Friday, July 29, 2011

a modest proposal for fixing toronto's finances

From the nearly 24 hours of deputations in front of Toronto City Council's Executive Committee at City Hall (which ended shortly before this post was written), one of the first clips to receive media play was a satirical jab by North York taxpayer Mary Hynes at how far some people could implement suggestions from KPMG in the Core Service Review.

We first heard her speech last night on As It Happens while driving little Haruki across the city to weekend kitty daycare. There was a momentary risk of driving off the elevated section of the Gardiner Expressway while we laughed. It is reassuring to see that the antics of the Mayor and his allies are starting to rouse Torontonians out of their stupor and prove we're not just the anonymous "taxpayers" he claims to respect.

Priceless bit: note stony expression on Mayor Ford's face when Councillor Adam Vaughan asks Ms. Hynes if she is Margaret Atwood. - JB

Monday, July 18, 2011

jos. a. bank clothiers proudly presents the herb tarlek collection

The Herb Tarlek Collection at Jos. A. Bank

This window was an attention-grabber - several fellow bypassers marvelled in disbelief at the fashions on display. As I placed my camera back in its case, a couple stopped for a second, exchanged stares, then uttered in unison "Herb Tarlek!"

Photo taken along Boylston Street in Boston on June 11, 2011 - JB

Friday, July 15, 2011

does toronto's mayor know about this?

Does Rob Ford Know About This?

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has made battling graffiti/graffiti-style art one of his priorities during his reign of uncompetence. This week, Mr. Ford suggested that the good citizens of our city should call 911 if they spot anyone "causing graffiti" (which led to the #new911calls hashtag on Twitter). Though the message above was photographed before Mr. Ford urged Torontonians to tie up emergency phone lines, the words seem like even more of a dare.

Can Mr. Ford and his cadre on City Council up the ante by sending Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti out with a camera to document taggers in action? Set aside funds once allocated to useless things like child care and trees to create a crack anti-graffiti black ops squad?

Keep trying Rob. Keep trying.

Photo taken June 30, 2011 - JB

Monday, July 11, 2011

road safety in detroit, 1929

Detroit Sign Gives Grim Warning

Any Detroit historians know where, despite the fuzzy background of the picture, this grim sign was placed to keep "autoists" safe and sound?

Source: The Evening Telegram, February 26, 1929. - JB

Friday, July 08, 2011

postcard from france, 1975

Found Postcard - Front

One of the joys of buying used books is finding mementos left by previous owners. A greeting from the author. A note hoping the recipient enjoys the gift they received. Recipes for upside-down cake. Business cards for neo-Nazi organizations. A bookmark from a long-gone bookstore. Photographs from over a century ago.

And postcards such as one found in copy of Spadina: A Story of Old Toronto, a study of the residents and neighbours of the various homes that lent their name to one of downtown's main arteries. A postcard of a French chateau sent to friends or family who resided near the home profiled in the book.

The writer had a wonderful time in France visiting old acquaintances and soaking up the local lifestyle...

Found Postcard - Back

"I think Canada is an idea in the mind of God" - now there's a quotable line.

We also learned that 35 years after the postcard was written, the ink smudged as if it was laid down 35 seconds ago. - JB

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

you gotta have art

This is a friendly public service announcement to those in the world who find any kind of art, fine or not, unworthy of public support. Perhaps the cold-hearted, controversy-seeking executives of Sun Media (whose coverage of a play about a terrorism suspect assisted the federal government's last-minute decision to pull funding for Summerworks and whose TV channel went off the deep end its in attack on arts funding) had parents who determined that "you gotta have art" was a dangerous message to impart onto their budding shapers of public opinion.

Based on the song "Heart" from the musical Damn Yankees, the "You Gotta Have Art" campaign was a Detroit television staple in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Marvelling at the Diego Rivera frescos on your way into the Detroit Institute of Arts might make you dance too.