BOOMERBROADcast

Enjoy, laugh, disagree or simply empathize with those who lived life in THE sixties and are now rockin' life in THEIR sixties, and beyond.


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Mr. Trudeau . . . we have a problem, a big one


Canadian border agents are being pulled from their posts at Pearson International Airport in Toronto and being relocated to rural sites in Manitoba and Quebec. The reason? So many asylum seekers and illegal immigrants are teeming across the border at remote locations that extra border service agents are need to handle the volume. The government is providing food, clothing and accommodation for these illegals while thousands of our indigenous people do not have basic housing, safe, clean drinking water and access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The government’s solution is insane. Illegal immigrants and asylum seekers from the United States should be turned back, not welcomed.

Illegal asylum seekers awaiting admission to Montreal stadium. Canada should tighten the border to illegals.

Our government is now building temporary housing (at taxpayers’/our expense) at these remote locations to accommodate those illegal immigrants. And now they’re inconveniencing legitimate, legal, tax-paying Canadians at Canada’s largest international airport so they can take care of illegals. That’s just wrong, wrong wrong. These immigrants are crossing from the United States into Canada at weak border points and getting preferential treatment which is unfair to those who go through proper legal channels to gain landed immigrant status. And furthermore, despite the current political climate in the United States, it is not a hostile country compared to Iraq, Syria or Russia. Legal immigrants are relatively safe and do not require asylum coming from the United States while they undergo proper processing.

The appeal of Canada may lie in our generous welfare system and universal health care. These immigrants will ultimately migrate to cities where they may or may not be able to find jobs, further stressing social welfare systems. University dormitories and sports facilities are being refitted to accommodate them while Canadians foot the bill.

The current approach of welcoming illegals and diverting resources to accommodating them completely disregards and disrespects genuine asylum seekers, people truly deserving of our resources. I’m totally in favour of immigration when done through proper channels. Asylum seekers from truly dangerous countries are welcome; the United States does not qualify. While the illegals are being treated to free meals and housing, legitimate Canadians are sitting for hours on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport because there are no border agents available to service them. Resources that could be going to help legitimate asylum seekers, our indigenous people on remote reserves and underprivileged Canadians are being diverted to aid illegals. Where’s the logic in that?


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Dinner at my door thanks to a friendly neighbour


One day few years ago, after my husband retired and after consuming several glasses of a lovely Cabernet,  he offered to cook dinner twice a week. “Now that I have time on my hands it’s only fair that I help out around the house a bit more,” he said in a weak moment of benevolence no doubt brought on by the wine. “How about I cook dinner Tuesday and Saturday nights?” Not being a huge fan of the kitchen arts, I was thrilled, ecstatic even. The next morning, in the light of day I thought he might a) conveniently forget his offer, or b) try to weasel out of it. He did neither and a culinary star was born, sort of.

The first week was glorious beyond my wildest imaginings. He cracked open one of my dusty, neglected Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and delivered a meal worthy of a fine restaurant. During preparation when I asked how he was doing, his response “I’m just waiting for my sauce reduction” was not only music to my ears but a phrase I don’t recall having ever used personally in my entire life. We then spent a lovely hour enjoying the meal he had lovingly and carefully prepared. He was an eager and enthusiastic novice who shared with me in minute detail his tips and techniques throughout the entire meal. But I’m not complaining.

As time went on, he did not renege on his twice-weekly cooking adventures although conversations with friends were liberally peppered with “We’re available any Tuesday or Saturday if you want to go out to dinner or invite us over.” More recently I noticed however, his culinary creativity is largely determined by what appeals to him at Longo’s prepared deli counter. The Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients cookbook he got from Santa is growing metaphorical mold. But I’m still not complaining.

Our gourmet Tuscan sausage linguine.

Then, this weekend my lovely neighbour Fauzia rang the doorbell bearing one of those complete meal-in-a-bag kits that are delivered with an ice pack directly to your door. Each kit contains pre-measured fresh ingredients for a complete meal you select from an on-line meal preparation company. This one was for Tuscan sausage linguine made with pork which her family doesn’t eat so she kindly offered it us to try. Coincidently, it was Saturday night, not my night to cook.

