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Two Things Parents Need to Know

Photo by Chevanon Photography from Pexels

If your child does not understand when you are serious, and to recognize the point where there is no longer any question about whether he or she needs to obey you, then you could end up potentially endangering your child.

I watched as a father shouted to his son not to run into a parking lot and his son didn’t listen. If a car had come at that moment, he could have been hit. There is a tone of voice that needs to be instilled in a child as the voice of authority. This is the voice that stops him from running into traffic. Training to acknowledge this voice needs to happen at a very young age.

Part of training is watching a child’s response and acknowledging appropriate responses. “You listened nicely. I like that.” A child who feels loved and nurtured will naturally want their parents’ approval.

Praising your child’s behaviour is a positive interaction, however direct praise that defines a child, like, “You’re a good girl,” is not very helpful. It creates a spectrum of good or bad along which a child then has to land, in his or her mind. For example, “Earlier I was good. Now I am bad.” It’s better to praise the behaviour and to draw out traits, for example, “That was a kind thing to do.” Or, “I like it when you listen like that.” Make the praise brief.

The child realizes they can do this again and it empowers them. They can’t, however, control their identity–who they are–if you tell them they are good or bad.

Make the behaviour, not the child, the focus. When you remark on their behaviour, as in, “That was not a nice thing to do,” saying so will affirm what they already know, and prepare them for choice and decision making in the future.

Point out positive behaviour in others too, and occasionally draw attention to negative behaviour, but not in a derogatory way. “That little boy is not listening to his mother,” is a simple observation.

Every child will test the boundaries. The trouble is some parents don’t know where the boundaries are because they have not set them. A parent must be clear on what lines will not be crossed without consequences.

Testing boundaries is one thing. Defiance is another. An attentive parent will know the difference. Testing, in the mind of the child, says, “Maybe I can get away with this?” Defiance says, “I clearly know you don’t want me to do this but I will do it anyway.” A parent decides what unpleasant consequence will follow defiance.

A child actually feels more secure, knowing there are boundaries and consequences when these boundaries are violated. The sense that there is someone wiser in charge makes the world less scary.

Generally the child knows ahead of time what happens as a result of defiance or outright disobedience. The important thing, however, is that the child knows that there will be something unpleasant to follow. It does not have to be prolonged and shouldn’t be harsh, but it should create enough discomfort to serve as a future deterrent. Experiment with various consequences. Some will work for certain children and not for others.

A team concept is the second thing a parent needs to know how to establish. If the parent/child relationship beings with a sincere desire and effort to work together and be on the same team, then the child will be much more inclined to obey in an emergency situation.

Being on the same team happens as a result of trust building. The child believes you are there for him or her and that you want the best for them. Together you are working towards the best outcome. This requires taking time to explain situations to your child, the “Why” of the things you are doing and what you are allowing or not allowing.

One very helpful way to build a team sense is by playing games with your child. They learn there are rules and consequences and they learn to accept both. Engaging in learning activities with your child teaches them to trust your instructions and your insights.

Using “we” and “us” language, instead of “you,” makes the child see you are working together. Knowing what the outcome you want will look like, helps the child to move in that direction over time. In our family we wanted a “happy family.” This meant that Mom had to be positive and encouraging most of the time. One thing we did was try to part with a good memory and greet one another on cheerful note.

A parent has a long term goal to have a good relationship with an adult child. This begins with teamwork as a youngster. That is why a parent provides for the child’s needs and helps him or her with various tasks and eventually teaches them the importance of taking on these tasks and then paying it forward and helping others.

The team concept still requires that you are the coach. You are not equal team members. The child looks for and expects authority from you and is disappointed when it is not there, even though he or she may rebel against it from time to time. Be an inspiration to your child.

There is no such thing as perfect parenting. We learn as we go. But basic guidelines will help us to end up in a good place most of the time.

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Why Women Ask Men to Take Out the Trash

Courtesy of Anna Shvets

I find it to be very common among couples for women to ask their significant other to take out the trash or the recycling and I’ve often wondered why, so I took a look at my own life.

I totally expect my husband to take out the trash. Usually I will prepare the bag for him and have it sitting at the door when he comes home. And I’m not the only wife with this expectation, I’ve discovered. We’ve even seen it in movies. It’s not an unusual phenomenon.

