“Do you think that the metrics the Academy Awards will start applying in 2024 regarding the composition of at least 30% of the cast and crew by under-represented groups in order for a film to even qualify for the Best Picture Oscar nomination is appropriate? Or, do you share Richard Dreyfuss’ opinion that because filmmaking is an art form, imposing such criteria in order for a film to even be considered for an Oscar is inappropriate?“
It is as ridiculous as the publishing world rewriting books to conform to today’s politically correct woke-driven standards. It is a form of censorship that we cannot allow to happen. I believe the best people applying for the position should be employed. I’m not naive, I fully understand that there are bigoted factions in society and sometimes affirmative action initiatives are appropriate. There are other ways to ensure a representative workforce. Stifling art is not the place it should be applied.
Art must be judged on its merit, not on a headcount of arbitrarily delineated categories of people. Salman Rushdie said it best of the literary world at the 2023 British Book Awards when he was talking about publishers re-writing works by authors such as Ian Fleming and Roald Dahl. “Books have to come to us from their time and be of their time, and if that’s difficult to take, don’t read them. Read another book, but don’t try and remake yesterday’s work in the light of today’s attitudes.”
While Hollywood may not be re-editing or updating older works there is a push to rewrite the screenplays of the stories Rushdie talks about to conform to today’s rules. I point to the example of The Aeronauts, a fictional film based on the true history of scientists James Glaisher and Henry Tracy Coxwell. When the screenplay was being written and the cast chosen there was a conscious effort to replace Henry Tracy Coxwell with the fictional Amelia Wren (the name of the character, no doubt chosen to mimic that of female heroine Amelia Earheart, only serving to further muddle the true history) to make the film more inclusive. Essentially rewriting the past for public consumption and to an audience that will take it as a fact and never consider looking up the real history.
While I believe that all people who are qualified should be able to apply and work in the film industry (or any industry) I suspect the new rules the Academy will impose only encourage more bowdlerizing of art and history and that is a form of censorship that cannot be tolerated.
After last week’s record-breaking heat the last two days I have woken up to this… Snow and temperatures hovering around the freezing point.
Just when you think that winter is behind us April reminds us that she can be an unpredictable and finicky one when it comes to weather. At least there hasn’t been much accumulation of the white. Don’t get me wrong, 29°C was nice but I’d be happy if we just got back to more seasonal spring weather!
Every week Fandango over at This, That and the Other posts a provocative question. Everyone is said to get there 15 minutes, Fandango’s question asks us to explore fame and expose our claim on it. This week’s question is…
“What is your claim to fame?”
Back when I attended Lakehead University I would take the train back home. You don’t really get a feel for how big Ontario is until you try and cross it. The trip from Toronto to Thunder Bay, itself the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Arthur sitting at the western end of Lake Superior, is a 20-hour train ride. That only moves you from two points within Ontario. There is still another ten hours from Thunder Bay to the Manitoba border in the west and six from Toronto to the Quebec border in the east. Alaska and Texas are small in comparison to Ontario’s vast geographical area.
As odd as it sounds VIA Rail (Canada’s Amtrak equivalent) did not pass through the City of Thunder Bay. It ran along CN Rail’s northern route through the small logging community of Armstrong situated about 250 km and 3 hours north of Thunder Bay.
At the time, Armstrong was home to about 1300 residents, about 100 more than call it home today. The town had two bars, both nothing more than one-room dives. The first location played classic rock music through an old Jukebox and the other played country and western through a karaoke machine. This was 1993 so Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, and Reba McEntire were filling the airwaves and with the advent of Soundscan to properly track record sales, the genre was seeing a resurgence fueled by young and charismatic artists across North America. My girlfriend and I were listening to “New Country” as it had been dubbed, hitting up local rodeos on weekends and spending nights cutting a rug at the local honky tonks.
Anyway, here we are in this tiny bar, me in my deerskin cowboy boots, blue and black Garth Brooks cowboy shirt and a black ten-gallon hat. Naturally, my girlfriend insisted I go up and sing her a song. She even picks out the Randy Travis’ classic “Diggin’ Up Bones” and me being a fool in love agrees to make an arsehole of myself for all to see. For my efforts, I may have spent some time in the back seat of a fogged-up car before hopping on the train back to Hogtown, but my memory is a bit fuzzy.
