The Long And Short Of It

Bank of Montreal

Playing Corporation Games, Changing Corporation Names

Once upon a time, long, long ago, before the internet, computers, tablets and smart phones, we had the time to use big words, and impressive speech and writing, and businesses had imposing names.  Then progress(?) brought us Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and all the rest, and our memory and attention span got carved up into little 140 character slices like cheap sushi.

Soon, we were so busy posting pictures of the baked beans we had for lunch that everything had to be shorter, faster, sooner!  The military especially, got into the business of acronyms.  SNAFU to you, too.  The government gave us FBI, CIA, DEA, IRS and NSA.  Companies began re-inventing themselves in sound-bites, or bytes.

The American Oil Company shortly became Amoco.  Standard Oil turned into Esso (S.O.).  Even the Off-Broadway Awards ended up as the Obies (O.B.s).

The record I think, belongs to the City of Los Angeles, which has truncated down from its original, Spanish name of “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula”, to the easily recognised L. A., a 98% reduction.

In Canada, it appeared most noticeable among the banks.  It seemed the larger the company, the smaller the name became.  A century ago, we had time to talk about The Canadian Imperial Bank, and The Bank of Commerce.  When they merged to become The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, they soon became known simply as C.I.B.C.

The Bank of Toronto seduced The Dominion Bank of Canada, and their married name, The Toronto Dominion Bank, was soon merely T.D.  When they almost went down the toilet with some American banks, they were White Knight rescued by Canada’s largest trust company, wisely named Canada Trust.  Strangely, there now seems to be time to say TD/Canada Trust – except by the Americans.

The financially re-invigorated corporation has now taken over a chain of 1300 small banks, east of the Mississippi.  They are known in the U.S. simply as TD Banks, so that Americans don’t think we’re stealing all their cash.

Nobody wanted to merge with poor little Bank of Montreal, and shortening its name to B.M. had unfortunate implications, so it became BMo – Bee-Moe.  When banks stopped being places that just stored and lent money and paid interest, BMo spun off BMo Financial.  To keep the banking separate from the gambling investment side of things, BMo Financial now owns The Bank of Montreal.  When they desperately try to drum up banking business with TV ads, they speak of ‘BMo-Bank of Montreal.’  They have come full circle, and the tail is now firmly wagging the dog.

Company names used to accurately and completely describe what a company did, made or sold.  You knew you were going to get greasy hash from ‘Bob’s Diner’, whereas ‘Roberto’s Food Emporium’ might be a wholesale warehouse, a grocery store or a restaurant.

I worked at Waterloo Metal Stamping, which made parts strictly for office furniture.  So many people approached them to make outside parts that they changed their name to Waterloo Furniture Components.

While not making them shorter, some companies hide behind silly names with no informational value.  If it hadn’t been for a class-action lawsuit, caused by allowing a Chinese company to make yoga pants so thin that the labels on panty liners were legible, I would never know what Lululemon was all about.

Likewise, what the hell does the company named Zulily do for a living??!  These two look like they were named by the smoked-up losers in a scrabble game, from leftover tiles.

Is there a literary copyright© on the name Ali Baba?  We have an Ali Baba Steakhouse locally.  I just hope those are beef steaks, not camel.  I think the company Alibaba, has a name which appears to have been formed by a rear-end collision.  What do they make/sell – camel saddles, sesame rolls, flying carpets, oil lamps??  Open says me – and tell all.  It would take a Genie-us to know.

I recently saw an online ad for a product called Lolo.  It came complete with a questionnaire.  Do you take Lolo?  Are you a doctor who prescribes Lolo?  Not without knowing what the Hell it is!  It turns out to be a new, cutesy birth-control pill.  Just what we needed.  It contains a heavy dose of obfuscation.

Do any of you have any silly name stories?  Don’t rush.  I’ve had enough for a while.   :roll:

Flash Fiction #54

French cuisine

PHOTO PROMPT – © Kent Bonham

FRENCH CUISINE

He felt weak and empty.  He was hungry again.  He needed some nice warm, rich fluids to sustain him.

Customers at seafood restaurants got to choose their lobster, but his dining venue was somewhat different.  He had already picked a plump young bird for his next meal.  This Left Bank establishment was a bit New Age, but he’d enjoyed several selections from here.  He’d just wander in….

What??!  Garlic above the door?  He already had to avoid Italian restaurants.  He’d need to get a drink somewhere else tonight.  Damned humans!  How was a hungry vampire to get a decent meal?

***

I hate vampire stories for the tween clichés they have become, but just couldn’t resist telling this one.  ;)

Got to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#473

The Cats Who Own us – Part 5

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TONKA

Pictures of cats equals increased stats, so it’s time to tell you about our fifth and final cat.  All of our cats are ‘rescues’ of one sort or another.  This one is no different.  We changed the names of a couple of our cats, but not this one, although, like all the others, we’ve added a few.

