Ralph Klein actually got around to announcing his retirement the other day, ending months of speculation as to whether he would actually ever resign or if we were doomed to his "leadership" until we are all rotting in our graves.
For those of you fortunate enough to have never heard of the man, he has been the premier of Alberta for 14 years. He has blown up hospitals, and closed schools, and he has wined and dined the oil and gas industry, and thrown coins at people in homeless shelters while drunk.
But he was strangely always a very popular premier. Maybe because he blamed the "eastern creeps and bums" for Calgary's rising crime rates back in 1982. Maybe because he sent every Albertan a cheque for $400.00 last winter. (Can you spell "vote buying"?) Maybe because every time he opens his mouth, you know something outrageous is going to come out.
I think that last one is the only reason that I will in fact, do I dare admit this, miss him just the tiniest little bit. He is a bully, he is a redneck, he is infuriating. But goddamnit, he's funny.
Lorrie Matheson, a Calgary musician, well-known for his anti-Klein views, wrote a song about him which was played on the local CBC home show yesterday. I think it was called something like "The King is Dead". I thought it was brilliant. In it, Lorrie mentions the getting drunk and harassing people at a homeless shelter incident, he tells Ralph that "that $400.00 didn't buy my vote" (nor mine, Lorrie!) and he reminds us that Klein has been cutting health care and education funding for years.
I couldn't find a copy of it anywhere, and I don't even own any Lorrie Matheson cds. I know! Shocking, isn't it? And I call myself a non-redneck Albertan! Bad Barbara! (I promise to fix that oversight, post-haste).
BUT, please do check out the website of Calgary's premier curmudgeon, until I can lay some Matheson tunes on you.
Perhaps not surprisingly, according to the CBC, the response from local listeners to this song was overwhelmingly negative. Hmmm, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
This is Calgary, after all.
And where was my camera when I needed it?
I saw this sign on the back of a truck this morning:
the Polish Prince of Plugged Pipe's
- yes, you read that correctly - "pipes" was possessive.
I'm not even sure what Koharski Plumbing was trying to say there!