Books to Read to Survive the beginning of the Trump Years

It’s been a week since Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States & shit has been bad.  Really bad.

I know a lot of you have been emotionally exhausted by this week. If your not writing emails to your MP, Congressman or Senator, your protesting. Or your comforting family or friends. Or like me, your turning off the news & doing something else. If you feel like you need a rest & like to read, I have some books to recommend.

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Vision “I Give Zero Fucks About You”

As of this Monday there have been more than 20 collisions involving a pedestrian or a cyclist in Toronto.  Yet, John Tory has stayed silent.

At this point of John Tory’s mayorship I don’t expect him to represent or push through the agenda of Toronto Cyclists.  He is the mayor who decreased the breadth of the cities proposed 10 year cycle plan, who  expects Vision Zero to be implemented with Zero Budget, &  yet has approved a $1 billion + budget to expand the Gardiner Expressway east of the city.  But, at the very least I would have expected the Major to acknowledged what happened &  express some sentiment of regret.
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Opening the Orwellian Pandora Box

I have been trying to figure out which sci-fi movie plot centred around the bad guys stealing all powerful encryption key to destroy free civilization since I heard about the FBI’s move to force Apple to provide a master key to de-crypt iPhone data,  but have drawn a blank.  I guess it doesn’t really matter as I can take my pick right.

In case you don’t know what I am talking about, here is a quick summary of what is going on before I go into why this is a nightmare of Orwellian proportions.

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#Wenting: Broads Who Cycle

You know Margaret Wente is right, getting ladies to cycle is a lost cause. After-all, ladies don’t like to sweat, mess up their hair or put themselves in potentially life threatening situations, much less fight for their place on the urban roads.

Margaret Wente is clearly a lady.  One who drives her car to work wearing her six-inch heels, with her designer handbag resting on the passenger seat.  Only to emerge fresh-faced & pristine from her air-conditioned car at her office’s parking lot.

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Social Media Stupid of the Week: El Furniture Warehouse Toronto

Around 3 pm yesterday I saw my first “El Furniture Warehouse posted a transphobic, distasteful Caitlyn Jenner post” on my social feed.  By that point, Warehouse Group had taken down the original post, but I quickly found the screen shot taken by @chefgrantsotoin question.

Even for a dive bar that has an established a “DGAF” image, whose social feeds mostly contain staff selfies and frat-boy humour, the Caitlyn Jenner post crossed a line.  But, what really put the nail in the coffin in this unfortunate situation was the response of the anonymous poster behind the Warehouse Group account to Instagramers who called out the post for being inappropriate.

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Why I don’t like ads in my Instagram Feed

This morning as I was having my morning coffee and casually scrolling through my Instagram feed of friends holiday parties, artistically shot snow scenes and tropical sunrises, when a photo of a coffee maker popped up.

My reaction was shift, “Wtf?? I unfollowed this brand. What is this doing here???” mobwiveswtf

And then it dawned on me.  It was a Sponsored Instagram Post. Yes, I had just been served with an ad.

Instagram Curation Ruined

To put into context my reaction to seeing a coffeemaker in my feed – I am one of those people who have carefully curated my Instagram feed. I am very particular about who I follow and it is usually for one of three reasons:

  1. I really like you as a person
  2. I really like your photography / vision / how you see the world
  3. I like your brand and enjoy how you visually communicate your brand personality

The curation of my feed has been something I have worked on since first joining Instagram, so I most certainly noticed the bad catalogue quality photo of a coffeemaker from a brand I do not follow (for a reason I might add) in my feed.

really ron burgendy

To be honest, the unwelcome ad also felt like a bit of a violation.  I had not realized until that moment, that I had become quite happily accustomed to the non-ad experience of Instagram. I had come to really enjoy having full control of what I saw in my feed and having this choice taken away from me did not sit well.

Conclusion: Ads in my feed? Umm no. No, thank you

This morning I have concluded that I do not like ads in my feed.

But, I really do not like ads of sub-par catalogue shots of a product I don’t want to buy, from a brand who is boring and unimaginative enough to take a shot from their flyer and cross-promote it on their “social media.”

