Monthly Archives: October 2016
I went to Davenport Road School from Kindergarten to Grade 6.
The Toronto School Board (?), the principal (?), Mr. Martin Muckinfuch (?), who knows? decided that it was safer for students to have a Halloween party at the school instead of allowing them to walk the dark streets trick-or-treating. So, every Halloween we would come home from school, eat dinner, dress up in our costumes, and go back to school for the Halloween party.
At the party we would play games, have some snacks and soft drinks, enter the best-costume contest, and then go home with a small grab bag containing some candies.
My Catholic friends, who went to Catholic schools, did not have Halloween parties at their schools. They got to walk the dark, unsafe streets trick-or-treating.
I still feel resentment when I think about seeing the pillowcases and large bags full of candies, chips and chocolates my Catholic friends had, when I had only a small grab bag containing some candies. But we weren’t allowed to trick-or-treat because some well-meaning bureaucrats thought that trick-or-treating on Halloween was unsafe. I don’t remember any of my Catholic friends getting hit by a car on Halloween.
Oh well, perhaps my Catholic friends had to go to the dentist more than I did.
By the way, Davenport Road Public School was first called Carlton Public School when built in 1914 on the corner of Davenport Road and Osler Street. It was named after Carlton Village which was incorporated in to the City of Toronto in 1909.
In 1945, the Toronto School Board changed the name to Davenport Road School at the request of Old Davenport Road United Church. (I did time on Sundays at Old Davenport Road United Church.) Why would a church care about the name of a nearby school?
In 1989, the Toronto School Board went back to the first name of Carlton Village Public School after a merger with Osler Public School.
In 2011, what was Carlton Village School opened as the Toronto Police Service’s 11 Division. They kept the front and built a massive building covering the school yard and the teacher’s parking lot.
Does it mean anything when your public school becomes a police station after you leave?
Our father, before he was in Heaven, was in Room 105 at a nursing home. But he wasn’t all there in Room 105. His body was always there, but his mind often toured the Universe. It was in his last two months that he became violent and had to be strapped down. Prior to that he was lucid sometimes, and senile most times.
When he dressed himself, he would put his shirt on inside out and complain, “I don’t know what is wrong with my shirt, but it’s hard doing up the buttons.”
Most times he would remember who people were when they came to visit him, but he would greet them repeatedly forgetting how he had already greeted them. He would keep greeting them right up until the time they left. After they left he would say, “Gee, when is so-and-so coming to visit me?” He forgot that so-and-so had just left.
Because of our father’s behavior, “Room 105” became another way expressing senility with our family. Whenever one of us does something suggesting feeble-mindedness, the others will shout, “Room 105! Room 105!” Simply saying, “Room 105!” is short for saying, “You’re senile and belong in Room 105.”
Our father, before he was in Heaven, was in Room 105 at a nursing home. But he wasn’t all there in Room 105. His body was always there, but his mind . . .
“You know what they say . . . “
Who are the they who say the things people say they say? Are they a group of smart people who have their headquarters in some city? From their headquarters do they broadcast the things they say? Who are the they, and where are the they?
How did common sense get its name? Is common sense herd thinking? At one time it was common sense to believe that the Earth was flat. Who determines what is common sense?
No ping-blows from Mr. Ping today. He saw me, but left me alone. Is Mr. Ping’s war with me finally over, or has he just run out of hot air?
I have names in my head for the unusual characters I see at the library. I never call these characters by my invented names.
Mr. Ping got his name because ping is close to pee. For unknown reasons, Mr. Ping pees on the toilet seat, the wall and the floor of the washroom. Whenever you use the washroom after Mr. Ping, you will see pee all over the place. I suspect the voices in Mr. Ping’s head tell him, “That’s right. Pee on the toilet seat. Pee on the wall. Pee on the floor. No! Don’t pee in the toilet. It’s not supposed to go in there.”
In the past, the library banned Mr. Ping for a month or two because of problems he caused with other patrons. I have never had a problem with Mr. Ping until last Saturday.
In hindsight, I see that it was my fault. I know that Mr. Ping is not in the same solar system as I am. Whatever solar system Mr. Ping is in, he is a few stars short of a galaxy. In hindsight, I should have never talked to Mr. Ping.
Last Saturday, I saw Mr. Ping getting up from a computer I wanted to use. I walked towards it. Mr. Ping turned off the computer before he left.
“Why did you turn off the computer?” I asked.
Mr. Ping froze and looked off into space. He did not answer.
I asked again, “Why did you turn off the computer?”
Mr. Ping still did not answer. Perhaps he was wondering what life was like on Earth.
When I realized he wasn’t going to answer me, I kicked myself for asking in the first place.
I sat down and turned on the computer. Mr. Ping walked away. I waited several minutes for the log-on screen, and then signed on and started working.
After several more minutes, Mr. Ping came to me and started scolding me for using the computer. He said I should have used another computer and did not have to use the one he had used.
“Please leave me alone,” I said.
“You’re crazy! You’re crazy! You’re crazy!” said Mr. Ping.
