I’m Recommending

The Ragtag prompt for today is RECOMMEND

An accessible, practical, delightful word.
I love recommending.
Doesn’t everybody?
Lecturer

I could recommend all kinds of things.
Places to go, things to do, books to read.
Today I’m going to recommend something to you fellow bloggers.
You see, for the sake of a better blog, I’ve just broken my #1 November Rule.

One thing I have consistently recommended to fellow Canadians is:
IGNORE ALL THIS BLACK FRIDAY STUFF!

We don’t have “Black Friday” in Canada and I hope we never will. Consumers hear enough hype about Boxing Day Sales—but in our day they stretch out from Dec 26th to 31st. Then on Jan 2nd businesses start on their New Year’s Super Sale, followed at the beginning of Feb by their MID-WINTER BLOW-OUT sales. Then we’re into the MARCH MADNESS sales and then…

Any reason for a till-ringing money exchange, right? I don’t totally blame Canadian retailers for trying to get into the action on some pre-Christmas sales, but we already do have “Pre-Christmas” and even “PRE-Boxing Day” sales. When I read what Black Friday has degenerated into south of the border — from family-gathering, blessing-counting gratitude on Thanksgiving Day to the grabbing, shoving, stomping greed on Friday — we can do without it.

But I sat up and took notice when I saw this morning’s e-mail from WordPress advertising a Black Friday sale: 30% reduction on the price of all upgrades. For some time now I’ve wanted to get rid of the ads on my other blog, Tree Top Haiku. An upgrade that would do this cost $60 CDN, so I’ve put it off. Today, seeing the price drop down to $40, I sprang for it.

I may not like the idea of “Black Friday” but I don’t like ads on my blog, either. I get blog posts from other writers still using a .wordpress.com address and there are always ads underneath the title and brief except. Some of these are video-type ads; I find the motion annoying.

It’s your blog, your money, your call…
but I recommend getting rid of the ads. And 30% off is a pretty good deal
— even if it is connected to that “infamous sale day.”

Oh…and I recommend getting your free e-copy of Silver Morning Song this weekend. 🙂

Reading

Pixabay photo

You Gotta Want It

Fandango’s challenge for today is HAPHAZARD

Which makes me think of a certain used bookstore I’ve been in a few times. The senior gentleman who runs it has thousands of books. He’s purchased an old commercial building and has it piled floor to ceiling (think 12 foot ceilings here) with books.

His aisles do not look like this:
Books

No, his aisles look very much like this:
Book stacks

With barely enough room to walk through the tunnels between the stacks, this is not the place to hang out if you suffer from claustrophobia. (Or from allergies.) You’ve got to really want that book!

I don’t know if he buys many new books, but he has many old, rare books, and he usually can tell you about which part of which aisle you’ll find the one you’re looking for. Or the author you want to read. Agnes Sligh Turnbull for example, or Ralph Connor.

So you go to that area he indicates and start perusing the shelves and stacks. Perchance you’ll see exactly the book you’re looking for.
Books in stack

My thanks to to the folks at Pixabay for all the free photos. 🙂

The word HAPHAZARD means “determined by accident rather than design.” It can be stretched to indicate possible danger to the person engaged in something haphazard. Such as a tower of books landing on your head. But our used book seller’s wares seemed to be stacked securely enough.

His merchandise does, however, suffer from the usual fate of many books crammed in a small, poorly ventilated place: they’re musty. And I’m really sensitive to must or mould, so I have to air my purchases outside for hours every day over several days, turning the pages every half-hour or so, before I can read the thing.

For those of us who appreciate books, his store is a real treasure trove of possibilities. someone doing historical research for the 1900s would be in their glory. Sad to say, though, there’s a limit to how useful out-of-date information is. He apparently has a mail-order business, yet I do wonder how many books he actually sells in a month.

Looking through a multitude of used books, or seeing the millions of e-books and print books available today, I recall the never-so-true words of Solomon — supposedly the writer of the Bible book of Ecclesiastes:

“And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Ecc. 12:12

Of Chemicals and Consumers

Fandango’s prompt today: CHEMICAL

I wonder if this word, for most of us, doesn’t bring up negative connotations? We have a love-hate, relationship with the things. Like the old English song about the wife, “You can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.”

Pollution of land, air, sea, and body — this all stems from chemicals, right? They’re keeping us alive longer and at the same time making us more sickly. We want our strawberry ice cream to be pink, our blueberry jelly to be blue, our white flour to be white. Which means we are, by default, consuming dyes and bleaches.

Even with death, we prefer the chemical version. When my birth mother died here in Saskatchewan the family opted to have her cremated. Our family doesn’t really do death and funerals well, so the children opted against having a viewing, so there was no cosmetology used. But I was coming from Quebec and my sister from Alberta, and neither of us had seen her for a good while — in my case it was over fifteen years — and we wanted one last goodbye.

So the funeral home prepared her for viewing that morning. When my birth father heard that I was going to view the body, he decided to go, too. We got there and looked down in her in the coffin they’d put her in, and she looked…well…dead. Her skin tone starting to degenerate in the way dead skin does.

My Dad was okay with it and so was I. He patted her hand and said his good-bye. But I made the mistake of saying in front of my sister, “I guess this is what the Bible means when it says, ‘From dust thou art and to dust though shalt return’.” And my sister burst into tears.

If given a choice, most of us prefer attractive to plain, enhanced to reality, bleached white paper to the natural colour that would come off the rollers in paper mills. But we fuss about pollution and climate change. Over the years we’ve come up with a delightful — at least to the employed — alternative. Companies in North America have shipped their manufacturing jobs to countries where pollution control and worker safety concerns barely affect the product or its cost.

