Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Safety Blitz...

Top of the evening everyone...

Whenever there is a collision with a bicycle in the city, there is usually some sort of news article on 680 News.  I try to follow the comments after those articles.  Many of the comments state that all would be right in the world if only cyclists had licenses.  It would lead directly to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

I wrote a blog entry about this several years ago: Licensing of Cyclists.

I would like to state for the record that there are cyclists out there who make the rest of us look bad.  I remember a cyclist giving a driver the finger after the cyclist broke three or four traffic laws in the process of cutting the driver off.  That being said, I am neither responsible for nor representative of the transgressions of every cyclist out there.  Similarly, the drivers who get tickets do not represent the drivers who drive safely.  Most drivers and most cyclists attempt to be safe most of the time.

Why am I writing this?  I am writing this because the Toronto Police Service ran a safety blitz over the last two weeks.  During this safety blitz, 6800 tickets were issued for various traffic infractions.  If we assume that this number could be duplicated over each and every two-week period over a year, that would be 176,800 traffic infractions a year.  Based on the 2016 population of the city, that number would represent 6% of the city's people.  Please note that the city's population includes many non-drivers.  It would be far more than 6% of the city's drivers.

Here is the article: Slow Down Toronto.

6800 traffic infractions...I would appreciate it if someone could explain to me how licensing cyclists would bring about citywide sunshine and lollipops.  Licensing drivers has clearly not had that effect.  There is no logic whatsoever in assuming it would work on cyclists any more than it does on drivers.

In the meantime, I remind everyone of the sage wisdom of an admiral I once knew.  He said that selective enforcement yields selective obedience.  Regarding cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians, we all obey the laws that are enforced.  The Highway Safety Act is law throughout the province.  All three groups are stated therein.  Enforce the law.  People will respond.

Have a great evening everyone.


Saturday, March 17, 2018

First Part of Florida Reaction...

Top of the evening everyone.

I have been giving a great deal of thought to what happened at Parkland High School in Florida.  During this process, I have been in contact with two friends.  They are both lawyers.  One of them has politics to the right of mine.  The other is a mother of three.  Her politics are a probably where mine are, or maybe to the left.  She may also be reading this entry.  BR - if you are reading this, please feel free to comment.

One of the things suggested is the possible arming of school teachers.  At first blush, this seems like a good idea.  There is a level of protection at the level where the danger is the most imminent.

You will now see that I spend way too much time with Marines.

The arming of teachers in our schools is fraught with challenges.

1.  Is the job of the teacher offensive or defensive?  That is, should a teacher seek out a shooter or simply defend a section of school?

2.  Whose weapon does a teacher use?  The United States Government does not arm civilians.  Marines never take a weapon home.  A weapon stays in the armory until it is needed for training or for a mission.  It is turned in at the end of that training or mission.  At this point, someone must be in a school to issue the weapon to the teacher.  That person must be a trained shooter, must be able to look and determine whether or not someone is emotionally prepared for the task, and must have the authority to take away a weapon.

3.  Who will certify that the teacher is competent with the weapon?

4.  Will the teachers be given paid time away from school to practice at the range?  Who will certify to the school district that this has happened?

5.  Will the salary of those armed teachers be increased to reflect increased responsibility?  If so, will there be teachers who seek this position merely for the increased salary?

6.  Will there be training in the school for a potential incident?  With teachers armed, the risk is present that one of the teachers might accidentally shoot another teacher, or worse, a student.  The only way to avoid that is to train, and then to train again.

7.  What is the status of the weapon?  Will there be a magazine in the weapon or on the weapon belt? If there is a magazine in the weapon, will there be a round in the chamber?  These are three different weapons conditions based on force protection and level of threat - magazine available, magazine in weapon, and round in chamber.

I do not like the concept of having our schools become armed camps.  That, combined with the real challenges presented above, will tell me that this is a bad idea.

Have a good evening everyone.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Carrying the Flag...

Top of the evening everyone...

It has been a while since I have written.  Much has happened.  I am still thinking through my response to Florida.

While I am thinking about that though, there was an informal survey on 680 News as to who should carry the Canadian flag at the closing ceremony of this years Olympics.  My initial instinct was the Virtue-Moir duet.  To carry the flag as they retire from professional skating after having brought so much to the country is an entirely appropriate honour.  Plus they are really cute together and the entire country hopes that they might become something more than skating partners.

But there are other folks who might do this also.  How about an athlete who went to the games but did not win a medal?  It would make a bold statement that this country is not just about those who succeed.  This country is also about those who work hard each and every day.  It is about those who try, do not succeed, and try again.

How about one of the coaches?  Those athletes did not just wake up able to do what they do.  They were taught.  They were coached.  Those coaches helped those athletes to reach the level of being able to compete in an international arena.

How about the person who went and made sure that all of the equipment was properly maintained and ready to use each day?  It would make the statement that this country understands that we do not achieve anything without the strong support of many unsung heroes.

How about the parents of one of the athletes?  I have made hundreds of trips up and down Bathurst St to produce the three black belts living in my home.  When we think of parents who had to work, put three meals on the table every day, and make sure that children got to 5:30 AM practices while also making sure that their kids kept their grades up, we should also realize that the success of these athletes started at home.

I offer my congratulations to all of the athletes, those who medaled, and those who did not.  I as well offer my congratulations to their parents, to their coaches, and to the otherwise invisible people who made their success possible.

Good night everyone.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Strategic Steps in Preventing the Zombie Apocalypse...

Top of the evening everyone.

