Opening Statement



Sunday, 26 January 2014

Guest Blog: Why Toronto Votes Ford + Some Union Advice!



Rob Ford behaves badly in public, is mocked in the media and ignored by the Premier. Nevertheless, he still has the support of voters in Toronto and might win another term in office. Even some teachers in Toronto approve of his performance in office although not of his behaviour in public. Why is that?

It turns out that Rob Ford has listened to his base and reduced some high fees and/or taxes that were set inappropriately and way too high. I won't get into particulars on living expenses in Toronto but I can provide some details on the inappropriate and outrageous fees faced by people doing legal research that makes litigation so expensive.

People have some choice as to where they file their legal papers. So the first thing one has to do is find where the papers have been filed and get the file number. Some court houses will give you this information over the phone. Toronto will not. So, one either has to go to Toronto or hire someone in Toronto to visit the court house and search for the information. This is time consuming and can get very expensive especially if the search is fruitless. 

At the court house in Toronto, there are a few terminals to search for cases and some are attached to a printer. In other court houses, there is one terminal and no printer so you have to take notes. If many people show up to use terminals and print off information, there is a long wait for access. Once you get access to a terminal, it can still take a lot of time finding the case in question. Retrieval from the database is very slow. If the name is a common one, many irrelevant cases show up. Sorting through them is time consuming. Once the information has been found and printed off, you take it to another room and fill out a form to get access to the file. If it is very busy, there is a wait for the file to arrive. It costs $10.00 to read the file no matter how large or small or whether it turns out to be relevant to your research. A large file can take hours of reading and that adds to the expense in time consumed.  It costs $.50 a page to make any copies if you make your own copy and $1.00 a page if you request that copies be made for you. In Toronto, one at least has this choice. In other court houses, the photo copying is done for you at $1.00 a page. [In Toronto, the photocopier is provided by an outside entity so it would appear that the money from the copying does not go into improving access to public documents.]  Each visit to a court house easily takes half a day and that's dealing with only one file. Photo copying can easily cost $30.00 if the material is relevant and, even then, there is a tendency to copy less not more. If you have to return and get access to the same file, you have to pay the $10.00 read fee all over again. You can imagine how expensive in time and money this process can be. Have I mentioned travel and parking costs? Exorbitant in Toronto, manageable in other municipalities.


Lawyers pass this expense onto their clients. Independent researchers and people representing themselves pay out of pocket. This expense in time and money impacts people with limited means. It restricts their access to public documents and their ability to acquire relevant information. It hurts their ability to defend themselves and makes a mockery of their Charter rights to "equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination". It raises legal fees to the point that thousands of people can't afford a lawyer and have to represent themselves. Discrimination against poor people is rampant and limits their access to just about everything in our society. Unfortunately, limiting access to legal aid is not illegal in Canada.
So why is the process outlined above so expensive? The courts, the clerks and maintenance of files are fixed costs. They are already paid for out of general taxes because they are a public necessity and a public benefit. It doesn't matter whether anyone shows up or five people show up or a hundred and five show up to look at files. The fixed costs don't change. There is no reason to charge a user fee to read a file and $10.00 is excessive and outrageous for this service. Why do people have to use Public View Terminals at the court house? Why cannot this search be conducted on-line from home or at least from the nearest public library? Why can't the files be available in a PDF format and read on-line? 

This is but one example of inappropriate and excessive fees that makes it difficult for even what's left of the middle class to make ends meet. So, when a politician shows up promising to reduce some fees or taxes and actually does it, why wouldn't the voters be prepared to vote him back in regardless of his personal behaviour? In this respect, Rob Ford is no different than Bill Clinton. Both behaved inappropriately but their supporters didn't care because they were focused on what really mattered to them. With Clinton, people cared more about the performance of the economy. With Ford, people care more about bringing down inappropriate and excessive fees. 

And the message to union members and union bosses is this. In Toronto, bringing down excessive fees is important to the ordinary voter. If that is done at the expense of union jobs, pay and pension plans, you have no one to blame but yourselves. If you want to maintain your privileged position then you need to help the ordinary voter. At every bargaining round, and at every election, at least one item on the agenda must speak to the needs of the people not represented at the table. And, to determine what the people want and need and will support, you need to stop speaking to the politicians and start talking and listening to the people. That is the only way forward.
 
Martha 



Follow the Toronto Mayor Rob Story as it unfolds on my blog @ This link!


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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Beatlemania Canada: Lost Albums + Bragging Rights!

[Note: A very extensive Beatles US Album Box Set Review is on it's way]

Beatlemaniacs rejoice! This week marks the release of the Beatles US Albums box set! I will provide a review, however, I made the mistake of placing an advance order with Amazon.ca. Now I have to wait for my set. Grrrrrr. You'd think they could figure this out. Some Canadian folks are even ordering from the Amazon UK site these days so they can get new releases on time. But enough!

 
Fab 4 with the original cover of their 1st March 1963 UK EMI Parlophone Please Please Me! Lp 
 
This provides me with an excellent opportunity to present the 3 lost Canadian Beatle albums ** and help lay claim to our Canadian Beatle bragging rights. Hooray for Beatlemania Canada!



Back in the UK! Original EMI Parlophone albums: Please Please Me [1963] [Hear] + With the Beatles [1964] [Hear]

Just a brief notes: I've struggled with including lots of dates, track listings + other such discography matters in the body of my blog. They are too weighty and descriptive for my purposes, and have all ready been covered at great length elsewhere. Therefore I am providing online links to the sites where you can readily find all this info and more, at the bottom of this blog.

Also below: I am including some footnotes ** below for any terms the average reader today might not be familiar with so you can best follow my report. Hope this helps!

1st Capitol Canada LP: Beatlemania: With the Beatles

 
Beatlemania: With the Beatles Capitol Canada's 1st North American Beatles LP: Nov 1963!
 
