Journalists are slow on reports of the Tim Horton’s and Burger King merger

It is not my style to comment on things which come up on Facebook, but since Burger King’s Facebook page was mentioned in news of the merger as reported by CTV Newsworld, I thought I would weigh in. I went to Burger King’s Facebook page, and well…

It is now about 10:15 PM Toronto time, and a post by the Burger King media organ saying they are remaining headquartered in Miami, Florida appeared about noon our time today. CTV Newsworld is still reporting that BK is moving to Canada to avoid corporate tax.  Meanwhile, respondents to the Facebook page are plenty pissed, despite the announcement by the fast food giant that “The Whopper isn’t going anywhere”.

Wordle_BK_TimmiesAccording to Wikipedia, 3G Capital of Brazil has had a majority stake in the company since 2010 as BK’s share price was sagging. This means that in actuality, the report should have been about a Brazilian company headquartering in Canada. Since the 2010 purchase of BK by 3G Capital was under President Obama’s watch, his accusation that BK is being “unpatriotic” by moving to Canada now rings particularly hollow. Where was Obama when the flight of capital really took place?

To be fair, news is contradictory about the location of 3G’s head office. It has two offices, one in New York City, and another in Rio de Janeiro. Bloomberg says the head office is located in New York. Wikipedia, whose article on 3G reads like a brochure, says it is located in Rio. The 3G Capital website, whose home page sports the Manhattan skyline, has sparse information about anything, and makes it equally cryptic.

The BK head office still remained in Florida, and Alexandre Macedo (from New York) has been president of Burger King Holdings since 2013. We don’t know his salary, but Tim Horton’s Marc Caira earned a tidy $451 million in 2013. Tim Horton’s is headed in Oakville, Ontario.

In Memoriam, 2013

Katherine Wowchuck – Jan 8 – At age 111, she was the oldest Manitoban alive.

Eugene Whelan – Feb 19 – Age 88. Minister of Agriculture under Trudeau.

Stompin’ Tom Connors – Mar 6 – I don’t know how many people remember that he once had his own variety program back in the early ’70s. He had compilations that went platinum. A 2006 concert CD went double platinum. His three number-one hits on the Canadian country charts were: Big Joe Mufferaw (1970), Ketchup Song (1970), and Moon-Man Newfie (1972).  Ranked #13 as The Greatest Canadian (beat out by heavy hitters like Pierre Trudeau, Terry Fox, Tommy Douglas, and David Suzuki. Although they could have made room by leaving out Don Cherry, who is #7, ranking above Sir Alexander Graham Bell). Stompin’ Tom lived to age 77.

Max Ferguson – Mar 7 – Longtime host of the eclectic “Max Ferguson Show” on CBC Radio. Lived to age 89.

Paul Rose – Mar 14 – Infamous FLQ member who belonged to the cell that kidnapped Quebec cabinet minister Pierre LaPorte in the 1970 “October Crisis”. Died at age 69.

Ralph Klein – Mar 29 – Conservative Premier of Alberta for over a decade and former journalist. Died at age 70.

Rita MacNeil – Apr 16 – Age 68. An amazing singer, having had a variety show on national TV for a number of years. Many of her albums went double platinum. The last time there was an overweight singer with a beautiful voice, was Debra Iyall, the lead singer of the California new wave group Romeo Void. If you didn’t know what she looked like, you would be blown away Debra’s voice. When executives heard her voice, they were similarly impressed, until the band showed up in person for audition. Needless to say, they remained an “Indie” group, and relatively unknown. I guess we’re not so shallow here, north of the border. We know a good vocalist when we hear one.

Doug Finley – May 11 – Age 66. The loyal Tory who helped bring Stephen Harper to power.

OK, so I guess he *wasn’t* holding a feather. Some generous soul turned the flipbook into an animated gif, to save you the trouble of having to look for a copy. This graphic is linked to the originating website, where a PDF of this also exists.

