Calgary Zoo

An Open Letter to Ken King “You can’t emotionally blackmail that which is already dead inside.”

Recently, Ken King decided to double down on the crazy pills vis a vis CalgaryNext. Presumably that means KathleenNOW is off the table.

Dear Ken King,

I can only imagine the frustrations you must be grappling with in the face of our refusal to indulge your petty desire for more hookers and cocaine. It is difficult, I know, not getting what you want. Much like my one-year-old nephew, you have opted to throw a tantrum and beat your fists desperately against the floor in the hopes that Mayor Nenshi will take you back to Walmart so you can finally purchase that Paw Patrol action figure you want.

I know, man. Paw Patrol is really cool.

But Ken, Kenny baby, life doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to stomp your feet and threaten to hold your breath until you turn blue until you get what you want. Incidentally, our colour is red so that is really what you should be aiming for.  You don’t get to threaten to take away our Flames just because we won’t pay for you turbo mansion with the T-rex leather sofa ball pit and the gold toilet that your (presumably) trophy wife throws up into every night after she comes to terms that she must do the sex with you.

You don’t get to be a total wad just because you don’t get what you want.

Look around you, Kenny.  The unemployment rate is fluctuating badly. In December we were at 10.6% unemployment. At this moment it’s 9.4%. How many glorious new jobs would this new Cocaine-and-Gold-Boobs Stadium bring? Is it worth the tax expense that would be levelled against all of us, just to fulfill your desire to shit on the Saddledome as the walls explodes around you?

And here’s another thing. When you say, “There would be no threat to move, we would just move, and it would be over.” Well, Ken-Kill-Kenney, that actually comes off like a threat, and I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but in general folks don’t take well to threats. In fact, threats generally cause us to dig in our heels, drill nails through our feet, and prepare for the worst outcome. And trust me, Ken, if the worst you can do is take away the Flames, and it is, then you are about to get an unpleasant surprise. I, for one, have already painted my toenails to show off my brand new, lovely, hobnail accessory.

See, despite what you think, Ken King, the Calgary Flames are not the be all and end all of our city. We are made of many patterns and colours. We have many loves and interests. As a community, we have the remarkable ability to come together and find enjoyment in a variety of activities. Some, like the Comic Expo and the Stampede are an annual event. During the brief days that these events take place we come together to indulge in our silly side and explore our history in quasi-drunken escapades that will never be repeated here nor anywhere else.

But Calgary has so much more to offer as well. The Glenbow, the Telus Spark Science Centre, the Calgary Zoo. Walk down Stephen Ave during the Christmas Holidays and a person would be hard-pressed to not feel themselves spurred on by a sense of community. Except you. I imagine whenever snow touches your lily-white skin you are forced to vigorously towel dry yourself with the nearest louse-free homeless person. Float down the Bow, get a treat at Village Ice Cream, visit one of our many farmer’s markets. Climb the Tower (or ride a sherpa as much like my previously mentioned nephew, your stubby legs would never make the climb, and I’m sure the speed of an elevator ascent would cause you to get a nosebleed.) Have you seen our craft beer community? Big Rock, Village, Last Best, Toolshed, Dandy, Wild Rose. Every single thing I’ve listed, including the sherpa, laughs in the face of your ‘threat-but-totally-not-a-threat’ to take away our Flames.

We’ve got some sweet-ass malls, some bitchin’ walking trails, and some cool-as-shit libraries to visit. Those are places where you can get books for free, by the way. You might want to try picking one up some time. I recommend something by Charles Dickens, as you will surely recognize yourself in the robust, eccentric fancy-man villains that occupy those particular plotlines.

We’ve got an eclectic variety of religions and ethnicities, all offering their own individual services, celebrations, and cuisine to try. We have street festivals, and hipster paradises like Kensington and Inglewood waiting to be explored.

We have one of the foremost children’s hospitals in North American. By the way, I’d love a donation to my Extra Life Campaign.

