Alberta’s Sunshine List

I haven’t read it yet although it’s been available in the public domain for a week now.  Government bureaucrats are making serious dough and they don’t want you to know about it even though as Albertans – you pay their salary.  Not surprisingly, more than 300 folks in your government earn more than $100,000 per year.  They push paper, defer decisions, and scamper along cathedral halls with elevated chins in Henry Singer suits.  Oh yes….if there’s a whiff of relevance in a seminar trip to the tropics in February – they’ll be on that junket.  Suddenly everyone is Nelson Mandela’s old friend when he dies and Alberta needs “representation” half way around the world.  This positions these same folks to sit down with public sector unions and negotiate on behalf of me the taxpayer.  Have your roads been cleared yet here in February from the November snow fall?  Oh ya….it’s a municipal problem.  

Target Offers One Year Credit Monitoring

They wanted your banking information yet you are a retail shopper.  American big box comes to Canada and thinks by tying your discount to your banking information they think they’ll turn you into a customer life.  Well, it’s all back fired for them and their paternalistic marketing ploy has been handed back to them on a silver platter.  Now they think they can still get you back by granting you one month of free credit monitoring because of their security breech.  What are you to think now?  I suppose if you haven’t closed your account by now you’ll take them up on it because you’ll have no control of ever gaining confidence that your information has been adequately destroyed and not disseminated.  However; if you have closed your account – in order for them to offer the credit monitoring service, won’t they be looking for more confidential data from you so they can fulfill this one year free service.  It’s all preposterous to me. 

Imagine all the retrofits across Canadian malls to accommodate this big box and now they’re potentially faced with consumer back lash.  We wanted big box and best price.  What we got has been poor service, bad management, parking gridlock at malls and shopping cart congestion. We put many aspiring business retail entrepreneurs into the driver’s seat of a taxi cab or the kitchen of a fast food joint and in the process produced a banal shopping environment whereby once it used to provide fuel for diversity and cultural distinctiveness. 

 

 

“Longer Hours” Writes Paul Luke from The Province

If fifty-five to sixty hours per week at work is becoming the norm as Mr. Luke suggests in his article “Longer hours, more stress:  The New Reality in the Canadian Workplace”, it’s time to really examine how this has come about.  There has been no time in history where we’ve had such tremendous access to new affordable technological tools to aid in productivity and efficiency – yet the work week grows.  I ask whose fault is it? Is it a fault?  Perhaps you prefer 60 hours over 40 and absenteeism from your cruise vacation, kid’s concert, second language development, ski trip to Panorama, child school tutoring, reading club commitment, pursuit in volunteerism, guitar class, Seahawks run for the Super Bowl (so excited this year),  is totally okay when making lifestyle compromises for the boss you love so much. 

I suggest if these are the hours you are working it’s because you are operating inefficiently at work or you have not learned to go home for dinner because of a sense of paranoia about what the boss will think.  I was lucky enough to learn in my mid twenties that no matter how much you give, they will ask for more and that “loyalty” in the work place is never reciprocated in a recession when suddenly the pink slips start to circulate.  All’s you can do is all you can do and this means offering helpful suggestions to management on how to work more effectively.  When advice from the production goes unheeded, there are consequences.  Should those consequences be your daughter on stage at recital without daddy in the audience? 

Your employer expects you to respond to a text at 7pm because you did it once before.  Now they know they can get away with disturbing your private time.  Your boss came to learn that you jump when that phone beep goes off at whatever time of the day.  Now in fact you even jump when walking through a cross walk.  It’s hard to blame the employer when folks have so readily compromised their personal autonomy.  Not you though, right?  

