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Most of this material was published in the newsletter of the Dutch Canadian Club during the two years that I was editor and board member of the DCC. It is a collection of observations, philosophical items, and a sometimes critical look at society. Recently I have also added some real-life stories concerning drinking and driving --TWO THINGS THAT ABSOLUTE DO NOT MIX AT ALL--. Hope you enjoy it and find an occasional gem!!!
We received this flier in our mail box.
From the City of Calgary
To mail receiver
The City of Calgary Municipal election is on October 18, 2004. Prior to this date, an election information booklet is to be delivered by Canada Post.
Some of the Canada Post's Rural Routes (RR) or group boxes on Suburban Services (SS) cross over the City of Calgary boundaries. We are bound to the delivery requirements where Canada Post delivers this booklet to the complete RR or SS.
Delivery of your mail may be on one of these RR or SS that are outside the city boundaries. If so, please disregard this election information.
We regret any inconvenience this may have caused to you.
Thank you for your understanding about this matter.
The City of Calgary
Sure enough the next day we received the election booklet. A stamp across the front of the booklet saying: "Disregard if not applicable" would have save thousands of fliers. Actually not sending the applicable booklet would have saved plenty of trees. Let us all hope that that "Returning Officer" did not return.
We bought a 300 gram box with delicious looking Hand Crafted Peanut Nut Clusters from Olivier's Candies -- Quality Since 1909 -- Calgary, Alberta. At home we read also on the box: "ALERGIC ALERT, MAY CONTAIN NUTS". Well nuts, I was soo looking forward to the peanuts.
When we come into this world, we cry and everyone else rejoice.
When we leave this world, everyone else cries, but we rejoice
A funny thing happened to an "acquaintance" of my colleague. After making 2 hard-boiled eggs, shelling them and cutting into the first, they realized that the eggs were not quite cooked enough to their satisfaction. So, they decided to put them into the microwave oven for 1 minute to just finish up the cooking. Unfortunately, the eggs had other ideas.
Seeing what a microwave does to an egg, one wonders why people still hold that cellphone against their head. Perhaps there is nothing left up there to do damage to...
Somewhere around the middle of last year there was an article in the newspaper about a woman in Ontario who had neutered her cat apparently without anesthetic. Someone tattled on her, the cat was taken away and she had to appear in court. A veterinarian determined that she had done an excellent job, the judge gave her a $45.00 fine because of cruelty to an animal and the cat was returned to her.
Put this in contrast with the hundreds of farmers performing the same procedure in the same way on thousands and thousands of pigs and other animals every year. How about the branding of calfs? Have you ever burned any part of your body? I did, and it hurts like hell. So why is that judge, who is so concerned with animal cruelty, not penalizing those farmers at $45.00 per animal as well? Is a pig more animal than a cat?
In December 2001 yet another article in the newspaper and again in Ontario. An elderly lady, a grandmother of three, was ran over by a dog. The judge awarded the lady in the order of $383,000. The judge's reasoning was that the lady was up to the accident leading a very happy and active live. Due to permanent injuries she have to walk with a cane for the rest of her live. She cannot do certain activities anymore. Could not take care of her grandchildren during her hospitalization. It was a traumatic experience for the grandchildren. The dog was a known problem dog, and so on, and so on. The owner of the dog was insured.
A few days ago our Municipal District published the rules concerning dog licensing. Annual license fee for a "restricted" dog, commonly referred to as Pit Bulls, is $200. If constables determine during dog attack investigation that the dog is a "vicious dog" the license fee is $300 per year. Further to this fee several restrictions such as public liability insurance coverage of $500,000, muzzling and containment are required. Letting an as vicious classified dog run at large carries a penalty of $1,500.
Failure to license a dog cost $150. But know comes the cruncher. The normal license fee for a dog is $37.50, but for a neutered or spayed dog it is only $15. I am most likely stupid and don't understand the logic of government. Why the difference? Treated or not treated, a dog bites and shits the same. Come to think of it, we humans also belong to the Animal Kingdom. So, if I have a vasectomy do I only pay half the property tax?
