I'm miffed. A few weeks ago, I received a letter from one of 5 Canadian law firms representing those Ticketmaster Canada customers who are about to receive a proposed class-action settlement.
I'm one of them destined to receive a paltry $36 bucks for this North American injustice.
The class-action suit commenced a few years ago against TNOW Entertainment Group Inc. (TicketsNow, Ticketmaster and Premium Inventory) for allegedly charging excessive and deceptive processing fees to their customers. And wait until you hear how outrageous!
In December 2008, Ticketmaster was promoting "The Circus" Britney Spears concert. They sent me an email advertising her Circus tour prior to tickets sales available to the general public. I've loved the "Princess of Pop" ever since she sucked faced with pop icon "Madonna" and became a prominent figure in mainstream pop music and pop culture.
The Canadian Press reported earlier this month that the lawyers for Ticketmaster Canada customers who sued over the company's sales and pricing practices, are proposed to receive a meagre $36 from Ticketmaster.
Believe it when I tell you that I paid $630.57 for 2 nose-bleed seats in the bleachers! Yet the Ticketmaster ticket stubs show $65!!! Yes - I got riped-off royally! I have so many Ticketmaster affiliates on all my statements my head is spinning. My AMEX invoice states "TicketNetworkDirect" and my email response verifying my ticket information states, "JustBuyTickets".
I must admit I'm terribly confused. If the courts approve the deal, customers who bought tickets on www.ticketsnow.com will get automatic refunds, even though Ticketmaster alleges no wrongdoing.
The settlement calls for people who bought tickets through the company's secondary site Tickets Now to get a refund, but does not cover tickets sold over the Ticketmaster website. Does that exclude me? My information also states "Ticketfast". Is this yet another hidden Ticketmaster name?
The approval hearings are a month or two away. In Ontario, the approval hearing is scheduled for June 29. In Alberta, the action starts on July 18. The hearing commences 2 days later in Quebec and in Manitoba, on August 15.
The Notice of Settlement maintains that individuals can comment or object to the proposed settlement in writing at least 7 days before the approved hearing. I presented my objections in a letter today. I absolutely refuse to settle for $36 for such inappropriate corporate greed and deception. How about you?
To life and living it,
It's Saturday night but I don't have a stubborn fever.
I actually had a date tonight with money-mogul Michael - that charismatic, cigar-smoking gentlemen caller I've been seeing on a semi-regular basis. Michael had called early this afternoon to say he just wasn't feeling up to it.
Ok - get your meditating minds out of the heartbreak hotel. He wasn't making excuses to dump me. Rather, I know precisely why he cancelled our night out on the town. He is terribly worried and distraught about that great, big "C" word.
Not "capital" darlings (he has plenty of that to go around). But "cancer".
I won't get into specifics quite yet. However, the compassionate side of me offered to spend the night to comfort, to cheer, to calm, and to console him before the final test results are revealed under the microscope. I could feel the agony and uncertainty in his voice. And it pained me too.
Michael described how he never slept a wink over the last 24 hours. "I just couldn't fall asleep last night Ineda," he said softly. "As much as I would like you to come over," he embraced, " I wouldn't be much company." Lovingly, I responded, "I understand Michael. But don't worry. Everything will be just fine."
Life is short. And we never know when our time has come. As such, the title of this blog not only goes out to Michael, but to Robin Gibb - a member of The Bee Gees brotherly trio whose life was taken away by cancer just a few days ago. Like Michael, he was 62.
Tributes towered from all over the globe this week. With the Queen of Disco "Donna Summer" just passing away a few days earlier, both Gibb and Summer were synonymous of the disco era that propelled their musical careers.
Who can ever forget, those Bee Gees '70s chart toppers,"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" and "I've Gotta Get A Message To You" sung by Robin? Then in 1977, Robin and his twin brother Maurice and older brother Barry wrote 8 songs for the soundtrack to a movie that would change their lives forever.
It was called "Saturday Night Fever" and the rest is in the musical history books. With catchy bass lines and Robin's falsetto vocals, the album sat handsomely on top of the billboard charts for half that year! And naturally, I have the original movie soundtrack - considered a classic and a staple in every record collector's repertoire.
