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Major website-management failure (Win Win Chick-N) due to ineptitude, and loss of business

There is a fast-food chicken place in our area called Win Win Chick-N. We’ve been meaning to try it out for a couple of years, but we never get around to it. However, one day last week was the day, and I worked my mouth into a lather thinking about eating fried chicken.

And then I tried to use their website.

Win Win Chick-N menu

Win Win Chick-N menu.

First thing I noticed was the pop-up offering me a coupon for $5 off my order, in exchange for my email address. OK, sure, so I give them one of my older rotating email addresses and get my coupon code: MYCOUPONCODE. Cool. Then I look at their menu, which you can see at left. I settle on the “2pc Delicious Fried Chicken Snack”. I switch to the order page and I notice that the price has suddenly gone up from $9.99 to $12.75, a 28% increase!

So, whatever, at least I’ll get five bucks off. Since I was ordering for two, that almost made up for the sudden, unadvertised price increase.

So I put two meals into my shopping cart. I took some time to try and figure out whether or not a drink was included in the meal combos I had ordered. It was very unclear to me whether or not a drink was included, as it wasn’t mentioned in the $9.99 description but it was mentioned on the order page. However, as we had actually already decided we’d be eating the meals at a nearby coffee house, where we’d be getting drinks anyway, I decided to go ahead. If we got the drinks, great; if we didn’t, great.

Win Win Chick-N coupon fail

Win Win Chick-N coupon fail.

Then I entered my coupon code. The response was, “Unable to find the requested campaign”! By that time I just lost it.

There was no way I was ordering from such a badly run website, as who knows how much my credit card would be really charged, how many times it would be charged, and what the hell we’d get when we got there and whether it would even be edible. And if they’d so badly screwed up everything up to that point, it was very, very unlikely things were going to suddenly get better from that point. Ironically, if we’d just gone to the place and waited the twenty or so minutes they suggested our food would take things probably would have gone fine. But now … we’ll probably never know.

Instead of spending about $30 plus taxes and a tip at Win Win Chick-N, we chose to go to another place we’d been meaning to visit for the last couple of years, Steveston Built, and spent about $70 there instead. We’d heard their prawn tacos were good, and they were. I sort of got my fried chicken fix with their “crispy buttermilk chicken burger”, which they kindly offered in a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.

Also offered on the Win Win Chick-N website is a “Valentine Special Best Gift Ever 2019”, in case you’d like to try and get back that girlfriend/boyfriend you lost in 2019. Good luck!

I likely won’t be going back unless I get a very earnest recommendation from someone I know (and they listen to my story first), and I don’t know the author of the old Globe and Mail opinion piece to which their website links.

Win Win Chick-N menu page

Win Win Chick-N menu page.

American Olympic gymnast quits, claiming “mental health”

I don’t generally take much notice of the Olympics — I left the country when they came to my city — but, as we all know, they get lots of press. You can’t miss them.

So, of course, I’m aware that a certain American gymnast suddenly stopped competing, apparently after not doing so well in one of her early events. I’m not even going to name her, but she is named in this CBC News story.

I’ve never competed at that level in any endeavour, sport or otherwise, but you don’t get to “that level” overnight; it’s a gradual progression of relentless training and competition. Theoretically, only those physically and mentally tough enough to compete at each level make it to the next level. And at each level there is tougher and tougher competition, and more and more pressure to perform, and greater and greater hopes and expectations, on the part of both the athletes and their fans/spectators.

As I say, I’ve read the article I’ve linked to above. I haven’t read much else about her and her decision, but the article above does seem to give a reasonably balanced view of her decision. However, the fact is, as I stated above, that she wasn’t recruited a week before her performance in Tokyo and thrust into the limelight with no preparation and the weight of the world on her shoulders; she’s had years to get there, to improve and adapt both physically and mentally.

