Category Archives: Lifes Lessons

Help Social Services Help The Vulnerable

You’ ve all seen the homeless but there may be an acute condition that you stumble upon. You know intuitively when an individual may not be street smart. You can feel their vulnerability and fear. You’ve hence come to realize that your typical day may take a different turn. Call it an inconvenience or a duty but the matter need not take much time. We all have cell phones clipped to our hip nowadays. You can log the necessary number into your contact list. Despite the indifference there are still social workers amongst us who live their occupation like a calling and will treat your call with the respect it deserves. Do continue to trust in a system irrespective of imperfections. 

With my new office in the East Belt Line, a walk to Millenium Park was ambitious but the day was a beaut so why not. It actually wasn’t my planned destination but upon arriving and ascending the ramp for a viewpoint of the skateboarders I was struck by a woman in her mid twenties holding her tummy and struggling. This was one of those situations and I had just passed by the Kerby Centre along my trek so upon learning she was suffering from apparent morning sickness and homelessness I encouraged her to get help at the Senior Centre. Knowing full well about the reluctance of many to accept help, I watched and waited for a time atop the park’s concrete viewpoint. She had found refuge from the sun behind the pillared concrete structure adjacent to a closed confectionary counter and was not heeding my suggestion.

This was a woman new to homelessness and needed intervention. I am not the one but there are professionals. I reversed my trail back to the Kerby Centre and reported the woman. I trust that there will be follow up. It is not my job but I’m confident that my small parcel of time in caring has paved the way for a professional to approach her.   

For those interested in learning more about the challenge of helping the homeless, Mark Laita has been conducting interviews on the topic over at Youtube’s “Soft White Underbelly”. He means well and admittedly was naive upon venturing into the chasm of mankind’s deviant conduct. His interview may provide insight. Cynicism need not carry the day. Hope is where the heart hails.   

Tennis Career of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – Takeaway

Some superstars come right out of the gate as gifted with magic in their ground strokes. Other players have required time to develop the neuro-pathways with coaching in order to manifest the weaponry to compete at the highest level.

At 29 years of age Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova finally made it into the final of a grand slam event. This is a woman who had lost consistently over a number of years in the first, second, and third rounds of both doubles and singles events. She has a sprinkling of quarter final appearances to go along with some absences due to injury or failure to qualify. She obviously kept working on her game in order to improve with sights on a grand slam championship.

So here she was the other day in the 2021 French Open final getting blown out in the first set to an unseeded dark horse but found resolve to comeback and compete vigorously. I can just imagine the talk she gave herself at the first set break revisiting all the training she had done along with all the mediocre results in her long career. This would have been a moment of truth for her similarly to when we are all faced with similar situations when it’s time to step up and perform. Will we wilt or will we shine? On this day Ms. Pavlyuchnenkova shone by taking the second set 6-2 and losing the match by posting 4-6 in the third . She gave it her absolute best manifested something better than the past. You see – that’s what we are aiming to do. We are aiming to deliver something better from day to day. When there’s a regression, we double down and push harder. We go the extra mile. We test ourselves thereby adding fruitfulness and vigour to our being while managing other important elements of our life.

Congratulations to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on her 2021 French Open tournament!   

Kenney on COVID

I listen to Jason Kenny from time to time on the COVID updates. Most of the time I find him balanced, reasonable, and thoughtful. The one noticeable verbal slip was couple of weeks ago when he suggested that Alberta was going to have the best summer in its history. I just don’t have the problem with Kenney that  so many others do. He’s a good orator and his convictions are supported by his policy. He has not infused (yet anyway) any of his social policy biases into legislative proposals which was frankly my biggest concern when he became the Premier of Alberta. I ‘m insufficiently versed on alleged shenanigans during his rise to the leadership of the UCP.   

