Showing posts with label Sounding Off. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sounding Off. Show all posts

Monday 13 December 2021

Top 10 Selfish Habits of People

Peoples' Bad Habits Continued

The last post was about lazy people. This is about selfish ones. Many of the examples overlap and involve both characteristics. You could do a list of selfish ones from driving habits or cell phone use alone so I include just a few here.

What do you think of people who (no particular order):

- Don't give a damn about other drivers. They won't let you in. They don't thank you if you let them in. They take 2 parking spots to protect their special baby. We need "Bone Head Onboard" stickers for their back windows. The previous post cited  people who are too lazy to correct their bad parking. This one is about those who take 2 spots deliberately.

- Queue jumpers in any situation. I call them out whenever I can. If you don't queue it's like watching seagulls or pigeons being fed in a parking lot!

- People who pee or defecate on a toilet seat then walk away. Others plug the toilet with paper towels they used to avoid any skin contact. Covering the seat is OK but please put paper towels in the trash. To protect their ass hole they are acting like one.

- With COVID-19 there is an entire class on its own - the unvaccinated. No need to expand on this one except for one point: in this case selfishness kills!

- Golfers who take 6 practice swings/putts holding up every other golfer on the course. Sometimes it is a foursome and they all do it. Then they miss the fairway or cup entirely.

- Those who stop dead in the middle of an aisle or at the bottom of an escalator with no thought that there might be others around them. Try this while driving. OOPS. Many already do.

- This one will get a reaction for sure. How about people who can't leave their phone alone the moment it makes a sound in the middle of a conversation. Also those who use it while talking in a very loud voice in public. Which came first - diagnoses of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Cell Phones?

- Once again phone users who still persist in using their phone while driving. This can and does have fatal consequences. Nothing less than hands free is acceptable, even at a red light. You might as well drive with a blindfold on, ear protectors, and your hands tied.

- People who filled their carts with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, masks etc. when COVID-19 hit. This has passed but it will return for sure. Thankfully some retailers took action to quell this trend. Do these folks keep their seat on a bus/subway when a 95 year old senior with 2 crutches gets tossed around in front of them? Probably (maybe they are too busy on their cell phone.)

- Guests at a dinner for Christmas etc. who, after their plates are full, start to eat before everyone is served, especially the hosts. Good hosts will probably say to go ahead but it is polite to wait just the same.

As usual, please comment with your own.

It is great to be so perfect!!


Friday 10 December 2021

Top 10 Lazy Habits of People

Smarten up People. Really?

This list could easily double or triple in size but 10 is a nice round number. Perhaps I am too lazy to come up with a longer list when I know that most people are too lazy to read more than a Tweet. These affect me and probably you almost every day.

If you are guilty of any of these you deserve a special place in Hell, especially if you use that old standby about providing a job for someone. These are in no particular order.

Are you annoyed by people who:

- Leave shopping carts that are hidden between 2 parked cars. You only see them when you attempt to snag what appears to be a lucky spot just for you! I often return them. Do you?

- Deposit groceries, especially frozen ones, which they no longer want or can't afford, so they just dump them anywhere - usually many aisles from where they belong.

- Remove clothes from hangers or packages to try on or examine only to leave them in a heap on top of others.

- Are litterbugs when a trash bin is only steps away. Burning at the stake in Hell is reserved for those who spit out their chewing gum in this manner.

- Toss their butts out the car window. The burning stake in Hell again if it is still lit. Look at today's forest fires. Lazy AND stupid.

- Are too lazy to get a moderate amount of personal exercise daily. OK, this only affects the rest of us in terms of our medical and insurance rates being high. But they could live so much better lives if just a half hour brisk walk was part of their daily routine.

- Park their cars at ridiculous angles and nowhere near the centre of their spot. This makes it difficult for the adjacent car to park and results in door chips and dents. A second attempt will normally fix the problem.

- Don't bother to keep tissues with them in which to cough or sneeze. If they forget, then coughing into their sleeve or coat/jacket is acceptable. This is selfish and rude in addition to lazy. I confess to sometimes forgetting the tissues.

- Won't keep their own trash until their pickup day. Instead they dump it when a bag is full into a public trash bin or business dumpster paid for by others. Once again, also selfish.

- Don't keep their properties at least as neat and tidy as their surrounding neighbours' places thus becoming an eyesore.

In the next post the annoying characteristic will be selfishness instead of laziness although there is often an overlap!

Feel free to contribute your own.


Tuesday 7 December 2021

That Old Question: Is Rap Music?

 Music of any form is: What you want it to be!

I was just reviewing an interview from 2019 between commentator Ben Shapiro and rapper Zuby. Shapiro had maintained several times that Rap was not music! It was not popular. Naturally Zuby disagreed.

