Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Kayaks


Oriental Bay, Wellington

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

"Piccadilly Park (Where Are Your Children Going to Play?)" mp3

Having been stirred by the recent burning of Piccadilly Park's play equipment, North London's media sampling folk band, The Meadowlillies, have created a song to mourn the lost innocence symbolized by the solemn stubs of the former slides.



The Meadowlillies: "Piccadilly Park (Where Are Your Children Going to Play?)"

PLAY LOUD

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Thoughts on tobacco

This is a classic:



But sadly, those innocent times are lost. In today's world of wars (war on terror, war on drugs, war on poverty, war on wars to end all wars), we must face the war on tobacco. Because of this just and righteous war, just like smoking pot, smoking tobacco leads to an increase in crime.

But some people seem to think this is not such a good thing:

It doesn't just turn regular folks into scofflaws willing, at least, to wink at the plainly illegal source of their smokes. It also makes them complicit in the corrupting influence of organized crime on law enforcement. Black market vice needs security and it can afford it, and since crooks cannot dial 911 they must either provide their own or else bribe public authorities. . . .

Smoking may be dumb. But a policy that corrupts citizens and police, and that menaces public safety, needs very strong positive effects to pass the test of common sense. Does further discouragement of smoking, at this point, seem to you to qualify?

"What cigarette do you smoke, doctor?"

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"It's just a flesh wound. "



Only one percent of cows in the US are tested for mad cow disease. It is now apparently illegal to test more because, well, some meat packers think it's unfair competition that other meat packers can boast all their cattle have been tested.

The Bush administration can prohibit meat packers from testing their animals for mad cow disease, a federal appeals court said Friday.

The dispute pits the Agriculture Department, which tests about 1 percent of cows for the potentially deadly disease, against a Kansas meat packer that wants to test all its animals.

Larger meat packers opposed such testing. If Creekstone Farms Premium Beef began advertising that its cows have all been tested, other companies fear they too will have to conduct the expensive tests.

The Bush administration says the low level of testing reflects the rareness of the disease.
So much for the free market and, ah, sorry about your premature case of "Alzheimer's".



Update
:
Unfortunately, the meat inspection of our homeland is no less questionable:
Briefing notes prepared by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for an April 7, 2006, meeting with the board of directors of the Canadian Meat Council outline how both industry and the Canadian government were frustrated with the increased precautions the United States was demanding.

Specifically, Canada opposed daily inspection visits and the testing of finished products for Listeria monocytogenes.

Further, the documents show the CFIA agreed to the meat packing and processing industry's request to end a 20-year-old practice of having inspectors issue reports and rankings on facilities. The Canadian Meat Council complained the reports were ending up in the hands of reporters through the Access to Information Act, leading to bad coverage.

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Give me free stuff to advance my agenda or I'll label you a capitalistic Nazi

Ironically, Hitler was a great proponent of state sponsored art, as incidentally was Stalin. Don't tell the protesters shouting to maintain their handouts nor the politicians coming out to influence their aspiring slaves.

Artists protesting cuts to federal arts programs compared Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister, to Adolf Hitler during a rally yesterday. At the end of what was meant to be a satirical sketch about "artistic degenerates," Walter Boudreau, an artistic director, flashed a Nazi salute and cried "Sieg Harper!" The event was attended by Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay, Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, Liberal Senator Francis Fox and Liberal MP Denis Coderre, who has promised to reinstate the eliminated government programs if the Liberals win the next federal election.
cp: Dust My Broom

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Penn & Teller's Bullshit: World Peace

"The secret to world peace is money. Trade. Financial interdependence. If I chop this axe into Teller's brain, it would feel satisfying. But then, I've got no Penn and Teller Show. If Teller guts me with that chainsaw, he's got no show either, and no show means no paycheque, and no chateaubriand, and no fancy birthday parties for my children. So for the sake of the good life, we've learned not to act on our anger. Peace is not love, it's something stronger -- it's business."



The other parts are available where I found this, at LGF.

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Sign of the day

At the Democratic National Convention…

The demonstrators … OMG! You wouldn't let these dirty, bedraggled bums take your daughter out for lunch, but we're supposed to listen to their grand ideas on governance

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Love, Peace, Justice, Kill, Kill, Kill!

Hilarious deadpan Pajamas Media correspondent Steve Green reports on a love-in outside the Democratic Convention. The moonbats there were attempting to levitate the Denver mint, in a completely unoriginal repeat of Abbie Hoffman's sadly unheard 1967 Pentagon cry for mental health intervention.

