Changing Politics and Culture Through the Art of the Long Game #occupy #idlenomore #saskbookawards

So I’ve been thinking about the “Long Game” quite a bit lately.

Essentially, “Playing the Long Game” refers to the idea of not just focusing on an immediate goal but also laying the groundwork for something important further in the future, even if it seems like something unattainable initially.

(A similar idea is often expressed by the saying “playing chess instead of checkers” meaning someone is looking multiple moves ahead instead of just one or two.)

What has this on my mind is thinking about how the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which began as a somewhat fringe movement in September 2011 as a response to the Great Recession of 2008.  But now, five short years later, Bernie Sanders (a democratic socialist mind you!) is a credible challenger to be Democratic nominee for the President of the United States. Sanders is seeing great success using much of the same rhetoric (not to mention grassroots motivation) of the Occupy movement.

The importance of the Long Game hit me again last night when I attended the Saskatchewan Book Awards.

The #idlenomore movement started in December 2012 as a reaction to the abuses of Indigenous Treaty Rights by Stephen Harper.  Initially regarded as a First Nations protest movement, it has reached a much wider audience.

How was this in evidence at the Sask Book Awards?  Well, let me count the ways…

  • The sponsor of the Saskatchewan Book Award for Aboriginal Peoples’ Writing Award mentioned that the first year they sponsored the award, there was only one book on the shortlist.  This year, there were six books from four different publishers (although admittedly, a category for First People’s Publishing only had two books on its shortlist this year.)
  • Not counting two categories specifically for Aboriginal writing/publishing, 10 of 11 other categories had at least one book with Aboriginal content/themes.  Most categories had multiple nominees with Aboriginal themes.  One category – “Publishing in Education – had four shortlisted books and every last one had an Aboriginal subject!
  • When they won an award for one of their Aboriginal-themed books, the Director of the University of Regina Press, Bruce Walsh, mentioned that a book they published in 2013, “Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life” is the best-selling academic title in Canada in the 21st century having sold 21,000+ copies.
  • Both the host of the event, Dawn Dumont, and the musical entertainers, Andino Sons, were Aboriginal (Andino Sons playing indigenous Chilean music by way of Moose Jaw!) which is something that has been rare to non-existent in previous editions of the Book Awards.
  • More than one speaker made reference to the fact that the event was being held on Treaty Four land – something that was also a rarity as far as I can recall in the early days of the book awards (though my memory may be faulty on that.)

Anyhow, that’s a quick snapshot of some things that caught my attention and made me wonder if all of these elements were a reflection of the “Long Game” that was, in part, created by the #idlenomore movement, just as Bernie Sanders’ success is partly the result of the “Long Game” played by the founders of the Occupy movement?

Liz James, who I met through Ryan Meili’s campaign for the leadership of the Sask NDP (and who’s an amazing writer!) has a much better name for this approach – “the Long Win”.

I like that – and it also makes me wonder what other “Long Wins” we will see in the coming months and years that have had their seeds planted much earlier (or that haven’t even had those seeds planted yet?)

Saturday Snap – @saskbookawards Book Arch

Throwback Thursday – #tbt – Prince Died A Week Ago and…

…this is all Sasha’s heard her daddy saying around the house for the past week!

Family Hockey Pool Standings

The first round isn’t quite over but following up on my post about my Stanley Cup predictions from yesterday, I thought I’d post a screen grab of our family hockey pool standings.

A few thoughts…

  • Teams I “picked” currently hold 4/6 top positions.  (There are a total of ~25-30 teams in the pool picked by various relatives of my cousin BC on both sides of his family.)
  • I put “picked” in quotes because my two teams (#2 + #4) are picked with an eye to strategy and picking the best players in each selection round.  But three of the teams I enter are “novelty” picks – for Pace, I pick who I think is the best Canadian-born player in each round (preferably someone born in Saskatchewan) which is especially relevant this year with no Canadian teams making the playoffs.  For Sasha, I literally just pick using a random pattern in each box – #1 in the first, #2 in the second, #3 in the third and so on until I get to the bottom then I work my way back up.  Finally for Shea (who’s way at the bottom of the standings currently), I use a strategy she used when she was an emergency sit-in for a no-show when we did a live draft (including my cousin Mike who is currently the top of the family draft) – picking the player in each round who has the funniest/longest name.  It’s a fun, easy way to get a few more teams into the pool and provides consistency as I use the same technique for both our regular season and playoff pools each year.
  • As I said, always nice to see the novelty accounts do well but you’d expect that myself and some of my cousins who are big hockey fans should do well in pools like this.  Yet we seem to regularly get beaten by 75 year old aunts who never watch hockey and make their picks at random!

