Dan Kalmar



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Drinker of tea, doer of things at ShopLocket.



Climate Change

It’s time to get realistic about climate change. It’s getting harder to say that humans don’t have some impact on the warming of the globe. The high majority of scientists seem to be on board about the idea that global warming is a man-made phenomenon. If scientists, on an issue of science, are saying that it’s true, then I’m probably going to believe in their opinion over you. Sorry about that.

The fact of the matter is that the earth’s average temperature is rising and that seems to be because of the pollution that we’re creating. Even if you don’t agree with that, it’s even tougher to argue that our pollution isn’t causing less breathable air, less drinkable water and an all around less liveable planet. I’m not saying that we stop everything all together. I’m not advocating that we go back to living like cavemen and stop all pollution in its track cold-turkey. But what I am advocating is change. At the very least in baby steps.

Everyone wants a quick fix. I know I do. I’d love it if we could just build some big machine that could clean up everything and we could keep living the way we have been living. But that isn’t going to happen. The real way that we’re going to change the affects of global climate change is through personal sacrifices and a little hard work. It’s like dieting. The answer to losing weight isn’t in some magic pills; the answer is in eating right and exercise. It’s a lifestyle change that’s needed.

President Obama’s deal in Copenhagen was far from an amazing deal. In fact, it wasn’t really a deal. It was more of a goodwill promise between nations. But at least it’s a start. I wasn’t expecting a clear cut 100% solid agreement signed by all major nations to come out of a one week climate conference. Certainly more needs to be outlined about sustainable ways to cut CO2 emissions and to lower the global temperature. We need to find ways to make sustainable energy and cut our dependence on foreign oil. We need to find ways to make our planet more liveable. I want to make money as much as the next person, but I want a liveable world that I can spend it in. So what if we do really make the world a better place and we find out that global warming was all a scam?

Photo Credit: Pett, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate, for USA TODAY

Photo Credit: Pett, Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader, Cartoonists and Writers Syndicate, for USA TODAY


I Cheer for the Underdog

I’ve got a secret. I’m not sure I should tell anyone because it really seems that I’m the only one who knows this, but I guess I’ll tell. You are not the only one who cheers for the underdog in sporting events. Everyone does.

If your team isn’t playing, you always cheer for the underdog, that’s just what is supposed to be done. But for some reason everyone believes that they are the only one doing it. “Oh, I guess I’m going to cheer for New Orleans in this Super Bowl, I always cheer for the underdog. I’m different like that.” No sir, this makes you exactly like everyone else.

People love the underdog story, that’s why movies like Rocky do so well. Nobody seems to like the favourite unless it’s their team, but for some reason everyone thinks that they’re the only one that thinks that way. Even Peyton Manning’s cheering for New Orleans today.


Baby Steps

We are now three weeks into the New Year and I bet most people have already given up on any resolutions they may have set. If you haven’t already given up, by this time next month you probably will have. But there are a few people who have kept up with their resolutions and will continue all year; and hopefully they’ll continue past this year. Some of those people are just determined people who want to see a positive change in themselves. But most people that continue their resolutions do so because their resolutions tend to have one consistent trait: they’re simple.

So many people at the end of December make a resolution to do something drastic. “This year, I’m going to work out for two hours every single day.” “I’m never going to eat any more junk food!” But by the end of the first week they’ve found that they’re too busy to go to the gym two hours every single day. Or they find that with Pringles, once you pop, you actually can’t stop.

Resolutions shouldn’t come at the start of every year; they should come whenever you want to bring about a change in yourself. It makes sense why so many people set them in December. The end of the year reminds each of us of how quickly time passes and how we should be seizing every moment. But you can bring about a change in yourself any time of the year. The key is to just do it in baby steps.