While I took a nap on the couch (something I am skilled at), honey took over the kitchen, banging pots and pans to assemble the dinner. The commentary about how much cookware was involved was further complicated by the tab breaking off the can of diced tomatoes requiring an assortment of tools to crack it open. Eventually the dinner was ready. It was tasty, cost effective (we’ll get two meals out of it), amortizing out to about $6.00 per person per meal, although thanks to Fauzia, we got it free.

Happy wife; happy life.

It was a worthwhile adventure but he found the preparation more labour intensive than he would have liked, especially compared with picking something ready-made from Longo’s deli counter. “Only the onion was precut!” I was just thrilled to have a night off. And, as part of our arrangement, the cook also does the cleanup. Sort of. Tomorrow I’ll rewash the kitchen floor, rewash the stove top, the counters, the pots and pans and empty the dishwasher. But as Scarlet O’Hara so eloquently stated, tomorrow’s another day, and a night off is still a night off. Sort of.


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Timmie, Timmie, Timmie. You’re just not getting it


Tim Hortons’ Canada President Sami Siddiqui and the bigwigs at Restaurant Brands International Inc. have blown it big-time. They’re now ranked 67th down from 13th position in Canada’s list of most trusted companies. They’ve been fighting with franchisees and employees about cuts to service and quality at Tim Hortons outlets and it has seriously hurt their stock prices and brand. The problem is they’re American and they just don’t get us. A few weeks ago I posted a piece about Timmie’s problems (click here to read Timmie Come Home. We miss you and we need you.)

Obviously Mr. Siddiqui didn’t read the email I sent him, which included a copy of my Boomerbroadcast.net posting. It would have saved such a lot of trouble and put Timmie back on the right track. The senior poobahs at Restaurant Brands International have decided that throwing millions of dollars at redecorating their restaurants will make the boo-boo go away. Sami—while new decor is a welcome gesture, it’s not that simple. You’re missing the entire point, which is (as I explained earlier): being a good corporate citizen and it’s about more than the bottom line. We are sure that bottom line would bounce back up if they treated their customers, employees and franchisees with more respect. Taking care of each other is the Canadian way.

An example of their seriously flawed approach to rebuilding the brand was perfectly displayed in their recent television commercials. The advertisers, with the consent and collaboration of Restaurant Brands’ execs launched a hugely laughable, large-production Hollywood-style commercial featuring employees in a highly choreographed song and dance routine that takes them from dancing and rolling around in coffee beans at the source to dancing around the restaurant floor. Noooooooo! On so many levels. That’s just so un-Canadian. And Timmie’s is all about being Canadian! Sheesh!

Sami. Sami. Sami. I’ll spell it out. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Provide employees with benefits. Don’t cheap out. Canadians take care of each other. It’s a matter of mutual respect.
  2. Stop those stupid Hollywood commercials. We like red mittens around mugs of quality coffee, steeped tea or hot chocolate, filmed in places like Red Deer and Saint John.
  3. Bring back the quality. We’re willing to pay a few cents extra.
  4. Fix your business plan to incentivise franchisees to hire more staff. Those long waiting lines are killing us.
  5. Last and most important. TRY LISTENING TO YOUR TIM HORTONS’ CANADIAN CUSTOMERS for a change. How many executives are busy punching numbers into their smart phone calculators trying to figure out how to cut costs while they completely ignore their entire raison d’être—the customer? Surely they taught you that basic fundamental at Harvard Business School? You are not omnipotent and if you don’t start treating us better you’ll be kicked out of the game.

Just in case Sami’s gate keeper doesn’t pass this along, perhaps you could forward it too. Maybe if a few of us CUSTOMERS screamed at him, they would listen. It’s worth a try. We really want our old Timmie’s back.

