Category Archives: Nada que Ver

Canada’s has a gender neutral national anthem. Here’s what’s missing.

In the current climate of political correctness, many well-intentioned people are heartened by the recent change in Canada’s national anthem to make it gender-neutral. Personally, speaking as a white, Canadian male with obvious privilege issues, I am ambivalent, but this is the state of the world today and while it was probably a step in the right direction, there remains much to be done to make the song, most often heard at hockey games and the winter Olympics, more inclusive.

The one (just one!) line that changed went from this:

“True patriots love, in all thy sons command”

to this:

“True patriots love, in all of us command”

a line which doesn’t make much sense to me but what do I know about archaic Canadian grammar. It could just as easily have been rewritten as:

“Blue farts and doves, in all our pants demand”

and still make the same point which is … who knows.

In any case, more changes absolutely need to be implemented as there is a plethora of other terminology that could be deemed discriminatory. For example:

“With glowing hearts we see thee rise”

This is obviously a very serious snub to the sight-impaired formerly known as the blind, who can’t see anything rise, let alone the ambiguous non-visible concept of a country called:

“The true north strong and free”

North? What about the southerners? Most Canadians live in the southern part of Canada given the country’s hostile climate. Are those people to be left out? This is not good and the good folks from Vancouver to Toronto will most certainly feel left out. I see a lawsuit coming.

But wait, there’s more:

“Oh Canada we stand on guard for thee”

Here we are leaving out those who, for lack of a better term, can’t stand. What if you are in a wheelchair? What if you’re bedridden. You can’t stand so you’re not included? Shameful.

“God keep our land…”

The whole mention of God raises all kinds of red flags. Which God? Whose God? Also, atheists, of whom there must be a few in the far and wide land, should – and rightfully so – feel left out. A major re-write is necessary here as well.

The challenge is enormous and to really bring Canada into the PC world of today, the entire antiquated anthem; this relic from another, more innocent and homogenous time, needs to be consciously examined.

I suggest a Royal Commission. You can contact the prime minister’s office here:

https://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members/Justin-Trudeau(58733)

Paying it Forward – the Houston InfoDesk Volunteers

PART ONE – I am stuck in Houston, thanks for a mental seniors moment that caused me to miss my flight back to Merida today. A couple of things stand out from today’s experience, which really doesn’t upset me that much as make me feel stupid and will help be a little less relaxed next time I travel.

Having arrived well after the airplane doors would have been closed, I was sent off to the side and after waiting an interminable amount of time in line at the United customer service desk I played it as humbly as I could with the unsmiling lady behind the counter. It’s hard to play the indignant customer when the fault was entirely mine. Having already  checked on line it was no surprise when she told me that tomorrow’s flight was booked solid with the exception of one business class seat at $1300 USD. Now that is pretty steep even if you do love leather and cutlery but I thought, what the hell, and told her to book it. Perhaps I could get some credit for the flight not taken and if not, well so be it.

She stabbed at the keyboard for a while and told me that she had to check with someone to see if in fact that seat was still available. She was put on hold and told me that it would be at least 10-20 minutes. By this time she and I were on good terms and I suggested maybe Cancun would be an option. Cradling her phone between her shoulder and cheek, she hit a few more keys and a morning flight appeared for $500 and then, miracle of miracles, she announced an 11:30 flight that could be had – at no charge at all.

I was so happy I almost jumped over the counter to give her a hug but that would have been inappropriate and so I settled on a hearty and thankful handshake. When I then asked about a hotel recommendation she actually gave me a coupon for a discounted hotel stay, the kind you get when THEY screw up. I was most grateful and again thanked her enthusiastically.

PART TWO – I am at the info desk at terminal E, the United terminal where two elderly folks in red uniforms are helping people with questions related to all manner of things. They wear tags that have their names on them and the fact that they are volunteers. The lady whom I will call Lady helps me with a phone to call the number on the United coupon to set up the hotel, offering to let me use her cell phone in case their courtesy phone didn’t work for what was obviously a non-local number.

Meanwhile the man whom I will call… Man, is dealing with a sloppily-attired individual who demands to know the flight schedule of ANA from Tokyo to Houston. They are obviously flummoxed and can not pull up any information on their computer, which seems to be not working. Mr. ANA is very rude and sarcastic with them, telling them that any Google search would display the information – oblivious to the fact that these are senior citizens and probably not the most tech-savvy people in the world. It is obvious from their expressions that they don’t even know what ANA is. I wonder why he doesn’t check it himself on his own computer or a rental somewhere.

