Category Archives: Uncategorized

Canadian Trade Talks

Should Canadian farmers be selling wheat and barley to Saudi Arabia when Saudi Arabia has historically oppressed women and still does to this day? Does a country conducting international trade compromise its values if profiting from a country from which values conflict? Should politicians in high office frustrated by diplomatic overtures abroad turn to twitter to voice grievance? Should a Canadian confident in his /her position that we have a weak Prime Minister contend that all policy initiatives by the federal government will commensurately be weak? Is it fair to impact the livelihood of commercial operators because of international political grievance?

The above questions arise in the context of a spat between Saudi Arabia and Canada over this past week. It’s frankly unsettling to witness such weakness. My position is that Canada has been compromising its values over time with respect to trade and shouldn’t be surprised that a peculiar twitter remark should be received with outrage from an internet platform limiting in its communicative power from a nation bereft of bestowing respect upon women. What’s even more surprising is that Ms. Freedland seems like an intelligent woman who should have known better. She should have know that the incarceration of women’s rights advocate is a sensitive matter and that a frustrating social media appeal could actually undermine diplomatic efforts to liberate the woman.

Our country, Canada, has some soul searching to do with respect to trade policy in the context its values and protectionist sentiment arising from the U.S. New alliances are forming and Canada has a place at the tables but must affirm its position with clarity complemented with trade deals rooted in the fabric of cooperation with partners of whom it can look dead straight in the eye.     

Second Half 2018

Here you are. It’s summer and you think you owe yourself more idle time because the young ones are out of school. Wrong. It’s actually time to roll up your sleeves and show them what work is all about. There are those outstanding odd jobs around the house and the pet projects deserving of attention as well as the pursuit of continuous learning. Learning is growing and we should be doing some of it every day in order to keep the creative and inspirational juices flowing. We are inundated with stories of troubled minds through the media and at every turn there are references to chemical imbalances or hereditary predispositions when perhaps the biggest contributor to mental aberration is idleness.

The summer of 2018 will depart us and when you look back, let it be a time of productivity as well as play. Throw yourself into something worthwhile which will bring you pride. Capture memories of family adventure while incorporating engaging activities. Stimulate yourself intellectually because as the old adage goes, “leaders are readers”.

Additionally, I encourage you to reflect on your place within the economic system in the context of who you know you to be.  Nobody really knows you better than you. We fool ourselves into thinking that constructive feedback from those close to us should form a larger barometer of our being but this strategy is really rationalization for delay when in actuality the fear of execution persists.

If you are serious about taking a hard look at yourself and your current participation within the economic system, you may pick up a copy of my ebook, “Your Business Mind”.  

  

 

Signs of Erosion In Civic Health

 

1.       Fraud and corruption

2.       Dishonored contracts

3.       Property rights disrespected

4.       Rural crime frustrates farmers

5.       Civil suits backlog court houses to the benefit of lawyers receipts

6.       Littering and indifference to the infraction

7.       Brashness and deceit in politics as winning formula

8.       Inattentiveness to the elderly

9.       Pronounced tail gaiting at the speed limit

10.   Proliferation of public debt accompanied by perpetual deficits

11.   Rising pedestrian deaths

12.   Propensity to relax rules and regulations

13.   Quickness and inclination to judge others

14.   Isolation of children

2.      Police detachment with better things to do than respond to                        trespassers and bike thieves

16.   Closure of arts / music venues

17.   Graffiti

18.   Loitering and the ambivalence toward it

19.   Decline in volunteerism

20.   Usury and government’s perception and reaction to it

What Is Facebook Anyway?

Is it a platform which began as a place to share but has become more of a sponsored ad bulletin board? Is it a place for the voiceless to espouse political doctrine? Is it a place to promote unabashedly? Is it a place to put publicity into ones otherwise closeted past time? Is it a place to “troll” other’s opinions and activities for discovery in place of a phone call and meaningful relationship?

Although the platform continues to appeal to my curiosity and sincere interest in other’s lives as well as a place to share my blog and thoughts, I do marvel at its plasticity. I’m amused at how polite people can be in public but obnoxious and rude when on line. I’m perplexed by the degree of engagement by some in the context of actually making a living. I’m grateful for its convenience in connecting to relatives at physical distance. I’m exasperated by the vanity expressed by some.

