This Week At City Hall: I’m Reading The City Budget, You Can Too UPDATED

This Week at City HallI’m setting aside some time tonight to slog through the city’s annual budget documents. I believe this’ll be my sixth. Yeesh.

To change things up a bit this year, I’ve decided I’m going to live tweet the experience. I’ll be using the Twitter account I use to cover city council meetings, @PDcityhall. You can follow along if you wish — it’ll be like you’re reading the budget yourself only it’ll come condensed into easily-consumed 140 character chunks. Alternately, you can bolster my fortitude by sending encouraging tweets my way. (They will be much appreciated.)

Or you can take this as a warning and unfollow that account now so you won’t be bothered by the stream of tedium I’ll be churning out tonight.

Regardless, the “fun” should start around 9pm.

UPDATE: Worked from 9ish to just past midnight and read through the summary document. Whoo hoo! That’s 6 whole pages! (I also double checked stuff in past budgets. And drank a lot of gin. I wasn’t totally slacking.) I’ll pick up again Thursday night. 9ish.

My impression of the budget so far: Not impressed by the one per cent set aside for road repair. In dollar terms, it’s only a $1.6 million increase over last year. So basically the same amount that the road repair budget has been increasing every year. I wouldn’t be surprised if the extra $1.6 million barely covers the increased costs of buying asphalt and paying workers.

Next, am I the only one to be surprised to hear that we’re selling the Municipal Justice Building on 11th and Halifax? And does it seem strange that the city says they’re getting a mere $400 thousand for it?

On the up side of this budget it’s nice to see the city adding 15 low-floor buses to the transit fleet this year. And they’re replacing six paratransit buses. Yay transit!

Also worth noting is the situation around the one per cent of the PST we get from the provincial government. This year, that works out to $39.9 million. Which is pretty sweet. But apparently the province changed the formula for calculating the money municipalities get and as a result we’re getting $2.5 million less than what we expected based on the old formula. The city suggests this is another factor contributing to the seven per cent mill rate increase.

As for that hefty hefty mill rate increase… don’t know what to think yet. For years I’ve kind of advocated for bumping the property tax rate higher to cope with housing and the infrastructure deficit. But now that we’re getting that bump, I’m wondering if we’re doing it for the right reasons. Think I’ll have to read more before I come to a decision. It’s a gutsy move for this council. We haven’t had a mill rate increase above 4.5 per cent since at least 2003. Of course, this is coming at the start of year two in this council’s term. This will be largely forgotten come election time in 2016. Best to get the big jump out of the way now, I guess.

New Dog!

Hello Meghan! Hello Eric!Hello Meghan and Eric! What’s that you’ve got there? HOLY SHIT, is that a new issue of Prairie Dog?!?!?!?  I heard it’s a really good one, too — lots of stuff to read! For example:

GOODBYE, BUY THE BOOK Another bookstore closes, leaving our city of 200,000 with a grand total of three. Paul Dechene has the official Prairie Dog angle.

THE NEIL YOUNG EXPERIENCE Rick Pollard reports from the press conference while Stephen Whitworth complains about shoddy media coverage.

WHEN JOSH BROLIN BAKED PEACH PIES EVERY DAY Jorge Ignacio Castillo sat down with the Labor Day star and director Jason Reitman, and chatted about their new movie.

MAGNETA LANE IS BACK! Sometimes a good band needs to take some time off. That’s what Toronto’s Magneta Lane did. And now they’re back with a Tuesday show at O’Hanlon’s in Regina, Saskatchewan. Things are looking up! Chris Morin talks to the talented trio.

WHAT ELSE? The usual hurricane of awesome stuff, including restaurant reviewsfilm reviews, Street Wear, Barking Dogs*, David Suzuki, Gwynne Dyer, News Quirks*, Chilblains, Did You Know: The Superbowl Edition, My Music*, Typo Wiener, Top 6* columns, CD reviews, Queen City Confidential, Sound Check, Hnetflix, listings, listings and more listings, and more! Pick up a copy and taste the awesomeness!

