NTL 042 – Cultural appropriation at Halloween and the new Future Leader of Alberta

The guys wonder why dressing as your favourite Disney character is politically incorrect whereas dressing as though you live below the poverty line is somehow permissable.

Dave doesn’t like horror movies, but it’s not what you think. Also… what’s your favourite horror movie that nobody seems to know about?

And of course Roger & Dave share their thoughts on the new leader of the United Conservative Party.

Open Letter: Let’s do some math with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Dear Taxpayers,

City council pensions are out of control! Well, that’s what the novelty placard held by CTF Alberta Director Colin Craig says anyway.

Craig’s quote bothers me. “If you do the math, it works out to councillors putting in $1 while taxpayers had to put in about $5.”

This is fine and well if there were one (or even five) taxpayers per councillor. But if you take a moment to actually do the math ugh – and I mean “show your work” just like in school – it’s a little more challenging to feel put out as a taxpayer.

(I feel like Jim Prentice telling Rachel Notley that “math is difficult,” or like Alison Redford telling me “if I actually understood budgets)

Anyway, here’s the math, boring though it is:

In the 10 years from 2007-2016, city councillors put $1,187,000* into councillor pensions.
$118,700 per year divided by 15 on council.
$7,913.33 per year per councillor.

Now here is the math from the taxpayers’ side:

In the 10 years from 2007-2016, city taxpayers put $5,803,000* into councillor pensions.
$580,300 per year divided by 464,000** Calgary households.
$1.25 per household per year.

The $1.25 hit to the individual taxpayer is hardly something to light one’s hair on fire about. It’s actually quite a bargain. Colin does go on to say that there’s a second pension plan we don’t have the details about, which is rather sketchy I must admit. But I’m not convinced the CTF’s yeoman’s work should be putting a few pennies back in our pockets each year.

This silly math ruse distracts from the point of the protest by the CTF, if there is one. I’m sure there is. It’s kind of lost on me since there’s no real substance in this protest.

Case in point, this quote/red herring from Colin Craig:

“It’s simply not fair for taxpayers, given that so many taxpayers don’t even have a workplace pension.”

This raises a lot of equally silly, equally disconnected questions.

Should taxpayers only be made to contribute to things which are made available to them in the workplace? “I don’t have a workplace City Hall/Police Service/Building Code Enforcement! What’s with this bullshit!?”

Here’s the thing:

Dear CTF,

Don’t waste our time with this petty crap. In a million years, you’ll never get me to believe that my personal contribution of about $2.75/year for the total compensation of the board of directors of the $3 Billion city/corporation in which I live is a raw deal. (I’m more pissed that it isn’t more than that given the talent that turns up for these elections every four years.)

Stop it with the low-hanging fruit photo ops with big numbers that painfully reinforce the need for basic financial literacy education in our province’s high schools.

Instead, please focus on the regressive and idiotic tax collection schemes we have in place right now (property tax, corporate income tax, personal income tax, etc.) and how much further ahead we could be as cities if we simply had the intestinal temerity to force the much-needed upheaval of out tax system.

Also… don’t be so patronizing.



*Assuming CTF numbers to be accurate.
** Assuming 464,000 households based on 2011 StatsCan data.

NTL 036 – Robert Avis, Permaculture Expert – The little things we could do to save the planet, the big threats nobody is talking about, and the problem with Climate Change Enthusiasts

Robert Avis from Verge Permaculture joins us for an overtime interview. This guy does amazing things with plants, engineering yards to be thriving ecologies unto themselves.

But he leads us down a few very interesting roads and makes us question what science is telling us – or isn’t telling us – in a fun and provocative way.

Rob’s Reading List:

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable: With a new section: “On Robustness and Fragility” – Nassim Taleb

The End of Food: How the Food Industry Is Destroying Our Food Supply-And What You Can Do About It – Thomas Pawlick

Pandora’s Seed: Why the Hunter-Gatherer Holds the Key to Our Survival – Spencer Wells

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It – Gary Taubes

NTL 034 – OVERTIME: Innovative Play with Dave Ware

Another OVERTIME edition of the National Talky League. This week, we talk with Dave Ware, Lego Artist, founder of Innovative Play by Dave Ware, improvisor, and Co-commissioner of the NTL. In order to keep the flow of things, we enlisted the help of NTL regular Keith Andrews.

Dave takes us through the world of Lego Serious Play, a teaching and facilitation tool for groups, businesses, and such, and explains how the brick aspect changes how people view meetings, and how it open up conversations.

Dave’s website is www.innovativeplay.com

Johan Huizinga’s book Homo Ludens can be found here.

Dear Flames Fans…

I’m writing this letter because I want to understand you better. I have a question for you, but first… I want to explain where I’m coming from.

I had a mildly annoying discussion on Twitter the other night about the Calgary arena fiasco. I was annoyed because the person I was talking with seemed (maybe my spidey sense was off) to believe that there was an immediate net economic benefit to publicly-funded stadium projects and for that reason alone it’s a no-brainer. But he couldn’t support that argument.

Around the same time, the Flames said, “we’re no longer looking for a new arena deal with the city” or some such. They’re just gonna keep playing hockey at the Dome and if a better offer comes along from another city, who knows. Winnipeg Jets all over again.

