Monthly Archives: September 2012

For me, mon ami, getting a new calendar  means that I’m fully aware that the year is coming to an end in a matter of a few months. Around this time, calendars for the next year will be now available. Depending on the store, new calendars may already be around as early as July.

I give a lot of thought to getting a new calendar because it’ll be nailed to my wall for the whole year and I don’t want it to become an eyesore. I know that a calendar has basic functions—to tell the date, day of the week and the occasion( if so stated) on the date box. But I still believe that a calendar’s appearance also has to blend with the decor in your home or workspace.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so if I find a new calendar to be appealing to me, then so be it.

Getting one shouldn’t be expensive either. My blood freezes when I see calendars being sold especially at the big-box chain bookstores for $20++++!!!  Sacre bleu!

Ever the perennial bargain hunter, I have found and stuck to a particular crafts store(Michaels) that sells calendars  for as low as $1.50 up to $3.00 each. With a store coupon, you’ll get it even at a lower price and the calendars are big and pretty too. I’m quite partial to calendars with 12 different picture  pages than just 1 picture with 12 white standard calendar pages(like a notebook).

Just my 2 cents’ worth on this subject.



Andy Williams, an 84 year old clean-cut,boyish-looking American crooner of easy listening and sentimental music had passed away on Sept. 25,2012  after dealing with bladder cancer which was announced by him on Nov. 4,2011 at his Moon River Theater in Branson,Missouri.

Known for his silky,smooth voice and his  rendition of  the  musical score “Moon River”( used in the hit movie “Breakfast in Tiffany’s”) which won for him an Oscar Award as well as for his annual Christmas shows and albums, thus earning the monicker “Mr. Christmas” in his trademark red cardigan.

He had a very successful musical career and had surpassed most singers except for Frank Sinatra ,Elvis Presley and Johnny Mathis.He had 18 gold and  3 platinum albums as well as a TV variety show called “The Andy Williams Show” during 1962-1971.  Because of his golden voice, he was considered as a national treasure by the late former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Even at the time of his death, he still  kept performing since singing is his lifelong love while at the same time,bravely  battling his illness. As they say, he died with his boots on.

His birthplace  of  Wall Lake, Iowa is constantly a tourist attraction. His current home in Branson, Missouri is also where his Moon River Theater  is located and is already considered as a national site .Numerous shows are still being held there and the theater’s interior looks more like a tropical oasis in line with the milieu of the Ozark mountains.

In 2009, he released his memoir titled “Moon River and Me”.

To Mr. Williams, you will be missed. You left this world just 3 months before Christmas Day but you’ll live forever in our Yuletide  memories when “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is played as well as the rest of your songs in your Christmas albums.

Thank you for the music.

As I play your signature song “Moon River”, to paraphrase some lines from your songs, your fans will have a hard time getting used to losing you from this world.

Goodbye, my huckleberry friend. Rest in peace!


Time and time again, I have heard this familiar line….No Man is an Island,why, it’s even the title of a church song that I grew up with. It means that we do not exist alone in this world. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to be needy and clingy to someone but to complement and adjust with one another as we all go through life’s struggles and joys.

The singer Barbra Streisand sang it to the point. The song goes with this line—“People who needs people are the luckiest people in the world.” Unless you’re a loner, recluse or introvert by nature, mostly everyone is a sociable creature.

In good times, being in the midst of company is great but in bad and trying times,especially wiith dealing with people we don’t get along with as well as enemies, we may still need to go about any situation with them with  as little conflict as possible. One can learn from such folks who can offer another perspective to any life situation.

As the saying goes, Bring your friends close and your enemies closer to you

Whether in friendship or in politics,dealing with people is a neverending process. Not only that it makes you want to reach out to people to validate yourself as an individual but it also makes the other person  validated as well.

Just food for thought,mon ami!


Just recently, I saw a coupon displayed within the pages of my local paper’s weekend edtion. The coupon was for a discount for a single dine-in at a big Chinese restaurant near my place, specializing in buffets. The coupon is good for 3 months. If group discounts are desired, one has to call the restaurant ‘s reservation section to avail of it.

I found this quite surprising since I don’t recall any of the Chinese restaurants in my town  ever issuing  dining coupons.Fastfood places like McDonald’s,Burger King.etc.,yes,they do issue coupons, in fact, I always get them in my mailbox!

