Friday, October 31, 2008

Elect and protect (click on this headline)

On November 15 vote for Tyler Ducharme if you have any interest at all in improving life in the downtown area of Maple Ridge and Haney.

Vote Ducharme - it will do ya no harme!!

More bus images from Oct 30 2008 between 11:20AM and 2PM

A bus comes calling

As a regular user of the West Coast Express bus service I was surprised to discover yesterday that they now make door stops (with the help of an old Cedar tree of course).

The bus missed our place by about 15'. Thankfully the injuries were minor. This is a dangerous part of the Haney By-pass as anyone who attempts to cross it at Calaghan will tell you.

I wonder if we can get council to get us a set of lights there. Naaah.


Maple Ridge Municipal Elections - Candidates seem unified on issues

If one is to believe the local media [and of course one is] then it appears that the three mayoral candidates and indeed all the council hopefuls are all on the same page when it comes to almost every issue of any consequence in this dormitory community. It is safe to say that everyone agrees that Maple Ridge is by every definition the sleepy hollow of the Fraser Valley; not that there is anything wrong with that.

Given this universal consensus of opinion among our politicos the citizens of Maple Ridge will or may be tempted to make their choice less on the views of the candidates and more on whether the candidate can deliver on any one of the short list of aspirations we all share:
  • keep it green and keep it clean (the ALR)
  • reduce one and increase the other (residential tax base v. business and commercial taxes)
  • densify whenever and wherever you can (the downtown areas now newly defined)
  • make Maple Ridge more attractive to business
  • get that public transport system a step closer to reality (light rail along the Lougheed)
  • do all we can to stop or at least slow down sprawl (happily excessive inventory in our single detached homes will take care of this problem for many years to come)
  • Drug dealing, prostitution, violent crime, petty theft and vandalism (just knock down Northumberland Court on Fraser Street and get a court order for its majority owner to do some sort of community service. Perhaps if he just left town that would be service enough.)
  • Haney Place Mall (see point above)
  • Valley Fair Mall (keep up the good work)
And so on and so on. Next year we will head back into the bull markets globally, though it will only be felt in 2010. The two bridges will begin to impact Maple Ridge though no one really knows how; perhaps the effects have already been factored and we will see little change.

It would be awful to see the same old faces on council of course. Politics is grimly predictable though in Maple Ridge and it is unlikely that we will see a 'bench change' of any significance. One thing is for sure, who is elected next Mayor will be well known to all. There are a few new faces running for council and they are all being very nice to each other right now. Let's see how long the peace lasts. For a lasting peace I am going to vote for Ernie Daykin. Either of the other two candidates will bring their own, unique brand of chaos to the Chamber. 

It would be nice to see a council more engaged in the day to day affairs of the District rather than just presiding over a conveyor belt of subdivision applications; we deserve better. Fortunately the recession will lessen the  flow of development permits being issued  (for the moment at least). But don't worry, they'll be back in 2010 and 2011. In the meantime the green-keepers can sleep at night. And pick-up trucks will be among the 'best buys' at our local dealerships (see Dodge and Ford) for some time to come.

The Farmers' Market will expand and may even sport locally grown produce one day though I am not holding my breath.

It is a shame that we do not have some exciting candidates like junk-yard Dave and that adult store guy whatshisname running this time around. Local tourist attraction Linda could make a clean breast of things and throw her bra into the ring. We have all sorts of interesting people who could make election 'more funner' to use the vernacular. But fun is not for us; consensus rules the day. Gordy says so, so you better believe it!!


November 5, 2008 - THE HEADLINES




Saturday, October 25, 2008

Surrealism - A form of art in which an attempt is made to represent and interpret the phenomena of dreams and similar experiences.[Oxford Dictionary]

The 2008 race for the presidency of the United States is awash in dreamlike qualities that warrant interpretation by all concerned.

And, as it happens, when the USA is the subject of discussion, all indeed are concerned. Is there a being on the planet left untouched (or should one say unscathed) by what happens in that country? That country so far away for many, yet irritatingly near to all.

The world watches with disbelief as the presidential campaign rages. The funds to float each candidate alone are stunning - more so if one understands that these are the very funds that find their genesis in such instruments of fiscal tomfoolery as the now infamous credit default swaps ("CDS"). A financial instrument once hidden from public scrutiny, now understood by even the most rudimentarily educated citizen. The CDS, a national ponzi scheme, cheque kiting on an international scale. And that, it seems is just the beginning of this unseemly fiasco.