He handles media questions quite well in the context of COVID. Every province has been at the mercy of poor federal handling of COVID from the outset. It’s become apparent from his comments today that dozens of municipalities in Alberta have flagrantly disavowed restrictive measures and it is in this context that Alberta faces infractions by its citizenry. It’s become obvious that our legal system with all its intricacies and high power prosecutors have much to account for right now with the lack of enforcement and conviction around laws which have been ignored by hordes of people across the province. In lieu of the Bowden rodeo on the weekend, I had expected more on the topic of justice and COVID from the premier today. He has referenced another announcement upcoming tomorrow.    

I have witnessed indifference from law enforcement in Alberta pre-pandemic. I’m sensing that fellow Albertans are now also asking the question as to why people can flagrantly break the law with no consequences. I predict that there was no police officer nor Alberta Health Services marshal recording license plate numbers at the Bowden Rodeo over the weekend.  

Covid Rational Mind In Overdrive

Post inspired by friend because of an engaging conversation. Let me start out by saying – you may have come to learn more about human nature in the past year than in your entire life time.

Too many people have not known how to allocate their mental resources in the midst of government regulations arising from the pandemic. There is evidence galore. Those who haven’t been able to assert their mental faculties in productive ways have hence allowed the default to pervade via the newswire and daily COVID stats. Some have been so obsessed with manifestation of COVID that they’ve gone so far as to think that the bogeyman is out to get them through planned annihilation. Apparently some feeble minded have been so brash that they’ve been compelled to make an unmasked scene at the grocery store.

Here is the thing. If you have nothing going on in your life, you’ll reduce yourself to minimalism through an unfiltered reactive mind accessible to the slightest in perturbation. If your mental construct is not sufficiently fertilized with creativity, spirit, gratitude, purpose, and wonderment, you will be exposed to negative threat. If you are not continually nourishing the mind through learning you will be stagnant in your personal development thereby impeding the prospect of hopeful utility.

If you gossip or engage in the company of people who are innately negative, their negativity will rub off on you. If you are desperate for the company of others, you may not have found comfort in your own skin. If you judge quickly, you will drown in absolutism and behave boorishly. It didn’t take a pandemic in order to espouse such revelation but it certainly has brought clarity.   

Modern Growth And Development

“Growth and Development” was a core subject during my tenure at the faculty of Physical Education and Sports Studies. I recall the course work focused around stages of development naturally occurring chronologically while considering causes of anomalies. However; back then there was no pandemic, no mobile electronic gadgets, and single parent families were lesser.   

Today I witnessed a girl nearly the size of her mother learning to ride a bike without training wheels and without the support of a dad to prop her up. Mom didn’t know quite how to help because she lacked the physical prowess to latch on and run along. It gave me pause to assign metaphor for our changing time and reminisce over my good fortune growing up. I suppose daughter would have learned last summer if it wasn’t for pandemic related reservations.  

We’ve devised spousal / child supports and the “Canada Child Benefit” but kids still really grow up oftentimes in the company of one and not two adults. They miss witnessing the fun repartee between loving couples. They miss the family car vacation with rest stops and adventure rides. They miss the joy of witnessing both parents adorn them with admiration have shared their achievements. They miss that one needed game player to thicken the plot. They miss the strength of a man clutching them in safety from the asphalt confident that he’ll know when time is right to let go. They miss mom waiting in the wings for a report and that wink and a nod shared between mom and dad.    

World Record 1500 Metre Run By Gudaf Tsegay

Have you ever noticed how unwittingly those navel gazing smart people dismiss the power of the human spirit while enshrined in their cerebral gymnastics. This was precisely what happened when the announcer of the ladies 1500 metre indoor championships called the race on February 9, 2021 in Lievin France. You see he thought two pace makers given their inexperience totally misjudged their duty in paving the way for competitors by leading out unusually fast. As laps progressed around the indoor track an indignant sense grew in his tone. In fact, he became so baffled, he forgot to even contextually interpolate the world record time as Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia crossed the line.

Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia now holds the women’s indoor 1500 meter world running record.

