Tuesday, May 26, 2015


My latest book is one that I've been wanting to get hold of for quite some time now.  It's probably the one book that I've been aware of for the longest but haven't had a chance to read.  It will also be one of the first books I've read in translation in quite awhile as my knowledge of Serbo-Croatian is slim to none.

I first became aware of "The Bridge on the Drina" back during my university days.  The conflict in the former Yugoslavia was winding down and it was a part of the world I became intensely interested, partly because of a course I took on international relations and partly because a couple uncles of mine were there as part of the effort to put the region back to together again.  After all these years of wanting to get my hands on in and not wanting to travel down to Edmonton to look for it, I decided to order a copy online instead.  I'm glad I did.

The Sokolovic Bridge is the bridge this novel revolves around and it's on my ever-expanding list of places to see.  For now though, I'll content myself with delving into Andric's book.  I don't read alot of fiction but I'll never turn down a little historical epic like this Pulitzer Prize-winning gem.  A nice little summer read.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Deborah Drever Does A Disservice

I honestly did have another post in mind for the evening here and I will get to that shortly but what I had in mind was a bit more time sensitive and speaks to an issue I feel strongly about.  While I initially fumed silently about the childish nonsense surrounding a recently elected Albertan politician I can't stay silent any longer.

I am of course referring to recently elected NDP MLA Deborah Drever and the number of questionable, ridiculous and downright inappropriate social media posts that have come to light since election day.  From fingering our flag to marijuana t-shirts to misogynist album cover photos to stupid homophobic remarks it seems that each social media post was a sad attempt to outdo the sheer stupidity of the preceding one.

With what seemed like glacial speed, Premier-elect Notley had finally had enough and announced today that she had suspended Drever from the NDP caucus.  While I applaud this move I do question why Notley waited so long to take this step.  Honestly, if we wanted this kind of circus Albertans would have just kept the bums we had before.  Personally if it was up to me I would have expelled her. We really don't need this type of person representing us.  Certainly she doesn't speak for or represent me.    For a party that claims to support women and LGBT issues and loves to shoot its mouth off about how other parties aren't as "enlightened" as they feel they are, I find this all very strange.

I can only imagine a hypothetical committee meeting on women's issues involving Drever, Ric McIver and the recently defeated "Minnesota" Mike.  Now THAT would have been awkward.

I am curious though, Premier Notley....what if that album cover had involved a MALE MLA in some fashion?  Would you have waited this long and reacted in the same way?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kootenay Country

With the election behind us, the sky still blissfully above us and the weather warming I am hopeful of using some of my days off to get out and explore further afield.  I have a couple destinations in mind (okay, more like 5 or 6) for some bird watching trips that I hope to make later this summer that I hope I can pull off.  This all reminded me that I had failed to mention my last little trip to BC which I had actually taken early last year.  I meant to blog about it but the post languished half-written and then faded into obscurity until I came across the photos from it earlier this weekend.

At any rate, time to make good.   I spent 3-4 wonderful days in the Kootenays last February in the small town of Creston.  I didn't really add a whole lot to my birding list but the temperature there was hovering around +2C or so which was a welcome change from the -20's back here.  As an added bonus, I discovered that the Creston Valley also sports a couple of wineries which I tucked away in my memory for future trips.

These grain elevators aren't something you would normally expect to see in BC.  These two must surely be among a select group.

As you can see, it was rather overcast but as I mentioned earlier the air temperature was a pleasant change so I wasn't about to complain.   Here are a few westward views of the Columbia Range taken from across the valley on the east side of the Kootenay River.  The valley itself extends south into the state of Idaho which from this point is about 10 km (6.5 miles) away as the crow flies.

The one thing I wasn't able to do because of time restraints and mucky weather was get down into the flats along the river.  Not only is it important in terms of agriculture but it also serves as an important stop-over for birds.  I suspect though that it was probably a bit too early in the season to see anything interesting but I'd love to re-visit during a warmer time of the year.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Waking Up In Vegas With A Stranger

Well wasn't that quite the election?  When things change here, they have a history of changing in a big way and last night was no exception.  No doubt a few long-time PC'ers feel like they've woken up in Vegas with a hangover next to a crack whore.  And while I expected the government to take a hit, I certainly wasn't expecting an implosion.  In many ways, we have wiped the slate here and are starting fresh as the majority of cabinet ministers lost their seats.  Mandel, Dirks, Johnson, Campbell, Scott, Lukaszuk and others.....all gone.  Change is a good thing.

I'm not sure that this is so much a case of Albertans flirting with socialism as it was an expression of anger at the long-governing PC's.  Clearly the NDP benefited from that anger.  Only time will speak to their long-term growth.  Things will now be different for sure but the sky won't fall.  The ramparts will hold.  I know I have no intentions of moving to Saskatchewan.  It is a lot to take in though but I did want to put down my thoughts on a few things so I do apologize if this post seems a bit more disjointed than usual.

First things first, our local ridings here.  I was pleased to see Brian Jean and Tany Yao do well of course.  We've gone Wildrose before so voters taking out their frustration on the government by electing 2 Wildrose candidates rather than going with the NDP doesn't come as a surprise. I was a bit surprised to see the PC's here finish 3rd well behind the NDP hopefuls though.  Partisanship aside, Mancini and Drover did better than probably most people expected.  I did appreciate Drover campaigning by waking up early and going to chat with site workers as they waited for their early bus rides to work. These are local people who work long days and whose labour is the backbone of our region but often feel forgotten by the powers that be in Edmonton.  It's a sentiment I share myself.  I've already said my piece on our two former PC MLA's in previous posts so I won't flog a dead horse here.

Like many I was disappointed by Prentice's rash decision to essentially give his version of the "Salmon Arm Salute" to his supporters.  I figured his leadership would be called into question following anything less than another majority but to quit before all the votes were even counted really strikes me as juvenile.  The road ahead for the PC's just got a little bit longer for them.  Speaking of party leaders, it was nice to see Greg Clark win his seat.  I thought he spoke well following his election victory and feel that for those on the political left who want an alternative other than the NDP that the Alberta Party is a better option than the slowly dying Liberals.

If there was one good thing about the PC's cronyism and corruption it was that it spurred a lot more Albertans to vote this time around.  While a turn out of about 58% isn't exactly amazing its a big improvement over the rather pathetic 40% we saw in 2008.  Votes can and do matter.

I do wish our new Premier luck.  Taking over the reigns after 43 years of PC rule will have its challenges.  I wish Brian Jean good luck as both my MLA and the new Leader of the Opposition as well.  We have what we feel is a strong voice for our region in Edmonton.  We will be watching.