Capitol Records Canada's Beatlemania was the first Beatle's LP ** released in North America. Not Capitol USA's Meet the Beatles. Not  VeeJay's Introducing the Beatles. Nope. Capitol Canada wisely took advantage of their "rights of first refusal" with the Beatles UK record label, EMI Parlophone in early 1963 and landed the Beatle mother load. Forget that Beatlemania was actually the Beatles second UK album, With the Beatles in a customized cover. How about the tacky sales pitch quotes added to the otherwise iconic cover art? Too bad, used vinyl copies remain tres cool nonetheless. So let's claim our bragging rights for Beatlemania Canada! Hooray!


VeeJay's US January 1964 Introducing the Beatles album. Hear the album @ Youtube

Yup! The Beatles first North American album was released in Canada the year before any were released in the USA. So there. A "Boo!" is also in order! Unfortunately, you won't find the Beatlemania album in the new Capitol US box set or on any other cd official release. Indeed, the Capitol US parent company ordered the record to be discontinued in 1966. It was shortly afterwards replaced in Canada with the Capitol USA's Meet the Beatles album instead, which you will find in the box. Vinyl copies of the Canadian album were later begrudgingly repressed in vinyl, due to popular demand here in Canada, but just for the Canadian market, from 1970 until the end of the vinyl era in the 80's. And then? Goodbye to our Beatlemania album! 

2nd Capitol Canada Lp: Twist + Shout


Capitol Canada's February 1964 Twist + Shout lp.

Capitol Canada's second Beatles album, Twist + Shout was a mix and match of the Beatle's early single 45 A + B ** side songs, and a number of tracks from the first EMI/ Parlophone Beatle album Please Please Me in the UK. The cover photo was from the Beatles Twist + Shout British extended play [EP] ** record. Note the "She Loves you" banner promoting the Beatles first #1 hit single **  also on the front cover. "She Loves You" was top of the pops in London Ontario + on Toronto's CHUM AM radio station chart ** months before it was released stateside, another Canuck first. Hooray for us! We knew they were great first! Yup!


UK EMI/ Parlophone July 1963 Twist + Shout EP cover art

So what's the bad news? You won't find the Canadian Twist + Shout album in the new Capitol box set either. It met the same fate as Beatlemania, once again being deleted and replaced by the Capitol USA Early Beatles album in 1966. Like the Beatlemania album it too was later back in print during 1970, vinyl only, for the Canadian market through until the late 1980's. It was never officially released on cd either.

3rd Capitol Canada Lp: Long Tall Sally

 
Capitol Canada's April 1964 Long Tall Sally lp.
 
Long Tall Sally was Capitol Canada's final "Made in Canada" album before Capitol US put the kibosh on it's winning streak, by standardizing all further albums to match the American releases. The cover was a stylized version of the Capitol US "Beatles Second Album" with the same brownish tinged photo montage. It included the Beatles big US January 1964 breakthrough US 45 A+B side record "I Want To Hold Your Hand" / "I Saw Her Standing There".  Yup! The She Loves You 45 was only a big hit stateside later after that.


After throwing in a few more singles and B sides, Capitol Canada was unfortunately at a loss to fill out the rest of the album without including some of the songs from the Beatlemania album again. Too add insult to injury, the very same version of "Roll Over Beethoven" was among them. A false claim on the back cover said that it was a new recording of the song.


Capitol USA's April 1964 Second Album!

We can't get too self righteous in Canada. Like with the US releases, Capitol Canada was also pulling off the profitable marketing scam of squeezing 3 top selling Beatle albums out of the 2 which had been originally released in the UK by EMI ParlophoneNorth American albums usually included 2 or 3 songs less than their UK counterparts. The 45 single A+B sides and EP tracks were also not added in the original album British releases to avoid duplication. That meant more money in the Capitol record company pockets, and to a lesser degree the Beatles too. It was also a compromise of the bands carefully ordered and arranged track listings, a big trade mark and important record album development pioneered by the band. Tut, tut Capitol Canada! Tut, tut Capitol USA!

4th Capitol Canada Lp: Something New!




Capitol Canada's July 1964 Something New LP [below]

Capitol Canada and Capitol USA released the same Something New album with one minor exception. On the back cover of the Canadian album it claimed it was the Beatles 4th album, which was quite true in Canada. In the US it was listed as their third album. That was only true if one ignored the first million selling US VeeJay album,  "Introducing the Beatles" , from which Capitol USA was receiving no money. Therefore it didn't belong in the count, as far as Capitol USA was concerned!


Original July 1964 UK EMI Parlophone Hard Days Night Album [Hear]

In all fairness, we should note that the real third Beatles album was in fact the EMI/ Parlophone release A Hard Days Night. Half that UK album was the soundtrack from the Beatles first movie, "A Hard Days Night". The second side was a batch of new songs. In North America, the United Artist [UA] movie company which released the film had exclusive rights to the movie songs, which of course they also released as a million copy selling soundtrack album. So what if they were a few songs short to make a full Beatles record album! No problem! United Artists topped off the record with some corny instrumental versions of the Beatles songs by the George Martin Orchestra. George Martin, if you don't know, was the Beatle's top notch UK producer. The songs were actually pretty cool in an offbeat way. The orchestra's Ringo Theme [This Boy[Hear] even turned out to be a minor 45 rpm hit single. But these songs were not actual Beatle recordings! No way!


United Artists June 1964 Hard Days Night Soundtrack: US Mono Version/ Canadian LP same.

Something New contained the rest of the Beatle songs from the British album, with a few EP + single tracks thrown in to fill it up too. So that resulted in two, count them "two" best selling albums from "one" in both Canada + the USA; one for the Capitol companies, and another for United Artists. You will note that the United Artists Hard Days Night soundtrack has now been officially released on CD in the Beatles US Album box set for the first time. The cover notes on Something New however, has the US linear notes claiming it was the third Beatles album.