Elijah Harper – May 17 – Age 64. I don’t know if I can still find the flipbook of Elijah sitting as MP for the Manitoba riding of Rupert’s Land, holding a feather, quietly shaking his head, casting his “Nay” vote to the Meech Lake Accord in 1990. It was predictable that he would vote “No”, but something about it made the whole thing larger than life. Yes, they were giving out animated flipbooks, just so you can see Elijah saying “No” again and again and again — as many times as you would care to flip the pages to see an animated sequence of photographs of Elijah shaking his head.

Henry Morgentaler – May 29 – Age 90, Guardian of women’s right to choose over many decades. To hear it, it was just him spearheading the movement, and he did succeed in overturning the abortion laws in Canada.

Doug Ingelbart – Jul 2 – Invented the computer mouse in 1968. He died at age 88. He also helped pave way to the creation of the World-Wide Web and graphical interfaces generally.

Alex Colville – July 16 – Famous painter, a companion of The Order of Canada. Age 92.

Peter Appleyard – July 17 – A grand master of the jazz xylophone, I remember his many appearances at the Oakville Jazz Festival.  He performed and recorded alongside all of the jazz greats. Age 84.

Virginia Johnson – Jul 24 – One half of the Masters and Johnson team that gave America so much to think about with regards to their sexulality in the 1960s, died at age 88.

John Weldon Cale – Jul 26 – The songwriter known as “J. J. Cale”, who gave Eric Clapton songs like “Cocaine” and “After Midnight” died at age 74.

Eydie Gorme – Aug 10 – She was 84 when she died in Las Vegas, so how young was she, exactly, when she was the better half of “Steve & Eydie”?

Roy Bonisteel – Aug 16 – The host of the now-defunct CBC program Man Alive spanned many decades from the late ’60s to the late ’80s. Was age 83.

Sir David Frost – Aug 31 – British political journalist best known for his interview of the late Richard Nixon. He was 74.

Ray Dolby – Sep 12 – Yes, that Dolby: the inventor of the noise reduction system that bears his name died at age 80.

Lou Reed – Oct 27 – Former Velvet Underground member died at age 71. He is survived by his wife, Laurie Anderson. Just about everyone who has made hit records in the Rock and Prog Rock genres since the early 1970s owes him a debt of gratitude.

Jack Munro – Nov 15 – The friend of no politician or business tycoon, the lumberjacks of British Columbia owe this union leader a great debt to his legacy. Lived to age 82.

Doris Lessing – Nov 17 – (Age 94) 2007 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Peter Wintonick – Nov 18 – A documentarian best known for his 2-hour long documentary from the late ’80s with the title: Necessary Illusions: Noam Chomsky and the Media. Lived to age 60.

Frederick Sanger – Nov 19 – (Age 95) Two-time winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the British biochemist won once for elucidating protein structure, particularly of insulin, and another time for his work with recombinant DNA.

Nelson Mandela – Dec 5 – We thought he would live forever, but after passing on his mantle at age 94, South Africans have to find their way without him.

Peter O’Toole – Dec 14 – The star of Lawrence of Arabia was 81.

Geoff Stirling – Dec 22 – OK. I’ve ignored Newfoundland long enough. Geoff Stirling, broadcasting titan who showed his love of CanCon regulations by showing 6 hours of incoherent badly chopped together videos on NTV on an overnight “program” that did not seem to have a name. That, and some token actual local programs, probably topped it up to the required 33% that kept the CRTC happy. At least the rock videos saved us from looking at ads. Lived to the ripe old age of 92. That Arizona air must be good for your lungs. Long may your big jib draw, Geoff.

The day the elevator music died

Mood, a Concord, Ontario subliminal marketing company (for lack of a better description, but you can click to view the website),  has announced it is ditching the Muzak brand name which it owns and merging its operations with the parent company. There is an article on the New York Times website that goes into this at some length.

