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Newsflash: April 3, 2014 | We read the news so you don’t have to

New revelations in Ford warrants (surprise, it’s grimy, grimy stuff), Eve Adams didn’t get a good wash at a gas station car wash and the PMO got involved, John Tory has secret admirers in his press releases, Canadians don’t tip well, and Pauline Marois finally got too crazy even for Quebec politics.

The final release in the series of Rob Ford search warrant ITOs contains threats of physical harm in the ghetto, claims of dirty cops, and mentions of a Ford driver and “Juiceman” terrorizing Etobicoke. Ford jumped the gun be declaring his proven innocence when the police announced later the investigation is still ongoing. With the last of the warrant information released, however, Torontonians are left feeling just like when the last Twilight book came out.

Conservative MP Eve Adams’ rough week just got worse. The latest troubles surfacing around the scandal plagued Tory involve a supposed tantrum at an Ottawa area gas station when her car wash wasn’t up to snuff and her newly unemployed (and likely fired) boyfriend Dimitri Soudas coming forward to say the only reason he involved himself in her riding matters was because she had suffered a head injury. Note to Rob Ford: a head injury could be a great excuse.

John Tory has been accused of making up quotes in a press release that attributes Tory praise to “XXXXX” in what looks like a place holder for a name to be plugged in. Other candidates were quick to mock the mistake while poor XXXXX Smith cried once again over the awful, awful name his parents gave him.

Pauline Marois and the PQ look poised to lose the April 7th election and detailed analysis puts the Liberals in majority territory while many journalists have starting writing the PQ leader’s political obituary, cause of death given as insanity. No religious funeral, please.

Canadians are apparently bad tippers, according to some folks down in the US where tipping culture is very big. Thankfully Ottawa found something that it is good at, and that is tipping. Good for you Ottawa. You really needed this.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Ford’s words in a child’s mouth: An allegory for the media’s sense of entitlement in politics

With election season fully underway and a slew of non-campaign-but-close videos hitting the web it was only a matter of time before Rob Ford’s now infamous crack cocaine denials made the rounds on social media yet again, but even those suffering from Ford Fatigue can appreciate this new take.

“Rob Ford’s words in the mouth of a child” takes near direct quotes from Ford’s denial and later admission of smoking crack cocaine and puts them in the context of a frustrated father dealing with a daughter who left a “crack” in a window after playing inside.

The short leaves viewers by stating “our children are listening” evoking concerns of the example being set for youth by Toronto’s mayor. The issue it presents isn’t an example of a child mimicking smoking crack or associating with gangs and drug dealers (in fact the girl in the video is doing homework when her father comes in and is only guilty of tossing a ball around indoors) but taking from him the lesson that constant lies and denials wont land you in any hot water and can, in fact, leave you better off than you were before. Uh oh, seems like one of those pesky situations where parents might have to explain right from wrong to their kids.

Media knows best

The real draw in this video isn’t the lines you’ve heard ad nauseam for the past year, it’s the reaction of the father character as he deals with his unruly child. It isn’t exactly clear if the father is supposed to represent the electorate of Toronto (you know, those people still polling Rob Ford in the 30% range) or the frustrated reporters and journalists of the media who have stopped short of declaring all out war on Ford the Man and Ford the Mayor.

What is missing from the father/daughter scenario is a clear punishment — a smart mouth like that would still land children over their father’s knee in a lot of households, the same way voters have the ability to boot out Ford in the fall.

The hands up what-the-heck-can-I-do-here response from the father here seems more in tune with the reaction of many in the media right now. “We’ve done all we can” is a common subtext to much of the reporting and comment on Ford at this point. “We’ve caught him in his lies, exposed the scandal, and now there is nothing more we can do! But look how awful he is! Why aren’t you listening to us? Boy are we mad!” Mad indeed.

Most stories at Toronto’s dailies now completely and totally count out Ford as a viable candidate in the current election period. We’re told regularly that there is no point in portraying him as anything other than a cartoonish style super villain because of his lies. He lied about crack, he lied about saving a billion dollars, and who knows what else he has lied about.

But still, despite being reduced to nothing but a few shreds of good press over the last year, Ford still polls well into the territory it would take to secure another mandate at the helm of this city.

