Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Hornet's Nest of Note

A can’t lose proposal to improve the Olympic Games

A can’t lose proposal to improve the Olympic Games
“Perceptions” by Gerry Warner
You may not know it, but the Olympic Games really are ancient, stretching all the way back to 776 BC on the plains of Olympus when a cook named Koroibis won the foot race, which was 600 feet long and athletes were often naked when they competed, something like beach volleyball, but I digress.
The modern Olympics began fittingly enough in Athens in 1896 and were the brainchild of Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who wanted the first Games held in Paris in 1900, but everyone was so enthralled with the idea, the Games were moved ahead four years and held in the ancient Greek capital to great acclaim.

Since then, the Olympic Games have been held every four years in 22 cities with Athens, London, Los Angeles and Paris each having held the games twice. Athletes don’t run, jump or frolic in the sand half-naked anymore, but there is one thing consistent about the modern Olympics – they almost always lose money, tremendous amounts of money. The 1976 Montreal Olympics, for example, cost $1.6 billion and took 30 years to pay off. The Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia are believed to be the most expensive yet, but the actual cost is a closely kept secret. However, you can believe it’s more rubles than you or I can count.

But John Rennie Short, a public policy professor at the University of Maryland, thinks he has a better idea and many strongly agree with him. It’s a simple and elegant idea, and oh would it save money! Hold the Olympics at the same location every year. Not only would it save tons of money, but it would hopefully reduce Olympic corruption too if that’s possible.
“The poor get screwed to hold the Olympics because they often get displaced,” says Rennie, adding the Beijing Olympics alone forced up to half-a-million Chinese residents to leave their homes, which were promptly demolished.

Keeping the Olympics in the same location offers many other advantages too. The Games now are largely a real estate play with billions spent on infrastructure to build and service Olympic venues, which of course, are funded by the local taxpayers while the International Olympic Committee and big broadcasters make millions in profit in licensing fees and selling advertising. And more often than not when the Games are over the huge stadiums and other facilities left over from the events become giant white elephants sitting half empty or totally empty, or in the case of the infamous “Big O” stadium in Montreal, start crumbling to the ground.
The amount of waste associated with staging an Olympic Games has become obscene and so has the corruption accompanying the waste.

Another advantage to keeping the Games at one locale is it would create better, benchmarks for the athletes because the venues would always be the same and so would the altitude and general weather conditions. When the Games were held in Mexico City in 1968 athletes that lived at high altitudes similar to the Mexican capital at 7,200 feet (2,250 metres) had a distinct advantage over the ones from lower coastal locations unless they were able to find a high altitude spot to train.
And to this writer at least, and probably many others, the most obvious permanent location for the summer Olympics would be Greece where the historic and mythological tradition began in the first place. Think of it. The Olympic torch being lit on Mt. Olympus and being carried by runners – preferably of the female,  half naked, beach volleyball variety – down the volcanic slopes of the spiritual mountain to a Great Stadium in Athens where roses and garlands would be presented to them as one of the shapely runners mounted the pedestal to light the Olympic Flame.

You can bet this would draw a world-wide TV audience in the billions and in fairness most of the TV profits should go to pay for any new facilities needed to be built and to Greece itself which started this wonderful, world-wide tradition to begin with and has an economy badly in need of a boost.

I don’t see how anyone could disagree with my proposal.

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who hasn’t been to Wreck Beach in years.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

What's Happening...

TODAY, Saturday August 20th

Cranbrook Farmer's Market
9:00am - 1:00pm
adjacent to Rotary park

Multi Cultural Festival
Rotary Park

Tragically Hip
Live Feed Concert
Key City Theatre

The Gallery
Baker St.
'Steeling the Show'
featuring the work of, Paul Reimer, Henry Hamilton, Tony and Twila Austin, Bill and Karen McColl, Howie Mason

Tuesday August 23rd

Cranbrook Garden Club
25th Anniversary Celebration
at the home of Janice and Albert Pelltier

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Out and About with Stewart - Blue Heron tries on a 'spike hair do'

