Is it? It is! It's ManLinkWeek!
[The Uniter: The Uniter 30]
Behold the Uniter's second annual showcase of 30 Manitoban noteworthies age 30 or younger, following the success of last year's inaugural installment.
Remember when I busted out a Tom Lehrer quotation about feelings of inadequacy a few weeks ago? Just pretend that I didn't quote it then and that I'm quoting it now instead, because reading this year's list (or last year's, for that matter) is a one-way train ticket to feeling like you've wasted every day of your life to this point. Folks my age or younger are winning multiple gold medals for kayaking, raising tens of thousands of dollars to fight AIDS in Swaziland, building the world's largest spiro-spiro-spirograph, and running for leadership of the federal Official Opposition. I can't even find a hoodie I've misplaced, and that's even when I know for a fact it's in this frigging house somewhere. auggghhhhh
I also want to note that one of this year's Uniter 30 just happens to be intrepid Winnipeg Internet Pundits ringleader Tessa Vanderhart, blogger-wrangler extraordinaire and primary reference point of this fine Colin Fast column in yesterday's edition of Metro Winnipeg. Big ups!
Anyway, if all of that was a little too positive for you, let's switch gears to outsiders complaining that we're terrible.
[VICE Magazine: Wondering... Winnipeg's Got Elbow Room]
A Torontonian visits Winnipeg! And, except for the architecture, basically just hates it.
"If you’re still not sold on Winnipeg, did I mention that it has the highest murder rate in Canada, and that there is enough gang violence to compete with certain areas of South Central Los Angeles? It’s not all just quilting bees and cow paths, not by a long shot. In fact, the north end of Winnipeg reminds me a bit of Belfast, Northern Ireland, with its ubiquitous wall murals and the troubles of the First Nations peoples written in the language of the streets."
Oh. Well, hey, good! We're world-class!
[Traveler (The Sydney Morning Herald): Winnipeg tourism | You're going where? Why would you?]
An Australian visits Winnipeg! And, except for Osborne Village, basically just hates it until the locals finally win him over.
"The Canadian customs guy eyed me suspiciously. "You're going where?"
'Winnipeg,' I repeated as nonchalantly as possible. But he wasn't convinced.
'Um - for a holiday.'
He squinted at me for a few more seconds, then finally shrugged his shoulders and stamped my passport. 'Good luck,' he said, sliding the documents over the desk."
We really need to start marketing our... uh... man, I don't know, our unique charm or something. Maybe swipe the old Alexander Keith's slogan and insist that "Those who like it like it a lot"? Something, at least. Something that would keep our own national officials from disbelieving that anybody would visit here of their own volition.
On the other hand, Globe & Mail columnists seem to love us nowadays, and I can't remember the last time I heard of one actually physically dropping by. So maybe our town is just... more charming in theory, although that doesn't really lend itself to tourism slogans either.
[One Man Committee: Green Seed gets set to grow a Bond Tower]
Wait, what is this, what am I looking a--oh my god
BUILT IT NOW
IS IT BUILT YET
WHY ISN'T THIS BUILT YET
[The Manitoban: Manitoba's cougar]
And yes, you wisenheimers, it's about the cat species. I know at least five or six of you were all ready to make the exact same joke, so I'll save you the hassle at the outset.
Manitoba Conservation zoologist Bill Watkins drops some science and some figures throughout on the provincial population of these rare and nomadic creatures, but my favourite information in here is the note near the end that roughly eighty per cent of Manitoba's reported cougar sightings are completely incorrect.
"'People just aren’t as familiar with the flora and fauna of Manitoba as their rural parents and grandparents were, and make mistakes when trying to identify an animal,' Watkins added."
Even if we aren't privy to the breakdown through this article, I dearly hope that the department has been keeping meticulous statistical records of what the hell all these people are confusing for cougars. Like somewhere deep in the file systems of Manitoba Conservation there's a well-protected spreadsheet, carefully detailing and categorizing every idiotic thing they've heard phoned in and had to investigate.
"Stray garbage bag, 39 sightings. Large neighbourhood dog, 27 sightings. Medium-sized neighbourhood dog, 23 sighti--Bill, you're screwing with me on these, right?"
[Winnipeg Bus Stories: Caught on Tape Madness]
These videos are kind of a far cry from this, aren't they? Well, except for that third one.
But guys, seriously, listen. Public transit in this town does not comprise a viable getaway strategy. Even if it did travel fast enough to efficiently remove you from the scene of the crime -- it doesn't, I shouldn't have to tell you this -- most if not all of the Transit fleet have those weird omnipresent ceiling-mounted video cameras on board now. The ones that you can't stop looking at once you've noticed that they're there. Y'ever do that? Just spend your entire bus ride staring directly into the closest security camera, just on the off chance that it'll totally weird out the people monitoring it? No? Huh. Maybe, uh... maybe that's just me.
You'll recall, too, that we'll all be paying an extra quarter per head per trip for the privilege of riding these things next year. That's, uh... that is progress, right?
[Brandon Sun: Babies will take to the ice at Wheat Kings game]
If you are anything like me, you will quickly decide for yourself that the best part of this story -- by far the best part of this story -- is the inclusion of the official ruleset for the Brandon Wheat Kings / Li'l Bit Baby 2011 Diaper Derby.
Parents can coax their children to the finish line! Only two coaches are permitted per baby at the race track! Babies must be from western Manitoba! (They had to add that rule after that one year some bad apple babies from Beausejour rolled in and caused all that trouble. You know how they are.)
I mean, I don't know about you, but I was fully prepared to question the legitimacy of this competition until I saw their commitment to "the rules of the NFL" regarding the finish line. It'd just have been anarchy otherwise! This is what separates us from the animals.
This is the kind of idea you can't just half commit to, either; if you're going to enter your baby into the arena-racing circuit, doesn't it seem like you may as well just dress him in a little jumpsuit with racing stripes on it while you're at it? Or lightning bolts, maybe. And obviously your kid will need a sweet speed-related nickname, like "Flash", or "Hot Rod". Man, I hope somebody gets video of this thing. Especially as evidence for the inevitably hilarious parental conversations in those tumultuous teenage years down the road.
"C'mon, kiddo, go for it, ask her out! She likes you!"
"What, you're too shy all of a sudden? That's not how we raised you! We had you competin' in the Arena before you were ten months old!"
"And you loved it! Here, lemme go get the videos."
Next Tuesday, more ManLinkWeek! Although, really, we're eight weeks in already, I guess you kind of know the drill by now.