The father of the Ford quoting girl represents Toronto’s media in sense that they are both throwing their hands up in reaction to the situation. They are both stuck dealing with lies and denials, and although they want nothing more in the world, they simply cannot correct this behaviour. The difference is that fathers have a responsibility to correct the behaviour of their children.

The media entitlement and desire to control the outcome of this election has become a heavy and insufferable inflated ego that has wedged its way into all of the coverage around Ford and his opponents.

In an age where our politics are almost always presented through a lens it is irresponsible and undemocratic for the media to try and make up our minds for us.  The father in the video can spank his child and send her to her room, but as much as the journalists and reporters who make up the media in Toronto wish they could do the same to Ford they simply have no such right.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

ROUND UP: The 7 best April Fool’s Day pranks in Canada for 2014

Now that April Fool’s Day is behind us — and the fear of being pranked by a friend or co-worker has subsided for another year — we can take stock of the great year it was for pranks here in Canada.

7) In Toronto the TTC went E.T. when they spotted some aliens.

TTC alien abduction

6) In Hamilton a prank went wrong and ended in arrest.

april fools

5) In Halton the police announced plans to train cats for police work.

halton april fools

4) In Toronto the TTC announced plans for condos on subway platforms.

3) In Toronto Distl determined the condo market is too saturated on earth and announced plans to start building on the moon.

distl lunar

2) Roots drops the beaver from their logo in favour of a loon.

1) WestJet converts to metric time

 

 

Did we miss any great ones? Tweet to @WomensPost and let us know!

Newsflash: April 1, 2014

Those who love April Fools love it, and those who hate it absolutely despise it, but all the pranks today left us wondering if there actually was any real news going on in the world. Turns out there was plenty: Marois’ money, Libs push mini LCBOs, LGBT youth homelessness, and fake anti-Ford campaign signs.

 

The husband of Pauline Marois was accused over the weekend of inappropriately soliciting $25,000 in donations from an engineering firm to contribute to her leadership campaign. It wouldn’t be a Quebec election without some good old fashion corruption. But hey, at least no one was wearing a hijab.

The Ontario Liberals are pushing forward a plan to install LCBO pop up shops inside of grocery and corner stores. Considering the amount of bad press the McGuinty cohort has projected on to Wynne getting the voting population drunk enough to forget about gas plants and e-mails might not be a bad plan from here on out.

A Toronto man was convicted of inciting hatred against Muslims and sentenced to nine months of jail time for handing out flyers slurring the religion and harassing a Muslim family. No word yet on whether the PQ will run him as a candidate.

Andrea Houston explored the issue of homelessness with gay and trans youth in Toronto, an at risk population that many organizations don’t know how to help properly. To add some scope to the issue: we can’t even find a home for a rainbow flag in front of City Hall — Toronto needs to work better to protect those who need it most.

Fake campaign signs promoting almost anyone as better than Rob Ford have been popping up. There is truth in this advertising, when someone sounds like a better alternative because they will only smoke weed (not crack) as mayor there are some fundamental problems.

 

The TTC puts out new plan (on April 1st) to put condos in underused stations to make money

The TTC has a new plan that would save money by selling underused stations like Bessarion and Chester to make condos at track level.

The plan, released on April 1st and presented over YouTube with the TTC’s Brad Ross and Chris Upfold, is a great prank that acknowledges the under use of certain stations. Watch the video and let us know what you think, would condos beside subway tracks have a good chance in today’s condo market? We think yes. Well, maybe not Bessarion.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

WATCH: What if ‘heterophobia’ was a real thing?

Filmmaker Kim Rocco Shields and actress Lexi DiBenedetto have flipped the script on the traditional coming out story with the short film “Love Is All You Need?”

In an attempt to show homophobes just how hard it can be for gay people to face adversity from bigots in their lives she has created a parallel universe where being gay is the norm and a girl coming to terms with her (hetero) sexuality is the one who faces sneers from friends, tears from parents, and vicious attacks from bullies.

This short film is stunning in its depiction of the horrors that gay kids can experience and the depression and isolation that can be brought on by bullying and intolerance.

Dedicated to “any child who has ever felt such darkness due to others’ hatred and misunderstanding,” this film is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever felt excluded and shine a light on the very real and serious pain experienced by many gay teens coming to terms with who they are.

For anyone who has ever wondered why gay kids need love, support and acceptance, this short film is a must-see.

