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Terror

Thursday … Loosing an Anchor

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Not So Much tonight …

At this hour, the weather is holding. They tell us that snow will fall overnight, then temps will drop into the (-20c’s ) tomorrow night. Brrrrrrrrrr.

Over the last year and a half, I have told you the ongoing story of the redevelopment of Alexis Nihon Plaza, the mall just up the street. The entire West end, this section of downtown, has been under construction for a long time. We have new sidewalks, new bus stops, a new park is going in, a brand new condo tower is in the prep stages, they are tearing down an old building to make way for a new build, and the mall is still a work in progress.

I would imagine that probably over a million dollars or two went into the mall redevelopment program. We were getting a brand new anchor store … That was Target. They spruced up the floors ( read: they re-tiled the entire mall in flashy white tile) they refurbished all the columns and carpeted them and put all brand new signage in the mall, they painted and moved stores from their original locations to where they are now,  and redesigned the foot print of the entire mall, all in prep for Target. They put in a glass elevator so people could get to all floors because there was no access for people who needed that ability in the past. That cost some bucks.

I forgot to mention the million dollar LED signage that went up outside the building itself, top of the line signage that flashes and dances according to the weather outside. That must have cost One Pretty Penny to put up. The mall needed all the flash and bang it could afford to welcome this new anchor store to the mall and do it properly.

They tore apart the mezzanine level where the pharmacy, IGA and other brand new stores are located. They took out a staircase that fronted Zeller’s when they closed. And in its place, they erected a huge monstrosity glass ceiling that extends from the ground floor to the mezzanine in quite the fashion. The ceiling looks down into Target and the Starbucks that is in the store itself, like they needed the extra draw of a Starbucks coffee shop to get people in the door to shop. It sits in that very important IMPULSE location you see in every grocery store on the express cash aisle.

The entire building lends itself to Christmas decorations that are hung from the very pinnacle of the building itself over Target, and one HUGE Christmas tree was put up in front of the store. It was quite the spectacle.

And the IGA was rebooted, rebuilt and more than doubled their footprint.

We were all excited to have a Target in our neighborhood. It came in with a bang. Canadians had high hopes that the U.S. retail chain would give us all those frills and cheap prices that they gave us, when we traveled to the U.S. to shop in the very same store.

Cross border shopping is still the “thing to do, because prices here are still too high.”

You can’t really run a store that has empty shelves. And you can’t run a chain of stores when your pricing is higher than normal, and not offer customers something for their time and purchase dollars. Yes, I shopped at Target, and I still shop there today. I have not been 100% thrilled with the goods, but it is what it is.

Today Target announced that it is closing all 133 Target stores in Canada. ALL OF THEM !!!

All that work they did to get ready for this Anchor Store to come in and change our lives was a waste of time, treasure and talent. In the end, they could not offer us, what they offer the U.S. by way of stock, pricing and customer satisfaction.

The entire ground floor was designed for the purpose of bringing people to the store, having them shop, then hang out in the mall. A new Starbuck’s, Tim Horton’s, Dagwoods, Frozen Yogurt, Joogo Juice, and a good amount of seating for people to congregate there in front of this anchor store, was built.

Yes, they built it, and the people came, they just weren’t shopping enough at Target.

There will be a very big empty space when Target closes. It looked pretty, was all shiny and it attracted lack luster numbers,

Target in Canada is a failed venture.

I was at the mall earlier today. There were liquidation signs all over the store. But I got a good deal on jeans, that I sorely needed. They had what I wanted. And I had never needed a fitting room before so I did not know where it was. I picked up a couple pair of jeans and walked through the store looking for a fitting room, it was stuck in an area that I never walked through before.

So, yeah, I bought some jeans. Size 34 waist – 30 length.

A few months ago, my doc changed up all my medications because I was getting fat. What I did not know at the time, (I was on those drugs for more than two years) that they caused considerable weight gain, so I was promised 10 to 20 % weight loss with these new drugs, Janumet and Invokana.

Today I put on jeans that were slimmer than the ones I had on. I’ve lost 2 inches on my waist and a good ten pounds off the top to boot !!! Woo Hoo !!!

