Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Raarh Chomp Chomp Chomp

I miss the good old days when I had time to write about things. (Granted, I can't seem to remember when said good old days actually were -- but I'm sure I had some!)

My work week consists of working the graveyard shift four days in a row, having one day off, working an afternoon shift, and then having one day off before repeating the process. The days off are on Tuesday and Thursday. So, as you can imagine, I never get to do anything -- and this extended far across the spectrum of Grey Cup activities that most other Winnipeg folk got to enjoy over last week. Rest assured that I sat and was bitter about this. Most notably, the 54-40 and Tom Cochrane concerts were scheduled on the same night at the same time -- and then I had to work that night, preventing me from seeing either if I'd even thought I could choose between them. That's low, fate! That's just dirty!

Hell, I was so tired that I stayed in bed on Sunday and slept through the actual Grey Cup game in its entirety; then again, from the sound of things, the game was kind of a yawner anyway. The only thing I did get to go out and see was the combination Grey Cup-Santa Claus parade on Saturday; I was at the tail end of it, which meant that the parade had neither the Grey Cup nor Santa Claus. Whoops.

Trusty antique digital camera in hand, I took quite a few pictures of the parade; I figured I'd get the chance at some point to write about the parade, and so I've been waiting since Saturday for any choice bit of time I could get my hands on. I'd also been meaning to write about the upcoming Tokyo Police Club show on November 26th (which, as I understand, may also feature Australian band The Grates -- who I adore, by the way), about Western Canadian alienation and disfranchisement vis a vis the current Federal Conservative government and the Canadian Wheat Board, about at least half a dozen different bands, and about how much I hate the Jumble printed in each Winnipeg Free Press. (Not to give too much of the future piece away, but here is a small teaser: I hate the Jumble a lot.)

Then my roommate bought an Xbox 360. And every waking moment of my free time has since been poured into a rental copy of Dead Rising, a marvellous video game extravaganza of zombies and improvised violence and faithful genre exercises.

So, for both those of you keeping track at home -- my best intentions and best laid plans are FOILED AGAIN. Foiled by digital zombies, of all things. (Note to self: start punk band immediately, name band 'Digital Zombies'. This plan cannot fail.)

Yes, I assure you (and myself), at some point I will get the opportunity to write up what I want; times like these make me yearn for a laptop, especially given the increasingly decrepit state of my five-year-old (!) eMachines (!!) desktop relic. In the meantime, allow me to pass along one of my favourite selections from the Dead Rising soundtrack:

Lifeseeker - Gone Guru [soundtrack does not exist for purchase -- go buy the game]

Ah, yeah, that's the stuff.

I'll grant that, yes, the guitar riff owes absolutely everything to Rush, and that yes, this song is about six years too late to take its rightful place as somebody's ECW entrance theme. Despite myself, I've been cheerily disregarding these very salient points; somehow the song completely grew on me while I was fighting through vast crowds of zombies in a picturesque mall park while escaped prison inmates tried to run my little guy over with an armed military vehicle. Sometimes songs just work, y'know? As far as I am concerned this is one of those times.

Oh, man, are my parade comments ever going to seem dated by the time I get around to writing them. Such are the pitfalls I face!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Behold the Birth of a Hero

I'm about to regale you with my recent exploits in shopping; I'm sure you're enthralled already.

But first! I wish to bring my horoscope for the day of Saturday, November 11th to your attention. Now, I must say, normally I am not a man who puts a great deal of stock into horoscopes and astrology. I consider these things mystical gobbledygook and folklore that have no basis in reality -- just like tarot readings, stock market figures, and reindeer. But this horoscope, why, this one definitely caught my eye.

There I was, reading the Winnipeg Sun that morning, because my job is terribly boring in the middle of the night and it does not cost me anything (save for a few brain cells) to read the Winnipeg Sun when it's delivered. I reached the horoscope section, figured what the hell, and took a gander; here's what I got.

