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logoThe MacArthur Fellowship is an award given by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to 20 to 40 United States citizens or residents, of any age and working in any field. It is more commonly known as “The Genius Grant” and is given every year to people who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.”

But did you know that the MacArthur Foundation is also dedicated to recognizing other levels of greatness? After all, not everyone is a genius, but many people deserve awards nonetheless. Here then are a few lesser-known grants:

  • “The Smartass Benefaction”
  • “The Clever Award”
  • “The Needs to Apply Herself Ribbon”
  • “The Promising Trophy”
  • “The So Much Potential Allocation”
  • “The Great Personality Privilege”
  • “The Means Well Endowment”
  • “The Heart Is in the Right Place Boon”
  • “The Wiley Stipend”
  • “The Street Smart Subsidy”

Toronto is still eight months away from the start of the long 2014 election campaign–although if you listen to the Mayor and his brother you’d be excused for thinking we’ve been in the middle of an election for the past six months–and yet the issues that will likely dominate already seem to be coalescing. Here is a sneak preview of what will be on every candidate’s lips in less than a year:

  • Subways, subways, subways
  • No one has done more for _____ than _____
  • Taxes, taxes, taxes
  • At the end of the day, Toronto needs _____, not _____
  • Efficiencies, folks, efficiencies
  • Casinos, casinos, casinos
  • These damn streetcars clogging up our streets
  • Jets, jets, jets
  • The people can’t afford the things that the people are demanding that they want
  • Respect, respect, respect

I don’t know about you, but if you’re like Rob Ford and hate the actual business of governing, and can’t wait for this session of City Council to be over and the election season of strident name-calling, empty catchphrases and soon-to-be-broken promises to begin, 2014 can’t come soon enough!

Rob Ford DrunkOK, I know what you’re thinking–“Dude, lay off the Mayor… the ‘Rob Ford is a drunk’ stories are so three weeks ago!” But at the time those stories came out, I had become so disillusioned with our Mayor that I couldn’t even bring myself to make fun of him. It was all just too much, too embarrassing, too constant, his foibles and missteps. Maybe I even felt bad for him. Had a line been crossed? Had the media delved too far into his personal life? Where should the line be drawn between public and personal lives anyway? So the Mayor likes to drink; so do I. Sometimes he drinks too much; so do I. What would I think if certain of my escapades had become front-page fodder? Had we reached the point where Rob Ford’s everyman appeal had found a resonance with my own values?


But more than anything I just wanted to be reading about important issues facing Toronto–the potential for a downtown casino, how we’re going to pay to fight gridlock, in general making this city a better place–and not about Mayor Ford’s personal troubles.

Since the headlines questioning Ford’s drinking habits, he’s actually kept his nose pretty clean: no new scandals. Sure, he still says stupid things, and I still disagree with almost every opinion that comes out of his mouth, but at least he’s been talking about policies, and taxes, and a vision for the city, even if his vision is amazingly petty and narrow.

But in my own way, I’m petty, too. And I just couldn’t let these jokes at the Mayor’s expense sit unused, languishing in the recesses of my notebook. Let’s hope that these kinds of jokes represent the past, and that we won’t see their like again; let’s hope that when we talk about Rob Ford in the future, it’ll be about his politics, not his behaviour.

Your Coverage of City Hall Makes the Mayor Drink

“Just a little sippy before this transit vote…”

“I can stop anytime I want, just like I stopped the gravy train. Boom! See what I did there?”

Toronto: Where Proposing a Toast to the Mayor’s Health is Now a Controversial Political Act

“Forget subways–what I really want is a motorboat, ifyaknowhatimean!”

In all seriousness, I hope that if Rob Ford has problems with alcohol or drugs, that he gets the help he needs, and listens to those close to him who care about him and risked so much by talking to the media.

I’ve tried willpower and shame but it seems the surest measure to combat unnecessary snacking is your kiss.

Yes, junk food has been a replacement for lacking happiness and companionship. It can fill a void when it seems like the void is just an empty stomach and not loneliness. And like smokers who crave nicotine and are habitualized to the motion of bringing cigarettes to their lips, snacking fills a compunction to keep the hands busy, as well as oral fixations. The tastebuds and the stomach get bored quickly, but as anyone familiar with the sensory homunculus knows, it’s the hands and lips that rule.

And right now my lips are thinking of yours, not potato chips.

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