Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Boxing Day..I Mean Boxing Week Blowout!

So Christmas is over, but the rush to the Mall has just begun...for real! The week before Christmas is suppose to be the time when desperate Men frantically jam the shopping establishments to over-buy and over-pay. I always get lots of flack for waiting to the last minute, but this year I actually didn't leave the house on December 24th. On Saturday evening, I was at the Fork's and McNally Bookseller's, but these were just minor "stocking stuffer type" items.

In Winnipeg, (I'm assuming that other cities' residents are just as stupid) there is one big shopping day, Boxing Day! The major electronic and furniture store's open at 7:00am and hardcore bargain hunter's camp out the night before just so they can save a couple of bucks. One furniture store (which I won't name, to give it more free advertising), every year offers 99% off one selected item in it's store ($18.49 for a $1849.00 table), this store always garnishes press in the first couple of pages of the paper and it's "lucky"camper get's his name in the paper. One goof and his friends showed up at Best Buy at 8:30pm Christmas Day to be first in line (about 1,000 people were waiting when doors opened), he calculated that spending the night in the parking lot he saved about a grand on a laptop computer and a stereo system. "It was a good night's work, for a 10-hour shift, I made $1000", he figured. First of all he didn't make $1,000, he probably spend $3,000, and he just saved money on products that B.B. most wants to get rid of before year-end and the most discounted items seem to be the demos and reconditioned.

I was at Polo Park Mall (arguably the largest mall in the city) on Wednesday a day after Boxing Day and the Mall as expected was still packed and uncomfortably crowded. The deals just don't justify digging through piles of clothes under the watchful eye of store security, in reality I spent most of my money and ran the ol' Visa up to heights it has never reached previously. It was estimated over 191,00 Manitoban's were looking for bargains on Boxing Day and according to Visa Canada, sales rang in at $44 million. The credit-card company expected six million Canadians to spend $1.9 billion on Boxing Day, with almost 60% still looking for Christmas presents, the average shopper will spend $319. Our society has this greed mentality where we project this perception of giving and generosity at Christmas, but as soon as Christmas is over we have this need to run out and spend on ourselves, all the shit we didn't get that WE WANTED! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

We're You There?...I Sure Wasn't!

As I sat in my warm living room watching the Grey Cup game with family and friends chowing down on nachos and wings, I wondered why I didn't attend the game? The game was held in my hometown for the third time in the past 15 years. Before 1991, this championship game was held in every other CFL city, (especially heavy on Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver) but Winnipeg and Regina. If you don't remember the ridiculous Grey Cup game in Regina in 1995, it was the first and ONLY time a non-Canadian team captured the CANADIAN Football League title. In my opinion, it was a low point for the league, a desperate attempt to capture an (non-existent) American audience.

Enough history, the point is why didn't I go to the game, I've watched probably every Cup game since the early 70's and though I haven't been to a Bomber game in at least 3 years..I still consider myself a CFL fan. I do follow the CFL more closely than the NFL and I read about the trials and tribulations of the Bombers week to week. I have been to one Grey Cup game, 1983 in Vancouver, the first year of the domed stadium B.C. Place, as the Argos beat the home team Lions. It was my first year of university and my two Pals Mike and Ox flew to the coast to party Grey Cup style..good time! Too bad the hometeam lost, cause it totally killed the party mood of the city.

I had an opportunity to go to the 1991 game here in Winnipeg (this is the year that featured the part owners of the Toronto Argonauts Wayne Gretzky, John Candy and that later to-be-convicted crook Bruce McNall on the sidelines) as my boss Jan (then and presently) offered to buy me tickets a couple of days before the big event. I turned the tickets down as the thought of freezing my ass off on a cold November evening (there was snow on the ground this Cup and the temp was probably in the -10/20 C. range.) and sitting on steep metal temporary bleachers didn't seem too appealing at the time. This year you couldn't asked for better weather especially for this time of year, and the hype in Winnipeg was building all week. I must admit, I avoided anything Grey Cup-related, I didn't attend any concerts, parades, luncheons, award ceremonies, nightclubs, parties or even drinking heavily during Cup week. I obviously have no civic pride, but I don't care, do you think Mr. photo-op Gary Doer paid for his ticket to any of the events? Maybe I'm getting old or maybe I'm cheap (tickets were $250 in the side stands), I just think if you're going to spend that kind of money, either the home team should be in the game or I should be watching the game in another city. I think the domed Roger's Centre in Toronto would be a great place to watch football in November. Hmmm... sounds tempting, maybe I'll see you in Toronto for the '07 Grey Cup!

