We’re Not The Only Typo-Filled Paper

Check out this beaut in today’s Leader-Post:

Don’t see it? Have a closer look:

The problem here isn’t the typo. No matter how hard writers, editors and copy editors try, there will always be typos. You can’t catch them all. They’re the cockroaches of journalism. Nor is the problem that newspaper chains run some of the same material in different cities (although that’s not ideal). No, the problem is that newspaper production has been over-consolidated–this page, for example, was laid out in Hamilton.

The funny thing is, Planet S has a similar mistake in their current edition. Planet S is at least designed in Saskatoon, though. Their problem is crack-smoking.*

*This cheap shot from an editor who can’t spell “versus”…

Sunday Night Mailbag

People often ask me “hey Steve, how do you find time to procrastinate when you’ve got so much work to do?” I’ll admit it isn’t easy but fortunately I have a lot of help. Take this exchange between me and some guy in Ontario who for whatever reason thought it would be wise to send a letter to Prairie Dog condemning the right of same sex couples to have families:

From: Paul Kokoski
Sent: January 20, 2013 9:37 AM
To: feedback@prairiedogmag.com
Subject: letter

Dear Editor,

I have enclosed the following letter for publication. Please let me know if you intent to print it. Thank you.

I am disappointed that homosexual partners Elton John and David Furnish have adopted another child via a surrogate mother.

Last June, the American scientific magazine “Social Science Research”, the most prestigious peer reviewed publication of its kind, published two new innovative and definitive studies on children raised by same-sex couples. From the studies it emerged that 12% of children brought up by same-sex couples contemplate suicide (against 5% of children with heterosexual parents), they are more inclined to be unfaithful (40% against 13%), they are unemployed more often (28% against 8%) and they are more likely to visit a psychotherapist (19% against 8%). They are also more often under social service surveillance compared to peers who are raised by heterosexual couples. In 40% of cases they will catch a sexually transmitted disease at some point (against 8% of peers raised by heterosexual couples) and they are generally less healthy, poorer and more likely to smoke and commit criminal offences.

The few studies published so far that support the theory that there is no difference between children brought up in heterosexual and homosexual families are – unlike the new studies – based on non-random, non-representative data often employing small samples that do not allow for generalization to the larger population of gay and lesbian families.

It is time we realize that the rights of children trump the right to children.

Sincerely,

Paul Kokoski

Naturally I couldn’t leave that one alone.

From: prairie dog feedback
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2013 7:00 PM
To: ‘Paul Kokoski’
Subject: RE: letter

Hi Paul, thanks for the letter. The study you cite is flawed. Here’s a link, and here’s the pertinent quote:

Other scientists say the research is deeply flawed, and does not measure the effect of same-sex parenting at all. The study defined same-sex parenting by asking participants if their parents had ever had same-sex relationships, and whether they had lived with the parent at that time. That led to a “hodgepodge” group of people who Regnerus then compared with kids in stable, married homes, said Judith Stacey, a sociologist at New York University who was not involved in the research. “He doesn’t have an actual category of gay parents in the project that you can isolate and say the most important thing in this kid’s childhood is that they were raised by gay parents,” Stacey told LiveScience. “These are kids whose parents, maybe they divorced, maybe they separated, maybe they had a scandalous affair, we just don’t know.”

Regardless, your opposition to same-sex families is offensive, dumb, silly and un-Christian. On this issue, the world is moving toward a gentler, kinder, more loving and more civilized era.

I hope you will re-consider your bigoted viewpoints.

All the best,

Stephen Whitworth, Editor

Of course, Mr. Kokoskiwouldn’t be much of an anti-gay-agendavist if he let me get the last word. His response, and my response, after the jump.

Continue reading “Sunday Night Mailbag”

It’s Solange-Approved!

This isn’t very end-of-the-world-y, but I thought I’d use the tag anyway. Because, if the end of the world was going to happen, I’d want to get at least one last dance in, wouldn’t you? Phil Villeneuve certainly feels that way. He’s a Torontonian who likes to break into impromptu dance numbers on the street. And the music he was hearing in his head when his friend recorded this particular number was Losing You, by Solange Knowles. And she digs it!

I think we could use a little of this here in Regina, don’t you? Maybe the Roughrider cheerleaders could get involved too. This city needs some cheer over the winter months. But, as this video illustrates, we’ll need to do a much better job clearing our walks before anything like this can happen.

