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Michael's Metaphors of Life Journal

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A Fox Sparrow Prospecting in the Ground Litter

April 14th, 2019 by Michael Dyet
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fox sparrow 2

Hmmm, can less sometimes be more if we shift our perspective?

I have begun my annual spring migration birdwatching ritual. Hard to believe I have by pursuing this hobby for 35+ years and that my fascination with birds has not waned in that time.

However, aging and its effects has necessitated some changes. My energy level is not what it once was. More importantly, my temperamental back does not much like bending back to look up into the trees. My desire and my capabilities are perpetually at odds with another in this aspect of my life.

Consequently, covering as much ground as possible to max out my day count of species simply is not an option many days. Gradually, under protest and with no small amount of griping, I am adjusting. Now the objective for the day is more often one or two good sightings.

A Fox Sparrow falls into the definition of a good sighting as it is considered uncommon. This chunky sparrow, displaying bright, reddish brown plumage, is commonly seen strutting through the ground litter looking for a meal.

When I spotted one yesterday, I paused a moment to observe it at work. This moment of reflection allowed me for the first time to detect its distinctive and emphatic backward kicks clearing away dead leaves. It is clearly well adapted to the forest floor it inhabits.

In three and a half decades of birdwatching, it is the first time I paused long enough to notice this behaviour. Perhaps, my inner conflict notwithstanding, there is an upside to being forced to throttle down.

A strutting Fox Sparrow prospecting for a meal in the ground litter – a random act of metaphor to teach me that less can indeed be more sometimes if I open myself to the possibility.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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What is Stealing the Wind from Our Sails?

April 7th, 2019 by Michael Dyet
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sailboat

Hmmm, is it just me, or are we collectively running out of gas?

“Hey, how’s it going?”

“Oh man, I’m so tired!”

“Me too. I’m running on empty.”

It is a common conversation these days. So common, in fact, that it is starting to both intrigue and concern me. For the record, I share the problem. It is more than just a passing thing. Something is wearing us out. But what?

We could blame it on the nasty winter and the slow arrival of spring. But it has to be bigger than that. What is robbing us of our energy? I don’t know. But there are some prime suspects.

SUSPECT #1: POISONOUS POLITICIANS

There is U.S. President Donald Trump, his obsession with the border wall and his general buffoonery whenever he is in the public eye. A man of this disruptive and disreputable nature holding the highest office of the world’s superpower takes its toll in worry and chagrin

There is Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the SNC-Lavalin quagmire he has trapped himself in. He had the opportunity to take the high road, but chose otherwise. Ousting Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus left many shaking their heads.

And there is tiny despot Doug Ford in Ontario on his slash and burn rampage through the public service. Drunk with power, Ford is making enemies in every quarter. Unfortunately for us, he is the type of man who measures his self-worth by the number of enemies he has acquired.

SUSPECT #2: THE DIGITAL RAT RACE

Our work lives have been taken hostage by digital technology. It is supposed to make our lives better, but instead it raises our blood pressure. E-mails arriving at the rate of one every two minutes. Fidgety, temperamental software that works or does not work on its own whims. We are the rats chasing the cheese that the technology promises but seldom delivers.

SUSPECT #3: SENSORY OVERLOAD

Television with 100+ channels. Analog, digital and internet radio.  Digital devices that are never turned off. Social media sites that cry out to be checked. Electronic billboards that spew out a new message every ten seconds. We are bombarded by a plethora of sensory messages every waking hour that are well beyond what our brain is equipped to handle.

Is it the cumulative effect of all of the above? I wish I had the answer, but I only have suspicions. Something is taking the wind out of our sails. This much I know: We need to figure out what it is and fix it before restless nights and days on autopilot permanently short-circuit our brains.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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Confessions of a Hard-Core Clock Watcher

March 30th, 2019 by Michael Dyet
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Clock time

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it, but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. It’s thin current slides away, but eternity remains. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Hmmm, can a hard-core clock watcher learn to make friends with time?

