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January 15-21, 2024

In this issue...

• Copyright on original version of Mickey Mouse expires after 95 years, sending it into the public domain

• Another season of CBC Radio's Under the Influence is here!

• By the numbers X 10 + 1

• Mastermind Toys screws customers by stopping to accept gift cards at Christmas

• Tim Hortons is bringing back the beloved Dutchie and three other doughnuts

• Boomers and Gen X in mourning as childhood favourite Fruit Stripe gum is discontinued

• Next Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Trivia Night: Monday, January 22

• Acadian mugs with family names - dozens of options!

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

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

Copyright on original version of Mickey Mouse expires after 95 years, sending it into the public domain

The original version of Mickey Mouse as he appeared in Steamboat Willie (shown in the GIF above) is now free from Disney's copyright protection after 95 years. There are still several restrictions, however, but this is pretty much new territory with copyright ending on such an iconic character who has evolved greatly over the years.

Article excerpt: "M-I-C-K-E-Y will soon belong to you and me.

With several asterisks, qualification and caveats, Mickey Mouse in his earliest form will be the leader of the band of characters, films and books that will become public domain as the year turns to 2024.

In a moment many close observers thought might never come, at least one version of the quintessential piece of intellectual property and perhaps the most iconic character in American pop culture will be free from Disney's copyright as his first screen release, the 1928 short Steamboat Willie, featuring both Mickey and Minnie Mouse, becomes available for public use.

'This is it. This is Mickey Mouse. This is exciting because it's kind of symbolic,' said Jennifer Jenkins, a professor of law and director of Duke's Center for the Study of Public Domain, who writes an annual Jan. 1 column for Public Domain Day. 'I kind of feel like the pipe on the steamboat, like expelling smoke. It's so exciting.'

U.S. law allows a copyright to be held for 95 years after Congress expanded it several times during Mickey's life.

'It's sometimes derisively referred to as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act,' Jenkins said. 'That's oversimplified because it wasn't just Disney that was pushing for term extension. It was a whole group of copyright holders whose works were set to go into the public domain soon, who benefited greatly from the 20 years of extra protection.'"

Creators are already taking advantage of the copyright sunset. A horror film featuring the "old" Mickey has already been released... and there's nothing Disney can do about it.

Read: Mickey Mouse will soon belong to you and me - with some caveats. Related: Mickey Mouse horror movie trailer drops: Film uses Steamboat Willie version of character that’s now in public domain.

Another season of CBC Radio's Under the Influence is here!

January may be the dead of winter, but it's made a lot better with the return of CBC Radio's Under the Influence series on advertising and marketing with host Terry O'Reilly. Details on the first two new episodes of the 2024 season are below.

January 4, 2024 - Disappearing Acts: When Popular Brands Are Discontinued. Synopsis: "To kick off our 2024 season, we look at a strange phenomenon happening in Canada. Well-established brands are suddenly leaving the country. Kleenex is leaving after nearly 100 years. Skippy Peanut Butter has skipped the country after nearly 90 years. And KFC actually held a funeral for their terrible-tasting French fries. What’s happening up here? Find out." Click here to listen to the episode and here for the website post.

January 11, 2024 - Copycat Brands. Synopsis: "This week, we look at copycat brands. Even though they walk a razor’s edge legally, copycat brands seem to pop up all over the world. You may like Walmart here, but there’s a Wumart in China. You may like North Face apparel, but did you know there was a South Butt brand? And, we’ll tell the story of a copycat cookie that overtook the original to become the best-selling cookie in the world." 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.

By the numbers X 10 + 1

• 1. 2 experts explain why libraries can become cybercrime targets

• 2. 3 women who drive for Uber and Lyft explain their top strategies for making up to $1,400 a week and getting customer tips

• 3. 6 paint colours that will make your house sell for more money

• 4. 7 reasons you should stop watching home improvement shows already

• 5. 9 ways to get healthier in 2024 without trying very hard

• 6. 13 brand name products you can buy at Dollarama that you might not expect at a dollar store

• 7. 30 Canadian books to read in winter 2024

• 8. At least 33 Canadian churches have burned to the ground since May 2021. Only 2 were accidents.

