F 1 D 0 - 2003 05 24 at 2030 Super Flat. Ann asked me yesterday, "What does Tres Plat mean?" We read it off of the box that the new 24 inch Electrohome television was shipped in. I knew this meant "very flat" but I wanted to read it off of the box itself. Sure enough, if we rotated the box, we could read it in English. "Super Flat." The question which begged for an answer was, "Which if flatter? 'Flat' or 'Super Flat'?" When we picked it up at Zellers, the answer was rather clear. "Flat" models were 599.99 and "Super Flat" were half that, and up from there. Another opportunity for us to consider the world of technology and superlatives, right? The world of VGA monitors, and their descendants, the SUPER vga monitors. At Zellers, we could see the difference right away, if we positioned ourselves correctly. The Super Flat models seemed to show the ceiling fluoresecents, and the flat ones did not. As I'm writing today's column, I'm looking into my reflection in the flat Samsung monitor. I became aware of a window behind me. I'm looking, and looking some more. You see, there isn't any window at all. I've turned off the monitor, and taken a picture for your approval just now. It's just how the sun is doing its magic as it comes in and shines on the books, but still it had me staring into the monitor for a long time. I have to admit, if my screen was Super Flat, or not flat at all, then the picture would have been completely different, right? Super Flat televisions (when compared to flat ones) are like Extra Chocolatey Cookies (when complared to Chocolate Cookies). I'm starting to wonder about the world we live in. You see, I don't consider chocolate a particularily costly ingredient. Fruit puree (such as apple) should not be expensive. So why am I starting to see products with the phrase "made with real fruit", "made with real chocolate", "made with real cheese"? When I see this, for some reason, the integrity of the whole product comes into question. We went to Duluth last weekend. While in the Wal-Greens, I saw something I should have purchased for a dollar. They had blueberry power bars. The picture suggested it was a blueberry fig newton cookie thing. Fine. It was being cleared out, as I suppose the product was not selling. It had some kind of space age picture in the front. And when I looked at the ingredients list, it was - a surprise. It shouldn't have required too much to make a blueberry fruit cookie. And if we are adding things to it, making a blueberry FRUITIE cookie isn't a big jump. This one? It was very strange. I really wish I'd have gotten a box of them just so I could share the ingredients list with you. People living in Minnesota are bracing for a new gun law. I'm sure this is a source of concern for many of the residents. http://www.startribune.com/stories/389/3887193.html "Conceal and Carry" articles Q. Do guns have to be concealed? A. Guns do not need to be concealed. The law requires permitted carriers to have the guns in their possession and under control. Other state laws apply, however. For example, they prohibit displaying the gun in a threatening manner or the reckless handling of a gun ... Q. Is it legal to carry a handgun into a grocery store, bank or the post office? A. Yes and no. With a permit, you can carry a gun into private establishments, such as stores and banks, unless owners prohibit it. However, owners cannot restrict guns in parking lots or ramps. But you can't take guns into a post office. Like other federal facilities, firearms are prohibited in post offices under federal law. Q. If I have a permit to carry a handgun, can I take that gun to: • My job? A. It depends. ...They cannot ban guns from parking facilities. • The park? A. Apparently, you can take your gun to the park, but there might be exceptions. • My seat on a Metro Transit bus? A. If you're a bus driver, the policy is clear -- you can't carry a firearm while performing your duties Q. As a landlord, can I prohibit guns in my building? A. No. You cannot prohibit your tenants or their guests with permits from carrying guns into the building. There is more. Go to the site, and read the Q+A yourself. I know some people who love guns in Ontario. They have permits, and one is a veterinarian I used to do computer work for. The people who love guns and press the Ontario government for permits to enjoy them were very careful. If I am to judge all of this group by the few I know, then permit holders will be careful and very responsible hobbyists. Still, my gut reaction so far to this law is negative. You will find it hard to smoke in public places, and drinking of alcohol has to be controlled and licenced. But guns are welcome unless specifically restricted by new signage at each entrance. This seems unbalanced somehow. Toronto, while it has a very restrictive gun law, still has a gun problem. People sneak them into the country I think. (Hunting weapons can be licenced, but hand guns are nearly impossible to get permits for, unless you are running a shooting range, you are filming, or you happen to be a collector. I should find out the precise laws, huh?) There have been a number of all-night-long dancing parties. Often they have attendances of 20,000 or more people. No alcohol served, and none allowed. These events have problems, but never violence. They were shut down recently. Now the only people who hold regular dances have night clubs, and serve alcohol. These are Very Dangerous Places. I'd say the management of the clubs are as responsible for such danger as the participants. The advertising suggests that the females who attend will be dancing and longing for the company of any men who wish to go home with them. Women get in free, or discounted. It happens so often now that you don't read a lot of news on this any more: people get shot at these night clubs. You can be certain that the guns are not registered. Will Minnesota, our neighbours to the south, have problems like I'm worried about? Maybe not. I found that Highway 61 was green, spotted with small friendly towns, and might be exempt from the kind of urban blighting I'm confusing with the freedom to carry a gun with a permit. I've always preferred freedoms over restrictions. Whenever the government gets involved in something, you can be sure it won't be fun nor profitable. Consider taxis. To drive a taxi in Toronto requires so much training, and so much investment. To own a plate (that is, permission to work for yourself, without renting a taxi from someone) takes many years. I met someone who was on the list for 17 years, and finally got his plate. And for what? For the priviledge of driving people around, and making a few dollars each night. There seem to be more and more certification bodies that decide whether or not we are qualified to do something. I'm ranting too much, and too few facts to write about. I'll think about this, and write more next time it occurs to me. That's all I know.