Monday, December 07, 2009

A Holiday Message From Bennettworld



Good morning/afternoon/evening/night:

It's that time of year again. A time we spend paving the way for next-generation products that create real benefits in our world. A time to invest in our ever-growing product line, which enables us to deliver new and improved technologies. And a time to interface with stakeholders to ensure high-caliber, actionable best practices.

I want to cry.

At Bennettworld, we love the holidays and care about fostering partnerships and collaborative research with an emphasis on partnerships among organizations and industry-to-research organization collaborations.

Eggnog. Say it and you'll believe.

As the season approaches, our customer fulfillment process begins with initiating the project once your estimates are given to the Client engagement team. Once your project is confirmed, an Enhanced feature list is prepared. The project and its associated tasks are then assigned to the respective leads in the Design and Development team.

It's all about fulfilling your holiday wishes.

We follow the iterative model of development. In this methodology, once the preliminary requirements are clarified, the next step is to quickly build the prototype. The prototype then goes through continuous evolutions until it becomes the final product, exact to specifications. Our design and development processes are well defined.

Like that wrapped present under the tree you know is a sweater.

When you outsource to us, we are sensitive to the fact that you require high visibility of the WIP (work in progress). This is the reason why we have adapted this methodology. At each stage along the development, it evolves before your own eyes.

Like the magic of the holidays.

This is the most crucial phase that gives you an idea of the shape of things to come. Our prototype ensures smooth communication between user and developer with different backgrounds. This is an intermediate delivery stage before the final delivery that aims to establish the proof of concept. You can now almost feel the solution that you had entrusted us to develop.

Just one more sleep 'til Christmas.

So at this time, we at Bennettworld want to extend to each and every one of you our warmest wishes for the coming holiday season. May your holiday season be filled with holiday happiness and holiday joy, followed by a most wonderful New Year holiday, and then followed by fiscal restraint. Thank you for your continued support and loyal patronage.

Carolyn Bennett
President and CEO

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

David Letterman-oh-man

Yes, it's been awhile since I've jotted anything down for the insomniacs and compulsive web surfers who may stumble upon this blog. I can stay silent no longer! I had been working on a masterful bit of essay writing for this very space, but abandoned it when news broke about David Letterman.

Full disclosure -- I have never slept with David Letterman.

Not for lack of imagination. I have had my sex romps with the gapped tooth goof in my dreams, lurid fantasies involving Mujibur and Sirajul, and Dave promising me work on the show if I just let him cop a feel. What has transpired the last week has brought all my dreams perilously close to reality. Maybe I really could have worked on the show if I had put out.

In Canada, there is a certain amount of putting out. We must put up and put out. There was a time that I recoiled at the thought of putting out to advance my career. I thought it humiliating and beneath me. Now I wish someone, anyone, was beneath me. I wish someone would ask me to put out. But at the time, I thought having sex to maybe, maybe, be considered to be a script supervisor on "Dog and Katts" was ill-advised. What powerful showbiz men are there in Canada to sleep with anyway? Peter Mansbridge? Lloyd Robertson?

I imagine Letterman's paramours were more than willing. Let's face it, who wouldn't want to shtoop a wealthy, witty and powerful older man? Why would a young woman settle for some impecunious shlub? Look, I'm using Yiddish words -- I must really have a point. Hey, I'd sleep with him now, just to hear that goofy laugh afterward. HEE HEE HEE HEE.

Yes, there is the whole argument about sex in the workplace, harrassment and favourtism. I take this very seriously. I feel sorry for Letterman's wife. But how many men are cheering for Dave and thinking he's the luckiest bastard in the world? How many women are thinking, I wouldn't mind a roll in the hay with Arthur down in issues management? Until the internet totally sucks our humanity dry, we still have urges. Raw, shameful, perverse, pathetic, humiliating, potentially lucrative urges.

Time will tell whether more women will come forward. If they do, then this whole thing becomes old hat. Industry. I hope it doesn't happen, but his private life is fair game now.

