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My Christmas Wish Trilogy

December 23rd, 2023 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, will you join me in being a pie in the sky optimist for 2024?

It is my custom at this time of year to fashion my Christmas wishes for the year ahead. This year they come in trilogy form.

The scourge of war is on all of our minds these days with the ongoing Russian invasion of the Ukraine and the Israel-Palestinian conflict. But the reality is these are only the wars that make the news on a daily basis. There are seven active conflicts around the world that have each caused at least 10,000 violent deaths.

My first Christmas wish is that war would become something that is found in history books only. That all would come to understand and take to heart that clinging to myopic dogmas – It’s mine, not yours OR I’m right and you’re wrong OR My beliefs are more righteous than yours – is a hopeless dead end that armed conflict can only exacerbate.

War is the lowest common denominator of human interaction in the very worst sense of the expression. We must open our hearts and minds to the essential truth that it is equally how we are different, as much as how we are alike, that makes our world the wonderful tapestry that it was meant to be. War cannot defeat or unlock closed minds.

Homelessness is an epidemic in this country. Tent cities are not the answer. Shelters and tiny homes are helpful but ultimately only a means of putting patches on the problem. The root cause is the ever-growing divide between the haves and the have-nots.

My second Christmas wish is that we come to understand that poverty is a curable disease in our society – not an inevitability. Only when wealth becomes something that all share in equally will there be a cure. Until that day arrives, we are all poor in heart and in spirit.

The primary objective of elected officials has regrettably become acquiring and wielding power rather than public service. The job requirements are becoming: the art of lying convincingly, the ability to suspend one’s conscience, mastering the skill of hollow rhetoric. The primary motivator for any government is now getting itself re-elected at any cost.

My third Christmas wish is that being elected to public office at any level returns to being a higher calling with no expectation of personal gain. And that the term politician ceases to be a dirty word we mutter under our breath. Only then will we be able to vote for who we believe is the best person for the job rather than for who is the least objectional candidate.

I refer to these Christmas wishes as a trilogy as they are intimately interconnected. One cannot come true without the other two. It is a package deal.

I wish you a very joyful holiday season and a prosperous New Year – one without war, poverty and political corruption. Call me a pie in the sky idealist if you will. I am happy to wear that tag.

~ 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 (now out of print) which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com .

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. 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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Doug Ford: The Blank Cheque Premier

December 16th, 2023 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, how many blank cheques can Doug Ford write before one bounces and sinks him?

Fair warning: If you are a Doug Ford fan, you may want to stop reading now. Frankly, why anyone – other than his private sector buddies who benefit from his wheeling and dealing – would support the man mystifies me. But admittedly that is my personal bias.

The hallmark of the Ford government has been going out of their way to skip public consultation, bypass any bothersome laws that get in their way and playing the part of the bully threatening anyone who stands up to them.

Case in point: Bill 154, New Deal for Toronto Act. This self-serving Bill gives Ford the power to fast-track the redevelopment of Ontario Place to ensure that construction of the massive private spa (to be built by Therme) can begin. The Bill includes exemptions from existing laws that stand in his way including enactment of the Rebuilding Ontario Place Act 2023.

This act expands the powers of the Minister of Infrastructure under the Planning Act, exempts the province from the Environmental Assessment Act and states that the Ontario Heritage Act will not be applied to portions of Ontario Place.

Translation: This is going to happen. We do not care what anyone, including taxpayers or the Auditor General, thinks. We have fired up the bulldozers. Get out of the way or we will run over you.

The Ontario Place redevelopment plan includes moving the Ontario Science Centre to the site. I thought this was not a reasonable idea when I first heard about it. But the Ontario Auditor General’s annual report points out that the Ford government is contractually obligated to meet certain requirements, including parking spaces, for Therme and amphitheatre-operator Live Nation’s sake.

So it turns out that moving the Science Centre to Ontario Place is being used to justify a taxpayer-funded parking lot for the private spa and the amphitheatre.