Yup, you guys are going to really enjoy the Jan. 23 Prairie Dog! Lots of people will! It’s out there at something like 400 locations city-wide! And it’s free! But you’ve only got two weeks to get a copy, and then it will be replaced with a new issue. So hurry!

*Print only.

New Smaug!

New Dog (december 12)Who’s that reading the new Prairie Dog? It’s cartoonist Dakota McFadzean (left) and his auxiliary cartoonist brother, Jonah! Dakota’s home for the holidays, as you know if you read last issue. Hopefully you caught his book signing at the RPL last week — I didn’t because 1.) I suck and 2.) I had (and still have) the goddamn monkey plague. Anyhoo, Dakota brought his pen, ink and paper with him, as you can tell by the cover he drew for us. Smaug, of course, is the dragon from The Hobbit, and the version Dakota drew shows him eating… oh dear, are those Santa’s reindeer? And where’s Santa… uh oh. Who approved this horrible cover?

So what’s in this issue? Well!

THE HOBBIT I hear that some  alleged movie critics base their reviews on pirated downloads they watch on their computer moniters. Our accredited critic, however, actually gets into advance media screenings of films. Want an informed opinion by a real critic with a film degree who saw the movie in the theatre as it was meant to be seen? Jorge’s your guy. Here’s his review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, which he saw Monday. (Also reviews of How I Live Now and Inside Llewyn Davis).

ANOTHER WINTER, ANOTHER REGINA MASS EVICTION A buildingful of people get eviction notices with the whole winter ahead of them. God help anyone who rents in this town.

MANDELA WAS NOT BELOVED BY CONSERVATIVES He’s been almost universally praised as the last great political hero of the 20th century but right-wingers sure didn’t love him at the time.

WHAT ELSE? All the usual unicorns are here: NewsQuirks, Science Matters, Gwynne Dyer, Remedial Science, a bunch of Top 6 columns, Queen City Confidential, Typo Wiener, album reviews, Hnetflix, Sound Check, My Music and more. Good issue, and the last one before Christmas. Pick up a copy! It’s a good li’l paper.

New Dog: It Will Hurt Your Brain So Good

New Dog (november 28-1)The new issue of Prairie Dog is out and look at this poor dude, it’s so good it’s completely blown his mind. Meet Chad Boudreau, overlord of ComicReaders downtown, a.k.a. Regina’s Best Comic Shop. He’s reading Emmet Matheson’s interview with Regina-born cartoonist Dakota McFadzean, who is one insanely talented guy. (Also, while you can’t see it, Chad’s also standing under a piece of art by Dakota’s brother, Jonah. Talented family!)

I’m a little worried that Chad’s poor brain will be completely scrambled by the time he finishes this issue because there’s just so much awesome stuff to read. For example:

GOOD TIMES IN RIDERTOWN Stephen LaRose picked the Riders to finish 8-10 and lose the Western semifinal. He’s so glad he was wrong.

MARIJUANA MALFUNCTION Greg Beatty interviews Robin Hove, who was outed as a medical marijuana user by a stupidly addressed letter from Health Canada.

STARVING STREETS Regina roads are crumbling because the city doesn’t spend the money that’s needed to maintain them. Paul Dechene has more.

MYTHBUSTERS! Paul Dechene interviews Adam Savage (he’s the chatty mythbuster).

HERE COMES SCIENCE! Ashleigh Mattern has a new column about an incredibly important  topic that just doesn’t get enough love.

AND MORE, MORE MORE We wrote so much for Chad and the rest of you guys this issue! There’s album  and film reviews, Hnetflix, Typo Wiener, Queen City Confidential, Sound Check, News Quirks, columns by Gwynne Dyer and David Suzuki, Top 6 columns, Chilblains, My Music and probably at least two or three more things I’ve forgotten. Get your free Prairie Dog from street boxes, display racks and miscellaneous countertops all over Regina!

New Dog! And What A Dog!

