Wednesday, February 26, 2014

coalition


I don't know why a coalition is a dreaded word. It is welcome, in my view. The Cons were kept at bay when they were a minority Government, with a coalition able to block motions in the House. I think that was one of the best positions this country has ever been in, politically, and the politicians of all stripes squandered that unique circumstance. Of course, ol' Harper there, called it an 'attack on democracy' or something. I am paraphrasing but it was something like that. This coming from a guy that has appointed more senators, prorogued Parliament, passed massive omnibus bills, with huge changes to the environment acts, couched in budget bills. I could go on... But, I digress.
The opinion that a coalition is bad seems to be trumped about in the media, as well. They like it because it keeps the foolish Left divided and the Cons take majority of the house, under the ridiculous FPTP voting system, with like 38% of the popular vote or something.
Elizabeth May might not be PM material but she is a fantastic and effective politician. Mulcair has turned out to be very good leader, in my opinion, holding his majesty's feet to the fire over this whole senate scandal. Trudeau, I think, is a bad choice for the Liberals, they seem ill advised when it comes to picking drivers of their bus. But, they need to get their act together and join forces to defeat the Harpercons. 
Our small differences are what is keeping us apart and the wolves in charge. We best be figuring this sh#t out before May 2015.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Vancouver; Out with the Old, in with the New


More than 750 homes are demolished annually in Vancouver, many of them pre-1940s houses built with a high level of craftsmanship and quality materials.  Most of these homes are already adapted, or adaptable, to modern living requirements and are a more affordable and ecologically sustainable option than the houses that currently replace them.  Each demolition sends more than 50 tonnes of waste to the landfill, taking with it the history and character of the streetscape and the mature gardens that grace our established neighbourhoods.
We the undersigned call on City Council to take immediate action to:
1) remove from zoning and building code bylaws any biases favouring demolition and new construction over retention;
2) review and amend single-family(RS) zoning in a collaborative process with affected communities so that retention of pre-1940s homes has significant advantages over demolition and new construction while ensuring the character, scale and fundamental nature of the neighbourhoods are preserved;
3) provide greater review and scrutiny of pre-1940s homes prior to accepting proposed development applications and/or demolitions; and
4) fast-track and prioritize development applications that retain pre-1940s character and heritage housing.

Vancouver Character House Network
Please view our video:  http://youtu.be/NwO3x9Xflmw

When they call it the 'best place on Earth', they must be talking from the perspective of the developers in this town, who have free reign to destroy all history and build condos and malls in its place. 

Please sign a petition to City Council asking that Vancouver pull its head out of its ass and start saving more historical buildings. New isn't always necessarily better. 
http://tinyurl.com/lp3hdgd

via Change.org and Vancouver Character House Network

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

untitled



To those who stay put
the world is but an imaginary place
but to the movers and the shakers
the world is all around them
an endless invitation


The first to help you up
are the ones who
know how it feels to fall down

Sunday, February 16, 2014


the madness of man





neighbourhood pics




letter to Vancouver Aquarium

Dear Vancouver Aquarium,
Just thought I would drop a line and say hello and if I may be permitted, to speak a few words about the nature of your business. While I do appreciate free enterprise and I applaud people for finding a niche and exploiting it for profit, I prefer that they try to do it ethically. That is the reason for this correspondence.

Two things happened yesterday that ignited the fire beneath me, enough to actually sit down and write this to you. I saw the piece in the Georgia Straight and I saw an advertisement, featuring whales in captivity, at Coquitlam Centre. People always say that writing letters is a waste of time and that it is old fashioned and most of all, it doesn't make a difference. I beg to differ. I think that communication between parties that are at variance with one another can only be positive. And if not, at least you expressed yourself. You will never know how the public feels about what you are doing unless they tell you.
I know that you have a large audience because the place is full of people, enjoying the fruits of the animal labour that you enjoy the profit from. I have to admit, it is a pretty sweetheart business deal you have made with those animals, albeit without their consent.

You are in the same category as a circus, a zoo or horse carriage tours, all profiting off the labour and suffering of animals, while claiming to be educational or traditional or whatever other banner you are choosing to hide behind.
Vancouver is a very activist and progressive city and as you sit on Vancouver Parks land and ponder this, the matter of your proposed expansion may very well fall upon a public referendum and that could spell disaster for your business. We both know that there is much opposition to your very existence, forget about an expansion and the possibility of you acquiring more cetaceans.

The advertisement in the mall made me wonder if you are, like Enbridge, just going to steam ahead with a campaign of misinformation and propaganda, regardless of public opinion. When I look at the oil company ads and compare them to yours, I can say one thing for sure; you are both using whales to make money. Smart.
At least you aren't Japan, where the government subsidises an illegal whale hunt in the Southern Ocean or a dolphin slaughter/capture in Taiji. At least you are using the whales for profit for years, instead of just turning them into sushi.
I am sure right now that you are offended I would even mention your use of cetaceans versus theirs. But is it that different, considering the captured dolphins (many of them young) will find their way to Cetacean and Dolphin amusement parks just like yours?
When you promote the exploitation of these beautiful, sentient beings here, you promote it everywhere.