Online dating: It’s here to stay, we might as well enjoy it

DerekTheClown entered my apartment yelling as I greeted him.  “Tower!” He screamed, apparently about the high-rise I live in with my parents, who were, mercifully, not there.  He brushed past me to dump his six pack of Red Cap on my kitchen counter and proceeded to go through my closet looking for second hand finds.  He selected a black and white Urban Outfitters dress, whipped off all his clothes and shimmied it over his shoulders; he looked like Fred Flintstone.  “I love you,” he said, then he kissed me, hard.

Derek looked exactly like he did in his photos – like the most beautiful and crazy person I had ever seen.  He had wildly long hair with a beard to match, sharp blue eyes and the tanned skin of a construction worker; I had to clench my jaw to keep from gawking at his physical attractiveness.  Clearly I had gotten lucky.  Derek’s photos are what initially led me to message him, as they painted a pretty accurate picture of his perfect physique and weird lifestyle.  Among them were a picture of his hairy face taken in a dirty bathroom mirror and another of him jumping over a fire wearing a loincloth.  I continue to hear horror stories from friends who have been on dates with people whose photos are a total misrepresentation or several years old.  “Yay!”, I remember thinking.

Clearly, I’m a bit of a risk-taker when it comes to online dating, and I am (or was) more than willing to invite strangers to my house for weird drunk/naked dance parties in an effort to find love.  But really, online dating is for mentally healthy people too.

The origins of online dating depend on who you talk to; there have been various iterations and attempts to match total strangers using computer algorithms, video interviews, or phone chats since these technologies have been taken on by the sad, lonely and entrepreneurial.  But none have come as close in popularity and user count as the online dating behemoths of today like Match.com, started in 1995, now even more gargantuan thank to buyouts of smaller competitors.

Now operating in 24 countries with millions of users, Match.com is likely the first place many people go when seeking out an online dating site; its net worth is estimated in the billions.  Definitely geared towards the mainstream, Match.com is successful in being everything to everyone.  Though it’s feels a little clunky, it feels like a deliberate demonstration that online dating is no longer cutting edge – perfectly suitable to you and your suburban house and Acer computer.

Of course, all dating sites, whether they have millions of users or just a small slice of the market pie, have a certain flavour and vibe.  Colloquially, eHarmony is for old farts that want to find true love, while AshleyMadison is for people that want to cheat on their wives with someone with a name like Ashley Madison, though they’ll probably end up screwing someone named Nancy who also drives a minivan.  There are the religious sites, like ChristianMingle and JDate which are also used by the secular-minded looking for stability (with the former) or wealth (the latter).  Then there are the free sites, the most popular being PlentyOfFish and OKCupid, which are both basically a sea of horny hipsters and thugs who live at home.

The differences between these dating sites are really reflective of what their creators were trying to accomplish –  eHarmony was founded with an eye towards lowering the divorce rate, so to sign up you are forced to answer an hours worth of personality questionnaires and can only view the profiles of people with whom you are compatible.  You also have to be pretty financially committed to finding romantic harmony, with a one month subscription running at about $60 a month with discounts if you sign up for longer.  OKCupid on the other hand was started by a crew of Harvard mathematicians and is thus focused on getting their users to answer questions of varying predictive value.  For example, answering yes to “Do you like the taste of beer” is highly predictive of whether someone will have sex on the first date.  Ultimately though, all of these sites are faced with the same problem: how to facilitate meetings between strangers.

I first heard about internet dating in a socially acceptable context back in 2011 when a good friend of mine introduced me to OKCupid.  She was using it to reach out to a demographic that was new to her – men.  Before her introduction I pretty much thought internet dating was for sad sacks looking “the one” because they were too weird for the real world, like WOWers, people with facial deformities, Asperger’s, or my Grade 12 World History teacher who unfortunately resembled a human mole, who I found on LavaLife.  When I first signed up and carefully created/curated my profile, it was like I had just discovered Facebook.  I was struck by the sheer number of “normal” people out there with pets and mothers and jobs who were waiting for me to click onto their profiles or send them a stupid message.  I was immediately hooked and began going on date after date after date – sometimes more than once in a night.