Are you old enough to remember true Science Fiction? The Fiction based on Science, written by great authors like Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke to name just a few. I am talking about the world of printed circuits, robots, space and time travel. Most of what is currently offered as Sci-Fi is actually fantasy. A few observations I made recently brought back memories of the robot series from Isaac Asimov, where he described the positronic brain and where he defined the three laws of robotics:
Asimov later extended these with the zeroth law where the good of the masses takes precedent over the good of an individual. (i.e. protection of humanity)
Up until now, I always assumed that a robot is something created from scratch using metals, plastics and electronics. However, not to long ago I saw a guy walking on the street, the cell phone dangling from his waist was connected to a headset with microphone. I do not know who he was talking to or what he was talking about, but it suddenly hit me that there are people who absolutely cannot do without it. In my mind, I visualized that guy with a chip implanted in his skull and a short antenna sticking up from behind his ear. I thought it was funny.
A few days ago, this picture popped back in my mind and I combined it with some other information:
We cannot brake anymore properly without ABS in our car, or drive on icy roads without traction control. The latest is the autopilot in the car where you tell it where you want to go and it tells you where to turn. The next step is that you tell it where to go and the car drives you there. Did you hear about the "black-box" under the driver's seat of the latest car models from GM? Very useful in crash analysis for both police and insurance, while you cannot lie anymore about your speed either. We cannot do without our cell phone or our laptop; we take them with us when we travel on business, on vacation and when we go to bed. Television is on the whole day, we play video games and the latest craze: virtual reality.
Some of you might not realize it, but everything mentioned above is controlled or done with computers. Let us face it we love every minute of it, because we believe that we are in control. So, why don't we have everything combined in one tiny computer chip: the "Computerized Humanoid Implant", or CHIMP for short. Have CHIMP implanted behind you right ear with the communications modem chip and antenna behind you left ear. This is how it works.
You think a computer command, for example "CHIMP, phone my wife". After a few seconds you hear in your mind "Hello honey, what time will you be home"? You next command "CHIMP, when can I be home", and CHIMP answers "You have a one hour meeting at 3:00, 2 minute sanitary stop at 4:00, kiss you personal assistant goodbye, we leave at 4:25 and should be home at 5:13 plus or minus 17 seconds depending on the number of non-CHIMP idiots on the road".
This is only an example, but you get the drift. Our life will be so much easier and so much more organized, and... we are always in control! Sure, the first implants are very expansive and only possible for the very rich. These are some of the things CHIMP can do for you:
Very soon employers, insurance companies, police and government see the benefits of CHIMP and are willing to pay 90% of the implant cost, and this is why:
Even spouses can benefit from CHIMP:
You see, with CHIMP the sky is the limit. You are in full control... as far as CHIMP allows you, that is. In other words, think about this the next time you hang on that cellphone, because you might be on your way to become a robot... oops, I mean a CHIMP.
If you think that I am pulling your leg then go to the Applied Digital Solutions website and check out their VeriChip product for miniaturized, implantable identification technology with multiple medical, security and emergency applications.
Have you ever experienced that certain sounds, sights or odours trigger memories, sometimes even very powerful memories? It certainly happens to me from time to time and so it did in 1996.
The wife and I were looking for a place to build our dream home. The city lots we looked at were either too small - everything is relative -, or too pricey. We ended up looking in Church Ranches and were immediately sold on those "huge" 2-acre lots - everything is relative remember -. However, there was one problem. The wife did not like the idea of being surrounded by trees and I was hoping for a clear view to behold those snow covered Rocky Mountains.
Eventually we took an option on a 2-acre lot West of Bearspaw Road, no trees and a clear view to the mountains, sufficient slope to build a walkout and it had even a seasonal pond with gentle sloping edges. Being a penny-pinching Dutchman it took half a year before we actually bought the land. Coming from The Netherlands, where almost 50% of the land is below sea level, we took all the time to review what would happen if the seasonal pond changed into a larger lake, or more precisely, will the basement of our dream house stay dry when the subdivision floods.
We went back to look over the lot from different angles, at different times of the day, with and without snow cover. In other words, we did a thorough job and the wife had already made up her mind. I was still not 100% sure and had been brooding the whole Sunday. At 5:00 PM the wife had enough and said: "Get out of the house, drive out there and go have a look again."
By the time I got at the property, it was dusk. I paced over the land while trying to visualize our dream house in the ideal spot. There were at that time only a few houses at the beginning of the subdivision, it became dark and I looked up. There was no moon, but a beautiful star filled sky and all my childhood memories came back.
I am again ten years old and sitting at night with my parents on the veranda of our house in Indonesia. Crickets everywhere, little fireflies casting their faint flickering glow, the new moon only one day old, and above all that is that overwhelming star-filled southern sky.
