Beat the Tom-Tom

This is a silly post, but I am annoyed with TomTom (the GPS manufacturer.)

If you look up a current product on their website, you’ll see that lifetime map updates are guaranteed.

If you buy a TomTom car GPS, you’ll find a coupon marked “do not lose this” which gives you lifetime updates.

If you forget this coupon, they’ll try to charge you for the maps the GPS box says are free.

It gets better. When your device gets too small for the map, they create a smaller version (covering less of North America) which works.

Then they tell you that your device is obsolete, and you need to pay for a one-time last-time map update.

I’m not paying for a map update. They can cut me an Eastern Canada Only map that will fit in my device.

Lifetime maps means just that.

Guess what I’ll do if this machine gets abandoned? Small claims court? Switch to Garmin?

That’s silly. But so is TomTom to ask me to pay for what they promised when I got their machine.

Peach in sediment?

Speech impediment.

I remember the one time Daffy Duck was permitted to appear with Donald. He made a comment about not working again, with some one with a speech impediment.

Here is a thoughtful article about How Trump Could Get Fired. This from The New Yorker. This is a long and careful article. If you can’t read, tough. No easy summaries here.

And, what would you expect to say reacting to the possibility of impeachment? That it would make you fame records? Have a look here.

I’ll give a few quotes, latter reference first. As always, emphasis mine:

“Everywhere I go, people tell me that if I am impeached, they’re going to watch it,” he said. “The ratings are going to be through the roof.” He said that he expected his impeachment ratings to be “many, many times” the size of the audience for Bill Clinton’s impeachment, in 1998. “It’s not even going to be close,” Trump said. “The ratings for Bill Clinton’s impeachment were a joke.”

If you wondered about Trump’s understanding of impeachment, here’s another quote from the same source: (emphasis mine, as always)

Asked about the recent impeachment of the former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, Trump said, “Did anyone even watch that one? That was Korea. Nobody cares.” As for the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, he said, “I didn’t hear about that one. I don’t follow Brazil. I like Argentina. I saw ‘Evita’ many, many times. Andrew Lloyd Webber did a great job. Millions and millions of people loved it. But that was a Broadway show, not an impeachment.”

Now let’s go to our earlier ‘how Trump could get fired’ from The New Yorker.

Michael Flynn, who resigned as Trump’s national-security adviser after acknowledging that he lied about his contact with Russia’s Ambassador, is seeking immunity in exchange for speaking with federal investigators, raising the prospect that he could reveal other undisclosed contacts, or a broader conspiracy.

 Is trump a peach in sediment? Or do we both have a speech impediment? That’s the dumb question.

How Blog Posts Work (sometimes)

Assume you post to my blog, make sense, tell the blog an eMail that looks real (and checks out), then what happens?

My blog sends me an eMail informing me of your comment. I look at it, maybe test the eMail, and approve it.

Your comment will not show up until I review it as above.

Some blogs automatically  apply comments; some use algorithms to decide to apply comments, some use add-ons to try to detect spam. So other blogs may approve or deny your comment without human intervention.

I always intervene, and am human.

Some comments are sensible. About 120 have been approved and are visible here. The blog goes backward in time to when it was created (long ago, when the world was young and the rocks were still cooling.)

Many comments are not sensible. Some are in characters other than this alphabet. A few have been pornographic. (Apparently mentioning Donald Trump and ‘tongue in cheek’ was enough to provoke this.) Most are boringly familiar. For example:

  • I can make money working from home. The amounts vary.
  • My blog needs SEO tool help.
  • Weird lists of car insurance in the USA from a provider in the EU.
  • Clearly self-promoting. Jewellery, Viagra, clothing lines.
  • Badly written, likely synonym-replacer generated, pidgin English.

What I do depends on my level of annoyance with the sender. I have done the following:

  • Used a tool at my ISP to prevent entire address ranges from seeing my blog. Much of China is blocked out this way. Entire ISPs.
  • Found the commenter’s ISP and formally complained. A few users have vanished, likely cut off (until they find another ISP or identity.)
  • Other actions. (I’m not disclosing any more. Be surprised, eh?)

