Friday, September 25, 2009

Time to let go you think?

I’ve now been retired for 1 year and 25 days and I still track the company aircraft on a daily basis, still keep in touch with former workmates, still say “we” when talking with pride about the people and stores… and still in my heart know that for a brief time (35 years, 10 days) I was a small part of this country’s history. I was an apprentice, a fur trader, carving buyer, manager, leader and a trainer of others in the oldest company in the country (dating back to May 2, 1670 to be exact)… and it’s still very hard to let go and move on.

Maybe it’s time I take down and burn that map that hangs above my desk serving as a reminder of it all… that map that I gaze at for a few minutes each day re-tracing the lines… remembering the sights and stories of each one of those communities…

Yes, I gave up many things when I headed north… but look at what I gained in return. From Mistassini and Chibougamau to Pangnirtung, Igloolik, Baker Lake, Old Crow, Yellowknife and dozens of others I’ve seen all three of Canada’s coasts many times, met thousands of people and learned a few words of Cree, Inuktitut, Dene and Odawa. I’m truly one lucky guy for having the life I’ve had and even with the occasional uncertainty, hassles and all that freight to move…I wouldn’t have traded one minute of it. Guess maybe it’s time to sit on the deck and get that book started…

Monday, September 14, 2009

Could it be a plot?

I don’t know about you but ever since grocery stores stopped giving out free bags at the checkout I’m shopping more often. I certainly don’t mind bringing my own bags and I admit that I always felt a little bit guilty about all the plastic I used and discarded before, but I can’t help but wonder if there is a hidden and secondary agenda to this growing practice.

Before now I would go to the store and fill up a cart with what we needed plus a couple of the special bargains and deals on display. We’d sail through the checkout and come out the other end with 10 or more bags and flimsy or not, they would still have a landfill, roadside or lakeside life of a thousand years or so. Now I go shopping with an idea of what I need to take us through the next couple days, trying to be careful to not pickup more than will fit into whatever cloth bags I have with me at the time. Of course I still check out and pick up a few of the extra sale items that we don’t necessarily need but are just priced too good to overlook.

There lies my suspicion… Before this I was only getting one or two sale items at a visit maybe once a week. Now that I am shopping every couple days I’m still picking up one or two sale items but you’ll note that it’s now maybe three times a week. So you’ll calculate that the two or three items we didn’t really need before have now become six or seven. It makes me wonder that since the stores know that we’re now shopping more frequently have they decided to take advantage of our thriftiness to tease us with all these extra sale items on display. It’s a plot, I tell you!

Seriously now… I don’t mind taking my own bags and I happy to not contribute to the landfills unnecessary plastic that will stay there just about forever. I also don’t truly think that the stores are in a conspiracy to push items on us that we don’t really need… or are they? 

PS: Ever start into the store and realize that you left your bags at home? Do the store managers giggle when they see shoppers enter without an armload of empty bags because they know we'll then have to add to their bottom line by purchasing even more? I wonder…

Friday, September 11, 2009

The news as I understood it this week...

The union that is on strike in Sudbury is accusing the company of stealing money from little old ladies.

As I understand the news reports... The company had very definite plans to double the xmas bonus to the widows of former workers. The company is now saying that they may not be able to do so because of lack of funds. They are NOT going to cancel or take away the existing bonus that has been paid for years which still stands and is guaranteed.

The reason that the company doesn't have the funds to help these people is that 3,000 workers went on strike (quit, if you ask me) and therefore there is not enough money coming into company coffers to pay out the additional bonus amount.

Doesn't it seem to you that it's the strikers and not the company that have caused the cash shortage? Do they expect the employer to just print out money whenever they need it like the Government does? If no funds are coming in how do they expect there to be anything to pay out? I wonder how they balance their personal cheque books with thinking like that? Perhaps if they don't want to do an honest days work they should go take a course in Accounting 101 and then maybe they'll understand cash flow a little bit better.

Yesterday the foolishness was continued... Since these strikers haven't gotten their way they have decided to act like spoiled brat children and not let anyone else play in their yard either. In other words they are now harassing workers of other local companies because these other companies are not helping the strikers hurt their employer and the entire community.

Grow up children! I bet you there's lots of people out there who would love to have a full time job. If you don't want to work get the hell out of the way of people that do.

Comments? I do love a good discussion...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My Political Comments, Continued...

I've had a suggestion that my recent Facebook entries be carried over to this blog so here goes, from the start...

ME: Political terms are supposed to be 4 years, right? I think anyone who wants to have an election at any other time in between should have to pay all the expenses for it themselves. How do these idiots think anything will ever get done when it all comes to a halt every few months? As long as there's nothing illegal going on let the term run it's course and stop whining.

