Posted in Parenting

Overheard on a Train – Summer Vacation 2016


There is nothing that I enjoy more than finding hidden gems in my email. In effort to finally get organized – or at least working towards getting organized until my ADHD brain takes me somewhere else…

Nonetheless, I found an email dated August 12, 2016, and at this point in time, we were likely on a train heading somewhere in France, or possibly we were in Holland heading out to see some windmills.

Travelling as a family usually means we have plenty to do together on trains, whether it be playing cards, playing games, looking out the window and watching the world go by or taking a nap. On this trip, it was my oldest child, Linus, who overheard a conversation coming from the men in front of us which seemed very scattered and unusual, so we stayed as quiet as we could and jotted down some gems, which I apparently emailed to myself at 5:13 in the morning.

Here was the conversation;

“We’re roughing it man, like hiking… These trains… They’re really roughing it. I mean in these days no body is doing what we’re doin. No body takes trains. That’s rough. Like really rough. And nobody hikes. Hiking is what the olden days people do. Not today’s generation. Today’s generation… They’re not roughing it like we are. Really rough.

In the future scientists will solve this anti gravity thing and all cities will be in the sky. People will take air trains to each city. And you know what, we’ll still be doing that because that’s what defines roughing it. Travelling on sky trains. Nobody uses skytrains, or will in the future. That will be what roughing it is in the future.

(Other guy) That’s a bit far fetched, man…

(Back to first guy) It’s true. It’s from a German scientist who time traveled to the future instead of backwards like everyone else. He saw it. He went to the future and he took notes of what he saw.

(Other guy) Dude, stop… How did he get back then?

(First guy) Oh, man, you should know that. But you’re not from the future. In the future, they all have time machines. They can travel to any time, anytime.

Giant pause…

(Other guy) Whoa.

(First guy) I know right… Like if someone travels to the past and like kills you, then you would suddenly disappear from the future and I would be here all by myself talking to myself. People would think that I’m crazy, but I would know the truth…

(Other guy) Why would someone go back and kill me? Why wouldn’t they go back in time and kill you?

(First guy) Whoa.

(Second guy) Whoa.

My son – smacks hand on forehead…

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

Returning This Summer: PC Insiders Report (YAY!)


I opened my email this morning and saw a teaser from Loblaws CEO Galen Weston, that an old favourite was returning.

My mind immediately began to race to PC products which I loved, that have gone by the wayside, and couldn’t wait to see what was coming back – hoping that it was something that we could actually use.

The email read like this:
“I hope you’re keeping well as we hold the course with our physical distancing measures. Most of my updates over these past months have been focused on logistics – the work we’ve done to help keep our colleagues and communities safe. But as the urgency has eased somewhat and I take a wider view of the situation, I have some thoughts I’d like to share.

Billions of people have been asked to stop, to stay inside. And as our worlds have gotten smaller, interesting things are happening out there. You may have seen pictures of mountain goats and monkeys roaming empty streets. Or images of cleaner waterways and side-by-side comparisons of skies over Los Angeles, New Delhi and Barcelona – grey and smoggy pre-pandemic, crisp blue today. Experts say this quieting of human activity has resulted in less seismic noise – that is, the planet is not vibrating as much as usual. Some have joked the birds must be singing much louder. But it may just be that we can hear them better now.

This large-scale slowdown can give us new perspective. We can imagine what we might do differently or better once this all passes. Many of us have become more focused on what we’re eating – what’s essential, what we could do without, or do with a little less of. In my case, I’m a bit of a carnivore, and I’m trying to eat less meat and more vegetables. I know many of you are too.

This movement toward flexitarianism – eating mainly vegetables, fruit, beans and grains, meat only occasionally – is growing. People are curious about the benefits, they want more information and options.

And it’s gotten me thinking: how can our team at President’s Choice do what it does best, keep Canadians up-to-date on the latest product innovations and inspirational meal ideas, while also going deeper on big food issues, like flexitarianism and sustainability? The team reminded me that the PC Insiders Report publication used to do all that.

