The Line, Improved

November 30, 2020

In 2008 when I was still travelling by bus to Richmond each day for work, I wrote a piece about how queuing seemed to be a lost art in North America:

“The queue is the physical embodiment of that civilized leveling principle — first come, first served. An orderly queue is not something one should mess with. In North America generally and Canada in particular, the orderly queue is a rare event, saved mainly for those lining up days in advance to buy concert tickets or an attractive condo. Even then, I suspect, orderliness and decorum is better at the front of the line than closer to the back.

But that seems to have changed completely with the pandemic. When I was on the Drive today, there were queues outside and inside several stores and restaurants, and they all seemed both orderly and good-natured. I stood in line outside the Post Office for maybe fifteen minutes and chatted with several others doing the same. No one seemed bothered by the wait or the “inconvenience”. And no one tried to push their way ahead of others.

If nothing else comes from this year of the plague, perhaps this sense of friendly courtesy will carry n and make all of our lives just a little better.

Night Music: Bolero Flash Mob

November 30, 2020

Wind Fall

November 30, 2020

At lunchtime today I was walking down the Drive collecting material for tomorrow’s Changes on the Drive post. The wind was constant, viciously cold, and strong. So strong that one of the trees in Grandview Park fell over and completely blocked the Drive just a few minutes after I passed by.

Select image for a clearer view.

As you may be able to see, it brought down power and transit lines but, so far as I could see, there was nothing underneath — which is a blessing.

The Drive has been closed from Parker to Charles.

Grandview 30th November 1920

November 30, 2020
Vancouver Sun, 19201130, p.13

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Poem: Driven

November 30, 2020


her home after dinner.
They dawdled for a moment on the porch until the wind


them inside where, after drinks,
their mutual passion


them to seek the comforts of the bedroom, and where
her exuberant energy


him mad with desire, and where


his knifeblade deep into
her heart



He was


they said, seeking to excuse
his excess,
his access to those parts of
her body which even this exhorbitantly open society doesn’t allow.


he was
they said by television violence and devil music and commercial
radio and the


he was forced to eat at as a child by
his working mother.
His vanished other parent


he learned to drink by
his inabilty to access the excess promised to all by the features
he sat through at the


His mother and father coincidentally killed in


he read about two continents and two decades apart.




they said by these circumstances to commit
his act
her death
they killed
him by


his last of a long line of needles deep into
his arm. And then, in an unmarked car,


his body to
his last home, just as
he had


her to the first and last home
they would ever share.

Wise Words

November 29, 2020

“Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society. ”

— John Fire Lame Deer, a Mineconju-Lakota Sioux

“There was not a pauper in the Nation, and the Nation did not owe a dollar … Yet the defect in the system is apparent, because they own their land in common … there is no selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization.”

— Senator Henry Dawes

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

November 29, 2020

Since its establishment by the United Nations in 1977, this date has been “celebrated” (or, more often, sadly mourned) as the Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

“Let us together resolve to renew our commitment to the Palestinian people in their quest to achieve their inalienable rights and build a future of peace, dignity, justice and security. ”- United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Each year, as their territory and their rights are gradually eliminated, this resolution becomes ever more important.

Toilet Paper

November 29, 2020

A propos of nothing else that I write here, I thought this piece from Business Insider was a fascinating look at toilet paper and how it became an obsession during the early days of the pandemic:

I have often said that, along with electricity, the flushing toilet is an absolute requirement for modern life, and this “accessory” stands proudly beside it.

Image: Hanging Gardens

November 29, 2020

Grandview 29th November 1920

November 29, 2020
Vancouver Sun, 19201129, p.12

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Night Music: No Regrets

November 28, 2020

Grandview 28th November 1920

November 28, 2020
Vancouver Sun, 19201128, p.35

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

The Georgia Strait on Battleground: Grandview

November 27, 2020

One of the long term effects of the corona virus pandemic in Vancouver is a whittling away of good community reporting. We saw this with the closure of the Vancouver Courier and with significant reductions in local TV newsrooms. Luckily, we still have the Georgia Strait and its fine correspondent Carlito Pablo.

I was fortunate enough to be invited for an interview with Carlito at the end of last week and we discussed Vancouver politics in general and my book in particular. He has now published an article that captures many of the items we discussed.

I hope you find it of interest.

Image: Fraser River Sunset

November 27, 2020

Grandview 27th November 1920

November 27, 2020
Vancouver World, 19201127, p.20

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Night Music: Against All Odds

November 26, 2020

Grandview 26th November 1920

November 26, 2020
Vancouver World, 19201126, p.2

If you, like me, wondered what “violet rays” did, here is a Wikipedia article on it.

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Image: Sun Tower

November 25, 2020

Grandview 25th November 1920

November 25, 2020
Vancouver Sun, 19201125, p.8

All previous Grandview 1920 clippings.

Night Music: Blue

November 24, 2020


The album of which this is the title track is one of the four or five that I would always want close to hand. For me, it is as near to perfection that you can get.  In a recent article at Literary Hub, John Corbett agrees with me.

“Seen from the fairly conservative folk enclave that it crawled out of, Blueis a joyful, rambunctious, even shocking outing—take the lines from the title track: Acid, booze, and ass / Needles, guns, and grass / Lots of laughs, lots of laughs—even as it is also gut-wrenchingly melancholic and plainly romantic. I hear it as a full-force embrace of mobility and independence—the former domain of guys, now a right to be enjoyed and cherished and protected by women.”

The album is, he says:

“as eloquent a setting of poems to music as you’ll find, a call to live life where you find it, loving the one you’re with, departing from them eventually in an inevitable moving along, no matter how hard or sad.”

For any lover of music, this is an article well worth reading.