Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Well, here we are. The last day of 2009. I'm not too sure what to make of the significance of this fact, but it's a Blue (Full) Moon today. There will be a lot of revellers out bringing in the New Year so be careful out there.
I think 2009 was a pretty good year. We became first-time grandparents on the 21st of April and couldn't be more proud of our grandson and his parents.
As a family, we have survived the recession and avoided the H1N1 virus. On top of that, the New York Yankees won the World Series, the 'Riders were this close to winning the Grey Cup and a movie was shot in our home town as "Rust" was shot in Kipling early in 2009. Yeah, I'd say it was an above average year, for me anyway.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Poem

Merry Christmas everyone!
Here's a little Christmas poem I've thrown together for you.

Random Thoughts-71
Dec 20-2009

Three Kings, shepherds and a babe in the manger.
The Eastern star and presents from strangers.
Carols and fruitcakes, poinsettias and holly,
And the chubby little guy so happy and jolly.
Christmas traditions that began years ago,
We follow and add to each year as we go.

Mistletoe, stockings and the nativity scene
Houses decorated in bright red and green.
The Grinch and the reindeer and Christmas cards too.
Candy canes and eggnog, to name just a few.
Now a new Christmas tradition we can add to them all
Is the latest tradition of the trip to the mall.

We could have started earlier to avoid the frustration
If it hadn’t have been for that procrastination.
Our time’s running out because we’ve delayed
So this rushed shopping trip just has to be made.
We’ll scream to the city and jump into the fray
And hope to get it done in one single day.

We brave the cold weather and the traffic so thick
And there’s no way at all that it’s going to be quick.
The parking lot’s jammed and the stores are all too
But we join in the lineups ‘cause there’s nothing we can do.
Now I’m off with a load of some gifts that we bought
But I’ve lost the damned car in this huge parking lot!

Yes, we will all meet up later, that’s what we will do,
But why would you pick the crowded food court zoo?
Now, we’re all back together comparing our lists
And because of the rushing there will be something that’s missed.
But we’ll take what we’ve got, we must get out of here
That’s about all we can take until this time next year.

But despite all the trappings of the trip to the mall
It will usually turn out to be not bad at all.
With the right attitude and a smile on your face
It can sometimes be good to be in the Rat Race.
Too many are alone at this time of year
So we should take all we can from all Christmas cheer.

From the Hubbard Family to you and yours. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Random Thoughts-70
November 30, 2009

Do you recall the article I wrote a few weeks back about how November really didn’t have anything to offer? I mentioned a couple of November events that were coming up but I had completely forgotten about the CFL playoffs! I know! How embarrassing! How can any rabid Canadian sports fan actually call himself a fan if he can’t even remember which month the Grey Cup is played in? Sheesh.
November, please accept my humble apology. You will not be considered a blah month ever again in my books. Especially when our Saskatchewan Roughriders played in three of the most memorable and thrilling football games that we ‘Rider Priders have seen back-to-back-to-back since, perhaps, the seventies.
First, we beat the hated Stampeders to finish first in the West Division for the first time since 1976. Then, “déjà vu all over again”, we beat the Stampeders, AGAIN, to win the Western Division Championship! (Pinch me this can’t be happening!!) Then, we win the Grey Cup. But wait! Hold on a second. You can’t be serious?! A WHAT? How many men? C’mon, we were this close…But, alas, it was not to be.
Even though our underdog ‘Riders weren’t supposed to get a playoff birth this season and Darian Durant wasn’t supposed to be a starting quarterback and the reigning Grey Cup Champion Stampeders were supposed to kick our butts all over the place and a bunch of “Canadian” receivers weren’t good enough and then the Alouettes were supposed to kick our butts too…we prevailed. Right down to the last second of the championship game. Yes, it was ours, albeit for only a nano-second, but it was OURS! And everybody knew it. And, yes I know, that’s small consolation, for it will not be the Saskatchewan Roughriders names that they will be engraving on the Grey Cup this year.
Now, back to that article I wrote a few weeks ago. In that article I recall requesting, or commanding, November to be a nice month…and it worked. Well, I can’t take all the credit, what with barometric pressures and oceanic temperatures and whatnot, but what the heck, it worked didn’t it. Our November weather was beautiful!
I recall another time, in one of my articles, when I had made a request for some ugly weather to ease my guilty conscious while watching hours and hours of hockey playoffs and…voila...it happened! Coincidence? I’m starting to wonder.
(Keep in mind that these aren’t wishes. I keep my wishes for family health, lottery tickets, more wishes and such).
I’m not exactly sure if these coincidences only work with weather but I’m going to make a request here anyway. I’m requesting a Grey Cup victory for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2010. A real victory, one where they write the names on the cup and everything. Just to make up for the almost one. Is that too much to ask?
“There is no substitute for victory.”-General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964).
Random Thoughts-69
November 16, 2009

I am not sure if I was thinking that I was still playing “Name That Tune” or if my head and body aches were reminding me that I wasn’t twenty years old anymore, but as I was waking up the day after the 23rd Annual Dale Blackstock Memorial Hockey Tournament I couldn’t get the Garth Brooks’ song “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” out of my head.
I was absolutely sure that I was still playing the “Name That Tune” game when the next song to register in my brain was “HELP” by the Beatles. Then, as I slowly realized where I was, the tune changed to the old Marty Robbins’ hit “Cool Clear Water.” Which, by the way, I was in desperate need of.
A new ingredient to an old formula worked to perfection last Saturday night as the old rink lobby was filled with people who had gathered for the annual hockey tournament and then were entertained by Lyle Kapell and Nick Windjack’s hosting of the “Name That Tune” game.
While the usual dressing room antics reunited friends and family members together, many for the twenty-third time, the new wrinkle kept the people at the arena and drew some other community members in as well.
I will admit, though, that as the tournament was nearing I wasn’t approaching it with nearly the same enthusiasm as I have in the past. Oh, I was looking forward to reuniting with many of the guys that I have been hanging out and playing sports with since the ‘70s and I was even kind of looking forward to throwing on the old skates, but it was Sunday morning that I was scared of.
I know my friends and, worse, I know myself. I’ve been in this situation too many times to not know what was going to happen. And, sure enough, as per usual, too smart-too late, but then again, sacrifices have to be made.
The hockey, the camaraderie and the wobbly pops helped to overcome the realization that there was going to be a long recovery.
This tournament is a very special event. Over the years, it has raised a lot of money for the arena while providing an avenue for old friends to reacquaint and new friendships to be formed.
Personally, I would like to thank the Blackstock family, Linus in particular, for continuing this legacy. Rink Management, the user groups and all the volunteers are to be commended for, once again, providing a lot of people with a lot of great memories to be relived year after year.
“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”-George Burns (1896-1996).
Random Thoughts-68
November 2, 2009

Until now, I never really had a problem with October. I thought it was always kind of a nice month. It’s colourful at the beginning and usually the weather is very comfortable for a game of football or a late game of golf, then, of course, October finishes with Halloween.
Good old “All Hallow’s Eve”, when you can dress up in a costume and go door to door and people put candy into your pillow case, or bag or plastic pumpkin for no other reason except that you yelled “TRICK OR TREAT”. I know! What could be better?
Then of course, every year in October, they crown a new World Series Champion. Well, technically, they drag it into November, now, so the greedy owners and TV execs and advertisers can milk more money out of the general public to pay the grossly overpaid players, but still, it was and will always remain “The October Classic.”
October usually brought the end of harvest (I said, usually, sorry farmers!) and October brings our Canadian version of Thanksgiving. Fresh pumpkin pies, new sweet Macintosh apples, sweet potatoes and so many more great seasonal dishes are at their tastiest during October.
Having said all of that, I was never so happy to see an October go by in my life as I was the gloomy 2009 version. According to the Weather Network, Broadview is supposed to average 167 hours of sunlight in the month of October. What did we get? Ten or twelve or something? Whatever it was it was the longest gloomiest October that I can remember. It was so rainy and gloomy that our solar lights wouldn’t even come on by the 31st. Seriously, I’m not kidding!
Although, I’ve never been to her place, I don’t think that Mother Nature has our human calendar on her wall to go by, but it seemed to me that as soon as November’s page turned up the sun came out. Coincidence? I think not.
I’ve never been a big fan of November, though. All you’ve got is Remembrance Day and the Blackstock Hockey Tournament. Okay, a couple of football games when the Americans decide it’s time to be thankful, but other than that, not too much to look forward to.
Perhaps this year will be different. Maybe November’s getting off on the right foot. We’ve had two, yes, count ‘em up, two sunny days in a row now. (I’m writing this on Monday night so there was yesterday and today). And the weather guys promise us that we’ll be seeing the thermometer rise to12C by the time this paper hits your mailbox. I certainly hope so.
There’s way too much crop still in the field and my vitamin D levels are already dangerously low and we still might have six months of winter to go! So c’mon now November, we’re counting on you to show us that you can be a worthy month, too. Do it for me. Do it for all of us.
“Weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed.”-E.B. White (1899-1985)
Random Thoughts-67
October 18, 2009

