Monthly Archives: December 2012

Merry…. Happy….. Never Mind

Being Canadian has to be the weirdest around holidays. Especially in Toronto where there are so many different people from around the world living here. Different cultures, different religions… I take it for granted now, but it’s pretty amazing that we all get along the way we do. Relatively speaking anyways. We still don’t really get along as well as we could, especially around the holidays.
I deal with the public for a living. When someone I’ve been dealing with leaves, I say ‘have a great day’. I say this during the day. I say this at night. I say this every day of the week. I say this on Holidays, both national and religious. It’s my thing. Have a great day. Nobody gets offended. Nor should they. It’s very Canadian to not want to offend anyone.

I first became aware of different cultural beliefs when there was a student in my class whose parents made an arrangement to have them ‘pulled’ from the room every morning when we said the Lord’s Prayer. I think this was Grade 1, and it was quite some time ago, because we sang the national anthem (which I’m sure they still do), but then we followed it with the Lord’s Prayer. That seems crazy to me now for public school to do that, but they did. I guess they figured we were all cool with that. I felt bad for the kid though. It’s just embarrassing to be pulled from the class for 2 minutes a day for any reason. I don’t know if the parents thought this kid would turn into a raging Christian or what, but they didn’t want to take any chances.

As the years went by, more and more immigrants descended on Toronto. They stopped doing the Lord’s Prayer in Public Schools at some point. Which I agree with. People can go to church for that. It should be optional. There are lots of churches here or temples or whatever you need for whatever religion you are. I guess different people’s belief systems make them who they are, and inform them on how to interact in the world. It’s truly interesting and sometimes fun that there are so many, but when Christmas rolls around??? Not so much fun.

The consensus seems to be that in order to be sensitive to everybody here, that we shouldn’t be wishing people a ‘Merry Christmas’. Even if it is Christmas, and there’s no competing holiday for any other religion on that day. The politically correct term we can use is ‘Happy Holidays’. That’s more inclusive. I’m OK with that. I’ll go with the majority. If I’m dealing with the public, I don’t want to assume that you celebrate Christmas. I don’t want to assume that if you did, that you could or would be able to have a happy or merry one. So sometimes I say ‘Happy Holidays’ which is recommended. Most of the time I say ‘Have a great day’ which is even less offensive.

Here’s the real problem. Why is Merry Christmas offensive?? December 25th is Christmas whether you celebrate it or not. When I wish you a Happy Christmas, I’m wishing you a Happy Day. I’m not telling you to go to church, I’m not telling you to sell out your own god, I’m not telling you to decorate your house, I’m not telling you to sacrifice a goat, I’m just wishing you Happy Days. Sunday Monday Happy Days. Tuesday Wednesday Happy Days. Thursday Friday Happy Days. Saturday, what a day, groovin all week with you. You know the rest. I’m just wishing you a happy day. Why is that offensive?? If you said Happy Hanukkah to me I wouldn’t be offended because I’m not Jewish. I’d be happy that you shared some positive words with me. I’d list off a few other examples, but I really don’t know that much about the other religious holidays. Just know that if your religion has a holiday where it’s customary to wish somebody well during that time, you can wish me well, and I would be happy that you did. Not offended, that’s absurd.

To make matters COMPLETELY worse, I’ve noticed a lot of Canadians who do celebrate Christmas posting stuff on their Facebook that is making is seem like ‘Happy Holidays’ is offensive to them because we should be saying Merry Christmas, and never mind what everybody else thinks about it. I understand the sentiment, but really??? You’re badmouthing ‘Happy Holidays’????

Everybody needs to just calm the fuck down!

Whether you believe in Jesus, Santa Claus or somebody or something else, or none of the above…… Christmas is a time to be cool. You’re not being cool! No matter what religion you are part of, the major holidays are about being with your family, friends and spreading good cheer. It’s not about money, expectations, stress and nonsense. All this arguing is bringing me down man. It’s petty. Grow Up!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Have a Great Day!!


I had so many fun and lighthearted topics to choose from this week, but I just can’t seem to get my head (or heart) around the school shootings in Connecticut that have taken place since my last blog.  We’ve seen tragedies like this before, but never REALLY like this.  I don’t know why it’s affecting me so much.  I’ve felt an awful combination of sickness and sadness whenever I think about this.  Is it because of the age of the kids, or because I am now a father?  Either way, what’s always interesting to me is how the aftermath plays out.

First we mourn for the families which makes sense, and it should really stop there.  Then, it’s the blame game.  As if you can undo all of this as long as you are able to isolate the cause.  Or at very least you can stop it from happening again.  I don’t think that’s true….. it was too random.  Plus I think it makes people feel horrible to think that it could have been prevented.  I don’t think it helps the grieving process at all.  They’ll do their best to break it down in the coming weeks, and the public will argue and debate which ‘reason’ they think was the primary motive behind it.  Then the government will step in and throw some money at the winner.

What’s to blame?

