Monday, December 14, 2015


I was in my yurt playing yahtzee with a yeti when you began yelling about yawls on the Yellow River filled with archers with yew bows. The yeti yelped  about wanting fresh yams could we go yonder to the Fresh Mart but you were still yowling about the youthful archers on the yawls so I placated you by giving you some Young and Restless videos for which you always yearned.

I yawned as we watched the show and thought I should go weed the yard but you passed me a bowl of yogurt that you bought in Yonkers and and that was great cuz I always had a yen for yogurt. The yeti began yodelling and you broke out some yarn to knit him a sweater.

The yogurt was pretty yucky so I yielded to temptation and ate some yolks instead. You yelled "Yikes!" and told me that that "that's no yolk, that's boiled yucca"

Of course you were wrong. Cuz, you know, these are the yolks folks

That was in my head. Now it's in yours. You're welcome

Friday, December 11, 2015


Oh The Donald

I have been trying not to pay attention to Donald Trump and the republican sideshow happening in the US. I try not to pay attention to Trump in general

I've watched The Apprentice. I knew very little about Trump before that. He built stuff. He was some sort of shady real estate guy who began building a casino in Atlantic City and didn't finish and got called on for violations and said he was out of money then he finished it and said the gov't somehow needed to support him. He seemed very typical of North American big, big business people who found ways (campaign funding, pork barrelling, threats of job loss) who maneuvered governments into supporting their bottom line, with everything from cutting regulations to special tariffs to tax breaks

Whatever. Dime a dozen in our much ballyhooed "free enterprise" system

Then I began to watch the Apprentice. The first seasons, before it became a detox centre for washed up "celebrities" I liked the little marketing assignments the participants went out on, it spoke to some facets of my education. And I learned something.

I learned that Donald Trump is a moron. No, really. I'm not just talking about his opinions. Smart people can have stupid opinions. I think I'm passably bright and I think William Shatner is one of the most interesting actors alive. I feel that this belief is insightful and well informed, other people have expressed that it is stupid. In the words of the noted philosopher Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse, "opinions differ"

Beyond his beliefs, Trump is just not bright. The man could never catch even the most obvious cultural references, even ones available to people his age. It was clear this guy lived in some kind of Faberge bubble, he had very little clue what was happening out in the world. He struggled with his vocabulary. I was often shocked by the words he did not understand. Someone would use a Grade Ten level word and The Donald would throw up his hands and proclaim "I've never heard that before"

The guy claims he graduated college. It was a business degree but really, his vocabulary is about the Grade Eight level

I don't think he really listens to people or doesn't have the capacity to understand them or both. He sure as hell doesn't possess critical thinking. If someone made an analogy he wouldn't get it, he's very literal. He would take someone's innuendo at face value and could not be swayed away from it. If it was pointed out to him that he misunderstood some reference he would grow angry and embarrassed and shut down; smart people, when faced with something they don't understand, figure out a way to acquire that knowledge. Stupid people just get angry

So, through his current run in politics I've just not really cared what the guy says. He's a moron. He's going to say moronic things. That's how it goes

But I paid attention to the dumb guy when a smart guy recently made a comment about him. I'm a fan of Kareem Abdul Jabbar. I think he is one of the greatest pro basketball players of all time. No argument. Don't even try. He is at least top two, I don't care what you think. Let's just move on

But I also like Kareem the man. He's a bright guy. He's made mistakes in his life, he's gotten things wrong. His early experiences with racism had him turn to the Nation of Islam, the Black Muslims, as a way to feel better about himself. Of course that organization was akin to a cult and used the religion for their own often criminal agendas. Kareem has admitted that he was wrong about all that. He remains devoted to his faith but he knew, as a young man, that he had been hoodwinked and taken advantage of. He's been able to learn from that and make himself better

That's what smart people do, after they've done something stupid

In a recent article, in response to Trump's proclamation that a president of the US should deport all muslims, Kareem compared The Donald to Isis. He was using terror, Kareem contended, to bend people to his will

Comparisons to Isis have become the new versions of comparing people to Hitler. If someone was presenting a point of view contrary to yours, certain people would compare them to Hitler. Now it's Isis. Here in Toronto we had a taxi strike, the crabbers can't compete with Uber X and they don't like it, one driver compared Uber to Isis

In the case of The Donald and his comments about muslims, I would not compare him to Isis. For once, in a very long time, you could actually compare him to Hitler and be in the ball park.