Something New was Capitol Canada's 4th album, but only Capitol USA's 3rd.

How did this happen?

Let's be frank, what we have here is a typical peripheral dependency situation, born of the economy of scale between the relative size of the two markets for the US and Canadian albums. Capitol Canada was only a subsidiary of the US parent company, selling their own licensed Beatle records in the smaller Canadian market. Some were also sold as imports in the US, making Capitol Canada pretty leading edge. Ultimately though we are left with bragging rights but little else. As the parent company, and owner of Capitol Canada, Capitol USA decide it was in their best economic interest to eliminate the Canadian titles and sell the standardized US versions across the continent in both countries instead.


Capitol US January 1964 Meet the Beatles replaced the lost Canadian albums in 1966!

Capitol Canada had little wiggle room. It worked like this: EMI/ Parlophone owned the exclusive distribution rights to the Beatle records in the UK. In early 1963, it had offered the "right of first refusal" to the two North American Capitol labels because it owned both of the companies. They therefore had first dibs, should they so wish, to release these or any other EMI Parlophone records in North America. When the Beatle records came along, Capitol Canada had already had some previous success marketing EMI's UK hits here "in the colony", unlike the US Capitol label. Basically, the weird English accents, musical style and dress of the British artists hadn't resulted in many big hits in the US before, so they decided to pass on the rights to the Beatle's records until much later in 1963. Capitol Canada however, had taken advantage of the offer, scoring the distribution rights to all of the Beatles first records from the get go. It  turned out to be a very wise move for awhile anyway.


[VeeJay's  US "Pictures, Songs + Stories" again contained the "songs" from it's "Introducing the Beatles" album, along with new artwork or "pictures" and linear notes or "stories", to produce another bogus best selling Beatles album for their young unsuspecting fans!]


[VeeJay also took first dibs on British country + music hall singer Frank Ifield around the same time as the Beatles. Their musical styles were completely different. The only thing they both had in common was that they were British! Nonetheless VeeJay created another album with 2 songs from their Introducing the Beatles lp [Please Please Me/ Ask Me Why]  and the 2 sides of an early Beatles single they also had the rights too [From Me To You/ Thank You Girl] These were padded out with 8 Frank Ifield songs. By adding a completely false + misleading "On Stage" subtitle it looked like a new live Beatle's album. Having run out of copyrighted Beatle photos a cover drawing had to suffice. That it did, and VeeJay had another hit on its hands! What a rip off eh? For more info see Youtube Weblinks below.]

Stateside, US gospel + R+B label VeeJay Records took advantage of the offer instead. Like Capitol Canada, it suffered a commercial loss on the 45 rpm singles when they were first released in early 1963. VeeJay then shelved the first Beatle's album figuring it wouldn't sell either. However, when Beatlemania completely swept North America in January 1964 both VeeJay and Capitol Canada found themselves sitting on a goldmine. Capitol USA however, was receiving no revenues from the popular Capitol Canada imports. The same with the million selling Veejay re-releases! An interesting footnote; VeeJay even managed to release the Beatle's first album six times with different covers and slightly re-arranged song listings to cash in big time on the Beatlemania craze! Capitol USA was not impressed to say the least! 


The Big 3 Canadian "Lost Beatle Albums": Gone but not forgotten!

What's the end result?

Before 1964 was out Capitol USA shut down any further independent Canadian releases and as I explained, by 1966 had eliminated the existing Canadian titles entirely, creating a larger market for their own Beatle records. VeeJay was taken to court on a copyright technicality to gain exclusive rights to their Beatle recordings. Out spent in legal fees, by the end of 1964 their Beatle catalogue also became the exclusive property of Capitol USA. So in the end, as the saying goes, the winner takes all.


[Bogus 1964 US VeeJay albums: The label milked their same handful of Beatle tunes + a later interview disc for all they were worth by re-releasing the songs over + over again using different covers in a hurry to make lots of $$$ off the Beatle craze! Capitol USA had gotten a court order stopping them from selling Beatle songs after October, transferring the sole rights to them instead. Listen to the VeeJay Hear the Beatles Tell All album, an interview with 2 DJ's one the Beatles didn't particularly like @ Youtube ]

Nowadays, good used copies of the original Beatle albums on both Capitol USA + VeeJay sell for big bucks. The Canadian releases? Well no, not really. They have nostalgia value in Canada among Beatlemaniacs but stateside are considered little more than a curio.

Really, it's an especially unfortunate situation all around. Consider this: the Canadian albums were much superior in quality being made directly from the Beatles original mono UK recordings. The US ones often featured fake stereo "Duophonic" versions instead for the new  stereo market. Also fake "collapsed" mono versions of some other songs that they didn't like for reasons unknown. Rather than just releasing the original George Martin produced EMI Parlophone recordings, Capitol USA took it upon themselves to remix these all instead especially for the US teenage market. I will discuss these recordings further in my review of the Beatles US Album box. Truth be told, they were kind of neat in their own way, but hardly the real McCoy! Another Beatlemania article on the Canadian + VeeJay 45's might also be in order if interest and time exists.

The Long + Short of it?

If you have or can find original vinyl copies of the Canadian albums, enjoy them! The dollar value alone does not necessarily make the Capitol US albums a better buy from a listening perspective, far from it. To end on an even more upbeat note it is perhaps also worthwhile noting that the Capitol Canada albums are often critically respected + recognized as being among the best early Beatle releases in many international fan circles. Indeed, "needle drop" copies of the Capitol Canada albums have been privately made into collector cds, most notably by Dr. Ebbetts as a part of his unofficial DESS [Doctor Ebetts Sound Systems] Beatles catalogue. The good "doctor" went so far as to re-release all of the Canadian albums and their later variants, including a number of narrow + wide stereo re-releases from the 1970's and 80's. Since the doctor went out of business a few years ago these remain rare and highly treasured additions to any true Beatles collection. One should think they will even be more appreciated now that they are the "lost Beatle albums" conspicuous by the absence in the new best selling Beatle box set.