Friday, November 17, 2006


Two lucky people attending the 94th annual Grey Cup will have the opportunity of a lifetime at this year’s big game, to be played Nov. 19 at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg.

Grey Cup organizers announced today that one fan and a guest will get a chance to meet Canadian and international recording sensation Nelly Furtado face-to-face.

Everyone attending this year’s game will be automatically entered to meet Furtado, whose recent multi-platinum CD Loose features No. 1 hits like Promiscuous and Maneater. One lucky name will be announced during the first quarter of the game.

That person and a guest will be invited to come down to field level to watch the 2006 Rogers Grey Cup Halftime Show, which will feature Furtado as the headline entertainer. They will then get an exclusive, V.I.P. meet-and-greet with Furtado following her performance.

I don't know if it's just me that wonders this, but who decides on the half time entertainment for the Grey Cup? I find it strange that a typically manly spectator sport like football would target it's half time show to pre-teen girls or older folks with really BAD musical taste. I thought half-time was a time to go wait in line for more beer and wait in line to use the bathroom. The Winnipeg stadium (CanadInn stadium?) washroom is traditionally the warmest place during November, must be the steaming pee-trough in the men's room. Fortunately, gone are the days when the half-time show was a "Up With People" type of tribute or some kind of travelogue entertainment promoting the host city. Bands such as the Tragically Hip or Sam Roberts seemed like a perfect compliment to the masculine adrenaline of Canadian football...what's wrong with that? Perhaps it's because the skanky Nelly Furtado is so "mainstream" and popular that this 5 minute spot will lure little girls into accidently viewing a portion of a sport they would otherwise avoid. Hey, maybe they'll like it and convince their daddies to buy them some season tickets for the upcoming football season. "Hey (insert airhead girl's name), Nelly's on the Grey Cup, that's sooo cool, let's watch and help increase the viewership for CBC..hee hee..what team's she on? Sorry to burst your bubble kid's, Nelly doesn't give a shit about you, football or for that matter Winnipeg, I'm sure she would even freeze her ass in Regina with the promise of $$$ for performing 1 or 2 songs, not a bad gig.

Here's a portion of an interview with Nelly Furtado a couple of weeks ago:

Q: Have you ever been to a Grey Cup? If not, do you have any recollections watching it on TV?

A: I have seen it a couple times on TV. But I have never been to a game. I am looking forward to it. I don’t know a lot about football. I’m very naive when it comes to it. I know more about basketball and soccer.

Q: You were born in British Columbia, did you ever go to see the B.C. Lions play?

A: No, I never had the opportunity, but I heard a lot about it.

Q: Do you have any interest in the Canadian Football League?

A: I am learning more about it.

I am learning about it? You've heard about the B.C. Lions, good for you, did you know the Lion's are playing in the game that preceeds and proceeds your grand performance? I guess it doesn't really matter, I doubt the American group Black Eyed Peas even knew what country they were in for the Grey Cup in Vancouver. I'm sure Nelly Furtado will nicely lip-sync Maneater, shake her downfilled jacketed ass and thrill the hell out of the shivering "football" fans in the stands.

Who's in charge here? Was Burton Cummings booked up already signing autographs at Sals? And was Brad Roberts too busy to pull his head out of his ass from his "Ghetto pad" in NYC. Maybe Nelly Furtado wasn't such a bad choice after all.

Enjoy the half-time show and welcome to Winnipeg!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Winnipeg's Most Eligible Bachelor

Hey Girl's, looking for prize catch? He's rich, he's famous, he's powerful (this one's up for debate) and he's very popular (at least 104,000 people think so) and the mayor of a major Canadian city.