The fact is that she quit the moment she didn’t quite perform up to snuff, and she is using the claim that she is taking care of her “mental health” as a crutch, and excuse. Recently tennis player Naomi Osaka also pulled out of competition with the same excuse. I scoffed at that too, to myself, although until now I wasn’t really as aware of the details as I don’t follow sports as closely or avidly as others. However, in Osaka’s case, she did not quit the moment things didn’t go her way; as I understand it there were a number of setbacks, not the least of which was the seemingly overbearing reaction to her plans to subject herself to less media scrutiny. She did, in her case, seem to be telegraphing that she needed some “space”, and when the jerks fining her started piling the pressure on top of that, she gave in. (With her wealth, it wasn’t the money, I’m sure.) Did she have more or less of an excuse to cave at the moment she did than the moment at which the American gymnast caved? I don’t really know … or care. It’s just that I don’t think there is really a valid comparison, as some have been making.

Should athletic organisations spend more time and effort training their athletes to be able to handle more pressure? How much pressure should they be able to handle? How do you objectively measure pressure? To answer that last question, I don’t believe you can. You only intuitively know when someone can’t handle pressure after the fact. And we all now know that the American gymnast can’t, and so therefore probably isn’t Olympic material.


Updated, 2021-09-08: I gave Naomi Osaka some leeway in this post, but after her performance during and after her match with Leylah Fernandez, I’m chucking her in the same category as Simone Biles. I see some commentators referring to this growing group as “Team Quit” and “Generation Quit”.

Google denies me access to my Adsense earnings

Defaced Google logo

Defaced Google logo.

Back in 2015 (or perhaps late 2014) Google suddenly, without notice, stopped paying me the revenue I was earning on the Adsense adverts I had on some of my websites. They also completely removed my ability to make changes to my account that would result in my being paid in some other way.

Have you ever tried to contact Google? No? Well, I’m here to tell you that unless you’re feeding their coffers with muchos dollars, they’re not the slightest bit interested in dealing with you peons. I followed instructions to contact a mailing list / forum, but that was certainly an eye-opening experience. Despite the fact that I used my real name, there I dealt with a person named “Publisher1”. I dealt with other people too, but the fact of the matter is that these people, for free (!), do nothing but defend Google’s indefensible actions! I was even accused of tax evasion, based on absolutely no evidence!

The fact of the matter is that big companies, like Google (and others), develop a culture of rabid “fanbois” who are, quite apparently, willing and able to be marshalled — at no cost to and with no oversight from Google — to be their “customer support” department … if you can even call it that. These so-called customer support people are free to do things that no paid employee wearing the company logo would do or be allowed to do, like accuse Google’s users of being tax evaders. In my case it was alleged by one of these fanbois that Google had read my emails about my situation, but rather than replying in the forum directly to me and providing official advice, they only — again, allegedly — claimed that the supposed “solution” offered by one of their fanbois was correct. At no point did Google distance themselves from the false accusations against me.

Anyway, since before 2015 I have slowly — far too slowly, I will admit — disentangled myself from Google. (The reasons are unrelated to the spat I’ve described above, but this spat was emblematic of the reasons.) In 2015 I got nowhere with my dispute, and I moved onto more important matters. In late 2020 I received an email from Google telling me that if I didn’t sign into my Adsense account by January they would “escheat [my] AdSense account balance to the government.” A few months later, this they did! I then applied to the government of the US state to which they escheated my money, and I got it! Best outcome ever!

So fuck you, Google and fanboi Publisher1. I, and common sense, won.

Whining Jet, popular Pfizer, bad drivers with red and blue lights

Un-sportsmanlike conduct

Not that the Winnipeg Jets had any chance, in my opinion, but they got their just comeuppance by being beaten four games straight in the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens. They didn’t deserve to win anything after that hit on Jake Evans by Mark Scheifele. All things considered in a high-speed part of a high-speed game, if you’re too damn slow to determine that there’s nothing you can do at that point except hit a guy when he has his head down and has already scored a goal, then you’re not NHL-calibre material, and you need to go back to the beer-hockey league from which you came.

Apparently the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is “popular”!

