Thursday, January 31, 2008

Big snow

It seems that snow keeps on falling and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. This January, we counted just 7 sunny days against 21 last year. Temperatures were about the same during both months. This year, it’s every day that we must remove large quantities of snow. At this point, shoveling has become hard and inefficient since we can’t lift the snow anymore and the snow blower comes in handy, even on mornings when the accumulation is rather thin. Do I remember other big snow years in the 23 winters we have lived in Park City? I think not, with perhaps the exception of the winter of 92/93 during which we had the most snow towards the end of January. So here we are with seemingly another record snow year; we are already tired and depressed of that persistent snowy weather; of course, last year we had none and weren’t happy either… We sure can use the moisture as our previous winters have been a bit on the dry side, but hopefully, the rest of the winter still have more sunny days in store for us!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Band Aid politics

Our congress is currently completing a piece of legislation that is supposedly going to help our economy; namely give respectively each taxpayer or household about $600 or $1,200, sometime in late spring, in the hope it will help the economy. There will also be some provisions aimed at businesses that would accelerate depreciation on newly acquired equipment. In my opinion, this costly $150 billion investment isn’t going to help much as it is merely another Band Aid, but this time too little, too late. Why not instead pull the plug on the wasteful Iraq war and get our troops home? This would send a true signal to the world’s financial community that our country is finally seeing the light about its ill-advised invasion and occupation is serious about balancing its budget instead of bleeding it even more, and that it’s about time that Iraq works out its problems, split like the former Yugoslavia, if it wishes so, and carries on. Awash with oil wealth, Iraq can definitely do much better than Afghanistan and its corrupt government that is no much different than a drug dealer benefiting from the U.S. full support.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A perfect fall

Yesterday was a big snow day. We received around 1 1/2 foot of snow. So, as usual, when there’s new snow, we have to clear it; at home first, then on a commercial property that we have on Main Street. This latter job is rather easier and is generally followed by my climbing up to the flat roof on a ladder to visually check if the roof de-icing system works as expected. With this in mind, I set my 18 foot ladder on the deck and rested it against the wall, then proceeded to climb. When I reached the top, I saw that there was so much snow that the electric indicator light that I normally can see was totally buried in snow and that I would need to go clear it to make sure that all was in order. I climbed down, picked up a snow shovel and was immediately up again. When I reached the roof top for a second time and was ready to step over its snowy flat surface, it seemed to me that for a fraction of a second I felt the ladder budging a tiny bit and then quickly realized that it was indeed in the process of slowly slipping from underneath me. I kept standing up on it and both gracefully and miraculously accompanied the ladder in its full 15 foot fall. Half-way there, I somehow managed to bend all my joints to soften the landing and ended up… unscathed! Once more, I had really been lucky and I promised myself never to set a ladder again on a slippery deck and with no one there to hold it for me!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Man on wire

This movie was one of the last two we saw yesterday at the Sundance Film Festival. This is Philippe Petit’s story, the French high wire artist who gained fame for his illegal walk between the former Twin Towers in New York City on August 7, 1974. The documentary which received up both a Jury Prize and an Audience Award in the international documentary category, is directed by U.K-based filmmaker James Marsh and was said to be the most visually thrilling film of the festival, with its archival footage and re-enactments relating how Petit crossed the 1348-foot-high divide on a tightrope back in August, 1974, shortly after the World Trade Center was completed. While we marveled at the training, the concentration and sheer courage that made this achievement possible, we couldn’t help but notice that Philippe didn’t seem to have many thoughts and thanks to dispense to his team of American and French assistants (Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix, Jim Moore, Mark Lewis, Jean-François Heckel, Barry Greenhouse and David “Donald” Foreman) that made the stunt possible. This reality was indirectly conveyed through the team members interviews interspersing the film. This was quite disturbing and showed that Petit’s huge ego left no place for anything but an incredible talent of balance and concentration

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Check, please!

