Author Archive

We’re Shutting Down!

October 22, 2008

From My Bottom Step is shutting down. You will not see any more news updates, no more comics, and no more pedestrian issues.

At least until Monday.

Starting tomorow we will be moving the blog over to a new host and domain. Make sure to set your bookmarks to and update your feed reader to

Thanks for your patience while we make the upgrade. See you on the other side.

If you are still seeing this it means our new host 1&1 is taking its sweet time to implement changes in our domain name. Hopefully this will be resolved as quickly as possible, and you’ll be able to experiance the new site.


How will the votes fall in London?

October 13, 2008

Tomorrow is election day, and if you haven’t voted yet make sure you get out and do it. Not sure where you go to vote? Check Elections Canada for information on your riding and what you need to vote. Remember that in Canada you don’t need to register to vote, just ID and a piece of official looking mail with your address on it.

But this is about where the chips will fall by the end of the night, and who I think is going to take London’s ridings.

Let’s start with the Federal results. It definitely looks like we’ll see a Conservative minority if not a majority.

The Liberals have run a pretty poor campaign, with a leader at the helm who most Canadians will agree isn’t ready for the job (as will most Liberals). Their carbon tax wasn’t a hit either early on in the campaign; Dion was unable to sell the plan and convince Canadians that a new tax would benefit them. The most promising part of their platform was the education announcement, but that didn’t come up in the debates because students don’t vote ergo politicians don’t care about students.

Despite campaigning to be Prime Minister, Jack Layton would be lucky to see some sort of miracle seat the NDP as official opposition. We’ll see them hold their numbers in Parliament, give or take a few seats, since divine intervention isn’t likely. While his campaign ads on TV were excellent, hammering on the kitchen table hasn’t won over the numbers of voters that he needs to accomplish his goal to be Prime Minister. That’s especially true with voters who see the NDP as a party that would drive the country into a deficit with all their socialist programs. It also doesn’t help that Layton and the Liberals have been trying to sway votes with fear-mongering about the economy, even criticizing Harper for telling people to buy stocks while they are low.

In this first election that it’s been able to be taken seriously in, the Green Party still has to get past the fact that the party has no money. Grassroots will only get you so far, and the debate is about as far as they took May. Maybe next time, but this go-around I don’t see them gaining more than a seat at best.

Now for London.

Lets start with London North Center, where incumbent Glen Pearson will easily take the riding again, helped out by the lackluster candidates that were offered in opposition. The only real competition in this riding (despite a strong turnout for the Greens in a by-election) is Conservative Paul Van Meerbergen, who I find hard to see as a city councilor let alone an MP. Described as the last decent man in Ottawa, Glen should have no trouble in London North Center

Moving east we hit London Fanshawe with incumbent Irene Maytheson. It will be a tight race between Irene and the celebrity candidate for the Liberals, Jacquie Gauthier, who they think will take back London Fanshawe which is historically a Liberal stronghold. Irene is no stranger to losing either. In eight campaigns for office she’s won twice, the first time becuase people were looking to oust Liberals provincially and unfortunately elected Bob Rae’s NDP. She is also no stranger to controversy, chastising an MP in the house for having a picture of his girlfriend in a bikini and their dog on his laptop. Unfortunately for her it wasn’t as interesting of a pic as it could have been given those descriptors and she had to apologize. Layton stopped by her office yesterday to try and boost support for Irene, who last time only won by 800 votes.

Then there is London West. The conservatives have been inching closer to taking this riding from the incumbent Liberal Sue Barnes who only held the seat by 1,300 votes in 2006. On Saturday, Prime Minister Harper visited Ed Holder (his candidate for this riding) to boost numbers in what is supposedly a bellweather riding. This will be a tight race between them, and it wouldn’t be the first time the Conservatives took this riding (previously as the Progressive Conservatives).

Elgin Middlesex London wasn’t too high on my radar throughout the election. It has an incumbent Conservative Joe Preston, who defeated a Liberal incumbent in 2004 and easily held the riding in 2006. Liberal challenger Suzanne van Bommel has received a push from the party though, and could gain some traction for this rural riding, but it’s likely it will stay with Preston.

I think that’s about it, and we’ll soon see if I’m right. I already voted at an advance poll. If you haven’t voted yet, make sure that you do. See you on the other side.

Harper, Layton last minute stops in London.

October 13, 2008

As the Conservatives bounced back into majority territory in the latest polls, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a stop to shore up support for Ed Holder, the party’s candidate in the London West riding, and to announce $500M for rural broadband.

