Are We Closing Libraries in Vancouver?

June 30, 2015

This afternoon we received a call from a survey company working, we understood, for the City. Their questions were about what to do when we run out of money to run our libraries — what library services should be cut? Or should a branch be closed?  No choices we allowed for a higher budget for libraries.

Am I so completely out of the loop?  I had no idea City Council was considering cutting library services or closing branches. Where has been the genuine public consultation (rather just a quick telephone survey) on a matter so important?


Night Music: Pretty Flamingo

June 30, 2015

Image: Negative Space

June 29, 2015

negative space

Poem: Driven

June 29, 2015


He drove

her home after dinner.
They dawdled for a moment on the porch until the wind


them inside where, after drinks,
their mutual passion


them to seek the comforts of the bedroom, and where
her exuberant energy


him mad with desire, and where


his knifeblade deep into
her heart

He was


they said, seeking to excuse
his excess,
his access to those parts of
her body which even this exorbitantly open society doesn’t allow.


he was
they said by television violence and devil music and commercial
radio and the


he was forced to eat at as a child by
his working mother.
His vanished other parent


he learned to drink by
his inability to access the excess promised to all by the features
he sat through at the


His mother and father coincidentally killed in


he read about two continents and two decades apart.


they said by these circumstances to commit
his act
her death
they killed
him by


his last of a long line of needles deep into
his arm. And then, in an unmarked car,


his body to
his last home, just as
he had


her to the first and last home
they would ever share.

Night Music: Macarthur’s Park

June 28, 2015

Women’s World Cup

June 27, 2015

Canada lost its FIFA Womens World Cup match this afternoon, to England. I quite enjoyed the game and I think it was a fair result.  Canada finishes in the top eight which is what was to be expected (they were rated #8 in the world before the tournament) and I suspect they have advanced the women’s game here in Canada.

But there are issues with women’s football, and it could be improved to the benefit of both players and spectators.

For someone like me who has been raised for decades on the highest quality British and European football, watching many thousands of games, the three main differences between top level male football and the teams at the top of FIFA’s Women’s World Cup are in individual skills, strength, and conditioning.

The basic skill level, the level of precision in passing and moving, is much lower in the Women’s game; but I don’t think that is so important. The skill level will continue to improve as the teams play more and more top-level opponents. I have no doubt that soon enough the average top-level female players will have the equivalent skills of the average top-level male player.

The gap in strength and conditioning can certainly be reduced by better training, but much of the difference here is physiological: men are generally faster and stronger than women.  The lack of speed and resilient strength in the womens’ game slows (comparatively) attacking buildup in general and slashing attacks in particular.

I believe the womens’ game could be much improved if the field was shortened and narrowed by, say 15-20%. I think this would allow faster and more exciting play by countering the speed and strength deficits.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.  I’ve enjoyed the games I have watched, and I will certainly watch and enjoy the Final.  I’m cheering for England now.

The Tower and The Tour

June 27, 2015

This morning, Maurice Guibord, one of our clutch of locally resident historians, headed a tour of Commercial Drive for the Vancouver Heritage Foundation. He had a full house of about 30 tour-ists.  If you have never taken a tour with Maurice, then you should sign up for his next. He is a charming, funny and thoroughly knowledgable tour guide presenting a really pleasurable learning experience.

His tour this morning gathered at the corner of Commercial & Venables right opposite Astorino’s, which was the perfect location for Penny and I to make a case against the huge highrise that Boffo wants to impose on that corner.  We gave a little speech, handed out pamphlets on the tower proposal, and received another two dozen signatures on the anti-tower petition.

I believe it was a positive experience for everyone, and we thank Maurice for allowing us to interupt him about this issue of vital importance to our neighbourhood.