Sunday, February 28, 2010

Help me out here…

The original estimated cost of the 2010 games as forecast in 2004 was $1.354 billion. Actual costs are now estimated to be $6 billion with $580 million coming directly from taxpayers. Just for the fun of it I checked, and the number of Canadian taxpayers appears to be in the range of 22 million people who are of working age. This means that a whole $26.36 of my tax dollars went to pay for approximately 2,262 people to play games… competing for 86 gold medals in 15 categories.

(Actually $26.36 is a lot lower than I thought it would be and I guess I don’t mind making that token donation, but it would have been nice to have been asked first. I might have even donated more if I could get a receipt to claim at least a portion on my taxes. I can also think of many places I’d prefer my tax dollars to go like clean water or decent housing for a lot of the northern communities, or how about a cure for potholes! Why, a single tie-rod repair on my Jeep is about to cost me $360 so I’d be more than happy to donate to road repair if I knew it would save me more than that over a period of time. But I digress…)

So using the figures above the cost is about $400 million per category, or $2.65 million per athlete or about $428.5 million per gold medal won by Canada. These are just the costs to Canada… I wonder what the world wide cost comes to.

Alright, so maybe the Olympics make sense as a business proposition but I don’t see any other use for them, and it only benefits a very small location within the country. I wonder though, since the total revenue flowing into the Vancouver area is expected to come to around $10 billion… can I apply to them for my $26.36 refund?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

In no particular order…

First fish
First bike
First lie
First death
First par
First strikeout
First strikeout
First loss
First solo
First win
First flight
First job
First alone
First responsibility
First kill
First award
First regret
First realization
First truth
First kiss
First base
First strikeout
First song
First love
First child
First car
First home
First business
First epiphany

Each one a chapter for the book, and so very many more to come… which will tomorrow bring, and what are yours?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Security Seeker or Fossil?

I was thinking today that it’s a little bit strange that I’ve worked for several of the oldest companies in the country.

I started in August of 1973 with the Hudson’s Bay Company which was chartered on May 2, 1670 making them 340 years old right now. The division of stores that I worked in was sold to a group of individuals and run under a couple different names until they finally rejuvenated The North West Company, which dates back to 1779 so they are 231 years old. TNWC was actually giving HBC a serious run for their money back in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s because of a quicker transportation system and a head office that wasn’t located on the other side of the Atlantic and the two companies amalgamated in 1821 under the HBC name.

Before becoming an apprentice clerk with the Handsome Boy’s Club…. sorry, the Hudson’s Bay Company, I worked several summers in the pro shop of The Old Lennoxville Golf & Country Club which was founded in 1897 so is now 113 years old. By the way, this was and still is my favorite golf course in the country for a few reasons, most of which will have to wait for the book if I ever get up enough nerve to put it together. (Oops) I also worked part time for Canadian Pacific Express and as you know the good old CPR goes back almost as long as Canada does.

In my retirement years I’ve now become an Independent Associate with the Watkins Corporation dating back to 1868 which makes them 142 years young. Does devoting most of my life to these 826 years of combined retail history (plus the 129 years of CPR transportation) mean that I’m a security seeker? Or does it just show that I hate change or maybe have a fear of anything new?

Probably the latter as I refuse run out to buy the latest gadget as soon as it hits the market. I don't have a plasma or HDTV. I still have an Intellivision, Atari and even a Pong in the basement. My Palm Pilot was out of date several years ago. I drive a 2004 Jeep that I bought at least second hand. I still prefer books on paper to a Kindle. I smoked hand rolled cigarettes when I used to have time to smoke. My laptop is ancient by computer standards with the finish starting to get worn off, two of the keys missing and a couple more that stick half the time. I’ve only had a cell phone for about a year and that’s all it is… a phone, no fancy built in camera or web surfer or music or anything else. I needed a phone, not mindless entertainment.

I don’t even have an IPod as I see no use for them. I turn on the radio in the Jeep, but only for the news and information programs and I turn it off when music comes on… except for CBC Radio Two Jazz sometimes when I’m driving in the evenings. If I’m walking in the woods I want to hear the sounds of the outdoors, not canned music. If I’m walking down the street I want to hear the traffic and world coming at me, not that soulless hip-hop or crap music… oh well.

You can call me a fossil I guess… but they say in order to see the future you have to know the past which means I do serve a purpose so there, here’s to me!