He also took the opportunity to address the Liberals proposed new job-killing tax, and the demonizing of him as a Bush-like oil man. “It’s a critical decision and I ask Londoners and people in the area to think about it,” he said.

On Sunday and with only two days until voters go to the polls, NDP leader Jack Layton made a stop at one of the party’s few seats in the region, London Fanshawe. Layton went after the Liberals, calling Dion an ineffectual leader and responsible for propping up a Conservative government. It was a rare moment, breaking from a strategy that attempted to make the Liberals look like an exhausted force on the decline by ignoring them and going after Harper alone.

He also promised that an NDP government would provide skills training, take action on climate change, and make investments in green industries, a national childcare program, and a “fair-trade deal.”

Who do you Vote for?

October 10, 2008

Polls have indicated that people don’t have an issue that sticks out this go around like past elections, it’s not about health care, or the environment, or even the economy despite the Liberal and NDP fear mongering. These issues all poll out evenly. So what can the parties focus on as the key issue this election?


This isn’t surprising to me, for the last few elections people have asked whether the party leaders or local candidates should be their main concern when at the polls. Is it more important to vote based on which party leader you like, or which of your local candidates appeals to you the most.

In the past I’ve based my vote on a mix of the two. The last provincial election, my first in London, I voted based on the leader of the party (Liberal) as I wasn’t familiar with the local candidates as well as I should have been. The previous provincial election it was a mix, I lived in the NDP leaders (Howard Hampton) riding and the other local candidates were weak offerings.The last federal election though I decided to vote for the preferable local candidate (Green) helped by a desire to not support Paul Martin and knowing the incumbent local, who I also liked, would be re-elected anyways.

But what about this election? How will I vote, how will you vote?

In my riding London North Center I’m presented with four choices. The incumbent Liberal Glen Pearson, who is the strongest of the group and has a rather interesting background. The Green and NDP candidates are fairly lacking in experiance and self confidence, and the Conservative candidate is the parties script reader write in.

As for the party leaders only Stephen Harper seems to have any sort of air of leadership about him. The Liberals have been on the losing end since electing Dion as leader, he does grow on you if you see him in person a few times but that’s not enough. Layton and the NDP have been trying to pull up the middle, but smell of desperation and lack fresh ideas of their own. Lastly the Green’s Elizabeth May who came in second during a by-election in London North Center isn’t likely to do well, but it would be nice to have an alternative to the NDP. Furthermore The Undecided tells me my beliefs are 41% in line with the Greens, 24% for the Conservatives, 21% with the NDP, and 7% with the Liberals.

So with that said, do I vote for my local preference Liberal Glen Pearson despite Dion’s poor performance, or vote for Stephen Harper despite the lackluster local candidate, or what a website tells me is my political leanings with the Green Party despite their awful Local candidate and Leader.

In the end does it even matter who your local candidate is anyways? Despite how you may feel about an issue and how your candidate feels the best they can often do in Parliament is not show up for a vote they oppose for fear of punishment by the party for voting against the whip.

Maybe it’s time we changed out electoral system.

London is too Prudish

October 9, 2008

Before the “Everything to do with Sex Show” even finished on Sunday, London’s busy bodies were trying to shut it down, and now the return of the show next year is in doubt.

Kelly Garland, owner of Libido on Talbot St, was quoted as saying London was ready for this kind of event and that the conservative stereotype was exaggerated, but it seems she didn’t count on Megan Walker overreacting. Without any first hand knowledge she decided she would call the police to investigate the trade show based on dubious complaints of women being abused and self appointed expertise that the seminars teaching questionable lessons.

I wasn’t surprised to learn Walker was the NDP candidate that placed 4th in London North Center a few years back, considering fellow NDP Irene Mathyssen of London-Fanshaw who openly questioned MP James Moore’s integrity saying he “disrespected women” when she was looking over his shoulder at his computer screen when he was looking at images of a scantily clad woman who turned out, much to Mathyssen’s embarrassment, to be his girlfriend at the time.

Even the City of London is trying to tell you what is acceptable sexual entertainment by taxing strip clubs out of existence. Strip club licences have jumped from $1,465 in 2001 to $4,500 in 2005 and this year was raised to $7,500. A $12,000 penalty for being in the adult entertainment business over the last 3 years that city hall, when asked for a justification, is scrambling to find a legitimate reason for the increase.