Something got me thinking today about time, or more specifically the nature of it. I see your eyes glazing over. Oh no, he’s going on one of his philosophical meanders! Yes, I am. But I promise I will be a brief stroll.

We generally think of time as a constant – simple, unchanging and definitively measurable. But there is a whole body of science, known as Horology, around the nature of time which is heavily influenced by Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Einstein’s introduced the concept of space-time. In his theory, space and time are interconnected and the distinction between past, present and future gets blurred. I will not go any further down that road lest I stumble. But it does set the stage for me to ponder.

We tend to view time as a malevolent force over which we need to exert control. We do so by dividing into increments from seconds, minutes and days all the way up to years, decades and millenniums. Reducing it to ticks on the clock and pages turning on the calendar creates an illusion of control that pacifies us.

But time has an elusive and mutable quality that resists our attempts to rein it in.

In my youth, I saw what seemed like an endless amount of time stretching out ahead of me. I was impatient with the passage of time. In my restlessness, I regularly urged it speed up so I could get to those places and experiences I craved. I wanted tomorrow to get here as soon as possible so I could get my hands on the promises it held.

But now, at the age of 61, I lament the loss of time and protest how fast it moves. There are not enough hours in the day for all I need to do. I have become a hard-core clock watcher. I cannot imagine not wearing a wristwatch. I want to slow down today until I have crammed all the must-do stuff into it. My most fervent desire is to wake up tomorrow and feel free to luxuriate in it.

Time and I have become mortal enemies. It is forever straining to get away from me while I am forever straining to bend it to my will. We are in a never ending arm wrestling match which I intuitively know I am doomed to lose.

The wisdom of age entreats me to make friends with time and live within the moment. Occasionally, and ever so briefly, I attain this state. But it slips away from me all too quickly.

I am inclined to believe that Thoreau got it right when he employed the metaphor of time as a stream to go a-fishing in. It is shallow and easily used up, but at the same time infinitely wide stretching to eternity. I have focused too much on its depth and not enough on its generous horizontal horizon.

There is time enough, but none to spare.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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On the 30th Anniversary of the Internet: Are We Moving Toward the Light?

March 17th, 2019 by Michael Dyet
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Internet

Hmmm, is the 30the birthday of the Internet a time to push pause and gather our thoughts?

Before we ponder that question, a clarification is necessary. We use the words Internet and Web interchangeably. But they are not one and the same.

The Internet by definition is a global network of computers that are able to communicate with one another. It dates all the way back to the 1960s when ARPANET was developed by the U.S. military. The Web, which is 30 years young, is the streamlined way people like you and I access the Internet. English engineer and computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee is the father of it.

As I contemplated writing this post, I struggled to decide what tact I would take. I did not want it to be another Technology Grinch article. I considered framing it from the traditional “the good, the bad and the ugly” perspective. But that seemed too simplistic.

I have to be honest. A part of me wishes the whole thing had never come about. The world was a whole lot simpler before we opened that virtual door. But I have no doubt bygone generations said the same thing when the first Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s transitioned us from hand production methods to machines.

Leadership guru John C. Maxwell coined the phrase: Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. We cannot stop change from happening. It is the nature of the world to constantly evolve. It simply cannot be static. We have the choice to grow with it or be left behind. Being left behind, although it has a renegade appeal, is not a wise choice.

By that line of thinking, the arrival of the Internet and the Web was inevitable. There was no perhaps we should not go down this road moment. It came along as an inevitable consequence of the advancement of human knowledge and ingenuity.

So it is pointless to ask whether the Web is a good thing or a bad thing. The more important question, which is entirely within our control, is: How can we use it to the make the world and our lives better? I believe we have never stopped to ask that question.

