Tech Blog: The Only ‘Approved’ Use Of An iPhone 4

….And by ‘approved‘, I mean ‘Stormcastle Approved‘.

Natch.

Bonus points for recycling!

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Good News, Everybody! $100 For Just Being You!

Well… to be more precise, I have to specify that it’s $100 for just being from Ontario, Canada.

Also need to point out that if you make more than $82,000 a year, you won’t get a dime – so all you fat cats in banking and insurance will have to supply your own splurge funds!

Anyway…

A lot of you who are simple enough to buy into Tim Hudak’s message that the government is bribing you with your own money are more than welcome to rip up these nifty little cheques and go on about your business.

What’s that? You already cashed yours?

I see.

You must have done it under great protest… bitterly cussing out each and every single cent.

Regardless of those people who complain for the sake of complaining, these cheques are a nice shot in the arm when money has been thin due to the economy – and yes, I know some of the money being sent to your snail mail boxes or direct deposited in your bank accounts will be stolen back from you when the HST is fully implemented on July 1st, 2010.

However, I’ve done the math for myself, and have come to the conclusion that of the $300 dollars I will receive from the government through the Sales Tax Transition Benefit (S.T.T.R.), only $45 to $50 of it will go back to Queens Park in the form of HST a year – solely through a $4 and change increase on my telephone/internet bill.

Phone services have always had the PST added to them.

Same goes for my cable bill.

The only area of my regular finances that will be effected is my internet service.

Yes… there will no doubt be incidental HST taxation throughout the year – though I can only imagine it happening to me on the 2 or 3 taxi fares that I grudgingly throw money at a year.

It’s hard taking a new TV or office chair home on the bus!

Before you say it, let me beat you to the punch: I know a lot of you out there don’t have your finances in the same amount of control I do.

There are many of you who may be charged more HST than what you receive by the end of the S.T.T.B. cycle in July, 2011 – because you have a bigger set of financial liabilities and bills that you are responsible for.

But you must always bare in mind that your overall tax load has been reduced via both income tax reductions for more than 90% of the Ontario population, and the products/services you consume will become cheaper as corporations that operate in Ontario stop passing on to you parts of their taxation that have always been hidden in the prices you pay at the cash register.

Yes… you’ve been paying some of the taxes that Ontario companies (both large and small) are charged for doing business in Ontario.

Every case of Coca-Cola you buy in Ontario carries some of the taxes that will be charged to the local Coke bottling operation/Coke delivery operations/Coca-Cola Canada Ltd. head office – but it’s buried in the price tag that you see on the shelf.

Furthermore, the store you buy the Coke from also passes on some of their taxes as well in that price sticker.

In fact, every business that has had anything to do with that case of Coke Zero (aside from the manufacturer) passes on some of their taxes to you – think of the companies that print the cardboard carton the Coke cans come in, or the business that makes the cans that you drink The Real Thing from.

With the introduction of HST, all of those companies instantly save money through streamlining.

Some of them will save money when certain items they buy are cheaper – either through the removal of one tax layer, or because they will save money in the same way that you do through the removal of hidden taxes.

Companies like Walmart and Hewlett-Packard know that you – the person who buys the products they sell – ultimately choose whether they live or die when you vote with your wallet, so they can not continue to charge the same prices on the whole that they did before HST came into effect.

Yes, it may take anywhere between 6 months and a year for those passed on savings become tangible in comparison to what you pay now in June, 2010 – but by the time that happens, you probably won’t notice because the price decreases will be slow and incremental.

On July 1st, that case of Coke won’t all of a sudden be 10 cents cheaper – that’s completely unreasonable as all the people involved in getting that 12-pack to the grocery shelf still had to pay disharmonized taxes on everything that went into it.

Companies – both large and small – often sign yearly contracts to pay certain prices – and there’s a good chance that Coca-Cola might be locked into paying 3 cents for every aluminum can it fills until its contract with the aluminum supplier runs out in December, instead of 2.5 cents a can per a new contract come January 1st, 2011.

Until then, Coca-Cola still has to charge you that .5 of a cent per can to at least break even.

