Archive | November, 2015

City and clouds

29 Nov

I don’t know what city this is. I thought it might be Toronto but I don’t recognize any landmarks or buildings. The photo was taken with a simple point and shoot camera long ago. I was searching my memory of all the places that I visited and/or flew over and could not pick this place out. I like this shot.

Update: Right after posting this photo I looked at it again and all the pieces fell into place. This is Toronto. In the center it is Queens Park, the provincial legislature. The photo was taken from the north. How I missed this when I stared at the image I do not know.

Weekly Vinyl – Lili Marlene

27 Nov

Lili Marlene
Marlene Dietrich

Whenever I hear music like this – I get into a happy spot.
I want to turn the light down low. I want to light a candle. I want to shut the world out. I want to pour myself something nice. In this case a mug of strong black tea and a snifter of
brandy. (Cognac would be a bit too obvious and Armagnac too sublime.)
This is music meant to be heard on a record player. My copy of this album is in great shape so there is no discernible hisses, pops or snaps. But that’s OK.
My basement is dark and I have two candles going. I can imagine the scratches and the hisses.
I am in my happy place when I listen to this.
I do not understand German – but that does not interfere with the enjoyment of the music. Like listening to Edith Piaf – you don’t need to understand the words because the emotion is all there in the voice and in the music. It takes you on a journey to a happy place.
It is good to be there.

Thankful for Thanksgiving

26 Nov

Today it is Yankee Thanksgiving –I do celebrate it.
I eat the turkey and watch the football – NFL style.
I also try to think of something to be thankful for. Well something besides health, family, friends and such.bu
Where does one find something to be thankful for in a world of tears? Where does one find reaffirmation of the spirit of humanity in a world that is on the edge?
In politics?
In the arts?
In science?
In a newspaper’s strange news section…
There was a story about a man watching burlesque video in an adult emporium in Hamburg, Germany. The store caught on fire, but the man refused to leave until his private screening had finished. The firefighters came and had to physically remove him from the flame engulfed smoked filled premises.
This is dedication. This is complete insanity. This is standing tall when the chips are down.
This is what I can be thankful for – that there are people in the world with principles that will not let anything get in the way of satisfaction.

Weekly Wine – Mayor

25 Nov


Mayor de Castilla Verdejo, Rueda
12.5% ABV
9.95 (LCBO)
This is a tart dry wine which is best chilled. The first sips are rather harsh but they mellow out on the palate very quickly.
It is an OK wine that does not mask the fact that it is inexpensive. It is rough around the edges. It is not unpleasant but it is definitely not very refined.
Perhaps it is the grape, Verdejo, which gives it this flavour. I am not familiar with this variety, so I don’t really have the frame of reference to really properly comment on the success of this fermentation.
As mentioned it is good chilled but starts to exhibit a more combative flavour once the temperature of the wine approaches room temperature. The experience is not off putting – just a little disappointing.

Northern Voice

22 Nov


This was in Lille about two years ago. It’s the newspaper of record in the north part of France. What a cool looking office – on the main square in Lille.

Weekly Vinyl – Manifesto

20 Nov

Roxy Music
I vaguely remember buying this album at Peter Dunn`s Vinyl Museum. This was a great used record store in Toronto. It had at least two locations and it`s mascot was a cat that looked a bit like Sylvester the Cat. I found this cat, well the street marker for the Vinyl Museum in an alley and returned it to the store. I got a gift certificate for my trouble. This album might be part of the haul
The album still has the price sticker on it – I paid $2.49, a princely sum. But the Vinyl Museum always had very low prices.
The one way I would describe this album is laid back white funk. It is a really interesting album as it still has some of the feel of Roxy Music`s experimental musical beginnings with the pop sensibilities that were to come in future releases.
It`s definitely an album I`ll put on when guests come over and marvel at the ancient turntable.

Weekly Wine – Naked Grape (USA)

18 Nov


Naked Grape Pinot Grigio
Year: N/A
12% ABV
$9.99 (LCBO)

This wine confused me. Not because I had to write another review about an average Pinot Grigio wine. The confusion stemmed from the fact that there is a Canadian Naked Grape wine label. I’ve done the Uncorked Shiraz, but I’ve yet to do the others.
This is Naked Grape from California. It is a Pinot Grigio. I just had a swig of the wine and am trying to remember what it was like. I’ll have another.
It is unremarkable Pinot Grigio. A standard wine that will not offend anybody except the most militant of teetotallers. It is pleasant when well chilled on a hot day – like today when I am sampling it. What’s it like when it warms up – honestly, that won’t happen. It is hot outside and I’m on a balcony enjoying a great view – with a nice inoffensive wine to help me along.


16 Nov

There is not really not much to say or write when contemplating the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris this past week.
Yes many pundits have spoken and written about their horror and sadness … yet others have pointed out that this sort of violence happens quite often around the world and it is only a few events that get picked up the the world’s consciousness and then “go viral.”
I read an interesting article concerning ISIS in The Atlantic and it really gave an interesting picture of who these people might be. It also made me wonder weather they, ISIS, carried out this attack on Paris and who are the ones that are threatening the whole world with bloodshed and instability.
The tragedy is in the people who senselessly lost their lives due to someones deeply held but flawed beliefs. But it also is in our response, grieving and then bombing some distant target to make us feel somehow better.
I’m not sure how to resolve the ISIS question, but it seems that bombing them increases their recruitment and fuels their drive.
Ignoring them is not the answer.
I’m waiting to hear Donald Trump say that we should build a wall around them.

Landing TO

15 Nov

Coming in for a landing at the Pearson International Airport.
Looking at this picture I don’t even have to guess.
It is a Sunday – the roads are bare.

Weekly Vinyl – Red Paul

13 Nov

Снoва в СССР (Back in the USSR)
Paul McCartney
This album was a Soviet Union release of some Rock`n`Roll oldies Sir Paul McCartney recorded over two days with some buddies. It was part of the Soviet propaganda efforts to project a cool face as it was struggling with a crumbling economy and a “new” era of perestroika and Glastnost.
All that collapsed and I ended up with a bunch of these albums in my basement. The rumour in the Soviet Union in the late 80s and early 90s was that you could get several hundred bucks in the west for this Soviet only release. Perhaps the first ones to trickle out from behind the Iron Curtain fetched such a princely sum but the subsequent flood that these rumours unleashed meant that most could not be sold even for the Soviet black market price of this album which was around 40 cents. I tried to palm off these albums at used record stores in Toronto. No one wanted them because they all had several copies. So I am left with a few.
As for the music – It is Paul McCartney playing some Rock ‘n’ Roll standards with a few buddies. It’s OK if you are into that.