2017-05-20 Sat

The sorry state of Toronto and the Toronto Transit Commission

Yet another hand-wringing article about poor old King Street.

In odd-numbered months the article will be about King Street, in even-numbered months, Queen street. You can remember this if you recall that the Queen in playing cards is an even number while the king is odd.

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So, the latest scheme, as I usually surmise, is dreamed up because someone has a brother-in-law in the construction business and for millions of dollars, the firm will be kept busy for a year installing flower-pots, concrete barriers, painting and all the usual folderol.

Cars can not ravel through an intersection, can only turn right; limited parking on the block for deliveries and pickups (so everyone will cruise around in clockwise motion until a spot frees up); streetcars still share the road with cars; streetcars stop at the lights, and then stop again at the passenger stop immediately after the intersection.

This has the hallmark of the UP-Express or any other half-thought out scheme. Chances are that it will be torn up after two years.

Here’s my question: Why not just get rid of the streetcars, iconic though they may be?

When a streetcar stops, all lanes are traffic are blocked. The streetcar occupies one lane and drivers are supposed to stop in the kerb lane, well back of the streetcar doors.

When a streetcar is disabled, all the following streetcars are held up.

Streetcars can not move to the right to get around a left-turning vehicle.

Streetcars require passengers to risk their lives in gaining access to the streetcar.

Streetcars require overhead wiring and street-level rails and (it seems to me) the intersection of [insert your local intersection here] has to be closed down for eight months every three years to replace cables, and every other three years to replace rails. You know what I mean.

Except in the case of Lakeshore Boulevard between Browns Line and Kipling back in, oh, 1998 or thereabouts where the track was closed for a year while they re-laid rails, and then was closed again the next year while they ripped out the new rail – it was too light, it seems – and replaced it with heavier rail.

Also, we already have roads, and buses could run on the same asphalt that cars and trucks run on.

Also we already have a bus fleet, so scrapping streetcars means we wouldn’t need two sets of spare parts, two sets of maintenance crews, two training programs for drivers, and so on.

Also we wouldn’t have to deal with Bombardier, ever again.

Appropriation

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Try as I do, I can’t understand this fuss about appropriation (which I suspect is just a racist yet politically correct way of saying “stealing” or “theft”, used by people who are too scared to say or write “stealing” or “theft”, but will hide behind a word like “appropriation”. Or “fabilation”. That seems like a word that is obscure enough.

There are arguments from genetics/DNA to think of Culture as evolving in much the same way that animal and plant life has evolved. Try researching “memes” or reading books by Richard Dawkins or by Steven Pinker, for starters.

I was born in England, raised in Australia, and have lived in Canada Lo! These past thirty-five years. Am I allowed to use the English language as was taught to me in my first ten years of life? Am I allowed to use the Australian version of the English language as was taught to me in my next twenty-one years of life? Am I allowed to use the Canadian English language as I have learned to do in my later thirty-five years of life? And how am I to write to my friends in the U.S.A. through the technical forums?

The clipping above from the Globe and mail of Saturday May 13th is not about the cancelled art show (on account of Appropriation), but is about another art form, and you’ll note that the shows are being presented in the USA and Canada. The original piece of art is Russian. The actors – who knows what nationality, but one has black skin (Hooray!) to show that anyone, regardless of skin colour or eye colour (remember that “race” is defined as “distinguishing characteristics”).

Then there’s the uproar over blackface, where (usually) white-skinned actors cover their faces with black paint.

I can’t understand this fuss because the rules seem to change every other day.

If its OK for a black guy to take on a role originally written for a white guy, why is it not OK for a white guy to take on a role originally written for a black guy.

(I’d like to point out here that some of my best friends are white guys!)

If it’s OK for a member of the Malangala tribe to appear in a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera, why is it not OK for a born-in-China Presbyterian to perform in a corroboree. Add into the mix Japanese and Bantu Bishops who consecrate Vicars in the Church of England.

And so to Caucasian Canadians carving totem poles, or whatever they want to do while members of the Tlinglit tribe learn how to drive streetcars for the Toronto Transit Commission.