Mitch Wolfe Worships at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen for Sunday Brunch in Liberty Village

Many friends of mine have been extolling the virtues of Mildred’s for years, especially its legendary Sunday brunch.

When it comes to fancy Sunday brunches, I am generally indifferent. Agnostic. But this past Sunday, friends of mine encouraged me to tag along. Why not? And I became a true believer. A convert. Definitely a happy member of Mildred’s Temple.


Mildred’s is located in the King/Dufferin area, amidst a forest of steel + glass condominiums, aka Liberty Village.

In the middle of this high rise condo village is a ‘village square’ of sorts. Anchored by a 24 hour Metro grocery store, bakers, candlestick makers, Nike, a Shoppers Drug Mart, banks, hair and nail spas, and Mildred’s.

Mildred’s is very airy, high-ceilinged and cool with an open kitchen in the middle, for all to see. Sunday brunch is from 9am to 3pm. Waits are at least one hour+ to get a seat and no reservations are taken. First come, first serve. Recommended 9am at the opening bell if you want a seat.


Unfortunately, my friends had had a late night the night before – some random dude’s birthday party. Apparently many vodka sodas and straight whiskeys, well into the morn, had pushed our brunch to 2pm.

Silver lining for my friends, Mildred’s rocks as great comfort and hangover food.

So we arrived at 2pm and as expected, there was at least a 60 minute wait.

But my friends were smart, they grabbed some chairs at the bar and ordered a single pancake special with The Bungalow Island Caesar (Iceberg Vodka, Mott’s Clamato juice, signature rim, curly celery and fresh horseradish to cure the hair of the dog).

(See photo of Mrs. Biederhof’s Legendary Light & Fluffy Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake served with Lanark County maple syrup & whipped cream.)


Since the single pancake was so large and fluffy, and just oozed decadent whipped cream, blueberries and maple syrup, they just shared a single one. Sort of a pre-brunch, like a pre drink, before the main event. According to these two, this buttermilk pancake was heaven on a plate.

Our initial server Kaitlyn was just a doll. So upbeat, attentive and empathetic. My two friends, still suffering from the throes of a major hangover, sought Kaitlyn’s professional advice on how to combat such a debilitating hangover.

Dr. Kaitlyn wisely steered them away from morning mimosa of Spanish Cava and orange juice to hot black coffee, which seemed to do wonders.

Within 45 minutes, hostess Margo helped us to our table and we were handed off to Calvin, also an excellent server.

Calvin was so upbeat and helpful. He recommended to my two friends Veda’s Choice – Mildred’s classic poached eggs on a flakey croissant. One chose the rosemary bacon option while the other chose smoked salmon. Both topped with Béarnaise sauce and served with mixed greens. (See photo of this Mildred classic.) This dish was a huge hit with my friends. The 45 minute wait was clearly worth it.


For my part, someone had to show some calorie-counting discipline. I had Mildred’s famous house-made crunchy granola with toasted honey oats, macadamia nuts, dried apricots, currants, cranberries and a hint of ginger, topped with yogurt and fresh seasonal fruit. It was delicious, hit the spot. And I could respect myself in the morning.


Calvin was a gem. He anticipated all our strange and unique needs. One of my friends, was vegan-lite and required constant refills of Almond milk as opposed to skimmed milk. And she made other organic and natural demands. Calvin handled all these requests with aplomb and equanimity.

And he kept magically appearing out of nowhere, to refill our steaming hot cups of Java.

In short, the afternoon brunch service at Mildred’s Temple, was short and sweet. We were uplifted by the service, the ambience, and the food, of course. Thank God, no sermon was necessary.

Alex Rad: The BBQ King on Queen West Smoques the Competition

Alex Rad’s BBQ emporium and craft cocktail haven “Smoque N’ Bones” on Queen Street West blows away all his Toronto competition.

For those who know and have read me know that in the past I was a huge BBQ gourmand. More accurately, a BBQ glutton. A raunchy pork rib porker. A pulled pork pundit. And a crazed beef brisket banshee.

mlw and alex

I used to stalk the Stockyards on St. Clair and constantly blacken the door of the Black Camel near the Rosedale subway. Sometimes I would travel way across town to deepest, darkest Parkdale, grow some facial hair and don a hoodie for Electric Mud BBQ, all for its crispy, juicy pulled pork sandwiches.

Most recently, due to doctor’s orders, I’ve gone veggie lite.

Recently I have fallen off the pork/rib chuck wagon, having fallen in love with a very rad “Smoque N’ Bones”.

Truth be told, I have gone several times to “Smoques” and every time, it was better than the last visit.

I have tried most of the delicious meats and sides. My favourite is the sampler. A choice of three meats and three sides.

I love the pork ribs. Smoky, tender, succulent and juicy. More slow bite, savour and chew, than fall off the bone.


No question, Alex Rad’s southern smoker delivers the goods. The awesome ribs are served naked, just the way I like them as does most rib aficionados. I hate them pre-slathered and over-slathered with unnecessary BBQ sauce. Smoques supplies you with your own glazing brush and extra BBQ sauce so that you can apply its house-made sauce as you like it.

