A Note to Mothers

14 05 2012

Whether you read this on Mother’s Day or any other day, I’m here to say thank-you to all mothers. You wear many hats, one of a cook, a cleaning person, a taxi driver, a referee between siblings, an organizer of events, a decision maker, problem solver, and a good listener. You join parent groups, have birthday parties, pizza parties, sleepovers, experience tons of giggles, and go through endless drama. You are a selfless nurturer, you put hours of care into your children’s lives. I commend you, pat yourself on the back.  So at the end of the day, if nobody gives you a word of appreciation, I’m here to say: be blessed, you are an amazing mother, an incredible woman, it couldn’t get done without you. You love your children, feed and clothe them, ensure their safety, and nurture them inside and out. Guaranteed, you make a difference.




Claim Your Prize

11 05 2012

I received a message on my cell saying: Congratulations, you are the winner of the day, go to (such and such website) to claim your prize. Whenever you see a message resembling this type of offer, the first thing you do is FLEE. Don’t even ask them how they got your contact information. That’s right, get out of there as fast as you can. It’s unfortunate the way business dealings are deceptive with outright lies, half-truths, and the evil of omission. Even worse, we turn a blind eye to this sort of dealing, we begin with, “What! You said it was a prize! Seems odd to pay for a prize.” to “Oh, so this is the meaning of win,” and readily accept this half-baked offer as something normal; and it shouldn’t be this way! We need to challenge companies on these sort of claims, COMPLAIN, demand the product for free, let them know they said, “win.” To win means you acquire something, not pay for it. Imagine the Olympic medal winners being told, “We know you’re the winner, but we can only give you the medal if you pay for it.” How strange is that! When you win something it is given for free and free requires  no cost. The Merriam Webster defines free as: not costing anything. Therefore, something that doesn’t cost anything doesn’t equal to something with a fee, even the slightest fee. Free is zero cost, zero = 0, incase someone missed math class. So the next time you have a company tell you won a prize, call them on it. Winning means free, and free means no cost. If there’s a number attached more than the digit zero, show your displeasure to this sort of advertising. Boycott the product. Then flee to the mountains because that is the closest you are going to winning a prize.

Angry Whiny Rappers

9 05 2012

In the 80s and 90s rap was an art form, a place to make music and communicate the sentiment of the culture. Nobody expected it to get so big, go worldwide, and to last so long. The pioneers of rap had a message, a way to relay ideas, sometimes it was just to amuse the listener. These rappers were cool, as in, swag. But rappers today are a joke. If any of these contemporary rappers tried to make it big 20 years ago, they would get laughed out of the studio. If they by accident got signed (which I highly doubt), or got in the door through nepotism (a more possible scenario), engineers would first shake their head, then hook up every conceivable contraption to change the timbre of their voice, then cut out the profanity and the N-word, and make it G rated, suitable for the airwaves-aka-the radio version.

Without being stereotypical because I know this doesn’t apply to every rapper, but I would say most rappers today project anger. They fill their songs with hate,  profanity, the N-word, I really don’t understand the use of the N-word. Isn’t this offensive? Or it’s okay to say this only in rap? I’m missing the rules here.

Further, rappers today sound like someone stepped on their Twinkie. They rap in whiny, nasally tones, and you want to tell them, “It’s okay buddy, I’ll get you another Twinkie, now go blow your nose.” All you hear the entire time is a depressed, “Wha, wha, wha, wha, wha.” Quick get the pacifier. And if they’re not busy whining, they’re busy putting a huge chain around their neck, maybe that’s the reason for their whining! Don’t make the chain so heavy dude. And the topics they rap about, oh my goodness, how do they think this stuff up.

The way they carry themselves, you would think their parents raised them in the dog house. Why else are they so angry or whiny? In fairness, there are some rappers who come up with happy, healthy,witty things to say, but for the most part, they all rap about: baby mamma’s, money, ass, drugs, sex, their gun, their gang, their car, their bitch (ladies, why do you let them degrade you like that?). They ride around in cars, they come in packs with their hoodlum buddies, they wear clothes that are 2 sizes too large, hats, bandanas, and drop their pants like their diaper needs changing. Are you guys serious? No wonder you guys snivel. Somebody, please change their diaper and shut them up!

