Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sticks, stones, and pork chops

I was one of the lucky ones. I got through childhood and adolescence without being bullied.

For others, the school corridors, classrooms, lunchrooms, and gymnasiums were battlegrounds, and they bear the deep scars for life. Sometimes the wounds never completely heal.

This animated video says it better than I can. Thanks to Milton in Stratford, Ontario, for sending it along.

Can't view the video? Click here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My cyberwar

Information pours into our day in a torrent.

How do we manage it?

You need a screening system. Here's mine:
1. Have heard too much about it already. (e.g. fiscal cliff, gangnam style, horse meat, gas prices, Blackberry, Rob Ford.)

2. Have heard of it, but don't give a shit about it. (e.g. A-Rod's problems, Tiger Woods' problems, Randy Quaid's problems, Chinese hackers penetrating Washington's computers, latest rapper with weird name shot while driving expensive sports car, asteroid that missed earth by 17,000 miles, Justin Bieber.)

3. Have never heard of it and don't want to. (Self explanatory.)

4. You again? (e.g. Lawyer for deceased billionaire with news that I am in the will, notice that I have won sweepstakes I have never entered, Nigerian student wanting me to pay his college tuition and/or sponsor his immigration to Canada, Nebraska woman who has discovered miracle remedy unknown to medical science, warning that bad luck will befall me if I do not send an attached "miraculous and sacred" image to at least 20 people within 13 days.)
 Pass this on to seven people and you will receive a "substantial, unexpected financial reward" within a week.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Finding Vivian Maier

I found this intriguing video on Pamela Patchet's wonderful blog, A Novel Woman.

While Vivian Maier appears to have been an extreme example, many talented people hide their creativity from the world, while others with few such gifts push themselves forward and often find wealth and fame.

Some might say that this reticence is due to a lack of confidence or drive, or a belief that the work is not deserving of public scrutiny, or that it is not art at all.

I surmise that, for some, the creative process is driven solely by personal fulfillment, with no need to share the result. For those artists, the creative act itself provides sufficient rewards, and the approval of others is superfluous.

Can't view the video? Click here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pride in the job #1

Source: theCHIVE

Friday, February 22, 2013

Things I learned this week

• Why do we often forget the reason we went into a room? Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an event boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale. [Source: Reader's Digest]

• Apparently office workers are healthier, and have more energy, when they stand at their desks.

• Women represent 22% of those arrested for serious crimes in the United States, but women are just 10% of those convicted and 5% of those imprisoned. Only 12 women have been executed in the United States since 1976, compared to 1,308 men. The difference can not be entirely explained by men's greater propensity for violence. One theory postulates that the criminal justice system is predisposed to see women as incapable of violent acts and, if caught, not responsible for those acts. [Source: The New Yorker].

• Setting a precedent, a Canadian federal court decision states that employers must accommodate reasonable childcare-related requests from their employees. The case revolved around a woman's request for changes in her work shifts to accommodate her childcare responsibilities. Some believe that the new standard will discourage the hiring of women of childbearing age.

• According to the Stress in America study released last week, those in the 18-33 and 34-47 age groups, so-called Millennials and Generation X, are the most stressed-out generations.

• Washington has cleared the first burial of a same-sex spouse of a veteran in a national cemetery,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

GeezerOnline is four

On February 21, 2009, I launched this blog, with no expectations that it would still be around four years later.

Thanks to all who tune in regularly to see what's resonating in the space between my ears. Special thanks to those who give me the occasional day off by sending along interesting items, and to those who offer comments.

I hope you'll all travel with me a bit further down the road.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A curious tale

"I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

But they were not curious where they, the Easter Islanders and all of the explorers, tourists, and archeologists who looked and saw only heads?

And now we know, after hundreds of years, that there are bodies attached to those heads.

Someone finally got curious.

Project director Jo Anne Van Tilburg and her team excavated and exposed the torsos of 7-metre tall statues, astonishing the world.

More in this video.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy feet

I found this on Martha's blog, Plowing Through Life. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face if you're feeling blue. Maybe the White House should appoint this guy as a roaming ambassador to trouble spots.

Can't view video? Click here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Cats rule

Cleo, our cat, prefers our dog Charlie's bed, so he has to wedge himself into hers.

He looks a bit chagrined, don't you think?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Boosting your bag

[Thanks to Suzanne from Nova Scotia for sending this along.]

Can't view the video? Click here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The good, the bad, and the fracked

Here's something that hasn't received much attention in the mainstream media, but which may have a big impact on things going forward.

The U.S. appears to be on its way to energy independence.

Yes, American producers are pumping record amounts of oil, and large natural gas reserves have been opened up, thanks to the (controversial) technology of fracking, which enables access to reserves previously trapped in reservoir rock formations

While, it's always impossible to see all of the implications of this kind of development (remember the peace dividend?), we may see cheaper oil, effectively giving consumers a pay increase and spurring economic growth.

Lower transportation costs would boost profits for many businesses, and reduce the costs of maintaining America's military.

There might also be less need for foreign military bases and wars to protect middle eastern sources of petroleum, permitting a downsizing of U.S. armed forces.

All of this generates more U.S. tax revenue and frees up more of it for deficit and debt reduction, and spending on social programs.

The downside? Less urgency to move to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, and to design more fuel efficient cars. That would mean more greenhouse gases and the associated acceleration of climate change.

