Sunday, December 10, 2017


    The last few days the dullness and short days of December have become very noticeable.  It can be clear but it's dull with long shadows. The sun is low in the sky so looking south the sun shines directly in your eyes.

    We are fortunate that we are in the middle of a long mild spell ( Highs 6 C ( 44 F)( Lows minus 5 C( 22 F) )or this could be a very cold time with little sunlight. The sun rose this morning at 8:35 and set this afternoon at 4:22 so we get about seven hours and 47 minutes of sunlight.

     This was taken about 9:30 AM so the sun is still low on the horizon.

      Sometimes when you look at a photo you see something different than when you were shooting. So I noticed the grayness and brown vegetation and dark trees.  I caught the old abandoned water tower peaking through the trees. It is about 2 km from me.

Thursday, December 7, 2017


     One of our major malls puts on a free lunch for seniors each year. Now this is one of the Micro Manager favorite events. Not so much for me.

     The micro manager likes to get to the mall shortly after 9:30 AM for lunch! Why? At that time the Micro Manager can line up for a free bag full of trash. (I'm not very nice am I?) The gift bag for the Micro manager is a big deal. You get the bag and lots of stuff inside. Well, let see. There's a coupon to get your picture taken with Santa. She can't wait to run over and get the picture taken. What else afghan, calendar, box of Kleenex, some other coupons and  candy and chocolates.

    Then there's the lunch. You line up with 300 seniors and slowly move through the line to get your soup, sandwiches, juice, coffee  and cookies. The lunch is a good deal. To be honest, I didn't line up. The Micro Manager went through with two plates. I held the table down as I had to make sure somebody didn't take off with the goody bag. 

    What did I do when the Micro manager was having so much fun? I read the paper, did the puzzles and played games on the ipad!

   I don't like malls much. Or crowds much when I don't know anybody. I like crowds if I know the people.

    Oh yes, the Micro manager had a little shopping to do. 

   So this was my stressful day.

   I know I'll get a lot of sympathy for this whine!

Sunday, December 3, 2017


      From my previous posts you may get the idea that squirrels aren't too popular with me.

     So the squirrel that is my topic is the American red squirrel. It's smallish but about twice as big as a chipmunk. They're very territorial so if they set up in your yard there's lots of action by he squirrel to keep other red squirrels out of it's territory. sometimes they chatter at me and I think they're trying to tell me to get lost. They are supposed to eat seeds but they eat a very wide variety of materials...mushrooms, berries, mice, eggs and much more. They are very active and extremely quick in there motions.

    They are favorites of many people as they are incredibly cute. However , they can be nasty so keep your distance. They can be destructive and  chew holes in your house.

     Now red squirrels have a liking for sunflower seeds. Red squirrels have hit the jack pot when they find a bird feeder with sunflower seeds. They take over. The feeder is theirs. They are crafty and pesky. They also consume many seeds.

     Now for me there's something wrong with squirrels eating my bird seed. I'm stubborn enough to try and chase the squirrels away.

     So I had a plan. I would get a small hinge and attach it near the feeder. I attached a fish line to the hinge so that the hinge could be pulled up and down and make a noise. Now I know some of you are saying, "I tried that."

    Well the squirrel soon came along and I pulled he line. The squirrel left at twice the speed of lightning. I didn't see it for a few weeks. However, all good things come to an end and the squirrel came back and when I pulled the hinge it took off. Gradually the squirrel visits became more frequent and then the cheeky beggar would come back after a few minutes. So my creation worked for a while and then gradually lost it's effect.

    Now the squirrel really knew how to rub things in. It would stand on the fence at the back door and look in that door. The squirrel had found out that the door opens and then the hinge moves. The cheeky little beggar was watching for me. Talk about smart.

   I'm going to have to up my game if I want to beat this squirrel.

Friday, December 1, 2017


     Now every time we go to the physician, sooner or later he/she pulls out the requisition pad and orders a half dozen or more tests. There are many handy dandy tests that can show that we are all right and have nothing wrong with us. For my annual check up . I get at least a dozen tests. Then the doc cheerfully says, "If there's anything wrong I'll phone you." Then you never get a phone call and are left wondering if everything was okay or if he just forgot to phone. Except not with my doctor. My doctor phones at least half the time and sometimes it's to confirm that something is okay so I know if he says I'll phone if there's a problem, I know he'll phone.

      Now the other day I visited my Doc to get my end of life form formalized. After we finished the form, he looked at me and said, "You know we should change medication Y when you're taking medicine X. That really amazed me.

