Archive for May, 2007

Toronto Star and House Advertiser slips a fast one past the “Wheels” section

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Heads will roll dept.

We thought we had the Star’s number. We thought we knew it.

Were we wrong?

We’re talking about this past Saturday’s paper, which landed with a thump on front porches all across the GTA: two fat former trees wrapped around the news, trees now shredded and bleached, crushed and rolled flat, to be imprinted with all like and manner of car advertising. Yes, the infamous “Wheels” section.

We usually burrow past that offensive bumf and search directly for the comics page, which for some reason is never the outermost wrapping. We like Zits, and we like Mutts, but we save “Get Fuzzy” for dessert, every time. We like it like that.

The Saturday comics are easy to find, once you know the trick: they’re tucked in under the “Condo Living” section, hard by the advertising flyers that come loose on the floor when you open the whole bundle.

Now, for reasons that for the moment shall go unspoken, we spent more time than usual over that “Condo Living” section this past weekend. We also spent some time examining its more well-off brother, the “New In Homes” section.

Both these sections feature large feature articles every week, as well as many smaller stories, but the entire thing usually reads like PR for the various condo and suburban sprawl developments the sections advertise.

But this past Saturday something was different. Was it us? Both sections contained pieces we might have written. Not as clever or as bizarre, needless to say, but in line with the “correct thinking” espoused on this site.

Take the feature story in the Condo Living section, for example: “Thinking above the box,” by Paul Marshman. It hooked us with a photo of a four-storey main street apartment building, retail below, of the kind we have proposed for the “main streets” on the former Toronto Island Airport site. Chicago downtown-style big box But it was this caption: “Apartments built atop a Best Buy outlet on North Clark Street in Chicago allow a traditional big-box retailer to gain a foothold in the urban market without imposing a suburban, car-dependent model that almost always upsets city dwellers.” The story went on to describe a rumour that Home Depot is planning a new store on this model on Queen Street West in Toronto. The Skyscraper city blob has a string on the subject, if you’re interested in Queen West.

What we’d be interested in is whether the folks at Smart!Centre, them as have a proposal now at the OMB for a 2,000 parking space “power centre” on Eastern Ave (we’ve written about it here), are paying attention. We attended a public meeting (read the full transcript here) where they presented their plans, to the universal dismay of everyone in attendance. Mitch Goldhar, we’d like you to meet Paul Marshman. Paul, meet Mitch.

Leading off the “New in Homes” section, meanwhile, was an even bolder statement: in a story called “Spinning your wheels for a bank?” the author Paul Brent suggests by moving to a walkable downtown location, “a little less car may mean much more house.” Brent examines in some detail the research of Larry Frank, which ALLDERBLOB readers will remember from this post of last January. Frank, now the Bombardier chair in sustainable transportation at UBC, conducted extensive polling to prove his theory that if housing developers returned to the models of walkable, main-streets-oriented planning that typified pre-Levittown, pre-sprawl towns across North America, the buyer would respond favourably. When Frank presented these findings to a small audience at the U of Toronto in January, we searched in vain for media coverage in the days following. We’re pretty happy to see it now surfacing in the “New in Homes” section.

Happy, and impressed.

Hey–don’t get us wrong. The Star is still the “Star and Car Advertiser” in our books. But as for the real estate section, something is going on, and we like it. Fact is, the housing industry is hardly a model of sustainable development, and has not been so for at least 50 years. Indeed, suburban sprawl would not have been possible but for the car.

So to have two lead-off articles in the real estate pages that openly criticize the cozy relationship between residential development and the automobile suggests revolution is in the works at the Star.

We like the direction this is headed. We will keep you posted.

Mugged in Phin Park lately?

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Breaking News Dept.

This story was published in the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser the other day. Written by Jessica Hume, who we understand is the daughter of Star architecture critic Christopher Hume, it’s a first-person account of a brutal mugging that took place late one Friday night in the so-called Riverdale Pocket area of the Danforth Peninsula, just south of Donland subway station. The exact location was a pedestrian path running south from the Danforth behind Eastern Commerce Collegiate, east of Jones ave, south of the Danforth.