Perhaps in historical times there were wild animals outside, or some other threat. We generally don’t have this level of threat today, although there might be the occasional raccoon or stray dog hanging around. So it makes little sense for this to be designated as a man’s job, when a woman could just as easily do it.

I’ve decided it boils down to three things. Division of labour, responsibility and participation.

When a man takes out the trash, it is often the last step in cleaning up the house. Kind of like an exclamation mark. Done! I think the bottom line is that the woman likes to know he participated in some way in the process, so she divides the labour this way and he takes responsibility and carries out his part.

It’s really not a big thing, but it is. It’s little in the sense that it won’t take five minutes, and it’s not like it’s a hugely difficult task. But it’s big in the way of shared responsibility and participation.

Essentially it’s an act of love and appreciation. “I’ll do this for you, for all the other things you do for me.”

If a man refuses to take out the trash, or objects, a woman will clearly be offended. She might even be angry. From his perspective, he probably thinks he is only being reasonable. I mean, why can’t she do it? It doesn’t take long and it’s not difficult.

In a woman’s home–and a woman usually does the greater share of the home-making, therefore I call it a woman’s home–a woman carries the responsibility for creating a pleasant atmosphere. She wants to be appreciated. A man may show his appreciation in many ways by helping her out, but for some reason, the final test is the garbage. And it does seem to be a test. Admit it.

I can’t explain why I have not been able to relinquish my obsession with this, except to say that it doesn’t feel right for me to take out the trash. It’s as though I am leaving my domain, entering into the outside world, and this is his world. Maybe this is some sort of ancient carry-over into modern times and if a modern woman wants to insist on making a cultural change, this would be a good place to start. Probably a lot of women have. But I kind of like this old-fashioned tradition. It makes me feel loved and secure. So there you have it.

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Surviving the Pandemic – Mixed Feelings Today

I went back on Facebook this week, after being off for a year, and I admit I have mixed feelings. I use Facebook primarily to keep in touch with people who do not live nearby. So it is great to see all my old “friends” again. The welcome I received was heart-warming.

My friend list is whittled down a lot and that’s OK. People move on.

I have mixed feelings because it is very apparent what Facebook approves of and what it censures. This means we all have to watch what we say. Somebody is policing us. The question is who is doing this and under what influence or duress? Why is it important to monitor, censor and control the conversation? To what end is this being done?

I admit it really shocked me when I saw innocent people censored on Facebook, including myself. Dissenting views are not tolerated. You go to Facebook “jail” or your “distribution” is limited, and “other things” are done affecting your Facebook experience.

This reminds me of what we have seen in the U.S. where the media has taken control of the conversation. The news is skewed. Anything that might reflect negatively on Democrats is concealed while the exact opposite applies to Republican news. A survey revealed that over 90% of reporting on Trump was negative. In four years the American elites never even acknowledged him as a legitimate president. Strangely all of this hasn’t had the dampening effect intended, since half the country still stands behind the president. The only explanation that fits, in my view, is that someone is playing heavy handedly with the press.

It is extremely dangerous to discredit the thinking of half of society. Hollywood and our institutions of higher learning have been used, with a great level of success, as platforms for social conditioning for the past century. They have succeeded in changing the way we think and behave. What Hollywood and our university professors scoff at, we scoff at.

I am under no illusion that only the interests of North America are being served by the social engineering experiment taking place right before our eyes. Or, to put it another way, the demise of America, along with its democracy and family values and trust in God, would suit certain entities very well.

We need to take a careful look. We may not like what we see. We may find that we have only been pawns when we have thought we were so very clever. The question is whether it is possible to disentangle ourselves.

There was a time when life was, oh, so simple.

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Some Thoughts on Cancel Culture

Why does our current cancel culture bother me so much? It’s not just the fact that ordinary people, trying to peacefully live their lives, lose their very livelihood, although I feel badly for them. It’s not just the left/right divide. It’s not just the venomous hatred I sense, although all of this bothers me. It’s not even the hypocrisy of expecting a higher standard of someone else that does not match the lives of those who are tearing others down.

I get the sense, correct me if I’m wrong, that the “cancel culture” team actually wants others to join their team and they’re going about it in completely the wrong way. Instead of drawing people to their team, and their cause, they are alienating them.

