God, we were so young back then, it's hard to remember how different things w... what? Oh. Okay, so it's only been a week since I posted. Well, it's felt longer, damn it! As I'd previously mentioned, my schedule across the past week was so profoundly demented (spanning five days of work, four days of Folk Festival, two days of driving straight across the province and back, and zero days received of the two days I'd booked off of work) that I didn't have much chance to get much of anything written down.
Like thousands of other Winnipeggers, I spent the beginning of the week laying low and shaking off the aftereffects of the Folk Festival weekend. (If you try to talk to me at any time in the next few days, I would recommend you aim for my left ear rather than my right ear.) But I'm up and about again, and damn if I don't have some catching up to do.
Set sail for backlog -- it's time for a series of small stories! And first off--
Son of the Revenge of This is How People Find Me
Holy yes. It's that time again! It's been a good couple of months since I went through the site's search strings, and the summer crop is as healthy as ever:
-- where is my rebate chq
-- who gets mpi cheque winnipeg
-- i haven't got my mpi rebate cheque
-- ab relaxer
-- lou the cow
-- korean for hello sir
-- how bad are slurpees
-- slurpee horror stories
-- spleen too much slurpee
-- kern hill artist
-- songs about kern-hill
-- classical music sucks
-- that's one hot russian jet
-- come near at your peril canadian wolf
-- louis riel don't stop believing
-- rock and roll superstar grab an electric guitar
-- cottage cheese market
-- safeway life on the go air miles winner prize or prizes
-- winnipeg free press coffee good for woman
-- winnipeg real estate agent women working alone
-- can john mellencamp dance well
-- hate harvey-zenk
-- just for laughs homicide
-- cynical person ?
And, of course:
-- rex murphy eagle muppet
Bless you, whoever you are. That's the kind of audience participation that makes it all worthwhile. And speaking of audiences I appreciate--
Haves and Have-Nots Together at Last
Uptown Magazine! Game cards do not actually talk!
I'm obviously pretty late on this one, since it was released last Thursday and I was either in Oak Lake or at Birds Hill at the time, but nonetheless here I am. Was. You know.
So far there's been precious little explanation, or popular support, for Manitoba Homecoming 2010; they announced it, nobody could figure out why we have it, and it's coming out of our pockets. Bartley Kives put out an article on the same subject a couple of days after mine, which I'd imagine was a coincidence brought on by every other news story in the city being simultaneously infuriating and depressing. (I appreciate the Miyazaki reference in the title, there, by the way.)
He and I appear to be in agreement that the whole project is underwhelming, misguided, bafflingly arbitrary and staggeringly pointless -- but to highlight the differences in our stances, let me once again stress that I'm still going to party all year regardless.
Yes, it's two and a half million dollars that we're not going to get back -- and it's our two and a half million dollars, draining straight out of the public coffers -- but at least we'll get something out of the money, this time! All we ever got from the squandered millions of Spirited Energy money was an onslaught of hideous banners, a series of frustrating commercials (why on earth did they ever think it was a good idea to show these in movie theatres) and a deepseated distrust in the money-handling skills of our provincial braintrusts.
We all knew from the beginning that this money was never going to go towards improving public transportation, or combating hallway medicine, or repairing our crumbling infrastructure, or whatever, so it's about time we get some bread and circuses (no, not the restaurant) out of our money before it's inevitably thrown to millionaires to build themselves completely unnecessary commercial projects.
Sorry, did I seem unexcited there? I meant to say OH BOY SURE CAN'T WAIT FOR THEM WATERPARKS WHOOP-DEE-SHIT
Bad Religion - 10 in 2010 (The Gray Race, 1996)
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Manitoba Homecoming 2010! Come back and remember all the reasons you left!
One Great City!
Now, let me see if I understand this correctly. Our Mayor got together with our civic economic development and tourism services agency to weigh the problems that continue to plague our city -- taking a long and hard look at each detrimental element that casts a dark shadow over our fine capital -- and decided that our highway signs are our immediate priority?
Is this a put-on? Seriously? What, did he already give up on cleaning the graffiti and synchronizing the traffic lights?
As Policy Frog has already noted, Sam Katz went from "it's not about rebranding the city" on Thursday to "help us rebrand the city" on Friday. Why are "Heart of the Continent" and "Heart of the Country" both included in the mayor's list? So that they can sap votes from each other and push his slogan to victory, duh. Gerrymandering isn't just for land, you know!
You'll recall "The Centre of It All" as John K. Samson's initial suggestion for a new slogan, probably because he knew that "Winnipeg Hates You Too" wasn't going to fly. Ditto for "People Before Profit". Sorry, North End.
But why now, of all times? Does this really have to be done right this second? Since the cost will reportedly be less than $50,000, it could just as easily have been rolled into the (aforementioned) $2.5 million budget for Manitoba Homecoming 2010. I'm sure the current signs would have lasted two more years, just in time to roll out new ones reading 'Welcome Home to Winnipeg' (or alternately, 'Winnipeg: Oh, Good, You're Back!'). But synergy kind of requires planning ahead, and the hell if we're going to learn how to do that now.
You know what? We originally put those blue and gold signs up in the first place to commemorate the Blue Bombers' last Grey Cup win, and that was so long ago that the signs are now (to hear the Mayor and Destination Winnipeg tell it) embarassingly old and busted. As far as I'm concerned, we don't need to drop the coin for these commemorative signs until they have something to commemorate -- so leave the current signs up, and no new signs until the Bombers win another Grey Cup. And no new stadium, either! This could very well be the year that our city's most legitimate remaining sports franchise goes 0 and 18, and attendance isn't going to go up while our team spends a season or two in dramatic freefall; what's the hurry in building a new joint when the team is stinking up the old one? Let them win a Cup, then give them their new building. It'll give everyone more time to raise the cash, it'll make the stadium seem more special when it does arrive, and a single Grey Cup win really shouldn't be so much to ask of a team that's already gone almost twenty years without winning the championship of an eight-team league.
