Pokemon Go…. Or Don’t Go… The Choice is Yours

Throughout the ages, we have seen fads of all shapes and sorts. The ant Farm or Lava Lamp in the 60’s, Roller Skates or Pet Rocks in the 70’s, The Walkman and Cabbage Patch Kids in the 80’s, or beanie babies and boy bands in the 90’s. Every decade has its must haves. For our current decade, the winner so far is the BIG game by the little studio Niantic Labs. Yes, I’m talking Pokemon Go!.   

Prior to the launch of Pokemon Go, Niantic was a near obscure small offshoot of a Google Company called Alphabet. It made a few games, but had no great notoriety around them, then came Pokemon Go.   

In a heartbeat, the company goes from being obscure, to being larger than life…. and soon, larger than Twitter.
The game has become a phenomenon unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Upon limited release, it became the most sought after game on the planet. People who never knew what “side-loading” was, were getting the app on thier android phones. Account creation in the US apple Store was up 500%. People were just not willing to wait for this epic game. I would hazard a guess that all the folks in Canada that downloaded it on Launch day, only did it to get the “official” version for thier country.   

My kids and I were no different. We held off on the lure of Pokemon the best we could, but after a week of hearing how awesome this game was, we couldn’t wait any longer.   
Fast forward to July 17, and it launches in Canada “officially”. 

  
There has been no shortage of controversy surrounding this game either. From Memorials and Graveyards not wanting people playing the game on grounds, to nefarious individuals luring players to locations to rob them.   
Arlington National Cemetery has asked all players to refrain from the playing on the grounds, citing “Lack of Decorum”. Have the residents complained?   
I agree that people should have respect, but if I have my volume off, and Catch a Pokemon in ANC, how is that disrespectful? Would they admonish someone taking a normal picture? It really comes down to the person playing, not the game.   

The Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C is a “PokeStop”. The museum is trying to get the location removed from the game. I can tell you, that playing the game myself, I have discovered places that I didn’t know existed. Many have. All of the Pokestops are places of note, and not randomly decided. I’m sure many more people than normal have discovered the museum, and likely gone in when they otherwise wouldn’t have. The Pokestop does not require entrance, and can usually be gotten at a distance.   

And lets not forget the physical and mental components. Pokemon Go has in itself created a social network, and a community. Anywhere you go, folks will see you playing, and smile, or even give you hints to places they have found different Pokemon. Often times small kids with social anxiety have difficulty speaking, but can speak about video games. it opens up dialogue. A few doctors have taken to Pokemon Go for patients to help with Cognitive function. The game itself, while simple, has a complex understructure that creates for an in depth game. 
In regards to physical activity, the game makes you walk. At some pokestops you receive eggs. These eggs require walking to hatch. You cannot trick them , as speeds over a certain level no longer count for distance to hatch the egg. The eggs require 2, 5 or 10K distances to hatch. The distance is not required in one walk, but the sooner you hatch the egg after you get, the better it will benefit your current level. 
My kids have asked 4 times in the last week to go to the Halifax Waterfront ( A very busy pokeplace to be sure) and we have walked likely close to a combined 20 KM in those visits. 
The game has also sparked some great relationship building with my kids. Rarely do you find something that an 8, 11, and 40 yr old person can enjoy together. We have many things that we do together of course, but this lets us get out to explore (which we love to do) and catch Pokemon in the process. 
So to those who have all kinds of negative things to say about Pokemon Go, consider the good I’ve spoke of above. 
Give the game a try even. I know many who have never played Pokemon before who love the game… Maybe that could be you too.
Peace out PokeStars 

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Is Racial Diversity a potential weapon of racism?

Hello True Believers🙂 I know the title already has some of you up in arms, and I’, sure I’ll get called a racist, and there will be a lot of rebuttal, but I’m prepared for it.  Hell, I welcome it.  That being said, let’s have at it.

So I’d like to open with a piece from an article on

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jan/22/oscars-2016-charlotte-rampling-diversity-row-racist-to-white-people

about the Oscars and it goes a bit like this:

Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling has claimed the current campaign to boycott the 2016 Academy Awards over claims of a diversity deficit is racist to white people.
 
