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It’s good.

Yeah.

But it feels strange. We spent years fighting to keep Kelvin Community Centre open, and then the community spent a few more years after that trying to keep the land from being sold.

It was long and hard, and it always seemed like it was just a matter of time before the land was sold and the chance for a new Kelvin was dead.

Things look better now. Hopefully this will work out.

The fight to save Kelvin taught me and gave me a chance to try and help out my community, but it wore me out.

But I’m happy.

It’s good.

If the people of Elmwood hadn’t fought in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, we wouldn’t have this today.

Congratulations, Elmwood. You deserve it.

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Clara has just finished her Olympic career with a great performance in London, finishing fifth. She and Cindy Klassen, another Winnipegger, are tied for the most Olympic medals by any Canadian, at six each. Clara is also the only Canadian to have won medals at both the Summer and Winter Olympics, and the only Olympian in the world to have won multiple medals in both the summer and winter games.

So that makes Clara one of the most successful Olympic Athletes EVER.

And it’s time Winnipeg finally recognized one of its most famous daughters.

Luckily for us, there is a perfect opportunity to do that right now. With style.

Elmwood resident Nelson Sanderson had an idea back in the spring to rename Disraeli Freeway to Olympian Freeway. It’s a good idea, considering that both Clara Hughes and Cindy Klassen have roots in the River East communities that are served by the newly-rebuilt link from downtown.

Now it’s been around twenty years since I liked the use of the word “freeway” to describe Disraeli; when I was a kid I imagined from the south end of it (having never gone over) that it was like one of those huge California highways that led to all sorts of interesting places. (I had the same expectation of Concordia Avenue from the off-ramp on Lagimodière, so you can guess that my teenage years were filled with bitter disappointment.

I’d prefer calling our new link Olympian Way.

And of course, Olympian Way connects to Henderson Hwy, and it’s only a few blocks from there to the new community facility that’s planned for where Kelvin Community Centre once stood. (Oh yeah… I’m a gonna beat that dead horse a little more. Whack! Whack!)

That facility will be administered by Bronx Park Community Centre, but some Elmwood residents aren’t big on the idea of sticking the Bronx Park Bruin up on the wall. And obviously Bronx Park and the City of Winnipeg aren’t about to call it “Kelvin Community Centre”.

As other residents have suggested, Kelvin should be renamed Clara Hughes Centre.

Clara Hughes Centre will include one ice rink, a “skills park”, a basketball court, a playground, athletic fields in the back (one baseball and two soccer), and a modest community building with two change rooms, a lounge area, a canteen, washrooms, and a meeting room.

I can’t think of a reason why this doesn’t make sense. Can you?

 

Note: The facility design images are adapted from the Open House boards created by Scatliff Miller Murray.

No, seriously… what the fuck is wrong with you?

(Oh… apparently this post has foul language. We can deal with my personal issues later, though.)

Backstory: here and here

(good intentions or not, the damage was done and I believe a public apology for the apparent misunderstanding is the right thing to do)

Sexy soundbite:  So the Manitoba Liberals aren’t in the pooper; we’re already flushed halfway down the drainpipe. Nobody’s buying what we’ve been selling, and to be honest I can’t fault anyone for that. We used to rely on the Federal Liberals throwing a tiny life preserver into the toilet for us, but now they’re circling the bowl, too.

It’s our own fault, but that means that we are the ones who can fix it.

I’ve said this before (albeit in a more polite manner), but I’ll say it again, since I’m nothing if not shrill and repetitive:

Conservatives hide their poop.

Dippers hide their poop.

Liberals fling their poop at every other Liberal in the room.

Used to be a clever magnet at AllPosters.comI don’t like being covered in poop; some people do, like those two lovely girls in that video with the cup, but I’m not like that. And I change enough diapers to know that I don’t want that stuff touching my skin (or my eyes, or my mouth, or my vas deferens).

If you are unhappy with something, find constructive solutions. One of my year-and-some son’s favourite books is called Roadwork, and it shows various workers and machinery building a road. Now, if a person wanted to build a road for the Liberals, one that leads from, say, the sewer pipe in the basement up to a place high enough that we wouldn’t need to smell like poop anymore, that person would construct said road, as opposed to tossing hand grenades at the work site and hoping that eventually you’ll get a paved ribbon out of it.

Construction is how you build things. My son has grasped the concept firmly, more firmly than walking on his own or not dropping cheerios down his pants.

But is there a point in doing all this work? Is there any hope for the Liberals?

I think so, but don’t take my word for it. I spend most of my time building a business and writing stories about garden-gnome-on-girl romance. This isn’t my area of expertise.