"There's a rumour that David Copperfield is a registered Democrat, and may just help in their efforts here tonight, and that may mean supermodel presence as well. It's very exciting... they're throwing fake coins, and we even have a man in a wizard hat.... Yes, take the money from the war, give it back to the poor, from whence it came, uh, originally, I believe."

In the second part, loathsome demagogue Alex Jones attempts to rile the crowd up against Michelle Malkin, who stands right in his face like he's not even there.



"They were in Michelle Malkin's face, shouting 'Kill Michelle Malkin', and the police did nothing."

HT Dust My Broom

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Monday, August 25, 2008

The road less traveled…

…a project of your local government.

This kind of thinking is right up London City Council's alley (via Small Dead Animals).

The City of Saskatoon is one of WAM's key partners, providing not only financial support but also WAM's physical site and other vital city services. Together we can make Saskatoon a truly green city.

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And the Laws of Grammar are Oppressive and Discriminatory too

Ken Smith, a criminologist in London, England, believes the idea of variant spelling is the answer to frequently misspelled words. Spell checker may soon be obsolete.

‘University teachers should simply accept as variant spelling those words our students most commonly misspell’, he argued recently in the Times Higher Education Supplement. That would mean treating ‘truely’ as the equivalent of ‘truly’ and possibly ‘potatoe’ as a variant of ‘potato’.

[..] Some pedagogues argue that teaching spelling is a waste of time that serves no positive purpose. Others claim that an insistence in the classroom on spelling everything correctly frustrates those who suffer from learning disabilities and dyslexia.

So-called progressive educators have even suggested that the promotion of spelling is an elitist enterprise that discriminates against young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In some cases, illiteracy has been turned into a virtue. I have been told by some experts that using punctuation is an arbitrary way of organising words. Apparently the insistence on ‘correct’ spelling inhibits creativity and stigmatises the self-expression of minority groups in particular.
If true equality and tolerance is to be achieved amongst the masses, we must go further than the idea of variant spelling. Onward with a version of newspeak for the 21st century! FWIW and AFAIK, IMHO, may I suggest an acronym based language modeled on text messaging?

h/t: Alice the Camel

cp: The Broom

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Rub-a-dud-dud

London Free Press Editor-in-Chief Paul Berton was at least half right last week when he wrote that "people across the country are watching London" after Council voted to ban the sale of bottled water on city-owned property … if by "people" he meant that fraternal community of journalists, politicians, bureaucrats and activists in which he sports. By a common cue, the whole gaggle has been blaring by the hundreds as if by their chorused bleats and honks they could convince themselves that they have anything important to say or do. Actual harm to the lives, health or welfare of Canadians through the consumption of bottled water on municipal properties is none the worse for wear of anyone having been able to notice. One can expect the same of any improvements resulting from the ban, aside from an elevated sensation of smug satisfaction. No one has ever accused politics of being a zero-sum game!

What one lacks for the observable impacts of water bottles, either coming or going, one can at least make up for in snide anti-capitalist historical revisionism. In familiar fashion, the Canadian Press digs up one Richard Girard, "a researcher with the environmental advocacy group Polaris Institute," to pin the blame for a perceived problem square on the one target that has always served as the most convenient case for municipal governments and activists: corporations.

"Corporations have created a distrust in municipal tap water systems by marketing their products as the only healthy way to drink water."
Am I the only one who entirely missed all these years of corporate anti-tap water advertising? On the other hand, memories of health and environmental activists warning against pernicious and "unnatural" treated water supplies are undiminished even through the long years preceding the boom in bottled water sales. Corporations may step into voids, but activists do voids.

See also at The Gods of the Copybook Headings, The Rime of the Ancient Statist:
Striving far above their station, to say well past common sense, Monday the London City Council banned "sales of bottled water at all city-run facilities, including arenas and community centres, and possibly even golf courses."  This bit of petty authoritarianism was taken under the aegis of the current Green fad, which is showing signs of wearing down - even in it's statism London is behind the curve.  The impracticality of the ban was quickly made clear when the council stepped away from banning the bottle at outdoor events.  People buy bottled water because they find alternatives too inconvenient or perceive them to be of low quality.  Greenista fantasies that plastic bottles will destroy the earth, will be forgotten within a few years.  The ban, however, will remain on the books, providing employment for the bureaucrats who administer the law, and distracting the police from fighting genuine crime.

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Once upon a pear tree heavily laden with fruit

Wherein a contingent of The London Fog rescues Fenris Badwulf from the emergency ward in Mitchieville after he was hit in the head on Sunday morning by a giant pear shaken lose from the branch by an aggressive squirrel at the Mayor's manor.

