Thursday July 21, 2022

Some things never change.

In school, you probably knew a Marcie or two. Diligent, hand always up, homework always done. But just as likely, there was a Peppermint Patty.

For some reason, she was forever sleep deprived. Maybe it was all the sports. Or maybe she had an after-school job that kept her up all hours. 

Either way, she needed her power nap. Just like millions of Japanese workers who are renowned for snagging a few ZZZs (often in the loo) during their incredibly long work days.

Now help has arrived in the form of nap boxes. These self contained capsules provide a private place for the dozy workers to drift off discreetly. Management has just one rule.

Wake them up before you go go ;)
Inflation up but below projection
Statistics Canada released June's Consumer Price Index (CPI) yesterday, revealing prices to be up 8.1% from June of last year. While it's the most inflated the Canadian economy has been since 1983, it fell short of the general consensus expectation that it would hit 8.4%.

Gas prices continue to be the biggest driving factor of inflation, with prices up nearly 55% year over year. It's expected, however, that July will provide some relief at the pumps, and even though prices will be much higher than they were last July, the marginal difference will be smaller.

Passenger automobiles and food prices were the next biggest contributors to inflation, coming in at 8.2% and 8.8%, respectively.

Economists are beginning to wonder if inflation has peaked, given the lower than projected CPI in June, and the early signs of stabilization in global supply chains.

The consensus is that it's simply too early to tell, and there are too many hard to predict variables, including the war in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic.

The Bank of Canada will have July's data as well before it decides on a September rate hike. Economists are confident the central bank will raise rates 50 or 75 basis points.
Ontario to authorize "strong mayors"
Source: Twitter/@CBCAlerts
The term "strong mayor" hasn't quite been defined, but it's what Doug Ford is using to describe certain powers he plans to bestow upon the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa.

The Toronto Star revealed on Tuesday that Ford had been floating the idea, which would include potentially endowing the mayors with veto power over council-backed legislation.

Ford didn't campaign on this during Ontario's recent election, but he and Toronto mayor John Tory reportedly spoke about it briefly in June while discussing how to get housing built faster in Toronto.

"'Strong Mayor' powers are something that I've said I would support – I talked about it before the last election," the mayor said yesterday.

The idea isn't particularly novel. Mayors of big cities in the United States typically operate as CEOs, acting both in collaboration with and independently of council.

Several Toronto city councillors have expressed opposition to the idea, and at minimum would like to receive more information about what's actually being proposed.
Ending vacancy decontrol
Toronto's municipal planning and housing committee wants to pass an official resolution to request the Ontario government end vacancy decontrol.

When a landlord jacks up the price of a rental unit between tenants, that's called vacancy decontrol; it skirts the existing regulations that limit rent increases to 2.5% annually.

Toronto-Danforth city councillor Paula Fletcher is leading the charge, and says this issue is partly to blame for skyrocketing rent prices in the city.

The loophole is responsible for a lot of "renovictions," which happen when a landlord evicts a tenant to renovate the unit, then rents it out to a new tenant for significantly more than the last.

Tenants actually have the right of return in this case, but many aren't aware of this, and even if they are, often have to find a new place in the interim where they eventually just elect to stay.

While eliminating vacancy decontrol would help tenants, smaller "mom and pop" landlords may have a difficult time maintaining and upgrading their properties, all while staying on top of rising mortgages and property taxes.
Weird laws for homeowners
Speaking of things Ontario landlords and homeowners can and cannot do, CTV put together a list of bizarre laws governing the province's homeowners. Some of the laws are antiquated but still on the books, and others are more modern yet remain absurd.

For example, in London, Ont., you aren't allowed to let your lawn exceed eight inches in length. If you do, a city official will show up, mow your lawn, and charge you for services rendered.

Looking to do some spring or summer cleaning and have a garage sale? Sounds great, but if you live in Toronto, take note that you can only have one twice a year and each is only allowed to last two days.

Here's a clearly antiquated one. The "city" of Etobicoke says that a bathtub should only be filled with 3.5 inches of water.