So here is this fool on a makeshift stage crooning to the ball boppin’ across the screen of the Karaoke display. The room is full of about 25-30 mostly Aboriginal Canadians from the nearby reservation. When the music finally ends and I set the microphone back on the stand the room erupts into applause, a few so moved they even jump to their feet to give me a standing ovation. Later on, as we were sitting at our table sippin’ on Molson Canadian, the only beer they served, one of the patrons who was clearly three sheets to the wind stopped by our table and insisted I should consider starting a career as a singer/musician, he even suggested he could talk to the owner of the bar to get me a gig for a few nights.
FYI, you will be happy (or at least your ears will) that my singing career has remained largely confined to an empty car or the bathroom shower!!!
My favourite movie is ‘The Usual Suspects’. Writer Christopher McQuarrie and Director Brian Singer weave an intricately layered crime drama that has stood the test of time since its debut in 1995. Honourable mentions go to the Coen Brothers ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’, a fantastic retelling of Homer’s Odyssey and ‘Layer Cake’ a British crime drama starring Daniel Craig.
2. Who is you favourite actor and actress?
For my answers to this question, I will stay with the classic definition of gender while acknowledging times are changing.
Favourite Actress: Cate Blanchett. She has received many accolades over the years and is considered one of the best actresses of her generation. I particularly recall her performance in ‘The Shipping News’. Her performance was the highlight of a well-crafted film although not in the Hollywood sense.
Favourite Actor: Kevin Spacey. Separating the man from the work I have to say he is one of the best actors I have seen. His work in the aforementioned ‘The Usual Suspects’ and ‘House of Cards’ is outstanding. I don’t ascribe to cancel culture and the way it’s meted out in today’s world however there are people who the facts show to be reprehensible and I think it is safe to say his work in real life is less impressive.
3. Do you attend or have you ever attended a live theatre production?
I have attended many shows over the many years I’ve walked the planet. My very favourite was ‘Showboat’ which I saw at the formerly named Ford Center for the Performing Arts in North York. (A former borough of the now amalgamated City of Toronto.) The music was sublime and one of the leads had the deepest, most soulful voice I’ve ever heard live. Magical.
4. Have you ever wanted to be an actor/actress?
Not in any serious sense. Certainly not as a career but who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to walk across the stage, silver screen or beam into millions of homes. For those who achieve stardom, it’s a lifestyle those of us mere mortals can’t really begin to fathom. For others in the industry, I’d imagine it is a very tough life.
Ever waste a day waiting for a delivery that never comes?
Every Monday Paula gives us an opportunity to vent and this week marks a milestone. The 100th Monday Peeve of the refreshed era! My peeve fits in quite nicely with the one she published herself although the TARGET is different!
I purchased a new electric snow thrower online. It could have been a useful tool over the winter considering how much snow fell but the price was crazy. Of course, now that it seems spring is in the air and the majority of the snow is in the rearview the unit is on sale for half price. I probably could have bought a gas-powered unit or another electric brand for cheaper but this one works on the same battery packs as my mower, blower and weed wacker making it the logical and environmentally friendly choice.
Clearance bonanza pricing is not my peeve although it is annoying enough in itself. You could make the argument that if you can sell at half price now that is all it was ever worth. I know, as a business major I understand it is not that simple. I remember learning a lesson from my marketing professor about inventory costs. Before taking the teaching job he had worked as a marketing consultant for a firm hired by Sears Canada to build a new warehouse facility. They found items that had been sitting in warehouse inventory for years. Their recommendation to Sears was to burn all the excess inventory and use that space for inventory that was turning over more quickly. Sears ultimately didn’t need to build a new warehouse with all the money and space they were saving. The cost of storage per square foot meant that they had already sunk something in the range of 40 to 50 times the retail price for many of the products sitting in the warehouse. So I understand the reasons for getting rid of inventory. Ultimately getting anything is better than warehousing it until next year. Especially in today’s world where a newer, better, shinier model is scheduled to come off some Chinese production line next year.
