• ***---------->_____ In Toronto? Please hire me, need work. _____<-----***
  • Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Reading Amateur.

    I went to (one of) the University of Toronto used book sales this past weekend.  From its small (weekend-only) room, I bought one mass market paperback - cost $1.  Hardcover books and nicer quality paperbacks were located across the second floor's main hall.
    The 1976 mystery novel I selected was by a lesser known Ontario /Canadian writer.  I'm glad enough to have been able to find and acquire one intriquing book; at a low price, that was something I felt I wouldn't often re-discover at another booksale, plus by a writer - Canadian, Non-Literary, and Mystery fiction at that - of whom I hadn't read before.
    So I finally line up to pay my loonie.  A woman behind me (with a man at her side) snipes at me.  "One book?  Amateur!"
    One may suggest that she was being socialable.  However, prime-aged women are seldom friendly towards me and I don't cut cut much of an impressive figure.  Big city (downtown event) people generally don't snipe out at non-wealthy looking strangers as their opening conversational style neither.

    So I was 'told' - as I take it.  Before this I had been in a relaxed and contented mood, grateful to put aside personal worries for the moment.  I was at a book sale.
    Instead I got ignorantly disdained by a faux-elite hometown stranger.  C'mon.  It didn't even surprise me!
    At this sale, I had shortlisted against a few and declined a number of other selections.
    That woman's mass market selections: yup, a pile of commonplace Agatha Christie novels.

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    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    Not-awesome #876

    # 876.
    Spicy foods.
    I don't like having my own snot with my food.  So why is the entire food industry obsessed with making everything "spicy"?  As well, "Over-flavoured" is Spicy's twin of food-evil.  Both are terrible, in my opinion.
    Now, I'm not (at least I don't regard myself as so) a limpid, plain, and lukewarm mash potatos, only food person.  I enjoy a bit of food spiciness and flavour.  Within my personal level of stomach comfort.
    Yet, I shouldn't need to use a tissue paper while I am eating, though.  Nor should I need to have a large glass of water at my ready.  Especially once a humid Great Lakes' summer season has concluded.
    Spicy foods, not-awesome.

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    Not-awesome #877

    # 877.
    Wide Window bays.
    I just don't like wide length window blocks.  Ditto for clear patio doors.
    They makes me think of a small truck crashing through for a smash and grab robbery.  Then there is the matter of furniture placement.  Where do you put the television unit or the chair, etc.  What if you don't want sunshine fading down upon your belongings everyday.  A solid set of drapes to be drawn straight across?
    Household window bays with multiple narrow vertical windows are nice, however.  When they also have matching wall spaces between them.
    Wide Window bays, not-awesome.

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    Saturday, October 18, 2014

    About the Leafs' Lack of Ont. Players.

    Last week, Hockey Night in Canada returned with Coach's Corner, starring its long-time hosts Ron McLean and Don Cherry.  In Toronto, Cherry gave a sharp criticism of the Toronto Maple Leafs' 2014 draft choices.
    Last June, I almost wrote about the Leafs not selecting an Ontario / Canadian player during the first round of the draft.  Nazem Kadri, who's also a Muslim - ONTARIO BORN, might be the only Ontario born - Ontario development system first round player they've taken in many years.  As a casual follower, yeah I've noticed that most of the Leafs' upper tier players (drafted, traded for, and signed via free agency) have been non-Ontario (and to a lesser extent - neither from overall all-Canada) sourced!
    I SUPPORT the inclusion of foreign players, even star(!) foreign players - but let's keep Ontario's Own as first-in-line where the talent abilities are relatively equal!  Nearly all other - often winning NHL teams - seem to have no such chronic shortages of our hometown and regional players, chosen alongside of U.S., U.S. college system, and Overseas / Overseas trained-in-Canada players.
    Kadri turned out to be just like anyone else - perhaps to some high ranking people's disappointment.  He ended up wasting more years with the Leafs minor league team then many other comparable first round picks.  He then was also getting routinely slighted, publicly, for his skill and alleged overweight physical condition by the Leafs management.  The very wealthy Leafs team meanwhile achieved one, strike-shortened season, playoff appearance in about a decade.
    It was this way while the Ontario Teachers Pension Group owned the team, and so far it had still been a little early to rebuke the newer ownership tandam of Bell Canada (Bell Media) and Rogers Communications.  However I don't believe, given this franchise's recent 10-20 years' history, that the new ownership has the 'wiggle room' not to select a top-tier Ontario (or at least a Canadian-born and made-in-Canada) player.
    According to Cherry, the Leafs' 2014 draft was worse than just maintaining its unstated non-Ontario 'first round' selection bias.  Their draft picks were entirely(!) devoid of any Ontario born and Ontario (junior hockey) developed players.  In this, the Maple Leafs are one of only two NHL teams [Washington Captials is the other], within a 30-team league, to have made this exclusion.

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    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Hopeless: Occupations I've only Dreamt Of.

    In the last posting, I stated that I honestly hate everything Microsoft (Windows) has produced since 2005.  I need to expand upon this topic.
    Throughout much of my adult life I have, or had, dreamt of obtaining employment with Microsoft (and/or Microsoft Canada)!  That's important to keep in mind.
    For example, I grew up worshiping just about every business variety of journalism, technology, marketing, aviation, consumer goods, sports, etc.  I respected and trusted upon most gov't institutions as well.  At everything I have always tried to perform at my very best.  I have always wanted to fit-in and contribute and to feel reasonably accepted and appreciated.  Who wouldn't?
    My very best sometimes simply just wasn't good enough in some situations - and I can accept that.  When I dreamt of Microsoft, it was never as though I imagined myself as one of its top executive leaders.  It is however, a place of thousands upon thousands of individual roles; and it is still just one part of a vastly larger industry sector.  That sector as being only one of almost innumerable others.  I believe that my dreams were and are realistic expectations to thrive towards.
    I have my own aptitudes along with some natural and/or developed abilities and a few other non-abilities.  Of course, a bunch of stuff also falls in-between ability and non-ability.  Every person should be able to live and become active besides only targetting against his weakness(es).  Sharing a handshake, however, requires more than one's self.  And it shouldn't always be unanswered absolutely and thus pleaded for.
    As I wrote about the two specialty quarters, this time period really has become [another] low point within my life.  Yesterday when I walked back from the library... I stopped.
    What do I mean?
    I stopped.
    I felt as though I just couldn't continue to step ahead.
    I stopped.
    It was a kind of stop while still recognizing one's remaining good fortune - but without comfort, attainment, nor hope for better.

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    Hopeless wish: who to vote for?

    Initially my mayoral choice was clear.  All-in-all an acceptable choice of an acceptable amount of compromise.  Now...

    Damn It:
    I want the Island Airport moved(!) to the Leslie Street Spit.  Hong Kong developed its major airport upon the ocean; our pre-existing 5 km Lake Ontario outer man-made wedge should be easier to adapt.  I don't want the existing site expanded directly in front of our immediate waterfront; I also don't want to have zero small airport capacity.  The Spit location [I've written about] addresses both
    I want public washrooms and other failings restored and/or corrected at such commuter interchanges as Islington Station.
    I wanted a Malvern to Summerhill and Dupont rail line away back in 2004.  One that would have created park and ride lots where the new Wynford Drive Mosque has just been built (replacing the former Bata Shoes' building) and at Kennedy and the 401 East.  One that would have moved passengers directly into the geographical centre of the city instead of saddling an already overloaded Union Station.  One that would have lightened the suburban car volumes upon the lower DVP and downtown.  BTW, no extra and expensive tunnelling was required either!  Summerhill's former train station was restored by the LCBO agency although adjacent rail-side land had been given over to housing only a few upmarket townhouses - why was that bothered with?  That interchange possibility became permanently crippled - for the sake of a few false-posh townhouses.
    I want 50-60% of existing buses upon major routes switched into differently painted Express buses.  I don't want more added buses since what is there isn't affordable.  I don't want fewer lanes of arterial roadway while increased volumes of new highrises and townhouses are approved and tightly compressed into those same areas.
    I want Grenadier Pond reclaimed for people first - and not to read about another Springtime death of a local senior perhaps only trying to view the returning ducks across the masses of overgrown reeds.  A few reed pockets here or there is fine; there are simply way too many.
    Yes, I want to see spending cuts.  No, I don't care when someone who's been taking $100,000 a year while standing by daytime road construction sites, collecting subway fares, driving a bus into and through a red light, tasers a cop-killed man (twice) on a streetcar, beats the hell out of unarmed innocent G20 onlookers or a large mentally challenged man walking to a mall slightly distanced from his mother, tickets parked cars, or otherwise squanders millions(?) upon worthless yet fancy sidewalk trees, loses his/her job.  They've got amassed income, new severance and a better continued lifetime health and pension plan than I'll ever see - let alone their secured employment(s).  I don't care about preserving any of the leading executives of such various troubled concerns neither.