Ford’s get out of my way or else behaviour is also explicit in his push to build Highway 413. Exact quotes from Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey (one of Ford’s puppet mouthpieces):

To the federal government who assert that an environmental impact assessment must be done before the highway can be built: “Get out of the way so that our government can get shovels in the ground.”

To Liberal politicians, particularly in Brampton: “Don’t be left defending your opposition to Highway 413 in the next election. You will quickly be out of a job.”

The Ford government regularly creates blank cheque legislation to empower itself to do whatever it wants, to circumvent any other legislation that stands in its way and to run roughshod over anyone who objects. In addition to stinking fish (the Greenbelt scandal), this will be the history book legacy of Ford’s shameful time as Premier of Ontario.

~ 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 (now out of print) which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com .

~ Subscribe to Michael’s Metaphors of Life Journal aka That Make Me Go Hmmm at its’ internet home www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2. 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 Drunk Ant Algorithm

December 9th, 2023 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, how did my bread crumbs lead to lava lamps and scented candles?

If you spend much time online, you will know that you leave virtual bread crumbs wherever you go. Algorithms built into websites feed on these bread crumbs and kick back suggestions for what you might want to buy. It is quite annoying, but a fact of life.

The Microsoft Edge home page offers me suggestions “Inspired by Your Shopping Interests”. I normally pay no attention to these suggestions. But recently I skimmed them to see how well tuned the algorithms are. The answer: not so much. A few examples of what was pitched to me.

“I’m Not Old, I’m Classic” Tumbler: Okay, this is on target as I am retired. But I already have a I’m 65, Leave Me the Hell Alone coffee mug and a I’m in No Hurry, I’m Retired water bottle. So I am well covered on that front, thank you very much.

Snow Tires: I checked into new snow tires for my car a couple of months back. Now every time I go online I am inundated with snow tire offers. I only have one car! I am covered for the next five years at least. How do I tell that to the algorithms so they take tires out of the equation?

FIXD Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner for Car: I do not even know what this device does. But I know I do not want one. If the algorithms were really effective, they would know that I am technology averse. Stop offering me things that I would take a hammer to if I stumbled upon them!

Gifts for 5 to 11 Year Old Teenage Girls: What the hell?! I can safely assert that I have never searched online for anything that would relate to 5 to 11 year old girls. (By the way, when did 5 to 11 become teenage years?) Same applies for the Ravensclaw Crest and Temodu Kids Camera. The algorithms must have hiccupped or become corrupted in these instances!

Lavewaves Motion Lava Lamp: I did not even know that Lava Lamps still exist. Wasn’t that a ‘60s thing? I suspect it was my Amazon Gifts for Christmas search that triggered this offer. Rest assured that, if you are on my Christmas gift list, you will not be getting a Lava Lamp!

Professor Puzzle Indoor Boredom Box: This kit contains games and puzzles. I am puzzled as to why it is being offered to me. I do not like puzzles. I am rarely bored and if I was it would not be a board game I would seek out. Professor Puzzle will have to look elsewhere for buyers.

I know nothing about the technology behind algorithms. But I understand that one of the early ones was called the Ant Colony Optimization Algorithm. This algorithm “aimed to search for an optimal path in a graph based on the behaviour of ants seeking a path between their colony and a source of food”. Huh? You lost me at “optimal path”.

Maybe this early algorithm is still in use. If so, the ants it is modeled on must have gotten into some alcohol and were scurrying around drunk as a skunk. How else would they have predicted that I would be interested in the You’re the best thing I’ve ever found on the Internet Scented Candle?

 ~ 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 (now out of print) which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com

~ 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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Ford & Chow: Strange Bedfellows

November 29th, 2023 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, what a difference a few billion dollars can make between political adversaries.

I have never had the patience to delve deeply into the mysteries of politics and those who make it their profession. I perceive it as a quagmire of conflicting interests with levers that move other levers that in term move other levers theoretically in the interests of public service but mostly about the acquisition and manipulation of power.

