Safety? ….. Or just lost the plot?

27 Sep

In today’s work environment the aspect of safety is overwhelming, to say the least. Everywhere and every company has their own mantras. Safety is our No 1 priority, Take 5 and stay alive, Safety Rules are your best tools…. The list goes on and on.

Another thing in today’s worksite is no one or at least very few ever challenge the safety department. There is a fear that if you question it, you will be viewed as an unsafe practitioner and your job could be affected. No one is correct ALL of the time and that goes to safety as well.

However, one in particular respected individual that has, does come to mind.  Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel “Dirty Jobs”. In 2008 Mike gave a TED Talks which I believe is well worth the listen. It’s not that he was or is against safety but just that sometimes you need to reflect on what it really means. I know that many think similarly but never express their comments openly because that may, in turn, label them as uncommitted to safety. In the video, it is quite evident that Mike is also very much aware of the labeling issue and treads lightly. Thankfully he completes the narration of his view and makes, what I think are very valid points.

https://www.ted.com/talks/mike_rowe_celebrates_dirty_jobs

From another social media, LinkedIn, which I subscribed to I seen another video that someone had posted. At first, I suspected someone was poking fun at the workplace safety culture. The speaker in this video is much cruder than Mike was in his delivery. In this case, there is little doubt that he is unhappy about the situation. Having never heard of this safety policy, I forwarded it to my safety course provider. I thought they were in the safety business and if nothing else they could perhaps enlighten me as to whether this was a satire, a hoax, or a true policy instituted somewhere around the world. You never know on the web if something is truly true. A friend of my son’s presently working out West has informed him that their company had instituted this very same policy, but that could also be a misunderstanding too. Needless to say, on this video, I never did receive a reply from my course provider. This video is commenting on safety but again does not give the whole story about the issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbdngUdIHlo

In watching the video, several questions rose in my mind. I can see grounds for higher infections and the unit appears to be made of plastic. If so, what do you do with the used container? I suppose dispose of it in the bin, it can’t be flushed. If so, does that not create a pool of bacteria that “someone” else has to deal with? What about the unit itself? We men, certainly are not all of the same size. In this case, size would matter, as has been the joke for so many centuries. Would it not have been more cost effective to teach sanitary behavior instead? As all of our mothers drilled in our heads, wash your hands after usage. Maybe on this site, they needed to teach to wash before AND after. What about the women? Is a bit of tissue between their hands and it, sufficient to resolve the issue of concern?

Moving on to a different LinkedIn media feed someone, identified as Nebosh 3rd Director of HSE Training, posted a video without any clarification. Perhaps he was conducting a survey, similar to this written post that I am doing, to see how viewers would interpret it or comment? Doubt it but will provide the benefit of the doubt.

Since it was posted from a safety source it is perhaps not surprising that all of the comments (except mine of course) is taking the video at face value ONLY. I would challenge to identify who in the comments section have ever worked out at sea for any length of time?

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6368446400014925824

There is no doubt that it had to be a hair-raising experience for the two men on the basket. However, my contention is that without knowing the story of WHY they are out there the wrong conclusion is most likely the outcome. People forget that this is NOT the decision of two men alone, to be out there. There are a lot more individuals involved. Who is running the crane? Who is filming? Who is manning the taglines? What about the captain? The captain is ultimately responsible for everyone on board and he knows it.

If something goes wrong how many of these people would be brought to court to explain themselves? In the comment section one even suggested that these men were actually doing day work tasks. That comment alone tells me that that person has never been to sea and likely has not been working for a long time if at all. Many do bring into question the actions of others but none give them the credit that they realize they have the power to STOP the job. If so then WHY did they not stop it? I feel confident in suggesting that likely many on the vessel were well aware of the dangers these men were in. There is evidently a storm raging on. The tension on the vessel would have been palpable. I mean to the video observer what do you think they out there doing, casual painting? No, they are obviously struggling to perform their task. I suggest that that task had a specific importance, to all onboard.

Anyway, my point here is not to discuss at length any one particular video but to ask or expose some basic concepts on views, and that video clips don’t always tell the whole story, even as compelling as some seem to think.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Who has not heard that one? In ‘essence’ that might be true, BUT over the years what I have also discovered is that those thousand words might or can lead to the wrong conclusion. Often people used them to promote some specific view not intended by the video creator.

Just as a comment taken out of context can condemn a man to prison or cause a politician to lose an election, the wrong picture or video in today’s day and age can also provide the wrong message if just taken at face value.

I started this post as a result of a recent conversation I had. I am presently following an online safety course. Recently I met at a local retail store a fellow student. The conversation of course soon migrated to safety and past experiences. He proceeded to tell me about a friend of his in the safety department some years back. His point was that this person was so ingrained in following the safety rules that he could not unfollow a traffic sign. Admirable on first examination but is it?

As the story goes it seems that they were at a pedestrian crosswalk in a straight stretch of roadway. Now he said a kilometer long stretch with an unimpeded view in both directions. Apparently, there was absolutely no traffic in sight yet this person could not bring himself to cross the street until such time as the walk signal changed to an appropriate ‘walk’ indication condition. Is that really as a ‘safety function’ or is he really losing the plot here?

Of course, by the letter of the law, he was obeying the law and correct in his refusal. But to me, I ask is that really the best use of time and the best course of action? Should safety not allow a certain degree of leeway with situational evaluation?

