HuffPo Just Lowered the Bar for Men Everywhere

The Huffington Post has been one of my go-to news sites since a friend first told me about the Canadian edition years ago.

This is despite the right hand column of things HuffPo thinks would interest me.

Suggestions that have amused, irritated and befuddled me…sometimes simultaneously.

I’m a 51 year old, single, male computer programmer.  Sometimes HuffPo seems to think that I’m extremely interested in what celebrity is feuding with some other celebrity,  or how to deal with menopause,  or fashion faux pas to avoid.

This column has links with outrageous click-bait headlines.  You know things like “Meet the 5 year old girl who is better at your job than you are!”

Occasionally I’ve found some of these teaser headlines mildly insulting.  Seriously…anything that involves Tim Hortons, or a moose, is automatically “THE MOST CANADIAN THING EVER!!!”.

Seriously,  everything Canadians have accomplished and a chain of coffee shops, or an animal most Canadians have never see in the wild is the most Canadian thing ever?

All that aside today I ran across a headline that I thought would lead to a touching story  (yeah, I like to read those sometimes, so STFU),  but didn’t.

huffpo1
Click to read the story

There are a lot of things that would’ve made this a great story.  But none of them apply here.

This guy’s wife wanted a weave removed.  When her husband found out what it costs ($50),  he decided to learn how to do it himself.

That’s it.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing….what I’m saying that if doing that makes this guy “THE HUSBAND OF THE YEAR” then the Huffington Post has a pretty low opinion of men in general.

I have a friend who once spent an entire weekend shopping for the perfect computer desk for his wife, and then assembling it for her.  All because she wanted a keyboard tray, but not one of those keyboard trays you can attach to an existing desk….

He didn’t even get nominated for HUSBAND OF THE YEAR.

Seriously HuffPo,  most of your hyperbolic, feel good click bait headlines are annoying,  but this one just insulted men who support the women in their lives, not because they want to save a buck, but out of love and devotion.

So long 2016….

I usually do some year end post,  so this is my adieu to 2016.

It’s been a tumultuous year,  not just for me,  but the entire world.

At the end of 2015,  I had hope.   I was seeing that people were standing up against hate and bigotry.    To the point where those who victimized others with hateful prejudice were on the defensive….complaining that people were making them feel uncomfortable by being intolerant of their intolerance.

Now, a year later things are radically different.

Trump’s election victory has emboldened those who are so insecure that they transfer those insecurities on minorities,  homosexuals,  and, well anyone who isn’t like them.

Hate crimes have spiked, and even here in Canada there have been instances where Canadians have bragged that “Trump is gonna come up here and  [insert whatever here]”

It’s gotten so bad that the ‘alt-right’ dismiss any evidence that goes against their beliefs as “left wing media bias”,   even if the evidence is a video posted by one of their kin, showing Trump spewing vile hatred.

Here are some common responses from the alt-right crowd when challenged:

  • Left wing media bias!!
    • The rare time they respond when asked for a non-biased version they turn to Fox, or worse,  Brietbart
  • Libtard!!!
    • Because insulting someone is a great way to get them to see your point
  • Threats and bullying
    • Because that’s an even better way.

On the other hand,  they believe anything that plays into their twisted beliefs,  no matter how outlandish.

Take for instance the travesty that came to be referred to as #pizzagate. A story that started to circulate about a pizzeria in Washington was a front for a child-sex trafficking ring run by Hillary Clinton.

Unfortunately,  the pizzeria in question is an actual restaurant.  Staff have been threatened and harassed.

Doctored pictures have circulated around the internet as proof.

On Dec 4th, some mad man fired into the restaurant in an attempt to “self-investigate”

Read the wikipedia article and see for yourself the level of crazy that now passes for social and political discourse.

Add to that the baffling trend for some of those on the left who have started to preach that we should be more tolerant and accepting of the alt-right ideals.

More tolerant of bigotry, ignorance and hatred.  Can you even imagine?

In my humble opinion, it now even more important for those of us who are accepting of others regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, orientation,  or any other factor other than their level of ignorant asshole,  to stand up and speak out.

While it is doubtful that we can change the minds of those bigots posting on social media and other outlets,  if we fail to challenge the misinformation and fear mongering we allow it to grow.   Even if we cannot convince bigots that they are in fact bigots,  we may be able to reach the silent lurkers,  who have not yet swallowed the poison pill.

2016 was bad.  2017 and the four years after might be worse.

I will continue to speak up, and to fight against hatred, tyranny, ignorance and bigotry.

Will you?

