Monday, June 30, 2008

The Unfriendly Skies

Airplane travel has become an unhappy experience.

Even flight attendants and ticket agents in terminals will admit that.

Now, to add to the nightmare, more cellphone use will soon be permitted.

Let's face it, whether you are sitting in dining class or steerage, the only way to survive 10 and 13 hour flights is to have some small measure of quiet. Watch a movie, read, sleep, walk about, stretch.

But now have dimwit #973 yelling about his business deal or her argument with her mom.


The Gift that Never Stops Giving

I love headlines like, "Dion ready to sell his Carbon Tax to the West."

Don't even have to read the item.

Tells you all you need to know.

A year or two and you'll never hear of this fool again.

As Janis Joplin would say, "Bye, bye, baby, bye bye..."

Revelations 3:10

Venus and Serena are Jehovah's Witnesses?

Jehovah's witnesses don't permit voting?

Where have I been? You learn something or two every day.

You can be fashion model wanna-bes, but you can't participate in your community's most solemn responsibility?

OK...just asking...

Janis Joplin - Summertime Just Only Simply Amazing

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Dear Bloggists,

Thank you for making the "Running for Council" survey the best yet.

In total there were 88 responses and "you should run" in some form or another was heavily favored - 52/88.

But I will not run. This term or any other.

I put the survey on the site because I have been tossing this idea about for last two terms. Now, having giving it way too much thought and taking up friend and colleague's time with their advice, I have concluded that running for office and sitting in office is simply not for me.

Especially at this time.

I am 65, and although I am blessed still with terrific energy, I have have the blast I had even five years ago.

I have always been entirely selfish and self-centered, but now I am even more so. I want to do only what I want to do and I resent mightily having to do anything I don't like - waiting in line at the bank, driving Cambie Street, listening to boring people talk.

In the evening, after a day of work and a bit of exercise, I simply LOVE to come home to my beautiful hide-away and eat and read and make popcorn and watch TV.

The running for office would be fun. I could make speeches and perform and carry on in public and have a ball being a general nuisance.

But what about actually being elected?

The idea of people phoning me at 9:30 at night to complain that their garbage wasn't picked up fills me with the willies. I would certainly tell the third caller to practice an ancient form of self-satisfaction.

The idea of sitting through council meetings until 2 am is simply unthinkable. I would get up and leave at 9:45, because that would still give me time to get home, make the popcorn, get into my sweats and turn on "Law and Order."

There were only two reasons for my considering this folly in the first place.

The first is sheer vanity. One can't help being tickled by the image of a sign carved on an oak door at City Hall that reads, "Councillor David Berner."

But vanity is rarely a good reason to do anything. Even performing - acting, singing - requires that the vanity is massaged by knowledge and ideas and preparation and care for the audience.

The second is that a few good men have encouraged me to run. One former councillor, who was a first-rate councillor - Jonathan Baker - has said repeatedly that we need good people in office and at this moment we have few.

He is right. I have written often about how dreadful and shallow the pool is at the moment.

Michael Geller is running and he will make a terrific contribution.

Better him than me.

Finally, I cherish my role as a satirist, critic, kvetcher, complainer and general annoyance.

Can I abandon all the fun of that for a few chicken gosht dinners?

These days, Life is being particularly kind to me.

I have wonderful work, excellent health, a kind and loving sweetheart, friends, family and hearth.

I mutter quietly my gratitude every day.

May we have a much better city council than we've had. You know who is gone, so that's already guaranteed. May some common sense and verve and wit be heard occasionally from the New Gang. May they fire half the staff, plant more flowers, have fewer planning meetings and cut taxes.

Amen, Brothers and Sisters.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Alice Russell

A Glory Day for Free Speech

A marvelous bonus day for Free Speech in Canerder yesterday.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed the hate charges against Maclean's magazine.

Of course, the BC Chamber of Silliness has yet to decide.

And the Supreme Court ruled that Rafe Mair was not liable for expressing his thoughts on Kari Simpson and her anti-gay crusade in Surrey schools.

Now, if someone can just get the BC Kangeroos to Yuk Yuks and heckle them for an hour or so...

Rare Good Move

We welcome the news that Stockwell Day is changing prison policy to make it more difficult for dangerous offenders to be moved to medium and minimum security jails.

Corrections Canada has been an irresponsible ass for far too long.

This small measure might help.

Alex on Sentencing, from 24 Hours


There is no way Michael Levy could have seen them coming. No way.

Cornered at a side exit of Tynehead Hall in Surrey, on a brisk October night in 2006, three thugs, in concert, beat him mercilessly. Two of them alternated punching and breaking a bottle over him. The third hoodlum took an axe to Michael Levy’s spine.

Four times.

