Wednesday, January 02, 2013

156 Lines About 26 Letters: Your Local 2012 in Review

Happy New Year!

You'd thought I'd forgotten, hadn't you? I nearly had! Not going to lie, I nearly had. But when I've done a thing one year and then done it again the year after, it does seem reasonable that I come back for a third kick at it.

So let us celebrate the arrival of the year 2013 by making good and sure that 2012 is dead and buried behind us, in a little segment that I like to call:

156 Lines About 26 Letters: Your Local 2012 in Review.


A is for Arizona, where deals are made
that look shady despite the state having no shade;
be it mayors, CAOs or Shindico spouses
trading one-dollar companies or one-million houses,
our civic elites go down there to decide them
then make matters worse here by trying to hide them.

B is for Boulevards, also for Bravery
in fighting the City's -- cough -- modern-day slavery;
a Boulevard is a lawn's city-owned neighbour,
the mowing of which one man declared slave labour.
On this he thought himself a valiant crusader,
setting a court date for roughly a year later.

C is for Cellphone Tickets, on this list
because one such Cellphone turned out not to exist;
though the elderly man plead his case, the Police
doubled down on their claim in an odd press release.
When the Crown later stayed the case, leaving it dead,
the Police began chewing out the Crown instead.

D is for Douglas, the Fire Chief Reid,
with whom Shindico quite cheerfully agreed
to swap prime City lands for some cloverleaf crag;
"A deal is a deal", the Chief Douglas did brag.
In the scandals and audits ensuing since then,
Chief Douglas has never been heard from again.

E is for Emterra garbage collection,
delayed across any particular section
of the City by days, and by weeks in some spots
despite "final deadlines" (and of those there were lots).
City Hall won't disclose what fines had to be sent,
our collection remaining an Emterrassment.

F for the Free Press, the local broadsheet
booting many of its younger staff onto the street,
canning most everyone hired from '06 on down
and then killing the standalone weekly Uptown.
The Freep survives, for now, but it's less than inspiring
when the paper of record is exclusively Firing.

G for Golf Services, drumming up fear
when declared to be losing $1-million a year;
City Hall wanted courses marked for private sale,
which right from the get-go seemed destined to fail.
Public pressure led Council to back down from that call,
and an audit then said to keep them after all.

H is for Hellhole, or so said one 'star' --
the punchline of Rob Lowe walking into a bar
and finding no NBA on Grand Forks TV,
rekindling an old 'Peg insecurity
when any half-famous person says not to go
to our 'Hellhole' / 'Earth's rectum' / 'Communist Buffalo'.

I for IKEA, because, let's be hones',
you'd think the Second Coming had been upon us
to judge by the media coverage amounts,
which earned media fifteen-percent discounts.
The Sinclair Inquiry, or Idle No More?
Never mind that -- here's a furniture store!

J is for Joe Mack, Bombers GM,
impossibly still so after seeing them
have a terrible, horrible, very bad season,
with Mack being popularly held the reason
his handpicked group bombed out again and again --
52-0, 44-3, 42-10.

K is for Kapyong, but don't get excited;
the land's still a long way from being decided.
The courts ruled, at least, that First Nations deserve
consultation; some then feared an "urban reserve",
because there are still locals whose misguided passions
elicit some real ugly Kneejerk reactions.

L for the Lockout, which downtown still faces;
Langside suffered stabbings, shootings, arson cases;
the Lo Pub shut down to no small hipster fuss,
LaPolice found himself under the bus,
and the Liberals continued to disappear.
If it started with L, well, it had a bad year.

M is for Money, not that we have any;
governmental promises, sure, there've been many,
but our City's been stealthily unfreezing tax
and our Province's fiscal willpower's so lax
that its targets all had to be pushed two years back --
so Money, for now, we'll continue to lack.

N is for Noontime outside Kelvin High,
when a twenty-kid drug brawl fired up right outsi'e.
The fray of knives, BB guns, bats and steel bars
sent the kids off in ambulances and cop cars --
so if you've aspirations of being a thug,
please note that cocaine is a hell of a drug.

O for Ontario, a neighbouring land,
as hard as folks may find that to understand;
neither Rob Ford nor CBS This Morning know
that Winnipeg isn't in Ontario --
though, perhaps, if it were a more common mistake,
we'd have fewer problems drawing from their Shoal Lake.

P is for Prayer, because if we Pray
there's a chance that the city's crime might go away.
Police Chief remarks this had seemed to conclude,
although chances are good they had been misconstrued;
the reaction was one he might like to forget,
especially since he hadn't started yet.

Q is for Quarantined, all shut and boarded,
far easier than fixing the problems reported
with public facilities like Sherbook Pool
or the Civic Parkade (it's still closed, huh? That's cool);
seems we've begun treating repairs as disease,
which will mean far more Quarantines coming than these.

R for Rapid Transit, finally here
after decades of wait and delays quite severe;
your city in fast-forward! What a thrill!
Maybe four kilometres long, yes, but still --
a faster four K you will surely not find,
as rejoining Pembina will quickly remind.

S for the Speedway plant down in St. B,
zoned only to store wiper fluid, you see --
so you can imagine everyone's surprise
when a gigantic fireball lit up the skies,
methanol bursting into smoke and flame
as Speedway and the City took turns laying blame.

T is for Tickets to go see the Jets,
the finest political entitleme'ts
one could possibly get, used on various days
by no fewer than thirteen of our MLAs --
and in arena photos, front row of the place,
was Andrew Swan making a Grumpy Cat face.

U is for Unfinished, such is the state
of most major projects (many already late);
"on time and on budget" our PSB's not,
the Upper Fort tried to be a parking lot,
the Museum's gone silent, nary a sound,
and we had to reuse our old Stadium ground.

V is for Vi Ann, and for (Movie) Village,
flattened in the continued corporate pillage
of everything people thought made the zone good --
made, indeed, "Canada's Best Neighbourhood" --
and the next bout of fear and frustration to face
is the curious case of Papa George's space.

W for Waterpark -- gee, how'd you guess?
T'was the worst of all worlds, but a glorious mess
when the huffy withdrawl of its corporate backing
and City Council's widespread public shellacking
established a trend that has yet to reverse,
City Hall affairs getting only steadily worse.

X for X-Acto, just one of the knives
Winnipeggers use to ruin each others' lives;
it was knife crime on which Harvey Smith raised a racket,
but Police insist they can't possibly track it
so it remains bundled under 'violent crime',
which we happen to lead in most of the time.

Y is for "Yeah, whatever, okay";
it wasn't a "Yes" and it wasn't a "Yay"
but the provincial Tories' big leadership race
only yielded one guy, now the de facto face
of their party. The faithful tried acting excited,
but it played more like "Yeah, well... I guess that's decided."

And Z is for Zellers, the once-mighty beast
which will soon be completely extinct and deceased;
not glamorous, perhaps, not a brand of renown,
but it's one of the very last grocers downtown
and we'll need something planned for the rest of that Bay
before we get too distracted by Tar-jay.


Happy New Year, one and all! May the best of our yesterdays be the worst of our tomorrows, and all that.

Please be sure to tune into a very special episode of Winnipeg Internet Pundits this evening, and I'll catch you back around here later.


Anonymous said...

Poetry James!

James Hope Howard said...

Thank you! It's lucky for me that it rhymed, or it would've been prose.