Happy Birthday To Us!

Daily AggregationGooooood eveniiinnng! We’re getting this in a little before sunset, which lands at 5:53. Current temperature is -11, and it’s supposed to drop to -18 tonight. We’ve been screwing around with this thing’s logo lately. I like Designer Paul’s new one.

1. OLD NEWS Prairie Dog turns 24 today! Feels like… more. Our first issue was published Tuesday, Feb. 2, 1993. Yes, that’s Groundhog Day, yes, that was on purpose. I wasn’t here. I was in Winnipeg. It was a pretty good month. I was at the old Winnipeg Arena to see Teemu Selanne’s four-goal game on Feb. 28. He set the rookie goal-scoring record two games later. That guy.

2. SPEAKING OF GROUNDHOG DAY Climate change ruins everything.

3. MOURNING THE DEAD Huge turnout at the funeral for the victims of a far-right gun nut terrorist in Quebec.

4. SPEAKING OF GUN NUTS Kevin O’Leary needs to work on his timing. Or maybe he has.

5. TRUDEAU BREAKS A PROMISE No electoral reform for you! Really not sure most Canadians want voting reform so I doubt it’ll hurt him politically. Nevertheless, feel free to call your MP, or maybe just Ralph Goodale, since he’s the ultra-Liberal in this province. Goodale’s Ottawa office’s number is 613-947-1153, and his constituency office is 585-2202. Or if you’d rather just read something snarky to help you fume, check out this Andrew Coyne column.

6. FIGHTING FOR LIFE Ignite The Life tackles the Indigenous youth suicide crisis in a two-day Saskatoon conference.

7. CARMICHAEL OUTREACH RE-ZONING CLEARS A HURDLE One more step before the anti-poverty organization can move to a new location on 12th Ave.

8. BEST OF FOOD & DRINK 2017 Our restaurant scene reader poll is back with way more categories than last year’s version. The write-in round is now open! This is your annual chance to rain some positive public attention on your favourite local (and where appropriate, chain) restaurants. Check it out!

Here’s your Daily* Trump report. *DISCLAIMER: Report is not daily.

T1. TRUMP DUMPS ON A CONSERVATIVE ALLY Given how shitty, anti-environmental and generally racist conservative Australian politicians are, I can’t muster outrage when Donald Trump treats the leader of an allied like crap. That said, turning close friends into enemies is not a recipe for political success. THAT said, Trump probably just boosted the approval ratings of an anti-immigrant world leader, and you have to wonder, just a little bit, if that wasn’t part of the plan. My nickel’s on poor impulse control and ego-driven chaos, but ya never know. What do you guys think?




T5. REUTERS TO REPORTERS: TRUMP’S AN AUTHORITARIAN The news outlet briefs reporters on how to cover the Ugnaught-In-Chief.

T6. DIVORCED, MOLEST-Y CHEATER FINDS JESUS? A super-duper profane president wants to help all the lovely “Christian” churches who attack the poor, vulnerable and oft-discriminated against become even more openly political. Learn more about the Johnson Amendment—which Trump wants to “destroy”—here. I look forward to the Satanic Temple’s inevitable mischievous political jujitsu.

T7. TRUMP THREATENS TO REVOKE BERKELEY UNIVERSITY’S FUNDING AFTER A FAR-RIGHT SPEAKER’S CAMPUS TALK WAS CANCELLED This alleged defence of free speech from the guy who signs gag orders on scientists.

T8. SPEAKING OF CENSORING SCIENTISTS Remember Stephen Harper? He pioneered it. Expect Trump will do the same things, but at higher intensity.

