Tuesday, January 31, 2012


   The fact that homo sapiens may have free choice and are considered to be the most intelligent species on earth is questionable. Once the concept of agriculture emerged so did the appearance of crops that were not meant for humans, those that altered moods because of their addictive psychoactive chemical content like nicotine. 
   Used as a bug killer by converting the crop to nicotine tartrate, tobacco today is used mostly as a recreational drug  using the leaves of the plant. With many tobacco products on the market legally the worst known preventable health diseases on the globe (according to W.H.O.) have developed because of its addictive and carcinogenic properties.
   There's a cigarillo tobacco product (pompom) that is created in Jacksonville Florida and shipped world wide. It's a kind of mini cigar with a punch. It's small and fast to smoke and three times more harmful than one cigarette. Is there a benefit from using it? Not really. Only for the manufacturer maybe. Accountants could say there's a good profit margin. So what? Still sales from the product generate government taxes . Maybe that's the link in the chain that cannot be broken?
   But the tax income is quickly offset by the huge health care costs. Since the largest number of illnesses is caused by the use of tobacco, even insurance companies demand higher premiums from those who use it personally because the claims generated by them are the highest.
   Intelligence? Consider this; people buy carbon monoxide monitors to ensure that the air breathed is safe. Yet the smoke from tobacco products actually puts carbon monoxide poison into the air and themselves! Think of the damage that will do inside the brain and body. Then there's also cyanide that goes into the body. Both are known as poisons. The human uses the product knowing it's toxic. Smart?
   Homo sapiens may be the most innovative yet clearly not the most intelligent in self care. They create harmful drugs, a medical system to try to right that wrong and an insurance system to cover the medical expenses. Then there are political systems that believe in some sort of a smorgasbord of freedom of choice allowing a slow but certain death from tobacco consumption, yet no mercy death for individuals suffering tremendously near the end of disease. Something seems very wrong about choices in this instance.
    Today's newer media is adding new support to the use of tobacco products. Social sites like Facebook and You Tube have become places for promoters. For the pom pom product it's already there. Twitter? Likely yes. Seems if a famous celebrity with lots of followers mentions a product by brand name in a tweet  then there will be remuneration to them from the brand's company. Fast cash!  Any regulation about what may be promoted? Not much.
    More media tools in the mix is the allowing of harmful substances to be available via the internet. Shopping over the net has made the product more readily available. Is the cigarillo one item kids would select? Apparently yes because the makers of the product have offered it in a variety of yummy flavours, grape included! Hooking young innocent clients in is what matters to the future of their industry. I question why is the manufacture of tobacco stuff still allowed? Choices? Rights?
   Think of this. Our freedom of choice is being manipulated and influenced in so many ways now we hardly notice it's happening. The mind is being controlled more and more by advertisers and marketers. For example: 
   Will you be watching the $3.1 million commercials at this weekend's football game? You are watching the game right? Perhaps that's because it's been deemed a very big event, a fashionable thing to do and with so many followers. Over the years this event has been groomed to be that way. The media has been a leader of this for many years now. The viewers have followed as conditioned supporters ought to. Some call it loyalty.
   So do you question why some companies would put up the huge dollars for a 30 second spot of advertising during the game? Likely not. The advertisers hope for viewer attention by carefully planning their ad. Once watched and rated, the best one will be repeated, all the talk shows will spend days reviewing those commercials and discussing them. This kind of spotlight will certainly help sell a product more quickly and bigger volumes because of the mob mentality most people seem to have. In  no time that high cost of the ad is recovered  Clever?  Maybe?
   Thankfully the commercial that will not be created is the one about a tobacco product. No cigarillo spots. That product was banned from those type of ads along with all the tobacco items. Freedom of choice to do so was overridden because of the known very high health risks of that. 
   Shouldn't there be a tobacco ban on the net as well for the same reason? That's not about to happen. On the net the rules and laws have been very slow in keeping up with all the latest tricks to pull us into markets. Is that intelligent behaviour knowing what we know?