There wasn’t much holding his head to the rest of his body. He lost almost two litres of blood and were it not for his then exceptional physical conditioning, he would have surely perished in the unearthly attack. He was training to go off with the Canadian Forces as an infantryman. A strapping lad, who always exuded goodness and kindness, his life was set in permanent intercession between his dreams and stark reality.

Crippled, perhaps, but not in spirit.

Much has changed since that fateful night. Michael Levy is a quadriplegic, resigned to his fate, but nobly soldiers on, sometimes even trading jokes with his stoic mother and adoring sister, while the three louts, who attacked him, will see punishment meted out to them that most certainly does not fit the crime.

I will not mention their names, even though they were raised to adult court, because they are not worthy of having their fifteen minutes of overtime fame attached to such a brazen act of comprehensive evil. But there is something very wrong with all this…

There is something very wrong with a criminal justice system that hails a just society as it’s mantra, but cannot do more than hand out sentences that amount to laughable reprimand for the three cowards, who randomly ambushed Michael Levy and effectively sentenced him to wheelchair.

For life.

There is something very wrong with an Attorney General of this Province, who chastises the police for speaking out on the light nature of sentencing for repeat offenders, for serious offenders, and any violent offenders—period.

Have we not had enough of this rank insanity?

How many more people, I wonder aloud, have to die or be maimed before we’re really outraged? When will sentencing in this country fall into line with being fair to the victims? To their families?

The axe-wielding lout was sentenced to ten years, reduced to eight for time already served. Eight years for taking an axe to someone’s spine??? Four times?? And remember the horse’s ass who along with his idiotic friends, post sentencing, decided to laugh all the way down the elevator of the Law Courts, with cameras in tow? He has to spend seven months of his original twenty month sentence in a detention center country club. Lovely.

Michael Levy received a life sentence at the hands of these bastards. There should have been a law to make them rot in jail for the rest of their lives, even the ones who facilitated the axe man. No parole, no reprieve. Not ever.

If the Conservative Government are want to show us, in sincerity, that they are going to renew our faith in the justice system, then change the damn laws so that they fit the crimes committed. Punish someone who takes someone else’s life from them.

Michael Levy’s mother, Deborah, as kind a soul as you could ever meet tells me that her son has good days and bad. “Some days are tougher than others”, she says. “For all of us, but mostly for Michael…but he’s tough and he understands what he needs to do to get through”

“I try not to cry”, she says bravely. And then her voice breaks.

“Michael really wanted to go into the Canadian Forces, it was his dream. I would have been so proud, but I’m still so proud of him. They didn’t kill his spirit. Sometimes I think he’s stronger than all of us”

Of course they didn’t break his spirit.

Because you don’t have to have a pile of shiny medals on your chest to be a hero.

Ernistine Anderson

Friday, June 27, 2008


It's time to free our roads from the dangers of drugged driving
David Berner
The Province

Driving while stoned on drugs is going out of fashion.

Just after Canada Day, police across the country will be empowered to pull you over and question your clear-headedness. If you don't agree to a roadside test, like walking a straight line, you may be required to go to a police station and possibly have to donate a blood, urine or saliva sample.

As soon as this new federal legislation came to light all the usual suspects raised the familiar hullabaloo about privacy and civil rights.

There are kinks to be worked out, no doubt. But the bottom line here is that anything that helps reduce our senseless road carnage should be welcomed.

Remember it was not politicians, but citizen groups like MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and SADD (originally Students Against Driving Drunk, and now,

Students Against Destructive Decisions) who, through relentless lobbying, changed the laws and public perception. Before these pioneers, we all winked at the dimwit who downed fists full of martinis after work and hopped in the Chevy to drive home.

Don't you recognize how much our attitudes have changed?

Now we need one more shift -- tackling the problem of motorists driving under the influence of prescription drugs.

I don't have the figures to prove it, but I reckon at least half the people driving while impaired by chemicals are doing so with the aid of their friendly neighbourhood doctor, psychiatrist or pharmacist.

Prozac and Ritalin, for example, are among the world's most widely prescribed "medicines." Then there's diazepam, amitriptyline, chlorpromazine and a thousand psychotropic drugs found in the alphabet soup of modern pharmacology.

Google any one of these modern miracle workers and you will find pages of helpful descriptions and analyses.

In almost every case, in the tiniest print on the second or third page, you will find this modest instruction: "Use caution when driving or operating machinery."

This, of course, is after the customary warnings about possible side-effects like nausea, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and fainting.

But the last time your doctor prescribed a little blue or pink "helper" to get you through the travails of life, did he or she happen to mention that maybe driving under their influence wasn't the best idea?

Does anyone remember the last time the B.C. Medical Association or the Canadian Psychiatric Association ran a public-information forum on the problems and responsibilities involved in taking powerful mood-changing chemicals and driving the Ford Exploder? Probably not.

