Wednesday, May 23, 2012

STACKHOUSE SOAPBOX (Yorkton This Week May 23)

I had been looking forward to the Nickelback concert in Saskatoon for over two months, so here’s my nutshell review:

I’ve seen Nickelback, at least, three times and their performance on Friday night in Saskatoon was the best I’ve seen them perform.  The floating stage was very cool and Chad Kroeger’s voice was in peak form.  The song selection was excellent, which isn’t easy when you have the hits they do.  I believe they ended up playing 16 songs in all, including the two encores.  I’ve never understood the Nickelback haters that are out there and I’m no closer to understanding it today.  Is it just cool to not like a popular rock band?

The sin of the night was that My Darkest Days only had twenty minutes of stage time, which was enough to play four songs.  They have two albums and not a bad song on either album.  I was fortunate to see them open for Buckcherry over a year ago and they were fantastic.  They were excellent again on Friday, but they just didn’t have enough time.  Heck, I even missed two songs as I was still trying to get through the gate!

Now, I either had the worst seats ever for a concert or else Bush and Seether had the worst lighting ever.  I don’t think I laid eyes on any of the band members from either of these two groups.  They did sound really good; but maybe it was a CD being blasted through the audio system.  Both acts played eight songs and were impressive.  Seether, like My Darkest Days, doesn’t have a bad song. 

If you are in Saskatoon and need a pizza fix at the hotel, I highly recommend Venice House.  We ordered pizza, wings, and boneless ribs on Friday night and I can say I haven’t had a meal like that in Saskatoon ever before.  Of course, when your judgement is slightly impaired, be careful not to order more than you need.  Four extra large pizzas, a double order of wings and a double order of ribs is way too much for six adults and three sleepy children.  Ooops. 

We spent the last two days of May Long Weekend at Canora Beach as our family has a seasonal campsite there.  I’ve only been a camper for a couple of years, so I’m no expert on etiquette or anything like that, but I do feel as though I’m qualified to hand out a couple of tidbits of advise for those who don’t have a lot of experience.  Number one, do not park your vehicle in somebody else’s lot, especially directly in front of the camper so that the people who stay at that site can’t really get into the area.  Should you fail to abide by this rule, make sure you do not leave your campsite and become unreachable when the other folks arrive.  If you do, you may infuriate your neighbor and cause an unnecessary spike in his blood pressure.  Number two, do not rummage through the campsite you have wrongly parked in.  This is similar to going through one’s home or back yard without their permission.  And, if you fail to abide by number two, please do not help yourself to any possessions that you discover are not under lock and key.  Many people would call this stealing, especially if you do not return the items.

I read a lot when I’m at the lake.  Last summer, I started Ozzy Osbourne’s second book “Trust Me, I’m Dr. Ozzy” and got about halfway through and didn’t pick it up again until Sunday.  The juvenile in me comes out when I read this stuff.  

I really miss the Taste Of Yorkton that used to be a staple with the Yorkton Film Festival; but as Karey Harris points out, “After evaluations were done from the community and filmmakers we had to make changes.  We did the perogy paty and then we added Lobsterfest with the Lions Club.  We have now evolved to Yorkton Goes To The Oscars on Thursday night, which will be history making with the first ever Jamie Awards.  We are always looking for new ideas and board members, let me know when you want to come to a meeting, we would love to have you.”  Love to have me?  She has no idea.

I’ve been hard on the Boston Red Sox so far this season; but I guess I should cut them some slack.  In a game where you only need three outfielders and their top seven outfielders are all injured…well, that would make a negative impact on any team.  I do wish they would stop putting Clay Buchholz out to pitch every fifth day.  He’s so bad, I find that I’m sick for three days afterward trying to digest his human Christmas Tree performance. 

Are the NHL playoffs over yet?

A good quote from Twitter this week:  “You have enemies?  Good, that means you have stood up for something sometime in your life.”