    One political figurehead mayor won't individually solve any of the above issues.  One person can and needs to, however, establish the required tone.  Blame needs to be applied, proportionally to everyone involved, directly and indirectly.  'There there now' status quo gladhanding and/or empty populist rantings isn't at all that same tone.

    Looking to the councillor elections isn't much better.  Almost every incumbant (of a 44-membered* council) is guaranteed for re-election.  Every race has maybe six or eight candidates.  Even where a worthy challenger(s) is present, the natural vote splitting between so many candidates only contributes towards maintaining incumbancy favour.  Where doesn't a GTA mayor and/or councillor hang around for at least a dozen years, if not 20 or 30, unless they step aside?
    Particularly across the larger Greater Toronto Area IMO, most 'independent' voters will feel pre-conditioned into maintaining any leadership as their establishment of 'Canadian Good Governance'.  Fair questioning of any authority is usually regarded as disruptive and therefore is somehow bad.  "Keep Calm and Carry On" - as a democracy example - was a prepared WWII slogan from Britain's expectant Nazi-appeasing local leaders meant to lull its masses into submission.  Many people, nowadays actually cherish that saying.

    * Compared to the federal and provincial parliaments, we would need approx. 616 and 206 elected politicans to match our local representation.  These estimated figures would likely require another doubling if their comparisons are made by voting volumes received.  Jeesh, is it really that big a deal to handle potholes and snow clearing stuff?  Those fewer feds and provs, meanwhile, are sending Canadians into war zones and directing healthcare.

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    Hopeless wish: what computer should I next look towards?

    I've been (idly) revisiting the issue of considering what computer system I should next purchase /wish for.  Earlier this year, I had attempted to install a non-installable disk copy of Windows 98SE with a VMWare virtualization sandbox.
    Without losing myself into an ocean of tech talk, the following is the dilemma as I view it.

    I still prefer the Windows 9x interface and visual design; although I welcomed the XP (2002) advancements - only until Service Pack 2.  9x's style was both less fluffy and not so barebones plain; it was both firm and individually customizable.  (I hate those modern laptop monitors which distort visibility according to differing viewer angles.)

    With XP (9x style) I can easily substitute a variety of small freeware programs to mimic some of the latter Windows 7 and Vista GUI features /gimmicks.  With one such freeware patch, I can also reduce the width of the XP Programbar's text labels to any specified pixel width.

    I also strongly prefer using Office Suites of the 16-bit 1994 era.  Office 2002/03 is okay; except that the visual basic macro language is far too enhanced and 'nitty-gritty' in my opinion.  More and more, I admire the older and steadier filebar /toolbar layouts of the 16-bit era.

    My dream Office Suite would be Lotus Office 5, with an updated read/save allowance of 40+3 character length filenames - excluding all special characters.  (To hell with having to type an opening Equal sign for every number equation; see next item for remapping the Shift-required Equal Sign key to the front row.)

    I demand that I can still plug-in a late 80s 101 keyboard.  Keytweak will freely remap any keyboard button (like a second Alt or Cntl) as its lone missing 'Win key'.  Old keyboards: well spaced, two-colour and non-black(!) visibility of the surrounding extra keys, and firm to the touch.  (I never did get an old-fashioned 2-button joystick to install under XP Professional, btw.)

    Truth is, I have hated just about everything Microsoft (Windows) has released since 2005.
    I hate that the F1 key is Windows' default Help button, as located very close to the Escape key.  Plus, more than once I've needed to search online to re-learn how to re-adjust a laptop's keyboard after accidently hitting both the Caps Lock and Left Shift (or Function key with one or the other) button together - which causes a third character set to become invoked.

    I hate hidey-hole stuff, like needing to remember a dozen or more hotkey combinations and scores of text-less icon image meanings in lieu of the just-mentioned text label fix.  (It's enough already given everything else such as Pin numbers etc. in our vast modernized world.)

    I still love playing a small number of Dos games.  Ditto for an assortment of Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1 games.  A shoutout to the [real tables simulated] 32-bit Visual Pinball program, however.  An old heavy-duty keyboard comes in handy with pinball and with playing true early 80s arcade games via MAME.  (Some hobbyists create or install specialized real arcade enhanced 'primary keyboard' devices.)  I added a freeware program to my ex-2000s desktop: it finally allowed for a second XP user setting to have a truly independent screen resolution scale - great for keeping those 640*480 layouts from shrinking into 1024*768.

    CD-roms were always the new floppy disks; I would have preferred more (IF safe and reliable) 'CD cracks' in order to not require their physical presence for some games and other programs.  Regardless of the mentioned joystick fail, I still needed to give up on some 90s computer games operated within a 2000s PC since its newer CD drive wouldn't ever stop spinning although no added files at all were being run and/or loaded into memory once their games were 'initiated with the actual CD'.

    I don't want an ever-changing internet brower, etc.  I was fine with using browsers as they were a decade ago; it was the e-mail programs and those ubiquitous Google Ad banners that demanded fussy re-updatings to continue to load properly.  Even online videos were accessible 15 years ago - if major service providers still really hadn't developed enough modem speed and capacity back then.

    When I consider switching to Linux (and the Wine emulator), all I find is the same as always: too many separate o/s variations, too many updates, too many conflicting installation instructions of each type, plus a constant rah-rah suggestion to replace everything that ever ran upon (older) Windows, Microsoft or Not - with an unknown authored collective of too loosely controlled open-source alternatives.  The one time I installed Open Office, my previous desktop was struck by two viruses within 30 hours.  Star Office, IMO, before this wasn't half of its own boasting neither.  Regular Freeware, in contrast, is developed and issued chiefly by individuals; their visions do not become as easily diluted.

    As the computing currently stands: unless I could obtain a NEW 32-bit and better quality laptop and/or desktop [each] with XP Professional, and then a separate and second/third machine (using undetermined) strictly for current online wishes and needs... what future computer device should I consider?  Where can smaller mobile devices fit into this environment?  Abandoning everything that was good before now is not an acceptable option.  Sticking with something that is no longer good isn't acceptable neither.

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    Wednesday, October 15, 2014

    Disappointing Day Treat - times two.

    What's the name of this blog?  Classic Quarters, or .25 as it's later been altered.  I like to collect 'circulation grade' quarters; No, I don't wish to spend throw away $20 on specialty item coins.
    There have been a few gaps, naturally, within my collecting.  It took awhile to find the 2005 Alberta centennial quarter as was obtaining a 2010 (2002/06 Moments) Men's Hockey quarter.
    Yesterday I went to the supermarket - bought two pies, post-holidays, on expired markdown plus a couple of sale flyer items - and my change was 60 cents.  Actually it was a rare same-day second supermarket drop-in; a first choice hadn't had any markdown products.  (Not much going on within the job ads via timed library internet access either.  Not much of a weather week around here, nor had I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving beyond a plate of turkey-less veggies.)
    A blah day, in a rather blah week, inside of a blah month...
    I received not one but TWO missing quarters within my change of 60 cents.  I received not one but both of these as limited quanity, red colour added, circulation quarters!
    The 2012 (war of 1812) Tecumeeh script covered quarter.
    A 2008 Armistice quarter - to match the 2004 edition.  I had completely overlooked this 2008 quarter - given the ongoing Olympics Series plus that year's regular quarter.
    I've still to find one of the three 2011 Parks Canada quarters (my other two are their non-colour versions, btw), as well as a regular 2014 quarter.
    Spending less cash generally means less change returned which means fewer chances at getting any quarters - let alone a missing one, or two, or an alternate two with colour.
    I may have picked up two 'missing' quarters at a time before - but not where both had limited edition colour.

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    Saturday, October 11, 2014

    'I' suggested Friday Night CFL.

    One thing about Friday's TVO hosted debate* - and a claim asserted by former CFL Commissioner John Tory.
    'I' was the person who had suggested, in writing, that the CFL switch to a successful double-header Friday night schedule.  Back around the latter 1990s I would watch TSN's Off the Record sports talk show.  It had a former player / executive of the CFL as one of its reoccurring (3) guests.  Each time, this man would urge viewers to follow Canadian Football because it was 'Canadian'.  Its brief U.S. expansion was a past era. 
    After a third or fourth appearance, I then e-mailed+ this person  - at their league office - a response.  I wrote that:
    A) I never knew when any of the games were taking place - the league's schedule was then haphazardly arranged throughout the full week.  Outside of the SkyDome being baseball first - there should have been no priority scheduling restrictions to deal with.
    B) Even if I did find out when a next game was - I wouldn't know my home team's players due to its blackout TV rules (doubled with both Toronto and Hamilton's teams as locally affected.)

