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Monday Morning Smile LXVI – Forever Young – unfortunately


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How was everyone’s Remembrance Day? Can be emotional can’t it? It brought tears to my eyes seeing a 90 year old man openly weep for people that died almost 70 years ago. Good friends and comrades that did not return. In a breaking voice this  veteran said that he’ll always remember them as young, cocky,  good looking  men, that never grow old – unfortunately. For those young men, today, a country weeps for you.

REmembrance flanders field

The weekend in general was a good one, with inevitable leaf raking of course. “Baba” turned 90 on the weekend, so we had a nice little birthday party.  Oh, the things she has seen! From those early beginnings in a one room stove-heated cabin on the Saskatchewan prairie, through the rationing of the war years, the optimism of the 50’s, “Trudeau-mania in the 60’s (the first Trudeau, not the current one), the oil crisis fueled inflation of the 70’s, and on, and on….oh, the things she has seen!

Hmmmm, so over the last 90 years are our lives better?  Look no farther. the list is here!

1. Refrigerator – Baba started out with an ice box, and probably didn’t have a refrigerator till after 1950. Is life easier because of this? Is your beer cold? Beer Food was stored in an insulated box with a shelf  for a block of ice. Refrigerators became widespread in Canada in the 40’s. Of course this put Ice delivery men out of business, but created a market for MayTag repairmen.

ice box icebox1930d ICE-Delivery-Wagonlemonade-stand

2.  Television – the boob tube, the idiot box, the babysitter – it comes by many names, but nearly everyone watches it. When Baba was born women had an average of 3.5 babies, Canadian women of today average less than 2. Why? because men are watching TV.  Ladies, you’re welcome.

Family_watching_television_1958Family-Watching-TV

3. The television remote.  Brilliant, brilliant invention!  The first TV remote control  by Zenith corporation was marketed under the name “Lazy Bones” – and that says it all!!  The TV remote of today requires an advanced degree in theoretic physics to use. The “Lazy Bones” changed channels and volume – ahh the good ‘ole days.

Lazy-Bones1zenith_space_commandtv remote today

4.Credit card – the first widespread card was “the Diners Card”, still in use today. In Baba’s day, if you needed a cute frock to impress a lad, you saved up and bought it. Today, you decide which of your 5 credit cards you will charge it to. There are 71m credit cards in Canada, almost 6 per household. A good thing for those of us who work at Banks!

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5. Air conditioningnow Baba never did get air conditioning till she moved to a retirement home. But then, folks of her generation are made from hardier stock than the rest of us young’uns. Air conditioning in its current form was first made by Willis Carrier (yep, the Carrier company that makes Air Con to this day). Office air conditioning was thought to be wasteful and promote employee laziness. Then, a test showed that typists increased their productivity by 24% in an air conditioned office. And voila, fast forward to today – folks won’t go outside if it’s too hot.

360_air_conditioning_0712 typing-pool

Well, that’s enough for now…there are many others…the calculator, penicillin, antibiotics, the internet, and on and on….

But for now, it’s happy 90th birthday Baba!

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dilbert credit card


Monday Morning Smile LXV – Best Commercials ever !


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Update….It was noted that the Bud “Wassup” commercials were left out….hurummpfh…mere pretenders in my humble opinion (although I will admit the Superbowl does provide its share of commercial entertainment).

This Bud commercial was better. Bud Light “The Elevator”   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gq7p86ZpgM

If you’re really want to relive the “Wassup” phase of your life…. here is the famous “Wassup” http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UDTZCgsZGeA

 

Welcome to Monday! Another week closer to old man winter. Snow shoveling, scraping, shivering….uhh….I hope everyone had a great Halloween last week. A couple of our house decorations are included below. We had the regular troupe of cute little princesses and wizards, and a couple of teenagers with nary even a wig – and still expecting treats. What’s up with that? The lazy louts.

Now, I like to watch TV – I freely admit that lounging on the couch with the clicker in hand is a bit of a guilty pleasure. We PVR most of the TV we watch these days, which is great. However, because of it we miss some of the best that TV has to offer – the TV Commercial.

