Friday, June 2, 2023

Canada sees the rise of mall cities

That's the headline for a story in the real estate section of today's Globe & Mail. Apparently mall owners are developing the space over their malls for condos. What a concept! In the mid-80's I used to have occassional meetings with Joey Wolfond at his office in the basement of the Willow West Mall. That was Guelph's first enclosed shopping mall, and it had been developed by Joey's grampa, Joe Wolfond. Joey and I were close to the same age, and he was an amicable converstionalist. We ostensibly met to discuss the sale of a nearby strip mall his family owned, but our conversations veered all over the map, from caribbean cruises to fast cars to his grampa, who I had the pleasure of knowing ever since my gas jockey days at John's Supertest in my teens. Occasionally the discussion turned to real estate, and I remember debating the pros and cons of adding apartments in the space above the mall. The Willow West Mall had a huge parking lot, that never came near full capacity except for the week before Christmas. Why couldn't you put twelve stories of rentals overtop the mall? You already own the mall, so it's basically a free building site. Joey told me why they couldn't. Zoning. Bylaws. Rules. Regulations. That was forty years ago. Today it's newsworthy that mall owners are building out residential over their properties.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

When the world is going down the shitter, it's more important than ever to count your blessings

Gotta say things are looking bleak. The Ukraine shit-show has a good chance of turning us all into radioactive dust. The AI wave that is all the rage has it's creators warning their Frankenstein could make humans extinct. Focus your lens on the local picture and there's more folks than ever living their lives and voiding their bowels on the street. Literally. It's ugly times we live in. My personal secret to maintaining sanity is to appreciate the small stuff. Time with friends. Meals with family. Paying it forward at Timmies... and being mindfull of what good fortune permits you all of the above. I was blessed with a grandchild recently, and must raise a toast to the youngsters who are brave enough to take a chance on reproduction in these perilous times. But day in and day out, the blessing I used to take for granted is hanging out with my dog, and I've learned to pay attention to how much he adds to the quality of my life. He has no concerns re Ukraine, artificial intelligence, American exceptionalism, the climate crisis, the housing crisis, racism, fascism, sexism, feminism, capitalism, communism... a simple companion for complicated times. All I have to do is feed him and he rewards me with unconditional love. That's a blessing.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Looking to cash in on the wave of sympathy for celebs with rare diseases, A-Rod reveals he has gum disease

No shit. Gum disease, the silent and sneaky killer, takes another retired A-lister in the prime of life, or at least not too far past it. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time. It must have been a terrible blow. At least it's not hair loss or liver cancer. As my dear nonagenarian father likes to say; "nothing is ever so bad that it couldn't be worse." So buck up, Alex. Thanks to modern science, many people now enjoy long and happy lives with dental implants.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Pot-addled hillbilly defeated by chipmunks, again

I used to think chipmunks were cute and cuddly. Not that I ever cuddled one, but getting them to eat peanuts out of your hand on a camping trip was always a feel-good moment. I felt less good about them the winter they invaded the house. They'd take one or two bites out of everything in the fruit bowl in the kitchen, and leave a few chipmunk turds in payment. At that point they're not cute anymore; they're just another rodent. Between Doublewide culling the chipmunk population and me applying copius amounts of foam insulation into every nook and crevice through which they might enter the house, we were able to beat back the invaders. Alas, they're not finished with me yet. I've been a bit slow in getting my herb garden going this year. Tucked 24 seeds into my table-top green house and within 36 hours 18 had germinated! ! was so pleased, I put them out on the back stoop so they could get a little sun. Then I forgot about them and left them out overnight. By morning, the chipmunks had uprooted all 18 seedlings to eat whatever was left of the seeds. Back to square one.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Ultimate survival strategy for white males in the Age of Woke

Listen up, white dudes. You know you're the problem. You've occupied the pinnacle of the power structure since dinosoaurs roamed the earth. Time's up. Here's your get-out-of-hell-free card, boys. Just declare yourself a woman! You instantly go from alpha predator to most vulnerable marginalized community in the heirachy of marginalized communities! I know a lot of guys are reluctant because they don't want to part ways with Willie. Mr Johnson. The pink torpedo... you know what I'm talking about. Well, here's the best part; you don't have to! Women with weiners get way more respect than either women without them or women with them who pass themselves of as "men." Politicians and the media will fawn all over you. CBC will send a team to do a personal profile. Start a TicToc channel and get rich! And if you got any sports talent, you'll go from mediocre to elite once you're on the girls team. So let's get with it, guys. Turn your frown upside down! Make peace with Woke!

Friday, May 26, 2023

Canada's spy agency is interfering in our democracy

Here's a theory: the people in Washington who design foreign policy for "the free world," have decreed that we need to prepare for war with China. To that end, the "security services" across EU-NATOland have been tasked with softening up their citizens for the prospect of the current trade war turning into an actual hot war. Before you can say me too, some deep state operatives have leaked to the national newspaper of record the straight skinny on CHINESE COMMUNIST CHINESE COMMUNIST COMMUNIST CHINA'S INTERFERENCE IN OUR DEMOCRACY!!! Well maybe, maybe not. The Globe can't actually spill the secrets because they're secret, just like their sources. Former GG David Johnston is being crucified because what he saw didn't amount to much but he can't tell you what it did amount to 'cause it's a secret. The whole production has nothing-burger written all over it, but hot damn, does it ever have us focussed on Communist China's fiddling with our democracy! We must push back against those aggressive Chinese Communists, and make it clear that we will stand with Taiwan for as long as it takes to protect its democracy from China. What's the bigger threat to our democracy? China? Or a clandestine campaign of staged leaks intended to destroy Canada-China relations?

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Todd Hirsch hits a homer

Todd Hirsch used to be the top economist at the Alberta Treasury Board. That gave him the cred to float some of the dumbest ideas I ever heard of in the pages of The Globe and Mail on a regular basis. Celebrity chefs could revitalize rust-belt communities with destination dining? Yup, open up a trendy eatery in some down-and-out locale and wham! They'll be flying in from all over... I don't recall if that was the dumbest one, but he had lots. I wrote him off as an out-of-touch wanker who didn't know much about the real world. So imagine my surprise when I ran into him in the pages of the Globe today, and found myself agreeing with almost everything he said in "We lied to millenials and Gen Z when we said they could be anything they wanted." Did we ever! Just try really hard and don't ever let go of your dreams and they'll all come true, because everybody's a winner in this brave new world. Trouble is, thanks to our ultra-shallow fame-focused cultlure, way too many kids want to become NBA stars or rappers or social media influencers. As Hirsch points out, 99.999% of the time, that ain't gonna happen. Instead, too many of our millenials find they're gonna have to pay their own way in this cruel world with a mere "job" they're indifferent to. Oh, the horror! That's what we used to call reality. Nobody worked on a Big Four assembly line in our era because it allowed our human potential to blossom. But that Ford or GM pay packet the UAW negotiated made a lot of other stuff come true, like the house and the car and the education for our kids The kids we lied to. As Todd points out, nobody grows up dreaming of a life as an HVAC technician, but it'll pay the bills while you dream your dreams.