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

Friday, 19 October 2018

Another Royal Wedding. Another Royal Pregnancy

Is There a Contest?

You have to wonder whether there is some Windsor family contest about which we know nothing. For a long time there was little Royal news unless someone had a birthday, was sick, owned or resided in a castle that burned or upon which someone encroached.

Now there are royal weddings and pregnancies every time you turn around - and most of them are Majors to coin a golf term - British Royalty! Who even knows about any others other than perhaps Holland or Monaco. Did the Queen offer up a prize or something?

Methinks Her Royal Highness et al have been watching too much Hollywood / Celebrity news and realized the main players are on to a good thing!

Each time we all go gaga. On the other hand they have been at it for centuries so maybe the lesser celebs learned from them. I think it is time for a steamy Royal affair or Me Too type of incident. How about a Royal Family reality show? What is Sharon Osbourne up to? She won't get away with all the "F" bombs this time though. The more I think about it the more I like it. I had no interest in any of the others including the Osbournes but this would gain instant success. After all who isn't tired of the same old: hospital; cop; fire; ambulance lawyer; sitcom; game; politics; and let's not forget the dozens of designer / reno shows? Other than some golf and news, I don't watch anything anymore.

A fly on the wall in Buckingham Palace? Not THAT might be a hit even I would watch. Think of the fees they could command (no pun intended).

Long Overdue. I must say however that the new generation is handling it all very well. Just won't be the same if Charlie ever does make it to the throne. There is a bad joke in that somewhere. People will be saying "Charles who?" "What did you say her name was?"

On CNN: "Breaking News! There are rumours just in that there has been a British royal coronation - you remember what that is?. This is not yet confirmed but we are in the process of fact checking it. Stay tuned."

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

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Cherish Your Castle on Dry Land

Enjoy High and Dry While You Can

I just viewed a brief video showing yet another Tsunami hitting the streets in Indonesia. It reminded me of similar horror I saw in Japan demonstrating again just how powerless we are against Earth's natural forces. In the same timeframe we are seeing the aftermath of Hurricane Florence and witnessing many on the Gulf coast in Florida fleeing Michael.

I am high and dry in Toronto, Canada. In fact other than a major, major rise in the level of Lake Ontario, I am pretty fortunate and VERY grateful.

However, it does make me wonder and even fear what the future holds. Some people deny it but ocean and sea levels are rising. I am actually glad that I do not live on the coast of a major world body of water. Storms seem to be getting worse. When you think about the millions of people and structures both residential and commercial that exist at or just a few feet above sea level, what will ensue if these levels continue to rise slowly or even worse - suddenly? 

In the past history tells us that if one nation wanted the resources or strategic advantage of another's, then they sent in an army and took what they wanted - providing they won. In fact recent history - World Wars I and II just to name a couple of examples - demonstrated the same trend. 

Does this mean that survival of the fittest will once again be the norm when millions of people are without a safe place to live but you and I own such a place? Will wars over food and shelter rage within our own countries? Should we all build moats and drawbridges? Desperate people are capable of horrendous crimes.

I am not a fan of guns and the right to bear arms but if the above events actually happen, home and land owners just might need to defend themselves with more than words - something to think about. 

There again, people could start to get serious about climate change and protecting the environment and stop voting for those who just don't give a damn about the future living only for their own short term greed.

The Brewster

Sunday, 30 September 2018

The Best and Worst of the American Political System

Democracy is Alive and Well - for Now

A few days ago I was watching CNN and the ongoing dialogue about Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. It was the day before senators were going to vote and they were outlining how they would be voting and why.

I happened to catch 2 senators' speeches and I was extremely impressed with both. The first was Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, and immediately following Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Two days later I observed the elevator incident with Republican Senator Jeff Flake and later his tapping the shoulder of Senator Chris Coons - his friend and Democratic rival - for a private conference.

I make four points :

1. When I saw and heard Leahy I must confess I was expecting another lengthy yada yada drawl by some old guy (OK - I am also a senior.) Was I wrong! This guy articulated his points with precision and great timing and convinced me that the Judge should NOT be confirmed. I can see why he became a senator.

2. Next Lindsey Graham whom I have seen several times was also very well spoken and had me thinking he was also going to vote "No." Then he did a complete about face and lambasted the Democrats. He accused one of them of leaking the name of a female complainant to the press and brought out another fact which was new to me. The Doctor had apparently been offered the chance to avoid publicity by testifying in private at her time and place but she never received this offer. He convincingly stated that he believed her when she said she was not aware of this option. He then powerfully questioned who had intercepted the offer - her legal team or more Democrats? Whoever it was they certainly did not have the Doctor's best interests at heart.

3. Hopefully many people witnessed the elevator incident with Senator Jeff Flake when a couple of women accosted him in the elevator preventing the door from closing and dragged him through the coals over his apparent attitude towards female abuse. You could see the emotion on his face and theirs.

4. Finally we saw him return to the committee room to ask his friend Chris Coons to meet with him privately. Apparently he changed his mind on the need for an FBI inquiry.