Oh, and one last point worth noting for our purposes today! The new Capitol US box set will apparently attempt to "correct" the deficiencies in the American Beatle albums 50 years later, especially for our stateside Capitol record collecting friends! Sometimes the winner does takes all and the good guys do finish last, in the "Capitol-ist" world of Beatle recordings as in life in general it seems!

Still, while I await my set of the latest new improved Capitol US Beatle albums in the mail, I guess I'll just have to listen to my old tried and true original Capitol Canada Beatle albums instead. Hmmm. Wait! Maybe that's not such a bad consolation prize after all? We will see! ;-)

Cheers!

David C


** = TERMS:

45 rpm single: a small cheap two A and B sided often mono vinyl record with an edited 2-5 minute song on each side. They were marketed to teenagers who first heard them by way of concerts + radio play. Sometimes they came in a paper picture sleeve.

33 1/3 LP album: a more expensive larger vinyl A and B sided record. The total length of the LP [long player] or album [interchangeable] was usually between 25 to 35 minutes long. It contained a collection of songs by the recording artist. They were generally just a collection of hit singles padded out with a few other new throw away songs to fill up both sides until the Beatles came along. The biggest advantage was you didn't have to get up to manually turn the record over so often to hear the other side.

EP: a middle priced extended play record, like a 45 single but with 3 or 4 songs. The songs might be new, a collection of old repackaged hits or from an existing album. They usually came in a cardboard picture sleeve. They were very popular in the UK, but not so much in the US or Canada.

RPM: rounds per minute, or the speed at which the record would be played on a record player.

Mono Record: The sound field was spread out evenly between one or two speakers to create a more flatter if not more powerful sound on the early record players and mono AM radio. Up until 1968 Beatle records were originally recorded, produced and mixed in mono by George Martin increasingly under direction with the band.

Stereo: The sound field is spread out to recreate more depth than a mono recording on a pair of two sound system speakers. FM radio stations could later commonly broadcast these records in stereo as well. Early stereo Beatle records usually featured instruments and vocals on different sides, some other degree of simple balance or the use of echo among other techniques to create a stereo sound or sometimes effect. These were mixed and produced after the mono recordings were completed without the Beatles direct involvement until late in the 1960's.

AM radio: mono broadcast stations usually staffed by "disc jockey" personalities who would play the most popular songs of the day, often regardless of their different styles. If a record got a lot of call in requests and sold well it was played, something for everybody in a simpler age. Some stations would compete for an adult, country, jazz or classical audience instead. However mixed or teenage AM radio formats were very popular in North America during the Beatle years. In the US deep south the music was also often segregated into white and black race music stations to a lesser degree well into the 1960's, not so much in Canada.

In the UK the British Broadcast System [BBC] controlled all the radio stations. Speciality shows were set aside for less frequently played teenage popular music. European or off shore pirate radio stations would often aim their programming for the increasingly disenfranchised youth market. The Beatles were regularly featured on the BBC radio shows as a part of a teen packaged show. Their later longer album orientated recordings were increasingly played on the other stations as they began to appear less, by choice, on the more strictly regulated BBC, where they nonetheless recorded many fine shows.

Hits: best selling songs, the popularity of which was largely determined by the number of listener phone in requests for radio play and record store sales. These were ranked accordingly each week on a top 10, 20, 30, 40  or 100 radio station or trade magazine list or chart. Albums were also listed + ranked on separate charts based mostly upon record orders and sales.

Needle drops: Pristine vinyl records are played on top of the line stereo equipment to copy them digitally onto CD. These unofficial "pirate" copies are the most accurate versions of the original record mix releases because they come directly from the initial source. They are usually made of records that have not been officially released on CD for exactly that reason

Web Links

Capitol Canada's Paul White was the man responsible for the Canadian releases. Here's his story + how the lost Canadian Beatle albums came to be @ Ottawa Citizen

A complete Canadian Beatles discography with detailed track information + dates etc is @ Beatle Bible

Another excellent guide to the Canadian versions of the Beatles albums is @ Capitol 6000

More very thorough, detailed + copious notes on the Capitol Canada albums are @ McGill.ca

Here's a link to a Dr. Ebbetts website. It includes detailed info and downloads of the art work for all his various "needle drop" copies of the complete Beatle album catalogue from the UK, US, Japan, Canada, Germany, Brazil and Mexico etc. All Beatle albums are not the same nor are they equal, the new US box set not withstanding @ DESS

Bruce Spizer is a leading Beatle expert on their various albums and singles, including the Canadian ones. His reference books, available on Amazon.ca are the Bible of Beatle record collecting, as far as I am concerned. The album and label photos, recording and release data, plus the pictures of the original Beatle promo items are thorough + exhaustive, while also making for very kool coffee table books for even the most casual Beatles fan. Meet Bruce + find out more @ Bruce Spizer


Bruce Spizer: The Beatle Record Bibles!

Here's a Beatle link to an online Capitol Canada Album forum. Some of the gang know their stuff, other's not so much but they are keen. I'll see if I can find a better one for you, but the forum basically touches upon the main issues and are interesting enough if you'd like to join in @ Beatlelinks

This site has some great photos of the Canadian Beatle album covers + labels. Unfortunately the price list is quite outdated @ Canadian Guide

An excellent quality VeeJay Beatles + Frank Ifield On Stage album is worth $15,-20,000. How to spot a fake @ Youtube

Hear + see Frank Ifields VeeJay 45 "I Remember You" @ Youtube

Most everybody thinks their old Beatle albums are worth a kajillion dollars. Millions and millions were made for many years so they seldom are, American and Canadian ones alike. Here's how to spot the collectibles, or at least know when your Canadian copy was actually released: 1964? 1966? the 1970's or 1980's? Often you'll find they are relatively worthless re-releases in the cash sense! Also beware of any VeeJay records, lots of them are cheap fakes. Otherwise they command top dollar amongst collectors, perhaps for their kitsch value @ Maritime Vinyl

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Cracked: Our Rob Ford! Back for More!

