everyone else is voting, why can’t I?

It’s municipal election day here in Toronto. I’m a Toronto resident, homeowner, and taxpayer. Yet I can’t vote, because I’m not a Canadian citizen.

I can understand not being able to vote in federal or provincial elections, but I’m as much of a citizen as anyone else living in Toronto. Toronto has such a vast immigrant population that many people are disenfranchised. Perhaps that’s why the city is failing to provide for its citizens.

so long, emusic

I left emusic — despite me originally saying this — because they changed. Unlimited downloads went away.

I did download a ton of good music before unsubscribing. But they let me down — they shouldn’t have promised what they couldn’t sustain. Just like Bigfoot For Life, who promised free, unlimited e-mail forwarding for life, only to turn around and start charging.

yay, go nettwerk!

After writing this, I emailed Nettwerk about the essentially broken CDs they were selling. Very quickly, they said they could send me a non-copy-controlled one. And a week later, it arrived. I now have happy CD players, happy MP3 players, and a happy me, ‘cos it’s a good album.

Someone at Nettwerk hinted to me that they’re dropping copy-controlled CDs because of all the bother. Good.

found sound

Hauling my bike up the stairs up the Queen St viaduct over the Don this morning, I found a beat-up discarded demo CD for Estella Fritz. Being an avid fan of the 365 Days Project, I hoped this would be a demented demo for some superannuated wedding singer.

On hauling it into the office, I was disappointed. It’s generic overly-angsty rock from Windsor, ON. They have a website, alas: estellafritz.com.

Dang.

i think i like emusic …

Just signed up for emusic.com. US $10 per month for unlimited download of some excellent artists, encoded as decent MP3s.

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve downloaded so far:

  • The Dickies
  • The Fall
  • Ewan MacColl
  • Jah Wobble
  • Gorp
  • James Taylor Quartet
  • Daniel Johnston
  • Holy Modal Rounders
  • Wesley Willis
  • Boards Of Canada
  • Perez Prado Orchestra
  • Young Fresh Fellows
  • Mayor McCA
  • Yo La Tengo
  • Dressy Bessy
  • The Fugs
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Maybe I don’t like them all, but at least I haven’t paid extra to find that out.

where’s willy?

Okay, so I got a $20 the other day in Scarborough inscribed with See Where I’ve Been… Track it online… www.whereswilly.com. Seems I’m the second-last person on the continent to hear about this little diversion for tracking paper currency. Shame about the name, though.

Well, George, I didn’t expect to find you here …

w

In a Food Basics supermarket in Scarborough, there’s a kiddie ride that reminds me of a certain world leader …

Sick beyond belief

It’s called Policy Analysis Market, and the blurb sounds fairly innocuous:

PAM is intended to have a globally distributed population of traders. Individuals interested in the Middle East and in the involvement of the United States with the countries of the Middle East are welcome to register as PAM traders. Individuals who are interested in the use of market processes to manage risk are also welcome to participate in PAM. Whatever a prospective traders interest in PAM, involvement in this group prediction process should prove engaging and may prove profitable.

… until you realise that it’s basically a stock-market system in which traders can bet on the likelihoods of terror attacks and assassinations in the Middle East. Eww!

I’d heard that money was amoral, but this is straight immoral. How soon will it be before an investor consortium on this market hires hitmen to make their “investments” profitable?

And all because They say that The Market can predict anything. If that’s the case, I’ve got a nice fish I can sell you, and you can tell the future by looking at its entrails.

The return of Mayor McCA

Back on June 6, I lamented the lack of interest there is in determinedly indie Canadian musician Mayor McCA. How wrong — or premature — I was.

I just heard from Mark at Sonic Unyon records that not merely does the Mayor have a new CD out, but that they’re sending me a copy! Whee!

Better yet, the Mayor is playing a free show later in the month at The Horseshoe, Toronto. This is all on his website, mayormcca.com, along with a track from the new album. Great stuff!

the wisdom of chairman ralph

You know, you can’t let people like this get away with stuff like that because if it’s a pie today, it could be something else tomorrow.

 — Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, after being pied at the opening of the Calgary Stampede. Thanks to The Globe & Mail for the sharp words.

and finally… Raudelunas ‘Pataphysical Review!

Raudelunas 'Pataphysical Review CD cover

Well, after many years of waiting, Raudelunas ‘Pataphysical Review has made it onto CD. It’s especially nice to see my name on the “Special Thanks” credits.

So how did a Scottish engineer who was only 5 when the original performance took place in Alabama get a credit? Well, long ago, I had a site about Fred Lane. Various people got in touch with me through the site, and before long I was putting members of the original collective in touch with Ed Baxter, who runs Alcohol Records.

So now, after about five years, I have the CD in my hands. It sounds even weirder than it always did. It’s still The Best Thing Ever

pinholes

I would have told you about my success with pinhole photography last night, but Toronto Hydro decided we didn’t need electricity. Here’s our backyard during a thunderstorm, taken on a 8×10″ paper negative in a modified mailing box. Effective aperture is f/75, exposure time 24’45”. Photo paper makes slow film!

backyard

fishepiphany

We sampled Len Duckworth’s Fish & Chips (2638 Danforth Ave, just east of Main) tonight. Mmm. Though the halibut was not the Scottish customary haddock, it was really good. The chips were the best. I haven’t had ones this good since frequenting The Unique in Glasgow. All it needs is mushy peas, and it’d be perfect.

I was pleased to hear a few Scottish voices in the crowds. We know good food when we see it.

Christian Anderson Smith, where were you in our hour of need?

Norvin just lent me a great CD; Welcome to McCALand, by Mayor McCA. It’s exactly my kind of music — quirky, folky, trippy, witty. Think Robyn Hitchcock sings Of Montreal.

What’s sad is that Christian Anderson Smith (aka Mayor McCA) doesn’t have a major recording contract. I had to go direct to the distributor, Sonic Unyon (phone 905-777-1223) to get his CDs. There’s no justice.

mmm

Just discovered Reese’s White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. They are so good.

For various reasons, I don’t eat “brown” chocolate. I love Reece’s Pieces, and so these are perfect. But with 910kJ per pack, I won’t be eating too many.

Typically, these things are a time-limited edition. Sweets I like always get discontinued. I guess that’s why I make my own.

is this thing on, eh?

Since this is my first entry in my first blog, I think I’m supposed to quote something clever:

For imperial Britain, rapid expansion overseas was a sign not of economic strength but of underlying weaknesses at home. An empire that looked impressive and invincible on the map later proved to be remarkably fragile, shrinking much faster than it had grown. — Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, Afterword.

I’ve just re-read FFN, this time in the extended edition. It’s better the second time around. And he’s right about Conway’s burgers in Colorado Springs — they’re that good.