And surprisingly I’ve found these people in the last place I would expect to find them. In our education system. Why would I not expect to find them here? Because the education system is the place where I would mostly likely expect to find people with understanding and superior communication skills. In other words, this is where I expect to find people who get other people, and know how to talk to them.

One of the biggest barriers to communication is fear. Fear is often covered up by projecting an inauthentic persona.

We all have fear, but fear doesn’t have to get ugly and attack others.

I’m going to share a pet peeve I have, that is shared by most common citizens I’ve met. It concerns our electoral system and our political candidates. Long ago I learned a lesson that I still believe to be true and that is you don’t step on the other guy to get to the top.

In the comments section of an article people were discussing the importance of character and integrity when suddenly there was a comment that looked very out of place because it contradicted everything that had been said. The commenter said he preferred “results” over character.

What comes to my mind is the difference between character and a result-focused parenting method. We can get quick results by threatening and punishing our children and making them fear us. Punishment does have its place, but only after much time is spent on correction and training. The rationale of punishment itself must be explained, so that if things ever escalate to the point where punishment is needed, the child understands that he or she has ignored the alternatives presented and chosen this action which will be accompanied by this outcome.

In the Bible we read that if a member of a church sins, we ought to go and confront him or her privately first, and try to bring about the necessary change. You see, I’ve figured out that this is what bothers me about cancel culture. They want to make an immediate example of someone and put fear in the general populace. It is of course a control tactic. Control tactics generally don’t go over very well. So, they are not choosing the best means to the end I presume they seek, which I imagine is to get people to agree with how they see things.

Of course, I’m not blind to the fact that certain entities of our society consider their way to be the only way and even slight deviation has to be publicly denounced. But this brings me back to the fear factor. They don’t have faith in good to prevail. Or, put it this way, the good they are trying to promote has to be forced on society because society will not accept it voluntarily. That of course puts their whole agenda in question. What makes it so unappealing to people?

There is a strong effort to re-condition society these days because, evidently, we’ve got it wrong all these years. Mom and Dad, for instance, who are raising their kids to be Moms and Dads one day, are suddenly no longer respected as capable of properly socially training their children. There is clearly a divide in society. Moms and Dads have tried to be tolerant of alternative lifestyles, but that is not enough. They are supposed to be allies.

So we have a basic difference in society and suddenly I see the rationale behind the fear and the irrational behavior. “Racism” has less to do with skin color or background. It has more to do with sexual orientation. And face it, every person ever born is the result of the union between a man and a woman, and to deny that there is male and female and that they are different and not interchangeable is indeed an indefensible position. It is an ideology you have to force on society, because common sense does not accept it. So there is, understandably, fear. Our heteronormative society is here to stay. Hence the extreme tactics that result from holding an untenable position.

This is no longer about negotiation or finding common ground, or even peace, as I naively imagined.

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Feeling Happy

Art’s Nursery

This morning I read two blog posts that made me smile. At A Cup of Jo Caroline Donofrio shares the “tiny anchors” in her life that make her happy. She says,

Every night, as I’m getting ready for bed, I say the same thing…

“I can’t wait to have my coffee in the morning!”

Or she is cheered by the sight of a cardinal in her back yard. The little things she notices light up her day.

Then I went over to Advice from a 20 Something. Megan Lierley has a new article, How to Make New Friends during COVID. I feel like I’ve made a new friend, just reading the article. (I think she writes Advice from a 30 Something too!) I like her encouragement to ignore convention and just reach out.

In these times I grab onto anything that adds a bit of sunshine to my day. The other day I paused as I noticed a pleasant fragrance, like perfume, in one area of the house. I had no idea where it came from. I kept returning to that spot and inhaling deeply. There was nothing in the house to which I could trace the scent. I eventually figured out it was coming in from the hallway. The hallway air blows under our door, into our suite. I pictured a woman walking down the hall to the elevator, dressed for the day, wearing her favorite perfume.

I’ve begun to frequent a local Garden Centre that I call my new “happy place.” When I arrive I always walk through the fountain area first to listen to the trickling and gurgling and splashing of the water. My favorite fountain was sold last week and it gave me pleasure to think someone loved the same favorite I enjoyed.

Art’s Nursery and Garden Centre

I’ve noted that more than anything I love to capture images. Maybe one in a thousand will turn out to be something truly special and it’s the pursuit I enjoy.

