Random Crap

Much Ado About Nothing

There’s been so much hullabaloo lately about NFL (and other professional and amateur sports team) players, in particular, Colin Kaepernick, kneeling during the playing of their own national anthem before their events.

Many feel this action or form of protest disgraces the national anthem and the country for which it is sung, as well as the team for which those players may play.

But we must take a step back and see different points of view before we judge so harshly the actions of others.

The United States has long defended peaceful protests, even upholding the privilege to do so in their Constitution, together with the freedoms of speech and personal expression.

Looking at it from another point of view, it is also easy to sit in judgment of protesters when you have not been victim of the injustices and unfair treatment being protested in the first place.

From a more practical point of view, consider that a form of protest is likely most effective when in a place like a stadium where tens of thousands of people have their attention fixed on one spot.  This is no different to politicians attempting to further their careers by hosting so-called dinners at several hundred dollars a plate.  The tickets for such dinners far exceed the cost of tickets to sporting events, yet no one seems to protest the fact that politicians are in effect attempting to buy their votes.

Moreover, how do you stand for a national anthem which you may believe in your heart of hearts no longer has the meaning it originally intended?  An anthem which speaks of freedom and justice for all can have little to no meaning for those whose freedoms are denied, let alone those who have not received justice from either the legal system or police enforcement.

 

It was Voltaire who said, “I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”

He also said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Perhaps we should keep Voltaire’s statement in mind before we judge so harshly those who may disagree with our points of view, lest we suffer the greatest fate of all – REPEATING HISTORY’S MISTAKES.

https://ca.yahoo.com/sports/ravens-anthem-singer-resigns-fan-reaction-player-protests-223648999.html

 

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Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies?, Random Crap, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pot Pourri

A few things I simply have to get off my chest:

  1. We all have to work for a living, and most of us don’t get paid for what we really love.  Seek it out in your spare time anyway.  Your older self will thank you for doing so in the future.
  2. The older we are, the faster we used to run.  This applies mostly to politics, and lately, mostly in Alberta.  In 2015, we overwhelmingly voted out the Progressive Conservatives after 41 years of “leadership” which was tenuous at best, and decided to give the New Democrat Party a whirl.  Before the NDP even has a chance to dust off the furniture, the conservative right wingers are crying for their precious PC’s back.  Here’s a newsflash: they had 41 years and you – YOU – voted them out in favour of some fresh air.  Give the NDP a chance to get going before you start crying for your familiar, albeit abusive, political parent to come back and love you.  Second newsflash: you don’t get that high in politics without stepping on a lot of people on the way up.  Deal with it.
  3. Same goes for the Harper v. Trudeau camp.
  4. For the over-leveraged oil slingers:  Try counting your money while holding your breath.  The recession you believe is happening to you right now is only personal.  You over-spent, over-leveraged and over-extended yourselves.  It’s time to answer for it.  The economy is not suffering so much as it is simply taking a break.  The skyrocketing value of everything could not sustain itself longterm and we are now only in what is actually a NORMAL economy.  The fact that you are giving up your family pets before you give up your smokes or 60-inch TV’s is on you, not the government.
  5. If, despite Number 4 above, you wish to continue spouting off about this “recession” in Alberta, being “worse than the 80’s”, please make sure that (a) you were alive and cognizant enough to understand the economy in the 1980’s, and (b) please have a look outside your windows and tell me what all those cranes dotting our skyline are doing.
  6. Just because you’ve given birth to a child, does not automatically mean that you are EVERYONE’S mother.  I have a mother, and you don’t hold a candle to her so stop trying.
  7. Also, women who don’t have children made as conscious a choice as those who did.  Respect both.
  8. The weather since Inauguration Day has been unseasonably warm in parts of Canada.  Hot air rises.  Coincidence?  I think not.  It also furthers the claim by realists that climate change is not, in fact, a “hoax”.
  9. It IS possible to sustain an economy without gang-raping the environment.  Our demand for oil, plastics and the like will not diminish.  However, we can do so more responsibly and slow the pace of our gluttonous consumption.  The answers are so simple an 8 year old could explain them to you.  I know just such an 8 year old girl who would love to speak to you, and likely shame you into submission in the process.
  10. It’s also possible to drive a 1994 Ford Bronco and get better gas mileage and have fewer emissions than many new vehicles being churned out today.  Regular maintenance and responsible disposal of oils and parts is key.  Don’t buy new when you can keep what you have running.
  11. Stop glorifying being “busy”.  You’re not busy.  And no one cares.  You’re just over-extending yourselves and one day you’ll wake up dead wondering why you bothered.  It’s okay to take a break and do sweet f**k all.
  12. And lastly, ADOPT SHELTER PETS.

