Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Every doctor should be compelled to read Dr. Andrew Malleson's "Whiplash and Other Useful Illnesses." This is a fascinating book by a true skeptic. I, like the vast majority of others, thought that whiplash and the other "fashionable illnesses" were real and serious. This book opened my eyes.

Tags: ,

Friday, November 21, 2003

The Decline of Radio

Do you remember when radio was good? Maybe you are not old enough. I remember when there were lots of independent radio stations. Now, national or multinational companies own something like 80% of North American radio stations. Corus Entertainment owns 24 radio stations in Ontario, 13 in Quebec, and 16 in western Canada! (plus 13 television stations).

This cannot be good for radio. I remember when Q-107 and CFNY (now totally eviscerated and renamed the Edge) used to be very different stations. Today, very little separates them. The so-called Edge spins "new rock" (usually pointless and wrongly categorized as alternative) while Q-107 delves into oldies and occasionally, some rather terrible rock.

Fans of CFNY should visit the Spirit of Radio fan site.

I rarely listen to the radio, but when I do, I usually listen to the last remaining independents, like the University of Toronto's CIUT and Ryerson CKLN.

Tags: ,

Friday, November 14, 2003

The architect is coming. The library is planning a reno. If we can only get more windows, I'll be happy.

In the darkroom last night, I developed two rolls of Kodak HIE. Later, I printed a few images. I am pleasantly surprised with the results. The next step will be to make some large prints. 8x10 seems really small for landscapes. This film gives far better results than Konica's pseudo-infrared film.

Tags: , ,

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Favourites

I've noticed that people with blogs often list their favourite stuff -- movies, books, music -- and other important stuff. Here's a small effort.

Movie: too hard to narrow it down.

Book: Hmm, tough one - maybe "Gargantua and Pantagruel" or "The Brothers Karamazov." There are so many to choose from. I am currently reading "Black Dogs", by Ian McEwan.

Music: my favourite singer/songwriter is Leonard Cohen., with John Cale being a close second. I like Nike Drake, Tom Waits, Richard Thompson, Billy Bragg, Bruce Cockburn, Beck, Adrian Belew, David Bowie, Bob Mould, Lou Reed, Neil Young, Jeff Buckley, and others. I am a fan of Brian Eno, Labradford, Bill Laswell, Set Fire to Flames, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Fly Pan Am, Do Make Say Think, Harld Budd, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, as well as XTC, Rheostatics, Velvet Underground, Bauhaus, Radiohead. I am missing people.

Colour: black

TV: Alias, DaVinci's Inquest, Simpsons, Star Trek...

Time of year: spring

Food: Indian

In case of fire, what will I remember to take with you: my old journals, photos

What's under my bed: dust

How many times have I been in love: what's love?

What's on my desktop: Mondrian painting

First car: Pontiac Ventura

I cycle year round. I like toy cameras. I hate Microsoft.

Tags: , ,

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Politics and Music

I guess I should never discuss politics with co-workers. That is, if I am not sure where they stand on the political spectrum, I should avoid it. Today, I learned that a colleague voted for John Tory. I voted for David Miller. In his email, he said: "Miller is an NDPer....who would in their right mind ever want to vote for the NDP?" I told him I would and did and have in the past. He also wants the Olympics to come to Toronto, and he bought into Tory's right wing law and order campaign. We disagree about music too, so I guess I should have expected this.

Speaking of music, I finally acquired a copy of Tabla Beat Science - Live in San Francisco. I also picked up a Set Fire to Flames CD. It is awesome. I think the Montreal scene is fabulous. Do Make Say Think, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Fly Pan Am, Exhaust, and others are making some really interesting music. Check out Constellation Records for great music and some really artistic packaging.

I recently dug out a couple of Quarkspace CDs from my collection and had a listen to Spacefolds 6 and Spacefolds 7. It's been a while since I gave them a spin, and I have to say that I still like most of their music. There are bits that don't do it for me, but I really think that they made some cool music.

Tags: , , ,

Friday, November 07, 2003

It's Friday. I know that it comes once per week, but it seems to take forever for it to arrive. This weekend, I am heading into High Park with my camera and some high-speed black and white infrared film. I am in the midst of photographing trees. I processed three rolls of Tri-X last night, and I like the results. I think I have some good images. I also spent some time in the studio, experimenting with lighting.

