Archive for July, 2008

Mike Strobel hollers for a ban on car advertisements

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

You will all know Mike Strobel, columnist and former editor-in-chief of the Toronto Sun and Car Advertiser. Elsewhere, he has been called “among the five best reasons” for reading that newspaper. We still vaguely remember the column he wrote about Critical Mass, the monthly celebration of all things “bicycle.” It was the summer of 2004 or so. Back then, he was on his first CM ride and he loved it. He wasn’t pleased about getting a traffic ticket though (don’t ask; he was missing a reflector or something).

Today he wrote another column on bicycles, called “Start lining up for a lane.” In it he complains about the new bikelanes on Eastern Avenue. Apparently since the Dundas bikelanes were painted (back in 2003) he’s been a regular driver along Eastern. But Eastern’s no good for him anymore and he’s wondering where he’s welcome in his mobile global warmer. He’s feeling vexed, boxed in, discriminated against because he needs four fat wheels, not two skinny ones.

We feel for the guy, we really do. He had some good points in his piece, although he did not search very far for the true reason for the installation of bikelanes along Eastern. He thinks it has something to do with making life easier for cyclists. In fact, it will only make life more difficult, at least in the short run. It will turn more west-bound cars onto Leslie to get onto Lakeshore blvd. We imagine a car-count there (on Leslie) done post-Eastern Ave. bikelanes will negate any chance Leslie once had for a bikelane. And that’s a pity. It will turn more east-bound cars up Broadview to get to Dundas. Riding Dundas of late has been heavy with bad air as the rear ends of Strobel-mobiles fart into the evening breezes.

But back to Strobel’s column. The remarkable thing about it was he really nailed the connection between car advertising and car dependence. In a few sweet sentences he stated the ALLDERBLOB’s raison d’ettre:

3. Ban Car Ads. Worked on smokers, eh? Especially with all those PSAs showing blackened lungs.

Car advertising makes us lust for Cadillacs and Volvos as we once lusted for Craven A’s and Viscounts.

Tear down those billboards that make us lustful all along the Gardiner Expressway.

Put up big pictures of pollution-blackened lungs instead.

Sadly, as Vic of the International Bicycle Conspiracy has observed, it’s likely he was being sarcastic.

Margaret Wente: her butt hurts.

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

From time to time we examine the Saturday Globe and Mail and Car Advertiser for signs of bad taste and a lack of geometry. Inevitably, we find it.

Yesterday it was large and protruberant within the confines of Margaret Wente’s column, which examined in some detail the circumstances of why her butt hurts so badly these days. As many of you may suspect, a horse was involved. Sadly, the column is neither amusing nor interesting, nor even mildly salacious.

At present, a google search for the phrases “Margaret Wente” and “my butt” is “lucky” for the ALLDERBLOB. We rather suspect that Ms. Wente feels some chagrin at this fact, and is attempting to catch up. And indeed, her column is now no. 2.

“Try harder,” Ms. Wente. And we truly hope your butt grows less uncomfortable over time.

Eastern Avenue bikelanes block Mitch Goldhar’s driveway: Paula Fletcher claims victory; OMB to preside. Relax, Mitch, just park in the bikelane like everyone else.

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Our silence speaks volumes. Meanwhile the Allder-blobdingnagian bile has been building up in pus-filled pouches all over the body politic, building up and building up, ready finally to burst and ooze and spread the vile stench and diseased thought and repressed anger wherever the hooded and blobbish gaze wanders.

It wanders toward Eastern Avenue in Toronto.

We were roused to consider Eastern by the erstwhile “Kwazy Biker Chick,” Tanya, who poked us with a knitting needle over the installation this past week of Bikelanes on Eastern Ave. in Toronto, between Leslie and Carlaw in Ward 30 Bikelanes on Eastern Avenue.

[Tanya: a bit of advice. Clean your knitting needle with something powerful. Do not get the bile on your woolen garments.–ed]

In the past we have commented on this foolhardy scheme. The fact is, except for the skateboard kids at the bottom end of Pape avenue (Pape dies at Eastern, where it’s super wide, and super dead, with a painted median like that on the much busier Danforth Avenue, but one which here provides only a hangout spot for kids on skateboards all night long), no one will use the Eastern Ave bikelanes. No one except for cars idling while they “run in” for a quick purchase at the soon-to-open Walmart down there.

