Category Archives: Lifestyle

Benefits of Running

So, it’s a pandemic and you’re not going to the gym eh. Running is so simple and convenient but odds are those who are reading this are not doing it.  What do you think the probability is of catching COVID-19 in the open air far from people?  What are your chances of recovering from COVID-19 should you catch it after having achieved a particular level of fitness from running?

Benefits:

  1. You need to be enriched by subtle radiation from the sun
  2. You excite neurotransmitters thereby increasing receptive capacity of target tissue
  3. Increased rate of blood flow exercises elasticity of arteries and veins potentially reducing plaque
  4. Increase caloric output effectively prohibiting weight gain
  5. Potential for increasing mental acuity

Things to consider:

a. Start slow…walk at first . Consider getting a medical consult first.

b. Pace yourself.

c. Distance doesn’t matter. It’s not a competition. Your chance at Olympic fame is over.

d. Bring a piece of I.D. with you.

e. Dress for the conditions.

Governments and Gambling

So it used to be the case that gambling was considered sinful , aberrant, immoral, and an affront to family values. It was something done by the low lifes (degenerates) of society with an addiction. However; in the context of today’s new world order – for one – you can’t make a reference to a “low life” because you would be condemned via political correctness as being prejudicial in one way shape or form or simply insensitive to  another’s presumed plight as opposed to their self inflicted harmful behaviour. Secondly, in Alberta and in other jurisdictions in North America…resource royalty revenues have fallen so low that the gambling stream of revenue is now considered essential for sustaining exorbitant social programs and government budgets. Hence; it’s more culturally accepted than ever that we don’t condemn the gamblers for their devious ways in the context of keeping society afloat. Nowadays, what you’ll find in casinos are flowery programs for the addicted installed through regulation in order to soothe the cognitive impairment of the addicted. Governments apparently need them so we might as well placate them with niceties.

The question goes begging “who are we as a people if we must rely on people’s weak character exhibited through gambling in order to sustain government finances”? I suggest that it didn’t have to be this way if governments weren’t so weak with their fiscal discipline over decades. When one looks at the behaviour of governments over decades in absolute terms pertaining to the handling of your taxes….it didn’t have to be this way.  Alberta’s online gambling site was apparently just launched yesterday.       

The Online Learning Phenomenon

Caught a piece of the local Calgary news tonight and I’m watching kids sitting behind a computer at home possibly with a parent who is ill suited for assisting with the curriculum. Apparently, the fear of sending kids to school has been so great that the board suggests that the numbers of home schooled in Calgary equates with 30 new schools.

In person teachers have training and experience to spot weakness in a child and react accordingly. The in person school environment also in theory facilitates the social development of a child so long as the school environment is socially healthy. Parents certainly will be cognizant of these elements forgone in the home environment. Parents will be able to monitor progress comparatively with benchmarks but trained teachers would still be more attuned toward applying corrective measures and provide an unbiased perception of a child’s developmental progress.

The new age parent may be in for surprises when their kid reaches late teen age years discovering that the broader world is not as hospitable as mom’s home office. 

Music and Dance Reminisce

My piano music book, “Pop Standards” by Hal Leonard has select classic pieces from the ‘70s. It’s sent me back on a childhood revisit this past weekend. As I write this I’m listening to the classic “Love’s Theme” by Barry White and Orchestra. The time was so innocent in many regards which was spawned by the music of the decade. There were so many happy (major keys) melodic songs. There was the one hit wonders. There were the indecipherable lyrics. There was the disco and Abba. There was Le Freak by Chic and Mike Oldfield, and “The Hustle”. There was Saturday Night Fever and Fleetwood Mac. There was Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd. There was the Eagles and Kiss. My sister was into Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and I actually saw the appeal although I was mostly playing baseball instead. The latter part of the decade had me thinking that dancing looked fun. I had no problem with it at all in spite of friends looking at me strange. There was the band “Heart” and the program “Midnight Special”.  I was enthralled.

The years 76 and 77 had me focused on Littlle League ball but I had memorized the lyrics to Hotel California. I had the album and played it all the time along with Kiss, Destroyer. With the move to Kamloops from Cranbrook in grade eight – I didn’t think twice when school dances came around. I went to them all and I danced to Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”, Bee Gees – “Night Fever” and “Stayin Alive”.  There was Donna Summer, Blondie and Cheap Trick (Surrender), Foreigner, Journey, Asia, Trooper, and ELO. I was remarkably composed in refuting a friend’s insinuation that dancing wasn’t cool. I even overcame nerves and rejection in asking girls to dance.   

Free form dancing apparently is not in right now. It could all change again one day. Culture could go through another period of revitalization having gone through a pandemic and the realization that part of the soul’s earthly journey is one of connection through dance.            

Pandemic Potpourri

  1. So ah, take out delivery. Don’t you have tons of time on your hands to cook
  2. Something like seven years to get a doctors degree and still so much contradictory opinion about wearing a mask and defining etiology
  3. Idiocy of downplaying potential and then actualizing the black swan.
  4. Still selling toilet paper in packages of 18 rolls weeks after discovering supply chain issue.
  5. Much talk and little real leadership from particular politicians.
  6. Few people exercising outside and you know they’re headed for a weight gain dilemma.
  7. Human rights reflection in failing to permit cruise ships to port.
  8. Potential for infringing on civil liberties with cell phone tracking permissions.
  9. Discounting any semblance of common sense and government dictums with bulletin board notices and patronizing ads about staying home.
  10. Instances of misplaced sense of authority over others’ conduct.

The Future of Work

I attended a U of A sponsored alumni event last night entitled “The Future of Work”. It was hosted at the newly restored old Calgary Science Center.

