Kitchener-Waterloo, Now With Only One Season

There is a long standing Canadian joke that goes something like this. There are two seasons in Canada, winter and construction.

Things happen to a city when it gets big. It’s often said that the biggest cities never sleep. Well that seems far off for K-W, its full metro area has only 500 000 people. But it is beginning to build a light rail transit system and that seems to have pushed the city into one season. That season is construction.

Oh, we still have winter. We’re just finishing one of the coldest Februaries on record. But the ongoing construction for the light rail continued this month last month and indeed never stopped even when the snow started building up on the ground. And I think seeing the light rail workers never stopping inspired a city.

I know of at least two big roofing projects that carried on into this month. One occurred on a residential town house complex and one happened on a bowling alley. That’s right, roofers had to work all winter long so far. I can see that happening in previous years, where the roofer might put in a temporary patch that everyone hopes lasts until spring. But these two developments seemed to involve the complete or almost the complete job. I didn’t know roofers were so ambitious. Slips and falls are more likely with ice and snow and yet the workers braved those conditions.

Maybe I would have let all this construction lie but off of the future route of the LRT I noticed more outdoor construction at Bleams and Manitou. I don’t think this project is a broken water main (another acceptable outdoor construction activity in winter). Once again there is more outdoor construction this winter.

And lastly (although this seems to happen in any city that gets such projects), outdoor construction continues in the high rises that were partially built last summer and have continued unabated all winter.

So there you have it. Kitchener-Waterloo is now always under construction. It’s supposed to get busier in the spring when they shut down major amounts of King Street (the main street) for up to eighteen months. You heard me. That eighteen months means the same thing is going to happen over next winter.

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CEOs as DJs of the Business World

A “successful” CEO will try to limit her lowest level employees to less-than-inflation wage increases. After all these employees should have gotten better education and skills. It’s their fault that no one at the top speaks for them.

Then the math goes something like this. A CEO will have to make the tough decision of giving herself a million dollar raise for the year, or give her lowest employees a dollar an hour wage increase. That’s $2000 a year for each of the lowest ranked employees. Big corporations will have a thousand or more hourly wage serfs. That means at least a 2 million dollar increase in expenditures for the company. Suddenly that million dollar increase for the CEO sounds cheap.

So the CEO will have saved the company a million dollars by giving herself that exorbitant raise yet not permitting a significant increase to the hourly wage serf. Now she can report how she made the difficult decision that saved the company at least a million dollars. Now she can put in to the board of directors that maybe she deserves a bonus as well.

Shenanigans like this are easy to do if you have the power. This is of course a simple mock up of the real situation. But I don’t think the real thing is too far off from this. Why else would corporations cry with such hurt and anger every time a minimum wage increase is upcoming?

So how do CEOs rationalize this behaviour to themselves? I think they like to compare themselves with DJs.

Rare is the club that has live bands anymore. Most of them have DJs these days. With today’s equipment, a DJ can make her music sound almost as good as a live band.

Let’s say a live band has four members. A DJ can make as much money as two of the musicians and still be seen as a bargain. The DJ is happy and so is the club. Maybe the club is like the shareholders.

This isn’t that good of an analogy because the musicians have joined the unemployment line. But let’s say the DJ and musicians have a normal job as well. Anything they make at the club is just an increase in their pay.

Like a DJ the CEO makes people dance.

But wait a second, musicians can make people dance and some clubs still hire musicians, too.

Well some businesses absolutely require skilled employees, even at the lowest rungs of their corporate hierarchy. These businesses would be the clubs that still hire musicians. And some companies are partly controlled by unions of their employees who can also make the people dance.

Don’t forget that CEOs think they know what’s best for their customers. So, too, DJs think they speak for all their audience. Neither does, so perhaps the analogy holds even further.

I know I wouldn’t mind a musician or four in more clubs. Perhaps, too, more corporations with an eye for what the lowest rungs of their hierarchy are doing and need, would be better. Maybe DJ/CEO culture has reached its highest popularity.

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Possible Names for NHL Canadian Expansion Teams

Most Canadians are aware that Gary Bettman, the NHL commisioner is mostly against expansion into new Canadian markets. But I think I have a way to entice him. All we have to do is come up with wonderful names for those expansion clubs.

Let’s start with Quebec City. This city once housed an NHL team and if Winnipeg is any guide, that gives this city an edge in getting an expansion team.