He came to us named Tonka, and it suited him so well that it stuck.  It means ‘large, great, or powerful’, and is where the Tonka Toy Company gets its name.  We think that there is a cat breeder in the area who is trying to crossbreed to get Bengals, and throwing away the failures.  We have seen another female who is a twin in appearance, although not quite as chunky.

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This one’s sire might have been a concrete building block.  He has great coloration, but is big and hefty.  If our cat Micah is the feline equivalent of the dancer, Fred Astaire, Tonka is our Arnold Schwartzen-whozitz.  Like a muscle-builder, he has no neck and short vocal cords, so he has the tiniest, squeaky little meow.  Someone adopted him, but for reasons unknown, gave him up.

The Humane Society has cages placed outside, so that people can at least leave unwanted animals there, instead of just abandoning them.  The staff came in one morning, and he was the catch of the day.  They have struck a deal with several of the local pet-food stores to feed, water and care for cats, display them and try to get them re-adopted.  It works!

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The daughter had gone to a nearby outlet to get food for her pets, and seen him.  When she called to arrange to be taken shopping, she gushed about how great a cat he was.  Like the damned fool I am, I let the son drive her and the wife one Saturday morning.  Instead of dropping her at her home when they were done, and returning the wife here, they all ended up at the pet food store.

The next thing I knew, the son was home with instructions that I bring a cat crate and return to the store.  We were already a couple of cats over our quota, and if I bring along a cat crate, I’ve already admitted defeat.  I went to pick up the wife (And only the wife), without the crate.

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Isn’t he wonderful?
(No comment)
Look at him!  He’s so strong and handsome.
(Less than no comment.  Brad Pitt is strong and handsome, but I don’t want to take him home either.)
Where’s the cat crate?
I didn’t bring it.
We can’t take him home without a crate.
(Now you’re catching on.)

And the clerk says, “No problem.  We have temporary, cardboard, cat crates that just fold out.
(Shut up!  Shut up!  Shut up!)

He’s the biggest of the bunch, and at the bottom end of the pecking order.  Even our little female, Contessa, half his size, can run him up the stairs, or up onto the tall feeding box.  Then again, she’s raised several litters of kittens, and has learned not to take shit from any of them.

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He’s a placid cat, and almost as much a loner as I am, often found (accidently) on the powder-room mat, or the basement landing.  He willingly accepts being picked up, which none of the other three do.  He’s used to being picked up by right-handed people, and will often try to scramble over to the left shoulder, if picked up ‘wrong’.

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While he doesn’t have much to do with the other three cats, with his humans he’s very loving, and sometimes very demanding.  When the son sits to read, he crosses his one leg.  Tonka will jump up and settle into the hollow at his knee.  When I read, he often jumps up.  I will lean back, let him plant his butt on my ample belly, and lie against my shoulder.

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Once there, he nuzzles my ear, and purrs into it, and I purr back.  He rubs his face on my books and eyeglasses, marking them with his scent to identify them and me as ‘his.’  He also licks my mouth and moustache.  I think I’m being groomed, although he may just be checking what I had for lunch.

Matthew & Tonka

We didn’t need a fourth cat – any more than we needed the third – or even the second, but, sucker that I am, I can’t imagine life without him.  We do what little we can, to make life a bit better for as many animals and humans as we can.    :D

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#472

Serendipity

Storm Warning

GOD hates Toronto

Through reading Cordelia’s Mom’s submissions, (as well as her other fun and interesting posts) I have been introduced to another entertaining and helpful lady.  Marilyn Armstrong, over at her Serendipity blog site, occasionally posts a photo prompt as an inspiration.

She calls it the Serendipitous Photo Story Prompt.  You can write a short story, or a long one, about her picture.  It can be fact or fiction, or even poetry.  It’s okay if it inspires you to use one of your own photos, or a picture you found on the internet.  It’s even acceptable if you post an interesting picture with just a caption, or a comment.  Hey, if that isn’t Serendipitous, I don’t know what is.

Locally, May was one of the driest on record – no rain for the first 29 days – then we got an entire month’s precipitation in two days.  It wasn’t as bad as Texas, or Germany, but it had its moments.

I got the above picture from the son’s friend, who had to be in Toronto.  We were 75 miles away when this happened, and I’m glad!

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Flash Fiction #53

Weight

PHOTO PROMPT – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

CRUSHING WAIT

Jeremy took his parents seriously when they had explained the importance of getting into the right university to lay the groundwork for his career.

He had never missed class in high school.  He paid attention in all classes, and took excellent, extensive notes.  He had reviewed them, and crammed hard for all exams, including the fifth-year finals he had just finished.

Now, it all came down to the final results, due soon.  This was not Damocles’ Sword hanging above him, threatening a quick death.  If he didn’t qualify to get into Stamford, both he and his parents would be crushed.