Hitler isolated a large part of the population by a religious/cultural/racial definition. Although numerous, these people represented a minority and a religious perspective that differed from the majority. He pointed at these people and said "Look, there is the enemy, these people are dangerous, even if many of them were born here, even if the majority have never participated in any crime, they are the enemy. They are different from us. They are the enemy"

He needed an enemy. He needed to take the focus away from his own designs in order to drum up popular support. It's the old magician trick of distraction. Don't pay attention to this hand, look at my pretty assistant. Don't watch me convert the nation's economy to war production, look at that Jewish bank over there

Donald Trump has no political platform. None. Zero. He is stupid. He need a distraction. He needs to prey on fear, he needs people staring at the burka so he can bust trade unions and put banks in his back pocket

I wonder if The Donald has figured out that, if he could actually deport every muslim, he could have access to all their assets. As did Hitler. Seizing all the wealth and assets of the Jews helped him prop up his shaky economy. Trump wants to fix the US economy. Perhaps that's his plan.

And perhaps Trump can follow the Hitler plan, for all those muslims he can't deport well they can be stripped of all their rights and used as slave labour. Hitler employed that technique to build highways. Trump could do that to build casinos

None of this could happen of course. There is no possible away the US constitution could allow millions of innocent people from being deported. Did people back in World War II Germany feel the same way?

In this case, no I don't think this can happen. But Trump is following the model and people are swallowing it. It's a popular concept among certain people. Stupid people. That makes me wary. After all, they outnumber us

Sunday, December 6, 2015


"Let me look that up" "Hold on, I can find that out" "Um, no I don't think that's right, let me Google it" "Right, well I can find out who that was"

The internet, my friends is a wonderful thing. I've actually lived without it as long as I've lived with it and it is a wonderful thing. As is Google and all the ways we can search for infos and answers. Not 100 per cent reliable, not completely accurate but an easy and quick way to confirm some info or begin a more proper detailed search for answers

Google has its place. And its times. As do most things

But not everything has to be certain. Some things don't need to be answered, right now, immediately, at this moment. Sometimes, being uncertain is just part of being human

I'm a fan of conversation. Some would say I'm a fan of hearing my own voice but hey, what I do in my own bathroom with a Walter Cronkite wig is my business

Seriously, I love conversation. Just talking. Real talking, face to face. Texting and phone has its place but that's more for an exchange of information like "When are you coming" "Do you need me to bring anything" "Did I leave my Walter Cronkite wig there"

Real conversation: Unstructured, reactive, perhaps even meaningless but to be always remembered, always takes place face to face. Not face ON face. That's a whole different deal. Let's move away from that image. Quickly

People just sitting around, having a chat, seeing where it goes. Invariably there may be some discussion of cultural media; books, music, movie, TV. "Hey do you remember that show?" "Ever see that movie?" "Did you ever consider that Price Is Right is a conspiracy of American big business to get us to associated overly made up models with Kraft Dinner?"

There are answers to these questions, probably, but back before our wonderful internet we didn't worry much about that. We didn't really need to find the answers. Because the questions weren't important, in reality they don't mean anything. It was just part of the conversation. Just a jumping off point to the next topic. "Oh you know that movie, the one with the guy who does that thing" "Yeh I love that movie, and that guy he was in that other movie where he does that other thing" "Yeh, what was that movie called" "Oh it doesn't matter but you know the thing he does, I saw someone do that once and .."

And the convo continues. Making its own way, finding its own path, not being consciously guided, just wandering as we make these connections; oh you like that too? Oh you never knew about that? Oh you dated her as well .. um, how bout them Blue Jays .. that's a convo. An organic thing, moving from connection to connection

Now we have convo's with phones in our pockets and when someone says "who was the guy that does that thing" screens light up, eyes move down and thumbs start flying. The convo ebbs as we turn away from the connections created by our own thoughts to seek the connections created by our new electronic superconsciousness. Google enters the convo and there is always that risk that it will now be given an equal role

As you search for that thing it shows you another thing "oh hey look, did you see this" and the connections start sparking from the glowing box you hold in your hands. Is this so bad? Maybe not, perhaps it's just another way for the convo to flow

But I still like the organic path. Where we have eye contact with each other, not that glowing screen. And our mistakes or uncertainty have a part to play in that moment, in that convo, in that chimerical thing exists only for that moment, never to be repeated

Don't worry if we can't remember that name, that title, that date. It really doesn't mean anything. Sitting there together, bouncing ideas off each other, stoking each other's memory or thoughts, that's what important.