So, to recap:

  • If you want to comment, give the blog website a real eMail address (that works) and say something with reasonable English. Your eMail will NOT be disclosed.
  • Wait. All decent comments will be approved, and then appear.
  • Don’t bother to spam me. You’re wasting your time, and I’ve gotten really efficient at dumping spam comments.

Do any of you think the above will change my poor-comment-per-day average? That’s the dumb question.

Donald, Duck!

I don’t think he sees it coming.

At some point Trump is going to face facts. The manufacturing jobs are not coming back. Automation has made sure of that.
Global warming is going to happen. Drought in California, floods in New York. More violent weather driven by more power in the atmosphere.
Russia will keep meddling with Ukraine and Syria (and goodness knows what else I’m unaware of.) North Korea will continue to develop missiles and atomic weapons.
Regime change will turn out to be 100 % disaster. Libya. Cuba. Chile. Iran. Iraq. Nicaragua. Will we never learn?
Trading partners can not be shut out by fiat. No automaker makes all the parts of any car. A  simple strike by the manufacturer of, say, dimming mirrors, could shut down GM. Remember that a fire in a single chip factory in Taiwan brought the computer industry to a halt.
Proxy wars end in failure. Yemen, Syria, and ‘Palestine’.
Draining the swamp by employing its owners is the biggest practical joke ever played on an entire country.

It’s called disaster, Donald. Do you see it coming?

Donald, Duck.

Jeff Sessions: a message, eh?

Here you will find a bbc news article about Jeff Sessions and his complaint.

I will tease you with a few quotes. Emphasis mine.

“I really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the Pacific can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power,” he said on The Mark Levin Show.

Senator Mazie Hirono shared an image of the unanimous Senate vote that confirmed Judge Waston, which “includes a ‘yea’ vote” from Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. “Mr. Attorney General: You voted for that judge. And that island is called Oahu. It’s my home. Have some respect,” Senator Brian Schatz continued.

“Please don’t dis[respect] Hawaii as it gives us papaya, coffee, helicopter parts and the last competent president,” another continued.

One Illinois resident added: “We should let @jeffsessions know that New Mexico is a state too. Otherwise the wall might get built in the wrong place.”

Now for the dumb questions. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Has Trump turned much of the US government into a say-anything thoughtless herd?

Does Jeff Sessions know who he is and who he voted for?

Does any of this matter, at least in the rule-by-twitter era?

United we …. have to Stand it?

Here is one page (from BBC News) about United Airlines. It is really about Air Canada too, so I’ll give a few quotes (emphasis mine) and then some snotty comments.

Dr David Dao has said he will sue United Airlines after he lost two front teeth and his nose was broken when the airline called security officers in to help remove him from the plane. He had refused to leave when the airline asked for volunteers to make way for staff members.

In response to the huge backlash the company faced on social media, United said it would allocate seats for staff at least an hour in advance, in future.

What this means is imho this:

In this alternate universe, David Dao would have found the four United personnel already on the plane. United would have had to ask passengers to give up their seats while still in the lounge. What would they have done, had the requisite four booked passengers not volunteered? How would they have kept David Dao from boarding?

Now for Air Canada.

Canada’s largest airline, Air Canada, has apologised after giving a 10-year-old boy’s seat to someone else.

The family eventually made it to Montreal and caught a connecting flight to Costa Rica for their holiday, but have since complained to Air Canada and received an offer of a C$2,500 (£1,500) voucher, along with an apology.

I have (had actually) compensatory travel miles with WestJet in apology for a mess-up. However those miles cannot be used in WestJet Vacations nor in travel booked via an agent. In short, to me they are useless. And, a voucher is only useful if one decides to trust the offending airline again.

I have had an adjustment from Air Canada Vacations after they cut into my travel bag in Cuba, in the Cayo Coco airport (en route to Cayo Santa Maria.) They said the bag was lost, but I saw it through an opened door. They filled out (reluctantly) a baggage damage form that turned out to be

  • a lost baggage form
  • a form with no serial number on it.

My travel agent is excellent, and got Air Canada to admit liability and offer to repair the bag. I will never travel Air Canada Vacations again. Simple as that.

WestJet is not so easy to avoid; we’re flying west this summer and my travel agent chose them as the most reasonable and convenient flight.

So, travel experience in Canada is weird, and overbooking is common.

