Category Archives: Uncategorized

Modest Keith Corrigan

There was this accounting office where I spent a tax season in approximately 2004 here in Calgary. I showed up as a contractor and weaved my way into the inner fabric of a well established firm for this finite period. There was this guy on staff named Keith Corrigan. He struck me as kind of quirky but pleasant. I enjoyed his laid back approach to accounting and tax. He had an admirable confidence and he possessed supreme interpersonal skills. I didn’t have much to do with him since he was deployed on corporate work and I was tasked with personal returns. However; we had an unspoken agreement between us as we worked away in the office sharing the occasional witticisms. On April 30, while slaving away on the last couple of returns, in walks Keith looking for my invoice to get me settled up in anticipation of the wind up tax party. We took care of business, headed to the party, and subsequently lost contact with each other.

Fast forward to 2015, and I’m driving into the parking lot of the Smart Executive Centre and I see this slender fellow having a smoke and I’m thinking – “I know him”. We get reacquainted and I discover that he’s also taken up office residence here where I work. Our rapport is quickly reestablished and I begin to marvel at his experience and knack for story telling . We’ve had much in common with respect to tax and investing and together we would on occasion satirize unsavory positions taken by the CRA. Keith was a man fully blessed with common sense and deployed the trait eloquently with his subtle humor. 

He recently died suddenly at the age of 59. I attended his Celebration of Life today and the event was informal and modest akin to the way he carried himself every day.

His obituary:

https://calgaryherald.remembering.ca/obituary/keith-corrigan-1078330214

Technology’s Incursion on Your Power

It’s happening whether you like it or not. The digital age is impacting your personal power and your ability to return fire. Here’s an example. Typically after a Uber ride, I will look to my phone so that I can acknowledge the tip request and send one. This morning I had a glaring message pop up with an “I understand” button having me acknowledge Uber’s reference to matters relevant to “behavior” as if my communication on my most recent ride did not meet their standard. It makes me think that my conversation with the driver was actually recorded without notifying me of such. I came to realize during the latter part of the ride that my driver may have been having difficulty understanding me given that English was his second language (he was wearing a turban). In humor, I had referenced the authoritative tone of the satellite guide woman giving directions and then gave her credit when she acknowledged me by name.  Could this have been the offending reference? It’s all I can imagine given the completeness of my conversation with the driver. 

You see, I used a little sarcasm during our ride to add color to the trip which may have been perceived as something different. I suspect this phenomenon will become less and less of a problem for people over time because people will just stop engaging in small talk flavored with witticism since it will be deemed too much trouble with a risk of negative consequences should banter be misunderstood. In other words, an experience of interpersonal connectedness will be extinguished due to an over sensitive culture awarded favor from daft elites lacking in common sense. After all, it was the Uber app that gave the final word in absence of a North American phone number on their website.          

Trump Goin’ Down

With all the testimony this week on Capitol Hill, believe it or not there are still pockets of republican law makers squealing with disbelief still that Trump is guilty as charged.  Jim Jordan may be the last man standing and late night stand up acts will certainly be targeting him for his formulation of logic. Devin Nunes was another Republican so stained in partisanship over facts that he thought that somehow by referencing “poor TV ratings” in an intelligence hearing he’d sway the argument. With all the history of Trump’s lies, deceit, attacks on the vulnerable, twitter tirades, spinning of a conspiracy theory (Obama’s birth), associations with criminals (Manafort for one), apparent deeds of sexual harassment according to some 16 women, countless civil court cases prior to Presidency, obfuscation of publicizing financial history (tax returns), personal attacks on citizens competing for presidential nomination, business intent to operate in corrupt Russia, Mr. Nunes somehow thought by referencing old newspaper headlines that conflating matters would help his defence of this sham of a man, Trump.    

It’s been a harrowing display of partisanship and very disappointing to witness this presidency along with Trump’s character to those who hold justice dear. It was a great experiment in populism projected onto the American people by voters contemptuous of being marginalized with powerlessness. Ironically, the man sent to Washington to address matters of the powerless has abused the power bestowed upon him and a lot of folks saw it coming including yours truly. 

 If one fails to exercise objective thought in the face of political philosophy in a democracy, there are implications. If one turns a blind eye, one will be caught. It may not be today or tomorrow, but the facts will emerge. A steadfast adherence to ideology is healthy but if the implementation of such ideology requires the suppression and disregard to basic values and human rights, then such implementation in democratic form will require a reset in order to extinguish such aberrant conduct. While the trait of loyalty has absolute merit in the context of executing team cause, blind loyalty tarnished with misdeed has inevitable negative consequences including collateral damage. As a result of this Trump debacle, it becomes apparent that the whistle blower provision worked and thankfully there was an American sharp enough to step forward for the good of country and his / her fellow patriot to out this reprehensible conduct of bargaining political gain with earmarked military aid.