I started asking around and I was told by other foodies that because of the rising inflation nowadays, the dining-in traffic at this particular Chinese restaurant has started to slow down significantly. Not because of any lousy service or food but because it’s too expensive now to eat out.

Considering that one also has to pay the dining tax and give a tip to the waiter, I could see  what my co-foodies were talking about. Cheaper to just get take-out but nothing beats cooking your own meals.

Yet even the aspect of preparing your own food can be costly too since supermarket prices have been rising constantly too. Constant comparison shopping and if needed,couponing are keys to make sure affordable home-made meals can be a reality.

Obviously, what I’m seeing now is just one aspect of inflation and one sign of our current economic times.

In spite of this, I still believe that sometimes, one may still go for a nice sit-down meal in a restaurant to celebrate an occasion, share moments with friends or loved ones even on a casual basis or just for savoring the ambience of the place. That would be money well-spent in their minds because they’ll believe that enjoying life’s pleasures is important for one’s soul and dining out is one of them.

Bon apetit,mon ami!


Today,Sept. 21 is the last day of summer. The days are getting shorter and cooler now  though there would still be some heat pockets in between. The color of the leaves are now gradually changing color  and we’re now starting to layer our clothes when we go out .

Themes of the  harvest and preoccupation of making and serving warm and filling meals to dispel the chilly temperature are becoming more prominent now. Gradual preparations for the Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween next month are also underway.

I look at the last day of summer  this year 2012 (Sept. 21)as a period of transition  . 3/4’s of the year has already gone . My,how time flies quickly!

Make the most of today and build memories around it.




Living here in Canada, one would get exposed to elements of hockey whether on TV,billboards, games,tournaments, the NHL(National Hockey League),etc. Hockey undeniably is considered as Canada’s national sport. When news broke out that the NHL lockout has started this past weekend, I was thinking—again? The last one was in 2004-2005. Apparently the bone of contention was in the partition of $3 billion in  profits of the NHL management folks to have a 47% take and the rest with the NHL players union.

Unless I’m wrong, my understanding was that the players union said no-go thus, the eventual lockout, considering that the NHL season will be at least delayed for the next 2-3 months starting this month.

Even though I enjoyed watching the game of hockey, just the thought that the involved parties couldn’t agree on dividing the money among themselves can hardly draw me to sympathize with them.

They should remember that the hockey fans’ patronage of the games and their teams, souvenirs,etc. are what made the NHL league what they are now. Without the fans, the league doesn’t exist.

They owe it to the fans to approach these negotiations constructively so that we can move on to the next game.

If this gets  prolonged, some fans might become disillusioned and become disinfranchised, leaving only the die-hard fans who’ll still be around.

Gentlemen! PLease return to the bargaining table or your own sports future might become in jeopardy too!


With the recent onslaught of topless photos of Kate ,Duchess of Cambridge floating around in  some  European newspapers, I find it infuriating of the invasion of this  poor lady’s privacy. She didn’t deserve such lousy treatment .She didn’t hurt anyone and was just minding her own business. So disrespectful of those minions who are only out to get a quick buck!

Kudos to her husband Prince William,the Duke of Cambridge to come to her defense and lawsuits being filed as a result. A tipping point and a line was drawn on the sand. It’s now war  with the royals and the press!

I have a hunch that this storyline will be drawn out for a while but I’m hoping for the royal couple’s success in giving the guilty press people involved, their just desserts.

Press freedom also involves a certain degree of responsibility or else, it could lead to libel.

I hope that Kate’s determination and resolve to soldier on will not be wavered. It’s going to get pretty nasty before it dies down.

Just my 2 cents on this matter.


Recently, I bumped into a co-tenant of mine whom I haven’t seen in quite a while. She appeared very surprised that I could still remember her name. Reason was that she surrendered to the reality that people usually forget other people’s names and don’t bother to remember names at all anymore.

I told her that I’m blessed with a very good memory and as long as I still have it, I will give her the courtesy that she deserves. I always believe that the greatest compliment you can give someone is to remember their name and how that name’s pronounced. I was shocked, mon ami, when she gave me a great,big hug afterwards out of appreciation.

Sometimes, I do get called with a different name altogether by other people who want  to greet me by my name but through an honest mistake or mistaken identity, a different name comes out. If I’m really close to that person, I’ll gently with good humor, point it out. Now if I hardly encounter that person anyway, then I’ll do a judgment call depending on the situation.

