Jameson Avenue, 1958

The Big Step – First Apartment in Toronto 1950s from Tiki Films on Vimeo.

Aside from being really cool on its own, this is extra cool for me just because I walked down Jameson between King and Queen ogling these very apartment buildings last fall when I was in Toronto.

More random links I’ve been storing up and forgetting to share:

Saturday in the basement

I spent most of today in the basement digitizing video and playing with photos of vintage supermarkets and not eating very much. It was fun but I feel kind of gross now and my eyes are really tired so I probably won’t do it again tomorrow.

I still may buy a new computer, though.

DC is on hold for a week or two. I forgot about a previous commitment involving cake. I don’t like to miss engagements that result in the consumption of cake. Happy occasions for deserving friends are always a nice diversion as well. Especially if there’s cake…

What I’m gonna do now, though, is go to bed, wishing that I were in Canada and thus would have an extra day this weekend.

Marriage, chicken, etc.

So about this whole Chick-fil-A thing…

I’ll have to admit they make a damned good chicken sandwich. It may be the best fast food sandwich in America. But I wouldn’t buy one now if they were the only restaurant in town. I fully understand that any number of other fast food chains (or their franchisees) have similarly deplorable politics and are probably contributing funds to the dark side as well. But what strikes me about the Chick-fil-A issue is the sheer belligerence of the company’s CEO and the chain’s followers as well as the illogic arguments and fallacious reasoning many of them have invoked in an effort to justify their support–and to mask the real reasons for this support.

Can we please dispense with the notion that this is some sort of “free speech” or “First Amendment” issue right off the bat? With the exception of efforts by a couple of blowhard mayors who spouted off some nonsense they have neither the authority nor the legal standing to enforce, there has been no violation whatsoever of Dan Cathy’s freedom of speech. None. He has faced no legal consequences at all for his ill-advised comments. And he won’t–which is pretty much the definition of free speech.

The problem is that those earnest freedom fighters who queued up to express their support–not necessarily for Cathy’s statements, they always stress, but for his right to make these statements–don’t quite get the concept. Cathy had his say. He exercised his free speech rights without legal retribution. However, the right to free speech does not protect him from the consequences of that speech nor does it preclude people from disagreeing with what he has said and from using their own free speech rights to express that disagreement–which is exactly what Cathy’s detractors have done. And guess what: it’s completely legal and ethical and appropriate for them to react this way, no matter how much it outrages Mike Huckabee.

When I hear an ardent Chick-fil-A supporter babbling on and on about Cathy’s free speech rights, I can’t help thinking back fifty years to the days when segregationists in the South used “states’ rights” as code for their own discriminatory beliefs. Code words like this obviously play better in the media. Worse yet, they also allow the folks who use them to engage in a pattern of denial that much of their motivation is in fact based on prejudice and bigotry rather than on some strict interpretation of the Constitution.

More simply put: Anyone who expresses a belief that Dan Cathy and his $4.5 billion dollar corporation are being persecuted over a free speech issue either does not understand the concept of free speech or is using this as an excuse to mask a personal issue with same-sex marriage. In some ways, I actually have more respect for the people who at least own up to their real motivation than I do for the cowards who cloak their disapproval with idiotic statements like, “I’m not against gay people. I’m just standing up for the First Amendment.”

And let’s get real here: This isn’t just about same-sex marriage, although it would be enough if it were. This is about a long term pattern of donating money to anti-gay groups. Does anyone really believe we would be having this national conversation if it were revealed that Cathy were supporting white supremacist or anti-Semitic groups? How about if he’d come out against interracial marriage? Desegregated schools? Of course we wouldn’t. It’s a sad fact of life that Americans are far more likely to find excuses to support anti-gay bigots than other types.

It takes an issue like same-sex marriage to demonstrate the prejudiced attitudes that so many “tolerant” people still hold. Every time I read a  rant from someone who has “no problem with gay people” except when it comes to “redefining” marriage to include same-sex couples, I want to gouge my eyes out. Here’s the deal: If you are not willing to extend all the rights you enjoy to your “many gay friends”, then you do have a problem with gay people and you are prejudiced, no matter how many claims you make to the contrary. At least have the balls to admit it. This is why I believe the drive toward same-sex marriage, while not the biggest issue currently facing us (federal anti-discrimination legislation comes to mind), is still a very important one; it has excited the masses and it forces people to confront their real prejudices and insecurities. And the fact that the CEO of a major corporation feels that he can make statements like this without a backlash demonstrates perhaps why there has been such a backlash.

Although many of my friends are affected, I have no horse in this race. Turns out I’m apparently not very good at being married and it’s not something I’m likely to try again. But I’ll be damned if I’ll offer any financial support, even the price of a five-dollar meal, to any chickenshit (pun intended) corporation that plans to use part of that money to deny me any basic human right, even one that I don’t intend to assert. Dan Cathy has the right to think and say whatever he wants and to give money to whichever crackpots he chooses. He does not, however, have a right to my continued financial assistance in doing so. And he won’t get it. And those who would support him based on “free speech” or whatever other code word won’t get any respect from me, either. Not that they probably care…

Not just me

Restoring her pride in Canada

Last night I emailed a friend half-way across the world that I was becoming increasingly embarrassed to be a Canadian. I ranted a bit about the federal government and then went on about some of the antics of our mayor.

Tonight I read Nabeel Khan’s description of his “proudly Canadian” Chick-Felays restaurant where “We welcome everyone, customers and employees, with our arms open and our hearts open.”

Then, I read in another section of the paper that Canadian Tire has gifted Himy Syed with a new bicycle so that he can continue his “30 Majids” project for the month of Ramadan.

