Conflict of Interest

June 17, 2014

I have written before (here and here) about the volley of legal claims that have been launched against the current Vancouver City Council.  I believe there were up to fourteen.  Well, now there is another one and, I have to admit, I am one of the plaintiffs in this case.  The following press release has been issued in explanation:


It is interesting to note that Emily Jackson of the Metro newspaper tweeted this morning that she was specifically told by City staff that no one would be made available to talk with her about this or any other case against the City.  I think this attempt to hide is called going into “bunker mode”.

Nightmare Alley

June 17, 2014

nightmarealley_02I just read “Nightmare Alley“, a novel published in 1946 by William Lindsay Gresham.  It was marvelous.

The novel tells the story of Stan Carlisle who, after a disturbing youth, joins a cheap traveling carnival, and starts to make his way in that world.  He becomes a mentalist, running a fixed game to get cash from vulnerable punters.  Eventually, Carlisle becomes a full-blown spiritualist, holding rigged seances, looking for the big mark, and running roughshod over his wife/partner and his few lovers. Finally, morbidly alcoholic and cheated by his erstwhile partners, a penniless Stan returns to a low-life carnival, offered a job as the geek — the wild man who bites heads off chickens — a humiliating position that he has detested since the first pages of the novel.

Gresham writes the story in a stark modernist style and manages to bring us deep into the worlds of the traveling carnival and spiritualism in the first half of the last century.   This is not the magical realism of Katherine Dunn’s “Geek Love“.  This is a story of hard-scrabble life, poverty, drunkenness, and the vagaries of “love” in a world where everyone is a mark, everyone is a potential step out of the mud.

A tough and wonderful read.