My life changed forever on Nov. 30 last year, when my wife Kate and I welcomed our daughter Abbileen into the world. Many readers asked if I’d once again be following through with my annual ode to grouchiness, or if the wonders of fatherhood (and although it’s only been five weeks, there have already been too many to count) had warmed my heart to the point where I couldn’t find the necessary cynicism. But, you simply can’t keep a good gimmick down.
One of my favourite Death Cab for Cutie songs has always been ‘The New Year’ and to borrow a line from it, “So this is the new year, and I don’t feel any different.” With apologies to Jimmy Breslin, who created this concept several decades ago in New York Daily News, these are the people I’m not talking to this year.
The first person I’m not talking to is whoever sets the governor for the speed of Durham Region Transit’s buses. Have any of you ever had the misfortune of following one of these Stegosauruses of the roadway? It’s agony. For whatever reason, they can not seem to reach speeds in excess of 60 kilometers per hour in any circumstance.
I understand that in order to cut down on pollution, public transit is a viable option. But, if it can’t get you to where you need to go in a reasonable amount of time, it’s nothing more than a waste of time and money. And largely, that’s what DRT has been in these parts since it was forced upon the tax bills of local residents nearly a decade ago. A significant portion of the North Durham population lives in rural areas far from points where these buses actually run, yet are forced to pay the same amount for the service as those who live on Hwy. 2, where buses pass by your front door every few minutes.
Speaking of transit, I joked on Twitter following Canada’s 5-4 triumph over Russia in the Gold medal game at the World Junior Hockey Championships on Monday that it would be “the drunkest Go Train ride since the Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series.”
The people I’m, not talking to are those who only pay attention to junior hockey when this tournament roles around. This includes broadcaster TSN, as they rake in millions of dollars in advertising revenue over the course of the tournament, only to turn around and virtually ignore everything to do with junior hockeyonce the festivities have wrapped up, until the next Boxing Day.
I’ve got a sore spot for the Toronto-residing “fans” who turned out, and paid thousands of dollars for tickets in a brutal attempt to pretend to know anything about junior hockey, which is so popular in the city that in recent years, the St. Michael’s Majors left Toronto, the Mississauga IceDogs fled for St. Catherines and the Brampton Battalion moved to North Bay. The fact that a large beer at the World Junior games at the Air Canada Centre cost more than the average OHL ticket is an outrage. So are bandwagon fans, who love junior hockey for 10 days a year, but would never think of supporting it in their own backyard, and that’s why for the next 12 months, I’m not talking to them.
Lastly, I was all set to not talk to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as he waded into an election with Julian Fantino still as his Minister of Veterans Affairs in spite of a growing lack of any sort of ability to actually do the job competently. But, that all changed earlier this week when he appointed Durham MP Erin O’Toole to the job.
However, Harper did still keep Fantino in his cabinet, albeit with a reduced role within the Ministry of Defence. And one has to wonder if anyone has ever failed upwards as often as the Fantino has. I will continue wondering from afar, because I won’t be talking to Julian this year.