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Blind man on the Danforth

with giant white cat

does he need help?

No, he’s doing fine

knows where he’s going

unlike me, for example.

rough tradeWhen I first heard Rough Trade’s “High School Confidential” I was immediately taken by its rawness and frank sexuality: it was rare to hear this kind of forthright discussion of desire on the radio stations available in Windsor, Ontario in the early 1980s. Lines like “is he screwing [with] her” were very risqué at the time. (As an aside, I recall that, when I was about eleven or twelve years old, and trying to understand the details of sex, I somehow came to the conclusion that “screwing” referred specifically to anal sex. Of course, I also thought that the vagina was on the front of a woman’s body, just under the belly button, so I was clearly vastly misinformed about a great many things.)

But the most scandalous and titillating (there’s a word that in itself seemed dirty) lyric was the singer’s admission that seeing Dagmar in the hall “made me cream my jeans.” Can you say that on the radio?!

I’d come across the phrase (and don’t doubt that, at twelve years old, even saying the word “come” was a source of embarrassed amusement for all) and knew it was dirty and tied to the newly discovered pleasure and shame of ejaculation (mostly experienced through “wet dreams” at that stage of my life), not to mention crude desire. What a song!

My adolescent mind, just coming to grips with my own sexuality, couldn’t parse the full impact of this line and, even though up until that point in the song I thought the singer was a woman, refused to accept that she could cream her jeans over another woman (and my limited anatomical knowledge had no clue that women could even “cream” at all). So instead of allowing my mind to grasp the possibilities of female-on-female desire, I let cognitive dissonance take over completely and convince me that the singer must be a man after all. And so for years afterward, whenever I heard the song, I pictured a man singing it (in these days before ubiquitous music videos, I’d never been encumbered by actually seeing Rough Trade, although even if I had I’d bet my brain could have convinced my hesitant teenage self that Carole Pope was a man… the subject of androgyny is a story for another time), a man through whom I could identify with my own frustrated desires for the type of woman who was “a combination of Anita Ekberg and Mamie Van Doren” (not that those kinds of girls went to my high school).

Here for me is the power of heteronormative thinking: the assumption that the only possible interpretation of a situation is the heterosexual view. And it was a powerful and instinctive reaction, formed by society, upbringing, and media, I suppose (although now, years later, I’m comfortable taking responsibility for my own presumptions and bias), that was extremely tenacious. How transgressive was this song, in so many ways? It laid the path to an understanding of different ways of being, even if it took me a long time to walk that path.

"Autobiography? Why not? I love cars."

“Autobiography? Why not? I love cars.”

I Don’t Think I Did Anything Wrong


At the End of the Day

The Last One to Toot My Own Horn

Nothing Left to Hide (reserved for Volume 2)




“50% of marriages end in divorce!” I wanted to shout at the lovely couple having their wedding photos taken at City Hall.

How close could Rob Ford have been with Jim Flaherty? After all, he never called him “Jones.”

“Where’s the dandy convention, gents?” I thought of asking the two anachronistically-attired men waiting for the bus, neither of whom, shockingly, were Seth.

I always look away as the subway approaches, not wanting to witness the inevitable suicide.

As I walk around Toronto, I’m fairly secure in the knowledge that I probably won’t get beat up for wearing my particular team’s colours.

Overheard: people on the streetcar speaking German. I never heard the word “Hitler,” which sets my mind largely at ease.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Change is coming. Change we can all get behind. Crack-centered change.

  • Coach House >>>>> Coach’s House
  • AGO >>>>> ARGO
  • Etobicoke >>>>> Etobicrackcoke
  • SkyDome >>>>> HighDome
  • High Park >>>>> No change necessary

Is it too much to ask that Ford Nation is made to see this video… at Ford Fest? Or is that just a… <ahem> pipe dream?


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.

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