An open letter to anyone interested in the American election, Gerry Warner

An open letter to anyone interested in the American election
“Perceptions” by Gerry Warner
Perhaps the Rolling Stones said it best. “You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find. You get what you need.” Except we’re not talking rock and roll here. We’re talking politics, and if my American friends – Canadian too – will forgive me, I would like to offer some heartfelt advice on the presidential race.
For God’s sake give Hillary a chance!
Never, in all my years of covering politics, have I seen a politician demonized as much as Hillary Rodham Clinton. To listen to the hate-charged venom of her critics, you’d think she eats babies for breakfast, consorts with the devil and was an ex-member of the Charles Manson Gang. “Lock her up! Lock her up!” they scream at Trump rallies implying she committed some heinous crime for which she’s gone unpunished. I beg to point out that Hillary hasn’t been convicted of anything despite being investigated to death by the media, politicians out to build their careers at the expense of hers, a panel of judges in the alleged Whitewater affair and a Congressional committee regarding the Benghazi attack as well as a rogue presidential candidate, who last week scurrilously suggested her fate should be left  to the gun-toting members of the National Rifle Association and their arsenal of automatic weapons.
What are they going to suggest next – a lynching? Don’t you think it’s time to put some perspective on this crazed hate-fest before something happens that we all regret with the potential to destabilize American politics at a time when world politics themselves are on the abyss of destabilization?
So back to the beginning. Hillary Clinton has not been convicted of anything. On the contrary, she has had an extraordinarily successful career that has seen her rise from a feminist, anti-Vietnam War activist and civil rights movement supporter at Wellesley College and a rising political star. Not long later, as she put it, “I chose to follow my heart instead of my head,” and married another rapidly rising political star, Bill Clinton, who was then running for governor in his home seat in Arkansas. Together the two were a dynamite political team and Hillary played a key role in Bill’s rise to president and a strong, if controversial, force in his presidency thereafter.
We all know the rest, from being elected a New York Senator twice, appointed US Secretary of State by President Obama and the humiliation of being cuckolded in
the Oval Office by a White House intern yet incredibly maintaining her composure and political career despite the indignity committed by her philandering husband.
Hillary Clinton is one remarkable woman, but like the rest of us flawed, and in the cruel world of politics, her enemies know how to exploit her flaws, both fairly and  unfairly, and in many cases, viciously.
Case in point – she can’t be trusted. This is the oldest political throwaway line in the books. Can any politician be trusted? If you ask people on the street you know the answer you’ll get 999 times out of a thousand and you can disregard this criticism accordingly. The Benghazi raid? What is the Secretary of State supposed to do? Call the Benghazi embassy every night to make sure they’ve locked the doors and turned the lights out? Ridiculous! Her home email server? A bad lapse in judgment for sure and she has been rightfully criticized for it. But can you imagine how 24/7 busy the US Secretary of State must be? So for convenience sake she sets up a confidential email server in her home. Even Bernie Sanders refused to criticize her for that.
But let’s get down to the real nitty-gritty of Hillary criticism, her gender. Poll-after-poll-after poll says Hillary is least popular, or more hated if you will, by men. Especially older, less educated men of a traditional and conservative temperament.
But even men in general because her female voice reminds them of their mothers and female teachers nagging them in their youth. Confession here. I often feel the same way. Her less than charismatic female voice irritates me. When I read what Hillary says I’m good with it. But when I hear her say it, I’m at least a tad irritated. It’s the male in me.
But folks, like it or not, the fate of the world to a large degree hangs on this election. Do you want to see a narcissistic and impulsive megalomaniac with virtually no political experience get access to the red button or would you prefer a mature, steady, self-aware wife and mother that also happens to have a wealth of political experience?
Surely the answer is obvious.

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist who was once elected himself.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Camping in an Electric Blue Tear Drop, Parks Canada

England's Plastic Bag Usage Drops

'Fantastic News': England's Plastic Bag Usage Drops by 85% by Lorraine Chow

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) announced that 6 billion fewer plastic bags were taken home by shoppers in England. The levy also resulted in a £29 million ($38 million) donated to charity and other good causes thanks to the charge.

