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COVID Shakespeare

Posted  March 15, 2020  by  Anonymous

What’s the difference between Covid 19 and Romeo & Juliet?

One’s a corona virus and the other is a Verona crisis.

— Julian Lee (@JulianLeeComedy) March 14, 2020

One’s a pandemic disaster, the other’s Iambic pentameter

— folb (@SleepingAnnual) March 14, 2020

Omg. Now do Two Gentlemen of Corona.

— Steve Austin from Texas (@ResistTheLiars) March 15, 2020

With jokes like that you’re just trying make us welcome death

— Tom (@_T0M_V_) March 15, 2020

ok isaac newton discovered calculus and william shakespeare wrote king lear while in quarantine but i bet none of them could eat 2 family packs of chips ahoy in 3 days while in quarantine so what the fuck

— Ryan Dils (@ryan_dils) March 15, 2020

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Saturday Stories: #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #CancelEverything Edition

Posted  March 14, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

7 views on why social distancing is so important right now and why we have to “cancel everything“. If you think that #COVID19 isn’t a big deal, do take the time to read these pieces to learn why you’re wrong (ordered solely by way of the order I happened to read them in).

Eliza Barclay and Dylan Scott, in Vox.

Tomas Pueyo in Medium

Yascha Monk, in The Atlantic

Helen Branswell, in STAT

André Picard, in The Globe and Mail

Sharon Kirkey in The National Post

Kaitlyn Tiffany in The Atlantic

Also, here’s Wency Leung, in The Globe and Mail, on what you should do if you think you have COVID19, and here is the Toronto Star’s infographic on what self-isolation should look like if it’s determined that you’ve contracted the virus.

Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris / CC BY-SA

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Life In Scarborough: The Plague Journal, Day II

Posted  March 13, 2020  by  bigcitylib

Visited The Elsy (LCBO) today.  I notice that while they’re knifing each other over toilet paper at the Walmart across the parking lot, here everything is calm.  People believe that Water and wipes are essential, booze some kind of peripheral…

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COVID tweet-fest

Posted  March 13, 2020  by  Anonymous

I keep saving COVID-19 tweets and then before I can post anything, it all gets worse.  

So here’s a few, but with the warning that they might be completely out of date by the time anyone reads this.

“These are all the predictable consequences of giving power to people whose only understanding of the role of government is to protect investment portfolios.”

— Anil Kalhan (@kalhan) March 13, 2020

Republicans made a bet that they could stick a moronic incompetent in the Oval Office and get their preferred policy outcomes without cost. They lost, and now the bill is coming due.

— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) March 12, 2020

1. Trump has made clear – the administration will not save us. It is unable to turn, to acknowledge the severity of this crisis. No one is coming to help you. You must protect yourself and your loved ones on your own.

Here is what increases your chances of weathering this….

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 12, 2020

How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart

— Raju Narisetti (@raju) March 10, 2020

Palate cleanser

One of our kittens is a bit of a drama queen

— Kittens (@kittensfolder) February 27, 2020

I don’t think the sign is working. 🤔

— You Had One Job (@_youhadonejob1) March 12, 2020

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Life In Scarborough: The Plague Journal, Day I

Posted  March 12, 2020  by  bigcitylib

This evening at the local Metro  I saw something resembling “panic buying”.  Not quite at that point. Nobody got violent.  More like the kind of lineups you see before the Superbowl or a long-weekend.  Except everyone, everyone, was…

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TikTok Is All About Fat Shaming These Days

Posted  March 9, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

I was driving with my 13 year old daughter on Saturday and we were just chatting. I asked her what was trending these days on her TikTok stream (in the past she’d been served up antisemitism)? Apparently it’s fat shaming Lizzo.

I asked her to share some videos with me.

She sent over 10 in less than a minute.

Some representative examples to follow, but all this to say, TikTok, while hugely entertaining, is a cesspool of hate and bullying, and if your children use it, probably worth asking them every once in a while what’s trending on their streams so that you can take the time at least to talk about it.


