A Moment of Kindness

February 29, 2016

I was on the #20 bus this morning, traveling south on Commercial. When we got to the stop at First, the driver got off the bus. I assumed he was going to Tim’s for a coffee as other drivers have done. But no.

The driver approached a homeless guy sitting on the sidewalk outside Tim’s and gave him money, then returned to the bus and drove off.

It was a wonderful gesture and a fine moment.

The Boffo Tower(s) Revealed

February 29, 2016

Boffo Properties and the Kettle have finally — after many months of nagging – revealed a rendering of their tower at Commercial and Venables.  And it turns out to be THREE towers, surrounded by what appears to be a barricade!


Their rendering is produced in a soft twilight, presumably to give it a pleasant glow, and yet shows itself to be far worse than anything the No Tower Coalition has ever suggested.  It is particularly interesting that, having accused the Coalition of lying about the tower possibly being up to fifteen storeys, they are now forced to admit that the 12-storey version has been “scaled back” from an original 15 storeys.

Frankly, whether it is 15 storeys or 12 is hardly important.  A tower is a tower (or in this case, three towers), and thousands and thousands of local residents have registered their distaste for a tower of any size on the Drive.  Keep the Drive under five, they say, and that’s the way it should be.

The No Tower Coalition has a couple of interesting posts about this.  Worth the read.

Image: Bands Of Gold

February 29, 2016

bands of gold

Poem: Unwinding The Thread

February 29, 2016


Memory is

the first traitor


It is such a waste

to undo the syntax,

to untie the tender meanings,

to try to catch the logic

that meant little then

and nothing now;

to wonder what

was meant.

Was there a

design back then,

that leaves no traces?


Memory is

the first traitor


Night Music: The Killers

February 28, 2016

Nissan Are The Rogues

February 28, 2016

This winter, the Nissan motor company has been running a series of TV commercials for its Rogue car, and each one appalls me more than the one before.

The conceit of each ad is that some aspect of nature — snow, trees, rocks — rather than being something to celebrate and enjoy is the enemy of mankind and that the Nissan Rogue is required to help people defeat these vicious opponents.

The message, available to impressionable children every day, is nothing but anti-environmentalism, anti-nature, and ultimately anti-human suggesting, as it does, that humanity can only “deal” with the forces of nature through some technological “fix”.

The whole campaign is a disgrace.

Tonight’s Pizza

February 27, 2016



A work of art. But it didn’t last long enough to hang on the wall.

The Indomitable Clematis Part 2

February 27, 2016

Twenty-one days ago,  I posted a piece about our clematis plant that refuses to die, reappearing year after year.  Take a look at the image I posted then, and compare it to now:

20160227 Clematis copy

That is more than two feet of strong green growth in just three weeks. I just love this thing!

Image: Teepee

February 27, 2016


Night Music: Half As Nice

February 26, 2016

Pure pop, but Andy Fairweather Low’s voice makes it worthwhile:

Bill Gates Is Wrong

February 26, 2016

Yesterday or the day before, I found myself subjected to the Bill Gates PR offensive. He seemed to be everywhere at once telling the world that it is “going to take a miracle” to stop climate change from being a hellishly disastrous process for us all.

But that was just the splashy sound-bite, the clickbait. His real purpose for the media offensive was to push once again the dangerous myth that, given enough effort and money, technology will eventually solve the climate change problem.

Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything” is just the most recent critique of technological determinism or the technological imperative. Her takedown of Richard Branson’s billionaire bullshit is masterful. And she spends considerable time compiling evidence showing that technological “fixes” are generally more dangerous than the status quo.

In this case, the play is designed to over-ride the obvious truth, that we all know, which is that we must reduce emissions immediately, leave fossil fuels in the ground, and change our lifestyle to one that brings us back in line with the rhythms of the planet.

The energy titans have to over-ride this obvious truth because their economic status relies on continued and indeed expanded extraction. The technology giants, with Gates at their head, feed the same myth because they are the technology wizards. They feed off the perceived need for trillions of dollars of research, ever-more powerful analytical tools/weapons, and the ever-disappearing-into-the-future promise of a fix that will clear us of all guilt or responsibility for the planet’s damage.

Bill Gates is a remarkable man, to be admired for many things, but in peddling the technological myth in the face of massive climate change he is doing his legacy no service.