Incredulously, there is still the remote possibility that Republicans will grasp at some kind of rationale for defending a no vote to impeachment if proceedings actually make it to trial in absence of Trump’s resignation. I am one conservative ideologue not blinded by partisan ideology but strident in articulating repercussions from being stubborn and outright indignant toward thoughtful discourse.    

Why Ski?

If you live in Western Canada and you don’t have a winter sport…consider downhill skiing. Here’s why I enjoy it so much.

  • The Excitement

It’s outside of your routine and you’ll be amongst others like minded and keen in their pursuit of adventure

  • The Landscape

You’ll be astonished by the horizon draped in glaciated peaks as you take a moment having exited the mountain’s highest elevated lift.

  • The Comraderie

You’ll be trading stories about mountains, runs, conditions, and travel.

  • The Finesse

Carving the snow and negotiating terrain become objectives of pursuit. A skill set develops in the spirit of continuous improvement.

  • Natures Separateness

You will forget your day job. You will have escaped.

  •  Safety

Start with lessons and advance. There is no rush. You will not break a leg. Equipment offers protection.

  • Testing Comfort

Can you advance in terrain from season to season and challenge your fears?

  • Travel

Experience uniqueness in every mountain and every community

  • Family bonding

It’s something you guys can do together.

  • The Anticipation

No two ski trips will be alike.

Elephant In The Room – Interest Rate Variable

In all this hype from the media regarding Bank of Canada interest rate decisions, and with the charade performed in front of cameras by sharp dressed smooth talking regulators…..the fact is that a 0.25 “basis” point move is not going to make one iota of difference when chartered banks have been widening the differential between retail unsecured rates and the overnight rate unchecked. Alberta has an “ombudsman” to deal with parties feeling aggrieved by services administered by the province.

From the standpoint of making complaints against the banking system, you would turn to “The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions”. This agency claims to be “independent” and in the context of interest rate policy whereby any party feels aggrieved, this agency will turn to “usury law” in deliberating the matter of any perceived injustice in interest rate administration. Chartered banks still have lots of leeway available to them in the context of widening retail secured and unsecured rates. 

I’m afraid our media is asking the wrong question when facilitating a discussion of the huge headline made yesterday over at the Business News Network, “Canadians Drowning In Debt As 47% Struggle To Cover Costs: MNP”.

Forty KM/HR Residential Speed Limit Committee

Last night while driving home from work, the main drag was congested so I took a residential route. Naturally, I slowed down to 30km per hour while driving through a playground zone. As is often the case, there was a pick-up truck right on my back bumper. I pulled over and let him pass. Tailgating is an epidemic and law enforcement isn’t interested in pursuing this infraction with tickets. Drivers will have a propensity for checking their rear view mirror to see how much closer the ahole is going to get when they should be keeping an eye out for for children.

Now, imagine driving through this zone at a crawl and then confronted with a new reduced 40km per hour limit after the playground zone instead of 50. People will be perturbed while now thinking about what they’re going to make for dinner or thoughts of being late to pick up the kids. Their focus will not be on driving as it would be at a reasonable speed of 50km per hour for the conditions.

One thing is for sure – if the residential speed limit is reduced to 40km / hr then a municipality will have more revenues from speeding tickets generated through camera catches that it would at a speed of 50 km /hr.

We would hope that child safety is the motivator for considering such a change but I’m suspect. The current residential speed limit has served Canadians well for decades. Current infractions on the books such as “failure to stop”, “crosswalk incursions”, “failure to stop in advance of a stop line”, “failure to signal” do not get enforced. , “Failure to turn into nearest lane”, “unsafe lane changes”, and “failure to give distance” don’t apparently get taught in driver’s school or are simply disregarded due to drivers understanding that sanctions against such poor driving habits will not be applied.

You have bloated bureaucracies in Canada looking for places to turn their attention when what they need to do is execute their current agenda with precision.

Lastly, you will have mothers who believe this is a good proposal. I suggest that strong parenting along with common sense supervision has worked for decades when it comes to children and traffic law.     

Election Night Take Aways

Canadians condone their national leader in obstructing justice by casting votes in his direction.  

Party leaders oblivious to work schedules (bed times) of Canadians by delaying speeches in spite of certainty of outcome and botching their coordination as possible foreshadowing of a dysfunctional minority government.

Failure of pundits to articulate platform of the big winner of the night – Bloc Quebecois, and table thoughts on the degree of their separatist intentions.