Rampling, 69, is up for the best actress prize for her role in the British drama 45 Years, from director Andrew Haigh, where she will compete against Room’s Brie Larson, Carol’s Cate Blanchett, Joy’s Jennifer Lawrence and Brooklyn’s Saiorse Ronan. Asked for her take on the current furore over all-white lists of nominees on French Radio network Europe 1 on Friday morning, the British actor did not mince her words. “It is racist to whites,” she said.

firstly I would like to thank Charlotte for being so honest and stepping up and making this statement.  It is greatly forgotten that racism is a TWO WAY street, and she has reminded all of us of this.  She also echoed my previous comment about the actors not being good enough.

So to start on my title statement, let me tell you what I think.

First of all, I am all for diversity where it makes sense.  I agree that in any event/forum ethnic and cultural diversity is a must. I don’t think however that diversity should factor into contests as far as it applies to determining the winner. Let’s use the Oscars as an example.  there were many actors of color that could be nominated.  There were many white actors that could be nominated. In each category they choose 5. This means the odds of getting nominated are small, so your performance needs to be top notch.

Here is what happens when you include diversity into this mix.

First, you select an actor of color for a category based on a diversity mandate. So that actor may not have given the best performance, but is nominated to fill a required “diversity” level.  This means that someone who was truly deserving and did a better job will not get that spot.

Second, as a person of color, should you be ok with getting the win or nomination for just being of color? Does this really speak to your talent? Don’t you actually want to earn it? As a performer are you really okay to let another of your craft be passed on because a mandate had to be filled?  If the answer is yes to any of those questions, then you are the racist one.

Racism is defined as: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

Isn’t this exactly what the rant by Jada Pinkett displayed?

I further add an example of how racism exists and is propagated by those who are not white.

The BET Awards.  Hell, BET in general. This is a venue that is created for black people to enjoy black actors and events.  Now I don’t have an issue with this, but doesn’t the exclusion of white people from this venue make that a racist act? It’s not like there is a White Entertainment Channel that caters to only white people (God forbid) and I’m sure CBS, ABC, NBC, WGN, etc have all had shows with people of color on them, and don’t discriminate. Hell, Redd Foxx and Cosby were on TV long before BET was a bad idea in someone’s mind.

How many white people have been nominated/won a BET Award?

I apologize for the rant, but the recent issues from people of color in Hollywood has really got me raving.

To be clear here, I am not racist, I have many friends of color.  I have an issue with any race using their race as a method in which to garner favor they would otherwise not have gotten, or stating they did not get something based on their race, when it is clearly not the case.

Will Smith has said “This is about children sitting down to watch the show and see they are not represented.” Well wouldn’t a good way to represent these kids be to go to the awards and be seen? Do you need to be nominated to be represented?

Let’s look at Smith a bit further. The thoughts are he should have been nominated for Concussion. Smith has been nominated  twice for an Oscar in a career that spans more than 30 films. If we look at a guy like Denzel Washington, he had a little over 50 movie credits, which garnered 6 nominations and 2 wins. Even though I haven’t seen Concussion, based on his ratio of movies to nominations, and the other actors that could have been nominated, I’m not surprised he wasn’t.

At any rate, I will digress, but leave you with one thing….  If folks want equality, and don’t want to be judged based on color/gender etc, then don’t use these things as a means to an end to get what you want.

I’m Out.

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And the Oscar Goes to……

Hello all.  This is my message to Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, and their foolish boycott of the Oscars for “lack of Nominee Diversity”.

First off, I thought that the Oscars were about the best performance? If the academy chooses to include films to bolster cultural diversity or meet a certain mandate, are these films really the “Best”?

The comments that have been made by Spike Lee, calling the awards the “lily White Awards” is most certainly a racist comment. Are this comments ok because he is black and feels that he is oppressed? Maybe it goes deeper than that.  Maybe its because he was nominated in 1989, and 1997 and didn’t win. That being said, Lee was given an Honorary Award as a champion of independent film in 2015

Maybe Pinkett-Smith is upset that her hubby didn’t get nominated, or has never won. Interestingly, the 2 times he was nominated for an Oscar he lost both time to men of color, both of which are much better actors ( Forest Whitaker and Denzel Washington)

I’ve seen many comments on how “White” Hollywood is. I disagree.  I think that there are many actors and people in the film industry that are of a race other than Caucasian. Many are quite accomplished and awarded rightly so.  Names like Sidney Poitier or Denzel Washington or Halle Berry.

