Sunday, July 20, 2014

Opinions are like...

never mind. Too easy.

I was trying to come up with a witty title. I bounce a few around, including "death", "stupidiotic", and "the definition of insanity is..." but decided instead to concentrate on the meat and potatoes of it all. (Potatoes... foreshadowing. Is it still foreshadowing if you give it away?)

I write this entry from my "perch" on the shore of the east side of Lake Manitoba. For days now I've been seething at an article/blog/opinion (remember what opinions are like?) piece titled Crying Wolf   http/

I assume Bruce Owen penned this piece, as his email address is recorded below it. According to the staff biographies, Mr. Owens "takes up space" at the Legislature. Hmm... that's a  telling way to describe his work. This would be good empty space I assume.

Unfortunately, his piece also takes up good empty space in the FreeP.

Mr. Owen plays apologist for the NDP, suggesting that the people who have property on Lake Manitoba are somehow unfairly "blaming" Mr. Selinger for all things evil. We are currently enjoying our second bout of fish flies this year... but I don't hear any of my neighbours blaming our esteemed social worker turned  leader for the flying pests. What I do hear is a group of very disgruntled people placing blame squarely where it belongs for the current woes felt on the lakes shores... at the feet of the Ministers and the Leader who are responsible for the decisions being made to again fill the lake to well over it's capacity.

Mr. Owen suggests that we residents of the lake area are creating much ado about nothing. He goes on to tell us about how the lake isn't as high as it was in 2011, the situation won't be as bad, the NDP isn't to blame for the rain, people aren't taking you seriously... .

Hey Bruce. Did you know that you're not allowed to drain your eaves trough onto your neighbours yard? Honest! It's against the law. The water from your roof is supposed to drain over your yard to the street or lane. Anything else isn't permitted. Look it up...

Let's think about the Assiniboine River watershed. It does not NATURALLY drain into Lake Manitoba. It is DIVERTED. (Hence the name, the Portage Diversion... it is NOT a floodway). You are taking water from one watershed, and diverting it to another entirely different watershed. You're sending it to a lake where the natural inflows through the Water Hen River, are about equal to the outflows at the Fairford Control Structure.( Fairford was built at the end of the 1800's, well before the Diversion, and it's never been increased in size to accommodate the water being dumped into the lake by the Diversion. )

Guess what Bruce? When you fill up your bathtub using the tub filler spout, everything is OK! If you leave, pass out, go for a smoke... the tub won't over fill because there is a mechanism that is designed to let the water out if it gets too high. This is the like lake was before the Portage Diversion operating at 25% over design capacity. Back to your tub Bruce... now go get a fire hose and put it in there.

What? You see a catastrophic event ahead? OK. Maybe a fire hose is extreme. How about another garden hose?(or two ?) It stands to reason that there will only be twice  as much water (as opposed to three times as much as we are seeing flow through the Diversion. I see Bruce hesitant to try the fire hose. Coward...

What's that Bruce? You don't want to? You'll ruin your floor?

Oh. Ok. Well, fortunately for you, You are in control here Bruce. No worries... just don't do it! The residents of Lake Manitoba are not in control.

Bruce likely wrote his opine from the City somewhere. I didn't bother to delve into his domiciles actual location, but let's just guess at Charleswood, since picking on someone from Transcona isn't really "sporting". Bruce, I'm sure that as the guy who is "taking up space" at the Leg is keeping you busy. Have you noticed a lull in the action around there? Pssst (no, that's not a PST joke) they are all on summer break.

Summer... what a great time to have a cottage at the lake. Unless you have super sandbags on your beach.
And the lake has uncovered all the spent sand bags from the last flood... they litter the beaches for miles here, green, white, and the ever elusive gold bags!

The trees that grew here are all but gone, destroyed in 2011 by the water. Miles and miles of death on the shore of the lake. Great big ash, maples, poplar... (all the elm died due to Dutch Elm disease years before). Death stretches for miles. Trees that someone needs to remove, yet no one seems to feel the need, or have the energy... remember, the residents of the lake were told that clean up help would come... remember what our social worker turned leader promised... the Green team would be available to aid in clean up!

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! Some pimple faced yoot ((see Joe Pesci, My Cousin Vinny) Fred Gwynn... was this his last movie?)  felling standing dead trees 10" in diameter with a Husquavarna that would rather tear his leg off than cut through the brutally hard wood of a dead Ash. Now insert a senior citizen since the green team never came...

