Saturday, December 8, 2007

Victor's Norval Morrisseau

In 1974, when I was even less polished than I am now,(unbelievable but true) an art store owed me $600 for some promotion work I did for them. The guy couldn't pay. So he asked me to give him time (he went bankrupt) and as a gesture of good faith, he gave me a limited Morrisseau print ( number 32 out of 50 made). I took it home, rather indifferently, as I had no idea who the artist was. At the time (this being the 70's) I was a disco lounge lizard wearing hideous clothes made from various petroleum products. My artistic tastes were not quite into the velvet Elvis genre but not that far away either. But I was enough of a philistine to have the print independently validated by an art buyer and she deemed it to be the real thing, limited edition and all.

It has adorned the prominent wall of every place I have inhabited since. Morrisseau's mystical creatures have watched me progress through my polyester John Revolta period in the 70's, then my insatiable Reacher period, Porsche and all, in the greedy 80s, my mellowing and uncoupling from materialism in the 90's and my scary move into self employment as the new century found me well into middle age.

I never had my Morrisseau appraised. It is only a print after all,and I don't care what it would fetch anyway. Those silent creatures have witnessed much of my adult life, watched me celebrate my petty triumphs with mute patience, seen me through divorce, disease and despair.

That is the value of the print.

Morrisseau suffered from many demons. Addiction of course. A debilitating disease. But in my view, the worst demons were the dealers who sold bogus representations of his work and the managers who paid him daily wine money to turn out paintings with his shaking hands. Hell has a special room for them.
He is free of all of those demons now. He is in the spirit world he so often brushed with his majestic paintings, trying to let us glimpse what he knew..


THE LANGARA DIALOGUES are a series of public debates on matters of public policy.

They are held at the Vancouver Public Library, Downtown branch at Homer & Robson, downstairs in the Alice Mackay Room. They always begin sharp at 7:30 pm (doors open at 7:15) and end sharp at 9. Free coffee is provided, thanks to Blenz.

Our next event is this coming Wednesday, Dec. 12/07.


The Torah, The New Testament, and the Koran have sustained millions of Jews, Christians and Muslims for centuries. On what guides do Humanists. Sceptics and others rely?

Arguing the AFFIRMATIVE: The Reverend Gary Paterson, St. Andrews- Wesley United Church

Arguing the NEGATIVE: Dale Beyerstein, Philosophy Department, Langara College

There will be 2 additonal special guests and lots of time for your questions and comments.

Please join us.

YVR has a Serious Responsibility

"I think it's clear that our systems that we had in place did not serve Robert Dziekanski that evening," This is Larry Berg, YVR CEO speaking of the Taser Murder.

You think?

Now, in fairness, Berg and his people have initiated some significant changes at the airport and we hope that these will help avert this kind of sickening tragedy.

But all the technology and re-design in the world will achieve nothing unless the employees carry within them the sincere desire to serve and help people.

It is difficult, I am sure, in the face of hundreds of thousands of human beings moving past your field of vision every day, to maintain your humanity and remember that each person is important.

Nevertheless, that is their job. Let's hope they do it better from this point on.

Excited States in Full Hysteria Mode

The American elections are always way more fun than our own, if for no other reason than the sheer "bizarro" factors.

Oprah, that arbiter of all things cultural (books, food, sex, fashion, charity), is stumping for Barack Obama.

Why? Because she can and because he is black.

Football fields will now be hardly large enough to hold in the throngs.

No question Obama is an attractive, intelligent and interesting man and candidate. And no doubt it is time for America to elect a woman or a black as President.

But, as always, not because the candidate is a woman or black.

On the other hand, in the Southern eastern Seaboard states, white people have no embarrassment at all about telling the TV cameras that nobody they know will ever vote for a black man. Nice.

Then, there are the Republicans who cannot find a pew or a pulpit fast enough to declare their religious belief systems. Mormon, in; Baptist, out. Today.

No doubt, tomorrow, the Pentecostals will have the glory.

What happened to the separation of church and state? What happened to policy? What are your ideas for government?

No. Just tell us which Jesus you believe in and how deeply and how often.

George Bush, the worst President in history, a complete puppet of the evil men around him, prays all the time. When he isn't sneering, he's genuflecting. And what a wonderful time he's brought us all.