Should we ‘stand united’ against this practise? that’s the dumb question.

Now the just-for-laughs part.

I knew an individual (ET) who travelled for IBM Canada frequently when he was in technical education. He would learn a new technology (computer, operating system, transaction manager, database engine, whatever) and then create a course and be sent across Canada to deliver that course. Typically he’d be in a city for a working week, Monday – Friday, and return.

Certain flights eastward on Friday were frequently overbooked. (This would have been Air Canada at that time, I’m pretty sure.) Passengers would be offered bribes to take the next flight, and be guaranteed to be on it.

ET would, if reasonable, deliberately book one of these overloaded flights. Then he’d play poker with the rest of the passengers, guessing when to drop his bluff of disinterest and take the offer.

He’d only go for cash. In those days, they’d offer this when desperate.

Today, they drag you down the aisle, remove two teeth, and give you a concussion.

That’s the payoff of progress.

Overbooking is imho a profit-maximizing scheme. Bumping paid passengers for crew is, again imho, a profit-maximizing scheme (they need to get crew from A to B for a business reason.)

So, if the Canadian government (an oxymoron, or is it a sarcastic phrase?) wants to stop this, it has to make it more expensive than behaving fairly to paid, booked passengers.

Is this likely? that’s your final dumb question.

Too much Trump to pass over

Here you will find a long, interesting, and informative rant about The Donald before he became president.

I’ll content myself with a few quotes. Emphasis mine, as always.

It can reasonably be argued that the presidency of George W. Bush was an eight-year warm-up act for the final stage of a dumbed-down America: a Trump presidency. You can draw a relatively straight line from the Florida recount of 2000, which took Bush into office, right through to the shambolic Trump campaign. The election of Bush led to the invasion of Iraq, which led to the de-stabilization in the Middle East (Libya, Egypt, Syria), which led to the migrant crisis, which led to European nationalism, Brexit, and, at the tail end of all these disasters, Trump.

Novelty guests don’t know they’re novelty guests. They just think they’re guests. That evening in May 1993, Vanity Fair had two tables and we filled them with the likes of Christopher Hitchens, Bob Shrum, Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, Peggy Noonan, Tipper Gore, and Vendela Kirsebom, a Swedish model who professionally went by her first name and who was then at or near the top of the catwalk heap. I sat Trump beside Vendela, thinking that she would get a kick out of him. This was not the case. After 45 minutes she came over to my table, almost in tears, and pleaded with me to move her. It seems that Trump had spent his entire time with her assaying the “tits” and legs of the other female guests and asking how they measured up to those of other women, including his wife. “He is,” she told me, in words that seemed familiar, “the most vulgar man I have ever met.”

This summer, The New Yorker published a story by Jane Mayer about Tony Schwartz, the co-author of Trump’s book Trump: The Art of the Deal. Mayer wrote that that issue of GQ, with Trump on the cover, was a huge best-seller. She reported that this sale encouraged S. I. Newhouse Jr., the proprietor of this magazine (as well as of The New Yorker), to urge the editors of Random House (which he also owned) to sign Trump up for a book. Which they did. The trouble with this narrative is that the Trump issue of GQ sold hardly at all. At least in the traditional way. Word was, the copies had been bought by him—Trump had sent a contingent out to buy up as many as they could get their hands on. The apparent intention, in those pre-Internet days, was to keep the story away from prying eyes.

Not surprisingly, it being the 80s, Trump was a recurring fixture in the pages of Spy. We ridiculed not just his fingers but also his business judgment, his jaw-dropping pronouncements, his inflated wealth, his hair, and his marital situations. There was a threatened lawsuit, resulting in a lot of back-and-forth legal letters between him and me. And we printed all of those. At one point we sent checks for $1.11 out to 58 of the “well-known” and “well-heeled” to see who would take the time to endorse and deposit the checks from a firm we called the National Refund Clearinghouse. The ones who deposited the $1.11 checks were sent 64-cent checks, and the ones who deposited those were sent checks for 13 cents. This being in the days before electronic deposits and such, the exercise took the better part of a year. At the end, only two 13-cent checks were signed—and we couldn’t believe our good fortune. One was signed by arms trader Adnan Khashoggi. The other was deposited by Donald Trump.