In a recent Global News broadcast, the teleprompter reader excitedly announced that, since the Pfizer COVID-19 has been so “popular” in this country, Pfizer, out of the goodness of their hearts, will be giving us wonderful, deserving Canadians three million more doses. (OK, the reader didn’t say anything about “out of the goodness of their hearts”, but that was the whole tone of the piece.) My chin hit the floor, and I may have drooled a little. What an asinine thing to say! First of all, it’s “popular” because people are desperate to be vaccinated and get on with their lives, not because it tastes great nine out of ten times in taste tests! And since they’re selling us (not giving us for free) so many more vaccines than the other approved manufacturers, of course their product is relatively more “popular”! My god. Don’t these people have brains?!

Tailgating a cop

Red and blue police lights bar

So I was driving along a freeway in the Greater Vancouver area a few days ago. As is pretty typical in this part of the world, our freeways are, for the most part, only two lanes wide. I suppose the government wasn’t too forward looking back in the 1940s, but neither are they today. One of the many issues exacerbated by two-lane freeways is the congestion that happens at on-ramps. In this case, as I approached an on-ramp, there actually wasn’t any congestion caused by cars moving out of the so-called slow lane into the passing lane to allow cars entering the freeway to do so unimpeded.

As I approached the on-ramp I observed three vehicles on the on-ramp entering the freeway. The middle one was a dirty, blue pick-up truck with a canopy. I maintained my speed — which, I admit, was slightly over the speed limit, but not a speed that was out of line with other traffic on freeways — as I intended to pass the slower vehicles entering the freeway. No problem, right? Except, as happens so often, the pick-up truck decides his wishes are far more important (or he didn’t bother to check his side-view mirror), and he (I assume it was a he, for reasons that will become obvious) pulled into the passing lane with little or no obvious attempt to accelerate past the vehicle that had been in front of him on the on-ramp.

I immediately disengaged the cruise control, and allowed myself to coast up behind the pick-up truck. It is not my practice to overreact to the idiotic behaviour of other drivers, so I did not slam on the brakes and immediately establish a two-second following distance behind an asshole who had impeded my progress on a freeway. As my speed bled off, I guess “he” (the driver of the pick-up truck) didn’t like my following distance. Instead of accelerating as he should have, he flicked on his red and blue police lights. OK, so instead of driving like a reasonable person and not impeding the flow of traffic on a freeway, you’re going to fucking turn on your red-and-blues and show me what a big dick you have, and how you own me. Congratulations, you win!

I again did not slam on the brakes; I just continued to let my speed bleed off until I had established the aforementioned two-second following distance, and we both carried on. I wasn’t going to start flashing my headlights at the moron.

I suppose I’m lucky I didn’t get pulled over and ticketed for following too closely or for speeding, but I have encountered this kind of asshole behaviour by cops in unmarked vehicles before. It just reinforces my view that if you’re a cop, you can do whatever the hell you want, and if you’re not, well … you can’t. One rule for the ruled, and no rules for the rulers.

More whingeing about COVID

(The date on this post is 25 May, but it was posted on 24 May in the Pacific time zone.)

Forgive me, but I really can’t get away from it. Perhaps I should just stop watching the news.

There are two groups of people in the news these days who really can’t stop whining about the situation in which they find themselves. Look, I get it. Pandemics are no fun, especially when they have decimated or even destroyed your business or almost destroyed your industry. But unless or until someone produces evidence that some government somewhere intentionally inflicted this disease on us, you can’t pick and choose your targets. In this particular part of the world, it is not the fault of the Canadian or British Columbian governments.

Two groups in particular need to keep that in mind: restaurants, and the cruise ship industry.

By all accounts, the health restrictions that have kept restaurants closed over the last couple of months will be relaxed tomorrow, Tuesday 25 May. (See date note above.) But that’s not good enough for the restaurant owners! No! They want advance notice! These idiots need to realise that advance notice isn’t the issue; it’s everyone getting the same amount of notice. So if the government of BC states tomorrow that restaurants can open again, what more could you possibly want? Were you thinking that there’d be a queue of diners at your place on Tuesday for breakfast? Give your fucking head a shake! If it’s going to take you a week to order food and schedule staff, then it means that you and your competitors won’t open for a week. Or, if your competitors are better than you and therefore more deserving of being patronised, they’ll beat you, and you’ll earn a day or a few day’s less revenue than them. That’s your fault, not the fault of the BC government.