Here’s a link to their customer service department. Due to space limitations, I’d suggest copying an excerpt from this posting or this link to boomerbroadcast.net and sending to the attention of Sam Siddiqui at: http://www.timhortons.com/ca/en/about/contact-comments.php

Here’s the link for: Timmie come home. We miss you and we need you.

P.S. Did you know Tim Hortons coffee cups are NOT recycleable because they’re lined with wax? That can’t be good for our health. I didn’t know that until this week. Perhaps it’s better if you bring your own ceramic or insulated stainless steel reusable cup.


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Are you ready for online dating?


When I received a request through my blog to review a how-to book about online dating, I couldn’t resist. Author Gail Karpus who wrote Fast Track to Romance, An exclusive online dating guide for the mature woman chalked up an astonishing 500 online dates in her quest to meet Mr. Right. She’s the high priestess of online dating. By the time online dating became part of the scene I was on my second husband but I have many friends who have online dated and it’s an undertaking that requires patience, skill and emotional stamina. Some friends’ dates went so well they got married; others, well, they’re still searching.

Meeting eligible men when you’re post-menopausal comes with a special set of challenges. Fortunately, we’ve probably already made our share of bad choices and gained a lot of experience over the years. While we’re now able to put less emphasis on superficial qualities like guys being cute, we’re now searching for more important criteria, like a good RRSP and being a genuinely good person. One of our major concerns is avoiding men looking for the proverbial nurse or a purse. No one wants to be a sugar momma to a ne-er-do-well and we also don’t want to be saddled with someone who’s only looking for the services of a free live-in housekeeper and caregiver.

Gail Karpus’s advice is honest and enlightening. She lays the groundwork for the online dating scene in the early chapters of the book with the information building in validity and intensity as we get further into the book. At 152 pages it’s a fast read and chock full of good advice. I didn’t agree with absolutely everything she said, but as a non-dater what do I know. Ninety-eight percent of it was truly valuable and sponge-worthy. The overriding message is, “You need to go out and get it! It won’t just come to you.” That requires a plan and some ground work. That was always my advice to women in business as well. Raises and promotions don’t necessarily appear without marketing yourself and lobbying on your own behalf. By taking the advice of Karpus, a seasoned dater, you can save a lot of time and energy. Her goal is to “fast-track” you along the path to happily ever after.

The book includes chapters on preparing yourself physically and mentally, how to construct your online profile, how to read and assess potential ‘meets’, protocols for first, second and third dates, how to cut him lose or reel him in, sorting the wheat from the chaff, the benefits of tracking dates on a spreadsheet (yikes!), watching for and recognizing red flags and many other aspects of dating as a mature woman. Karpus writes honestly and with humour, describing many of her own experiences in a voice that readers can relate to. Every contingency is covered and upon finishing Fast Track to Romance readers will feel more comfortable and confident about proceeding with online dating. I’d rate it 8 out of 10.

To order a copy of Fast Track to Romance from Amazon, click here.

 


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The Book Club is a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours


It’s been eight long months since I’ve been to a movie theatre as there’s simply nothing I’ve wanted to see. And boomers are traditionally big movie fans. We have so many memories of wonderful Saturday afternoon matinées as kids watching westerns, Looney Tunes and The Bowery Boys. Our movie memories probably also include steaming up the car windows at drive-ins or covertly holding hands with high school crushes in a dark theatre on Saturday evening.

Image resultSci-fi, monsters, violence and super heroes are just not my thing. So, I was delighted when The Book Club was released starring four wonderful boomer broads—Candice Bergen, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Jane Fonda (although at 80, Fonda’s technically not a boomer). It’s about time a movie was released that appealed to our demographic. It opened against Dead Pool and Avengers on a long weekend which gives you an idea of popular movie fare these days and cinemas are wondering why box office sales are down.