The Pentagon has begun recruiting for local draft boards. This is unbelievable. The US military is stretched thin by the stupidity in Iraq. I am not overwhelmed by Bush's intellect. I am not sure he has any. The US is getting bogged down in Iraq, and there is a notice on the defence department's Defend America website asking Americans to serve on draft boards. Is Iraq becoming another Viet Nam? Hopefully, a new US president will do the right thing and get the hell out of Iraq.

Tags: ,

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I do not work in a libary, or a lieberry. I am not a libarian, or even a Liberian. Is library such a hard word to pronounce? I sat through a three-hour presentation and the instructor, from a major telecommunications firm, kept saying lieberry, as if it were some sort of fruit.

Does anyone else think that it stinks that John Tory received an endorsement, which he accepted, from the Toronto Police Association? This is in contravention to the Police Act, and probably illegal. He wants to hire 400 policemen at a time when crime rates are dropping. We don't need another tough on crime campaign. It stinks. His ties to Mike Harris are so clear, I am amazed that anyone in Toronto would even consider voting for him.

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Last night's Mayoral debate proved once again that John Nunziata is a goof. He should have taken the money. John Tory has the perfect last name. He is such a tory. I don't understand why he is running second in this campaign. We just got rid of the provincial conservative government! Some people in this city can't get enough abuse, it seems. Barbara Hall is boring. I am still going to vote for David Miller.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Dolly for Dinner

The FDA thinks that cloned meat is safe. It's already hard enough to buy real food. We have irradiated food, genetically-modified food, foods soaked with pesticides, and animals pumped up with antibiotics. In the future, it seems that we will have cloned meat in the stores.

I imagine that the specials interest groups will try their best to avoid labeling, just as they have done with GMOs. I think current food labeling legislation sucks. Ingredients of ingredients aren't labeled. Ever wonder what is in such innocuous sounding items like spices, natural flavouring, artificial flavouring, etc.? Even some manufacturers don’t know because they purchase these products form other suppliers. Since they account for less than 5% of the product, there are no disclosure requirements.

One of my favourite sites is Truth in Labeling. It focuses on the MSG, and how it is hidden in many foods. Gluten, a toxic substance to those suffering from Celiac Disease, is also hidden in many products.

Tags: ,

Monday, November 03, 2003

Hallowe'en

When you have a kid, Hallowe'en is different. It reminded me of my childhood. I am also reminded of the parties I went to in high school and University. Those were the days. This year, our two-year-old ventured to a few more houses. She quickly clued-in. "Let's go trick or treating at that house," she said, and "let's knock on that door.". At the beginning, it was fine to visit the houses of people we knew. They learn fast.

My other enduring memory of Hallowe'en was wearing a winter coat over my costume. It snowed many years. This year, we had fabulous weather,. I walked around with her in a short-sleeved shirt.

We got the pumpkin early and, of course, the little one couldn't wait to carve it. The first face was too scary, so we added a second face at the back. As Hallowe'en approached our Janus-faced pumpkin started to decay and rot. In my mind, we had the perfect pumpkin. The insides had turned black, the rear face collapsed and looked like an eighty year old with no teeth. It was the scariest pumpkin on the street. My fingers punctured the sides when I picked it up to carry it to the composter the next day.

Tags: ,

Friday, October 31, 2003

I am half way through JM Coetzee's Youth, a book that follows from the point where Boyhood left off. It is spare and engaging. There is anguish and a palpable feeling of loneliness in this work. Reading Boyhood would seem to be a prerequisite. I recommend all of his books, especially Disgrace.

Tags: ,

Thursday, October 30, 2003

$5.6 Billion

The Provincial Tories are liars. Thank god they got their asses kicked out of office.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Thank god we are almost rid of Mel Lastman. He is an embarrassment to the city. Please vote for David Miller so that we can stop the expansion of the Island Airport. It's a stupid idea. Who wants jets screaming around the waterfront? Expanding the Island Airport will kill the waterfront. Barbara Hall seems to think that people who live downtown don't use Pearson. That statement puts her in the same league as Mel the buffoon. It's an idiotic statement.

Tags: ,

Friday, October 17, 2003

The United Right

At least they choose a better name this time. The Conservative Party of Canada sounds a lot better (if you ignore the Conservative part) than the previous attempt. The best they could do was come up with the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party, or Ccrap. Talk about a perfectly named party.

