Behind The Songs & Trifecta Concert Series

There’s a couple of multi-musician showcases happening in Regina tonight.

At Creative City Centre (1843 Hamilton), there’s another instalment in the popular Behind the Songs series where local singer-songwriters sit down with each other to talk about their craft and perform songs for the audience. Stepping up tonight are Megan Nash, Grey Gritt and the Stillhouse Poets. As always, there will be an open mike afterwards.

Doors at Creative City Centre are at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $20. You can find out more information on the CCC website.

Just down the street at Ragged Ass Barbers (1965 Hamilton, above Victoria’s Tavern) there’s the second instalment in the Trifecta Concert Series. The performers tonight are Keiffer McLean, Nick Faye, Acadence, Madison Nichol and Nolan Grand. Doors are at 7 p.m., and admission is $8 before 9 p.m., and $10 after.

To close, here’s a 2015 video for Nick Faye’s song “Head In Your Hands”:

Weekly Reckoning: Checkon Yourself Before You Reckon Yourself Edition

weekly-reckoningIt’s a reckon every second around here.

WENCHES WELCOME HERE Local vanity project owner Jason Hall is in hot water this week after an ad for event staff at Kitschbomb Stonehall Castle asked for applicants’ measurements. Hall seems to be under the impression that his reputation as a landlord is making him a target for ire, rather than the fact that he asked for women’s exact measurements.

FINALLY, SOMEONE WITH THE RIGHT IDEA Slate’s Daniel Engber takes a look at the state of the world and decides that the best solution is to eradicate all of the mosquitoes. What a great idea! Even if they’re not showing up to the party with Zika and malaria and chikungunya and that old dengue fever, they’re still making off with our blood and leaving nothing but itchy bumps behind. Let’s whip these welters.

I’M STARTING TO THINK THAT FLINT IS JUST DYSTOPIA’S TEST LAB You think that lead content in Flint’s water is a disgrace? It’s so much worse than that.

Y IN THE SKY January 28 marked the 30th anniversary of the Challenger shuttle explosion. Jason Kottke has a round-up of stories on the disaster.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: CETAPHILE? I’m aware of how tortured and ridiculous that pun is, but these are ridiculous, torturous times. Especially when you discover that Justin Trudeau wants to ratify the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA.

Dressler & Chick Released

Rider LogoThe changes keep on coming for the Green & White, as the team announced today that it had parted ways with two fan favourites: receiver Weston Dressler and defensive lineman John Chick.

Both are veteran players in their 30s with relatively large salaries, and in the team’s announcement GM/Head Coach Chris Jones said efforts to renegotiate their contracts had not been successful and the team had reached the difficult decision to release them.

Jones has said that he wants to get bigger at the receiver position, and with both Dressler and impressive 25-year old rookie Ryan Smith on the small side, it seemed unlikely that both would remain on the roster. Smith is a free agent, so jettisoning Dressler could clear the way to signing him. Or the team may decide to not pursue him either.

As for Chick, he enjoyed some dominant years with the Riders, and celebrated Grey Cups in 2007 and 2013. But again, he’s in the twilight of his career, and carries a hefty contract, and in a salary cap environment finances inevitably play a role in player personnel decisions.

We’ll be running our first Rider Fan Forum of the 2016 CFL season in the Feb. 18 issue, by the way. In November, Ron Mexico forecast that both Dressler and Chick could be on their way out. So it’ll be interesting to see what he and Earl Camembert, Cal Corduroy and John’s Chick have to say about the team.

Christmas Bird Count

Each year between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5, naturalists in different locations in North America and elsewhere make a point of getting out and doing a bird count to get the lay of the avian landscape during the depths of winter. This year’s count in Regina and area goes on Sunday Dec. 27 between 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

You can find out more information on the bird count, along with details on how to participate, by visiting the Nature Regina website. If you check the event calendar, you’ll see that a second bird count is being held in the Balgonie area during daylight hours on Saturday, Jan. 2.

As a side note, we did an article on citizen science a few issues back, and one of the projects we highlighted was an online data base called eBird where people who are interested in bird-watching can register and then record birds they see both in their home region and any other areas of the world they might happen to visit.

