Category Archives: Uncategorized

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”          

Danish Burnt Rock Vs Homan

I think one of the curiosities about the Olympics is the interrelationships among athletes. I enjoy witnessing the camaraderie and encouragement and empathy. Tonight, gold medal skater Hanyu dispossessed from his achievement expressed kindness toward the fourth place skater who was bumped from the bronze position. Snowboard cross women exchanged hugs at the bottom in spite of competitive ire and national difference. A cross country ski coach in Sochi aided an opposing nation’s skier with substitute equipment during an on course equipment crisis.    

However; sometimes the heat of a competitive moment can supersede the spirit of the occasion thereby tainting judgment.  Unfortunately, this was the case when Rachel Homan decided to eliminate a Danish stone after a broom knick burning the rock just as it came to rest in the house.  It was within her rights via the rules, but curling decorum and good sportsmanship dictates that best judgment is utilized in the spirit of fair play. Curlers overwhelmingly in such a situation defer to the option of placing the rock as it would have rested in absence of the incidental and accidental foul. 

With a Homan rink rough start to the 2018 Olympic tournament, CBC commentator Mike Harris aptly remarked that to date performance could have impacted her decision. I suggest that her youth may have also played a role in her hasty decision. She is a talented curler who has virtuously battled her way to the top and appreciably upon arrival that instinct is not easily dismissed in delicate spots. I’ll cut her some slack and I’m certain the experience will groom her for better decision making going forward. It’s not the black mark on the Canadian flag which some pundits postulate. 

One Big Stock Market Caution

It’s called “short selling” and 95 per cent of investors have no clue what this legal form of trading is and what it can do to them. You see -investment professionals have an inside track on the markets. Unlike yourself, they watch the “ticker” by the minute throughout the trading day. They are more interested in short term fluctuations and any newsworthy event that can spark blips on the chart.

Regulators have also provided traders with a mechanism to keep markets liquid. When bids are few, “market makers” can jump in to facilitate trading activity. Short selling can be viewed as a component of market making whereby investment brokerages “borrow” securities from somebody’s portfolio (even yours) and sell them into the market looking to buy back later at a lower price.  Sound dodgy? Well – completely legal. Apply this apparatus to the professional investor’s inside track and suddenly you the naive holder of stock position without a stock certificate in your possession becomes the conduit of an investment brokerage’s profit.

Every year around this time, folks invest more in the market irrespective of the quality of stock in the market in order to qualify for an RRSP deduction. Yes, some utilize GIC’s but most will invest in mutual funds which are completely exposed to the market’s peculiar system of operation. Hence; you need to monitor your financial advisor.    

 

Blatchford and DiManno on Patrick Brown

What does this blogger think about the demise of ex-Ontario Conservative party leader Patrick Brown. I think it’s sad on all fronts. I’m sad that this man may lack gentleman like courtship etiquette. I’m sad that the anonymous “of age” teenagers were naive enough to put themselves in his private company under the influence of alcohol if they weren’t interested in entertaining an advance. I’m sad that there has been a jump to judgment. I’m sad that there may have been nothing illegal about the encounters and hence there would have been nothing to report at the time and hence nothing material to report now with an upcoming provincial election looming. I’m sad that politicians are referring to these women as “brave” when they have not put themselves in front of a camera identifying themselves in the context of bringing down a man who would have potentially been running the province. I’m sad that few men who may question the veracity of the #metoo campaign will be willing to verbalize for fear of being viewed as “one of them”. I’m sad that our justice system has become light on sanctions of illegal misconduct. I’m sad that people may repress wholesome sex appeal and refrain from socializing with thoughts of distrust amidst feelings of anxiety. I’m sad that select women have been willing to withstand sexual oppression in exchange for profit but then condemn it when convenient. I’m sad that public discourse by elected officials hired by me to serve my country is preoccupied with matters which should be before the courts instead of parliamentary halls. I’m sad that my Prime Minister is so keen to jump to the podium at every incident of reported transgression in his sentient effort of shoring up a political base. I’m sad for dual income parents with children who haven’t taken enough time to teach their kids self worth.

However; I’m grateful for Canadian journalists like Rosie DiManno and Christie Blatchford willing to project the value of due process into the #metoo mantra. I’m grateful for the enormous sector of women who know exactly how to handle a man’s advance if not interested. I’m grateful for the apparent liberty still available today for the single man to pursue his ultimate mate and vice versa. Despite system flaws, I’m grateful that women have a legal mechanism available day and night with no requirement to delay in which to report incidents which can lead to criminal prosecution.           

    

#Metoo Asks “Where’s The Men”?

A Calgary Herald editorial today has asked the question, “where’s the men?” on the topic of the #metoo campaign. I thought I’d take up the challenge.

My thoughts are quite specific and they are going to be controversial. Naturally, men are scarce because if they speak the truth they know they’ll be castigated.  

Our legal system serves the legal profession more than it serves its citizens. Fees are absurdly high and the process is cumbersome to the point that people conceptualize any reward not worth the emotional and financial cost of pursuit. In fact, law enforcement can be outright condescending in hearing cases of harm. Hence; cases of sexual misconduct have gone unreported. Unfortunately, in some situations in the work place women have taken the deal of professional advancement in return for sex. Fast forward years and decades later in a new era whereby women feel more empowered in spite of a legal system still inefficient, men witness these women having derived financial strength upon compromising their integrity through either sleeping with the boss or not reporting incidents of sexual impropriety now call out with the full power of their lungs excoriating these men who had been conditioned to think that their behaviour was okay. Hundreds and maybe thousands of victims could have been saved had you acted then! 

The #metoo campaign apparently fails to comprehend that their message has been undermined by years of failing to exercise their power in the context of laws which have indeed been in place to protect them. Men perceive their lack of willingness to have called them out as either complicity in the context of financial gain, or weakness in asserting their rights.

Gratefully women now feel more empowered and men potentially will be behaving better while our legal systems, professional bodies, and trade organizations do the necessary navel gazing in order to administer justice fairly and expeditiously.         

While all women should seek the recourse and justice they deserve, I suggest that this #metoo campaign now be deactivated because it’s served its purpose and any continuing reference to it at this point will only serve to divide rather than heal.

The Emperor’s Club, A Fifteen Year Foreshadow?

Certainly Donald Trump wouldn’t have carried the school boy swagger of Sedgwick Bell but the type casting in their privilege, quest for political theatre, and propensity for a wayward deed puts

    The Emperor’s Club

back in the limelight in 2017. Set at St. Benedicts boys school, actor Kevin Kline (Mr. Hundert) earnestly teaches Greek / Roman history to boys enraptured by the antics of classmate Bell. A dynamic relationship of mentorship between teacher and student ensues after some fuel filled words of motivation from Sentator dad, Mr. Bell.

Subsequently, the quest for class Julius Caesar (contest) is transfixed by one class clown turned book worm while the teacher pupil dynamic imbibes a particular value based reference (saving you plot). Boys’ adolescent wonderment is served along with theatrics of competitive scholastics.

Their twenty-five year class reunion marked an occasion for testing the virtue of time on past fortunes of fate.

Professional critics give acclaim while general audience were left indifferent. Personally, I found protagonists to deliver poignantly with a message direly needed fifteen years hence in the context of government’s ethical ambiguities.