Gibb had suffered for years from agonizing stomach pains, and in 2010 underwent surgery for a blocked intestine — the same condition which led to the death of his brother Maurice who passed in 2003. I had a blocked intestine and a bowel obstruction in 2003 (but that's another story). And people I survived.
So Michael - my love - no more worrying. Life is a blessing to be reckoned. "You Should Be Dancing!" I am "More Than A Woman." I'm "Jive Talkin'" to you because you'll be "Stayin' Alive!" Cancer can be beaten.
To life and living it,
How I loved the disco era. I was 17 when the Disco Queen herself - Donna Summer - was hitting the Billboard Charts. I was in high school.
Little Miss Popular I was - dating Bob - the all-star quarterback of my high school football team. Man was he huge. And those bulging biceps - Lord help me! That coupled with those teenage hormones flying !
It was a recipe for teen pregnancy and disaster. What magnificent memories. I remember tying mounds of string around his class ring so it could fit around my petite fingers. But when we danced.....
Miss Donna Summer "Pop Diva" was there every step of the way. With her catalogue of incredible hits, this American singer songwriter lived in my bedroom, in my kitchen and on the radio in Bob's muscle car. While the rest of the world was watching America's Most Wanted Patti Hearst getting arrested for armed robbery, Bob and I were sipping Coca-Cola floats and bebopping to this female mainstream pop icon's hits like "Love to Love You Baby!"
And we were virgins - a rarity today at 17.
Donna Summer was hot in the '70s. Real hot! She was the 1st artist to have 3 double albums reach No#1 on BillBoard's album (not CD) chart. With a whopping 5 Grammys and 19 hits and climbing, she became the 1st African-American woman to be nominated for an MTV Video Music Award.
Who can forget those sultry and seductive pipes whispering, moaning and groaning to the orgasmic tune "I Love to Love You Baby,"? These were followed by On the Radio, MacArthur Park, I Feel Love, Bad Girls, Melody of Love, Dim all The Lights, This Time I Know It's for Real, The Wanderer, Heaven Knows and my ultimate bad girl beat - "Bad Girls!" - based on the whole concept of prostitution in America. Remember - this was the '70s!
And the fact remains that I am one of the very few to own an original copy of that infamous DS album boasting the 16-minute version of "Love To Love You Baby" containing 23 of the sexiest simulated orgasms ever found on vinyl!
It took up the entire 1st side of the album of the same name and was also released as a 12"single with edited versions found on 7" vinyl. Not surprisingly, it was Summer's first U.S. Top 40 hit and an international disco smash.
Then - a few years ago - I had the opportunity to hear those sexy, sultry pipes in the flesh at a casino near my hometown. What an awesome concert! Miss Summer was bold and beautiful. While her slender curves had slightly-diminished by the grace of age, she was no doubt as sexy, sassy, and sultry with a voluptuous voice to boot. This gospel-inspired Black woman was truly blessed in every shape and form.
So my lady - it's farewell and God Bless. LaDonna Adrian Gaines - Queen of Disco, wife, and mother. Donna Summer died from cancer last night in her Key West Florida home. She was 63.
I tell everyone - "Never make a man a priority if he only sees you as an option." It's one of the best adages I've ever lived by. And now it has me pondering - Am I an option?
I met an unpretentious "rough-around the edges" and well-heeled millionaire in April. What Michael lacked in social graces, he made up for in charm and charisma. I was initially attracted to his soft baratone when he started dialing my number. And when our eyes met, I sensed he was passionate, caring, loving and warm.
Could he be "the one?," I asked my monogamous self. I'm not talking matrimony here - just a manly heart throb who I could commit to so I could trash those online dating sites. You see - I've always been faithful and a one-man woman. And this father of 2 had many of the qualities I was seeking in a man.
Michael was like a dream come true - handsome, independently-wealthy and smart. A decade older and an avid golfer, he had memberships to some of the most prestigious and private golf courses in all of North America. One of them with a $150,000 price tag just to join!
He had an art collection and sports memorabilia to die for. Who the heck is Hank Aaron? And thank you for allowing me to wear that victorious and symbolic diamond-studded platinum SuperBowl ring. Sorry Vince Lombardi.
