“Balcony Becky” is how she is known to some people, except that her first name is Marcella, and the 45th-floor balcony belonging to an AirBnB listing at Maple Leaf Square is only a bit player in her video. She claims to be an exchange student from Brazil, but seems more like an escort from someplace more local.
This has given rise to several memes, and along with it criminal charges of reckless endangerment or something along those lines. Later photos appear to have her with much more plastic surgery and breast enhancement, which tells us pretty much how her counselling went.
In the old days (before 2005!), all you needed to do to get censured by future employers was to post a picture of yourself doing something immoral or stupid somewhere searchable; or a video of yourself on YouTube. To make the newspapers, radio and TV, you still had to do something truly ridiculous or heinous. Marcella has, in the age of Instagram and Twitter, overcome the meme barrier to enter the major media, thus amplifying the number of hateful messages sent to her.
Last I heard, at some point before or after Marcella’s guilty plea, her lawyer was trying to get her dental school to reverse the expulsion, but she remains expelled. I would say that the school was rightfully afraid of becoming known as “the dental school where the Chair Girl attended.” She was training to be a dental assistant, while modelling to help pay bills.
Etobicoke. People in hard times. Yeah, there are good parts of this Toronto borough, but huge parts of it are run-down and filling up with down-and-outers looking to make a buck any way they can. People in hard times, closed shops and factories, low rates of literacy, and not much money to spend.
After decades of seeing their jobs moving to Mexico and the Asia-Pacific region, or having their job security thrown into torpor with the prospect of having them competing with jobs in these places, the members of Ford Nation are weary, and have lost hope in any prospect of a secure job. It is not like in times past anymore, where we lived in a work environment where the employer would take care of them. The differences in wealth have never been greater since the 1920s. The new employment strategy among the employers in Etobicoke seems to be to blame the unemployed for their unemployment.
There was, once upon a time, a way around this: Organize. Share thoughts and concerns, make demands. The ability to organize takes a certain level of self-efficacy, and not many seem to feel that they have it. It is a feeling, after all, since if illiterate workers in Argentina can do it, I am sure workers in Etobicoke can do it too. But there is a certain element of this that is emotional. if you don’t feel that you can do something successfully, you probably aren’t going to be successful.
But that’s another thing. Today’s employee is probably just glad they have a job at all, let alone one that would grant any job security. Unstable incomes lead to unstable families, marriages, and lives. Who do you turn to?
God. And possibly Oprah.
I believe in God. But I think that the number of churches where the answer to poverty is that “if you pray to God with love in your heart, you will get what you need” is on a worrisone rise, and the one-of-a-kind churches seem to specialize in this. While apparently everyone has seemed to given up on organizing, and working as a group of concerned people in a community, I sense that some denominations tend to mimic the effects of the major media, in exacerbating feelings of aloneness and atomization, the opposite of community.
But in comes Rob Ford. Like “us”, he drinks, says anything that is on his mind, and tells off-color jokes. People in Etobicoke identify with him, almost forgetting that his father was a factory owner (he was born into money), and he too is also rich, owns a bungalow and drives an Escalade. Also, unlike most of the working class, he can afford to smoke crack. But instead, the self-appointed denizens of Ford Nation choose to see that “he has his problems” like “us”. He admits his imperfection so that it may help heal his wounds. Even Jesus had wounds, and suffered greatly, so that he may heal others.
Does anyone remember the billboard that was up for one day long the Gardiner Expressway/Highway 427 basket weave (you can’t call it a cloverleaf) that mentioned Rob Ford and ended with a quote from John 8:7? The “cast the first stone” verse is a bad choice of quote, since, well, what is the context? If I recall my Bible correctly, a woman who committed adultery faced a public death by stoning. Jesus intervened and made his famous order that any man who was there (they were all men doing the stoning) who was “without sin” cast the first stone. I take this, and I believe not altogether incorrectly, that any man present who had also not been adulterous cast the first stone. “Sin” in this context usually always means having sex when you are not supposed to. They had, by how I interpret that parable, all been sinful, and likely sinful in the same way. I can say how this is a commentary on how we as humans tend to be the most passionate accusers of other people’s sins which we have ourselves committed, but you’ll be spared. Instead, I draw your attention to the fact that the “sins” are equivalent. All people Jesus faces are guilty of the same or similar sins.
