Friday, April 27, 2012

Left Hook, meet body shot

This guy is great...

Exaggerating? If you read his post, he'll tell you that the numbers for Manitoba's public sector is actually smaller than the Taxpayers Federation tells us it is.

Let's begin with a rhetorical question. Who would you believe? A group that represents the very people many feel are providing less for more, or the Taxpayers Federation?

This guy tells us we shouldn't count the employees of  Manitoba Crown Corporation in the "civil service". REALLY? They seem to be members of the MGEU (Manitoba Government Employees Union).
Ummm, I'm not even sure what to say to argue his point it's so nonsensical.

What's more, he tells us that MPI is one of the largest employers in Manitoba. Perhaps someone should find out how many people are involved in the private sector auto insurance industry in other provinces and ad them all up to see if they too would be that "bloated". A comparison of wages and benefits might be a good idea too.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Cut a tree to Celebrate Earth Day

Cut a tree? Yes. One of many I get to cut this year.

After last years water mis management fiasco and the ensuing flood, the NDP and Manitoba Water Stewardship destroyed tens of thousands of trees. Most of them are lying on the shore, leaning up against other trees... some don't even know they're dead, and will likely leaf out one last time. (poplar trees are clearly stupid) Until you go out and SEE the destruction, you have no idea how bad it is.

Since Greg promised to send the Green Team to clean up the mess, I have to assume it's as empty as all his other promises, and they'll find some way out of that one too. We've all heard how little compensation money they have actually paid out, and how no one can get any answers from MWS. They have just recently decided to make 822' the bench mark for building new. This after a rep from that department came to my property and said, "We think it's ok if the waves hit the side of the building for a few hours", after questioning the 817' mark they held to last fall. "Well I certainly don't find that acceptable," I said.

Some days I think I'd like to tell a clown like that, "Hey, buddy. Are you lost? Some town is missing a perfectly good idiot. You should find them."

I find it amazing that MWS has rules about "shore line" development, and protection, yet they and Hydro don't seem to be held accountable for their actions insofar as the destruction of our lakes and shores. The RM had rules about not allowing motorized equipment on the beach, presumably to prevent the "destruction" of the shore. You should have seen to motorized equipment out there last year, destroying everything it wanted to under the "state of Emergency".

Trees in the way? Push them over. Wood pallets left everywhere, plastic bags that held sand blowing in the wind.

Brilliant. We have all these rules to "protect" the environment, yet we've forever altered the landscape with dead fall trees that were mature and healthy, and added dikes on the beach head with sand bags that are disintegrating and leaving the plastic bags to float in the water, hoping some duck gets it's head stuck in the bag.

Real experts... all of them.

We've recently been told that the dike along the shore cannot be removed. It will have to remain until there is a channel built parallel to the Fairford River. As if "Today's NDP" will be doing any such thing. They built the "easy" channel first which did little to drain the lake into a frozen marsh (unless you're talking about draining Lake St. Martin) AND it's not just before a Provincial election is it?

MWS is denying claims for financial assistance to people because they are "protected by a dike" and urge you to "reapply if the dike is removed at a later date". Now the RM says the dike has to stay.

Does it sound like the RM is a marionette controlled by some puppet master pulling strings.... looking for a way to screw us again?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Winnipeg might get a WATER PARK!

Let's review this exciting development.

While some folks figure this is a GREAT idea, including the location, I'm not so sure.

Apparently the proposed facility will be "state of the art" (aka "world class") and will serve Winnipeg (pop. 684,000+) for many years to come. Once we have this stellar new building, families will flock to Winnipeg. Water park in the morning, and then walk over the the CMHR for an afternoon of fun!

Not so fast.

How many of you have any idea how "big" 50,000 square feet is? Yes... you... in the red.

"Not very"

Correct! Good for you. Those video clips on the news of the World Water Park in West Edmonton Mall (pop. 812,000+) show a "world class" waterpark that is more than four times the size of the one proposed. No matter! If we build it people will come from everywhere!

Really? Do Winnipeggers flock to Steinbach (pop. 13,500) to enjoy their water park which is half the size of the one proposed?