The death and destruction on our roads is due to speed, alcohol, illegal drugs -- and both prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

It is time for each of us, as responsible patients, consumers and citizens, to be aware of the dangers involved. And it is time for the professionals to show the same care and concern.

© The Vancouver Province 2008

Canadian Moment

No foto ops, no flag waving.

Just a true and beautiful little encounter.

Last night, we squeezed in a short hit of tennis balls at a small public park near the Oak Street Bridge.

After, as we were heading for the car and some dinner at one of our favorite little Chinese restaurants (delicious, inexpensive, consistent and wonderful, friendly service), a little boy caught our attention.

Turns out his name is Nick, as in Nokolai or Nikolas. He was born here in Vancouver. He looks a little less than two. His mother is Russian and she is from a village near Odessa.

Sitting on the same bench were two ladies in their sixties, both from mainland China.

Soon, three languages were being tossed about - English, Russian and Mandarin.

I am a Canadian born Jew whose mother was born in Russia. My friend is from Guangzhou.

This entire episode lasted all of four minutes, tops.

And we got in the car and looked at each other and almost simultaneously said, "This is Canada at its best."

Justice on its Head

A federal court struck down "parts of" the Gomery enquiry, claiming that Justice G. was biased in his investigation of the Liberal sponsorship scandal.


Read the small print.

No one has yet accounted for the $40 Million of taxpayer money that Chretien and Pelletier filtered through various ad companies back to their own coffers.

Talk about Shoot the Messenger!

Quote of the Year

"It's a tax shift and it's revenue neutral."


Or should I say,


The Good Consul

Congratulations once again to Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC's representative for children and youth.

She has issued yet another honest and courageous condemnation of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

This time she focuses on the inevitability of kids "in care" graduating not to high school or college, but to crime and prison.

She has proven repeatedly to be a dedicated and rare civil servant.

It is astonishing that in his recent little shuffle of the cabinet deck, Mr. Campbell left the worst of the worst in place - namely, Minister Tom Christensen.

This is the clearest indicator that Campbell hasn't the first clue about these issues, or the first care.

Thursday Strollin' - Vancouver Style

Isn't that adorable?

Our intrepid Civil City Commissioner ($170,000? $150,000? Something very civil, to be sure), Geoff Plant slumming with the CEO's.

Hey, great name for a rock group. Slumming with the CO's.

See Jane touch a druggie. Watch Bob sniff a prostitute. Hear Gwen interview a loser.


Jacques Brel - Sons of/ Fils de The Greatest Anti-War Anthem Ever

Jacques Brel

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jason Mraz

Take my Partner...Please!

Have the humorless twits who people the BC Human Rights Inquisition ever been anywhere?

How about a comedy club?

The idea of taking seriously a complaint from patrons at a comedy club that the comedian was rude to them is in itself a comedy routine.

Lesbians starting heckling a comic and challenging him that he hated lesbians. How they knew this is a mystery.

Of curse, he went on the charge. Of curse, he was rude, obscene and abrasive.



Somebody has to stop the Inquisition before we all bust a gut laughing.

The Fat is in the Report

Another hoax of a "study."

Phys-ed won't cut fat.


Read the full story.

The fine print gets around to adding "may have other beneficial heath benefits, like bone density, aerobic capacity, reduced blood pressure and increased flexibility."

Not to mention getting the hell out of that stuffy boring classroom and running around and being a goof and having a moment of childhood fun and maybe setting a pattern form life for enjoying running around, which is known as exercise.

Sky High?

A Million two for a 2 bedroom square box on Hamilton Street.

Nine seventy nine for a 2 bedroom square box on Mainland.

Yes, you might walk to work.

Yes, there are coffee shops aplenty.

But, a million bucks to live among concrete and traffic and drug addicts and homeless people sleeping in the front doorway of your luxury, exclusive pie-in-the-sky?

I really do quite regularly think people are entirely mad.

$100 Windfall


Within the next few days you will be receiving a $100 cheque in the mail from the Government of British Columbia.

I want your $100.

This cheque is the one-time “Climate Action Dividend” distributed to every British Columbian. The government hopes you will spend this money to help reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions to help slow climate change.

How can you spend that $100 meaningfully?

Perhaps you can buy some compact fluorescent light bulbs to reduce your energy consumption or put the cash toward a new push lawn mower. If you don't even pause to think about the meaning behind the government's initiative, you might simply cash the cheque and go out for dinner or fill your car's gas tank.

I want to suggest that your $100 can be spent in a very meaningful way that will result in helping shape long-term beneficial change.

I want you to donate your $100 Climate Action Dividend to Smart Growth BC and join our “1,000 Friends of British Columbia campaign.

