Friday July 15, 2022
A man with a plan
If you took swimming lessons as a kid, you were fast friends with this guy. 

Walter Safety was developed by the Canadian Red Cross in 1963 (#staker) and was the mascot for the swim program. 

He was the guy who decided how many laps you had to do to earn your badges and to give you that highly coveted OK to proceed to the deep end. 

Could there be a better way to spend your days?  Well, yeah.

Just ask Staker Dawn Marie R who rolled her love of the pool into a gig as a lifeguard for a couple summers.

Back then it was super competitive and landing a job was a huge win. Unlike today, when cities across the country are struggling to hire guards.

So here's to all those kids who looked out for all us kids. 

You rule the pool ;)
Premiers battle it out with feds
Source: Twitter/@fordnation
The Council of the Federation wrapped up its two days of meetings in B.C. the other day, and came out with a joint call for the federal government to sit down with them and discuss healthcare funding.

Council chair and B.C. premier John Horgan said he's been trying to set a meeting with Justin Trudeau's government for months, and has received no response from the federal government.

The Council said it's time to sit down and stop negotiating healthcare through the media. The 13 premiers jointly requested that the feds raise their Canada Health Transfer contribution from 22% of the country's healthcare costs to 35%.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says that with the money Ottawa already contributes plus what it sends through various bilateral deals with healtcare providers, the contribution already actually exceeds 38%.

A spokesman for the federal government said that if the contribution was to be increased, it would come with strings attached, a claim Horgan took insultingly.

"We are co-governors. We are equal orders of government. There's not a hierarchy here, we are the same, and we're saying we need to sit down collectively and figure out where we go from here," he said.
What the rate hike means for loans
The Bank of Canada's 100 basis point rate hike on Wednesday will send somewhat shocking rippling effects through the economy.

With the overnight rate now at 2.5%, variable rate mortgages and mortgages set to renew are in for a rough time. Many people who hold these types of mortgages are going to start to consider if it's economical to continue owning their homes.

Laurie Campbell, director of client financial wellness at advisement firm Bromwich + Smith, says that for every dollar Canadians make, they owe $1.86 on average, meaning debt loads for average Canadians are becoming quite cumbersome.

The rate hikes are designed to combat inflation, and one factor the BoC introduced into its strategy on Wednesday was curbing excess demand in the Canadian economy.

With COVID restrictions still freshly ending, people are eager to go out and get back to their usual lives, which includes spending money that these interest rate hikes may start to deter.

As people get the itch out of their system, and as debt continues to pile up faster in the form of interest, economists believe people will start to tighten their budgets, spend less money, and when people spend less money, that typically causes prices to fall.
Confusing CERB emails
Source: MTPROJECTS/Reddit
The CRA has been attempting to claw back millions of dollars claimed by recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) over the last several months.

Recently, one of its communications to Canadians who may have been overpaid has been going around, and reported as fraudulent over 100 times.

The email looks like it was put together on Microsoft Paint, claimed one Reddit user who was looking online to see if the email was legitimate or an attempt by fraudsters to collect.

Service Canada announced that the email is, in fact, real, and the recipients should act accordingly and pay back what they owe to the government.

Another part of the problem? Many of the emails don't actually say what people owe. Rather, it just says they were overpaid and must return that money to the CRA.
Netflix partners with Microsoft
Netflix announced a few months back that it was introducing an ad-supported tier for subscribers who are prepared to pay less in exchange for advertisements laced into their Netflix experience.

The streaming giant announced yesterday that it had partnered with Microsoft in order to operationalize the advertising network. Softie will be Netflix's technology and sales partner, helping to attract advertisers, as well as properly implement ads throughout the user experience.

"It’s very early days and we have much to work through. But our long-term goal is clear. More choice for consumers and a premium, better-than-linear TV brand experience for advertisers," said Netflix Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters.

He said that Microsoft was chosen largely because of the company's demonstrated ability to evolve and innovate technologically over time. 

The partnership is a likely match, given that Microsoft president Brad Smith sits on Netflix's board, a position he's held for seven years.

Netflix stock rose 2% with the announcement of the news, a welcome sign for a company that's experienced a lot of hardship on the market in 2022.
Almond joy
Did you know humans have been eating almonds for at least 5,000 years? They grew in the wild for much longer than that, but it's believed they were first intentionally cultivated around 3,000 BC.

Today, the biggest commercial source of almonds on earth is California. The Golden State produces about 2,25 billion pounds of almonds a year, exporting them for about US$5.5 billion. It's where Canada gets almost of all its supply as well.

Sweet almonds are extremely healthy for you, coming with a lesser risk of obesity and cardiac issues when eaten regularly. They're very high in protein and fibre, which likely accounts for why they're related to lower obesity levels. They're actually high in fat, but because they fill you up for so long, you're less likely to eat more.

Bitter almonds are, let's just say, not good for you. They're definitely not sold commercially, and typically only grow in the wild. They contain a chemical called glycoside amygdalin which, when broken down, can turn into hydrogen cyanide, which can easily kill you.

Needless to say, stick to sweet almonds, and live to tell the tale. Oh, and one more thing.

Almond Joy has nuts. Mounds don't ;)
The Old Course at St. Andrews
Source: Twitter/@TheHomeofGolf
The 150th Open is upon us, and what better place for it to be held than at the home of golf itself, The Old Course at St. Andrews?

We don't say the home of golf colloquially. The first golf ever was played at this course in the 15th century, on the east coast of Scotland just northeast of Edinburgh.

It was fashioned into the 18 hole course in 1863, and nine years later the first Open was held there. It's named the Old Course given that it was the first of two built on the idyllic property.

The course is both pristinely simple and maddeningly difficult. It's a links course, so despite there being no trees or real vertical hazards, it requires golfers to truly understand the lay of the land, playing all of their shots against frequent gusts of wind and the angles of the naturally occurring terrain.

It's also unique in that eight of its fairways overlap, as do seven of its greens, creating absolutely monster size greens where 100-foot putts are often attempted and even holed. 

The greens, if separated, would still be about twice as big as the average green at Augusta National.

The course often makes fools of the best golfers the world has to offer, and is in turn the favourite course of many of those same golfers. 

Happy Friday, and enjoy the next three days at the home of golf.
Kitty come home
Well, she didn't really find her way home. Rather, she allowed herself to be caught, and was returned to her owners.

Patty and Rich Sahli had just returned from a 15 year stay in Germany on assignment with the U.S. Army, and their flight to Boston from Lufthansa had just landed.

Enter a few birds and a rowdy cat whose name, fittingly, actually is Rowdy. She took note of her prey, and didn't hesitate for a second, breaking out of her carrier, and rushing towards the winged-meal she would never actually catch.

For three weeks, Rowdy was missing somewhere inside Logan Airport in Boston, refusing to be deterred from capturing the meal that was rightfully hers.

It took three weeks, but Rowdy eventually gave up. It's not clear if she was tired, hungry, bored, or some combination of the three, but she let herself be captured on Wednesday, and was returned to the Sahlis unharmed.
Home grown blue lagoons
Summers by the pool are cool. But so is finding that secret swimming hole. Here's a list of some of the best around these parts, courtesy of Destination Ontario.
Have a great weekend Staker!

Staker Dawn Marie R actually landed 2 of the greatest summer jobs of all time. In addition to her lifeguard gig, the same summer she served up the swirls at Dairy Queen.
C'mon, does life get any better than that ;)

What was your fave summer job? Let us know!

Today's edition was written by Michael Cowan and Maureen Norman
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