Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sled Island : Wednesday to Friday Review

My Wednesday of Sled Island starts with a panicked call from the dispatch office hoping I can start my volunteer shift early in order to pick up some media types at the airport for 415. Fortunately I finished work early this day in order to make it in time for my 4 pm start as a driver for the fest. I rush to pick up a vehicle and head to the airport only to run smack dab into the parking lot known during rush hour as Deerfoot Frustration Trail. Unable to collect my charges in time I am called to pick up Biblical to take em to their hotel after they realize that their billeted sight is sooooo far away from everything. Stop off for Tubby Dogs. Nice enough guys from Toronto. Oops, i called them Bible. They didn't seem too perturbed.

Pick up BJ Snowden who I want to adopt as my other-mother. Such a sweet, sweet woman! She was so very excited to play in Alberta, having played the maritimes the prior year and thus getting closer to playing each province across our great land. I hope that the bug I planted in her ear to play the Winnipeg Folk Festival will help her to cross Manitoba off her list soon. She asked "how would one get in touch with the right people to make that happen?" I wish I would have had an answer.  I would have loved to have seen her show but instead have to pick up Wild Nothing who were a little put off by the crowd at Central United Church sitting throughout the entirety of the show. I still don't get why people would prefer to sit their asses down instead of dancing and enjoying the rhythm for which they have paid to hear!

Get to see part of Chali 2na perform to a full house. He asks the crowd, "who likes music?" woah! "who likes rap music?" woah! "who likes the music they play on the radio?" hiss, boo, blah! "Well then tune into Chali 2na radio!" He is also a very affable person, eager to shake hands, shoot the shit, and sign autographs. Now finished my driving shift I am eager to check out some music so return my vehicle in order to exchange it for my own.

I head to the Distillery but, sadly, just miss Dum Dum Girls. (sigh!) and hear that this may have been the show of Sled. But this is just the 1st day! I meet up with Campbell and the rest of the music crew and we head off to the Palamino to see Crocodiles. However Friendo is playing and making us lust for better music. I convince the crew to check out Man Man, whose exciting live show I had discovered at last year's Calgary Folk Fest. I would later hear from the Greenhorns that they were also quite happy to see their friends in Man Man perform. Musicians were often seen checking out others shows throughout the festival.  Calgary so rarely sports so many celeb sightings. Back to Crocodiles who played to a smallish crowd and rocked the Palamino, despite starting out visibly upset at the sound guy, a theme that would repeat throughout the 4 days of sled.

Having had to start the day prior quite early in order to get a full day in for work followed by my shift driving for Sled and ending in the late night Crocodiles show I was too pooped to attend Sled Thursday. This despite my strong desire to see Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo, the Dum Dum Girls, Zola Jesus, Bison b.c., Blonde Redhead, and BJ Snowdon. But my good buddy from the peg Cooney is coming into town tomorrow and I KNOW that I am going to have to save up my energy for what is about to prevail. Besides, another wonderful thing about this festival is the ability to catch acts you want to see at various different times as they (mostly) play multiple sets.

Once Cooney shows up at my doorstep (bringing a two four of Standard, the best beer made exclusively for Manitobans ever in tow) we head down to meet up with Campbell for a little comedy. Neil Hamburger takes the stage looking like a greased comb over middle aged man in a 2nd hand suit with geeky Buddy Holly-esq glasses. A shock jock who tries to disgust the audience by making gross throat noises and SCREAMS out a succession of one-liners  "WHYYYYYY! Don't rapists eat at TGIFridays?" Why? "It is hard to want to rape when you have a stomach ache!" Slinging insults to and fro at celebs and the crowd, especially those who are offended by his line of comedy and vacate the premises. Over all he had some dandy jokes but the most entertaining moment of the evening was when one lady who had left the venue returned, obviously upset at whatever name he had slung at her and assaulted Neil Hamburger, throwing numerous punches, a drink, and then a glass in his face. The crowd was shocked and failed to react for quite sometime until someone stepped in and pulled the young lady from the stage. Taking things in stride Mr Hamburger went right back to his schtick. I wouldn't doubt if he had similar reactions to his off-putting comedy before.