And you know what Instagram? My experience is contrary to how you have positioned the introduction of advertising on your platform to be, and I quote:

“we’ve worked with a handful of top brands to draw creative inspiration from the community and create ads that were engaging and felt natural in people’s feeds.”

The ad I received most certainly did not feel natural or engaging. Had I seen an ad from a brand I do follow, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it and I probably would have grudgingly excepted the intrusion of ads into my feed. But, that would have been too logical right? Or not as “sellable” enough maybe?

But mostly, I am disappointed.  I thought you had more creativity then this. More imagination and more of a desire to serve as a platform of inspiration.

I guess I was wrong, Instagram.

Because no matter how good your filters are (they do have a special ingredient in making any persons complexion look dewy and youthful) this mornings experience has soured my relationship with you.

I don’t know what I’m going to get in my feed anymore.  It was only a coffee maker this time, but what will be next? Detergent?

I am not interest gif

The Takeaway

Lesson here Instagram is to launch your new advertising platform slowly, like a soft breeze rather than a January night squall.  Everyone likes soft breezes. They feel good.  But, no one likes January squalls.

#JedzJabłka: Polands Social Media Selfie Protest

In the ongoing bullshit that Russia is pulling in Europe, last week Putin banned the import of Polish Fruit & Vegetables.   BBC News reports the reasoning for the ban is that “Russia’s food hygiene authorities said the imports had unacceptable levels of pesticide residues and nitrates.”  Sure … we believe that. This clearly has NOTHING to do with the fact that Poland has been one of the most vocal critics of Russian actions in Ukraine.  Nope, nothing at all.  And Russia is not trying to punish Poland for toeing the line that Russia believes should be toed by all former Easter-Block nations.  Nope, not at all.

The Kollektive_EatApples_1

the kolleketive_EatApples

But, one should never underestimate Poles & our ability to call bullshit when we see it.

Our fellow country men called bullshit on Putin in the most spectacular way by starting a social media protest, #EatApples Twitter / Selfie protest, that is quickly gaining tracking internationally & hopefully annoying Putin to no end.

Show your support, eat an apple & take a selfie using these hashtags: #EatApples #JedzJabłka

No, doctors should NOT be denying birth control. #SorryNotSorry

The assumption that pro-lifers seem to make is that a woman is not qualified to make this decisions. Seems having a period automatically disqualifies you from make a choice that is right for you, your life, your body & the life your are carrying.

The right to choose = the right to life.

Pro-life supports do not support “life” as they support the limitations of a woman to live her life according to her own destiny & choice.


Thankfully, we’re not alone in that.

Birth control

So when we received this letter and were asked to amplify it, we did. In a big way. Huffington Post tackled it, The Ottawa Citizen called the doctors in question for their thoughts and the woman who took the initial picture came forward to prove the letter was in fact, real. 

We were interviewed on “CBC Ontario Today” in what ended up being an hour long show about the issue. Thankfully, the anti-choicers exposed themselves for the out-to-lunch-and-living-on-Mars people they are.

How you can be opposed to birth control and abortion is truly mind boggling to us, but alas, that’s what’s going on here. Thankfully, we’ve got the majority of Canadians, the United Nations and modern science on our side.

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Study proves what you already suspected, women with low-self esteem post more pictures on Facebook

The University of Buffalo, recently released a study by researcher Michael Stefanone  found that women who base their self-worth on appearance are more likely to share photos on  Facebook.

  • If a woman’s self-worth/self-esteem is based on “public-based contingencies”, other’s approvals, physical appearance and out doing others in competition, she will be more active online & had a higher intensity in online photo sharing.  
  • If a woman self-worth/self-esteem is based on “private-based contingencies”,  academic competence, family love and support & being a “good person”, the study found they spent less time online and social media was less about attention seeking behavior as the first group.

Very interesting (yet sad)  study, which again makes me happy that Facebook did not exist when I was in High School.  

Euro 2012: What would have Błaszczykowski kissed?

After scoring the equalizing goal in yesterday’s game against Russia, Polish captain Błaszczykowski kissed the eagle crest on his jersey in celebration of his goal. An iconic celebratory act that shows the pride and passion of the Polish team that has led them to play the best game I’ve seen from Poland in years.

image source:

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