Muzak had been providing retail stores, workplaces, and indeed, elevators with music to induce productivity, purchasing tendencies, and other things conducive to smooth running offices, stores and the like. The original idea behind Muzak was that you were not supposed to think about the music as you were going though the store. It is intended to be unobtrusive. In recent decades, you may have noticed that Muzak doesn’t do this anymore. Instead it pipes in ’70s music, or more recent hits. I must say that such music has been played with such mind-numbing regularity that it could qualify as mindless as the originally intended music was. Fleetwood Mac is an example of a band I hear all the time in stores, and this once-favourite band of mine has now dissipated into mental oblivion with repeated playings as I am browsing for food or clothing. And I guess that is the point of all this. You are not supposed to think about the music at all. If  “Go Your Own Way” is played so often that I am barely conscious of it playing, then Muzak — excuse me, Mood — has done their job.

In Memoriam – My personal highlights

In some kind of loose chronological order:

Johnny Otis: The Godfather of R&B, whose real name was Ioannis Veliotes (his parents were Greek), made his debut in Big Band music in the late 1940s, then had a long string of hits between 1950 and 1951. He discovered Etta James (who also died this year). He died on January 17.

Earl Scruggs: Where would the Beverly Hillbillies be without him? Died on March 28.

Adam Yauch: The first rap singer I have ever heard of that died non-violently (although cancer would also not be my personal first choice of “ways to go”). The former Beastie Boy was 47. Died on May 4.

Levon Helm: The influential drummer of the early 70s rock group The Band. Died April 19.

Kitty Wells: While I never was a country music fan, Kitty was notable for headlining shows during a time when it was widely believed that any entertainment headlined by a woman would flop. She proved them wrong, and made loadsadough for both herself and her chauvanist bosses. Good on her. Died July 16 at the ripe old age of 92.

Neil Armstrong: On July 20, 1969, Neil set foot on the moon, the first Earthling ever to do so. Neil, who described himself as a “nerdy engineer”, died on August 25.

Peter Lougheed: The long-ruling Alberta premier who jealously guarded the province’s right to control their oil resource from the federal clutches of Pierre Trudeau; whom people in Eastern Canada referred to as “The Blue-Eyed Sheikh”, died on September 13 at 84.

Raylene Rankin: Former member of the Nova Scotian Folk/Celtic group The Rankin Family died way too young of cancer at age 52 on September 30. I confess that I was not able to play their Celtic selections in my days as college DJ, because I couldn’t pronounce the titles.

Elliott Carter: If you had not heard of Elliott Carter, I hadn’t either, until I heard that this neoclassical composer, who remained prolific past age 100 finally gave up the ghost at age 103. Of “natural causes”, according to CBC. Just the very thought of living that long is worth some kind of award. He died on November 5.

Dave Brubeck: However, I have heard of, and continue to listen to, Dave Brubeck. I mistook him for having composed for A Charlie Brown Christmas, but I had the wrong set of episodes (that composer was Vince Guaraldi, who is still among us). He did compose for Charlie Brown cartoons, but it was for the series called “This is America, Charlie Brown”. Brubeck died on December 5.

Ravi Shankar: I am not a big fan of his music, but he gets credit for collaborating with George Harrison beginning in 1966, along with many other notable Western musicians both before and after. He died at age 92 on December 11.

Laurier Lapierre: The co-host of the current affairs program This Hour Has Seven Days (along with Patrick Watson), which ran in Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s, who became Canada’s first openly gay senator, died on December 17 at age 83.

This week in the news

I have to admit, I don’t keep up with the news (or television generally) like I used to. I read a newspaper if it’s lying around someplace, like in a library. But this week was unavoidable for news, even for me.

The normally secretive and quiet Elections Canada just reported today that they alone have received over 31,000 complaints relating to harassing or misleading robo-calls. The Conservatives have lost their retaliatory power over the week, and now the opposition is chiming in. Finally. This is less like Shawinigate and more like Watergate.

In other news, in Ajax, a Toronto suburb, a teenager got suspended from Archbishop Denis O’Connor Secondary School today for distributing Valentines’ Day letters to female students, telling them it’s their inner beauty that counts, and for girls to be true to themselves.

That, and war in the Middle East.