Down With United Way Activities!

I’m all for philanthropy, helping others who are less fortunate than me, who don’t have the physical or mental skills to be fully independent.  Helping others is very important in our society.  It not only is a life line for those receiving the benefits, but it makes us feel good about ourselves that we can help in some way.  And, although we don’t like thinking about it, but what if we happen to find ourselves on the receiving end of those benefits one day.  Wouldn’t it lessen the guilt you may feel of becoming a “burden to society” knowing that you’ve contributed in the past?  (You should never feel like this but people do.)

And so every October, United Way comes knocking on our bank accounts asking for donations.  I have no issue with this.  What I do have an issue with is all of the hoopla associated with it.  Why can’t we simply leave it as, “if you’d like to make a donation, please do so.  Fill in this form and mail it to us or give it to your employer to take the money off of your cheques.”  But no, corporations have to frame the whole philanthropic pursuit with posters and games and lunches and entertainment and prize draws and cook-offs and guest speakers and garage sales and activities and…. the list seems endless.

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Talking Toys

In today’s times it’s not uncommon to have one, two, or thirty talking toys for your kids in the basement, playroom or their bedroom.  Lately these talking toys are getting quite sophisticated.  We expect that they respond when we push a button on them, or move their wheels around.  And, they respond with whatever is programmed into them.  The kids have fun and think the toy is actually conversing with them.  Some of them even wait for a while and then ask “Hey, is anyone there?”  It’s a gimic meant to keep kids playing with the toy.

Have you ever been in one of these rooms at night, after the kids go to bed.  Perhaps you’re cleaning up, you move one of these toys and it starts chatting to you.  Not really an issue.  However, sometimes when the batteries get low they start talking all by themselves.  You’ll be watching TV, all relaxed when all of a sudden you’ll hear “Take a pic!” from the Diego camera in the corner, across the room.  It freaks you out, especially the first time you experience this.

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Why Twitter is Depressing Me

As I’m sure you are aware, Twitter is another social networking tool which allows you to share quick messages (no longer than 140 characters) which are called “tweets” with those who “follow” you.  You can follow anyone you choose (unlike Facebook which requires the friend to accept your friend request).  However each user can change their publicity settings which are set to viewable by the public by default.  For more on twitter, go to

Some people use twitter to keep in touch with their friends by “following” each other.  Others use it more as a “news” ticker by following popular news, entertainment or sports tweets.  With more than 100 million users on twitter, the choices of who to follow are endless.

Some of the most popular users on twitter (based on number of followers) are sports celebrities.  For example, Shaquille O’Neal [basketball] has over 3 million followers, Lance Armstrong [cycling] (2.6 million) and Ian Poulter [golf] (1 million).

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It’s a Plane. Duck!

According to the traffic stats for my blog, most of you are not taking advantage of checking out the daily features I’ve been posting.  Every day I post a fact, a picture, a quote and a cartoon.  They’re available from the menu bar just under the Today’s Tangent logo.  Click on “Fact o’the Day,” “Pic o’the Day,” “Quote o’the Day,” and “Toon o’the Day” above.

There was a picture I posted last week (October 13) that I feel needs more attention than simply a picture post.  This is the one of the airstrip’s relative location to a beach in St. Maarten – the 747 aircraft touching down at the very edge of the runway, mere meters above a road and a beach.  Here’s the picture again:

And here are some other amazing photos of low landings: Read more of this post

20 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me

Here is a list of 20 things of which some of you may know some of them but many of you won’t know the majority.

  • My favourite colour is green.
  • I weigh 170 pounds (15 pounds heavier than I did last year at this time – goodbye metabolism!).
  • I generally only watch television shows that are informative in nature.  My favourite channel is The Discovery Channel. Read more of this post

Happy 25th Birthday, Mr. Jacket

I’ve always taken good care of my things.  But even I’m impressed with this accomplishment.  My new jacket from when I was 13 (in grade 7) has seen more than its fair share of use.

Soon after I got the jacket back in the late 80’s, I was golfing with my dad at Kildonan Park Golf Course.  It became too warm for a jacket so I tied it onto my golf bag.  Read more of this post

Parties for Men

When my wife’s not throwing a “party for women,” she’s going to a “party for women.”  And frankly, I don’t think that’s really all that fair.  Think about it.  How many different types of theme parties do women have.  Well, there’s Tupperware parties and PartyLite (candles) parties.  There’s Epicure (spices) parties and Norwex (cleaning products) parties.  There’s parties for jewelery and parties for the baby sitting co-op.  There’s parties for make-up and parties for hair products.  There’s parties for lingerie and parties for clothing.  There’s even parties about cooking, scrapbooking and sewing.  I’ll stop there because I’m starting to sound like Dr. Seuss.  But you can see, the list goes on and on.

And what parties do men have?  I’m not talking about going out to the bar or out for chicken wings.  I’m talking about having “a dozen guys over to your house”-type parties – just guys with a theme.  Perhaps guys can consider watching a hockey/baseball/football/basketball game a party.  There’s sports pool “parties” but those usually just lead to arguing about who’s the better player in any given sport and then there’s the infamous bark of “you’re taking too long to make a pick.. just GO.”  And if you really stretch the party concept, you may ask a few friends over to help you move something heavy or fix something you need another set of hands for which leads to a few beers afterwards.  But that’s it!  Come on men, isn’t it time we join the revolution and come up with own party?  Just one’s all I’m asking for. Read more of this post

Seriously, Wake Up and Move Over

It’s been a long, busy day at work and now you’re looking forward to getting home.  One relatively quick bus ride and you’ll be there.  You board the bus and choose an empty seat next to a window.  The seat beside you is vacant.  Ahh… you can stretch your legs out and relax.

On the very next stop a passenger chooses to sit right beside you.  “Great!” you think.  So you begrudgingly shuffle over towards the window.  He takes this action as an invitation to spread out himself and get comfortable.  Now you’re squished against the bus wall.  “How long is this joker going to be on the bus,” you think to youself. Read more of this post

Blind Inspiration

I haven’t seen him for a while but the impression he left on me has lasted for months.  About three or four times over the last couple of years a blind man would board my bus.  He is accompanied by his trusty and loyal seeing eye dog, a beautiful male black lab of about 80 pounds.  He always sits right in the front seat and asks the bus driver to let him know when he has reached his destination.

His dog is very cute and so well behaved.  On one particular day, a high school student entered the bus quickly and didn’t see the dog sitting at his owner’s feet.  She stepped on the dog’s foot.  The black lab abruptly sat up and pull his feet underneath his body but did nothing else.  He didn’t whine or bark.  His owner knew what had happened since he had been petting his dog and simply touched the dog’s face telling him that he’d be ok.  (Picture at right is not the actual dog.) Read more of this post

Netiquette. It Doesn’t Apply to Me, Right?

It was just a comment.  A short little quip in response to someone’s post on their blog or facebook, or a reply to a tweet.  So what?  Right?  Well, it could have detrimental effects.  And it may not even be an immediate effect.  It may come up months or even years later to bite you.

Consider this situation… Read more of this post

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