We are given the impression through this sign that I, a sinner have no right to call out a mayor who smokes crack or acts in a highly unprofessional manner in many ways. This only works if my “sins” are equivalent to Ford’s (in this case, vices of many descriptions including drugs and sex). Not all of us smoke crack or consort with prostitutes and drug dealers. I think that makes the majority of our population free of such “sins”.
Rob Ford is not Jesus. Jesus did not smoke crack, nor did Jesus find himself in the company of crack dealers. If it were, it would only to be to get them to repent their crack-dealing ways forever. Jesus was never in “a drunken stupor”. Also, unlike Jesus, most of Ford’s wounds are self-inflicted, if we are to carry the “wound” analogy. Ford has a bigger problem that can’t just be confessed away, and it goes beyond any problems “us common folk” have. These are problems involving criminals, and the police. This is a larger set of personal problems that would dwarf most of ours by orders of magnitude. And they are all problems that Rob Ford made for himself.
I did this ride yesterday, taking Lakeshore Road (Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto) for almost the whole length. Construction on the Gardener closed it for the downtown core, diverting almost all traffic to Lakeshore Boulevard, slowing it down considerably. However, even in the fast parts, I was still able to keep up with the traffic. I bailed out at Canada Drive, and rode the CNE grounds to the exit at Strachan, taking the bridge north. Went the wrong way on Palmerston past Queen (according to Google, but saw no street sign saying “One Way”. And the oncoming drivers didn’t seem to mind, but I admit the street was quite narrow), and turned left at Harbord.
… And both of them are from that group from Montreal called April Wine. This group was really big in Canada in the 70s and 80s, and they had some of my favourite songs that I grew up with. Trouble was, while their music was really good, their record covers consistently sucked greasy cheese balls. They were flat, cliche covers that made no impression whatsoever on the buyer. Here are two of, in my opinion, the worst album covers that April Wine had offered in this vein.
This is their 1973 album “Electric Jewels”, which is cliche in every detail and screams to the buyer nothing more than “this is an album with music in it”. It totally belies what is inside the covers of this album. Well, there is “Electric” in the title, so you might be expected to play this one a little louder.
While just about every track on this record is a strong track, capable of getting you hooked, none of its three singles made the top-10 (Lady Run, Lady Hide (peaked @ 19, lasted 5 weeks); Weeping Widow (peaked @ 40, lasted 2 weeks); and Electric Jewels (never made the top 40)).
Both records in today’s posting could easily have been designed by K-Tel.
The cover for “Live at the El Mocambo” embellishes the design on the backdrop of one of the stages of the landmark night club. The two palm trees were part of El Mocambo’s trademark. But this idea only works as an album cover backdrop if you live in Toronto. If you are from outside Toronto, or have never been in the night club, you are left scratching your head, wondering if they’ve adopted a Jimmy Buffett sound.
The ElMo, as it is known to us locals, is located on 404 Spadina, in the middle of what they call the Computer Ghetto in Downtown Toronto. Got changed to a dance studio a few years back, then re-opened again.
The Ramones played there. So did Lou Reed, Blondie, The Police, Black Flag, Jonhhy Winter, Charles Mingus, Rush, Elvis Costello, U2, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and even Marilyn Monroe. She played there in 1958. When April Wine recorded live for this album in 1977, they were opening for The Rolling Stones.
Just like a Canadian band to take all that tradition, and all those bragging rights, and make an album cover that is as lame as you can possibly make it. Believe it or not, their concerts were not lame, explaining why they recorded 7 live albums in their tenure. This album reputedly has a killer live version of Oowatanite. But who would know? By 1979, I remember noticing piles of these albums in the delete bin.
In total April Wine had released 35 singles by 1993, and 21 of them charted in the Top 40. 7 of them were hits in the U. S., with three of them peaking on Billboard in the Top 40: Could Have Been A Lady (1972), Roller (1979), and Just Between You and Me (1981). At least 3 of their albums went either platinum or double platinum.