It’s too easy to only blame the “sub-prime” situation for the current financial mess we’re in, when in fact, all of that started with George Bushes’ ill-conceived tax-cut at the beginning of its presidency. Simply put, the “sub-prime” is another symptom of Bushes’ dysfunctional economic politics. All along, an all-out consumption has been his administration’s priority. This flight forward kept everyone busy buying flat screen TV, huge SUV and Mac Mansions while no one really paid attention to the extraordinary cost of the unnecessary Iraq war that has been bleeding our treasury ever since. The huge budget deficit caused by a conflict we couldn’t afford and didn’t want to pay for has been depressing the value of our dollar and has now painted our Federal Reserve into an inextricable corner. Last week’s decision by Chairman Bernanke to lower interest rates by ¾ of a point was yet another desperate, albeit larger Band-Aid application that just lasted a few hours. We’re now running out of ammunitions to get ourselves out of an abyss entirely engineered and dug for us by the Bush administration; so what are we to do next? Simple, we’ll stay in that hole for quite some time so we can rightfully experience the pain! Just fasten your seat belts…

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Good and Bad Frenchmen

During the Sundance Film Festival we saw a documentary about our world’s water crisis: “Flow. For Love Of Water.” The movie focuses on all the water-related problems that are popping up trough the world and points to a few villains that are exploiting that situation. Among others, Coke, Nestlé and two French companies are in focus: Suez and Vivendi. The two CEO of these latter companies are saying that they’re helping developing nations with their technology and management skills when in fact, according to the story, they are pocketing huge sums of money at the expense of third-world cities and governments, without improving, yet alone maintaining, the existing infrastructure. So they’re presented like good guys turning evil.
Another documentary we didn’t have a chance to see is “Man on Wire” which tells the story of Philippe Petit, the French daredevil who, among other achievements, crossed the chasm between the Twin Towers at New York City’s World Trade Center. While the act was illegal and planned like a crime, the protagonist ended up being seen and appreciated like an exceptional hero by everyone. So the moral of that story is that Frenchmen that are filled with noble intentions may turn like horrible bandits while those who appear to have some criminal purposes end up being good guys. Go figure…

Friday, January 25, 2008

Who chose your religion?

In most societies, we chose our clothes, our cars, our careers, our mates and our entertainment. Few of us however get a choice when it comes to religion. It generally is part of the entire cultural package that’s handed to us a birth. Like whom our parents and siblings are, we haven’t received many options when it comes to embracing our own set of spiritual beliefs. In looking more closely, religions last as long as they do because of one premise, early childhood indoctrination; if it were not for that, only popular superstitions and beliefs, like astrology, would remain and keep on circulating within the popular culture. Precisely because it's so intertwined with culture, changing religion isn't easy either. For most people, a set of belief is part of every day’s life and is just routine; this fact plays a huge role in keeping believers into their own camp. Desire to change will always be unlikely unless spirituality is at the center of an individual’s preoccupations and the desire for change is either triggered by dissatisfaction with one’s religion or by proselytizing pressures. Unlike picking a career or buying a car, selecting a religion is fraught with subjectivity, lack of evidence, and remains like comparing apples to oranges. Why then switch from an ancient set of ideas to another one that’s almost as old and as lethal? Why not create something new, perhaps a spiritual “hybrid”. There has to be a “middle way” as Buddha would put it, like picking components we like, then mixing them, like Japanese do with Buddhism, Christianity and some other local beliefs. This cocktail of sorts might start making religion a bit more interesting…

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Putting instinct to work

Animals overwhelmingly do a better job at using their instinct than we do. I think we all know why; since childhood we’ve been formatted through the education we’ve received and have shelved our instinct to rely instead on learned behaviors and techniques in order to function within society. From a gender standpoint, female generally do a much better job than men at successfully using their instinct, but by and large, we human are really lousy at harnessing that powerful resources that’s programmed within us. The big question is thus how can we re-learn to tap into our instinct and become confident enough in so doing that we can actually use that invisible set of antennas for handling our daily dilemmas, mapping out our lives and achieving our goals? I strongly believe that one way to achieve that would be to keep track of the results of hunches inspirations we end up acting upon or ignoring. Sounds like an arduous endeavor? Maybe, but I don’t see what else could be done. From that point forward, we just would need to tally our success and failures and start finding a pattern in the way they appear or feel to us when they pop in front of our mind’s eye or from the depths of our subconscious. Has anyone ever tried to work along these lines? If so, I’d be anxious to read how they’ve been able to retrieve and retrain the animal instinct that lay dormant in each one of us. This is subject dear to my heart, so expect to read more about it…

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A declining French ski industry?