The CDS system of bailing out debt, bucket by bucket between our esteemed institutions is just the birth place for a system which - had the man in the street known - would have been shown the abortionists table many years ago.

Greenspan - an appropriate name for the man who presided over the the spanning of more green than any other before him, can now be seen and heard publicly saying I told you so while we scratch our heads saying 'told us what?'And Bernanke, shaky of voice, stares blankly into the CNN lens yet continues spanning, stretching, eking out every morsel of debt from every tidbit of credibility that debt for paper will allow. Wondrous.

Yet, were it not so, where would we all be - those of us fortunate to make up the 10% of the world that eats, sleeps and works without apparent stress (well, that's how it used to be) or strain.

Are we to take the US seriously? Perhaps we should have 4 years ago and 8 years ago and 12 years ago and 16 years ago and so on back to the days of confederation. Historians can doubtless point to events that lead this nation, great as it was once, to the point now where it is simply a parody of itself. A self-mocking goofy-kid, spoilt, gluttonous yet disarmingly friendly and reaching out as if to say; sorry man, I did not mean to piss you off.

How do so many decent folk come together to represent a national oaf?

The lies, the deceipt, the fear, the greed, the humpty-dumpty fragility of politics in the US mesmerizes all but the brain dead. Lurching from bravado to tears, from war to remorse, from bully to samaritan, from destroyer to saviour - where will this journey end? Even the enemy, unseen as he is, knows that this USA cannot be undone. Unwound perhaps, but not undone. Chastised for sure, chagrined with ease, scolded for sure; bothered, buggered and beset upon no doubt. Stunned, oh yes. Only to rise on the wings of its beloved eagle, dragging that flag behind it in its talons, up, up, up into the blue skies above California and Arizona and beyond. A flip of the dollar 'heads you win' and whammo, the US is back in business. You know it.

Addicted to war and debt, a few years in detox and the US will emerge from the next 4 years of democratic rule to our head-shaking disbelief, in glory once more, ready to topple into the next partisan abyss.

It is not oil. That would be be too simple. They put a simple man there to disguise a simple myth these past 8 years. What it is, is the a need for recognition. The US wants us to know that it is relevant. And like it or not, it is.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jeffrey's Bay 1964

Bosco sliding right at Paardeneiland in Cape Town circa. 1964.

One of the earliest groups to visit and surf the now fabled J Bay was this group of bums including a guy called Bosco, sitting back to camera.

Deja pooh.......

With less than a week to go to the US election and with Nov 15 2008 looming in our local election here in Maple Ridge it is tempting to think that perhaps the next four years and three years will somehow be different from the past - fat chance.

It is refreshing though to see some new names on the candidate list. One is tempted to vote only for those names that one does not recognize or heard very little of.

This Morden chappy seems like an interesting fellow. On the hand we certain names which frankly should have been archived years ago. Each candidate wants the same, so it is more about who can deliver rather than what is to be delivered. Morden's wish list seems to reflect that of all the other candidates, a sort of man for all causes:

  • Enhance Transit and Roads (yay)
  • Economic development (yay)
  • Create local employment (yay)
  • Expand and balance our tax base (yay)
  • Address Crime and Homelessness (yay)
  • Enhance Arts and Culture (yay)
  • More Local Shopping Opportunities (good luck with this one, unless you mean more Loonie stores)
  • Respect for Environment (yay)
Did he leave anything out?

Al Hogarth's message is curious: "I am still listening." Some clever git wrote underneath Al's message:"Why didn't you hear me the first time."

Gord has had so much to say these past 3 years that he has finally relented and says in his campaign advertisement: "Time for you to have your say." 

Craig Speirs has strung a series of cliches into meaningful sentences in his state of the environment address to his loyal subjects. And Sather goes tripping over a list of hobbies that reach all but nauseating lows.

It is all great fun of course, but one does hope to see some fresh faces in council next time around.  

Hopefully in this welcome housing downturn the District of Maple Ridge will be able to focus on the simpler aspects of municipal life and less on the the frantic antics of our developer-realtor community. We have enough inventory for years to come so need to waste any further time with applications on subdivisions or ALR applications. A broke economy will keep us safe from sprawl. The important thing now is to keep the recession going for as long as possible.

Quiet times ahead. Excellent!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Thank You

Lunatic Surfer or Destiny, Donald Paarman, 2008 A biography; this book tells the story of so many more lives than its central figure, South African surf icon Donald Paarman. Further, it manages to grind out between each crude or poetic page aspects of the world of surfing between the 1950s and 1980s and up to this present day which only those who ‘were there’ may understand. How familiar surfers are with the term ‘you shoulda been here yesterday.’ For those of us fortunate to have been there yesterday, Lunatic Surfer or Destiny is a ‘must read.’