It’s not rocket science, people.

Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies?, Random Crap, self acceptance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Blame Game

Disclaimer: I’m no political pundit by any stretch of the imagination.  But I’ve got eyes and a fairly decent brain.  So bear with me.

For those of you unfamiliar with Canadian or Albertan politics, the current government in Alberta is the New Democratic Party, or NDP for short.  They were elected in last year by a majority vote of unprecedented and some would say, epic proportions and their election meant that the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party had been ousted after 40-plus years of power over Alberta.

Like any establishment after such a long reign, it could easily be argued that the PC’s were far too comfortable in Alberta having been able to maintain their political position more than four decades.  Some might even venture to say that they became complacent.  Lackadaisical, even.  I have lived in Alberta for nearly three of those four decades and in that time I have seen the ups and downs of their government.  Some good, a lot of bad, and mostly a lot of in-between.  Like any political party, they relied heavily on contributions from Big Business supporters, in Alberta’s case this is largely oil companies with a lot of clout and financial ability to buy the party which fits their agenda the best.

The trouble is that with such a long-standing relationship between a political party and its Big Oil backers, you lose sight of the ones who are in reality backing both.  The middle class not only votes in the people they feel are best suited to lead their provincial or federal governments, but also consumes the goods produced by Big Business and Big Oil.

Yes, it’s true that the PC Party was great at bringing in business and creating jobs, much of those jobs with the oil companies backing the party.  But ask yourselves this: at what cost?  We were all blinded at the prospect of a booming economy that we lost sight of the fact that the middle class was being stretched far too thin by their support of ridiculously large corporate tax breaks.  Much like an aging elastic band stretched beyond its capacity, it will start to show cracks and eventually break altogether.  Relying on one segment of the voting and tax-paying public to support not only the over-privileged rich and corporations, but also to support the social programs necessary to assist and raise up the lower income classes proved to be too much for most of us.

I believe this collapse primarily among the middle class was the impetus for such a landslide vote for a different party to have their kick at the political can.  After more than four decades ruling this province, the breaks promised to the middle class were rarely, if ever, delivered.  And many of us were far too jaded by then to think much of the small pittances promised regardless.

Worse, when then-premier Jim Prentice realised he’d lost the vote to continue, his outgoing speech was nothing less than childish and immature.  He pouted and walked off stage without so much as the grace to wish the incoming premier, NDP Rachel Notley, luck in her new endeavour in leading our province.

To many, this was classic Progressive Conservatism – they didn’t get their way and like any bully, they were unaccustomed to being shot down.

Now, this is not to say that I am naïve enough to think that the NDP (or Liberal, or any other) Party would have behaved any differently had the same thing happened to them had they been privileged enough to have retained power for that length of time.  What I am saying is that the game has changed and if you want to stay in it, you have to adapt to new rules and parameters.  The Old Boys who voted you in four decades ago are now dying off, figuratively and literally.  Your voters are younger but not necessarily less informed.  What’s more, they want different things than their parents and grandparents.

Further, regardless of who won the election, there would still be the same messes to clean up after having the same party in for the last four decades.  If we are, as we all claim to be, open-minded and progressive, should we not then by definition have the grace to allow the current government some time to get their footing and to deliver on their promises which got them elected?  Isn’t that the democratic process?  And yet, as soon as the NDP gained the provincial seat, the naysayers were already at it – claiming that things were better when the PC’s were running the show.

Remember, the older we are, the faster we used to run.  Sometimes you have to embrace change, if you want actual change to occur.

Besides, if you wanted so badly for the PC’s to stay in power, why didn’t you vote them back in when you had the chance?

