Crude Observations


It’s the most wonderful time, of the year! It is, isn’t it?


That’s right, Super Bowl Sunday! The day of days. The culmination of all the hard work I have done since September. Forcing myself seemingly day after day to watch football games, read football news, talk about football, PVR football and bet on football. And let me tell you, I am a master of all of these. Except the betting part. That really didn’t go as planned. But I did all my bets using crypto that my buddy Sam Bankman-Fried asked me to hold for him, so it’s all good.


At any rate, if you know me, you know I am a sports lunatic. It is unusual, I know, to have one wife, two daughters and two cats and still be able to obsess about, let alone watch, football as much as I do, but somehow it works. I mean it’s not like I have two footballs in my office, or have written entire blogs about Tom Brady or do an annual NFL preview or look for any excuse to weave football into this weekly missive, right? FINE! Guilty as charged. Whatevs!


But you know what? Zero apologies here. Quite often, a sporting event and its buildup goes a long way to serve as a relief valve for tension that has built up elsewhere, as a result of things that have nothing to do with the fact that Buffalo looked like the Atlanta Falcons in their only playoff game (a loss in case you missed it) or that because of some stupid rule regarding emergency quarterbacks the NFC Championship featured a QB who couldn’t throw because of a torn ligament in his elbow getting manhandled by the scariest defence in the league, or that after finishing with a losing record Tom Brady and the Buccaneers managed to make the Dallas Cowboys of 2023 look like the Dallas Cowboys of 1983, at least until the 49ers tuned them up, or that Aaron Rodgers, even after missing the playoffs still dominated the news cycle with his nonsense about will he/won’t he and his darkness immersion therapy.


The Tom Brady retired, which was about time since as we all know Tom Braday was the long serving QB of the New England Patriots with whom he lost to the New York Football Giants and Eli Manning in two super bowls while putting together an above average quarterbacking career.


But all that aside, we can and should look past that and appreciate the Super Bowl for what it is. The grandest spectacle there is in sport, run by the one of the most powerful brands in existence (the NFL) and the best excuse ever for reckless chicken wing consumption ever invented.


Plus, it’s an opportunity for one beautiful afternoon to take all the garbage in the news that has been bothering myself and everyone else and put it in a box, forget about it for a blissful 3-10 hours and simply appreciate the raw and savage elegance of a game that is a crypto-fascist metaphor for nuclear war.


I don’t know about you, but I can use the escapism. Because as usual there are a lot of things bothering me over the last few weeks. Some of them you know, some of them, well, they’re just obvious. Others you may not have realized they bug you until you start to think about them.


What am I talking about? Well there are many, but I’ll try to keep it manageable. Maybe just one.



Uncalled for, unnecessary, outlandish and egregious government policy ideas. Hmm. I seem pretty passionate about this. Whatever could I be referring to? I am talking about the completely offensive R* or whatever they are calling it now to fool people pilot project that is being proposed by the UCP government.


What is R* you ask? Well it is an idea to “incentivize” oil and gas companies to clean up their abandoned wells by offering them royalty credits on new drilling.


Get things cleaned up by providing a little carrot to the oil cos, and get some new drilling done to boot. Seems simple right? Maybe even a little innovative!




First off, last time I checked, oil and gas companies are LEGALLY REQUIRED to clean up their abandoned properties, it is a fundamental part of the Polluter Pay principle that underpins the legal compact that allows oil and gas companies to drill on land that we (the province and taxpayers) lease them in exchange for royalty payments.


Second, last time I checked, oil and gas companies exist to drill wells and produce fossil fuels. It’s kinda their reason for being. And activity has been pretty good (not great) lately, what with prices and all and even when they are in maintenance mode, they still drill wells to, you know, maintain production levels to make money.


Third, last time I checked, 2022 was the most profitable year for oil and gas companies… EVER! The last thing they need is a handout from government.


Fourth, last time I checked, there are no oil and gas companies actively lobbying the government for this kind of incentive. Why? Because they know it’s market suicide! “Hey I’m CNRL, I just posted a $3.6 billion profit, most of which I’m going to use for stock buybacks and dividends – you think if I clean up my wells faster I can get a TAX BREAK on top of the last TAX BREAK you gave me?” No CEO in their right mind is saying they need an incentive to do what they ARE LEGALLY REQUIRED TO DO.


Fifth, last time I checked, this offensive policy proposal comes from the minds of a bunch of conservative think tanks and was lobbied for by none other than Danielle Smith when she was not in government. The people who thought of this idea now work in her office. None of them have worked for the province or Alberta Energy or have any real regulatory experience. Can we think about that for a minute before we rush into implementing something this odious?


Sixth, last time I checked, this ludicrous idea to steal money from taxpayers and gift it to cash regurgitating oil and gas companies was proposed to this very same UCP party (different leader) and was REJECTED. Why? Because it’s a dumb idea.


Seventh, last time I checked, if fully implemented, this grift that is proposed to be perpetrated on an unsuspecting citizenship is expected to cost the treasury $20 billion in foregone royalty revenue. That’s $20 billion that will not be available for schools, seniors, healthcare, infrastructure, debt reduction – pick your favourite government responsibility – but it will be available to companies who do what they are legally required to do, just a tiny bit faster.