Note: Some technical fix me ups have been made below. My Teacher + Union Acronym Guide is Here!


Past Cracked: The Rob Ford Story Blogs:

Part 1 Nov 2012  Part 2 @ Here! Part 3 @ There! Part 4 @ Then! Part 5 @ Busted?

THE LATEST!

Expect this one to be a real stinkerooni once the full story becomes known: Both the City of Toronto + the TCDSB Catholic School Board have been involved in an attempt to block the release of documents on why Mayor Rob Ford was fired as a football coach at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School last year. At first the TCDSB tried to refuse on grounds he was a "quasi" employee, a claim refuted as ridiculous by experts in employment law. Also, the municipal government has been using taxpayers dollars to try to block their release. It might take months for the Toronto Star Freedom of Info request to be processed for release of the documents @ What's he hiding now?!

Our Robs campaign literature has been making much hoopla of his apparent efforts to help disadvantaged youth by coaching high school football @ A Few Words About Rob



Football Rob: Just trying to coach disadvantaged high school youth?

Sam "the Caveman" Losco from Canada's "Trailer Park Boys" TV + movie series endorses Rob Ford and promises to help him out on his campaign. Rob is glad! Hmmm. Here's a "best of film" clip for those who aren't familiar with "the Caveman" @ Youtube

Having a selfie taken with Rob Ford only encourages him Your dark side!?

New ad on Craiglist: Would you follow Rob around for 8 hours playing a tuba + wearing a pro-camera to document the antics? The pay? $125! Should be interesting! The idea comes from an episode of the "Family Guy". Article also features a 72 shot slide show history of his most famous apologies. All this and more folks @ Tuba player wanted! 

The Toronto Star has a video of Our Rob threatening to kill somebody and "rip his fucking throat out". Scott MacInyre claims that it's related to his jail house beating. Rob claims that it was a joke about a wrestling match. Video @ #@$^%! 



Our Rob on Civilization 5!

Dubious distinction: Our Rob is now a computer game character @ Civilization 5

"Anybody but Rob Ford" election poster removed from Trinity Bellwoods Park! Video @ City News

"No Ford Nation" website exposes Ford election lies @ Lotsa laffs!


Toronto Municipal election heats up!

Following an interview about hot dogs, outside Toronto City Hall, Our Rob makes a mad rush to the end zone, back in the safety of his office, after being followed by reporters wanting to ask questions about the latest scandal, knocking over folks along he way. It was a true Rob Ford moment. You can see the videos @ On the run!


So what's the latest scandal? Toronto police have released a description of the Rob Ford Crack Video @ Police report

The police discover the video on a seized computer during a gang raid @ Blow by blow 



Really likes St. Patrick's day ...

St Patrick Day starts about St Patrick's Day 48 hours early  @  Irish?

The pub tours continue 8 months prior to election day @ Slide show

Our Rob appears on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Listen; Rob was NOT there on an approved trade + tourism junket. Nor do his claims of balancing the city budget let alone creating a surplus pan out when one examines the numbers carefully. Ford can and will say anything, and of course it always sounds good but is phooey! Here's the news report and a video link to the show @ Jimmy Kimmel Show



Kimmel: Ready + Waiting! 

Let's give Jimmy credit! He put the questions that need to be asked of Ford. None of the pussy footing around like here in Toronto where he says outrageous things that the media lets pass. Watch Rob Ford on the Jimmy Kimmel Show Part 1 @ Youtube Part 2 @ More Part 3 @ Even More Part 4 @ The Most

Ford is off to promote trace + tourism for Toronto in L.A?!? That's news here back home! Even if so, what kind of tourism will he attract? Gang bangers + folks looking to score crack? Thanks but no thanks! Story @ BS: he's promoting himself!

Here's a live feed + the Youtube links @ Toronto Star


Our Rob: The Mardi Gras Ambassador of Canada + Crack!

A Rob Ford, Justin Beiber + Pamela Anderson float celebrate Canada at this years Mardis Gras Parade in New Orleans. Just makes you so proud to be a Canadian eh? Not! Listen: he might be good for a larf elsewhere but the guy is supposed to be our city mayor, sits on the Police Services Board, and supposedly represents our city and our interests abroad! Story @ Ford Float!

Rob Ford's Mayoral campaign manager brother Doug ratchets up his attack against Toronto police Chief Blair for being offended by his brother's drunken Steak Queen tirade, among other things. He blames the Chief's comments on his opponent John Tory's election campaign. Boy, this is going to be a nasty election race between now and October 27th, that's for sure. At least on the Ford Bros part. More @ Chief Blair

You can listen to Doug's latest tirade @ Soundcloud

Our Rob's pretty pissed the Gay Pride flag is still flying at Toronto City Hall during the Sochi Olympics but there's nothing he can do! It's not up to him. Poor boy explains how he feels about it all on his new Ford Nation Youtube show. Ford on Youtube talking about homophobia? Isn't this called Jumping the Shark?!? Yawn. Story @ Not having a gay old time!



On his Youtube blog Ford presents his Top 10 list of city hall councillors he will be out to get in the October municipal election. Guess he's been watching too much Letterman? Read story + see video @ Robs Top 10 or so!

Here's the "official" link for the Ford Bros new Youtube talk show @ Ford Nation!

Ford Nation will be broadcasting the Ford follies again, this time on Youtube! The latest? Rob lied about the crack story because he was "embarrassed". Yeah right. The bigger the lie the more people will fall for it. Rob knows that and has worked it out to a fine art! Story @ Toronto Star

A Toronto based film company has bought the movie + TV rights to the Rob Ford best seller "Crazy Town". OK, so which actor will play Rob? Doug? Maybe the Trailer Park Boys?! Then there's Sandro? How about their gangbanger crack buddies? Or Rob's wife Renata? Ha @ Coming to the big screen!


