Vinnie & Twy

Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Things Are Different Now. But Are They Better?

In bitching, Canadian politics, Uncategorized on November 24, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Remember way back a long, long time ago? Me too.

The first time I drove through Calgary was so long ago that I can’t remember anything about it except the Pink Elephant popcorn.

I blew through there again in the mid eighties and it was a very small shithole of a city. The only thing going for it was the zoo. Things pretty much stayed that way for years.

Then Calgary grew, and it became more and more annoying to me every time I drove from Vancouver to Winnipeg. I always thought of it as the place where the Trans Canada Highway slowed down to 50k/hr.

I was there on a visit last week and I can tell you that it has really grown since the last time I paid any real attention to it. The whole city looks bran spankin’ new. Too bad it’s all the same and all the same colour. Beige, beige and more beige. Beige grass, no trees and tumbleweedy as ever.

How was my visit? Thanks for asking, I’ll tell you all about it.

First thing I noticed was that someone had the brilliant idea to give all the new streets the same name. Cool.

So picture me driving around, trying to find my way back from sev, I go down Cooper’s Gate, turn left on Cooper’s Drive, past Cooper’s Way, Cooper’s Street, Cooper’s Blvd and Cooper’s Trail. Awesome.

What’s your address? 123 Cooper’s. Great should have no trouble finding it.

Calgarians tried to tell me that they have alot of trees, but I could tell they were lying and not just mistaken. They are so close to Banff that they have all seen trees and must know what they look like. The other thing missing was flowers. I know it is fall and the flowers would all be dead anyway, but there weren’t even any dead scraggly flowers or even flower beds for that matter. Lotsa rocks. Mostly big rocks. Oooh, decorative!

Lots and lots of litter. That was interesting. Apparently, Calgary is one of the last places left in Canada where you can still experience the secret joy of throwing your Tim Horton’s cup out the car window.

By far, the weirdest thing about Calgary is that Calgarians absolutely LOVE Calgary. They go on about it’s fabulousness for hours.
Calgary is the best city on earth.
Calgary has the best hockey.
Calgary has the best football.
Calgary is the easiest city to learn your way around.
Calgary drivers are the best.
Calgary has the best zoo.
Calgary has the best lifestyle (does it?).

Calgarians never complain about their city like the rest of us do.

What else does Calgary love?

You know it; Stephen Harper.
They cannot get enough of the guy.
I heard about him and his greatness til I was writhing in pain and ready to scream. They actually worship him as some sort of Messiah. I was surprised there isn’t a new temple built in his honour. They lectured me for hours about how the Liberals try to make him look bad and trick us all into thinking he sucks, but Calgarians know better.

If only Harper could be made our king, then we’d all live happily ever after.


A Rose By Any Other Name

In bitching, Bullshit Winnipeg, Uncategorized on October 8, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Yes it was a sad thing when the Metropolitan Theater closed in ’89. End of an era.

Since that time, there have been at least 8 different plans to revitalize it and use it for something exciting. Some ideas were good, others not so good.

Nashville North (meh)
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (interesting)
Performing Arts Center (made sense)
Currently the idea is to make it some kind of supper club. That of course, is completely silly.

The Met is a very nice building, of course. The interior was absolutely stunning. Red carpet, fancy chandelier and the whole bit. It even had some kind of crazy geo-thermal air conditioning. It has a really impressive history. It’s still a landmark, a Heritage Building and all the rest. It also totally REEKED!

If you’re old enough (like me) to have ever been inside it when it was a movie theater, then you know what I’m talking about. It had a weird stink that permeated everything. At first, you thought it must be your imagination and it would surely go away in a second, but no. You could smell it all the way up the stairs and to your seat, where you could still smell it. Your popcorn tasted like that smell. Your drink too. I think your clothes probably smelled that way after you left. I can smell it right now. That smell left a kind of smell memory imprint with you. In fact, when I even see a trailer for Moonraker, that smell comes flooding back to me. It’s horrible even now.

Nobody knows what it was. Nobody knows where it came from or what caused it. Everybody knows that it was always there.

I think that’s the real reason why Famous Players moved, they couldn’t stand it anymore. That’s probably why none of these plans work out. People get all excited about this original classic theater being available, they agree to buy it for cheap and then they get to work on it. After a few weeks or months it becomes apparent that the mystery smell is there to stay and they bail.

Center Venture is practically begging on its hands and knees for someone to do something with it. They can’t very well just rip the thing down, it’s too glittery and cool. I get it. It’s a bloody rare thing to have a turn of the century vaudeville theater like that in original condition. They promise giant tax breaks and even cash money, but the smell, who can battle it? It’s too overpowering.

