Monthly Archives: December 2015

Zeitgeist: Almost 10 Years Old

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I have long been a fan and follower of many of the ideas from experts like Joseph Campbell or Mircea Eliade.

I have come to believe that themes like the ‘Universal Myth’ or ‘Monomyth’ are vital to our understanding of one another.  The passing of ‘Christmas’ is really just humanity being stuck in a creative rut, at least as far as religious advancement goes.

Or, better, ability to move beyond religion towards a more common good that everyone in the world can buy into.

Zeitgeist is fascinating reminder of the extent to which we’ve allowed ourselves to be manipulated and deceived into believing that there’s some kind of great benevolent – and seemingly sometimes hangry – god running all of our lives, like a great master puppeteer determining the fate of all who come and go on this great planet.

I’ll admit that on the very rare occasion, I’m overwhelmed by a sense of loneliness that comes when you realize that we’re unique in the universe.  There are also moments of desperation when I tease myself into believing that the odds of THIS – our planet, our existence, our odds – are so incredibly rare as to be impossible and I almost let myself believe that there’s a greater being, but then I pull back to reality.

We’re not toys for gods.  We’re human beings.  We have a right to enjoy our past, to savour our present and to anticipate our future.

The sooner we accept that religions are just distractions, the sooner we’ll move forward.

And, with a little technology, perseverance and patience, maybe one day we’ll discover that we’re no along in the universe.

PS For those of you thinking I’m having some kind of weird ‘bah humbug’ moment, forget it!  I’m very happy, thank you, and don’t need to told to have a ‘Merry Christmas’ one day of the year to appreciate that life is good.

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Canada’s ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ Moment

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October 19 in Canada could be seen much the same way as the revelation experienced at the end of Frank Capra’s Christmas classic, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’.

Just when the lead protagonist didn’t think things could possibly turn his way, he was shown that he truly does have an incredible life and, more importantly, the things he does on a day-in, day-out basis change the lives of so many others.

Potter-HarperStephen Harper is clearly Mr. Potter, the mean, heartless curmudgeon that everyone wanted to see get electroshock therapy by the end of the movie.  He did crooked things, like basically steal the $8,000 from George Bailey’s uncle Billy.  Harper did much, much worse as far as the Canadian economy is concerned, stealing from those who cannot afford it (low-wage earners, small businesses with EI hikes) and giving to those who needed it the least.

Harper/Potter would have loved to have seen the entirety of Canada become a giant ‘Potter’s Field’ of sorts, a poorly built array of inefficient, cheap and cardboard houses destined to be replaced within a couple of years, all at the expense of taxpayers.  His fury against anyone that challenged him was remorseless and merciless, cruel and unforgiving.

His vision of Canada was not a vision at all.  It was

And there really is no evidence that he ever existed once we reach the climax of the movie at the end, where George Bailey was the one who was rewarded with enviable love and tenderness from the people in the community.

As we learned a long, long time ago, nice people sometimes DO come out ahead and they wind up returning the favour.

In this seasonal comparison, Justin Trudeau is of course, George Bailey.  Loyal to his father’s business (Canadian politics), loyal to his family, kind-hearted and good looking.  He’s the kid who stays behind so that others could move ahead.  Even the tragedy of Michel’s death could be compared to George’s little brother, Harry Bailey (who survived in the movie, but wouldn’t have if George had never been born).

georgebailey1  trudeau-family-halloween-20151031

In the early weeks of Trudeau’s government, we’ve seen a more compassionate, sensible Canada return, not just locally, but on the world stage.  Would Paris COP21 have been successfully negotiated if Harper had put his crap ‘Big Oil’ agenda in the way, claiming the entire thing was ‘socialists coming to take over the planet’?  Would we have seen the action that we did on Syrian refugees?  Would we have seen an empathetic and actionable response concerning the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?

Now, the honeymoon is still on, but it’s becoming clear the Harper never lead Canada, he abused it for his own agenda.

Let’s hope Justin Trudeau is always mindful of the classic quote ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ and doesn’t fall into the same twisted and malevolent character as Canada’s ‘Mr. Potter’.

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She Must Be High

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Kathleen Wynne has indicated that the LCBO selling pot would be a good thing.

Give me a break.  She must be high (and mighty, but that’s a different topic altogether).

The LCBO is all about government-endorsed protection of a small handful of VERY LARGE alcohol conglomerates maximizing how much they extract from Ontario consumers.

Selling pot will result in no different outcome.

We’ll have low quality, high priced bud, expensive high-gloss magazines promoting Snoop D’s latest brand of Mary Jane and will be flooded with volumes of inane reviews from people that don’t actually want to work but, well, review.

The standard pile of dog excrement will come from the government offices:  it’s all about social responsibility; it’s about protecting quality; it’s about having qualified people available to sell the product; it’s about protecting revenue for the government.

No thank you.

These are lies that they’ll want us to believe.  What about selling cigarettes?  Last I looked, the government was trying to shut down that vice, but they still allow it to be sold anywhere.

What about controlling new, upstart producers instead of protecting those international conglomerates?  Not a chance.  The government will throw these folks under the bus sooner that you can say ‘Don’t Bogart that joint, dude’.

The days of the LCBO are coming to an end.  It has effectively been privatized as of today when the government announced that they will allow chains like Loblaws, Wal-Mart and Costco to sell beer and soon wine.

Will anyone bother with a high-paid LCBO staffer to bug them about terroir and mystery associated with a good bunch of leaf?

Not a chance.

The LCBO is dead.  Let’s move on and let the market kick in for a change and let’s make sure we don’t mess up another good thing (legalized pot) with a bad thing (illegal sale and distribution).

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‘Slippery Steve’ is actually ‘Sticky Steve’

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Post-it-payI have to admit that I haven’t followed the Duffy trial as closely as some others (like Montreal Simon), but yesterday’s news report had one juicy little tidbit in it that I refuse to let go of and I’m hoping more sane Canadians and reporters will let this detail ‘stick’

You could say I’m ‘stuck’ on the idea of how Stephen Harper got away with all of his crimes against Canada.

Post-it notes.

Post-it-timsApparently, he didn’t use email, written communications or even verbal indications of his plans.

His was a rule based on sticky notes.  Endless piles of sticky notes.

Here’s one comment from yesterday’s Duffy trial:

Duffy also took another swipe at Harper, saying the former prime minister would never write in the margins of policy documents, unlike previous prime ministers.

Instead, Duffy said, Harper would use yellow Post-it notes, which would later come off the documents so “there are no fingerprints.”

Duffy said much of the communication from Harper went through Harper’s top aide Ray Novak via emails. Harper would never personally ask or tell someone to do something, except in very rare circumstances, Duffy said.

“That way, he’s got deniability,” Duffy said.

Post-it-steveStephen Harper used to carry this image that he was untouchable.  Now we know why.  He was a ‘post-it Prime Minister’.

Deniability.

Let’s hope that more people catch on to this subtle but important nuance about how Stephen Harper ran the Government of Canada – no longer the Harper Government – and how he knowingly used any means he could in a premeditated manner to deceive all Canadians and not just the Puffster.

And now that Mike Duffy is throwing Stephen Harper under the bus, when do we get to point the finger at Herr Harper himself and bring him to justice?

Deniability.

Perhaps Canadians will deny any memory of Stephen Harper and instead simply reflect that they were dark, dark years for this great country and that we’ll do what we must to ensure it never happens again.

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Uber’s Message To Those Who Are Protected

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Uber’s Message To Those Who Are Protected:  your job is in jeopardy.

The public’s response to technologies and services like Uber:  we will no longer protect those who are protected.

Uber’s not the only technology startup (or upstart) that should have people worried about their job security.

The other day, I got in a cab for the last time.  It will be the last.  I will only take Uber from this point on.

Why?

The cab was filthy, the driver distracted, the car smelled and when I tried to roll down the window, the hand crank (another bad sign) broke off, the cost seemed more than it should be, the cabbie got lost for a moment and the door nearly fell off when I got out of the car.

Unfortunately, cab companies don’t see this rapid decline in quality and feel it’s appropriate to respond to competition by bitching to our governments to increase the level of scrutiny and protection for their business.

Other industries are in the same boat.

If you’re a teacher, in the shipping business, hotel worker, work in delivery, operate in the medical field, a university professor, LCBO employee, performer or work for any other trade that benefits from (excessively) regulated infrastructure, you’ve got something to worry about.

But it’s not too late to respond and make things better for yourself.

Improve your attitude.  Invest in quality.  Stop ‘working to rule’ and putting kids in the way of a nice, fat pay raise (I’m talking about you, Ontario teachers).  Acknowledge the simple fact that the jewels of protection are also the kernels of your demise.

Getting back to the cab companies, buy new cars.  Make it mandatory for drivers to keep their vehicles clean and if they do, limit the chemical cleaning treatments for their cars.  Build apps that let me review my ride.  Abide by a strict ‘3 strikes’ rule where 3 bad reviews result in probation and 3 more bad reviews result in prohibition.

Ultimately, companies like Uber prove to the world that the consumer will choose that which is cheaper, but also that which is best, safest and most accessible.

Failure to understand and act on this will result in your failure.

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