New Dog (november 14)It’s Thursday, the magical weekday when new issues of Prairie Dog come out! And today there’s an extra good one! Yessir/ma’am, it’s our Best Of Regina edition, where we profile our readers’ picks for the city’s best people, events, media, shops, activities and more! Upstanding citizens like Amy, Eoin, Louisa and Betsy (pictured!) are already enjoying the new PD. You should pick up a free copy and enjoy it too! It’s available at 400 locations city-wide.

So what’s in this one? Glad you asked! There’s so much great stuff! Such as:

THE BEST OF REGINA The annual reader poll ran over 20,000 words, which is probably the biggest we’ve ever gone. We definitely had the strongest voter turnout. Also, John Gormley wrote something in it. Yup, really. Read the whole damn thing here.

THE UNOFFICIAL GREY CUP MANUAL Hey, it’s an unsanctioned, not-endorsed-by-the-CFL guide to the excitement and events of Grey Cup week! Fun! Highly recommended for football fans and other humans. Also, a gynecologist answers questions about Regina!

New Dog (november 14-2)

A REGULAR ISSUE OF PRAIRIE DOG ON TOP OF ALL THAT! Read all about the Sherwood Accord, the Caraway Grill, Mars, the dark side of Disneyland, Pandacorn, beer from Manchester, Rob Ford, Rob Ford and more Rob Ford! And much, much, much more!

So that’s the new, 52-page edition of Prairie Dog! I think it’s a special one and you will too. Unless you’re Rob Ford.

*Well, every second Thursday. Because we publish bi-weekly.

New Dog!

© Chris Graham Photo 2013The new issue of Prairie Dog is here! Huzzah! Let’s start this off by saluting this issue’s celebrity Typo Wiener, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. I met Premier Wall last week at the Legislature to give him his $10 and T-shirt prize and he was friendly, personable and genuine. He and I certainly wouldn’t agree with all of each other’s politics, but Wall ain’t Canada’s most popular premier for nuttin’. Along with the Typo Wiener T-shirt, we gave Premier Wall one of Myron Campbell’s excellent, surreal limited edition 2010 Prairie Dog T-shirts, which you can see in Chris Graham’s photo.  Myron’s shirt is a great, freaky take on the Saskatchewan subconscious and they’re genuine works of art (and yes, we still have a few left for sale, plug, plug).

So what else is in this one? Lots!

LITTLE MISS HIGGINS One of our favourite Saskatchewan musicians has a new album and better yet, an upcoming Regina concert. Read all about it.

CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THAT P3 STUFF Saskatchewan needs more schools and by gum, we’re gonna use public private partnerships to build ’em.

REALLY GREAT FIRST NATION’S PAINTERS Their work is at the MacKenzie and you should read about it.

BALANCED BUDGET LAWS = DUMB Paul Dechene essplains why.

ENDER’S GAME! Jorge reviews it.

Plus! News Quirks, Science Matters, Gwynne Dyer, Hnetflix, Sound Check, CD reviews, a bunch of Top 6 columns, Queen City Confidential, letters to the editor, Pints, My Music, Chilblains and lots more neat stuff!

The new Prairie Dog! It’s delightful. Pick it up at street boxes, supermarkets, drug and convenience stores and hundreds of other miscellaneous locations city-wide.

A Very Scary New Dog

New Dog (october 17)Mooah ha ha ha haaa! Velcome, my freends and fiends, to a very special eee-shoo oof “Regina’s Spooky Alternative!” Eeenside, you vill find terrifying horrors zat vill frighten you so mooch, you might very vell poop your pants!

Do you theenk I am kiddink, pants-poopers? That I am pooling your legs? Trust me, I vould only pull your legs eef I vere goink to zuck all ze bloooood oot oof theem!

Ha-ah-ah-ahhh!

Here are some of ze blood-curdlink theengs you vill find eeenside ze new Scary Dog!

SPARKS BUT NO FIRE Ze new government agency Creative Saskatchewan ees tasked vith promoting arteests who are doink vork vith commercial viabileety, ah ha ha! But vill eet save ze film eendustry, vhich has been chased avay by Brad Vall? No eet vill not! Vanda Schmöckel und her Transylvanian umlaut writes thees very scary story!

