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April 15-21, 2024

In this issue...

• Scrabble introduces version of game which is "less competitive"

• CBC Radio's Under the Influence: When customers lie to marketers

• By the numbers X 10 + 1

• Do not use fake social media posts in your marketing. It's not "artistic effect". It's deception.

• Lunchables return to Canadian store shelves, but is that good thing?

• 1,100+ copies sold! #1 bestseller on Amazon: Acadian Recipes and More - Volume 1

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

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

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

Scrabble introduces version of game which is "less competitive"

Mattel has come out with a new and less competitive version of Scrabble in Europe. Apparently, competition is hurting some players' feelings, according to critics. But is it a fair criticism? I'm not so sure it is.

Article excerpt: "Mattel is to launch a new version of Scrabble which is designed to be more collaborative and accessible for those who find word games intimidating.

The new double-sided Scrabble board will still feature the original game for those who want to play the traditional version.

But the new game on the flip side will include helper cards, use a simpler scoring system and be quicker to play.

The new board, Scrabble Together, will also allow people to compete in teams.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, broadcaster Gyles Brandreth described the launch as 'exciting news'.

'We play the original game, but change is inevitable,' said Brandreth, who co-hosts the language podcast Something Rhymes With Purple.

He added that the launch of the new iteration 'doesn't deny the old version'.

'The makers of Scrabble found that younger people, Gen Z people, don't quite like the competitive nature of Scrabble,' he said. 'They want a game where you can simply enjoy language, words, being together and having fun creating words.'"

While many are mocking the move, if it gets more people playing Scrabble, I say "Why not?" It could get more people interested in the game and help to increase literacy levels for those who don't read and spell as well as others. Scrabble has long been known as a highly intellectual game. Offering a version that is a bit more accessible to some people's abilities isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Relax, Scrabble snobs!

Read: Scrabble: Mattel launches new version of game which is "less competitive".

CBC Radio's Under the Influence: When customers lie to marketers

The latest episode of CBC Radio's Under the Influence with host Terry O'Reilly looked at the challenges faced by advertisers when the market research they rely on isn't accurate because those surveyed didn't respond accurately - or in other words, they just plain lied.

April 11, 2024 - Pants on Fire: When Customers Lie to Marketers. Synopsis: "Customers often lie to companies in surveys, polls and focus groups. Yet advertisers rely on that flawed and false feedback to market brands and create advertising campaigns. So what are advertisers to do? One solution is Google. What we type into the Google search window is like a truth serum. We all pour our most intimate, honest questions into that search box." 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. 3 signs of hidden depression

• 2. 5 of the best free AI image generators

• 3. 6 strategies to improve your online presence

• 4. Prestigious cancer research institute has retracted 7 studies amid controversy over errors

• 5. 8 amazing programs for neurodivergent individuals that aim to make traveling easier

• 6. Tesla sales tumble nearly 9%, most in 4 years, as competition heats up and demand for EVs slows

• 7. 20 years of Gmail

• 8. Carrie turns 50! Here are the best Stephen King novels - chosen by you

• 9. Retiring in your 60s is becoming an impossible goal. Is 75 the new 65?

• 10. The 89-year-old woman who is still travelling the world solo

• Bonus: 11 celebrity book clubs and their recent picks

Do not use fake social media posts in your marketing. It's not "artistic effect". It's deception.

Oh my goodness. What part of "Never do this!" don't politicians understand? This isn't artistic. It's deception via fake social media updates. This is right up there with Donald Trump's "Many People Say" stories and his infamous "Sir Stories". (Whenever you hear him say that someone came up to him and said, "Sir, (insert quote here) - the story is 100% fake.)

Perhaps a better way of framing this would have simply been a graphic stating, "Did you ever wish Budget 2024 had a trailer so that Canadians could know what we're getting into?" - and then go from there. It should have never been from a fake Twitter account.

Article excerpt: "Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly shared a trailer video for next week’s federal budget on X, formerly Twitter, on April 5. The video opens with a screenshot of a tweet from “Amy Sminson” that reads, 'I wish Budget 2024 had a trailer so Canadians could know what we’re getting into.'

However, the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs admitted in an email to National Post that the tweet that supposedly requested the video was created for 'artistic effect' and did not come from a real person.

Following the 'artistic' tweet, the 40-second video shows Joly meeting with and talking to people, backed by an instrumental portion of City of Blinding Lights by U2. The text overlay lists a number of policy points including measures aimed at helping renters and a recently announced school lunch program.

'Amy Sminson' does not appear to be a real person, and the X account @vern019 is a dormant account that says it belongs to Vern Shelton of Florida. It has a handful of tweets and has not posted anything new since 2015. It has 21 followers and is following 79 accounts, including Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson, Justin Bieber and several accounts featuring funny pictures and videos."

And how dumb (!!) to use a fake account "based" in Florida! How many Americans are sitting in Florida worrying about the next Canadian federal budget? "I'll take Big Fat Zero for $1,000, Alex."

