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Business Items


20 Dec. 06:
Northern Lion Gold Corp. (TSX-V:NL) recently  updated the investment and exploration communities on its Cercal project, located in southern Portugal within the prolific Iberian pyrite belt, approximately 120 kilometres southwest of Lisbon.

In August 2006, the company completed a 1,350-line-kilometre, helicopter-borne geophysical survey of the entire 240-square-kilometre project area. The program was carried out by Geotech Ltd. from Aurora, Ont., using Geotech's advanced, deep-penetrating VTEM (versatile time-domain electromagnetic) system which includes a high-resolution cesium magnetometer. Flight lines were oriented northeast to southwest and were spaced 200 metres apart.

Preliminary survey data have been received from Geotech and the company is now awaiting the final filtered and levelled version which will then be forwarded to Condor Consulting Inc., of Lakewood, Colo. Condor is internationally recognized for its expertise in the interpretation of airborne electromagnetic survey data.

Condor will process and interpret the complex data-set generated by the survey and integrate the results with a large volume of geophysical data obtained by the company from the Portuguese government. The government data include a large number (plus 23,000) of gravity survey points, collected on a 100-metre-by-100-metre grid.

Targets that are identified will be followed up immediately by geological investigation in the field, to advance them as quickly as possible to the drill-ready stage.



8 Nov. 06:
A client of mine, the president of a publicly traded exploration company, told me that the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld would probably depress the price of gold. Instability in the world lifts the gold price, he said, and Rumsfeld was good for instability. He added this sentiment: "It's odd to have a financial 'interest' in gold when you know that calamities around the world are good for you in terms of business. We all want a safer world."




2 Nov. 06:
I will be giving a talk on the subject of "investor relations" as part of Simon Fraser University's Public Companies course this November 16 - 18. This outing will dovetail nicely into my
"Corporate Communications and Investor Relations" class, which is set to debut next semester at Kwantlen University College. This will be the first course on this subject taught to postsecondary students anywhere in North America (oddly enough). (Simon Fraser's superb course is aimed at managers and directors of public companies.) Here's the catalog blurb: "Students will study the policies and procedures that inform, govern, and regulate corporate communications and investor relations within Canada’s equity markets with an emphasis on junior companies trading on the TSX and TSX-Venture exchanges. They will complete written and oral assignments that will help prepare them for employment opportunities in public companies. Students will gain a thorough understanding of disclosure requirements, mandated corporate communications, and investor-relations strategies." (Click here to see all the offerings in the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program.)



4 Oct. 06: New World Resource Ltd. has updated its website to give a full picture of its exploration activities in Bolivia.



26 Aug. 06: It was recently announced that TNR Gold Corp. (TSX-V:TNR) partner NovaGold Resources Inc. (TSX:NG) has approved the budget and is financing 50 per cent of the phase II drill program at the Shotgun project as part of the TNR-NovaGold joint-venture agreement. Crews have been mobilized to the Shotgun project to commence a $580,000 (U.S.) program that will focus on the project's Winchester zone, testing the extent of a mineralized system discovered in 2005 and 2006 exploration.

Results from phase I of this year's drilling campaign have helped demonstrate the size and continuity of the Winchester zone, an intrusion-related gold system [IRGS] with a strong As-Bi-Mo-Sb-Te-W geochemical signature. Drilling during 2005 and 2006 has already confirmed gold-bearing sills in a 400-metre by 150-metre area. One hole from the 2006 program, hole 06-45, intersected 77.5 feet of 1.9 grams per tonne gold in this zone.

The phase II drill program will focus on determining the width and strike length of the mineralized system. Drilling will laterally follow the surface trace of gold and pathfinders in soil and rock (talus float samples) outlined during the last two field seasons. This geochemically anomalous trace extends 1,200 m along the ridge and is 500 m at its widest point where it crosses the ridge.

The Shotgun project is located in the Kuskokwim gold belt in Alaska, which hosts the multimillion ounce Donlin Creek gold deposit, also considered to be an IRGS, located 110 miles to the north. Visit TNR's website to view recent photographs from the 2006 Shotgun phase I drilling campaign. TNR is the operator of the Shotgun project.



1 June 06:
Northern Lion Gold Corp. (TSX-V:NL) has reached agreement with Lappland Goldminers AB to acquire a 100% interest in the Nynäsberget gold prospect, in central Sweden. Previous exploration of the Nynäsberget prospect has established the presence of high-grade gold in three dimensions. Company President, John Lando, commented: "This acquisition is consistent with our commitment to the Scandanavian region and allows us to build upon the extensive technical infrastructure that we have already assembled in the area. Limited previous drilling on the Nynäsberget prospect has established the presence of high-grade gold mineralization. We believe that it offers excellent potential for the definition of a gold resource." Under the property purchase agreement, the Company will pay to Lappland Goldminers SEK$4,000,000 (approximately CDN$611,200), payable by the issuance of approximately 1,018,667 common shares of the Company (the "Shares") at a deemed price of $0.60 each. The agreement provides that Lappland Goldminers will hold the Shares for a period of two years, after which the Company will have the first right to purchase or place the Shares should Lappland Goldminers wish to sell all or a portion of them. The agreement also contains provisions regarding the voting of the Shares.

The Nynäsberget prospect is located in the Ragunda County in the Jämtland region of Sweden, approximately 400 km north of Stockholm and approximately 200 km south-southwest of Lappland Goldminers' Fäboliden deposit. The geology at Nynäsberget consists of Precambrian metasediments, greywackes and a schist suite which varies from quartzite to iron rich chert. The units appear to dip locally to the south and southeast. The metasediment units have been intruded by later granites, pegmatites and quartz veins. The rocks are tightly folded and faulted to some degree by WNW to ESE and NE to SW striking faults. The greywackes are considered to be representative of a distal marine shelf environment and the quartzites and iron rich cherts of exhalative origin from sea floor hydrothermal springs hence being stratiformed.