If it comes to be June 10th, 2011 and you’re still paying the same prices that you are on June 10, 2010 on your goods and services, then you know that the companies you’re dealing with are being dishonest – and you can then take the necessary steps to make them accountable.

Buy your services/products from another vendor who has dropped their prices a few dollars or a handful of pennies, nickels, and dimes.

You have the power.

As for the money that does go to Queen’s Park from the taxes that you can’t avoid?

It all comes back to you.

Maybe not in the form of a cheque – though some of you who make less than $15,000 dollars a year in taxable income will receive three cheques a year for $87 dollars.

All of you will see that money come back to you in the form of improved provincial services – better health care, improved education, and more infrastructure spending that this province desperately needs but can’t afford at the current tax level.

Are you aware that more than $0.50 of every dollar you spend in taxes goes to funding health care in Ontario?

That cost is only increasing as the Baby Boomer generation ages – and will continue to do so exponentially.

Where do you expect the government to get that money to pay for your sick grandparents – or hell, even you when you’re ill and laid up in a hospital?

Especially when you’re also demanding that there be better roads in Ontario to drive on.

When you want Ontario children to have superior education when compared to other areas of the country so they have a leg up on kids from Manitoba at job application time.

Many of you desire more police officers on the streets to make you feel safer.

Our environment requires funding to help us breathe cleaner air and to have lakes/rivers/streams that we can swim in without worrying about getting sick.

These are all valid things to want and desire from your government – the people you elected to represent you and your needs.

However, all those things come at a price… and the province needs the money to pay for these increased expenditures.

And that money comes from you.

Nowhere else.

Complaining about it doesn’t change the facts.

Like it or not, you’ll be better off in at least a dozen areas of your life through that Harmonized Sales Tax – probably more.

So accept your S.T.T.R. cheques happily and put the money to good use.

I know I will.

An Open Letter To Kristen Stewart

Stormcastle

Peterborough, Ontario

Canada

Ms. Kristen Stewart

Hollywood, California

U.S.A.

Dear Ms. Stewart:

I was saddened today to hear about your feeling like you were being raped by your fans and the media while you’re out and about in public.

How terrible it must feel to put up with photographers,  media journalists, and fans wanting to have your attention after the public was nice enough to line your pockets with millions of dollars for simply being yourself on movie and TV screens around the globe – well, maybe not EXACTLY like yourself since movie directors tend to make you express your default angst and lip biting on command instead of when you’re being naturally emo.

My heart goes out to you for having to deal with a public that has made you from a nobody bit player in the background of better actors’ scenes to a worldwide anti-crush for tween girls and cougar moms who would gladly kill you to share the limelight with Robert Pattison.

$26,000,000 (twenty-six million dollars in case you have problems with numbers) from the Twilight saga movie tickets – not including box office percentage points in your contract – does not in any way entitle society to be curious about you – to know what kind of person you are!

I find it incredibly ignorant and unimaginable that the general public doesn’t simply forget that you exist once the end credits roll.

I mean, seriously now… you’re not in this business for the money and fame.

In fact, I’m fairly certain that you’re being held captive in Los Angeles somewhere… being forced to go in front of the cameras time and time again – when you would really prefer to be working at a Taco Bell restaurant in Seattle.

The key to determining your slave status is that you simply refuse to act – which is a very clever tactic from someone who is serving her slave masters under what is surely the threat of being shot – in any movie these cruel and heartless movie pimps set you up in.

It’s easy to tell that this is your strategy when you compare your output in films like Twilight and Adventureland with footage of you in real life – there is absolutely no discernible difference!

Ms. Stewart, I really implore you to work harder at getting out the message to people that you want out of the Hollywood business.

Maybe you could learn Morse code and then blink your eyes in an S.O.S. pattern while on camera as Kristen Stewart Bella?

Someone out there in a movie theater will surely catch on and come to your rescue – escorting you to that job mopping floors at Taco Bell and allowing you to stew in your own angst privately.

But until then, the movie watching public will suffer – as you surely do – through the movies your agent/pimp makes you work in.

Yours sincerely,

Stormcastle

p.s. Could you please send me your millions of dollars since you don’t want them? I feel terrible that you’d be constantly antagonized by the fruits of your slave labor.