MAYOR Sam Katz's wife has filed for divorce and is seeking custody of the couple's two young daughters. On Oct. 26, the day after Katz won the 2006 mayoral race, his wife, Baillie, served notice she was seeking to end the duo's eight-year marriage. "I'm not going into the details of the timing," Winnipeg's mayor said on Monday, ending months of speculation about his personal life. Katz said on Monday he had sought separation from Baillie before she filed for divorce, an act that placed the matter on the public record The duo had been separated before. In 2002, Sam Katz filed for divorce, and the couple spent a subsequent year apart. But they reconciled before the 2004 civic byelection.

That's harsh, filing for divorce a day after the election..ouch! I guess Baillee found another personal trainer. Anyways, that means Sam is free to check out the market, there's lots of other gold-diggers out there, so let's weigh the pros and cons of having Sam Katz as a special friend.

  • Owns a bush league baseball team, the Goldeyes. They might be washed up nobodies, but they probably make Sam some decent coin. They seem to draw big crowds in the Summer and I think Katz owns the stadium as well. I believe he still owns Showtime Productions, a company that puts on the huge musicals and big name concerts.
  • He's loaded! Has a huge house in Tuxedo and supposeably in Phoenix, Arizona home of our ex-NHL team. Maybe he golfs with Alice Cooper? And guest what ladies, he drives a Porsche!
  • He's very virile, he has fathered children quite recently, a 5 year old and a 19-month old. He knows how to do it, it's just getting him to do it that might be the problem.
  • He's the mayor of Winnipeg, you'll be in the press all the time, you'll have bloggers with nothing better to do following you around, digging up dirt. You'll be the first lady of ...Winnipeg!!
  • You'll have to share his riches with his ex-wife and her lawyers, and you know what, he'll probably never let you drive his Porsche or even his SUV .
  • He may have children, but did he enjoy the act of creating them? I've had my doubts..if you know what I mean. If you don't know what I mean, I won't bore you with my theories and left field logic. I don't want to get in trouble, if you know what I mean.
  • You'll have to put up with his "friend", that whiny Brenda Leipsic that Katz endorsed and appointed as the city's deputy Mayor. Yuck! Tell Leipsic to buy some real clothes instead of those hideous pink power suits.
  • You'll be forced to listen to Katz's honourary mascot Fresh IE. I hate Christian music and I hate Rap...why in god's name would anyone like Christian Rap? Does he come over for dinner often? Is he even allowed in the neighborhood?
So there you have it, "The Bachelor" Winnipeg style. If you want to let him know you exist, head on down to city hall or any Grey Cup festivities, as I'm sure he'll find as many photo-ops as possible.
Good luck?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Escaping To Hogtown..Sorry Sam!

The Hogtown in question isn't Sam Katz's hope for Winnipeg, but it's me visiting good ol' Toronto last weekend. Seems it was a timely trip, as I read in Monday's Winnipeg Free Press, we had a visit from Billy Graham Jr, actually unlike Oral and Oral Jr. Roberts, Billy's kid has his own name, Franklin Graham.

TENS of thousands of people are gathering in Winnipeg this weekend to hear the son of Billy Graham preach the word of God and words to live by. But as much as Franklin Graham's words have inspired Christian evangelicals around the world, they've riled others who question his politics and tolerance of other faiths. Graham has been accused of inciting hatred toward Islam, calling it a "wicked and evil religion" in an interview on a U.S. news network after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He's never taken back the remark, and Muslim groups in Canada and the U.S. have challenged Immigration Minister Monte Solberg for allowing Graham to enter Canada when a Muslim cleric accused of spouting hatred toward Jews was banned.

This "Graham fest" drew capacity
crowds 3 straight nights (it should be noted that it was FREE admission, I'm sure even the Moose could sell-out everynight if it was free) drawing people from every (supposeably) demographic, young and old. The second night was was dedicated for people under 25, bribing these poor soles with "young hip activities" such as BMXer's and god awful Christian rock bands such as Tree 63 and the Newsboys.

"Going to church is not going to save you," he said. "Your parents cannot make that choice for you... If you come and stand before this platform, God will set you free. If you're here and guilty of abortion... God loves you, will forgive you, set you free and cleanse you of your shame." He said to the roaring cheers of the crowd that those guilty of adultery, sex outside of marriage and homosexuals should answer the call. "God will forgive you, take the guilt and shame out of your life." Close to 500 people answered the call, crowding the floor of the MTS Centre in front of the stage. They were met by "counsellors" -- some of the 1,000 volunteers from more than 200 churches who've helped organize the weekend-long event. Christian counselling volunteers were near to fill out personal information forms with them for future follow-up about joining local congregations.

