Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Four thousand.

That's how many complaints Jason Hall and the Regina Landlord's Association have filed under the City of Regina's Property Maintenance Bylaw since Dec. 22, 2008. Hall's letter to the City's Executive Committee is here (pdf).

The document is curious for several reasons, least among which are the writer's curious word-processing choices. It's impossible to tell if this is a Fratboy prank or a cry for help from someone suffering from a serious and possibly dangerous persecution complex.

The Community and Protective Services report on the RLA's deluge of complaints is here (pdf).

The whole sad biz should come to an exciting head tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. in Henry Baker Hall at Regina City Hall (here's where we pause to reflect on the dunderheadedness of having a hall within a hall, never mind that a Hall will likely be in attendance). This is civic politics at its best and worst. (Thx to Paul Dechene at prairie dog magazine's blog for keeping tabs on Regina City Hall).

While I'm talking 'bout Regina, and while I'm ripping off other folks' blogs, I was super-excited to read about the Lazy MKs on SoundSalvationArmy last week. The most excellent instrumental trio gets their post-(country) rock groove on like a back forty Precious Fathers. One question though: Do you say "the Lazy em-kays" or "the Lazy Marks"?

mp3: "Young Sad" by the Lazy MKs
mp3: "Burgess Lake" by the Lazy MKs

EDIT: SSA link fixed, and bonus Jason Hall quote (via CBC, last September): "At one point, and I would probably say two years ago, we were desperate to put anyone into a place just to make the mortgage payment," Hall said. "Now, what we're seeing is, we have a lineup of people wanting to take places — a better brand of tenant. And, you know, landlords can be a little more fussy now."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday in Western Canada

If you're staying home tonight, and why wouldn't you, you might want to check out The Fifth Estate on CBC at 9 p.m., as they present "Staying Alive", their documentary on Vancouver's Supervised Injection Site. If you watch closely, you might see me in the background. But that's not why you should watch it, and don't let it distract from the most indepth look at the SIS in broadcast history.

The fine people at Flemish Eye have announced the May 19th release of the self-titled debut album from the Pale Air Singers (pictured above), a collab between two of my favourite Western Canadian groups, The Cape May and Run Chico Run. The track (below) they've released in preview showcases TCM singer Clinton St. John's wide prairie vocals and that's good enough for Gladys, as we used to say on the Bridge Building Crew.

mp3: "Convict Escapes" by Pale Air Singers

If you're in Regina on Saturday, check out Deep Dark Woods at the Exchange. Their new album, Winter Hours, is some kinda fine Saskatchewania.

mp3: "All the Money I Had is Gone" by Deep Dark Woods

Speaking of Regina, I can't get enough of Paul Dechene's municipal politics updates at the Prairie Dog's Dog Blog. Regina City Council meetings are a glorious, frustrating thing to behold, and I always appreciate that someone is there paying attention.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Print's charming

If you needed any proof that newspapers as we know and love 'em have entered their End of Days, it might be from a question posed a last week's WonderCon comic book convention in San Francisco. "Will The Daily Planet face a collapse like every other American newspaper?" a fan asked of writer James Robinson at a panel.
Robinson, who writes a rather lacklustre Superman comic, replied with non-committal reference to Morgan Edge, a toady of the extra-dimensional despot Darkseid. In the Superman comics of the 1970s, Edge's Galaxy Broadcasting System bought out the Daily Planet and summarily gutted it to enhance their broadcast media division. Most notoriously, Edge poached mild-mannered Clark Kent from the Planet newsroom and set him up as the anchor of WGBS's nightly newscast.
It might be interesting to see how the collapse of print media is portrayed in the Superman universe, but can we trust a print media outlet like DC Comics to have any perspective on it? At this point, I'm more likely to watch the Fables of Print's End Times on Ugly Betty.

Reliable sources tell me, howev, that the finest pre-mortem on the cadaver-in-waiting is Season Five of The Wire, but damnit, we found another glimmer of hope for the old broad(sheet). Anyway, I'm nowhere near Season Five, just getting settled into Season Two, thanks. Yes, I watch TV at a slower-than-normal pace, but that's the beauty of the 21st Century. You can do things faster, but you can also do things more slowly.

It wasn't blogs that killed print, though, bunk. There's not as much useful and meaningful knowledge in ten thousand blogs, be they Huffington Post or the Longmont Urban Hens Coalition, as there is in the front section of any daily broadsheet. Don't point your finger at the blogs. It was Craigslist, yo. Slam dunk. Y'see, there used to be these dense, fine-print pages in the back of the paper. Places where people used cute and clever language to sell Adult Services in such a way that everyone knew what was for sale, yet neither the newspaper nor the local morality squad seemed to care. Places where people looked when they lost their glasses at the Northwest Leisure Centre. Places where the people told each other stories: Wedding dress, only worn twice. $50 obo. Or, Will pay cash for lawnmower and someone to push it by end of weekend. That kind of thing. People used to pay for the privelige of selling their own and buying someone else's junk. It used to mean something. If you wanted to get rid of your ski boots in July, you had to think about. You had to write a letter, or at least make a phone call. You had to get someone else involved. You had to be a committed seller. These days, jeez. There's a million pieces of crap for sale on the Internet, and if you actually want to do someone the solid of buying their three-drawer Creamsicle orange dresser for $45, you've gotta spend a week emailing and calling them before they agree to sell it to you. And it's lucky for you that your parents raised you to be a halfway decent person who calls ahead before showing up on someone's door to pick up the piece of furniture, because in the three hours between agreeing to sell you the item and the agreed-upon-by-both-parties-time of pick-up, the lousy zeke has up and sold it to someone else. Without so much of a solid as calling to let you know.

Speaking of solids, Gentleman Reg's new album is called Jet Black. Reg's first couple of albums came out on the lovely and missed Three Gut label. Three Gut was home to some of the early 00s' finest Canadian music like Royal City, Jim Guthrie and Cuff the Duke. I reviewed Reg's debut, Make Me Pretty, for No Depression back in the day when No Depression was a print mag and I was a guy who wrote for print money.

mp3: "You Can't Get It Back" by Gentleman Reg