Nice person mentions this week to Cheryl Kustra, Kevin Mundt, Tim Smith, Sandra Nordin, and Ben Shewchuk. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

STACKHOUSE SOAPBOX (Yorkton This Week May 16)

News of Saturday’s plane collision near St. Brieux reverberated through the Elgar Peterson Arena in Humboldt during the RBC Cup semi-final game between the Broncos and Woodstock Slammers.  It’s a puzzling tragedy as collisions like that are extremely rare, especially in prairie skies.  Hopefully investigators are able to figure out the what and why.  Meanwhile, there is now a big hole for families and friends of the three who died that were from rural Alberta, including an 11-year-old boy.  Apparently, the boy’s dad needed to grab some farm implement parts from Bourgault and his neighbor offered to fly them instead of watching them drive six hours both ways.  The other two who died were a man and woman and we don’t know much other than that, except that the plane was headed to La Ronge from Regina.
Speaking of the RBC Cup, it was disappointing to see the Broncos skate through the round robin 4-and-0 and then lose in overtime to Woodstock to be eliminated prior to Sunday’s final; but that’s why the games are actually played out by the athletes instead of the pundits who sit and analyze for a living.  Head coach Dean Brockman commended his players and said he wished he could ‘take away some of their pain’ that they were feeling.  He also had a parting word for the on-ice officials, who disallowed a goal in the second period despite television replays showing the puck was clearly over the line.  “I guess when a referee tells me he’s always right, I guess he isn’t.  Maybe they shouldn’t be out late partying all week like they have been.  I don’t know, I’m just throwing that out there.”  Personally, I was out on Thursday night and when I left at 12:30, there were a number of on-ice officials enjoying themselves.  Having said that, I didn’t see anything over the top occurring and in the defense of the refs, there were no games on Friday.  But, do you think any of the four teams left in the tournament Thursday night allowed their players to party on Thursday night? 

Last year, I used this space to hammer on the incompetence of Saskatchewan Roughrider management.  I hope I don’t have to do that this year.  This year’s version of incompetence is the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball.  Can someone explain to me how you can flush $200 million down the toilet the way they have?  And, I don’t care what level of sports it is, but you can’t have people on your team that don’t want to be there.  Josh Beckett doesn’t want to be there.  How do you explain being too injured to pitch Saturday and unable to go in a 17 inning game on Sunday, but totally fine to golf that weekend?  It sounds drastic, but I’d simply call him and give him his unconditional release if I couldn’t find a trade partner.  He can be someone else’s problem.  In fact, I’d run a broom through that entire roster with Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz being the only untouchables.  Ortiz deserves a contract for life for his World Series heroics.  Pedroia is exactly what teams should want in a player. 

A few people have come up to me in recent years and remarked that I should join the world of politics.   I can’t lie, I’ve thought about it; but I really don’t think I’d get very far.  First of all, people would actually have to vote for me!  But, furthermore, I am not sure a political party would ever want to take me on.  While I may fall in line with a particular party on most issues, I do feel as though a representative should be able to stand up and say, “Hey, I don’t agree with my party on this particular issue; but on most things I do and that’s why I wear the colors I do.”  I have been accused (if that’s the right word) of being Conservative, but the reality is that Bev Oda should be in jail, in my opinion, her political stripes having no bearing on my opinion.  And, Peter MacKay has pulled some stunts that make him come off as shady. 

I saw a cool quote on Sunday:  “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”   Hopefully, if you have a mom, you took two seconds out of your day to wish her a good one.

I’m embarrassed for the City of Regina having to put up with some of the kooks who have entered their mayor race.  Michael Fougere is going to win with Pat Fiacco like popularity based on what I’ve seen in some of the candidates.  Not enough space to go into it here.  Google it if you want a good laugh.

CBS has given the axe to CSI: Miami.  The other two CSI’s are expected back for the new season.  The dude from Cheers (Ted Danson) is now the lead in the Las Vegas version.  CSI: New York is the other member of the CSI family.  CSI: Miami was on for ten years and I watched it for about four.  David Caruso and his over dramatization with the sunglasses got to be a little too much. 

Nice person mentions this week to:  Rebecca McDowell, Karla Hynes, Curtis MacLeod, and Sandra Nordin.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Once again our justice system pulls a stunt that leaves me just about speechless, but not totally.

Here's the story from the Ottawa Citizen concerning bus beheader Vince Li getting escorted visits into the community of Selkirk.

The biggest mistake is that Li was not found criminally responsible at the time of trial.  If he's not criminally responsible for killing Tim McLean, is he responsible for not administering the medication he should have been on?  We now live in a 'not my fault' world.  So, whoever's fault it was that Li wasn't taking meds is the one that should be rotting in a jail cell.

Li, it says, is going to get escorted visits into the community.  One question I have is who in the world would want to escort this man?  You want to take your life in your hands by escorting around a kook that could just 'snap' at the drop of a hat?  Oh right.  He's on his meds.

