Trip To Calgary Dance Stampede

Professional social dancers tutor and exhibit their talent once a year in what’s called the “Calgary Dance Stampede”. It’s an opportunity for dancers at any skill level to get acquainted with social dancing and improve their moves. Workshops are hosted throughout the weekend and are very well run. You need not have a partner because rotations are made frequently throughout the one hour workshop sessions.

Yesterday, I attended “nightclub two step”, “cha cha”, and a new innovative line dance called “Music To My Eyes”. After dinner at Bank and Baron, a few doors down from host venue – The Hyatt, I sauntered back and took in the “Jack and Jill” competition. It was a fun filled version of the normally competitive format of the contest whereby partners are paired through a draw thereby testing their aptitudes for adapting to random partners.  Imagine waltzing to a record played backwards. Well, not for the faint of heart for sure.

Over the course of the weekend, there will be 110 workshops with most at the advanced beginner level.  I was impressed by the organization and strength of the instructors. The MC last night at the “Gala” was entertaining while introducing the challenges for the Jack and Jill contestants. Ample time in the evenings are scheduled for practicing those new steps. A Pro-Am, a show case, and a “Rising Star” competition round out the performance element of the event. It’s all sold out for today and tomorrow but do consider the event for next year in the spirit of your good health and the support of keeping social dancing alive.       

Steve Eisman Is Shorting Canadian Banks

Over at bnn.ca they kept the video link front and centre for three days. The fellow gained notoriety for correctly calling and profiting from the U.S. financial meltdown in 2008 having suspected issues with collateralized debt obligations. Now, he is shorting Canadian banks.

It’s no secret. Housing prices are under pressure. Mortgage qualifying criteria has contributed along with weakness in the oil and gas sector arising from distribution bottlenecks. Oh yes, there’s also the carbon tax, socialist policy, and higher taxes all tempering business investment. Governments of today don’t quite understand the fuel feeding their public sector pension plans. So, why is it then that a banking official in response to Steve Eisman’s rationale for shorting three Canadian banks makes the claim that he has “no basis in fact”? Mr. Eisman simply purports that loan loss provisions in the face of economic headwinds have been underrepresented in bank’s quarterly earnings. On an accrual basis, it seems fair that record profits under our current circumstances seem circumspect. After all, if you can under report your loan loss provision, you can keep that dividend in tact thereby satisfying institutional investors. 

Somebody has just specifically called out the Canadian banking sector and he’s done it with his trades.  Who am I to question his analysis especially in the context of political intransigence in facilitating industrial development inter-provincially?

We have weak leadership in Canada right now. We are also confronted by massive public debt which must be serviced. Then there’s the material increase in social programs which must be financed, namely the new generous “child care benefit”. Baby boomers are now tapping into CPP and OAS. The U.S. in recent years has become much more capable of supplying its own energy needs and may not be needing Alberta’s oil in the volumes of yesteryear. The Canadian lumber industry is weakened by trade sanctions. Out east, there are the new tariffs on rolled aluminum. Southern Ontario car plants are faced with unaccustomed competitive, political, and innovative pressure. The City of Calgary is raising property taxes due to mismanaged downtown core land use. 

I’m thinking Mr. Eisman has got it right. Canadian banks are going to pay the price for loan losses associated with home equity devaluations and the consequential inability of consumers to manage unsecured debt. I’m thinking that the culture of entitlement is going to have a reckoning.     

Venezuela Right Now

  1. Hyperinflation rate so astronomical you won’t believe it
  2. Water shortage
  3. Food shortage
  4. Civil strife
  5. Rolling black outs
  6. Russia installs military presence taking sides with Nicolas Maduro
  7. U.S. contemplates aid and incidentally has sided with declared President Juan Guaido
  8. Journalists arrested
  9. Socialist policy since Chavez leaderships in 1999

If you eliminate incentives for business to produce goods and services, they will stop. If you pay people not to produce, they will not produce. If you do not sanction poor behavior, people will continue to behave badly. If you overregulate the ambitious, they will turn elsewhere for a market. If you condone corruption, you will get more of it. If you sense injustice and fail to acknowledge it, you will subscribe to the status quo. If you witness crime and fail to report it, you are complicit. If your leadership is ambivalent toward justice, your society is regressing.

