Clint, the calf-roping calf

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So, you get to be in the Stampede this week?

Yeah, pretty excited about it.

Really?

No.

Why?

Well, there’s the lack of prize money and the fact that someone will be chasing me down while mounted on the back of a horse, trying to throw a rope around my neck and stop me dead in my tracks while I’m running for my life. Oh, and then pick me up, throw me on the ground and tie my legs together.

Well, when you put it that way.

Is there another way to put it?

Don’t you get a thrill performing in front of such a big crowd?

In a word. No.

Does it hurt when you’re roped?

Have you ever had someone throw a rope around your neck and pull when you’re running as fast as you can?

No.

That was a rhetorical question.

So you’re saying it does hurt?

Yes Einstein, I’m saying it hurts.

The incidence of injuries is very low.

True, but it would be a hell of a lot lower if I didn’t have to do it.

What about when they grab you and tie up your legs?

That part doesn’t hurt so much, but it’s pretty humiliating, not to mention totally uncomfortable when you’re stuck in the field waiting for someone to let you go.

Not into being tied up, eh?

Perv. No.

I guess there aren’t any safewords.

….

Okay, moving along. How are you treated when you’re not running away from mounted cowboys?

Oh, pretty good. You know, the usual. I stand around, eat a bunch, drool a little, eat some more, hang out with my mom when I get a chance. They feed us pretty good. And the ranch isn’t bad.

Do you get to watch the grandstand show?

We hear it, but they don’t really let us out to sit in the stands if that’s what you mean. Not a big fan of the fireworks.

Why not?

Well, loud bangs and all. I mean, I talk smart, but I am a cow. I get a bit freaked out, you know?

Have you checked out the midway food offerings?

Oh, you know, I’ve perused some of the options, yeah.

Any you want to try?

I’m more of a grass and hay kind of guy. Also, scorpions on pizza? Nasty business that.

If you weren’t being chased down in the rodeo, what would you be doing?

Probably standing in a field, staring, chewing. The usual. You know, living the dream.

Do you still have your balls?

This interview is over.

Public art I can’t wait to see

Council recently voted to have city administration review the public art policy. One suggestion was that the public should have more say in public art installations. I couldn’t agree more. We should do away with the jury and those people who “claim” to know about “art.”

Here are some sculptures that I’m really excited to see pop up in Calgary after being selected by ordinary folk who just want to see good art.

1. Just like that funny head in front of The Bow that you can go inside of, but more Calgarian, because this one has a cowboy hat and it’s chewing straw!

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2. It’s best to keep it simple. Plus, the lack of work or thought put into this one will ensure that it doesn’t cost us honest to goodness taxpayers as much fancy money for fancy things that we really don’t fancy need anyway.

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3. I like this one because it represents cows and mountains. Those are two things that we have here, so they should be represented in public art by cows and mountains.

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4. I like this one because it has the cow, but also the horse. It also has a cowboy hat and a native headdress, both of which honour our western heritage. It represents our western heritage, but showing a horse and a cow with those hats on. No need to overthink this stuff, amiright?

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5. Well, duh. Pilsener dude.

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6. I’m not necessarily endorsing this one, I’m just saying that it’s a statistical fact that this will happen if we let people vote for public art. Open any textbook, look at enough graffitti, or just peer into the mind of most people and this is what you’ll see. ‘Cause it’s funny. Actually, this one I’d actually vote for.

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UDI’s facts on segregating Calgary

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You know what’s uncomfortable? Living next to tattooed lesbians, or gays or just straight dudes with tattoos. Especially if they shop at Safeway alongside more respectable members of suburban society. I mean, yes, you have to come across them from time to time when you work downtown, but these people should really stay down there (haha) and leave the suburbs to us straight, white folks. Or the northeast to other people. It’s just the way things should be.

Thankfully the Urban Development Institute, a collection of Calgary developers headed by former Calgary Herald publisher Guy Huntingford, have thoughtfully put this notion of a segregated city to print as the first (and now deleted) post in their Just the Facts campaign.

After correctly pointing out that Calgary is not New York City, this brave document goes on to highlight why it’s not New York City and how great that is. You see, it’s about “comfort capital,” ensuring that those who live in our city never have to step out of their comfort zone and associate with “others.”

Let’s let the UDI do the talking:

“It’s not a subject of much discussion, but research suggests residency location choice is strongly linked to how comfortable a person feels in a place where no one is like them. And it doesn’t just apply to visible minorities searching out the diaspora,” reads the document.

“It can be the guy with tattoos, feeling on display every time he shops at the Safeway on the city’s periphery.

“Or the gay couple in a world of heterosexual suburbanites.

“And yes, the person who is a member of a visible minority community.

“It can be even more basic than that – having the hippest nightspots close by isn’t important to the woman who wouldn’t know what to wear anyway. Even if she wanted to go clubbing, which she doesn’t.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve been shopping with my white wife  (who totally doesn’t know what to wear to one of those fancy downtown elite nightclubs) at Safeway, minding our own business when some young guy with tattoos nervously pops up in the produce aisle to grab some apples before quickly snaking away. If we could just figure out which house he’s in, we could probably get a mob together to demand he go back downtown. It’s unnerving for all involved. He’s not happy. We’re certainly not happy. Really, tattoos in the suburbs!? I never.