– Gun Control???  (Pick me, Pick me!!!)  Yes and no.  Gun control is absolutely a problem in the United States, although most of their population refuses to admit it.  There are many who feel their right to ‘bear arms’ is more important than the overall safety of their population.  Was it responsible for this incident?  I doubt it.  I’m sure a properly motivated killer could find a murder weapon whether it was easy or difficult.  I’d say that hopefully the aftermath leads the politicians to look at this closer though.  Sometimes in politics, it takes something like this to sway public opinion, and open up some minds.  This could be a huge opportunity to take steps to making America a safer place.  They’ve shown little to no interest in gun control for the sake of stopping inner city violence, but 20 schoolchildren between the ages of 5-10???  I sure hope something good comes out of this.

– Lack of awareness of mental health issues???  Maybe.  This is always a problem.  Especially in young people.  When a teenager is acting out, people are always so dismissive.  Is this some undiagnosed problem?  Were people around this guy being sensitive to it?  Was his own family sensitive to it?  I haven’t done any research to find out the story about the killer.  I’m sure more details in will surface in the aftermath.  I will say this…. You have to be absolutely dripping with evil to do what he did on the scale that he did it.  How did that evil not manifest itself earlier in life?  Who knows?  It’s almost always mental health issues that people don’t know about.  I don’t believe anybody in their right or wrong mind would do what he did.  There have to be factors at play that we don’t know about.

– The Parents?  Easy target.  Divorced.  The mother was one of the victims.  How bad could they have possibly been at parenting that this happened?  I don’t think so.  Apparently she kept a lot of guns in the house though.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter who’s to blame.  It’s over.  It doesn’t sound like there’s anything to learn.  It doesn’t sound like there was any way to prevent it.  One thing for sure is that in the weeks to come it will be analyzed to death.  All of the US networks can pencil this into the news programming for the next 6 months.  Reporters can dig up all the dirt they can find about every person who ever knew or dealt with the killer’s family.  It’s only a matter of time before this is referenced in a tasteless rap lyric.  We will all hold opinions about this and judge people we’ve never met before.

We can only hope that something like tighter gun control is what comes from this.  Other than that, maybe for a day or two we hugged our children just a little bit longer.  Maybe we decided against berating the kid who took to long to give us our order at McDonalds.  Maybe for a time we united with our enemies over the grief of senseless killings of school children.  Hopefully this reminded us that life isn’t something to be taken for granted.  Hopefully there’s some way to turn this violence from the past into a peaceful future.  Hopefully something positive and lasting comes out of the aftermath!

Carpe Diem…. Or Don’t…. And Other Stuff

I hate it when people say Carpe Diem.  I don’t know why.  It’s supposed to inspire you to do things.  It doesn’t work for me.  Too many people say it.  Too many Non-Latin Day Seizers out there for my liking.  Don’t tell me to seize the day.  You seize the day and show me how awesome it was, and then I’ll want to do it myself.  Lead by example!  What’s the Latin terminology for that??  According to the Internet it’s ‘plumbum per exempoator’!!!!  I know…… Not so catchy is it?  Carpe Diem is easy.  Convenient!  Lazy!  I feel like it’s a way to make yourself sound interesting by using a different language, and saying something uplifting at the same time.  I’m going to come up with a new catch phrase that you can all start using.  It will mean something to me when I hear it.  It will mean something to everyone when they hear it.  It won’t be some vague instruction, but it won’t be so specific to any one situation so as not to make sense in others.  It will also be in English.  The only language I speak.  This is gold.  Are you ready????

‘Finish That Thing You Started!’

Well???  What do you think?  Is that Nike calling me for slogan rights?  Status updates will never be the same.  This has crazy T-Shirt potential.  There’s not a person on the planet that can’t relate to that message, and get inspired to do whatever that little project was that they always wanted to do, but never found the time.  Finish it!!!!  You’re welcome Oprah!

OK, I can’t go on like this….. I don’t really feel like writing a full blog on one idea.  Which is good and bad for me.  Good because I don’t have to burn a lot of creativity trying to stretch out a mediocre topic, but bad because I will have to burn 3 or 4 blog ideas just to get up to my usual word count.  So without further ado, (and fully in the spirit of finishing what I started) I bring you…..

‘Other Stuff’

– I saw a bus ad the other day for a website, and they don’t reveal the company’s name (yet…..I’m sure I will have to see two or three more teasers first….awesome).  In the picture, there’s a guy in a scuba suit in a cage in the ocean with a bunch of sharks swimming around, and he’s giving a thumbs up to the camera (which I’m assuming indicates that he’s there by choice).  The poster says ‘What does your freedom look like?’  To that I say….. ‘I just hope it doesn’t look like I’m trapped in a cage with a bunch of hungry sharks swimming around.’  That looks way more like confinement to me, but different strokes for different folks I guess.

– Also on the bus (man, I could have made this a ‘shit I see on the bus’ blog, and used the Carpe Diem thing later.  Oh well), I saw a lady who had hair down to the backs of her knees, which is bad enough.  She was wearing a jacket, and the hair was tucked into the jacket.  Unfortunately the jacket only went down to her waist, so the rest of her hair was showing below her jacket, effectively making her a horse.  Sexy.