Jagmeet Singh obviously still self aggrandizing in his new found stature by speaking at nauseous lengths thanking everyone but his dog as folks sought some semblance of a coherent thought in line with his seat reduction.

 A broken country. You have Quebecers who want all the benefits of being in Canada yet vote like traitors to the nation. You have elite Ontarians daft in thinking we can pay our bills through a service driven economy while deficits and the debt accelerate. You have Maritimers fearful of losing their pogey. You have British Columbians split through a rural / urban dichotomy. You have the prairies tired of paying the bills watching politicians trumpet rhetoric with gold plated pensions. 

You have a pretty elaborate CBC set hosting like sixteen pundits paid by your tax dollars…all to tell you what you already know. One such pundit seemed compelled by the occasion to tell a losing MP that she loves her. Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi , shows up and actually made sense.

A vain Prime Minister with an embarrassing aloof speech attempting to sound statesman like in his boyhood manner. 

A sense that Andrew Scheer may lack the fire in his belly necessary to energize positive change.

Brian Burke Calls Out NHL’s Entertainment Value

I believe last night was the first time in about five years in which I watched two consecutive periods of NHL hockey. Once again I was reminded why I turned off my cable TV those five years ago.  It was the Flames versus Kings and HNIC was all over some personal rivalry between two players baiting viewers whether they would fight or not. Then there was the tight checking play with little actual execution of passing and play making. Factor in puck scrambles, scrums, slashing, and goalie screening – it all became very boring to watch. To my surprise, hockey ambassador Brian Burke came on between periods and raved about why a shot clock in overtime is now necessary due to players ragging the puck in a defensive fashion just to solidify the tie.  My fellow Calgarians….as a sportsman with an original educational foundation in coaching and athletic training, I suggest you should not be subsidizing this theatre with your tax dollars. Big shout out to Celine at Murdoch’s for her conversational prowess in taking the boredom from this broadcast.     

Depending On The State

You either believe in you or you believe in the state caring for your needs. You believe in contributing to your own good health or waste your health and expect your government to pick up the tab for your maladies. You believe you can support your children’s growth or you believe that it’s the state’s responsibility. You believe in a free market with responsible regulation or you believe that your government should dictate how and from whom you should purchase goods and services. You expect that your country should pay its bills or you believe that that perpetual increases in debt and deficits have no consequences. You believe that natural resources should be harvested responsibly or you believe that a service oriented economy will in and of itself will be sufficient to provide for the quality of life that you expect. You believe that leaders should be held responsible for corrupt behavior, or not. You believe that the welfare of your neighbor’s children is their responsibility or you believe that your income taxes paid should subsidize them. You believe in lower taxes with governments strictly burdened with administering services specific to the public good such as roads, the rule of law, public education, disease prevention, and reasonable regulation as opposed to higher taxes attributing resources toward the financing of special interest groups such as artists, industry, or hockey players. You condone wasteful government spending or you do not.        

Mike MacKenzie Band Covers Led Zeppelin

My best ten bucks ever spent was last night for a ticket to a cover of Led Zeppelin II at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino. The Mike Mackenzie Band paid tribute with select pieces recorded 50 years ago in addition to this album which most likely launched Zeppelin into super stardom. The huge take away from the evening was the affirmation that there are superb musicians amongst us today that are undiscovered and perhaps even under appreciated. MacKenzie’s vocals are stellar.  He played lead while absolutely matching the high pitch of Robert Plant.  The acoustics of the venue were good in spite of encountering subtle feedback from keyboards. Mackenzie turned to an old faithful he’s performed with past projects, The Rover from Physical Graffiti. Other standouts included Ramble On and Killing Floor. Killing Floor was one of those 1969 releases which showcased the talent of John Paul Jones on bass. The bass player last night can easily be excused for any misses given the complexity. What Mackenzie may be missing in soloing prowess, he makes up for with versatility and chord voicings. 

A standout in the set’s second half was “No Quarter”. I just love the keyboard intro and the subtlety of this song. It takes good unrushed time in order to pull this one off and apparently the keys player is new to this Mackenzie ensemble.

Notable omissions were “Kashmir”, “Dazed and Confused”, and “Since I’ve Been Loving You”.

The merchandise sales lady referenced a formal jazz education by Mackenzie right here at Mount Royal College here in Calgary.  The man has stage presence and puts the audience at ease with his charisma.  With Bonham’s death, Page and Plant espoused that nobody could take the place of the legendary drummer. Well, the rhythm section last night was great support and in fact such confidence was bestowed the drummer that he performed his own solo. The rhythm guitarist pitched in admirably with adept acoustic pieces.