Sunday, March 30, 2008

Oh, That's Not Good

A triple homicide? Really? Jesus, that's nasty.

There hasn't been a triple homicide in Winnipeg since, what, 1996; since that one was quite obviously gang related, the current media conjecture holds that this is gang violence as well. It shouldn't take too long for the cops to gather information about the attack, since there were at least five other people in the house at the time, so we'll hear about what happened soon enough.

I've been meaning to do another SMHV for a while now, to get caught up, but I'd been debating whether or not to count the fourth homicide; it was initially designated and announced as a murder, but a week or so later it turned out to have been two teens stealing a pellet gun from a garage and then playing with it until one of them accidentally shot the other one in the head. It was unintentional, so it wasn't a murder, but it was still a homicide so I eventually figured that I'd include it -- and since then other sources have included it in their tallies as well, so there it is.

Yesterday there had been six homicides in 2008 and today there have been nine, not counting vehicular manslaughter (strange that nobody counts those; I seem to recall reading that it has different legal connotations or something). And the last five homicides have all been in the past two weeks, which doesn't bode particularly well for the coming spring.

Winnipeg is a dangerous city, some neighbourhoods more than others, so keep your wits about you out there. I live in one of the deep-red zones on that map, but I'm not too worried; mine is one of the safer high-crime areas. It's an important distinction! Keeps our morale up.

[Next Morning Add-On Edit:]

I wish I were as classy as the Winnipeg Sun.

If your top story on a given day is a gang-related triple homicide, is following that with the headline "Weather whacks 'Toba" really that great an idea? Were the staff genuinely unaware that the two headlines would be run side-by-side, or is it just standard editorial policy to tie the weather blurb into the top story whether it's a good idea or not? I don't understand these decisions sometimes.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Punching: Always an Option

Uptown Magazine! Part of this complete breakfast!

Had I mentioned to you folks that I've been ill lately? Well, allow me to reiterate my position.

As you can clearly see from the column in question, I've straight-up had it with this flu; I'm going to take my health into my own hands, specifically by curling my hands into fists and Burn Knuckling anything that raises my ire or suspicions. You've got to show those diseases who's boss! You'll get nothing but disrespect from them otherwise!

Venetian Snares - The Hopeless Pursuit of Remission (My Downfall [Original Soundtrack], 2007)
[buy | site | fansite | myspace]

Carl Stalling and the Warner Bros. Studio Orchestra - Frazzled Coyote (The Carl Stalling Project, Volume 2: More Music from Warner Bros. Cartoons 1939--1957, 1995)
[buy | info | glowing praise article one | glowing praise article two]

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the closest supermarket; I'm completely out of juice. It's time for a juice run! Yes! This is the highlight of my day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

James 20:10 Says I Just Killed Your Downtown

They'll have to modify the old slogan a little; for the sake of truth in advertising, the promotional materials should now read "Go Greyhound, and leave the driving to whatever idiot actually wants to get downtown".

Yes, as long rumoured, the downtown bus depot is making like the Pet Shop Boys and going west; come August 2009, commuters by bus will find themselves dropped off at the Winnipeg Airport -- fine, fine, the 'James Armstrong Richardson International' blah blah dick etcetera whatever -- and yet another expansive downtown building will sit empty and unused waiting for the UUniversity of Winnipeg to inevitably purchase it.

(Think I'm kidding about that last part? Hell, so did I! But that's what's actually going to happen, apparently, so heads up.)

So, to recap. The Greyhound Bus Depot is moving out of downtown at the earliest possible opportunity, taking up new residence at the Winnipeg Airport by the fall of 2009. Canada Post is moving out of downtown at the earliest possible opportunity, taking up new residence at the Winnipeg Airport by the end of 2010. McNally Robinson is moving out of downtown at the earliest possible opportunity, taking up new residence at... well, at Polo Park, actually, but that's definitely a lot closer to the airport than anywhere else they could have gone. At this rate somebody should probably go and inspect that new Manitoba Hydro building to make sure it doesn't have wheels underneath it, because the very real possibility exists that Manitoba Hydro intends to laugh heartily and drive it down to the airport once it's finally built.