The conversation caused me to reflect internally as the day went on, about this discussion. What if the building behind him, as he waited to cross the road, was on fire? Would he wait to cross the street? Maybe the fire is further to his right or his left with no ‘immediate’ danger behind him. Or that the fire response vehicles might be present on the roadway. I dare say he would cross as a function of safety for his life. At that moment I would suggest that he could internally process that it is ok to disobey the sign and cross the road and place as much distance between himself and the hazard. I don’t think anyone would argue that point too strongly.

But if in an equally SAFE condition exist, where you can clearly see no hazard present, are you not afforded the same evaluation power to assess? Maybe the trigger button to change the sign is broken? How long do you wait?

My experience with safety personnel would be that no, you are NOT afforded that leeway. You must wait for the signal. What if it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and the possibility of traffic is even further unlikely. Of course, the argument here you would say that the law was broken. You crossed the street while the control signal indicated to wait. Have we become so rule regulated that situational conditions are now taken away from all of us.

Of course, to a lawyer, it’s an open and shut case. If you cross, the law IS broken, black and white. But to the average person, just trying to get home, if you are honest with yourself would cross the street and think nothing of it. What if your decision is further influenced with the fact that you were in a hurry because you are running late and the babysitter needs to go home, or you need to pick up your child from daycare on time or face a $40 dollars surcharge for every half hour of lateness?

Whether we admit it or not we evaluate our surroundings and make situational decisions based on that evaluation, every minute of every single day. It is only when we pit those decisions against some set guideline, policy or rules that we find potential conflict. We are called to task only when there is an external observation which might conflict with our actions.

Ah…. but some would also ask, is that not the measure of integrity? Integrity, when you do the right thing when no one is watching. That is true, but does the importance of that same integrity not have degrees of value? Is that not something that we all internally evaluate as well? Does this or that REALLY matter?

I think it does but only when we reduce the conversation to a right or wrong, black or white issue, of absolutes. In the course of the day, we all do things that others would say, “I would not do that”, or “I would do that”.

Yes, I have worked in a lot of places over my lifetime and yes, I have seen firsthand a lot of things that should not have happened. Perhaps that is what gives me a different outlook on some situations. Unfortunately, an outlook not available to many just now starting out in the safety HSE field. Sadly, all that they have in their interpretation book is what is taught on the course. I would challenge that a young safety person starting out today has a view which will be VERY different 40 years from now.

I feel that safety should not only be all about rules and regulations. Rules and regulation are too often written by lawyers and politicians. But they are also written with a different perspective or possible situation in mind. No law ever written is correct 100% of the time and for all situations. After all, is that not what lawyers argue in court? ‘The intent of the law.

Safety should be about ‘thinking’ doing and evaluating. There are risks in everything in life. That is how we move forward, learn. Sometimes from ourselves and other times from others.

Safety training providers cover this ambiguity or gray area with the statement “where practicable”. Reduce the risk as much as “practicable”. The phrase is a legal catch-all to afford that degree of leniency toward safety. In court, a lawyer would use that phrase to argue that an employer or an employee did everything practicable to train or avoid a hazard. The judge would then need to determine the extent of practicable as viewed from both sides. But what exactly IS ‘practicable’? Who makes that determination?

I believe that safety is seldom black and white. It becomes right or wrong only when someone makes it so, and sometimes for the wrong reasons. None of us would be where we are today if our whole life had been under rigid right, wrong decisions.

We would never have learned to walk if our parents had kept us in a walking frame with wheels because we had not yet learned how to stand up and balance ourselves. They had to put us out there in harm’s way, knowing that we would fall in the attempt, and we did, and cried.

You can read an encyclopedia on riding a bicycle, the mechanics and physics involved. But until you get on it you never learn the balance and coordination it takes to master the task. We are removing much of that ability to learn by trying to remove ALL risk. We think that having a certificate to say we have been given the instructions is all it takes to ride a bike. Often it is believed that without that certificate, you cannot make the attempt.

I am not against safety but many times I wish it did not have the rigidity imposed by it. I wish a grazed knee was just that,…. a small learning step on what does not work, or the realization that I have not yet mastered that skill, or just maybe a misstep, nothing more. Why can we not take the responsibility for ourselves? If I get a grazed knee is it because someone else was not watching out for me. Why must it always be reduced to a statistic? Sadly, the collection of those statistics is viewed as the basis of whether a company is committed to safety and work contracts are often allocated based on them.

These questions will carry on long after this article is posted, and that is a good thing. Keep questioning whether something is right or wrong. Try to think outside of the box.

Ultimately, on a day to day, I AM responsible for myself and have a responsibility to at least alert others to the possibilities.

(If you like what you read…please let me know …I’d love to know who has visited me….leave a comment…even one word is great….THANKS for reading)

Is it really Medical…..or just the Baby boomers legalizing the 60s?

26 Aug

I was raised in the era of ‘free love’, (not that I got any) ‘live and let live’, ‘take it easy man….chillout’….. There were many more clichés from that era. It was a time of the Bell bottom jeans and long-haired Hippies.  I mean those tags are still used today to describe the time. It just seemed to me that everybody was smoking…. Oh, sorry I should really say toking up. Toke up parties seemed prevalent everywhere. Even the adults of the time were undergoing major social changes. The free love part being a big front runner and naturally drug experimentation for many.

As I left home and went to trade school in Toronto Canada the drug scene did not change. Matter of fact in our boarding house we had our own drug pusher, probably put him through school. Of course, that time also seen the drinking age change for liquor consumption and purchase from 21 down to 18 in Ontario. (1971) There were some provincial differences of course but 18 or 19 was the rule. I believe that the changes were also political. The Trudeau government, present Prime Minister’s Justin Trudeau’s father Pierre Elliot Trudeau was a young charismatic politician who rallied the young people to his party. I suppose not too different that our present Mr. Justin Trudeau.

