Editor's Musings

On August 9th, John Prine, a two time Grammy-winner, singer-songwriter, among the English language’s premier phrase-turners with music relevant to any age, was scheduled to perform in the Jack Singer Hall in Calgary - and someone had bought me a ticket. Unfortunately, the 72 year old (Oct 10, 1946) had a medical problem - heart I think - and cancelled until June 4th, 2020 same place.

Ticket prices vary from one supplier to another but at the vividseats.com site, they start at $172 USD and climb to $324 USD.

Cancelled but I already had my plane ticket so I went west.

I have a credit card that gathers points, I think one point for every dollar I spend. Part of the plan is that for 25,000 points plus tax (usually about $142), I can fly return anywhere in North America. There are limited flights so if you want the ideal travel arrangement, you should prepare at least 6 months in advance. I didn’t so I had to take what was available.

On Thursday, August 8th, I left my truck with brother Charles who dropped me at the Barrie Go Station for the 7:15 am train to Union Station.

At 9:06 I disembarked, walked out unto Front Street, Toronto, stood looking at the Fairmont Hotel, walked to the left hand side of it and just around the corner saw the ‘Complementary’ bus that takes you for the 10-15 minute ride to the Centre Island Billy Bishop Toronto Airport.

Following the crowd, I skipped the five minute ferry ride which runs every 30 minutes - sometimes 15 minutes -  and took to the tunnel underneath. In conversation with another gentleman, he said to come with him. So when some people were taking the escalator, we went to an elevator. After, as we walked down the hall, he said to take a left/right/straight ahead and he parted through a door that I didn’t even see. I guess he was an employee.

Getting into the terminal was effortless, I have steel in my leg, and when I passed the scanner, it did not even go into the alert mode. The waiting room is about the size of a hockey ice surface, and there are maybe only three gates out of there. Not sure!

The two main airlines are Porter and Air Canada who has an agreement with the airport for some flights. Everything out of the BB airport are propeller planes as neighbours / residents thought jets were noisier so they have been outlawed.

We flew to Montreal, landed at gate 1 and I hustled to get to gate 51 for the next flight. I arrived in Calgary about an hour after Margaret Ann who purchased her own tickets because she was going to a convention in Calgary. I do believe the cost of her tickets are paid for by one of her organizations and although she scrimps on the cost as best she can, she (after some 50-100 flights) knows more about flying than me.

Eight days later I came home Air Canada Rouge. It was suggested I download the Air Canada app and thru the wifi  offered on the plane (no tv screens), I could watch movies, tv shows and documentaries. There was no place to plug in my phone/ipad/laptop so be prepared.

A year ago in Alberta, I was there. One day, the temperature climbed to almost 40. On this trip, one day was above 20 and mornings started with a temp of well below 10. Since arriving home, I heard there were front warnings out there on the weekend past.

Margaret Ann and I rode the motorcycle to Canmore and back (180 kms) and got hit with six intermittent rainfalls. The best day of all was on Thursday and that was the day we moved her into the Hyatt Regency in downtown Calgary so missed out on a day of riding.

Among the highlights was taking my daughter-in-law to the Legion on Friday at 5 for the draws and eats. Jessie is well known for her participation/overseeing part of the operations at the Rec Centre. We no more than stepped in the door and were invited to sit down with three couples and totally enjoyed ourselves.

Her dad passed 10 years ago and she inherited a 6 cylinder, 1956 Chevrolet Biscayne, 4 door sedan which became my grandson’s when he turned 16. In 10 years, the car put on 248 miles. Tim (my son) says the power steering and brakes don’t work, the power locks, windows and seats aren’t operational, the AC does not work and along with other problems (gas gauge, one door doesn’t always open), it has no seatbelts. Of course Tim. None of those items existed then.

But he said take it for a ride and see what kind of reaction you get. Continually, where ever I stopped, someone would walk up and ask / admire and if they were my age, guess the year (first year of dual headlights) and the engine that was probably in it. Usually, they had a little story as well.