It's a strange and unsettling local development, yes -- but what does it mean? Coincidentally, those are the exact same words I've used about another strange and unsettling local development:

"Specifically, I'm moving to Alberta. Get out of my way."

I'm sure you've all wondered as much as I have about these bizarre, cryptic and seemingly unnecessary James 2010 billboards; one day they all just sprouted up in various spots around town, offering no pertinent or relevant information except the word 'airport' and a web address with a date in it.

Why on earth does the airport need marketing? Did anybody think this through? What purpose is there to putting up advertisements when you're the only game in town? Is there a second, more international Winnipeg airport I was unaware of that is sucking away all the incoming passengers? And for that matter -- what incoming passengers? Why would you advertise the city's only airport to a city full of people that would only be using the airport to leave the city? And why in the curly-fried hell would you try to create a buzz and build a brand around the city's only airport as though it were a 'lifestyle' destination? An airport is not someplace people go to just to be there -- they go to the airport specifically to leave the airport, either because they're picking somebody up or because they're skipping town entirely.

Perhaps you can tell that I hadn't quite figured out the point of this recent promotional campaign. But now, I think I've got it; I think it's all starting to come together.

These are not advertisements -- they are warnings. These are sublimely veiled, covertly boastful harbingers of the downtown's oncoming death. 2010 won't mark a new airport for Winnipeg; by 2010, the airport is going to be Winnipeg.

Everything east of Polo Park or south of Assiniboine Park on the city map will be represented by red squiggles and the words 'HERE BE DRAGONS', with someone having later handwritten 'Thank God and Greyhound You're Gone' over the spot where the downtown core used to be. Take that, downtown!

What? Well, what did you think the billboards are for? Pfft, whatever, man. You know I'm right.

Monday, March 24, 2008

She Said Son These are the Bad Old Days

Goodness me, have I not posted in a whole week? Well, that won't do at all. Granted, not a whole lot has happened over the past week, and a peek at the local blogrolls indicates that nobody else has really been posting very much either -- but still! Inactivity is a bad trend. I haven't been in a good mood lately, and it might cheer me up to throw some words and sounds around.

Anyway, to sum up, I'm still ill and I'm still mostly unemployed. Happy Easter! Let's do a music post.

Bob Mould - The Silence Between Us (District Line, 2008)
[buy | site | info | myspace]

Okay, I know, I can hear you from here. Bring up Bob Mould in conversation and there are usually only two responses you can expect to get; some people will hear his name and go 'ha ha ha seriously Bob Mould more like Bob old and lame now', and most other people will hear his name and go 'who in the hell is Bob Mould'.

To address the first response -- yes, he's older now and he's calmer than he used to be, but clearly he's still got plenty of songwriting niftiness left in him. And to address the second response -- Bob Mould is a dude that's done a lot in his career. He was a founding member of Husker Du; he was a founding member of Sugar; he had an extended electronica period that nobody really wants to talk about; he started a record label that released exclusively 7'' singles (it was appropriately named, wait for it, Singles Only Label); he once spent a year as a scriptwriter for World Championship Wrestling (yes, really); he wrote the original song now used as the theme music for The Daily Show. Here's a guy who gets stuff done! By comparison, my biggest accomplishments yesterday were A) going ten whole minutes without coughing painfully and B) eating a cupcake with Cadbury Mini Eggs baked inside it.

But enough about me his backstory. The important thing is that this song is marvelous and you would be a fool not to listen to it, because it is catchy and cheery and could just as easily have been a Matthew Sweet song if Matthew Sweet had thought of it first. I'll grant that this track is more adult-alternative-y than I normally find myself enjoying -- and what the hell is going on with that synth burble in the solo section, is that really necessary -- but damned if this song does not live in my head for hours at a time. I play it, and I go 'okay time to play it again', and then fifteen loops later I turn it off and the chorus guitars are still chunking away merrily in my head.

Songs do not have to be complicated! This is an important lesson to remember. Sometimes the best strategy is to pick four chords, play the crap out of them, and then sing over them as loudly and unabashedly as you possibly can. This is a quintessential highway-eight-to-the-lake song if ever I've heard one, and if I hadn't already been eagerly awaiting the summer I certainly would be now.