In 2013 Chiwetel Ejiofor was nominated for 12 years a slave, that same year Barkhad Abdi was nominated for Captain Phillips. also in 2013 Lupita Nyong’o won the Oscar for Best Support Actress. Also that year, Steve McQueen won Best picture for 12 years A Slave, and John Ridley won best writing for the same film. As a matter of fact, 12 Years a Slave had 5 nominations and 3 wins in 2013.

In 2014 John Legend and Common won for best original Song.

Now it has occurred to me, and maybe it hasn’t dawned on these other people, but maybe, just maybe, the acting/producing/films done by those of other ethnic groups just weren’t as good as those done by others. The measure should not by ethnic group, it should be by quality of product.

I’m not a racist person, but these things anger me.  People will take any chance to exploit racism.  Saying that there all white people nominated shouldn’t make you scream racism, it should make you step up and do better. Is it that hard to think that maybe these people/movies were nominated because they were the best? Would you rather be nominated because you were the best, and not just the slot used to fill the token ethnic slot because you demanded a minimum ethnic mandate?

I think it is very difficult to eliminate racism, when those who accuse others of it, use it as a tool at every opportunity to get what they want.

I hope Jada and Spike do not attend the Oscars.  The “Lily White Awards” will be much better off without that negativity.

Lets honor the brightest and best in the industry for their skill, not their color

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Janice Dickinson….. or Just a Dick

Janice Dickinson Sexually Assault by Bill Cosby…..

I Call

bullpoop

Well my friends, its been a while. I’ve been living a fairly quiet existence…..

UNTIL NOW

I would like to comment on the recent attack on Mr. Bill Cosby, from one washed up band wagon jumper, Janice Dickinson.  This has been couldn’t even keep a job on America’s Next Top Model.

But to be fair, her accusations could be true….  Except her story has some holes.  Let’s investigate those….

In the interview, Dickinson said she met Cosby in Lake Tahoe in 1982 at his urging after he said that he would help her with her singing career. They had met earlier when her agent had introduced them, hoping that she could get a job on “The Cosby Show.”

So he is going to help her with her singing career, and she expected to be on his show…. Wires crossed maybe?  We will give the benefit of the doubt, because I’m nice like that.

Dickinson said that after dinner, she and Cosby were in her hotel room and that he gave her some red wine and a pill. She had asked for a pill because she had been suffering stomach pains.

So is she saying the Pill was not for pain or an upset stomach?  If her stomach was upset, is drinking wine a great idea?  Things are getting a bit fuzzy now…..

She says, “The next morning I woke up and I wasn’t wearing my pyjamas and I remembered before I passed out I had been sexually assaulted by this man,” she said. She remembered Cosby dropping the robe he had been wearing and getting on top of her.

Woah, woah… Back the fuck up here.  So we jump from the pill to waking up the next morning?  She doesn’t know what the fuck happened to her Pajamas?  Why was she in her pajamas? Is that typical dress attire when Bill Cosby visits your hotel room?    Her Pajamas are a mystery, but she CLEARLY remembers him disrobing and mounting her?  He was wearing a robe?  In HER Hotel room?

Whhhhaaaattt?

For real here, does anyone think this is totally screwy, or am I just crazy?

So to summarize, they were in the room together, in sleepwear, drinking wine.   A girl with publicized drug and alcohol problems claims that this man, in his robes, gave her a red pill that made her pass out, but with a largely recountable tale of sexual assault, but totally blanking on the missing pajamas……

She goes on to say

“I’m doing this because it’s the right thing to do and this happened to me and this is a true story,”

Who are you trying to convince Janice?  Us or yourself?

It seems like this was more a consensual act, if it happened at all….. She has discussed publicly  about sexual relationships with celebrities, so is it a far stretch to think that she might have willing slept with Cosby, as a vehicle to advance her career?

Maybe he decided that he didn’t want to help her after all (I don’t recall her ever being on the Cosby Show) and she never had a music career. (Have you heard her voice?) I think this is a case of

sourgrapes

I suppose it could be true, but her story has more holes than her plastic surgery has filled on her face.

