Tag Archives: attitude

The Truth in Advertising

“WE SELL STEEPED TEA!” They make this sound as if it’s something special. Steeping is simply the process in which you turn water into tea. (Now if they could turn that water into wine . . .)  Or the commercial about how they sell beef that has been ‘grass fed’. What do you think they’ve been eating?

Advertisers understand that if you say something loud enough and with enough enthusiasm you can get a lot of people excited about it. Even if they don’t know what it is. And who can remember the jingles from your childhood about food? I remember more than I like to admit to. It’s the jingles that get people excited. And excited people buy stuff.  There are some truly amazing commercials out there that are touching and poignant and memorable. The polar bears, the Clydesdale horses, the puppy dog lost in the rain. You don’t forget these commercials.

“POP-A-MATIC POP A DICE!  POP A SIX AND YOU MOVE TWICE! I don’t remember the game but I can’t stop thinking about the jingle. Or how about:  “MY BOLOGNA HAS A FIRST NAME . . .” That’s how I learn to spell bologna!  I don’t hear many jingles anymore, at least not memorable ones. Commercials nowadays seem to be loud and annoying. And like so many people, I tape everything so I can fast forward through the commercials. I remember when I enjoyed the commercials, I was curious and entertained. But maybe the world has changed and it’s not quite so kind anymore.

I understand the job of an advertiser is to sell things. Hopefully in ways that are not illegal, immoral or unethical. That doesn’t say anything about telling the truth. But one can lie without actually doing so. It’s called obfuscation. I like this one a lot. Let me give you an example. A friend goes to a high price hairdresser to have her haircut for the first time. She spends 30 minutes in consultation before the scissors are even approached. Two hours later she comes out and is absolutely thrilled with her new do! And she asks you the inevitable… “What do you think?” Now do you tell her the truth: that her hair looks like it’s been cut by an eight-year-old on crack cocaine who has a twitching problem? Or do you obfuscate? “Wow”!  That could be a good wow or a could be an OMG wow. She’s not gonna know. Then you could say something like: “That’s a new look for you!” It’s all in the delivery and you have to sell it. This woman is happy with her hair, why would I want to change that. It may not be my taste but I’m not the important one here, she is.

To advertisers the buyers are not the important ones.  The clients that are selling the product, they are the ones that matter. They are the ones signing the cheques. So, we have that old adage: BUYER BEWARE! And that warning seems to apply to everything these days. Don’t take anything at face value and assume somebody’s trying to get something from you. What does that say about us?

 

A Message in a Bottle

Have you ever stood at the edge of an ocean, stuffed a heartfelt message into a bottle, corked it and thrown it into the waves? No, I haven’t either.  I wanted to but I didn’t have the courage to throw my words into the great unknown… What if no one answered? How many people have ever found a bottle with a message inside, let alone answered it? Probably not many. But isn’t that what we do now every day on the Internet.

In February 2013 I did just that. I tossed my words into the ether and wondered if anyone would answer. Four people did. Those four people gave me the courage to do it again. As I look back at the faces of the people that gave me ‘likes’ in those days, I’m recognizing familiar faces. Some people have been with me from the very beginning and now I think of them as my Internet Family. All because I had the courage to throw my bottle into the wind.

Every day that we leave our homes we are throwing ourselves on the mercy of the world. And that is terrifying. We have our routines and our safe places where we are comfortable but inevitably someone new or some new activity throws a wrench into our very comfortable existence. And that forces us to adapt, to accommodate and to change. I have always said that I don’t like change. And yet I kinda do. I like to be challenged and that usually involves change. Change for the sake of change is unsustainable but change to adapt or to improve can be exciting.

These past two years have forced us to re-evaluate our lives and the manner in which we live them. It is difficult to say how some good has come from this horrible time but I believe it has. We are learning about ourselves and we are learning about each other. It is my hope, my fervent hope that we will gain understanding from these horrific experiences and grow.

I have learned that I enjoy my hermit mode and that, while comfortable right now, will have to change when we can once again live fully. I think perhaps it is just my way of protecting myself from acknowledging the loss of the outdoors. The loss of restaurants and meeting places. I am sure that I will slide easily back into my old life when it is once more secure to live it. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to enjoy myself inside my safe place!

