Forget the weather. Forget the bums. Forget the lack of any radio stations that play good music (bar one). Forget moderately high crime rates in Regent, Scarlem, Jungle, Driftwood, Rexdale, and Little Jamaica. Forget the ridiculous density of St. James Town. Forget the kilometers of disgusting waterfront raped by decades of industrial dumping. Forget the high (and rising) tax rates. Forget the Gestapo police force. Forget the awful drivers. Forget the rude cabbies. Forget rush hour on the 401 and the DVP. Forget the slapdash array of zoning bylaws that sacrifice sane city planning to expediency. Forget all those—the TTC is the worst thing about Toronto!
The Toronto Transit Commission makes the lives of, dare I say, hundreds of thousands of commuters living hells on a weekly, nay, daily basis. From subway service that is pathetically limited in reach, to buses that just can’t seem to arrive on schedule (or at all); from severely overpaid, rude and unhelpful drivers, conductors, fare collectors, attendants and other dolts as useful as chickens with their heads ripped off, to the annual fare hike; from poorly thought out projects that either get abandoned after a few year or take nearly a decade to finish and end up serving little purpose and being regretted before the cut ribbon hits the ground at the inauguration, to subway cars that sit in between Rosedale and Summerhill stations, where there is no cellular service, for over 40 minutes, and then crawl to a platform as an announcement comes on saying that the entire subway system is shut down indefinitely; from the ‘T’ in Toronto, to the ‘n’ in commission, the TTC is the worst thing about Toronto. From the management, to the employees, to the unions to the ‘special constables’, the TTC is the worst thing about Toronto.
The entire system is poorly though out, frighteningly shortsighted in approach, overwhelmingly arrogant, painfully inefficient, wholly inadequate, and perfectly happy about it. TTC employees are, as a group, unhelpful, patronizing, unsympathetic and arrogant. How they feel entitled to their six-figure salaries confounds me. How they have the guile to go on strike ever so often to increase their income and extend their benefits knowing full well that they are preventing a great many from reaching the work that will put food on their tables baffles me. How, for 35 minutes, not a single streetcar will pass Yonge/College but four arrive together once you’ve hailed a cab angers me. How the subway shuts down at Eglinton station six nights a week from time immemorial confounds, baffles and angers me all at once.
Transporting Toronto should not be difficult. It is a flat city built on a grid system. It is large, yes, and that poses a (not insurmountable) challenge. In fact, all that should mean is that a competent, well-organized, properly-managed company with a great enough vision should be in charge of handling its public transportation needs, not the self-regarding lazy slobs currently in charge.
Toronto can do better. Can’t it?
I have noticed, over the past decade or so, that many people misuse the term “boourns”. In fact, in every instance when “boourns” is uttered, it is, almost invariably, meant to connote disappointment or disapproval.
That is wrong!
I’m sure that every person who uses the term is familiar with the episode of The Simpsons in which it was coined:
Notwithstanding, here’s the context:
Springfield hosts a film festival and Mr. Burns decides to participate in order to improve his public image. When he finds out that he can’t get Steven Spielberg to direct his movie, he hires his non-union Mexican version, Senor Spielbergo (an exchange with Senor Spielbergo gives us my favorite quote of the episode: “Schindler es Buenos, Senor Burns is.. el Diablo”). The resulting movie portrays Burns (played by Burns himself) as a sort of hero. At the end of the screening Burns is treated to an almost unanimous round of boos. Baffled by this reaction, he asks his trusty assistant Smithers whether the audience is booing him. In order to spare Burns’s feelings, Smithers covers up by responding that people are in fact saying “Boo-urns, boourns!”. Burns then directs the question at the screeners: “were you saying ‘boo’ or ‘boourns’?”. They respond by booing him again and throwing garbage at him. At this point Hans Moleman says “I was saying bourns”.
As can be seen, “boourns” was created by the well-meaning Smithers in order to delude Burns into thinking that people were praising him when, in fact, they were showing disapproval. Hence, “boo” and “boourns” are antonymous and cannot be used in one another’s place.
As far as the proper usage of “boourns” goes, there is almost none. If you mean to sing the praises of a Mr. or Ms. Burns, then you may be in the clear, however, if your intention is to convey disapproval, please, please use “boo” or “damn” or “uncool” or “shit” or “fuck” or something along those lines and stop misquoting from the golden era of The Simpsons.