On today’s Global News, the President and CEO of the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association, Ian Tostenson, stated that “the most important” consideration is predictability for the industry! It almost sounds like he’s catering to the likes of the owner of Corduroy, the idiot anti-masker who flouted health rules and was closed down. Tostenson has, admittedly, done a fairly decent job of being more moderate, but placing “predictability” for restaurant owners above the health of the population is completely idiotic. As I’ve said before, COVID isn’t taking calls right now, so without the disease’s cooperation, there won’t be any predictability. The government doesn’t control COVID; COVID controls the government.

Cruise ship, Canada Place, Vancouver

Cruise ship, Canada Place, Vancouver. (Picture courtesy of PxHere.)

And then there’s the cruise ship industry. The Canadian government has barred cruise ships from Canadian ports until sometime after this summer, or perhaps early next year. (The notice seems to be missing from the Government of Canada travel advisories website, or it’s buried, so I don’t know the exact date off the top of my head.) In the meantime, the United States has passed a government bill that no longer requires cruise ships leaving US ports (e.g., Seattle) to stop in a foreign port (i.e., one in Canada) before sailing onto Alaska. To be frank, although I’ve known about this law for some time, I don’t know the details of it, including why it came into existence. However, I suspect that it was a requirement of these ships being allowed to transit through Canadian national waters.

But guess what folks? There’s a pandemic!

The US government has stated that the authorisation to bypass Canadian ports is temporary. I don’t have any contacts in the US government, but if they say that, why can’t we accept them at their word? If the American population is largely fully vaccinated, and they want to open up domestic travel, then why the fuck would we stop them?! Why would we get in their way?! And why would Americans want to stop in a country that now has a higher infection rate than they, at one time, did? It’s the Canadian government that is stopping those cruise ships from stopping in Victoria, Vancouver and (possibly) Prince Rupert, not the American government! The American’s are completely within their rights to attempt to get their economy back on the rails, without any interference from a foreign authority. If the American government won’t repeal this law at some point in the future, then Canada can always bar cruise ships from Canadian waters entirely, forcing them to sail 200 nautical miles to international waters before heading to Alaska, or pass a law requiring them to stop if they want to use Canada’s waters — despite what idiot politicians may or may not utter.

End of rant. Get a grip people. History will not look too kindly on you morons.

Statistics Canada census website won’t load

Front of Census reminder notice, 2021-05-14

Front of Census reminder notice, 2021-05-14.

Back of Census reminder notice, 2021-05-14

Back of Census reminder notice, 2021-05-14.

In today’s mail I received a “2021 Census: reminder” notice. On the outside of the notice it states, “Complete your questionnaire now — it’s the law.” (Emphasis mine.)

However, I can’t load the Census website. I suspect they’re blocking my connection, because I can access all other websites I visit, and can download my email. If they are indeed blocking a Canadian IP address then they can’t expect 100% compliance.

So I have returned their notice to sender. See my scans of the notice, which I returned unopened.

Screenshot of failed loading of Census website on laptop, 2021-05-05

Screenshot of failed loading of Census website on laptop, 2021-05-05.

Screenshot of failed loading of Census website on phone, 2021-05-05

Screenshot of failed loading of Census website on phone, 2021-05-05.

(Among other things, the point of this post — which I meant to make last week actually, but didn’t get around to — is to create what I hope will be a legal record of my failed attempt to comply with “the law”.)

Got my COVID shot

Craig gets his first shot

Craig gets his first shot.

Also in the ancient past, I got the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine just over three weeks ago. My first of two shots. Yay me! Whoever has issues with getting a vaccine because of potential side effects is obviously very bad at maths.

Enough about COVID

Except to say that Ontario seems to have overstepped the mark, turning themselves into a Draconian society where everyone is pissed off by measures that don’t have any measurable impact. So much for being driven by science. (Doug Ford seems to have woken up since.)