Best Of Regina Feedback

This was sent to our Queen City Confidential e-mail yesterday:

Wow, I always wanted to know Regina’s Best Dentist, based on 3.2 people and a duck voting. You are missing very important categories

1.Best Ass Wipe
2.Best looking & ugliest transit bus & driver
3.Best sidewalk
4.Best street light
5.Best lane to drive in
6.Best direction going the opposite way
7.Best Dentist not mentioned in the best of edition
8.Best walmart sliding doors
9.Malls with best shopping carts
10.Best bullshit Best Of List besides Prairie Puppies
11.Best ISIS fighter, best ISIS coward
12.Best direction not going the opposite way
13.Best person to piss in your cornflakes
14.Best excuse to tell Police if caught using cellphone to call your Dentist while driving
15.Best day to celebrate Christmas with your Dentist

Yours truly,

A Whiny Jackass

Thanks for the suggestions, AWJ! We’ll consider them for next year. By the way, no ducks voted in Best Of Regina.

P.S.: Hello, blog!

It’s Best Of Regina Time!

bor2015-web-deerBest of Regina’s 13th season is LIVE and you can and should nominate your favourite Regina people, places, pets, stores and services NOW.

“But why, Steve? Whyyyyyyyyyy?” you might ask.

Well. Because:

BEST OF REGINA MAKES REGINA BEST-ER! Internet popularity contests are scientifically proven to nurture social and business excellence. I’d link to the data but it’s kind of technical. Just trust me on this.

BEST OF REGINA IS COMPREHENSIVE! With 167 categories (assuming we didn’t miscount) you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a topic or 20 you’re interested in and already have an opinion on!

BEST OF REGINA SUPPORTS LOCAL PEOPLE AND BUSINESS! Do you like unique, locally owned Regina stores? Great! Us too! This is our chance to prove it by nominating our favourite shops in a high-profile social media event! Totally free publicity for your fave businesses! You can also give some love to hard-working teachers, volunteers, medical professionals and other heroes of civilization! Eveyone who wins gets a neat achievement to put on a resume and a cool plaque to frame and hang on a wall.

BEST OF REGINA IS PRO-DOG! This year’s categories include “Best Dog”. Everybody loves dogs! And we’ll do a write-up on the winner and (probably) put its picture in the paper. Puppyyyy!

IF YOU DON’T NOMINATE YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS, WHO WILL? No, seriously: if something  doesn’t get nominated it won’t be on the final ballot. So it you love something, you gotta nominate it by Monday, Sept. 21.That’s less than three weeks away. Don’t dawdle!

BEST OF REGINA  IS PRO-SUPERNATURAL! We’ve added the new category Best Ghost (Yes An Actual Ghost). You’re not prejudiced against dead people are you? I would hope Prairie Dog readers are tolerant of our non-corporeal fellow citizens!

BEST OF REGINA IS IN YOUR OWN DAMN SELF-INTEREST! Every year, one lucky Best Of Regina winner scores a sweet prize package. This year’s will be worth $1,000 in gift certificates to some of Regina’s best shops and restaurants. Since there’s no entry fee to play in best of Regina, filling out a ballot* is like finding a free lottery ticket. But there’s better odds of winning.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, BEST OF REGINA  IS FUN! Best Of Regina is an easy-to-do online thingy that will kill 15 minutes of your workday. Do it!

So there you have it: a bunch of reasons to vote in Prairie Dog’s Best Of Regina reader’s poll. I hope you found them as compelling to read as I did to write. Now go check it out!

*You have to nominate/vote for someone/something in at least 20 categories to be eligible. Twenty? That’s easy! You can do that.

It’s The 2014 Best Of Regina Final Ballot!

bor2014-web-banner2You can vote here, and you can talk about Best Of Regina stuff in the thread below. And there’s lots to talk about! New and/or resurrected for 2014 categories include: Best Bus Driver, Best Political Hack, Best Public Mural, Best Cab Company, Best Roller Derby Athlete, Best Preschool, Best Facebook Friend, Best Place To Buy Jeans, Best Place To Get Frisky, Best Wild Critter, and even Worst Thing To Happen In Regina.

Also, no Daily Aggregation column today (TOO BUSY). I know you’re sad. Here’s a video of a dog being sneaky to cheer you up!

