Are we gonna elect The Rock or are we not?

How am I supposed to get anything done today?

It’s impeachment day. I’m not a dummy. I know that nothing will happen, but that doesn’t make me not want to watch. There’s something about this kind of political theatre that works on a visceral level. Every now and again, a democrat will say something tantamount to a Sorkin line, and there’s a stirring inside me. The republicans fall back on the same talking points, evasive bullshit and straw man arguments. Republicans repeatedly shout “WHERE IS THEIR EVIDENCE?” despite the fact that all of Trump’s cabal (y’know, the people who perpetrated these crimes?) refused to show up as witnesses. They point out specific wordings in The Transcript that underline the president wasn’t talking about himself, he was talking about the country, despite the fact that the transcripts were not a carbon copy of the conversation, they were cobbled together from memory afterwards. They create their own stupid metaphors, then quote themselves as experts based on the metaphors they created. They call the impeachment process a partisan farce concocted by democrats who have no capacity to hear out the evidence first. Yet the republican side had all decided to vote no going in. The process is partisan for sure, and I’ll give that it’s a farce, but primarily because the president and his party have specifically stacked the justice system with biased judges. The whole system is a farce, with this party showing the cracks in a broken framework. No, it’s not a crime because he got caught, it’s a crime because it was committed.

I dunno. Everything to do with the Trump campaign is shameless, and I wonder whether true red Trump voters understand how the rest of the world views them. Just total worldwide condemnation and disbelief. It’s obvious that Trump is an unhinged madman who sought the office as a big ad for his brand, then lucked into winning. Since taking office, he’s blatantly used the office for his own gain, and made a mockery of the notion of democracy. He’s constantly touted the splendour of his cabinet, then fired everyone who’s disagreed with him. As soon as they’re gone, he turns both cheeks and shits on them. He talks in stream of consciousness pulled entirely from half-thoughts and lies. He makes up things constantly, and in a world where fact checking has lost its efficacy, it’s working for him. It’s totally insane that we’re here in a post truth reality, and a reality star with dementia sits in the biggest seat in the world.

Trump’s rallies seem the perfect reflection of his governance. He’s a total narcissist who’s obviously been surrounded by yes men his entire life. He can’t handle criticism one iota, so he lashes out at anyone who doesn’t grovel and bow. I read a great post recently talking about how Trump attacks others for his own fears. I don’t like to punch down, but still, let’s not mince words. Trump may hold the highest office in America, but he’s a low status person through and through. Trump is a feeble, shambling dissolving corpse. There is no shame whatsoever in ageing or bodies breaking down over time, yet he’s utterly ashamed of how life has taken its toll. He has the posture of a candy cane, and he thinks people don’t notice the back brace structure he wears publicly. He refuses to release his actual physical check up results, because like everything else, he refuses to take responsibility or ownership over anything negative. He’s a multi-bankrupted businessman who I assume would think nothing of bankrupting the United States. His mind has been dissipating for years, and increasingly so since he’s taken office. He believes his own thoughts to be fact, instead of learning evidence and making up his mind. He’s not a critical thinker, or even a thinker at all. He’s a naked emperor who will only surround himself with supplicants. He’s a snivelling, spineless amoeba for foreign dictators and powerful men. He admires that they hold decisive qualities and conviction he never will. He punches down constantly, and mocks the vulnerable. He’s never had to really face consequences, and it shows in his utter lack of character. He’s a sad, lonely man who has never been sincerely loved, and he’s taking it out on the United States. He’s a creepy, decrepit sack of decaying flesh and loose grey matter, and it’s totally unreal that he’s able to spread his politics of fear, division and hatred to a country that’s becoming increasingly defined by those tensions.

Sure, impeach the motherfucker, but it’s not gonna get him out of office.

Oh fuck no. England why?

In the ultimate quelle surprise, former PC Party leader Andrew Scheer was found to be funnelling party funds into paying for his kids’ private schooling.

Of course party members are feigning utter surprise and outrage. It’s not like someone in the party had to authorise those cheques. It’s not like they’re all refraining from embezzling funds. Does Fiscally Conservative mean “afraid to spend your own money”? I’m sure if it wasn’t for the grifts, these vultures wouldn’t be in government. It differs very little from Ford trying to get the party to foot the bill for his brand new vehicle, complete with fridge and flat screen tv. The thing is, they’re only gonna feel remorse once they’re publicly outed. I have zero doubts (despite the URL) that it’s common knowledge and practice across parties. The Liberals will no doubt be taking advantage of the system just as much in their own ways.