 P.S.  Being so conditioned to add media props, I originally had a photo of the product packaging in this post until I realized that it would be a visual promotion for it. Darn it's tough to be objective.  

Monday, January 16, 2012


  Pictured below is a classic Christmas spoon from a collection created by Georg Jensen of Denmark who created this one in 'Julen 1939'. That's what is written on the back of this lovely piece. There are so many things people can choose to create a private collection. This was one of them. However, there will no longer be any new pieces in his series of special Christmas cutlery. The line was discontinued in 2010.

    Pictured below is a sample of one family's collection. The elders' tradition was to gift one piece to each family member at Christmas time to celebrate their arrival as they came into the family either by birth or marriage. 
   The original heads of the family came from Denmark so selecting Jensen pieces  marked a way to stay connected to their Danish roots. Those in the picture span from 1932 to 2009, covering three generations. The fourth began after 2010.
   Scattered throughout the larger family are other pieces related to their own immediate family. What's remarkable is that most members know just where the various 'Julen' pieces reside within the bigger family because of their link to special dates or events. And they recognize their designs too. Just looking at the few in my photo I wonder how they do it.
    Traditionally the cutlery comes out of storage for the special holiday season and then the conversation begins. I know this because I just visited two members. At lunch, when the dessert was served, each of us got to use one. And once the spoon was in our hands our questions began. For starters we wanted to know what our our hosts had. They each held theirs, the one that matched their birth year and each recognized the other's spoon by it's colourful unique design. Never had I seen or held anything so spectacular in cutlery before. 
   How these spoons became a collection fascinated me. Then there came the question as to why one member decided to break away from the spoon tradition by adding forks into the set, a new trend that lasted a very short time. 
   While collections may last, the creators of those pieces move on. When new pieces are no longer available the collection is halted. Perhaps this adds some charm and value to an old collection? Who knows? There will always be new trend setters and others who seek treasures from the past. Collecting has gone on for centuries.
    I once collected items but that's changed. Our house fire has spoiled much of that. I no longer have the desire to collect objects.  And my children no longer have the sentimental desire to hang on to much of the past. Just an odd piece here or there seems to satisfy our need to connect to prior times. Perhaps my blog is taking the place of the objects I once treasured?
Are you or were you a collector?

Thursday, January 5, 2012


  Our New Years' celebration was a vey memorable one. All day long cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, several friends and a cat joined in as we cheered and prayed for another happy year together. The past one was bitter sweet but that's what makes life all the more challenging and gives us hope for more. Below you see our new bride blowing sparkly confetti at the camera. She had originally protested about opening up this little goody bag that came with the party supplies. She quickly changed her mind and got into the spirit of having a real blast!
   When the hats, garland and noise makers where distributed near midnight I just had to open that little bag and throw a tiny handful into the room. The girls got into it almost instantly. Soon some we were dancing around trying to shake free from it. There was much laughter and some shrieks as it found it's way into some funny spots with a bit of help of course. Hahaha. Those pictures remain off line. 
  As the TV countdown came and Toronto cheered in the New Year with fireworks at Nathan Phillips Square we sipped our raspberry bubbly and blew the noisemakers. Hugs went all around. 
  My favourite part was that hubby was there for all of it! He enjoyed being surrounded by those he loved. But soon after midnight I tucked him in for his rest. 
  Then I went back to help tidy up. Thanks to me and that little bag we had a huge cleanup ahead. We had to make sure the confetti was all cleaned up because Ellie our cat was attempting to chew at it. That might have led to some serious issue with her digestive system, not the kind of 'sparkle' we wanted to have to face. It took 45 minutes and a crew of 5 with 3 vacuums,1 broom and a dust pan to get things in order but all were happy to do it. A labour with love is the best kind. It sends tingles down ones spine just like fireworks.