Music Monday – “But I’ll miss you when you’re gone/That is what I do, hey, baby/And it’s going to carry on/That is what I do, hey, baby”

Prince and David Bowie and Gord Downie’s deaths all made an impact on me but Dolores O’Riordan is the first musician I remember dying who was almost exactly my age (she was 46, I’m 44 going on 45.)

The Cranberries were a fixture during the late 80’s/early 90’s for myself and a lot of people with hits like “Linger”, “Zombie” and “Ode To My Family”.

I have a couple weird Cranberries related-memories/thoughts…

* without going into too much detail, my friends and I did something in high school that involved some pretty serious risk (a much younger person did end up dying in my hometown doing what we had done.)  The soundtrack for that stupidity?  “Zombie” by The Cranberries.

* hoping to repeat my fluke of stumbling upon a Ringo Starr concert that was happening during our trip to the Dominican Republic, I always check to see what big bands might be playing at other resorts we go to.  That’s how I learned that the Cranberries had played at The Moon Palace where we’re going but a year ago.  In fact, if they’d been there in 2018 instead of 2017 (er, unlikely now I guess), I probably would’ve gone!

This is one of their lesser known songs but it feels appropriate today…

When You’re Gone” – The Cranberries

 

Some Alternate Theories on What Happened in Hawaii

As a general rule, I’m not a conspiracy theorist as I often find the musings of people who are so inclined pretty illogical, far-fetched, and outlandish.

But occasionally something happens that makes you wonder if you’re getting the full story?

This happened most recently with the “false alarm” alert that was sent to everyone in Hawaii about an incoming ballistic missile that was corrected about half an hour later and explained away as one employee essentially “pushing the wrong button.”

That seems hard to believe on the surface – how could a single human error send out a message that could create widespread fear and chaos?  Were there no additional controls?  Why would the option for “test missile message” and “real missile message” be right beside each other in a pulldown menu?  And why did it take official half an hour to issue a correction?

Luckily, the tinfoil hatted denizens of /r/conspiracy have come through with a list of possible alternate explanations for what might have happened instead which, whether true or not, make for some interesting speculation.

Saturday Snap – You Know You’re In Saskatchewan When…

…you go out to a political event and end up coming home with perogies! 😉

Friday Fun Link – Mapping NHL Standings Over An Entire Season

With the Flames in the midst of a multi-game winning streak that’s put them back in a playoff spot, I wanted to highlight this site which is pretty cool for showing how a team’s fortunes ebb and flow over the course of a season.

Throwback Thursday – #tbt – Go Flames Go! (February 2008)

The Flames won their fifth game in a row tonight to get back into a playoff position (technically, that happened last game which they also won.)

Anyhow, I came across this old picture of Pace climbing on his grandparents’ air hockey table and thought that was sorta related to tonight’s good news…

I’ve started two different posts tonight…

…one about the Sask NDP leadership race and one about a current censorship issue.

But after starting to write each post, I soon realised they needed be longer than I had time or energy to write tonight.

So instead, here’s a picture of two kittens reading a book:

Everything Is Too Complicated – What Are Tech Companies Assuming We Know?

A good article which is especially relevant to libraries where we hear many tech-related questions every day and struggle with how far we go with our tech-support role, how we train staff to answer tech questions and whether “Tech Help Desk” is the new “Reference Desk” for the modern library.

Think of the tech industry as being built on an ever-increasing number of assumptions: that you know what a computer is, that saying “enter your Wi-Fi password” means something to you, that you understand what an app is, that you have the desire to manage your Bluetooth device list, that you’ll figure out what USB-C dongles you need, and on and on.

Music Monday – “Here we are now/Entertain us”

I’ve seen this new version of Nirvana’s biggest hit, Smells Like Teen Spirit” described a few different ways – changing all minor keys to major keys, the original being auto-tuned but, as noted in the edit on a Kottke.org post about the new version, it’s a bit more complex than that – the chord progression and melody are both changed to make it a more “poppy” song.

