The meaning of Guernica explained in a subway

The meaning of Guernica explained in a subway

By George Le Masurier

What do a gored bull, a horse and flames have in common? No, this is not a three-people-walk-into-a-bar kind of joke. The answer, of course, is they are all prominent images in Pablo Picasso’s most famous painting (Decafnation’s opinion).

But what does it mean? Have you ever wondered about the symbolism in the painting? Is it really an anti-war message?

A New Yorker magazine art critic took a copy down into the Big Apple’s subway tunnels and asked people what they thought. It’s an interesting video.



The bombing of Guernica (Spanish pronunciation: [ɡeɾˈnika]) (26 April 1937) was an aerial bombing of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. It was carried out, at the behest of Francisco Franco’s nationalist government, by its allies, the Nazi German Luftwaffe’s Condor Legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria, under the code name Operation Rügen. 

The bombing is the subject of a famous anti-war painting by Pablo Picasso, commissioned by the Spanish Republic.

— Wikipedia



Pablo Picasso was the most dominant and influential artist of the first half of the 20th century. Associated most of all with pioneering Cubism, alongside Georges Braque, he also invented collage and made major contributions to Symbolism and Surrealism. He saw himself above all as a painter, yet his sculpture was greatly influential, and he also explored areas as diverse as printmaking and ceramics.

Finally, he was a famously charismatic personality; his many relationships with women not only filtered into his art but also may have directed its course, and his behavior has come to embody that of the bohemian modern artist in the popular imagination.

More Culture | News
The Week: Was this the Year of Women in Comox Valley politics?

The Week: Was this the Year of Women in Comox Valley politics?

       Illustrating the power and importance of human touch  |  George Le Masurier photo

By George Le Masurier

What was the most important occurrence this year in the Comox Valley? Was this the Year of Women in politics? You can certainly make a case that it was. More women ran for public office and were elected than the prior year in all branches of Comox Valley local government.

The School District 71 Board of Education leads the way with six women and one male board member. Cumberland has a 4:1 ratio and Comox is 4:3. Lagging the field are Courtenay at 2:5. and the Comox Valley Regional District rural areas at 1:3.

Was this the Year of the Progressive movement? You could make a case for that, too. Courtenay council certainly shifted toward progressive thinking by rejecting former Mayor Larry Jangula and the many former councillors and mayors who tried to make a comeback out of retirement.

Was this the Year of Youth in local politics? Comox Town Council certainly got younger with three new councillors (all women) in their 30s, and first-time councillor Patrick McKenna trimed a year or two off both Hugh McKinnon and Marg Grant, incumbents did not seek re-election.

Courtenay dropped a couple of years, too, by replacing Jangula and Erik Eriksson. Cumberland stayed about the same, but new CVRD rural area directors Arzeena Hamir and Daniel Arbour are younger than their predecessors.

Was this the Year of Grassroots Activism? That’s a difficult one because the Comox Valley has a long history of engaged citizens fighting for perceived just causes. So maybe the strong and successful opposition to a water bottling operation in the Merville area and a 1,000 home subdivision in the Puntledge Triangle are just continuations of a long tradition.

Was this the Year of Legal Marijuana? We don’t think so. Canadians have been unabashedly consuming cannabis in various forms for years. But becoming the first G7 nation to legalize recreational use of marijuana is significant, and primarily for a reason that directly involves the Comox Valley.

Legalization means that scientists can finally officially study the cannabis plant and its effects on human consumers. And Canada’s leading cannabis scientist is Jonathan Page, who grew up here, and he is building the world’s first laboratory dedicated to the breeding and genetics of cannabis in his home community.

What was the highlight of the year for you?

¶  Several hundred people jumped into the somewhat colder water off Goose Spit on Boxing Day for the annual Polar Bear Swim. But, was the water really that cold? Actually, water in the Strait of Georgia fluctuates only about 3 or 4 degrees Centigrade between summer and winter. So, it’s not really that much colder in December than it was in July.

Some Cumberland folks — incited by Meagan Coursons — have been talking about a New Years Day swim in Comox Lake. That would likely be colder than Goose Spit, especially if they jumped in at the mouth of the Cruikshank River.

That’s pretty much what Magali Cote did before Christmas. The commercial diver started at the west end of the lake and swam to the Cumberland boat ramp. So, she passed by the mouth of the Cruikshank flowing with icy glacier water. Cote was wearing thermal diving gear, but still ….

¶  Our favorite scientific study of 2018 was done at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Researchers found that when women subjected to mild pain held hands with their male partner, the intensity of the pain diminished by 34 percent. We’re not sure why they only used mixed-sex couples. Brain scans showed the couple’s brain waves became synchronized while holding hands, and to a greater degree when pain was applied.

The lead researcher said the study “illustrates the power and importance of human touch.”







Roma — Alfonso Cuaron
Hereditary — Ari Aster
First Reformed — Paul Schrader
Eighth Grade — Bo Burnham
Support the Girls — Andrew Bujalski
Amazing Grace — Sydney Pollack
The Rider — Chloé Zhao
Cold War — Pawel Pawlikowski
The Old Man & the Gun — David Lowery
Zama — Lucrecia Martel





Cardi B — Invasion of Privacy
Kacey Musgraves — Golden Hour
Camila Cabello — Camila
Pistol Annies — Interstate Gospel
Ariana Grande — Sweetener
Travis Scott — AstroWorld
Pusha T — Daytona
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper — A Star is Born
Kurt Vile — Bottle It In
Drake — Scorpion

— Rolling Stone




Better Call Saul
The Americans
Killing Eve
The Good Place
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Handmaid’s Tale
Sharp Objects
Patrick Melrose

— David Bianculli, NPR’s Fresh Air



Regional District CAO responds to developer’s lawsuit

Regional District CAO responds to developer’s lawsuit

Photo Caption

By George Le Masurier

Comox Valley Regional District Chief Administrative Officers Russell Dyson issued a statement today, Dec. 27, in response to a petition by 3L Developments Inc. to Supreme Court of British Columbia

Earlier this year, the CVRD board rejected an application by 3L to amend the Regional Growth Strategy to allow a large subdivision in the Puntledge Triangle. The development company then challenged that decision in a court filing, just days before the Oct. 20 municipal elections.