The point here I suppose as I research some of the finer points is 1960s through the 1980s seen a lot of social changes. Things actually Googled now to obtain some facts makes me realize that a lot of money was poured into the liquor industry, in Ontario at least, to update and stimulate the selling of alcohol as laws changed.

Things that I would have been too young at the time, 14 years old in 1960 to fully appreciate the changes related to the drinking establishment. However today reading back I am quite amazed at some of the realities of the times. Prior to 1960 it appears that one needed a permit to purchase alcoholic beverages. Who issued the permit is unknown and certainly I did not dig any further on that fact. The point I want to make here though is that industry was pouring money into the changing times. Liquor stores where expanding their drinking menus to a world-wide choice. Stores were converted from a behind the counter supply to self-serve shelf browsing and pay at the door on your way out. Magazines of all sorts were rolling out to expand the growing social scene and provide entertainment tips for food and drink when entertaining. Of course, much of the push was to introduce new brands of liquor and new ways to serve them.

Today as I watch the present social changes and listen to much of the street talk about Marijuana legalization I see many similarities. Of course, today’s more sophisticated social media and public awareness the prime mover for the changes are disguised as, it’s for ‘medical’ reasons and concerns.

Most governments in the US and Canada, State and Provincial are embracing that changes as they salivate at the extra revenue all those drug sales will bring. Certainly, if you do any kind of reading of those states that have already implemented legalized marijuana laws for medicinal and recreational use are developing billion-dollar industries within one to two years. Of course, legalizing recreational drugs will free up court time and police resources for petty crimes associated with possession. I suppose in the analogy it is no different than what it must have been in the US during prohibition days and when it ended.

Being of that ‘older’ generation I do find some comical relief as I observe the building of multi million dollars marijuana growing centers and think back to my school days. The pushers of my time, at least for my awareness of it, were skulking around in dark alleys and speaking in hushed voices trying to sell their wares. Today, most likely the suppliers to my day’s pushers are now walking around in fancy suits supplying the money needed to build those growing centers. As they say “Times have changed”.

But how do I feel about all of that change, since as any concerned parent who tried to raise their children responsibly about the use of drugs and alcohol? Well not much really. I see a major free for all period when the laws come into effect. People, mostly young ones will go crazy for a time, much as when the liquor laws changed in my time. Some became alcoholics because of it and others climbed back to earth as reality set in of “what’s the big deal? Ok so I drank or smoked, or ate laced brownies and God knows what other products will be rolled out. What have I gained?” NOTHING.

Government will rake in more tax revenue, which the little people will never see the benefits from that revenue. Big business will rake in billions from the growing and selling of their products. And the little guy, like you and me? Well as always, he pays for it all. That is the part that people don’t or seldom get. Any legal changes, taxes imposed or restrictions only ever affect the ‘law abiding’ citizen. They are the only ones that try to follow the rules. Politician with all of their backroom politics and deals, only line their own pockets, criminal elements as always circumvent the law of the land and what about big business? Well they follow the tax laws which are in actuality written for them because they are the economic lifeline of society. They create the jobs which people work at for pay which allows them to buy the products ‘they’ produce. It just goes around and around.

On the social and work front what do I think? Well businesses will struggle with the implementation of the new laws for a while and eventually everyone will come to the realization that it is no different for marijuana as it is for alcohol. You can’t work, drive, or function efficiently while under the influence all stop…… Some will stop using it, others will cry out that they need it, and others will continue to hide it, believing that no one notices it.

HR will have to deal with marijuana use and addiction the same way as they have to deal with alcohol today. Those addicted will continue to plead it’s not their fault and cry out for absolution. Doctors will stop handing out prescriptions since it will be freely available over the counter, like any other controlled alcoholic drink. Social workers will provide a shoulder to cry on and absolution while many in the general public will condone it’s use and users and resent having to work with them. Some will be hardnosed while others indifferent.

In another 20 or so years a new product will be added or replace today’s cornucopia of drugs and alcohol use in the name of social norms. In closing here is an epigram from Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) French critic, journalist, and novelist

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose—”the more it changes, the more it’s the same thing”

(If you like what you read…please let me know …I’d love to know who has visited me….leave a comment…one word is great….THANKS for reading)

Action….that is the answer

14 Mar

You know I have been downloading and reading articles on a variety of self-improvement for quite a number of years now. Everything on “How to manifest positively”, “Positive mantras that will change your life”, website that elucidate that they will train your mind to better achieve what you really want. I even read material on numerology and Horoscopes that profess will guide you to a better more abundant life…..the list is endless of what is available, and hey some of it I found as downright hocus pocus and just trying to get a buck out of you. I am not offended by that, everybody is trying to make a living. As Barnum and Baily said so many years ago….”There is a sucker born every minute”…..I suppose at time I am or have been that sucker but equally I console myself in saying that I need be cognizant of, and see the broader spectrum.
One cannot deny or detect something totally unless one has experienced the snake oil salesman expounding his wares. Now I do feel that I can detect much earlier the pattern. “Come right in…come and see the greatest show on Earth…..you will be amazed by the lady with two head….terrified by the wolf boy captured from the dark recesses of Africa…..step right up…..” I’m sure most have seen this scenario played out in the old movies……once inside you discover that it was more hype than fact…..

