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Joe Fiorito of The Toronto Star January 31, 2011

Posted by huymix in News, Politics.
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Joe Fiorito

I’m sorry but I had all but abandoned this blog. From now on, this blog might only post when I have particularly strong feelings, one way or another, towards something. Even then, it would have to overcome my innate laziness. I will try to keep the posts short, again due to laziness, but I won’t have a particular devotion to the previous 3 bullet point format.

So when I post something, you gotta know, that the topic that I’m posting about has gotten to me.

Today’s topic: The Toronto Star columnist: Joe Fiorito

I think what has really turned me against Mr. Fiorito has been his more recent coverage of the TTC service cuts. I’ll invite you to check out a couple of his recent articles:

The Toronto Star: Cuts threaten bus service to Toronto’s deaf-blind community

The Toronto Star: Hiding in the back of the bus

You might be asking what is your beef with these articles? Well, I have a few points to make:

  • His short, conversation style is fine except that he will take it too far to the point that it can feel childish. For example: “In. The. Entire. Country.” when he already wrote that it was for the entire country. Maybe it was written for emphasis, but I think he has already made his point before that and writing that does not add to the point.
  • He’s essentially written the same talking points over and over again. TTC cuts means some people, including less capable people in some ways, will not have service. Almost by definition, a service cut to anything means some people will not have service.  In each article, he’s written that same point just using different examples. I’m sorry for those people that do get service cut, but this point is hardly surprising and certainly does not warrant so much coverage.
  • The bias runs a bit too deep. He is writing a column and not the straight news and thus he is allowed his personal bias to show more. However, his articles do not have a hint of consideration for an alternative perspective and puts his credibility at stake. I think that his writing makes him seem like he is completely unwilling to listen to a different perspective and that can mean people will be less likely to believe what he is saying is based on sound and reasonable judgment. There are probably good reasons why those service cuts are being made and in his writing, none of those reasons feel like they have been explored.

Nothing I am saying is meant to criticize Joe Fiorito the person. I do not pretend to know him or know anything about what he believes. I’m only looking at it from the perspective of a Star reader. Maybe he isn’t everything I think his writing makes him out to be. Maybe, but I certainly cannot tell from his writing.

Conclusion: He needs to work out whether he has already made his point and move on.



The Toronto Raptors March 25, 2010

Posted by huymix in Sports.
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I’m a big Toronto Raptors fan and have been following them since my first year of university. I’ve been through the highs (Atlantic Division Champions) and the lows (drafting Araujo, the whole Vince Carter trade). If you are not following the Raptors as an existing fan, I cannot recommend following the Toronto Raptors this year because:

  • Effort. They do not play with a consistent level of effort. They tend to play to the level of their opponent. The problem is if that opponent raises their effort after the half, the Raps do not tend to rise with them. It’s all very frustrating.
  • Chris Bosh. He’s great, but why start watching him now and like the guy only to have him sign somewhere else in the summer? Let’s face it, no matter how great a city Toronto is, America does not cover games here and does not care to. They would rather watch some high school football over a Raptor’s playoff game. This lack of exposure and respect for Toronto pretty much means Bosh is out of here.
  • The Jays are looking pretty good. Young but good. The thing about the Raptors is that they seem to be a low-level Phoenix Suns and have hit a ceiling. I do not think that this group of people can ever play at a championship level. Maybe individually, but not as a team. The team’s potential is at best a second-round exit.

I do think Bryan Colangelo has done an awesome job taking over from Rob Babcock. He’s made smart and risky moves. However, that has not translated to a product that I can recommend to someone who is not already an established fan. Also, I’m sure Chris Bosh is a good guy so I don’t mean to make it seem like he’s being a jerk.

Toronto Cyclists January 12, 2010

Posted by huymix in Politics, Sports.
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With a report that showed Toronto commute times doubling in the last 10 years, a lot of talk inevitably comes out that brings up: HOV lanes, more TTC subways/rapid transit/buses, and bike lanes. The last part comes from a relatively small, but highly vocal group of people and sometimes they have valid points. Unfortunately for Toronto cyclists, there are a few reasons why they are generally, and in the foreseeable future, dismissed by the public at large. While I can respect Toronto cyclists as people, there are a lot of reasons I dismiss them when they bring up bike lanes or other topics (generally all they talk about is bike lanes or that guy who stole a crap load of bikes):

  • All they ever talk about is bike lanes. They have the same problem that the Green Party had. The problem is that they are perceived to be a one-note group. So for the longest time the Green Party was a bit of a joke because all everyone thought the party platform was about the environment and not about other political issues. Toronto cyclists are perceived to be a broken record of “more bike lanes, more bike lanes, more bike lanes” and never really articulate anything else. That get’s played out very quick.
  • Attitude. Again I will draw a parallel here. Cyclists have the same problem as Prius drivers had (and many still have). If you cycle in to work everyday there is at least the perception (which may or may not be true) that you feel superior to those that drive. I’m not saying that everyone feels this way and that all cyclists do, but again the perception is out there for the group as a whole.
  • Cyclists play the victim card too much. Sympathy is a well that can go dry very quickly with the public (if there is any) and cyclists are too quick to dig for sympathy. What I mean is, a lot of representatives like to point out how dangerous it is to cycle in Toronto and how drivers are careless/rude/mean to cyclists which I’m sure is true. However, Toronto drivers are well aware of the dangerous and reckless cycling that goes on as well. When you see cyclists going ahead on a red or cycling between cars and sometimes hitting stuff any sympathy you have for cyclists quickly goes out the window.