Spurious New Job

The provincial government is advertising for a Manager, Corporate Policy in the Ministry of Children and Family Development.


I'm laughing while the children cry and die.

This job would be just fine if the politicians would fund the department or the representative for Children and Youth.

The Sun editorial has confirmed exactly what we have said in this space several times in recent weeks.

The hick backbencher MLA's who have refused Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond's request for money to do her work are cynical petty thugs and if the Premier doesn't fire them, we must fire him in the next election.

Walter Cronkite Calls for US Withdrawal From Iraq

With great thanks to Crooks and Liars and Common Dreams, we reproduce below in its entirety, Walter Cronkite's call for the end to US troops in IraQ:

Published on Tuesday, December 4, 2007 by

Our Troops Must Leave Iraq

by Walter Cronkite and David Krieger

The American people no longer support the war in Iraq. The war is being carried on by a stubborn president who, like Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon during the Vietnam War, does not want to lose. But from the beginning this has been an ill-considered and poorly prosecuted war that, like the Vietnam War, has diminished respect for America. We believe Mr. Bush would like to drag the war on long enough to hand it off to another president.

The war in Iraq reminds us of the tragedy of the Vietnam War. Both wars began with false assertions by the president to the American people and the Congress. Like Vietnam, the Iraq War has introduced a new vocabulary: “shock and awe,” “mission accomplished,” “the surge.” Like Vietnam, we have destroyed cities in order to save them. It is not a strategy for success.
The Bush administration has attempted to forestall ending the war by putting in more troops, but more troops will not solve the problem. We have lost the hearts and minds of most of the Iraqi people, and victory no longer seems to be even a remote possibility. It is time to end our occupation of Iraq, and bring our troops home.

This war has had only limited body counts. There are reports that more than one million Iraqis have died in the war. These reports cannot be corroborated because the US military does not make public the number of the Iraqi dead and injured. There are also reports that some four million Iraqis have been displaced and are refugees either abroad or within their own country. Iraqis with the resources to leave the country have left. They are frightened. They don’t trust the US, its allies or its mercenaries to protect them and their interests.

We know more about the body counts of American soldiers in Iraq. Some 4,000 American soldiers have been killed in this war, about a third more than the number of people who died in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. And some 28,000 American soldiers have suffered debilitating injuries. Many more have been affected by the trauma of war in ways that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives - ways that will have serious effects not only on their lives and the lives of their loved ones, but on society as a whole. Due to woefully inadequate resources being provided, our injured soldiers are not receiving the medical treatment and mental health care that they deserve.

The invasion of Iraq was illegal from the start. Not only was Congress lied to in order to secure its support for the invasion of Iraq, but the war lacked the support of the United Nations Security Council and thus was an aggressive war initiated on the false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Nor has any assertion of a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda proven to be true. In the end, democracy has not come to Iraq. Its government is still being forced to bend to the will of the US administration.
What the war has accomplished is the undermining of US credibility throughout the world, the weakening of our military forces, and the erosion of our Bill of Rights. Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz calculates that the war is costing American tax payers more than $1 trillion. This amount could double if we continue the war. Each minute we are spending $500,000 in Iraq. Our losses are incalculable. It is time to remove our military forces from Iraq.

We must ask ourselves whether continuing to pursue this war is benefiting the American people or weakening us. We must ask whether continuing the war is benefiting the Iraqi people or inflicting greater suffering upon them. We believe the answer to these inquiries is that both the American and Iraqi people would benefit by ending the US military presence in Iraq.

Moving forward is not complicated, but it will require courage. Step one is to proceed with the rapid withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and hand over the responsibility for the security of Iraq to Iraqi forces. Step two is to remove our military bases from Iraq and to turn Iraqi oil over to Iraqis. Step three is to provide resources to the Iraqis to rebuild the infrastructure that has been destroyed in the war.

Congress must act. Although Congress never declared war, as required by the Constitution, they did give the president the authority to invade Iraq. Congress must now withdraw that authority and cease its funding of the war.

It is not likely, however, that Congress will act unless the American people make their voices heard with unmistakable clarity. That is the way the Vietnam War was brought to an end. It is the way that the Iraq War will also be brought to an end. The only question is whether it will be now, or whether the war will drag on, with all the suffering that implies, to an even more tragic, costly and degrading defeat. We will be a better, stronger and more decent country to bring the troops home now.