Perhaps you, too, read your horoscope that day. Your horoscope that day, if you are born under a different sign than I, may have offered you sound if suspiciously vague advice for everyday situations -- "be in the right place at the right time for big dividends at work", or "avoid spending too much money today", or "wear red". Not for me! No, the uplifting nugget of food for thought handed down to me that day by the dread beast star gods was "EVERYBODY YOU HAVE EVER LOVED WILL ABANDON YOU".

So take note, fellow Arieses (Arii?): we are all doomed to be alone forever. Stupid stars!

Anyway, back to my original intended topic. Some folks, when paid their fair wage in one lump sum after two long weeks of working hard for their money, immediately go out and about on the town and partake in the finer things in life -- fine clothes, fine food, good times and good company. Exorbitant prices for an exorbitant lifestyle, for those who can afford and appreciate the importance of a high quality of life.

And then there are folks like me. I was paid my meager sum on Friday for the meager work I'd done the last couple of weeks, waited until Monday to deposit my cheque (and still the banks weren't open -- stupid banks), and then went out alone on a fifteen-dollar shopping spree at the nearby Salvation Army store.

Yeah, baby! God I'm glamourous.

I will freely admit to being a frugal sort; the reason I'm 'frugal' rather than 'cheap' is that cheap people actually have money. Not I! I am poor, and I am easily amused. Ergo I routinely go through flea markets, Value Villages, Salvation Army stores and what have you -- in the name of finding old and inexpensive items that are nonetheless big on entertainment value.

For example: if I had gone shopping in big-box brand name outlets, in urban sprawl beasts, in ugly-ass Portage Place or in so-called "high-class" retail establishments, would I have found a 1977 Pepsi-Cola Daffy Duck glass for sale?

Clearly I would not have.

Note Daffy throwing up the horns, there. Nobody rocks harder than Daffy Duck. Nobody.

Sevendust - Black [buy]
Killjoys - Rave and Drool [buy greatest hits; original album cannot be found online(!)]
Motorhead - In the Black [buy]

This awesome 1977 Daffy Duck glass cost me fifty-nine cents plus tax; for all I know it is a rare and valuable collectors' item, and collectors would be horrified to learn that I intend to drink tequila out of it. Sorry, collectors! That's just how I roll.

(Oh, and they also had a Tweety Bird glass from the same line -- but, honestly, fuck Tweety. Tweety has been around for fifty-nine years and has been funny maybe three times, tops, during that span; Tweety is to comedy what SARS was to tourism.)

In addition to that glass, I picked up a few CDs (notably the Goldeneye soundtrack and the old PC game King's Quest VI; not bad for $1.99 each) and a few neckties just in case I ever feel the need to attempt a professional veneer. One of my roommates broke up laughing when I pitched the idea to her that ties could make me look respectable; apparently, my best bet towards that goal is nothing short of a massive overhaul of modern society's expectations of what 'respectable' looks like.

But anyway! While I was at the store I looked through the t-shirt rack, on the grounds that you never know what the hell you're going to find in there, and -- sure enough! -- I had no idea what the hell I was going to find in there.

Dig this. For $3.99, in perfect condition, with no identifying markers or tags to tell me who the hell created it or why it exists or how it came to be sitting in a Salvation Army, I picked up the new centrepiece of my wardrobe:

Yeah, boy-ee! Never mind that my hair is dirty in that picture, or that the picture is out of focus; I'm a sexy beast in that thing! Damn!

And yes, if you're anything like me, you caught the awesome Greg Valentine vibe off this shirt the second you saw it.

(As much as I love my new t-shirt, which is a lot, I swear I would probably crap myself with glee if I ever found an "I BROKE WAHOO'S LEG" shirt.)

It is, of course, my usual modus operandi to want to post a relevant and interesting MP3 right here. You might swear that I can't possibly come up with any song that logically connects to this situation -- in which case, ha ha! Joke's on you, because:

Oingo Boingo - Wild Sex (In the Working Class) [buy]

Good times all around! Hooray for the barely-filtered retail equivalent of dumpster diving! I'm the Working Class Hero, bay-bee!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

You're Such a Sheep

From the Danier promotional flyer distributed November 9th, 2006:

Yeah, dude, you're tough. There goes the coolest son of a bitch that ever wore a dead lamb.