What protection was afforded to Tim McLean and the passengers of that Greyhound bus?  Not much.  But, Li will be protected from citizens of Selkirk by getting to walk around with plains clothes officers and nobody in the community will be notified that he's on the loose.  So, if Li happens to escape the hands of his escorts and goes on a killing spree, who do we get to blame for that?  And, does Li get to be found not criminally responsible for that potential act?  If so, do the escorts that failed to keep him under control go to jail?  I'm just throwing it out there.

It says in the story he's making 'rapid progress'.  I bet.  He sees a light at the end of the tunnel.

What a bunch of morons we have as 'experts', 'lawyers', 'judges'.

I'm sorry.  You behead another human being and you should never ever see the sun rise ever ever ever ever again.  I'm sympathetic to illness, but it comes down to the fact he did not take medication and so he went completely berzerk like a Friday The 13th movie.  For that, he's responsible and should rot in prison if hell is not possible.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

STACKHOUSE SOAPBOX (Yorkton This Week May 9)

Yorkton gynecologist Dr. Mohammed N. Hague will give up his license at the end of the month and cease practicing medicine, following accusations of misconduct with several female patients.  Our family, to my knowledge, has never had any dealings with Dr. Hague; but I have heard plenty of positives concerning his work.  While I have no comment on the accusations themselves; I find it difficult to find out that a number of the people involved wanted to resolve the matter without having to go through the difficult process of a hearing.  Unfortunately, that’s the way to do it if a doctor disagrees or disputes the allegations.  An official with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan says, “Ultimately we achieved a resolution fo Dr. Hague no longer being in practice faster than we ever would have through the disciplinary process, and so the public protection, from our perspective, was achieved.”  Guilty or not, Dr. Hague deserves credit for going away quietly and not putting these women through a trying emotional time.  Having said that, if it was me and I was innocent, I would not be nearly as passive.  So, I suppose we are left to draw our own conclusions.

From the ridiculously stupid file, the RBC Cup goals and penalties are being announced in both English and French this week where the tournament is taking place in Humboldt.  I’m sure Jonathan Parisien and Emrik Guillemette’s parents appreciate this; but come on.  It is a Hockey Canada event and, therefore, has to be bilingual I suppose.  But, there isn’t a French team competing in the tournament and if they are going to announce goals in French for the benefit of one or two players on each team, then we may as well announce goals in French all season long.  Are the French language police going to come after Hockey Canada for not announcing goals in French at a tournament where Quebec or French speaking New Brunswick isn’t represented?  I lived in Woodstock (home of the Slammers) for two years.  Don’t try and tell me Woodstock is French.  In fact, I think all we do when we announce in French is embarrass ourselves at how little French we know on the prairies.  If there was a Quebec team entered, we should absolutely extend the courtesy and do as much as we can in both languages.  But, this week it isn’t necessary.

Junior Seau’s apparent suicide last week is a tragedy.  Jumping to conclusions that repeated blows to the head caused him to go into depression and, ultimately, end his life is rather premature.  It is proven that head shots in sports can definitely lead to problems, mentally, later in life.  But, so too can a prolonged use of steroids.  I’m not accusing Seau of using steroids; but I think his brain should be donated to science so that more information can be gathered.  Furthermore, we are hearing more from retired players who say they become depressed after retiring and discovering they have difficulty fitting into the real world.  That’s not the fault of the National Football League.  When I quit broadcasting after a fifteen year career, I could easily have discovered that sales was not for me and then been in a funk until I did figure out what works best for me as far as keeping busy, supporting my family, and making me happy.  This would not be the fault of FOX FM.  You can’t hang the blame for not knowing what to do in life on your previous employer.  I’m sympathetic to the plight of Seau, but until scientists are able to check out his brain, I reserve judgement on what may have killed him.

After watching a train hold up traffic in Yorkton for almost an hour on Monday during lunch time, I wonder if there isn’t something that can be done to prevent trains from cutting through the city during certain times of the day.  To me, Yorkton is big enough that sending a train through town during peak travel periods can be really prohibitive to doing business here. 

In Ontario, a public school board has made a decision to ban distribution of Gideon Bibles to its young students, arguing the distribution of Bibles has no place in a secular school system, and that it potentially violates human rights legislation.  So, on one hand we are not allowed to learn about Protestant values; but on the other hand we can be subjected to all kinds of ‘new’ forms of religions that have been introduced to our country through immigration.  While we don’t want to offend minority groups, it’s apparently okay to turn around and do the same to the people who still make up the majority of the population. 

I printed this quote a number of months ago, but it’s a dandy so it bears worth repeating every so often:  “Don’t wait around for your life to happen to you.  Find something that makes you happy, and do it.  Because everything else is all just background noise.”