So, this summer, we’re bringing it back.

For those of you who remember it, in the ‘80s, the Insider’s Report booklet was the kickoff to the big seasons, the highlight of summer and holiday grocery shopping. For those who don’t remember: it really was. This new, fully digital version will give you a taste of the latest trends, fresh recipes for BBQ season, and dozens of new and amazing PC products. And it will have more: I’m going to work with our team on thoughtful stories about larger food issues that Canadians are curious about.

Our team has worked hard to help you get the most out of summer. Every product and every story has been crafted with care, passion and ultimately the love of food in mind. The idea is that we can have both: joy in the food we want, and the information we need to help us eat better and live better. For me these days, that means more big salads. And several PC® Ice Cream Shop Banana Split Mini Ice Cream Bars.”

Let’s have a good summer.

Galen Weston

 
Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Shoppers Drug Mart, PC Optimum™

Can I tell you, if you do not remember the Insider Report, just how amazing it was… It provide a snapshot of new PC products that were coming down the pipeline, soon to be in stores. It was always a big hit in my family, and I have such fond memories of looking at all the different food options and choices, which we wanted to purchase.

The Blue Menu was one of the game changers that I remember seeing because there were many foods which we wanted to try but were traditionally too high in fat or salt, but the blue menu took a lot of those, cleaned them up, and made them available and affordable.

Around the holidays, I remember the fancy ice creams and desserts which we used to drool over, but never buy.

Rather than walk into a grocery store and search aisle by aisle, this report highlights the newest products and cuts down the wander time in stores, which make a ton of sense in this day and age.

Thank you, Galen!

Can’t wait!!!

Posted in Canada, Community, disaster, events, family, health, Life, music, The Urban Daddy

The Urban Daddy’s COVID-19 Pandemic / Self-Isolation Playlist


As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues, my self-quarantine playlist grows. Here are some of the songs which resonate with me during these unusual times.

Which songs have spoken the most to you while in quarantine or while performing your duties as an essential worker?

Tik Tok songs aside (I’m bored in a house, and in a house bored).

La List

Don’t Stand So Close (To Me) – The Police

Keep Em Separated – The Offspring

End of the World – REM

Situation Critical – Platinum Blonde

All By Myself – Celine Dion

Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol

Longview – Green Day (reference the lyrics: “I’m in a house with unlocked doors, and I’m fucking lazy!”)

Keep Your Hands to Yourself – Georgia Satellites

Living in a Ghost Town – The Rolling Stones

Alone – Heart

Too Much Time on My Hands – Styx

I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany

I know there are many more songs which relate to being alone or social distancing, but the above songs are songs I like, and which – in my opinion – relate to self-isolation.

Please, add to the list in the comments! If the songs fit, I’ll add them to the post and provide proper credit – your name, blog, online presence, etc.

Posted in Canada, Coffee, Daddy, Food, health, hockey, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Rules for Tim Hortons, the Sport!


I wrote this in 2007 and never posted it.  I know why.  It’s stupid.  But looking back on it 13 years later and aside from wondering what the heck I was thinking, I’m a nostalgia-guy, so I thought I’d clean it up and post it.

There are the rules that apply to Tim Horton’s Coffee – written as if Tim Horton’s was a sport, I would guess.

 

These rules always apply, no exceptions:

#1. When you enter a Tim Horton’s and see a line to one side of the restaurant that DOES NOT mean that you can start another line on the other side.

PENALTY: TOO MANY LINES. People guilty of this infraction must buy coffee for everyone in the original line.

#2. If you cannot see the donut you want available in the display you CANNOT ask for it since the server will then go into the back and eventually return to tell you that – guess what – they don’t have it!

PENALTY: DELAY OF GAME. People guilty of this infraction must return to the end of the line.