The Book Club follows four sixty-something women who have been friends and fellow book club members for several decades. Candice Bergen plays Sharon, a divorced federal court judge whose ex-husband is predictably engaged to a blonde twinkie half his age. Nothing new or innovative here. Diane Keaton plays herself and a character coincidently also called Diane, an attractive, widowed mother of two grown daughters who treat their mother like a frail relic. A trite premise and not particularly convincing with Keaton in the role, but so the story goes. They’ve decided it’s time she moved away from her friends to occupy a granny flat in the basement of one of her daughters’ homes. Carol, played by Mary Steenburgen is a frustrated wife in need of some lovin’ from her husband played by Craig T. Nelson. Jane Fonda’s Vivian is a wealthy career single lady who owns a successful hotel and allows men into her life only as needed for recreational sex.

When Vivian presents Fifty Shades of Grey as the book club’s new reading assignment the other three women are skeptical. I was worried the movie might treat reading this book as too shocking for the group and was prepared to be indignant. Baby boomers, as you recall invented the sexual revolution in the sixties and that line of thinking would just be incongruent with reality. To the script writers’ credit, the group’s disapproval stemmed from irrevelance which was more believable and credible. Reading the Fifty Shades series ignites some minor reevaluations of their lives. Sharon the judge tries online dating; Carol tries Viagra on her disinterested husband; Vivian tries keeping her distance from an old lover, beautifully played by Don Johnson; Diane conveniently meets a handsome single man on a plane, which is a rather gratuitous twist considering how remote the chances of something like that happening actually are.

Jane Fonda, playing Vivian was the least impressive of the four book club members.

The movie had some genuinely good belly laughs and although a bit predictable, was overall rather enjoyable. Candice Bergen was by far my favourite of the four actresses. She looked like a more beautiful version of most of us—no longer the svelte character she played in Murphy Brown and her Book Club character was the most believable and appealing. Diane Keaton was Diane Keaton and her character was damn lucky to meet Mr. Right. Mary Steenburgen was OK but I’m personally not a huge fan of her style and delivery. Jane Fonda was the least agreeable of all four characters. Fonda played Vivian much the same way she played Grace on TV’s Grace and Frankie—tense, angst-ridden and over-acted. Despite her excellent plastic surgery, Fonda could barely move her upper lip which was distracting.

Famous movie stars don’t necessarily guarantee stars by movie reviewers.The Globe and Mail gave The Book Club only one measly star which I thought was a bit harsh. On the way home from the theatre, a radio review I listened to was similarly dismissive of the movie. But the radio review was offered by two young guys which explains their take on its appeal. Hardly reliable or fair. My boomer gal pals and I had a nice afternoon. The movie was light, funny and entertaining. It won’t win any awards but there was plenty to relate to and we considered it great fun. Giant kudos to whoever for having the courage to produce a movie with all four leading ladies over the age of 65. Take that, action hero fans. I only hope I don’t have to wait another eight months to find another movie that has even the remotest appeal for baby boomers. Remember, we’re still here!


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Hearts, not heads prevail


Emotion trumps logic. That statement explains so much. Like why the Americans elected Donald Trump as their President. Or why the Canadian government is building temporary housing for asylum seekers crossing into Canada illegally at remote border points instead of turning them back to follow proper channels. Why should Canadians be spending tax money to house and support illegal immigrants when legitimate immigrants who follow proper legal channels often have to wait years? It makes no sense. Or why British Columbia is blocking the pipeline. As many Britons are now realizing, Brexit was obviously an issue influenced more by feelings of nationalism than practicality. So many unexplainable outcomes are the result of human beings letting their hearts overrule their heads. It’s why so many women fall in love with bad choices in men. I did. Once. When I was very young and stupid. Learned my lesson.

We know we shouldn’t put that designer purse on our credit card because we can’t live without it. But the smell of fine leather and the dreams of being transported into a rarefied stratosphere of pleasure overrules common sense. We can’t afford to get the oil changed in the car but we can rationalize dropping the equivalent of a month’s rent on a luxury consumer item. Those designer sunglasses cost more than groceries for a month but we slap down the old credit card despite the obvious stupidity of the purchase. Instant gratification beats logic.

