June 19th, 2024

Noteworthy: Not the wildlife you’d expect to find flopping on the fairway

By Bruce Penton on May 22, 2024.

Now this is a real fish story: A couple of days ago, a tiny perch about six to eight inches long was discovered flopping around in the middle of the 15th fairway at Desert Blume Golf Club.

It’s unlikely the fish crawled from its home in Seven Persons Creek to the spot about 50 yards away, so we’re blaming it on a bird of prey who snatched the innocent little fish from the water, bit and chewed it for a couple of seconds and then dropped it onto the golf course fairway before flying away. That bird probably had plans for an afternoon snack an hour or so later.

• Alberta will have a new Leader of the Opposition after the June 22 New Democratic Party leadership race concludes. Polling evidence suggests the winner will be Naheed Nenshi, the former Calgary mayor, but there are no guarantees. It was ‘pick on Nenshi’ night a week ago Saturday at a candidates debate in Calgary, which suggests the other three candidates – Sarah Hoffman, Kathleen Ganley and Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse – all believe Nenshi is the one to beat.

One thing the leadership race has done is spark interest in the party. Another thing that has sparked interest in the NDP is Danielle Smith. Party memberships are now held by 85,000 Albertans, the highest number the NDP has ever hit. Ten years ago, when Rachel Notley became leader, only around 3,600 votes were cast at the convention.

• New word of the week: Spaving. Essentially, it means spending money to save cash because of free shipping, etc. It actually results in overspending, according to those in the know.

• Where there’s smoke, there’s – health risk. Maybe it’s time to dig into your bedroom drawer and find one of those COVID-19 face masks. With wildfire season already upon us, Health Canada reminds people that smoke in the air is something to take seriously. A story in the News the other day quoted a Health Canada official as saying: “The smoke is a mixture of several gases, vapour and fine particulates. The main pollutants in the smoke that is our greatest risk to our health is the fine particulate matter; they are so small that when you breathe it, it goes deep into the lungs, and can be actually absorbed into your blood.”

• The Las Vegas Strip will be getting a new look in the months ahead when the Mirage, which features the lava-flowing volcano fountain and the Beatles-themed stage show Love, closes this summer. It opened only 35 years ago, 1989, and will reopen in 2027 as Hard Rock Las Vegas, featuring “a hotel tower in the shape of a guitar soaring nearly 700 feet (about 210 metres) above the heart of the Strip,” reported the Associated Press.

More than 3,000 employees will be laid off and $80 million in severance will be paid out. Another iconic Vegas landmark, the Tropicana, will also be demolished to make way for the Las Vegas (Oakland) A’s new baseball stadium.

• One of my favourite restaurants, Red Lobster, has filed for bankruptcy and perhaps it’s because of people like me, who paid a visit only once a year or so. A visit to Red Lobster happened only when I was on the road, since there is no franchise with the RL banner in Medicine Hat. Another reason for their financial woes may have been due to their “endless shrimp for $20 promotion,” which would attract buzzards like myself to eat shrimp until I started to look like one.

Company officials say the Red Lobster chain will emerge from this bankruptcy filing leaner and more efficient, but with fewer restaurants across North America. And perhaps a limit on how many shrimp one can eat for $20.

• Short snappers: By far the best aspect of the Stanley Cup playoffs is the post-series handshake line. No other professional sport has that custom, but it’s always heartwarming to see. … Xander Schauffele may have garnered the biggest golf headlines last weekend by winning the PGA Championship, the second men’s major of the season, but a more spectacular golf story was authored by Nelly Korda, who won for the sixth time in her last seven starts on the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association tour. Talk about domination. … Medicine Hat’s Matt Weninger serves as goaltending coach of the Moose Jaw Warriors, who last week won the Western Hockey League championship. Weninger will be in Saginaw, Mich., this weekend for some of the Memorial Cup festivities. It’s been 10 years since the WHL champion last won the Memorial Cup. That was the Edmonton Oil Kings in 2014.

Bruce Penton is a retired News editor who may be reached at brucepenton2003@yahoo.ca

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