Pulled pork is hard to pull off, but chef Alex does it with great aplomb. Roasted daily for about 14 hours, the pulled pork, sans bun, is moist, soft, flavourful and the tangy, smoky sauce complements without obscuring its zesty taste.

The beef brisket is not like my dear old mom used to make – thanks goodness! In this case, the brisket is insanely moist and surprisingly scrumptious. It is must be chef Alex’s secret smoking and sauce. Also, the extra subtle layers of fat jumpstart its juiciness.

Smoque’s sides are a misnomer. Supporting actors, they are not. They can easily stand on their own, as full meals in themselves.

Feeling guilty about my non-veggie binging, I naturally gravitated to the crisp collard greens, candied yams and caramelized onions and brussel sprouts. They were all excellent. And seemingly healthy.

Unfortunately, that diet-conscious ship sailed a long time ago. On subsequent trips to Smoques, I macked out on the creamy mac and cheese and then dove head first into the devilishly delicious buttermilk onion rings and obscenely fine waffle sweet potato fries.

Aren’t sweet potato fries supposed to be healthier than your run of the mill greasy French fries?

But by my third visit to Smoques, who gives a flying fry? I was mainlining those earthy subtle sweet potato fries, fried to a perfect crisp, dipped in chipotle mayo, directly into my thickening thighs. Oh well.

Don’t get me started on the addictive pecan pie with Bourbon Crème Anglaise!

Chef Alex had to cut me off at two servings of that Bourbon-infused pecan pie or I would have been pecan pie impaired.

But man cannot live on Smoque’s bread pudding alone (with intoxicating Bourbon sauce).

True, the food is the thing, but what drives me back on a regular basis to Smoques, is the people and the service.

Chef/owner Alex, a former Bay Street financier, is the heart, soul and driving force of Smoque N’ Bones.

But he has also surrounded himself with a tremendous group.

The beautiful and extremely competent Lexa, is Alex’s “go to” person. She has worked closely with Alex from the outset and has helped him define and implement his vision for Smoques. Also I understand Lexa assisted Alex in renovating the second floor into a really cool, open bricked, original barn wood floor, smoky, retro “old school” cocktail bar.

Lexa also prepares, slices, dices and serves the meaty entrees with skill and experience way beyond his years.

There is also the lovely and warm Vanessa, who works the front and ensures that every patron is always satisfied.

Vanessa also on occasion mans the upstairs cocktail lounge. She is a true artist and cocktail craftsman.

I am not normally a bourbon, vermouth or gin drinker but Vanessa’s Marakesh and Wild Rose crafted cocktails went down oh-so-smoothly.

In big, bad and often personally cold Toronto, Smoques is truly a place where they always know your name and treat you like family. Actually, better than family.

I guarantee you will first go for the food, but you will keep coming back because it is like a second home, for us urban dwellers who are constantly searching for a place with great food and a staff who genuinely enjoys your company and can’t do enough for you.

In short, this is a great Smoque N’ place!!!

smoque 5smoque1smoque2

Mitch Wolfe Reviews Daniel Boulud’s “Café Boulud” in the Toronto Four Seasons Hotel

Internationally-known French Chef Daniel Boulud re-launched his renovated Café Boulud at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel. And this second act really builds and soars.

About seven months ago, Daniel (we are on a “connus juste par un prenon” basis) reopened his eponymous French bistro for us local epicureans.

This place is simply magnificent – in a very informal, comfy, stylish, subtly Parisian sophisticated way.

This modern French brasserie was conceived by the designer du jour, Swedish-born and London-based Martin Brudnizki. Café Boulud contains many of the same signature flourishes that are on display in Brudnizki’s other killer London restaurants, namely Annabel’s, Le Caprice, Dean Street Townhouse, Hix and of course, The Ivy.

cafe boulud- bar

Seductive lighting, comfortable seating in two-toned brown and green leather banquettes. A long, beautifully lit marble bar, usually populated with beautifully-coiffed and toned, TIFF-ready femme fatales.

(And their Bay Street banker dude escorts.)

Unique sensual and surprising artwork compliments and sets the scene. A drop dead gorgeous photo of the lovely Grace Kelly on one wall. A whimsical photo of a smiling Einstein on another wall. Fun and sexy and oh-so-smooth.

The service is warm and friendly, reflecting the very comfortable ambience.

At the entrance I was greeted not by just one captivating hostess, but by a team of three lovely women. My favourite, of course, is the lovely Wintana, who adroitly showed me to my table and in one seamless action, checked my trusty laptop, briefcase and my sturdy Burberry coat. (It was now the cool beginning of spring in the “6”, yo.)

Wintana 2

I am not the easiest of customers – I called in advance on short notice. And though the place was packed, the hostesses found me a lovely banquette for the Bleu plat special at 6pm. One friend was joining me at 6:30pm and another friend was joining us at 8:30pm. So we were graciously accommodated with an intimate banquette pour trois.