The area was originally identified by till geochemistry and the discovery outcrop was found in a road cut. The outcrop is an iron-stained exhalite unit approximately 10 metres ("m") thick and grading 2.7 grams per tonne ("g/t") gold. The area has undergone further exploration consisting of ground magnetic, and induced polarization (IP), surveys. Some of the anomalies have been tested by diamond drilling, totaling 2,967.15 m in 50 drill holes. The drilling was carried out by LKAB and SKAB between 1986 and 1997.



1 May 06:
New World Resource Corp.
(TSX-V: NW) announces that Sprott Asset Management Inc. has acquired, as portfolio manager, 2 million units at $0.80 each on the closing of a private placement announced March 3, 2006. Sprott now holds approximately 13% of the Company, with the right to increase its position by an additional 6%, upon the full exercise of share purchase warrants that formed part of the unit placement. The financing realized gross proceeds of $1.6 million. Net proceeds will be used to fund the first phase of the Company’s planned exploration program on its Lipeña high-grade gold and copper project in southwestern Bolivia and for working capital.



27 April 06: TNR Gold Corp. (TSX-V:TNR) has announced that a technical team and drill equipment have been mobilized to the Iliamna Project to drill on the D Claims.  The drill contractor is Major Drilling Inc., which has substantial experience in difficult drilling situations involving thick overburden, such as is anticipated at the D Claims. Joint-venture partner and project operator Geocom Resources Inc. plans to drill at least two 250-meter diamond drill holes to test a large geophysical anomaly that underlies the D Claims.  The anomaly consists of a large aeromagnetic anomaly that is further delineated by ground-based electrical measurements, which indicate the possible presence of sulfide minerals.  Drilling in 2004 encountered copper-gold mineralization in a similar setting at the nearby H Claims. Upon completion of this drill program, TNR and Geocom will vest their respective full interests in the D Claims block of the Iliamna Project, having previously earned their interests in the H Claims.



 

6 Mar. 06: New World Resource Corp. (TSX-V: NW) has engaged Pacific International Securities Inc.  to act as its agent for the purposes of the private placement of up to 2,000,000 units of the Company at a price of $0.80 per unit. Each unit will consist of one common share and one half of a transferable share purchase warrant to purchase an additional share for 18 months at a price of $1.00. It is expected that the units will be placed with a single, Canadian precious metals-focused fund. Upon completion of the initial $1,600,000 financing, the purchaser will hold approximately 13% of the Company, with the right to increase its position by an additional 6.5%, upon the full exercise of the warrants. The proceeds of the financing will be used to fund the first phase of the Company's planned exploration program on its Lipena high-grade gold and copper project in southwestern Bolivia and for working capital. The Agent will be paid a commission of 7% of the gross proceeds of the offering, in cash or units at the Agent's election. The Agent will also be paid compensation options equal to 9% of the number of units sold in the offering. Each compensation option is exercisable at a price of $0.85 for one year into one common share. The Company will pay the Agent a corporate finance fee of $10,000.



22 Feb. 06: Northern Lion Gold Corp. announced yesterday that it has commenced its first exploration outside of Finland, with the acquisition of two projects in the prolific Bergslagen mining district of south-central Sweden. The Skyttgruvan (1,246.79 hectares) and Kusa (87.36 hectares) properties are located near the city of Falun, approximately 200 kilometres northwest of Stockholm, in the northern part of the historic Bergslagen district. Each property consists of an exploration permit with an initial term of three years. Company President John Lando commented: "The acquisition of these properties is a natural progression for us. This part of Sweden has a long history of rich mineral discoveries and is in close proximity to our base of operations in Finland. Our geological team has significant experience and a strong understanding of exploration in the area and we are fortunate to have acquired two, very prospective projects. We are committed to an aggressive exploration program, commencing with sampling and mapping, with drilling to follow as targets are defined." The properties are located near the polymetallic, Falu mine, which operated continuously for more than a millennium until 1992, producing more than 28 million tonnes of ore, containing approximately 840,000 tonnes of copper, with significant values of zinc (4%), lead (1.5%), gold (3 grams/tonne) and silver (18 grams/tonne).




9 Feb. 06:
I have spent most of my Basil Communications Inc. career counting on this happening: A recent poll shows that 70% of North American executives consider email their primary medium for workplace communication; five years ago only 28% did. The poll, with some analysis, appears here; the National Public Radio story, which aired this morning, can be heard via this link. All very useful information, especially comments in the latter story by Peter Capelli, Professor of Management at the Wharton School. "It's harder to develop relationships or friendships over email," he says. (Not true for everybody, I need to note.)




26 Jan. 06: New World Resource Corp. (TSX-V: NW) has reached an agreement with Luis Miguel Mercado Rocabado for the right to acquire a 75% interest in the Lipeña gold and copper project in south-west Bolivia. Drilling on the project between 1995 and 1997 by a subsidiary of the former Battle Mountain Gold Company encountered pervasive gold and copper mineralization over one kilometer of strike length, along a north-west trending structure that appears to be about 300 metres in width and was tested to a depth of 300 metres. Company President John Lando commented: “We are, understandably, very excited to have secured this highly-prospective project.  After reviewing many property submissions, we focused our efforts on Lipeña and are very pleased to have reached this agreement with Sr. Rocabado.  Our due diligence review, which included a site inspection last week and meetings in Bolivia to assess the political climate, has persuaded us that Lipeña has the potential to become our flagship project.”




