Monthly Archives: February 2015

My Letter to Harper about Secret Police Bill C-51

Reid Dickie

I sent the following letter to Stephen Harper today regarding Bill C-51 which is supposed to give police power to deal with “terrorism.” Instead it takes away our right and freedoms based on little more than fear-mongering and media booga booga.

Because the Ref-Cons are under the thumb of Big Pharma, Bill C-51 contains directives regarding alternative medicine. For example, up to $5 million fine for growing, preserving or sharing an unregistered natural health product like garlic, vitamins, herbs. The bill turns ordinary Canadians into “terrorists” if we use medicinal alternatives.

My letter went to every MP in Ottawa via one mass emailing. You can find all their email addresses here.  Scroll down, copy and paste them into your address bar.

http://butterflystorms.blog.ca/2011/07/05/canadian-mps-email-addresses-web-pages-11431378/

Mr. Harper,

   Bill C-51 is your most anti-Canadian bill yet.

   This dreadful secret police bill is much too vague in all its definitions, gives too much power to CSIS and overreaches far too deeply into the lives of ordinary Canadians. It gives police the power to detain people who haven’t committed a crime based on mere suspicion, i.e. search and seizure without warrant. This is your devious way of trying to get control of the internet, censor its content and to control medical alternatives. Why are directives against alternative medicine included in this bill?

   This bill does nothing to protect our freedoms; it undermines them. No matter how much fear-mongering you do or how many phony terrorists you haul out in front of the cameras, we are not willing to give up our rights and freedoms. Your paranoid anti-democratic views represent a very small portion of Canadians.  

    C-51 is alien legislation. This wasn’t even drafted in Canada. It was written elsewhere and you were told to apply it to Canada. You know you are wrong which is why you are desperate to limit debate and abuse your power further. How can you make an informed decision without all the information?

    The current oversight of CSIS has been under funded and understaffed for the duration of your reign and now you claim this new bill has sufficient oversight. There will be even less oversight and accountability with C-51. What kind of spooks are you turning our country over to?

   I am 100% opposed to Bill C-51. It should be scrapped now.

      Sincerely,

        Reid Dickie

            Winnipeg

Read Ralph Nader’s letter to Harper about Bill C-51 here

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/02/18/whats-happening-canada-open-letter-stephen-harper

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Classic Cars, Trucks and Machinery at Carberry Heritage Festival

Snapshot 1 (17-02-2015 12-29 PM)

Reid Dickie

This 1919 Ford truck was one of the many vintage vehicles on display at the Carberry Heritage Festival. As you can see it’s a crank start. Click the pic to watch my two-minute video of some of the other cars, trucks and farm machinery at the festival.

The 2015 Carberry Heritage Festival takes place Friday & Saturday August 7 & 8.

The festival website is http://www.carberryheritagefestival.com

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Filed under Carberry, Festivals, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

Slammin’ with Kayla Fraser and Steve Currie

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Reid Dickie

To end the week of slam poets I’ll feature two Winnipeg poets, Kayla Fraser and Steve Currie, info on local slam events in 2015 and finish with Andrea Gibson who was the inspiration for this series.

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Click her pic for Kayla Fraser to perform The Poetry Game.

Winnipeg Poetry Slam has a new home at the Winnipeg Poetry Project which will hold the second of four events to determine the local slam poets that go to the nationals. The event is Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at the West End Cultural Centre. Sign-in 7:15. Slam 8:00. Details are available. You can see a tally of the top slam poets and their point totals on the site, videos and audio tracks of poets performing and an application form if you want to prowl the stage and share your wisdom.

Another event under the auspices of the Winnipeg Poetry Project is the annual Winnipeg Spoken Word Festival, June 10 to 13, 2015 at the Gas Station Theatre. Details as they emerge.

A collaborative project called F-Wordz combining performing poets and filmmakers is evolving to its May 3, 2015 competition at the Park Theatre. The Winnipeg Film Group offers info.

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Steve Currie is vying for a spot on Winnipeg’s Slam Team this year and reads a work pulled from today’s headlines about Manitoba’s 10,000 foster children. Click his pic to watch Steve perform To Whom It May Concern.

I recently discovered the performance poetry of Andrea Gibson and posted about her. Her work inspired my explorations of current slam poetry resulting in this series. To end off, two poems by Andrea Gibson. Click pic to watch her perform Prism

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Click pic for her performance of Panic Button Collector

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 What’s this series about?

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Slammin’ with George Watsky and James Judd

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Reid Dickie

Two more slam poets today.