Calling Out The Drivel

I don’t mind playing a role in calling out stuff for what it is before new norms negatively take hold thereby attributing to societal decay. No I’m not naive enough to think that my single voice can make a difference so I implore you my friends to also stand your ground when confronted with drivel and provide your version of push back. I realize it’s tempting to simply cede in lieu of behavior unbecoming of a country’s President (Trump), but call it out anyways.

The President of the United States has declared that the press is the “Enemy of The People”. On the contrary, the press has a major role in reporting to the people behavior elicited by their governments.  Journalists actually become formally versed in ethics as part of their curriculum. Unfortunately, the business of journalism is not immune from pressures of bias arising from mediums in which their messages are expressed.  Hence; particular news outlets will be better than others and thankfully a democracy provides people with the power to discern the credible from the incredulous. 

It could be the case that Donald Trump believes that if he states something ridiculous enough times over and over through his Twitter account that those on the margins of self esteem with an unrequited vote may just step over to the dark side with him. 

Trump may believe he can take his dysfunctional, demeaning, and narcissistic management style and impose it on a populous weakened largely by events which were largely outside of their control but within the control of past governments and regulators. If he somehow can derive a correlation between liberal misgivings and CNN, then in his heart perhaps he can sway those undisciplined from objective thinking.     

One unfortunate consequence of the election of Donald Trump to President has been the attribution some will make of his character to the conservative philosophy.  The track record of recent Republican Party leaders has been lacklustre further weakening the image of the conservative philosophy. Although not much of a talking point to date, the conflation of populism and conservatism because of Trump will have a dulling impact on communicating fundamental conservative doctrine over the next decade.              

How Will You Vote in Alberta Election?

Strong conservative leadership in Alberta has been lacking for a lot of years. Jason Kenney…..a rather bland fellow stained by a lacklustre record serving under Harper as an MP at the federal level where he talked up social issues instead of what really matters to Canadians – their pocket book is now your choice. We hold our nose and vote for him of course.  You wouldn’t think for a moment during this critical time of burgeoning socialism to spoil your vote via voting for a fringe party, I know. We hope that he actually gets it. We hope that he understands that Albertans have industrial resolve at their core believing that a merit based capital system is foundational for the actualization of career dreams.

We hope that he understands that Alberta and Canada cannot alone solve the world’s environmental concerns. We hope that he keeps his mind out of the bedrooms of taxpayers. We hope that he materially aims to cut public expenditures including pensions to civil servants so that taxes can be reduced. We hope that he invigorates the legal system so that law enforcement can feel empowered rather than stifled. We hope that he leaves the abortion debate alone. We hope that he repeals intrusive regulatory burdens such as the “carbon tax” for small business. We hope that he rightfully imposes penalties to corporations behaving environmentally irresponsibly. We hope that he applies common sense to decisions affecting us all. We hope that he communicates interests of Albertans effectively with federal law makers. We hope that he is honest and immune from lobbying efforts of special interest groups. We hope that he understands that Confederation requires the cooperation of provinces for the good of economic development. Finally, we hope that he understand the level of exasperation felt by taxpayers constrained financially  while witnessing their governments blow away money as if it were confetti.  

Backstage At Loverboy

Forty years ago in Kamloops, B.C. as a teenager when at home listening to Loverboy’s self titled album with my aunt and mother on what can now be described as a vintage cabinet record player enraptured by songs titled “The Kid is Hot Tonight” and “Turn Me Loose” in no way could I have imagined that last night I’d be back stage of a concert in Calgary shaking hands with the lead singer Mike Reno and guitarist Paul Dean.

As if intended through some unknown protagonist, upon taking up guitar and piano there’s been opportunity to circulate in music circles and attend performances which have proved to be sources of inspiration and everywhere I turn I discover fellow amateur guitar players where we share about the instrument’s intricacies. 

Don’t be shy if you’re a single male in the crowd with a backstage pass encircling your wrist. Work it with the ladies preferably in a fashion that at least gets you a date. You see Tom Cochrane was actually the closing act and he apparently offered leverage power to backstage pass holder.

The question I had for Mike Reno last night was, “have you ever had voice training”? His answer was “no”. He still carries the high pitch exemplary of his singing. It’s not falsetto but just a high range he’s obviously carried throughout his career.

It was thanks to a client with connections that made this night out extra special. It was also fun to wear a neck badge with photo of the band purchased for me by my client’s wife from the souvenir stand. In response to perplexed inquiries I represented the keepsake as my “premium backstage pass” much to their astonishment and my silent guffaw.   

No photo….didn’t turn out. 