(Please cars, do not forget to put on your Expose yourself to Art “four-way-flashers.”)

Sorry, did we say Walmart? A possible Walmart, but a Walmart-style power centre indubitably, one with some 2,000 cars parked at its heart. Two thousand cars in and two thousand cars out in a typical 10 hour period means one car either coming or going every 9 seconds (you do the math: 10 hours = 10 x 60 minutes/hour x 60 seconds/minute = 36,000 seconds, divide by 4,000 cars (2,000 cars in plus 2,000 cars out) = 1 car every 9 seconds, on average).

The fact is, the Eastern Avenue Bikelane plan was a transparent ploy by our favourite Toronto Councillor, the former head of the Manitoba Communist party, Paula Fletcher (do Communists support bikelanes? Of course! The Proletarian Revolution needs free parking for its cars too after all–but we digress), to stay the course of Mitch Goldhar’s Smart Centre bid for a Walmart in Leslieville.

Of course, Mitch got ritch not by listening to the neighbours, most of whom will whine about the blight but will shop for cheap Chinese-made crap regardless. He knows that. So for Mitch, former Manitoba Capitalist Party Chairman, it’s off to the Ontario Municipal Board pronto, in a bid to defeat the community in its quest to keep Leslieville “free of big boxes.”

Problem: What is the Loblaws power centre at Leslie and Lakeshore? What is the PriceChopper across the street? What is the 700-parking spot Canadian Ire store on the southwest corner there? Canadian Ire at Leslie and Lakeshore

Lawyers can spell P-R-E-C-E-D-E-N-T as well as the average 5th grader, and no that is not a typo for “president.” Fact is, South Leslieville is larded with “big box stores.”

In any case, the bikelane bid will fail to prevent Mr. Goldhar’s scheme. Indeed, as our friend at Toronto Cranks has noted, bikelanes can be sure of the support of car-owners across town, because they provide convenient temporary parking spots at all times, night and day. You don’t have to hunt for the parking lot driveway after all. And now, add those cruddy little cheap-ass electric motorbikes with their whiny helmet-headed drivers (or is that the engine), who somehow have gained the right to drive in the bikelane as if they were regular bicycles, all of whom will indubitably shop for their next bargoon at Mitch’s Phancy Emporium.

Mr. Goldhar’s been smart. He enlisted the help of clever Antarctic penguins, perhaps even the emperor variety, in his publick relations campaign. He’s coined a name, the “Phancy Emporium” [don’t you mean the Foundry District,“? –ed.] which will have true blacksmiths grunting with disdain all across the city. He’s garnered the help of skilled advertisers and other “artists with nothing to say,” to paint a picture of bliss: never mind the five lanes of cars coming and going from the parking lot (forced to enter from Lakeshore Blvd. instead of Eastern, where they so easily blend with cyclists and strollers on the Martin Goodman bikepath).

Paula Fletcher, give up! Just like the Allderblob, which will no doubt soon be flying Porter air out of Toronto “because it’s just so much work to get to Pearson,” we know you are a secret Walmart shopper. We suspect you love them bargoons, just like the rest of the pitiful swine Mitch Goldhar looks down on all across Canada.

On the other hand, we are still in support of bikelanes on Leslie, From Queen to Lakeshore, where they will really make a difference. Where they are needed. Where cyclists will want to ride. Paula, if you get bikelanes on Leslie, we will stop calling you a former Communist. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

But we digress as usual.

For now we must be off, to bandage our oozing sores.

UPDATE: We apologize if it appears we think Mr. Goldhar thinks Toronto bargain hunters are “pitiful swine.” The fact is, we can’t remember his exact words.

UPDATE 2: Some Russian spy has posted what is suggested to be a photograph from Mitch Goldhar’s living room window in Caledon Ontario. We looked, but we could not see any Wal-Mart in sight. What’s up with that?