Monday 25 July 2011

UPDATED: New Jets logo, tweaked

Evan Marnoch articulates well my thoughts on the new Jets logos.

Let's get the secondary logos out of the way first. This logo, which I presume is a shouder patch, is very nice. I approve!This alternate scripty-looking logo is not good at all. It's disjointed and clumsy, and the plain sans serif WINNIPEG does add anything. I hope they reconsider this one.
Now on to the main logo. I don't think it's bad, but it could be better. Evan does too, saying this:

The main logo could have been so much stronger if they were able to cut ties with the maple leaf ... The shape of the plane alone occupies a similar shape to the leaf and I think it, along with utilizing similar colours (ie. blue circle & red plane), would have been enough. Sure, some people might miss the reference. But for those that would get it - it would allow them to feel closer to the concept, as if they were in on the reference. This would have created a much bolder mark. Much more identifiable. Instead - they tried to do too much by including both images.
The plane superimposed on top of the leaf looks forced and uncomfortable to me. You have too many pointy things everywhere. This logo has bad feng shui, plus the red little pointy tail beneath the plane bugs me because that is not part of the maple leaf. It's like they took the top part of the leaf and stuck it where the stem is supposed to be, or turned the maple leaf into a jet plane flying south.
So the first thing we do is get rid of the maple leaf, because our team is The Jets, not The Maple Leafs (thank God).
It's much cleaner, but too drab. Evan suggests making the plane red so let's do that:
Better? I think it's better. You have the red inside the blue circle which leaves a strong resemblance to the original RCAF logo without going to unnecessary lengths to replicate it. One minor problem is that the grey or silver is relegated to a secondary color, when I'm sure the mandate was to make it prominent.

Thoughts? Better? Too plain? (Too plane?)

original logo soure
h/t Brent Lauman

UPDATE ****************************************
Right, well it appears that I wasted my time modifying the logos. Some guy not only made the exact same change, but went through the trouble of mocking up the uniforms on Jonathan Toews. I only hope he spent more time on it than I did:

h/t: shifty

Sunday 24 July 2011

LRT to U of M under construction!

I discovered this weekend that construction of a new rapid transit route to the University of Minnesota is well under way. Hmm .. I probably should have specified "Minnesota" in the title of the post. Oh well, there is nothing I can do about it now.

Ya, so it seems that everywhere I go I get rapid transit envy. Last week I was in Calgary where they are going crazy building a new LRT leg out to the western edge of the city; and this past weekend I headed down to Minneapolis for the U2 concert at the new TCF Bank Stadium, home of the U of M gophers. My trip to the on-campus hotel was complicated by the fact that Washington Ave. was completely torn up. I was able to forgive the slight inconvenience to me when I found out it was for a good cause: building a $957 million rapid transit route to the University and the new $288.5 million football stadium. They don't fuck around down there. They get shit done. That could be part of the reason why Minnesota is running $5 billion deficits, but still ... they get shit done.

by the way ...

Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis is a great place for breakfast / brunch / lunch. They told us it would be a 45 minute wait, but seated us in less than half an hour, and there was a nice waiting area with complimentary coffee, and they gave us a comp. caramel pecan bun for our trouble. The service was fast and friendly ... and wearing pijamas.

The meals themselves were very good. My bison burger with pepper jack cheese was cooked to medium well even though I ordered it as medium, but it was still very good, as were the sweet potato fries. The wife loved her lemon zest pancakes.

So to summarize: worth checking out and not too expensive.

Did you know: Hell's Kitchen is unrelated to Gordon Ramsay or his show of the same name.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Impact of festivals on downtown

I was on Winnipeg Internet Pundits today talking about the impact of festivals like Fringe on Winnipeg's downtown. You can (and should!) listen to the show's pod cast, but I thought I would type out the gist of what I talked about.

This came about because I opened my twitter yap last week suggesting it as a topic for the regular insightful WIPs gang to discuss, so of course I end up having to talk about it instead. That's okay though. Good excuse to get back down to the 101.5 studio, meet the gang (and Paul Hesse) and torture the air waves with my broken muffler-esq voice.

From an economics perspective, you can put a dollar value on things like festivals. You can google it and find lots of examples. I have some experience valuing things, having worked as an RA in University on a government-funded project to value Manitoba's wilderness, and I also at one time surveyed studies on the value of a human life for reasons that I don't recall (varies widely depending on methodology, but median was around $6-8 million at the time. Less if you're left handed. Just kidding.)