CURRENT A-FEARS Do you geet eet? It ees a pun on ze phrase “current affairs”! Ha-ah-ah-ah! Paul ” Diabolical” Dechene brings you oop to date on ze latest “noose”, und also, costume suggestions!

ZE ZOMBIEOLOGIST Vith a last name like “Ozog”, you vould theenk zat our Street Scare profile vould be a goblin, not a human! But Cassie ees a human! A human who has tamed ze very scary zombies on her very scary roller derby team! “Ashley “Rotten” Rankin reports!

13 HORRORS OOF REGINA Scary Dog’s bravest writers varn you about such frightening monsters as ze Boom Kaiju*, ze Ghosts Oof Ze Film Eendustry, ze  body-snatching New Democratic Pods From Space und ze horrible und fearsome Regina Dentata! Read thees at your peril, and eenjoy ze “ill”-ustrations (ha ha!) by “Undead” Dakota McFadzean!

UND THEES THEENGS! Howling Dogs, Queen City Cthulhu, My Muzeek vith Scary Dogs, ze Mayor oof ze Sea, Halloween movies, books und activities, Sound Hex und mooch, mooch more!  

Truly, this eee-shoo oof Scary Dog must be read een the bathroom, because eet ees so horrifying  zat no reader’s pants vill be un-pooped!

Mooah-ah ha ha ha haaah!

*Ze spooky spellcheek changed zis to “Boom Kailua” een ze actual printed papper und ve deed not noteece! Ve feexed eet on ze veb, zo. Typos: ze scariest theeng oof all!

Student Debt In The News

In case you missed it, tuition at Saskatchewan universities is rising faster than anywhere else in the country. From CBC:

Saskatchewan university students have been hit with the highest tuition increases in Canada this year, a new Statistics Canada report says. According to the StatsCan report released Thursday, undergraduate tuition for the 2013-2014 academic year went up 4.7 per cent in Saskatchewan — the highest percentage increase of all provinces. All provinces saw increases, with the exception of Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, which were under a tuition freeze. Tuition in Manitoba went up 1.6 per cent. The national inflation rate over the same period was about 1.3 per cent. Saskatchewan’s tuition increases for graduate students (4.9 per cent) and international students (6.7 per cent) were also the highest in Canada.

But that’s the country we live in. Over 20 years the Chretien and Martin Liberals and Harper Conservatives built a nation where advanced education is increasingly not affordable. (We also live in a country where the gap between the rich and the rest of us is always growing, but these things just happen. It’s not like government policies tend to favour the wealthy.)

You know, Prairie Dog ran a 5,000 word feature on student debt recently — in fact, it’s in the current issue. You should read it. And after you read it, you could leave a comment, or perhaps even write a signed letter to the editor (300 words max).

I mean, if anyone cares; if we as a society want university and college education to be affordable. Maybe we don’t.

As one commentator says, “Who really cares if the educated have trouble accepting the facts of life? Fact is, I have no debt, make fantastic money, and never went to school.”

Pick Of The Day Two: Rae Street Yard Sale

Photo on 2013-08-24 at 09.02 2I’m totally abusing my Powers of a Blog Administrator to let you know about our first (hopefully annual) neighbourhood yard sale on the 2300 block of Rae Street.

On right now!

We have at least five houses participating. More will set up as the morning progresses. And there is a ton of great stuff for cheap.

And even though we’ve blocked the street off (have a permit for it and everything) there is ample parking at both the north and south end of the block.

New Dog!

New Dog (august 22)Hey! I forgot to tell all you lovely readerlings that there’s a new issue out. Well, you probably figured it out already. But if not you should definitely make sure to pick the new Prairie Dog up–there’s SO much good stuff in it! Let’s take a virtual tour…

THE LABOUR DAY REPORT Most of the feature is about the scourge of union-bashing. Yup, thanks to years of well-funded anti-union propaganda, organized labour is often seen as public enemy number one. What’s up with that? Paul Dechene and Lisa Johnson get into it. There’s also an update on Saskatchewan’s anti-labour legislation by the esteemed Greg “Gregory” Beatty.

