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6 Worthwhile Lessons The Public School Board Is Teaching My Kids

Hey remember that 10-year plan the Regina Public School Board had that listed a whole bunch of  schools that needed to be torn down because they didn’t have the enrollment to sustain them? Remember how Davin and/or Connaught (preferably Connaught) was slated for closure because Cathedral just didn’t have enough kids? And remember how Real Renewal came together to oppose all those school closures saying they felt small, walkable community schools were worth keeping and that up-to-date demographics showed that neighbourhoods like Cathedral were getting more kids and needed all their schools intact? And then remember how more recent demographics have shown that Real Renewal was by and large right about that?

Well, even though Connaught had the enrollment numbers to save it from the wrecking ball, it came crashing down right on schedule according to that 10-year plan. It’s almost like the enrollment justification was a ruse and secretly the board just wanted to be rid of the thing all along. I guess it just goes to show that even if you’re wrong about something you can still get what you want if you have all the power and money.

That’s a good lesson you just learned from the Regina Public School Board. Here are five more…

1. EVERYTHING IS DISPOSABLE! Oh sure, they have a “unit” on “sustainability” somewhere in the school curriculum. I think I remember my kid bringing home a blue papier-mâché globe she made on Earth Day or something. I threw that shit out.

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Menopause: The Musical

Written by Jeanie Linders, this parody musical premiered in Florida in 2001. It concerns a group of four women (a businesswoman, housewife, earth mother and soap star) who trade war stories about different facets of menopause tied to cravings, hot flashes, memory lapses and other physical/psychological effects.

The women do this while shopping for lingerie at Bloomingdales, and many of the stories that they tell are done through familiar songs (some with titles and lyrics slightly modified) from the 1950s through ’80s.

On Wednesday, Oct. 15 a touring production of Menopause will be mounted at Conexus Arts Centre. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $54.75 and $65.75. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s a promo video:

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Prairie Dance Circuit

Forever in Blue Jeans 4Hosted by New Dance Horizons, this is an ongoing dance series that involves collaboration between companies in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Regina to organize and present performances showcasing prairie dancers and choreographers.

On Oct. 15-16, the focus will be on the 50th anniversary of Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers. Included will be works by Brent Lott and  Ming Hon, along with a screening of a film by Danielle Sturk that examines the dance career of WCD founder Rachel Browne who passed away in 2012.

The Prairie Dance Circuit performance will be held at University of Regina Theatre on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are Adults $25, Students & Seniors $20, while the Thursday matinee is $15.

Pictured above, by the way, is an image from Forever In Blue Jeans. Choreographer is Ming Hon, performers are Natasha Torres-Garner, Ali Robson, and Kayla Henry, and the photograph is by Leif Norman.

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From Earlier Today

Autumn TreeNot sure what species of tree this is behind Darke Hall in Wascana Centre just east of the pool, but it definitely produces great fall colours (click to enlarge).

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Weekly Reckoning: When You Reckon With The Week You Get The Reckoning Edition

weekly-reckoning1. STATE-SANCTIONED DEATH ISN’T CHEAP AND IT ISN’T TRANSPARENT. Everyone who’s anyone agrees that if you’re going to be sentenced to death by the State, the state to do it in is Oklahoma. If you end up getting shuffled off to their lethal injection chamber, you can rest assured that they’ve spared no expense in providing you with a state-of-the-art, $100,000 end-of-life experience. It’s now very unlikely that you’ll spend 43 minutes dying horribly on the gurney. Even more reassuringly, you won’t have to put with nearly as many nosy journalists; the new chamber provides only five seats for the press, down from the previous chamber’s 12.

2. REMEMBER THOSE PROTESTS IN FERGUSON? THEY’RE STILL GOING ON Thousands of protesters marched through Ferguson on Saturday to decry police violence and the broken system of law enforcement that allows uniformed police to shoot black youth in the street, leave their bodies in the sun and suffer no meaningful consequences. Meanwhile, I went for breakfast this morning at a golf club where I overheard three white guys make jokes about Martin Luther King Day, because they were dirtbags.

3. A LITTLE MORE EBOLA FOR YOU ALL. A health care worker in Texas who treated Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan has Ebola.

4. WHATEVER THE FUTURE HOLDS, HE’S NOT GOING TO OKLAHOMA. Oscar Pistorius, the girlfriend-murdering athlete who murdered his girlfriend in about as murdery a way as possible, may face the harshest punishment of all. Wait, he may face a suspended sentence or a fine. But we don’t know yet. It’s all about the intricacies of the South African legal system, which none of knows us a thing about, really. Is this even news? I just like a bit of outrage in the afternoon.

