“It was a time before times. Vancouver was a smaller place, but the world was bigger then. There were humans, but not so many as there are now. And the world was a different place – it was colder! Summers never got as hot or as dry as they do these days, and winters got much colder than you’ve ever seen!
“How cold could winters get? Well, think about the mountains. You all know Grouse Mountain, of course, but how many of you have been there? I tell you, to get from here to there on foot is just about impossible! Hardly anyone who doesn’t have a good pair of wings I venture has ever been to the top – but let me tell you, up there it gets COLD! Yes, even these days!
“There are mountains, believe it or not, whose peaks are even colder than that! Big mountains, higher than you can imagine, and on top, they’re covered with the source of all that cold – a fine white powder, soft and frozen, and we call it snow.
“Those mountains are the only places you’ll find snow nowadays, and then only at the very tops, and even then usually only for part of the year. But time was, or so my own Grandma told me, that near every other year we’d get about a foot and a half of it each winter. Just think – sitting in your perch by the park, and then you start dreaming of those frozen slush drinks people have. And when you wake up, your head is covered in white dust and you’re buried up to your neck in a drift of cold, white SNOW!
Once upon a time – in the future, in fact, though not too far – there was a city named Vancouver where it was warm all year long. Sure, winters were cooler than the long, hot summers, but the temperature never dipped below zero, and cloudy, rainy weather is as bad as it ever got.
In this city there was a park called Stanley. It was a big, beautiful park, full of tall trees. And in this park there lived a colony of fat, happy Canada geese.
The geese were happy, but they were also a lazy lot. They spent all day eating, swimming and honking, and slept soundly all night long.
It was very safe for the geese because nothing ever challenged them. When they walked on the street, cars stopped for them to cross. Sometimes it took a long time! And they made their nests in the silliest places! One pair made their nest on top of a building – the residents were stuck without a roof until the men from animal control arrived to bring them down!
Of late there’s been good news on the home front: the filthy swamp of pessimism plaguing the West has been drained decisively. Where once sat fear, now there is outrage. And more importantly, courage. And perhaps most importantly of all, action.
It’s no secret that Vancouver is a growing city. Look in just about any municipality, and you’ll see extensive construction projects underway; rent is through the roof and property prices have never been higher even with the new 15% tax on foreign owners. All this adds up to major congestion on just about every major road – and not just during rush hour.
He’s not a man to skirt controversy.
In his time since taking office, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ruffled everyone’s feathers, from the humblest to the greatest people, with his words and his actions.
He’s visited the Yasukuni War Shrine, in which Japanese military leaders accused of war crimes lie interred. He’s laid claim to islands in the South China Sea, the Senkaku Islands, which China also claims as its own. He’s set down a harsh economic program which has arrested the descent of the Japanese economy, yet for how long wonder his critics, with his controversial “Abenomics” economic policy. It can fairly be said that there has never been a more controversial Prime Minister in Japan since the Second World War.
Author’s note: I wrote this back in February for The Snipe News. Below is a preview.
I Lost It at the Video Store: Nostalgia for Days Past
By Jonathan Parkin
Nostalgia lies at the heart of Tom Roston’s I Lost It at the Video Store – a deep-seated yearning for that shining part of our childhood when the movie store was our easiest and often closest form of social enculturation. And it’s resounded with enough of us to make it one of the best indie books of 2015, according to Kirkus Reviews.
Growing up in a fairly liberal area, I’ve always noticed two things: firstly, that there’s a particular worldview that you’re expected to internalise; second, that said worldview is often at odds with reality.