26 Jan

Dear Dog Owner

Dear Dog Owner:
I am so envious of your outlook on life. I only wished that I possessed the same bright, cheery, Utopian view of the world that was so evident on your face even in this bitter cold while your large dogs growled and chased me on that public pathway. Your laughing and giggling certainly gave me cause to reflect. My repeated encounters with people such as yourself make me proud to call myself a Winnipegger.
I would like to humbly apologize for any distress that my defensive manoeuvres may have caused your canine friends. I can’t imagine the stress that those poor animals must have endured when I frustrated their attempts to gnaw at the flesh on my legs. They are such beautiful animals. I must learn to be less selfish in future and consider their needs first.
The leash laws that have been enacted by the City of Winnipeg are cruel, indeed. I am so glad that you are among the vast majority of dog owners in our wonderful city who have decided to disregard these draconian laws. Dogs like yours were meant to roam free. It is our obligation, as responsible citizens, to ensure their well-being. If I may have implied otherwise in our conversation, I do so humbly apologize once again.
In addition, I realize now that I may have been something less than polite to you as we spoke ever so briefly on that day. I beg your understanding and forgiveness for my most shameful behavior after warding off what I now realize were friendly approaches from your dogs. Even now, I cannot believe how insensitive I acted on both occasions when your dogs ran after me in full gallop.
My only hope is that we may meet again so that I may apologize for my conduct in person.
As you so kindly suggested, I have since sought professional help. My psychologist has prescribed medication and I will diligently follow through on all of his recommendations. I hope to be a better person going forward.
Please be assured that I am a dog lover at heart. It always does my heart good when I see yellow snow or clean fecal matter off the bottom of my boots. It is then and only then that I breathe easier in the knowledge that our canine population is alive and well cared for by responsible dog owners like you.
Sincerely and humbly yours.
25 Jan

A Poetic Voyage to the Core

Another voyage to the center of this crime-ridden city
Stabbings and shootings on a daily basis, what a pity
The closer I get to the downtown beat
The seedier the people I pass on the street
Take, for example, one scruffy-looking dude
I didn’t check to see if he was friendly or rude
I wanted to duck behind a bench
When I saw him dangling a large crescent wrench
Backing away, I passed him by
Watch your back if you see this guy
Approaching me were some leftovers from Idle No More
Who had gone back to being idle in the core
Youngsters, hanging out in a group of ten or more
Puffing on smokes that I probably paid for
Unkempt and not looking cool
Pray tell, why were they not in school?
After passing by these clowns
I entered the biggest haven of street urchins in town
Weirdos abound at the downtown library
Sometimes things can get hairy
One soul was lost in an aimless gaze
Par for the course, I failed to be amazed
Someone asked him if they could help, I mused
He said that he was confused
No one could help him it seems
Presumably until a signal from outer space an alien beams
I returned home after hearing a few dog barks
Promptly checked my back for stab marks
All clear for now, a sigh of relief
Reflecting on scenes beyond belief
23 Jan

Viable, Indeed

Ever since Mark Chipman seized control of the Atlanta Thrashers a couple of years ago and relocated the franchise to Winnipeg, I’ve been asked many times as to how I think the team will fare off the ice.
I said at the time that I do not believe that an NHL franchise in Winnipeg can be viable over the long term and that, within five to ten years, it will be on the move again.
Since that time, there has been a run on tickets. Fans have bought them. Crown corporations, exceeding their mandate to provide a thinly-veiled handout, have bought them.
There has also been an explosion of merchandise sales. You can’t turn around without seeing someone with an “I Love Mark Chipman” T-shirt or jersey. Fans even expressed their love for Winnipeg’s most prominent used car salesman by purchasing special license plates with his logo on it.
At the end of the season, the team made so much money that it didn’t need to dip into NHL revenue sharing.
You were wrong, people told me.
“More than that it stated to the community and the world that no subsidies are needed in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Period,” said Chipman’s sugar daddy, David Thomson, to Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press.
But the weight of evidence is very much against the 3rdBaron Thomson of Fleet.
Even before the ink was dry on the purchase agreement for the Thrashers, Chipman was bounding up the steps of the Legislative Building. Into Premier Greg Selinger’s office he went bucking up for another handout.
In addition to the generous subsidy packages the three levels of government provided to build his arena and the practice facility that sits at the western edge of the city adjacent to his auto dealerships, he wanted more.
Sadly, “Greasy Greg,” eager to buy votes in an election year, gave in. And far too easily. “Help,” he euphemistically called it.
While farmers in the western part of the province and residents along the shore of Lake Manitoba, devastated by the flood of 2011, still wait for fair compensation, Chipman certainly didn’t have to wait for his most recent handout. This morning’s Free Press reported that $6.9 million of our money went to True North in 2011.
In that same Free Press article this morning, we get word that a casino is going up in cityplace that will pump even more money into Chipman’s pocket.
But I thought that they didn’t need subsidies. The 3rdBaron Thomson of Fleet said so.
Well, obviously they do.
You may argue that the revenues from this new casino don’t really come out of the taxpayer’s pocket. It’s a voluntary contribution. An “idiot tax” if you will. If I don’t want to subsidize Chipman, all I have to do is not gamble there.
Gambling revenues, however, are not limitless. The amount that people gamble is not likely to increase significantly as a result of this latest casino. All it means is that people who would gamble might spend money at this casino instead of going to, say, Club Regent or McPhillips Street Station.
And that means that money that would be going to the government is instead being diverted into Chipman’s pocket.
Guess who has to make up the difference.
Should the government be subsidizing Chipman or any other sports owner or team is another question. It is true that Chipman’s team does bring in other revenues that makes an arguable case, unlike the Blue Bombers, for example, who are simply dead weight on the public treasury.
But the next time someone wants to debate the viability of NHL hockey in Winnipeg, I’ll gladly debate the topic when and only when Chipman is taken off welfare and repays all the money that he’s taken from public coffers.
Then we’ll see if the cadaver that is the so-called “Winnipeg Jets” can breathe without life support apparatus.
11 Jan

Ode to MTS

Three or four times a year, it happens without fail
My dead phone line prompts another rhyming tale

For MTS, I am a frequent target, you see
It does not make me beaming with glee

Most often they’ll disconnect my line at the box
When someone moves into the apartment blocks

They try to blame squirrels chewing on the line
I think that they’re trying to milk overtime

Extra money to make their living room look sleek
While my phone line is idle for a week

I throw my hands in the air
I’ve already had my fair share

Pick someone else, please
There’s a whole forest out there, not just a few trees