HicksBiz Blog

Spending an hour in conversation with CHED's J'Lyn Nye

J'Lyn Nye of the 630 CHED Afternoon News show in Edmonton was kind enough to invite me on her show (while co-host Mark Scholz was on holiday) Feb. 13  for an hour-long chat about my 18 years of covering the city as the Edmonton Sun's "Hicks on Six" columnist.  We had a wonderful wide-ranging conversation about Edmonton, charities and the transition into the less-hectic life of semi-retirement, if you can call it that! Nye, to my mind, is one of the best interviewers in town. She should have a column! 

Mack & Cheese podcast is worth 20 minutes of your listening time

I keep forgetting to mention - on the Hicks on Six blog - whenever Mack Male (Mastermaq) get together to record our weekly (more or less) podcast  Mack & Cheese.  It's a lively 15 to 20 minute chat about anything and everything Edmonton between the young pup - that's Mack - and the old dog - that's me, the Cheese in Mack and Cheese.

Of late we've talked about Mayor Don Iveson's promising abilities as a smooth political operator, about what the heck will happen to Northlands once the Oilers/Oil Kings depart from Rexall Place, about that on-going bugaboo of co-ordinated regional governance when there's 24 municipalities at the table.

It's reasonably enteraining!


Entrepreneurs and senior business managers, this column is for you. It’s not about money per se, it’s about who is buying your goods/services, what they are buying, and how they are thinking. Last week, business consulting company Deloitte Canada brought its director of research Duncan Stewart to town to deliver his annual Deloitte’s TMT (Technology, Media and Telecommunications) predictions for 2014. On the same day, Ipsos market research/polling company CEO Darrell Bricker delivered the keynote address at the Alberta’s Industrial Heartland annual Stakeholder Update. Bricker’s talk was about the “new” Canada, which, ironically, had the undivided attention of the “old” Canada (regional municipal politicans, 90% white, over 55 and male) in his audience. There’s a thread here, an obvious one, a cliché fast moving to reality. If your organization doesn’t adapt to the “new” Canada, it will die. The new Canada&rs ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks' Weekly Dish: The Parlour offers quality for everyone BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2014

The Parlour Italian Kitchen & Bar 10334 Capital Blvd. (108 St.) 780-990-0404 Centuryhospitality.com/parlour Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4.5 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tips and taxes: Basic, $35; loaded, $80 Edmonton’s Century Hospitality restaurant group (Century Grill, Lux Steakhouse, Hundred, MRK and two Delux Burger Bars) knows the secret to its undeniable success. It’s so smart. It deliberately stays about 30% behind the culinary sophistication of high-end bistros like The Red Ox Inn or the Three Boars, knowing those outlets attract a very small market of high-end discerning foodies. But the Century group venture far beyond the predictable conventions of the big-box chain restaurants. It presents, and presents well, something for everybody at the table — from the I-know-what-I-like crowd to the adventurous foodie out with friends and family. Even the tried ‘n’ true — pizza, steak, hambur ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Asian trip reminds how lucky Canadians are, BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, JANUARY 24, 2014

It is the vastness of the contrast, between income, living standards, attitudes and quality of life. I have just spent five weeks in Asia – three in the Philippines, one in Thailand, one in Cambodia. By Southeast Asia standards, Canadians are rich beyond imagination. “I wish I’d been born into royalty,” my oldest daughter sighed during the trip. Looking out the van window at yet another slum, I replied “You were.” According to the World Bank in 2012, Canada’s per capita income (gross domestic product divided by the population) was $52,219. Thailand has come a long ways, now in the mid-ranks of the world with a per capita income of $5,480. The Philippines is far behind, in the bottom third. The average per capita income is $2,587. Its greatest export and income earner are Filipinos living and working abroad – 12% of its people. Cambodia is the poorest sister of Southeast Asia, at $946 annually per capita. Despite the horror of its history and th ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: The truth about Filipino foods BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2014

o, there’s no dog. Having just finished my fifth visit to the Philippines in some 25 years, I’ve decided this dog-eating thing is a complete myth. Filipinos don’t eat dogs. It’s not part of the culture. Filipinos eat the same meat/fish proteins as North Americans, maybe about one-hundredth the amount, but chicken, pork, fish and shell fish are what you see in the market. There’s nothing weird like snakes or rats or monkeys … or dog. Or if there is, it’s very secret. Besides, why would anybody want to eat a Filipino dog? The street dogs in the country are the scrawniest canines on earth. They all look like they’re about to die from malnutrition. There’s nothing there to eat! The weirdest food you’re going to find is balut – a duck egg with a near fully developed duck embryo that absorbs salt and flavours in a resting stage, then is quickly boiled, peeled and eaten with a vinegar dip. I tried it … once. If you closed you ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Ontario's green fiasco is a lesson to us all, BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2013