    Besides knowing the when's and who's, I suggested the Double-Friday schedule because:
    1) Younger men and women would take notice of the CFL being regularly displayed upon screens in every bar and sportsbar and thus choose to go to a few expectably scheduled future games as a beginning of a Friday night's entertainment.
    2) Parents with kids would re-discover the CFL as something they could enjoy together.
    2a) The same goes for younger preteen and teenaged males.
    3) Aging baby boomers were already getting a bit old for 'the club scene', but would still want a destination event.
    4) The U.S. and Cdn. TV and pro sports market was [then] dismal upon Friday evening scheduling.  And this league (especially back then) wasn't going to outdraw the NFL, PGA, etc., during weekend afternoon broadcasts.
    5) Multiple games 'in-one-night/day' generates excitement.  Even if one particular game is dull, more fans will stick with that because of wanting to keep up with any other game(s).  Viewers will tune in early or stick around if given two games, rather than only watching one.  I also suggested [just] considering an occasional third Friday night game - scheduled between the two other half-time stoppages.
    5a) Was it down to eight or nine teams then?  I also suggested keeping a few long-weekend Monday games as a change-up scheduling special  - but to keep the other extra weekly games to Saturdays.

    I likely received a 'thanks for writing' response at the time.  Nothing else.  One added fact is, I've never attended a live CFL game.  Why should I squander my money if modest home ownership (and used car affordability) was/is too often well beyond my insecure employment means?  That's another reason why I believe that the CFL's (plus Blue Jays, Raptors) TV contracts should always provide for a few regular season games (if only during a couple of Summertime long weekends  - fewer at-home viewers, btw) and the one annual championship game upon non-cable /tiered broadcasting signals.
    Paid Subscription (cable/internet) Only, with a less-concise season schedule, has become the CFL's recent years' standard; Canadian University football no longer has any TV contract  - here within Ontario.
    Even nowadays, I can watch occasional New York Yankees baseball games as carried by secondary U.S. broadcast stations.  Every major (U.S. based) pro league still places weekend games upon the main U.S. networks while each TV group now operates its own all-sport cable channel(s).  Although big city and winning teams dominate, their schedulers ensure that every league team will get some amount of broadcast-level inclusion - except of course for our non-U.S. located teams.

    * extra Fri. Oct. 10th Toronto Mayoral Debate(s) note:
    I also listened to a two-hour midday (and same day) Friday debate between the three main challengers hosted by Zoomer radio and its TV channel.  Larger Cdn. media groups seemingly only reported about the other non-televised Friday debate where no-name candidate Ari Goldkind was uninvited and then re-invited as according to conflicting main candidate responses of the very night beforehand.
    Shame upon the black community's local organizers of that 'inner-city issues' debate for refusing to invite a black female mayoral candidate instead of... Goldkind (again).  I agree with her on-stage protest.

    + Sure, I can assume that other people independently had the same idea.  However, I did write to the CFL's headquarters (directly to a regular guest of TSN's Off the Record) about switching to Friday Night doubleheader football.
    Ditto for all of those of bike path distance/direction markers added in 2008/09.  'I as CQ' wrote a series of public blog posts about that very issue AND describing approximately TWENTY local bike paths, during May of 2006.  I received zero correspondence (nor any basic level civic job enquires).  Back in 2006, only one such route (mid-Scarborough) had any path markers - and those were measured by mile fractions; Canada switched to the Metric system in 1976.  A few of these new marker posts now differ by only 50 metres.

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    Wednesday, October 08, 2014

    Real confidence for Toronto's future?

    Funny that it wasn't our leading media reporters who've reported on John Tory's executive involvement with a $20 Billion dollar bankruptcy for Charter Communications. Instead, CP24's Stephen LeDrew offered Tory a fawning interview of Tory and his spouse on Tuesday, during the aftermath of Monday's anti-semite post-debate quote. It felt like watching Question Period host Robert Fife's standard gushing over 3rd-party leader Justin Trudeau during that weekend program's opening quarter hour.

    Now we have a 'fiscal conservative' frontrunner candidate that:
    worked in a badly failed federal campaign targetting PM Jean Chretien's Polio-damaged facial features,
    led Rogers Communications during its negative billing era (hired by his godfather, Ted Rogers Jr.),
    (Rogers around this timeframe, had also bought - via a short-term U.S. based 2nd owner - Ontario's half-billion dollar, taxpayer created, SkyDome stadium for a pittance.)
    never played the game but was the CFL's top executive,
    and was a multi-year board member and, more directly, was part of an audit oversight committee for a mega-sized U.S. company that went bankrupt.

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    Doug Ford makes a few good points.

    I've already written of my intention to vote for John Tory.  On the transit issue, Tory is my far and away favourite mayoral candidate.  Doug Ford isn't Rob, but there's enough of a public record, of Doug's own prior statements working against him.
    Olivia who?  Having an access to the Rogers Community TV channel, I watched an earlier 'top-three' candidate debate and she wilted like a palm tree in the Yukon.  She's no Hurricane Hazel (next door Mississauga's Mayor - stepping aside... at age 93).  Since then, Chow's polling numbers have languished and members of the Toronto area's Chinese-Canadian political community jointly endorsed John Tory.
    However, I needed to read a Sun Media news report to find out "what" John Tory had said about Doug Ford, earlier this week.  Apparently our entire local political scene had no idea that* Ford's wife is Jewish 'of Jewish heritage'.  A councillor with a significant municipal role and now a mayoral candidate.  Tory, a former political talk radio host publicly tossed the 'anti-semite' label against Ford - after a four candidates' debate.
    So who is this 'fourth' candidate?  There is still no one else being reported as having any measurable amount of voting support.  In a recalling of 1992's independent U.S. presidental hopeful Ross Perot's vice president nominee: Who is he and Why is he now a consistent part of this final month's various debates?
    Ari Goldkind simply has no business being (singularly) included within any of these mayoral debates.  I only first noticed his presence at an Arts/TIFF hosted debate.  His time - and equally that of a dozen other no-names was two to six months ago, perhaps in an opening series of also-ran candidates' debates.

    Why is he there (now)?
    IMO, it is because either Olivia Chow's campaign team, or front-runner John Tory's supporters - wants their major debates' risk defused.  Once any debate moves away from the one/two on one challenge format, it almost always waters down into a snoozefest of safe, pat, ineffective(!), roundtable statements - cut short by time and/or selected moderators.
    Having over 40 debates and an eight month long official campaign - except that lawn signs are permitted only during the last 25 days - is another such impedment tactic.  Few serious challengers can A) endure such a lengthy unpaid campaign duration, B) appear as credible versus those who are financed to sign up early on, and C) achieve name recognition status with display signs allowed for less than only one month - especially given the facts of A) and B).

    This kind of secretative manipulation of our political process is exactly why I, and many other potential voters, may switch or withhold our own voting intentions.

    *Original quote, "Matter of fact, my wife is Jewish, her mother is Jewish".  Tuesday evening's media scrum quote is that both are of non-Jewish faith / Jewish heritage only, his wife's maternal grandparents were European Jews.  This is one more example of the Ford brothers' lousy and inaccurate leadership style of a 100% overstatement later followed  - once challenged - by a restatement.

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    60% Express Buses for Toronto!

    Yes, I've written about wanting the Island Airport. Both as RESITUATED to the manmade (outer) Leslie Street Spit - with a built-in direct east waterfront streetcar route to Union Station, plus renamed for a former black deputy mayor - instead of its already in use naming honour.  (What do you think any new island runway extension will be built upon?)
    Yes, I've written about re-opening public washrooms at Islington Station's now mostly inter-city transfer point after a... 35 years' closure - With the TTC / Mississauga fare gates moved along.
    Yes, I've written about creating a TTC rail (freight line) corridor transit route diagonally from Malvern through new 401/Kennedy and DVP/Wynford Drive park n' ride locations and across to both Summerhill and Dupont's lesser volumed midtown subway stations.  An iconic Wynford property is now home to a grand Mosque religious building instead. 
    I've made a number of ignored and/or dismissed transit suggestions over the years here.
    This is another transit wish idea:

    Switch 50-60% of the buses along many of Toronto's main arterial roads to re-painted Express Buses.  So, if red buses run five or six times an hour along Dufferin (north of Bloor St. for example), switch three of those existing buses per hour to non-red Express Stops only.  Mississauga has had a very good success with its new Express bus fleet.  Their twin bus fleets are either blue or orange which has made identification much clearer than espying an extra single letter as attached or not to every passing bus'es common front route header.
    Modern Commuters need to get from A to M/N and A to Y/Z, a lot more so than A to B/C/D/E/F/G/H, etc.  And to travel primarily as such, both more reliably and quickly.  Too many local buses are based upon the outdated latter concept.

    What expected good will added future buses become, where they are only used to continue along at a snail's pace?  Similar to my former Malvern to Dupont idea of a decade ago, this 50/60 percent Express Route Switch idea can be done here, now, and for just the basic expenses of 'some cans of non-red paint and a few extra locally hired hands'.

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    Monday, October 06, 2014

    How do library books become Obsolete?