For the past few years, I have been a volunteer director on the Board of Smart Growth BC, the province's leading advocacy, education and research group

striving to raise awareness about the connection between land use, healthy, vibrant communities and a sustainable approach to protecting our natural ecosystems. We are making great progress in shaping positive change in this area, development by development, community by community.

Your tax-deductible contribution will support Smart Growth BC’s work linking our communities’ built form and land use patterns to the climate change impacts and adaptation scenarios that they elicit.

Research on urban form and climate change is just emerging, but the links are already clear. Communities that have integrated “smart growth” principles into their growth plans:

· are more walkable and better able to provide efficient transit -- an increasingly important consideration as fuel costs rises;

· are surrounded by productive and protected farmlands providing residents with increased food security;

· conserve carbon sinks such as forests, wetlands and other naturalized areas; and

· redirect and encourage a strong local economy by keeping small businesses in town centres alive and thriving.

Creating smart growth communities means planning for the long term. Smart Growth BC is helping community planners and decision-makers across the province incorporate smart growth principles to achieve the resiliency necessary to deal with climate change in the future. Smart growth communities are able to respond and adapt to both the direct and indirect effects of climate change.

Your donation will not only help Smart Growth BC fulfill our mission to create more livable communities in BC through education and outreach, research, policy and advocacy, and implementation – you’ll also help BC reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Please do your part by depositing your $100 Climate Action Dividend in your bank account and then writing a $100 cheque made payable to SMART GROWTH BC.

This is discretionary money you are receiving. You can spend it wisely by supporting our work today!


For more information, see:

Smart Growth BC

314-402 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1T6

T 604.915.5234

F 604.915.5236

Smart Growth British Columbia is a registered charitable organization under the Income Tax Act (Canada).

Charitable Registration 89568-6616-RR000.

Judge Wallace Craig on Tasers


Better Oversight Vital

June 25, 2008

SHUT your eyes and visualize today’s Dirty Harry in action: Taser “deployed”, a sizzling emission of electricity strikes like a serpent and stings like an adder.

Another bad guy bites the dust. No fuss, no muss, on go the cuffs.

Oops, the bad guy stops breathing and dies. That’s life!

Today’s Dirty Harry is either pure Hollywood myth or, in many variations, may be dotted about in all municipal forces and RCMP detachments in British Columbia.

So be wary when a 21st century police officer stops your car or knocks on your door. He may be of the new breed, armed with a Taser and ready to use it if you become pugnacious.

Since 1999, when Canadian police began using Tasers, an ever-increasing and indiscriminate use of it has brought policing into disrepute and profaned the inviolability of the force continuum. Here are two recent B.C. incidents: a delirious 82-year-old patient in his hospital bed and an uncooperative 67-year-old seated in his car with his wife beside him.

In allowing this usage creep, Canadian law enforcement has drifted dangerously from its founding principles. Sir Robert Peel, the man behind the first-ever English standing police force founded in 1829, imposed nine principles that marked a giant step away from punitive quasi-military policing that had existed until that point. They form the basis of modern policing.

Two of his principles are at the heart of his admonition, “The police are the public and the public are the police”:

“The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of their actions;

“The degree of cooperation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.”

The force continuum introduced by Peel to minimize violence, lives on in modern guidelines for escalating intervention techniques: officer presence leading to verbal commands; empty-handed control techniques; use of pepper spray or batons; less-lethal force such as weapons that fire bean bags or rubber bullets; and finally deadly force. But the nasty Taser threatens to turn the force continuum into nothing more than a toolbox for quick-fix Taser cops.

It is chilling to consider that Taser cops may be the new face of policing, bringing an insidious element of borderline para-militarism. Officers who will unhesitatingly ignore the use-of-force continuum and cross professional and ethical boundaries in pursuit of a version of expedient power – the stunning and painful subjugation of a citizen using electric shocks as a prime corollary of arrest.

See if you remember this: A few days after the Deep Cove Daze outdoor festival on Sunday, August 28, 2005 the North Shore News reported allegations “by more than a dozen district residents that officers used excessive force by employing a Taser to deal with an intoxicated 21-year-old man Peter Giezen.”

After the Giezen incident Supt. Gord Tomlinson of the North Vancouver RCMP attempted to downplay the use of the Taser. According to the News, Tomlinson said “It’s like pepper spray or a baton, just another tool in our toolbox to control unruly persons. It’s not dangerous. That’s media scare.”

In an editorial on August 31, 2005 the News stated “… witnesses who have spoken to us are unanimous that the young man was already subdued by those four officers when he was Tasered. The act smacks of punishment, not control to us. And that is simply wrong.”

The storm of controversy and worldwide condemnation following the October 15, 2007 tasering death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport has had no effect on the RCMP’s E Division, B.C.’s notional provincial police, as it continues to lead the way, nationally, in the acquisition and use of Tasers.