Below are some of the favourite TV commercials through the years. Are yours on this list? (drop me a line and give me the youtube link to your favourite and I can include it:)

Here they are:

1. Joe Canadian – doesn’t this commercial  give you just a little tingle up your spine? From March 2000. This is one of my alltime fav’s….This went viral big time. Canadians everywhere swelled with pride. I especially love the little, oh-so-Canadian, “thank you” at the very end of the rant. Everyone loves a Canuck!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMxGVfk09lU

joe canadian

2. “Albert” – Canadian Tire. Ran sometime in the late 80’s I think…Pure Canadiana – every little boy’s fantasy. This was so popular at the time, the actor who played the adult “Albert” made appearances at the Leafs, Calgary, and Winnipeg NHL games as a celebrity – even though you never see his face in the commercial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkyMM3EScjA

3. albert

3. Canadian Tire Bike commercial – yet another classic from Canadian Tire. Ran sometime in the 90’s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q3rJ76D_wQ
CT bike commercial

4. Now for something a little bit more recent…How about this Heineken delightful spot? Appeals to both men and women doesn’t it? I laugh every time I see it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfXPFvak2LY

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5. “You’ve got Bankers”. One has to be able to laugh at themselves, and even though I work at a bank, this is hilarious. From the credit card company Capital One.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMOh-kyDhis

bankers

That’s it for now….let me know if I’ve missed a great one!!

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Monday Morning Smile LXIV – Holy Bat Bomb Batman


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The witches, goblins, zombies, and other assorted politicians revellers are about to resurrect  for the festival of horrors. Of course I refer to Halloween (not the House of Commons senate debate).

Now bats have always had a special place in the annuls of All-Hallows-Eve. Creatures of the night, they navigate by sound and stealth and, well, they just look kind of creepy.

So how much do we know about bats? Everyone knows that bat’seyesight is poor, and they use sound (sonar) to flit around at night. Did you know they can carry two to three times their weight when they fly? Interesting, but who cares, you might say. I’ve eaten BBQ chicken wings bigger than the average bat.

Well, a smart fellow named Lytle S. Adams, a dentist in the early 1940’s thought that bats would make better bombs. What?!

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You can’t make this stuff up..In the early 1940’s the U.S. military had Project X-Ray under development. Get this…. trap millions of bats and glue small bombs to their backs. These bats would be put into a state of induced hibernation in a specially constructed “Bat bomb”. The small incendiary bombs glued to the back of each bat works on a timed release.

bat-bomb-shell  Bat Bomb. Photos. No page number.

omizutori_festivalThe bomb was to be released over Tokyo. The bats would wake up, get their bearings and find small nooks and crannies to hide with the light of morning. Each small bomb would go off creating thousands and thousands of fires in the city. Given Tokyo homes and buildings in the 40’s were chiefly made from Bamboo, wood, and other flammables, it would go up thousands of fires. Plus the Japanese people would never know what caused it.

Absolutely crazy. So did it work?

Tests showed that is was significantly more effective than conventional bombs (if by effective you mean create more destruction).

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However, the bats were never deployed to Japan – or anywhere else for that matter.

The U.S. military machine had come up with an even better weapon – the atom bomb. They used that instead.

Here are some other cool Halloween and Bat facts….

Halloween – traditionally the day before All Saints Day. A day for little cuties to dress up and collect candy, and for young men and women to dress up and do things they never would otherwise.

Saying: Blind as a bat – for obvious reasons. Bat eyesight is very poor.

Batman moviesthe series of movies has grossed over $3.7 billion and is one of the most watched series of movies of all time. (Pirates of the Caribean, and James Bond also up in the running)

batmanDark_knight_rises_poster

SamBat baseball bats – made in Canada with hard Canadian maple. These bats are favoured by a large number of major league players.

