Thursday, September 18, 2014

Teachers I Have Known...Mr. H.


Mr. H. was my Grade 12 biology teacher.

I honestly remember very little about what he taught us, which is weird given that I am now a card carrying cell biologist who does a little teaching on the side.

But I do remember how inspiring he was and how he could hold everybody's rapt attention, so much so that his classes were ones you DIDN'T want to end, even during the last period of sunny afternoons. 

I also remember his abiding sense of fairnness, which is a big deal when you are in highschool.

Anyway, Mr. H. was one of the few teachers I kept in touch with after I moved on to other things (I really wish I'd done more of that - I love it when I hear from the kids I've taught).

One of my proudest moments was when I sent him a paper I wrote, twenty years ago now, that helped, in a small way, start a field in the cell biological world called 'mechanotransduction'.

Good luck with your voting today teachers, no matter which way it goes!


Teachers I Have Known...Mr. O.


Mr. O. was my homeroom teacher in Grade 8.

The start of junior high school and all that.

He also was the first person to start me on the path to learning French badly as occurred back then in British Columbia secondary curricula (at least as I remember it - little conversation, all grammar).

But somehow Mr. O. made an impression on me because, when I was struggling with a problem that seemed monumental at the time (i.e. quitting rugby so I could play basketball - you'd have to know my family), he sat me down in his empty classroom and explained that if I wanted to play a dumb game with hoops (he, like my Dad, was a rugby player) that was fine by everybody, most importantly, me.

And he was right - when I told my Dad it was fine by him to.

I'm telling you....The stuff that goes on in a teenager's head.

One other thing....After we were done with the sports talk, Mr. O asked me what I really wanted to do with my life.

I remember not having a clue.

At least not then.

But I do remember thinking about it a little.

Good luck with your voting today teachers, no matter which way it goes!


Teachers I Have Known...Miss W.


Something weird happened to me between the ages of 9 and 10.

Which is that I started to read like a madman.

So much so, that after an initial flurry of sports biographies and Hardy Boys and all that, I'd read a whole lot of Vonnegut by the time the summer I started staying up all night to read, by flashlight, in a pup tent, at the age of 11.

Part of that was my Dad's fault.

But looking back I can see clearly that it all started in grade 4 with Ms. W. who got us to read chunks of stuff and then tell the class about it.

I really loved that...Reading stuff and then telling people about it.

So I guess you all can blame Mr. W. for what I do around here.


Good luck with your voting today teachers, no matter which way it goes!


Teachers I Have Known...Mrs. G.


I was at a brand new school in Grade 2.

Ms. G. was my teacher and even though it was 47 years ago this month I still distinctly remember the absolute joy (and relief) of being completely comfortable the very first day.

And then she taught me to play the recorder.

And later, because she ran the school choir she taught me to kinda/sorta/almost sing.

So you can blame her for all this.


Good luck with your voting today teachers, no matter which way it goes!


Quick Wins Resurrection Shuffle...Another Thing That Was Not Mentioned In The Dyble Report.


After 'Quick Wins' broke BEFORE the last general election, Ms. Clark had her man John Dyble investigate the other men and women in her own office (i.e. the Office Of The Premier Of British Columbia) regarding the so-called 'hatching' of plans to do BC Liberal Party work inside both that office and the whole of the government of British Columbia.

Here is the 'spreadsheet' evidence of who was involved in the 'hatching'.

And here is when Mr. Dyble reported that the 'hatching' occurred:

"...Following the December 1, 2011 meeting (where the scheme was hatched by 11 people made up of 6 government employees, 4 BC Liberal Caucus employees and 1 BC Liberal Party employee), Mike Lee took the notes away and prepered on his work computer a first draft of the spreadsheet capturing the ideas and activites that were discussed in the meeting. The IT security investigation shows that the document was shared with Dave Ritchie, Executive Assistant to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism, and then Primrose Carson, the Executive Director of the BC LIberal Caucus. A draft of this spreadsheet is part of the materials released by the Official Opposition during the week of Februrary 25, 2013..."

Please note that was late 2011.

Please note that the by-election that led to the recent charges in the wake of Quick Wins took place in 2012. 

Please note that, as Bill Tieleman recently reported in The Tyee, that 2012 by-election was never mentioned in the Dyble Report that was released BEFORE the election in early 2013.

And what was that other thing that was not mentioned in the Dyble Report and only surfaced in a document dump AFTER the general election in the summer of 2013?

Why that would be that Email from one of the fine folks charged (and who was, it would appear, also named twice in that 'hatching' spreadsheet noted above) suggesting that an offer of an 'inducement' should be made to the whistleblower whose cooperation, it would also appear, likely contributed to the subsequent investigations by the authorities and the special prosecutor.


At least the trickiest of all tricky ones had the good sense to keep the plumbers in the basement.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#BCED Postscript...After Them The Deluge?


The following was posted up on the White Spot book of faces page not before the tentative deal was struck:

A message from White Spot

For more than 85 years, White Spot has valued and served this province’s thousands of teachers and generations of students. We have also, for more than 85 years, willingly dedicated ourselves to support numerous worthy charities – fund-raising and pitching in to improve the lives of children and their parents, in the communities where we ourselves live, and work.

For this reason, we sincerely hope the difficult issues that are impacting so many of our valued guests across British Columbia are resolved quickly and fairly. Many of you have indicated to us that you have a strong commitment to the well-being of this province’s children – a commitment which White Spot shares.