This "under the radar" socialite and businessman had a love of passion for his cigars. But not any cigar. Michael had an undeniable habit for Gurkha's premier cigar - His Majesty’s Reserve. Rightfully touted as the most expensive cigar in the world, these cigars aren’t just made with premium tobacco—they’re also infused with a generous portion of Louis XIII Cognac in a process that retains the flavor of the tobacco. Louis XIII Cognac, as you may know, is one of the finest cognacs on the market today.
My sense was that he treasured the aroma of those cigars more than he admired me. Could I be wrong? Interestingly, he had a penchant for icey cold Grey Goose vodka - straight up with no olives. I've always savoured a crispy Pinot Grigio - didn't matter the vintage.
Michael had energy and spunk in the morning. But after 6 PM - a time when my internal batteries would jolt and recharge - he was reserved and didn't care of crowds. I've always been a bit of a party animal...ggrrrrrrrrrowl!!! Like Alicia Bridge's 1978 disco chart hit - I Love the Night Life!"
Naturally, I enjoyed Michael's company and loved his tony penthouse suite. He was brazen enough to show off his culinary skills in the kitchen and was also just as generous taking me out for dinner. But we never dined high-class. Michael knew where all the low-key, understated and fabulous places were to eat out without breaking the bank.
But that was the extent of it. He never invited me to the club. I never met any of his friends. He would take 10 days in between calling me after our last date. So it had me wondering - Am I an option? Am I expecting too much? Am I acting weird about all of this?
As a matter of fact, today is Michael's 60-something birthday. When he called today to confirm weekend plans, I automatically-assumed he would want to celebrate his big day with me, his special lady. Rather, he said he was going to hit a few golf balls in the morning with the boys, head to a ball game and then head home. Hmmmmm...not how I would have wanted to spend a happy occasion.
If he was really into me, I thought, he would have wanted me to be a part of his happiness. Yet
when he called, he was quick to point out that we could conveniently spend the weekend together at the penthouse. He suggested that we could go out for dinner and a movie on Saturday - after he parked his drivers, woods and hybrids from a round of golf. And if I played my cards right, we'd be having Sunday brunch or breakfast in bed in the afterglow.
Was Michael really into me or was I just taking up space in his life? Was I the flavour of the month or was this fair game? I mean....I've been dating others too. So why shouldn't he?
Like the game of love and the rules of poker, there is a total of 2,598,960 different possibilities of hands. Ever wonder why you never hit that straight flush? Hey Lady Gaga....can't read my, can't read my, no, he can't read my poker face.
To life and living it,
When the phone rang last night, I had no idea that I was in for a real treat. His name was Simon.
A twice-divorced man (who isn't these days?), Simon and I became email pals a year ago. I had been off the online dating sites for several months and when I logged back on, there was Simon. Like a Honda Civic, Simon was always reliable. But it was his authenticity that I admired the most.
"I see life as a gift, " he said in his profile, " We all go through trials and tribulations and I believe it's how one deals with adversity that determines their outlook, and outcomes,
in life." Now how true is that people?"
" I feel fortunate for everything I have and value all of the special people in my life. Which is a good segue into how important my family and close friends are to me. I look forward to making dinner with one of my sons once a month - one of my many rituals. I speak with my elderly father every day and some of my friends have been in my life for over 50 years."
I could feel the genuine love and devotion in Simon's persona. He was good people - plain and simple. So when he asked whether I would be interested in chatting and meeting over dinner, I couldn't refuse. I was very interested in meeting this father of 4 who was so proud of turning his modest backyard into a summer oasis.
We met at a city bar and restaurant that boasts some of the most tastiest culinary selections. Go Bronx Burger Go! From the moment I met Simon, I just knew he enjoyed good food just as much as I did. We touched on many subjects, while biting into those what's happening wasabi dynamite rolls....mmmm....and sipping our cool and crisp Pinot Grigios.
"So what are you looking for in an ideal partner, Simon?," I queried. "I am looking for a woman who is full of joy - in her heart, in her smile and in her eyes," he revealed. She laughs easily, possesses perhaps a sharp wit, and understands that playfulness is not just for children." Wow - I thought. Pinch me. This guy is for real!
"What else, Simon?" "Well," he continued, "I am looking for a companion to travel
with, to share my hobbies with and to introduce me to new hobbies and interests.