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Black Friday versus White Christmas

As we all speed toward Christmas and the end of yet another year, it is easy to become mired down in the stresses placed upon ourselves and those which trickle down from outside sources such as work and general day to day life. It is evident that for some, Christmas is a competition. We seemingly have to put up the best house decorations or at least better than we did the year before. Parents often seem to want to outdo themselves by going bigger and better with respect to buying gifts for their children, thus perpetuating Christmas as a materialistic and wholly monetary holiday (and setting a dangerous example for their children in the process), trivialised to the same degree as Valentine’s Day or Halloween, both of which also lost their true meanings decades ago.

Every single Christmas story we have ever heard attempts to teach us that the love and joy of Christmas should follow us throughout the year. It’s also a time to pay special remembrance to those we have lost, and to find comfort and gratitude for those we still have with us.

Yet, with Black Friday it’s a mad rush to the malls, shopping centres and online shopping sites as we all attempt to find the most bang for our bucks as we descend upon Christmas as if it was a finish line, rather than a new beginning.

I offer the following suggestions to help ease your self-imposed obligations and financial commitments:

Dare I say it aloud, each year my own Christmas list gets smaller. Before you start calling me ‘Scrooge’ or ‘Grinch’ (both of whom, I remind you, were redeemed at the ends of their respective tales), let me clarify that this is not out of dwindling numbers of family and friends, but more of an understanding that the people in my life are fortunate enough to have every material item they could possibly need, without me adding to the pile of unused or unwanted items which are likely to cost the recipients more time and aggravation in having to return the things I bought for them, in exchange for something more suited to their tastes.

The majority of my friends and I have agreed that we would rather go out for drinks, dinners or movies with each other instead of buying gifts since many of us aren’t able to spend enough time together as it is.

Gift cards are also a great option because it gives the receivers a chance to buy something they have likely been saving for themselves. What could be better than giving your friend or family member a little help in the direction they were going to go anyway?  With the advent of technology, many stores offer online gift cards which can be used for in-store or online purchases, thus saving you and your recipient time which might otherwise be spent traversing shopping centres.

Gifts also need not be expensive, but they should be thoughtful. I recently saw a video online of a girl receiving a long-lost teddy bear from her boyfriend. He obviously spent more time than money finding the bear, but the joy of being reunited with her erstwhile friend was immeasurable and demonstrated the boyfriend’s affection for his girlfriend in a most poignant and meaningful way.

I also favour tributary gifts such as donations to a charity in the name of the person for whom I might otherwise purchase a gift. Giving to a cause someone else cares about shows your support of their own giving natures. Oftentimes, these charities will send not only a notification to the recipient that a donation has been made in their name, but they’ll also receive a token item illustrating the gift as in the case of World Wildlife Fund’s animal adoption kits. These can generally be purchased online and you can arrange for the notification and gift to be sent directly to the recipient, leaving you more time to relax at home with the ones you love, saving you time, stress and hopefully some money along the way. Particularly with children, tributary gifts are a great way of teaching kids how to empathise and care for the world which they will inherit from us.

And so I would pitch to you the theme that is perpetuated in every single Christmas lesson we’ve ever heard: To spend time, not money, on those who are dear to you. To be thankful and appreciative of what you already have, and to remember those who have passed from your lives but not your hearts. And to ALWAYS remember that love transcends ALL imagined boundaries of race, religion and species.

Merry Christmas.

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Taber Havering.

Taber Corn Sign. Believe it or not, this is an upgrade from the old signs.

Taber Corn Sign.
Believe it or not, this is an upgrade from the old signs.

Recently the Town of Taber, Alberta, came under fire for their bylaw which would ban, among other things, swearing in public and spitting. There’s also mention of a curfew for kids and teenagers between the hours of 11 PM and 6 AM.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/taber-bylaw-bans-public-swearing-spitting-and-yelling-in-alberta-town-1.2988992

Predictably, there’s also been a lot of backlash from people spewing forth words like, “Unconstitutional!”

There may be some merit to this argument but one also has to wonder what prompted the enactment of this bylaw in the first place. Truth be told, the bylaw has likely always been in effect, but rarely enforced, as it is in most Canadian towns and cities.

Which leads us to believe that perhaps the problem has recently become so epidemic that the Town of Taber decided to actually start enforcing this bylaw. And what, pray tell, might have precipitated that decision?