Dziekanski’s death, a national cause celebre, has generated at least eight Canadian inquiries into Taser usage.

Two inquiries are crucial to the future of policing in British Columbia. The most important one is a B.C. inquiry by retired judge Tom Braidwood to be completed Nov. 30. The other, just completed, is by Paul Kennedy, Chairman of the Commission for Public Complaints Against RCMP Performance.

When Braidwood writes his report he ought to go beyond the narrow issue of the tasering of Dziekanski and tell the government to refuse to renew the provincial police contract with E Division unless it accepts civilian oversight by democratic police boards in all of its detachments and the authority of B.C.’s complaint and disciplinary process.

This would place E Division under the thumb of the B.C. Police Act and restore provincial control over all aspects of policing – including how and when Tasers may be used.

It is time to say to E Division: Sign up under our Police Act or we will recreate our own provincial police force.

Kennedy is scheduled to appear before the Braidwood inquiry later this month. No doubt they will engage in a colloquy over the sad state of affairs of the RCMP.

Kennedy should say more to Braidwood than he has written in his report about the realities facing the RCMP today: “a high number of new recruits, a high rate of turnover, a high number of baby boomers retiring, experienced members leaving the force for a variety of reasons, and a lack of resources (that) have resulted in the inadequate mentoring of new members, understaffing of detachments, and morale issues …”

Kennedy ought to expand on his most troubling finding: “A continued departure from (the principles of Sir Robert Peel) by the RCMP is not a minor matter. It is a harbinger of a new model of policing in Canada, one in which the police are a group distinct from the public and whose decisions are the preserve of public safety experts. It is a model in which officer safety takes precedence over that of the general public and where the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is significantly undervalued. The cumulative effect of these trends over time may reduce the degree of co-operation of the public that is essential to public safety in Canada.”

Regardless of inquiries and all the talk they involve, they do not represent the will of the people.

It is time to say to the North Shore Detachment of the RCMP: Sign up under our Police Act or we will create our own municipal police force.

It is time for all of us to rise up and demand that police behave as servants, not masters, of the public.

Contact Judicial Gadfly at or by posting your comment on the Writer’s Corner of

Published June 25, 2008 by the North Shore News

Bill Withers

Afghanistan Blues

A first-rate video by The Guardian on The Real News :

Yes, I am interested

To the Willingdon Revisited writer...yes, of course, I would like to hear your story.

Diana Krall

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Willingdon Revisited

It is too early to approve or condemn the provincial initiative to re-open Willingdon as an institution for mentally ill and addicted people.

If managed sensibly and with understanding, commitment and compassion, this could be an immense help to all.

If run like most government bureaux, it will be warehousing of the worst kind, like the old Riverview operation.

Let's see who is running this and what they really know.

Public Fraud - Carbon Taxes and Carbon Trading

How bad is Gordon Campbell's Carbon Tax?

It took SIX imminent writers to defend it in yesterday's Sun.

Not only that but there are letters to the editor these days calling this program "courageous" and "necessary."

Of course, it is neither.

Of course, it will get not one driver out of his ride.

Of course, it is a crass money grab on a simple staple.

Let me draw your attention to the Bertrand Russell quote in the right hand margin of this page.

"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."

This issue is not about whether Carole James is an opportunist. James and the NDP are not relevant. This about a bad public policy at a bad time.

My little Mazda used to cost me $20 for a fill. Then, for many years it cost $40. The last two fills cost me $56.

The carbon tax, like carbon trading, is hokum, plain and simple.


"I believe that within five years people will be having sex with robots."

Where has this writer been all his life?

Millions of people can testify that their partners have been robots in bed for a long, long time.

Peel me a grape, Belinda.


Children found floating in pool.

As of yesterday, these two were on the critical list.

On the weekend, we were luxuriating at a resort on Okanagan Lake. The facility had 3 pools and 3 whirlpools.

Two little boys played by themselves, unsupervised, in a shallow wading pool.

Guess Mom and Dad were doing their own terrific thing, somewhere.

Last week, I watched Mr. Dad walk across a crosswalk during rush hour on a major artery while his less than 3 year old daughter toddled along 10 feet behind him.

It's a grand old life if you just don't LOOK AT THE IDIOTS AROUND YOU.

Close the Borders!

How paranoid has the Excited States become under the Bush regime?

Boy George is banned.

Talk about dangerous.

George has not been found guilty of anything recently, other than being Boy George.

Who is scarier? George or America?

This is the way we spend our bucks, spend our bucks, spend our bucks...

Hello from "The Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplace Program."

This is a brilliant new initiative of the BC government.


Only 10 Mil.

A pittance. Lunch.