You know, three years have already passed since Kipling hosted “Saskatchewan’s Biggest Housewarming Party” celebrating Kyle MacDonald’s final trade from one red paperclip to a house. On that wild Labour Day Weekend in 2006 our son Nolan earned his role in Corbin Bernsen’s “Donna on Demand” movie as part of the trades that Kyle used to get his house.
If for some reason one of you reading this isn’t aware of the whole thing you can still log on to One Red Paper Clip.com and catch up, or you can buy Kyle’s book.
Coincidently, and totally lost in all of the brouhaha, was the fact that it was our 25th wedding anniversary on that weekend, too. Turns out, the timing couldn’t have been better. With a lot of our friends and family gathered around for the weekend, it was nice to be able to share the magic moments with so many people. It took our family a long time to come down from that cloud!
The filming had wrapped up and, to my knowledge, all of the final editing was completed before the end of 2007. So why would it take so long to finally get the finished product out to the public? My short and accurate answer is…I don’t know. And I’m not a Hollywood producer, either, but I am sure that they have their reasons.
One of the reasons may be that the content of “Donna on Demand” is pretty racy. Lots of swearing, some nudity and some violence with a killer twist at the end. Corbin himself has said that after he had spent some time in “wholesome” Kipling, “Donna” wasn’t the kind of movie that he would have used as his first choice for the winning role but the trade had been completed before he had even heard of Kipling.
The bottom line is that the movie is out now and available on DVD. And, yes, of course, there’s a twist. Or two. In order to get the movie you have to order it on the donnaondemand.com website. But wait! There’s more! By entering Nolan’s coupon code (NH1234) you will receive $2.00 off of the purchase price.
That’s it you ask?
Of course not!! There’s still more! For every DVD sold, with Nolan’s coupon code entered, he receives $3.00 from the sale of the movie!
Big deal you say?
Maybe so, but listen. Nolan is going to donate $1.00 from his take of every DVD sold and donate it to The Camp Easter Seal Foundation!
Howz that sound? What a deal! What are you waiting for? Hurry now and get your copy of Nolan’s first Hollywood movie while donating to a very worthy cause; all in the same transaction! Can’t get any better than that!
Once again, to order your movie-go to donnaondemand.com, enter your coupon code (NH1234) and…voila! It’ll come right to your mailbox. It’s that simple.
“So, you followed up your TV career with a couple of crappy movies. So what!? You made some money!”-Ned Palmer (Nolan’s character) to Ben Corbin (Corbin’s character).-Donna On Demand-2009.
Random Thoughts-66
October 5, 2009
We had managed to put off the inevitable for about as long as we could possibly stand it. You remember, don’t you? How procrastination is nasty business? Sure, putting something off always seems like a good idea at the time, but when you really think about it, and if you would have just rolled up your sleeves and got to it, it usually isn’t as big a deal as you thought it would be in the first place.
Whether you’re putting off telling your spouse about the dint in their car, or hanging the Christmas lights, or asking for directions, or finally getting around to 2004’s spring cleaning, after all is said and done, you will look back and say, “that wasn’t so bad now was it, why didn’t I do that earlier?” Every freaking time!
So it was at our house this past weekend. Yes, we had finally decided not to put off the 2004 spring edition of “THE BASEMENT CLEANING” any longer. I guess five-and-a-half years are enough!
Now, our basement isn’t the carpeted rumpus room with a spare bedroom, a half bath and some storage space like many people have. Don’t get me wrong, our basement was probably state of the art when it was built, but that was ninety years ago. Ours is basically one big storage unit with room for the boiler, washer and dryer.
It doesn’t help when both my wife and I hate to depart with almost anything! Old shoes, old costumes, old clothes, old books and especially anything that the kids used to have because it all seems to have such great sentimental value to us.
I even found a pair of skates that I had bought from D & S Sporting Goods (owned by Morley Dickie and Bill Salloum in Kipling) somewhere around 1977! Seriously! I guess you just never know when you’re going to need a worn out pair of twenty-two year old skates or something. I think I misted up a bit throwing those old skates onto the garbage pile in the truck.
And so it went. “What should we do with this?” “Pitch it!” “But…” PITCH IT!” “Okay”.
I made so many trips up and down those stairs that I didn’t feel guilty at all about throwing out the old exercising equipment. Who uses a “Stairmaster” anymore anyway?
Then, there we were, too many hours later looking at the beautifully clean basement. “That wasn’t so bad now was it?” “Yes!! It was!” But at least it’s done. Now we can move some of the stuff from the bedrooms down there!
My friend Lonnie Cameron has a saying about procrastination, sorry, but I can’t use it here. Ask him about it the next time you see him. I’ll use this one instead.
“Procrastination isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. So procrastinate now, don’t put it off.”- Ellen DeGeneres.
Random Thoughts-65
September 21st, 2009

The recent and very welcome heat wave may have made us think that it was still summer but the calendar says that on September 22nd autumn began. As long as we continue to have daytime temperatures in the 20s I don’t care what they call it, just keep ‘em comin’!
Even as summer-like weather is blessing us, the usual seasonal chores have to be done. The potatoes are ready for the bin, the tomatoes are almost ready for the salsa jars and the chickens are getting fattened up for their inevitable trip to the freezer.
Just the other day a couple of us were recalling the old chicken butchering days. Notice I didn’t say “Good old”, because, to me they weren’t. Good that is.
While I was attending high school, Mom and Dad would buy baby chicks in the spring and have them raised on a local farm until the fall. Part of the deal was that when it came time to butcher them, Mom and Dad and their slaves/children would help with the nasty business. Mom and Dad had grown up on farms and thought that the experience would be character building or something. I had lived all of my life in a city or town and hadn’t really cared how that tasty fried chicken got its start.
Well, I soon found out and it ain’t pretty! Between the headless creatures flapping about the farmyard and the nauseating aroma of the feather scalding, I was close to passing out or throwing up well before the plucking and the gutting even got started!
Thankfully, I was able to “man-up” and managed to stay upright and keep my stomach contents in my stomach while looking as busy as possible doing nothing until all the butchering was done.
As I recall, I didn’t have much of an appetite when we were called to the supper table that day. Then, with the distinct smell of scalded feathers still stinging my nose, the main course of Chicken Paprikas was put on the table.
What!? You can’t be serious!? I know this was how it was always done, but CHICKEN!?…NOW!?… Thanks, but no thanks.
I know it was probably just part of the evolutionary process and all, but really, who would have been the first one to think that eating a dead bird would be a good idea? I mean, he must have been STARVING! How many tries would he have made before he just ate the meat? Or even tried cooking it!
Yes, you’re right, it’s maybe best not to think about that. I’ve recovered quite nicely from the old chicken pluckin’ days and I make a pretty mean Chicken Paprikas myself now. So, in the end, it turned out to be a character builder anyway, because all of life’s experiences, good, bad or otherwise, usually are.
“If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d all be millionaires.”-Abigail Van Buren (1918-)
Random Thoughts-64
August 1st, 2009
This past weekend we moved our daughter, Emily, to her new digs in Moose Jaw for the upcoming SIAST school year. I am very familiar with the Moose Jaw area as my family had lived at Marquis, just twenty miles northwest, for five years and I attended school in the city in grades seven and eight.
Especially at this time of year, I am reminded of the many experiences that I had while I worked for a few summers on my sister and brother-in-law’s Moose Jaw area farm fixing grain bins and driving truck during harvest.
I learned how to drive on old dirt roads in a ’48 Ford ½ ton while carrying all the tools of a wood grain bin repair man. Tin flashing, spare boards, tar, nails, hammer, .22 rifle, in case the rats got too close, you know.
It was always a very hectic, stressful and rewarding time of the year. So much depended on the weather, which was completely out of one’s control, and also added to my brother-in-law’s already too-high blood pressure. He was responsible for taking off his crop, his Dad’s, his uncle’s and worked with his brother on his crop, too. Two combines and one old grain truck took the entire crop off.
At the time, early to middle ‘70s, we had a field moisture tester which would tell you when the grain was dry enough to start up the combines. That was a bit of an advantage back then as not many farmers had testers, so then they would have to take a sample to the grain elevator to get tested and wait in line before the results would be given. It could take up quite a bit of time, depending on the location of the elevator and the number of farmers waiting in line, which could mean some crucial minutes or hours of harvesting time.
I am not sure how much my brother-in-law paid for the tester but he needn’t have bothered while his Uncle Mike was still around. Uncle Mike was in his eighties, a life-long bachelor and his only love was his farm. He lived to farm.
I can vividly recall seeing him squatting over a swath with a handful of kernels in his hand blowing away the chaff. He’d take one spring wheat kernel and bite down on it and predict the moisture content to within a half of a percentage of the tester’s reading! When it cracked hard enough he’d smile, wink and say, “Let’s go!”
We always unloaded the combines “on the go”, as they say, unloading the hopper into the truck as both vehicles slowly cruised down the field. I got pretty good at it, too, if I do say so myself. The only time I didn’t like doing that was when we were combining barley. That damn chaff and grain dust would give you such an itch! The only other thing that I remember making me itch that badly was a dip in the old dugout too far into July giving me “The Itch”!
I feel so fortunate to have had those experiences, the itching excluded. The cucumber sandwiches in the field, the teamwork, the late-night meals after a long day, the sense of accomplishment, even the exhaustion, when your head finally hit the pillow, felt good.
I’ve had my share of jobs over the years and they are not without their rewards but I don’t think anything can compare to the feelings I was lucky enough to experience during my harvesting days.
“Out of the strain of the Doing,
Into the peace of the Done.”- Julia Louise Woodruff- “Harvest Home”, Sunday at home, 1910.
Random Thoughts-63
August 24, 2009