15 Jan. 06: 
Northern Lion Gold Corp. (TSX-V: NL) recently reported that it had received results from a comprehensive program of 3-D geological modeling at its Haveri Gold Project, located in southwest Finland. The program has identified several structurally controlled mineralized bodies peripheral to, and below, the Haveri Mine. Each of these bodies is 1.4 to 3.3 million tonnes in size and contains gold mineralization ranging from 1 to 2 grams per tonne. The modeling program has provided significant new insight into the geology of Haveri and the structural controls on its gold mineralization.



 


 



Notes & Miscellany

29 Dec. 06: My two favourite words are riffraff (in affectionate reference to my friends) and whippersnapper (in affectionate reference to my students). Denotatively each is a disparaging term; the endearment comes through in the sound of saying them.




27 Dec. 06:
I know that I got married 24 years ago today (a Tuesday, a Catholic ceremony, 175 guests), but I can't even remember what year it was we got divorced.



20 Dec. 06: 
Go Stanford, go!



19 Dec. 06: Sorry about the light posting of late. My students' final projects have been pouring in. These were especially delightful classes this semester.



24 Nov. 06: A reader rather objects to my friend's post-election elation: "Ya know Bob, this is such a shallow sentiment.  It was way before the 2004 election that the Girl was dragged off to Iraq to serve whatever sordid purposes the powers that bound her hands would wish. She never left. She was abducted.  And almost every thinking person in the US, Republican and Democrat alike, too blind and stupid to recognize the rapist’s rationalization, political spin, and fear mongering,  fell in line to watch the event be consummated before the whole world – who now also hates her for it.  I really don’t know how your friend can be happy – except in a complete, Nazi like denial that anything happened to her while she was gone.  The democrats are not likely to be less selfish with her.  One can hope that she is not simply being passed from one abuser to the next.  Will enough of her lovers, next time, be smart enough to both recognize the abuser and react; or will they just crowd around, eager to watch the next exposure?  Sigh…."



23 Nov. 06: I'm a Canadian happily living in Canada, but American Thanksgiving is still my favourite holiday, and I do what it says.




8 Nov. 06:
Two years ago, the day after the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election, a close buddy wrote me:
Yesterday, I felt like someone who had known for a long time that his lover was going to leave him. I'd pre-grieved. For more than a year I had obsessed, cried, lost sleep and tried everything possible to make her stay. So when she finally did it Tuesday night, I was ready: time to accept the world and move on. And then I went home last night.

You know how when a relationship ends, everything serves as a reminder: a song, a scent, some romantic artifact? Odd as it sounds, that's how I felt last night. Piles of magazines, newspapers turned to the political pages, my Kerry/Edwards coffee cup, everything mocked. Even looking at the clock reminded me of how I made sure not to miss the news on Saturdays, hoping to find some positive poll number, some reason to hope. And for what? She left as I knew she would. My country broke up with me and I don't understand what happened. Warren Zevon's "Hasten Down the Wind", which Linda Ronstadt covered, always reminded me of my friend C.’s old boyfriend, when she began to grow and slip away from him. The line is,  "She's so many women. He can't find the one who was his friend." That's how I feel about my country right now, and that's the part that hurts.

This morning my friend wrote me this: My girlfriend, America, called me last night. I think she wants to get back together. It makes me happy, very happy.




2 Nov. 06:
My downtown Vancouver office is the most laterally organized group of people and companies I know. Projects are arranged by consensus rather than hierarchy, and everybody has at least one or two gigs on the side. A defining feature of this place is that you seem to see everybody all the time but at any given moment you have no idea where anybody actually is.




16 Oct 06: A freakish snowfall last Friday the 13th dropped two feet of wet snow on my beloved Buffalo, New York, damaging or destroying literally every adult tree in the city and adjacent suburbs. Close to a quarter of a million people will be without power for at least another week. Donn Esmonde's column in yesterday's Buffalo News is heart-rending.



10 Oct. 06: 
"I was violating my standards faster than I could lower them."
Robin Williams



8 Oct. 06:
Canadian Thanksgiving
. The official reason for celebrating: our annual harvest up here. I will certainly toast to that.



5 Oct. 06: Excuses are bullshit, typically. (Just come clean and thank you very much, because you know I'll love you more.)







18 Sept. 06:
My brother took his elder daugher out on a geophysics line-cutting job recently, near Merritt, BC, paid her $25 a day. Her tenth birthday's next week. Go, Jade!
(Click on the thumbnails above for larger images.)



17 Sept. 06:
A final word on my head (I promise): My surgeon noted the other day that that giant cyst in my left maxillary sinus had probably been adversely affecting my balance, concentration, etc., for "upwards of a decade." Now that I am on the mend after the surgery, it feels that I'd been "off" for at least that long. My headaches are gone. I can read for hours on end. I'm remembering fingering in piano pieces I haven't played in years. And everything familiar appears brand new, pellucid, happy to see me. It's magical and hard to believe. But I love it. I'm so happy I feel better. For a very long time I must have been just muscling my way through life, on will and experience. (No one can fault my work ethic!) At any rate, now I do indeed feel "pretty on the inside," as Courtney Love might say. (My facade is functional but remains a distended disgrace, alas.)

(New posts are on their way for this week.)




10 Sept. 06: 
This semester I'm teaching three courses in "communications for the specialized workplace" to students in Kwantlen University College's vaunted SETA program. I love teaching these students. (See what's online for them.)




9 Sept. 06:
My surgery earlier this week seems to have been a success.






23 Aug. 06: That's from my most recent CT scan. The black area on the left is my healthy maxillary sinus; the sinus on the other side should look the same way, but it's been taken over by a giant cyst that will be gouged out endoscopically in a nifty little surgery shortly.



