Thursday, December 20, 2012

So much to comment on, so little time (left)

I got busy... so I'm very glad to know that there are people out there who take the time to continue their public service.

End of the World

There's this clown in Fraserwood for example... goes by the name of Dr. Good Greens. Yes... he's smoked a lot of good greens in his life, and if there is a poster child for telling your kids, "Don't do drugs or you'll wind up like THAT idiot", he's the man.

One of the masses who believes that is a world wide conspiracy to "seed" clouds to cover up a planet on a collision course with earth, or Wormwood somehow evident in naturally occurring cirrus clouds, people like him are only exceeded in their naivete by the over 700,000 people who view the dreck he posts on Youtube, asserting that he "sees" these things, when really, most of his videos have mountains in the background. Last time I checked, the only "pile" around Fraserwood was the pile of shit he stirs up.

A non typical sort of prophet, he's a bit of a doofus who, while preaching the "end of the world" renovates a house he and his "partner" lived in, to sell. If the worlds ending... why sell? What's cash going to do for you're the only few left, managing to hide in your root cellar until the solar winter passes and you alone are left to populate the earth? (God help mankind)

End of a political Career (I hope)

Not far behind are other idiots like my local clown who is also my MP. Likely a man who enjoys a stiff drink every once and a while, dear old Pat went on another one of his personal Christian bashing missions against Youth for Christ. His stand against anything that has to do with the first five letters of CHRISTmas, and those who call themselves followers of the teaching of the first five letters of that word, he recently posted some nonsensical drivel about how their building is "empty".

Apparently there is something empty, and it's you're choice.

  1. Pat's head
  2. Pat's rum bottle
  3. All of the above
Apparently Pat closed his twitter account, which is what all good twits should do. (Evander Kane, take note)

End of NHL Hockey Season

Speaking of Kane... give it a rest. He's a 21 year old with LOTS of disposable cash. I think he's permitted to misstep if not solely because of his age, but because he's just lost out on a really big chunk of his LIFETIME earnings by missing half a season. Live it up, because you probably have few well honed skills to fall back on if hockey doesn't work out. ("Would you like fries with that?)

Continuing Financial Mismanagement

Hydro wants another rate increase, and I'm sure some actuary will be able to calculate the total percentage increase over the next 20 years for us, but my simple mind doesn't let me calculate a geometric mean with any accuracy... and neither do any of the MSM since no one has ever told the rate payer what a bill that increases every year by 3.9% actually comes to. What I do know is that so far this year hydro has increased my monthly bill by 3.5% once, so let's say I paid an average of $120 monthly...

120 x 3.5%= 124.20

124.20 x 3.5% = 128.55

Eight bucks a month? Are you daft? Why, so we can tell one another that these fancy new generating stations will "secure our children's future"?  Next year that's $133.05! Then $137.70. The next year is $142.52... As if. Today's NDP will be referred to by our children (and their children) the same way I referred to the Liberals of the 70's who fettered away untold amounts of financial reserves, mismanaged CPP and decimated much of Canada's real wealth only to have the future workers pick up the slack. Can a landlord dictate a 3.5% annual increase? Can I demand that from my employer?

The real fools are the sheep who continue to elect social workers with no "real" work experience, while criticizing someone for building their personal wealth after a lifetime of work. Whoever is left... remember to turn out the lights. You won't be able to afford to keep them on after the best, brightest, and even the 40 watt bulbs have fled the province.

To my children, who I love dearly... RUN

On the good new side of things...

West End CRIG

I got a Christmas post card from my old buddy Don Woodstock. No, I've never met Don, but I've commented on him and I know he's read this blog occasionally. Don ran as a liberal (which doesn't help his credibility) but I do respect anyone who puts their name out there to run for public office, even if it's for the Manitoba Liberal Party. I liked that Don and his family had a Christmas tree in their photo, I didn't like the sanitized "Happy Holidays", but I've come to accept that people are either too concerned about being too politically correct to express a greeting that includes reference to a religious holiday. 

I have to admit that my first thought was, "Campaigning a little early?", but the card made no reference to anything political, rather it invited people to a free BBQ (and he lists his phone number and address) as well as a plan to create a "Community Residential Improvement Guide" which I guess will act as a sort of "Angie's list" of contractors, secretarial, accounting, and other services located in the West End.

Good on you Don. I've poked fun at some of your past ideas, (like the staged phone call to the PM), so I have to give a thumbs up to a good idea.

Maybe I'll take him up on that BBQ... I've always meant to try Jamaican, but never have.

Final Words

If the world is still here after the 21st (as I suspect it will be), I'll post again. 

The thing about these "end of the world" idiots is that most of them are still too stupid to realize that there's really NO NEED to change the oil in the car, or get the brakes done (yes, I met one of those too. The world will turn upside down with the poles flipping, water will inundate the world, he purchased high ground somewhere in Ethelbert MB or something after calculating how many feet ASL he needed to be... and had to get his brakes fixed.)

The older I get, the more I realize that we share a lot of space with people who take it up unnecessarily.

BTW... Idle no more ? Getting jobs are we? Didn't you consider the double entendre of that slogan?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

An apple is an apple


Good Sam… very good. Do you know any others?

“An orange is an orange.”

Excellent! And can an orange be an apple?


My turn to paraphrase. “Shit by any other name will still stink like shit”

(a twist on a line from Shakespeare,  Romeo and Juliet )

Sam was commenting on the dire position of Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto. Mr. Ford was taken to court by an extreme left leaning person, on the basis of a conflict of interest. Rob’s mistake was (as I understand it) to solicit funds for a football team on his letterhead.

Ford was never in any position to actually MAKE any money, his friends were never in a position to MAKE any money… this was a football team trying to raise a few bucks. The fact that Rob actually broke a law aside, he was never in any position to PROFIT from his actions.

To quote Judge Hackland , Mayor Ford's case, by comparison, "involved a modest amount of money which he endeavoured to raise for a legitimate charity, which is administered at arm's length through the Community Foundation of Toronto." (Ottawa Citizen)

Read more:

Those small points aside, the law is the law (the law is also, at times, an ass) )Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist ) and Ford was found guilty of breaking the somewhat archaic conflict rules Toronto has. The aforementioned acts were NOT the greatest of his transgressions. What Ford did was to vote AGAINST a motion by council to have him repay the money people donated at his behest. Not only did he vote against the motion, but he SPOKE against it at the council meeting.

So, Sam is right… the lawsuit by Cathay House owner Joe Chan isn’t the same. Joe doesn’t seem to have hired a slick lawyer, and so far, council hasn’t asked Sam to repay the expense account he charged the visit to his brother’s restaurant and Sam hasn’t voted on that motion that hasn’t happened yet.

Case closed? NOT SO FAST!

Sam repeatedly gets himself mired in a mess that defies any common sense held by any person of reasonable intelligence. Let’s see…

Hire a good friend to be the CAO

Hire a good friend to be the developer/realtor of choice for the City

Hire a good friend to build fire halls without a contract or a tender

Hire your father-in-law to run the City’s vehicle fleet

Buy a million dollar house off the sister-in-law of the good friend who is the developer/realtor AND fire hall builder for $10 and other unmentioned “valuable considerations”

Rent a city parking lot cheap next to a ball park you own

Did I forget anything? (Probably… I’m just going by memory here)

Ford is pretty clean by comparison, and frankly, I wouldn’t blame a left ( or right, or centrist) leaning citizen from asking the WPS or the RCMP to investigate.

