Wise Words

March 31, 2014


From Twitter.

Vancouver Greens Begin Nominations

March 31, 2014

At a news conference at City Hall this morning, the Vancouver Green Party announced three nominees to run as candidates with Adriane Carr in the municipal election in November.  The will likely be unopposed at the Party’s nomination meeting in May.

The three newcomers are Cleta Brown, daughter of the iconic Rosemary Brown, Pete Fry, son of Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry, and Tracey Moir, founder of the Oakridge-Langara Area Residents group.

I have spent many months working quite closely with Pete and Tracey, both of whom have been very active members of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods.  They are passionate and articulate spokespeople for their communities and they are darned fine people all around.  I am not a member of the Greens, or any party, but if you want some folks who have the wherewithal to shake up City Hall, you could look for a long time before finding better people than these.

The Red Wagon

March 30, 2014

A friend took me to breakfast at the Red Wagon on Hastings this morning.  Hard to believe I havent been there before, especially as it is so close to home.

We got there at about 8:55am, and we were already the ninth or tenth group in line, getting one of the last tables when the doors were opened.  It was well worth the short wait, as I am sure it was for those who continued to line up throughout our meal.  I had today’s special, which was schinitzel and eggs with country potatoes:  an odd thing for breakfast but really good.

No “ambience” but full of friendly service and endless coffee.  I will definitely be back.



Wall in Philadelphia

March 29, 2014

Wall in Philadelphia

Digestives, The Queen of Biscuits

March 28, 2014


Some people, I know, think that digestive biscuits are boring.  I disagree with passion.  They are, for me, exquisite semi-sweet delights that hold up to dunking in hot tea as if they were invented for that very job.

I cook a lot, but almost never make cookies.  However, I found this excellent recipe yesterday and could hardly wait to get to it.  They are, perhaps, not as smooth and pretty as my favourite McVitie’s, but they taste even better and I doubt I’ll ever have to buy the manufactured versions again.

Paranoia, Protectiveness, or Simply Parental Control Issues

March 28, 2014

The following map was tweeted on Twitter this morning. It purports to show the difference in freedom allowed kids when, say, I was young and today:

walking map

There was no source given for this map so who knows whether it is accurate.  However, from my own general knowledge it seems about right.  However, in large parts of North America, at least, the son today would not be allowed outside his own yard, let alone to the end of the street.

When I was eight in 1957 (to use the same indicator as the maps), I walked alone a couple of miles each day through the roughest of London neighbourhoods to get to school and learned much of interest and usefulness by doing so.  On the weekends, my pals and I would explore the still-existing bombsites across town.  Often we would walk a mile or so down to the Thames where we paddled in the muck and climbed aboard “dangerous” barges.  I only remember one kid breaking his leg falling into a hold, and although I had my stomach pumped a few times after swimming in what was then a horribly polluted river, it didn’t seem such a bad thing, and added to one’s street cred at school the next day.

Yes, there were murderers back then, and pedophiles and evil characters — the slums of London in the early 50s were a tough town — but we learned how to run, how to gauge trust, how to fight, how to scream and, most important perhaps, how to avoid serious trouble.  I cannot imagine but that this freedom to wander didn’t add to my sense of self-esteem, confidence, and general knowledge about life and safety. I know it made me into a more independent and intelligent human being.

I have written before about today’s aversion to dirt and the concurrent rise in childhood illnesses and allergies (here and here), and I see this over-protectiveness as part of the same societal malaise. A lot of parents, I believe, are concerned about what others will think of them if their kids get dirty or scrap their knee. The child’s  safety is often just a cover for their own insecurities.

Let kids be kids, give them the freedom to learn, to get hurt once in a while, to make judgements about situations. They will be all the better for it.


Trout Lake Plan

March 27, 2014

According to an email I just received, the public is invited to attend a Parks Board open house to review and comment on a draft master plan for John Hendry Park (aka Trout Lake).

“The plan was developed in consultation with community stakeholders and through input received at three open houses and online over the past seven months,” they say.

Tuesday, April 15, 5-8pm – drop in anytime at the Trout Lake Community Centre – Grandview Room, 3360 Victoria Drive

To learn more about this project visit vancouver.ca/john-hendry-park. Open house materials and questionnaire will be available online April 16-30 at the same url.

All Change At the BIA

March 27, 2014

Jane McFadden who has been Executive Director of the Commercial Drive BIA for less than a year is moving on.  She has had what is, presumably, a better offer from another BIA and she’s off and running.

Just three weeks ago she was “elected” to the Board of GWAC (which I thought was a conflict of interest, to be honest), so they too will be looking for another Director.

I always enjoyed my meetings with Jane, and I wish her the best of luck in her new opportunity.

Now This is Cricket!