I work in downtown Edmonton where it seems to be perfectly acceptable to some to spit on our sidewalks. Most of the perpetrators are males who seemingly have such an abundance of saliva in their mouths that they feel a need to share it with the rest of us. I wish I could tell you this sort of thing happens only out of doors, but sadly, it does not. I have seen them do it inside the shopping centres and parkades as well. However, not one of them has considered that perhaps I would prefer not to have to walk behind or unwittingly through their gobs of spit on the ground. I also wonder what their own homes look like. And I would also prefer not to have to consider waterproof footwear just to accommodate my walk to my workplace every day. Since I happen to love my beautiful city, I would also prefer that people don’t spit (or worse) on it.

As for swearing…there is a time and place for everything. Perhaps sitting on a bus in the midst of other commuters swearing pointless and loud profanities in that tight closed space is not the place. Just ask the young man who was recently charged with this “crime” in Edmonton as he decided to spew his verbal diarrhea onto the other passengers.

Again, I wonder what their homes are like – do they randomly spew obscenities while watching TV with their loved ones, do they wake up their children in the middle of the night by yelling loudly at them to ensure they receive their daily dose of obnoxious behaviour? There’s swearing at a hockey game with your like-minded buddies who are equally disappointed and frustrated with the performance of their favourite team, the Calgary Flames. But imagine sitting in a boardroom when your lawyer suddenly shouts a few creative and derogatory oaths in your direction as he’s attempting to explain your legal obligations under an Asset Purchase Agreement.

Obviously, I’m being facetious. But I would wager the town council of Taber has likely received a number of complaints from its residents regarding these issues and it’s likely taken longer than most of us realize for the Town of Taber to begin enforcing these bylaws simply by virtue of the bureaucratic process.

Which is ironic, considering it’s the town’s citizens raising their children who are asking the town council to protect them from themselves. Maybe if those same parents had oh, I don’t know, not raised their children up to be spitting, swearing little brats and instituted their own curfews, perhaps then the Town of Taber could instead busy itself worrying about more critical issues like who was going to keep making those “Taber Corn” signs which pop up on our roadways every summer.

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The Lost Art of Saying No

Saying ‘no’ to anything or anyone in this day and age of widespread materialism and instant gratification is a lost art. And yet, so many of us would be far less stressed and much happier if we could just implement that one little word into our daily vocabulary. It is, after all, one of if not the very first word we learn as children, right behind “mama” and “papa.”

As I write this, I have a specific situation in mind. There are three players in my viewpoint, an aged mother in her 80’s, a daughter in her 50’s and a granddaughter in her 20’s. The 50-something daughter is the heart of the matter in that she is addicted to medications and will take whatever the doctors will give her for her mostly imagined symptoms for mostly imagined and creatively-named illnesses. This person, naturally, has found enablers in her mother and daughter who have been conned into doing everything for her, including cleaning the house in which she spends all day, cooking her food, administering her medications, attending to her errands and obligations, etc. All while the daughter expresses no appreciation at their hard work and sacrifice, and continues to demand even more from them, which so far they have obligingly provided at great cost to themselves and their own families.

One has to think that this person has grown accustomed to having others at her beck and call, and has never learned to appreciate the time and effort it takes to care for herself since she’s never had to do it. Neither, apparently, has she ever been forced to show any gratitude or reciprocated the kindness of others.

And as every intervention will demonstrate, the first part of anyone’s recovery from their addictions or demons, is removing the safety nets of the offenders. Stop saying “Yes,” stop giving them your money and time, stop letting them take everything from you. In other words, force them to survive on their own, and stepping in only when their behaviour shows more positive signs of their own effort to become better people.

I could recite countless other situations my friends and acquaintances have shared with me, detailing their frustrations at being taken advantage of by ingrates and reprobates.
All the while, I can’t help but think if these people had set a precedent at saying ‘No’ earlier on, perhaps the abusers would be stopped in their tracks, or at least their path of emotional destruction would have been impeded.

Naturally, no parent wants to deny their child anything but sometimes there are valuable lessons to be taught and learned by saying no to your children. You teach them that the world will not always bow to their whims, that they shouldn’t expect other people to always give in and that the time of others is something to be appreciated like any other valuable commodity.