As I complete my hotel booking over the phone, I can hear a lady in the wheelchair behind me loudly ask if there is a time limit on the use of the phone, to which Lady answers ‘no’ which is met with ‘well there should be’ which I choose to ignore since she is already in a wheelchair and I don’t want to further complicate her existence with a smack on the head with the telephone receiver.

The Man has now consulted with the Lady about Mr. ANA and they both are now trying to find some info on the computer and at the same time apologizing to Mr. ANA who remains unfazed and continues his eye-rolling and relentless questioning.

An elderly lady of the oriental persuasion appears and demands attention in that impatient and oh so charming way that some older folks have developed. Lady points her in the direction she needs to be moving.

Throughout all this, both Lady and Man are smiling, patient and while frustrated, they do not take it out on their ‘clients’.

I pull up the FlightTrack app on my iPhone and find the ANA information and tell the guy what he needs to know and finally, to the relief of Lady and Man, he walks away. What possible satisfaction this man gained from knowing that ANA’s flight from Houston landed at 3:55 PM at Narita airport is beyond me.

Wondering what motivates them to be there in the first place, I ask if every day they had difficult people like this guy. Their features relax and they smile a tired smile.

Lady answers first. “Some days, yes.”

But they both shrug it off.

“I just wish that coffee line wasn’t so long” says Man, pointing at the Starbucks outlet in the corner, where a long line of people waiting to order coffee stretched into the terminal, almost blocking the children’s Christmas choir doing their best to sing Jingle Bells in tune.

“I’m going to buy you a coffee” I tell him.

He comes back with an energetic “No, you are not!”

But I go stand in that line anyway, which takes forever as this is the one Starbucks in all of the great state of Texas that has the winner of the Slow-as-Molasses Ass-Dragging Contest working the till. Her companion, whom I will briefly refer to as Scruffy Mexican, looks out at the line with dead fish eyes, bored beyond belief and chewing his gum with a gusto reserved for recently rescued shipwreck survivors when fed their first meal.

I buy a couple of coffees; black – who knows if Lady and Man have milk allergies, high blood sugar or whatever – and a couple of packages of biscotti. I then head back and set them on their counter. “Merry Christmas” I say.

Man makes a move to reach into his back pocket. “How much do I owe you for those?”

“Absolutely nothing. Just want you to know that you are appreciated. Thank you for what you do and the way you do it” I tell them.

I shake their hands, grab my bags and head outside to wait for my hotel shuttle feeling like I have returned a little of the goodwill I received from the United lady earlier.

Looking for that elusive great television series

FearWalkingDead

Just so my seventeen faithful readers aren’t under the impression that the only thing on my radar is anything Yucatan-related, I hereby remind them that I can go off at length in other areas as well.

This week I downloaded the first episodes of Fear the Walking Dead, in response to David Bianculli recommending the series as worth a look, on NPR’s Fresh Air recently.

While the show, a prequel to the highly successful Walking Dead drama which I enjoyed until it became too much like a never-ending and splatter-y graphic catalog of how to kill a zombie , tries to muster up some tension and suspense from the outset, I found myself completely distracted by both the dialogue which was heavy and not particularly natural and the grossly distracting (to me, the neurotic observer) details in the finished production, particularly the sound.

For example, the woman who is the main character, is told by her boyfriend/husband that the strange story told by her drug addict son makes some sense as he (boyfriend/husband) had gone to the site where the event took place and she tells him no “Oh you went there, what did you see?” but “Really? I don’t think you should validate his outrageous stories by pretending they are based on real events.” To me this implies that she certainly does not take her boyfriend/husband very seriously indeed and is hardly believable if they are in an adult relationship. He of course, like a good TV husband/boyfriend, just stands there with no expression, waiting for her next line.

Other distractions:

  • Misunderstood overachiever white daughter is sitting with black boyfriend on bleachers at school (edgy) and he begins to draw on her arm, because he is a graffiti artist and that’s what they do: they draw on you. Camera is back to their faces, earnestly expressing some lovey-dovey mush and when the camera comes back to the arm and he asks her if she likes his creation, you can’t help but notice that what is there has nothing to do with what he started drawing previously
  • Family drives a 2006 Toyota Camry – as I do – and every time they lock or unlock the door and I hear the chirp of the alarm, I am thinking “THAT IS NOT THE SOUND THAT CAR MAKES”
  • Aforementioned daughter is visiting empty house where missing boyfriend lives. She is walking on concrete, then a wooden floor and the sound of her shoes is important to the plot here as it is supposed to be a very suspenseful buildup to something. The distraction is that her shoes are sneakers aka running shoes and they would never sound like a solid heeled shoe like that.