 

 

 

Donald Trump will NEVER be the Leader of the Free World

In 2016 there are 22 countries that are deemed to have more freedom than the United States

Despite this,  the President of the United States is also referred to as “The Leader of the Free World”.

For some reason, millions of ordinary Americans ignored the psychotic, childish, bigoted ravings of a lunatic and elected him as their president.

So,  now, to have some Americans tell it,  Donald J. Trump is soon to be “Leader of the Free World”,  even though most of the free world didn’t get to cast a ballot.

Trump has made it clear that His World will be terrific.  He’ll make everything so much more better….so much more better unless you’re not white, not straight and not an adherent of a Trump approved religion.

You’re also allowed to practice Freedom of Speech,  unless he finds it offensive, or it hurts his feelings.

I’m tired of being told that the President of a foreign country is my defacto leader.

I’m disgusted at the thought of Donald Trump being called “Leader of the Free World”.

It’s time to tell journalist and bloggers everwhere to stop this!

Please sign my petition!

 

 

Amateur Theater: Notes from the Tech Ppl

Please Note:    This blog post was the result of conversations I’ve had with other amateur theater techies from all over….Ontario,  Idaho,  Alberta, and Nova Scotia.

So literally “TECH PEOPLE EVERYWHERE”

I reached out to find out if I was out of line with letting a particular incident bother me.
The consensus was that I wasn’t.
The other techies didn’t want to raise issues out of fear of not being invited back.
I decided to post this publically after one girl said, “I go into every production hoping they won’t forget about me…again.”
I don’t have any issues with my group as a whole.  The incident that irritated me is an isolated one.

Hi there amateur theater performers!

Let me start by saying that we think you’re fantastic!  We’re in awe of your acting and singing abilities.  We love watching you perfect your craft during rehearsals,  then dazzle audiences during the actual run!

But, at the same time, we have to be honest.

Do you people actually know we exist?  If you do,  are you aware of what we contribute to the production?

A lot of us suspect that you don’t….

We’re the “behind the scenes” tech crew that you rarely have to interact with.  You know sound and lighting…you do know who we’re talking about right?

Let me amplify:

We’re the people you see coming in as your show gets closer to open.  You may see us taking pictures, and/or furiously jotting down notes as we watch you rehearse.

It might surprise you to hear that these notes and pictures aren’t precious keepsakes,  but rather to help us in our design work between rehearsals.  (We sometimes show them to our friends to convince them to buy tickets)

When you’re belting out your amazing solo during cue to cue’s–we’re the ones stopping you mid-aria so we can fix a light or sound issue—then asking you to start over…several times.  It might sound like the stage manager…but no….its us!

We’re the ones you see hard at work fixing things while you socialize before and after dress rehearsals.  We do this so we don’t have to interrupt your rehearsals.

Once opening night comes, we’re also the ones you might notice slipping out quietly through the after show crowds gathered to tell you how fantastic your performance was.

We just want to take a moment to point out some things….

  • We are volunteers,  which means we don’t get paid for showing up and helping you look and sound fantastic
  • We suspect that no one really knows we exist unless something goes horribly wrong
  • If, after a rehearsal, we ask that you give us the theater so we can get stuff done,  please move along…we want to go home too!
  • If we ask you to (not) do something,  there’s a reason,  and believe it or not,  that reason has nothing to do with wanting to make you look bad
  • Remember that we care about the show just as much as you do, also
  • We are as much a part of the production as you are
  • You receive accolades at the end of each performance,  ours come on closing night–from you,  so take a moment and acknowledge our hard work (and existence)  and say thank you.

We do what we do because we love theater,  we love being part of it,  we love watching you shine.

We know you perform because you love these things too…but would you keep performing if the audiences didn’t show their appreciation?

Thanks,

Tech People Everywhere

We need to stop treating hydro and heat like luxuries..

 

Energy Poverty…. a phrase that brings to mind some third world slum with sketchy electrical service that only functions sporadically.

In the Province of Ontario,  its come to mean that people who have to choose between shelter,  food, and hydro.

This isn’t because electricity is scarce in Ontario.

A casual observer might conclude that this crisis arose because of the colossal mismanagement and incompetence demonstrated by the Ontario Liberal party over the past few years.

As I researched this issue, I came to believe that the current pricing structure was deliberately engineered to maximize Hydro One’s value ahead of issuing shares.

I also realized that,  whether deliberate or not, the Distribution Rate model that makes hydro exponentially more expensive in vote-poor ridings than vote-rich ones,  minimizes the political fallout from the efforts to make Ontario One attractive to investors.

There is simply too much data to go over in a single entry.   But I will post what I’ve discovered and allow you to draw your own conclusions.

