June 2004 to March, 2012

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Still there, half a century later

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Brother Jack sent this over-the-back-fence shot with emailed birthday greetings. Apparently my cement relief sculpture still exists on the side of what was once my home studio. I was 16 years old and got to use the garage for artistic pursuits.

Here’s an other black and white photo that I still have.

I’m not sure how I feel about seeing it… a bit happy, a bit sad.

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January 31, 2012   7 Comments

Birthday suspense ends

My well-wishers in Windsor have provided me with nourishment from all of the M&M food groups… red, yellow, blue, green… and for dessert, Hershey chocolates. I shall depend on the family dietitian to help me consume them safely. They should last until my next birthday!

January 30, 2012   3 Comments

What happens when you call the 1-800 number?

A kind person took the trouble to tape this little tag to the lamp post in front of our house, expecting that an owner looking for it would spot it there. I left it for several days, but eventually brought it in and called the 1-800 number. A pleasant voice answered and the woman looked up the ID number. She will contact the dog’s owner, giving them my phone number.

I don’t think this is quite the way it’s supposed to work. Shouldn’t there be a lost pet, not just a lost tag? Oh well, I guess some doggy is safe at home, just missing a bit of jewellry. If the dog really had been lost or injured, the tag would have done its job well.

January 29, 2012   2 Comments

Bye, bye Alpine

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I snapped this picture today because there won’t be many more chances. The old Alpine is shuttered up, waiting for the wrecker’s ball. Many a story belongs to the old place, where as much draught beer was consumed as Lake Ontario has water. Here’s a good write-up.

Happy stories, sad stories. The last time Danica and I were inside, we were attending a reception after the funeral for Peter Zezel senior. Peter Zezel the son was a popular NHLer who once wore a Maple Leafs jersey. Danica has been close to the Zezel family all her life and especially to Peter’s sister, Neda.

January 29, 2012   2 Comments

Just a pretty picture

Ashbridges Bay, Lake Ontario Boardwalk shot from a walk the other day.

January 28, 2012   2 Comments

Ann Viccari won’t mind

Here she is, looking all Hollywoody back in about 1950. Ann is the widow of my friend Ben and she showed me this photo above and two others (below) when I visited her one day. The photos were curled and cracked, so I borrowed them to scan and repair. Today, I picked up new copies from Black’s and they came out well. Ann has those now, but I have the digital versions.

Ann was a healthy, attractive and stylish 23 year old when these were taken. No sign of the tragic events that brought her to Canada from England. She lost two husbands, both Canadians, to wartime and postwar duties in the air force. One died in a parachute accident, the other in a crash after the war had ended. Ann was left on her own with two young daughters. Since their father had been Canadian and since her prospects were nil in Britain, she came here, found work and made a life. Ben came onto the scene decades later.

Here are the other photos, if you’re interested.

Ann sat for these photos as a favour to a fellow who was trying to win work as and advertising photographer. The original photos look to have been developed in a home dark room.

January 27, 2012   1 Comment

Dream Vacation to Dread Vacation, Mexico Style

OK, Canada, time to wise up. When world adventure traveller Peter Sever (who rode all the way around the world on a motorcycle recently… through freakin’ PAKISTAN)… when Peter says he’s going to “scratch Mexico off my travel list for the next while”, shouldn’t we all do the same?

Peter’s email comment to his list of friends was inspired by the brutal attack on a Canadian tourist in Mazatlan. Looks like that guy was smashed on the head with a baseball bat. He survived, but plenty of Canadian tourists don’t.

What does it take to make a cheap vacation look like not such a good deal?

January 26, 2012   2 Comments

Laughter at the design department

Creative Director: OK, we all agree… it’s FOR garbage, so it should LOOK like garbage.

A Designer: Can it look like a toad?

Director: Great! With a big, toady face, smiling at everybody!

Another Designer: Can we make the smile look like it’s missing a tooth?

Director: Ye-e-e-s-s-s!!! Is that it, then?

Noobie Designer: Let’s put warts on the bottom.

Creative Director: You got it, kid!

January 26, 2012   3 Comments

The suspense is killin’ me…

There are rules about these things, aren’t there, Kathy? I’ll wait for my birthday, even though the Drca’s parcel arrived from Windsor today.

I wouldn’t have gotten as far as the gift bag, except the shipping box jumped mysteriously down from a small table and I needed to make sure that nothing inside was alive and in need of feeding. I found the cautionary card, suggesting that I use only one candle this year. Global warming. Good point.

Thanks, you guys!

January 25, 2012   No Comments

More Helen Andersen paintings

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Like any grandmother, Helen Andersen loved her grand kids and her photos of them. When she turned to those photos as reference for paintings, she used them to explore and express character in her subjects, not to produce sentimental idealizations. Brooke is grown up now, but I think you can see a lot of his boyish energy, personality and independence in this depiction.

Carlie, her granddaughter was a special darling. Helen just adored her. In this oil, she takes Carlie just as she is… a solid character with her own way of seeing things, and utterly unpretentious. I think I know why Helen felt so close to her.

January 24, 2012   3 Comments