Watch out, everybody! For all we know he killed those baby sheep himself! He's a dangerous guy!

I mean, okay, I know the models are effectively slaves to the whims of their photographic handlers -- but couldn't somebody at some point have just told this man to smile? Lighten up, dude! You're wearing a sheep! Don't take everything so seriously!

Yes, traditionally leather is made from cows, and cows aren't exactly very inspiring animals either. But at the very least cows are manly! I ask you, what could be more definitive a masculine ideal than living entirely to reproduce, to get really fat and to spend all day blowing farts and doing nothing? Exactly! A far manlier aspiration than bleating at nothing and continually being endangered by a red-nosed Wile E. Coyote headswap.

Besides that, another question comes to mind -- couldn't you just wear wool? Am I missing something here? In fact, wouldn't you be warmer wearing something made of wool? I can't imagine a coat made of lamb carcass proving very effective against our winters -- because if sheepskin itself were warm enough to block out the cold, sheep wouldn't have wool in the first place.

Boredom at work be damned, I've got to stop automatically reading everything that comes with the paper. It's going to kill me one of these days.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We're Bachelors, Baby

A little poseur thug tried to case the place and rob me a few nights ago at work; it was, and I say this in all seriousness, possibly the saddest display of incompetence that I've ever seen. I watched him as he tried to phone a buddy for backup in the lobby (announcing his plans in an indoor speaking voice right where I could see and hear him; yes, really), then I casually went about foiling his best laid plans -- by escorting him out of the building, locking the front door, and watching in amusement as he pinged himself off the glass repeatedly like a moth.

This is the quality of criminal element that Winnipeg has to offer? How does anybody ever get robbed around here? Ye gads, man!

There isn't very much more to the story than that; it's just a humourous sidenote to let you know what I've been up to lately. Paid to sit around all night and I get to think circles around prospective robbers? Man, that was the highlight of my week!

What? Well, yeah, I do need to get out more. No argument there. (And save for some communications breakdowns with a friend of mine, I was going to get out and do something last night -- BUT OH WELL.)

So, just because I was in a bizarrely good mood about the whole thing (and believe me, it was really funny to see him turn around and smack himself into the door -- it's locked, genius!), here are a few songs that completely overstate the matter but regardless convey that I am not a man to be trifled with lightly.

Ice Cube - Wrong Nigga to Fuck Wit [buy]
De La Soul - Stakes is High [buy]
Max Romeo & the Upsetters - I Chase the Devil [buy]
Gogol Bordello - Oh No [buy]

Grr! I am deadly dangerous.

Anyway, as I was saying earlier, that's just a humourous sidenote and an excuse to post some songs; what I really intend to write about in this post is Garfield.

You heard me!

This may sound like a strange thing to want to discuss, but I've really been digging the Garfield strips this week.

Garfield has a reputation, and largely a deserved one, for having become remarkably unfunny over the years -- and the revelation was made online earlier this year that the comic is almost always way funnier without Garfield's thought balloons. Jon comes across as lonely and pathetic in the actual strip, when Garfield is a superintelligent wisecrack machine that just happens to be a cat; when the dialogue is removed, and Garfield is instead just an everyday cat, Jon becomes increasingly psychotic and surreal.


But disregarding all that for the moment, let me return to the actual series. You can say a lot of negative things about Jim Davis' flagship creation, and these things are hard to argue against -- intellectually redundant, spiralling ever downward for decades now, led to two shitty major motion pictures, everything Bill Watterson said about it is true, yes yes yes yes. But every so often, just when I'm all prepared to write him off once and for all, Jim Davis up and shares flashes of brilliance with us -- or at least flashes of insanity, which translate into brilliance by virtue of the medium they're delivered through. They always seem to take the form of week-long story arcs; sometimes they're easily accessible, sometimes they're a bit bizarre, and sometimes they're a complete and total departure from the usual safety nets of the series.

