Thursday, January 29, 2015

Smurfs Potluck Dinner

We had our Cornerstone Sports Night team dinner over the weekend. Ellen and Chung-Yen graciously opened their home up to us.

I suggested having potluck which everyone seemed to think was fine. Though the only people who actually cooked anything were Ellen and Chung-Yen and Curran and his wife, Jessica (purple team). The rest of us bought things (mostly desserts).

Ellen and Chung-Yen made pork brisket for pulled pork sandwiches and also they had a cucumber frittata (egg-based dish); Chuan bought some Samosas. For dessert Curran and Jessica baked an apple crisp, I bought an apple pie and Derek bought banana bread. Lemei and Lily bought some fresh cut fruit.

Annie and Dan couldn’t make it because their newborn baby was sick. Mike was unable to make it because of family commitments.

Dinner was good. Ellen and Chung-Yen set up some tables in their dining room so we were all able to eat at one big table. We got to know each other a little better. The only really new team members were Lemei and Lily. The rest have played on various other teams over the years. Lemei and Lily were invited out to Sports Night by their friend Crystal. Actually, they’re somehow related. Maybe Lemei and Lily’s older sister is married to someone that’s related to Crystal.

After dinner we played some games that I borrowed/took from my nephews. A few of them tried Camouflage (one of my favourites). While they were playing I read out questions from the Logo game that my nephews got for Christmas this year. We didn’t actually play with the board and game pieces. We treated it more like trivia with someone reading the questions and the rest of us yelling out the answers.

Our team is doing pretty well at Sports Night. We won volleyball (which was the first sport of three sessions). Now we’re playing floor hockey. After four weeks we’re undefeated. Though a lot of our games have ended in ties.

Go Smurfs!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

TTC Fare Hike

It's been a slow week. Not much to report. I was discussing the proposed 10¢ TTC fare increase with my roommate's roommate this evening. He's dead set against it. Especially since some of it is supposed to go towards paying for free rides for children 12 and under.

I told him, I didn't care because it was only 10¢. I mean, really, who cares about 10¢? He said he doesn't want his tax dollars to go towards subsidizing rides for someone else's children. This is from someone who not only goes to the doctors every time he has a runny nose or a little pain here or there. Not only that, he also mentioned he once was on social assistance.

I said that since he got free money from the government, how could he complain about children riding free on public transit? He replied, social assistance "isn't free". Incredulously, I asked him exactly what he had to do for it. He couldn't come up with an answer. He just repeated, it wasn't free, and that he paid for it with his tax dollars in the past (as if no one else in the country pays taxes). His answer had nothing to do with the question because, of course, social assistance is free money. So, what could he say?

He then said I was lucky not to have needed social assistance (as if everything I have magically appeared out of nowhere). I told him people were stupid with regards to how they manage their money.

He helped prove my point by telling me about how one of his customers at the LCBO asked him to help him get a job there. He said the guy had two kids and had been out of work for half a year. He was trying to prove the point that some people are struggling and need social assistance. I asked him why the guy was buying booze at the LCBO if he was out of work and had two kids to feed.

For the record, I don't have a problem with people getting social assistance. Nor do I have a problem with paying 10¢ more to ride the TTC in order for someone's kid to travel for free. It's just not that big of a deal to me.

In the end he just said he's happy to live in Canada where everyone is allowed to express their opinions freely (which had nothing to do with anything either). We left it at that.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Feast of Meat

My friends and I went to Korean Grill House on Highway 7 and Commerce Valley Drive West (West Beaver Creek) on Sunday for dinner. We had the all-you-can-eat menu (Friday-Sundays and Holidays) for $16.99. It includes beef, pork, chicken, beef ribs, sausage, ox liver, salmon, squid and fish fillet. For $2.00 more you can also get lamb and shrimp. Also included are the traditional Korean side dishes as well as steamed rice and beef broth soup.

It's been awhile since I've gone to an AYCE meat restaurant. Normally I hit up the sushi/sashimi establishments. Even though I'm a little impatient with having to wait while cooking the meat, I have to admit it was a nice change. I really enjoyed eating all that tasty marinated beef and pork.

After dinner we headed across the parking lot to Chatime for a beverage and to chill out. My friends had a cold beverage (I think it was lichee flavoured tea or something like that), while I opted for a hot latte.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Sad Reality

What do these people have in common? - Osama bin Laden, Jeffrey Dahmer, Robert Pickton, Abubakar Shekau, and Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi (among a list of many, many others).

They're all murders. They've all committed unspeakable crimes. And they're all men.

That begs the question, why? What's wrong with men that leads us to commit such horrors upon one another? Why aren't there any women on any of the top 25 worst serial killer/radical leaders/terrorists lists?

Every year; year after year, it continues. Unending. Men murdering men. Men murdering women. Men murdering children. Men committing horrendous crime after horrendous crime. There is no light at the end of the tunnel.