     It also got me thinking about the medications we take. I take 4 medications. Three of them may give me better life quality in the future. One I need to take to function at the present time. I know that many seniors take many more medications than 4. I know that some physicians play fast and loose with interactions which may occur . Some drug interactions can possibly be very harmful or even fatal.

    So here's my suggestion for a test. We should have a test for the drug interactions that occur between the various drugs that have been prescribed. The test would detect all the new sludge left in our body from the various interactions. I'm sure that the drug interactions produce some very interesting new substances. Maybe some of the new substances may be useful? I doubt it. Maybe some of the harm done to our bodies could be detected and prescriptions stopped.

    I'm sure that a small part of the requisition pad could be used for a spot to tick off a test to detect crap produced by the interaction of medications!

     Just think how much better off we would be!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


     This is unbelievable. I'm going to write about taxes again! I know I said in my last post that it was the end of posts on tax. The tax  topic just keeps giving and giving. This also fits in with a few other posts I've done, like telemarketers.

    Yesterday morning a call came and since I have call identification , I decided not to answer. Most telemarketers and scams don't leave a message. This one left a message and it was chilling.

    The message went something like this. You are named in a criminal proceeding for paying insufficient income tax and for tax fraud. Call back immediately and we can help you. Well it's a rather upsetting message. Fear and worry set in immediately. And then the voice of reason cuts in and you realize that this is a scam. However , you are shook up by such a call.

     Even though I had heard about this scam before, I was stressed. What cold evil hearted person would conduct such a scam. I wouldn't be taken in but how many other people may fall for it. What about seniors.? What about the many people we have who have limited English?

     So yes, my post is about tax but more on creepy criminal phone calls.

    We called the police to report the call thinking that they may be interested in case there was an ongoing investigation. Well they knew about it, but there was no investigation because unless there's money that actually changes hands there's no offense being committed. They are just a nuisance.

    So hopefully this will be the last tax post and that the goons don't phone you.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


    Recently I have done two posts on income tax. One post was a on a tactic used by people to evade tax by putting money in another country. The last post was on the pathetic performance of the call center used by the tax department.
    So after my challenge  of  dealing with capital gains I've been thinking about what causes tax systems to become so complicated.
    Too many times whiners get to the politicians and request changes to the tax system that would benefit them. Politicians see this a  way of getting votes when they need them. Politicians also think that if they meddle with the tax system, they can "improve" the economy.
    Then the government always has ideas to give us a good deal. In Canada they set up something called the Registered Retirement Savings Plan. The idea was to let people start a savings deposit and not have to pay income tax on it until they take the funds out. You would not be able to take any funds  out until you reach retirement unless you wanted to pay tax on it. The idea was that when you retire your tax rate would be lower and in this way save money. So try keeping track of this account. There was a maximum you could deposit. There's a minimum you could take out at the end.
   The government has all kinds of economists and accountants who design tax systems that at the same time benefit people and bring in needed revenue for the country.
    I could bore you with other examples.
   So why not tax everybody on a standard rate. There would be different rates for income level but that's all.  No exemptions. No write offs. No sneaking money off to a foreign country.
   I'm willing to bet a nickel that if everybody was taxed the same and did not have loop holes that the tax rate would be lower. Wouldn't that make everybody happy! Or is this just too simple to fly?

    Well it was a good dream anyway.


Friday, November 24, 2017


       I've always disliked call centers

       When you call it takes forever to get an answer. It seems the usual time is 30 to 45 minutes. Listening to the mournful repetitive tiny bit if music drives me crazy. Listening to , "Your call is important to us" 200 times is insulting.

     So finally someone answers. What have I got? Someone whose English is very limited. They have an accent and only understand about half of what I say. Since my hearing is poor , I have difficulties hearing speech which is heavily accented.  If we did understand each other they have a very limited knowledge of the topic I'm seeking information about. So after a frustrating time I usually end up not getting the information I was seeking.

    Now the call center business is large. It's set up to operate efficiently and is very lucrative.

    Now I knew a young guy who had brief experiences with working in call centers or should I say training. He was well paid and he would train until some other opportunity came along. Many opportunities he chose were also short term. Sergio spent time at my house and I tried to help him with support and employment. He worked in a slaughter house for a few weeks. He worked for a cement company for a few days. However, Sergio always seemed to mess things up. He didn't seem to care if he got anything right. So if he was working in a call center he could make anything up!

     Now yesterday with my tax issue I happened to be dealing with a call center. The person knew absolutely nothing about what I was asking.

     A few years ago taxation employees answered the phones. You got information.

     Now I'm sure that if call centers continue they will be responsible for destroying our society.