I’ve read a lot of shocking stuff in my, oh god, nearly two decades at this paper but this might be the weirdest, most unexpected headline I’ve seen.
Sometimes I suspect people don’t realize Prairie Dog (an oft taken-for-granted Regina treasure) is running maybe the most ambitious newspaper comic serial in North America right now. But we are, and let me tell you, Dakota McFadzean’s excellent Murray Geister: Paranormal Investigator deserves far more attention than it gets (i.e., virtually none).
Murray Geister is the story of an aging ghost hunter who, unfortunately for him, is skeptical about the supernatural. Is an eerie noise coming from that hole in your wall? Murray’s going to rule out mice before he even begins to entertain the notion that your house is haunted. Yes, Geister wants to believe, but he’s not going to delude himself into seeing things that aren’t there.
Unfortunately, this really screws up his ability to make money, since he’s not in business (such as it is) to rip off the gullible.
The 57th installment of Murray Geister hits streets (and the Internet!) Thursday. In the meantime, you can catch up on the first 56 installments here. This is an amazing work of comics literature by a Regina-born-and-raised master cartoonist that’s published in two Saskatchewan newspapers (us and Planet S). It’s really quite something, and yet I get almost no feedback on it outside of our writers (all drooling fans).
What’s the deal? Does no one here “get” Murray Geister? If that’s the case, it’s frankly a little embarrassing for this city.
1. AND THEN THERE WERE 12? There’s going to be a provincial byelection, but are the media and government counting the NDP’s Saskatoon-Fairview chickens before they hatch?
2. GOING SLOW Regina police made virtually no progress on workplace diversity fro 2015 to 2017.
3. THE SCENE FROM CANADA’S BIGGEST PRIDE EVENT No police floats and Black Lives Matter didn’t stop the parade.
4. RECENTLY IN TRUMPLAND The U.S. Supreme Court says it will hear arguments for President Trump’s Muslim travel ban in the fall, if necessary. In the meantime, the conservative-dominated court ruled parts of the ban can stand. Read the Washington Post story here. Also, the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court ruled that taxpayer-funded playgrounds can NOT be denied to religious schools. Time for the Church Of Satan to get into the education business!
AND NOW I NEED A PET CHEETAH Where is my pet cheetah? I demand a cheetah!
Good afternoon! It’s 13°C just before 2:00 on a chilly, rainy yet likable Wednesday afternoon. As we near solstice, we’ve got 16 hours and (almost) 25 minutes of daylight. Sunset tonight is 9:11, sunrise was the usual 4:46 a.m. Here’s some news.
CHILD SETS OTHER CHILDREN ON FIRE IN LARONGE Horrible.
THERE ARE SO MANY GUN NUTS IN AMERICA EVEN REPUBLICAN POLITICIANS GET SHOT SOMETIMES A gunman wounded four Republicans in Alexandria, Virginia at a bipartisan charity event. The shooter, predictably, is now dead. Given that the suspect was a Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer, this appears to be a rare case of left leaning would-be killer. Assholes with guns are usually libertarian sociopaths or profoundly unwell young men. Well, now everyone’s deranged. Great. Oh and hey, I hear there’s also there’s a been a mass shooting in San Francisco.
CHANGING PRIDE POLITICS ARE ROOTED IN SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC INEQUALITY That’s what I took away from this excellent article, which talks about ongoing tensions in the LGBTQ* movement over issues like police participation in Pride parades. It focuses on Toronto but these conversations and debates are ongoing everywhere.
FLINT, MICHIGAN WATER CRISIS: HEALTH BOSS CHARGED WITH INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER Story here, and more here. Makes me wonder if someday we’ll see Canadian politicians and public servants charged for First Nations’ chronically shitty drinking water.
MEET YOUR NEW AMALGAMATED HEALTH BOARD Now let’s all Google these individuals and see if there’s any sketchy ideology going on. Also, having just one health board for the whole province is probably a terrible idea.
FROMAGE FIGHT Canada and the EU are arguing over cheese. As a cheese-eater with only moderate concern for Canadian producers whose research is limited to reading this story, I think Europeans have a point.
NAZI BLOGS FUCK OFF An Edmonton keyboard creep has been charged with willful promotion of hatred. Meanwhile, Alberta’s education minister filed a police complaint over anti-LGTBTQ* flyers. Alberta’s conservative base sure has some winners, doesn’t it? By the way, Saskatchewan did fairly well on that hate crimes report that came out the other day. Sometimes this place is all right. Then again, considering I know someone who suffered a brain injury in a gay bashing, have met people who think “Hitler was right about a lot of things” and have seen a lot of crap on Facebook written by Saskies, it’s pretty clear there’s still a lot of hate and fear here.