The Vaults

MacKenzie (Vaults)We received this book in the mail yesterday from University of Regina Press. Its official title is The Vaults: Art From the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the University of Regina Collections. Co-edited by MacKenzie head curator Timothy Long and University of Regina researcher Stephen King, and including a foreword by University of Regina president Vianne Timmons, The Vaults showcases some of the art that the MacKenzie has accumulated in its permanent collection since the gallery was founded in 1953.

If you do the math, you’ll realize that the MacKenzie celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2013. To mark the occasion, the gallery had a retrospective exhibition of work from the permanent collection called How We Filled The Vault  that readers voted Best Art Exhibit in our 2013 Best of Regina poll. That exhibition featured a mix of art and antiquities from the original bequest of Regina lawyer Norman Mackenzie (1869-1936), along with dozens of more contemporary works that the gallery has added to its collection since 1953.

This 100-page book includes many of the works that were displayed in that show, along with other pieces that hold a prominent place in the gallery’s permanent collection. It also features numerous colour photographs by Don Hall, some of which show art that’s installed on the MacKenzie grounds and at the University of Regina.

You can find out more about The Vaults on the University of Regina Press website. 

Best Of Regina Nominations Close Any Minute! So Hurry Up!

Prairie Dog's 2013 Best of ReginaHEY!!!!!!!

The Best Of Regina nomination phase ends some time today. There’s some confusion when: it might be 1:00. It might be 2:00. It might be the end of the work day. In any case, it’s closing soon. Very, very soon.

What does this mean? This means that if you haven’t nominated your favourite local businesses, people, arts stuff and more, you have to do it NOW or it will be TOO LATE and your life will be FULL OF REGRET.

And if you run a local business and want to make sure your company/service get on the final ballot, you’d better get off your butt and get the vote out FAST.

The link is here. So get nominating before it’s too late!

Final voting — for which you can win a prize package worth $1000 — starts Wednesday.

Best-Of Nominations: Tick, Tick, Tick

Prairie Dog's 2013 Best of ReginaAs I sure hope you’re aware, this year’s Best Of Regina will be a  multiple choice ballot. So how do we pick the people, businesses, services, artists and other candidates? Ha ha! We don’t! You do! The Best Of Regina nomination round is open for a few more days, so click here, register and write in your favourite folks, shops, media types, arts events and stuff like that.

If you don’t nominate your favourite (for instance) Regina athletes, comedians, exotic pet shops, locally owned businesses, bands, failed politicians and plumbers? Then they’re not gonna end up on the final ballot. So dooo it!  Because if you don’t, and the Best of Regina final ballot goes up and  the choices stink, it will be all your fault.

You’ve got until Monday afternoon. Go!

Most First Nations Children On Reserves Live In Poverty

This isn’t surprising but it is very, very, bad:

The study released late Tuesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Save the Children Canada found that the poverty rate of status First Nations children living on reserves was triple that of non-indigenous children.

In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 62 and 64 per cent of status First Nations children were living below the poverty line, compared with 15 and 16 per cent among non-indigenous children in the provinces.

Poverty rates among status First Nations children are consistently higher across the country.

Co-author Daniel Wilson cautions that for many of them, “the depth of the poverty … is actually greater than the numbers themselves tell you.”

“Imagine any typical First Nations child living on a reserve,” said Wilson, a former diplomat and policy consultant on indigenous issues. “They’re waking up in an overcrowded home that may have asbestos, probably has mould, is likely in need of major repair, that does not have drinking water and they have no school to go to.”

The study is based on the 2006 census, the most recent data to provide a detailed portrait of poverty among all Canadians, at least until more of the 2011 census is released. The annual survey of labour and income dynamics typically used to assess poverty rates excludes those living on reserves.

You can read the CCPA report here. The CBC story goes on to report that conditions are much worse for First Nations people who are under federal jurisdiction — which reminded me of this 2006 political decision:

The Harper government is scrapping the five-year, $5.1-billion Kelowna accord to improve the lives of aboriginals, while coming up with its own two-year plan — at less than one-quarter of the cost. The Conservative plan appears to be worth about $225 million a year in new expenditures, as opposed to $1 billion a year in new spending under the Kelowna accord.

