24 Nov

Dear Jack Ask

This past week, I read an interesting item in the Winnipeg Sun’s new advice column. You can read the column here, including the response from Jackie De Pape Hornick, a.k.a. “Jack Ask.”

For the reader’s convenience, here was the question put to “Jack Ask”:

DEAR JACK ASK: I have breakfast with Ladd and sleep beside Noel. At least that’s what it feels like since all my husband does is live and breathe the Winnipeg Jets.

I was pumped, too, when the Jets returned, but now my husband goes to all 45 home games and watches every away game on TV, so the Jets’ schedule (stuck on my fridge) serves as the new family calendar. He literally asks me if I’ve “checked the fridge” if I mention a party we’ve been invited to — even for away games.

With the holiday season coming, he’s refusing to go to my work party and a family gathering because they fall on home game days. I’m starting to feel like a hockey widow and he’s not even a player. I don’t want to tell him he can’t go, but I don’t want to spend the holidays alone, either. What can I do?

— Married to the Jets

“Jack” gave a clever response. In this case, however, I think that I can do one better.

Dear Married to the Jets: Your situation is not unique among couples in Winnipeg, where the madness concerning this sorry excuse for a hockey team is still raging.

The end of this honeymoon period, however, is on the horizon, and with every loss that “Thrashers Light” piles up, interest in the team will continue to wane. Even your husband will soon be looking to pawn his tickets.

As long as owner/president/general manager/head coach Mark Chipman is in charge, you need not worry about a miraculous upturn in the team’s fortunes that might re-ignite your husband’s passion. Chipman and his hand-picked cadre of brown-nosers, personal friends and cronies will do little but let a bad team flounder while gleefully pocketing your hard-earned tax money.

Be patient. It won’t be long before your husband and every other hockey fan in Manitoba will grow weary of watching a collection of fourth-liners and waiver-wire pickups that would have had trouble beating the Moose. Ride the wave and be ready to welcome him back when once he realizes that ownership is not nearly as committed to the team’s success as the fan base.

In the meantime, enjoy the time alone. You’ll soon be seeing more of him than you can handle.

02 Nov

Deacon’s Corner Sign-Gate

On the Trans-Canada Highway east of Winnipeg, there is a sign just past Deacon’s Corner that gives the distance in kilometers to Falcon Lake and Kenora. In many respects, it is a sign not unlike many others in the province that gives motorists an idea how far it is to their destination.

This one, however, has a sordid tale behind it.

After the Metric system was imposed upon the Canadian people during Pierre Trudeau’s autocratic reign as the country’s heavy-handed, supreme ruler, many of these signs around the province were changed to reflect the distances in kilometers instead of miles.


This particular sign, likely an original of the Metric era, had served motorists well for many years. Though the posts and perhaps the brackets that were holding it up had seen better days, despite its age, the metal sign itself looked no worse for the wear. However, someone at Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation still decided that it needed to be replaced. The reasons for this decision escape me.



Two years ago, as part of the much-needed resurfacing of this stretch of highway, this new sign made its unceremonious debut. Not only had Kenora apparently moved two kilometers closer, the first letter of Kenora had been spelled with a small “k” and the “k” in Falcon Lake had been capitalized.

These glaring errors on this three or four-foot high sign could not possibly be any more obvious, yet no one with Signal Industries in Dauphin, where these signs are made, or Infrastructure and Transportation caught them.

This sign clearly should never have left the factory, let alone been put up on the side of a highway. I can’t even hazard a guess as to how many people saw this sign on its way here and failed to notice the mistakes.

Worse still, this sign stood there for over a year until it was finally corrected this summer.

Today, as part of a 41-mile bike ride out that way, I visited the location and got a picture of the corrected sign.

Rather than putting a sticker or a metal plate over each letter, which is commonly done on these signs, they repainted it completely. It is akin to repainting an entire wall of a room in your house to cover up a mark the size of a closed fist.

I can just hear a good friend of mine saying, “Thank you government!”™

Your tax dollars at work.

02 Nov

Cakes, Tags and the Stupid Store

Spotted today at the Real Canadian Superstore was a couple in line at the checkout. Among their items was a cake. The cake had no price tag on it, so the cashier called for a price check.

After a few minutes, someone from the bakery department came back to say that they couldn’t sell the cake. Why? Because the tags weren’t ready yet.

Incredible.

After the dumbfounded couple had left, the cashier said, “They shouldn’t have put the cakes out if they didn’t have price tags.”

Maybe, just maybe, they should have had the price tags ready before having employees spend countless hours of labor and blow large quantities of perfectly good flour and other ingredients to bake these cakes.

And maybe they could have sold it at their regular price anyways. It might foul up their computer to ring through an unregistered product, but, as any Superstore customer can attest, it’s not as though the data in their computers closely matches the prices on the shelf.

That’s why a good friend of mine who used to work there calls it the Stupid Store.