Then a team of waiters was at my beck and call.

Diet Coke with a chaser of sparkling water magically appeared.

The atmosphere was definitely electric and the dinner crowd was eclectic.

A few tables to my left was a striking blonde woman, a Kate Hudson-lookalike with an infectious laugh, and her attentive beau.

To my right, a quiet multi-generational Asian family, consisting of proud parents, beaming grandparents and unusually well-behaved two year old twins.

Next to me was a very youthful married couple, Paul and Candy, about to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

And the food: sublime.

My friend and I shared the Beignets de Calamar (slightly beer battered calamari, subtly drenched in pickled hot pepper and spicy kaffir lime sauce). Wow. The various spices and flavours popped unexpectedly on the tongue.

cafe boulud calamari

I am a connoisseur of grilled calamari. This was the best in Toronto. Better than Terronis’ own signature grilled calamari.

I also had the Kale Grille and Romaine salade. It was marvellously presented – a tiny perfect mound of grilled kale, romaine, carrots, cumin, black olives, golden raisins and infused with spiced yogurt dressing. The secret was the beautifully grilled part and the spicy yogurt.

I eat a ton of kale on a weekly basis. Practically every day. Kale is normally rough. Not that tasteful. But this grilled kale with the spicy yogurt dressing and other ingredients was so delicious that I almost forgot that it was healthy for me.

cafe boulud grilled kale salad

My friend is a connoisseur of steak tartare. She had Café Boulud’s Parisian steak tartare – prime Angus beef, surrounded by crisp Romaine lettuce and drenched in pickled condiments and a light mustard egg dressing. This dish was elaborately prepared in front of us! My friend opined that this was the best steak tartare she had in Toronto in a very long time.

Our neighbours in the next table, the very youthful and fun couple, in their 70s, permitted me to photograph and taste their Quenelle de Brochet, a Lyon-style northern pike quenelle swimming in a heavenly Cognac lobster sauce.

Daniel, our chef, hails from the Lyon region of France. Pike quenelle or fish mousse dumpling, is a French culinary classic. Our very well-informed server explained that such a way of cooking and presentation was the traditional way around of removing the pike’s numerous primary and secondary bones. I did not know that.

cafe boulud- quennelles

Candy, my neighbour was totally taken by the quenelle. Its texture, its flavour and Cognac lobster sauce.

She found the dish intoxicating and surprisingly aphrodisiac.

I joked with Paul, her husband, that they were such a happy couple. It was as if they were on their fifth date, with romance very much in the air. I suggested to Paul that tonight he might get lucky.

Fortunately, Paul and Candy were good sports and laughed at my fish mousse-inspired musings.

Then quite unexpectedly, two more friends showed up for dinner. Unfortunately our table was for two and not for four. I told you that I was not a low-maintenance, undemanding customer.

Fortunately, the staff was extremely attentive to our plight and deftly moved, we party of four, to a lovely corner banquette.

Our two friends immediately ordered the Steak Frites, medium rare. A flat iron eight ounce steak, with sauce béarnaise, pommes frites and gem lettuce with shallot dressing.

Classic French bistro fare.

The steaks did not disappoint. They were great. And the golden, crispy, European style, frites, were irresistible.

The evening was topped off with the head bartender, Shannon, providing his signature drinks.

cafe boulud shannon

Shannon has an apparent “Masters in Mixology”. He also has a very professional deft touch. With both liquor and the Café’s thirsty patrons at his long marble bar.

He is a master of the Mai Tai. And a smash with his watermelon smash. The former – a unique blend of dark rum, orgeat, lime, bitters and mint. The latter – an oh-so-smooth grapefruit soaked vodka, with basil, watermelon and soda.

But then Shannon, saved the best for last. His “Led Zeppelin” really rocked the house: tequila, amaro nonino, aperol and a dash of lime. My friend said that this drink, as in Zeppelin’s classic “Stairway Way to Heaven” starts slow, builds and then hits you with a wild hard rock finish.

Here’s a YouTube link to that amazing song:

Much like Boulud’s bistro.

Boulud’s vision is for his restaurant to serve a seasonally changing menu rooted in French tradition, highlighting both bistro classics and contemporary dishes inspired by his own family meals in Lyon.

To date, the team at Café Boulud have far exceeded expectations. The full house every night is evidence that atmosphere, service and food are resonating with many of us hungry travellers.

Rob Ford, Rest in Peace, Buddy

I am personally devastated by the sudden death of Rob Ford. About six months ago, I had dinner with Rob at a downtown Italian bistro. At that time Rob appeared happy and optimistic. He had lost some weight.

The cancer appeared in remission or at least appeared- beatable. At dinner, Ford had that political fire in his belly. He was highly critical of the Tory mayoralty and in two years he was going take him on again and win back the mayoralty.