I was preparing my vape the other day, grinding up weed, funnelling it into the chamber. I thought to myself what a simple action it was. How easy the weed was to procure now that it’s legal. I thought of the process of legalisation, how it seemed so daunting and now it’s barely a footnote. Nobody really cares. I imagined it’d be a major societal shift, but it hasn’t been whatsoever. I thought back to the generations of people whose lives have been destroyed by incarceration. Children whose parents have been stripped from them. The legacy of jail and its knock on effects. The amount of poverty these unnecessary sentences have created, while its victims have provided labour for the state. For what? And why? A meaningless war on drugs that’s done exponentially more damage to society than the substances themselves. Have Canadians incarcerated for weed related offences been pardoned yet? How many are still hanging around in the system for actions that are no longer criminal? It’s fucking sickening to see already affluent white people being hailed as entrepreneurs for building businesses atop the bones of minority enterprises. Especially while Ontario’s system is reduced to a rigged lottery. The fucking gall. So it goes.

The sad thing is, nothing will change. The play book aids those who play by its rules, and so often those who play by the rules are the ones who make them. Did you realise there was another massive Panama Papers style leak of the world’s wealthiest creating offshore accounts to avoid paying tax? You know what’s gonna happen? The same thing that did first time around. Nothing. If you have enough money, you’re invincible. You have influence, if the laws aren’t on your side, you can change them. Will Zuckerberg suffer for Facebook’s role in election tampering? Of course it won’t. Will they be forced to change their policy on lies in political advertising? Definitely not. Will this towering conservative tide of dispassionate austerity cease? Why would it? There’s a rich an powerful worldwide cabal of ghouls funnelling money into lobbying, and pissing on the status quo for anyone below a certain pay grade. Big oil has its hands in the pockets of conservatives pushing an anti-climate change agenda, and we will all suffer for it. Oh, and Trump is now trying to classify Jews as foreigners, which I’m sure will only stoke the flames of intolerance more. If England falls to the Tories, we’re fucked.

We’ve almost finished another trip around the sun. Who’s ready for a revolution?

Get fucked, Jack Astors. That was my main point

I read this article today.

If you’re too lazy to click, it details how an immigrant family moved to Toronto 50 years ago with $48 in their pockets. They just made the single biggest donation to Scarborough Health Networks in their history. I technically saved you the click, but the first paragraph spells all that out in a more concise and orderly fashion. Weirdly, my first thought went to anti-immigrant sentiment. Very little makes my blood boil like anti-immigrant rhetoric. Most of us immigrated at some stage along our family’s history. At what point does “I got mine” and refusing new entrants become acceptable? In my mind, it doesn’t. Look, I openly admit that I know nothing about managing immigration on a national scale, but I will go to my grave convinced that inviting a myriad of cultures into the fold always does more good than harm.

Sure, I have Canadian citizenship, but for all intents and purposes, I may as well be an immigrant. I came from another country never having lived here before. I’ve gone through my share of culture shock. There have been things I’ve acclimated to, and others I’ve shunned in favour of preferred practices I came with. I’ve shared elements of my country’s culture with others. Mostly, like Marmite and Pineapple Lumps, they’ve been middling successes. Still, I love inviting others to enjoy the things I adored about my upbringing. I’ve been working, and contributing to the economy. I’m now in a position where I feel like I’m providing a service that helps people, and that makes me happy. There are a ton of misgivings I do have about Canada. It’s very conservative and stuffy in a lot of ways. There seem to be layers of needless bureaucracy in many areas. Banking lags considerably behind the systems back home. It’s insane that we’re still in a First Past the Post system in 2019, and the political system seems shambolic, ripe for the populist style of right wing government that’s been plaguing the world in recent years. There’s a weird reverence that people seem to have for big box US stores and chains, which is kind of worrying. Toronto’s gentrification is accelerating at a rapid rate, with the youth and artists being pushed out of the city. Things are becoming homogeneous, safe and boring.