In my own experience, learning to say “No” has resulted in only good things. I have managed to eliminate certain draining people from my life because the minute they realised this particular well had run dry, they stopped calling on me (though undoubtedly they went off in search of other victims, and likely found them). In return, my free time was now freed up to spend on things I wanted to do which in turn nurtured my own soul and made me a better and more productive member of my own family, freeing up time and energy better spent on those who truly matter.

Saying ‘no’ will not only save you from doing things you sincerely do not want to do, but will also send a clear message to others that you know how to stand up for yourself and that your time is equally valuable. It’s really that simple. Give it a shot.

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There’s a pill for that.

I do not in any way claim to know all the ins and outs and sideways views of depression. However, I have known several people over the years who also did not know they were at least clinically despressed, so I think that the playing field is sufficiently evened out for me to say what I’m about to say.

There have been several losses of good people this past year, as there are every year. Death is a well-known fact of life, no matter how much we attempt to preserve our youth. One of the ways some people attempt to preserve their youth is to maintain an energetic, youthful persona, while others sometimes go in search of more permanent, more surgical methods. My point is this: it’s perfectly all right to have a bad day. It’s perfectly all right to have things in your life which upset you and cause you either physical or emotional pain. These also are facts of life, but in recent years have become far less well-known. My personal belief is that coping skills are becoming the least known of all the Facts of Life.

We pad our kids’ playgrounds, as an example, and sometimes their clothing to keep them from physical harm, and yet, growing up, skinning my knee once taught me not only that what I had foolishly attempted was not well-calculated, and it made me second-guess my next foolish undertaking in order to avoid other skinned body parts. On the flipside, I was taught the kindness of my parents in their treatment of that skinned knee and in the process, I learned empathy from their example. Not such a bad bargain, all things considered.

But if we continue to protect our children from what’s out there, they will eventually grow up into adults at least in the physical sense, but their coping skills for life’s hiccups and u-turns will be greatly retarded if not altogether non-existent. I see “adults” now who cannot cope with, for instance, the coffee machine being out of order for a day, and they waste the rest of their day from that tiny little upset that morning going around complaining to anyone who’ll sympathise that they were deprived of their daily jolt of caffeine. This breeds problems down the road on an exponential level. If a malfunctioning appliance is all it takes to stop your processes for that day, what will you do when you get blindsided by something more severe on some idle Tuesday? You’ll reach for something, but maybe not what you really need. Ironically, the anti-depressants many reach for will, in fact, cause further depression and suicidal thoughts, among some other unpleasant side effects like cancer and heart stoppages, along with restriction of airways. Either way, you’re going down the rabbit hole.

Many of these adults reach for pills like anti-depressants and what can only be described as snake oil nerve tonics, rather than get right to the heart of the matter and deal with their issue at hand, on their own and without any pharmaceutical assistance whatsoever. Certainly, no one enjoys dealing with the unpleasant aspects of life, but these are still aspects of life and by dealing with them head-on, and not shying away into bottles of pills or booze, we can learn and grow from those experiences, painful though they may be, and our future decisions can be based on what was learned and gained through not only the upsetting experience, but also from the process it took to get past and hopefully resolve the problem, thereby ensuring that we are better equipped for the next round of obstacles life brings.

’cause you know what? Life is full of obstacles. Shocking, I know.

Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies?, Random Crap, self acceptance | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

My own meandering experience.

Dear Readers, those of you who are still with me, I sincerely regret my absence from my own blog of late. I have no explanation other than Life sometimes gets in the way of what you really want to do and so now, after re-reading some posts of other bloggers’, I realize that I, too, must jump back in the fray if I am to do what I really want to do and that is, simply, to write.

On the other hand, the time I have been away has allowed me to make several observations as well as to learn a few things along the way. The following is a potpourri of sorts of these revelations which seem obvious when written down, but were quite eye-opening when they first occurred to me:

Finding Joy and, more importantly, allowing Joy to find You:

I don’t keep a large circle of friends and I will openly admit that I frequently assess and evaluate the need for certain people in my life. Occasionally, these needs fall short and I am forced, for want of a better term, to trim the fat. This isn’t done out of hate for the person I’ve cut adrift, but more for the sake of my own soul. I am tenaciously and sometimes terrifyingly protective of those that I love, including my own soul. If there is someone in my life who no longer promotes a positive element in my life, then my soul is not being nurtured in the way that it must and so, sometimes regrettably, sometimes with great difficulty, a person has to leave. This is obviously a bittersweet process, but a necessary one just the same. The upside is that having made some room in my life, I have opened the door to other people whom I might never have met, and who have filled those holes in my life with their positivity and creativity and lovely souls. I hope I do the same for them.

