has ever, ever seen, as far as I’m concerned! And put that in your pipe, you left-wing kooks. 
Thank you very much.


All This Talk About Crack Reminds Me of Ass Gate

Hamutal Dotan has a good take on the whole Rob Ford Smoking Crack video thing.  If the video is real, we're talking about a serious substance abuse issue.  I disagree with Ford's politics pretty vehemently.  I am offended at him and his actions not just as my Mayor but as a human being.  Saying that I don't like the guy is a massive understatement. But even with all that, I'm hoping he's not a crack addict because that would totally fucking suck for him and his loved ones.

What about the city?  Having a crackhead as the mayor has got to be a bad thing!  Well, maybe not.  LEAFS SUCK doesn't have a strong mayor system.  The mayor is just one vote on council, and to get anything done, he needs to build an alliance of a majority of councillors.  Riding high on his electoral victory into his first year in office let him push through all sorts of stuff by just obstinately sticking to his positions and bullying folks to get on board or get run over.  Those days are long gone.  If anything, since Rob's views on governance and understanding of how things work are so flawed, his being impaired and less effectual is probably a good thing for Council.  Although, this behaviour is more egregiously bad than even some of the stupid crap we've had before and reflects badly on the city.  Well whatevers, LEAFS SUCK has had some interesting mayors.

One thing in the Torontoist article that I disagree with is the bit about Ford's use of hateful language - particularly the bit about Justin Trudeau being a "fag".  Don't get me wrong - that language is indeed hateful and incredibly inappropriate for any holder of public office.  BUT, dude was saying that shit while he was fucking high on crack.  I'm okay with giving some leeway to the garbage that comes out of your mouth immediately after a heavy pull on the crack pipe.  It's the crack smoking that's still the major issue.

That said, I really hope that the "just fucking minorities" comment about the Don Bosco Eagles is fake.  Throughout Ford's various trials (literally) and tribulations, the one mitigating aspect of his bad behaviour was his dedication to underprivileged high schools and to his football team.  Sure there's a strong argument that the Rob Ford Football Foundation is just a publicity device and a money laundering tool for campaign financing. But even still, that foundation does do what it claims to.  And sure, maybe football has nothing to do with turning around a troubled high school, but if you believe it does then Rob is doing exactly what he claims he thinks will help the most.  And he seems to genuinely care about his football team - so much so that he misses Council meetings for games.  Video of him slagging those players would totally suck.  Even given that he was high on crack at the time of the statement - it would still be pretty hurtful.

Final point - to clarify my first statement on this over at Teh Mothership, Sarah Thomson accused Rob Fod of groping her during a photo op - which turned out to be a fizzled scandal despite having the awesome name of Ass Gate.  Then, Sarah Thomson went on local radio and diagnosed Rob Ford as being high on coke based on her extensive use of Google, which of course - hilarious, at least it was until video evidence starts being discussed.


Gone Leafs Gone

That is all.



That is all.


Even Michael Jackson: Boyband Edition

That magical time of year has returned, the special day when everybody's Irish.  And thusly due to symmetry, the Irish are everybody.  Even Michael Jackson.

This is the third installment (Part 1 and Part 2), and we all know that the third time's the charm - or it is if you are really into Irish boy bands.


The Paranoid Delusions of Some Gun Advocates

TPM Reader MV complains that the paranoid delusions which form his support of the Second Amendment shouldn't be considered as paranoid or delusional as those of other gun supporters.

Here is his argument:
What guns do however, is basically guarantee bloodshed if the government ever does take a hard turn to tyranny. That bloodshed is itself a significant deterrent, even if its the revolters’ blood.

To borrow a phrase - Sadly, No! There is SO VERY MUCH that is wrong with his argument that it really is difficult to know where to start. So warning then - this post may ramble even moar than usual.