Someone who I can wine and dine on Saturday night and then lounge around with in
jeans on Sunday. Someone who values little surprises and finds wonderment in the
unexpected and unknown."
That's me....I thought.....he has described me!
As we finished our frothy cappuccinos, Simon ended the night with a warm and generous compliment....."You were everything I expected and more Ineda,"...."it was a wonderful evening and so very relaxed....you are a very, very, special lady and I look forward to the next
time we can get together."
Simon was older, wiser, but he wasn't eye candy. He had no ulterior motive necessary to sugar-coat his life. And he was was one of the most sweetest dates I've ever had the pleasure of sharing sham sushi.
To life and living it,
It was "All About Me" day today and naturally for Moms around the globe. But we owe this celebration and recognition of motherhood to America's Anna Jarvis.
It occurred in 1908 when Ms. Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in star-spangled banner country. She worked diligently and campaigned to make Mother's Day a holiday. And the rest is history.
I called my mother earlier in the morning. Unfortunately, Mom has Alzheimer's Disease and is currently in an assistance living facility for the aged. But she did recognize my voice. I asked if she received the Mother's Day card I had sent her and she was unaware. And while she repeated herself a dozen times, I was patient. My mother never asked for this form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. But it happened. And I love her.
I decided to bestow a touch of history and elegance in my Mother's Day celebration; much to the chagrin of my two handsome, blonde and blue-eyed male offspring. But heck - it was my day!
So there we went off to a historical city landmark that has been providing the Afternoon Tea tradition since 1929 when it opened it's doors. Ok - so I wanted to feel like a Queen; a nickname often referred to me by my late father.
My boys were unimpressed. With Blackberrys in hand, one was watching score between Memphis and the LA Clippers, while the other one was checking out his text messages from the sultry women he met the night before.
As I dined on English crumpets with fresh, raspberry jam and P.E.I. lobster and mango tea sandwiches, my sons reluctanly decided to sip a specially-blended Mother's Day tea with me. If only I had daughters, I mused. They would have loved this!
It was awesome to spend a few hours with my sons. But I felt uneasy because I knew I had forced them to join me in a girly Afternoon Tea. I soon discovered that they would have preferred to have surprised me on their own.
And as we departed, my youngest son threw his hands up in the air and shouted, "Yeah....the LA Clippers won!"
To life and living it,
Do you believe in long-distance relationships? I never have. So why I agreed to go on a first date with a man who drove four hours down a congested highway to meet me, I'll never know.
His name was James - a self-proclaimed entreprenuer who owned and operated an auto machine shop that specializes in building custom engines for super-fast race cars. He was charming online. As a matter of fact, he called me everyday last week just to hear about my day at the office.
So when he called to ask if he could take me out to dinner Saturday night in my comfort zone, I agreed. However, I went against the grain this time. I rarely accept dinner invitations from gentlemen callers who reside from cities outside my perimeters. But something remarkably possessed me to meet James in the flesh. I suppose I thought I had nothing to lose. Perhaps this could be "the one".
He hailed from the City of Roses and Canada's southernmost city. James arrived early so we could spend the day together. The sun peeked through the clouds for awhile; the air was moist and warm - perfect weather conditions for a long and breezy walkabout. We ventured around town window shopping and gazing at the sites. We stopped for cocktails that afternoon and had dinner at a Tex-Mex-style bar and grill.
"Do you like jazz, James?" I was confident this tall and handsome man enjoyed all types of music because James was also into ballroom dance. "I love jazz," he quipped. So later that evening we headed to a popular jazz and jump blues bar to swing the night away.
James displayed a peaceful aura throughout our meet 'n greet. I know he liked me right off the bat because he told me so and he cupped my hand in his all day as we walked. Unfortunately, and unlike my gregarious self, he wasn't much for words. As I prematurely-assessed our date up to this point, I wasn't impressed with our intellectual compatibility. He lacked lustre in personality and revealed how hard economic times have effected his business. In my heart, I knew I was facing another one-date wonder.
It was standing room only at the jazz bar and as we were listening to the band, an intriguing couple leaned over and asked whether they could place their drinks close to ours. "Of course," I said. As the saxaphones kissed the air, it was the beginning of some great cocktails and conversation with my newly-found bar buddies.