There has been much ado over the last several years about the impending zombie apocalypse.  We are duly concerned here at the Gorman residence.  I purchased a few extra cans of tuna fish.  Not since the Y2K hysteria have we had such a reaction.  When that was in process, again, Jennifer and I were prepared.  Not only did we have extra tuna.  We also filled the gas tank.  We thought about maxing out on our credit cards, hoping that the bill would go 'poof' on January 1st, but decided that it could be a bad idea if nothing happened.

Anyway, there has been a significant first step in preventing the zombie apocalypse.  This significant step was taken in Honolulu.  What was it?  I am glad that you asked.

The City of Honolulu has banned what has come to be know as 'zombie walking.'  For those of you who do not know, zombie walking is when a person crosses the street while looking at a cell phone.  It is dangerous.

Now, with this law, the planners of the zombie apocalypse will have to think twice before invading Oahu.  It will be very difficult for the zombies to gain control of the city when zombies are not allowed in the crosswalks.  Jaywalking has already been forbidden.  We can only hope that other municipalities will make similar laws.  This is not just about pedestrian safety in Waikiki.  It is a strategic step for the safety of humanity.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bid you good evening, and remind you all to look both ways before crossing the street.  This is a good law that was passed in Honolulu.


Friday, October 27, 2017

Addendum to Totally Amazing!!!

Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

The Italian Sports Minister comments that next year's Giro is to honour the memory of Gino Bartoli.

Gino Bartoli is a two-time winner of the Tour de France, once prior to WWII, and once after.  During the war, he ostensibly still trained.  During his training rides, he smuggled false identification papers in the frame of his bicycle.  Those papers helped rescue Italy's Jews from the scourge that had made them a target.

About five years ago, a book entitled "Road to Valour" was published detailing what he did.

Bartoli has a tree in his honour along the Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles at Yad VaShem.

Have I mentioned that I really want to go?

Shabbat Shalom.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Totally Amazing!!!

Top of the evening everyone.

I do not know if you all know this about me.  I like to ride my bicycle.  In fact, I want to ride my bicycle.  I want to ride my bike.  I want to ride my bicycle.  I want to ride it where I like.

(With thanks to Freddie Mercury and Queen)

Professional cycling has three major races a year.  Most people know about the Tour de France.  One of the other prestigious races is the Vuelta a Espana.  The third one, second in prestige to the Tour and placed last because it is the subject of this blog entry, is the Giro d'Italia.

The Giro is about 100 years old.  As its name suggests, the ride takes place primarily in Italy.  It has begun outside of Italy about 10 times.

In 2018, it is starting outside Europe for the first time.  Stage 1 will be a 10-kilometre time trial around the city of Jerusalem.  Stage 2 will start up in Haifa, head north to Acco, and then come back south to Tel Aviv.  Stage 3 will start in Be'er Sheva and go south to Eilat.  They will then head over to Europe to complete the race.

As the title of this blog entry says, this is totally amazing.

I am thinking about going.

Have a great evening.


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Serial Serial Comma Removal...

Top of the evening ladies and gentlemen.

There was an article in the National Post on Saturday.  The title of the article was "Bicyclists Are Not Angels".  The author raises several points with which I generally agree.  

Cyclists should be polite.  I agree.  While I firmly believe that cyclists have rights to the road no less than cars, cyclists also have rights to the road no more than cars.  Being polite recognizes those equal rights.

Cyclists should face consequences when breaking the law.  Again, he is right, and that is codified as law in every province and in every state.  I remind everyone though that the selective enforcement of law will lead to the selective observance of law.

I wrote a letter to the editor in response to this article.  In my letter, I pointed out all the wonderful ways bicyclists might do a little better in taking their rightful place on the road.  I also pointed out the ways that cars might do the same.  And because no one is above criticism, it might shock all of you to know that pedestrians are a problem also.

I wrote that drivers/cyclists/pedestrians should be actively visible.  I wrote that they should not be wearing earbuds.  I wrote that they should be predictable.  It applies to everyone.

To pedestrians, I specifically wrote the following:

Entering the crosswalk with six seconds on the countdown is illegal, dangerous, and prevents cars from turning.

They printed my letter as such: 

Entering the crosswalk with six seconds on the countdown is illegal, dangerous and prevents cars from turning.

I put the original text and the editor's change in bold print.

The editor removed my serial comma.  Given that the editor probably makes a habit of this, I am forced to conclude that said editor regularly removes serial commas.  Thus, the editor is a serial remover of the serial comma, leading to the title of this blog entry.

Admittedly, there is some dispute.  When there is a list of three or more items, MLA rules of grammar dictate that there be a comma after each item.  Thus, one would have this, that, and the other thing.  AP rules of grammar state that it is not necessary, yielding this, that and the other thing.  This dispute is long running.  In researching this, I found an article in that venerable news source, The Onion.  The last line of the article states that an innocent 35-year-old passerby who found himself caught up in a long-winded dispute over use of the serial, or Oxford, comma had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

I maintain that the serial comma, sometimes known as the Oxford comma, and sometimes known as the Queen's comma is necessary.  Failure to have it can lead to ambiguity.  For example...

I would like to thank my parents, Burger King, and Dairy Queen.  I have thus thanked three separate elements.  This differs from...

I would like to thank my parents, Burger King and Dairy Queen.  The absence of the comma in this case makes the phrase with Burger King and Dairy Queen an appositive specifically identifying my parents, and further proves that meat and dairy can mix under certain circumstances.

Have a good evening everyone.