Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Toomas Karmo: Essay on Sorrow - Its Anatomy and Its Remedies

Quality assessment: 

On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his  grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3'5 is "mediocre pass", 4.5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 4/5. Justification: There was enough time to develop quite a few points to reasonable length, while under time pressure leaving also some things out. 

Revision history:

  • UTC=20160426T184000Z/version 1.3.0: Kmo made some merely cosmetic tweaks, and additionally repositioned his citation of the Soviet-Estonian dissident maxim "Don't think; if you think, don't write, ..." (in its clumsy earlier placement in the flow of the text, the quoted maxim made it look as though lawyer MM might be in danger, where it is instead blogger Kmo that is in danger), and additionally added some words to make it clear that the late Alfredo DeGasperis does not himself appear in the "Moving Day at David Dunlap Observatory" video
  • UTC=20160426T022200Z/version 1.2.0: Kmo did a further upload, with various modest tweaks, and resolved to keep doing such small uploads over the coming 48 hours as time might permit, documenting such operations in this revision history only in the unlikely event that they prove upon reflection to be of potential substantive, as distinct from cosmetic, import. 
  • UTC=20160426T015800Z/version 1.1.0: Kmo did a further upload, with various modest tweaks. 
  • UTC=20160426T000001Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo uploaded base version (only partly polished), and as a here-undocumented series of uploads over the period UTC=20160426T000001Z/20160426T0157090Z made various modest tweaks, as version 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.0.3, ... . 

0. Prefatory remarks

Last week's "Essay on Green Catholic Hermits" ended with a distinction between happiness and joy. Joy, I suggested, quoting Norfolk hermit Sister Wendy Beckett, is in a way a sterner spiritual condition than happiness. 

Now it is time to anatomize a state of the soul contrary to joy. What will I call it? Sadness? Depression? Grief? Should I introduce a neologism, perhaps, by analogy with the Orwellian or Soviet idea of an Un-Person, and write of "Un-Joy"?

Perhaps best is simply "Sorrow". 

This week, then,  there is to be some discussion of Sorrow. I first give case studies on the anatomy of Sorrow. Then I discuss a few aspects of a few of its possible cures. 

1. Case Studies in the anatomy of sorrow

The anatomy emerges most clearly not from great disasters of a public character (although I shall have to spend much of this essay discussing one such disaster, involving Canada's David Dunlap Observatory and Park). Rather, the anatomy emerges with special clarity from small things. 

I accordingly spell out a real-life example from my own life, in fact from last week. I add a few very minor fictional details, notably about the exact times at which things happened, to make my narrative everywhere concrete. 

My situation tends to play out, in one unhappy variant or another, not once a week but perhaps five or six times. The situation often arises in that "Noonday Demon" period when lunch is finished and the urgent duties of the afternoon beckon, in a way less than friendly.  

This particular afternoon requires some updating of timelogs, some filing of papers, and some minor attention to e-mail. Above all, it requires a little over two hours of concentrated study in vector calculus. Lunch is over. Time is not to be wasted. The Linux computer clock, synchronized to generally plus-minus 600 milliseconds or better, with the University of Toronto time server tick.utoronto.ca, at IP address (a companion of tock.utoronto.ca, at, and of chime.utoronto.ca, at, has just passed UTC=164600Z, i.e., 12:46:00 EDT. 

But instead of work it is - yes, of course, inevitably: instead of work, it is news headlines, on http://www.bbc.co.uk. And yes, of course, it is inevitable that the headlines once again mention ISIS. 

The north of Iraq has little enough to do with my current struggles in vector calculus. What help or hindrance can "The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" be in working out why the gradient in cylindrical coordinates requires the azimuthal Einheitsvektor to be multiplied not by the partial-derivative-with-respect-to-azimuth, but rather, and more subtly, by the partial-derivative-with-respect-to-azimuth divided by the radius? 

What, to be blunt, is the possible relevance of the north-of-Iraq military situation to any aspect of calculus, be it multivariate or even univariate? 

But there: the time is now 12:57:33 or so, and I am busily brooding on ISIS, as an offspring of the USA's 2003 invasion. Here, I reflect, is a classroom instance of a logic familiar to Sophocles, the logic of hubris begetting nemesis. 

By 12:58:15, things have taken a turn for the worse. Indeed very much for the worse. Iraq, and http://www.bbc.co.uk, is only the beginning of a downward spiral. Now it is time to wallow in that sewage pipe which is YouTube, turning from Iraq to the Real Thing. 