 

The image is from:  Vecteezy.com

Culture of Ignorance

We live in a culture that does not want to know. We want food to arrive on our tables and programs to arrive in our TV but we don’t want to know how. Why? Because it’s not always pleasant to hear about how the animals are slaughtered or what it truly takes to put on a TV show. We talk about wanting to know the truth but quite frankly, as was once said by Jack Nicholson: We can’t handle the truth! OK that’s not exactly what he said but you get the jest.

We would much rather be entertained by our news than informed. If we are informed then we need to take action and let’s face it we are also a lazy culture. But that’s only part of the world. So much of the world is struggling while we sit back and watch our comedies. I am guilty of this. I find I watch the news less and less because it is depressing and I feel helpless. I want things to get better for everyone and yet I don’t know what I can do. I don’t have an amount of money that I can throw at the issues to correct them and I don’t have any skill set that can make changes. All I can do is offer moral support and when you are hungry from lack of food that’s not good enough. So, I support what agencies I can and hope for the best.

But there is an even more pervasive and destructive ignorance that is far too common:  manners. When I was growing up, I spoke to everyone with respect or I would deal with my parents at home. Not a pleasant thought. I said please and thank you, I said excuse me and when I did something wrong, I owned up to it and I apologized. Does anyone else find these common courtesies are happening less and less?

And I don’t blame the youth for this. I find a lot of them are trying to live up to the standards that we had when we were their age. That’s a good thing. I find older people are becoming less tolerant and more angry. Yes, we have gone through a horrible pandemic, we still are. Nerves are frayed and tempers are short. But isn’t this the time when we need to come together? When we need to stop and think. We’re doing OK. We will make it through this but only together. We need each other. As much as hermits hate the idea of camaraderie and I do hate crowds, we need each other. And that is not a bad thing.

Who are you? Who am I?

Who am I? At this exact moment I’m a writer sitting in front of my computer trying to coax words out of my brain to be formed into some semblance of intelligent thought. How am I doing so far? In a little while I’m going to be ensconced on my balcony with my ear buds in, totally immersed in an audiobook. In the same manner in which I used to lose myself in the pages of a paperback I now am able to lose myself in the voice of an actor performing an intriguing story. Then I will be a reader.

When I was working, I had a persona that I would put on every morning. Professional, calm and focused. I had a job to do. And for the most part I did it very well. I don’t want to brag and say I was perfect because, well, you know, that is so not me. Perfection is something to aspire to, not brag about.

I consider myself an accomplished and confident woman. I wasn’t always. And I still have those moments when I’m not. As a child I was terrified of everything. I had no self-confidence, I thought I was ugly and stupid. Maybe all children go through that phase. And how sad it is. But I was none of those things, I just didn’t know it. I didn’t know who I was or who I could be but over the many years I learned. I read about people I admired, I read about situations that I might one day be in and how to handle them. I would go to parties with pertinent topics to speak about intelligently because I had done the research, just in case somebody asked. I made me who I am today.

But I didn’t do it alone. Family and friends helped to mould me, to support me. Teachers and schoolmates, strangers on the street helped make me who I am today. Every interaction I’ve ever had with someone has left a mark as I have left a mark on them. Hopefully a positive one. But everything we do has consequences. If you smile at a stranger then perhaps they will smile at another stranger and the domino effect is born. Heady stuff I know but we are all interconnected. And that makes us all brothers and sisters.

Some days I am brilliant but some days I’m also that small child that was terrified of the air.  And at my core?  I still believe in who I am, right now.

 

Employment Opportunities

I thought to be an axe murderer,

But I didn’t have an axe.

It really is a messy job,

And I am far too lax.

 

Bankers work with money,

Billions I am told.

But money’s such a dirty thing,

I think that I will fold.

 

Doctors, lawyers are in need,

But their schooling last so long!

It does not fit my rules of life,

Though some will think I’m wrong.

 

A writer’s life is full of wit,

And angst, to tell the truth.

The boundaries they do not exist!

When creating words forsooth!

 

To sit with paper, pen in hand.

It sounds a wonderful gift.

Perhaps I’ll try my hand at that,

And see where I do drift…

Midnight Snack

On the way to the kitchen,

I felt a pang of despair.

The shopping wasn’t done,

The food wasn’t there!

 

The growling continued,

It was really quite loud.

I was worried the neighbours,

Would think it’s a crowd!

 

The fridge was near empty,

And the cupboards were too.