Most people want to read more. Some set vague goals that they’re going to read a book a month, so they buy twelve new books that serve as paper weights for the remainder of the year. Other people say that they are going to read perhaps two hours every Sunday, but then never get around to it because they have too many other things to do on Sunday. So rather than reading a large amount of time on one day a week, just read fifteen minutes every day. As busy as you are, most people can find fifteen minutes every day to read, even on your busiest day. Wake up fifteen minutes earlier or go to bed fifteen minutes later. If you can’t even find fifteen consecutive spare minutes in the day, break it into three five minute increments. If it takes you two minutes to read a page (a conservative estimate) then you’ll read about seven pages a day. That’s almost fifty pages a week and two hundred pages per month. That’s about a book a month. If you can find thirty minutes (or three ten minute breaks) you can read two books a month.

But it doesn’t have to just be with reading. Take fifteen minutes every day to learn a new language or learn a new hobby. Those fifteen minutes will add up to you making the most of your New Year. If last year you had just taken fifteen minutes every day to read, you could have read twelve more books. That’s twelve more topics that can serve as clever anecdotes at a cocktail party or at the water cooler. That could be twelve more topics that relate to your work that can get you that promotion you’ve been vying for. If you had just taken fifteen minutes every day over the past year, you could have made that difference. Looking back on your last year honestly, most people would agree that they could spare fifteen minutes every day. Just remember it this way: a year from now you’re going to wish you had started this today. So do it. It just takes fifteen minutes. It just takes baby steps.


Flu Shot: Ain’t no Fun if the Doctors Can’t Get One

I think I’m going to stop getting the flu shot. I’ve had the flu shot three of the past four years and I’ve found that I’ve gotten sick just as often whether or not I got the shot. That’s not why I’m going to stop getting it. I’m not even going to stop getting it because I’m worried about the mercury level or that the government is trying to control my mind with the flu shot. The real problem is that doctors don’t seem to be getting the flu shot.

That bothers me. Not that I think it’s some sort of massive conspiracy, but just the fact that if medical professionals aren’t getting it, then why should I? If doctors are going to be promoting it, then they should be getting it. It’s like a celebrity promoting a product that they wouldn’t personally use: it just isn’t right. If you aren’t going to use it, don’t tell me to use it. The problem for me is that if they aren’t getting it, then they obviously believe that it isn’t worth their time, so why is it worth my time?


Close Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hockey

As a Canadian, I feel like I have to like hockey. I feel like I’m genetically designed to enjoy the game, but the truth is that I don’t. I used to love hockey. I played road hockey as a child, although admittedly never ice hockey, and even enjoyed watching it on TV. But then I just stopped enjoying it. I love watching the NBA or NFL. Hell, I’ll even watch a baseball game now and then, but for some reason I’ve just lost my enjoyment for hockey.

There are a lot of things that bother me about the game. A great deal of them aren’t even about the game itself, but more about the NHL in general. I wholeheartedly believe that the NHL is by far the worst run of the big four professional sports leagues in North America.

The problem that I’m going to address for today: why do you get a point if you lose in overtime? I can’t for the life of me understand why you would award a team a point for losing. Congratulations, you made it to overtime. Apparently, that is an accomplishment. So much so, that even if you lose the game, you’ll still get a least one point. FOR LOSING. I thought the point of sports was winning? Don’t we award championships to teams who win? If you lose in overtime, you still lose. That’s why it’s called an overtime loss, not an overtime sort-of-win-but-not-really. If you take it to overtime and lose, I hate to break it to you, but it’s a loss. It’s a loss in the NBA, it’s a loss in the NFL and it’s a loss in the MLB. You want to add an asterisk saying that you at least took it to overtime? Fine. Just don’t reward them for it. It will also take away from the people who believe that if a team is 15-15-5 that they’re at “.500” because they have fifteen wins and fifteen losses. Actually, no, you have fifteen wins and twenty losses. You just for some reason got awarded for five of those losses because apparently they were a little less embarrassing than a regulation loss.

The NHL has a long way to go before it can be considered a well run business, at least by my standards. But little things like this need to be improved to win me back as a fan. Oh well, at least I’ll give them a point for trying.


