Category Archives: Uncategorized

Top Ten Symptoms of Polar Vortex Cabin Fever

  1. You’ve been beaten at Risk so often by your adolescent that your getting a complex
  2. You’re going broke after making so many auto deposits over at pokerstars
  3. Your privates are getting chaffed from…..
  4. Your heating company has called looking for an advance payment
  5. Your spouse has cleaned the house
  6. Your once docile canine has eaten the laundry room door
  7. The little one has actually produced melody on her toy piano
  8. You’ve baked bread
  9. You’ve finally put to work that grocery delivery app
  10. Dum te de dum…..you’ve unboxed and glared intently at your elliptical trainer  

Browns Social House

What I like about Browns Social House: It’s friendly and has high padded bar stools with foot rests. It has properly controlled climate. Décor not overly imposed by big screens. Happy hour. Four dollar draught. Quick service. Reasonable prices. Did I say that? Square bar accommodating for socializing. You’re not there just for the booze, right?

Distracted Driving At Centre of Humboldt Bus Crash

While much focus has been on the driver of the Humboldt bus crash, it’s become evident that an insidious behavioural pattern of distraction while at the wheel is underlying the cause. Although it was a flapping tarp and not a cell phone, every single driver who owns a smart phone and is compelled to jump to its chime indicating the latest facebook notification should take heed. Speaking to passengers is distracting, changing CDs is distracting, and soothing crying babies is distracting. Some minds may be better equipped to deal with distractions than others but should you really be assigning yourself the confidence to multi-task while at the wheel when one misstep can lead to a life-long occupation of guilt. 

It’s certainly easy to judge this man responsible for the deaths of these Humboldt teens but hypocrisy given one’s own behaviour is peculiar.

In addition to the driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, law enforcement and the regulatory framework of the transportation industry must also answer to this event. We put doctors in this country through seven years of training and a driver of a transport truck through three weeks, if that. Mr. Sidhu  may have lacked training in how to properly secure a load. Our justice system is structured in such a way that police tend not to put resources where they believe that the probability of conviction is low. I postulate that in the minds of law enforcement, the process of obtaining the necessary evidence to charge a suspected distracted driver is not worth the application of resources and hence this matter is at large with you and I witnessing distracted drivers in metropolitan centres daily.

If the financial penalties were materially strong and the justice system had the practical powers to enforce, we could actually make headway toward significantly reducing this problem.         

Who Was Allan James McKinnon

He was one of the very nicest people that I’ve ever come to know and he was my boss for a brief period of time around 2003. He practiced public accounting and the dynamic between the two of us was mutual respect. Upon helping him through one tax season, I pursued another opportunity which helped paved the way to establishing my own practice. 

Al should have been winding up his practice right around the time I had come on board. However; it’s clear that his clients and the game of golf were preeminent interests which weren’t going to go away. We had lost touch between my tenure and his passing but I can only imagine that he had a tremendous home life with loving people around him. Evidence of his high intellect is referenced from his obituary listing his university graduation at the age of 19 from our common alma mater, the U of A.

Upon reflecting this morning of one particular collaborative effort on a file with Al, I just had to draft a blog post in remembrance of him. He was one of many fine folk instrumental in assisting me with the street level application of tax accounting.  Al was one of those people who knew exactly how to treat people respectfully. He was a soft spoken big man who carried clout through his unspoken word.   

Songs Not To Be Forgotten from 70s 80s

It’s no secret that this was a vibrant period in modern music. A sampling -many of which had lesser popular appeal.


  1. Heartbeat City – The Cars
  2. Come Undone – Duran Duran
  3. Annie’s Song –John Denver
  4. Show Me The Way – Peter Frampton
  5. I Go Crazy – Paul Davis
  6. Heaven Can Wait – Meatloaf
  7. Sorrow – Pink Floyd
  8. Since I’ve Been Loving You – Led Zeppelin
  9. Still Got The Blues – Gary Moore
  10. The Love Parade – Dream Academy
  11. The Perfect Kiss – New Order
  12. Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
  13. Aubrey – David Gates and Bread
  14. If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot
  15. Light In The Tunnel / Human Race – Red Rider
  16. Thunder In My Heart Again – Leo Sayer
  17. Crucified – The Fixx
  18. Slave To Love – Bryan Ferry
  19. Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  20. Talking In Your Sleep – The Romantics

Whistleblowers Fired In B.C.

You may have read the story. Word is that close to 20 civil servants in B.C. have been fired in the context of voicing concerns over public spending. Imagine that. Results from an investigation proceeded and ultimately two individuals were escorted from the legislature.

Let’s think this through:

 We all know that Canadians are over taxed with a top marginal rate in Alberta of 49 per cent income tax.  Yes, that’s just income tax and doesn’t include excise taxes, property taxes, or GST.  In fact, many of your fellow citizens of high net worth leave the maple leaf behind for residence elsewhere due to the excess of Canadian tax.

Now let’s consider our politicians who have done absolutely zilch in decades to materially reduce the personal income tax burden. It hasn’t mattered their stripe because once any politician has achieved office – the best interests of taxpayers have been lost amidst the expanse of bureaucratic largesse. Ralph Klein in Alberta is one noted exception who took on public sector unions and saved the public purse from calamity. Unfortunately, his legacy has been undone.    

How about the receptivity of public officials to your discontentment with the tax burden? It obviously hasn’t translated. For bureaucrats as evidenced by this sequence of events in the B.C. legislature to be  negligent with the treatment of sacred tax dollars to the extent that they would  enact measures of self protection of their behavior through non-disclosure agreements should in my estimation be equivalent to fraud and corruption. Yes, corruption in Canada.  