Do you lead a stress free life? Are your decisions always right? Do your physical actions always follow your brain thought patterns? Yes? Really?! Then you mustn’t be a golfer!
As if our lives weren’t stressful enough, what with bills to pay, children to move, (again and again), on-going home improvements, job stress, car repairs, yard work, laundry, cooking, cleaning... the list is endless; this year, Deb and I decided to put in a lot more of our free time on the golf course.
Yes, in an effort to give us some relief from the struggles of everyday life, escaping to the golf course was supposed to be our stress reliever. I guess it is to a point. If you just want to admire the scenery on the course and the camaraderie of the club house deck, then that’s the place to be.
If, however, you want to play the game properly and put that stupid ball in the cup with the fewest swings of your club, you might want to look up what “stress relief” really means.
Usually, doing something over and over should improve the end result of a repeated action. Usually. I’ve repeated my golf swing, and many various versions of it, oh, I would say a few thousand times. Many, many thousands of times and I’m not sure if “improved” would be one of the adjectives that I would use when describing the end result of one of my many, many golf swings.
Oh sure, you know, every now and then, and this is true for every golfer, Tiger included, you hit that one sweet perfect ball that goes exactly where you aim and gets there in a hurry. For Tiger, it’s lots of times, for me, not so much. Just enough to think you’re getting better so you go back out to see if you can do it again!
Then again, you know what they say, “a bad day of golf is better than a good day at work.”
There are many very positive things about golf. Done right, it will improve your concentration. Done wrong, you get to use words that aren’t usually allowed in public. You get lots of fresh air, a little exercise and on those rare occasions when the sun and moon and stars are lined up just right, you can put a game together that makes you really think you can golf!
“Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at.”-Jimmy Demaret.
Random Thoughts-62
August 17, 2009

You know how they say that, “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone”? Well the peace and serenity of our empty nest was disrupted, recently, when one of our flock came back home to roost for a while.
We happily took our youngest daughter Emily back into our household as she returned home for a month of respite between finishing up her job, in Regina, and going to post-secondary school in Moose Jaw in September.
I vividly remember the day when our baby left home and Deb and I were left standing alone in front of the house thinking, “now what?”
Well, that was two years ago, and, over that time, we had adjusted quite fine, thank you very much.
Gone were the fights over the TV remote. Gone from the bathroom were the curling irons, the hair straightening irons, the blow dryers, the make-up bags and the wet towels on the bathroom floor.
Gone were the nights when we lay awake waiting for the front door to bang shut, signifying her late-night return home.
Now, two weeks after Emily’s return, there it is...deja vu all over again!
I remember fondly having a shower without running out of hot water. Or going to the fridge for that last hidden cold beer and finding it there.
Nostalgically our TV yearns to show something other than the latest reality television show.
But, you know, it’s not all bad. Her bubbly personality still lights up the room when she’s around. Many of her life-long friends have started to come around again and add a little life to this old house. She even runs errands for us and does some chores.
Yes, the young high-school girl left and a mature, responsible young woman has returned in her place.
In another two weeks we will be standing on the front step watching her move on again to the next phase of her life. Will we be saddened once more? You bet. Will we enjoy having the house back to ourselves? Yes, we will, but probably not right away.
Despite the clutter and the tiny inconveniences we’ll definitely miss all of that activity she’s brought home with her. We’ll slowly adjust back to “normal” and then we will yearn for the days when there was a little more life around here.
“Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.”- Bill Cosby (1937-)
Random Thoughts-61
August 10, 2009
Wow! What a weekend! It was so fun I needed an extra week of R & R to fully recuperate.
I know it’s a bit late but congratulations, Kipling, on your 100th and hats off to the organizing committee members Max Krecsy, Debbie Hubbard, Mike Kearns, Graham Dayle, Vern Pusch, Joe Widdup, Conrad Widdup and Loretta Demyen. I am sure they would readily admit that it couldn’t have been done without the help of all of the volunteers at all of the venues. Again, thank you all for a job well done!
With so many relatives and friends returning for the weekend I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a conversation start with the words “Remember when…”
I feel blessed that my 87-year old Mom could attend the events with us. She has so many fond memories of the years that she and Dad lived here and still has lots of friends and acquaintances who remember their shared times together.
We now have new memories to add to the old ones. With so many activities to attend and so many people to see, a few days can hardly fulfill all of the things we wanted to do and all of the people we wanted to see.
It’s too bad that life doesn’t have a “pause” button so we could slow things down and savour the time a little more. But, alas, it’s just not to be.
As usual, time lingers on when you’re anxious for it to pass quickly and flies by when you want it to move at a much slower pace.
It’s kind of like waiting for one’s holidays to begin. The days seem to drag on as you lead up to the start of your vacation and then before you know it you’re packing up the old lunch kit and heading back to work.
Back to “normal”. I’m sure it’s just human nature that makes us want to get “back to normal” after special events because special events just wouldn’t be special if we lived them every day.
“We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted…each of us contains within…this inheritance of soul. We are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations, sacred memories and future promise,”-Edward Sellner.
Random Thoughts-60
July 26, 2009

In early 1970 my Dad and Mom made a decision that greatly impacted our family’s lives. They chose to accept the Kipling-Windthorst United Church Pastoral Charge’s invitation for Dad to become their minister.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t all that thrilled about moving again. My protestations were received and discarded and Dad and Mom and the last three of their nine children still living at home, Gordon, Perry and Shelly moved to Kipling.
Kipling would be the fourth community that I would be calling home in eight years. Going in to grade nine in Kipling High School made it the fifth public school that I would attend in twelve years. This is a fact that provided me with an excuse for my poor academic performances over the years. You see, I was so busy trying to fit in to the new environments I couldn’t possibly have time for the three Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic). See, I’m still using that excuse thirty-five years after I finished High School!
It didn’t take long for me to warm up to the community, though. Nearly forty years has passed since that hot, hot July day when we first moved into the United Church Manse house at 414 3rd St. and I’m still here.
I did leave Kipling for a few years between 1978 and 1985 and returned with my wife, Deb, our oldest daughter, Meghan, and added two more children to the mix, Nolan and Emily. This family unit has been happy residents for close to a quarter century.
I often think that maybe it was my parent’s nomadic ways that made me yearn for some deeper roots; you know, a firm home base. Maybe it was the life-long friendships that were formed, a lot of them that were started in that very first summer we spent here, that made me want to stay. I am sure that both of them have factored into the reasons why we still live here.
Would it have been different had we moved to Kindersley, or Shaunavon or some other community out there? Possibly, but that’s a question that will never require an answer. We moved HERE. We stayed HERE. We love it HERE!
As we move into the celebration weekend for Kipling’s 100th Anniversary I couldn’t be more proud to say where I’m from. We have a beautiful community.
Beautiful communities don’t just appear. They are grown. It takes a lot of hard work by many, many people to develop a community over 100 years.
We’ve worked hard to get to where we are right now. In 1970, the town sign stated: “Kipling--Parkland’s Progressive Centre.” I think that statement is as true now as it was then.
“Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade.”-Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936).
Random Thoughts-59
July 16, 2009

As kids growing up, my brother, my friends and I played many different games to provide us with our entertainment. In our computerless, one TV channel, Nintendoless lives we had other ways to occupy ourselves. We played sports. Lots of sports.
I’m not making a statement here about children being spoiled with electronic games or anything and I’m not going to do the old “back in the good old days” routine, either. It’s just a fact. Those electronic games were just not available to us. Table hockey and board games were about the closest thing we had to compare to today’s electronic games and those were usually played only when it was raining outside and the rink was closed.
It didn’t matter what season of the year we were in, we played the sport that was appropriate to the weather. Street hockey and shinny in winter, baseball in late spring and summer and football in the fall. Throw in some school sports like volleyball, basketball and track and we were running twelve months a year.
We were all involved in the organized aspect of the sports, too, either through local minor sports associations or school but the real fun was in the pick-up games in the street or in the school yard. Unsupervised, no umps, no refs, no parents and plenty of make-it-up-as-you-go rules that sometimes resulted in more than a few arguments and fights.
Whatever sport I was currently playing was my favourite at the time. The one nice hot day that we’ve recently had this summer reminded me of playing baseball back then. Usually, by the middle of July, the organized games were over but the fun games were just beginning.
During the summer, because of summer camps and family vacations, we very seldom had enough people for a 9 on 9 pickup game of baseball so we played either 500 or Scrub. We would play for hours at a time in the hot summer sun cooling off with the occasional glass of Kool Aid or running to the town well to douse our heads in the cold water.
It’s no secret that I’m an avid sports fan and I watch way too many televised sporting events but my passion for sports came from their purest form. Playing the game to play the game. Sure, I like to watch sports but I love to play them.
I’m lucky enough to share this passion with the members of the Eden Valley Senators Twilite Baseball team. We recently attended the SBA Provincial Playoff Tournament in Davidson where our won/loss record wasn’t so great but our shared love of the game and the camaraderie that accompanies it will keep us coming back time and again.
"For when the One Great Scorer comes, / To write against your name, / He marks - not that you won or lost - / But how you played the Game."- Grantland Rice-(1880-1954).
Random Thoughts-58
June 28, 2009