Safeway fraud

Useless Safeway coupon (2019)

Useless Safeway coupon (2019).

This has bothered me for a long time, at least a couple of years but maybe more. (I first scanned one of these coupons in 2019 for this post, but the first website screenshot is from 2018.) Safeway prints out a fuel coupon for “4 cents off/litre” with just about every receipt. But where can I, as a resident of the Greater Vancouver area, use this coupon? According to their own website, the only Safeway with a “gas bar” (as of yesterday) is at “South Trail Crossing” in Calgary! There did used to be a gas bar in Aldergrove, but if I’m out that way I’m usually driving further east, in which case I drive a couple of miles further and I’m out of the Vancouver fuel tax area (or whatever it’s called) and I save even more at one of the fuel stations deliberately set up there. However, according to their website the Aldergrove store doesn’t exist any more.

Useless Safeway coupon (2021)

Unusable Safeway coupon (2021).

A couple of years ago I literally threw the coupon back at the cashier and told them it was a “waste of paper and a fraud”. I have to get back into that habit, as it’s dishonest of Safeway to “gift” their customers with something they can’t even use.

Shaw

Speaking of customer feedback, Shaw called me recently to renew my two-year contract with them. I immediately launched into how pissed off I am at their cable service, and how I will become an ex-customer if their merger with Rogers goes through. The guy actually had the balls to tell me that the merger was not his responsibility! So I told him how I don’t have the ear of Brad Shaw, so the only thing I can do is talk to his employees and tell them how pissed off I am. It’s then his job to tell his supervisor, whose job it is to then tell his manager, who passes it on up the line to Brad Shaw.

Are employees not taught any more how customer feedback works, or do companies rely completely on leading survey questions that always lead companies to conclude that they’re the most wonderful thing since sliced bread?

Robert Dziekanski

I noted that it would have been Robert Dziekanski’s 54th birthday on 15 April. If the RCMP hadn’t murdered him for no reason.

Racist attacks on Asians in the US

Did anyone notice a couple of weeks ago that the attacks on Asians in New York City caught on video where perpetrated by Blacks? Am I allowed to say that? I thought only Whites were racist? I’m so confused.

“Do you identify as an Indigenous person?”

Speaking of race, I noticed when registering for a COVID-19 vaccine recently that I was asked this question. It’s emblematic of Canada’s relationship with the country and people they colonised, but it exposes the weaknesses in “politically correct” use of language. I am fully supportive of trans-gendered people, but I can decide today that I “identify” as female; if I do, it will be politically incorrect to question me and ask to check my shorts, but I can guarantee that if I answered “yes” to this question, I’d be questioned at the vaccine site and sent away.

Off-duty cops pulls gun on unarmed arsonist; arsonist wins

In the keystone cops department, we recently had a case here where an arsonist set two fires at Masonic Temples in North Vancouver, in broad daylight, then drove across the bridge and did the same at another in Vancouver. He was brazen about it! At the last a bystander videoed him walking away from the front door with a jerry can back to his car. An apparently off-duty police officer approaches his with his drawn pistol. You’d think that would be the end of it, according to the NRA in the United States, where armed members of the public are supposed to keep the world safe from criminals. But no, the arsonist shrugs off the cop, and goes home to boast about his escapades on social media. He was later arrested somewhere other than one of the scene of his crimes, where he was “threatened” by the cop.

If there was an opposite of a police medal (booby prize?), this cop should get it. But first the cops should be trained on what to do in that situation. Step 1 should not be to draw your weapon. That’s going nuclear from the get-go, and we all know that cops are absolutely incapable of backing down, or de-escalating, a situation. So if you’re going to open the confrontation by drawing your gun, the only option then is to shoot the guy if he doesn’t comply with your orders. As moronic as the arsonist is, arson in and of itself is not a capital crime. (We can argue whether or not stupidity should be.) But if a cop really thinks that a brazen arsonist is just going to get on his knees and kiss his boots as soon as he has a pistol pointed at him, the cop is almost as moronic.

BBC News website

BBC registration pop-up

BBC registration pop-up.

