Occupy What

I was initially impressed by the Occupy movement. It’s about time the younger generations got active. I was sceptical about a protest with no real focal point but in this day of flash mobs perhaps a focus would materialise – but then nothing really happened. Sure we heard about the greed of big finance, mega corporations and super rich people controlling 99% of the wealth and it was intriguing but where was the solution?

It’s a positive thing that the young ones are perturbed enough about something worthwhile that they organise and protest but they first need to overcome the flaw we have bred in our children for a few generations now. For too long we parents have provided an easy answer to our youngster’s boredom. When they were little and wanted something to do, we switched on the television, put on a video game or gave them money for the store. As they grew up they came to rely on their parents to provide their answers. Now these protesters make a fuss but have no focus or organization. They know something is wrong that must be fixed but they seem to wait, expecting a leader to materialise and provide the fire. It just doesn’t happen that way.

Municipal governments, to their credit, put up with the protests. Perhaps they were waiting to see what the point was? The influx of seedy and weird elements among the Occupy protesters degenerated it into some pseudo hippy camp. What they needed was a fire of conviction not a gothic sacred fire.

As Toronto clears out the encampment this weekend there may be some scuffling but overall the protest will end as it lived; with a whimper.

Remember protests of the Sixties and Seventies? There were burning dean’s offices over tuition, dead students in Ohio protesting war, Draft cards burning, bras burning, peaceful marching crowds bludgeoned over racism and FLQ terrorists in Quebec. Blood was shed to make difference. Targeted anger and willingness to absorb the repercussions are needed to get attention and change. The Occupy movement tried politeness and failed.

I hope the young folks learn from this limp movement and change their tactics. Nothing great is ever done without enthusiasm and there is much in the world to be done.


© David Jones/ 2011 Thunderbridge Productions


November 18, 2011 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Merry Holidays? Bah Humbug!

I was in a crotchety mood. It was a slate grey Sunday. Muffin and I were sitting in the car eating lunch from our favourite chip truck, The Spudster, in downtown Little Britain. As we munched, we studied the action in the Foodland parking lot. There were many short visits as people went into the store and returned with supplies. At noon on Sunday, it was interesting that most of the supplies seemed to be in beer cases. One haggard looking fellow came out and carefully loaded his cases into his van and left.

With the van gone I looked across the lot and saw a sign that had been blocked. It was a smiling turkey wearing a Santa hat. The sign read, ‘Earn a FREE Turkey!’ I mused on the idea of ‘earning’ a ‘free’ turkey. Wouldn’t I be better off to just buy the damned turkey and not have to worry about jumping through fiery hoops to ‘earn’ one? If I had no money and hoped to earn one, would it involve some kind of physical labour or was the ‘earning’ tied to spending money?

While I cursed the marketing people for creating such a stupid come on, I squinted to read the smaller print at the bottom. I put my glasses on and read, ‘Just in time for the Holidays!’ That’s when I lost it. The Holidays? This was too much. I violently chomped the remainder of my double back bacon with curds, lettuce and ketchup on a bun and felt my temperature rise. I could see some generic mousy marketing type wearing horn rimmed glasses sitting in a drab cubicle while sipping a forty dollar Starbuck’s coffee and spearing crispy leafs of Romaine dressed in a tangy vinaigrette while chortling about sucking us rubes in with the words ‘Free’ and ‘Holidays.’

Let me rewrite this sign to reflect the true flavour of rural Ontario. Here it is: Score a Free Turkey Just in time for Christmas. Score is more in line with playing the game (of spending money) and Christmas is what the ‘Holidays’ truly are. Christmas is ‘Peace on Earth – Goodwill toward Man’ (read as human). While that may be a Christian based sentiment, it is universal among all faith traditions. Celebrating the birth of Jesus is celebrating the coming of the Spirit of peace and goodwill among humanity. That Christmas spirit has filled the hearts of generations upon generations of people and bathed society with a spirit of tolerance and hospitality that should be copied throughout the year. All people everywhere can understand this sentiment. It’s a good thing.

