Image: Diner #1

January 27, 2016


Night Music: Battle of the Drummers

January 26, 2016

My plan was to find a video of the great Philly Joe Jones so that I could tell my story of meeting him in 1966 or 1967. I found a good video, but then for some reason I wanted to see Joe Morello playing “History of a Boy Scout“. Instead I found a great video of him playing “Take Five” as part of the Dave Brubeck Quartet. I seemed to be satisfied with that, played it twice. But then I had an urge to see Buddy Rich and, in searching for that, I found this glorious Battle Of The Drummers gig featuring Buddy Rich AND Gene Krupa.

They don’t make TV like that anymore!

Dope On The Drive

January 26, 2016

As most of you will know, the City of Vancouver requested applications for marijuana dispensary licenses. They received more than 150 applications, and rejected almost all of them.  Here is the current state of play for dispensaries on the Drive.

The following applicants were rejected and have not appealed:

  • 892 Commercial: Canmed Wellness
  • 1340 Commercial: Healing Club (the vacant space where Scandalicious used to be)
  • 1730 Commercial: Persia Foods (??)


The following applicants were rejected, have appealed, and the date of their hearing:

  • 1470 Commercial: Emilio Marrello: March 2 (this is address of Black Dog Video)
  • 1740 Commercial: My Remedy Wellness:  June 15
  • 2137 Commercial: Vancouver Pain Management: June 15
  • 2223 Commercial: Canna Clinic: October 19
  • 2235 Commercial: Eggs Canna: July 2


The application by Evo Medical for a new dispensary at 1501 Commercial is “being processed” which, I assume, means it will be accepted.

This whole business smacks of both the Nanny State and hypocrisy.  Most of the dispenary rejections are said to be because the stores are too close together or too close to schools.  This is for a product that virtually all medical experts now consider to be safe and, perhaps, medically helpful.  There are no such rules for stores selling drugs that everyone accepts are dangerous, indeed lethal — drugs such as cigarettes and liquor. What’s with that?

Image: Treeline

January 25, 2016



“Treeline”  (July 2008), acrylics on canvas, 30 x 24

Poem: House

January 25, 2016


She always kept olives in a glass jar

In the cabinet above the pantry,

Amid the fluff and dust of decades.  Tar

Paper lived elsewhere, with the iron gantry

For lifting meats, the turpentine and wax.

Everything else she threw in the dark cave

Of the understairs;  all things that would tax

Her strength she threw on the floor, and this gave

The house the appearance of a swallow’s

Nest built from found goods.  But always she had

Irises, quivering on a cold rad.


Night Music: Yardbirds

January 24, 2016

In West London when I was a boy we were lucky to have the Yardbirds who brought us Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Keith Relf and so many others. Their catalog tends to the pop side, but their live shows were much blusier. I remember them doing a twenty-minute version of Smokestack Lightning that has stayed in my memory for fifty years.

Japan Wins — At Last!

January 24, 2016

kotoshogikuAsk most people in the west about sumo wrestling and they will probably know that it is Japan’s national sport, with the not-unreasonable assumption that sumo wrestlers are Japanese. However, the truth is somewhat different. In fact, for the last fifteen years or so, sumo champions have come mostly from Mongolia with a smattering of East Europeans thrown in.

The current list of top division wrestlers, or rikishi, includes eight Mongolians, two from Georgia, and one each from Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Egypt, and Russia, along with twenty-seven Japanese.  There is even a Canadian lad working his way up through the lower ranks.

Foreigners wishing to pursue a career in sumo are required to adopt a very traditional Japanese lifestyle and speak only Japanese.  This imposes a huge intellectual and cultural burden; and yet many of them thrive.  So much so that there has been NO Japanese champion for the last sixty tournaments — a ten-year drought. That all ended last night.

Kotoshogiku, a Japanese veteran who has held the second-highest ranking of ozeki for the last 26 tournaments, finally prevailed with a 14-1 record at the January basho, sending the millions of Japanese fans into paroxysms of joy. The news made the front pages of major newspapers and this morning was the lead story on news broadcasts.

Even though Kotoshogiku is not one of the rikishi that I cheer for, I am delighted that a Japanese has finally won. The sport has regained its mass popularity after recovering from the betting and match-fixing scandals of a decade ago, and each day of each basho is regularly sold out.  A Japanese champion is a worthy repayment for the fans’ renewed support.