Like beggars waiting for alms, the afflicted sit with their pink papers in the waiting room of the emergency department. Taxspenders and taxpayers alike, representatives of white privilege, brown people, Womyn, many without a family doctor, glare at the person sitting across from them, sit silently staring at their feet, or turn their gaze toward the sports event flashing across the tv screen mounted in the corner. Those freshly issued a pink form send their loved ones away to more comfortable quarters. The queue is long. I feel exploited just entering the hospital.

Badwulf is contained in a ward enclosed behind sliding electric doors with a stop sign on the floor and a notice on the glass instructing potential visitors to wait for the nurse before entering. We wait, and wait, and wait, behind emergency ward applicants submitting their grievances for consideration. Finally, we slip through the doors, consult a nurse and are directed to our pear stricken friend. With bloodstained fingers, he is released into our care.

Eyes are upon us as we head toward the exit.

cp: Mitchieville

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Left Bank, Cuba Street

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Siege and annoyance

I love getting photocopied handouts on the street!


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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Choose Your Own Hate Crime, the Interactive Hate Crime Generator

Oh, no... It's time for some "Bad Libs". The last thing the world needs is an interactive hate crime generator, but Rob Wells had to go provide inspiration on a boring afternoon.

Have you ever wanted to violate Section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, but been unsure where to start? Our busy twenty-first century lifestyles often leave little time for ordinary working Canadians to get involved. Sometimes, it seems as though there is little that any of us can do to participate in the debate. But now, science comes to the rescue.

With new computer-based Internet technology, combined with the ancient "Mad Libs" party game and Reverend Stephen Boisson's illegal communique, it's now quick and easy for anyone from the ages of 2 to 102 to contravene Human Rights legislation with hardly any effort at all. There's no longer any need to rely on Stephen Boisson, Ezra Levant, Kathy Shaidle, Kate McMillan, or even the London Fog when all it takes is a few keystrokes to create your own original masterpiece!



An adjective
A noun
A practice identified with a group identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Water: the new cigarette

London Free Press Editor-in-Chief Paul Berton opines that "people across the country are watching London" after Council's "noble experiment" to ban the sale of bottled water on city-owned property was approved this week. Just what they are watching for is uncertain from Berton's editorial, probably even to those same people across the country who may or may not be aware that they are watching, but then they are not actually newspaper editors.

If anyone aside from journalists is watching in reality, it is that same undifferentiated mass of municipal politicians, bureaucrats and activists that hops aboard any prohibitionist bandwagon to come along the media track from anywhere else. For every civic leader there are a thousand followers calling themselves leaders, as the Thames Valley School Board and the City of Toronto are reported to be considering similar bans just days after London Council's decision. But do politicians and journalists have so little shame as not even to try to hide their mutual dependence? or their proportionate disengagement from the public?

In related hydrating news, the London Free Press reports that fruit juices can depress the absorption of some prescription drugs into the bloodstream. Tap water it is then! Although when David Miller claims that tap water is purer than bottled water, one might prefer to take one's chances with dehydration instead.

See also the National Post's Don’t buy into bottled water bans.

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Totally art, dude

London Advisory Committee on Heritage chairman Joe O'Neil admits that he was "caught totally off-guard" to find from a 600-member Facebook group that the Brunswick Hotel is "really a grunge rock art incubator," causing him to reverse his previous indifference to the owner's application for a demolition permit and press instead for official heritage designation to preserve the building.

His astonishment would not seem surprising if he is a man of even slightly ordinary tastes — as it seems would be all that is required of tastes, accomplishments or abilities to become an LACH chairman. Grunge rock "art" incubator, no less… so this is what heritage has come to in London that it has more the value of, like, "totally" than it has of the historical values of private property or the dignity of the English language. Awesome!

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Urban plodding

A reader forwards us an entry in Strange Maps that provides a glimpse into the combined social engineering and regimentation ambitions of early urban planning (click image for larger view).


From the description in Strange Maps:
The map was drawn up by Sir Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928), the father of the garden city movement. Howard believed the living conditions of the poor, huddled masses cramped together in giant, insalubrious cities could be improved by combining the best aspects of town and country and carefully allocating space to housing, industry and agriculture.