Let’s not get caught up in the baloney of promoting commercialism to ‘earn’ FREE things. Instead, let’s practice the tolerance and hospitality that comes so naturally at Christmas and try to extend it throughout the year. While we may in fact get some days off work, the Christmas season is about love for each other and not about holidays. Forget holidays.

Go out and buy a turkey. Invite someone to dinner who is poor in health, wealth or friends; someone who is of a different faith; someone who is alienated; someone you haven’t seen in years and feed them a nice dinner. You may not have earned your turkey but you will have earned immeasurable goodwill. Remember: What goes around comes around.


© David Jones/ Thunderbridge Productions 2011

November 15, 2011 at 7:00 am 2 comments

Roman Spring

I’m sure to offend some people here, but the time is ripe and it’s got to be said. Arab Spring has given me hope that what seemed impossible yesterday can in fact change rather quickly, so I’m hoping what I term, Roman Spring, is imminent.

My hope in Roman Spring concerns the Roman Catholic Church. It has been on a steady decline into corruption since 300 A.D. when some probably well-meaning group of men chose to exploit Jesus of Nazareth. Over the years this church has subverted and corrupted Jesus’ life and message.

Before I get off on a Holy roll, I want to acknowledge the millions of followers of the Roman Church. They have over the centuries, and right up to today, been a very faithful, productive and charitable group of citizens. It’s their leaders who are the problem.   

Among the perverted actions initiated by these leaders was the assembling, editing and rewriting of certain ancient texts to tell a story they wanted. They made Jesus into God and later even elevated his mother to holy status. Early on they decreed only unmarried men could be priests and leaders. They conducted services for centuries in a language that the congregants didn’t understand so their interpretation of the scriptures could go unquestioned. They indoctrinated followers that their priest stood between them and God and the life hereafter. Realizing the financial bonanza in people’s guilt, they sold forgiveness enabling the Church to become the enormously wealthy institution it is today. The uneducated rabble was fearful of questioning their church. Its power was absolute, and we know what happens with absolute power.

When printing was invented, Martin Luther translated the bible into the language of the common people. As they learned to read they could now interpret the scriptures for themselves and inevitably began to ask questions. The Roman Church took a holier than thou attitude towards these new thinkers (many called Protestants), an attitude still current. The Church elite hid behind the stone wall of Papal Infallibility saying the great unwashed simply didn’t understand God’s ways.

Within this absolute power, corruption was sure to germinate. Over time, wars, cleansings and scandals have humbled the once proud Church. The current sexual abuse scandals have been typically stonewalled but humbling cracks are appearing.

As Arab Spring indicates enlightenment in those nations, Roman Spring may amazingly enlighten the Roman Church elite and bring the institution back to Jesus’ way of serving the people and not itself. It’s only been two thousand years after all.


© David Jones/ Thunderbridge Productions 2011

November 8, 2011 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Seven billionth Observed

An interesting yet inconsequential event took place over the weekend. Danica May Camacho was born in the Philippines. What’s interesting is that she is deemed to be the seven billionth person to currently populate the planet earth. The reason this statistic is inconsequential is that it will have no effect whatsoever on anything. Perhaps Danica (or other babies around the world who may also be deemed to be the seven billionth) will get some token gifts and a certificate of recognition but that’s about it.

What this statistic does however, is make me pause and think about our planet. I enjoy studying the world of the bible. At the time Jesus died, the population was about 200 million (about the current population of the U.S.). The world took until 1810 to reach one billion then only until 1930 to reach two billion. Then in the 1950s, things began to toll with the population exponentially increasing to the stage it is today. There’s still lots of room for people so I don’t worry about where we’re going to put them but I wonder what burden they will place on the environment.

Imagine the air Jesus breathed. There was no pollution to speak of and the air must have been crisp and clear with only 300 million noses sniffing it. That same volume of air now has seven billion noses drawing on it (or 7,000 million to give it more perspective) plus it has been polluted with all kinds of crap we have invented. Would Jesus take a breath today, sneeze and then say, “Whewwww”? And what about when we breathe out? We cast off carbon dioxide that the trees like to snort up and turn back into oxygen – but wait; we’ve cut down most of the trees. Will we run out of oxygen? I’m sure someone will invent a gas powered machine that will convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Of course we’ll all have to buy this oxygenated air by the tank and wear it on our back with a mask feeding us the bottled air plus protect our eyes from the acrid atmosphere.