"What is it this time," asks Watson of Holmes in the Granada Television dramatization, "Morphine, or cocaine?" In my case, which is it this time going to be: the Anthem ("plopple-pih-tinkle, Sovyetsky Soyuz"), or, instead, Lili Marlene? 

Today, it's going to be the latter. 

This is like Holmes, telling Watson that he can highly recommend a seven percent solution of cocaine, and politely asking the Doctor if he would care to try some. 

Now it is 13:05:12 or so, and I am immersed in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgOgBaj7UEY, "Die Letzten Bilder der Wehrmacht in Farbe (Mai 1945)" ("The last colour shots of the Wehrmacht"), by way of upload from YouTube user wwwALFASHIRTde, from 2014-01-23. In the soundtrack is that ever-helpful song, in this particular instance delivered in its correct, Lale-Andersen-in-1939, wording: 

Wenn sich die späten Nebel drehn
Werd' ich bei der Laterne steh'n

("When the late mists swirl,/ I'll be standing by the streetlight"). 

This is to be distinguished from the cunning change introduced by Marlene Dietrich, in Allied broadcasts subsequent to 1939, beamed eastward to sap Wehrmacht morale: 

Wenn sich die späten Nebel drehn
Wer wird bei der Laterne steh'n?

("When the late mists swirl/Who'll be standing by the streetlight?"). 

But by 13:30, this jab from the 221B Baker Street syringe feels in turn insufficient. I must dig deeper, I must now consider the events of the Friday which was 1939-09-01. And so I find my way into the Reich agitprop at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tolf7HRhx0o - a clip in YouPipe or YouDrain or YouSeptic explaining, in excellent English, why it was such an excellent idea for the Reich to embark that day on military operations in Gdansk.

What happens next, by 14:15:00 or so?

I do avoid, this time, Marlene Dietrich. But I do not by any means avoid a Conelrad-alert vid such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGLhpVrxECg, giving the USA analogue of what would have been on our Canadian kitchen radio had things got a bit worse in October of 1962. 

As it was, I 
do not remember anything bad on the kitchen radio that autumn: I recall only an aged "Nana" from across the road, a sort of honorary grandmother to a couple of us local kids, consulting in the kitchen with Mum. I guess Nana was mindful of Mum's status as a 1944 refugee, and therefore mindful of Mum's status as our de facto neighbourhood expert on warzones. 

We did come close enough that month, as I have pointed out in the "Green Hermits" essay on this present blog, to the End. What actually saved everyone, as I have there pointed out, was a temperate decision by flotilla commander Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov, overruling the submarine captain who wished in the absence of radio links with Moscow to fire a nuclear-tipped torpedo, which would then have taken out the USS Randolph

Well, enough already.

I think the anatomy of Sorrow emerges with some clarity from what I have laid out. There is that downward spiral, consequent upon a prodding attack from an inner demon who quietly announces life and universe to lack hope. It is this same pattern that plays out in what I believe are scenarios specially favoured by our contemporary television or cinema screenwriters, in which the Tormented One snorts her powder or crashes his Lamborghini. And (what is of relevance to the David Dunlap Observatory and Park case) it is a pattern that surely plays out every business day, in office upon opulent office in Toronto's Bay Street, as 600-dollar-an-hour lawyers ply their unhappy trade. Assume for the moment, Gentle Reader, that you are one such lawyer. You are, let us say, in early middle age, and are within striking distance of becoming a Partner at the Dear Firm - the Dear Firm being, in your case, property-law specialists Goudgem, Goudgem and Slapp. 

Your morning started badly enough, with a breakfast of cornflakes and skim milk.  You made that bowl of milk-sodden cardboard bearable with a mug of coffee from a three-hundred-dollar machine, purchased to placate your increasingly unpleasant spouse. (The plain truth, as you are aware, is that one can make coffee even without the "recyclable capsules" and the three-hundred-dollar electronics: one can make it, in fact, with a drip filter sold off the shelves of Food Basics, and for a dime's or a nickel's worth of Dollarama grind.)

The morning went, if anything, downhill from from the cornflakes. 

In the GO train from Aurora to Union Station (jetzt spricht der Lautsprecher -  "Good morning. My name is Thaddeus, and I'm going to be your Customer Service Ambassador"), you perused the latest on ISIS in the front section of the Globe and Mail, before regaling yourself with six affidavits from your gleaming pigskin briefcase. Now, however, you are in that antechamber of Hell which is your office, and the real work starts. 

You could walk away, but your spouse would not like it. 

