Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Blanche Report: Dhaka, Tremblay & Flight Attendants

We have not needed the barf bag for a while. Today we needed it when we heard about Loblaws putting out a public letter of condolence to the families in Dhaka Bangladesh. That’s where a huge building collapsed, killing at least 200 hundred people. That building housed many different factories, one of them doing work for the Joe Fresh line of clothing.

What happened there is years in the making, beginning right here in our own city. The governments –  provincial and federal – can take a bow together for destroying the textile industry in Canada. Yes, the unions took over and the cost of doing business here became prohibitive. But the government had a large hand it the destruction and does to this very minute. Seems they are not done yet and will only be happy when there is nothing left here.

We are the furthest thing from a bleeding heart liberal, but there’s something wrong with purchasing t-shirts that cost about $10 or $12 each. They are called ‘throw-away’ clothes. Literally. Worn a few times and thrown away. The makers of that clothing in Bangladesh and other Asian countries earn about 23 cents a day or $37 a month. Did you know that China is now outsourcing to Bangladesh because their salaries have become to high?

There is no easy answer here, but putting out a letter of condolence to the families in Dhaka nauseating. It was done purely  to keep people buying their line of clothing. What do you say – will the people in Dhaka read that press release? Pass the barf bag.

Beginning today, Montreal’s ex mayor, Gerald Tremblay is testifying at the Charbonneau commission. He said he’s not naive, did not know what was going on all around him vis-a-vis the corruption from top to bottom and trusted those to whom he gave tasks to do. He probably didn’t know that every person around him was corrupt. So then he can’t say he’s naive. He can’t have it both ways. Didn’t he find it strange that overpasses were collapsing, the infra-structure was crumbling, St. Laurent blvd was being re-done year after year? Come on…

Here are some things flight attendants won’t say to you:
It’s pretty simple. The lavatory door is not rocket science. Just push.
I’m not your maid. Put your carry-on in a full overhead bin, leave it sticking out six inches, then take your seat at the window and wait for someone else (me!) to come along and solve the physics problem you just created.
We love this one: Guess what? You’re not alone on the plane: Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there are other people on the airplane besides you. So don’t clip your toenails, snore with wild abandon, or do any type of personal business at your seat.
Pay Attention to What’s going on around you: If you hear us paging for a doctor, or see us running around with oxygen, defibrillators and first aid kits, that’s not the right time to ask for a blanket or a Diet Coke. Doink.

No surprise here. The brothers in Boston had decided to go to New York to wreak more havoc and destruction in Times Square.
Not sure when they were going to do that as they didn’t leave Boston right after the marathon bombings. Not the brightest chips in the box – thank goodness.

The parents were interviewed recently. Ever hear of the saying the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Seems to apply here. The mother is either a total nutcase or is taking advantage of her five minutes of fame. She wants to come to the states but is debating whether she should travel to the US because she faces federal shoplifting charges. She then went on to say her sons are innocent. Maybe someone should enlighten her that the younger one already admitted his guilt.

The father says he’s going to America in the next day or two but never bought a ticket. Maybe someone should get him a carpet to fly on. Oh, wait a minute, he already has a carpet.

If you happen to be on the subway in New York, here’s a little piece of information. Your cell phone will work in Manhattan from 14th to 96th street. It won’t work in Queens and mid-town east. If you’re on the train in those places, you either read a book or look at all the beauties around you.

Good Shabbos,

We’ll talk

The Blanche Report: Corporate Runs, Glamping, Hacking

Associated Press was hacked today.  A false tweet was sent ostensibly from AP, saying that the White House had been hit by two explosions and that Barack Obama was injured. The result? The stock market crashed 143 points upon hearing the news. Once it was determined that nothing was true, the market recovered.

One trader expressed what happened: “My initial reaction before I realized it was a fake tweet was the same horrible feeling I had when I worked at the top of the New York stock exchange when planes hit the World Trade Center. When I realized it was a fake tweet, I was outraged and ashamed that the market was able to be manipulated so easily.” Not much more to say here.

Ever hear of glamping? Didn’t think so. Glamping is glam camping!
Don’t you worry dere Blanche, we’re not going camping – glam or not. We ain’t swattin no mosquitoes all night. Back to glamping….

You get back to nature in a glam way by staying in luxury cabins or tents and all your meals are five star. While glamping you can indulge in spa treatments, horseback riding, fly-fishing, and many other activities done in a rather civilized way. Where can you do this, you ask? In The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough Montana.

Of course there’s the flip side of glam camping. You can find that in Shady Dell, Brisbee Arizona. Jen and Justin run an ‘inspiring’ campsite consisting of restored aluminum travel trailers, each one with a different theme. You can stay in the Chris Craft Yacht, which is an actual restored boat complete with champagne in the fridge or  The “Polynesian Palace” which has its own hand-carved outrigger bar, so there’s no need to worry about driving home after having a few too many. Don’t you love America?