I get my news from a variety of websites, but one of the main ones is BBC News. However, they have taken to harassing me lately with pop-ups (see image) and banners, insisting that I register … which I see as an ominous sign. One banner or pop-up states that “you can get the news you want”, or words to that effect. I don’t know how an international organisation with the reach and expanse of the BBC can’t see how fucking stupid that is. The reason the whole world is becoming and has become more polarised is precisely because people are being siloed into news bubbles, never seeing anything that “disagrees” with their view of the world. This is, apparently, how they’re trying to sell me on the concept of registering with them.

Prince Philip (10 June 1921 - April 2021), BBC

Prince Philip (10 June 1921 – April 2021), BBC.

In other BBC news, they had the dates of Prince Philip’s life as “10 June 1921 – April 2021”. Yes, no actual day in the date of his death. The BBC is good in their coverages of world news, but their Web team is letting them down.

Prince Philip

Speaking of Prince Philip, I noticed a woman (not a CBC journalist) on the CBC (I believe it was) professing, quite proudly, her ignorance of Prince Philip. This is how low the CBC has gone; they now give air time to people who are mindfully ignorant of world affairs.

This month’s news … so far

Like all the TV news broadcasts these days, I’ll start with the latest COVID-19 stupidity.

BC starts three-week lockdown, Big White parties

Big White party

Big White party.

So at the end of March 2021 the Province of British Columbia ordered a three-week (now extended) “lockdown” … although the definition of “lockdown” does seem to vary wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. To “celebrate” this — and, apparently, to sell off liquor stock, and deal with the fact that the ski season and the jobs of many had ended abruptly and unexpectedly as a result — an establishment at Big White Ski Resort apparently hosted an impromptu party. Here’s a video.

Apparently Big White has terminated the lease of the establishment, Charlie Victoria’s. The owner also apparently apologised, for which he deserves kudos, but it just goes to show you that too many people don’t take this disease seriously.

Other restaurants flagrantly defying health orders

Corduroy owner smirks as she sees inspectors out. The inspectors had the last laugh though; she's shut down.

Corduroy owner smirks as she sees inspectors out. The inspectors had the last laugh though; she’s shut down.

Also after the three-week lockdown started, Corduroy and Gusto restaurants in Vancouver openly defied the health orders. There have been noises by them and others about not being able to survive another lockdown. I sympathise with this, I really do. However, unless you belong to the anti-mask and/or conspiracy theory crowds, this pandemic isn’t designed to drive everyone out of business. So if you’re defying health orders, you’re barking up the wrong tree. You should be complaining to COVID-19, but since COVID-19 isn’t taking calls right now, just fucking follow the health orders and complain to or ask the government for more money to help you through. Get with the programme.

It was particularly amusing to see the owner/manager of Gusto being interviewed the day after he was shut down. All of his Italian bravado from the day before — his “gusto” — had disappeared with his tail between his legs!

As for the owner/manager of Corduroy, she apparently made some comment to the health inspectors about being immune from the order because she is a woman, only subject to “common law” and was holding her child. Huh? She clearly doesn’t know what “common law” is. However, there were known anti-maskers at her restaurant (according to the video, they all congregated there after an anti-mask demonstration), so who the hell knows what kind of kooky view she and they have of the law. Maybe they’re “sovereign citizens“. Whatever the case, they certainly demonstrated the well-known mob mentality here in Vancouver, the same stupidity that has led to two Stanley Cup riots here. They have it in Calgary too though, where a crowd was calling health inspectors there “Nazis”, and people there are calling for the arrest and jailing of the Province’s health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw. Such incredible fucking ignorance.

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary gets some air time!

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

On the opposite end of the scale, we have the various doctors, specialists and scientists who have been providing commentary to the media. One of the most prolific standouts has been Dr. Lynora Saxinger. I check in on her Twitter feed occasionally, and am amazed at how well she handles her detractors.

But what stands out most to me is her set of Shorter Oxford English Dictionaries on her bookshelf in what appears to be her home office. I give her two thumbs up for those!