You can find out more about eBird here.

Digestible Budget Nuggets! They’re Easy To Digest!

Council met last night for a special, marathon meeting on the 2016 city budgets. Here are all my tweets so you can live every minute of a six hour council session.

But since you’ve probably got better stuff to do with your day, I’ll spoil the highlights: Council was able to reduce the proposed 3.9% property tax increase to 3.3%. And they dropped the proposed utility rate increase from 6% to 5%.

You can follow all my live-tweeting of city stuff at @PDCityHall.

There will be a summary of the council meeting in the next issue of Prairie Dog (out Thursday). And I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll be discussing the budget on Thursday’s Queen City Improvement Bureau — that’s the radio show I do with Aidan Morgan every Thursday evening at 7pm on 91.3 CJTR (episode archive here).

Advance Polls

Earth_Eastern_HemisphereSo I guess advance polls are open over the Thanksgiving weekend. If you’ve received a voter information card, and assuming the information on it is correct (which apparently it always hasn’t been), your advance poll location will be listed on it.

Unlike with previous federal elections, advance polls are open on Sunday as well as Friday, Saturday and Monday. That was a change the Harper Conservatives made in the Fair Election Act. It’s been speculated that was done for political advantage. Since polling stations are often located in churches, the idea is that the faithful will go to church on Sunday and then troop downstairs to vote. Find out more in this Ottawa Sun report.

There’s also some arrangement going on at the University of Regina where students who are in town to study can vote in their home riding by doing some write-in thing. Find out more in this CBC report.

So if you’ve got your mind made up, and want to cast your ballot before Judgement Day on Oct. 19, have at it.

Election 2015: Where In The World Is Trent Fraser? (And, For That Matter, All The Other CPC Candidates)


cdnelxncircleUPDATE: Surprise. According to the L-P’s Emma Graney, Trent Fraser will be at tomorrow night’s televised Access debate.

Last week, Trent Fraser, Conservative candidate for Regina–Lewvan, informed the CBC that skipping public debates and forums is part of his party’s election strategy.

Personally, his confession strikes me as a pretty serious gaffe but it hasn’t received much attention. Not even locally. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this would get overshadowed by that other cornerstone of the Conservative’s election strategy:

Stoking fears of terrorist fifth-columnists!

I guess we’ll find out tonight if Fraser is sticking to the Conservative playbook as there’s another forum for candidates in Regina–Lewvan. It’s being put on by the Cathedral Community Association board at the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre. (That’s across the street from the 13th Ave Safeway at 2900 13th Ave. Show starts at 7pm Show up earlier if you want a seat.)

Continue reading “Election 2015: Where In The World Is Trent Fraser? (And, For That Matter, All The Other CPC Candidates)”

Election 2015: Random, Folksy, Stephen Harper-Themed Sayings

cdnelxncircleI’m writing this thing about the election and I get to this point where I think I need a folksy saying. And I say to myself, “I want something like ‘Every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings,’ except it’d be about Harper.”

That line about bells and angels is from Zuzu Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life and it has this great Mad Libs structure: “Every time [blank] a [blank happens]“. It’s been used by comedians for-basically-ever. My personal favourite is from Dylan Moran: “Berlusconi, in Italy, right… He’s so fucking crooked he sleeps on a spiral staircase! So thoroughly corrupt, every time he smiles an angel gets gonorrhoea!”

Anyway, I wanted something like that. Except I’m no Dylan Moran so I was thinking, shit, wouldn’t it be great if there was a random generator for this sort of thing? Then my job would be done. And I googled and googled and there was nothing quite right so I thought, great, I’ll just have to do it myself. And that means I could put my actual work aside for a while and take on this utterly useless exercise.

Here it is for your amusement and/or use in your next article about the election. All you need is a ten-sided die (because everybody has ten-sided dice lying around their house, right? RIGHT?!). Roll it twice, once for each column, and you can make your own folksy sayings like “You know what they say, every time Harper goes up a point in the polls somewhere an oil executive gets a hard-on.”