Does this mean that the regional politics of the old Reform Party is dead? After all, Preston Manning launched the Reform party to advance regional interests. Soon, he realized that the rest of Canada wasn't buying it. Changing the name to the Canadian Alliance Party accomplished little, and attracted few converts from the PC party. So, now the remnants of the once popular Progressive Conservative Party have hooked up with the failed Alliance in the hopes of preventing another Liberal majority.

I don't think they have a chance. For that, I am thankful.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I lost part of my tripod. Damn. This is the perfect excuse to buy a new and better one. My Nikon FM decided to start misbehaving. At 1/1000, the shutter fails (I actually typed shitter, but decided to change it). I am left with half frames, or quarter frames. This was a problem that had been fixed. I had to dig out my back-up SLR for fast shutter speeds.

Tags:

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Goin' to California

I'd like too. Let's take a close look at some of the top ten in votes received. At number 10, we have Mary Carey, an adult film actress. Larry Flynt checked in at number 7. What's going on out there? And then there's Gary Coleman, the pathetic, bankrupt little funny man, who finished 8th. This is even more bizarre than The Terminator being elected, and it is even funnier than any Letterman top ten.

Tags: ,

Friday, October 03, 2003

The Life of Pi

I liked The Life of Pi. And, I accept Yann Martel's view that ideas can be borrowed. He clearly acknowledged borrowing this idea from Moacyr Scliar. Martel will win this lawsuit, if it ever gets that far.

I think I agree with some reviewers who argue that the water part could have used an edit. And, I think, in some respects, that the first part was more interesting. However, from a narrative point of view, I think most people have missed the essence of the book: it doesn't matter which story you believe because the author makes it clear that both never happened, even in the fictional world. In the end, the Japanese insurance guys prefer the story of the tiger, because it is a better story. I think that we can assume that the story, as a fiction, never happened, that the fiction is a fiction, that the fictitious author created the fictitious character to tell us two stories. In the end, it makes no difference which story is the right one, because they are both stories.

I know it sounds convoluted, but do you know what I mean?

Tags:

Thursday, October 02, 2003

A few months back, I removed the 6x45 mask in my Holga so that I could shoot squares. I am happy with the results, although I think that I may need to buy another Holga for when I am in a rectangular mood. Also, I think my lens is a bit too sharp. Some images rival my ancient Nikon in clarity. (by the way, I think these auto-everything cameras are over-rated, unless you happen to be a journalist or a sports or nature photographer).

I just loaded a roll of film into my Akira. This is a ridiculous camera. It even comes with a lens hood. Don't pay more than a few dollars for this one. You can see it for sale on the web from $40 to $69 US. Forget it. It's worth far less than that. I got mine free.

I have lots of other cameras: Lomo, Lubitel 166U, and a bunch of classic Russian Rangefinders.

Tonight, I plan to process a couple of rolls of Tri-X.

Tags: ,

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

First, the Tories had this to say about the Liberal Leader: "Dalton McGuinty. He's an evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet." Now, with the election all but lost, Ernie says that Dalton has a "sharp pointy head." Thank you Ernie for revealing your true mental age. You are stuck at ten years old. I guess you figured that since you have lost, you should act like a loser. Well done. And, let's not kid ourselves, he knows he is toast. Ernie even referred to the Liberal party as the Liberal Government. And, Mike Harris said he was planning to vote for the Liberal party. He claims he made a mistake, but he's not fooling me.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Does anyone else think that the three guys running for Ontario Premier have odd names? We have Ernie, Dalton, and Howard. OK, so Howard is not that strange, it's just a bit boring. Ernie? Well, it reminds me of Sesame Street. I can't see how anyone can have any respect for a leader called Ernie. He should just wear a striped shirt and be done with it. Dalton? The only other had Dalton I am aware of is (was) Dalton Camp. Does any nation have room for more than one Dalton?

Tags: ,

Monday, September 29, 2003

Man, they are dropping like flies: Robert Palmer, Warren Zevon, John Ritter, Johnny Cash, George Plimpton, Elia Kazan. It makes me feel mortal.

Tags:

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Waiter Boy Wins Canadian Idol (my last word on Canadian Idol)

Congratulations to Ryan, winner of the manufactured-pop-idol-of-the-moment award. The fact that this was the most popular Canadian television show of all time is depressing and alarming. What is the viewing demographic anyway? I imagine that those people drooling over Ryan are either pre-pubescent girls or middle-aged women? Am I wrong?