Everyone please ##stop making ##lizzo memes ##fyp

♬ original sound – noahswitzer98


When you lose Lizzo while your whale watching 😂 ##greenscreen ##lizzo ##meme ##xyzbca ##xyzcba ##joke ##fyp ##memes ##tiktokmemes ##comedy ##comedicgenius

♬ ITs ANIT new girlfriend of your ex – its_anit


##greenscreenvideo ##lizzo ##meme ##tacticalnuke ##mw2

♬ original sound – yaboyg35

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Saturday Stories: Elizabeth Warren, Enabling Antisemites, Marathon Cheats, and COVID19

Posted  March 7, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Elie Mysal, in The Nation, with the depressing truth behind why Elizabeth Warren won’t be America’s next president. 

Sharon Otterman, in The New York Times, with an absolutely shocking story of enabled antisemitism from New Jersey (and I don’t shock easily)

Derek Murphy, in Wired, on marathon cheaters and their investigators

[And if you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, here’s the segment I did yesterday on CTV’s The Social where we chatted about many things COVID19 (if geoblocked outside of a Canada, a VPN spoofing a Canadian server ought to work]

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Australian Food Industry Launches World’s Least Aggressive New Voluntary Self-Regulatory Effort

Posted  March 2, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Waiting for any industry to self-regulate itself is just plain dumb. Honestly, industry’s job is to protect and promote sales, and that’s of course true for the food industry as well.

Self-regulation tends to crop up not out of altruism or doing the right thing, but rather as a means to forestall legislative regulatory efforts which in turn would prove to be more damaging to sales.

Take this recent initiative out of Australia which will see the food industry not advertising their junk to kids within 150m (500ft) of schools. 150 whole metres! While certainly not likely to do anything at all, it’ll be especially useless perhaps in that the school buses themselves will be exempt, as of course will be the bus stops’ shelters.

Oh, and as toothless as it is, it’s also voluntary.

Really the only thing this initiative will do is provide the food industry with ammunition if and when facing calls for legislated regulation (something we’re hearing more and more calls for) and to pretend that they care about anything other than profits.

It’s always best to remember, as I’ve written before, the food industry is neither friend, nor foe, nor partner.

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Saturday Stories: Coronavirus Edition

Posted  February 29, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

James Hamblin, in The Atlantic, on how yes, you’re probably going to get the coronavirus.

Peter Daszak, in The New York Times, welcomes you to the age of pandemics.

Vivian Wang, in The New York Times, with the bad good news that most coronavirus cases are likely to be mild.

Zeynep Tufekci, in Scientific American, on what you can do to prepare for when the coronavirus spreads to your country.

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Health Canada Fails Science And Canadians By Allowing Any Purported Weight Loss Supplements To Be Sold

Posted  February 24, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

The latest of many systematic reviews and meta-analyses of herbal supplements for weight loss plainly makes the case that there is no justification for their sale.

They. Don’t. Work.

None of them.

None. Of. Them.

So why does Health Canada license and allow the sale of 1,128 natural products whose listed purported use is for weight management? Or of the 671 products that purport they’ll improve sexual enhancement? Or of pretty much any of them?

Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the taxation of the $1.8 billion annual Canadian sales of vitamins and supplements?

Maybe it lies in well-intentioned hope?

Maybe it lies is political contributions and lobbying?

But the one place where it doesn’t lie is in science. Shouldn’t that be the only place that matters?

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Oh My God The Nutrition World Is Painful

Posted  February 19, 2020  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Short post to say that watching people aggressively argue about their preferred diets of choice, and seeing reputable people willing to prop up the most shameless of medical hucksters if they happen to share a nutritional belief, and the endless debates about physiology, and meal timing, and breakfast, and fasting, and macronutrients, and lipids, and anti-science shilling, and multi-level marketing, and so much more, is so very tiresome.

As a clinician I know that what actually matters is how to help the person sitting in front of me, remembering that science, meal patterns, macronutrients, and physiology, may not always matter the way some study says they could or should in the face of an individual’s life and personal preferences. Ultimately, and regardless of what I think is “right” on paper or right for me, my job is to help patients make sustainable changes that in turn lead them towards the healthiest life that they can actually enjoy.