A box of dog biscuits,

Add an egg that was blue?

 

An emergency in the making,

Is this 2 AM tryst.

I really am hungry,

My dinner I missed!

 

My eyes are growing sleepy,

My hunger can wait.

I must put my head down,

For an hour or eight.

 

I’ll have dreams of some bacon,

Some eggs and some toast.

My mind will be satiated,

With eating engrossed.

 

Then in just a few hours,

I shall be replete.

My hunger assuaged,

The crisis complete.

 

 

The item above is a picture of Monkey Bread. It is a wonderful, sweet, delectable 2 AM snack. And I speak from experience.

Monkey Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/2cup granulated sugar
  • 1teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2cans (16.3 oz) refrigerated Biscuits (8 Count)
  • 1/2cup chopped walnuts, if desired
  • 1/2cup raisins, if desired
  • 1cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions

Heat oven according to the biscuit package. Generously grease 1 pan with shortening or cooking spray. In large 1-gallon plastic food storage bag, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Separate dough into 16 biscuits; cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Arrange in pan, adding walnuts and raisins among the biscuit pieces. Sprinkle any remaining sugar over biscuits.

In small bowl, mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces. 

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center. Loosen edges of pan with metal spatula. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Turn upside down onto serving plate; replacing any biscuit pieces and caramel from pan. Pull apart to serve. Serve warm.

 

Perseverance

 

One of the most intriguing attributes of an interesting person, to me anyway, is perseverance. As a species if we had not had this background of grit we would still be in the dark ages. Tenacity, determination, steadfastness. These are all attributes of the people that move this world forward. It’s not about education, it’s not about finances or status, it’s about an unwillingness to make do with mediocrity.

I knew a man with a grade eight education who started his own business and became wildly successful. He had a beautiful family and a beautiful life all because he did not believe it when someone told him ”no”. I have also known people who have been given every opportunity in the world and still never made anything of themselves. When life is too easy there is no incentive to try harder. When life is hard it can be too easy to give in.

When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I was feeling rather sorry for myself. At the time I was using two canes to walk and it was extremely difficult. I spent most my day sitting in a chair looking at a black-and-white TV. (It wasn’t that long ago! It was just a cheap TV.) My mother, never one to mince words, came into my room and crossed her arms. She made a point of saying that I had two choices: I could sit back and be a victim of this horrible disease and wallow in my self-pity or I could get off my back side and make a life for myself through the limitations that I may encounter. Then she looked at her watched, tapped the glass and said you’ve got “15 minutes, go!” Well, I started to laugh and then I actually understood what she was saying:  we all have choices to make.

Life is not easy. We all face challenges, some severe and some minor. Sometimes we need to not be brave. Sometimes we need to wallow in self-pity and in misery. We need to cry and rant and get it out of our system. Just don’t stay in that wallow. I get depressed. I get miserable. But I don’t stay there. I put on a movie that I know is going to make me sob uncontrollably and then I clean myself up and move on. I’ve made the choice to have a life. I worked for 30 years at a great police department. I travelled; I took a cruise. I worked my life around my MS and I have no regrets.

 

 

 

It’s a Sexual Thing

Ha ha ha! That got your attention! Don’t you dare deny it!

I recently read an article about an actor that I particularly admire. He had just received glowing reviews on a play he had completed and a Netflix miniseries that was brilliant but on social media there were an unseemly number of people who could only concentrate on his sexuality. Say what?! He’s an actor. He is charismatic and humble and a bit of a Chameleon. Everything that a good actor should be. I like that he acts. Period. Why are so many people hung up on things that are none of their damn business?

Perhaps they don’t understand what the word ‘personal’ means. It means it’s my business and not yours. Now granted, I understand we live in a scandalous and gossip minded society and anything that they could twist into perceived dirt is considered fair game. So, my question is this:  if I delved into your life and did a deep dive through all your secrets and then plastered it all over Twitter for the world to see, would you be upset? I would be livid. My personal life is my private life: not for general consumption. Actors are exactly the same. Yes, they have a public persona but I’m afraid that’s all I believe the public is entitled to. They all put their pants on one leg at a time, they all have to eat and you know, clean their colons.  Just like you and me.