I am again 14 years old, sitting at night with my grandparents, on a bench at "their" lake in Holland. It is a warm fall night, a fish splashes, a duck quacks, and then everything is quiet again. One more night and it is dark moon again, and above all that is that beautiful start-filled northern sky.
A frog croaks in our seasonal pond on our property. All acreages in the sub-division have now a house on it. Some houses are dark at night or have only a little 60-watt light, but some houses have blazing lights all the way around illuminating properties two to three acreages further away. I can now see only half as many stars as that night in 1996, while the occasional Northern Light has lost its magnificent brilliance as well.
Being one of the first to settle in the sub-division we got the "pleasure" of having to content with the building of the other houses. That meant the constant eyesore of the building sites, noise and picking up debris blown in our yard. You grumble about that in the hope that everything will be better once the building is done. Well that is only true up to a point.
There is no doubt in my mind that some of us took, consciously or not, a few liberties with the Architectural Design Guidelines. For example, we now look at an ugly two feet wall on one side of our seasonal pond rather than the gentle sloping edge.
Most homes look very respectable in the front. After all, no one wants to look at an eyesore from the comfort of ones home. So, we put the trash and other ugly stuff at the side of the house or the garage for the neighbour to "enjoy"!!!
No, it is NOT alright to put for sale signs and notices on the Community Mail Boxes. Putting up commercial signs along the roadside in our subdivisions is not acceptable either. I make it a point not to buy or order anything, ever, from those polluters. And I sincerely hope that you do the same.
Is it not enough that we ruined our planet with our junk and pollution? Is it not bad enough that we cannot sit outside anymore without hearing the noise of our own prosperity? Yes, I too use a 15 hp tractor to mow the lawn. But, do we really have to pollute our eyesight as well?
Granted, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but do me a favour and go to your neighbour's property and look at your own property through their eyes. No cheating, look objectively. We are all each other's neighbours and together we can stop this form of pollution right now.
Sometime when you're feeling important,
sometime when your ego's in bloom,
Sometime when you feel you are
the most important man in the room.
Sometime when you feel your leaving
will leave an unfillable hole...
Just follow these instructions and
see how it humbles your soul.
Take a bucket and fill it with water,
put your hands in it up to the wrists,
Take them out and the hole that remains,
is the measure of how much you'll be missed.
You can splash all you like when you enter,
you can stir up the water galore.
But stop... and you'll find in a moment
that it's just as calm as before.
The moral of this is quite simple.
Do always the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself, but remember
There is no indispensable man.
This story is from Father Jack Connally, a priest in Houston, to show how things change in our lifes and how we do not even seem to notice it. That is, until confronted with a similar situation after aging.
There was an older couple who had attended the wedding of one of their very young relatives, and returned home. She was very happy and overwhelmed with the emotion and love of the occasion. When they arrived home, she floated toward the couch and sat down, bubbling about the beauty of the bride and the handsomeness of the groom.
"Jim," she swooned, "Do you remember how you used to hold my hand when we were young? We never said anything, just held hands and were so happy!"
Jim smiled and sat down beside her to hold her hand. She sighed and smiled.
"Jim" she said, "Do you remember how you used to give me those little kisses on the face and murmur how you loved me when we were young?"
Jim smiled and began to kiss softly on her forehead. She sighed and smiled.
"Jim," she said, "Do you remember how you used to do those little nibbles with your teeth on my ear when we were young?"
Jim got up from the couch and began to shuffle across the floor toward the bedroom.
"What's wrong?" she asked, "Where are you going?"
Jim smiled, "I'm going to get my teeth!"
With that of my chest I will climb on my other soapbox. I have been driving now for almost 36 years in many different countries. Driving on the left, driving on the right, and driving under very adverse conditions. There is nothing worse then driving in a strange city, in peak hours, raining cats and dogs (pijpestelen zogezegd), in the dark. No matter how good a driver you are, you will feel miserable.
Still I have never caused an accident. This does not mean that I am a perfect driver, far from that. But I have learned over the years to keep a close eye on the most dangerous animal on this planet, the Homo Sapiens. Especially when the Homo Sapiens take position behind the wheel of their most precious toy, the car.
I am sure that some of you readers are already up in arms and feel personally attacked. Wie de schoen past trekke hem aan!!!
