Monday, June 23, 2008

Come on train!--Sophomoric ramblings from an old underground newspaper editor.


If you think I have gone mad, I'd say the above accidental blogger picture of Australin fauna would, uh, make you, uh, cassowary to the fact. But the above, is, I think, an emu.
Ah, if we knew what the emu knew. Today, I feel somewhat bird-brained. (Pam from Australia took the picture, and she does have an eye for the important moment).
What up, Roo?
Let's go to the hop!
For me, this has really has been a day of "tie me kangaroo down, Sport."
I am definitely off my roll.
Ventured back into journalism and they kicked my ass.
Ah well, when you make yourself a target, somebody is going to throw a stone..
They no- like what I wrote.
I think I see howls of protest all over the pages of the Newmarket Era-Banner.
Reminds me of my days in theatre.
I was sort of the director's whipping boy.
Every so often, the director would take me to one side and call me prick.
"Hey, I knew that. Now teach me something.
So in effect, the letters in the Newmarket Era-Banner are calling me a prick.
I did a story on overly- loud commuter train horns. And their point was that loud horns actually scoot pedestrians off the level crossings-- is moot. Somebody threw herself under the wheels anyway, despite loud horn, flashing lights and trembling wim-wam gates.
Seems that every PR man and woman of Canadian National Railways was mobilized to shoot me down. Why did you have to print that whistle-blow story now, at the worst possible time? We say all that claxon noise clears the track.
Well, not quite.
Jeesus. I think a chip hit me in the eye.
I guess when you make $120,00 a year just for public relations, you don't let a fuzzy-eared freeelance journalist criticize any aspect of your operation....I sing his song whose bread I eat.
How dare the unemployed punk knock the railroad?
It did hit a nerve with me though. I bruise facts. Fact bore me. I set them down in a perfuctory manner. "Dog bites man", when Imean to say "Madman bites dog."--inversions like that can sure trick your story. Ah, if you knew what he emu knew!
Some of my friends are dyslexic. "Is there a dog?" they sigh.
No wonder the great philosopher Immanuel Kant decided one day to shoot himself.
He had postulated:
'A priori;
'A posteriori.
(You have this notion about something.
You finally prove it thorough the scientific method....That makes it 'a posteriori).
Well, my critics in the newspaper world are certainly giving it to me an 'a posterori.
Got three critics on me.
Like the submarine captain in the movie" Gray Lady Down", I feel like a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.
Well, like they used to say, when I edited an undergroung newspaper ( not as good as the old Georgia Strait out of Vancouver) :
--"If the bastards can't take a joke, pee on them."
##

21 comments:

benjibopper said...

'dog chases cars, and man chases dreams. the dog is the more practical it seems.' --stevie forbert

'don't let the bastards grind you down.' --bono

'if you can make people angry by writing about train whistles, you got something special.' --benjibopper

Charles Gramlich said...

Hey, could be worse. Could be a an ass 'licking' contest. Ewww, I just grossed myself out and I wasn't even trying.

http://www.creativewriting.ca said...

Benji,

Yeah, I am becoming knowns as he senior whistle blower in town.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

I see the try at, uh, assonance, Charles. :)

the walking man said...

Fuck 'em Ivan. How will you respond to your critics? Go ahead make this fight one that sells newspapers. Short of buying the paper out from under them, your editors should love the intheirendo!

Anonymous said...

Ivan:

It takes courage to publish your work and balls to stand by it. Never waver.

JM

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

Well, something's up for sure.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thanks, Jefff.

I guess you've been through it, and you're still very much around.

Josie said...

--"If the bastards can't take a joke, pee on them."

I love that! Can I borrow it?

And JM is right. It takes courage to stand by your work. And it takes courage to stand by your opinions. And maybe your timing wasn't so bad after all. If Anna Karenina wants to throw herself under a train, is it the train's fault?

I learned an interesting fact a couple of years ago. If someone is standing on the railroad tracks and a training is approaching them, the person on the tracks cannot hear the train whistle. Folks can only hear a train whistle if they standing are off to the side of the tracks.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Josie,

Good points, and thanks for the encouragement.

I am especially intrigued hy the information:

Folks can only hear a train whistle if they standing are off to the side of the tracks.

I don't thinkj the CN PR guy knew that.

the walking man said...

"Insane train owners want you to build on the tracks to reduce noise" <--- your next headline

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Yep.

Anonymous said...

