Night Music: Pick Up The Pieces

November 30, 2016

Image: Family At Beach

November 29, 2016


Night Music: Fanfare For The Common Man

November 28, 2016

Bernstein, Copland, and the Fanfare!

Calendar: A Great Choir!

November 28, 2016

Earlier this year, we went to the Singing for Everyone Community Choir event and it was a marvelous evening. Their next concert is coming up next week and I urge everyone to come along and just have a great time.


Poem: Southern Comfort

November 28, 2016


It was a slam bam thank you ma’am kind of night.

“It’s alright,” she said with a slight frisson of uncertainty perhaps

as she unwraps and taps the money-box on the dresser.

He pays to caress her, to possess her as she bumps and grinds

and too quickly finds the kind of passion paid for.

He wants more before he’ll leave: sixteen and still hard.

But she’s on guard, body barred against free love.

Push came to shove.  Above his pleas she screamed and screamed

until the apartment teemed with neighbours and passers-by

who wondered why this nigger came by and by to be in a white girl’s room.


It’s a warm, hormone-rushing, mosquito-swarming kind of night.

Fox-fire bright, passions tightly wound and sprung.

No brass bells are rung, no masses sung, but masses gather to enjoy

the black boy toy with the last of his time on a slippery slope

as the hempen rope grips and gropes for his hopeless neck.



Image: City Abstract #7

November 27, 2016


Rezoning Grandview

November 26, 2016

This afternoon I visited the City Planner’s Open House at WISE Hall to see the plans for new zoning, and thus new housing types, that the GW Community Plan is visiting upon the neighbourhood. I am not going to discuss the approved Plan’s conclusions (there have been millions of words, quite literally, been written about that already) but will concentrate on the process.

Anyone reading this blog carefully over the last four years or so should understand that my issues have never been about housing form or types, new or old. My entire concern — throughout the GW Plan period, and today — is with the process being used to bring change. I said to someone the other day, and it is quite true, that if a fully open and transparent process brought forth a huge tower on every intersection on the Drive, I would accept it (hate it though I might). The GW Plan process was anything but open and transparent which is why it was opposed so vociferously by so many for so long. But the Plan was pushed through and, regardless of how badly we have been treated to this point, we need to ensure that the process moving forward is more open and transparent. Which brings us back to today’s event.

Rezoning and introducing new styles of housing into a community is a complicated business for both planners and residents who may be anxious for the future of their properties. I thought the Planning Department did a pretty good job today of explaining the new zoning areas, and what each type of housing actually meant. The poster boards were clear and full of illustrative detail.

Most importantly, I listened to several conversations in which residents discussed their own very local issues and anxieties with members of City staff — what larger, higher, buildings might do to their own streetscapes. In each of the conversations I heard, the staff were respectful and helpful and, yes, caring about the consequences. Obviously, with general approvals in place already, there is little that can be done to change the new zonings. But this meeting did, at least, try to explain and impart useful knowledge to residents.

Thanks to Andrew Pask and his team.

Night Music: My Generation

November 26, 2016

Not the best version musically, but this IS the spirit of Woodstock — and we still had Keith Moon!

RIP, Fidel Castro. A Hero For Our Times

November 26, 2016


Fidel Castro is dead and the world is so much emptier for that fact.

I didn’t support Castro’s politics (though much of it tended to be better than most — look at Cuba’s health care system, for example, a success against every barrier the US could throw against it), but I supported the bravery of standing up for fifty years to an imperialist Superpower that had missiles and a huge army less than a 100 miles away.

More than the military threat, the US for two whole generations attempted to destroy the Cuban economy and people by sheer economic terrorism. Luckily, the world would not stand for that, and even Canada never flinched from business and tourism with Cuba.

Whenever self-righteous Americans point to the wreckage of Cuba’s economy and the poverty of the people (compared, say, to most parts of the US), remind them that this was caused directly and deliberately by American leaders.


Not Quite Such Fantastic Beasts

November 25, 2016

The ever-loving and I went out on a date tonight, to go see “Fantastic Beasts and Where You Can Find Them.” I enjoyed going out, but the film was rather disappointing. This is fantasy, but even decent fantasy has to have fewer plot holes than this, and I say this as a Rowling fan.

