Ongoing History Daily: Modest backstage needs

Back in the imperial period of David Bowie’s career in the 1970s, he ingested a lot of drugs and alcohol at all times of the day and night. By the time he got to the late 90s, he’d long since cleaned up and wasn’t much into the excesses of the old days. For example, when he was preparing for an appearance at the BRIT Awards, all he wanted was a few slices of ham on a baguette.

Billy Idol loves a specific brand of chocolate chip cookies. Marilyn Manson’s big request was gummy bears—although he often asked for a bald toothless hooker just to see if the promoter could do it.

And Nine Inch Nails was known for asking for two boxes of cornstarch for the dressing rooms. Your guess is as good as mine, although it may have something to do with keeping leather pants from sticking and chafing.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ongoing History Daily: Rock star pre-show rituals

If you’re an artist, you need to get into the zone, the right headspace, before you step onstage. This often leads to a number of interesting pre-show rituals. It could be something as simple as getting a B-12 injection, something that Prince did.

That’s completely opposite to the Foo Fighters who blast Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album while drinking many shots of Jaegermeister. Jack White has been known to knock back whiskey and Redbull while smashing things with a baseball bat. Weezer is a little more sedate. They like to toss around a Frisbee before a show because Rivers Cuomo says that not only helps with concentration but also warms up their hands.

Then there’s Thom Yorke. He needs silence for hours before a show so he can meditate and stand on his head for a while.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

ANALYSIS: Lots of off-season work for Jets with draft looming

Paul Edmonds Jets Report

If you’re looking for a defining moment in the business of the National Hockey League to turn the page on last season, this first week of June is certainly it.

With the Stanley Cup finals coinciding with the league’s annual scouting combine in Buffalo, it is this period of NHL operations that officially starts the transition into next season — a hand-off.

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Clearly, that starting gun went off Monday with the Cole Caufield mega-extension with the Montreal Canadiens and continued Tuesday when Columbus, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles were involved in a three-team trade.

Closer to home, the Winnipeg Jets will emerge from the starting blocks in good time too, perhaps later this week or in the coming days and weeks, as this off-season will be unlike any other in their annals.

And while a trade or contract extension may not get consummated before the 106 draft prospects depart western New York on Saturday, it doesn’t mean the conversations haven’t begun involving the future of a number of Winnipeg players.

Resolution on individuals like Connor Hellebuyck, Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler, and Pierre-Luc Dubois appear to be the priorities, but the baton will also be passed onto other personnel decisions too.

For instance, there are also contracts required for important young players like Morgan Barron and Dylan Samberg — two pieces that are vital to the future of the franchise. Plus, with five picks available later this month in the entry draft, there’s no shortage of items on the agenda for Jets management.

So as the Stanley Cup finals continue — maybe for only two more games — and with the last big showcase ongoing in Buffalo this week, league business in preparing for next season is certainly accelerating.

In fact, the work never really stops when you’re running an NHL team, but this week in the history of the league — the first week in June, draft combine week as we know it — is when the stopwatch on next season starts to run in earnest.


© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Air pollution expected in London, Ont. region from wildfire smoke: Environment Canada

Wildfires burning in Northern Ontario and Quebec have prompted Environment Canada to issue a special air quality statement for the London region.

As of Wednesday morning, the national weather agency says that high levels of air pollution have developed due to smoke from forest fires, expecting that the poor air quality will persist into the weekend.

The statement warns that “wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health, even at low concentrations.”

“People with lung disease, such as asthma or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke,” the weather agency said.

“If you must spend time outdoors, a well-fitted respirator type mask, such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent respirator, that does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, can help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke.”

The statement continued to say that these fine particles generally pose “the greatest risk to health.”

“However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke. It is important to listen to your body and reduce or stop activities if you are experiencing symptoms.”

A special air quality statement is currently in effect for London-Middlesex, Elgin, Huron-Perth, Grey-Bruce, Oxford-Brant and Sarnia-Lambton.

The weather agency says residents should keep indoor air clean, use an air purifier with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, and avoid air purifiers that produce ozone.

The statement also says residents should stop outdoor activities if they experience a “shortness of breath, wheezing, including asthma attacks, severe cough, dizziness or chest pains.”

“Stay inside if you are feeling unwell and experiencing symptoms.”

