Why you cannot trust Calypso mangoes

I have to speak out about the disgusting TV ad promoting Calypso mangoes. Picture this…

A little old lady is shopping in a supermarket. She pretends to try to reach an item on a high shelf but can’t manage it. Why? Because she wants to distract a fellow shopper, an obliging tall man who has Calypso mangoes in his trolley. Why? Because she wants to steal from him.

I kid you not.

So when he turns his back on her to reach her item on the top shelf she steals four Calypso mangoes from his trolley and chuckles. To make matters worse, she tells him he is a nice man. So much for the storyline of this TV ad.

Impressed?

Well, I’m pretty turned off by the unethical behaviour of the old woman. She has stolen from the Good Samaritan. She depicts old people as being dishonest. She is certainly giving the wrong message to any child who watches this ad. And in my opinion, she makes me wonder about the ethics of a product that promotes such despicable behaviour.

Are the growers of Calypso mangoes to be trusted when their ad is based on theft? Who approved of this ad? Was it One Harvest itself which is showing it on its web site. Who has the final say as to what is acceptable to be aired on TV?

Or don’t they give a damn?

I, for one, do give a damn and will never buy a Calypso mango. It would go against my moral code.

Quartet, the movie- a triumph for Dustin Hoffman

When it comes to films I’m not easy to please. Blockbusters make me yawn. Adventures put me to sleep. Fantasy films and space things make me despair at the childishness of it all. I could go on and have been known to, but I’ll keep it brief because I simply want to praise Dustin Hoffman for having produced and directed an excellent film.

His film, “Quartet”, is based on a play which has been adapted for the screen. It’s good, it’s funny, it’s sad and very entertaining.

If you enjoyed “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” then you will definitely appreciate “Quartet”.

Hoffman did a great job directing the many performers in the film. The four main actors, Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly form the quartet of the title.

I particularly liked Tom Courtenay’s and Pauline Collins’ excellent acting. They were superb. Maggie Smith was her usual grumpy old self and Billy Connolly was, well, Billy Connolly. I’m afraid he can’t escape his persona but he was well cast in the role.

Since the action takes place in a retirement home for aging musicians, there is some beautiful music in it and the setting is glamorous.

I don’t want to tell you any more about the film except to say that it will make you laugh, cry and reflect a little about life and how to live it.

What’s most telling is that I sat still while the credits were rolling and that’s always a sign that the film is good.

I wish there would be more films like this one instead of the rubbish that is being directed at the younger mob. I suspect that as the baby boomers keep aging more quality films will be made for that demographic and I’m looking forward to that time. Our time will come.

Lawson’s Bread no longer worth the extra cost.

Four years ago I praised Goodman Fielder for making Lawson’s bread. There is no doubt that it is tasty and wholesome. Apparently, many people agreed with me because they have been buying it. At the time I thought it was expensive, around the $4.25 mark. That was very dear compared with other breads.

As time went on, Lawson’s has risen in price. Remember that it’s just bread made by the big company, Goodman Fielder, and bread should not be pricing itself out of the market. But that is exactly what Lawson’s has done. It now costs 37 cents a single slice which is prohibitive.

I think that $5.45 a loaf is far too dear and so I suggest that you do yourself a favour and buy Aldi’s very comparable seeded loaf called “Baker’s Life Original”. It costs $1.46 cents less and is just as good as Lawson’s. In fact, it weighs 900gms which is 100gms heavier than Lawson’s.

Let’s see if Goodman Fielder can match that!

Stupid news about Australia from the ABC.

Sometimes I cringe at the absurdity of Australian news items.

While the East Coast of the U.S.A is bracing itself for one of the most terrifying natural disasters which will hit its shores in the next two hours, we in Australia have announced that our natural rock wombat numbers are going to increase by 20% today.

Apparently, 8 rock wombats (little furry animals) will be released into the wild today. This announcement was made this morning straight after the Hurricane Sandy news.

I have no idea what a rock wombat is and I have no objection to its release into the wild. Let it run free for all I care.

