Archive | March, 2014

Back ends

30 Mar

Going through my photo collection I noticed all this pictures of animals. We, as a family, go to zoos, petting parks, nature parks and similar public and private concerns. I take pictures of the animals I see. I usually end up with images of their back ends.
This photo is appropriate because a donkey is an ass. Although I have to say they are very nice and peaceful animal.

Weekly Vinyl – Songs of Leonard Cohen

28 Mar

Songs of Leonard Cohen
I discovered something when I pulled out the vinyl record from the paper sleeve.
The words.
They are printed on heavy stock paper, 9.5 by 12.5 inches, folded in half.
I never new this. This is fantastic.
But it does not overshadow the lyrics and music of this, Leonard Cohen’s debut album.
I love being reintroduced to his words and music – the combination of, like a good cocktail.
Every song here harkens back to a good time.
Singing these songs in the company of others or solo.
Singing these songs and trying to make them sound just like on the album and then taking a break, slinging the electric guitar over the shoulder, plugging in the distortion and turning the amp up to 11 (the way Suzanne is really meant to be played and sung).
Passing off into a beautiful slumber as the songs play melodically in the background.
Listening to this music while contemplating real or imagined problems – and finding the solutions.
Yes. I’m a fan. You should be to.
If there is one criticism I could make it is this: For anyone who has ever saw fit to take ink to paper (or carpal tunnelled knuckle to keyboard) and write (especially song writing), this album will make you humble, and realize the genius of Leonard Cohen.

Weekly Wine – Aveleda

26 Mar

SONY DSCAveleda Vinho Verde Fonte
$8.95 (LCBO)

As soon as I cracked this bottle open I knew I was making a big blunder.
This is a Portuguese Vinho Verde. This is very young wine and what is properly termed as effervescence – bubbles. Tiny bubbles.
Traditionally the wine is not carbonated but the effervescence comes from malolactic fermentation, a secondary fermentation that naturally occurs in the bottle. Now the stuff has a bit of good ole’ CO2 pumped in.
I like these wines because they tend to be light, low alcohol and quite refreshing on a hot summer day when drunk cold. Room temperature in a coldish basement is not the best way to present this wine.
Be that as it may I poured a glass and had my way.
Right off the bat, I got these earthy tones and major off flavours. The wine needed to be chilled. A while in the freezer and it got to a suitable temperature.
This wine fared better when cooler, but a nice hot summer day would have made it even better.

Letter: Stopping Billy Bishop

26 Mar


Toronto has a nice little airport on its waterfront. The airport is on an Island. I like the airport. It used to serve private airplanes but a few years back an airline, Porter Air, started flying larger propeller craft from the airport. There was a controversy many years ago about building a bridge to the island to serve the increased traffic to the island airport. The airport is served by a small ferry. The citizens voted for the mayor who opposed the bridge and it has been pretty calm since then.
Recently the airline has wanted to expand its service and use jets. For this They would need to extend the airstrip into the lake and have much more infrastructure.
There is a vote on this in Toronto City Council coming up and I am writing to my councilor, Peter Milczyn.

Dear Councillor Milczyn,

I am writing to you in the hope that you will not support any expansion of service at the Island Airport – Billy Bishop Airport (YTZ).
I’ve been searching through the internet and I have been unable to see any categorical statements that you have made, either for or against. You have criticized Porter’s plan saying, “It is no plan,” and I applaud you for that.
But I would like you to come out and definitely state that you are against airport expansion.
There are many reasons to be against this expansion but one of the best is that there is no easy access to the airport, either by public transport or by car. The intersection, Bathurst and Lakeshore, is a monumental mess as it is. I drive by there on occasion and always curse myself for forgetting what a vile pit of confusion it is. The only upside is seeing people abandon their stuck cabs and hoof it through traffic with their suitcases in tow to desperately try to make it on time for the flight. Perhaps the airport might make sense if there was a direct exit from the Gardiner Expressway. (Yea, that will never happen.)
Porter’s plans, for their expanded service, includes flights to Florida, the West coasts and many other points. We do not need to turn, what was a nice urban airport, into a minor International Airport.
Please come out strongly opposing any expansion of Billy Bishop airport.
Thank you,
Nestor Gula