I always have a good time out there. There is no rush and as long as I look after my emails as best I can, life is relaxing. I don’t have any specific plans as yet but maybe I‘ll go for another week in September, or later October, or November or....

 

In the line of ‘Not Likely!”, the President of the United States says he is interested in buying Greenland. He is being ridiculed for even suggesting it. But in 1867, Andrew Jackson was the president. Newspapers were merciless in deriding him for even suggesting the US buy Alaska. $7.2 million later - can anyone look back and suggest it was a ridiculous thing to do.

 

Climate crazies & green activists are at it again Meat eaters should be banished from eating inside restaurants to the outside with smokers to prevent #climate change. The age of insanity has arrived.

 

Self serve checkouts - we were into a Walmart in our neighbourhood here. There was a lineup at the old check out mythology. There are only a few available and like many stores, not all of them were open. Meanwhile, at the self check out stations, only a few were being used and the one helper was busy with one confused customer while another waited for some help.

In Cochrane, Alberta, the Walmart has no self serves but I was told there were a few in Calgary.

I asked about it in a Costco and was told they had tried some but the customers did not like them so they had divested themselves of the liability.

Occasionally, I have seen an amusing comment were it says that if I wanted to check myself out, I could sit on the computer and shop Amazon.

Will the self serve system be successful?

When the bank in Elmvale got the ATM machine at its entrance, I was one of the people that said I’d never use it but gradually, it became the main way I deposited checks and withdrew money. Then there was not any work for the tellers, they became liabilities and the bank closed. Who would have guessed?

 

The best way to reveal the fraud of the AGW alarmists is to point out how wrong their forecasts have been during the last 30-40 yrs. That’s why they keep moving the time for disaster to 10-20 yrs.+ into the future. Would you trust your money to an analyst who is always wrong?

Cochrane, Alberta with a population of 30,000 people has 14 liquor (beer and spirits) stores when you google liquor stores. Their legal hours are from 10 am to 12 midnight but most run a 10 to 10 schedule. The price is not controlled by the government so a case of 24 Bud Light could cost $35 in one store and $40 in another.  When you get to the counter, there is the 5% GST plus a 10 cent per can/bottle deposit fee refundable when you take them back to the recycling store.

They have one Cannabis store open and the okay has been given for six more. The wheels of government - red tape - don’t always operate as fast as one would wish. All six of these applicants have their stores prepared and are paying their rent and other costs but with no income as yet, in some cases, finances are a little strained.

 

Thank you for the current warm period. It is much improved over the early 1970s when the world was cooler and everyone was afraid the next ice age was starting.

 

This morning, on CBC, the young gentleman was asked if he knew how to drive a stick shift as apparently, in the US of A, there has been a surge in the purchases of standard geared vehicles versus automatics. He didn’t!

That got me thinking.

The first vehicle I drove was a 1946 VA Case tractor with four gears forward and obviously reverse.

Then we had the David Browns with two ranges and three gears ahead.

Dad had an Owatonna Swather with two levers and the more you pushed them forward, the faster you went.

The first car I drove was the three on a tree standard shift then we got a truck that has a 4 speed standard transmission.

Then the 68 Firebird had a 4 speed Muncie transmission.

Our next swather, the Versatile, had a hydrostatic drive so the more you pushed the one lever on you right, the other hand was on the steering wheel, the faster you went.

We had an old truck with two shift levers and I think it had 18 speeds. As you shifted up or down, you shifted both levers on almost every gear change.

Another truck I drove has a little pin on the gear shift and you pulled it up or pushed it down for whatever range you wanted to be in.

An army truck we had was an automatic, the same as a 9 speed automatic grader I once operated.

The 870 Case we had was a shuttle shift. You would put it in gear and thru the shuttle, there were three speeds per gear.

The ATVs we have had were either a three speed or four speed and the motorcycles have varied between four speeds all the way to six speeds.

So Charles, do you remember driving some of them?