Drawing on images of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, Graham said a future disaster would wipe non-believers of Christianity from the earth. "God has judged this earth before, and God will judge this earth again," he said. "People talk about global warming and there's a debate whether it exists or not. Well, global warming's coming. The next time God's not going to judge this earth by a flood, he's going to judge it with fire."

I don't know about you, but I'm sure glad I got the hell out of Winnipeg, I think this guy's a bit of a wing-nut, yeah I know this is what organized religion is all about, the local churches put up 1.4 million dollars to hold this big sales conference, they bring in the big name, probably the person these brainwashed people think is "closest to God" and sell, sell, sell! The admission is free so EVERYONE is invited, but the idea is to convert the unconverted, so they have a chance to save themselves and get themselves to our churches and at church don't you have to leave an offering...perhaps you can call it a cover charge, for life. I'll tell you, the Billy Graham's and Oral Robert's of this world aren't living in poverty, that's for sure. How about hypocrites like that weepy Jimmy Swaggart and his prostitute scandel, who can denounce rival like Jim and Tammy Bakker, yet he warns his congregation about his troubles that "God says it's none of your business!"

I just love how Franklin Graham says you can "cleanse your shame" for things like homosexuality, come on! Teens and young adults struggle everyday with trying to be excepted for who they are, such as being gay, and he wants to "convert" and change you...this is bullshit! The comments about a future disaster that will wipe out non-believer's is weird. Could he have used Hurricaine Katrina as an example because he believes New Orleans is full of non-believers, especially during Mardi Gras? I guess you should convert if you live in "Sin cities" such as Las Vegas, Amsterdam or perhaps anywhere where the Girls Gone Wild crew travels, cause I'm damn sure there's lot's of "non-believers" there as well! Yeah!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Moose Season..begins!

I know, it's actually a few weeks into the season already and it's taken me almost a month to update this blog. Yeah, I'm kind of excited, the last two seasons for the Manitoba Moose have caused this season to be one of great anticipation, but maybe the expectations are too high. We've been spoiled, in those two seasons, we had the opening of the MTS Centre, the NHL lockout, two exciting playoff runs and the AHL All-Star game.

I attended the home opener last Friday with it's smoke and mirrors opening ceremonies, which led to a disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Phantoms. The team was already 1-2 coming into their home opener, so really it wasn't too much of a surprise, but they just came out really flat and uninspired. Despite the return of veteran (last year's MVP) Wade Flaherty, the Moose had a better line-up that wasn't dressed, as regulars such as Lee Goren, Brandon Reid, Maxime Fortunus, Jesse Schultz and Adam Keefe all sat out with injuries. They redeemed themselves the next night, in the rematch, with a much more spirited effort to squeeze out a 2-1 win.

It's good to see guys like Josh Green and Alexander Burrows still with the Canucks, but Flaherty probably had his last shot at the NHL, good for us, not so good for Wade. I suppose he could still be picked up on waivers if they attempt to move him back and forth from Vancouver, if there's an injury, I hope he gets another chance soon, he deserves it. Let me know how you think the Moose will do this season, and of course how you think the NHL season will pan out, it couldn't possibly be as exciting as last year, could it?

Photos by Rusty Barton,

Monday, September 18, 2006

NHL Back In Winnipeg! ...For tonight, At Least.

The NHL returned to Winnipeg, not with the Jets, but with pre-season hockey featuring the Phoenix Coyotes and the Edmonton Oilers.. This was the first game of the pre-season for both teams, but despite the uninspired sloppy play, this didn't matter to the 15,000+ fans in the sold-out MTS Centre. Winnipeg fans had a chance to see some NHL regulars such as Ed Jovanovski (first game with the Coyotes), Shane Doan (ex-Jet), Owen Nolan, Jarret Stoll and of course Coyote's coach, Wayne Gretzky.

