Monthly Archives: July 2012

It has been a little over a week since that tragic moviehouse mass shooting in Aurora,Colorado. Lately, there had been numerous accounts of several  surviving shooting victims and their family/friends trying to find ways to get the surmounting medical bills paid up. The hospitals where they’re all being treated had helped out waiving this and that fee. Even the movie company that released that Batman film on that fateful day had helped defray some of the costs with  an undisclosed monetary donation to the  shooting victims’ fund.

Majority of them have no health insurance. With today’s faltering economy,it’s no surprise that it’s hard to obtain job-related health insurance benefits if one doesn’t have work nor even the funds to pay the tax-deductible premiums even if one is unemployed.

It makes me feel quite lucky that I have a Canadian-styled form of socialized medical health plan which is often maligned by some of those U.S. politicians. I carry a provincial government – issued heath card and all inpatient stays,,lab work ,other medical diagnostic work-ups,inpatient treatment as well as outpatient physician visits which are all paid by the government courtesy of citizen taxation. No need to contact a health insurance agent by phone to get authorization as to how long a patient can stay in the hospital or if a certain diagnostic test is really needed to be done.

One would need though to get private prescription plan coverage(ex. Blue Cross/Blue Shield) to cover outpatient medications,dental and vision check-ups. If not, you got to pay it out of pocket. Only consolation will be that it’s tax-deductible here in Canada. Same also goes when paying into such a plan itself.

The  downside at times is to be on the waiting list when trying to get a specialist’s referral . This happens because there are comparatively lesser number of physicians in Canada than in the US. You get moved up the list when your situation becomes more urgent/critical.

Our health plan here may not be perfect but it has been helpful for a long time, I couldn’t help but think that the US healthcare coverage system should be improved further.  I could see why President Obama wanted it changed in the first place. His version of such a change is somewhat  a little similar here in Canada but I guess that being an election year, the GOP(opposition party) would want to tear it down without mentioning any alternatives, inspite of a recent US Supreme Court approval of the Obamacare heath plan.

I’m doing OK with the Canadian health plan.It hasn’t killed me.

The Aurora Shooting survivors deserve a similar health plan NOW but I guess that being a US  politician, one can become shielded, blindsided and even not empathic since they themselves and also with their famiiles have a fantastic job-related health plan  package to rely on in times of illness.

It’s like Marie Antoinette telling her subjects with her famous words “Let them eat cake!”. Well,she ended up in the guillotine. Karma’s the bitch as the saying goes.

The  Aurora shooting victims didn’t ask to be shot. If that gunman could pay for all their medical bills, why not? But in the meantime, something has to be done for them ,particularly US health care reform.

What more of a wake-up call do these U.S. politicians need to install US healthcare reform? The Aurora shooting victims’ situation is already 1 glaring example. They really don’t deserve to suffer more in terms of worrying about financing their medical treatment. It’s already tough enough to deal with the physical suffering inflicted on them from that fateful night.

And that’s my 2 cents’ worth on this matter .




Two stores in my neighborhood are soon going on liquidation for different reasons. One of them will be closed to give way to Target which is coming to Canada next year. The other store will be closed because their lease will soon be up in the mall where they’re located due to the fact that the mall will be converted to a civic center.

In light of this,liquidation sales will be arriving soon. They’re really just closing-out sales wherein deep price discounts are given so that the stores can get rid of their inventory. In turn, it’s a boon for the consumer since one can get stuff at great, low prices.

Remember though that once you do make such a purchase,  a sale transaction will be deemed as final. They may even put a pentel slash mark over the receipt so that you can’t even return nor exchange the item that you had just bought. Think first before you buy even if it’s a great bargain.

Remaining inventory may be what’s left and possibly picked over already so in terms of getting a specific size,color,etc., it may not always be the case but if you do get it in your own specifications, then it’s your lucky day!

Happy shopping!


I always believe that to do good writing, one has to know a subject very well to be able to expound on it , not to mention having the emotional zest and inspiration to work it through.

Sometimes though, I would get into a blank state of mind when attempting to write something,i.e. writer’s block. I feel that it shouldn’t get me into a state of panic. it’s probably just one of those moments when our literary minds go into a mental health break so as to recharge. Once the recharges reach completion, it’s a wonder how it tends to get easier the next time to think of something to talk and write about .

It must be how Mother Nature protects our brains from overexhaustion which in turn helps us all write great articles.

Take care!


Whenever July 25 comes around, it means a few things for me. First, folks call it Christmas in July,specifically exactly 5 months before December 25. Second, it will be the birthday of the world’s first test tube baby Louise Brown which happened in the UK in  1976, thirdly, it’s the feast day of Saint James and lastly ,it’s my birthday, mon ami. It also heralds the mid-year timetable. If you had read my previous blog on July 5th titled Half-year mark,et al, you’ll know what I mean. Saint James by the way is the patron saint for laborers and also the patron saint of Spain(known also in Spanish as San Santiago).