Value what you have and stop yearning for what you don’t:

We all occasionally fall prey to the Quest for the Material. This could be items such as new furniture, a new TV, a new car, a new outfit, a new Whatever. We all need Things from time to time, but sometimes that quest to obtain becomes all too engrossing. A recent death in our family, of a not-so-close relative, has allowed me to observe that a person can spend their entire lives accumulating but have very little of true value. This person was for all intents and purposes a recluse. This rendered him a decease hoarder with a bunch of people who rarely gave him the time of day during his lifetime now attempting to, well, hoard his hoard. Again, it is not in tribute of the man or his life or his contribution to their family or society in general that they want his stuff. It is simply that they want his stuff. I pray this is not the legacy I leave when I leave this life.

Accept the faults in others as they evidently accept the faults in you:

There are none of us perfect, and far too few of us try. And this is all right. Harkening back to my first revelation above, keep those who nurture your soul with you, warts and all. While they may not be perfect, they do make a positive contribution to your life and clearly mean well. I butt heads occasionally with those closest to me, but they have a permanent place within the House of Lisa. I just hope I don’t screw it up.

Like Minds:

There are those who say opposites attract. Sometimes they do. My own experience has been, however, that like minds open up your mind and soul to things beyond your own reckoning because they give you a starting point, and then open the door to things you may not have considered yourself. Again, try to do the same in return for those lovely souls who share so much in common with your own, for these people are few and far between. Over the past few months, I have met two people in particular who share such similar interests as I, but the collaboration of ideas and creativity which flows through each of us has grown exponentially as a result.

Take note of where you’ve been, to know where you’re going:

My trip to Scotland last year left me with one thing: the visceral need to return. During my first visit, I learned so much about myself simply by observing the people who live in the place from whence my family came, as well as learning about the people who have lived there over the past several hundred years. I saw similar physical characteristics, personality traits and most importantly to me, similar glints in their eyes as we both looked at the same things and had the same reactions to what we saw. We all take this for granted, particularly if we have lived in the same place all our lives. I have had the benefit of living in many different places across North America and I can tell you firsthand that not all senses of humour, for example, are created equal. This is easily explained since certain regions are made up of certain ethnic groups which share a common thread of thinking and perceptions. But what if you’re the outsider looking in? How do you fit in? Can you ever truly fit in? Not being much of a “joiner” myself, I prefer to observe these conditions before making my move, as it were, and so I have learned through this process that there are places where I am meant to belong, and places I am meant to not. I am not personally affronted by this, but it was heartening to be in two places on this planet where I evidently fit in so seamlessly and that is a true comfort I value beyond the measure of any material good which might take its place.

I’ll leave you with these thoughts for now, but I will undoubtedly share similar observations with you in the future. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave your comments and observations of your own. Slainte mhath!

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Reassuring Insurance.

Whaa--?

Whaa–?

Late last November, I was involved in a collision. While neither I nor the other driver were seriously hurt, our vehicles didn’t fare quite so well. I drive a 1989 Can Opener, while the other driver (who failed to look before leaping into my lane, resulting in the collision) was driving a 2009 commercial full-size van. Upon exiting each of our vehicles to inspect the damage, the results were somewhat surprising, or not, depending on your point of view.

Insurance companies and car manufacturers will spend hours attempting to fill your heads with data (from mostly unnamed or obscure sources) that newer vehicles are the way to go. That they’re safer, more efficient and more economical. I beg to differ on a number of different levels.

I have a number of different passions but close to the top of Lisa’s List of Loves, are recycling and my 1989 Can Opener. OK, it’s a Ford Bronco, but you get my meaning. When the other driver collided so rudely with my front passenger fender, my fender was pushed in slightly between the passenger door and fender. While aggravating enough, the damage was not in any way debilitating and I was able to safely and normally drive away to the nearest police station (in an attempt) to file my side of the collision report. Even my signal lights were still intact and working as I changed lanes to do so. The other driver was forced to stay behind because his NEWER, SAFER, and MORE EFFICIENT vehicle’s front driver’s side wheel popped clean off and was laying on its side on the pavement. In addition, part of his plastic bumper and mirror assembly had unsurprisingly cracked and were shattering into tinier pieces as each passing motorist sped by that morning.