Put the phone down. Time to talk with Google later. For this moment let's just be human. And accept the fact that we don't know every single answer and that that doesn't matter. Because we're not knowing together


Monday, November 30, 2015


Annual is a term that refers to some event that happens once a year. It's a rather mundane sounding word and often describes tasks that aren't exactly invigorating: Your annual medical exam, an annual office party where you aren't allowed to drink and you have to leave your clothes on, your annual bath ... wait, is that wrong?

You get my point Something annual can denote a thing that is expected, predictable, routine.

But some annual events go beyond the banality of the term. For example, the annual Women's Blues Review. It has been happening every year for 29 years now. Collette and I have been attending for a majority of those years. So you could call it a routine but it is something that is far from routine

The event has elements that could be described as being predictable. There will be six featured vocalists, they will each sing three songs, they will all be female. There will be a finale where all the performers will sing together, one song. There will be a host and there will be a band, naturally comprised of all women

There are, however, elements to this event that take it far from the mundane. Take the band for instance, that is, the backing band. Eight ladies, hardcore professional musicians with credits that could fill a phone book; as the host of the concert stated "these are not female musicians, these are musicians". Many of these women have been playing this gig for over twenty years. So that makes them a band but a band who only plays together once a year. That ain't just annual, that's a mirage.

A really sweet sounding, good looking mirage

And although the show follows a well practised itinerary, it's a live show and every one is the same while every one is different. That's the nature of live shows

It's predictable that I will see a woman or two who are old faves of mine as well as discover a singer or two who will become a favourite. Who those will be, well that's the wild card of a live show

Going into this year's concert I knew that a couple of faves would be appearing and one in particular brought me to Massey Hall. Rita Chirarelli is a veteran of the Canadian music and blues scene. We first saw her in 1991 performing with Long John Baldry and since that time, we have seen her perhaps a dozen times. We never tire of it

Rita is a force of nature and should be a Canadian national treasure. Her voice is powerful and passionate and pained and sexy all at once. There is a huskiness to her voice that she can temper from a strained painful plaint to a howl of lust and anger that makes you sit back in your seat. She is also funny and generous and self effacing. Her three songs ranged from the confession of the "other woman" to a demonstration of how Little Richard's Lucille is indeed the blues and the story of an inmate serving life in Angola Prison that is a deep blues moan that illicit memories of Blind Lemon Jefferson; it was powerful and sad and Rita's voice filled the theatre and I'm sure could be heard all the way to Angola. She was the last act of the first set. That makes sense

No one wants to follow Rita Chirarelli

After the intermission came a woman who was the show's best chance of following Rita. Suzie Vinnik is another veteran of the Canadian blues scene. Like most blues performers she sings more than the blues of course; she has created dozens of recordings as a solo and with other musicians that cover a wide ranger of musical styles. But music is in this woman's heart and I always love to hear it come out

Unlike Rita, Suzie is not a "shouter". Her voice is rich and nuanced and but can still express hurt and lust and anger and joy. It's the kind of voice you close your eyes to and let the warm caramel of her tones just ooze down over you. Suzie is also a very gifted multiple instrumentalist. Her CD Me  n Mabel features her playing acoustic guitar, she also plays a melodic and expressive electric lead. But I'll always think of Suzie as a bassist. For the concert she did a song where she played her electric bass as a lead guitar, so much so that they still needed a double bass to back her up

This year's discover came in the form of a First Nations singer from Manitoulin Islands named Crystal Shawanda. She is a pretty girl with a bubbly personality in a sparkly white dress. And the voice that came out of her made me thinking there may be a crossroads up there on her nation. Collette and I quickly called her Rita Jr. Crystal is a shouter, with the husky Rita edge to her but the voice is always controlled and expressive. The night of the show I downloaded her latest recording The Whole World's Got the Blues.