I was texting with my sister as I walked through Michael’s this week and took a couple of photos to share with her. It almost felt like she was with me.

One day this week I asked my husband to drop me off at a park on his way to work. As I took photos of the trees and flowers and the landscaping I shared them with two other sisters who have visited the park with me. My three sisters live in another province. They were there, virtually, enjoying the view with me. After an hour I leisurely walked home. It was a long walk and instead of thinking about getting a cardio workout, I just immersed myself in the experience.

I find that if I keep my eyes open I experience all kinds of delight in each day. Sometimes, like yesterday, I allow myself to play and imagine doing fun things with my grandkids when I get back together with them. They only live an hour away, but there is a pesky international border between us.

I bought some tiny shells at the Dollar Store. They were so beautiful and I will put them in small jars with sand I picked up at Long Beach last summer. It’s fun to be a kid and play with shells. I took the shells and a tin with me and sorted them on the drive to the nursery, hoping to find clam shell pairs. Of course I didn’t find any, but it was fun. Why keep all the activity at home?

I wish I had pictures to show for the special afternoon we enjoyed last weekend. My husband and I packed up my guitar and his banjo and ukulele and headed for the park, where, incidentally, we sang Pearly Shells as we sat under the shade of some tall cedars. My husband was very self-conscious and I just laughed and thought that if I heard someone in a park, making music for an hour, I would think it was lovely that I happened to be there just then. He was afraid we would be a nuisance.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, we’ve started working on bonsai plants on our balcony and as a result I now know the difference between a pine, a juniper, and a spruce tree. Learning to identify different conifers was actually a goal I set for myself this year.

Our world is brimming with beauty and possibility. The discoveries are endless and each day can bring us new delight if we keep our eyes and ears open. I have become especially attentive to scents and to noticing the feel of a breeze on my skin.

As a writer, I am a bit obsessive about recording experiences. I am the same with photography. I take pictures so that I have a memory. However there is no way to record a scent, it occurred to me. This is truly only an in the moment experience.

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Thoughts on Raising Children

I came across some notes I scribbled down on parenting in the 1990’s when I still had children at home. Rather than toss them, I’ve decided to document them here. Take it or leave it. Unedited for the most part.