The weather today is not helping to alleviate my yearnings any; it is snowing like crazy outside right now.

When the blowing snow is breaking your city's posted urban speed limits, you can safely assume that Mother Nature is just screwing around with you for giggles. Dammit, Mother Nature, that ain't funny. Why you gotta play that.

Grady - Bad Old Days (A Cup of Cold Poison, 2007)
[buy | site | info | myspace]

Bob Mould is a singer-songwriter-guitarist who left his original band and mellowed out a bunch; Gordie Johnson is a singer-songwriter-guitarist who left his original band and got louder and angrier. Bless his heart.

Gordie Johnson, the Winnipeg-born guitar wizard that we as a city never lavish enough praise on, is best known for his thirteen years (!) as the frontman of Big Sugar. He's also well known for being intensely patriotic, loving Canada so dearly that he would be leading Alpha Flight by now if he could just get his hands on some superpowers. The legend has it that his last single with Big Sugar was refused radio airplay by the Canadian media bigwigs because, in referencing Alberta, it was 'too Canadian'; Johnson's response, a perfectly reasonable reaction given the circumstances, was to flip a shit and storm out of the Canadian music industry entirely before he snapped and killed them.

So what did he do? He moved to Texas, immediately developed a full beard with an accompanying everpresent cowboy hat, started hanging out with Willie Nelson, and formed a scenery-chewing monster hard-rock band loud enough to make Hotblack Desiato wince. The whole tale would make a pretty good short story, now that I think about it.

Now, I'll admit, I miss Big Sugar. I was huge into Big Sugar -- I suppose, point of order, I still am -- and they would rank very highly on my nineties-Canrock pantheon that I never get around to compiling. But Grady is such a completely different beast that I can't help but appreciate it; where Big Sugar songs tended towards a reggae-heavy good-time jam, the Grady track posted above is this sudden fearsome snarling Holy Hand Grenade of a rock song that inspires reckless behaviour just by listening to it. That guitar solo a couple of minutes in just sounds like a barfight, doesn't it? The whole song is a glorious perfect soundtrack for people having the time of their lives by making terribly poor decisions; if you're out and about and you hear this song fire up, you should either start smashing stuff or get out of the way fast. Trust me on this.

Revolte - Ironical Sexism (We Are Terrorists Remix) (web-exclusive release, 2007)
[revolte myspace | we are terrorists myspace | way to not have websites you guys]

Likewise, you should get out of the way if you hear this song start up -- not because there's violence coming, necessarily, but because a massive dance party is going to spontaneously erupt around you and you probably aren't dressed for it.

I believe very strongly that this song has already been earmarked several times for television commercials -- most likely for one of those Telus commercials, the ones with the fish or penguins or something, that you get tired of seeing within five airings -- and the only reason this song isn't already ubiquitous across North America is because nobody can track down any of the people responsible for it.

All I can tell you for certain about the artists involved is that two underground French DJs put together the original song and then two more underground French DJs remixed it to its current state. Beyond that -- mysteries! Neither duo has a website, or any albums available, or any record deals in place, or any information listed aside from their first names; apparently Revolte just recently broke out huge in the French electronic scene, and We Are Terrorists have given a couple of masterfully incoherent interviews since forming last year, but other than that it's all shadows and intrigue and RAM-devouring MySpace pages.

It's almost a shame that this masterpiece isn't a worldwide advertising phenomenon by now; I'm as resentful of single-song oversaturation as the next indignant indie kid, but in a way I think I'm actually more insulted by the idea that few people outside of select French nightspots will hear this song even once in their lives. This is gold! This is adrenaline and finesse and fury all at once; it still wouldn't convince me to sign up for some stupid cellphone package plan, but at least I would appreciate the effort.

Busdriver - The Troglodyte Wins (RoadKillOvercoat, 2007)
[buy | site |producers' interview | myspace]

Surprise! Abstract hip-hop! Didn't see that one coming, did you? Ha!

