Snowbirds fly high in Manitoba skies

by Derek Gagnon

Southport Airport near Portage la Prairie hosts the Snowbirds, and lots of other entertainment both in the air and on the ground, on Saturday, June 4.

Snowbirds 10 and 11 were at Southport to pre-scout the facilities on March 4, making sure the facilities met the standards for a performance. The Snowbirds have not performed in Manitoban skies since 2009.

Captain Blake “Naughty” McNaughton and Captain Regan “Sticky” Wickett spoke about the importance of the Snowbirds returning to the area.

“Our mission is to connect with Canadians all across Canada,” said Capt. Wickett. “This is an especially important show for us this year, because it’s been a long time since the Snowbirds have had a presence in Manitoba and we’re thrilled to be doing a show back here to reach out to everybody in the southern Manitoba area.”

Wickett promises an impressive aerial show that demonstrates the teamwork of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“It’s nine aircraft in close formation doing dynamic and graceful manoeuvres. It’s everything that gives the thrill of flight, all rolled up into 35 minutes.”

Capt. McNaughton describes the feeling off calling yourself a Snowbird.

“It’s a dream for most of us! We get to do some amazing things with this airplane. We get to travel all across North America with, essentially, our best friends. Visiting with Canadians and Americans young and old and enjoying the air shows and interactions with the public.”

So what’s the primary role of the Snowbirds?

“To inspire,” said McNaughton. “We want to inspire the next generation of pilots to enter Canadian aviation, whether that be civilian or military. Hopefully we’ll encourage them to go towards the military. We want to demonstrate to them the skills, the professionalism and the teamwork that the Canadian Armed Forces represents so that they want to be a part of our team.”

What do you say to a young Canadian who aspires to be a Snowbird
“If you work hard, you can achieve excellence. That’s what we strive for on every mission.

What is the road to becoming a Snowbird? Captain Wickett joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 2004, and earned his pilots wings in 2008 and became a Snowbird in 2012. Captain McNaughton started his flying career as a cadet before joining the Forces in 2002. Like Capt. Wickett, he also earned his wings in 2008. McNaughton became a Snowbird in 2015.

For McNaughton, the dream of being a Snowbird has existed since he show them perform when he was 13, but he admits achieving his goal was difficult.

“It’s lengthy, and it’s not an easy road,” said McNaughton. “You have to build up a vast amount of experience and credibility to even be invited to a tryout. Then you go through a tryout process to be selected to the team. Not everybody is successful. You have to be willing to put yourself out there to show who you are as a person. We want good personalities and good representatives of Canadian Armed Forces members, and we also want strong pilots.”

“[The camaraderie is] fantastic. You can place that faith in them because you know they will be dependable. They are like family, and after the amount of time we spend with each other each year on the road they really are family. It’s an amazing experience like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.”

“My favourite part about being a Snowbird is seeing the enthusiasm on other people’s faces. They love it, and I see myself in them when I was 13, and I love giving that back. The flying is awesome too!”

Is monogamy the way to go?

I often doubt that I’ll find someone who can I spend my life with who will never cheat on me. My insecurities stem from the infidelity within my parents’ marriage, to the infidelity of my own relationships on behalf of the only few people I have ever truly loved. I could argue that I date the wrong guys, but falling in love with cruel men is a whole different column in itself. The idea of monogamy is to most people, ideal and desirable for a relationship, not to mention non-negotiable. As much as I doubt its potential, it still remains a goal of mine too, however unrealistic it may be,
and it is.

The number of mammals that mate for life is a mere 3 to 5 per cent, and according to experts, virtually all animals, this 3 to 5 per cent included, are incapable of being 100% monogamous 100% of the time. Humans are motivated to reproduce, and like animals, it’s not always with the same partner. To me it seems just a little self-absorbed to want to spread your seed all over the place, but that’s science stuff I am so unqualified to delve into.

Aside from our motivation to reproduce, the desire we have to want to have sex is immeasurable—it feels good, and it’s good for you, so why not have it as much as you can?

I am all for monogamy, but it is limiting to a person’s sex life, there’s no denying that. Couples who once frequented the bedroom twice a day everyday slowly stop having it as much, and when you’re married with kids and responsibilities and a hectic schedule, it only gets scarcer. On top of having a busy schedule and little time to do it, sex with the same person for all those years tends to lose its excitement. We are humans, with an attention span of less than eight seconds; it’s amazing we can be with one person for five, ten, twenty, fifty years when we can barely get through a two-minute YouTube video without getting bored.

Interestingly enough, in France, people go into marriage just as many people do: with hopes of being faithful throughout their marriage.

However, if one partner does have an affair, the other partner will accept it as something that can happen over the course of a long marriage. If that isn’t generous enough, in Finland, sex is considered a positive experience, and if the opportunity for sex arises, one should take it. Very generous.

These are perceptions that I don’t think many people would be ready for, or likely to warm up to; after all, they go against the core values of relationships and marriage. The good news is: monogamy is not impossible. It takes work like any skill we learn to do, so if you make an effort to be monogamous, you can be monogamous. When in doubt, look to the gibbon apes for inspiration, they are among the most monogamous mammals on earth and most similar to humans!