Yeh I'm a fan of this lady

She can go from hurting songs to "get your ass out the door" shouters to deep blues to just plain hip shakers. Crystal has been living in Nashville for several years but she has not forgotten her roots. Pray Sister examines the plight of the missing aboriginal women in Canada. The song ends with Crystal singing over the voice of a Native woman who seems to be reading a list of names of missing girls. This is the true blues, music created out of a deep cultural pain

The sensation of being blue is of course real in the Blues but that is not all that the music conveys. This show is always a celebration. A celebration of the music and a celebration of the women who make it. The show ends, predictably with an ensemble number. This year it was the standard People Get Ready. The finale is a standard for the show but it's always different and this year was one of the better ones. The song suited all the divergent voices and the band was just digging deep on this one

Crystal's song is Pray Sister. This show is Sing Sister

A mirage of haunting voices and joyous women, slowly fading over the skyline of Toronto

Friday, November 27, 2015


Scary times, my friends, scary times

Recently I had my credit card and iTunes/Mac account "compromised" Yeh thieves got in and began making purchases. My credit card company did its job and posted a purchase that did not fit my pattern of spending: Women's fashion from HMV. Um, right. Not only would I not be buying lady's clothing on my credit card (I trust the intelligent lady in my house to buy her own clothes) I barely know what HMV is. I think it's one of those stores in the mall that when you pass by the open doors you are assaulted with a waft of trendy perfume and pure cold evil

So, I'm very very glad that there are entities who were paying attention to one part of my online existence. And I learned that it's not prudent to use HACKTHISACCOUNT as your password for everything. Lesson learned

I understand that very little of what we do online is actually private. From the Cloud to Anonymous to fishing schemes, the internet as eyes. (Which reminds of the National Lampoon parody of Lord of the Rings were Gandalf cautions that "the walls have ears" and Frodo pulls back a curtain to reveal a wall covered with ears) In the case of my credit card company I welcome a certain amount of intrusion. In other cases I know that many many entities, with various levels of malevolence are out there trying to grab my data. In some cases I could care less. In other cases it freaks me out just a little

So I make things as secure as I can and just proceed with the knowledge that online means everything online to everybody

Some of these keen observers of your data are the government, or governments. That's not paranoia, that's a fact. People who google how to declare bankrupcty or back taxes can get flagged by Revenue Canada. Harper's administration certainly were busy little beavers in the internet spying game. There are stories about people's accounts being flagged if there were references to negative comments about the then PM. Unlikely? Don't forget that this is a guy who was so paranoid that during his first address to the UN General Assembly he warned them about the treat posed by Michael Ignatieff who at the time formed our country's official opposition. I'm sure most of these world leaders turned to each other and asked "Michael who?"

There is a new potential threat to your online security but at least this one is being happily announced ahead of time, well maybe ahead of time, could be happening already, that's how these things go

The other day the RCMP announced that they would find it extremely convenient if they were able to access people's online information without the need for a search warrant. This reminds me of when Julian Faction was Toronto's police chief and he wondered if they could dispense with all this pesky and time consuming paperwork. Paperwork. You know, officer logs and reports and search warrants. So pesky

I guess the Mounties feel the same way

They want to make things easier for themselves. They want to be able to monitor suspicious online behaviour without arousing suspicion. On the surface, that makes sense. They want to tip off the bad guys that they are being watched. Fair enough. But how do we determine who the bad guys are. In order to get a warrant, an investigator has had to convince a judge or some other entity that they have a basis for it, that there is a credible suspicion, a viable risk. That they just aren't some turkey hunt with the oven already warmed up and their baster .. er... ready

Accountability. Something so lacking today in most public officials. Ronald Reagan can say he just plain forgot about Iran-Contra. In his memoirs Dalton McGinty explained the power plant fiasco by saying the gave it to someone else to deal with and they fuck it up. In an interview he literally threw up his hands; for these guys delegating is just a way of deflecting responsibility

I want accountability. And I want to be asked for my permission. My credit card company can monitor my account because they have my permission, it's a tacit part of our contract. I want the authorities to have a contract with me before they go snooping around in my life. That contract can be called a warrant.

