Sunday, March 15, 2009


VI'S AND IASI'SDear David As the snow comes down even in Tsawwassen. You have brought back some memories. VI,S steak house was great but the place across the street from The Penthouse was IASI’S and served the best VEAL PARMISSAN one could ever eat. That was the GOLDEN TIME. Regards Bill


I found this entry fascinating. There a re many reasons for all of this change which you find somewhat regretful and express so eloquently in this blog..It is a complex issue with more factors than there are spokes on a bicycle wheel.

But this is what I thought was important about one of these spokes. Vancouver and it's citizens have gone through an identity crisis (also most other rest of the planet).. And this crisis s a response to the “Marketing” of everything.

You refer to the jazz clubs and the smiling Buddha. They no longer exist in any real terms. What does exist are trendy places that are more often and not big franchised brand names playing background music that is being marketed and likely will actually not feature any musical instruments...often just loops on a computer. This transitioned store front is often inhabited by young people who have spent more money on their Nike shoes then you would want to pay for a suit.

And it is worth it to them.

Because they are not buying the coffee, the music or the shoes. They are purchasing a phantasy identity shared by their peers lasting just a bit longer than the current advertising campaign planned for them.

All of this is exactly as socially real as a tupper ware party because that is the quality of the fabric of the social interactions dribbling into the psyche of the participants..

It started with our generation. We have morphed along with the creeping incremental ism of internalized marketing messages. The generation of our kids and there kids have know nothing else. It is no longer about who and what you are. It is about who and what you are perceived to be. You are not what you eat. You are the goods and services you consume and dispense.

Having laid this tie it to crime, murder, mayham and violence.

If you cannot find a way to perceived identity paradise by doing “good things”...
then you can get there by doing “bad things”.

In exactly the same way you don't have to work for the Province to write a blog
you don't have to work for “the mob” to be a gangster. Get some dope and sell it. Or make a game plan with your friends and you have your own little mob.

Problem that is occurring that is occurring here is the same problem that occurs in most blogs on the Internet. There isn't the benefit of editorial control or advisement. “The so called mob” was an enduring institution with a code and occasion bouts of wisdom.

Hard to survive long without a basic honesty, integrity and most definitely - loyalty

How ironic.

In my opinion a large factor of the transition in society of which you write about here is brought on by creating perceived needs based on the marketing of ideas, products, and identity. Our youthful gangsters stand at the extreme end of loyalty to that perception.

They have bought in big time.

Marketing Marketing Marketing.


Here's this morning's Province lead headline:

17 hours of violence in Lower Mainland

The article chronicles the various shootings, stabbings, punchings and maimings visited upon our eager heads this weekend.

I find myself babbling.

"Why?" I ask the kitchen floor, "are we so prone to such lousy behaviour in such a beautiful setting? You would think that the ocean and the mountains would extend a sense of calm and patience."

The floor has no answers, other than, "Hey, Mr. Philosopher, try sweeping me on occasion."

When I first came to Vancouver from Winnipeg about 45 years ago (My mother was still sending me out of the house in grey flannel shorts, which is why my nickname was "Stovepipies."), Vancouvr already had the reputation for being a wild and woolly western port town. Hookers and junkies and deals gone sour, that sort of ambiance.

There were jazz clubs and pot and lots of really bad food.

Hey, it was a barely adolescent village with a natural waterway. Sailors from Russia and India mixed it up at the Smiling Bhudda and, if they could still walk or had a buck left in their soiled jeans, they made it up town to Vy's Steak House or that Spaghetti joint across from Philiponi's Penthouse.

Yes, there was heroin on the street, but it was not more than a blip, a cottage industry, patrolled by a few violent, crazed narco-cops, who kept things in line, so to speak.

Obviously, we need a couple of those good old SFU Criminologists or Sociologists to write us the definitive explanation (and no one has done one yet) of how we went in just a few decades from mildly amusing silliness to the sheer madness that prevails today.

Honduran drug dealers plying the Trade on the steps of a community centre that wins awards for civic spirit.

17 Hours of Violence.

A neighbourhood that was once a little seedy and strange and known simply as "the corner," that is now the worst and most expensive 4 square blocks in the known modern world.

Of course, it is not just the headlines.

Daily, every day, each day, daily, you and I suffer the indifferences of so-called ordinary white, middle-class assholes who NEVER use their turn signals, who ALWAYS find the opportunity to turn LEFT in a traffic circle, who NEVER stop pedestrians in striped crosswalks, who ALWAYS speed and change lanes and pass through SCHOOL ZONES, who exemplify in every possible mean chizzly way what it means to not be a citizen.

I have no idea. Not a clue.

Greed. Entitlement. Selfishness. No civics classes in school. Absent parents. Set-em-all-free courts.

You tell me.

I'm going out for brunch. Then I'm going for a walk along the water. Then I'm going swimming.

Tonight, I'll watch the rest of the tape I made yesterday of one of the greatest movies of all time, "From here to Eternity."

I'll watch the consummate skills and artistry of Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Ernest Borgnine. I'll cry for sure.

I love Vancouver. But, let's be honest. It is a Lorelei, signaling to us, dragging us to a watery grave.

It is like craving the raspberries that give us hives.


“We cannot attract and retain the best and the brightest talent..."

This is the straight-faced quote from Edward M. Liddy (a relative of Gordon Liddy of Watergate infamy?), the government appointed boss at AIG.

He is speaking of the many, many hundreds of millions of dollars that AIG will be paying out in bonuses to the executives who destroyed the company.

The Company they destroyed has now received about $170 Billion in taxpayer bailout monies.

That's quite a trick.

You ruin a huge multi-national financial institution that triggers a worldwide collapse of economies and you get paid performance bonuses, while the taxpayers (teachers, nurses, ditch diggers, cable guys, posties, blackjack dealers) give you many Billions to stay afloat.

Why were none of us ever taught this strategy in Economics 104?