And so, I made it to the end of episode 2, but doubt that I will continue as these and other distractions will make it impossible for me to take the series very seriously.  Sorry David.

I’ll Pray for You

Finally it happened. The most condescending phrase that self-righteous Christians can lob at an unbeliever when they have no real argument, has been leveled at me.

Under a cloud photo on Facebook that someone shared where the cloud bears a resemblance to a flying something, the post raved about the glory of God and the sign that was this angel in the heavens over Buttville, USA.

I commented simply that it was, in fact, a cloud. The rebuttal was that some people have no faith which seemed silly since it was a photo of a cloud and it didn’t require faith to imagine it was a pterodactyl or an angel or whatever. When I replied that indeed, I did not enjoy that kind of ‘faith’, the patronizing phrase was thrown in my direction.

“I’ll pray for you.”

I looked it up as I was at a loss as to what to counter with and came across this fantastic little article. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

http://atheistexperience.blogspot.mx/2008/09/ill-pray-for-you.html

Pretty Property Priced Perfectly.

Kan-Ha – Chetumal Area, Quintana Roo – $250,000 USD

If you are looking for a large, beautiful property near Chetumal and Bacalar, this could be right up your alley.

Perfect for weekend getaways or even vacation rentals.

Perfect for weekend getaways or even vacation rentals.

It’s 11,700 square meters of river-front property about 15 minutes from the city of Chetumal, with its own electrical 25 kva substation, pumps, boat dock and garage, river front palapa and weekend cottage.

Riverfront palapa for your barbecue fiestas.

Riverfront palapa for your barbecue fiestas.

Like tropical fruit? The property has 45 coconut trees and over 60 different fruit trees including orange, lemon, abal, pistachio, guanabana, anona, zapote, chaya, pepino kat, avocado and tamarind.

If you have a boat you can access the property from the river side from Bacalar and Chetumal Bay.

The riverfront palapa is where you launch your boat and head off into 
Bacalar. No traffic!

The riverfront palapa is where you launch your boat and head off into Bacalar. No traffic!

Clear title, private property, not ejidal, because we all know what a pain that can be. Electricity, hot and cold running water, two bathrooms.

 

Datos en Español

Ubicación: A un kilómetro al norte de la población de “ Huay Pix”, camino blanco transitable todo el año con automóvil, a diez kilómetros de la ciudad de Chetumal, o quince minutos de la ciudad a Kanja.

Superficie total: 11,700 m2 (Título de propiedad vigente)

Superficie construida: 150 m2 (Cabaña y casa de visitas, palapa junto al río)

Servicios: Energía eléctrica, agua fría y caliente, dos baños completos, mosquiteros en puertas y ventanas de la cabaña y casa de visitas.

Instalaciones especiales: Vialidades internas, cercado al frente con postes de madera de la región, malla ciclónica y demás perímetro con alambre de púas y maya borreguera (todo el cercado en perfectas condiciones), subestación eléctrica de 25 kva,  tres pozos artesanos con bombas eléctricas para riego, instalación eléctrica en construcciones y alumbrado en áreas descubiertas con postes y reflectores, hangar para lancha y bodegas, rampa botadero de lancha para el río, palapa con muelle de atraque junto al río.

Árboles frutales: 45 cocos en producción, 60 árboles frutales  (naranja, limón, ciruela, pistache, guanábana, anona, zapote, caimito, chaya, pepino kaat, aguacate, tamarindo)

My Two Centavos on the US Election – Romney vs Obama

Yesterday, while folding shirts I took the opportunity to listen to the keynote speeches from both the Republican and Democratic conventions ie Mitt (Mitt! Mitt!! Mitt!!!) Romney and Barack (4 more years! 4 more years!) Obama. I had a lot of shirts to fold.

First I watched Obama. Watched Michelle introduce him and actually teared up when she introduced him as “the love of her life, the father of their children…” as the man came on stage to thunderous applause. I’m a sap, I know. But can Anne Romney pull this off with any credibility? Obamas speech was, like practically all his speeches, well crafted, delivered with passion and eminently listenable-to. At the end, the kids came out and I thought “this is the man they accuse of being a Hitler, a communist, an atheist, destroyer of families, job eliminator and Muslim?” It’s just racism, plain and simple. They hate the fact that he is black and that says a lot about the good old U.S. of A. which has become a bipolar nation in severe need of a natural disaster to bring everyone back together under the same flag.