We have become so enamoured with technology, and the seemingly limitless possibilities it presents, that we default to believing that whatever is possible is by definition necessary and good. This can be a dangerous point of view to adopt. It leads to simply because we can technology which can become a runaway train with no driver.

So what I am asking? My plea is that we carefully, and I dare say prayerfully, consider where each new technological advance will lead us. Will it make our world better, for everyone – not just a chosen few – or will it take us down roads that end up at dead ends or points of no return.

One of the most profound metaphors for change is moving from darkness to light. We change because we see the best way ahead and move toward the light. Let us keep our eyes open and ensure that we consciously choose where technology is taking us rather than just being along for the ride wherever it might end up.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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The Housekeeper’s Digital Purse: Algorithms in My Pocket

March 9th, 2019 by Michael Dyet
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Digital-Currency

Hmmm, can I manipulate the power of algorithms to my financial advantage?

We are living in an era when our every digital step is observed and recorded. This data is consumed by algorithms which digest it and spit out predictions of what products or services in which we theoretically will be interested.

Case in point. I recently posted a blog article which referenced the self-serve investment company Questrade and the flat rate real estate agency Purple Bricks. Since that post went up, my Facebook feed has been populated with commercial posts for these two companies.

Mind you, in that article, I expressed my dislike for these two companies. So the posts that pop up for them only irritate me. If the technical wizards are listening (and they always are), you need to refine your algorithms to take into account the tone of my references.

But since lurking algorithms are a fact of life, perhaps I can manipulate them to my advantage.

I would very much like to win a million dollars. Half a million would also be nice and I could make do nicely with a quarter million. I do not want to be bombarded with ads or posts for lottery tickets. But I would very much like to receive a post in which an algorithm predicts the winning number in the next Lotto 649 jackpot.

Of course, this would only be helpful to me if I was the only one who received this ad as it rather defeats the purpose if a boatload of people get the same post.

My car is getting on in years. I do not foresee having the funds to buy a new(er) car in the near future. While I do not want to be inundated with posts from car dealerships. I would be happy to receive posts from dealerships which have a new car on the lot which they need to get rid of, to make room for the new models, and are interested in giving away that car for free.

In this brutal winter we are having, I would love to get away to the sunny south for a week. I cannot afford to buy a trip package. But I would be happy to receive posts from vacation companies who have one slot left in an all-inclusive package they need to clear out and want to give away to a deserving consumer to round out the campaign.

You can see a trend. I have plenty of wishes but not much money to use to make them come true. In these situations, I find that liquor can be a useful coping mechanism. It occurs to me that wineries probably have occasions where something goes awry in the production process. The resulting batch is below standards which would hurt the winery’s reputation if it was sold.

In this situation, I would be happy to receive posts from wineries with a few cases of wine to give away gratis. I am prepared to drive a considerable distance on short notice to help the winery out and pick up a few cases for my personal consumption.

I have heard the metaphor of The Housekeeper’s Purse used to explain the basic economic principle that you cannot spend more than you can earn. But perhaps I can manipulate the millions of algorithms out there to refine that metaphor.

The Housekeeper’s Digital Purse: You can spend more than you earn if you are paying with a purse full of algorithms. Certainly worth a try. Wish me luck!

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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Truth Twisters, Radical Reformers and My Civic Duty

March 2nd, 2019 by Michael Dyet
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monopoly

Hmmm, faced with the lesser of two evils, had do we choose?

The red hot news story right now is the SNC-Lavalin controversy and its impact on the political career of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Truthfully, I have not followed the details of the story. For the sake of my sanity, I try to tune out babble of this kind. But it has inspired me to wade into the political quagmire and offer a new solution.

Government scandals have become as common as weeds in the last decade or two. My steadfast belief is that all governments engage in unethical and sometimes borderline illegal activities. They will do so until the end of times.

The sad reality is that most politicians are Truth Twisters who learn to bend and stretch the truth to suit their purposes and justify their actions. They are not necessarily born that way. But power corrupts. The desire to hold onto it persuades people to compromise their principles.