No one's joke about the scandal will be funnier than his. That's the way of the comic.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One Man's Garbage Is Another Man's Refuse

It is times like these I get down on my knees and thank God I don’t have kids. I do that on a fairly regular basis, come to think of it, but now more than ever. You see, in the city where I live, there is a garbage strike. A stinking, rotting, putrid garbage strike.

Being a standup comedian and writer, I produce the infrequent bit of linguistic rubbish, but on the whole I don’t generate a lot of trash. I travel light. I don’t own a house, have a car, have a cottage, have a Seadoo, have a ATV, have a scooter. If I had to, I could fit under my sink. I am that compact.

I don’t like throwing things out. I have newspapers in my office with headlines like “Gary Carter Traded To Mets” and “Ford and Brezhnev meet in Vladivostok”. What little I have I hoard.

So the garbage strike in Toronto is losing its novelty. People are acting like maniacs. I suppose holding onto stinking diapers would test the mettle of anyone, but no reason to get in your car and try to run people over at temporary garbage dumps. Relax, people. Wake up and smell the excrement.

Let’s look at the economic benefits of the garbage strike.

The city is saving money on salaries …

That’s about it. Next point, Bennett.

My point is one man’s garbage is another man’s refuse. The strike will be over one day and we’ll all eventually reminisce about the Garbage Strike of 2009.

Hang on to your memories, people. Life is precious.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Portrait of Three Spinners

AGE: 50
IN CLASS MOTIVATIONAL MANTRAS: “Suck it Up!” “Attack!” “This is surgery we’re doing!” “Mind over matter!” “Feel good! “Be happy!
IN CLASS TUNES: Eclectic mix of techno and rock.

Bee pollen. And seaweed.

These are Peter Gault’s preferred sources of protein. No meat, no dairy, no legumes. No way.

He became a raw foodist in 1997 when he met California raw food pioneer David Wolfe in San Diego. At his home gym, Peter serves me a meal of “mashed potatoes” (ground cauliflower, cashews, olive oil and salt) and “hamburger” (beets, celery, avocado, olive oil and salt). It’s delicious.
“Only a handful of people in the city know how to make the food I make,” he says.

Gault is not only a hugely popular spinning instructor; he’s a wellness coach, a raw food chef and a wholistic trainer. Just don’t call him a guru.
“I’m not on that power trip. A lot of people are wanting that. I’m taking the pretension out of it all by making it fun.”

He got his spinning certification at Mad Dogg Athletics in New York and used to teach up to four classes a day. He says getting certification is easy but getting a job is hard. “In New York I used to ride my bike to all these different gyms to do my spinning classes. My life was a quest to hydrate. Now I teach one spinning class a day, which is the perfect amount of exercise.”

He’s lived in boats and trailers. He’s had two novels published and is ready to submit a third. He’s a passionate, off-the-grid guy and he attributes it to diet and exercise.

“Spinning is almost my theatre in a way, it’s where I get to perform. I put my class in the zone. Now and then I’ll crank up a really great song and let them go for it. No drills, no exercises. I’ll just let them meditate and enjoy the feeling.”

AGE: 45
IN CLASS MOTIVATIONAL MANTRAS: Drive it! I think I can, I think I can! Your endorphins kick in now!
TUNES: Top 40 favourites.
COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Off the charts

Katie is on the bike, legs pumping, and singing to U2. She has her eyes closed and her huge smile lights up the intimate church basement room. She radiates health, beauty and joy.
She also has multiple sclerosis.
“It’s exactly three years ago, May 18, that I was diagnosed with MS,” she says. “But I’ve lived with it for almost two decades.”

Katie credits Charlene Sullivan, Greg Lundrigan and Gudran Hardes, the owners of Main Street Cardio, for their support.
“When I found out I had MS, I cried a lot with Charlene. She always believed in me. I feel like this is home.”

Main Street Cardio is an inspiring environment. The designated heritage building with its stained glass and spacious rooms invites participants to nurture their bodies and minds through classes like spin, yoga and meditation.