We’ve been customers of Pharmaprix for years. Today when I went to pick up my medications, my check out girl told me that due to a million dollar budget cut, staff and services were going to be cut, and that our medications are going up in price. We already pay a pretty penny for pills on the Quebec insurance program. She had a petition for us to sign, everybody was signing it, so I signed.

It seems there is a theme going on city wide. Better yet, Canada wide …

The pension program cuts the province wants to make is causing strife amongst city workers, people are pissed off, store chains are closing, budget cuts are coming across the board, the STM raised its transit rates this month, which makes it more expensive to buy passes and tickets. Provincial companies are cutting staff and raising prices at the same time.

The Provincial Government introduced austerity measures that have not gone down well with the population, and the employees in the province, and the city, We are also on austerity measures and that is also problematic for citywide workers, trying to make a living, AND get a pension, that they rightly deserve for the work they do, however shitty they are paid, and are asked to go above and beyond their duties, and they get pissed off, they go to work, pissed off, then get into scrums with passengers on trains and buses, it really isn’t a pretty picture at all.

The Canadian government, under the Conservative Party is not doing ANYONE any favors.

It is a very long and complicated story. Provinces get help, transfer payments based on natural resources and their production value from the government, that is paltry. it’s just a really bad scene.

We need a new government that will work for the people instead of fucking them all over.

Out in the oil patch, the price of oil is still falling, and Canada is scrambling, trying to figure out what to do right now, thousands of workers are loosing their jobs, budgets are in free fall, the economy is dancing around the word “recession.” It just isn’t a very pretty economic picture here at home, or across the country tonight.

And far far away, people are dying at the hands of religious extremists.

We learned the other night that our very own Canadian Home Grown Isis fighter Abu Ibrahim Al-Canadi is dead ! He popped up on social media some time ago, in a slick new recruiting video, touting his Canadian upbringing and called other Canadians to join the fight against the west.This bright, educated, Canadian Young man was seduced by isis to go to Syria and fight in the war against the West. With his bright face of young years, wearing a flak bomb jacket, he went over to the dark side, and now he is a martyr for the cause of Islam. What a fucking shame…

What are becoming of our young people world wide. So much hatred. We have pissed off all the right people, after years and years of unjust war, torture allegations out of the U.S. and they way the world sees Islam, and paints everybody with ONE WIDE BRUSH STROKE.

We’ve made more enemies than friends since prior to 9 -11…

Abu Ibrahim Al-Canadi … He is dead … He was once one of us, and even if he turned over, somewhere deep down, I don’t think he forgot where he came from, since he spoke so warmly about it in his propaganda video, but what can you say about religious disillusionment ?

The problem with religious extremism is that it has nothing to do with Islam, however hard they want you to believe that all this terror and killing, all in the name of Allah, is called for in a Holy Book.

No, it is an aberration…

Europe is smack dab in the middle of a multicultural fight between East and West. Borders are porous, getting to and from the Middle East/Iraq/Syria/Yemen so forth and so on, back into Europe is easier than getting from North America, back and forth.

I also failed to mention the atrocities that are West Africa. Crimes against humanity, the killing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Christians and others. The kidnapping of school children to marry off to terrorists, the conscription of KIDS to kill human beings. That is a terrible atrocity.

We’ve seen in the Middle East that kids there have been conscripted for killing human beings as well. Such unimaginable horrors. And we are powerless to stop it. How do you deal with so many flahs points of terror and killing … ?

It looks like things are going from Bad to Worse over there. Shit is also going down in the U.S. unlike we have seen in a long time. Here in Canada, and Montreal, for that matter, we are safe. People are wary, when they are out and about, because like we have seen, Canada is not immune to what is going on a world away.

It is very sad that 2015 has started with such a terrible BANG…

But what can you do? We must stand our ground and fight for what is right and good.

I was in a local news shop today, and the discussion about Charlie Hebdo was going on when I walked in. It seems they will be carrying the newly printed edition, and sales start tomorrow across Canada. It is going to be a mad house for sure.

Pope Francis has said there is a limit to freedom of speech, when that speech crosses religious lines. Many folks are at odds with that statement. For myself, I don’t see the good in inciting anger across religious lines. I guess that comes from my religious education and my belief that you don’t make fast friends when you cross that invisible line of discretion, freedom and speech.

There will be more to come, stay tuned …