Our Rob: He's not exactly an enlightened guy!

The Gay Pride flag is raised at Toronto City Hall in protest of Russia's discriminatory laws, like in many Canadian municipalities during the Olympics. Mayor Rob Ford wants it removed @ Gay Pride Flag

Our Rob tells all candidates election debate meeting he won't be attending World Pride Day in Toronto this year. He doesn't go to the regular ones either, but always makes excuses he has to go on a family holiday at the cottage. Not this time. Rather queer though, how he is jumping the gun: he hasn't even been invited yet! Story @ Not going! Nope! No way!


Seems our Robs actually a pretty sensitive guy: Here's the flag in question!

Ford accused of homophobia! Here's the worst part. He doesn't care. A mayor should represent all the citizens. Not Rob. His homophobia will play well with his staunch Ford Nations supporters in the suburbs of Etobicoke. It could even bolster his support there. The Toronto Gay community will of course be hurt but Ford doesn't care. They live in the city centre where he doesn't get many votes anyway. It is this very neo con divide + conquer use of harmful wedge issues that is at the bottom of this latest controversy IMHO. Anyway story @ Wedge issue 4 Ford!


Rob Ford looking kinda stiff as he gets kissed by a gay man at the 2012 opening ceremonies. Oh. I see. He's made of cardboard?!

Doug Ford says although he has gay friends he doesn't go because he doesn't like to see "middle aged buck naked men with pot bellies running wildly down the street." In the interview he just kept saying those two phrases over and over again to emphasize that neither he nor Doug are homophobic. He had a very angry and seemingly shocked look on his face. Pure Ford. Suppose they get easily embarrassed over improprieties and so on ...? Hmmm. Story @ Buck naked

Our Rob hits Junction area 3030 pub then calls in sick to work next day. Must be quite the bender? How long has this been going on now? What's the matter, did he get kicked out of the Steak Queen?!? Story @ Toronto Star

A new book raises many questions about Rob Ford's wife Renata. His lil' pussycat has accused him of assault before but then withdrew charges. Now she's denying that he claimed he would give up pills but never "blow", while he lays low for awhile. The problem is others overheard the remarks. Sounds like abused wife syndrome to me but then I am no expert. More on Renata Ford @ Crazy Town


Crazy Town: 7 things you didn't know about the Fords? Besides that they consider themselves the Etobicoke version of the Kennedy's?!? I saw an interesting interview with the author, Toronto Star reporter Robin Doolittle on CP24 today, for the launch of her book. Simon LeDrew was giving her a hard ride on whether Toronto has problem on it's hands with the Fords [?!?], and why she feels she has to write about him. She replied that his crime connections compromise the office of mayor in many dangerous ways. How obvious eh? If they were just another family down the street, I will be quite frank, I could give a flying F about the story, but the fact is, he sets the agenda for the city, makes decisions affecting us all, is on the police board and so much more. Yet he is cavorting with organized crime, stoned on crack .... on and on the list goes. The Rob Ford story is everybody's business in Toronto. See the write up on her book @ Toronto Life 

Here's an excerpt from her book @ Toronto Star

Here's the Toronto Suns 7 part account of the Rob Ford Crack Video tale, part 4 @ Revelation's: Likes Purple Jesus!

Crackbird: Rob Ford meets the Beatles @ Video!

Scariest proof Rob Ford is a neo con with a very limited perspective on our cities people issues come from his own mouth @ Now Magazine Quotes

Hmmm. I don't allow commercial advertisements to be posted on this blog for profit, so I am undecided about this one. However, it's for a way to deal with your frustration over Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, rather than go stark raving mad! This is @ Squeeze Ford Toy!

Our Rob allegedly speaking in tongues after he spends an hour in Vancouver pub washroom? Maybe he's found Jesus again?!? Story @ Upon high?

More on Our Robs antics at the Foggy Dew pub @ Toronto star

On his weekend trip to Vancouver BC our Rob is ticketed for jaywalking. He denies he was intoxicated in public while claiming he was only drinking a Diet Coke. Umm. He's a tricky wordster Our Rob! So was he or wasn't he? Scroll down this article + you can also see Rob's new dance video. More @ Vancouver vacation or more of the same? 


The Capt'n + Gilligan: Rob in Vancouver: hopefully not off on a sailing trip?!?

More on Rob's night out in Vancouver. He claims his police ticket is a waste of tax payers dollars. Meanwhile, it seems he was quite a hit with the young folk in the clubs. More  @ Good excuse 4 anything

Our Rob was allegedly the man behind a jailhouse beating that was orchestrated to silence the victim from revealing what he knew about Robs substance abuse issues. As usual, the story features your usual cast of unseemly characters. Story @ Jail beating

Our Rob is ready for some more theatrics in the City Hall budget debate @ Sparks will fly


Canada's worst exports? Justin Bieber shows up at the Toronto police station on a December 30th assault charge. He hit a limo driver in the back of the head. Next morning Our Rob comes to his defence noting he's just a young guy. Suppose if mayor doesn't pan out he could become an Ontario school principal next .... What do Rob + The Bieber have in common besides being rich Canucks who can do no wrong, around here anyway? Rob has a driving under the influence offence. Justin is just facing one now. Young fellar does have a lot catching up to do eh? Asked if he's a believer, Rob say nope. He prefers Rush and Led Zeppelin. Sigh. Alas. Now he's sullying their good names! Wonder if Rob plays air guitar while he's Dazed + Confused?!?..... Article @ Rob + The Bieber!


