Archive for February 2012

My monthly mailer, in case you missed it everywhere else.   Leave a comment

Because my friend Bridgit would get mad at me if I didn’t link all of my social content together… below, you will find a link to the latest edition of my newsletter, the MacAskill Mailer.

(Just in case you missed it on my Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or your inboxes.)

Here’s the link.

Recycle

Advertisements

Posted February 27, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Countdown to Camrose (Resort Casino)!   Leave a comment

In just over a week, Camrose Resort Casino will open its doors to all.  Its hotel doors, that is.  The casino has been operating and entertaining its patrons for a couple of years now, and if you haven’t been in yet… why not?  200 slot machines, a private poker room, 12 table games, and other amazing features make it a must-see destination.

The various specials make it a must-eat destination, too.  The $17.95 prime rib dinner on the last Thursday of each month is worth waiting for; likewise, the seafood buffet that they serve on the last Friday at $26.95 is a steal.  (Please don’t steal.)  Other promotions include Mex Mondays (specially-priced quesadillas and Coronas), Wing and Wimpy Wednesdays (chicken wings and Coors Light specials), and Freezin’ Fridays (discounted Heineken and Guinness draft).  All great deals… but don’t think that you have to wait for certain days of the week to savor the goodness on the Joker’s Den’s menu.  Go early, go late… just go.

If you’re travelling through, remember what I said at the beginning.  The hotel is taking reservations now.  Whether you’re passing through on a family trip, or your sports team needs a place to stay… maybe you’re a travelling sales rep checking in on all of your Camrose clients, or working out in the field on behalf of an oil and gas company… let me know.  Do you need a corporate rate?  Let me know.  Better still, if you want to take advantage of an awesome “grand opening” rate – valid until the end of May – click on the link below:

http://www.camroseresortcasino.com//images/stories/documents/CRC_Opening_Rates.pdf

Still not impressed?  Geez, tough crowd.  How about this, then – if you sign up for their newsletter before March 31 (yes, it’s free, no obligation whatsoever), you could win a jacuzzi suite package.  Here’s the link for that:  http://www.camroseresortcasino.com/packages-a-promotions/item/177-win-a-jacuzzi-suite-package

Camrose Resort Casino is the venue for you.  113 rooms, ample conference and banquet space for any occasion, great food, and an action-packed gaming establishment… all in one.  Click here to go to their website.  Click here to follow them on Twitter.  By golly, they even have a Facebook page.  And when you’re done all that, go visit them!

Crc_cover

Posted February 23, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

The 2012 Stage West Calgary concert series… take two   Leave a comment

Not that any of you reading this will ever know, but I wrote this last night, too.  And it was brilliant; concise, witty, and charming.  I’m sure I would have gotten phone calls throughout the night inquiring about seating availability had it ever reached its intended audience.

And then my laptop ate it.  I briefly reconsidered writing it again last night, but I suspect there might have been too much profanity for some readers’ liking.

So here I go again… and it will probably be even more concise.

There are some dates throughout the year where Stage West Calgary is “dark”, meaning that there is no show occurring that night. Mondays are often like that.  There is also a two-week span of time in the late summer where our “seasons” change; the 2011-12 show schedule ends, and the 2012-13 schedule begins.

However, we just don’t shut the doors on our loyal clientele.  Stage West is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and the tribute acts we had scheduled – especially during the summer – rival any that have ever booked in our theatre.  Below, I will show you four of those acts – in a later blog, I might showcase the other performers that will be gracing our stage in 2012.

For ticket availabilty and group information, contact me, or the Stage West box office.

Thank you.  Thank you very much. 

Concert_madonna

Concert_michaeljackson
Concert_elvis2012Concert_michaeljackson

Lennon

Posted February 18, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Gary Carter, 1954-2012   1 comment

Garycarter1

Best in the business, indeed.  I think I’ve figured out where my love/hate relationship with the BBWAA Hall of Fame voting process originated.  It was the first year Gary Carter didn’t get elected into Cooperstown: January, 1998.  After retiring in 1992, and waiting the mandatory five years, he was first eligible in 1998.  I naturally assumed he would easily get the necessary 75% of the total vote, ensuring him entry into the Hall.

He received 42.3% of the vote.  In 1999, it dropped – dropped! – to 33.8%.  In 2002, he fell 11 votes shy of the magic mark (he needed 354, he got 343), receiving 72.7%… I might have felt as bad as he did that day.  Finally, in 2003, the Kid got the call he was waiting for, and he was inshrined into Cooperstown.  I know – I was there.  Long before he retired, I vowed I would see his induction speech in person, and by golly, I did.