23 Aug. 06:
"Talent alone won't make you a success," noted Johnny Carson. "Neither will being in the right place at the right time, unless you are ready. The most important question is, 'Are you ready?'"



19 Aug. 06: Websites that changed the world.



3 Aug. 06:
British Columbians like to make their long weekends longer. Monday is BC Day, for example, and I don't expect *any* of my clients will be around the following Tuesday, or tomorrow (Friday), for that matter. It's a lovely, informal tradition, one I've yet to get the hang of. I still need to learn how to take Saturdays or Sundays off. (I don't remember ever working on a Friday night, though, so I'm not beyond saving.)



31 July 06:
I might be "totally overrated."



25 July 06:
Today I teach my advanced students (taking ENTR 3500 and CMNS 3100 at Kwantlen University College) the importance of making websites "sticky," that is, keeping contact with readers, getting them to return often. One key way of making your website sticky is by posting often (and well). I certainly haven't been posting often. August will be prolix in comparison, I promise.




23 June 06: My world is narrow by choice. I don't have interests so much as devotions, and very few of them. What might *appear* as interests are either accommodations to the world, necessary personal maintenance, or goof-ups.



22 June 06:
Jodie Fox is becoming Jack Fox. My former student is writing about the transition in "Except When It's Not." The writing is beautiful
hilarious and poignant the whole way through.



9 June 06: Head Update: I had a brief and somewhat frustrating meeting with my otolaryngologist today. The doctor didn't seem to have looked at my scans, or at my file for that matter, so after a bit of poking she scheduled me for another appointment next week. She seems confident, though, that I have a benign (but large) cyst of some sort. I asked her how these things are removed. "Needles and a hose, up in your nose," she said. If that's the case, I'm bringing my videocamera and tripod to the procedure.



5 June 06:
My son's studying humanities in Italy this summer. The place suits him.




18 May 06: Libertarian writer Virginia Postrel would be a wonderful person to know. (We've corresponded briefly. Her blog is smart.)



17 May 06: It would be a blow to atheism if Barry Bonds never got to 714.



15 May 06:
Properly speaking, basil.CA is not a blog: not enough posts, not enough links, and no comments section whatsoever. I sure do read blogs, though. Technorati is a search engine that tracks close to 40 million of them. This is beautifully useful. (Read what the blogosphere's saying about my city's most notorious neighborhood.)



13 May 06: Justin Gatlin is one of my favourite runners. He seems unusually earnest and sweet and unaffected for a World and Olympic champion. Yesterday he set the 100-metre world record: 9.76 seconds. I predict this record will be lowered more than once this summer.




7 May 06: I'm teaching three advanced communications classes this semester, starting this week. I love the summer school vibe.



5 May 06:
Overheard: "There are two kinds of families: those that can't have a reunion without you, and those that can (and do)."




 3 May 06:
"Though it debuted only five months ago, YouTube.com attracts 6 million visitors each day to watch two-minute video clips that amount to the Internet's version of 'America's Funniest Home Videos' meets 'American Idol.' Every day, users stock the site with 35,000 homemade videos of lip-syncing, dancing, silly animation and commentaries on any topic, all of which are commented on and rated by viewers.
"  Sara Keahaulani Goo, in The Washington Post, on my new favourite cyberphenomenom. (When I get the courage up, I'll provide readers with my personalized YouTube URL.)



2 May 06: Head Update:
I got a voicemail from my doctor late Friday afternoon: She said that as far as my concussion goes, the CT scan showed no bleeding, lesions, clots, etc. But ... the scan DID find a worrisome mass in there ("an area of complete opacification in your left maxillary sinus," to be precise). So: Now I'm scheduled for a new brain scan and for an appointment with a specialist this week. Here's hoping it's just a polyp, cyst or some ossified Q-tip cotton! Anyways, I'll keep you apprised.
(My friend Chris noted that there were probably cooler ways to have delivered that news. "Your doctor should have called you on Monday morning," he said, "when you were already going to be feeling crappy.")




1 May 06:
Tim Montgomery was a world-class sprinter for many years, but on the second-tier. When he claimed the world record in the 100-meters in 2002, I was surprised. When Montgomery's world record was discredited after his steroid use became known, I was not. Montgomery's newest deceit: bank fraud.




21 April 06:
I am a libertarian when it comes to drug policy, no matter what the drug, but I doubt the wisdom of Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan's suggestion that the city provide drugs to local addicts as part of "maintenance programs."  Heroin: maybe. Crack cocaine: noooooo, because it deranges the mind in ways heroin doesn't. Taxpayers would get it on all fronts: Paying for drugs to make people psychotic, paying for hospitalization and/or incarceration when addicts' psychotic behaviour gets them into trouble, and then paying for their anti-psychotic medication. Crack cocaine extinguishes (what's left of) one's sound judgment, and that's not a legitimate purpose for public funding, to say the least.





9 April 06:
I know pickings here have been slim lately: Finishing up spring semester and recovering from my concussion have left me without my usual logofluence. (And classes have been a difficult but rewarding challenge: "What was I just saying? Was I finished? Were you convinced? Can we go on? etc."
) April will be a wetter month, I hope, with words pouring in.




27 Mar. 06: It's hard to figure out whom to scorn more: 1) Americans who want to deport 11 million "illegal aliens," or 2) Americans who support a  "guest worker" program whose purpose is to exploit poor Mexicans and to profit business owners. 

