A 360 degree panoramic photo of my old office at a now defunct Toronto consultancy.  One of my first panoramic photos.

Des Informations, des Idées, et des Opinions Suspectes - rarement mises à jour et de qualité douteuse.


The 2017 Archives

Just look at all of the great stuff that I wrote in 2017

(or move onto the literary gold from 2018 or the gems from 2016)


How the East African Community is harming Canadian children in need.

TLDR; Seriously, my point is that the meager assistance that actually trickles down to those in need is almost completely eclipsed by the money kept by both the for-profits and the non-profits.

Young girl from northern Canada holding up an I Need Milk sign
...but what I actually want are some delicious diabetes guidelines!

The CBC article title is: "Charities, resellers feeling the pinch of stiffer tariffs on cheap second-hand clothing flooding East Africa" (read it online or read the PDF)

I'm having some trouble understanding who's feeling the pinch?

Ah. I see. We are. Those bloody Africans are causing Canadian "charities and businesses to feel the strain" which has "already started to impact the industry and started some job losses" .

You see, whether it's a good idea or not, The East African Community (EAC) made up of Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda - hopes to revive its local textile manufacturing sector and they can't do that with Canada dumping its donated and unwanted clothes on them. So they've introduced tariffs that make second-hand clothes from Canada less palatable (less affordable) to the local African vendors there.

Back here in Canada, non-profit Diabetes Canada "works with" for-profit Value Village, taking donated clothes and selling them to Canadians (no change there) and then taking the excess and selling it to East Africa. The article states that with this new tariff, selling to Africa is getting choked off now and that charities and resellers are ... yup ... feeling the pinch. (cue the violins)

A quick Internet search suggests that around 10% of Value Village's profits go to charity. Let's do a little basic math with that. If Value Village takes in 10 million dollars of revenue per year, and creatively spends 80% of that on the operations (labour, advertising, administration, executive compensation, etc.) of its business and leaving it with 2 million dollars of pure profit, it will then remit a total of 200,000 dollars to charities, charities which will then themselves have operations costs of their own to manage the inflow and outflow of that $200k.

And because we are talking about charity and I'm a charitable guy, I'll go so far as to say something ludicrous - that the charities like Diabetes Canada will take only a mere half of that $200k for their operations and actually let the other half, the $100k, trickle down to the needy ... who are ... let's see ... the "11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes", and that the benefit will be in the form of "programs, education, guidelines, advocacy, and research". (and I took that verbatim right from their wiki propaganda page)

When I think of someone needy, I think of a single elderly person in Toronto who has no family and relies solely on CPP and OAS to get by, or a child in Nunavut (yes, just because it's far doesn't mean it's not in Canada) who doesn't have clean water and whose parents can't afford fresh produce. Or a homeless person too mentally ill to be able to seek out help or even express their condition in an effective way so that they can get help. Or just your classic, hungry addict who is compelled to spend everything they have on booze or drugs, and so has no money left for food or clothes or shelter.

But even as I acknowledge the existence of the Canadians-in-need, it is with complete peace of mind that I drop off to sleep each night, secure in the knowledge that the needy in Canada - instead of food, shelter, hope or solace, at least have access to diabetes guidelines and advocacy!

Fuck You, Mr. Lahey

Despite the title, I mourn truly the passing of one of my favourite Trailer Park Boys.

John Dunsworth, Mr. Lahey on Trailer Park Boys, dead at 71 

I'll really miss his shitisms.

A Great Trick

The next time you enter a restaurant, choose a random stranger of your preference.

When you catch their eye, maintain eye contact for a while, look away, and act like nothing happened.

After a while, do so again, this time keeping contact for a longer period.

The stranger will most likely start paying more attention to you, but act normally.

Keep this up for a while, before walking up to them.

Greet, and ask them to close their eyes and picture a playing card.

Now, when they are doing this, eat as much of their food as you can and run away.

People are weirdly willing to obey instructions when they think it’s for a magic trick! :)

Escaping North Korea

It's very difficult to watch Yeonmi Park recount the incredible story of her life so far, both in North Korea and after escaping to China.

She certainly makes me feel more grateful for everything I have, feel helpless to do anything to help her and those like her, yet still she makes me feel like I have to do something, no matter how small, and perhaps my small contribution combined with everyone else's can result in some change.

But what? Today's culture feels that posting, re-posting, sharing, and tweeting bits of media, or dumping buckets of water on each other's heads somehow shows solidarity and therefore obviates the need to actually do something useful to effect change. Sure I'm going to do all that tweeting bullshit as well. but what is something useful that I can actually do? I'm not sure yet.

The Crystal Ball

A handy little chart from the smelly folks at the Pew Research Center

Use this handy chart to plot and plan your entire future, everything from the job you'll have, to the career you're shooting for, to whether or not you'll buy or rent your home. The answers are all here in this deceptively simple chart!

The Beer Store

Two years worth of bottles. Riiiight....

My son and I are returning a couple of weeks' worth of my wine and liquor bottles to the beer store for refund. (That's how you do it in Ontario.) The clerk and I are remarking at how diligent he is as he brings the bottles in and puts them on the conveyor. I explain that he's interested because he gets to keep the money.

The clerk says, "Oh, did he go around the neighbourhood collecting bottles then?"

Long pause. "Uh no, they're just my bottles."


See the newer gold from 2018 or the literary classics from 2016

This background is: skulls.jpg. It has an average lumosity of: 192.4 and came from: subtlepatterns.com
Maybe read No Big Deal, a story I consider to be the very best thing I ever wrote.