— more to come.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Crash between cop car, pickup closes Main Street Wednesday morning

A two-vehicle crash involving a Winnipeg Police Service cruiser car and a pedestrian vehicle has closed one of Winnipeg’s busiest roads for the morning rush hour.

Police cars could be seen at the scene near Main St. and Kilbride Ave. as early as 5 a.m. this morning.

One of their own vehicles can be seen with significant front-end damage and the airbags had deployed.

Officials say the incident has shut down Main between Kilbride and Hartford Ave. in both directions.

There’s no word on if the two vehicles were involved in a pursuit at the time of the crash, or if anyone is injured.

Police expect the closure of Main St. to last several hours, affecting the morning commute.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Pence kicks off U.S. presidential bid: 'Different times call for different leadership'

WATCH - Why DeSantis will be Trump's main competition for Republican presidential nomination

Former Vice President Mike Pence promised “the best days of the greatest nation on earth are yet to come” in a video released Wednesday formally launching his campaign for the Republican nomination for president.

“Different times call for different leadership,” Pence, who served four years alongside President Donald Trump, says in the video, released via Fox News and Twitter hours ahead of a kickoff event in Des Moines. “Today our party and our country need a leader that’ll appeal, as Lincoln said, to the better angels of our nature.”

While it would be “easy to stay on the sidelines,” he adds, “that’s not how I was raised. That’s why today, before God and my family, I’m announcing I’m running for president of the United States.”

Pence is staking his presidential hopes on Iowa as he launches a campaign that will make him the first vice president in modern history to take on his former running mate.

Pence’s campaign will also test the party’s appetite for a socially conservative, mild-mannered and deeply religious candidate who has denounced the populist tide that has swept through his party under Trump.

And it will show whether Pence still has a political future after Jan. 6, 2021, with a large portion of GOP voters still believing Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen and that Pence had the power to reject the results of the election, won by Democrat Joe Biden.

Pence and his advisers see Iowa – the state that will cast the first votes of the GOP nominating calendar – as key to his potential pathway to the nomination. Its caucus-goers include a large portion of evangelical Christian voters, whom they see as a natural constituency for Pence. They also think Pence, who represented Indiana in Congress and as governor, is a good personality fit with the Midwestern state.

“We believe the path to victory runs through Iowa and all of its 99 counties,” said Scott Reed, co-chair of a super PAC that launched last month to support Pence’s candidacy.

Iowa has typically been seen as a launching pad for presidential candidates, delivering momentum, money and attention to hopefuls who win or defy expectations. But recent past winners including Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have failed to ultimately win the nomination.

And Pence faces steep challenges. He enters the race as among the best-known Republican candidates in a crowded GOP field that now includes Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

But Pence – seen by Trump critics as complicit with his most indefensible actions and maligned by Trump loyalists as a traitor – is also saddled with high unfavorable ratings.

A CNN poll conducted last month found 45 per cent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they would not support Pence under any circumstance. Only 16% said the same about Trump.

Pence’s favorability has also slipped in Iowa, according to The Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

Shortly after leaving office, in June 2021, 86 per cent of Iowa Republicans said they had a favorable view of Pence. But the Register’s March Iowa Poll showed that figure had dropped to 66 per cent. The poll also found Pence with higher unfavorable ratings than all of the other candidates it asked about, including Trump and DeSantis, with 26 per cent of Republicans polled saying they have a “somewhat” or “very” unfavorable view of him.

And just 58 per cent of Iowa evangelicals said they had favorable feelings toward Pence – a particularly disappointing number, given his campaign’s strategy.

But Pence, who has already visited Iowa more than a dozen times since leaving office, has also received a warm welcome from voters during his trips. During a “Roast and Ride” event over the weekend that drew a long list of 2024 candidates, Pence stood out as the only candidate to actually mount a Harley and participate in the event’s annual motorcycle ride. When he arrived at a barbecue at the state fairgrounds, he moved easily from table to table, warmly greeting and chatting with attendees.

But there remains lingering skepticism of Pence among many Republican voters who adhere to the baseless but persistent conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen. Many who cling to the falsehood believe Pence was complicit in the plot to deny Trump a second term because he refused Trump’s pressure campaign to reject the Electoral College vote when he presided over a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump’s supporters violently stormed the building.

