Friday, 27 November 2009

Friday Video: Gorillaz

This week's video: Fire Coming Out Of The Monkeys Head by my fav animated band Gorillaz. You might know Gorillaz better for Clint Eastwood (a.ka. the sunshine in a bag song) or Feel Good Inc. but I chose Monkeys Head because it helps you learn Spanish with a groovy bass line.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Pin the cell phone on the Wowchuk

Just when I was wondering what to blog about, I get an email from the PC party of Manitoba promoting their newest money-making strategy.

Apparently trying to put the "fun" back into fund raise, they have set up a new website to "block NDP hypocrisy". You do this by buying virtual cell phones which will then be stuck onto a photo of NDP Deputy Premier Rosann Wowchuk talking on her phone while driving. See for yourself.

By show of hands, who is impressed by this innovative and sophisticated method of fund-raising? Anyone? Since I can't see you, I will assume that you are either not raising your hand or you can't raise your hand because it is busy doing something else. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Rosann can have that effect on some people.

Seriously, how much brainstorming did they have to do to come up with this turkey? Is this a Thanksgiving prank or something?

Yes, Wowchuk is a hypocrite for talking on her cell phone after announcing a ban on that exact same thing, but this little game seems very amateurish to me. Besides, that cell phone photo is over six months old now. Couldn't they come up with something a little more timely? Like, pay $10 to shoot deadly enhanced ID cards at Andrew Swan as he runs around your screen?

This is worrisome because it tells me that the PC party's brightest minds still have to resort to gimmicks and insist on insulting the intelligence of their audience. This is the exact same stuff that got them crushed in the last election.

just for fun:
Thursday, 7:00 pm...............2 cell phones
Thursday, 10:30 pm .............2 cell phones
Friday, 8:45 am ....................still 2 cell phones
Friday, 4:10 pm ...................46 cell phones. we're cooking now! are these tax deductable??

Update: It appears that Curtis beat me to it by about 5 hours. Dang. I'm going to have to start blogging on my lunch breaks.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

ERBAN SPRÅLL -- slightly improved

Oooo. More info about the new IKEA development!

Michael Nozick, Fairweather's president, said the shopping centre is being designed with landscaping and other features to minimize the effects of a Winnipeg winter.

"If I used the word 'dome,' that would be a little bit of an exaggeration. That's close, (as) it will be out of the effects of winter," he said. -fp-

Um, sorry dude ... the stores are still outside, ergo shoppers are still going to be exposed to the effects of our weather. Anyhow ... I'm actually here to make some positive comments for a change! Yes really. See:

Along with the ceremonial digging of the dirt and the hyperbole about how revolutionary this mall will be, there were also a few new drawings. I have to say that the new layout looks much better than the original plan, which I have previously compared to buildings being puked out onto a concrete parking lot.

Old plan:

new plan:

The developers obviously read and carefully considered my previous blog post where I recommended that the smaller stores all be grouped together into a walkable outdoor mall format. I like that the big store at the NW corner of Kenaston and Stirling Lyon is gone, I like that the strip of stores along the northern edge of Stirling Lyon are gone, and I like that the stores are now clustered together without any parking between them.

The southern half of the development is also much improved, although I noticed that somehow the development extends much farther west than it used to. How did that happen? Was that another freebee thrown in by the city? Has anybody out there heard anything about this additional land being sold to Fairweather? Also, what's happening with the bike paths along the south side of Stirling Lyon?

Oh well, who cares! Soon I will be able to eat $1 breakfasts and buy more FURKEN shelves and KRÅPPY cabinets for my house! (I do like IKEA, by the way. For some things.)

Now if only somebody would pay attention to my other suggestion to get rid of that idiotic 56 lane controlled intersection on Kenaston and build a split-grade fly-over instead.

Here are some more pics of the project (source: Dorsky Hodgson):

related: policy frog | graham .

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Friday Video, getting harassed by John Mohan and other things

Happy Friday, everyone.

Hey, question for you. If the H1N1 vaccine supply is set to run out today, why did they open up the vaccine clinics to people who weren't high risk just one day ago? The WRHA seems to need to sharpen up their forecasting...
Less than one week after I posted about receiving aluminum/chicken soup from Siloam Mission, I got yet another letter from them asking for money. That's 2 in less than 2 weeks, and three in the past month. Good grief guys, I gave you money .. get off my back already!

