Thursday, May 28, 2020

Neighbourhood Shrubbery

On the southwest corner of Sandra's lot, my favourite rhododendron, the late-blooming "Caractacus" -- "a strong grower with a wide habit," according to Van Den Berk.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Press Conference

How many times have we heard The Current Pandemic (TCP) likened to "wartime". Limits on toilet paper (rationing), keeping indoors (curfews), covering our nose and mouth (gas masks). So what are we to make of the country's military called in to assess the health of Ontario care homes (geronticide)? Sounds pretty wartime to me. Now add to that the Union Jack (Is it not time to ditch this colonial emblem from our provincial flags?) and it's World War Two all over again!

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


I had to EDIT/CROP this picture twice. The content should tell you why. (One has to keep a distance from signs like these.) If I was to take it further I would change "ONLY" to "ALWAYS". Not that I care much for choppers. It's just that I find "ONLY" so limiting.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Kingsway Restaurant

Above is a decoration from a long-shuttered Kingsway restaurant, the site of a shooting some 20 years ago. One of these gunshots hit the window, leaving a small hole in it. Rather than replace the window, the owners covered it with a painted mural. The hole is behind the googly eye.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Bonnie Durward

Quentin Durward (1823) is a novel by the Scottish writer Walter Scott (1771-1832). Contrary to Vancouver is Awesome, Scott's protagonist is not the source of Vancouver's Durward Street; that distinction belongs to Elizabeth "Bonnie" Durward, who came to Canada from Scotland in 1894 to work as a maid for a family that shall remain nameless.

Shortly after her arrival, Durward fled her situation and took up with the McKinnon Sisters, who raised chickens at the edge of the Tea Swamp just east of what is now Fraser Street (at 27th Avenue). Durward made tinctures from the Labrador Tea plant (Rhododendron neoglandulosum) that thrived in the swamp's boggy soil. So effective was this plant in treating bronchitis that she came to the attention of Mayor Henry Collins, who recommended that a street be named after her.

In 1902 Durward returned to Scotland to marry a Major Clark Ross, and was never heard from again.

photo: Patrick Alexander

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Marlon Brando and Elia Kazan

A homoerotic passage from Manso's Brando: the Biography (1994):

... had Marlon known this, it would not have mattered. More than anyone in the cast, he was reluctant to let the short, determined director "sneak in." Kazan, though, had already picked up on this, and while the director's aim was to mine what was underneath the surface, to excavate what he later called Brando's "great underground," he knew he had to work the rim, to proceed "gently." (224)

Friday, May 22, 2020

The Art World

Crazy letter arrives last week with a numbered company UBS AG cheque post-dated June 30, 2020 and a typed letter informing me that I have until May 21 to submit by email a self-coined term pertinent to my "recent experiences in contemporary art." No definition needed -- just a term. Once submitted, the term will be reviewed and I will be told by the post-dated date "whether or not the cheque has been cancelled," and if it is un-cancelled, I will be "free to cash it."

For 500 CHF I gave them this:

belligerent diffidence