"If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to worry about" I worry because I have done nothing wrong yet a federal police agency may still be rooting around in my cyber drawers. Think J Edgar Hoover and all those files. Think the NSA and all those tapped phone lines. Just because I'm innocent, does it make a covert investigation any more correct? If the covert investigation is permitted, do we permit the covert redaction?

No, I don't think the Mounties are going to waterboard me in some hidden stable under RCMP headquarters in Winnipeg. But I think they should do their job. They should be responsible. And accountable. At least ask me. Maybe I will say yes. Maybe I will ask for counsel. Maybe I will say no

All are my right. Sorry if that means paperwork, Dudley Drought. Deal with the paper cuts. And deal with freedom surpassing convenience

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


The enemy wears a mask. It's not the balaclava of the bank robber, or the head scarf of the terrorist or even the Guy Falkes mask of the hacker. The enemy is out to curtail your freedom, deny your beliefs and impose his will upon you. He wears a mask. The mask is smooth and flesh like and without emotion. It's the mask of Political Correctness

You know who I mean. The people who tell you that you can't use certain words, in certain situations, to certain people

Now, I'm an old school guy. I grew up in an era where you did  not use certain words to describe people, such as the n word and the bundle of stick words (think about it) I learned that using such terms classified people and classifying human being diminished them. Even now, as people fight to reclaim some of these words I could never bring myself to use them. It's just the way I am

But language is a slippery thing. Controlling language and how it's used, puts us on that slippery slope without rope and without traction. I'll never use the n word. But if someone else uses it, that's their business. And how I react to them using it, well that's my business

Me and the person who uses a word I could never bring myself to use, well we'll have to work that out between the two of us It may get ugly, or it may not. But we'll work it out

Do I need someone telling me how to feel about all of that? Well it would depend on the person and why. And it would depend upon their motivation I've had people tell me why a certain word, or a certain cultural behaviour may affect them on a personal basis, how that word impacts them on a very real level. That's called information and I'm always willing to digest some information

It is one thing for someone to suggest to you that your language may be insensitive. They provide you with information. You decide what to do with it. It's another thing when some authority puts you in a position where it is deemed not only inappropriate to use certain language, but it is mandated that you do not

Then, my friends, we may have a problem. But again, it comes down to motivation. State your case. Make your argument. Let's see if this is reasonable. In many cases Political Correctness is far from reasonable

Case in point. Jennifer Scharf is a woman who, since 2008, has been offering yoga classes to anyone interested at the University of Ottawa at their Centre for Students with Disabilities. She offers these classes for free, she does not profit from them. Yoga is an excellent way to deal with stress and we all know that university can be stressful; I'll never forget the stress of not having quite enough money to take advantage of the Happy Hour two pitchers of draft beer for the price of one at Sneakers Pub at St Lawrence College

But I digress

Recently Ms Scharf was shocked to hear that her yoga practises were being shut down by the University. Not by the faculty, not by the university administration, but by a form of student council. Why? Because white people practising yoga may be a case of cultural appropriation Yeh, Ms Scharf is not of Indian heritage you see

The student council declared that the cultures from which yoga originated "have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy ... we need to be mindful of this and how we express ourselves while practising yoga"

Yeh, your morning stretch is oppressing some people over in Rangoon. So get out of that downward dog, children in Mumbai are crying

Ms Scharf suggested that she change the name of her classes. Instead of Yoga, she would call it Mindful Stretching. Um, no. We don't how to translate Mindful Stretching into French. University of Ottawa is a bilingual school. Or perhaps not so much. I find it difficult to believe that no one could figure out to express this concept in French. A bilingual campus that thinks you have to have a literal translation of a phrase? Um, right

Now, let's get to the kicker. No one had ever complained about these classes. No Hindi or Indian or Pakistani or guy who just loves butter chicken came forward and said "Hey, these classes make me feel all hollow and downtrodden inside"

The student council just decided it was culturally inappropriate. We call that white man's guilt don't we

That is a very telling part so I'll repeat it NO ONE COMPLAINED. The council just took it on itself to correct a wrong that very well may not have existed And this is the danger of official Political Correctness. It morphs from concerns for the feeling of another, to an entity of authority informing you that the way you think about something is wrong