  1. Beware of children overhearing or being told what a nuisance they are. You want them to think well of themselves.
  2. Have good “customer relations” with your children.
  3. Hear yourself talking to your child. How many times is your conversation about correction? Does your child conclude, “Whenever Mom opens her mouth it’s to tell me what I should do or what I’m doing wrong.”
  4. Have a long term goal. Parents who were criticized for how they handled a difficult situation responded, “We have a long term goal.”
  5. Determine to raise your children in such a way that you can live with them.
  6. Think, “What are my child’s needs? Wants? What are my needs? Wants?”
  7. Your child needs a secure, happy childhood which you provide by nurturing, training, preparing and protecting them.
  8. You need a peaceful home and co-operative children.
  9. Think a lot about when your children leave home. Will they be prepared? Will they call you “friend”? What choices will they make when you are not around?
  10. Unreal expectations of parents from children. Children will “spill the milk.” Don’t slap them for this. Just clean it up. Accidents happen.
  11. Practice calm parenting.
  12. Beware of placing value on things over value on children. Beware of placing value on the opinions of others, versus the needs of your children.
  13. The unspoken question of children is, “How important am I really to Mom and Dad?”
  14. When children feel secure in the support and affection of their parents, they will not find an occasional “no” shattering or frustrating.
  15. Communicate to your child, “I love parenting you.”
  16. Protect children from “adult” problems (e.g. financial details).
  17. Don’t think they are too young to know when something is wrong.
  18. Explain what is necessary to satisfy their young mind.
  19. Never make them feel like they are a burden to you.
  20. “Take good care of Mommy” may be taken literally by them and this is not meant to be their responsibility.
  21. Be honest with them. Say, “It makes me sad, too.” “I don’t understand everything, but….”
  22. It is important to teach them responsibility and to work. They need to learn to experience the satisfaction that comes from a job well done.
  23. Don’t bribe.
  24. Pray protection over them.
  25. Pray with them daily. This is a great comfort to them.
  26. Don’t communicate anxiety to them. Concern is OK. Watch your verbal and non-verbal expressions.
  27. Overcome your own fears.
  28. Don’t expect from your children what you can’t deliver.
  29. Get your record cleared.
  30. Child rearing is going to take time, like a garden. A little planning and care, done consistently, at the right time, will yield good fruit.
  31. Watch and pray.
  32. Teach respect.
  33. They want to please you. It’s a good feeling. They want to discover something that pleases you.
  34. Enjoy your children. Have fun with them. Plan fun times. Be spontaneous.
  35. Teach them appreciation for beauty – make them observant. It will be rewarding later when they are the ones that point it out to you. “Look at this pretty….” “There’s a squirrel.”
  36. Enjoy things together.
  37. Look for progress. Don’t be an alarmist.
  38. Be consistent, predictable, reliable.
  39. Get in involved and communicate with other adults they respect, like their principal, teachers, parents of friends.
  40. Make them feel worthwhile and care for their needs in a timely way.
  41. Make occasional sacrifices to show them that what matters to them is important to you.
  42. Teach them that they cannot have everything they want. There are choices involved.
  43. Even if you can afford something, choose a lifestyle within a specific budget so that there are limitations for all.
  44. Set an example of giving to meet needs. Live to give.
  45. Teach them how to give their best. Don’t be a cheapskate.
  46. Your children are watching your relationship with your partner, so be considerate. Don’t discuss discipline in front of the children.
  47. Watch for attitude. Observe what you need to work on–what you need to catch.
  48. Don’t reward pouting.
  49. Try talking to someone else about a positive trait you see or want to see, within the hearing of your children. Not, “I wish my son would….” but “It sure is peaceful here tonight.” “The children have been very cooperative today.”
  50. Beware of praising, or omitting, or criticizing the other. They are listening very carefully and are excellent judges.
  51. Acknowledge your weaknesses to yourself but be very careful about generalizing about your faults openly so that they don’t “label” you.
  52. Broaden their experience.
  53. What to watch for – anger, resentment, selfishness. Discuss underlying issues and encourage self control, forgiveness and caring.
  54. Encourage (guided) independence. Be sensitive to their preparedness for responsibility.
  55. Balance protection and independence.
  56. Pray for deliverance from temptation. Pray for deliverance from the allurement of sin.
  57. Teach them to interact with other adults.
  58. Teach them with respect when you are in the presence of other adults.
  59. Accept that you will make mistakes but get back on track with your long term goal.
  60. Accept that you, as a parent, may need to change, e.g. do something you haven’t done before.
  61. Avoid being “judgmental” especially of appearances.
  62. Rather than criticizing, teach them to consider possible consequences of various choices people make.
  63. Love people.
  64. Invite people into your home.
  65. Remember, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it.
  66. Get to know your child. Be a student of your child. Know what makes them happy, what gifts they would like, where they would like to go.
  67. Have a few family traditions that you all look forward too.
  68. Don’t get bogged down with “do’s” and “don’ts”.
  69. Remember a long term goal is to have a happy child.
  70. Teach coping skills. Look for the good. Instill hope for tomorrow. Pray. God cares.
  71. Develop your own faith through church attendance, fellowship, Bible study and prayer. Leave good footsteps for your child to follow in.
  72. Cook for them. Cook together too. It is a great bonding time. Good or bad results, the memories will be of times spent doing things together.
  73. Keep a comfortable house with attention to the children’s rooms.
  74. Be careful where you “leave” the kinds and who watch who enters the house or spends tine with them, including relatives.
  75. Keep a balanced approach of caution but not paranoia regarding their safety.
  76. Immediately pay attention to hurts. Don’t belittle their pain.
  77. Make consequences fit the action, and ensure they are age appropriate.
  78. Try to be careful not to leave children alone too long.
  79. Occupy the children with activities while teaching them to find things to do independently too.
  80. Monitor their activities and keep a mental record. For instance, certain behaviors might be “learned” from friends or TV shows and they are “trying” them on you to see your response.
  81. Learn to understand the children by watching them.
  82. Teach respect for others and consideration for the opposite gender.
  83. Reward good behavior with acknowledgement, even if just a smile.
  84. Rather than say, “Bad” or “Don’t” with small children, distract them or remove them from the situation and say, “Come and see this” or “Let’s do this.”
  85. Any form of violent behavior must be addressed and prevented from recurring at an early age. (My grandmother had a violent foster child and her solution was to hold her tightly on her lap when she became violent, until she calmed down. Sometimes she would hold her for half a hour. A child will either learn to yield to the parent or the parent will lose control and there will always be a struggle.)
  86. Talk about future possibilities. Pray about the future with them. If they will get married one day, their future spouse is already living somewhere. You can pray for them too.
  87. Keep things simple and basic. Live your life so that you can manage it.
  88. Love your child. Give good gifts. Give yourself. Prepare your child to be a well-rounded adult.
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6 Things You Can do to Help Beat the Heat


With temperatures rising into the thirties (or nineties if you are reading fahrenheit) there are a few things you can do to manage the heat in your home if you don’t have air conditioning.