Nor would your children like it - dear, imperious Ashley (destined, surely, for a career in property law) and the increasingly personality-disordered Sebastian (destined, you reflect, for some uncertain combination of prison and psychotherapy). 

No, your spouse - marrying whom now proves to have been, on the whole, a miscalculation - with dear little Ashley and that zombie Sebastian, will have it in for you if you stop earning. So you attend, as attend you must, to the real work of the day. The work of the day is blackmail. So deep is your sorrow that you decide, you really 85-percent believe, you "love" your job. 

I should perhaps add a few words here about the realities of blackmail. 

Blackmail is in Canada the one normally effective lever at the disposal of the unscrupolous. That second classic lever, bribery, is in Canada only realistic in special cases: Canada is not yet Russia, Canada is not yet the Persian Gulf. 

In its Soviet-Estonian incarnation, blackmail (I vaguely gather) could be civilized, in a politely Estonian kind of way which contrasted favourably with KGB operations in much of Russia. You would call your victim in for an ühiskondlik-poliitiline vestlus, a "socio-political chat". Coffee would be served. Some brief mention would be made of your victim's disseminating dissident publications, before the conversation took on a more friendly tone: how is the daughter these days? is she still hoping for a place at Tartu University this autumn, upon graduation from her gümnaasium

Without myself ever having been in a KGB chat, I do speculate that under the erstwhile local Estonian procedure, nothing more had from this point onward to be said. It was enough for your victim to mumble something, and for you, as the KGB colonel's assistant, to courteously offer the sugarbowl and the cream - perhaps at this point courteously also changing the topic to, say, an upcoming ski marathon.

I also have a bit of inside scoop, which I am 80 percent sure is authentic, on how threats work in the blue-collar ranks in Ontario: 

My interlocutor, "NN", is in one of the trades  - not in anything electrical, but nevertheless in some building-maintenance specialization. Perhaps it's plumbing, perhaps it's heating, perhaps it's drywall or locksmithing or cabinetry. For safety, I keep the details vague today, as I today write up my recollections of my chat with visitor NN. He, as my guest, is telling me, as his host, how in his experience a threat can work. 

NN tells me that he was once called out to a job lasting a good chunk of a day. The job was perhaps of a rather urgent character. 

Something about the premisses was to NN's perception not quite happy. There were no hookers - no Natashas, no Tanyas, no Katyas, no nice little Asian girls, no beefcake. There were no hypodermics, no lines of white powder on heavy paper, no bongs. 

And no Luigis or Gugliemos or Alessandros, no black suits with bulge at the breast pocket, no talk of "sleeping with the fishes" or of an "offer you can't refuse". 

But the overall emotional atmosphere was somehow a little so-to-speak stuffy, somehow a little deficient in so-to-speak oxygen. 

NN (he tells me, in the safety of my quiet little basement-flat library) got the work done. 

On finishing (NN tells me), The Man asked NN, "How much do I owe you?" 

You, Gentle Reader, may think this a terribly informal way of conducting business. But I gather from NN's visit that the trades really can work like this in Ontario: not only is the work done for cash, but the price is, contrary to seeming commercial sanity, settled after, not before. 

NN tells me that he answered, innocently and accurately, "Well, I think four hundred would be about right." The Man thereupon handed NN eight hundred. NN (he tells me) knew that he had been threatened, knew that a bargain had just been struck. It was a simple bargain, its terms understood tacitly: if NN forgets the faces he saw while working, if NN forgets his day, if NN cheerfully pockets his eight hundred without pondering further, then - this is the key clause in the quiet contract - NN will in his subsequent affairs by spared any trouble from The Man. 

So, as I say, our hypothetical rising star in Goudgem, Goudgem and Slapp has to spend the day putting a threat together, in a perfectly polite, indeed in an iron-clad legal, variant of what got done to my visitor NN. 

It will of course be asked: have I any personal experience of Goudgem, Goudgem and Slapp? 

I answer: not really, not directly. 

My legal experience with municipal candidate Karen Cilevitz (since the end of 2014, Councillor Karen Cilevitz) - readily examined by googling on Karmo Cilevitz, and by visiting http://www.karen-vs-toomas-blog.ca/ and http://www.karen-vs-toomas-legaldocs.ca/ - is too feeble and down-market to count. The question is seeking a Hudson's Bay store or a Selfridges, when all I have to offer from direct personal experience is a Walmart or a Costco. All the same, I have seen one thing in the legal world which I cannot well fathom, and on which I may some day have to write again somewhere, and to which I may as well here advert - admittedly, at my legal peril.