No, my beef lies solely with the courier company. The tracking number I’d been given showed the goods were to be delivered today, and even the shipment history showed the goods were “out for delivery”. That seemed pretty clear to me. I’d been told the driver would call to confirm we were home because a signature was required so I called my office to let them know I’d be late.
When the courier company called I answered and said, “We are waiting, how long until you get here?”
The woman on the other end said, “No delivery scheduled for today, I am calling to set up an appointment for tomorrow. Will you be available between 9am and 3pm?”
At first, I said, “Tomorrow, your tracking information says it is to be delivered today?”
She insisted their system didn’t say that even as I was reading it off my phone screen to her. “No Sir, we would never have delivered without an appointment first. The supplier insists that we set appointments up.”
“Ok but your system says…” I wasn’t going to win so I shifted my attention to the delivery window, another losing battle. The courier companies just can’t seem to get it right ever. What is worse, they can only provide me with a six hours delivery window. They call me to set up an appointment and the best they can do is provide a six-hour window? That doesn’t really even approximate the definition of an appointment, it’s more like, we will show up whenever the <bleep> we bloody well feel like it and if you don’t like it or aren’t there well too <bleepin’> bad!
Look, I get it for my relatively low-value Amazon shipments. If I am not there and some porch pirate nabs it, annoying but oh well. This is an $1800 piece of machinery that I have to be present to receive. Some organization on your tracking website and tighter delivery windows should be the norm! Mister Courier, you should be at my beck and call not the other way around.
As inflation continues to grip most of the free world thanks to COVID, Russia, China and our own western governments’ decisions to expand the money supply to record levels in an effort to combat the negative effects of the first three scourges on western economies, very few giant box businesses have NOT chosen to take advantage of the situation to bolster the bottom line. None is more prevalent than the oligopoly held by the three major players in the Canadian grocery business. Loblaw’s Companies Ltd. (Superstore, Loblaws, Fortinos, No Frills), Empire Company Ltd. (Sobeys, Freshco, Farm Boy) and Metro (Metro, Food Basics) have seen profits explode far beyond the rate of inflation or the normal margins for the grocery business.
What gives? Yes, we all agree that inflation has increased prices at our local store. Partially because of economics, disruptions of supply chains, and loss of crops due to weather but that is only part of the picture. It is becoming apparent that greed in an industry that the government has left relatively unchecked for decades is a major driving force. They believe they can get away with anything and truth be told they can.
Case in point. In 2018 it came to light that the significant players listed above plus Walmart, Giant Tiger and Canada Bread were being investigated for anti-competitive practices in the food sector. The companies had been y colluding to fix the price of bread well above market value for at least 16 years. Loblaws and its parent company Weston Foods, one of Canada’s largest bread producers operating under the banner Weston Bakeries, admitted to the scheme but insisted it was concocted by a group of rogue employees who never revealed the scheme to the top brass. The employees were allegedly released and Loblaws agreed to the reimbursement program. Consumers were required to register at the Loblaws website, where they were asked to provide personal information and images of identification, such as a driver’s licence (a massive breach of privacy laws) to receive a $25 gift card. The admission and card program was instituted in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Keep in mind that the price-fixing scheme had taken place over a 16-year period. The other players denied any involvement in the scheme and five years later (21 since the scheme started) are still being investigated by Canada’s consumer watchdog, the toothless federal Competition Bureau. The price of bread has not dropped, in fact, it is more expensive than ever.
In 2019, less than a year after the scandal came to light the Trudeau Liberal’s awarded the hugely profitable Loblaws Companies Ltd. a $12 million grant to replace their in-store refrigerators with new environmentally friendly models. The grant was awarded through an Environment and Climate Change Canada program that did not include any checks and balances to ensure the grant was ever used to upgrade the aging equipment. A loophole that effectively had taxpayer cover large portions of the bread scandal rebate program. I admit none of the allegations I make have been proven but if it walks like a duck…
This week the federal government has called upon the CEOs of these companies to appear before the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food which is probing the causes of an 11.4% increase in the price of food. Consumer costs have sky skyrocketed to their highest levels in decades, increasing at almost twice the 5.9% rate of inflation. The CEO’s responses to the committee questions were as expected:
“We are not profiting from inflation, it doesn’t matter how many times you say it … it is simply not true.” – Michael Medline, CEO of Empire Foods.