Six In The Evening: Eventide Edition

6 in the Evening1 IN THE FUTURE, YOUR WARTIME OBITUARY WILL BE 140 CHARACTERS. The Israeli Defense Forces are keeping up with the times by live-tweeting their assault on Gaza and keeping the world apprised with quotable sound-bites (“Ahmed Jabari. Eliminated.”) and video footage. I don’t know which side you’re rooting for in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the thought of death and blood and fire and loss being reduced to a blip of data on a social networking site… is unappetizing. On the other hand, it clears up the “fog of war” quite nicely. Twitter itself has been silent on the matter.

2 THE MITT WHO WOULD BE KING. American Hispanics react unfavourably to Mitt Romney’s leaked post-election call with donors, in which he claimed that Obama had courted the “ethnic vote” (ie. the American vote) with “gifts.” Gifts such as health care. It says something when a presidential candidate views the most basic social policies of an industrialized nation as largesse.

3 A LITTLE SOMETHING FROM BURMA. The government of Myanmar has ordered the release of 452 prisoners just days before a visit from Barack Obama. There’s no word on whether any of the pardoned are political prisoners, which comes as a disappointment to human rights groups.

On a related topic, it drives me nuts when people who escape from prison are described as “escapees.” As Irish author Flann O’Brien once said, it implies that prison jumped up and ran away from the prisoners.

4 SLOW YOUR ROLL, REGINA. Everyone knows that Regina has been growing at unprecedented rate over the last five years, with new buildings going up, new neighbourhoods emerging from swamps and the chime of many languages freshening the air. Statistician Doug Elliott would like to remind us that we’re in “the middle of the pack” compared to eight other Canadian cities. The leader of said pack? Some city to the north of us that’s all lousy with bridges.

5 FIVE HOURS OF ENERGY. A LIFETIME IN THE GRAVE? The snazzy little caffeine drink known as 5-Hour Energy has been linked to 13 deaths in the United States. Also linked to: heart attacks, convulsions, and one spontaneous abortion. Don’t worry, you can still buy it in Canada.

6 SNOW NEWS. I love stories about the difficulty of snow removal in Regina. That’s when you learn that roads have categories and the city has graders and cars were designed to litter the streets and spin their wheels uselessly in snow-slick gutters. Eventually we’re going to have to install giant fans in the sky to blow all the snow over to Moose Jaw.

 

 

Six In The Morning: Avoiding All That Sad Stuff.

1 WHEW. Tony Clement is heading a cabinet committee tasked with reviewing over 70 billion dollars of government spending. The plan IS NOT to slash Canada’s public service spending and pension funding. What HE’S talking about is respecting taxpayers and a culture shift in spending. Yep, culture and respect in the same breath. Can you believe it?

2 THE PAPERLESS REVOLUTION SUCKS Yeah, I said it. Encyclopaedia Britannica has stopped printing paper copies. The Chicago flagship company announced yesterday that they will not be printing in book form for the first time in 244 years.

3 STILL WORKING ON IT A survey conducted by Leger Marketing for the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters uncovered some pretty alarming  results in discussions about domestic violence. Among other things, the survey found that nearly 10 percent of respondents considered it okay to hit a woman if she angered him, while 40 percent of respondents do not consider slapping a child in the face a form of domestic violence.

4 STUPID CATS? Well, why are they crushing their human counterparts in the first cross-species online game then?

5 TALKS Premier Brad Wall is telling us that he and Prime Minister Harper ‘talked’ about the funding gap between First Nation schools and those at the provincial level. That counts for something, I’m sure…

6 TWO MAN RACE Gingrich’s GOP bid is seen to be on life support following Santorum’s primary wins in Mississippi and Alabama, undermining the former speaker’s Deep South strategy. Side Note: Check out the Sandra Fluke theories coming out of the wordwork. Personal favourite: Obama sent her.

The Wrong People Are Apologizing

Bob Rae is apparently apologizing for the Liberal staffer, Adam Carroll, who was behind the Vikileaks attack. Carroll himself, who is described as perfectly nice and hard working, is also supposed to be apologetic.

I don’t get it. I mean, when is someone on the Conservative side going to apologize for Vic Toews?

That is, apologize for Vic Toews just being Vic Toews.