So, thus began the process of filing the claim with my insurance company, the filing of police reports, and all the fun all of that entails.

My husband and I maintain each of our vehicles (we have a bit of a collection) in as fine working order as possible, likely better than most other people would considering the vintage of our collection. While it’s true that a lot of people aren’t as diligent or enthusiastic as we are in that respect, I would certainly also not suggest that people don’t take regular care and maintenance of their vehicles either. After all, they, too, must rely on their vehicles to safely transport them and their families in their daily travels. What I’m getting at here is that presumably the commercial vehicle sees regular maintenance as it was part of a fleet of similar vehicles which, in order to serve the company’s customers, must be kept in reasonable working condition to ensure timely deliveries of service to its customers. And so, one must wonder just how long that employee was driving around in that vehicle when its wheel(s) presumably could have popped off at any time just in its normal rounds around our city.

When it came time to obtain an estimate of repair from my insurance company’s “preferred” collision shop, it became almost immediately clear that this process was simply a formality. The repair estimator took one look at my truck, asked me the age and nearly as immediately advised that it was “unlikely” they would be authorised to fix it. This was later confirmed by the insurance adjuster advising that it was simply “too old” a vehicle to “waste the money on.” As I glanced around the parking lot which contained a number of other, NEWER, vehicles awaiting repair, I could not help but wonder what wisdom there was in fixing a NEWER Honda Accord which was so badly damaged that the impact of the collision evidently pushed the motor into the passenger seat of the vehicle. It also did not escape my notice that if the impact had pushed the motor into the passenger area, that the driver must also have sustained severe injuries, or worse. I asked if that vehicle was slated for repairs and was told that yes, in fact, it was.

So, let me get this straight: the insurance company was unwilling to fix my fender which, in reality, likely would have cost no more than $1,000.00 in repairs between pulling out the dent and repainting, but was willing to spend tens of thousands in repairs on a new Honda Accord which was undoubtedly rendered unsafe from frame and body damage, and additional countless of thousands of dollars in insurance coverage on the driver who is likely still recovering from their injuries. O. K.

In the end, and after several persuasive arguments on my part, the insurance company very reluctantly agreed to not only pay me for the loss of my vehicle (a measly $1,500.00 CAD) and waive the $300.00 deductible, as well as let me keep the vehicle in my possession even though they said they were obligated to declare it as ‘salvage’ (meaning it could not be re-registered until it was re-certified roadworthy by the provincial body which governs these things).

In essence, while I have received financial compensation on one end of this transaction, I am effectively being punished for keeping my vehicle out of the landfill by dint of the fact that I must incur further costs in repair and recertification of the vehicle in order to return it safely to the road. While I agree with the wisdom of recertification, in this particular instance, I do not agree it was wholly necessary given the information I have supplied you with above. While everyone is preaching that we should have clean, efficient, vehicles on the road, they are at the same time so quick to write them off and declare them unusable and thus relegating these vehicles to landfills rather than encourage that they be repaired and REUSED. On one side of the coin we all agree that we should save the planet. On the other side, let’s keep filling those landfills and keep creating replacement vehicles instead of re-using the ones we have, thus resulting in further greenhouse emissions from car manufacturing plants, killing our planet quicker than we can replace the cars being written off.

The other issue which confounds me is why, if I were anyone else, I should be forced to buy a new vehicle and incur the added expenses of car loans, additional insurance coverage (required by lenders for new car loans), etc. when I could just as easily repair my still-working and still-roadworthy vehicle. My vehicle, while older, is not as inefficient as you might think. Again, this is thanks to the hard work and maintenance by my conscientious and talented husband. We did, in fact, have a new vehicle once for a few years. Adding insult to the injury of several hundred dollars a month being gleaned from our bank account, that “new” vehicle was in for warranty work every second weekend and in return for our Jeep TJ, we were handed the keys to a Dodge Neon as a loaner till the warranty work was completed. Again…explain to me where the newer vehicles are more efficient and safer and just plain better all around?

