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Oh Bother

haveaballoonWinnie the Pooh – I don’t want to take up too much of your time with this, but it’s just too silly to let rest…yet.

The councillors in Tuszyn, Poland  have spent time debating Pooh’s lack of pants and therefore,  the obvious abomination it would be to have Winnie the Pooh be the town’s playground mascot. Tuszyn’s debate has placed the small town front and center on the world stage for their 15 minutes of fame.

My immediate reaction was, ” Seriously? We’re wasting time on our national news talking about Pooh Bear’s dungarees”? Too tired to be outraged, instead of tweeting about it, I laughed. Chuckled, smiled even.

News is such a joke anyway, why not report on Pooh’s pants? If you’re telling us about Pooh’s pants, what aren’t you telling us?

Having started upon the long and winding road of my career as a newspaper reporter, I have an insider’s appreciation of the passive aggressive as well as blatant gagging of the idealized journalistic objective reality of writing for money.

It is no secret that reading the Saturday paper at my favourite coffee shop constitutes an ideal weekend morning. What you may not understand is that I read the paper as a clue to what isn’t being reported, written about, recorded or otherwise documented in popular media.

So I thank you CBC for not being afraid to report on something seemingly insignificant.

From what are you trying so hard to steal our attention?

 

 

 

 

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Remembrance Day & Christmas; This is Where We Draw The Line

redpoppyI’m tired of all of this crap about putting up Christmas decorations being disrespectful of veterans.

Not donating to veteran’s charities, not advocating for better care of our veterans so we don’t need charities, not wearing a poppy, and not stopping on November 11th to remember the sacrifices that have been made by Canadian soldiers is disrespectful of veterans.

My parent’s generation will not know the devastation to their school chums like my generation does. In fact, as a child growing up in Canada, I was often told to go into the military for the free education, after all, so the logic went, we’ll never go to war.  Oh, how so much can change in a few years.

I, unlike my parents generation,  have classmates I’ve known since I was still shedding milk teeth who have come and gone from active and brutal combat in the Middle East. Those people who will forever remain kids in my mind,  will never be the same, and it’s heartbreaking.

I have worked in the country’s most culturally diverse region, with the highest population of new immigrants and have seen the way that a wave of newcomers from war-torn and poverty-stricken countries have begun to change our Canadian culture. Some of these things are positive, and some are not.

Let us not forget that the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country suffered a lifetime of war-ravaged memories so that we could celebrate Christmas, and every other holiday known to religious and spiritual people from around the world.

Whether you like it or not and whether you are Christian or not, North American law is based on ancient Judeo-Christian ethic, and that very foundation, combined with secularized politics has kept us living in peace. It’s worked so well, that Canada is seen as a haven to  many people from other countries.

That we do not have the problem of raping, murdering and torturing fellow citizens in our streets is a testament to everything that our veterans fought for. It is a testament to having an equal rule of law for everyone, and religious laws that must obey the law of the land.

So don’t start some privileged bitch and whine campaign about Christmas decorations being an evil against veterans. Put your money where your mouth is and do something to continue to make our country better; vote, volunteer, donate, take to the streets to demand political and social reform.

Take a look at how you live your life and what you take for granted on a daily basis. Men and women went to war so we have the freedom to celebrate, stroll through the  streets, admire the beautiful decorations, take time to visit and spend time with friends or not  (because we all have the freedom to choose, thanks to our veterans) without having to fear for our lives.

Don’t minimize the service efforts of our veterans by using faulty logic so you have something to feel important and indignant about. Get off your ass and do something for our country instead.

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An Open Letter to People Who Don’t Vote

vote hereYou suck.

Seriously. You do.

Today after work I made the effort to go vote. I know, living in a democracy and having the inconvenience of another ‘errand’ after work is awfully demanding.

There were no protestors blocking the entrance, and there was no funny business going on with vote tampering that I could see. No one coerced me into voting for a specific candidate. Nope.

Despite the recent assault on our country, the polling station here in my urban community was a pretty unthreatening place to be. If we don’t get a little more passionate about the way our country is led, this could soon change.

Like most citizens, I feel a bit beleaguered by the egoist, party-favouring politicians we have today. As much as I do feel that my vote is one of the lesser of two, maybe three evils, I still vote. After all, if I don’t like it, I can always throw my hat in the three-ring-political circus we call Canadian democracy.

If, like many people during the past provincial and federal elections you want to protest the whole shamozzle, you have the option of protest-voting, or declining your vote. That is to say, that when you’re handed your ballot, you accept the ballot, and then hand it back to the over-paid person sitting on the other side of the table, and they must register your vote as ‘declined’.

During the last election, this got quite a bit of attention. There was a clear message sent to our government that citizens were getting fed-up with their antics.

This is not going to be a finish-your-dinner-because-there-are-children-starving-in-China rant. No. What it is, is a list of rights you give up when you choose not to vote.

You give up the right to;

1) Pollute public aural space with your uneducated and ignorant opinions having anything to do with our country.

2) Pay respect to our veterans. By not voting you metaphorically spit in their face.

3) Bitch, whine, or moan about what social services you have available to yourself and  your loved ones.

4) Say anything about any kind of tax or the way public money is spent.

5) Live and work in a culture that is free from discrimination of any kind.

6)  Publicly funded education and all income support programs

7) Any international respect that comes with being a Canadian.

8) Call yourself a Canadian.

People who don’t vote,  roll out the welcome mat for the destruction of democracy. They perpetuate a dangerous apathy that has eroded our national values.

If you didn’t vote, or register your ‘declined’ vote, I feel behooved to tell you that you suck.

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Canada – The True North Strong & Free

Condolences to Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s family.

We will not be terrorized or intimidated.