All I can do is shake my head in disbelief at this bit of trivia that could not wait.

We certainly live in a very lucky country, don’t we?

Don’t miss “Argo” the movie.

What can I say about “Argo”?

Amazing, exciting, brilliant story based on true events. The acting was superb, the editing, production etc were excellent. But most of all, it had me jumping out of my seat with the suspense.

Do yourself a favour and go see it. I predict that Alan Arkin will win an award for his performance.

It was gratifying to see how brave the Canadian ambassador was while the not so Great British Embassy was too cowardly to even give asylum to the endangered Americans who were trying to escape Iran. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

Barak Obama grovelled before the Arabs

In yesterday’s third U.S debate, Governor Romney asked why the newly-elected President Obama avoided Israel on his visit to the Middle East.

Obama replied that he did visit Israel on a previous visit, the one that he made during his election campaign.

Any person can see through this ploy. He was courting the Jewish lobby during the election, of course.

Once he was became President, however, Obama felt that he no longer had to suck up to the Jews. So he blatantly omitted Israel from his visit to the Middle East.

I can still see the image of Obama grovelling to the Arabs, bending over and kissing the hands of the Saudis. It was a degrading act for the leader of a nation which fought and won independence from monarchy.

And there he was bending over and grovelling to the the nations that nurtured the attack on the Twin Towers.

Now in this third debate Obama said he stands with the Israelis.

Now what is that famous saying again? “With friends like these……”

It will be another four years of this and thank goodness that he can only have two stints in the presidency.

I have to agree with Baroness Susan Greenfield about the downside of the internet

While the internet has been a boon in many respects, I am concerned about some of its detrimental effects on the learning process.

When I first purchased a Kindle I was delighted with it. It is light. You can change the font. Downloading a book is not only fast but cheaper than the hard copy. You can carry your Kindle in a purse so that it is particularly handy for travel.

Similarly, a computer and an I-pad are convenient. You can look up anything in a second (if your connection works) and the world of information is at your finger tips. All this is true and I appreciate the benefits of the digital age.

However, and this is a big however, after reading books in E-form I find that my concentration is not as strong. I read the article on the screen and then flick around to something else and have to ask myself what was I reading?

I have read many books on my Kindle and when I study the menu I wonder what they were about. Now this does not happen with the printed word on a paper page. I have hundreds of books in my print library and can tell you immediately what the theme was and who the characters were in every one of them.

It’s as if what is on the digital screen is ephemeral, something to be read and discarded without being absorbed by the brain. I know that if I want to make a note of something I write it down on paper, because that makes it more credible to me.

So what I am referring to is not “information overload”, but rather the form in which the information is presented.

Now it’s very possible that I am having this reaction because my initial education was with books, pen and paper. Why, I can even do “proper” handwriting rather than printing. But I have been using a computer for thirty years, so I’ve been familiar with the internet for quite a while.

Baroness Susan Greenfield has been warning us about the effects of the digital age on the brain. The short attention span that is created by being able to surf the net willy nilly means that nothing much is read in detail.

We are used to the bite, the morsel, the nano-content of information and we are training our minds to flick from one thing to another without weighing the evidence, without questioning its importance and without sitting down away from the screen to reflect on what we have read.

One only has to observe the populace walking around everywhere, head down, thumbs hard at work, on I-phones. The obsession is very strange and rather scary. If they get all their information on the net and they are at it non-stop what will happen to their powers of reflection, comprehension and absorption?

This is what concerns Baroness Greenfield who spends her life promoting Neuroscience. She is certainly not against information and neither am I. In fact, I’m one of those types who checks information and spelling and trivia pedantically.

I have been an educator and I am very worried that the information and the books on E-readers are making us lightheaded. Not much is going in and staying in, and that is a pity because so much is going out into the ether.

We are inundated with the digital stuff and perhaps we are beginning to drown in it without a life jacket. It’s the medium, not the message!

Anders Breivik short sentence! It’s the Norwegian Laws which are insane.

I only have one question for the Norwegians.