But we are living in a time of disenchantment. The electorate is weary of Truth Twisters which has opened the door for a new breed of politicians which I call Radical Reformers. They make their run for office on a grass roots platform: I’m all about the common man. I will clean up the mess, cut the waste, lower taxes and return the province/state/country to the glory it once knew.

Radical Reformers provoke an equivocal reaction. Their back-to-basics pitch is attractive while the radical changes they promise raise red flags. But the prevailing opinion is: Better the devil you know. Let’s take the chance that he/she will not go too far down the radical road.

The risk with Radical Reformers is they often have a messiah complex. They come to believe that their vision entitles to them special privileges and powers. If guidelines or laws get in their way, they bypass them, or if need be, rewrite the laws to suit their own end. Anyone who stands in their way is an enemy to the public who must be dispatched.

So, faced with the lesser of two evils, how do we choose? In my opinion, we should steer clear of the Radical Reformers. Yes, Truth Twisters are a compromise. But they cause less damage than the mad bull Radical Reformers who simply cannot stop once they start their engine.

The change I propose calls on the Monopoly metaphor.

We pass a Three Strikes Law to beadministered by an independent Commissioner. Newly elected governments receive three Get out of Jail Free cards to be used during their term in office. When a scandal erupts, the Commissioner steps in and holds up the Strike card – much like a referee’s yellow card in the world of soccer.

The party leader responds quite simply – Mea Culpa: Redeem – and cashes in one Get Out of Jail Free card. No gnashing of teeth in parliament or He said, She said, No I did not say that merry-go-round. We all agree to put it behind us and move on.

If the party in power gets through their full term redeeming three or less Get Out of Jail Free cards, the leader is free to run again. But if the government runs out of cards and messes up again, their leader is unceremoniously booted out. No RCMP investigation. No million dollar public inquiry. They are out on their ass the next day with no severance pay or MP pension.

Of course, this system only works if the Three Strikes Commissioner is truly impartial. It cannot be an elected position as a Truth Twister or Radical Reformer will grab it. And it cannot be an appointed position as the party in power will appoint a yes-man.

Quite a conundrum. It seems the only solution is for me to take on the role since I invented it. A salary of $250,000 a year seems fair, don’t you think? The position does not require me to be physically present, so I will spend half the year in the sunny south in a winter residence paid for with public funds. No cover-up, you understand, it is understood from the outset.

Yes, it is a tough job, but someone has got to do it. It is my civic duty and I am up to the task.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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Random Act of Metaphor: The First Killdeer

February 24th, 2019 by Michael Dyet
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Killdeer

Hmmm, how much longer until I hear that strident piping that promises the turn of the seasons?

Confession: I hate The Weather Network website for a very unjust reason – because it so often delivers bad news. I cringe every time I log on and see that red Special Weather Statement which is happening with maddening regularly in this nasty winter we are battling through.

On a more positive note, we are less than one month away from the official first day of spring for 2019, although Mother Nature does not pay much heed to our arbitrary season dates. She usually makes us wait into mid-April before she coaxes Old Man Winter to retire for the year.

So, if the calendar and Mother Nature do not agree on the start of spring, what marker should we use? The appearance of the first Robin? Alas, as a birdwatcher, I must caution you that many Robins now overwinter in this area and are therefore not a reliable indicator.

My harbinger of spring is the strident kill-deeah, kil-deeah, dee-dee-dee of the Killdeer. It is one of the earliest migrants to arrive on spring breezes. When I hear its distinctive call, my spirit lifts, I breathe deeply and the weight of winter begins to lift off my soul.

No, I have not heard a Killdeer yet and do not expect to for at least a few weeks. But I know when I do it will be the random act of metaphor that encourages me, the temperamental bear who grumbles through winter, to emerge from my hibernation, lace up my hiking boots and hit the trails again.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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Could You Walk a Mile in Their Shoes?