You were thinking that I would take Ash and draw it to the "opinions are like..." but I'll resist. (The temptation is great though)

Bruce, maybe you should come out for a weekend! Really... this is my invitation to you. Leave a comment, and I'll be in touch. You and your significant other can come out for a few days, all expenses paid except the fuel to get here, unless you'd like me to pick you up. (no kids... we hate kids) We have a guest room, flush toilets, hot water, shower... we'll put on clean sheets, and you just have to sit on the beach, stare at the lake, and go for a walk. Let me know what you drink and I'll supply a bottle (but just one, as I've heard about reporters and their drinking).

See death. Miles of death. Super sand bags are covering a vast area of the beach, already covering a mile or more... and there are more to come. It's quite a sight. I'll take you out in a boat, canoe, kayak, or you can walk the beach, but the sand is all gone... the lake has pounded in lots and lots of rocks. We used to have sand... not anymore.

What's that Bruce? Doesn't sound appealing? C'mon! I'm offering to let you come for FREE! I have to pay over $2K a year taxes to have this kind of fun...I have to come here and mow the lawn, maintain the place, and know that the unnatural rise in the lake level is a DECISION that was made, both in the spring, to prevent ice jams on the Assiniboine, and now again, because Shell Mouth was kept too high to allow for the rains.

Wanna know why Shell mouth was kept high? See Bruce, I'm not a reporter... but I was there three weeks ago when the community had it's road washed out. I asked them (with no influence regarding my own interests) ,"Have thye kept the levels too high?"

"For years now... they keep it high for the potato farmers in the Portage area. If the river runs dry they cant irrigate their crops, and McCain's can't be makin' fries without potatoes!"

I see... things I didn't know. Here I was naive and believed Shellmouth was a control structure designed to act as a reservoir DURING a high water event... not to cause one.

Say what you want Bruce, the water coming to Lake Manitoba was NEVER  supposed to come here. Ignorant commentators in the FreeP I can handle... you know, the unwashed masses who believe whatever Flood Bulletin #33 tells them, full of more political propaganda than actual flood information, regurgitated through the Freep by some "journalist" who thinks St. Francis Xavier is a road trip. "You shouldn't build where it floods, you shouldn't build on a flood plain... stupid people who don't realize Winnipeg is on a flood plain at the junction (not the fork) of two rivers... (stupidiotic)

After you come visit me here, go see Shellmouth (or I can show you a video). Go see the diversion, and the increased capacity that was packed on by more equipment than I could count (Or I can show you the photos), and then go through the archives to see when the last time was that this lake came close to this level NATURALLY. (Hint, 1950, and it took 4 years to get to that level) Please also check the last drought levels... ahh forget about it... you won't bother, how about I just give you the info?

Bruce... did you notice that when the lake was "natural" it fluctuated, and never saw as much water as it did during the time it was "regulated" as it did naturally.

Do you understand Bruce? The lake levels are CONTROLLED... The Fairford CONTROL structure, the Portage DIVERSION... Control means we GET to blame the people CONTROLLING the levels. You don't get to claim that all is good because of the controls, when all is good, and not be responsible for taking the wrath when things all go to shit. It's called accountability.

Anyways Bruce... my offer stands. I'll be very cordial, there are no strings. Come visit.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Who was at Folk Fest?

Well opening night at the Folk Fest was a good time. It seemed that the VIP tent was packed with political hacks who continue to have influence behind the scenes, and some who are elected, with no influence at all.
While I understand Ron Lemieux opening the meal and giving thanks for the volunteers (as well as encouraging us to drink up as Minister of Liquor and Lotteries) , I can't quite figure out why guys like Eugene Kostyra, Bill Blakie, and of all things, Thomas Mulcair show up for a free meal, and a few photos.
While I looked around for any of them during the acts, I didn't see them.
Notably absent was pretty much anything that would be considered "blue", unless it was related to a music genre.
It was a beautiful night, and I assume a malathion bomb had been dropped earlier when none of the folks from Wolsely were looking as mosquitoes were few. Bonnie Rait joked about how she never knew that bug spray was such an aphrodisiac.
We got to enjoy some slide guitar performed by her, honed over the past four decades of performing. She sounds great, and I reluctantly caught the 10:30 bus back to the city. I'm thinking that the organizers need to have the bus leave after the last song...unless you're Thomas Mulcair and you're there for photos and glad handing.
Notable was Amy Helm, who (sorry Amy) I'd never heard before. Great voice, good tunes... I couldn't help but think that she needs a more powerful male back up singer though...especially during an à capella piece "Friends ", where a decent bass was missing. with all due respect to her talent as a stand alone rite, her dad was Leavon Helm, best known as the lead singer in "the Band". While they didn't do "Cripple Creek ", they did cover "the night they drove old Dixie down", however there was either terrible feedback, or they used a defective Melodica wind piano as there was a consistent shrill noise that detracted from the performance.
All in all, opening night was good, I just hope all the political hacks had as good a time as we did.