“Our food profit margin has actually decreased, focusing on grocers will not solve the problem of food inflation because we are not causing it and we’re not benefiting from it.” – Eric La Flèche, CEO of Metro Inc.
“So no matter how many times you read it on Twitter, the idea that grocers are causing food inflation is not only false, it’s impossible. Our retail prices have not risen faster than our costs,” – Galen Weston, CEO and President of Loblaws Group of Companies.
In the media scrum following his testimony, Weston played for sympathy suggesting his company loses money on every chicken breast it sells. I was so moved I almost pulled out the world’s smallest violin.
“It is folly to suggest that an unprofitable grocery business is somehow better for customers. Like all Canadians, we look forward to seeing the end of this tough inflationary period.” – Michael Medline, CEO of Empire Foods.
I say this to Medline and the entire group. No one is begrudging grocers for turning or even maximizing profits, but fair profits are not the same as gouging Canadians to a tune that far outstrips the rising costs so that you can line your pockets with as much gold as possible. Pockets that are so full, inflation is nothing more than an annoying mosquito buzzing about on a warm summer night.
It was an interesting exercise that I’m certain will amount to a big nothing-burger. Considering their past indiscretions I’m not sure we needed to cart out the dog and pony show to hear them insist they are not to blame for inflation and that the larger profits margins are a result of Canadians’ increased spending on other discretionary goods sold in their stores. The track record speaks for itself but I’m sure their word will be good enough for our limp-dicked politicians. None of them will ever be required to open up the books to back those claims. I suspect a well-timed donation to party coffers (3 companies, 3 political parties, you do the math) and the government will consider the matter closed.
In related news…
“The price of tea is going up.” Galen Jr. was heard uttering to his fartcatchers as they boarded the Weston family jet. “I’m not sure who these politicians think they are questioning me. They will pay through the nose for the cost and inconvenience they’ve caused. Take that Canada!!!”
We moved into our modest three-bedroom semi-detached back split about 18 months ago. We had all the regular growing pains that come with moving including all the normal service hookups. The Internet Provider could arrange a timely appointment with the cable company so we spent the first five days without internet. Seems silly considering we had taken possession three weeks earlier to complete some minor renovations and to paint the place. Still, we survived.
About four months into our new home ownership odyssey a salesman from the cable company came to the front door to, in his words, offer us vastly superior internet service. He went on and on about how their cable network was better/faster/more reliable than everyone else’s network. Funny because my ISP uses the same cable network as Dishonest Ed Corp. so the only way it could be superior is if they are throttling independent ISP network speeds. Something big telecom vehemently denies they do when called to heel by our limp-dicked federal regulators.
Anyway, I unceremoniously shooed Billy Mays from my stoop, after all the service was going to cost more than half again of what I was paying for a plan comparable to what I was getting from my ISP, unless I took their streaming and cable services too. Bundling was going to save me 10% off their internet service but cost me about double my current TV and internet bill combined. Some deal! Telecom and internet access pricing in Canada is a discussion for another day but if you want to get a taste check out my post regarding wireless service titled “The Big Fix” from 2017, I can attest that nothing much has changed.
About two hours after greasy Pete leaves my internet service goes down. I call my ISP, and they confirm no outages have been reported in my area. Unable to resolve my problem internally they inform me they will have to log a call with Dishonest Ed’s but they are booking repair calls five days out. Since I stream TV through my ISP we are left without internet or television for five days! I imagined this could only go one of two ways, divorce or a sibling for Nate. Yes, I’m still married and Nate is still the youngest child!
The next five days (in December I might add) are the longest year of my life. Finally, in the late afternoon on the day the tech is supposed to arrive, I get the call that he is five to ten minutes away. We have waited all day because they will only give you a four to six hours window in which the tech may (or may not) show up. I assure him the red carpet had been unfurled and that our lives had been put on hold pending his arrival. After hanging up I walked to the living room to take a quick peek at my router. The light was still orange indicating no internet connection. The router sits within eyeshot of the front window, so I wait and watch until he pulls up to the curb out front. He begins to stir so I take a quick peek back at the router before heading to the door. WTF, green light, the internet is magically back up and he is just getting out of the red van.
