Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Manitoba Markers Month: Mayor Steve Chew-Ya

Man, if my employment hadn't ran out, I can guarantee I wouldn't have put nearly as much effort into this one as I did.

In our final request of Manitoba Markers Month, international man of mystery C. Beresford Tipton asked for a simple but elegant idea: "Zombie Steve Juba". I'm pretty tuckered out from getting the final product complete, and I do hope the work shows in this one, so I'll try to keep the preamble brief.

Do you know the story of Bernie Wolfe? He feuded bitterly with then-Mayor Stephen Juba for at least a solid decade, helped to found a pro-business and centre-right political party (the Independent Citizens' Election Committee), and -- perhaps most notably -- served as the Deputy Mayor of Winnipeg under Juba from roughly 1973 or 1974 until Juba's departure in 1977.

Note that last bit, because it's the particularly funny part: Juba waited until literally the last moment to withdraw himself from the upcoming 1977 election, purely to dick over Wolfe's chances at setting up a campaign to succeed him. The ensuing scramble with both Juba and Wolfe out of the running ultimately meant that dark horse city councillor Robert A. Steen was elected Mayor, in a tight and completely ideologically confused contest.

Steen is best remembered today for dying in office within two years. They named a community centre and a bowling trophy after him. Juba, who died in 1993, is entirely unlikely to be forgotten; besides being the first and only Ukrainian-Canadian Mayor of Winnipeg, he also held the position longer (by far) than anybody else in city history.

And Wolfe? Bernie Wolfe is still alive somewhere, apparently, but he remains largely unknown even to the historically minded. No civic halls of fame, no Leo Mol busts -- even a spot in Jack Bumsted's Dictionary of Manitoba Biography eludes him thus far, although to be fair one of Bumsted's stated criteria for inclusion is that you have to be dead first.

Do you suppose he's the type to harbour a grudge? Man, I would be! If I make it to senior citizenship and I've still got outstanding vendettas, I plan to be giving stinkeyes and lighting fires and putting curses on dudes left and right. What good is retirement if you can't enjoy it? Something to look forward to, I say!

But, I digress. For your consideration, may I present the following:

See you tomorrow! Or Thursday at the latest! Whatever!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Manitoba Markers Month: Jets Fans Were Never Strangers to Disappointment Anyway (Plus, Red River College Appreciation)

To switch things up from the last post, I'll bust out the Manitoba Markers Month content first and then move to other concepts second. Keep things interesting, hopefully.

So! When I put out the call for marker subject matter, old friend (and personal outfitter) Nicholas Eckert requested "a desperate Winnipeg Jets fan" in keeping with the Bett-Mania going around the city at the time.

Heady times, those were! Despite the countless years now of dashed hopes and shattered dreams, Winnipeg hockey fans of all stripes lost their collective minds once again over an increasingly ridiculous series of unfounded rumours (Bettman is coming! Bettman is here! BETTMAN IS DRINKING AT MOXIE'S) until the whole sordid mess imploded on itself.

People searched high and low for any signs of his presence, for any sign of him in the airport or the arena or the eateries or the newsrooms -- but after a "scheduled" news conference failed to materialize and quashed the story yet again, there was much desperation and disappointment when it was firmly and decisively declared:

oh no little jets guy nooooooo :(

I had originally intended to draw this more quickly than I'd drawn the last couple of entries, but as you can clearly tell my good intentions didn't quite pan out. While I could blame it on the technical complexity -- there turns out to be a very good reason that people don't usually hand-letter custom fonts -- I will admit instead that my focus was somewhat compromised by my unceremonious return to unemployment.

Yes, dear friends, James Hope Howard is once again on the market! The job market, that is. (Well, and the singles market too, but that's not a particularly new development so it... what? Oh, sorry. Back to something you'd read.) My originally-three-month term position as a Librarian of Red River College has reached its conclusion, and I really must say that it was seven of the best months I've ever spent; few things are quite as professionally rewarding as the opportunity to do exactly what one has been hoping and training for, and I couldn't have had my first contract with a nicer organization.

I enjoyed a great deal of invaluable experience from a wide variety of angles -- coordinating an entire campus library, providing multiple forms of personal library service, delivering multiple full-length classroom presentations for up to fifty students at a time, leading a very successful marketing team, scheduling and deploying staff, diffusing crisis situations, personally evaluating and cultivating the entire reference collection of a major educational institution, so on and so forth -- but what really should be recognized as one of my personal career highlights is, of course, getting editorial control over the Word of the Day Board.

Yes, this is how you know that I'm moving up in the world, and I am nowhere near gracious enough to properly express my gratitude and appreciation to Red River College for the time I spent as its employee. Much obliged, RRC! Let me know if you need anything.

But, life goes on! I'm once again between jobs, or underemployed, or whatever the best applicable euphemism is, so I'll be scouring the papers and browsing the job sites and beating the bushes to see what (or, because I'm not ruling anything out, where) my next gainful employment will be. On the other hand, this does mean I have a lot more time on my hands at the moment, so with any luck my productivity for this very site should pick up a bit for the foreseeable future. I'd certainly hope so, at any rate!

So keep watching this space, true believers, and I'll do what I can to keep bringing you reasonably interesting content in a reasonably timely manner. And if you happen to run into anybody who mentions a pressing need for an accredited Librarian, hey, send 'em my way! This may seem a strange venue for personal promotion, but heck with it, it is a rough economy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Manitoba Markers Month: Brandon Gets Its Wish (and, Please Rise for the Singing of...)

Yes, Manitoba Markers Month marches on here at Slurpees and Murder, but first things first.

Uptown Magazine! Nobody drowns and nobody dies!

It may seem like a long time ago now that the looming spectre of a national identity crisis darkened our great and proud land, but in fact it was just within the last couple of weeks that the debate about our national anthem rose to life and then immediately died again.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Manitoba Markers Month: Free, But at What Cost

Our first installment in our March special, on a topic requested by Sean Carney.

When I initially came up with the idea of doing a bunch of themed drawings for the month, it was to keep myself from resting on my laurels and to make sure that I would try something a little different. I think you'll agree with me when I say that the following definitely counts as 'different':

Ha ha ha ha, oh man, Free Press commenters. Bless your complete and perpetual collective lack of self-awareness!

It took longer to get that done than I'd originally intended, but I hope you find it enjoyable nonetheless. On to the next challenge! And I have a column due to be published in this week's Uptown Magazine, so whether or not I actually get any drawing done you guys are guaranteed to hear from me within a few days because I am shameless and self-congratulatory. Hey, if it's good enough for second-wave Daffy Duck, it's good enough for me!

Friday, March 05, 2010

March is Manitoba Markers Month, or: Apparently Gary Bettman Owns a Cloaking Device

I know what you're thinking, and you're right: March already? When the hell did we get to March, and why is it already behaving like spring outside? It doesn't seem plausible, but sure enough -- it's March, and I have a little project in mind. But I'll get to that in a minute.

As I'd said, it's definitely been spring-like outside lately, and spring is the time when a young man's fancy turns to... completely implausible sports rumours.