If you don't believe that this happens from time to time, or if you don't believe that the quality of Garfield has gone downward comparatively over the years, consider this week of strips from October 23rd to 28th, 1989:


Now, obviously, he doesn't do anything quite that extreme all the time. In fact, he only went to this level once, and I'd imagine most kids like myself reading Garfield at the time did not know what to make of it.

That was back in 1989, remember; after that point, the strip just rolled downhill and degenerated into a collection of writing traps -- "LOOK EVERYBODY I AM A CAT THAT HAS EATEN SOMETHING HE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO GREAT COMEDIC EFFECT", or "ISN'T IT FUNNY THAT A CAT WOULD WATCH SOMETHING FUNNY ON THE TELEVISION", or "HAY GUYS I AM FAT LOL". Now, I'm sure a great many people appreciate these -- but I can't be the only one thinking that Garfield becomes far more interesting reading material when Jim Davis overtly starts screwing with people's heads.

My absolute favourite example of this, even over the above, was the week of October 22nd to 27th, 2001. When you open up the paper to the comics section, you know what exactly to expect from that day's Garfield -- or at least, you usually know what to expect. However:

The dog disappeared from the comics forever, having never appeared prior to these strips, and no explanation was ever offered about why any of this was going on; a dog in a superhero outfit spent six days finding new and inventive ways to flatten Garfield with a senton suicida, and then the strip continued on from there as though nothing had ever happened.

I mean, just, god damn. These are Garfield strips specifically operating on the principle of screwing with the way your brain understand Garfield, and I love them.

So, with that in mind, understand that I am being truthful when I say that Garfield hasn't actually provided any amusement or interest to me since 2001. At least, until now!

There I was at work early Monday morning, sitting there overnight, reading the papers as they came in at three or four in the morning. I scanned the Free Press comics section, as I do, and:

Okay, admittedly, that's pretty funny. (I've always felt that humour written around Jon is by far the core strength of the series; there are a lot more jokes to write around around a man leading a miserable life than there are to write about a cat drinking coffee.) I finished the paper and went about my day.

The next day, same scenario, and:

Oh, man, yes. This is accessible as a standalone strip to anybody who didn't read the Monday one, but then underneath that the dread beast of continuity is building off the day before -- and, continuity fan that I am, I love that to pieces. You thought Jon was pathetic yesterday? He was! And now, with this added layer of sadness in place, he's worse!

Now, yesterday was my day off. (My weekends consist of Tuesdays and Thursdays; I never get to do anything.) I was so dead tired that I slept through everything, including the movie I was going to go to with some folks (not that they phoned me, of course), and then I woke up late into the night and pissed off at myself for sleeping through everything.

I puttered around for a few hours, the paper arrived at my house, and:

And then I felt better. Good ol' Jim Davis! May he one day go completely insane yet still retain control of the writing process. Here's to you, Jim!

Go figure that foiling a robbery and reading a particularly good week of Garfield are the most positive developments in my life right now. Back to being grouchy!

I'm already peeved about missing out on seeing a movie with friends last night, but the being peeved does not peter out there! Remember how I had posted previously about having to miss an upcoming Moses Mayes concert because I had to work that night?

Turns out that Moses Mayes are performing this Saturday, the 11th, at the Pyramid Cabaret to commemmorate the release of their third full-length album.

And I have to miss it. Because I have to work that night.

They schedule a show on Remembrance Day and I still can't get to it? I'm beginning to take major issue with the pattern of my scheduled hours at work.

I shall continue to grouch! Grouch grouch grouch! Grr!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

No, It is Not Relaxing

Sometimes in my capacity as a learned and thoughtful individual I am capable of eloquently discussing and describing why I find something to be bothersome or unacceptable, calling upon the flexibility and elegance of the English language to properly express my disapproval of a concept or action in a meaningful and productive manner.

And sometimes I am not.

Like now.

If you, like me, were fool enough to go leafing through today's flyer distributed by the Real Canadian Superstore, then you have already encountered the particular object that I find myself concerned with.