[…] the garden city movement didn’t quite achieve what it set out to do. Its laudable motives and egalitarian vision contrast with the often depressing artificiality of ‘garden cities’, and the fact that they merely function as dormitories to the larger cities they so often adjoin.
If the motivations seem familiar to those of contemporary planning, so do the unintended results. Otherwise, the grandeurs of symmetry seem to have been tempered by experience, but Londoners at least will recognize the regulated concentration of social services … even if we've come up with nicer names than "Insane Asylum," "Home for Inebriates," "Homes for Waifs," and the "Epileptic Farms."

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Home is where the heart bleeds

Of London, Coun. Cheryl Miller rejoices:

"Quite frankly, I like it being a nanny state."
A frank if easy admission of the pleasures to be had from the waving end of the nanny stick … but will the grandchildren and future that Miller has taken under her wing notice to appreciate the lack of bottled water for sale on city-owned property? Say, at the A.J. Taylor building? Does anyone even know what the A.J. Taylor building is?

The scope of Coun. Judy Bryant's ambitions — "we're not changing the world, but we may get people to think" — is much more modest at least. Having spent hours of debate on Council and hours more of paid staff time to deal with such a minuscule plague, Londoners probably are thinking too.

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Oppressive Oppression Studies Studies

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Leaky buckets

"London will become one of the first cities in Canada to partially ban sales of single-use plastic water bottles," reports the London Free Press. Extending only to sales on city-owned property, that's about as partial as partial can get…

…a gratifyingly inconsequential conclusion to one of the summer's longest and most heated civic debates. If only all such bursts of political energy could yield such generously petty results, we should almost not mind the fantastic sums paid to otherwise keep our politicians and bureaucrats occupied. Partial taxes would be an appropriate follow-up.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Schadenfreude

The importance of local newspapers concentrated to its essence…


Via Tim Blair

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I thought that I would never see / Another freaking metal tree

... but there they were, ferns, palm trees, and this fellow, standing outside Te Papa Museum here in charming downtown Wellington on the first almost-not-cold sunny day this month.

The branches and foliage of the metal trees that have evolved here in Gondwanaland are made of thin, iron-grey metal wires, differing from their Laurasian cousins which tend to be more solid in construction and brightly coloured.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Erosion

For lack of anything more appealing in council chambers, cheap amusements cannot be discounted, such as at the self-abasing "quiver" in a grown woman's voice when garbage activist Teresa Rutten of London rattles to politicians that

"We're transitioning at a very frightening rate to bottled water from municipal water. Why are we not raising the bar and becoming a zero-waste culture?"
Passion in the service of trifles, or trifles in the service of passion? One would have to stoop quite low to discover whether there is a distinction, but no less abasing is it than when London's Environment and Transportation Committee suffers a "harsh debate" over a proposal to ban the sale of bottled water at city-owned facilities, although with less quiver and amusement. One would have to stoop just as low to discover the consequences of such an action, either to its material purpose or the Committee's reputation.

Even if the impacts of such a ban on landfills or "behaviours" are predictably negligible, the less abstract proposition of money may be guiding politicians who are finding that water conservation is "killing" municipal revenues across the province, even as cities drastically hike rates — 86 per cent for combined water and sewer charges in London since 2000.

A little more tap water in drinking glasses may be a small fix for spending-addicted municipal leaders, but after building permit values in London saw the second-largest May-to-June decline among Canadian cities — -60.1 per cent — grasping at trifles might end up being all that keeps the drip going for local politicians used to expansion of the assessment base to mitigate the unpleasantness of having to collect for the effects of promiscuous spending growth. Settle in for a damp winter when next year's budget deliberations begin.

See also:

Prospects for assessment growth and tax increases
Decline in assessment growth may expose London's lack of fiscal discipline
Assessment growth: stealth taxation

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PETA lacks nutrients

PETA has the answer to the problem of illegal immigration:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans today to announce an unusual marketing pitch to the U.S. government: Rent us space on the fence for billboards warning illegal border crossers there is more to fear than the Border Patrol.

The billboards, in English and Spanish, would offer the caution: "If the Border Patrol Doesn't Get You, the Chicken and Burgers Will — Go Vegan."

"We think that Mexicans and other immigrants should be warned if they cross into the U.S. they are putting their health at risk by leaving behind a healthier, staple diet of corn tortillas, beans, rice, fruits and vegetables," said Lindsay Rajt, assistant manager of PETA's vegan campaigns.