Are you laughing? or crying? That’s the dumb question.

And, you can have The Donald’s signature for thirteen cents. He’s as cheap as an arms dealer.

Math doesn’t work here

Douglas Adams famously noted that mathematics does not work in restaurants.

It also does not work in Toronto City Council, where some thirty-two (or 33?) billion dollars worth of projects are approved, yet have no funding.

It also does not work when John Tory is asked if any increased cost for a one-stop subway to Scarborough, along with any falling ridership projection, would cause him to reconsider the decision. He said something like, “I’m not going to go there.”

I thought Douglas Adams was kidding, but then a few multiple-guests shared-bill meals showed me that he was dead on. A reasonably calculated number will be too low. Just for my share, of course.

I thought at first that John Tory had been misquoted. Nope, it’s another case of Tory Sale.

Things we’ll run out of

  • Beaver ponds
  • Glaciers
  • Proper law enforcement
  • Decency

Let’s do these in order, with beaver ponds first. We walk in the bush up north a lot, less now, but have visited and ‘named’ over twenty-five beaver ponds. Many of these have changed over the years, and a few have pretty much dried up.

The creation process is pretty simple: a beaver (pair?) find running water that can be dammed. The sound of running water is known to summon work and repair. If a second outlet becomes possible as the water level rises, the beavers will begin damming there too. But there is a limit. Eventually it becomes impracticable to extend the pond’s borders due to the topography.

At this point the pond begins to fill up while it’s size cannot be increased. Eventually it ends up as a bog, often with a narrow ‘beaver channel’ around its edges.

There used to be a renewal process; I know this from studies on MacLean Lake years ago. At one point another set of ponds and lakes used to overflow, maybe every ten or fifteen years or so; the resulting flood would re-sculpt the downstream watercourses and remove sediment, allowing later ponds and lakes to be deeper.

This renewal process was deliberately (in this case) stopped by building a dam in a strategic place. If a surge of water does occur, it gets redirected elsewhere.

We don’t seem to have storms large enough to re-sculpt beaver ponds that are filling in. So we’re going to run out of them

Glaciers are easy to comment on, with all the global warming research, including Nature articles on Antarctic water flow patterns, Greenland observations, et cetera. The majority (not all) of glaciers are retreating. Sea level will rise. Darker oceans will absorb more heat, in a feedback process I am loath to call ‘positive.’

I’m doing a glacier and Alaska trip this summer while we still have some that are accessible.

Proper law enforcement depends on priorities. The President of Canada’s southern neighbour is shifting those priorities. Instead of focussing on the more dangerous criminals (aliens or not) the focus is on aliens (dangerous (criminals) or not.)

Today’s Toronto Star quotes several immigration enforcement individuals as being delighted with this shift in priorities. Of course they are: if you like bullying relatively defenceless ‘guest workers’ you’ll find it a lot more rewarding than difficult detective work to catch the serious (drug smugglers, for example) criminals.

Decency. When we deny global warming, we’re committing the weak of this generation, and the un-rich of the next, to atrocious living conditions, probably starvation and lack of potable water. When we revoke long-standing practices of tolerance for ‘guest workers’ we betray them and those large agribusinesses (to name one major employer) that need them.

When a POTUS runs on cleaning up the swamp, which many perceive to be gross and increasing inequality, by appointing the swamp owners to key posts, I can be forgiven for thinking we’ve betrayed all those voters who had those foolish, trusting hopes.

The next step is to do what many corporate cultures do already: set worker against worker. The Sicko video showed how rejecting health care insurance claims became a contest with quotas, bonuses, and publicly shown statistics. A recent article on Uber seemed to say that the internal corporate culture there is like this.

Now we select seven countries (with no stated justification, who would ask the Fake News media for their opinion when we have Alternative Facts ‘that somebody told me’?) So we now set the transport security folk against airline passengers. Soon we’ll be setting the local sheriff against long-tolerated contributing ‘non’ citizens. Next we’ll have a hotline (like the infamous Canadian ‘extreme religious practices hotline’ under Harper) for neighbour to inform against neighbour.

Decency used to be a right. Now it’s a privilege of the rich? No, most of them behave indecently, imho.