Of course, online dating isn’t all fun and fucks, sometimes people get raped and murdered.  Carole Markin famously sued Match.com to begin doing background checks on its users after she was brutally raped by a registered sex offender on their second date.  Even more notorious, the so-called Craigslist Killer (aka medical student Philip Markoff) was accused of three armed robberies and a murder, all of the victims reportedly having made contact with him via Craigslist personal ads.  What is clear about these terrible scenarios however is that they could have occurred in the context of “regular” dating too.  Just like in the non-virtual world, online dating requires some reliance on gut-feelings and best practices.  It’s probably not a good idea to go home with a stranger or invite them over for a first date.  In practice though, I have a hard time taking my own advice.

After Derek was settled into my dress and couch we drank a ton of beer, listened to music, made out and chatted a little bit.  This date was an after party for both of us, as he was coming from a concert and I had just been out on another date.  At some point we had to sleep so we took to my tiny tower-sized twin bed and cuddled until we drifted off.  The next day we explored Scarborough, shopping for thrift clothing and jewelry, talked about getting married and ate at Subway – Derek loved Subway, I think ironically but maybe not.  I found his stash of approximately 20 parking tickets.  Derek parked where he wanted to.  In hindsight I was totally falling for him but I kept it together reasonably well that first 24 hours and avoided acting like an obsessive teenager

I had promised that first date from the previous night that I would see him again, so later in the day I made up some story about a dinner party I had to go to and got Derek to drive me to his house.  (I literally will always wonder if this had karmic implications on the trajectory of my relationship with Derek, but more on that later.)  We tongued each other goodbye and he honked several times as I made my way up to the door of this other guy’s basement apartment.  At that point I knew I couldn’t give less than one shit about other dude and was excited for when I could see Derek again.

Derek and I dated for a whirlwind seven weeks of trips to Toronto Island, tours of his hometown, too-hip concerts and countless tall-cans of Old Milwaukee.  Finally, he dumped me, leaving me a total emotional mess.

Ultimately my experience with Derek taught me that it is actually possible to find love on the internet.  Though it didn’t work out between us, finding Derek on OKCupid refined my tastes, raised my standards and exposed me to one of the very best people in the world.  I am convinced that there is more of the same out there.  While I sometimes get frustrated after a few hours of progressive drunken but still boring conversation, I find some shallow comfort in the fact that there is always going to be another internet man rating me 5 stars.

Read this beautiful 40 year old missed connection right now

While we spend a lot of time here dishing on awful missed connections it is worth it every once in a while to pause and remember that the medium exists to help people find more than a cheap fling.

This missed connection — now 40 years gone since the time they first met — is a beautiful example of the reason that people write these things. Check it out and let us know what you think and if you have any suggestions to help him reconnect with her.

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Grand Central – November 1973 – m4w – 58 (Midtown)

In the fall of 1973 I was studying as a freshman at NYU, and after failing to make my initial train home to Maine, I was rushing through Grand Central on the evening before Thanksgiving 1973 when I spotted you, emerging from one of the railways, with a look of utter confusion on your face. You had the blondest hair I had ever seen, and a plaid dress. I had never seen a plaid dress before.
I was, in those days, terribly shy, and if I am honest with myself, I’ve never shook that stubborn sense of timidity or loneliness in crowds. To this day, trying to explain the uncharacteristic courageousness that seized me in that moment, and inspired me to walk up to you and say “are you lost?” is almost completely beyond me.
You were studying at Olberlin, and on your way to spend Thanksgiving with your aunt in Jersey City. After explaining to you where you could get a bus, I asked, in spite of knowing it would mean sacrificing my last chance to spend the holiday with my family (and likely infuriate my over-protective mother), if you wanted to get a drink and you said yes.
We walked out into a rainy Manhattan street and ducked into the first (cheap) bar we saw, where I ordered us two bottles of beer. Now in my 50’s, when with any luck a man might finally begin to acquire that elusive thing called wisdom, I know that there is nothing more exciting yet rare in life than making a true connection with someone. I have always been too sentimental for my own good, but in all honesty, I have never felt more at ease with anyone than I did laughing and talking to you that dimly lit midtown bar.
When I confessed that I purposefully missed my train to keep talking to you, you smiled slyly and said “well I guess it’s only fair that I miss my bus.” With no money for a cab, we walked to my Lower East Side dorm room, which was deserted aside from my German classmate Franklin, who kindly gave us a half-finished bottle of red wine.
We made love that night, and in the morning coached one another through shaky phone calls to our angry relatives back home. With the November cold turning the night’s rain into a dreary wintery mix, we stayed in bed all day, sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes, discussing politics and philosophy. You told me you had never felt “so New York before.”
That evening, you took a bus to Jersey City. A few weeks later I received a letter from California. You sent no return address, and I never saw you again.
I have been married twice since then – once divorced, and once widowed. I have had a successful career as an English professor, and am a proud father. My life has known its share of triumphs and heartaches, of love and loss. Against my better judgement, I haven’t forgotten that day – and, at least once a year, while mowing the lawn, or reading a newspaper, the details come back to me.
Perhaps, if life’s strange circumstances can permit it, we can have a second drink.