Ever since Jean Vuarnet made Rossignol famous by taking the 1960 Olympic Gold in Squaw Valley and Jean-Claude Killy’s 1968 triple Olympic Gold in Grenoble finally vaulted the French ski industry as the long term leader in the snow industry, France's once unbeatable ski brands are now pointing their tips… downhill. When Salomon and Rossignol started to sell to third parties (Adidas and Quiksilver) that golden legacy started to unravel. In both cases, Adidas - later Amer - and Quiksilver purchased some manufacturing assets, intellectual property and distribution networks, but failed to acquire both the vision and passion that once habited Georges Salomon or Laurent Boix-Vives, their founders and leaders. Once the transaction completed, that precious fuel for success quickly dried up and started to expose many chinks in the armor of yesteryear’s behemoths. Because of its seasonality, the snow business is profoundly dysfunctional, highly challenging and in the absence of unbridled passion there’s no way it can survive and thrive. Making money can't be its sole driver and a pragmatic understanding of this arcane business plus a boundless love for the sport are the prerequisites for success. What companies like Rossignol and Salomon need are more passionate and hands-on managers and less Wall Street-obsessed executives…

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hurry up and wait!

For the second year in a row I decided to volunteer at Deer Valley for the Freestlyle World Cup. While the administrative organization was very well organized by Marilyn and Sarah her assistant, I wouldn’t say the same thing about the on-hill action. The job I signed up for was load-in, which meant assisting with the unloading of equipment supposed to be used on the mountain for the occasion. I did a bit of that, but mostly shoveled lots of snow and waited long hours before knowing what would come next (sometime we never knew and the rest of the job was called off.) Year after year, the things that need to be done remain practically the same, but somehow no one seems to remember and the (new) person placed in charge of on-hill volunteers appear totally clueless. Perhaps an operation manual would go a long way towards alleviating that problem, but hey, things might become too perfect and become soooo boring!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Home Depot still doesn’t get it!

Does "big box" retailing mean that good service, decent employee training, information system and good business sense are impossible? Not necessarily if you follow Costco, but this world is certainly not the same everywhere. What follows are my observations following a recent visit and purchase at the Home Depot. To start, their retail floors are badly understaffed and whoever is available to service the clientèle is clueless. Most often than not, department managers are older men who struggle with an arcane store computer system and can’t seem to put one and two together. They are simply not recruited and trained as they should. Instead of paying Robert L. Nardelli, its former CEO a $210 million severance package Home Depot should put that money into a state-of-the-art computer system that would increase the productivity of its associates. Their promotional offers and rebate system are all deceptively presented and are a lot of work to get (the store must expect a massive breakage in that area) as the philosophy seems to focus on making it difficult for the consumer. We just placed a large appliance order from them because they’re located not far from our home, but the whole process was torture and my word of wisdom is “stay away from them” when you can!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Baby shower

Saturday was Juliette baby shower. This was a very sweet and generous party given by Thomas and Juliette’s friends in Salt Lake. Good company, excellent food, plenty of useful gifts and great expectations for future parents and grand-parents alike!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


During this year’s Sundance Film Festival, my spouse and I are volunteering at a food stand for the benefit of the Park City Film Series, a great cultural institution that we're lucky to have in town. To report for duty, we just need to get up in the wee hours as our shift is from 7 to 10 am. There, inside a frigid tent we sell coffee, coke, water or bagels to festival attendees who are for the most part still asleep and scrambling to catch the first screening that begins at 8:30 am. The job is easy, fun and a good way to start a day that often continues with screenings for our own pleasure. All in all, a fun way to volunteer...