Wow! As a Canadian I too enjoy a democratic form of government and I am frequently critical of it. Often Canadians are smug about our system vs. the American one with its open and brash institutions and decisions - the O. J. Simpson trial comes to mind.

However look what happened to me. By having a system in which four people (in my example) were able to speak freely without repercussions, I changed my mind at least twice. These people are still alive as far as I know and not confined to slave labour for their outspokenness. In other countries they would not be so lucky.

But the main point is that finally two senators from opposing parties were able to compromise for the good of their country. THAT is what Democracy is supposed to be about. Where was this when the Republicans stonewalled Obama? Where has it been with the Democrats to date with this issue?

THAT must never change. It is the heart of Democracy.

Now if only the person elected to their highest office shared this belief!

The Brewster

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Shame on You Air Canada and Transport Canada

Near Miss Should NOT have Happened

I see the Air Canada near miss of July 7, 2017 is back in the news. So it should be. This was the incident at San Francisco International Airport in which an Air Canada plane was within meters of crashing on top of other aircraft awaiting take off. Apparently both pilot and first officer were fatigued having worked longer than most international standards allow - except Canada's. They were lining up with the wrong strip. Imagine!

I don't even want to think about the horrific carnage that would have resulted. We are still waiting for changes to Canadian regulations to attempt to prevent such conditions from occurring. My understanding is that it is Transport Canada's job to fix this. Why has it not done so?

This is classic bureaucracy and stalling at its worst. It is similar to a local government neglecting to install a stop sign or traffic light after multiple close calls until the death or injury numbers climb sufficiently high. It is worse than the occasional time we hear of someone travelling by car in the wrong direction on a major freeway.

In this case the deaths - agonizing ones - would have been in the hundreds or thousands. This is one time where I see no reason for any delay. Rumour has it that proposed changes are already weaker than those of other less "developed" countries. What excuse is there? Arrogance is getting in the way of common sense. Swallow any pride and copy another set of regulations if necessary but change things NOW. Tweak them to make them uniquely Canadian later. We pay you - earn your salary for a change.

The pilots themselves want changes. DO IT. I am normally proud to be a Canadian - not in this case.

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

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Microsoft and Hacking

Bill Gates & Co. Have the Solution to Hacking

More Russian hacking? If you can't believe Bill & Microsoft, who can you believe? It must be true. 

The solution is simple like all things MS. You want to STOP it? Press START! … Duhhh. Where have you been? 

Now if this were Steve Jobs and Apple, the solution would not be so simple. There would be no button, START or STOP. You would have to: tap it - maybe once, twice, thrice; stroke it; shake it; pinch it; stroke with 2 fingers; stroke with a frick'n feather; shout at it; spin it; spit on it; swear at it; flip it; throw it; stomp on it … get the picture Apple? Give me back my buttons. I refuse to titillate my device with foreplay just to make it work!

The Brewster

Kellyanne's Alternative Facts

Too quick to judge?

Way back in the beginning of the current American demise, during a discussion about the size of Trump's inauguration crowd (triggered by Sean Spicer), Kellyanne Conway coined the phrase "Alternative Facts".

Much has been written about this. That was a given. Much is written and discussed regarding anything that the current president or any of his staff says or does . Truth be told, the media - all media - is grateful. That is one area of the economy where he really has contributed to jobs and employment. Today some networks would likely fold without Donald.

I am not a fan of the current POTUS. I am not a fan of Kellyanne other than acknowledging that I had never heard of her before seeing her on panels sparring with her peers in the leadup to the election. I admire her for her accomplishments. She makes my blood boil just as much as her boss does but she climbed a big mountain in a short period of time. Too bad it happened to be a volcano!

However in this case I really do think that "Alternative Facts" was misinterpreted by those who heard it. In two poorly chosen words I believe that her intended meaning was the following:

You can gather and use statistics or "facts" for any argument you want. For example let's assume that I gave a person the chance to say 5 things in order to prove that a person is smart. All 5 must be true, different, and verifiable. Now I give a different person the same chance to argue that the person is stupid saying 5 things - same rules apply. There might even be some overlap.

Set number 2 are indeed alternative facts even though they are true. It is up to the listener to decide which is more convincing. based upon the argument employing those facts.

It could be argued that Spicer's "facts" were untrue. If they were then her phrase is indeed silly and the argument falls apart but at the time she might have believed them.

There you go. I said something supportive for a change.

The Brewster

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Trump and Brennan

Egypt had a Boy Pharaoh so Why not a Boy President?

Why is it that so many things this President says and does remind me of my childhood? Here he goes again.

He can't take his toys and go home because he IS home - at least for now - and most of the toys are not his. So with John Brennan he does the next best thing - take away John's toys and send HIM home.

Will it be long before we hear "Oh yah? Well I'm not going buy you a Christmas present!" or "My Dad was richer than your Dad!" ?

It is time somebody sent him to bed with no supper or took away his Tweeting privileges. Maybe a spanking would work - or did Stormy try that already? Once my Mom actually did wash my mouth out with soap. I probably swore. Now that might work - nah - I don't think there is enough.

The Brewster