    I listened to a news item about a Scarborough primary grades' school this morning.  They are claiming to have an inadequate library and were pursuing a corporate donation assistance contest from Ontario's only significant, and legally permitted to operate, book retailing chain, Indigo /Chapters.
    Note that this 'problem' doesn't include the school's text books supply.  They currently have a shortage of reading books upon their library shelves.
    Included within the news reporting was the fact that this school library had thrown out 4,000 books due to damage and obsolescence.  For a grade school that serves approximately 200 students, that is a purge of 20(!) reading books per student.

    A) Were their students never reprimanded for junking so many books?  It is not as though these suburban kids are living in the far north, trudging themselves kilometres to school through rough terrain and weather every day.

    B) What makes a child's reading book obsolete?  How many encyclopedia volumes could have been included in this overall total of... 4,000?  How critical is it that a grade school report on, say, frogs, elephants, or the number of provinces within Canada, has an immediately up-to-date source material?

    C) Hadn't this school overseen their own library items - as an ongoing practice of upkeep?  Wouldn't a purge of just 50 or 100 books a year have brought about the prior two questions?

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    Sunday, October 05, 2014

    Not-awesome #878

    # 878.
    Blurry Ink (when writing).
    Apparently I have awkward handwriting.  I grip the pen or pencil and I slide the outside of my clutched hand directly across the paper's surface.
    With some pens, especially after any period of usage, their ink cartridges no longer flow as easily.  As I motion to write a second line, my hand then returns and will slide back over across the just written first line.
    For simple greeting card signings, I leave these standing open for quite awhile.  To dry properly.  Then I will flatten them into their envelopes.
    Blurry Ink (when writing), not-awesome.

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    Tuesday, September 30, 2014

    World's largest [Cdn.] Six-pack - in the USA.

    Buffalo, New York, now boasts of a former silo structure painted like a Labatts Blue six-pack of beer cans.  Readers here may recall that I've previously written about the now-extinguished-in-Canada former top-selling national brew brand.
    Outside of its U.S. border town success, I still haven't seen nor heard of this 100(?), 150(?), 175(?), year-old company in years.  Earlier this month, I noticed that the London, Ontario, hockey arena was now labelled for Budweiser - just like with the local Rogers Cent're' stadium.

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    Could Hong Kong takeover Toronto's political elections?

    Earlier this year, I read another blogger's report that mayoral candidate Olivia Chow had issued a public request, within Hong Kong, for that city's dual-nationality citizens to vote for her.  She's Chinese-Canadian, btw.  Later on, she and her experienced campaign team would allege that a (white male) front runner challenger was racist based only upon his wide ranging Toronto transit plan not reaching directly into every single 'neighbourhood' of this city.  "Faith-based" is also a transit funding buzzword she's been using in order to disparage her main opponent.
    Now the people of Hong Kong are protesting against their own city's political environment being suppressed by China's Communist party controllers.  There are mass demonstrations currently taking place on their streets.
    Typically for any local election, Canadian voting turnout percentages are... lowish.  This time around, Toronto's municipal existence has taken on a worldwide awareness.
    Are (formerly British Commonwealth) Hong Kong voters going to tune-out an invited appeal to vote, (particularly) for a Chinese-Canadian Woman, at a major North American / free Commonwealth city?  This while they are - at the same time - protesting in the streets for their own local voting freedoms?
    Or might these voters make use of Toronto's concurrent elections merely as a demonstration platform - against their own national clampdowns?
    I couldn't guess the scale of eligible Overseas dual-voters in Hong Kong.  I will guess that since a front runner candidate, here, is now consistently polling with a vibrant lead, that the actual local voting (overall) may drop off versus if an expectation of a closer race was the case.

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    Sunday, September 28, 2014

    Not-awesome #879

    # 879.
    Freeflight 'Young Spazzes'.
    Whatever happened to telling a kid, "to knock it off already"?
    The world appears to be full of youth, and former youth, who run about only as blithe runabouts.  I'm sorry but no, we cannot ALL have a very special medical condition.  And even then... "calm yourself!"
    Too often I feel sorry for those freeflight spazzes, and both angered and embarassed for their parents, teachers, etc.  I believe that people become unwittingly conditioned into being irresponsible and utterly self-absorbed.  It is why most of the western world cannot even recognize its shared and ignored flaw of chronic and immense public debt.  And why our overall culture has relentlessly devolved into communal juvenileness.
    Freeflight 'Young Spazzes', not-awesome.

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    Thursday, September 25, 2014

    S. Ontario football's Bloody Bounced Deal.

    The Argos are expected to announce a new stadium butchering deal with TFC's artificial turf 'National' soccer stadium at the CNE.  IMO, they should have developed a football only natural grass stadium near Downsview (and the 401 highway) to be shared between both York Univ., the Univ. of T.O., and possibly Ryerson University.
    More football fans, regionally, probably live outside of the downtown core and 416 metro zone.  A tailored and shared stadium would have also benefitted post-secondary media production and provided a quality broadcasters' training ground for variety of Canadian industry talents and occupations.  Instead, Ontario's University Football has no TV sports deal for the 2014 season.  Keep working Dick Beddoes, I mean, Ron McLean and Dave Hodge!
    We had our chance when the PanAm Games were being planned a few years ago.

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    Wednesday, September 24, 2014

    A Bloody Non-deal.

    The Toronto Blue Jays are now mathematically out of the baseball playoff chase.  At the two months' point of their season they had been at a .600 winning percentage level.  Now they again... near a 50/50 record.  They never seem to risk bottoming out in order to re-build as a future winning team.
    So now I am cheering for the Kansas City Royals to make their long awaited season playoffs return.  Why not?
    I enjoyed, however, the music selections both the Blue Jays and Toronto's soccer team had used during their pre-season promotional ads.  It was TFC which catchphrased, "It's a bloody big deal."
    At least I was able to watch a view New York Yankees games upon free over-the-air television this season; the had changed local broadcasters from Buffalo, NY in 2014.  Maybe New York City is simply a lesser deal than Toronto, sportswise, lol.

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    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    I want a Blackberry Passport.

    Actually, I'd really rather have a job at Blackberry, etc.  (Pushing a simple broom or any back office pile of paper would be very nice.)
    Blackberry is issuing a new smartphone this week, called Passport.  From its appearance this new device's screen size is, naturally, larger and with a longer battery life.  One key feature of the new screen display is that it is more square and thus allows for wider text lines than most smartphones.
    Still I've never owned or used any mobile phone.  Something like this might be feasible as a carriable e-reader, games, video and music player though.  And security.  There's been a variety of phones, tablets, notebooks etc. over the past few years - each trying to become that killer app / hardware device of mobility computing.

    Bonus topic: How 'old' is your phone?
    One of the things I've noticed, as a non-user of consumer smart phones, is that it seems like a bunch of stuff that runs upon these devices is childishly presented.  Christ, I like having a bit of fun but, yeah, there's a range between mimicing a four or five year-old's activity preference versus being so dull and stuffy.  There is a valuable youth market to target, but when I was 12 or 27 I hadn't wished to be two or seven.
    When a number of computing devices now call themselves X-3 or X-5, rather than anointing a 'next generation', these labels could also be descriptive of the devices' own 'residual (self) ages' - to use a Matrix film reference.

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    Only a 72-hour Chemotherapy wait for Toronto's Mayor?

    Of course I wish for Rob Ford to get well!  Only last week it was disclosed that he had a cancerous tumour.
    How does any Ontario citizen get a) an immediate hospital check, and b) a scheduled 'Chemo' treatment within mere days.  My elderly dad got cancer last year.  Four months of occasional introduction and testing visits would precede his radiation course.  It became eight months between his very first visit and his surgery.  (When the surgeon temporarily took ill, my dad's appointment was moved back one month - rather than just one or two weeks with other patients similarly rescheduled.)
    Mayor Ford got immediate, Canadian, publicly funded cancer care.
    Belinda Stonach went to the U.S. when she fought cancer.  Premier Danny Williams... went to the U.S. likewise.  Both were actively political, well-known within Canada, and wealthy.  Both were criticized for side-stepping our wait-listed public healthcare system.
    Did Mayor Ford's international celebrity status cause him to receive an immediate transfer between two Toronto hospitals AND his quickly scheduled, Ontario-sourced, cancer treatment?
    Jeesh, I've read of two different young Whitby boys who each needed their families to beg for U.S. eye surgery and another GTA girl that waited through last Spring's provincial election before her privately paid medicine would be approved within our public and equalized healthcare coverage.

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    Please Murder Perry Mason.