A Rose  Shit by any other name…

As other’s have said before. This doesn’t pass the sniff test.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

IKEA IS OPENING! (Why don’t I care?)

Everyone is a buzz. Winnipeg will finally have a dot on the IKEA map. We're going to have a location here, open, functioning... full of all that neat "stuff" that they have quality manufacturers make and ship world wide.Stuff in flat boxes…
Well... maybe not "quality", but hey, it's fairly decent for the price. (Comparing it to Jysk anyway)
Having an IKEA close might have me go in and buy a few things now and then, but I'd think long and hard about a "pack the vehicle to the brim and then tie stuff to the roof" kinda shopping trips I've gone to the Minneapolis IKEA for. I have seriously loaded my SUV to the breaking point at their loading zone, having the interior compartment packed, longer material splitting the front passenger from the driver, the roof loaded, and the rear hitch platform carried two chaise loungers which obscured the tail lights AND the third brake light.
Why would I carefully consider spending my time (and money) here instead of there?  
Consider the following items and the cost differences between the US and Canada.
US price is $1375.00                              Canadian price is $1591.00
Sure. A couple of hundred bucks… big deal.
It’s NOT a couple of hundred dollars, it’s $216.00, which is more than I’d pay for diesel, and I did mention my type of buying spree, right? Loaded to the top of a pick up truck cab? (Done that too!)
This random sampling shows about a 14% disparity, but consider that on Saturday, my son purchased the two cabinets shown at the “advanced opening by invitation only”, because I only needed the two.
Suddenly I’m out $348 instead of $200. ouch  $148 bucks? what is that… 46% more? On 2 items!
The Swedes are smart people. They look at our country, and realize what stupid people we are… so they decide to open a store here to accommodate us. The citizens will flock to it, regardless of getting gouged.
“Winnipeg has it’s swagger back” wrote the Sun
Ya. I remember our last “swagger” Winnipeg had. There are a pair of idiots somewhere sporting the “swaggerville” tattoos.
Our battle cry must be understood as      Screw me. I’m Canadian!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I need my fix!

Like a morning without a cup of coffee, I had become accustomed to awaiting a podcast release from Marty.
Bigger and better things were available to him, and I can imagine that preparing for his television program, City Circus, is substantially more work than recording a podcast.

Imagine having (potentially) days to piece together an audio clip, and compare that to what I assume is 45 minutes to an hour of studio time to tape (assuming they still use Beta) a show at Shaw. I really understand why he doesn't put out many pod-casts anymore.

Understanding aside, I was left without the "agitator", and since I'm a BellTV subscriber, I wasn't even able to watch without going through an onerous process of downloading the show to a memory stick, or setting up my TV to be connected to my PC... all things I would consider doing if I just had the time.

Being in my mid 40's, ( THAT explains why I was looking at mid '60s Mustang convertibles on E bay last night!), the whole, "Down load an app or a program, convert the file, save it in a format, paste it into iTunes..." get's a little cumbersome. It's not that I'm computer illiterate, let's just say I have a "stutter".

I found the fix! (another allusion to the title in a different manner than the "coffee fix")

There is a program called Clip Converter that is uber simple. (how do I make those two dots over the U in those types of words?)

Simply open the page, past the You tube link into the obvious field, tell it to save in whatever format you want (in my case an Mp3) and when it finished, download the file to your "download" file. Then drag it to your iTunes and voila ! (No, that's not a "French" company that Sam sold all our water to...)

Today, my five hours of driving will be made more tolerable by being able to get my "fix". I just hope I don't OD.

Keep up the good work Marty, and good luck with that... I'll let Marty tell you.

(Cue the foreshadowing organ music clip) 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hockey Players. How smart are they?

Not very from what I can tell.

Consider that the average players career spans 4 or 5 seasons, and the average player only plays 100 games. If they lost 10 games this season, the average player squandered 10% of his career.

Do ya think you're gonna get that back?

Add to the whole mess that I had planned to buy my old man the "jets" channel for every Christmas from last year until the end of time... now I have to buy him a pair of argyle socks. I'll bet he'd enjoy the NHL more, but alas it's outta my hands.

Oh... Gary Bettman? The guy Ian White called an idiot? He's been the commissioner for the NHL for 19 years now, and he makes $7.9 million a year.

Who's the idiot Ian? You make $2.5 million, and you're in your 5th year.

Go play hockey. (or not... life WILL go on without you)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Well THIS got me going a few days ago...

I bent one of my "rules" a few days ago, and didn't change the radio station on the Drive Home. (Typically as soon as I hear that show is on, my station is changed.)Someone was going on about how incensed they were that City Hall was towing vehicles from streets that were being plowed as a "courtesy", and placing warnings on the windshields instead of ticketing them.

The words "taxpayers" and "revenue" came up in regards to the missed opportunity to ticket the cars with the $150 fine.

Let's review this a bit, for the young, (and older "traffic" guy) as well as the host of the show.

Winnipeg attempted to roll out a "new snow clearing" campaign last year. "Know your zone" was the theme, with a grader and a loader animated as army officers attempted to educate Winnipeg drivers.

Unfortunately, there was no snow last year to speak of, and they rolled the "new" program out late in the year. Frankly, I don't ever remember the City utilizing the "new" approach in 2011...not even once. Ddoes the "media outlet" have any record of it being used last year? (Not that objective news reporting is a thing we see a lot of in Winnipeg.)

I'm forgetful. Combine that with my PVR and my propensity to completely ignore  annoying radio hosts without more than one topic for a day that they reiterate over and over again, small children who are misbehaved AND commercials if I happen to be watching a live TV show (from a Winnipeg feed) and one can see how someone might have missed the whole campaign last year OR simply forgot all about it.

Personally, I get e-mail updates from the City. They tell me when and where plowing happens. That said, others might not, and they may not be tied to their computer, smart phone, the television... people can actually be busy living their lives, or just trying to survive. Is that an excuse?

Let's consider the following.

We've recently had a simply awful transition in our recycling program that I still, and will for ever call "garbage day".(Sorry Mr. Woodstock)  I don't like the new system, I never will, it was poorly conceived when it was first "rolled out", and remains as such. The thing is that we heard, "Well, it's a new system, and the City needs time to work out the kinks."

Now we have yet another debacle, where garbage day and the "new" parking ban coincide, and with annoying results. "It can't be helped. We tried to schedule around it, but couldn't."

I'm amazed by how these people who are given a microphone and work for a "news station" can sit there and spout off their own misconceived ideas about how the world works, yet think that regurgitating the news as prattled off to them by some mouth piece from the City only to be spewed over the airwaves as if it were gospel is actually objective reporting.

This "Oddone" on CJOB can come visit the West End sometime and show us all with 25' lots how we can entertain family for a short visit on a snow clearing day. My Mom and Dad (who are seniors) can't come visit unless they check the website, or spend 20 minutes on hold calling 311, to find out what zone they're going to visit us in, and if there are parking restrictions on our street.