– I saw a quick story about Arizona executing a prisoner for a 1991 murder.  I don’t have strong feelings about the death penalty either way (other than you better be damn sure you got your man), but isn’t the whole point so you can save money?  What’s the point of feeding someone and giving him free rent for 20 years if you’re just going to kill him anyways?

– There’s a TV commercial with Jennifer Garner, and at the end she’s holding up a makeup remover with a bunch of removed makeup on it and she says ‘does your makeup remover do this’?  Now I don’t wear makeup, so I may not be the best person to ask, but if I did, and someone asked me ‘does your makeup remover do this?’, and then pointed at the makeup remover which had successfully removed the makeup??  My answer would be ‘I sure fuckin hope so!’



The Nasty Movember Blog I Almost Wrote

It’s the first blog of December, which means I’m free of ‘Movember’ commercials for yet another year, and inundated with Holiday Shopping commercials, but that’s another story.  I had an idea cooked up in my head which was sort of meant to discredit a charitable organization.  What a Scrooge!  Who does that?

I became aware of Movember last year.  It’s meant to be a charity that encourages men to grow mustaches for the month of November to raise awareness for men’s health, particularly Prostate Cancer.  It was almost the end of November 2011 before I even knew that’s what it was for.  They ran incredibly vague but highly stylized commercials of dudes stroking their mustaches without any real mention of why.  Maybe it was that new form of slick advertising where they give you a tease, and the reveal happens later.  This works for some things, but if you want me to start growing a mustache at the beginning of the month, and raise money for your organization, I’d like the reveal to come a little sooner.  Maybe you thought that I had a smart phone, and I’d be so mesmerized and curious by all the mustache twirling, that I’d immediately look you up online to see what all the fuss was about.  None of this took place.  I eventually asked a friend, because I became increasingly annoyed with the advertising not really addressing what the issue was about.  It really just looked (looks) like an excuse to grow a mustache, which is a very hip look right now even though only about 10% of men can truly pull it off.  In downtown Toronto where Hipsters scurry around the streets with their Latte’s and their knitting needles (apparently), this was a big deal.  Everywhere you turned, you saw a Movember stache.

2012 rolled around and a new Movember took place.  This time I knew what it was about from the get-go.  Again the constant advertising.  Only marginally less vague than the previous year.  It really is the talk of the town in this part of the world.  What’s the talk of the town??  The charity and how you can get involved????  No.  Prostate Cancer????  No, I haven’t heard a single person mention that.  Mustaches?????  Yes.  It seemed to be the charity that didn’t know it was a charity.  On Facebook, I saw a lot of acquaintances growing mustaches, but I only saw one guy looking for pledges.

This left me with a number of questions.  Are the other guys that are growing mustaches doing it to raise awareness??  Is it raising awareness for anything other than facial hair??  Or are they just using it as an excuse to grow a stache under the pretense, that they’re trying to help the world?  Or are they helping the world??  Are more men making doctors appointments this time of year to get checked out?  Is this actually working?  Most importantly, are they generating enough money to even pay for a fraction of the relentless television advertising that they do that makes almost no mention of the actual purpose of the charity?  When people wear the Pink ribbon for Breast Cancer awareness, there is no doubt in anybody’s mind what that’s about.  That’s how I feel it should be done.

Now I may just be a complete asshole, but my feeling about this up until this evening was that a large percentage of people were not in this thing for the right reasons.  Or at very least, it was a wonderful idea that may have been executed in a bizarre way that I don’t understand.  I mean they sure got people to grow mustaches…..That was a successful endeavour, but I came away thinking that ‘grow the mo’ was the actual end game rather than a means to an end being awareness (which is what they touted it to be).

This evening before I ranted, I decided to do some research.  Not because I’m above doing an ignorant rant, because I think I’ve proven that I’m not.  I just wanted to know if I had missed the point.  So I went to the Movember website, and learned a few things.  First of all, it’s a fantastic website.  As vague as the television commercials are, the website is crystal clear about their intentions, initiatives, where the money goes, and how much they raise.  They raised over $125 million dollars total(Canadian $$) in 14 countries around the world in 2011.  There’s a pie chart that shows how that money was divided up (depending on what country you’re in), and in Canada they gave almost 80% of the money to ‘Prostate Cancer Canada’.  Reading all of this made me feel good.  Then it made me feel bad, because I’ve been such a hater, but then I felt good again because I realized it’s never too late to start fighting the good fight, and even though I still believe that most of these mustache growers have never raised a penny or a lick of awareness, there’s obviously plenty that have, and it sounds like a great cause!  If you want more information, visit  The website is everything you would want it to be.

What did I learn?  Always do your research before you write a blog about something you clearly know nothing about.  To make up for my pissy attitude towards the whole thing over the last couple of years, I pledge to either take part in next year’s Movember, or (more likely) I will generously support someone else’s fundraising drive.