At the same time, imagine how this place would be without immigration. One of the best things about Toronto is that it’s rife with wonderful cultural neighbourhoods. If I want to get Ethiopian (and when do I not?), there are 3-5 places within a 15 minute walk of me. There are Greek, Italian, Portugese, Indian, Korean and Chinese clusters of places, which all have their own delights. People care about their culture, and it’s awesome to see/explore. If not for immigration over the years, I imagine Toronto would be all glass towers, Jack Astors and Second Cups. It would be the soulless mire that Tory/Ford seem so intent on fostering.

Immigrants bring innovation. They have new, refreshing ideas. Everyone has different ways of doing things, and that’s a help, not a hindrance. Learning more about other cultures only strengthens us all. It’s not just about trying delicious food (though personally, that’s huge for me), we’re far better off with diversity. Sometimes immigrants feel lonely, and seek to maintain their own culture. It makes them feel safe and secure. I’ve heard a lot of bullshit when in Rome rhetoric from people saying they should just acclimate to the Canadian way of life. Are the people saying this making an effort to welcome these newcomers? Make them feel like they belong? Are they trying to explore these new cultures? Or are they entrenched in the misguided idea of their own cultural superiority, and refusing to look outside it?

We all have so much to learn from one another, and hate cannot survive empathy. Diversity has only ever enriched my life, and I implore everyone to seek it out where they can.

Get enough change and you’ve got yourself some dollars

Life has been a little different for me lately.

I’ve written a bunch about my shift work and how that’s changed my day to day. Working fewer hours, having blocks of four days off at a time. I think it’s what work/life balance is meant to resemble. For me, it’s eased an incalculable amount of stress. It’s a very big deal, and it’s straight up made my life better. The other part of the equation is money. I’m earning more money, and it’s incrementally showing me just how many ways in which low income earners stack inconveniences and hardships atop each other. Nothing revolutionary, I’ve just been blind to it.

A very obvious outcome is that I’ve bought a lot of things lately. I’m not even talking toys, but upgrades to things in my life that’ve fallen into disrepair or at least diminished efficacy. I’ve been keeping this note on my phone listing things I need, and things I want. I hadn’t checked in a while, but looking yesterday, I crossed three or four things off. My bike has been repaired and maintained. It has all the necessary safety gear. I bought a new mp3 player to replace my dead iPod. I replaced my five year old speakers that often only played from one channel. All of this took money. If I hazarded a guess, I’d say I’ve probably spent over a grand since changing jobs, just on little life upgrades. Consequently, things have been more convenient, enjoyable, I’m stressing less about constant negotiations and workarounds, and it’s easing tensions in my life. All of these things cost money and time for research, they’re paying off.

Here’s an example. I was in the kitchen this morning. I had my mp3 player in hand, Bluetooth earbuds in. I turned on a track, and my girlfriend asked me to fill a bottle of water for her. I obliged, put down the mp3 player, grabbed her bottle, filled it, and handed it back. I then picked up my mp3 player and carried on my merry way. If this sounds unremarkable, it both is and isn’t. It’s not even an ad for Bluetooth technology. It’s a minuscule convenience in one small moment. I could easily and quickly drop what I was doing. I didn’t have some bulky player connected to a think tangle of wires, that I’d then have to cram into a pocket so it could move with me, or otherwise put down the entire thing. As long as my player was within a certain radius I didn’t even need to drop what I was doing to do something else. I accomplished a tiny tiny task with virtually no effort. I had more capacity to do things, because the task was simplified by a slight degree. It’s very unlikely to be the last time I have a similar convenience, and this is just one device. I’ve improved a host of tools in my life lately, and each of them make a multitude of things better. It’s an exponential growth in my quality of life, and money made it possible.

I very much don’t think my message here is “let’s all hoard wealth and live easier”. What I’ve noticed, is that money eases burdens, and the difference between easing these burdens is not as costly as you’d think. What did I say I’d spent? $1000 or so? In the grand scheme of things, $1000 is not much, but it’s helping me navigate life more fluidly. How many people couldn’t afford to spare that $1000 for unnecessary, but nice things? If $1000 can help, what could $2000 do? How much easier would that make some people’s lives? $5000? $10,000? It shames me to say it, but $10,000 does not seem like a significant amount of money when we’re talking about totally changing someone’s life. For some people, that’s just a portion of what they’d spend on a desired extravagance. How much does a new high end car cost? A lot more than $10,000.

