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Newsstand: March 4, 2014

Fontrum—a word Urban Dictionary defines as “feeling embarrassment for someone that doesn't have enough common sense to feel the embarrassment that they should be feeling for themselves.” Alternatively defined as the “state Torontonians perpetually exist in whenever Mayor Ford opens his mouth and words come out.” In the news: Rob Ford was on Jimmy Kimmel to promote the Toronto film industry while the Toronto film industry says, “No thanks, we’re totally cool without you!”; the premier of the Yukon brought some severed toes to Toronto…for drinking purposes; and a contingency fee to help keep Toronto’s ice rinks open longer.

matt newsstand newspaperlies

If Robyn Doolittle’s book on Mayor Rob Ford is indeed adapted into a film, then let’s hope they omit the scene in which the mayor was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night talk show. It was a three-segment interview that vacillated between being utterly hilarious and completely cringe-worthy, as Mayor Ford tried to hammer home his “taxpayers-first” messaging, as well as his questionable “billion-dollar savings” claim at any available opportunity, while weakly promoting Toronto as a travel destination. Kimmel, quite surprisingly, turned into everyone’s hero by giving Mayor Ford one of his hardest interviews yet. Things got off to a rocky start when Kimmel read out angry tweets that blasted the mayor’s personality and political track record, to which Ford responded, “I guess they don’t talk about all the money I’ve saved. How we straightened out the city.” For the most part, Mayor Ford seemed unprepared for the interview, and was largely flustered when Kimmel made him take in a veritable highlight reel of his antics caught on tape, including the Steak Queen rant. It really is not possible to fully convey in words just how painful the television appearance was, except to harken back to our opening vocabulary lesson and say it satisfied the traditional definition of “fontrum”.

If Mayor Ford had previously said that the purpose of his trip was to promote the Toronto film industry in Los Angeles, industry insiders and decision-makers have said that they seriously doubt what—if any—measurable impact his visit could possibly even have had, especially considering the mayor never consulted with anyone who currently promotes the Toronto industry in Los Angeles. Both the Los Angeles office for the Ontario Media Development Corporation and the City of Toronto’s acting film commissioner say they were not informed of Mayor Ford’s visit and have had no contact with him. The mayor’s help seems superfluous anyway, since new figures released yesterday reveal that the provinces’s film industry is thriving, with $1 billion spent on film production locally in the past three years.

It is too bad that Mayor Ford has been out of town partying in $2,500 poolside cabanas like every other “average Joe” mayor, because he missed a local fiesta at hotel Le Germain that likely would have been right up his alley. Delegates of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada came together with the premier of the Yukon, Darrell Pasloski and the Yukon’s minister of economic development, Currie Dixon, to cheers with a round of Klondike Sourtoe cocktails. For the uninitiated, the Klondike Sourtoe is a Dawson City ritual that involves a severed, mummified human toe floating in a glass of liquor of one’s own choosing. Daredevils then carefully drink the cocktail, hoping to avoid the toe—although they have been swallowed in the past.

Finally, if the weather is cold enough to skate on an outdoor rink in Toronto, then those rinks should stay open. That is the basic takeaway from what city councillors on the parks and environment committee have to say about this year’s budget shortfall, which left only 17 out of 53 city rinks open past the February 23 closing date—even though temperatures have still been low enough to sustain them. While corporate sponsorship helped to reopen 11 additional rinks through to the end of next week’s school break, Councillor Jaye Robinson (Ward 25, Don Valley West) says that a better use of corporate sponsorship dollars would be to help create a contingency fund to prevent premature rink closures in the future. The parks and environment committee voted to request that parks staff set up a such a contingency fund for next year.

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