February 17th, 2019 by Michael Dyet
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XB, horizontal, runners, shoes, trail, foot, feet, hiking, running, sport, laces, socks, beach, rocks, used

Hmmm, are we asking the right question when we encounter callous people?

Many of you will have heard the news of the eleven year old Mississauga girl who was found dead at her father’s residence in Brampton this week. It was heartbreaking incident that shocked the communities involved. The father has since been charged in relation to her death.

But a secondary story has emerged from the incident. Police had issued a late night amber alert when the father failed to return the girl to her mother as scheduled. As you may know, the technology now exists for amber alerts to automatically sound on some mobile devices. The late night alert resulted in some complaints to police about being disturbed at a late hour.

These complaints, once reported in the media, provoked an outcry of indignation from many people through various channels including social media. I participated in that outcry.

In situations such as this, we often wish we could confront the individuals involved, shake them and ask: What is wrong with you?! But upon further reflection, it occurs to me that the individual’s reaction – perhaps spoken, but more likely in the silence of their hearts – might be: Walk a mile in my shoes and then decide if you have the right to condemn me.

Let me be clear. I do not condone the behaviour of these people. But I am compelled to seek an explanation for it. It is my belief that we are all born innocent with minds and souls that are a clean slate. It is the things that happen to us, and the nature of the people who encounter, particularly in our formative years, that define who we will grow up to be.

None of us get through life unscathed. We all have stuff that we have to find our way through and come to terms with in our own way. But some people have terrible things happen to them that scar them for life. Their reaction to everything that happens thereafter is coloured and shaped by that experience.

So perhaps a better question to ask would be: What has happened in your life to make you so bitter and callous? And if we had the courage, admittedly I do not know if I would, to also ask: Is there anything I can do to help you?

It brings to mind a keynote presentation I heard a few years back from Amanda Lindhout. While working as a freelance journalist in Somalia in 2008, she was kidnapped and held for ransom for 15 months by insurgents – suffering considerable abuse over that time.

At one point, she escaped from the building she was held in and ran to a nearby mosque. Her kidnappers were hot on her heels. The occupants of the mosque were too frightened to help as the kidnappers entered.

But a Muslim woman outside the mosque saw what was happening. She entered and pleaded with the kidnappers to let Lindhout go. The kidnappers pushed her aside and began to drag Lindhout out by her heels. Undeterred, the Muslin woman threw herself on Lindhout, clung to her and continued to beg for her release. Unfortunately, she was unsuccessful. After her release, Lindhout tried to track down the woman to thank her but was unable to locate her.

The courage of this Muslim woman should perhaps be the standard we aspire to when we witness callous or bitter behaviour. We cannot always walk a mile in their shoes, but we can give them the benefit of the doubt before we pass judgment.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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Building a Better Mousetrap: A Baby Boomer Consumer’s Rant

February 10th, 2019 by Michael Dyet
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Mousetrap

Hmmm, you get what you pay for. True or false?

Television commercials have a tendency to irk me these todays. I will concede that this is partly because as I get older my tolerance for bullshit is wearing thin. The fact that I am aging baby boomer that many companies no longer target is also a contributing factor.

Having declared my biases, I will forge on. There are two companies whose commercials particularly ruffle my admittedly graying feathers.

Let’s start with self-directed investing firm Questrade. You have likely seen their commercials. Actors portraying investors tell their investment advisor that they cannot afford to pay the exorbitant fees any longer and are switching to Questrade.

My distaste for these commercials stems in part from the fact that they are overtly negative. I have said it many times about politicians and it applies to businesses as well. Do not tell me why I should not do business with the other guy. Tell me why I should do business with you. If you are not willing to do that, I am not interested in what you have to offer.