#3. The Drive-Thru is for ordering coffee and donuts ONLY. If you need to order a sandwich or soup get out of your car and go inside you lazy bum! It takes too long and they’ll probably get your order wrong anyway, so save some greenhouse emissions (unless you’re driving an electric car, then you probably parked and walked) and remember – NO ORDERING FOOD IN THE DRIVE-THRU!

PENALTY: OVER-ORDERING. People guilty of this infraction will have their tires deflated on the spot, or will have to drive over very rough road on the way out, and will spill all over themselves.

#4. Cleaning the Hot Chocolate and Flavored Coffee machines is FORBIDDEN during times of the days where there are actually customers in the store. What kind of business takes a product off-line in the middle of the day!?

PENALTY: UNNECESSARY CLEANLINESS. Staff guilty of this infraction will be forced to eat hot, spicy food, then placed in restraints just out of reach of a nice cool glass of water for an hour.

#5. Placing the lids on the “to-go” cups so that the drink opening lines up with the crease in the cup is a crime against humanity since it has the same effect as gag dribble cups. Plus, exactly how hard is it to miss that crease when placing the lid on anyway? Yet it seems to happen more than 50% of the time.

PENALTY: ILLEGAL LID ON THE CREASE. Staff guilty of this must properly stir each coffee they serve for the next hour to ensure not one customer get sugar in the bottom of their cup.

#6. Franchise owners who open up a store with a Drive-Thru that can’t handle at least 10 cars in line are a traffic menace. Caffeine addiction is a scary thing that will cause people to stop dead on busy streets just to keep a position in line at the Drive-Thru.

PENALTY: INTERFERENCE. Owners guilty of this infraction will be forced to eat only Tim Horton’s food for the next year.

#7. Going on a coffee run to Tim’s for five or more people is a no-no. First, you’ll never remember what everyone ordered correctly. Second, you don’t have a hope in hell of carrying that stuff back. Also, it will take way too long!!! That nice person behind you in line was under the impression that you were just going to order coffee and go. BUT NO, you have to take 5-10 minutes of our lives while you botch the order and then juggle the cups back to your vehicle. Get some backbone – force others to come with you. No more than three or four orders per person thank you!

PENALTY: OVER TWO MINUTE WARNING. People guilty of this infraction will be forced to drink ALL the coffee they have ordered and eat ALL the food.

Side note: Doing this same infraction through the Drive-Thru may result in public flogging.

#8. During Roll-Up-The-Rim-To-Win time all cups left unattended and unrolled for more than one minute are fair game.  There is nothing wrong with unrolling a cup found lying on the ground other than the germs.  It could be a car, or a free coffee.  Drinking from that cup is disgusting, but opening it could be found money.

PENALTY: IF IT’S A WINNER: Finders keepers.  IF IT’S A LOSER – TECHNICAL FOUL.  You must drop $2.00 on the street, or give it to the homeless person outside your favourite location.

#9. Staff who fail to recognize that you are a creature of habit and order the same thing everyday for a year at the same Tim Horton’s and still meet you with blank stares and an indifferent “What can I get you?”  Where is the recognition and “Would you like the usual?”

PENALTY: INCOMPLETE RECOGNITION. Staff guilty of this infraction will be subjected to bathroom duty, and have to eat all the left-over donuts at the end of every day for a week, or until they explode.

#10. Showing up at your son/daughter’s hockey game with a coffee from somewhere which is not Tim Horton’s is strictly FORBIDDEN!  We all know how much money this company pours (pun intended) into Tim Bits hockey.  What are you?  Anti-Canadian?

Don’t you know the way we do things around here?

PENALTY: ILLEGAL COFFEE. People guilty of this infraction must buy coffee and Tim Bits for the team and coaching staff for the entire season.

 

Posted in family, health, Parenting, The Urban Daddy

What Do Your Farts Say About Your Health?


In these days of self-isolation, and staying at home, it’s possible, if not probable, that the topic of farting has come up at least once or twice.