Since matter is neither created nor destroyed, I wonder where the matter for all these extra people is coming from. Are the disappearing trees and animal species making matter available for the exploding population?

While we pay lip service to protecting Mother Earth and her environment, in reality we aren’t doing much to achieve this noble goal. The earth doesn’t care. She will look after herself and go on and on. What will be missing is us. There have been great die-offs in past ages and who says some catastrophic calamity (like a comet striking earth) will not usher in the great die-off of humanity. We may even simply choke ourselves out of existence. Who knows?

So, welcome little Danica. May your life be interesting, peaceful, long and fulfilling. I predict you will shake hands with human number eight billion in your lifetime.


© David Jones/ Thunderbridge Productions 2011

November 1, 2011 at 7:00 am 2 comments

The Leftovers

I think it’s time to make it official. Rob Ford is a jerk and an embarrassment to politics. I remember Mary Walsh as Marg Delahunty ambushing, then Prime Minister, Paul Martin in Ottawa. Martin’s reaction was to laugh and play along with the joke for an appropriate amount of time then graciously take his leave. We’ve all heard about Ford’s graceless, ill-humoured reaction to Walsh this week. Granted it was early and Ford hadn’t had time for his Bran Flakes to work but public servants that are directly elected by the people should be expected to hold themselves to a higher standard. I’m glad I live in Durham Region and don’t have to keep an eye out for my Uxbridge mayor shooting me a finger, using a cellphone while driving, berating 911 operators or starting shouting matches at hockey games.

From the ridiculous to the sublime: For years, I’ve been advocating education as an alternative to war in all of the Middle Eastern countries. We need to teach the illiterate people in these regions so they can discover the key to elevating their lives. By doing so, the general population would no longer be fodder for exploitive leaders plus women would realize their equality and worth then refuse being subjugated. I feared this was all years away but ‘Arab Spring’ came as a welcome and surprising sign that the cauldron of positive change is beginning to boil. Kind of justifies the old saying, ‘Hope springs eternal in the human breast.’

What is the future of the Internet? There seem to be so many articles now that have wrong wording, misspelling and bad grammar. Does no one use Spellcheck? Do writers just dash something off and hit ‘send’? I’ve been caught in these sins too but I do take the time to edit to the best of my abilities and take a minute with Spellcheck. It seems that in this world where things have to be instant that we are sacrificing quality for speed. If this situation is let run rampant, imagine what the language will be like in ten years. Will we all be LOL? Perhaps the unemployed or underemployed copy editors out there could be hired by the major sites publishing these posts.

Lastly – Chaz Bono. Hear this Chaz: you’re a shitty dancer and lasted longer than you should on Dancing with the Stars. (Hmmm… you’re a Star?) Kudos for being such a public icon for the transgendered but maybe sewing a couple of prunes to your crotch will help you move more like a man and let’s not mention your jiggly girl bum and thighs. Hope Solo moves more like a man than you. You were a very cute little girl, and I like you, but don’t expect to be treated like a man when you act like a girl.

Well, my Bran Flakes are kicking in now. See y’all next time.


© David Jones/ Thunderbridge Productions 2011

October 28, 2011 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

A Good Sign

My neighbourhood amazes me. Summer or winter for about six houses either way from my place is a hive of street activity. As seasons pass one to another so do the games played on the street. Hockey pretty well rules the winter but come spring basketball blends in as the snow melts and they both live on into summer when hockey dies off and is replaced by skateboards, scooters and bikes. As the first nip of fall bites our nose hairs, there is a brief football tossing period but then hockey makes its comeback and rules again. Funny, there isn’t much baseball; maybe too many broken windows.

While the shouts, shrieks and smacks of children playing in the street are annoying to some I’m impressed that these kids are out exercising rather than planted in front of a TV or monitor. As I think of all the kids who people the road, I can’t picture one pudgy one among them. Good for them, may they always be looking to spend time outdoors doing something and infusing their lungs with fresh air.