Like I had always been saying,make the most of each day and one’s birthday is no different. The only additional point in terms of one’s birthday is to make it as memorable as possible.

Bon jour!


The summer  heat wave has finally arrived here in Canada. It has been consistently very hot in the 90’s for the past week or so. Dealing with it takes a lot of thinking and effort.

If you really need to go out, wear sunscreen and wear protective yet comfortable summer clothing( but not too bundled up!). Drink a lot of fluids and try to have access to a fan and/or airconditioner especially when indoors.

The last thing you need right now are heat stroke and heat cramps. The very young and very old are the most vulnerable in terms of their immune system and body makeup in their respective ages.

Stay cool! The heat is on! (Background music c/o Glenn Frey)

Au revoir!


It was supposed to be a scheduled advanced movie screening of a much awaited Batman series franchise film called “The Dark Knight Rises”. Folks would come in droves with their tickets,decked out in various Batman character-related costumes, all supposed to be having a great time. The movie promises a lot of action scenes and special effects. Everything was moving along until hell broke loose last night in a movie theater located in Aurora,Colorado,USA(a suburb of Denver).

As of this moment, initial reports stated that a lone shooter in full combat gear quietly came out from the sides inside the theater while the movie was going on. He then  slowly climbed up onto the stage and facing the audience began shooting away in all directions,resulting in a mass shootout.

Initially, not everyone had  caught on with the firing since the movie itself had very loud special efects so in a way, folks would think that the shooting was part of a movie gimmick. Thankfully, reality quickly settled in and the audience started getting into survival mode. Running, ducking,screaming,etc.

Unfortunately,many were injured(at least 50 and 10 at this time were reported to be dead).

The gunman was quickly apprehended by authorities( through eyewitnesses)as he was  leaving the theater to get to his car. He didn’t protest and was arrested. He then mentioned that he had bombs at his place which quickly led Colorado police and even the FBI and other federal agents to make a sweep within the vicinity of the gunman’s apt. building as well his neighborhood. Hazardous materials were reportedly found. At this time, his apt was discovered to be booby-trapped.. Pepper spray was implicated as well since a canister was thrown by the gunman at the stage  prior to the mass shooting.

Terrorist experts ruled out any external nexus of terrorism at this time and it appears so far that the gunman acted alone. He’s a 25 y/o  white male  born in the U.S with no  known specific motive as to the mass shooting .He reportedly refuses to talk further regarding that and now has a lawyer to speak on his behalf. Lone gunman terrorist like Timothy McVeigh? Nutcase?

My thoughts and prayers are to all the victims of this unfortunate event. May justice prevail.

I couldn’t help but think how one by one, our civil liberties continue to be compromised these days.Does this mean that from now on, all moviegoers will have to be screened before going inside a moviehouse?Will there now be more security detail around those places? Does this also mean that more security inhouse inspections within the theater by the movie house management will be  occuring in the future? Will it now come to a point that you can never go inside the concessionaire’s booths unless you have already a prepaid ticket? Something like a boarding pass before checking in with TSA?

And what about the movie producers and film companies like Warner,Paramount,MGM,etc)? Will they be hesitant to release advanced screenings dates or any screenings in the future at all? Will they also  have to hire their own security for such events?

The joy of watching a movie within the ambience of a movie theater shouldn’t stop but again, we live now in different times and we need to do so,once again with a wary eye.



It is safe to say that after traveling away from home for a good period of time, I had finally settled in back in my own home. No more jetlag and no more feelings of being a tourist trying to familiarize myself with old surroundings and routines.

I’m pretty sure ,mon ami that you have had some similar experiences after being bitten by the travel bug and finally coming back home afterwards.

Traveling is fun,mind you but there are times when you just feel like getting back to a certain routine. For that to happen, it has to be a habit grown into you.

I think that they call it personal space. It can’t be quantified or measured but you do know that it’s there for you because you feel its presence.  It’s really what you make of it to become your personal space.

That’s just my 2 cents’ worth of opinion on the matter.



Today’s news about the US-bound flight from Amsterdam (c/o Delta Airlines) regarding 4 sewing needles found in turkey sandwiches served on separate flights made me cringe and second guess about my recent US trip if I had ingested any sandwiches in-flight. Luckily, I didn’t.I don’t like the idea of having a perforated intestine or stomach from it. I also  hate to take HIV or Hepatitis  medication as a precaution.One  of the male passengers who were interviewed  was told to take the latest USDA -approved drug to combat HIV(called Truvada) which was a sad reality to take in. One of the 4 passengers was even a US air marshal who saw one of the 4 needles in his sandwich.

