Image: Garden Gate

April 3, 2021

Night Music: Black Hole

April 2, 2021

Image: Diner #1

April 1, 2021

Changes On The Drive #116

April 1, 2021

I had hoped that this would be the turnaround month, when things started to look up for businesses on the Drive. And it is true that there are a number of new signs and canopies for businesses opening soon (see below). However, Dr. Henry’s news this week that all restaurants are banned from in-door dining until April 19 has left a lot of places suddenly closed yet again. That being said, yesterday, when I did the walk, was warm and sunny and all the patios were busy and several places (Fets, Havana, the Social, and Park Drive, for example) were rapidly expanding their patios onto the sidewalks and into the street.

Grounds for Coffee at 2088 Commercial gets a shout out for their “legendary” cinnamon buns.

The storefront at 1848 is still vacant but is soon to be a Liberty Tax outlet, giving some competition to H&R Block.

For some months now, Cannibal Cafe has been advertising the possibility of expanding next door to 1816 Commercial to open a Motherclucker’s Chicken place. But I see this month there is a new For Lease sign on the door, so perhaps they have give up on that idea.

La Grotta del Formaggio at 1791 Commercial is unsurprisingly listed as one of the seven best cheese shops in Vancouver.

What used to be a Starbucks at 1752 Commercial is still vacant, but the sign says a new Mexican Restaurant — Sol y Limon — will be opening soon.

At 1740 Commercial, the storefront is still vacant, but a new canopy suggests a furnishings doo-dads store is about to grace us with its presence.

At 1678 Commercial there is a new sign advertising the coming of Vancity Fried Chicken, though the store is still vacant right now.

The former Libra Room at 1608-12 Commercial is getting a complete make-over externally in preparation for opening as a Greek restaurant (?).

Where Ugly Dumplings is now, at 1590 Commercial, there used to be Merchant’s Workshop. Scout magazine has a fond look back at the place where chefs used to like to hang out.

Memphis Blues at 1342 Commercial is looking for all kinds of staff: supervisors, line cooks, bartenders, etc. That’s a welcome sign in these covid-depressed times.

Also receiving great reviews for their cinnamon buns is Livia’s at 1339 Commercial.

The haphazardly-occupied storefront at 1303 Commercial is now a store called Velveteen Vintage.

The large double-front at 1005 Commercial is soon to be the home of Turnabout Luxury Resale, a designer consignment store.

The team behind Kin Kao at 903 Commercial are working on opening a second location at 317 E. Broadway in Mount Pleasant. The team and the name will be the same, but the menu will be completely different. “Tang and the core kitchen crew are being given the green light to do completely new things, retooling family recipes and tweaking regional specialities. The drinks program will also be different, with cocktails and wine making playing larger roles.”

  • * * * * *

I still haven’t called Penelope’s at 1009 vacant, but it has been covid-closed now for a full year

Vacancies on the Drive this month: 

2283 Commercial (4 months vacant), 2277 (21 months), 2223 (25 months), 2111 (11 months), 2057 (4 months), 1848 (2 months), 1816 (11 months), 1752 (14 months), 1748 (8 months), 1740 (20 months), 1733 (6 months), 1728 (12 months), 1678 (7 months), 1608-12 (15 months), 1503 (4 months), 1305 (12 months), 1301 (6 months), 1206 (6 months), 1003 (14 months), 935 (14 months), 931 (9 months), 902 (6 months).

Previous Changes On The Drive editions.

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