Yes, it's been another eventful week that was; get ready for ManLinkWeek!
[Winnipeg Free Press: No more cowbell!]
[Metro Winnipeg: Update: Bombers flip-flop on cowbell issue]
[National Post: Winnipeg Blue Bombers discover you can't kill the cowbell]
It is becoming increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to expect anything but a zany comedy of errors each and every time the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Football Club makes the news. (The CFL offseason, thus far, has been a cavalcade of them.) It was not always such; there was a time -- or there must have been a time, presumably, what feels like forever ago -- when the casual observer could say to him- or herself, "well, the ol' football team 'round these parts may not have won a championship in decades, but at least they wouldn't be dumb enough to __________".
The blank they were dumb enough to do this week was 'tell everyone who paid to see the game that they are not allowed to make noise', and you can see above how well that played out. The story dealing primarily in cowbells -- be they official merchandise or not, because "over the counter purchased cowbells" is an actual distinction that one has to make in telling this tale -- proved irresistibly low-hanging fruit for headlines and ledes across the country, which I think was really too bad, because the obvious but inevitable surface pop-culture references only distracted from how fascinatingly absurdist everything else about the issue was.
How can you not love "empty paint cans with rocks inside", or "plastic horns powered by human voice"? Those aren't profiles of banned stadium amusements, those are pitches for Dadaist avant-garde art installations.
"Hundreds of alcohol-dampened plastic cups, arranged to resemble the poisonous animals of nature."
"Two men in costume of unidentifiable yet familiar bird-like creatures, banging hand drums and waving their arms around at passersby."
"One thousand people in matching blue shirts, standing in rows, intermittently shouting obscenities."
Approaching the new stadium as an art gallery, in fact, may be the more prudent course of action; it would certainly seem we are expected to behave the same in both places. I want to bring special attention to this excerpt from the concluding Paul Wiecek piece on the matter, partly because it frames the topic in the larger scheme of things and partly because it reads like a scavenger hunt:
"Here's a partial list of other things the Bombers have on their 2012 banned list: any outside food or beverages, including water; Frisbees and balls; laser pointers; musical instruments; poles of any kind; skateboards, Rollerblades, roller skates; bottles, cans, flasks, Thermoses, coolers; obscene signs or clothing; anything that can be used as a projectile; picnic baskets."
Now think of how much more fun you'd have with everything on this list than you would at an actual Bomber game.
In other local news:
[Winnipeg Sun: More than 1,000 hail claims expected]
[Global Winnipeg: 1100 hail damage claims: MPI]
[Winnipeg Free Press: Hail damage prompts MPI to open special claims centre]
Hey, so, uh, it hailed, I don't know if you'd heard about that. I was out of town at the time, watching grass drown around the Interlake, but suffice it to say that the weather got awful and stayed awful no matter where one happened to be; the city experience being described as "the June 9 to June 10 hail storm" is a telling summary, especially so when -- if you are at all familiar with Winnipeg and/or Manitoba -- you have likely already (and correctly) surmised that June 9 and June 10 were both days of the weekend. Ah, summer!
[Kenton's Infotainment Scan: I'm severely irritated with WCCO's severe storm warnings]
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[ChrisD.ca: Two Moose Removed from Brandon Schoolyard]
[Brandon Sun: 'Exploding bottles' scare fizzles out: Police]
Rampaging stray moose! Fearsome abandoned plastic bottles! Accidental internet hoaxes! Brandon in chaos!! hee hee hee hee
[The Crime Scene: Police spending: at a crisis point?]
A quarter of a billion dollars buys a lot of things! Just... apparently not bicycles. Also, and I am sure this comes as a complete surprise to absolutely everybody, police overtime has become -- how shall I put this -- something of a financial concern in our fair city, particularly so when the Service begins specifically blaming budget deficits on it.
[Anybody Want A Peanut?: Simplicity in parking]
Here's another interesting civic concern to consider: even if you can only barely read or speak French -- and I say this as somebody who can only barely read or speak French -- Montreal parking meters written in French are infinitely easier to understand than Winnipeg parking meters written in English. Get a load of the comparison shots, too; the saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, but the pictures of the Winnipeg parking meters already kind of look like a thousand words to begin with.
[little gray bird: manitoba bucket list]
I was born in Manitoba and lived in Nova Scotia for many years, so obviously I take particular interest when someone born in Nova Scotia and living in Manitoba writes about either or both places. Thusly, as a follow-up to her similar list for Nova Scotia, here is little gray bird's twenty-five-item 'bucket list' for Manitoban attractions. Lots of fun prospective summer activities! Summer is the season when Winnipeggers tend to really want out of the city (although winter is, too, actually -- and summer and fall are also kind of suspect, now that I think about it), off to lakes or parks or woods or beaches or what have you, so there are plenty of options in here for anyone who may happen to feel like exploring.
Thank you for reading ManLinkWeek! Be sure to tune in to 101.5 UMFM tonight at 5:30 for this week's installment of Winnipeg Internet Pundits, and I'll see you back here next week if not sooner.