The normal dissident maxim in the late, unlamented Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic: Ära mõtle. Kui Sa mõtled, ära kirjuta. Kui Sa kirjutad, ära kirjuta alla. Kui Sa kirjutad alla, ära üllatu. - "Don't think. If you think, don't write. If you write, don't sign. If you sign, don't be surprised." 

A hard-pressed local non-profit, the Richmond Hill Naturalists ("RH Nats"), in trying to save the David Dunlap Observatory and Park, engaged a lawyer, MM, for their 2012 Ontario Municipal Board hearing. This was part of casework that cost me, as a principal RH Nats donor, the bulk of my life savings. MM, being under retainer from the RH Nats, was supposed to argue the RH Nats' case. I guess it is usual, I guess it is the so-to-speak Usually Done Thing, that when you give a lawyer your retainer, the lawyer sticks to the retainer terms, arguing your case under your instructions (or, as I imagine might from week to scary week prove necessary, asking whether you are prepared to tweak and adjust your instructions), working to defend your interest.  

It seemed perhaps a little odd - perhaps a little dubiously consistent with the idea that the firm you engage under retainer thereupon tries to work in your interest - that MM declined to call a couple of the expert witnesses the RH Nats had lined up. I at the time accepted the argument going around in our team, that MM had felt in view of "unfortunate remarks made at the stand earlier in our testimony", or some such, that those particular witnesses would not now be helpful. Maybe this was okay, maybe it was not. Although a great lover of law, I am not a lawyer. All I can do is sometimes dip into, or view, Horace Rumpole, Q.C. (that's "Rumpole of the Bailey"), and such things. I was in that hearing room, day upon expensive day, basically as the guy who was quietly paying the RH Nats bills for lawyer and court reporter and expert witnesses, nothing more.  

But what was even to me odd was the end, the Summation Day that was 2012-09-10. 

On the morning of this day, we had heard Summation from Mr David Bronskill, of Goodman's LLP, representing the would-be DDO&P developer, "Corsica".  (Corsica is a subsidiary of an entity in 2012 still named Metrus, and since 2015 April re-branded as "DG Group", I presume with the "DG" standing for "DeGasperis". The current Web outreach of the Group, at http://www.dggroup.ca/, features a fine photo of wetland, I suspect as a gesture toward the Group's recent efforts to put a trailer park into the middle of the North Gwillimbury Lake Simcoe wetland: their opponents, who therefore count as my philosophical colleagues, argue their case at http://www.savengforest.org/.  Corsica's malign DDO&P development for its part is currently promoted at http://observatoryhill.ca/).

The tribunal then rose for lunch, at which point MM ate in tête-à-tête mode with the principal executive of RH Nats. Lunch concluded, the hearing reconvened, and it was the turn of MM to do Summation.  So MM took her spot at the podium and opened up, as Mr Bronskill had done an hour or two before. 

At first it perhaps just was not all that good, not all that forceful in comparison with Mr Bronskill's pro-developer work an hour or so ago - sort of like a good BBC costume drama in the morning, and a low-budget American soap after lunch.  

But then something happened, a thing so odd as to elicit gasps in the hearing room. I could not figure it out then, and I still cannot with confidence figure it out. MM was supposed, I repeat, to be representing us, the RH Nats, the conservationists, and under the terms of her retainer to be protecting our interest. But in her Summation, MM started saying - the relevant RH Nats principal executive, Marianne Yake, has in more than one post-mortem conversation expressed her astonishment to me (Marianne has given me clearly to understand, repeatedly, that there had been no warning of this in her 2012-09-10 lunchtime tête-à-tête) - MM started saying that RH Nats were prepared to make a number of concessions. The RH Nats, according to MM, were not now really insisting on full conservation. No, they would instead be happy (there were audible gasps) to have the developer build homes in such-and-such a part of the subject terrain. 

I imagine, subject to correction, that one possible technical term for this might be "departing from client instructions". 

But I do herewith affirm, aware of my legal peril in writing what I have just written, my readiness to be corrected by MM, for example by her sending me something for publication, without fear of censorship, on this present blog, say over this coming week. 

So I do herewith invite MM, once again (she and I have been through this already, in an angry e-mail exchange in some past year -  followed by repeated communications from me over the last few months, which she has in the last few months met with silence) to explain what she was doing at the podium on 2012-09-10. I am happy to be persuaded that it was an innocent mistake, that MM had had an "off day", that MM was feeling ill (she did after all, when proceedings finished, have a beer with us - I think a nervous person, not feeling happy, and suffering a headache, might possibly indeed welcome a beer), that she had misunderstood something said by Marianne in the tête-à-tête or in some other confidential venue, that she had judged our situation hopeless and was trying in her desperate way to rescue something even in defiance of client instructions (that she was, in other words, trying to save us from ourselves) - anything, anything at all, to achieve clarity and closure, so that I can even in my poverty pay MM the approximate 10,000 CAD still owing, and thereby heal our mutual wound. 

