Remembering John Dos Passos

September 28, 2020

I have a number of favourite writers whose works I re-read as the decades pass.  Joseph Conrad, Nabokov, Dylan Thomas, Brautigan, and John Irving, are among that pantheon.  As is John Dos Passos who died fifty years ago today.

Hemingway and Dos Passos

Every time I read Manhattan Transfer and the U.S.A. Trilogy, I get the exact same thrill of excitement that grabbed me in the 1960s when I first came across them.

Dos Passos moved dramatically from the left to the conservatives in his later years, but his work of transcendental value came well before that.

Night Music: No Woman No Cry

September 28, 2020

Grandview in Their Sights Again

September 28, 2020

Thanks to the ever-watchful CityHallWatch, we know that tomorrow’s City Council session (Tuesday 29th) includes a Motion supporting a new Kettle development at Commercial & Adanac.  There are few details about the design of the proposed development, but I am sure that if it is a 3- or 4-storey residential/drop in centre on the current parking lot, it will be welcomed by the neighbourhood.

However, the whole agenda may be thrown off-schedule by an attempt by the Mayor to piggyback his “Making Homes” 6-plex on a lot idea as an amendment to Councillor Dominato’s Motion expanding the failing and misnamed Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Project citywide. The arguments can be complicated by arcane procedural requirements and once again CityHallWatch has done the hard work of deconstructing what this is all about. They start with Dominato’s Motion:

  • “If the idea is approved, it would mean that out-of-scale apartment buildings with multiple dwelling units, without onsite parking, could be built anywhere in Vancouver.
  • Housing options should be determined through neighbourhood-based planning through the comprehensive Vancouver Plan. Not through random spot rezonings, which would create major precedents everywhere.
  • Spot rezoning do the opposite of creating order and certainty. They create uncertainty for the community and developers, and undermine local area community plans or visions.
  • Options for strata ownership will inflate land values and undermine rental incentives.
  • Increased development pressures cause more displacement, demolition of character houses, and loss of existing affordable housing and suites.
  • The MIRHPP program already sets major precedents with applications for developments that are too large for their surroundings. The MIRHPP program should be cancelled. Not expanded for even larger buildings.
  • Former CityPlan demonstration projects (referred to in the motion) were only for housing types and locations approved in each Community Vision and only for one project per neighbourhood. The text of the motion actually gets that wrong.”

Mayor Stewart’s amendment to allow multi-plex lots citywide:

“would undermine character retention and rental incentives while increasing development pressures leading to demolition of existing homes and displacement of current residents … his proposal risks inflating land values, therefore making things less affordable overall.”

The Dominato Motion and the Stewart Amendment are opposed by the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods.

Vancouver-Hastings Election #1

September 28, 2020

We are now well into our Election of Broken Promises, with election day just 26 days away. Here in the imperial NDP riding of Vancouver-Hastings, our long-time MLA Shane Simpson is taking his golden parachute and flying the coop.  He was often approachable as an neighbourhood MLA, but frankly as Minister of Poverty he was a disaster for failing to fix the Shelter Allowance for those most in need.

It is assumed that whoever gets the NDP nomination, gets the seat in Victoria. And that “whoever” now becomes Niki Sharma, once and always a Visionista hand-me-down. Nothing could steer me away from a candidate more quickly than seeing endorsements from people such as Kevin Quinlan and Maria Dobrinskaya. Does she even live in the constituency?

The BC Liberals are running with Alex Read, described as a private school principal. As any party I supported would have the elimination of tax-payer supported private schools as one of its policies, I doubt he and I would agree on much. Update: Not sure where I got the principal info from, but it seems he is a franchising entrepreneur, with interests in health care.

The BC Greens candidate is Bridget Burns.

Where is the BC Ecosocialist candidate? Where are the other alternative candidates? Hopefully some interesting local characters may raise their heads above the parapet and take a run at this thing, if even just for name-recognition next time.

Wise Words

September 28, 2020


Grandview 28th September 1920

September 28, 2020

Vancouver World, 19200928, p.16

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings

Poem: Rolled

September 28, 2020


The woman with crow’s feet wrinkles

and smeared makeup

unfolded the billfold

removing the twenties and leaving the fives

— she had doubled her money and was willing

to leave him

cab fare home.

She waited a minute,

sharp ears listening to the spattering rain

and the flight of an early flock

flying north for the summer.

Slipping on the plastic green raincoat

she slipped out of the room,

leaving him undisturbed

in the empty barn

of his sex-sodden dreams.



Happy Birthday Gemma!

September 28, 2020

Gemma 2016


Happy birthday to our beautiful grand-daughter!  She takes after her gorgeous mother.