1. Hang curtains in front of windows that let in a lot of heat and close the curtains and blinds, particularly when the sun shines on the windows.

2. Keep the cool air in. Cool off your house at night when temperatures drop. Let the cool air in at night by opening windows. A fan in front of a window, facing into the room, can draw in air. I have taken a light-weight towel and twirled it like a fan in rotation in the hallway between two bedrooms, with the doors and windows open, just to get air movement and air coming inside. This works quickly to get cool air inside. Try to keep the inside of your home cool as long as possible by closing doors and windows during the hottest time of the day.

3. Have a fan on. Simple.

4. Use a wet facecloth to moisten skin. Lie down and put a cold, wet facecloth on your forehead to cool down for a few minutes. Or take a cool shower and put on comfortable, light clothing.

5. Don’t use the stove or dishwasher during the hottest times of the day. Do your dishwashing and cooking early in the day because it heats up the house. Refrigerate your prepared food and re-heat in the microwave.

6. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Coconut water is an excellent re-hydrating drink. Prepare salads like potato salad or bean salad, etc. for meals. BBQ outside or serve cold, cooked meats. Have fresh fruit and vegetables available in the refrigerator as well as frozen desserts such as freezies.

The other option is to leave your hot home and head for a cooler place like the local community centre, library or mall.

If you find the heat intolerable, you might want to look at purchasing an air conditioner. Free standing air conditioners begin at around $300 and window units sell for even less. But keep in mind that you get more cooling power for more money. These units usually only cool one room.

Hot weather means slow down. Limit your time in the sun and your physical exertion.

Beware of the signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion and head to a medical centre or call 911 if you start to feel unwell because of the heat.

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Fake News Intentionally Created by 20th Century Fox to Promote Movie

ID-10077829Below is an article that tells us how fake news happens. Note that this was not some hacker, some criminally minded person, or some random person out to play a practical joke. It was 20th Century Fox creating these fake news websites to get attention for their movie. Maybe they thought it was a clever joke, but the problem is we weren’t in on the joke. And we don’t think it’s funny, now that we know of their deception. I have highlighted segments in grey. Grey (Italics) are my comments.

When fake news and marketing don’t mix: 20th Century Fox apologizes for movie’s ad campaign

It may have worked in Blair Witch era, but experts say today’s media environment isn’t right for hoax sites

By Solomon Israel, CBC News Posted: Feb 18, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Feb 18, 2017 5:00 AM ET

Experts say the backlash to an ad campaign by film studio 20th Century Fox offers an important lesson in modern marketing: advertising and fake news don’t mix in today’s media environment.

A marketing campaign for A Cure For Wellness, director Gore Verbinski’s new thriller about a mysterious Swiss health spa, created a small constellation of fake local news websites with headlines like “Psychological thriller screening leaves Texas man in catatonic state.”

Other fake headlines had only tenuous thematic connections to the film, such as “Trump orders CDC to remove all vaccination-related information from website,” or “BOMBSHELL: Trump and Putin spotted at Swiss resort prior to election.”

Photo & Caption

A Cure for Wellness fake news

An archived version of the website for The Sacramento Dispatch — which is not a real news media outlet — shows fake news headlines meant to promote the 20th Century Fox film. (

According to a report from Buzzfeed News, various stories from the fake news websites were shared across social media by readers who may not have known they were hoaxes. (That was the whole intent, wasn’t it?) The websites were taken down following Buzzfeed’s report, and now redirect visitors to the official website for A Cure for Wellness.

20th Century Fox issued an apology for the campaign after the story was picked up by other major media outlets. (But by that time it had achieved the desired affect. More attention from media backlash might have been part of the plan too.)