Eighth, last time I checked, any company that needs an “incentive” to clean up their wells in the form of a tax break on new drilling is probably not the type of company we, as a province, should be rushing to do business with. Just saying.


Ninth, last time I checked, it isn’t going to create a bunch of jobs anyway. Why? Abandonment is the worst work in the patch, no one wants to do it because you can’t make money. Labour is in short supply everywhere. All the people that are available to work as already working – on new drilling. Without any incentives gifted to the oil and gas companies. Does the government not read their own data? Unemployment in the patch is 1.5%!


Tenth, last time I checked, companies are LEGALLY REQUIRED to clean up their messes. If they aren’t doing it, you don’t bribe them with taxpayer money, you ENFORCE YOUR RULES! If they still don’t do it, you make the rules stricter. If they still don’t do it, you take away their license to operate.


So, what do I think about R*? It’s bad policy. It’s unnecessary. It will accomplish nothing. It is a flagrant misuse of taxpayer money. It is offensive.


And just imagine, if this is the type of lucre they want to giftwrap to industry at a time of record prices, cash flow and profits, what kind of unsolicited largesse will they shower on them should the market turn south? Yikes!


Great. Now I’m all worked up. But… Let me state for the umpteenth time. I derive my income from the energy sector. I love the energy industry, warts and all.


However, I will not stand for bad actors and bad policy. Period.


I let you drill a hole on my land and make a mess that you promised to clean up. You don’t need a pat on the head and a toonie to do it sooner. I know the cops really well and employ lawyers.


What was I really wanting to talk about? Oh yeah. Super Bowl!



Super Bowl LVII! No Patriots! No Tom Brady! Philly Cheese Steaks vs Kansas City Ribs!


It’s here and the food is going to be awesome. I will make lots of wings. You are all welcome to join me. I may also roll out the smoker for ribs and for fun will make at least one Philly Cheese Steak (with Whiz!), it’s going to be epic.


To begin, a few words about the matchup. Then some awesome prop bets and a prediction.


This year’s matchup features two massively talented and enigmatic teams. And if you bothered to read my Fearless Forecast you would know that I picked neither of these teams to win, let alone even make it to the final.


I had Buffalo beating Minnesota in a matchup of two four-time losers. Buffalo got dominated at home by a slighted Cincinnati team while the Vikings got boat-raced and humiliated by the New York Football Giants of all teams!


Instead, we have the Kansas City Chefs as 3 point favorites to beat the Philadelphia Eagles (this time with an actual QB!) in an extremely rare matchup of each conference’s number one seed, even though the Chefs have an asterisk seeing as how two teams in the division didn’t play a full season.


To get to the Super Bowl, Philadelphia took a fairly conventional path. First they sat at home and watched as the Dallas Cowboys whipped the Buccaneers and got cocky, then they took Dallas behind the wood shed and pulverized them. Dallas’ defence showed but so did “Bad Dak”. The next week was a match against the mighty 49ers and their upstart “Mr. Irrelevant” last pick in the draft quarterback. It looked to be an epic match until early in the first drive, Philly’s defense converged, folded the scrappy up and comers arm backward, recovered the fumble and never looked back. It may have been more competitive without the injury or with, maybe, a capable backup. But I doubt it.


Kansas City on the other hand managed to survive the surprisingly resilient Jacksonville Jaguars and a high ankle sprain to their franchise to get a rematch with last year’s nemesis, the Cinicinatti Bengals and Joe Cool the QB. The game was every bit as compelling as the NFC one wasn’t and, as is typical it came down to the very end with Joe Burrow being betrayed by his porous offensive line for an untimely sack followed by a bad punt and great return, then Mahomes magic and a time-expiring field goal to send Kansas City to its 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years. Oh, and the refs may have gotten paid.


Kansas City is quarterbacked by Patrick Mahomes who has done nothing except win for his entire career and, with Tom Brady moving on, is now the subject of a concerted campaign to be promoted as the GOAT of his generation. Even on one leg, Mahomes is defense’s nightmare, a master of finding open receivers and, when all seems lost, a magician at creating touchdowns out of chaos. A former MVP, this year’s MVP, Mahomes is destined to win multiple Super Bowls and he already has one.


Philadelphia is led by Jalen Hurts, the former Alabama and Oklahoma QB who was brought in to back up Carson Wentz and has emerged as the undisputed leader of the juggernaut Eagles. While in his first year as a starter Hurts was limited as more of an RPO and running QB, this year Philadelphia has a deep game that is terrifying to coordinators. Without Jalen Hurts though, this team was nowhere near as dynamic as it was early in the season so hopefully he is over his injury. Jalen Hurts is the most compelling story in this game to me. He is a humble athlete who has done nothing his entire career except listen to coaches, be a consummate teammate, learn, continuously improve and win. His teammates love and respect him and he is as strong as any player on the field – you only need to watch his ridiculous squat and dead lift videos to appreciate it.  If he’s on his game and the defense can hold Mahomes to “normal human” performance – Fly Eagles Fly.