Further to anti-abortion bullshit like the “We Need A Law” tour I mentioned in Daily Aggregation … I’ve just learned that Lindy West, a great writer and one of my heroes, created the #ShoutYourAbortion hashtag on Twitter a couple of days ago. It’s function: to let women share the fact that they’ve had an abortion.

Women sharing their stories is important, because when abortion becomes something people are scared to talk about, it’s easy for religious psychos and vicious politicians to attack it, outlaw it and shut down women’s health clinics (which they do because terrorizing people is a way to have power over them, duh). This madness is happening in the United States and religious lunatics are working hard to, step by step, bring the same kind of restrictions to Canada.

Also, some strongly pro-choice people are male humans, and it’s good for us male humans to hear stories about important female experiences that we’re inherently clueless about.

#ShoutYourAbortion was inspired by West’s friend Amelia Bonow, who wrote a powerful Facebook post on her abortion experience:

“Like a year ago I had an abortion at the Planned Parenthood on Madison Ave, and I remember this experience with a near inexpressible level of gratitude … I am telling you this today because the narrative of those working to defund Planned Parenthood relies on the assumption that abortion is still something to be whispered about. Plenty of people still believe that on some level – if you are a good woman – abortion is a choice which should be accompanied by some level of sadness, shame or regret. But you know what? I have a good heart and having an abortion made me happy in a totally unqualified way. Why wouldn’t I be happy that I was not forced to become a mother?”

Bonow has described her abortion more fully in this staggeringly good column. Back to Lindy West. Says West:

“The fact that even progressive, outspoken, pro-choice feminists feel the pressure to keep our abortions under wraps — to speak about them only in corners, in murmurs, in private with our closest confidantes – means that opponents of abortion get to define it however suits them best. They can cast those of us who have had abortions as callous monstrosities, and seed fear in anyone who might need one by insisting that the procedure is always traumatic, always painful, always an impossible decision. Well, we’re not, and it’s not.”

You can read more about #ShoutYourAbortion here. On Twitter, West (@thelindywest) said she’s being harassed and getting death threats and I’m sure Bonow is on the receiving end of attacks too. That’s what happens when you stand up to thugs and crazies.

Fortunately, they’re not alone.

Daily Aggregation: Oink


2. BIG BLACKOUT IN REGINA  One woman was stuck in a hotel elevator. She and the elevator are both all right.

3. EMISSION TEST MONKEYSHINES: VOLKSWAGON VERKLEMPT “I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” says VW chief Martin Winterkorn. I bet. Here’s the Canadian angle.

4. F-35? EFF THAT Justin Trudeau says the Liberals will bail on Canada’s F-35 purchase. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Trudeau doesn’t understand “the way these things work”. The trillion-dollar F-35 is the world’s most expensive weapons system but it can’t beat 40-year-old planes in air combat. Also, the Harper Government has played fast and loose with the plane’s true costs, which are approaching $50 billion. And that’s not the only scandal: in 2010, SOMEone removed criticism from the F-35’s Wikipedia page from a Department Of Defence computer.

5. MORE ABOUT DAVID CAMERON’S PENIS’ ALLEGED INTERACTION WITH A PIG’S SEVERED HEAD “And so we find ourselves enjoying arguably the greatest day in British history,” says Vice’s Joel Golby. Indeed.


7. THE NHL IS BACK TONIGHT! Pre-season games all over the place! The Columbus Blue Jackets! Connor McDavid! Woo!

8. FORMER NHL ENFORCER TODD EWEN KILLED HIMSELF Not all the hockey news is good.

9. MILEY CYRUS STICKS UP FOR WOLVES The pop star visited British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest this weekend after she was told to “stick to twerking” by BC Premier Christy Clark. Cyrus has criticized BC’s wolf cull, which the province says is needed to protect critically endangered caribou herds. A study says the herds are in decline due to habitat destruction caused by logging, oil and gas drilling, pipelines and road construction.

10. WHAT IF IT WASN’T DAVID CAMERON’S PENIS IN THAT PIG’S SEVERED HEAD? The Daily Mail story that started this rumour doesn’t specifically say “penis”. It says, “…the future PM inserted a private part of his anatomy into the animal’s mouth.” Did Cameron teabag that pig head?