Branding problem for Fox Entertainment

On top of the ethical issue of deceiving people with fake news, 20th Century Fox may have really upset the people who were misled, according to Peter Darke, a marketing professor who studies consumer trust at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

“We know that consumers who are manipulated in this way respond negatively when they realize that the whole purpose of this tactic was simply to grab their attention,” said Darke.

‘Because of the current journalistic climate that we’re in, there’s just no appetite for this whatsoever.’

– Vincent Georgie, professor of film marketing

That breach of trust is especially egregious, said Darke, because the parent company of 20th Century Fox, Fox Entertainment Group, also owns Fox News.

“Consumers can easily make the link between a Fox movie and Fox News,” he said.

Ken Wong, with the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University, is less certain that moviegoers will make that connection. Still, he said the ad campaign was a bad idea.

“I think it is typical of marketing in its most amateur form, where the only attempt at appreciation is to try and be cute or to garner attention without any due regard for the longer-term consequences of how you’re garnering that attention,” Wong said.

Bad timing

20th Century Fox deserves some credit for its creative campaign, said Vincent Georgie, who studies film marketing as an assistant professor at the University of Windsor. But the studio went too far by failing to explicitly signal to readers that the fake news websites were part of a promotional campaign.

“Conceptually, it’s kind of interesting,” said Georgie. “But it was executed in a way that you don’t know it’s a joke. And that’s the problem with it. If the audience is not in on the joke at all, it’s not perceived as a joke — it’s actually perceived very negatively and very seriously.

“Because of the current journalistic climate that we’re in, there’s just no appetite for this whatsoever.”

The rest of the article makes a brief reference to the influence of fake news on the U.S. election and discusses how fake news was used to promote the independent, low budget movie The Blair Witch Project.

Here are some examples of what 20th Century Fox admitted doing as taken from the Buzzfeed News article, A Hollywood Film is Using Fake News to Get Publicity .

BuzzFeed News contacted Regency Enterprises, one of the film’s producers with the information connecting the sites to the film. A spokesperson confirmed they are working with the fake sites and provided a statement.

“A Cure for Wellness is a movie about a ‘fake’ cure that makes people sicker,” it said. “As part of this campaign, a ‘fake’ wellness site was created and we partnered with a fake news creator to publish fake news.”

Note that at least five sites were created and allowed to run fake stories.

The five sites pumping out fake news and promotion for the film are Sacramento Dispatch, Salt Lake City Guardian, Houston Leader, NY Morning Post, and Indianapolis Gazette. They use similar designs, and also all have the same Google analytics ID embedded in their source code. Many of the sites’ domain names were registered on the same day: The Sacramento and Salt Lake City sites were registered on Jan. 14, and the Indianapolis and Houston sites were both registered back on Sept. 27.

The sites also run many of the same fake stories. For example, a false story, “‘Trump Depression Disorder’ Classified As A Disease By The American Medical Association” appears on all of the sites. Notably, the story ends with a call to action for the public “to tweet #cureforwellness to raise awareness of the growing epidemic.” That’s the hashtag for the film.

Here is more.

The sites are also willing to capitalize on potentially deadly natural disasters and political polarization to generate traffic and engagement. A story from today falsely claimed Trump denied California federal funds to help with the situation in Oroville, where over 180,000 people have been evacuated due to the potential breach of the Oroville Dam. The story has already generated over 20,000 Facebook engagements and is generating a lot of anger towards Trump from people on Facebook.

I think Vincent Georgie has said it very clearly, that there is no public appetite for this kind of manipulation.

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The Easiest Way to Keep Your Sidewalks Clear and Safe in Vancouver Winters

We have had a weekly deluge of snow for the past month in British Columbia, leaving a lot of people stranded in their driveways as inclines make it impossible to get out. Clearing a long driveway is a task for the brave, or, preferably a snow plow. However, sidewalks can be handled without too much difficulty by residents and business owners by giving attention to timing.

I walked outside as the first snow fell. There was about a four inch cover on the ground. Coming from the prairies and being a resident manager for years, I’ve had to manage snow, lots of it.

If I would have had my way, I would immediately have gone outside once the snow stopped, or even in the middle of the snowfall, and began clearing the sidewalks. The trick is to get at the snow while it’s soft and pretty and white. Once it is hard and trampled on, you are basically dealing with chipping rock. But before it gets to that stage it’s actually fun to play in the fluffy snow and swoosh it off your sidewalk.