I remember hitch-hiking way back in the day when two real poor fellows picked me and another young hobo up in a rusty pick-up. (I spent that ride, from just east of Reno to somewhere in northwest Colorado, back in the truck-bed with a big and black and unaccountably always wet dog.) The two guys had spent the last month ... picking lettuce. One told me, memorably, "Americans don't pick their own lettuce, but my partner and I were desperate. We still are, but no more lettuce picking for us. It is too hard." I think the people who pick your food and clean your kids should have the opportunity to become the same kind of citizen you are. And you should throw them a parade, three thousand miles long.



20 Mar. 06: As I was walking down Georgia Street to a meeting with the new director of communications and education at the BC Securities Commission today, it occurred to me that her first impression would be of a guy with a big fresh Frankenstein scar on his forehead who was at an occasional loss for words. Within seconds of this thought, I saw a woman with an almost featureless face walk by: a little hole for a mouth, two nostrils but no nose, and two slitty eyes, that was all. Not that I need reminders as to how fortunate I am, but reminders are always there.




16 Mar. 06: This Tuesday I taught my three Kwantlen classes, starting at eight in the morning and ending after nine at night, accomplished with maybe half a brain and, truly key, the forbearance and consideration of my students. Throwing oneself at their mercy is the name of the game (if you want everybody to win).






12 Mar. 06: 
I sleepwalk sometimes. Normally I wake up standing by a window, sitting at my desk, or reorganizing the contents of the fridge or cupboards. Earlier this week I woke up on the bathroom floor, blood everywhere. Apparently I had walked hard into a wall and picture frame in my bedroom in the middle of the night and crashed the back of my head into the wall, bookshelf and/or exercycle on the way down to the floor. My first (noticeable) concussion! One of my students noted during class on Friday that now her teacher knows what "hockey head" feels like, a statement that has charmed me deeply. I might be dazed and confused, but I am more fully Canadian!




7 Mar. 06:
My mother has a birthday today. (Let's just say it's an even number.) She's celebrating it her usual way, with my Dad, bombing around Manhattan, seeing theatre, visiting museums, having dinner with friends, seeing what my little sister and her husband are up to, etc. Go, mom!



6 Mar. 06:
Page per page, pound per pound, the Harvard Business Review is easily the most expensive bit of reading material I typically buy: about $25 a pop (in Canadian dollars). I use the magazine more for teaching purposes than I do for revising my Basil Communications Inc. business strategy, though it's come in handy there as well, especially on the subject of teamwork. You're charged an arm and a leg for reprints, but the abstracts are free.




12 Feb. 06:
The American occupation of Iraq has given us a new term, “signature wound,” to describe brain and skull injuries suffered by American soldiers. My friend John Reiss, in a column on NBC’s “DailyNightly” blog, felicitously employed the term as a metaphor for what he saw in New Orleans after the levees broke: “Many of the houses have a hole in the roof,” he wrote, “the signature wound created when desperate people punched through from their attics to escape the rising water.” “Signature wound” is a useful addition to our vocabulary. It’s not a euphemism or an obfuscation. It reminds us that these calamities all had human authors.

I was thinking yesterday whether the way Dick Cheney has handled recent news could be described as a “signature evasion.” My favourite part of the Cheney story is how his people are trying to blame the shootee for getting shot (he didn’t “announce himself”). Any Second Amendment-loving red-stater knows that a hunter needs to know what he is aiming at. In a day or two Cheney (and Bush) will be wishing he'd shot himself instead. My other favourite “signature evasion”: the no-apology. That has Cheney’s name all over it.






11 Feb. 06: 
A friend of mine, after a lifetime of avoiding cats, became a cat-saver last year, surprising her, I'm sure, more than anybody. A few months ago she found the above cat living in an alley near her Vancouver home, and she introduced us. The cat, a male about eight or nine years old, was all flea-bitten and covered in scabs and still recovering from a nasty earmite infestation. It was instant friendship between cat and Bob, and we started sharing a  home. I eventually called my new pal "Dig": because of the dignity with which he bore his alley-life and his afflictions, and also because I certainly do dig my cat. This week I was telling a colleague and mentor of mine, Panteli Tritchew, about Dig, how happy I've been to have him in my home. Panteli replied, "A cat gives you a reason to go home." I gasped. That would be, his single sentence, the latest chapter in my autobiography.





6 Feb. 06: 
Over the weekend I received an email from my old university colleague Mike Niman, who is as much a campus radical now as he was then.  He's been busy getting a new Western New York radio station on the air. Mike writes: "Frustrated with the corporate-right bias in our local NPR stations and the fascist-right bias on corporate radio, we decided to try to endeavor to create an alternative. It seems that, with almost all radio coming from the same corporate perspective, an unexploited market niche has opened all over the country for an honest hard hitting muckraking no punches barred alternative. Along with a small group of local media activists, I'm now a principle partner in Niagara Independent Media Inc.  It's our goal to demonstrate that alternative media is not only needed, it's commercially viable, and hence, sustainable.  It's our hope that once we demonstrate this, 'progressive' mutual funds, labor pension funds, etc., can invest in alternative media.  If we pull this off and create an easily replicated model, it can potentially change the face of American media
that is until our new Supreme Court judges void the First Amendment." Good luck, Mike and team. (Read more about the venture here.)



30 Jan. 06:
Overheard someone talking to herself: "I'm not ignoring you; I'm avoiding you. Why? Because I'm a woman who can't say no. I can, though, do no."



25 Jan. 06:
This has been the busiest January that Basil Communications Inc. has seen in years. All my clients' projects are humming. That new photo of me over at the left there was taken at this week's Resource and Investment Conference in Vancouver. My company produced many of the illustrative and promotional materials for the annual TNR Gold Corp. exhibit. By custom I staffed the booth for a few hours, donning a jacket and tie. That I am holding a cell phone is a joke for my friends and colleagues, who know that I rarely use one. (I've made sure that I don't even know my own cellphone number, for fear that I might give it out to people.)