Item - the US is a country of some 300 million people. It is the twenty first frigging century. If the US government were to "take a hard turn to tyrrany", guns don't mean sweet fuck all. What if a tyrranical dictatorial executive branch were to suspend habeas corpus, disappear random individuals to secret black site torture centres, order the extra-judicial assassination of her own citizens? The government is going to do what-ever-the-fuck it pleases and no number of citizen-held private assault rifles is going to stop them. "Guarantee bloodshed"? Only in the paranoid delusions of some gun supporters - probably after watching a lot of Red Dawn.

Item - The example cited for the deterrence factor? Tiananmen Square. Because we all know how the plethora of privately held assault rifles made a huge difference in China. FFS, if Tank Man had an AK-47, no one would remember him at all. It is the lack of guns in the hands of the protestors that made it a powerful moment in history.

Item - What are the actual results of having all these guns in all of these hypothetical potential Freedom Fighters? TPM Reader MV, the paranoid delusional gun advocate acknowledges that no modern developed country's military is going to lose to a ragtag band of citizens militia. So what are they going to be able to do? I suppose the best you can hope for is maybe something along the lines of Waco. IOW, David Koresh represents the best case scenario to justify the widespread prevalence of killing machines.

Item - Even if the circumstances arise of a tyrranical government versus freedom-loving insurrectionists - the guns themselves DON'T EVEN FUCKING HALP. If the government were to suddenly go Despot-a-palooza, guess which side the vast majority of assault rifle toting jerkwads will be on? The Tahrir Square protestors back in 2011 were opposed as much by the regime as by conservative Mubarak supporting assholes.

Item - And let's look at the current situation. What is happening in the fallout from Sandy Hook? The government has decided that your personal mental health records should be widely accessible. People are proposing that the government place armed guards at every public building. Yayy FREEDOM! This must be what "the strongest possible protections against tyrrany" looks like.


I'm the King of the World! (edited for more math)

via Atrios
The amount of platinum needed to mint a coin worth $1 trillion would sink the Titanic.

It's no surprise that Republicans don't know the first thing about money. The linked Yglesias article puts it nicely:
But saying that the government would need a lot of platinum is like saying a $100 bill needs to have 100 times as much cotton in it as a $1 bill.

Let's skip that part. Let's accept the absolutely ridiculous notion that a trillion dollar platinum coin needs a trillion dollars worth of platinum to mint. So, even if we accept that ludicrous notion, it turns out that the NRCC is still wrnog.

Some maths - the price of platinum is somewhere around $1,600 per troy oz but it fluctuates. One trillion dollars at this price is 625 million troy ounces. A troy ounce is 0.0685 pounds so this works out to around 21,000 tons.

The Titanic had a cargo capacity of 46,000 gross register tons.

Edit: It has been pointed out that GRT is a bad measure for how much weight it takes to sink a boat. That's true - it almost definitely requires more weight than this. GRT is a measure of permanently enclosed volume - or the amount of "buoyancy" the boat has. Since one GRT is 100 cubic feet of enclosed air or 2.8 cubic metres - the actual buoyancy is 2.8 tonnes (the mass of water that this air would displace). Additional, register tons have something to do with subtracting "non-revenue earning space" etc. Complicated rules anyways. Basic point - the Titanic had bulkheads and other enclosed volumes equal in volume to well over a hundred thousand tons of water. Another consideration though, the boat itself has mass. The light load of the Titanic (no fuel, passengers or provisions) was a bit under 40K tons leaving at least 60,000 tons of buoyancy. The loaded weight was ~52K tons (light load plus 14K "deadweight" or allowable* cargo load). Even when fully loaded, if one additional passenger in the form of Moneybags McPreciousMetals were to board the ship with his one trillion dollar 21,000 ton platinum coin, the Titanic still floats. And while she wouldn't be safe to take out into the open seas with this load, history has shown that this was never possible in the first place.

*allowable means actual. If she were loaded less than this, they would fill with ballast to get to this load since the ship was designed to be operated at this draught.