Though the cancer beat Ford today, the cancer will never wipe out the love and affection that many Torontonians had for this man. His strength as a person is that he genuinely cared about people and he sincerely wanted to help them out. Whether it be by fixing the potholes in the neighborhood, ensuring the heat was turned back on in the apartment,  or making sure there was sufficient local police in the area to ensure the safety of the local citizens. The little things that mean a great deal to the average man or woman on the street. Regardless of race, color, creed, gender, ethnicity or religion.

Rob Ford was the consummate retail politician. A true man of the people. And he had great political instincts.

These political traits made him ultimately a very formidable politician. Rob was fiercely supported by a large number of people, from all walks of life, men and women, young and old, old stock Toronto and very visible nonwhite minorities (collectively, Ford Nation) who stuck by him through thick and thick and through all his personal problems. The rock-solid support of his followers never wavered. Never bent. Never collapsed. Even his political foes and media opponents grudgingly acknowledged that fact.

Hey, buddy, the fight is over. You can safely rest in peace. But your indomitable spirit and the many fond memories will always linger on among your many friends and followers.

Why Americans Are Flocking to “Let’s Make America Great Again” Trump and The Wild-Eyed Socialist Sanders

I love the fact that the majority of so-called political experts andpundits on both the left and right in both the US and Canada- are stumped and stupefied over the success of the Trumpster and the raging septuagenarian socialistic Sanders, the junior senator from small town-state Vermont.

These elitist lame stream commentators and analysts and even the long time political Democratic and GOP hacks are positively verklempt (speechless, overwrought with emotion) over the unpredictable political success of these two characters.

Trump’s amateur reality TV show run for the presidency was supposed to have fizzled months ago. The experts had the GOP coalescing behind the heavily-funded and favored Jeb Bush or the younger and more immigrant-friendly, youthful and telegenic Marco Rubio.

But the Jebster, the silver spoon-fed Waspy preppie since birth, the apple of Papa George’s eye, was ironically, just not and will never be ready for prime time. In the debates, the Jebster came across as boring, weak and indecisive, burdened down by his tight-assed New England upbringing and his brother George’s shoot from the hip,overly militaristic and economically unsustainable, deficit-ridden Texas cowboy presidency.

Rubio is just a poor man’s middle of the road Cuban Mitt Romney. Caught in the vortex of the Hobbesian GOP’s highly primal primary politics. Which is short, brutish, no holds-barred, and down and dirty. One day Rubio is for legitimizing illegal immigrants. The next day, bowing to the anti-immigrant GOP right wing, he is for deporting most of them out of the country.

The problem for Rubio, Cruz, Christie and all the other pretenders to the GOP throne, is that none of these political dudes appear comfortable in their own skin. They all appear, weak, indecisive. Tacking one way, then the other, as the always shifting political winds.

Very much like the now reviled and weakened President Barack Obama. President Barry started with such “hope” and promise. But he has been exposed as the weakest, the most obsequious and the sorriest US president in the last century. He talks and talks and talks. But on the world stage, he carries a very limp stick.

Barry, the leader of the most powerful country in the world, is openly mocked by the thuggish Putin, Arab oil sheiks, and Iranian mullahs. To whom Prez Barry continually prostrates himself. Kissing their rings and their behinds. Constantly seeking their approval as he unsuccessfully sought, throughout his life, the approval of his distant Kenyan father, who had abandoned him at an early age.

Obama will be forever be associated with the pussy-whipped slogan, “leading from behind”.

His disappearing “red line in the Mideast sand on Syria”, was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. To mix Mideast metaphors.

From that time forth, Putin jumped in and overshadowed him. The Iranian mullahs mocked him. And Barry’s key allies in Europe, the Mideast (Israel), Asia ( Japan) and South Asia ( India) began distancing themselves from him and America.

The result- a horrible and embarrassing near fatal blow to America’s confidence and national self-esteem, both domestically and internationally.

The pussy-whipping of Obama, both literally at home and abroad, is the reason for the rise of Trump and Sanders.

As the brilliant Ross Douthat , argues in Sunday’s New York Times, (click here) Americans- young, old, white, male, female and of color, want American to be great again. They are tired of settling for mediocrity. Of just getting by. They want to prosper. They want a better future for themselves and their children. They want to have a shot at what Trump has- and is offering.

As for the Democrats. Sanders genuinely believes that government can be a force for good and can uplift all Americans, beyond mediocrity to greatness.

For the Democrats, Sanders is the change agent. Hillary Clinton is “Yesterday’s Woman”. A congenital liar and prevaricator. Scandals, lies and deceptions are embedded in her DNA. “Whitewater, Benghazi, destruction of her national security/private emails, Slick Willy selling access to Secretary of State Hillary, for millions of dollars- the list goes on and on and on- with no end in sight. Until Sanders drives a stake in the primaries- once and for all- through Clinton’s cold-hearted chest.

Clinton is no advocate for women or women’s rights. She is a power-hungry Lady Macbeth, tainted by the blood of publicly humiliating and destroying scores of vulnerable women preyed on by her sexual predator of her husband.

I predict a Trump/Sanders fight to the death. And a Trump White House in 2017.