To reiterate, for clarity: as for NN in the trades, so, perhaps, for MM (to cite an example) in the legal profession.

For further clarity, I add that I am not here suggesting  Mr David Bronskill of Goodmans LLP to have been in the position of my hypothetical Sorrow-afflicted careerist at my hypothetical firm of Goudgem, Goudgem and Slapp, perpetrating a white-collar version of what got done on NN. I assert only that, in my subjective opinion as a lay observer of tribunal proceedings, I have the subjective fear that MM suffered at that tribunal, from some person or persons unknown, a fate analogous to what NN suffered with The Man. MM suffered (I subjectively conjecture, offering herewith my private, eminently subjective, opinion in an attempt to serve the public interest) at the hands of someone or other. Developers have many lawyers, with many allies, and those allies themselves have lawyers. Up and down Bay Street, and out into the hinterlands of Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket, Markham, Vaughan, Oshawa and Pickering, Burlington and Oakville, and far beyond, there are friends and friends of friends, even beyond the wide horizons of Mr David Bronskill and his various legal juniors, even beyond the wide horizons of his numerous colleagues. 

I further note that the launching of a lawsuit against me, as a person without much material wealth left to lose, can have only one important effect. In such a suit, I would pique media interest by having, as a person who both is rather visibly poor and is mildly autistic, to do all my own court work, without benefit of a lawyer. Such a suit would raise the media profile of the DDO&P conservation case, thereby promoting the ideals of the Holy Father's 2015 "Climate Change Encyclical"  Laudato Si' - however inept and helpless I might prove to the courtroom, however reduced to panic I might be by the opposition, in the course of my desperate, perhaps even inadvertently comic, attempts at self-representation. 

And I am, further, confident that in writing the harsh thing I have just written on MM, I am in all my abrasiveness nevertheless operating within the scope of Canada's "Fair Comment Defence". The various lawyers reading and re-reading this blog will, I presume, be mindful here that "Fair Comment" was rendered all the more robust in Canada - in particular, was rendered all the more available to the distressed and weak Canadian blogger, like me -  by the Supreme Court in WIC Radio Ltd v Simpson (2008). 

2. Remedies for sorrow: Easter

What remedies can be applied to Sorrow?

In the end, it all comes down to the Easter fact that there is something beyond death - be it the death of an individual; or (as at DDO&P) the death of much field and forest; or the death, over the 21st and 22nd centuries, of our industrial civilization.

To Pope Gregory the Great, the future must have seemed empty, with Italy in chaos, and with no effective  Constantinopolitan support forthcoming. (A useful line - I'll have to quote rather shakily, from mere memory, sorry - in the 1980s BBC political comedy "Yes, Minister", as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office discusses the affairs of some small and remote British ally or possession, threatened with coup d'état or invasion: "Yes, we'll give them every support short of help.") Gregory was a realist, like many Italians then and now: he had risen to supreme municipal office in Rome while still a young man; he had served the Holy See as a crisis diplomat, with a protracted and tense posting in Constantinople; he had accepted the Papacy only under duress. Here was perhaps the best practical intellect of his age, at least outside Constantinople, positioned at the very centre of Western-Europe events, misreading his situation.

We know now, with the benefit of hindsight, what even Gregory in his perspicacity was unable to discern. Gregory now proves to have been living in the earliest stages of a revival. The Western monastic movement, in which Gregory was himself a pioneer, would in the centuries following his death consolidate and spread. From that movement would come a growth not only of monastic learning, but eventually a founding of universities, imitating and in the long run outclassing the Academy, Lyceum, and Alexandria of the Hellenic world. In the universities would rise a powerful intellectual ferment, issuing first in Scholasticism, and later in the most startling innovations (through coordinate geometry and calculus) in pure mathematics and mathematical physics.

Further, from the political and legal chaos of Gregory's time would emerge, over centuries, and under due guidance from both classical and ecclesial erudition, a deep new Rule of Law (eventually even with its Cour internationale de justice, its Hugo Grotiuses and Wesley Newcomb Hohfelds and H.L.A.Harts, its bold ventures even into the rights of the environment and of non-human fauna). This would be a Rule of Law by no means foreign to the Roman and Constantinopolitan legal traditions - I have myself noted, for instance, that in 1970s Oxford, aspiring barristers could sit an examination paper in Roman Law, as one component in their so-rigorous Finals - and yet indisputably transcending it.