Unfortunately for the adult oriented trade show, they chose London as their first venue outside of Toronto which in it’s eighth year is billed as “Canada’s Best Adult Consumer and Trade Show”, and attracts 150 vendors, and over 50,000 visitors filling the Automotive Centre, Exhibition Place in Toronto.

“We think people in London are under-serviced in the romance market and we want to show people what is new out there,” said Mikey Singer, manager of show. “It’s not a porn convention. We try to promote better quality in the bedroom.”

I myself attended the trade show with my partner and were both a bit underwhelmed. For an adult trade show and in comparison to the Toronto version it was very tame. But I did not hear anything or see anything that would have warranted a call to the police, even the nipples were covered regardless of it being legal to go topless in Ontario.

Despite the informative seminars, educational demonstrations, fun contests and interesting vendors (not just the adult kind either), it seems London isn’t ready to be a place where adult fun isn’t taboo. Maybe the City should stop blaming Western for not keeping graduates in London and look at it’s own policies on entertainment in the city. Not everyone is an insurance agent.

London too Sexy for Itself.

October 3, 2008

Last night at club Mansion the “Everything to do with Sex Show” kicked off their first annual weekend long convention in London with a fashion show, drinks, dancing and unabashed fun.

The “Everything to do with Sex Show” begins today in the progress building at the Western Fairgrounds and runs till Sunday, targeting couples and singles with all kinds of exhibitors, activities, seminars and stage entertainment.

Hit up their website to get a discount on tickets and check out some of the fun seminars and activities such as the Fake Orgasm Contest, Adventurous Kinky Play 101, The Swinging Lifestyle, and How to Strip for Your Lover.

London is often seen as a very conservative city, but there is a very active gay community, swingers scene, and even a thriving bath house. With more events like the Everything to do with Sex Show bringing those sub cultures into the open, and another Collage, London might just turn it’s repressed image around.

NDP Website an Embarrassment… Stolen from Obama.

September 29, 2008

Old NDP siteHistorically Canada’s political branding and websites have been sub par at the best of times. But the one exception to that rule in the last few years has been the New Democratic Party (NDP), their recent re branding and online presence previous to this election has been a refreshing break in that trend. So when I went to visit the party websites after an election was called on the 12th I was disturbed at what I found.

It’s no secret that Layton is trying to import American style politics into our election this year. The party pridefully admits that their media strategy, their online campaign and their fundraising campaign is from south of the boarder; it’s painfully obvious that the NDP are hoping to catch some of the enthusiasm in the American Presidential campaign by borrowing from Senator Barack Obama.

But despite concepts being lifted wholly from Obama’s website, the execution of it is, quite frankly, horrible. The most obvious similarities are the donate splash page, and the sites header and navigation. However the thought put into Barack Obama’s layout and graphics are notably absent.

The content of the site appears to be jammed wherever there was space, action items are marginalized, and the content not directly inspired by the Senator’s site seems hapazard. The riding map page is one example of missing the boat entirely, and while I wouldn’t pick Drupal as my first choice to manage the sites content, the use of tables to layout the site, an archaic practice, is embarrassing.

Riding Maps

It’s clear that the shape of political branding is going to follow in Obama’s footsteps for years to come, it is undoubtedly one of the greatest brands to grace the political landscape in a long time; and Layton’s NDP are not the only party to recognize the success of Obama’s campaign. In the UK the Labour Party has adopted elements from Obama’s website into it’s own, but unlike the NDP they used them as jumping off points and not as something to be copied whole.

This new NDP site is not only an embarrassment but a huge step backwards from what was one of the only good political party websites in Canada. And for what? To trick people into thinking you’re Canada’s Barack Obama? How about a made in Canada solution for Canadian problems? We don’t need to copy our neighbours ideas, strategies, and designs; esspecialy if the execution is going to be so obvious and poorly done.

I believe Canada can do better, do you Jack?

Doors Open London; in Pictures.

September 22, 2008

I went out Saturday to take in the annual Doors Open here in London, hitting mostly downtown locations. During my travels I took lots of pictures, here are some of them. Enjoy.

Delta London Armouries Hotel

The first stop on the tour was the Delta Armouries hotel. Much of the original 1905 brick work has been preserved and the overall tone of the new portions take the unique heritage of the armouries now hotel into account.

Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame has plenty of plaques, though I would be more interested in seeing more medical artifacts like the pacemaker feature.

One London Place

A ride up to see the city, and a tour of the mechanical room.

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London Life Insurance Company

The smallest of the day, consisting of a room with vintage posters.