Don’t get me wrong I BELIEVE there is a very large amount of legitimate and valuable information out there as well, but you must develop a discerning eye and ear. There are many motivators out there which will do much good even if you only follow some of the advice that they offer.
You must also bear in mind that there are NO magic pill or formula that will transform you from rags to riches overnight. I do not believe that, no matter how much they try to sell it as being true. I do believe that you can improve yourself; you can improve your situation, no matter how dire it seems right now.
I think, and certainly for me I have found it to be the case and Earl Nightingale expressed it for me very early on in an audio track I listened to….”the magic word”…..ATTITUDE …it is a track well worth its weight in gold. For without it you will never see the opportunities that life places in your path. With the wrong attitude you will certainly see all the obstacles that are there laying just next to the opportunity but your dark shade glasses will limit your field of view in the same way as in the horse and buggy days.
The driver placed blinders over the eyes of his pulling horse to prevent it from seeing the grass or anything of its own interest on the side of the road. The driver limited the horse’s field of view for the simple reason that he wished it to go only in one direction, forward of his choosing. When he needed the horse to veer to the right he would disclosed to the horse…hey here is a new path for you to follow…the horse soon learned that he needed to go in that direction.
The horse would never remember that from his earlier distance view there was a road to the right, but now, as he is nearer the blinders prevent him from seeing that it is there, so he never turns, unless the driver moves the blinders to show it to him, at which time the horse takes ACTION and turns.
That is really the center of my comment at the start. All of the material you read can only achieve ONE thing….To shows you that there are a myriad of opportunities out there but YOU and ONLY YOU must take ACTION if you are to achieve your goal or dream. The action required may be easier if you have the support of others around you but even if you feel alone, if you WANT something you are the one that must make it happen. It will never happen on its own. Sometimes it may feel like it all happen by itself but in reality you had to have made subtle decisions to talk to this person or visit a site or read this book or article which perhaps very subtly guided you toward your dream or desired ambition. Once there, you have to make a conscious decision to take that opportunity you might feel just fell into your lap. Many for fear of the unknown or comfort would let that opportunity slide by and grumble later of what they “should” have or could have done.
So DREAM and ACTION those dreams into reality. You will be the better for it, and likely the naysayers just might be at your back saying…. “that lucky ba…t..d, opportunity just keep falling in his lap….falls in a bucket of sh…t and comes out smelling like roses….I’m sure you heard and or perhaps even said those things yourself……

All material is copyrighted of the author and cannot be distributed without the express consent.

Bullying …… friend or foe….?

7 Dec

These days, I think one would be hard pressed not to see some advert, or popup windows whenever surfing the net, with hype against bullying. I believe it’s been around for as long as human kind has learned to communicate. It is fueled by many factors, jealousy, greed, hate, and many other human emotions. No I am not a shrink or any other professional trying to define it. I am just an average Joe, just like you.
The world can be a cruel place to live in, particularly if you let it. It can also be a place of great joy and wonder IF you choose to see it. It will always show you what you are looking for.
If you listen to self-help material, be it video, audio, or books, and they will ALL tell you that the universe will give to you what you truly seek. The point is that our brains are geared to focus on what we think about. It’s the sub-conscious that drives our thoughts NOT the conscious as you may have thought. I know that is hard to believe but it is a fact. I think the following words from Mahatma Gandhi give some reflection to this……it is what is deep inside of you, not the surface that truly influences your behavior…

“Your beliefs becomes your thoughts
Your thoughts become your words
Your words become your actions
Your actions become your habits
Your habits become your values
Your values become your DESTINY”

So how does this affect bullying? I suppose it does not change it but I suggest that it might alter your perception of it.
Bullying will not go away no matter how much we wish it would. It IS a part of human make up. Yes it would be nice if we all lived in a utopic world where everybody gets along and there were no wars or discord. Or would it? How can you tell when something is bad? It is only by comparison to good that one can evaluate degrees of “good” or “bad”.

Like it or not human kind advances through adversity not conformity and bullying is an adversity.

The key is WHAT you do with adversity that matters. I would wager that ALL of us have at one point in our life been subjected TO or DOLED OUT some degree of bullying, …. Come on be honest….. We may not be proud of it, but none of us are free of uttering some unkind word or subjecting someone to some degree of intimidation.
In my day many parent would suggest to you, to provide your antagonist with a swift right cross and be done with it….that was then, things were different.
As I watch my grand-daughter grow I know that sooner or later the question will come up, but not until she interacts more with her peers…yes school age….the day will come when I hear……”grand-pa….I have this girls or boy at school that ….”. What will I say? What will I do? I cannot say at this time, what my actions will be when the time comes. Certainly it will depend greatly on my frame of mind at the time, and the degree of injustice. Of course one always hopes to dispense the Wisdom of Solomon, but after all I am human and subject to all its failing as well as its splendors.
So in short bullying only matters in how we handle it. In today’s litigious society the social media provides a factor that was NOT present in my day…. Today we do not have to contend as in my day of “he said” … “she said”. It is right there displayed in all of its ugliness in print or photographic evidence. However equally important and more than ever we, individually need to not behave in a manner which can feed our enemies eye and ears. Our electronic footprint is extremely huge, larger than most realize until it’s too late. (Name) tagged on Facebook, twitter…etc.
None of us will eliminate bullying, and we all have to deal with it at some time. How we deal with it may make us great or lowly….
Chris Rock…..
In 2007, Chris went so far as to tell host James Lipton of Bravo’s Inside the Actors Studio that bullying was “the defining moment of my life … it made me who I am”. He even thanked the pack of boys who regularly “kicked my a–, spit in my face, and kicked me down the stairs,” because the experiences not only helped him to think quick on his feet, but also fueled his drive to succeed.
Jacki Chan…..
“ I was bullied quit a lot in my Peking Opera School. I allowed myself to be bullied because I was scared and didn’t know how to defend myself. I was bullied until I prevented a new student from being bullied. By standing up for him I learned to stand up for myself.”
Michael J. Fox…..
“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.”