Don’t you sometimes wonder which planet some Quebecers live on? North America is still reeling from what happened in Boston last Monday and what could have happened on a train going from Toronto to New York. But here in la Belle Province? Some are trying to take down municipal bylaw P6 that bans people from wearing masks at protests and requires organizers to submit their itineraries to police.

As we have heard over the airwaves, it is the norm in every other city to have to submit the route of the protest to the police both to protect the public and the protesters. Re the masks… it is almost too idiotic to comment on. If one has enough passion to go out and protest for something, then they should be proud to show their face, not slink around hiding behind a mask. Small minded, stupid, people.

So who is Paul Kevin Curtis?
Well, he’s one of the best Elvis Presley impersonators around. He was also accused, last week, of  sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and others. Guess what? After checking out his house, the FBI could not find one speck of ricin. He was let go and all charges dropped. Oops.

On Thursday there’s going to be a corporate run in downtown Miami. Backpacks, gym bags and large bags will not be allowed. Runners were told they need to plan ahead and leave their bags behind at home or the office. Welcome to the new normal.

We’ll talk…

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/23/3359731/bags-not-allowed-at-corporate.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/04/23/3359731/bags-not-allowed-at-corporate.html#storyl

The Blanche Report: Boston, The Princess and Les Habs

Since we have been writing the Blanche Report there have been a few times when we felt that events of the week did not lend itself to writing about anything but what had happened. We felt that perhaps we were diminishing whatever had occurred.

 

After listening, as well all did, to accounts of what happened in Boston yesterday – which unless one was there is almost impossible to fathom – we decided that not to carry on would allow whoever perpetrated this act to win. Later in the day we read an account of a bombing in Israel where the very next day people were sitting in the same cafe where a bomb had detonated, sipping a coffee and reading newspaper accounts of what had happened. Of course their hearts were heavy. Of course they were affected. But…

 

Our world changes by the minute. Most of those minutes we don’t even notice. The ones that stand out must remain with us. We must pray for those maimed and injured yesterday. We must counter the evil perpetrated with goodness and kindness. Call someone who may be lonely. Smile at someone you don’t know. We must soldier on.

Princess pauline who has apparently sold her mansion on Ile Bizard and bought a nice little condo in the St. Regis in old Montreal. The cost? A cool $2.5 million. Not bad eh?

One more little ditty about the princess. It appears it’s a good thing if you know her. Jean Yves Duthel who is close friends with both the princess and her husband has  been appointed as Investissement  – Québec’s representative in Munich. He will be making  $92,000 a year – which of course you will be paying.

The upside is that he speaks German. The downside? The chief electoral officer has charged Duthil with providing illegal funds to Vision Montreal in 2008. His trial is still pending. Ooops. 

One thing that will undoubtedly result from what happened in Boston is there will be a massive influx of street cameras. Of course they are already there, but as the saying goes, and pardon the pun, you ain’t seen nothin yet. Every corner of every intersection will have cameras. The days of going out without makeup, hiding behind sunglasses are coming to an end.

The thing that will probably disappear are trashcans. They have started to remove them from the streets of Washington DC and we would guess that Boston and New York are next. If you are the least bit imaginative, now’s the time to invent personal portable trash bags.

We hope that you did not have to fly American Airlines today.
They grounded all of their flights after the inability to access its reservations system, called Sabre. The electronic system is responsible for bookings and reservations but also manages a wide variety of functions related to flights. An outage meant gate agents could not print boarding passes, for instance. Some people were stuck for long stretches on planes on the runway unable to take off or, having landed, initially unable to get to a gate. Oy.

And finally, although Les Canadiens have made to the playoffs, they are stinking out the city with their second straight loss in two games. They had to pull the goalie in both instances. Uh, could someone please tell those dudes that they get paid for the whole rest of the season –  going right till the end of the playoffs. Now’s not the time to go on vacation.

We’ll talk…

The Blanche Report: Israel & Hackers, Margaret Thatcher, Wikileaks, Duck!

Anti-Israel hackers attempted to pull down Israeli sites over the weekend, with numerous attempted denial of service (DDoS) attacks against Israeli government sites. A denial of service attack is designed to bring a network to its knees by flooding it with useless traffic. Nearly all the sites the hackers claimed to have taken down were operating normally. We saved the best part for last:
Israeli hackers began to retaliate against the anti-Israel hack attacks, called #OpIsrael, with an operation of their own against sites in countries associated with the anti-Israel groups. Another group called the Israel Elite Strike Force disabled dozens of sites in Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and several north African countries over the weekend. Now get this: The IES group started attacking sites in Pakistan Friday but shut down operations for Shabbat.