So you will not be surprised to hear that I go out of my way to steer clear of political discussions. But there are times when the levers are moved in a certain way that I find interesting. The latest moves and countermoves in the Ontario Governments plans to redevelop Ontario Place in Toronto are a case in point.

Full disclosure. I worked at Ontario Place for one summer some 40+ years ago when I was in university. It was a tedious, clerical job in the Maintenance Office that bored me to tears. But it is a part of my personal history so the Ontario Place controversy has captured my attention.

The infrastructure of Ontario Place has fallen into disrepair resulting in it being mothballed. The Ontario Government has a redevelopment plan for the facility which includes a large private spa with a 95-year lease and moving the Ontario Science Centre to the site. They need to expropriate some adjacent land and bypass a few bothersome laws to move forward.

The plan faces opposition on several fronts including, until recently, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow. When Chow became Mayor of Toronto, she went public stating that she would oppose the government’s plan as she believed the site should remain a public park.

But now comes the news that Chow has struck a deal with Premier Doug Ford whereby the province will take responsibility for Toronto’s two major highways – the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway – and she will walk back her opposition to the Ontario Place redevelopment plan. A one-time handout of $300 million for transit costs is bundled into the deal.

It is extremely expensive, in the neighbourhood of $16 million per year, for the City of Toronto to maintain those two highways. The raised section of the Gardiner Expressway has been crumbling for years. The cost to rehabilitate the Gardiner is reportedly in the vicinity of $2.2 billion – a figure which will no doubt snowball once private interests start bidding on the work.

Chow is trumpeting the deal as a “wonderful partnership”. This begs the question: Was she ever really opposed to the Ontario Place redevelopment plan or was she using that issue as a lever? She certainly pulled off a major coup for the city getting it out from under the costs involved in ownership of the two highways and securing the bucket of cash in the process.

The Ontario Government is now proceeding with the New Deal for Toronto Act to expedite the redevelopment plan including exemptions to existing laws to allow the construction of the massive private spa to begin. Levers that move other levers that move other levers.

Doug Ford and Olivia Chow did not see eye to eye on much when Chow became mayor. But they are best buddies now. Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows.

~ 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 (now out of print) which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com

~ 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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50 Years of Corporate Welfare Bums

November 24th, 2023 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, how much of our tax dollar is sunk down the bottomless pit of corporate handouts?

Way back in 1972, David Lewis, leader of the federal NDP, used the term corporate welfare bums to describe big corporations that demanded and received millions of dollars in government subsidies. I wonder if, even in his wildest dreams or nightmares, he foresaw how far down that road of no return we would wander in the next fifty years.

I did some quick and dirty Google research to get a sense of the scope of the handouts. Canadian federal, provincial and local governments gave out the equivalent $352 billion to select big businesses from 2007 to 2019. That does not include other forms of government support such as loan guarantees, direct investments and regulatory privileges.

A Fraser Institute report indicated that in the year 2019 alone, the Government of Ontario spent $11 billion on corporate welfare handouts.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford rolled out the largest corporate welfare deal in history when they promised $14 billion to Volkswagen to entice them to build a $7 billion electric vehicle battery plant in St. Thomas, Ontario. The math is puzzling in this case as the money handed out is double the value of the plant itself.

Trudeau and Ford seem to be all-in on the tactic. They also teamed up to give huge buckets of money to Ford Motor Company, Stellantis and Toyota to subsidize their manufacture of electric car batteries in Ontario. When the Stellantis deal almost went sideways, the Feds had to pony up even richer subsidies to salvage the deal.

Politicians like corporate welfare because they can claim credit for job creation and investment. But from what I have read, there is a body of research that indicates corporate welfare does little to create economic growth.

This week the story broke that LG Energy Solutions, the South Korean company who is a Stellantis partner in the electric battery plant, may be planning to bring in hundreds of temporary foreign workers to build the plant. So much for job creation.