The guy’s public behaviour around that internet bill has shown him to be an unrepentant dink. Vikileaks — which showed not only that he was a jerk to his ex but also that there are a host of irregularities in the way the dude spends public money — proved he isn’t fit for office. I think that makes Carroll’s actions a public service.

Also, I don’t see the Conservatives apologizing to the NDP for originally accusing them, without evidence, of being behind Vikileaks.

Anyway… speaking of public services… climate scientist Peter H Gleick is apologizing in the Huffington Post for leaking documents that expose pro-tobacco, anti-climate-science lobby group, The Heartland Institute, as tax frauds and science charlatans.

Apologizing?? Really?

Continue reading “The Wrong People Are Apologizing”

New Census Data Accidentally Kills Atwater, SK

As Rosie pointed out this morning, the new census data indicating the growth of the West is, well, unreliable at best. But, as the Leader-Post reports, that hasn’t deterred premier Brad Wall from commenting on the good news in the census data, which is that Saskatchewan is actually growing again, instead of bleeding people all over the map.*

Take it away, Fearless Leader:

“There are jobs here and it’s a great place to live,” he said. “I think those are the two reasons people would come to the west. I have a real sense that there is a political and economic shift in the country and it’s a good thing.”

Except, ha ha, what’s this? Maybe there is a third reason people would come to the West: to live out some kind of weird fantasy about being a statistical ghost. The CBC reports:

A longtime resident of Atwater, Sask., says there is something wrong with census data which suggests the population of the village is now at zero.

“Whoops,” somebody is probably saying, really exasperatedly.

And yeah, you could make all kinds of grim and dire projections based on this story -– that Atwater would have, unless its residents not happened upon a radio report that declared their home no longer a place, found it hard to receive any funding from either provincial or municipal governments; that there are probably dozens of communities across Saskatchewan and, indeed, the country that have grossly inaccurate numbers, making it hard to plan for the appropriate levels of services (cf. the sidebar to the CBC piece, in which La Ronge mayor Thomas Sierzycki says that an incorrect per-capita count on his town could lead to a significant gap in services); that the congruence of a lack of funding and a lack of appropriate services could allow the government to make cuts to vital programs on the basis that there’s less need for them, all the while crowing about austerity and efficiency; and so on. You could also argue that this story is incredibly embarrassing for a 21st-century G8 government, since it suggests that our information on our own population is Dark Ages-calibre garbage that does a disservice to the term “guesstimate.”

Or, like me, you could just read what one Atwater resident had to say and make a sad-turtle face:

“I’m sorry, I’m still here,” Sharon Gelowitz told CBC News Wednesday after learning her community’s population had fallen to nothing, according to the latest census. “And I live right in the village.”

:( :( :( :( :(

Continue reading “New Census Data Accidentally Kills Atwater, SK”

Bullshit Goes Here

Good golly, Dog Blog appears to have picked up a lot of new commentators this weekend (or should I say, “a lot” of “new” commentators?). I’m a little concerned that the flurry of silly chatter will derail any chance of relevant, on-topic discussion–Dechene’s excellent vaccination post, for instance, descended into I’m not even sure what, which might drive away non-stocking-based humans with something to say about the subject.

On the other hand I don’t wanna squash fun. So if your name is, to randomly pick some examples, William Kempe, Nell Gwyn, Kent Tatter-Pillar, Chrissy, Jayson Wielcze, Patty, Pam or Spam-I-Am, and you want your very own sprawling, tangent-filled comment thread, this post is for you (and anyone else who wants to join in).

And now here’s another video about sock puppets for no reason at all.

What Was Your Top Story Of 2011? A Barking Dogs Special Request

We’re putting together the obligatory year-in-review prairie dog, and I thought it’d be nice to have a Barking Dogs column with your comments about the news, arts and miscellaneous-category other stories you were most dazzled/shocked/horrified/outraged by over the last year.

So! What were your top stories of the last year? Best answers will go in the Dec. 29 Barking Dogs.

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Barking Dogs is a new-ish column full of your Dog Blog comments. You can see the latest one on page five of the current dead-tree prairie dog. No, it’s not online. Publishing a column of already-online comments online would be stoopit.)