U.S Possibly Extends Unemployment Benefits Yet Again

USA Today reports that there are now three job seekers for every job opening but with this moderately competitive market and very realistic opportunity to find work within 26 weeks for the unemployed, apparently some still think 26 weeks is not enough.  Since the recession of 2008 particular states offered workers up to 99 weeks to find a job.  If the unemployed cannot find a job, can they not find someone’s windows to wash?  Can the unemployed not find someone’s house to clean?  Can the unemployed not sell the house and take work serving coffee?  Can the unemployed not pick cotton, shovel snow, sell Avon, or perform a temporary project?  Can the unemployed not deliver flyers, drive a school bus or paint the neighbors kitchen?  If unemployed, somewhere along the line somebody did not want you, need you, or you did not want them.  Can you not go out and prove to a community you are deserving of work by working?  The American dream is premised by individual liberty and the rights of the individual to contract for services so why is it that this right is left open ended in lost opportunity? Perhaps your idiotic school system forgot to teach capitalism. 

Could Mitt Romney have been right during the election campaign of 2012 when stating “there are 47 percent who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”  At the time I didn’t subscribe to Romney’s cynicism but I’m having second thoughts.  This endless bantering about extending unemployment benefits is just one more reason why responsible people are left frustrated by the madness in Washington and the climate which continues to perpetuate dependence at a time when debts and deficits are gargantuan, the financial system is in peril, and creditor nations loom like hawks awaiting America’s default.     

Urban X Country Skiing Better Than The Gym

My loving parents bought me skis when in 8th grade.  The brand name was Torino and couldn’t wait to try them out on the new snow at the side of our modest duplex on the Sahali hill in Kamloops.  Just to feel gravity work on this new equipment was thrill in itself never mind the absence of a lift or adequate stopping distance before traffic.  It was silly but fun on the most moderate of gradient amidst the ambience of a new winter, low cloud cover and dusk which had Christmas lights starting to glimmer in the background.

It was this memory that I’ve taken an “embrace winter” attitude coming into this ski season.  Throughout the fall, I’ve schemed about purchasing X Country skis, acquiring waxing tips on youtube while gradually acquiring the necessary tools via educational shopping trips to the local mountaineering shop to ensure that the glide and grip match snow conditions.  Tonight it really all came together on my third venture out to my back yard.  Yes….my back yard similar to my venture as a budding teen.  My current back yard has a school ground and very large uninhabited park where nobody goes – not even dogs.  When the snows not great, I can head over to the rink and skate which the city already at this early stage in winter has flooded.  The timing for the “embrace winter” attitude could not have come at a better time with snowfall really outperforming accumulations of past years.  Laying down the tracks simply requires some patience and voila the path is set.  Bring a friend and put on the head lamp for some night time cardio on your home made trails in the fresh air and limit those pesky germs in gyms.         Image

A Remembrance Day Thought

World War II was the deadliest of all wars and the statistics are incomprehensible.  These men and women had you and I buried in their subconscious minds as they marched along the front day and night side by side in surveillance and in battle.  If echoes of their voices chime in your soul as you go about your life fully cognizant that you and I have a life full of choices with access to success, we will be harnessed with strength in our pursuit.  We cannot begin to imagine the enormity of their sacrifice but we can in fact take our God given talents and express them to the world with pride, with conviction, and with the power of freedom bestowed upon us by generations of ancestors honour bound and humble with a cause having us as the corner stone of purpose.

“If ye break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep, though poppies grow, In Flanders Fields”

– John McCrae –

Why Run?

There are so many benefits to running and it’s peculiar that more people aren’t doing it for the simple sake of good health.  It may have to do with certain fallacies that work on the mind.  Perhaps, it’s much to do with the “no time” excuse that plagues the rational mind.  Maybe it’s the broken commitments of yesteryear working as a stymie for stepping forward.  Whatever the case, today is a great time to make a start just by starting.  A doctor’s okay is an errand away.  

Weight bearing stress on joint, tendons, ligaments, and bones is good for the body.  Yes, I said stress.  The body requires stress as an inciter of the life force.  Your body was built to move and thrive under eustress (positive stress).  If you are over weight, this is an issue because excessive stress on the knees can cause harm to the menisci (cartilage) floating between the tibia and femur.  Non weight bearing aerobic exercise will be a better option until normal weight is restored.  

Blood moves rapidly throughout the body including your heart.  Oxygenation at the capillaries is increased.  Imagine a washing of arterial walls at your heart as blood races through the pulmonary and coronary arteries.  With increased demand on the heart muscle, the coronary artery is asked to perform more powerfully.