I’m not exactly Room Rater, but I do contrast that with the doctor whose room decorations are two, seemingly strategically placed guitar cases, either side of and behind him. Maybe there are guitars in them — who knows? — but, they’re very puzzling decorations to have in his camera’s field of vision for someone who is on TV for non-musical reasons.

The trump of Canada

Staying in Alberta, Jason Kenney (the premier of Alberta) made reference in an appearance to “abstract political principles” recently when he was criticising people who were being critical of his government’s public health orders rolling back premature openings. This is the guy who criticised the Federal government for violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms early in and several times during the pandemic. How is that not the pot calling the kettle black?!

Vaccines

Shantanu Kuveskar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Shantanu Kuveskar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

I heard today that vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaxers are so prevalent in the United States that the whole country may never actually achieve herd immunity. What is wrong with Americans?! They’re supposedly the smartest, richest people on the planet, but they behave like monkeys … except many monkeys may be smarter.

Then again, this week Canada overtook America in our number of infections per hundred people. Go Team Canada! We can be as stupid as Americans!

As for me, I’ll take the first damn vaccine I can get as soon as I can get it, even if it’s the OxfordAstraZeneca vaccine. Or give me the one-shot-and-you’re-done Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Absolutely no vaccine hesitancy here, I can guarantee you. I am reasonably adept at maths and am willing to take the chance with blood clots.

But at the rate things are going — with public health policy apparently rewarding bad behaviour by giving early vaccines to populations who and areas (Whistler, Surrey) that have been getting sick — I might be the last person in the country who is vaccinated, simply because I have followed all the rules and have not caught the disease. Yay me. That said, I do realise that many of those getting the disease these days are essential workers, so I’m torn between wanting to get my vaccine yesterday, and wanting all of the people who don’t have a choice of where and when they work to get protected.

Last word to the restaurant owners

I came upon this letter to the editor from Kathony Jerauld in Amador City (which appears to be in central California, USA) on Twitter recently. Apologies for not noting the URL at the time, but here it is:

"Freedom Café", by Kathony Jerauld

“Freedom Café”, by Kathony Jerauld.

Turns out there is actually at least one relatively intelligent American!

Rogers buys Shaw. How bad can the news get?

Three weeks ago it was announced that Rogers Communications Inc. is planning to buy Shaw Communications Inc. This is yet another example of the big communications and media companies in Canada giving the middle finger to the public, and doing what they want to maintain the oligopoly they hold over the aforementioned marketplaces. Study after study, year after year finds that Canadians pay the highest prices for cell phone usage in the world, and yet the federal government, who are supposed to regulate these companies, pays lip service to lower prices but never actually follow that up with action.

Shaw owns Freedom Mobile (to whom I refer as “Troublesome Mobile” given the absolute gong show I had transferring a number to them from Virgin, a number I actually had to abandon), and they are the only reason I only quite recently got a cell phone in Canada. Before 2019 I found it more convenient and cheaper to have a phone with an American provider and “roam” in Canada. I combined that with Sugar Mobile to have a Canadian phone number. It wasn’t exactly a great system, but having lived in Third World countries in the past I am used to “making a plan” to work around the inefficiencies of Third World governments and thinking. Welcome to Canada.

Ironically, Air Canada just cancelled their planned purchase of Air Transat. The reason? The European Commission wanted concessions from the newly enlarged airline, while the Canadian government had given the green light to the merger. Thank the gods for the EC, saving Canadians from ourselves.

There has been talk that the federal government could insist that Freedom Mobile and perhaps Shaw’s fledgling cell phone service, Shaw Mobile, be excluded from the deal, to do something to encourage the nascent development of competition in our mobile industry, but such a suggestion assumes that the Canadian federal government has the cojones to do so. (But speaking of Shaw Mobile, it looks to me a lot like Sugar Mobile, the company against which Rogers successfully waged a legal challenge to shut them down in 2017! That hypocrisy is a story for another day though.) While I would support the federal government doing something like that, it won’t be enough for other opponents of the deal, such as OpenMedia.