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Bat boy –  a kid that collect bats from a baseball field.

little boyLittle Boy and Fat Man – the names given the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

dilbert halloween

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Monday Morning Smile LXIII – Short skirts? Get Rich.


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Another fabulous fall weekend. A bit rainy on Saturday, but all in all a great one. My son and I took in an Ottawa Senators game on the weekend – a bit of a father son jaunt to the nation’s capitol. A boys weekend of lying around a hotel watchin’ TV, going to a hockey game, eating pizza, takin’ in a flick at the cinema, and generally stuffing our face full of food that is clearly not good for us. It doesn’t get any better.

There are some things that everyone likes to do, whether we like to admit it or not. We all would like to make a little more of the moolah, and we alike to people watch.

Now men have watched women since Eve took the apple, and women have watched women for as long as Jimmy Choo has been designing killer high heels. What have the two got to do with eat other?

Welcome to the Hemline Index.

This was originally outlined in 1926 by a famous economist named George Taylor. He surmised that the stock market and women’s hemlines moved together. Huh?

The higher the hemline, the better the stock market. The 60’s were a great example. The mini-skirt was invented and the stock market was on fire!

So let’s take a walk down Stock Market history ……

Let’s hear it for the “Roaring Twenties” – when dresses were short, and profits were high.

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Followed by the Great Depression, known as the “Dirty Thirties” where only the bread lines were longer than the hemlines.

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We will skip past the war years into the “Fabulous Fifties” and the “Swinging Sixties”. I think you will agree that the invention of the mini-skirt did more for the Stock Market than all those new fangled Finance formulas put together!

fashion 1965

Ah, we all wish we could be part of those fabulous 60’s. But charge on we must.

But on to 1975. Disco! The first Computer game – called Pong!

The energy crisis. Inflation surges, stock markets plunge, interest rates are at ridiculous levels. And how much leg can you see? Not much.

fashion 19751975 fashion

Do things get better? They always do. We’ll fast forward through the recession of the early 80’s, and on into one of the longest bull runs in stock market history starting in the 1990’s.

I had a lot of trouble with getting pictures…most of them were supermodels in bikinis (but please google at home!). The stock market must have been soaring!

But here’s one of Princess Diana showing off the royal legs….

1995 diana

So enough history….

It’s now 2013? Do I invest or cash out?

New-York-Fashion-Week-Spring-2013-Trends

dilbert fashion


Monday Morning Smile LXII – Who blew up Bikini?


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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What a great long weekend. A little ham, a little turkey, a little  pumpkin pie, and a lot of family. Can it get any better? We are very lucky indeed.

I’m not sure how this subject came up, but it did. The bikini. A little (very little) bit of cloth that created an enormous industry. And not just the swim suit fashion industry. But the tanning industry, the “ab industry”, workout videos, fitness gyms, etc, etc.. Heck, even the illustrious Sports Illustrated is best known for pictures of girls with a swim suit (that is even not meant for swimming). (don’t tell but I even heard that there are pictures on the internet of women in bikinis – who would have thought!)

So what’s up with the Bikini? Well, the bikini owes its name to a massive nuclear blast in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Say What ?!

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A Frenchman  named Louis Reard came up with the new racy swimsuit in 1946. He knew it would take the world by storm. After all, it showed a woman’s navel for the first time! Mon Dieu!  However, being the socially conscious person he was, he wanted to bring attention to the fact the U.S. government was conducting massive nuclear tests in the middle of the Pacific.  Guess where? Yep. The Bikini Atoll, which is an island (an atoll actually) halfway between Hawaii and Australia.

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Detonated under the ocean’s surface, the bomb nicknamed “Baker” drove a 2,000-foot-wide column of water high into the sky in less than a second. A few moments later, millions of tons of atomized reef and water collapsed back into the lagoon, and a giant shock wave moved out across the water, sinking a 26,000-ton, 562-foot battleship (put there for the test) and lifting the stern of another 880-foot battleship 43 feet into the air. The shock wave released massive amounts of radiation, a phenomenon that was not widely understood at the time. Nuclear tests continued through the 1950’s.