    How would you wish to counter schedule against a bigger network(s) season premiere night such as Monday's (using Canada's CTV as an example)?
    Besides the Mister Peepers / Our Miss Brooks seven o'clock hour, Throwback TV aired an old TV movie, 'Please Murder Me' starring Raymond Burr as a criminal lawyer and Angela Lansbury as his good buddy's wife. Yup, it was a youthful 'Perry Mason and Jessica Fletcher' versus the 8 p.m. debut of... Gotham. Plus this TV movie was broadcast commercial free!
    Once it finished at 9:15 p.m., Throwback followed this with another comedic series (The Adventures of Hirim Holliday, 1956 / NBC) that again starred the same lead actor of Mister Peepers, Wally Cox. The episode included its original introductory sponser, Jello Pudding and Pie Filling. As well as a few modern commercials, an episode matching classic ad for Sanka Coffee was singularly lined up during the broadcast's final commercial break.
    Elsewhere for Monday night, I switched at 7:30 p.m. to Cozi TV (56.1) for an episode of Lassie. TCT-Kids (26.33) had a 1942 Billy the Kid b-movie at 9:00 p.m. starring Buster Crabbe and Al 'Fuzzy' St. John. Cozi TV had MacMillan and Wife upon its primetime Monday schedule (which has replaced its Monday night Summer program of McCloud, btw). Preceding Mister Peepers, both Throwback and Cozi have a few other B&W era sitcoms (and the British drama, Danger Man) between 5 and 7 o'clock.
    A few readers may wonder why I'm not gushing about MeTV (67.1)? Okay, they currently have two Raymond Burr series scheduled during weekday late nights, Perry Mason and Ironside. The Bob Newhart Show is their Monday night sitcom for 10:00 p.m. 'Newcomer' CHiPs now ends a weekday afternoon rescue action programming block at 6:00 p.m.

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    Myst** Hugh Garner

    I discovered another Canadian Mystery Fiction writer recently.  Then I googled for information and found his Wikipedia page.  Hugh Garner had died one year after the publication of his 1978 novel, Murder has your Number.
    An ex-Brit, he had actually moved to Toronto, Canada when he was only six years old.

    (Sometimes it depends upon who's writing the criticism.)
    Online Article Links:
    From McMaster University, The One [Cdn.] Man Trade Union of Publishing.
    And from 'The Greatest Literature of all-time website', The tough guy of Canadian Letters.

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    Monday, September 22, 2014

    TV's original Sheldon Cooper

    Throwback TV (ch 56.2 from Buffalo, NY) has yet another notable 'golden oldie' sitcom of the 1950s.  Mister Peepers is about a nerdy and awkward adult male working at a school.  Fun stuff.
    So far it been aired intermittently at 7:00 p.m. during weekdays - cycled with an unfortunately (very) crappy sitcom, The Mickey Rooney Show aka Hey Mulligan!  At 7:30 p.m., however, Our Miss Brooks - another teacher / workplace sitcom  - follows.
    I would rather watch sitcoms such as Mister Peepers and The Life of Riley than most of the so-called current hit sitcoms.  The last time I was suckered into awaiting The Big Bang Theory's season opener, it advertised a new girlfriend for Sheldon, but spent most of the episode dealing instead with one of his pals having a masturbation mishap with a robotic arm machine.

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    Sunday, September 21, 2014

    Not-awesome #880

    # 880.
    Channel system Line-ups when Unavailable(s) are not cleared away.
    My $60 over-the-air television convertor box has a nice feature.  After scanning (which I don't like - it should be automatically tuned towards standard frequency usages, like its former analog predecessor) the built-in channel guide allows for individual available channels to be 'skipped'.  I can still directly key-in their number if wished.
    Then I find myself at other people's tv sets.  70 or 500 channels and yet many remain as unsubscribed.  Which is fine.  Except that every channel still forcibly shows up within the congested programming guide(s).
    That might be a nice show - unavailable.
    This might be a nice show - unavailable.
    You get the idea.
    And this N.A. doesn't include selectively cutting down unwanted yet paid-by-package channels from the guide and also the next-in-line surfing buttons.  Smart TVs anyone?
    Channel system Line-ups when Unavailable(s) are not cleared away, not-awesome.

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    Friday, September 19, 2014

    England is lucky.

    Scotland has voted against national independence.  Perhaps typical of my own overseas and partially English ancestry, I have that default preference of always standing by my 'origin' country.  During the past while, I started questioning the ongoing validity of such a loyalty.
    The truth is, England is not the same as it used to be.  Scotland however, IMO, had nothing really to gain beyond more a localized governance of... small beer issues.  I cannot identify any other global region which is already as widely recognized as being of its own nationalhood, than Scotland.  I know of Scotland's own flag, its history, its sports, its arts, and its general character, far more readily than those of many of the world's standalone nations.  By the same recall, I have some trouble recognizing modern 'England, with Wales and/or Northern Ireland' as either "Great" Britain or the "United" Kingdom.
    As an 'english' Canadian [versus its french-Canadien side],  I have a very split opinion of 'independence'.  I want our geography of Canada to remain 100% intact.  Then again, decades of too much political and taxation bending over to Quebec's (and a bit of the Maritimes') whinings have strained that resolve.  I equally want Canada to remain 100% 90% apart from the United States of America.
    Canada's under-fielded corporation climate sure tests my own citizenship loyalty though.  Any U.S. citizen and new immigrant may freely transfer across an abundance of other urban cities, companies, states, rural heartland districts, and small business opportunities.  Americans are able to more readily 're-invent' themselves.  We have just six chartered banks instead of hundreds (as in the U.S.) for example, and individual poverty exists with a truer risk of freezing to death within most areas of Canada.  Our smaller fishbowl-like scale of business will protect and nuture at first, but later on cripples its required(!) hunger and competitive drive.
    I don't know the U.K.'s and Scotland's on-the-ground specifics, but I consider that England is a little more "Better together" than with Scotland's own case.  Beneficially for both, that case of uncertainty is now good and closed.  All oars can resume rowing into the same direction.  With our never-endumness, modern Canada seems to need to 'stand on guard' too repetitiously against itself.

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    Monday, September 15, 2014

    Bell Media's M3 cloned my baby.

    From the 'Hmm, I really wish I had thought (and written*) of this - and, seriously, had any Bell Canada / Bell Media paycheques to match(!)' file:
    M3's new Retro 30 countdown show.
    This past weekend M3, formerly MuchMoreMusic, presented their calendar-aligned former weekly music chart of Sep. 10th, as of precisely -15 years ago (1999).

    * At some point, I know I wrote of Retro -X and -XX (-10 and -20 years' at a specific week) pop music flashbacks!

    Music years aside: I still believe that a set of abbreviated weekly countdowns of -10 and -20 (and maybe also -15, -25, and -30) years ago would work better.  Instead, 1999's seasonal time period review has been covered all at once; it will likely take two or three months before their (-15 yrs.) 1999 weekly charts have turned themselves over anew.  Out of 30, what other year should the audience expect next?  That's too 'much' of a guessing game for a steady audience rating.

    Unfortunately M3 butchered the idea - visually as well.  The original 4/3 formatted videos of 1999 were cropped to widescreen, the hosting presentation was too bland, and the on-screen information text remained as too small.  (Usually pop music hosting - radio or video - is too padded, IMO).
    Another general M3/MM channel lacking, a modest 'Cancon symbol' should also be presented whenever a Canadian song is played; Having Universal Music 'Canada' and/or Sony Music 'Canada' etc., routinely on-display is very confusing.
     - and's hmm, there's no Bell paycheque for me today either.

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    Who was that masked ghost?

    The late Clayton Moore's centennial took place this past weekend.  CBS played it 'safe'.  They featured the fabled Lone Ranger TV actor's career during their Sunday Morning general-news program.  For those unaware, there's a bit of a 'Hollywood curse' hanging over the Lone Ranger character.  NBC-Universal didn't bother: at midnight, its CoziTV channel broadcasted a pair of John Hart led episodes (made during a contract dispute with Moore.)

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    Not-awesome #881

    # 881.
    Phantom Price fluctuations.
    Sometimes I just don't understand product price changes.
    I 'get' that gas prices, for example, rise and fall with actual and expected supply and demand cycles.  I get that currency fluctuations, commodity costs, taxes, and interest rates will have their effects.  And I get that customers can be attracted by displaying "sale prices".
    Still, sometimes I will find an item - such as unscented soap - priced at $2. Then $1 (on sale). Then $1.50. Then $1.25.  Then $2.50. and so on.
    Phantom Price fluctuations, not-awesome.

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    Tuesday, September 09, 2014

    Library's Wordpad get-around.

    A few readers may recall some of the automated problems I was having attempting just to cut and paste my postings (created in simple MS Wordpad) via the Toronto Library system's desktop availability of major MS Office 2010 applications only.  Besides a massive wall of invisible code being copied into Blogger's Compose frame, web links - as already pre-coded - were contantly failing.
    So I renamed the original *.RTF draft files to *.RT1.
    Then clicking directly upon the altered (extension) filenames under Windows (file) Explorer, the standard Windows pop-up dialogue box appeared.  Wordpad is included as an program option via this route; versus the public library's user restricted desktop, program bar, and a blocked start menu. 

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    TV's original Al Bundy.