NO END IN SIGHT Foreign students Victoria Ordu and Favour Amadi worked a few shifts at Walmart in unintentional violation of their visas and as a result they were ordered deported by a hang-’em high immigration officer. Phooey to that. Unfortunately, the two have been in sanctuary for more than 400 days. Vanda Schmockel updates their sitch.

RACIST IMMIGRANTS Gwynne Dyer makes fun of Australia, and it is hilarious.

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS Prairie Dog finally gets around to writing something about that wicked-cool show at the Science Centre. Take it away, Beatty!

NEW STADIUMS WON’T SAVE THEM The Blue Bombers just got a new facility, but oh nooo! They still suck! Rosie ponders what this means for the Riders.

THE END OF THE WORLD, AND HE FEELS FINE Jorge Castillo reviews the new movie from the Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz team.

AND MORE, MORE, MORE! Top 6 columns, letters to the editor, News Quirks, Dakota’s excellent comic Chilblains, Bonus Column, Queen City Confidential, My Music, Science Matters, CD reviews and more! Hooray for the new Prairie Dog! Pick it up wherever awesome free newspapers are distributed.

Read Our Reviews Then Make Up Your Mind For Yourself

The new issue hits stands today, which means a new page of reviews for you to read. Did Aidan Morgan like the new Dinosaur Bones? Nope! Did part of my Pop. 1280 review send my editor rushing to Wikipedia? Probably!

You can actually listen to the two other records we reviewed in their entirety, online, right now. CBC Music is streaming all of Rae Spoon’s My Prairie Home, along with an interview with the folk/electronic/everything artist. Emmet Matheson loved the record, saying in the new Prairie Dog that

Spoon has developed into a real master of intimacy over the course of their songwriting career, and this fundamentally human story of a person who longs to be loved for who they are, even as they try to figure out who that may be, connects.

Dog Party have all of their debut, Lost Control, up over at Rookie. There’s also plenty of great interview stuff happening over there, too, with the teen garage duo talking about influences, playing when you’re too young for bars and all that good stuff.

New Dog!

New Dog (july 25)That guy? That guy right there? That’s Heath Mulligan, one of the top astronauts at our Saskatoon sister paper Planet S. Heath’s down for the week on some kind of secret mission which as far as I can tell involves disrupting our office with  filthy jokes and disgusting chatter and making me drink even more than I usually do. What a jerk. Anyway! Heath’s holding the excellent, excellent new issue of Prairie Dog which is being rolled out all over the city as I type this. It’s a really, really good one and you need to pick it up RIGHT NOW. There are so many great articles inside it! So! Many!

They include:

THE 2013 REGINA FOLK FESTIVAL GUIDE! Every single issue of Prairie Dog includes a huuuge guide to this year’s Folk Fest, which has a complete list of all of the artists who will descend on Victoria Park for some hella good times. Because I’m an absent-minded imbecile, I forgot to mention this on the cover. But it’s in there! Really!

WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANT REFERENDUM DRAMAPALOOZA! After Regina’s city clerk rejected Regina Water Watch’s waste water treatment plant petition for specious reasons, citizens were enraged–enraged!!!— and city council bowed to that rage, voting to hold Regina’s first referendum since 1988. We’ve got lots on that, including comment from Mayor Michael Fougere who led the surprise vote. Here’s the story!

ROOMING HOUSE BATTLE-A-RAMA! On July 10 the city held an information session on changes to rooming house legislation and hoo boy, peeps be agitated! Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth (that’s me!) calls Paul Dechene’s story on the meeting “one of my all-time favourite Prairie Dog stories!” It’s that good. You must read it!

BEANS AND BUGS You can eat both at the best damn restaurant in Vibank, Saskatchewan! Aidan “The Amazing Morgan” Morgan .

AND AS ALWAYS: Gwynne Dyer, David Suzuki, Chilblains, News Quirks, Top 6 columns, Bonus Column,My Music, Queen City Confidential and more! Pick up the paper and devour the awesomeness like it was a delicious grasshopper!

