Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rolling Out a Vaccine in 2020

Imagine the look on the face of Moderna’s most senior research scientist when learning that a military commander in Canada is suggesting one vaccine dose instead of two. First there’s the eyebrow raise. Then comes the slight back and forth head motion. Then a back of the neck clasp. Finally….an utterance.

Of course every Canadian will have pondered the notion by now…”will the effectiveness of this vaccine be compromised by the laziness of the army to comply with strict instructions from the manufacturer on how to deliver and store? How many doses already have failed the freezing minimum storage temperature?

When you combine the aforementioned with the vaccination rate in Alberta at less than one third of the target so far, the competence of those serving in logistics is not leaving me with much confidence of those in charge.    

A Culture Void of Dance

You remember junior high school gym class when social dance was introduced. As boys you were too cool and as girls you were mystified by what might transpire (presumptuous of me I know). I suggest that the curriculum was good for you. I went to all the school dances and left my friends behind. It wasn’t easy getting rejected by girls at that age.   

On an academic level, I had taken dance to another “step” because as a fundamental core component of Physical Education, kinesiology class in first year university and the modern dance module was a requirement for men and women. You either found open mindedness or you failed. It was that simple. There was jazz element in which I actually took an interest because one could actually incorporate popular music with coordinated group steps. In second year having decided that I found enjoyment from the class, I actually paid for a jazz evening class on campus.

I danced in the clubs during the ‘80s and 90’s while I circulated solo. At times, when the crowds were sparse, I was a spectator checking out the moves wondering how to incorporate them at some later date. Imagining swing moves without a partner was difficult. I looked upon it as part of the challenge.

The best part of my accounting practice has been seasonal slowness every fall. It’s a time when I challenge myself to learn something new. Dancing classes have been perfect in this regard. I’ve taken classes at Alberta Dancesport, Ceroc Calgary, and some salsa privately. The moves get forgotten without practice and reinforcement.   

Now here we are in this pandemic and I wonder how people are doing. I mean really doing….. from a spiritual sense. The thing about dance is that there is connectedness while the body moves to music. There is much life force in this.

At some point whether it was TV, the movies, or National Geographic, you’ve seen the serenity among people engaged in ethnic dance forms. Tribal cultures have ascribed spiritual meaning toward dancing while accompanied with their primitive instruments. Unfortunately, advanced cultures have been distracted from a committed temporal form of being perhaps without an understanding of the value.    

We evolve and some will return invigorated through a yearning to express our humanity through body and music. Others may still be anxious or insecure but curious.    

Quick & Easy Time Management Thoughts

  1. Why are you buffing your car on a hot sunny day after a car wash?
  2. Why does that weed pulling chore need to be perfect?
  3. Can kids not walk to school in friendship groups instead of being escorted by car?
  4. Still paying bills at the bank?
  5. Other online shopping options pursued?
  6. How expensive is it really to get some occasional domestic help?
  7. Why do I live so far from work?
  8. Am I doing stuff the kids should be doing to earn their allowance?
  9. Does the household really need a spouse going to “work”?
  10. Is there a better time during the week to grocery shop?

Presidential Debate Analyis Biden Trump

First of all…it was anything but presidential. The parties, the candidates, and the country were not well served. I expected it and couldn’t resist tuning in having learned that I could get it on youtube.  Sadly, I also expected belly laughs and these two guys delivered on that count about twice. 

Despite Trump’s weak character, I found him to be somewhat compelling at times and was actually winning the debate early on. His problem though is his inability to recite honest facts which of course reverses any credibility he would establish through compelling moments of cerebral thought.

There was the obvious discord in context of COVID. Biden did poorly in reciting Trump’s missteps and Trump started to find some groove in talking about lifting lock down measures and the impact of lock downs on people’s well being.  

Biden was looking old and worn out and did not really possess the vitality to produce effective comebacks which is what we were all looking for of course. Trump has so much vulnerability that one thinks that it would be unfathomable not be able to produce stinging frequent jabs. However; Biden was on his heels partly due to Trump’s continual counterpunching which was at times effective Also,  the moderator’s attempts at policing Trump may have actually worked in Trump’s favour by extinguishing any eruption of emotion in Biden.

There were personal attacks. Biden referenced Trump as a liar and a clown out loud intentionally and not under his breath. Trump smeared Biden’s son and Biden’s record. Biden smirked and chuckled in reaction to Trump responses. Trump attacked, interrupted and exaggerated.

Tax return topic was addressed of course and Trump suggests millions of taxes were paid in 2016 and 2017 and not the $750 suggested by the Times. Apparently, the returns are still under audit and somehow this audit has not been expedited in lieu of the taxpayer in question. 

Trump was tested one more time to outright condemn white supremacist groups with a request to ask them to “stand down”. He stumbled and instead of voicing conviction, he referenced antifa.