Nakiska Day Trip

Ski day at Nakiska and first foray into vlogging March 14, 2019. Busted out with a day off work after the schedule cleared. I’ve had a season pass here for the past five years. Definitely good value if you catch the early bird discount. It’s really the quickest trip from Calgary and need not occupy the full day.

Those learning to ski need an easy going comfortable setting with appropriate terrain. Nakiska fits the bill.

There’s never a snow issue here because of the well developed snow making infrastructure. The snow park is well equipped with ramps, jumps and rails. Downhill skiing not your thing? Just jump on a tube or snap into X country gear and tour the picturesque landscape of Kananaskis Country.

Homesteader Fork

Complexity Theory And Airplane Automation

Does the human mind have limitations when confronted with multiple variables presented during short time windows requiring a life and death decision? I took a course in third year university called “Human Performance” and in the course we pondered the question of “reaction time”. It was postulated by our professor that when a football team was confronted with a “third and one” (American rules) scenario that the offensive team should be guaranteed a first down because of their advantage of snap count cognition. However; any fan of the game has witnessed the defence putting on the stop. After all, a quarter back sneak requires execution after the snap.

Airplanes now have all this automation which is predicated on electronic data flow. In fact, some of the data flow is initiated from conditions exterior to the fuselage. Ice pellets, rain, snow, wind, lightning and thunder are all conditions which airplanes may encounter and hence require the pilot whether automated or not to interpolate. But wait…shouldn’t these automated systems adjust for the conditions? Hasn’t every imaginable metric been created to account for weather events which have now been deployed within electrical circuit boards and decision switches?  Has it not been established that auto pilots can now drive the plane from just after take-off to just before landing? Does a pilot dare interfere with the scientific deployment of automation when his / her instinct has been aroused? Has the human mind been compromised through excessive deployment of automation in an environment which carries living souls through the air in a cargo machine?

The Feeling of Corruption in Canada

Your Attorney General of Canada claims that your Prime Minister placed undue influence on her with respect to a prosecutorial decision in lieu of criminal evidence. In my mind this amounts to “obstruction of justice” subject to the penal code. It’s apparent that Justin Trudeau was motivated politically to save an engineering firm, namely SNC Lavalin, from consequences arising from their apparent conduct. The firm is based in Quebec. Trudeau is a Quebecer. It’s postulated that pensions would be saved by interfering with the prosecution of the firm and somehow that would philanthropically justify such immunity. I suppose Canadians are now expected by our Prime Minister to rationalize the penal code depending on circumstances of a person, or a company? This in my opinion makes our country’s leader unfit to lead. Now that he has cast away Jody Wilson-Raybould from her post as Attorney General in lieu of her steadfast integrity, the next incumbent will be faced with an office stained of its independence. Canadians are asking whether our justice system is now not only pitiful in its timely and cost effective execution but also lacking in credibility. If our Prime Minister is not ousted from office in the short term, I will be asking whether Canada is any better than corrupt Venezuela. 

Jaw Dropping Adam Capay Story

I attended a municipal forum last week which dealt with the possible replacement of the Calgary Saddledome for the whiny Calgary Flames organization. Let me take that back…they’ve been better behaved lately having come to grips with the economic landscape in this city in lieu of the oil price drop and the difficulty in transporting the resource due to political obfuscation. 

Today I consider the impact of failing to fund “correctional facilities” in which tax payer money should be rightly allocated. Last month, Adam Capay walked free from murder prosecution because Canada’s correctional system was either ill equipped to manage his incarceration humanely or lacked the   necessary will to do so. As a result of his rights being breached under the Canada’s Charter, he has been immunized from prosecution of murder. Imagine that? In a world where cars can now drive themselves and governments throw funding at “artificial intelligence”, our country has lacked the resources to keep this man, Adam Capay, housed within a humane environment. Consequently, the family of Mr. Capay’s murder victim wonders about a system of justice whereby lawyers grow wealthy through exorbitant fees, and justice fails after years spent haggling in a legal purgatory.

It doesn’t matter the government. Navel gazing politicians more interested in pet projects oriented around ego as opposed to execution of administrative policy drop the ball on matters relevant to the public purse whether it was Mr. Harper’s obsession with Mike Duffy’s suspected abuse of public perks who was ultimately exonerated, or the endless apologies by Justin Trudeau to groups offended in decades past, or photo ops of white men in turbans….politicians are failing to do the job such as humanely incarcerating criminals and administering a system of justice which is fair, expedient  and cost efficient.