Great Service Deserves A Mention

April 30, 2011

It is a cliche to observe that we live in a service-saturated era. I would also not be the first to note that most of that service is mediocre at best and truly crap in a lot of cases. It is a joy, therefore, to report on a local craftsman who plies his trade with pride and care.

My wife has a tall metal stand that she uses as a plinth for her tumbler tomatoes. It is very heavy, with four wrought iron legs, each made of several parts. The welds between several of the parts had quite given up — a function of age, no doubt — and the stand was no longer usable.

So, she found Broadway Welding Shop through a Google search and called them because they are just a few blocks from where we live. Twenty minutes after a brief telephone call, owner Nick Byblow knocked on the door to collect the piece. He delivered it back the following morning having renewed all of the welds on the piece, not just those that were obviously broken. He charged $20 and seemed genuinely pleased to accept a tip for the extra work.

If you live on the eastside and have any kind of metalwork that needs repair, we can happily recommend Broadway Welding Shop. Their website is unimpressive; their work is great.


Reason #202 To Avoid Facebook

April 30, 2011

As I have previously written, there is a vast ocean of reasons for not going near Facebook, and I certainly never do.  Many of those reasons are to do with the security and privacy of YOUR information on Facebook’s. But the more general and overriding reason for steering clear of Facebook is because Facebook is merely the lipstick on the front end of a huge database of personal data collected and analysed by the corporate-government nexus — for THEIR use, not yours.

The darker aspects of such a controlling system are rarely revealed; I suspect the senior managers are paid in part for maintaining that lack of transparency.  But sometimes, the needs of the governing powers is so great that Facebook is required to act with an open brutality.  Such has been the case in the UK this week.

The Facebook pages of militants and activists against the UK government’s austerity policies have suddenly gone dark. A coincidence, claims Facebook, having to do with some technical definition of “profile” and “page.”  It is, they say, purely coincidental that the pages de-published were all actively involved in organizing a mass protest this weekend.  Sure.

Previous reasons for not using Facebook.

A Sunny Day Is A Glorious Thing

April 29, 2011

Late this afternoon, about 5 o’clock, between a long series of chores that had consumed two days, I sat in my little local park.  The sun was warm enough for shirt-sleeved comfort and a slight breeze hovered at face level. It was the most refreshing fifteen minutes I’ve spent for ages.

I learned later on the local news that this was the warmest day we have enjoyed since January!   I don’t really mind winter in Vancouver too much. But spring is better.

Earth Day 2011

April 23, 2011

It was Earth Day yesterday, and a youth group organized a parade along Commercial Drive followed by an event on the Britannia HS playing fields.  This was the first of what they are talking about making an annual event.

I was a bit late and caught up with the group when they had arrived at the school grounds — and I forgot to shift my camera from b&w mode to colour.  The event was nothing if not colourful and so the following images will be impressionistic only.  First, we have the organizers — and bravo to them.

Although the named organizing group was supposedly non-partisan, this was clearly an NDP event, with the entire field marked out with NDP election lawn signs.  Quite a few folks in the crowd were also carrying NDP placards. There may have been a Green or two, but the speeches — by Libby Davis etc — and the crowd was definitely leaning to the New Democrats.  Here is NDP MLA Jenny Kwan standing with some other freaks (who were REALLY colourful, believe me!) on the left:

The opening entertainment act were “Maria In The Closet” (?) who were joined out front by some very colourful (honest!) dancers with placards.

It looks like it was a fun event, enjoyed by a few hundred folks.   ‘Tis the season for street events and I look forward to more.

Canoe I

April 19, 2011

“Canoe I”

The Empire Lives

April 18, 2011

I am extraordinarily proud of being Canadian, but I’m so glad still to be British, too, because only Brits could come up with a sport like Extreme Ironing!

Here, a man irons a shirt on a motorway

“Described as “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt”, extreme ironing fittingly has its roots in Leicester, served by the M1.  Phil Shaw, who has written the definitive book on the sport, is oft credited with inventing it in 1997, and since then instances have sprung up across the globe.  Last year the travel website compiled the 10 best ironing stunts from around the world, featuring two separate instances of ironing on canoes and a particularly daring attempt to press a shirt while skydiving.”

We may have given up most of the Empire of nations, but we still rule the roost when it comes to serious silliness!

Fifty Years Ago Today

April 17, 2011

Fifty years ago today, the Cuban people fought back bravely against the United States government-sponsored invasion by those who would put the corrupt Mob casino bosses and American corporations back in charge of their beautiful country.

Agreeing to the Bay of Pigs invasion — America returing to type — was probably the most inept decision ever taken by John Kennedy. Within hours, the CIA-backed invaders were already lost, and the whole enterprise collapsed within two days. Hundreds of combatants died and more than 1,000 “exiles” were captured and held for an extended period.

The invasion hardened attitudes to the States throughout the region, made Castro an even bigger hero than he was already, and strengthened Che’s revolutionary hand within the Politbureau.  It was a major failure by every possible metric and is still celebrated as such.