May 28th, 2024

Noteworthy: A little sacrifice is good for the soul, and then some

By Bruce Penton on May 15, 2024.

It shouldn’t be difficult for Hatters to go along with Coun. Darren Hirsch’s suggestion that everyone cut back on their water usage this summer by 10 per cent. Why stop there? Why not cut it back 20 per cent? A 10-per-cent reduction would “make a huge difference,” said Hirsch. Start here: Instead of a relaxing rye-and-water after a hard day at work, opt instead for rye-and-Coke.

– A note in this column a couple of weeks ago lamented that technological progress has eliminated the possibility of hanging on to a ticket stub from a concert as a scrapbook keepsake, because admission tickets are now almost always electronically kept in your ‘wallet’ on a smartphone. So that stirred up a conversation between shots on the golf course last week and one of my pals (we’ll call him ‘Brian’) said he had bestowed to one of his children a ticket stub to a Rolling Stones concert from a few decades ago which showed a $3.50 admission price. A quick check on Ebay Canada shows that such stubs can be sold for prices well above the suggested retail price. Stubs carry a little bit of value ($10 to $50), but the real value is in concert tickets that were unused.

For example, a ticket to a Stones concert in Toronto in 1989 is being offered for $100 U.S. (or $136 Canadian). So, folks, go through your old scrapbooks, closets, drawers or other hideaway places in your home. You just may be sitting on gold mines.

– The City of Medicine Hat has hired IPSOS to undertake a community survey, and if you’re lucky enough to get called, answer thoroughly and politely. It will take only 15 minutes of your time to provide answers to help guide city fathers (and mothers) in the right direction in the years ahead.

Calls will be made through May 26. If you don’t get called, but would like to offer your two cents worth, an online version of the survey can be found on the City of Medicine Hat website. Chances are you will not get called, because the IPSOS team will be conducting only 400 surveys, but the results are said to be accurate within (plus or minus) 4.9 per cent 19 times out of 20.

– There’s more at stake in the current NHL playoff series between Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks than just advancing to the Western Conference final. The silliness of wagers between politicians from the two participating camps has reared its head, so both provinces’ premiers, Danielle Smith and David Eby, have agreed to let the loser be embarrassed in a public setting.

Whichever premier represents the losing side, he or she will have to rise in their legislature, wearing the sweater of the opposing team and read a statement written by the other premier. Considering Smith’s rightish approach to politics and Eby’s further left stance, the winning statement could be fairly juicy.

– Time to rummage through your bookcase and accomplish two important things: 1. Rid yourself of books you’ll never read again; and 2. Donate them to the Medicine Hat Public Library to help them raise money at its annual Friends of the Library spring book sale, coming up on May 31 and June 1.

The twice-a-year sale generally raises between $5,000 to $7,000 for the library, said a recent story in the News. Chances are remote that any book I’ve bought and read once won’t be read by me again, but it could delight someone seeing it for the first time, especially if it’s on sale at a fraction of the original price. Besides books, other items that could be donated include CDs, DVDs, board games and magazines.

– Short snappers: Cam Macleod played more golf than anyone in Canada last year, at least according to rounds submitted to the Golf Canada database. In 2023, he played 362 rounds, which doesn’t include 41 nine-hole games he played with his wife. So no, by comparison, I do not have a golf obsession. … Did the hoopla around the great northern lights show last weekend hit Medicine Hat? I forgot about it Friday, faced a smoky, hazy sky on Saturday night and then figured it was all over on Sunday. Did anyone get pictures? … I like Pierre Poilievre’s proclamations about reducing the federal deficit. Just not sure which course of action he’ll take: Tax increases? Trimming benefits? The most obvious target for cuts is Old Age Security, but that would be about as popular as Connor McDavid visiting a Canucks’ fan rally. … It’s tricky getting up to Crescent Heights these days if your regular route uses Altawana Drive. But the detour signs are well marked and, hey, it’s your tax dollars at work to improve life in the Gas City.

Bruce Penton is a retired News editor who may be reached at

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