New Year's Day at the McMichael

The show ends the first week of January, so Danica and I went with Ruth and John Robert Colombo to see how two Canadian artists stacked up against a famous Frenchman. Below, the distinguished Member of the Order of Canada poses with a sculpture outside the gallery.
The show was a big one, featuring over 130 Morrices and Lymans and a few Matisses. I am very glad I saw it, but came away with mixed feelings about the exhibit itself. For one thing, even though he was represented by only a few paintings and drawings, Matisse was clearly the much better painter. Continue reading

Best one-liner of the evening

For some years now, it has been our custom to celebrate New Year’s over dinner with friends.
Each year, our hostess preserves a Polish tradition by giving every guest a new pair of underpants to start the year fresh. This year she went further, including new socks.
When Ralph discovered the bonus, he exclaimed with delight, “Oh, it’s an outfit!”

My hope for Canada in 2015

This is the year we can finally remove Stephen Harper and his sad party from office. I hope we will manage it, so we can begin to repair the damage to parliamentary process, to Canada’s international reputation and to our lopsided, oil-driven economy.
No matter how we choose to replace the Conservatives, Ontario’s experience with the disastrous Mike Harris shows that damage repair will not be swift and may never be complete, but first we have to stop going in the wrong direction. Continue reading

The endless search for inspiration

It’s almost time to design another book cover for John Robert Colombo, so naturally I was interested in an article about unusual library book covers …
These 4 examples were my faves. The subtitle on Dancing with Cats is too small to read, so here it is:


I love the picture on the National Rifle Association book. How idyllic! The little woman dutifully cleans and oils the family handgun while hubby (in the background) stares at a blank TV screen.
I like the Muskrat book because, well, it’s just so practical.
I know you want more, so here.

High flying spiders in Toronto

IMG_0778.JPGDinner conversation at Kathleen’s last night revealed a mystery. Dayl’s office is on the 63rd floor of the beautiful, red granite-clad Scotiabank tower. Her view sounds stunning, but she also sees spiders, hundreds of spiders climbing outside on the window glass.
They busy themselves building elaborate webs until rain lashes them away or window washers remove them. The cleaners do a meticulous job, scrubbing all surfaces, frames and crannies, but soon the spiders are back. Where the heck are they coming from?
I had heard of spiders that travel through tropical rainforest treetops, riding winds on sails made of cobwebs. I had never heard of it happening this far north, and up to heights of 63 storeys! Could it be?
Apparently so. Google turns up examples in Chicago. Why not here? Here are more links, confirming the ways of wind-born cobweb sailors. In the UK. I like the note on spider mites, because that would explain why Dayl sees swarms of spiders that appear suddenly. A whole nest of mites, travelling in a clump would explain this.
David Attenborough says they can soar to extreme heights!

A Youtube video shows them in the Brazilian sky.

Dayl says I can visit her office and see the Toronto spiders for myself, but that will have to wait until the weather is more spider-friendly.

Isn't this a lovely line?

“His answers are unfiltered and to-the-point, often poignant but always unsentimental, not rude but refusing to infest the garden of honest human communication with the Victorian-seeded, American-sprouted weed of pointless politeness.”

Maria Popova is speaking about Werner Herzog in a book review on her blog, BrainPickings.

Winter, where is thy sting?

sting Yeah, I know… I’m asking for it. Not only messing up a Bible quote, but taunting the weather gods, all for a cheap heading over an abandoned wasp’s nest. Blizzards, soon.
It WAS a seriously mild day, today. Almost Spring-like. We discovered another Free Little Library, too. Flowering. It’s on Parkmount, east of Coxwell and a bit south of the Danforth. No finds we wanted today, but a nicely made unit. LOTS of windows.