Paarman seemingly carves from his raw life moments of intense despair, self-doubt, naivety and joy. In the same way as he may have paddled into a 15’ monster at the Kom Outer or Supertubes so did he paddle into life, not always certain where the ride would end; a disaster on a rocky beach or screaming cut out just moments before disaster struck.

To some readers this story may read as a piece of fiction, a reflection of an LSD, booze and dope fuelled brain clinging on to some vague memories from the past and stringing them in a rudimentary way together in a contrivance of myth-making and legend. To those who rode the same wave the story of Donald’s life may seem somewhat (Whaaaat!) matter of fact. Many of us may be tempted to think there but for the grace of Goddo go I.

For this reader Lunatic Surfer or Destiny hits home personally at many levels. As children Donald and I competed in swimming competitions at Christian Brothers College. My secret name for the school was Christian ‘Bothers’ College as the Christians bothered me daily. We must have started surfing roughly around the same time as we both stopped swimming at roughly the same time and surfing took hold of our lives and the lives of so many kids in Cape Town. I only had one rule, when Donald was in the water I would get out. This was because I got my more pleasure watching this genius at work at Long Beach, the Kom or J. Bay than I did from my own inept attempts at surfing.

To this dayI can see in my mind’s eye his almost lackadaisical style as he astonished his audiences on the beach with his elegant style and unbelievable recoveries from some situations from which it seemed he stood no chance of ‘making it.’

Lunatic Surfer or Destiny reminds us of the many characters who populated our young chaotic lives; the Bokhorst brothers, Thys and Frank (Murphy). John Whitemore (Oom), Ponting lad and Paul Botha. Interestingly, and perhaps typically for Donald, he frequently alludes to people in the book who he may admire less, but does not expose. I know for instance who was at the wheel of the boat that injured his brother with its propellers. It happens too that we know who it was who scammed him out of his dug profits and took off for France to marry and live happily ever after. There are many instances like this and it says so much for Donald that he remains silent when he could voice indignation.

Poetry and imagery follows the reader throughout. When Donald talks about the smell of the ocean in the damp Catholic Church in Camp’s Bay anyone who has smelled that smell can smell it once more, as though it was yesterday.

The quest for truth theme runs throughout and this reader paused to reflect that the title for this book may have been Catholic Boy Lost in a Sea of Goddism. Sweetly Donald tells us what he has learned and why he continues his search, but he tells us in no uncertain terms that no longer is he lost. Bravely he subjects the ANC to some very basic truths in so refreshing a style that it is hard to argue with his view of South Africa. Tragically he portrays not only his own life as a driverless bus, but to some degree as the once sturdy Viking Family of Catholics ages so to the flaws widen in some places and love consolidates in others.

Lunatic Surfer or Destiny astounds in one way. Given the lifelong addiction to dagga, LSD and drink how on earth did Donald manage to remember everything in such fine detail? If you want to test how difficult this is just ask Chemical Clive what he had for breakfast. As a wannabe writer this reader has yet to pull off of full-blown publication and I am thankful to Donald and his supporters for this biography as it stands as possibly the least pretentious, accurate and complete account of a wonderful era. Thank you Donald, you truly are THE MAN.

Claus “Bosco” Andrup
Maple Ridge, British Columbia

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Ernie Daykin for Mayor

This November vote for Ernie Daykin as our new Mayor of Maple Ridge.

Tyler Ducharme for Council.

Old blood mixed with new blood makes 'just right' blood.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Bailout - hard to know

Just a guess. Hard to know. But here goes.

This little blogger held that Congress was right the first time to vote 'no' to the bailout.

A little bit of politicking and bullying in Washington and shazzam the vote is reversed a few days later.

This little blogger remains stuck on the notion that the first 'no' should have been the call again. No, no, no to bailing out debt with debt in a falling GDP. 

The markets looked modestly north at the time of the 'yes' vote today and then bless my cotton socks if they didn't head south before the close.

The question to which we will never know the answer to is; how much worse would it have been if the vote had been 'no' on the this Friday October 3, 2008. This little blogger's guess is that the result would have been roughly the same. In other words the US congress has just tossed another $700 billion into the socialist abyss.

Well, blog me to tears!!! How many decades or hundreds of years will it take to learn the basics.