BREAKING: Cranky Council Considers Only Virtual Meetings

ouncil's Casino Comprimise

The hot pocket | photo by Joanna St. Jacques

In response to the breakdown of the decorum at last night’s Hamilton city council meeting, council has drafted a resolution which will limit counselors to only using BlackBerry chat to conduct its meetings.

“We believe that using BlackBerry group chat would serve as a better medium than actually speaking to each other face-to-face. Councillors will still be able to express emotions within the group chat by utilizing emoticons,” said an unnamed city clerk.

It’s a health and safety issue that caused concern amongst councillors and staff that sparked the idea of finding new ways to conduct council meetings.

“We were afraid that if another meeting is conducted face-to-face, someone is going to get hurt. Have you seen the size of Sam Merulla’s biceps? Just look at how big that Jason Farr is! Brad Clark can really spin that cane.  And I’m pretty sure that Maria Pearson is a black belt in jujitsu.”

Council will have to decide on this idea in person before the new policy can take effect. There is talk of having a police presence or possibly a UFC referee attend the meeting to ratify this resolution.

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Oprah slags Hamilton: It’s ‘a one-poutinerie town’

English: Oprah Winfrey at the White House for ...

Oprah Winfrey Flashing Hamilton a fake smile, inwardly judging us. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Bart Sherman, author of “Diagonal Lawn” story
Barely a week after taking the stage in front of thousands of admirers in Hamilton, Oprah Winfrey is attacking the city with both barrels.

Appearing Saturday on the New Arsenio Hall Show, Winfrey – wearing the very same buttercup yellow dress she wore at Copps Coliseum last Saturday – went on a long rant against the city and its people.

“Have you ever been to Hamster Town, Arsenio?” Winfrey asked the host, leaning in with a smile. “It’s a one-poutinerie-town way up in Canada, Arsenio. Don’t go there, man. Literally.  They’re so pro-foreskin up there, it ain’t funny.  I had Stedman wait in the limo.  He’s been limping, lately, after his surgery.”

About 14,000 ‘Church of Winfrey’ followers filed into Copps for Oprah Winfrey’s roadshow on April 13. Despite the best efforts of organizers and an over-willing local media, the show did not sell out.

Winfrey’s apparently sore about that, too.

“I prepared so hard for that show, Arsenio,” she said. “And those people dressed like slobs — I told them they were the best-dressed people I’d ever seen but I was joking! That place should have been packed to see someone turned out as fine as me!”

A Nightmare With Dolphins

Big Yellow Oprah said she was disgusted and disappointed by a backstage meeting of “prominent” Hamiltonians, where she was introduced to veteran outlaw graffiti artist Keenur, Tomi Swick, jazz songstress and Seniors Head vocalist Jude Johnson, and former mayor Bob Morrow. There were also  photographs of Daniel Lanois and Martin Short in the room.
Winfrey told Hall she would never return to the Steel City, and urged everyone else to avoid it, too.
“Follow your dreams, people, but if the road goes through Hamilton, consider that dream a nightmare,” she said, adding the only interesting thing in the city was the killer whale and dolphins jumping around in the harbour.
“They look so so cute I could eat them,” she said.  “Stedman! Fetch me the yacht.”
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List Review of 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

Men Save Cute Goat

A triumph of the human spirit.

A devout list-lover could spend hours looking at Buzzfeed’s amazing lists like the 7 Types of Crying Selfies You’ve Seen on Facebook, or 16 Street Gangs You’d Totally Join, and 21 Signs You Were Raised by Asian Immigrants.

This week’s list comes from the good people at BuzzFeed.  21 Pictures that Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity was compiled by Jack Shepherd, the current community manager of BuzzFeed. And like so many great listers, he lives with his cats in NYC.

Each of Shepherd’s “moments” are written in the neutral, Helvetica font, which allows the content to speak, not the font.

His clear and anecdotal voice lets the reader get the gist of the story behind the photos, but allowing for personal reflection.   And he really starts delivering at item #19 – This exchange between a protester and a soldier during a protest in Brazil.

Allowing the pictures to do the talking, Shepherd shares a story of a protest in Brazil. One of the army generals asks the people to stop protesting because it is his birthday.  The protestors buy the general a birthday cake, and major hugging ensues. And to quote Shepherd, “Faith in Humanity: Restored.”

The most surprising item is #3, where three young men rescue a sheep from certain death (pictured right). The sheep had fallen into the treacherous sea, and through a riveting series of photographs, we see one man jumping at his own risk to save this sheep.  It is a testament to their bravery.

It’s ironic that 21 Pictures that Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity contained so many photos about animals. Is it because we don’t have enough pictures online of people doing nice things for people? Or is that cute animals are our go-to when we feel a little hopeless (those cute little cats getting air from the fireman did make me pretty happy).

21 Pictures that Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity resonates with the crowd that feels like the world lacks hope.  Shepherd realizes the right photos can remind us that love abounds, and distracts us from war, famine, and marathon terrorism.   And, for the most part, he delivers.

I give this list 3 check-marks out of 5.


By Elisha Stam

Empty Stelco Blast Furnaces to House Condos.

New Condos in Blast Furnaces

Deals are white-hot, no slag. ( Photo | Josu P)

“It’s a steel of a deal,” according to the billboards on Burlington St announcing the reclamation of Stelco‘s empty blast furnaces for use as condominiums.

Despite the City of Hamilton’s recent deal to take over Pier 7 and 8 from the Hamilton Port Authority, port development is slower than investment demands.

“There are literally hundreds of investors begging us to open up brownfield development for the use of high-end condos,” says Kip Persimmon, the owner of Pier 67, a stretch of land nestled between Stelco and Dofasco.  “Toronto thinks they have the market on condos, well Hamilton has plans for condos on Locke St, James St, Ottawa St, and Trendy Barton St.  Why not add Burlington St and Industrial Ave to that list?”