Peace out peeps!

Until Next time

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EasyTax…. Maybe, Getting a mistake looked at and fixed…. Not so Easy.

Hello True believers. Here I am once again, with yet another trouble. (Big surprise right?)

Well let me tell you the story.

Last year In March I had my taxes done at Money Mart via thier EasyTax program. They claim to be no different than H&R Block, and have a “dedicated” (yes I made the quotes gesture as i typed) tax team. I have had my taxes done by them for many years, with seemingly no problems.

Until Now.

I recently received a letter from CRA indicating that I did not claim my RRSP income for the 2012 tax year, and as a result was reassessed. They have indicated that since this is the 2nd time in 3 calendar years that this happened there was also a fine attached. All said I done, I now owe CRA 1400.00. I said… WHHHAAAATTTT??? I knew I provided them with the forms. So i reached out the Money Mart branch, and sure enough, they provided me with the copies of what I submitted, and sure enough, I did provide that.

So I reached out to The tax department of Money Mart, called Easy Tax. I submitted via Email first, on Feb 25. I got a reply on Feb 26, asking a good number to reach me at. I gave 2 numbers. So I was thinking this would go fine.

WRONG !!!!!

I replied, and got no response. I followed up 3 times, no response. I wait a few days. I call them. The lady on the phone tells me she will get in touch with who I was speaking with and they will call me. 2 more days pass. Nothing. So this brings us to Friday March 14. Almost 3 weeks from the start. I go into the Branch and speak with the Manager. He assures me he will contact the Regional Manager of Easy Tax, as she should be the one to address the issue.

Can you guess what comes next?

Here we are, Tuesday the 18th and still nothing. My “debt” to CRA is growing daily interest, and I have had no response from Easy Tax. I will continue to persue, but I wanted to caution, no…. INSIST that any of you reading this, do not go to Money Mart to do your Taxes. Find an H&R block, the homeless guy on the corner, a circus monkey… anyrhing seems to be preferable to Easy Tax.

While I will continue to get a solution, I can assure you that I will NEVER go there again for this service.

Stay Vigilant True Believers!

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Is Intolerance Inherited?

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.Mahatma Gandhi

intolerance

Hello my friends🙂

So Once again I am back to spark controversy and conversation. I recently read an article on Yahoo Shine! about a Father who disowned his daughter because she kicked out her homosexual son. Here is the body of the letter:

I’m disappointed in you as a daughter. You’re correct that we have a “shame in the family”, but mistaken about what it is. Kicking Chad out of your home simply because he told you he was gay is the real “abomination” here. A parent disowning her child is what goes “against nature.” The only intelligent thing I heard you saying in all this was that “you didn’t raise your son to be gay.” Of course you didn’t. He was born this way and didn’t choose it any more than he being left-handed. You however, have made a choice of being hurtful, narrow-minded and backward. So, while we are in the business of disowning our children, I think I’ll take this moment to say goodbye to you. I now have a fabulous (as the gays put it) grandson to raise, and I don’t have time for heart-less B-word of a daughter. If you find your heart, give us a call.

(we now pause for absorption)

blogbrain
Ok, Got that taken in? Good. So Now here I go.

Firstly, This letter is the ultimate form of hypocrisy. An obviously intolerant father disowns his daughter for being intolerant? Make no mistake, he is intolerant. He cannot accept the fact that his daughter cannot accept that her son is gay. I wonder where she might have learned such intolerant behaviour? As parents, teaching our kids tolerance is crucial in this day in age, but when this father was raising this daughter, I wonder if tolerance was as important. We all know that there was a time when intolerance to those who were “different” was the norm.

Admittedly, I feel that what this mother has done is wrong. As parents we can, and will have expectations for our children. Some might even have designs on what they feel the child’s sexual orientation should be, or what they hope it to be. Is that wrong? No, but they have to understand that it with the hope for for the parent. The parent cannot control sexual preference. They can force their will until a certain point, but ultimately each person chooses who they love.

As parents, we should never have reason to disown our children. We may not always agree, or be OK with what they do, but communication and understanding should be the resolution,  not rash action. Our children are extensions of us. Yes they may develop their own views and thoughts, but we help to develop how they develop these.