Musing block unblocked

26 Mar

I’ve not put down a musing since December 23.
This is for the reason I mentioned in that blog, and in passages dropped in with other entries here.
Ukraine. I’m preoccupied and horrified with the events there. I’m at once hopeful, despondent, enraged, resigned, but mostly I feel powerless. I go to the demonstrations. Do the Twitter storm thing.
Not much use against tanks and guns.
I’m not alone here though. I speak with my friends and they are all teetering. Spending every moment they can keeping up with events, discarding the lies and mistruths, and reading analysis. We all admit that with work, family and the following of events in Ukraine, there is not much time for anything else.
One theme, for me, has emerged form all this turmoil.
People need to take action and keep their elected representatives, I will not call them elected leaders since that is just plain wrong, on a short leash. How far off are we from really getting a government similar to Yanukovich’s regime in Ukraine or Putin’s in Russia?
To be completely honest it is some way off, but the US had G.W. Bush, who made some wacky decisions, and other democratic countries, including Canada, have been failed by their elected officials.
The fact that that my city, Toronto, has Rob Ford, crack Mayor for those that are unsure, is an abomination. The fact that he enjoys a great amount of support is bizarre. It also explains how despots seize and hold power.
I ain’t going to be setting up any barricades any time soon but I will be writing letters to the politicians.
It’s a cliché, the pen is mightier than the sword, but that is all I have.

For now.



Dead Frozen Decomposed Fish

23 Mar


The title says it all.
Not much more to say or write.
My son noticed this as we were walking along the frozen shore of Lake Ontario.

Weekly Vinyl – Kraftwerk

21 Mar


The album starts of with these subtle pops. I initially think, “Oh lord. I hope the album is not scratched.” This though was immediately followed by the though, “Why would the album be scratched?”
Then I remembered this was Kraftwerk. I closed my eyes and let the music envelop me.
The first song, Geiger Counter, is fantastic. It, to my mind, encapsulates the Kraftwerk sound. Yes, there is the metronomic digital rhythm. Yes, there is the sparseness of sound and melody. Yes, there is this standoffish feeling that the performers are not really “into it.”
But the soul of the music. There is massive amounts of this as well.
It is a juxtaposition of two opposing forces. It is a contradiction that should not be able to succeed.
Yet it works. Not just in the first song. But with the whole album. And with their whole musical career..


Weekly Wine – 120

21 Mar

SONY DSCSanta Rita 120 Cabernet Sauvignon
13.5% ABV
$9.60 (LCBO)

I’m drinking this wine and thinking about people who are struggling for freedom.
The 120 in the name of this wine is there because, as it says on the label, “Honoring 120 patriots who helped lead Chile to independence.” I look to engage the Internet to find out who these 120 people are and I get distracted by the events in Ukraine – where people are struggling for their independence and self-determinations right now.
What would any freedom fighter think of this wine?
They would probably like it – they would probably appreciate any wine.
This wine has a distinct Chilean characteristic that I have picked up on. The initial taste is fine, quite pleasant with a smattering of flavours and a hint of complexity. The after-taste comes in and it is a bit dry and harsh. It is the sulphites that are added, as they are to most wines in the sub 10-buck category, that are quite pronounced.
This wine needs to be enjoyed with food because of this after-taste. A hearty meal – not just finger snacks. With food you will not get the harshness and the wine will be a winner at most any occasion.

Krym (Crimea) is still ours (Ukrainian)

16 Mar


Another post done post-factum … but I like this one.
An old bordello by the lake named Krym (Crimea) still in Ukrainian hands.
Слава Украïнi!

Weekly Vinyl – Beethoven

14 Mar

Beethoven “Pastoral” Symphony
Reiner/Chicago Symphony
I was happy when I pulled this album out. I though the pastoral themes would calm me down.
But they didn’t.
The album is very well produced and sounds great. I was not in the mood to listen to it – or anything for that matter.
My mind is preoccupied with events in Ukraine. And not much else is getting through.

I wrote that a week ago and did not post it till now. I’m better now – the situation in Ukraine is the same. But I’m coping.