He was not the best singer. Gary Beals could out sing him, and so could Billy Klippert. But, I suspect that Billy is thanking his lucky starts that he didn't win. He was saved the embarrassment of having to sing that inane piece of fluff that will be the first single. It's an abysmal example of song writing. It's boring, stupid, and, as Farley Flex said, "Walt Disney-esque." Is that the best they can do?

Oh, and how the hell did Tyler Hamilton get into the top 11? He is the most nasal singer I have ever heard. He has zero musical skill. He makes me cringe.

That's enough on that topic. Let's hope that the worldwide Idol craze dies very soon.

Tags:

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Love You Forever makes me puke.

My dislike of Robert Munch's children's book "Love you forever" is total. I wondered if it was intended to be some kind of dark comedy. In some ways, it is very funny, and I laughed the first time I read this story about the most dysfunctional mother-son relationship ever portrayed in children's literature. The last segment where the grown man sneaks into his mother's house to cradle his elderly mother in his arms is perverse and freaky. If one reads this book seriously, it is downright creepy. Has the author never heard of privacy? Perhaps there is something else going on. A few pages earlier, it is the psycho/stalker/mentally unstable mother who drives across town with a ladder strapped to the roof of her car. She climbs the ladder to sneak into her son's bedroom, crawls across the bedroom floor, and rocks him in her arms. I wonder what the man's wife had to say about that. Creepy is too kind a description of this bizarre book.

The scariest thing about the book is that it has sold 15,000,000 copies! What's wrong with you people?

If you don't believe me, believe my daughter. She will bring the book over and ask me to read it to her (I guess she is an eternally optimistic two-year-old). Part way through, she will beg me to stop. "I don't like that one," she says. In ten or fifteen tries, we rarely get past the first three or four pages, and I am relieved when she says she doesn't like it.

Oh, and the art sucks too.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

The fact that Arthur Koestler has faded into relative obscurity, while contemporary authors, such as George Orwell, are well-known, has always baffled me. In addition to Koestler's fiction masterpiece, Darkness at Noon, he wrote on a wide range of topics, managing to be controversial, entertaining, and very original. His volumes of autobiography are considered by many to be among the best of the 20th century. Some may remember that the Police used the title of Koestler's Ghost in the Machine for one of their albums.

I had high hopes for David Cesarini's biography (Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind). While it does cover Koestler's life in detail (some of it excruciating), it renders Koestler as a sex-obsessed drunk and possibly a rapist. We need more scholarship on Koestler, and so this book is welcome. But, I am ambivalent about the book and am left to ponder its purpose. Reaction has been mixed. Edinburgh University moved his statue to a safer location, fearing vandals would deface it after having reading about Koestler's attitude to women.

In hindsight, I regret not tallying the car crashes and the mistresses. Both lists would be very very long. His appetite for sex somehow managed to keep pace with his ability to seduce or persuade. I agree that these details are necessary, and it reveals Koestler to be very much unlike the man I had imagined. However, these forays into drunken parties and the endless stream of girlfriends almost overshadow the portrait of the man as a very influential thinker, and author of some of the most important books of his time. I got the hint that Koestler was a terrible driver (largely because of his drinking) early in the book. Why do we need descriptions of his serial automobile accidents?

Overall, the book is a remarkable portrait of a man who deserves more scholarly attention. It's probably the best book we will get on Koestler for a long time.

Tags: ,

Monday, September 08, 2003

Election Fever

Finally, we get the chance to get rid of the Tory government in Ontario. The Common-Sense revolution is dead. It made no sense anyway. I hope the people of Ontario will see through the Conservative Party's self-serving promises, like the $500 per year mortgage interest deduction. They have to be kidding. They know the only way they can hope to win is to offer stupid incentives like that, while they continue to dismantle public education and destroy the health care system. The electrical system is a mess. I say, vote Public Power. It's the only real choice. The NDP has a real platform that makes sense: public health care, public education, public water, public hydro, reasonable tuition, a fair minimum wage, affordable housing, good pensions, public transportation, child care. By contrast, the Tory platform is a carrot on a stick.