Posts are contributed by third parties. The opinions, facts and any other content in them are presented solely by the authors, and CIJnews assumes no responsibility for them.

Reviewing Toronto Mayor John Tory’s first flip-flopping year

When the Globe and Mail is scolding a politician for raising taxes, that’s something you notice.

Marcus Gee of The Globe just did that with Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Tory promised throughout the mayoral race that he would keep annual property tax increases at or below the inflation rate.

And sure enough, John Tory is now raising taxes. He shamelessly lied to the Toronto electorate. And he should be exposed as the lying political hack that he is.

But Tory was not finished. He further lied to the Toronto people by trying to spin this tax, not as a tax, but as a “special levy.” What a slimy weasel.

Next, Tory tried to lessen the pain by referring to this annual $13 per household as just the cost of one ticket to the movies. But as Gee notes, that’s not even accurate, either. The $13 amount isn’t just for the first year, but every year. An additional $13 added to the tax bill over five years equals $65, not $13. That is not just one trip the movies, Mr. Tory, you political reprobate.

Recall that Tory promised throughout the campaign that he would be as fiscally prudent as the former mayor Rob Ford, but without the circus. Tory lied about that as well.

Tory has permitted his own mayoral office budget to increase, far in excess of Rob Ford’s own mayoral budget. It’s already approaching David Miller-ian heights of excess and blatant self-aggrandizement.

You recall how sick and tired we were of Miller’s excesses. Well, John Tory is becoming the second coming of David Miller.

And like David Miller before him, John Tory will be ridden out of Toronto on a rail.

Speaking of our transit/rail system, Gee reminds us about Tory’s promise that his so-called “SmartTrack” would not cost the taxpayer one red cent. He said his multi-billion dollar above rail system would be funded, not by the taxpayers, but by the magic of tax increment financing. Or, as we Tory critics called it, “voodoo financing.”

As we predicted, tax increment financing is a sham. So Tory is forced to finally come clean and approach real taxpayers for real taxpayers money to pay for his transit follies.

Let’s look at another broken promise:

During the first mayoral debate against Rob Ford and Olivia Chow, Tory railed against Chow for suggesting that it was more prudent to retain public sector union garbage pickup east of Yonge Street.

Tory argued persuasively that private sector garbage pick up on the west side of the city had produced annual savings of $11 million, for a total savings in four years of $44 million. He vowed that if elected, he would usher in this more efficient and cheaper private sector garbage pick up in east Toronto as well.

Well, a whole year has passed. And as some of us predicted, the spineless Tory has caved to leftist pro-union interests on city council and in the civil service. Toronto’s east end is still stuck with the more costly and less efficient public sector garbage pickup system.

And who can forget Tory’s characteristic political stupidity and tone-deafness this first year?

Both the left and right on city council were staunchly opposed to Toronto wasting millions of dollars in a ridiculous Olympic bid, and most Toronto voters agreed. Yet Tory doggedly came up with a plan, one predominantly funded by the private sector.

And once again, Tory flipped and flopped. Dithered. Procrastinated. Failed to show clear-headed leadership.
Until he was forced to admit defeat, weeks after most citizens had moved on from this ridiculous debate.

Yes, Tory looks good in a Harry Rosen suit. Presumably he can tie his own shoelaces without the help of his myriad of highly paid handlers, consultants, advisers and spin doctors.

Yes, Tory appears to be a decent guy — so decent that other Toronto councilors run roughshod over the spineless mayor.

But John Tory still lacks good political instincts. And a spine. And he’s still is not ready to lead this great city.

End times? Toronto Star’s Michael Geist questions CBC’s “relevance”

Is the end of the world nigh? Are pigs circling the CBC “white elephant” on Front Street?

I only ask this because one my favorite columnists at the Toronto “Tsar,” Professor Michael Geist, has come down heavy on CBC.

Sounding almost like our own Brian Lilley, Geist writes:

While disagreement over CBC funding is as old as the broadcaster itself, the more uncomfortable discussion for the CBC is its coverage of the current election campaign — particularly its approach to national debates and political party advertising — which raises troubling questions about its relevance in the current media environment.

The most puzzling decision has been its refusal to broadcast debates hosted by other organizations. The CBC may be disappointed with the debate approach adopted by the political parties in this campaign, but that does not change the sense that if the national public broadcaster does not air programs in the national public interest, it calls into question the very need for a public broadcaster.

Those of us on the right have been ranting and raving about this for years: Why are hard-working Canadian taxpayers stuck paying $1 billion of our hard-earned taxpayer money every year to prop up a heavily biased, incompetent organization — CBC English TV — which has been losing thousands of viewers every year, right across the board, in all categories:

* Its entertainment division. Consider the viewing options: This Hour Has Twenty-Two Viewers; The “Should Have Been Cancelled Years Ago” Rick Mercer Report; The Horribly Unfunny Mr. D, to name but three.

