About thirteen years ago, I wrote an excited post about an artist I had just come across — Vilhelm Hammershoi.
Since then, I have only come across a couple of his images. It was a stunning pleasure, therefore, to find a documentary made by Michael Palin, at about the same time as my previous post, that delves deeply into the artist and his motivations.
The documentary lasts about an hour and is well worthwhile!
Vancouver’s hottest places were mapped by researchers at SFU and published in the Urban Forest Strategy by the @CityofVancouver.
The publication of this map kicked off an interesting series of speculations online. The original poster suggested a correlation between the heat distribution and incomes, whiIe I opined that density and lack of parks may have something to do with it. Other ideas were that the tree canopy is more abundant on the westside.
My idea of density being a cause was poo-poohed on the basis that if density was the main cause then the West End and Downtown would be hotter. That may be so, but I note that both the West End and the westside in general are closer to the cooling sea breezes than areas east of Main.
Either way, it is an interesting map.
On July 26th, 1953, a young Fidel Castro led an attack on the Moncada Barracks to protest, amongst other matters, the cancellation of free democratic elections by the American- and Mafia-backed dictator Fulgencio Battista. This is considered the birth of the Cuban revolutionary movement.
Sixty-eight years later, the Americans continue to brutalize the island with political and economic sanctions. Even so, the Cubans have the best educational and medical systems in the region and have, recently, sent thousands of trained health workers to assist developing countries fight the covid menace.
It’s hard to distinguish the fragrance of Geurlain
from that of pan-fried potato latkes
when you’re beneath a barstool
amid the boot-crushed butts and spilled beers.
It’s hard to carve an eagle when the tempest
of emotions coats the back of your throat
with a cold glue that no creative
surge can moisten nor free up nor reduce to tears.
It’s hard to say what tipped the scales, what failed to
gel, what failed to gather to you the crowds
you needed for your performances
since you screwed up so many times over so many years.
The always useful Visual Capitalist supplies this interesting map of certain words we use every day and how they followed the trade routes:
One doesn’t have to agree with everything Councillor Colleen Hardwick says — nor even agree with her motives — to recognize that she has spent the last couple of years trying to get Vancouver City Council’s governance improved for the benefit of Vancouverites generally.
Eventually, we will get an Auditor-General in place (based entirely on her efforts) and, providing Vision Vancouver doesn’t rear its ugly head and bury everything again, I believe we will eventually get the true housing facts and figures that she has been demanding for over a year.
On the occasion of the City’s last Council meeting before the summer break, she has issued a statement that bears reading:
“City Hall’s addiction to the revenues generated by rezoning continues to inflate land values, it takes too long to get permits and applications approved, and City charges and fees can add $200 per square foot or more to building costs,” said Hardwick as Council’s Finance Standing Committee reviews the current Vancouver Plan planning process this week. “It’s also been more than a year since I asked city staff in council to provide updated housing data so we could actually make housing decisions based on real numbers and facts, and still, we have no data. Meanwhile the city has charged forward with development and planning policies based on aspirations rather than evidence.”
Hardwick says the city continues to make decisions that are making housing unaffordable, particularly when it comes to the constant rezoning that results in rising land values that push housing costs through the roof.
“The volume of rezoning under Vision Vancouver inflated the value of land and the air above it, and today’s council continues to take that same approach, to the detriment of people looking to buy a new home in their own city,” said Hardwick. “Frankly, the existing zoning in Vancouver is more than able to handle the real population growth expected in the future. But City Hall is addicted to the revenues that come with rezoning, and those extra costs are passed on to the homebuyer and pricing this city out of the reach of Vancouverites. If you’re buying a 1,000 sq ft condo you can expect that about $200,000 of the actual cost is directly related to City Hall. Meanwhile, everyone at City Hall says they are committed to affordable housing.”
Hardwick said that when you take the pricing inflation caused by rezoning and add in the growing number of city fees and charges around developments, plus the fact that permits and approvals can take four, five and six years, it’s easy to see why Vancouverites are finding it harder and harder to live in their own city.
“Politicians and staff at City Hall say they are all for affordable housing, but then they do anything and everything in their power to make it less affordable,” added Hardwick. “It reinforces my strong belief that City Hall views Vancouverites as ATM machines and there is no real interest at 12th and Cambie when it comes to making our city more affordable for Vancouverites.”
“If we really want affordable housing we need to focus on three things: sticking with existing zoning for a time, rather than more rezoning that continues to push up the price of land; reigning in and rationalizing the cost of development permits, building permits and community amenity charges, all of which add more and more costs to the final price of a home; and we definitely need to reduce the time it takes to approve projects, because, after all, time is money.”
I would also note that your property taxes are having to bear the burden of hundreds more highly-paid City staff that have been added to various departmental empires over the last decade, homelessness and opioid issues have ballooned over the same period with little hope of resolution under this regime, and both the mayor and senior City staff are actively working to reduce the ability of you — the voter — to affect City policy and development.
We have just over a year to the next election when we can dump the anti-people free spenders that are currently ruining our City. Please give it some thought.
On this day in 1969 I was in Yugoslavia working as a Third Assistant Director on a movie called “Kelly’s Heroes“. I was nineteen years old and having a wonderful time working with the likes of Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Telly Salvalas, and a whole wild bunch of American actors. like Harry Dean Stanton and Dick Davalos.
We were living at the Petrovaradin Hotel in Novi Sad and most nights I joined the Americans in games of high stakes poker. We took over one of the small banquet rooms and several of the hotel staff were deputed to look after us with drinks and food. These games were a useful but expensive education for me; over a few weeks, I managed to lose several months’ worth of per diem expenses.
Our game on the 20th July 1969 coincided with the first manned landing on the moon and we arranged to have a black and white TV set up in the room so we could follow the action. I remember that, just as Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Eagle and on to the moon, we were in the middle of a game with a good-sized pot of American dollars piled in middle of the the table. We agreed to pause the game to watch the historic moment.
Several of us took the opportunity to stand and stretch for a moment. As I did so, I noticed that the American actors were glued to the TV screen intent on cheering their countrymen while the hotel staff ignored the TV and were all staring at the big pile of money, mouths agape.
It was an unforgettable night.
To enter into
the castle of her mind
— a private place adorned
with the illuminated thought
of past centuries —
was an adventure
she allowed to few.
The gate into
that world of reminiscence
— a veil ornamented
with the beauty and vacancy
of a divine smile —
was kept firmly shut
to all but the hardy.
The key to
that locked-up voice
— a brittle stained glass window
etched and impacted
by the meteors of time —
affection and love.