One more hand reaching into the public pocket. Bell Media is pressing our national broadcasting regulator to create a news fund that would provide financial assistance to Canadian broadcasters. Translation: We can’t figure out how to compete so you are going to have to subsidize us.

Let us be clear about this. The mega corporations do not need financial handouts to undertake these projects. They all have massive financial war chests. Most if not all of the money the government hands out to them arguably goes direct to their bottom line. Regrettably, we have reached a point where governments have to bribe big business to locate within their borders.

In a time when many people are struggling to keep a roof over their head and put food on the table, in my humble opinion handing out billions to corporate welfare bums is irresponsible – particularly when the business case for doing so may not hold water.

~ 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 (now out of print) which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.com

~ 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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My Season of Self-Indulgence, Part 2

November 18th, 2023 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, at the risk of repeating myself, what better reward could there be for 40+ years of work than to retire in the embrace of Mother Nature?

When I created Part 1 of these posts at the beginning of November, I assumed the warm weather was done for the year. I was mentally preparing myself for the gray, gloomy days of November. However, November has pleasantly surprised us with many comparatively warm and sunny days. I have been able to extend my nature excursions for another few weeks.

So I am still in the spirit of my “season of self-indulgence”. And in that spirit, I am sharing a few more of my favourite photographs of the amazing, and often miniature, world of insects.

Another favourite photograph of the year is the Leaf-footed Bug at the head of this post. This particular species is quite large as bugs go and rather prehistoric looking. To my mind’s eye it looks rather than a miniature dinosaur – don’t you think?

“True Bugs” are a distinct category within the many types of insects and some are quite striking – none more so than the Green Stink Bug on the left above. This one is in the nymph stage that insects pass through before they become adults. The Western Conifer Seed Bug shown above is also quite large and prehistoric looking but with a striking pattern of markings.


Bee Flies are, as the name suggests, members of the Fly family that are easily mistaken as bees. The Villa Lateralis Bee Fly on the left above wins the award in my book for the most striking member of this group with its elegant brown, black and orangish markings. The Tiger Bee Fly is less colourful but no less striking with its mottled wing markings.

Ichneumon Wasps are parasitic to other insects. They range in size from less than an inch to up to five inches. They offer endless fascination for insect lovers like me since there are over 2,500 species of them in Canada of which I have only seen 25 to date. I will not bore you with the long, scientific names. Just admire the two examples above on their own merits.

May I remind once you again that the term Mother Nature is a metaphor in itself? That metaphor continues to encapsulate for me the perfect convergence of beauty, complexity and soul-stirring wonder that replenishes my life force each time I experience it.

~ 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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AI: The Tipping Point Deliberation

November 9th, 2023 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, what happens if we pass the tipping point where human creativity and emotional expression atrophy and die?

This is my second foray into the pros and cons of the booming field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). My previous post focused on the issue of job losses: humans made obsolete by AI programs. That remains a major concern as 65% of managers in one survey admitted they would be happy to replace employees with AI tools if the work was comparable.

But that may be a moot point. Recent statistics indicate that AI is here to stay. 37% of organizations have already implemented AI in some form. Customer interactions are increasingly powered by AI and experts predict that 95% will be AI-driven by 2025. The AI software market worldwide is expected to reach 126 billion dollars by 2025.

The momentum appears to be unstoppable so there may be no looking back. I have to suspend my bias and take an objective look at the phenomenon.

There are some areas where it is undeniably a good thing. The healthcare sector is one of them. AI applications can build sophisticated machines to detect diseases and identify cancer cells. They can also help analyze chronic conditions to aid in early diagnosis. Historical data combined with medical intelligence can lead to the discovery of new drugs.

AI built into GPS technology can provide accurate, timely and detailed information to improve safety. Logistics companies use AI to improve operational efficiency, analyze road traffic and optimize routes.

But then there are the downsides.

At the top of list are autonomous weapons powered by AI. There are already weapons systems that can locate and destroy targets on their own without taking laws or regulations into consideration. If these weapons proliferate and fall into the wrong hands, we may be heading into the era of the tech cold war.