The jacket and tie go back on tomorrow, for Kwantlen University College's 1st Annual School of Business Scholarships and Awards Ceremony. I'm there representing my two departments: Applied Communication and Entrepreneurial Leadership. I'm also there as an award "donor." This year I endowed a bursary in honour of my parents, Maureen and George. I am looking forward to meeting the talented recipient of the award.




16 Jan. 06:
Those who appeal to bigotry in others are worse than the bigots themselves. If the appeal-makers don't share that bigotry, they are worse still, bad faith being more evil than ignorance or hatred. (Happy Martin Luther King day, America.)





15 Jan. 06:
I'm back in Vancouver, teaching three classes at Kwantlen University College and attending to  Basil Communications Inc. clients, after a sweet break during which I travelled to Puerto Rico, for the first time. I travelled there to surprise a close buddy on his fiftieth birthday. (I think he was surprised.) The tourist-highlight of the trip was visiting Old San Juan, especially the massive Fort San Cristobal (I almost fainted upon approach) and the residence of Ponce de Leon. I also hung out in
that city's own Pigeon Park (the Parque de las Palomas). Unlike Vancouver's version, this parque really does have pigeons.




 


Arts & Letters

27 Dec. 06: "Pretend We're Dead."



[YouTube's taken down the above video, alas. You can still see L7 do a terrific, live version of "Shitlist," though. 15 Feb. 07]



20 Dec. 06: Bach's Mass in B-Minor isn't really Christmas music, but December's the time I listen to it again and again. YouTube.com provides you with the entire work.





6 Dec. 06: Yesterday the musician Joanna Newsom played in Vancouver, at St. Andrew's-Wesley Church, a place I walk by most every day on my way home. Alas, I learned of Ms. Newsom's performance today, having spent my walk home yesterday trying (and failing) to locate her new CD.  I'd read Sasha Frere-Jones' New Yorker review of a recent Newsom concert only yesterday morning, waiting at home for the piano-tuner to arrive. At YouTube.com I found Newsom's video for "Sprout and the Bean" and played it about a dozen times. A most happy discovery. That said, I haven't been this bummed about being "so near and yet so far" from a concert since the time I missed a free B-52s "early" show back at university 1979, I believe so that I could write a Shakespeare exam. (I still haven't gotten over that one.)



28 Nov. 06: I'm the only one in my family who has no gift for design (beyond an instinct for simple). I do follow print design closely, though, admiring the wit and magic expended on media that is usually thrown away. The "design and advertising annual" issue of Applied Arts: Canada's Visual Communications Magazine is on the stands and is easily worth the twenty-five bucks.





27 Nov. 06: My two favourite photography magazines are European-based and internationally focused: Italy's Private (above) and Eyemazing (below), out of the Netherlands.






Julie Mehretu

23 Nov. 06: I haven't been to New York City in more than a year, and I miss it. I felt the pull especially forcefully last night, watching Charlie Rose interview Brice Marden on TV. (Marden is having a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art over the holiday season, and I would love to see it.) Marden is in that class of visual artists who are vividly articulate on the subject of art. Many artists aren't always: The great and wonderful Julie Mehretu comes to mind. In this month's Vanity Fair, for instance, she describes her art this way: "A point of departure for a lot of my work is the question of the role or place of an individual within a larger context, and how much power or agency that individual has within a community or a bigger system." Something else besides those words *must* be going through Mehretu's mind when she's drawing and painting her (literally) amazing canvases. (Here is a video of her talking about "etching.") The first time I saw one of Mehretu's works was at the Museum of Modern Art. The painting was so powerful I started to cry. (I would certainly travel three thousand miles and cross a national border to see it again.) Her artwork is perfectly articulate: filled with surprise and grace.






14 Nov. 06: That's a Steinway upright piano, made in 1901, standing in my West End apartment. It rings, and it sings, it's beautiful, and it gets my touch. I bought it recently to celebrate my successful head surgery. Piece I play before I go to bed each night: "Abide With Me." Piece I'm learning: A piano transciption of J.S. Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze" (Cantata No. 208).






10 Nov. 06: Adrienne Shelly. You should see her performance in Hal Hartley's "Trust." Rest in peace, sister.



8 Nov. 06: I got to hang out with my friend and former student Jack Fox yesterday. (We're working on a nonprofit initiative together.) His LiveJournal website, called "Except When It's Not," is documenting his transition from female to male. The writing is beautiful, hilarious, and important.



1 Nov. 06: The first two songs I put on my Nanopod:  "I Say a Little Prayer" (Dionne Warwick) and "Fountain and Fairfax" (Afghan Whigs).


5 Oct. 06:
Fly's "Peops: Portraits and Stories of People" is the most wonderful book I've read this year. Click on the thumbnail below for a sample:





21 Sept. 06: Joan Didion is a woman upon whom the seriousness of life is never lost. I admire her unrelenting skepticism and the courage that takes. Her New York Review of Books piece on Dick Cheney breaks no new ground but is refreshing, as a damning critique, for its lack of self-righteousness. I doubt Didion believes, at bottom, that any of us deserves very much.



