Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Church of "Give Me Your Money" Part 2

The Church of ‘Give Me Your Money’
Part 2
One more word about the NGO’s – market share. I have personal experience in this. A few years ago I started a non-profit organization to raise money for aids/HIV work. That was back in the early days of the disease. The first thing to happen was I got rained on by The United Way, The Heart and Stroke Foundation, and various other Aids organizations. I had no idea that I was competing with any of these people, but they were upset at this new kid on the block horning in on their money supply. And they weren’t very subtle about it either.
In fact, talking about subtleties, a few years back right after that terrible earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, a medical team from Winnipeg went overseas to provide whatever help they could. This was not an organization – it was just a group of professionals committed to giving of themselves for the benefit of others. When they got there, they went to the place where they could be most effective and were promptly edged out by NGO’s who wanted that place for themselves. Why? Because that’s where they could make the most brownie points and that’s the TV camera were zoned in on.
In the mean time, back in the seventies, a fellow began lending small amounts of his own money to individuals, mainly women in Bangladesh, to start small businesses. It was phenomenally successful. In fact he won the Nobel peace prize for his humanitarian efforts.
One of the twenty-two immutable laws of marketing states that success breeds competition and – you guessed it – a number of others got in on the act. The only thing was, they put a new twist on it. They wanted a return on their investment. The deacons of the church of ‘Give Me Your Money’ got their hands on it and promptly screwed it all up. The short-term nature of the “Church’s” goals draw out the predatory nature of its adherents, negating the good that was being done and putting the program into disrepute.
The silly thing about this approach is that the gain is minimal and when the profits dry up, the original concept is wrecked. Thus the chance at eradicating poverty, starvation, disease and social ills is back at square one.
Well, that’s the way it looks from up here on the top shelf.
Just sayin’.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Church of 'Give Me Your Money

The Church of ‘Give Me Your Money!’
The picture on the television shows a couple of emaciated black children, looking understandably sad, brushing flies from their faces. The haunting voice is that of a woman. She speaks slowly, almost painfully, enunciating her words in a unique fashion with faltering voice and brimming over with emotion. It’s enough to break your heart and rip open your bank account – until you discover she’s an actress, reading from a manuscript. I wouldn’t have known that had I not been doing some research on audio books and came across that same haunting voice.
Another picture shows a bunch of fellows working on house repairs. There’s an innocuous commentary on their personalities in the background. Turns out to be the grim reaper looking them all over, saying it doesn’t matter – he’ll get one of them, and all of them sooner or later. Then comes the zinger – the script on the screen says – ‘Make Death Wait’. And the point of the message is? Donate to the Heart and Stroke Foundation!
Well I could go on and on, but these two examples pretty well make my point. Do you see how they relate to one another? They have the same message – ‘GIVE ME YOUR MONEY!’
And we do. The dollars just keep rolling in.
I don’t understand. How have we become members of the church of ‘Give Me Your Money’?  And what do we get for what we give? Well, in the case of the starving child, we get a picture of the child who is presumably the one we support – oh and a newsletter. That’s it! It’s all cut off from there – well that is unless we want to support another of the thousand or so other babies that were born during the time we were writing our check. Well let’s follow the money. Firstly, the actress has to be paid. Then there’s the cost of TV production and time, administration costs etc. What’s left for the child?
And the grim reaper doesn’t come cheap either. There are three or four actors involved in that little skit. What is left for the heart attack or stroke sufferer?
Well it’s a pretty good gig for these deacons of the church of ‘Give Me Your Money’. They have a never ending supply of starving children to beg for, so their place is secure – provided nobody figures out how to reduce the number of starving children. And the Heart and Stroke people don’t have any worries either. People are popping off in record numbers.
It seems to me, from up here on the top shelf that we are getting suckered into providing the NGO’s with an unlimited and ongoing income source to buy band aides for preventable, or at least curable problems. As far as I’m concerned, the sooner we tell these bloodsuckers to go get their own money and stay out of our pockets until they come up with an idea of how to solve root problems, the better.
The ‘Give Me Your Money’ people will soon get the idea that they must provide value for the gifts they receive or dig in their own pockets. Until they do that, my pockets are zippered up.
Those are my thoughts. More to come next week.
Just sayin’.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