At the end of the day, cyclists are a small but not insignificant group of commuters in Toronto. While bike lanes would probably help with improving cyclist safety, bike lanes will not solve the perception of Toronto cyclists. Anytime I hear someone is a cyclist I will generally reply with a “that’s good for you” but if anyone starts to moralize to me about how I should bike to work that’s when he or she will promptly be ignored.

Toronto Drivers August 6, 2009

Posted by huymix in Random.
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Highwayfminus401 sign

Toronto is a big city and its hard to say that my experiences driving in this city are solely from Torontonians. However, some of my worst driving experiences have occurred due to Torontonians. I can’t really say how Toronto drivers stack up against other cities or anything objective like that. If you’re reading this post, you should know that almost everything written is 100% subjective anyways. Given the above caveats, Toronto drivers are an F- because:

  • Angry when they are breaking the law. One of the worst behaviours I’ve observed drivers here do is flip off a driver when they try something illegal and it is either blocked off or something. An example, on the 401, a driver tried to pass using the shoulder and had to come back because of a pillar. That same driver chose to cut off the another driver on the right and get all upset. I’m sorry, but I was going the same speed as the guy just in front of me and I will not be bullied.
  • Cannot handle different driving conditions.  You would think growing up Canadian you would be able to handle different weather conditions. Unfortunately, even light rain grinds traffic to a halt. Obviously, you should slow down, but really, light rain should not send traffic to a full stop and turn 10 minutes of driving into 45.
  • Toronto drivers get worse the easier the roads are set up. Here’s what I mean. There is a stretch of the 401 from Keele to Jane that has the worst record of the entire 401 highway (its a very long highway too). This part of the 401 is not at all twisty or narrow but rather straight and wide. The problem is, Toronto drivers are like kids in a candy shop when they get straighaways and cannot control their enthusiasm and drive even worse.

I’ve always heard of how bad LA or NY traffic is and I have no doubts that traffic there is a huge pain, probably ” F-able”. But if you find yourself in Toronto please do yourself a favour and take the train or get someone else to drive. Driving in Toronto is only an exercise of your patience.

Finch and Weston May 29, 2009

Posted by huymix in Random.
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Emery C.I.fminusWeston and Finch Map

I used to live in the Finch-Weston area for about 10 years, but really I’ve been connected to the area for much longer than 10 years. Since I’ve finished high school, I have had very little reason to come back to the neighbourhood. If you ever think about visiting this part of Toronto, unless you’re there for a specific family thing or something, I’d recommend you spend your time elsewhere because:

  • If you need a bus, it’s possibly one of the worst lines in the TTC. From this area, there are 2 ways to get to and from Finch and Weston. On Finch, that bus will take you pretty far to the Yonge line, most of the time you don’t need to go all the way to the Yonge line. The Weston option is no better because a) there are sometimes over an hour wait for a bus b) it takes the least direct route possible to get to Wilson Station. If you gotta go, try to drive or get a lift.
  • I think in Canada we’re pretty safe. However, Finch and Weston is not very far from the infamous Jane and Finch area. Now Jane and Finch’s reputation as being dangerous is a bit overblown but not unfounded. Finch and Weston doesn’t have the name baggage, but is close enough to have the same problems. I’m not gonna wear a bullet proof vest, but I’m also not going to carry credit cards or a lot of cash on me if I visit.
  • It’s a boring neighbourhood. There used to be a mall which is now this horrible blighted lot. If you’re not visiting someone there is really nothing in this area for you.

Finch and Weston is a combination of suburban boredom and inner city danger, insofar as the City of Toronto can really be considered dangerous. I don’t totally hate the place, but given the ability to go elsewhere I’ve almost always chosen to go somewhere else. The biggest knock against Finch and Weston is that it offers no reason to go/live there so why bother yourself.

We Will Rock You Musical Soundtrack March 30, 2009

Posted by huymix in Music, Shows.
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We Will Rock You Cast

fminusWe Will Rock You Logo

I’ve actually seen the Toronto-based production of this show twice and had an awesome time. Really, it’s a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed my time. Despite my overall satisfaction, I have to say the soundtrack is more than a sticking point for me. Mostly because:

  • It’s not the same without Freddie Mercury. Impossible to duplicate, Freddie Mercury is too high of a standard to try and mimic. Never karaoke him, NEVER.
  • No Bicycle. Well, they do tease it, but then they don’t actually sing it! Bah!
  • Bohemian Rhapsody was a fakeout. People had actually left before hearing it, and that is kinda bull. I know it’s their fault but they should know people will do that. Not a fan, I would have been disappointed if I missed out on Bohemian Rhapsody.

Really, the first point is all you need to know. I had a ball at the show and would recommend it to almost anyone, but I would run fast to the Queen Greatest Hits and Queen Classic CDs when presented with the We Will Rock You Soundtrack. Just watch the show.