Sure... I get how a 12 hour shift makes more sense than the old way, but this young, opinionated traffic reporter from the sky went on to tell everyone tuned in that "Snow happens every year... this isn't new people!" and "What did you do last year!?". She was incensed by the whole idea of the City NOT ticketing people.

Clown school grad no doubt.

For as long as I can remember, the residential overnight parking ban was called over the whole city from 24:00 to 6:00 or there about... I can't seem to find the exact info as it appears that all the new releases regarding the implementation of the ban seem to have been removed from the 2011 press release records. (I presume that was done so as not to provide anyone with an excuse as to when they park). Some of us have delt with THAT way of doing thing for MANY years Ms.Odd one, so forgive those who missed the first implementation of the "new" way of doing things.

Yes, I knew. I told my visitors they had to park half a block away in a church parking lot (at 21:30 (a fairly respectable time of the evening), even thought the street had already been cleared because, "Those City parking patrols are a$$ holes. They're mandated to ticket anything they can now that they're a special "arms length" body."

My personal disdain for the City, and the Parking people led me to know these things, while others who don't make the effort I do to stay informed may not... like my company.

So Ms. Odd one, Ms. "Drive at Five" ,and Mr. "Traffic guy", come visit me some evening where your only choice as my guest is to park on the street, figure out where to park your vehicles, or better still, forget to check the web site because you don't want/need/have a smart phone at your finger tips, and get a ticket and get your car pulled around the block. Then tell me how you enjoyed your evening as my guests. (BYOB Brian)

I'll never invite YOU to a party, because I can't have one this winter... you never know when it might snow, and as the Odd one says, "This isn't new PEOPLE... it snows in Winnipeg." As a result, we can't actually PLAN a house party. Using the Odd one's thinking, we need to be prepared for it... it might snow, and there might be a parking ban that might be between 7:00 and 19:00, or between 19:00 and 7:00. We can't be sure which.

The new method may do a better job at allowing the crews to clear the streets, but it has a far greater negative impact on the citizens of Winnipeg... one great city (as the Odd one has on her Facebook page).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Skyfall. 50 Years was worth waiting for.

No spolier alert here, but an honest review from someone whose seen all of the Bond movies (more than once).


If someone had asked me, "What's your favourite Bond movie?", I'd likely have settled on Goldfinger (1964). Sean Connery was the cold, to the point spy, with witty one liners and a great car that was "tweaked" by "Q" branch. The villain, Auric Goldfinger, was great, (although he didn't speak a word of English and had his entire script voiced over). Given it's time, the well choreographed fight scenes, the car... I would have picked that one.

Skyfall is Daniel Craig's third attempt to match Connery's character (as was Goldfinger for Connery), and the saying  "third times a charm" held true for both. Craig has nailed it. The "Bond. James Bond" line isn't forced, the "shaken not stirred" line is only alluded to, the techno gadgets that became a little tiring and over the top at times are no where to be found except for...

There are many times the movie gives a nod to it's 50 year history, and most of those nods (as I watched and interpreted them) are to Goldfinger. By now it should not be a spoiler to say that the reintroduction of the 1965 DB5 was "kewl", being Bond's personal car in this movie, not something given him by the new  "Q"
(who is probably a better replacement than the ill thought John Cleese was). There are further nods to gadgets that are understood only by Bond aficionados during the movie that will have to be explained to the younger viewer, or better still, watch Goldfinger before you go see Skyfall.

Craig is superb. I didn't think Bond would ever cry in a movie. After all, no tears were shed when his wife was killed in "On her Majesty's Secret Service". Kudos to the director who saw fit to expose the fact that the character does have emotions, and affection.

Judi Dench as M gives what may be the performance of her career, and is (as I recall) the first "changing of the guard" insofar as M is concerned that is explained to us in any way.

Javier Bardem plays the type of character he honed in "No Country for Old Men" (and pretty much everything else he's done well), and is a believable character, as opposed to some recent villains.

We saw it in IMAX at Silver City. Excellent. There are movies I've seen that are simply too loud... and this isn't one of them. As with every Bond movie, stuff explodes. The shaking seats are a part of the "big screen" experience, and while it may not rival the boat explosion in "Thunderball", stuff really does explode.

Bond, simply, comes back to it's roots, having morphed into a gadget filled, unbelievable, and often silly series, with some terrible offerings (mostly in the Roger Moore era), that are exposed for what they were after this movie is held up for comparison.

If you've seen them all... GO! If you haven't, this is still a great movie.

Our little entourage spanned the generations, and everyone enjoyed it. If you like some intrigue, well choreographed stunts, dry humour, and a movie that doesn't try to be something it isn't just to fit into a mould, GO!

There haven't been too many times a Bond movie and "Oscar" are mentioned, but this year may be different. Both Goldfinger and Thunderball won in a category in 1965, and never for acting.

We'll wait to see what this years Academy Awards thinks of the latest, and best Bond movie to date.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"I shouldn't have to say this, but..."

Typically I like Bartley Kives' stuff. He's understandable, fair, and seems to be a decent reporter. As with most MSM members, there are times I wish he'd dig a little deeper.

Then there was his schtick on anti-semitism.

Now let me be clear. I am mindful of Jewish customs, their holidays, the basic tenets of their religious beliefs, and I try to understand those things as best as a Goyam can (is Goyam a racist word?) I think not, but will acquiesce to people who are more "concerned about winnipeg" than I am, especially when interpreting foreign words/terms.

Firstly, I have no doubt that some clown purposefully plastered posters (there's that alliteration again) on the evening of Rosh Hashanah. I had some difficultly in understanding how using" $hitler's list" would further understanding of their message, and I write that off as an attempt to draw a similarity from the title of one of my favourite Ralph Finnes and Liam Neeson movies. I don't know enough about the propaganda campaign of the Nazi's to agree or refute David Matas' suggestion that it is reminiscent of that era of history.  I can say that I've never seen a Nazi poster incorporating a dollar sign in any of the virulent anti Semitic dreck that Goebbels churned out during his time as the Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda.

I'll admit the posters put up in Winnipeg were tasteless. That said, they attempted to demonstrate the connections between peoples of a certain religious affiliation, and their business dealings. This isn't new.

I like Sam. Do I think we could have a better Mayor? Yes, but one hasn't stepped forward to be elected, so until then, Sam is the best we have. I think it's naive to believe that any "business man come mayor" wouldn't have some dealings at some point with other prominent business people in the city. Honestly, could you believe that  DeFehr as mayor wouldn't have dealings with a Buhler?

That said, Sam hasn't done himself any favours by appearing to go over and above to help some of his"friends". Is it any wonder he has "friends" that share his religious/ethnic background? Don't all those Mennonites stick together? (is that a racist comment?)

Here's what gets my... oh wait, if I said goat I'd get the pesach comments...which could lead to me being accused of  being racist... so never mind.