It’s finally here! I think. Maybe. Don’t hold your breath or anything but if you just go by the calendar Summer is officially here. Keep in mind that we are in Saskatchewan so anything’s possible; weather wise that is.
I am convinced that the worst and longest winter in my memory banks is behind us. It’s time for baseball, barbeques and beer! Bring on the heat.
Speaking of beer, have you watched the ads on TV from the beer company advertising that a particular portion of their cans turn a different colour when they have reached an appropriately cold temperature? Really?! Whatever happened to actually feeling the can itself?
Oh, I get it, maybe the can is cold enough but the beer in it isn’t? Is that it? Does the can know the difference? Does it only change when the can is just the right temperature or when the beer is the right temperature? I am going to have to make a point of watching the full commercial, instead of switching channels to the other ballgame during the ads, so I can find out.
Regardless, to my way of thinking, if you need a beer can to tell you how cold it is maybe you should reconsider popping the top on that puppy! It’s just a thought.
What is the optimum temperature? Who says? I like my beer so cold I get a popsicle headache when I gulp it. Which, by the way, I hardly ever do. Good Ol Phil Eger would only drink his beer if it was room temperature. I guess us odd fellows would just have to “old school” it and trust the feelings in our hands and our mouth. How novel!
And what about the visually impaired? How would they tell? Maybe they better start working on a can that will just shout out, “I’m Ready!!”, when it’s cold enough, too.
But we’re gimmick lovers aren’t we? (How else can you explain the Sham Wow guy, but that’s a story for another time.)
Another beer company is advertising a brand of beer of theirs with lime already in it. Thank God! It’s about time! After all the time we’ve lost in our lives by going out and buying the limes and cutting them up and then the arduous task of stuffing it in the bottle and having to lick the juices off of our fingers and everything. I know! It was agonizing! Man, what I could do with those twenty-seven minutes back in my life!
Yes, okay, sarcasm isn’t wit. Or so I was once told by a wise man. But, seriously folks, let’s do a little thinking on our own, okay? Take some initiative. Don’t always take the easy road. It’s been my experience that things are always a little better if you have to work a bit for it.
“Advertising may be described as the science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it.”- Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)
Random Thoughts-57
June 7, 2009

My Dad, Lowell Denton Hubbard, passed away, at the far too young age of 71 years, on June 21st, 1990. Appropriately, this Father’s Day, it will have been 19 years to the day. Man, where does the time go?
One of my favorite photographs, of my father, is of him and my Mom, Rose, walking down a street in Calgary with Dad pushing the baby carriage that held their first child, John. It’s 1941 and Dad was wearing a fashionable fedora, suit and tie, Mom is in an equally fashionable double-breasted overcoat over the dress she was wearing. In today’s language, they could have easily passed as a Hollywood “Power Couple”.
I have many of my Dad’s traits, some of them by nature some of them by nurture. I’ve got his build, his hands and his kinda-big ears. I also have his attention to detail, his terrible impatience, his sense of humour, his love of all sports and his acute sense of style and grooming.
Sometimes, while I’m driving our car, I see his hands on my steering wheel, right down to the position of the freckles, the protruding veins and the thumbs hanging down at that peculiar angle. How many times had I looked at those hands from my standing position behind him as he drove?
I am not completely sure if one can get their food tastes through genetics, but if you can, I almost wish he would have kept his addiction to raw onions to himself. So does my wife.
My Dad was a writer, too. I didn’t read too much of what he wrote because I always got the oral version on Sundays in church. Yes, after he and Mom had had their nine, that’s right NINE, kids he joined the ministry. For sanities’ sake, you’d almost have to, don’t you think?!
Dad had a green thumb and loved his garden. That’s one of the things, unfortunately, I didn’t get. It was his escape. Nine kids!? You gotta go somewhere! Nary a weed could be found in the confines of his garden patch or lawn. I would imagine that a lot of his sermons were grown in that garden as well.
Dad was nearly forty years old when I was born so the age difference and generation gap led to some head butting over long hair (mine), lifestyle choices and my stubbornness in bucking authority. But as we aged, the gap lessened, my stubbornness subsided and we realized that we could both be right at the same time; well, most of the time, anyway.
Not unlike many father-son relationships ours strengthened over time as his lessons on duty, loyalty, compassion and commitment to family and community emerged in his eighth child.
Although it has been nineteen years since my father’s passing I still find myself wondering what he would do in certain situations. Without having the advantage of speaking to him about a given situation, I can still seem to find his guidance when needed. Someone whom one has been very close to doesn’t always have to be here to be here, if you know what I mean?
“A sweet thing, for whatever time, to revisit in dreams the dear Dad we have lost.”-Euripides (484BC-406 BC), Alecstis, 438BC.
Random Thoughts-56
May 18, 2009

So it began. The paint samples were, once again, laid out on the kitchen table in an attempt to determine which colour we would be using to repaint the outside of the house, the hallway and the kitchen cupboards.
Didn’t we just do this? I was sure we had because we are perpetually painting some area of this old house. Doesn’t my answer from the last time still have merit? I believe my response the last time was, “Whatever you want. I don’t really care.”
Apparently, this isn’t the correct response.
“Now, what do you think? I like “Goat Cheese” for the cupboards, “Duck Egg” for the hallway and “Blooming Flax” for the outside of the house. Or should we go with, “Salt Cellar” for the cupboards, “Soda Bread” for the hallway or “Steamed Milk” on the outside?”
“Huh? Are we still talking about paint!? Whatever happened to orange, blue, green, red and yellow? To me, this sounds like some kind of weird quiche recipe or something.”
I think I’ll stick to “Whatever you want. I don’t really care.”
Still it continues, “If we go with the “Steamed Milk”, on the outside, should we do the trim in “Ripe Oats” or stick with the white?”
“Is white even a colour? What do you mean about the comedy routine? I was just asking?”
“How about having this three-and-a-half hour conversation with one of your sisters, because I think I’m missing the hockey game and they probably care.”
Whoops, did I say that out loud? Once again, wrong answer!
Amazing as it may seem, when we went to purchase the paint, there were two other women there that had experienced virtually the same thing with their spouses. Who would’ve thought?
My suggestion, to them, then, was to form a splinter group off of “The Ladies Without Baseboards Club” name it the “What Colour Do YOU Like Club?” and then they could all meet and share and choose colours with people of like interests.
Apparently, this isn’t the correct response either.
Yes, I know, you don’t really care if we care; you just want us to engage, you know, play along, at least make it seem like we care. Well, I’m telling you, most of us just don’t.
So, go with the “Billy Goat” on the walls, with a border of “Always Mine” and the trim in “Boy Bait” (seriously, I’m not making these up!), if you want, but just tell me where you want me to start cutting in.
“Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.”-George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Random Thoughts-55
May 4th, 2009

I became an Uncle when I was six years old. Now, I am an Uncle to twenty-six nephews and nieces, a Great Uncle to twenty-nine of their children and a Great Great Uncle to two more. Of course, I always thought that I was a great great great Uncle to all of them.
I guess my point is that I have always been surrounded by babies. I grew up with them. I even had three of my own. Not alone, mind you, my wife had something to do with it, but I have always been very comfortable around babies.
This experience will come in very handy as I recently became a Grandfather when our oldest daughter delivered a bouncing baby boy! Yeah I know, GRANDPA.
In talking to my siblings about their Grandparent experiences it sounds like it’s going to be a blast. How does that bumper sticker go? “If I had known how much fun Grandchildren would be, I would have had them first!!” Ain’t it the truth?
I think many children are hard-wired to buck the authority of their parents. There seems to be a delayed timing mechanism built into them that makes them realize that their parents were right only after they have made the same mistakes that their parents had warned them to avoid. Make sense?
At least that has been my experience as both a child and as a parent. I know that somewhere my late Father is laughing away because he knows that I am raising me, if you know what I mean!?
I am trying hard to practice what I preach as I try to avoid the “Can hardly waits”, as in: “I can hardly wait until…he can walk, he can talk, he can skate,…” But I can hardly wait to spoil him and send him home to his parents!
Unfortunately, for me, I never had the chance to really get to know my Grandfathers. My maternal Grandfather passed away when I was three years old and my paternal Grandfather lived on the coast and passed away before I was ten. My children’s Grandfathers both left this earth far too early for our kids to fully appreciate their presence.
We humans have little or no control over how much time we have to live this life, so I for one am going to do my best to cherish each and every moment that I can spend with Treyton Perry Laverdiere and all the other grandchildren that may come my way.
“There is nothing like a newborn baby to renew your spirit-and to buttress your resolve to make the world a better place.”-Virginia Kelley.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Random Thoughts-54
April 6th, 2009

Do you know who must really love Saskatchewan? Clothing manufacturers. As a wise person recently stated, “In Saskatchewan, there’s no bad weather only bad clothing”. How true. That’s why we need lots of it. Clothing, that is.
Here in good old Saskatchewan we may have any one of the four seasons break out on any given day of the year so your wardrobe better be adequate and accessible at all times.
You will, of course, have to have your standard set of parkas. A heavy one, a heavier one and the heaviest one. Ditto for head gear and footwear.
Especially at this time of year, (late winter or early spring or whatever it is), one may have to put on or take off, depending on the temperature, one, two or three layers of clothing during the course of a day.
“Honey, have you seen my ____________ coat?” (fill in the blank with fall, winter, spring, hoody, waterproof, windbreaker, fur-lined or hockey, which, of course, will be all of the above), is a question you will hear at many a Saskatchewan home.
This question is usually followed by the scary answer, “It’s in the front closet”. Which will then be immediately followed by a huge groan.
Which brings us to the other manufacturing group that must love Saskatchewan: the distributors of closet organizing products. Coat hooks, shelving, clothes hangers, boot racks and closet rods must be sold by the millions here. Whether they are ever installed and used as directed is another question.
I have never spent any time in a place like Arizona but can you imagine how little the residents would have to own there?! I would think that a couple of pairs of pants, a few shirts, a pair of flip-flops, some shorts and 100spf sunblock are about all that would be required.
I’m thinking that a single closet would probably hold all of their stuff. Here, we need a few closets, a couple of dressers, a trunk, a box in the basement for winter boots, a box in the basement for summer shoes, a box in the basement for rubber boots, a box in the basement for cleats, skates, ski boots, flippers, curling shoes, snow shoes, a box in the basement for…I know, I know, you get the drift!
Aaahhhh Saskatchewan, ya gotta love it! If “variety is the spice of life” then we’ve got plenty of spice! Think of how boring it would be to live in t-shirts, cut-offs and sandals all of the time. When would you ever get the chance to show off your new turtleneck, or bathing suit, or parka, or shorts, or touque, or thongs…
“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.”-Kin Hubbard (1868-1930).
Random Thoughts-53
March 22, 2009