Here’s the thing: I don’t need or want a “pretty” vehicle. I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles like seat warmers, GPS navigation systems (anyone ever hear of a map?) or Blu Tooth handsfree telephoning capability. What I need is value for my money. What I like is power. I also like the knowledge that my vehicle is paid for in full with no hovering loans earning interest at a rate higher than my mortgage, while all the while the value of such vehicle is depreciating faster than I can make payments. This system does NOT work, People!

Instead encourage me and my ilk to responsibly maintain my vehicle, to be conscientious enough to ensure that vehicle – whatever it may be, regardless of how pretty it may be deemed – runs as efficiently as possible and, most importantly, that it stays out of the landfills as long as possible. I am not naive enough to believe that vehicles returned as write-offs get fully recycled. I see evidence of this each time I visit an auto parts graveyard with my husband as we search for replacement parts of our own vehicles. Aside from their hulking metal forms taking up space, I see much newer vehicles in there leaking antifreeze, oil and fuel into the land set aside for such institutions, which land is usually situated to a rather nice parcel of farmland, sometimes with a lovely body of water running through it.

So, once again, I am asking you, Insurance Companies, to explain your logic because it completely escapes this wholly rational mind.

Categories: Random Crap, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where have you been?

I don’t often pay attention to the news for the very reasons that the Rob Ford (Mayor of Toronto) scandal has demonstrated. It is often sensationalistic, focusing only on the most ratings worthy “facts,” you get one side of the story and that side may not be based in fact but merely on rumour and conjecture, and it points out things to us which should be readily obvious.

What, you’re all surprised to find out that a politician is corrupt? And a liar, and a roguish, cheating scalawag?

The question you must ask yourselves is not why Rob Ford did what he did, or how he got away with it so long, but rather, where have YOU been all this time? This isn’t the first scandalous thing any politician (or even Rob Ford himself) has done. It will NOT be the last. No, instead you must ask yourselves why YOU continue to be surprised. Why YOU keep electing people like this into office. Why YOU never do background checks on the people you are effectively hiring to work for you (as most employers would do with their new hires). And why YOU never hold those people accountable to the fullest extent of the law and governing legislation. Essentially, why YOU don’t fire their asses.

Accountability is two-fold. As much as Rob Ford must answer for his mistakes, we and others like us in Toronto must also answer for electing him into office, and allowing him to stay. After all, according to the journalists and reporters telling the story, we are all incensed and outraged at Ford’s conduct. Much the same as the people who elected the last four mayors into office in Montreal, the last two of which have had to resign under allegations of corruption. So why is he still in office?

It’s because of YOU.

When Rob Ford denied ever smoking crack (along with the other reprehensible things he’s done which have been documented as far back as 1987 or so), despite the overwhelming evidence against him, people believed him and took him at his word. When he recently admitted that he did, in fact, smoke crack while in a “drunken stupor,” his approval rating shot through the roof.

While I am a firm believer in maintaining that, in all fairness, we must remember that our politicians are subject to the same frailties as ourselves, what then, does it say about each of us not striving to avoid making the same mistakes when we continue to enable a person who is clearly incapable of making sound, rational decisions? Furthermore, he will likely get re-elected as Mayor of Toronto and people will base this on his “honesty” and “candidness” about his demons.

As with Bill Clinton’s ignominious affair with Monica Lewinsky, I care little for Rob Ford’s demons. I care only that they don’t impact his ability to do the job for which he has been elected and entrusted. However, crack being what it is, it is obvious that it will hamper his judgment not only as it relates to his job, but obviously his decision-making skills in all facets of his life. Rather than judge Rob Ford and tut-tut him for being a reprobate, and then piously forgive him for being “human,” we need to look at our own standards of what qualifies a person to do a particular job, and to what standards we will hold them. We should also, and perhaps more importantly consider to what standards we should hold ourselves were it us doing the same job. Perhaps then we might end up with more honest and forthcoming politicians. But I doubt it. Human nature is a fickle thing, after all.

I do not own the rights to this picture.  Copyright unknown.

I do not own the rights to this picture. Copyright unknown.

UPDATE December 4, 2013: See what I mean? http://sports.ca.msn.com/top-stories/rob-ford-to-talk-nfl-on-washington-radio-station-1

Categories: Baby Boomers or simply Big Babies?, Random Crap | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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