Image: Meadow

March 31, 2021

It Is Cesar Chavez Day

March 31, 2021

Night Music: I Put A Spell On You

March 30, 2021

Phony Familiarity

March 30, 2021

My name is Jak King. I have a middle name, Roberts, named after my grandfather who was in turn named after a Boer War general. Neither I nor anyone who knows me would call me “Jak Roberts”. The only time I ever use my middle name is when filling out government forms.

So, when I got today in the mail a survey from the BC NDP, which calls me “Jak Roberts” on four separate occasions, I know perfectly well where the party is scrubbing the data from.

They want to make it seem as if we are chums and partners — “Jak Roberts, we’re in this together” — but in fact they are just proving they have no idea who they are talking with even as they ask me for a donation.

I filled out their survey; I doubt they’ll be splashing my answers across the 6 o’clock news.

Snacks Tonight #38

March 29, 2021

A sinfully simple panna cotta with almond and chocolate topping. Mmmmm mmmm.

Wither Religion?

March 29, 2021

In 2020, the number of Americans claiming to be a member of an organized church fell below 50% for the first time in eight decades of surveys according to Gallup.

As can be seen from the graph, religious membership is falling off a cliff in an accelerated curve.

“Church membership is strongly correlated with age, as 66% of traditionalists — U.S. adults born before 1946 — belong to a church, compared with 58% of baby boomers, 50% of those in Generation X and 36% of millennials. The limited data Gallup has on church membership among the portion of Generation Z that has reached adulthood are so far showing church membership rates similar to those for millennials.

The decline in church membership, then, appears largely tied to population change, with those in older generations who were likely to be church members being replaced in the U.S. adult population with people in younger generations who are less likely to belong.”

At some point soon, this trend will force us to face the issue of “churches” serving less than half the population and declining rapidly, as non-taxpaying entities. They should be obliged to turn themselves into legitimate businesses, with all the rights and responsibilities of any other corporate organization. They could organize themselves into NGOs or co-ops or for-profit groups; whatever they felt best.

Image: Street Art #12

March 29, 2021

street art xii _ all dressed up

Poem: Instructions For This 3 Minute 15 Second Poem

March 29, 2021

Read each word slowly.  Think about each word for 15 seconds.  Read the next word.

















Night Music: I Wanna Love Him So Bad

March 28, 2021

I may have been the only person to buy this single in England, but it was my favourite music for a whole summer.

Falling Sperm Counts: The End Is Coming

March 28, 2021

I figure this story is either an academic boondoggle or the advance warning of a crisis as important as climate change. Either way, I leave it to you to decide:

It has been reported in the Guardian no less, that some scientists believe we are seeing a catastrophic collapse in reproduction rates due to falling sperm counts. This collapse will lead “most couples … to use assisted reproduction by 2045.”

This news comes from an interview with

“Shanna Swan, professor professor of environmental medicine and public health at Mount Sinai school of medicine in New York City, studying fertility trends. In 2017 she documented how average sperm counts among western men have more than halved in the past 40 years. Count Down is her new book.

Which chemicals are the most worrying for reproductive health and how do they work?
Those that can interfere with or mimic the body’s sex hormones – such as testosterone and oestrogen – because these make reproduction possible. They can make the body think it has enough of a particular hormone and it doesn’t need to make any more, so production goes down.

Phthalates, used to make plastic soft and flexible, are of paramount concern. They are in everybody and we are probably primarily exposed through food as we use soft plastic in food manufacture, processing and packaging. They lower testosteroneand sohave the strongest influences on the male side, for example diminishing sperm count, though they are bad for women, too, shown to decrease libido and increase risk of early puberty, premature ovarian failure, miscarriage and premature birth.

Bisphenol A (BPA), used to harden plastic and found in cash-register receipts and the lining of some canned-food containers, is another. It is oestrogen mimicking and so is a particularly bad actor on the female side, increasing risks of fertility challenges, but likewise it can affect men. Men occupationally exposed to BPA have shown decreased sperm quality, reduced libido and higher rates of erectile dysfunction. Other chemicals of concern include flame retardants and certain pesticides such as atrazine.

How dire is the reproductive crisis? You’ve said we are on course for an infertile world by 2045
It is serious. If you follow the curve from the 2017 sperm-decline meta-analysis, it predicts that by 2045 we will have a median sperm count of zero. It is speculative to extrapolate, but there is also no evidence that it is tapering off. This means that most couples may have to use assisted reproduction.

Remember, of course, she has a book to sell.

Rear Window

March 27, 2021

This is the view from my desk through the window that faces out onto the back lane and the entrance to our parking garage:

It seems like a boring view, and I guess it is. Obviously I can see anyone or anything coming in and out of the garage; but more interesting to me is that I get to see (parts of) the dozens of binners who come by each day.

The bins for the neighbouring building are just to the left of the garage door, hidden by the roof. Our bins are to the right of the door and closer to the wall. The binners walk and ride between the two sets of bins and all I can see of them are their legs and whatever bag or cart they are using (their upper bodies again hidden by the garage door roof).

Over the months, I have come to recognize many of the binners by what they wear on their feet and what they are carrying. I now notice when one or more don’t come by, and I am intrigued when I see a new set of feet.

Of such small pleasures is our covid-life made.

Image: Kayaks In The Mist

March 27, 2021

Happy Holi Day 2021!

March 27, 2021


Night Music: Autumn In New York

March 26, 2021

Wise Words

March 26, 2021

Image: False Creek Lagoon

March 25, 2021

Night Music: Things Have Changed

March 24, 2021

Image: Red Tulips #4

March 23, 2021

Night Music: Thelonius Monk ‘Round Midnight

March 22, 2021

Poem: In These Days

March 22, 2021


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.