Katie is no slouch on the bike. The mother of three teaches an hour class followed by a half hour stretch. “I’ve always loved spinning. It’s a great endorphin rush and calorie burner. You sweat out all your poisons. When my kids were younger and I’d be sleepless, I’d do a class and it just made me feel so purged.”

Doesn’t heat aggravate MS? “It can. If I’m in an exacerbation, when my tingles and my numbness torque up, I take it easy. Once it’s over, I slowly work my way back up. I don’t know if everyone with MS could do it.

For the past three years on National MS Day, Main Street Cardio has held a 108 Sun Salutations Event to raise money for the MS Society. Katie is an eager participant.

“My two feelings when I was diagnosed were ‘I’m going to live to the fullest and I’ll have to let go of some things’. It’s all about balance. Work hard, play hard and laugh.”

GYM: Metro Central YMCA, 20 Grosvenor St.
AGE: 34
IN CLASS MOTIVATIONAL MANTRAS: A steady stream of coaching and instruction
TUNES: Dance, techno
BPM: 145-172

Lynn Tougas slides off her bike mid-climb and fetches the water bottle that a spinning participant dropped. She smiles and hands it to the panting woman. The class needs all the hydration it can get. This is spinning with a high level athlete.

“I competed with Team Canada at the Amateur Duathlon World Championship,” she says. “I went to Germany in 1998 and North Carolina in 1999. Duathlon starts with a 10 K run, then a 40 K bike and finishes with a 5K run.”

Lynn considered training for the Olympics, but finding a good female cycling mentor proved difficult. Instead she got accredited by the National Coaching Certification Program and uses those skills in her classes to keep people moving.

Lynn comes by her fitness honestly. Her father was in the Navy and used to show her videos of his basic training. Her mother took Lynn and her brother to the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club (a YMCA outreach program) for judo and swimming lessons when they were young.

She loves the Y because of its diversity. “It’s an established charity. Money gets to the right places in a timely manner and it’s visible. People who work here tend to be here a long time.”

What does a high level athlete do to relax and have fun? “I play hockey in a co-ed recreation league a couple of times a month. Everyone at some time in their life should try a team sport.”

Lean and toned, Lynn looks a lot like another hockey player, Cassie Campbell. Single, she thinks she may intimidate some men with her level of fitness. Whoever she dates will have to be athletic. “Opposites attract, up to a point. My guy will probably end up being a rower.”

How can she assure a guy she’s not going to break him in two? “I don’t.”

Friday, February 27, 2009

She Shoots, We Score

Is A Pro Women’s Hockey League Far Off?

It’s Saturday night in Brampton and the Thunder is giving it to the Montreal Stars. Forwards are flying down the ice, slicing by the defense, letting shots rip. There’s a battle in the corner for the puck, which springs from a knot of players. It’s scooped and fired at the net. The goalie gloves it and the whistle blows. Rival players shove and yap at each other until the referee calls two penalties for roughing. The players go off but it’s all for naught – Brampton is ahead by four goals and there’s a minute left on the clock. There’s the feeling that after the buzzer sounds the teams will brawl, but it doesn’t happen. Destroying an opponent on ice is enough for Brampton. The first place Montreal Stars has not only been humiliated, now the team has to make the painful trek down the 401 in a snowstorm.

The fans stand and cheer for the Thunder. It’s announced that Hefford has just hit 100 points, a league record. The stands clear, folks filing out happy and satisfied. For seven dollars, they have just seen Olympic calibre hockey. They have. This is the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, home to some players on Canada’s national team.

“We started the league in 2007 after the NWHL folded” says Sami Jo Small, Olympic medalist and goalie for the Mississauga Chiefs. “Instead of waiting for someone to step in, a few of us decided to form a league ourselves. We organized and learned as we went. We registered under the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association, who helped us with rules and regulations, how to hire refs – everything we needed to run a league. “

It’s a thrill watching women’s hockey at an elite level. It’s a game of finesse and elegance, a fast, intense sport where the players are supremely skilled and conditioned. It’s a game where women are free to be themselves. The league doesn’t have to worry about marketing the game like it’s a novelty anymore.

