Monday, October 21, 2013


A BOLO is a term that police officers use when looking for someone associated with some crime; it means Be On The Lookout.

Well I'd like to issue a BOLO for Bob Barker, TV game show host and weak minded animal rights advocate turned poacher. He stole from the Toronto zoo three elephants Toka, Thika and Iringa. He came up with some of his poaching minions, loaded the elephants into crates and took them by truck to California.

Bob was successful in his escapade but he is still fuming. He is saying that the Toronto Zoo has been uncooperative as he stole our elephants. When zoo staff, including a couple of veterinarians volunteered  to accompany the elephants, I guess that was an example of not cooperating. After all, Bob Barker, a man who's resume is filled with hosting TV shows, knows more about elephants than an entire zoo filled with trained and dedicated animal experts .. doesn't he?

It was Bob's expertise that identified the horrible conditions under which the elephants lived in our zoo. He came up here from his land of sauna's and imported palm trees and said Gosh! Canada is cold! These elephants are from Africa! They can't live here!

Actually Bob most of elephants were born right here but you're from Hollywood, facts are something with which you light your cigars

Our zoo officials kindly disagreed with Bob's expert assessment (I think he say the temp the day he was here and was beseeching the audience to yell "Higher! Higher!") and pointed out new enclosures, a knowledge base that grows every year and the expertise (yeh like actual medical expertise) of the zoo vets

Well Bob would have none of that! He's a star damnit! A star! His instructions on how to spin a prize wheel were so eleoquent ...

So Bob went to Toronto City Council. Ah, Toronto public officials. A group of underqualified individuals who spend most of their time figuring out how to distract us from the fact that they really have no right to our money; one of the  methods they use is to create out of thin air some "Facebook" crisis to distract us. So as they bungle public transit and pad their expense accounts, Hell yes! The elephants! The elephants! Let's help the elephants!

Even though before Bob showed up, no one thought the elephants needed help

So Bob did his magic with the council (and part of that magic may have a price tag on it who knows) and voila, we had an elephant crisis and the only way to solve it was to have a game show host poach the animals and take them to a sanctuary in California

That sanctuary by the way, is PAWS, a place of refuge for former performing elephants, that is the expertise of the keepers there. Um Bob, you do know the difference between a zoo and a circus ... don't you?

Well what Bob knows is that his vaunted stature as a guy who made his living out of mispronouncing people's names means his will must not be denied. When the zoo, in its methodical way, began to question the decision then once the decision was made try to figure out the very best way to do things, Bob stamped his feet crossed his arms and used his face on TV to defame Toronto and our zoo at every opportunity

Even now, after his poaching is a fait accompli, Bob is on TV every five seconds trashing the Toronto zoo. Damnit, they didn't fall to their knees and pee their pants in subjugation at his every utterance, what is wrong with them!

To be fair, the elephant's journey to California seemed to have gone very smoothly. The staff at PAWS relates that they've never seen elephants so relaxed and cooperative and they attributed that to the care and knowledge of the Toronto keepers. Yeh, the ones Bob is still slagging

As time has gone on I've become more critical of animals in captivity; there is a lot of evidence that tells us that overall it may not be the best thing. I've been to Seaworld in Niagra Falls and Florida and have never been totally comfortable with the whole performance aspect of it; intelligent animals like killer whales and dolphins have exhibited symptoms of psychosis that could be attributed to that very captivity

And elephants of course are very intelligent. There have been rough patches for the elephants at the Toronto zoo. These are huge animals whose nature is satisfied by large spaces in which to roam and graze; as good as the new elephant enclosure is, in Toronto, it ain't no savannah

But I daresay that the PAWS ain't no savannah either. What their future there will be I can't say. It is a private sanctuary, largely funded by our erstwhile, well meaning but completely noob-like poachers in Hollywood. It will be warmer than the Toronto zoo, no doubt but will it be better for the elephants?

The fact that our zoo is a public institution hurt it; decisions were made for these elephants by people, namely city council, who know nothing about elephants and nothing about common sense. But it also makes the zoo and its workers accountable. PAWS is a private sanctuary, to whom is it accountable?

I really do hope that the elephants will have a happy life there. They've been torn away from their family units, something terribly important to elephants, but they have each other and I hope they don't have to live the rest of their lives with just themselves and they can find a new family

Their elephant family here will miss them. Elephants mourn, we know this, they place powerful importance on their family, both as a unit and as individuals. And the elephants here have a large extended family, the thousands of people who have to the zoo over the years to marvel at these intelligent, emotional, beautiful animals

Will the elephants miss us? I know that we shall miss them

Friday, October 18, 2013


What were you thankful for this past weekend, this past Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada

Were you thankful for the holiday itself? It's a day off and there is turkey. Seriously, do we need to search for something better than that?

Do you use this holiday, here in Canada an extension of the harvest tradition, as an opportunity to reflect, perhaps on this past year or even years previous, thinking of the benefits from that time or perhaps you even pause to thank to be alive, to breathe, to just be here ... Well if you're thankful for being here and eating turkey then you and I are on the same page

Actually this year, this Thanksgiving, I did not eat turkey. Don't worry, I intend to make up for that shortly. So I actually did do a bit of interspection but being me, it really extended to just that day, that moment, that occasion

Yeh, I'm thankful for Thanksgiving.

I was thankful for being in Pointe Au Baril Ontario at Nares Inlet, thankful for the water and the sky and the ancient powerful rocks and the trees twisted and shaped by the wind

I was thankful for a crazy border collie who looks upon the north as her own personal playground and why not, it's the world's largest dog park, not to mention the world's largest water bowl

I was also thankful for family and friends and a sunny day on a rock island in the middle of the day where no one had anything better to do than eat, play together and enjoy a warm autumn day

What are you thankful for

Monday, October 7, 2013


Saturday night I became a street walker (yes it's come to that) Mind you, I wasn't alone. There were tens of thousands of us wandering the streets of Toronto, along many streets closed to traffic, the giant buildings empty and dark. But there was light and motion; a queen of the parade who was not a queen of a parade that never was.

A skyscraper built from bicycles that no one rides yet still move

An alley way was transformed into the mythical place where socks lost in the dryer go to hang out .. yes, that horrible pun but what else would you expect

The skyscapers of steel and glass were replaced by a tower made of wooden chairs, one person's version I suppose of a furnished lodging

This city is always lit at night but this night there were new lights, colored and moving and somewhat mysterious in their purpose

A city at night. A city filled with light and mystery and strangers wandering the street unite by a sense of "what is that" as as "what the fuck" A city transformed

Nuit Blanche 2013
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