Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ontario knows what’s best for you (or not!)

samichlaus beerAccording to this story in the National Post:

Ontario's alcohol regulator has moved to ban an Austrian beer favoured by connoisseurs because its name, Samichlaus, means St. Nicholas in Swiss-German.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has decided the beer's label contravenes rules against advertising to children. It features the name of the beer, Samichlaus, a Swiss-German nickname for the saint behind the Santa Claus legend, and a small black-and-white bearded figure.

Now while that’s stupid enough, here’s the kicker:

A spokeswoman for the commission said the ruling dates from 2001, had lain dormant for years after the commission moved to complaints-based enforcement, and was only "reactivated" recently after a "single complaint from a private person."

A “single complaint from a private person.”

HobgoblinFirst of all I’d like to know who the idiot is that finds this product unacceptable. (In my opinion, all such complaints should be public and open up the complainer to the appropriate level of ridicule.)

But second, if the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario takes this sort of action based on a single complaint, I think I’ll go to the LCBO today and file complaints about every wine with ducks or kangaroos or little penguins on the label. Or how about wines with names like “Fat Bastard”. That offends me, even though I’m neither. And those British strong ales like Hobgoblin. Why they surely represent Halloween, and are obviously targeting children. The list is nearly endless for anyone with a common sense deficiency and an axe to grind.

fat bastardWhat do we need to  do to get the adults back in charge?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Personal responsibility

Although I’m no fan of Rogers, I have to admit I’m on their side (mostly) on this one.

A Toronto woman says the billing practices of Rogers Wireless Inc. led to her husband discovering her extramarital affair.

Now the woman, whose husband walked out, is suing the communications giant for $600,000 for alleged invasion of privacy and breach of contract, the results of which she says have ruined her life.

Supposedly this woman’s extramarital affair was exposed when her husband saw some suspicious calls from her cell phone statement which Rogers had bundled in with the regular family bill. The husband then phoned the number and spoke with the person there who confirmed the affair.

I may be a minority of one, but I don’t make it a habit of calling the numbers on my wife’s cell phone records to see who she's been talking with, and why. So I imagine there was already cause for suspicion and this was but one more indicator. That still doesn’t excuse his behaviour, but it does suggest the marriage was already in trouble and a divorce was inevitable.

But more importantly, she was cheating and got caught. I make no moral judgement on her behaviour, but it does seem typical that these days, when one is caught with one’s hand in the proverbial cookie jar the first response is to blame the manufacturer for making the lid too easy to remove. That decision was hers and hers alone, and to try to lay the blame elsewhere just doesn’t fly.

As for Rogers’ behaviour, if the report is correct in that they “unilaterally terminated its cellular contract with the plaintiff that had been in her maiden name and included it in the husband’s account that was under his surname.” then they are, at the very least, in breach of any number of privacy rules and regulations. Other aspects of the claim against Rogers raise even more troubling concerns about their privacy processes which must be corrected if true, and so they have work to do.

But the bottom line, Gabriella Nagy, is that you made a decision that had unexpected consequences. It sucks, but that’s what accepting personal responsibility is all about. And laying a $600,000 lawsuit on Rogers just means you’re trying to make someone else pay for your own errors in judgement. I hope the courts see it the same way.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Well some things drive me to drink too.

Recently the Ottawa Citizen ran this story under the headline “Watching R-rated movies can lead children to drink, study finds”

According to the report,

“The researchers found that of children whose parents never allowed them to watch R-rated movies, only three per cent had started drinking when questioned a couple of years after the initial survey. For children whose parents "sometimes" let them see R-rated films, 19 per cent had started drinking. For children who were allowed to watch R-rated films "all the time," 25 per cent had started drinking.”

And from that the researchers seem to have decided that, 

“… watching R-rated movies can lead to children drinking alcohol earlier in life.”

This reminds me of the “study” that was done back in the 60s that proved, beyond any reasonable doubt, that breastfeeding your infant was the single biggest causal factor that led to later marijuana use because 90%+ of users were breast fed as infants. Something to do with oral fixation as I recall.

Did it not occur to anyone that perhaps parents who allowed their young children to watch R-rated movies weren’t particularly good role models themselves? Maybe there was already alcohol abuse/overuse in the household and the kids were just emulating mom and pop. Who knows what other factors were at play – the paper didn’t elaborate – but I expect the linkage is tenuous at best, despite the alarmist headline.

Rubbish then, and rubbish now.