Here's what gets me. We have a quasi religious slur on the eve of a religious holiday targeting the Mayor and suggesting that he is providing preferential treatment to some "friends". The thrust of the poster really was related to how Mayor Katz has hired a good friend to run the city, ostensibly without any previous experience. He has apparently provided numerous lucrative contracts to a good friend to dispose of or develop real estate. He has provided funding and tax forgiveness to some friends who are building an eidfice to their late father. He has provided funding to build a football stadium, originally proposed by a friend who had no experience building stadiums, on the basis of a deal that wasn't worthy of the napkin it was written on.

Is it wrong to draw attention to those things? Are we unprepared to enter any discourse on the subject, because the people involved are all members of a "minority"?

Almost two years ago, I wrote about what I thought was a hate crime.

Posters saying, "Pro choice because God raped Mary", and "Youth against Christ",  plastered ON religiously affiliated buildings AND places of worship. These were CLEARLY targeted against the Christian faith on the night before... Christmas Eve (that's a religious holiday that coincides with a visit from Santa). I filed a complaint (Jan 6, 2011) that I wrote and delivered to the fine folks at the Winnipeg police department. I received an incident number, and then... nothing.


But... apparently if our mayor is targeted, the po-po's are wanting your help.

As covered in my second post on the Christmas Eve anti-christian posters, the po-po's actually SAW the perp's after a call from a citizen reporting them. Still...nothing. I even asked (as part of my complaint to the WPS) to discover why the car that cruised by them after the complaint was called in, decided to do nothing.

Clearly I, as a citizen who I guess is part of the"majority", am not worthy of even a response, let alone the kind of attention the mayor and his friends receive if someone dares to mix inappropriate messages of religious intolerance and serious and legitimate questions of favouritism and abuse of office. (I never suggested that, but am only inferring the message of the posters targeting Mayor Katz et al.)

Aside from the obvious disparity in how society views slurs against certain religious groups and others...

Mr. Kives goes on to lament the disparity between rich and poor.

I wondered if perhaps he missed the irony of naming aboriginals and Jews in his article, groups perceived by many to be at opposite ends of the financial spectrum. Sure, that's stereo typing (not racist) but the idea that we're going to bridge this great chasm between rich and poor might mean a lot of the people on the list of names on that poster might be asked to be a mentsh, and give much of their wealth over to the poor group he mentioned.

Like Mr. Kives, my children were not exposed to racism. I tried very hard to never influence their thoughts insofar as other people and their religious or ethnic backgrounds go. That said, members of certain ethnic groups go out of their way to demonstrate bad behaviour, lack of respect for self, and others, a lack of respect of property, and a propensity to mull about the area during the day, drinking and bumming smokes. My children were exposed to bad behaviour, which is excused by society by blaming it all on past atrocities. If they have overtly racist ideas, they come by it honestly... by observing the daily actions of others and forming their own opinions on the matter.

While I am sympathetic to the historical wrongs done, I simply cannot fathom mentioning these two groups in one article based on racism and financial disparity.

It seems to me (as I remember my history) that both groups suffered persecution as a minority at the hands of a majority. One group was slated for extermination by fascists, the other was targeted for cultural obliteration, ostensibly at the hands of ill founded religious groups operating at the behest of a government. While I've never heard an Auschwitz survivor blame the atrocious acts carried out upon their friends and families as a reason for their financial success, I have heard numerous times that colonialism is the reason for all things bad in the other group.

I wonder what old man Zaifmann would say if a young man said to him, "I'm not interested in working. My Mom was a drunk, my dad beat her and me and he ..."

I wonder if the young man would give his head a shake, and realize he has no excuses after listening to Mr. Zaifmann for a while.

Alas, Mr. Zaifmann is no longer of this earth. He and his wife endured enough. The tattoos they "sported" on their arms was not a trendy thing to do, in fact it was further evidence of persecution that would remind them daily long after they were spared from that terrible fate that was the "final solution" to so many others. The very act of defacing one's body with a tattoo goes against the instruction found in the Torah. To have to look at that every day...

In spite of that, they built a reputable furniture company, had children who became successful in their own rights, and saw fit to provide me a with a job and a place to rent when I was far from home, broke, young and a little foolish... me, who's ancestry sought to annihilate them from Europe.

"Funny how quickly that illusory perception evaporates after a single act of ..." grace.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Boarded Buildings, By-Laws and Bodies

Nothing like a little alliteration to make a catchy title.

By-laws. I think we need more of them. Maybe a by-law making useless by-law inspectors a violation? Maybe one where a citizen can take a by-law inspector and give him a bit of a verbal barrage for being somewhat lackadaisical insofar as his/her job goes?

Consider the following house. Located in a fairly visible area (Sherbrook Street), one would believe that this vacant dwelling with illegal boarding would be ripe for an inspector to create some sort of "order". Nope... there it sits. The back yard is worse, with parking being provided for people, perhaps from the block next door, perhaps for HSC. Who cares?... it's just the West End.

Since this place is SO obvious, one might think the inspectors drove down side streets as they comb the neighbourhood, seeking out boulevards with grass over 6" long... like maybe Simcoe Street?

Nope. I don't think any inspectors make it there either. Neither do they watch the news. Remember that house where the body was found in the back yard? Over grown with weeds and hiding Shawn Lamb's handiwork, the place was on all the news channels. Need a refresher? Here's a RECENT pic, plus a few of the yard. Let's play ,"Spot the infractions"!

You can name the obvious by-law transgressions, and maybe (for extra points) figure out which by-law the offense is listed in. (Similar to "Whose line is it anyway", the points don't matter, I choose the winner as I see fit). There are so many violations here I can scarcely list them all myself. Recently, the lawn was mowed and the fence (lying on it's side in the pic) was removed from the yard, but that's about it.

Wondering why? Me too. Apparently it's a complaint driven process. I guess that means that if a $65K a year By-law officer drives by, there's nothing he (she) can do about it.

The West End would like to join together to thank By-Law enforcement department for their fine work.

 A house on the news, a crime scene that should be an embarrassment to their department goes unnoticed... for two months AFTER the fact. How long did it sit like that before every news team was at the site and the Cadets and Police staked out the area protecting the "evidence" for days? Lawn unkempt, ripe for a body toss? I dunno. I don't keep track. It's not MY job.

You wonder. What is it these folks get paid to do? There's the boulevard cutting thing... and?

                   My lovely wife made a complaint. She called about an old dresser, mattress, a tent and other junk littering the neighbours back yard. months later, she used the reference number 311 had given her to follow up. The inspector responsible told her, "The file is closed".
"Really?", she asked, "How can that be, all the junk is still there?"
"I was there and I didn't see anything unreasonable, but I'll go by again."
He got back to her a few days later.
"As long as they can justify needing the items, there's nothing I can do."
"How can anyone justify a rotting mattress and an old dresser missing drawers in their backyard?"

You get the idea of how that whole situation played out. The inspector did absolutely nothing.

There is STILL a rotting mattress, leaning up next to the house, ready for some punk to spray a little lighter fluid on it, torching it, the soffits and attic of the house, my fence...

Again, the inspector did his job. He opened a file, went out, inspected, (likely from the window of his car), went back to the office, and closed the file.

Good job. You'll likely get promoted.