Read: Mélanie Joly's budget video based on a tweet from a person that doesn't exist.

Lunchables return to Canadian store shelves, but is that a good thing?

I honestly didn't even know that Lunchables had left the Canadian market years ago. They're certainly convenient snacks, however many question their nutritional value. (My response: Simply don't buy them, then.)

Article excerpt: "In case you haven’t heard the news, the iconic childhood lunch kit Lunchables have returned to Canadian grocery store shelves after 15 years.

For those unfamiliar, Lunchables are part of the Kraft Heinz Company brands and are prepackaged lunch kits with an assortment of different cracker, meat, and cheese options.

You can find five different varieties in Canada: Turkey Cracker Stacker, Ham Cracker Stacker, Cheese Pizza, Pepperoni Pizza, and Nachos. In a press release, Lunchables said these lunch kits are 'made with wholesome ingredients containing no artificial flavours or colours' and that 'each variety of Lunchables offers a protein-packed lunch kit that parents can feel good about.'"

Consumer Reports, meanwhile, is warning about the sodium levels in the products. "Consumer Reports said sodium levels in the store-bought lunch and snack kits it tested ranged from 460 to 740 milligrams per serving, or 'nearly a quarter to half of a child’s daily recommended limit for sodium.' The group found that sodium levels in the turkey and cheddar school versions of Lunchables contained 930 mg of sodium compared to 740 mg in the store-bought version."

I don't think these were ever marketed as health food. They were always about convenience. Regardless, convenience foods such as Lunchables were never meant to overindulged in.

Read: Lunchables return to Canada and people have some mixed reactions. Related: Consumer Reports says Lunchables "should not be allowed on menu" for schools, petitions USDA for removal.

1,100+ copies sold! #1 bestseller on Amazon: Acadian Recipes and More - Volume 1

My very first book is now available for purchase! Acadian Recipes and More - Volume 1 is a compilation of recipes gathered from members of the Acadian Poutine Râpée Facebook Group and elsewhere.

There are more than 100 recipes available in the book - many of which are family recipes that are impossible to find! Enjoy the extra bonuses of exclusive goodies from Marven's Biscuits and Cy's Seafood Restaurant, too - both iconic food legends in Moncton, New Brunswick!

On March 21, the book reached #2 on Amazon Canada bestsellers list for ALL books in Canada.

The print edition and ebook (Kindle) are available exclusively on Amazon. Click on the country you live in to visit the appropriate site for purchase:

Amazon Canada

Amazon U.S. (for Kobo ebook readers)

I'm also pleased to announce that the next two books in the series will be released this year. Acadian Recipes and More - Volume 2 and Acadian Recipes and More - Holidays. Stay tuned!

This is a great book for delicious homestyle recipes. Enjoy!

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

• 1. Joe Flaherty, comedian known for work on SCTV and Freaks and Geeks, dead at 82 (See photo.)

• 2. The Disney Plus password-sharing crackdown starts in June

• 3. Is this plug taken? EV charging etiquette comes to Modern Manners book.

• 4. O.J. Simpson dead at 76

• 5. Restaurants along eclipse's path of totality saw sales boom: Square

• 6. Doug Ford directs LCBO to go back to using single-use paper bags

• 7. Laughing gas abuse contributed to student’s death, inquest rules

Trivia: Did you know?

On Sept. 26, 1970, the song Rubber Duckie by Sesame Street's Ernie (Jim Henson) peaked at #16 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart.

To date, it's the most successful song performed by a Muppets character or group of characters based on chart performance.

Quotes of note

• 1. "Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn."

- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) (see photo)

• 2. "All cruelty springs from weakness."

- Seneca

• 3. "All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness."

- Tennessee Williams


• 4. "Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people."

- Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


• 5. "It's kind of fun to do the impossible."

- Walt Disney Company


• 6. "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."

- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

• 7. "The word abbreviation sure is long for what it means."

- Zach Galifianakis

• 8. "I like video games, but they're really violent. I'd like to play a video game where you help the people who were shot in all the other games. It'd be called 'Really Busy Hospital.'"

- Demetri Martin

• 9. “I never got along with my dad. Kids used to come up to me and say, 'My dad can beat up your dad.' I'd say 'Yeah? When?'"

- Bill Hicks

• 10. "Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.​"

- Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

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

The next Greater Moncton Sunrise Rotary Club Trivia Night will be held at St. Louis Bar & Grill, 1405 Mountain Road, Moncton, on Monday, April 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 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 Monday, April 22!

Enjoy the outdoors with the Greater Moncton Walking Group

In April, the Greater Moncton Walking Group meets in Rotary St-Anselme Park located at 505 Melanson Road in Dieppe, meeting in the Rotary Lodge parking lot.

In May, the group moves to the Dobson Trail in Riverview, meeting at the parking lot on Quinn Court.

The roup 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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