But whatever they did, the ultimate effect is very successful – this is a great song – as catchy as the original but more like, I don’t know, somebody like Gin Blossoms would’ve released around the same time!

(But then it wouldn’t be the kind of muddy, grungy song that kids would play in a basement party in Qu’Appelle circa 1992 either!) 😉

 

“Smells Like Teen Sprite” – Nirvana (Remix)

Should @sask_ndp #skndpldr Voters Consider Who The Winner of The @saskparty Leadership Is When Casting Their Ballot? #skpoli #pickapremier

 

There are concurrent leadership races happening in each of Saskatchewan’s two major political parties but it often feels like the party’s leadership candidates are running in completely different worlds.

And maybe they are – the Sask Party race has been focused heavily on rural issues, small businesses, and the ever-looming shadow of controversial social issues.

The NDP leadership race has been focused heavily on urban issues, what is the appropriate level of union participation, and the ever-looming shadow of contemporary social issues.

There are some notable areas of overlap – carbon taxes, the current government’s achievements and failures, and education (mainly due to the Sask Teachers’ Federation’s #pickapremier advocacy campaign which encouraged teachers and their families to get involved in both leadership races by buying memberships and making their voices heard.)

With less than a month until Sask Party voters choose a new leader who will automatically become Saskatchewan’s Premier and with the Sask NDP having already responded to this development by moving up the date of their convention to early March to prevent being caught without a permanent leader in case a snap election were to be called to confirm the mandate of the new Premier, it got me wondering if Sask NDP voters should take into consideration how a new Sask NDP leader might match up with the new Sask Party leader in making their decision?

I mean, on one hand, obviously Sask NDP members should pick the best leader for the party using whichever criteria people feel is important – ability to bring in new members, fundraising results, experience, bold policy vision, rural roots, personal appeal, number of endorsements, caucus support, etc.  etc. etc.

But, at the same time, politics is largely about personalities – not just those of individuals but how they match up against others – whether that’s Lorne Calvert using his personal appeal and trustworthy nature as a former United Church Minister to beat back a challenge from the upstart Sask Party under Elwin Hermanson or how Cam Broten seemed unable to gain any traction against Brad Wall no matter what he did.

So with that in mind, I thought I’d try to prognosticate a bit about who I think Ryan Meili and Trent Wotherspoon would match up against best out of the five current Sask Party leadership contenders (there were six but Rob Clarke came in late and left early – and when I put on my tinfoil hat, I wonder if this was encouraged by the Sask Party who were already making hay out of the fact that the NDP could only find two white men to run whereas the Sask Party had women and then, with Clarke, an Indigenous candidate as well?) 😉

I’m not sure if there’s a clear front-runner out of the five Sask Party candidates.  There are lots of conflicting polls out there (scientific and otherwise), lots of different metrics that could put each of them in the lead whether it be fundraising (Ken Cheveldayoff), support of caucus colleagues (Scott Moe), support of Sask Party founding MLAs (Gord Wyant), or even endorsements from Brad Wall’s parents (Alanna Koch).

(Uhm,  I’m not sure if there’s a metric that would indicate Tina Beaudry-Mellor is in this and consensus seems to be that she doesn’t have a chance.  I can’t find it now but there was a news story – possibly a Murray Mandryk column – that said that Beaudry-Mellor had to record her own interviews at some event, indicating a lack of organization and support.  In fact, another tinfoil hat theory I have is wondering whether she ran for the Leadership, at least in part because she knows it will be tough to win her urban seat in 2020 and winning the Leadership would allow her to run in a different seat if she lost her own?  Call it the “Christy Clark” strategy!) 🙂

So anyhow, I’m sure a highly partisan Trent Wotherspoon supporter would say Wotherspoon matches up best with all five potential Sask Party leaders and a highly partisan Ryan Meili supporter would say the same thing about Meili.

