Announcement: The New Prairie Dog Website

It's true. The URL is www.prairiedogmag.com but you can get there the fastest just by clicking here. It's been a long time coming and it was a lot of stress and hard work to make it happen.

We hope you like it.

The website will have most of the articles from the print edition of the current prairie dog as well as (very) limited archives. Although there are still some nooks and crannies "under construction", there's is plenty to see, read and poke right now.

And tomorrow at some point we'll flip the "on" switch for the new Dog Blog and, well, it'll be back to business. Except that from now on, our blog be part of a bigger website.

And that's it for this version of Dog Blog. One thousand, five hundred and twenty-nine posts later, we're moving onward and upward.

Hope to see you soon at the new address!

The new website was designed and built by Jason Funk and Alex Whyte. Extra special thanks to designer Paul Klassen who came in late and helped bring it all home.

Canada Sure Demolished Russia, Eh?

7-3. (CBC)

I'm not surprised. Russia has the talent but something's missing, or not clicking. Also, it looks like Canada lost the right game in this tournement. They're awake now.

Have to say, I don't root for Canada the way I used to. I root for teams with players I like, and there's players I like from all over the place. Teemu Selanne --hey, I saw him score enough goals back in the day at the old Winnipeg Arena. There was a time when I'd have donated him a kidney if he'd needed one (thank god he did not). And how do you root against Ovechkin, or a guy like awesome U.S. goalie Ryan Miller--who (if I recall correctly) was insultingly left off the 2006 U.S. Olympic team for poor, terrible John Grahame.

Still, kind of nice to see that the beast, she has awoke. Look out, U.S.A. These guys are looking like Miller killers.

So When Are We Shutting This Thing Down, Anyway?

I figure sometime after the hockey game. So yeah, if any posters have a favourite dog blog memory or something they want to share, put it up fast! Because after tonight there will be NO DOG BLOG EVER AGAIN.

(Until tomorrow at a new, improved and soon-to-be-announced location Shhh!)

Conservative MP Sides with Climate Liars

Wondering why the Harper government seems to be dragging its heels on doing anything about climate change? I've argued that it's because the party is teeming with closet climate change deniers.

Well, one Conservative MP has stepped proudly out of the closet. In a letter to La Presse, Maxime Bernier applauded Harper's go-slow approach to climate change because the science, he says, is not decided.

So we've got Gary Goodyear questioning evolution and Bernier questioning climate change. Is anyone in the Conservative party even passingly familiar with science?

A Small Bit Of News

Today is Dog Blog's last day!

Well, last day in its current form.

Stay tuned, there will be announcements later. GOOD announcements.

Ha ha!

Pick of the Day: The Wiz

Pretty well everyone has seen the classic 1939 MGM movie The Wizard of Oz in which the adorable Judy Garland starred as Dorothy, the young Kansas girl who, along with her dog Toto, gets swept up in a tornado and is whisked away to the magical land of Oz. It is a true Hollywood classic.

Tonight and tomorrow night at Conexus Arts Centre, Do-It-With-Class Young Peoples Theatre are presenting a somewhat revised musical version of L. Frank Baum's beloved tale with some video sequences being shot in Wascana Park. The Wiz debuted on Broadway in 1975, and in 1978 was made into a movie that starred such luminaries as Diana Ross (Dorothy), Michael Jackson (Scarecrow), Lena Horne (Glinda the Good Witch of the West), Nipsey Russel (TinMan) and Richard Pryor (the Wizard).

God knows how many TV and film versions of Baum's story are out there. All have a touch of weirdness attached to them. But hands down, in my mind anyway, this cartoon that I remember from my childhood is the weirdest. Anyone else out there remember this? (YouTube)


Look ma! Politicial cynicism!

But of course they'd NEVER politicize the Olympics, heaven forbid.

"Our strong leader???!!!???!!"

Jeez, at least Hitler hired Leni Riefenstahl when he wanted to capitalize politically on the games, not whatever boob was running the camera for Stephan Dion's recorded message...

Pick of the Day: Yukon Blonde

In a post a couple of weeks ago, prairie dog editor Stephen Whitworth raved about this Vancouver-based quartet. The only challenge to him seeing them at the Exchange tonight as he proposed and booking off work the next day is that the gig coincides with production day for our Feb. 25 issue.

In a perfect world, we'd have the paper off to the printer by 5 p.m. But, as we are constantly reminded of virtually every day of our existence, we don't live in a perfect world. Each issue, all sorts of things typically happen from writers being late with copy to our network going down to advertisers being late with ads to late-breaking stories to the editor attending a production-weekend party and suffering a "ginjury", that frustrate our ability to hit deadline.