11. SOURCES DISMISS “PM’S PENIS IN PIG’S SEVERED HEAD” REPORT That’s just what you’d expect them to do.

12. ANY EXCUSE TO TYPE “PIG’S SEVERED HEAD AT THIS POINT Vox has published a #PigGate Explainer. It should answer any remaining questions. Aside from “is this really true?” That, we might never know.

Daily Aggregation: Moore Invasion



3. UNHAPPY ANNIVERSARY Sept. 11 2001 sucked.

4. #ELXN 42: SO POLLS, MUCH CLOSE CBC’s Poll Tracker essentially has the three main parties in a dead heat. I’d like to see Conservative support drop under 20 per cent; it’s depressing that between a quarter and a third of my fellow citizens country are gullible and/or malicious enough to vote for Harper’s party. Cut that to one in five and it’d cheer me up: I could probably dial back on the SSRIs.

5. NEW BRUNSWICK: WET Massive rainfall on the east coast. How massive? Up to “a month of rain in just 24 hours” massive.

6. ROB FORD: NO NEW TUMORS I’m glad Rob Ford doesn’t have any new tumors.

7. WELCOME TO THE FAMILY, H. NALEDI Oh yeah, scientists discovered the fossilized remains of a new species of human. Here’s the story in National Geographic.

8. SPEAKING OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC It’s now majority owned by Rupert Murdoch. That’s Rupert Murdoch the climate change skeptic. Well grrreat.


LET’S WRAP UP THE WEEK WITH A MOVIE TRAILER This came out today. It’s for Michael Moore’s new movie, Where To Invade Next. Looks all right.

Infinitely Polar Bear

Based on a true story, this movie stars Mark Ruffalo as a father struggling to cope with a bipolar disorder that causes him to be manic depressive. When he suffers a breakdown, it forces some dramatic changes in his family’s living conditions, and his wife (Zoe Saldana) decides to enroll in business school in New York.

That leaves Ruffalo’s character as the primary caregiver for the couple’s two daughters. Infinitely Polar Bear is billed as a comedy, and it’s garnered reasonably positive reviews.

The film screens Thursday and Sunday at the RPL Theatre at 7 p.m., and Friday and Sunday at 9:15 p.m. Here’s the trailer

The Roughriders’ Season in Rats Alley

The Saskatchewan Roughrider season isn’t so much over as it is in Rats’ Alley, where the dead men lose their bones. Forty-eight hours after Winnipeg journalist and Canadian Football Hall of Fame member Gary Lawless reported that head coach Cory Chamblin would be relieved of his coaching duties at the end of next week, the Rider brain trust said nada. Not a sausage. Bugger all.

Chamblin, whose manic-depressive coaching career in Riderland has gone from carrying the Grey Cup out of Mosaic Stadium in 2013 to winning two games in the 15 games since Darian Durant suffered his first season-ending injury last season, was left as the obligatory sacrificial virgin, to be thrown down the volcano to appease the Gods of Rider Pride. Maybe not today but sooner rather than later.

On the holiday Monday — after Lawless first made the report, which was picked up by TSN – general manager Brendan Taman said Chamblin is not going to get fired. Then he said Chamblin has more talent at his disposal than Greg Marshall did in the 2011 season (where he was canned before Labour Day, in his first and only season as head coach). Which brings a whole lot of questions.

If the Riders have more talent than they did in 2011, then why are the Riders not winning? Is it because the Riders are making the same kind of mistakes over and over, leading to broken plays and penalties? Isn’t that a coaching problem? And why didn’t the president and CEO of the club, Craig Reynolds, attend the press conference? Could it be that just as Taman has his meat shield (Chamblin), Reynolds has his (Taman)? Continue reading “The Roughriders’ Season in Rats Alley”

