Crawl Across the Ocean

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Half-Finished Bottles of Inspiration Lie Like Ghosts in my Draft Folder

Blah. Do you ever have one of those weeks where everything you turn your hand to seems pointless and uninspired? It's because of weeks like this that, for every post I actually publish, there is another one sitting in draft form: some barely started, some just a collection of links, some half done and some fully completed but pretty much worthless.

Take this post I wrote yesterday for example:

I don't know if Gary Mason (subscription required but you're not missing anything) in the Globe is living in the same city I am. Sure people here like the Canucks, but,
"And I would dare say the Canucks now mean more to their city than the Leafs do to Toronto"?
C'mon. I've lived in both cities and this is just silly. Hockey is just not as big in B.C. as it is in Ontario, a fact of life.

Also from the Globe comes this comment on the 'mini-budget' brought down by the Liberals yesterday,
"To keep the debt from rising too quickly the government will use 100 per cent of its surplus to fund some of its borrowing costs."

And this comment,
"B.C.'s surplus is forecast to hit $1.3-billion in the coming year's budget. It's forecast for $600-million in 2006/07 and $400-million in 2007/08.

"We have a promise not to let our debt grow faster than our economy," Ms. Taylor said. "I'm concerned. I'm taking action."

B.C.'s debt is forecast to hit $35.9-billion this year."

I get the feeling that the government and the media are using a different definition of the word 'surplus' than the one I use. To me, a surplus is only a surplus if you're not going deeper into debt. As in, I wouldn't say to my girlfriend, "I had a surplus of $20,000 this year, but I'm using $10,000 to pay down that $50,000 loan I took out."

The mini-budget itself doesn't spend much money (which is good - especially considering the uncertain debt situation!) but I'm not sure the biggest priorities in B.C. right now are corporations (especially with corporate profits as a % of GDP at record highs (see page 8) and seniors. I would've been more inclined to devote the money to child care and education, but that's just me, I guess.

Meanwhile the Globe's webpoll, which is usually relatively sensible in a world of dumb media poll questions with dumber possible answers (yes, I'm looking at you, Macleans) serves up this: "According to pollsters, the North American infidelity rate is roughly 25 per cent. Have you ever cheated on your significant other?"

What, they just felt left out because other people had done polls and they hadn't? Surely they could have left out the first sentence - what purpose does it serve except to bias the result in some impossible to determine manner?

...As you can see, it's clearly not a very good post. But at the same time, it seems unfair to call it bad; A post which aspires to so little can hardly be said to have failed. Maybe next week will be better.

The title to this post is adapted from 'Till I am Myself Again', which is one of Blue Rodeo's best songs (which is saying something) and also happens to suit my mood this week.


  • I really enjoy reading your blog Declan, even the half finished bottles :)

    By Blogger the Mom, at 7:28 AM  

  • Thanks!

    By Blogger Declan, at 1:46 PM  

  • Declan - I think the Province may have gone to accrual, rather than fund (cash based) accounting, so capital spending doesn't count as current spending - the impact is spread out over years via a depreciation charge. For various reasons, I think this is a dumb idea - not least being that governments aren't in business to make money, so depreciating assets over their useful lives - which businesses do only to provide a more meaningful net income figure - is irrelevant. What's important for government is "Stewardship of Assets" and fund accounting is a better mechanism for reporting on that function. I could go on and on, but I won't bore you to despair with accounting observations.

    Gary Mason - I have no idea what theGlobe thought they were doing; 'hey gang, lets dress up a (not very good) sportswriter as a current affairs columnist!' The Sun is better without Mason on an absolute basis, and still on an absolute basis they are better off with Cam Cole - on a net evaluation this is like trading Jarkko Ruutu for Teemu Selanne even-up (oaky, maybe ont that bad, but still...) Mason has always worked way too hard to be Denny Boyd, but just never had it in him - it must frustrate the shit out of him to see Pete McMartin do it so well.



    By Blogger deaner, at 6:57 PM  

  • Yes, I think you're right Dean. I commented on this when I reviewed the original budget a few months back: here

    As you can probably guess from my title, ("Government is not a Business") we are in perfect agreement (for once!) on this one. I even went into (some) boring accounting details.

    As for trading sporswriters, Ruutu sounds about right, but Selanne seems a bit optimistic.

    Although perhaps I am still thinking of the Selanne of old, not the decent but unexceptional version which has been on offer ever since I bid $9.something million on him at an ill-fated hockey pool auction a few years ago - but that is another story.

    By Blogger Declan, at 7:16 PM  

  • i hate gary mason. have i said this at cato already? when i was 13, i read the sports page every morning before school. i was a big figure skating fan, so i was psyched when he did a piece on katarina witt. the whole thing kept referencing her hotness. katarina is hot, no doubt, but shes won olympic medals. id venture there are less olympians than pretty girls, making the first accolade a lot more swoonworthy. that put me off reading the sports page for a long time.

    later, once i came to know that "bad writing" constitutes more than spelling mistakes, i discovered that he was actually a pretty crap writer in general.

    By Blogger ainge lotusland, at 9:12 AM  

  • Remind me not to buy shares if the Gary Mason fan club ever has an IPO.

    "id venture there are less olympians than pretty girls, making the first accolade a lot more swoonworthy."

    In general, yes; in the pool of people interviewed (met?) by your typical sports columnist, perhaps not...

    By Blogger Declan, at 12:57 PM  

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