5. VICE IS INHERENT AND LOOKS PRETTY HILARIOUS. Here is the trailer for P.T. Anderson’s adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel Inherent Vice. Come for Joaquin Phoenix’s muttonchops, stay for Josh Brolin’s flattop.


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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: From Beyond

From BeyondH.P. Lovecraft’s work hasn’t translated too well into movies. The most successful have been director Stuart Gordon’s adaptations but they have very loose interruptions. Still as movies they are a lot of fun.

In a mansion owned by Dr. Edward Pretorius (Ted Sorel), the good doctor has been conducting experiments with a machine he invented called the Resonator. It creates vibrations that simulate the pineal gland allowing the person standing in the vibration field to see into another dimension that is always present in our dimension. With the aid of his assistant Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs) Pretorius has finally completed the machine and turns it on. Things go wrong and Pretorius is found decapitated and Tillinghast is the main suspect.
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Usually when I’m doing research on a veteran band like Sloan for these blog posts, the musicians involved are grouped into current and former members. That’s because as the years pass in the rock ‘n’ roll biz, founding members and/or replacement members inevitably resign from the group and move on to other things.

Not with Sloan though. The band got its start in Halifax in 1991, and the four original members (Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland, Jay Ferguson and Andrew Scott) are still together. If that isn’t a record for longevity, it’s got to be pretty damn close. And they’re still reasonably active as a band too.

In fact, in September Sloan released their latest album called Commonwealth. And tonight the quartet are in town to play a gig at the University of Regina campus bar the Owl. Not sure if there’s a support act, but tickets are $25.

To give you a sense of what they’ve been up to lately, here’s the audio for the first single off their new album “Keep Swinging (Downtown)”:

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Oops, There Goes Another… Explosion!

On Tuesday, a train carrying petroleum and other toxic industrial chemicals derailed and caught fire near Wadena. In its investigation, the Transportation Safety Board is apparently focusing on poor rail maintenance.

Now today, a TransGas pumping station near Prud’Homme has exploded.  According to this CBC report, the well-head controls seven caverns filled with natural gas, and the fire’s been burning out of control since morning.

Not sure how much more of this we’ll have to put up with before proper controls are put in place to regulate this important, but also potentially very deadly,  sector of our economy.

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: Night Of The Comet

Night of the CometA comet is passing by Earth. The last time the comet was by Earth was when the dinosaurs were wiped out. It’s just before Christmas and everyone is having a party for the passing comet.

Catherine Mary Stewart works at a movie theatre. While everyone is watching the comet. Stewart spends the night with her boyfriend, the projectionist, in the steel lined projection booth. Meanwhile Stewart’s younger sister (Kelli Maroney) has a fight with their step-mom and spends the night in the steel lined shed. In the morning everyone is gone. There’s nothing left by piles of clothes and red dust. The sky has a red haze to it.
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If you’re a veteran fan of the Canadian punk scene you’ll doubtlessly recognize this Vancouver outfit. Gob has been around since 1993, although they’ve been a pretty intermittent presence over the last 10 years or so, releasing only two albums: Muertos Vivos in 2007 and Apt. 13 in August 2014.

During that time there’s been a few line-up changes in the rhythm section, and founding guitarist Tom Thacker has toured and recorded a lot with Sum 41.

Tonight Gob is in town to play a show at the University of Regina’s campus pub the Owl. Sharing the bill is the Ontario-based pop/punk band Seaway. Tickets are $15, or $20 for a ticket/album combo.

To get everyone who is going pumped, here’s video from 2012 of Gob closing a show at Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto with “You’re Too Cool” and “Soda”:

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Friday Afternoon Kitty: Vacuum Cat

Cat likes vacuums!

Much more here. Have a great weekend!

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: The Maze

The MazeWilliam Cameron Menzies didn’t direct a ton of movies, he was a production designer and his art direction won him a couple of Academy Awards. But when he did direct, they were memorable films. He had a busy year in 1953 he directed what would be his last two movies. The first one will be showcased later this month, the second is today’s movie, The Maze.

While on vacation in Cannes, France Kitty Murray (Veronica Hurst), her aunt Edith Murray (Katherine Emery) and Kitty’s fiancee Gerald MacTeam (Richard Carlson) discuss their wedding plans. MacTeam reveals that his uncle won’t be attending because he never leaves the ancestral estate Castle Craven. Later MacTeam receives a letter urging him to return to Castle Craven immediately leaving Kitty and her aunt in Cannes.
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Weston Dressler Was The Best He Could Come Up With?

