Tag Archives: Rant

Movember Madness

Posted on October 31, 2012 by

From the Movember Canada site:

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives.

On Movember 1st, guys register at Movember.com with a clean-shaven face. For the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words, they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their gallantry and valour by either throwing their own Movember party or attending one of the infamous Gala Partés held around the world by Movember, for Movember.

Day 1 – the goatee is gone!

Movember_sm.jpg

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Trying to lure me to ‘liking’ or sign up by offering swag is social media #fail

Posted on October 27, 2011 by

Trying to lure me to ‘liking’ or sign up by offering swag is a huge social media #fail. If your product is worthy, I’ll return/join/like. That is the essence of social media.

In response to my initial rant on this, a friend quite rightly pointed out to me on Facebook

“Keep in mind if it is worthy and swag is involved, then it’s just a plus ;)”

Indeed he is correct, but give me the swag and let me decide if you are worthy of coming back to like/register/join.

Example – In this particular case, what has me miffed was (yet another) ‘free’ eBook on a potentially interesting topic, which, may I point out that by requiring me to ‘like’ a page or register for a newsletter, is not truly free… Now, because I will not be bribed into liking or joining, I won’t read their eBook, so I won’t find out if they know what they are talking about and are worth more of my precious time.

The whole swag for likes/registering gimmick It is a failed tactic used by old-school marketers who really don’t “get” social media.

Rather than using social media the way it is meant – as a conversation with potential clients and others in their industry – they wrongly see it as just another pipeline to shout out their advertising.

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A Diet Coke, handled gingerly…

Posted on May 11, 2011 by

Put money into machine, pushed ‘Diet Coke‘ button, and a Canada Dry dropped.

Huh?

So, I cussed a bit, grumbled a bit more, but eventually opened it and took a drink. At that point I realized it has been a long time since I have had a drink of ginger ale and it was a refreshing change.

Sometimes, it’s the little surprises that make a day! 🙂

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Fair Trade

Posted on December 31, 2010 by

fairtrade.pngFair trade is a huge business these days. How huge? Well, this 2007 article in the NY Times titled “Fair Trade in Bloom” puts the world-wide coffee industry at about $2.2 billion for 2006, while this article, Fair Trade Popularity Grows in 2009, puts the world-wide sales of fair trade products at €3.4 billion (about $4.5 billion).

As great as these figures may look on the outside, I am not necessarily a proponent of fair trade any more than I am a proponent of “Certified Organic” in their current forms. I am a huge supporter of the ideology behind what fair trade represents – “concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of marginalized small producers” and does “not maximize profit at their expense.” However, they have become a commodity to be pandered and marketed, instead of an ideal.

My reasons? I do not agree with the “best price wins/big dog-eat-little dog/WalMartization of life” model that currently exists in our capitalist economy. Currently, multinational corporations control most of the economic activity, and they lobby for a completely “free market” economy without government intervention and regulation, whine about paying local taxes, and race toward the bottom of the price and quality barrel.

Currently, “capitalism” tends to be controlled more and more by less and less very prosperous people, many of whom spend millions trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Worse, too many of them did nothing to earn what they own and were simply born into a wealthy family, joining the royals and other undeserving elites in the “Lucky Sperm Club.”

Also, we are not currently paying the true cost of what we buy these days. The true costs would include transportation costs (currently cheap because of subsidized oil and gas) and environmental costs (we currently do not pay anywhere near enough to cover environmental costs associated with production and recycling, and much of the junk we buy ends up untreated in a landfill). This isn’t right, and there will be a day of reckoning.

In my Utopian brain, I see properly implemented capitalism as an incentive to move along one boulevard that is only one road to travel in our journey through life that leads toward more overall prosperity and happiness for everyone. Call me a dreamer.

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Mandatory census change will hurt survey #nbpoli #canpoli

Posted on December 30, 2010 by

telegraphjournal.com – Census change will hurt survey | New Brunswick, Canada.

“The information collected by this form is playing a critical role in mobilizing citizens and organizations to tackle issues in their local communities – bringing philanthropic, voluntary and corporate resources to the table to address some of our communities’ most pressing problems,” the letter said.
Mr. Harper’s Conservatives have ideas that seem to pander to their core supporters they would like to implement. Unfortunately, these ideas are based on ideology that is not backed up by statistics (i.e. increase in prisons while overall crime rate is actually dropping). By removing the mandatory census, it allows them to cast doubt on the statistics they already don’t (can’t?) read…
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Do we really need more prisons, or do we want the ‘American Dream’?

Posted on October 26, 2010 by

Crime is down in Canada, and gun-related murders are down as well. This is probably why our prison-loving Prime Minister wants to scrap Statistics Canada’s tools. Who will believe him when he says we need to spend billions on new prisons for putting imaginary criminals away???

We should all be happy for what we have in Canada and fight to keep it this way. Our higher taxes pay for social services, treatments, education, and effective policing programs that actually reduce crime, not just prisons to lock away the bad guys.