It did remind me of thoughts and pieces I have written in the past of a similar nature. I am not a Rap fan - so what? Many people are.

I am sure most of you had similar disagreements with your parents about the latest music trends compared to the "old" days. I started to follow pop music in the '50s - it was Rock and Roll. The only thing my folks rolled was their eyes at the claim that this was music! We in turn were not exactly fond of Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Welk, or '40s music like big bands. However even then I did not question that it constituted music - just square music!

Shapiro tried to define requirements for the label of "music" citing harmony, melody, and rhythm. Surely your priority as a fan or listener is what you like or what sounds or feels good to you. When I first heard Rap I had similar thoughts - how can such a monotone repetition of really bad poetry with a mechanically produced background pass for music? The basic problem for me was that there was no singing and since the performer didn't play anything, no talent was required.

The other day I heard one and have no idea of the performer's background, skin colour, or political beliefs. It consisted of a total monotone - one note. If there were two he was sharp or flat on one of them! So to me TALENT is a mandatory element and all Rap required was speaking rapidly. Fans argue that it has a message. So does almost any lyric.

OK, OK. I know that riled a few people. Let me continue. The debate requires a little more of a broad perspective. I once thought that Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen were terrible, not singing real music. Now I realize how wrong I was.

So consider these points:

Classical music seldom involves lyrics or vocalists but who would ever say that Beethoven and Mozart did not play music? What they did have was immense talent. The same goes for big bands and marching bands. You might not listen to them but it is clearly music.

Have you ever heard a very moving piece sung a cappello such as a national anthem? Think of Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, or even Frank Sinatra. They use their raw talent and magnificently trained (YEARS of it) vocal chords to leave you spellbound - with no harmony or rhythm. This is not music? Of course it is - so is a soprano or tenor singing a solo.

As to rhythm alone, have you heard solo efforts by any of drummers John Bonham; Buddy Rich; Keith Moon; or Max Weinberg to name a few? These are also music. If you tapped your foot or gyrated along with it, it was music! Listen to a steel drum/pan group and see if you disagree.

Another point - today you can use computer hardware and software to produce any of these. Does that also disqualify it as music? I don't think so. Great producers do this when working with singers or instrumentalists and the result is indeed great music.

Let us not forget those pieces that were immensely popular but made no real sense at all! Listen to Whiter Shade of Pale; American Pie; Wooly Bully. Others repeat lines and phrases over and over like Hey Jude; Roxanne; Chain of Fools; Ain't No Sunshine; and again Wooly Bully. This would debunk the belief that a deep or moving message is also required.

In conclusion if you have a recognized talent in any of the above singly or in combination then you are making music. When people dance or sing or clap to accompany you - same conclusion.

So you can decide for yourself if Rap or any other verbal or instrumental expression is music. If you dig it or can jive to it, who cares?


Tuesday 25 May 2021

USA: The New Banana Republic

Yes you have no Bananas but the Rest is a Match

Look up a definition of banana republic. 

Although bananas are not associated with America and it does have more than one product to export, the rest is a fit: politically unstable; exploitation by corporations; usually a large impoverished working class and a ruling class plutocracy; run by business, political, and military elites by way of the exploitation of labour.

That's a good fit and it is getting worse. Elections have been rigged for a long time - NOT the way Trump maintained, but rigged just the same in the background and it is getting worse. Just look at all the bills that Republican states are passing today - every one designed to weaken the opportunity for visible minorities to vote, and the right to replace anyone responsible for counting votes etc. at will. Reversing a Democratic wave next time will be a breeze.

It won't be the Democrats. It will be the other side. They are meticulously preparing for it. This includes one attempt already to overthrow the legally elected Biden administration. Watch out for more. When Republicans who were inside The Capital when mobs were looking for people to hang, are now trying to cover up any investigation into how it happened, something is rotten at the top and it ain't in Denmark folks!

The only reason Trump started crying foul way before the 2020 election was that he and his team realized something - not the base who are just Trump lemmings. The efforts underway to undermine the minority vote, were not working.

In 2024 America needs international monitors for its election. How about China, Russia, The Philippines, or after this week Lukashenko from Belarus?

America finally joined other nations to defeat Germany. Who will help Lady Liberty defeat those overthrowing her own country?


Thursday 18 March 2021

OPINION: Public Profanity, Potty Mouth, F Bomb, Swearing

 Can You Control Your Swearing?

In my last post I discussed my belief that some people show their true colours when they lose their temper. This is likely true for all of us to some degree. Do you make an effort to use discretion before dropping the popular "F" bomb in public in any of its popular forms?