Representatives of Stelco could not be reached for comment, but the permits for condos in the empty blast furnaces have been approved by the highest levels of government.   Barty “Broadside” Bazinski, the young investor behind the development claims that no city has ever been this bold.

Industrial Sector M is About to Get Hot Again

Bazinski says, “The furnaces are pieces of art, and symbolic of Hamilton’s move forward.  Their vacancy shouldn’t be a reason to grieve, but an opportunity for growth.  Industrial Sector N and M are going to house over 900 units in two large towers.  They’re on the harbourfront, with a gorgeous view of Burlington, and Hamilton’s iconic industrial buildings.”

Initial market research and panel group feedback has confirmed Bazinski’s enthusiasm, despite the proximity to Hamilton’s largest factories, seven out of ten respondents saying they’d considered moving into the blast furnaces.   Though it’s unknown if those customers will actually put money down on this risky idea.

The main sticking point among developers is the complexity of converting blast furnaces into condos.   The infrastructure may be set up, but the complex plumbing, electrical work, and gas routes are all set up for an industrial scale.  Major changes and approvals are necessary before a single shovel can hit the ground.

The question remains whether this idea will catch fire with Hamiltonians, or if Bazinski will get burned.



(Credit | Steven Twigg)

The bond between animal and human reminds us of our primal nature, and introduces wild animals into the bizarre world of humanity.  Illustrator Steven Twigg realized this when he met Willard, a common Hamilton pigeon, last seen April 20, 2013.  Twigg is asking Hamilton look out for Willard, and get in touch with him if they hear of his whereabouts.

“Willard’s a risk taker,” says Twigg, between tears, “and that’s what bonded us together.  Whether it was sitting on the metal sail structures at Bayfront park during a thunderstorm, or playing chicken with the bus, Willard always made things wild and free.   He looks like…well, pigeons all kinda look the same.  He’s grey and white, and he makes those adorable cooing noises.”

“I’ve released a video of his last few hours, by stitching together CCTV footage from downtown.  I haven’t even had the time to look at it,” says Twigg.  “He’s was just so chill – like he never cared if you thought he was cool.  It was like he was totally oblivious.”

So, Hamilton, please take a few minutes of your time to review the poster and the footage below, and let’s get Willard (or a pigeon that looks like him) back in Twigg’s hands.

Bird’s Eye View from Steven Twigg on Vimeo.

Bratina: It’s either LRT or a Subway in Dundas

The Mayor’s Tunnel Vision

English: Dundas Subway Station

The New Dundas? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bratina has been brain-storming again.  Yesterday’s fumble, with the mayor misquoting Ontario’s Premier concerning the supposed ‘either or’ funding of LRT and all-day GO service, has inspired the ire of his colleagues in council. Terry Whitehead made the comment that the mayor doesn’t take orders from the province, the mayor sets the agenda – and that was when Bob had his epiphany.

“If Kathleen Wynne won’t make an ultimatum, I will,” said Bratina, in yesterday’s general concerns committee. “We’re either doing LRT, or a subway in Dundas.  And the decision will be made on Monday.”

Rumours of Bratina’s Dundas subway have circulated for as long as he’s been in politics. It’s long been suspected that Bratina has been funding the Environmental Assessments and feasibility studies in secret, waiting for public sentiment to support his subway.

English: Entrance to Dundas TTC subway station...

Concept illustration of Dundas’ proposed subway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dundas has the unique chance of becoming the only town in the world with a population under 30,000 to have a subway, and the second place in Ontario.

For the same price as LRT, claims city staff, we could – in theory – have a subway in Dundas that spans King Street W from Woodleys Lane to the Canadian Tire.  Metrolinx has approved funding for the project, so long as the city pitches in $30 million.  Rumours of exhausting the Future Fund has already divided council.

“You’re being willfully…ignorant,” said a livid Brian McHattie. “The Future Fund is for self-sustaining projects.  HSR ridership for Dundas is far from sustainable, and we’ve been waiting years for LRT.”

The Mayor’s tunnel vision may get him in trouble with council, but perhaps Dundas will feel differently.

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Northern Seductions: We’re Putting the Hump in Frump

Make your closet sparkle with a triple threat (photo | G.McNally)

Make your closet sparkle with a triple threat (photo | G.McNally)

Let’s think of a scenario: You’ve been married for twenty years. Your husband is still sweet, but the fire is gone.  You want to spice things up, but you are not comfortable with the “trampy” atmosphere of La Senza or La Vie En Rose. What are your options?  A Hamilton-based branch of Northern Reflections  now has the answer.

Northern Reflections, the same company that brought your kindergarten teacher Hallowe’en vests, and the ubiquitous loon emblazoned sweater has just come out with an innovative line of lingerie.  Northern Seductions.

The tagline “make your hubby howl at the moon” may be kitschy, but test groups of women aged 40-65 have scored N. Seductions quite well.   Using the same fibre they use in their sweaters, they claim you’ll feel like your wrapped in an old blanket at the cottage, feeling the coziness of your own sexy body.   Northern Reflections has hired top talent to  design the line.NorthernSeductionsLogo

“We’re putting the hump back in frump,” says Misty Bluewater, Northern Seductions’ New York fashion conceptualist. “We’re aiming for the female, forty-to-sixty demographic, and they resist sex appeal. We’re meeting them half way.  A loon is non-threatening, but they also hold the wild and sensual quality of nature.  We’re hoping to bring out their inner loon.”

Northern Seductions are already selling out, as loon-covered negliges enter the bedrooms of Canadians.   Whether or not this is a passing fad, at least this Mother’s Day there’s one more gift idea to make mom (and dad) happy.

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