If you’ve read any of my baseball-related posts, you’d know that I’m a numbers guy.  I don’t worship at the feet of Bill James, but my opinion of certain players, the argument of X versus Y, is strongly influenced by sabermetrics.  Especially Hall of Fame stuff.  However, when it comes to determining whether a guy is a HOFer, two of my first questions are, “Was he the league’s best, or one of the best, at his position during his era?”, and, “Is he one of the ten best ever at his position?”

(Note to readers – I’m not going to use too many numbers or arguments, I promise.  This is a blog from the heart.  I just want to remind you, or inform those of a younger vintage, how good he really was.)

So, in his era… yes, he certainly was a dominant player.  When Carter was entering his prime, Johnny Bench was more or less leaving his.  Carlton Fisk was a similar player in the American League, and a HOFer in his own right.  Mike Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez arrived just as Carter was leaving.  Lance Parrish, Tony Pena, Bob Boone, Ted Simmons… All-Stars, but not quite as good as Carter.  Also, and regardless of his position, the Kid finished in the top ten for MVP balloting four times.  He wasn’t just one of the best catchers of his era, but for about a dozen years, he was one of the best players in the National League.

And I can’t think of ten catchers better.  (Neither could Bill James – he ranked him eighth all-time in 2001.)  He was equally valuable with his bat as with his glove and arm.  An 11-time All-Star.  Over 300 home runs.  Three Gold Gloves, and he probably deserved a couple more.  An excellent pitch-caller behind the plate.  One of only five men to ever catch over 2,000 games.  I mean this in the most endearing way possible (because I think many consider him too flashy for their tastes) – Gary Carter was a tough son of a… gun.

Being a catcher sucks.  Wait, let me rephrase that.  It can suck, because catchers take a beating behind the plate.  Baserunner collisions, foul tips, blocking errant pitches, crouching for hours at a time… it hurts.  When I was a kid (not the Kid), I played ball… fastball.  We didn’t have baseball where I lived.  But one day, I decided I wanted to be a catcher, just like Gary Carter, and I took my turns squatting behind the plate.  I took a beating some days.  And I’m convinced my left knee is still wonky, decades after catching a couple of double-headers.

Am I whining?  Hell yes.  We only played a couple of dozen games a year.  I barely had any collisions, the pitches were slower, my joints and muscles were as stretchy as they would ever be, and the games were short.

Gary Carter caught 2,056 major league games.  He led his league six years in a row, and placed in the top four in the NL 12 years in a row.  Now add in his bullpen sessions, and minor league games, and exhibition games, and Little League games.  My admiration knows no bounds.

_____________________________________________

If you don’t personally know me, you can probably figure out how old I am.  I became a baseball fan, in large part, because my mom was.  She was an Expos fan, so I became one.  I’m not so old that I remember famous Montrealers Rusty Staub and Coco Laboy… my first memories of watching Les Expos are of the first great teams they had in the late ’70s and early ’80s.  Dawson, Raines, Wallach, Cromartie… for some reason, Doug Flynn was a favorite of mine, too… and Gary Carter.  He became the face of the team, ergo, he became my favorite Expo.  A lot of guys resented him for it, but I didn’t notice.  Remember, cable was in its infancy.  There was no internet, no TSN or Sportsnet (at least, not in my house), no sports talk radio.  I just knew what I saw between the lines of the baseball diamond – that, and the commercials Carter appeared in.

It kills me that the Montreal Expos never won a World Series.  All that talent back then, but they never got over the hump.  They had a five-year stretch where they finished in second place three years in a row, then third twice, in the seven-team National League East.  Ten years later, with a new crop of young stars (Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, Rondell White, and others), they had the best record in the majors… and then there was a strike.  They never recovered.

So I was thrilled beyond measure that Gary Carter finally earned his World Series ring in 1986 with the New York Mets.  However, try to imagine how I felt that fateful day, December 10th, 1984, when the Expos traded him away.  Yeah, that bad.  Nonetheless, I got up, dusted myself off… and switched my allegiance to the Mets.  Don’t blame me, I was still an impressionable and not-fully-formed youth back then.

Carter was an instant hit in the Big Apple.  He homered in his first game, an extra-inning, game-winning smash that kicked off one of his best seasons ever.  He was also entrusted with guiding a talented but young pitching staff, featuring Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, and others, and he did an outstanding job in that respect as well.

It took another season, but he got his ring in ’86.  He had a great post-season, and his two-out single in Game Six kept the game alive for the eventual Mookie Wilson-Bill Buckner (mis)play.  The Mets rallied to win, and took care of business two nights later.