Ontario is reeling. The “Ontario Green Energy Program,” introduced four years ago by then-Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal government, has proved to be an utter disaster. A public inquiry has brought to light the sheer size of this white elephant. The consequence of going all-out green will cost the average Ontario family an extra $636 a year by 2018 , a 42% jump in electricity bills over the next five years. Independent analysts are pegging the additional costs at $16 billion today, $23 billion by 2016. This in a province that is already $273 billion in debt! “Trying to save the future has created an economic disaster in the here and now, for our children and our grandchildren,” summed up one commentator. Ontario industry is paying more for power than almost any other jurisdiction in North America. Any wonder manufacturing and food processing companies are leaving Ontario? Any wonder it’s so tough to find a job in Ontario? I don’t preten ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks Weekly Dish: Enzo's — just like momma used to make it BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2013

Enzo’s on 76 11214 76 Avenue 780 800 1976 enzosedmonton.com Food: 4 of 5 Suns Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns Service: 4 of 5 Suns Dinner for two, excluding beverages, tips and taxes: basic, $30; loaded, $60. It was a cold, cold night in the city‘s southwest. But our gang was as snug as a bug In a rug, sitting in a corner nook at Enzo’s on 76. Nice and warm, no drafts, looking out a big bubble window at the snow-piled windrows along 76th Avenue … piled up over those famous bike lanes. What is it about Italian eateries in our town that make them so darn cosy? Piccolino, Pazzo Pazzo, Sorrentino’s in Little Italy, Nello’s, Café Amore, Il Pasticcio, Rigoletto’s, Il Forno and now Enzo’s on 76th. Cliché becomes truth. Scratch the surface of any good Italian restaurateur, and it’s all about how momma and nonna (grandmother) used to do it, how the pasta never stopped, all visitors were long-lost cousins and a big pot of tomato ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Help a troubled teen, please BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2013

It's the opening of an annual request, to give some poor, tough, confused teenager a gift for Christmas. The Edmonton Sun’s Adopt-A-Teen program celebrates our community’s loving ability to give 8,000 teens living in poverty a small Christmas gift. And it’s a time to appreciate the vows of near-poverty those working in the charitable sector have taken, and the unavoidable paradoxes any charity director must deal with. The business of charity: Those working in charitable organizations do us a huge favour. If it wasn’t for the charitable sector, government would be forced to care for so many more Albertans not so good at caring for themselves. Were it not for charities, government would groan under the financial demand of three, not two ministries – not only Health and Education, but Human Services as well. Executive in the charity sector make half to two-thirds of their earning power elsewhere. Click here to donate. Any new charity executive director rapidl ... Read the rest of entry »

Annual Adopt-A-Teen campaign kicks off BY GRAHAM HICKS, EDMONTON SUN FIRST POSTED: FRIDAY, DECEMBER 06, 2013

Christmas can be the loneliest place on Earth. Especially if you're a teen in a less-than-privileged family. Chances are it's a single-parent home, one parent raising two or three children on less on a minimal income. Chances are the kid will get new socks and underwear for Christmas -- that's all the mom or the dad or the guardian grandmother can possibly afford. That's why the Edmonton Sun's Adopt-A-Teen Christmas Gift program for underprivileged teens was created 14 years ago: To give these underprivileged teens a Christmas gift. With your help, Adopt-ATeen will make Christmas 2013 a much happier place for 8,000 Edmonton teens -- 10% of the total teen population -- who live in families eligible for Christmas Bureau or Salvation Army assistance. Each child -- for that is what these teenagers are -- will received an Adopt-ATeen $50 Walmart gift card. It's all theirs, to spend as they want -- on themselves, their friends, to buy Christmas gifts for their brothers and sisters. During the c ... Read the rest of entry »
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