Toronto Board of Trade snubs Our Rob at it's annual dinner. He was disinvited + Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly was invited in his place. The key speech was a direct slam against the cities lack of leadership. Rob turned up anyway. Plus, as writer Bob Hepburn points out, it is rare when anybody stands up to the mayor but of course, we know what happens if they do. The bullying and lack of leadership across the province at every level of governance is quite similar everywhere it seems. This is not the Ontario most of us grew up in, but nowadays pretty much anything goes, if you can get away with it. Folks will even applaud. Sigh! Alas! Article @ Toronto Star

Not a good day again! Our Rob stood up the Empire Club business luncheon for 45 minutes while he was "stuck in a freight elevator". He then arrived to deliver a shallow election speech. Despite repeatedly referring to the audience as "folks", they did not seem too warm. He received little applause throughout the speech. Nobody knew where he was until he arrived, leaving them standing around wasting time with no lunch being served until he got there. The whole sorry affair was at best rather weird but apparently he had an excuse. Why would he be in the hotel freight elevator though? Hmmm. As always, it's just plain confusing! Story @  Freight Elevator Rob!


Not to worry! Rob was just stuck in the hotel freight elevator .... =8-0

David Letterman's latest Rob Ford Top 10 video! Absolutely hilarious @ Letterman!

Jimmy Kimmel's Meme in Honour of Rob Ford is real funny too @ The Rob Fording a Press Scrum Walk!

Vote in the latest Toronto Sun Poll: Will you still vote for Rob Ford? Close tie last time I checked! Poll @ Mayor?

Jeopardy Answer:


Question: What is "Toronto"?! ... Yes!!! Rob Ford becomes a "Jeopardy" game show question! Video link @ Alex Trebek

Our Rob admits to a "minor setback" with his drinking habit and gets into a shoving match with the media at City Hall today. Video @ Another bad day 4 Rob!

Rob Ford: Jamaica a-go-go!? Our Rob was recently out on the town at the Steak Queen Restaurant [?!] in Etobicoke having an "enlightened discussion" with the locals "explaining" Police Chief Blair + his drug ....er .... surveillance situation. The references to Jamestown, Malvern + the Toronto Jane Finch Corridor are quite intriguing. You can bet there's a big news story just waiting in here somewhere! Meanwhile hear Rob cussing up a storm + pretending to talk Jamaican like a Rastafarian bro! Seriously! Latest update on the story is @ Rexdale Rob

Here is a pretty clear copy of the video @ Jah Rob!


Has Our Rob gone Rastafari?!? Say it isn't so .....

Hip Hop artists waste no time with the new Rob Ford Steak Queen Jamaican Patois Dub video. There's also info + links for 45 songs inspired by Our Rob @ Dance Party Time Anyone?!


The Steak Queen Banquet Burger: Ummmm ... Did Rob sit on it?!?

You gotta love this: It's the Toronto Star's "Steak Queen" restaurant review! Cheap! Beer for $3.25! 2 at a time for $6.50! Quasi Greek food! Rubbery hamburgers! Red vinyl chairs! Fake wood tables! Four people booths! Plastic plants! Open 24/7! Near the racetrack + slots! Hardly regal but ..... well .... think of it as a Rob Ford kind of place! Best time to go is at 3:00 am. Maybe you'll bump into him + Sandro there?! Sounds like he's a regular fixture. PS: the onion rings are a winner + it's passed every health inspection since 2010! Hmmm. Sounds cleaner than my former TCDSB school! @ Steak Queen!

Brother Doug Ford confirms that is Rob in the video, but he isn't so sure when it was recorded @ Doug says so!


Drat! Foiled! ... or ... Lost Jesus/ found Rasta ...... 2 much Bob Marley maybe?!?

Our Rob admits to City Hall reporters that he was drunk at the Steak Queen last night. Quite belligerent. Won't say who was driving ... Doug must be red faced! News video @ Confirmed

Ho boy! Second video shows Rob sitting pie eyed with his former driver + drug runner Sandro Lisi at the Steak Queen. It looks like it was last night too @ Going my way?!?

Here's a clear copy of the second video. The article also includes a sample of the tweets being exchanged online @ More!

The plot thickens! Lisi is violating bail during his extortion trial meeting with Rob if that's them sitting together last night! Rob, of course, was busted years ago: driving under the influence ... or possession ... or something like that down in Florida. Here's the terms of Lisi's bail:


Toronto's Globe + Mail weighs in: Booze, Lies + More Videotapes? When is enough enough? Our Rob is totally incredulous not to mention a major embarrassment for Toronto all around the world @ Editorial

Why Canadians have stopped laughing at Toronto's Rob Ford, mayor of the city the rest of the country loves to hate @ Still Mayor?!?

The Late Night Show guffaws roll back in from stateside as Rob once again makes himself, Toronto + indeed even Canada the butt of everybody's jokes. My favourite one liner? Jimmy Kimmel: "Thank you Canada! This almost makes up for Justin Beiber." Story @ Globe + Mail

Wednesday morning January 22: Rob's back on the front page of the Toronto dailies! One wonders though: Will this latest story hurt him in the local popular opinion polls? Hasn't before. See:


For the scholarly minded there's a new book "Crazy Town" on Our Rob by Toronto Star reporter Robin Doolittle, one of the first 3 to see the crack video. I can't imagine how any book could possibly be up to date by the time it goes to press with Our Rob's non stop antics + disclosures. However the author will be giving a lecture. Admission includes a copy of her new book @ Literally Speaking!

SOME BLOG OVERVIEW NOTES [from earlier ... ]:

Yes, our Rob Ford is still the mayor of Toronto! It doesn't matter that's he's been stripped of most Mayoral powers by city council. He's still making it like he's Toronto Mayor, even if it's in name only! There's more shenanigans than ever. You'd think most of us in Toronto blush or even die with embarrassment. However, the polling has been consistent. Rob still could be re-elected mayor in this November's election! Matter of fact, he's in campaign mode now, especially since he's got so much time on his hands. What a campaign it is shaping up to be!


