Monday, July 20, 2009

Margin Notes: Refuse, Swearing, Mix, Steam

TORONTO, ONTARIO - The Toronto city workers' strike continues, and the garbage continues to pile up throughout the city. I thought I heard a garbage truck while walking down Jane Street last week, and looked to see what indeed looked like one with "Miller Disposal" on the side. I was immediately suspicious that the mayor, David Miller, was somehow profiteering from private refuse removal. However, minimal research revealed that the Miller Group has been a going concern in Vaughn, Ontario for many years, including a waste removal service, and does not appear to have any connection with the mayor whatsoever.

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With the northern lanes complete, construction had shifted to the southern lanes of Dundas Street West over the Humber River in Toronto, Ontario on 20-July-2009

It isn't just residential garbage that is being collected near the Humber River during the strike. Work continues on the Dundas Street West bridge over the Humber River about two kilometers north of the garbage collection site, creating lots of construction waste. Considering that the second half of the bridge is just starting demolition, much less reconstruction, Dundas Street West is a long time from returning to four lanes over the Humber River.

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Drivers undoubtedly take to swearing in the backups that occur in crossing the Humber River bridge at rush hour with the reduced lanes. Swearing is effectively banned from the airwaves in the United States, but not necessarily in Canada. If someone swears during an interview (and it's not profane in nature), the actual quote will run on the CBC--there were a couple recent examples including on the Sunday Edition. Every time I hear it, I'm pleasantly surprised that Canadians don't feel the need to censor real daily life in this country.

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My recent blog entry on Michael Jackson reminded me of another radio story about Sir Mix-a-Lot. The entertainer had an opportunity to substitute for Dave Ross on a KIRO radio talk show in Seattle right about two years ago. The Seattle left-wing blog on talk radio, Blather Watch, noted that "Mix," an African-American, was attracting a number of African-American callers, and wrote a blog entry entitled "Breaking: Black People on KIRO!" Author Michael Hood even speculated that listeners might think they were listening to Canadians. (Somehow knowing that at the time KIRO had an African-American talk show host in Carl Jeffers just made the whole thing that much more funny.)

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A 1/16th scale steam locomotive passed a 1/8th scale steam locomotive at the Richmond Hill Live Steamers near Richmond Hill, Ontario on 11-July-2009.

They say Carl Jeffers can "turn your radio into molten plastic" but it will be steam of a different kind this coming weekend in Owosso, Michigan. Eight steam locomotives will be the featured attraction at Train Festival 2009. Interestingly, there were actually more steam locomotives gathered in one place in Ontario not long ago--they just weren't full size. The Richmond Hill Live Steamers hosted an "International Meet" on 11-12 July 2009 on their miniature railway track of two different sizes. Further coverage of the International Meet will appear on my photo site in the future.

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