I wouldn't doubt that Vancouver Aquarium is one of the best facilities in the world and that your staff and trainers genuinely care about the animals. But the industry itself is in question here, the very act of keeping whales and dolphins captive is inhumane and cruel. This is not where these beings should be living out their lives.
This is why the mortality rate for births amongst captive whales is so high. And not only for births but life expectancy is drastically reduced for captive mammals. (Sun Sentinel, 2004)

This is not new information to you so I need not waste your time re-hashing it. It is interesting to note that every other zoo and animal exploitation business in Canada have eliminated dolphins and whales from their programs entirely. And your company is set to expand. I give you full points for audacity and perseverance. Your goal is to succeed and damn the torpedoes, you say.
It is also interesting that your director of communications and your scientists wouldn't speak to the Straight for the article that was written.
You would think that if you stood behind what you do, you would publicly defend it, no matter the occasion. You probably thought that the Straight article would  be biased and it probably is but it still looks bad on you for not even bothering to show up and defend your point of view or even to participate in the discussion. I guess you feel you are saying all you need to say through your advertising campaign at malls and on buses, where it shows a happy little group of Belugas and nary a glass cage to be seen anywhere. It appears that the whales enjoy their captivity. Many biologists and former trainers can assure you, they don't enjoy it. (see Blackfish, 2013)

Regardless of your slick as oil campaign, let's hope for the future of whales, that your expansion goes to a referendum and you lose. And, ultimately, the whales win.
In the meantime, ever consider converting those whale tanks into swimming pools? That would be a lot more fun for everyone.

Sincerely,
Tony Durke

teh olympics

The Olympics rage on (more like creep) and I find myself more excited by the advertising than the olympic sports themselves. Except curling, which is the most riveting game I have seen in a while. These folks are a different breed. Their weapon of choice is a broom, they call those heavy things that slide on the ice rocks and the Norwegian team is wearing some absolutely ridiculous pants.
The dude that yells at the sweeping dudes and the rock thrower dude, really fucking yells at them. "Hurry hard!" and just "Hard!" What could be better than that?
It seems kind of colloquially Canadian in a way, too, as a sport. For the people that suck at hockey or just don't like hockey because it is a douche bag sport that attracts hordes of douche bags and if you don't believe me, go hang out at a stadium after a game lets out.

Yes, curling is the game of the people who just want to chill out and try and hit each other's rock with their rock on the ice. It is the game of people who still live in their hometowns and stay in touch with their high school friends. It is family in a way that figure skaters and hockey players will never know and can only dream of.
It is the everyman sport, the one thing in the Olympics that we think we could do, given a gruelling training regimen and some corporate and state funding.
Hell, we could probably do it after a few beer. I hear there are many curling clubs that started as 'beer leagues' and eventually went pro.
It is the stuff of small town legends. But then, who knew that Canada's latest and best figure skater would come out of Fort Saint John, of all places in the world a figure skater would come from? It turns out that the small, northern, British Columbia town has a formidable speed skating program, with a brand new, state of the art ice facility?

I always beat up on the Olympics for their corporate sponsored tyranny and their expropriation of public money, just to name but two of the many reasons I despise the corporeal-fascist machine that is the Olympics but I always fall in love with the athletes and their wondrous feats of human physical achievement.
I get sucked in to the danger and the stories of each athlete and let's face it, the networks do a terrific job of winding us all up and getting us to join the passion and the drama, whether we want or not.
I hear the argument for boycotting the Games and I also hear one against it.

I think it is better that the world has their eyes on Russia and all their anti-gay bullshit right now. If the Olympics weren't on, nobody would care. The same goes for Pussy Riot, the Arctic 30 and jailed oil tycoon, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who were let out of prison with many others, just a few short weeks ago. Many classify all of the above as political prisoners.
They were given amnesty so that Coke and McDonalds wouldn't end up with any egg on their faces. After all, there are some pretty sweet endorsements to be had and nobody wants discomfort about human rights at the Olympics.
I guess I won't mention the shootings of stray dogs and the captive cetaceans...

Canada places 4th in the medal count. May the best athletes prevail and may the Motherland find peace.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014



Think about the way the music sounded. Some of my earliest and most vivid memories are listening to music or singing. Only later, would I come to play a musical instrument and that would shape the course of my life for years to come, probably for the rest of my days.
I will always love the power of music, it can make you dance uncontrollably or it can make you feel glass-breakingly broken.
It can draw at the strings of your heart if placed with perfect visual imagery. It can be the thing that finds its way into your mind and refuses to pack up and go home.
It defines all cultures, regardless of contact. It crosses all age and race lines. It is an equaliser.
It is an international language. Spoken by everyone.
1993. The Queen firing a machine gun. That is all.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

Freedom Olympics, Russia style!


As we move closer to the Olympics, there are more damaging stories about human rights violations, evictions, anti-gay laws, many unfinished athlete housing units, two captured killer whales, the killing of stray dogs, quashed right to protest (except in a small park miles from any Olympic venue) all for the princely sum of $50 billion dollars. If I was Russian, I would be fucking pissed. 
Seriously. 

How absurd that we are going to turn a blind eye to all of it and take the fucking picture from the pretty side and act like a bunch of fascist twats for two weeks, waving our flags and using the royal 'we' to describe a win someone has accomplished, as if it were us that had actually achieved something.
People do this with all kinds of sports, like it was something other than them watching it from their couch, with beer in hand, shouting advice at the television.

The way that we don't really care about anything other than the shiny shit is our trademark move.
Everyone have fun at the Olympics. Don't forget to wave yer flags...