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ASK Biblitz Archives.

'there will come one May night / of every year that she's alive / when the whole world smells of lilacs' - Al Purdy


WELCOME!

The week of Oct. 4/10 at ASKBiblitz.com

Replied to the Province E-Street question, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson argues that selling off the social housing units in the Olympic Village, as many have argued, including The Province in a recent editorial, doesn't make financial sense as it would add even more suites to the city's struggling condo market. What do you think? Should the city sell the suites? Is the social housing scaring off potential buyers of the other units?:

Whatever the City decides about the so-called 'state-of-the-art' yet barrier-full, rococo Olympic Village, which incidentally precludes full wheelchair access, the goal should be to avoid combining wildly discordant land interests - condo, rental and co-op - the surest recipe for disaster. Residents in each case have radically different interests in maintenance/repair issues. What if/when it leaks? And why are so many condo buyers now trying to escape the transaction? Answers here likely suggest the simplest solution: turning the property into much-needed rental stock.

The week of July 26/10 at ASKBiblitz.com
BrokenDreams90
At last! The Owner's Guide to B.C. Condominiums -2010 - a scathing review of strata governance in the wild, wild west in the midst of a decades-old leaky condo epidemic. The 21-page report is now available as a pdf for C$25.

PayPal icons are also embedded to welcome condo inquiries subsequent and in addition to the report.
queen90
Posted comments in response to the story, Getting Digital Statecraft Right / How to Use Technology to Promote Development by Betsy Gelb at Foreign Affairs online July 28/10:

As a long-time follower of the fascinating Internet gambling dispute between Antigua and the U.S., which provided many of us an introduction to international trade law, a great equalizer in many ways, I couldn't help applauding your sentiments. You're quite right - the U.S. should indeed take steps to repair the extreme economic and social losses the tiny island nation suffered when the Bush administration cut the heart out of the Internet gambling industry by removing foreign access to its market , which contains the biggest concentration of the world's greatest gamblers. As the great British humorist P.G. Wodehouse famously put it, America, I Like You.

What's even more irksome is that, according to Antigua's lawyer, Mark Mendel, the U.S. had actually encouraged Antigua in the wake of hurricane devastation to explore the viability of Internet gambling. When efforts began to bear fruit, America literally and unfairly pulled the plug. But when a WTO panel said so, the U.S. rather than complying determined instead to amplify Prohibition 2.0, punishing industries worldwide that had nothing at all to do with gambling.

This stupid decision continues to cost the U.S. billions in lost revenue as well as the loss of credibility in foreign policy. I am ashamed, too, of the limited role Canada undertook at third parties to protect Antigua even when Canada was itself developing a trade pact with Antigua and other Caribbean nations.

The WTO gambling decison, I'm afraid, is the poster child for America's demonstrated commitment to fair trade with developing nations. Antigua held the poker player's most dreaded hand - the bad beat - a spectacular set of cards (two victories at the WTO in which Antigua hoisted the U.S. on its own petard), but , alas, not quite enough to beat the house.

Leo Biblitz, founder
ASKBiblitz.com
More about the U.S. position on online gambling.
BrokenDreams90
Posted comments in response to the story, Long-form census controversy to take over convention centre by Bob Mackin in the Tyee.ca July 29/10:

Don't play, Tyee.ca!

Don't buy any of this StatsCan long-form Census ruse to conceal the real agenda, which is quite simply a federal bureaucrat's effort to protect some extremely profitable turf/grift.

As every civil servant knows, survival in the public service is all about budget - securing it and protecting it by spending it as quickly as possible, creating make-work project reports for pals to write to justify spending to ensure the amount is renewed and increased regularly.

No doubt StatsCan is a unique source of demographic information you'd think local governments would use to plan development and services throughout the country, but as we've seen here in B.C., planning authorities couldn't give a fiddler's fart about the needs of real people even for things like affordable housing and schools.

About half of Vancouver's downtown high-rise condos are empty, according to the mayor's office, and parents who succumbed now fight for safe parks and school spaces for their kids. Similarly reckless development at the plum west side University Endowment Lands (UEL) has created similar school competitions here. Both the community high school and elementary school are packed to the rafters and falling literally apart with various building issues, including rats and toxic mold.

