Kraft Lies: Not 100% Parmesan

Recent concerns surrounding GMO, MSG, Aspartame, and other   potential  garbage in our food has had me looking a little more closely at food labels.

Today while shopping I picked up I container labeled Kraft 100% Parmesan Grated Cheese.

The label gives even more detail:  The label doesn’t just say parmesan, it says 100% parmesan.  That’s because we only use the finest ingredients, carefully crafted and aged for a sharp, distinctive taste that enhances your favorite dishes — a taste that’s 100 real, 100% parmesan.  Below is a scanned graphic of the actual label.

Kraft 100% Parmesan

Kraft is a brand well known for quality.  Or so I thought.  Let’s take a closer look at the ingredient list.  Rotated and enlarged for your convenience.

Ingredients:  parmesan cheese (milk, bacterial culture, salt, lipase, microbial enzyme, calcium chloride), cellulose powder, potassium sorbate.  May contain modified milk ingredients.  (A061l) contains:  milk.

  • Parmesan cheese contains milk, bacterial culture, and so on.  Looks good so far.
  • Cellulose powder is also known as food grade wood pulp.  Huh?  In at least three places the label reads, 100% Parmesan.
  • Potassium sorbate is a food preservative.  Whether it is healthy or not is a story for another blog post.
  • May contain modified milk ingredients.  This may be another way to label MSG.

The fact food grade wood pulp is found in this product means it is not 100% parmesan cheese as the label suggests.  Kraft Canada has a label that is just a little bit misleading, don’t you think?.



Spruce Grove Upgrades Photo Radar

Photo radar camera upgrades

According to the March 16 edition of the Stony Plain Reporter, The City of Spruce Grove is in the process of upgrading their photo radar system.  Mobile units will be replaced with stationary red light and speed on green cameras at four intersections along Highway 16A.

As usual, safety reasons are touted and revenue generation is downplayed.

Guilty until proven innocent

The most serious issue I have with the photo radar system is the Spruce Grove Mayor, Stuart Houston, seems believe in a system where people are guilty until proven innocent.  According to the Stony Plain Reporter, Mayor Stuart Houston says…

The undeniable fact is that anyone who receives a red light, speed on green, or photo radar ticket is breaking the law.

From this statement I understand that the photo camera systems are absolutely perfect and that everyone who receives a ticket in the mail deserves it.

What a load of steer manure.

My questions for Mayor Stuart Houston

  1. Are you telling us that the photo enforcement system is absolutely perfect?
  2. Are you telling us that all tickets issued are 100% valid 100% of the time without fail?
  3. Are you telling us that anyone who receives a ticket is automatically guilty?



Today is Mental Health Day

I live with someone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness.

For the most part, the care we get from health professionals is good.

Now and again we are reminded that many people who are diagnosed bi-polar end up abandoned by their spouse or significant other.

Most of the time these comments come from health professionals that are supposed to be helping us.

I have no intentions of leaving my best friend during some of the worst times in her life.

My question back to those who bring up the statistics is, “Why?  Is that what YOU would do?

Money Mart Titanium+ & BMO Prepaid Travel Card (Conclusion)

My last and final post regarding my Money Mart Titanium Plus Mastercard.

I have been using my BMO Prepaid Travel Card for just over three months now and have had no difficulties.  It has been accepted everywhere I have needed to use it.  Loading it is as easy as transferring money from my regular BMO bank account.

The only snag I hit is I am unable to transfer money to the BMO Mastercard from my TD account.  Documentation from BMO says I should be able to deposit money to the Prepaid Travel Card from any Canadian bank the same way I would pay any other Mastercard.  However, TD does not support this.  The BMO  chequing account costs me $4.00 per month.  This is cheap compared to the fees and hassle that come with the Money Mart Titanium Plus card.

Since I began my search for a better prepaid card another option has been presented to me.  Easy Financial Services offers a prepaid card that they call the EPIC Mastercard.  The web site does not mention or list service charges though there is no credit check as is required with the BMO card.  It is worth checking out.

My Money Mart Titanium Plus card has officially been canceled.  For me it was not worth the hassle.  For someone who may not pass the credit check required by BMO, this card may be a temporary option or last resort.

Money Mart Titanium+ & BMO Prepaid Travel Card (Update)

In a previous post I vented frustrations with Money Mart and their Titanium+ Prepaid Visa card.  This is an update.

On March 26 I received my BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard.  Activation via their web site is fairly simple.

Documentation that comes with the card indicates that I may add money to this card online from either a BMO account or, if I am with a different bank, set it up as a bill payment.  My main bank is TD Canada Trust.  I quickly find out that TD Canada Trust will not let me pay money to a BMO Prepaid Travel Card.  TD Canada Trust is usually very helpful, but not this time.