                    Another was asked to do something about the incessant problems with pigeons nesting and raising squabs in the overhang of a neighbouring house. "Oh... I'm not sure there's anything we can do about pigeons."

Really? How about the soffits where the birds are nesting? I'm pretty sure there's a by-law somewhere about that sort of thing, let alone the vermin.

I have a hunch the inspectors know the owner. Now I'd never suggest anything untoward is going on, but the way some places are purposefully left with no action whatsoever makes one start to wonder. Not in a "Why?" sort of way, rather in a "Hmmmm" sort of way.

Still looking at Shawm Lamb's dumping ground? Special huh? I think I heard that the Public Trustee is involved in the property. Could it be there is some sort of preferential treatment for Government agencies... that unwritten,"give a brother a break" mentality?

We wouldn't want to make work for another level of civil servant, would we? Adding by-law infractions and Boarded Building Permits to the work load of those poor guys over there... our union brothers...

I can't for the life of me figure it out.

Harvey lives on this block, and his claim is always, "You know why I know what's going on in my area? I walk, I don't drive, I walk the streets."

Apparently not his own block, or his lane, at least not in the direction of Notre Dame.

I get the idea that there is a lot of work to be done in Winnipeg's older, established areas, but we've seen our property taxes skyrocket with the new assessment. Houses here are starting to creep to $200k, with $150k buying you junk that still needs a lot of elbow grease.

While other areas of Winnipeg supplemented the West End for a number of years, we're now likely paying more than our share.

Do you think we could get a little effort out of the guys charged with enforcing the by-laws? Maybe walk a block a day? The West End Biz does... they take notes, and know where the problem spots are.

Since 311 doesn't' actually compile a "complaint by address" count, they're no good at pointing out the "broken window". (If you're unfamiliar with the theory, )
 Any chance the By-Law department can at least nail some plywood over it? Maybe like this...

 All doors, windows and other openings, other than the principal entrance, at the basement and main (first) floor levels must be covered in compliance with this Part with a solid piece of plywood at least 11mm thick and secured with coated spikes at least 75mm in length, spaced not more than 150mm on center.

It seems to me that this department is better at telling someone what to do than actually doing much of anything really useful.

"TO BE (afraid), OR NOT TO BE (afraid)?!"

That's not really the question. The real question is, "Am I afraid, or just "cautious""? Maybe I'm "smart".

Doubt it.

Last night before retiring to bed, my wife inserted her ear plugs. I don't snore, nor do I babble incessantly while I sleep. There is a lot of "white noise" with all the windows open. I can usually tolerate it. Sirens, screeching tires... they are products of living in the city. Any city.

Black noise. Now that's a matter entirely different. Last night a shirtless clown was BRAVEly walking down the street talking far too loud to his "buddy" at three o'clock. A little later, some female was SQUAWking about something or other, f-bombing away. Finally they two, which was 4, met up and had a (whadda' ya call those circle meetings?) where they continued their far too loud banter.

I looked out the window and saw them. I thought about saying,"Excuse me, can you keep it down?", but didn't.

Why didn't I? Had it been some older guy (imagine an elderly man with a walking cane) I certainly would have, but we have a proliferation of young, fairly stupid, fearless people in the city, who really don't care about MY well being, and certainly don't value their own station in life to any degree. My home could instantly become a target, culminating in some sort of action on my part. "Could I ward off the circle meeting gang with a 2x4?". Probably not. Do I really feel the need to replace the sound glass in my windows? No. "Do I need to replace the boards on my fence?" Probably not.

So... am I afraid?


It's a fine line. I wish I was brave enough to say, “I have no problem going downtown, I have no problem going to the  North End, regardless of the day of the week, regardless of what time it is,” but I'm not.

I suppose that makes me afraid.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Knock off cell phone bust

Watching the news on CKY this evening, I was a little confused by the story about a raid by RCMP on three cell phone repair shops.
Their crime? Not using original parts. Knock offs made in China.
Line Karpish said these firms weren't "authorized" to do the repairs. What? I buy an Apple I phone and Line Karpish and her group gets to tell me who can repair it?


The RCMP are now able to tell me who can repair my phone? The RCMP can tell me what type of parts I can use on my phone? What else can the RCMP do?

I love this quote, "Karpish said Apple and BlackBerry do not permit even authorized dealers to repair their products on site and do not ship them repair parts.
“That’s a red flag for the public – if someone says they can repair it in-house for you, you’re getting a counterfeit part, most likely,” said Karpish"

Let's say I broke my screen (it's believable... Ive' broken at least three of them) and I was able to get someone to repair it for... $75. Telus, Rogers of MTS won't fix it, HTC, Blackberry, or whoever made it want me to ship it to them and spend more money than the phone is worth. What to do?

THROW THE PHONE AWAY! Apparently using non "factory authorized parts" doesn't sit well with the national police force.

I love this country. The RCMP...the red serge... horses...those ever appealing riding breeches... imagine them coming in and raiding a local body shop.

Let's listen in.

"Everyone back away from the counter! This is a raid!"
"What? What do you want?"
"We're the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and we've received a tip that you're putting knock off parts on customers cars and calling them repaired. We're going to shut you down!"
"Well... ya. MPI won't cover the cost of REAL parts from GM, so we have to buy them from off shore suppliers. The metal is thinner, they don't fit as well, the primer is questionable, but it's all they'll pay for on an older car. They'll only put new parts on a new car that has less than 20,000km. "
"Stop making excuses. You're ripping your customers off. We're taking all your inventory. HEY... What's THIS? USED PARTS?!!"
"Ya. MPI makes us sign into a salvage search site to secure salvaged parts if they are available."
"That's enough! turn around... hands behind your back"

So Line, I'll be waiting to read about your next big raid, and then I want to get some cash back from MPI... it seems they've broken your rules.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to hide my ear buds I plug into my iPod. They're some crap I got at CBit after ripping the wire out of my original ones... and I KNOW they're not Apple products.

Friday, July 6, 2012

WPS continues to spin

You can't be a slow blogger if you want to keep up with the likes of Tom Brodbeck. He's already picked apart a lot of what "Chief in coming" Devon Clunis told a committee at City hall yesterday.
It seems he's well suited for the job, as he's risen through the ranks and has learned the double talk we've all become accustomed to. It's the well rehearsed talking points, designed to sew the seeds of, "I believe him".

Consider, “Sometimes you may hear something -- and you hear it a number of times – and all of a sudden people think there is a lot of it going on. That’s not necessarily always the true fact.
Huh? Ok... so you say, " That’s not necessarily always the true fact.”, but then it might be... right?

How about we re phrase Devon's comment for him, changing the words, but not the meaning.

Sometimes you may hear something -- and you hear it a number of times – and all of a sudden people think there is a lot of it going on. That may be the true fact.

You see... it's a whishy washy, non-committal, say nothing statement. It's worthless.
Then there's this little nugget.
"Stats and what may seem (to be) could be two different things and you have to go with the facts," (WFP)
This is rich. The guy trots out with a folder full of stats, convincing everyone around the table that crime is on the decrease... all based on stats. What are the FACTS? Well... we don't know! We don't track crime "that way".
Tracking stabbings is, "... not just a simple matter,"
Well Devon, let me make a suggestion. Figure out how someone in your force can start doing the heavy lifting. It seems the stats are really out there somewhere, but YOU (aka the WPS) arent' interested in releasing them. How do I know these stats really exist.
Take a look at this site, provided to you by... the STAT people!  