New Dog!

Cover-July 11Hey, there’s a new issue of Prairie Dog out today! So what’s in the latest edition of Regina’s Only Alternative? Lots of great stuff, that’s what! In the news section we have a great story by the magnificent Paul Dechene on the disaster that is Glendale, Arizona’s deal with the NHL to keep the Phoenix Coyotes. Paul also wrote a piece on the city clerk’s questionably nit-picky review of a petition filed by the group Regina Water Watch. It’s a must read. Plus we’ve got a piece by Saskatchewan’s feistiest sociologist about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s rapidly detumescing  poll numbers.

Also: you know how music articles are, uh, maybe, sometimes, er, dull? Aidan Morgan’s epic interview with Regina punk/New Wave legend The Extroverts is not boring. It might be indulgent, ridiculous and insane, but it’s not boring. Got to be one of the greatest pieces of music journalism ever published in Saskatchewan.You should read it. Also, Chris Morin has a companion piece for less adventurous people who like their reading material bullshit-free. (#DifferentStrokes)

In addition to all that great stuff we’ve got Drink! The Beverage Issue, our annual foray into the world of booze. Okay, so we write about booze all the time. This issue has a much higher blood-alcohol content than usual, though. It’s got stuff on sangria, beer cocktails,  drinking songs and douchebags.

Plus! Dakota McFadzean’s Chilblains, Street Wear, Film Reviews, Bonus Column, Queen City Confidential, Top 6 Columns, Queen City Confidential, Typo Wiener, NewsQuirks, letters and more. It’s all good stuff, There’s nothing else like Prairie Dog. Pick up a copy, or be lame!

New Dog!

New Dog (may 30)

It’s out and it looks great! Recommended items for immediate perusal: Bonus Column, the News section Top 6 (print only, suckas!), a re-cap Paul Dechene’s palpable disappointment at that housing summit we had a while back,  Jorge’s interview with the director of the awkwardly punctuated James Franco film Interior. Leather Bar, the print version of Aw NHL Naw (any similarities with yesterday’s blog Naw will be ferociously denied), a brutal column by Gwynne Dyer about a brutal topic and, hmmm, wasn’t there something else really big? Nope, can’t remember it.

New, New, New Dog!

New Dog (may 16)The latest Prairie Dog is out, out OUT and it’s great and you should grab a copy at your nearest street box or convenience store or restaurant counter or friendly neighbourhood pub! People! There are at least four reasons you MUST do this! Here they are!

1.) Prairie Dog is a fan-fucking-tastic newspaper and there’s nothing else like it in the province!

2.) Smart, talented, funny, friendly and sexy people read Prairie Dog and since you are (OBVIOUSLY) all of those things, this is the paper for you!

3.) Prairie Dog is a magic potion of genius news reporting and opinionating and HAIL-arious stupid bullshit, plus cartoons! If you read it you’ll see things no one else can see; do things no one else will do! Come ON do I have to keep explaining this?

4.) I can’t remember what the fourth reason was so I asked Morash (publisher) and he said “it will make you taller or at least raise your standing among your peers.” YEAH.

WHAT EXACTLY IS IN THIS EDITION THAT HAS WHITWORTH JIBBER-JABBERING LIKE AN ADHD GERBIL ON A SUGAR HIGH, YOU ASK? Oh, lots of stuff. This Prairie Dog starts off with another amazing cover by Shuster Award winning cartoonist Dakota McFadzean! Flip on into the paper and there’s a hoarder’s attic of great stuff to read — NewsQuirks, a review of Little Saigon, Top 6 columns, a Q &A with a dead pet, a story on the organized labour-bashing Bill 85 (which was just passed in the Sask. legislature), a beautiful obituary for Regina’s indoor skatepark, about eight sentences on our gallant Fougemayor’s housing summit, interviews with the bands Cannibal Corpse and Chains Of Love,  an epic column by John Conway about Stephen Harper’s assholery, CD reviews, Sound Check and Hnetflix, a review of The Great Gatsby, Dan MacRae’s awesomely dumb-ass hockey column, Queen City Confidential, Typo Wiener and more, more, more, MORE!