The folks who ensured that Calgary is dominated by rows upon rows of single vision neighbourhoods have it right on this one. Again, their words:

“But what the research highlights is that people go where they feel comfortable, and diversity of a city – the ‘comfort capital’ index – is a large part of its livability. Shoe-horning everyone into mandated, single-vision neighbourhoods won’t work.”

You can read this brilliant call for a segregated city below because nothing really disappears on the Internet. I, for one, would like to salute them for their brave stance, ignoring any notion that sexism, racism, homophobia or classism is inappropriate in today’s day and age. Cheers to diversity (in its proper place)!

(Oh and that awesome map at the top? That’s mine, not theirs, just in case someone gets all confused and legally.)

JTF Worldclass Comfortcapital

** Update **

UDI has apologized for the post. According to CEO Guy Huntingford, “The article used examples in a good-will effort to illustrate how some Calgarians might view themselves within the context of their neighbourhoods.”

Bow River, kind of a jerk

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Hey, thanks for taking the time to do this, I know you’ve been busy.

Yeah sure, no problem. I love your paper.

Er, thanks. So, why are you such an asshole?

Begging your pardon?

You heard me, you’ve been a bit of a prick lately.

Hey man, c’mon, I’m just going with the flow. You can’t really blame me.

I beg to differ. It seems like you’re kind of responsible for this entire mess.

Um, there’s also the Elbow.

Okay, fair point.

And I could probably point the finger at you skin bags too.

How so?

Global warming ring a bell?

Hey, we’re not allowed to talk about that. I think there was an emergency bylaw passed.

Oh for the love.

Back on topic. You’ve been a pretty good neighbour for a while, but this really is a bit much.

Well, what can I say. I’m a river. I flow. I flood. I guess I just got carried away.

Is this going to be a regular thing?

It’s probably going to happen more often, but I don’t have a calendar if that’s what you mean.

You forced the cancellation of Sled Island. I’m not sure if you noticed, but that pretty much made our entire issue useless.

Hehe. Yeah. Sorry about that.

Well, the joke’s kind of on you. There were tons of house shows and impromptu shows at bars.

Hey, I’m a music lover too. I can appreciate it.

You also destroyed quite a few homes and businesses. Did you know there’s no insurance against you?

I know! Talk about assholes. Acts of God? Come on.

Are you concerned that the provincial government will put infrastructure in place to pen you in?

Pfft! The government. They still haven’t implemented their flood plan from 2006. I’m not too worried about them getting anything done any time soon.

What about the feds? Harper was just here in his military jacket.

I saw that. I’m sure they’ll throw up some Economic Action Plan signs, but I’m not too concerned.

On a more positive note, people have really come together over this thing.

You’re welcome.

Um, that really wasn’t my point.

Well, I did bring people together. Neighbours helping neighbours, businesses giving away food and relief. It’s been pretty inspiring.

Yeah, but it’s your fault!

I know, you’re welcome.

Oh forget it.

Done.

You really are a prick.

Gotta run.

Joan Crockatt, Newly elected MP for Calgary Centre (or what we imagine an interview would be like)

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Congratulations on your win.

Thank you. Now, who do you write for?

Fast Forward Weekly.

Are you owned by the Sun?

No.

Oh. Well….

You sound disappointed Joan.

Well, it’s just that I’ve got some door knocking to do.

But the campaign is over.

Well, they haven’t sent me an updated list.

What list?

From the Prime Minster’s Office.

What does that have to do with anything?

Well, it’s just that I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now.

I believe you’re supposed to represent the riding of Calgary Centre.

No, that doesn’t sound right. I think I’m supposed to do what the PMO tells me to do. Hold on, I’m going to Google that.

Joan? Don’t bother. Let’s move on. What are you going to do now that you’ve won?

I don’t know. I just told you that.

Well, do you have any ideas about how you’ll represent Calgary? For example, do you have any ideas about how best to fund the infrastructure needs of cities?

I believe that we have a strong, stable federal government that believes in the free market, the military, the War of 1812, oil, nationalism and… efficiency. Yes, that’s it, efficiency. Did I mention the free market?

You did. That just sounds like an empty list. Not much substance there.

Free market.

Right. Okay. Now, you didn’t return our phone calls during the campaign. Why was that?

I was door knocking. I didn’t have time.

You appeared on Ezra Levant’s show. You had time for that.

He’s got a larger audience than you do.

Still? Hmm. Well, we’re a well-read paper in the riding.

News to me.

Some people criticized you for not appearing at most of the all-candidates debates. What do you say to those critics?

Door knocking. Free market.

Joan?

Military. 1812.

Okay… um. Do you think you ran an effective campaign?

I won, didn’t I?

Well yes, but not by much.

Supply and demand.

I beg your pardon?

Free market.

Okay, thanks for taking the time to speak with us.

Oh wait, Arctic! It says Arctic here.

Right then. Good luck in Ottawa.

Where?