Yeh, you know, I may want to call that thought control

The fact that this happened on a university campus and that it originated from students itself, well that pierces me right in my Hell No We Won't Go, Four Dead at Ohio heart. What the hell has happened to students exploring new thoughts, questioning status quo and holding long, often pointless yet well motivated debates on every little thing. I guess all of that stuff doesn't rate well on Youtube

Appropriating culture is n to something to which I'm insensitive. I would probably never get a dream catcher tattooed on my body because I am not Native North American. I see dream catchers sold on reserves that were made in Taiwan but hell, that's their culture, let them diminish and profit from it. But if someone is going to define cultural appropriation it should be someone from that culture, not a bunch of hipsters in their wool caps and sipping Gatorade in the student council offices

Ms Scharf needs to fight this. We all need to fight this. Defining a word is one thing. Defining how I should feel about things? Well my dog is only going downward to bite you right in the ass

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Earl Bales Park is a huge urban park near to my home in North York where I take the girls on a regular basis. This is one of Toronto's ravine parks, with a perfectly manicured enormous space bounded by Sheppard Avenue and Bathurst Sts that contains an amphitheatre, playgrounds and large open areas.

Where it drops down into the Humber River valley the park widens out. There is a large fenced dog offish area there and a ski hill and trails that wind through through the deep valley. I take the dogs there often

I've noticed a pair of red tail hawks hunting in the ravine. Often I see them circling above the open space of the ski hill, sometimes alone sometimes together, their cries echoing down the long narrow river valley

Last weekend I saw the female fly overhead with a squirrel in her talons. She flew across the ski hill and disappeared into the trees that march up the high sides of the ravine like the crenelated walls of some ancient woodland fortress

A little later, I could hear the two birds calling to each other. I kind of imagined how that conversation went

Her: "Hon, dinner's ready!"

Him: "I'll be right there hon, I'm watching the game"

Her: "Game? What game? Football?"

Him: "No, game, as in the chipmunk I may want to eat. Come on, I'm a hawk"

Her: "But I have dinner right here, and it's still trying to get out of my talons. I may need a pedi after this"

Him: "Great, another spa day, who's going to take of the nest"

Her: "Well, you could get off your feathers and take care of that Honeydo list"

Him: "I'm a busy man, you know, hunting, defending, scaring poodles in the dog park"

Her: "Hunting? What the hell do you call this squirrel I have in my beak?"

Him: "We could call him Alfonzo, I always liked that name"

Her: "You are not helping yourself here"

Him: "Isn't that what your mother says? I'm beyond help?"

Her: "This squirrel is not the only thing about to get disemboweled"

Him: "Yeh you get him ready, I'll be there shortly"

Her: "Get your ass over to this tree right now and the only thing you'll be eating is butt"

Him: "No dirty talk, you never know who could be listening"

Her: "That's it, you're sleeping out of the nest tonight"

Him: "Finally, some peace and quiet"

Her: "Is that how you treat me? After I've been slaving over a hot squirrel all day?"

Him: "You know you love me"

Her: "Seriously, it's time to become a cannibal"

Him: "You want to eat me? I told you, no dirty talk"

Her: "I should have married an eagle"

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


There is a soundtrack inside my head. Or a radio station. Or a streaming service. There is music, in my mind, it always seems to be there and I am not always in control of it

I'm sure this is true for all of us. You know what I mean. You are walking along, driving along, riding a horse, using a pogo stick on Bay St, and suddenly there is this song in your head. You weren't necessarily thinking of the song but bang, there it is.

Where the hell did that come from?