More on that here. The Conservatives should not have ignored the Kelowna Accord, which was supported by First Nations leaders, the other federal parties and the premiers (including my hero, Ralph Klein). More than any other federal leader, Stephen Harper’s politics lead him to ignore problems and the consequence is that children are hurt. And that’s something we all pay for.

Ding Ding Ding! Best Of Regina Polls Are Open!

Best Of Regina 2012The 2012 Best Of Regina readers poll is here! This is the poll’s 10th anniversary, and there’s a special 10-year section of the poll marking that.

Like last year, you’ll need to register to vote because we don’t want any cheating. But it’s TOTALLY worth your time because there will be great prizes! To be announced later!

So head over to the poll, check out the categories and start thinking about how you’re going to vote. You can also check out a complete list of categories in Thursday’s print prairie dog. Don’t mark that up and mail it in, though. This is an online deal, like always. You have until noon Monday, Sept. 24 to vote, but don’t leave it to the last minute!

Best Local Twitter Feed: @patthebook

When the winner of Best Local Twitter Feed has inspired a fake account, you know people have gone with a good choice. I also know this was the right choice because, of the however-many recommendations I made on the Dog Blog leading up to the end of voting for the Best of Regina, @patthebook taking this category was the only one I got right.

I chatted with @patthebook, A.K.A. radio reporter and music blogger extraordinaire Patrick Book, via Twitter direct message about his win, meaning we were sending batches of 140-character responses back and forth. I felt it would be appropriate. After the unconventional interview, Book told me he had “answered most of these questions family-Thanksgiving-level drunk”, so keep that in mind.

Also, be sure to check out all the winners here.

Read that Q&A after the jump.

Continue reading “Best Local Twitter Feed: @patthebook”

Best Of Regina 2011: Best U Of R Prof

It took me far, far longer than I’d like to admit to stop going to the site Rate My Professors. Not even stop going, but to start mentally adjusting the comments made on there.

Case in point: my pick for Best U of R Prof, Marcel DeCoste, only gets an overall 3.1 on five, and his detractors cite a lot of the things I love about the guy as negatives. His mammoth vocabulary; his expertise and willing to share it; his uncompromising honesty — he’s the type of prof that every student needs to quit the awful stuff they do.

Marcel is the man, and not just because his name makes such alliteration simple. As an English prof, he’s given not only a deeper appreciation for the modernist fiction — his area of study — but has, I think, made me a better critical thinker in all arenas, which is what I’m banking on from my liberal arts education.

You can vote for all of Regina’s best right here. Do it now; the deadline is tomorrow.

Best Of Regina 2011: Best Book Store

Full disclosure: I work at a certain business that has won the category of Best Book Store a few times before. I like it there: I like working there as well as getting a whole lot of the books that I buy — new books, including a lot of fiction I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else in the city — from there.

That said, when I voted for the prairie dog‘s Best of Regina 2011, my vote went to Comic Readers.

I’m not Comic Geek Number 1 by any means. I can throw down with some modern Spider-Man stuff and I’m at least literary graphic novels literate. But man, am I down with going to their downtown location whenever I get the chance, and it ranks among the better comic stores I’ve been to.

It’s a clean, modern-looking place, which is a nice change from a lot of the comic places I remember growing up. It’s well-organized and easy to navigate. They’ve got a decent balance between the toys and actual books. Plus, I never get a hint of snobbery from the clerks over my choices, another old comic book store stereotype.

Another reason I voted for ’em, though, is that I feel they’d display the Best of Regina certificate with pride. My workplace, as far as I can remember, has them tucked away in the managers’ office. Those things were built to breathe, people.

You can vote for all of Regina’s best right here. Do it now; the deadline is September 22.

Best Of Regina 2011: Best Gym

I’m not shy when it comes to writing about things I think are cute. I’ve linked to the Daily Puppy here and elsewhere enough to prove that much.