To correct any misunderstanding, we want our valued guests to know that White Spot has not had – and will not have – any involvement in the Coalition of BC Business’s application for intervener status in the upcoming appeal involving the BC Teachers Federation and the provincial government. White Spot is not a member of the Coalition of BC Business – although we, like the majority of chain and independent restaurants in B.C. – are a member of Restaurants Canada (formerly the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association), which is a Coalition member....


I reckon that there at least a few things to consider from this, including...

Firstly....While this is a good first step, neither White Spot nor the Oak Bay Beach Hotel (who have made a similar statement according to BIV's Janet Steffenhagen) seems to have separated themselves from the Association that is sticking it's nose into the court case.

Secondly.....Don't forget, the case has not yet been heard, so the pressure can still be applied to all various and sundry establishments if the citizenry feels that is the right approach to take.

Thirdly....Could you imagine the caterwaul that would have been emitted by the proMedia 'round here if there had been even the slightest evidence in, say, the teachers' federation before the tentative deal was struck...So on this 'Intervenor' association/federation thing, how come so little has shown up in the proMedia regarding its demonstrable cracks?


This Day In Snookland...The Thanking.


From the beginning of a note from a teacher to our fine Premier, written yesterday:

Dear Christy,

Just wanted to send a quick thank you! Thank you so much for creating the conditions that injected new life into our democracy when your unethical actions galvanized citizens out of apathy. Many citizens have reacted as I imagine a spouse would when they discover that their partner has been cheating. They are enraged now that the scales of media obfuscation have been removed from their eyes and they have discovered what lies behind your smile...



This is one time when Ms. Clark really should just stop saying 'anything', particularly about historical agreements and great days and all of that, for a few days at least.

Because if she is not careful she really could inflame a whole lot of teachers who are having a hard time with the tentative deal which many feel is not what they fought for on either front.

I mean, I'm pretty sure all concerned, including the ideological wizards behind the curtain and, presumably, Ms. Clark (although who really knows) don't want a 'No' vote tomorrow.


And, in my opinion the teacher at the top is right...And, taking things one step further, it is also my opinion that the union has done all that it can to hold the line...And, so...If we want to move that line in the right direction it is we the citizenry who have to do our jobs now...At the ballot box.


#BCED (ctd)....A Little More On The 'BC Parents Federation'


The 'BC Parents Federation' was, according to CBC News at least (but not Global), behind the 'counter-protest' kerfuffle at a public education rally in downtown Vancouver on Sunday.

At the time we decided to try and find out who these fine folks were, and what they were all about, by sniffing around online.

Which led to all kinds of bizarrity on the Twittmachine that was followed by a rapid disappearing of websites, etcetera.

All that can be found here if you work backward through the links.

But now, Ian Young, one of the few journalists left in Lotusland that actually digs for a living (and whose stuff is published thousands of kilometres away) has a little bit more:

....Members of the British Columbia Parents’ Federation (BCPF), some wearing surgical masks, unfurled a large vinyl banner carrying their group’s name in English and Chinese as they attempted to march on a larger rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in support of the industrial action on Sunday...


...Among the BCPF protesters were some of the same people who vocally opposed the Vancouver School Board’s adoption of a new policy on transgender students in May. They included Charter Lau, a prominent Hong Kong immigrant and social conservative who has previously sought election to the Burnaby School Board...


Is anybody catching a wee bit of the whiff of the Glimmer Twins (scroll down a little) in all of this?



You know.

And then, of course, there is the utterly and inexplicably true bizarrity of....This.
Update: Ian Young, via the Twittmachine says he has no knowledge of an involvement of the actual Glimmering Twins in this particular kerfuffle...


The Summertime Jukebox So Far.

...Bigger E, doing her thing at the corner of Haight and Ashbury in Baghdad By The Bay.

Home Is Where The Heart Of The Poetry Is...

Song for Mount Polley...

Train We Will Forever Ride, No Matter How Many Coaches Long...

Can purgatory be found lurking in the parking lot of a Super 8 motel?...

For My Friend Ian....

Will The Golden Era Never End....

Our Neil, Pocahontas and Thee...

Springsteen, Mashed Potatoes and Me...

When In Doubt Ask Yourself...What Would Danko Do?

What Canada Day Means to Me and Mine...

At The End of The (Busking) Day It's What Everybody Wants...

Vincent/Starry, Starry Night It's Not...

When Busking and French Immersion Collide...

Gram Goes To Goteborg...

The Still-Beating Heart Of Alt. Country...


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This Day In Snookland....A Bedazzling Endorsement From The Mesmerized.


..."When I first met Christy Clark, it was working on branding her Vancouver mayoral campaign. Although she didn't win, I knew one day that she would achieve something greater," Pickett said. "The sparkle in her eye and the way she presented herself when she entered a room was truly mesmerizing."...

Such a wonderful reason to do all you can to make a person the Premier of a province, eh?


In case you are wondering who said that....

It came from the very fine, finest of the fine person who has been running that Snooklandian bought-and-paid-for social media (and more!) anti-teacher campaign lo these many weeks.

Bob Mackin had the story yesterday in The Tyee.

(and yes, as you may have guessed the six figure, plus, contract went to that particular member of the finest of the finely mesmerized untendered).

Previous editions of previous Snooklandian Daze can be found....Here....This particularly obvious one is probably worth replaying today...For the record.