Oh, my, get a load of the production values on this puppy. Is that a vocal sample? Yes! Whose sample is it? Yes! (To crib from an old You Don't Know Jack gag, it would be funnier if the band's name was 'No'.) I can't get enough of the backing tracks on this cut; I'm always a sucker for off-beat drum loops, the vocal sample sounds like an old cartoon melting right in front of you, the mindbending pitch shifts at 2:19 and 2:42 are things of beauty (take that, complacency!) and the whole package is top-notch. Busdriver always has that Aesop Rock thing going on where you're only kind of sure that he didn't just sneak a line of gibberish past you, but his bouncy delivery is absolutely essential to this piece -- and then you realize that his flow seems disjointed here because he's incorporating the 'get up' and 'get down' samples into his lines, and the whole thing comes together again in a mental fanfare.

Even still, I can acknowledge that this one isn't for everybody; of the songs included in today's post, this Busdriver track is by far the weirdest and least accessible of the bunch. Never fear! I've got it covered:

The Shivvers - No Substitute (Lost Hits From Milwaukee's First Family of Powerpop: 1979-82, 2006)
[buy | bio | news article]

Listen to this immediately. Hell, listen to this one first if you were skipping ahead just to see how long this post is. This is important.

The Shivvers were a short-lived, mishap-plagued powerpop band from Milwaukee; they never found recognition past the Wisconsin border, their lead songstress fell ill, in six years together the sum total of their merchandise was a single self-produced 45, and they broke up in obscurity a year before I was even born. You have never heard of these people in your entire lives, and it was only by complete fluke and random chance that I ever heard of them -- but you will love this song, and I refuse to believe there could be anybody out there that has heard this tune and then straight-up hated it.

Listen to this song! Behold it! This is energetic, earnest, exceptional female-fronted powerpop at its absolute finest, and the only reason this song didn't go on to define an entire generation is because the song was written and performed exclusively in Wisconsin in the early 1980s. (Admittedly, I can see how this would be a problem.) I can't say enough good about this gem; music like this is what keeps me going, even as a disease-ridden corpse shuffling out of bed each day and shambling restlessly around the house with nothing to do but cough on everything and wait for the Ibuprofen to kick in.

Hooray for music posts!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Not Progress

You know, I hear it's flu season! I can't verify that, though; I've had the flu, and as such I have not been outside lately to check.

I've pretty much been completely bedridden since about last Monday or Tuesday; any time not spent out cold has been spent shivering, roasting alive, coughing up otherworldly throat-blockage monsters, and occasionally hearing my little brother enjoy Super Smash Bros. Brawl from a couple doors down the hall. It's been grand.

As late I'm better than I was the last few days, but I'm still nowhere near a hundred percent; my entire world boils down to an alternating pattern of phlegm and orange juice and wanting to die. So hopefully I'll be up and about within the next couple of days.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Local Flavour, Part One: Reading is Fundamental

Ha ha ha ha, okay, that was my fault. When I'd said 'tomorrow', I was operating on the erroneous assumption that I'd be at home. My bad!

Anyway, so here's the deal. I was bequeathed a better digital camera this past Christmas; it's not a new camera, matter of fact we've had it kicking around for years now, but it's damn sure newer and more technologically advanced than the two-megapixel fossil I'd been using to that point. So a new camera, which meant a new memory card, which meant some shuffling of the old memory card data -- and ultimately in my oh-boy-new-tech exuberance I shunted all my older pictures into various folders and subfolders, figuring I could always get around to them later. Well, it's certainly later now!

The gist of this is that I've got a whole variety of locally-themed pictures that are just kicking around, images from various points in time last year that are at least worth passing mention. I'm sure I'd intended to post all of these here when I initially took them, but they never quite got transferred -- or sorted, or resized, or uploaded, or whatever else can be done to pictures between taking them and posting them. So I've gone back through the old folders, grabbed a bunch of neat hitherto-unposted shots, and here we are.

This will be part one of a three-part series; it was originally all going to be in one post, but then I looked again and realized that I'd picked out about sixty images. Sixty images in one post would be all kinds of silly, in terms of loading time and post length and pretty much any other criteria you'd be using. As such -- part one!