I do but sometimes it seems that I am in the minority. To me you leave that behind in the school yard or at least at high school or college/university. There is a time and a place but I would prefer they are not anytime and anyplace. It is a matter of self-discipline and there is the problem. That is tough for many people as it applies to swearing, dieting, saving for the future, exercise and many other things. It is as though once they escaped any parental influence or "rules" they have to rebel and take pleasure in doing all things which were forbidden in the past. Personally I don't get it. Grow up. We all know that as adults we CAN swear - I just choose not to do so.

In my youth we were chastised for even saying "hell'' or "damn". Only once or twice did I ever hear my father drop the F-bomb and he was alone at the time - probably thought he was out of earshot. Not once did my mother ever use it.

The problem (OK, to some it is NOT a problem) is that unless you look around, you never know who is within earshot when speaking or shouting in public. Also public figures in modern media have no idea who their audience might include. Such language is offensive to many seniors and inappropriate for young kids to hear in my opinion. It makes me wonder whether people who don't seem to share my concern use such language at home in front of their kids and permit them do the same regardless of age.

It is one thing when I am with friends in a small group drinking beer, playing golf or whatever. It is quite another however, every morning at a favourite coffee shop when I hear it in every other sentence or in public places like stores and buses. I find it to be completely out of place for leaders in our government especially when being broadcast.

Think of some of the funniest people on TV over the years both male and female. Not once did they rely on swearing to try to get laughs. Perhaps they might have relaxed the discipline a bit at a private club but not in front of the world stage. Also their networks would not have allowed it. Today even that has changed.

If this makes me a prude or an elitist, so be it. I slip but rarely in public. There again I do use religious references in vain more frequently and that probably offends some people. When I am alone I use the word all the time in self-anger: stub my toe, break a dish etc. My spouse hears it unfortunately and even more rarely she might say it in anger herself - never in public.

I recognize this is a personal choice but like all morals and standards, this is yet another area of decorum that is disappearing.

Please comment below.


Sunday 14 March 2021

Maybe Mother Nature will have sympathy this year

Take Precautions - We are Facing a Spike

Here we are at the end of spring. Daylight Saving Time has kicked in again. COVID numbers are going in the right direction. Soon we will be outside enjoying our yards - even later on in the evening once the weather turns.

But still we have to be cautious. Once again we can't ignore all previous recommendations to protect ourselves - that could result in serious illness. Some will indeed get infected. It is always that way - even in good times this world still throws curve balls at us to keep us sharp. 

In truth this particular threat has been at the pandemic stage for decades. Maybe with advanced genetics we can come up with a way to tweak their own genes so they can do no physical harm to us. Then we could declare victory.

I have been lucky so far. I have tried to think of ways to protect myself and my spouse with something above and beyond what is available commercially but so far - nothing. In the meantime, I will try to enjoy myself until I have been exposed once too often and recognize the tell-tale symptoms.

Happens every year. This time I have to replace my netting and buy more spray - with DEET.

Damned mosquitoes - still cause disease. Still ruin it every year!


Monday 30 November 2020

20 Years of Prison time for Dumping Garbage on the Roadside

Littering at its Worst. People are Disgusting.

OK. That title was designed to grab your attention. If you got this far, it has. The question now is, are you one of the disgusting guilty parties?

The other day I was walking with a friend during this COVID time to get some fresh air and exercise. He lives just on the border between our city and its open country. The road we took has a railway line crossing it five minutes into the walk - north of our city. The area is covered by trees and bushes. Right after the RR tracks, it turns 90 degrees west and there is another lonely stretch of uninhabited scrub plus farmland.

Because there is some room for parking at this railway crossing, there were a couple of families letting their kids play and wander away from the car but safe from the tracks and trains. What they could not avoid however, was the pile of green garbage bags - some now ripped open - dumped there by some scum of the earth citizen.

As we walk we are always amazed at the crap we see in the ditches and on the edges of pastures also dumped - usually at night - by deplorables. One day I saw an entire wooden rowboat rotting and pushed off a trailer to sit in the ditch. There is construction waste; household waste; paint cans; batteries etc.

Almost all of these things are picked up by municipal garbage collection provided by the city. If not, there is a recycle and "dump" facility within ten minutes where the fees for most peoples' loads are very reasonable - a few dollars. I use it all the time.

Forget any argument that times are hard and they can't afford even those few dollars to dispose of items properly. They can apparently afford the vehicle and gas needed to do the illegal dumping. For many, the proper site is closer.

I personally know others who on a daily basis - when they travel to their morning coffee shop - bring the last day's worth of household garbage which they place in any available commercial bin or waste bin. Usually it is the one beside the coffee shop meant for breakfast paper bags and coffee cups or the local Walmart etc. where larger bins might exist. They are too lazy to store this stuff like everyone else in a bin at home until their collection day.

We hear all about saving the planet; environmental change; global warming etc. but what chance is there for accomplishing any of that when we are surrounded by lowlifes who don't give a rat's ass about the personal level items I just mentioned.