Tails Never Fails

Imagine that a team has been down the whole game and battled back to tie things up. Or maybe the game has been close the whole time and it’s heading into overtime. Both teams are excited; so are the fans. You’re expecting to see two teams play the game of their lives in overtime to win the game. Then one team wins the coin toss, has one mediocre play and kicks a field goal. The game is over. Wow, that was terrible.
NFL overtime sucks. Let’s face it. You’ll have a hard time finding someone who actually likes the NFL overtime system.

The slight majority of the time, the team that wins the coin toss wins the game. That means that more often than not, you’re putting your fate in your ability to guess the result of a coin toss (tails never fails, by the way).

But the remaining times it doesn’t happen on the first possession. Sometimes you get to see two or three mediocre possessions and then someone kicks a field goal to win. Terrible. Just terrible.

There are three ways that the NFL can change their overtime to make it better:
1) No field goals
Make it so that you have to get a touchdown to win the game. Field goals are for quitters.
2) College style overtime
This is really the best option. Each team starts in their opponent’s territory. The first team gets a possession of the football and then the second team gets a possession of the football to try to match their opponent’s score to keep the overtime going, or better the score to win it. If they don’t at least match the score, they lose. Each team gets an equal opportunity to win. You aren’t basing winning off the luck of the coin toss and it isn’t gimmicky like the NHL’s shootout. The team that wins deserves to win.
3) Flip a coin
Seriously, this would be better than the current system. More often than not it comes down to this anyways, so just end it there. Save me the disappointment of having to see a field goal.


Don’t Sell Tiger

Tiger Woods screwed up. He had the love of a beautiful woman and children, the respect of fellow athletes, admiration from millions of people and more money than he knows what to do with. He knows he screwed up; he doesn’t need to hear it from me or you.

Throughout his career, Tiger has been virtually squeaky clean. He’s never had any cheating scandals or suspicions of drug use. But then he screwed up. Well actually, he screwed up ten to fifteen times, if you believe all of the women coming forward.

Despite the fact that Tiger screwed up, it doesn’t take away from anything that he has done throughout his career. When a baseball player tests positive for steroids, people can question every record they have set and every homerun that they have ever hit. But when it’s a personal scandal, you can’t question him on a professional level. That’s exactly what Accenture is doing when they dropped Tiger: they’re letting a personal problem affect their professional decision. There are much worse things that celebrities have done that would warrant this type of action. Now let me make it clear: I think what Tiger did is despicable. It’s terrible to cheat on your wife, especially when you have children. But what he did in his personal life doesn’t affect what he’s done on the professional level and it doesn’t reflect on what he’s done during the rest of his life. The man messed up. He knows that. But that doesn’t make him a terrible human being, all it makes him is just that: a human being.

Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, Tiger’s biggest sponsor, has announced that they’re going to continue to stick with Tiger through these difficult times for two reasons. First, because of everything that Tiger has done for them in the past. Second, because Tiger’s actions, while wrong, are only going to be a slight blemish on an otherwise great career and life. Tiger has done amazing things in the game of golf. He has won so many tournaments and, more importantly, made so many people watch the game. On a personal level, he hasn’t been a terrible person. While cheating on his wife was a mistake, it was blip on a great life. Let’s face it, even with cheating on his wife, Tiger’s still a much better person than most of the people that are calling for his head.

Accenture clearly doesn’t want to be seen as condoning someone who cheats on their wife. That’s certainly understandable. But if acts of infidelity are cause enough for you to stop sponsoring a celebrity, you aren’t going to have many to choose from.

No companies should be dropping Tiger Woods anytime soon. When you invest in a stock, you invest in the company. Nothing goes up in a straight line. If the stock takes a bit of a dive, but the company at its heart is still a good company, you don’t sell it. You ride it out. Don’t sell Tiger.


Just set it and forget it!