Election 2015: Stephen Harper Boxes With Shadows

Stephen’s Harper’s quest for political immortality (immoraly? Hey, they both pass spellcheck …) turned from the quixotic to the bizarre a couple of days ago when he turned his rhetorical guns on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. It’s kind of strange because neither one is on October’s ballot, and it’s not as if he’s run out of people to piss off.
Going after Wynne, at least on the surface, may make good politics, if you remember how she led the Liberals to a come-from-behind victory in the 2014 Ontario provincial election. Wynne won by uniting the progressive vote around her – a lesbian party insider. It also didn’t help that Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horvath ran a mean-spiritied, Lingenfelteresque campaign that was designed to united Ford Nation around her (as if). There’s no love lost between Liberals and NDP in Ontario, and Harper is counting on the two to commit parricide, split the vote, and bring more Cons to Ottawa.
The attack on Notley, however, doesn’t make sense at all. She and the Alberta NDP have been in power only since May’s stunning election upset, and blaming her for Alberta’s current poor economic performance is akin to blaming Mike Babcock for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ current Stanley Cup drought. It also ignores the fact that Alberta’s two largest cities are helmed by mayors (Naheed Nenshi in Calgary, Don Iveson in Edmonton) who are progressive policy wonks who have an ability to engage the public – in fact, the polar opposite of Stephen Harper. There must be times Alberta Conservative MPs get off the plane from Ottawa and think they’ve landed in a universe where Spock has a beard.
Jim Premtice tried to get elected by blaming Albertans for questioning his narrow vision, and look what happened to him. I guess Stephen Harper would know that if he didn’t spend all his time in his own little world, which is gradually contracting by the minute.

Welcome To Canada Votes 2015!

Canada FlagIt’s not the longest election campaign in Canadian history. But it is the longest since 1872 — you know, waaay back before all the modern communications and transportation infrastructure that exists today was invented and installed throughout the country.

For the last half century or so, Canadian election campaigns have been in the 35 to 40 day range. That gives the parties/candidates enough time to communicate with the electorate, and for the electorate to arrive at a decision as to how they intend to vote. Instead, this time we get a whole 78 days to sift through party platforms and listen to/watch/read partisan party messages before we make up our minds. Oh joy!

With the election set for Oct. 19, the logical time to drop the writ would have been after the Labour Day weekend on Tuesday, Sept. 8. But by heading to the polls now the Harper Conservatives get to take advantage of changes they made to electoral laws that allow them to evade spending restrictions that apply during a normal-length campaign.

It’s not like the current spending limit of $25 million doesn’t give them enough leeway to bombard the Canadian public with attack ads about the other two parties that are running neck-and-neck with them in the polls. But with a far deeper “war chest”, the early election call will permit the Conservatives to spend in the neighbourhood of $670,000 for every extra day of campaigning, which means they’ll likely shell out around $50 million by the time it’s over.

Political donations benefit from a generous tax credit, so this is a hit to the country’s public revenue base. Parties and candidates also get reimbursed for around half their eligible election expenses so Canadians will foot that bill too, along with significantly greater administration costs for Elections Canada in the 338 federal ridings.

Finally, Conservative MPs have been flitting around the country in recent weeks like money fairies dropping big chunks of public coin for various infrastructure projects — the vast majority of the 108 (and counting) funding announcements in Conservative-held ridings.

With oil and other commodities in the crapper, the Canadian economy sliding into a recession that will likely only deepen in the months to come, and the Harper government committed to numerous costly tax relief and spending measures such as income-splitting and the Universal Child Care Benefit as part of its balanced budget initiative, whoever forms government after the Oct. 19 election will have a pretty hot set of cooked books to deal with.

For my part, I think I’ll sit out the first month of the campaign and then get into it after Labour Day.

Weekly Reckoning: Spectacular Fleeting Things Edition

weekly-reckoningEverybody! I was on my way home from Saskatoon this afternoon and I saw – I swear to God – a small bird landing on a hawk in flight, riding the hawk like a living conveyor belt for 15 or 20 feet, then flying off again. Why did it do that? The convenience of it all? The thrill? Was the sparrow or similar small bird feeling a little tired and looking for an extremely brief rest? Maybe the hawk had a stray seed or bug on its back? Or was it a Nietzschean demonstration of bird world power relations? Who cares? The clearest manifestation of Grace has been vouchsafed to me by chance, and it’s telling me that the lord of the cosmos is probably a bird of some sort. Probably a secretary bird or a piping plover or something.


