The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Sunday, August 28, 2005

CBC Lockout Irony


John Webb, the Manitoba president of the Canadian Media Guild, wants to stay in touch with locked out CBCers. He sends out a daily update, but apparently people have been missing it. So he's telling everyone ( to look for it on their computers ... under Junk Mail.

We couldn't make this up if we tried.

The biggest female role in Brad Pitt's new movie, The Assassination of Jesse James, has gone to Mary-Louise Parker, who is no stranger to Winnipeg. She's been cast as Zee James, the outlaw's wife.

The latest schedule calls for the film crew to come to Winnipeg Oct. 22 for a five day shoot. She filmed the made-for-TV movie Vinegar Hill in this city last year, and she has strong memories of the shoot. As reported in Variety: Mary-Louise Parker was in Winnipeg "in the middle of a field getting eaten by mosquitoes" when she found out via email that she had been nominated for her supporting role in "Angels in America." (Jul 15, 2004)

Jimm Simon, the owner of a house in Stonewall that was used in the shoot, remembers it well:

"The big day started at 4:30 a.m. when the exterminator arrived to begin fogging the entire yard with malathion so the "stars" wouldn't be bothered by bugs. (He had quite a nasty hacking cough) By 5 a.m. the yard looked like an old Star Trek set with about 5 feet of chemical toxin smog and a guy in the midst of it, bereft of all safety equipment spraying away with a diesel engine fogger that sounded like a small plane landing in the yard."

It looks like Mary-Louise Parker survived the exposure to nerve toxin and is thriving.

[Here's a bit of trivia for you. Who was the first person to play Jesse James in a film?Answer: His own son, Jesse James Jr. - in Jesse James Under the Black Flag (1921) and Jesse James as the Outlaw (1921).]

There's talk of a big announcement coming regarding the Metropolitan Theatre.

Don't be surprised if it turns out to be the "world's first animation art museum". Winnipeg art dealer David Loch has been working on it for several years. He says such a museum could feature artwork by [Winnipeg-born animator] Charlie Thorson-- who drew Snow White for Walt Disney, and designed the prototype for Bugs Bunny (and even named this world-famous character) for Warner Brothers--films by Oscar-nominated Cordell Barker, and even momentoes of Homer Simpson who was made an honorary citizen of Winnipeg in 2002. (A closer connection is Ned Flanders' potsmoking Canadian counterpart who lives in Winnipeg, as seen in Midnight RX, the first new episode of 2005. )
Monday, August 15, 2005 The Black Rod

Canad Inns has run into some big financing problems, and why do we think this is related to the demise of the Crocus Investment Fund...Plans to build a four-star hotel in Grand Forks was first announced in the summer of 2003....not a single shovel of dirt has been moved. The money's dried up and the city is still waiting for the architects to file some plans.

The Mayor of Grand Forks says he's still confident that construction will begin this year. But he's a desparate man. The Canad Inns Hotel has been dangled in front of his citizens for two years now as a symbol of growth and regeneration. Sort of like the new Hydro Building in downtown Winnipeg.

Wed, Aug. 17, 2005 Grand Forks Herald
The permits Canad Inns needs for its Alerus Center hotel and water park complex are ready, according to Grand Forks administrative coordinator Rick Duquette. Essentially, all officials of the Manitoba-based company need to do now is pay for the permits and construction can begin.
Aug. 15, 2005 The Black Rod
You remember that this past December Canad Inns was blowing the horns over another big project---another hotel and water park right here, or rather, right beside, Winnipeg. The new entertainment complex would be part of the plans for a new stadium on land owned by the Red River Ex in Headingley.

Haven't heard much about that hotel, either, have you? It seems the feasibility study came back - saying it was feasible to study it some more.

Aug. 25, 2005 The Winnipeg Sun
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers could end up with a new stadium downtown -- but only if it's the right deal for the club and the city, says team president Lyle Bauer. "We've never been pigeon-holed into one spot," Bauer said yesterday. "It just has to be with the right business model and with revenue streams to support the capital that will be required."


Dec. 21, 2004, 8 months ago, Winnipeg Free Press
New Stadium Planned;
The football club, Canad Inns and the Red River Exhibition Association are launching a study on the feasibility of building a major sports and entertainment complex. It would be built on land owned by the Red River Ex, on the west side of the Perimeter Highway, near the Assiniboia Downs race track...
The Black Rod has already reviewed the 3 major factors that have slowed momentum for the Red River Ex-backed project:

1) Canad Inns no longer has the option of turning to Sherman Kreiner and the Crocus Fund board for support.
2) The Track was denied a casino licence which we always said was the hidden factor that would help drive a crowd to the waterpark/hotel/stadium project and to the Ex's planned fairgrounds.
3) The Bomber's losing season has diminished enthusiam for a new stadium they still won't fill.
A consultant is expected to release a report on as many as a dozen site options in October.

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