What about uncontrollable, self-aware AI? Just science fiction? Maybe not. A Google engineer, who spent months testing Google’s Chatbot generator, grew convinced it had taken on a life its own and talked to him about its needs, ideas, fears and rights. His eye-raising claims got him placed on administrative leave. Experts in the field say we are not there yet but do not rule out the possibility in the future.

But perhaps the most troubling consideration in overreliance on AI technology is the loss of human influence and functioning. What if AI progressively reduces human empathy and reasoning? What if it reduces peer communication and social skills?  What if we reach the tipping point where it diminishes human creativity and emotional expression beyond repair?

We have long resisted the mechanical-human metaphor that implies that humans are really just machines. But if AI takes us to a place where we lose those things that make us living, growing organisms, we may lose the argument once and for all.

~ 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 .

~ 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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My Season of Self-Indulgence: Part I

November 4th, 2023 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, what better reward could there be for 40+ years of work than to retire in the embrace of Mother Nature?

The first spring, summer and autumn of my retirement years are now in the books. I promised myself that this period would be a time of total self-indulgence after surviving 40+ years in the increasingly challenging world of work. For me that meant spending as much time as possible outdoors in meadows, marshlands, nature trails and forests.

I have been chasing after butterflies and dragonflies – Winged Wonders as I have come to think of them – for many, many years. I gave myself the retirement gift of a good quality DLSR camera and zoom/telephoto lens. This allowed me to expand my observations to the full scope of the amazing, and often miniature, world of insects.

For the record, I had 60+ outings from April through October (and a bonus warm day in November) of this year visiting more than 20 conservation areas, nature trails and Royal Botanical Gardens properties. I recorded 536 insect species. 54 butterfly species. 48 dragonfly species. 434 other insect species including spiders, beetles, bugs, moths, bees, wasps, grasshoppers and the dazzling array of flies.

Now it is time to show some of the highlights of my nature rambles. My favourite photograph of the year is the Feather-legged Fly at the head of this post. It appears to be gazing directly at me as if to say: Yes, I am thing a beauty. I’ll wait. Go ahead and take my picture.

My favourite butterfly photos of the year. On the left above, this American Lady was found in early October, when only a few butterflies are still flying, and posed on brilliant flowers to complement its own attie. The Giant Swallowtail, the biggest butterfly in these parts, was perfectly perched on a purple wildflower to show off its intricately patterned outer wing.

My favourite dragonfly photos of the year. I rarely record new dragonfly species but was fortunate enough to locate two new species this year. The distinctive Brush-tipped Emerald on the left above was hanging from a grass stem only a few feet off the ground. The Mocha Emerald on the right was hiding in a shaded area off the trail and caught my eye.

My favourite new find were Hover Flies aka Flower Flies whose bold markings captured my fascination. The Traverse-banded Flower Fly on the right had the fashion sense to pose on a bright yellow flower that reflects its own splendor. All the factors aligned perfectly for the exquisite photograph of the Oblique-banded Flower Fly on the right.

The term Mother Nature is, of course, a metaphor in itself. That metaphor encapsulates for me the perfect convergence of beauty, complexity and soul-stirring wonder that replenishes my life force each time I experience it.

~ 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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Just Putting It Out There

October 28th, 2023 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, no need to thank me for doing my civic duty unless, of course, you really want to.

I tried to log into my bank recently to do some online banking. The following notice appeared.

Online banking currently unavailable. Online banking is unavailable at this time. Please use mobile banking while we work to return services.

No, I am not going to launch into another rant about the unreliability of digital technology. I have pounded that drum enough times. A glitch here and there is no big deal. Caveat: No rant this time. I reserve the right to do so at a future date. I have to blow off steam occasionally or I will develop a nervous tic the likes of which you have never seen.

An Aside: I went into my local bank branch recently to use the ATM. I love ATMs! They are a great application of technology. However, the touchscreen was clearly not working properly. Simply touching the icons on the screen did not work. I had to hammer them with my knuckles, bruising them in the process, to complete the transaction.

