“Leadership Races Shouldn’t Be Spectator Sports” – Saskatoon Star Phoenix #skpoli #skndpldr

The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix had an editorial today that I couldn’t agree with more.

Their point is that with two exciting, concurrent leadership races happening in each of the province’s main political parties, there’s no excuse for people to not spend $10 to buy a membership and have a lot more direct impact on either the Sask Party leadership candidate (who will immediately become Premier upon winning that contest) or the NDP leadership candidate (who has a shot of becoming Premier in 2020.)

If single-issue voters are buying memberships to influence and shape political parties, the average voter needs to also be casting ballots. There should be members from both rural and urban parts of the province. There should be voters of all ages, ethnicities and income levels.

I would go the Star-Phoenix editorial one step further and suggest that political engagement shouldn’t just start and stop because a leadership race is on (though that’s often the case – in fact, my first NDP membership was purchased so I could vote in the Leadership Race which eventually chose Lorne Calvert back in 2001.  I didn’t renew my membership again until 2009 when a young doctor named Ryan Meili came onto my radar and I have maintained an NDP membership ever since.)

Once you are a member, you are free to do as much or as little as you choose – be involved in your constituency association, make phone calls and door knock, donate, plan and/or attend fundraisers, etc. all of which are things that give you a lot more influence and impact than simply making sure you vote once every four years.

For $10/year to be a more engaged citizen, that’s a very small price to pay!

The Cult of Instant Pot

Ready for Ribs

It was one of this year’s hottest Black Friday items online and the Instant Pot ™ combination pressure cooker/slow cooker, invented by a group of former Nortel engineers in Ottawa, has been compared to a cult for its fanatical following.

What’s the appeal?  It quickly cooks food that’s tasty, healthy and, compared to the 1970’s pressure cookers, a lot safer too!  People are also calling it the first “viral appliance” and there’s little doubt that numerous posts on social media about whether people should buy one or looking for recipe ideas have helped propel sales.

Shea actually beat the rush and got hers on Black Friday *last year* (which was already busy enough) and we’ve used it regularly throughout the year but more frequently lately.

(In fact, I was inspired to write this post as I’m literally eating leftover Thai curry she made in our Instant Pot as I type this!)

Reddit’s Instant Pot sub-Reddit has more information, recipes and articles all related to this amazing gadget!

Music Monday – “She has tattooed tear drops/She don’t have to cry/Woman you won’t weep/Don’t you moan”

Always nice to get recommendations of bands you haven’t heard of from your patrons.  Here’s an interesting group I heard of today.

From the band’s web site:

The Stillhouse Poets are a roots duo from Regina, Saskatchewan, the heart of the Canadian prairies. Their influences are drawn deep from the musical well waters of the Mississippi Delta and the Appalachian mountains. With songs about blood & dusty bibles, black crows & barbed wire, there’s a “prairie gothic” theme that runs through the music.

“Hoot Owl Road” – Stillhouse Poets

Top 10 Controversial SNL Monologues

This is focussed fairly heavily on guest monologues in the last couple years but is otherwise a good list…


Saturday Snap – Regina Downtown From Above

I’d won a free night at a local hotel at a staff supper earlier this year and we decided to use it this weekend…

Friday Fun Link – *All* of the Best Book Lists of 2017

Okay, maybe not *all* but pretty darn close! 🙂

(via MetaFilter)

Throwback Thursday – #tbt – I Have No Idea… (December 2010)

…why we found Pace sleeping in the hallway.

If it was Christmas Eve, I could understand it but this photo was taken on December 27! 😉

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place.” #choosekind

Pace got this book for Christmas last year. (One of my favourite things about being a librarian is being able to share books with him that I already love!)

I briefly thought about writing a bit about how fascinating it is to see the different ways that Pace is learning about everything from bullying to treaties to accepting people’s differences compared to when I was growing up.  But that might be a bigger topic for another time.

At any rate, the recently released movie based on the amazing book, “Wonder” might be worth having a movie night to see…


Music Monday – “I grew up like my daddy did/My grandpa cleared this land/When I was five I walked the fence/While grandpa held my hand”

I don’t think I’ve ever posted this song for Music Monday but it’s one of my favourites of all-time.

Rain on the Scarecrow” – John Mellencamp

Although I knew fairly early that I was never going to be a farmer (my standard line on the subject is that, growing up, I was more into books and computers then barley and combines), I really appreciate that I spent my formative years as part of a family farm that stretches back to 1883 when my great-great-great grandfather settled the land.

I’ve been thinking about those rural roots for a lot of reasons lately, not least because when I look at the content put out by the NDP Leadership candidates and the Sask Party Leadership candidates, it’s like there are two completely different races being run in two completely different places (and I guess, in many ways, there are. NDP’s base is urban and Sask Party’s base is rural and they only overlap in a few select areas – carbon pricing being one of the most notable.)

Another related thought is that RPL had its annual “Staff Development Day” today and I was asked to moderate a panel discussion on “Fake News” with a local education prof who specializes in social media/technology, a journalism prof and a journalist who was formerly with the Leader Post and currently with CBC.

(It’s probably too small to see but I put “Fred” on my name tag instead of my real name as a nod to the session I was hosting.  Probably should’ve put “Donald” though!) 😉 

The panel was very well-received from feedback I got afterwards but I also felt like an hour didn’t do it justice – we could’ve easily spent a whole day on “Fake News” and different aspects of it – its history, the current role of social media, the political aspect, fake identities, trolls, filter bubbles, where the line between skepticism and conspiracy theory is, whether the library is complicit in spreading “fake news” when we buy books that aren’t factual, etc. etc. etc. (all of which are things that got touched on during our panel but very briefly for the most part.)

In thinking about my rural roots and where they intersect with my current filter bubbles, I know that one way I’m trying in my own small way to “burst that bubble” is by making a conscious effort to reach out to and at least pay attention to (or even engage with) people on social media that I might not have previously including many of those rural people I grew up with. I’ve started following lots more conservatives on Twitter and friending people on Facebook who are as likely to expose me to pictures of a deer being field dressed as someone eating avocado toast.

It’s a small step but it’s a start and, to bring it back to my opening thought, I also appreciate that growing up in a rural area has given me both the connections and hopefully at least a basic level of comfort to do that in the first place.

At Least There Was One Unexpected Sports Victory Today ;-) #skpoli @ryanmeili @premierbradwall

In my quest to bring you all the hardest hitting political news, I have to note the somewhat shocking development that Ryan Meili beat noted Sports Cage call-in regular, “Brad from Swift Current” in sending out a timely tweet about the Roughriders’ tough loss today.

It took “Brad from Swift Current” TWELVE full minutes before he chimed in but it remains to be seen if this uncalled for delay will be as scandalous as the GTH or the Regina Bypass project for his government. 😉