Over the past ten months I have been driving from Bearspaw to downtown Calgary; about 20 km one way. Going home many drivers are just irritated. They are late, hungry, ticked off about something at work, kids are screaming in the back, etc.. Watch out for them.
Then there are those all so important men. They are bored by the "idiots" that don't know how to drive fast. They are the ones that also drive apparently in very bad cars, as they need the right arm to hold on to the passenger seat or else it might fall out of the car. There are also very strong men in bad cars. They are the ones that rest their left arm on the door and hold on to the roof of their car as if it is going to blow off any minute. This is called the gorilla grip. Unfortunately they don't have the pleasant disposition of the real gorilla, which I love.
In the morning it is completely different. Driving into town is used as a continuation of making toilet, eating breakfast and reading the newspaper. Oh, yes, with the paper on the steering wheel, they read the latest news about Bre-X while doing 70 to 80 clicks!!!
Making ones toilet includes picking their nose and scratching at very interesting places. The business women often adjust the rearview mirror to brush their hair, and to apply lipstick and rouge. Mostly when they are waiting in front of a traffic light, but some can do all this also while driving. To top it all, a few weeks ago one lady managed to put on her false eyelashes while driving her car at around 50 km/h. Imagine the moves: take the eyelash out of the small box, take off the strip and apply to the upper eyelid. It was then that I decided to climb on my soapbox.
You men think that you are off the hook? No way. Again this VIP behind the wheel of a BMW doing approx. 60 km/h. His right arm resting on top of the passenger seat, most likely practicing how to hold on to his secretary later that day. Car phone rings. He picks up the phone. In the meantime his left wrist rests on top of the steering wheel as the sole controller of the car. Phone moves to left shoulder and head goes at an angel to squeeze his ever so important status symbol. I missed a few seconds, but now there is an electronic agenda in his left hand while his right hand is entering that oh so important golf date.
I do not let you men folks go as yet. Too often I see them drinking steaming hot coffee. I can visualize were that coffee will end up when they get into a panic situation in traffic. Right on their private parts -- excuse my language --. You know where his attention will be then? You bet, on his P.P. and not on the panic situation in traffic.
I am not even talking about the many, many drivers that are running red lights and ignore stop signs!!! And I am also not talking about the many cyclists that believe that they are God on earth and above any law that has ever been written.
There is no excuse whatsoever for any of the above behaviors, and I have absolutely no sympathy for those drivers when they do get into trouble. However, I do feel sorry for the families they often leave behind, and the innocent bystanders who get hurt due to the utter ignorance and stupidity of those drivers.
Think about this and have a fine, but above all, safe vacation.
Henny Spierenburg found this one in a newspaper in Mexico and I translated it from Spanish... Just kidding. If you want to acquire a charismatic touch in your social or work relationship, put these ten rules in practice:
The whole truth about management reports and sales/marketing statements.
|What the Report Says||What It Means|
|Essentially complete||Half done|
|Schedule exposure||Slipped three weeks|
|We predict||We hope to God|
|Screen design is lagging||Not a single screen exists|
|Risk is high but acceptable||100:1 odds, or with 10 times the budget and head count, we stand a 50/50 chance|
|Potential show stopper||All team members have updated their resumes|
|Serious but not insurmountable problems||It'll take a miracle|
|Basic agreement, however||The bastards won't talk to us.|
|Results are being quantified||We're massaging the numbers so that they'll agree with the conclusions|
|Task force to review||7 people who are incompetent at their regular jobs have been loaned to the project|
|Not well defined||Nobody has thought about it|
|Not well understood||Now that we think about it, we don't want to think about it anymore|
|Require further analysis and management attention||Totally out of control|
|A number of fixes have been identified||The whole team is shooting up|
|Results are encouraging||Power on produced no smoke|
|Less than expected||Abend again|
|A high risk project||No way we can make it|
|Impact being determined||Where the hell are we?|
|Aggressive milestone||Manager is dreaming again|
|No contingency||Cancel vacations, kiss the family good-bye, bring a change of underwear to work with you|
The following message came with it: Someone took the effort to write this poem. So please, pass this on to as many as you can, and see if we can get a chain going around the world that will make people understand that drinking and driving don't mix. Together we can make a difference.
(Anonymous writer. Copied from Bearspaw/Glendale Beacon of January 1999)
(The names in this real-life story have been changed)
Dedicated to two friends. Hope they pull through.
