Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Fun! Black Friday Madness...

 You have to love our American friends and their wonderful traditions.  Especially the annual event that follows the day after Thanksgiving.... the wonderfully coined "Black Friday".  After spending the day with loved ones discussing what they are thankful for, watching NFL football and eating turkey until they pass out, our friends to the south then embark on their real national pastime..... Shopping !( aka.. running up the old credit card)

 Every year, we see the same type of footage... people stampeding through the doors to get at the 99 cent DVD's and the homer Simpson "soap on a rope" deals.  I cant wait for tonight's footage!

 Can you imagine a Canadian Black Friday?  I doubt it would happen here because...

1) It usually too freaking cold during the End of November to line up all night outside.

2) We are just too darn polite.  There would be no pushing and shoving.  I can see it now... "Please, after you, let me get the door." or" No, after you....I insist."  and " Oh, you wanted the the last $5 Lava, take mine instead.". 

I cant wait for tonight's footage!


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Babies, Blogs and well...Baby Blogs!

Some of you know that Mrs. Rants and I are expecting a Baby on New Years Eve!  Due to my recent frustrations with the local political scene, I have found that I needed to take a step back from the political blogging over the past few weeks as every time I went to post something, I found myself kind of mad/angry. ( Hard to believe?)  So as a source of "therapy"...I have decided to start a DaddyBlog at

 While this is a completely different direction, I find the freedom of being able to write what about something new kind of refreshing.  Feel free to check it out and let me know if you have any comments about the site or recommendations for me.

 To my favorite sparring partners... Political Foolishness, Fiscal Waste and WAP Supporters ( kidding), sorry but I am not shutting this one down.  Not by a long shot. In fact, I think that after 10 months, I have found my feet on this blog and have decided what I want this site to be about.   And with a Municipal Election coming....look out!


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Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Fun: A Saskatchewan Christmas

I cant get the opening line of the jingle out of my head...Sing along everyone!
" It's fun to milk her...gonna do it right now..."

I hear that people in Saskatchewan are actually lining up at the Wal-Mart's to be the first in line for the reissue of this classic toy.  It could resemble the scene from the 1980's when everyone fought hard to get those creepy Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. ( The whole "adoption" message with those dolls is really kind of freaky...)

This toy is just great.  I think Kenner was onto something here and really should bring Milky the Cow back. Who needs video games and interesting toys when you play with a pretend cow?  I just wonder where you would get additional "pre-tend milk pellets" once you ran out?  Could you drink this "pre-tend" milk?  So many questions....

One more time...

 " It's fun to milk her...gonna do it right now..."   " her PRE-tend milk is a-filling the pail"

Oh, I cant take it....its just too funny.

Happy Friday!


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009


  A lot of fuss has been made over the state of Calgary's Taxi Service and licensing status of late.  I am not an expert on the issue but thought I would let the reader decide for him/herself.  I know that each group will try to push their agenda and naturally lobby for their side.  But if you look closely at the issue at hand, taking all the emotion out of the picture ( eg.the time it took 2 hours to get a cab during stampede or during the company Christmas party.), you will see an industry that is really at a crossroads.

Some Brief History:

Calgary has a population of over 1,000,000, but just 1,311 regular taxi licences.  Its hard to believe, but this is exactly the same number of plates that existed in 1986, when Calgary's population was around 600,000 people.

You have to wonder....why were there no new licenses during this time? ( Note: The City did add 100 Special licenses for special needs taxicabs.)   I think it comes down to this:

1) The industry cried for a Freeze 20 years ago as the drivers/owners could not make a living due to the "excess" capacity of cabs.

 Interesting.... The industry demands a cap on the issuance of new Taxi Plates in order to ensure that there is enough work to go around.  Fast forward 20 years and we are now hearing people scream for more taxi's.

2) Successful Political Lobbying and Fat Cats.

One of the basic principles behind supply and demand is scarcity. Once you have a hard time obtaining something ( or they stop making it) the value will naturally increase.  This is exactly what happened to the Taxi license plates in Calgary.  These plates are now rumoured to be worth $100,000 each.  Nice investment for the handful of Cab magnates that control the plates in this city.

 If you start adding more plates, then the value becomes diluted.  Its no wonder the Fat Cats don't want the system changed.  It would appear that the cab companies have been super  successful in keeping the status quo for 20 years.  I am curious to see what their campaign contributions were over this time period, as this influence over the Taxi Commission cannot be discarded,  but I guess that is for another post.

So what is the answer?

  The problem cannot be addressed by simply opening the floodgates and allowing an unlimited amount of new Taxi Plates. I do believe that during 80% of the time, it is easy to get a cab in this city.  Unfortunately it is during the 20% extreme peak season when everyone freaks out ( when a majority Calgarians likely only depend on their service 2-3 times a year max.) once they realize it is nearly impossible to get service. 

 If the industry is really concerned with addressing the shortage, and not solely on their own economic agenda, perhaps the following idea will work?

  • Why not issue temporary additional licenses during the peak season?  ( Christmas, Stampede etc.)  This will allow some new entrants into the system and ease the shortage issues.
If you want to see what NOT to do....take a look at the situation in Airdrie today.  I am usually in Airdire twice a week and I have noticed a TON of new cab companies operating there.  The problems mentioned in this article are exactly what Calgary wanted to avoid when they established the Taxi Commission.  As a commercial insurance broker, I wonder if these Airdrie Taxi's are actually carrying the proper type of insurance, which could be a huge legal issue to the City of Airdrie as they seem pretty slack on their regulations.  ( But again, this can be saved for another post!)

