Sunday, December 28, 2014


It’s the world of the future today!

I think they used to say that about microwaves 30 years ago or maybe it was the Contempra Phone.

Over the holidays we’ve made electronic purchases that indeed seem futuristic.First of all, my Husband Tom wanted an iPad 3. Please note we don’t usually venture out into Boxing Day crows, however, he need this so badly and it was on sale.
He has the iPhone and a laptop- which is not an “I” anything, yet still he firmly claimed-
“I want an iPad Three!”
Who was I to argue?
I had an iPad once. It confused me and I sold it at a great loss of revenue to a friend. I just couldn’t understand it. That’s why I am an Android/Samsung guy all the way. I’m not sure what this latest iPad does but he’s been showing me all these on-screen things since he powered it up.
Boys and their toys! 

Next, a day or so before Christmas I saw a product advertised in both the WalMart and Target flyer as well as Future Shop. It is a marvelous little piece of electronic wizardry called Chromecast.
It is really just a dongle.
No, not that kind of dongle, although this one was firm- being made of hard plastic. To backtrack some, a year ago we had bought 100 feet of LAN line trying to send movies and TV shows we watched on our PC to our Big Screen TV. We could get the video part to work but the audio didn’t, so, we shelved the idea and all that blue cord has been taking up space on a shelf in the garage. Now, along comes a dongle called Chromecast. We fellas all have names for our dongles, this one just happens to be Chromecast. I don’t suppose Big Boy, Harry the Horse  or Hercules would have worked- marketing-wise, for Google. 

For $29.99 this Chromcast dongle by Google works like a charm and it take minutes to install. It’s all wireless and works from the WiFi signal in your home. Just plug the Chromecast dongle into the HDMI plug on your TV. Download Google Chrome on your PC or mobile phone. Next, search for Chromecast. It takes a minute or two to load. The instructions in video form are on the site.

In a short time we were watching Season 5 of Downton Abbey from a website called Couchtuner. We even watched the 2 hour Christmas Special. Both picture and sound are excellent and all for $29.99!
What a bargain for  a piece of the future. I love it when something is reasonably priced and works like a charm. I can even send videos and such from my Samsung Phone to the TV screen.
Totally magic! 

Finally, a day or so ago I was reading a newspaper online when I noticed an ad on the page for something called a Navdy. See online ads do work! (A hint for businesses who listen to Swisssh or Starlite or go to the Swisssh homepage I watched the video. This small device- about the size of a small DVD player, sits on your vehicle’s dashboard right in front of the driver. When in use, it projects a screen in front of you onto the windshield. It appears the image is about 6 feet in front of your car. The transparent screen shows you speed and GPS. One can also answer calls from a mobile phone with the sweep of a finger and both read and reply to texts- by voice. It even shows your current position which in turn you can text to whomever.
I showed Tom and even he was impressed. Some top of the line vehicles have a system such as this built in but this Navdy has to be installed and is priced at about 360 bucks CDN if you pre-order.
We did.
We ordered on for each vehicle.
They’ll be shipped in early 2015.

I am excited about this. It means hands free calling and you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to use it because the screen is right there in your line of vision on the windshield. You give the device the finger and it performs for you! Hmmm. Sounds like the 80’s but I digress.
It’s the future indeed in 2015! 

The iPad 3 and the Chromecast are operating as they should. I’ll let you know about the Navdy when it comes. In the meantime check out the video for yourself. It’s well done and amusing as well as informational. 

Monday, December 22, 2014


Christmas Dis and Dat 

It’s a definite test of one’s patience and “Holiday Cheer” when you venture into a busy department store or mall at this time of year. The crunch is on! People are wide- eyed like Bambi caught in the headlights of an oncoming Ford Falcon. We never seem to learn though. As a friend’s husband says to his wife Roxanne every year-“Did you forget that Christmas falls on December 25 Dear?” 

At our house we have decidedly cut back on Christmas giving these past few years. We are dispensing with giving a lot of gifts to each other on Christmas Day. This year I gave Tom a new furnace. He gave me a new verandah.
Nice, eh?

Oh, there’s a turkey in the fridge to be cooked. Last week we treated ourselves to Jersey Boys- front row even! We’ve bought little things for host(ess) gifts when we see friends over the Holidays- but that’s it. 