“Women had to smile and look perfect in pictures,” says Brenda Andress, executive director of the CWHL, “but we’re in a time right now when the game is so excellent, it’s okay to see the real side of what makes us tick.”

Fans are past the days of side shows like Manon Rheume playing an exhibition game in the NHL. Judging by the 1500 people or so at a typical outreach game, the CWHL is proving itself a definite alternative to the NHL for hockey fans.

A pro women’s hockey league in North America isn’t a pipe dream. NBA MVP Steve Nash is an investor and part owner of Women’s Professional Soccer, a new soccer league launching this year with teams based in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Andress thinks now is the right time for women’s hockey.

“There’s huge power within our league, so much skill and passion. It’s unbelievable that this skill could be here and no one knows about it. We’re bringing it to life ourselves.”

The CWHL has charitable status and is actively looking for sponsors to take the league to the next level. Currently, all players in the CWHL work or go to school full time. Some have small children. Sometimes Small babysits for the Chief’s Cheryl Pounder when she needs to go to practice.

“Cheryl’s with the national program and she couldn’t go skate because she couldn’t find a babysitter. The players help each other out that way, when the husbands aren’t available.”

Both Small and Andress are enormously grateful for the many people who volunteered and worked hard to get the league where it is today. They see it as catching on with a wider audience like the NHL original six did. Andress talks trades, drafts, coaching, revenue distribution — the whole shebang.

“We started up the CWHL because there was nowhere for elite players to go. A lot of Americans come up to play. They have the best university programs, but nowhere to play afterwards.”

Small played in a European women’s league briefly, but she says it’s not the same as here.

“Canadian players are the best in the world, and in North America, the best play in our league. If we could pay people, imagine how far we could go.”

Seeing excited little girls lining up to get an autograph from their hockey heroes after the match in Brampton, it’s easy to imagine the CWHL won’t have to wait long.

CWHL playoffs start in March. The final is on TSN, March 21 at 1pm.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Copyright Doesn't Make a Wrong

My Great Aunt Rose, who lived to the ridiculous age of 92, resided in a one bedroom apartment at Yonge and Eglinton for over 40 years. In her later years, I did her grocery shopping every week not just out of familial duty, but to visit, have a shot of whiskey and a laugh.

One day, between cigs and an ounce of Jameson, she fixed her zealous eyes on me. “I saw your commercial on TV again.”

“That’s good. More money for me.”

“What’ja mean?”

“I get paid every time it airs, Aunt Rose.”

Her bright blue eyes went wide with disbelief. “You do? For that?”

“Yeah. I get residuals.”

“For that. To look like an idiot putting dishes in a sink?”

“Er, yeah.”

She took a drag of her smoke and shook her head. This challenged her Irish Catholic notion of life being a vale of tears. Someone actually making money for a television repeat, no actual toil involved?

I drained my glass and skulked out of my aunt’s place that day, feeling more of a scallywag than usual.

Isn’t residuals part of payment for creative work?

Now that I find myself in the internet and Web 2.0 game, I realize how unregulated this great frontier is.

The WGA writers’ strike was in large part over DVD residuals and compensation for new media e.g. content written for or distributed through digital technology like the Internet. While access to ideas, compositions and art is a wonderful thing, the people who create the work still need to feed themselves.

For every lousy commercial I landed I auditioned eighty times. For ever comedy special I did for television (2), I struggled doing sets in bars with names like The Beefeater and McSorley’s. Residuals aren’t free money, but payment for honing and practicing one’s craft.

This is all a whiny way of me leading you to this CBC Radio link and a stimulating discussion on intellectual property. This is important stuff, for while marketing is rapidly becoming “content” itself, its raison d’ĂȘtre is to promote the work and the ideas of others. And those ideas need nurturing a.k.a. filthy lucre to percolate.

By the way, that dish soap commercial kept me in TTC tokens and No Name instant coffee for two years. Coffee I shared with my aunt.