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February 5-11, 2024

In this issue...

• Scary stuff! Ontario drivers being affected by bogus duplicate licence plates sold online.

• CBC Radio's Under the Influence: The marketing of Taylor Swift

• By the numbers X 10 + 1

• Pickleball courts moving into empty spaces in old shopping malls

• After a very long wait, McDonald's is bringing the McRib back to Canada

• Crayola offers free colouring pages for toddlers... and adults

• Next Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Trivia Night: Monday, February 26

• Valentine's Day is Wednesday, February 14

• Before you go: 7 things you may have missed last week

... and trivia, quotes, community events and more!

Scary stuff! Ontario drivers being affected by bogus duplicate licence plates sold online.

How in the world can online vendors selling virtually identical licence plates to authentic ones be allowed to continue in business? In Ontario. legitimate licence plate holders are being fined for infractions being caused by vehicles with the fake plates attached. This is absurd!

Article excerpt: "Imagine seeing an online ad for what looks like a carbon copy of your licence plate.

Omar Ahmad didn't have to imagine it.

Last month, Ahmad's brother sent him a link to a Facebook Marketplace listing for 'any Canadian province plates for all your needs' for $26, alongside an image of what looked like an Ontario licence plate '3MAR.' 

That's the personalized Ontario plate Ahmad has had for 11 years. His wife gave it to him as a gift back in high school for a car he'd built as a showpiece for his family's auto body shop in Hamilton, Ont.

'It literally looked like if you took a picture of my plate and put it up there,' said Ahmad.

'To take a plate that's legitimately made - it's somebody's registered plate - and to make it into a fake plate multiple people have is just - it's wild.'

Ahmad says the ad did, however, solve the mystery of why he has received four Highway 407 ETR bills connected to the vanity plate of a car he rarely drives since August.

He's just one of a growing number of drivers receiving 407 charges for trips they say they never took."

This is a scary situation that must be stopped through strict laws and regulations. I just checked for the heck of it. Click here to see what I found! It's true!

Read: Ontario drivers fight mystery 407 bills, parking tickets - likely from duplicated licence plates.

CBC Radio's Under the Influence: The marketing of Taylor Swift

The latest episode of CBC Radio's Under the Influence with host Terry O'Reilly looked at the marketing phenomenon that is Taylor Swift, the #1 celebrity in entertainment these days. She's popular and powerful, and politicians are either happy about this or freaking out, depending on which side you're on.

February 1, 2024 - The Marketing of Taylor Swift: (Taylor’s Version). Synopsis: "This week, we analyze the remarkable marketing skills of one of the top music artists in the world - Taylor Swift. She has challenged the status quo at every turn - she regained ownership of her master recordings. She convinced Apple and Spotify to pay artists in a more equitable way. She defied Hollywood. She markets her music to her fans in very surprising ways. And holds over 70 Guinness World Records." Click here to listen to the episode and here for the website post.

Click here for the show's website and here for the show's podcast archive.

Photo credit: Taylor Swift Stock photos by Vecteezy.

By the numbers X 10 + 1

• 1. Lawyers for 5 2018 world junior hockey players confirm sexual assault charges

• 2. 6 ways to give that aren’t about money

• 3. 7 songs poised to make a Swift exit from TikTok amid UMG's licensing dispute

• 4. 7 emotions: How it may feel to decide to divorce

• 5. After Russian doping decision, the U.S. suddenly has 9 new Olympic golden medalists

• 6. Canada's most popular baby names dropped, and a few newcomers made the top 10

• 7. Indeed Canada reveals the top 10 best jobs of 2024, and they all pay really well

• 8. 10 of the best winter looks from this year's Sundance Film Festival

• 9. 50 totally painless ways to save money every day

• 10. UPS to cut 12,000 jobs, explore options for Coyote business

• Bonus: 29 cozy February dinner ideas to cook every night this month

Pickleball courts moving into empty spaces in old shopping malls

A few years ago, the municipal park across the street from my house underwent a major renovation. Part of the plans included installing a pickleball court. "Pickleball?" I thought to myself. "No one is going to play that!"

Well, colour me wrong! The pickleball court is crazy busy from the time the snow melts until the snow flies again. I would have never known. In fact, it's so popular that courts are taking over empty spaces in old malls. The demand is definitely there!