No. We do go to Grand Forks, to enjoy the water Park Leo built there , but really, who thinks we go there JUST because they have a pool with some splash pad fun? We go there to SHOP and get away from Winnipeg, not to stay here. While we're talking about the "Splashers of the South Seas" facilities, you may be interested in knowing that it's 40,000 square feet. Imagine, a "water park"  of 40,000 square feet serving a city with a population of  51,000+ people.

Winnipeg wants a $700,000 yearly allowance for "free admission". Ouch. Is this why Leo took his cash and built his water park somewhere else? Was this always part of the "deal"? We never were told who or what went wrong back on '09 when Canad Inns were awarded the proposal, and then it all went wrong.

In Grand Forks, admission is $16. That's the equivilant of  43,750 paid admissions, or if we used Steinbach's fee of $6.50, a whopping  107,692 freebies! Why even bother comparing World Water Parks admission ($22.95)? It's pretty clear we're NOT getting a "world class" facility. Does Winnipeg offer "free swimming" at Sherbrook, Sargent Park, or Centennial Pools?  Yes they do, which is great, but they are limited hours. Will the water park have two hours daily to accomodate the 43,750 freebies? that'd be 120 free kids a day for a few hours. I heard the facilites anticipated patron number, but Barry Burns stuttered through the clip and the numbers made no sense.  In looking through news paper reports, I don't see any occupant/patron load projections. Oye.

I've been to Canad Inns facility in GF, and it's noise level is unbearable with a few hundred plus screaming kids in there. World Waterpark can squeeze in 40,000 guests, so 10,000 people would be a comparable occupant load. We get that many people at Grand Beach on a hot day...(20,000 on a really hot day on the weekend). Can you imagine that many sardines in a can?

To give those of us who are stuck here on this desert island with no way to get off a little perspective, there is nothing "world class" about any proposed 50,000 square foot water park. If you REALLY want world class, I've been to one.

West Edmonton Mall, World Waterpark (aptly named)

Now scale that down to something less ostentatious, and you might take a look at the "Water Park of America", sized at 70,000 square feet. That extra 20,000 square feet is a HUGE difference. Consider that Pan Am pool's area (of the pool) is a little more than 12,000 square feet.

Suddenly, at 70,000 square feet, you have room for all kinds of things, like a wave pool, a swimming pool, now I'd think that 70,000- 100,000 square feet might get you to world class, but 50,000 when Grand Forks has 40,000 square feet? Any one in the crowd think the GF Canad Inns has a "world class" facility there?

You in the green.

"Yes, that is a world class facility"

"Where have you been in this world other than Winnipeg?"

"Other than Winnipeg? Grand Forks."

"That explains it."

This location is BAD, and the facility, WHATEVER it may look like (since we're not worthy of knowing) is BAD.

This proposed facility is akin to our ring road (pock marked with lights and no overpasses) and our freeway. Lame and sub par.

It will be no bigger than the former Grand Rios indoor Water Park in Brooklyn Park (North Minneapolis), that was an ok place to go for a weekend, but "world class" wouldn't have been a way I'd have described it.

Welcome to Winnipeg, the city that almost had a world class waterpark, but instead we have one twice the size of Steinbach's.

No, thanks. I don't want to look like I live somewhere trying to "one up" Steinbach. A water park should be "worth the trip".

Titanic. 100 years, and what have we learned?

"This one will change the future."

The ship named Titanic sank a hundred years ago. So what?

What have we learned over a hundred years about big talk? Claims made that proved false, an entire world remembering that man is clearly fallable and big talk is less important than actually delivering.

What am I getting at? Well, let's look at some of the outrageous claims made.

Unsinkable! Well... the advertising said "designed to be unsinkable", so you can't pin ALL of that on the White Star Line, but the media sure liked the catchy "shorter" phrase.

"God himself could not sink this ship!" This quotation, made famous by Cameron's film, is reputed to have been the answer given by a deck hand when asked if Titanic was really unsinkable.

Passenger Margaret Devaney said "I took passage on the Titanic for I thought it would be a safe steamship and I had heard it could not sink."