March 27, 2014

At the T20 World Cup this morning Sri Lanka scored more runs than England have ever scored to win a match. Not only that, but the England fielding was awful, with dropped catches going down one after another. England then lost two wickets without even scoring a run and we looked doomed to a terrible embarrasing defeat.

But on comes Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales and they just started hitting the ball with power and skill.  They put up a partnership of more than 150 runs before Morgan was out, and Hales went on to a glorious never-to-be-forgotten 116 not out.  He closed out the victory with a massive 6 and England won with four balls to spare.


One of the great games, and the sort of game that can only make cricket even more popular than it is already around the world.

Taxes Done!

March 26, 2014

I did my taxes this afternoon.  Took about fifteen minutes.  One of the great advantages of being poor and retired is the lack of complexity in one’s life.


This Is Not A Newspaper

March 26, 2014

This is not a newspaper nor is it the CBC or the BBC.  It is a place for me to express my own views (thus the name of this blog) and to pass on observances that I think are of interest.  I do exactly as much research as I choose when writing these pieces. Nothing more should be expected of me.

When I write history pieces, the research will be as exact and accurate as I can possibly make it.  But when I write political pieces or articles on art, music, food or when I write general observations, what you see is what you get — my view with absolutely no guarantee that anyone else will agree.  Everyone is welcome to do their own research, their own reading, and make up their own minds.

I would have thought this was obvious.

But clearly some with a different point of view expect something else.  The comments that my post on the anal bleaching sign attracted are a fine example.  Obviously the commenter disagreed with my position and claimed I got my facts wrong.  No, I did not: I reported accurately on what I saw (the sign), I reported accurately on what I heard on the street (“I am told that” the PAC had objected), and I gave my own opinion on the issue.   No facts were harmed in the production of that post.

As I wrote to the commenter, the comments and my email are open for anyone to state their differences of opinion, but I expect something other than just “you are wrong.”



Two Cyclists

March 23, 2014

two cyclists

Spring’s First Sunday

March 23, 2014

It was a gorgeous day weatherwise; a slight chill in the air early but bright sunshine and a pleasant warmth if one stayed out of the shadows.

I awoke early to watch the Milano-San Remo cycling classic — pouring with rain much of the race, with a surprise winner beating the favourites on the line after a gruelling 294 kilometers.  Exciting stuff.  It is a part of the world I know or knew quite well, and the run along the coast west from Genoa still reminds me of when we lived in Nice damn near fifty years ago, and when I hiked through the region ten and twenty years later.

Then, talking of hikes, it was time to hit the streets as the Grandview Heritage Group set out on a walk of discovery west and south of Britannia.  About a dozen of us joined in to find houses over one hundred years old that we could celebrate for our 2014 Centenary House Signs project.  We went up and down the streets between McLean and Clark and along Woodland and Odlum, chatting, swapping history stories, and taking lots of pictures.  We found some gems this time, and I look forward to the research work that will be needed to pin down their histories.  It was a tiring but well worthwhile two-hour tramp through the neighbourhood.

Our group was shadowed all morning by an SFU Communications student who is making a class project about me, the neighbourhood, and the changes that may come as a result of the Community Plan.  After the walk, he and I relaxed in Grandview Park with hot chocolates from Renzo’s and chatted for another hour or so on camera.

Then home, a quick lunch, and a well-deserved nap!  Not a bad day at all so far, and there is a whole evening to go.

Sign Of The Times

March 22, 2014


I am told that this sign outside the High Fidelity store, or at least the last line of it, is causing some controversy on the Drive.

Given the level of sexuality that kids are exposed to on the net, in advertizing, and music videos these days, it seems odd that the local PAC would be so exercised by a sign for “anal bleaching”.

Thought For The Day

March 21, 2014

Thought for the Day

Good Times With Heritage

March 21, 2014

Last night was the monthly gathering of the Grandview Heritage Group.

Once again we had a busy, productive evening that, as usual, was companionable, intellectually stimulating, and just plain fun.  I look forward to these every month.  Y’all should join us!

Perfect Meat Pie

March 20, 2014


The ever-loving makes a perfect English meat pie!  I’m a lucky guy.

It’s Spring!

March 20, 2014

Spring Blossoms

A Good Night

March 18, 2014

We went to a St. Patrick’s Day party last night, to a house full of friends and close acquaintances, and had a really fine time.

There was Guinness and Irish coffees and green cheesecake and green iced other cake and corned beef and cabbage and potatoes and other delights. There was much fine wine and even more fine conversation. There was a good mix of kids and old folks and plenty of in-the-midle folks.

The short walk home in the chill air was the best digestif.

A grand time.  Thanks Jill and Shawn!

Happy Holi Day!

March 17, 2014