How many people do you have to murder before you get a life sentence in Norway?

Well, it seems as if the vilest of killers can only get 21 years in Norway. That is the law, apparently. Why? Who knows? But after that period the sentence can be extended by five years at a time.

What is wrong with a real life sentence…meaning ” for the rest of his life”?

Apparently, 77 dead is not enough for the Norwegian Laws

Thumbs up for Craftee Cottage in Oakleigh!

Just when you’ve decided that retail shopping has no future you come across a pleasant surprise in Oakleigh, Melbourne.

It’s called Craftee Cottage and as the name will imply it’s for people who love knitting and crochet.

Needless to say there are several wool stores in Melbourne. Some are quite okay but nothing special. There is one, in fact, quite close to my home which is so unfriendly that I have decided it’s not worth going there because the owner acts as if she finds customers to be a nuisance.

I have to make it clear that I am not referring to the Wool Store in Malvern which is known as Wondoflex Yarn Craft Centre and is extremely welcoming and so I go there very often. In fact it was this Wool Store which directed me to Craftee Cottage when I was searching for a special ball of yarn.

I appreciated their kindness so much that I will definitely continue to visit the Wondoflex Centre in Malvern.

But nothing can compare with the extra service that I received at Craftee Cottage which is at least 10 kms from my home. The owner and the rest of the staff obviously love their work. They know about knitting and there is no hard sell.

The visit reminded me of how knitting and craft shops used to be before those huge haberdasheries came into being. I always dread going into them because there is hardly any service and the whole visit is a wander through aisles and then a long queue at the end if one actually finds something to buy.

Compare this with Craftee Cottage and you soon realise that good service will always beat the internet. Personal good service is what makes a shopper come back over and over again even though retail may be taking a beating.

I believe that there is a great advantage in being able to feel and see a product before buying it, especially in a craft situation. And if one can discus its merits and get expert advice then the visit to the craft shop is a happy experience.

It isn’t easy to choose a yarn over the internet. Colours just aren’t the same online in many cases. And there is always the problem of having chosen the wrong thing and not being able to return it easily. That can be a disincentive for online buyers.

Some products are quite suited to online shopping, but when it comes to a hobby or a pastime then the entire shopping experience has to be emotionally satisfying. Selecting yarns and needles should be a leisurely experience. After all, this is discretionary shopping rather than simply going to a supermarket to buy bread and milk.

Ambience plays a major role in this type of purchase. So if we get a great welcome and can take our time in the store then we will always choose the store which makes us glad we came.

In other words, it’s all about “the feel good factor.” And it is the genuine personal service which will make me go out of my way to find it at Craftee Cottage.

How satisfying it is to discover a breath of fresh air in a harsh retail environment that often fails to deliver!

“And if We all Lived Together” –movie review

I rarely want to walk out of a film theatre. It’s the former film and TV critic in me that obliges me to stay until the very end so that I can give an honest review of a film.

“And if we all lived together” really tested my resolve. This supposed French? comedy?… whatever, is a miserable and uninspiring, unentertaining and definitely not amusing depiction of aging from the point of view of “Oh My God, if I ever get like that please shoot me.”

The screenplay is badly written. There is no resolution. There are silly cliche stupidities about Viagra. There is one guy who has Alzheimer’s, one who is always vacuuming and another who has had a heart attack and who asks a young man to buy Viagra for him. Oh yes, he also pulls his pants down and shows his bottom in front of a video recorder. In other words, a barrel of laughs.

I found it hard to believe that Jane Fonda would accept a role in such a silly movie about old people. You know the ad she made for L’Oreal cosmetics? In it she says “Because she’s worth it?” Well, she ain’t.

And I can’t imagine why a great comedy actor such as Pierre Richard of “Les Fugitifs” fame would accept a role in such a pile of trash.

When you think about it, for whom was it made? Young people couldn’t care less about such a theme and older people expect either substance or entertainment or both if the film is really good.

“And if we all lived together” offers neither.

By now my message should be clear. This is not worth seeing. Avoid it at all costs.