Cheap. Lazy. Selfish. The list is much longer to be sure.

If you think you are not included, when was the last time you spit out your chewing gum on a street or sidewalk or tossed your cigarette butt in a similar manner? Didn't want it cluttering up your car? The bin was too far to walk?

Thanks for making our world just a little more hopeless. Oh yes! Please walk your next shopping cart back to its carrel. Don't leave it in a parking spot - probably mine.


Sunday 23 February 2020

Food for Thought

Thought for Food Maybe Not So ...

Here I go again, right off the top. I am seated in front of a PC on this free website where I can pretty much write or express myself in any manner I please. What will it be today? This is also without - I hope - concern for lawsuits, fines, or reprisals. I did get some hate mail once. What a fantastic freedom.

There are places of course where this is not the case. I happen to be in Canada. I wonder whether my neighbours to the south are as lucky anymore. If their current leader and the networks that support him have their way, maybe not.

The sad part however is that I only started to enjoy writing later in my life. I have no credentials or degrees in journalism etc. but at least have the right and freedom to try. My biggest problem is that today not many people want to read it. Naturally that could be because I am not a household name, have no following, and maybe I'm just not very good. I accept that but I think there is more to it.

Some solace can be gained by my awareness that long established newspapers and magazines are also having a tough time staying in business despite their sometimes famous writers. I suspect it is for the same reason. Loyal fans of those outlets still enjoy reading a newspaper but they are a dying breed. 

Younger audiences want news snippets and off the wall videos which they can experience in seconds and forward to their "friends" whom they might never have met. Tweets fit the bill and funny, outlandish stunts. 

I'm afraid that I am too late to talk about anything meaningful for more than a few sentences and nurture a following. I have to dumb it down or jazz it up. So no, expressing thoughts for food or any form of compensation is just not going to cut it. If you write it they will come is the stuff of movies but not blogs.

I should turn to lying through my teeth, grow outlandish hair, or wear a tie a foot longer than it should be. Look what it has done for others.


Sunday 26 January 2020

The Dumbing Down of English

Misplaced Participle - Say What?

English is one of the most prevalent languages and citizens of many counties learn and speak it. I never forget however that it is indeed the ENGLISH language. It is not Canadian, American, Australian etc. So when it comes to one aspect of any spoken language - pronunciation - they are always right and we are not. WE have the accent and not those from over the pond.

It is natural that over time any dictionary grows and changes because of new terms and words. These are often slanged or technological terms that have simply become so commonplace that the great institutions like Oxford and Webster have accepted them. To me, sometimes this is good, sometimes not.

One I have heard frequently recently is nucular. Presidents and spokespeople for the industry have said it. The word is nuclear and I hope it is not accepted simply because many people are wrong in its use. More acceptable are viral as in a video "going viral" or Facebook "friends" even though you will never meet them.

There are lots of others but I am straying from my point.

What IS sad to me is the apparent total lack of focus on vocabulary and grammar the way they were taught years ago. Vocabulary was not taught per se but those who tended to read more possessed more extensive vocabularies.

Grammar is another matter. Perhaps this is because it used to be one of my better subjects and I remember a lot of it. Example: It is a topic most people won't relate to. Did you catch it? That should read "… is a topic to which most people won't relate." I speak this way and people look at me like I am from another planet - even those of my generation. Here is another: "As far as grammar most people don't care." It should be "As far as grammar is concerned …"; "As far as grammar goes …"; "When it comes to grammar … ."

At this point I have probably lost half of my readers. I am not trying to be snobby, it just means something to me. It's a bit like those who still send real snail mail cards and acknowledge emails or gifts - just a case of old habits not dying because we don't want them to die.

In the late 1980's I took a business writing course at work. I was dressed down a few times because they were teaching that one should write at a grade 11 high school level. You were supposed to avoid words of more than three syllables. Really? So why did I finish school?

Do they even teach grammar? I know spelling is gone and script. What about basic math or arithmetic?

Too bad. I will continue to offend the sensitivities of some I suppose. After all, I is smart!

The Brewster

Monday 20 January 2020

Are Parents Facing Up or Copping Out?

Parental Teachings Extinct?

I like to start something like this with a few declarations. 
  1. I am a baby boomer.
  2. I don't have kids but once upon a time I was one (still am!)
  3. I said sure, sure, sure when my parents said stuff like this. 
  4. Now I am saying it just the same
How many of you in my generation are tired of seeing nostalgic pictures and videos somebody Emailed you about old commercials, TV shows, cars, sayings, gadgets, games, and things you can't even recognize? They get a little boring so this is a different list.