It’s so sad to know that some  people are so preoccupied with so many things nowadays,  that simple name recall becomes cumbersome at times . They may not realize that they display a wrong  impression to others that they’re uncaring and not empathic of others. I wonder how they would feel if their names get forgotten by others?

I’m pretty sure that if one works for the United Nations, ,the foreign service or in the world of politics, name recall is important. It sets the right tone for diplomacy so as to wager peace and deals with one another in this ever interactive world. Even in friendship, this rule also holds.

Just remember this. There’s a saying that goes like this:” The sweetest sound to a person’s ears is the sound of his name.”

In my opinion, this saying reaffirms one’s recognition and validity of existence in this world and not out of conceit.



This past May, the Royal Canadian Mint had finished imprinting the last Canadian penny. Reason was that it was more costly to produce each penny than the price of the penny itself. All existing Canadian pennies will still remain in circulation for a while.They expect that it’ll all  eventually disappear from existence. Cash transactions in the future will probably involve rounding up change to the nearest nickel or dime or quarter since pennies by that time would be nonexistent. However, we were also told that if we use debit,credit or other cashless transactions to make purchases, it’ll still be whatever amount it is due,even to the last penny.No rounding up either. Huh?

By the way, that last Canadian penny is now on permanent exhibit at the Royal Canadian Mint  in Ottawa(the national capital of Canada) in the province of Ontario.

I know,mon ami, that we’re beginning to see more people carrying less cash for safety and convenience reasons and just bring out a plastic card to do a paying  transaction. That’s what a cashless society is now. With the gradually disappearing Canadian penny, it’ll be a challenge for any cash transaction here in Canada.

I personally am no avid coin collector but just for reasons of posterity, I have already kept a few shiny Canadian penny coins as souvenirs. If I can find one with the year 2012(final year of coin imprinting),so much the better too. Some other adventurous folks might string them into jewelry(earrings,pendants,bracelets,necklaces,rings,brooches,etc) but that’s another matter altogether.

From time to time, I do still see a penny lying on the sidewalk. As the saying goes, when you find one penny, make a wish and it’ll come true for you.

If I had to make a wish, I wish that the Canadian penny can still stick around. Oh,well. Live and let live.



It has been 11 years since that fateful day—Sept. 11,2001(9/11/01) when terrorists hijacked 4 U.S. domestic,commercial passenger airplanes while on flight  with plans to hit target points in suicide mission mode. 3 of the planes hit on 3 separate targets–2  at the World Trade Center  in NYC and 1 at the Pentagon Building in Washington,DC. The 4th plane(United Airlines Flight 93) didn’t reach its intended target in Washington,DC. We will never know which specific target  because the brave passengers of  United Airlines Flight 93 fought with the terrorists to the bitter end and was able to divert the plane to a farm field in Shanksville,Pennsyvania.

We all know all the horrifying details of that fateful day. We also know where we all were as these tragic events kept unfolding one by one that day. Aside from ongoing TV news coverage, with  the magic of technology,those passengers’ cellphone messages to their loved ones describe their ordeal and encounters with the terrorists. Because of those cell phone messages,air travel was never the same again. Not only for all airports in the United States but worldwide. New airline and airport security measures as well as high-tech surveillance equipment were implemented  and kept being updated through the years as the terrorists try new ways to outwit US airline authorities but weren’t successful because of astute intelligence gathering.

The Department of Homeland Security was created and intelligence data gathering was shared and coordinated with other agencies(FBI,CIA,Defense Dept,etc) so as to be one step ahead of terrorist networks.

Every year since then, we keep observing this specific date in memory of lives which were lost as well as the loss of innocence in one’s perspective that the world is no longer safe as it was.

And to think that on Sept. 11,2001,I remember it as a bright,cloudless Tuesday with nothing much in the news except that Michael Jordan, an NBA veteran is coming out of retirement.

It goes to show you,mon ami, that life is full of surprises. Things happen for a reason even during  this horrific period of time–a turning point in the 21st century. Whatever the reason, we may not know it now but perhaps in due time.

They say that experience is the best teacher. The Sept. 11 event was a very horrible experience. Whatever we learned from it is an ongoing process  through these years consisting of reacting, adapting and reflecting.

As I reflect on it  11 years later on this 11th day of September, the only way that we could do is to try to live our lives the way we want it to be but to be also cognizant of the fact that we have to be on alert just in case another intrusion like this(God forbid!) happens again.

Whether we like it or not, it’s the new normal,folks!