We still “make merry”!
A few days ago we were invited to a gathering at friend’s house. One guest was going on and on about people not saying “Merry Christmas” so much anymore. I get so tired of hearing this, so I said- I say Merry Christmas- even though I’m an Atheist!
You could have heard a pine needle drop on the Victorian carpet. 

In other Christmas News… 

Please tell people who litter their front lawns with those monstrous blow-up decorations to stop!These colourful, rubber monoliths add little holiday sparkle. We have new neighbours who have taken up the cause of a blowup Christmas. Yes, I admit to being “snobbish” about these things. I am sure they would look more at home in another city ward. Just not ours! This “bunch of bloated” beings are the only decorations of this type for blocks around!
Oh well. Fah-la-la-la-lah-la-la-la-lah!! 

Good on the City of Orillia for providing free parking Downtown once again this year. For a few weeks when I pull into a lot to “Shop Downtown” I am not frustrated searching for major coinage to feed the blasted meter. Any wonder it’s easier to drive to West Ridge or The Mall. Geeesh! 

Many of us have been shopping online this year and wait for Canpar, the UPS Man or Canada Post to conveniently bring our purchases to our front door. That’s a good idea. On the other hand, a helpful note: It might save you some time if you check a store’s website if you intend shopping in person to see if they even carry the item you’re searching for. 

My final few bits of Holiday Dis and Dat concern parties and music. Now I am no Louise Fox but if you intend “decking the halls” at your company Christmas Gathering it’s a good idea to leave the lampshade at home and remember to wear underwear.  

I love Christmas music. I start playing it on Swisssh and Starlite the minute the Santa Claus Parade schlepped through Downtown Orillia. However, I am sure most of you will agree, I don’t like every Holiday tune out there.

Hence, I don’t play that blasted song about the “Christmas Shoes” and Mommy meeting Jesus. I am sure it’s the same chain-smoking, blue-rinse, gin-soaked “dolly” who repeatedly asks terrestrial radio stations to play it.  

While we are on the subject of Christmas Music- if Jesus is reading this column, please make that Hippopotamus Song or any Christmas tune sung by the late Whitney Houston and that freakin’ Mary’s Boy Child from Boney M disappear- if you can. 

God, Bless us every one!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


It’s Christmas once again and in the interest of Atheists, Jews and Christians alike, I offer you my Blog: 

Santa Claus and Jesus

Santa Claus was born several hundred years ago.
Christ was born in Bethlehem on Christmas Day- in February a couple of thousand years ago. 

Santa Claus used to be St. Nicholas and still is in some countries. Jesus is a prophet in some countries and God- or at least God’s son, in some countries. Some people who live in the Amazon have never heard of Santa or Jesus and they do not get Christmas Day and Boxing Day off. Sucks to be Amazonian! 

Santa Claus is Canadian and lives at the North Pole- even today. Jesus was Jewish and lived in Galilee. He was Galilean. He is dead. 

Santa is well-travelled.
Jesus walked around Galilee and once- when very young- took a trip with his mother Mary and Father Joseph- not his real Dad, to Egypt.

Santa Claus is a “fictional character” believed in by Children.
Jesus is a “fictional character” believed in by grown-ups who force their children to believe.

Santa Claus is boss and there is no CEO or Big Guy lording over him, although he does have the backing of the corporate sector- you know- The Bay, WalMart and Giant Tiger.
Jesus has a CEO. He is called “The Pope” and is Catholic. Did I mention Jesus was and still is Jewish? Although, those who believe in him are called “Christians” and they live forever- something called eternal life, if they believe in him. 

SIDEBAR: Believing in Santa Claus gives you no guarantees of an eternal life but you can score some pretty neat gifts. 

Santa Claus is married. His wife’s name is…ummm...well…Mrs Claus. Her first name is probably Dorothy or Eunice.
Jesus is not married. His last name is Christ. Jesus may be Gay. He hung out with 12 guys for 3 years. He ate, slept, hung out and swam in the Dead Sea with all of them. He may well have been a tramp with a very high libido. Of course some people say that Mary Magdalene- who hung around with Jesus and the 12 guys, eventually married Jesus, moved to France and had a bunch of kids. Others believe she was a “Fag Hag”. (Google the term “Fag Hag”, if you are not familiar with it). Some claim Mary was a prostitute but the Catholics forgave her for that sin a few years ago. Good Old Catholics. They should know. 