Our Rob does it again!

Cracked: The Rob Ford Story has proven to be one of my most popular blog features for some time now. The blog links go way back. You'll find the previous blog links below. I am now starting a new Cracked blog, since the story just won't go away. The links to his recent hijinks from my recent January News + Views blog are being moved over here for your convenience too. I'll keep adding the links on as the story continues to unfold. Keep checking back for the latest updates about "Our Rob", the Mayor we all love to hate" here on this blog!

Why is the Rob Ford story important for my teacher readers? Well, first of all there's the amusement factor which, let's face it, can help lighten up the day. Also note: Rob Ford is one of Canada's leading neo cons, the very political group that would like nothing more than to seriously kick your friggin' union butt, cut social services, and provide more tax cuts and cash grabs for Rob's rich buddies on the backs of the poor. Ironically, it's the low income earners from our working families who are also often his strongest supporters. Here then is a true blue all Canadian Neo conservative tale for the ages unfolding before our very eyes! Ignore it at your own peril!

As for everybody else? Well, I think the same lesson is true if you have any sense of decency or concern for democracy and social justice. Plus, sometimes truth is stranger, and indeed even sadly funnier than fiction. So here goes ....


How to get Our Rob to go away?

The Story to Date:

Rob Ford is the first to submit his application to run for mayor in November. He'll have plenty of time to campaign now that he's been stripped of most of his Mayoral duty's @ Rob Ford for Mayor again?

Toronto's Catastrophic January Ice Storm: Much of Toronto was without power, and the debris is still lying all over the place weeks afterwards! Mayor Rob Ford's request was denied for a "one on one" meeting with Premier Wynne. The Provincial Premier has been meeting with Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly + his committee instead because Rob was stripped of all his emergency powers by city council due to his lies and bullshit. Make sense? Well, Rob has still been strutting about pretending to be commander in chief throughout the ice storm crisis anyway. Without doubt he's all ready politicking for the fall municipal election. Story @ Rob takes charge!?


Rob Ford Chick Magnet? A night on the town!

Rob Ford hits the Toronto nightclub circuit on a Saturday Night as part of his re-election campaign. Apparently he was greeted with cheers @ Night Clubbin'?!?

More on Rob's night klubbin'. He's been swearing up and down he's bone dry + will never drink again since November! So what's his latest Rastafari act all about then!? Oh no! Don't tell me! He's switching religions?! But .... but ..... his hair's to short for dreadlocks isn't it.....?! Very confusing as usual @ National Post

Rob still rules the political polls!? "Moosecleans " ["MacLeans" magazine ... get it?] claims all of Toronto is about to be administered an intelligence test. Ha @ IQ?

                          

Will it be Olivia Chow verses Rob in this Novembers Mayoral election race?

Possible Mayoral Prospectus: Toronto's Olivia Chow verses John Tory verses Rob Ford? An analysis of the possibilities @ Toronto election

Could Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper have something up his sleeve to help buddy Rob Ford win the 2014 Toronto mayoral race? Sound plausible, but do the PC's really want Ford back? Maybe John Tory instead? He's more credible [and still a leftie threat] for any self respecting Conservative, one would think ... See @ Olivia?


Two Canuck Neo Con Biggies: Our Rob + Stephen Harper!

Toronto's "elite" won't speak out to defend Rob Ford. This is his Achilles heel. There are lots of neo cons who might be feeling it necessary to pull the rug out from underneath him and get somebody else as mayor who won't give them a bad name @ Toronto Star

Here's what the "city leaders" had to say @ Toronto Star

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford comes out in favour of decriminalizing marijuana. Maybe he and Ontario Provincial Conservative [PC] Party Leader Tim Hudak should get together to blow a doobie eh? Can you imagine? How does the joke go? In Canada we are very Liberal about pot! Only Liberals should smoke it! Ha.

Did I ever tell you the story of my buddy who had Rob Ford show up campaigning totally ripped on his front porch? Yup, Sparky invited him in for a beer! Can you picture Rob Ford sitting pie eyed in your living room ready to party hardy? What to do? Put on some Bob Marley records?!? Does Rob sing in Jamaican too??? Oh to have been a fly on the wall! Darn that Sparky! Some guys have all the luck!

Best we've managed at our condo is to have him show up in the lobby to kiss babies! Seriously! I kid you not! Get this: Everybody was running downstairs with them too!!!Getting pictures! Shaking his hand! They all seem like such nice decent people! Go figure! Anyway, the story's @ Rob on Pot? 


Brother City Councillor Doug Ford announces he's "leaning towards" running for the Hudak PC's should there be a provincial election this spring. He says Tim supports his candidacy, but the PC's were trying to wash their hands of the Brothers Ford as early as last spring. There have been some very serious allegations Doug was a "high volume" hashish dealer during the 1980's. Lot's of folks remember him too. He was a local dip stick high school Jock with more money than brains. Even wore a mullet for Christ's sake! Always hanging out at the local mall parking lot in his car. Let's see Timbo stick handle this one!

Doug Ford could probably easily win Etobicoke North riding with his die hard Ford Nation supporters, handing Tim a second Toronto QP seat. But how popular is Doug outside the city? Or credible? It's well known that he and Rob are the laughing stock of the world right now, and have been for some time. Will Ontario social conservatives appreciate his "local brand" of conservative politics? Oh, and get this; Doug reassures everybody he doesn't want to be party leader. He thinks Timbo is great! Talk about sucking up eh? Maybe they can strike a losers pact? Story @ Provincial Ford Follies?


He's back: Oh Canada! Oh Oh that is .....

[PS: I'm leaving some of the January Ford Brother's Ontario political links back on my January News + Views blog under "Party Politics" and "In Other News" for organization purposes. There's more on the mayoral race there too. See @ Here! ]

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Youtube Bar: Afrika Bambaataa!

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Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!