Sure they had the Nordiques but I say Quebec holds fertile ground for club naming. You see it is French speaking. Most will agree that the English speaking world has so many sports teams that it is nigh on impossible to find a new, tough animal to name English teams after. There are so many fewer professional teams in the French speaking world that I think they can come up with ones new to French. I say we call them the Seals. In French that would be Les Phoque. This rhymes with Hey Toque.

The province of Quebec simply does not have any other large cities besides Montreal and Quebec. So let’s continue our search for new club names in English Canada. Let’s start out east in the Maritimes’ largest market – Halifax.

If the English speaking world can’t have unique animal names, I say that we should name them after hockey specific words.

Now Maritimers enjoy a good alliteration, so the hockey word that jumps out at me is the penalty called hooking. Now someone who hooks is called a hooker. So I say we name the team the Halifax Hookers. Since a hockey stick is basically a long, bent shaft, hooking is one of the natural movements of the sport.

The Toronto market is so big it seems ripe for a second team. Now Torontonians will want a really central sounding name for their team. I think that city will name their team after something integral to hockey, like the puck. I think they will be known as the Puckers. There’s a possibility that their opponents might be pucked. But if they follow in the footsteps of the Maple Leafs, their team might be pucked when playoff time comes.

Rumours of Hamilton getting a team have been around for years. I imagine this team being big and bruising. As such I wouldn’t be surprised if they were named the Body Checkers. They would live up to their names and this is how I see it happening. Before each game, instead of drills, they would watch the arena fill up. As such, the team would be the ones to have the binoculars. But they are the Body Checkers and when you look at a full arena crowd, all you see are heads. So, they would refuse to start the game until the audience fills up the seats by standing on their heads. Women in skirts would dress knowing this pregame tradition. As such, no more skin would be seen on a skirt wearer than you can see in women’s figure skating.

My city, Kitchener, would get the Five Holes. When asked what this means for this team, only the goalie would speak up. “From my vantage I see five teammates. Just to ensure that I mostly see unmentinable holes, when my team returns from the other end, they usually skate backwards.” And that is the embarrassing story about Kitchener’s future team.

London is the other Ontario city that I think will soon be able to draw enough people to professional games. I see them naming their team after an important hockey term. They would be the Big Dekes. But wait a second, in hockey sometimes a little deke is just as good. Because Londoners, too, like their alliterations, I think their team will be known as the London Little Dekes.

And there we have it. Six names for possible Canadian hockey clubs. I think they are so enticing that even Gary Bettman will want to let Canada have a lucky thirteen teams.

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The English Springboard

English sounds like the ideal place to start when learning another language, especially a European language. This is because English steals words from other languages. Indeed this can be seen by the mere fact English has more words than many other languages. So if you live in relatively far away Russia, English has adapted a word or two in just recent times with glasnost and perestroika.

When learning a second language, common words between the languages are the easiest to decipher. Since English has so many of these springboards to other languages you would think many English speakers might learn a second language or two.

But it’s just the opposite. We anglophones sit in our ivory towers of English and demand that the rest of the world learn English. Because of this and other reasons, English has become a world language. It is, for example, the language of aviation.

I live in English speaking Canada. Although we have French as another official languge, the English speaker that bothers to learn that language well is rare. But the majority of French people in Canada have learned at least passable English. Of course we English-only Canadians are limiting ourselves. It is unlikely that a speaker of English-only would ever be able to become prime minister.

I think the fact that we know others will bother to learn English allows us to be lazy. We can pretend we are the centre of the world till along comes a book, movie or song from another language that is judged to be so good that even English speakers hear about its presence. But then do we try to meet this awesome art on its own terms? No, we wait for the translation, the overdub, the subtitles or the English cover.

I know some of you are thinking that the springboard works when learning English, too. Most of those foreign languages have a few words in common with English so the newcomer to English has a slightly easier job of learning the language.

I used to think that I’m saving my brain for more important things than language. That’s why English has become such a world language. We’ve saved our brains for other things and that’s why there is such a flowering of English in the arts, sciences and fine arts.

But an older me realizes that if no English speaker learns another language, than there will be many unbreakable ciphers that not any English speaker can break. Getting rid of books and information about learning other languages might be easy, and that would cement our ignorance.

I know you might think of this as being far fetched. Of course someone in the English speaking world will bother learning a second language. But what if those that bothered throw in with the non native speakers of English? Learning only English could be our downfall. They could speak right in front of us and we wouldn’t have a clue what they’re saying. Or they could speak directly in front of us and we would only be able to understand only those few words that are the same in English.

English only policies just aren’t wise in the long run.