Sometimes it's easy to explain. Perhaps you heard the song yesterday, or last week; on the radio or as the soundtrack of some show you're watching or even a TV commercial. Something catchy, rhythmic, simple, glued to the sticky stuff on the inside of your brain along with the face of the actor whose name you never quite recall and the smell of your best friend's Dodge Coronet in high school Given a little time you can identify the music and its origin

We know that there is a causal connection between music and memory but it's usually the music that inspires the memory. That's nostalgia, a piece of art that brings you back to some very specific event of the past, or even the emotional impact of that event. To this day when I listen to CCR's Run Through the Jungle I remember that night huddled in a foxhole in the rain at Khe Sanh as Charlie pelted us all through the night ... ok, that's not my memory but it's probably somebody's

Sometimes it even works the other way around. You think of some specific event from your past and it brings some piece of music to your mind. When I think of a powwow I attended in The Pas Manitoba in 1978 I instantly hear the chorus of Can't You See by The Marshall Tucker Band in my head It was playing on a portable cassette deck as we sat around a bonfire so high and so hot we could barely feel the rain that was pouring down from the northern prairie sky. It brings back the heat of that fire and the smell of the rain and the taste of Club Ale drank out of brown glass stubby bottles.

This all memory of course. Connections. Associations

But how do you explain those tunes that seem to bubble up into your brain and you can't make the connection to where that song came from, there is no strong association attached to it. It comes down to how much you can actually remember, and how much of that you can actually recall

There is something called "working memory" which essentially is the amount of stored information that we can manage and manipulate. It is the part of our short term memory that we can currently access. Phone numbers for example, or names of people who you've recently met. Some studies suggest that the working memory can only process and work with four such memories at a time

I think I can do about one and a half. But we all know that I ain't normal

Working memories are short term. That's their function. It's why it may take a few listens to remember a song's lyrics properly. Working memory is why "young girls they do get wooly" for instance. Reinforcement, or reputation, is how long-term memories are created. Hear that song enough, you'll finally be able to recall the lyrics

Some studies suggest that we are better at long-storing (yeh I just made up that term, deal with it) lyrics than melody. At first I found that surprising. I thought that our brains may be partial to remembering rhythm and they are, but we are much more adept and long-storing lyrics.

Association again, and repitition

So the songs that just seem to pop into your head without an association, perhaps it's because we remember the tune but not the event/memory from which the song comes. Fair enough

But I think, I feel, that I actually have music playing in my mind all the time and like that radio station, I just tune into it from time to time. I have a tendency to bing play songs and albums. I connect with some songs so strongly that I play them over and over and over

We've established that I'm annoying, right?

I think Red Rider's early album Neruda is constantly playing in my head. I first bought it on cassette tape and I literally wore that damn thing. I almost wore out the CD. At any given time lyrics from Napoleon Sheds His Skin can weave their way into my thoughts at any given time

The streets are covered in chalk
The shops are boarded up
The bodies are carried down from the square
He begins to wonder
If it always was this hot
Or is it just the clothes
That he now wears

Heady stuff and that song, the entire album, had a great affect on my when I first listened to it back in the 80's. I don't have a particular association to go with the music, no powerful single memory. It was just a work of art that made me look at my own art differently, in a new way. It's important to me I suppose

Maybe that's it. Music is important. It's important to culture, to history but more significantly it's important to us, to our lives. Whether it helps us recall in crystal detail some scene from our past or whether it has helped us grow as humans, music is important. A part of our lives

So the music is there. In there somewhere. All the time. I don't want to think about that too much, I really don't need to know why. I just need to know that the music will always be there. And when I want it, when I need it, I can just turn it up

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Apparently I'm not a great detective. In the Case of the Overhyped Hollywood HasBeen Who Tries for Redemption on the Stage, I missed or misread a lot of the clues

A play not quite finished by a deceased Canadian playwright. A show that did not make it on to the Mirvish Productions season playlist. And a lead actor who's theatre and even screen credits are, shall we say, inconclusive

We've seen many plays that have featured well known "screen" stars: Donald Sutherland, Kathleen Turner, Angela Lansbury, Judd Hirsch, and it has always been a great experience, watching these actors in the intimate setting of live theatre

Many of these actors, all of them certainly, got their start in theatre and it always show in these performances: Angela Lansbury in Blythe Spirit was a revelation, this 80 years plus woman had energy and stamina that was barely matched by her much younger cast mates. That's what you should get from a live performance

This brings us back to our mystery. Sherlock Holmes. A great character who has been portrayed by man great actors: Basil Rathbone, Robert Downey, Jeremy Brett, Nicol Williamson, Johnny Lee Miller. Holmes is a character into which a lot of nuance can be worked, he is open to interpretation while still remaining true to his essence

Now to this list of actors we can add David Arquette. Yeh, David Arquette. Probably not a name that comes instantly to your mind when thinking about actors. Good or bad. He's been around a while, he's made a wide variety of movies and TV and even was involved in pro wrestling.