It is obvious what people could add here about architecture, about "Gregorian Chant" and later music, about literature in Gregory's day and later. The Easter message, demonstrated repeatedly in scientific and legal history, and in field upon further field of human endeavour, is that death - even the death of a whole civilization, which is what we have been experiencing since 1914 or so, admittedly with our sporadic happy remissions - does not get the final word.

3. Remedies for sorrow: the  DDO&P file

In remarking on the anatomy of sorrow, I have made a good deal of the David Dunlap Observatory and Park ("DDO&P") conservation case. What remedies might be applied here, specifically?

First off, let me say this: anything at all, any kind of reaction to me from the DeGasperis and Muzzo families, or from the other (more minor) assailants of the parkland would constitute a step forward.

Let us say, hypothetically, that this week I get some kind of legal warning.

Let the warning come from the "MM" who (as I argued above) so glaringly helped our corporate opponent Corsica on her 2012-09-10 Summation Day, contrary to her duty to act in the interests of her client.

Or let the warning come from the already-cited Mr David Bronskill, at Goodmans LLP.

Or let it come from some unexpected quarter: from some suddenly active Town councillor; or, again, from that erstwhile Corsica tenant, the Toronto Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada ("RASC-Toronto"; the relevant Web promo is at http://theddo.ca/). (RASC-Toronto's principal spokesperson at DDO&P, Ms Karen Mortfield, has served the local property-development industry as "VP, Stakeholder Relations", in the Tarion Warranty Corporation.)

Or let it come from some emerging commercial interest, such as the four builders showcased by the Corsica team at  http://observatoryhill.ca/.

I do not care, for purposes of this present analysis, from which quarter the enviasaged warning comes.

Nor do I care, for present purposes, what form it takes - be it phone call (I will have to try to remember to keep a cheap little voice recorder always handy, near my smartphone), or papermail, or e-mail.

The warning, in whatever form it might assume, would be a sign of life.

I would take it as an opportunity to publish on this blog, giving my adversary or adversaries an open and uncensored platform, thereby raising the quality of our public discussion. The kind of thing I am today envisaging is illustrated by my long writeup on another blog, or more accurately on a blog-wannabe, at http://www.karen-vs-toomas-blog.ca/20141216T162316Z____blogpost/NNNN____20141216T162316Z____blogpost__main.html. That long writeup is a response to a terse, duly quoted, warning sent me by Councillor Cilevitz's counsel, Mr Jason Cherniak.

For clarity, I might as well add that the lawyer Mr Jason Cherniak is not to be confused with the development-industry lawyer Mr Lloyd Cherniak (the industry leader who is quoted at http://www.greenbeltontario.org/pages/torstarfeb122000.htm as saying, "I'm like a farmer; I plant sewers in the spring and houses pop up in the fall"). Mr Lloyd Cherniak has been, and perhaps still is, a vice-president at Lebovic Enterprises - a firm which has been developing, or has been seeking to develop, property on Ontario's environmentally sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine. Mr Jason Cherniak is not Lloyd, but a son of Lloyd. I know nothing to indicate that Jason is himself in any sense a property developer.

But there is more.

A further, deeper,  remedy for our sorrow would be an indication from the two families mainly involved in the damage being wrought at DDO&P, the visibly and declaratively Catholic DeGasperises and Muzzos, that they are at long last willing to respond to my repeated requests for a face-to-face exploration, in some secluded Catholic setting, of our points of ethical agreement and ethical disagreement. This would optimally be a meeting held in advance of my envisaged (law-abiding) picket of their envisaged subdivision sales centre, should they achieve their stated malign commercial aims over the coming months. With such a meeting held, I would be in a position to do a particularly throrough job in preparing my information packets, for handing out at my picket to the would-be home purchasers.

The families are arguably a textbook case in Sorrow. 

Alfredo DeGasperis, an initial guiding mind behind Corsica, died at a not very advanced age.

I have heard his final time to have been unhappy, but will not here make further comment.

