Positive and negative

Posted on August 4, 2008
Filed Under Commentary | 2 Comments

Usually I try to accentuate the positive but occasionally I enjoy saving up and venting some pet peeves and observed stupidities.

Here are a few I’ve piled up.

Air Canada sale price ads: The airline runs newspaper ads offering attractive rates from Maritime destinations to various parts of the country and the world.

However, there are little asterisks and footnotes that inform you that the advertised prices do not include taxes, airport fees or fuel surcharges!

In other words, the price is not the price. It is a part of the price.

The number may be interesting to the airline but it is of no use whatsoever to the potential traveler.

There can be only two reasons why the airline persists in running these ads. One is to fool me. The other is to annoy me.

Neither generates a positive view of the company.

Another Air Canada irritant is their survey of people who have flown with them.

The survey delves in detail into the passenger’s experience with the airport staff, the flight attendants and all aspects of the actual flight.

My experience with the airline staff on the ground and in the air has been good although there is an air of sadness about them that did not used to be common.

The airline management irritates and infuriates me. They don’t ask about that.

Why are there no questions about how I feel about the idea of paying for pathetic sandwiches, guessing whether the price will include my luggage and fuel surcharges?

It is not the airline and airport staffs who most often irritate me. It is the management.

And Government

The federal government is going out of its way to irritate me too.

It has announced how its “Do not call” list for telemarketers is going to work.

There will be exemptions.

Charities will be exempt.

Opinion surveyors will be exempt.

Companies with which you have done business in the past 18 months will be exempt.

Newspapers calling to sell subscriptions will be exempt. (???)

Political parties soliciting donations will be exempt. Surprise, surprise!

Frankly, I don’t see why any of these organizations should be exempt.

What is most irritating is that I see no need or reason for it to be up to the government who is exempt.

It would be so easy and so proper to establish these categories and allow each household to tick the categories it wished to allow to call.

How did the right to call me get to be the government’s choice?

And blocked caller ID

Another irritant is callers who block caller ID.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution to that one. We don’t answer if we don’t know who is calling.

People who have a legitimate reason to reach us leave a message. Telemarketers do not.

Smaller peeves

Why is that the pull handles on every plastic garbage pail are on the wrong side? How much field-testing would it have taken to learn that container is at a much more balanced angle if it is on the opposite side to the wheels?

It should not take genius or innovation. Wheelbarrows work on that principle and have been around for quite awhile now.

Why hasn’t any manufacturer realized that yet and modified the design?

I fear I know the answer to my next question about garbage containers.

Why is it that the tops are not tethered to the bottoms? How many bottoms are discarded each year because tops have blown away and people have replaced the entire containers?

Being a slow, thick, learner, it took me awhile (several years and lost tops) to figure out a solution.

I drilled a hole through bottom and top where the lip of the top fits over the rim of the bottom. I strung about a meter and a half of rope through the holes and tied a knot in each end.

Now the lids are tethered to the bottoms. Even if both blow away, they don’t get far before they snag on something.

We could call it “The Defiant Ones” solution.


Would it be cynical of me to suspect the reason such a modification does not come with the containers is that it would reduce annual sales?

Hot under the hat

I will be the first to admit that, as a whale of person, I perspire easily. Nevertheless, I believe many lesser golfers perspire copiously on the hot, humid days. Notice how “whale of a person” and “lesser golfers” are terms ambiguous enough to make it possible I am a great guy and an above average golfer? Deliberate deceit. I’m whale size. The only way golfers are lesser is by being thinner.

Still, why is it that many golf visors have terry sweatbands built in and golf hats do not? Visors are not a good option for those of us whose scalp hair has moved to the suburbs.

How easy and sensible it would be to have a strip of Velcro around the inside of a hat band and a sweatband backed with Velcro to fasten on to it.

The band could be regularly stripped out and tossed in the sock bag in the washing machine. Manufacturers could even sell spare bands.

One might think it would make the hat look ridiculously big. I don’t think so. There are winter hats with turn-down ear lugs so there should be room for a sweat band in a summer hat.

I guess the sporting goods industry spends all its on style and marketing and has none left for practical design or manufacture.

Legere and Bernardo

When Allan Legere went to prison for torturing five and murdering four people while escaped from prison having been already convicted of torture and murder, many Miramichiers felt he someday would get out again.

People who have known him and of him for much of his life and theirs know of events that would not be in his record and know how normal and rational he can appear. I used to get calls from victims who did not dare identify themselves or go to police.

It is unfortunate for Legere as well as his victims and the rest of us that he was a monster. If he could be fixed, we would never believe it enough to ever give him any room to move at all.

It is the same with Paul Bernardo who tortured, raped and killed teenage girls.

What angers me at this stage is the civil rights these two still have.

Laws governing defamation and privacy have changed too much in my time. It used to be that, if you called a man a liar and a thief and proved he was a thief, he could win a defamation case against you for calling him a liar.

The law presumed that, if he was a proven thief, he had no reputation left to damage by calling him a liar

Federal convicts did not have much right to privacy except that their communications with their legal counsel was protected.

During the recent controversy about the possibility of easing the conditions of Legere’s imprisonment, the media were told Corrections Canada could not discuss the matter because of his privacy rights.

At a newspaper seminar in May, one Canada’s leading defamation lawyers told me it is now possible that Paul Bernardo could win a suit for defamation.

We do not have the right to know what the state is doing with Allan Legere? You cannot call Paul Bernardo a thief, if you cannot prove it, because that would damage his reputation?

Oh, and incidentally, did you know that convicts like Legere and Bernardo had the right to vote in federal elections before judges did?

What, us worry? Whatever for!?



2 Responses to “Positive and negative”

  1. Tim K. on August 4th, 2008 7:40 pm

    There are very few places that I visit online, this blog is one of them. So, where in the hell have you’ve been? No wait, I’m almost afraid to ask!
    Another place I visit is Seth’s Blog. I think this guy is very interesting. It just so happens he was complaining about the exact same treatment from Air Canada.


    Another place I visit that I thought might interest you;


    Hopefully this doesn’t take any traffic away from your site! I just thought you might relate to these two individuals as I have.

    A final note, when I was visiting a friend he showed me this site. You are probably well aware of it but I wasn’t. I loved this “talk” . . .


    Anyways, keep up the good work. Let me know if you want any photo submissions from your readers.
    In one day I saw a bald eagle, red fox, a doe and two fawns. No pictures of course, but how many places in world can you see such stuff in your own back yard? The Miramichi is a special place indeed! Thanks, Tim

  2. admin on August 5th, 2008 4:06 pm

    Sorry Tim:
    I have some great excuses but, if it is honesty you want, it mainly comes down to laziness inspired by summer.
    The recent pieces were inspired by a series of rainy days.
    I will try to do better.
    I would appreciate photo submissions from volunteers but, as you can see, I am having a devil of a time trying to lay out my photos with this program. It just isn’t built to do that in a way that doesn’t make me want to puke.
    Webmaster Colin Casey has been wrestling with that when he gets a minute to spare.
    We are looking at new templates too.
    Thanks again!

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