She was 61. He 55. She a retired psychotherapist. He the general manager of a sports team. They met in the waiting room area at a world-class cardiovascular care centre six dates prior. Both had opposite forms of adult congenital heart disease and were visiting their respective cardiologists when their eyes and hearts met. Wow - how romantically-rhythmic, I thought!
Their mechanical pacemakers nearly stopped when I revealed that James drove miles and miles to meet me for our first official date. Petite and blonde, she asked whether or not I would be seeing James again. I think the good doctor sensed something. "Probably not," I confessed.
And then I wondered...would the good doctor ever see her 6"3" heart-racing boyfriend again if she knew that he secretly slipped me his number as the band played Frank Sinatra's Fly me to the Moon?
As James and I left the bar, the world's best-selling hit single of 1998 played in my memory.
Thanks Celine Dion - "My Heart Will Go On".
To life and living it,
Last night, I received an email from a respectable grade school teacher with the handle Teacher6660.
A debt-free widower, his name was Dave standing at 5'10"tall, and weighing in at 165 lbs. His profile stated, "I'm honest, faithful, and I keep promises. I'm not interested in games and I will treat you like a lady."
Well - they say you never get a second chance to make a first impression! And Dave blew it after he felt comfortable enough to provide me with his home number. Here's what he penned,
"I hope that you've had a great week. Our school just got back from their trip up north to ??? It was great and we just got back late this afternoon. I enjoyed reading what you said and I would really like to meet you. If you are interested in getting together for a coffee, let me know."
Dave then offered his phone number and closed his online message by wishing me a wonderful Mother's Day weekend, "and I do hope that we can meet."
So I dialed within 30 minutes of his message. I wanted to meet him too! And when Dave picked up, he had no idea who I was! You see my cell number always displays as private (I like it that way) and therefore Dave had no idea it was me - Ineda.
I started the conversation by asking him about his excursion with those snotty-nosed kids (kidding) and didn't let on who I was. I figured that since he had emailed his number less than 30 minutes ago, that he would have known who it was. I was dead wrong!
Ha! - I thought. Well - it seems like I wasn't the only woman Dave had been conveniently offering his number to on an online dating site in 30 minutes or less that night. I was one of several. You're busted Dave!
As I continued our conversation, I kept on dropping hints to help him figure out who I was. I absolutely refused to provide him with my name because I felt insulted and not "special". How many other women was Dave nonchalantly providing his number?
He also had the audacity to say he was at a "disadvantage" when I was speaking with him because I had his number and my 10-digits did not show up on his call display. But he never did ask to exchange numbers. Rather, he offered his very early in the online dating game.
There's no denying that Dave began feeling very uncomfortable with our conversation. He tried. But he simply could not figure out who the blond babe was that called him 30 minutes after he openly provided his number for a chat. Remember his offer?
"If you are interested in getting together for a coffee, let me know," quipped the guy who said he wasn't into playing games.
Well - I did let him know when I called. So who was the "player" now?
Ha! Boys will be boys.
To life and living it,
Have you ever had a first date off an online dating site that cracked open with a bottle of bubbly over Sunday brunch? I did.
It wasn't a bottle of Piper Heidsieck 1907 destined for the fatal lips of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Rather - it was a rich, smoky, vintage Dom Perignon with notes of ripe apricots, peaches and passion fruit. But there was hardly any passion to speak of that afternoon.
His name was Winston. An American financier working on Canuck soil. A former Lehman Brothers executive. Lehman Brothers. Remember those dudes? Before declaring bankruptcy in 2008, they were the 4th largest investment bank in the U.S.
That year, they experienced a mass exodus of their well-to-do clients, drastic stock losses and a devaluation of assets by credit rating companies. It was massive monetary devastation that rocked the financial globe. And I was sipping champagne Sunday afternoon with a former executive.
Winston's personality was dryer than the vintage DP I was swirling around my palatte. His online profile seemed intriguing and truthful. Like me, he said he wanted to fall deeply in love again. He adored travelling to ancient cities and read volume after volume of The Wall Street Journal and Powder Magazine.