My ire is also raised by the ridiculous exaggeration. I can’t afford to support you and my family too! I really want the advisor to reply: Fine by me. Take your money somewhere else. I have better things to do with my time than babysit bitch-and-gripe clients like you! And don’t come crying to me when your portfolio tanks because you did not want to pay for my expertise.

The other company on my hit list is Purple Bricks. In their ads, people who have sold their house using a traditional real estate agent are greatly distressed to learn they could have avoided paying the real estate agent’s percentage. The implication is that Purple Bricks gives you all the benefits of a real estate agent with none of the cost.

Of course, it just plain ain’t true. Purple Bricks works on the flat fee principle, by no means a new tactic, which they conveniently neglect to mention. And there is no way on God’ green earth that you get the same level of service as you would with a real estate agent.

Don’t get me wrong. Building a better mousetrap is a proven model for success in the business world. Questrade and Purple Bricks are staking out the better mousetrap positioning. But the truth is they are offering a cheaper mousetrap via the do it yourself, self-serve system.

Truthfully, this is the main axe I have to grind. The business world is moving steadily to the self-serve model. Its’ proponents want us to believe that the traditional, full service model is broken. The truth is it works just as well as it always has. But self-serve means lower overheads for the business and higher profits. Nevertheless, the old adage applies: You get what you pay for.

Now, my final word on the subject and the conclusion of my rant.

If you want me to consider your mousetrap, be honest with me. I know deception and half-truths when I hear them. I will not consider doing business with you on principle. And I’ll say it one more time: Do not tell me what the other guy is doing wrong. Tell me what you will do right. If you can’t do that, I’ll mute my TV every time your commercials play.

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. Instructions for subscribing are provided in the Subscribe to this Blog: How To instructions page in the right sidebar. If you’re reading this post on another social networking site, come back regularly to my page for postings once a week.

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January Snowstorm: Dancing on the Grand Stage of Life

February 2nd, 2019 by Michael Dyet
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snowflake

Note: This post was written last Monday during the winter storm that hit that day.

Hmmm, is there a silver lining hiding in this raging snowstorm?

I am standing at the window looking out at what is sizing up to be the badass snowstorm of the season. It has been blowing for three and half hours and will likely continue until early tomorrow morning. All but the most adventurous are battening down the hatches and settling in to wait. The pizza delivery man that just walked past my window is not so lucky. Poor bugger!

I should declare my bias. I do not care for winter. I consider it a season to be cursed, endured and wished away. It follows that I dread storms of this magnitude. However, if I set aside my bias for a few moments, I must concede that there is a certain untamed beauty – particularly, if I make myself look into the heart of it and focus in on the individual snowflakes.

The popular notion is that no two snowflakes are alike. And while that is true, a bit of research taught me that all of them are based on a hexagon because of the geometry of bonds between water molecules. And, since conditions can change as each flake gets bounced around in a cloud, one shape can change into another with endless repetition.

There are conceivably millions of snowflakes living within this storm. Each one of them is carrying out an elaborate dance. Swirling, slip-sliding and twisting while performing sidespins, backflips and rollovers.

It occurs to me that a snowstorm like this one is microcosm for life itself if we compare ourselves for a moment to a snowflake. All 7.7 billion of us on this fragile planet are carried along by forces not of our own making, but over which we can exercise some influence. Each of us is wonderfully unique and yet also not so very different.

Collectively, we perform a dance, on the grand stage of life, which changes as quickly as it forms. We each have a special part to play which we can define as we desire. The sum of the parts is unpredictable, ever changing and endlessly fascinating.

I am grateful to be inside, sheltered from the storm, and able to sing the praises of its tempestuous grace. There are no doubt those who find themselves far from home and at the mercy of this storm which must be a frightening experience.

As if on cue, the wind has redoubled its force. What I was waxing poetic about a moment ago is once again a rather furious beast. So I will close the blinds and let it rage on. There will be plenty of time to contemplate it graces tomorrow as we’ll be digging out from this one for days!

Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com or the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.

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