Image: Palm Beach Special #2January 31, 2022
Megatowers — The People SpeakJanuary 31, 2022
The No Megatowers at Safeway citizens group that is tracking the overwhelmingly huge, unnecessary, and neighbourhood-busting development at Broadway & Commercial have received some interesting data from the City of Vancouver via Freedom of Information request. They chose a random week — November 9-15, 2021 — and sought details of all the comments the City had received about the project for that time period.
It turns out that 157 relevant comments were received and only 23 (14%) were in favour of the project, while 118 comments were opposed (75%), and 16 were mixed (11%).
Let me repeat that these are official figures from the City.
It is clear that there are significant problems with this development and that it is firmly opposed by a large majority of residents. We can only hope that Vancouver Councilors will understand and consider the depth of this opposition when they come to vote on the development sometime this year.
There is a great deal of useful information on this project at the No Megatowers site, and the long history of this misbegotten development can be followed here.
Poem: Mayor’s SiestaJanuary 31, 2022
And threads of thoughts of windy days
Rushed by like the rivers of Sierra de Ronda.
And the heft and touch of the silken duvet
Slipped across his body like the soft waves of Estepona.
And into his reverie the ringing telephone
Floated like a minor chord from a flamenco guitar.
And the dreamy grin of the old pepper merchant
Dissolved like tapas in the mouth of a hungry eater.
And the sound of his hoarsely whispered “Ola?”
Crept across his chin like a shovel scraping tar.
And the everyday cares of the little village
Wrapped up his dreams like garbage and threw them afar.
Night Music: SincerelyJanuary 30, 2022
Richard BrautiganJanuary 30, 2022
Today would have been the 87th birthday of Richard Brautigan.
There were entire decades during which I read and re-read the complete Brautigan canon every single year. After Dylan Thomas, Richard Brautigan was my most important influence. He was especially valuable to me in giving inspiration and value to my flash fictions and poems.
I read and re-read the koans that are the stories in “Trout Fishing In America“, the utter tripiness of “In Watermelon Sugar,” the essential genre pastiches such as “The Hawkline Monster,” “Sombrero Fallout,” and “Dreaming of Babylon“, the straightforward vulnerability of “The Abortion.” And the poetry. Every year I read them, for decades.
I recently read “Trout Fishing” and “In Watermelon Sugar” for the first time in a long time, and I may go back to reading Brautugan every year again.
The Bogside MassacreJanuary 30, 2022
Fifty years ago today, the British Parachute Regiment shot more than thirty unarmed protesters in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry, Northern Ireland, killing fourteen. Those killed and injured had gathered to protest anti-Catholic discrimination in housing and employment that was being enforced by British colonial forces.
This was the worst mass killing in Ulster’s modern history.
An inquiry — considered by most to be a whitewash — determined that the solders were “justified” in shooting. However, the later Saville Inquiry, finally published in 2010, proved that those shot were all unarmed, were of no danger to the soldiers, and that soldiers lied about their actions.
Far from quelling the protests, the Bogside Massacre led to a significant increase in IRA recruitment.
Image: BaconJanuary 29, 2022
Night Music: El DesiertoJanuary 28, 2022
Snacks Tonight #47January 27, 2022
Apple and cherry turnovers.
Image: Vesuvius SunriseJanuary 27, 2022
For Holocaust Memorial DayJanuary 27, 2022
“Shema” by Primo Levi, written just one year after his liberation from Auschwitz
You who live secure
In your warm houses
Who return at evening to find
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider whether this is a man,
Who labours in the mud
Who knows no peace
Who fights for a crust of bread
Who dies at a yes or a no.
Consider whether this is a woman,
Without hair or name
With no more strength to remember
Eyes empty and womb cold
As a frog in winter.
Consider that this has been:
I commend these words to you.
Engrave them on your hearts
When you are in your house, when you walk on your way,
When you go to bed, when you rise.
Repeat them to your children.
Or may your house crumble,
Disease render you powerless,
Your offspring avert their faces from you.
— from If This Is a Man (tr. Ruth Feldman and Brian Swan)
Night Music: If I Can’t Have YouJanuary 26, 2022
Shop Local!January 25, 2022
Not everything found on Twitter is worth repeating, but this is:
Image: Stairway In MauiJanuary 25, 2022
Night Music: Shine On You Crazy DiamondJanuary 24, 2022
Poem: As The World TurnsJanuary 24, 2022
As our world winds
through the stars,
do we leave sparks
in our wake?
Do we leave others guessing
what voices we use,
and what good
friends we’d make?
Are we more than
a falling garnet or
just a crashing bore
for heaven’s sake?
Image: Glass & BrickJanuary 23, 2022
Night Music: If You Don’t Know Me By NowJanuary 22, 2022
The Day The Revolution BeganJanuary 22, 2022
Today is the 117th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”, when the Tsarist authorities fired upon and attacked a march of unarmed protesters in Saint Petersburg led by Father Georgy Gapon. Official casualties listed between 90 and 130 dead, though witnesses consider the figure of 1,000 killed and wounded to be more accurate.
Bloody Sunday led to severe unrest across Russia, including anarchist-inspired mass strikes and workers’ councils, and was eventually the prelude to the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
The use of the mass strike and elected workers’ councils — anarchist tactics dismissed for decades by Marx and Engels — proved decisive in bringing workers, peasants and intelligensia together. “A new weapon, more terrible than street warfare, had thus been tested and proved to work admirably,” observed anarchist Petr Kropotkin.
The events of 22 January 1905 led eventually to the Tsar’s October Manifesto and the 1906 Constitution which granted a modicum of civil liberties to the people and created the first Duma or parliament. More importantly, after January 1905, the Tsar was recognized simply as another vicious autocrat rather than the Father of the people and his position and prestige were fatally damaged.
The reaction to the January massacre closely followed anarchist ideas, proving the value of the anarchist theories of the mass strike and self-governing recallable workers’ councils. However, in the years following, reactionary social democrats under Lenin and others gradually manipulated their way into control. They infected the revolution with the false dogma of Marx-Engelsism and the corrupting idea of the “vanguard” which, after 1917, led inevitably to a dictatorship not “of” the proletariat but “over” the proletariat in the evil state capitalism of the Soviet Union.