Being Prepared

January 29, 2010

It occurred to me that I could wake up one morning to find myself in the position of being the despotic leader of Canada.  And in the event of that eventuality, I thought I should have a political plan ready, in my back pocket as it were, that I could just whip out, unfold and start reading as soon as the cameras started rolling.  That way there would be no awkward silences as I got my thoughts straight.

Moreover, I decided, I should only talk about those things that I could do immediately, that very day.  That way I would never have to backtrack on my campaign promises, and everyone would see that I mean what I say.  So, without more ado, here is my practical program for the first day of the despotism:

  1. No more of this summer time/winter time nonsense.  No more of remembering to turn the clocks forward and back.  As of today, there is only standard time.
  2. ALL sellers of goods and services MUST show the bottom-line price for any good or service;  a bottom-line price includes all charges, taxes, fees, etc etc.  If the sign says $11.95 you actually pay $11.95.   No exceptions, no excuses.
  3. All fines, penalties and awards against corporations or other organizations are paid, first by the directors and senior officers of the company or organization, and only second, if required, by the shareholders.  Accountability rules.  No pay backs, no exceptions, no excuses.

That’ll be it for the first day.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

January 25, 2010

Completely by chance, we caught a TV concert of theirs the other night.  Just outstanding energy!

Desperate: For Rent

January 22, 2010

As we get ever closer to that immoral waste of resources known as the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, let us not forget the reality of life on the streets here, much of which could be solved or alleviated with a quarter of the cash Canada, BC and Vancouver are pissing through the five rings.

Sumo Glee!

January 20, 2010

Two things I really love — Glee and sumo — in one beautiful video!  Some days are just better than others.

Good stuff, Fox!

It is good to see that Akebono has shed several hundred pounds since his dohyo days.

The Power of Language (And Numbers)

January 18, 2010

Long-time readers of this space will know that my wife and I are devotees of sumo.  I have written about it here on numerous occasions.  In fact, this year will be our ninth anniversary of watching every sumo tournament (basho), fifteen days of action every two months.  And in all that time, we have been watching NHK’s coverage in Japanese, a language we do not speak or read.

In that time we have seen roughly 16,000 sumo bouts (20 bouts x 15 days x 6 times per year x 9 years) — and that’s a lot of wrestling.   It has also given us a lot of time to understand some basic words in an unknown language with an apparently incomprehensible script.  And over the years we have come to know quite a lot of specific Japanese terms, have come to understand names and throws, and we have even learned to recognize certain kanji characters and the sounds they represent.

This month, we finally got the English language feed to work (who knew I had to set up my TV as “default- Spanish”?) and it is an extraordinary step forward for us.  NHK have a variety of men and women who deliver their own commentary on the nightly contests (not just a straight translation of the regular NHK broadcast).  They give us the kind of gossip and chat that we didn’t even know existed in the sport.  We are pleased that many of the guesses we had made about things we didn’t understand proved accurate. And each night (nine so far this basho — one of the most exciting and closely fought we have ever seen) we learn more and more.  It is a truly stimulating experience.

The long period of self-study we put ourselves through really set us up to take advantage of the information we are now receiving.  After all these years, sumo is proving to be even more fascinating than we have previously imagined.

Motion 1

January 6, 2010

Time Away

January 4, 2010

It seems to have been an age since I posted here.  It has been ages since I posted anywhere at all.  I am focusing all my energies on completing a book-length history of Commercial Drive in the 20th century.  This has been a 15-year project so far, but the freedom to write over the last two months has allowed me to know that I can get this finished by summer.  I am currently working my way through a huge body of never previously used research materials and structuring the written work as I go.

If anyone reading this has knowledge of the Drive before 2000, especially family stories that give insight on the way people actually lived, I would welcome any decision to share them with me.  Full acknowledgements will of course be given.

In the meantime, I will keep an eye on this site and post whenever I can.   Thanks for reading!