    Whoa, Riley?
    Throwback Television (ch 56.2) has shuffled its black and white retro era TV schedule.  One newly added sitcom is The Life of Riley, starring William Bendix.  Even when Married with Children was active and very popular, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s - I recognized a similarity between its lead actor, Ed O' Neill, and Bendix.  MWC clearly was an imitation of the Riley series.  Both centred upon a thanklessly tired father, his two teenaged and pre-teen kids and a wife named Peg.  Funny stuff, both then and longer ago then.  MWC is currently a part of Antenna TV 's(ch 2.3) late weeknight lineup.
    Until now, I had never even known of the Riley series - beyond that of a radio series' show title.  IMHO, (excessively) far too much of North America's entertainment culture has been widely ignored and forgotten!
    Visiting my parents, bored silly with their Canadian Satellite TV system is always a great disappointment.  Via over-the-air American-only broadcasting: I get to catch fantastic different episodes and TV series virtually everyday, and at any hour.  They get... repeated unchanging multi-hour blocks of Pawn Stars and The Golden Girls, or else modern fare like chattering women obsessing over body parts and invasive celebrity gossip, as either upon CTV's The Social or current sitcoms Hot in Cleveland and Modern Family*.

    * Life of Riley has replaced 'It's a Great Life', at 6:00 p.m.  Great Life could be considered as TV's first pseudo-gay couple sitcom.  It's structure followed two young single men working and living together, and sharing a bed.  Bedroom scenes were an included [mature - not 'adult'] part of the storyline.

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    Monday, September 08, 2014

    Get(ting) Coached.

    This past weekend was the start of the NFL season.
    What else was on?
    Well, GetTV (subchannel 49.2) carried Brian's Song, followed by Saturday's Hero, during Sunday evening.  Both were football themed films.  Another interesting tie-in: their leading actresses were Shelly Fabares - later of the TV sitcom Coach, and her earlier TV mother, Donna Reed.  MeTV/WBBZ broadcasts The Donna Reed Show on weekday mornings at 7 a.m., btw.
    Meanwhile, one of Throwback TV's (ch. 56.2) two Jack Benny programs on Sunday, had also featured the two opposing college football coaches of the next day's Rose Bowl championship game.  That's called making an scheduling effort.
    When I channel surfed later on... all I found on Hamilton's un-subchanneled CHCH was subtitled footage of a Russian film item oohing over its former Red Army Hockey team.  It seems like all I currently find from our local Canadian airwaves is pro-Russian [and perhaps just as often: anti local achievement] sentiments.  Some Ontario/Cdn. music clip selections during various news etc. programs would be nice?

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    Sunday, September 07, 2014

    A Cruel Employment Recruiter.

    From last week's inbox:
    It appears that you are little over qualified for the position.
    Please let me know of other roles of interest to you.
    This was an actual e-mailed response I had received - for a Sales Analyst role advertised with a mid-range salary of $50,000.  It would have tied-in nicely with my prior accounting experience which had centred upon sales reporting activites.  (Some local community college and career-focused night school; I've never earned/received 90% of that salary amount, btw.)  Of course when I read this message the next day - via public library internet access - I couldn't wait to telephone back and talk with this recruiter [name and well-known firm I'll withhold].
    No callback throughout most of Thursday afternoon.
    I tried again the next morning, just before 9:00 a.m.  Answered.
    Basically the recruiter gave me bullshit.  As in:
    Um, I don't seem to have your resume [I had e-mailed a directly addressed cover letter, with my resume attached, on the Wednesday].
    Can you resend it?  Is it in a specific 'other file format'.  Read the next line.
    Oh, here it is...
    Um, what are your qualifications etc...
    Well sorry, that job [advertised under 48 hours ago] is no longer available.

    WHY would anyone actually send out such a recruitment response?
    I keep applying for so many various jobs - direct and via agencies, here in Toronto - from a hopeful salary/position point as the above, down to minimum wage jobs.

    And, of course, I have tried obtaining other work - then hoping to advance my career and/or gain a salary matching an under documented workload - even when I had been working at a past employer's.  It will be 20 years next January/February since anyone had offered me an actual new job.  (And for that one, I travelled two hours and hiked through the snow along the outskirts of Newmarket - for a position advertised as midtown T.O.  Their HR director called me right after the holidays, asked if I owned a car, and thus denied me an opening interview.  My own next day visit was to drop off a resume - in person.)

    Encouragement is cheap,  False Leads are knowlingly cruel.  Hey, I need some employment.

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    Not-awesome #882

    # 882.
    Buzz Criticisms.
    This N.A. still sucks me in, at times.  Thankfully not too often.
    If I write that .25 is one of the greatest! blogs! around!  Oh, boy!
    And if a few others, for their own profitable purposes, do likewise?  Oh boy!
    You and everyone else you know need to follow this!  Oh boy!
    Well, then...
    Wait a minute.  How's 'bout we, "let's get real"?
    By the way, there's a big major film festival going on right now.
    Buzz Criticisms, not-awesome.

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    Thursday, September 04, 2014

    Support for Tory (and transit).

    Sure, it is easy to support a front-runner candidate, lol.  Last time I voted for Rob Ford.  However, candidate /Councillor Ford's message and Mayor Ford's delivery have been two very different things.
    Both men are born millionaires; I will trust an uppercruster who doesn't exuberantly claim to 'know how it is... for others'.
    I was very pleased when I learned of John Tory's rail-line plan.  It is similar to what I had suggested a decade ago - except its pre-existing rail corridor routing is through Union Station rather than the almost empty Summerhill and Dupont subway stops.  Tory's plan is more focused towards the South of Bloor region; mine was to create a (still non-existent) public transit delivery of north-east suburban highway(s) commuters into/out from the mid-town centre district, upon a diagonal path.  I still believe that putting ALL rapid transit routes through one 'egg basket' jammed almost against Lake Ontario is a mistake.  How many people already need to backtrack themselves into downtown's Union Station  - in order to get somewhere else?  Hopefully Tory's idea will lessen the impeding westside failure of a separated $20 or $30 a ride rail-link to Pearson Airport, in the city's farthest northwest corner.
    Functional Regional Transit Connectiveness is, IMO, Toronto's greatest transit need!

    Examples (I've known of):
    The lakeshore west VIA trains which have no stop at either Port Credit (a suburban population of 750,000 plus another 400,000 living due north in Brampton).
    VIA trains also have no stop at Long Branch - located at South Etobicoke's border with Mississauga and a straight line south of the QEW/427 highway interchange.  Every rider thus needs to... detour all the way into Toronto's downtown and Union Station.

    For the Islington TTC station.
    No pre-existing public washroom access since 1979.  Meanwhile count the everday inter-city commuters.
    Passenger unloading of innummerable incoming Miss. Transit riders  - at a modest streetside entrance while the (nearly all for MT) bus bay goes underutilized without an installation of a concourse area Miss. transit fare gate.
    No ticket purchasing for Miss. transit outside of regular weekday hours.
    Very few benches for riders awaiting bus departures; no benches inside the bus bay's concourse area.  Ditto for Kipling Station, btw.
    No clock inside the bus bay's concourse area.

    Issues with Go Transit.
    Sue me for not having a monthly electronic pass.  I haven't taken GO Transit (buses) since it stopped issuing 10-way and 2-way discounted transit fares.  Am I supposed to only be allowed to purchase an IMMEDIATE use single ticket - from both ends of my own transportation journey?
    Btw, why couldn't I purchase transit tickets - at Union Station - for any of the surrounding suburban systems?  Vending machines anyone?

    Monthly Pass Tax Credits.
    Is jacking the occasional rider(s) for a substantially higher user fee, especially the single-use / cash fare, supposed to attract more riders?  Isn't the pricing discount of a weekly or monthly pass already an unaccounted 'tax credit'.  I don't get to save my occasional use 'public transit receipts' to save against my yearly personal tax costs.  How does this pricing / tax credit differential assist the less affluent of society?  Is your extracted transit pass credit's worth equal to everyone else's income tax savings?  Fed. and Provincially: federal Finance minister (PM) Paul Martin's simpified taxation policies were better, cleaner, and fairer than anything I've noticed of the past decade.

    For Mississauga Transit.
    A few items are listed under the Islington section.
    How is the main Square One terminal NOT 100% ROOFED?  Duh, check out the functional Kipling station's Bus Terminal.
    White route numbers over Orange street signs?
    A dinky sized non-Islington 'TTC fare access only' pickup stop along Bloor Street in front of a vacant former parking lot.
    The digital display annoucement timer at Square One doesn't correctly light-up.  An easy-to-read clock is also non-existent; a lot of nearby outdoor retailers could score brownie points with that.  The station portion that is indoors is very cramped.  The washrooms are too small for this main terminal's capacity load.  It then steers departing travellers into the middle of an anchor department store, after crossing a circular mall road - at least while that store is open.  Mississauga's City Hall, Arts Centre, and main Library are located across from a different side of the overall large mall complex.
    A little story:  Recently I took the Rathburn bus from Islington station.  I asked the driver if this went to the Square One mall?  He replied, "What does [the front heading] say?".  I said, "Erindale Station?".  Apparently that's a little-used GO Train stop farther west, past Rathburn road and Mavis.  Born in Mississauga, I always thought 'Erindale' was an established, more southernly, neighbourhood along Dundas street and Erin Mills parkway; home to Erindale high school and the Erindale University of Toronto campus.
    Mississauga buses with "City Centre" as their indications.  Who will bet at least one PanAM visitor, within Etobicoke, will get onboard a "City Centre" bus while assuming a route trip into Toronto's 'city centre' region?
    I must say that the blue-coloured Mississauga Express buses have become a god-send of public travel.  Besides the previously mentioned 10-way pass elimination, it's another reason of my not using GO Transit.  However, there can still still be some room for a few more major intersection stops.  Otherwise the same-old backtracking problem of downtown's Union Station is repeated upon Mississauga's outer suburban districts.  I now wonder if Mississauga's expansive and separated busway project will become still-born as a mere duplication of what the Express bus fleet has already achieved? 