The web is full of support against bullying and yet people are devastated and choose poorly, even in some cases, to end their life because of it. In closing bullying will not go away no matter how hard we wish it. Let’s teach our kids how to deal with it and litigation is not the answer. Teach our kids early how to defuse it, or provide them with enough LOVE and Support so that they can see it as just an exposure to insensitivity and a phase that all of us are exposed to, in varying degree. We must continue to walk through it. Let’s provide them the path to keep walking, and not to stop and dwell on the hurt that can be imposed by the action of the truly ignorant…..

The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there… and still on your feet.
Stephen King

BEWARE PEOPLE A SCAM ARTIST or is it just basic economy….. 101

8 Nov

OK so I frequent the second hand shops. Not earth shattering news but just a way for me to find things I can use at a lesser price. Hey it is also “recycling” if you call it that everybody thinks good of you and cheers your effort. Do not turn your nose up at me because of it, I am sure that most if not everyone has checked a classified or two. They are not far different then having a browse through charity shops or second hands stores. Most people will have a good nose at classified ads and think nothing of it. A walk through a thrift shop for little found treasures I must do in person. Checking the classifieds I can do that even away from home.
However checking the classified today via a website similar to Craig’s list is, but has an odder name is Kijiji. Where did they come up with that name is beyond me. That’s beside the point. In this site I often see highlights of people warning other people of someone else’s wrongdoings. Thankfully some people take the time to warn others when they have been wronged. However being wronged can also be a personal perception.
The ad today read “BEWARE PEOPLE A SCAM ARTIST” in big capital letters. Then they proceeded to describe that someone had found two items in a local thrift store and then subsequently advertised and perhaps even sold those items on Kijiji. The writer was upset because the seller had placed a higher price on it then what the thrift store had sold for in the first place.
So I ask. Where is the scam here? That is basic economy 101. Every retailer in the world does that on a daily basis. Find a supplier that provides you with a product at one price and you then sell it at a higher price. Subtract your operating cost and you have your profits.
The fact that today the “supplier” could only supply the items once makes no difference. The principle is the same. Artist sells their wares in the same fashion. You buy a painting at one price and either hang it up for display or re-sell it. If you sell it for what you paid for it then you are out no money but perhaps have gain some enjoyment for a time looking at it. It you sell it for higher price then what you paid for it, then you win twice. You enjoyed the painting for a time and then turned a profit.
It might be interesting to speak directly to the person who placed the BEWARE…..SCAM….ad today if for no other reason than to see if my mental image of who this person is or what they look like matches my perceived image. I will not describe that.
Yes I did reply to the BEWARE ad indicating that I did not see where any wrongdoings had occurred. The thrift store got the money they asked for so they are out nothing. The fact that it could possibly have sold for higher but perhaps only if they held on to it longer. They want to move their merchandise quickly and therefore price accordingly. The new seller is selling to a different audience so may garner a higher price with perhaps a bit more effort. That’s the basis of entrepreneurship.

It will be interesting to see if I get a reply or not.
However this gave me a chuckle and the basis for my rant today.
I know I am behind in my writing and I keep telling myself that I must do it more often if I ever hope to get better at it……practice makes perfect.
But for now I must get back to the classified……

Terms of Endearment…..Are they really needed?

3 Oct

For some time now while shopping at home I have noticed a behavioral change in the clerks, tellers, or whatever the politically correct term is these days for the person taking your money at the cash register. Perhaps you have noted it too, but it has crept in so casually in Canada that you have not taken noticed. You are no longer addressed with “Thank you sir, please come again”, or “Here is your change and have a nice day”. Those are just small simple words, but effective, and polite.
So what am I leading up to? These days when I go to many retail outlets, I get from the cashiers more often than not, little quips like, “Will that be cash or credit … Dear, Darling, Honey, Sweetie, Sugar, Love, Baby, and a few more that escape me right now. Again maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so. I do not consider myself antisocial in anyway. Matter of fact would like to think of myself something of a happy go lucky kind of guy.
I first noticed these little quips perhaps while travelling in the UK, many years ago, and they did not bother me as much then. Actually I think hearing them in the UK; I mostly attributed it to a cultural thing at the time. Perhaps I first heard them on TV, while listening to British programs growing up, so on my first visits there, I subconsciously, I suppose I expected it. It’s not really clear just when I first started to encounter them or really took notice, but now at home I do find them annoying.
I do not know these people. Certainly we are not enemies but neither are we bosom buddies. What happened to “Good day sir? Sir will that be cash or credit”? I am sure that the store managers are encouraging their cashiers to be polite and courteous but they do not need to invade my aural space so intensely.
At first when I started to hear it occasionally around home, it was not really a big deal. However now it seems to me it’s almost taking on epidemic proportions. It’s hard to go anywhere in the space of one day and NOT hear at least a dozen of these little words; usually several in the same transaction.
To me, when I hear it at the cash register in many ways, I feel it’s like being at a social party where that one annoying person who, when he talks to you insistently moves in closer and closer. That person who gets so much in your personal space that you feel, if you don’t back up he is likely going to exchange shoes with you. I’m sure you know the type.
I really don’t think it is because I am getting old and cranky, although I suppose reading this you might think it the case. At least I hope that is not the case.
I just think that in a commercial setting, clerks should be courteous but not invasive. They after all, are not going to be the person I invite to my son’s wedding.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that they don’t mean anything when using these terms of endearment; and maybe there is the crux of my problem. They are empty utterances which used in this context; only serve to reduce their intended meaning. If it’s true that familiarity breeds contempt, then perhaps over usage reduces their weight, for when they are uttered in true context.
We accuse teen agers of uttering the words “I love you” to their new found love of three weeks, of just using empty words. How can they understand what “Love Is”? Come on we have all heard it or perhaps thought it of our own children at one time or another.
Maybe the casualty of the over usage of empty endearment is that the meaning and the importance of those simple words lose out. Say it often enough and it becomes easier to say it the next time, whether we mean it or not.
Love and terms of endearment between people should be guarded and used appropriately for it to retain ALL of the significance that language has given it.
For words and language to have meaning they must be used appropriately. When someone says “LOVE or DEAR” it should bear all of the influence that was intended. Love is beautiful but it is also painful, it is funny and tragic, it is a powerful word, or at least it should be. When it is uttered it should mean more than “hey you”.