Obviously, I’m a Ryan Meili supporter but here’s how I see it, with Sask Party candidates listed roughly in the order of how I see their chances of winning at the end of the day. (Also, another another caveat – I’m not following the Sask Party race closely so I’m not super-familiar with all the candidates so these thoughts are based on my at-a-distance impressions of them as much as anything):

If Alanna Koch wins, I think Ryan Meili matches up the best against her.  Trent Wotherspoon uses a lot of aggressive, attacking “fight” language which may not play well against a female leader. As well, as a non-elected, high level civil servant, Koch is arguably the most “outsider” candidate the Sask Party is putting forward and it would be unfortunate, if the Sask Party, after 10 years in power, was able to claim the mantle of “change” and “new” were Trent Wotherspoon, who’s also been in office for the NDP’s past decade in opposition, to be chosen by the NDP.  (To be fair, she is also arguably the closest to Wall so the NDP would have the opportunity to spin her as “not new” at all.  But if you’re saying she’s too connected to Canada’s most popular premier, that’s not going to work either.)  Koch has the strongest rural roots of any Sask Party candidate and is using that to full advantage with her endorsements, travel schedule and even how she’s focusing her campaign.  Meili is also way better positioned than Wotherspoon to counter this, having not only been born and raised on a farm but having lived and worked in rural communities across the province.

If Kevin Cheveldayoff wins, I think Trent Wotherspoon probably matches up better with him.  Both have strong “alpha male” personalities and so those two would probably square off in more traditional political arena-type battles that aren’t the style of either Meili or really any of the other Sask Party candidates who come across as more cerebral, jovial, passionate and friendly (I’ll let you decide which label applies to which candidates!) 🙂

If Scott Moe wins,  I think Ryan Meili is the better leader for the NDP.  Wotherspoon has strong caucus support as does Moe so in some ways a Moe/Wotherspoon victory might be the most status-quo result.  But if you’re the Sask Party with 47 seats to the NDP’s 12, this is a good situation to be in – even if the Sask Party knows its likely to shed urban ridings in 2020.

If Gord Wyant wins, I think it’s a toss-up.  Wyant was a card-carrying Federal Liberal at the start of the race and is easily the most centrist of the contending Sask Party candidates.  So hopefully, the Sask NDP has learned their lesson about running a centrist candidate against a centrist candidate in the last election – especially when the NDP’s “brand” is (was?) about being the party of bold, innovative ideas for the province and the entire formation of the Sask Party was intended to allow a new party to eliminate vote splitting between center and right-of-center parties in Sask politics, leaving the left for the NDP.  Choosing Wyant would allow the Sask Party to re-focus on their roots after a slow drift to the right in recent years.  At the same time, the STF’s #pickapremier campaign has arguably encouraged a lot of teachers who are a natural constituency for the NDP (the head of the STF was even a former NDP candidate) to support the Sask Party.  Wotherspoon, as a former teacher, is likely better positioned to draw those people back to the NDP which is why I think this could be a bit of a toss-up.

If Tina Beaudry-Mellor wins, I think I’ll just go buy a lottery ticket because that’d be about an unexpected turn of events as thinking Cam Broten would lose his seat during the last provincial election! 😉

So anyhow, I think my Meili bias shows through a bit in that I have Meili as a better match against two Sask Party candidates compared to one for Wotherspoon, one a toss-up and one a “toss-out”.  And again, this is all based on very rough surface-level thoughts on the Sask Party candidates so take my quick thoughts with a big ol’ mountain of salt.

And ultimately, even if “Chevy” pulls it out and even if he might match up better with Trent Wotherspoon, I’m still voting for Ryan Meili on March 3 and I hope you do too!

Saturday Snap – Playing Giant Jenga? Better Break Out The Protective Gear!

As a precaution, Sasha put on her boots and brother’s skateboarding helmet at New Year’s to play the lifesize Jenga game that Grandpa Dennis made for us.

I’d upload the video of the game finally toppling when Grandma Joan tried a difficult move but I jumped pretty high myself when it toppled over! 😉