The Oilers were greeted with loud cheers, justly so following their great playoff run last spring captivating the imaginations of hopeful Canadian hockey fans starved to bring back the cup to Canada. In Winnipeg, many of these ex-Jet fans feel just bringing a team back to the city would be good enough for them. When the Jets left Winnipeg for the desert in Phoenix, the feeling was and probably still is, we'll never get a NHL franchise, at least not with our economy and the high cost of maintaining a pro team. At tonight's game, fans were handed a flyer distributed by giving a hypothetical seating pricing chart for what NHL hockey might cost if we get a team back. This gives us a realistic idea of how fans would have to dig a little deeper (perhaps a lot deeper) to go to a single game. For a regular season Moose game, my mini-pack tickets cost $13 per seat or $17 walk up (cheapest seats, Green section), the pre-season Oilers/Coyotes cost me $59 and with the estimated NHL cost I would be putting out $69 per seat, per game. Here's what it might look like:

11 Game per month 22 Game per month Season* per month
Platinum $1155.00 $96.25 $2310.00 $192.50 $4620.00 $385.00
Club $1045.00 $87.08 $2090.00 $174.17 $4180.00 $348.33
Red $979.00 $81.58 $1958.00 $163.17

Blue1 $869.00 $72.42 $1738.00 $144.83

Blue 2 $759.00 $63.25 $1518.00 $126.50

Green 1 $594.00 $49.50 $1188.00 $99.00

Green 2 $484.00 $40.33 $968.00 $80.67

Green 3 $374.00 $31.17 $748.00 $62.33

My seats are in the Blue 2 section (200 level in the corner), I pay $143 dollars for my 11 game mini pack., that would be about a 5x increase. I'm not saying I wouldn't support the team if we got one, I'm just suggesting I might have to down grade to the upper deck or go to less games. Can we sell 13-15,000 seats all season? I know with the Jets there were a lot of cold winter nights when we were lucky to have 9,000, will penny pinching Winnipegers buy at least 10,000 season tickets? I don't think there will be a problem to sell the private boxes or the Platinum and Club seats, there's enough companies, corporations and rich people to shell out that kind of dough. I'm more worried about the mid-range price groups, the Reds and Blues, that's $3-4,000 per season ticket, and if we can't sell out these sections every night we won't keep a team for long. Personally I would love to see NHL hockey back, the quality is higher, big name stars would come into town and it would give our city more international respect and profile. I also enjoy the Moose and the AHL, the action is quick, fast and entertaining. There may be a lack of star power, but we get to see up and coming stars and the overall experience is fun and affordable! Please check out Darren Ford's site (Jet' for more information and if you support a return of the Jet's (or whatever they would be called) let him know!

The building was packed for this meaningless exhibition game of two non-hometown teams, so I think this game will project a very positive impression to the league and to the powers of our city. What we need is an owner that is willing to take a chance (gamble?) and give the fans a opportunity to show they can support a team...Oh yeah, I think the Oiler's won 5-0. Please let me know what you think, in the comment section.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

One Perfect City?

I usually don't like to talk about politics too much, but with an upcoming civic election in Winnipeg it makes you think. With our current Mayor, it will be business as usual after the vote. Translated, that will mean it'll be exactly the same as before, we had our chance for change, but we blew it! In the weeks ahead I'll follow along with the rest of you seeking some kind of salvation or trying to read through the promises (lies) from the candidates.

Winnipeg band the Weakerthans posted, "Weakerthans Perfect City Campaign" on their website, which compiles their wishes for a better city:

1. The Red River Is Not A Sewer Pipe
Fix the City's sewage treatment plants. Remember in 2004 when raw waste poured into the Red River? This must be dealt with immediately. What is more important, potholes or Lake Winnipeg? Apparently to Sam Katz and City Council, potholes are.
2. No More Riverbank Development
Prevent pollution—keep the remaining uundeveloped river banks lined with forest. The Trees filter out natural and man made run off. The run off ends up in the lake down stream contributing to dead zones in the north basin and poisonous algae blooms in the south.
3. No More Parking Lots Downtown
Heritage buildings are vital to Winnipeg, and those we have left are thesoul of our city.
4. No to Waverly West
10,000 new homes. Where? Oh, out by the dump. Makes sense. Empty lots within the core of the city should be filled before any development on the Waverly West project goes ahead.
5. Like a local ecomomy? No To Walmart and Thier Big Box Buddies
Where to begin... Local business can't compete with the #1 enemy of local economies who build cinder block shells and acres of asphalt. Paying our citizens terrible wages to man their isles. Sending profits out of the city to their stock-holders. Killing the centers of the city by drawing people away from the city itself to their temporary shelters. Then closing up and moving on. Follow Vancouver's example. Ban any further Walmart development.