Tags: ,

Thursday, September 04, 2003

CD Prices Falling

The good news is that Universal is slashing CD prices by approximately 30%. EMI shares immediately plummeted. This is the best news I have heard in long time. CD prices are artificially high, and I feel like I have be robbed over the years. Don't forget that recent class action suit. I did not turn to illegal downloading. I think there is a strong collector in me (perhaps that is why I am a librarian). I am looking forward to other companies matching or beating these prices. It's about time. Now, I wonder if there are any good artists in the Universal catalogue...

Tags: ,
Music

I have no top ten lists. I don't have a fav song or band or singer or movie or tv show or book. Is that weird? I used to. Years ago, I could list my top ten songs, just like that guy in High Fidelity. What was in the top spot? Well, I remember thinking that Bela Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus was awesome. I still appreciate that one. I went through a phase where I really identified with How Soon is Now?, but didn't everybody? And then there was Kate Bush, Lou Reed, John Cale, The Clash, Brian Eno, Joy Division, Adrian Belew, My Bloody Valentine, The Pogues, The The, XTC, Shriekback, The Cure. Now, I listen to Labradford, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Do Make Say Think, Bill Laswell, etc. I gave up on the 3 minute pop song a long time ago. I have almost had it with lyrics, unless they are good ones, like those of Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, and Jeff Buckley.

If we go way back, into my pre-adolescent days, I was into Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath. It was the legacy of my older brother, and I find that I still have a softspot for the Zeppelin. I even bought all of their CDs.

Tags:

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Canadian Idol sucks

After being somewhat amused by the first few episodes of Canadian Idol, mostly because of the parade of truly terrible singers (who can forget Konnichiwa by Tarcisio Tancredi?), I have to say that the show has degenerated into a complete disaster. It is based on the flawed premise that a good voice is all one needs to be a star. There is no interest in talent. It's clear that the producers think that Celine Dion and Mariah Carey are talented!

The show's producers should have paid more attention to Global TV's Popstars. Where are the winners now? I saw Sugar Jones CDs in the delete bin (where they belong).

Some of my favourite singers have weak or unusual voices. I refer to people like Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Billy Bragg, Lou Reed, and Bob Dylan, none of whom would have had a chance of winning a contest like Canadian Idol.

I think Jake and Farley's criticism of Gary Beals said everything. He didn't sing the song exactly like Percy Sledge, so it was a bad performance. In other words, they want singers who imitate the artist they are covering. So much for artistic license.

Tags:

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Lord of the Rings Makes me Sleepy

OK, so I watched the first two movies (part of 'em) on video, which, I realize, is not the same as the full theatre experience. I fell asleep during both with more than one hour left in each movie. The first time, several months ago, I thought it was one of those things. But, there can be little doubt that the Lord of the Rings bores me silly. It may be the most boring film ever. Is it just me? Maybe it would have helped if I had read the books. I fear that would also put me to sleep. If I ever get insomnia, I'll just make a trip to the video store.

Tags: ,

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Blogging & Philip Roth

I am new to Blogging, but not new to keeping a journal. In the last 10 years, I have written over 6000 pages, filling up 30 hardbound black books, the ones intended for artists to sketch in. I wanted acid-free paper. I wanted the words to last, to outlive my children and me. I can't say why, really.

Like many people, I have a built-in censor. And, now I wonder what the reaction will be when my descendants read them (if I haven't burned them by then). It worries me. Of course, there is the distinct possibility that my handwriting will be indecipherable.

I feel even more inclined to censor myself here, where anyone can read these words. Maybe I will relax after some time.

I am reading Philip Roth's Sabbath's Theater. This novel is not for everyone. It is sexually explicit, maybe deviant -- but not by my standards ;-) -- and very funny. Sabbath is a gargantuan character, and I can't but feel that I am reading a modern Rabelais. I rank Gargantua and Pantagruel as one of my all time favourite books. I am also reminded of The Confederacy of Dunces, perhaps because of the extreme nature of the protagonist. In both cases, these are larger than life individuals. Sabbath's Theater is a wild and entertaining book, but, despite the sex, it may not be erotic.

Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

"Hey Homo"

Is Sesame Street putting hidden messages in its CDs? Listen to Elmo and the Orchestra, and find out for yourself. Since my daughter adores this CD (which received the 2001 Grammy award for Musical Album for Children) I have heard it countless (and I mean countless) times. I am tired of it.