Nor has StatsCan ever troubled itself to reveal anything of B.C.'s ongoing leaky condo epidemic, though it continues to cost all Canadian taxpayers and the poor, old environment hugely each year.

With no demonstrated practical value beyond lining the pockets of a few self-serving bureaucrats, the Census forms should be scrapped. At least local planning authorities who sell out consumers in favor of big developers won't be able to assert that their policies in any way reflect or even consider real demographics.
Follow the money, Tyee. How much federal grift is at stake here?

Leo Biblitz Leaky condo / affordable housing advocate no thanks to StatsCan or the housing reports it should have but never provided.

The week of July 5/10 at ASKBiblitz.com

Submitted comments to the tyee.ca story, Government Money Is There to Revive Co-op Housing / But the province has diverted a key pool of federal funds away from building family housing, by Monte Paulsen July 7/10:

Somehow (ka-ching$) planning authorities throughout B.C. have given themselves permission to ignore:

(a) population demographics, which should determine the type and amt of affordable housing required,

(b) basic principles and features of preferred affordable housing styles (see http://www.askbiblitz.com/housing4.php),

(c) the track record of architect/developer teams submitting development applications and

(d) quite often studies by their own engineering depts. on flood/erosion risks. Expect next rainy season to hear more about condo developments approved on land parcels known to be at high risk of flooding!

Such basic omissions have allowed the now decades-old 'leaky condo syndrome' to continue infecting the province's condos and co-ops - highrise, low-rise, even many single-family homes - without penalty or accountability (unless you count leaky condo litigation, which rarely, if ever, provides adequate recovery).

While municipalities can't control professional standards in the construction industry, there is nothing to prevent them from requiring development applicants provide a complete list of all previous construction that resulted in 'leaky condo syndrome' and whether they provided the repair/correction in each case. Surely such information is relevant to such an application? Why not take it a step further with a 'Three Strikes' law to discourage repeat offenders?

The truth is that municipal planning authorities no longer represent the public interest. They consistently decline to make proper inquiries at the development application stage, which facilitates the spread of failed housing as well as an affordable housing shortage.

Most consumers today understand there are no more public building inspections that might reveal construction defects in time to correct them. We know, too, that the rules pertaining to durability are merely guidelines and therefore not legally enforceable. We know we've been sold down the river in favor of an economy driven by failed high-end housing, whose predictable failure creates an illusion of full employment attractive to politicians.

Housing advocates have done our best to lobby for reform, but we have failed as surely the condos and co-ops under tarps. At the end of the day, our best hope is local planners, and ours simply have no interest in the shelter of an ageing, increasingly fragile and economically disadvantaged population.
grammar90
Added a link to Kahn Academy, which provides the best ever video lessons in math and science, at the page on International Baccalaureate (IB), a high-octane program for high school super-achievers.

The week of June 28/10 at ASKBiblitz.com
hands90
Posted a new page on disability claims, featuring a $19-report, Guide to B.C. Disability Benefits and a one-time advertising offer to B.C. personal injury plaintiff's counsel.

The Province published June 30/10 our reply to the E-Street question, How will you be celebrating Canada Day this year?

"Having just finished Edna O'Brien's thrilling account of the poet George Byron, I shall celebrate the day in the garden swing, imagining myself entering a great panelled dining hall wearing a brilliant red velvet coat trimmed in gold braid, with sword and two fully-loaded pistols, which I fire at intervals while selecting le mot juste. Liberal draughts of claret drunk from the skulls of the premier and his despised cabinet complete this happy dream!" Signed Leo Biblitz, Vanc-Hooverville, B.C.

Provided commentary July 2/10 on the story, 'AskAway' Library Service Quits Answering Questions / Instant online reference source killed. Rural BC will miss it, says Fort Nelson librarian by Shannon Smart in the Tyee.ca June 30/10:

"Any question regarding library cuts should be directed not just at politicians but at union library workers, who have somehow mistaken themselves for rock stars or Wall Street bankers. Have you seen the average salary or examined terms in the collective agmt regarding the min. number of workers who must be on the floor at all times?

VPL recently acquired a marketing director, if you please, presumably with a staff of employees who report to her. Why, for goodness sake? The public library is not a business. Taxpayers would be right to resent such an excess. Are there others?

