The Canadian Transportation Agency and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) presumably exist to safeguard consumers from a country where taxpaying citizens literally embrace their duopolies. No, seriously – we love our profound lack of choices in this sad-sack dominion and it shows in our inherent shrug-filled apathy. Oh, sure, we’re praising the sanctimonious arrival of government-sanctioned consumer protection regulations roughly three decades too late in the making, but the fact that it’s 2019 already and only now can customers feel a sense of justice behind years of massively overpriced internet plans, ridiculously long and uncompensated tarmac delays, ruthlessly larcenous data overage charges and manipulative three-year contract commitments, and not being compensated for having your flight bumped at the very last minute – well, I suppose that’s technically something. But the truth remains that for as long as Canada continues to be ruled (enslaved) by media-blitzing duopolies and kick-back feasting monoliths, I fear we’ll always find ourselves in a perpetual David versus Goliath struggle of capitalist exploitation at its worst. In a world where the raw cost of living has far exceeded any hope for the average Canadian family to earn their keep and strive for better days, all I see are the cruel trappings of ideologically noble intentions behind lackluster efforts to make progressive change a fact…when it’s mostly fiction. The latest round of “codes” legislation to protect us are tepid in nature and far below the standard of most European countries that value self-respect and consumer dignity far more than the 37 million sheep living in the true north strong and free.
Welcome to the 2019 Toronto Blue Jays with Justin Smoak as your last man standing, quite literally. Although I’m not entirely certain why considering that the days leading to the MLB trade deadline saw Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins put on a gruesome exposition of inexplicably horrible trades that I’m certain made only their mothers proud. The rest of us were left groaning and scratching our heads as Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini were carted off to (gleefully) contending ball clubs in exchange for the joy of acquiring middling prospects that were long abandoned by their original teams. Yes, that’s right folks – prospects. The definition of a prospect is: the possibility or likelihood of some future event occurring. And in baseball (unlike hockey), that’s basically a coin flip – if you’re lucky. You’d think a savvy baseball market like Toronto deserved better than to have an elitist front office which enjoys trading assets either far too soon or way too late, because that’s been the trend. Like brazen axe-murderers on parade, they’ve slaughtered the era of Pax Anthopoulos and replaced it with an excruciatingly mediocre product that only smells like rebuilding pine thanks to their mercurial infield of blossoming uberprospects. But did it have to be this pyrrhic in nature? Are you telling me that the clever minds upstairs couldn’t have produced more trade collateral out of Donaldson, Happ, Stroman, Martin, Tulowitzki, Sanchez and Biagini – instead of ending up with this one-dimensional rebuild where pitching is optional but cheap hot dogs and beer are always at the ready. Yeah, you could say I miss Alex.
Tom Baker was the greatest Doctor Who of them all. Yes, I said it and I’m probably older than you and considerably more smug. But if you’re still sore after reading this, I suggest you head to the YouTube archives and find his work during his epic seven-year tenure as the Gallifreyan Time Lord who captured the hearts and minds of fans during the 1970’s (notice that I asked you to read this before reading this – something Tom would say is like reversing the polarity of the neutron flow…except that was actually Jon Pertwee, my second favourite Who). I was a wee little tyke barely out of diapers when introduced to The Daleks, The Cybermen, The Sontarans, The Zygons and The Master before eventually discovering the opposite sex and changing the narrative of my life. But nothing ever changed when it came to my appreciation for Tom and that iconic, lustrous voice. That sumptuous science-fiction braggadocio unfurled at every turn with his indelible portrayal and how he captivated the imaginations of millions. I’ve been fortunate in my professional pursuits to interview a great many fascinating people, and ones who inspired me growing up. But landing an official Tom Baker interview might just be the crowning achievement in a humble boy’s life who relied on him decades ago to get through those restless nights during seasons 13 & 14 (aka the Robert Holmes Gothic Horror era). Every memory of my childhood is punctuated with his seemingly ethereal presence, every nostalgic reflection a monument to his craft. And maybe, just maybe – I’ll get my chance to thank him personally one day, all the while grinning like it’s 1976 again.
It’s beginning to feel like an Elizabeth Warren-Joe Biden race judging from the latest round of Democratic presidential debates which honestly felt more like watching Marvel roll out phase four of their film and television plan to make an entire generation grow up loving mediocrity and CGI. Although Bernie remains my personal choice for best chance to usurp the usurper, it’s clear that America would be willing to embrace the former veep if he successfully finds a way to channel his inner 60-year old on most days. Joe’s software, like so many looming octagenarians, is tired and old – but his desire to beat Donald seems to be what’s keeping him in the game. He’s got the whole enchilada of political traditionalism which should appeal to fence-sitting centrists and moderate populists who understand why four more years of Trumpism isn’t ideal and also why a former senator who once sat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, International Narcotics Control Caucus, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and was the 47th Vice-President is probably a better fit in the grand scheme of things. Liz would be a close second, but we all know the deep-seeded misogyny which permeated 2016 hasn’t disappeared and would invariably undermine her gloriously impressive academic and professional accomplishments. In the end, it looks as if Biden will be the last hope for western civilization to turn the tide of populism before it metastasizes to the point of consuming an entire generation as it ushers in a horribly uncertain and volatile future where progressive thoughts become nothing more than fairy tale futility.