May 18, 2013
Thirty-three years ago today, early on a Sunday morning, I was in North Vancouver at a friend’s house with a bunch of other folks recovering from what had been a major party the night before. My eyes hurt, my head hurt, and I was sure that the big bang I heard, and the small tremors that swept up my legs, were all part of the painful recovery process. But I wasn’t the only one to hear and feel those things, and we began to wonder.
There was no internet or 24-hour news stations then, and it was probably a while before we learned what had gone on south of us.
Mount St. Helens had blown its head off, and for hours we sat around watching KOMO or KING, gazing in awe as dust settled on towns for miles around, gazing in awe at the power of the mountain.
This was not a day to easily forget.
May 17, 2013
I attended the so-called Open House on the Regional Context Statement (RCS) at City Hall yesterday afternoon. It was as disappointing as any other “public engagement” exercise that the Robertson regime has undertaken. The RCS is a document of vital importance to the future of Vancouver — it will govern all planning decisions for the next thirty years or so — and it is being pushed through without any serious public discussion.
The Open House consisted of a dozen or so display boards showing information that has been available for a while, staffed by junior officials who were not in any position to debate points of interest. It was, quite frankly, a complete waste of time, but this is what passes for public engagement under this Vision Vancouver Council.
Also of note, there has been virtually no media coverage of the RCS which, considering its importance, is mighty strange. A few bloggers, like me, have mentioned it, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any discussion of it elsewhere. What’s with that? Is it too complicated for mere reporters to handle? The lack of such coverage is as disturbing and disappointing as Vision’s arrogance in pushing through so much change without a mandate.
May 16, 2013
If you have been following the Mike Duffy affair in Ottawa, you will understand why I emailed the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff today and applied for a forgiveable loan.
You should too. His email address is email@example.com. Good luck!
May 16, 2013
It seems like — and probably is — a dog’s age since I wrote about the art market; been too busy with other stuff. However, I could not pass up notice that a work by one of my favourite painters, Gerhard Richter, has been sold for $37 million, making it the highest price ever for a living artist, breaking his own record.
As the Guardian writes:
At almost 3 metres by 3 metres, Domplatz, Mailand from 1968 is one of the German artist’s biggest works and, with its look of a fuzzy black-and-white photograph, is instantly recognisable as Richter. It was bought by a Napa Valley vineyard owner, Donald Bryant, who punched his fist in the air after successfully buying the Richter at Sotheby’s big contemporary art sale in New York. The work “just knocks me over”, he said, although when told it was the most ever paid for a Richter he laughed: “I’m not sure I should be breaking those kinds of records.” The Milan painting was sold by the Hyatt hotel group – it hung in Chicago – achieving a price 10 times higher than they paid for it in 1998.
The other good news from the same auction was that a typically unneccessary work by Jeff Koons failed to raise a single bid. Even the extravagantly rich aren’t that daft!
May 15, 2013
So the Liberals won, eh, confounding all the pundits, the commentators and, most of all, the pollsters. Our record of goofy politics remains unmatched. With the polls saying they would lose by 8-9%, the Liberals didn’t just survive by the skin of their teeth, they actually increased their number of seats and the percentage of the popular vote.
What is truly disappointing, though, is the reaction of the NDP supporters who inhabit Twitter. First, unlike their leader, they did not run a “positive” campaign. Many of their tweets were as low as anything the fundie right in the States could dream up. Now, many of them are blaming the pollsters for their loss because they provided the party with a sense of over-confidence. Worse, a number of them are blaming the people of British Columbia, calling them stupid and complaining about the 48% turnout.
Anything but blame themselves and their party, I guess.
Two weeks ago I remarked that this was an election that suffered from a double problem: most BCers really did not want to vote for either party. Neither party provided the kind of bold and exciting policy challenges that might have brought the people to the polls; neither party provided any excitement at all. That’s why the turnout was so low.
May 14, 2013
One thing is absolutely clear from tonight’s stunning election results: the BC pollsters must be clear favourites to win next year’s Governor-General’s Award for Fiction!