Just before candle lighting time came in, the Israel Elite Strike Force sent this message over twitter: “We wish all our JEWISH brothers a Shabbat Shalom. This was just a little taste before the day of rest. Hell’s Fire To Come.” They continued working on Saturday night to pull down more sites. 


Margaret Thatcher passed away this week. If you recall, we recently mentioned what vision she had in not lumping Great Britain with the rest of the countries who took on the Euro. Brilliant move. She was loved and loathed in equal measure. She was a feminist without any of the whining and carrying on, got elected on her own merit and stood behind her convictions, even if they were unpopular.

We do not usually publish stories, but this one about Margaret Thatcher is worth reading. It is about a young Jewish girl she saved just before the war:

In 1938, Edith Muhlbauer, a 17-year-old Jewish girl, wrote to Muriel Roberts, Edith’s pen pal and the future prime minister’s [Margaret Thatcher] older sister, asking if the Roberts family might help her escape Hitler’s Austria. The Nazis had begun rounding up the first of Vienna’s Jews after the Anschluss (the political union of Austria with Germany, achieved through annexation by Hitler in 1938), and Edith and her family worried she might be next. Alfred Roberts, Margaret and Muriel’s father, was a small-town grocer; the family had neither the time nor the money to take Edith in. So Margaret, then 12, and Muriel, 17, set about raising funds and persuading the local Rotary club to help. 

Edith wound up staying with more than a dozen Rotary families, including the Robertses, for the next two years, until she could move to join relatives in South America. Edith bunked in Margaret’s room, and she left an impression. “She was 17, tall, beautiful, evidently from a well-to-do family,” Thatcher later wrote in her memoir. But most important, “[s]he told us what it was like to live as a Jew under an anti-Semitic regime. One thing Edith reported particularly stuck in my mind: The Jews, she said, were being made to scrub the streets.” For Thatcher, who believed in meaningful work, this was as much a waste as it was an outrage. Had the Roberts family not intervened, Edith recalled years later, “I would have stayed in Vienna and they would have killed me.” Thatcher never forgot the lesson: “Never hesitate to do whatever you can, for you may save a life,” she told audiences in 1995 after Edith had been located, alive and well, in Brazil.

Bet you forgot all about Julian Assange. He’s the wikileaks dude holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Yes Blanche, he’s still there. But he’s been busy. Way too busy. Yesterday he published  more than 1.7million U.S. records covering diplomatic or intelligence reports on every country in the world from 1973 to 1976 – dealing with traffic of cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence.

What we want to know is who gives him the right to publish all of these documents? Since when did he become the international policeman in charge of deciding that the world needs to see other people’s private correspondence? He needs to be arrested. Wait! Worse than that – take away his computer.

In case you stopped ducking while going through tunnels or underpasses, may we suggest you bring out your hard hat again. We have another road issue in Quebec. And you thought it was over – ha! Pieces of the tiling on the walls of the Lafontaine tunnel started falling onto the roadway. Cars had to dodge around the tiles and around each other – a harrowing drive.

Fear not ladies and gentlemen,  we can rest easy.  Sarah Bensadoun with the transport department says falling tiles are common. “It happens all the time,” Bensadoun says. “[But] it’s not structural damage.” Now don’t you feel better? And if you believe that, we have some swamp land in Florida to sell you. We wonder if princess pauline will be avoiding this tunnel for a while.

And now for our only in America story: A Cajun restaurant in Leesburg, Va., has become the latest eatery to offer discounts to gun owners, with its special “Open Carry Wednesday promotions.”
Yes Blanche, if you carry a weapon, especially out in the open, you receive a 10% discount on your meal. And people are flocking to the restaurant. One customer said that she felt like she was in the safest place in America “Because if someone [threatening] comes through that door, good luck!” Like we said, only in America.

The Blanche Report – Thursday April 4, 2013

Considering what is going on in the world these days, with the North Korean president Kim Jong-Un having a personal melt-down, we thought we would begin our blog with some humor. Blanche, yer gonna love this – the ten worst people to sit beside on a plane and the antidotes:

The crying baby: If you’re the one with the waaing kid, buy everyone around you a drink – and quick. The smelly person: Always  travel with a bottle of Febreeze to discreetly spray at them at the first opportunity. The talker: Pretend you don’t speak English. The sick person: Practice holding your breath for a long time. The Head Rolling Around/Can’t Keep Still Deep Sleeper: Take Benadryl and sleep at the same time. The drunk person: Pray they pass out quickly. People who dress inappropriately: Close your eyes or keep reading. People biting their nails beside you: Give them a very dirty look. The pastrami sandwich carry-on: Bring some aromatherapy oils to sniff. The small bladder window seater: Trade seats with them – fast.

