Electoral conundrum

On October 1st the population of Quebec will have to vote to put their favourite candidates in the National Assembly. I find myself in quite an electoral conundrum since the lack of leadership makes it impossible to find anyone worth of my support. Every party has good ideas, but also so many stupid ones. I began this reflection when my union started a campaign advocating not voting for either the Liberals or the CAQ because “they are all the same” and that “we deserve better”… But if not them, who?

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Pour en finir avec les tournesols

A sunflower finale

If you have followed the sunflower theft / case / saga, you’ll be glad to know that the case is finally closed (I hope). After nearly a month, the police finally intervened by visiting the culprit. He confessed his crime and said he was sorry. Apparently, he was so shocked & surprised to be caught that he was shaking. He also promised to return the stolen property to all the places he had taken them. Our stolen pots and sunflowers were returned by the police. I noticed the next day that the flowers stolen from the city’s flower beds were back. We didn’t press charge, but if he ever do us wrong again he would be in serious jeopardy. It was a great occasion to demonstrate my detective skills (elementary my dear Watson!), but now I can finally relax and start to enjoy the flowers again!

 

Si vous avez suivi le vol / l’affaire / la saga des tournesols, vous serez heureux d’apprendre que l’histoire est finalement close (j’espère). Après près d’un mois, la police est finalement intervenue en visitant le coupable. Il a avoué son crime et a dit qu’il était désolé. Apparemment, il était tellement choqué et surpris d’être pris qu’il en tremblait. Il a également promis de rendre les biens volés à tous les endroits où il les avait pris. Nos pots et tournesols volés ont été retournés par la police. J’ai remarqué le lendemain que les fleurs volées dans les parterres de la ville étaient de retour. Nous n’avons pas porté plainte contre lui, mais s’il nous faisait du tors à nouveau, il se retrouverait vraiment dans le trouble. Ce fut l’occasion idéale de faire preuve de mes habilités de détective (élémentaire ma chère Watson!), mais maintenant, je peux enfin me détendre et recommencer à apprécier les fleurs!

In liberfacies

Against Facebook

I am really getting fed up with Facebook. It is an exceedingly time-consuming activity (chronophagios) that really gives little rewards — I means besides watching cat videos and stalking (um, I means, keeping in contact with) friends. More and more it has become the kingdom of fake news, as people constantly pass their expressed opinions as news (or as news-worthy).

Not only Facebook is doing very little to prevent foreign agencies to try to influence our minds through fake posting or advertising but, at the same time, they block legitimate ads from museums around the world because it is deemed offensive or subversive ! Incredible! How comes a bunch a geeks who know so little about the world become arbiters of morality and political decency ? They’re such a great influence over our minds (and our children’s minds) and yet, there is no one to oversee their policies? Inacceptable!

Of course, I would not be so inflamed by their ignominious policies if I would not have been touched personally by it. I am busy and I don’t have time to post on my blog, on Facebook, on Tweeter, on Instagram, etc. So I concentrate on what’s the most important to me (the medium that I can control the most) — my blog — and I just automatically repeat each (or most) post on the other social media to increase diffusion of my art and thoughts. However, a recent change in policies brought by Facebook is blocking this automatic reposting! What? They let the Russian pass through but they block my book reviews and cats’ pictures?! That’s unconscionable !

That I learned recently from a WordPress email:

“Starting August 1, 2018, third-party tools can no longer share posts automatically to Facebook Profiles. This includes Publicize, the WordPress.com tool that connects your site to major social media platforms (like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook).”

They explain that if my content is linked to a Facebook Profile (a personal account), then Publicize will no longer be able to share my posts to Facebook, but it will still work if it’s a Facebook Page (public profiles allowing “artists, public figures, businesses, brands, organizations and nonprofits connect with their fans or customers”) that is connected to my site. I have only two options if I still want my Facebook followers to see my posts : create a link manually or convert my Facebook Profile to a Page ! They continue:

While Facebook says it is introducing this change to improve their platform and prevent the misuse of personal profiles, we believe that eliminating cross-posting from WordPress is another step back in Facebook’s support of the open web, especially since it affects people’s ability to interact with their network (unless they’re willing to pay for visibility) We know that this might cause a disruption in the way you and your Facebook followers interact, and if you’d like to share your concerns with Facebook, we urge you to head to their Help Community to speak out.

Damn you Facebook! Improving your platform? You means improving your profits by making changes that would favour the commercial use of your application! What about the users, the people who made your product famous (and create its value) ? Oh, yes, that’s true: since we know that WE are your product it is getting more difficult to fleece us, so you reorient your business model!

So, if you were wondering why I am posting very little on Facebook lately, well, that’s the reason. Now, I will probably share my posts manually for a while (for the most important entries) and maybe consider to eventually create a Page, but I am also quite seriously considering withdrawing completely from Facebook…

What do you think about that? (please comment)

And don’t hesitate to let Facebook know what I think of their stupid policies!

(note: the title is in latin)

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Notable News (w23-w31)

Since the last update, over two months ago, so much has happened. 

