Archive for December, 2007

Luck with Google, unlucky in love

Monday, December 31st, 2007

It’s New Year’s Eve. Most of you will be at home about now, patting your well-filled stomachs and mumbling into your cups, “Huh? Wozzat? All-Der-who, now?” If this adequately sums up your sorry existence, [and you know it does–ed.], you may wish to read on as our research department delves into matters beyond your ken… namely, what’s been “lucky” for Allder-Googlers in 2007?

Our top ten for 2007, in no particular order, would be the following:

1. Blob, not blog a perennial favourite

Why a BLOB?
It started with the Marx brothers, who famously asked “Why a Duck?”
The Blob calls for similar logic.
It’s BLOB, not blog

2. Jacob Richler Whatever happened to… dept.

JACOB: Me go be write, jus lik you, dada!
MORDECAI: Heh, heh.
JACOB: Me go be besh write in whole wurl!Jacob Richler and the hooded gaze

3. Case Ootes There are 20 voters in Governor’s bridge who are kicking themselves whenever they hear his name

We urge Mr. Ootes to take charge of advertising at GM or Ford as a post-retirement career. If anyone can put them out of their misery, it’s the advertising genius Case Ootes.Case Ootes: the more you know, the worse it gets

4. Jack Lakey The Toronto Star and Car Advertiser’s baddest of the bad

But Lakey’s been too busy ripping up people’s dreams to do anything really useful like that. Let’s call him what he is: not a fixer, but a smasher. meanwhile, inside the Winnebago…but which one’s Jack Lakey?

5. The day formerly known as St Patrick’s Will the ALLDERBLOB one day be known for driving car advertisers from the land?

On this, the day formerly known as St. Patrick’s Day, folks all over the world gather together to celebrate and plan for a world without automobile advertising.
Many of them remain sober.
which side are you on?

6. “campbell ewaldyou may not know who they are, but someone does. Someone’s looking to fix their wagon. Someone’s pushing these bow-tied boys from Detroit up the charts. Look for them around no. 170 UPDATE: three months have passed and we’re gaining ground: look for us at number ninety now! out of 82,000 possible hits. And the first that’s not P.R. bumf about the company. Who cares? Not us. We’re just the patsy.

They’ve made ads for G.M. since 1914, and it’s only now that the corporation’s star is fading. In contrast, it’s taken them just a couple years to put U.S. President Bush’s name on toilet paper the world over.You thought we were joking?

7. Actually, as for the rest, we exaggerate. Guess we really aren’t that lucky after all.

Why say anything at all? You have nothing to say.

Until next year, amigos.

RIP Dennis Morgan, victim of the automobile

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

RIP Dennis Morgan, 63, of illness related to car dependency

Every Saturday morning around 4:45 we awaken to the “thump” on our front porch of the delivery of that day’s Toronto Star and Get Fuzzy paper. Then we go back to sleep for a couple hours. We know that downstairs on our weatherbeaten porch the outer layers of the paper are soaking in moisture, gradually expanding. It used to be the outer layers of the paper were just one section thick, but as the expansion has taken place over the years, it’s gone to two, three and even (to our groggy and unbelieving eyes) four sections. Yes, we’re talking about the so-called “Wheels” section [should be called “motors” because you’ll never read about anything without one there–ed.] of the Saturday paper.

We always thought it was because of the wet front porch, and the absorptive qualities of the newsprint, that the “Wheels” section expanded in this way. We often vowed to rouse ourselves earlier, to see if we couldn’t get down there before the section got started in its expansion. We hoped one day to get there just as the paper was sent flying toward our wet boards, to intercept its trajectory and save ourselves from some of that “Wheels” gunk.