So the odds of us being done the paper in time to take in this gig are long indeed. I'm serious, Switzerland has a better chance of a gold medal sweep in Men's and Women's Ice Hockey at the Olympics then we do of hitting deadline. But we'll definitely be there in spirit. Because, as Steve noted in his post, Yukon Blonde is "effing great" (Dog Blog)


City Council Wrapup: Somebody Please Fix the Feedback Problem!

Don't know how much was spent on the year-old PA system in city hall, but that sure is some tax dollars hard at work.

Hard at work wrecking my hearing, that is.

Surprise shrieks of feedback have been happening since, well, since the system was installed as far as I can remember. But things have been getting steadily worse. Tonight, it seemed if anyone spoke even slightly louder than normal, they'd be greeted with howls from the speakers. It was clearly bothering some of the delegations and even warranted some very testy comments from Councillor Clipsham.

Apparently, the problem is "being looked into."

In other news, want to know how to really provoke council's ire? Suggest raising property taxes to avoid the necessity of a 25 cent transit fare increase.

That's what former mayoral candidate, Jim Elliott, did, and boy howdy, did they let him have it. Normally, when Elliott appears before council to promote his left-wing, radical socialist, hippy agenda, the response is a "seeing no questions, thank you, you may return to the gallery." Tonight there were questions. Questions aplenty.

Elliott's argument was essentially that while a 25 cent fare increase seems small, there was a 15 cent increase in August so the two should be considered together and a 40 cent increase over a calendar year is starting to look a little on the steep side. He suggested that any increase will have a negative impact on low income users of transit and that maybe further fare increases should wait until there are some demonstrable improvements to the transit system.

Under questioning, he suggested that a property tax increase would be preferable to a fare increase as it would spread the impact out farther.

Ignoring Elliott's point that the fare increase they should really be discussing is 40 cents over a year, Councillor Fougere argued that a 25 cent increase is very small and pointed out that the discounted transit passes for low income people are not increasing at all in price. He also wondered aloud if Elliott would rather transit users pay nothing to ride the bus. Elliot said, no, he'd just like to see their contribution to transit not increase at this time.

Councillor Hincks, who seemed very cranky at the suggestion of a tax increase, pointed out that Regina's transit rates, before this hike, is among the lowest in the country. Elliot argued that by keeping our transit fees lower than other cities we're giving ourselves a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting new residents. He didn't take the obvious dig that maybe our transit fees should be lower because our transit system isn't as good as other cities'.

Councillor Clipsham argued that the current ratio of user fees to city subsidization of transit is about right (one third paid for from fees, the rest from municipal coffers). He also asked the administration about the effect on ridership from last year's 15 cent price increase. According to the Director of Transit, David Onodera, ridership increased. This prompted Clipsham to suggest that Elliot's concerns that price hikes would drive people away were unfounded.

Once Elliott was allowed to return to his seat, I think he'd received more direct attention from city hall than during his entire run for mayor.

In the end, council voted unanimously that fares should go up.

Everything else on the agenda also passed unanimously. That includes the Transit Investment Plan and its attendant action plan.

The one exception was a motion made by Councillor Clipsham during discussion of the fare increase. He requested that administration, as part of their comprehensive review of parking, look into the feasibility and desirability of linking transit fares to downtown parking fees. Only councillors Fougere and Findura voted against this.

Oh yeah... A tip to anyone considering appearing as a delegate before council: If you're planning to say something critical of what council is doing -- especially if it has something to do with things like transit, programs for low income people or housing -- be prepared for this question: "Have you brought your concerns to the provincial government?"

Now, to be fair, the point council's making is that some of the stuff that people want to complain to them about is in part, or even wholly, a provincial concern. Still, the question is a great diversion tactic that can throw someone unused to council proceedings right off their game. (I should know. They hit me with a version of this the one time I appeared before council.)

Axe Cop

"One day, at the scene of a fire, the cop found the perfect fireman axe. That was the day he became Axe Cop"

So begins Axe Cop, an online comic strip that is drawn by Ethan Nicholle (age 29), and written by his younger brother Malachai (age 5). According to Ethan, his father has 'very healthy loins.'

The strip is wonderfully drawn, and the storyline should be familiar to anyone who thought or said anything at the age of five.

Read Axe Cop here.

Spoiler: Don't get too attached to Axe Cop's partner, Flute Cop. He becomes Dinosaur Soldier in the first episode!