Thursday, 29 March 2018

What about a "G7" on Advertising?

Possible Side Effects "... Can be Fatal." Really?

Isn't it time for a governing body for advertising? Normally I only see the North American ads but I am sure all members of the developed world are subjected to similar assaults involving falsehoods and blatant lies.

If nothing else, isn't it insulting how many companies seem to consider us to be total imbeciles? To be fair I suppose some people out there probably do need to be told not to ingest a particular product, even when they already know they are allergic to it!

After many decades don't you wonder just how many times a leading laundry detergent can be "New and Improved?" If they are going to persist isn't it time to see a man doing laundry and holding up his sparkling white sheets with a glowing smile on his face as though he just won the lottery - the highlight of his day? Really? Aren't women somewhere just screaming about this?

What about all of the CYA statements made right at the end of an ad at some ridiculous speed that sounds like someone pressed FF on the recording.?This stuff might be legal but it is impossible to hear. The scary thing is that's the way they want it. Really?

Here is another I have mentioned in my Pet Peeves posting: commercials that are programmed to broadcast several decibels higher than the rest of a broadcast. At least one network stated that they can't control this. Really?

One of the chemical cleaners that is supposed to remove lime, rust, calcium and just about everything else should be kicked off the air. Stains in some fixture or on some wall that look like they are ten years old and impregnated right into the material disappear with a single swipe of the sponge! Really?

The worst has to be those - and there are many - which actually do have a narrator you can understand but when you hear the possible side effects, phrases like "possibly fatal" or "side effects that have included death!" are included. Am I going to buy this? Really?

There is a great documentary about the VW diesel scandal where false claims were made for years about how clean burning their latest diesel motors were. This is an example where eventually - after years - there were huge fines and some prison time imposed. Their customer base probably took a big hit as a result. Well deserved.

It is doubtful whether any government involvement is likely to occur or to be effective. This might be possible within a given country but probably not internationally. In the VW case they actually found that several European administrations were OK with it. Really?

It would be nice to think that an international consumer group would be effective but who has the private funds for that? Some billionaire(s) could take it on - as long as affronts such as those above didn't help to make them their billions in the first place

Best of all the large corporations should police each other and bring the guilty to account for false claims. The group would be self-funded by membership fees for example. Companies willing to do this might indeed win customer loyalty. The great thing is that this would probably be the cheapest method and therefore the most likely to have an effect. Shutting down the false claims of one company would surely benefit those bringing the charges. Companies would have to join to be a member and presumably forgo any right to sue the association or any of its members if a ruling goes against them.

The toughest part would probably be to get consumers to actually band together to stop buying the guilty company's product. If we did you can be sure it would work. Likewise companies that refused to join such a group should also be blackballed by consumers.

This solution places the onus back on the perpetrators to solve the problem. Some self regulating associations - in finance for example - don't work but that is usually where the "crimes" can be covered up by the group. In this case  the group itself would censure its own members. There might be some dirty manoeuvering and internal collusion between companies but at least it would be THEIR problem.

Anybody got any other ideas?

The Brewster

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The Canadian Mosaic - Fact or Fake News?

Multiculturalism  - Really?

For all of my life, Canada has had a respectable and often envied global reputation. So it should. As for the future the jury might still be out.

Like most countries, especially those in the west or what were once the "new" world, Canada's prominence and its industrialization were a result primarily of immigration. Overall that has been a good thing although it has to be recognized that many native or indigenous peoples might disagree - with just cause. From those immigrants and their religious and cultural beliefs also came population growth. This growth however has slowed.

 Perhaps in part because of this more than many countries it has quite a generous open door policy. Hence Canada has become known for its multiculturalism. Once again overall this is viewed as a good thing by many but not by all. Many of the early European immigrants to this country have a different view, despite their own migration to this land. They somehow view it now as their own.

My generation and those before it have felt this way. It is not clear just what constitutes a resident being a true Canadian but apparently birth, citizenship, and heritage are not enough. Such notions were probably unknown to indigenous peoples before foreigners set foot on these shores.

For decades politicians have pushed the multicultural button and climbed on the bandwagon. Canada is a patchwork quilt of people who all live, work, pray, and socialize in a unique Canadian made utopia. We all get along as one big happy family. 

Now THAT is fake news Canadian style. At least it is misleading.

It is true that there are many, many people from many, many backgrounds. The skylines reflect an entire host of different places of worship. Restaurants of many cuisines abound. Schools are full of kids reflecting all of these differences and for the most part, they are much more accepting of each other than those previous generations I mentioned. 

In reality there are a few imperfections in this image and they have been there for years. It is unlikely that they will go away.

In most large cities anywhere in countries that permit immigration you find ethnic communities within cities. There is usually a Chinatown; a Little Italy; a Polish section; a Russian quarter; a little Munich; a little India; etc. Within each there are restaurants, places of worship; languages, dress codes, and cultures to name a few characteristics, native to the local inhabitants. It makes a city vibrant and interesting.

So why do we hear terms like "racist" applied to older generations who might prefer to live in their own communities as well? It sounds like reverse discrimination. Aren't "new" Canadians who seek out their own to form these little communities in cities doing the same thing? Are they racists? I suspect no more than I am.

Politicians who tout the line about us setting a great example, whether on a local town council or in a federal party, do much the same. At night they go home - usually in an affluent area of town - to a home with neighbours who look and act the same as they do. For sure in corporations and office buildings we all work together and side by side. Check out the cafeteria - same pockets of people.