Why are there so many - usually five - library employees working even at tiny libraries like West Point Grey? Surely two is more than sufficient even at the busiest times.

Time to reconsider which library services are truly essential and scrap the rest at least until the economy improves."
war90
Added an update on U.S. President Obama's decision to fire Gen. Stanley McChrystal and replace him with Gen. David Petraeus after McChrystal broke bad in Rolling Stone about his bosses in Washington, D.C. See Afghanistan.

The week of June 21/10 at ASKBiblitz.com

Added advice on how to prune bush roses from the poor man's window on the world of gracious living, British COUNTRY LIFE, a perennial Biblitz favorite!

Reply published in The Province June 22/10, p. A9, to the E-Street question, Have you bought anything early to try to beat the July 1st HST? Biblitz opined thus:

'In lieu of a pre-HST purchase, I have determined to make a substantial donation to the B.C. Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD), whose excellent Advocacy Access team will again be called upon to redress the devastating effects this tax will have on the poorest and most vulnerable B.C. residents. I am also considering similar largesse to any palatable political outfit prepared to kick Gord and his Filthy Few in the slats next election. Apply within.'
babyKIss90
Posted a new page on gold, featuring a popular report by GoldMiner-Pulse on Rubicon Minerals' Pheonix project, which could be the next Big Thing in gold mining in the already gold-rich Red Lake mining district of northern Ontario, Canada. Buy a copy for $19 - a steal.

Posted comments at the Tyee.ca on the truth about aboriginal funding in Canada - $ ba-zillions to benefit Canada's fewer than 1.2 million aboriginals - how failed aboriginal spending programs fuel a Kafkaesque bureaucracy of mostly lawyers, ultimately dividing Canadians from our First Nations sisters and brothers. See Mental Illness Leads to Homelessness in BC by Monte Paulsen June 22/10.
pinkUmbrella90
The gathering storm. When love is over before it begins - what happens when an old flame continues to burn, sometimes without either party's knowledge or consent.

Illustrated an excerpt from Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof at Her with the trailer for Chaos, a French film directed by Coline Serreau about the escape of a brainy prostitute sold by her own father to thugs who forced her to work as a slave in the dangerous sex-trade.
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The week of June 14/10 at ASKBiblitz.com

Posted new links to universal barrier-free housing designs, which do NOT cost more, at affordable housing.
darbyRoseHand90
All about David Austin English Roses blooming like billy-o at Biblitz Manor. Here are a few varieties along with planting, feeding and pruning instructions.

A Bob Dylan Fitness Playlist I ready to download!

Still more old roses, perennials and vines residing in the garden chez Biblitz.
swing90
At last! The truth about what women really want from husbands, from family, from colleagues, from life.

The week of June 7/10 at ASKBiblitz.com
petty90
Posted the Tom Petty Fitness Playlist I, featuring music by Tom and his two bands, Mudcrutch and the Heartbreakers, in honor of the Mojo 2010 tour in Vancouver, B.C. June 8th.

Posted a new blog on Consumer Protection and a new Housing riff on the joys and sorrows of signing a lease. All about renting.

Included some startling observations about Canada's Left Coast and organized crime from Misha Glenny's McMafia at Billies.

Rumbles, the T-fal Express cordless kettle, was added to the collection of Biblitz kitchen friends at appliances.

The week of May 31/10 at ASKBiblitz.com
smoke90
Posted a new page on marijuana, including an update on cannabis activist Marc Emery, who pleaded guilty in a U.S. court May 24/10 to drug charges over the sale of seeds online mostly to Americans. Cross- border conflicts in the approach to drugs and prohibitions - how the latter only enriches organized crime.
kitchen90
Winners, losers and full-on kitchen fiends among appliances chez Biblitz.

Entered a new affiliate program with TrainWithMeOnline, whose ads now infect the various ASKBiblitz fitness pages.

The week of May 25/10 at ASKBiblitz.com
skull90
Just in time for finals, a new page on Shakespeare's immortal Hamlet, that angst-ridden young pain in the ass.

Why the search for quality affordable housing is tough and getting tougher just about everywhere.

Supplemented a page about families with science info on how hormones make teenage boys and girls and their parents crazy - when it's tme to intervene with hormone supplements, anti-depressants and good, old-fashioned discipline.