    Back to my 'Toronto' mayoral thoughts.
    (I guess transit is a big issue for us, lol.  I didn't even get to other issues such as bike trails / paths/ markers...)
    As to the new streetcars, is the matching newly requested increase of fare collectors factored into their operating costs?  Were the extra streetcar-only turn signals factored into the speed calculations along St. Clair Avenue's project?
    Were all of those fancy (and quickly dying) sidewalk trees included when the wider sidewalks were being touted as providing more pedestrian space?
    Can anyone glimpse Grenadier Pond through its wrap-around 15 foot-high reeds?
    (More currently for Miss., than Tor., but for both): Has any recently new bike trail's streamroller construction bothered to  level itself  - as from side to side?  Nah, let's just have everyone walk leg-slanted for the next 80 or more years.  Christ almighty, why does anyone need to bother making an effing effort around here?

    Candidate Olivia Chow spoke of only increasing buses, earlier in her campaign.  (I finally heard her pronounce 'Light' and 'Rapid-transit' during a media interview yesterday; I grew up with a speech impediment, btw.)  This week, she's also proposed higher land-transfer taxes against houses selling above two million dollars.  As someone who grew up in a spacious house now worth a probable $800,000, why start this added tax at only so high a valuation level?  If this is to protect the general poor, who is living in a $1.3 million home and also pinching their pennies?
    Ms. Chow had spoken of the masses of Toronto's unemployed.  Why then hadn't she suggested hiring three unemployed/under-employed people to replace every $100,000+ a year TTC fare collector?  $33,333 a year is $16 per hour  (52 wks x 40hrs per).  Or, rather hire at two-for-one; a third going towards any laid-off sunshiner's lifetime pension - as a partially funded portion.  Then again most locals apparently cried over the suspended bus driver, this summer, who was filmed driving through a red light and nearly striking a pedestrian.

    For those further interested in Toronto-only local transit:
    Longtime public transit avocate, Steve Munro, wrote a mechancially detailed, if politically aligned, background of our Toronto-only local system.  Unfortunately, I didn't notice many of the (IMO) adjoining user-experience subtopics of which I've posted about within this entry.  It cracks me up when I think of the woman randomly interviewed at the Yonge and Bloor subway interchange station only a few years ago.  The TTC was pushing a revised customer service agenda.  When asked for her advice, she simply replied, "where's the transit map?".  There wasn't a postered map to be found.
    So many times, how I just wish for a roadside transit stop's basic timing schedule.  The very kind which I can still find posted (only) throughout various bus major transit hubs.  First arrival, last arrival, and the basic frequency of arrivals throughout the day and/or evenings.  Instead we get online gadget required and bloated obscure multi-digit stopover numberings.

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    Sunday, August 31, 2014

    Not-awesome #883

    # 883.
    Single season syndicated TV repeats.
    A growing trend has been for popular long-running TV series to be short-ordered for re-broadcasts.  That is, a former series might never be shown within its entirety.
    I was watching Gunsmoke once or twice.  That was the granddaddy of TV series endurance.  20 years.  Yes it was split as to first running at half-hour length, and then as a full-hour show.  Plus it existed in both black and white, and later in colour.  There were still a ton of episodes within any technical framework.
    How could it be then that I'd randomly seen the same episode twice?  When I've probably only viewed its program less than a dozen times.  This same effect has happened with quite a few other series as well.
    TV programming has gotten to be like shortened playlist radio.
    Single season syndicated TV repeats, not-awesome.

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    Saturday, August 30, 2014

    Ukraine Freedom or Canada's Rogers.

    Back on May 18th, I first wrote about Rogers TV carrying Russia Today (RT) as a primary mini-window within Rogers' 6-in-1 news selection channel.  Then the Men's World Cup of Soccer activities took over that multi-preview channel (ch. 179).  Afterwards Rogers had returned to its pre-existing RT-led news channels' mini-window lineup.
    I noticed that midway through this month, one day, that channel 179 was unavailable; RT was still available at only its own specific channel number.
    So maybe(?) someone agreed with me?  I'm glad for that.  Online at a Toronto area blog forum, I took flack over my objection to Russia Today's primary news choice positioning via Rogers Cable.  Twice.  A lot of grammarier than thou (or thee?) types instead only belittled any and everything I wrote - sharing amusements of entire uncomprehension.
    Here's the thing... no one else I've noticed online had spoken up in support of Ukraine's peaceful right of national existence and freedom.  In this absence of better blog writers, sorry there is just me.
    Throughout this Summer, the world at large has witnessed only further reports of Russian and pro-Russian Ukrainian Separtist aggressions.  International political leaders have no difficulty issuing, and re-issuing, sanctions.

    Tell me again WHY Rogers' CityTV flagship station was airing a 'happy promotional' news item onboard an Air Show visiting Russian plane?  That is what I surfed upon during a 6:30 p.m. Friday commercial break (from MeTV's channel 67.1, btw).  I'll assume that the CNE's air show participation was agreed to many months, perhaps a year, earlier.  That, in itself, is not my issue.
    Today is now.  (Actually today is tomorrow morning* - Saturday.  And yeah, there's yet another aggression report.)  We currently have a Canadian military plane flying overseas to aid Ukraine!  CityTV and the Rogers gov't licenced ownership group shouldn't be giving that local air show's Russian plane a cheerful, welcomed celebrity, treatment.  Pick any other plane to feature.

    When I made another quick surf 15 minutes later, City's news program was touting another upcoming item about a waterpark - in North Korea.  Hadn't we had enough of fellow communist-dicatorship North Korea with its Under-20 Women's soccer team broadcast on the CBC's main network only the week before?
    * as of this posting's draft write-up.
    Another currently pro-Russian Rogers' outlet:  Maclean's magazine.
    Last month I glanced through a copy of their Generation-Z issue.  It was the only edition I've seen in a few years.  Forward to its trivia page and...  Vladimir Putin is their answer to a political book writer question.  Not say, Harper or Obama, or just not a Putin/Russia question in the first place.

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    Monday, August 25, 2014

    Et Tu, Toronto Star Editorial (Mon, Aug. 25th)

    Today's leading editorial from the Toronto Star is about urging the CRTC to further consumer choice for TV viewers.
    Too bad Torstar - which isn't majority owned by a Canadian TV/Radio comglomerate - doesn't practice what it preaches.
    How many times have I highlighted, at this blog, the staggering abundance of OVER THE AIR U.S. channels and subchannels freely receivable from Buffalo, NY, (and other border towns)? Current Examples:

    MeTv - both network (4/3) and affiliate signals in a clean blank letterbox.
    Throwback Television. (With oldtime B&W era commercials attached)
    Antenna TV.
    Cozi TV.
    This TV.
    Get TV.
    PBS - The World.
    PBS - Create.
    TCT - Kids, and TCT 1 and 2.

    And how about PBS-Buffalo/Toronto in a pure widescreen display (letterboxed)? Works with my older TV and a digital converter. Ditto for every single main channel, Cdn. and U.S., btw.
    Now, go try and find the listings of any of the above within the Toronto Star's TV listings - both daily and weekend magazine. Try asking what the nightly highlight programs of the above are.
    In fact, try finding that TV Entertainment information - from any Canadian news source...
    My Mom had mentioned MacMillan and Wife as a singularly returning 70s cop show - in place of Columbo (but not the original run's 90 minute episodes). I didn't tell her that the above stations already have both. Plus dozens and dozens and more dozens more crime shows, sitcoms, etc. upon their seasonally revolving schedules!
    In fact, those U.S. Over-the-Air subchannels also carry a surprising amount of fairly recent Canadian dramas, as well.

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    Sunday, August 24, 2014

    Not-awesome #884

    # 884.
    Messy raw Fruits and Vegetables.
    Any fruit (or vegetable) that requires its own serviette.  Not-awesome.  Apples - great.  Bananas, pears, potatos, carrots, strawberries... all good.
    I hate tomatoes.  Yet I enjoy tomato sauce; great if used in cooking receipes.  I can't stand when tomatoes are supplied as a sliced and raw food topping.  IMO, grapefruits and oranges belong inside of a glass - as already pulped to a no-sugar(!) added liquid.
    Messy raw Fruits and Vegetables, not-awesome.