Since TD Canada Trust is unable to help me load the card, I decided to open an account with BMO.  The process was fairly painless and the lady I met with was very helpful.

My Titanium+ Prepaid Visa from Money Mart continues to be a royal pain.  Most noticeably for Internet transactions that require an address.  Often these transactions are rejected even though the address is entered correctly.

I am in the process of migrating all credit card transactions over to my new BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard.

Look for a conclusion post on this topic in a few weeks.

Frustrations with Money Mart Titanium Plus Prepaid Visa

The Titanium Plus Prepaid Visa from Money Mart was recently recommended to me.  This post is about my experiences with Money Mart and the Titanium Plus Visa card and the frustrations I faced dealing with Money Mart and their Customer Service department.

The card was easy to get and is easy to load.  A trip to my local Money Mart, answer a few security questions, give them some cash, and viola!  A card is issued.

Several purchases were made with the card.  Then I tried to make a purchase and received a notification that there were insufficient funds.  One would think that the remedy for this would be to go back to the local Money Mart store and top up the card.  I was wrong.

I did make a trip back to Money Mart where I gave them $75.00 to cover a purchase of $53.00.  Back at the computer I was again told there were insufficient funds.  I log into my Titanium Plus account and find there are two pending authorizations or holds on the card for the amount I wanted to charge and still not enough money to complete the transaction.  This is where the nightmare begins.

The image below is a screen shot of Money Mart Policy as taken directly from the Titanium Plus web site.  It clearly states that authorization removals under $100 can be removed over the phone.

Money Mart: Authorization removals under $100 can be done over the phone
Money Mart: Authorization Removals Policy (click to enlarge)

I call the toll-free number on the back of my Titanium Plus card and spend over 30 minutes on hold.  Finally I get to speak with a woman I will call Laura.  Laura tells me that she is not able to remove authorizations over the phone and that I must have the merchant fax Money Mart a release form.  She offers to e-mail me a release form to forward to the merchant.  I accept.  Laura is the type of person who is all yap and no listen.  It took me nearly ten minutes to sort out with her what exactly my concern was.

In frustration, I ask to speak with a supervisor.  After more time on hold, I am put in contact with Jennie.  Jennie tells me that she is unable to help me beyond the little that Laura has already done.  She does provide me a tip in that one of my options is to contact the Better Business Bureau and confirms that Policy as outlined on the web is different than what Customer Service can really do for me.

Thanks to spending over 30 frustrating minutes on hold and another twenty minutes with two people who are unable to to resolve my problem quickly, I have to wait another day.  The merchant is now closed.

The next day I talk with the merchant who is very helpful.  The fellow I spoke with is fine with me sending him the release form, filling it out, and faxing it to Money Mart.  He does this and I wait, checking my Titanium Plus account online every half hour or so for funds to be released.

I receive a telephone call from a client and am out for a few hours.  When I get back, I check my Titanium Plus account and funds still have not been released.  I call Customer Service and spend another 40 minutes on hold.  Finally I am able to speak with Matt.  He tells me that the fax was received but is missing the Merchant ID number.  The merchant is now closed so this again will have to wait one more day.

[This section will be updated as events unfold.]

Money Mart consistently over promises and under delivers.  Customer Service does not understand the urgency of helping clients and/or is understaffed.  Later I discover that I am being billed $1.50 for each call I make to Customer Service.  This only adds to my frustration.

Over all, Customer Service have been extremely frustrating to deal with and I do not recommend doing business with Money Mart or using their Titanium Plus Visa.  I have applied for a BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard.  Once I have had the BMO card for a while and am satisfied, I will be canceling the Money Mart card.

I welcome comments, especially if you have experience with Money Mart and their Titanium Plus Visa.,4978,35649_78277469,00.html

Why do some Internet Marketers feel it is necessary to lie to me?

The topic of my this post is the result of two different e-mails I received this past week from people wanting me to have a look at their product or opportunity.

The header of the first e-mail read,  From:  Zachary; Subject:  I am ready to join.  Since I haven’t been in contact with anyone named Zachary, I was suspicious but opened it anyway.   Upon reading the email, I find this person has lied to me at least twice.

Fist lie:  The content of the e-mail has nothing to do with joining anything I am involved with.  The writer is pitching a program for finding contacts on the Internet (which he no doubt used to find me).  The subject line was crafted to get my attention an prompt me to open the e-mail.  It had nothing to do with the content of the e-mail.

Second lie:  I look at the bottom of the message and notice the name in the signature is not Zachary.  Now I am wondering if either name is correct.

