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.              

Posted in Canada, disaster, family, health, Parenting, Recommends, school, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

March Break / COVID-19 / CoronaVirus Self-Isolation To Do List


March Break plans ruined? Travel plans cancelled? Activities for the kids also cancelled? COVID-19 has you in self-isolation? Keeping your “Social Distance”? Tired of hearing the “Corona-Time” song from Tik Tok?

If you, like everyone else, are running out of ideas for things to be because everything is closed until mid-April… What could you possibly do with the kids during an extended March Break?

Here at The Urban Daddy, we have some practical suggestions to not only keep your kids entertained, but keep you engaged, while allowing the kids to get a jump on their return to school without them knowing.

Here are our suggestions:

Reconnect with the great outdoors!

Walks, bike-riding, practicing sports, and helping around the house, digging the garden, planting flowers and raking the lawn. Get to know (Reconnect with) your neighbours. Have BBQ’s, do yoga, pick up some garbage in the community… All with lots of soap, hand sanitizer and without electronics.

Electronics – More than just for games!

While I feel that my kids are already in quarantine – they come home from school, head up to their rooms, hit the electronics and show up only for dinner. While Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Tik Tok, YouTube and Snapchat are fun, there is only such much you can do in a day, week, month, so let’s expand the use of computers beyond entertainment, and use it for educational purposes too. Have your kids learn about SEO, how to make websites, teach them to code, while you learn to code too.

The possibilities are endless.

Computers for Education

While the teacher unions here in Ontario might think that online classes are a REALLY bad idea, thankfully they’re not teaching our children, because with schools closing for anywhere from 3-5 weeks, or for the rest of the school year, we are suddenly seeing school boards heading to online classes to salvage the rest of the school year.

It only makes sense, and from what I’ve seen, some schools just needed a couple of days to move to online classes, while other schools were already ramping up.

I’m a huge fan of online classes and courses – I did my MBA online, and in this day and age, all kids should be familiar with online classes and courses not only in case of a global pandemic, but also in case they wanted to advance themselves and take extra or additional courses.

Get a jump on the eLearning train and sign yourself and your kids up for courses. My 13-year-old is currently in grade 8, but is working on his grade 9 math credit at the same time.

I’m working on some courses towards my Google certification and my Quickbooks certification.

Catch up on Family Time – Movies & Board Games

I strongly recommend family movies – stay away from movies called Outbreak, or that deal with the end of the world. Common Sense Media, is a website that rates most TV shows, movies and video games according to age appropriateness to help parents figure out what their kids should be watching.

Some of the games that we’ve played include; Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Monopoly, Cards Against Humanity (not with the kids!!), Rummicube, Exploding Kittens, Risk, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, Carcassonne, Sushi Go, Chess, Boggle, Yatzee, just to name some more recently played.

Read Books

Nothing says getting a start on learning like developing a love of reading. Reading uses our imagination, helps us to learn new words, see proper punctuation, and spend hours doing something alone.

More importantly, in the event public libraries get shut down, there are plenty of resources available in digital format too.  eBooks, eAudioBooks, Movies, Comics, Music, Magazines and Videos. All you need is a library card!

A few years ago I introduced my eldest to the series of Dan Brown books – The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, Origin, The Lost Symbol, Inferno, Digital Fortress (This one you can skip, Sorry Dan), and Deception Point. I read through those books in records time and so has he. We’re looking forward to reading the newest Dan Brown book Wild Symphony.

In addition to those books, any Star Wars book has also been a wildly popular with my readers – not just the books that the movies are based off of, but all the little series and sub-series.

Spring Cleaning

Nothing says time to re-do the bedroom – change over winter clothes to spring clothes, check sizing, and re-do parts of the house than having the time to do so. If there is a pantry that you wanted to tear apart and re-organize alphabetically, this is your chance! How about cleaning up the kids playroom and donating toys they don’t use anymore? Again, now is the time.

We’re in this for the long haul, folks, so make sure you wash your hands often, keep your hands off of your face and stay away from people if you’re under the weather. Protect yourself and that will protect others.

Posted in Canada, Community, events, health, news, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival Cancelled


Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), in partnership with Credit
Valley Conservation (CVC), regrettably announce the cancellation of its upcoming 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA March Break activities at Black Creek Pioneer Village to proactively protect its staff, visitors, and all who would be in attendance, from the potential risk of contracting COVID-19.

The cancellation is in line with the recent announcement from Ontario’s chief medical officer of health recommending the immediate suspension of all large events and public gatherings of more than 250 people, and the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic, as well as recommendations by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

TRCA and CVC conducted a risk assessment and decided to cancel its upcoming 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA March Break activities at Black Creek Pioneer Village to ensure the public safety of all involved.

The 2020 Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival and TRCA Black Creek Pioneer Village March Break activities cancellation effects the following locations and dates:
Kortright Centre for Conservation – from March 14 – April 12
Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area – from March 14 – April 12, including March Break (March 16 – 20) and Good Friday (April 10)
Terra Cotta Conservation Area – weekends (March 14 – April 5) and March Break (March 16 – 20)
Island Lake Conservation Area – March 20, 21 & 28
Black Creek Pioneer Village March Break – March 16 – 22

For further information, please visit maplesyrupfest.com and blackcreek.ca.