Right, so let's get down to it: looking at Fringe , in 2010 there were 86,717 tickets sold plus additional attendance at free events for about 150,00 total. Ignoring the freeloaders (though they spend money too) let's just ball park $15 per person -- $9 for a ticket plus a couple drinks each. This may be high, but the freeloaders will make up for that. That works out to $1.3 million in direct spending downtown.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation estimates that with large-ish festivals like Fringe, about 10% of the attendees come from other provinces. Let's say 10% x 86,717 = 8,671 tickets @ one show per night = 8,671 tourist nights in Winnipeg; at $150 per night = $1.3 million in tourism spending downtown.

Plus, the budget for the Fringe festival itself was about $650,000, for a sub-total of $3.2 million.

Why just a sub-total? Because you forgot the multiplier! The multiplier says that each dollar spent reverberates around in the economy like a wave, creating additional impact until it fades away. Economists like multipliers because it lets them make numbers bigger without doing any additional work. Again, there are varying estimates but they seem to gravitate between 1.2 and 1.5. This detailed Scottish study puts the local multiplier at 1.25, which works out well for me because it gives me a nice even number: $3.2 million x 1.25 = $4.0 million economic impact.

The Jazz Winnipeg Festival does not seem to like publishing ticket sales, but I phoned them and the lady I spoke to estimated that there were about 40,000 sold. That's about half the Fringe total, but average cost is much higher. Without better information, let's be lazy and say another $4 million there.

Those two downtown fests alone bring something close to $8 million in annual economic impact to the area. That's what we in the biz call a "gee whiz" number. Nice and big. Looks great in a tourism brochure.

Economic impact is great and all -- it means some pay cheques are bigger and some businesses are more profitable -- but that's only part of the story. Maybe more important is the long term impact on the vitality and image of downtown Winnipeg.

The Fringe and Jazz fests both started around 1988. Back then the exchange district was known mostly for it's hookers and Chinese food. The hookers are now gone and the area has cleaned up substantially, and I submit that the festivals were one of the keys to giving the area that nudge in the right direction.

When I was 18 I recall going to Old Market Square and watching the Jazz Fest and thinking "this is really cool." It changed my impression of the area. It is not just a place where weirdos and johns go. It's a place where you and other normal people can go and enjoy yourselves. And when you go there, you see unique businesses like Hoopers or The King's Head or Hillary Druxman, and you go back and check them out sometime and discover other places and become a fan of the area. All because you went to a Fringe play.

This happens bit by bit. It is a slow transformation but a sure one that has helped drive the growth momentum in Downtown Winnipeg and especially in the Exchange. I think that, moreso than the actual festival spending during those few weeks in the summer, is the most important impact, because it's cumulative and lasting.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Updated: Caption Contest!

Caption contest Winners!

With a little bit of help from production floor staff at the Anybody Want A Peanut t-shirt factory, we have selected the winners:

Shaun Wheeler

Manitoba: Because we've all woken up in a strange place after a night of drinking

Runner up: Reed Soloman
The Manitoba Government's plan to kill Purple Loosestrife with a controlled release of Polar Bears got off to a rocky start today when instead of destroying the weed in a fit of rage, the Polar Bears frolicked and later attacked the cameraman in a drunken stupor. When asked how it will deal with the increased population of Polar Bears, conservation Minister Bill Blaikie replied "That's when we release the genetically engineered velociraptors. It's all a part of the circle of life.

Reed gets points for most elaborate caption, plus I like the part about the genetically engineered velociraptors. Congratulations, dudes. Your tickets will be in the mail as soon as I know where to send them.

We sincerely thank all people who entered. I think this was fun, and there were a lot of good entries. I will definitely do it again if somebody else sends me swag.

Thanks also to Eugene and Cineplex Movies.

Welcome to the first ever Anybody Want A Peanut caption contest!

I have some summer movie / IMAX 3D passes to give away courtesy of the nice folks over at Cineplex Entertainment. Rather than randomly giving away tickets, I thought I should make you work for your movie, and I found my inspiration when I visited the Manitoba Government website

I am sure that a full 0.000001% of Manitobans have seen a polar bear in a meadow of purple flowers, so it is certainly an appropriate picture to represent our province. As soon as I saw it I began thinking of captions, like:

WTF? Maybe I was supposed to turn left at York Factory

I think you can do better. Send me your captions, and I'll pick some winners and send them a couple tickets. You can leave your caption in the comments of this post or you can send me an email at cherenkov *at*, but make sure I have some way to get a hold of you.

The contest closes on Tuesday, July 19 Wednesday, July 13. NOTE NEW DEADLINE!!

update: purely by accident, I stumbled upon the ad agency that created this web page: McKim Cringan George. They also did the new City of Regina logo that I mentioned a couple months ago, and a bunch of other stuff you would recognize, like the very cool Folk Festival posters.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

New Winnipeg send off

If you haven't already, I encourage you to read Shaun's summary of the demise of the New Winnipeg internet forum if you were ever one of the NWers.