This one is about teachings that were usually part of a parental responsibility to make sure their kids were going to grow into strong, respectable offspring who could face the world and make them proud grandparents. The list is random. Do today's parents even try?
  1. Don't use that kind of language in my presence. Today parents use it themselves. 
  2. No you can't have this or that until you get a summer job and buy it yourselves. We don't make as much as Jimmy's / Sally's parents.
  3. Just to throw in a positive, praising your kids' accomplishments is always a good idea. Hard to do today when the kids are so self-absorbed that you don't know what those accomplishments are, especially if they are some score on their phone or game box.
  4. No more TV. Outside and play! Good luck with that today. 
  5. Get off the phone. Now they all have their own VERY expensive ones.
  6. No sex. Well at least late high school. Now I suspect it happens in primary school. 
  7. You are not leaving this house looking like that. Today the problem is that the parents often look like "that". 
  8. Call your grandmother (aunt; uncle etc.) and thank them for that gift. Say what?
  9. Eat your dinner - all of it. We did. Does anyone now? Dinner is usually fast food for the whole family. 
  10. Turn down that music. OK this is a good thing. Now parents can't hear it but the kids' ears are damaged even more.
Many more could be in the list. I know that for years both parents have had to work so there is less time to be a positive influence. 

This is the modern day generation gap. The kids I see were born to parents who themselves were raised without hearing any of the above. These parents don't see any problem. If they do they are too busy worrying about how they are going to pay off their credit card or get another one.

The Brewster

Sunday 6 January 2019

Welcome to Democracy, Western Style

Don't You Just Love It - What a System!

It happens every time. CEOs of major corporations receive huge compensations when the company does well. When the bottom line is slipping, who takes the pay cut or is told they have to accept a zero increase - those same executives or the employees? HINT: it isn't the first group.

In politics it is the same - from local mayors to premiers, governors, prime ministers, and presidents. When things go well they vote themselves increases in salaries, benefits, and pensions. When things are not going so well, then what? 

Isn't it still true that we the electors put these people where they are and our taxes pay them salaries, benefits and pensions to work for US, the electorate? If workers of a failing company take the hit does it not follow that politicians who work for the voters should also take the hit when, for example, a government shuts down? What did its employees or its electorate do to be so-punished?

What am I missing here? Let them eat cake or at least humble pie.

The Brewster

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Capital Punishment is Sometimes Justified

Throw Them into the (Hungry) Lions' Den

We Slaughter four legged animals by the millions every day, birds and fish in higher numbers. Recently here in Canada two vial, despicable, slugs who once crawled out from under a rock are back in the news.

In 2008 Terri-Lynne McClintic and Michael Thomas Christopher Stephen Rafferty abducted, raped and killed with a hammer a sweet, innocent, and trusting eight year old girl, Victoria Elizabeth Marie "Tori" Stafford. The youth trusted McClintic who led Tori away from school.

Found guilty and imprisoned, our wonderful justice system has recently seen fit to move both of these creatures to more comfortable surroundings. The female and murderer - McClintic - to an indigenous "healing" lodge, and the male and rapist - Rafferty - from a maximum to a medium security facility.

They both deserved to be removed from this planet - permanently. The lions' den comment was a facetious one but both of them would have had a better chance of escape and survival than poor Tori.

Some will say that taking a life as punishment reduces us to animal status. I offer an animalistic reply - BULLS__T! If they knew they would pay the supreme penalty lowly cowards like this would not have committed the crime. A seasoned criminal might have and that person should also have been removed from the globe.

Some crimes deserve it and we who remain would all be better off. Wrongful conviction was not an issue here. Nor was it for Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. That's another story but VERY similar in nature. 

They waste valuable global resources with every breath they take and every drink they consume. I know that is not politically correct. Neither were their callous crimes. We can only hope that prison justice will prevail.

The Brewster

Friday 16 November 2018

Hazing Etc.

Sick: Too Much Harry Potter?

Recently in the local Toronto news was a story that unfortunately is all too common both in Canada and beyond. It described a so-called "Hazing" or initiation incident at a local and generally highly regarded private school for boys - St. Michael's College School.

The event apparently involved new students being subjected - sick as it is - to being forcibly sodomized by more senior students with a broom handle while others watched, pointed their cameras, and did nothing. Many of them now have this video on their cameras.

In the feature it also mentioned similar incidents where the victims were new football players at the university level at a different institution of "higher learning."

I was a "Frosh" once at university. Yes some just plain silly and sometimes humiliating things were done to new students. Never were they forced and never did it involve these kinds of acts. Participation was expected but voluntary. Sometimes you wore silly clothes; sometimes you were to repeat embarrassing phrases about yourself; often you were to pretend you were a dead horse with arms and legs in the air. Violence was rare and somebody would step in if it went too far.

The above however is just plain sick. To their credit the school involved police and parents after the media published the story. The police have now said this meets the definition of child porn and recommended deleting any copies of it. 

