Cuba Libre!

April 17, 2018

Fifty-seven 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.

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The Wonderbucks Building

March 13, 2018

In the last Changes On The Drive, I reported that the building at 1301 Commercial, which most of us these days know as the Wonderbucks Building, is  now for sale.  I’ve written a brief history of the building for the Grandview Heritage Group which you may find of interest.

 


The Death of Manchester United

February 6, 2018

When I was 8 years old, my parents had very little money and we lived in what today would be called a slum. We couldn’t afford magazines or anything of the sort, but we did get the Daily Mirror. The walls of my bedroom were covered in smudgy newspaper black-and-white photos of my heroes, Manchester United, and, most especially, their young superstar Duncan Edwards.

Sixty years ago today, an aeroplane carrying the team on a flight from Munich back to England crashed on take-off in the snow. Twenty people died at the scene, including ten players and trainers, and three others, including Duncan Edwards, died later from their injuries. It was a tragedy that brought England to a standstill.

 

Clubs didn’t have huge bank accounts in those days and the disaster almost caused the club to fold.  In the end it took manager Matt Busby (who had been seriously injured in the crash) ten years to rebuild the team and win another championship.  Being young, I didn’t have the patience to wait and I had already switched my allegiance to Chelsea by then.


The Coup In Hawai’i

January 17, 2018

Today is the 125th anniversary of the takeover of the Hawai’i Islands by American trading interests, overthrowing the native kingdom.

America already had a long history of violent and genocidal imperialist annexation on the mainland (“Manifest Destiny”).  The coup in Honolulu was a logical, if long, step of the same impulse into the Pacific.


A Modern Political Platform, From 1918

January 15, 2018

 

One hundred years ago today, Mary Ellen Smith (or “Mrs Frank Smith” as she was usually known) published her platform for the Provincial by-election in Vancouver that year.  Many of its planks are remarkably still relevant today, including minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, juvenile justice reform, and proportional representation:

“Vancouver World”, 15 Jan 1918, p,5

 

She won the by-election, becoming the first woman elected to the BC Legislature.


Driving Right-eously

January 1, 2018

Today is the 96th anniversary of the change in British Columbia from driving on the left side of the road to driving on the right.  I think quite a lot of Vancouver drivers are still learning about this.

 

driving-change

Vancouver World 1922 Jan 3, p.1


Fly Me To The Moon …

December 14, 2017

Harrison Schmitt was the last of only twelve humans ever to walk on the moon. Forty-five years ago today — yes, way back in 1972 — his ship took off from the moon and we have not been back since.

Manned space flight was the dream of my father’s generation.  We boomers pushed us into the unmanned and more machine-driven discovery of space at the same time as we were inventing programmed stock trading, robotic automation, and plugged-in entertainment.  We love machines apparently.

I wonder where the millennials will take us?