Adrenaline is a hormone of which the secretion is increased during exercise and gets you feeling good.  What a way to start the day!  If you are one who can jump right out of bed and hit the streets, I tip my hat to you.  However; by 9:30 am you’ve digested a nutritious breakfast with caffeine perhaps inspiring your strength.

Running burns calories and enhances the motility of the digestive tract.  You’re life style is improved with better energy utilization and mental acuity.

Most municipalities have running clubs and welcome new members.  Make new friends and access recreational races through these clubs which often times have a component associated with fund raising for good causes.  

 

A Book Review – The Power of Now

No, Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” does not deal with procrastination. It deals with “the mind” and man’s propensity to allow the mind to dominate over the active present thereby restricting our ability to access a sense of “being”. Tolle describes the mind as the road block that prevents us from achieving a state of “being” and”consciousness”. We are said to be “unconscious” if our mind and thought muddles us in “time”. Yes, Tolle uses the word “time” throughout the book in a way which can be difficult to understand. Apparently “time” refers to historical events that create predispositions and judgments in our processing of the “now”. Hence, our “now” becomes tainted with our experiences unless we’ve discovered freedom from our past. Most of the book is concentrated around this theme. The theme is revisited with anecdotes and postulations from an italicized character. Herein, it is an effective method of expression.

The introduction deals with the concept of “God” versus “being” and Tolle admirably represents the anxiety surrounding “God” without offending any religion while keeping any worshippers of “God” inside the fold of the text. Fearlessly, Tolle describes “emotion” as a place where mind and body meet and hence one is compelled to question the merit of emotion if “mind” is an abberant variable to “being”. Yet, in a subsequent passage, he exclaims that “glimpses of love and joy or brief moments of deep peace are possible when a gap occurs in the stream of thought.” Tolle states that “if you are pulled into unconscious identification with the emotion through lack of presence, which is normal, the “emotion” temporarily become “you”. Ultimately, one can imagine the behavioural ramifications if states of unconsciousness persist?

The importance of forgiveness is examined in terms of liberating the burden of “time” and the inner body is identified as a place of focus when seeking the presence of now. “Chi” is thought to be the link between the “unmanifested” and the physical universe. “The unmanifested by way of negation expresses that which cannot be spoken, thought, or imagined.” The book is purposefully repetitive because the author is intent on conditioning the reader with his material.

In closing, Tolle does make reference to applications for obtaining a state of “being” such as transforming illness into enlightenment or the eradication of anxiety or paranoia. It was a fitting way to close.

Blair Sveinson

 

Frank Dancevic Story

He burst onto the Canadian tennis scene a decade ago and Canadian tennis fans had high hopes for Frank.  Upon checking out his talent live back then here in Calgary, I was struck by his raw talent and charisma.  However; inconsistency has plagued his play.  His results haven’t measured up to expectations but he has not given up.  For those lower ranked players keen to keep their players card and gaining a spot in the draw, it oftentimes means qualifying rounds.  This is what we don’t hear much about.  These are those matches played in the outback of the resort grounds sometimes at odd hours and periodically with wonderment whether the dream will be whisked away.

Two new rising Canadian stars have bumped Frank from the dialogue of Canadian tennis, but i see he has not only made it through three rounds of qualifying at this year’s U.S. Open, but he won his first round match in the main draw today and now meets a wiley veteran in Tommy Robredo.

Something Good is Gonna Happen Frank!  Keep it up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enriching Brotherhood

There is magic in coming to learn of unspoken agreements.  Those moments in time when bonding is real and you just know that fluidity in relating has everything to do with the blood.  Or do you know?  The occasions slip by with time mostly due to complacency.  Synthetic elements take on manifestations of importance and opportunities to celebrate kin become less valued.   Brothers are particularly tested by the ego.  While some families have it figured out, others have not and such is the course of life.  Perspective is easier drafted at life’s end when the mind is less burdened by the synthetic.   The forefathers bestow it but the newborn resist it.  Chattiness cedes to guilt.  Guilt gives rise to time.  Time creates the distance and magic morphs into a final hymn.