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Squeeze Box Man Issue #5 is at the printer

Lazy, Staashu, and the whole gang are returning very soon, as Squeeze Box Man Volume 5 is at the printer. I’m really excited about this issue. I love the work Jacob Yerex has done bringing this set of stories to life. It even includes a gorgeous psychedelic sequence.

In this issue, the Bottle & Can is still on strike, but fortunately for Staash and Lazy, the band is getting popular around Toronto and their manager, Bananas Foster, is organizing a north country tour. Staashu and Sabina struggle in their relationship. Maggie’s demons won’t leave her alone. And Lazy tells the gang a story about the old days when he had The Rockets, and met up with a mysterious button accordion player down in San Antonio.

This will be the 5th of 6 volumes, which will complete the story arc.

If you are interested in purchasing copies of issues 1-5, please email me. Individual copies of any issue are $12 CAN + $3 shipping to anywhere. If you’re interested in subscribing to the entire set, including the future Volume 6, it’s $60 +shipping (I’ll ship 5 together and the 6th when it’s available). If you’re in Toronto and not too far from me, let me know – I can drop off copies and save you postage. Payment is by e-transfer in Canada or PayPal from out of country. For those of you who have already subscribed to the set, I’ll get #5 out to you as soon as it’s back from the printer’s.

Turning my little stories into a graphic novel was Jacob Yerex’s idea. He recognized how these stories could work in the graphic novel format and I’m beyond thrilled with how effectively he’s brought my characters to life and also added to the story and the depth of the characters. As well, he understood how we could set up a workable process for taking the project from an idea to completion. I wouldn’t have known where to start.

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Mimico cottage demolished before Heritage Status decided

Around here, older houses are being demolished all the time, usually to make way for the biggest possible homes builders can get away with erecting. Down the road in Mimico, both a demolition application and a heritage status application were made for a home on Superior Ave. The demolition permit was issued a day before the Preservation Board meeting. Monday morning a demolition crew showed up. I read that at one point a woman had chained herself to the building but that did not stop the building from being trashed.

The building in question is one of 3 stone cottages unique in the area. You can read more details about the issue at BlogTo. I really have no idea if Heritage status is appropriate for this property, but in a more reasonable world, with both applications in play, the City or the Province or whoever is really in charge, should decide if we want to protect the building as a Heritage site before allowing the heavy equipment in, particularly since the responsible local politician was aware of the situation and was supporting heritage designation. Trashing the building a few hours before heritage status was to be decided was simply wrong. This demolition makes our complex multi-level processes and committees and political involvement seem like a joke.

I’m tired of the games. We have an official plan, but my experience having attended various Committee of Adjustment and other hearings is that has become meaningless. Major changes are called minor and many outrageous redevelopments are granted in the name of creating more housing. There are planners and lawyers whose entire focus is working our system.

Francine Kopun in the Toronto Star quoted our Councillor Mark Grimes: “It was heartbreaking to see this house come down.” He says he will request a review of the city’s heritage designation process. A review is a bit late, unfortunately, and I will be surprised if anything actually changes. Councillor Grimes apparently worked to stop the demolition but his efforts were ineffective. The developer had originally applied to build a triplex, according to The Star. That application was deferred at Committee, so instead he submitted a plan to build a single-family home – and he got his demolition permit. So, is the plan to build a triplex on the site dead? Apparently that original request is still out there and may be heard in the future.

Do we want to protect the character areas of our city? Does our history matter? Do we care about protecting green space and a robust tree canopy? Based on my experience here in Long Branch seems as if much of the time, profit rules. It must have been tremendously disheartening for local residents who have been fighting to protect the home to watch it fall on Monday.

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Illuminati Light (or should it be Lite?)

The new episode of The Agency Podcast is up. You can listen here or find the podcast in all the good places.

We cover a lot of ground in this week’s episode. Topics discussed include:

  • a quarantine update
  • reader mail
  • a social media lesson
  • good news for a big old tree
  • cheating in pro Go
  • various movies
  • issue 5 of the Squeeze Box Man graphic novel
  • a pop culture proposal
  • psychedelic doctors
  • Tippler’s Bane
  • and much much more

The musical background snippet you hear in this episode is from Shirley Matthews’ 1964 recording, Big Town Boy.

We love to hear from you.
We have some new merch – The Agency Podcast hip flasks. Limited quantities. You can purchase one by emailing us, $25 each, or write us and tell us why we absolutely need to send you one for free (if we go for your pitch, we’ll read your email on the air). Copies of issues 1-4 of the Squeeze Box Man comic are available for $12 CAN + $3 shipping to anywhere.

Thank you for tuning in – and special thanks to our Patrons, who help pay the bills. If you would like to support The Agency, check out our Patreon page:

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Heritage Tree Update – good news

On November 15, I posted about efforts to save a 250 year old tree in North York. There is an update in this morning’s Toronto Star, written by Francine Kopun (article is paywalled). There is good news for those who have supported this effort either financially or in spirit.

At this time, the campaign is $40,000 short. According to the article, $313,000 had been raised (with $80,000 still needed), when a contributor pledged to donate half the shortfall. With the December 12 deadline approaching, City council has voted to move forward with the proposed purchase and at the same time continue with the money-raising campaign.

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Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends

I stumbled upon this on the YouTube machine. Claire Milliner and Walt Koken have many excellent videos up including this Turkey in the Straw. I highly recommend their channel.

Thanksgiving is a big deal for many of my American friends – please celebrate safely – once the vaccine is here and does its magic, plan an extra big party for the future.