Updated: Dear IAMS Cat Food Company

Dear IAMS,

Please excuse any typos in this letter, I am rushing to get it done while my human has stepped out to the kitchen to make himself coffee. I have commandeered both his computer and blog to get in touch with you. My name is Ferguson, I am a ten-year old tabby cat. I like to say that I am a silver tabby, but truth be told I’m really more gray than silver, with a few tufts of ginger on my ample belly.

Since coming to live with my humans as a kitten I have enjoyed a number of your products, to the exclusion of all other foods, both feline and non. With the exception of a cat treat from time to time and, on special occasions, a piece of potato chip – for which I have developed an odd feline penchant –  for the last few years I have enjoyed dining on your Iams ProActive Health Indoor Weight & Hairball Care Dry Cat Food.

Old package on the left and new ‘made with chicken’ on the right

Recently my human brought home a new bag of said food and I was shocked to see that it now has a photo and text stating it is made with chicken. I am a cat with very discriminating tastes, as such I am not a fan of poultry, finding it quite fowl in fact. Has the product always been made with chicken? Have I been duped all this time? Is this the first step on the slippery slope to veganism? Will I ever get my old food back?

Here he comes … thanks for reading this.

Best,

Ferguson

By the way I am including a photo of myself should you want to feature it on your packaging.

****

I got a response from the folks at IAMS. I have been eating chicken all along and did not know it. Huh. Just the new package. Guess I’ll go have lunch.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

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No Need To Stand In a Hurricane

Every time there is a hurricane or tornado the same thing happens, and Hurricane Irma was no exception. Media outlets deploy to the region in masses and, as if we would not believe them, place correspondents outside in the elements.  When there is nothing happening these reporters can fill hours with background and warnings, but once the storm hits they essentially become human weather vanes. They are buffeted about by wind and rain, knocked over by gusts and often dodge projectiles such as street signs or windows. They stand there shouting, often inaudibly, while trying to stay upright.

Will it take a serious injury or death to put an end to this silliness? Lots of weather maps with meteorologists’ explanations and images of the storm are what gets the message across. No need to have a soaking wet Chris Cuomo or Anderson Cooper or Rosa Flores to convince me that there is bad weather.

My sympathies to those who braved the conditions, but I do not think there is fake weather!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Crosswalks and Speed Bumps; Not Interchangeable

The other day I watched out my apartment window as a woman with three children, all of whom appeared to be under six years old, crossed the street. This alone was not unusual as there is a school just down the street. She made a point of walking to the crosswalk and telling her kids about how to be a smart pedestrian and to cross at the crosswalk. Not that I could hear her, but it seemed to me that was what she was doing.

Off the sidewalk they stepped, all holding hands, and headed across the crosswalk only to have a rude driver sound his horn and shout at the woman. You see she evidently thought she was crossing on a crosswalk but was, in fact, crossing on a speed bump. Well intentioned but dangerously ill-informed.

Speed bump, not a crosswalk.

Traditionally in Montreal crosswalks are usually ignored by drivers with the few exceptions of new crosswalks that are well indicated with signs and flashing lights. One province over, in Ontario, they have instilled in drivers and pedestrians the importance of crosswalks. As is the case in Alberta pedestrians are told to approach the crosswalk, point across the street, check for cars and cross. A driver seeing a pointing pedestrian by a crosswalk must yield the right of way to them, anticipating their desire to cross the street. To try this method in Montreal would lead to a tragedy I fear (although it can be chucklesome to watch out-of-towners trying it only to be honked at).

To try this method in Montreal would lead to a tragedy I fear (although it can be chucklesome to watch out-of-towners trying it only to be honked at). 

In my neighbourhood many of the secondary residential side streets have speed bumps. Not those rubber things sometimes used at stop signs to make sure drivers stop, but mid-block asphalt ridges that are supposed to force drivers to pass over slowly or risk damage to their car. Although these bumps are painted yellow, they are about as far from a crosswalk as can be.

They don’t always have the desired effect however, as is evidenced by the occasional loud scraping sound as a car goes over too fast. Certainly this is no place to cross the street, let alone instruct children to do so.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Presidential Visits to Natural Disasters Cause More Trouble

President Obama’s motorcade UPI/Chip Somodevilla/POOL

They say that even a broken clock is right twice a day. In that vein I find myself in the awkward position of actually agreeing with President Trump and his choice to delay a visit to Houston. Those trying to deal with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas needed a presidential visit like a whole in the head.

Those trying to deal with the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas needed a presidential visit like a whole in the head.

In fact not only do I agree with Trump, but I also agree with the First Lady – must be something in the water! When she was leaving the White House she was wearing high-heeled shoes. During the flight she was raked over the coals for this fashion faux pas. Yet when she deplaned in Texas, lo and behold, she had switched to more appropriate natural disaster footwear.