Regrettably, I didn’t do that. Because we now live in a condo I don’t even own a shovel.

Speaking of shovels, if you are buying, get the firmest, sturdiest shovel you can find. It should be able to chip ice if you need to.

Just as I feared, it happened that the sidewalks around the perimeter of our building were not cleared in a timely manner and turned into lumpy ice. I’m not sure which is worse, lumpy ice or smooth ice. I generally try to avoid walking on the totally unpredictable lumpy ice and gingerly step on the snow beside it so that I at least have some traction. I want to avoid falling at all costs. But the other day I had to walk across the Superstore parking lot and it was completely cleared but was treacherous with large patches of black ice.

At the best of times it’s difficult to control the ice in these conditions. But once the snow is cleared away, and you have bare sidewalk, that is the best time to put down a little bit of salt.

With the frosting that happens overnight, never mind the freezing drizzle, you need to check for slipperiness and probably apply a bit of salt almost every morning. Early morning is the time to apply salt. 

A very small amount of salt will go a very long way. Try to see how little salt you can get away with. I don’t like to see salt crusted next to the side of buildings. Apply it only where people will walk.

You just need a bit of salt on a clear sidewalk, and probably not even every day. But once there is packed snow and ice you almost need a wheelbarrow of salt…well, not quite, but a lot more, so you don’t want to wait and let that happens. Remember, an ounce of prevention….

If it starts to snow again, follow the same process. Every time the snow falls, think of it as an invitation to play outside with your shovel. Keep a walking path cleared. Then you won’t end up chipping at ice later.

There is also a trick for chipping ice. Here in the lower mainland we can count on above freezing temperatures on most days. If you have let your snow harden into ice, you may want to wait until midday when the temperatures rise and the ice and snow starts to turn a little slushy. At this point it is much easier to break it up and scoop it off the sidewalk than when it is frozen solid. And remember, you don’t have to chop the sidewalk, just the ice. There is a trick to hitting the ice at a certain angle so that it breaks into pieces which you can then scrape into your shovel and toss into a heap beside the path. It’s actually fun once you get the hang of it.

Dealing with the kind of snow we have had this year is not something we are accustomed to in Vancouver. Like me, many people who read this probably don’t even own a shovel, particularly if you live in a condo. Next year I’m going to get on top of the snow right away. If I don’t see someone out there clearing the sidewalks I will personally ask to use the property shovels and get out there myself rather than having to spend a month avoiding a slippery, bumpy path. Thankfully someone cleared the front entrance but they neglected the path that leads to the road where most of us are headed. This problem could have easily been solved with half an hour of shoveling after each snowfall.

Georghe and Rodica Grigore at 6369 165A St., Cloverdale, kept their sidewalks clear for people who came to view their 50,000+ lights.

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Good Morning Prime Ministers!

ID-10010630Good Morning Prime Ministers,

Prime Minister Harper, out-going…Trudeau, in-coming Prime Minister.

Congratulations Prime Minister Trudeau on your victory! Your focus on the people paid off richly. You listened and that’s what Canadians wanted. They felt heard so they voted for you.

Prime Minister Harper, thank you for your hard work and dedication to the welfare of Canadians. In hindsight we will see your legacy more clearly. Canadians owe you a debt of gratitude.

As I listened to your speeches this evening, I heard the same thing. Both of you spoke of your love for Canada, your love for the people, your commitment to the welfare of Canada. But I heard you speak in different languages. Some listeners understood Harper. Others understood Trudeau. I think few understood both.

Prime Minister Trudeau, you have been a personal witness in your home of what it means to be Prime Minister of this great country. You have observed and you have analyzed, not only your father, but succeeding Prime Ministers.

The people love you, Justin Trudeau. They love the man. But will they love the leader? You must be asking yourself this question. You are only too aware of how easily public opinion can be swayed.

Leadership requires decision making, and decisions, by their nature, please some and disappoint others, include some and alienate others.

Canadians, and especially this generation, value a relational and inclusive approach. Prime Minister Harper, you were not afraid to alienate people when you thought it was for the good of the country. Yes, you were listening, but you could only please so many people.

Canadians will be watching you, Prime Minister Trudeau, and waiting to see who you will please. In a few years they will have another opportunity to cast their vote.