An "Ab Relaxer".

Oh really.

"Ab Relaxer". Is that right.

For relaxing abs, you say. Mm-hmm. I see.

Because I am looking at this expensive product you are attempting to sell me and what I am seeing is a CHAIR






Daniel McIntyre, Look at My Iron Fist

Okay, so. My original intent when reading the November 1st, 2006 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press was to note the deliciously fitting follow-up to that one story I'd mentioned previously. Get this:

Man, I tell you. Isn't that one just perfection? Talk about the quintessential Winnipeg news item!

But that article would soon became the farthest thing from my mind, because directly under the newest charming Winnipeg anecdote was a piece about city councillors switching their offices around following the election, and


That's city councillor Harvey Smith?

Er. Sorry. You'll pardon my initial surprise, of course.

I didn't react as such because he's ugly, or anything; in fact, he's looking quite well for a man old enough that he was once a member of the Social Credit (!) party. But this man does not look like he should be a City Councillor; this is a man who, clearly, should be sitting somewhere in Birds Hill and teaching his many disciples from far and wide how to kill a man with a single punch.

See, I play a lot of video games, as anybody passingly familiar with me can attest to. So believe me when I say that, when I first saw that picture of Harvey Smith, I instead saw the legendary Xingyi Liuhe Quan martial arts master Gen-Fu from the Dead or Alive fighting game series.

Compare those last two pictures again. Go on, look at 'em. In fact:

I know you're skeptical, but believe it or not, this actually is the sort of thing I end up thinking about when I read the newspaper.

Anyway! This is, of course, all complete coincidence that a mild-mannered left-wing city councillor should sort of resemble a violent bone-crunching video game character. But just in case it isn't complete coincidence and Councillor Harvey Smith could fire my lungs straight out of my body with one good kick -- here's some fine local music for everybody to enjoy! To show my appreciation for the fine work he does for our city every day! Ha ha! Please allow me to live!

Moses Mayes & the Funk Family Orchestra - My Style [buy]

This is some nice oldschool Moses Mayes, right here; normally I would save it for accompanying a writeup about the band (and I love the band enough that there will be a fine writeup later on), but in this case the Silver Tiger of Wolseley warrants special consideration. Here's to you, Harvey!

Friday, November 03, 2006

That's One Hot Russian Jet

And here I'd been concerned that I wouldn't know what material to use for my first MP3 post here. Silly me!

I moved out of my Mom's home and down into this neighbourhood almost six months ago, but it was only about a week or so ago that I paid my first visit to our local library branch. Lo and behold, do you know what I ran into in the CD section? I will tell you what I ran into in the CD section.

Oh. Oh my. Oh my goodness.

Now, I don't mind telling you, my favourite spectator sport is hockey. I am an adult male and I live in Canada; I can hear you registering surprise from here.

I was never the sort of child who wanted to grow up to be a hockey player; mind you, I was (and still am) the sort of child who could barely move on skates at all without crashing into something and falling down. Still, though, I liked watching hockey -- and my favourite team was the Winnipeg Jets because, hey, back in the day Winnipeg had meaningful public expressions of civic pride to rally around. Isn't that nutty?

Which reminds me. On the front page of the Sports section in the October 26th, 2006 Winnipeg Free Press, Randy Turner argued that the loss of the Winnipeg Jets has actually been a positive thing -- not because Winnipeg is better off without an NHL team, but rather that Winnipeg is better off without that NHL team specifically. The team, now the Phoenix Coyotes, have actually become less successful than they were back in Winnipeg, and anybody who was passingly familiar with the Winnipeg Jets knows what a difficult feat that is to accomplish. Turner is probably right, of course, about our having saved ourselves a decade of frustration and misery by jettisoning one of the worst teams in the NHL -- but still! They were widely considered a miserable sadsack failure of a hockey team, but they were our miserable sadsack fai... yeah, I'm not really going anywhere with this.