With all airline and airport security precautions evolving over the years, it was inevitable ,mon ami, that airline food will be one of the new targets at some point.

Even if the current situation with  Delta Airlines and the catere(GateGourmet) didn’t appear to be due to terroristic intentions at this time, I fully agree with the FBI and the NTSB investigatng it alongside the Dept . of Health to cover all bases as a precaution.

Well, it looks like we can’t even bring anything solid like a dry sandwich on board anymore, much less be served a fresh sandwich, because they’re now deemed as security risks. It’s either all airline food will have to be vacuum sealed before boarded on the flight and the menu? It may now be open-faced sandwiches,pizza,anything that will make you SEE what you’re eating. As for drinks, perhaps, anything opaque like milk will have to go too. All CLEAR fluids might be the norm. And to think that we usually complain about being served peanuts in-flight. At least, it’s still safe to eat them.

They’ll have to SCAN all food trays and go through the metal detector to spot any needles,etc. All the food servers and even the catering truck and the driver have to be inspected too. Don’t forget the airline chef and his cooking crew since the food is created by them. Radioactive food,anyone? And to think that fears from the body scan radiation isn’t enough for us.

I know that my imagination is running wild right now but if you were an official connected with homeland security,wouldn’t you be? But realistically, you can’t possibly inspect every sandwich pre-flight but it does make you pause and second-guess your next step.

I guess that more food testers will need to be hired by the airlines . That’s a new job creation in effect.It better have hefty job benefits considering the job risk involved. To paraphrase, you are only as good as your last meal.

It’s not only heads of state that have them for their overall protection.

In spite of it all, it shouldn’t take the joy out of eating. it’s just that now, we’ll have to to do it with a wary eye sadly.

Bon apetit!


Receiving gift cards or certificates(whether in physical or electronic form) are great. It’s like getting free money whether someone gave it to you or you won it in a contest.It’s also a plus when the card design has pictures which reflect the occasion and the personality of the recipient. Using it is another aspect altogether.

One must be able to use it as promptly as possible before its expiration date. One never knows when the gift or store policy would change or worse, close up business for good before that card ever gets used at all.

In the past, they’re usually good only for 6 months. In other cases, using it so close to that date would entail paying a “penalty’fee and would even reduce the amount of the money paid into that card.

Later on, the expiration date got extended to 5 years. Nowadays, there’s no more expiration dates. (Yey!). You can plan your shopping trip around it and get more out of it especially when the store that issued that card is having a great sale. With today’s economic times, we really got to think it through very well!

Some stores even offer the service of electronically uploading your gift card with more money that you pay into so as to save them from issuing you another card. Sounds to be environmentally practical(recycling,that is).

I have read reports time and time again that after Christmas,many people who receive gift cards never get to use them and they all pile them up in their drawers. And to think that gift cards are becoming the number 1 gift item received every Christmas for practical reasons.

What a waste of money which could be of help to your overall budget in some cases.Also, it will help the store since every recorded gift card redemption is considered as  a sales statistic. Buying a store gift card doesn’t count as a sale,just remember that.

Happy Shopping!


During my recent U.S. trip, I heard about the removal of veteran journalist Ann Curry from the TODAY show where she had been for 15 years  as a side anchor  and as co-anchor for the past year. Reportedly,she was blamed for the loss of the #1 ranking of the TODAY show to Good Morning America for the 1st time in 16 years after assuming last year the co-anchor chair.

After witnessing her tearful TV goodbye to the TODAY show viewers, I couldn’t help but feel sick to the stomach as to how they treated this lady after she had showed loyalty to the show for a long time. She was a very good journalist and has a fantastic bedside manner when doing interviews of a very sensitive nature.

What were they thinking? It appears to me that tabloid journalism is in vogue which would guarantee great ratings. Intelligence is definitely out the window. The fact that they brought in Sarah Palin recently as a guest co-host screams out desperation , stupidity and poor taste  on the producers’ part.

Ann, I feel your pain and you really deserve much better. I don’t believe that you’re the sole cause of the problem. They should look over the entire show format which I feel needs a lot of improvement.

Don’t worry. At least now, you’re much better off without them and you can spread your wings better in the realm of real journalism. When you do win a Pulitzer or a Peabody,that’ll be your glory and no one else’s. That’ll be one heck of a silver lining for you!

As to the TODAY show, if the next time, they’re still  not #1, then at least, you can’t be blamed a second time since you won’t be around. Perhaps this time, they’ll pick on Matt Lauer since they’ll be running out of scapegoats.

God bless!