I am probably the biggest Saskatchewan Roughrider fan in the prairie dog editorial universe, such as it is. And I think Weston Dressler is one of the best receivers to play for the Riders in a generation.
But I am quite sure that there are many other native-born Reginans who should have been recognized for their contributions to the city than a football player. Hell, there are a lot of other retired Roughriders – George Reed, Ed McQuarters – who should have been so honored before Dressler. That is, if Mayor Fougere spent any more time deciding on this honour than he apparently did on Regina’s transit system.
It’s sadly obvious that Mayor Don’t Care Fougere sees the City of Regina as a taxpayer-funded support system to property developers, construction companies, and realtors, and the Riders are the equivalent of ‘bread and circuses.’ This so-called honour shows less about Dressler’s off-field contributions to our city and more about Mayor Fougere’s disconnect from the life of Regina.

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My Dad’s Other Son

Depending on your TV viewing habits, Canadian comic Darrin Rose may be familiar to you via several different shows. He’s appeared on Much Music’s Video On Trial where goofy music videos get lampooned, as a bartender in the CBC sitcom Mr. D, and he’s also hosted the Canadian version of the game show Match Game.

On Saturday Oct. 11 he’s in town to perform stand-up at the University of Regina Theatre. Curtain is at 8 p.m., and tickets are between $15.75-$23.10. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s a short clip where Rose riffs on wooing women with his mad dance skillz:

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Daily Aggregation: Mercer Vs. Scheer

daily-aggregation-21. PRELUDE TO BLOODSHED? Hong Kong stops talks with democracy protesters. We also have a Gwynne Dyer column on Hong Kong this issue.

2. SYRIA, ISIS AND UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES Thanks to the Western air attacks against the Islamic State, Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad has more ability to fight the rebels who want him out.

3. FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE The Council of Canadians is challenging Conservative election laws in court. The organization says the June changes could result in thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands, of voters being turned away from polls.

4. HARPER GOVERNMENT USES EI MONEY TO PAD UPCOMING SURPLUS: BUDGET OFFICER Getting really sick of the trick of using Employment Insurance  money to sucker voters into believing a government is good with money. It’s just stealing from workers. This isn’t just a Conservative trick: the Liberals did it too. It’s evil no matter who does it.

5. THIS POLITICAL AD BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE CANADIAN PRESS The Conservatives ponder copyright law changes that would let political parties use news clippings and videos in political ads for free.

6. SASKATOON BUS STRIFE The University of Saskatchewan has launched its own bus service, sort of, for students and staff who can’t get to campus any other way. Meanwhile the city’s transit worker lockout continues. One thing that needs to be understood here is that buses are an goddamn essential service in a city, and lockouts (this is a management lockout, remember, NOT a strike) like this are absolutely devastating to citizens who rely on public transportation. Here’s the union position (more here) and here’s the city’s , for people who want to learn more.

LET THE WRONG ONE OUT A  teenager who has been charged with breaking and entering, theft and assault with a weapon was released from Regina remand. “Whoopsies!” say police, adding the 18-year-old isn’t a particular threat to the public.

BEHOLD THE IRIDIUM FLARE! An interesting sky event will give astronomers a reason to visit White City.

CONTRACT: INKED Kerry Joseph is officially back with the Roughriders.

FERGUSON COPS SUCK They’ve been harassing protesters since August.

WINNIPEG WAS SHITTY TO TANYA TAGAQ I think Winnipeg is a very racist place. Stories like this support my suspicion.

BETTER BIONICS New artificial arms restore some feeling to amputees. Very cool.

SCHEER FRUSTRATION Rick Mercer appears to not be a fan of the current speaker of the house. Huh.

More Mercer here.

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: Blacula

BlaculaThe blaxploitation genre was in full swing in 1972. Most of the films were action films but the first horror was Blacula.

In the 1700’s Prince Mamuwalde (William H. Marshall), the ruler of an African nation seeks the help of Count Dracula to stop the slave trade. Dracula refuses and turns Mamuwalde into a vampire and seals him in a coffin. In modern times (1972) the coffin is purchased and unknowingly opened by two men, both quickly become Mamuwalde’s first victims.
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IgniteTo celebrate its 25th anniversary, plus commemorate the spirit of experimentation, innovation and invention that lies at the core of its mandate, the Saskatchewan Science Centre is hosting a two-day science fair on Friday, Oct. 10 and Saturday, Oct. 11.

