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3D play

This is a low-res preview of John Robert Colombo’s next book, which isn’t even off the press yet. It is a book of aphorisms by JRC.

It’s 3D, so move it around with your cursor. Zoom in and out with your mouse wheel. Experiment.

The thickness of the 3D model isn’t correct (the actual book is thinner), but I used a free model and took what it gave me. I just mapped custom graphics onto it.

Want to try it out? Open a free account at sketchfab.com and have fun. Google for free 3D models you can upload.

Thanks to Peter Sever for the link.

Facebook fade

Today my fake Facebook account is supposed to expire. I made it using a disposable email address, so that I could look at posts by friends and some businesses.

With all of the privacy settings turned up to max, Zuckerberg is still too intrusive and persistent, so I am opting out, even from my fake account.

Beach Hill bicycle lanes

Photo: Beaches-East York Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, after being struck by a car while cycling on Woodbine in 2014.

By summer, we should have pretty good bicycle lanes on Woodbine Avenue, extending from Queen Street, up Beach Hill, across the Danforth and all the way to O’Connor Drive. Cycling to the Taylor Creek paths should be much safer.

Some drivers oppose the new bike lanes, citing potential slowing of auto traffic, but others I spoke to at last year’s public meeting say that’s what they like best about them.

Doorings in Downtown Toronto 2014-2016. (Cars doors injuring cyclists). [+MAP]

Obviously, bike lanes reduce collisions, but some car drivers incorrectly believe that cyclists are guests on the road and would prefer them to stay in the parks, out of their way. How to get to the parks? Car racks, I guess.

But really, bicycling has become a serious commuter option in Toronto, just as it is in many other large cities. We can learn from them.

Photo by Brian Hickey: Wider sidewalks in Tel Aviv make room for cyclists. Bike lanes are also placed in roadways where necessary, like here.

Curbs and bollards, please, not just cheap painted lines and more signs.

Physically separating bicycles from cars is the best way to go, as is done in the photo above, but Brian observes that everyone, pedestrians included, have to observe the rules. “Do not stray into a bike lane. If you get hit, and you will, no one will have any sympathy for you”.

Lanes planned for Woodbine Avenue, to be installed in early Spring, 2017

Cyclists have to grow up and follow rules of the road.

Toddlers are allowed to ride their bicycles on the sidewalk, but full-size bikes are supposed to stay off. Dismount and walk, fine.

Cyclists sometimes display holier-than-thou attitudes about their fitness, environmental innocence and physical vulnerability, then charge past open streetcar doors, menacing transit riders. They often ignore basic traffic rules and consideration for others. Not good enough.

Yes, this goes for me, too.

Mexican Pizza

Your Royko Recipe for March, 2017

Mexican Pizza
From Royko’s Fertile Imagination, 1994. Credit: Paul Royko. [His words…Bill]
An easy to make alternative to the traditional Italian-style pizza. Serves 4.

Any pizza, including this one, is infinitely better if you use a pizza stone. You end up with a crust that’s crispy on the bottom, not soggy as is the case otherwise.

Pizza stones are available at the better cookware stores. The simplest, and every bit as effective as the most expensive, is a circle of fired, unglazed terra cotta clay. To use it, place in the oven and preheat to 425 ̊. Then, slide the pizza(s) onto the pizza stone and bake for 15 minutes. The stone will take one large Italian flat bread or 4 small ones.

4 small Italian flat bread – such as Splendido from Loblaws
1 15-oz. can refried beans
3 medium diced plum tomatoes
1 small seeded, chopped green bell pepper
4 minced green onions
2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbl. chopped hot pepper [opt.]
2 cloves thinly sliced garlic [opt.]

Spread 1/4 can of refried beans over each piece of Italian flat bread. Top with 1/4 of the shredded Monterey Jack.

Top each pizza with tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cilantro, plus hot peppers and garlic if desired.

Bake in an oven preheated to 425 ̊ for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Serve cut in wedges with additional salsa dribbled over the top.

What’s real, anyway?

The degree to which imaginary reality blends with everyday experience amazes me. Attention to this boxy building on the Danforth yesterday got me thinking.

Max the Mutt is apparently a successful business in its own right, pumping out graduates who will work as animators, graphic novelists and illustrators. Real jobs. Good pay.

Fiction, fantasy and artifice are powerful, fundamental engines of our economy. We depend on them. They put food on a lot of tables.

Cartoons and ads entertain and seduce us. Movies are big, and theatre and concerts employ all kinds of people, doing all kinds of things. Writers, actors, composers, musicians, producers, technicians, promoters.

I know skilled carpenters and electricians who draw good incomes building and lighting sets. Painters, too … house painters, sign painters, and the artsy kind. Even gigsters tap in as extras.

Think of the support industries that depend on content production. Caterers, equipment and vehicle renters, security personnel, hair and makeup stylists, props suppliers, location scouts. I even know a dietitian who consulted with Greg Kinnear about gaining weight for a role.

Toronto church steeples once soared, but are overpowered by bank towers.

I thought it was clever when someone wrote that architecture shows clearly who dominates a society, but now I doubt it. Creators of imagined realities don’t stick up high above the horizon, they spread out across the surface, occupying everything from vast tracts of valuable real estate to low-rent studios.

The very real importance of fantasy was underlined in today’s news when solutions to King Street’s downtown congestion were proposed. So many movies use that location to stand in for Chicago and other U.S. cities, upgrades for traffic flow must not impair its usefulness to filmmakers.

In our consumer society, a lot of what we consume isn’t real, in the ordinary sense of the word. Even newly built houses are pretend places made of artificial brick and 2×4 columns wrapped in cardboard sono tubes. We live in stage sets, surrounded by props.

A friend of mine came back from a trendy part of town saying he had to get away from it, fast. It made him feel painfully uncomfortable, almost ill. When I asked him what disturbed him so much, he paused to analyze his feelings, then found words. “It’s so FAKE!”

Hamilton’s repurposed Cotton Factory

As fools toy with taxing Toronto out of its downtown place for dozens of non-profit arts and culture ventures [401 Richmond], Hamilton is pressing forward with its Cotton Factory.

Both Toronto’s 401 Richmond and the Cotton Factory are owned by Margie Ziedler, who is appealing a murderous tax hike in T.O. and, at the same time, continuing to revamp the Hamilton space, now 2 1/2 years in.

 Andrew Horne and I saw that many people are already operating in the Cotton Factory, and carpenters are busy carving up the vast building into spaces sized for a variety of new businesses and studios.

Those unable to bear the overhead of even a low rent can still make short-term use of a well-equipped business centre with its own reception desk, tons of character, light and space, desks, meeting spaces and office equipment. Such space is needed now, more than ever.

How does it happen that Andrew, typophile supremo, finds the door open on an amazing letterpress shop? Then he discovers Scott J. Martin, traditional sign writer, and his wonders in paint, gold leaf and etched glass. What an absolute treat.

Andrew trained as a sign writer in his early days and Scott has been plying the trade for 30 years. The craft is enjoying a resurgence and orders are stacked up into November.

About Toronto, Zeidler told The Star, “It’s just so disappointing. My whole point in starting this 23 years ago was to prove that you could do something that was for-profit that was actually good for society, and decent, and you could stick to your guns all the way through.”

Here’s an article about Toronto’s stupid situation.