Here is the perfect place to end this blog. However, I don’t like the note it ends on because my intention is to help develop the arts, not destroy the rap industry. Rap was once something beautiful, and it can return to that state. I know the issue is complex, if today’s rap reflects the present culture, then we have a violent, depressed, full of profanity, disrespectful,  void of responsibility bunch of people. I refuse to believe there’s no hope. So, before I challenge musicians to do something about the direction of rap. Perhaps it begins with the lives of rappers. Change your life, change your image, then change your songs. You can make a difference. I know you can.

Strange Criteria

8 05 2012

I downloaded a free dictionary online that stipulated a fee if I travelled using an airplane within the past 12 months. Who thinks this stuff up? Is there a corporate office that hires people to sit at a table, brainstorm, and think of ways to make money? If there was, this is what the meeting might sound like.

“Alright people, let’s begin our meeting,” said Doofus, the head of the company. “You all received the memo outlining the agenda; we must think of ways to make money and charge for this online dictionary program.”

Cashy began first. “I suggest we charge people who smoke.  After all, smoking is a luxury,” she said.

“Yeah, but Doofus smokes, so maybe we should charge people who eat cheese cake instead, that’s a luxury, right?” replied Greedo

“But we all love deserts,” said Cashy.

“Wait, we’re going about this wrong,” responded Moreo, “what’s good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.”

“Ah, true, true,” said Greedo with a sinister laugh and somewhat confused.

Slopia stepped in. “It’s the other way around.”

Nobody seemed to know. “Never mind, the gander never knows what’s good for them anyway, they need a leader to tell them what to do,” added Cashy. Sounded somewhat okay so everyone nodded in relief.

“Wait,” interjected Doofus, “I’ve got it.” He stood up as if pinched by a needle on his backside.  “For those who fly. Yes. We’ll charge those who fly.”

“Fly?” repeated Greedo. Didn’t they all fly?

Cashy looked at Greedo, “Fly, you know, people who get on an airplane.”

After a second of thought, they all broke out in cheer. Slopia wasn’t quickly swayed. “I’m not sure,” she replied, without going into any further explanation.

The group stopped their cheering and looked at her. Slopia was like a sober wet rag. She wanted to get out early because she saw a pair of shoes she wanted to buy, and so she quickly changed her tune. “Of course, flying is the perfect idea,” she retorted. But to herself, she thought the idea sounded even more ridiculous when she voiced it aloud. Something for free is free, she thought; putting criteria on a free item really isn’t free, this is false advertising, especially for something as vital as a dictionary; people who deal with words know better than to manipulate, when in fact, they have the responsibility to bring truth. And flying? Didn’t they all fly? Plus, this made learning the English language difficult to foreigners. How were foreigners to arrive if not to fly? In the end, Slopia didn’t care enough, so to look like she was in agreement, she screamed aloud,“Best idea ever. Yahoooo!” Wereupon the meeting resumed its sports arena like cheering.

ImageThat’s the way the company came up with the criteria for using the free, only if, download to their online dictionary.

Airlines now provide a free dictionary download to their customers to make up the neglect caused by this dictionary company to people who use airlines for transportation.

Note: This is a fictitious article, except that these types of characters do exist, and the part about the dictionary download. There really is an online dictionary that charges you a fee if you use an airplane for travel. Everyone, back to hot air balloons!

Corporate Arrogance

3 05 2012

She introduced herself as Ms. so and so. At the end of each word was a drop in tone as if fear gripped her and wanted me to come to her level. My tone remained even. Word after word she whined a soliloquy for me to beg her for mercy. I did not. Instead, I let her know my plans if this went further. Their threat was not a threat, I was fine, perhaps time to move on (not what they expected to hear from me). A blessing in disguise, this posed as an opportunity to look into other options.

