Happy Anniversary

Tomorrow, members of the Making Peace Vigil celebrate (or perhaps mourn is a better word?) the second anniversary of their weekly protest against violence and injustice. For two years, they've met every Thursday at the north end of the Scarth Street Mall to hand out fliers championing a host of worthwhile causes from an end to war in Afghanistan, to halting the global arms trade to embracing environmental sustainability. If you're downtown tomorrow from noon to 12:30 p.m. stop by and show your support. You might even score a piece of birthday cake. (World Peace Association)

Live Tonight: Joel Plaskett, Rah Rah

Wednesday, May 6

Joel Plaskett
The Distrikt

You can check out the prairie dog for an interview with Plaskett, where he talks about his new triple album and his three collaborators (Ana Egge and Rose Cousins and his father, Bill). Something that didn't fit into the article was Plaskett on the new Two Hours Traffic record. THT are a sugary-sweet PEI power-pop band, and Plaskett had just finished producing their third album. "It's different. There's a lot of connection points to the last record, but there's also some darker stuff on this record. It turns a few corners that you wouldn't have expected it to. Which is good; they're really evolving and maturing as songwriters. This was a little bit more of a challenge to make because of that, because there's a bit more variety, but it was also really interesting in that respect." THT have been through Regina a few times in the past, and we can probably look forward to them coming back. With any luck, their album will be as good as Plaskett's Three, his most accomplished to date.


Rah Rah, Mt. Royal

Rah Rah frontman Marshall Burns has to be a little conflicted, as Plaskett is one of his favorite artists. It's more likely, though, that his mind is otherwise occupied as Rah Rah is about to embark on a two-month, 28-date cross-Canada tour, that will also include a stop-over in Montreal to track some songs with producer Kees Dekker of Plants and Animals. The new album will be an exciting one, as the new songs they've played live have been remarkably different from their previous material. The addition of guitarist Leif Thorseth is also paying off in big ways. Unfortunately, I can't find any of their new material on YouTube, so the following cut from Going Steady will have to do.

Other concerts going on tonight: Chosen, Decency Dies, Lest We Fail at the Exchange; Paper Moon, Dave Taylor at the Club

Coyote Imbroglio

Here's a great piece by elite hockey writer and TSN pundit Bob Mackenzie on the Phoenix Coyote situation. Essential reading for anyone who's interested in the topic, it really lays out the situation--specifically the conflicts--clearly. Which could not have been an easy thing to do.

I think, long-term, this fight will take down Gary Bettmen, because despite his delusions otherwise the NHL will never flourish in weak markets in a depressed U.S. economy that'll probably never be what it used to be. A strong NHL needs more teams in Canada, and because Bettman's U.S. growth plan has never been completely successful (Nashville?!), eventually he'll take the fall.

The U.S. will go soccer mad before it buys into hockey hype. You can only make the sport so big down there. Yep, sooner or later, probably later, but not too much later, the NHL is going to have to move teams back to Canada.

I've said it before--it's just too bad Winnipeg's business class isn't in the game on this one. I wouldn't mind being a six-hour drive from the NHL. Sigh.

Today In Surgery

Dog Blog's shyest member, Carle Steel, sent me a link to this story about North America's first succesful face transplant. (Thanks Carl). The article is interesting mostly as a portrait of the amazing recipient, a woman who lost most of her face after her husband blasted her with a shotgun.

Read the Associated Press story for the feel-good (well, as good as possible) humanity, but maybe do me a favour and remember it the next time you hear some libertarian asshole say there shouldn't be any restrictions on the purchase or ownership of firearms. I'm not opposed to collectors and hobbyists keeping guns, I don't want to take rifles away from farmers and hunters, and I recognize that some of the gun laws in this country might need tweaking. But Jebus Cripes, there are just flat out too many guns out there, and everytime a gun-owning family goes into crisis (a polite way of saying another man goes mental) there's a danger someone will get shot in the face.

And at the risk of sounding like a looney radical, I'm opposed to people being shot in the face.

