Posted in Canada, disaster, Life, news, politics

Geez, I Miss CNN


It’s been bothering me for a while now, and I was finally able to put my theoretical thumb on it, and it’s that I miss CNN… The old CNN. The CNN that was a news network that we turned to for breaking news, around the world.

The old CNN was voiced by James Earl Jones, and had the star-studded cast of journalists who would tell you the facts, and show you pictures, and speak to experts and from there, we got world news like no one could deliver.

But along the way something happened…

Something terrible.

CNN changed, and not for the better. Now when I tune in to channel 33 (on the Rogers dial here in Toronto), I don’t see the news, and I don’t get reports of whats going on in the world. Instead I get a bunch of hack, wanna be “journalists” on their soap box being the news, rather than telling the news.

It’s a cross between comedy and pathetic.

Each “journalist” gets their opportunity to talk about how bad President Donald Trump is, as if their opinion is why people turn into the station – it’s not. There is no more world news, unless something breaks which is far more interesting that the anti-Trump show they put on daily.

The coverage of the Trump presidency from CNN, as I’ve noticed over the past 4-years, has been pretty “inconsistent” and its’ no wonder Trump started calling them fake news. By inconsistent, I mean downright one-sided, against the President.

Just the other day, I wanted to see how the rest of the world is handling CoronaVirus, and typically, I could count on CNN to have that information. But do they talk about it? Nope. Instead they bash Trump for this, and they bash Trump for that. Then they bring on their “experts” who bash Trump some more. There is no doubt in my mind that this “news network” is really a “vote democrat” station.

India is catching the US in COVID cases. Brazil and Russia not too far behind. How is Africa handling it? What about how Sweden has fared? Or maybe, ahem, your neighbours to the north, in Canada?

Nope. If it’s not anti-Trump, then it just isn’t newsworthy in the new CNN, and its sad to see.

Whether I support Trump, or Biden, or neither – as I’m Canadian – the fact of the matter is that this station is a shell of it’s former self, and I have to remind myself, when I sit down to watch the US “news” that I’m not going to get any on CNN.

I can’t imagine what’s going to happen when, and if, Biden gets elected. I want to see how their reporting is going to change and if they’re going to go off on Biden as they have on Trump. I have my doubts.

I’ve often wondered, since CNN has a “fact” checker to report on Trump’s lies, if they’re going to keep it up when the President is a democrat? Again, I have my doubts.

I can’t imagine being someone who didn’t follow the news, and only followed CNN. They’d believe that Trump ate babies, and had a satanic slogan carved into his forhead.

All this type of biased news reporting does, is make me wonder why the US doesn’t have a government-supported news station like we do in Canada with the CBC, and certainly, if the CBC was all-in for one party over another, you can guarantee that the public funding would have stopped already.

Granted, coverage from the CBC is typically very centre-left, and the current Liberal government did give the CBC a lot of money, and the same CBC really eases up when reporting about how terrible this Prime Minister has been to women, natives, people of colour, and the economy.

When you look at the actual numbers, the COVID response in Canada and the US has been very similar, the US have lost less people than Canada has by percentage of it’s population, and the US closed their border with other countries way faster than Canada, but Trudeau gave out significant amounts of money to keep everyone appeased, while Trump wanted to keep the economy open. In Canada, Canadians are pleased with the Liberal governments response to COVID-19, whereas in the US, CNN would have you believe that Trump killed every single person himself…

I will, however, say this… thankfully the CBC is no CNN, because whomever made the decision and allowed CNN to go from reporting the news to become they joke they are now, should be fired and never allowed to run a TV station again.

Posted in Canada, cars, Coffee, Daddy, news, Parenting, politics, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Things Discussed With My Kids: Yesterday


The joy of teenagers, and I have 2 of them now, is that they know everything. It’s amazing, it really is.

When they are not telling me how little I know, they’re usually on a device somewhere out of sight, playing games or “talking” to their friends.

Sometimes, however, we talk about stuff.

Here are a few topics of conversation for yesterday.

My middle child – bless him – just realized the irony of the fact that his mother does not like / hates coffee, yet eats Coffee Crisp chocolate bars… (Mind blown). The funny thing here is that she’s never had coffee that he’s ever seen. She’s eaten coffee crisps as long as he’s known… The so-called penny dropped.

If there are speed limits which should / must be adhered to, and there are significant penalties for violating these limits, and getting caught… Why are car manufacturers making cars that can go upwards of 250km/h? If speed limits are 100km/h, and cars exceeding 150km/h are deemed to be “stunt racing”, then shouldn’t cars not be allowed to exceed 150km/h, rather than 250km/h?

