Saturday, November 28, 2009

Get Outta Town

Sometimes you get the feeling that politicians and bureaucrats just make up thoughtless harmful things to do just because...well, say, just because it's Tuesday.

Or for the same reason that dogs lick themselves - because they can.

The latest folly is this:

The Vancouver Park Board, under pressure by City Council to economize, has passed by a narrow 4-3 vote the stupid, stupid, stupid decision to close the Children's Farmyard at Stanley Park and the Bloedel Conservatory atop Queen Elizabeth Park.

They haven't figured out what to do with the plants and animals.

Perhaps they could just send themselves out to pasture and leave a few of Vancouver's best loved small treasures in peace.

Aside from being a stupid decision - Did I mention that this decision is stupid, stupid, stupid? - it is a lazy one.

Instead of carefully going over expenditures and trimming a shard of fat here and there and spreading the bad times out among all the Park Board assets, they have simply said, "What can we kill quickly to get over this unpleasant task?"

You lazy, thoughtless bums.

The Bloedel Conservatory is one of my favorite places in Vancouver.

It is exotic and delightful and fun.

So it needs some roof come on, repair the roof!

Find new and innovative partnerships and new and innovative marketing to generate more income.

Ditto the Kids' Farmyard.

Let me promise you this, Dear Park Board Lazy People.

If you do not reverse this decision, I will not vote for one of you in the next election.

May thousands join me in this commitment.

Send your email to:

I have sent this to the above address.

The foto, by the way, is of the Board Chair, who, when he voted, didn't even know that Bloedel is a designated heritage sight.

Greed is Limitless, apparently

Dubai was always an obscenity.

With all the oil money in the world available and thrown at it, Dubai was a kind of desert Disneyland, able to construct miles and miles of garish hotels and homes and air-conditioned shopping malls and golf courses and tennis courts.

Federer and Woods and Agassiz and Beckham and anyone else with more cash than they know what to do with rushed in to buy, buy, buy.


What the hell would you do in Dubai?

Gamble? Drink? Play golf? Screw prostitutes?

O.K. I admit it. I'm a hick. I don't get it because I've never been there.

Of course, I've never wanted to be there. Or Las Vegas. Or many places.

I've been to Whistler half a dozen times and I've always enjoyed myself swimming in the hotel pools and riding my bike and eating good food and playing tennis.

But I can't imagine spending a lot of time there or wanting a house there. Too man made. Too instant community. Too gingerbread.



Now, Dubai has close to $60 Billion in debt and it is threatening to flinch on it payments.

It would be fun to giggle and cheer.

But we cannot because the failure of Dubai and all it excrescent excesses now threatens to bring down the entire world with it.

The Globe's cover story in the business section is appropriately titled:

A world awash in debt

and sub-titled:

"The financial crisis provoked a global front to stimulate economies through massive spending. But this was fuelled by a staggering amount of borrowing. Now governments are realizing that a new calamity looms - higher taxes and slashed social programs."

Now, because of the Dubai failure, markets worldwide are shaking.

The Dubai failure is, of course, identical to all of the recent American failures, only more so - greed and greed followed by more greed.

And you thought you could be doing better on your own personal financial management. Ha!

The photo, by the way, is of stupid bored people playing golf at night under the lights in Dubai.


Can you imagine anything more ludicrous and frightening than the thought of a border guard deciding what kind of speech you are entitled to give?

This, of course, is exactly what happened to American Journalist Amy Goodman the other day on her way to deliver talks in Victoria and Vancouver.

She was detained for over 90 minutes and her car, her notes and her computer were all searched.

The Border Holy Grail?

The Olympics, of course.

Not in the least concerned that Goodman might be here to blow up the Marine Building (She wasn't.) the zealous overseers of our mental health were obsessed with concern that Goodman might say anything negative in public about the 2010 Games.

Here's my worry.

When I attempt to board that flight in early February for Italy, will some uniformed geek ask me why I am leaving Our Town, dare I say, "Because I don't want to be around during the Games?"

Will Geek then say, "Sorry, you MUST stay here and enjoy and cheer and buy red mitties and other useless consumer goods that are only licensed to the few."

The IOC and VANOC, as we have said far too many times in this space already, have proven to be the worst kind of thugs, running wholesale over citizens' rights and freedoms all in the name of some vague international ideal that is denied by their very behaviour.

Trouble in Paradise

Tiger Woods is to sport what Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are to business.

He is also the most carefully guarded and private rich famous man on earth.

Big news therefore when Woods takes off in his SUV at 2:30 in the morning and crashes quickly into a fire hydrant and a tree.

The story broke just before noon and both CNN and BBC News gave it non-stop coverage, BBC oddly enough doing a much more thorough and credible job.

Soon, the "Tiger in hospital in serious condition" report was changed to "Tiger has been released from hospital," for which we can all be thankful. No one I know wishes the man any particular ill will.

Now the questions remain and abound - What the devil was he doing dashing off at 2:30 in the morning?

TMZ, the gossip website, has already conjectured that Woods and his wife, Elin Nordegren , were having a marital spat about possible outside liaisons.

Who knows?

The Woods publicity machine will no doubt offer an agreed spin within the coming days.

I know of no marriage that manages to avoid completely a speed bump or two.

If you're the most famous and richest athlete in the world (Woods is already a Billion Dollar Man.), anything you do will be photographed and written about.

Woods is an amazing performer and a joy to watch.

Let's hope that whatever private or public taste of hell this may be, that he and his family may move on in some positive way.