On the domestic front, it seems that I ran out of karma points because a series of unfortunate events kept happening to me, including frustratingly bad customer service experiences: I had trouble getting my bag of weekly flyers delivered, after eight long months the contractor finally came to finish the landscaping work in the backyard so I could work (hard) to set up the garden, and then the water heater broke down! Everything was just a big pain in the ass! I ended up so stressed and distressed by the whole ordeal that I forgot to do the accounting and pay the bills! This had never happened to me in fifteen years!

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Out of energy !

However, that was not the end of it. Work is usually a real nut house where we have to run around like crazy, doing absurd stuff. Under normal circumstances it is already demoralizing and exhausting. But we had to go at it during a heat wave, for a whole week! We had a few days of respite and then, the air conditioning broke down—for another week! We were working at temperature between 27° C and 30° C, with relative humidity of 50-55% ! If you calculate the humidity factor (the way that it’s normally done on weather channels) it felt like working at temperature between 35° C and nearly 40° C ! (Of course, according to the charts used by management, it was barely over 33° C and we shouldn’t even brake a sweat! For them it was just uncomfortable conditions!). Damn it, we are working in a library, not a sweat shop! Management brought huge fans, but if you move hot air, it is still just hot air — in a very noisy environment. 

If it was just working at a desk with a fan in the face it would probably be tolerable, but we are standing up and moving around a lot to serve customers (lending, shelving and processing books, etc.) — contrary to what most people believe it is a very physical work. At my age and with my health I cannot work in such conditions for a long duration. One day, I was tired and feeling dizzy (the head-librarian had already left and a couple of colleagues were not feeling well either) so I decided to also leave work early. We were threatened of “consequences” (disciplinary measures) by management for doing so. We endured for the rest of the week, but, in the end, I couldn’t take it anymore, I was exhausted (completely out of energy), having sore throat, migraine and ear ache, so I took a day off.  I just don’t get it: why’s this obstinacy to force employees to work in unbearable conditions? Where is decency and respect of the workers? That’s what upsets me the most: absurd decisions and disrespect… I get it that there is nothing in the labor law (health & security) that prevent work in extreme heat conditions, but it is just common sense and thoughtfulness not to subject your employees to such suffering! Then again, why should I be surprised of such contempt for the workers?

At the same time, I had to deal with some garden theft which became “the sunflowers’ affair” and evolved into a real saga. Finally, as I was ready to blow a gasket, my blood pressure medication was recalled due to contamination with a potential carcinogen (the generic version is made in China, no wonder)! I had trouble at first to get the pharmacy to replace it for free, but now there is a class-action lawsuit being organized

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My mind elsewhere !

Thankfully, there was a few positive events to brighten my mood, like an occasional trip to the botanical garden or the park, Apple announcing their incoming new operating systems (iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 Mojave) or finally being able to finish watching the latest seasons of Poldark and McMafia. Strangely, as I handled all the bad karma with relatively great zen, I managed to write comments on quite a bunch of stuff (books, TV series and movies): The Dark Tower, The Terror, Crapule, American Made, Victoria & Abdul, Un simple monde, Le chat du louvre 1-2, Black Panther, Isabella Bird: femme exploratrice 1-2, Alien Resurrection & Alien: Covenant, Pline 5, Ad Astra 4-5, Justice League, Batman v Superman, Jumanji, Giacomo Foscari 1, Nos yeux fermés, Your name., In this corner of the world, and The Mummy. Fortunately, reading (or alternatively watching TV) and writing (comments, rants or even poetry) is a great help to bring my mind elsewhere!

On the world stage, we saw the usual fires, floods, volcanoes, storms, kids trapped in a cave, a couple of summits (G7 & North Korea), the World Cup, water was found on Mars and each day kept bringing more Trump insanities. If I wouldn’t know better I could think that Trump is the antechrist and that the end of the world is near! But, no, it’s just our daily lives in the 21st century… I just don’t understand: in 1953 the Rosenberg were tried and executed simply for spying for the Soviets; now, some politicians conspired with the Russians to interfere in the U.S. elections, make their own businesses profits, as well as contribute to undermine western democracies and absolutely NO uproar is being made about it? Delirant isti americani !

Through all this I did my best to stay (sane?) acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered over two hundreds notable news & links — which I now share with you (in both french or english, slightly categorized, but in no particular order — note that, to save on coding time, the links will NOT open in a new window beyond this point), after the jump.

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The sunflowers saga / La saga des tournesols

The sunflower theft” and “The sunflower case” continue into a real saga… There was no theft on the third night but in the morning the suspect, while walking his dogs with his partner, strolled down the street to survey his future targets! Many sunflowers are about to bloom and I am afraid that he will be back soon! I don’t have much hope that the police will do anything soon, so what can we do to stop him ? (I mean beside welcoming him with a two by four — I know: we must not take justice into our own hands; maybe we could scare him by saying we are on to him?). We have a better view of him during daylight. It’s definitely the same miscreant. I noticed he had the right leg in a cast (no wonder he was walking funny). [la version française suit le vidéo]

My wife went to have a look near the lair of the suspect and positively recognized her flowers and pots. There is very little doubt in my mind now that he is the one who stole and vandalized our property. Here are pictures of his front and back yards and we can clearly see sunflowers and many flowers in pots (mostly in the backyard).