“Yes, I’m crazy. Now leave me alone.”
Mr. Ping walked away. Was all okay?
Mr. Ping returned a few minutes later. He walked behind me, bent over and blew hard on the back of my neck and quickly walked away. I ignored him and kept working.
After another few minutes, Mr. Ping came by and again blew hard on my neck before walking away. His breath, like the first time, had the fragrances of cheap wine and sewage.
I got up and complained to the librarian. She called another librarian who spoke to me and Mr. Ping. For the rest of Saturday, Mr. Ping left me alone.
Yesterday, Monday, I was sitting at a computer. Mr. Ping walked by, bent over and blew hard on the back of my neck. This time his breath smelled only of sewage. I ignored him. He only did it once.
Mr. Ping is here today. So far no ping-blows on my neck. Is Mr. Ping’s war with me over? Who knows?
Perhaps Mr. Ping is not at war with me. Perhaps Mr. Ping really likes me, and has a poor understanding of oral sex.
A squirrel scurried along in the park and then stopped. It took observations before scurrying along some more.
What does a squirrel think when it stops to take observations?
Gosh those people are huge! How big are the nuts they eat?
I once read that squirrels have bad memories, but a great sense of smell. Squirrels forget where they buried their nuts. When squirrels dig up nuts, the nuts were buried by another squirrel. A squirrel’s keen sense of smell leads it to nuts buried by other squirrels. They go around digging up each other’s nuts.
How do scientists know this? How do they know that squirrels have bad memories and a keen sense of smell? Did a squirrel confess?
“Hey Doc, I can’t remember shit, but boy can I smell it!”
Apparently new research shows that squirrels do not have bad memories, and can remember where they buried their nuts. Who knows? The next time I am talking to a squirrel, I will ask it before it buries me.
No one can criticize the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) for not giving enough notice about this weekend’s subway closure, and replacement shuttle buses. They closed the Yonge Line from Finch to Lawrence for track maintenance. This past week they announced, 450 million times, about the subway closure and replacement shuttle buses. They also posted signs in all the subway stations. It was announced on the news and notices printed in the newspapers. No one could say that he or she did not know.
When I got off the 36 Finch bus at the Finch station, a TTC helper yelled, “THE SUBWAY IS CLOSED. SOUTHBOUND SHUTTLE BUSES ARE THAT WAY.”
(The TTC hires helpers to assist with special events and subway closures. The helpers wear red aprons with an “i” logo for Information.)
Behind the shouting TTC helper was a red fluorescent sign showing where to board the shuttle buses.
Of course it was not the only sign. The TTC covered almost all available space on walls, pillars, and windows with 450 million signs stating that the subway was closed, and showing where to get shuttle buses.
The Finch station has four levels. The first level is the street/bus level. The second level is a passageway. The third level has washrooms and newsstands. The fourth level has the tracks for the subways. (Did I mention that the subway was closed?)
I needed to use the washroom so I walked towards the stairwell from the first level to the second. A helper at the top of the stairs shouted, “SIR, THE SUBWAY IS CLOSED. SOUTHBOUND SHUTTLE BUSES ARE THAT WAY.”
“I know,” I said, “I have to use the washroom.”
“Oh,” said the helper, “it’s downstairs on the third level.”
“Yes, I know. Thanks.”
I got to the bottom of the stairs of the passageway.
“SIR, THE SUBWAY IS CLOSED. SOUTHBOUND SHUTTLE BUSES ARE UPSTAIRS.”
“I know, I have to use the washroom.”
“Oh, it’s downstairs that way.”
“Yes, I know. Thanks.”
I got to the other end of the passageway, passing lots of red fluorescent signs, to the stairwell from the passageway to the third level.
“SIR, THE SUBWAY IS CLOSED. SOUTHBOUND SHUTTLE BUSES ARE BACK THAT WAY UP THE STAIRS.”
“Yes, I know. I have to use the washroom.”
“Oh, it’s down the stairs that way.”
I walked towards the washroom which is near stairs leading to the fourth level. Of course there was another TTC helper eager to do her job.
‘SIR, THE SUBWAY IS CLOSED. SOUTHBOUND SHUTTLE BUSES ARE BACK THAT WAY UP THE STAIRS.”
“Yes, I know. I have to use the washroom.”
“Oh, it’s right there,” she said as she turned and pointed.
How nice of her to point to the washroom. I wasn’t sure where it was.
When I left the washroom, she looked at me and said, “Oh, you came out.”
I looked at my feet, legs, hands, arms and torso and realized that she was right. I had come out of the washroom.
Then she shouted, “THE SUBWAY IS CLOSED. SOUTHBOUND SHUTTLE BUSES ARE THAT WAY UP THE STAIRS.”
Yes, thanks. I know.”
And each TTC helper I passed along the way, from the washroom to the shuttle bus, shouted the same words.
Perhaps it was not overkill. Perhaps the TTC knows that human beings don’t always carry their brains, and will still get lost no matter how much guidance they receive.
Please indulge me while I quote myself. I once said, “If you’re rich it’s called fundraising, and if you’re poor it’s called begging.”