Dominion Public Building

From the Egyptian inspired bronze work, to the massive chandeliers, the detail that went into this building is amazing.

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The Grand Theatre

The Grand TheatreThe Grand TheatreThe Grand TheatreThe Grand TheatreThe Grand TheatreThe Grand TheatreThe Grand TheatreThe Grand TheatreThe Grand TheatreThe Grand TheatreThe Grand Theatre

London Transit

London TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon TransitLondon Transit

The Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory

The longest tour of the day, barred from taking pictures inside the lab. I honestly expected more from the tour, like an acctual demonstration of the tunnel.

The Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel LaboratoryThe Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory

Harper, Dion visit London.

September 17, 2008

Today Stephan Dion made a campaign stop in London to announce $1.2 billion in promises for post-secondary grants, loans and research cash.

The announcement aims to ease access to post-secondary education with education grants that would be delivered four times a year, bursaries of up to $3,500 per year, a $5,000 student loan regardless of parental income; and guaranteeing a lower interest rate for student loans while extending the grace period on repayment to two years, interest-free. He also promised increased support of university-based research and extend tax credits to the private sector for research.

“Support for learning has been a long-standing Liberal value and under a new Liberal government we will make the investments in the post-secondary education and research needed to ensure Canada can compete in the 21st century,” said Mr. Dion.

Earlier this week Steven Harper prommised Ottawa will make “prudent” investments to boost the economy of Southwestern Ontario, noting the millions his government has earmearked for the regions infrastructure, University, and manufacturing industry. He also warned the region would be adversly effected if Dion were to be elected and implients their proposed carbon tax proposal.

Video of the event at

At the time of this article being writen the NDP nore the Green Party have announced stops in London, although a staffer at Irene Mathyssen’s (London-Fanshaw) office said he would be stoping here at some point durring the campaign.

Western Partners with NASA Lunar Science Institute.

August 9, 2008

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said the University of Western Ontario will represent the Canadian lunar science community as the agency’s first international partner.

“We are extremely proud of our status as the first NASA Lunar Science Institute affiliate outside of the United States,” said Ted Hewitt, vice president of research and international relations for the University of Western Ontario. “We look forward to working with our colleagues throughout the institutes’s organization and at the Canadian Space Agency conducting this world-class research.”

The Lunar Institute will develop the next generation of lunar scientists, expanding research and education about the moon, and provided technical assistance for NASA’s next phase of scientific exploration of the moon.

For information about the NASA Lunar Science Institute, visit:

London’s Other Pride Parade.

July 28, 2008

John Leschinski avatarPro-Pride banditos.As I arrived at Colbourne and Dundas the distinct lack of any protesters was overshadowed by the amount of police officers milling about, waiting for the group to arrive, notifying people waiting for the annual Pride Parade about the possibility of trouble with another type of parade organizing at this corner. One mother took the opportunity to explained to her child that some “bad people” who’s views didn’t match her own might show up, not unlike those “bad people” might tell their children about the other protest group that arrived latter on and the parade itself.


Google Maps Adds Walking Directions

July 25, 2008

John Leschinski avatarGoogle Maps LogoGoogle Maps today released a new feature for those wanting to find directions for walking. The new feature ignores the direction of one-way streets, uses pedestrian-only paths, and tires to avoid hills.


The Homosexual Agenda.

July 20, 2008

John Leschinski avatar
Gay Pride FlagGay pride is invading London this week, and not everyone is happy about it.

The ten day event celebrating gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered diversity kicked off Thursday and will run its course filled with events such as the Miss Pride Pageant Friday, live theater and various concerts throughout the week, and a variety of family and kids oriented activities all topped off with the annual pride parade downtown where organizers expect 15,000 people to show up in support of the community.


Drive-Thru Debate Turned Circus.

July 15, 2008

KevBo avatar

Drive Thru
Drive Thru,
originally uploaded by

The 60,000 people who opposed a ban on drive-thrus in London can celebrate tonight. Through our democratic system their voices were heard loud and clear by council and committee and such a ban has been averted by the will of the people.


Cycling as a positive.

June 21, 2008

KevBo avatarMonday is a short bike video featuring Mike Bentham set to “Always For You” by The Album Leaf.

Positive messages, rather then the often caustic method of promoting a cycling culture, can benefit more from videos like this then all the critical mass demonstrations.

This video captures the joy of riding, making you want to go grab the bike, and making it fun and cool at the same time. It doesn’t look down on you for owning a car, and it doesn’t try to disrupt your commute; it’s positive and gets a the point across without being a jerk about it.