Soccer-Mahal and other disparate ideas 

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As a rule, I do not make New Year's resolutions. I am a counter-resolutionary. I prefer to begin each and every year without dooming myself to failure. That desire to succeed was what prompted me to offer my patented Start Smoking™ seminars many Januarys ago. I figured why not give people who were destined to be losers hope by offering them something at which they were certain to succeed. I guaranteed I could get them smoking and keep them smoking in just two days. A suitable-for-framing certificate attested to their self-esteem building success.

But other than inevitable failure, there are other reasons to eschew New Year's resolutions. To begin with, the holiday itself falls at an unfortunate time. The week after Christmas is not a good time to contemplate fresh beginnings and life-changing strategies. With blood just beginning its valiant struggle to overtake alcohol and chocolate as the primary fluid in our circulatory systems, we are more suited to simple tasks and simple thoughts on the first day of Jan., like remembering where we left our car or who lives in the house we woke up in, for example. Pain, remorse, embarrassment and the malaise of overindulgence may make good motivators, but they do not enhance decision-making.

And other than having to remember to tack a new number onto written dates, nothing about January 1st even remotely feels 'new.' We're still in the same dark season we were in a week ago, the village and mountains are still crowded with meandering, lost, hapless tourists for a few more days — bless each and every one of them — the highway to Vancouver is still a crapshoot, and chances are pretty good we're still picking through the leftovers of Christmas. Turkey croquettes, anyone?

When it comes to new beginnings, the start of school in autumn, the beginning of ski season, the lengthening days of spring all seem like better mileposts upon which to hang the moniker 'New Year.'

All that having been said, I've made two resolutions. No, I haven't forgotten what I just wrote, but consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. I've resolved to slip a word or phrase into each week's column I can't recall ever having used before. I may have used it but after as many columns as I've written, I can't remember for sure and, more importantly, I'm hoping you can't either. It may be a single word or a compound, hyphenated word or a short phrase. For that matter, it may just be something I've made up, my prerogative.

I've also resolved to join a life-affirming religion. Actually, I have no intention of doing that but 'life-affirming religion' is this week's word or phrase I've never written. It is, of course, not for no reason I've never written that phrase. On the other hand, it's not for no reason I've never used a triple negative in a sentence before. Kinda felt good though.

What I haven't resolved to do, yet again this year, is come up with an elegant way to blend several small, disparate ideas into one flowing column. I resolved to do that a number of years ago but I still haven't found the ideal conceit to pull it off. It's one of the drawbacks of writing 1,100 words as opposed to 500. Some things are noteworthy but simply can't be stretched to that length. Herewith — which may be a word I've never used before — are several.

I may have just imagined it, having been absent for much of November and December, but it seems there has been both talk and staff time dedicated to considering spending between $5 and $11 million on a new soccer field, the latter — read laughable — figure envisioning an enclosed, pint-sized pitch, or, in local parlance, a Soccer-Mahal.

I'm assuming this is just an ill-timed April Fool's joke. Surely no one in their right mind would seriously propose such a thing, would they? Have we so run out of things we need in this town that we're seriously considering absurd amenities? When, in the Great White North, did soccer begin to be thought of as a year-round sport? And were there not two soccer pitches in the original plans for Spruce Grove? I seem to recall they overlapped the outfields on two of the ball diamonds.

Naw, I must have imagined it.

Warning: Changing topics here.

Though I missed it this year — see above — the RMOW is usually pretty good at sending out reminders to all the businesses in town to get on the ball and clear the snow off the sidewalks in front of their businesses. In my unscientific survey, most business owners are pretty good at this. I think it has something to do with (a) liability and, more importantly, (b) customers being able to actually get into their stores in the first place.

Ironically — and this too is an unscientific survey although one I've been conducting for years now — the most impassable sidewalks in Tiny Town seem to be, oh, you know, the RMOW sidewalks. I was wistfully fantasizing about snowshoes the other day slogging up the west side of Main Street to the library, so deep and unshoveled was the snow. How deep? Almost as deep as the snow on the sidewalk on Blackcomb Way in front of muni hall.

Warning: Op cit.

Notwithstanding the impassioned letter in last week's Pique from my friends, the Masseys, I'm not sure what to make about the muni's TUP proposal for sales from artists' studios in residential neighbourhoods. Part of the confusion stems from the fact that until this first came up earlier last year, I never imagined it was illegal to sell art from artists' home-based studios. Imagine my relief over the fact I never got busted for buying art directly from artists at their homes, which, for all I know, is illegal too. Boy, how embarrassing would that have been to be in the lock-up and have some hairy-knuckled thug ask me what I got arrested for? I'm pretty sure, "Buying a mug from Binty," would have gotten me beat up.

So, is $750 too much? Well, yes. Especially if it 'covers' the cost of processing an artist's application. Without making any judgments on municipal salaries, all I've got to say is if it takes $750 worth of labour to process an application, I can understand why muni sidewalks don't get shoveled.

If the concern here is about tour buses full of art-seeking tourists choking up residential streets, why not just make that illegal? That way both the artists and tourists could have silly laws they ignore.

I have a lot of faith in council to rethink this one. Surely one or more of them will realize there seems to be a tail wagging a dog here.



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