Saturday 18 January 2020

Fake News

Fake news. Popularized by the current resident of the White House and his entourage, the term has come to mean “news with which we don’t agree”. No matter how many videos, audio clips, photographs, or how much corroborating evidence exists, anything that casts a bad light on the administration, or more specifically, the President is fake news. So there. The big lie.

However, despite the fact the expression has been usurped for crass political purposes there still remain many examples of real fake news, ‘news’ based on pure speculation and/or outright falsehoods. While Fox News may be a prime practitioner, the rest of the mainstream media is not immune.

Anyone not currently living under a rock is most likely aware of the turmoil facing the Royal Family as a couple of the lesser members try to cast off the yoke and live a normal life – or at least as normal as members of the Royal Family will ever be. So while Harry and Meghan try to sort out their way in the world while not surrounded by inbred racists and rabid paparazzi the press has gone nuts.

Somewhere along the line it became known that their intention was to spend some time living in Canada. To which I, and most Canadians, say, “Welcome”. If you want to carry a Tim Horton’s reward card, learn to love poutine, and spend half the year wrapped in Canada Goose down, we’re here for you.

Then the Canadian media (the amorphous ‘they’) decided that a major issue with this will be who will pay for the Royals’ security in Canada? And that started an entire range of public surveys, national TV news items,  newspaper articles, and so on pointing out how Canadians were hugely averse to paying their security bill, estimates of which ranged anywhere from $4 – $10 million a year. Which is all well and good except no one (to my knowledge) has ever asked, or even intimated that Canada should pick up the tab. In other words, this entire scenario was completely manufactured by the media, consumed countless hours of TV, radio, and online discussion, and tons of ink. All fake news.

Meanwhile, in real news, the US President has been impeached, the Iranians shot down a civilian airliner, China is still being China, Putin is cementing his long-term hold on power in Russia, and Australia is on fire. But, “Harry and Meghan…. blah, blah, blah.”

It’s no wonder the media is struggling to retain viewers/readers..

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Made in North America quality ..... pfffft.

After spending the last 30-odd years fighting with and cajoling old, second-hand, sometimes free, snowblowers into action, I decided to treat myself to a brand new machine this winter. With a simple set of requirements (not least of which was the missus would be able to use it without needing my efforts to get the bloody thing fired up) I started searching, finally deciding on an Ariens, “The King of Snowblowers”.

After checking one out at the local mega-store - made in the USA, good ergonomics, robust construction – I became the proud owner of my first ever new snowblower, an Ariens “Deluxe 28”.

Then it snowed.

Within a half hour it became obvious there was something wrong with the unit – banging and thumping are not normal sounds. Dragged it onto the trailer and into the dealer for a warranty repair. Ten days later I got it back (fortunately it didn’t snow during that time). The brand-new friction disc had delaminated and was duly replaced.

Then it snowed again.

This time the unit worked for about an hour before the drive cable broke, so tomorrow it’s back to the dealer for more warranty work. Both repairs are simple but if I fix it the company gets away with selling a crappy product, and I want them to feel my pain and aggravation.

I can hardly wait to see what will break the next time it snows.

So much for Made in North America quality.