I didn't even know that Wally Opaque was not only the Attorney-General, but that he is also the minister responsible for multiculturalism.

'splains a lot.

You can get your application for your own little grant at

Pricey Bouquet

It's a Monet. It's signed. And it sold for $81 Million last night at Christie's big night out.

And you're thinking about getting new tongs for the barbie...

John Denver - Sunshine

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Meltdown, Part Deux

The Shaw cable system, which powers both my TV reception and my internet, just came back, at 11pm.

I was hoping to post the blog after dinner, but it was not to be.

So....I will try to get in as many items as I can tomorrow morning.

Off to dreamland, hope you are too...


Dear Bloggists,

Shaw Cable was out in my neighbourhood since about 5 am. Hence no TV no Internet. Hence no Blog posting this morning.

Please check back in from time to time over the afternoon and I will try to get caught up.



Monday, June 23, 2008

Plant Politics

The Molson Canada brewery on Burrard Street may be the biggest consumer of water in the region.

But equally important, it is the flat ugliest sight in town and why is it still sitting on the south end of the Burrard Bridge blocking the view and skyline to the water and the city?

I'm surprised that over the many years of development and change that this area has seen, no one at city hall has begun the "moving" conversation with Molson.

Maybe they have and maybe Molson has a great hold on the property that it is reluctant to abandon.

But that's what deal making is about. Give these folks a good reason to move and a good site ELSEWHERE to move to and we might have something more fitting in the core of our city.

Sam Cooke

George Carlin dead at 71

The NY Times obit is here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dear Bloggists

His Blogginess is heading for the hills today. Swim, tennis, eat, sleep, read. Thus, no posting (of this kind) Saturday and Sunday.

May the Farce and the Sun be with you.

NOthing Petty about Crime

In response to Jim Chu's call for more jail time for chronic offenders, Mildew and his editors both keep referring to minor crimes.

There is nothing minor about a crime when you are the victim. Being robbed, broken into, mugged and so on are traumatic and frightening experiences.

It is very nice for people to sit back in the comfort of their easy chairs and survey the vast scene before them and make pronouncements about small crimes.

Try living through one and then see how charitable you will feel about "petty" criminals.

There is an enormous psychological divide between citizens and thieves.

"There but for the grace of God" just barley begins to embrace the dilemma.

Lazy Politics

The gender politics posing as affirmative action in the provincial NDP is abhorrent.

It's not bad enough that husbands and fathers are the endless butt of every bad TV commercial (Women make the buying decisions so ad execs cartoon and lampoon the male of the household. If women are not as insulted by this simplistic and ugly mythology, they aught to be.), but the party won't allow a man to run in a constituency that needs a new candidate.

Women only is the rule.

How about, instead of a rude and exclusionary and self-defeating rule, you do the hard work of finding and encouraging and developing good women candidates?

Everyone is always looking for the magic bullet, the single sweep that will change the landscape.

Never was; never will be.

Commitment, work, effort.

Thanks again, Wall

We have Wally Opaque's assurance that "pressing trials" (those involving laundering, no doubt) will proceed in spite of the Great Sponge called 2010.

Ah...that's comforting.

Excuse me...

Just a question...but, is there a new Get Smart movie?

Horowitz - Chopin

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Robertson Leaves Legislature


June 19, 2008



VANCOUVER – Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson announced
today that he is resigning as the MLA for Vancouver Fairview, effective
July 15th.

“I have taken a couple of days to consider the situation after an amazing
nomination vote on last Sunday. I have decided that all of my energy must
be focused on reaching out to all of the citizens of Vancouver, and
gaining their input, insight, and support for my Mayoral bid, and the
Vision Vancouver campaign.”

Robertson says that the July 15th date will allow him to close existing
files, and create an orderly transition.

We Almost Like You

It must have been awfully difficult for the editors at the Sun to admit that Carole James is on track with her Axe the Tax campaign.

So difficult they had to add "Despite its Opportunism" to their headline of almost approval.

I hope the editors will be able to keep down their lunches today.

Excuse me, Sir, but could you be a crook or something?

Police Chief Chu wants a "30 strikes and your out" policy for chronic offenders.

Only in the WimpLand we call Canada could such a proposal be considered.

What about 5 offenses? Wouldn't that be enough to suggest we have a chronic offender on our hands and that we don;t want this person in our community for a while?

Not in Pleasantville.

Cat's Away

The arrogant fools at Richmond City Hall, who decided to build the Skating Oval without any public consultation and entirely behind closed doors, yes, those fools, are now trying to persuade the citizens who pay their salaries that they, the citizens, should change their daily habits during the Olympics and walk or ride bikes so that the Olympic geeks, journalists and others can get to work.

In short, the Olympic madness will completely throw Richmond into a tizzy of unmanageability.