I sent a letter back asking to be taken off their mailing list. Just watch, next week John Mohan is going to come to my door with a pellet gun and force me to turn over my wallet.
I'm digging the new Mercedes SLS:

It's sleek and retro, with gull wing doors, two seats, and tons of power. Fast and totally impractical, just like a supercar should be. (click picture for full view)
Thank you for sitting through my little non sequitur rants. As a reward, I give you the Friday Video: Weapon Of Choice by Fatboy Slim, starring Christopher Walken (sorry about the intro. All the other ones had embedding disabled.)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Mostly Moose. Some other stuff

I went to the Saturday night Manitoba Moose game. It was an entertaining, but low scoring game, with the good guys winning in the OT shootout after a 1 - 1 tie.

Thumbs up goes to:
- the Moose defense, for keeping the Toronto Marlies to around 20 shots on net, and to goalie Cory Schneider for only letting in one of those (and only one in the shootout.)
- the game programs. The free handouts are four pages, with one page devoted to the lineups, and another filled with various stats and analysis.
- the scalper who sold me a 3rd row center ice ticket for $20.

Thumbs down goes to:
- the MTS Centre cleaning staff. The seats where really dirty. General grime, dried beer, feathers ... it was kind of gross actually. Time to pull out the Bissell for a quarter-season cleaning I think.
- Santa Claus, for causing all of the streets downtown to be closed off. Although parking was a snap once I decided to drive around the barriers.
- The Moose offense. That's not really a fair assessment though, because they worked hard all night, got over 30 shots on net and plenty of scoring chances. It just comes down to a lack of scoring ability. For example, at one point Marco Rosa had an open third of the net and hit the post ... from six inches away. That's what happens when everybody on the team who is capable of scoring more than 10 goals a year (and isn't over 40) gets pulled up to the parent club.

Other notes:
- best fan comment: "Hey Deveaux. How do you explain to your friends that you aren't even good enough to make the Maple Leafs?"
- former PC party leader Stu Murray was handing out St.Boniface Hospital lottery leaflets. Good to see him out doing the nitty gritty promo stuff.

Summary / Jets rant:
The Moose are a good fit for Winnipeg. It's affordable, the team is relatively successful, and the entertainment isn't bad most nights. I can't really complain. Could I have bought a $20 3rd-row ticket for a Jets game? Not a chance, but I probably could have bought a $50 ticket for the top of the cramped balcony, and the calibre of play would have been better. I feel like a traitor saying this, but I can live without the Jets. It would be cool to have an NHL team again, but Winnipeg is about 300,000 people and 5 or 6 big head offices too small to have the economic base for a successful team. Our arena is also very very marginal. Rexall Place in Edmonton holds 16,800 and the owners there are saying that's too small, and are pushing hard for a new downtown arena. Having said that, I do think the NHL will come back to Winnipeg. Where there's smoke there's fire, and there's more smoke all the time. As not-profitable as the New Jets will be, they will still be far more successful than some of the struggling US teams, like the Old Jets for example. I think it's going to happen.


Hey, since I have my thumbs all warmed up, a big thumbs up to Mary A Welch for her article about wind farms (or lack thereof), and to the Free Press editors for sticking it on the front page of the weekend edition. This is something that deserves more attention. And thumbs down to Minister Wowchuk (I'm having an "I Married an Axe Murderer flashback right now. Woooooo-Chuck! Anyhow ... back to the program ....) for idiotic comments:
it's not fair to compare Manitoba to Ontario, since our province already relies almost exclusively on renewable energy but Ontario is powered largely by dirty coal.
And that makes a difference how? Maybe in a world where exporting electricity was impossible ...
And, she said, Manitoba is blessed with cheap power, meaning ratepayers would take a hit if the province threw open its doors to wind power
Oh, you mean those artificially cheap rates that contribute to us being among the biggest consumers of electricity in the world, and to Hydro's massive debt, which will be much more of a problem when interest rates rise again? Those cheap rates? That is why we're not building more power even though we've potentially over-committed on power exports and may face blackouts according to an independent auditor?


Also a thumbs up to Gordon Sinclair for a good column about the Bomber's management woes. How about that, eh? I said something nice about Gordon! Although he still had ... let's see ... 1..2 .... 34 one sentence paragraphs. You still need to work on that, Gordo.


Still with the Freep ... to borrow a gambit from Kate at SDA: Now is the time when we juxtapose!