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    Sunday, August 17, 2014

    Not-awesome #885

    # 885.
    Very Depressing songs.
    Are we a little weepy?  Something to be wiped away.  A lower lip's quiver and a goosebump forearm, in evidence?  So who hasn't been going about their own day-to-day activities, perhaps at a store or a workplace, and then a very depressing song appears  This happens to everyone.  And we are willing suckers for it.
    Yet it is not real.  It is just a random song.  Even for the singer, it is fictionalized (however true a creative basis may have been).  The song might even be composed by someone else entirely.
    Effective sad songs are a genuine art form.  Maybe they are also a form of genius?  I still feel very foolish as their captivated listener.
    Depressing songs, not-awesome.

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    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    CNE, as it really was.

    Remembering a childhood CNE.
    Walk through all the west-side buildings and pavilions, etc. all-day, gathering brochures. Then - after the Food Court - too tired for the east-side midway, lol.

    CNE central Fountain image Published by Metro Toronto News, DT-84922-C. Photo by Alex Pelett, 1972.

    Published by Metro Toronto News, DT-84922-C. Photo by Alex Pelett, 1972.
    (Sorry about some of these poor quality scanner results. I had borrowed the use of one of those all-in-the-package 'big box' consumer PCs.)

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    Sunday, August 10, 2014

    Not-awesome #886

    # 886.
    Bad simple novel writing.
    It takes me a goodly while to read a novel.  It's not that I'm a slow reader; it is that I read better* written novels - as often published from before 1995.
    At some point, the simpler language novel took over.  You can always find contemporary book store shelves filled out with such modern age writings.
    Lazy plotlines. Lazy repetitive swearing dialogue. And lazy 'three dimensional' characterisms.  Those are their usual hallmarks.  Thankfully their takeover is never absolute.  Entire books shouldn't be such that they are read through inside of merely two or three half-days.
    When many reviewers boast of reading 200 plus novels a year, I know that is 200 novels that are simply not worth even their own shorten time.  Nor mine.
    Bad simple novel writing, not-awesome.

    * Better, if mystery fiction may also be referred to as such.

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    Wednesday, August 06, 2014

    Toronto's Upscale Dying Trees.

    Per a National Post article: 41% of the 134 fancy sidewalk planted - of this past decade - trees within Toronto's Yorkville area are now dying or dead.  Actually, 19 of these 134 'London Plane' trees had already been previously replaced.
    Local readers may recall that the increasingly (very) upscale roadway district of Bloor Street near Yonge Street, was repeatedly and expensively torn up and re-repaired, throughout most of the latter half of the 2000s.
    Hey, don't fault anyone!  Assumedly, every important person associated with publicly upgrading Toronto is either properly qualified via respected education, or will be of elite personage.  That is always more important than evidence of performance.  So will their additionally tax-funded pension liabilities be, for this same grand work - and its further required public / BIA-paid works of repair.

    Jeesh, couldn't anyone have simply taken a few common, native variety, saplings, or cuttings(?), from a regional park or forestry area?  BTW, I've never heard of 'London Plane' trees before neither.

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    Sunday, August 03, 2014

    Not-awesome #887

    # 887.
    Replacing Watch Batteries.
    Should this take a paid expert?  I've changed batteries elsewhere; even for a desktop computer.  I find the old battery, buy its matching replacement, and make the switch.
    Except with watches.  At least the one I have requires a special watch booth worker - with a special opener tool for the back case.
    Replacing Watch Batteries, not-awesome.

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    Saturday, August 02, 2014

    Attempted anti-racist U.S. Air Force commercial.

    On Friday, while watching an episode of Flashpoint on ION Life (channel 51.3 in Buffalo, NY), an Air Force commercial celebrating its long-standing 'diversity' was aired.
    A short while ago, I had noticed another blogger's reference to the U.S. Air Force's recent appointment of its current female leader - who had never piloted an military airplane.
    Per this commercial's messaging however,  their Air Force 'isn't great because of what they do, but because... of who they are'.
    Isn't that 'who they are instead of what they do' concept racist, and/or sexist?

    Someone's got a misguided focal point!  The USAF does have its proud legacy of  ongoing achievement - all of which, IMO, was only accomplished 'by what they do'.  It wasn't primarily owing, instead, to 'who they are'.  Utilizing an historic presence of employment diversity, is merely a part of the USAF's overall 'get it done right' legacy.

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    Every Citizen is a Collaborator.

    In the news of the Israel - Gaza Palestine conflict, there's been a lot of discussion of "innocent civilians".  I've run out of having so-called automatic 'first-world' pity for 'helpless and innocent' Palestinians.
    They have a free choice of supporting or not supporting a terrorizing leadership.  Every individual throughout the world does.
    Stop firing hundreds and thousands of rockets at a neighbouring country.  Stop building tunnel routes for weapons and fighting, versus building more towards greater self-economic development.  Stop fuelling an all-consuming national racial hate.
    Across Canada, for example, we don't care whether some people pray at a mosque or a temple, or not at all.  We don't care, by comparison, if our Irish-Canadians are Catholic or Protestant, new immigrants or of old-time pioneers.   For the most part, we live and and let live.  Canada was developing towards this way even back while its colonizing masters, England and France were at war.  This holiday weekend in Ontario is named for one of our past leaders, Governor Simcoe, who had first ended African Slavery within the British Commonwealth - and a couple of decades before the U.S.A. did likewise, except via their murderous Civil war. 
    Every Citizen is a Collaborator - of his or her own nation*.
    Back during World War Two, the collabrators were European elites who co-operatively sided with their then-in-control German invaders.  In a sense, they were really just keeping their own bread, buttered.  They all claimed to have had 'no choice' but to go along with state matters.  After peace and freedom came back, I believe that most of those individuals were captured  - this time, by their own surviving co-citizens.
    I hope that with this active conflict, average 'innocent' Palestinians will re-consider for themselves who is really at fault for their needless tragedies.

    * Hey, we've got modern troubles too, such as Canada's own public debt levels.  Similar to Ireland and Greece, to Argentina [this week having defaulted on payments] and Japan, the United States and Ukraine: whether as corrupt and/or connected 'payrollers' or not, all of us share in our state failures.  (Yeah, besides Palestine's Gaza Strip, we'll each have our own turns for a difficult national self-reflection.)

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    Monday, July 28, 2014

    Making Brioux cry.

    I like television industry reporter, Bill Brioux!  At some point in time, his website blog took on a newer commenting system which hadn't agreed with my browser.
    Yesterday I got home and - despite a platter of Shaw Direct channels - I was jonesing for real TV!  The kind of locally available, non-carried nor listed in Toronto, U.S over-the-air channels which I've written about.

    So what was freely broadcast on my TV yesterday:
    An Abbott and Costello movie - with an old-time intermission animation before a follow-up movie.
    The Buster Keaton show.
    The Jack Benny Program - with guest Ernie Kovacs.  Canada's Giselle Mackenzie followed in a second episode.
    Columbo (original series).
    The Streets of San Francisco, Cannon, Rockford Files, and Kodak - part of a Sunday late-afternoon block.
    In the Heat of the Night (TV series) and SG1.
    Fantasy Island.  WKRP.  The Partridge Family maybe?
    Betty White starring in Date with the Angels.  The Alfred Hitchcock 'Hour' - with Dan Duryea.  The Bold Ones (medical episode with guest star Carl Reiner's character debating against Lloyd Nolan).
    Both, The Fugitive and Decoy, at midnight - I was too tried to watch any later overnight shows.
    And I forget the all-what-else.
    Massive old television and movie program availabilities - freely over-the-air exclusive from America.  A surprising number of former 1990s/2000s tax-funded Canadian programs find their way onto these various U.S. channels too!

    This morning included an 1953 Bob Cummings sitcom, My Hero (his other self-titled sitcom is usually in the 10:30 a.m. time spot), The Love Boat, Ozzie and Harriet, The Lone Ranger, and Bewitched.
    You know, when Three's Company is programmed on Antenna TV - they also carry its two spinoff sitcoms, The Ropers and Three's a Crowd.  And it is never for a numbing three hour tour neither!
    Recently someone had mentioned actor Harry Morgan and M*A*S*H.  I can choose between M*A*S*H  on MeTV, or either of December Bride or Pete and Gladys - at the same 7 p.m. weeknight timeframe via Throwback Television (ch. 56.2).  The Throwback TV's station scheduling at 7 p.m. often leaves in old-time commercials from the likes of Maxwell House Coffee, Goodyear Tires, Carnation Instant Milk, and Kelloggs' adult cereal variety pack.  Morgan later re-appears when Dragnet (both 50s and 60s revival) is currently scheduled three times in a row - upon three individual subchannels - 56.2, 26.3, and 67.1.
    And yes, The Dick Van Dyke Show has continously cycled upon these non-Toronto, Canada, over-the-air retro channels, too.

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