A few weeks ago I had an idea that I thought was pretty good at the time. You see, I had been watching a fair amount of curling and kinda got the bug to get out on the ice. I’ve only really played a few games in my life but, what the heck, how hard could it really be, you know?
Deb and I called our good friends Max and Shelley and convinced them to enter a team with us in the Kipling Open Bonspiel. Little thought was given as to how we were going to make a team out of a Third, two Leads and a couch potato. In order, that would be Shelley, Max, Deb and me.
We had actually entered the event to “Bonspiel” and hoped that the curling wouldn’t get in the way too much, if you know what I mean? Well, it turns out that we are damn good at one and not so bad at the other.
They made us play six, that’s right SIX, games over four days and we actually won as many as we lost. Not too shabby, in our humble opinions.
The curling, of course, was always secondary to the social nature of the event. If there was ever a “Ring of Honour” for time, (and money), spent in the Curling Club Lounge, we belong on it! Our team is confident that the Curling Club will put the proceeds from our self abuse weekend to good use.
I guess the game is like many other televised games for two reasons. One, it looks so damn easy on TV and two, it’s not! I have a newfound appreciation for the pro’s shot making skills, the strategy of the game and the physical demands of the sport.
I awoke muscle groups that I forgot I even had! And most of that was from climbing the stairs to “The Lounge!”
One of the great things about this event was the variation in the age groups taking part. The youngest participants were in their very early teens and the oldest participants have been cashing in Canada Pension cheques for a while now. And the competence level ranged from very, very good to “what were you thinking?”
Regardless of the level of competence the one element that bound every participant together was the level of fun. On a scale of 1-10 it was a 10 for me and I am sure it was for many others, too. I know that our team had a blast.
I won’t lie to you; there were a few moments during the weekend (like the 10:30 draw on Saturday morning!!) when I wondered if my great idea wasn’t so great. But then again, the pain reminded me that I was still alive and, in the end, the fun factor far outweighed the pain factor.
“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”-Unknown.
Random Thoughts-52
March 9, 2009

As if our extremely cold winter, the bombardment of gloom and doom news regarding the current recession and the “Taxman Cometh” weren’t enough for you to consider multiple depression medications here’s another little tidbit of news to push you over the edge. I hope you’ve had your flu shot because this will likely make you sick.
According to Forbes Magazine, Will Smith was the top earning Hollywood star taking home some $80 million dollars last year. That’s right, 80 freakin’ million dollars!! It’s not Will Smith’s fault, he’s just livin’ The American Dream, but somehow, to my way of thinking, all the free market, capitalistic dogma cannot justify those kinds of numbers.
To put that into perspective, if you were to be paid $20.00 per hour and worked a regular 40 hour week, earning the Canadian average annual salary of $40,000.00 per year, you’d have to work 2000 years to make 80 million dollars. 2000 years!! That’s 104,000 weeks! Here are some more mind-boggling numbers for you. Keep in mind that these are annual salaries.
JK Rowling (Harry Potter creator/author) $300 million=7,500 years!
Oprah Winfrey $275 million=6875 years!
Hannah Montana/Miley Cirus (16 YEARS OLD!) $25 million= 625 years!
Tiger Woods $115 million=2875 years!
David Beckham $50 million=1250 years!
The above people are either in the entertainment field or sports celebrities but excessive earning power isn’t restricted to them. According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives the top-earning Canadian CEOs earned more than the average annual salary before 9:30 am on January 2nd! Can you imagine? More than $40,000.00 before the first coffee break of the year!? How do you justify that?
When you compare these excessive, outrageous compensation packages to the salaries of our world leaders it’s not hard to think that the Apocalypse is upon us. Our Canadian Prime Minister makes a little over $300,000.00 per year and the president of the United States makes $400,000.00 per year. Do you think our priorities are straight?
When numbers like trillion dollar bailout packages and two-year baseball contracts worth $45million are bantered around its very hard for us simple folk to keep it all in perspective. At least it is for me.
Now, I’ll be the first one to admit my lack of knowledge when it comes to world economics but do you think that maybe with a little bit more restraint and a little less greed some of this doomsday economic meltdown may have been avoided? I know I don’t have any of the answers but with these kinds of numbers it sure raises a lot more questions.
“Greedy eaters dig their graves with their teeth.”-French Proverb.
Random Thoughts-51
February 22, 2009

I was going to do a rant about the Negative Nillies that inhabit every community. You know who I’m talking about; all of the Chicken Littles of the world who think the sky is falling and they only see what is bad about a situation, never what’s good about it. But, alas, what good would it do? You see, they’re a stubborn lot, and regardless of how sound one’s argument against their attitude is, you can never change their minds.
While their numbers are small their voices are loud making it difficult to ignore the negative rhetoric. No matter how hard one tries to ignore the negativity it always surfaces with half-truths and rumours.
Now, I know that I am sounding a little negative myself so that’s all I am going to say on that matter. If you give them too much attention they might just think their way of thinking is right.
I will say that the negativism that I am talking about is regarding the shooting of the film Rust. I have stated in this column before and I’ll get on my soap box any time to proclaim my staunch support for this project. It’s great for Kipling, it’s great for rural Saskatchewan and it’s great for any project that starts with the words, “They’ll never do it.”
Well, they are and they did. I was an eye witness. Yes, we were asked if they could use our house, warts and all, for some scenes in the movie. We immediately said “Yes”, then immediately said, “Whoops”.
For you know that “A guest sees more in an hour than a host sees in a year”. That, coupled with the facts that our handyman has been on hiatus for a while and the empty nesters, that occupy the house, have been relaxing a little bit more than they ever used to, so we were a bit worried about what we were exposing our home to.
But, what the heck, how many people do you know that have had their house used in the making of a movie?
So, on Sunday the 22nd, in they came and transformed our humble home into a sound stage. There had to be close to forty people involved in the fourteen odd hours of shooting in our house. We were fortunate observers to the amazing process of movie making. There aren’t enough pages in this paper for me to properly verbalize my feelings on the events that took place throughout that day. In the risk of being redundant it was, again, simply amazing.
The cast, crew, producers, directors and support staff were respectful and gracious guests in our home. Permission was asked for everything. They used a mixture of our stuff and theirs to get their required effects and when they left there was no evidence (other than the pictures on our camera) that they had even been there at all! Everything was returned to its original spot, down to the tiniest knick knack.
I know that the vast majority of the town of Kipling, and its surrounding area, are very supportive of this project and I think the whole production staff are genuinely happy with the local support and the results that they have had. My family is thankful that we could be of service in this unique adventure and the only gratuity that is required is to see our house in the finished product of this film.
I read an article about the film project in the January 27th edition of “The Globe and Mail-Canada’s National Newspaper” and a few readers’ comments were published after the article. I will leave you with a quote from one of those readers:
“Is this the next “Slumdog Millionaire”? Good job, Kipling, for showing the gumption to do something like this. And well done, Mr. Bersen for taking the “leap of faith” on a small town.”-Michael Cawthra from Lakewood, United States.
Random Thoughts-50
February 8, 2009

My guess is that there were about fifty people witnessing history being made on the night of February 7th, 2009. These people, film makers, film crew, Kipling Film Production members, Kipling Volunteer Fire Department members, local residents and people with good and bad connections with the building, had all gathered at an old farm house to film and watch it burn down. The burning of the house is a very integral part of the story being told in the movie “Rust”, which is currently being filmed in and around Kipling.
For many reasons, and for many people, it was a very emotional event.
Exhilaration, sadness, awe, excitement, closure, contempt, fear and even anger were felt at different times by the different people that had gathered there. To me, it was amazing to watch so much history evaporate, for the most part, in about an hour and a half.
Unfortunately, the house’s most recent human history involved a demented pedophile and the abhorrent acts he performed on his captured victims. Those actions erased the years of family history that had, no doubt, lived out in a home to people that had experienced all of the same emotions as the witnesses gathered to watch it burn.
We (the human race) tend to humanize inanimate objects. The house did not kidnap anyone. The house did not cook Christmas dinner. The house didn’t even have a say in its occupants. But for some who gathered in that yard, that night, the house burning was another step in the healing process for his victims and their families.
For others, it was the end of an era. The disappearance of an icon as one interested observer put it. Yes, the flooring and the rafters, the floor joists and shingles, the windows and the doors are all gone, but like any building, the memories of the past occupants and their activities remain.
I hope that the sacrifice of burning this old house for the movie will satisfy the needs of the families of the victims while honouring the memories of the families that had made the house a home.
Regardless of one’s relationship to the house and its former occupants our (again, the human race) fixation with fire is universal. Talk to anyone and they will tell you how fascinated they are with fire and, as I stated earlier, this fire was amazing.
Not only were we witnessing an awesome display of the power of fire but we were also witnessing the making of a movie. Yes, a movie! Right here! Right now! The reality of this much-anticipated event was brought home in a spectacular way. The scenes that were being filmed during the house burning are the first shots recorded for the movie “Rust”. You know, it wasn’t just real…it was surreal.
I think the last time that I had feelings like that it was during the long weekend in September 2006 during “Saskatchewan’s Biggest House Warming Party Ever!”. I don’t know for sure if it ever left, but it seems like the magic’s back.
“So live that your memories will be part of your happiness.”-Author Unknown.
Random Thought-49
January 25th, 2009