So during the Christmas Party season approaches, be sure to think about this issue and post your thoughts!



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Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Fun!

 Friday!  Day of the intelligent blog post of the week.  This video was forwarded to me by fellow blogger The Alberta Altruist as a reminder to use my Friday blog properly! 

It is quite funny, but shows how silly some of our stereotypes are.  But sorry, no sympathy for terrorists ( real or imaginary) on this site today.

Happy Friday!


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Monday, November 9, 2009

Make It Your Problem!

  I had the opportunity to volunteer some time this morning at an amazing charity called " Brown Bagging For Calgary's Kids Society" or BB4CK.  I must confess that I was quite moved by the experience and thought that I should share my thoughts with everyone.

 I met BB4CK executive director Bob McInnis through twitter, then a few days later at a Charity golf event he was volunteering at.  I was pretty impressed with the organization and Bob himself, so I decided to donate some time.  I must say that the experience was fun and rewarding at the same time, which is pretty hard to say for most volunteer work.

 What really shocked me was the level of demand that BB4CK meets.  It is really sad to me that in a city as wealthy as Calgary, there are thousands of children that go hungry in this city.  My wife is a teacher and she has always told me that lack of proper nutrition leads to decreased concentration in school, lack of attention and reduced academic performance.  By meeting the nutrition needs of these children, BB4CK is actually making a difference in their lives.  Today, we made over 1500 lunches. 1500!

We take for granted something as simple as having a bag lunch available for our kids.

  As a child that grew up with modest economic means, I can appreciate what they are trying to accomplish here.  As an adult, I am thankful that I have the resources to contribute time and money to excellent charities like this each month. 

I would really encourage everyone to check out their website and consider donating some of your time and/or cash.

Make It Your Problem!

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Survivor: Red Deer.. Ed Stelmach PC Leadership Vote

  As you can tell, I am not graphically gifted!  If I was, I would have changed the slogan to "Outvote - Outwait - Outlast"

 With the Alberta PC party convention approaching this Saturday, much has ( or had, up until this week) been said about the future of Premier Stelmach's future as the leader of the Alberta PC Party, pending the result of his mandatory leadership review.  While I have made my thoughts clear on this on a previous post, I was thinking about what Ed must be feeling after watching the latest episode of Survivor tonight!

 If you are familiar with the show, you know that at the end of each episode the "tribe" is required to vote off one of their members by secret ballot. ( sound familiar?)    Usually, the person voted out falls into one of the following categories:

  •  Weakest Player

  •  Bossiest Player

  •  Strongest Competitor

  •  Player that just does not fit.

 The Tribe may not always get it right, but they ultimately hold the power as to how long you stay in the game!  Sometime people forget this key fact and act like they have never ending  immunity, to their own peril.

Often, you will get a player that is very nice and unassuming that just flies under the radar and wins the whole prize!  Other times, people just need a scapegoat and want to punish someone to protect their own position in the government, oops.. I meant game.

You also find that once a player realizes that their head is on the chopping block, they will "scramble" around the island and try to convince enough people to vote for them so they can stay in the game. While I am not sure if this is happening to Ed, I can confirm that no one was really pushing me to attend the PC convention this weekend, nor have I seen any "urgency" in getting delegates to attend. This leads me to believe two things:

1) This PC board member's delegate vote was not important to the party as they likely have a bus full of waiting delegates.

2)  The party is confident that they have enough support votes to support Ed, thus  will avoid a blindside vote at tribal council on Saturday!

Either way, this weekends event will make for excellent political drama and discussion.  And come Saturday...

"The tribe will have spoken!"

Good Luck....


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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ron Liepert really should hire this guy for H1N1 Communications

"Bartle-Doo" indeed! 

  With all of the Government of Alberta's miscommunication about the H1N1 Flu Vaccinations, I thought that they may want to consider hiring "Mumbles" the cowboy as their new spokesperson.  I am sure that he will do a much better job at communicating the next wave of  Flu propaganda.  I for one seem to be have an easier time understanding ol'Mumbles better than our current government representatives.

 This just may work.....

Also, remember when 10 days ago when all of the blogs were on fire over Ed Stelmach's leadership review?  That all seemed to die down once the H1N1 fiasco hit.  I am not one for conspiracy theories...but you never know!   I wonder what effect this will have on his review, if any?  Times of crisis and mismanagement call for strong leadership as it helps distinguish mistakes from incompetence and unfortunately, many people that I talk to are not sure which side our government falls on.

Something has got to give.


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Canadian Blog Awards 2009

I was going to do a post on H1N1, but to be honest....I am just getting "sick" of hearing about it.  ( Ha...Ha...ahem.) 

Anyways, I see that the nominations for the 2009 Canadian Blog Awards are now open and I hope that everyone will make a push for an Alberta blogger.   Personally, I think that there are many top notch bloggers in Alberta that likely do not get "national" attention, so I believe it is important to ensure they do not get missed.

 Bloggers like daveberta, E.S, Werner Patels and DJ Kelly actually peaked my interest and got me off the couch and into this blog, so I am nominating them for the award.  I also love the fact  that there is a "new" batch of bloggers that have joined me this year, including The Alberta Altruist and Politicalgary, each who add a fresh perspective to the local blog scene.  I would not be surprised to see any of the above on the nomination list.

 Anyways, take a minute and nominate your favorite blogs.  It literally takes 20 seconds!

The link is here

Now go wash your hands....


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