In my view, the perpetrators should be immediately expelled - apparently some students were - and perhaps the parents should forfeit their tuition or a large portion of it. I would even favour mandatory court-imposed counselling. What else will change future behaviour? Maybe responsible parents would warn their kids of the consequences.

Some will say this reaction is extreme - they were only having fun that got a bit carried away. Carried away? What is fun about pushing a piece of wood up someone's anus against their will while they are held down? What kind of mind even conceives of such stuff? Is this some quirky Harry Potter syndrome - the all powerful broom? (No offence intended to all the legitimate readers and fans.)

There have been cases over the years where young people have been seriously injured and died during such rituals. Surely it doesn't matter if it involves men, soldiers, women,  or teammates of the toughest character - it is sick. Try it on anyone outside of a school or team environment and you will end up behind bars for assault.

Maybe it is just that Harry came after my childhood. Anybody hold similar views?

The Brewster

Saturday 20 October 2018

Annoying Commercials

Worse than Fingernails on a Chalkboard

How about hearing from you as to what TV commercials annoy you the most. Here are a few that I can't stand. Who comes up with these and the characters?

Full kudos to the actors. I will avoid their personal names. This is not about them. If they annoy me so much they are probably doing their job. It is the people that think some of this idiocy will incent me to buy their product or service that I dislike.

Captain Obvious - This guy is featured in commercials and I can't stand them. I have not seen one of them that even makes me grin - I just groan and hope it will be over soon. I had to look him up to recall what company he represented - how effective is that?

Trivago - These are right up there - or down there - with Captain Obvious on the groan scale. I think they started in 2013 - great for this guy who must be rich by now. I have to admit that in this case I did remember the company and actually did refer to the Trivago site because of it. I didn't use it but it must have worked. Now if they would just teach him how to dance! That 360 he does looks like a five year old being instructed by his mother to turn around while the camera is rolling. Thankfully I am not seeing him as much anymore.

Toronto Dominion Bank (TD Bank)
- This one might be known to Canadians only. There is a guy who is supposed to be a TD financial advisor. He has black hair, large dark framed glasses, and a full black beard that somehow looks phony. It is his voice that gets me the most - makes me cringe. Please TD - put him back in the vault somewhere. I really want someone to pull his beard just like they did with Donald Trump's hair one time just to see if it comes off.

Ruby Tuesday - Worst of the bunch for this company is the actress in the red dress playing a keyboard. I won't waste any more words on this. I will say when I travel in the USA I do really enjoy their menu and buffet - despite the commercials. I happened to visit a location long before I had even heard of them and I have returned since. There you go. Now pay me instead.

All Lawyer Commercials - I probably dislike these the most - especially the classic ambulance chasers. Just imagine - here we have people raking in a fortune on the backs of the death or serious injury of others. Featured in most of them are one or more of the principals who, if they are actually intelligent, must realize that hiring a professional actor would be more effective than making asses of themselves on TV. There is at least one case here in Canada where I know the dignified man on the camera is a professional actor (he used to do a cannonball in a vacation commercial) and he does a great job - far more attention getting than the "we care" images of others. As might be expected they are starting to implement regulations whereby it must be stated that such a person is indeed an actor.

Other "Professionals" - Everything that applies in the previous entry about lawyers also applies to the Trustees In Bankruptcy people. They probably can help certain people but wow does it ever cost! I have to include here all the commercials that feature a person wearing a white lab coat and posing as a dentist, doctor, or pharmacist. Again there should be a very clear statement if they are actors, that they are not qualified professionals in their particular discipline.

Pepto Bismol - Not a really big country music fan but include it in a commercial with some western singers mentioning nausea; heartburn; indigestion; and then upset stomach and diarrhea while turning their butts to the camera - surely that would put anyone off. Perhaps there were complaints because now there is a more hip group of three doing synchronised movement while dressed in PB pink! Still not a fan. Maybe that is the plan - now I reach for the stuff before I ralph my guts out!

What are some of your most disliked?

The Brewster

Thursday 18 October 2018

Fashion Gurus - What Planet Are They From?

Who Said This Was Stylish?

Do you ever wonder where the people who say a certain style in fashion or home decorating come from? Who are these people who suddenly declare that something is "IN"?

One I will never agree with is the wearing of brown shoes - especially light brown ones - with navy or any blue or grey suit. They look horrible. Will one of you fashion divas please face up to this error and declare it uncool or simply render them OUT again?

While you are at it - the long thin skinny pointed ones that eventually curl up at the toe make the wearer look like a court Jester! I always look for a clown hat on their head to match - you know the ones with the bobbles like you see on Jesters in Henry the VIII's time.

They used to say that blue and green should never be seen but I think blue and brown is worse!

