Centennial Pool gets covered!

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Not sure how much will get done today – it’s a cold, windy winter day. But yesterday, in more clement weather, six frame struts  for the Sprung building were erected at Centennial Pool, and I got these photographs: Here’s the frame going up, on January 16.Six frames have gone up – there are another eight to go. You can get an idea of how big and spacious the building will be inside by comparing the height to that of the workers and equipment. One panel … click below for more ↓

Musings on Game Design

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An odd bit of synchronicity. I picked up a few unusual board games* at the discount/remainder store downtown (in the former Shoppers’ Drug Mart building) a couple of weeks back, and was mulling over their instructions, wondering why they seemed such odd and awkward games. In fact, they seemed rather unplayable, more like intellectual exercises in game design. Yet they were beautifully made, and very attractive. Was it the topic? The manual? The components? What makes for a good game, what makes a bad one? … click below for more ↓

The Art of Worldly Wisdom

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Published in 1647, The Art of Worldly Wisdom is a collection of 300 aphorisms about life, behaviour, politics, morality, faith, philosophy and society. One comment, on Amazon.ca called it, somewhat unfairly to Machiavelli, “Machiavelli with a soul.” I have been reading it of late as part of my ongoing study of Machiavelli. It was written by Balthasar Gracian (1601-1658), a Spanish-born Jesuit priest, and titled in its original Spanish, “Oraculo manual y arte de prudencia” which translates to “The Oracle, a Manual of the Art … click below for more ↓

More Machiavellian Misquotes

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Machiavelli today is known to many by sayings that aren’t actually his; pseudo-quotations or mis-attributed sayings that appear on slovenly, un-moderated, un-verified websites that do an enormous disservice to everyone by their very existence. These sites seem to feed one another, because find one misquote on one of them and you’re sure to find it parroted without even the slightest effort to verify it, on all the rest. Since these sites are predominantly about ad revenue, it’;s little wonder they are so poor. Most people … click below for more ↓

Rereading the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

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There are many books weighing down my bookshelves into soft, drooping curves, but not many of them have the privilege of tenure. Only a handful have travelled with me for more than a couple of decades; a small selection of tomes that are read, perhaps infrequently, but more than once, and still manage to speak to me every time. Most of my books have, over the years, been donated to libraries or sold to bookstores, to make room for the new ones always crowding in … click below for more ↓

Is Tar Baby the new N-Word?

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As far back as I can recall, the term “tar baby” was a metaphor in common political parlance for a “sticky situation.” It has no racial meaning in that context, any more than saying “honey trap” or “sticky wicket.” Both have similar, but not synonymous meanings. But in the last decade, “tar-baby” has become the new N-word on the political stage.* The tar-baby theme is common in mythology from many cultures (referenced, for example, in Joseph’s Campbell’s groundbreaking work, Hero With a Thousand Faces). It … click below for more ↓

The Hidden Costs of Gambling

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Let’s start 2013 with a sober consideration of the social and economic costs of gambling. Back n 2006, the Canadian Medical Association noted that, “Provincial governments may be glossing over the societal and health costs of problem gambling, including depression and suicide, because of the significant income they gain from gambling, claim several public advocacy and mental health organizations.” Glossing over is a polite way of saying “deceiving.” They’re hiding the facts from the public. The CMA called for a thorough and scientific study of the … click below for more ↓

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year. 2012 is almost over. 2013 looms a few hours away. I wish you all the best of times in the upcoming year. What a year it’s been. For council, we flailed around in the tar-baby issues of the new rec facilities and then the gambling facility (aka “casino” or “slot barn”). The rec facilities are going to built soon and will be stunning – that issue is, I hope, behind us and I expect everyone in town will enjoy them. The gambling, well, … click below for more ↓

And on the video scene… bargains!

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December is always a good month for movie buffs, and for anyone who wants to buy TV series on DVD (no commercials!). Lots of places have before- and after-Xmas sales that make DVD shopping more interesting this month. In particular, the bargain bins are filled with all sorts of films that either never got the media attention they needed to be successful, or simply are too old to demand the prices new movies can. Most are $5, some even less. And I happen to like … click below for more ↓

The Bedside Library

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When the books stacked beside the bed get tall enough to hold not only a cup of tea at easy reach, but a plate of toast with no threat of falling, then perhaps it’s time to cull the pile and put aside those books not being actively read. That takes some time to sort out the reading-right-now from the reading-now-and-then, and the reading-for-a-purpose from the reading-when-it-pleases-me books. There is at least a shelf of books beside my bedside, perhaps more. I’m not sure how many of my blog readers … click below for more ↓

A Council Christmas Carol – Part 2

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STAVE TWO (continued from Part 1). THE FIRST OF THE THREE SPIRITS. I awoke in the dark, late Friday night. Winter days are so short that sometimes it seems a mere moment passes between sunrise and sunset. The day had whizzed by, a flurry of phone calls, reading, emails, walking the dog and shovelling the driveway as the snow continued to fall. By the time Susan came home and we had dinner, I was tired and aching from tossing snow. Sleep came quickly that evening, but didn’t … click below for more ↓

The Municipal Machiavelli is online

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I’ve spent much of the past few days putting online my book in which I assess and rewrite Niccolo Machiavelli’s famous (or infamous) work, The Prince, in a WordPress format. I wrote this book earlier this year, but was unable to find a publisher (I got distracted from my search). Maybe having it online will help. The new site is here: The Municipal Machiavelli The book slightly tops 69,000 words, has more than 400 quotations from The Prince and other works by Machiavelli, as well as from many other authors … click below for more ↓

Explaining Council Expenses

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Tip of the hat to Ian Adams for clearing up any misrepresentation of council’s expenses and clarifying some information, in his most recent blog post. The total council expense allotment is well under budget this year. It usually is; we are very cautious in how we use our rather limited allotment. However, Scoop doesn’t explain a couple of things about how the allotment affects us individually. We don’t generally have enough in our council expense accounts to attend more than one event a year – the … click below for more ↓

Four words about the Mayan Apocalypse

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For all of you New Agers who expected something momentous to happen, December 21, because an obscure, millennium-old calendar ended on that date, and are disappointed that the world didn’t end, I have four words for you: I told you so. Let me further educate you with a few choice bits of practical wisdom in case the lesson of Dec. 21 hasn’t yet sunk in: Astrology isn’t a science. Homeopathy isn’t a science. UFO-ology isn’t a science. Numerology isn’t a science. Iridology isn’t a science. … click below for more ↓

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