In the second e-mail, the writer tells me she found a slip of paper with my name on it from a convention she attended.  She claims to be with the same company as me, is rapidly expanding her business, and wants to share with me how she is generating leads.  I find this interesting as the company we supposedly share a connection through is fairly new and has not yet had their first major convention.  I know who most of the serious business builders are and her name doesn’t ring any bells with anyone on my team.

She found my contact information from a company replicated web site.  As did the first person.  I have no problems with this but why lie to me?

Business is built on relationships.  Relationships are based on trust and integrity.  Both of these writers have blatantly lied to me right out of the gate.  Why would I do business with either of these two people?

Put Junk Mail to Good Use

Put Junk Mail to Good Use – Send Back YOUR Advertisement


We’ve all received junk mail.  I am not talking about spam e-mail but advertisements received through traditional mail (aka snail mail).  Typically this type if mail range from credit card applications to charities wanting donations.  Go into any small town post office and you will see the trash bin there is full multiple copies of the same garbage.  I have come to realize that some of this unwanted mail can be put to good use.

I look for the mailings that include a self-addressed stamped envelope.  Typically the postage in the top-right corner is pre-printed and says something like Business Reply Mail; Postage Paid if Mailed in Canada.  The envelope will also have the sender’s address printed on it as the destination.  Return address is usually blank.

Of course the intent of the self-addressed stamped envelope is intended so that you can mail back your credit card application or donation and not have to pay postage.  Instead of a cheque or a credit card application, I like to send back an advertisement of my own.  The idea is that perhaps some low paid clerk will open the envelope and see an opportunity.  Worst case scenario is the junk mailer gets to pay to see my advertisement.  🙂

Below is an example of what I am currently sending.  The advertisements are double-sided with one ad on each side of the 1/3 sheet of paper.

I Get Paid to Drink Coffee (Canada Coffee Guy)
I Get Paid to Drink Coffee (Canada Coffee Guy)
Drink Coffee.  Make Money.  Lose Weight.
Drink Coffee. Make Money. Lose Weight.

Facebook Photo Album Security & Manulife Financial

Update on September 18, 2013:  The CBC have removed the article from their web site that I made reference to.  As a result the link is no longer click-able.


A recent story that appeared on the CBC web site about Manulife Financial withdrawing disability benefits due to photos found on Facebook has prompted me to write this article.  The CBC story can be found at  Thanks to some personal experiences dealing with Manulife Financial, I have a clear idea as to how insurance companies and WCB handle disability claims.

Facts on Facebook & Photo Sharing

Even if you are always very careful with whom you accept friend requests from and what you post, always assume that anything you or anyone posts to Facebook can be seen by anyone.

Here are some basic guidelines.

  • When you create or upload photos to an album on Facebook, check the settings and who has access to the album.  Sometimes photo albums may be set to be viewable to ANYONE, whether or not they are on your friend list.
  • Facebook usually notifies you if you have been tagged in a photo that has been uploaded by someone else.  Always check any photos you have been tagged in.
  • Mouse over the Settings menu in Facebook and click on Privacy.  The Privacy page will appear with the following options.
    • Click Profile to examine and change who may see various parts of your Facebook profile.
    • Search is very powerful.  It controls what people see if they type your name into Google or other search engine or if they search for you within Facebook.
    • Facebook usually notifies you if you have been tagged in a photo that has been uploaded by someone else.  Always check any photos you have been tagged in.

Google and other search engines often cache pages that are found.  So even when things get deleted, that data or images may not be gone forever.

Facts about Manulife Financial and Disability Claims

First thing to note is that the only goal of any corporation is to make money.  Manulife Financial is no different.  The more claims they deny that are not challenged the more money they get to keep.  Whether or not Manulife Financial or any other insurance company is totally honest about what they do is another story.  It is this writers opinion that Manulife Financial is often extremely dishonest when it comes to dealing with disability claims.

Manulife Financial uses private investigators to check up on those receiving benefits and/or those who have applied for benefits.  If you ever get a telephone call from someone who claims to be with a courier, there is a good chance someone is checking up on you.  The ONLY delivery people who have ever called me to confirm when I will be home are those delivering flowers.  Last time a “courier” called and it wasn’t a flower delivery, I saw a van parked outside my home.  Sure enough, said van proceeded to follow us to an appointment.  In Red Deer, Alberta there is a private investigator for Manulife that uses a dark Ford SUV with a license plate that starts with BUJ.

As per the CBC article (, Manulife have confirmed that they DO use Facebook to check up on those receiving or applying for benefits.

The bottom line is Manulife Financial and other insurers are often quite dishonest when it comes to honoring claims.  I know this from personal experience.  My recommendation for anyone who has a legitimate claim, who feels they are being dealt with unfairly, is to contact a lawyer who works on contingency.  We did and it made a huge difference with how our claim was handled.