April 22, 2014
Here is a new documentary by John Ngyuen, who was involved in the Youth Non-Engagement video, that captures the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan process as it stood at the end of February 2014, just a month or two ago. Way too much of me in here, perhaps, but an interesting historical document nonetheless. And very well put together by John.
April 21, 2014
I adore these designs:
And the rest which you can find here at Taxi.
April 19, 2014
The elemental power that the idea of fire has for humanity is still exhibited in any number of culturally important ceremonies. The latest to disturb my attention is the Holy Fire ceremony this week at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
There are some irreducibly elemental beliefs that link us as a species. One of these is in the extraordinary power of fire, both attractive and destructive. The clan that first started getting some control over that power, maintaining it, using it, must have really ruled the roost for quite some while. No doubt that happened many times in different places and across all ages until the overlapping webs of fire-control tribes covered the globe. Fire was now ours, controllable. A lot of the time, at least.
We began to celebrate or at least bring into our cultures the great fires of the past: the burning of Rome when Nero fiddled; the Great Fire of London in 1666; the devastation of the fire raids on Dresden and Tokyo; these and many others. We created entire agricultural economies that relied on slash and burn transactions with nature. We embraced fire in our homes and in our religions. We found a thousand and one uses for it.
However, there has been a strain of competition throughout human history between fire, earth, and water. The Industrial Revolution was the final victory of the Earth (with its Metals) over Fire. In an astute judo move, the new Metals technologies used the power of fire and water — through heat and steam and every other way — to create metallic alternates that did away with humanity’s need for direct fire control for heating, lighting, and cooking.
Culturally, Fire itself retreated to its religious base, but remained an important fear in the human psyche. I have long been fascinated by Zoroastrianism and its fire rituals. I love to follow Diwali each year. It was good to catch the Holy Sepulchre folks this year.
April 18, 2014
Of the many regressive steps taken at Vancouver City Hall since Penny Ballem became City Manager, arguably the worst was the elimination of line item budgets and the introduction of departmental and program lump-sum budgets that hide all the details. That is the purpose, of course: to hide the details from the people who pay for everything — that would be you and me.
We must immediately return to detailed line-item budgets being submitted by the City bureaucracy for Council’s approval, with Council having the ability and duty to review and if required amend individual line items in the budget.
But we need to do more, much more.
We need to make all payments made by the City openly available within a short period of time, online, searchable by payee and program identification. All payments, including salaries, wages, expenses and fees should be made available.
It’s our money. We should be able to see exactly where it is going, in virtually real time.
So-called No Public Disclosure clauses should be made illegal and invalid in all transactions involving public money. You want our money, then play by our transparency rules and needs, not yours.
April 18, 2014
I have had several breakfasts at Adeline’s recently, and mighty fine they have been. I stick to ordering the Traditional English breakfast which is actually a sort of Americanized version of a Traditional English Breakfast. And that’s OK; I can grill tomatoes and mushrooms, and heat up some baked beans at home anytime. They get the bacon and the sausage and the country-fried potatoes and they get the eggs any way you want them. Tastes good and the coffee’s fine.
The ever-loving has never been there for breakfast, and so today was to be the day. Off we went into the chill way-too-early-for-summer sunshine and hiked around the corner. Only to find that Adeline’s had chosen today to shut for renovations!
Oh well, Skylight is only half a block from there, and thus we ended up at our usual haunt. No problem with that rebound. And we got there to find the place almost empty. But within ten minutes the place was crowded, all tables used up. Apparently, Good Friday means it is OK to take your mawkish kid to the local diner to test out their lungs. Oh well, it is good to see the place lively and keeping everyone busy.
So today I had two breakfasts: the expectation of one at Adeline’s and an actual one at Eva’s. Pretty good morning, I’d say.