Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gun violence glorified

Ottawa has a gun problem. Gang members are shooting each other. Most likely the shooters are selling drugs. It's dangerous. Especially for families and children.

So what do I see on my neighbourhood bus shelter? Why a great big gun advert of course, with two big druggy buffoon motorcycle gang guys with two big honking guns: Sons of Anarchy. Brought to you by Rogers. Fantastic.

We have gun violence in Ottawa. We have gun adverts in Ottawa. Splendid.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Get the employer to pay for sick notes

"Nova Scotia physician Ethel Cooper-Rosen is going to start charging employers $30 for sick notes, saying they put unnecessary pressure on the health-care system and expose other patients in her waiting room to viruses."
If employers, especially bureaucrats, want to make employees pay with both time and money to get a sick note, turn the tables and make the employer put their request in writing, and then bill the employer.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

In response to Tim Horton's last response to me, I replied with this:
"I notice you still haven't addressed the nutritional value of the strawberry shortcake muffin (what is it)? Or why the bran muffin isn't offered anymore? 
And I still don't know when you will be reducing the sodium content more in products? And if you will improve the nutritional value of your muffins, by decreasing sugar and fat, and using more whole grains in them?"
To which Tims responded with this:
"Please find below the nutritional information for the Strawberry Shortcake Muffin – this can be found on the Nutrition Calculator on our Website. 
The decision to discontinue items is based on a number of factors as we are always looking to make improvements to our menu. Although the Raisin Bran Muffin was a popular product, discontinuing it allows us to make room on our menu for new offerings and promotions.  
Regarding Sodium, we have been gradually reducing since 2007, and continue to do so. Each year, we declare the previous year's progress in our sustainability report. There will be further reductions posted for this year.

Specifically for muffins, they have just undergone a major reformulation, and we may continue to work towards further sodium and sugar reductions."

I'm looking forward to Tims actually reducing their fat, sugar, and sodium levels. Soon I hope.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tim Hortons responds

I received a response to my letter to Tim Horton's. Notice how they still don't address my issue of too much salt and nutritionally devoid baked products, etc.

Why do I bother?

UPDATE: In order to follow the chronology to this email exchange, I am now posting my original letter and Tims' original response. Remember. This all occurred AFTER I spoke to them on two previous occasions last year.

July 14, 2014

Dear Tims,

I feel the need once again to comment on your products. I would far prefer to be positive, but unfortunately I'm having difficulty.

First of all it seems that Tim's isn't making the bran muffin anymore. My husband has been eating this muffin every Sunday morning with his coffee for at least 10 years. He hasn't been happy about this. Mind you the muffin has too much fat (12 grams) and sugar (37 grams) anyway, but he does like it. And now he can't get it.

Second, I tried the strawberry shortcake muffin and was very disappointed. It tasted like a fattening piece of pink and white cake with some strawberry jam in the middle, and not pure jam. I don't mean to be harsh but it is what it is. And I don't know the nutritional content of this muffin because it's not posted. Tastes similar to the fruit explosion muffin which I tasted many years ago. I wasn't impressed with that either.

Third, we have stopped eating breakfast at Tim's on Saturday mornings. The breakfast sandwiches were just too salty. We've switched to McDonald's. Their egg Mcmuffin and sausage egg Mcmuffin taste better than Tim's. I also like McDonald's decaf coffee better that Tim's.

I really wish Tim's would start making more nutritious muffins with less fat and sugar.

Tim's first response, July 23, 2014

Thank you for contacting us with your input.  We are happy to arrange a call to discuss your feedback, at your convenience.  Please let us know what date and time works for you.


My response, July 24, 2014

Dear Tims,

I'm not sure what another phone call can accomplish. I have spoken to you twice now, and both times I have felt that my concerns have not been adequately addressed.

I get the feeling that although you receive my concerns in writing, that Tims is loathe to respond to my concerns in writing. I am guessing it is because it is easier to placate people with platitudes over the phone, since platitudes don't work as well when written down. Maybe I'm wrong.

I am still of the opinion that there is way too much sodium content in your products, and your muffins are full of sugar and fat, with little if any nutritional value.

I went to dinner last night with a good friend. Her husband had a severe heart attack in January. She was telling me that sometimes after her numerous doctor appointments she must drive her husband to because of his severe heart damage, she occasionally would like to just pick up some take out food since she is too exhausted to cook. There isn't one single take out place where she can go and purchase this that isn't laden with salt. I realize that Tim's is just one of many such places, but it is the one I am most familiar with considering that over the years we have spent literally thousands of dollars at your restaurants.

I sent you my cook book which has numerous healthy nutritional muffin ideas and a granola bar recipe that are extremely tasty, low fat and high fibre. These are examples of what can be done with baked goods if one tries. I came up with these recipes in a tiny kitchen because I cared. Surely Tim's with hundreds of staff, and your many nutritionists, dietitians, cooks, with the benefit of large industrial sized kitchens, can come up with some nutritional recipes for its billions of customers? Instead I see donuts with sugary sprinkles, coloured gobs of icing in fancy shapes, and muffins with next to zero nutritional value.

I use all kinds of real wholesome ingredients in my baking like bananas, pineapple, apple sauce, raisins, oat bran, whole wheat, spelt, and lots of rolled oats. Recently I've been experimenting with using soy flour and gluten free flour. I do all this in my tiny kitchen with no staff. Is Tims experimenting in this way in their large kitchens? I see no sign of it.

I would love to see some concrete changes made to Tims nutritional values of its baked goods, or at the very least, alternatives to your existing baked products. I understand Tim's need to sell product, but when all the new baked goods I see are all very pretty, colourful, sugar and fat laden donuts and muffins devoid of any nutrition, I don't see how you and I talking about this will do anything to further real change at your restaurants. You are well aware of my thoughts on the subject.

I would be happy to know if and when Tims decides to do something about providing its customers with some real nutritional alternatives.


Tim's response July 28, 2014

I am happy to respond to you in writing as requested below.

At Tim Horton’s, we pursue a greater lens towards Nutrition Health and Wellness, ensuring that we have menu offerings that enable Guests to make “balanced” choices, will be at the heart of what we do.

Whether it’s a side salad instead of warm kettle chips for a lunch combo or a Timbit flavor that meets the need for a moment of indulgence– we will be ensuring that we have foods that meet both the delicious and nutritious end of the spectrum.  This includes foods that include the presence of good ingredients (i.e. fruits and vegetables, protein and whole grains), as well as looking at where the “reduction of negatives” can be incorporated ( i.e. sodium etc.).  Tim’s has done much good work thus far in these areas, i.e. Muffins, we removed High Fructose Corn Syrup, preservatives and artificial flavor, but there is still a lot more opportunity and innovation that we have incorporated into our plans.

Mrs. Maloney, I hope that my response confirms Tim Horton’s commitment to Nutrition, Health and Wellness.

Thank you as always for your valuable feedback.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Red cardinal singing his heart out

We have a cardinal that lives behind us. At least one cardinal, almost certainly more. I've seen the females before as well.

This guys starts singing around 4:20 am in the morning, and goes until about 9:00 pm at night. I wonder if he ever gets tired? Apparently not.

Usually we can hear him, but not see him. Yesterday I caught him with with my camera. He's a noisy little shaving cream. You can tell, since I had to zoom in on him to the max and still you can hear him well.

Here's his picture:

And his song