Saturday, November 26, 2011

Random disconnected things

As I wandered through the empty tents set up everywhere, I imagined myself with a higher calling... a fight against tyranny and oppression by large corporations. Then I came to my senses and realized I was in Cabela's in Grand Forks.

Disconnect (sort of)

"Nobody told me polyester tents burned very fast." I guess they don't get the Sun or the FreeP at Occupy Memorial Park to learn from their comrades in Calgary Nov 16.

Disconnect (sort of)

Where do you set up cameras in a tent city to satisfy your perverted mind? http://www.winnipegsun.com/2011/11/24/occupierpeeping-tom-free-on-bail

Disconnect

Overheard said by a building inspector, "I don't have to tell you what section of the building code you're in violation of. If you want to argue the point, you have to prove me wrong." This will soon be entered into the dictionary as an entry to help define the word "arrogance".

Disconnect

Is anyone else tired of the childish and just plain ignorant comments in the Winnipeg Sun comments section at almost every story? There appears to be a regular group of clowns who can't seem to construct a sentence.

Disconnect

The Police Chief could have done a better job fighting violent crime downtown except that he had to quell a biker war. Next excuse, he had to send out the "boys" to enforce traffic.

Disconnect

Andrew Swan asks for an independent review and recommendations to help curb the habitual release of criminals. He makes up his own "fix" by promising to hire 20 more overpaid, under worked government employees, JUST what will fix the problem... MORE people involved. Hey buddy... CUT 20 people instead.

Disconnect

A new 511 service and real time highway condition updates. Now we can have road condition maps JUST like North Dakota/Minnesota. Welcome to the new millennium Manitoba Highways.

Disconnect

"We want to be paid overtime to make up for the time we didn't work because we were striking". Really? How about a reality check? Does any one else find that these "well trained minds" are kinda stupid?

Disconnect

Water meter appointments missed by a citizen will result in a "fine". No word on them showing up late and the rebate you'd be receiving. After all... they're really busy. Last appointment I had for "the morning" wound up being 3:30. I call that a whole day.

Disconnect

Odell Willis hasn't learned that "hoe" and "hole" are different things.

Disconnect

Mr. Christian had a great blog entry giving us the history of the Thelmo Mansions on Burnell. These little suites were SO badly set up as far as today's expectations are. There were "urban legends" that it was originally a hotel, clearly disproved by his blog report. http://westenddumplings.blogspot.com/2011/11/west-end-history-thelmo-mansions-519.html  While it is currently undergoing "renovations", the previous projects run by the same group are of a questionable quality.

Disconnect

What do you do when you have one of these rolling garbage cans disappear from your property? YOU pay for a new one of course! Thanks Water and Waste!

Disconnect (sort of)

How is it that "Recycling Day" (Thanks for renaming it Don Woodstock), it the dirtiest day of the week in the back lane... crap flying everywhere. Thanks Water and Waste!

Disconnect

Hey! Jets!  Good game!

Disconnect

GO BOMBERS GO!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Now THAT'S leadership!

Voting to raise the bus fare by a little, and decide at the last minute to raise it a lot... and we are suggesting that is "leadership"?

"Swandel’s unexpected motion — which involved no report, no committee process and no official comment from Winnipeg Transit or other city staff — was lauded by some councillors as “real leadership,” while others expressed dismay." Wpg Sun 11/16/11

If you're thinking this is a bit of a stretch, I'm with you. Leadership would have involved finding a way to have ALL citizens pay for a LRT system, not just the people who currently ride. Good public transportation is a measure of a city's health, and a direct way of determining how a city feels about and respects it's citizens.

This is a lot of things, but it's NOT leadership. Leadership might be something like the Notopfer stamps used in West Berlin after the war to help rebuild Berlin. If you were mailing a letter, an extra 2 "cent" (pfenning) was required to have it mailed out of Berlin in addition to your regular postage stamps. Since EVERYONE mailed letters, this was a good way to raise capital to assist in rebuilding the destroyed city. Leadership? A far cry better than what we see here.

Leadership would have had Swandel insist on an immediate action plan to secure land and right of ways for an LRT system, with firm dates set to obtain the land via purchase, expropriation, or other means. Existing rail right of ways as concessions for taxes on other properties the railway is taxed on and other creative methods to finance these acquisitions could be vetted. A firm timeline to complete the planning and purchase of a rail passenger system, tenders, and so on could have been proposed, but her in Winnipeg, getting an extra .20 cents out of peoples pockets is the best we can do.