That’s got to mean something, and if not, they are still cute to look at.

Risk management: Managing Murphy’s Law

Financial Literacy by Fred Petrie

If you still haven’t dropped by McNally’s to pick up THE END OF WORK – financial planning for people with better things to do, or downloaded it from Amazon for your kindle, you can continue to read it for free in your monthly Smart BIZ.

So far, we have covered taking responsibility for maintaining a positive cash flow in the management of your income and expenses. You have a personal Business Plan to work towards your goal of financial independence, with your scarce resources allocated to your priorities. You are managing your money through planning, taking actions and, most important, by measuring the results, to stay on track to achieve your objectives. This month we turn to the proactive management of the risks that can ruin your plans.

“Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. (at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way)” – Murphy’s Law

What can end your work, and thereby interrupt or stop your income? You could lose your job in a merger, or get outsourced. But you have kept up your skills and networked so you will most likely be able to replace the lost income from this kind of “end of work” fairly quickly.

What other life events could cut off your income? Premature death will certainly do that So long as there is no one depending on your income, like a spouse and children, this risk is not too serious; whichever way you are going, you will not need an income. But if there are others depending on your pay cheque, you may need to provide capital to generate the income that you no longer can.

The risk of a disability, whether by illness or accident, is actually greater than premature death. Now you are not just worried about the spouse and kids, you need to worry about a roof over your own head and food in your fridge, along with the cost of retraining for a new field. Employment Insurance provides a short term disability benefit for up to seventeen weeks, enough time to get the cast off your leg from the skiing accident. You may have long term disability insurance as a benefit with the group insurance where you work. But careful consideration is still needed in your financial planning to ensure your coverage is adequate, not just for the cost of living but to keep up the payments your debts. Creditor disability is often included as part of mortgage insurance.

Other risks may not directly cut off your income but can impose major costs that have the same net effect. The cost impact of a critical illness, even when you survive, can eat up your savings, drive you into debt, or ruin your retirement. The best motive for buying CI insurance can simply be to provide the resources that will greatly improve your odds of beating the critical illness.

Life risks compound as well. A 35 year old male non-smoker only has a 6% chance of dying before age 65. But the risk of a disability is 34% and of a critical illness is 26%. The combined risk of one of these events occurring by age 65 is 50%!

Another “cost” event that will almost certainly impact your cash flow is long term care. If you are alive at 65, you have a 50% chance of still being alive at 90 and 25% of reaching 95. If you are worried about your quality of life in your last 10 or 20 years, you may want to purchase long term care insurance. Do you want to spend it in a seniors’ warehouse or in a pampered upscale residence?

The really big and certain risk to your continuing income, and the lifestyle it supports, is retirement. When you “retire” should be your choice, but for every professional that keeps working to 75 because they love their vocation, there is a 55 year old who has been out-sourced and can’t get a new job – age discrimination is very real.

Income when work ends is the ultimate destination of financial planning. Keep the priority of choices for when you are 64 in mind and you may decide to postpone the new car so that you can max out your RRSP contribution. Maintain your allocation of resources to pay yourself first in your diversified investments, using dollar cost averaging with the magic of compound interest.

Your retirement income plan needs to meet the risks of aging. You need to accumulate some wealth beyond what you need for your retirement cost of living, to provide resources to cope with third trimester risk events like critical illness or long term care. Insurance for these things in your 70’s costs way too much, so you need your own extra resources to self-insure these risks. And some extra resources over your pension may just supplement your retirement income for holiday treats, not to mention making up for inflation.

Safety Management Systems provides a risk management framework for your financial planning. SMS was first developed for risk management in the nuclear industry, where the consequences of risk events can be somewhat catastrophic. Fifteen years ago, the Director General of Civil Aviation introduced SMS into civil aviation. While civil aviation by any measure or comparison is very, very safe, the only means to even greater safety is in the proactive recognition of the risks in your operating environment, to explicitly take steps to minimize the risk of an occurrence, while pre-planning how to mitigate the impacts should the risk occur.

This is where thinking like Mr. Murphy can be helpful. Pessimism can be a tool to anticipate negative occurrences, and guard against them, even before they happen. You may decide to buy critical illness insurance, not out of guilt, but due to healthy pessimism.

The final element of your financial risk management is emergency planning: how you will respond, not if, but when an actual emergency occurs. That begins with having a Will, one that addresses how you or your partner will respond should something happen to one of you. The Will is not just about how your assets are to be dispersed. It includes a living will for when you are not able to make decisions for yourself, as well as choosing an executor to look after your affairs and a guardian for your children. It is a lot easier to deal with a crisis when you have a plan set out in advance. Not a happy subject perhaps, but it is reality. Dealing with these questions in advance through your own “emergency plan” will lessen the impacts of a tragedy, for yourself and the people you care about.