The call of the race prompts memories of a 100m quarterfinals heat in Indianapolis Indiana on July 16, 1988 when Florence Griffith- Joyner set the 100 metre world record which still stands to this day. During that momentous occasion, there were two variables clouding the expression of two announcers;  namely – doping and wind. Without questions these variables tempered the excitement of these men calling the exactness of what transpired on that peculiar day when wind was swirling and the functionality of the wind measuring apparatus came into question. One particular announcer again seemed more cerebral than visceral when doing his job on a day which will indelibly be referenced decades from now.

You would think that within a world class race sanctioned by the IAAF any announcer must assume that within the field, any particular athlete could arrive on site prepared to eclipse a world record. You also might assume that if a pace maker leads out in break neck speed that there was an agenda put in play by one or more athletes to make one race on one particular day their particular signature run.

Medical Associations and COVID

It’s evident that there is a problem in supporting health care workers during this pandemic as reflected in the slow vaccination rate and stress reported by doctors and nurses. Quebec doctor Karine Dion has committed suicide. It’s hard to fathom that the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is reporting that five to eight per cent of doctors have contemplated suicide in the last year alone.

I’ve always contended that professional associations have been protectionist in the way they administer their power. In Canada, it’s very challenging to obtain credentials as a doctor. When living in residence at University, I recall two pre-med students on my floor studying excessively in order to score the grades they needed in order to fulfill entry requirements. I recall a story by one of these two students lobbying a professor strenuously for the most infinitesimal amount fearful that one missed mark could break the threshold required.

Naturally, having a limited supply of doctors and refusing to acknowledge credentials from new Canadians arriving from abroad, the profession on behalf of their members casts increased negotiating power with governments. The calamity of a pandemic exposes associations to a particular shortcoming of their inward posture of protectionism.

One might reasonably ask…”how difficult can it be to administer a vaccine shot”? What kind of credentials do you think are necessary? In the very rare event of something going wrong with a vaccination, would it not be reasonable to assign a back up resource who is a professional association member?

You have a tremendous number of Canadian who have studied in the health sciences but are at home cocooning when they could be contributing toward the resolution of this big problem. I suggest that the lack of mobility of deploying more manpower quickly rests with a lack of resolve by governments and potential push back from associations.     

Impeachment Again

Here we go again. At the outset….let’s be clear. Trump should have been removed from office in 2020 due to Trump’s solicitation of an investigation into political opponent Biden’s son by a foreign power in exchange for releasing the withholding of financial aid to Ukraine. It was an abuse of power and there was clear evidence to prove the abuse. Furthermore, when subpoenas were issued and requests for documents, the White House obfuscated. The obfuscation obviously corroborated wrong doing. 

The only Republican senator voting in favour of the articles of impeachment was Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney is a man of vast financial means. When you think about 51 Republican Senators all having heard testimony of overwhelming evidence with only one Republican Senator voting in favour…..you know there was more than the cerebral evaluation of evidence at play when these men and women cast their vote.

Here we are on January 9, 2021 and five people lost their lives in an assault of the Capitol building incited by Donald Trump, one must ask the question – do these Republican Senators other than Mitt Romney have blood on their hands as a result of the event played out in Washington on January 6, 2021? Would Trump have continued his infantile “tweets” inciting violence had he been removed from office? Would Twitter have come to its senses earlier by banning Trump permanently had he been convicted during the impeachment proceedings thereby preventing the January 6th incident? They are all reasonable questions. I suggest that Trump was as successful at intimidating people in the halls of the Capitol just as he was at extorting money from contractors in business or bribing women of whom he had salacious sexual liaisons. I was not unique in assessing this man of being very weak in character and my regard for the citizenry of our neighbour to the south has been lessened for bestowing upon him a role to administer public policy never mind the Presidency. 

Now what will these Republican Senators do should this second impeachment vote come to pass prior to his scheduled exit? I’ll be watching with interest.       