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In the mid 1940’s the U.S. government relocated all the Bikinians (about 5000 of them) to other islands so they could conduct the test. Today, there are 5 people on the island, employees tracking residual radiation levels. The U.S. continues to pay the descendants of the original islanders through a trust fund.

Now it is my hope that the Bikini swim suit outlasts the nuclear bombs that made the name famous.

(Please find a gratuitous shot of bikinis here).

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p.s. a couple of interesting side notes….

An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef that encircles a lagoon.

Louis Reard, the bikini designer,  was a mechanical engineer – my how times have changed.

The small box in the right hand of the model is the box the swimsuit came in 9look in the picture above).

The half life of the radiation is not as long as originally thought. Originally the half life was estimated in the laboratory at 37 years. In the environment the half life is estimated at only 9 years. This means the destroyed areas become inhabitable quicker than originally thought. (although still a very, very, long time. Maybe 75 years rather than 200 years).

bikini atoll map

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Monday Morning Smile LXI – Opa!!


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I’m back after a few weeks off….hope you haven’t forgotten…..

The weekend was a good one for the most part. Saturday was unfortunately spent doing a little work catch up, but hey it doesn’t happen that often.

The rest of the time was spent doing some of the things that are fun, a little squash, walking the dog around the neighbourhood, watching shows on the idiot box. You know just another weekend. BUT, we did go out to a new restaurant on Saturday night. “Colossus” a greek restaurant in Oakville. AWESOME! There was a lineup out the door and the wait was worth it.

So it isn’t just democracy, the Olympics, mathematics, and other minor little things the Greeks gave us. It was awesome food! I am considering changing my name to  Davionysis Fallonopoulis. Just rolls off your tongue doesn’t it?

Here’s some of the great Greeks – I’ll bet you have heard of nearly all of them.

Pythagoras – yep. that Pythagoras. You know, the one that gave us the Pythagorean theorem. a² + b² = c².  Oh, and he did it in 500 B.C.  It is still taught in schools today of course.

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Hippocrates – the father of all doctors, he wrote the Hippocratic oath. You know the one, “above all do no harm….” (or is it, “above all, book tee time on wednesday”). He believed that diseases were caused by natural causes not by the wrath of the gods. Incredible thought for 500 B.C. Was he embraced? No, he was put in jail for 20 years.

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Socrates – the “socratic method” which isn’t exactly household conversation, has to do with philosophy and ethics. But most importantly he was (arguably) the forerunner to the Scientific Method, which in turn enabled the incredible inventions of today – the TV and the internet. You know, the inventions that turns us all into zombie like mush-brains. Thanks Socrates.

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Homer – the father of literature from 500 B.C. or so. He gifted the world with the incredible stories like The Iliad, The Odyssey. For over two thousand years authors have followed in his giant footsteps and given us the profound life altering stories of today – like “Green Eggs and Ham”, “Scooby Doo”, and best of all “50 Shades of Grey”!  Homer is spinning in his grave.

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Have a great Monday. Channel your inner Greek!   Opa!

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Monday Morning Smile LX – If You’re Happy and You Know it….


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Hey, have you heard? Canada is the 6th happiest place on earth! WooHoo! Yeeessss…..Our burly friends down south are 17th. Do you know why? I’ll tell you – it’s because they haven’t embraced Tim Horton’s yet. How can you not be happy with a Timmie’s donut?!

Here’s the ranking

1. Denmark
2. Norway
3. Switzerland
4. Netherlands
5. Sweden
6. Canada
Pretty much all northern climates with a little (or a lot) of snow, ice, and long dark nights. Not to mention a reputation as the world’s best looking people. No wonder everyone is happy with all that eye candy around.

This is an actual report that has been produced since 2005. There are some countries, notably Bhutan, that have imbedded it in their government policy making. In Bhutan, the government hopes to increase the country’s “Happiness Index”.

happiness chart

And of course, it wouldn’t be a happy ending with a piece of Dilbert wisdom….

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