HAPPY 30TH, BETTER LATE THAN NEVER Last month was the 30th anniversary of one of my favourite animated films, which incidentally was produced by Radio Canada (suck it, CBC haters). Frederic Back’s adaptation of Jean Giono’s novel L’homme qui plantait des arbres won the 1988 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. I’m shocked I couldn’t find an anniversary tribute online—arts journalism has really beaten beaten to hell in this country, hasn’t it? Regardless, The Man Who Planted Trees is gentle and lovely, and spring is a wonderful time to watch it — especially in this ominous era of unchecked climate change and rising fascism.
1. EX-INTERIM The NDP’s Trent Wotherspoon has stepped down to contemplate a run for the party’s leadership. Wotherspoon, a teacher in his civilian days, would join a leadership contest that so far includes popular-with-millennials Saskatoon doctor Ryan Meili. More candidates are rumoured to declare in the coming months. Murmur murmur!
2. HATE CRIMES AGAINST MUSLIMS RISE IN 2015 There were 159 police reports of hate crimes against Muslims in 2015, up from 99 the year before. Jews remain the leading target of religious hate crimes, with 178 incidents. Read more here. And yes, Alberta had the biggest increase in hate crimes, unsurprisingly.
3. SESSIONS IS IN SESSION U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer (and not answer) questions about President Trump firing the FBI director. Hard to believe Trump hasn’t even been in office for five months and he’s already got his own Watergate going.
4. POULTRY WORKERS TORTURE CHICKENS Unacceptable.
5. TWIN SHOOTS TWIN IN SNAKE CRUELTY MISADVENTURE Two 14 year-old boys in Texas… Texas? Do I even need to continue? Just read the stupid thing here. And next time, Texas, maybe don’t raise your kids to be cruel to harmless (or close-to-harmless) animals.
It’s a beautiful, sunny day in Regina, 21°C with a high of 24 this afternoon. Sunrise was a mind-boggling 4:46 a.m., and it’s staying there until June 21. Sunset tonight is 9:10, total daytime is 16 hours, 23 minutes.
1. FOUGEMAYOR IS PROUD Regina Mayor Michael Fougere, as reported by CJME’s Lauren Golosky: “…city council and the citizens of Regina very much want to have an inclusive, tolerant understanding community that respects human rights.” Cool.
2. GRIM ANNIVERSARY It’s been one year since the Pulse Nightclub massacre in Orlando. Forty-nine people plus the asshole were killed and 58 were injured.
3. CANADA PAYS THE MOST FOR COMMON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS Don’t like it? Vote for political parties that promise to fix it, and if they get elected and don’t, complain to your MP then vote for different political parties that don’t leave their slobber on drug company’s genitals. We live in a democracy and we have the ability and moral right to demand good consumer protection rules.
4. SASK PARTY SLAMMED FOR USING PRIVATE E-MAIL Weird. I can’t think of any reason politicians wouldn’t want to use their work e-mail. I mean, how likely is it they have something to hide?
5. TWO OF REGINA’S THREE MURDERS THIS YEAR HAPPENED IN OR NEAR DOWNTOWN FYI. May the victim rest in peace.
6. THERE’S NO DIRECT BUS SERVICE BETWEEN SASKATOON AND CALGARY? That’s just all kinds of fucked up.
7. AMERICA BAILS AGAIN To no one’s surprise, the United States won’t join the other six G7 countries in a symbolic pledge of support for the Paris climate accord.
8. STUPID TRAVEL BAN BLOCKED AGAIN Good. Trump is a malicious bigot.
9. TRUMP GETS SUED Maryland and the District Of Columbia are suing the president for violating the Constitution, because he hasn’t given up control of his businesses.
10. EMPATHY FOR US DEVILS An awful lot of progressives — including one of my heroes, Thomas Frank — argue that liberals need to spend more time listening to the concerns of Trump voters. Here’s an excellent rebuttal to all that the hand-wringing that by Kathe Pollitt in The Nation:
Who is telling the Tea Partiers and Trump voters to empathize with the rest of us? Why is it all one way? Hochschild’s subjects have plenty of demeaning preconceptions about liberals and blue-staters—that distant land of hippies, feminazis, and freeloaders of all kinds. Nor do they seem to have much interest in climbing the empathy wall, given that they voted for a racist misogynist who wants to throw 11 million people out of the country and ban people from our shores on the basis of religion (as he keeps admitting on Twitter, even as his administration argues in court that Islam has nothing to do with it). Furthermore, they are the ones who won, despite having almost 3 million fewer votes. Thanks to the founding fathers, red-staters have outsize power in both the Senate and the Electoral College, and with great power comes great responsibility. So shouldn’t they be trying to figure out the strange polyglot population they now dominate from their strongholds in the South and Midwest?