We have old and new architecture that, if you have the time to remove your head from betwixt your asscheeks, you might just notice and, perhaps, admire.

Have you heard our symphony or seen the concerts that are hosted at the Jube and the Epcor Centre? Bob Dylan is coming this July. Bob-Fucking-Dylan. You know who else is coming? Distant Worlds, which is a Final Fantasy based orchestra performance. We get video game music and Bob-Fucking-Dylan all in the course of six months. The breadth of our cultural landscape stretches the length of the Rockies, which, by the way, are only a short drive away.

Calgary is a hundred thousand colours and sights and smells. It is a hundred thousand loves and passions and hates, dreams and desires. It is over one million voices all chiming together to tell you that you, Ken King, are a gargantuan asshole.

Go ahead, King. Take our Flames. Take our team. The one thing you can’t package up and ship off to another city is our spirit. That passion, that joy, that team loyalty, it isn’t for sale, and we won’t suffer your emotional blackmail.


Kathleen Sawisky, esq

Integrity Commissioner


PS: I have heard you, and others, mention the good charity work that comes from the Calgary Flames. I am unaware of any charity that threatens those it helps the most, although I see a nurse shaking down a child with leukemia at ACH, so I guess you never know.

Book Update (Sort of Not Really I Guess)

The last seven days have been a bit hectic for me. Along with working, the new Gregg Hurwitz book was released on Tuesday, which took up a couple of my days. I had my six month review at work (mercifully I am still employed!), and then, on saturday, I decided to have an uncomfortably close encounter with a patch of ice outside of my condo door. As I told one of the customers who was asking about it, I will get revenge in a month or two. He didn’t get it.

So now I’m sporting a lovely tensor bandage on my left wrist. Fortunately I didn’t break anything. My grotesque back-hump broke my fall. I wish I was joking. I’m not. The fact that the kyphosis is so pronounced ensured that my back hit the ground first instead of my head. Score one for malformed body parts!

I’ve been doing what has been recommended and taking a break from writing while Maddison works on the art for the tees and postcards which, I hope, I’ll be able to make available for purchase once the rewards are sent out to the lovely backers! Michelle, the editor, has the book, and the money should be in her hands today or tomorrow (thanks for the delay, Paypal.)

It’s a surreal feeling, realizing that I have nothing writing-related immediately on my plate. I’ve been rereading bits and pieces of the book 2 draft, and there is plenty to work with there. I can also see where book 2 will give me a lot more creative freedom because I don’t have every second of it planned out. It’s like I’m doing a reverse JK Rowling. I’ll start big and by the time we get to book 9 it will be ten chapters long and the rest will be acknowledgements and pictures of pandas slowly morphing into fruit bowls.

I’m happy with the end result of Book 1. It’s a fun read. I’m also happy that I finally had the nerve to take a step back and recognize that I could edit it until the day I die and never be completely satisfied with it. I think that’s what I love most about writing. As you grow and change as an individual, your style of writing, your knowledge of the in’s and out’s, it all changes with you. Your writing matures as you do, and as any one of my friends of family, or even coworkers will tell you, I could probably stand to do some maturing.

For now I’m going to the Calgary Zoo. I’m going to look at the amateur tigers (I know, they’re Amur tigers or whatever, but calling them ‘amateurs’ makes me giggle.) And I’m going to watch the penguins go for a walk, and eat a beaver tail (a Canadian tradition that I refuse to explain further). I will go to T&T, the local Asian market, and get some tasty treats. I will go buy lightbulbs because as it turns out, we really need lightbulbs. When I am home I will sit down and play Super Mario 64 on the WiiU and swear loudly at the poor camera angles (I know, it came out in ’96. But still, how can I be expected to catch the damn rabbit if I can’t see it?)

I will do all of that and, for once in my life, keep my thoughts about writing pushed a little further back in my mind. It is a strange sensation, to not look at the world around me and automatically think “What would Natalia do or say in this scenario?”

If I’m honest, she’d say something snarky. She’d always say something snarky.