Finally, it was annoying that Gates could get such extended coverage without an attempt by any broadcaster that I could see to balance the argument with an environmental perspective. Just another advantage for the 1%, I guess.

Local Dates For The Calendar

February 25, 2016

The first weekend in March could be a busy one:

On Saturday 5th March, from noon until 6pm, the East Van Bazaar will take place at Astorino’s Hall on the corner of Commercial and Venables.  This is an excellent showcase for local artists and craftspeople. Well worth looking into.

On Sunday 6th March, the Grandview-Woodland Area Council holds its Annual General Meeting and election of Directors for 2016/17.  The meeting begins at 2pm and takes place upstairs at Canucks Family Place, the building at the north end of Grandview Park .

Regular readers will probably recall that I have called out the recent Boards for inaction and country-club governance. This AGM is perhaps the last chance to turn GWAC around with a new activist slate of Directors and I urge everyone to attend and vote for the future rather than the past. Our new MLA, Melanie Mark will also be giving a speech

Image: Spring Blossoms

February 25, 2016

Spring Blossoms

Night Music: Adele

February 24, 2016

Where Eagles Soar

February 24, 2016

At lunchtime today, there were two huge eagles circling and soaring over Salsbury Park. It is hard to get upset with the day when you get to see that.

The Hypocrisy of Vancouver’s Marijuana Rules

February 24, 2016

2016-marijuanaAs regular readers will know, I have been following the farce that is Vancouver’s attempts to control the sale of marijuana.  The first of the appeals to the Board of Variance have now been completed and — shock and horror — not a single appeal was granted.

The first of the appeals to the Board of Variance have now been completed and — shock and horror — not a single appeal was granted. In each case, so far as I can tell, the Board refused appeals based on the fact that the dispensary concerned was within 300m of a school or similar.  The by-law suggests that the purpose of this zone is to protect children from access to marijuana.  There is a great deal wrong with this way of thinking.

For example, not even the most extreme anti-marijuana campaigner would ever suggest (with any seriousness) that marijuana is more dangerous that cigarets or booze. Both the latter are highly addictive substances that cause tens of thousands of deaths each year — and which are particularly dangerous for children. And yet, a corner store right next door to a school can sell cigarets without any restriction; and I am not aware of any distance-based rules for stores selling alcohol.

Therefore, the claim that the 300m zone for marijuana sales is for child safety reasons is BS, clearly hypocritical, and should be met with derisive laughter whenever the argument is used.

Moreover, teenagers have always been able to get hold of dope if they want it — just like they can get fags and booze — since well before the advent of dispensaries.  By making legal access more difficult, teens are obliged to feed the illegal drug market which with even a moment’s thought must be more dangerous than a regular store.  By increasing the number of dope stores, adults will never have to service the back lane dealer — but our vulnerable kids will. How is that adding to child safety?

Again, given Vision Vancouver’s history, one has to wonder if the fourteen stores that will be the only ones licensed are somehow part of Vision’s crony capitalistic clique?  It does seem odd to me that, while all of the well-established dispensaries on the Drive are being shut down, a brand new cannabis shop will be allowed to open. Is this someone’s friend, one has to ask.

Finally, it seems likely to me that yesterday’s decision in the Federal Appeals Court that ruled Ottawa’s current medical marijuana legislation unconstitutional will simply hasten the Federal Liberal’s plan to legalize the sale and use of the weed. Christy Clarke’s retread Socreds will then undoubtedly take the opportunity to fill the Province’s coffers with cannabis taxation and will lean on the City to liberalize the rules.

All of this fuss and bother will have been yet another waste of money by the City.

Image: Library Exterior #1

February 23, 2016

library exterior I

Night Music: Hey Joe

February 22, 2016

Why We Have To Support Apple v FBI

February 22, 2016


2016 Apple v FBI

Poem: Grandmaster

February 22, 2016


The plush vermillion drapes

were pushed aside momentarily —

a passing shoulder, perhaps,

or a microphone cord —

and a brindle shadow fell

across the hushed room.

He looked up from the false ivory,

looked out through the frosted glass,

and one tiny corridor

of his labyrinthine mind

wandered at the sudden, shrill, iridescent glow

of life outside.

Moments passed,

and this moment passed;

the drapes fell back,

and his full deliberation returned

to the quickest kind of death

he could inflict

on his opponent’s queen.