But I can tell you one thing. There is no party in Manitoba other than the Liberals that I feel I can support in good conscience.

I believe the NDP are corrupt, tired, and ineffective.

I believe the PCs are reactionary, untrustworthy, and ineffective.

I believe the Greens are impractical, inexperienced, and ineffective.

Now the Liberals? Hot dog! They’re intelligent, progressive, and ineffective.

So you can see why I love them so much.

So who is effective, then? Well… in Manitoba, there are plenty of people who are effective, people who know how to get things done and then get those things done, often by asking for advice and help when they need it, and respecting the concept that other people may disagree from time to time. Those people are sometimes called “everyday heroes”, but usually we just call them people who aren’t in politics.

And they aren’t in politics because they enjoy being effective. You don’t get into politics if you like getting things done. Well, you might get into it, but you probably wouldn’t last very long.

When my neighbours and I were trying to save a community centre in Winnipeg, we joined as a team and worked together, focusing primarily on revitalizing the club as opposed to waxing political. We were politically inexperienced and we were motivated by what we felt was the right thing to do, and I still don’t know the political leanings of many of the people I worked alongside.

And when the city shut us down I cried, not because of politics or rivalries, but because I knew that the kids in the neighbourhood were losing something they’d grown proud of.

We weren’t effective in politics (who is, really?) but we were effective in giving kids something to believe in, at least for a little while. If you ask me what part I liked, if it was speaking at city council and doing interviews or if it was working with the kids and building something special, my answer will be pretty clear.

And if I were to do it all a second time, I’d hope to come back into it with enough resources to focus on the kids and stay out of the politics as much as humanly possible. Because like normal people, I enjoy being effective.

Will I return to politics some day? I don’t know. I think about it sometimes, but I’m not sure I’m cut out for it.

I don’t want to pretend that everyone’s uninformed opinion is worth listening to ad nauseum, or that it feels perfectly normal to beg people to vote for you like they’re doing you a favour. If a voter believes a candidate will do the best job, the voter has a duty to vote for that candidate; the candidate’s duty is to do the best job possible.

That’s all there is to it.

So I’ll stay out of the political cage matches for now. If people decide someday that my skills, experience, and ideas are valuable in the public octagon, they know where to find me.

But this isn’t about me. Well, everything’s really about me. But I’ll indulge you for a moment.

The Manitoba Liberals have a fever, and the only prescription is being more selective.

People badmouth the leader publicly? Drop them like a turd, especially if they don’t apologize and particularly if they try to deflect, backpeddle, or act like a misquoted victim (this isn’t a single incident I’m talking about, but a sad series of them over many years). “How’s the leader doing?” “Great.” That’s how it’s done.

Unqualified or unreliable people want to be candidates? Don’t nominate them and accept that you won’t have a full slate. The extra funding from those votes isn’t worth the opportunity cost of damaging the brand by running bad candidates. Bad candidates include anyone who publicly disrespects the leadership, has no intention of campaigning actively, or is running just because they have an axe to grind.

People want you to beg for their vote? Tell them that you’re not in the business of sucking up. I don’t want people to support me or my party as a “favour”. Either we’re the right choice, or we’re not. We’ll do our jobs, and hopefully a handful of voters will do theirs.

I’d rather be a member of a small, principled, and disciplined party that gets a genuine 1% of the vote than a hot mess that gets 5% based on habit or pity.

I’m not sure I’m still a member of the party, actually. I guess that makes it okay for me to mention the Manitoba Liberals and the word ‘poop’ over and over again in a blog post.

About working with the Greens: why not? Is it a merger? No. A federalist Canadian party can’t merge with a Global Greens party; one or the other would die in the process. But if Greens run in Wolseley while Grits run in Fort Rouge? Why not try it? Will the rivers run in red and green blood? Would you even notice the difference in the water?

A while back I crunched the numbers and found that if the Manitoba Liberal Party limited its candidacies to the dozen or so constituencies where it felt it could be competitive, the vote percentage of the party would drop like a stone. We’d go from 7.5% to less than 5%, assuming we could do as well in those ridings.

So a Votepocalypse in traditional terms. That’s true. But how has being traditional been going for us lately?

Manitoba Liberal Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again while flinging poop at the leader’s head.

The only thing we’ll get out of that is Manitobans sitting back and watching the death of the MLP with a bucket of popcorn.
Oh, and more of the same rotten politics in Manitoba.
So smarten up, Liberals. You know you’ve sunk pretty low when a blogger who keeps saying “poop” starts to look like the voice of reason.