“Language exerts hidden powers, like the moon on the tides”
Rita Mae Brown

Auditory Venture Is It Worth It

14 Jun

Over the years, I have listened to many hours, I mean many hours, of audio recordings. I’ve heard quite a variety, as well, from physical medicine to philosophy, from paranormal activity, to holistic healing, from historical events to political dogma, from time management to social and personal relationship; I even listened for pure entertainment to the odd novel. The audio list which is available today, some might say is near endless, and growing at a faster pace than it has ever before. I think no matter what you listen to, most of them can and likely will have some influence on your perception of what we are, physically or how we as humans behave socially. I think even in any novel’s story, there is some aspect of human behavior which is alluded to or highlighted in the story line.
Suffice it to say that I have NOT searched for the human bizarre, as I believe “that” to be a sad state of affairs which I do not care to acknowledge, or devote any of my time to.
I have always looked to find subjects matter which offered me at least a “slight” degree of personal interest, or an incite into human behavior.

Certainly for me, using audio files I found it much easier to explore material that I know I never would have read, in book format; but having listened to that material now, I am happier to have explored it. Some of my own fringe material however, certainly not all, but some, I have listened to several times. Nonetheless, even though I enjoyed the material, I know I still would not read the book. Why not you say? Well maybe because as an audio file I feel as if someone is talking to “me”, telling me about something or someone. I guess researchers would term me an auditory learner. I do often repeat things to myself when I am learning new material. Hearing someone else say it out loud in my ear I guess achieves that part of me which requires it. Perhaps another reason is because I normally listen to my material when I am alone. Reading text, to me requires concentration, and limits my movements; I typically need to be sitting down to do it. Maybe as many would attest I tend to be restless and always need to be doing something. Listening to an audio file means I can do other non-critical things, like walking, yet still absorb ideological content. I have found audio material to be excellent company when you are on a long drive by yourself or just spending time alone.
One audio area that I have concentrated on over the years would be classified as “self-improvement” material. I think they are by far the most numerous in my collection of some twenty five to thirty Giga bites. Am I better for it? I believe that I am but I suspect that I might be a bit biased also. People who have known me over the years may, have a different answer than my own.
What I CAN say, is that within me, I do feel better about myself. The world and life still holds mysteries, which I hope to explore, and hardships which I hope to overcome as well. I have gained confidence which has allowed me to even start a blog, as well as other writings which are not things I would have risked or considered, several years ago.
Having listened to a good quantity of material and I think many that I have searched out for one reason or another appear to be older material. Items written back in the earlier mid-20th century. That seems to have attracted my attention more so than the new age programs you see and hear on infomercials or the web of today.
Many of today’s speakers that I have spot listened to I find pretty consistently, say pretty much the same thing as the older material that I have. For sure new age speakers, each try to put their own spin on the rhetoric, trying to make it sound like they have just discovered or invented it on their own, but you know, since I have listened to so many audio files now, I would suggest that the new eschew the lessons from old. Masters like Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, and Earl Nightingale. Perhaps those individuals from the past, also took their cues from older masters as well, I don’t know. But the important thing for me I guess is that the lessons appear to hold true no matter when in history they were written or spoken. I guess for me that, in itself gives the material a strong degree of truth. Our present and our futures are built from the past. Someday check out quotes on line for things people say today. Likely you will find that it might have first been uttered in the Roman era, or the Greeks and many others long since dead; like Aesop’s fables. Things can be modernized but the lesson and formulas appear to remain the same and true.
What started my own Audio Venture was perhaps 15 years ago on a Sunday morning flea market traipsing. I came across a plastic case, in good condition, with a picture on the cover of a white haired older gentleman, clean looking as most of them are, with the Title “You were Born Rich” by Bob Proctor. Well I thought, “I always would enjoy having more money” then I thought “Ha… bet you it’s all about being rich in life or has some religious connotation, he looks a bit like a preacher.” Inside were six or eight cassettes, each with its own title printed. I believe the seller had four dollars written on it, with a publisher price of perhaps sixty five dollars, don’t recall for sure. I don’t even think I tried to talk him down, which is very unusual for me.