Tattoos are cool and everyone is getting one. Do you still want to live with a faded, wrinkled, distorted picture of a rose after it’s endured thirty years of wear and tear on your forearm? What seemed like a good idea at the time may not be as appealing down the road. A bad choice in hair colour grows out. Tattoos do not.

Men also aren’t immune to the pull of instant gratification in consumer purchases. It’s mind-blowing how they can rationalize purchasing a shiny new truck or SUV without having the cash in the bank. In fact, I’ve observed that men’s toys generally come with a much higher price tag than women’s. Vehicles, boats and electronics aren’t cheap. The experts are right when they advise it’s not always in our best interest to try and outbid someone with deeper pockets just because we can’t imagine not owning that house. No one’s immune. Men, women, governments, voters, corporations, even really smart people fall prey to the pull of the heart, often with disastrous results.

One of the greatest benefits of aging is the wisdom that usually accompanies it. Baby boomers have made more than our share of mistakes and bad decisions over the years and we’ve learned a lot. Hopefully most of my mistakes are behind me. But, I’m still acknowledging the infallibility of the adage that heart generally trumps head, and the truth is when I look at the world around me, some things never change. It’s mind-boggling—the eternal conflict.


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Three young women: three different war experiences


Best-seller Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly was not easy to read. At the same time, it was not easy to put down. It’s the compelling story of three women from three different countries during World War II and author Martha Kelly tells their individual stories in the first person so we feel intimately connected to each one. What makes this book particularly engaging is it’s based on the lives and diaries of real women; two of the names are real; one a pseudonym. Other characters are composites and some are fictional for the sake of the narrative. The lilacs referred to in the title form a common thread in various locations in the story.

Kasia is a young Polish high school student whose sister is a doctor. The family is horrified to witness the abuses inflicted by the Nazi Party. She naïvely chooses to help a school friend by engaging in underground activity which attracts the attention of local authorities. Despite being practising Catholics, the family members are deemed political enemies. Kasia, her sister and their mother are deported in 1941 to Ravensbrück concentration camp for women in Germany.

Herta Oberheuser. The face of evil.

Dr. Herta Oberheuser practised the most evil sort of medicine at Ravensbrück and was the only female doctor at the camp. She was a true Nazi and even during her trial at Nuremberg and incarceration after the war she showed no remorse for the horrors she inflicted on the women who were known as “lapins” or experimental rabbits. The author created a speculative story about a real person. Along with dozens of other young women, Kasia and her sister Zuzanna are subjected to multiple medical experiments by Oberheuser and her associates. Camp doctors broke bones, removed flesh and otherwise mutilated the young women to replicate and test the effects of various battle injuries and treatments that could be used for German soldiers. Their wounds were deliberately infected with gangrene, shards of glass, dirt and various bacteria as part of the experiments.

Caroline Ferriday, an American saviour.

Caroline Ferriday was an unmarried New York socialite and former Broadway actress who volunteered at the French consulate in the early years of the war.  When the consulate was closed during the Nazi occupation of France her volunteerism went into high gear, assisted by her mother who was a long-time activist for worthy causes. The family also owned an apartment in Paris where prior to the war they had spent a great deal of time. Caroline took a particular interest in French orphans, raising money and collecting clothing and other items to be boxed and sent to France. With her network of influential friends and by selling many of her personal belongings, Ferriday was untiring in rallying support for victims of the war.

A gathering of some of the Ravensbruk women receiving treatment in the U.S. after the war.

Many of the Ravensbrück women survived the war and formed a collective group sponsored and supported by Caroline Ferriday. With her elite connections, she was able to raise funds to bring many of the women to the United States for medical attention aimed at repairing the effects of the experiments they endured at Ravensbrück. The relationship between Ferriday and her group of women continued until her death in 1990. The book is the story of strength, endurance, persistence and compassion. And it’s a reminder that one person can make a difference. Rating: 9 out of 10.

To order Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly from Amazon.ca, click here.