There’s no question in my mind that “social media” has had negative consequences for the sociability of mankind. Net negative? Hmm. Reminds me of a story to share.

This past Wednesday, I headed down to McHugh House to take in some live music and witness first hand roots of the local music scene. To my disappointment, the band played excessively loud for the small venue and if one wasn’t equipped with ear filters (I was prepared), the discomfort would be intolerable. The most intriguing aspect of the performance was how transfixed these young people were to embracing the act instead of embracing each other. This was not an auditorium environment. It was actually a restored heritage home. As expected, on arrival prior to the opening number, folks stood silent with heads bowed over their phones.  I made it through one set and recall one relatively decent tune by this band called “Heavydive”.

Respectfulchild Plays Studio Bell

Harmonics, loops, original licks all layered in front of your eyes by this native Canadian lass demonstrating solo mastery over her violin. She’s taken pedals typical of the electrical guitar and applied them to this exquisite instrument.  She starts quietly by laying down a beat and then amplifies. The groove takes hold and she moves into a bass line all the while calculating the best portrayal of her unique style with the pentatonic follow on.  The mood is thick with anticipation. The venue is fitting for the swings in sonic amplitude. You’re with her as she carries you. I’m somewhere else ‘cause I saw her last year and I have her CD.  Friday night at the Performance Hall.   

Apology Sincerity Amidst Brash Political Climate

Leave it to the teeny boppers from Parkland to contend with the holy-roller Charlton Heston idolaters armed with professional lobbyists over at Capitol Hill. They have been better gun control advocates in a mere month compared to years of muddled politicians sitting in halls of legislative power. Yes, Laura Ingraham of Fox News is eating crow having witnessed advertiser backlash upon referencing what was in her view one eloquent gun control advocate and  Parkland survivor’s “whining” about college rejection letters. To his credit, he mustered the forces of social media via twitter storm which in mere hours exerted material financial pressure on the network. Her apology seemed to lack the contrition necessary to ameliorate the damage not dissimilar to apologies nowadays which oftentimes are infused with conditional premises attached to them. Her apology started out with “in the spirit of holy week”. I guess it’s kind of a way for the over indulged ego to be salvaged when apologizing. Apparently, there is this hope that the craftiness of the apology can serve the purpose while saving face and even perhaps pass on sincerity depending on the intellect of the receiver. I know you’ve seen it before when watching the news. It’s sad because it’s patronizing but it’s also humorous because of their naivety and disdain for the acuity of their fellow man.   

Classics Albums Live Does Fleetwood Mac Rumours

It was touted as a note for note cover of Rumours. I thought, I’m definitely qualified to be the judge of that. I’m going despite hearing of the event a mere hours before show time. Lo and behold, there was a single ticket left in upper deck of Jack Singer upon navigating Calgary’s Art Common website.

With the opening of Second Hand News, I could immediately tell that this was no joke. This group of eight were spot on and certainly would have been unimpressed by two apparent mixing mistakes during this track one of side one.  Dreams arose next and was performed in perfect tempo and rhythm despite a somewhat undramatic delivery by Stevie of this sauntering classic melody.

Precision note for note playing was acutely evident in Never Going Back Again and Don’t Stop and a calm affirmation was developing throughout the hall. However; by the end of Go Your Own Way having witnessed the accompanying exquisite guitar solo, the audience was stirring in delight.  

Christine McVie next makes her appearance with Songbird.  One now contemplates the voice characteristics and personality similarities of original artists and portrayals on stage. McVie’s modesty was a bit overshadowed by the confidence of this particular mature professional musical imposter.  With exception of the tonal voice difference, it would have been tough to distinguish from the recording. 

Onto the flip side with The Chain. Obviously the bass player gets a mention here with the classic bass line on full display. What bass player hasn’t played it? The trick was not to screw up. He succeeded. As for the solo, in my glee I’m watching a pretty woman in fish nets laying into a Les Paul. The young couple next to me is providing more feedback than the 100 watt Marshall at stage center.  She’s got her groove on and realistically there was embellishment beyond the actual bends vibratos of the recording. 