I love the idea of empathy being a two-way street. Read Pollitt’s whole brilliant article here.
11. PITTSBURGH REPEATS Man that’s a good team. I guess I can live with them crushing my beloved Blue Jackets in the first round, especially since Regina’s Chris Kunitz is on that squad. Here’s a nice story about my sentimental pick for playoff MVP, Marc-Andre Fleury, here’s a tribute to Nashville’s lovably plucky team, and here’s the best victory song ever. Let’s send it out to everyone, because hey, we’re all champions.
…says the mayor who works in a building with Gandhi in front of it. #Oops
That’s the tree outside my office window in spring, 2017. It was pretty exciting watching the leaves grow, let me tell you. #actuallyitwas Continue reading “Foliage Report: Thursday, June 1”
Good afternoon comrades, critics and media connoisseurs! It’s a gorgeous afternoon: 19 degrees, sunny as shit, not too windy. I’m not on a patio drinking beer, why? Right: I have a job. An awesome job! An aggregating job, even! I’d better get to it.
1. BUTT OUT Regina passed a probably overdue smoking ban. I’m not sure about banning smoking in public parks; that’s getting too nanny-statey for even this nanny-state fan. It’ll be nice to see fewer cigarette butts on the ground though, and if this helps people quit smoking that would be great.
2, BIG MEETING ON RAILROAD REDEVELOPMENT THURSDAY NIGHT Good. So is a pedestrian bridge/corridor to Dewdney going to be built? I’m sick of having to walk an extra 20 minutes to get to Iron Beauty, Bushwakker and Durty Nelly’s. Come to think of it, I haven’t been to Durty Nelly’s. Maybe because THERE’S NO EASY WAY TO GET THERE FROM DOWNTOWN EVEN THOUGH IT SHOULD BE A SIX-MINUTE WALK.
3. MINORITY REPORT British Columbia politics are officially fascinating now that the NDP and Greens have agreed to team up. Annoyingly, Christie Clark — whose Liberals got 40 per cent of the vote to the NDP and Greens combined 57 per cent — says she’ll stay on as premier until she loses a confidence vote. Can you imagine how badly right-wingers would freak out if an NDP government pulled a stunt like that? Then again, maybe that’s just the process that needs to be followed and I’m making a big deal out of nothing.
4. NOTLEY’S STILL PUSHING PIPELINES Well, she has to. Albertans don’t believe in climate change and Notley’s a hostage playing the hand she’s been dealt. She can’t be an environmental advocate until Albertans accept that they might need to make a few sacrifices for the future. They might as well; we’re all going to suffer from climate change sooner rather than later. Thanks to Big Oil, the window of opportunity for relatively painless adaption to the inevitable post-carbon future is shut; now it’s about how badly we’re going to get hurt. The sooner we act like adults and take our medicine, which will get more bitter the longer we wait, the better–and that goes triple for Albertans and their fantasy, never-ending fossil fuel economy.
5. COCKTALK That was my other idea for this post’s headline, but I couldn’t decide if it needed a hyphen or if that would spoil the joke. I guess I just liked it because it sounded dirty.
6. THREE-MILE ISLAND IS SHUTTING DOWN Also, Three-Mile Island was still operating? Huh. If you don’t know what I’m talking about because you weren’t alive in 1979 congratulations! You are a desirable demographic to our advertisers.
7. TORONTO ALT-WEEKLY SAYS SCHEER STINKS Perhaps you would be interested in reading this fine article.
8. HOW THE WEST WAS LOST The mighty Jeet Heer has a great column in nthe New Republic on how Trump has destroyed the European-American alliance. Read!
9. SHUT. IT. DOWN Portland’s mayor wants an alt-right demonstration cancelled because the alt-right activates maniacs like the would-be headhunter who killed two people after he caused a racist confrontation. Tangent: right-wing extremism is the kind of “free speech” pro-life, pro-gun, anti-Muslim Conservative leader Andrew Scheer wants to protect on Canadian campuses. Because inciting people to violence is free speech!
10. 16:05:43 The sun rose at 4:53 and will set at 8:59 for a glorious 16 hours, five minutes and 43 seconds of glorious sunlight. Whoop!
RESPECT THE TALK On the last Tuesday of every month, comedian Jayden Pfeifer brings his microphone and smart mouth to Talkies, Regina’s B-movie narration wherein cult classics like Monster Squad, sad piles of failure like Superman IV: The Quest For Peace and nature documentaries like Anaconda get a running commentary. Tonight, Pfeifer and guest heckler Krystal Lewis bring their love, contempt and sarcasm to the 1988 Tom Cruise proto-bro barbuster Cocktail (holy poop, it’s almost 30 years old). The fun starts at 7:00 at the RPL Film Theatre. Admission is free with a donation (cash or cans, cash being better) to the Regina Food Bank. Here’s the trailer.