Pence advisers say they recognize the challenge and intend to explain to voters directly that Pence was adhering to his constitutional duty and never had the power to impact the vote in his ceremonial role.

“I think it’s something you have to walk straight through,” said his longtime adviser Marc Short.

Beyond Jan. 6, his team sees their primary goal as reintroducing Pence to a country that largely knows him as Trump’s second-in-command. They want to remind voters of his time in congressional leadership and as governor and are planning a campaign heavy with town halls, house parties and visits to local diners and Pizza Ranch restaurants – more intimate settings that will help voters get to know him personally.

“People have seen Mike Pence the vice president. I think what people are going to see is Mike Pence the person,” said Todd Hudson, the speaker of the House in Indiana and a longtime Pence friend who has signed on to help with outreach to state legislators. “I’m super excited for people to get to know the Mike Pence that I know, who’s funny, who’s just a wonderful person… the more relaxed Mike Pence.”

Reed believes there is a strong desire in the party for a candidate like Pence who espouses Reagan-style conservatism, including traditional social values, hawkish foreign policy and small government economics.

“We think this nomination fight is going to be an epic battle for the heart and soul of the conservative, traditional wing of the Republican Party. And Pence is going to campaign as a classic conservative. His credentials are unmatched,” he said.

Unlike Trump and DeSantis, Pence has argued that cuts to Social Security and Medicare must be on the table and has blasted those who have questioned why the U.S. should continue to send aid to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression.

“We are not going to try to out-Trump Pence. Everybody else is,” Reed said. “Pence is the only candidate running not to be Trump’s VP.”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Ongoing History Daily: That time when Shaq almost sued 311

Back in the early 2000s, Omaha’s 311 was on a real roll, selling lots of records, playing plenty of gigs, and making their share of big-budget music videos.

In 2001, they managed to get Shaquille O’Neal for a cameo in the video for their song You Wouldn’t Believe. At the time, O’Neal was playing for the LA Lakers and the team was in the middle of a playoff run. The team stipulated that O’Neal was not to play any basketball outside of official games and practices for fear that he might get hurt.

But 311 convinced him to play a little hoops in this video, completely in contravention of orders from the Lakers. There was an added complication.

For some reason, O’Neal showed up with two left shoes. Where was anyone going to get a pair of size 22 basketball shoes at short notice? Nowhere. Shaq still agreed to appear in the video—but if anyone filmed his feet, he promised that he’d sue.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Undiscovered Gem: We are PIGS and "PIGS"

Occasionally a young band will find some serious champions who become invested in their future. We are PIGS, the creation of a South African producer-songwriter named Esjay Jones has impressed a long list of big names. This track was co-written and co-produced by the Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan. They’ve also collaborated with Brian “Head” Welch of Korn, Morgan Lander of Kittie, Crazy Town, Keith Wallen of Breaking Benjamin, Terry Corso of Alien Ant Farm, Otep, and a few others.

Frankly, I’d never heard of them before this crossed my desk even though Esjay has been in the business for a while. Watch for We are PIGS. Something’s going on here.


© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Prison transfer not about revenge, former official says after Bernardo moved

WATCH: CSC Commissioner to review decision to transfer convicted teen killer and serial rapist, Paul Bernardo to medium-security prison

One of the architects of the law that governs Canada’s prison system says it’s understandable people want revenge on killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo, but that’s not what the prison system is designed for.

Mary Campbell also says it is regrettable the Correctional Service of Canada has not been more transparent in how it handled the matter – which the law allows it to be.

Campbell, a lawyer who retired from her role as director-general of the corrections and criminal justice directorate in the Public Safety Department in 2013, said that without question Bernardo’s crimes were horrific.

Broadly speaking, the corrections system has a mandate to rehabilitate offenders.

Politicians from all parties and levels of government have decried Bernardo’s transfer from a maximum-security penitentiary to a medium-security prison in Quebec.

News of the transfer was confirmed last week by the lawyer for the families of two of his victims, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, who want him sent back.

Both teenage girls were kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered by Bernardo in the early 1990s. He was also convicted of manslaughter in the death of Tammy Homolka, who died after being drugged and sexually assaulted. Tammy was the 15-year-old sister of Bernardo’s then-wife Karla Homolka.