Fluff, cutting the cheese, breaking wind, booty belch, whoopee, and anal salute are all different ways to refer to the standard and embarrassing fart.

Did you know the average person farts approximately 14 to 23 times per day?

As awkward as it may be, everyone needs to release gas from their body. It is part of the digestive process and is a necessary bodily function.

What is a fart? 

Flatulence, also known as a fart, is something everyone experiences. It’s the release of intestinal gas, which forms as a result of digesting food. Gas can be found throughout the digestive tract, including the stomach, small intestine, colon, and rectum.

What do your farts (passing gas) reveal about your general health?  

New York-Based Internist and Gastroenterologist, Dr. Niket Sonpal, explains what your flatulence is trying to tell you.

1. Do you have a balanced diet?

A balanced diet should provide the body with the proper number of vitamins and nutrients. Consuming the appropriate amount of fiber and healthy foods helps keep the digestive system working correctly.

If you tend to pass gas more often than you would like, this could mean that the body is not receiving the correct nutrients.

Avoiding foods that are processed and harder to digest and sticking to more natural ingredients, could decrease how often you toot. 

2. You may have a food intolerance   

Not all food allergies can be life-threatening; however, they can still cause conflict day-to-day for some individuals. Food intolerances mainly affect the digestive system making it harder for the stomach to digest food properly. This can lead to smelly and awkward bloating, reflux, and diarrhea after a meal. For example, people with a dairy intolerance struggle to digest lactose, which results in the stomach becoming extraordinarily bloated and sends out foul smells out of the anus. 

3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Constantly farting throughout the day could be a sign of a health issue such as irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, or, in extreme cases, colon cancer. Typically, these health issues cause extreme flatulence, odors or odd pressure on the rectum when they are about to be released. 

4. You are stressed

Symptoms of IBS go hand-in-hand with stress. Stress and anxiety can lead to excessive swallowing of air, oxygen release, and digestion issues, which are three causes of having more gas than usual.

When people are panicking or stressed, they often swallow more air than necessary, leading to bloating and pressure that needs to be released. On the other spectrum, hyperventilating allows an excess of oxygen to enter the bloodstream, which can also lead to gas problems. 

5.Pre-Menstrual Women  

That time of the month is already painful enough. There are changes in your bowel habits during this time caused by fluctuations in hormones. The shift in your hormones and bowel movements cause farting to become more frequent and smellier during this time of the month. Be mindful of accidentally passing wind while you are pre-menstrual.

6. You might have harmful gut bacteria.

Regular farting is an indicator of healthy gut bacteria and a properly working digestive system. Your body needs good bacteria in your intestine for it to remain healthy. Microbes in your gut are a positive thing because they eat up excess fiber and carbohydrates we do not use. Also, they produce beneficial bacteria. If you do not have any good bacteria, it can lead to constipation and bloating, which is unhealthy for your digestive system.

About Dr. Sonpal

Dr. Niket Sonpal is a native of Long Island NY and a graduate of the Medical University of Silesia – Hope Medical Institute in Poland. After completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, he was selected to be the 2013‐2014 Chief Resident at Lenox Hill Hospital–Northshore LIJ Health System. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and Clinical instructor at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brooklyn.

Dr. Sonpal has completed his Fellowship in gastroenterology at Lenox Hill Hospital and will continue his work in the field of medical student and resident test preparation. He has spoken and presented at over 25 national and regional conferences on his research and is a regular participant in national courses, as well as offering presentations to medical students, graduates, and residents on the match process.

Recently Dr. Sonpal was chosen as one of the top ten national residents for the Medelita–‐Dupont Honoring Excellent Resident Observations also known as the H.E.R.O. Campaign.

He is the co‐author for the best-selling Master the Boards: USMLE Step 2 CK, Master the Boards Step 3, And Master the Boards: Internal Medicine.

He is also the Chief Operating Officer for Medquest Test Prep, Director of Medical Education for Picmonic Test Prep, and a recognized expert on medical test prep.