Similarly, as a public health advocate, I know that if there were any amount of education, or a brilliantly crafted public health message, that in turn would effectively drive societal behaviour change we’d have all already changed all of our behaviours. I can also tell you that energies spent on initiatives relegated to personal responsibility, including but not restricted to those promoting one person’s diet tribe, pale in importance to energies spent on initiatives relevant to changing the food environment. And there’s no shortage of targets that span all dietary dogmas – from advertising to kids, front-of-package health claim reforms, junk food fundraising, the provision of free cooking skills to kids and adults, national school food programs and improvements, tax incentives and disincentives, and more.

All this to say, it’s my opinion that these two flawed foci, that there’s one best or right way and that personal responsibility will be our salvation, are the two main reasons why we can’t have nice things in nutrition and nutrition related public health.

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Back Home Again

Posted  February 5, 2020  by  Polar Bear

I have been away from the blogger writing for quite a time. I have been busy working to get well and after two years without being able to walk I am finally making progress. I was encouraged during the past couple of years to receive many contacts from…

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On The Existence of Street Pianos In Toronto Community Centers

Posted  January 18, 2020  by  bigcitylib

I used to be totally against them.  It was always some no-talent eight year old plinking out a ghastly version of Chopsticks and you can’t tell them they suck or STFU! because their parents will get upset and report you to the facility staff becau…

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National Post Publishes Correction

Posted  August 9, 2019  by  bigcitylib

BOOYAH!  JOB DONE!  The Natty Post corrects in response to this story:

Editor’s note: In the original article, Michael Rogers intended to say “early evolutionary ancestors” instead of Neanderthals when speaking about the agricultural revolution. As well, he intended to say there’s no anthropological evidence of Type 2 diabetes, not Type 1. All changes have been made in his quotes. 

Not even sure the phrase “early evolutionary ancestors” cuts it science-wise in this context but fuck it I’m in  a good mood.  We’ll let it go.  Kudos to Bianca Bharti for fixing things and being a good sport about it.  As for Doc Rogers, well they say he is from the University of Guelph.  I had a friend who went there.  When I asked him what it was like he said Guelph is the sound a whale makes when it swallows.  I don’t know what that means but I don’t think its a compliment.

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National Post Publishes Absolute Bullshit Re Beyond Meat

Posted  August 8, 2019  by  bigcitylib

The absolute bullshit is this bit:

“For the last million years, we’ve evolved with a very specific diet that’s been based on whole foods,” [Michael] Rogers said. “There hasn’t been a change in our diets this drastic in all of human evolution with the exception of one event in human history: when the Neanderthals ventured from forests into pastoral land and started … agricultural practices,” more than 12,000 years ago.

I don’t know who Michael Rogers is, but this kind of quote is the kind of thing that makes you think he isn’t much of an expert.  I mean, the timing of wheat domestication is about right, a couple thousand years too early, maybe.  But the species is wrong.  The last Neanderthals walked maybe 40,000 years before crops were domesticated, unless Mr. Rogers knows something nobody else does.

Seriously, this is a big fat fucking boner of a mistake: Neanderthals invented agriculture.  BULLSHIT!!!   That the NP published it without  fact checking is embarrassing.  And if you are trying to criticize alt-meat, making this kind of claim isn’t going to help.

PS.  I have never tried a Beyond Meat product nor do I have an opinion on the company.

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Trans Mountain Pipeline Approved

Posted  June 18, 2019  by  bigcitylib

…but far from built. I’ve talked about this  before.  My opinion is that Trudeau did the right thing by approving the pipeline.  You can’t really rule this country if the entire middle bit hates your guts because you took away the…

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Mann Wins!!!! Frontier Centre for Public Policy FOLDS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted  June 7, 2019  by  bigcitylib

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Mann for successfully putting the boots to Winnipeg’s Frontier Centre for Public Policy.  They defamed him; he fought back and won.  See their grovelling apology below.  Bask in their tears.  &nbs…

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PCPO Budget Is Mild Stuff

Posted  April 11, 2019  by  bigcitylib

I don’t like the directions taken; cutting healthcare spending below the rate of inflation, and etc.  But this government in this budget is definitely no Mike Harris Mark II.   Mind you, they’ll never meet their deficit reduction targets…

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Doug Ford’s OHIP Changes: A Bummer, or Not?

