Obligatory Link-Filled Post About The End Of The NHL Lockout

Blah blah blah:

Early on Sunday morning — day 113 of the lockout — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed from New York the two sides had reached a tentative agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement that will finally spark the beginning of the regular season. Details of the new CBA were not immediately released, and Bettman cautioned they still needed to be ironed out fully. The majority of both the NHL’s 30-member Board of Governors and NHL players still need to ratify the agreement.

Blah blah “Reports also suggested the season could start Jan. 15 at the earliest and Jan. 19 at the latest.”

More? Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

UPDATE (2:49): Really good story blah, also blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Tories “Dissappointed” Courts Won’t Let Them Kill Vancouver Drug Addicts

I’m paraphrasing. From The Globe And Mail:

The Health Minister told the House of Commons on Friday that her government would be taking a look at the decision. “Although we are disappointed with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision today, we will comply,” Leona Aglukkaq said during Question Period. The government, she said, believes that the system should be focussed on preventing people from becoming drug addicts and has made significant investments to strengthen existing treatment efforts through its treatment action plan. “We will be reviewing the court decision,” the minister said.

Mmm-hmm. Also from that story:

Libby Davies, the New Democrat MP whose riding includes the Downtown Eastside where Insite is located, was delighted with the court ruling. “Since it opened in 2003 in my riding, fatal overdoses have dropped by a third. More people get treatment as Insite is there to connect people with the services they need. Today the people who use this service have had their voices heard,” Ms. Davies told the House.

That’s a little more reasonable. Read the full thing here.

British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, and SCIENCE all agree that Insite saves lives, and they want to keep it running. The Conservative feds, who’ve tried to kill Insite for years, need leave their cottages in make-believe land and learn about reality — then back off.

But whatever, they won’t. They’re the party of la la la, everything’s okay if you do it our way. Besides, the Cons — a.k.a. the Crazy Grampa Party — can  still swing their Nancy Reagan-approved war-on-drugs dicks at pot smokers through their stupid crime omnibus bill.

Meanwhile, drug prohibition policies have a body count in, to make up a plausible number, the tens of millions. In Canada and worldwide, drug prohibition is a bigger failure than booze prohibition — it breeds gangsters and killers like mice in abandoned barns.

Unless we want to keep reading headlines abou narco beheadings and disembowlments, we need to re-think everything we’re doing about drugs. Insite is a good start.

Gywnne Dyer’s Evil Metric

I just figured out this thing that’s been bugging me that no one will care about. When I open Gywnne Dyer’s columns in Microsoft Word, the pages always display side-by-side instead of one at a time. Which I hate. I want Word to display one page at a time.

Dyer’s the only columnist who sends files that do this, and it’s been driving me batshit for months.

What’s the difference between Dyer’s columns and every other file? I couldn’t figure it out. It wasn’t margins, it wasn’t a mis-checked option under the View tab, it wasn’t the typeface or font size (although when I display the files at 110 per cent I get the one-page view that I want, but that doesn’t answer the basic question of why it was displaying differently and anyway I oppose such false, lazy “solutions” on principle).

Well, I figured it out. It was the page size. I went to the Page Layout tab, clicked “size”, and aha! Dyers columns are opening in format A4, which is 21 X 29.7 centimetres.

I changed the size to Letter (8.5 X 11 inches) and all is well. Dyer’s pages display one at a time, which is just the way I like to read them.

I feel so much better.

Dept. Of Eff The Heck Off: Prairie Dog Haz Offended Again!

We received this lovely voice-mail message from a Concerned Local Businessperson:

“I own four businesses in Regina and there’s no way in hell I’d ever advertise anything in your magazine after reading page seven where you’ve used the word “eff eff eff eff eff eff eff””. If you think businesses want to be associated with a piece of crap like that you might want to think again. Totally unprofessional, totally inappropriate for a city like Regina [that] likes to promote community and good things. Just a piece of garbage. I will be passing this on to a lot of my other friends in Regina who own businesses and say, ‘just stay away’ from this magazine. Bye! [click]”

Thanks very much for the thoughtful comments sent from your unlisted phone line. We do appreciate anonymous complaints and take them very seriously. It sounds like you’re upset about this article. I’ll attempt to address your concerns:

1.) Perhaps the problem here is that you’ve never read anything like prairie dog — which, to be fair, has only been  in existence for 18 yearsbefore, and you’re surprised to find something that contains such, ah, lively writing. And yet, perhaps surprisingly to you, publications like PD are a common phenomenon!  Our magazine belongs to a category of free publications called “alternative newsweeklies”. These free picker-uppers tend to have a left-leaning mix of news and commentary along with lively music, film, arts and lifestyle coverage. Articles in alts tend to be characterized by strong opinion, humour, intelligence and grown-up language. This is fine: alts are intended for an adult readership; in fact, in most markets they’re packed with ads for booze, pubs and clubs.

There is even an industry association (which, unfortunately, we are not a member of because we only publish bi-weekly).

You can find alts in most North American cities — my favourites are The Stranger in Seattle, Now in Toronto and The Coast in Halifax. The Georgia Straight in Vancouver is also excellent. Even conservative Alberta has three alts: two in Edmonton (See and Vue) and one in Calgary (FFWD). All are delightful.

Continue reading “Dept. Of Eff The Heck Off: Prairie Dog Haz Offended Again!”

Astrological Realignment?

Worried you’re not who you are? Afraid all the signs have changed? Well, it’s probably all right. From Rob Brezsny, author of the syndicated column Free Will Astrology:

Western astrologers don’t work with stars or constellations. Their focus is our solar system. They study the patterns of the planets and the moon as they pass through 12 zones defined by the relationship between the Earth and sun. Those zones have the same names as constellations because of a historical quirk, but they are unrelated to the constellations. When Parke Kunkle triumphantly says, “There is no physical connection between constellations and personality traits,” as if he has finally stamped out the delusions of us astrologers, he doesn’t realize that we agree with him completely. We don’t deal with constellations.

So there you go. If you were a Capricorn last year (which is what you are if you were born on today’s date) you are still a Capricorn now.

(And also: you realize that astrology is something you follow for fun, right? The position of planets doesn’t determine your personality. Astrological systems can encourage imaginative and intuitive thinking and there is insight to be had in that but there can be madness too. Maaadness! So don’t go overboard.)