18 Sept. 06: I was dispirited when Cardinal Ratzinger was "elected" Pope of the Catholic Church last year. Most Catholic family members and friends of mine were, too. I have almost felt sorry for the Pope, though, since Muslims around the work began to criticize him for remarks he made in a theological paper. And I wondered whether it would be too much to hope for the Vatican to point out how this Muslim reaction has amply justified what it was the pope said he didn't really say. I bring this up to a friend, who replies:

"As much as I am no fan of this pope, my first reaction is that he was mau-mau'ed into an apology by the Muslims who are so psychologically unbalanced by their profound sense of inferiority that their only response is to demand an apology.  Reading Hitchens today, my slim reed of sympathy for Ratzinger in this case wore even thinner.  How arrogant, how insular, is the German theologian when he addresses the dwindling flock with esoteric conversations from another century?

"That Catholics used to convert at the point of the sword is of limited analytic value when confronting the current threat of Islam by the same manner.  It's a specious historical sleight-of-hand to say 'well, let's not forget the slaughter of the Indians.' Fine. Let's not forget. Let's even educate to stupid masses who don't even know of our bloody history.  Knowledge of one's honest history promotes humility, one of the Christian virtues I deeply admire that is absent among the contemporary Christianists. 

"But I shall not be intimidated into ridiculous relativism by today's barbarians taunting me with the West's past barbarianisms.  (Tough enough to prevent the West's repeat of genocide, as in Yugoslavia last decade.)  I shall not be intimidated by an Arab society where a significant portion of the population believes we took down our own towers."


26 Aug. 06: I'm spending the Labour Day weekend writing a novel with my friend Kat Kosiancic in the annual 3-Day Novel contest. The day after we're done, I'm getting my head operated on. Kat is too polite to suggest that the order of these activities could usefully have been reversed. [See the news coverage. 2 Sept.]



  22 Aug. 06: Several years ago I gave my copy of the Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, a pre-Vatican II testament of utter religious confidence, to my buddy Bradley Rubidge, who taught literature at NYU. I was out of academia at the time, and Bradley had coveted this rare bird from the time we were graduate students at Stanford University back in the 1980s, so I handed it over for a glass of beer. Bradley died mysteriously a couple of years after that. That event made me want to have a copy of that funny old dictionary again. I don't know why. It took me a very long time to find that book, which arrived in the mail today. Best bathroom reading ever. Some proof:

Protestantism: "Disintegration, begun right under Luther's eyes, is the fatal law proper to and characteristic of Protestantism.... Various efforts have been made to recapture that unity which, on the other hand, is the force and life of the Catholic Church." 

Mary: "The scarcity of prophetic texts and historical gospel data on the mother of Jesus embarrasses only a superficial and overcurious reader."




19 Aug. 06: Twenty-four Kwantlen students from my upper-level classes this semester have taken me up on my offer to help start, support, and host (free of charge) their own professional websites. The homepages are just now going up. I'm utterly thrilled. With permission, I'll get some links up soon.



3 Aug. 06: I first saw Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins in March, singing "Big Guns" on David Letterman. They didn't make an impression, which tells me how much sense and sensitivity that concussion must have knocked out of me. It's beautiful, beautiful music. This is a live club performance of "Melt Your Heart."



2 Aug. 06: I'm happy ladies cover Pink Floyd: Dar Williams and Ani DiFranco sing "Comfortably Numb." [audio link]



4 July 06: PJ Harvey. Her song "Rid of Me" changed the way I thought about everything.






5 July 06: Another Head Update: This time it's in Arts & Letters. Why? Because I'm off to see the Cirque de Soleil tomorrow, literally minutes after I'm done visiting my esteemed surgeon for the first time (at St. Paul's Hospital). That should pretty much do it for kicking off the weekend. [My operation's been scheduled for September 6 at the private False Creek Surgical facility, because it turned out I would have had to wait at least two years before BC Medical got to my place on the list. -- July 14.]



22 June 06: Dennis Perrin's wistful take on Christopher Hitchens has quite moved me.



20 June 06: Nearing my dotage, it seems I've taken to art-collecting. (What's next gardening? opera?) See recently acquired pieces by Phoebe Gloeckner here, here, and here. My two Julie Doucet drawings are here and here. I spend a lot of time staring at them.



9 June 06: Brittle genius Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) is finally touring in support of "The Greatest." Joan Anderman of The Boston Globe writes that "Cat Power is odd yet mesmerizing." (This appearance on David Letterman gives you a taste.) I hope she comes to Vancouver.



7 June 06: "The root of beauty is audacity, and that is what has drawn us to one another." I love that line from Pasternak. Today it brings to mind the blessed band The B-52s.



4 June 06: I have done any number of useful, productive, and even noble things this weekend. I have been a true professional, both as a businessman and as a teacher. I have been a devoted family member and an amiable neighbor on top of that. *But* I will remember this weekend not for any of these things. I will remember this weekend because: After almost three decades of looking, I have finally located a video of The Runaways singing my favourite song. It was worth the wait. I was right about them then, and I'm right about them now. From their audacity and imagination and joy came language we all now use.



21 May 06: Gilbert Sorrentino died.



18 May 06: "I speak like most people trip," a friend wrote recently: "suddenly and gracelessly and filled with embarrassment." What a great description!


3 May 06: I love Tom Tomorrow.




12 May 06: You need to read Crooks and Liars.



1 May 06: I have been enthralled watching the Harvard plagiarism scandal unfold. To explain why, in detail, would be unseemly, but I need to say I was gratified to see this thief, who was entering the adult world with every advantage, slapped hard and shamed.  [It just gets worse. - May 2]  [Jonathan Mayhew and I go back and forth on a related subject. - May 5]



28 April 06: Angelina Jolie will make the perfect Randian heroine. (Have big reservations about Pitt as John Galt, though. We need a young Tommy Lee Jones, obviously.)



24 April 06: God bless Kristin Hersh, who moved to nearby Portland, Oregon last week. Welcome, neighbor! (Read KH's wonderful blog.)