When you think about censorship, you automatically think about pornographic movies, books, and so on. Well sure – there’s that. I’m not even really sure what these censorship people do, but whatever it is, it’s a very narrow concept.
What I’m talking about is – smoking! Now there’s an issue for you that they seem oblivious to. Here we’ve got a gazillion dollar lawsuit going against the tobacco companies. And there’s provinces, health care people, NGO’s, just waiting in the wings to take them down. And yet, they’re smoking again in the movies. Seems to be the latest fad. Everybody’s lighting up – cigarettes, cigars, everything except pipes, which don’t seem popular, although I don’t know why. You’d think the censorship boards would be all over them.
Well, never mind about pipes – it’s all them cigarettes and cigars! They’re lighting up all over the place. It’s almost like a gratuitous act – like they’re advertising for the tobacco companies. What – is that where they get their funding from – the tobacco companies? What a perfect platform to advertise their product – and nobody censures it. Go figure. And the two billion dollar lawsuit is petty cash compared to the whole new generation that will become addicted because of the movies.
Think I don’t know what I’m talking about? Well let me tell you. It was about sixty-five years ago that a whole gang of us got hooked on cigarettes, thanks to an actor called Wallace Beery. Him and his marine buddies would fight their way all over the world for freedom and the good old USA, their guns ablazing, and always with a cigarette dangling from their ugly faces. That was cool, man! Well, we thought so. It wasn’t long before we were all hooked. In fact you’ll find it documented in a story called ‘Old War Stories’ in Stories by Victor Epp.
Well, those days smoking was a recreational thing – everybody did it. It was no big deal. Nobody knew the real harm caused by cigarette smoking.  And the non-smokers pretty well accepted the stink in their houses from the smoke the smokers caused. It was a status thing. In fact your status was based on whether you rolled your own or smoked ‘tailor mades’. Mind you, it was naughty for little boys to do it – which is of course one of the reasons we did it in the first place.
So now they’re going to be serving up cigarettes for an entire new generation coming up – based only on the advertising they get out of these innocuous acts in the movies. And all the do-gooders, the health care systems and governments will continue to lament the ill effects of smoking and doing a bunch of grand-standing – and be blown away by the tobacco companies in the process. What – are they in cahoots with them? Everybody makes money from this smoking thing, you know. Interesting thought isn’t it?
Well, when you don’t close all the avenues, it’s a little like coming into the cabin from a blizzard and forgetting to shut the door. Stupid!
At least that’s how it looks from up here on the top shelf.
Just sayin’.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New pile of Sand in the Sandbox

New Pile of Sand in the Sandbox
If I were to write a book on Canadian Politics, I’d call it “Who Flung Dung”. And the new supply in the sandbox isn’t really sand either. In fact the sandbox has turned into a manure pile. It’s filled to overflowing with political bullshit! Of course! What would I expect anyway? The suppliers are all politicians after all.
Imagine this schoolyard scene:
Opposition Parties: “You cheated – I’m telling!”
Government: “Prove it.”
Opposition Parties: “Teacher, teacher – he’s cheating!”
Teacher: “Boys, boys – what’s going on here?”
Opposition Parties: “It’s not me – it’s him!”
Government: “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Opposition Parties: “Did too!”
Government: “Did not!”
Teacher: “I’m going to have to look into this. I’ll have an independent inquiry.”
Yada, yada, yada, yada – ad infinitum. Sound familiar? Well take it from the schoolyard to parliament, and that’s what you’ve got!
Yeah, and that’s what we really need – another ten million dollar inquiry to adjudicate the passing of political wind. If we keep going on these independent inquiries, we’ll end up with a whole independent inquiry department for heavens sakes.
I looked it up and found out that these political creatures earn one hundred fifty plus thousand a year. The idea is that you’ve got to pay out that kind of money to attract good people. And then, after six years, they’re eligible for a lifetime pension worth seventy percent of their salaries. Hey, there’s a lot of good out of work actors who would do the job for half the price, and probably more convincingly too.
From where I sit up on the top shelf, it wouldn’t make any difference anyway, whether it’s ‘no talent’ politicians feigning injury or a group of actors making decent entertainment out of it. The business of running the country doesn’t change anyway. It’s left in the hands of civil servants and bureaucrats. It’s well out of the realm of ‘who flung dung’ players.
Just sayin’.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's in the Jeans

It’s in the Jeans
Ah – where have all the flowers gone? Actually, I mean the ladies. It’s sad, just plain sad. In the not too distant past they were still all there, smartly attired in all manner of skirts and blouses, or in dresses – elegant and pretty indeed, a vision to behold. If you were taking a lady to dinner or to a movie or dance, you knew you had a lady on your arm and you behaved accordingly. It was a heady feeling that gave a degree of dignity to the woman, the man – and their relationship.
But it all fades into the background, disappearing into the mist of time. I was reminded of it this morning when the wife was watching a TV show in which they were modeling jeans for women. Oh puleese! These are heavy denim garments for the lower body meant to be worn in the garden, in the barn, on construction jobs, etc. Worn by men, that is.
Now it’s a whole new ball game – the copy - cat game. Well, men started it when jeans became the trousers of choice for almost every occasion. You see them in almost every situation – designer sports coat, fancy shirt and sometimes even a tie – and jeans complete with baggy knees and running - shoes. I don’t know what kind of a statement that is supposed to make, but it’s certainly not newsworthy!
Well and of course, the women have to follow suit as they always do. I was going to blame it on Gloria Steinham and her gang of bra – burning, foul - mouthed gang of un – ladies. But it goes back further than that – back to 1846 or so. Oh, I can understand and empathize with the need for equality. In fact, we were better off when civilization was a matriarchal society, no question.
But really – the way they dress nowadays, if you want to take someone to dinner, you’d probably want to go to McDonalds. Dancing – well that should likely be a barn dance. And movies? Well, that’s okay. It’s dark in the theatres anyway so who cares?
I’m just sayin’.