I’m not especially wealthy, and if I lost 10,000 I’d be frustrated, angry maybe. However, it wouldn’t significantly change my life. I’d still be able to afford my everyday costs. I’d have a roof over my head, food in the fridge, clothing to take care of me over the winter months. It wouldn’t heavily impact future needs. I certainly wouldn’t be destitute. For others, $10,000 could totally change their lives. It would turn things upside down, ease stresses, and help prevent compound stresses. They have a habit of stacking up, where one thing impacts another, which has a knock on effect to other areas. Problems create more problems, and the fewer problems you have, the fewer problems you will have. Sure, mo money mo problems, but there’s a large threshold before money really starts becoming a problem. $10,000 isn’t it.

So if $10,000 wouldn’t really impact my life, what about people who do earn a lot of money? What about billionaires? If Bill Gates gave away $100,000,000,000, he’d still have $7,000,000,000. That’s 10,000,000 allotments of $10,000. That’s ten million families whose lives could be eased, and he’d still have more money than most could spend in a lifetime. The only reason I’m picking Gates in this example is because his net worth recently came up in public conversation. I’m not saying Gates should be giving money directly to people (there’s probably a way to make that money have an even higher overall yield for public good), but it’s a simple example. One person could make ten million people’s lives easier. That’s massive.

Money is a lot of things. There were probably ten thousand paths this entry could have gone down. This was only one. All I know is that my path forward has been made a lot easier lately, and it didn’t take much.

Technically is all of their meat blade steak?

I’ve got nothing, so let’s get it over with.

Unpopular opinion, I think macaroons are grossly more enjoyable than macarons. The texture has just the right combination of crunch and chewability. The chocolate bottom is a wonderful treat, and the cherry tops it all off. Macarons make me feel guilty for eating them, I feel like I’m engaging in some form of class betrayal, and there’s no way I can eat more than one or two without feeling like I’m somehow committing a social faux pas. Macaroons don’t judge, they’re just delicious and morish. In fact, they’re the kind of food that grandmothers demand you endlessly gorge on, which is even better. Macarons taste like condescension. I’ll still eat a macaron, but the experience is significantly less enjoyable than eating a macaroon.

I can’t believe discourse is still flying around on this “Ok Boomer” catchphrase. Lots of disgruntled tweets from incensed folks claiming it’s discrimination or ageism. Funnily enough, the people that are offended are probably likely offenders. As far as I understand, Ok Boomer isn’t about shitting on people older than you, it’s a response from generations of older folks who dismiss what younger folks say without actually listening to what they’re saying. Catchalls like “you’ll understand when you’re older” or whatnot. It’s weird, because Ok Boomer isn’t rallying against age, it’s rallying against ignorance. It’s about people blaming millennials for thing after thing, instead of taking a look at the legacy of their generations economic decisions and how they flowed down to following generations. It’s about people who hold rigidly to outmoded ideas of how the world once was, instead of actually considering that times have changed. It’s a response to endless comments beginning with “why don’t you just…” followed by unrealistic standards of how things work in 2019. “Pounding the pavement” in search of jobs isn’t a thing anymore outside of service industries, and not always in them either.

Tomorrow I’m going to a Brazilian steakhouse with friends to celebrate a birthday. My friend’s birthday, not mine. I’m pumped. I haven’t been out for a nice meal in a while, and too few of my restaurant meals involve meat on swords. In fact, people approaching me with meat on swords is damn near my ideal. Even if it were to result in me getting stabbed or murdered, if I got killed by something I dearly love, I think that’s a piece of humble pie I could swallow. Just think, a blade pierces your heart, while the scent of beautifully spiced meat wafts up to your nostrils. You slump forward, and your face lands on a tender portion of steak pushed right up to the hilt. Just saying, there’s not a 100% chance this won’t be the outcome of tomorrow’s meal. If that’s the case, I think I’ll go gently into that good night with a smile on my dial.

Someone told me their salad is typically really good too. Weird, but great.

Millenials may have killed the power lunch, but you killed the economy. Can we call it even?

I said Boomer are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay, Boomer?