Someone invented another term: crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is asking lots of people for a small amounts of money. Isn’t that what panhandlers do?
I used to give money freely to panhandlers until The Toronto Sun exposed the Shaky Lady.
The Shaky Lady would sit on street corners, in downtown Toronto, wearing shabby clothes and shake. A lot of people, including myself, believed her to be down and out and gave her money. A Sun reporter exposed her as a fraud after seeing her get into an expensive car and discovering that she lived in an expensive home.
I discovered three fraudulent panhandlers only because I use public transit a lot:
“I lost my purse and need money for the Go Bus to get home to Hamilton.”
I first saw the young woman saying these words at the Yonge and Eglinton subway station. She seemed sincere and I gave her money. Several weeks later I saw her at the same subway station with the same story. I confronted her.
“Hey,” I said, “you had the same story several weeks ago in this same spot.”
She looked at me and gave me the guilty Oh shit! look, and quickly walked away.
I have seen her at several other subway stations with the same story. When she sees me, she walks away.
“There’s been a misunderstanding and my landlord locked me out of my apartment. I need money to pay rent.”
This was said by an older woman at the Broadview and Danforth subway station. I gave her some money. Again, several weeks later I saw her at the Ossignton and Bloor subway station saying the same story.
I confronted her and said, “Didn’t you have that same story several weeks ago at–”
But she turned and walked away. She, too, knows better than to ask me for money when she sees me on the subway.
“I just got out of the hospital and need money for food. Can you give me money for food?”
This woman wears a long black overcoat and walks with a cane. She also wears 43,000 pounds of makeup. I gave her money the first time I saw her at the North York subway station, but I felt that she was a fraud because of the makeup. She looks more like a model than a homeless person. I confronted her the second time I saw her at the North York subway station a few weeks later. Naturally she had the same story.
“You just got out of the hospital a few weeks ago,” I said. “And now you just got out again?”
“I was in the hospital a few weeks ago for something else,” she said. “I went back in and I just got out today after an operation on my knee.”
“I don’t believe you,” I said. “You are wearing too much makeup. You don’t look down-and-out. You look like a model. Why don’t you take the money you spend on makeup and buy food?”
Well she started yelling at me about how she could prove she was in the hospital if I would come with her and that she’s not a fraud and that she’s not a fraud and that she’s not a fraud. Now I’ll quote Shakespeare, “The lady doth protest too much.”
I have seen her at several subway stations throughout the city. I have also seen her on the street outside downtown grocery stores. Sometimes she has a cane, and sometimes she doesn’t. She looks away when she sees me.
Now I don’t give away my money so freely—if at all.
By the way, do you think William Shakespeare is rolling in his grave because he was quoted in the same blog as Gary Johnston?
Someone once said, “Rich people have the stock market, and poor people have the lottery.” I don’t own any stocks.
My experience shows that new lottery games have lots of winners while the games are new. The winners trail off as time passes. Manipulation? Every lottery retailer I asked, over the years, agreed that there are more winners when the games are new.
The lottery draws used to be held live on television. Now the draws are done behind closed doors. The draws are closely monitored—or so they say. Sometimes (human beings) + (lots of money) = corruption. For the sake of transparency, why not go back to having the draws live on television? Lots of poor people would watch.
I have no proof for the following, but I think the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission (OLG) can manipulate winning numbers. It’s all done by computers. The OLG can tell where and when a winning ticket was bought. Can the OLG tell which numbers are picked before the draw, and then make sure none of those numbers wins the jackpot? This, of course, drives up the jackpot. The higher the jackpot, the more tickets people buy. The more tickets people buy, the more money OLG makes. And when the OLG has made enough, they allow the winning numbers to come up from a ticket someone bought. Manipulation would also explain the many winners when games are new.
“Oh, but the numbers are drawn randomly,” they say. Really? How do you program randomness into a computer? Everything a computer does is the result of a program someone created. Isn’t programming randomness an oxymoron?
Thinking that the OLG manipulates the numbers does not stop me from buying lottery tickets. One day I hope to win so I can buy some stocks.
As I write this, I am at a table for four at the North York Central Library. I am not alone. I was alone with three empty places, but four young women from the Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts just took up the three spaces, and added a fourth at the end of the table. They have their text and notebooks open, but are devoting their energy to talking and laughing and farting around on their phones.
How would these young women behave if the sign on the table read: MAKE NOISE! TALK! LAUGH! PLAY WITH YOUR PHONES! ? Because they are human, they would likely sit quietly and study thinking, “These rules and signs are for other people, and do not apply to us.”
When I was in high school, just after Cog invented the wheel, the school provided places where students could study and work on projects together after school. There was the school’s library, cafeteria, and some large classrooms. Don’t high schools today provide places for after-school study? If they do, then many students don’t use them. These students would rather invade a library and disturb the peace.
Oh? What’s this? The invaders are leaving. But it’s only been 90 minutes of noise making. Is it time for them to disturb some other part of Paradise?
Goodbye kids. Thanks for giving me something to write about.