1. Dedicated Bicycle Lanes
The attempt at providing a shared lane for both bicycles and buses is not adequate and failed as a project. It is very dangerous to ride a bicycle on Winnipeg streets these days. The use of bicycles has obvious benefits (eliminate traffic, pollution, etc.), and Winnipeg has the potential to achieve safe and effective bicycle lanes, with spending being matched by reduction in road wear.
2.Reinvent the City Bus
Proper bus shelters with heat and lights would be a good start. Lower bus fares to increase ridership.
3. Subway
See and be conviced.

Landfills will kill us someday. seepage into rivers is a major problem here. That Brady dump is a few kms from the Seine — where do you think the seepage goes? Here are some easy solutions to immediately reducing waste that the city could implement:
1. Ban on all single use drink bottles
Legislate mandatory use of reusable heavy grade glass bottles by bottling and drink manufactures and a collection system operated by all bottling and drink companies selling products in the city of Winnipeg. And bring back Pic A Pop.
2. Ban all those needlessly destructive plastic bags from use in stores
3. Compostable Garbage Pick up
Separate pick up for compostables. Even Toronto seems to be able to do this, for crap's sake.

Try Kaj! -- Visit

"One Great City! "(A great early live version; Feb24, 2002 WECC, Winnipeg, MB) - Weakerthans

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

IQ minus-94

So the big buzz around town the last few days was that one of the most popular radio stations in town was calling it "quits", well not really;
"It's not a performance issue," said newly appointed programming director Andrew (Science) Long, noting Q-94 FM nearly always took top spot in the ratings for its target demographic of women aged 25 to 54. "But with so many competitors creeping up behind us, Q has started to seem a little stagnant. We need a refresh, so we're opening it up to the listeners, to let us know what they want to change or stay the same."

So what they're saying is that they may change their format to bring in new listeners or update their look and sound. Before I go on, I should mention I despise most radio today! Most stations with the exception of the college stations, have a certain genre and an easy to fit into catagory. Classic rock, lite rock, soft rock, adult contemperary (what the hell is that?), cool jazz etc. I grew up on AM and FM radio, before discovering you don't have to always listen to the same thing all the time. Stations like Q-94 are hypnotizing listeners in offices and work environments with their bland, inoffensive "safe" music, the type of music that won't shock your grandma, baby or your pet. This is the shit that people supposeably want to hear everyday because they want to hear music that is familiar to them, much like toddlers that will watch or listen to the same Disney movie or record over and over again. Or those brainwashed couples that will buy a poster or print only by artists that they are familiar with and meet that unspoken approval by our peers. I know I'm starting to sound a bit too much like Rob Gordon and Barry from High Fidelity, yes, I am a music snob! But get a mind of your own, see local bands, find music on the web (it's out there), download samples of different music, walk through a record store or even a CD store, but walk past the Top 20 don't have to listen to Shania every damn day!!

Getting back to Q-94, they have promised to listen to feedback from their fans to help reformat the station. What a bunch of crap! It turns out everything will be almost be the same, 80% of respondants were woman, as expected, 95% wanted those three idiots Beau, Tom and Dez back and oh, surprise surprise they wanted less commercials and a better mix of the same familiar drivel as before. Q-94 couldn't have asked for anything better, they get some major free publicity that their core audience will eat up (death>resurrection), they can pay the same on-air hosts, they don't have to throw away any of their odious CD's but instead get more Madonna, Black Eyed Peas, Jessica Simpson or whoever the next American/Canadian Idol singer is. They were probably planning a bit of a make-over anyways, so this way they can pretend that their fans had a hand in creating this beloved station and I'm sure the ratings will prove them correct. Of course, there is the word "New" in front of their name now, so it has to be better, right?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Captain Cassie Retires!