Posted  April 4, 2019  by  bigcitylib

I’m especially wondering about his plan to cut back on pain relief for colonoscopies.  I’ve gone through the procedure twice.  First time around they hit me with a General and I still didn’t pass out.  I watched on a B&W TV screen as…

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Life In Scarborough: The Fried Pork Rinds of Scarborough

Posted  February 19, 2019  by  bigcitylib

Was inside the Jian Hing market at Markham and Lawrence on Family Day, looking for Filipino  Pork Rinds.  They have about 40 different varieties at Jian Hing.  I’m not kidding, there’s a whole aisle devoted to nothing but.  Fil…

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Flying Today

Posted  January 29, 2019  by  bigcitylib

Horrible behavior but  it wouldn’t have happened 50 yrs ago because everyone would have had enough leg room.  I flew Air Canada Rouge (@AirCanadaRouge) in 2018 and it was  like being crew on a WWI submarine.  Something has to change.

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Toronto The Unready

Posted  January 27, 2019  by  bigcitylib

WTF happened?  Did the dispatcher pass out just before the storm hit?  Did the plow-guy bust a leg trying to smuggle a hooker into the barracks through a back window?  Or did they stop at VP and say Fuck it its Scarborough lets turn arou…

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On Dr. Jordan Peterson: The True And Real Story

Posted  January 14, 2019  by  bigcitylib

He’s a con artist.  He’s got a book, he’s got a speaking tour, and when’s he’s not flogging the book he’s flogging his daughter’s all meat diet to get his army of fan-boys Manly for the next battle in the Culture Wars.  Real intellectual…

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On Stephen Miller and Glue Eating

Posted  October 15, 2018  by  bigcitylib

There has been much ridicule directed at Trump adviser Stephen Miller for an alleged childhood habit of drying glue on his arm, and then eating it .  Obviously, I disagree with the guy’s politics but many people don’t realize that glue i…

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Doug Ford Shits The Bed

Posted  September 20, 2018  by  bigcitylib
And its not just the nation as a whole that thinks he’s a right douche-bag.  It’s here in Ontario:

Once a star, Doug Ford is now a case.  It happens to all leaders, but as it ever happened as fast??

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Back Writing Again

Posted  August 19, 2018  by  Polar Bear

I have not written a post for many months as I have been on quite an adventure. I would like to share the details of that adventure with family and friends. Many of my posts will be personal and reveal some secrets. Stay tuned. Just wanted you to know …

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Corbella Column Pulled

Posted  August 14, 2018  by  bigcitylib

This morning The Calgary Herald published a story by  Licia Corbella, entitled “Family of jailed Saudi blogger angry over Trudeau”.  In it Corbella criticized government’s twitter diplomacy efforts in the Raif Badawi case, directly quoting members of the man’s family.  As you will note by clicking through the link above, that column is now gone.  Mr. Badawi’s wife, in  a series of tweets early this afternoon, called the story “fake news”.  Those tweets are also gone, as is all reference to the story in Ms. Corbella’s twitter feed.  I contacted The Herald and asked if they had yanked the piece, and they responded as below:

The column has been removed at the request of Ensaf Haidar (wife of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi) due to the sensitive nature of the family’s situation.

— Calgary Herald (@calgaryherald) August 14, 2018

So there appears to have been a severe cock-up on the journalism front by Ms. Corbella, the precise details of which remain obscure.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

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Life In Scarborough: Gulls Before A Storm

Posted  May 31, 2018  by  bigcitylib

So the wife and I spent our evening  on the balcony of our condo unit drinking a bottle of wine.  We noticed a flock of  gulls in the air, surfing the turbulence in advance of a line of storm clouds.  These were  the same gulls…

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Ontario Election Leadership Debate Analysis

Posted  May 27, 2018  by  bigcitylib

I didn’t watch it.  I was eating wings in my favorite wings place watching a hockey game.  But I was checking my twitter feed occasionally, and this is what I gleaned from it.1) Kathleen Wynne’s opening pitch speech was good.  Something …

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Doug Ford Shouldn’t Let Andrew Lawton Run For PCPO Nomination in London

Posted  April 11, 2018  by  bigcitylib

Andrew Lawton is running for  the Ontario PC party’s nomination in London West.  Doug Ford should not let him.

