Beach Hill bakes …

bake-o-ramaDanica will be coming through again this year, with offerings that I have sampled and declare excellent. In fact, the Beach Hill Neighbourhood Association is lucky I am letting any of the red and and green and white rice crispie squares out of the house. Same goes for the zucchini cake.

Fortunately, I can replace the household losses with fresh purchases.

Saturday, Naval Club, 1910 Gerrard Street E., near Woodbine. 3:00 p.m. to have your pick.

A nice find by Denise Lim

Dennis and Denise Lim own an original piece of Helen Andersen art and two of her lithographs, so Denise took note when she saw the following entry in Victoria’s Royal Oak Burial Park book. Anna (Danica’s sister) and Thorne Won (Denise’s bother) just forwarded this entry:

Cremated – no marker

Artist and activist, died December 23, 1995
Helen Andersen was born in Winnipeg, the daughter of
a physician, and grew up in a house filled with Indian art. She
worked as a nurse and moved to Vancouver where she began
her art training.

Andersen moved to Victoria in 1980. She was a student
of the Victoria College of Art and played an active role in the
Saanich Peninsula Arts and Crafts Society. The evolution of
Andersen’s paintings culminated in a series of bright and
expressive canvases about natives and women.

She was also a peace activist, and received a special prize
for her efforts at a conference in Warsaw in 1987.

Excuse the word “Indian”, Red Bear. As you know, it was a common, if inaccurate bit of vocabulary used in the 20th century. “Native” or “aboriginal” would have been better choices.

Thank you Denise, Dennis, Anna and Thorne; that’s a pretty succinct little summary. I’ll add to it with a scan of a previously unpublished photo of Helen standing in front of one of her larger works.


I am not sure of the year, but the flags suggest Canada Day and the location is Victoria, British Columbia. Helen was not afraid to work big. Indeed, it would be nice to know where some of her largest canvases are now. I hope they survive. There were some terrific large pieces, especially images of native elders. I have photos (on Helen’s web site) but no knowledge of the whereabouts of many of the originals.

Will you trust Apple?

iOnU As the saying goes, “If you are not paying, you are product“. Apple’s Yosemite OS tracks and collects your Spotlight searches, sending the results to themselves and others, including Microsoft. Apple says their intrusion is harmless and anonymous, but we only have Apple’s word for that. The fact is, it’s not an opt-in process. Most users won’t even know about it, even though Apple does disclose the new practice. I think they should have asked permission. I chose to disable the Spotlight data collection. Here’s how …

This is a Washington Post clip about Spotlight. It is a bit of self-serving fear-mongering popular with struggling news organizations these days, but Apple left itself open for it. Below the clip: Apple’s response.


We are absolutely committed to protecting our users’ privacy and have built privacy right into our products. For Spotlight Suggestions we minimize the amount of information sent to Apple. Apple doesn’t retain IP addresses from users’ devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Spotlight doesn’t use a persistent identifier, so a user’s search history can’t be created by Apple or anyone else. Apple devices only use a temporary anonymous session ID for a 15-minute period before the ID is discarded.


E.B. Cox at school

The local Duke of Connaught school has three E.B. Cox (1914-2003) sculptures circa 1960 embedded in it’s facade. They are stone carvings representing, rather predictably, the three Rs. Top is Reading (see the books?) Then wRiting (ABC) and ‘Rithmetic (E=MC²).

Cox was a Toronto sculptor with an international reputation who was sort
of adopted by the Group of Seven as “their” sculptor. He had a studio on Broadview Avenue.

I like these carvings, even though they are stuck onto the brick wall like so many postage stamps and contribute nothing to the architectural form, which is itself, merely functional. I assume that the commission was a make-work project to support and recognize the sculptor. Nothing wrong with that. Given a fairly humdrum assignment, Cox has done a nice job, carving sensitive faces and hands in particular. His style attempts to jump back in time, leaping over centuries of European art history, back to simpler, archaic forms.

The first half of the 20th century saw Canada struggling to find it’s place in the world of art. It was still a time when nationalism seemed important and there was a yearning for a distinctly “Canadian” style, independent of European standards that defined the colonial Dominion. Cox looks to have been part of that searching, on the one hand seeking “sincere”, primitive forms and on the other, rendering them in stone with pneumatic chisels. Something old, something new, something borrowed…

I saved the bottom-most sculpture for a last close-up, after the break …

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Apple irks with “AirFlop”

I was complaining the other day about Apple’s AirDrop not working with older Macs and then suddenly the AirDrop icon appeared on my old iMac. Hey, great, I thought, and I tried to transfer the photo of Danica from my iPad to my Mac.


AirDrop simply does not work, even though the icon appears in the Finder. It wasn’t there a few days ago. What made it appear is anybody’s guess. Various Mac users online offer different stories, some claiming Macs must be 2012 or newer. This Mac user has a simpler explanation. Apple has bungled this one. The software is flaky, unreliable and unpredictable. It should not have been released as part of Yosemite, because it simply is not ready for public use.

Good excuse to post the Danica picture, though. I emailed it to my Mac in the old-fashioned way.

Toronto Star Political Sentimeter

IMG_0696Hmmm, this could explain why I am almost invariably disappointed with election results. My score on the Toronto Star’s Political Sentimeter put me in agreement with 2% of those who’ve done the survey.

I like to think we are the TOP 2%, of course, but the poll didn’t specify that. 🙂 My attitudes are shared, on average, with 36 year olds and more than two thirds of them are women. I’m good with that.

Cecelia String Quartet begins European tour


Our favourite violinist, Min-Jeong Koh, (top right) tweeted the concert hall shot, saying, “The hall of our first concert of this European tour. In a castle in Celle, Germany. Lovely spot.”

Min’s training began under the tutelage of our talented friend Jolanta Hickey, when Jolanta was turning out award-winning string orchestras, year after year, at Toronto’s Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts. We are all especially pleased by Min’s success. The Cecelia String Quartet is superb. Thanks to Brian Hickey for forwarding the tweet.