Both teams boast otherworldly casts of offensive weapons. On the Chefs side there is the veteran and maybe greatest TE ever Travis Kelce, three formidable wide receivers who have stepped up to replace Tyreek (who?) Hill and my favourite – rookie sensation Isiah Pacheco – a human wrecking ball with 4.2 speed who should have been a rugby player. On Philadelphia, in addition to Hurts there is Miles Sanders at running back (yes they have one) and the speed burners A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Oh and the bruising tight end Dallas Goedert.


On defence, the Eagles are stacked. They’ve got a blend of veterans and youth on the defensive front including the QB wrecking sackmaster Hassan Reddick and a secondary that is second to none – they match up really well with the Kansas City air attack. After watching the NFC Championships, it is highly unlikely that Andy Reid will trust the safety (and career) of his golden armed QB Mahomes to a retread running back like Jerick McKinnon. The Chefs have an equally stacked defence, including playoff stud Chris Jones who almost single-handedly won the Cincinnati game with his sacks of Burrow. That said, Travis Kelce’s bigger and meaner brother Jason may have a say about that as he anchors one of the best lines in the NFL.


So, lots of intrigue. Offence vs defense. Magician and GOAT in waiting vs “leader of men”. Third Super Bowl appearance in 4 years for the Chefs. A return to glory (or the drunk tank) for the craziest fans on the planet. Brothers facing off.


It’s going to be a good game I think. Unless it’s bad. I am known to get things wrong.


And did I mention chicken wings?


Okay, before I make my prediction, it’s time for some prop bets and odds.


Don’t know what prop bets are? Those are the bets that are done on in-game outcomes or other things surrounding the game, like, over/under on the length of the anthem (124 seconds); what colour hair will Rihanna have to start the halftime show (“black” pays out at 50; blonde at 180).


Or more serious things like will the first score take less time than the anthem, heads or tails, first advertiser, will a fan run out onto the field. You get the point.


Anyway, since I will be running a small prop book at my house for the game (only way to keep the kids engaged) here are a few of my own.


The numbers show what the payout is for winning – so a 150 means a $1 bet pays $1.50


  • Total points scored more than/less than the price of WTI (94!). (60/260)


  • Will the total amount of turnovers in the game be more than CPC leaders we’ve had in the past 5 years (5 – includes interim). This pays at 125/185.


  • Will total sacks of Patrick Mahomes be more than the closing price of NYMEX (4) on Friday. Pays 150/125


  • Most awkward Super Bowl tweet – Me 4/3; Justin Trudeau 7/4; Danielle Smith 12/5; Joe Biden 8/1; Roger Baker 50/1


  • Will Rihanna have a Janet Jackson style incident at half time (no pays 80, yes pays 165)


  • Will the number of TD passes thrown by Patrick Mahomes exceed the number of LNG projects currently in actual development in BC (currently at 3 that I know of) (120/180)


  • Will the number of rushing yards gained by Jalen Hurts exceed the price of Western Canada Select on Friday (estimate 58) (75/195)


  • How many Super Bowl ads will have been designed by AI like Chat GPT (estimate 4) (60/150)


  • Will the length of the anthem exceed the amount of time my wife and daughters actually pay attention to the game (80/210)


  • How many times will I think about politics/Energy prices/offensive policy/food during the game. The over/under is 1 and the pay is 0/1000.


Game Prediction?


Okay, here it goes. This is an epic matchup, so it’s a hard one to pick.


I checked with the family to see where they are leaning. My wife informs me that she doesn’t really care but it’s the Eagles because I put a hat by the TV. My youngest daughter doesn’t care because she’s going for a hike with a friend. My oldest daughter reminded me that I had yet again forgot to pay her allowance and told me to go away. The cats? Well, they’re cats. No help there.


So, when faced with this dilemma, I like to go for the story. Here’s one.


As an Alabama freshman in 2016/17, Jalen Hurts led the Crimson Tide to a 14-0 record before losing to Deshaun Watson and Clemson on a last second touchdown in the national championship game.


In 2017/18 he led the Crimson Tide back to the National Championship but was benched after halftime for the world’s most populat QB. Tua Tagovailoa. Tua led the Tide to the win over Georgia.


As a junior, he played second fiddle to Tua all year, won a critical game replacing an injured Tua to get Alabama to the championship game yet again where he played a mere 2 snaps as a non starter in the blowout loss to Clemson.


As a senior he transferred to Oklahoma, where he was the undisputed starter and led them to a 12-1 record, a second place Heisman finish but a lopsided loss in the playoffs to eventual National Champion Joe Burrow (the Cincinnati kid) to end their season.


For his college career he was 38-3 as a starter.


Philadelphia picked him 53rd in the draft, the fifth quarterback overall (Tua was picked #5 – 2nd QB taken). Some teams asked him if he wanted to switch positions.


Two years later – he’s competing for a championship yet again, on the biggest stage yet. His starting record in the NFL is 23-11. Tua didn’t even make the playoffs.


Dude is a winner. Stares adversity down and wins.


I am calling for a close one, but Philadelphia wins 31-27. Hurts is MVP.


Fly Eagles Fly.

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