To make matters worse, police officers in Richmond will have no days off, no courses, no leaves and no court appearances.

Translation: criminal justice will come to a complete standstill so that Gordon Campbell and mayor Brodie and others can fulfill their wet dream.

If I were a criminal, I would be setting my sights on Richmond during this party.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

GUess What?

For Immediate Release

Investing Insight from Adrian Mastracci, Portfolio Manager

“Oil is the story"

Vancouver, BC (June 18, 2008):


Oil affects the production of practically all goods and services.

Oil affects the transportation and delivery of those goods and services.

Oil prices have doubled in the last twelve months.

Oil takes a bigger byte out of every consumer pocket.

Oil is a top headline grabber in all media outlets, every day.

Oil can affect the global economy more than the real estate recession, subprime fiasco and interest rates.

Oil moving higher than $150 per barrel can inflict a nasty market pop to the downside.

Oil moving closer to $100 per barrel can deliver a welcomed market pop to the upside.

Oil is a major headwind to be reckoned with.

Oil is clearly driving the bus all over the world.

Oil is firmly in charge.

Oil is king of our times.

Oil is the story.

I welcome your questions.


Adrian Mastracci
Portfolio Manager, R.F.P.

KCM Wealth Management Inc.
Fee-Only" Portfolio Managers & Financial Advisors
Suite 1500, Box 1078, 885 West Georgia Street

Tiger Out

Woods to miss rest of 2008 season, needs more surgery on left knee

- AP

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Tiger Woods is done for the year, but not without one last major that he said might have been his best ever.

Woods explained why Wednesday when he revealed he will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee that he injured 10 months ago.

He also suffered a double stress fracture of his left tibia two weeks before the U.S. Open, ignoring doctors' advice to take six weeks off to let it heal. And he still won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, going 91 holes over five days on a knee that was getting worse.

"Now, it is clear that the right thing to do is to listen to my doctors, follow through with this surgery and focus my attention on rehabilitating my knee," Woods said on his Web site.

He had arthroscopic surgery April 15 to clean out cartilage in his left knee, bypassing ACL surgery with hopes it could get him through the 2008 season. But the stress fracture and a ligament that could no longer sustain a powerful swing made it impossible to keep going.

Woods did not say when he would have surgery. His swing coach, Hank Haney, said the recovery is typically six to eight months.

"He's been playing way less than 100 percent for a long, long, time," Haney said. "It has limited him a lot in practice. He's going to come back better than he's ever been."

Woods was last seen in public late Monday afternoon walking with a pronounced limp across Torrey Pines toward the parking lot, the U.S. Open trophy in his arms.

Upcoming surgery makes his 14th major title even more staggering -- despite the stress fractures, he managed to win a U.S. Open that required five days of flinching, grimacing and a long list of spectacular shots that have defined his career.

"Although I will miss the rest of the 2008 season, I'm thrilled with the fact that last week was such a special tournament," Woods said.

He won despite doctors telling him to rest.

Haney was with him in Florida when doctors told Woods the preferred treatment for the stress fractures was three weeks on crutches and three weeks of inactivity.

"Tiger looked at the doctor and said, 'I'm playing in the U.S. Open, and I'm going to win.' And then he started putting on his shoes," Haney said. "He looked at me and said, 'Come on, Hank. We'll just putt today.'"

Woods' ledger for 2008 is a career for some players.

He played only seven times worldwide and won five times, including a major that allowed him to join Jack Nicklaus as the only players to capture the career Grand Slam three times over.

But he will miss a major for the first time in his career -- the British Open next month at Royal Birkdale and the PGA Championship in August at Oakland Hills, where Woods is the two-time defending champion.

"Tiger is an enormous attraction, there's no denying that," Royal & Ancient Chief Executive Peter Dawson said. "But the Open Championship has had many exciting finishes which Tiger has not been part of, and I'm sure there will be more. It's very sad. We're very sorry that he's succumbed to the injury and he won't be competing in the Open.

"We hope he has the speediest recovery."

Woods also will miss the Ryder Cup in September, meaning the ninth player on the U.S. standings will qualify for the team.

The majors won't miss Woods nearly as much as the PGA Tour, especially with its second year of the FedExCup that Woods won in a landslide a year ago.

"Tiger is our tour," Kenny Perry said from the Travelers Championship. "When you lose your star player, it definitely hurts."

The PGA Tour said in a statement that its concern -- as it would be for any player -- is for Woods' health and well being, both on and off the golf course.

"We wish him the best toward a speedy recovery," the statement said.

It will be the third surgery in five years on his left knee, although Woods said doctors have assured him the outlook is positive. When asked Monday if he further damaged his knee by playing in the U.S. Open, Woods said, "Maybe."