For many reasons, but this one is my favorite.  Back in 2010 Andrew and some buddies wanted to bring alt-right notable Mark Steyn to London (Ontario).  First to the  University of Western Ontario and then, when that fell through, to the London  Convention Center.  But it all went South on them at the LCC as well, and they blamed Islam.  From Andrew’s old blog, which doesn’t appear to exist anymore:

“The reason offered by the LCC [in a Tuesday morning phone call] was that they had received pressure from local Islamic groups, and they didn’t want to alienate their Muslim clients. It’s interesting to note that the LCC is owned by the City of London, and is therefore a government operation,” wrote Strictly Right’s Andrew Lawton at the website.

But as I argue here, Andrew’s explanation doesn’t work.  Basically, the site for Steyn’s speech had already changed once, and it would have been impossible for any of these “Islamic groups” to have known which new potential venue to threaten.

Andrew actually responded to my argument in the comments, and pretty much admitted the major points of it.  As I wrote at the time:


So will you acknowledge that, whatever you might have been told by the LCC, it would have been impossible for local “Islamic Groups” to have had any real influence on their decision. This is not to say anything about the LCCs decision making processes, which may well have involved considerations about what how their Muslim clients might have reacted to Steyn’s appearance.

So, in short, Andrew Lawton tried to arrange to have an alt-right lunatic speak at the LCC, bunged it up, and blamed Muslims.  If Doug Ford wants to convince Ontarians he isn’t a Trump clone, one way to do it  would be to kibosh this nomination run.

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Caroline Mulroney: Off To A Grand Start!

Posted  February 10, 2018  by  bigcitylib
Caroline Mulroney defined energy poverty at #MNC2018 as only an elitist can.

“People are living in energy poverty, people have to choose between buying hockey equipment or going out to dinner with their families” #PCPOLdr

— JohnToryWatch (@JohnToryWatch) February 10, 2018

Serious, though, this is the kind of thing that makes Doug Ford PCPO leader.

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Ezra And The Law: A Small Victory?

Posted  December 28, 2017  by  bigcitylib

Ezra Levant’s twitter feed from back in the fall of 2017:Ezra’s twitter feed today, after I sent a series of emails to the Alberta Law Society and then the Law Society of  Ontario arguing that, since the guy is no longer a lawyer, he shouldn’…

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Life In Scarborough: The Bus Drivers of Scarborough

Posted  November 17, 2017  by  bigcitylib

The lady bus driver on the bus today was wearing a nose-ring.  And the TTC let her drive the bus like that.  She was a white chick so it couldn’t be a religious accommodation thing.  But people will get on her bus and see her nose-ring a…

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Jason Kenney’s Alberta Victory: An Analysis

Posted  October 28, 2017  by  bigcitylib

The knock against Jason Kenney is he is almost 50 and still unmarried.  Is he hiding an “artistic streak”?  PS.  Just try to jam that pipeline down BC’s throat, tar-miner.  There will be hell to pay.That is all.

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Fire Bill Morneau

Posted  October 22, 2017  by  bigcitylib

He’s a fuck-up, a total 5 alarm fuck-up, fucking up  a simple slam-dunk “tax fairness” issue like this.   Bye bye idiot-stick!  Kick his ass so far, Justin, that it doesn’t land until 2018.  That is all. 

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Not A Good Thing

Posted  September 4, 2017  by  bigcitylib

The short version:  at this year’s stampede Calgary Blood & Honour Member (“Leader”?) Kyle McKee got close enough to PM Justin Trudeau to have him autograph what turned out to be a Nazi flag.  The long version can be found here. &nbs…

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Turning 80

Posted  February 18, 2017  by  Polar Bear

I jut turned eighty and I don’t feel one bit different than I did a week ago. On the other hand I did think about some important facts. My life is on the home stretch and I am thankful I can even think about the future. Plans are always on my mind and …

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Overnight Visitor

Posted  January 18, 2017  by  Polar Bear

This morning Theresa had the fright of her life. She went to the balcony to shake the dust off a mat when she heard a growl. As expected she was startled and ran back to the door with the beat  behind her. She got to the door and the visitor …

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16 Year Tradition

Posted  December 5, 2016  by  Polar Bear

Ever since Theresa, Doris and I moved to Oakville and lately Burlington we have taken a day and made tourtiere .It is a rather simple exercise but we all have our own recipes for this French Canadian Xmas treat. My recipe came mainly from my late Mothe…

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