Image: PaellaAugust 31, 2016
Night Music: Gimme A PigfootAugust 30, 2016
When Paper Meant SomethingAugust 30, 2016
I doubt that many of us give any thought at all to the papers and paper products that we use in multiple ways all day. Paper is ubiquitous and therefore almost invisible. But it wasn’t always so.
Gabriella Szalay has written a fascinating piece for The Recipes Project website in which she describes various attempts in the early modern period — when commercial paper was made from expensive linen rags — to make paper out of all sorts of other materials — wasps’ nests, for example, and poplar seeds, pine cones and green algae from rivers.
A good read.
Cricket Records Galore!August 30, 2016
For those who don’t follow cricket, you may not know that there are three different formats of the game played at the International level:
- Test cricket is the most senior form of the game, with matches taking up to five days to complete;
- ODI, or One Day Internationals, is, as the name suggests, a format designed to be completed in a single day;
- T20I, also known as Twenty Twenty Internationals, is a fairly recent innovation in which games take only about three hours to play.
When a country’s cricket team travels to another country for an international tour, it is to be expected that they will play a number of each type of game. Pakistan is currently touring England. They played four Tests, with the series finishing tied at 2-2. We are now in the middle of an ODI series of five games. England have won the first two. Today was the third ODI and it was record-breaking!
England batted first and scored 444 runs, the largest total made by any country ever in an ODI game. One English batsman scored 171 by himself, the highest run total by any English batsman in an ODI. Another English batsman scored the fastest 50 runs ever. Pakistan never stood a chance, and losing wickets early didn’t help. They lost the game by 169 runs (giving England the series at 3-0), but not before one of their batsman scored the highest ever number of runs for a #11 Pakistani batsman.
Neither side were at their best in the field, with fumbles and dropped catches aplenty, but it was a grand and highly enjoyable day of cricket to watch!
R.I.P. Gene WilderAugust 29, 2016
The now-late Gene Wilder was one of the comic geniuses of my youth. He will be missed.
In 1980 or thereabouts, I had a perm and thus curly hair. I was in an expensive restaurant with someone one day, and I noticed that a young lad of about 10 years at another table was eyeing me eagerly. As time went on, I caught him pointing in my direction as he passionately pleaded with his Mom for something. Eventually, carrying a small book with him and watched closely by the adults there, the kid slid down from his table and walked tentatively over to me.
“Can I have your autograph, Mr Gene Wilder, please?”
I was surprised, but hurried whispers between my companion and I about childhood disappointment led me to agree; and I signed his book as “Gene Wilder”. The kid was delighted and rushed eagerly and noisily back to his people. I nodded to them, smiled, and went on with my day. Looking back, I am still glad I did it.
Image: SumoAugust 29, 2016
Poem: DescentAugust 29, 2016
The rustic lane unwinds
its way from the mountain
like a lover leaving her man
after a lingering entwining kiss;
a solitary clump of bluebells
reflects aquamarine raindrops
on the hood of the passing car
like mirrors round as hazelnuts in the mist;
and as I ignore the windowed beauty
the weekend ending burns into my soul
leaving me wondering if, once I’m gone,
she’ll remember me with a cheer or a hiss.
Remember The AshesAugust 29, 2016
One hundred and thirty four years ago, on this day in 1882, the Australian touring team beat England at cricket for the first time in England. It was a devastating defeat for the English team and their supporters. A few days later, the obituary (see right) was published in the Sporting Times.
Not content with public lamentations, a group of supporters burned one of the bails from the wicket used that fateful day, and collected “the ashes”. They have remained within a tiny urn until this day, and the Ashes — as matches between Australia and England are called — remain perhaps the most bitterly fought regular contest in sport anywhere.
England currently hold the Ashes after their victory in 2015.
Night Music: Words of LoveAugust 28, 2016
Amendment to REACH InformationAugust 28, 2016
In an earlier post, I had mentioned that one had to be a member of REACH by August 19 in order to vote at the AGM. I now understand that to be inaccurate. The following is from an email from REACH:
“While we encourage anyone to attend, only members of REACH can vote at the AGM. It’s easy to become a member: visit our new website and complete the membership form, include anywhere from $1 to $25 (it’s up to you) as your membership dues. Email it to us, or drop your application by our offices:
REACH Community Health Centre
102-2732 E Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC, Canada V5K 1Z9
As a member, you’re eligible to vote in our AGM on September 21, 2016 provided you have completed a membership form and delivered it to us prior to September 14, 2016. Let your voice heard and become a member of REACH today.
Hammershoi — Again, At lastAugust 28, 2016
More than eight years ago, I wrote an excited post about an artist I had just come across — Vilhelm Hammershoi.