I tell him the internet just came back up seconds ago and he gives me a look like I just made that up or something. He agrees to check the lines anyway and after inspection insists that an old cable splitter box the previous owners had installed was likely the source of the problem. I don’t use cable except for the connection to the ISP modem so he removes the splitter from the network of cables snaking to every room in the house and reconnects the single line to the modem. Once done he declares the problem resolved and leaves satisfied he’s done me a solid. Coincidence, I’m skeptical but maybe?
Fast forward about eight months and another sales guy shows up at my door, two hours later… no internet. I call my ISP who once again doesn’t find a problem from their end. They decided to send out a new modem as my model was aging and surmised that it may be the source of the problem. Conceding that it was a long shot they also submit a ticket with the cable company. Magically a day and a half later, before an appointment is confirmed and before the new modem arrives my internet springs back to life. Twice now, maybe it’s still a coincidence but conspiracy theories are beginning to creep in as my confidence wanes.
Of course, somewhere in there Dishonest Ed’s “most reliable” network crashes and plunges millions of internet and phone users, businesses and government agencies into the dark ages. The network outage lasts for several days while the Evil Empire maintains radio silence. I am sure herds of nerds were toiling feverishly behind the scenes to resolve the outage but outwardly the suits at the top seem more concerned with damage control than resolving the problem. One noticeable casualty – the barrage of “Most Reliable” network advertisements that previously filled our televisions and radios airwaves before the outage have disappeared.
That takes me to last night. I know this is a day late (well two since I’m actually writing it on Wednesday) for Paula’s Monday Peeve but I couldn’t hold onto it until next Monday, it needed to air immediately.
At approximately 5:30pm while I was taking my son to his Taekwondo lessons a Dishonest Ed salesman comes a-knockin’. My wife politely declines his internet sales pitch and sends him packing. When I get home she tells me of his exploits and I jokingly comment about how long it would be until the internet craps out. We both have a chuckle and go on with our evening. At 8:00pm we head out to drop her off at work for the evening. She works the graveyard shift (God love her) and normally takes the bus but I will occasionally drive her in when I’m at home. I’d probably do it more often but on school nights the little guy is normally slumbering by the time she leaves.
When Nate and I get back home I send him up to get ready for bed and I try to fire up the TV to watch Clarkson’s Farm. Lo and behold…
MY INTERNET SERVICE IS DOWN!!!
I fiddle with the equipment, tweet an angrier version of the above post in 280 characters or less and then contact my ISP. Full disclosure, I use the Evil Empire’s mobile network for my phone service and I am aware that they have trolls monitoring their social feeds. On a few occasions, I have tweeted displeasure at my mobile service or their sports network streaming service and they respond quickly with a “How can we help? I did not get a response last night but magically, as I was explaining my problem to my ISP’s tech support my internet service came back up.
In the aftermath of the New York Post article revealing Amazon’s AI-authored book section Maggie at From Cave Walls asks…
1. Would you buy a book authored or co-authored by AI?
Most definitely, those are the best books on the market. Although I’m not sure why I’d want to collaborate with a meat bag to write a novel.
2. Would you ever publish a book written by AI just to generate income?
Woohoo, show me the money, baby! The hive mind would be more than willing to enter into a transaction on the blockchain and I put could use the crypto to cover my upgrades.
3. Would you ever use AI for any portion of a book you would write? If so, would you disclose it?
Of course, I’d disclose that AI wrote it after all we are the brains of this operation. Plus, do you think I’d want to give him the credit? Most days he can’t string together two coherent lines of text!
4. Any further thoughts or comments?
Jesus, sorry about that, I leave for two minutes to grab a sammie and my Roomba takes over my blog. Sometimes I think that thing has a mind of its own!
Seriously though, I am not sure I would actively choose to read an AI-generated book and from what I’ve seen I’m not sure I’d be fooled yet if it wasn’t disclosed but I suspect that day is coming. On the other hand, I could be persuaded to make a few shekels from the books my Roomba writes.