Today, Dyson issued the following statement:

“On October 17, 2018, 3L Developments Inc. filed a petition with the Supreme Court of British Columbia seeking court orders to set aside the Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) denial of the 3L’s application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS).

“Our lawyer has advised us to limit our comments on this matter while it is before the court, but we do want to make it clear that the CVRD considered 3L’s application to amend the RGS in a fair, open and transparent process. We followed all requirements set out in Provincial legislation, CVRD bylaws and policies and met the Court’s expectations from previous decisions regarding 3L’s proposal.

“Amending the RGS is a serious undertaking.

“The RGS is a regional planning framework that guides growth and development and protects the environment, health and livability in the CVRD for all citizens.

“We fully consulted with the public and 3L during this process. We kept 3L informed and respected their interest, processing their application in a timely manner.

“The documents below are the same as those filed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia on December 21, 2018 and be found on our website at

“· Response to Petition – filed

“· Affidavit #1 of James Andrew Warren – filed

“· Affidavit #2 of James Andrew Warren – filed

“· Affidavit of Russell Dyson – filed

“· Affidavit of Alana Mullaly – filed

“· Affidavit of Edwin Grieve – filed

“· Affidavit of Curtis Scoville – filed”


More News | Politics

Candidates did their part, now do yours: VOTE

Comox Valley voters have a terrible record of turning out to vote in municipal elections, yet who we elect to our local governments has a more direct and impactful effect on our daily lives. Let’s turn that around this year

City Council candidates debate taxes, amalgamation

16 candidates for six Courtenay City Council seats answered questions from the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce last night in front of a full house at the Sid Williams Theatre. Taxes and amalgamation were the hot topics

Comox candidates separate on housing, growth issues

Most new candidates for six town of Comox council seats would do more to require that developments include an affordable housing component, while sitting council members say affordability is being addressed with a 90-unit building on Anderton

Area A candidates meet with Royston voters

Saturday’s Royston meeting had over 50 citizens in attendance, giving up part of their sunny afternoon to listen to and question both candidates. There was a twist to this all candidates affair, the moderator was ill, and there was no one willing to take his place, so both candidates were running the show, alternating recognizing questions from the floor.

In the Comox Valley, Decafnation recommends ….

There’s a youth movement in Comox Valley politics and Decafnation supports it. Former council members have had their chance. It’s those who must live with the impact of decisions tomorrow who should have the opportunity to make them today

Patrick McKenna gets serious about council, housing

With a background in both corporate retail and the nonprofit sector, Patrick McKenna believes he would bring a unique perspective to his first term on the Comox Town Council. He’s focused on affordable housing, the arts and community safety

Taking the Polar Bear plunge at Goose Spit on Boxing Day

Taking the Polar Bear plunge at Goose Spit on Boxing Day

Photo by George Le Masurier

By George Le Masurier

Brave souls dove into cold waters on the leeward side of Goose Spit Wednesday (Boxing Day) for the 42nd annual Polar Bear Swim. Several hundred joined in the fun. Fun? Apparently, according to the Comox Recreation Centre organizers. Here’s a gallery of photos to relive the event from the warmth of your living room.



Melting ice in the Beaufort Sea is forcing polar bears to swim long distances, without food or rest for days at a time, with increasing frequency, according to a five-year study that sheds light onto yet another consequence of climate change in the North.

A group of researchers at the University of Alberta monitored polar bears in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska and the Yukon, and Hudson Bay from 2007 to 2012.

They found that as sea ice melted, female adult bears and younger bears of both genders were paddling distances greater than 30 miles more often in order to find pieces of ice large enough for them to rest on.

“If you went back in time, even to the 1980s, bears in the Beaufort Sea probably never saw 50 kilometers [30 miles] of open water, and that’s the low end of the analysis,” said researcher Andrew Derocher, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta.

-VICE News



Victoria Falls, Zambia — A natural swimming hole at the top of the falls, a 100-foot drop.

Hanakapiai Beach, Hawaii — High surfs, strong rip currents and high tides have claimed many lives here

Volusia County, Florida — New Smyrna Beach is known as the Shark Bite Capital of the World. Nuff said.

River Nile, Egypt — If water falls, rip currents and sharks aren’t scary enough for you, take a dip in the muddy waters of the Nile, where a half-million crocodiles lurk among the piranha-like Tiger Fish.




Plunge into water at near-freezing temperatures, and your body goes into extreme distress. Your skin screams signals of pain. You can’t breathe, because your chest is cramping up. Talking is nearly impossible. Your heart is pounding. Fear mounts — as it should. Without any protection, you may lose consciousness in under 15 minutes. You’ll be dead within an hour.

Or … you can start racing! That’s the idea behind the Open Scandinavian Championship in Winter Swimming, which takes place every year in a 25-meter pool cut out of a frozen lake in a small Swedish town only about 100 miles from the Arctic Circle. Nearly 400 swimmers traveled there in February for the privilege and thrill of competing in this unique sport with as many health benefits as risks, it seems.

It’s the health benefits of the cold — both physical and emotional — that inspired this winter swimming race in the first place.

Health benefits?