I’ve been pretty critical and negative for the past couple of weeks, so I thought I’d clear the air with some more things that make me happy.
(WARNING: Pun ahead). This is the kind of international conflict I can sink my teeth into. I’ll pause for a moment until you stop splitting your sides with laughter at my hilarious jokes.
Apparently in between bombings and incursions into each other’s national territory, Israel and Lebanon have been waging a delicious war to see who can make the most hummus (a delicious chick pea-based spread/dip). I’m all for international rivalries, so long as they’re peaceful and fun like this one. Competition makes us strive to be better. There’s no ethical or philosophical point to be made here, it just made me chuckle.
Muslims are exhorted to pray 5 times a day at specific times. A muezzin calls them to prayer at those times from a loudpseaker at the mosque. Apparently though, some muezzins in Turkey weren’t quite up to scratch, pitch and tone-wise. So the city’s religious affairs officer arranged to get the more egregious offenders singing lessons. I am anti-religious, and I make no apologies for that. However, I realize that not everyone shares my belief that religion should be (or can realistically be) completely abolished. The trick is to find a way to make religious practice more tolerable for everyone, and subsume religious identification in favour of secular identification and obligation. This is at least a step along the right path. Although, now that I think about it, it makes religious practice easier to do… dammit!
Metropole is a club in the area where downtown meets Gastown (incidentally, only a few blocks from where I live). That area (referred to as the Downtown East Side or DTES) has a major drug problem. In addition to being a city with a large homeless population, drugs run through the DTES like mad. Main and Hastings is Vancouver’s Jane/Finch equivalent – low income, high crime, lots of drug use (without the benefit of York University being there). Donnelly Nightclubs is a major group that owns a lot of restaurants, pubs and clubs around metro Vancouver. They (Donnelly) just purchased the Met and are turning it from its seedy roots into a more upscale place. “Gentrification!” the cry goes out. Here’s the cool part: 25% of the annual Metropole profits are earmarked for local charities, including the Vancouver Food Bank and the DTES Women’s Center. It gives me warm and fuzzy feelings when companies show social responsibility and reinvest in the community. Yeah, so it’s all a big PR stunt that makes people look the other way as Donnelly consolidates its grip on the hospitality market. You know who doesn’t care? The single mother who gets food for her kids and job counselling for free from the charity groups supported by rich people’s drinking habits.
So yeah, things do penetrate my heart of stone and put a hop back in my step.