Social Ponders

When is a Compliment Creepy?

18 July 2010

Hey ladies, social experiment for you. A guy walks up, says, “Hi, you look pretty”, then politely leaves. Creepy or compliment?

For those that are wondering what I’m talking about, here’s the story.  I was out doing my errands and I saw a woman who had obviously had one of those days when everyone seems to crap on you.  She let a smile slip revealing a kindness and pleasant disposition that could brighten a person’s day.  I wanted to pay her a compliment in the hopes of turning the trend of the day but stopped short.  Would it seem creepy and suppose a hidden agenda?  Would she feel awkward as to how to respond?  Would the whole thing be socially unacceptable?

I had no ulterior motives for wanting to pay a compliment.  It was just a reaction I would act upon for a friend to help change the flow of their day.  But friends are one thing, would it be creepy from a stranger?

Meltdown Because He Couldn’t Shop

29 June 2010

I have to admit that this might be a little uncomplimentary, but this video was captured during the G20 Summit in Toronto while the Eaton Centre was in lock-down.  This gentleman got extremely distress because he could not go shopping in the middle of the protests (warning of a nasty word or two).

Have we really gotten so complacent that not being able to shop in a specific location can cause this much stress?  Even more, have we gotten so callous that we are unable to identify with the unfortunate people that were locked inside?  I find this gentleman’s plight disturbing in that it shows how comfortable we have become in the face of the world’s adverse conditions.  What would this gentleman do if the Eaton Centre were closed for a week or a month?  What if there came a time that we could not get what we wanted at any time or cost?

Think about what you would need so badly that you get this distressed over not being able to shop at a certain location.

NOTICE: the video was taken down by the owner

I Told You We Could Wine!

28 June 2010

And now the protesters come out to complain about being put into small rooms and not having maid service refilling the toilet paper the instant it’s out.  YOU WERE ARRESTED!

I have a serious love-hate relationship with this level of stupidity.  People have come to believe that they have the right to do or say whatever they want without consequence.  Sure, I understand that not every protester was throwing feces and urine at the police officers, but the harsh reality is that you are judged by the company you keep.  The police officers that just got covered by bodily excrement really don’t care if it was you or the person next to you.  According to the law, by doing nothing against the law breakers, you are also guilty.

Anyway, I listened to these complaints while thinking about how free and pampered we really are.  The people of Louisiana in this decade have seen far worse, and I won’t bring up the military.   Think back to the great wars and depressions and one wonders if the strife of today would be a welcome vacation to the struggles of Yesterday.  I hope that these people never have to realize true hardship of accountability for their actions, they are too weak.

Before anyone asks, No I was not in Toronto this past weekend.  I knew this sort of thing would happen and I chose to not associate myself with those 1% fanatics in my own form of protest.  I do feel sorry for the residents of Toronto though.  They were embarrassed, drawn into the conflict, or forced to stay in their homes by these violent instigators who manipulated an otherwise peaceful protest.

Toronto Riots

27 June 2010

Right, well keeping quiet about the truth does not make it fiction. While watching the news reports of the G20 riots in Toronto, I tried very hard to keep calm and objective. But the truth of the matter is that I’m pissed off.

As Mayor David Miller intelligently mentioned (my first indication the situation was going to hell), Toronto regularly sees protests. The difference is that violent protests are almost unheard of, it just isn’t the way we do things. Mayor Miller then went on to voice a belief that the violent instigators were visitors with an agenda for this sort of thing. I can’t say as to whether I believe that any politician could nail 2 facts in a single statement, but it is understandable to hope that this is not the Canadian way.

The part that pisses me off is simple – the use of violence and destruction. Canadians can bitch and moan with the best of them, we might even be the best complainers in the world. The difference is that we don’t always have to break things or hurt people in the process. Maybe it’s the patience that Canadian winter teaches or we just can’t get as worked up as other nations, but our protests are usually pretty calm.

In fact, it is not uncommon for protests to be conducted by paid students. That’s right, professional protesters. It makes sense if you think about it; instead of taking the day (or more if incarcerated) off work, an activist could hire 2-3 students to protest by proxy. The protest becomes a smooth advertisement production ready for the news without emotional escalation. In essence, many protests become a type of improvised social theatre. And you thought Smart Mobs were a new thing!

But this weekend was something totally different. People carrying pick-axes and burning police cruisers. I’ll not shed a tear for the insurance companies that have to replace some windows, but the destruction put people out of work, embarrassed Canada just before its birthday, and made every protester a voiceless twit.

When a protest digresses into violence, the method speaks louder than the message. Those 1% of protesters that resorted to violence muted the voices of the 99% who just wanted to be heard. Additionally, in this world of constant, live news coverage, the blame cannot be easily shifted to the police. I watched protesters instigate incident after incident with the police that consistently acted within reason.

If 30 police officers ask you to move out of the way, then move out of the way. Starting a fight makes you an idiot, not a hero. I am not against civil disobedience; I write blog posts designed to get people thinking and challenge paradigms in a peaceful way. If your cause requires you to protest, be a nuisance but never resort to violence. Remember that Mohandas Gandhi proved to be so great a nuisance to Britain that he made significant changes for his people without ever condoning violence.  All you will accomplish through violence is muting your opinion.