Prairie Dog! Holy poop, you guys! It’s the most unique reading experience you’ll find in Regina!

New Dog!

New Dog (may 2)I know Regina doesn’t like negativity. Oh, do I know. But even this town’s stare-at-the-sunny-side-until-its-eyes-melt citizenry unites in collective wrath at the snow season that’s only just ended. And why not? The winter of 2012-12 was a frozen, loitering molester that overstayed its welcome by at least six weeks, crushing our dreams of a warm and lovely April in the process. This cold cur, this icy cad, this frosty cockadoodledipstick has earned every fleck of rage-propelled spittle that our righteously frothed gobs can expel. Ptoouii!

But winter’s over now! And to make sure it stays over, we combed through our file photos to find the most springy, warm-weathery image we could for this issue’s cover. BEHOLD! This 2010 shot by Darrol Hofmeister features Whitney and Derek frolicking on a sun-lit Wascana Park path. So bright! So cheerful! So devoid of icicles! Let this Prairie Dog cover be Regina’s talisman against any further unseasonal precipitations of a sub-zero nature.

If you see so much as a speck of snow before October, just roll this edition up and smash that fucker until satisfaction is achieved.

SO WHAT’S IN THIS ISSUE? So glad you asked! Ridiculous weather is the focus of both Greg Beatty’s report on the science of the season and an Aidan Morgan essay on April’s under-appreciated horror. Elsewhere, our mighty American friend Paul Constant delves into his nation’s post-Boston, conspiracy-obsessed psyche, while me and Paul Dechene team up for a beat-down on the Conservative party’s latest boundary commission malarkey (fun game: try to guess what parts I wrote). What else? Oh, lots of stuff. We’ve got film and CD reviews, Canada’s most  ADD hockey column, a new Ask Greg (it’s been a while!) and of course the always-popular “and much more”. It’s a good little issue of Prairie Dog! Pick it up at your nearest street box, convenience store, restaurant, pub or coffeeshop, or wherever better free publications are available.

Best Of Food: Give Me Kimchi Or Give Me Death

Best of Food 2013April is the polling month for the epic democratic nonsense that is Prairie Dog’s annual Best Of Food reader’s poll! Pick up a copy of the latest ‘Dog for a list of the categories, or just head here to vote for your favourite restaurants, meals, bars and pubs, and food people right now! The more votes we get, the more fun and meaningful the results will be.

I’m so excited about Best Of Food 2013 that I’m going to showcase one category every day until voting ends next week. Today’s spotlight is a new category in 2013: Best Korean Restaurant!

Who would’ve thought that in 2013 we’d have enough Korean restaurants, and restaurants serving Korean dishes, to justify a vote for the best one? Not I! And yet here we are: we’ve got, that I’m aware of, Korea House, Life Is Good Korean BBQ, Orange Izakaya, Sake and Miso all either dedicated to Korean cuisine or at least serving some great dishes (there’s a Korean salad at Miso that’s pretty darn yummy). So if you crave bibimbap (who doesn’t?) or lust for kimchi (I do!), Regina now has you functionally covered.

And yet, we must know: what is Regina’s Best Korean Restaurant? Go forth and vote!

Best Of Food 2013: A Vote For Potatoes Is A Vote for Breakfast

Best of Food 2013April is the polling month for the epic democratic nonsense that is Prairie Dog’s annual Best Of Food reader’s poll! Pick up a copy of the latest ‘Dog for a list of the categories, or just head here to vote for your favourite restaurants, meals, bars and pubs, and food people right now! The more votes we get, the more fun and meaningful the results will be.

I’m so excited about Best Of Food 2013 that I’m going to showcase one category every day until voting ends next week. Today’s spotlight: Best Hash Browns.

I love hash browns! These fried breakfast friends are so delicious! True hash browns are a fried-up pile of shredded (hashed) potatoes but the term also applies to fried chunky potatoes, fried cubed potatoes, deep-friend potato patties and pre-formed fried heart attack nuggets. They’re salted, seasoned and often have fired fried onions mixed in. Yum! Hooray for hash browns!

