Archive for March, 2007

Gunboats and diplomacy

March 29, 2007

Gunboat diplomacy

“What’s news?”

“You know, I can’t figure those British guys out. The Iranians kidnap their sailors and the Brits go around threatening the Iranians right there in public. Well, you just know for sure that the Iranians won’t be giving those sailors back if the Brits try pushing them around; I bet the Iranians would shoot those sailors instead of losing face in front of the whole world.

“You don’t go pushing folks up against the wall if you want something from them. You got to be nice and do things quietly. Maybe the Brits might lose their face, but it’s their sailors they want back, so they should just stop being so mouthy. Then they could get their sailors back and everyone would be happy.”


PS: [Apr 5] It looks like the British Prime Minister took Tony’s advice.

A closer reading

March 29, 2007

“You remember that woman who gave me my Christmas card and the birthday card? Well, she came by the other day and invited me to a Bible reading.”

“Have you ever been to one?”

“Nope, no idea what they do at Bible readings. Like they say, there’s a first time for everything.”

Swinging with the dinosaurs

March 28, 2007

“Yup, I’m a dinosaur, alright.

“Even the guard captain said it at the jail. Believe it or not, he remembered me from 20 years back when he started working there. He said I was there when the last guys got swung from the ropes. I don’t know about that.”

P.S.: The last hanging in Canada occurred in 1962; notably, it took place at the Don Jail.

He was lost but now he’s found

March 25, 2007


Found the man himself up the street, a long block north of his normal perch. Looking only slightly worse for wear, he expects to be back in his normal spot before the coming week is over. Tony had to uproot himself because he had — what might be charitably called — a misunderstanding with the Alternative Grounds folk. This is notable because the AG folks are a reasonable and decent lot, a claim that Tony would corroborate, I believe. So it’s hardly a stretch to point out that Tony should have known better than to even allow the appearance  of impropriety, whatever the actual circumstances. To be sure, better judgement would change his life in vastly more substantive ways too.

More to come. Thanks to those who led me to him.

Update on the update

March 24, 2007

Well, it’s come to this: If you see Tony, have him call me. Despite having been up and down Roncesvalles a dozen times in the last several days, I’ve not seen him, even following up on the sightings of those of you who have.

Update on that missing Tony

March 22, 2007

Apparently, everyone has seen him except me (see readers’ comments in previous post).

This is when Tony’s lack of phone and street address really gets in the way. Anyway, he’s evidently alive and kicking, and I’m bound to run into him sooner or later.

Tony is missing

March 20, 2007

He’s been missing for several days. Updates as and when.

A raging fire

March 14, 2007

The schoolmaster

“Tell me about school.”

“When I was 13, I tried to burn the school down. I was at Palmerston Public School, and I didn’t want to go to school that day. So I told my mom but she said I was going to school anyway, and I didn’t get any breakfast. We didn’t have a lot of money. So I went to school and we were having some sort of exam I think, and I asked Mr. Hoffman my teacher, if I could go to the bathroom and he said ‘no’. I figure he thought I was trying to cheat.”

“Were you?”

“No. He finally let me go anyway but I was really pissed. so I tried to I set fire to the school. You see, I was smoking since I was pretty young so I had lots of lighter fluid, and I just sprayed it all on the bulletin board in the hallway and lit it up. Then I kind of ‘woke up’ and I went back to the classroom to tell him their was a fire in the hallway. So they got everyone out of the school and then Mr. Hoffman asked me if I knew how the fire happened. I told him and he sent me down to the principal’s office. I got the strap and then they kicked me out of school. They sent me to Parkway Vocational and I learned more there in the shop class than I ever learned at school.”

Death and menace

March 11, 2007

The jailed bard

TONY (written while he was in jail)
“Forget the loneliness, here in jail, all you hear about is how someone is going to kill the guy who put him in here, and that’s the only thing you hear all day, everyday. I go to the chapel when I can but it still doesn’t help the loneliness or anything else.

“To me, I feel like I’m wasting other people’s time and letting them down. I need to talk to someone so I don’t feel like I’m always going crazy, with all this talk of killing people all around me.

Jail is all about death and I feel like I’m dying myself too.”

Hometown son

March 9, 2007

The Toronto Sun

The Leafs got slaughtered last night. They dropped the game 5-1. It was a total disaster.”

Update on Tony: He’s dealing with the cold, the leg brace, the one crutch, the inconvenience, the pain, plus the everyday pedestrian stuff. On the bright side, Tony’s got a reasonable prospect of long-term, affordable accommodation in the near future.

Wonder of bread

March 8, 2007


“So do you like the sandwich I made you?”

“It’s just fine … I never argue about food.”

Thinking and dreaming about Britney Spears

March 5, 2007

People Magazine front page image from Wikipedia

“What do think about the news on Britney Spears?”

“[Begin Tony’s response by inserting your favoured phrase for conveying unfettered heterosexual enthusiasm.] Well maybe some people think she’s nothing special, but I like her because she does her songs for the common people.

Yeah, I saw in the newspaper about her shaving her head which they should just leave her alone about, if you ask me. What’s wrong with shaving your head? The fire guys and the cops do it, when they’re raising money for cancer. People with cancer go bald with those chemicals and they need wigs too. So what’s someone’s big problem with that?”

“I saw a story that said she’s been suicidal too.”

“That’s probably that she’s got some problems upstairs. I always learned that you can’t pick on people with a sickness, like with crippled people. They should just leave her alone.”

Back to the grind

March 4, 2007

Back to the Grounds

Tony’s story — Part #4

March 2, 2007

One dollar, 1959

TONY (written while he was in jail)
“Two months just before I turned 10 yrs. old, I met this man called Jake. He drove this horse called Betty and pulled an old wagon with iron wheels. We’d go through the back lanes collecting scrap metal. Some of it was good but most days were really bad. On a good day, I made $1.00. I guess that was 1959.”

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