In the time of the dying of the leaves,
when summer’s solace is a memory passed,
and deepening shadows of evening cast
their pall ‘cross rich man’s roof and beggar’s eaves,
colours primary, raw, blast out a last
spectacular fanfare: embroidered sleeves
to counterpoint the widow’s darkling weeds
shows off to the night no matter how vast
eternity approaching, no matter
no one escapes the black hole’s pull of doom,
and each lifes’ cloth will be cut from the loom,
no matter this, ‘tis only now that matters;
the now that paints the tree with red and gold,
regrets nothing, wants only to stay old.
Shortbread raspberry jam crumble slices. Mighty fine!
Sixty years ago today, the Cuban people fought back bravely against the United States government-sponsored invasion by those who would put the corrupt Mob casino bosses and American corporations back in charge of their beautiful country.
Agreeing to the Bay of Pigs invasion — America returning to type — was probably the most inept decision ever taken by John Kennedy. Within hours, the CIA-backed invaders were already lost, and the whole enterprise collapsed within two days. Hundreds of combatants died and more than 1,000 “exiles” were captured and held for an extended period.
The invasion hardened attitudes to the States throughout the region, made Castro an even bigger hero than he was already, and strengthened Che’s revolutionary hand within the Politbureau. It was a major failure by every possible metric and is still celebrated as such. The U.S. cannot forgive the Cubans for this defeat, and thus we have had several generations of economic, diplomatic, and military sanctions against Cuba.
Also today, after more than 60 years, we celebrate the retirement of Roaul Castro, last survivor of the revolutionary leadership that defeated, first, Batista and the Mafia, and then the U.S. government.
The first hero that I remember having was Duncan Edwards, the Manchester United footballer who was killed along with many others in the team in the Munich air crash of 1958. The second was Yuri Gagarin.
Sixty years ago today, Yuri Gagarin entered history as the first human being in space. A few years earlier, just before my 8th birthday, my father had taken the time to get me interested in the Soviet Union’s feat in putting Sputnik into space. I was entranced and remained an avid follower of the space race for decades. I followed the Russian dogs going up, and Gagarin’s flight was the obvious next step.
It wasn’t revealed for forty years that the cosmonaut ejected from the capsule before it crash-landed, parachuting to earth. And it was definitely sad for Gagarin that he was thereafter too valuable to put at threat and so he was never allowed to return to orbit. No matter. That first flight was a glorious triumph for mankind!
trapped in the house again
with a bottle and the balance
of the sandwich
I’ll stretch the bread from here to tomorrow.
Harvesting the crumbs
from carpet and cardigan,
I will not be worried
in the midst of such plenty.
It’s raining again.
Canadian content: Robert Goulet on the bike.
Jennifer Chutter has written an interesting review of Battleground: Grandview for the always useful Ormsby Review.
She notes three over-arching themes in the book: Who is the city for? What is a neighbourhood? and What is an expert? For the first, she writes that:
“From the City of Vancouver Planning department’s perspective, the city is for the future residents and not for the current ones. It is clear throughout King’s work that current residents are disregarded as having any sort of role in creating the current vibrancy and functionality of the city; furthermore, the poor are unacknowledged … King’s argument challenges the reader to think through the larger political machinations that are guiding urban growth and the impact it has on smaller neighbourhoods.
As for the neighbourhood:
“King does a strong job emphasizing the difficulty of defining what constitutes a neighbourhood … According to King, City planners misunderstand the complexity of planning for urban growth because they don’t account for the interconnectedness of people and structures. The problem with the initial Community Plan was that it homogenized the entire area and flattened out the distinct features that make the neighbourhood unique, and there appeared to be little understanding that changes to one area would impact the whole.”
And as for the role of “experts”:
“Despite hundreds of residents giving up their time to participate in events hosted by the Planning Department, their expertise from living within the neighbourhood for years was denied as having any value.”
In conclusion, the review says:
“In Battleground Grandview, Jak King presents a strong call to action: it is time for the City of Vancouver to take into consideration the needs, wishes, and desires of current residents to maintain the vibrant areas of the city, rather than persistently planning for future urban growth in the form of tall towers.”
I want to thank Ms. Chutter for taking the time to study and understand the book, and to the Ormsby Review for sponsoring the review.
Copies of Battleground: Grandview are still available at People’s Co-op on Commercial Drive, direct from me at email@example.com, and from VPL.