But, there is no longer any question in my mind that Big Bird says "Hey homo" when Elmo comes to visit. Just what is Sesame Street trying to do? Perhaps this is a response to all of those people who have long believed that this little red friend is a little gay friend.

Tags: , ,

Monday, August 25, 2003

Milk

Milk (cow's milk, that is) has to be the most disgusting "food" ever. I haven't touched the stuff (or cheese, butter, ice cream, etc.) for four years, and I feel much better because of it. Think about it. This is the breast milk of a hairy 2000 pound animal! Why do we drink it? I think it comes down to marketing. The various dairy marketers would have you believe that milk is essential. Why should it be? Humans are the only species that drink milk as adults and, not only that, we drink the milk of animals. It makes no sense.

From Dr. Benjamin Spock:

"Cow's milk in the past has always been oversold as the perfect food, but we are now seeing that it isn't the perfect food at all and the government really shouldn't be behind any efforts to promote it as such."

Believe me, dairy marketers are lying, and nutritionists have been duped. Milk is bad for you. There are countless scientific articles attesting to that. Search Medline, if you don't believe me.

From Dr. Robert M. Kradjian:

"To my thinking, there is only one valid reason to drink or use milk products. That is just because we simply want to. Because we like it and because it has become part of our culture. Because we have become accustomed to its taste and texture. Because we like the way it slides down our throat. Because our parents did the very best they could for us and provided milk in our earliest training and conditioning. They taught us to like it. And then probably the very best reason is...ICE CREAM! I've heard it described, ...'to die for'."

I could rant about milk for days. I would be happy if we just stopped promoting it as a health food. It's not and it never has been.

Tags:

Friday, August 22, 2003

Take a Survey

Someone wants to know what non-librarians think of libraries and librarians. Take the survey.

Tags: ,

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Ambient Ping

Last night, I attended the Ambient Ping's 4th Anniversary Special at the Nia Club @ C'est What? featuring ARC with Pholde and General Chaos Visuals. The combination of ARC and Pholde seemed to go well beyond "ambient" perhaps drifting into ambient mayhem, if there is such a thing as that.

Pholde uses scrap metal -- saw blades, files, angle iron, etc. -- to create a miasma of noise. This, against Baker's slightly Frippy guitar loops and some tribal rhythms kicked out of the drum kit, created a wall of intense, repetitive, and very compelling sound.

I was able to pick up a couple of CDs from the Ping Things boutique.

More great music is upcoming at the Ping, including Psychosomatic Climax Machine. Check out the schedule.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

It's been a while. Since my last post, we have put a new roof on the house, taken a vacation and had the kitchen torn apart (it is still in disarray). One room is about to get new drywall, plus some much needed electricity. Ah, yes, electricity. The blackout blacked out the last part of my vacation. We spent 41 hours and 10 minutes without power. I thought that they had forgotten us, until CBC mentioned our neighbourhood on the air. A flood in a transformer building (or something) extended our outage.

I admit that I have been watching Canadian Idol. I got hooked during the first episode. I couldn't believe that people with zero talent could attempt to pass themselves off as real singers. It was painful to watch and sometimes hilarious. For a brief moment, I felt that I could do better. Who knows?

Recently, I have read:

Oxygen, by Andrew Miller (excerpt)
Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man, by Joseph Heller (review)
Spadework, by Timothy Findley (interview)
Travels by Night, by Douglas Fetherling
Gone Indian, by Robert Kroetsch (essay)
Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me, by Javier Marias (review)

Later.

Tags: , , ,

Monday, July 21, 2003

Don DeLillo

Don DeLillo is, without question, the greatest living novelist. I finally read The Body Artist, his short follow-up to Underworld. (Read chapter one). It is a deceptively simple story, and quite unlike Underworld, or his other novels.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The eleventh Scream in High Park literary festival was held last night in High Park, Toronto's largest urban park. Readers were Wakefield Brewster, Lise Down, Sheila Heti, Dennis Lee, Jay MillAr, Motion, Elizabeth Ruth, Shyam Selvadurai, Karen Solie, Michael Turner, and Fred Wah. Highlights for me were Fred Wah, Dennis Lee, and Wakefield Brewster.

Since I am on the topic of writing, I should mention sex. There are some interesting discussions of library porn out there. In Sex in the Stacks, Candi Strecker gives us short descriptions of ten pornographic novels featuring librarians and libraries. The Image of Librarians in Pornography provides synopses of some of the 49 novels listed. They have such catchy titles, like Helpful Head Librarian and Nympho Librarian.