I can assure Brad Shaw and Edward Rogers though that, regardless of the action or lack thereof from the Canadian government, if the purchase and merger go ahead, the new company will lose a long-time customer of Internet connectivity, cable TV, and now cell/mobile service. The cell service will go back to the United States; Internet will probably go to one of the resellers (possibly even of Rogers, but we don’t have much choice), and if I can get my shit together we’ll “cut the cable” completely.


Updated, 2021-04-07: Add link to Troublesome Mobile.

Non-fungible tokens, and other news

So Jack Dorsey’s selling of his first tweet came to my attention recently. Huh. I’ve just loaded it in my browser (you can too, by clicking the link), without paying anyone $2.5 million, or whatever it’s up to today. I can take a screenshot of it, print it on paper or to PDF, put a laurel of gold leaves around it, save it to my hard drive … and never look at it again.

On the other hand, if I had a few hundred million dollars I might buy the Mona Lisa, hang it on my wall, and impress my friends.

Maybe I’m an old fuddy-duddy already, but I get the latter, but not the former. I do own art in various forms — paintings (originals, not prints), sculptures, books, photographs, etc. — but just because you can (theoretically) make something digital “artificially scarce” doesn’t mean a damned thing to me. If you buy Jack’s tweet, how is that better than the screenshot I just took? How does it make you better than me, or perhaps how does it just make you better? Or ultimately, how does it make the world better? That last question is a question that more people should ask themselves more often.

Bizarre organisational names

The domain humana.org came to my attention today. No particular reason. But the organisation’s full name on their extended validation certificate caught my eye. “The Fed. for Ass. conn. to the I…”. See for yourself.

Humana SSL certificate

Humana SSL certificate.

This is apparently short for “The Federation for Associations connected to the International Humana People to People Movement”. (There’s probably a single German word for that, which would make sense seeing as they’re in Switzerland.) The abbreviation “ass” for the long word “association” (or “assemblies” in the case of “Assemblies of God”, or “Ass. of God” as you see on signs all over parts of Africa) always gets my puerile mind’s attention!

Anyway, my point is more about the long and involved name rather than the connection I make to someone’s buttocks.

Vaccines in Canada

Justin Trudeau is still, laughably, sticking to his “every Canadian will be vaccinated by the end of September” dog-and-pony routine, while others involved have finally admitted that they “hope” to have all of us vaccinated by Canada Day, July 1st. (Hey, three days before the Americans!) I’ll believe it when I see it, as at this point both the Americans and the Canadians seem to be tossing numbers in the air like crazed jugglers, for the amusement of the crazed public watching them on TV.

Royal wankers

Seemingly everyone and their donkey are talking about Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey recently. To me that’s a very good reason not to talk about it, but here we go anyway.

First, if one was actually able to talk to the couple as real people, they’re probably decent human beings, don’t get me wrong.

However, they are two of the most privileged people in the entire fucking world. I don’t care that Markle is female and half black — two of the traits that apparently make you less privileged — but she is more privileged than I will ever be in my life. And yet she married into the British Royal Family and is … surprised (?!) … that her life is not turning out like the Disney version of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”?! Give me a fucking break!

I have endless sympathy for Harry and what he lost when his mother was, essentially, murdered by the press, who are an extension of everyone who has ever bought a copy of a rag with lurid headlines. And I sure wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of their headlines and despicable behaviour, as Markle has been. However, she chose to be in that position. Yes, she did it for love, but some things aren’t worth love … or some love isn’t worth some things, however you want to regard it.

I don’t care if “The Firm” folds tomorrow and disappears. However, Harry and Markle are world class whiners who used up their fifteen minutes of fame long ago, and don’t deserve another second. I don’t care who apparently speculated on the hue of their first kid’s skin and their motivation; it is something to wonder about in a mixed-race union that produces children! It’s something that more than one cheating wife or girlfriend has had to be concerned about in the history of humanity! But their going on TV and complaining about how terrible their lives are — to the point of contemplating suicide — is an absolute joke. Other people have had to suffer far worse lives than those two, and someone should apprise them of that fact.