For this, our first installment, the general theme is written correspondence. Occasionally when you're out and about in the city, you'll come across a message written somewhere; maybe somebody is trying to tell you something, maybe the city has a rule in place, maybe an aspiring tough is marking their imaginary territory, maybe someone out there has just ran out of medication. Whatever the case, it's always important to keep your eyes open.

Like, for example, one day you're downtown and you happen to be walking towards a nearby mailbox; you take a glance at it and notice out of the blue that it's festooned with homemade stickers. One sticker has a crude face on it, another sticker is of a smiling jellybean or something, a third sticker is doing a pretty good impression of moss -- and then one affixed adhesive appears to carry a declaration, a message of such importance to its creator that he or she had to express it as best and as soon as he or she could.

That message?

Oh. Huh. Well. Okay then.

It's... not a very effective deterrent, is it? I think I'm actually more likely to buy from Starbucks with this mental image in place. I don't even like Starbucks, but I think I'd be powerless to resist them if they made Christopher Walken vs. Army of Midgets the thrust of their advertising campaign.

(The midgets represent small business!)

I worked downtown for the majority of last year, so it was a given that every so often I would run into improvised forms of public address. This particular day, somebody had grabbed a piece of white sidewalk chalk and written 'ANOTHER EMPTY BUILDING' lengthwise along an empty edifice; I had a go at photographing it, but the hell if there was any way to fit that into a single shot. Alas! Sometimes the content is lost in the delivery.

No such problem with this shot, however:

That's charming, isn't it? Way to celebrate, guys!

(Good thing the city banned minors from buying spraypaint; it makes the graffiti all the more special for them once they hit legal age. Go know!)

The subtext is staggering, of course; think about it, these are our graduates. These are our leaders of tomorrow, the enlightened success stories that our education system is producing. You can imagine the kind of graffiti you would get from the kids that don't graduate.

In fact, now that I think about it:

This is exceptional. You'll get a kick out of this one.

Ouch! Ha ha ha ha ha ha--damn, man! That can't have helped the courtship process any. Where would young love be without a healthy dose of awkward silence from time to time?

The timeless concept of 'wrong place at the wrong time' has never been better expressed than here, because that garbage bin definitely lost a fight with something. A wayward truck? A flock of highschool graduates? One particularly frustrated Burger King employee?

I dutifully took a few pictures of the wreckage, idly wondering what exactly leveled this sucker, when I finally noticed the homemade bumper sticker nestled under the rim.

The plot thickens!

I don't know whether that sticker was intentional or incidental, but it must have been some pretty impressive foreshadowing nonetheless. Sorry, garbage bin; victims of art crimes rarely get any sympathy.

D'awww. You're welcome, Ricky Receptacle! What a nice guy.

I guess the secret to a long, disaster-free career as a garbage bin is offering superior customer service. I mean, I can't even imagine how old this thing is. Especially considering that this receptacle sits in Fort Richmond Plaza, the very same south Pembina strip mall that boasts the following sign:

You're... you're kidding, right?

I mean, yes, it's perfectly valid to want to warn us about a speed bump. That speed bump could be dangerous! But I'm pretty sure that -- somebody check me on this, I'm pretty sure -- Canada converted to the Metric system. Around, say, 1970.


(Yes, yes, this is that Outdoor Media Group again -- but it would take years before I could read 'OMG' and have my first thought be 'Outdoor Media Group'. Perhaps you have noticed that I use the internet!)

Yeah, I... don't know what this one even means. You can see these pop up every so often downtown, contextless sentence fragments sellotaped to whatever open space doesn't have a concert flyer on it. Maybe somebody sets up scavenger hunts with them.

Hypothesis: cyclists can't read.

Hypothesis confirmed! Thanks, cyclist!

Oh, Jesus, these pictures. I'd forgotten about these. Okay! This has a bit of setup to it, so bear with me.

I'd mentioned I was working downtown until a few months ago; my auto mechanic is also located downtown, so the day I took my car in to be winterized I had the privilege of driving and walking to work instead of taking the bus. This led me on a different route than usual, coincidentally leading me right past the old roller-rink on Portage. I ended up taking a picture of it just for the heck of it.

Turns out -- that was the exact day they flattened it.