The two of them were asked to articulate a message on climate change. Trump talked about managing the forest better and attempted to tie Biden to a radical plan differing from Biden’s actual plan. 

There wasn’t a lot of substance here and the biggest take away would be a simple feeling emptiness that this was the best that the country could produce in two candidates. I’m afraid that the democrats did almost as poor a job in appointing Biden as the Republicans did in appointing Trump.

A parent in the U.S. could have come away thinking that their child would be left with a worse off country given that the concluding question dealt a matter that an advanced democracy hasn’t had to face in decades….a question in confidence about counting ballots fairly and any collateral repercussions.   

Story Time Kananaskis Lodge

It was a couple of years ago that I had the thought of providing my ski resort’s only hotel some business after a hard day on the slopes. The Kananaskis Mountain Lodge is located in the Kananaskis Village at the foot of Nakiska. Actually the Stoney Nakoda is a half hour down the road as well.  I thought, why not grab a bite and a room and come back the next day after a night at the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. 

Here is the thing. When reception greeted me, the price was $350 and rooms were available.

BTW….this story comes to you courtesy of inspiration derived from the Calgary Herald’s editing department who removed my dignified post in reply to an article today referencing hard times in hospitality in Banff / Canmore.   

I thought to myself….this can’t be right. “Excuse me” I exclaimed….did you say $350? Are there rooms available? Yes sir. Well, I’m not paying $350….can you do any better? No sir.  Naturally, I drove home. They didn’t get my business and neither did Nakiska the next day for lunch. My Nakiska early bird season pass was less than this one night quoted at the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge.

Fast forward to today. The vacancy rate is very high. The Herald is quoting 50 per cent today during our covid reign and other posters whose posts have managed to subsist over at the Herald have declared that rates have not come down. 

Am I empathetic to hoteliers given my experience? No. Am I empathetic to folks in the service sector who have lost their jobs because of idiotic decisions by hotels? More so but not particularly. They decided to keep working for the misaligned greed driven owners who weren’t willing to accommodate me and obviously others local to their establishment. You see….Isaac Newton said it best. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If one goes about their business defying natural law expecting a consequence in their favour aberrant to normal course –why should one be empathetic toward a predictable plight? Although COVID may not have been on the horizon, certainly the potential for a Black Swan like event has always persisted as a variable to cause harm to hospitality.

If you ever conduct your affairs in such a way that you take advantage of someone with unfairness, there will be a consequence. You’ll never know when that consequence will show up. There is always reckoning in spite of a cultural denial at every turn that judgment can be avoided.      

Pandemic Repurcussions

Blog followers have come to learn that I showcase society’s shortcomings here. If I tempt readers into challenging evolving norms, then there’s value.       

In spite of modern civilization undergoing stress tests in 2020, some folks are handling challenges better than others. I’ve always been sociologically curious. Undergraduate option courses were spent investigating the human mind and formations of societies. Course work included psychology, sociology and anthropology. My enthusiasm for the subject matter was never as pronounced as my phenomenal professor of anthropology but my intrigue lingers on. Now, why is it than some folks cope better than others?

The mind requires “malleability”. It needs to be uncompromising at times and compromising at others. It requires resourcefulness based on experience and training in order to know when to exert and when to withdraw. Hyper sensitivity is a problem and can lead to obsessive compulsive behaviour. What better environment to observe obsessive compulsive disorder than in the midst of a pandemic. There is common sense, government dictums, and cooperative execution with a predisposed mind. We should be empathetic while educational helping youth along in the context of social policy in flux because they don’t have experience yet they possess acute self interest.       

As we conduct our daily lives, we do so from the standpoint of expectations and needs. Now we also throw in Covid-19 protocols. There’s something eerily deflating to the ego about wearing a mask which is obviously a triggering variable in some of these anti-masker types. Despite the inconvenience and social estrangement associated with wearing a mask, in a mysterious kind of way, I actually revel in witnessing people expressing inherent vulnerability and thoughtfulness toward others by donning a mask.     

As I go through every day during this pandemic, I think to myself….there’s something larger going on here that nobody can comprehend but identifying with meaning would be repugnant in the context of life loss. So instead while empathizing with others more directly affected, I redirect time toward hobbies while reading excerpts from scholars in the humanities like Allen Liska -“Perspectives on Deviance”.          

Why Does Your Government Make CERB Taxable?

CERB is a social program which has helped Canadians directly affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. Why is it taxable when it is not “earned income”? It’s like taking from Peter to pay Paul, right? Here is my theory.

  1. Bankers want to see income on tax returns for the purpose of substantiating credit worthiness. The personal tax return is their universal tool along with credit bureaus.
  2. The federal government wants to keep everyone in the tax pool despite income levels and the basic personal tax exemption. Imposing a tax liability even on the most vulnerable keeps people in the system.
  3. Feeds the bureaucracy
  4. Calculations of the “Canada Child Benefit” program along with GST / carbon tax rebates are now enshrined with the reporting of “taxable income”. Your government wants to include CERB income as a calculated variable.
  5. It’s consistent with your government’s tax collection agenda given its propensity to overspend.   