What restaurant served Regina’s best hash browns over the last 12 months? What place has the hash browns you’d want to feed your sexy, potato-loving  breakfast date? Let everyone know by voting in Best Of Food 2013!

(And if you don’t give a hoot about hash browns you should still vote, because s0meone’s going to win $500 in gift certificates to some of Regina’s best restaurants. It might as well be you!)

New Dog!

2013-04-18 cover

It’s new Prairie Dog day and you know what that means (besides the fact that there’s a new issue of Prairie Dog out)? It means that it’s my job to write a blog post promoting it! BAD NEWS: I don’t have anything to say. I’m getting ready for a three-day Juno rampage and I could care less about blogging right now. GOOD NEWS: I don’t have to say anything! This is a great issue and it speaks for itself!

WHAT’S AWESOME: The JunoFest Manual is pretty goddamned good! It opens with a message from Prairie Dog’s favourite Regina dignitary, the Mayor of the Sea, then launches into a manual with basic information about this city. And after that: interviews! We talked to The Pack A.D., Two Hours Traffic, the Barr Brothers, Library Voices, 11 local bands and the always excellent Jian Ghomeshi! Also, there’s a bingo card!

WHAT’S EXCELLENT: Paul Dechene’s piece on visiting psychic Chip Coffey is a must-read! Dan MacRae’s ridiculous hockey column, Aw NHL Naw, is great! Stephen LaRose’s essay on Leonard Cohen is terrific!

WHAT’S SUPER: Greg Beatty’s interview with Architecture Of Saskatchewan author Bernie Flaman is an absolutely essential read for anyone who cares about buildings. Dechene’s news story on the NDP getting smeared by the Tories over their non-opposition to Keystone XL is pretty good. And I also loved Dechene’s News Brief on the new Mo Bundon park. No offence to Mo Bundon, who I’m sure is lovely, but there must be better people to name a park after than a VP of Harvard Developments. Seems tacky.

SO ANYWAY New Prairie Dog! Pick it up, puppies!

To The Conservative Malcontents On Twitter Who Are Still Mad At Me For Criticizing The Late Ralph Klein

Read this piece by Glenn Greenwald on talking about dead politicians.

But the key point is this: those who admire the deceased public figure (and their politics) aren’t silent at all. They are aggressively exploiting the emotions generated by the person’s death to create hagiography. Typifying these highly dubious claims about Thatcher was this (appropriately diplomatic) statement from President Obama: “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend.” Those gushing depictions can be quite consequential, as it was for the week-long tidal wave of unbroken reverence that was heaped on Ronald Reagan upon his death, an episode that to this day shapes how Americans view him and the political ideas he symbolized. Demanding that no criticisms be voiced to counter that hagiography is to enable false history and a propagandistic whitewashing of bad acts, distortions that become quickly ossified and then endure by virtue of no opposition and the powerful emotions created by death. When a political leader dies, it is irresponsible in the extreme to demand that only praise be permitted but not criticisms.

Whatever else may be true of her, Thatcher engaged in incredibly consequential acts that affected millions of people around the world. She played a key role not only in bringing about the first Gulf War but also using her influence to publicly advocate for the 2003 attack on Iraq. She denounced Nelson Mandela and his ANC as “terrorists”, something even David Cameron ultimately admitted was wrong. She was a steadfast friend to brutal tyrants such as Augusto Pinochet, Saddam Hussein andIndonesian dictator General Suharto (“One of our very best and most valuable friends”). And as my Guardian colleague Seumas Milne detailed last year, “across Britain Thatcher is still hated for the damage she inflicted – and for her political legacy of rampant inequality and greed, privatisation and social breakdown.”

To demand that all of that be ignored in the face of one-sided requiems to her nobility and greatness is a bit bullying and tyrannical, not to mention warped.

You can read (and comment on) my short and, his legacy considered, fairly gentle piece on Ralph Klein here.