If I’d earlier led you to believe that Carter, while respected by most of his peers, was also resented by some teammates in Montreal, imagine the scene in New York.  The Kid, constantly smiling, God-fearing and family-oriented… that wasn’t an act.  That was who he was.  Contrast that to the younger, cockier (and in some cases, troubled) crew that included Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Lenny Dykstra, and Kevin Mitchell, amongst others.  Carter was too clean-cut for their tastes, and he was often the brunt of their cruel humor.  The ’86 Mets, a team I loved as a kid, was not, in retrospect, a very lovable team.

Carter arrived in New York after a decade of catching and playing on the hard turf of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.  He was, if not quite past his prime, at the tail-end of it, and his last good year with the bat was in 1988,  He lasted just one more year in New York, before landing with the San Francisco Giants for a single season, then the (hated!) Los
Angeles Dodgers.  The sight of the Kid in a Dodgers uniform (for those who remember Black Monday, 1981, from a Canadian perspective) was disturbing.  It was just plain wrong, even if he was from California.

Thankfully, he returned to Montreal in 1992.  He wasn’t very good.  He was 38 years old, and battered by a lifetime of hard baseball labor… but he was still the Kid.  Still upbeat, thankful for the chance to put on a baseball uniform one more day at a time.  And in his final at-bat, he hit a game-winning double in front of the home crowd, just over the head of longtime teammate Andre Dawson.  The Expos won, 1-0.

(I tried to embed it below, but I just couldn’t figure it out.  Please click below if you want to see that final at-bat.  An advance “thanks” to MLB for not asking me to pull it.  Yet.)

http://mlb.mlb.com//shared/flash/video/share/ObjectEmbedFrame.swf?width=400&height=254&content_id=20086255&property=mlb

Gary Carter was, in my admittedly biased view, the Expos’ first true star.  Thus, he was also Canada’s first baseball star, a player that put Canada on the MLB map.  Gary Carter made me a baseball fan.  He was a great player, and by all accounts, a better man, and today a lot of better writers are writing better testimonials to that fact.  Thanks, Kid, for everything.

Posted February 16, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Stagewest promotions galore!   Leave a comment

If you haven’t already, you really should subscribe to the various Stagewest Hospitality e-blast newsletters.  If you do – WHEN you do, that is – you’ll receive information on special shows, promotions, and other discounted offers.

In fact, I can wait: click here and you’ll be instantly transported to the main Stagewest website, and you can visit each of the properties from there.

Today, I received information on three different (and excellent) promotions from three of our different properties: Stage West Calgary, where I primarily work from; the Medicine Hat Lodge, a place I’ve visited several times these past few months; and Stage West Mississauga, an all-purpose hotel that is probably the most active e-blaster of them all.

Without further ado…

Stage West Calgary is offering half-price tickets for The 39 Steps on Tuesday, February 21.  Mention the booking code “Hitchcock” to receive tickets for just $48.30 each – and, yes, that includes not only the show, but the 120-item buffet.

The Medicine Hat Lodge is giving you just one more day to book your romantic Valentine’s Night dinner at the M Grill.  $129 gets you dinner for two, and a chocolate fountain… and a complimentary room at Nakoda Lodge, located in the mountains midway between Banff and Calgary.

Stage West Mississauga* is welcoming four cast members from the long-running television institution, Coronation Street – and you can meet them, too.  On Monday, April 2, you can listen to their stories, and even take part in a private meet-and-greet before their lunch or dinner performances.

(*I didn’t link to that promotion – I wanted to show you myself!  Look down!)

Coronation

Posted February 14, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Rave reviews for The 39 Steps   Leave a comment

And they’re not just coming from me, either.

The 39 Steps is already my favorite show at Stage West Calgary.  It moves quickly, the four actors are all brilliant, and I like the British humor.  (That’s probably due to growing up in a house without cable, watching a lot of CBC programming as a kid.)

“But, Jason,” you’re exclaiming somewhere out there, “you work for Stagewest.  You have to say that!”

Well, I wouldn’t if I didn’t think it was true.  Besides, I’ve only worked there for seven months, so my entire basis of comparison here is three shows.  So yes, the show currently playing really is my favorite.

“Then how do you even know what’s good and what’s bad?  You’re no critic!”

Well, no, I’m not.  (Nor am I going to continue this hypothetical argument for the sake of padding this post…)  However, Louis B. Hobson is, so if you want to find out what he thought about The 39 Steps, click here.  Dan St. Yves is, too… click right here for his review.

(Spoiler alert: they both enjoyed it.  A lot.)

Swc_39_steps

Posted February 10, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

One Valentine’s Day promotion, TWO nights at TWO Stagewest resorts!   Leave a comment

See below. 