And I know his passing to have occurred in a public context one would not wish on any adversary, be he a politician or a property developer or a casino owner or a Mafia don: when the news of his death broke, Town and Regional Councillor Brenda Hogg described him to the local press in just a few words - I think saying something nice, as is required by good manners, but also saying that he had been "complex". Surely Councillor Hogg chose her word with care and spoke the truth. And yet I do for my part add that the late Mr DeGasperis was estimated for me, by a person of seeming ability and discernment, to have been upstanding. And I add that my tiny, feeble criminal-law compass points, so far as my researches have gone, in the case of this DeGasperis patriarch not toward criminality (be it Mafia or be it humdrum)  but - if anything -  away from it.

So far as personal encounters go, all I can say is that in the harsh 2008 July in which I was photographing the changes at the Observatory, in an operation partly documented by me and a friend at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsUQARA9kNY, I do appear to have had a nice chat with Mr DeGasperis himself - not, indeed, on the day of the just-cited filming, but either shortly before or shortly after.  (That video, incidentally - it provides, I repeat, background and context for my apparent DeGasperis chat, without itself involving Mr DeGasperis - is by YouTube user "PenOpticon", in an upload of 2008-07-26. It appears under the title "Moving Day at David Dunlap Observatory". I do most of the talking on the soundtrack. The background music is thoughtfully selected, by my friend and me, from Wagner. Nobody can sue me merely for thoughtful selection of background music, or for my friend's thoughtful introduction of sepia toward the end of the clip.)  Being taken by surprise, I unfortunately did not think of taking a photograph of him. All I can now say is that my visual recollection does match the available press photos of this rather public figure. Mr DeGasperis, as I and others think it was, did not introduce himself to me by name, and I did not press him for a name; he said, when I think I asked, that he was from the "Gibraltar" apartment tower near DDO&P - a quality building I know well enough, mainly from the outside - ; he professed himself to me to be quite interested in conservation and the environment; and he gently explored my own conservationist position, in a line of questioning to which nobody would take any objection. He strikes me now, I reiterate, as a person of sorrow.

On the Muzzos, it suffices to reproduce here my own five paragraphs of online comment on the case of young family scion Marco M. Muzzo, sentenced on 2016-03-29 to nine years and four months (with, however, parole eminently possible), for having on 2015-09-27 killed four persons and gravely injured two others. Young Marco had been on his way home from Pearson International Airport, having returned by private ("corporate") jet aeroplane from a Miami stag party, and having consumed alcohol inordinately in the aeroplane's (surely luxuriously appointed) cabin.

Here, then are the paragraphs I wrote, as online comments on a press article at http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/6410477-muzzo-displayed-irresponsible-attitude-toward-privilege-of-driving-justice-says-after-reading-1/. I have changed a "below" to an "above", for correct readability, and have corrected a two-character typo, and have taken advantage of this present blogging software to change my original inertly quoted URLs into active URL links:

  • A hard morning. We can't make justice simply a matter for Crown. How can Crown's mere 3+ years detention (assuming favourable parole) begin to address Muzzo family's moral debts? We now need constructive action from them (young Marco included, upon his parole). The Muzzos must engage in various ways with public, and must not retreat behind some bland veil of "privacy". - I am grateful that I saw perhaps a good dozen from the family in courtroom, on other side of aisle from my seat, even while judging it best not to torment them today with conversational approach. - Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com
  • I herewith remind family that their problems with community include not only young Marco, but Canada's weightiest heritage-conservation case, which I have repeatedly drawn to their, and to public, notice - most recently via correspondence tabled at Town of Richmond Hill Council meeting for 2016-03-07, with PDF uploaded by Clerks to www.richmondhill.ca. - Respectfully (trusting that this present, unavoidably stern, online comment re casework outside today's impaired-driving proceeding will be taken by family in a duly constructive and Catholic spirit), Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com
  • We must monitor the Crown, for whose (sometimes surprising) tools we pay via our taxes. I now learn M.Muzzo is being transferred from Lindsay to hi-security Millhaven. A few months from now, I learn, he is liable to be transferred again, to a kind of townhouse, in which he wears his own clothes, and from which he can emerge into streets at certain times, under electronic-bracelet monitoring. I have learned of an instance of a person in such a "townhouse" even meeting his non-incarcerated friends at a nearby skeet shoot - being, admittedly, required to return to his townhouse afterward. My informant suggests such incarceration to be physically easier than the conditions in which various ordinary taxpayers live. - Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com
  • I now add two clarifications to my three postings [above]. (1) Muzzo family member whose actions I oppose in David Dunlap Observatory and Park ("DDO&P") heritage-conservation case is not convict Marco M. Muzzo ("MMM") but his paternal uncle Marc A. Muzzo - in the capacity of director at "Corsica" (a subsidiary of "DG Group", the former "Metrus"). (2) Corsica directors are not from Muzzo family alone, but also from DeGasperis family. I have just e-mailed MMM counsel B.Greenspan, indicating (peripheral) nature of MMM-DDO&P connection, and also indicating that as a form of Catholic action I should later visit MMM. I have asked Greenspan team to alert me if, as is unlikely, any of my online postings here appear tortious. - Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com
  • I now find 2015-10-02 YouTube vid (under "Dawn Muzzo") of MMM's Mum, stating (among other frightening things) her reasons for favouring car with automatic transmission, and making "vrooom-vrooom" noises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggDCSve3E7Y. At http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/09/28/accused-in-vaughan-crash-marco-muzzo-has-history-of-provincial-offences.html , I find TorStar discussing question of previous MMM infractions. Under Google string "marco muzzo jeep fire" I find discussions of a fire which beset MMM's jeep when it was in police custody. MMM family: I have repeatedly said to u (and the DeGasperises) that we must meet, at any rate in DDO conservation context. My mild autism is no real barrier. - Toomas.Karmo@gmail.com