Honestly, I’m in love with this whole “Ok Boomer” thing. It’s perfect. As someone pointed out, nothing is more on brand than Millenials getting blamed for a saying created by Gen Z. The level of contempt and vitriol from Boomers about this phrase is astounding. Maybe it’s just a few vocally outraged twits on Twitter and online op-eds, but Ok Boomer really seems to have struck a nerve. I’m here for it. An infamous post compared the word “Boomer” to the “n-word”. Someone responded with just how important it is to hit the “hard R” in Boomer. Unfortunately for Boomers, Millenials are far more internet savvy, sassy and have endless years of salt built up. They’re rubbing it into the wound.

Why do I like “Ok Boomer” so much? It’s snappy and efficient. It takes so many layers and fits them into two succinct words. It’s cutting and sarcastic. It has an ideal amount of condescension and sadness rolled into a simple reply. It seems to incite reactions that are wholly incongruous for the mild insult that it is. It’s a perfect thing, and we have to appreciate it while it’s here.

Why does Ok Boomer work so well? Many many things. Part of it is this whole greatest generation nonsense. Not to downplay Boomer achievements, but the world was a markedly different place when Boomers came into adulthood. I’m sure life was still tough, but the rules made sense. My parents bought their original home for something like $25k. Even adjusting for inflation, that place would be well over a million now. It’s not commensurate. Without degrees, they managed to get jobs in companies where consistent hard work was enough to lead to promotions. These days, if you’re looking for a corporate job, your CV goes on a stack with 200+ others. That’s not an exaggeration. They get run through algorithms that search for buzzwords, and cull most people who were unfortunate not to use the right vocabulary. Then of course, nepotism puts a few people on top of others. A university degree is mandatory for almost any position, many of which require 2-5 years of experience for entry level positions. Boomers still lived in at a time where single income families were a reasonable expectation. These days, starting salaries are often $30k-$40k. I know here in Toronto, $45k is classified as a living wage, and you’d expect a double income at $45k to be almost reasonable for raising children on. Almost. The thing is, seeing as buying a home is not a realistic goal for this generation, we have to rent. But wages aren’t rising equivalent to rents. For an example, here’s this December 2018 Blog TO article placing an average one bedroom rental at $2,260. Try raising a family on $45k with that cost of living.

It’s not like Boomers are villains, but their young adulthood was entirely different. So they make a lot of well-meaning but misguided statements based on how things were for them. Things aren’t like that any more. The prosperity that was on tap for so long has dried up. It’s not like everything is a disaster these days, but when so much of your life is spent in crisis mode, it’s hard to focus on the positives. Things are exceedingly complicated. We live in a world of nuance that seems vastly different to that of yesteryear. Like, the 80s were 40 years ago. We now know what bullshit trickle down economics are, even if they seemed all the rage back then. We’re now economically, politically and socially disenfranchised. Things are way out of wack. Thisisfine.bmp is just life. We’re never gonna own houses. We’ll raise children with roommates, or be forced to live in corporate owned neighbourhoods/cities. We’ll grow in a surveillance state, where our actions are accounted for by the Five Eyes Network, while the laws are written by sociopathic businessmen who pay for privileges. The new normal.

We’re tired of being told about this bootstraps mentality, because in this corporate world bootstraps are a proprietary optional extra when buying boots. Pounding the pavement and dropping off CVs isn’t quite the affirming action it once was, because everything is run through an algorithmic filter and processed. Having a good handshake is secondary to having a spotless, connected Linkedin. We’re well aware that things were better in your day, and we don’t disagree. We’re just trying to do the best with what we have. It’s not that we’re lazy or entitled, it’s that the rules have changed and simple hard work is not enough. You have to work hard strategically, get lucky, or be connected. Many of my friends work several jobs to make ends meet, and that’s not irregular. I’d argue that this generation is doing remarkably well, considering the circumstances.