How does Winnipeg compare with other cities regarding knife violence?   WE'RE NUMBER 1!
How does Manitoba rate regarding crimes involving a knife?                    WE'RE NUMBER 1!
What is the weapon of choice when using a weapon in a crime?                A KNIFE!

Sure, these stats are old, but the fact that they exist means that Devon doesn't have to re invent the wheel. If the collection of these statistics was an ongoing thing in the modern Police force, surely Devon isn't going to tell a Committee they stopped collecting the relevant data... or will he?

Stay tuned, as I'm sure we'll be hearing more from one of the people possibly being groomed to continue the "spin" at the WPS.

Again... old news, but seemingly, Clunis has "stats" (not facts) to support his assertion that Winnipeg is indeed a "safer place".

Next time I need reassurances, I'll go see my Mom. ( she always tells me nice things)

I'm not really that afraid of getting shot, but a stabbing is another thing... I actually fear being shanked by some punk. It's silent, easily concealed, and there's little time to react. Blade under 4"? No problem, even during a pat down. 

Devon... do you wonder why a guy like me would rather have a gun? Remember the Indiana Jones line? (Oh wait, there was no line. The guy who was threatening him with a machete attack was simply shot after much hoopla with the knife).

I've never had someone pull a gun on me, but I have had someone threaten me with a knife. No one's ever threatened to "pop" me, but I have been told, "I'll cut you".

No matter... these aren't stats, they're facts. Anecdotal maybe, but still facts.

Clunis will likely want to stick with his stats, and stay away from the facts.

"Don't bring a fact to a stat fight"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Andy tells us what the issue REALLY is.

Thanks Andy. We always need to be brought back as we froth at the mouth, pulling violently at the chain that typically keeps the masses docile, believing that questions regarding your departments failures should be answered.

I'm not talking about the calls for a "public inquiry", buzz words for "blame someone", "increase funding for programs", and "preferential treatment".

What I am talking about Andy having the gall to say,  "The issue right now is making sure we stand with the families and the communities...", refusing to answer questions about Lamb's early release.(Wpg Sun)

Well Andy, these murders happened in YOUR riding, and I want to know why this looser was in MY community at all. YOUR department let him out early Andy, and we're all a little sick and tired of your lame ass excuses for your incompetent department. The judge ruled that he was to serve MORE time, and YOU let him out.

That's what being Justice Minister is about Andy. Being responsible for your portfolio. YOU Andy.

Don't tell us what the issue is you arrogant clown. We elect YOU. WE'LL tell YOU what the issues are.

Loosing prisoners, early release, a general malaise to stiff sentencing, and seemingly coddling those who your constituents fear the most.

In other news, Pat Martin is being sued by RackNine for $5 million. pat is looking for donations to cover his legal expenses.

No word on how to donate to RackNine's legal team.

How (or perhaps why)  does the West End continue to elect such POOR representation?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day

There is perhaps, no group as under appreciated as Fathers.

While as a society, we embrace Mothers, our Fathers are quietly provided with a tie, or a pair of socks and we feel that we've fulfilled our duty to "honour" them.

No disrespect to Mother is intended when I say that Fathers are perhaps the most influential people in our lives. That said, it almost seems that the role of a Father is eroding, or being usurped. My intention is NOT to enter into a dissertation explaining the apparent demise of that role in today's society.

The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him.

It's unlikely that the above statement would hold true had the Father not himself been a righteous man... as well as wise. Things like righteousness and wisdom are not easily measured, yet they are certainly recognizable. These things are not "taught", rather they are modeled. So much of the "teaching" has nothing to do what what we traditionally understand as "teaching".

“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years.”


Mark Twain's quote continues to be true, even twenty plus years (in my life) after the time in his life he had his epiphany.  Most fathers are a product of their times. Mine was of a time of war, hunger, displacement, and an understanding of children as chattel to be used as needed. I am of a time of affluence, progress, liberation, and generally peace. Is it any wonder that there may be paradigm differences in how we view things?

Aside from a few years of taking Twain's stance, there has always been a level of respect for Dad, even if at times it is solely as his position in the family tree... Father. No one could have taught me a better work ethic, and helped me to develop skills that are multi faceted, simply through the expectations that were at times perhaps a little excessive, but served to entrench the "you can do it, it's not that tough" way of thinking.


I credit my, "This was created by a man, so certainly it's not beyond my understanding" creed solely to him.

Fathers, good Fathers are the back bone of future generations. Without them, the skeletal form that allows us all to stand together, will collapse into a quagmire of a jello like substance. Need proof? Look around.


I've heard it said that, "You don't know if you've done a good job being a parent until you have Grandchildren."


Well done Dad.


Love you

Sunday, June 3, 2012

We should go out more...

That was the consesus sitting at The Beachcomber patio at the Forks. We talked about how when we visit other cities, we engage the down town and gathering places, we eat out, visit the theater district, walk along the river...
So this morning we returned to the Forks for breakfast. After parking, we walked across the street and were approached by a young woman.
"Hi. I'm hoping I could show you some of the jewelry I make. These ear rings are called "dream catchers", and I'm selling them..."
Firstly, I don't have pierced ears. Secondly, you made these? This pair? That's all you have?
"No... sorry, we're not in the market for any ear rings."
"Oh. Well could you spare some change for a King Can?"

Ahh. I get it. You got a pair of ear rings, and are now trying to hock them for some cash, maybe enough for a "snack pack" for you and your guy. I didn't take her for a gold smith.

It's so hard to give a city a chance, especially when it's residents continue to reinforce the stero types you have grown up with. No one has ever tried to sell me anything in Minneapolis, let alone begged for money.

Fast forward to the afternoon, and a quick stop at the Maryland beer store. Sure... I know... "The Maryland!?" but it was closer than anywhere else.

My fist visit had me place my order and take out my credit card. "Cash only!" the server says pointing to the sign taped to the glass.
"The sign says "no interac". It doesn't say anyting about credit cards" I said.
"Cash only", he reiterated.
"Then why not put that on your sign? Why say, " no interac" when  you mean to say "cash only". Try to be clear..." as I walked out of the store to go to a bank machine.

Upon my return ten minutes later, a short line had formed. I realized how out of my element I was after just a few moments.
One gentleman was horking into a paper towl, but eventually he just spat into the gartbage can.
A lady was going on about how,"... some (expleteve deleted)(expleteve deleted)stole my (expleteve deleted) purse last week. I'm just glad I (expleteve deleted) got my (expleteve deleted) purse back. That (expleteve deleted) (expleteve deleted). She should get a (expleteve deleted) job and not (expleteve deleted) steal for the rest of us. No wonder they're all getting (expleteve deleted) shanked. Hey, you got a party at your place? I'll buy another case of Lucky."
The other fine lady chimed in, "Ya, we cleaned up the (expleteve deleted) yard and have tunes. You should come over. We got (expleteve deleted) tunes and (expleteve deleted), 'eh."