For the record, though, cute things don’t rule my life. They aren’t the be-all end-all.For example, Wednesday night, I went to go see The Change-Up. I knew it wasn’t going to be great, but I didn’t think it would be out-and-out awful. The Ryan Reynolds/Jason Bateman comedy was so unfortunate that a pair of twin babies –– really, really cute twins –– couldn’t even save it.

That said, cute things being around is a fringe benefit I’m willing to embrace of the places I frequent. Case in point: the University of Regina’s gym.

It’s got plenty of things going for it: it’s on campus, plenty of well-kept machines, a cool atmosphere. One more thing it has going for it is that the exercise area overlooks the gym floor.

Generally, that means you get to choose between watching CNN or watching the Cougars practice basketball while running. Occasionally, though, they let the daycare kids just run around in the gym, being little. Just these little guys and girls with tiny, ineffectual legs and smiles chasing each other around a big open area like they just discovered a secret Disneyland. That’s a sweet gym perk if you ask me, and part of the Best Gym in Regina.

You can vote for all of Regina’s best right here. Do it now; the deadline is September 22.

Best Of Regina 2011: Best Local Album Released In The Past 12 Months

The best album our fair city has put out in the past year is also one that doesn’t have a physical edition (at least as far as I know). You can get it online for free, although if you’re not completely broke or a jerk, you’ll chip in at least a few bucks for this gem.

At nine tracks and under 25 minutes, Foxwarren’s first release, Has Been Defeated, is quick but great. If memory serves, this album took a while to put together. The band –– Avery Kissick, Dallas Bryson, Darryl Kissick, and Andy Shauf, who’s got a well-known solo thing going too –– recorded it themselves, which couldn’t have been an easy feat. They’ve got a dynamic sound (both loud and quiet, people) and any recording they did would have to support low-key gems like “Defeated” as well as four-piece rock numbers like “Car Wreck” and make all that fit together.

And they did it. Really well, in fact, which is why I say they’ve got the Best Local Album Released in the Past 12 Months on their hands here. You can over to their Bandcamp page to download the album, for free or whatever price you want.

You can also vote for all of Regina’s best right here. Do it now; the deadline is September 22.

Best Of Regina 2011: Best Local Twitter Feed

I’m confident I’m backing a winner on this one. I practically don’t even need to write this post. Guy’s a lock.

I’m talking, of course, about @patthebook. A.K.A. Patrick Book –– radio personality for both CJME and CJTR as well as the proprietor of the music blog Sound Salvation Army. He’s great at all those things, but we’re talking about his Twitter feed here, and it’s a great, great thing.

His feed isn’t for the faint of heart; he posts a lot on any given day. (I’m not going to try to count today’s tweets, but leave his feed open for a bit and you might just get one or two tweets coming up, like I did while I was writing this post.) But he’s a real superstar while he’s doing it, always good-humoured and always on his game.

Music, pop culture, local and provincial news, and other minutiae: Book has a whole bunch of it covered really well. He’s also a really generous Twitter user, responding promptly to anyone I’ve seen at-reply him and generally being a booster. Cool dude, that one.

Runner-up: @JasonClermont, because of tweets like this one.

Second runner-up: as I was writing this on Monday night, @CostaMaragosCBC posted this. Tough decisions here, people, but I still say go with Book.

You can vote for all of Regina’s best right here. Do it now; the deadline is September 22.

Best Of Regina Vs. Best Of Saskatoon

As regular readers of prairie dog know, we’re running our yearly, fun-tastic Best of Regina poll right now. Hooray! But hark and forsooth! There’s a situation. According to our data-tracking robots, fewer people have registered for the Regina poll than for sister-paper (and ultimate rival!!!) Planet S’ Best Of Saskatoon thing.


Fact: Regina is better than Saskatoon.* Even Saskatoon’s best city paper, Planet S–which has been around for a mere nine years compared to our 18 — is enough to make that town better than Regina (and anyway they’re not allowed to beat us at our own game). So! Because we’re fun-loving and playful (and also spiteful, over-competitive and jealous) we’re going to to do something about Planet S’ obnoxious Best-Of ballot lead. We (meaning prairie dog) are going to work harder to get the vote out, and we’re going to kick Planet S’ Jupiter-sized butt in reader participation like we did last year. We shall stomp their Saskatoon smugness** right into the bitter muck of second-bestery.