Read it? Good. Now I don't have to write all of the same stuff.

NW was a good time waster for the slow periods at work, but it was also the source of a great deal of insightful and passionate discussion. I echo the thoughts of the guys on today's show over at Winnipeg Internet Pundits that it would be a shame for all of that intellectual capital, if you'll allow me to call it that, to be lost for good. There seems to be some sort of archive feature here but I can't seem to make it work.

For all the good things that happened at NW, it was also the cause of this blog's rise from the internet's primordial mud. I created this blog during a prolonged NW outage and my very first post was about NW. I met many good folks at various NW meet-ups, and like the discussions themselves, it would be a shame to lose contact with all of those people, most of whom I only knew through the forum.

Happily there is a movement afoot to arrange one more get-together. Credit goes to Gabriel (aka Munchkinguy) for getting the ball rolling. Shaun has jumped aboard with his blog So if you're a former forum member, or perhaps just a lurker or autograph seeker, contact either of them, or feel free to contact me (cherenkov *at* and we'll try to figure out a time and place to meet. We'll get some discussions going, have a few drinks, maybe toss around ideas of what if anything can fill the void and bring fresh discussion that involves thoughts greater than 140 characters in length.

Hope to see you all soon.

Old Chum
One Man Committee

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Foreseeable gang war

So it appears we have a gang war on our hands. A Montreal-style Rock Machine versus Hells Angels blow-em-up kill fest. This here is big-boy gang fighting, not like the amateur north end drive-by nonsense perpetrated by wanna-be gang bangers wearing hoodies and DC sneekers.

How could this have happened? Well, son, it all started back in February 2006 with something called Project Defense. The Manitoba Integrated Organized Crime Task Force, along with the RCMP, Winnipeg Police Service and Brandon Police Service, conducted raids and arrested 13 people including high-ranking Hells Angel Ian Matthew Grant. To accomplish this task, they paid an informant with a "less-than-savoury background" over half a million dollars. (source)

Then in December of 2007, Defense was followed up by Project Drill, in which there were 18 arrests, made possible by paying an informant $650,000 plus expenses, according to court records. (source)

Despite all these arrests, crime continued to escalate. "Many legal experts believe a subsequent rise in Winnipeg street gang crime over the past two years was triggered by the fall of the Hells Angels and an ongoing battle to fill the void and make lucrative profits from the sale of drugs." wrote Mike McIntyre and Jennifer Pawluk in 2009. Perhaps if we made the void larger that might help ... December 2009 was Project Divide, which netted more arrests than the other two combined: 35. Once again, assistance was obtained by purchasing the services of a "longtime criminal" for "at least $500,000 of tax-free money".

Now, in 2011, after paying criminals over $1,650,000 for their assistance and hundreds of thousands more in court costs and witness protection costs, the Hells Angels have been sufficiently neutered to allow the Rock Machine to make a play for our drug market. Hence the shoot-ups and fire bombings.

This was not unforeseeable. I recall some people predicting this outcome back when Project Divide was carried out. Much like overthrowing a corrupt middle-eastern government, unless you can replace it with something better, you risk, in fact, making things worse.

1) Stop busting the gangs. Let them fight it out and (hopefully) establish a new stable order in the drug underworld.
pros: less violence in the longer term, less money spent on informants, prosecutors and attorneys.
cons: continued violence in the short term, and uninhibited flow of illegal drugs into the community

2) Keep busting the gangs. Follow Projects Defense, Drill and Divide, with Projects Doubtful, Dandelion, Denture Cream, Dampness, Dystopia, etc..
pros: maybe ... just maybe ... the gangs will get the message that Winnipeg is not open for illegal drug business and they will stop trying to infiltrate our city.
cons: but more likely, we will spend millions of dollars and have continued violence on our streets

3) Legalize drugs. A favourite of the Libertarian nut jobs, er, advocates.
pros: easier access to drugs! Wait, I think that's a con. K, forget that. Pros: remove the demand for illegal drugs, thereby permanently neutering the gangs via market forces; Increased tax base with sin taxes on newly legalized drugs.
cons: easier access to drugs. Potential for crippling trade with the U.S.

Tough choices ... What's your favourite option?

also posted/printed in the Winnipeg Free Press

Monday 4 July 2011

Storm live blog - July 4

Boy, this will be a waste of time if there's no tornado...

3:00 pm Southdale Standard Time: bubble clouds and rumbling in the distance:

3:30 pm: big heavy rain drops, but not pouring. Lightning & thunder approx 1 sec apart.

3:45 pm: okay ya, now she's raining good and hard:

4:00pm: OK, the rain has stopped and it's clearing up already. WTF? Where's my funnel cloud? What a rip. Worst live blog ever!

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