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival, Robert Redford's baby, opened last evening in Park City. Held every January, the film festival is a tradition that always celebrates the new and the unexpected, it's also an unparalleled opportunity for about 50,000 artists, aficionados, critics, and industry professionals who all come to enjoy ten days of the best in independent American and international cinema while creating massive gridlock as everyone enjoys Park City’s fun and laid-back atmosphere.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Recycled Christmas Trees

Our little city offers Christmas tree recycling. Since trees are not picked up by the garbage collector - unless you chop the tree to pieces and stuff it into our large 50 gallon can if you don’t have a wood-stove to burn it in – you need to bring it to that recycling center. There, about 500 to a 1,000 used trees are waiting to be shred into chips by our municipal employees who will be feeding the mound of discarded trees into an industrial-size wood chipper. I did a rapid calculation on how much this operation might cost us, the taxpayers, and it seems to be around $15 to $30 per tree, a hefty price to pay for the festive decoration. Why shouldn’t the city levy an equivalent tax on any Christmas tree sold in the immediate area to defray that non-essential expense? The other side of the argument is to either go with a potted tree that can be planted after Christmas, go plastic or skip the tree thing altogether. All good alternative options…

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A fresh look at skiing

My skiing experience is a bit checkered; what I mean by that is that after learning the sport as a child and during my teenage years, I taught it intensely in my early twenties and then went on a hiatus for eight years while living in New York. When I returned to the mountains, more than twenty-two years ago, I resumed skiing with a vengeance and with a totally different outlook. I did it for the pleasure and in so doing tried to understand its mechanical principals without encumbering myself with any dogma or preconceived notions. I looked at the big picture and came up with a number of concepts that I have since successfully experimented and that I believe are the foundation of a sound skiing technique. Stay tuned if you’re interested in discovering them…

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What a coincidence!

Yesterday we received two Holiday cards; they each came from France and were actually Happy New Year cards since, in that country, cards and wishes revolve around the upcoming year, not the end of the year’s holidays. What was remarkable about these two cards was that
• Both came from our family (our niece and cousin)
• They were mailed the exact same day (January 9th) from the same post office
• We received them the exact same day (January 14th)
• They were perfectly identical
Now tell me, what are the chances for all this happening; one in a million?

Monday, January 14, 2008

A plug for Scott skis

With our great new snow, it’s been a pleasure to take my new Scott Mission skis out for more than just one spin. In fact, I've already logged three full days on them! The 183 cm length, a mere 5 cm shorter than my previous pair, is quite stable, very quiet and has been a delight plowing through the fresh powder we just received. Where I was making ten turns on my old sticks, I now only have to make eight of them and, at age 60, this is an edge I fully appreciate. The bases are extra fast, the boards are very responsive and are quickly becoming a part of me. Great job Scott!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

So little time, so much to ski!

I’m torn when it comes to skiing; I love the sport, yet it eats up too much of my available time. Skiing is a logistics-intensive activity, and it takes a lot of preparation (dressing up, going to the ski area, and getting geared up) before we board the first lift. After skiing, it takes as much time to reverse this entire process. I’m not talking here about finding a parking place (if we leave late) or about the ski-pass, the gloves or the hat that we realized we’ve forgotten to take along when we finally get there. After last season’s Achilles’ tendon rupture, I’ve decided to cut back on the total number of hours I ski during winter, just like a repenting alcoholic plans to cut down his or her daily consumption. Will I get there? Probably, because there are so many things I love to do that skiing robs off me and all of this doesn’t make me a happy guy. Things like working on my investments, writing my blog and other materials, getting informed, reading and just working around the house. Should I take that dilemma as a sign of being decadently spoiled? Could very well be...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Forging opinions

