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Archive for February, 2012

No Shoes Please

For the most part visiting a Canadian or American home is pretty much the same experience on both sides of the border. However, I have always been puzzled by one main difference. When visiting a Canadian home it is common to remove one’s shoes and leave them by the front door before entering. Some people even come with indoor shoes to change into.

When I go to visit my friends and family back home in the USA, the shoes stay on. I would be looked at strangely if I stopped, sat down and started to take off my shoes. Nor would you be asked to remove your shoes. Asking a guest to take off their shoes would be like asking someone to remove their pants.

I remember growing up in Canada and taking off my shoes when going over to friends’ houses. I figured it was more a kid thing. I can see asking kids to take off their shoes after playing outside. Children have a tendency to attract dirt. Yet, the act of removing one’s shoes doesn’t end at the age of majority. I have been to many adult gatherings where you are greeted by a line of shoes at the front door entrance. And it isn’t just confined to friends and family. Service people and salespeople have also been seen taking off shoes before they enter a private residence.

This custom is followed in many countries, especially Asian and European countries. There are even some in America that make this a rule. Some do it to preserve carpeting and hardwood floors. Some do it for health reasons. I believe I once heard Dr. Oz suggest it. But then he has an unusual attachment to fiber too.

Personally, I don’t really care. I’m polite and like to respect people; must be the Canadian rubbing off on me. When back home I usually keep my shoes on unless I’m staying overnight. Then I kick off the shoes and make myself comfortable. Back in Canada, if asked to remove my shoes, I take them off with a smile, no questions asked. I’m just happy to be invited to someone’s home and to be able to share some great times-shoes or no shoes. I just remember to wear a clean pair of socks, just in case.

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It’s been just about a year since I’ve been writing this blog. My first entry dealt with Super Bowl commercials; or more precisely, that most people in Canada don’t actually see those ads during the big game because of Canadian regulations. (To read that post, click here )But as many of you might remember, I’m an Over The Air TV viewer and as a result  get my signals direct from the good old USA untouched by any Canadian simulcasting. So, Super Bowl commercials are one of my annual traditions.

First off, I have to say I’m not into this releasing of the commercials online beforehand. Call me old-fashioned, but I look forward to the surprise element, watching the commercials unfold during breaks in the football game. It’s like waiting until Christmas morning to unwrap all your presents. Actually I’m Jewish so I don’t really know how the whole Christmas thing works, but you get my point.

Here’s a breakdown of this years batch of Super Bowl commercials:

The Celebrity Sighting

From Elton John to Clint Eastwood, celebrities were everywhere this year. Also among the rich and famous appearing this year: Matthew Broderick, Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Donald Trump, Regis Philbin, a scantily clad David Beckham, and the ubiquitous Betty White.

More Talking Babies and Funny Monkeys

I believe it was W.C. Fields who once said never work with children and animals. Once again this year ads featured plenty of both. Besides the annual appearance by the E-trade talking baby we also had babies used as projectiles and a boy relieving himself in the family pool. On the animal side besides monkeys and the famous Coca-Cola bears we saw a dog that could fetch beer, a dog on a fitness regime, and a dog with possible murder implications.

A Trip Back in Time

Many of this year’s commercials had us feeling nostalgic. We saw Matthew Broderick re-creating his Ferris Bueller character and Jerry Seinfeld reuniting with the Soup Nazi. We also saw Hyundai employee humming the theme from Rocky, another Star Wars reference, and a cameo from the now bankrupt Twinkie.

Time once again to take a poll. Which was your favourite of this year’s Super Bowl commercials? I can’t list them all, but here were some of the most talked about.

I also would like to hear your opinion on releasing these ads online before the Super Bowl.

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