Really though, the reason I like Ok Boomer so much is that it’s the summation of turnabout is fair play. For years, Boomers have derided Millenials as lazy and entitled. They’re “killing” all the industries that Boomers set up, because those industries are unwieldy relics of prosperous times. Millenials have spent years continuously explaining why things aren’t the same for them as they were for their parents, which is often met by a condescending chuckle and a dismissive wave. Even the word “millenials” has been thrown around as a stereotype for a clueless generation who thinks everything is unfair, and refuses to put in any work to better themselves. It’s taking a myriad of concepts and boiling it down to a buzzword that denigrates without any analysis or understanding. It’s saying “you’ll understand when you’re older” to people who are already older than Boomers were when they procreated. Yet when they turn around and say “Ok Boomer”, suddenly it’s unfair to distil an entire generation into one dismissive catchphrase.

Ok Boomer.

Black and white and read’s all over

Happy International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists everyone.

I feel like I intended to do some silly piece about getting to parties late, but I’m taking a hard 90°. I’ve been thinking lately. It’s not a change, but it’s a change in direction. Throughout this past election cycle, I’ve really noticed how neutered journalism has become. I’m not breaking ground here. I don’t even know if it’s a phenomena that’s North America specific. Journalism is failing its fourth estate principles. The journalistic code of ethics is playing second fiddle to cultivating an audience. The news cycle no longer works in the best interests of citizens, and that’s a problem. What am I talking about?

I’m talking about softball questions, failing to speak truth to power, and letting the dominant get away with inexcusable behaviour. Impartiality has been compromised and contorted into something all new. Biases are all too evident, and they’re impacting the strength of reporting. It’s no big secret that most major publications have political leanings. It comes with the territory. It’s part and parcel of having an audience. People tend to follow views that resonate with their own. They’ll more readily agree with things they already agree with, or are a few minor deviations away. We don’t want to be challenged, we want to be reaffirmed that we’re on the right track. With media outlets, this leads to a bunch of pandering. They’re less likely to publish material that would alienate their audience, because this could push that audience away. So they reinforce the status quo, and fail to provoke anything.

Why is this happening? Because traditional media outlets are facing challenges from this new online driven world. It’s becoming too difficult to compete with the news cycle, so they’re adopting online techniques. It’s not entirely their fault, but I’m sure it’s out of their hands. The money that was once abundant has now shifted in new directions. In order to stave off extinction, these outlets are trying their best to retain any semblance of an audience. This means reaffirming their views, publishing un-challenging stories and more or less clickbait. It means following the popular stories and picking up their crumbs. Donald Trump has shat all over whatever political structure America had. He’s been a human wrecking ball, taking without giving and leaving a shambles in his wake. Of course people want to know what he’s going to destroy next. It’s like rubbernecking 24/7. He’s news relevant, and people will click on stories about him. Hell, I do. I’m part of the problem here. News organisations are stuck in a difficult position. If they got rid of Trump, where would their ratings go? Where would the money go? Where would the jobs go? It’s not in their best interests to build a case against him, because they’d go down with him.

Lather, rinse, repeat for other contentious figures.

There are nigh infinite things to press these people on. Calling them out on what would be crimes, if they didn’t have the money and influence to contort the law. Let’s look at this election cycle. Why was Scheer given so much room to spread bullshit disinformation without being challenged? Because that would seem unfair or imbalanced, especially from left wing outlets. There’s been this idea on the left of keeping the moral high ground. The right, however, does not have these scruples. So it’s some Prisoner’s Dilemma shit. The right keep spreading the message they want to spread, while the left holds its punches. The right gains ground. The left tries to retain this notion of impartiality by giving corrupt individuals the benefit of the doubt, when their actions deserve anything but. The truth is not impartial. The truth is not biased. If these people have done immoral things, then calling them on these is not media bias. It’s reporting the truth.

It’s not that easy though. Media has been so thoroughly bifurcated, that people of interest can just ignore the other side. Why open themselves to bad publicity? So if journalists grill them, they can just stop talking to those journalists. If that kept happening, these journalists would lose all of their access. They could no longer report on these news relevant individuals, and their ratings would wither away. No ratings = dwindling staff = closed news outlets. It sucks, because the fourth estate principles are a defining pillar of the profession, but the profession has been hamstrung by the fiscal restrictions of the medium. Journalists need to get paid to do their job, but their job has shifted. Fourth estate plays second fiddle to keeping the lights on, and the lights are run by ratings. Good journalism doesn’t rate anymore, and I’m not sure whether it’s gonna exist for much longer outside of the pages of Teen Vogue.

This next generation though? They’re out for blood, and I’m here for them.