Since then, I have only come across a couple of his images. It was a stunning pleasure, therefore, to find a documentary made by Michael Palin, also eight years ago, that delves deeply into the artist and his motivations.
The documentary lasts about an hour and is well worthwhile!
Image: Leaves and TreeAugust 27, 2016
Night Music: LowdownAugust 26, 2016
Reason #220 NOT to use FacebookAugust 26, 2016
Even though their own research shows that 80% of users react negatively if an ad’s sound is turned on when a video starts, that is exactly what Facebook is planning to happen now.
According to a story in Consumerist, the current default is to have the sound OFF, but Facebook wants to change that in case you miss any of the important advertising messages FB’s paymasters are sending you.
You will soon have to specifically switch the sound off because, of course, advertisers are more important than members’ convenience.
Previous Reasons NOT to use Facebook
Wise WordsAugust 25, 2016
Good To See You, LyndaAugust 25, 2016
So, almost out of the blue, our old good friend Lynda called this morning. Since the 1990s, Lynda and I worked together for many years, and she and the everloving were close. For the last five years or more she has been living in Kelowna working to relieve the distress of the least fortunate; she was in town and could we do lunch? You bet!
Lynda always loved the Drive and she was alive to the changes that have happened to the hood in her absence. Nothing desperate yet, I told her; not yet. We had lunch at the Dime (a new spot since she was here last) and chatted like three old biddies who haven’t seen each other in half a decade. She is recovering from hip surgery and we lovingly shared war stories about diseases and getting old. Such is grist for the seniors’ mill. Great fun.
I suspect I got a bit of sunstroke as I walked home.
Image: Garden GateAugust 25, 2016
Let’s Have Better Holidays!August 25, 2016
On August 9, 1960, Harvard professor Timothy Leary consumes seven Psilocybe caerulescens mushrooms in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Five hours later, he experiences a “full blown conversion experience” next to a swimming pool. It is Leary’s first drug trip.
Now, it doesn’t matter what your view of drugs might be, but wouldn’t it be more fun and relevant to have stat holidays celebrating important contemporary cultural events, such Tim’s first trip, rather than State-sponsored dates based on ancient cults, dead monarchs, and jingoistic nationalisms? Each generation could change them as needed, keep them fresh and meaningful as time and culture moves forward.
To get us started, here are an old Boomer’s ideas for twelve more culturally relevant Stat Holidays:
January 1 New Year’s Day
February 14 Wayne’s World (1992) release
March 21 The first tweet (2006)
April 23 The first YouTube video (2005)
May 25 Release of Star Wars (1977)
June 11 First broadcast of American Idol (2002)
July 1 Canada Day
August 9 Tim Leary’s first trip (1960)
September 9 Elvis Presley’s first appearance on Ed Sullivan (1956)
October 1 Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show debut (1962)
November 18 Release of Steamboat Willie (1928), Mickey Mouse’s first film
December 17 Debut of the Simpson show (1989)
The everloving suggests that each of us should also get two further stat holidays of our own choice to best suit our own cultural proclivities. Sounds good. I’ll take 27th June to celebrate both Emma Goldman and the IWW, and 9th October to celebrate John Lennon.
Night Music: SatieAugust 24, 2016
Characters Of the DriveAugust 23, 2016
Skylight Restaurant — the last of the classic diners on the Drive — has been closed for the last couple of weeks so that the family who run the place can get a summer vacation. They were open today and so the everloving and I eagerly took ourselves down there for an 11:00am breakfast.
Considering it was the middle of the morning on a work day, we were surprised and pleased to see how busy the place was, with just our usual table (kismet!) and one other available. Corned beef and hash, and eggs benny (definitely NOT hollandaise, but damn tasty) with lots of coffee and toast, satisfied our inner needs, while the other clients and their (loud) conversations kept us interested.
Behind me, unseen but not unknown, two transgendered friends went back and forth with a street person at another table. One would tell a story about how “they” had screwed up their claim, and the other would respond with a story that topped the first in getting-screwedness. This went on and on until the stories were far into the BS zone. Still, they seemed to enjoy themselves.
At another table beside me an earnest middle-aged man explained in detail to his bored companion (who never spoke so far as I could tell) how 9/11 was an inside job. I couldn’t quite hear who he considered the villains of the piece but he knew it was all very fishy.
On my other side, three millennial media types took up a booth with their laptops and iphones and notebooks. They ordered coffee and took up a lot of space for a lot of time. I didn’t notice them share a single word of conversation.
And then there were the four West Siders who arrived, and sat defensively, close together. They studied the simple menu for a long time and then ordered with lots of substitutions. They whispered among themselves, and they sounded like the coming of gentrification. Their various loud perfumes filled the room insensitively for those with chemical sensitivities. Leaving the Skylight and plunging into the aroma of Western Reduction (really powerful today) was almost a relief.