I Read The News Today, Oh Boy


By Briane Nasimok

(TORONTO, ON) – As many of us, I have been glued to the continuing Toronto soap opera As the Ford Turns and, like many, may have neglected some of the other important issues that have been in the “news” over the past two weeks.

First, I must admit, one of my former guilty pleasures was reading “journalistic endeavours,” like the National Enquirer, during my “visit the laundromat” phase of life. In retrospect, I believe I never bought one of those exercises in creative journalism although I did spend a good deal of time reading those periodicals while watching the drying cycle, and at the check out counter of the A&P. I learned about particular alien babies that grew up to be the governor of Wisconsin, or the latest fad diet of cream cheese and pickle brine; it works!

Nowadays, while travelling the Toronto transit system, I have taken to pick up the local, free “papers,” so here are some of the stories that caught my fancy.

Something that Mr Ford might like to know, “Bolivia says that less than half of coca crop goes to cocaine.” In a recent government study, it was revealed that 58 per cent of the coca crop goes to traditional uses, while the rest is processed into cocaine.

The European Union-financed report found that 31 per cent of Bolivia’s 10 million people consume coca, used in religious rituals, chewed, and taken in tea. So Rob, perhaps a little trip to South America may be in your cards.

And on a related matter, “Beer pours $13.8 Billion into economy.” Yes, the brew is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the land, accounting for 45 per cent of all alcohol sales and 8.1 per cent of total household expenditures on food and drink.

The brewing, transportation, sale, and consumption of beer contribute account for 1 per cent of our GDP according to the Conference Board of Canada. I’ll drink to that.

“Tim Horton’s to test out first new brew since 1964.” This may affect more Canadians than anything else in the papers. The story goes on to say that the new elixir will, “appeal to today’s consumers who are ‘more educated’ about morning coffee.”

London, ON, and Columbus, OH, will be the “secret” locations of the pilot project that is testing a darker roast, with 80 locations in the US market and 70 on native soil. Vice President of Beverages at Tim Horton’s, David Mackay, was quoted as saying that Canadian coffee drinkers are becoming more educated. They understand a quality cup of coffee.

Which leads me to ask, “What were we drinking before?”

“Wine consumption stomped out in Italy” chronicled the fate of the industry in that grape-loving country. Consumption is at its weakest since Italy was unified in 1862, according to a local farmers’ association. In the ‘70’s, Italians were downing 110 litres each person, per year, which has decreased to a mere 40 litres as of 2013.

The main cause, of course, is the economic downturn. They’re not buying more Canadian beer, unfortunately.

“Pot Smokers in Vietnam digging the Canadian buds” was published even before the Prime Minister decided it was time to reveal the new “free trade” initiative with Europe. It seems that our own “home grown” marijuana is easier to buy in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City than a DVD of the newly released Hunger Games, even though it is up to 10 times the price of locally grown weed. It seems to have caught on better than a Tim Horton’s in Timmins.

“Device may not be the Real McCoy” introduced the world to a true entrepreneur who was selling a specially designed tablet computer that could beam medical data to physicians and other health care providers.

The “pun” in the title refers to Dr Leonard McCoy, former fictitious medical officer on the first Star Trek series, and right away that should’ve given a clue to the Florida firm that was bilked out of $800,000 in US funds.

Give the perp credit. Approaching the “pigeons” impersonating Health Canada officers, including former deputy minister Glenda Yates, automatically legitimizes the item. I imagine the device was also part of Obamacare, although no one was able to research it on line.

“Olympians to Get Lovely Parting Gift” is a headline I rewrote when I read that athletes who fail to clinch Gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics will get to take home a smart phone from Samsung, valued at $900. Anyone who doesn’t finish or fails the urine test may have to use a Blackberry.

“Horse Medication Used as Potential Deadly Diet Drug” is a story that comes from Quebec where their public health advisory issued a warning against Canadians as young as 15 taking clenbuterol. Referred to as the “size zero pill,” the injectable drug, which is primarily a horse medication, is also available online and at gyms. I’m smelling a Ben Johnson comeback.

“Small alligator found in airport” was a report of a foot-long gator found under the escalator at O’Hare. Authorities were “puzzled.” Why? Didn’t it have a boarding pass? The critter may not have been too dangerous as it was captured by putting a trashcan over it.

Security cameras have since found visuals of a woman with the critter on a Blue Line train going to the airport and she is now being hunted down.

“Let Women Watch; FIFA President” was a plea by the head of the soccer association to Iranian authorities. It seems there is a ban on female soccer spectators in stadiums in that country. Thankfully women will still be banned from watching Toronto FC play, a move for their own good.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.