Where was I? Ah, yes. My family moved away to smalltown Nova Scotia in November of 1994, a couple of years before the Jets finally up and folded; as such, I had only a passing understanding of what was going on and why the team suddenly scooped itself up and scuttled to some sandy sinkhole. (I suffer from brief bouts of alliteration occasionally. Don't mind me.) So I spent the year of 1996 holed up near Cape Breton and being bored out of my skull; as such, prior to my previously mentioned recent library visit, I had never encountered this mysterious aural oddity before. Naturally I had to borrow it!

The CD turned out to be everything you would come to expect just from looking at the cover. Earnest yet kitschy, upbeat yet retrospectively depressing, and of course interesting for a wide variety of reasons.

Just to give you some idea of what I'm talking about, the opening track to lead off the album:

Randy Bachman - That's One Hot Russian Jet (You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet)

Oh my. Now, keep in mind -- this was entirely Randy Bachman's idea. This isn't a cover band, and this isn't somebody else reworking the lyrics for him; Bachman legitimately sat down on his own and rewrote one of his biggest hits to be about a reasonably good centre forward on a usually mediocre hockey team. Why did Randy Bachman do this? Because Randy Bachman is awesome, that's why.

If you haven't already gleamed the concept, here's the second track on the disc:

Harlequin - Numminen (Innocence)

Well, I can't argue with Teppo Numminen, now can I? Teppo's a good dude.

Believe it or not, the album goes on from there to progressively more bizarre ideas. Jennifer Hanson sweetly serenades team captain Kris King, who in four years with the Jets had 25 goals and 577 penalty minutes; you try keeping a straight face when she breaks out lyrics like "Workin' hard will get you where you want to be / Blood, sweat and cheers, it's the best recipe", or especially the line "Don't'cha ever cross a Kris named King". Streetheart (credited here as "Former Members of Streetheart") turn their (...hit?) song One More Time into "One More Save", a tribute to "our Russian n'yet minder" Nikolai Khabibulin. Even Colin James drops in to rework his song I Just Came Back, and since everything Colin James touches turns to awesome I have no snarky comments to append to this information. And the album winds down with a couple Big Dave McLean originals that actually carry the subjective quality of the whole album up another couple of notches.

It's a very interesting piece of historic quirk, to say the least. A lot of the lyrics on the disc are cringe-worthy, but at the same time there's a very charming Numminen innocence and sense of community to the whole thing. I can't tell whether I feel better or worse after listening to it, which is quite the trick -- it's a far stranger poignancy than you'd initially expect from a novelty album about a defunct hockey team that didn't even break .500 most of the time.

MP3 blog etiquette would suggest at this point that I post a link for you to be able to buy the album, but a cursory check shows that the internet as a whole has almost no idea this disc ever existed. So I'll tell you what -- I'm pretty much done with it, and I can definitely recommend that you borrow it from the library after I've returned it. Cool? Okay, cool.

Now, while I'm on the subject of Canadian rock passingly related to the Winnipeg Jets (AND HONESTLY HOW OFTEN DOES THIS TOPIC EVER COME UP IN CONVERSATION), this is as good a time as any to bring Quebecois rockers Les Dales Hawerchuk to your attention.

Named of course for Dale Hawerchuk, these are four guys from Roberval who rock out and have fun and I totally have no idea what they are even saying.

My long-suffering siblings can attest to my misguided enthusiasm for catchy songs in other languages; despite myself, I always end up trying to sing along with the song long before I could possibly understand what the hell the words even mean. So either I end up very enthusiastically firing off gibberish syllables for the whole song, or I sort of mumble and trail off until I hit a sequence of syllables I can sing along with in confidence. In this case:

"JE N'EST er something something mumble--
Mumble mumble incomprehensible,

Les Dales Hawerchuk - (Je S'uis) Dale Hawerchuk [buy]

I implore you, don't let my obvious shortcomings as a unilingual Anglophone stop you from listening to these guys! I can't follow along with sovereignty debates very well, I end up tuning out half of what is said on airplanes, and I am permanently barred from ever landing a Government job -- but damned if I don't know great new music when I hear it! Whoo!