* Its sports division. Losing Hockey Night in Canada and replacing it with Canadian award shows (in which heavily-subsidized artists award each other awards for unread books, unheard music and unwatchable TV shows and films) wasn’t a programming change bound to attract regular hard-working Canadian viewers. (That is, the people who are paying the bills.)

* Its news and documentary division. Petey Mansbridge’s The Notional has been irrelevant for years, except to the dwindling elitist mob south of Bloor, who believe Naomi Klein and her sock puppet husband Avi should speak for all of Canada. And ironically, if CBC’s Marketplace was forced to compete in the free marketplace of ideas, it would go the way of home mail delivery.

Which brings us all back to the election debate issue.

CBC did not just shoot itself in the foot, as Geist claimed. It shot itself in both feet. Then it shot itself in the face. Then it committed harakiri on the steps of Front Street. For many Canadians, left and right, CBC’s refusal to air federal election debates has pushed them into the “defunding” camp.

The Canadian people are doing just fine without the CBC. There are still hundreds of solid print and online newspapers. Hundreds of TV networks. Hundreds of online TV networks, podcasts and blogs.

We Canadians have access to tons of news and information from sources more reliable than the highly biased CBC, which has geared all its anti-Harper reporting to side with any party that might throw it a financial lifeline.

I hereby predict the biggest loser of this federal election:

The CBC, by a landslide.

“Toronah”: A funny indie film about Toronto – with a cameo by Rob Ford

Post-TIFF, the major movie buzz in TO is about Toronah, a improvisational comedy set in Toronto.

A rough cut has been circulating in the downtown film world. It’s appeared out of nowhere.

Not just the cast, but the director and producer are all unknowns.

I have been told by inside sources that, from pre production to post-, Toronah was made in a mere three months. That’s unheard of in the Canadian or American film industry.

Rumours abound about its origins.

One source told me the film is the brainchild of three recent film school grads nicknamed “The Three Amigos.”

In the guerrilla filmmaking tradition, they shoot film first and ask for permission later.

Toronah is about funny, tragi-comic losers.

There is Mickey, a middle-aged dude from Chicago, financially down on his luck, in constant fights with his angry and disappointed wife. Basically, he’s a pathetic schmuck, an everyman.

Also, Mickey may or may not be in very deep doo doo with the mob, over some unpaid debts.

(Rumour has it that Toronah features cameos by real Toronto “wise guys”, playing themselves.)

Mickey is forced to come to Toronto to get some much needed cash from his wealthier cousin, Ricky.

There is Johnny K, a portly Asian fellow who’s awkward and a little clueless – who suddenly comes into possession of a black bag containing $100,000.

And the keys to a cool Yorkville condo. And one sweet set of wheels.

Toronah plays homage to Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, with Johnny K mistaken for the much wealthier Ricky, who is flying to Chicago to save Mickey — just as Mickey is flying to Toronto.

Johnny K, in a hilariously deadpan manner, has a series of sexual flings with drop dead gorgeous women/escorts/sidewalk hostesses/wannabe actresses, who all absurdly mistake him for Mickey.

There are other crazy characters who all cracked me up:

Boss Hogg — a profanity-spewing mountain of a man, all dressed in white — stole every scene.

Then there’s Billy: Respectable leasing agent by day, bisexual male whore by night.

Plus there’s a whole slew of salacious, man-eating women who may or may not be the long lost daughters of Mickey’s many previous liaisons.

But the straightest, most conservative, most compelling, most natural and clearly the most sober character in this whole film is the former Mayor Rob Ford, who appears briefly in the opening scene. This guy has natural stage presence. The camera loves Rob. And he nails his lines.

This film is crude, rude, lewd and many female characters are nude.

But what a fun-filled ride in a souped up Trans-Am it is!

Toronah: It’s my kind of film! (Bro.)

#TIFF and the #Tommunist Manifesto: Canadian actors shouldn’t be seen or heard off screen

Canadian celebrities at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2015 — notably actors Rachel McAdams, Ellen Page and the curmudgeonly, decrepit Donald Sutherland — bombed badly this week.

Not onscreen, but off, by supporting the appallingly stupid, Naomi Klein-penned Leap Manifesto.

(Nicknamed the “TommunistManifesto” by conservative wags in “honour” of supposedly centrist NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.)

The reputations of McAdams, Page and Sutherland weren’t the only ones hurt by association with this manifestly moronic manifesto.

Add to the list such notables (or forgettables) as Pam Anderson (whose best screen work was CPRing Tommie Lee’s manhood); multi-millionaire wheezebag and gas-guzzling hypocrite extraordinaire Neil Young; and the usual looney left suspects:  Stephen Lewis, David Suzuki, Maude Barlow and Sid Ryan, to name a representative few.

I am a big Rachel McAdams (True Detective) and Ellen Page (Juno) fan.

Donald Sutherland, on the other hand, was great in the 1970s (in M*A*S*H, Klute and Don’t Look Now) but since then his ongoing scene-chewing evil role in The Hunger Games, is, to use a highly technical cinematic term, pure crap.