To:

Sue -Ann Levy@sunmedia.ca

cc: Lorrie Goldstein, Editor, TORONTO SUN



Just wanted to make just a few comments to go along with your assessment of the most recent tour down "lunacy lane" by Mayor D. Miller et al (Toronto)....if it weren't for the tragic issues involved in, and surrounding, this whole mess,one could/should be driven to hysterical and uncontrollable fits of laughter...when one elects an individual to a public position of responsibility,especially a position which can directly impact our collective safety/"security",it goes without saying that the person in this position of responsibility is there to represent the wishes and needs of those who placed trust in him/her...in this particular case,violence/violent crime is the most seriously pressing issue ever thrown in the face of the city of Toronto...solutions will not be found in lies,deceit,cowardice,and generally stumbling around in a dark room of ineptitude and ignorance...I am still unable to clearly distinguish between utter stupidity and duplicity,all observable in Miller's ploys...25 years ago,it is most likely that the same number of people were attending to their chosen sport of firearms /target shooting/competitions/hunting,as there are today,give or take a few fluctuations in the over-all numbers from time to time...there was not,however,the problem of rampant "terrorism" in the streets,led by totally out of control posses,driven by factors such as the drug trade,street /turf control,and unfettered immigration,especially from countries where the levels of violent crime and lawlessness would shock anyone with any modicum of social conscience;add to that a thoroughly discouraging trend in our courts to somewhat award the perpetrators of crime with less pain than the victims of those crimes...to boot,throw in the now gargantuan monsters of "personal/civil rights and political correctness",which ensures that we are not even permitted to dig down and actually analyze the problem at its basic roots...so,instead of courage,decency,knowledge and intelligent management,we get Miller and his ploys,attempting to pacify a less than informed public, with deceitful and ill thought out "solutions" to the gun violence...Miller,it was reported in one paper,had recently attended a conference for mayors held in the east coast,and had garnered"110 % support" from the mayors attending that conference,in regard to his call for gun bans...NOT SO!...in fact,this was an outright lie...what Miller did get was absolute support to calls for tougher laws to be applied in the cases of crime and firearms...the mayor of Halifax [Kelly] clearly articulated in a letter that there was unanimous support for tougher laws to deal with criminals/crimes associated with firearms,but at the same time,those same mayors articulated,clearly,their absolute support of any law abiding citizens involved in any legal shooting sports...in other words,they recognized,easily,who the "bad guys " were,and where the lines should be drawn...law abiding citizens were not seen as part of the problem...

further to all of this,we also find ourselves dealing with lies and deceit from the innermost ranks of the perpetrators' communities and families as well;the very people who should be most concerned about where this is all taking us are,in fact,complicit in their lies and protection of their criminal youth...I can't tell you that I have irrefutable evidence that this is a cultural phenomenon,but my heart and intuit tell me that this is the case... the city of Toronto has been saturated with an unmanageable number of immigrants who have brought with them an unmanageable number of individuals who will never ever be anything but a criminal element;the future,long term, lies in the programs delivered to the youngest children in this quagmire,but,in much the same way that we explain our military role in Afghanistan,there needs to be safety and security in order to deliver those programs which will make for decent citizenry among the young children...how will anyone ever bring kids into the thinking that there is a future in decent behaviour and work ethic,when,clearly,street evidence shows that crime pays and is,in fact,king of the road?...


the city and people of Toronto deserve a lot better than this,at first glance,but if ,in a collective sense,most people insist upon revisiting and repeating ineffective strategies and solutions which have historically proven to be of no consequence in the fight against crime [and in most cases have led to an escalation in violent gun crimes],and that "rhetoric is more important than action" is the main battle cry,then I personally cannot muster up much sympathy for the collective "good or not so good"...it takes guts,intelligence,determination,and collective will to fight these kinds of fights,and win...Gotham-Toronto is in desperate need of Batman now,because Miller is starting to look more and more like the Joker to me...


in final,immediate strategies/solutions for/to the problem of gun violence are much easier then one might imagine...RIDE is already there...modify it,and focus on/in areas of high incidence,in much the same way we look at DUI..or is it just ok when it's a generically "white" issue,but unacceptable if the focus is anywhere else?...high school locker checks,unannounced...move criminals out of any subsidized housing,along with the family that's shielding them...[yes they do!]...maybe someone else will move in who will cut the grass,too...seize assets acquired from criminal activities,regardless of the "colour" of the criminals...deport immigrants who come here with nothing in mind but a "free ride"/life of crime, on our backs...we already have enough challenges looking after homegrown criminals...beef up street presence of police...not enough personnel?...use military in toned down uniforms...etch in stone the consequences for crime with weapons,especially firearms...crime with gun=10 years automatic [no pun intended]...gun crime inflicting injury or death=life with no parole...apply police presence on round the clock basis in all identified areas of concerns...if leadership balks at getting on with strategies such as these,then one can only conclude that the perceived concern among politicians is not as serious as presented,and the crimes perpetrated are ,equally,not as much of a concern as is presented to the public,and that the almighty vote is of far more importance to Miller et al than public safety and welfare...you cannot have it both ways...and why might it be "racist" to demand law and order?...


lastly,from my own personal perspective,this is not an issue of race or colour...if an individual is bent on inflicting harm to society/citizens,it doesn't matter what "colour/race" is involved...if an individual is determined to strive to be a productive member of society,it still doesn't matter what "colour/race"is involved...we are all either decent people,or we are on the "wrong road"...if it happens that the threat or harm is coming from one direction in particular,why should that hinder the treatment of the problem?...it's like a winter storm...if it's nothing but continuous snow,we use certain strategies and tools...rain is another issue altogether...by the way,last time I looked,I do believe that the "scouts"[aka boy scouts] or air cadets were including marksmanship in their activities...should we ban them,too?...they're just kids...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Anonymous,

Interesting to hear what The Walking Man would have to say on this.

