Murray Rubin

Thinking Outside the Dox

WHY A BLOG?

Imaginative ideas, energy, honesty and lack of patience describe me totally. I was chosen out of many applicants to sit on the community editorial board of the Toronto Star and I enjoyed putting my thoughts in print. You can only serve one year and then it is more difficult to get into the paper on the editorial or opinion page, and so a blog.

Comments of an intelligent nature are invited. As a matter of fact I would appreciate people commenting. PLEASE DO!

September 24 , 2016

TECHNOLOGY CHANGES HUMAN ACTIVITIES

I am very shortly going to be 86 years old. I am not as sprite as I used to be, and it goes without saying my tennis days are in the past. When I think about dying, what comes to minds is that I will not live to see the changes that are in the future because of  TECHNOLOGY. That is all that bothers me about not living because, from my viewpoint, I have accomplished most of what I set out to do. I want to make it very clear that I am not very “tech” savvy  and this blog will only touch the margins of what  has happened in the immediate past.

ABI Research estimates there are currently about 10 billion devices worldwide that wirelessly connect to the internet.

UBER    I am sure that there are not very many people with all their marbles that have not heard of Uber. From what I understand, because  I do not own an I-Phone, you buy an APP which is short for application and you install it in your phone. It allows you to contact drivers (not necessarily taxis) to take you to the destination of your choice . Men and women who used to pay thousands of dollars to buy a taxi license have seen the value of their investment shrink drastically. Uber is a world-wide company and I believe taxi companies who owned many taxi licenses will be replaced by Uber which will do exactly as they have, send the driver to a location where they are wanted. The beauty of the system is drivers can do it part-time and the time needed to get the ride has been reduced. The cities that issued the licenses have lost another source of revenue.
AirBnB    Founded in August 2008 and based in San Francisco California, Air BnB is a community marketplace for people to list,discover and book unique spaces around the world-online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, AirBnB connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price in more than 26,000 cities and 192 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Air BnB is the easiest way for people to use their extra space and show it to the world.
Career Extenders    Have you looked at the obituary column lately? I hate looking but I do. Have you seen the number of people over 90 who have just died? People are living much longer and healthier. In the past companies retired people at 65 or at the worst 70. Some look forward to the retirement but others get bored or need the money. This company Career Extenders finds jobs for people over 50 who want to extend their careers. We are looking at executives, engineers accountants and others. The computer and the internet make the contact possible but the technological changes allow people to live longer.

Do you want to comment on this blog. Go to the top of the page and see TOPICS. Above topics is CONTACT ME. Hit it and lets hear from you.

September 16 , 2016

BICYCLES-CARS-PEDESTRIANS and TRAFFIC LAWS

It should be obvious to car drivers that the number of bicycles on the road is increasing. Cities like New York, Washington and Toronto have begun the process of putting in dedicated bike lanes. It is not an easy process as car drivers are not happy and a lane is taken away from car traffic. If you drive along a major street you can see literally 100`s of bikes locked in to lamp-posts or bike racks .It is not the first time there was a bicycle boom, as in 1974-76 ten speed bikes sold in those years even more than autos. At that time the boom ended. There is a question I would pose. Why do people ride bikes and of course in this case I refer to adults. The simple answer is there is no one answer. What comes to mind it is cheaper, is environmentally friendly , you get to exercise and last but certainly not least there is no problem finding a place to park.

But like all things in life, there is a price to pay for more bike riders, and the price is not cheap because it involves accidents and human lives. I have not ridden a bike for many years, but the average biker as I have observed does not give a hoot for traffic laws. Most bikers do what they want and many accidents and loss of life have been caused by bikers and in many cases the victims are bikers themselves. What do bikers do to break the traffic laws? They ride on the sidewalk, they go the wrong way on a one way street, they go through stop signs , they ride over pedestrian crosswalks when there are people on them, and they do not obey traffic lights. The irony is they do  not have any protection when they fall off their vehicle in an accident. Bicycles do not require registration, licence plates, vehicle insurance and a drivers licence. This makes some sense as in the past bicycles were mostly used by children under 18 years old. The only law I see that is regularly obeyed, is they must wear helmets. In theory they must have proper lighting and obey traffic laws but it is not enforced. But the Ontario Government has recently passed laws that affect cars and their relationship to bikes. Car drivers must leave a minimum of one metre when passing a bike and there are fines for non-compliance of a total of $110.00. There is an offence called “dooring” which can cost the car driver $365.00 and involves opening a car door in front of a bike. Laws that apply to car drivers are ignored by bikers here in Ontario. In Germany wearing ear phones, riding through red lights and riding on the sidewalk can bring on fines to the biker and riding side by side is illegal. They even have fines for biking and drinking. It is obvious that bike use is taken seriously in Germany and that will have to happen here in Ontario or the bike car accidents will increase. Exactly what Ontario should do is complicated because of the number of children using bikes and there is no such thing as bicycle licences and bike driving permits There are many more bikes in use and expect accidents unless action is take by the government and even then with more vehicles there will be  more accidents.

If you wish to comment on this blog , go to the top of the page and over TOPICS you will see CONTACT ME–Hit it and lets hear from you.

 

September 9 , 2016

BALCONIES—WHY?

Whenever I drive around in Toronto, whether in the city or suburbs, I cannot help but look at the abundance of tall buildings, either condos or rental units. At a guess at least 90% have balconies of between 50 and  60 square feet. I swear , I have hardly ever seen people enjoying the nice summer weather in the outdoors free of the pollution from the cars in the city. On occasion, I do see a smoker not wanting to pollute the apartment. So what is the use of the balconies? As I have paid a great deal of attention, what I find there are old outdoor furniture and the odd bag of garbage that the inhabitant, as of yet, has not found the time to place at the curb to be collected. In speaking to  David Fingold, a well known realtor in Toronto, you cannot rent or sell  a unit unless there is a work-out room, a swimming pool, or the ubiquitous balcony, and of course the reality is they are generally unused. Why then do builders  put in these unused facilities? It is in my opinion psychological. When you choose an apartment, you can see the balcony, the pool, or the workout room but the extra square feet you would get in a building without the facilities is difficult to envision. In the building in which I live most long term owners have glassed in the balcony.

I received a personal e-mail from a friend, Faila Marcus, who gave me a good reason for balconies, and even for swimming pools and work out rooms. There are numerous people unable to get out for health reasons and this gives them a way of compensating for their inadequacies.

If you wish to comment on this blog, go to the top of the page and over TOPICS you will see CONTACT ME–hit it and lets hear from you.

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About Me

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I was born in Toronto in 1931 to a wonderful mother who divorced shortly before my birth. I owe a great deal of my success to her. I am Jewish but not at all religious, yet my culture plays an important part of my personality. I attended Harbord Collegiate and U. of T. Faculty of Pharmacy. A unique mail-order pharmacy was the first of my endeavours in the profession, followed by many stores throughout Ontario. I have a loving wife, 3 children and grand-children and I am now retired from pharmacy. But what do I write about? Everything! My topics are funny, serious, whimsical, timely, outrageous, inspiring, and inventive. I promise that if you take the time to read any one of these topics  – you will not be sorry.



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