A good day today. Much progress has been made on my book commission, and this evening, after pizza, we walked down to a nearby park, all of us, and Vivian got a ride on the swings. I’ve uploaded some pictures onto Flickr.
We’re in the midst of a heatwave here. Yesterday, we went to Ikea, and as I crossed the parking lot, it was a windy day, but the wind offered no relief. It was like standing in front of a furnace. Still, the weather here is better than in Des Moines. Iowa is having flooding problems. The floodplains of Des Moines are already full, and there’s talk about opening a damn upstream, because of flooding there.
Des Moines has handled floods before, and has rebuilt itself to deal with this problem. Still, it’s a lot of rain, and the forecast for this week is more rain. Rosemarie is a little worried, and so are we. We could use some of that rain up here, I think.
Higher, Grandma! Higher!
Okay, maybe not that high?
A Toronto-Caracas Axis?
Robert notes that, in 2007, the Venezuelan city of Caracas tried to purchase the services of London, England’s urban planners in exchange for subsidized fuel for London Transport, allowing the City of London to offer subsidized fares. Yes, this was a deal with London’s former mayor, “Red” Ken Livingstone and Hugo Chavez, but it seemed to provide a good deal for both cities.
Now, of course, with Tory Boris Johnson just elected mayor of London, the deal has been cancelled, leaving London taxpayers on the hook for the subsidized fares and Caracas again looking around for good urban planners. Robert’s suggestion to Toronto mayor David Miller: offer your planners, and accept subsidized fuel for the Toronto Transit Commission.
It’s a tempting idea. The TTC has a fuel deal that has locked the commission into fuel prices that were set last September, and prices have since increased dramatically. As a result, the commission is looking at requiring an additional $100 million to operate next year. Fuel costs are clearly hampering our efforts in providing service that Torontonians need.
Now, I’ve expressed concerns about Chavez’ divisive rhetoric in the highly polarized political and economic environment of Venezuela, but the country remains a democracy. The idea probably won’t fly, politically, but it is a shame that it won’t. Because Toronto could stand to benefit from this opportunity, and there should be no shame in continuing to deal with a democratic Venezuela. Doing so could help it remain democratic.
Listening to NPR, I hear that Japan companies are scrambling to produce swimsuits that match improvements realized by Speedo ahead of the Olympics. The new high tech suits sucks the muscles into just the right shape for maximum performance and repels water, reducing drag. Thanks to the new Speedo suits, world records are falling. Some on the Japanese swim team, which had hoped to win up to five medals this summer, are scrambling to get their hands on the Speedos, prompting Japanese companies wishing to protect their contracts with the national swim team to scramble. Others are wondering, quite rightly, whether technology should have such an influence in the performance of athletes in a sporting venue that is about human achievement.
My solution, to level the playing field, is to return to the Olympic values of old. I say that, for everyone to have a fair shake, Olympic athletes must compete as the ancient Greeks did: naked! Who’s with me?