Friday, August 10, 2012

Manitoba Links Weekly: Sinkholes, Short Lines, Women's Urinals, and Mystery Province, the Province of Mystery (ManLinkWeek 43)

Is it Friday already? Dang, that was quick. Long weekends, man, they throw everything off. Well, humour me my usual preamble, before we begin.

This has nothing -- absolutely nothing -- to do with Manitoba, but I absolutely have to mention it because holy shit, this headline, and holy shit, this entire story.

"A PEI prisoner’s drunken x-rated impersonation of cartoon character Cyril Sneer led to drug possession charges after his lively jig revealed illegal drugs tucked away in his rectum."

And that's the lede. The story doesn't mention (beyond "National Post Staff") who got the assignment of writing this piece, but whoever it was could probably have the print version framed and then just retire, right now, call it a successful career and live in contentment forever.

"Campbell asked guards if they had ever seen the cartoon character Cyril Sneer — a pink aardvark with a lengthy snout and the primary villian in the 80s Canadian children’s cartoon The Raccoons. Then, he tucked his penis between his legs, bent over and jumped up and down (apparently) pretending to be the evil industrialist."

I love the "(apparently)". I love it. It's entirely possible that the impression just wasn't very good (it sounds dead-on to me, man, I don't know), but I prefer to believe that the guards just don't remember The Raccoons and that the impression was uncannily accurate, because that makes picturing the whole scene even funnier than it is already. CEEEDDD-RRRIIIIIIIIICCC

There is absolutely no way to transition smoothly from that into any other topic, so I'm not even going to try. This week's Winnipeg Internet Pundits episode was very good, I wrote an Uptown column you should read, and the arrival of Folklorama gives me a chance to link my old Folklorama music album post. And there's a thing this weekend I want to draw your attention to, but I'll do that as its own standalone post, so never mind that for now.

It's quiet, peaceful, serene -- until ManLinkWeek wakes up!

[ Washington Post Mobile: The spirit of Manitoba, Canada’s mystery province ]
We want to be introduced as "Manitoba, Province of Mystery". But you have to say it right, pause a little after 'Province', and say 'Mystery' a bit slower and deeper for emphasis. "Province... of MYSSSSSS-tery"!

The non-mobile version and photo gallery are here, but it paywall-locked me out halfway through the article, so, yeah. Here's the mobile version of the Washington Post Travel Section feature on our fair province, a hashtag-longreads travelogue very much worth your time to absorb.

If you decide to go out exploring by car, however, do be careful:

[ CBC Manitoba: Manitoba highway sinkhole not being fixed soon, some fear ]
[ Today's Trucking: Sinkholes and Floods: Infrastructure Costs Everyone, MTA says ]
Pfffffft, get a load of these complainers, how bad could it possibly--


"Bill Gade, who owns the 83 North trucking company in Swan River, Man., says provincial highways officials have told him the road likely won't be fixed for another year or two.

"'If this was the Number One highway, we'd have crews out there on it now. It isn't, and the reality is the province just doesn't care,' he told CBC News."

Well, okay, you could look at it that way, but surely there's a case to be made that our well-meaning provincial government has the best interests of its people at hand and is working hard to--

"Optimism among people living in the area that the highway would be repaired soon has vanished, he added.

"'The province hired security to keep people from looking at the hole,' he said.

"'When that happened, I think that's when people started to realize [that] the priority here wasn't fixing. The priority was damage control.'"

Uh... huh. Well.

Okay, new theory. Y'ever play the original SimCity? Where the options for providing people transportation were roadways or railways, and unless you did the cheat for a million dollars on the end-of-year tax settings screen you could only really develop and maintain one system or the other at any given time? Well:

[ Short-Line Railway to Run Between Gimli and Selkirk ]
[ Interlake Spectator: Railroad by the farmers, for the farmers ]
[ Winnipeg Free Press: Railroad offers new shipping possibility ]
[ PortageOnline: Lake Line Railroad Begins Operations ]
For all the local theorizing as late about the worlds of possibility unlocked by tearing up old rails, I think it's a nice change of pace to read about folks who want to do stuff on them instead.

I get a kick out of the conditions levied on the funding -- the province committed $1.25M to purchase fifty kilometres of rail from the CPR, and the Lake Line Railroad community producers' company "[must] operate the short-line railway for at least 10 years or repay the funds" -- because it strikes me as the same approach that parents take to buying an instrument for their kids' band class.

"You aren't just going to give up on it halfway through the year, are you?" "No, Mom, I'm not." "You promise you're going to use it?" "Yes, Mom, I promise." "Well, all right, then, here you go."

Fares for use of the Short Line railroad will start at fifty dollars, bumping up to two hundred if they get three more. (You were thinkin' it too.)

[ The Cranky Beer Blogger: Ten great beers available in Manitoba (Part Three) ]
Adding this to the established canon of part one and part two, plus the Unibroue sidepost, totals enough recommendations that readers could probably stage their own Flatlander's Festival at home by now. Remember, I worked in a beer vendor for entirely too long, I've seen the kind of choices that Winnipeggers tend to make. Y'all need broader horizons, that's all I'm saying.

[ Love me, love my Winnipeg: The post you have been waiting for! ]
Yes, after months of foreshadowing, the big payoff moment has finally arrived to provide the long-lost photographic evidence of a truly arcane and mysterious artifact indeed. This would make for a pretty unorthodox MacGuffin, wouldn't it? This seems like the kind of thing Carmen Sandiego would have stolen.

[ Manitoba WorkInfoNET: Chief Planner, City of Winnipeg ]
[ Manitoba WorkInfoNET: Communications Specialist, OFFICE OF THE MAYOR ]
If you've ever daydreamed about running the entire planning department of the City of Winnipeg (maligned as it may be), or if you've secretly yearned for a career of trying to explain how any of the Mayor's decisions make sense, have I got the job posting for you!

I recognize that this is the way of the future, and everything, but it's still funny to imagine a press conference announcing that a prominent senior administrative position within the City will be filled by "a dude we found online". I can't wait to meet the new Chief of Police that we eventually pick up off Kijiji.

And, finally:

[ Metro Winnipeg: Winnipeg joins Little Free Library movement ]
aaaaaahhhhhhhh oh my god

If I ever own a house, oh, man, look out. There's no way I wouldn't have one of these things. I'd have two of them, put up at opposite ends of the lawn as different branches, and then have interlibrary loans going on across the grass. They'd have their own library cards, although I'm not sure yet if it's funnier to have the cards legitimately printed and professional-looking or to have the cards on inaccurately-ripped paper rectangles in crayon. I intend to have too much time on my hands, is what I'm getting at.

In the meantime, I'm quite tempted to drive up and find this li'l establishment, and then donate a bunch of books to it. (That's another reason that I want to eventually own a house: at any given time I have way too many books floating around, and it would be so much easier if they just all had one dedicated room.)

I could go on about books for a few more pages, but it's almost the weekend and nobody would read it. So thank you for reading ManLinkWeek, and I'll meet you back here shortly!


Anonymous said...

I hear Conrad Black was never able to shake the rumour that the Cyril Sneer character was based entirely on him.

James Hope Howard said...

With this new information presented, I can now guarantee that someday -- one never knows when, but someday -- somebody is going to be very, very disappointed and confused by my Conrad Black impersonation.

Charlene - Little Free Library 1849 said...

I'm glad you like our library, c'mon down for a visit sometime! You don't need a house though, some of the most successful Little Free Libraries are located in front of stores or schools, in parks or near trails - anywhere with decent foot traffic. It would be great to see more of them in Winnipeg!