Anyway I remember thinking, “can’t be that good, or about financial gains, if this person is here selling it, and so cheaply. He certainly does not look rich, or maybe he just never learned the lessons,” I chuckled to myself for the thought. Needless to say I made the purchase.
I travel a lot so time to myself, is often not in short supply. Well, to make a long story short I found the tapes absolutely brilliant. I loved the message and his voice delivery was excellent for me. I like to think that I am my own thinking man, so for sure there were some passages which might have raised my eyebrows some, upon reflection, but all and all I thought the material well worth the time to listen. The message was in essence (in a small nut shell) you can gain financially and morally without feeling guilty and be a better person for it.
When I came home that trip I invested in four small handheld tape cassette players, blank tapes and carrying bags to hold it all together. The MP3 market was not really the develop industry that it is today. “I know copyright infringement.” Well it is what it is; I was more interested in getting the message to my children. I honestly do not believe that any of them EVER listened to them however. The lawyers can chastise me for doing the act, but fate has reduced it to a meaningless function. Every time I queried my kids about it, there was always some excuse as to why they had not listened to it yet.
I am positive that today, (though that was many years ago) none of them could tell me what happened to the kits I made for them,…. even if their life depended on it. Another proof that you can bring a horse to water but the horse MUST drink for him or herself. (need political correctness these days)
For me, my life study in the audio self-help arena had kicked off in earnest. Bob introduced me to names and ideas I had never heard of before as he introduced source material for himself, like Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Russell Conwell, and an absolute favorite of mine, “The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason; information I, believe everyone and especially young people, should be made to read or listen to that one, if none other.
These are but a few of the names which I have since researched and listened to. Most, several times over, some many times over, and every time I found a new insight or understanding. I have carried all of them with me on every trip from that day forward. I believe it has help me to broaden my views from financial facts to commerce history, and market predictions, from political views, to social injustices, from medical revelations to psychic beliefs, from religious societies, to belief in the Divine, from human relationship, to human tragedy and comedy. The spectrum is virtually limitless and growing by leaps and bounds every day.
One interesting point which I have also found is that there are websites like “Learn Out Loud”. Another is “Librivox” which create audio files from old, no longer in print material and it’s free to the public. It is of course of different quality than what is available on the commercial market since Librivox recruit the help of people like you and me to read the material and upload it.
All these tapes which I have purchased over the years and a good majority in second hand book stores have accumulated to a sizable physical mass. You could put them on a book shelf as you would any other book but there is a better solution. In my travels I am limited in carrying weight so all of the material had to be converted into an MP3 format which can now all fit nicely onto one small SD chip.
Once you are done with those bulky CDs, tapes, and records, I suggest donating them to the Institute for the blind, in your area. Perhaps more than anyone else they can appreciate the spoken word. I am pretty sure that many, a blind person shares similar interest to you.
My initial reason for this article was to discuss “Core Beliefs” but having talked about my audio adventures I think has and continues to influence my own core beliefs. At least I hope that they do, and in a positive way.
Many of the self-improvement audio will spell out formulas, and try to make you believe that if you follow it to the letter you will be rich, or famous, or healthy beyond your dreams. I think that “in essence” all of it bears some grains of truth. The hard part I think is in the BELIEF. For it all to work it’s more than just mantras that you might use to convince yourself that you are a true believer. But belief in itself is more than knowing or a thought…… and with that I will conclude with words from

Mahatma Gandhi

“Your beliefs becomes your thoughts
Your thoughts become your words
Your words become your actions
Your actions become your habits
Your habits become your values
Your values become your DESTINY”

To summarize…..
what your core beliefs are you will become…..

Technology Addiction? or is it incomprehension?