Uh oh. Quite the slip by Michelle. During an interview in Burlington, Vermont,  the first lady described herself as a “busy single mother” before quickly correcting herself, explaining, “Sometimes when you’ve got the husband who’s president, it can feel a little single, but he’s there.” Imagine how he felt. And could someone please tell Michelle to cut her bangs. They are in her eyes and she can’t see.

Hillary Clinton was supposed to take a year off to rest. Guess what? The rest is over. She’s out speaking, has written another book which will be published in 2014 and has definitely cleaned up her act. She cut her hair, for sure did a few facials and looks rather presidential. Oh, right – she’s probably going to run for president in 2016. Doink.

Montreal’s metro system runs like the rest of the city – badly. Seems they did a system upgrade – last year –  and because of that, the entire subway system has crashed more than a few times this month. The best part is no one can guarantee that it won’t happen again. As the director general said, “It happens.” Let’s see now, how about testing the new system for a tad longer to iron out any kinks before installing it. Now that would have been way to intelligent.

And now for the fat tax. Yes Blanche, on Samoa Airlines you have to get weighed and someone decides that if you are too fat,  you have to fork over more money.  This news has flashed around the world like a french fry. Imagine the ticket person calling out your weight to his colleague at the other counter to decide if you need to pay more. Oy vavoy. And if you think you have to go early for a flight now…need we say more. Ok, we’ll say more. The outfits will be interesting with people trying to suck in their fat to look thinner. Spanks anyone?

A young woman in Montreal was arrested yesterday for forwarding a picture of depicting a grafitti drawing of Ian Lafrenière shot in the head. He just happens to be the head of the police communications division and the key spokesperson during last spring’s protest festival.

Seems this young lady has a history of, shall we politely say, being a huge pain to the police. It appears that she participated in multiple student protests last year, and was arrested and fined several times. The sick thing is that she does not think anything was wrong with what she did. Sending a picture of someone shot in the head is gross and should not only not be shared, it should be covered over with paint.

Good Shabbos,

We’ll talk…

The Blanche Report March 28, 2013

We are not commenting on the total losers that spent four hours in the metro system – not for traveling purposes. We are commenting on the fact that such an item had to go on the front page of the Gazette. Why give these lowlifes any publicity? And how arrogant were they to take videos of what they were doing. If the police have videos and pictures of these idiots, then find out who they are and prosecute them to the full letter of the law.  That’s when it should go into the papers, to show others who may have the same inclination that society does not tolerate such behavior. And one more thing. We wonder, as we are sure the police do, if any of these individuals take part in the ‘student’ demonstrations.
Cities in Cyprus did not dissolve into street riots today when the banks re-opened after two weeks. But things there are frightening to say in the least.

The country’s second-largest bank Laiki, is to be split up, with its healthy assets being absorbed into the Bank of Cyprus. Savers with more €100,000 ($129,000) in either Bank of Cyprus and Laiki will face big losses. At Laiki, those could reach as much as 80 per cent of amounts above the 100,000 insured limit; those at Bank of Cyprus are expected to be much lower.

The capital controls include limiting daily cash withdrawals to €300 ($383) per person and limiting payments abroad to €5,000 ($6,400). No checks can be cashed, although they can be deposited. Anyone leaving the country, whether Cypriot or a visitor, can only take up to €1,000 ($1,290) with them in cash.

Some individuals and businesses, spotting that Cyprus’s economy was in trouble and that a tax on deposits was being discussed, had moved their money out of Cyprus well before the banks closed their doors last week. Stay tuned – this story is far from over.

Remember that Carnival cruise from you-know-where? Well, they are trying to cover up more issues.
  We wrote about Carnival Dream’s generator problems. But no one heard about Carnival Legend’s sailing speed malfunctions and their Elation’s steering issues. Which of the cruise ships is next in line for a breakdown? This week, Carnival announced that the Carnival Sunshine will begin later than originally scheduled, resulting in the cancellation of two sailings. In addition, the Carnival Triumph will not be back in operation until June, cancelling an additional ten sailings. May we suggest that if you are planning to book a vacation on the high seas you choose another cruise company?

How convenient – gas prices are going up just in time for the long weekend. Collusion anyone? At the highest government levels.

And what about the fact that the city of Montreal can’t find any asphalt in the whole province of Quebec? Give us a break.  If you think that just because there is a corruption commission the pressure is off the small companies you are wrong. There are plenty of smaller companies all over Quebec that could easily supply asphalt but, regardless of all the coverage, we guess that those putting pressure in the way of sympathy cards to healthy individuals is not yet over. It cannot be only the seven companies under the microscope are the only ones with asphalt.

We hope that you had a very happy and healthy first days of Passover. The second days begin on Sunday night ending Tuesday night. Most likely we’ll send out a blog next Thursday night.

Good Shabbos and Good Yom Tov

We’ll talk…