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Click his pic to watch George Watsky perform Drunk Text Message to God

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One of the funniest slam poets is James Judd performing his story poem The Book Report

What’s this series about?

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Slammin’ with Jeanann Verlee and Carlos Andres Gomez

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Reid Dickie

A trio of slam poems today. Jeanann Verlee, whom I featured earlier in this series, and Carlos Andres Gomez, each performing separately and together.

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Click her pic to watch Jeanann Verlee perform 40 Love Letters.

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Click their pic to watch Jeanann Verlee and Carlos Andres Gomez perform Wait.

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Click his pic to see Carlos Andres Gomez perform What’s Genocide?

What’s this series about?

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Slammin’ with Shane Koyczan and Rudy Francisco

slam 3

Reid Dickie

Today’s poets are Shane Koyczan from Penticton, B.C. and Rudy Francisco.

shane

Click his pic to watch Shane Koyczan perform his story poem Why Does This Man’s Grandfather Fight Monsters? Shane is performing in Winnipeg at the West End Cultural Centre on April 5, 2015.

rudy

Click his pic to watch Rudy Francisco perform his poem Complainers.

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Slammin’ with Megan Maughan and Noah St. John

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Reid Dickie

Two youthful voices on today’s slam.

megan

Click her pic to watch Megan Maughan perform Five Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder.

noah

Click his pic to watch Noah St. John perform his poem Capoeira.

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Slammin’ with Neil Hilborn and Michael Lee

slam

Reid Dickie

Two more contemporary slam poets in my series on words at work.

neil

Click his pic to watch Neil Hilborn perform OCD.

michael lee

Click his pic to watch Michael Lee perform Pass On.

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Slammin’ with Jeanann Verlee and Josh Healey

slam 1

Reid Dickie

We live in a time when words have been reduced to a series of abbreviations on tiny text screens, when clarity and truth are drained daily from language replaced by doublespeak that supports an agenda, when the inability to form a complete sentence results in the inability to think critically, when powerful voices that promote sanity and goodness are routinely silenced. But words still work. They can still tell the truth when employed by active minds and engaged  imaginations. In this case, I mean slam poetry. Click the pic below for a poet slam primer under 60 seconds.

rules

This is the first of six or seven posts featuring contemporary slam poets performing their work. Each one of these voices offers his or her unique perspective on life in the 21st century, usually personal, sometimes cringingly so, frequently funny, always pertinent and inspirational. Instead of writing about each poet’s background I have included links to their websites. Most of these slam poets have won awards for their performance poetry.

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Click her pic to watch Jeanann Verlee perform Communion.

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Click his pic to watch Josh Healey perform Coming Out Straight.

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Filed under Ancient Wisdom, Slam Poetry

Fake Winnipeg Nostalgia – Char Broiler Commercial

FOOD DD

You don’t actually remember this Char Broiler commercial but after you watch it you’ll think you do.

False memories are hidden in the food.

Can you decode this order?

FOOD OO

Watch Char Broiler commercial parody 1:30

Click a pic

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Filed under Humour, Winnipeg

Principal Sparling School, 1150 Sherburn Street, Winnipeg (1913)

Principal Sparling can0001

Reid Dickie

By the time this “lovely castle” was built, school architect J. B. Mitchell was delightfully combining elements from several architectural styles, creating a stunning array of Principal Sparling can0003structures.

Two-storey Principal Sparling School is a luxurious sight, rich with detail, solid but enticingly airy with glorious fenestration all around. Executed by expert craftsmen, the school incorporates Gothic and Classical Revival design elements.

The elevated limestone portico and the tower above it (left) are the building’s most striking feature. Transverse stairways lead to the portico landing, which is open on each side.

Overhead Dutch gables crown three sides of the portico, the front has a large medallion in a floral motif, all Principal Sparling can0004 - Copycomplimenting the arched doorway into the school, the stained glass window above it and the open tower atop. The name of the school is inscribed on a large limestone plaque on the face of the tower at eave level. (right) Although I’ve never seen anything to indicate J. B. Mitchell belonged to the Masonic Lodge, it is highly likely he was a member. On other schools Mitchell has left us a few hints of his understanding and use of the Golden Section. On Principal Sparling, the overlapping Os in School create the vesica pisces.

A storey and a half above the low-pitched hip roof, the square tower culminates in four open arcades of rounded and square columns. Resembling tracery, the arcades are aPrincipal Sparling can0009 medieval touch. The top of the tower (left) has a curving belt course supported by arcades of corbelling of very high quality – it feels as if it drips from the building. An angled parapet crowns the tower.