Captain Cassie Campbell announced her retirement from the Canadian Woman's National Team on Wednesday August 30th. She has represented Canada in seven World championships and three Olympic games, winning six world titles and two gold medals. She is the only Canadian player (male or female) to captain a National team to two gold medals in the Olympics, this year in Turin and 2002 in Salt Lake City.

“You just sort of know,” she said from Calgary Wednesday. “It's kind of like when people ask you what does it feel like to stand on the blueline and watch your flag go up? You can never put it into words and do it justice. Mentally and physically, I'm ready. While it is difficult for me to retire from the game that has given me such pleasure," said Campbell, "I can now look back with great fondness on my time with the national team and my years playing hockey."

The 32 year old Brampton, Ont native Campbell has been Captain since 2001, and Campbell said she will work with women's hockey in some way, perhaps even as a coach. She wants to get involved in broadcasting and is joining TSN as a women's hockey analyst. She's working on two books about hockey. She's still working with sponsors General Motors and McDonald's with their Vancouver 2010 campaign. She also does a lot of motivational speaking.

"Cassie Campbell’s contributions to women’s hockey go far beyond her tremendous success with the national women’s team," said Bob Nicholson, president of Hockey Canada. "Cassie has been and will continue to be an ambassador for the women’s game, as well as a role model and hero to thousands of young girls playing hockey in Canada.”

For Winnipeg Band Zamboni Joe's tribute to this truly great Canadian, please visit my sister site " Teenage Dogs.." for a song download.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mayor Sam Needs Your Help!..actually, not your's

A couple of headlines caught my interest in the local papers today, "High Profile Katz Boosters", in the Winnipeg Sun and "Mayor gets Celebrity Help" in the Free Press. In case you can't link to these articles, Mayor Sam Katz announced that Canadian champion curler Jennifer Jones and Grammy Award nominated hip hop artist Fresh IE will be his honorary campaign co-chairs for his upcoming re-election bid this fall. Katz said their roles will be largely "ceremonial" and that he will rely on them for advice and they will accompany him to campaign events along with having their names and photos on campaign promotions.

I know politicians love having the endorsement and support of athletes, celebrities and musicians, but naming them as "honorary" campaign chairs reeks of a desperate cry for attention. Let's see we have Fresh IE, a multi-racial christian hip hop artist whose life sunk deep into substance abuse and crime before it was turned around by finding god and creating music. A perfect role model for the less-advantaged demographic that Katz would like us to think he cared about.

Then we have Jones a very good looking blonde champion athlete who combines amateur (pro?) sport with her professional career in the Law field. Wow! what young voter wouldn't aspire to those lofty goals she set for herself? Hey, if they support Sammie, he must be the man for ALL of the people! Other possible recruits to the Katz celebrity party.... How about a former Jet, everyone loved the Jets, how about Thomas Steen? He has had some ties with Salisbury House, another Katz associated business and how about Mr. Sals himself Burton Cummings, he's always looking for publicity. Hey, didn't Katz give the key to the city to Brad Pitt? Wait, actually I think that was Shannon Doherty. Is this transparent attempt to be popular by association necessary? Judging by his competition this election, one wonders if he really needs to say or do anything at all. We have journalist activist Kaj Hassalriis, who I've never heard of before and 62 year old Ron Pollock, who is best known as former mayoral candidate/trash-ebrity Natalie Pollock's creepy brother. I've never been a Katz fan, he seems like the wimpy kid that got his ass kicked in Jr. High, who seeks personal vengeance by being a bully businessman and his most gratifying revenge of all, the Mayor of the town.

I'm sure Sam has good intentions and just wants to add some interest to this lame upcoming civic election. I suppose it could be worse, Natalie Pollock still has time to name her candidacy for Mayor, right?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Final Word- Folklorama '06

It's been a week since Folklorama finished and a full two weeks since the Japanese Pavilion wrapped up. Though my memory is cloudy about the details of the week of August 6th to 13th, so I'll try to summarize the week from an entertainment point of view...well, as briefly as possible.

