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Morning Brew: Rob Ford plays Santa, Ikea monkey waits for verdict, Toronto student foils US shooting plot, crazy weather, short turns, and a Yorkville parody video

Heeeeeeeeeee's back! In his first public appearance since his pre-holiday holiday to South Florida, Rob Ford handed out presents in Scarborough yesterday. The Star reports the mayor knocked on doors and said "Ho ho ho. Hi, I'm Rob. Can we come in?" Terrifying.

The increasingly tedious Ikea monkey saga is now in the hands of a judge. The owner of the animal that danced into the spotlight two weeks ago is launching an appeal to have her former pet removed from a sanctuary. Rhesus macaques are banned in Toronto, as are many other exotic creatures. Should the monkey be returned?

A Ryerson student and Toronto police may have foiled an Arizona shooting plot. A 16-year-old girl from the city of Mesa, 32 kilometres east of Pheonix, posted a message on a YouTube channel operated by Alex Haney, a Toronto student, that said "I now literally have a plan of seriously hurting ... killing ... murdering people in my high school." Haney contacted Toronto police who passed on the tip to Arizona. There, the girl was arrested and handguns found in the family home.

Hey - that's a lot of Metropasses. TTC regulars can rest assured their expired travel permits can be used to make an extra special transit-flavored rainbow. The cards will likely be discontinued in a few years in favor of PRESTO.

Last night was a major washout for the GTA. While northeastern parts of the province saw significant snowfall, the city of Toronto was pelted with freezing rain and high winds. More bad weather is expected today and some forecasters are calling for snow. Welcome to the apocalypse.

Ever wondered why you're being turfed off a bus or streetcar because of a "short turn"? The TTC's Brad Ross and CEO Andy Byford have produced a handy informational video that explains why transit control sometimes decides to empty and turn back and a vehicle. The short answer: big gaps in service on other routes or an accident. Drivers are now promising to communicate turns better.

Way back in February "The Plum Thunder" gave us the hilarious Toronto "Boys Without Girls" version of the Pet Shop Boys' "West End Girls.". Now the trio is back with a new video, "Bloor Street." Watch for the Ikea monkey cameo too.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Toronto" by Che.Pei.En from the blogTO Flickr pool.

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