This is normal. It is comfortable. People usually don't want to lose or surrender their upbringing. It is nice to think that perhaps here we are all more tolerant than in other countries, but people will always be most comfortable with what is familiar.

This is normal. It is instinctive. Check out the other species on the planet. It is here to stay.

The Brewster

Monday, 26 March 2018

Do You have a Stormy Daniels?

Stormy Daniels Will Bring Stormy Weather for Sure.

Is there a Stormy in your background - male or female? That should be a simple question to answer. Why are you taking so long?

I guess to qualify it would have to involve an illicit affair with full privileges - while also being in what was understood to be a monogamous relationship. Then at some point you kind of forgot the mono part.

If this happened to you, did your relationship survive or will it if your Stormy finally comes out of  the closet? Where is this mysterious closet anyway, from which so much stuff emerges voluntarily or otherwise? Might be worth checking out. I guess we are fortunate - our closets are so full nothing is going to reside in them without our knowledge. 

If a Stormy incident were to happen shortly after the birth of a child, I have to think most relationships would not survive, or at least they would be radically altered. We shall see with the one currently in the news. It isn't a love triangle - more like a glove triangle with the gloves now off. Stormy did not hit the matt in the first round. I think she will also last the next 11. 

Poor Melania and Barron. Melania might have anticipated something like this - Barron certainly not. Perhaps the one good thing which might evolve from this  mess is that the boy learns from all of the negative buzz that this is NOT how to act - even with the famous surname.

Most people wish him and his mother all the best. I do. I don't think I have ever seen them smile.

The Brewster

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Is God a Woman or a Man?

A Very Old Question Still Very Taboo

According to the Bible and I suspect most holy books, God created woman from Adam’s ribs. Man’s ribs have never been the same.  Women make us laugh until our ribs hurt; cry until our ribs hurt; exert ourselves sexually until our ribs hurt (I wish); dissuade us from eating too many ribs; and they have been generally ribbing us ever since.
I think we are lucky that God (reputed to be male) created breasts to cover Eve’s ribs. You see He was probably going to create a third sex from Eve’s ribs; then a fourth from the third sex’s ribs, etc. How many sexes would we have had today? What a mess that would have caused. We can’t even handle two – OK some today would say the number of sexes or preferences is actually four or six or seven.
Thankfully, it never happened. I think He was distracted by His own creation - female breasts. One look and it was probably "Wow - I’ve really outdone myself this time. They’re not bad!  Now what was I about to do next? I don’t remember”. Hence there are only two 2 sexes. Breasts have always stupefied men, even great men. Oh yes – and yours truly.
Some argue that God is a woman. Most men can't decorate their way out of a paper bag let alone decorate an entire planet. It would explain the history of the earth - ice, stone, and modern ages; multiple races; varying climates; a full range of geography; the evolution of the species. God changed her mind – frequently of course!
Problem: If God were a woman and created man first, then every female thereafter would have disliked God. No, a woman would have created a woman first. The reverse doesn’t make sense. Of course when did a woman ever make any sen ... no, better not go there.
Different consideration: Many women have absolutely no use for men let alone give up a rib for them. It would be a unisex world - female only, if God were a woman and first created another woman. It is clearly not. Also, women would have no other sex to dump on in this case. Thus God would have really screwed up if she had created women only. We all know women NEVER screw up.
There you have it. God must be a man.
Don't get me wrong - I admire and envy women. However they do have a distinct advantage over most men - their partners are usually men (I can just hear the gasps and the cursing) - not always, but usually. I believe the world would be a better place if there were more women heads-of-state. There have been some great leaders who were women. They were tough when they had to be. I believe a woman is inclined to have a more humane nature than a man. Humane women can turn on their tough nature easier than tough men can turn on their tender nature. Consider this as well: If a female politician is caught in a covert sexually compromising situation she can run faster with her skirt up than a man can with his pants down! Also, with heels it is much more difficult to put her foot in her mouth.
Women brought order to life. They’ve been ordering us around ever since. My background is computer systems. There is no question in my mind that women are better at this - more logical and more organised, than most men. My spouse is more organised than I am - but then that is hardly a compliment. It is probably true that most households would be a shambles if men were in charge (even though we could find things faster). This was planned. Look at nature. Interesting isn't it? Most think that God is a man but assigned Mother Nature the task of looking after the physical world.
Behavioural differences between the sexes exist in most living creatures. Humans have developed some stereotyped roles for both sexes which can and should change but others are basic to nature. Surely there is no psychological conditioning in other species? The female lion was not "conditioned” by male chauvinist lions. The roving buck does not do battle with other bucks because he saw it on TV. Stallions don't jump fences to mount mares just to tell the boys about it over a few buckets of oats. These behaviours are in the genes.
I support 100 percent equality of opportunity; equal pay for equal work; eradication of sexual harassment (not simple flirtation) and of physical assault on women (and I guess men as well in some cases.) However I don’t see any need to expend any energy trying to make one sex more like the other. It would seem that having two different sexes with different characteristics has worked pretty well for millions of years for all living creatures.
Finally please don’t interpret this as my being anti-gay or anti-lesbian, or anti anything else to do with choice. All choices and feelings are increasingly accepted today as are complete sexual transitions. I just happen to be a heterosexual male and my experience in these matters has always involved females only.
My partner just read this before bed. Suddenly she has a headache. Hopefully she is just ribbing me.
Some things never change.
The Brewster

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