SIDEBAR: Do not confuse Mary Magdalene with Mary Smith (I think that was her last name- or David) who was Jesus’ mother on earth whom God- who by the way lives on his own planet according to the Mormons, came down and ^%&$#!

SIDEBAR: I know you might be having a difficult time swallowing some of this but hang in there. 

Santa wears a red suit and carries a big bag of toys slung over his back.
Jesus wore a sack. It was bleached white and he probably didn’t wear underwear and he slung his bag….never mind. Look it up on Google! 

Santa had a bunch of Elves working for him. They are all ageless, short of stature and wear pointed shoes.
Jesus has The Pope working for him and The Pope is always old, shuffles around wearing gold slippers and a pointy hat. 

Santa can come down many, many chimneys “with a bound” and live through the experience. He can eat tons of cookies that kids leave for him on the dining room table as well, he drinks litres and litres of milk.
Jesus can be nailed to a piece of wood- only once, then lose consciousness, get buried in a stone tomb and wake up on a Sunday morning a couple of days later just in time for brunch at the Casino. Oh yes- Jesus can also fly up- ascend actually, into the clouds of Heaven. He does not get any frequent flyer miles for doing this. Such a pity. 

Santa Claus has a bunch of Happy Holiday tunes written about him as well as snowmen, hippopotamuses, front teeth and more.
Jesus has some happy tunes written about Him and Angels, Shepherds and Kings and such but most of the tunes are morose, scary, dull and boring. 

Santa Claus makes a decent wage and passes along benefits to Mrs Claus and his Elves.
Jesus is aided by the Catholic Church and a lot of other churches who believe they are “real” churches, only they are not because they have been told by the Catholics that they are all second class because the Catholics are the only true Christians. We wonder why there are wars…

I digress…

So, Jesus has riches of gold, famous paintings, property, The Vatican and a bunch of stuff that is hidden to keep the poor and downtrodden from getting wise to his schtick. 

Santa is a jolly old elf, fills the world with loves and happiness every year- and you don’t have to go to church or bend over and worship him.
Jesus- on the other hand, hardly ever cracked a joke, got pissed off at the money-lenders and tried to run away from his parents when his was 12. However an orange alert was sounded and his parents found him doing some business for his Father. No, I don’t mean Joseph, I mean the big guy up on that planet. Jesus also expects you to prostrate yourself before him and worship him- or go to Hell. Took the words right out of my mouth! 

SIDEBAR: Jesus has his own planet these days too- according to the Mormons, whereas Santa has just has a bit of frozen land called the North Pole. 

So Kids, that’s my take on Santa vs Jesus.
Have a Wonderful Holiday!
Seasons Greetings!
Happy Hanukkah!
have a very Merry Little Christmas! 

FINAL SIDEBAR: You think it’s tough waiting for Santa to come to your house just once a year! What about the Jews who are still waiting for the Messiah and have been waiting for hundreds and hundreds of years.

Now that’s commitment!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014



Peace. A word that in itself sounds warm and quiet.
A little shush with the “c” on the end. 

I have been thinking about Peace lately. Peace in the Middle East, in Russia, Syria, wherever there’s tension. Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Men. Peace doesn’t just mean being kind and thoughtful and peaceful during the holidays, it’s a word and feeling that should resonate the entire year through. 

Peace should be a top priority.
Take a few minutes, light a candle for Peace. Send out the waves of love and “do unto others as you would have them do onto you”. If any message could ever break through and catch the ear of a Supreme Being- Peace is it. 

I’m not an expert on Peace. I don’t know how and if our world will even get close to understanding the word “Peace”. Terrorism lurks in lightness as well as darkness and from great distances. It makes us mindful and careful.

We need to find Peace in our daily lives. Take a few moments to reflect in a quiet spot away from the hustle and bustle.
Contemplation over a hot cup of peppermint tea.
Quiet thoughts while watching the lights twinkle on a perfectly decorated tree.
Reaching out to help someone.
A warm smile and a nod of the head to a passing stranger amid all the holiday hubbub.
An arm in arm walk with a friend or loved one in the crisp evening air.
There doesn’t have to be words, just positive thoughts. 

Maybe we all should send out those thoughts of Peace during this Holiday Season and together let’s hope there’s someone “out there” listening somewhere…