Canadian oil producers may need to look farther afield for customers too, torquing the pressure to build pipelines from the Alberta oil sands to ocean ports.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A glacier calves

[Thanks to Elaine of Venice, Florida, for sending this along.]

It took 100 years for this Greenland glacier to retreat eight miles, and then just 10 years to retreat another nine miles. View it in full-screen to get the best effect.

Can't view the video? Click here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Healthcare? There's an app for that

[Thanks to Mary-Martha for sending this along.]

It's clear that our healthcare system has plenty of problems, including inadequate capacity to handle an aging population and costs that are skyrocketing beyond affordability.

This doctor thinks your smartphone may be a big part of the solution.


Monday, February 11, 2013

So there!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Signs of the times

• During a renovation, a Florida bank accidentally destroyed 28 safe deposit boxes containing customers' important documents, securities, etc. One SunTrust customer lost $120,000 in savings bonds.

Emooter measures the the happiness of an organization's employees by regularly asking them how they're feeling.

• Peel Region of Ontario, where I live, is comprised of people having more than 200 different ethnic origins and speaking more than 70 native languages. Amazing, and we all get along pretty well. [Source: Fair Share Task Force]

• It turns out that, contrary to a Washington Post story, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is not proposing the creation of a national Wi-Fi network that would enable people almost anywhere in the country to make phone calls and access the web without charge.

• A group of survivalists want to build a giant stone-walled fortress for 7,000 families in Idaho. It would have its own firearms factory, and residents would be required to own weapons for defence of the compound.

Canned air is now for sale in China.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Before fast food

[This came my way recently. It describes the world in which I grew up, and maybe it will resonate with some of you. I have added a few of my own recollections in italics.]

A young guy asked the other day, "What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?"

"We didn't have fast food when I was growing up," I informed him. "All the food was slow."

"C'mon, seriously," he said. "Where did you eat?"

"It was a place called home,'' I explained!

"Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the kitchen table, and if I didn't like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it."

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn't tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood if I figured his system could have handled it.

Some parents never owned their own house, never wore Levis, never set foot on a golf course, never travelled out of the country, or had a credit card.

My parents never drove me to soccer practice [or any other kind of practice]. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. [We called it football. Our one-room country school's entire array of sports equipment consisted of a soccer ball, a baseball bat, and a couple of softballs. It was all we needed, and we had fun.]

I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds, and had only one speed.

We didn't have a television in our house until I was 15. [It was considered a big purchase at the time. In fact, I remember that the TV store guy brought three big "console" sets over (Philco, Admiral, and Sylvania) and left them all at our house for a week so we could try them out. I am not making this up!]

It was, of course, black and white, and the station went off the air at midnight, after playing the national anthem. [Unless you could tune in one of the American channels, there was no "daytime TV," just the "Indian head" test pattern. TV viewing was something you did in the evening, when the chores were done and the dishes were washed, by hand.]

Pizzas were not delivered to homes, but milk was. [I had never tasted pizza before I went off to university.] When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It's still the best pizza I ever had.

As a teenager, I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the kitchen and it was on a party line. Before you could crank to ring "central," who was a lady on a switch board in town, you had to listen and make sure some people weren't already using the line.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least, they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or anything offensive.

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren

Just don't blame me if they bust a gut laughing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A blanket warms a life

[Thanks to Grasshopper of Venice, Florida, for sending this along.]

[Can't view the video? Click here.]

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bad news from the country house

[Thanks to Libby in Caledon, Ontario, for sending this along. Author unknown.]

At dawn the telephone rings.

"Hello Señor Bob? This is Ernesto, the caretaker at your country house."

"Ah yes, Ernesto. What can I do for you? Is there a problem?"

"Um, I am just calling to advise you, Señor Bob, that your parrot, he is dead."

"My parrot? Dead? The one that won the International competition?"

"Si, Señor that's the one."

"Damn! That's a pity! I spent a small fortune on that bird. What did he die from?"

"From eating the rotten meat, Señor Bob."

"Rotten meat? Who the hell fed him rotten meat?"

"Nobody, Señor. He ate the meat of the dead horse."

"Dead horse? What dead horse?"

"The thoroughbred, Señor Bob."

"My prize thoroughbred is dead?"

"Yes, Señor Bob, he died from all that work pulling the water cart."

"Are you insane? What water cart?"

"The one we used to put out the fire Señor."

"Good Lord! What fire are you talking about, man?"

"The one at your house, Señor! A candle fell and the curtains caught on fire."

"What the hell? Are you saying that my mansion is destroyed because of a candle?"

"Yes, Señor Bob."

"But there's electricity at the house! What was the candle for?"

"For the funeral Señor Bob."


"Your wife's, Señor Bob. She showed up very late one night and I thought she was a thief, so I hit her with your new Ping G15 204g titanium head golf club with the TFC 149D graphite shaft."


[Long Silence].........

[Very long silence]............

"Ernesto, if you broke that driver, you're in deep shit."

Monday, February 4, 2013

Express lane

[Thanks to Fred in Toronto for sending this along.]

Late for breakfast? Take the slide.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A tune or two

Thanks to Jim in Vancouver for sending along this great video of his mother celebrating her 97th birthday with a few tunes on the piano.

Music brings such joy, doesn't it? As I told Jim, Grandma Clark reminds me of my own mother who, at the age of 100, would go down to the common room at her retirement home to play the piano for "the old folks" (her words).

Can't view the video? Click here.