He is from Detroit, and the same thing is probably happening there.
Go after target shooters and coddle the homocidal maniac?

"Oh the poor shooter-murderer
He is a troubled individual. He needs help.
The victim?...Well, we lose some.

Lana Gramlich said...

That might actually be a rhea...So much for verbal diarrhea, eh? *L*

Donnetta Lee said...

Ah, well, there's no accounting for taste. We know what pricks some journalists can be.
Donnetta

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Dare I eat a peach?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Donnetta,

Yep. Ya got to go to Fleet Street and watch the ogres following Amy Winehouse around...But then I guess she's a sitting duck.
Don't know how Madonna handles them.
And Elton John certainly wishes them all dead.
I have worked with Fleet Street reporters, and they seem to be all neck.
My first introduction to a Paul Brewster at the Toroto Telegram was, "I'm Paul Brewster, and you can just f*ck off."
I think today he has either gone back to England, or is busy trying to salvage the Toronto SUN, which, I fear, is sinking.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Those guys for the railways are paid to go after you. If they aren't noisy, they get the can. They'll tell you it ain't personal....its all about the money. Hang in there.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Welcome support at a difficult time, LGS. Thanks.

Should be an interesting letters column in tomorrow's Era-Banner.
the 101 tenants in my building seem behind me as well.

I think its the presence of the Federal power and its monolithic approach when it comes to local government. Canadian National Railways over local government.
Feels at times as if we we are being railroaded. Steamrollered?

the walking man said...

Sadly anonymous...your solutions about harsher prison sentences only lead to more prisons eh? The US incarcerates more of it's population by the numbers than any nation on Earth...is the only real solution is let them kill each other in their turf wars and then them that are left alive will outgrow their ability for lawlessness?

The target always seems to be the street soldier but if you cut off the head then the body withers. Yet the head always seems insulated from culpability, has enough money to mount a vigorous and strong defense, but it is still the head that needs to go and then the organization can be dealt with top down.

Look up Sammy "the bull" Gravano, his 70's era testimony single handedly opened the door to the mafia convictions and its demise.

Guns, God Damn guns...all of them. Yet it is not practical to be an unarmed citizen in the midst of a war. That makes you a target. So what do you do about guns...in America generally and in Detroit specifically there are guns in the back pocket of quite a few of us. But we are not liberal in dealing with a citizen who kills a thug. There is months of explaining and usually a court case to determine if it was justifiable homicide.

One tact is to carry an untraceable throw away piece...is this practical, not really because then in the eyes of the law you become a thug yourself, but in certain situations it works well.

Gun violence and general mayhem is not exclusive to the poor but the poor have more need of illegal activity because of the uneven playing field in society. 3% own 97% of all wealth...where is the ability to learn if your parents are always scrimping and spending what little resource they have on themselves?

Yet what government power would you have to spend their entitlement for them? Give food instead of money...food can be bartered away as easily as money with even less of a return.

Immigrants may be a problem, imported mayhem, but is it still as easy to assimilate into Canadian society as it was?

I do know that there was for the longest ill will between the Quebecois and the Anglo Canadians...and the Quebecois are native born. Is it possible that this ill will translated to the newly arrived, forcing them into their enclaves?

This is basically what happened in Detroit starting about 1905. It also is what led to the mad segregation we have here still today...but that said Violence again, is not restricted to the inner city.

Man is man, we are a plague of locusts, not unlike those rampaging hordes who eat the weak among them in their quest to survive. Make surviving easier and violence drops.

Both the Provincial and Federal governments extract heavy taxes in return for infrastructure and medical benefits...but the poor are still neglected. You can not simply hand over money and think their problems will disappear...we tried that with Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty...so what is the correct societal solution...

More guns don't work
Prisons don't work
An armed citizenry doesn't work
Throwing money at the problem doesn't work
What is left to try eh?

The most successful programs, though it is hard to judge effectively their numbers, are those that incorporate shock to the juvenile mind.

Morgue visits, prison visits, boot camps anything that shows a future reality of a road started down. Send them to Utah where there is a firing squad death penalty or use the electric chair and show them where they could end up...pictures of the electrocuted Ted Bundy may do it. He literally fried and the still shots show it.

I have no concrete solutions other than to stay here for the time being and influencing whatever situations occur in my vision. It is all I, as an individual, can do.