Help Social Services Help The Vulnerable

You’ ve all seen the homeless but there may be an acute condition that you stumble upon. You know intuitively when an individual may not be street smart. You can feel their vulnerability and fear. You’ve hence come to realize that your typical day may take a different turn. Call it an inconvenience or a duty but the matter need not take much time. We all have cell phones clipped to our hip nowadays. You can log the necessary number into your contact list. Despite the indifference there are still social workers amongst us who live their occupation like a calling and will treat your call with the respect it deserves. Do continue to trust in a system irrespective of imperfections. 

With my new office in the East Belt Line, a walk to Millenium Park was ambitious but the day was a beaut so why not. It actually wasn’t my planned destination but upon arriving and ascending the ramp for a viewpoint of the skateboarders I was struck by a woman in her mid twenties holding her tummy and struggling. This was one of those situations and I had just passed by the Kerby Centre along my trek so upon learning she was suffering from apparent morning sickness and homelessness I encouraged her to get help at the Senior Centre. Knowing full well about the reluctance of many to accept help, I watched and waited for a time atop the park’s concrete viewpoint. She had found refuge from the sun behind the pillared concrete structure adjacent to a closed confectionary counter and was not heeding my suggestion.

This was a woman new to homelessness and needed intervention. I am not the one but there are professionals. I reversed my trail back to the Kerby Centre and reported the woman. I trust that there will be follow up. It is not my job but I’m confident that my small parcel of time in caring has paved the way for a professional to approach her.   

For those interested in learning more about the challenge of helping the homeless, Mark Laita has been conducting interviews on the topic over at Youtube’s “Soft White Underbelly”. He means well and admittedly was naive upon venturing into the chasm of mankind’s deviant conduct. His interview may provide insight. Cynicism need not carry the day. Hope is where the heart hails.   

Tennis Career of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – Takeaway

Some superstars come right out of the gate as gifted with magic in their ground strokes. Other players have required time to develop the neuro-pathways with coaching in order to manifest the weaponry to compete at the highest level.

At 29 years of age Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova finally made it into the final of a grand slam event. This is a woman who had lost consistently over a number of years in the first, second, and third rounds of both doubles and singles events. She has a sprinkling of quarter final appearances to go along with some absences due to injury or failure to qualify. She obviously kept working on her game in order to improve with sights on a grand slam championship.

So here she was the other day in the 2021 French Open final getting blown out in the first set to an unseeded dark horse but found resolve to comeback and compete vigorously. I can just imagine the talk she gave herself at the first set break revisiting all the training she had done along with all the mediocre results in her long career. This would have been a moment of truth for her similarly to when we are all faced with similar situations when it’s time to step up and perform. Will we wilt or will we shine? On this day Ms. Pavlyuchnenkova shone by taking the second set 6-2 and losing the match by posting 4-6 in the third . She gave it her absolute best manifested something better than the past. You see – that’s what we are aiming to do. We are aiming to deliver something better from day to day. When there’s a regression, we double down and push harder. We go the extra mile. We test ourselves thereby adding fruitfulness and vigour to our being while managing other important elements of our life.

Congratulations to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on her 2021 French Open tournament!   

This Is Your Life

Bill Murray exclaimed “this is your life” in his interview with Charlie Rose. “There is no dress rehearsal”. It’s true. You do not get yesterday back. It’s gone. You have decisions to make today and the compilation of such decisions will form your destiny. The decision to lurk on the internet , couch surf with the “game of the week”,  research an investment opportunity, or teach a grandchild some tennis are all examples of activities with differing rates of return. You have the power to decide what to do. Then there is also the prospect of “working”.

You work because you have duties of responsibility. You must pull your weight in order for a society to flourish. Your contributions make a difference and just rewards are due you for your output. You’ve come to learn this innately through growth and maturity but what’s not so evident is an intangible resource pertaining to your uniqueness that is oftentimes overlooked because of its suppression.

In the same Charlie Rose interview, Bill Murray refers to his desire to be more “in the present”. This was in his response to what he believes he most wants that he doesn’t have. If you are “present” you have much more probability of accessing the intangible resource of uniqueness within you in order to give it a chance for expression. Your mind cannot be muddled with rationalizations and interpretations of your life history and whatever current day concerns or fears lurk. You need to have the confidence that your precision in executing life’s duties is strong in order to give your mind the freedom to find “presence”. Alcohol or drugs are mechanisms of escape for the aberrant without confidence to free the mind of its noise. You can access presence through conscientiousness, confidence and integrity. There is no free lunch. You get to work at it.

Once we have discovered improved liberty of the mind, we are then positioned to access that portal to our essence. That is…our makeup which will prosper in definition having been fertilized readily.   

Catholics, Residential Schools, Continued Indifference

Although I ‘m not a fan of Justin Trudeau,  I absolutely endorse his request that the Catholic Church step right to the plate and acknowledge the Residential School  horror in Kamloops, B.C. There should be full disclosure, humility, accountability and explicit detailing of records. This should happen now.