The story’s a compelling read, and not just for folks like us who live in the area. Cross-posted to Spacing Wire, which describes the author as a “Spacing contributor,” it has generated 60 comments as of press time (it’s here that we read of Jessica’s relationship to Christopher). One of those comments mentioned the story is the third-most-read on the Star and Car Advertiser website. Jessica Hume’s story took up half the page: the other half was a story warning homeowners it’s “break and enter season.”

Don’t let anyone tell you that there wasn’t an editorial decision to ramp up fear among Torontonians, for whatever reason.

Obviously, from the comments at Spacing Wire, the decision worked. The tenor of most of them is of muted hysteria, mixed with practical advice for avoiding a similar fate, and an interesting sidetrack about how it is that Jessica’s comments found print (implying nepotism) while so many other equally compelling stories never do. We like the idea of gatekeeper by the way. We need a gatekeeper at the Allderblob [hey! pay attention! –ed.].

The fact is, no one who wrote comments over at Spacing looked at the specifics of the situation: the writer is talking about Phin park, she’s talking about a footpath that runs between Eastern Commerce collegiate and its soccer field, she’s talking about an “unlit alleyway” that her shortcut “home to Riverdale” crosses [it bears mentioning that “Riverdale” includes the neighbourhood she was in, east of Jones: vis “Riverdale Collegiate,” which celebrated 100 years in its current building, east of Jones on Gerrard, this year. –ed.].

It’s worth a look at the scene. The path leads north straight to the Only Cafe, and south into the “Pocket,” so named because all the roads in and out come from Jones Ave. But before it reaches the Only Cafe, it passes a suburban-style parking lot outside a 24-hour 7-11, a place that attracts litter and offers an opportunity to watch for victims heading for the path.

The 7-11 is the first problem. The 7-11 suggests no one cares, just because it doesn’t. It’s a place that never shovels its sidewalk in the winter. Trash bearing its logo is spread for blocks around. It’s a bad neighbour.

Then the problem is with the path itself. It’s the lack of front doors opening onto it–it’s a back alley, it’s the back yards against the park, it’s the rear of the school.

Go look at Phin Park. The back yards abutting it on the north are 200 feet long. Why couldn’t they have granny flats opening onto the park, with a little carfree path leading between the front doors and the playground? Light spilling from living room windows is a lot more effective than a streetlight at chasing away demons. Look at the “unlit laneway.” Why couldn’t all those garages have apartments built up top, providing eyes on the Eastern Commerce running track night and day?

We write from the perspective of having lived in Boston, New York, Tokyo and Portland Oregon, not to mention St John’s. But you know what? You don’t need to leave Toronto to find examples of great urbanism. The little park at the end of Wellesley street in Cabbagetown is an example of what all our parks could be: with front doors opening right onto the green. The carfree utopia of Toronto Island, with its “capped” 500-name waiting list, tells us all we need to know about what we could be building everywhere. As we say on the Allderblob, “Everyone should be able to live in a park.”

This story doesn’t holler to us about the need for a fraudulent “crime sweep” a la Rudy Giuliani–a situation where everyone poor is a suspect. Nor does it holler about the need to import solutions from “away,” using “experts” from New York, Boston, Tokyo or Portland Oregon. Hey–it’s thanks to those outside experts that we have urban sprawl (imported from Levittown Pennsylvania Levittown PA), “highrises in the park” (imported from NYC “projects” by Le Corbusier wanna-bes), and motorways that “lift and separate” (the Detroit model).

What this story hollers about is the need for increased low-scale density and more eyes on the street (and the park), built on the existing models that we know work in Toronto already.

The Petey Crew Sir Pong

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

The Allderblob undertook a trip of a lifetime to visit the Cambridge School of Weston this past weekend. The occasion? The 30th reunion of the class of 1977, of which we were a part. The result? A pong, shortly forthcoming.