It's akin to "We want another $50 a year to do a better job recycling. We don't REALLY know what the money is going to go to, but we want the $$$ regardless.

Simply, we can't trust these clowns. We find out that PP & D is giving Center Venture funds from a slush fund they've been collecting from permit fees that were supposed to be available in slow times to cover the staff the hire to keep things going (albeit VERY slowly) during the busy times. Ahh... so you collect money and tell us it's going to THIS, then you decide you really want to put it to THAT instead. http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/permit-reserve-being-misused-industry-group-133944973.html

It's a shell game, and City Hall hopes no one is watching the fact that it's fixed. The pea is swiped off the table shortly after the game starts, they move the shells around long enough that no one is paying attention any more, and before you know it, the increased Transit fares are paying for water pollution plant upgrades.

We have a lot of things in Winnipeg, but I wouldn't say "leadership" is one of them. If we had seen some leadership in the past 20-30 years, and even now, we wouldn't be in this infrastructure dilemma that seems a bit like Gilligan's island... lotsa plans and cockamamy ideas, but we never get off.

Monday, November 14, 2011

City Council jerks... their knee... at snowmobiles

So this is what it takes, one guy gets killed in Transcona and suddenly we're going to ban snowmobiles in the city. Maybe we should ban cars too... it seems that we have a lot of deaths as a result of vehicle collisions, and some are pedestrians! If we banned cars we could make a REAL impact. Now THAT would put us on the map.

Let me preface all this by admitting that I do indeed have one of these dreaded two stroke machines capable of travelling at speeds that exceed the legal posted speed on any highway in the country. That admitted, I do NOT use my machine in Winnipeg or the surrounding area. That makes me able to see both sides... sort of.

Manitoba is blessed with snow (or cursed with it) for about four months of the year. Think about that. For a third of the year we have snow, suitable for riding one of those wretched machines. Frankly, I hate winter. Riding my sled every once in a while helps make the long winter bearable. Maybe you don't get that (Russ Wyatt) but I really don't care if you "get it" or not.

Russ was heard saying, "I don't see the right to snowmobile in the charter or rights and freedoms". Wow Russ. You're a pretty smart guy. It's not enshrined in the UNESCO bill of human rights either, and unfortunately, bad decisions aren't specifically outlawed in one of those documents, yet bad decisions continue to be made.

It was a bad decision to walk in a field in the dark "well off the path".  Is walking "well off the path" in the dark wearing non-reflective clothing (assumed) enshrined in the charter Russ? (WFP 01/14/11)

Simply put. Accidents happen. How can this be avoided. Russ has no idea aside from a favourite mantra. "BAN THEM!".

Other cities have found ways to make this work... but not here. NO, not in Winnipeg, this frozen pimple on the prairie you'd likely rather fly over when it's 30 below than drive through, even if the pot holes are filled with ice. Our illustrious Police Chief, ever the yes man, says, "I think it's the right way to go, I know that the council has to make that decision and we'll abide by whatever council decides, I believe there should be a ban in the City of Winnipeg,"

Sure you do Chief. After all, these machines are SUCH a problem. One guy dies, doing something stupid and suddenly our Chief has better things to do than find the North End shooter, like get his 'copter out there after those law breaking criminals riding their infernal machines in the City.

Let's be clear about the words, "In the City", because it means different things in different places. In Sault Ste. Marie it means IN the city! On the roads, through tunnels under the freeway, along designated roads that are willing to rent hotel rooms, sell food and fuel to sledders... yup, that's IN the city. http://www.sootrails.org/id27.html

Kenora? Yup...seems to work there. The biggest issue in Kenora is that the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs no longer maintains the trails because (as I understand the issue) Kenora wants everyone to be able to use the trails within the city without the need to buy a OFSC pass (similar to Manitoba's Snoman pass). Ride into Kenora, go to Canadian Tire, Timmies, get fuel, all while using the shoulder or sidewalk. TOTAL ANARCHY? I think not. It's called embracing reality. 

"Oh sure" you say. "A city with 75,000 people. You can't compare them to Winnipeg. Well we're not talking about riding a sled down Henderson Hwy, or Pembina Hwy, We're talking about a few areas where residents could access outlying areas and trails from within the city.