So in the afternoon, on my way back to pick up my car and head home, I passed by the same spot again and -- welp! There it was.

Yeah, huh. Go figure.

It was all very serendipitous, but of course I had no way of knowing they would knock it down right after I passed by that day; I had actually taken the original pictures for an entirely different reason.

You see -- that parcel of land, as you probably know, had been recently purchased by the University of Winnipeg. And to make sure nobody had missed this development, the University of Winnipeg had put a big ol' sign up next to the fence.

Take a look at the sign as it read that morning. Behold as I beheld, and see if you notice anything wrong with it.

Now, if you're like me, you picked out the incorrect usage of the plural immediately and on your first glance. Ah-ha! The use of 'tomorrow' in this particular sentence is possessive, not plural, and the resulting requirement of an apostrophe before the S has been overlooked and becomes conspicuous in its absence! Ah-ha! A fleeting but tangible rush of elation for successfully displaying intellectual superiority over the promotional material of an accredited university!

Okay, fine. That's all very nice. Now take another, longer look at the sign.

If you're like me, the first thing you noticed was 'TOMORROWS'; that means, if you're like me, it was only after another couple of seconds that you did a doubletake and realized that the sign reads 'UUNIVERSITY'. The Uuniversity of Winnipeg.






So when I came back past the site after work that day, I was encouraged to see that they had remedied the problem; somebody must have informed them that their sign was wrong, because within that same day the university staff had made the necessary corrections and had issued a replacement sign.

Hey, everybody makes mistakes! A university education doesn't magically confer infallibility; people are people, after all, and given a second chance most anybody will gladly correct their former mistakes and move on.

Yessir, a happy ending after all; these are sharp people, very well-educated, and we can rest easy knowing that the higher standards expected of post-secondary education are justified by--








Hrmm. Ahem.

In conclusion, there's always something interesting to see in Winnipeg; it's just a matter of looking around every so often. It's good to keep an eye out! Keeps things fresh.

As I'd said, this was part one; parts two and three are to follow, but today marks the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl (!!) and as such I can't reasonably lay out a timeframe for future posts. You understand, I hope.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

You Hate the Way I Had to Write This Down

Grab yourself a cup of Uptown!

As you can see, I am somewhat less than enthused by the service I've received from the Royal Bank; I imagine I'll have to look into other alternatives shortly. And if all goes according to plan, I should also be scouting student loans soon -- so in a strange sort of way, I'm glad that RBC picked now to reveal themselves as distasteful custodians of dismissive condescension and customer disloyalty.

I am not a dude with a lot of cash flying around; in fact I am a dude currently in search of cash, because you can't eat a Double Honours degree. (Or rather, you aren't supposed to eat a Double Honours degree. I'm pretty sure I could cook and consume it with little effort.) So the hell if I'm going to pony up an extra Mackenzie King a year exclusively for the privilege of maintaining an avenue to pay my bills through.

Rasserfrackin' mumble mumble why I oughtta.

Medium Medium - Hungry, So Angry (The Glitterhouse, 1981)
[buy compilation | site | info | myspace]

Anyway! Check in tomorrow, readers; as late I've been going through my catalogue of images from my old(er) camera and finding a whole bunch of neat local shots that I meant to post but never actually did. I hope you like disjointed onslaughts of contextless pictures!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Nintendo Doesn't Think Much of Winnipeg




Spirited Idiocy: Oh, You'll Feel It, All Right

You ever have the news get your hopes up before finding out that the initial stories were wildly incorrect and what you thought might be improving will instead get worse? That's always fun!

Here's what we all knew at the start of last week: Spirited Energy is an awful slogan, the provincial government has insisted on sticking to it, nobody outside of the government likes it at all (as has been demonstrated), and we're never getting back any of the money that's been wasted on it.

Well! With that established, let's flash back to Tuesday's edition of the Winnipeg Free Press. Originally appearing on their website Monday evening under the headline "Doer wants to pull plug on Spirited Energy", the final article appeared in the morning paper titled "Spirited Energy too tired to go on? Doer studying replacement proposal". Now, what would you think the story is about to say?