Mhl_valentines

Now, really, isn’t that one heck of an offer?  For more information, contact me, or the Medicine Hat Lodge directly at 403-502-8176.

Posted February 7, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

My all-time major league dream team   Leave a comment

The National Football League season is over.

The NBA hasn’t held my interest in about 15 years, and the NHL is at that point in the season where I’ll watch with interest in about six weeks.

So, I guess it’s time to start thinking about the 2012 baseball season.  Did you know that a lot of teams open camp in Florida and Arizona in just two weeks?

Over at Twitter, the guys at the MLB Fancave are asking their followers who would play each position on an imaginary all-time team.  I haven’t answered that query, but it’s easy enough for me to do right here.  My team will be a mixture of the all-time greats, and my favorite players… after all, it’s my club.  So although most would agree that Babe Ruth was the greatest player ever, he didn’t make my team.  No DHs here, my friend.

Without further ado:

  • Gary Carter, catcher
  • Lou Gehrig, first base
  • Ryne Sandberg, second base
  • Mike Schmidt, third base
  • Cal Ripken, shortstop
  • Tim Raines, left field
  • Willie Mays, center field
  • Larry Walker, right field
  • Greg Maddux, right-handed starter
  • Steve Carlton, left-handed starter
  • Mariano Rivera, relief pitcher

Anyone else want to name theirs?

Schmidt

PS – I own this sticker yearbook.  Still have it.  It’s missing three stickers.

Posted February 7, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

Who wants to go to a tradeshow?   Leave a comment

Are YOU involved in the oil and gas industry?

Do YOU have a product or service that should be featured at a home and garden show?

Well, by golly, are YOU reading the right blog, then…

_______________________________________

I’m looking for exhibitors for a pair of tradeshows, both of which are taking place in Medicine Hat, Alberta, in association with the local Chamber of Commerce.  If you are interested in more information, please click on the link I added at the bottom of the page.  Or, if you can refer someone that you feel would be a good fit for either show, let me know.

Both shows will feature hundreds of exhibitors representing a broad array of industries, directly and indirectly related to the tradeshow’s “mission”, and will attract thousands of patrons from Medicine Hat and area.  If you want to promote your business in southern Alberta this spring, this is a great place to do it.

PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS.

http://www.medicinehatchamber.com/pages/TradeShows/

Saps_pic

Sunshine_pic

Posted February 3, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized

A Belterra update   Leave a comment

Last week, I received some information from Belterra Land Company in my electronic mailbox (or inbox, as the kids say).  As both an investor and referral source for the fellows there, it makes me feel all fuzzy inside when I get good news.  I’m going to share some of it with you, and if you’re interested in sitting down and getting more information, let me know.  Here are some of the highlights; any non-title bolding is by me, not them:

Red Deer: Project
Almost two years to the day Belterra received excellent news about its most recent property; 77.97 acres on the city’s eastern boundary.  Our property was appraised at almost $900,000 more than the original purchase price. In a down economy (in any economy), annual appreciation of almost $450,000 (16%) is excellent.  This news and increasing values of current land sales continue to reinforce the positive growth and economic fundamentals of the Red Deer market.

There are still units available in our Red Deer project.  If you are looking for an opportunity to take advantage of RRSP, Cash, or Financed units, please contact us to set-up an appointment.

Western Canada
All indications are that ‘West is best’.  The Conference Board of Canada sees a continuing economic divide between Eastern and Western Canada in 2012 and beyond.  During a period of continued economic uncertainty, the resource-rich West has been buoyed by climbing energy prices, job growth and very positive net migration numbers.  Cities such as Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Regina will lead the country’s economic growth this year.

Red Deer, Alberta
In December, REIN (Real Estate Investment Network) ranked Red Deer as the 9th best place for investment in all of Canada.  This is no surprise given its position between the top-ranked cities of Edmonton (#2) and Calgary (#1).  The area has seen significant growth in the last seven years, becoming a hub of commercial and retail activity for central Alberta.

Red Deer’s central location gives it the distinction of being the only region in the Canadian prairies with easy access to a trade area of more than 229,000 people and a distribution capability to over 2.4 million people within a two hour drive.  Its large and vibrant market has resulted in the Region quickly becoming one of the most competitive economic corridors in the world, allowing local companies to compete successfully in both regional and global markets.  The Region has modern and ever-expanding infrastructure.  A formidable fibre optics network, good quality roads, modern rail lines, two international airports and one regional airport support Red Deer’s reputation as Central Alberta’s distribution and service centre.

Slopes02

Posted February 2, 2012 by JasonMacAskill in Uncategorized