If we are absolute in ensuring that this never happens again – then controls need to be put in place along with mechanism(s) of accountability and whistleblower protection. 

As I craft my blog posts along with correspondence to political figures and the Canada Revenue Agency, I often think that I’m a rare breed as someone who actually lifts a finger when things are awry. In fact, of my 105 facebook friends, I’ll be surprised to see more than five who shout out in the comments in profound approval of this message.    

Within the past week we’ve seen all this reaction to the horror. Facebook profiles get symbols of victim family support but that which we need more is letters and petitions and personal outrage directed directly at political figures. We need you to be operative with injustices today speaking with power and conviction instead of deferring because you may sense that your voice is too small in and of itself.  We need you to do more than tweet about it or comment in an editorial. You need to draft arguments and deploy official means to forward feedback ensuring that you follow up and follow through.

The next debacle of society is waiting to happen. I’ll give you a few clues of challenges you can address.

  1. Monopolistic tech companies not reciprocating fairly in their relationship with you.
  2. Unsatisfactory service levels and Service Canada and the CRA.
  3. Illegal money flow from foreign countries (money laundering).
  4. Indifferent police forces and poor enforcement
  5. Cyber Crime
  6. Cronyism in political circles
  7. The subsidization of the wealthy
  8. Complicity around homelessness
  9.  Exorbitant government debt and fragile monetary system
  10. Drug overdoses

There is a list of ten things off the top of my head….one of which you could put your attention on now. You cannot do it all yourself but you can be one voice on one topic so that in twenty years we’re all not scratching out head wondering how did this all come to pass like the Residential School Horror. 

LaRussa Tirade

I’m occasionally reminded of my old childhood passion – baseball. Combine the topic of baseball and sportsmanship and you’ve got premium fodder for blairsblog.

You see, Whitesox manager, Tony La Russa, had scolded his all star hitter Yermin Mercedes for swinging for the fence (finely executed the homer) on a 3-0 count against a position player pitcher with the score at 14-4 in favour of the Sox the other night. Traditionally we “take” (take in baseball terms means let it go) that pitch. The bizarre follow on was that after the next game when Twins pitcher deliberately threw at Mercedes’ knees – LaRussa condoned it.

It’s only recently that position players have been taking the mound when games get out of control on the score board. This never used to be the case. Relievers have traditionally “mopped up” so now there’s a disconnect between the quality of the pitch and the quality of the batter. Should LaRussa have put in a pinch hitter (utility player) for Mercedes? Well, I suppose every manager could now unroll a wholesale change of the lineup in concert with the opponent’s mop up position player pitcher but this is not what the fans necessarily paid for at the ticket wicket.

It’s pretty tough not to sanction LaRussa for basically condoning violence but he certainly was within his  right mind to condemn Mercedes for not heeding the “take” sign.

I also have a sneaky feeling that LaRussa would have known he was out of line in applauding the Twins pitcher but certain men of this age and ilk are growing intemperate with the era of political correctness.    

Crossroads For Tech Behemoths

Are Facebook, Google, and Twitter here to stay? Dumb question? Is there a barrier to entry for new players? What happened to MySpace? USA Today reports that Florida Governor DeSantis will be drafting new legislation to impose significant fines for “deplatforming” ( never used to be a word right?) users without cause. You bet – DeSantis is a Trump supporter.

Frankly, I’m confused why the tech behemoths have not faced some competition. It would appear that there are some intellectual property rights facilitating their market monopoly along with a fickle public way too docile in accommodating unsolicited non-friend / follower posts through their feeds.

Of course there is the issue of impersonal  customer service and “no-reply” emails associated with all tech companies’ conduct which have become the industry norm. Individuals no longer put their names in signatures of email correspondence. Other companies have taken heed. Anonymity is the name of the game while taking your money should you decide to “partner” with them.  

It seems that these tech behemoths had an appealing offering at first and have worked their business systems so poetically that they are now completely estranged from users behind a partition cloaked in indifference. 

Now a legislator has stepped forward with a bill in conjunction with a disgruntled ex-President looking for redress which ironically despite the persona inciting the motion could benefit consumers if stamped with a consumer advocacy complement.

Letter to Calgary Mayor Beltline Pool

Dear Mr. Nenshi.

RE: Beltline Pool

I see in the news that a report is expected to be tabled this week pertaining to the recommendation of closing the Beltline pool. Although, I ‘m not a resident of Beltline (Marlborough Park) I draft this letter in the context of my background as a Physical Education graduate having had attained lifeguarding credentials and as a concerned citizen having witnessed poor zoning decisions downtown which are now going to require remediation. There are quality of life considerations in Calgary to consider in the context of a bold move such as closing a public pool. As you know, with the closure of the Eau Claire pool, aquatic leisure in the central core will be limited. I’m not certain that the Repsol Centre’s pools are the best teach pools. Repsol is accommodating to competitive and recreational swimmers but not so much for fostering early development swimming skills. Should better programming, scheduling, and management of the Beltline pool be implemented in the context of Eau Claire’s closure, revenues should grow.