The symmetrical facade has large end wings that bring a churchy Gothic effect Principal Sparling can0006because they are windowless but for the round openings on the stone-capped Dutch  gable ends. The sections that would have been windows are indented and surmounted with exquisite corbelling. (left) There is a pair of dormers on the front elevation and a limestone belt course with diamond shapes.

Demonstrating Mitchell’s attention to detail there is the letter S on each of the downspout collectors that deliver rainwater directly into the sewer.Principal Sparling can0010

On the sides (right) projecting sections are in a Gothic motif with stone lintels over the windows, peaked stone cap on the cornice with orbs and a pointed finial. Again, the arcade of corbelling on the face of the wings and Gothic end pavilions is superb. The rear has two Classical Revival porches, one obscured by the 1987 gymnasium. They feature wide arched entranceways with a three-sided hip roof that points up to a recessed arched window.

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A recurring feature of school design was stained glass panels at the top of rectangular windows. At Principal Sparling, the original stain glass remains on the façade windows only, as it was when Mitchell designed it.

Of brick and concrete construction, the masonry overall is fine work. The bond of the building is American bond with a slight variation – usually every fifth or sixth course is headers rather than stretchers. On Principal Sparling School, every fourth row is headers,Principal Sparling can0007 requiring proportionally more bricks to construct.

Notice the tall, rusticated foundation (right) with many windows. This allows classrooms in the basement to have ample light. Limestone is used to great effect from the foundation to the lintels and sills, the belt course and the curved gables.

The interior has a central hallway with rooms leading off both sides. The hallway is extraordinarily wide and the ceilings are very high. The stairwells are concrete with the original cast iron railings embellished by flower medallions. One of the classrooms has the original slate blackboards and the basement rooms have the old hardwood floors that bear the warm patina from the feet of five generations of children.

When Principal Sparling School was built, architect Mitchell was incorporating the latest principal s 3innovations in heating and ventilation. The school still has the original arched vents that accordion out two-thirds the way up the wall that allowed cross-ventilation when combined with window transoms.

Former Principal Denise Smith found the original school boilerplate stored away when she arrived at the school. She had it polished up and proudly displays it in the main hallway.

Every year the graduating Grade 6 class, with the help of the Parent Council, purchases a piece of art for the school, usually a print of a great master or a historic depiction.

All former principals have their pictures displayed in the foyer (above) and a photograph of principal s himselfReverend Joseph Walter Sparling (1842-1912) (right) hangs in a revered place in the hall. Sparling, a theologian and teacher, was known as “the father of Winnipeg Methodism.” Born in Perth County, Ontario, educated in Ontario and Illinois, he was ordained in 1871. After serving in numerous parishes, he was sent to Winnipeg in 1888 to establish Wesley College, now the University of Winnipeg. In a small rented room, Wesley College started with three students. Four hundred were attending at the time of Sparling’s death.

Sparling died in 1912, the year construction on this school began. His son, Jack Sparling attended the official opening in 1914, his granddaughter, Mrs. Joseph Walter Sparling, served tea at the 50th Anniversary in 1962.

The contractor was a Winnipeg firm, S. Brynjolfsson and Son who built the seventeen room school for $142,000. Cost of the 2.6 acre lot was $30,500. Construction began inprincipalsparlingschool2 1912; the cornerstone was laid by Johnson Douglass, merchant and school board member.

Although the official opening occurred in March 1914, the school (archive photo right) offered classes starting in August 18, 1913. Two hundred students enrolled the first day to attend Grades 1 to 8 taught by eight teachers and principal Harry McIntosh. The curriculum included Home Economics and Industrial Arts. As the West End district around Principal Sparling School developed, by 1922 the student population grew to over 800 taught by 19 teachers.

In 1986 a new gymnasium with modern facilities was added to the school based on a design by Stechesen Katz Architects. The addition was built by Levasseur Construction Co. at a cost of $552,000. The old gym was converted into a multi-purpose room and a resource teaching area.

In 2013/2014 Principal Sparling’s enrolment was 212 students in Nursery to Grade 6. Ethnic breakdown is 65% Philippine, 17% aboriginal and the balance mixed.

Principal Sparling School’s heritage designation is Level 3, meaning it is reasonably safe from demolition. There is an active Parent Council at the school which renovated the play structure and added a picnic area and landscaping with 20 trees.

 PROFILE

Principal Sparling School

Built 1913

Additions 1986

Materials: tan brick, limestone, concrete

Style: Gothic Revival, Classical Revival two storey

Architect J. B. Mitchell

Original cost $172,500

Current assessed value $1,779,000

Acreage 2.6 acres

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Filed under Education, Heritage Buildings, Manitobans of Note, Schools