Truth to tell, the reunion itself was a lesson in minimalism, with only six or seven participants from our year in attendance. But what it lacked in number it made up in quality: the poet Jenny Rose; the cartoonist Dan Mazur; and the dancer Marianne Adams made our visit lively. Our wonderful former theatre teacher Robin Wood, to whom we owe the fact that we went into architecture as a profession, showed up for the banquet. At her table were her husband, the Cambridge architect Jeremy Wood, and our former college counselor Bonnie Musinsky. Somewhere during the day we also chatted with Arnold Simmel, class of 1943, who was a former boyfriend of our aunt Isabel. He had a funny story to tell us about our mother, who he recalls bicycled from Harvard village to Belmont and back–a distance of 28 miles each way–in order to work in the Belmont vegetable garden and attend a tea party one summer day back then.

But we were particularly pleased to have the chance to renew our acquaintance with Dan Mazur, whose comic book series “Lummox,” in bookstores across Harvard Square and Topanga Canyon, tells a story that resonates with our own blobbish experiences. Lummox, that great galoot, can’t seem to do anything right. He has no friends, his job stinks, his family spurns him. Everything he does backfires. Then as if by chance things start to turn around for Lummox.

He gets a job he loves, despite his self-doubt. He finds friends who care for him, and maybe even someone who loves him. Things fall his way–and sometimes it’s his clumsiness that makes them fall. He starts to become the architect of his own fate, which surprises everyone–himself included.

Lummox is everyman–like Blobby, he is larger than himself.

We look forward to hearing more from Lummox.

But we promised a pong, and a pong it shall be. Take it away, Blobby:

Pong of a Petey Crew, Sir

P for Petroleum
T for this pong I hum
Cruising down the interstate
Burning gases is my fate

In my PT Cruiser
No one calls me a loser
If they did then I would sue!
For it just would not be true!

I am not a loser,
In my PT Cruiser.
It gets ten clicks to a litre,
It makes me feel like I’m a leader

Not a loser
I’m a leader!
Not a loser
I’m a leader!

P is for Petroleum
T is for this pong I hum
Cruising down the 401
Going till the world is done.

New power line through Danforth Peninsula still needed, province says: Case Ootes still silent, sez ALLDERBLOB

Friday, May 11th, 2007

When bikelanes were proposed for Cosburn Ave, in the heart of Toronto Councillor Case Ootes‘s ward 29, the esteemed councillor was on it like white on rice. He was pretty concerned about a possible delay of up to a minute or two for those motorists trying to get through ward 29 in a hurry.

He would know. He’s one of them.

Now that Ontario Power Authority has made it clear a hydro corridor is to be carved north-south along some street like Donlands Avenue, a corridor to bring electricity from nuclear plants northeast of Toronto down to the new Portlands Emissions Centre, Case Ootes is strangely silent. Where is he? Where is his concern for property values, for possible health risks associated with electromagnetic fields, and for the blight on the landscape this scheme portends? Surely Case Ootes’s “conservative” values would be offended by a $600 million scheme that flouts the province’s and city’s “Green Plans” by encouraging ever-increasing electricity consumption?

Or is the problem for Ootes–and the problem for ward 29–that a majority of exactly 20 votes won him his office in the last election? Is the problem that a clear majority of voters actually picked someone other than Ootes, leaving the man bitter, galled and indifferent? Is the problem that the 20-vote “majority” came from the tony “Governor’s Bridge” section of ward 29, across the Don Valley to the west, where no OPA would ever dare propose something as terrible as a $600 million hydro corridor? Is the problem that Ootes himself lives well outside Ward 29, on a ravine lot north of Taylor Creek, where no hydro corridor will ever touch?

The term NIMBY is sure to be heard in this debate. But the fight against hydro corridors on Donlands or Pape or Jones Ave is not about NIMBYism. NIMBYs are hypocrites who pay lipservice to the greater good–something like social housing–only when it’s not in their “back yard.” In this debate, folks both support a greater good–energy conservation–and believe $600 million could be more wisely spent on programs to encourage it.