The Brewster

Monday 10 September 2018

Serena: Did she break a racquet or a racket?

Who was Guilty of Bad Behaviour Here?

I did not see this match, but I heard and then read ALL about it. I have to admit that when I heard about racquet smashing and back talking to an official, my first reaction was - there she goes again. She got what she deserved! Serena has definitely lost it before.

Now my thoughts are mixed, especially hearing from other legendary players both male and female.

Initially I was thinking "Give me a break (no pun intended)." Spoiled tennis brat behaviour has gone on too long. Some people argue that top athletes just get heated and will act like this occasionally and we - including officials - should accept it. Did Bjorn Borg carry on like this? Martina Lavratinova? Does Roger Federer? 

It is true that in every sport there are those who express their anger and frustration openly, verbally, and physically and those who don't. I happen to prefer the latter because I think it is more difficult to keep your cool and  play your best simultaneously. It is all about being a good sport and good sportsmanship. Some people love the Jimmy Conners and John McEnroes - I don't, preferring the Federer / Gretsky / Palmer styles of classy behaviour. 

Then I read on. I was not aware of the "no coaching" rule. What's with that? Imagine baseball, football (both types), hockey, car racing, or boxing without a coach yelling or signaling from the side? Is it just one of those traditional, stately old tennis idiosyncrasies like the once "white uniforms only" rule? Is there another sport with such a rule?

If the rule stays then it should be respected. Serena is right however, to protest if the rule is overlooked when male players are guilty. She was NOT right o break her racquet or call the official a thief and neither are any men who do the same thing. I agree that if men are warned first, then she should be also. That is the "racket" part of this - apparently a racket to the advantage of men. I don't buy in to the proposal that this particular official got upset just because it was a woman who spoke to him in such a manner.

A lot of people do not like Celine Dion or Tiger Woods when they are off the stage or the course. I try to separate the personalities from the talent. That I will always admire and wish them success in their profession. The same goes for Serena -  she is a fantastic tennis player.

Is there a conclusion here or am I just lobbing balls over the net? OK - I have to agree that some overdue good will come out of this. Eliminate silly rules or clarify them and apply rules equally to ALL players. The sad part about all of this is that the moment should have belonged to Naomi Osaka who most observers say would have prevailed regardless. Her moment of glory was tarnished. THAT I blame on Serena.

The Brewster

Sunday 29 April 2018

Press Corps Dinner Bombs

Trump Gets It Right This Time 

I was looking forward to the annual Press Corps dinner / roast last night. The one featuring Obama with Trump in the audience was great. That is to say Obama was great - Trump not so much.  What a letdown this year. Trump stayed away again. In hindsight I don't blame him. It sucked big time and that is not fake news.

Things started OK but the current president of the group, nice as she seems, was not a great speaker. She appeared to lose her place a lot. The remarks and awards were sincere enough but the agenda, if there was one, was completely disorganized throughout. There should have been a professional MC to keep things flowing and on track.

Unfortunately I was watching CNN at the time and they oversold the guest speaker, Michelle Wolf. The CNN anchors also suffered from poor dinner scheduling. I lost count of how many times they said that Michelle would be coming on in "Just a few minutes!" I was beginning to think she had cancelled.

As it turned out perhaps she should have. This guest was horrible. Any stand-up speaker who relies heavily on the "F" bomb and other vulgarities in a vain attempt at humour is a failure from the outset - in my opinion. That was matched only by her far too personal attacks on various attendees.

It is very difficult in any of these "roast" situations to strike a balance between poking fun and hitting well below the belt. It takes class to accomplish this. Wolf had none.

Shame on the Press Corps. Their members deserved a lot better. The worst thing - you played right into DT's hands.

The Brewster

Sunday 18 March 2018

Big Brother Social Media

Someone Planted a Bug and It’s My Phone
You know the story. You get a new phone and go through the process of setting it up, downloading some apps, and possibly saying YES to many requests to allow this or that app to provide you with “an enhanced user experience.”

I started by saying "NO" to anything that wanted to track my location but later I did agree to this for a few apps. Don’t we all? Then this happened:

The coffee crew I usually meet at McD’s each morning had talked about trying a favourite all day breakfast spot. A couple of us “Googled” the location. About 2 weeks later we met there for about 1 ½ hours and enjoyed a humongous feast.

That afternoon I received a “notification” on my phone. It asked how I enjoyed my visit to the Greasy Greasy restaurant this morning (name changed). Huh? What? How did “THEY” know? I will use the nebulous THEY going forward.

The answer was pretty obvious. My phone, turned on, was stationary at the exact location of the dining room in the Greasy Greasy diner. I did use it there once. I had also looked up the location 2 weeks before. THEY knew this as well. It was probably the call or the time spent dining that gave me away. I didn’t complete the survey - intended to but something terminated abnormally.