While driving into work today I noticed that it was darker,  and colder.

I wondered how people who had been unable to keep their power turned on would fare in colder weather.

One of the things that has really irked me is that until recently,  there was simply no data available on how many customers had their power disconnected because they couldn’t pay.

Naturally,  there was no data on how long customers have gone without hydro.

Now,  Winter is Coming.

We don’t have to fear White Walkers,  or The Lannisters,  or GRRM killing us off.

The thousands of people across the province who have given up on trying to keep their hydro on have much to fear.

If you’ve ever read a disconnection notice,  you will likely have seen a warning about how old can freeze pipes and cause massive structural damage.   Along with that warning will come the notification that the utility is not responsible for any damage.

What these notices don’t say is that  cold can kill…it can also take fingers, toes,  noses and ears.

How many people in Ontario will die this winter because they couldn’t pay thousands of dollars to keep their lights on?

What percentage will succumb to the cold?

What percentage will succumb to toxic fumes, or fire caused by whatever heat source they try out of desperation?

What percentage will succumb to hopeless depression and commit suicide?

There are many individual causes that brought us to this point.   And I will talk about them in future posts.

In future posts I will:

  • explain why I think the Ontario Energy Board,  who claims to protect consumers is an absolute farce
  • talk about how MicroFit,  the Green Energy project where the Government of Ontario pays small producers of solar and other green energy considerably more than than market value for their excess power.
  • talk about how Hydro One uses distribution and regulation fees to offset the costs of bad policy

While there are many factors that brought us to this point,  behind them all,  there is one driving factor…

Apathy

Those who are responsible for the hydro rate crisis completely forgot that their actions have had a significantly detrimental effect on real, living human beings.

They’ve come to view their commodity (electricity),  as a luxury.  Something that people can do without if they can’t afford it.

 

 

 

What happens when your employer can’t pay you…for months?

Apparently,  if you’re the Government of Canada,  not a thing.

Last winter the federal public service migrated over to a new pay system called Phoenix.

An utterly laughable name when you consider that this move has caused pay problems for approximately 80K public service employees.   Phoenix is an IBM product btw.

Pay problems such as not being paid at all,  not receiving disability pay,  and getting paid after they leave.

The last problem isn’t a pressing one (until they come to collect that).

But imagine going for months without getting paid.  You’re still expected to work,  its just that your pay cheque might be a bit late…like months and months and months late.

You can read about how sorry government official are about this mess here.

While comments on stories like this are largely sympathetic,  it didn’t surprise me to see a few talking about how lazy public sector employees are over paid,  and they don’t really deserve to be paid.   One guy went so far as to say how happy he was reading about other people suffering because of this.

I’ve said this before.  I’ve worked private and public sector jobs.  Yes,  public sector benefits are amazing,   but I’ve worked significantly harder in the public sector than the private.

In the private sector,  if I did well I was rewarded with things like cash.

In the public sector I’d be lucky to receive an atta-boy.  Performance bonuses?   Hahahaha..yeah,  right.

When needed,  we’d work through lunch,  work late,  come in early and the best we could hope for in return was a “Hey thanks!”.

Why is it that there are so many people out there who think that public sector employees don’t take pride in their work,  care about the quality of their work,  and their professional reputations?

Oh wait,  I know…because some customer-facing public sector worker couldn’t do something for them not because it was against the rules and the individual didn’t want to risk getting fired for doing it,  but because they were lazy and entitled.

But I digress…

Most of us know what it’s like to be broke.  To wonder how you’re going to stretch out the few groceries you have to last,  to spend your last $10 on dog food so they don’t go without,  and to trying to decide which bills you absolutely must pay,  and which you hope can wait.

Most of know how utterly devastating that stress is.  The constant, pervasive thought…”If we can only make it to pay day!”

Now put yourselves in the shoes of employees who aren’t being paid at all because of this Phoenix fiasco.   Not knowing when pay day is going to happen.

On top of that,  your bosses keep telling you that they’re working on fixing the problem,   and that they’re sorry….and oh hey,  you can call the minister’s office to complain!

They are in fact hiring a lot of people to get the problem fixed.   I wonder if those people are getting paid.

One of my question is,  why aren’t they hiring a lot of people to manually track people’s hours and write them a physical cheque every two weeks??

Oh yeah…it will add a TON of work to catch up with everything.  It will cost a lot of money too.

But it would show their employees that the public service’s priorities aren’t out of whack….that ensuring their people are cared for (as in being paid on time) is important.

Because right now….while I’m hearing them say it…I’m not seeing much evidence of that.