And then, we — and this “we” means you too — shall gloat about how much better Regina is than Saskatoon.

Over the next week and a half, we’re going to write piles of short posts about some of the Best Of Regina categories, and how they’re great, and stuff like that. Jay-Brollo started the parade of shameless promotion earlier today with this post about the Best Store For Romantic Couple Shopping. Check it out  (and try winning THAT category, Wascana Park!).

So that’s that! Let the Great 2011 Best-Of-Regina Shilling begin!


*Regina has prairie dog, prairie dog readers and Wascana Park. ‘Nuff said.

**They’re not really smug at all — actually they’re quite lovely. I’m projecting my own negative qualities. Shh.

Best Of Regina 2011: Best Store For Romantic Couple Shopping

You have to hear me out on this one. I’m not a pro when it comes to a lot of the coupling stuff listed in the Best of Regina 2011. (I do the large, large majority of any sexy-related activities in my own home, thank you very much.) But, I do have an idea for what should win Best Store for Romantic Couple Shopping.

Best Buy.

Hey, wait, where are you going? Come back! Wait!

You still there? Good.

Here’s my justification. The lady and I are big into a few T.V. shows. I feel like we live pretty full lives, and we definitely don’t spend all of our times lounging around on my couch, but we both love a good show and commit to them.

(For the record, if we broke up, I would spend an entire year watching and re-watching Supernatural or something. My only contact would be with the members of the Bartlet administration from The West Wing and none of you would be allowed to judge me for it.)

Emphasis on that “commit” part from before. We come across series in any number of ways: recommendations, critical praise, actors we both like. Sometimes I’m the guy who just vets a series, as I go through a whole lot of T.V. and don’t mind separating the wheat (say, the sweet and really entertaining Chuck) from the chaff (maybe an Off the Map which, despite having Zach Gilford around, never really elevates itself beyond your typical medical drama).

But when we’re both on board for a series, we’re there completely and it becomes something that we share that I really appreciate. It’s nice to have a similar connection to a character like Buddy Garrity from Friday Night Lights and to know that even if he resonates in different ways for both of us, he’s still kinda a part of our collective emotional life.

So when I think of Best Buy, I think of DVD shopping with the lady. And that leads back to doing the T.V. thing. Which I think is pretty romantic. I realize even calling Best Buy a dark-horse candidate for Best Store for Romantic Couple Shopping would be inaccurate, but think about it when you’re going through your own ballot.

You can vote for all of Regina’s best right here. Do it now; the deadline is September 22.

Best Of Regina 2011: It’s Alive! It Liiives!

The 2011 edition of the World’s Most Popular Poll ™ is now open!  Head over here, register, and check out the millions of categories! Many of them are new and/or righteously zany: my favourite new ones include Best Hipster, Best Hippy, Best Person To Get Personal Advice From (i.e. bartender, hairstylist, etc.), Best Bouncer, Best Indoor Public Make-Out Spot and Best Facebook Friend. Also, the entire Best-Of music section has been massively expanded so there’s nothing to stop you from directing attention to your favourite local musicians except your own apathy.

More later today. Feedback? Comments? Gratitude? Complaints? Toss ’em in the comments!

Run For Your Lives, The Best Of Regina 2011 Is Coming! In Like, 15 Minutes!

Barring technical glitches (and whoever heard of technical glitches?) this year’s poll will go live at noon. There are 130-something categories and you’ll have until Sept. 22 to vote so don’t feel pressured to rush through it. You have time for research! But definitely take a look to familiarize yourself with the new poll system we’re using this year. You’ll need to register, but that’s a one-time-only thing, and registration will let you enter any future prairie dog contests. Plus there’s a $1000-value prize at stake so it’s worth two minutes of your time.