I sometimes think of my washroom as a think tank, not just due to the sheer amount of genius ideas that come to me during my various bathroom tasks, but because at certain inopportune moments my powder room gives off the same stench you’d find in news releases from the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

My latest idea, however, doesn’t smell anything like what you’d get if you mixed Burger King and Indian food into a blender and added a couple drops of Sambuca. In fact, my latest idea smells just like an Order of Canada.

Introducing: The Canadian Museum and Waterpark for Human Rights and Splashtastic Excitement (CM/WHR/SE)

That’s right… a somber reflection of man’s inhumanity to man combined with much-too-young girls in bikini tops and gently used and removed band-aids swirling around the grayish warm waters of a hot tub.

Now I haven’t had enough time to fully flesh things out, given that I only have so much hot water for my weekly shower and I use half of it to steep my peppermint tea, but I think that what I have come up with so far will make Winnipeg a world class city that could rival Spokane, Washington.

Selected Attractions:

  • Kuryong Drop: a North Korean-themed slide. Six people stand at the top of the slide wearing blindfolds and every thirty seconds one of those six is shoved into the launch tube. The rider then freefalls for approximately five meters. Upon splashing down into the pool at the bottom, that lucky and possibly still blindfolded person has a one in ten chance of being abducted and sent on a lifelong trip to North Korea to teach members of the inner circle about such curious Western artifacts as Chili Cheese Fries, Daniel Tosh, and Sad Keanu.
  • The NGO Circle Jerk: a waterslide that contains only one loop, but through the use of cutting edge technology the rider is continually pushed through that same loop for around twenty minutes, making absolutely no progress and eventually realizing that they are going nowhere. At that point a trap door opens and they are dropped into a hot tub and given two shots of Johnnie Walker Black Label to help them through their newfound existential crisis.
  • The CM/WHR/SE Fundraising Wave Pool: because cost overruns tend to multiply like Parisian bunnies downing Viagra on V-E Day, there is a need for an attraction that will increase the tithe received from each visitor. The waves will be pretty intense, varying from Tsunami to Much Bigger Tsunami, and you will notice a difference in the experience based on your individual contribution. Donations are classified in multiple levels much like you’d find on a layer cake, pyramid scheme, or naked Abu Ghraib prisoner dogpile: Gold level members ($500+) are given an inflatable raft and a crew of six, while Silver donors ($100-499) get two pool noodles. All other contributors will have their drowned corpses fished out with a pool skimmer at closing time, and any personal effects found on their person or in their lockers will be auctioned off to pay for additional urinal troughs in the men’s washrooms.
  • The Jewish Quarter: there was some controversy about whether or not the original CMHR was intended more as a holocaust memorial rather than a universal human rights edutainment centre. This controversy sometimes brought up good points, but often descended quite quickly into arguments like “I’m not racist, but have you noticed the Jews control everything?” and “Hitler wasn’t all bad… what about the Volkswagen and TV dinners?” The current plan for the CM/WHR/SE does include an area highlighting antisemitism; it’ll be a tastefully decorated lounge area with a couple of whirlpools and a big screen TV playing an endless loop of Family Guy episodes, along with an explanation that most of what Mort Goldman says is still crossing the line even if some of your friends are Jewish. But maybe I just don’t have a sense of humour…
  • First Nations Area for Parents and Papooses:  because the CM/WHR/SE is well-aware that it would seem hypocritical to talk about human rights without at least paying token lip service to the issues affecting Aboriginal peoples in Canada, a special area will be created in an unheated and poorly lit part of the building. The water used in these slides and pools should be boiled before drinking or touching to your skin in any way, and please keep in mind that while people disappear from the middle of these slides all the time, none of those missing people matter because… how can I put this… they’re not white.

    Makeshift home of someone who is... again... not white.

So that’s what I’ve got so far. If you believe that we can make this vision a reality, please make a donation to The Friends of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Be sure to e-mail the Friends and let them know that you are supporting the amended Splashtastic Dignity Plan with this donation. If you would be more comfortable sending me money, it’s as easy as e-mailing me and asking for my mailing address; please specify in your message whether you are planning to send me cash, a cheque, or an explosive device.

Together we can fill up this money pit with lukewarm and heavily chlorinated pool water and score one for human rights and banana hammocks.

I urge you to send me money today.

Rather than write something about the world around me, which would require at least a half-hearted attempt at research (failed twice on that over the past week due to an unfortunate lack of interest)…

Regan Wolfrom, Political Hack now presents Regan Wolfrom, Speculative Fiction Hack. Do not click through unless you love sex with aliens.