Nice person mentions this week to Jeff Bahrey, Chris Morson, Al Frederickson, Jonathan Robert, and Bryon Priebe.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

STACKHOUSE SOAPBOX (Yorkton This Week May 2)

I want to say a public thank-you to the emails of support I got from last week’s column concerning the overkill traffic blitz that was held in Yorkton a couple of weeks ago.  A few people asked if I was sour because I, in fact, got a ticket.  No.  I stayed off the roads those two days.  I’m sure I would have.  It seems like everyone else did.  I got my ticket in January and while I considered fighting it in court, I realized I don’t have any recourse.  If a police officer says you have blown a stop sign, you have blown a stop sign.  The odds of a stranger, paying enough attention to another vehicle to determine whether or not I stopped for three solid seconds, is slim and none.  The chances of me finding this stranger to appear on my behalf in court are also slim and none and slim just walked out the door.   Isn’t it funny how traffic offenses really offer no real means of a defense for those that are accused.  Meanwhile, it’s getting to the point that you almost need to capture a murder on video in order to get a conviction. 
I won’t beat a dead horse, but some of the stories I received from folks telling me how they got their tickets is mind boggling and should be embarrassing to those that handed them out. 
Am I the only person that feels as though International Development Minister Bev Oda belongs in a prison cell?  In June 2011, Oda attended an international conference in London, England.  Organizers had rooms reserved at a five-star hotel; but Oda chose to upgrade to the Savoy Hotel (known for housing royalty and Hollywood stars).  Since Oda was no longer staying at the site of the conference, she needed a taxi, so she chartered a limousine at a cost of $1000 a day.  And, somewhere she found the time to drop $16 on a glass of orange juice.  This is why you can’t take politicians seriously and why more and more of us are becoming apathetic to politics.  Oda has repaid most of the money, apparently, but I’m betting only because she got caught.  The majority of us in the general public just roll our eyes at such stories and move on to the next one about a corrupt politician.
An American insurance company is promoting ‘marriage insurance’ as a way of financially protecting couples who don’t stay married, while also rewarding those who do.  While marriages that end in divorce would be ‘softened’ by the fact the union has insurance on it, couples who stay together for 25 years would receive a $100 000 pay out on their anniversary.  
In a deteriorating world of local broadcasting, the morning duo of Heather Anderson and Rustie Dean are a breath of fresh air.  Check them out on Global Regina every morning from 6am-9am.  I’m a harsh critic when it comes to broadcasting and feel there are way too many people trying to make a living at it when they have clearly missed their calling.  Public appearances are fewer and farther between than even ten years ago.  But, Anderson and Dean are highly visible in the Regina area.  Of course, if the announcers aren’t much good, does the public even have an appetite to see them?  Yorkton’s best is sports guy Craig Stein (and it’s not even close for second).  Stein is also very visible in the community through hockey broadcasts and banquet speaking engagements.  With a young family, it’s not easy for him to be at all these things, so kudos to Craig. 
In fact, if I was hiring a hockey play by play announcer and I received Craig’s demo tape along with TSN’s Gord Miller’s demo tape on my desk for the same job; I’d hire Stein in a heartbeat. 
The second season of Breakout Kings wrapped up on Sunday.  It’s a ‘can’t miss’ for anyone that dug Prison Break in its heyday.  Nick Santora is the writer of both programs.  If you haven’t been up to speed, but think it’s something you’d like to check out I think it’s on Netflix. 
The only thing worse than paying athletes way too much to play, is paying athletes way too much to go away.  The Anaheim Angels, since August 2009, have released the following:  Justin Speier ($6.5 million), Scott Kazmir ($9.5 million), and Bobby Abreu ($9 million).  They also traded and ate a lot of the contract signed by Gary Matthews ($21 million).  That’s a lot of cake. 
Twitter was shown at its worst following the Washington-Boston NHL playoff series last week when a bunch of people who haven’t left their living rooms for years tweeted racial slurs toward Joel Ward, who scored the OT winner in game seven.  Twitter was also shown at its best that same night when Alexander Semin tweeted:  “Hi, Mr. Thomas (Tim Thomas, the Boston goalie).  This is Sasha form the Leo J. Martin Memorial Golf Course.  I’m calling to confirm your 9am tee time tomorrow.”
Nice person mentions this week to Glen Vargo, Ken Karius, Martin Smith, Trent Meyer, Karen Renton, and Ryan Hoffman.