This debate, like the debate about bikelanes all across Toronto, is about the most troubling dilemma facing humanity in the 21st century: Climate Change, and our role in creating or slowing it.

Where is Case Ootes in this debate?

Nuclear Power Plants and Climate Change

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

The Toronto Star and Car Advertiser published a story in the Sunday paper suggesting Ontario might need to build more nuclear power plants to meet the province’s energy needs. The matter is coming to a head with the province’s stated intention to close its coal power generating stations.

The McGuinty government is determined to close all coal plants in the province, including the massive Nanticoke Generating Station that employs 600 workers in the area. Surrounding communities, fearful of more job loss, are cautiously exploring their options as a 2014 shutdown deadline approaches.

Desperate, they keep coming back to one controversial word: nuclear.

The debate that followed on the letters page concerned whether this is an appropriate response, not only to possible job losses, but to the climate change dilemma.

We guess you know how the ALLDERBLOB sees this. After all, if the ongoing buildup in carbon dioxide gas is leading our planet to a venus-like future, and it’s electricity that powers the ALLDERBLOB computer (and the computers of our readers), it’s essential that the technology of how we produce electricity change to one that produces less carbon dioxide.

What’s essential is that access to the ALLDERBLOB not fade away.

We’d be hypocrites to support nuclear power, with all its problems, after griping about the hydro corridor the current Ontario Power Authority is threatening, like a meat axe, to chop through Case Ootes‘s ward 29. After all, if it’s the hydro corridor we object to, what difference does it make if it’s carrying power generated by coal, natural gas, nuclear or wind power.

But there are differences between these power sources, let us not kid ourselves. Not least among these differences are the costs associated with them. And nuclear power is just about the most expensive way we know to generate electricity.

The cheapest source of energy “generation” is still conservation.
This chart demonstrates that the cost of building new nuclear power plants is up to three times higher per kilowatt-hour generated than the cost of saving a kilowatt-hour of energy through conservation measures.

It shows generating power through wind turbines to be half the cost of nuclear power, and the cost of “solar thermal” electricity generation to be two-thirds the cost of nuclear power.

All these measures, of course, do not take into account the “cost” associated with the safe storage of deadly used fission material–a direct by-product of nuclear energy generation. They do not include the “cost” associated with simple accidents that can happen: if a wind turbine falls over, someone could be killed. How many are killed if a nuclear plant melts down?

this is what the chernobyl meltdown looked like

Nuclear power is currently one of the most expensive forms of electricity:

Source of energy

Cost per kilowatt-hour

Energy Efficiency

0-5 cents


2-8 cents


5-6 cents


5-8 cents


6-8 cents

Solar Thermal

9 cents


10-12 cents

Solar Photovoltaic

15-20 cents

The Star and Car Advertiser story on new nuclear power stations for Ontario makes it clear that someone’s selling something. This isn’t being offered as a gift to the province from an altruistic non-profit corporation. The big lie is that just “600 jobs” are on the line with the closing of Nanticoke. Jobs? What good are jobs on a planet with the climate of venus?

Fact is, as Ontario’s Energy Minister Dwight Duncan stated in a 2004 speech, energy conservation is a job creator:

I’d like to close by saying there can be no doubt that Ontario faces a real challenge in meeting its energy needs, but the McGuinty government is seizing the opportunity to promote a genuine conservation culture — in communities, businesses and homes.

The benefits of conservation go far beyond what people will see on their monthly bills.

A culture of conservation will help Ontario build a high-skills, high-tech, high-performance economy by rewarding and encouraging innovation.

This, in turn, will help stimulate investment, create jobs and build a stronger, more sustainable economy.

Proposal: divide Danforth Peninsula with hydro corridor. Case Ootes silent

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

Today’s East York Mirror and Car Advertiser carried three interesting snippets. On page two was a correction regarding last week’s story, that “erroneously reported that a plan to build new Hydro transmission lines through Scarborough and down Pape Avenue was a preferred option of the Ontario Power Authority OPA).”