But we learned today we would’ve been wasting our time trying. Fact is, the Wheels section has expanded by design. We read today it’s all because of the evil predations of one man: Dennis Morgan, founding “editor” of the Wheels and Car Advertiser section of the Star. You can read the story above (link at Morgan’s photo), if you are as much of a masochist as we imagine you to be. The gist is as follows: it appears Dennis Morgan, a self-described “car nut,” joined the Star and Car Advertiser in 1976 as a young Turk from Wales. His earliest days, in the paperclip department, are lost to the shrouds of time, however within ten years the noted machiavel found the opportunity he’d been waiting for. The Star decided to create a new section of the paper, to contain classified car ads and relocate the so-called “car journalism” in one place. In Jim Kenzie [who he?–ed.]’s words:

Morgan, well-known for his enthusiasm of all things automotive, was afforded the opportunity to co-ordinate this effort, which was to include moving the technical “My car goes clunk – why?” column, then written by the late Ray Stapley, from the Sunday paper, and my road test column from beneath the rutabaga recipes in the Monday Life section, and creating an automotive section in the Saturday Star, the week’s largest-circulation edition.

Morgan saw well beyond this production scheduling convenience and envisioned a proper automotive section along the lines of what he had known growing up in England. It has far surpassed that, to the point where Wheels is by far the largest newspaper automotive section in North America.

Got that? “Wheels is by far the largest newspaper automotive section in North America.” And it’s all because of one man, Dennis Morgan.

Pure evil? Or just a minion of the evil around us. You decide.

The reason any of this is news, of course, is because Mr. Morgan died the other day, a victim of the automobile: at 63, the car-dependent fellow was felled by heart attack.

Here’s to the “health” of rest of the Wheels editors! Warm up your engines, it’s time for a drive to the gym!

Writer’s strike ends: ALLDERBLOB resumes production

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Some of our regular readers will have noticed the paucity of entries here at the ol’ blob. In fact it’s been a dry spell of some weeks. But now, as the slogan has it, you may “Ask me about my vow of silence.”ask me about my vow of silence

Is the ALLDERBLOB in fact a loser, as has been asserted around these parts since December 8 of this year? Or is there another explanation? Have our writers perchance been on strike?

As usual, it’s a little of one and a little of the other.

Yes, we’re losers. But we’re also rubber, and you’re glue, so what you say, etc and so on.

the writer’s strike according to “get fuzzy”

Fact is, we at the ALLDERBLOB have been sitting on our laurels a bit much this December. True, we have many successes this year: to us goes credit for the impending downfall of Jack Lakey at the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser, who will soon be deleted from the typist roster at that august car advertiser. Doubt us? Remember what happened to Giles Gherson? Remember Michael Goldbloom?

Jack Lakey, be afraid. Be very afraid. You know what happened to Case Ootes. You know what happened to Jacob Richler. You know what happened to Margaret Wente.

The latest clue to his impending downfall is the self-congratulatory article from the so-called “fixer” himself in today’s paper, where he takes credit for “hammering flat” 81% of the nails he’s seen sticking up around this city in 2007. Pride, as we can well attest, goeth before a fall. When the Fixer, a.k.a. the Smasher, gets all boastful about how he’s gonna get to the bottom of the “burnt toast smell” to be found around Jarvis and Front (earth to Fixer: it’s not burnt toast, it’s a sign of epilepsy on the part of your correspondent), we imagine Jack Lakey will soon be writing about the crumbs in the Star’s lunchroom–and editorial offices (closer to Yonge and Front, but you get the picture).

Lakey could redeem himself if he started to address something that matters: the life-or-death issues that face cyclists and pedestrians everyday in this city, rather than the cosmetics. Lakey could keep his “fixer” moniker if he’d actually address, for example, why it is that the speed limit on the Dundas East bridge, where the road narrows against cyclists and traffic gets more congested with the addition of streetcars and Don Valley Parkway-turning cars, why it is that the speed limit actually increases from 40 to 50 km/hr? Even if Lakey wanted to stick to the problems of car drivers, as is his usual pattern, he might still redeem himself: he could address the fact that the biggest cause of death among teenagers is car crashes, by advocating for more zones free of the car to be built throughout the city. For that matter he could start by calling for the removal of the automobile from the Dundas bridge–after all, for most of the past year the city got by fine without being able to drive there. And now, with the streetcar back in place, there’s even more room on the other bridges that cars use.