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

#470

Missed Manners

Etiquette

During a good manners and etiquette class being held for young children, the teacher says to her students:

“If you were courting a well educated young girl from a prominent family and during a dinner for two, you needed to go to the toilet, what would you say to her?”

Mike replies: “Wait a minute; I’m going for a piss.”

The teacher says: “That would be very rude and improper on your part.”

Charlie replies: “I’m sorry, I need to go to the toilet, I’ll be back in a minute.”

The teacher says: “That’s much better but to mention the word “toilet” during a meal, is unpleasant.”

And Little Johnny says: “My dear, please excuse me for a moment. I have to go shake hands with a personal friend, whom I hope to be able to introduce to you after dinner.”

***

An 18th-century vagabond in England, exhausted and famished, came to a roadside Inn with a sign reading: “George and the Dragon.” He knocked. The Innkeeper’s wife stuck her head out a window. “Could ye spare some victuals? ” The woman glanced at his shabby, dirty clothes. “No!” she shouted. “Could I have a pint of ale? ” “No!” she shouted. “Could I at least use your privy?” “No!” she shouted again. The vagabond said, “Might I please…?” “What now?” the woman screeched, not allowing him to finish. “D’ye suppose,” he asked, “that I might have a word with George?”

***

URBAN MYTHS? OR INTRIGUING FACTS? – YOU DECIDE!

The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.

No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven (7) times.

Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.

You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.

Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty (50) years of age or older.

The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley’s gum.

The King of Hearts is the only king WITHOUT A MOUSTACHE!

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one (1) olive from each salad served in first-class.

Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise. (Since Venus is normally associated with women, what does this tell you?)

Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

Most dust particles in your house are made from DEAD SKIN!

The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer. So did the first “Marlboro Man.”

Walt Disney was afraid OF MICE!

PEARLS MELT IN VINEGAR!

The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

It is possible to lead a cow upstairs…but, not downstairs.

A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and no one knows why.

Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush. (I keep my toothbrush in the living room now!)

Turtles can breathe through their butts.

#469

Click Clique

E-F Dictionary

That title is mostly for my American readers, and any of the rest of you who have not been afflicted with the French language.  I studied Parisian French in high school for five years; therefore I pronounce that second word as Cleek, not Click.  I also pronounce the word ‘niche’ as Neesh, rather than Nish, or Nitch, the way most Americans do.

Jim Wheeler’s most recent comment about ‘Tribalism’ made me think back to life in my small home town.  I have previously written about how just about everybody got along with just about everybody.  Some people have complained about moving/retiring to a small town, and not being accepted, ‘Yea, verily unto the third generation.’

The reason for all the comity was the (lack of) size of the population.  There just weren’t enough people to form ‘us’ and ’them’ groups.  The old couple who owned and ran the local movie theater finally retired and sold it to a businessman from Toronto.  He and his wife moved during the summer school vacation.  They brought their son, another “Bob”, a year younger than me, who started Grade 11 that September.  It was a Hell of a culture shock.

Football

Bob had played High School football in Toronto.  Bob was good!  Bob thought he would just come north and play football on our high school’s football team, and be a star.  Bob was absolutely astounded that our school didn’t have a football team, or a hockey team, or a track team….or a track!

There were more students in his Toronto high school (3500), than there were people in our entire (2000) town.  Our Regional high school, located in another nearby (2000) small town, didn’t have jocks, or dweebs, or keeners, or Goths.  If we had, there’d only have been enough for one of each.  At a tenth the size of Bob’s school, our little 350-body school just had students, most of them poor, dumb and untalented.  Somebody gotta pump gas fer them tourists.

Canada and the United States are the two largest diversely acceptant countries on earth, although, some subtle, unexpected, unanticipated tipping point seems to be looming.  I have ranted about exclusion vs. inclusion, and questioned why ‘we all’ can’t just get along together.

Psychologists and sociologists have done studies on that thought, and the answer seems to be on a sliding scale.  Individually, and as part of the hive-mind of a group, there seems to be a cumulative limit as to just how far we can stretch our acceptance.

It seems to be related to the strength of belief and faith; the stronger it is, the smaller the groups get.  The Republican Party begot The Tea Party.  Christians split into Catholics and Protestants.  The Muslims split into Shiite and Sunni.  Christians started to get funny with Mormon and Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The Muslims responded with al Qaeda and Boko Haram.  With the Christians, the strong belief/small groups have come down to Westboro Baptists and Duck Dynasty.  I’m probably fortunate not to know what the Muslim equivalents are.

As with everything else, there is a fine line between not believing in anything, and believing too strongly in the wrong things.  The apathetic would vote for a guy who might be Superman – if he were smart enough to find his way out of the phone booth after changing.  The faithful believe in bringing on ‘End Of Days’, so that they, and only they, may ascend to Heaven.  Me??  I believe I’ll have another beer.   :roll:

#468