EDITORIAL: April Newsletter summary

The April Newsletter tries to summarize the website for you. For the full newsletter, click on the Newsletter Image on the left of click  OR click on the “continue reading” label a bit further.

Over the many years the site has been publishing, it continues to cover many topics, publishes pieces created by regular contributing writers, and delves into many different areas with its chief aim remaining the same: to help older adults get the most from their Internet explorations.

Intro
Well, it looks like Maiden of Spring is finally demonstrating she is interested in staying with us. Temperatures are finally hitting double digits and staying there…thank goodness. No matter how good ‘winter lite’ has been, the dreary grey days take their toll on a person’s psyche. So it is great to see Spring at last.

The website news seems to have been dominated by Donald Trump and Islamophobia.

Trump, at last
Let’s get the Trump stuff out of the way. Though it is becoming tiring, stick with watching it so you can see how it is creeping into Canada. Criticizing Leitch and O’Leary is too easy and too obvious. More difficult, to jump on Minister Goodale and Minister Morneau. The former for buckling to Homeland security and US immigration pressures to align Canadian immigration with America’s wishes. The latter, well, it hasn’t happened yet but we will be forced to deal with American trade demands as Trump pushes his “America great again” agenda.

Trump – great for late night TV
Trump has been an amazing boon for TV comedians and late night show hosts like Steve Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon. Especially for Colbert who has been dead last in the ratings, Trump has resurrected his show so that he is at his peak in the ratings battles now. Though one can easily tire of the endless jokes about Trump, it is surprising to see how far Colbert goes with his diatribes. He openly calla a spade “a spade,” recently calling Trump’s campaign ties with Russia outrightly treasonous. Trump has not responded. Don’t you wonder why? Litigation could reveal too much? The Trump ‘bury the truth’ policy reigns supreme? FBI Director Comie may have evidence that supports the claim?

All we can be grateful for is that we have free speech and can get away with such talk as political criticism everywhere and anywhere. In Russia, Colbert would be removed from TV and the network would lose its broadcasting rights. Hurray Canada!

Canada, don’t get too comfy
But don’t sit back too comfortably here in Canada. We do have big problems with politicians and government policies. Here is a sampler of some of the problems:

Racism
I moderate an “Issues in the Media” discussion group each week in Toronto and in doing research on Muslims, I found the Toronto Sun used the word ‘terrorist’ or variations of the word on its front page an incredible number of times. Sure, fear sells almost as well as sex, but what does it do to the psyche of the community. No wonder, Ottawa MP, Iqra Khalid, got fed up and pushed for bill M-103 before the House of Commons demanding that Islamophobia get serious consideration and study. Not so sure this is a good move on her part as it puts the focus on one group when we need to be focused on racism and xenophobia in general.

Patrick Brown, no show
Recently, I sent Patrick Brown, leader of the provincial Conservatives, an invitation to speak at the weekly issues discussion group. No luck…in fact, no reply, no response, nada. Trying to follow up the first email, I found that he had two email addresses on his Queen’s Park information plus a phone number. The phone number would eliminate the emailing issue, I thought. How wrong I was. No answer after 20 rings. A call to the Queen’s Park receptionist had me redirected to the Conservative caucus requiring a reply to a taped message. Days later, no reply still.

It is easy to see how people would get frustrated trying to contact their local MP.

Speaking of local politicians, Tracy MacCharles, party line pawn
I have been pushing back against renewal of Pickering Generating Station license renewal for a long time. There is a tremendous amount of evidence to support dismantling of this 50 year old plant, yet the Liberal Party of ON favours extension of its operating license. Well, over 4 million people are at risk should there be a problem at this plant. Who cares? I do, for one! At the very least, that plant is warming up Lake Ontario constantly…a tiny straw on the camel’s back. Japan has shut down all but 2 plants after Fukushima. Only one country in the world is still touting nuclear power generation, France. No other. I wonder why all the others have abandoned it. I wonder what’s going on in France.

Tracy MacCharles supports the party line pulling out the cash cow of loss of jobs. Dismantling the plant will mean endless jobs for engineers, construction workers, clerical staff for years. So jobs is not an issue with the closing of a plant created about the same time as the Edsel. Remember it?

Check out more details supporting the dismantling of the Pickering Generating Plant at the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.

Some good news too
The website doesn’t have just criticism and bad news, although that seems all too easy to publish. No, there have been some good things happening too.

City of Pickering updating
The City of Pickering has been working hard at development and creation of new services and programs for older adults, 55+. For those living in the region, get your hands on the city’s guide. They have even refined the registration process making it really easy to register for programs and services they offer.

Two programs of note, computer related and aimed at older adults: Windows 10 and Word/Excel use. These are excellent courses, refined and fine tuned for older learners. The courses are 2 hr sessions for just a few weeks but they will give participants confidence and basic skills so they can use their computers better.

Scams, frauds and alerts
Again, check the site for the latest in this area. If you have hesitation or apprehension about a scheme or scam, you can use a website, www.snopes.com to confirm and update you about the fraud. Check it out.

Books readers
The site deals with books a lot because I have been a member of the Petticoat Creek Book Club for a number of years now. Not only can you find useful information about the many books the club has read in the last few years, but you can also find two very useful links for book readers:
1. a link to many useful links for dedicated readers and
2. a link to many best seller lists.

Click under the topic BOOKz to access book related matters.

Who are your best sources about books
I promote referencing book reviews by people you know or peers because you are getting information from someone much like yourself and someone local with similar interests. Access to multiple ‘best seller lists’ is better than relying on just one list. They are tainted commodities promoting books in strange ways, either by sales, or by editorial preference, or as lobbied by writers. Some are even influenced by social media where authenticity and veracity are at increasing odds with truthful information.

There is a section relating to movies and TV reviews. See Richard Reviews. TV is not a wasteland as many might think. It can be great entertainment and escapism. However, it can be so only if you watch it with a plan or a blueprint, in order to not waste time on junk but get to the better shows easily. I have a preference for drama and thriller type of series, and there are a number of new shows that are excellent in this genre. But visitors to the site also send feedback about other shows such as outstanding comedies such as Big Bang Theory.

But don’t rely just on Richard Reviews. The site also has a number of contributing writers who offer comments, opinions and alternate views on a variety of topics ranging from money to spiritualism. Check out the posts by Bruno, Demo, Erma, Suzanne, and others. Even Fermo, the site’s Scottish mascot, offers some rough opinions.Your own comments are valued too, so join in by commenting on something you have read at the site.

Technology too
The site also promotes some technology: Notezilla and LastPass.

Notezilla is a superb notation application for your phone, tablet, and PC. It is practical, handy and easy to use. Use it for a week, and you’ll never leave home without it!!!

LastPass, password manager, helps you manage your passwords. Try LastPass. It’s an easy to learn, easy to use password managing program which will terminate your hair pulling because of password puzzles. The premium version allows you to use the same secure program across all your electronic platforms for just $12US a year…you read that correctly. $1 per month (US). The best password manager around at an incredibly good price.

Spring is looking good…Come and visit the site www.szpin.ca

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