I have a guilty pleasure. Well actually I don’t feel guilty about it at all. I love watching infomercials. I never buy any of the products, but I love to watch them. They are so terribly bad that it makes it entertaining to watch. I don’t care if it’s for a home gym or for a set of steak knives, they always rock my world. Last night I watched an infomercial for the Flavorwave Oven. Essentially it’s like a small oven that cooks food quickly from frozen. The best part about it was that Mr. T was on the program endorsing it. I was sceptical about buying a $120 plastic oven, until I saw one of the lead characters from The A-Team. Then I was sold. The infomercial brought out all the terrible clichés of infomercials that I love…

The Slogan:
The greatest slogan of all infomercials is ‘Just set it and forget it!’, but their’s was very different and original: ‘Just set it to cook and you’re off the hook!’. I heard this about forty times in the thirty minute program. At the start of the program, they had a bunch of frozen food and after the woman told Mr. T (whom she referred to as Mr. T, instead of his real name) that he could choose what he wanted to eat, he replied, “I pity the fool who has to eat this frozen food”. I kid you not, that’s what he said. Now that’s a good slogan.

The Audience:
Periodically, after a demonstration, the camera will pan to the audience to show audience members nodding their heads and saying something to the person beside them. They must be amazed!

The ‘Does this happen to you?’:
They’ll always have examples of things that are supposed to happen to you every day, and how their product solves those problems. In order to help you understand what is good and bad, the problems will occur in black-and-white, then, all of a sudden there will be colour as their product appears and all of your problems will be solved. Thanks. I couldn’t figure it out without the colour change.

The price comparison:
In this infomercial, they compared the oven to industrial sized oven that you might find in a restaurant. Why not compare it to an oven that you might find in your home? It’s still considerably cheaper. That’s like trying to sell people a car by saying that it’s cheaper than a private jet.

The payments:
After telling you that it’s cheaper than something considerably better, they then tell you the best part. Not only will you not pay $45 million like you would for a private jet, but you won’t pay $20 million or even $5 million. No. You’ll only pay $2 million for this Bugatti. But wait. If you call within the next twenty minutes (or ever), we’ll knock one full payment off! You’ll only pay $1.5 million for it!

Many people just change the channel when they see an infomercial come on. Not me. How could I pass up the opportunity to witness one of television’s greatest moments? Next time you see one on TV, I hope you stop and watch. But don’t buy anything. It’s all crap.


Knock Knock. Who’s there? My doorbell.

In 1831, a great man named Joseph Henry invented the doorbell. He did it because he hated it when people knocked on his door and he couldn’t hear it [citation needed]. Even though the doorbell has been around for over 175 years, some people still don’t realize that it has been invented.

If my door looks like this:

  Then by all means, knock.

But since it looks like this:

For the love of God, don’t knock on my door.

“But Dan, what if the doorbell is broken?”

1) Shut up.
2) If I don’t come after two rings, then knock on the door.

This is the only situation in which knocking on my door is acceptable. I have basic electricity.

Knocking on a door instead of using a doorbell is like taking the stairs instead of taking the elevator. You should only do it if you’re looking for the exercise, or if you’re an idiot.


Fuck Your Life

Fuck your life. Seriously, you probably have the worst life imaginable. You had to do homework today; fuck your life. You stubbed your toe; fuck your life. Nothing could possibly be worse.

If you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic. I’m really good at it.

Odds are, your life is not that bad, not nearly enough to warrant you to say, “fuck my life”. 1.3 billion people live on less than a dollar a day, but you had a fight with your parents. Fuck your life.

The term “fuck my life” should only be used in two situations. The first is when something seriously terrible has happened to you.

Today, I had to break the news to my husband that I had miscarried our first child. To which he replied, “Thank God” and told me he wanted a divorce. FML

The second is when something hilariously bad has happened to you, and you feel like sharing it with the world.

Today, my boyfriend told me he couldn’t hang out with me because he felt really sick. I went to his house anyway to surprise him with homemade soup. I walk in to his room only to find him hooking up with my sister. She can’t drive, our mom drove her there. FML

Your life really isn’t that bad. No one really cares about the small challenges that you faced throughout the day. If they did, they’d ask.

You told me your problems and I didn’t ask. FML.