Surely the south end of Charleswood isn't out of bounds if we were to compare it to Timmins. Like the whole City of Timmins? Or Transcona in comparison to Sudbury,  (no offense intended to people from Sudbury. We know no one wants to think Transcona is being compared to them. This is meerly with respect to accesibility via snowmobiles)

Would it be so bad if the Chief sat down with a map and a beer and came up with some designated areas that sleds COULD be operated in? Perhaps when he gets to his second brew he could coordinate the areas with filling stations and stores, maybe even some restraunts. On his third brewskie he could add proximity to the extensive trail system and some parks where enthusiasts could park their trucks and trailers before embarking on some riding for the day. By that time, I'm pretty sure he'll be as useless as Paula Havixbeck and her quote, "I really do think this was a simple thing that we could have done even sooner to just make sure that it had the backing,"

Honestly, sledders bring revenue to places where they are welcomed. How hard could it be to accommodate SOME snowmobiling?

Recently an AT bridge was built across Hwy 59 at Birds Hill Park. I was listening to a radio show and the question was asked about snowmobiles using the bridge, since crossing Hwy 59 from the floodway to the 59er or the park was dangerous. The rep from the Bike to the Future group said, "No motorized vehicles are allowed". Cool... maybe these are the people who were surveyed by "some group" I assume is actually within the City staff itself. I wanna know WHO did the surveying. http://winnipeg.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20111114/wpg_ban_111114/20111114/?hub=WinnipegHome

Clearly the snowmobilers need to become militant, like the BTTF group who are granted millions of dollars in AT trails I never see anyone using. Maybe we should organize a "snowclovia" and ride our sleds down city streets this winter.

Speaking of sledding on city streets. The next time there is a huge blizzard and there are calls for sleds to ferry people to hospitals, even if mine is in the city, it's staying home.
Call the Army to get your Doctors and nurses either home or to work because this good citizen won't be using any two-stroke oil helping out like sledders did  February 5-8 in 1997. Sure, sledding down city streets may be a lot of fun once every 20 years, but if you don't want my sled in town during the good days, you can't have it on the bad days either.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Winnipeg sidewalks. Should it be this confusing?

You might be wondering, "How confusing could it be? Are you an idiot?"

No. At least I don't think so. A rebel maybe.

If a construction crew is working.... say on the corner of Balmoral/Colony and Ellice, and if some citizen continues to walk through their work site, over their concrete forms, and is generally non-compliant with respect to their, "Sidewalk closed, use other side" sign, perhaps I could suggest the following.

Put a sign at the LAST intersection warning pedestrians that the NEXT intersection is closed, thus allowing them to cross the street and avoid the construction. Not in Winnipeg. Here we simply close the sidewalk when you get there, meaning that to cross safely, the construction crew is telling people to either cross the street right there, or, (assuming you are walking east) double back a block to Spence to cross at the light, or walk to the cross walk south on Balmoral to Portage, cross there and head north again to get to Ellice.

Doubling back is only about 250 meters round trip. Two minutes at a decent pace. Not too bad really. Should this be an issue? Should people really get upset at such a minor thing?

The short answer is yes, and I'll tell you why.

The idea that a sign can be erected RIGHT at the construction area is disrespectful. It says, "We decided that you're unimportant, and we really don't care if it's an inconvenience to you. Do whatever you have to do, but don't come here because we're in charge, and we say you can't walk here."

This isn't an isolated incident. Banning Street between Ellice and St. Matthew's the sidewalk is closed on one side, and dug up in numerous areas on the other. Sure, street work has to happen, and sometimes it's going to be a problem, but last time I checked there are three schools on Banning, ( Greenway, General Wolfe, and Daniel McIntyre). Do you suppose kids walk this road?

William Ave at HSC is another shit show. The North sidewalk is closed at Sherbrook heading west and the South sidewalk is closed at Tecumseh headed east, and again the signage there is RIGHT at the construction site. No place to cross, no temporary cross walk signs... no planning at all.

Honestly. Does anyone actually get PAID to plan these things? I could attend the site with a couple of 14 year olds and ask their advice and the solutions would be so obvious to them that Mayor Sam would have to blush, unable to make excuses for his lackies.

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Unrelated, yet sort of related. Whose ideas are these stupid "bump outs" on St. Matthew's ? I've seen the Bike Route signs, and I've always thought this would be a much better street to funnel bicycle traffic onto than Portage in a diamond lane, but how are these hour glass designs anything other than a winter disaster waiting to happen?

I don't see any metal post holders cast into the new concrete to erect signs warning vehicles in the curb lane that they will suddenly be forced to merge left, or warn snow clearing equipment that there is a curb where it doesn't belong, but aside from the obvious safety issues, what is the point supposed to be? I'm quite sure someone at the bike lobby, or our illustrious traffic planners have some incomprehensible reason for the expenditure.