I frankly thought that “Oh Daddy” here was better than the recording with some subtle acoustic scale over lay to add fruitfulness.  Golddust Woman showcased more of the real Stevie in action. The hip sway and draping witchy aura was broadcast with more verve than earlier in Dreams. I was impressed by the deep low tone voice quality similar to the Queen of Rock herself.     

I’d be amiss in not closing with the powerful voice of the lead male singer. Not only did he stay in key, and never waver but he sang with authority and charisma. Unsurprisingly, two accomplished guitarists exchanged rhythm and lead roles here and as we know it was a combined job of one underrated guitarist Lindsey Buckingham back in the day.

At break I shared the Peter Green story with some lonely looking soul. Certainly, 90 per cent of those in attendance would not have known of Green’s influence on Fleetwood Mac during the early days blues roots.     

After the break having finished up Rumours, the band moved on to other Fleetwood Mac favourites and particularly gelled as a group in a nuanced version of Tusk. The drummer took the stage with fury in a thunderous solo and reminded all about his ever present skill set as the back drop of the evening’s performance. I was looking forward to what they’d do with I’m So Afraid but was mildly disappointed by the guitar solo. The Rhiannon intro had everyone abuzz and Stevie nearly missed her last line of Landslides while the audience drew breath.

The night finished with a rhythmical escape and surreal sense that this has all been experienced some forty years after those junior high school dance memories.               

     

       

Who Is Andrew Neeme?

He is a down to earth poker player in Las Vegas who started making video productions related to Vegas lifestyle and poker sessions. Why am I writing about him? Well, he’s a good guy and deserves a little notoriety for bringing a vacation destination to home computers in the thousands. He wasn’t really the ultimate ground breaker on the youtube vlogging scene but he put a twist on the activity with his unique laid back charm. In fact, his popularity earned him a nomination and victory at the 2018 American Poker Awards gala held recently.  Whether it’s game nuance, Vegas cocktail bar suggestions, interviews with poker Joes, hand breakdown, or destination highlights from tournament play abroad – there’s a little something for everyone blessed with a little competitive spirit and sense of adventure. Andrew’s success in the vlogoshere has had much to do with his genuine sense of courtesy and goodwill coupled with poker ambassadorship. The game has indeed been in need of positive rebranding efforts of which Andrew stepped right into the void. Go ahead and subscribe to his channel and see for yourself.              

Linkedin Satire

 I love LinkedIn because it’s fun to see people profiled as their very best. You know, without the nose hairs or perspiring pits.  A little resume padding or subtle embellishment takes us unto the realm of the wannabe versus the actualized being – for some anyway. I’m always wondering about the five year question. What do all these perfect people expect of themselves in five or even ten years? To define oneself professionally via computerized profile just seems pretentiousness enough to not give the exercise much merit. You can’t help but be impressed by those with enough idle time to actually put up posts  or regurgitate business news in hope of garnering a “following” and even soothe the ego by witnessing feedback alongside.  It’s just too much for me to digest with a straight face but the phenomenon is still no match for the textomaniac in between sets at the gym.        

What Gary Moore Had Goin’ On Guitar

The thing about Gary Moore was how masterful he was at identifying the right note in the scale at the right time with feel and distance. Distance you ask? Yes, the blues requires delay for effect.  You just can’t rush a riff if the mood doesn’t call for it.  Yes, he was fast but only used his gifted fast fret work during connected movements or outros.  Although a rocker back in the day with Thin Lizzy, it’s fair to say that his best work was done with the Blues. In fact, he may have covered Hendrix’s Red House better than anyone and duplicating the Hendrix style was no easy feat.

This was a guitarist who could sing, keep rhythm, and break out into melodic solos at will. Moore understood time and enraptured audiences with intervallic breath. His bends were precise, vibratos pristine, and always came home to the “one”. He may not have carried the stage presence of a Prince or Slash, but in fact his modesty was enamouring. His expression was always one of feeling the music as he played which ultimately brought you into his auditory canvass. Gary Moore was a very talented musician but may not have grasped the extent of his gift leading a lifestyle attributable to his death. Thankfully, YouTube channels have catalogued the man with flavourful selections of his playing over the years. Of all guitarists, his playing has been most instrumental in aspiring my learning and practice. 

Songs of note, “The Loner”, “Still Got The Blues”, “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”, “Parisienne Walkways”, “Redhouse”