Sunday, August 26, 2012

Manitoba Links Weekly: Downtown Problems, Gleaming the Cube, and Augh Let's Just Get This One Run Already (ManLinkWeek 45)

Well, long time no see! As I'm sure you noticed, alas, I'm a few days off the weekly pace with this installment; the end of summer is as frenetic a time as any you'll find around here, so yes, I'll admit to being a bit behind. If you're wondering why something very recent isn't included here, it's probably because I'm saving it for next week's -- for this week's -- no, hang on, I'll get this -- I'm saving it for the next ManLinkWeek.

Unless, of course, you were thinking about recent Blue Bomber developments. (You can't spell "Winnipeg Blue Bombers football" without "LOL, BOMBERS BEING AWFUL".) That's going to be its own post, and trust me, I'm pretty sure that it's going to be a doozy. First things first, though, of course.

And, before we begin, one helpful summer tip for those of you -- I realize this is a very small subset of Winnipeg readers -- for those of you who enjoy Slurpees: here's how to prevent brain freeze. Yeah, they put a robot on Mars and everything, but here's some science we can use for a change!

ManLinkWeek -- Hajime~!

Here is a map outlining the problems and patterns that downtown Winnipeg faced circa 1967; it's interesting to see what has changed since then and what has... not. Boy, they didn't mince words in those days, either, did they? I'm half surprised some poor area didn't end up with "JUST COMPLETELY UNSALVAGEABLE" inside its borders.

Speaking of problems, downtown and otherwise:

[ THE POWER OF WORDS!!! Opinion, Law & Order, Justice Issues (jamesgjewell): THE TRUTH HURTS – Police Response Times Under the Gun!!! ]
Filed under "everything you suspected is true", here's twenty-five-year WPS veteran James Jewell to explain why calls you make to police won't be answered for hours and anything stolen from you will never, ever be recovered. Winnipeg doesn't even have a Property Crimes Unit any more, which I guess makes sense, what with all of those funding reductions the City has never made. EVERYONE INTO THE HELICOPTER

If anyone out there might happen to be considering a mayoral run, please do me this one favour: roughly six months prior to the 2014 civic election, line up James Jewell and Menno Zacharias in the same room for an hour or two. That'd make for some really, really interesting scrambling by certain other players on the field, and would coincidentally also set up the buddy-ex-cop screenplay idea that I suddenly now can't get out of my head.

Now, in news media... news:

[ Global Winnipeg Launching 'News Hour Final' ]
I haven't checked this new program out yet (I'm not really a big television viewer, humour me here) but the idea is interesting. Is local television news suddenly on an upswing, the way it very conspicuously wasn't during that whole "SAVE LOCAL TEE-VEE" malarkey a few years back? Has there been a major uptick recently in news broadcast advertising dollars? And how will this impact the existing newscast balance on the Winnipeg airwaves? A curious development indeed, though certainly not an unwelcome one. ("Oh, no, more local news coverage. That's too bad.") If anybody has any light to shed on these matters for me, I'd be quite appreciative.

[ CBC Manitoba: Papa George's restaurant to close in Osborne Village ]
It was funny to watch this story unfold on the Twitters, because it originated as a passing mention under a different story -- "oh, also Papa George's is closing" -- and everybody reading it went "no, wait, what". Then a big ol' debate started up over whether the restaurant was amazing or terrible, with a side undercurrent of "Now where will I eat when everything else is closed and I'm too drunk to still have any standards?"

That last bit of phrasing there may perhaps have given away my position on the matter, a black mark on my otherwise blemishless record of absolute objectivity (hee hee hee), but c'mon -- look at how this report ends and tell me it doesn't speak volumes about the place:

"Papa George’s is perhaps best known – thanks largely to its neon signs – for being open until 4 a.m."

Whereas other restaurants are known for, y'know, THEIR FOOD. The Wagon Wheel: club sandwiches! Santa Lucia: pizzas! VJ's Drive-In: fatboys! Rae & Jerry's: steaks! Papa George's: open until 4:00 AM. Which was helpful, because you had to put aside some time for going down the menu with your friends until you found something that nobody in your group recommended against from experience.

I can't really say that any of my meals there ever broke the eh-it's-better-than-nothing threshold, and it probably doesn't help my impressions any that the last time I ate there -- "last time" having rather a different meaning now, I suppose -- we had a waitress who, bless her heart, didn't really seem to know what she was doing at all. One of our group had ordered a bottle of Keith's, since of course the place has nothing on tap; she walked over to the table with the single bottle on a tray, asked if anybody else wanted to order drinks, and then walked away again with the bottle still on the tray. Then a couple of the meal orders came out completely wrong, but I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on that; it is entirely possible, sometime during the vast eons that elapsed between the placement of the orders and the actual appearance of any food, that the kitchen staff legitimately forgot what they were supposed to be putting together.

Anyway, never mind my experiences there; if you liked Papa George's, it's still open for now, so you'll want to get in there before it finally closes its doors. What I'm really going to be interested in are the succession plans for the place, because holy crap look at that location. If there's a single more desirable commercial space in this entire city right now, I legitimately can't think of it. (And can you imagine how pissed off the owner of Movie Village must be right now, having just finished squeezing everything into Music Trader to make do with the sudden lack of available space? Man, that's some really unfortunate timing.)

There'll be a whole lot of intrigue around that building later, I'm sure, so let's all mark that down as something to come back to.

And now, your road construction project update:

[ Winnipeg Free Press: Major road and bridge projects going smoothly ]
Road construction projects are going surprisingly well!

And now, your garbage collection changeover update:

[ Love me, love my Winnipeg: How much of a stink do I make about it? ]
[ Global Winnipeg: Trash piles up after landlords fail to keep up with new system ]
Garbage collection changeover is... going really badly still.

And now, your horse on the highway update (wait, what):

[ Metro Winnipeg: Motorists warned after horse escapes near Manitoba highway ]
[ Metro Winnipeg: Runaway Morris horse reined in ]
Driving on Highway 75 was dangerous for a while because there was a horse running around on it. Then they went and found the horse, making Highway 75 once again perfectly safe. (Unless your car hits 114 km/h, because in that case your steering wheel disintegrates and you die in a horrific multi-vehicle collision. If I understand that MPI commercial correctly.)

And, finally:

[ Winnipeg Free Press: Cube brings curtain down ]
[ Winnipeg Cat: AUGUST 22nd, 2012 ]
[ Anybody Want A Peanut?: The Cube ]
[ CBC News Manitoba: Cube stage problems force closure ]
[ Winnipeg Free Press: Safer Cube promised for next year's performances ]
[ Kijiji Winnipeg: A crazy weird awesome piece of Winnipeg history (eventual Google Cache record) ]
[ CTV News Winnipeg: Prototype of iconic Winnipeg venue put up for sale ]

I love that somebody actually went on record as saying "This structure is a death trap and ready to kill someone", like we're locking secret agents in it and shit whenever it isn't booked for events. "No, Mister Bond, I expect you to perform select portions of your one-man Fringe play!"

So that Kijiji listing up there should prove invaluable to you, if you need someone dead. It would appear that the bidding rate for the original prototype is currently at just over five hundred dollars, with the option of "clothing gift certificates instead of cash", so... there you go. Steal of a deal at twice the price.

"You hocked a 5468796 Architecture design."
"It was priceless."
"Heh! Well, not in Winnipeg, it ain't. In Winnipeg I got five hundred dollars and a pair of shoes for it."

Thank you for reading ManLinkWeek! Coming very shortly: more ManLinkWeek! But first, a... well, you'll see.

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