an open letter to Maple Leaf Foods and Michael McCain

For those of you who do not live near me and have not been subjected to seeing the man’s face on your television screens about 25 times a night or reading his open letters in all the newspapers, Michael McCain (no relation to the guy south of the border who is running for president, as far as I know) is the President and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods.  As such, he is currently busy dodging flak dealing with the fact that several people have died eating meat from the Maple Leaf factory which had been tainted with listeriosis.

Dear Maple Leaf:

I do hope the families who have lost people find your recent messaging about the bacteria crisis which arose at your plant 97B comforting. For my part, I find Mr. McCain’s “heartfelt” expressions of sympathy combined with legal @$$-covering to be disingeneous and… well, rather annoying. A prime example of this new “we’re a corporation but we still care about YOU” trend.

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Given all of the talk in the media that it’s going to cost Maple Leaf at least $20million in reimbursements for product recall and God knows what else hush money for relatives of those who died eating some precooked pot roast other expenses related to this crisis, I was flabbergasted to see on CTV News last evening that experts predict there will be no long-lasting damage to you at Maple Leaf – partly, apparently, because of your crisis-management skills.

Colour me stupid, but I really don’t begin to understand how the world of high finance works. However, I do understand that most Canadians will not be buying anything made by Maple Leaf any time soon because of fears (whether justified or not) of contamination – and so it didn’t make sense to me that Maple Leaf would not take a hit.

Until, that is, I had a look at your website (http://www.mapleleaf.ca/Aboutus/default.aspx) and learned that you have some other holdings.   And – lo and behold! – one of those holdings is J.M. Schneider’s Foods!

If I sound catty, it’s because I detest all those Schneider’s Ads featuring an actor playing long-dead Old Man Schneider yakking on about how really Schneider’s is just like a family business, bla bla bla. However, I had also assumed that Schneider’s was actually your biggest competitor – given that they seem to sell the identical line of meats, bacon, frozen foods, etc. to you guys.  (Oh – and it was also interesting to learn that you own Dempster’s breads – so you’ve really got the baloney sandwich market covered here in Canada, eh?)

But instead, I guess that many of those people who want cold cuts but do not want to buy from Maple Leaf any more will end up changing to Schneider’s instead – especially in smaller centres where they lack the choice of goods that I enjoy here in Toronto.

So – and again, I’m rather daft about things financial – it seems to me that you might well end up with more money in your collective pockets as a result of this food scare at Maple Leaf.  But then again, I’m no economist. 

I am, however, someone with a relatively high bullshit meter.   So, phrases like the following, which I read in Mr. McCain’s open letter to the world his customers this morning, make me see red:

This is the toughest situation we’ve faced in 100 years as a company.  We know this has shaken your confidence in us.  I commit to you that our actions are guided by putting your interests first.

As long as “your interests” involve tossing out everything in the deep freeze from Maple Leaf and replacing it with Schneider’s, I guess, eh?

Well, my interest now officially include never buying anything produced by your various outfits again, quite frankly – not because of the bacteria but because I find your approach to the situation rather cynical and calculated.  This might mean I never get to eat cold cuts or bacon again, given that you seem to control the supply. Given my addiction to fondness for bacon in large quantities, this will be not be easy. But I will survive, I’m sure.

And, I would suggest that you, Mr. McCain, amend your little “open letter” to make the link between you and Schneiders a tad more clear. Something like “Our biggest competitor, whom we own, will be happy to take care of your ongoing food needs” would suffice.

Yours very truly,

Kristina M. Brouhaha

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why there will be no PayDay excursion today…

No, this is not an ad for the upcoming summer knitting chick-flick film blockbuster entitled “How Blue Was My Valley”.  I can only wish.

Instead, this is a photo of only one of the yarns that I forgot… yes, forgot!… that I had in the stash.   It was like Christmas in (almost) July when I finally got around to sorting out the stash room yesterday, let me tell you.

I should mention that I think most of the yarns I will show in this post were purchased within the past year (or so say the vague flickers of my brain when I was struggling to remember whether I had actually bought this stuff, or whether the Yarn Fairy had been overly generous of late.  I know – nay, I hope – that the knitters who visit this board will understand this ongoing problem of moment-specific amnesia that I apparently suffer from.  That is, I buy the stuff, I photograph it, I post yarn pron on my blog and then the yarn actually ceases to exist.  Hmm.