Do you ever really think about this? Do you even know what permissions you have agreed to on your phone and all of its software? Do you know what can be tracked even if you don’t give any such permissions?

Here are a few things that THEY know about me now:

  1. EXACTLY where I live. Never mind me never entering an address. My phone “lives” in the same spot every night and most of the day. THEY know the exact street address.
  2. Probably everything there is to know about my phone - brand; identification; operating system; what apps I chose; how much or little I use it; obviously exactly WHERE I use it.
  3. What websites I visit and what numbers I call.
  4. What news stories I read.
  5. Who I text and what I say and what is said to me.
  6. If I use my phone for finance, where I use it and what I buy. I don’t buy with my phone but many people do.
  7. What financial institutions I use and what cards.
  8. Assuming I shut off and charge my phone, what time I go to bed and what time I become active again.
  9. LOTs of other things I am not considering.

Now each item might not represent much but all together THEY know a lot about me.

Some of this is good. I can say “Hey Mona - where is the nearest gas station” or even name a brand of gas. If I am injured and alone authorities can find me via GPS. I can make a reservation. I can use my phone instead of cash. I can text. I can, let us not forget, actually phone someone. I can take and store thousands of pictures - not sure why I would but I could. Then I can send them to 500 people I don't really know. Make their day!

Someday a doctor will diagnose me via my phone. There are lots of potentially helpful things here.

Now think about these items:

  1. If you spend time in places like strip bars, the racetrack, casinos, do you turn off those permissions first? Probably not. Do you turn off your phone? Same answer.
  2. Would it make any difference? I am assuming that when a phone is turned off it can’t be traced but is that true?
  3. Just like the breakfast, if you spend time in the same location - like a lover’s - too long including overnight do you want anyone to know that?
  4. Does the coffee house you visit almost every morning track you? Will it pay THEM to send messages to you if you are absent saying “We missed you today!”. Will you be pleased or angry?
  5. Do you lock your screen after a short period so that all of this is not available to anyone who finds your lost phone?
  6. Are you set up to have your provider locate your phone and inactivate it until you retrieve it?

All of this was predicted to begin happening by 2004 but now Big Brother can indeed watch me and listen to me - 724 if I allow it.

Someday soon they will probably smell me. In the meantime, I smell a rat.

The Brewster

Wednesday 14 March 2018

In Praise of Stephen Hawking

Thank You Stephen Hawking

Every now and again - perhaps every few decades - a person like Stephen Hawking is born. He is a member of that elite group I can only refer to as profound thinkers.

You could probably cite others numbering in the dozens throughout recorded history - Einstein; Socrates; Plato; Darwin; Copernicus to name a few. Others exist in the creative arts - Michael Angelo; Beethoven; Renoir; Leonardo da Vinci.

Above all what I respect most about such people and their brains is that I doubt now or in the future will any form of machine or artificial intelligence match the creative genius of any one of them in their respective fields.

It took a chess master to create a computer chess master. Chess however is really just extreme combinations of known choices. Can you imagine a machine creating The Mona Lisa? It takes a human brain to both create and appreciate such a thing. The same applies to the mind of Stephen.

Surely it is all about human imagination. I just can't see any A.I. software possessing it the same way that we do.

Thank you Stephen et al for levelling the playing field. Wherever you are and whoever is your audience human or not, keep them spellbound just for the home team.

The Brewster

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Driving and Cell Phones

Wake up and smell the blood 

Image result for driving and cell phones signs
Of all the selfish actions
I witness every day,
We have to find a way to make
These guilty parties pay.

It’s not the politicians
Their lies and glad handshake.
Nor the fat cat lawyers
And all the fees they take.

It’s not the oil executives
Monopolizing fuels.
Nor the striking teachers   
Closing down our schools.

It’s not my fellow bipeds
Spitting out their gum.
Nor the cheeky youngsters
Swearing at their Mom.

It’s not the transit riders
Blasting out a tune.
Nor citizens of countries   
Electing a buffoon.

It’s not the big brave hunters
Slaying innocent prey.
Nor multi-million athletes
Whining for more pay.

I could write more pages
About bad deeds and crooks.
With subjects who are human
I could fill ten books.

I’m sure you are impatient.
Good - that’s how I feel,
And totally frustrated
Making this appeal.

The subjects of these verses
Care not for you and me.
So if you know you’re guilty
I hope that you’ll agree.

I speak of lame brained drivers
Who won’t stay off their cell.
Such idiotic morons
Deserve to be in Hell.

Alone or with their children
It matters not the sex.
Disaster in an instant.
It’s really not complex.

What call or text can matter
More than another’s soul?
I hope you see there is none.
That is my hope and goal.

The Brewster