Another antiquated one in Uxbridge limits internet speed to 56kbps, the fastest speed available...for a dial-up modem. We're wondering if they forgot to include the part about disposing of your AOL disk ;)
Red, red wine
Source: Red Room, The Connaught
London, and England in general, has a long history as a place to find some of the finest wines the world has to offer.

Dating back to 1152, when King Henry II married France’s Eleanor of Aquitaine, the marriage came with a dowry that gifted the vineyards and wineries of Bordeaux and Gascony to England for 300 years.

Almost 1,000 years later, the city is still evolving as a destination for wine enthusiasts. A travel survey conducted this year revealed that London is the number one spot Americans head to when looking for a wine experience.

It's something of a renaissance for the city that, though it has a long history of wine culture, has been somewhat of an ivory tower location. Over the last 10-15 years, members of the community have worked hard to make it more appealing to a broader demographic, and it's paying dividends in spades.

There will always be posh places that brag about their vintages on Coravin lists, but events like RAW WINE and The Real Wine Fair have welcomed the unfamiliar but curious into the fold, introducing them to all sorts of traditions and practices in the industry.

For an extensive and in-depth look at what the revitalized wine culture in The Old Smoke has to offer, click here.
Not so crystal clear
Do you believe crystals have a healing effect on the human body?

The idea that they do follows from another belief - that humans have an "energy field" that can be manipulated either by healthy and positive energy or unhealthy, negative energy.

Several studies have been conducted to determine the presence of some sort of energy field, including one in which a psychiatrist held his hand over one of someone else's hands, and had each of the 280 people guess which hand he was holding his over. Only 130 got it correct.

In another, researchers gave 80 people crystals, half of which were fake, and asked them to describe how they felt after holding them for a while. Six felt nothing, and the rest said they felt a tingling or a perceived improvement in well-being, despite half of them holding fake crystals.

But that still leaves the lack of scientific evidence that humans do, in fact, have an energy field, as well as the lack of evidence to support the notion that crystals have healing properties. 

Is it all just a placebo effect? Who knows. But for those who experience a positive sensation, it can't be all bad.
Put 'er there
In the early days of the pandemic, nobody knew very much about COVID. How it spread, how deadly it was, how contagious it was – all of these, while somewhat understood, remained elusive for quite some time. In the case of uncertainty, err on the side of caution.

So that's what we did. One of the manifestations of that extra cautious cultural shift was the death of the handshake. The elbow bump replaced the age old greeting ritual, and media outlets wrote pieces like "COVID-19 Killed The Handshake. What Will Replace it?" and "In Memoriam: The Handshake".

Dr. Anthony Fauci went as far as to say he thought people should never shake hands again.

But as time wore on, the virus, while a formidable opponent, appeared to fall short in its efforts to eradicate the handshake.

Part of the reason was a growing collection of data revealing that the virus was largely transmitted through airborne aerosols and not hand-to-hand contact. It would be possible to contract COVID when shaking hands, but the greater risk would be how close you'd be to the other person, not their hand.

Things aren't fully back to normal, but they are gradually returning as populations decide to live with the virus. At the end of the day, COVID can take the office, and it can have the elbow bump back, but it will never take the hand shake.
This is the law
In honour of one of our favourite, campy CBC shows from the '70s, we're giving you a list of laws. You tell us, which ones are for real!
  1. Taxi drivers can't wear t-shirts in Charlottetown
  2. It's against the law to climb a tree in Oshawa
  3. You can't swear in a public park in Toronto
  4. It's against the law to paint a wooden ladder
  5. It's illegal to own a pet possum
  6. It's against the law to use a dog sled on a sidewalk
  7. It's against the law to challenge someone to a duel and/or accept an invitation to a duel
  8. It's illegal to scare the Prime Minister
  9. It’s illegal to paint your garage door orange in Kanata
  10. You can't eat an ice cream cone on Bank Street in Ottawa on Mondays
Answers below ;)
Have a great day ahead Staker!

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  1. False Taxi drivers cannot wear t-shirts in Halifax.
  2. True
  3. True
  4. True
  5. False It's illegal own a pet rat.
  6. True
  7. True
  8. False It's illegal to scare the Queen
  9. False It’s illegal to paint your garage door purple in Kanata
  10. False You can't eat an ice cream cone on Bank Street in Ottawa on Sundays