Centre of the Continent

Thoughts from the middle of North America

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Occupy This …

OK 99%.  Get your act together, organize and actually do something already.

Occupations are cute, get great news coverage and are a great start but will actually change nothing.  All great movements started somewhere and evolved or died.  Guerrilla warriors are sometimes necessary but in the end there needs to be an organization to continue on with the work within the system. Lamenting that the system is broken and that you refuse to be a part of it are destined always to be on the outside looking in and to ultimately fail.

Contrary to popular belief, politics is not about money, It’s about votes. Money can procure votes but doesn’t have to.  I’m not in a fantasy land and I don’t believe that you can run a campaign with no money but you certainly can on a budget. I understand that the Occupy movement has collected well over $300,000 and so that begs the question — What to do with the new found wealth?  New tent’s perhaps? Lawyer’s fees? (Well, maybe keep some aside for that.) No. This will not affect any change.  Either join a political party you can live with and work with or create your own. Be the change in the world you wish to be, remember? Even Gandhi ended his hunger strike and began to work with the system that he had been fighting against. Be the change in the political structure that you claim to want. Systems and organizations are ultimately the sum of the people within them. I am a member of a political party. Those who know me at all or have read any of my other writings know what that party is but in my illustration it does not matter. Do I agree with every position and policy that my party puts forward? I do not but as a member I have an opportunity to make sure that my beliefs are a part of the overall make up of the party’s conscience.

We live in a society where we are allowed to voice our opinions. We are allowed to disagree loudly with the establishment and for all of the arrests and controls, we ultimately have the freedom to demand change. Yes there are abuses of power and bad things happen occationally to dissenters but here in this country (and our cousins’ to the south) the economic rebels will still be alive to disrupt the lives of the wealthy again — or at least try to. I doubt that any occupier will be whisked away in a dark van to some secret gulag, never to be heard from again. Rebellion in the west is pretty safe and tame compared to the truly oppressed in the world. I am in no way minimizing the plight of the economically marginalized majority in our society. The Occupy movement has legitimate complaints and has not only the right but the moral obligation to speak. I’m just saying they can at least be assure the worst that will the oppressors will be able to legally do to them is have them moved and perhaps charged with a relatively minor charge — trespassing, loitering, &c.

So again I say — Do something.

Pack up your tents. Turn you clever signs into an intelligent conversation. Fight the establishment by taking it over from within.  The Prime Minister has one vote. The CEO of the biggest company you can think of has one vote. That frustrated police officer that lost his temper with you last night, one vote. You have one vote.

If you really are the 99%. That’s a whole bunch of political power.

Use it.


The Singing Revolution, a documentary film


The absolute best example of the power in non-violent activism.

Centre of the Continent Logo …

Let me know what you think …





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It’s All Bad For You

Cell phones cause cancer.

The carbs in fruit make you fat.

The media can give you a new phobia every day if you let it.

Look, simply put it’s about moderation in all things. Of course there are unfortunate people in the world that need to take extra precautions with their diet or lifestyle. When I really think about it, however, it’s our own culture of excess that has led to these negative habits and behaviors.

Here’s how to combat some of today’s trendy issues.

Don’t fill your plate. It seems simple but my Mother and Grandfather have both told me of dinners in the 7-child home and how food was portioned out of necessity. Sadly now the poor can easily access cheap and fattening processed food. Combine that with the lethargy of poverty, add rampant mental illness and addiction and there is little chance of having any kind of healthy diet. Generally, most of us have an excess of food in our kitchens and we consider a good meal based more on quantity rather then quality. The simple fix is to buy more fresh foods and buy them on a more frequent basis. Only cook what you need. One of my bad habits is to make a large batch of something with the ideas of having leftovers in mind only to go back for a second helping and maybe a third. Reevaluate your caloric need and weigh that with against the next step — activity.

Get up and do something. That’s pretty much it. You don’t need to start an intense exercise regimen … just go for a walk. Then do it again. It’s all a cliche now but that’s because it’s true. Take the stairs. Throw a frisbee. Get a new bike. I think you get the idea.

Turn off your cell phone. (… and your tv … and your computer … and …) This is a tough one for me and probably my biggest challenge. Just turn it off. Disconnect from the world and reconnect with the people around you. Especially at night and get your sleep. There are few things that can’t wait until tomorrow. And on that topic, leave your work at work and set a clear boundary between it and the rest of your life. If you work from home, that division becomes one of time. Make a schedule and stick to it.


When it comes to a healthy and fulfilling life, no word holds more weight. Have a burger and a salad. Work hard and then don’t. Have some wine. Explore your neighborhood and be a neighbor. Sometimes we all need to power down.

I don’t always do as I have said but I try. I have found though, that if these basic principles are applied to any health or social issue that might arise, the solutions hold true.

I’m going to power down … now.

(This is my first try at actually writing a post entirely with my iPod.)

The NHL Comes Home to Winnipeg

“Hockey in Canada has never been stronger …”

– Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner

Winnipeg NHL Announcement 2011-05-31 - c. E R A Brohm

After years of waiting and weeks of genuine anticipation, the NHL is back in Manitoba’s capital. Mark Chipman of True North Sports and Entertainment made the announcement along side Gary Bettman at the MTS Centre at 11:22 Central time this morning. This is the moment that big league hockey finally returned to the starving Winnipeg market. The party was planned at the Forks and this this morning, the event team went into overdrive. DJ’s, live music and video screens to broadcast the official word were in place in time for the announcement.

The 15-season Manitoba Moose will be staying put for now although there are as yet unconfirmed rumours that the successful American Hockey League team and farm team of the Vancouver Canucks may be headed to St. Johns, Newfoundland. As the AHL’s Winnipeg future may be uncertain, the only controversy surrounding the the NHL’s return is what the new team will be called. The hearts of the city of course lie with “Jets” but business and marketing gurus have suggested a change — new era, new team, new name. Will the name matter? If there is a new name, I foresee the stands filled with Jets jerseys for the first few seasons. Any new team will have to earn a place on the fan’s backs.

Organizers are planning to sell seats from $39 – $129 and the drive to sell 13,000 season tickets will start immediately. Is Winnipeg willing to shell out NHL prices to see hockey? Yes they are. As I overheard one fan, “The worst seats (in the MTS Centre) are still better then some of the best seats in the old Winnipeg Arena.” More importantly, Winnipeg and Manitoba faired better through the recent recession then most and actually continued to to see some growth. Development in the downtown core has been unprecedented and there is finally a credible long term plan for it to continue. This is a welcome change from the single-project miracles that by themselves had no hope of stemming the decay.

The rebuilding of Winnipeg’s street cred as a sports-friendly city began almost as the dust was settling from the loss of the Jets in 1996. The creation of the Manitoba Moose in that same year and the Pan Am games the next proved that not only could we support sports, we could do it after taking a huge hit to our psyche.

What’s next for professional sports in our city?  Major League Soccer perhaps? Bring back the Fury I say, the more the merrier.