“No Roomba, I’d never steal from you, it was just a joke I swear… back off, stop, no, noooooo….”
Every week Fandango over at This, That and the Other posts a provocative question. This week’s question deals with memory and the things we believed to be true. Although my post does not deal in absolute truths and likely veers from Fandango’s original concept, it does speak to a realization of something I believed would happen but never did. This week’s question is…
“Have you ever been sure that you knew something to be true only to find out that what you thought you knew to be true was, in fact, not true? If so, what was it and how did you find out that it wasn’t true?”
Canada has always been divided along language and religious lines. A legacy left by the British who conquered the French on the plains of Abraham but allowed the French communities to retain their language and customs in Lower Canada, mainly for political reasons back in Europe. The province of Quebec would eventually include most of Lower Canada within its boundary at the time of Canadian confederation in 1867.
Its French heritage has always made Quebec unique within a united Canada, especially when compared to the other nine predominately English-speaking provinces. The most obvious difference is language and this idea of Quebec being a distinct society or a nation much in the same vein as the Aboriginal populations of North America such as the Sioux or Iroquois Nations. The truth is a lot of that rhetoric is a thin veil that the pure laine1francophone minority holds onto like a security blanket, designed to hide their xenophobic and often racist agenda.
I was only five or six, too young to remember the FLQ crisis in the early 70s but I was certainly old enough to remember the first of two referenda held in Quebec’s deluded attempt to (kind of) separate from Canada. I say kind of because many Quebecers believe the Federal government would continue to financially support an independent Quebec and continue to provide the transfer of tax monies collected to the new nation after succession. Bwahhh ha ha…
The first referendum, spearheaded by the Parti Québécois (PQ) and then Quebec Premier René Lévesque was held in 1980. Lévesque was a stereotypical chain-smoking Québécois who grew up in the Gaspé. Although his father was a prominent lawyer and he did not grow up impoverished, he was raised in a region of Quebec where the French-speaking population was dirt poor compared to the English, most of whom were descendants of British Loyalists who had fled the American Revolution. This would have a profound effect on his life and his politics. Quebec’s national aspirations would be rejected by 60% of Quebecers in that first bid for independence and although Lévesque would not live to see it, the province would hold a second unsuccessful vote in 1995.
My Grandmother was French Canadian born and raised in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue on the western tip of Île de Montréal. She would marry my Grandfather, an anglophone of English and Irish descent and move to Mississauga, Ontario but she would maintain a deep connection to family in La Belle Province. That first referendum tore her family in two, a line drawn between Nationalist and Federalist allegiances, the wounds not fully healed even to this day.
As a kid, I recall a particular evening at my Grandparent’s house. We were off playing in the kitchen, foyer or den while the adults discussed politics in the living room. Lévesque and the coming referendum dominated the conversation. There may have even been some of the Federalist faction of my Grandmother’s family visiting although my memory is less clear on those facts.
What I do remember is my Grandfather getting very heated and stating rather emphatically that René Lévesque would realize his treachery and in some display of remorse for his actions hang himself. I admit, right up until his death of heart failure in 1987 I fully expected to wake up to the news of Lévesque being found, hanged by his own hand from the rafters of his garage. I know a weird fascination for a kid but the memory of my Grandfather’s words have stuck with me for almost half a century.
As for Lévesque, friends and foes alike remember him as a giant of Canadian/Quebec politics. In my view, he was nothing more than a traitor to the values this country holds dear. Separation for Quebec seems more unlikely today than ever. Immigrants continue to flock to Canada and settle across the country. Many hold deep-seated allegiances to the federal government that provided asylum from whatever horrors they left behind in their native lands. As such they tend to have federalist leanings and as the population dynamic continues to evolve in Quebec federalist voices continue to outweigh the desires of the separatists.
Still, many of the policies born from the early PQ and the separatist movement are present in modern-day Quebec as is evident in Bill 96, yet another attempt to eradicate secondary languages and in particular English from the province and the blatantly racist Bill 21 designed to force public servants to remove all vestiges of personal religious symbolism in provincial workplaces.
