The Official Soundtrack of My Life

By Jason Menard

Back when I was younger, the mixed tape was all the rage. It was your way to express your feelings through song, because you just couldn’t find the right words. I’m embarrassed to say in my past I may have given out a couple of them to certain people in my life.

Earlier today, in another spurt of time-killing and/or self-reflection, I started playing around with a song list on Grooveshark trying to define The Soundtrack of My Life. I asked others to share their songs, so I thought it only fair to put mine down in ‘print.’

Remember, these are not my favourite songs (though, some are), but rather songs that represent key moments in my life and/or songs that held a specific importance to myself and someone else.

It was fun. It was enlightening. And it mixed equal parts fromage and gravitas. Continue reading

Who Am I? Depends on Who You Are. And Chemistry

By Jason Menard,

In today’s social-media dominated world, the opportunity to share ourselves is ever present. But volume of sharing does not necessarily equal substance.

For example, I’ve had a lot of changes over the past couple of years. Some of you may know about them; others don’t. You see, I write a lot, but I don’t share a lot.

The trivial, the odd, the fun? Sure. No problem. But the personal? The stuff below the surface? I don’t like opening myself up like that and it’s rare that I do. I used to use the excuse that I figured people wouldn’t care, but that’s only part of the truth.

The truth is is that it’s not you. It’s just me. Continue reading

Anonymity Rules

By Jason Menard

It’s easy to see the world in terms of black and white. Filtered through the prism of personal interest, right and wrong can be very clear. But step back and look across the entire spectrum and what seems clear is often muddled by shades of grey.

Ideally, everyone would put their name to what they write or say, on-line and off. But we don’t live in an ideal world.

Continue reading

Filling Out My Dream Team Roster

By Jason Menard

It’s been proven over and over in sports that success does not come exclusively by having the best players — it’s having the best team that wins championships. After all, even on the Dream Team not everyone could be Michael Jordan. Someone’s had to be Christian Laettner.

That rings true in all aspects of life, including business and politics. Everyone wants to be (or thinks they are) the idea person, the visionary, the leader. There’s a whole market predicated on selling motivational posters to those who want to believe that individualism matters more than collective will.

It’s true that single-mindedness and tunnel vision can lead to successfully completing a goal or project. And if you’re interested in your own needs, that’s often enough. But true success — the kind that uplifts people from across all walks of life — can only come from balance and teamwork. Continue reading

London’s Country Music Announcement Hits All the Right Notes

By Jason Menard

This is likely the only time I’ll write about country music. While there are a few songs I enjoy, it’s not my genre of choice. Yet, I’ll fully admit to being excited about today’s announcement that the 2016 Canadian Country Music Association Awards and Country Music Week will be hosted by the Forest City.

I’m excited by both the short and long-term benefits of the event. And that excitement is based on precedent.

And I’m looking at Cher. Continue reading

No Good Deed Goes Unpublished?

By Jay Menard

I know some were inspired by Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi’s call for London to conscript his “Three Things for…” idea to encourage good deeds in the community.

Instead of being inspired, his call just made me sad.

Let me start by saying that I have no issue with the intent behind Nenshi’s Three Things for… idea. I just don’t know what it says about us that we need to have something like this at all.

Are we, as a society, so stuck staring into the palm of our hands that we don’t see the need around us and act accordingly? Has social networking made us so narcissistic that an action will not exist until it has received 30 retweets and a couple dozen Facebook likes?

Do we have to change the old adage from “no good deed goes unpunished” to “no good deed goes unpublished?” Continue reading

Flying the Rainbow Flag? It’s Not So Black and White

By Jay Menard

I’m sure there are those who will read this and brand me a homophobe. There are others who will point to my societal privilege, my cishet status, or my general whitey-ness and tell me I don’t have a right to make a comment on issues of gay rights.

I know that to be the case because I’ve read the comments — on both sides. The venom and knuckle-dragging vitriol of the homophobe is being countered by the righteous indignation and instant branding of the pro-gay warrior.

But in the end, the idea of flying a rainbow flag to protest the Sochi Olympics is not so black and white to me. Continue reading