On page three, in a story by our cycling buddy David Nickle, the headline read: “Hydro line will not go down Pape, other options remain.”

And finally on page four cyclist Joe Cooper, who was at the same meeting as us a few days back (where MPP Peter Tabuns and Paula Fletcher, together with Jack Gibbons of Ontario Clean Air Alliance and the lawyer from Sack Goldblatt Mitchell (you will know them as the team that worked to defeat Ontario Power Authority in its bid to build a hydro corridor across the town of Markham), informed the two hundred or so assembled citizens of the new plan, to run a gazillion megawatt power line across the Danforth Peninsula–on Pape or on Donlands perhaps–to the new Portland Emissions Centre)–Joe Cooper in his “Watchdog” column delved into the history of power. His point was to remind his readers that the need for conservation is not new; that the desire for beauty has ever been in conflict with the landscape-despoiling effects of electrical power generation.

So now we have Energy Minister Dwight Duncan promising that Pape avenue is not under consideration for the power lines. As David Nickle notes however, “when Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance questioned [Steve Erwin, spokesperson for Duncan] about the matter… he asked specifically about neighbouring streets – Jones Avenue, Carlaw Avenue, or Leslie Street – Erwin wouldn’t rule it out.”


The fact is, wherever this harebrained scheme drops to earth, it’s still a bad idea. With a cost estimated at $600 million, OPA claims it will be needed by at least 2015–eight years from now–to provide the summer air conditioning needs of a growing Toronto.

They paint it as a choice between growth or no growth, but that’s not the choice. The choice is between a climate that’s hospitable to human beings and one that’s not. The choice is between stewardship of the planet and rampant, uncontrolled consumption. The choice is between the greater good–survival of the planet–and a terrible and short-sighted evil.

The term NIMBY is sure to be heard in this debate. But it’s not about NIMBYism. NIMBYs are hypocrites who reject something that’s for the greater good–something like social housing–only when it’s in their “back yard.” In this debate folks both support a greater good–energy conservation–and believe $600 million could be more wisely spent on programs to encourage it.

It’s not NIMBY to refuse programs in one’s “back yard” that despoil the landscape, reduce property values, and possibly cause leukemia and other disease, all for the sake of appeasing the basest instincts of humanity. Such programs would be a bad idea anywhere.

She Walks!

Friday, May 4th, 2007

We were in the room when Chris Winter of the Conservation Council of Ontario told everyone his plans for a commemorative walk to honor Jane Jacobs at her birthday. With the others, including our colleagues Gil Penalosa and Paul Young, Dylan Reid and Janice Etter, we stifled a smile. Mathew Cowley, the organizer for the upcoming Walk21 conference. He smiled. Shamaz Amlani, the restaurateur and organizer of Streets Are For People, and Lisa Tolentino, of the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition.

Smiles all around.

Talk is cheap, we were thinking. Yeah, yeah. Jane’s Walk. She sure deserves a walk. But llet me tell you about my plans to Ban Car Ads.

Good one, Chris. “Jane’s Walk.” Call us next year when you figure out how to get it rolling.

That was, what–eight weeks ago? Nine?

We have the minutes of that meeting, and we’ll say it again: talk is cheap. But take a note of item number two. And then, scroll down to the fourth from the bottom. Smiling, I tells ya:

* Opportunities Noted:

– BIA/Community Associations – become partners (shop local etc), create awareness in local economies

– ‘Ride for the Heart’ – Jane’s Walk idea – walk, play, eat and shop locally

– Work with schools for greater impact – International Walk to School Day in Oct

– Relate issue to children, ‘what does it mean to me?’ parental motivation

– Ways to build a movement – create obvious alliances

– June 2009 deadline for municipalities to conform to municipal planning documents such as PPS; still have yet to examine documents

– ‘perfect storm’ – health+environment+public opinion

– pedestrians tend not to organize

– need to find opportunities to engage public in planning

– communities not designed to be walkable, yet good number of people do not have vehicle – social justice issue

– barriers – media reporting, BIAs love cars

(From the meeting minutes by OSGN‘s Janet May).