Six In The Morning: When No One Is Looking

1 UNILATERALISM On Monday the Federal Government announced that though federal health transfers will be guaranteed until 2016-2017, by 2018 they will be tied to nominal GDP. This move is by an large rejected by provinces who see it as bad for hospitals and health care. Is this another attempt to sneak unilateral changes under the radar while everyone’s tied up with something else (that old Christmas thing)? Anyone remember the proroguing of parliament during the winter Olympics? Probably not…

2THE GUY FROM THE MOVIE Kim Jong-Il has passed away and the country has entered a phase of mourning. Unsurprisingly, and perhaps luckily, he has been better remembered for his pop culture persona embodied on the Hollywood blockbuster Team America, which has become a hot item in recent days.

3 MORE JOKES (NOT THE GOOD KIND) On Monday,  UN human rights commission pointed out the third world living conditions on many Canadian Reserves following an investigation into the situation in Attawapiskat. Thankfully, among the recent swath of international embarrassments, Harper’s approval ratings are finally appearing to be affected.

4 TSK TSK English soccer captain John Terry will be facing criminal charges for uttering racial slurs at another player.

5 ACCIDENT IN SPEEDY CREEK An accident outside of Swift Current where an 18 year-old woman passed away is thought to have been caused by texting while driving. A reminder to still be careful though our most of our social lives have reached a boiling point.

6 STILL GOT IT! No more Debbie downer. Click here watch below to get your hump day rolling along with this super-awesome octogenarian’s crypt walk!

Manitoba Election: NDP Wins Massive Majority, Conservatives Get Slightly More Votes

Looks like it’s going to be 37 seats to 19, although the parties are currently within 0.20 per cent of each other’s vote totals. Absolutely ridiculous. Maybe some of our “friends” on the political right would care to join my complaining about ridiculous voting systems now that their team isn’t benefiting, hm?

Oh, We’ll Just See Who’s Crazy Around Here

And it’s time for another editing break! So, I’m getting slightly pummeled in this post’s comments for my shoot-from-the-lip, non-medical opinion that Oslo mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is a loon, a kook, a nutter, a whack-job. Even prairie dog writers have forsaken me. Sure, this apparent lone gunman and bomber who quotes Ted Kaczynski supposedly found people and groups who shared some of his extremist political philosophies — of course these people are now disavowing him, not surprisingly. And sure, far right-wing groups and a culture of anti-immigrant hatred are threats to peaceful society. Let’s not downplay the soil of bigotry, unreason and sickness that this killer Norwegian daffodil sprouted in. It would be reckless to view this tragedy outside of its context.

But larger societal factors aside, Anders Behring Breivik is still a kook. Balanced people do not go to islands for two-hour, child-murder field trips. He’s nuts. It’s apparently not a popular opinion but I’m sticking to it. Besides, why would the fact that he’s cracked  mean he can’t be an evil conspiring terrorist, too? Can’t he be both?

While we’re on the subject, here are some other interesting people I propose be forever categorized as crazy. Feel free to disagree in comments.

MICHELE BACHMANN She’s a Republican presidential candidate married to a femmie-acting “therapist” who says he can cure homosexuals. She gets migraines from stress and causes them in others with inane pronouncements about the economy, morality and history.

FRED PHELPS He’s the head of the Westboro Baptist church (www.godhatesfags.com) which pickets soldiers’ funerals and calls Catholic priests “vampires”. Westboro also teaches that U.S. President Barack Obama is literally the Antichrist. With his square jaw and dead eyes, the elderly Phelps looks like an American Gothic-style  maniac from a 1970s slasher flick. When he dies there’s a 50-50 chance a posthumous video will reveal he was an atheist practical joker behind the greatest prank in history.

WILLIAM LYON MACKENZIE KING Canada’s prime minister for most of the period between 1921 and 1948 convened seances with the dead, communicating mostly with his mother and several pet dogs. There’s no such thing as ghosts. What a nut.

EURONYMOUS Deceased ’80s black metal singer Oystien Aarseth, AKA Euronymous, is a testament to the power of Google –one learns interesting things when ones searches for “crazy musicians”. After a bandmate killed himself with a shotgun, Euronymous allegedly ate a piece of his brain. He also made jewellery out of the skull bits. Euronymouswas murdered in 1993, dying as he’d lived — crazy. (“crazy” = “stabbed 25 times by an angry musician”.)