I once read that an American power couple, both actors, had purchased a cottage in northern Ontario and were absolutely thrilled when people left them alone. I was so proud of that and so sad that it was worth mentioning. But they live in a world where they are basically considered fair targets. What a disturbing world.

I have stated in the past that I live my life from the seat of a wheelchair. But that does not define me.  The fact that I like cheese and jam on toast does not define me. My sexuality, the colour of my hair or the cut of my jib does not define me. My character does define me! What I do in public does define me. That is who I am and it is on that I will be judged. It is exactly the same for a public figure, why can’t people see that?

In the Background

When I was a youth my father took me driving. He used to quiz me as I was behind the wheel (terrified that I would do something wrong because of course my father was in the passenger seat)! He would ask me the colour of the car behind me and I had to answer without looking. What were the colours of the cars on either side of me, how many people were in the cars? He taught me that it is in the background, the places we don’t usually look, where there is a true value to be aware of.

I have known many police officers in my life, professionally and personally. No, I am not a criminal! And one thing I learned about them very early on is it is that they are always aware of what’s going on around them. Their eyes are almost on a swivel, constantly moving. I felt safe in their presence, gun notwithstanding. And I learned to do it too.

I may not be able to tell you what people are wearing around me within 10 feet nowadays but there was a time when I could. And I would do it unconsciously. Many, many years ago I was at a mall and was leaving with my purchases. At the time there was a serial molester about and young women were being warned to take care. I carried my keys in my fist and I put my head on a swivel. It was a bright beautiful Saturday afternoon and as I stepped off the curb, I noticed a young man do exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. He glanced at me and then turned away but he continued to move in the same direction I was. My heart was in my throat but I continued on to my car and quickly got inside. No hesitation. I glanced over and yes, he was looking at me and then turned on his heel and went back into the mall. This was in the days before cell phones so when I got home, I called the police and gave them a detailed description of the man. Was he the molester? I have no idea. But the man they arrested a few days later resembled the one I saw.

Being aware is not just a safety thing. When I watch TV, I always take the time to see what’s going on in the background and sometimes it explains the foreground. It’s almost as if we are programmed to see only what is in front of us. We have peripheral vision and it is quite acute if we would just pay attention.  Perhaps that is the key: we need to pay attention…

The Art of the Lie

I don’t lie. That is not an arrogant statement of superiority. I’m simply not very good at it. My coworkers used to laugh when I told a lie. Everybody knew I was lying. So why bother trying? What I was good at, was obfuscation and misdirection. Damn, I’m good at that! And that is not an arrogant statement of superiority. It is simply my means of getting around things I am uncomfortable with.

A friend had just come back from spending an obscene amount of money at a salon for a new haircut. She was obviously very pleased with it and asked me what I thought. Now I care very deeply for this friend and I would never do anything that would cause her any kind of pain.  Unfortunately, I was not in a position to keep my mouth shut because I had been asked a direct question. So, I answered in the most indirect manner I could. I simply told her that it was an incredible look. I didn’t say it was an incredibly good look.  She looked like her hair had been cut by an eight-year-old with dull scissors high on crack cocaine. I’m not kidding. And I wasn’t lying. It happened many years ago and we laugh about it now. She did eventually see the humour.

Politicians are known for their lies and it is expected by everyone. I find that difficult to understand. I don’t like being lied to. Especially when it’s done openly and everybody knows it’s a lie! And yet it seems to be the way we live our lives. We expect those around us to lie to us. I’m one of those naïve people that expects others to tell me the truth. I don’t know why am surprised when I find out they haven’t. But I am. Look at advertising. Now these people are good. They lie so well you don’t know it’s happening. Case in point…

A very large chain that sells hamburgers recently laid the claim that their beef is grass fed. I won’t use their name because that would be unkind. But here’s my question: what were they fed before? They haven’t told a lie. But they’ve taken a statement of truth and elevated it to gospel. I see cows in the fields all the time and their faces are in the, oh I don’t know, grass! Cows have been eating grass since they crawled out of the primordial slime several million years ago. And the methane which is produced from that grass is one of the contributors to global warming. I’m just saying.

Words are wonderful to wander through, to play with, to communicate. But they can also be used to confuse, to manipulate and to harm. We all need to watch what we say but sometimes the mistakes that we inadvertently speak are the basis of some of our best humour. And we all need a good laugh. Especially these days.  So please, accept my words in the spirit in which they are given and enjoy.