We buy cheap; pollution, wages — or lack of — and safety issues are someone else’s problem. What’s not to love?

The trade deficit, you say? Forgot about that. (Thankfully my own country, Canada, has natural resources to sell, so our deficit isn’t so bad at present.) Immigrants flowing in the front door while jobs are flowing out the back could be an issue, too. However, I’ve heard some people emphatically deny that there’s a lack of jobs for the incoming crowd.

Which brings me to the dilemma I see in North America today: should consumers insist on buying items produced here in our own countries and pay the price — pollution control, wages, company pensions, and public safety costs included? Which means doing with fewer choices and a LOT less stuff. Or shall we continue to support overseas production and let those countries deal with the consequences? (And keep on borrowing from international money lenders to cover trade deficits.)

A person’s answer may well depend on what income bracket they are in.

And I have wandered far off the prompt topic of chemicals.

As I type this, I have bun dough rising in a warm spot. Yeast is a bacteria, not a chemical, so I can’t exactly call dough rising a chemical reaction. But the effect of warm cinnamon rolls on the human palate could maybe be explained as a chemical reaction.

Teeth You Could Afford

Mail Order Teeth, Anyone?

Back in the spring of 2013 I was helping my cousin organize her place, and she showed me this letter her mother received decades ago. My cousin saved it all these years as a souvenir and I found the details quite interesting – especially the prices quoted. We all know what new dentures will set you back these days.

Daily Addictions prompt word for today: AFFORD

Before you read this letter I should tell you that Kinloch is a small remote town on the northern fringe of farming settlements land in eastern Saskatchewan, as much bush (mostly poplar forest) as farm land.

Ward’s Dental laboratory
Mail Order Dept
P.O. Box 16
Montreal, Quebec

June 10, 1944

Mrs W Vance
Kinloch, SK

Dear Mrs. Vance,

We have your esteemed inquiry re false teeth and in reply would say that we make full sets from $30 to $45, but we particularly recommend our $35.50 sets to give excellent satisfaction. This is $17.75 for each plate; upper and lower.

Terms for single plates: $5.00 with order, balance on delivery. Our terms for full sets are $5 with order, $20.50 on delivery and balance in two monthly payments of $5 each.

Our method of taking the impression is very simple. We send you dental compound that is soft and pliable. You bite into it, leaving an accurate impression of your jaws. By our simple method we give you the same high class service as one living in the largest city and without the loss of time and inconvenience.

All our work is done by skilled technicians in an up-to-date laboratory and few dentists are equipped to do work like ours. We guarantee the fit of our plates as well as the workmanship, for a plate that does not fit properly is not cheap at any price. Ward plates are natural looking and positively fitting. New hue Trubyte teeth $1.00 each plate extra.

We believe that one of the best investments a man or woman can make is in a properly fitting set of false teeth as poor chewing means indigestion and other disorders and one’s personal appearance means so much.

We thank you for the inquiry and it would be a pleasure to be of service to you.

Yours very truly,
Ward’s Dental Laboratory

P.S. : Our travelling dentist will call on you when in your area if desired.

(Weren’t they a trusting bunch? If you got your teeth and didn’t pay the remaining two monthly $5 payments, they could hardly reclaim them.)

Missing Ferrari

While I’m on the subject of jigsaw puzzles, here’s a humorous fiction piece first posted on Mar 13, 2016:

Mrs Carmine Incendia
988 Perplex Place
Perdue, AZ

Dear Madam,

Your letter of complaint arrived with the incoming post this morning and was immediately drawn to my attention. I can well believe that you were almost inconsolable on finding that the 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle you purchased from us was incomplete.

As head supervisor in the packaging department it is my duty to ensure that none of our customers are inconvenienced in this manner. And may I assure you that the highest standards of quality control are exercised in our factory, far above — really quite incomparable — to other manufacturers of jigsaw puzzles and games.

As your letter has informed us, the box arrived at your home in good order with the pieces correctly sealed in their plastic bag. So any deficiency — if there be one — might possibly be due to some incompetence on our factory floor. It was very helpful of you to include the inspection slip with your letter so we can check this out further.

As you stated further, you alone opened the package and you alone worked on the puzzle in question. Having done jigsaw puzzles myself for years now, I trust it’s not inconceivable that one or two pieces may fall on the floor and be lost. However, I believe it is incomprehensible how twenty two pieces may have been omitted in packaging the product. And moreover, that these pieces should be the exact ones required to assemble the Ferrari in the photo would definitely indicate non-mechanical involvement.

As to your statement that a lawsuit over this is inevitable, permit me to suggest that lawsuits nowadays are expensive and, even in our society devoted to the good mental health of all residents, the sum of $2 million for “mental anguish incurred because of missing puzzle pieces” may be looked upon with some skepticism by most judges.

I’m happy to inform you that incidents like this are quite incompatible with our products and service as a whole. In fact, we’ve never had a complaint such as your before. We will definitely look into any impropriety on the part of our workers. By means of reimbursement, I am forwarding a new box containing this same puzzle plus two others in the same series that I trust you will enjoy.

May I also suggest, before you think of litigation, that you make inquiries of any young visitors to your home in the recent past — for example teenage grandsons — to ascertain whether they might have removed the aforementioned pieces, either as a practical joke or for some other personal reason. Should you decide to pursue legal action, no doubt law enforcement officers will be questioning your acquaintances closely on this matter.

Please address all further communication about this matter to me personally.

Yours most respectfully,

Tanner P Twiddleworth
Head of Quality Control
The Euphonic Puzzle Company, Incorporated

cc: McIntyre Bunkowski LaVentura Corporate Law Office