So, yes. Good to have that post done! I promise to make future MP3 posts a bit, er, shorter and easier to read.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On Sam Katz

This is something that had popped into my mind at work; as my current job consists mainly of sitting and staring into space for several hours at a time, I had plenty of time to flesh it out. How short-sighted was our current Mayor of Winnipeg in setting up his re-election? Consider!

For this year's election, Sam Katz didn't put forward any grand ideas for improving our standing among major cities, or for creating exciting new projects for the city to rally around, or for attracting people to the crumbling downtown, or even for improving our gimpy transit system. (I swear, in the last two years, I put more money into the transit system as a university student than Katz put in as mayor.) No, Sam Katz made his campaign platform out of the tiniest of civic platitudes for common folk -- hiring more cops, synchronizing traffic lights, fixing the roads faster, banning spray-paint purchases by minors, and leaning on panhandlers because how dare they be poor.

And he won, all right. By a lot. But clearly he did not think his cunning plan all the way through.

You know how everybody savages Taz Stuart every year for being an ineffectual dragonfly-hugging Weird Al Yankovic pallet-swap not getting rid of the mosquitos, as though anything short of a Biblical plague in reverse could get rid of the mosquitos? It's going to be like that for Katz, except a few times worse -- because not only is he taking on several issues that can't be solved, but it isn't even plausible that he could solve them. Taz Stuart was hired by the city to take on the entire mosquito population, which is about as likely to succeed as hiring a squad of blind midgets to throw the Hell's Angels out of town, but the entomologist versus the bugs is a matchup that at least makes sense. The sports and concert promoter versus the entire abstract construct of street crime? Not so much.

I mean, yes, the absolute minimum amount of effort was required to win this election, but he could have at least put his absolute minimum amount of effort into something tangible and conclusive. Let's use our prominent business connections to get more big projects downtown and make it somewhere worth going! Let's get the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' ownership and stadium issues settled! Let's do something with the Metropolitan Theatre! How's that Human Rights museum coming along, guys? But, no. Sam Katz looked over all of his campaign options, of which there were more than last time given the vast and varied powers of the mayoral seat, and genuinely decided he wants to shoot to be THE MAN THAT WILL DRIVE GRAFFITI AND GRIDLOCK OUT OF WINNIPEG FOREVER.

If four years from now we still have crime, traffic, infrastructure problems, graffiti and panhandling in the city, then Sam Katz has absolutely and completely failed us as Mayor of Winnipeg. But hey, no pressure, dude! This was your idea!

See Masthead

Now, I had been working on putting up my first MP3 post (whenever I could find time, that is -- working from 11:30 PM to 7:30 AM most nights gives a brother a strange internal clock), but a news story like this one demands my attention.

Perhaps you've already read about it in either paper:

I mean, of course I had to address this. The title of this blog is Slurpees and Murder, for crap's sakes; when both longtime staples of Winnipeg life (such as it is) appear in the same article, I sit up and pay attention.

"(Homicide victim Audrey) Cooper was killed at 2:45 a.m., and it's believed she was returning home from the convenience store when she was attacked."

A Winnipeg woman goes out for a Slurpee and gets murdered? This actually happened?

Winnipeg, multiple-time Murder Capital of Canada in previous years, has this year been relegated to second or third place depending on who's doing the counting. And we're not happy about it! We're so determined to regain our place in the sun that even children as young as twelve have started chipping in, and I'm sure we're all very proud of them. But have we gone so overboard in our bloodlust for the title that we're now actively endangering our other claim to fame? (And, er, shouldn't we be concerned that these are our only claims to fame?)

"'I was shocked,' said nearby resident Donna McManus.
'I'm disgusted that it's closing down.'

Yeah! 7-Eleven, how dare you cut and run just because of a string of horrifically violent crimes? I also register disgust at this development!

Listen carefully, kids, because this is important -- if somebody in Winnipeg is carrying a Slurpee, you should not be murdering them. Honestly, what do they teach you kids in school these days? Have some civic pride!