The week of May 16/10 at ASKBiblitz.com
palais-de-Biblitz90
A few words on the joys and sorrows of farming - why $6.99 a pound for heirloom tomatoes is cheap at twice the price!

Added a riff on the proposal by local First Nations anxious to exploit their excellent exposure at the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010. The Parks Board unanimously approved their plan to create an interactive exhibit of an aboriginal village at Stanley Park this summer near the train featuring artisanal wood-carving, indigenous food and more! See favorite Aboriginal art.

Posted a new page on male anger with excerpts from the breakthrough text, The Male Brain, companion to the equally stunning Female Brain, both by Dr. Louann Brizendine. Includes tireless footnotes to aid and encourage further research. There's enough here to make the world a considerably better place!

Another U.S. Senate hearing with Finance Committee Chairman Barney Frank to discuss the possibility of lifting 'Prohibition 2.0', the Internet gambling ban.

The week of May 9/10 at ASKBiblitz.com
witchbrew90
Opened up the ASKBiblitz.com Archives, a weekly compendium of questions and answers on a variety of issues and subjects beginning the week of April 18/10. One must begin somewhere; why not the cruellest month?

Posted feedback from prison advocates now starting to come in over a death row inmate's proposal to allow prisoners the right to be organ donors.

Added a few words about what distinguishes 'free-range' from Omega-3 and organic eggs at chickens.

Posted the first Celtic Fitness Playlist I, selections of traditional, rock and punk music mostly from Ireland - ready to download at iTunes.

Added a new page on what's required of an actor playing a role in Shakespeare's Scottish play, the tragedy of Macbeth - further grist for our burgeoning poetry mill.

The week of May 2/10 at ASKBiblitz.com

All about the care and feeding of SYRINGA vulgaris, the common lilac whose legendary fragrance is not only the subject of a poem but several ballets.
war90
E-mailed the Sirius/XM WRN program, Danger Zone to inveigh against a general, who dangerously seeks to create a hierarchy of labor in Afghanistan by reserving the military strictly for 'military-type' work, obtaining private contractors for the rest. This is stinkin' thinkin' that would encourage soldiers to look down on workers doing the less important work - cooking, cleaning, no doubt - rendering the workers invisible and the soldiers blind to the not-so-sudden presence of an enemy in the camp. No need to remind anyone of previous contract scandals that have cost U.S. taxpayers billions!

The week of April 25/10 at ASKBiblitz.com
knave90
All about Wall Street bailouts, the return of pre-crash bonuses, how securities lawyers who can't do the math have poisoned the S.E.C. and seven old-school hustles the banks used on clients and taxpayer marks - and they're doing it again.

A celebration of peonies - especially the Biblitz Krinkle White Japanese tree peony, the kind French Impressionist Monet preferred, now in full glorious bloom. Photos included!

Winter Olympics 2010 Update: All those sky-high-priced special construction projects just for Jockfest - the delays and disputes on the viability of various projects combined with an unpredictable economy in 2010 - have added even more uncertainty and risk to B.C.'s construction industry.

The evolution of mahjong, a fascinating, complex gambling game from ancient China, now online. An overview of China's 'one eye open, one eye shut' gambling laws and other challenges in accessing the country's super-sized market.

Why poetry is the cornerstone of every good health and fitness campaign.

A proposal by a confessed killer slated for execution in Oregon to allow death row inmates to become organ donors.

The week of April 18/10 at ASKBiblitz.com
TeaMan90
All about the massive, highly-controversial Atlantic Yards development proposal in Brooklyn affordable housing activists worldwide are watching.

E-mailed a submission to the New York Times Magazine Lives section on school lunches - three weeks for acceptance or, alas, rejection.

A typical week of Sirius/XM programming chez Biblitz.

witchbrew

Biblitz helpmeets, Mabel, the house bartender, and sister Mavis roll up their sleeves and dig in, embracing the rigors of the high office of ASKBiblitz.com archivists. Better than slinging hash for a living or worse, young Mavis exclaimed. Hoy, there, Mabel. Mind where you put your paddle! That eel's not quite given it up, I'm afraid. The girls are clearly moved by the Biblitz narrative, a strengthening mix of strong opinion and strong drink, one often flowing from the other, in liberal measure. Take it like a tonic!