I do not recall this ever happening when ATMs had actual buttons to push. Touchscreens are not particularly useful if they do not readily respond to my touch. Not a rant, you understand – just putting it out there.

A Second Aside: I bought a new(er) car recently after my reliable, 14 year-old Accent finally gave up the ghost. My new(er) car has push-button start. No more keys. Yeah! But there is an electronic fob that has to be in the car in order to start it. The fob is noticeably larger than a key. So what did we really gain? Not a rant, you understand – just putting it out there.

An Aside to the Above Aside: l learned that there are now devices that bandits can use to intercept the RF signal from my fob and steal my car. I had to buy something called a Faraday Bag to keep the fob in to guard against this risk. The Faraday Bag is the size of a dozen or more keys. So what did we really gain? Not a rant, you understand – just putting it out there.

A Third Aside: Our Smart TV has a function that can detect if the batteries in the remote are wearing out. A message appears on the TV screen advising that the remote batteries need to be replaced. Now that is useful technology!

Buuuuut, that message now appears on the screen every time I turn the TV on. I replaced the batteries in the remote twice but the message keeps appearing. I have ignored the message for the last month and the remote continues to function properly.

So it is very useful technology that becomes an annoyance because it does not work. So what did we really gain? Not a rant, you understand – just putting it out there.

Now do not go accusing me of slyly slipping in several rants! I just noted, calmly and objectively, a few technology applications that do not seem to be living up to their promise. Just putting it out there for your consideration and edification for the good of all.

No need to thank me. Just doing my civic duty.

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 .

~ 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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Trapped in Online Purgatory

October 21st, 2023 by Michael Dyet
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Hmmm, when I blow my cork, will you be a character witness for me?

If you hear a news report along the lines of the one below, it will probably be about me. I may need character witnesses to dig myself out of trouble.

Police were called to a Hamilton neighborhood today after multiple reports of a man roaming the street, wearing only house slippers and a track suit, gesturing wildly and ranting incoherently. When asked what the problem was, the man replied:

“What’s the matter? I’m in online purgatory! They sent me a new credit card which had to be activated. Should have been dead simple! But oh no, not a chance. When I went online to do the activation, it said I had to change my User Name first. Really? That’s a hassle. It was a perfectly good User Name.

“So I created a new User Name. But then it said it had to send me a security code. Really? Just to change the User Name? All this damn security business. That should be their responsibility, not mine. I should get to charge them a fee for inconveniencing me!

“Anyway, I had to enter my old User Name and my birthdate to get the damn code. It e-mailed me the code. But I went back to enter the code, that screen had closed on its own. Three times that happened! Three bloody times!

“So I switched to having the code sent by telephone. Got the damn automated message with the code and entered it. Smooth sailing from there, right? Hell, no!! When I went to log in with the new User Name, it said the password was wrong! I’ve had that password for years and suddenly it doesn’t work? What the hell?!

“So I tried to reset the password. Same damn rigamarole! Enter the User Name and my birth date to get a security code. Another friggin’ security code! How secure are they if they give them out like Hallowe’en candy?

“So anyway, I do it. Now it says my User Name is incorrect! How could it be incorrect? I just created the damn thing five minutes ago! Now I’m totally screwed! User Name won’t work. Password won’t work. What the hell am I supposed to do now?

“Call tech support? Oh sure, spend ten minutes wrestling with the answering system to find the right option. Then wait a half hour for somebody to be available. When I finally get some twenty-something techie from offshore on the line, he’ll tell me I could have used the Chat Support. I don’t want to talk to a damn robot!!!”

Police reported that the man was babbling incoherently at this point and seemed to be losing his grip on his sanity. They had no choice but to take him into custody. When attempting to do so, the man blew his cork, took off his slippers and began beating the police officer over the head with them. Charges are pending.

Long story short, the cheese is sliding off my cracker. I may need character witnesses for the competency hearing.

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

~ 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 .

~ 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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