Nice. Perhaps an etiquitte book would be an appropriate gift for her? Now I'm assuming she can read...
Garbage day... oh, sorry Don Woodstock, Recycling day was Thursday for us. We don't eat "ethnic" dishes, rather we have things like fish and chicken. Guess what? Our garbage reeks just like the ethnic folks' garbage.
Well for some reason, the garbage collectors missed our nice black stew pot that Dromo gave us, so on Friday we called 311.
"Well investigate within two business days."
So umm.... Tuesday? No shit? My can of stinking garbage will just continue to "cook" in my back yard for another 4 days, you'll "investigate", and pick it up on, wait, lemme guess... Thursday?!
I literally hold my breath before opening the lid, the stench being too much for me to endure. Whose stupid idea was this? Likely the same jack ass who is responsible for the next mess.

We sent a report to 311 of a couch in the back lane (600 blocks of Simcoe/Home) on Monday. We were given an incident number and told it would be picked up Thursday. Friday we get back to them... couch is still there.
"Well technically they have until June 15th to get that couch."
No shit. I have to endure a couch in a lane for two weeks in a city plagued by back lane fires, garages, and whatever else can be lit up with a match.
This sort of thing should be followed up in no more than two days, not two weeks. Who runs this place? Does the zoo keeper know what the monkeys are doing, or are we all in "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" mode?

I applied for a building permit for a pretty simple project back in April (50 days ago). Would someone tell me again how great the customer service survey rates P P & D? Please... if you tell me a story, it must be true! Do they really expect people to plan a small project two months before they commence it? Summer is short on this latitude. Slackers.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

SAFE roads campaign

Recently, we've been bombarded by ads from the WCB and other such groups who are in the business of selling safety (in case you didn't know, safety has become an industry in and of itself), including the, "Is your workplace safe enough to hire your child?" theme.

I thought we rid ourselves of child labour, but regardless...

I'm all for the idea of a SAFE roads campaign. We should all slow down when passing workers, be patient when they are moving equipment, and just relax when we are stuck in a bit of traffic due to construction.

That stated, who is the asshole in charge of signage at these "work sites"? Approach St. James from Sargent only to discover that you may not turn left onto St. James. Hey... relax... the sign says "temporary". Perhaps the workers would be safer if drivers were told in advance of the upcoming mess. When was the last time you saw a "detour" sign in Winnipeg? Consider a mobile, lighted message board on Sargent before Omands Creek informing drivers that "no left turn on St. James" was ahead and, detour, use Empress to Ellice to access St. James . Too difficult.

Also too difficult is the idea that changing the light sequence at St. James and Sargent. You see the intersection has protected left turn signals for both directions of Sargent, but since your choices no longer include turning left, maybe Louis and staff could over ride the arrows and help traffic move through the intersection that is now clogged, instead of having everyone just stop and wait through the left turn signal. Same holds true for William east bound at King. Absolutely stupid, the lights on William westbound are not the same as William eastbound, but as an eastbound vehicle, you have no choice but to turn left onto King because of traffic. You're stuck with NO idea as to the oncoming traffics responsibilities because the lights are not only not the same cycle, (ie they can move when you cannot), and you are committed to turning left. One would think that is all traffic had to turn left, there would be a dedicated left turn... no? Again, this is a construction area. (RRCC at the Royal Bank Building)

Signage is typically non existent until you actually arrive at the construction, and often the lane closures are the most incomprehensible things causing me to bust out into a Mel Brooks line from Blazing Saddles, "hus du gezen in deinen leben!?" William Avenue west bound at Sherbrook, all traffic is forced into the right lane, even traffic turning left. Why? Sure, I know the left lane on the other side of Sherbrook is occupied with east bound traffic, but perhaps a sign for that lane that looks like this...

Or for the illiterate, just an arrow, indicating you MUST turn, and cannot go straight. This would allow the traffic turning right, and going straight to use that lane and NOT wait for left turning vehicles.
Again, a construction area.

Proper signage and proper warnings, detours and better information might be something Chris Lorenc and his association might lobby for. Stop annoying people, stop aggravating them, stop wasting their time, and maybe they won't be so impatient with the folks working on the road.

                                and no... I've never seen one in Winnipeg either.
BTW... it looks like this

Nor have I seen one of these posted a BLOCK AHEAD of the construction area
The City manual mandates nothing more than 50 meters (in a posted 50 km/hr one) before construction, and thedumb asses follow the manual... and no one cares about the people waiting in traffic withhout proper warning of the upcoming roadwork.

In other words, "We really don't care about you, but watch out for us".

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The old "bike /car" debate rears it's ugly head again

Apologies for the delay in posts for my two regular readers.

I was spurred out of my writers block by a cyclist this afternoon. She was about the age of the cyclist tho penned an article in the FreeP last weekend.

The antics of the young woman cycling west on Ellice at 5:25 were stupefying. At Balmoral, she passed a bus that was stopped at a stop... on the sidewalk. She rode on the road from Balmoral to Spence where the bus finally passed her, giving her the obligatory meter. She hopped up onto the sidewalk, where she continued on up to Sherbrook, and then crossed back onto the curb lane. Did I mention that she crossed Sherbrook on a red? Sure, the east bound lanes of Ellice have a protected left turn signal, and there were no cars, but still... I can make great time with my all wheel drive SUV on the sidewalk, and can likely push most cars out of my way if I install a decent bush bar.
I was SOOOO hoping I could clip her helmet with my passenger mirror, but she wisely veered off (without signalling) north bound on Agnes. Good riddance.

What the writer of the article failed to understand, is that Winnipeg drivers are typically stuck travelling twenty minutes in traffic for a trip that really should take less than half that. The same drive on Ellice in the morning from Arlington to Hargrave can take almost as long as riding a bike due to poorly sequenced lights and other horrific traffic planning details. Cyclists (by and large) rub salt in the wounds of drivers by passing them on the right hand side, forcing the car to pass them again (and again, and again) adding to the delay, they skip up onto the sidewalk when it suits them, blow through lights and stop signs.... need I go on?

Sure, I know that loosing momentum at a light or a stop sign requires effort to get up to speed again. I know that sitting in line in the curb lane means I'm sucking in exhaust fumes from the cars waiting around me. I know that stopping at a light when it's safe to proceed, especially at a one way, (where right turns aren't permitted on red for whatever unknown reason) makes NO sense, BUT as someone using a vehicle on the road (highway), I am obliged to follow the rules.

So are cyclists, and here lies the crux of the problem. Bike to the Future, the Cycling Association, and all the other Birkenstock wearing, tree hugging, granola crunching, NDP voting, composting experts (Rob Altemeyer et al) figure they can be indignant about the lack of infrastructure for a mode of transportation that will NEVER be replaced in Winnipeg. The car.

We live in one of the coldest major cities on the planet, and while some of these fools may think cycling in the winter is "cool", I think someone should do them a favour, and ride over their bike the next time one of those idiots falls over in front of them (providing the rider is clear of the bike). Riding a bicycle with snow/ice on the road should be against the law, plain and simple. You are NOT riding in control. I once watched one of these clowns fall off their bike in the intersection, get back on, fall again, get back on... Catch on already!