Go ahead and argue with me but don’t come looking for a fight.

Weathering the Weather

19 June 2010

It seems to have been monsoon season here lately.  Hot, dry and sunny one moment and then raining for the next 10.

Well, I’m certainly not here to complain about the weather. but it has changed enough to make many people feel just rotten lately.  Myself, I haven been enjoying headaches and fatigue to the point where I just haven’t been able to any of my writings past the editor (also me).

Which brings me to today’s quick ponder.  Why is it that work looks so different when you “Put on a different hat?”  I thought my attempts at blog posts (and rough notes for my upcoming book) looked great; then I donned my editor’s cap and gave it the once over.  It looked totally different and didn’t express the dictation in my head.  Does this happen to you?  Share your stories in the comments below.

Can Sex Save a Life?

15 June 2010

I’ve been teaching First Aid and CPR for years now, but I’ve never taught it like this!

A friend forwarded me the link to and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I can’t honestly say what I think about the idea of using pretty women in lingerie to teach people the basic CPR skills.  On one hand, it really does give the wrong impression of having to do CPR.  After all, if a person in unconscious, not breathing, and without a detectable pulse, they are technically dead (though only kind-of dead).  Personally, I don’t find dead sexy and am a little concerned for those that do.

On the other hand, the notice in the bottom right hand corner (did you see it?) conveys the site’s message – now that we have your attention, go out and learn how to do it for real!  I don’t know who’s protocols the ladies are following, as they are slightly different than St. John Ambulance, but it gets the point across.  The CPR video even emphasizes the importance of checking for dangers and calling for help.

So, is Niccolò Machiavelli right?  Do the ends justify the means?  Can sex really be used to teach people to save lives?  These are my ponders of the day.

Today is the Anniversary of D-Day

6 June 2010

I’ll keep this one short and sweet.  Today is the anniversary of D-Day, the day that the beaches of Normandy were populated by terrified soldiers that kept moving forward to know that they were still alive.  Many good people died to try and get a foothold on mainland Europe and change the tides of the war.

Forget today’s politics, forget the horrors of war, and forget your daily troubles, for these are the freedoms you have been granted through their sacrifice.  If you are a vet, Thank You; if you know a vet, Thank them.

Where’s the Posts?

6 June 2010

What?  No posts for all of last week, what’s the deal?

Well, it was one of those weeks of busily accomplishing nothing that so many of us have.  How could I really have been that busy?  What is it that takes up so much of everyone’s time?

It brings me to today’s ponder.  I posed the question to a friend of mine a while ago and now I pose it to you.  Could it be that our lives accelerate to the pace of the social attention deficit?  I’m lead to wonder if we all have so many things going on in our lives because we can’t keep focused on one thing at a time, or are our personal communities are just trying to accomplish too many things all at once.

As a society, we continually look to technology to save us time and energy.  We then seem to take that extra time and energy to put towards doing more things instead on striving towards the leisure that we had hoped for.  It appears that the more we automate our lives to provide more time for ourselves, the less we are able to sit and relax.

Give it a ponder and prove me wrong … please.

25 Years of Tornados

31 May 2010

Friday, May 31, 1985, I was walking my paper route in Elora, Ontario.  Everything seemed as normal as it could be, until it wasn’t.  The air changed in a way that cannot be put into words, but it made my skin tingle as if someone were watching me with malicious intent.  In a moment, the sky changed colour and the world around me visibly darkened.  My nerves heightened and I swear I could feel the air become charged with a horrible energy.  It was a scene many film makers have tried to recreate.

Then all Hell broke loose, or should I say hail.  Starting with a rain drop, the moisture fell from the sky bigger, colder, and harder than the one before.  Within a few confused steps, my discouragement of rain turned into complete fear of pelting hail.  I desperately looked about to try and find some solace from the chunks of ice that spewed forth from the heavens.

I was on good terms with all of my customers and know any of them would have given me shelter, if any of them were home from work.  Lifting my paper bag over my head, I ran for a nearby car port marvelling at how badly marble sized hail hurt as it hurled from the sky towards my body.  I reached the car port and was seriously considering crawling under the RV that was parked there when an even worse feeling came over me.  I slowly turned around to look at the street behind me.  The horrible storm had stopped just as it had started, without warning.

Later on that evening, we got a call that one of my Mom’s best friends wasn’t nearly as lucky as I.  We were to go the next day and help her get whatever she could from her house in Grand Valley that was smashed by the tornado cell that went up their street.  I saw things there that cannot be explained other than to say that the forces of nature are never to be underestimated.  We didn’t take any photos, we didn’t need to.

Another cell from that storm touched down in Barrie, Ontario.  This one was a killer.  Until the tornado reached the Barrie shopping mall, the storm had only caused fear and loss of property.  In Barrie it took headlines, and lives.

The tragedy of the storm solidified it in so many of our memories, especially my young mind.  The buildings were rebuilt, life moved on, but few who were there forgot.  In spite of being on the skirts of 2 more tornados in my life, this is the one I will never forget.  Here’s to its silver anniversary!

5 Women

28 May 2010

Here’s a ponder to get the site started off:

If you had to make a list of the 5 women in history that absolutely should be remembered, who would they be?  You can comment here or join the conversation on twitter by adding the tag #5women!

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