Image: Blintzes

February 19, 2020

Grandview 19th February 1920

February 19, 2020


“Vancouver Sun”, 19200219, p.5

Night Music: Love It Or Leave It Alone

February 18, 2020

Mini Planets

February 18, 2020

Thanks to, I came across this mesmerising 3 minute video created by Thomas Blanchard:


We appear to be in a universe of colourful planets and their moons; but in fact it is paint, oil, inks, and soap interacting with each other.

A George Bowering Event

February 18, 2020

One of Canada’s foremost novelists, poet, playwright, critic, and historian, the prolific George Bowering will be in Vancouver for the launch of his newest book.

“Writing and Reading gathers essays and criticism issuing from one of the most productive word processors in the country over the past decade or so.  All over the map in terms of content, style, and even length, a remarkably consistent perspective emerges from these thirty-one pieces, one that places reading at the centre of any writer’s practice.”

And not just in Vancouver but at our own People’s Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial.   The launch begins at 7:30pm on Friday 21st February and admission is free.  A good one to mark in the calendar!

Grandview 18th February 1920

February 18, 2020


“Province” , 19200218, p.22

Image: CVA 99-3274

The Oldest Companies In Each Country

February 18, 2020

Here is a fascinating chart of the oldest companies still operating in most countries of the world.  Click on the image to get the full scale.


My favourite is probably Ma Yu Ching’s Bucket Chicken House in China said to have been operating since 1153.

Found at the Business Financing Co’s website.

Movie Backdrops

February 17, 2020

For most of my young personhood — that would be in the 1950s and 1960s — my father worked in the British film industry and I was fortunate enough to visit a lot of film sets and studios. I also worked in the business from the late 1960s and got an even closer look.  One of the most fascinating aspects of the business to me was the ability of set designers and artists to create whole worlds on a sound stage. And this was well before CGI.

CBS Sunday Morning recently had a piece on painted backdrops that revived that interest in me.  This 7 minute item is a grand reminder.

Image: Palm Beach Special #2

February 17, 2020

Grandview 17th February 1920

February 17, 2020


“Vancouver World”, 19200217, p.17

Poem: In These Days

February 17, 2020


in those days,

when we had nothing to lose,

when a shoestring would have

busted our budget,

you wouldn’t have been mawkish

if we’d lived in a belfry;

you wouldn’t have been angry

if it was ringing with bats.

you’d have loved it, and loved

life and loved me while doing it.


but these days,

when we have everything,

if it’s not designed by a consortium

of the better known architects

we don’t even look,

don’t even disturb our coiffeured

minds for a moment

unless it has the imprimatur

that others love it

and is, therefore, worth loving.



A History In Wallpaper

February 16, 2020

This is a section of the interior wall of the 1889 Black House in Mount Pleasant, showing various layers of wallpaper.


Click in image for a better view.

Night Music: Wait

February 16, 2020

Grandview 16th February 1920

February 16, 2020


“Vancouver Sun”, 19200216, p.8

Gibran’s The Prophet on Clothes

February 16, 2020

Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.

And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.

Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment,

For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.

Some of you say, “It is the north wind who has woven the clothes to wear.”

But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.

And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.

Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.

And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind?

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

World Photography

February 15, 2020

The Guardian has an interesting gallery of shortlisted and finalist images in the 2020 Sony World Photography Organisation awards.   My three favourites are these:

Image: Nicholas Moir: Australian fires


Image: Chang Kyun Kim: Japanese internment camp


Image: Masahiro Hiroike: himabataru fireflies


Image: Bacon

February 15, 2020

The Collapse of Recycling

February 15, 2020

According to the latest figures from a Pew Research poll, concerns over the environment are as important to the US public as is the economy:

As the research writers report:

“For the first time in Pew Research Center surveys dating back nearly two decades, nearly as many Americans say protecting the environment should be a top policy priority (64%) as say this about strengthening the economy (67%).  In addition, while a smaller share (52%) rates dealing with global climate change as a top priority, this is 14 percentage points higher than just three years ago. Today, similar shares rate climate change and improving the job situation (49%) as top policy priorities.”

However, just as public consciousness is rising, the everyday business of recycling is collapsing in North America.  The problem in large part is the failure of people to properly sort their recycling and the enormous human cost of re-sorting it at plants.  Axios recently visited a facility in Prince William County, Virginia, where the problems are manifest:

“It operates up to 22 hours a day to process about 550 tons of thrown out paper, plastic, aluminum and glass delivered there daily.  Despite the heavy machinery and increased automation involved, the process is still extremely dependent on humans.  On each shift, 28 “sorters” sift through the material as it rolls down a series of fast-moving conveyer belts. The workers spot and pull out non-recyclable trash from the stream so fast that they look like card dealers in a game of blackjack.  Contamination is a huge problem. People throw surprising things — Christmas trees, old carpet, shoes, diapers and even cinder blocks — into their recycling bins … [The facility] used to turn a healthy profit from processing recycled materials from a 50-mile radius. Now it’s having to pay vendors to truck material away, and is re-negotiating decades-old contracts with cities at higher rates — and explaining to consumers why they suddenly have to pay for curbside pick-up.”

Many cities are wondering whether the cost is worth it.  More than 60 cities in the States have cancelled their recycling programs completely, while others are restricting the materials they will accept.

” Alexandria, Virginia, and Katy, Texas, no longer collect glass. Baltimore County recently admitted it hasn’t recycled the glass it’s collected for the past 7 years. Hawaii County no longer accepts paper or plastic…

“If there’s no one in your local area to buy and recycle glass, you spend more fuel and carbon trucking it somewhere that does — and the benefit to the planet falls apart,” [waste manager Richard] Coupland said.”

Many of us have concerns with how we are treating our planet and wonder what just one person can do to help.  Recycling is one of the ways in which each can contribute and it is unfortunate to see the system falling apart.  I believe we need to tackle this problem at the other end, by making it vastly more expensive for producers to force packaging on us.  They need to be made to pay for the recycling and cleanup, not the consumer.



Grandview 15th February 1920

February 15, 2020


“Vancouver Sun”, 19200215, p.14

Absinthe Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

February 14, 2020

We had another great meal at the Absinthe Bistro on the Drive tonight.  Excellent food and gracious service.

Between us we had the goat cheese terrine, rib-eye steak, scallops, and rice pudding.  Each was beautifully presented and perfectly cooked.  Moreover, they were more than happy to explain the ins and outs of the sauces, reductions, and special sides; the chimichurri (with the beef), the endive marinated in lemon and the pink apple confit (with the terrine) were particularly good.  The rice pudding with caramel was the perfect finish.

So happy to have somewhere so special so close to home.