Doctors have told him, however, that the stress fractures will heal with time.

Woods is ultra private with his health and personal life, never more so than at the U.S. Open. He never mentioned the torn ACL or the stress fracture, and wouldn't say how he was treating it, only that it was more sore as the week went on.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was when the injury first happened.

Woods said he tore the ACL while jogging at home after the British Open last July. He chose not to have surgery and went on a run that included seven consecutive victories, including the Dubai Desert Classic in Europe and his Target World Challenge, an unofficial event.

He did not play overseas late last year for the first time since 2003, hopeful that rest could allow him to play more this year. But the pain intensified through the Masters, where he finished second, and Woods said the cartilage damage developed from the ACL injury.

What he didn't anticipate were the stress fractures, discovered as he tried to get ready to play in the Memorial.

"The stress fractures that were discovered just prior to the tournament unfortunately prevented me from participating and had a huge impact on the timing for my return," Woods said. "I was determined though, to do everything and anything in my power to play in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, which is a course that is close to where I grew up and holds many special memories for me."

Woods won for the eighth time at the public golf course in San Diego -- a U.S. Open, a record six times at the Buick Invitational, and a Junior World Championship as a teenager.

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Axe the Tax

Of course, most people are against the Liberal government's new carbon tax.


You think?

What part of stupid don't you get, Gord?

Vaughn Palmer informs us that instead of re-thinking this self-destructive move, the Preem has allocated "tens of millions of dollars" for PR.

That would be tens of millions of your tax dollars to sell you on the hugely mistaken idea that what you need is another tax slapped on top of your buck fifty a litre gas bill.

When Stephen Harper calls Dion's proposed carbon tax "insane," it a a rare and refreshingly welcome instance of a politician speaking clearly.

If Carole James cannot make hay and votes out of this miscalculation, she needs to find a replacement pronto.


The Victoria Police are appealing the ruling in which Willow Kinloch was awarded $60,000.


This case is too muddied and too lacking in convincing evidence fo the decision rendered.

Headlines to Cherish

"Move Public Servants to rural Canada, Senate panel urges."

How about this?

Move Senate to Rural Canada, public servants urge.

Or this?

Move Senate and public servants to Arctic Circle. Give Larry a nice igloo.

Letters, We Get Letters

There were two marvelously entertaining letters to the editor in this morning's Sun.

The first is from a Burnaby resident who wants more recognition for Mayor Sullivan for all the great work he has done.

Her insight (insite?) is that Sullivan couldn't really find the time and energy to work on his campaign because "he was working on city business from morning to night."


Obviously, this writer has rented from a different video shop than the rest of us.

In the smarmy little bad-taste comedy the rest of us have been watching these past two and a half years, exactly the opposite happened. The mayor rarely worked on city business and was, from day one, focused entirely on re-election.

Never forget the old adage, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."

The second letter is a beautifully written piece skewering both Bard on the Beach's current offering of "King Lear," and Sun theatre critic Peter Birnie's review.

Birnie is a pleasant and warm and charming fellow.

What he knows about theatre could be put in a pin cushion and leave room for several epics.

Bard Artistic Director, Christopher Gaze, is an even more pleasant warm and charming fellow. Furthermore, he deserves immense credit for building the most successful theatre in Canada. Full houses, almost no governments hand outs.

But in this lifetime, Gaze is not going to give us a Lear worth watching. In the great Shakespearean comedic roles, he is delightful. But he is simply too nice a fellow to ever truly deliver the anger or angst that must spew naturally forth from Richard or Shylock or Lear.

Craig McGuire's letter, called "Bard's King Lear a Pudding," can be read here.

The Lovliest Dance of All

The sequence shown below of Fred Astaire and Cyd Charrisse comes from the 1953"The Band Wagon," in my opinion the greatest Hollywood musical of all time. Yes, even better than "Singin' in the Rain," in which she also starred.

The music is, of course, "Dancing in the Dark."

Tony (Astaire) and Gaby (Charisse) have been at odds from the beginning of the story. Now, they seek a compromise, take a hansom cab to Central Park, and ...well, dance, of course.

I have a VHS and DVD copy of this film. The movie itself never ceases to amuse and entertain me. The songs and dances are wonderful, including the closing signature tune, "That's Entertainment."

But this number entrances me every time out.

She was also wonderful with Gene Kelley in "Brigadoon."

Charisse died of a heart attack yesterday at the age of 86. Her bio can be seen on the IMDB website here.

Cyd Charisse

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Our Secret Problems

Who knew?

Suffering, apparently, from a massive ourbreak of limp dickedness, the local market is being flooded with fake erectile dysfunction pills. Supply and demand clearly at work.

And two otherwise respectable jurisdictions - Surrey and West Vancouver - share a common problem - too many beavers!