Of course there were things I didn’t agree with such as his pandering reference to the energy companies (“clean” coal – what the hell is that) and the continued insistence on being the greatest nation in the world. Um, no? But in general, the speech this man delivered made the time spent folding shirts pass quickly and effortlessly.

En cambio, although he also got thunderous and adulating applause, listening to Mitt Romney’s sappy story of his family’s life and their ‘struggles’ and the use of every cliché (“like every good American” “real American values” “we came together after the election because we are a good and generous people” etc ad nauseum) available to his speechwriters who must have just graduated from middle school in Kentucky, interspersed with crowds chanting “USA, USA” in a manner that suggested the sound might have been added later, actually made folding the shirts a boring tedious task as I was constantly seized by the urge to throw things at the computer. What people see in this uninspiring, white-bread, OBVIOUSLY fake human being is beyond me. Also, when I did glance at the computer screen, there were lots of closeups of very white people; the only blacks I saw were at the beginning, when a few black secret service dudes were there to control the enthusiastic white folks.

No comparison whatsoever. If millionaire Romney and his lackluster campaign wins the presidency, it will be a sad (and eminently boring) day for the USA and sadder still for the countries both to the south and north of the border of the ‘greatest nation on earth’.

links:

Obama – http://youtu.be/Hd8MFmUDbg4

Romney – http://youtu.be/MGTi4-ysJS8

Comic Relief – http://youtu.be/yoqKdWY692k

Typical Facebook Exchange?

I was looking for someone on Facebook and a similar name came up and so I clicked on it. There was a photo and this mind-numbing exchange. The names have been deleted to protect the author(s) but it is completely and absolutely real. Note the first two post is the same person talking to herself. Another reason to learn about privacy controls on Facebook.
Enjoy. Imagine it as a play.
    • Sandra R K where u at

      March 21 at 1:49pm
    • Sandra R K im here where are u

      March 21 at 1:49pm
    • Sue W love the picture

      March 21 at 1:52pm
    • Sandra R K thank you

      March 21 at 1:53pm
    • Sue W We all had some good times together. Remember the Sunday dinners and the holidays.

      March 21 at 1:57pm ·  1
    • Cindy R P yea we did

      March 21 at 2:08pm
    • Sandra R K u nonwhere that was taken at

      March 21 at 2:14pm
    • Cindy R P yes i do at dada bday at ur house

      March 21 at 2:35pm
    • Sandra R K i have some with dad and the grandkids and great grand kids we need to print ythem of and take some to dad

      March 21 at 3:46pm ·  1
    • Cindy R P yes we do he would like that u think he would like this one

      March 21 at 6:03pm
    • Kay R S Hi Family! Very nice. Could we all get a copy? How long ago was this taken?

      March 21 at 6:32pm
    • Kay R S Hi Suzy, Sandy and Cindy.

      March 21 at 6:34pm
    • Cindy R P dads birthday last nov 2010

      March 21 at 6:34pm ·  1
    • Cindy R P i will gwt some copys made

      March 21 at 6:36pm
    • Sandra R K tanks can u put in on your computer

      March 21 at 6:55pm
    • Sandra R K ok how do u do it i have more

      March 21 at 6:55pm
    • Cindy R P do what

      March 21 at 6:58pm
    • Sandra R K i have more pictures of dad bday on my computer

      March 21 at 6:59pm
    • Cindy R P sorry about that my computer keeps freezing up why cant i see u on her

      March 21 at 7:04pm
    • Sandra R K what do u mean u cant c me

      March 21 at 7:05pm ·  1
    • Cindy R P t dont see ur name on the chat rm when ur on here

      March 21 at 7:09pm
    • Sandra R K i dont c u eather

      March 21 at 7:11pm
    • Cindy R P r u not my friend

      March 21 at 7:12pm
    • Sandra R K what do i do

      March 21 at 7:13pm
    • Cindy R P u have to ask me to be ur friend

      March 21 at 7:15pm
    • Sandra R K how do i do that

      March 21 at 7:16pm
    • Cindy R P go to my page and clickon friends

      March 21 at 7:18pm
    • Cindy R P i was told that when they mow at the cementary theythrow the flowers away was there any trash can around there