As an idea, let’s compare our national murder rate with that of some of our lesser-taxed, Southern neighbour’s states with comparable populations:

2009 Murder Rates


Canada (whole country)

Population:34,000,000

Total Murders: 548 (all types, 179 were gun related)

Stat: 1 murder per 62,000 people

(data: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/10/26/homicide-rate.html)

Notes: Manitoba was the deadliest province in Canada in 2009 for the third year running

United States

California

Population: 36,961,664

Total Murders: 1,972

Stat: 1 murder per 18,700 people

(data: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2009)

Florida

Population: 18,537,969

Total Murders: 1,017

Stat: 1 murder per 18,200 people

(data: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2009)

New York

Population: 19,541,453

Total Murders: 778

Stat: 1 murder per 25,000 people (quite safe by US standards)

(data: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2009)

Pennsylvania

Population: 12,604,767

Total Murders: 661

Stat: 1 murders per 19,000 people

(data: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2009)

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Why we truly need electoral reform #nbvotes

Posted on September 28, 2010 by

There are 55 seats in the New Brunswick Legislature. Currently these seats are determined by a first-past-the-post system in 55 ridings, rather than a more fair and inclusive system.

The results of the provincial election last night were a perfect example of the skewing that occurs in this medieval system.

Here’s the results:

49% of the province voted PC, yet they received 76% of the seats (42). 49% should represent the wishes of 49% of the population, or 27 seats.

35% of the province voted Liberal, yet they received only 24% of the seats (13). 35% should represent the wishes of 35% of the population, or 19 seats.

10% of the province voted NDP, yet they received 0 seats and no voice. 10% should represent 5 or 6 seats, not 0.

4.6% voted Green, yet they received 0 seats and no voice. 4.6% should represent 2 or 3 seats, not 0.

Another ~1.5% voted ‘Other’ and received no voice. 1.5% represents .85% of a seat.This one is a 0 seat and  probably should stay that way, but there are 8 seats out of 55 missing from above.

I understand that “this is the way it has always been done” is a great excuse for not changing. It has been used by Luddites for many years. But that doesn’t make it right.

The environmentally minded, the poor, the sick, the unionized, and many other groups are basically ignored or paid lip service by the major parties because they have no true representation. While I agree that these smaller parties are unlikely to form a government and run the province on a daily basis any time soon (although the NDP is doing a decent job in Nova Scotia and Manitoba right now and have run Ontario and other Western provinces before), they represent the interests of many people who took the time to vote and who have basically been shut out by an archaic system. These groups have great ideas and policies that should at least be at the table for discussion.

Yes, there are flaws in a proportional system as well, but you can’t tell me that a province with a population that barely qualifies as a large municipality in many parts of this country can’t come up with a way of using regional, proportional representation to ensure everyone’s vote counts.

Those who argue that a majority is the only way to get anything done forget Universal Health Care and Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, Worker’s Compensation, Children’s Allowance, and most of the other things that make Canada the great place it is today. These were all mainly done by minority governments who were forced by virtue of that minority to work together in a civilized manner. That type of civility and diplomacy is what is missing in our current adversarial style of government in Fredericton and particularly in Ottawa.

My solution? When I am Benevolent Dictator of Canada, I will tear up all the Legislatures (and Parliament for that matter), and replace them with a horseshoe or circle formation designed for discussion instead of insult-tossing, to create an atmosphere where respect and civility rule, whoever is speaking is the only one with the floor, hecklers are evicted for being morons, and everyone has at least a chance to be represented by way of some form of proportional representation.

How do we achieve this proportional system? We might even use a mixed system that resembles the ward and at-large system in use in Saint John. Even better, for inspiration, take a look at Nunavut. They basically banned political parties in their legislature and run as a consensus government. What a great idea!

In any case, our system is not fair, nor is it inclusive. There is always room for improvement. While this particular election saw an increase in voter turnout *(see note below), the trend is dropping as more people feel their votes don’t count.

NOTE: It turns out this statement was not accurate. The voter turnout was a higher % of the voters list, but the voter’s list had fewer people on it than last time and less people actually voted. In the last election, there were 377,247 ballots cast, which represented 67.5% of eligible voters, while in this election,there were 372,502 ballots cast, which represented 71.5% of the eligible voters.  Two possible reasons – inaccurate voter’s lists or population decrease. In any case, the actual number of votes cast is the lowest in New Brunswick since 1978.

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Buy Local? Not at Irving / Circle K Stores! #buylocal

Posted on September 9, 2010 by

Yesterday, while on a work trip to Fredericton, I made a quick stop at an Irving / Circle K store in Welsford, New Brunswick. Pretty straight forward stop. I wanted a drink and a snack and rather than roll on over to the junk food aisles, I decided to step smartly up to the “fresh” produce area and help myself to an apple. It is Fall in New Brunswick, that’s apple season, and I love a good, fresh apple! Imagine my surprise when I started to peel the ubiquitous PLU code sticker and noticed it said “Chile”…

So after an initial angry Tweet and a Facebook status rant, a little birdie sent me some very interesting info (I love social media)… Let’s use it to put the pressure on for “Buy Local”! The items in ( italics ) are my additions!