Rather than spending my time helping Canadians with tax troubles, my kids suggested that I should explore a career far more lucrative, such as owing a Subway franchise, South Street Burger, or a Tim Hortons location. Why? So they can have free stuff, of course…

Why do the parking enforcement officers (parking police) always park illegally when they’re out on their rounds? Because there are no parking spots for them to park in! So why doesn’t the city create more parking so people can park? They’ll make more money from parking, right? (future politician)

If the government wants more people in cars, why don’t they take away cars from people who do things illegal with their cars, thus forcing them to have to take public transit for the rest of their lives. That’s appropriate punishment, isn’t it?

We had an interesting discussion about Donald Trump which was more a conversation about a left-wing media, and the general dislike of right-wing politics. As a result, we’ve discussed that the US needs a third party that falls in the middle of the democrats and republicans and one which allows voters an option that isn’t either pro-or-against-guns, or pro-or-against-abortion, but one that caters to the voters. Unfortunately getting information from typical “left-wing” media, the soundbites that kids get fed these days don’t tell the full story on every political issue in the most transparent way. a lot of media circulated is slanted one way or another and a lot of kids can’t tell apart facts from biases. For example, the kids were surprised that Trump paid on $750 in taxes and while they do understand that its possible to pay that little in taxes by using the tax system to it’s fullest (see, I have taught them something), they just knew it didn’t pass the smell test.

So I asked them if Trump paid $400,000 in taxes would that be better? As Trump was one of only 2 US Presidents according to snopes.com, who have donated their entire Presidential salaries to charity.

Sure, they said, but all Presidents donate their salaries… Not true, but certainly there are a lot of clips stating that to be the case.

All I ask my kids, is if they are going to follow, support, understand, politics, they should take what they hear and read with a grain of salt, make sure they research it, and try not to spread inaccurate facts, if at all possible.

Not a pro-Trump moment, because between Trump and Biden, I think we all feel sorry for the American voters because they’ve been given some pretty sad choices. Not that things are better here in Canada with our questionable leadership from our Liberal government…

Posted in Canada, Community, family, Food, health, Life, Parenting, Recommends, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Have I Mentioned How Much I Love Skip the Dishes?


The pandemic has changed the way I do things, and one of best things to come out of self-isolation (besides the weight-loss) has been an introduction to Skip the Dishes. I’ve been using this app quite a lot, and I really like it…

I’ve tried the other apps, and they’re good too, but I find with the Skip app, that some things are just easier to navigate, and they make ordering food really easy. Idiot proof, if you prefer, which suits this idiot just fine.

Just the other day, for example, it gave me the heads up that there were a few new restaurants which might be of interest to me, and as a result, we tried a place called the Rosedale Pantry.

There were many items to choose from at this restaurant – some vegetarian, some dairy free, some gluten free, but just mainly good looking food which sounded like it would be delicious. We ordered just about one of everything (Chicken Shawarma with Tahini, Grilled Salmon, Miami ribs, Caprese Quinoa, Dan Dan Broccoli, Kale Caesar salad, Kale and Beet salad, Middle Eastern salad, Roasted Sweet potatoes, Tahini Cauliflower, Tokyo Slaw, Mac & Cheese, and Wild Mushrooms – I wasn’t kidding when I said we tried almost one of everything) and within minutes, we could see that our driver was on the way to pick up the food.

We love watching the driver on the Skip app, as you get to see the car move through the city from their starting location to the restaurant, and then from restaurant to your home.

The food itself was really delicious, very fresh, very flavourful, and the portions were much larger than I anticipated they would be. Would absolutely order from there again, especially if you were having a post-COVID party and wanted to have salads and dishes of different foods for people to eat. Strongly recommend that!

The other cool feature of the Skip app that I have only had to use a couple of times, was when there was a missing dish, or error in the food. The customer service from these guys is spot on. They are polite, quick, and responsive. There is no waiting for weeks to have an issue resolved.

So it’s due to those reasons and likely a few more, why I choose to use Skip the Dishes when ordering food.

Also, if you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, make sure to check out the Rosedale Pantry.

Which food delivery apps do you prefer? What would you say is their best feature, and worst feature?

Posted in Canada, Community, family, health, Life, Parenting, Recommends, school, Toronto

Where is the CoronaVirus Common Sense? Cover up with great local masks!


To all my American friends… You have a choice. You have the same choice that we had in Canada and the same choice that our friends around the world had. Use some common sense, or run the risk of getting COVID-19.

It’s not a difficult choice to make, as far as I can see, it’s about your health, the health of your family, friends, neighbours and strangers. It’s not a hoax, it’s not a scam, and the virus doesn’t care who is running your country.

COVID in Canada doesn’t want Biden over Trump, and protecting yourself from getting sick is a smart idea, not a breach of your constitutional rights.