Article exerpt: "Fairgrounds (Racket Club) is partnering with a number of malls in the Greater Toronto Area and in Vancouver in hopes of breathing life into dormant spaces while at the same time giving people another incentive to visit the mall.

The Cloverdale space is set to open in the middle of February.

'I think there's definitely a supply and demand opportunity right now with pickleball,' Munro said.

'This is just going to fit what people are looking for right now.'

Fairgrounds is aiming to turn the idea of the stuffy racquet club on its head. There will be no dress code or membership fees. Players will pay by the hour. And there is a major focus on comfort and design, including a restaurant and bar.

'You'll come in, you can rent the paddle by a paddle, you'll be taken to your court,' Munro explains. 'There's music, it's lively, it won't be sterile, walking on eggshells type of environment.'

Munro said the mall spaces make sense.

'People are here, it's already a built-in population and density, and offering something for the community is just taking it one step further.'"

So, yeah. If commercial building owners have any large empty spaces available, turning them into pickleball courts may just be the ticket to get some rental income for hard-to-rent wide-open spaces!

Read: Pickleball: the latest tenant to volley its way into old shopping malls.

After a very long wait, McDonald's is bringing the McRib back to Canada

Tim Hortons is making a lot of people happy by bringing back long-gone fan favourites like the Dutchie and Walnut Crunch. Now, McDonald's is following suit by reaching back into its archives and bringing back the McRib - maligned by some and the subject of many late-night talk show jokes... but loved by many more, apparently.

Article excerpt: "It’s time to get saucy, Canada: The McRib is returning to McDonald’s! This is not a drill.

After being absent from the fast food chain’s menu for the past decade, the popular sandwich is back in participating stores across the country starting Tuesday - and it seems like fans of the sandwich and their incessant badgering are to thank for the revival.

'In the last year alone, our team received thousands of inquiries on social media from very passionate Canadian McRib fans asking to bring it back here,' said Alyssa Buetikofer, vice president and chief marketing officer at McDonald’s Canada, in a statement.

'The McRib is truly a fan favourite,' she continued. 'It appeals to guests of all ages - from loyal followers who have patiently waited a decade for its return, to our newer fans who have only heard the legend.'"

It's not always clear why popular offerings are phased out at restaurants, but they sure get a lot of free publicity when they come back - especially during this golden age of retro nostalgia.

Read: McDonald’s McRib is coming back to Canada after a 10-year hiatus.

Crayola offers free colouring pages for toddlers... and adults

If you've out of colouring books for your kids or somehow find yourself needing to keep a toddler busy and don't have any around, did you know that Crayola offers downloads of free images from their website?

Images are available for many occasions. All you need is a printer and some crayons! Click here for the images archive.

But wait! There's more! You can even download images for adults!

Next Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Trivia Night: Monday, February 26

The next Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club Trivia Night will be held at St. Louis Bar & Grill, 1405 Mountain Road, in Moncton on Monday, February 26, beginning at 6:30 p.m. $10 per person (cash only). Click here for the Facebook event listing.

Participants may play as teams or individuals. The winning team gets 50% of the door receipts as their prize.

It is strongly suggested that participants arrive by 5:15-5:30 p.m. for a seat. Trivia begins at 6:30 p.m. sharp and is usually over by 8 p.m. Everyone welcome!

Please note that restaurant reservations are NOT available for this event. First come, first served. Limited seating of approximately 50 guests.

Participants may bring an optional non-perishable food item (box of granola bars, Kraft Dinner, cereal, etc.) for distribution at Krista Richard's Community Sports Program events, of which the Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club is a sponsor. Any donations will be gratefully received and provided to Krista for distribution to her program participants (school-aged children from Moncton-area schools).

Since Rotary Trivia Nights began in 2016, the Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club has donated nearly $20,000 to Atlantic Wellness, Karing Kitchen, Ray of Hope Kitchen, Salvus Clinic, The Humanity Project, BGC Moncton (Moncton Boys & Girls Club), Junior Achievement New Brunswick, Project Linus - Moncton Chapter, and Krista Richard's Community Sports Program, among others. During the last Rotary Trivia Night season (September 2022 to May 2023), more than $6,000 was raised.

The Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club gratefully acknowledges the kind and generous sponsorship of its restaurant partner, St. Louis Bar & Grill.

See you on January 22!

Valentine's Day is Wednesday, February 14

Valentine's Day is nearly here - which means that spring is within our grasp! Here are some links to help you get ready!

Dairy Queen brings back 2 beloved desserts for their Valentine's Day menu

6 desserts to make for a loved one this Valentine's Day

10 custom Valentine's Day gift ideas we're swooning over

21 of the best Valentine's Day gifts you can get under $50

40 of the best Valentine's Day movies ever made

Pioneer Woman: Valentine's Day cupcakes

Best gifts for Lego lovers this Valentine's Day - a dozen budget-friendly sets

Looking for love this Valentine’s Day? New study reveals the most romantic cities in Canada, and you might be surprised by the results.

The Starbucks Valentine’s Day collection of drinks and cups is now complete

Crayola: Free Valentine's Day colouring pages

Before you go: 7 things you may have missed last week

• 1. Reba McEntire to headline new sitcom a decade after her last turn as a TV leading lady - get the details! (see photo)

• 2. Saskatchewan collector finds rare case containing coveted Wayne Gretzky rookie cards

• 3. IBM tells managers to come to the office or leave their jobs

• 4. Chita Rivera, Tony Award-winning actress and singer, dead at 91

• 5. Maker of recalled sleep apnea machines agrees to halt sales in U.S.

• 6. Vince McMahon resigns from WWE parent company after ex-employee files sex abuse lawsuit

• 7. Universal Music to pull songs from TikTok

Photo credit: Actor Stock photos by Vecteezy.

Trivia: Did you know?

Thomas Edison not only invented the light bulb, phonograph (record player), alkaline battery and movie camera, he also invented the talking doll. (See photo.)

Inside the doll, a wax cylinder recording played a nursery rhyme or song after the doll was cranked.

A sweet idea for sure, but the quality of the cylinders left a lot to be desired. Not to mention, as well, that the recordings themselves were so creepy that they sounded like they were voiced by demons. Parents and children alike were freaked out by the eerie recordings and the product failed.

For a sample of the recordings, click here. (Advice: Don't listen to them before bed if you plan on sleeping that night.)

Quotes of note

• 1. "Just because something doesn't do what you planned, doesn't mean it's useless."

- Thomas Edison, inventor (1847-1931) (see photo)

• 2. “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”

- Stephen R. Covey

• 3. "You don’t have to be the victim of your environment. You can also be the architect of it."

- James Clear

• 4. "If you're having trouble making yourself happy, try to make someone else happy."

- Tim Ferriss

• 5. "Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself."

- Lucille Ball

• 6. "To talk well and eloquently is a very great art, but that an equally great one is to know the right moment to stop."

- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

• 7. "You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you."

- Barack Obama

• 8. "Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died."

- Erma Bombeck

• 9. "I blame my mother for my poor sex life. All she told me was 'the man goes on top and the woman underneath.' For three years my husband and I slept in bunk beds."

- Joan Rivers

• 10. "You know you're getting old when the candles cost more than the cake."

- Bob Hope

Enjoy the outdoors this winter with the Greater Moncton Walking Group

The Greater Moncton Walking Group is walking in Centennial Park in February, meeting in the parking lot on St. George Boulevard.

The group meets for walks every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 a.m. New participants are always welcome! For more information, please contact Wayne Harrigan at 506-386-2187 or via email.

Acadian mugs with family names - dozens of options!

New from Acadistuff: Acadian flag mugs with family names. Dozens of options available! Shipping is included in all prices. Tax extra.

• 11-oz. mug: Click here

• 15-oz. mug: Click here

Don't see your family name there? Contact me via email to have it added.

These mugs have been shipped all over North America!

About this newsletter

Brian Cormier's Weekly Update is distributed weekly from September to June via email to more than 500 subscribers in addition to many others who access it online. If you're reading this newsletter online and want to subscribe, please email me, fill out the subscription form on my website, or subscribe via the "Join Our Email List" button at the top of the newsletter (if you're viewing this in a browser.) This newsletter is not published in July and August and on holidays.

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