19 May

Not so long ago I made a purchase at one of the local stores. As I was looking at the teller’s machine for the card insertion point, so that it could read the “chip” on my card, the attendant serving me, a young girl perhaps in her late teens, exclaimed….” Oh you don’t need to do that, you have one of the new cards,… here, just tap the card”…In my stupor trying to understand what she had just said I looked at her. She just as quickly grabbed my card and “tapped” it to the screen. Immediately the machine responded with its whirring sound and spit out the paper receipt which indicated that the sale was now complete.
As she looked at me with a smirk on her face, no doubt because of my own dumb looking expression trying to grasp what had just happened, I exclaimed ….. “but I did not enter my code to accept the purchase”. With a continued girlish giggle she exclaimed with no more of a what to do than…”oh you don’t have to, your card has the tap feature. See this little icon in the corner,” a small transmit signal strength display, “that means you can just tap the card.”
She continued to look at me with that youthful grin, no doubt proud of herself that she had once more educated some old ignorant geezer of the new way of shopping. Of which she appeared to be much more cognizant and comfortable of the process than I am.
Well, in my defense, I would not exactly call myself an “old ignorant geezer” but I am for sure old enough to be her grandfather. I grabbed my purchase and left the counter, mind wheeling and wondering about this new card feature.
The transaction certainly was a new one on me. I had not heard of the new card characteristic now making its way into the market place. I suppose in that sense I was technologically ignorant. Now I do travel a lot globally, and often see banking card features overseas before I see them here in North America. This tap feature however was a new one on me, but not one that I would quickly accept at face value. This merited further investigation for sure. I set out to discover just exactly what this “TAP” feature is. I asked various vendors as well as my banking establishment. As they all explained to me that the new cards now transmit a signal that the vendors can read and seamlessly complete the purchase transaction. No numbers to forget. Naturally,I exclaimed that if it can do this without my entering any secret pin number, then “ANYBODY” with my card can make their own transaction, using my card, and this could happen without my ever knowing it.
I must be the stupid one because both vendors and banking tellers quickly and without any alarm iterated that …. “of course that could happen but the bank limits the amount to some small pre-determine value that you determine. As well some merchants reduce that amount, even more”… As well the banking tellers always iterated that if you should lose your card the need to alert the bank “AS SOON” as you are aware that your card is missing. Doing further research on the web I see much text from the financial institution repeating that the burden is on me to guard my card AND alert the bank quickly, blah blah….the legalese jargon is too long to point everything here but makes for an interesting read on how they develop slumped shoulders.
Well I don’t know about getting with the times, but I think this is inherently wrong. For sure it has a certain degree of speed and convenience, which the marketing departments are quick to outline for you. They are however much slower to indicate the potential liabilities that it also gives the thieves of this world Cart Blanche to shadow you.
Now I agree that I am not technologically the most savvy and I know that out there, are hackers, or just plain seedy people which are way more advanced than I am, and FAR less scrupulous than myself. Let’s look briefly at these transmitting cards for a moment. If I can buy online an attachment for my phone which lets me scan credit cards, then I am sure that somewhere is also available a tap reader, whether on open market or the seedy alleys. What is the transmit distance of these cards? Likely not far, but it does not matter, I am sure that the seedy engineers of this world can create signal enhancers to increase whatever signal emitted. Once upon a time a pick pocket had to physically touch you to extract $10 or $20 dollars from my pocket. Now he just needs to scan me. Once he has my code and he is smart he will not empty my account. Taking a random few dollars here from various people could render someone a good wages,….TAX free. How long before any of us ever notice that a ten dollar coffee charge was not done by ourselves. Does anyone EVER check, absolutely every charge printed on their bank account? Carrying this thought a bit further if one can find a card reader why not a card creator. My card certainly was created by a machine. Now potentially two of my cards “could” exist. Which vendor would ever raise a suspicious eyebrow because a transaction did not go through? After all it’s for such a small amount, as stated earlier. Any thief could easily and believably shrug off the inconvenience and just pull out a different card or pay cash, since the tap card will equally work at the ATM. When I spoke to one of my banking person I expressed that this feature HAS TO BE youth driven. I was told then that no older people wanted the new cards too. Perhaps, but I am sure older people are the minority. I for one cannot believe that we are in such a rush that we cannot spend an extra thirty seconds max, to enter a four digit code.
I believe that our younger to middle aged people are so technology driven that they are blind to the potential hazards. I also believe that the banks are showing a certain degree of irresponsibility in providing it just because people want it. Is the market such that the fear of “ if we don’t provide it, someone else will and we lose all those transactions revenue.”
I often thought of trying to do the math on how many ATM transaction any bank does in the run of a day. At one to three dollars a pop, for bank visiting users I am sure it would scare most people, more automation and less people.
No, I am sorry, but for me, I have requested the feature to be TURNED OFF at my banking institution. I will depend a bit longer on my stupid four digit code, and follow the bank’s instruction: “always guard and protect your pin”.
What if I forget my pin you say? Well I guess I will do without my coffee today and visit my nearest branch to get my numbers or a NEW one re-initiated. At least if I “drop” my card on the floor, nobody can pick it up and buy their coffee from MY pocket, much less slowly and unexpectedly bleed me for months or possibly years when I get a new card.

Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other.
Benjamin Franklin

It was a Blast

3 Dec

My youngest son has been working as an audio engineer for a little over a year now. Recently a studio hired him to be the audio engineer for a product advertisement for a major retail store head quartered in Toronto Ontario Canada. In the hiring process, it seems that the producers were a bit shy on real life people to film while using their new tool line.
They asked my son if anyone around him would mind trying out the tools and willing to be filmed doing it. Of course, there would be some required questions pertaining to the tools themselves while speaking on camera. As my sons and I are constantly renovating, and using tools are not really in short supply, he tentatively volunteered me to be one of their candidates.
Of course talking at length has never been an issue for me so when my son approached me, I was only too glad to oblige. The fact that it was a good paying job for him only made it that much more satisfying. The opportunity to work with him professionally in his new career was equally most satisfying.
The filming day started around ten am with my outlining for the producers, the jobs that I had lined up, which could best demonstrate their tools. The camera and audio equipment was set up, and ready to roll. My son outfitted me with an additional body microphone, not that I have a soft voice by any means.
They directed me from which angle they would be filming and what they expected me to do. I executed each task as needed. A question period then followed to describe my opinions for the tool’s performance. With what I thought was only a few retakes, to make sure they had enough footage and dialog to cut and splice as needed later, we moved on to the next task.
By five o’clock, we completed as many task as possible and all the equipment was broken down in the unmistakable fashion of the movie industry, quickly. Everybody appeared pleased with my performance but you know show biz……”Oh we loved you” ……”you did great” …. “Of course we will call you later” ……only never to be heard from again. Ha ha ha
Well no matter. I hope that they do call but frankly, I won’t wait by the phone or lose sleep over it. Certainly I won’t be quitting my day job just yet…..ha ha ha, Never mind starting to look for an agent, even funnier.
All and all it was a memorable day, which I hope can be repeated again some time. Oh, they did eventually call, well in today’s format, it was an email. It wasn’t to offer me a contract, tears running down my cheeks, but to give me the link where I could view my performance.
Hit the play button and judge for yourself how I did.

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EVERGREEN WRITERS GROUP

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yachtkate.com

Boldly going where everyone has gone before

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Just a place to express my opinions or views

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