June 2004 to March, 2012

Random header image... Refresh for more!

A song that the majority of us will like

Thank you, Merrill, for the link to this wonderful song.

Share

March 7, 2012   1 Comment

Toronto Irish Players: The Lonesome West

The Lonesome West from Patrick Hodgson on Vimeo.

Kathleen, Danica and I went to the Sunday matinee and had many, many good laughs watching this dark comedy about two Irish brothers with murderous tendencies. If you are Roman Catholic, and especially Irish Roman Catholic, you’ll get extra added value at no extra cost. Tickets are a bargain, anyway. Do yourself a favour and see it.

There are only 4 players in the cast for this one. All are good performers but I have to give a special nod to Ronan P. Byrne as Coleman Connor. Or does he deserve a special nod? He was so convincing, he didn’t seem to be acting at all… just being himself. What an excellent character! Wicked good fun.

A big thank you to the Toronto Irish Players for another fine show. Put yourself on their mailing list if you want to be notified of their next offering, but you still have a chance to see one of the last performances of The Lonesome West.

Share

March 6, 2012   No Comments

Neologism of the Day: adabhore

This item on BoingBoing asks the irresistible question, “What’s the word for liking and hating something at the same time?”

My made up reply… adabhore… combines adore and abhor. Have an idea of your own to contribute?

Share

March 5, 2012   3 Comments

Xpresspost put Xs through Saturday and Sunday

Canada Post’s xpensive Xpresspost claims 2 day delivery, guaranteed. I dropped a parcel off on Saturday afternoon. Sunday, still where I left it. First half of Monday, same thing.

Tracking says:

The parcel first travelled from the west coast of the U.S.A. (Oregon) to Toronto in 2 days for $8.99. From Toronto to Victoria, B.C., the time remains to be seen, but the cost will be $23.09. The extra $14.10 must be for the ferry ride to the Island. Hope my parcel gets a window seat.

[UPDATE] At 4:10 p.m. today (Monday) I went to the post office where I left the package on Saturday. It was still sitting there.

Share

March 5, 2012   2 Comments

What’s Danica shopping for at Kensington Market’s Blue Banana?

20120304-223509.jpg

Really, it’s a fascinating store with lots of interesting stuff to see and buy, but sharp-eyed photog friend Rebecca Staton found a way to poke fun at the place.

20120304-223955.jpg

Share

March 4, 2012   2 Comments

Help Mayor Ford fund his subways

The Ford brothers need ideas to pay for their subway dreams and muse that casinos and lotteries may be the way to go. What else can you suggest? Here’s mine, Rob and Doug: Bikini Car Washes.

Share

March 2, 2012   6 Comments

It’s Block Google Day

20120301-175939.jpg

Today is the day that Google implements its controversial user tracking scheme but you can opt out if you can find the button. Here’s a link that will help.

Share

March 1, 2012   2 Comments

Two previously unpublished Barker Fairleys

John and Ruth Colombo both sat for Barker Fairley portraits, John in 1968 and Ruth in 1974. I was thrilled to see the pictures when I first visited the Colombo home a couple of years ago. Yesterday, I was permitted to photograph them so that I could post them on my blog.

Copyright and all reproduction rights rest with the owners, so respect that. Contact John and/or Ruth if you need to.

Click to enlarge

Ladies first. Barker Fairley was able to capture Ruth in a single attempt. I think Ruth likes it and I think she should. Attractive and intelligent. Ruth is a very good writer with a strong academic background and tells me that her portrait was done in her “blue stocking” period.

I wasn’t sure about the meaning of the term, so Ruth explained that it refers to intellectual, educated women with literary interests who, back in the 1800s, lacked the money to buy silk stockings and settled on blue ones which were cheaper (and left blue dye on the legs when removed).

So what, in his extremely reductivist way, did Fairley want to say about Ruth of the 70s? Restrained and refined in hair and dress. No frills. Classy. Her glasses help communicate the “educated” look, but it’s the hint of structure around the mouth that speak loudest to me. It’s a pretty mouth, a kissable mouth and centred quite evenly and straight on her face. But the quirky, angular lines around that mouth are what denote the character.

I think Barker Fairley saw a clear-eyed, disciplined mind quite capable of resisting and even destroying boring, conventional ideas. There’s a strong will there, and self-assurance.

Share

March 1, 2012   1 Comment

Barker Fairley’s struggle with John Robert Colombo

Click to enlarge

This is the third picture that Barker Fairley made of John. Only one other sitter gave him as much trouble – Northrup Frye. It took three tries to do him too, so John is in good company.

As this is my blog, I get to throw out my hypothesis about why Fairley might have had such difficulties with both men. I think he was a little overwhelmed by them… a bit intimidated. Why? Well, Northrup was a close friend of Barker’s but he was also a colleague and highly respected literary critic (still is). I read Barker’s comment about his final success in capturing Frye, that he was pleased that Frye’s humanity had shone through at last. What had Fairley been painting before that humanity showed up in his images of Frye? Maybe a literary giant, a competitor?

All this is preamble to the John Colombo picture.

As I’ve noted earlier, John doesn’t particularly like the picture Fairley made of him. To his credit, he accepts the work as the vision of another artist and even hangs it on his wall next to Ruth’s. I see why John doesn’t like it… or at least why I wouldn’t like it if the same had been done of me. It’s mainly that cruel mouth, isn’t it? Off-centre and framed with a harsh line that seems to cut and sneer.

But, John, let’s say what there is to like here. I’m sure you have seen it all along. This is a strong face with a lot of character. Compared with Ruth’s light colours, yours are solid concrete. At the time, your name was a household word in Canadian literary circles and you were one of the young ones pressing into Barker’s world. My guess is that Fairley was as overwhelmed by you as he was by Northrup Frye.

In your picture, you look away from us, unlike Ruth. The light hits the planes of your face very decisively, emphasizing physical presence. One thing I don’t care for in the composition is the size of your head relative to the overall rectangle. It seems too large to me. Did Barkley think you had a big head, John?

Perhaps Fairley did capture some character traits accurately… a grasp of the real world, physicality, determination, independence and strong will. But I don’t see the cruel mouth at all. I’d say that we are looking not at John Colombo but Barker Fairley’s reaction to him. It seems to have been a little fearful and suspicious. The need for three attempts speaks volumes. Fairley literally did not know what to make of John Robert Colombo.

Share

March 1, 2012   No Comments

Canada’s Nixon

The Watergate Affair was bound to be compared with the “dirty tricks” phone calls during our last federal election. The phrase “Canada’s Nixon” isn’t mine… others have been quick to see Stephen Harper in this light.

I remember Nixon as a man who thought of his opponents as enemies, feared the press and used tawdry schemes to defend his grip on power. Harper’s record is eerily similar. Personally, I’d love it if he left office early, as Nixon did. Failing that, I trust that he will not get another term as prime minister.

Share

February 27, 2012   3 Comments