Night Music: Saint Honesty

April 30, 2019

Viaducts, Traffic, and Community Engagement

April 30, 2019

The May monthly meeting of the Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) takes place next Monday at 7:00pm in the Learning Resources Centre room under the Britannia Library.  This is a very important meeting to discuss massive traffic issues facing Grandview over the next decade.  As per their email notice:



Most of you probably know that the idea of removing the viaducts has a long history.  There is some community support for the demolition but much of the impetus comes from Vision Vancouver’s need to satisfy their developer supporters by providing more land for their profit.  There has been significant opposition to the demolition from East Vancouver and areas east of us who consider the viaducts a primary and convenient access to the city. I suspect we have not yet heard the end of this battle, especially if this still-newish Council can finally show their muscle and start directing the Vision holdovers in senior City staff positions rather than simply acquiescing to whatever the bureaucrats propose.

However, the survival or not of the viaducts is intimately connected with the question of traffic east of Gore, and how that traffic will affect Grandview.  This was the issue that Vision Vancouver (interested only, I believe, in the development aspects) could never solve. They eventually decided to use a so-called Community Panel to cover their asses on the decision.  From what I hear from the GWAC rep who attended, this Panel was as pointless as the Citizens Assembly they foisted on us during the Community Plan.

Given both the history and the importance of the viaducts/traffic issue, Monday’s meeting should not be missed!

Chomsky on Trump and the Republicans

April 30, 2019

The first 9 minutes of the following video has Noam Chomsky explaining clearly how the Republican Party — from Nixon to Trump — successfully pursued the twin goals of serving their real masters (“wealth and the corporate elite”) while acting out the fantasy desires of a hard-right popular base. It is a brilliant short analysis and well worth the ten minutes’ viewing time.


Image: Vancouver From The MOV

April 29, 2019

Poem: Memories Are Made Of This

April 29, 2019



filters of memory

crimp images from forgotten



tread carefully


down these pathways of the past,

canyon-like corridors,

chasm-sided walls

tiled with jagged notches

of previous wants.


tread carefully.


Night Music: It’s Over

April 28, 2019

Deconstructing Constructivism

April 28, 2019

In advance of a major sale of Constructivist art that takes place in Amsterdam next week, Christie’s online magazine has a useful guide to the movement that began in revolutionary Russia and swept across the world with far greater success than the politics of the same origin.

“As supporters of the political ideologies propagated by Russian revolutionaries, Constructivists imagined art as an active agent in the Socialist cause. Art should reflect the modern industrial world, and, above all, be accessible to the masses. Members of the group strived to make art that was relevant in a rapidly changing world, that was free from academic tradition, and devoid of any emotive or subjective properties.”


“Constructivists considered their art a product of an industrial order, rather than a unique commodity, and a precursor to the factory-produced mass-made object. They often explored collective ways of working, and regarded the object-maker as a builder or engineer rather than as an individual artist … Many of their works, both two-dimensional and three-dimensional in form, are characterised by their austere, angular geometric shapes.”

Their influence in early Soviet life was profound.

Textile designs by Varvara Stepanova

However, after Stalin suppressed the Constructivists, the movement moved abroad influencing the Bauhaus, De Stijil, Zero, and Geometric schools through the 1980s.  The precepts of the movement has inspired artists such as Paul Klee, Piet Mondran, Vasily Kandinsky.

Peter Struyken, “Structuur II” (1969)

Does Constructivism survive today?

“Absolutely. Constructivism has influenced many contemporary artists making art with computer programmes, with a lot of today’s abstract art having roots in the Constructivist movement of the 1970s.”

A useful article.

Image: Fog at Sunset

April 27, 2019

Night Music: So Long Marianne

April 26, 2019

Demographic Trends in the US, 2019

April 26, 2019

The Pew Research Centre has issued its latest overview of demographic trends in the United States as analysed over the last year. Their headlines:

  • Millennials are the largest adult generation in the United States, but they are starting to share the spotlight with Generation Z;
  • Hispanics are projected to be the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the U.S. electorate when voters cast their ballots next year;

  • The American family continues to change.;

  • The immigrant share of the U.S. population is approaching a record high but remains below that of many other countries. 
  • The U.S. unauthorized immigrant population is at its lowest level in more than a decade.
  • Incomes are rising in the U.S., but the increase is not being felt equally by all Americans.


What’s Become of Crime Fiction?

April 26, 2019

Long time readers will perhaps recall my fondness for crime novels, police procedurals, and the like. I have written previously here about my enjoyment of Laurence Gough, Joe Nesbo, P.D. James, and others.  It is a type of fiction that has changed over the years, as both society and technology have changed, and yet the genre continues to be maligned and treated as an underclass in some quarters.

Over at Crime Reads they got together this year’s Edgar Awards nominees and asked them how the genre has changed and what they see for the future of the crime novel.  The article is full of interesting material, but I was struck by a few snatches of conversation.  For example, Lisa Black half complained that “books now need to be pictured as blockbuster movies with constant action.” This linked well with Pete Hautman’s assertion that

“today’s readers are looking for a more immersive experience, and authors are putting more effort into backstory and world-building to accommodate that desire. It is not enough anymore to build a story on a puzzle and a personality.

I agree with Jacqueline Winspear:

“I think there’s more and more mystery fiction being written that … could equally be described as powerful novels covering the political, environmental and social issues of today.”

Joe Nesbo’s novels are a perfect illustration, and confirm Dianne Freeman’s claim that:

“The truth is you can’t write crime fiction without examining the human condition and the society of a place or time. If a writer doesn’t understand the very elements that led someone to desperation, to the ultimate bad choice of taking another life, he can never write a convincing antagonist. Villains are not just bad people, they’re often in an untenable situation and see no other way out.”

If you have the slightest interest in this kind of literature, this article will be of value as a worthwhile read.

Snacks Tonight #22

April 25, 2019


Lemon and buttermilk panna cotta.  Mmmmm mmmm.

Late Warning of An Interesting Event

April 25, 2019

Tonight — yes, Thursday, this very night — at the People’s Co-op Bookstore at 1391 Commercial there will be an interesting discussion at the first ever People’s Book Club.  As per their mailing:


Our first book is In Defense of Housing, by David Madden and Peter Marcuse.  Derrick O’Keefe will introduce the event, and do his best to wrangle the ensuing discussion.

In Defense of Housing is available at the People’s Co-op for (cough, cough) $35.99, but by saying the magic words “See you on April 25 at the People’s Book Club!” you automatically qualify for a 20% discount.

Things get under way at 7:30 :: Admission is free.


Should be fun!  Apologies for the late warning.


Slacklining In The Park

April 25, 2019


I love it when slackliners come to practice at Salsbury Park.

Image: Across English Bay

April 25, 2019

Happy Birthday Dad!

April 25, 2019


Today my father would have been 92 years old.  He has been gone almost 20 years now, but I seem to speak with him more often these days than I ever did when he was alive.  He was a wonderful man and, I now recognize, a marvellously supportive parent; an attribute that I was too dumb to notice far too often when I was younger.

Night Music: Fuji Collections

April 24, 2019

Wise Words

April 24, 2019

Image: Paella

April 23, 2019

Night Music: Russian Waltz

April 22, 2019