Anyway, first in the roll call of Great Forgotten Yarns: this gorgeous Handmaiden Lace Silk!

Two skeins of it!  I’m racking my brains trying to remember what it was for.

Next, a skein of Sea Silk in a forgotten colourway:

I do recall that I bought this relatively recently… but that’s it.  I don’t know where.

And next?

Ah, yes.  This one, I remember.  Phew.  I acquired this on a trip to Knitomatic – I went there frantically after work one day, having decided that I just had to make a geometric rib-fronted sweater by Norah Gaughan right then.  I could have bought something more pedestrian like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, but also just had to have some cashmere.  This was at least five months ago.

And this?

Again, another must-have from Knitomatic.  It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?  It certainly doesn’t deserve to languish, forgotten and unloved, in my stash pile of stuff on the floor drawer…

Man, my back is starting to get sore what with all the self-flagellation, really.  I had even managed to forget about this:

Schaefer Anne in perhaps the most beautiful colour ever.

And what’s this, then?

Ah, yes – some Berocco suede that I was desperate for longer ago than I care to remember.  I entered a swap with Natalie to get my hot little hands on it. I was going to make the Snapping Turtle Skirt by Norah Gaughan with it…

And, finally this:

More forgotten Lace Silk!  And again, two skeins.  I have no clue when I bought this, where it came from, etc.

And actually, I must confess… that isn’t really the “finally” item.  There are more photos – but I’m starting to get rather embarrassed.  As I was, by the way, when JJ ignored the crime scene tape that I had glued the stash room door shut with while cleaning and came in to see me surrounded by … well, yarn.  I then told him that I had forgotten buying much of it (all right, all right… I then confessed that I must have been in a trance when I bought half of the stuff that he saw surrounding me on the floor).  He just shook his head and, thankfully, left.

You may have noticed that I had taken most of the photos on top of a piece of graph paper with scrawls on it.  That was my attempt to catalogue the stash.  I soon gave up… but the list does document:

– eight skeins of Malabrigo laceweight (each around 500m)

– nine skeins of Fiddlesticks laceweight (each 600m)

– nine skeins of Misti Alpaca regular laceweight (each 400m)

– seven skeins of Misti Alpaca Handpaints laceweight (each 800m)

– eight skeins of Blue Moon Silk Thread (each 1100m)

– two skeins of Claudia lace thread (each 1100m)

And, that’s without the Handmaiden.  And, that’s also only laceweight stuff.  It does not take into account the Super10 stash (which now has its very own container) or other lovely stuff like the milk yarn that Amy had so kindly sent me some time back… or the lovely yarn from Clarabelle (not naming the provenance as it is very, very hard to come by and my UK blog friends are having problems getting enough for their own needs).

Plus, it appears that I now officially have enough laceweight yarn to cover Canada with lace.  And, in case you weren’t aware, Canada is a very, very large country indeed.

So, that’s it.  No more PayDay excursions for a while.  And yes, I know I’ve said this before, but this time I mean it.  Really.

Off now to phone the insurance company to up my household coverage…

Cheers,

Kristina

PS.  And, no, Amy – you can’t have my yarn.  Sorry.

a parable for the 21st Century

Well, gang – being as it’s Saturday and I’m recovering from a drinking session with the gnomes busy at housework, I thought I’d reprise a post that I put up on another blog I started in a blog binge last month.

So, if any of you have read it on the other blog, my apologies and I’ll be back tomorrow with more gnome adventures (there’s a new member of the Gnome family!!!) and maybe even some photos of knitting.

And, JJ and I are off later today on a trip to Michael’s craft superstore.  Yippee!

Now for my little fable.  WARNING/AVERTISSEMENT/ACHTUNG: if you are a member of the Conservative Party… well, read at your peril.  And don’t whine to me that you weren’t warned!

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There is a land far, far north of where most people live, and in that land is a little fiefdom called Kanadha. Many people flocked to Kanadha, even though it was a fiefdom, because it was one of the best and brightest places in the world.