Enough with the posturing, and let’s get to reality.

I wear a mask. I was apprehensive at first, but less so after seeing how common they are in Asia – where we have traveled as a family, over the past 2 summers. People in Asia wear masks because they don’t want to pass along germs to others. Possibly they have weak immune systems, or maybe they just care about others, and don’t want to be the reason for someone else getting sick.

I wear a mask when I’m in close enough proximity to anyone who isn’t wearing one. These same people who don’t wear one clearly don’t care about their health, and they’re certainly not concerned about mine. They don’t care if they pass along the virus to me, and if I get sick, then I can’t see my kids, and well, that would just suck.

That is why I protect myself… and you.

In fact, I’ve been lucky to find a company that makes masks that fit me, feel good to wear, and don’t pull my ears forward so I look even more like Dumbo.

Two Friends with a Hook, was founded by high-school friends of my sister, and they’ve been producing and selling masks for the better part of 5 months. What started as a way to keep Canadians safe, has turned into a business, because the masks they make are easy to wear, look good and wash well.

Between my sister, my family and myself, we must have bought at least 20 masks thus far, and I’ve used them, and abused them, and they keep coming back for more. I’ve exercised wearing them – long walks, runs, or taken them into busy stores, and have had zero issues. When I’m not wearing the mask, like when I’m outdoors by myself, I can let the mask safely hang around my neck.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve tried plenty of masks, and these are by far the best. If you’re going to have to wear a mask, why not choose a comfortable one, a Canadian one, and keep everyone safe from your germs until we can kick CoronaVirus to the curb.

 

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, school, The Urban Daddy, urbandaddyblog

Tips for Balancing Remote Work and Parenting During Covid


Tips for Balancing Remote Work and Parenting During COVID-19

Written by: Sheyla Scaffo, People Experience Associate & Executive Business Administrator at Bunny Studio

Parents navigating their working from home while taking care of their children is the new norm. As school picks back up and with the uncertainty of what a day at school will look like (home, at school, 50/50, etc.), figuring out how to balance their schedule and a full-time job sometimes feels totally unmanageable.

Most parents have had experience working remotely in one-off, unplanned situations. However, working at home day in and day out for the foreseeable future while also caring for (and in some cases, teaching) kids at home proves to be a major struggle without careful planning where needed and flexibility when possible.

Here are some tips to create better routines and habits that can help parents maintain a healthy work-life integration:

1. When possible, keep things flexible
This is often easier said than done. However, when you do have the ability, consider getting creative with your work schedule to base your hours around your kids’ schedules. Giving yourself the flexibility to work differently during this time is crucial to maintaining work-life balance. 

This can work in a variety of ways. For example, if you’re an early morning person or a night owl, or you are used to commuting a long way, consider working on projects during these times when kids are usually sleeping. Of course, there will always be vital tasks and meetings that require collaboration with your colleagues during regular work hours, but finding ways to give yourself time for small breaks during the day will help you and your kids stay on track.            
 
2. Establish a kid-free zone
There will be times when you need to hunker down and complete work items free from distractions, which is why it is important to establish an area of the house where you can separate yourself from your family. 
 
Not only is it important for this space to be free from other people, but it also needs to be free from other distractions such as dirty laundry and other messes. Keeping the area clean and organized will keep you from wanting to disengage from work to complete other tasks.

3. Clearly communicate with your family
If you have a partner who is also working from home and sharing kid duties with you, it is crucial to communicate the times you can and cannot help out during the day. Setting these expectations will allow for a much smoother daily routine.

It is also important to communicate with your children if they are old enough. Set expectations for when there will be breaks in your day that you can check-in, whether it be a quick snack break, lunch, or even hourly check-ins. 

4. Utilize special toys and screen time during work hours
Set aside designated toys and other gadgets, as well as movies or TV shows, to be used when you need to focus-in during the day. This will give your kids something to look forward to and will allow for some distraction-free work time.
 
5. Don’t overwork
During this time, it can be easy to feel like we need to push ourselves to work extra hours, but the reality is that taking the time to unplug and reset each day is critical to success as a parent and an employee.
 
With schools and offices closed, parents are likely finding themselves faced with a to-do list that has only grown. Although many of us have now had a few months to settle into fully-remote work, that does not mean keeping up with distance-learning while figuring out the best way to accomplish your work has gotten any easier. Designing a schedule that fits your needs is easier said than done, but following the above tips should help ensure you are on the right track.

Should you find yourself out of work during this time, consider that there are other work options out there, such as freelance and contract work, that may help you meet your scheduling and finance needs. Freelancing is also a great source of supplemental income for people while they look for new full-time employment. Just make sure you choose the right platform to help you get the right kind of projects, such as Bunny Studio