We live and die with our opinions, but how to we get them or form them in the first place? There’s in my view an easy (lazy) way and a hard way. The first are things that we hear, see, or experience and adopt instantly as our own as we like them or as they strike a nerve. The latter could be exactly the same things or some ideas that intrigue us and that we eventually study, research and, once adopted, make us an expert about them. Actual live experiences and particularly emotional ones may also leave marks in us that will be the building blocks to the strong opinions we harbor. It’s quite clear that the opinions we develop in that matter will stay with us longer and will serve us well. We’ll be able to go out on a limb for them and be more convincing when we use them. Easy and superficial opinions will generally prove to be weak and hard to fight for simply because we don’t really know what goes into their cores. This perhaps sounds simple, but is so fundamental. If you want to be sure your opinions are worth fighting for, make sure there’s solid substance in them!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ski addiction

My wife thinks I’m a ski addict but that’s not quite true. I’m only mildly addicted; at least, that’s what the doctor concluded at my last physical. I know one true addict though, and it’s my friend Dave Sabey. Picture this for a second: The man actually holds office in Jupiter, Park City’s top location with expansive views at some 10,000 feet elevation. Not just a corner office, but one with a full 360 degree view. If you’re looking for him, he’s probably wrapping up in a short meeting somewhere at West Face or turning a corner in War Zone. He could as well be plotting a breakthrough in Silver Cliffs, having a virtual breakfast meeting in Main Bowl, gobbling up generous “face shots,” or hiking to Scott’s (do you know that guy? Must be another addict…) If you don’t want to become dependent or worsen your problem, simply stay away from that man. He inspires the weak like me and if you are pregnant, change sidewalk, he’d even be able to influence the unborn skier. The last time we skied together, I heard him say over and over “this is the last one”, but he kept returning to the chair in spite of my friendly counsel. Of course, the man can’t hear anything; he just moves too fast! He even calls me a “crazy Frenchman” when he's himself a “crazy Kanuk.” Well, enough said; has anyone got the number for Skiholics Anonymous?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Worshiping snow gods

For the twenty-two winters that we’ve lived in Park City, snow has always be present and in all but one exception, very generous. In spite of starting early December instead of November, this current season proves to be no exception to that rule. In the past week or so, we’ve been pummeled by that California storm which has brought a huge amount of snow all over Utah. At the top of Park City’s lifts, there’s now 75” of settled snow. In our yard, it’s close to 30”. Snow banks are growing impressively everywhere in town and nowhere more than in historic Main Street where snow removal is more than ever a huge challenge, especially a few days before the start of the Sundance Film Festival. So, in spite of our legitimate concerns about global warming and our fears that we might soon be running out of white stuff, the snow gods have so far been very good to us. Without little doubt, this is a solid proof that my steady worshiping on the slopes does bring flakes down!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Lunch is served!

It’s snowy, bitter cold outside, and it must be pretty awful to be a Park City magpie. To alleviate our local birds’ suffering, Evelyne lines up snacks on the railing of our balcony and we get a steady stream of birds flying over to take delivery of their portions. Sure, some magpies are trespassing on others’ territory, but the food is too good to pass. So it ends up being a game of cat and mouse and within minutes all morsels are airlifted by these diligent flyers. The more enterprising individuals sometimes load two pieces in their beak making for a harder take off, but that must be one of the hardships of winter living in a high altitude desert!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Where's my dream president?

When I look at the presidential candidates fighting in the primaries, I’m scratching my head; where’s the president we so desperately need? I can’t seem able to see him or her.

We need a president not driven by religion but naturally able to lead us and inspire us towards rebuilding this country. A leader that can constructively engage congress in a bipartisan fashion, set expectations and put them to work for us. One that sees that the first order of business is to re-balance the budget, mop up the foreign debt and start addressing entitlements like social security and Medicare.