• 9. Book-banning parent thought to be record holder after getting 444 titles taken off shelves

• 10. Transport Canada says Tesla recall will affect roughly 193,000 cars in Canada

• Bonus: A former Google recruiter shares the 4 things that make you look really desperate when job searching

Mastermind Toys screws customers by stopping to accept gift cards at Christmas

This is awful. After Mastermind Toys announced just before Christmas that it would be declaring bankruptcy and closing many stores (after Christmas), the chain announced that gift cards (many of which were purchased as presents) would stop being accepted after December 24. This left many people opening up worthless gifts and the givers having wasted their money.

Article excerpt: "Riverview father Rudy Walters is speaking out after Mastermind Toys stopped accepting gift cards effective Christmas Day - with signs posted on their storefronts only days before.

Walters said the move raises questions about the value of gift cards and about consumer protection when a company such as Mastermind Toys heads toward bankruptcy.

'I would just like to see some more legal protection for consumers to make sure that hard-earned money that's spent on gift cards can be used at any time that company is still in existence,' Walters said.

The move is a part of the retailer's recent filing for creditor protection amid increasing competition, COVID-19-related disruptions and a decrease in customer spending. The decision to not honour gift cards is, according to the notices on the stores, 'pursuant to the CCAA court process.'

'The first thing that came to mind is the cost of living right now is so high. Families are struggling and to get somebody a $25 or $50 gift card and then find out that it's no longer that high, that has to absolutely sting,' he said.

According to CCAA court documents, the company currently has 'approximately $5.6 million in outstanding gift card liabilities.'

Walters said the timing is also poor.

'Especially to have that deadline be Dec. 24, knowing how many families would be only opening up gift cards on the 25th,' Walters said.

'How many of these gift cards would possibly still be in transit with Canada Post or another carrier?'"

This is nothing less than complete and utter fraud. The chain received the funds in exchange for products, which they are now refusing to hand over. Shame on Mastermind Toys for doing this to their customers, who are now being treated as enemies. Good riddance to them if this is how they treat people.

What they're doing may be legal - technically - but it's completely unethical.

Read: Mastermind Toys stopped accepting gift cards on Dec. 24 - when most cards were still wrapped. Related: Mastermind Toys to be acquired - but these 18 stores will still be liquidated.

Tim Hortons is bringing back the beloved Dutchie and three other doughnuts

Why Tim Hortons got rid of the Dutchie, I'll never know. It was very popular. It drives me crazy when restaurants discontinue popular products - probably because some fancy-shmancy consultant consultant tells them that they need to appeal to a younger audience.

But Tim Hortons may have seen the light with the temporary return of the Dutchie and three other favourites, including the beloved Walnut Crunch.

Article excerpt: "Canadians who have missed being able to buy blueberry fritters, cinnamon sugar twists and walnut crunch doughnuts at Tim Hortons are in luck.

The fast-food chain revealed Tuesday that it is reviving the three retro treats and putting them back on the menu alongside the Dutchie - the square-shaped, raisin speckled baked good that was one of Tims' first products.

The quartet will be back for a limited time, starting Jan. 10 across Tims' Canadian locations.

Their return is meant to help the company usher in its 60th anniversary, which arrives on May 17.

The chain owned by Restaurant Brands International plans to mark the anniversary year with 'nods to the past' but also celebrations of 'the Tims of today and the future,' said Tims' chief marketing officer Hope Bagozzi.

'We wanted to kick off our 60th anniversary year with a bang and we can't wait to reintroduce Canadians to four retro doughnuts that were most popular historically among our guests,' she said in a press release."

Rest assured that the "temporary" return will be permanent if sales prove to be good.

Read: Tim Hortons reveals which three doughnuts will join Dutchie in returning to menu.