Economist Todd Hirsch from the Alberta Treasury Branch gave the talk with a power point presentation. This well spoken gentleman referenced topics which many of us maybe have thought about but haven’t really worked through logistically in terms of how exactly advancing technology will impact our working lives.

Todd suggests that advancing technology is going to in fact do away with certain job functions. His example illustrated the chronology of events required to fill a prescription for the elderly. He demonstrated that in Canada today it takes six working people contacts for an elder to have their prescription filled from the time he walks into a doctor’s office until the time medicine is dispensed. However; once an electronic medical bracelet with the capacity to monitor biological data is affixed to the wrist, a reduction in manpower inevitably can serve the individual as well and perhaps better. Imagine one pill instead of a cocktail delivered by drone. 

Another theme presented was the sociological effect of having less people serve us. Todd suggests that people will become more isolated with the deployment of technology. I wonder if robots in decades to come will be programmed to elicit emotion. 

In one provocative slide, Todd depicted the working timeline of people’s lives since the dawn of formalized agricultural to the onset of industrialization and into the digital age. Finally there was a forecast of decades new transformed by automation. He forecasts that a “Universal Basic Income” will be required to offset the improved efficiency brought on by automation. He also predicts that structured volunteerism will emerge as government programs collapse under their weight with government finances stretched. Continuous learning will be evident in a fast changing work place and the career profile of someone in 2030 and beyond will be starkly different from the “good job” espoused by baby boomers.        

Recreational Bike Riding

I am what you could call a normal bike riding enthusiast. I don’t have the best bike and I don’t go the fastest but I break a sweat and burn calories in the spirit of active living. The occasional trek gives a non-competitive cyclist such as myself much to ponder while travelling the trails of North East Calgary.

Today got me thinking about common courtesies and the urge to rush. Occasionally, we’ll run up behind a pedestrian. From experience we’ve come to learn that mankind seems to have this propensity to deploy technology at every opportunity. In this case it would be the “bike bell”. I can see reasons to use it but not in every situation. When it’s a quiet morning and a pedestrian is sauntering along in thought, I’m inclined to find a way around like a wide pass that doesn’t jar him / her out of their serenity. Call me strange but I’m just not in that much of a rush. Then there are those vehicles which offer a wide pass when it’s safe for them to do so. You know they’ll be looking back in their rear view mirror. I’ll give them a wave. 

Many drivers have an urge to rush and this behaviour is elicited by vehicle incursions at intersections and through cross walks. You know they feel guilty when surprised by a bicycle. Traffic regulations require vehicles to stop in advance of the stop line or in absence of a stop line, slightly in front of the stop sign. If intersection visibility is unclear, drivers should then sneak forward.  When folks cheat, pedestrians and bicyclists can be put at risk. Law enforcement seems to have better things to do than patrol this poor driving habit. Always be on guard at intersections.

Distracted driving is a reality and it is a material hazard. Pedestrians will not mind sharing a sidewalk with a bicycle if the bicycle yields to pedestrians always, passes with care, and slows down while passing. It simply makes good common sense to use sidewalks when road conditions such as narrow shoulders are unsafe to share with drivers.     

Tennis on The Board

So, your game of the week got cancelled but you still want to work on your strokes. Do visit the board at your local community centre but practice with it the right way. The right way you ask? Since the set up is crucial as a prefix for delivering a ground stroke, it makes no sense to be scrambling with the board since the ball returns so quickly. Instead, feed the ball to the board –make your stroke and only set up for another stroke if in control and set up properly. The purpose of this practice is to develop consistency without producing bad habits which can arise when chasing down errant balls.

How important is this? It’s critical because the neural pathways need to be developed without the impedence of experience associated improper mechanics. Similar to golf, tennis is difficult to pick up without basic fundamentals learned from somebody. The teaching of tennis has positively evolved to incorporate larger more forgiving balls and smaller racquets for youngsters.  Becoming versant in fundamentals is definitely a prerequisite before approaching a board without a playing partner.  There is also no denying the strength in some of the youtube content. For those who have good coordination and average athleticism but lack a playing partner, the board can be a great resource having picked up fundamentals from youtube.  Naturally, there’s good and bad content on the net but it’s mostly good so fear not. You can always hire a tennis teacher because it’s only in the one on one setting whereby your strokes can be observed and corrected.

Yes, that’s right – I, Blair Sveinson, am a certified tennis instructor with Tennis Alberta and I invite adults to reach out if keen to take up this wonderful game. I can be reached at 403-397-3110. I’m in Calgary.

How’s The Guitar Coming Along You Ask?

Well, it’s been about 2 1/2 years since getting serious about guitar. This is my old Fender Gemini III from 1987 which basically sat in storage until 2016. Looking back at the “set up” of the guitar and learning much about the “build characteristics” of acoustic guitars, it’s not surprising that I turned away from learning the instrument so quickly back in 1987. The “action” was “high” meaning that it needed a “truss rod adjustment”. Now I’ve made it easier to play and is a nice complement to my new Yamaha FG800. I’ll let the video do the talking from here on out.

Vicious Dogs Not Welcome

It’s happened again. In Cambridge Ontario a young girl has endured nineteen stitches in the face from an attack by a neighbor’s dog. The full extent of the injury is yet to be determined. Common sense suggests that vicious dogs as pets in communities are more of a risk to citizens than they are as benefits to owners. If communities and their bylaws are not going to serve citizens with common sense solutions to unnecessary hazards then the penal code should step in. It’s that simple. I’m all for liberty and rights of the individual but not to the detriment of the quality of life of others.