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Football Creep

The Super Bowl is tomorrow so of course this post mentions something about that. But it will be later in the post. For now let’s discuss that other “football”. In another word, I mean soccer.

Major League Soccer is the premier league for soccer in North America. And at least 3 teams sport the moniker FC. What could that harmless FC in the name Toronto FC mean? Those innocuous letters stand for Football Club. And that is the football creep I am referring to in my title.

In North America the word football is reserved for either American football or Canadian football, both of which are very similar and use a two pointed ball. To me, the use of the term football club in soccer is the first salvo from an anti North American group.

Just what group is this? Looking at my own city’s semi professional soccer team’s name, we can discover something. They are the K-W United FC. Anyone who has any inkling about British soccer knows that they got the United from the team Manchester United in Britain.

So the usage of FC to represent soccer teams probably comes from Europe. As a patriotic North American, all I can say to them is stop the football creep and go back to your own continent.

But I believe that the Europeans posing as North Americans have another salvo at the ready. They are just looking around for another name for football so at long last soccer will be able to carry that title. They are looking around for anything easily identifiable with football and that is where the Super Bowl comes in. I think they are going to try calling football by the name “Superbowling”.

But so as not to cause confusion, especially amongst the other Bowls, like the Rose Bowl and others, I believe the name will get shortened to just bowling. Which is the name of another sport, once again. I think this will lead to an interesting progression.

With ten pin bowling, five pin bowling, lawn bowling, American bowling, and Canadian bowling, it will be obvious that most sports already have bowling in the title. Thus, all other sports will be referred to as bowling, too. Including soccer.

So those of you FC supporters that don’t go back to Europe, will lose as surely as the rest of us. So just let your football creep go, now, before all sports are harmed.

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Just How Mutated Were Cinderella’s Feet?

For the sake of argument, lets assume that Cinderella’s feet looked like those of a normal young woman. If that is the case, the only way her foot would be different than the other subjects of her country would be if they were extremely large or extremely small.

There is correlation between foot size and height. For her feet to be at either extreme, Cinderella would be either quite short or quite tall. Short or tall enough that she would look mismatched with a regular sized monarch. Short or tall enough that a huge search of the kingdom would be very short lived.

No, Cinderella must have had odd feet in another way.

Some of you are already thinking like me that corns, bunions, warts or pimples might have made her glass slipper unique in the kingdom. But most of these afflictions turn men away from the pursuit of the afflicted women. That is usually one of the reasons women try to rid themselves of these problems. There is, however, a possibility the prince had a fetish for one of these conditions. To avoid the question of why this is, we will simply ignore that possibility.

Perhaps she had an odd number of toes. That would make her feet unique. But in many superstitious olden times, an extra digit or three could lead to being burned alive.

Perhaps her stepsisters had cruelly cut off one of her toes. But that would likely lead to Cinderella seeking the king’s justice which would have likely led her to having already met the prince.

The only other way I can think of for Cinderella’s feet and the glass slipper to be oddly shaped was that she was in dire need of orthotics. Which would mean that the cruelty of her step sisters and step mother would have been magnified by having to perform hard labour with ill prepared feet.

Then when Cinderella was given the correcting, orthotic glass slipper, smiles must have come easy to her that night. At last, dancing would have been a breeze and something she suddenly greatly enjoyed. All of which helped bewitch the prince.

Yes, yes. Cinderella’s glass slippers must have been orthotics, specially made for just her feet.

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Let’s Chuck the Royal Family


When Queen Elizabeth II passes on the role of being our head of government to her son, Prince Charles, that would be an excellent time for Canada to depose the royal family of Britain from being the titular head of our country.

Look, if we must have a royal family, we should make it representative of our country. So how do you have a titular head of government that truly represents a cultural mosaic? Any permanent choice for king or queen is going to cause controversy.

Quite simply the new royal family might only rule for a year. Each year a fair lottery could be held throughout the land where every adult citizen who is not in jail would be entered. $10 or $20 for every citizen could be put in a pot from the government. That would amount to 300 to 600 million dollars per year. That money would be spent on the drawn winner and their family and maybe a close friend or three, say 20 lucky people.

About 200 to 400 million dollars would be spent in automatic ways for upkeep and running of homes and vehicles. The rest of the money could be spent by our king or queen, however they see fit.

It would be a sort of Brewster’s Millions thing. The winner can spend it but if they have anything to show for it, it gets taken over by the royal family trust. The money would have to be spent by the end of the year. If not the remainder will go to a registered charity or charities of the monarch’s choice.