Winston was cordial and complimentary. We exchanged pleasantries. We talked about our kids and how life has a way of working itself out after the big "D" word - and I don't mean derivatives!
There's no such thing as emotion in the stock market court room. Yet it was my "feelings of the heart" that had everything to do with the demise of Winston and his connection with Lehman Brothers Holdings.
Bottom line - I wasn't smitten by his tall and confident physique, nor his money or lack thereof. I wasn't impressed with the champagne. He just wasn't turning me on. There was no chemistry. I wasn't "feeling the love". What can I say?
So here's a toast to the lonely heart's club. Raise your glass to Winston....Give it up for Ineda.
To life and living it,
I received one of the most pretentious emails from a gentlemen caller on an online dating site recently. What a load of @#%&!
It never ceases to amaze me that there are actually stupid women out there who would fall for a guy like this. I've always been true to myself. But when a man boasts about his financial accolades and social circles, the red flags always rise to the occasion.
He calls himself "Doctor Dude" - a 54-year-old (so he claims) calm and even-tempered, very sophisticated and highly-trained investor from the U.S. He reviewed my profile, felt a connection and sent a wink. I acknowledged his wink and the rest is history. Just listen to his opening lines...
"It is so nice to hear from you, and thanks for reaching out to me. I did indeed "wink" at you, and had full intentions of writing a nice letter to you, so thanks for reaching out and I am so delighted that you did. I am going to write more later tonight, but have to run out to the
store for awhile. While I live in the USA, I am usually not in the USA and
travel the world for pleasure and profit."
"I am leaving next week on Tuesday, to go to Monaco, to visit my friend Prince Albert Grimaldi, and his wife Princess Charlene, at his castle in Monte Carlo for a few days, then going to Rome to visit Pope Benedict XVI for a private audience at his personal
residence in Vatican City, then tooling around Rome before returning to the USA."
"Since I don't live my life based on the local environment, it is not unusual for me to desire to meet people anywhere in the world. You may find me some
weekends in Palm Beach, Florida, discussing politics with Donald Trump at
Mar-a-Lago over coffee, or meeting with Prince Charles in England at Balmoral
Castle, over a glass of Scotch."
Ladies - can you believe it?
So...................I decided to pull his bluff and write an open, honest and candid response.....
"Thank you for your email, " I said. "Your business and social life sounds like a fairytale
dream come true. But I have always been a skeptic with an open mind. While your
"name-dropping" may impress some women, I am more interested in a man's
self-worth rather than his networth. While having money to do the things we'd
liked to do is nice, it doesn't make one truly authentically and genuinely
happy. And lastly, why would a man of your stature be on an online dating site to meet his "Lady in Waiting?"
Well - I must have hit a raw nerve! This so-called refined, established and well-heeled socialite revealed his true colors in an acid-tongued response.
"Wow, what a nasty lady you must be," he replied. Nasty - I thought??? What was so nasty about mentioning that money isn't all that important to me?
Then, he quips, "Are all Canadian women such bitches?"
Bitches? - I thought. Wow - no man (not even my Ex) stooped that low to call me such a hateful handle. He continued, "I have only met, and dated women who have class my dear, something which your piss poor attitude toward men suggests you lack, or perhaps are just sorely in need of an attitude adjustment"
WHAT? Piss poor attitude toward men? I said no such thing! I was merely stating that I wasn't impressed with his Pope Benedict XVI confession nor his affiliation with the ultra-rich royal blue bloods he claimed to accompany.
"Either way," he continued, "good luck in your search. I have met some lovely and really intelligent, and classsy women online with @#$% but would certainly not consider you in that category at this point. FYI - I am one of the happiest men you will never have the opportunity to meet, and who are you to question why I am on an online dating service my dear? Get a life and wake up.....you sound like a miserable wench. Perhaps what you need is a man who is a real lunatic to date, who may then be willing to put up with the bullxxxx which you seem happy to dish out."
Can you believe this? I was forthright and expressed an opinion. But not once did I swear, become nasty or rude. So why couldn't Doctor Dude just say he wasn't interested in two words or less; rather than respond with such a malicious message?
Have you ever received an offensive email from an online dating site? I'd love to hear about it.
Sadly, I won't be flying to Monaco anytime soon to rub elbows with the rich and famous.
To life and living it,