The film was made, so far as I could tell, simply an excuse to do three things: (a) make more money; (b) set up a new franchise to make even more money; and (c) to exploit basic destruction urges with CGI and other visual and special effects. Some of the effects were interesting; most were run of the mill. Very disappointing. There is however a very understated and well done morph of Colin Farrell into Johnny Depp at the very end.

I said above that I “enjoyed” going out, which I did. But I also have to wonder whether I will go out to the movies ever again. There was no audience atmosphere — laughs, gasps, cheers, etc — and so the point of seeing the thing with a crowd was lost. And even with paying the old geezers’ rate for tickets, the show, some concession food, and a cab ride home cost about $60. There are a lot more ways to get two hours entertainment these days without spending $60 and having to leave the comforts of home on a rainy night.

I won’t even mention the 45 minutes of commercials and silly games that one is obliged to sit through. Nor will I mention the fact that, though I was probably one of the deafest people in the theatre, I thought the sound was so loud my dentures rattled. Nor that I really don’t care for Eddy Redmayne.

It’ll be a while before I do that again.

Image: Inside The Tower

November 25, 2016

Inside the Tower

Buy Nothing Day

November 25, 2016


Dinner Tonight #9

November 24, 2016


Toad in the hole (using my own famous yorkshire pudding batter), mashed potatoes, green beans, and onion gravy. Happy Thanksgiving!

Night Music: I’ve Been Loving You Too Long

November 24, 2016

Activism As Pop Culture

November 24, 2016

One of the great “new” traditions of East Van is the English-style pantomime musical comedy mounted each year at the York Theatre. This year, the play is based on Little Red Riding Hood and looks to be a good one as the girl in the title bikes her way through Grandview from Boundary Road to the Woodwards Building.

One of the features of panto is to include a lot of local and contemporary references within the show.  I was delighted, therefore, to watch the trailer put out by the Sun and see our No Tower signs featured this year!

Little Red Riding Hood opens tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Eric!

November 23, 2016

We celebrated the birthday of a good friend and neighbour today. Thirteen of us showed up at Fet’s on the Drive and they did us proud.

The birthday boy, Eric, is a stalwart and active volunteer for the Grandview Heritage Group, the Grandview Garden Club, Britannia Neighbours, GWAC, and the No Tower campaign. He also is very involved in an old car club. Most of all, he is a dependable, kind, and loyal neighbour and friend. It is amazing how he fits it all in! The rest of us around the table have worked with or known Eric for some years now and have come to rely on his amiable temperament, his mechanical genius, and his good advice.

Our community would be sadly lacking without him.



Image: Standing Stones

November 23, 2016

Standing Stones, ancient and modern_small

TPP: Score One For the Donald

November 22, 2016

no-tppPresident-elect Trump has made it absolutely clear that on day one of his Presidency, he will withdraw the US from support of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).  We can breathe a sigh of relief because Trump is right — this would be a disaster — although probably not for the reasons I give.

The TPP had nothing whatsoever to do with trade: the US already has good trading relations with all the nations involved in the treaty (from which China was excluded, of course). This was all about deregulation and giving even more powers to corporations than to elected governments. This was about giving powers to corporations to restrict labour and environmental protections.

Trump will find a lot of criticism about this decision from billionaire executives and those they pay — Congressional politicians — to lobby on their behalf.  The loudest screamers will be those most deeply in the pockets of big business, on both sides of the aisle.

What is odd to me is that you would expect Trump to be among that crowd calling for freer trade, less regulation on corporations, and more strength against China.  I am confused as to the why of his position (because I believe him to be a full-bore capitalist and not an economic nationalist) but I cheer him for it.

Reason #223 NOT to use Facebook

November 22, 2016

anti-facebookBecause they have developed or are developing software to allow the Chinese government to censor Facebook in China. This is their commitment to free speech, eh?

Zuckerberg says it is better to be “part of a conversation”, which is Silicon Valleyese for “we can’t make a profit in China unless we let the government screw with our members’ values.

It is good to read that some FB employees are quitting in protest but, frankly, FB can simply offer more money to attract more coders and systems managers whose resumes do not include any social conscience.


Previous Reasons NOT to Use Facebook.

Night Music: Fearless

November 22, 2016