Thank you for reminding me why I am proud to be a Canadian.

Christine Gebel, Toronto

Funny thing: I was also struck by these same two articles this week in The Star and almost posted about them a few days ago.

For the past few years, I’ve taken to referring to Canada as “America without the bullshit.” I’m not naive enough to believe that our neighbor to the north is perfect. I do, however, believe that it’s a far better place than the US in many ways. Not all ways, maybe, but many…

Saturday night in the basement

It was a wonderfully gloomy, stormy day today. Nice background for a wedding, although the principals might not agree. Regardless of weather, it’s a happy thing to watch two people who so clearly should be married actually doing so. Congrats to Carroll and Lex.

Saturday was much better than Friday, which pretty thoroughly sucked in many most ways for me. Many thanks to Duncan for helping to temper the suckage for a while on Friday afternoon; you maybe don’t know quite how much I needed that. And my apologies to anyone else who came in contact with me in any way whatsoever, especially my parents and the poor folks at the Harris Teeter on Cloverdale. Enough said. I’m not joking when I say it was a pretty shitty day.

But now I’m contentedly in the basement, listening to Capitale Rock and working on Groceteria databases and (hooray!) on the last of the analog home video. I should be done with that by tomorrow. The digital stuff requires much less babysitting and I’ll finally have my home video archived to…um…archival standards very soon. That will make me very happy. Then I can start making MP4 access copies so I can easily watch it all on the Apple TV. Or not…


Nothing like a birthday you don’t particularly want to celebrate, a really depressing and soul-sucking birthday dinner with your parents, and a wedding all in close proximity to really drive home the fact that your life really isn’t quite what you expected it to be a couple of years back.

Umm, no…

From:     iProspect <british.gas@iprospect.com>
Subject:     Otherstream: Link Removal Request(Urgent)
Date:     August 8, 2012 7:28:54 AM EDT


I work for the digital marketing agency iProspect on behalf of British Gas.
As part of our ongoing SEO campaign – we looking to edit or remove some of the backlinks pointing to the http://www.britishgas.co.uk domain name.

We have identified the following link to British Gas on your site (otherstream.com):


We would like to work with you and request that one of the below actions are taken regarding this link.
This is to ensure that our client avoids violating the Google Webmaster Guidelines in any form due to a historic decision they or a previous agency has made.

•    Please remove the link(s) from your website

Please note that we are not trying to imply that your website is of fault for violating any guidelines, but that we have advised British Gas should remove any historic links that they acquired which could be interpreted as paid or intended to manipulate PageRank.
Please let me know if you are able to action this request or if you require any further information.
Apologies if you have received multiple emails, this is due to their being multiple links on your website (please review each one).

Kind regards

I believe I’ll decline. And by the way, please take this opportunity to go fuck yourself.

Crisis mode, month 9

I’m not sure what’s worse: my mom’s constant agitation and “crises” or my dad’s reactions to them.

I can’t quite seem to get him to understand that having Alzheimer’s means that by definition she will be getting upset about something on a regular basis…maybe even daily. He therefore cannot go into crisis mode–and expect me to do the same thing–every time she calls him up and complains, cries, rants, etc. It doesn’t help her because all it does is draw increased attention to the issue at hand, usually an imaginary one, making her dwell on it and stay upset even longer. And it sure as hell doesn’t help us much. I honestly can’t live this way much longer and may have to stop answering his phone calls unless there’s a real emergency. The problem is that I never quite know for sure.

I know it’s hard for him. He’s a more dependent person than he’d like to admit and he’s not sure quite how to behave without my mom around. He will not stop asking her advice about the bills even though this confuses her terribly and gets her even more upset because she doesn’t understand them. And he basically has nothing to do but sit around and obsess about things all day long, but he’s completely uninterested in finding something else to do. God knows, if anyone ever needed a hobby…

He’s making things so much worse by constantly going over there and dwelling and harping on whatever she’s ranting about rather than trying to calm her down and change the subject. Or even worse, he argues with her about it. Then he calls me to discuss it for a half hour or so or to suggest very subtly and passive-aggressively that I drop whatever I’m doing and try to clean it up…but only if I “feel like it,” of course. Lest it sound cold, though, I do have things to do other than sit around and obsess about Mom, especially about relatively small things that neither of us really needs to worry about (nor can do much of anything about) to begin with. How can I make him understand that going to pieces over the small stuff will basically do nothing but make us too exhausted to deal with the big stuff when it comes up?

I hoped that having her in the assisted living facility would help make his life easier too, but he won’t let them take care of the simple things despite all the money he’s spending so they can do just that. And he has this knack for waiting until she’s relatively calm and then deciding to mention just the perfect thing to set her off again. I know it’s better now that it would be if she were home where she could and would wander off and he wouldn’t be able to catch her. I shudder to think what a nightmare it would be for everyone if she were home.

But I’m only slightly less terrified to answer the phone now than I was back in November and December. And that sucks.

Sorry for the venting. I don’t plan to make it a running theme.

Randomly Sunday night

Three things I really don’t give a flying fuck about about tonight:

  • Prince Harry’s wang.
  • Lance Armstrong’s body chemistry.
  • Whether or not the Republican National Convention ever starts.

Three things I do care about tonight:

  • Great post about one of my own idols, Victor Gruen. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the “inventor” of the suburban mall was actually very much an urbanist at heart and had some interesting ideas on development strategies in the postwar years.
  • Interesting commentary on the “Quebec question.”
  • Good story on how digital may be the death of many historic cinemas in resort towns (and probably other small towns as well).