Free Fiction: Not Even Once [NSFL]

The deletionists over at Wikipedia apparently don’t feel that people’s pets are “notable“, even when the owners of said pets are famous enough to merit a redirect to a list of people who did something once in an election somewhere. I cannot believe that they would dare tell me that my dog is not worth five to thirty paragraphs of virtual ink.

Harley Wolfrom


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Harley Wolfrom (disambiguation).

Harley Hemingway Artaxerxes McIntyre “Harles” Wolfrom (born December 16, 2002) is a champion watch dog and piano leg urinator in Canada. From an inauspicious start, Harley became an unlikely consumer of his own vomit. Harley has his own Twitter feed and his autobiography My Bad Breath, Myself  is tentatively scheduled for a November 2013 release.

etc

I didn’t bother arguing with the secret cabal of Wikipedia editors (secret participant list available here), who apparently believe that it would be impossible to maintain a consistent level of quality and objectivity if everybody starts adding articles about their dogs, cats, or school trustees.

They also whine and complain that it’s hard to verify an article when it has no sources cited or when the person writing it is the person in the article (or in my case, the person who follows behind the notable individual with a plastic grocery bag wrapped over my left hand).

As if there’s a problem if someone who self-publishes a paranormal romance novel were to write themselves an entry where they self-identify as a “gifted fiction author who loves spaghetti and sleeping in on weekends”. (Note: my debut novel, Skylight: Kinky Zombie Sex may be available soon.)

And as if people really take issue with any of the following articles being in Wikipedia:

  1. Charlie Ross (Auctioneer): no sources, one author (now deleted from Wikipedia) called Poziedriving who had many of their contributions removed and deleted and had been warned about vandalizing. What’s notable about Charlie Ross’ entry is that he might actually be notable enough for Wikipedia based on available sources. The problem may be that he isn’t notable enough for anyone to have bothered to cite anything on him… is that a Catch-22 of some kind? Hold on… I’ll check…
  2. Scott Gale: the entire article is “Scott Gale is the music composer and artist for Saved By The Bell.” For whatever reason, the deletionists at Wikipedia don’t believe in having one-line articles on every person who’s coordinated music for a US television show. Yet they’ll devote multiple paragraphs to this other music guy named Scott, and they didn’t even have television back then.
  3. Adam Smith (Actor): no sources on this actor (born 1994) who is mentioned as having several uncited amateur and theatre school credits and a web series, all information added to Wikipedia by a user named Asmith94. There is of course no confirmation that Asmith94 has ever met Adam Smith the actor, but whoever that is seems to know a lot about him. Can Wikipedia’s sky-high notability standards be met if you have a celebrity stalker with an eerily similar name posting an article about you?

Let’s be clear: these are all legitimate Wikipedia entries.

Anyone who doesn’t feel that Charlie Ross’ work as an auctioneer is so important that no sources are needed is a censoring fascist, plain and simple. If citing is so important, maybe Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales should personally show me the link on Wikipedia that proves there’s no truth to the rumour I’ve just started that Betty White likes to kill and eat adorable puppies. Oh, wait, you don’t have that source, Jimmy? Guess I’d better go make some edits…

Likewise for the Wiki-Nazis who believe that the one-sentence article on music coordinator and two-time theme music composer Scott Gale has no value just because it has no mention of a reliable source and reads like someone watched the credits on their favourite early nineties teen sitcom and shouted out “hey! that music guy should have a single uncited sentence written about him on Wikipedia!”

And why should young Scottish actor Adam Smith not be kept on the site just because he is studying to be an actor as opposed to already being a famous actor? Why should we all just sit back and wait until he’s famous? I did some acting myself when I was younger, so I know a little bit about the ol’ thespian game; I won a bronze medal for best actor, coming in third place among the three actors in contention at a French theatre festival for Manitoba students. Note to self: create a Regan Wolfrom (award-winning French-language actor) page.

You know why Wikipedia wants to censor these pages? Because Wikipedia is prejudiced against unsourced material.

Well sorry, Wikipedia, but not every contributor has the good fortune to understand concepts like citation,notability, or conflict of interest. Not everyone comes from privilege like Jimmy Wales does, sleeping on those bags full of money he made from the Babe Report and The Babe Engine. Some people were either too young or too ill-informed to make oodles of cash from soft-core pornography during the golden age of profit-free dot-coms, and very few people have enough cachet at Wikipedia to continually edit their own entry without fear of being banned.

Like most libertarians, Jimmy Wales hates freedom. And unsourced material. And based on what I just read on Betty White’s Wikipedia entry, Jimmy Wales hates puppies enough to join in with Betty whenever she’s chowing down on French Poodle pie.