However, Kanadha mostly exists in the shadow to its neighbour to the south, Murca. Murca is far larger than Kanadha and is run by a group of dictators known as the Archconservative Party. This is their leader, Exalted Ruler Godfrey. However, Mr. Godfrey prefers to be known as “God” – and this is what most of his people call him (although some of them give him the surname “Damn” underneath their breath).

This is a rare photo of God wearing evening dress. God doesn’t like wearing tuxedos, actually, because he likes to pretend to be a man of the people. However, from time to time he finds his tuxedo a useful tool to intimidate visiting dignitaries, such as The Right Honourable Steve.

Oops, sorry – wrong photo. This is actually the Father of Confederation, Sir John Eh?. However, the new guy, Steve is the current Supreme Lord and Master of Kanadha. He spends most of his time drinking, lying to his serfs and forcing the other nobility to keep silent about whatever it is he is up to, for example, hanging out with suspicious characters:

This is his way of emulating God, with whom he pretends to be best friends. No one is sure whether he actually believes this to be the case or not.

One thing is certain though – Steve has allowed God to scare him about the possibility of harm from this man, Lucifer.

Now, no one knows very much about Lucifer at all. According to God and Steve, Lucifer is a lawless type who hates Murca and should therefore be extinguished. However, people in Kanadha and Murca are not quite sure where he lives, what he believes in, and even whether this army exists or not. (God and Steve might actually know the truth – but if they do, they certainly have not been sharing it with their people).

Despite this, lots of money is spent every year by both Murca and Kanadha to engage in combat like activity far, far away in countries where Lucifer may or may not be found.

In Kanadha, they get the money for this fighting from people like this:

This is taxpayer John Doe. He is just one of millions of Kanadhonians who pay lots of tax money every year to Steve and the rest of the lords. He doesn’t really know where all of that money goes, as that is secret information known only to Steve and his Inner Circle of other nobility.

(It should be noted that In Kanatha, there is currently no right for taxpayers like John to vote. John doesn’t really think that is a big deal because he never voted when it was allowed anyway. Having said that, he does like complaining, though.

People like John, however, typically do not complain about the people in charge, because it’s easier to blame other people like themselves for all the problems in Kanadhian society. Steve encourages this, because it distracts the people and helps them forget that they are actually living in a fiefdom.)

Here are some other taxpayers, Quack and Daisy Duck:

You may have noticed that Quack and Daisy look quite different from one another, and from John Doe. This is because Kanadha is a multicultural fiefdom, although the Lords and Masters all still look like Steve (and like God, for that matter).

Quack and Daisy are hardworking types who don’t really have a lot of time to question what is going on in the wider world. Or maybe they just don’t care.

But that’s not a very kind thing to suggest, really, because I’m sure they’re busy looking after their two kids.

First up: Tina Duck.

Tina is still a young, naive little thing who doesn’t quite understand yet how the world works. Sometimes, especially after being picked on at school because her parents look different from one another, she wonders why everyone just can’t get along.

Everyone, that is, except her and her little brother, that is:

This is Brat Duck. He’s prone to stealing Tina’s crown and running around with it for kicks. He also squawks loudly, sometimes incessantly. This makes him potentially much better suited to get on in the fierdom and the wider world than Tina, unfortunately.

And finally, there is me, your humble chronicler, (Kris)tina.

I live in a place very much like Kanadha. It’s called Trana.

In Trana, unlike in Kanatha and Murca, there is no supreme being. Oh, wait, I’m wrong: of course there is a supreme being in Trana – the Almighty D*llar.

And here I must confess that I actually misled you a bit above. In fact, the Almighty D*llar is also the Supreme Being in both Kanadha and Murca. God and Steve just pretend to be the top entities, really.

I’m not allowed to show you photos here, just as I am not allowed to type out the name in full without changing a letter. However, in Kanadha one version of the Almighty D*llar looks like this, and in Murca like this. The version that you buy things with is referred to as a “dollar”.

As you can see, the Almighty D*llar is a shapeshifter which presents Itself amongst the rulers and mortals who spend their lives in search of it in various forms. And these days, you need at least one hundred of them to buy anything that you need.)

Trana is not a fiefdom, but some – nay, most – days it’s hard for me to believe that.

So, I just content myself with fondling luxury silk yarn, smoking cigarettes and indulging in general apathy like everyone else surrounding me.

Sigh.