Earlier this year, the Science Centre put out a call to all actual and aspiring inventors and other creative types to take part in the fair and display their latest creation. I’m not sure how many students and adults responded, but I’m sure the fair was a hot topic in science and engineering classes at the elementary, high school and university level.

You can see what everyone came up with on Friday and Saturday during normal Science Centre hours. For more information visit the Science Centre website or call 306-791-7924.

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Daily Aggregation: Cthulhupillar!

daily-aggregation-2Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these things. Well, I’ve been busy, okay? Things to do! People to meet! Newspapers to edit! Beer to drink! Let’s see if I still remember how they work. Onward!

1. OPPOSITION PARTY OPPOSES AIR WAR AGAINST ISLAMIC STATE Read all about it. Nevertheless, planes will soon be on the way. Here’s the key things you should know. The Associated Press reports air strikes are hurting Islamic State forces, but Malcolm Fraser writes in The Guardian that an air campaign without ground troops is pointless, saying, “The commander in chief of what is meant to be the greatest democracy in the world has gone to war with the worst strategic understanding of any commander in chief in history.”

2. STUDYING TERRORISM The Conservatives commission five research projects on domestic terrorism. Okay, sounds like a good idea, but aren’t the Tories afraid this research might produce sociological evidence?

3. SASK ENVIRONMENT WATCHES WADENA’S AIR The site of a major train derailment is being monitored. Also, train operator error was not responsible for the accident.

4. REGINA MEN ASSAULTED Two of them have life-threatening injuries.

5. SHOTS FIRED AT REGINA HOUSE What did that house ever do to anyone?

6. VIOLENT AND AVOIDABLE DEATHS The coroner’s reports from the Lac-Megantic train disaster is grim.

7. FOOTBALL FIREWORK SET-UP FACES CHANGES Because fires are bad and safety is good.

8. TATER TAMPERING? Is some fucker fucking with Atlantic Canada’s spuds? A potato probe is underway.

9. FIRST U.S. EBOLA PATIENT DIES Thomas Eric Duncan has passed away in Texas.

10. IF YOU LIKE CATS, DON’T READ THIS All I can say is, I’m glad the cat killer is in jail but 10 months seems too short for someone who seems to me like a danger to society.

11. BLOOD MOON! It was apparently quite pretty.

12. HOCKEY STARTS TONIGHT! HOCKEY STARTS TONIGHT! My team, the Blue Jackets, don’t play until tomorrow, though. The poor Jackets have just been clobbered by injuries: top-line wingers Boone Jenner (learn that name!) and Naton Horton are out, and now the team’s heart-and-soul second-line centre, Brandon Dubinsky, is out for six weeks. Yikes.

CTHULUPILLAR HUNGERS! What is this thing? It’s terrifying. Ah, I see it was a successful Kickstarter. Also I need this book.

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31 Days Of B-Movie Horrors: I Walked With A Zombie

I Walked With a ZombieProducer Val Lewton was put in charge of RKO’s B movie horror unit in the 1940’s. He had free rein but he had three rules to follow. Each film had to come in under a $150,000 budget, each had to be under 75 minutes long and Lewton’s supervisors would supply the film titles. From there Lewton was free to do as he pleased. The first of these films was the brilliant Cat People in 1942. It was quickly followed in 1943 with I Walked with a Zombie.

A young Canadian nurse (Frances Dee) arrives on the Caribbean island of Saint Sebastian. She’s been hired to look after a plantation owner’s (Tom Conway) sick wife Jessica (Christine Gordon). Jessica apparently contracted a tropic fever that has left her catatonic. She now wanders around in dazed state. Dee travels the island on her day off with Conway’s half-brother James Ellison. In a bar she hears a song about Conway and Ellison fighting over Gordon. Ellison had fallen in love with Gordon and was going to run away with her before she was struck down with “fever”.
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The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer

If you caught some of the Regina Folk Festival in early August you perhaps saw this B.C.-based blues-rock duo of Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers in action. If you didn’t, or if you simply want to see them perform again, the RFF is giving you that opportunity via their Concert Series which is bringing the Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer to town Thursday, Oct. 9 to play a show at the Exchange (doors 8 p.m.).

With their 2014 album A Real Fine Mess, which was released in June, Hall and Rogers expanded their sound a bit with guest artists chipping in on trumpet, sax, organ and vocals — the last courtesy the Winnipeg group Chic Gamine. I’m not sure if they’ll have some of those contributors on stage with them tomorrow, but regardless it should be a high-energy show.

Tickets are $15 advance and $20 at the door. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s video of the band in studio performing “Don’t Make’em Like They Used To” off A Real Fine Mess:

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