HAROLD BALLARD The longtime owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs can’t just have been a prick. Dick moves like trading Lanny McDonald and Darryl Sittler and basically destroying the team for more than a decade could only have been the result of undiagnosed neurochemical imbalance. If only poor Mr. Ballard had found the help he’d needed, his death migh not have been one of the most celebrated in Canadian history. Alas, he didn’t and good riddance R.I.P.

LINDSEY LOHAN Satan’s caterpillers fart in her brain.

MAXWELL KLINGER I’m not buying the act. That guy was legitimately bonkers. Why oh why wouldn’t they give the Korean war character the section 8 discharge he so obviously deserved?

WILLIAM SHATNER He’s crazy all right… crazy AWESOME!

That’s it for me today, off for one last coffee then back for lots more editing. See you tomorrow, and have a jolly Sunday night!

Six In The Morning: It’s Morning Somewhere Edition

DIANA THE REVENANT. Newsweek decided to spice up their cover by Photoshopping a digitally aged version of Diana Spencer next to Kate Middleton. Tina Brown defended the decision by explaining, “I am a ghoul from the planet Zoig who still has yet to learn your ways, O Earth We wanted to bring the memory of Diana alive in a vivid image that transcends time and reflects my piece.” Somehow they made her look more like a mummy than a woman in her fifties. My advice: put a cool damp cloth next to your bedside tonight. You’ll need it when the nightmares jolt you awake.

cover of newsweek with kate middleton and a photoshopped diana spencer

THE MENSTRUATING RACISTS. A recent study indicates that women’s racial biases may be influenced by their menstrual cycle. I have nothing witty to say about this, but the study confirms my belief that WOMEN ARE RACISTS.

CANADA POST EMPLOYEES ARE MAKING THEIR ROUNDS. Did you see them? I went for a walk this morning and personally witnessed two (2) mail deliverers. I said hello to both of them and may have even said “Yay, mail delivery!” I’m thinking of putting a cupcake in my mailbox for the postal guy. And maybe a small note to alert him to the presence of baked goods. Of course, the employees’ union is contesting the back-to-work legislation, but we’ll still be getting mail in the meantime. So be nice to your postal people. By the way, Tangerine is celebrating its first (1st) birthday (brthdy) today! Go on down and get a free cupcake.

GOOGLE GIVES GOODS ON GOVERNMENT. Google’s semi-annual transparency report has been released. The report charts data queries and takedown requests from governments around the world. Between July and December of 2010, Google received 38 queries for user data from the government of Canada and seven takedown requests of “defamatory” material. There’s not much data on the individual requests, but you can visit their site for a bit of detail and analysis.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND WAS RIGHT. Even the Oxford Writing and Style Guide has given up on the Oxford comma. It’s over, folks. Send your grammarians home and crack open the good liquor. They’ve plagued us long enough.

WE’VE GOT A JAMBOREE COMING, SO LET’S GET THIS PLACE CLEANED UP. Saskatchewan’s government, that collection of used car salesmen and backwoods evangelists, has put up $1.5 million in flood relief to help ensure that the Craven Country Jamboree can go as planned this summer. People have expressed their disappointment over the appearance that the government seems more willing to prop up a tourist attraction than help out homeowners and local businesses, but Brad Wall appeared to them in their dreams and explained that they weren’t Sugarland.

A Very Winning Song About Disliking Futility

This exists. This is a thing that exists. Hatchie Matchie this is definitely a thing that exists. In 1988 the Saskatchewan Roughriders in association with CKCK-TV made a delightfully ridiculous promotional rap video announcing “that’s enough” to the franchise’s eleven year absence from the playoffs (in an eight team league). The club would win the Grey Cup the following year. (The “Most Promising Group Of The Year” Juno Award would allude them, sadly.)

Incredible.

Also it’s an excuse to post “Red Hot”, which is good and important and the like.

h/t Twitter’s @mourab as well as Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line for finding and posting this uniquely Saskatchewan masterpiece.

The Perfect Saskatoon Friday Afternoon

It’s so beautiful outside! It really has a summer weekend vibe, so I think we oughta go to Winston’s and put this week to rest. If you’ve ever wondered, “How does Saskatoon party on a Friday afternoon?”, have a peek at the video.

The band featured, The Pack A.D., will be here in a week to play The Poplar Arts Music Festival. Come party with us. I promise it will look just like this.

Happy weekend Regina, you beautiful city you!