I am writing to you to tell you about a friend of ours. This accident I am going to tell you about has made lots of people here think twice about drinking and driving.
My friend Jack and a couple of his friends went to a restaurant called Hooters on wednesday. He was there from 8:30 pm to 12:00 am. Jack is 21 so of course he was drinking. For some reason they said that Hooters would not stop serving Jack alcohol even though he was completely drunk.
His friend Darryl (19 years old) asked Jack to let him drive since he was so drunk. Jack would not let him. They all left and from that point it was down hill.
Jack started to race down Route 22 against his friend Bill. They played cat and mouse all the way to Rodi road. On Rodi road Bill past Jack and ran off the road doing it. He safely got back on the road. Jack wanted to pass Bill so he started to do so.
Problem was Bill started to slow down because he blew a tire. Jack at this point in time was going 90mph. Jack started to cut back into his lane but there was one problem. Jack lost control of his car. He started to hydroplane, hit the curb which at 90mph threw his car 5 feet into the air. When the car landed it smashed into a parked Mayflower moving van. The whole front of the car and the drivers seat of the car was completely smashed.
Jack and his passenger got life flighted to hospitals. Jack suffered 2 broken legs, 2 broken arms, a punctured lung and a slight bit of brain damage. Which is not bad for a 90 mph wreck. The problem is that the passenger, Darryl is in the hospital still in a coma, and they said there is a good possibility that he will live, but if he does, he will be 80% brain dead.
I have gone to see the car already. I cannot believe they even lived. This did not even look like a car. At first it looked like a big pile of black garbage. The only way that I could tell it was his was from the front. The bumper that was standing against the car had his racing stripe on it.
I don't think I will ever speed again. It is really hard to see this happen to a friend, especially at this young of an age. Sorry if you do not understand. I have got to go to bed. I love you all. Please send this to others to show a lesson on why you should not drink and drive.
(Published with permission of Bryan Skehan)
Mind you I have nothing against phones. At times they are even useful, provided you don't get unsolicited sales calls at dinner time, or calls from FAX machines that keep calling you as they insist that you must be a FAX machine too.
Several years ago I was in Holland and ended up on a train station. The people I was suppose to meet were not on the scheduled train, nor on the next one. So I decided to call home to find out if Jeannette had any news what was happening. Plenty of public phones, but none of them took coins. All required a so called "phone-card" which you have to buy somewhere, but not on the train station. Its value diminishes as you use it. Now why do I want to buy a 10 guilder phone-card, i.e. pay the phone company up front for calls that I might possibly make somewhere in the future? Suppose I buy such a card and make a 2 guilder phone call. The remaining value I can not use in Canada, so the card ends up somewhere, forgotten. Nice profit for the phone company.
Here is another one. We had to bring in our family car for service one afternoon. Jeannette would drive the car to the garage and I would pick her up on the way back from the office. I told her that I would leave around four, but that I would give her a call so that we could synchronize things a bit. As I was about to leave, my boss was leaving as well. We start chatting and left the office. Halfway to the train station I realized that I had not called my better half. As there is no phone on the train station I went across the street into the mall, found a phone, put in a quarter, dialed the number and got the message: "You have 25 cents credit, please put in 10 cents". I checked my small change, but had only quarters and dollars. I mumbled in myself "I don't care that it only costs 10 cents. I gave you 25 cents already, now make that (censured word) connection." I left in utter frustration forgetting that I could have gotten nickels and dimes at the store.
Anyway, I took the train to the end station, changed a quarter for 5 dimes, went to the pay-phone, put in the two dimes, dialed the number and a voice said "You have 10 cents credit, please put in 25 cents". By now I was boiling. "Make up your mind what you want" I mumbled. I put in my last three dimes and now it said you have 25 cents credit, please put in 10 cents. It still did not dawn on me. Angrily I put in another quarter to corrupt the phone system. The display cleared, the number went through, the phone rang, but Jeannette did not pick up. I took my car from the parking lot, drove to the garage and there was my darling just coming out of the service office ready to go home. It was only then that it hit me. A PAY-PHONE CALL COSTS 35 CENTS!!! You have to be of my age to be able to figure that out. Let me give credit where credit is due though. As I did not complete my phone call the phone gave my 35 cents back -- the price of a local call --. I am just wondering what happened to my other 15 cents...