The article specifically said that the funding request was already in (what), that the campaign would theoretically be promoted by groups that are already busy with their own individual promotion efforts (what), and that the 'new' campaign would be organized by the same advisory council as before (whaaaaaat). Despite this, the tone and the headlines of the article inferred that the ruling NDP may have learned from past mistakes and could look to put the unpopular Spirited Energy campaign to rest.

HA HA WELL OF COURSE THIS TURNS OUT TO BE NONSENSE. There is no such thing as "learning from past mistakes" in politics; that would require acknowledging past mistakes, and no party would be caught dead doing that unless they were looking to axe their current leader or bury their old one.

(What is Jack Reimer up to these days?)

So within hours of these sensationalistic and unfounded assertions hitting print, the provincial government got out and contacted the media outlets to squash these heresies. Yes, a funding request has been put in to give the same people as before more money on top of the reported $3.1 million so far (and those are only the costs we know about; you'll recall that the government has been, shall we say, less than open and forthcoming about the slogan's expenses) -- but how dare anyone presume that this means a lack of government support for Spirited Energy!

In this case the government mouthpiece was the recently appointed Minister of Competitiveness, Andrew Swan, who made a point of insisting that he likes the slogan and that the government is "going to continue to support that venture".

Such a strong declaration of support from our Competitiveness Minister is nothing but good news for other provinces, who will be able to rest easy knowing that they won't have to worry about Manitoba becoming competitive any time soon. (Maybe somebody told Swan that his job description is to compete against common sense.)

The Canadian press paraphrased him as such:

"Swan is countering media reports that suggest the program is going to be replaced, saying the government is looking at expanding it, with more advertising outside the province."

So! This proposed campaign we're hearing about, the one that'll promote Manitoba outside our borders? The one that involves giving money to the same collection of geniuses that spawned Spirited Energy in the first place? According to our provincial government, the worldwide advertising from that campaign won't replace Spirited Energy -- it'll expand it.

Expand it! To the rest of the world! Oh, good! Now everybody who has long since moved to Alberta or Saskatchewan will be able to watch the Spirited Energy trailers in their movie theatres! You think the rest of Canada laughs at us now -- just wait until we've written their punchline for them!

Related discussion about this very subject by other bloggers has brought up some salient topics for consideration: would the old 'Friendly Manitoba' have been a strong enough slogan itself to justify a promotional campaign around it? How do you go about promoting the Manitoban cultural identity without being able to clearly define it? And has anybody not directly connected to our provincial government ever found anything positive to say about Spirited Energy?

These are all very important points to deliberate, and somebody should remind me to ruminate on them later. (This post is already a tad long by now. Perhaps you'd noticed.)

So at the end of the week, what do we now know? Spirited Energy is an awful slogan, the provincial government insists on sticking to it, nobody outside of the government likes it at all, and we're never getting back any of the money that's been wasted on it.

But now we also know that they're specifically going to put more money into it -- just in case we were somehow misled to believe that they wouldn't. And they're going to inflict it on the rest of Canada, no matter how poorly actual Manitobans have received it; sure, we hated it, but what do we know about Manitoba? We just live here! For now!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Revenge of This is How People Find Me

I'm going over the various Spirited Energy-related news reports from the past week with a mixture of open disdain and awed outrage; within the next few hours I should have a handy recap up for you folks.

In the meantime! A routine check of the ol' hit counter has once again left me with bouts of helpless giggling. Through some sort of trickery or tomfoolery, unsuspecting internet folk were led here for:

-- goose behavior
-- football game that's on now
-- james howard, san diego chargers
-- core strength liuhe quan
-- it's a lovely day for a murder
-- winnipeg police mascot cuffs the dog
-- ugly buildings winnipeg
-- gary larson the dam bursts
-- parappa fan fiction
-- unicity cab winnipeg
-- make zombie noise
-- burton cummings mean spirited
-- kern-hill sucks
-- moses mayes sucks
-- citytv sucks winnipeg
-- i hate the new jersey devils
-- stephane dion grover muppet
-- slurpee come on baby come and give me a kiss

Dude, are you... uh... are you coming on to my Slurpee? I know I said you could have some, but come on. No tongue. That's gross.