I was sitting in my ‘office’ last week when a movement outside caught my eye. One of the young street kids was streaking up the road, hell bent for election, chasing a ball. Obviously the ball had escaped their hockey game and I remembered chasing similar balls when I was young. I watched this young lad giving it all he had and imagined what was in his mind: ‘Gotta get this quick so we can get back to the game’ plus a dash of ‘It’s up to me to get this’ and maybe a dab of ‘I bet the guys are impressed with my speed’. I pictured this same kid at soccer with the coach yelling to run down the field as fast as possible. Everyone would give about 80 percent maximum, yet with no outside pressure this kid was giving 110 percent; just for his buddies.

Ya know; kids just might turn out OK. We parents let them get porky and lazy by allowing schools to take away physical education then let our kids plunk in front of a screen and munch garbage after school snacks. As phys-ed works its way back into schools and kids get into better shape maybe parents will also insist on some outside time before supper each day. As the kids discover physical interaction again and find that falling down isn’t the end of the world and getting accidentally hit with a ball isn’t life threatening, we may raise a new generation of kids who aren’t afraid of going out because they may fall down. Maybe parents will even find they don’t need to arm their kids with elbow pads, knees pads, helmets, goggles, shin pads and gloves to be outside. Kids will learn to tuck and roll when they fall and duck when a ball comes at their melon. When this happens remember: it started in my neighbourhood.


© David Jones/ Thunderbridge Productions 2011

October 25, 2011 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Wrong? Who Me?

Somewhere trees are breathing easier. They know the computer age has come to the point where it will finally reduce paper use and save some tree lives. As the newspaper business shrinks, the demand for paper will shrink, which besides more trees left standing, the stench of chain saws, lumber trucks and delivery trucks will dwindle down to a stinky few. The environment is the winner here – finally. I thought it would have been sooner though.

I’ve been wrong twice in my life. One day I was discussing the future of the photofinishing business with one of my employees. I told her that there would always be a demand for the (silver halide) photofinishing we did and while demand might decrease, there would be a hard core of hobby film users to rely on. Boy was I wrong. Silver halide photofinishing isn’t gone but may as well be. Prints from film today (if you can find film) are mostly done on inkjet or thermographic machines as is all digital printing. My kind of printing carried on fairly strong until 2002 when it just went poof overnight. I sold over $150,000.00 worth of machinery to a buyer in Africa for $400 and was glad to get it. Many people hung in and had to pay to have their equipment scrapped.

The other thing I was wrong about was the demise of the newspaper business. Unlike the photo business, it has hung on for much longer than I imagined but the panic in the business is evident. At home we’ve had as many as three calls in one day from the Toronto Star asking us to subscribe. I’m afraid Muffin was rather rude to the third caller. The panicky Star is hitching its wagon to the New York Times by including sections from that paper on weekends. I see stacks of Stars and Toronto Suns in donut stores and restaurants free for the taking. It sounds like the last gasp of hard copy news to me … unless I’m wrong again. Can I be wrong three times in life?

Internet publishing has really gelled lately. You can see a migration of newspaper columnists and writers to different websites like Msn and Huffington Post and many others. While the Toronto Star was proud to have a circulation of one million, Huffington Post Canada has five million visitors while on a worldwide basis Huffington draws a total of around twenty-seven million readers averaged on a monthly basis.

The advantage of web based news sites is when a story breaks, it’s available right away and often with colour photos and videos. This morning I clicked my computer on to see breaking news that Gadhafi had just been captured. I would have had to wait to read it at least a day later in newsprint.

The Internet via iPods and the like has seriously wounded the radio business by allowing people to listen to only the tunes they want without commercials or commentary. Record stores have been decimated by iTunes and the like because people can have instant access to the music they want and download it at cheaper rates than what bricks and mortar retailers were charging. I’m sure there won’t be an iNews service to finish off newspapers but there’s a plethora of sites out there constantly nipping away at them.

I think Internet news has reached a critical mass point and will become the default mode for people to catch the news and one site will eventually emerge as dominant. I know I’m right here but maybe I’m just a little early but I’m glad the trees are happy.


© David Jones/ Thunderbridge Productions 2011

October 21, 2011 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

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