Back to the article in the FreeP, specifically the comments section, one poster nailed it. Darren Gundmundson posted the following,

I am an avid driver.

I am an avid cyclist.

As a cyclist I hate cars; as a driver I hate cyclists.

Perhaps contradictory, but I am human. As such, when placed in situations that are, for the most part, unreasonable, avoidable, and untenable - on occasion I will lash out at those around me. It is because I am frustrated at the situation.

On most days, the five kilometre drive that I take from my house near Main and Inkster, to downtown takes twenty-five to thirty minutes, both ways. Between the ill-timed lights, photo radar, buses darting in and out, drivers who think the speed limit is 20 kmh, multiple cross walks, stoned pedestrians, and crumbling infrastructure - this City has become intolerable.

As a cyclist, the trip takes about five minutes less, but I have to shoulder check each and every vehicle, avoid the same stoned pedestrians, suck in gallons of diesel fumes from the buses, stop nearly every block, and avoid wrecking because of the, again, crumbling infrastructure.

Think about this.

In the past four decades Winnipeg has grown from 500,000 to over 750,00 people. Yet, in that time the City has actually reduced the number of lanes available to traffic. It is absolutely insane.

We are growing, yet the City reduces the lanes of traffic.

We need a Freeway system that actually helps people get in and out of downtown.

This frees up the non-thoroughfare lanes for bikes and blades, and alleviates driver frustration.

Make is easier for people to get around, stop this nonsense of taking away lanes of traffic and letting our roads crumble

Well said Darren. It's amazing how eloquently you summed up the problems faced by Winnipeg drivers with such few words, none of them profane.

Mayor Katz. Any chance you could get Darren in a position that might have him direct things down at Streets and Transportation? Maybe he could replace Louis? You don't need a traffic engineer for that job. I know this, because the engineer you have is doing SUCH a bad job, someone without a degree can certainly do better. Traffic should be intuitive. Go to the corner, watch traffic and see if it works (or doesn't work) and then fix it. In Winnipeg, we put up all kinds of "no left turn" signs when traffic tries to get off a major road to travel on residential streets. That's NOT fixing the problem you dolts! Fixing the problem would be making the traffic on the major route actually MOVE.

As for any cyclists reading this, I'll pass you ONCE and give you your meter (3') space, but be warned, if you pass me on the right, hop the sidewalk, or blow the next light, you're fair game... watch for my mirror, or if I'm lucky enough to have a passenger, the door.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Buchko gets skewered (or butchered)

My Winnipeg is a funny city. I'll admit, I'm a pessimist. I find fault with a lot of things, but I really do try to be fair about them.

I may not always BE fair, but I TRY to be.

Reading the comments in the FreeP and the Sun surrounding the recent announcement regarding the completion timeline for the new stadium, and I see a thick skin is required to do almost anything in this city.
It's not that there isn't blame to be placed for a timeline gone horribly astray. It's not that we haven't been BS'd since the inception of the whole debacle, by every politician and the original suspects involved. It's not that Winnipeg hasn't already had it's share of over priced, over budget, over promised, over hyped projects (do I need to list them for you?)

What concerns me is roasting the wrong guy at the stake.

I have NO idea of Buchko is going to be any good as the Bomber CEO or not. I can't see why he wouldn't, as it's a business, not unlike any other business. Sure, there are things to learn, but in the end.... it's a business.

Commenters are laying the blame at "Butchko" 's feet. and IMHO, it's quite unfair. Firstly, from what I can tell, it's spelled Buchko, regardless of how it's pronounced, secondly, he's only been in the role since January, and the seeds of the entire mess were sown well before he came on board.

Sure, he made some pretty silly claims when he came on, obviously relying on intel that came from people wanting to cover their own "tight ends" (that was a foot ball joke), and he continued to keep things quiet while he got to know the ropes and the various players. You can't HONESTLY have expected the man to get a firm grip on matters that involved the club, the building and the timeline/season schedule in the first few months, could you?

By April, one would reasonably have expected a realistic update. People knew.

Why we weren't told this earlier is any one's guess. Mine is that Garth was still trying not to come in like a bull in a china shop and step on everyone's toes. Let's face it. He's not there to make friends, but he does have to work with these people. (and even FOR some people)

What happened BEFORE Buchko came on? The Bombers CEO was Ossama AbouZeid, a PEng who was "thrust" in to the position, ostensibly because someone had to do it, and he was already running the stadium construction (and still is). Review  the statements he made in December 2011.

Ossama AbouZeid, interim chief executive officer of the Winnipeg Football Club, says he will know in a couple of months if construction of Investors Group Field will be finished in time for the 2012 CFL season.
"I think realistically sometime in February, we have to say, 'How severe was the winter? What's the prognosis for the spring?' Then we can make a realistic assessment," AbouZeid told reporters on Wednesday, after the stadium's name was unveiled.
"If I'm not ready, I have to make a Plan B. It is not [enough] just to stand in front of you and tell you, 'Oops, I am behind.'"

AbouZeid said the construction timeline will depend not just on weather conditions, but when construction crews can get under cover.
"Very soon, once the stadium [is] closed and once they put the roof sometime in January … everything will be under my control," he said.

So where did the wheels fall off the communication wagon? If the last guy knew he'd know in a couple of months where he stood insofar as a timeline goes, just what went wrong between knowing in February and actually coming clean in May?

Did this have to do with "pie in the sky" hopes they'd somehow make up for (what they claim are) 60 lost days due to wind? Today we heard about the big pre engineered trusses, the two cranes doing a tandem lift, the cranes operating at 98% capacity, blah blah blah.

Clearly the project manager KNEW all this in February. Did he TELL Buchko? Was the board against announcing all this mess to ensure season ticket sales didn't fall off the scale?

Who can we blame?

From what I've read, Ossama AbouZeid has been a pretty straight shooter. Maybe no one asked him the right questions, or maybe he was told to be quiet by others. Whoever tells the CEO that has to be pretty high up.

The Politicians didn't want to have egg on their collective faces. They all gathered round the announcements and promises, beaming smiles, and rolling out the words "world class" whenever they could.

The Bomber Board "sold" their fans on the last game in the old stadium hoopla, and they certainly didn't want to come clean on what they knew when they knew it.

Mostly though, I blame one guy. In March of 2010, he was granted a loan of $90 million , conditionally to have excavation begin that year, for an opening date of 2012. He changed the design a few times, so much so that he was finally removed from the whole deal.

Fill in the blanks. One guy was in charge of the thing (and he had never built a stadium), he dug a hole, but kept changing the design, effectively breaking his contractual agreement, and was removed from the partnership.

Now start with a hole, and re design a building completely... not just pretty drawings, but the actual working drawings, the calculations, the steel layout where a hundred foot truss meets up with a steel post as wide as your Aunt Nelly, and has thirty 3/4" bolts that need to align.

An impossible task to be sure, so I submit, that Buchko is the fall guy for Asper... who happens to be... on the Bomber Board... Buchko's boss so to speak.

Asper'd again.