Mia Rabson
Aboriginal inmates in Canada make up too high a percentage of Canada's prison population and tend to get harsher sentences and less programming, a report from the country's prison watchdog said Friday.
Colleen Simard
Waywayseecappo Chief Murray Clearsky went to court for another drunk driving charge. It ended up with Clearsky getting a light sentence with no jail time. ... The worst part is this wasn't the first time Clearsky had been convicted of a drunken driving charge. He's been charged three times since 1983, and also has a dangerous weapon conviction.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Friday Video -- Take On Me

As per last Friday's post, I will make an attempt to post a video each week. I know, I know ... One whole video every week? My God, cherenkov, you maniac. How do you ever hope to keep that up?? Well ... I am not sure I can but I will do my best!

This week's is a classic cheesy 80s vid by Norwegian synth pop band A-ha, but one of the best videos ever. Enjoy:

Opportunity for Selinger (and soup for me)

It would be easy to write off Selinger's leadership of the NDP as "more of the same". I know because I've done it. It was very easy. Took almost no effort at all. However, today I am in a good mood (see what a warm sunny weekend can do?) so I am going to give Selinger a chance, and some free advice:

The Manitoba PCs are weak, but the retirement of Gary Doer has opened a door for them and given them new hope. Still, the PCs need to differentiate themselves from the NDP and make an impression with the people of the province. If the average Manitoban has any impression at all, it's a vague notion that the PCs fancy themselves as being more fiscally responsible and pro-business than the NDP. There's that, but the unfortunate "bring back the Jets" campaign blunder has also put a big sticky "Gimmick" label on them. If they are to make a comeback, they really need to get back to basics, expose the economic, social and environmental ineptitude of the NDP, and propose real conservative policies to address those areas.

Selinger has an opportunity to simultaneously step out of Doer's shadow and put a bullet to the brain of the PCs by beating them to the punch. Suppose, if you will, that Selinger decides to reign in government spending, reopen the debate on the routing of Bipole III, cut corporate taxes, over-haul the administration of our health care system and index personal tax brackets. What would the PCs have left? Selinger could define himself as a pragmatic and responsible leader, leaving Hugh McFadyen with nothing but more cheesy gimmicks to win over voters.

Mayor Sam recently suggested that Selinger is open to re-evaluating the province's requirement that the city spend $350 million on nitrogen removal in their new sewage treatment plant -- a policy that, like Bipole III, actually wastes money while further damaging the environment. "He definitely has an open mind" says Sam. That's good news, if it's true. Perhaps he is willing to take a fresh look at all of the government's policies. Is it true though, or is he just faking it? Is he actually feigning open-mindedness, while secretly plotting new ways to spend money, destroy the environment, drive away private investment and sacrifice health care delivery for bloated health care bureaucracy?

I hope that Selinger really does have an open mind. An open mind and fresh perspective are mandatory if we hope to achieve anything close to our potential here in Manitoba. However, I feel that I am asking a leopard to turn himself into a zebra. Selinger is not a conservative. If he were, he'd be in the PC party, not the NDP party. Even still, many of the sort-comings of the previous administration were a result of laziness or political expediency rather than flawed ideology. Even as a moderate progressive, Premier Selinger could make a huge difference, should he choose to be a real leader instead of a Doer clone (without the grin), while at the same time making it all the more difficult for Hughy and the PCs to gain traction with voters.

Will it happen? I don't know. I'm not optimistic, but I'll give him a chance ...

bonus post: Siloam Mission gave me soup

I have given money to Siloam Mission because I am fortunate to have more than I need to get by. Imagine my surprise this afternoon to discover that Siloam Mission sent me soup!

It was a little foil packet of soup along with a letter asking me to sign the packet and mail it back along with a donation so they can feed it to their patrons. This is a silly idea. If you just bought the soup in bulk instead of individual foil packets, you could save enough money to buy a bunch of food right there. Plus, I looked at the ingredients and found this as the top three: maltodextrin, salt and flavor. High in sodium, low in energy and vitamins. This is not good food for a starving person.

Plus, I hate gimmicks, so I refuse to play their little "game" this time. I am sipping on the soup as I write this post, and I am disappointed but not surprised to inform you that it tastes like tin.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Remembrance Day

Lest we forget ...

My colleagues in Ontario are working on the 11th. Why isn't this a holiday in every province?

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Space, Splashes and Videos

Splish Splash - Water park at the Forks?

The only developer interested in building a water park with the help of a $7-million city grant wants to use the public money to erect a $64-million luxury hotel.
According to several sources speaking under condition of anonymity, the potential water-park proposal involves the construction of a $64-million "signature hotel" that would position itself at the high end of Winnipeg's hospitality market.

The proponent would purchase the city lot on Waterfront Drive for $7.7 million, thus immediately repaying the city for its $7 million investment, the sources said.
A couple of things ..