“Oh what would you do without us?” she whined.  In other words, we are a corporate giant and you need us. There is no other company that can service you. Ah, but there is, I thought.

“Simple. I’d change to another company,” I responded. They weren’t the only kid on the block, though they tried to make me believe they were. They were right to think there weren’t too many options, but still, there were options. It takes 1 person to let them know customers won’t dance to the beat of their drum. Their power doesn’t give them the right to abuse the powerless.

That is the problem with monopolies. They bully customers because they know they can. Whether in a whiny tone to break you down, or with aggressive threats; monopolies take advantage of customers. They are arrogant because they know you cannot go anywhere else. But I’m here to say, you can! There are options. It’s a hassle sometimes to make changes, but let it be known to corporations: the consumer has options. In the end, corporate arrogance gives customers an opportunity to walk away. Corporate arrogance is a company killer.

Virus in the Brain

28 04 2012

I received a call from a female who could barely speak English, she claimed to call me from Ottawa, the capital of Canada. She said she called because I had a virus in my computer. After trying to establish the conversation, she handed me over to someone who uttered a few more words resembling English. He gave me the same line saying I had a virus and he was following up with a phone call. He claimed he worked for Microsoft, but after much prodding, I discovered he was from an unknown independent company, if it was even a company. He gave me a command, go on my computer and see the virus. He claimed he called for my benefit; he would remove this virus from my computer for a nominal fee. I thought to myself, these people are probably the ones who planted the virus initially only to remove it.

At this point, the only place I saw a virus was in his brain. Feeling cheeky, I told him my satellite detected a boogie man in his closet and for a nominal fee paid through paypal to: removeboogiemanfromyourclosetNOW@hotmail.com, I could have the boogie man removed. He then asked me what a boogie man was. Clearly this person was not from North America. And if he just emigrated, there was something still wrong with his story. He wanted to get into my computer and charge me for it. Which of the two was worse I couldn’t tell.

Ever seen movies where there’s a heist? Characters are usually ex cons, they are highly skilled in cracking codes, opening safes, getting through laser security, and they come together as a group to steal a painting, diamonds, or some antique relic. There’s one common thread in all these movies. They are all serious professionals who hatch a plan and study very carefully and practise the heist over and over. They study maps, architectural layouts of the building with ducts, and underground passageways, the placement of security cameras, the schedule of security, so forth. They are meticulous in their study as if it was the dismantling of a nuclear bomb. On the day of the heist they are all dressed in black, or in masks; they are a highly trained operation. I have often wondered, with the amount of training, they could have a legitimate job. They would be great in the Special Forces, FBI, and so forth. Yet they spend their time practising to steal. The amount of time spent being a thief is harder than working a legitimate job.  Which makes me wonder: why are people corrupt?

If people have the brains to hatch a plan, for example, plant a virus only to remove it, why can’t they do something more productive? Like write a software program. This obviously takes just as much time. In fact, being illegitimate takes more time, just ask the person behind bars.


27 04 2012

Do you have a favourite word? Every so often I have words swim in my head and just love to say the word out loud. A while back it was combobulate, I like the way bob and- u- and-late  sounded and with the com in the beginning, the word danced on my tongue oh and when you add the dis in the beginning, don’t even get me started, discombobulate, listen to all the dance.

My latest word is brup. I love the word brup. Now brup has no meaning, but it brups along very fine, and every so often when I want to say something, I say brup (you got to roll the r). Brup is an important word to me because it express everything and nothing–much like our society.  Since it has no apparent meaning, there’s endless things a brup can do: a brup can have a bruptometer that measures brups, or bruptoligists that count brup movements, or bruptiotic machines that analyse brup language.  Brup is more important word than we know. Brup is bruptilious, brupnificent  and brupterful. You can fill your drawer with brups, you can brup out loud, give out brup cards. Just when you thought it was only a word. Things to do with brup is endless. It’s a journey in itself. So there it is. Have a fun Friday filled with brup.

Brupty Cheers,

Sisi Theo