A president who’s willing to start meaningful political campaign finance reform and kicks the lobbyist out of Washington, wean Congress out of “pork,” farm subsidies and undertake an in-depth tax simplification. It would also be nice to do away with the electorate college and start making every citizen’s vote count. We also need someone who has the courage to address our health care concerns and make an effort to catch up with the rest of the industrial nations on this chapter. Likewise, our commander-in-chief should make sure that the FDA, FTC and other critical agencies are properly funded, well staffed and can do a much better job. Immigration is more than just a domestic problem, it is one between poor and rich countries and must be addressed to respond to our national priorities, but also in concert with what goes on in the rest of the world.

On the international front, we must have a president willing to constructively engage other nations. This starts with the United Nations, Israel, Iran, Russia, China and India among many. Make resolving the Israeli-Palestinian crisis the top priority, demand results and if Israel stalls, cut subsidies and put real pressure. At the same time, get us out of Iraq as soon as humanly possible, straighten out Afghanistan and put Hamid Karzai on notice to diversify from drug trade into something more sustainable and less harmful to the rest of the world. Demand that Israel, Pakistan and India dismantle their nukes and work towards a meaningful reduction of nuclear weapons among all remaining players. He or she should also stop supporting failed regimes that accommodate us and if there's some extra time left, engage Cuba so it naturally falls into the brotherhood of nations friendly to us.

On the planetary front, our new leader finally got to start taking care of good old earth and lead by example. This is the next president’s opportunity to rally all Americans around a new challenge aimed at developing new energies instead of making a nostalgic return-trip to the Moon and pushing all the way to Mars.

As I now look towards space, where’s that candidate?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Ultimate ski convenience

If there is one main negative about the sport of skiing it’s its complexity and the logistics it takes to get geared up and finally be ready. Today’s blog is precisely about ease of use. In how many ski resorts can you park your car, put on your gear, then walk just a few yards and board a chairlift? Then, when ski time is over and if there’s fresh snow, glide back to the car, take off your boots, load your skis and then go home? I’m not talking of course of a slope-side location. Not very many, right? Well, this is still true for Park City, where I have been following that routine for now twenty-three winter seasons. You can’t do that at nearby resort like Deer Valley or the Canyons, even less at mega resorts like Aspen, Vail or Whistler. What is that ski-in, ski out worth to me? A whole lot; in fact, it’s the main reason why I still ski Park City Mountain Resorts after all these years.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Recycling old ski fashion

What do you do with that old one-piece suit from the 70s and the 80s? You can give it to charity, but I doubt that too many folks will find good use for it in Africa or in Asia. First, it could be a bit too warm in most developing nations’ hot and humid climate, and second the bright, patched-up colors would understandably be found in poor taste even by those who don’t know what winter sports are all about. In my view there’s only one best and highest use for these old garments; snow removal. That’s right, if you’re shoveling or blowing snow they are the best clothes to wear. Their “unibody” construction prevents any pesky snow from seeping inside, all the way to a human skin that is not yet used to the morning cold. In addition, because we’ve all put up a few more pounds in the past 20 to 30 years, wearing a now tight one-piece ski suit will amplify your body forms and make you look larger than life, scaring away any puma strolling around your neighborhood in the wee hours of the morning (we indeed have a mountain lion terrorizing our Park City subdivision at the moment.) The real benefit however, is that your neighbors and any passer-by will see you as a true professional in the pristine field of snow removal, and that alone makes your ancient one-piece suit worth upgrading into a work uniform.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Vertical thinking

In most people’s opinion, the best way to measure how much one skis is by counting the total vertical drop. I agree with that approach. When I ski, I keep track of my total vertical on any given day and of course during the course of the season. While I have skied over 1 million vertical in recent winters now that I’m retired, my record days have stood out. To beat a daily record you need access to a lift that’s both steep and fast. I found one in Sunshine Village, near Banff, in Alberta, on March 30, 2003 when I logged 46,787 foot vertical in four and a half hour (that meant 10,397 foot per hour). This was very hard work as I skied laps down on a steep, crudy run, off Goat’s Eye Express; the next day, I couldn’t walk down the stairs. On March 10, 2005, I beat that record in Park City, on Silverlode lift, logging 50,625 feet. That run however was groomed, not really steep and relatively easy compared to Goat’s Eye. This year, my plan is to break the 60,000 foot level as a way to celebrate my 60th birthday. This will take place during the next few days in Deer Valley, on Sultan, a new high speed chair that serves 1,760 foot of steep vertical. Hopefully, my own record will fall. We’ll see…

