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News-esque

Is Toronto Mayor Rob Ford A Drunkard?

Dog on a Bender
Dog on a Bender

Of course, the Toronto Star is no fan of Rob Ford, because, truth be told, Rob Ford is kind of a jerk, not to mention a Tea Bagger Wanna Be…

That was backed up by three members of the Garrison Ball organizing committee, one of whom said Ford “seemed either drunk, high or had a medical condition.” Six guests at the ball were interviewed saying they had concerns over Ford’s behaviour. Given the Ford administration’s history of launching blistering attacks on its enemies, these sources insisted on anonymity. And, to be fair, others at the event were quoted saying they saw nothing untoward. But Councillor Paul Ainslie, a Ford ally, did confirm that the mayor was asked to leave. These allegations are what Ford specifically branded “an outright lie.” But they’re just the latest links in a chain of damaging incidents coiling ever tighter around the mayor.

Earlier this month Ford was at another public event where former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson accused him of grabbing her backside while posing for a picture. Ford dismissed that, too, as a lie but a photo emerged showed him rumpled and stained — hardly an inspiring look for the leader of Canada’s sixth largest government. Ford caused embarrassment a few days later when he reportedly showed up disheveled at a gathering attended by several orthodox rabbis and awkwardly delivered a pro-casino rant. This was reported by the Toronto Sun, which quoted Councillor Joe Mihevc as saying: “He did not do honour to our good city.” And an incident at a downtown Toronto restaurant, on St. Patrick’s Day last year, generated concern about Ford’s drinking, according to sources cited by the Star.

Add to that Ford’s increasingly light work schedule and intentionally obscured comings and goings at city hall. The Star has amply documented this in the past . And the Globe and Mail, last month, used a freedom of information request to show that Ford hardly ever schedules meetings or events after 3:30 p.m. — a remarkably lax attitude for the chief executive of a $9.4-billion corporation. Can he not handle more? 

Then there are Ford’s repeated calls to 911, including an allegation that he resorted to obscenities with a dispatcher; his drunken tirade at a hockey game, inflicted on a Durham couple and flatly denied until overwhelming evidence forced him to confess; and Ford’s no-contest plea on a 1999 Florida charge of impaired driving . He didn’t tell the full truth about that, either.

Look at the pattern. In all sincerity, what does it show? An innocent victim, laid low by a conspiracy of liars, or a man struggling — and failing — to cope?

(click here to continue reading Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s pattern of behaviour tells a troubling story: Editorial | Toronto Star.)

Drunks at Duffys
Drunks at Duffys

Mayor Ford, predictably, denies angrily this charge, but not convincingly:

Ford responded angrily to the story on Tuesday, calling it “an outright lie.” Mihevc told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway that Ford’s reaction to the story was “not accurate.”

“Certainly the mayor’s comments yesterday were, let’s put it this way, not accurate,” said Mihevc. “There is something there and I think many of us have been privy to it. However I don’t really want to focus on that. It is up to the mayor to come clean and to figure out what he needs to do to pull his life together.”

Galloway asked Mihevc, a left-leaning council member who has at times clashed with Ford but remains friendly with him, whether he has seen Ford appear intoxicated in public.

“I have seen him in situations where it appears he is not fully there,” said Mihevc.

Mihevc was also critical of Ford’s claims there is a concerted effort by the media and those opposed to Ford’s cost-cutting agenda to oust him from office.

“Specifically that the whole world is conspiring against him. That simply is not true,” said Mihevc. “Many of us have deep political divisions with him, however it is just not accurate that there’s this grand conspiracy that involves members of the media and that involves member of his political opponents …. He does a lot of this to himself.”

(click here to continue reading Rob Ford response to drinking story called ‘not accurate’ – Toronto – CBC News.)

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Narcipost

33 Baldwin Street Toronto Memory Lane

Seth on Morley Yan's Motorcycle on 33 Baldwin St, Toronto, June 1979

Sitting on Morley Yan’s Motorcycle on 33 Baldwin St, Toronto, June 1979

When I was a child, during summers and around Christmas (and at various other times), we lived at the Ragnarokr Leather shop Co-op on 33 Baldwin Street, aka the Ragnarokr Cordwainery. For some reason1 I was trying to recall all the businesses located on that block. Here’s what I came up with:

A Chinese bakery, the name of which I cannot recall. Yung Sing Pastry Shop! That’s it. I don’t remember eating sweets so much from there as much as I recall eating stuffed pork buns, or various savory meat pastries.

A Chinese poultry shop, name forgotten. I don’t believe I ever went inside here, but they shared an alley with us, so walking by this place was always pungent, or worse. They had hanging fowls in the front window.

Hong Kong Grocery2 – a small store with basic foods and sundries. I recall being sent there to pick up items for meals – milk, or eggs, or whatever. The proprietor was a genial man – I recall him beaming at me as I came in running some errand or another for my mother. There was another grocery on the other side of the street, but I don’t recall going there often, unless with friends to buy candy. My uncle adds:

The grocery store was called Nik’s at first and then was sold to a Chinese guy from Honduras. He spoke Spanish. His first store was in a mining town in Honduras. When the gold ran out he moved to Toronto.

The Yellow Ford Truck – a clothing store (?) run by like minded American exiles. It might have been a head shop, but to be honest, I don’t really remember much about it. Perhaps children were not welcomed because of the kind of goods that were sold there.

Morningstar Trading Company– a clothing store specializing in Indian and Southeast Asian imports. I do remember hanging out here quite a bit. I guess it is still around in one form or another, though I don’t know if it is owned by the same principals.

Mandel’s Creamery – delicious Jewish dairy and cheese monger; fresh made cream cheese is what I primarily remember. This was also a place I would get sent to by my mother when she needed something. I think still around, though in a different location.

John Philips’ Baldwin Street Gallery – sadly, John Philips passed away recently, though not before my folks bought some nice prints from his extensive archive. I wish I could have met him as an adult, he probably would have given me some good photo tips.

Letki Designs – a jewelry store. I don’t recall too much about this place, other than my mom’s wedding band came from here, and my aunt Megan lived as an au pair3 briefly.

The Cosmic Egg – another clothing store, I think. Perhaps they sold surplus goods as well.

There were also two places right on the adjacent block of McCaul Street – Silverstein’s Bakery, and the Whole Earth Food store. Both of these places evoke smell memories, even after all this time.  I was frequently sent to pick up fresh rolls or a loaf of rye bread from Silverstein’s, and Whole Earth had those big buckets of freshly ground nut butters and bins of brown rice and so forth.

As far as aided recall, a lot of the Baldwin Village stores are listed here, but where’s the fun in that? Some of those I truly do not remember, like the Red Morning Communist Party, or Children of God / Imperial Pig, Amaranth-Pentacle or even the Sissler Gallery, which might have been right next door. I sort of remember Java Blues, a coffee shop that had a little sidewalk cafe adjunct.

Looking back, that stretch of Baldwin was pretty dense – you certainly didn’t need a car. I haven’t visited Baldwin Street since 1994 – I wonder how much remains the same? Not much I presume.

Footnotes:
  1. while taking a shower if you must know []
  2. I think. Maybe called Hong Chow’s? Maybe Wah Sing? []
  3. or something []