Another passenger, Thomson Beattie, wrote home "We are changing ships and coming home in a new unsinkable boat."

Perhaps my favorite is, "Remember, amatures built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic"

That one's great... isn't it? Remember, the ark didn't sink.

Now let's compare some other grandiose claims made recently

"This international destination will usher in a whole new era of economic possibility and prosperity through the creation of spin-off businesses, tourism and cultural offerings in Manitoba and neighboring provinces."

"...the budget to build and fit up the museum, including exhibition development, would be capped at $265 million."

The CMHR will become a destination; for tourism and education; it will offer a new home for conferences and workshops from Canada and around the world.

An early business plan for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights estimated an annual average of 250,000 in person visitors to the CMHR each year. According to the Manitoba Bureau of Statistics, this estimate would result in total direct annual visitor expenditures of $25.7 million into the Winnipeg economy. Internal estimates show that 75,000 of those visitors will be non-Manitobans.

It would seem that in the past 100 years, there are still people making claims that are clearly false.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Health Care. Quite a system

Over the weekend, we learned again that no one is responsible for your health aside from YOU.
We entertained company at the cabin on Thursday evening and the day Friday. In the evening, our company left for home, driving across the inter lake. Unspoken to us, the driver was not feeling well. While trekking across the gravel paths we've laughingly assigned "Highway" numbers to, he had to get out of the vehicle. He was sweating, his chest was hurting, and his side and upper arm were causing him discomfort.
After arriving home, his wife insisted on visiting Gimli hospital, where a few nurses took good care of him. Apparently a doctor came in for a very brief minute. They gave him nito and morphine for the pain, a topical cream for his pulled muscle, and sent him home.
The next day we received a message via a voice mail, telling us what had transpired. By the time we had arrived at home it was evening. We were settled in to watch the Jets, but called out of concern.
My wife spoke with both our previous guests, first to the wife, then to the husband. He was fine... no really, they sent him home, he was fine. It's just a pulled or strained muscle.

Ya... right. I asked to get on the line.

"Hey you stubborn old man"
"Ya, that's me."
" Good. Now that we have that established as a base line. Did they check your arteries with an ultrasound? Do an angiogram?" Anything?"
"No. They did a blood test."
"This all sounds like a bigger problem. I'm sure they're very nice people out there, but I'm going to drive out to get you and bring you into the City."
"Well where? I don't want to go to HSC."
"We'll go to St. B. IF there's a cardio problem, that's where you should be."
"OK. I'd be willing to do that."

It wasn't too much of a fight, meaning I already understood he was hurtin', and concerned for himself too. Stubborn old guys... they're invincible until they aren't.

There was no waiting time at St. B an hour and a half later. (That's how long it took them to get there). A blood test and a few Dr. patient questions later, they decided that there wasn't too much abnormal going on, but wanted to be sure. They did another blood test a few hours later. At 1:30 am we were told he'd be kept over night, and he'd be seen by cardiology in the morning.

I knew what that meant. His second blood test had come back different from the first. At noon the next day, his wife left our home to go see him. She called at 2 to tell us he had three stints put in to relieve blockages in his arteries.

I'm glad they called us, and that we insisted on him coming to Winnipeg. I'm glad I told him that this type of thing can lead to a very quick death and is to be taken seriously. I'm glad the folks at St. B reviewed everything from a fresh set of eyes. We not ready to loose the old guy unnecessarily.

DON'T let someone tell you nothing is wrong when YOU know better. YOU take control of your own health, and FORCE them to look after you. NO ONE is your advocate but you.

NEVER feel like you're an inconvenience. YOU paid HUGE money in your lifetime for this health system.

In this instance, a few days were not fatal. It can be very different. DON'T ignore the warning signs.

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or fullness.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include discomfort in one or both arms or in the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This symptom often accompanies chest discomfort. However, it can also occur before the chest discomfort.
  • Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness. Some patients report a sense of impending doom. 

    In this instance, it wasn't a heart attack, but the signs were still there. PAY ATTENTION.