      March 21 at 7:20pm
    • Sandra Ruckman Keehn no

      March 21 at 7:21pm
    • Cindy R P how did u lose me

      March 21 at 7:21pm
    • Sandra R K dont no

      March 21 at 7:22pm
    • Cindy R P when u click on my page does it say were friends

      March 21 at 7:25pm
    • Cindy R P u can go to ur friens list and it will tell u if were friends

      March 21 at 7:27pm
    • Sandra R K i cant find where u wrote

      March 21 at 7:30pm
    • Cindy R P go to ur friends list and look and see if im in ur friends list

      March 21 at 7:31pm
    • Sandra R K i still cantget u

      March 21 at 7:34pm
    • Patty D This is a wonderful pic!!!!

      March 22 at 8:07am
    • Angie S hi good pic

      March 25 at 7:46pm
    • Cindy R P thank u

      March 25 at 7:48pm

Are You as Sick of these Stupid Junk Mails as I am?

The innumerable emails that arrive each and every day announcing that I am a winner of this lottery or that make me wonder if these idiots that make this stuff up are actually having any success?

The one that caught my eye today was from the British Columbia Lottery. So many things are wrong with this email that it made me wonder about their success rate with this.

For example:

  • The return address is britishcolumbia@setab.gob.mx which is a Mexican government website, supposedly; obviously fake
  • The explanation says that the Colombian government together with the British government put this lottery together. Obviously the originator of this email is a geographic moron
  • The address of this “lottery corporation” is in Liverpool, England
  • The signee of this letter is Sir Gordons Fletcher. We stopped using royal titles in BC some time ago and Gordons with an ‘s’ sounds weird, doesn’t it?
  • The mail states that you must contact the Royal Bank of Scotland to claim your prize. Geez, any other countries involved?
  • The email (in Scotland, ha ha) is r.b.s.onlinebnk@admin.in.th Very Scottish, no?
  • The prize (for this BC Lottery) is paid in pounds sterling!

Bloody morons. So the question remains: is there any stats on how many people actually respond to these?

Message to the 99% – Screw Universities, It Ain’t Worth It

I would be interested to hear what my 13 readers have to say about the Occupy Wall Street/I am the 99% protests. A common thread seems to be the complaint about how far in debt people are with student loans for their university education. An immediate thought comes to mind for the up and coming: forget the college or university education and learn something technical. It seems that college and university tuition is way overpriced and way overvalued. And how many people expect to get their dream job upon graduating from university with their precious and expensive piece of paper? How realistic is that anyway?

A quick look at Craigslist’s job postings for Portland, Oregon shows over 400 jobs for today, November 14th alone. That’s just Craigslist; there must be other job postings as well. But perhaps idealistic young folks (much like university grads here in Mexico) feel that many of these jobs are “beneath” them perhaps? I don’t know.

Enlighten me.

The other complaint that comes up often is the medical bills.

“I am drowning in medical bills.”

“My mother got sick and we had to remortgage the house.”

Not much to do there except demand (gasp) socialized health care; a public option. Didn’t get voted on or even included in, the health reform debate when Mr. Change brought it up. Why not? Where were all the protesters then? The health issue is something that people need to pester their representatives in the government with until it changes. Focus the protests on THAT until it happens, I say.

And as for universities? Screw them. Their degrees, certificates and fancy diplomas aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

Dude! Really?

On my last visit to Vancouver, from which I have just returned only days ago, I was struck by the re-invention of the term “really” in the English language. I suspect that this is North America-wide and not just a Vancouver or Canadian thing as evidenced by a friend who visited from the nearby hamlet of Bellingham, Washington and uttered the expression in the title of this blog post over and over again.

“Really?” used to mean just that.

“I just bought a Ferrari” you would say.

“Really?” would be the incredulous or envious reply, depending on the self-esteem of the person you were conversing with.

If I were to describe the word ‘really?’ (as a question) as a wine it might be something like this: Questioning; with elements of sarcasm, disbelief and subtle undertones of disgust or pena ajena.

An example would be the following:

You are dying to get to a bathroom and simply cannot wait any longer. You stop between two cars in the parking lot to relieve yourself and your buddy, who had walked on ahead, walks back, sees what you are doing and says, with a pained look on his face “Dude. Really?”

I suppose a Spanish equivalent is being used as you read this, but I don’t know what it is. Perhaps “En serio, guey?” would be appropriate?