My wife and I, like millions of other people on the planet, watched the United States President Elect Barack Obama’s inauguration speech on the 20th of January. Our curiosity was piqued by the significance of the event, his undeniable charisma and the hope that his positive vision will inspire our troubled world.
A co-worker wondered aloud why so many Canadians, especially younger Canadians apathetic as they are about Canadian politics, are being caught up by Obamamania. Judging by the reaction of many Canadians being interviewed, you’d have thought Canadians actually had some say in how he was elected.
It has been my observation that American influence on Canadians is as old as the relationship between the two countries. Our preoccupation with life in the “Excited States”, to quote former Regina Leader Post Editor Bob Hughes, preceded the electronic media age, but since radio, television and now the internet allows unlimited access to what’s happening south of the 49th parallel, one would have to be a hermit to not know what’s going on down there and be influenced by it.
For many years now many people, mostly from the mass media, have been trying to define what a Canadian is. While never being able to exactly establish what we are; we continually state what we are not…and that is Americans.
I, too, am caught up by the nationalism displayed in things like the “Joe Canadian Rant” ad that was made by Molson Breweries a few years ago and nothing makes me feel better than to see a Canadian team or individual athlete defeat the Americans on the international stage.
While expressing my great Canadian pride, right down to my maple leaf tattoo, I am also very aware of America’s influence in the many facets of our daily lives, be it through television, music, movies, the vehicles we drive or the clothing we wear. Commodity prices, foreign affairs, imports, exports and political leaders all have some influence on Canadians in varying degrees.
In keeping with my great Canadian pride I am a huge fan of the CBC, (not just on Saturday nights during hockey season either), and one of my favourite shows is “The Rick Mercer Report”. Coincidently the first post-Christmas Rick Mercer Report show happened to be on the 20th of January and he succinctly summed up the answer to my co-worker’s question in his rant regarding the current climate in both American and Canadian politics.
Customarily, I close my column with a short quote appropriate to the subject matter so this week’s quote is from Rick Mercer’s rant from that episode.
“Think about it. In the last American election, the defining themes were “change is possible” and “hope”, and they had the highest voter turnout in 40 years. In our last election, the defining themes were “stay the course” and “destroy the enemy”, and we had the lowest voter turn out in our entire history. Cleary we are on two different tracks.”-Rick Mercer (b.1969- ).
Random Thoughts-48
January 5, 2009

The decorations have all been put away ‘til next Christmas, the Christmas CDs are filed away, the left over pastries are getting a good start on their freezer burn and those loose-fitting jeans aren’t so loose-fitting any more. The much-anticipated “Season of Joy” has passed, once again, all too quickly.
Now, we transition right into the next season…the “Winter Blues” season; which, unlike the lead-up to Christmas, takes little or no preparation at all. Regardless of the ever-so-slight increase in daylight minutes per day we’ll still be in “winter” mode for a while yet. Especially if Mother Nature continues her argument against “Global Warming”!
After the December rush, it’s hard not to get dragged down into the melancholic afterglow of another year coming to a close. I’ll now insert my excuse of “Winter Malaise” as my reason for having written nothing in a month!
So what are we to do to offset those winter blues? How do we escape the incessant hum of the natural gas meter? How do we keep our relationships intact while moodily slugging along until the crows come back?
A trip to some tropical locale would be in order if Christmas shopping and SaskEnergy hadn’t eaten up all of the savings! Ditto on the ski trips! So, if travel is out and you’re looking for a low-cost solution I’ll try to help you out.
You have to keep in mind that not everything about winter is bad. Consider the fact that there are numerous hours of serious NFL playoff football games to be watched on the weekends and there’s probably a hockey game on TV every night of the week, too!
Okay, alright, that’s maybe a short-term fix and you would probably have to actually like those sports to really enjoy them. I suppose you could always watch something else, but stay away from the warmer climate shows like movies set in Hawaii or golf games from Florida and such. It’ll just make you more depressed.
Medical science has an actual term for the “Winter Blues”, it’s called “Seasonal Affective Disorder” and it can be very serious in some cases. There are many ways to treat “SAD” including light therapy and medicine’s ever popular anti-depression medication. It goes without saying that you should consult your physician before you decide on any treatment at all, including “Couch Potato Therapy”!
Exercise and diet are the best and easiest fixes. Exercising rids feelings of depression by increasing serotonin levels. The use of fitness centres, skating rinks and toboggan hills are just a few examples of fun ways to remain active. “You are what you eat" holds true when depression creates an urge to indulge in high-sugar foods that gives temporary liveliness, but eventually decreases energy.
Above all, show your true Canadian colours and embrace the winter before it embraces you!
“The simple solution for disappointment depression: Get up and get moving. Physically move. Do. Act. Get going,”- Peter McWilliams, Life 101.
Random Thoughts-47
December, 14th, 2008

So, are you all excited about the big day? Getting a little worried that you were a bit more naughty than nice? It’s too late to worry about that now anyway, right?
There’s definitely a “feeling of Christmas” in the air. The anticipation, as the big day approaches, is as palpable as the stress loads of a couple of weeks ago were. Maybe your stress-loads haven’t even peaked, yet. All I can say is good luck with that. I’ve got my own to contend with.
In anticipation of a large number of my family members joining us for the holidays, my wife and I have taken on chores that have been ignored for a while. Yeah, I know, hard to believe, eh?
Ever since we became “Empty Nesters” our three children’s bedrooms have become sort of warehouses for “Christmases Past”. Many of the articles they either wouldn’t or couldn’t take with them when they moved out. It was time to tidy-up the clutter.
The stuff wasn’t all old Christmas gifts. One particular child had a habit of bringing home other people’s “treasures” that turned into our “junk”. I thought that saying was the other way around! Anyway, while sifting through the debris, we were taken back through the years of toys and books, electronics and clothing, games and gadgets.
My idea was to box up some of the cra… neat stuff and re-gift it to them for a Christmas present. “Killing two birds”, if you know what I mean? Needless to say, the idea has had a rather cool reception. The children want their rooms to remain museums to their youth and their mother wants their keepsakes just as bad.
My self-serving argument, throughout the years, has been against the emphasis on gift-giving and receiving. To my way of thinking, it would greatly reduce the amount of two things: the stress in looking for the appropriate gifts and paying for the appropriate gifts. Now, I am not anti-gift-giving, or receiving, for that matter, I just believe in “everything in moderation.” I feel that the accumulation of vast amounts of cast-off stuff is proof in the pudding.
While searching my memory banks from many, many Christmases past, my thoughts of memorable Christmases always relate back to relatives. Siblings with children coming home for the holidays; Aunts, Uncles and cousins stopping by for visits. Toboggan parties, card games and charades, eggnog and hot chocolate, homemade pastries and enormous meals. All being shared with friends and family.
Sure, there are a couple of significant gifts that remain fresh in my memory, (that was one sweet rod-hockey game that my brother and I received too many Christmases ago), but, truth be told, I have a hard time picking out more than a few.
So, when word came that my 87 year-old Mom, accompanied by my sister’s family, would be here for a short time over the holidays, it rekindled old feelings of anticipation that had little to do with what ended up in my stocking, or under the tree. It was that anxious feeling of waiting for the day when the company would arrive.
We are reminded every year to look for the true meaning of Christmas and how it hardly ever comes in a gift-wrapped box. This year, I think I’m going to be living it.
From our family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas!
“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family,”-Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826).
Random Thoughts-46
November 20, 2008
Oh, the weather outside is….not so bad! Wasn’t it nice getting November excluded from this winter season? I didn’t even freeze any digits putting up the lights this year!
With the recent nice weather and so little snow on the ground, it seems like Christmas should be further away than it really is. I don’t mean to panic you other unprepared souls but there’s still lots of time left, isn’t there?
With on-line shopping, 24/7 store hours, (or so it seems), and so many local options there is no reason why you shouldn’t have your Christmas shopping done in good time. Well, I suppose there are a few reasons you might not be done.
Avoiding crowds, not having a clue what to buy her, uh, I mean everyone, lack of funds, Scroogeitis, and the crowd favourite… procrastination. Why do today what you can put off until you have to run around in a stressful panic! Ah, ‘tis the season!
I’m writing this on the last day of November and you can feel the pressure mounting.
“Okay, we’ve got to really clean this house, buy the tree, decorate the tree, get the baking done, buy way too many gifts, put the baseboards on, (and I mean it this time!), do some more shopping, go to sixteen Christmas parties, do the Christmas cards, get some shopping done…”
Wow, I’m getting tired thinking about it. No wonder it’s one of most wonderful and stressful times of the year; all at the same time.
As usual, the season will pass and we’ll have had a great time. We’ll get between 87 to 95 percent of what we were supposed to get done, done, and nobody will remember or notice the forgotten percentage.
Let’s all just try and enjoy the season. So, c’mon now, take a few breaths… that’s better, just relax, it’s not that bad, it’ll all get done in the end. Here, have some eggnog. It’ll make you feel much better.
“Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit,”-Kin Hubbard (1868-1930).
Random Thoughts-45
November 9th, 2008