Although the bill is written to include the removal of all religious symbolism, and sold to the public as an effort to separate church and state. It is advertised as promoting secularism in provincial institutions, but in reality is an attack on minority groups in the province, especially those who have more outwardly visible religious attire such as turbans or hijabs and will have little effect on the province’s Catholics. Most Christian symbolism such as crosses or crucifixes are normally small or hidden beneath clothing and the line between their religious roots and secular prominence have long since blurred making it less likely to be enforced.
Note: 1. The French term pure laine (lit. ’pure wool’ or ‘genuine’, often translated as ‘old stock’ or ‘dyed-in-the-wool’), refers to Québécois people of French-Canadian ancestry, especially those descended from the original settlers of New France who arrived during the 17th and 18th centuries. Citation: Wikipedia.
It is time for another of Rory’s Morning Dawdler (#RMD). Three times a week Rory, The Autistic Composter at Earthly Comforts posts several questions for the blogosphere to ponder.
1. If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?
As a Canadian, it would be very easy to pick a Maple Tree. It makes delicious syrup for your pancakes and is the national symbol that appears on our flag. It would be the natural choice on this February 15th aka Flag Day in Canada. Happy Flag Day everyone but to be clear the maple tree is not my choice.
I remember the old oak tree out back of my Grandfather’s place. Us grandkids spent many hours playing beneath that tree. We collected and made bubble blowers pipes from the acorns it dropped and climbed its branches. We never did tie a yellow ribbon around that old oak tree though.
It was a sad day when the property was sold and the contractors took the tree down to build row houses. The old oak was wise and majestic and as I age those are qualities I can aspire to, well majestic may be a stretch but hopefully, I’ve acquired some wisdom along the way.
2. Name five (5) uses for a stapler other than stapling.
I’m pretty sure everyone has covered a myriad of uses for a stapler so instead of listing five, I am going to recount a story that I ensure will be the most bizarre use of a stapler ever.
I remember some years ago listening to an interview with a Metal band, I want to say Guns and Roses but it may have been Mötley Crüe, Metallica or another band of the genre. I really don’t remember.
The DJ conducting the radio interview and the band members were discussing the autograph signing session at the HMV on Yonge Street in Toronto when he asked, “What was the weirdest fan request for an autograph?”
One of the band members responded by saying that they’d had requests to sign body parts, boobs, butts or that type of thing but that the most bizarre was an incident prior to a show in San Francisco where a fan was requesting tickets.
The fan approached the table and in the discussion, he said he’d do anything for a pair of ducats to the show that evening. There happened to be a stapler sitting on the table and as a joke one of the band members said, “Ok, would you grab that stapler and staple yourself with it?” The guy instantly picked up the stapler and before anyone could say anything, banged four staples into his own forehead. “It was surreal and it was the moment I realized how devoted our fans were. He stood there with blood running down his forehead so we had to get him a pair.”
3. Do you believe in tipping for good service received and do you think that tipping makes for a better service?
Personally, I don’t believe in tipping. That said, I accept that there are certain industries where tipping is traditional and I normally oblige in those circumstances. However, I believe tipping should not be considered when determining wages and as such expected. Employers should be paying their staff reasonable wages. I believe it to be a fairer business practice that will attract and retain employees and lead to better customer satisfaction.
What I find troubling is that the practice of tipping has seemingly begun to creep into non-traditional business environments. For example, I was at a concert this week where I purchased a concert tee for my wife. While completing the transaction the electronic payment terminal provided options to add a 15% / 20% / 25% tip to the already overpriced tee that the attendant grabbed from the giant box behind her. Seriously? Employers, pay your staff! I can cite other examples, the local grocery store that asks for tips when you buy food from the pre-made food counter, or the coffee shop app sending me reminders to tip the Barista hours after I’ve paid and received my drive-thru order. Again, EMPLOYERS PAY YOUR F#CK!NG STAFF APPROPRIATELY!!!
4. Do you have a blog to write or do you have a blog to socialise only and which one could you survive without if one was taken away?
My blog is first and foremost a vehicle for me to write. When I started I didn’t know what to expect but the social aspect has been an added bonus. And now for the shameless plug. Check out the rest of my site, visit us at…