Today, as they say in the zombie movies, “She Walks!

And we mean that in the very best sense.

Congratulations are rare coming from a vitriol-dripping blob like ours, but we are truly impressed with the way this one has gotten off the ground. We’d like to think we’ve got Chris Winter on “our side.”

Of course, the fact that there are only two “Walks” in the whole schlemiel east of the Don is going to gall fans of the Danforth Peninsula. We can practically hear them gnashing their teeth on Governor’s Bridge and chez Ootes. But really, who’s to blame for that?

Jesus. We were there in the room with Chris when he came up with the whole idea.

Next year maybe.

Today’s Globe and Mail and Car Advertiser had two articles on the event. Here’s the one our colleague Dave LeBlanc wrote (We reproduce it in full):

A new tour honours the late urbanist and the neighbourhoods she worked to preserve

Dave LeBlanc

Architect and tour leader Angus Skene stands in front of the Annex home of Jane Jacobs. (photo: DAVE LEBLANC)

Today is “Jane Jacobs Day” in Toronto. It is also her birthday — she would have been 91.

To honour her, I took my dog-eared copy of The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) — her glorious attack on the well-entrenched, blockbusting school of urban planning — down off the shelf. Its groundbreaking ideas, manually typed almost a half century ago while Greenwich Village street life hummed below her window, are still fresh, contemporary and vital.

And then I thought about what this city might have looked like if she hadn’t come here in 1968.

“Toronto would have had an entirely different future,” says Margie Zeidler, one of the organizers of “Jane’s Walk,” a collection of free neighbourhood walking tours happening across the city tomorrow. “I don’t think we understand how blessed we are that this woman chose to come to this city. … I’ve heard many people that were immigrants to Toronto say, ‘Well, I knew Jane Jacobs moved here so I figured there had to be something special about the city.’ ”

To be sure, her beloved Annex, where she lived until her death in April of last year, would have never fully healed from the wound the Spadina Expressway would have opened had it gone ahead. It wouldn’t be a haven for lovers of street life, dog-walkers or university students, or a place for events such as these walking tours to happen.

Architect Angus Skene has agreed to give me a preview of his walk, “Jane’s ‘Hood,” which will start at 10 a.m. at the entrance to the St. George subway station. After we meet in the Annex, he gets down on one knee, produces a piece of blue chalk from his pocket, and begins to sketch Toronto circa 1793, when the British military was sent to settle the land.

“If you can get people on it, you can kind of safeguard it for the Crown,” he explains. “That’s why the city’s here in the first place.”

Expanding the sidewalk diagram, he shows how folks got around to living way up here in the Annex by 1885, when the expanding city had to annex farmland north of Bloor Street. He explains that, originally, strict controls were placed on land use — no stores, schools or institutions — so the area would appeal to the upper classes.

Proof is right over his shoulder: the 1890 Gooderham house, now the York Club. As we walk over to admire its handsome Richardsonian Romanesque details, Mr. Skene explains that many of the smaller houses in the area built afterward copied some of its design vocabulary, such as asymmetry, “massive arches,” “Rapunzel” balconies and attention-getting turrets.

He also notes that, unlike the ravine-protected enclave of Rosedale, the Annex was subject to a watering-down of those early land-use controls. “There was no way of stopping the city from just ploughing through,” he says of the eventual addition of stores, schools and institutions. “So while this was built for some of the wealthiest people in the city, it couldn’t hold out. When you’ve got bridges, you can keep the barbarians on one side,” he laughs.

Walking up and down the Annex’s people-filled streets with the pulse of Bloor never far away, it’s easy to understand why Ms. Jacobs loved this neighbourhood and why, despite her enormous success, she stayed “human” with a “wonderful sense of humour and a wonderful giggle,” says Ms. Zeidler, who was 10 years-old when she met her.