To be continued?

Le tournesol volé” et “L’affaire tournesol” se poursuivent en une véritable saga… Rien n’a été volé durant la troisième nuit, mais au matin le suspect, tout en promenant ses chiens avec sa conjointe, a descendu la rue pour repérer ses prochaines cibles! Plusieurs de nos tournesols sont sur le point de fleurir et je crains qu’il ne sévisse à nouveau très bientôt. Je n’ai pas grand espoir que la police fasse quoi que ce soit de sitôt alors que peut-on faire pour arrêter l’hécatombe dans notre jardin? ( à part, bien sûr, le surprendre avec un deux par quatre dans la face — je sais: ce n’est pas bien de se faire justice soi-même; peut-être que lui dire qu’on l’a à l’oeil lui ferait peur?). On le voit mieux durant le jour et c’est définitivement le même scélérat. A noter qu’il a la jambe droite dans le plâtre (ça explique sans doute sa démarche bizarre).

Ma femme est allé faire un tour l’autre soir près de l’antre du suspect et elle est positive qu’on y trouve ses fleurs et ses pots. Je n’ai plus beaucoup de doute qu’il s’agit bel et bien de la personne qui a volé et vandalisé notre propriété. Voici des photos de ses cours avant et arrière; on peut y voir clairement des tournesols et quelques fleurs en pots (principalement à l’arrière). 

À suivre?

The Sunflower case / L’affaire tournesol

Following “The sunflower thief”, this video shows security footage of the thief coming back the very next night (2018/07/14, 3:02 am) to steal more sunflowers! Two days in a row! What a real scoundrel! Nobody respects anything anymore, that’s sickening! [ la version française suit ]

This time, I noticed the rascal seems to have a slight beard and a man bun (also he sometimes walks funny). If you know this scumbag, please contact me or the police (a police report has already been filed at station 30 — although the clerk didn’t seem enthusiastic). The varmint is plaguing the whole neighbourhood and I am not the only victim (as seen on the video; I also heard some neighbours complained about it). This type of theft / vandalizing of our property (flower or vegetable gardens) MUST NOT be tolerated no matter how small it may seem! I also think I might have localized the bastard: a neighbour looks A LOT like him; more so he had yesterday a sunflower in his backyard in a pot that looked quite familiar and a few more pots and sunflowers appeared today… Citizens of the neighbourhood, lets act to protect not only our properties but also the greenery that embellishes our environment!

Suite à “Tournesol volé”, ce video montre une séquence de caméra de sécurité où le voleur revient la nuit suivante (2018/07/14, 3:02 am) pour voler plus de tournesols ! Deux jours de suite! Quel vilain gredin! Les gens ne respecte plus rien, c’est désespérant!

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Disparu ! / Gone!

Cette fois, j’ai remarqué que le voyou semble avoir une légère barbe et un chignon (il a aussi une démarche bizarre). Si vous connaissez ce salaud, veuillez communiquer avec moi ou avec la police (un rapport de police a déjà été déposé au poste 30 — bien que le greffier n’ait pas semblé enthousiaste). Cette vermine sévit dans tout le quartier et je ne suis pas la seule victime (comme on peut le voir sur la vidéo, j’ai aussi entendu des voisins s’en plaindre). Ce type de vol / vandalisme de notre propriété (jardins de fleurs ou de légumes) NE DOIT PAS être toléré, peu importe son importance! Je pense aussi avoir localiser l’ostie d’BS: un voisin lui ressemble beaucoup; de plus il avait hier un tournesol dans sa cour arrière dans un pot qui avait l’air assez familier et quelques pots et des tournesols de plus sont apparus aujourd’hui … Citoyens du quartier, agissons pour protéger non seulement nos propriétés mais aussi la verdure qui embellie notre environment!

Sunflower theft / Tournesol volé

My wife finds solace in gardening. Last night (2018/07/13, 2:42 am), some miscreant stole her first blooming sunflower of the year from our front yard in St-Michel borough. It was about 1.3m / 50″ tall, in a 25cm / 10″ green pot. The suspect looks like a white male, skinny and medium height, smoker, waring baseball cap and shorts. If you have any information please contact me. It’s really a shame! People nowadays definitely have no scruples!

Ma femme trouve du réconfort dans le jardinage. La nuit dernière (2018/07/13, 2:42 am), un scélérat a volé son premier tournesol à fleurir cette année dans notre cour avant de l’arrondissement St-Michel. Il mesurait environ 1,3 m / 50 po de hauteur, dans un pot vert de 25 cm / 10 po. Le suspect ressemble à un homme blanc, mince et  de grandeur moyenne, fumeur, portant une casquette et un short. Si vous avez des informations s’il vous plaît me contactez. C’est vraiment une honte! Les gens de nos jours  n’ont décidément plus aucun scrupules!