I think it has something to do with our inherent violent nature. When we feel victimized, men lash out. We're like animals in that way. We have no self-control. We're rash and act without thinking. It gets us into trouble and, in the end, we end up harming others.

Unfortunately I see no solution. I, and unfortunately everyone else, will have to bear witness to an unending account of stories like these until the end of man's reign on earth.

A Sad Reality indeed.


Osama bin Laden - Founder of al-Qaeda, the militant organization that claimed responsibility for the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Jeffrey Dahmer - American serial killer and sex offender, who committed the rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991.

Robert Pickton - Former pig farmer and serial killer convicted in 2007 of the second-degree murders of six women. He was also charged in the deaths of an additional twenty women, many of them prostitutes and drug users from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Abubakar Shekau - Islamist leader of the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram. He took credit for the kidnapping of over 200 school girls in April 2014 and has murdered countless others.

Cherif Kouachi and his brother Said Kouachi - Charlie Hebdo (French satirical magazine) attack in Paris where 12 people (editorial staff and police officers) were murdered.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Last week while listening to CBC Radio in the truck I was introduced to a new band from two genres of music I've never really been very keen on - Speed Metal and J-pop. That being said, this odd mix of uniqueness piqued my interest.

BabyMetal was formed out of Japan back in 2010. They consist of 17-year-old singer/dancer, Su-Metal (Suzuka Nakamoto), 15-year-old, "screamer"/dancer, YuiMetal (Yui Mizuno), 15-year-old, "screamer"/dancer, MoaMetal (Moa Kikuchi) as well as Kami Band members Takayoshi Ohmura and Leda on guitar, Boh on bass and Yuya Maeta on drums.

I can't really describe their music any more than what I said above - that it's a combination of speed metal and J-pop. You have to see it to appreciate it.

In 2014 they hit #1 on Billboard's World Albums chart and even made it up to #187 on the Billboard 200. Besides concerts in Japan, they opened five dates of Lady Gaga's ArtRave: The Artpop Ball tour and have had concerts in Los Angeles, New York and Montreal in North America and Paris, Cologne and the U.K. in Europe.

I don't know if I like them because the girls are super cute; I have a penchant for all things Japanese (they sing in Japanese); or the music is super weird/unique. Either way they rock.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Can we still have Faith in the Police?

In the past I've been a staunch supporter of the police. I believed they impartially upheld the law and did no wrong. But since the events of the G20 meeting here in Toronto I've started to have my doubts. To me, it seems as if police have abused their powers in either assaulting people or unjustly detaining them.

And, of course, there are the stories from the U.S.. In Ferguson, Missouri unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by white police officer, Darren Wilson; and, in Staten Island, unarmed black man, Eric Garner, was choked to death by another white officer, Daniel Pantaleo, who was attempting to arrest him. Neither officer was even indicted for their actions. A true miscarriage of justice as far as I and many, many others are concerned.

Racism is alive and well in the United States.

And it is here too.

As I was making deliveries this past Monday I was listening to Ontario Today on CBC Radio 1. Their topic of discussion was racial profiling by Toronto Police. It's incredible how racist some of them are. Young, black males are constantly being stopped and harassed while minding their own business and not causing any trouble at all. This is a clear violation of their Charter of Rights and Freedoms*.

Caller after caller told their stories of being unjustly stopped and questioned while doing things like getting food from a restaurant drive-through, walking home from playing basketball after school or just driving around with friends.

Even the show's guest Osgoode law student and activist, Knia Singh, found, through a freedom of information request, that the police had a file on him of his "incidents" with them. He has never been arrested or even charged yet the police had a 57-page file on him.

It was filled with comments and descriptions that were either fabricated or just plain wrong. They were about such as things as having an immigration warrant against him (Singh was born in Canada) and, in two documents, it said he was born in Jamaica (he says he's never had a conversation with the police about his birthplace). It's absolutely ludicrous.

The stories related in this one hour program showed an incredible bias against blacks by the police. The Toronto Star did a Freedom of Information request where they got 6 years of police analysis. It showed that race, age and gender were big factors in who gets stopped by them. Black males between the ages of 15-24 were stopped 2.5 times more than their white counterparts.

It leaves me questioning the process officers go through when getting hired. Are they making sure they hire people who are of sound moral character? Who are not discriminatory against minorities or people of different sexual orientation or anything else? Are they hiring both men and women who are from a variety of ethnic backgrounds? It seems, more and more to me, that the police force is turning into a good ol' boys club of rednecks from back in the day.

It's sad. I certainly hope things change. And soon.





Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

Legal Rights

Life, liberty and security of person

7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

Search or seizure

8. Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.

Detention or imprisonment

9. Everyone has the right not to be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.

Arrest or detention

10. Everyone has the right on arrest or detention
(a) to be informed promptly of the reasons therefor;
(b) to retain and instruct counsel without delay and to be informed of that right; and
(c) to have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.