Monday, June 18, 2007

A Sudden Disappearance! (No, Not Mine)

Hey, I'm back. Again.

Some of the required drivers were readily available online and some continue to elude me -- I hope I don't need to scan anything immediately -- but I'm up and running enough that I can once again express my surprise at downtown developments. Like this one.

Now, this has to be a recent change; I had an archive of newspapers built up, by which I mean I hadn't read any of them since Thursday, and a quick tear through all the material of the last few days turned up nothing about this.

About what, you ask, half to yourself and half for the purposes of the conversation? Well! After work, I was walking past Portage Place; I'll admit I wasn't focusing on the scenery along the way, because A) I bought my Herbie Hancock (!) ticket earlier in the day and B) downtown Winnipeg is pretty depressing if you stare at it for too long.

But as I walked past the main decorative entrance of the mall, something tiny in the back of my mind registered a miniature alarm and suggested I take a look around. Doing so, I was presented with this scene:

Well, something seemed amiss about this. Granted, these concrete flower islands pop up frequently along that path, and certainly nobody else around appeared to notice anything unusual -- but this one in particular seemed awry to me.

Yeah, hmm. This seemed out of the ordinary somehow, I figured. Especially what with the railroad track metal fixture sitting in the middle of the... wait, metal fixture?



Uh oh.

If the location still isn't ringing any bells for you, see if you recognize anybody out of the lineup.

Sure enough:

"Some argue we need more police on the beat while others say we need art on the street. (Artist Mark Saunders) wonders why we can’t have both."

Well, apparently we can't have either, now!

(Oh, we just can't have nice things around here.)

Now, let's not automatically assume the worst (like I did initially); the possibility exists that it was just removed temporarily for repairs or touchups, and not removed because some literal philistines took a shovel to it or because somebody was hiding their crack inside it. A pack of particularly petty poker players might have pushed it over, for all I know. And if somebody with very grand and unusual ambitions took the time and energy to steal it somehow... well, I guess I'd actually have to respect that. I'd be willing to accept Winnipeg's loss as irony's gain.

But, as often as I was tempted to make cracks about him being there to scare off cyclists, I have a certain fondness for the charmingly rotund cop caricature; sure, he could be construed as a darkly comedic commentary on our city's forces, but he's funny! Besides -- and I am willing to argue this with people, because obviously this is a strong stand to take -- having art around is generally better than having no art around.

I think I'd actually feel pretty affronted to learn that somebody smashed it, and for what would no doubt be the dumbest of reasons -- so here's hoping for his safe return, maybe with a new coat of paint or a widened moustache. We'll be waiting, obese but lovable authority figure!

Catfish Haven - Please Come Back [buy | site]

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