I'm never opposed to changes, but could they please make at least SOME sense? St. Matthew's is now a mess of areas where you can and can't park, but more than that a maze of , "get out of the curb lane to avoid hitting that peninsula". Probably the stupidest set up in the city is at St. Matthew's and Arlington east bound, where all left hand traffic must turn north on Arlington, and all curb lane traffic must go straight or turn south on Arlington. Doesn't sound too stupid until you realize that parking is allowed in the curb lane, meaning that if there are more than 3 cars in the center turn left lane, you have to wait for them to complete their turn, then merge around the parked car(s), then merge right again to go straight. Brilliant!
Maybe the reason this situation is allowed to exist is that google maps street view shows the building at that location is the "Winnipeg Police news". Hmmmm

Winnipeg suffers from poor traffic planning, but it also suffers from something far worse. Stupidity... and for that, there is little help.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

11/11/11

Sure, it's just an anomaly on the calendar that will be repeated in a hundred years, but at 11:11 we stop to remember.

I've often wondered if the young men who came home were met with the same sort of disrespect we often see today. The questions of "Why are we there?, statements of , "You volunteered for it", and "It's not the same kind of war as WE saw" show that ignorance to all vets can even be found among vets themselves, as if a 30 year old can't have a Veteran's license plate because he wasn't around for the Battle of Britian.

Today's vets are probably in an even more difficult situation as they are not sent to a theater of combat, but they are in harms way... and the enemy is often unseen and unknown. At least you could see a Jerry coming at you, or a ship with a flag that had the sun emblazoned on it, that big red circle on a white background.

I stopped to think about the last "great war" as if a war could be called great in any sense other than meaning "big". Canada was a member of the Commonwealth. We still recognized "the King" as having some significance, but really, we were already a "grown up" country, as was Australia, and New Zealand. We didn't go because we were "told to" go.

I can only believe that young men went to fight a war so far away because the recognized that FRIENDS needed us.

We never learned that Commonwealth countries were friends when I went to school. We learned about the Queen, the British Empire, colonization... there were a lot of words but I never remember the word "friends" being used. Canada went to aid their friends long before the US, (just in case you're short on history), who were dragged into WWII kicking and screaming, and actually never offered to help Britain, (early on), in fact, went out of their way NOT to lend any assistance.

What's the point?

The war wasn't OUR war. It wasn't at home, and didn't immediately threaten Canada.(Unless you count the Fire Balloon attacks launched by the Japanese, follow the link for more info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Theater_(1939%E2%80%931945)#Fire_balloon_attacks ) This is a lot like the things our current Armed Forces are doing. It's not "our battle", yet we go there regardless.

Somehow people think the young men and women that go to other countries today are "different". The only  thing different about it all is that when they return they aren't provided with jobs for life in the civil service, they don't have land given to them gratis, or mortgages provided at 3% for their entire term, in fact, it seems like today's vets are really given the short end of a pointy stick comparatively speaking.

Enough ranting. As a guy whose "roots" are in the axis side of the battle, I'm glad Canadians went to assist their friends. I'm  glad for the young men who went, and sad and grateful for those whose lives were snuffed out far too early.

I heard the stories from the other side, and they are eerily similar. Sitting in a fox hole, hearing a mortar shell lade nearby, and not knowing what happened to the guy next to you, yet knowing that the remains of him were all around you.

It didn't matter to the soldier who started what and when. Most of these guys didn't give a rip about Poland, Austria, or anything else... especially some island where the English lived. They just wanted to get on with their lives, but I'm glad they lost.

I was saddened that I didn't have the time needed in France to visit the cemeteries in Normandy. Never closer than 600 km, I wasn't able to see the many rows of markers denoting the many Canadians who fell there, landing by wading through the red water, lambs to the slaughter.

To those men, long gone. Thank you.

To those men and women in the conflicts Canada is currently involved in. Thank you.

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I won't be taking the day off. I'll be working. Mandating respect by ordering stores to close doesn't earn respect, or at least not real respect.

We'll stop at 11:11... no more banging nails, or lugging lumber. We'll pause for a moment to remember.

Again.

Thank you.

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Watching the Jets game, they had a ceremony dedicated to the soldiers that were lost. The piper was playing... every one was silent, except one idiot yelling "Go Jets GO".

I wonder if someone popped him in the teeth, 'cause he sure deserved it.