My Stanley Cup Picks

I usually post this at the start of the playoffs but forgot to do so this year.

But I did honestly make these picks before the playoff began – I’ve got a patron who I often chat about hockey with.  He asked who I was picking so this is what I told him…

Bold is a correct prediction.  Strikethrough is incorrect.

  • NYI over Florida in 7  in 6
  • Tampa Bay over Detroit in 7 in 5
  • Washington over Philadelphia in 4 in 6
  • Pittsburgh over New York Rangers in 6 in 5
  • Chicago over St. Louis in 7  St. Louis won in 7
  • Dallas over Minnesota in 5 in 6
  • Los Angeles over San Jose in 7  San Jose won in 5
  • Nashville over Anaheim in 5  in 7

So not bad – picked 6/7 first round series with one still to come [Edit: 7/8].  Didn’t predict any series length correctly though.

My final four prediction was Washington vs. Islanders and Chicago vs. Nashville with a Washington/Chicago final. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks lost in the first round putting a crimp into all my predictions plus my family hockey pool picks too.  But at least St. Louis picked up a new fan along the way!

Music Monday – “I only wanted to see you/Bathing in the purple rain”

I’m still on a big Prince kick after hearing the news of his passing last Thursday.

I listened to Prince songs all weekend, played a bunch of his songs (poorly) on guitar, even convinced Shea to watch “Purple Rain” with me last night.  (“Is this movie cheesy or was it just the 80’s?” she asked.  “Oh, I’m pretty sure all movies were this cheesy in the 80’s.” I replied)

Anyhow, as mentioned in that last post, there aren’t a lot of clips of Prince online.  But luckily two of his greatest performances of all-time are both up…

This one during a Super Bowl Halftime Show where he plays a very appropriate song in the pouring rain:

Purple Rain” – Prince

And this one during a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction for George Harrison where he absolutely shreds a guitar solo (Eric Clapton did the original solo for the Beatles back in the 1960’s yet when he was recently asked “What does it feel like to be the best guitarist in the world?”, he replied, “I don’t know – ask Prince!”) and dominates a stage full of the best musicians in the world:

While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – Various Star

Saturday Snap – Is That A Minecraft Book?

Friday Fun Link – The First Ever Performance of “Purple Rain”

Prince was against his music being available on most streaming services (except artist-friendly Tidal) and even YouTube so it’s hard to find clips to help celebrate the man and his music after his untimely passing yesterday.

Still, there are spots where some clips exist online – none more historic than his first-ever live performance of his signature song, “Purple Rain”.

Although I always admired his talent, showmanship and musicianship, I was never a massive fan of Prince (I traded a college dorm mate my copy of Prince’s “Diamonds & Pearls” for his copy of Blue Rodeo’s “Casino” and I think we were both very happy with that trade.)

At the same time, “Purple Rain” is one of the first cassettes I ever bought in my life (that or “Born in the USA” – can’t remember which I got first) so it obviously has a sweet spot in my heart (and 15 million other Gen-Xer’s too!)  And of course, like most people with ears, I am a huge fan of all his best known songs – from “When Doves Cry” to, yes, “Diamonds & Pearls” from that album I traded away back in 1992.

So anyhow, that’s my quick post on Prince.  Oh, and a cool tip – I started by saying that his music isn’t available on most streaming services.  But a librarian I know in Edmonton pointed out that much of his catalogue *is* available on Hoopla, a streaming service targeted at public libraries!  How cool is that?

An Anti-IPad Game For The iPad

I think I know a couple kids who need this!

A Few Thoughts On @BernieSanders Use of Technology #feelthebern #primaryday #newyork

So today was a pretty big day in the United States as born and raised Brooklyn boy, Bernie Sanders went up against adopted hometown gal, Hillary Clinton in the New York primary in their ongoing battle to secure the Democratic Party nomination.

As someone who’s very interested in the use of digital technology and social media in politics, I thought this would be a good time to make a few observations about some of what Bernie Sanders’ cutting edge campaign has done in this area (as far as I can tell from a distance obviously)…