I’ve noticed from the city website that a study has been undertaken to identity recreation needs of residents in the Beltline and Inglewood. This study appears to have taken a sincere “what do you want” approach reflective of one common answer to this demographic….”like going to the bar with my friends”. I suppose if the upcoming report is going to recommend the closure of a pool in the context of such community feedback, then my appeal would seem futile. However; I’m not so cynical. Ambassadors of sport such as I believe that good people like you are cognizant of the benefits of good health over beer and the long term correlation of healthy citizens as long term taxpaying citizens.   

I have much difficulty with the prospect that operating short falls of the Beltline pool can’t be overcome in the climate of complicity with demands from the Calgary Flames organization that they needed a new Stadium partly funded by taxpayer dollars. This makes zero sense to me. I can’t fathom the notion that wealthy hockey players and sport executives are deserving of taxpayer assistance but not the lower income couple looking to put their kids in swimming lessons in need of a facility.  Something is amiss if this pool closes from the standpoint of the city’s soul. Mr. Nenshi – you cannot allow this to happen.

You have my permission to disseminate this appeal freely.

Sincerely,

Blair Sveinson

Kenney on COVID

I listen to Jason Kenny from time to time on the COVID updates. Most of the time I find him balanced, reasonable, and thoughtful. The one noticeable verbal slip was couple of weeks ago when he suggested that Alberta was going to have the best summer in its history. I just don’t have the problem with Kenney that  so many others do. He’s a good orator and his convictions are supported by his policy. He has not infused (yet anyway) any of his social policy biases into legislative proposals which was frankly my biggest concern when he became the Premier of Alberta. I ‘m insufficiently versed on alleged shenanigans during his rise to the leadership of the UCP.   

He handles media questions quite well in the context of COVID. Every province has been at the mercy of poor federal handling of COVID from the outset. It’s become apparent from his comments today that dozens of municipalities in Alberta have flagrantly disavowed restrictive measures and it is in this context that Alberta faces infractions by its citizenry. It’s become obvious that our legal system with all its intricacies and high power prosecutors have much to account for right now with the lack of enforcement and conviction around laws which have been ignored by hordes of people across the province. In lieu of the Bowden rodeo on the weekend, I had expected more on the topic of justice and COVID from the premier today. He has referenced another announcement upcoming tomorrow.    

I have witnessed indifference from law enforcement in Alberta pre-pandemic. I’m sensing that fellow Albertans are now also asking the question as to why people can flagrantly break the law with no consequences. I predict that there was no police officer nor Alberta Health Services marshal recording license plate numbers at the Bowden Rodeo over the weekend.  

Covid Rational Mind In Overdrive

Post inspired by friend because of an engaging conversation. Let me start out by saying – you may have come to learn more about human nature in the past year than in your entire life time.

Too many people have not known how to allocate their mental resources in the midst of government regulations arising from the pandemic. There is evidence galore. Those who haven’t been able to assert their mental faculties in productive ways have hence allowed the default to pervade via the newswire and daily COVID stats. Some have been so obsessed with manifestation of COVID that they’ve gone so far as to think that the bogeyman is out to get them through planned annihilation. Apparently some feeble minded have been so brash that they’ve been compelled to make an unmasked scene at the grocery store.

Here is the thing. If you have nothing going on in your life, you’ll reduce yourself to minimalism through an unfiltered reactive mind accessible to the slightest in perturbation. If your mental construct is not sufficiently fertilized with creativity, spirit, gratitude, purpose, and wonderment, you will be exposed to negative threat. If you are not continually nourishing the mind through learning you will be stagnant in your personal development thereby impeding the prospect of hopeful utility.

If you gossip or engage in the company of people who are innately negative, their negativity will rub off on you. If you are desperate for the company of others, you may not have found comfort in your own skin. If you judge quickly, you will drown in absolutism and behave boorishly. It didn’t take a pandemic in order to espouse such revelation but it certainly has brought clarity.   

Modern Growth And Development

“Growth and Development” was a core subject during my tenure at the faculty of Physical Education and Sports Studies. I recall the course work focused around stages of development naturally occurring chronologically while considering causes of anomalies. However; back then there was no pandemic, no mobile electronic gadgets, and single parent families were lesser.   

Today I witnessed a girl nearly the size of her mother learning to ride a bike without training wheels and without the support of a dad to prop her up. Mom didn’t know quite how to help because she lacked the physical prowess to latch on and run along. It gave me pause to assign metaphor for our changing time and reminisce over my good fortune growing up. I suppose daughter would have learned last summer if it wasn’t for pandemic related reservations.  

We’ve devised spousal / child supports and the “Canada Child Benefit” but kids still really grow up oftentimes in the company of one and not two adults. They miss witnessing the fun repartee between loving couples. They miss the family car vacation with rest stops and adventure rides. They miss the joy of witnessing both parents adorn them with admiration have shared their achievements. They miss that one needed game player to thicken the plot. They miss the strength of a man clutching them in safety from the asphalt confident that he’ll know when time is right to let go. They miss mom waiting in the wings for a report and that wink and a nod shared between mom and dad.    

Current Events & Hot Topics