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There is nothing sadder than the ghost of what could have been, but the author of this missed connection treasures the time they spent together nonetheless.

 

Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

No jail time for female B.C. teacher who molested 11 year old boy

A former school teacher from Langley, B.C. received a conditional sentence after pleading guilty to sexual interference with an child between the ages of 11 and 13 between 1998 and 2000. The teacher, who was 43, 44, and 45 at the time the crimes took place, will be submitting to 18 months of house arrest, community service, and a curfew.

The difference between this case and the moral outrage that normally accompanies cases of child molestation is that the teacher, Deborah Ralph, now 59, is a woman and her victim was a young boy.

TheProvince reports that her crimes included kissing, touching, cuddling, and oral sex with the child, who was not her student at the time. Like many high profile cases of child molestation where the perpetrator is a female teacher and the child is a young boy a psychiatric report portrayed Ralph as a woman who saw herself in a consenting romantic relationship with the boy.

Justice Selwyn Romilly didn’t view Ralph as a typical predatory child molester saying that she was at a low risk of re-offending and that “she is at a very different point in her life after a great deal of introspection and emotional growth.”

The decision handed down by the judge clearly notes that the sex of the offender influenced the ruling, stating that  “Ms. Ralph’s sexual behaviour with the victim was not consistent with that of a predatory paedophile. Instead the category of female sex offender into which her offending falls is recognized in the literature as the “teacher/lover” who sees herself as part of a consenting romantic relationship with an adolescent and does not recognize any abusive behaviour. However the behaviour clearly violates the normal boundaries present in the teacher/pupil relationship”

What many people fail to realise is that this situation and ones like it show a problem with the advances of modern feminism. While women have fought for years to dispel the image of the mother, the child, the nurturer, or the emotional and docile female the case of Deborah Ralph shows that the courts haven’t yet caught up.

Feminists need to be fighting not only to dispel these notions to protect the advancement of women in the workplace and society, but to ensure harsher penalties for sexual predators who happen to be women to protect our own families, the families of others, and the community as a whole.

 

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Let us know what you think. Should female paedophiles receive equally harsh sentences?

Newsflash: March 26, 2014

In honour of tonight’s Toronto mayoral debate Yahoo News came up with Mayoral Debate Bingo, complete with all the phrases you love like Old Politics, Jack Layton, Downtown Relief Line, Pride Parade, Scarborough Subway, and Bike Lanes. This might be the easiest game of bingo you’ve ever played.

Pauline Marois was schooled by a bunch of high school kids who know what they’re talking about. The Quebec Charter of Values has been a debate in the province and around the rest of the country for a while now and the popularity of the charter others view as racist or bigoted has helped the PQ even in the midst of endless bad press. Good thing these kids have a decent understanding of rights and liberties and throw down the hammer by quoting Marois’ own 1997 education act’s enshrining of respect for other cultures. Hey Mme Marois, maybe it’s time to go back to school.

John Tory says he has a plan for a new north-south subway in Toronto. The details are sparse, but he says he can pay for it somehow and we’ll find out how… sometime before the end of the campaign.

Rob Ford has been snubbed from the Garrison Ball this year after becoming famously (and belligerently) drunk when he attended last year. Although he’s hinted he might crash the party organizers have made it clear that only ticket holders are welcome and RoFo certainly does not have a ticket.

One of Ontario’s most controversial mayors has taken leave. No, not Ford. Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell is the highest paid mayor and has been under fire recently for lavish expenses and also taking a secret pay cut. former MPP Linda Jeffrey left the Ontario cabinet to run against her in the upcoming municipal election.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin broke up and were immediately made fun of by everyone because they called in ‘conscious uncoupling.

There is going to be a Miss Congeniality TV series produced by Gracie Hart herself Sandra Bullock and it will be amazing.