Fredrick Petrie, author of “THE END OF WORK: financial planning for people with better things to do”, practices financial planning at Mortgage Logic, 1793 Portage Ave. Reach him at (204) 298-2900

Emojis and advertising: It’s what all the cool kids are doing.

By Gina Nasuti of Think Shift

Gone are the days of:-) and😦

Emojis emerged in Japan in the late 1990s by a mobile phone company that wanted to further simplify communication by expressing emotion via text. The word “emoji” came from the combination of the Japanese words for “picture,” “writing,” and “character.”

Fast forward to today, where Emoji is a second language and millennials line every text, tweet, status update – and on some occasions even university papers with little yellow faces of varying temperaments.

In 2015, the Oxford Dictionary named (Face With Tears of Joy) its word of the year. That’s not even a word!
Emojis are all the rage– which also makes them one of this year’s biggest opportunities for brands looking to connect with their audience in an entirely new way.

With nearly 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, brands with mobile initiatives are wasting no time on jumping on this non-verbal form of communication.

In 2015, Starbucks, Bud Light, McDonald’s, Dove, Coca-Cola and even the Star Wars franchise were among the first to develop their own custom emojis.

But like all trends, the shelf life and overall success of emojis in advertising is hard to predict. We’re creatures of habit and introducing a new form of communication can trigger a reaction – be it positive or negative. So what should you know before you use emojis within your organization?

There are really only two things that matter here, and in the world of advertising, they’re universal.

1. Know your audience
Like all initiatives, you need to be able to define whom it’s for to determine whether it will work. Just because you use emojis doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to resonate.
If you’re selling to the younger demographic, who has a sense of humor able to absorb a non-traditional form of communication, than emojis are a no-brainer.

2. Know how they source information
When they want to know something, how do they find it? Chances are if they are picking up a phonebook, emojis may be lost in translation.

It’s safe to say that emojis work best if your audience is youthful, mobile-comfortable, socially active and connected with pop culture trends. In other words, they’re alert and absorbing information out there in the active space.

Added bonus: In the world of 140-characters, emojis can help you say a little more with a little less.

April Horoscope

Aries (March 21 to April 19)
Your confidence and willingness to run ahead and take chances proves costly this month, when an investment you saw as a sure thing hits a snag. These things happen, so don’t give up like you want to. Tune in to that optimism that made you so excited in the first place.

Taurus (April 20 to May 20)
Your birthday is coming up, and you stumble upon the fact that your best friends are throwing you a surprise party. You’re really not on board with this, and it puts a strain in one of your friendships. Strive to get past your fear of the unknown, enjoy yourself and mend some fences.

Gemini (May 21 to June 20)
When things aren’t quite going your way at work, you use your innovation skills to make things easier for yourself, and other people take notice. What started off as bending the rules has now become the new rule. Yea, people are stealing your idea, but that’s cool I guess…

Cancer (June 21 to July 22)
You’ve decided to take the big leap, fly the nest and embrace newer, younger roommates who aren’t related to you. Yes, while you’ll be leaving behind Mom and Dad, you’ll find new opportunities to adapt to this new world of independence. You can always see them on weekends.

Leo (July 23 to Aug. 22)
Good news, you’re going to come into some money! Now, while some people would quietly donate to charity and just go about their anonymous life, that doesn’t quite suit your Leo personality. Arrange a press conference, and let everybody see just how generous you are!

Virgo (Aug. 23 to Sept. 22)
A friend in need may not be willing to come forward to get the help they need, so deciding to help them on your own you take action. Your analysis of the situation proves to be spot on, and the situation resolves itself thanks to your actions.

Libra (Sept. 23 to Oct. 22)
Your tendency to show up late bites you this month, as your tardiness does not sit well with someone very close to you. While you handle the situation well, you fail to take the necessary steps to resolve the issue, and the strong friendship you once had is now strained going forward.

Scorpio (Oct. 23 to Nov. 21)
You’re finally able to get away for that romantic vacation with your sweetheart. Sure, you had to wait longer than you wanted, but now you’ve gotten the location and price you wanted, and can now focus on more important things.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 to Dec. 21)
You’ve been told before that you’re too detached, but you really don’t see that as a bad thing. Your independence is what makes you who you are, and you’re more than ok with that. You are still capable of making friends and having a laugh, so why can’t you just be yourself?

Capricorn (Dec. 22 to Jan. 19)
This month, even you in your unrelenting way will be tempted to make changes at work when you see something just isn’t working. Your subordinates will be thankful for the much needed change, that was probably more overdue than you would like to admit.

Aquarius (Jan. 20 to Feb. 18)
Things are dragging around the office, as people seem down in the dumps. It’s spring, and people seem anxious to finally get outside after too much time indoors. Find a fun and imaginative way to reignite your coworkers and bring some fun back to the workplace!

Pisces (Feb. 19 to March 20)
A friend comes to you with a problem, and you offer your support and compassion. Remember that while it’s nice to help, do not completely immerse yourself in the problem and let it consume your life. You know, like last time. It’s important to be caring, but you also can’t let it get you down.


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