The monarch and the twenty family members or friends they choose to bring with them will leave at the end of the year but will be given a competitive salary for their time. This money would come out of the automatic upkeep money.

The jobs of the monarch and up to twenty others will be held open for them for the next year. So they can live out the rest of their lives with no net loss to themselves.

In case of an overspender that manages to spend all of the money, the royal family can do ribbon cuttings, etc. for the extra money it might bring in.

We can do it Canada. We can make the monarchy fun. And every year, a new face would be struck on our coins. Any former monarch will have reminders of the time they had.

Plus we can stick our tongues out at the Americans. Not only did we get rid of the British royal family without a war, we also have our own possible tourist attraction.

And lastly, for all you monarchists out there, don’t worry about never seeing your precious British royal family again. The proof is in their continued visits south of the border.

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What Happens in Vegas …

We’ve all heard the marketing line about Vegas that only grows through the years. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. And I say of course it does. Because the casinos there ply you with free alcohol.

Maybe I can’t attest to the effects of alcohol on you. But for a number of years I would drink with my one friend while watching a movie. The starts of all those movies are still fixed in my mind. But I couldn’t tell you what happened at the endings. I did not stop watching any of the movies. I didn’t drink so much that I ended up ‘partying till I puked’. Enough alcohol to just feel fine deeply affects my memory.

I’ve even used this knowledge over the past couple years. If I want time to proceed faster I simply have a six pack. Oh, it’s not blacking out if you were wondering, I just easily forget more ordinary things. I forget say 3 out of 4 things, so when I look back it’s like a quarter of the time has passed. But 4/4ths of time has actually passed.

It’s almost a time travel thing – an ignorant time travel. Or a fast forward button. But one must use caution. You’re not banking that 3/4 of time. You are out and out losing it. So I suggest you don’t do this frequently.

We’ve all heard that alcohol affects every person differently. But a large percentage of drinkers become alcoholics. And I have thought before that if everyone went through a large enough period of binging on alcohol, they might all become alcoholics. So although the memory losses I talk about may be larger than your memory losses, I would not be surprised if everyone is affected this way. Indeed I’m assuming for the rest of this piece that it does.

Back to Vegas. Of course the casinos ply you with alcohol because they’ve done studies that have concluded they make more money from gambling when their patrons are drinking. Indeed they make so much more money that they can ply every single person in their establishment with alcohol and still end up gaining more money than they lose in alcohol costs.

There is another reason to give out free alcohol. If you forget 3/4 of the stuff that happened to you that day and the rest contains the more interesting highlights, Vegas is going to seem like a land of all highlights. That will never hurt tourism.

But now that Vegas has their iconic slogan they have one more reason to give away alcohol. 3/4 of everything that happens will not leave Vegas. And the alcoholics and those on a bender will have almost 100% memory problems.

So a lot of things will never leave Vegas primarily because alcohol is the enforcer that helps you to forget. Just take my advice if you see a show – don’t get drunk off the free alcohol in the casinos first. See that show and gain a memory first. Then and only then, go to the casinos to get looped to hopefully forget that this place is in a horrible, horrible desert.

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Predator Versus …

predatorversusA predator sitting up in bed and sweating with fear says “I couldn’t see anything! I just felt that breath on my skin and I’d run again! Then it let out that blood curdling ‘Oink, oink!'”

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Garbage Out

While the news agencies are actually behaving themselves the rest of the year by doing actual reporting, this blog (which adds twists to that news much of the time) is productive. But during boxing week when the news consists of end of the year lists this site holds its own end of the year list which we are proud to do again.

Remember Garbage In leads to Garbage Out. And that’s the only excuse I need.

In January we investigated the ‘science’ behind blue bloods and inbreeding.

In March I suggested a cursive code that could be used by adults if children stop learning how to write in cursive. I didn’t come to this suggestion blindly. More than one academic setting has suggested dropping cursive so the children can learn other things.

In May we discovered that cats are conservative and it was also self evident that dogs were socialist. Who knew our pets had these hidden agendas?

July is a month that is so warm it is suggested people wear white. But you can’t wear white all the time or you might create a bridezilla.

September saw the post ) @ ^^ ^, I’m Good utilize symbols to spell swear words.

And finally November saw me suggest that with inflation and getting rid of currency that is too small will eventually lead to it being impossible to pay $666 for something. Or being paid $666. ) @ ^^ ^! Now I want to hire a fundamentalist Christian and pay them that exact amount. While I still can.

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