Nakiska’s Charm

The things I like about Nakiska are mountainous scenes, guaranteed snow (snow making), unrushed morning travel, friendly feel, and affordability.  I’m grateful to be back on some boards that give me better manoeuvrability in the bumps having had my old Head Monster 88’s lifted at COP last winter and then experiencing lesser performing substitutes.  Speaking of Monsters, the Monster Glades is where I tested these refurbished K2 Axis skis yesterday (snap enclosed) given that other bump runs were in quite poor shape.  These skis were acquired thanks to the empathy of ski friend OB having learned of my COP misfortune. Thanks OB!

Not all the kids were absent due to school yesterday (Friday). Canada games trials were taking place for slalom enthusiasts. No, this was not the course they were on (snap) but surprisingly this had been set up on Lower Mapmaker for training. Yes, I veered off course for the photographic moment.

I’m establishing a nice collection of Nakiska photos given my leisurely annual weekday forays and in fact the experience leads me to think about bringing a tripod along one day to step up the seriousness of capturing the beautiful scenery. A “Go Pro” for my helmut perhaps. Stay tuned.  I’m reminded of the esteemed Warren Miller who with his team had taken phenomenal footage of ski terrain throughout the world and inspired youth to take up the sport.

Monster Glades 011119
Decent considering snow pack.
Workshop – Refurbishing skis

Tears In Oshawa

I’m going to say the unpopular because that’s what I do. I simply say what other people are thinking because without the voice of reason, society is destined for continued mediocrity.

Whenever I go to get my GM car fixed in a dealership, I witness indifference to my needs until I bark. I see snooty people without a post secondary education carving out agendas of mini power trips. I see checkout clerks unprofessionally dressed. I’m quoted over priced parts.  I see a laissez- faire modicum of operation. My car’s make and model steering mechanism had been deemed responsible for multiple deaths but its ultimate recall was delayed and only actuated after outrage from interested parties.

Workers in Canadian assembly lines of automobile manufacturing typically require no formal education in order to conduct menial assembly line tasks. Yes, some tasks require dexterity and on the job training, but an individual need not bring a mind equipped with astute analytical skills or a body of knowledge to deploy. Auto plant workers when factoring in benefits and pension plans oftentimes out earn those who have invested much more in professional development. 

The taxpayer has bailed out the automobile industry in the face of hardened union agreements. The Quebec based Bombardier has also benefitted dramatically from public funds.  When market forces and financial crises have struck non-auto, and non-airplane manufacturing sectors, these sectors succumbed to the market. Yet, your federal government has opened your wallet to the aforementioned two groups unabashedly. When other Canadians at times have been hit by unemployment, a system of Employment Insurance could be systematically deployed to their benefit. However; with the news of an Oshawa plant closure, it would appear that politicians are all too eager to expedite the waiting period or elongate the benefit period maximum. 

It’s an event like today with this news when we come to learn exactly where your federal government and opposition politicians stand within the framework of capitalism, individual responsibility, free markets, and the perviousness of the public purse.

My message to auto workers facing layoffs… get registered for the January session at your local community college and learn more about competing in the free enterprise system. Oh yes, you may need to put that boat or cottage up for sale as you invest in yourself.      

       

Shoegaze and Slowdive

Shoegaze music became a shadow or back seat genre of the grunge scene during the 90s. Typically played in the minor keys, the name came from lead guitarists’ fixation on their feet due to the operation of numerous effect pedals daisy chained on stage. Thanks to KEXP radio, I discovered Slowdive which may be the preeminent band associated with the genre. To the band’s surprise upon reuniting in 2014 after a long hiatus due partly to unflattering reviews, audiences hailed them dearly in London and Barcelona. Their return has been invigorated with a hot new album self titled “Slowdive”.

 My characterization of the music is “sombre mood”. If you’re willing to go into the darkness, you’ll shimmy in calm. Just make certain you come out while not over cooking your playlist with it. While the distinction of chord movement is oftentimes muddled given the heavy use of reverb, the unrushed melodies can be impactful and pointed.

Much of my attraction to Slowdive is the modest stage presence and obvious band cohesiveness lead by lead song writer and front man Neal Halstead. What his childhood chum Rachel Goswell lacks in vocal range – she makes up for in musicality on guitar and keyboard.  Her voice tonality is actually fitting to the eclectic ambience illuminating live performances. Critical to the sensitive nature of the genre, the rhythm section has a strong feel for dynamics with Simon Scott intuitively in sync with bassist Nick Chaplin. Christian Savill rounds out the troupe on rhythm guitar.                

Jose James Plays Calgary

It was a show in tribute to jazz icon Bill Withers last night at the Jack Singer. As you can see, I had a choice seat. I got to say that one of my highlights was witnessing the pure joy of an audience in awe of this rising star, Jose James. One particular young woman simply beamed in delight and in fact one memorable moment was our eyes colliding upon intercepting witty stage talk. Tracks “Who Is He”, and “Ain’t No Sunshine” particularly stood out along with the groovy closer which turned a classy looking opera hall into a speakeasy lookalike. This fellow, James, possesses a stage charm inviting onlookers into his act from the outset. His voice is stellar with a wide range and particularly appealing in tenor like phrasing.   

The band was strong with frequent solos from lead man Brad Allen Williams. The only pedal featured that I could see from my quaint corner spot during the evening was a wah brandished in “Grandma’s Hands”. All members had their solo spots. James’ admiration for Bill Withers was genuine and lucky for us all in the end, James encored with one of his own.