Boomers and Gen X in mourning as childhood favourite Fruit Stripe gum is discontinued

If you're of a certain age, Fruit Stripe gum was a major treat. This was not the gum your aunt or grandmother had in her purse. This was brightly coloured and very tasty - at least for a minute or two when the taste faded to nothing. While it lasted, however, the taste was amazing.

But all good things come to an end and Fruit Stripe gum has been interred in the candy graveyard. Sadly, it's no longer being made.

Article excerpt: "If you call yourself an older millennial, then you definitely grew up with Fruit Stripe gum, its wildly erratic zebra mascot, and the brightly colored sticks of gum with bold fruit flavors that lasted almost as long as it took you to read this sentence. Almost.

However, according to Fruit Stripe’s manufacturer, Ferrara Candy, the gum is being discontinued. (That’s big news to anyone who didn’t think it was discontinued about the time Hannah Montana went off the air.) 'We have made the difficult decision to sunset Fruit Stripe Gum, but consumers may still be able to find the product at select retailers nationwide,' a Ferrara Candy representative said in a statement.

'The decision to sunset this product was not taken lightly, and we considered many factors before coming to this decision, including consumer preferences, and purchasing patterns.'"

Translation: Sales were dead.

I haven't bought Fruit Stripe in at least 30 years, but I'll see if I can find one last pack to enjoy - at least for two minutes until the taste disappears.

Read: Fruit Stripe gum is gone forever.

Next Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Trivia Night: Monday, January 22

The next Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club Trivia Night will be held at St. Louis Bar & Grill, 1405 Mountain Road, in Moncton on Monday, January 22, 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 Nights 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! Click here for a larger version of the event poster shown above.

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!

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

• 1. Mayim Bialik won’t host Jeopardy! anymore (see photo)

• 2. Try not to let moose lick your car, Parks Canada warns, as more salt-seeking animals flock to highways

• 3. The Stanley water bottle craze, explained

• 4. Italian opera singing is now protected by the U.N.

• 5. French actor Gérard Depardieu stripped of Order of Quebec after documentary remarks

• 6. LG brought the world's first wireless transparent OLED TV to CES 2024

• 7. Oppenheimer, Succession dominate 2024 Golden Globes: See the full winners list

Trivia: Did you know?

If someone asked you in which state the easternmost point in the U.S. was located, you'd likely say Maine, right? Actually, it's in Alaska. Alaska? Surely, I jest! Nope. As you can see in the map above, Alaska's Semisopochnoi Island is actually the easternmost point in the U.S. where the Aleutian Islands cross the 180º Meridian into the eastern hemisphere. That makes Alaska the most western and eastern state, longitudinally, in the U.S.

Quotes of note

• 1. "Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."

- Lucille Ball (1911-1989), actress and comedienne (see photo)

• 2. "People who are the happiest in the world are those who are doing things for others."

- Peter Burwash

• 3. "To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June."

- Jean Paul

• 4. "January is the quietest month in the garden. But just because it looks quiet doesn’t mean that nothing is happening."

- Rosalie Muller Wright

• 5. "I love beginnings. If I were in charge of calendars, every day would be January 1."

- Jerry Spinelli

• 6. "January, the first month of the year. A perfect time to start all over again, changing energies and deserting old moods, new beginnings, new attitudes."

- Charmaine J. Forde

• 7. "Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress."

- Charles Kettering

• 8. "Let me be clear about this: I don’t have a drug problem, I have a police problem."

- Keith Richards

• 9. "The problem with winter sports is that - follow me closely here - they generally take place in winter."

- Dave Barry

• 10. "In the end we’re all Jerry Springer Show guests, really, we just haven’t been on the show."

- Marilyn Manson

Winter fitness fun with the Greater Moncton Walking Group

If walking more for exercise is on your New Year's resolutions list, check out the Greater Moncton Walking Group which is walking in Mapleton Park in January. Meet-up is at Rotary Lodge just off Mapleton Road.

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.

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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