We admire McAdams and Page for their acting talent and their ability to touch us and move us emotionally. But let’s face it: When they do so, they are reading other people’s lines and ideas.

Their fame and high profile are based upon their cinematic success and Hollywood promotion.

Where these actors fall miserably on their TIFF-ready faces is in their arrogant belief that their artificially-created Hollywood fame confers upon them influence and wisdom, so that we, their audience, will actually care and believe what they have to say in real life.

So let me put this in terms these clueless, ignorant,  self-satisfied, self-entitled, jet-setting, island hopping Canadian stars and celebrities understand.

Your public support of the Leap Manifesto? Two thumbs down.

You and the Manifesto were a bomb of Heaven’s Gate proportions.

Simply, this ridiculous and irrational manifesto proposes to fix problems that don’t actually exist in Canada: widespread extreme poverty, unsustainable inequality, the genocide of our native people.

And to top it all off, they think Canada’s climate change policy is a crime against humanity.

The Manifesto’s solution is revolution. To blow up Canada’s economy – specifically, its oil and gas sector.

And essentially, go back to a pre-industrial Walden-like existence, where all 35 million Canadians will tend to our garden and our cattle on our little cute farms.

All this would be sustained by clean, renewable  energy, pursuant to strict NIMBYism principles; In their own words – they call it a “new iron law” — “If you wouldn’t want it in your backyard, then it doesn’t belong in anyone’s backyard.”

Which, taken to its logical conclusion, means no renewal energy of any sort — wind farm or solar — you Hollywood nimrods! (Or, come to think of it, any more iron, either…)

Even the left of center Globe and Mail agrees:

The manifesto calls for immediate social revolution in response to the threat of climate change. Its “demands” include “innovative ownership structures” as an alternative to “the profit-gouging of private companies,” and a “new iron law of energy development” that, if taken seriously, would pretty much put an end to every project ever – pipelines, windmills and solar-panel farms included. This iron law states, “If you wouldn’t want it in your backyard, then it doesn’t belong in anyone’s backyard.

If these Canadian celebrities expected their natural audience — leftist NDP members and supporters — would be jazzed by these suggestions, they were misled. Or they have been powering their noses with “questionable” products.

Because the Leap Manifesto sank faster than Adam Sandler’s once buoyant career.

The response so far from Mulcair and his party? Zip, nada, zero. Crickets.

And for good reason, as the Globe’s editorial concludes:

We don’t think Mr. Mulcair endorses the manifesto’s madness. He is far more moderate than that. He is also a politician, and he wants to govern a country that is by its nature suspicious of radical social upheaval, especially when promulgated by rock stars.

Saddling him now, barely a month before the election, with the task of answering questions about a revolutionary utopian manifesto seems like an obvious case of failing to look before you… Well, you know the rest.

I love you, Rachel McAdams. Because of your film work, you are the archetypal sweet Canadian “girl next door”.
But by signing your name to this crazy manifesto, while probably being chauffeured around in a very large gas-guzzling limo, from movie premiere to movie premiere, and from private VIP party to private VIP party, you have transformed yourself into the ditsy, brain-dead lefty goof next door.

Not a pretty picture, Rachel, my dear.

Married to power: Hillary and Olivia and the double standard of wives in politics

Recently I attended a very entertaining Shakespeare play, The Comedy of Errors, performed in Toronto’s High Park. I had not read the play since “Hum 7” (Humanities 7,) a general survey theatre course, in my university days BI (before internet.)

When I reread the play prior to the performance, I was not that interested in the two major characters – two sets of identical brothers, both sets separated at a very early age from each other and from their parents.

What was more interesting to me was the Bard’s complex and modern view of women, marriage and a woman’s place in society – especially as embodied by the fascinating Adriana, the wife of Antipholus from Ephesus (as opposed to Antipholus from Syracuse.)

Adriana is married to a military hero, a successful and apparently wealthy businessman, prominent in Ephesian society, who also has the support of the Solinus, the Duke of Ephesus, the most powerful man in the country of Ephesus.

Accordingly, Adriana lives in a very large house with several male and female servants to attend to her every whim, a sort of Downton Abbey, 16th-century style.

But all is not hunky dory in the House of Antipholus. In this case, money, political power and social prominence do not buy marital bliss or even happiness.

Adriana’s husband also seems to be a philanderer – a rake who enjoys the company of a courtesan who owns the local tavern. Shades of Bill and Hillary Clinton or, closer to home, a former federal NDP leader.

This state of affairs (literally) makes Adriana positively ballistic – and rightfully so.

Adriana is depicted as a very strong, independent, intelligent, passionate and proud woman. Think  Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice or Lady Mary of Downton Abbey. And the above-noted Hillary. And come to think of it, our very own Olivia Chow.

In speaking to her more compliant, unwed sister, Luciana Adriana criticizes the double standard in her society in which men have much more freedom than women to fool around: “Why should their liberty than ours be more?”