“She was a cheerleader for a lot of people in terms of them having the courage to go out and fight for the things they believed in,” she adds.

Continuing our walk, as Mr. Skene and I pass Bloor Street United Church and he reveals the secret of its rather low-key entryway (you’ll have to go on the tour to find out what that is), I ask him if he ever met Ms. Jacobs. He didn’t, he says, but he did read Death and Life when he was 16, which got me to thinking: Her prose is so conversational, reading it is like talking with her; to read her is to know her.

En route to her former home, we admire the Victorian fussiness of 37 Madison Ave., the exuberance of 1960s architect Uno Prii’s sculptural apartment tower at 35 Walmer Rd., and discuss how she’d probably approve of the infill development going up beside it.

When we reach her house at 69 Albany Ave., I immediately check out the front porch. It was from here that Ms. Jacobs would sit and watch the world go by, where she would add her own “eyes on the street,” to borrow her famous phrase.

Thanks to Chris Winter of the Conservation Council of Ontario, who came up with Jane’s Walk, Ms. Zeidler, Mr. Skene and the other walk leaders (check out for a complete list), we can celebrate her memory by getting our eyes — and feet — on the street too.

“I feel lucky:” Driven to Quit campaign rebranded: Quittin’ to Drive

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Phrase discovered May 4, 2007:

Earlier this year, the Canadian Cancer Society brought back its nutbar “Driven to Quit” campaign, which offered smokers who quit for the month of March the chance to win a new car. We blobbed about it with our usual aplomb. Result? If it’s “driven to quit” smoking that describes you, it’s “Quitten’ to Drive” that the Cancer Society would make you. Good luck!

Globe and Mail and Car Advertiser, page A-1: “World has fifteen year window to curb emissions.”

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Toronto Globe and Mail and Car Advertiser, page A-1: “World has 15-year window to curb emissions, experts say”

A respected panel of scientists organized by the UN says the world probably has only 15 years left to stabilize the growth in greenhouse-gas emissions and, at that point, will have to cut releases in half by 2050 to avoid extremely damaging warming of the planet.

Next column over, under an image of an old beater with the top down, read how you can skip to the thirty-page “Globe Auto” section for Jeremy Cato’s in-depth story on a different window that’s now closed: “Fifty years after the Ford Skyliner convertible flopped, retractable hardtops are headed back on the road.

This summer, with climate change coming on strong, cool it: flip your lid! The convertible is back–and it’s not your grandad’s ragtop. Concerned about crash safety? Relax–in “weird” weather or for the daily commute, just drive one of your two other cars.

Or is it the story about schizophrenia, just below these two, that you really should be reading? There, Glob science reporter Andre Picard writes about the groundbreaking research of Toronto neuroscience researcher Dr. John Roder:

The article, “Behavioral phenotypes of Disc1 missense mutations in mice,” demonstrates for the first time that a malfunctioning gene can cause the disorder. Further, it offers a tantalizing clue that the big three psychiatric disorders – depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia General Motors, Ford and Chrysler – may have the same underlying genetic cause.

[Hey–what about Toyota? –ed.].

Toronto Star and Car Advertiser says: “No relief for high gas prices”

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007

The headline reads: “No relief” but to the polar bears (and the human race) it’s small relief only. Fact is, gas prices, which purchase the equivalent of many hundreds of man-hours per Canadian dollar, are much too low.

Can you say “Slave labour?” Sure you can.

We live in a false paradise and we are burning up our capital. When will we learn to live within our means, and see our situation for what it is? My guess is: never. How selfish. How hypocritical. And the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser is among the worst, with its pathetic grovelling to the automobile industry. Only when ban car ads outright will we have a semblance of accurate reporting of the crisis we face as a species.

Cranston Thurwell III

[Editor’s note: Introducing Cranston Thurwell III, a well-connected Toronto citizen, who has agreed to bare all (except his true identity) as a replacement for our former urban design consultant. You will have seen Thurwell’s work previously here, and perhaps elsewhere. We look forward to your comments, provided they are favourable, etc.].