Turning it into a supper club is the worst idea I’ve heard so far too. They’re going to serve food in there? To who? Us? How will anyone be able to eat?

Where – Is – The – Bus Depot?

In bitching, Bullshit Winnipeg, Uncategorized on October 1, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Really, what the—–? Noticed it gone yesterday. It’s true. I had no idea. I was totally shocked. Had to do a bit of googling to find out what happened to it.

Turns out it is at the new airport now. Why? That’s a stupid place to put a bus depot. Why didn’t they put it in the half empty train station? At least then it would stay downtown and remain somewhat convenient.

Google also told me that there has been a bit of controversy about some 40 year lease and Greyhound extorting 15 million dollars from the Province. Whatever. I don’t actually care to look into that very much at all, although I’m sure it would be very interesting.
To me the bigger tragedy is the abandonment of Winnipeg’s downtown. Mayor Norrie started this craptacular idea of ruining our downtown, and for the last 30 years, everyone at the City just follows along. Portage Place was the beginning of the end.

When I first went downtown by myself as a kid, it was freakin’ awe inspiring. The streets were jammed with fancy career girls with their done-hair and their high heeled shoes, men in suits and everything all lit up. I walked into Eaton’s and on the main floor everything was displayed like it was worth a million bucks. I felt so small. All the ladies accessories were kept in those glass cases and a well heeled shop girl would take things out one at a time and show them to you and tell you all about it. In those magical days, the Eaton’s ladies treated everyone, even me, like a high roller. I bought a hair clip and a really beautiful scarf.

Then they built Portage Place, the independent shops all closed and Eaton’s went away. The haves moved out to the new developments taking their disposable income with them. Downtown has been left to the havenots and Manitoba Housing. The major players in this town have been forced underground and the scum has risen to the top. I don’t care what you want to think or what you say, that is the reality of our City.

Winnipeg was known for being home to the most beautiful prostitutes in the country for over a hundred years until they were all pushed out in the 1980’s. And now? Oh, we’re still famous in certain circles for our prostitutes, but we are the City with the best deals on child prostitutes. Feeling proud? I bet.

I am constantly hearing City officials whine about wanting to improve this dump of a city. But, when Mayor Murray tried to lure us back to downtown with his street festivals and beautifications, we rode him out of town on a rail. Lately, we try to copy the more popular places, like Vancouver and Toronto by adding dangerous bike lanes and the ridiculous riverwalk. Then they wonder how to attract big box stores to downtown. Are they daft? Are they new here? Winnipeggers are not about cycling or walking through dangerous neighborhoods to soak up the scenery. This is a place with deep snow and ice all winter and boiling, bloody hot summers.

We need to start admitting what kind of people we Winnipeggers are and embrace it. We can quit trying to follow L.A. fashion, it’s too cold here. Winnipeg is and always has been, a rock and roll town. We’re a prairie town and we act like one. We love to work our asses off so that our kids can have a fun childhood. We have kick ass house parties and we are not a quiet place. There’s a number of ways that we are different than the rest of the country.

We ride bikes; we don’t cycle.
We visit; we don’t network.
We bundle up in the wintertime and we go to the bar.
We love our bonfires, we smoke, we drink, we play with our kids, we toboggan and on the weekend, we take our 4 wheel drives to the floodway.

We should just roll with it and then we’ll have less confusion about how to plan our City. It’ll just happen naturally.

Neil Young said it best, “Come on baby, let’s go downtown.”

Bunk Bike Lane Continues!

In bitching, Bullshit Winnipeg on September 22, 2009 at 11:58 pm


Driving down King St. today, traffic was jammed so I turned off, and VOILA, the bike lane reappeared!

I put some thought into it and I think I figured out how it works. You must somehow materialize on your bike at Princess and Logan in the left hand lane. Ride merrily along for 3 blocks, then shimmy over to the right hand lane at Bannatyne and Princess so that you’ll be able to turn right on Bannatyne. Otherwise, you wind up trapped in the danger zone at Princess and McDermot. The best way I can think of to make this possible during rush hour, is to do it like that bike scene in E.T. where they all ride their bikes over the cars.

If you do make it to Bannatyne, the bike lane continues in the middle of the center driving lane and the right hand lane. When I went down there today at about 4 o’clock, there were quite a few cars either blocking the bike lane, driving in the bike lane or inching into the bike lane from their parking spots. So the message here is that you can get from Princess and Logan to Health Science Center on your bike, but be really, really careful.