The week was highlighted by many fabulous performances, all from local performers. Hinode Taiko ,which was founded in 1981 has been the cornerstone of the Pavilion's main stage show. I'm not sure how many years they have performed at Folklorama, but it's been a long time since they didn't. They played 3 shows a night for all 7 days, and in each show they opened and closed the show, as well as a collaborative piece with Martial Arts and the entire entertainment cast for finale number, Ejanaika.

Special thanks to our hard working Adult Ambassador's Megan and Stacy and the Youth Ambassador Alex. They were kept busy every night greeting our visitor's to the Pavilion as well as touring other Ambassadors' and the many many tour buses. As well as their Ambassador duties, the girls also danced 3 or 4 nights each and their tireless enthusiasm was evident in how they proudly presented themselves as the Pavilion representatives.

As I mentioned throughout the week, a pleasant surprise this year was the performance of our singers, Shayna and Brent. With little experience in the Japanese language, they both learned the Japanese lyrics and songs with very little preparation time. Keep an eye out for upcoming performances by both singers, as it would be interesting to hear them perform some of their other songs.

The Aurora and Kaede Dance groups split the week, adding much colour and flair to the stage show. It might be interesting to have members of both groups perform on the same nights, it would add some variety for the visitor's that attend only one night. Thanks to both Lucy (Aurora) and Carol (Kaede) for preparing the groups with a few new pieces this year.

The Martial Arts portion of the show went well, as members of Kendo and Judo presented action packed fighting to the heart thumping beats of Hinode Taiko. Due to scheduling conflicts there wasn't as many performances as originally planned. To fill in, Sumi, Shig and Mitsuko performed a spirited dance with Taiko.

I didn't have a chance to visit many other Pavilion's during the second week of Folklorama, but I did check out the Krakow-Poland Pavilion and met Adult Ambassador Jesika Nagamori. Jesika who is also part of our Japanese-Canadian community, performed at their Pavilion as part of their Polish Dance group. I know when she visited the Japanese pavilion she was greeted by many family friends and was made to feel right at home.

All in all the week was without any major problems. Throughout the week there was talk about what may or may not happen next year. Rumors of no Pavilion and the possibility of Hinode's absence were all based on assumptions and jumping to conclusions, obviously the Folklorama committee has lots to discuss before any plans for next year are finalized. The new venue seemed to have many advantages such as air conditioning and food/entertainment in one room. The display and cultural display room always seemed busy and having them all in one larger room (jr. gym) guaranteed more visitors. The gym never seemed uncomfortably crowded nor did the ambiance seem unattractive and I never heard any negative comments from any of the visitors. The gym will never compare to the theatre at Tec Voc for sound or lighting quality, but Folklorama is more than the show and the overall package, food, show and comfort must be considered.

Special thanks to my Entertainment co-coordinator Sumi! Without her the show wouldn't have run as smoothly as it did and her enthusiasm kept me interested and committed to produce a quality show. I would be interested in doing this again, only if I was able to work again with Sumi. Hope to you see next year!

Monday, August 14, 2006

A Look Of Pain Or Pleasure?

Is the look on Pavilion Co-ordinator David Murata's face describing how he felt during the week of Folklorama? Is he having a good time or is he in a great deal of pain? Actually, it was the audience that was in pain, enduring his stinging rendition of "Just the Way You Are", that sap dripping song by Billy Joel. Yes, he is partaking in the fine tradition of song butchering, also known as Karaoke.

The highlight of the Volunteer Appreciation party on the last night of Folklorama is fast becoming the Karaoke party, which gives everyone an opportunity to show why they are NOT part of the main stage show. It's quite entertaining actually, seeing grown adults living out their rock'n'roll fantasy on stage, complete with lights and big sound. You know people are enjoying themselves when they don't need an over indulgence of alcohol to get up the courage to sing. I know with me it helps cause I never made it up on stage til well after most people left, I guess 2am is kind of late. To be honest some singers were really good, the duets were the best, but the larger groups were often hard to bear mainly because only one or two people had mics and everyone couldn't see the TV screen with the lyrics.

To compliment the entertainment, our cook Sergio (who did an excellent job all week in the Volunteer room keeping the troops fed all week!), served up some tasty treats highlighted by a large portion of roast Pig. It was nice way to wind down this stressful, yet strangely enjoyable week full of non-stop excitement, well maybe for some.