Good morning and welcome to the last days of May! We’re looking at a high of 18°C and a low of four, and if you have a rough day and need a patio pint later, good news: it’s going to be a sunny evening. A perfect match for this fine morning! Speaking of tonight: sunset is at 8:58 p.m., while sunrise was at 4:54. That’s almost 16 hours and four minutes of daylight. Huzzah! Here’s some news. Let’s start with Dimples McDickly’s big victory.
1. LIKE STEPHEN HARPER BUT WITHOUT THE EVIL STRATEGIC CUNNING Regina-Qu’Appelle’s member of Parliament somehow won this weekend’s Conservative party leadership. How about that. The farmers might’ve helped. The Leader-Post’s Barb Pacholik has a fine, Regina-focused piece on his rise while CBC’s Eric Grenier crunches the numbers behind Scheer’s unlikely defeat of front-runner Maxime Bernier. Read more on Scheer here.
What else? Well, if the reality-based world wanted to get upset over something they could point to Scheer’s late 2016 call to shut down CBC news. Bernier said public media puts the government in a “glaring” conflict but I think he was being dishonest. The real reason he wants to shut down CBC news? CBC reporting and analysis is (generally) good, and good reporting causes problems for dishonest politicians. It’s the old Harper playbook: destroy your critics because you can’t win honest debates. It’s why Harper muzzled government scientists and it’s why Conservative MPs so frequently refused interview requests.
Speaking of fact-averse notions: the CBC is a public broadcaster, not a government propaganda outlet. If it was run by the government, CBC would’ve given Stephen Harper an easy ride, right? Spoiler alert: it didn’t.
As for private media, anyone who wants to review how news companies treat their sacred mission of informing the public might want to check this out.
One last thing: radical Christian groups are cheering Scheer’s win. The anti-choice organization We Need A Law even sent me a press release congratulating Scheer:
“We recognize his commitment to consistent values, and appreciate his solid voting record. Scheer voted in favour of bills like Cassie and Molly’s Law and Roxanne’s Law, which show care for pregnant women and pre-born children. Pre-born human rights were highlighted during this campaign in a way they have not been for a long time. It is encouraging to see open discussion around the injustice done to pre-born victims of crime, and awareness raised about the prevalence of sex-selective abortion in some Canadian communities.”
Gross. You never hear social conservative politicians talk about helping the poor. Their religious moralizing is cheap.
2. TRUMP… SHRUG So his son-in-law wanted a secret channel to talk to Russia? How is this not treason? What can you even say. No wonder Europe’s pulling back. Keep alienating your allies America, I guess.
3. THE END OF STC Awful. An essential public service is being trashed and good jobs are being wiped out because #BradBungledTheBoom. Everyone knows that any private company picking up the STC slack will demand and get handouts from the government, right?
4. CANADIAN DOCTORS APPARENTLY THINK MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION WILL HARM TEENS Despite the fact that Canadian teens are already huge potheads even though Marijuana is still illegal. Well, I’m skeptical it’s possible to make a law banning people from smoking weed until they’re 25 so Canada just might have to go the public education campaign/cross your fingers route. I know one pro- legal pot newspaper that would be thrilled to run ads expressing factually supported concerns about marijuana…
5. A GOOSE-STEPPING, NAZI-SALUTING WHITE SUPREMACIST SLAUGHTERED TWO PEOPLE IN PORTLAND ON SATURDAY And mainstream U.S. media treated it like a regular crime, which they wouldn’t do it the killer was Muslim. Double standard much?
6. GREAT WHITE SHARK JUMPS INTO FISHING BOAT, SURPRISING FISHERPERSON Like it says.
7. CAPITAL POINTE, GUESS WHAT? Delayed again.
8. HOW ABOUT THAT STREET FAIR? The Cathedral Village Arts Festival wrapped up this weekend with glorious sunshine and happy throngs of people, including some scoundrels who broke the rules and brought their pets. I took a few phone photos. Look!
Today’s the last day for the Royal Saskatchewan Museum’s popular Snakes Alive exhibit, featuring all nine native Saskatchewan snake species. It’s excellent, so if you haven’t been yet… the museum opens at 9:30. Better hustle! There’s a stage show at 2:30 that will teach you things. I caught it Sunday and it was interesting and educational. That said, the highlight is the reptiles, who were very frisky yesterday. Maybe they know they’ll be released into the wild in the next few days?
Here are some photos: