Category Archives: rants a little

Tweetle-Dum Must Go



When it began, we had to feel acute embarrassment for the American people as the clownish nature of the newly elected president became daily more offensive and bizarre. Ongoing developments only reinforced those feelings of revulsion and ultimately despair at the spectacle of a supremely unqualified, intemperate and dishonourable con man wielding the reins of power in the great American republic.

Ruling, or really making a shambles of attempting to govern, by epithet laden twitter pronouncements, this loosest of political cannons has now demonstrated beyond all question of doubt that he poses the greatest danger to world peace since Hitler. His inflammatory mouth now threatens to start the third and probably final world war.

The only solution is obvious though who can tell how to bring it about: Trump has to be removed from office, and hidden away in some tweet proof cavern, never to be allowed anywhere near the white house, or a golf course, or a cell phone, again.

He is fully ripe for impeachment by his irresponsible behavior in dealing with the only other demented leader who comes anywhere close to matching him in sheer madness.

If it weren’t so frightening, one might well envisage stripping these two overweight loudmouths to loincloths and have them battle, weaponless, to the death, with the winner destined for one-way spacecraft banishment to the farthest limits of the stratosphere.

Eyesore Properties

More than four years ago, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced a new policy to deal with derelict buildings in the capital. The city, he promised, was stepping up enforcement of requirements for maintaining rundown properties.

So how come there are so many bothersome eyesores such as this one on Bank Street and Evans Avenue south of Billings Bridge?

Bank St. Derelict

Bank St. Derelict

Does maintaining mean nothing more than boarding up broken windows and sagging door frames? Passersby along busy streets like this may get used to them, but not without cringing in embarrassment at living in a city that puts up with such evidence of willful neglect. Photos used here were taken last fall but a drive by view this week showed virtually no change, or perhaps further deterioration, since that time.

“What we will require is that any building that is just sitting there must not stick out like a sore thumb,” Watson said in a March 2013 interview. “We’ll be insisting that owners keep up with regular repair on their assets.” Much fanfare accompanied that bold policy announcement but follow up action has been spotty at best.

Sympathy may be spared for property owners who try their best to solve derelict building problems, but lack of city pressure to effect meaningful repair or replacement only prolongs such eyesore situations. Action to cope with them in a timely manner is sorely needed.

A Call to Arms of the Faithful

What in the world is happening? Terror killing is a daily occurrence, but to what purpose? What kind of mind can justify random killing of innocent people?

Do the killers believe they will live forever in a nirvana reserved only for those who thrive on hatred? If an almighty being values human kind at all, surely mindless cruelty and callousness deserves to be unrewarded. Destroying human lives in the name of any almighty being is not only inhuman, it is intrinsically ungodly.

call to arms

call to arms

Leaders of world religions, whatever the stripe, owe it to all humans to condemn and disown those extremist zealots who war upon innocents in the name of some sacred being. Only they have the power to rid the world of evil doers masquerading as messiahs. Words alone are not enough. Only outspoken condemnation, rejection, ostracism, denial of entry to places of worship and exposure to law enforcement authorities has any hope of ending this tidal wave of nihilist religious-based fanaticism.

Let not evil prevail.


Bought my yearly income tax kit the other day. Figured it had to be something special because the package containing it was just huge! Fully one and a half inches deep!

But inside, merely a tiny CD probably one tenth of an inch thick! Go figure!

Intuit’s Turbo Tax software has worked fine for us for years, but why in the world does a wafer thin CD have to be encased in a box big enough to hold a pair of gold bricks?

Smarten up, and lighten up, Turbo people, please!

How’s This For Irony?

Went to our brand new community mail box for the first time the other day to pick up mail, and got home on time to hear the Canada Post moguls were cancelling the program. Shivering in their shoes no doubt in fear of the Trudeau 2 regime.

CanadaPostCommunityMailboxes4Not that it does us any good. Had our mail box keys shown up a few days later, we’d have stayed safely among the home delivery survivors.

Makes one think that government works these days much like a tortuously slow game of ping pong. One bunch gets in and dopes out a new set of supposedly enlightened programs; then a new bunch takes over, wipes out all the old gang’s handiwork, and draws up yet another new agenda. Public service agencies like the Post Office only strive to keep on the right side of the swinging door.

All we can say, perhaps, is don’t all lose sight of the ball!

And that ball is your everyday lowly taxpayer.

Rants Can Work!

Ranting and roaring about perceived ills in our society may or may not do some good, so it is rather nice to find out that sometimes it works!

Case in point ( a moderate rant uttered in this blog early this year about charities which waste untold dollars on sending gifts of one kind or another to charity donors. In my house, we’ve adopted a policy of cutting off donations to those organizations who persist in this lamentable practice.MS-mailerP1050651PW Yet another unwelcome mailer from the otherwise admirable Multiple Sclerosis Society, offering a shiny nickel as inducement to return a generous donation, touched off this long simmering venting outburst.

Another of the worst dunning culprits, sadly enough, was the Canadian Cancer Society, which I had been supporting for many years. I had written several times to the Society complaining about the deluge of solicitation mailers, only to be totally ignored. Giving it one more try, I was at last pleasantly surprised on receiving a meaningful acknowledgement in an e-mail exchange last March. Jennifer Lee on behalf of CCC’s Donor Relations unit, accepted my complaint with the assurance that she had updated the organization’s records “to show that you no longer wish to receive further solicitations from the Canadian Cancer Society.” Guess this worked as, six months later, Cancer Society solicitations no longer darken my mail box. I am so relieved that I might even support them again.

Going a step further, Ms. Lee suggested that I contact the Canadian Marketing Association to inform them of my request. As she noted, “the CMA offers a Do Not Contact service that enables consumers to register a name and address in order to eliminate future direct mail solicitations sent by member organizations. The Association’s phone number is 416-391-2362, or you can visit their website at

Do-Not-Contact001PWSure enough, I contacted the Canadian Marketing Association, dealt positively with administrative assistant Hilary Reid, and registered for the Do Not Contact service. So far the process appears to have been effective in halting the flow of unwanted postal pestilence. A few organizations to which I have made donations in recent years have been bothersome but I am about to warn them against multiple solicitations or I will cut them off too.

So there may be hope for us all!

The Comics?

P1050655wWhen the Ottawa Citizen revamped its format to adapt to the digital age, one of its weirdest innovations was the near-radical reformation of its comics page. Motivated no doubt by a desire to shake up any complacency among its readers, it seems to have failed utterly in doing so. How else does one explain the appalling humourlessness of all but a lonely few of the panels now greeting our morning browse?
Thankfully, two consistently bright and witty strips survived – the magnificent Zits sits deservedly on top of the page while Pickles, though buried near the bottom, sustains its gently humorous chronicling of the foibles of golden agers. These apart, the remainder of the page resembles a wasteland of incomprehensible doodles entirely lacking in wit, humour or even relevance to everyday life. Occasionally, Chuckle Bros can generate a grin but the rest of the lot are unfailingly fatuous at best. And why Blondie is in there still, eons beyond its best buy date, defies belief.
While everyone’s taste differs, surely there was no excuse for dropping some of the earlier comic fare. Garfield was one of my favourites. Betty was usually quite engaging. And it seemed downright unpatriotic to discard another Canadian strip, For Better or For Worse, even though I did not much care for it.
Some of the other reform moves the Citizen undertook, such as discarding the Canadian crosswords, were quickly undone in the face of readers’ objections. And rightly so. It is surprising really that little if any chagrin has been expressed on the comics purge. Maybe, with all of the ghastly goings on purveyed in daily news reports, the public has lost its sense of humour. We need it back.

Not On My Nickel

A dozen years ago, I sent off this narky letter just before Christmas:

Multiple Scelerosis Society of Canada

250 Bloor St. East, Suite 1000

Toronto, ON  M4W 3P9 

This being the time of year when I normally decide what charitable projects I wish to support before getting into another tax year, I’d like to advise you why I am NOT sending you a contribution.

Over the past year I have accumulated an embarrassing number of solicitations from charitable organizations seeking my donations. Embarrassing, not to me but to you and other organizations who seem to have unlimited funding for mailing out solicitation letters.  In so many cases, these come complete with expensively produced gifts of cards, envelopes, mailing labels etc. I have to say that the Multiple Scelerosis Society has been one of the worst such offenders.  All the reaction that these missives produce in me is anger and disgust at such waste of money in what is supposed to be a worthwhile cause.

I appreciate that some communication has to be done to solicit contributions, but surely it is enough to send one, or at the most, two such letters in a year. And certainly there is no need to wallow in tons of gift labels and cards just to earn a donation.

 Smarten up, you people.

There was, not surprisingly, no reply. And no let up in the flow of similar unsolicited appeals.

A few days ago, the envelope shown below turned up in my mail box. This time, boasting a whole nickel offered, for free, to reward me for my contribution. It remains unopened. Just like similar pitches from the Canadian Cancer Society and other praiseworthy charitable organizations to which I refuse to contribute. Though I have done so in the past.

The thousands of dollars spent by these organizations to cajole citizens into sending them donations are far beyond justification in terms of results achieved. Why can’t they see it?