Karla Homolka was released in 2005 after completing a 12-year sentence for her role in the crimes committed against French and Mahaffy.

Bernardo admitted to sexually assaulting 14 other women. He has been declared a dangerous offender and is serving a life sentence.

Bernardo has spent 30 years under maximum security, which Campbell said is a long time for any offender.

And while she understands why people want to see him kept there, she said the criteria for transferring an inmate to another penitentiary “is not based on revenge.”

“We, as a country, gave up torture quite a while ago, ” she said in an interview Tuesday. “And we’re pretty critical of other countries that engage in torture.”

After the news broke, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he thinks Bernardo should be locked up for “23 hours a day,” while Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to enact changes that would force those who are convicted of multiple murders to serve their entire sentence in maximum security.

The correctional service is reviewing the decision to transfer Bernardo. Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, inmates are given security classifications based on factors including escape risk, which inform where they serve their sentences.

In the case of Bernardo, who is now in his late 50s, the correctional service says a move to a medium-security prison poses no risk to public safety.

The reason behind his transfer, however, is a mystery, with the federal correctional service saying it is “restricted by law” in what it can divulge.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Canadians are owed an explanation as to why Bernardo was transferred.

Tim Danson, the lawyer representing the French and Mahaffy families, said he was not given the information because of Bernardo’s privacy rights.

Campbell said the law spells out that the commissioner of the country’s prison system has the power to disclose to victims a summary of the reasons for the transfer of a particular offender, in cases where it is determined their interest outweighs any invasion of the offender’s privacy.

She said the commissioner can also choose to release information under the federal privacy law in cases where they determine the public’s right to know overrides an inmate’s privacy.

“When (the Correctional Service of Canada) says they can’t release details because of the law, that’s not entirely accurate,” she said. “There are exceptions.”

“It is unfortunate that CSC maybe hasn’t been a little bit more transparent, explaining things.”

She added that there are more than 20,000 other people serving a sentence in Canadian prisons and jails, and the rules have been designed to apply broadly.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Pope Francis in hospital for abdominal surgery to treat intestinal blockage

WATCH - Pope Francis’ health 'improving' during hospitalization

Pope Francis went to the hospital Wednesday to undergo abdominal surgery to treat an intestinal blockage, two years after he had 33 centimetres (13 inches) of his colon removed because of a narrowing of the large intestine.

The Vatican said Francis, 86, would be put under general anesthesia for the procedure Wednesday afternoon and would be hospitalized at Rome’s Gemelli hospital for several days.

Francis’ Fiat 500 car pulled out of the Vatican shortly after 11 a.m. with an escort, and arrived at the Gemelli some 20 minutes later.

The pope is undergoing what the Vatican said was a “laparotomy and abdominal wall plastic surgery with prosthesis” to treat a “recurrent, painful and worsening” constriction of the intestine.

A laparotomy is open abdominal surgery. It can help a surgeon both diagnose and treat issues. The statement said Francis was suffering from a blocked laparocele, which is a hernia that formed over a previous scar.

“The stay at the health facility will last several days to allow for the normal post-operative course and full functional recovery,” the statement said. An update was not expected until after the procedure.

Francis remains in charge of the Vatican and the 1.3-billion strong Catholic Church, even while unconscious and in the hospital.

In July 2021, Francis spent 10 days at Gemelli to remove 33 centimeters (13 inches) of his large intestine. He had suffered what the Vatican said was a severe inflammation and narrowing of the colon. In an interview with The Associated Press in January, Francis said the diverticulosis, or bulges in his intestinal wall, that had prompted the 2021 surgery, had returned.

Francis had come out of the 2021 surgery saying he could eat whatever he wanted, but he lamented that he hadn’t responded well to the general anesthetic used in the longer-than-expected procedure. That reaction in part explained his refusal to have surgery to repair strained knee ligaments that have forced him to use a wheelchair and walker for over a year.

The fact that he is going back for surgery suggests he had little choice but to treat the intestinal issue, especially given the rigorous upcoming travel schedule this summer.

The Argentine pope had part of one lung removed when he was a young man. He also suffers from sciatica nerve pain. In late March, Francis spent three days at Gemelli for an acute case of bronchitis, during which he was treated with intravenous antibiotics. He emerged April 1 saying “Still alive!”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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