2. OBAMA’S RESERVES OF GIVE-A-SHIT HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED During a speech at the University of Nairobi, Obama made a birther joke. I’m enjoying Obama’s take on lame duck presidency.

3. A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR THE SPIELBERG FANS Behold the ultimate commentary for Raiders of the Lost Ark, chock-a-block with insight and trivia. Remember when you were 30 years younger and sitting in the theatre, wondering about production design decisions? Give yourself an extra kaddam and listen in. Then take back one kaddam for the Bird God.

4. CARS ARE COMPUTERS WITH WHEELS Fiat Chrysler has issued a recall for 1.4 million cars after a security vulnerability was discovered.

5. YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF AND THE BIRD GOD TO READ THIS PIECE ON TA-NEHISI COATES It’s a long read and it’s a few weeks old already, which is five years in Internet terms. But are you doing anything with your life right now that would be as meaningful as the act of reading a piece on Coates, who is doing better and deeper thinking than any of us on issues of race and structural privilege? No, unless you’re fighting a fire in an orphanage right now, in which case the Bird God grants you license to get in there and save those kids.


John Fogarty

This concert on Wednesday July 29 at Brandt Centre coincides with the start of Queen City Ex. If you have a ticket to it, you get free gate admission.

Fogarty, of course, is a founding member of Creedance Clearwater Revival. Since that group broke up, he’s also found a fair bit of success as a solo act.

This concert is part of what’s billed as the “1969 Tour” which commemorates the three albums that Fogarty wrote and produced with CCR in that year: Bayou Country, Green River and Willy and the Poor Boys. Those albums produced such hits as “Proud Mary”, “Bad Moon Rising” and “Fortunate Son”.

Fogerty will be playing songs from his entire catalogue during the show, but the focus will be on the three albums from 1969. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m., and tickets range from $20-$79.50.

Here’s video from 1970 of CCR playing “Fortunate Son” at a concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall


The Tale of A Town

TalkofTownI’ll have more in a future blog post, but above is a photo of a vehicle and trailer that the Toronto-based arts collective Fixt Point are using to gather stories from Reginans about their memories of downtown Regina. The visit is part of a cross-Canada trip Fixt Point is on to prepare for a larger project tied to Canada’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2017.

Fixt Point was at Canada Day celebrations in Wascana Centre, then were at Central Library from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today. If you’d like to offer your memories of the downtown, they’ll be at the library Friday and Saturday during the same hours.

From information Fixt Point gathers, they’ll be putting on a performance/installation at Darke Hall on July 12. That will be blogged on down the road. And here’s a Leader-Post report where Curtain Razors’ artistic director Joey Tremblay discusses Fixt Point’s stop in Regina.

Ireland Votes To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Hey Ireland, nicely done! From the Guardian:

Some 62% of the Irish Republic’s electorate voted in favour of gay marriage. The result means that a republic once dominated by the Catholic church ignored the instructions of its cardinals and bishops. The huge Yes vote marks another milestone in Ireland’s journey towards a more liberal, secular society.

Out of an electorate of more than 3 million, 1,201,607 backed gay marriage, while 734,300 voters said No. The result prompted a massive street party around the gay district of central Dublin close to the national count centre.

Directly addressing Ireland’s gay community, taoiseach Enda Kenny said the result meant that “a majority of people in this republic have stood up for them [those in the gay community]”. He said: “In the privacy of the ballot box, the people made a public statement. With today’s vote we have disclosed who we are. We are a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people who say yes to inclusion, yes to generosity, yes to love, yes to gay marriage.”

Irish deputy prime minister and Labour leader Joan Burton added: “The people of Ireland have struck a massive blow against discrimination.”

And quoting the late American politician and LGBT rights activist Harvey Milk, she said: “Hope will never be silent.”

Human rights should never be voted on but it’s nice that when they were here, empathy and facts beat fear and ignorance.

Catholic and other Christian leaders — as opposed to many actual Catholics and Christians — were on the wrong side of history and morality today. They’ll probably pay a very big price for it.