First: This is right next to the railway tracks, where they curve around the ball park. Those trains squeal like a banshee when they go around that bend. This doesn't seem like ideal placement for a luxury hotel. Sure you close the windows and muffle the noise, but isn't part of luxury being able to have your window open?

Second: they would not be "immediately repaying the city" unless the actual value of the land is $700k, and they artificially boosted the purchase price by $7m to repay the grant.* But if that's the case, what is the purpose of the grant in the first place? That's not the case, though, because 2.4 hectares of land at the Forks adjacent to a future world class museum must be worth more than $700k. I know this because the tiny gas station lot at the corner of Broadway and Main is worth $3.35m. How did I get that, you ask? $1m cash + $1.35m "donation" for "remaining land value" + additional $1m for environmental remediation = $3.35m value for a 0.136 hectare environmentally safe parcel of land. All other things being equal, the value of the hotel property ought to be about $59m

My opinion: forget the $7mil for the water park and use it to build a kick-ass polar bear enclosure at the zoo. It is shameful that we don't have one here in the polar bear capital of the world.


Six lucky people ...

It was announced recently that the Space Hotel is on-track for 2012. Just in time ... Six lucky people (at double-occupancy) will get a rink-side seat for the end of the world (or whatever happens when the great alignment occurs).


Friday Night Videos

Back in the day, before Much Music, one had to rely on video shows on regular network TV to check out the latest Luba or Thomas Dolby video. I used to so look forward to Friday Night Videos, or Good Rockin' Tonight. It was a treat to watch videos for half an hour, but Much Music and MTV made those shows obsolete.

Nowadays, 90% of the content on MM or MTV is some kind of crappy reality TV or gossip programming and the other 10% is crappy hip hop videos and interviews. I think it may be time for Terry David Mulligan to re-grow his mullet (optional) and bring back the dedicated video show. But until then, I will endeavor to post a cool video each Friday.

Today's offering: Walking With Thee by Liverpool's Clinic. Enjoy:

* (edit) I understand that the city's bank account balance will not suffer as a result of this transaction. I guess my objection is to any private development at the forks being subsidized by the city. Especially one that will compete with other businesses. This is a key area with limited supply of land, and we need to be very careful about how the remaining space is developed. Yes, even this parking lot by the tracks. This seems like another ad hoc development, and not necessarily part of a larger vision of what the Forks should be. Also, if the museum is successful, one would expect this land to grow in value significantly, so what's the hurry?

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Coach Ingram

The Peanut would like to congratulate Derek Ingram for landing a new gig as head coach of the national women's amateur golf team. In addition to private lessons at Elmhurst, Derek has been the coach of the local Bison university team, and has a hand in developing the next wave of Canadian men's golfers like Matt Hill and Nick Taylor -- two of the top ranked amateurs in the world -- as one of the coaches of the Canadian men's amateur team. I do not know if he will continue with these other jobs in addition to the new one and his private teaching. I suspect that he will drop the amateur men's job.

Useless trivia: Derek was a high school class mate of the Free Presses' Bartley Kives back in Garden City.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Boo (updated!)

I remember thinking when I was a kid that Halloween should be a holiday. The other special days when we get candy and stuff are holidays, like Christmas and Easter. It is obviously an oversight that Halloween is not.

That was then. Now it's just an inconvenience. You go out and buy candy for 200 kids, then you have to sit around waiting for them to come by instead of watching hockey in the basement. The little kids are cool because they are still enthusiastic and look funny in their poofy costumes with their painted faces, but when the teenagers start coming by I feel like saying "fuck it, they can buy their own candy" and shutting of the lights. I'm sitting there by the door so that I can give candy to the same kids who asked me to buy them cigarettes three days ago?

We got 20 kids this year, so as usual we have a ton of candy left over despite giving out big handfuls to all who came by. So now I'm going to get fat and lose all of my teeth because of this stupid holiday. Awesome. Next year, here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to put a bowl of candy out on my front step with a sign saying "Take some and leave", while I grab some beer and sit in the basement watching TV. At 8:30, I'll replace the candy in the bowl with cigarettes and go back down stairs. That should make everybody happy.

(To answer Emma's question, they all said "Trick or Treat" as I did when I was a kid.)

** UPDATE **

I stumbled across this today when I was blog surfing (click to enlarge):

At one time I considered making a costume of George with the mutant Quato from Total Recall protruding from his stomach. As demented as I may be, I did not consider using an actual person as Quato. If this guy is for real, then he deserves an award for ... something. I'm not sure what. He would give these guys a run for heaviest costume anyhow:


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