But we’re not holding our breath for Lakey. He’s got greener pastures, anyway. Any day now we expect to hear about his move to San Diego to join Jacob Richler and Case Ootes in a Winnebago. Ootes, Richler and Lakey–but which one is which?

But while we’re taking credit for Lakey’s imminent conversion or downfall, whichever happens, we must also round out our summary of the year 2007 by noting a couple other feathers in our cap. Christopher Hume, another writer at the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser, has been doing a remarkable job of late, and we think it’s because of the ol’ blob. Why do we think this?

Because we take credit for everything good that happens, that’s why.

Hume hates cars (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and in practically every article he’s written in the past couple months has put the knife in and turned it a bit: “Whatever the appeal of the car may be, mobility has little to do with it.” or: “This is a city that invites you to hop into the family vehicle and drive on downtown for a workout.” Etcetera.

Unfortunately, Hume’s strong writing talents and sharp insights are unlikely to protect him from the wrath of Canada’s largest newspaper and car advertiser for long, and we expect the hammer to come down on Hume in one form or another before the new year is out. Unless Lakey moves to San Diego first, that is.

We said a couple other feathers, and so far we’ve just mentioned Hume. Dare we mention the heroic creation of the “Danforth Model” for the city’s redesign? After all, it’s on these pages you first read about the Danforth Peninsula; it is here you first heard of “thickening” as a strategy to celebrate the fact that cars like traveling in bunches, just like pedestrians, and the best way to tame the one while providing safety for the other is to crush them together in an over-programmed jumble where the speed of a bicycle beats everything going.

Will the Danforth Model prevail–not just on the rest of the Danforth, east of Pape, but throughout Toronto wherever there are four-lane streets needing better facilities for pedestrians, cyclists shoppers and parkers? Will we see the Danforth Model on Bloor, on Jarvis, on Front, on Eglinton? The new year may hold some surprises for Torontonians.

But as for Jack Lakey, we offer our last word of advice: “Go, man go! There are plenny car problems to fix in San Diego, and you can reach them by the freeway. The Winnebago beckons!

I’m a loser, baby

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

WTF department.

Beck, a pop star big in the past century, had a number one hit with the lyrics: “I’m a loser, baby/so why don’t you kill me?”

It’s catchier than it sounds, in fact.

“I’m a loser baby…so why don’t you kill me?” La, la, la.

Hum along.

Riding a bicycle in Toronto we often find this song on our lips. La, la la. “Loser, baby…” La la.

Our route between home and work takes us past the site of a recent altercation between a loser and a “winner” that saw a gun drawn and a shot fired.

Did you read about it on the front pages? No? That’s because it only made page 14 of the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser. We never even saw it in the Globe and Mail and Car Advertiser. Not the National Post and Car Advertiser either.

Perhaps it’s because, unlike the case that made the front pages of all the papers a couple weeks ago, where a loser hexed a winner with a wrench, in this case it was the loser who was shot with a bullet, apparently for no reason, by a winner. The winner was in a car. The location was near Regent park, a famous Toronto “slum clearance” project from the 1960s 2000s.

Sorry, what was that? Did we say no reason?

The loser was riding a bike.

ALLDERBLOB readers will want to know, and with the cops we ask: was he wearing a helmet? Was he riding a “chopper?” Had he just purchased a “nickel bag?” Had he run the red light at River and Shuter streets? Had he spit at the car, or otherwise acted to rain hellfire upon himself? What was he doing, in the ghetto?

We know he deserved to be shot. He was riding a bicycle. He’s a loser, baby. We just want to know what in particular provoked this event.

But the cops aren’t telling. The event was reported in the Star on Dec. 2, but there’s no news release about it to be found on their website from around that date.

Some in the International Bicycle Conspiracy have wondered, “Where is the outrage?” Where is the call to CAA to defend car drivers everywhere from the aspersion cast by the lone looney in the car by Regent Park. Where is the front page story, and the interview on Metro Morning with Anti-Bikey, asking automobile activists whether all motorists pack guns. Is society in a state of collapse?

Not the Allderblob.

We ride a bike too, and we know.

