(I will heretofore refer to Rob Ford as "Robs Fords," as his considerable girth technically qualifies him as plural.)
If you recall, Fords had the following to say on the subject of cyclists:
"And what I compare bike lanes to is swimming with the sharks. Sooner or later you're going to get bitten," said Ford speaking in 2010 as a Toronto city council-member.
"And every year we have dozens of people that get hit by cars or trucks. Well, no wonder: roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks, not for people on bikes.
"My heart bleeds for them when I hear someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day."
I'm not sure what comes out of his heart when it bleeds, but I'm assuming it's some form of custard.
In any case, now a reader tells me that Fords has been caught reading while operating one of the only vehicles large enough to contain him:
Here's how he explained it:
Reporter: "Sir, there's a picture that went out on Twitter this morning of you reading while still driving on the Gardiner [Expressway]."
Ford: "Yeah, probably. I'm busy."
Reporter: "So you read while driving?"
Ford: "Yeah, probably, yeah. I'm try[ing] to catch up on my work and you know I keep my eyes on the road, but I'm a busy man."
Reporter: "You don't see a problem doing that on the Gardiner?"
Ford: "Well, I'm busy. I got to be — I don't know what that has to do with a trade mission, but anyways. Ridiculous questions sometimes, seriously."
This further debunks his "swimming with the sharks" comments, since "sharing" the road with people like this is less like swimming with sharks and more like swimming with distracted manatees. I'd also add that my heart bleeds hummus for obese mayors from Toronto who get killed because they were reading recipes they printed out from "Bon Appétit," but it's their own fault at the end of the day. And even the police are taking him to task:
"Finally, on behalf of all the citizens of Toronto that value road safety, Mr Mayor... please get a driver. It is obvious that you are busy enough to require one and no amount of money you are saving by not having one is worth the life of one of your citizens."
In fairness to Fords, it's not an issue of money. It's more about finding a driver who can be sealed in an Escalade with Fords and not lose consciousness due to all the flatulence. Plus, the records shows that he's actually an excellent driver:
Ford in July admitted he drove past a streetcar's rear doors, and was then confronted by the operator of the streetcar.
In October, Ford was accused of illegally dialing numbers on his cellphone and talking on it as he steered his gold minivan westbound along Dundas Street West near Spadina Avenue.
And last July, the mayor denied accusations that he gave the middle finger to Ottilie Mason and her six-year-old daughter after the mother accosted him for talking on his cellphone while driving.
That little six-year-old snot had it coming I'm sure.
Meanwhile, by now you've probably seen the video that's taken the Internet by storm, in which a Portlander engages in some "artisanal policework" and busts the guy who stole his bike:
I'd like to be happy for the guy who got his bike back, but to be perfectly honest I thought he was kind of a jerk about the whole thing. Sure, I'm glad he retrieved his property, and sure the thief deserves whatever he gets, but this video is also less like watching justice being done and more like watching someone go "BOOSH!" for nine minutes. Then again, I shouldn't be surprised, since absolutely nobody does "hissy fits" like people from Portland. Anyway, here's how it all went down.
First, the bicycle's owner makes a big deal about how he's up at 6:30am because he has to go to Seattle to recover his stolen bike:
If you're reading this in Portland, you'll be stunned to learn that this really isn't in any way noteworthy, since 6:30am is when a lot of people in the real world actually start their day. (I mean, I don't, but people with actual professional lives do.)
Then, he and his friends get minus three thousand smugness points for driving from Portland to Seattle:
On my first BRA tour, I failed to take the train from Seattle to Portland, and nobody in either city would let me hear the end of it. You can be sure I learned my lesson, since being lectured by Pacific Northwesterners is worse than being waterboarded. Also, if nothing else, the Hardy Boys here missed a great opportunity to turn this into a quintessentially Portland film by including a folksy montage of evocative train shots accompanied by banjo music.