The father who wrote the note should talk to his daughter, not summarily disown her based on her actions. In my mind he is no better than she is. Maybe even worse. He is chastising and judging her on intolerance that he potentially created in her by his own actions. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and he is not truly defending his grandson’s right to acceptance.

And it truly is about acceptance, not tolerance. We should accept people for who they are. We shouldn’t “tolerate” them, we should enjoy them.

Bottom line, we need to love our children. Unconditionally. Whether they are gay, straight, blue, yellow, orange, a hippy, a grunger, a thug, whatever they are.

Peace Out Peeps!

peaceout

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Homeless by Accident or Beggar by Design?

Good day True Believers!

So I want to bring a topic to the world that I usually reserve for ranting in the car to the windshield. (Yes, I talk to myself in the car, and yes I’m ok with it).

It’s the topic of the Homeless. More accurately, the homeless in Halifax, and the observations I’ve made. This is in no way a rant/attack/hate on the homeless in general.

That being said, please enter the hazy spectacle that is my brain………

So our fine city of Halifax. As of 2011 the population of Halifax was 390,096 and the urban area had a population of 297,943. In the city of Halifax, the 2 most popular places for homeless to hang out and ask for money is Spring Garden Rd and the Windsor Street Exchange. Let’s look at SGR first shall we?

A veritable Hub of activity, SGR seems to never sleep. At any given moment the street is full of people, and also has its share of panhandlers. So with that, let’s conduct a little math equation. Let’s say for argument’s sake, that each day from 9-5 approximately 10,000 people frequent the street. This is not unreasonable, and likely undershooting based on the fact that 20,000 people work in the downtown core, and likely many more visits from surrounding areas. So lets also hypothesize that 10% of these 10,000 feel the overwhelming urge to give a panhandler say 25 cents. Again likely undershooting on the 10%, but I’ll play fair. So there are 1000 people that pony up .25. So this makes a total of 250.00. If there are 3 panhandlers on the street sharing that 250.00 that day, then they each make 83.00. “Working” 9-5 nets them a cool 10.41 per hour. Minimum wage for NS is 10.30/hr.

See what I’m getting at? The Exchange is not a lot different. And let’s keep in mind, that I did low ball it a bit.

My next observation is a lot of these people (especially at the WSE) don’t look homeless, or malnourished. Nor do the dogs they bring for the sympathy money.

The Following Shelters operate in Halifax

Alcare Place (Transition – Men recovering from addictions)
Alice Housing (Second and third-stage housing – abused women)
Adsum House (Adsum for Women and Children offers Emergency Shelter for Women and Children, also Adsum Court and Adsum Centre providing affordable and supportive housing)
Barry House SLSNS
Bryony House (Abused Women)
Marguerite Centre (Addiction Recovery-Women)
Metro Turning Point
Shelter for Males (16+ experiencing homelessness)
Nehiley House SLSNS Halfway house for women released from prison
Phoenix Youth Shelter (Youth)
Salvation Army (Men)
Sir Sandford Fleming House SLSNS Halfway House for men released from prison

A lot, if not most of these, provide shelter, counselling, and Rehabilitation.

It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that some, if not a lot, of these people choose homelessness to the alternatives. Why work when you can hang out and make the same money?

Again, I don’t think this applies to all, but I have to wonder. I once had a guy ask for change as I was coming out of a bar. I offered him 20 cents (all I had) and he refused! He refused! I know it wasn’t a lot, but still. Money is money. This type of exchange makes you wonder. How much better is he doing than what he lets on, if 20 cents isn’t worth taking?

So what Am I getting at, besides my rant? What truly bugs me about this? Well, I dislike the fact that people that work hard for their money, give it away to those who won’t. So the solution I present is a simple one. Want to help these people? Keep your money in your pocket. Each time you think of giving money, put it aside. Once you have 20, 50 or 100 dollars, and want to make a REAL difference, give to one of the charities above, or one in your local area. If we drop change in a beggar’s hand without donating to a charity, we’re acting to relieve our guilt rather than an underlying crisis of poverty.

See? Rant AND A PSA all in one🙂

Best wishes my friends, and enjoy your Holidays.

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