[..] PETA says its billboards would picture "fit and trim" Mexicans in their own country, where their diet is more in line with the group's mission. Another image on the sign would portray obese American children and adults "gorging on meaty, fat- and cholesterol-packed American food."
Though tortillas, beans, rice, vegetables, and fruit are readily available in the US, PETA representatives are assuming the savages are too weak and ignorant to resist the temptations of McDonald's and Frito-Lay. Best they return to their own villages in fear of what awaits them on the other side, followed by PETA people, hankering after a diet in line with their mission. Will they bring bottled water along?

cp: Mitchieville

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Puff the heritage dragon

It's never been quite the same since legislated smoking bans blew away its characteristic thick, choking soups of cigarette fumes, but the 152 year-old Brunswick Hotel always managed to remain a landmark for unsolicited drunks sitting at your table, unsolicited offers to buy drugs and stolen goods, or, even more unsolicited, random stories about men raping men who rape their sisters. So it is with mixed feelings that many Londoners must greet the news that the property's owner has submitted an application to demolish the historic building…

…mixed feelings that one Joe O'Neil of London appears to share, allowing him to go so far as not to oppose the demolition despite regrets, according to the London Free Press. We might possibly suspect that we ought to consider the importance of Mr. O'Neil's opinion on the matter of developing private property not belonging to him, except that we have not been informed of the credentials that persuade the Free Press to call him a "heritage activist." Of course it must be said that neither would have been any Planning Committee deliberating on the subject of the demolition permit, but on the subject of exchange between citizens and the media it is glaringly obvious that what the London Free Press sees as the marketability of opinions has far more to do with its own than the market's.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

BINGO! Part 2

The solution to the doctor shortage in Canada is sweeping the country. Perhaps inspired by a lottery held by a Newfoundland clinic to weed out applicants seeking a doctor funded by their tax dollars, a doctor in Northern Ontario has selfishly entered his patients into a two part lottery to determine who no longer has a right to care.

An alternate solution to the problem is to purchase a lotto ticket for the $43 million 6/49 payoff. The deadline is past, but foresight is hindsight. Pick your lucky numbers and continue to suffer.

In the latest jarring illustration of the country's doctor shortage, a family physician in Northern Ontario has used a lottery to determine which patients would be ejected from his overloaded practice.

Dr. Ken Runciman says he reluctantly eliminated about 100 patients in two separate draws to avoid having to provide assembly-line service or extend already onerous work hours, and admits the move has divided the close-knit community of Powassan.
cp: The Broom

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sorting through the trash

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome is proposing fining residents up to $1000 for failing to sort their waste into the appropriate receptacles, and in extreme cases of anti-recycling deviance, garbage pickup might be stopped. Presumably, you won't be able to claim a rebate on your property tax bill, nor carry your rations home in anything other than cloth bags.

The proposal, which city officials said the mayor could bring to the Board of Supervisors in about a month, calls for every residence and business in the city to have three separate color-coded bins for waste: blue for recycling, green for compost and black for trash.

Food vendors would have to supply them for customers. Managers of multifamily or commercial properties would be required to provide them for tenants or employees.

Trash collectors would be required to check the bins for proper sorting, which [Environment Department Director Jared] Blumenfeld said would require only a cursory visual inspection, not combing through the contents.

If they found a bin with the wrong material in it, collectors would leave a tag on the container identifying the problem. A second time would result in another tag and a written notice to the service subscriber.

On a third offense, the collector could refuse to empty the container, although this would not apply to multifamily properties like apartment buildings or to commercial properties with multiple tenants and joint collection.

The city could also levy a fine of up to $500 for the first violation, $750 for the second in one year and $1,000 for the third in a year.

[..] "We don't want to fine people," the mayor said. "We want to change behavior."
And what better way to change behaviour than by threatening to take your money? This guy cares even more than Fenris, though his methods are not as effective.

Think of the jobs that will be created for bureaucrats and union workers in this sinister Kafkaesque ordering of the city. A fleet of newly hired garbage inspectors with a background in security will accompany the garbage collectors on their route, more office workers will be employed to process fines and pleas to have garbage pickup reinstated, and through that broken window the masses will continue to feed because taxpayer money is worshiped as ever abundant.

cp: Mitchieville

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Fenris Badwulf meets Warren Zevon

In which an out-of-towner reaches trenchant conclusions about London, Ontario from short visits to the city's downtown and a local cemetery.

Werewolves, if they existed, and they do not, would be drawn to downtown London. This is the place of those soaring buildings, underpasses of concrete below the flying bridges that carry the weight of freight trains. Weeds grow everywhere ... which is good for it shows that the land is fertile, but it is bad because it shows that the people in charge aren't.
Read the rest here.

[Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those associated with the beverages supplied to him by contributors to the London Fog.]

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