Musicians Without Gigs Hit The Basement

I literally had a tear welling up after watching Rhett Schull’s video referencing the work he and his crew put  into setting up a basement studio  in anticipation of his first Youtube Livestream to happen this Saturday July 11th at 5pm Eastern.

Rhett has his wife, his dad, and a sound engineer friend along with band mates pitching in to make this thing go off. Apparently, it hasn’t been easy to set up the acoustics for a whole band in a basement. Thankfully, music vendors stepped forward to help with equipment sponsorships.

This is a fellow who has identified an obvious problem with playing live in the context of the new world order and has simply rolled up his sleeves to adapt. Although, it’s taken some time to get up and running, he wanted to do it right and there would have been many sound recording learning episodes along the way. It’s evident as he gives us the run down that he has encountered hurdles in troubleshooting the sound he wants to deliver to you. 

I’ve watched Rhett’s backstage pass series which has showcased the good times of touring as a lead / rhythm guitarist. He certainly is a talent on the guitar but now will be incorporating home audio technology with effects that will hit your home computer speakers with live video. Imagine that!

Should you decide to tune in live, do consider making a donation to the performance. Keep in mind that the “Superchat” (through youtube) method of donating will appropriate a material percentage to youtube. Hence; consider an alternate donation option available during the live stream which the band will make available. 

Here is Rhett’s Shull’s youtube channel in order to access the stream. 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCJ56k8nBeqWLoxNa6DToAQ

Are You in Pain?

Somewhere around the world today, tens of millions of people will be in pain. While in such a state, they won’t be thinking about their shopping list, their hydro bill, or their political affiliation. They will be thinking about alleviating pain. They will be vulnerable and may need assistance. The state is one which every living being will encounter at various times in our lives.    

This vulnerable state has a benefit believe it or not. It serves to round off the edges of our ego in order to more easily emote empathy. You see, for good reason youthful ideals sprout early in life with a healthy self-determinism at our core. The journey encounters curves and junctions and potholes which add sustenance to character. However; one day a wheel can literally fall off of what we once thought was a finely tuned machine and we humbly call the mechanic.

Gratitude re-emerges if it had been suppressed from our vigour as we drive away from the shop. Our view points are revisited amidst a broader context having come to re-evaluate the convenience of owning a car.

Having recovered, we count our blessings and wonder about those less fortunate who may not have had the luxury of good health care or a car mechanic. We think about struggles faced by single mothers raising kids alone because they’ve lost their husband to a disease residing in a country void of social programs. We think about diseases overcome and forgotten in the first world but still lingering amongst the poor. We think about who will not get their pain alleviated due to circumstance.

It’s really difficult to know for sure when you haven’t been there and seen it. It’s easy to take a position and become absorbed in it thereby refuting reasonable conflicting data. It’s easy to jump in with the mob which looks smart so that we too can appear smart. Pain has no intellect. It is not going to be appeased by rational minds administering debate on transgressions of “the deep state”.

Cry A River Or Get A Life

  1. If you don’t have the money – don’t buy it
  2. If you self insure – you could experience loss.
  3. If you’re working in the service sector and employment is tenuous – think career upgrade.
  4. If you resist arrest by a police officer, expect injury.
  5. If you don’t like the service – don’t go back.
  6. If your government is incompetent – say something.
  7. If there’s a queue – get in line.
  8. If you don’t vote, don’t complain.
  9. If you unjustly criticize, expect to be told off.
  10. If you are in debt, stop spending and recover
  11. If you miss obligations, expect repercussions
  12. If you relax accountability, expect future laxity.
  13. If you are unhappy, tackle problems.
  14. If you’re over taxed, say something.
  15. If you’re overweight, eat less.
  16. If you can’t control alcohol, don’t drink.
  17. If you don’t know the effect of cannabis on the unborn, don’t consume when pregnant.
  18. If you value life, mitigate risk.
  19. If you are lonely, call somebody up.
  20. If you are bored, start a hobby and stick with it.
  21. If you are angry, expect fewer friends.
  22. If you nominate and elect idiots, expect poor performance.
  23. If you value values, reinforce them.
  24. If you appreciate someone, express it.
  25. If you fail, recover.
  26. If you marry, honour your vows.
  27. If you judge in ignorance, expect spiritual decay.
  28. If you blindly invest, expect loss.
  29. If you think you know it all, you know nothing.
  30. If you follow like a mute, expect tyranny.
  31. If you are a loafer, expect poverty
  32. If you gamble, anticipate loss.
  33. If you ignore your conscience, expect anxiety.
  34. If you stop learning, expect regression.
  35. If you live in fear, you lessen your vigor.