We will not stand down.

flag

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Sunday Survey; Just Kidding

sidewalk cynicPleased with myself at having honoured my need for rest, I stretched out gloriously long on the chesterfield, with book in hand.

Ah yes, this was life at it’s finest; nothing to do, nowhere to go, sun shining and breeze blowing through my open patio door.

But not so.

Before I even had a chance to raise my book to read, I had a man walk across the shared lawn, over my patio stones, and right up to my screen door. I watched as he cupped his hands to his eyes, and peered through.

“Hello,” the moron said. “I’d like to talk to you about your internet service….”

I’d like you to fuck off and stop looking through my window. That’s ok darlings, I only thought it, I didn’t say it out loud.

“No thank-you.” I said.

“Do you have internet service?”

I have an Irish temper, and an iron skillet that I’d like to show you. Again, I kept my thoughts to myself, and didn’t move from my  relaxed looking position on the couch. I’m deceptively nimble for a big chick. I can pounce from prone to standing in 2.5 seconds flat.

Instead, I said, again, “No thank-you.” My reasoning was, I was in such a blissful state of yo that I just didn’t want to get myself worked up.  After another annoying exchange about no soliciting, Mr. Creepy-Bell-Canada-Look-Through-Your-Window-Guy-On-Commission moved along, and I called security.

Don’t try to tell me he wasn’t a Bell representative either you greedy monopoly-creating-shits. He was wearing a Bell shirt, had on the dorky company lanyard and a clipboard in hand. He could just as easily have been Rogers bred. Trust me, this guy wasn’t scouting for future break-ins, he was just trying to feed his kids.

I don’t have such a problem with the weirdo at my window as I do the capitalistic culture which created the poor guy. Every chooch behind a counter has a pen and a schpeel about a survey. Every time I call customer service for anything, I get an email or another call with a survey.

Enough bureaucratic  red-tape already! This is not consumer protection, it’s a make work project for some asshole in a suit who, I’ll bet my socks, makes way too much money.

Quit wasting my time, precious resources and paying people shitty commission-based, or total-commission salaries, and get the hell off my patio on Saturday afternoon! Stop calling my phone, cluttering my inbox and having your paid-to-the-poverty-line employees cling to my screen door.

If you want honest feedback, we don’t give a shit about your surveys. Just post your overly bureaucratic complaint policy on your website and leave us alone.

Our government is a sell-out and a joke. Our citizens are apathetic, and whiny. Our health care system is a system without care for health, only numbers. Yet, this is one of the best countries in the world to live in. That’s heartbreaking.

When people are desperate enough to risk their dignity for their jobs, it’s time to speak up and stop the madness. Our country is going to hell, one contract-no-benefits and commission paid employee at a time.

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The Working Class

It's not always easy to find meaningful work.
It’s not always easy to find meaningful work.

The middle class is increasingly being squeezed into the lower class. It’s much like strapping a size 8 girdle on a fat chick. The wee sexy, delicious bits poke out the top end, but the rest just oozes out lower, and is far less tantalizing.

With that comes a broader, deeper, blanketing sense that the world is out to get you. No matter how hard you work, try to save, or hoped your now outdated Bachelor’s Degree would save you, the realization that this is as good as it gets depresses you even more.

Or maybe you don’t reach that obvious conclusion. Maybe you’re just bitter. Maybe you’re too lazy to think about what you read in the newspaper, or don’t see on the news.

But I don’t think that’s the case with you my sweet little dried apricots. No. If that were the case, you wouldn’t be here, with wonderful ole’ me now, would you?

If you work eye-to-eye with anyone (as in any type of customer service, or human services profession), you’re getting the short end of the stick. Someone else is making all of the money, and you’re schlepping their stuff so you can try to pay your bills.

If you were eye-to-eye with the end-user of any product or service, you get the brunt of every interaction. Some are pleasant, and others, well, let me sum it up;

1) People always think that you (personally) are trying to rip them off.

2) That your schedule should revolve around them, no matter what the hour or what the cost to you. (My personal favourite is the line, “Well, I work”, when trying to schedule appointments. I’ve got news for you genius, I do too, and this is when I’m available. ) No one is out to get your personally. We all have our limits.

3) People who disrespect your time. If you’ve set an appointment, you’ve done so for a reason. In other words, you’ve set aside time to pay particular attention to that individual. Being late for an appointment flies in the face of allowing anyone to provide good customer service.

4) Wasting time. If a professional has given you information. That’s the information. Don’t take it to Philosophy-Flipping-101. Just do what you need to do.

5) Leaving multiple messages the same day or within 24 hours for someone just slows down how fast they get back to you. Listening to your annoying 3 minute long whining session more than once is a waste of time, and as annoying as a toddler with a snotty nose and cling-on booger.

A special note to seniors and folks who don’t work…poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on someone else’s. Take up a hobby and make a cup of tea. We will get back to you. No one puts you off because they’re trying to tick you off. At the end of the day, unless you’re a sociopath, you want to leave your work feeling like you’ve at least helped someone, even in a small way.

Just a note to everyone out there who is poo-pooing unions right now; Give your head a shake. Unionized environments are quickly becoming the ONLY jobs that are secure, and can sustain a healthy family and social lifestyle. Don’t fall for conservative government fear mongering. Health care, fair wages and working hours are a right we should not have to fight for again.

Businesses are squeezing every second out of their employees until they burn out. If you have a problem with customer service these days, I suggest you get your saggy butt down to an Occupy event.

These are just a few short examples of how our faltering and bourgeois economy is dividing and conquering the working class. When you meet with someone eye-to-eye, as I like to say, you are meeting with another human being just like yourself, who is as worried, stressed and blessed as you are.

So, remember, if you’re meeting with a person, and their name isn’t on the sign above the business, they’re just trying to get by like you and I. Don’t be an asshole darlings.