Capitol Hill Incursion

In the fall of 2013, yours truly was in Washington D.C. and was surprised to get in for a tour of the Capitol building in lieu of a government shut-down at the time. I was standing across the fountain and thought….why not just ask around to see if the tours are still on. I was in luck. I strolled around the back (photo) and entered. There was no line up because everyone else may have been also presuming that tours were off because of the shut down.

I was certainly impressed by the architecture. We were seated in a min-theatre to watch a movie of the construction. There was the “rotunda” which is a picturesque dome of immaculate design and within the circular landing the perimeter is decorated in statues of historic political figures. Although, the House of Representatives was not sitting, the guide still offered us an opportunity to sit in the gallery to stare at the emptiness. I took her up on the offer unlike most of who declined. This required an extra security measure. I had thoughts of my mother (school teacher) who put much attention on things of civility and justice. You’ve all seen the exterior in pictures. Much work has been put into restoring the exterior in recent years. I came away thinking that much care had been placed in developing this material beacon of democracy unlike the care recently displayed by protagonists within its halls to serve its purpose.   

So….as I watched the course of events on ABC news yesterday when Trump loyalist stormed the Capitol building, I was obviously dismayed. I wasn’t outraged because I admit to having grown somewhat impervious to incidents tied to Trump. Even my shock regarding friends / acquaintances support of Trump over the years is wearing off. Is there a final chapter of irony to the Trump debacle to be played out via impeachment at the last hour when Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to vote their conscience on impeachment during the first go ‘round. It will be interesting to see. 

Trump should be everything that America should not stand for and he became their President. It’s embarrassing to have watched this fiasco unfold. Those idiots who stormed the capitol will still be snivelling about how in their minds life has cheated them and potentially how to execute their next pathetic display of victimhood.         

Wishful Thinking Versus Accountable Action

Words matter but action speaks volumes. There is enough apathy circulating with respect to the conduct of public officials that we could soon be reaching a point in time in first world countries when behavioural patterns lose respect for the public good. That my friends would not be good.    

In the U.S. federal game of politics, the public has become simple pawn in a game of power. Special interest groups of wealth rule the halls of congress. Within the era of the Trump administration, I deduct from four years of conduct that should a sitting senator / congressman (woman) have dared step out of line to vote with conscience, retribution would be in order. The political climate was not always like this. There was an era of progress in the U.S whereby respectful negotiation resulted in well crafted legislation. Trump was an overt liar with a warped sense of political strategy in feeding the public a mirage to suit his purpose. Oftentimes it worked. His ploy counted on naivety and ignorance of the U.S. populous and its orchestration hadn’t even ended with the casting of the last ballot in the 2020 election. It was pathetic demonstration of demagogy and the consequences have been real and deathly     

In Canada, Canadians elected a left leaning liberal. There’s no disguising the fact the Justin Trudeau is implementing his ideology of social policy which has much to do with spending money that his government doesn’t have. As I write this article, Canada is on a spending binge and financing it’s spending by printing money. They don’t like to tell it like it is over at the Bank of Canada. They like to tell you that they are “purchasing bonds” in order to stimulate the economy. Of course they print money to purchase the bonds thereby risking inflation.

So, if a politician is “whipped” into voting the party line instead of conscience, would this not represent a modified version of democracy? Whipping votes is nothing new. It’s been around for decades but the difference now versus then was that retribution was not necessarily assumed should a vote not fall in line.

What kind of damage has been inflicted on the moral compass of North America due to the Trump era? Canadians after all have watched it all unfold. Public finance is in shambles on both sides of the border. The question now is whether the debt burden is sustainable or whether there’s going to be collapses in currencies. Will the U.S. dollar lose its reserve currency status and if it does, how does the financial landscape unfold? Will precious metals and / or crypto currencies emerge as the only viable units of monetary value? Oh yes….it’s only once per year that the Bank of Canada does its assessment of the stability of our financial system. Perhaps, they should meet more often in the context of the meteoric rise in crypto.