Any response from the families at all - even a legal threat, which I can reproduce on this blog, as I reproduced a terse Jason Cherniak warning, with my lengthy reponse, on the above-cited blog-wannabe - would be a step forward, would be a modest initial step toward our strengthening the Rule of Law.
But there is still more.

On Monday last week, that is to say on the Monday which was 2016-04-18, Corsica's machines once again started moving on the threatened 32 hectares, after a hiatus of some months. I had during the hiatus hoped that something was derailing their project. I had hoped that somehow this evil thing would be averted - 32 hectares out of the 77 admittedly already mauled, as documented at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQuHx-7QAKw (upload by YouTube user "Beygin Media", unknown to me, on 2015-05-13), and also at http://acuriousguy.blogspot.ca/2015/04/the-ugly-battle-over-david-dunlap.html (by a Web journalist unknown to me; I added a string of corrective online comments).

A glance at this map, ultimately from http://www.richmondhill.ca/,  shows how terrible is the thing that is now once again going forward.

But must we settle for a mere remnant park of 45 hectares, in the malign embrace of 32 hectares of stormwater sump, of streets, of lane, of rowhouses (many), and of McMansions (not a few; or conceivably - I am trying to imagine the possibilities here - of not-a-few McMansions with, additionally, some outright McChâteaux)? I suspect it is within the power of the DeGasperises and Muzzos to call a halt, even now.

Admittedly, the limited information that I have suggests to me that there is then a risk of protests from the University of Toronto, despite the public appearance of a final and definitive University sale to Corsica back in 2008.

A lady or gentleman I here call "Mr or Ms or Dr or Prof. or Sir or Dame I.Seem-Powerful" has claimed to have seen a relevant University document, asserting an ongoing University contractual or quasi-contractual stake in the envisaged sale of homes. All I can do, if I am hauled into court over writing this, is to subpoena I.Seem-Powerful and various people with whom I know I.Seem-Powerful has spoken - thereby, I guess, either compelling the full truth to come out or else showing, through contradictions in the various testimonies of my various subpoenaed individuals, that somebody is hiding something. My dragnet, although pretty pathetic, does extend, I guess, into this university department or that, and into one or another set of Town offices, and into the homes of a few heritage conservationists even outside Richmond Hill, and so on. The already-cited WIC Radio Ltd v Simpson (2008) will prove helpful in my hypothetical courtroom agonies.

And of course in writing what I do, I do hope in a blind faith that I do have my occasional readers in the ranks of the Attorney General, or in one or more of the three potentially relevant, and mutually independent, police forces.

Let the Muzzos and DeGasperises, I say, simply withdraw, braving if necessary even the wrath of the University of Toronto. It is possible for those sorrowful families and me to meet, and to find it necessary to say very little. We would meet not in anger but in mutual sympathy. It is possible for us to shake hands, and to look each other in the eye, and to agree tacitly that there are more important things than a 32-hectare subdivision.

Then the work of healing can begin - emotionally and spiritually, of course, but also physically, as our mobilized citizenry act (with or without the more able-bodied of the DeGasperises and Muzzos), in part on the volunteer-labour tree-planting pledges I obtained around 2012. We will be  hauling compost; we will be promoting forest regeneration; perhaps we will be planting seeds or seedlings.  And, as the unintentionally accurate copywrighter says despite him- or herself  at  http://www.dggroup.ca/, we'll be "Bringing Life to Land."

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated. For comment-moderation rules, see initial posting on this blog (2016-04-14).