Friday, January 4, 2008

Time, money, health and love

As announced in yesterday’s blog, here’s the updated analysis including “love.” If we start from the worst and move up to the best case situation, here’s how I see things stack up:

1. Nothing at all – Zero Point

No time, no health, no money, no love; the pits: Things can’t get any worst.
2. Just Time – One Point
Can make all the other missing elements very painful if time is indeed very long
3. Just Money – Two Point
If plentiful, it may buy some time and some health, who knows? Sorry, you can't buy love
4. Just Health – Three Point
A pretty tangible asset that will keep us going
5. Just Love – Four Point
Sounds romantic, but will it be strong enough to make up for the (missing) rest? Sorry, you can neither sell nor barter love!
6. Time and Health – Five Point
Perhaps cut and dry, but likely to work for most
7. Time and Money – Six Point
The package is a bit limited but it might buy some time and some love
8. Time, Health and Money – Seven Point
Fully functional, but quite cold; nothing warm and fuzzy!
9. Money and Love – Eight Point
Better keep a few dollars to buy some health and time when they become available
10. Time and Love – Nine Point
The perfect setup for everlasting love, if we can do without too much health and money
11. Time, Money and Love – Ten Point
May work well on a tropical island with no one around being sick
12. Health and Money – Eleven Points
Will work, but love is clearly going to be a function of careful timing!
13. Health and Love – Twelve Point
Not such a bad combination if we didn’t have to take a lot of time to buy and enjoy many material things
14. Health, Money and Love – Thirteen Point
Better enjoy everything while it last; make sure to set a few dollars aside to buy more time
15. Time, Health and Love – Fourteen Point
All is almost perfect as long as everything stays cheap
16. Time, Health, Money and Love - Fifteen Point
Nirvana? At the very least a perfect life

I realize these elements are not that "black and white" and there's room for much more "gray area" in each one of them; however, if your views happen to drastically differ from mine, we all would love to know them, so please, write down a comment and explain how you see things!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The power of love

In a previous blog, I was using “money”, “time” and “health” in various combinations. For some unknown reasons and in spite of its universality I never thought of including “love” in the analysis. This came back to me as I was pondering the usual New Year’s wishes that revolve around “health” and “prosperity”, but hardly ever about “love”. As the Beatles once sung, “all you need is love.” What an oversight! This is because, as a guy, I’m not that “touchy-feely”, but there’s no excuse for the omission. Sure, the inclusion of “love” may complicate things a bit, but it will bring some interesting results as “love”, or its near-substitute “passion”, humanize the string of possibilities. So, just stay tuned for that comparison and its results.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Skiing with the young...

Without a doubt, skiing is a great family sport. Those of us who are skiers and have kids have been delighted to take their young ones to the slopes when they were small and gradually saw them get better to the point where they caught up very fast with their parents before leading the party. Whether we are talking about small kids, teenagers or young adults, that pleasure never goes away. During the holidays, I was blessed to ski with my daughter and my son and, each time we went, we had a blast. It’s a wonderful way to reconnect in a stress-free environment, and to chat just about everything and anything while riding up the chair. Even if they don’t ski regularly or much at all, it’s wonderful to see them enjoy the sport as much as we do and find out that their skills remain outstanding. I hope these on-snow get together will last for a very long time, will soon include some grand kids and will always be a rewarding experience as these few days were…

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Flight 2008: Immediate boarding!

A new adventure along with a brand new year is starting this morning. Fasten your seat-belts and expect the very best! The page is blank and ready or not, there’s always room for a few good resolutions and the ball is simply in our court. Oh yes, this is also a leap year and we get one bonus day to accomplish some extra things; so with no further ado, let’s take off…