While trying to cram in some outdoor home improvements, before the impending Saskatchewan winter sets in, I was reminded of Tim Taylor.
You remember “Tim the Toolman Taylor” from TV’s Home Improvement show don’t you? Tim Allen played the stereotypical macho male thirsting for more power out of all of his power tools and appliances. Tim Taylor could never walk by a hardware store without the pull of the Power Tool section drawing him in.
I know a lot of guys that are like the Toolman and can’t wait for the weekend to arrive so they can spend some quality time in their workshop. Although I have had to be a handyman because I live in a house that is nearly one hundred years old, my handy work has been more out of necessity than the want and desire to purchase and use new power tools. I may have alluded to that fact, all too often, before in this column.
Now, apparently I am not the only male in this category. Guys, as a rule, probably won’t readily admit that they aren’t the macho power tool loving kinda guys; at least not to other guys. The recent formation of “The Ladies Without Baseboards Club”, started by a local plumber’s wife, (not mentioning any names, Susan), has provided the evidence that this is so.
The Club meets quite often at the molding section of the lumber yard to dream and sigh at the various styles and colours of baseboards that may or may not make it onto their walls. Engaged ladies and newlyweds are encouraged to attend so their home improvement expectations will be diminished; especially if they are engaged to or have just married a carpenter. Face it, there’s no way you’re gonna get much work done on the weekends after these guys have put in a saw-dust-eating week at somebody else’s house.
Now I shouldn’t assume that any of the above mentioned spouses have neglected the baseboard installations because they aren’t particularly fond of using power tools. There may be some very logical and rational reasons why they haven’t gotten around to that particular task. I have my own valid reasons, (some would say excuses), and I will leave it to them to justify theirs.
“The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them.”- Robert Frost (1874-1963)
Random Thoughts-41
September 3rd, 2008

So, how was your summer? Mine was pretty good. Thanks for asking. As usual, it went by way too fast, especially when Mother Nature decided to close the door on summer weather at 8:16 pm August 30th. Bang! There you go, that's it, we're done.
I much prefer to ease into the next season with a gradual decline of evening daylight and a slow procession of dropping temperatures. Unfortunately, I have absolutley no control over such things.
While most of the summer weather was very suitable for exterior home improvements, yardwork and outdoor recreational activities, the sudden stop has left too many items on my outdoor to-do list. Had I known that it would end so abruptly, I may have put off those extra golf rounds for a few more hours of fixing the roof. Ya, right, who am I kidding!
Thinking back, the time between buying new baseball cleats, for the early summer Twiliter tournament, and half-past August seemed to flash by in seconds. Now, it's almost quarter after September! Growing older seems to make time go by quicker, at least it does for me.
Although I haven't had to return to school in thirty-plus years I still get a queasy feeling when I hear those three unpleasant words..."Back to School." You see, I was never really all that excited about going back to school. Not that I was adverse to being taught or anything. Well, okay, that may have had a bit to do with it. And, contrary to what some of my teachers may remember, I almost enjoyed some of the stuff they were teaching. Anyway, I was just not happy that it signified that summer was officially over.
Gone are the days of t-shirts and cutoffs, flip-flops and swimming suits. Sure, we'll get a few more days of warm weather and sunshine, but fall is definitely in the air.
Just when you think you have a handle on the stupid slice in your driver, you start reading about the upcoming National Hockey League season beginning and how the junior hockey teams are already on the ice. It seems to me that we no longer let the seasons play out as they were intended. We are so anxious for the next thing to come along that we don't spend nearly enough time enjoying time in the present.
You can't buy a swimsuit in July unless it's on the clearence rack beside the winter coats. "Back to School" sales start earlier every year. Someone said they already have Halloween candy out! Seriously! Halloween candy?! C'mon.
There are no brakes on a time clock and I can lament the passing of summer all I want, but that's not very productive. Hopefully, there's enough time before the snow flies to tidy up a few more items off of my outdoor to-do list. Before we know it the cold winds will be blowing and the SaskEnergy bills will by sky-rocketing. Time to stop whining about the passing of summer and go get some wood cut for the fast approaching winter.
"There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past."-George Carlin (1937-2008).
Random Thoughts
June 30th, 2008

Pardon my absence from these pages, Dear Reader, but after I complete one of my rambling articles it is completely out of my control as to whether the words ever hit the paper.
Sometimes my well-honed procrastination skills are to be blamed. Sometimes not.
While attempting to stick to a bi-weekly schedule, with one missed deadline or one article hitting the cutting room floor, it is easy to be absent for weeks at a time. I know, excuses, excuses, excuses.
During Saskatchewan's seemingly nine-month-long winter conditions, it is a pleasure to sit at a keyboard and peck away as the cold wind howls outside the window. However, by trying to put as much outdoor time into our lightning-fast twelve weeks of summer, I find it more and more difficult to take the time to write.
What with the omnipresent yard/home improvement schedule, vacation time and baseball, barbecue and beer drinking season upon us, some hard choices have to be made. Well, okay, maybe "hard choices" is stretching it. But choices none the less.
"Making hay while the sun shines," is an adage that has been repeated time and again. And cooping oneself up inside while a golf-friendly, grass cutting, garage shingling sky is overhead is not "Making Hay." In my opinion, anyway.
I very much enjoy having the opportunity to present some of my thoughts to you, Dear Reader, and will continue to do so. I am also thankful for all of the positive comments that I have received regarding my Random Thoughts articles.
When I started submitting these columns to The Citizen, I promised myself that I would not put words onto paper simply for the sake of putting words onto paper. Although I am sure some of you may think that is exactly what it is. Que sera, sera. If I can not, or will not, (depending on the situation), take the time required to write something that I feel is worthwhile, then I won't.
So, what does all this babbling mean? Short story long, as usual, I will suspend my contributions to The Citizen for the summer. If they will allow me, and God-willing, I am still able, I will return to these pages in September.
"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self,"- Cyril Connolly (1903-1974).
Note to readers: It is difficult to keep current while writing for a weekly paper. After I wrote this and before the impending deadline I got some news. Well, well, well, look who's just sold the broadcast rights of her song to CTV/TSN. The following still holds true. In my view.

Random Thoughts-39
June 8th, 2008

If any of you are regular viewers of the CBC's “Just For Laughs”show you will be aware of the little green mascot that comes on at the end of every program to declare, in a crying voice, that “It's Over.”
That's exactly how I felt after the final game of the 2007-2008 National Hockey League season and playoffs. Some of you may have been exulted after the final game, and your, “It's Over”, would have been more thankful than pitiful.To each their own.
After viewing what seems like a couple of hundred playoff games, it will take some getting used to not tuning in to a hockey game every other night for weeks on end. I may get over it. I guess I'll have to get over it.
Not only am I saddened by its ending, but I am also saddened by the fact that word has come out that CBC and Dolores Claman have not been able to negotiate a new contract to renew the CBC's use of her “The Hockey Theme" song. The two sides could not resolve disagreements over a 2004 lawsuit and licensing rights to continue airing the famous musical intro.
Apparently, the latest contract had Claman receiving $500.00 per airing for the famous tune. I am no mathematical wizard, but seeing as she wrote it in 1967 and the CBC has played it on every broadcast since1968 she has received more than chump change for her efforts.
Is it Dolores Claman or Copyright Music and Visuals, the Toronto agency representing Claman, that are holding out? In a standard case of “He said, she said”, Copyright Music & Visuals say the CBC doesn't want to renew the contract and the CBC says it's the other way around.
Either way, when does fair compensation turn into greed? If Dolores had been told, in 1967, that she would be receiving royalties for the next 40 years for her tune, how would she have reacted?
I just wonder how many times someone has sat down with an idea and said, “Great, I'll write this or that, invent this thing or make a few of those and then...viola! I'll get rich.” Maybe it's a lot, but I would question the success rate.
My theory is that the primary reason for following through with any good idea is the actual idea itself, not the cash that can sometimes be the result of that idea. Monetary gain is usually secondary. When the secondary motivation becomes the primary motivation, then it's greed. Clear as mud? I thought so.
According to my #1 source of all information, Wikepedia, they say that-“Greed denotes desire to acquire wealth or possessions beyond the needs of the individual, especially when accumulation of possession denies others legitimate needs or access to those or other resources.”
I have listened to the Hockey Night In Canada theme song hundreds of times since 1968 and, in fact, it's the ring tone on my cell phone, (a little obsessive? I'm seeing someone about that), and I don't think I'm alone when I feel that my “legitimate needs” are being denied.
If the impasse continues, and the CBC cannot renew the contract, will it stop me from tuning into the first game of the 2008-2009 National Hockey League telecasts from the CBC? No. Will it alter the way the game is played and presented? No. Will it be lacking something? Yes.
“One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our need from our greed.”-Author Unkown.
Random Thoughts-38
May 25th, 2008

Remember a couple of articles ago I kinda wished that a few weeks of ugly weather would ease my guilty conscience while watching hours of sports? I was kidding! I didn't think it would happen!
How was I to know it was going to be so cold and windy, (windy being a kind word for what we have endured), for 40 days and 40 nights.
It actually is 40 days, I wrote that article on the 14th of April and today's the 24th of May. Count 'em up.
Then, Old Mother Nature had to throw a couple of 20+ degree days in there just to whet our appetite; the miserable old.......
Anyway, that wasn't the first time I noticed some coincidences between my writing and actual events. So, if it's that easy, I'm wishing for a few million dollars. You know, just enough to afford to keep driving and eating and such.
That's the thing, isn't it? If one could conjure up some good luck just by saying it, what would you wish for? World peace? Why waste a good wish? It's just not going to happen.
A long and healthy life? Yeah, that's okay, too, but how long? Do you really want to outlive your kids and your friends? To me, there are too many variables in that equation.
Then that leaves wealth. Yeah, I know, the old greedy card. But wait. Think of how much good you could do with vast riches. Aside from the fancier cars and clothes, the travelling and maybe a good alarm clock burning ceremony, there are many, many causes that could benefit from one's generosity.
Judging by the amount of 1-800 phone calls I get at suppertime, (every day!), there is just no end to the charities that are in dire straights. All great causes and all, but seriously, one would have to be a millionaire to give a donation to every one.
Now, I don't know where the wish factory is, or who does their books, but I'm wishing my wishes aren't being used up on stupid stuff. I want it on the record that it wasn't an official wish that we would have ugly weather for a while. I was just saying that if it happened it wouldn't break my heart. That's all!
So, here's wishing for a beautiful summer, a plentiful harvest, a little more peace in the world and a lot more wishes for my remaining years.
“We would often be sorry if all our wishes were gratified.”-Aesop (620-560 BC).
Random Thoughts-37
April 28th, 2008