Once in Seattle, the rightful owner of the stolen bicycle outlines a lengthy plan that made me feel sorry for the friends he roped into this:
He also adds that he's "trying to chill out and think of a plan and not be emotional about it," though in a stressful situation like this nobody's above suspicion--and that includes grandpa pushing the shopping cart:
"This guy's going down for a felony," he concludes, while squinting sherriff-like in the sun I didn't think Seattle had:
And here's the guy who's "going down:"
Shifty and rat-like, you can tell he realizes this sale is easy. Too easy. That's when the plan goes awry and, despite his earlier assurances, the rightful owner gets like totally emotional about it. And when Portanders get emotional, they act out things they've seen in movies:
"You're under citizen's arrest!," cries the bike's owner, which is about as effective as pretending to be Spider-Man and shooting webs out of your wrists.
As the "perp" flees, we get a glimpse of his girlfriend, and perhaps my biggest problem with this film from a narrative perspective is the lack of female character development:
Who is Jessica? How did she get wrapped up in all this? How was she "involved?" Was she turned on by Rat Face and his audacious Craigslist caper? Are they a Tarantino-esque pair of tandem outlaws? Or is she simply a naif who unwittingly stumbled into the dark and sordid world of Fred-dom gone bad?
Alas, all we'll ever know is that she's the proverbial "one who got away:"
Also, the film makes too much use of the "shaky cam" conceit, as in the scene during which the rightful owner cries, "I got your face on camera, asshole! You are fucked!," and his friend Simon follows the "perp" in lukewarm pursuit:
The "black screen" effect on the other hand does ratchet up the suspense considerably, and also heightens our awareness of Rat Face's utter stupidity:
Between amateur policing and poor legal advice, the Internet is clearly unraveling our social fabric faster than a cheap chamois.
Finally though, the actual police arrive on the scene, and the cop has that look of weary resignation people get when they're dealing with someone from Portland:
Meanwhile, the chase continues on foot, and the rightful owner begins to taunt the perp:
"This is how it goes down everybody, this is why you don't steal from bicyclists." Yes, because they will annoy you to death.
And the taunts continue as the perp is finally arrested in the parking lot of a Safeway:
This is where I thought the owner went too far. You got your bike back, and you got the pleasure of seeing the person who may have stolen it actually getting arrested, which is something few bike victims will ever get to experience. Given this, the jeering is just gratuitous. Plus, Rat Face is totally going to go "Cape Fear" on him.
And then comes the Big Reveal, when we finally learn that the bike in question was...a Fuji:
That's it? A Fuji? Sure, there's nothing wrong with a Fuji, but given the buildup and the Portland backdrop I was expecting something a bit more exotic. This is like if the car in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was a Hyundai instead of a Ferrari.
Anyway, after this there's a little more gloating:
And, as the cineastes say, "Fin:"
Again, I'm glad the guy got his bike back, but it seems like there was a way to edit this down to about 45 seconds and not make the owner look like a vindictive nutcase.
Speaking of smugness, another reader has sent me this video, in which a vegan boasts about breaking his bamboo bike:
"I just wanted to kind of bring up the whole issue here with people who think that vegetarians and vegans and raw vegans are really weak," he explains:
Actually, most people don't think vegetarians and vegans are weak, they just think vegetarians and vegans are annoying. He's also incorrect in saying that cyclists are strong. Cyclists have physical proficiency in exactly one thing, which is propelling a bike, and once you take them off that bike they're mostly just spindly and useless. Sure, there are some cyclists who try to develop strength in other areas, and those cyclists are called "triathletes." Unfortunately though they just wind up like the dog who saw his reflection and make a complete mess of everything.
Nevertheless, this particular vegan wants to prove that vegans are strong, and his proof is that "I broke, literally, my bamboo frame on my bike:"
Wow, really? You broke your crudely constructed frame made from twigs? This is a feat of strength akin to tearing three plies of wet toilet paper. Here's a closer look at the rolling bird's nest:
Fortunately, the frame is not a total loss, since he can at least use the tubing to make some delicious vegan bamboo soup. Instead though he tells us that, "It's gonna go as a trophy piece in the hostel," as he surreptitiously shows off his ink:
So has he learned his lesson and decided to get a frame made out of something that can withstand his strength, like metal or even candy canes? No, he hasn't:
"I will have another new bamboo bike," he declares.
Then he goes on to humiliate the locals:
Silly foreigners with their wacky "languages..."