Speaking of which:
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers
This is the face we make when we watch Bomber games.
It's going to be a loooong year, isn't it? Oh, man. There's a slight chance that you may have heard this already from another source, but so far this year the Blue Bombers are awful. Like Reinebold-era awful.
And because the Bombers weren't having enough problems with sucking out loud and then getting injured in droves, people started freaking out because a few former Blue Bombers cheerleaders posed for 'sexually provocative' photos that inevitably ended up online.
Oh, no, not nudity! Our police slaughter civilians with drunken vehicular homicide and then launch multifaceted, poorly-executed coverups that function just well enough to keep anybody involved from ever serving jail time -- but a young woman partially revealed her buttocks! We've got to do something, quickly, before people begin to sexually objectify cheerleaders! pfffffft
I love the Free Press coverage mentioning that they took the issue to City Hall and City Hall just rolled its eyes and went about its day. Holy crap, what a non-issue. If mooning is a crime, I have a couple friends who are eligible for life without parole by now.
The Winnipeg Sun has helpfully put the pictures in question together into an online gallery, because it would be completely out of character for the Winnipeg Sun to do otherwise. Mind you, they were already on the internet to begin with, so in a completely unprecedented move the Winnipeg Sun seems to be relying on the intellectual laziness of its audience.
There must be a generational gap at play here or something, because by our modern standards the pictures are less "sexually provocative" than they are "stupid behavior". I mean, maybe the age of the internet has irreversibly altered our standards, but is this it? Really?
Ha ha ha ha, she bends over the cop car and even the cop is like "sure, whatever". THIS STORY IS VERY IMPORTANT
Somebody somewhere thought that the pictures are racy enough to justify the Winnipeg Blue Bombers declaring martial law on their employees, but I would suggest that the organization is overreacting just a little bit. Approximately zero of those images would look out of place on a MySpace or Facebook, and as an example -- hang on, let me track down a few accessories first -- okay, see this?
This is every Facebook ever.
Are these pictures a profoundly bad idea? Of course they're a profoundly bad idea! And would my hypothetical grandchildren bring these to me fourty or fifty years from now and ask me what the hell was wrong with me? Of course they would! And rightfully so! But should these pictures send my employer (or, as with these girls, former employers) scrambling to put out press releases decrying my behavior and denying any connections to me? Well, how about if I showed some nipple in the pictures?
What a bizarrely irrelevant thing for the newspapers to get worked up about. Are there any real news stories kicking around, or--
The Crystal Taman Inquiries
Aw, great. I walked right into that one.
I won't be able to get anywhere in this story without mentioning something first, so bear with me because I need to say it: I can't look at Harry Bakema without seeing Randy Carlyle.
While this doesn't necessarily equate Derek Harvey-Zenk with Todd Bertuzzi, at least we know who we can cast when someone inevitably makes a TV miniseries about the case.
So are the East St. Paul police force completely corrupt, or completely incompetent? My conversations with East St. Paul residents indicate that the answer is a resounding "Both", and everything presented in the Taman case to this point backs the idea up completely.
In one of his many columns on the inquiry, Dan Lett wrote about Harry Bakema's possible mindset at the scene of the collision:
"Through Paciocco's questioning, it is not tough to envision a scenario that saw Bakema quickly and profoundly overwhelmed by what happened the morning of Taman's death.
"There was the gore and carnage of the accident. It was February, not quite light out, and extremely cold. Added to the chaos of that scene, Bakema quickly finds out an off-duty Winnipeg cop is likely responsible for the collision. Even worse, Bakema discovers that he knows the cop."
So given this information, and given his three decades of police experience, what course of action did Bakema take? He grabbed his cellphone, phoned now-Chief of Winnipeg Police Keith McCaskill multiple times to fill him in on everything (which means that our current Winnipeg Police Chief has known all about the case right from the beginning three years ago and said nothing about it since then -- whoops) and then phoned Jim Gauthier Chrysler for reasons even he can't figure out. Good call, Chief!
This revelation also explains why he was the only person who claims not to have smelled alcohol on Harvey-Zenk that night, despite being the one to carry him to the cop car. He couldn't notice these or any other important details because he had far more important things on his mind -- like the low, low prices and great customer service of a certified DaimerChrysler Five Star retailer!
"Welp," he thought to himself, "there's only one thing to do after contacting several senior members of the police force and thus tainting the entire city's law enforcement right from the top down: I need to call my local Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-and-Eagle! With zero-percent financing available and up to five hundred dollars cash back on all 2008 models, it'd be irresponsible to do anything else!"
Heck, this is probably also why the cops ordered Fresh I.E. out of his car at gunpoint last month! It wasn't because of racial profiling, the police misidentifying the licence plate number, or the office staffers reading the database information incorrectly -- it was because he was driving a Chrysler 300! Cops love the new Chrysler 300s! They just wanted to take a better look at it, but weren't sure how to ask!
I think I'm losing my mind.
It's good to be writing again! Tune in tomorrow for more backlog-busting action; I've still got more to clear out, including the news item that people wrote me about specifically to ask why the hell I hadn't written about it yet. I have myself convinced that you're looking forward to it!