For people living in cities and suburbs, guns should not be regarded as "household items". They should NEVER be sold in malls, department stores and grocery shops.

Ninety-nine per cent of people have no business owning guns. End of story. Don't shoot the messenger.

Six in the Morning

1. RABBLE JOURNALIST ASSAULTED AT LIBERAL CONVENTION: Derrick O'Keefe, an accredited Rabble.ca journalist, had his video camera ripped from his hand and was then knocked to the ground by Mario Cuconato, Paul Martin's former Director of Operations. The reason for the assault? O'Keefe dared to ask Paul Martin questions about his governments involvement in the overthrow of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. O'Keefe managed to retrieve his camera with its footage of the assault intact. (rabble.ca)

2. NANNY CONTROVERSY UNDERMINES LIBERAL MP: Ruby Dhalla, Liberal critic for youth and multiculturalism, steps down amid allegations she mistreated foreign caregivers and paid them under the table. If true, well then, shame on you Ms Dhalla. Of course, there is the larger issue here of maybe MPs who are parents wouldn't have to hire live-in nannies at all if we had that national childcare program the Conservatives kiboshed. I'm just saying.... (Globe and Mail)

3. POLICE DROP CHARGES AGAINST BULLIED TEEN: Some background: a Korean/Canadian grade nine student in Keswick Ontario was confronted by a bully who insulted him using racial slurs and then punched him in the mouth. The Korean teen, who happened to be a black belt in karate, defended himself. The Korean teen had been trained (by his father) to never fight except in self defence and even then to only use his left hand. He did so: one left-handed punch which succeeded in breaking the bully's nose. (Bravo!) School officials and the police, however, suspended Karate Teen and charged him with assault, respectively. He was threatened with expulsion. The bully who started all this got off scot free. Anyway, after weeks of criticism directed at the police and school board, both have finally backed down and Karate Teen can now go back to school and not worry about going to jail. (Globe and Mail)

4. SEARCH ENGINE MOVING TO TVO: One of my favourite podcasts -- CBC's Search Engine with Jesse Brown -- is moving to TVO. In case you don't know the story of Search Engine, it's a fantastic internet culture and politics show that CBC took off Radio One last year as part of cost cutting measures. The show lived on as a podcast and became CBC's most popular podcast and one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes. TVO is now snapping it up. Hope that doesn't mean I won't be able to download it anymore. (InsidetheCBC.com)

5. CALLS FOR LINGENFELTER TO DROP OUT OF RACE: After some hinky business involving membership sales, Yens Pedersen is calling for Dwain Lingenfelter to drop out of the NDP leadership race. (Leader Post)

6. HARPER TO PENALIZE CZECHS TO KEEP ROMA OUT OF CANADA: To stem the number of Roma seeking asylum in Canada, Harper is threatening to reimpose visa requirements on Czechs coming to Canada. The government is claiming Roma refugees aren't actually oppressed people but rather economic migrants taking advantage of Canada's soft refugee determination system. Hang on a second.... Is it just me or does this sound a little like our Conservative government is saying something along the lines of "we don't want any sneaky gypsies sneaking into our country"? I don't know man, I lived a year in the Czech Republic back in the mid-90s -- so granted my info is a little out of date -- but as I recall the Roma there faced very serious racism. The government at the time was even threatening to revoke their Czech citizenships then force them to relocate to Slovakia. (A clear violation of international law.) I can't think of a more consistently oppressed people for Harper to be picking on, frankly. Way to stick a thumb in the eye of the downtrodden, Stephen. You prick. (Leader Post)

Trek Of The Day

Of course there's more to Star Trekkery than William Shatner overheating under stage lights. There's Spock singing. What's weird to me is how much cooler Leonard Nimoy is than the Shat, even when he's performing material that's every bit as idiotic. And this song--blown right out of a 60s bong--is righteously idiotic.

Tomorrow: the shocking truth beind all those long, smouldering glances between Kirk and Spock.