MM: "likes this"

M: I asked my MP that years ago and was told I simply didn't understand partisan politics.

ME: So why does the 4 year term work in the US? If they want to play games they can use their own money to do it and not waste my tax dollars on their kids games. How about actually spending the cash on the people they are supposed to be serving and not on themselves. I think I'll continue this in my blog where I can rant properly. :-) Have a great day!

M: Did you ever ask a politician a question and get a sensible answer that wasn't loaded in their favor? Looking forward to reading your blog.

B: I hear ya, Murr! Apparently, politics is the 2nd-oldest profession in the history of man - and it closely resembles the 1st...

H: sorry but this will keep up until we get a majority gov. witch doesn't look likely this time. besides the other parties have a duty not to support a government that is not acting in the peoples best interests.

ME: Now how did I know I'd hear from you on this... great! :-) I agree that we need a majority under our present system but (as we've discussed before) we need a true Independent system where the elected can actually work for their areas and not have to grovel and follow direct orders of the head of the party who may not have the least idea (or care) what is happening anywhere but on Parliament Hill.

Now, to continue to try to get people riled up simply because I enjoy a good argument...

There is a great article in the National Post suggesting that at the recent meeting in Sudbury the mood was "near unanimous" AGAINST a fall election. It was even reported that one MP said "We might have well have stayed in bed" which implies to me that the leader wasn't the least bit interested in advice from those in the know but just wanted to get his name in the paper.

Just goes to prove my point that we'll never have an effective political system under a party system where the elected members are ordered to do, think and say whatever the head honcho orders under threat of expulsion. Who would dare try to do any good under those conditions.

By the way, did you see where the Conservatives are up 5 points in the polls since the Liberal leader announcement? Mr. Ignatieff... the people of Canada do NOT want an election at this time, especially not to blow close to $300 million in expenses to the taxpayers just to sooth your ego by making you feel important for a few weeks.

There... that's my rant for the day... I'll be the first to admit that I'm no political whiz kid but I hate to see taxpayer money that could better be used elsewhere wasted on childish games...comments are welcome everyone!

PS: I have to point out that if the party roles were reversed then I would still be saying the same thing. Let's not waste taxpayers money over and over again on the same ratings dog and pony show... It just seems like more outrageous reality TV with the same silly plots with the acting just as bad and I'm getting very tired of it.

I Am a Modern Day Gunslinger...

Along with a high percentage of the male population I carry my trusty cell phone on my belt. My own leather holster is suited for function more than quick draw and therefore fits my personality well.

Even back in my hunting days I very seldom made a snap shot as my preference was to properly identify my target, make certain of my surroundings (particularly the background) and only then ready the weapon for use. I always figured that if during those extra few seconds of contemplation the quarry disappeared then that was just the way it was meant to be and good luck to you my furred or feathery little buddy. (There was also that one time that Steve Day stood up suddenly in front of me in a goose blind and it would have been his own fault if I hadn't been double checking, right?)

Back to topic... do you remember the scene in Hook when Robin Williams is challenged by a co-worker to see who can get their cell phones out and fired up first? I enjoy this exchange of machismo as it conjures up thoughts and feelings of the "Battle" similar to Vinnie Barbarino (aka John Travolta) facing off against the bull in the movie Michael.

Anyway, in the absence of legitimate high noon type street duels this public display of cell phone use seems to keep civilized people content.

Hmmm... wonder how I can fit Bluetooth into this scenario?

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Moonlight over Smith Bay…

I don’t think this photo needs any words to take away from the view off our deck this evening. Ain't life grand at times like this?

Voices From the Past...

This year seems to have a definite theme to it. In the past 12 months I've become reacquainted with a dozen or so people from my past. Old friends, school chums and even a cousin I haven't seen probably since the late 60's. A few days ago another one surfaced because of a blog entry I made many months ago.

Roddy was a young fellow from Oban, Scotland who had been brought over by the Hudson’s Bay Company as an apprentice contract clerk. When I was sent to my first posting with HBC it was to Mistassini and to fill the position left vacant by him when he went on to other things. (Roddy is the fellow in the back on the right in this photo but I have no idea who the long-haired gentleman wearing the tie in front of him is. Wish I could remember that party, looks like it must have been a good one).

(I just have to pause here for a moment to mention that Oban where Roddy was from produces one of the finest scotches in the world. Please try it if you ever get the chance.)

He must have been searching through the internet for some of his old locations and ran across my entry about Mistassini and my first Store Manager, Glen Speers.

Anyway, I've replied to his comments on my entry and I hope he gets back to me. For some reason the people I knew years ago are getting more and more important to me. A sign of old age, you think?