With something exciting to talk about we head to Olympic Plaza Main Site to catch Sleep and a beer. A positive change for this year's Sled is to not be sequestered to a small corner for the beer garden and instead be able to enjoy the music with a view of the stage. From here we hit the Palomino for what would end up being my pick as the show of Sled, Quest for Fire who pulled out an amazing set despite also starting off with a few technical difficulties with the sound guy. This quartet hails from Toronto and satiated my psychadelic rock needs. Well, almost satiated. For the rest of the night I would be chasing the high that these guys had provided me with. In talking to singer Chad Ross after the show I would find out that they would be playing again the following night at the Beatroute after party. I make a mental note to be there whatever it takes.

We return to the #1 Legion hoping to see Kurt Vile and the Violators but those without a VIP bracelet were unable to gain entrance. So we ended up splitting up, Anil staying put, Campbell heading for the UK's Alberta Cross, and Cooney with myself off to the Distillery to catch Winnipeg's own Royal Canoe of whom I had heard much about from members of both Flying Fox and the Hunter Gatherers and the (now defunct) Paperbacks. Unfortunately their show failed to impress, not only for my bar set high aspirations but also Cooney's. So we hop the C train to head to the packed Dicken's to see the Crocodiles only to just miss them and instead catch a disappointing Deer Tick.

Multi-stage music festivals are a keen combination with my persona as they provide me with an abundance of good music (which feeds my soul) and also allows for my ADD mind to jump from act to act. I love a plethora of styles of music, musicians, venues, instruments, and crowds. It takes quite a thunderous performance for me to stay in any one place for too long. As such, we ditch Deer Tick (getting another drink there would have taken far too long anyway) in order to hit up Electric Six. Tired and still in my Quest for Fire experience I am less than enthused by the fun rockers from Detroit Rock City. But Cooney has a dancing good time. At the end of which I suggest that we hit the after party but with sage like wisdown Cooney suggests we head home for the night and save our energies for our full day of music to come. Yeah, for those who know him you heard right. It was COONEY who suggested we hold back. WTF?! haha

Friday, May 20, 2011

torrential downpours in your polluted mega cities of degeneration and perennially crumbling concrete

windshield whipers can't go fast enough
to keep your smut off my face
its probably my fault
for keeping my eyes n ears so wide open
i am too good a sponge
i suck up so much
then need to expunge
do it all again
n all i retain is the dirt


i lived an unsure adolescence. i latched onto the first form of sustenance to come my way. i enjoyed a set plan. then it fell out from underneath me. i pretended to pull myself back together. walked the walk. talked the talk. but i had no idea where i was going. that was ok. i found everything i cud need to numb my brain from ever wondering aloud: "what the hell am i doing?" that didn't matter, i didn't care to care.i lived in the prime.made bad decisions. top of the mtn top. i avoided feeling feelings. it was better that way. but it couldn't last. had my brain been attached where my head was supposed to be i would have recognized the warning signs. i jeapordized my life. i mortgaged my soul. but that didn't matter to me. until one day i woke up beside a brooke n realized i had no idea where i was. who i was. i started looking under rocks and pebbles to find a clue. i wandered down the stream to hope for some sign of civilization. i refused to meet the gaze of the animals for fear they might talk to me.i was blinded by the sun, moon, n stars. i turned my back to search for answers. i stood amidst the gulf of people, in the heart of their concrete jungle sorely praying one would pluck me out, make it all make sense. in silence i yelled for recognition. but, had a hand picked me up and told me exactly what i needed to know, i still wouldn't have gotten it. no one could have explained that what i really needed was simple understanding. i wasn't lost all that time. i was right where i needed to be.i wasted a lot of time looking for a simple frame of mind. now i just want to return to that brook, listen to the animals, bask in the sun, appreciate the moon and stars.

the more people i meet the more alone i feel

the larger the city the greater the emptiness

Abolish the Canadian Senate!