Cyclists are losers. On a dare, we just checked the lyrics of Beck’s song and found this gem hidden in the dross:
(I’m a driver, I’m a winner… things are gonna
change, I can feel it)

What’s the difference if we’re killed by a gunshot, by breathing the crap churned from the guts of the gas guzzlers, or from being crushed against the curb by a rolling furnace while crossing the newly re-opened Dundas bridge?

La, la la. La la. Baby…

Case Ootes: the scandal grows

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Breaking News Dept.

The veteran Toronto Star and Car Advertiser reporter, Royson “Miller Killer” James, writes in Tuesday’s paper about the profligate spending of our esteemed councillor for Ward 29, Case Ootes [rhymes with “odious” –ed.].

letter to the \"ad\" itor? typical Case Ootes advertisement in the East York Mirror and Car Advertiser: Give the man a razor!

Mr. Ootes spent the most of any Toronto councillor in 2006, an election year, for advertising, all on the taxpayer’s tab. At $15,184 for advertising, plus $20,927 for “postage and couriers,” it could be argued that the 20-vote margin that gave Mr. Ootes victory over his challenger last year amounted to an outrageous pay-out of $1,800 per winning vote.

Talk about yer “sponsorship scandal.”

As Case Ootes told the Star’s James, who asked him if having a “huge account to promote his name in an election year” was important: “Arr. And if I’d had another $36,000 to spend, I would’ve won by 40 votes. Now get lost.” [To be precise, his exact words quoted in the Star are “Of course you benefit from that; I’d be the first to agree.” –ed.]

It falls to the ALLDERBLOB to remind Mr. Ootes that for all his spending, he actually earned 3,562 fewer votes in 2006 than in 2003. At that rate, just $200 more spent on “advertising” would have lost even those pathetic 20 votes that gave him his bunion cushion at city hall until 2010.

We urge Mr. Ootes to take charge of advertising at GM or Ford as a post-retirement career. If anyone can put them out of their misery, it’s the advertising genius Case Ootes.

Case Ootes vote total, 2003: 9,352 (62% of all votes cast)
Case Ootes vote total, 2006: 5,790 (46% of all votes cast)

Warnings on Car Ads: As goes California, so goes the European Union?

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

Breaking News Dept.

In our hourly pimple analysis [that is, “what brings readers to our blob” –ed.] we occasionally come across quirky facts (see “Do You Feel Lucky” at right). Strangely, for example, a search for “Jack Lakey” and “smasher of dreams” yields all of three hits. Who’d a thunk? But more than that, a search on yields different hits than one on Try it with the phrase “car advertisements.”

Now that’s a laugh riot.

Interestingly, it’s on that the “car advertisement” search turned up a link to a story in the New York Times and Car Advertiser from a month ago, that we’d missed. Darn. Fact is, we’ve been lax in our hegemony factor lately.

Bad Torontonian! Bad! New York Times and Car Advertiser important! Riverdale/East York Mirror and Car Advertiser unimportant!

We didn’t miss the story in the San Francisco Chronicle and Car Advertiser from 2006, the one that called for a ban on TV car commercials but neglected to consider the car ads that paid the writer that day.

And we didn’t miss the one from the Globe and Mail and Car Advertiser that told how Norway’s parliament had outlawed the depiction of any car as “green” or “ecologically friendly” in advertising.

But somehow the Times piece slipped through our sticky fingers.

Dateline: October 28. London: Eric Pfanner reports:

The European Parliament proposed last Wednesday that car advertisements in the European Union carry tobacco-style labels, warning of the environmental impact they cause.

Under the plan, 20 percent of the space or time of any auto ad would have to be set aside for information on a car’s fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, cited as a contributor to global climate change.

greenpeace car warning label click for warning

Now, as Pfanner’s story makes clear, this is not a guarantee that car ads will soon carry the warning labels. It’s not the EU Parliament, by some freakish quirk, that makes law in the EU. That duty is left to sommat called the “European Commission.”

But it’s a step closer to the inevitable, as we see it: a time when the right to freely promote a machine in whose tailwind the global crisis blows (and grows) is questioned, and eventually seriously curtailed.