16 April 06: June Pointer passed away this week. I used to argue that there was more wit and poetry (and certainly more joy) in the Pointer Sisters' song "Jump (For My Love)" than there was in entire decades' worth of the American Poetry Review. I was exaggerating, but I meant it nonetheless. Rest in peace, sister.



9 April 06: I see that my old employer, Free Inquiry magazine, has been in the news: Border Books has refused to sell the current issue because in it are printed some of those cartoons mocking the prophet Mohommed. Virginia Postrel rightly points out that publishing these cartoons was a publicity stunt on the part of the magazine, one that I am happy has worked. Postrel also points out that it is unlikely that the magazine sells 1000 copies of each issue at a Borders store.  I was executive editor at FI for three years in the late eighties, and at that time newsstand sales were never even sought. The goal was to get subscribers, who would then be solicited for money during biannual fund drives. We even tried to get our older subscribers, village atheists and community skeptics often alienated from their families, to leave the magazine money and property in their wills. Many did. We also got income by putting on conferences. The magazine was and is a serious enterprise, but in business terms it has always been a loss leader.




27 Mar. 06: I've known Rob Cohen for almost 30 years. Together we worked for the SUNY Buffalo student newspaper, The Spectrum, Rob specializing in politics and foreign affairs, me in arts, culture, and ... stories about me, if I remember right. Rob's writing about foreign affairs again in his new blog: Richemonde: Musings and rants from US of Amnesia's Left Coast. This is a lovely development, old buddy.



16 Mar. 06: Reading my buddy Jonathan Mayhew's blog, Bemsha Swing, remains a high point of my day. He's really cooking with grease lately, and writing beautifully.



15 Mar. 06: I've pledged to support Ted Rall's lawsuit against Ann Coulter.



7 Feb. 06: Tom Lee's Vancouver store is selling aisles of sheet music by the pound ($5/per).  I picked up intermediate-level selections by Grieg, Bartok, and Mozart. I also brought home a batch of Christian hymns. Sealed at the time I bought them, they turn out to be hilarious, cheesy arrangements.  "Abide with Me" even has that Barry Manilow, half-step jump-in-the-melody thing going at the end. Maybe I've become too attached to the Protestant hymnal that mysteriously found its way into my parents' piano stool a few years back, but "Abide with Me" is just not to be messed with, man. (I approve of this version provided by the online CyberHymnal.)






6 Feb. 06: I will always closely follow Adrian Tomine's artwork. As with the work of a number of his colleagues at Drawn & Quarterly press, though, his books' thematic scope has continued to shrink. It's depressing stuff (if beautifully written and drawn): sexually frustrated and/or promiscuous young adults in and around the campus at UC Berkeley see how successfuly they can use one another. His new comics remind me of a recent exchange I had with the highly irascible but always worthwhile Ted Rall. He wrote me, "I miss rock 'n' roll cartooning. This Prozac school of art is OK, I guess, but to hold it up as an exemplar is absurd." What's the problem these days? "Not enough real life experience," Rall says. "A common problem among cartoonists." [For "rock 'n' roll cartooning," see Mary Fleener, below.]





6 Feb. 06: Not enough real life experience isn't a problem that Chan Marshall aka "Cat Power" has, and her just-released CD "The Greatest" couldn't be more enchanting. It sounds simulataneously ancient and new with dew. The latest issue of Harp has a charming interview with her.





28 Jan. 06: I recently improved my life by purchasing some artwork from the magnificent Mary Fleener, including the notorious cover of her comic Slutburger #2. Mary told me, "This is the piece of art that Pay Pal told me 'violated' their guidelines. You can see what a HOT piece of sexy art it REALLY is!! [Click on the thumbnail above. Ed.] Hubba Hubba!! So I removed it [from my website], and then they told me there was more art that was in question, but they wouldn't tell me which!!" The illustration was painted and printed using a process that is "almost extinct," Mary notes. "Since computers are used so much, no printer makes stats anymore that's the image burned onto a clear acetate and developed into a solution to create an emulsion like a traditional photograph. (So be careful not to drop any water or sneeze on your art!) These pieces were back-painted, just like an animation cel." [You can read Mary's 2001 Comics Journal interview here.]



16 Jan. 06: I have been visiting Kurt Nimmo's brilliant and radical blog "Another Day in the Empire" several times a week for the past couple of years, so I am very much bummed that he's found himself forced to discontinue it: He has been receiving death threats "that are not to be taken likely," he says. Anyone who has read Kurt's work knows that he is a gutsy guy, and I often used to wonder what he had to endure to publicly participate in political debate. Now I know.  It's heartening to hear that Kurt will continue his work, disseminating it through a private email list. He will also keep his considerable archive online.  [Not long after this was posted, Kurt announced that he wouldn't give up his website after all. He hadn't expected the numbers and intensity of his support out there in cyberspace. -- Jan. 24]




15 Jan. 06: Next week marks the beginning basil.CA's fifth year. My recent break was tremendously restorative. You can look forward to frequent posting this year. I'm very grateful for your readership.




 

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All text and photographs copyright © 2002 - 2007 Basil Communications Inc., with the exception of the photo of Kat and Josie, by Leah Wiebe; photo of Harriet Tubman, public domain; photo of Lisa Lopes, from the Atlanta Constitution; photo of Robert Rimmer, from harrad2000.com; photo of Virginia Postrel, from dynamist.com; photo of Julie and Buddy Miller from buddyandjulie.com; photo of Patty Griffin from atorecords.com; photo of Mary Lou Lord from rebricrecords.com; Julie Doucet self-portrait, detail of back page of My Most Secret Desire (Drawn and Quarterly).