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From Toronto With Love

Posted by julescosby on August 8, 2011

Office of the Prime Minister

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON

K1A 0A2

27 June, 2010

Dear Messrs. Harper, Flaherty et. al.

Just a quick letter from your old pal Toronto to thank you for G20 Spa Package you sent me this weekend.

Ripping all of those pesky little trees out of my downtown core was the best Brazilian wax I’ve ever received.  And all those extra police boots – and hooves – on the ground amounted to a Shiatsu massage fit for the gods! Sure, the low-flying helicopters were a bit of a nuisance at first, but it is the summer after all, and as Canadians we’ve all got to get used to insects buzzing around, right?

The weight-loss part of the program wasn’t easy.  But the toxic flush that the G20 enema provided sure cleaned out my system.  With so many people out of the city, I’m feeling lean and mean like never before!

At first I wasn’t sure if I could accept your gift.  Some of my friends thought that in a recessionary age, superfluous expenditures were in principle anathema to the official line of prudence and austerity.  But we all know – you guys probably more than anyone – just how much things like principles can get in the way of daily life.

Really, I can’t tell you just how stressful it is being a democratic space.  And between you and me, making the bulk of the money in the country is devastatingly tiring work, and it’s nice to have a little break once in a blue moon.  Those irksome tourists – armed with their damned dollars – really get on one’s nerves after a while, so thanks for the reprieve.

Look guys, I know we haven’t always saw eye-to-eye with each other.  When your government was scrambling to give objective, apolitical stimulus money around the country, your pit bull John Baird told me to scram (Well, maybe the metaphor was a little more colourful than that).  Despite that, I just want you to let you know what a smash-up job you’re doing, and I’m not just talking about smashing up kid’s heads!

Thank you.  One billion thank yous! Come the next federal election, your kindness will certainly not be forgotten.

Never change.

Love,

Toronto

 

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Put that phone away!

Posted by julescosby on October 27, 2009

One of the oldest political adages going is ‘if people were angels then we wouldn’t need government’.  Today it is more like ‘if people weren’t so ADD, then we wouldn’t need anti-texting laws’.

Sadly, Ontario’s new anti-texting law doesn’t get to the heart of the issue, which is distracted driving.  The simple matter is that it can’t, because to do so would expose a great contradiction in our society.  We are told, rightly so, to pay attention when we are behind the wheel, but at the same time we are exposed to a seemingly infinite amount of distraction.  We are distracted inside our cars with stereo systems, GPS devices, and the like; we are distracted outside with an infinite amount of signage advertising the very crap you are using inside your car.

Remember the good old days when the only distraction you faced on the road was just plain old masturbating? There was no technology to get between you and the one you loved the most.

It would be simple if we could just have a ‘Distracted Driving’ law.  But how could one possibly enforce it? With drunk driving, we have breathalysers, but how would you measure how distracted someone is? The only qualitative analyses we have are individual police officers making the call.  That’s a lot of power to put in the hands of the police.

Plus, the second that language like ‘distracting’ enters into legislation, the existence of the multitude of televisual signs that drivers motor past every day on roadways like the Gardiner will come into question.  Sony and Toyota, and whoever else has a vested interest in keeping those mini-movie theatres up in drivers’ faces, might just have something to say about that.

Freedom of expression, one of the greatest ideas that humankind has ever got behind, has become ‘freedom to inundate everyone with as much crap as possible’.  Just make sure it blinks.

I’m not trying to absolve the individual of their responsibility to pay attention while on the road.  Hurling a half-ton of steel (or fibreglass) on top of a thin strip of tar at 100kph is a pretty big responsibility, and one should not be taken lightly.  All I want is for people to realize that it’s not drunk driving or talking on your cell phone that is the problem: it’s being distracted from what you should be doing.  You would think that something so general in nature as the law would be able to deal with that.  But it of course is the product of us poor frail humans, and it’s tough to come up with good laws, especially while driving, eating that bowl of cereal, reading the newspaper, shaving and especially belting out that Journey tune.

I can already hear the naysayers among you clucking in unison: “Well, can you come up with something better?” Well frankly, no, I really can’t.  One day perhaps, a great legislator, a Solon or a Zarathustra living in the mountains – far removed from this ADD-soaked world – will come to give us a distracted driving law, with sensible language and provisions to actually enforce it.

Until that day, buckle up, lay off the booze, put the phone away, and take the time to discover your old forgotten friends in your trousers.

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