Circle K is an international chain of convenience stores. It is owned and operated by the Canadian-based Alimentation Couche-Tard (here’s the Wikipedia link) – Not Irving. (I knew that part, Irving leased their sites to them in the summer of 2008. But Irving has the power to influence them – I hope!)

All purchasing decisions have to be approved by head office – and since local produce isn’t available year-round, they only allow produce contracts with suppliers who can provide year-round availability. (Lazy Jerks…)

It’s EXTREMELY hard to get approval for a purchasing contract through head office. Apparently the big stop in Miramichi sells local, but he is an anomaly because head office doesn’t like it! (Good to see some of them are doing it the right way)

Their website purports to putting 1% of net earnings to the support of youth, health, welfare, and humanitarian causes. That all sounds great, but by buying our apples from Chile and shipping them thousands of miles to Eastern Canada – particularly when there are magnificent local apples hanging on the trees all around New Brunswick – they are destroying the environment, damaging our health with under-nourished imported fruits and vegetables, and negatively impacting the future for these same youth. My “fresh” apple from Irving / Circle K has made a journey of many thousands of miles to get to me…

From their Operations Team page, it appears Michel Bernard is their Eastern Canada Operations VP, so he might be a great one to send your complaints to!

I am sure if Mr. Bernard was truly interested in helping create a sustainable food supply for the people his company says it helps with 1% of net earnings, he could find a very high-quality supply of local apples simply by contacting the following people:

APPLE GROWERS OF NEW BRUNSWICK
168 Cyr Street
Dieppe, NB
E1A 7Z1
Euclide Bourgeois, Chairman
Paul LeBlanc, Secretary-Manager
Tel: (506) 386-8100
Fax: (506) 461-1627

What does this mean??? Well, it looks like it is time to get a grassroots campaign started! I haven’t pissed off a multinational company in weeks…

Here’s some contact information, let’s get started!

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
4204 Industriel Blvd.
Laval, Quebec, Canada
H7L 0E3
Tel : (450) 662-6632 or (800) 361-2612
Fax : (450) 662-6648

info@couche-tard.com

investor.relations@couche-tard.com

Footnote: Once we are done with Irving / Circle K, we need to start working on Sobeys for the same practices, but that’s a rant for another day!

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Letter to MLAs regarding cell phone ban while driving in New Brunswick

Posted on June 1, 2010 by

The following is a letter to my local politician regarding the lack of a cell phone ban while driving in New Brunswick. Feel free to copy/paste whatever you like from this letter to send your own!

***

Dear Mr. McIntyre:

I realize that the Legislature is not currently sitting and won’t be in session again until after an election takes place, but I think this topic is worth acting upon immediately.

As a resident of New Brunswick, I find it embarrassing that we are one of only two provinces that have not found it important enough to save our resident’s lives by making the use of a cellular telephone or any electronic device while driving a criminal act.

On January 5, 2010, Public Safety Minister John Foran publicly stated that New Brunswick is “studying” a ban. The following studies have already been done, years ago:

A 2005 study can be found here: http://www.cartest.ca/cell_phones_and_driving_late.htm

A 2006 Utah news article about a study by the University of Utah titled “Drivers on cell phones are as bad as drunks”: http://www.unews.utah.edu/p/?r=062206-1

Here is a PDF overview of the UTAH study findings: http://www.hfes.org/Web/Pubpages/celldrunk.pdf

The complete Utah study can be purchased and downloaded here for $28 + tax: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/hfes/hf/2006/00000048/00000002/art00014

Some articles from Canada that suggest even hands-free devices are not safe: http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/07/21/cellphone-driving.html

This 2010 study in New York found that bans on handheld device use in densely populated areas caused a reduction, often dramatic, in accidents and fatalities: http://scienceblog.com/29826/study-cell-phone-bans-while-driving-have-more-impact-in-dense-urban-areas/

There is no more need for more studies. They have been done and the results are clear. What is needed now is effective leadership and fast action. Every day that is lost has the potential to cost more lives.

A group of Saint John High School Film Study students created the following video in a plea to try and convince young people to stop driving and texting. I suggest this video is in response to their frustration at a government they see as not doing its job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqfwcbw2oaU

Thank you for considering this message and I hope to hear of you championing it as part of your legacy to the people of New Brunswick.

Regards,

Chris London

***

The email and mailing address for all NB MLAs can be found here: http://app.infoaa.7700.gnb.ca/gnb/pub/ListMLA1.asp

If you send an email to any or all MLAs, I recommend you also send a letter to them to ensure they officially respond that they have received your letter. Email correspondence often isn’t taken as seriously as a letter.

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