"This is the equivalent to the weight of roughly 300 blue whales, 300,000 sea turtles or three million pelicans," DEFRA said about the eliminated bags.
To arrive at the 6 billion figure, officials calculated that the seven main retailers in England (Asda, Co-operative Group, Marks & Spencer, Morrison's, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose) passed out 7.6 billion bags in 2014. However, after the 5 pence charge was enacted, the retailers handed out just over half a billion bags in the first six months.  
Incidentally, England is the last member of the UK to adopt the scheme—Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had already been charging for bags for years. Wales, for instance, stopped giving out free plastic bags back in 2011, cutting usage by 71 percent between 2011 and 2014, WalesOnline reported. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Mystery of Why Sunflowers Follow the Sun - Solved

Don’t worry. Be happy. Donald Trump is not going to be elected President and that’s a promise, Gerry Warner

Don’t worry. Be happy. Donald Trump is not going to be elected President and that’s a promise.
 “Perceptions” by Gerry Warner
Have you been losing sleep lately at the thought of a Trump presidency? Are you wondering where you can escape? If you can believe the media, millions of Americans are planning to move to Canada. So where do Canadians go?
Well, just relax. Take a Valium because one thing is glaringly obvious after the first week of real campaigning in this most bizarre of American presidential races.
A Trump presidency simply isn’t going to happen.
Not a chance. There’s a better chance of the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup next year. Or real estate prices falling in Vancouver. Or Vladimir Putin winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
There’s a famous line of poetry by G. K. Chesterton: “When fishes flew and forests walked and figs grew upon thorn . . . the devil’s walking parody of all four-footed things.”
Admit it. Metaphorically speaking, if Donald Trump isn’t the “devil’s walking parody” of presidential candidates the moon really is made of green cheese and the American moon landing in 1969 was a hoax as some claim.
You want evidence? Just look at how the Trump campaign unraveled in the first week of the race. He insulted the family of Kareem R. Kahn, a Muslim-American war hero who died in the first Iraq War, causing an uproar that erupted from coast to coast. And how did he react to the crescendo of criticism that descended on his famously-orange pate? Ego-maniac that he is, he doubled down on the criticism and made a bad blunder even worse. You don’t get to be President that way although you have to give Trump credit for being the first American to unite most Americans in support of a Muslim soldier.
That takes some doing!
But that’s not all. Also in Trump’s disastrous first week of campaigning he declined to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan, the most powerful Republican in the land. He repeated his refusal to endorse Senator John McCain, a Vietnam war hero and former Republican presidential candidate no less. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if the election campaign was “rigged” against him. This is pure paranoia and lends credence to Hillary Clinton’s best line at the Democratic convention last week that you don’t want Trump’s fingers anywhere “near the nuclear trigger.”
How true!
So what are we to make of all this? I don’t claim to be an expert on American politics, but a few things are brutally obvious about Donald J. Trump. His personality is a disaster. He listens to no one but himself and bullies anyone who disagrees with him. He’s quick to take offence, hyper-sensitive about criticism, and rather than reaching out, builds walls around what he doesn’t understand or hates. He’s a total narcissist without empathy or self-awareness, but thinks he’s qualified to be President when he’s, in fact, delusional. Can you imagine a greater disaster in the Oval Office than this pathetic, but powerful man? I can’t, and quite frankly, I don’t think most Americans can either.
That’s why I say don’t worry and be happy. Trump will not be President. The wheels are coming off his bus in the first week of his campaign. He’s up against an opponent with more electoral experience (Trump has none), more money, and though flawed, is far smarter than him. Trump doesn’t even have an organization or an electoral team beyond the media publicizing his every outrageous word or claim. Senior members of his own party are in open revolt against him. I wouldn’t be surprised if they organize a beer hall putsch and throw him out before November.
The real story line in this campaign is the future of the Republican Party, if it has a future. Like Faust, Republicans made a deal with the devil and now it’s time to pay. And it’ll be no tea party when they do. Trump and the crazed Tea Party types revel in calling Hillary Clinton “the devil.” Well, come November, “the Devil” will be their President.
Can you imagine more fitting justice than that?

Gerry Warner is a retired journalist who’s covered an election or two in his time.