The other day I was killing a bit of time between NHL playoff telecasts by trying to catch a couple of z's on the couch. Yeah, I know, tough life, eh? Anyway, the window was open and I was just dozing off when I heard a sound we very seldom hear anymore. It was a train whistle, or horn, or whatever they call them.
I guess if you live on a main railway line you still hear the old whistle quite often but, in Kipling, not so much anymore. In fact, it's so rare that I imagine some young children were running home in fright, wondering what that loud, unfamiliar sound was!
It's just another sign of the constant change in rural Saskatchewan. I'm not trying to be all “Grandpa-ish” about the old days, because it wasn't that long ago, but it's odd how some things just slip away into the past without much notice.
There was a time, in the recent past, when there was a “prairie skyscraper” (grain elevator), every few miles, or so it seemed. Even the tiniest hamlet with a total population of three, (the elevator agent, his wife and their dog), had a train stop by a couple of times a week, the whistle a-blowin' announcing its arrival. But as Bob Dylan so aptly put it “The Times They Are A-Changin'”.
A little more than a few years ago, before my wife, our oldest daughter and I moved back to Kipling, we lived very near the rail yards, the Regina Airport and a highway. Needless to say, we were very accustomed to train whistles, screaming jets and vehicle traffic at all hours.
After we moved to Kipling, we had to adjust from too much noise to nearly none at all. In fact, it was so quiet that all I could hear at night was the ringing in my ears. More than once I woke up in a panic thinking I was in a “Twilight Zone” episode where I could possibly be the only human left alive on the planet. A timely train whistle would have at least reminded me that I wasn't alone.
I could probably do a rant about how some wizards and geniuses decided that moving all of the heavy products on train tracks wasn't economically sound and how pounding the stuffing out of our highways by moving these heavy products via trucks to larger, more convenient locations was a much more viable solution, but, alas, what good would it do?
I'll just have to suck it up, accept that change is the one constant, and fill the train whistle noise void with the sounds of the retarder brakes of the semi trailer trucks as they backfire all the way into town.
“What we call “Progress” is the exchange of one nuisance for another nuisance.”- Havelock Ellis (1859-1939).
Random Thoughts-36
April 14th, 2008

What a glorious time of year to be a sports fan. Between the NHL playoffs, the world curling championships, the Master's golf tournament, the major league baseball season beginning and the NBA entering its most crucial time of the year, one needs a couple of extra pairs of eyes and a few TV sets just to keep up!
I came by my sports fanaticism quite naturally. I wasn't born a “Blue Baby”, I was born a “Blue and White” baby. My Mom was a die hard Maple Leafs fan. Yes, my parents and all eight siblings were huge sports fans. In retrospect, given the Toronto Maple Leafs futility since their 1960's glory days, I sometimes wish she would have cheered for someone else!
Mom's 86 years old now, and I'm not sure if she watches much hockey anymore but everyone who knows her at all had better not call her when her beloved Blue Jays are on TV! How can anyone not know when the Blue Jays are playing, for Heaven's sake!
One of my earliest childhood memories, of sports watching, was coming home from school to find Dad in the living room with the windows covered over, blocking any sunlight coming in, so the fuzzy black and white TV images of the afternoon World Series games were easier to see.
Now we have 52” High Definition Plasma TVs. We have satellite dishes bringing in hundreds of stations. Gone are the days of fiddling with tin foil wrapped “rabbit ears” antennas with your brother yelling at you to move it to the right. NO! THE RIGHT!!
The family tradition has continued as my three children became sports fans almost through osmosis; they have always been exposed to it. Even now, years later, they know that the “Hockey Night In Canada” theme song signifies “Quiet Time”! For them anyway!
Our eldest daughter was just over a year old and spending a lot of “quality time” watching playoff hockey with me. Her budding vocabulary was starting to take on a more interesting vernacular when her mother put an end to my “cheering”?! Not all the cheering, just the saltier stuff.
Again, my cheering came naturally enough. Mom could not restrain her disdain for Danny Gallivan's bias calling of the Montreal Canadiens' games. As I recall, she did a pretty good impression of Danny calling out “CORN-WHY-AY”every time Yvan Cournoyer touched the puck!
As our thoughts move toward the fast-approaching springtime and the imminent yard-work it entails, I for one, wouldn't be too disappointed with a few more weeks of ugly weather. I'm not hoping for it! But if it happens, it might ease my guilty, sports-addicted conscience.
“Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer,”-Mark Twain (1835-1910).
Random Thoughts-35
March 31, 2008

A few days ago I ran into an old friend and he said something interesting during our conversation about the weather. He said he wants to be optimistic but he knows it doesn't work!
I know he said it tongue-in-cheek but it is truly the Saskatchewan way, isn't it? If there ever was a “World Wide Whine-Off” we'd probably place about eight in the top ten. Things are never ever good enough for us.
Insert your best whiny voice here: “It's too wet”; “It's too dry”; It's too cold”; “It's too hot”; “There's too much government intervention”; “The government isn't doing enough”; “How come everyone else gets to go on Daylight Savings Time!?”
Saskatchewan has had world champion curlers, hockey players, trap shooters, speed skaters and the list goes on. To me, what we are really world class at... is whining.
Anybody catch the Ford World Women's Curling Championships? Here's our own World Champion (three times, no less), Olympic Gold Medal Winner, Hall of Famer, motivational speaker, Joan McCusker pointing out every flaw in the Canadian Team's efforts.
I thought it was just me, but a number of the people I talked to remarked at how negative the TV coverage of the, now World Champion Jennifer Jones rink, was.
I know Canadians are supposed to be all humble and modest and not like the braggart and brash Americans but, c'mon, can't we be a little more supportive? Huh? We love ya Joan and we're proud of you, but is it too much to ask for you to lay on a bit of praise now and then?
Then there's Leader Post columnist Bruce Johnstone's editorial: "Saskatchewan's silver lining has black clouds" (Page D1-Saturday March 29/08). After stating that economists, politicians, and regular Joes are enthusiastic and optimistic regarding Saskatchewan's recent economic boom and population growth, Johnstone asks, in typical Saskatchewan pessimism, (dressed in realists' clothing), “What could go wrong?” Then states, “ Well, quite a bit, actually.”
Johntone goes on to state how the poor U.S. Economy, the labour shortages and housing availability and affordabiliy are immediate risks to growth!
Talk about raining on the parade before the first block is completed! He may very well have some valid points but can't we just bask in the sunshine for more than a moment or two? Again, is that too much to ask?
Okay, you're right. I sound like a world class whiner myself. How do I justify whining about whiners? I'd like to think that I'm challenging their negative ways. You may label it any way you want, but I will insist that I am an optimist and I firmly believe it works.
"The optomist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious of the rose."-Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931).
Random Thoughts-34
March 16th, 2008

In a recent speech to SARM delegates Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall admitted to letting his 14 year old daughter drive on country roads. No biggie? Not according to NDP MLA Frank Quennell who demanded an apology from the premier for breaking the law and bragging about it.
How many of you had your first driving experience in a truck, or car, while driving down an old dirt road or in a field? Thought so. Thank you. You can put your hands down now.
Now, how many of you didn't have a legal driver's license or were under the age of 16 during that first driving experience? Again, thanks. That's what I thought. Me too.
I could go on about how the experience of handling a vehicle at such a young age, sometimes in not the most ideal conditions, is far more beneficial to one's life-long driving prowess than hours and hours of simulated driver training or black top exercises could ever provide. Common sense suggests that it is.
Or one could make the argument that fourteen year olds can legally drive in other jurisdictions or even be legally married in some countries. Is that right or wrong? You can be the judge of that.
The point some politicians are making is that a law is a law and if you are breaking the law you are wrong whether you are Joe Farmer training your kids or the Premier of Saskatchewan.
The issue, to me anyway, is not the point of law. It's plain old “mountains out of mole hills” posturing. While the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly is in session for only 611/2 days a year, I'm wondering if they should be tying up valuable governing time by debating, in my humble opinion, what amounts to be a non-issue.
One's political leanings are very personal. Whether you cry out your allegiance from the top of a soap box or secretly mark your X on the ballot is your choice. Personally, I've been a secret ballot kinda guy. However, I will say that my leanings are a little more left of centre. Politically speaking, anyway. In other words, my Dad was the big conservative lover in the family.
Having said that, some issues cross party lines. It's not so much which political party is throwing the mud but the texture of the mud being slung. And in this particular instance the shot was taken because the shot was available, not because of the merits of the case. Anyway, that's my view on it.
I don't think I'm the only one who gets frustrated with the constant bickering, the politicizing and the whizzing contests that are the norm as the political parties are in continuous campaign mode. Just stop it! Get on with business!
Shouldn't they be more worried about hospital patient wait times, school closures, labour shortages and crumbling highways? Speaking of such, why hasn't a government in the last 30 odd years finished #48 highway from Kipling to the junction of #9 highway at Kennedy?
If she ever gets the opportunity to travel that road, Brad Wall's daughter is going to need every ounce of her driving experience, once she gets her license, to maneuver a vehicle down this goat path they call Highway 48 between Kipling and Kennedy.
“The problem with politcal jokes is they get elected.”-Henry Cate VII

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