(DOUG MILLS / NYT

This issue of how quickly a Governor or president pays a visit to the site of a natural disaster has become laughable. Stay where you are and sign big cheques to facilitate the work; let those on the ground do their thing,. Send in troops if deemed necessary, provide all aid at your disposal, but don’t clog up the procedure with a 19 vehicle motorcade.

I hate to be critical, but when the president does visit tomorrow, please do not, as the vice president did yesterday, engage in cheap, hokey photo ops showing you hauling away a couple of broken branches. We all know you’re only doing it for the press.

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Don’t Memorize, Write an Article

mem·o·rize
ˈmeməˌrīz/Submit
verb
commit to memory; learn by heart.

As my memory starts to play games with me I have taken to writing things down. Not just grocery lists and the like, but family history and lore. With two such memory-boosters developing from mere notes to published articles about my grandmothers.

 

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

School Principal’s Less Than Magnetic Personality

It’s the first day of school. As I have mentioned in another post, I don’t believe I ever returned to school before hearing Jerry Lewis close out his annual Labour Day telethon by singing You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Fifty years ago I was entering grade three. I still live around the corner from the school but it has changed so much any nostalgic feelings are quickly quashed.

The high school French teacher who moon lighted as a piano player in a bar. Most mornings he was still drunk or hung over, but worst he went to Mexico over the Christmas holidays and never returned

At this time of year I often think back to my school days. This year it struck me that although the vast majority of teachers I had, it is the lousy ones who I remember most. The high school French teacher who moon lighted as a piano player in a bar. Most mornings he was still drunk or hung over, but worst he went to Mexico over the Christmas holidays and never returned. A string of substitutes made preparation for province-wide 100% final exams dicey at best.

There were screamers and ranters along the way, perhaps trying to channel their emotions in the relatively new non-corporal punishment school environment. The old crack across the back of the head being no longer acceptable. I recall the principal coming to our grade two class to give a child the strap. He was a large over-weight oaf of a man who seemed to take pleasure in removing the weapon from his inside suit jacket pocket and applying it several times to the seven-year old’s hands. No Doubt hoping this little act would serve as a deterrent for the rest of us.

Returning to school after summer holidays for grade seven was like walking into a new dimension. No longer was it called grade seven, it was now Secondary One. And the small close-knit group of students who had been together, with some shifts of course, for six years had been overrun with students bussed in from other schools now close, the baby boom having run its course. But we adapted and came to know the new kids and formed new friendships, as children will do. But there was a bigger problem.

In all of my years of education, from grade school through graduate school, I cannot think of a more miserable cuss than this guy … to unleash this abhorrent man on youngsters was questionable.

With this influx of students, someone had the bright idea that the nun who had been the principal for many years would be easy prey (pray?!?) for these newcomers. So they brought in a new principal. In all of my years of education, from grade school through graduate school, I cannot think of a more miserable cuss than this guy. Had he been dealing with university-aged students it would not have posed a problem, but to unleash this abhorrent man on youngsters was questionable. He would have fit in well as a character in a Dickens novel had he been just marginally more human. His was not a magnetic personality.

He was a short balding beady-eyed man whose face would have cracked if he smiled, yet somehow remained intact when he sneered. One of his favourite methods of communicating with students in the corridors was to snap his fingers. God forbid a custodian should miss a scrap of paper as this would lead to the next student passing by to be snapped at, a finger pointed at the offending paper, indicating that the student was to pick up this trash and dispose of it. Not a friendly could you just pick that up chuck that in the wastepaper basket Jim, oh no, finger-snapping.

I do not know what became of him, nor do I really care. But I promise to give equal time to the many good educators I encountered in an upcoming post.

 

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

Leaking Keurig Coffee Maker Solved

Several years ago we received a Keurig mini-plus coffee maker. It has been used several times a day ever since, and we have had no trouble. That is until this summer. Out of apparently nowhere the maker started to leak coffee. Every cup that was brewed would result in a third to a half dribbling out of the maker onto the kitchen counter. Very frustrating.

I can’t claim to be very handy around the house, the sight of me with a hammer usually sends people running in all directions.

I went online and found that many folks have the same problem. There was no end of suggestions to fix the annoyance: from descaling with vinegar to removing and cleaning the rubber ring through which the water flows. All of this we did but with no luck. The pristine coffee maker still oozed coffee. My reaction was less than dignified.

I can’t claim to be very handy around the house, the sight of me with a hammer usually sends people running in all directions. But this had me flummoxed. Then, it hit me. One day while washing the Keurig reusable K-Cups (that always makes me think of a bra size – good God imagine enormity) that we use instead of the prepackaged coffee cups from various makers, I noticed that the three little things on the inside of the lid had, over the years, broken off. These things look like small dorsal fins.

The offending dorsal fins

I wondered if this could be the culprit, so off I went to buy some pre-filled cups of coffee. Back home I made a cup using the prepared pods and voila! no leakage. All that time looking for a solution to the coffee maker when the problem was the reusable cup.

How is it that no one else had posted about this online? I felt a true sensation of discovery.

So remember if your Keurig coffee maker leaks,  check your reusable K-Cups!

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+