May 2007

Monthly Archive

On a lighter note

Posted by on 30 May 2007 | Tagged as: Current Events, Food and Wine

Something tells me the writer of this headline has recently acquired a dog.

I’m not sure what to make of the main article. Part of me wants to say something along the lines of: Of course the whole organic thing has gone corporate, what did you expect?

Zero Yonge Street

Posted by on 30 May 2007 | Tagged as: Toronto

I can’t get all that upset about the condos slotted for the Pier 27 site at the foot of Yonge St. (link, link, link), though perhaps that’s a sign that I’ve lowered my expectations to the point where anything in that area other than windswept parking lots, mothballed party boats, random examples of ‘70s Brutalism and Captain John’s* seems like a triumph of urbanism. On a winter night, with a pitiless wind blowing across the ice from Hamilton, it brings to mind the Alden Nowlan poem that ends by referring to ‘the truth that we know but never utter/that this is a country where a man can die/from being left outside.’

What’s not clear is what’s happened to the very good idea, in the West 8 proposal, to move the ferry docks to the foot of Yonge St., funneling the passengers through an open-air market. Somebody mentioned Granville Island as a model, but I can’t find the reference now.

I assume the area marked ‘Mixed Use Redevelopment Site’ on the larger map is the privately owned parcel.

* True story – a colleague went there for lunch, just for fun, and reported back that it really is at least as bad as it’s reputed to be.


Speed kills, but no one cares

Posted by on 30 May 2007 | Tagged as: Current Events

mercedes-benz-slk-55-amg-2006-714383.jpgI don’t think anyone would think of me as a law and order type, but I’m increasingly convinced that we have a dangerous lack of enforcement of existing traffic laws in the city, and a disregard for the destruction big metal vehicles cause.

So I am appalled that the two teenagers who were racing their parents’ Mercedes-Benzes at speeds more than 80 km/h over the speed limit when they killed a man have been sentenced to two years less a day, with one year to be spent in house arrest.

I have no doubt that this was an unfortunate accident, and I wouldn’t want to see any lives permanently destroyed because of bad judgement. On the other hand, one man is dead because two others knowingly and dangerously broke the law for kicks. I would be happy to have two people with so little regard for the rest of their fellow citizens and for society in general removed from it for a longer period of time.

During an interview with one of the speeder’s lawyers he detailed the other restrictions of the sentence:

* 150 hours of community service (that’s about 1.5 hours a week for two years)
* 4 years without driving (having spent 20 doing just that, I’m not seeing the hardship)

The Star story also notes that there is an 11 pm-6 am curfew for an additional year… that can be adjusted with their parents’ written permission. A bit of an irritant, no doubt, but an appropriate consequence for “dangerous driving causing the death” of Tahir Khan?

The lawyer claimed this sentence would act as a serious deterrent. I simply can’t believe that’s true, which means that speed racing is simply one of the many dangerous, theoretically banned driving activities that are ignored unless a cruiser happens to be handy… or someone dies.

(By the way, Diamond Taxi has raised $28,500 in donations since Khan’s death. That’s less than the cost of a single year’s tuition at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, where the two “causers of his death” attended high school.)

A fizzy that’s good in the heat

Posted by on 24 May 2007 | Tagged as: Food and Wine

We recently picked up a bottle of Allimant-Laugner Crémant d’Alsace Brut (Vintages 30593, $19.95), since we’re fond of cracking open a bottle of fizzy for random celebratory occasions such as Tuesdays, and we’ve long since run out of the Crémant d’Alsace we buy from Opimian. Very fresh, lots and lots and LOTS of green apple — Granny Smith specifically, all three tasters agreed. We could all picture it being just perfect for a hot day.

Like, say, today.

There’s lots left in most stores.

Magnetic helmets!

Posted by on 24 May 2007 | Tagged as: Tech

Magnets may offer a way to boost mental performance, US research suggests.

No, they don’t fend off aliens and the CIA. Well, perhaps they do — who knows?

Delivery delays

Posted by on 23 May 2007 | Tagged as: Current Events, Toronto

The general idea here seems worth considering, but the hours strike me as very impractical. Fresh food gets delivered in the morning, and is it reasonable or desirable to expect everyone to be there to receive it before 7 am? The idea that 7-8 am is actually rush hour *downtown* also strikes me as hyperbolic. Major Mac might be filling up, but the streets and the subway are lightly occupied.

I’m entertained by this quote from Glen Stone of the Toronto Board of Trade:

“There already are many traffic restrictions on downtown streets and the police do a pretty thorough enforcement job,” he told the Star.

Where is this fantasy world where traffic laws are actually enforced?

Why the legal system can’t keep up

Posted by on 22 May 2007 | Tagged as: Current Events

“Web site” baffles Internet terrorism trial judge

Pinot Gris for summer

Posted by on 21 May 2007 | Tagged as: Food and Wine

There are still a few of these left in the system, though not as many as I thought there would be: Pierre Sparr 2004 Pinot Gris Reserve, 13%/$16.95. (Vintages April 28 release.)

I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about Pinot Gris, J. more unqualifiedly enthusiastic, so it was good to find a bottle we could enthuse about together. Big fruity citrus and stone fruit nose (back of bottle says pear, peach, and quince!) with some spiciness and minerality to keep it interesting. Dry, med+ acid and body, good balance, average+ finish. To quote the back of the bottle (which we actually sort of agree with this time), “mouth-filling flavours that finishes with fruity notes. Racy and complex, intense yet graceful.”

It seems to show best with a good chill.

Incidentally, after I bought it I glanced at a copy of NOW and noticed they liked it too. I’m not sure what that means.

Edit: also available at Vintages in a recent release, the 2004 Vineland Estates Pinot Gris ($14.95) is also quite good, though not as generous on the nose or palate as the Sparr. (Yes, it’s been a Pinot Gris weekend.)

The life of the undercaffienated

Posted by on 20 May 2007 | Tagged as: Current Events

Oh hey, I thought when I saw the headline this morning, I should tell GH about this!

My brain wakes up slowly, apparently.

The Lives of Others

Posted by on 18 May 2007 | Tagged as: Music and Arts

Although I suspect it won’t be here for much longer, contrary to what I told TB yesterday it looks like The Lives of Others is going to be in the theatres at least for the weekend.

We finally got around to seeing this movie after J. saw the Globe review maybe two months ago. It’s set in pre-Glasnost East Germany, circa 1984, in the days when virtually everyone was either a employee, a informer, or a target of the secret police. It’s a memorable film and well worth your time, if you get a chance to see it before it leaves town.

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