It is high time Canada abolished the senate. How someone can be a continual loser in an election yet be awarded a lifetime position of power is beyond me. Stephen Harper has long said he wanted to reform the senate. Yet no change has been made. During these tough economic times I would suggest that abolishing the pointless upper house would save the GoC millions..each year! With 105 members earning approx $135k/yr the savings would be instantaneous. Additionally, this would save from having old hat politics subvert current day political tides. The senate, in effect, has a veto power over bills passed by the house. And since the senate is hand picked by the PM the majority of its members represent the party who has the longest control over parliament. Abolishing the senate would allow for the elected make up of the government to accurately represent its citizens. (Well, it would if we had proportional representation but that is another argument). Now some may argue that the upper house serves a valuable service in that they conduct research for the govt which the lower house does not have time to commit to. And currently this is true, our elected house of commons are lazy sobs (& dobs). But the lower house COULD conduct the same valuable research if it was required to ACTUALLY WORK while in session (and by being in session I mean not being pointlessly prorogued and given ridiculous amounts of vacation time as is currently provided).

 Did you know that MPs and Senators are permitted 21 days of absence from days when their house is in session? Considering how little they actually sit in session it should be nearly impossible for them to miss that many days! YET our lazy p...oliticians are routinely fined for missing greater than 21 days. The imposing fine they face? $250 per days. At $135k per year (low end) each day's pay is $370. And to further mask their attendance MP's have their records voluntarily self reported and are NOT admissible to the public record, Canadians will never know how little their elected MP actually shows up

Saturday, April 16, 2011


sometimes you hope for something..anything. but really, you can't be all that surprised when you get notta, nothing.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Does Cutting Corporate Taxes Really Translate Into More Jobs?

In the last number of years the Conservative government has been touting that them reducing the taxes paid by corporations is good for Canada. The argument they make is that if corporations are paying less money on their income that they will surely reinvest these funds into making more jobs for Canadians. And if more Canadians have jobs then THEY can pay more income tax themselves, not to mention more personal spending, thus resulting in no net loss to the federal coffers, more employed individuals, and a stimulated economy. It is the age old Top to Bottom Trickle Down Effect. Only problem is that you are relying on corporations to do their part and create more jobs. Corporations are, by the nature of capitalism, concerned about their bottom lines. They have investors to answer to. If the corporation doesn't boost per share dividends for investors their share value can erode. If there is less demand for their shares than the company loses its market value which is instrumental in their ability to issue bonds to have debts and major spending ventures secured against. So why should a company suddenly given an extra 2% of income reinvest this into jobs? Surely some companies who are expanding will do so. But they likely would have done so regardless.

Well, just in time for the federal election the Conservatives have released attack ads aimed at the Liberal party stating that the Cons have increased jobs whereas the Libs would increase taxes. Truth be told, the Libs WOULD increase taxes. But on corporations, not the public. The Lib argument is that our original levels of 18% are very competitive with the world market place. Their is no need to have the lowest corporate tax rates in the world. In fact, not many, if any, major international head offices have relocated to Canada to take advantage of our lower rates. And now the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a study which shows that despite a 50% increase in profits and a 20% decrease in corporate taxes paid 198 of Canada's leading companies were BELOW the national average of 6 per cent employment growth between 2005 and 2010! So, even though their profits increased during this time, and they were allowed to keep more of these profits, they reinvested LESS into the labour market, growing by only 5%. Throw in that the job market took a stutter step this month by shedding 1500 jobs instead of gaining the 30 000 economists had expected and you get the feeling that corporations aren't playing the way the Harper regime suggest they should be. Perhaps it is time that we stop molly coddling big business and instead provide support to the people who need it most during these economic down turns, the individual consumer.


Did you know that one of the world's largest corporations GE made $150 billion in revenue with $12 billion in net profit in 2010 and yet paid NO taxes? Not only were they able to avoid paying a single penny to the US government but they did so while shedding thousands of labour positions in the United States. They were able to do this by successfully lobbying the US government for tax breaks and by writing their profits as off shore income. Maybe it is time for us to clamp down on these big businesses and keep them from having too much clout in their roles in government and defining acceptable accounting practices.