So if you are as angry and disgusted as I am, consider donating to Wikipedia. Not only does it keep co-founder Jimmy Wales gainfully occupied, preventing future editions of the Babe Report, it also ensures that the only ads on Wikipedia will be the ones promoting Jimmy Wales.

And why shouldn’t he be the only one to profit from his not-for-profit “temple of the mind”? He is the exclusive one-and-only founder, right? Right?

Some people might wonder who I’m making fun of with this post. Is it people who are criticizing Wikipedia, or maybe Jimmy Wales? So I ask you, gentle reader? Why can’t I just make fun of everyone?

I haven’t bought the domain name, or created the website, or figured out how to do it without looking like a complete douche, but I’ve been thinking about a new Drive To 45 campaign to bring Winnipeg back to its glory days as the Murder Capital of Canada.

Now, to be fair, Thunder Bay has more murders per capita, but that’s like comparing player stats between the Winnipeg Jets and their affiliated St. John’s IceCaps; it makes rational sense, but doesn’t take into account that only the big leagues matter. Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver… these are the cities that count, and when people die there, it matters just a little more.

So what can you, gentle reader, do to ensure that we make it to 45 murders before the end of 2011?

Here’s a handy list:

  1. Ensure that poverty and alienation continues for the fastest-growing sector of our population. We can’t rest on the laurels of what previous generations did with their culture-killing residential schools, family-killing smallpox blankets and the legacy of unacceptable living conditions on reserves; we need to continue our work by making racist jokes, ignoring treaties and land claims, and continuing our First-Past-the-Post electoral system that will ensure that aboriginal peoples have no influence within our legislatures. But let’s make sure we continue to neglect youth of all backgrounds as well, since together they are the murderers of the future.
  2. Guarantee that marijuana and ecstasy (MDMA) continue to be lumped in with crack cocaine and methamphetamine as the most dangerous items on Planet Earth. Better that than be reclassified as controlled substances like alcohol, tobacco and prescription medication. The dirty fact that cigarettes, booze and prescription pain meds are more dangerous than these two illegal drugs shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way. It’s important that organized crime maintains their source of income, especially now that Winnipeg is entering a new and timely round of gang violence. If we can keep this going, we should soon have a Winnipeg-based spin-off of Sons of Anarchy starring Alan Thicke and Michael Cera as the leaders of an outlaw motorcycle gang in River Heights.
  3. Keep prostitution illegal, with a strong emphasis on punishing the sex worker. They obviously have various other options to consider instead of selling their bodies, such as homelessness, starvation, and self-immolation. Surely regulation to ensure that prostitutes are safe and over eighteen isn’t even worth considering, especially since there’s no double standard in allowing the advertising of escorts who are unofficially doing the same types of thing for more money and less risk. But even if we keep kids and addicts working the streets, it’s possible that some of the hundreds of missing women and children who were targeted for being sex workers may not turn up dead in time for New Year’s Eve; but do keep in mind that rolling them over to future years can only help maintain our reputation.
  4. Maintain Winnipeg’s status as being ten years out of date. It’s not enough to have a transportation plan from the turn of the century; we need to make sure that our gains in crime promotion are not reversed by what works everywhere else. Stay the course, Winnipeg… let’s keep our collective heads up our collective policy holes.
  5. Do everything Stephen Harper says. And I’m not just talking about his crime bill that makes about as much sense as the premise of TV’s Terra Nova (let’s go back in time so we can go extinct along with the dinosaurs since preventing climate change back in the 19th century and/or hiring an art tutor for young Adolf Hitler make for boring television). I’m also talking about his choice of wardrobe (suit or blue sweater vest, PM’s choice!) and his love of telling every Canadian that they are second-rate (all of us), defeatist (Atlantic Canada), migrants who live in ghettos and aren’t integrated with society (Liberals in Western Canada) or otherwise unacceptable in his eyes. Perhaps all of Canada should take a time out; I guess Harper’s majority is Canada doing just that, since I don’t recognize many musty old Canadian values being thrown around in cabinet anymore.

If we all work together by doing nothing, allowing our political leaders to continue down the path of misguided and misinformed decision-making, we stand an excellent chance of meeting our goal for 2011 and beyond.

Disclaimer for people who don’t “get me”, including my wife and my therapist: I’m not condoning murder, nor am I attempting to mock or belittle the suffering of the family and friends of victims. I am, however, mocking and/or belittling the following: Manitoba’s NDP, all Conservative parties everywhere, Michael Cera, sweater vests, Dexys Midnight Runners, Charleston Chew, the Cast of Til’ Death, Light Sour Cream, comb-overs, paranormal romances involving vampires and/or werewolves, George Lucas, George Will, Boy George, Curious George, and meeting her parents before the fifth date.