Adriana clearly loves her husband, but is also very angry with his playing around. And she is frustrated that her society apparently condones her husband’s behavior, and frowns on Adriana’s public display of anger and disappointment with her husband’s behavior. On the other hand, Adriana astutely observes that her husband and society would condemn her if she too, took a lover.

In one of the most powerful speeches in the play, Adriana anticipates her husband’s violent reaction, if the roles were reversed.

“How dearly would it touch you to the quick,
Shouldst thou but hear I were licentious?…
Wouldst thou not spit at me, and spurn at me,
And hurl the name of husband in my face,
And tear the stain’d skin off my harlot brow,
And from my false hand, cut the wedding-ring,
And break it with a deep-divorcing vow?”

It seems what is true in 16th century England, is still true to this day.

Recall that Bubba “Horn Dog” Clinton had a plethora of beautiful bimbos at his beck and call while Arkansas governor.

And I doubt Monica Lewinsky was the first and last female who serviced Clinton at his pleasure in the White House Oval Office.

Still Clinton survived as a two term President, retained his marriage, and is still revered as a great President, internationally respected as a very wealthy and powerful speaker and philanthropist.

Could you imagine if the lovely Hillary, while First Lady, was caught between the sheets doing the horizontal tango, with her hot male bodyguard?

There would have been Hill to pay. I think Bill would have dropped Hillary like a hot tamale.

There would have not been second or third act for the disgraced Hillary.

Recall when Maggie Trudeau, Justin’s flaky hippie mom, was publicly exposed (literally and figuratively) doing the Rolling Stones at the famous Toronto bar, the  El Mocambo, Trudeau Sr. – to use the bard’s words – permanently terminated the marriage and “tore the stained skin off of that licentious harlot’s brow, and from her false hand, cut the wedding-ring  and broke it with a deep divorcing vow.”

So how does Shakespeare explain the double standard afflicting women in 16th century England?

According to Luciana, Adriana’s unwed younger sister in Comedy of  Errors, men are superior and can get away with lots of crap, because it is the natural order of things.

“The beasts, the fishes, and the winged fowls
Are their males’ subjects and at their controls;
Man, more divine, the master of all these,
Lord of the wide world and wild wat’ry seas,
Indued with intellectual sense and souls,
Of more pre-eminence than fish and fowls,
Are masters to their females, and the lords.”

So let us fast forward to the present time.

Mankind is still the master of “beasts, fishes and winged fowl,” but then again so is womankind.

And science, biology, history, experience and Donald Trump have shown us that man is no more divine than woman, and clearly no more imbued with intellectual sense and soul. In fact, it is arguable that many of us poor schmucks are imbued with a lot less intelligence and common sense.

Hence, we men have no legitimate claim to being masters of our females.

Luciana thought men were also superior because, unlike women, tied to the house and home and relegated to household chores, “men’s business still lies out o’door.”

But that clearly no longer applies in today’s modern society.

Modern women are no longer tied to hearth and home.

Women these days are much more financially independent. The majority are career women. Captains of industry, lawyers, doctors, accountants, consultants, teachers, social workers, civil servants, business people, white and blue collar workers and let us not forget- high-powered and powerful politicians.

Adriana thought her cheating, roguish husband was:

“Deformed, crooked, old and sere,
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind”

But notwithstanding the above, Adriana came to her husband’s aid when he was wrongfully put in jail.

Why did Adriana stand by her man?

Perhaps there was still some love, but the more reasonable answer, in those days and in that situation, was that Adriana, without her husband, would have been left with no wealth, no home, no servants and no social standing. Her life and situation would have been considerably worse, and far from her comfortable home.

“And yet would herein others’ eyes were worse,
Far from her nest the lapwing cries away.”

But Hillary and Olivia.

Why did they stick by their men?

After Bill completed his presidency, Hillary could have dumped his sorry ass. She was well known, a lawyer and very well-respected and connected. She had the financial means to successfully separate from the Bill.

But I believe she made the practical and political calculation that staying with Bill – a more powerful and more popular public figure than herself – would be better for her politically, perhaps in terms of a potential run for the  Senate, or even the presidency.

History has proven Hillary to be correct in that calculation.

Similarly, when Jack Layton was caught naked by the police, allegedly getting a massage in a sleazy second floor walk-up around the corner from the house he and Olivia shared – known to be an illegal massage parlor, employing underage illegal Asian girls and called (appropriately) “The Velvet Touch” – Olivia stood by her man.

After that incident, Olivia could have left Jack.

Olivia is a very intelligent and street smart person. This was not her first rodeo or massage parlor. She knew Jack, or in this case, Jack off.

But I believe that, like Hillary, Olivia made the political calculation to stick by her more popular and charismatic husband, for the sake of her political and public future.

And history and experience have shown Olivia to be bang on. She is still a serious contender for regaining a seat in the federal parliament, notwithstanding her disastrous showing in the last Toronto mayoral election.

I think the Bard would be very amused looking at Hillary and Olivia today through Adriana’s eyes.

I suspect the Bard may conclude that though women have come a long way, baby, they still have a way to go.