Recoil News Parody Magazine reported in June 2003 that "[t]he universally held suspicion among male youths that all female librarians transform from polite, repressed spinsters into coquettish, aggressive sexpots upon the removal of glasses and hair pins is unrealistic, or at least exaggerated, Cornell University researchers announced Monday." The report added that librarians are inaccurately portrayed "as smoking hot sex mongers who prey on young male library patrons. " Parody, perhaps, but probably true.

Tags: , ,

Monday, July 14, 2003

This is old news, but, the Library of Alexandria is being rebuilt, in a project by the Egyptian Government and UNESCO. This is a cool project.

I am listening to do make say think and Shalabi Effect. I have just finished reading Spalding Gray's Morning, Noon and Night.

Tags: ,

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Off the top of my head

A list of groups and singers I have seen in concert, with many omissions. This probably holds no interest to anyone but me, so I back-posted this in my blog and may add to it as I remember.

13 Engines
54-40
7 Mary 3
Alana Myles she was playing a free concert, and I was struck by a strange inertia and could not move myself away
ARC (@ the Ambient Ping)
Andrew Cash
Ashley MacIsaac -  twice
Ass Ponys
Barenaked Ladies 3 - 4 times, and I don't even like them, but I might have at one time
Beautiful South
Big Sugar
Billy Bragg 4 times, or more
Blue Rodeo at least half a dozen times, and I am not even really a fan, although I liked the first album
Bob Mould
Bootsauce
The Box
Breeding Ground
Bruce Cockburn at least 7 times
Bruce Springsteen
California Guitar Trio
Carole Pope & Friends
Chalk Circle
Cowboy Junkies 4 times, I think although they no longer hold any interest
Crash Test Dummies twice - yuck
Crash Vegas
Cure
Dalbello
David Bowie
Do Make Say Think
Don Ross
Doyle Dykes
Dream Warriors
Echo and the Bunneymen
Feist
FM
Gene Loves Jezebel
Gonzales
Grapes of Wrath
hHead
The Hold Steady
Hugh Marsh
Images in Vogue
Jann Arden can't stand her, but the tickets were free
Jeff Healey
Jeffery Hatcher and the Big Beat
Jill Hennessy (it was free)
John Cale
Kim Mitchell (twice)
King Apparatus
King Crimson
Lava Hay
Leonard Cohen twice, and I'd see him again if I had the chance
Lost Dakotas
Luluc - Sept 11, 2008 at Rancho Relaxo
Manteca
Maria Aragon - free mini concert
Matt Dusk
Max Webster they came to my high school!
Metric
Morrissey
Moxy Fruvous oh, man: free tickets
National Velvet
New Order
Nigel Kennedy with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Northern Pikes
Owen Pallett
Phase
Pholde
P.J. Harvey
Philip Glass
Picastro - Sept 11, 2008 at Rancho Relaxo
Pukka Orchestra
Prism
ProjeKctT Two
Pumps
The Pursuit of Happiness
Rational Youth
R.E.M.
Rheostatics 4 times
Robert Fripp
Robert Fripp & the League of Crafty Guitarists
The Saints
Sara Craig
Sarah McLachlan right after her 1st album came out - I can't stand her now
Sass Jordan she shared a bill with someone. I am not a fan
Satallites
Sheepdogs
Skaface
Skydiggers
Sons of Freedom
Space Hog
Spirit Drummers
Spirit of the West
The Spoons
Teenage Head they came to my high school
The The
The Whigs
They Might be Giants
Throwing Muses
Toronto
Tracy Bonham
Tragically Hip
Tricky
Vern Choochee
Violent Femmes
Vis A Vis
Leif Vollebekk I liked his music very much. Sept 11, 2008 at Rancho Relaxo
Wild Strawberries

Friday, July 11, 2003

Librarian sues over SARS:

A Toronto librarian is suing Mount Sinai Hospital, arguing that she was compelled to quit her job after she refused to continue screening hospital visitors for SARS. The $2.1 million suit alleges that she was given insufficient training. She argues that she offered to work from home, but her employer told her that she would be removed from the payroll if she did not comply. I say good luck, and I hope she wins.

On the other hand, a librarian I know begged to do SARS screening at her institution, and she eventually got her wish. Whatever..

Tags: ,