This is politics. Pretty good politics, actually. The Flames are pinning this entire discussion to Nenshi and the current council and it just might work. The mayor isn’t a good friend of the conservative businessman archetype and if you look down the line of Flames ownership and brass, you’ll see one or two who fit that description.

So what’s the plan then? Get Nenshi out in October and the new mayor will be some sort of hero for being willing to sell-out taxpayers on this deal?

There are two things I find interesting about this current stage of the discussion… which has “broken off,” I guess.

1) The boss of a business is speaking from a seat in New York about how Calgarians should do things… and some of us are OK with this? Fair enough, I guess. After all, I spoke from my seat in Calgary for years telling Gary B how to make his All-Star festivities bearable. (It worked! Sort of…)

I think it would be funny if the President of Wal-Mart came to Calgary and said something like: “Our stores are pretty big and we sell a lot of affordable stuff to people in Calgary. We want you to foot the bill for a new Super-Center or we’re just gonna close all our stores and leave town.”

What’s that you say? “But Roger, Wal-Mart is nothing like the Flames! You can’t compare the two!” Yes. I can. And I did. There.

2) This latest development is precisely why Calgarians shouldn’t accept the offer from the Flames. If they ever have another tantrum and pull up stakes, who will be left holding the bag for this arena and associated operating costs? That’s a big slice of land to have nobody paying taxes on. Do we really think the city should open a “department of concerts and RV shows?”

Ok… getting to the question… soon… I promise.

If you go to a bank and ask them to help you build a house or a business or a house for your business, they will present you an offer with repayment terms. In one sentence: “We will give you money and you will pay us back with interest.” That’s typical and has value.

So my question to the strong legion of Calgarians and Flames fans who want the new arena:



Roger Kingkade

PS. More to come on the next edition of the National Talky League Podcast

NTL 033 – Wasps, what are they good for? Will we ever meet the “smart racist?” A delicious chicken sandwich from a food truck.

In this episode of the National Talky League, we’re chock full to the brim of our licorice All Sorts with talky.

We talk about Innovation in Calgary, and Circle the Wagons.

A lengthy discussion of the hatred we have for wasps pops up. What are wasps good for, anyway?

Dave drools over the best chicken sandwich he’s had in ages.

Somebody wrote that sitting in a circle is disrespectful to aboriginal people.

Roger Clears His Throat about Jennifer Bush’s tirade at a Jagmeet Singh rally.

We answer listener questions and discuss the upcoming civic election.

And her (adorable) side of the story:

Dave talks bad Netflix films and (re)watching shows with spoilers.

and new Johanes!!!

NTL 031 – Stripping the name of Sir John A MacDonald from schools and what we learned from the big fight.

Dave hit the road for some family holiday. He checks in with a dispatch from BC. We tapped Keith Andrews (previous guest) from the Art and Possibility podcast. Keith is a big MMA fan and we’ve been looking forward to having him on for reaction to the big fight.

Roger clears his throat with the John A MacDonald school name fiasco and wonders how far we should be willing to extend the argument. Should Louis Riel (murderer) have his name removed from schools?

There’s also some discussion – NO SPOILERS – about the Game of Thrones finale.


Justin Trudeau’s soft words for Fidel Castro upon the dictator’s death. His dad and Fidel were good pals.

The gloves Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor wore were 8oz gloves; double the weight of the MMA gloves McGregor typically wears.

The time Holly Holm KO’d Ronda Rousey

NTL 030 – OVERTIME – Minimalism, with Keith Callbeck

Keith Callbeck is a minimalist. He documents his minimalist life experience and shares his insights on his website ilikehelping.com.

Minimalism came to greater prominence through a documentary put out by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. They are the two behind www.theminimalist.com

So what is minimalism? What is it supposed to do for me?

This interview explores those questions and more.

Topics or themes mentioned in this interview include

Slow living

Marie Kondo’s Book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Sunk Cost Fallacy

NTL029 – The Rebel Media house is on fire, Canada is pleased to be the least worst at something, and how much would you pay for an NTL T-Shirt

Strong Opinions, Loosely Held, Widely Shared. This is the National Talky League.

This week Roger Clears His Throat about the Conservative Party’s refusal to simply call out Rebel Media for its stance on Charlotteville.

Dave looks at starting a new series and what it takes to grab your attention in Watcha Watching.

The guys talk hot peppers and the Scoville Unit chart, and you’ll hear more on the Bolivian Rainbow Pepper than you ever cared to.

We also talk about the concept of a Top XX list, and why they’re annoying.

More list talk as we look at Canada’s #1 ranking on the “least worst” charts.

More Bond talk.

More Talky than you can shake a stick at, and you really shouldn’t be shaking that thing around, you could hurt someone!

NTL 026 – Is the Calgary Public Art committee trolling us? And why are the Liberals screwing the middle class?

Another Calgary public artwork has been revealed and people are displeased… right on cue! Roger and Dave break down many of the arguments about and around Calgary’s public art policy and public works of art more generally.

Roger is upset about the Liberal government’s decisions to “level the playing field” by changing the way corporations are taxed.

Dave brings up a beef with nature of traffic calming measures. Roger is wronged at a 4 way stop.