I associate him mostly with comedy and with playing characters who may not be the sharpest paring knife in the knife block. But hey, that's acting and pro actors often fall into the roles in which people want to see them

Well, sometimes actors just portray what they may actually be. In this case, pretty damn bad. Arquette's British accent is terrible, it's more like the impression of a bad British accent. Sometimes that's not so bad, there are hints of satire in the play. What was really bad was the man's unprofessionalism. The guy has been a working actor for a long time, his credit list is pretty long, but all those credits are movies and TV, retakes allowed. This is live theatre

He constantly was dropping his lines. And when he did so, his reaction was to giggle. The Watson character was played by an understudy and he also struggled with his lines and finding his mark on the stage This is not something to which I'm accustomed in a Mirvish production. Even in those plays I didn't enjoy, you always got an entirely professional production. We have seen many understudies over the years and have never been disappointed in their performances

There are many problems with the play itself. It has its moments, there are some very good Monty Python like comedy set ups and there was one decent scene between Holmes and Watson that expressed some emotional concerns. But there are also some bizarre Greek chorus-like scenes of exposition with the entire cast and a dream sequence that seemed the template for how not to do a dream sequence All of this made the play disjointed, whatever comedy energy was built was often smacked in the teeth; there was blood everywhere

There were also issues with the audio levels, the music (way too much of it and way necessary, this isn't a musical) often overwhelmed the dialogue, but perhaps I didn't miss much

The final straw was the final scene; the very end of the play has the entire cast assembled and in response to an exchange between Holmes and Watson, the cast is to shout out "Elementary!" They didn't even get that right, I think Arquette giggled through it

So yes, I am a bad bad detective. But in comparison to this Sherlock Holmes, I'm fucking brilliant

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Yeh. It's another dog video. Get over it. You do know where you are, right

This summer/fall we spent 7 or 8 days up at Springhaven Lodge at Nares Inlet. I've produced several videos covering those trips. I even made a video starring the girls alone

But, you know, I shoot a lot of footage. Gosh, Vic, do you? Shut up

Normally after I cut one of my little amateur videos I'm left with a lot of footage, some of which is left for a reason (as in it sucks) but some of it viable shots. So I'm trying to be prudent in exploiting this footage

So you will be seeing new videos cut from this Leftover footage. Yay, how lucky are you. You can thank me later. With beer

Anyway, here's a Leftover video of the dogs up at Springhaven Lodge


Ain't you lucky

So Many Dogs, So Little Time from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Monday, October 19, 2015


As a federal election here in Canada shows up on our door step like a one eyed three legged cat with dubious toilet habits, just some random non partisan and certainly non important, non thought out, non relevant and non impactful thought about politicians

WHY DO ALL POLITICANS WEAR SUITS: Oh sure, every now and then they break out a sweater to appear more "common" but let's be honest, they always look as if they just lost a bet. Why do they have to wear suits. Why can't hey wear moo moos. Or motor cycle leathers. Or lederhosen with a propellor beanie and teddy bear slippers. Yeh, I'd vote for that guy

WHY ARE POLITICIANS "HONORABLE": You know what I mean, the Right Honorable this and the Right Honorable that. Why are they Honorable? Did they make the honour role In high school I made the honour role, and trust me, I ain't gots no honour. Are they judges? As in "Honestly Your Honor, I can't really honor you cuz under your robe you are totally necked; if you was wearing lederhosen then I'd honour you" And this Right Honorable stuff, aren't Lefties honourable? OK, they are not, never mind

WHAT IS WITH THE HAND MOVEMENTS WHEN THEY SPEAK TO THE CAMERA: Yeh, not at all coached or fake. Elbows cocked, hands almost clasped but not quite; the right hand aimed at you, not pointing exactly cuz you know, that would be emphatic; hands spread in disbelief "Can you believe that I expense hookers? Wait, I can't? Really? How about the lederhosen, can I expense those?" C'mon guys, be original. Put your hands behind your head, hook em in your belt like Anthony Quinn in that Mickey Spillane movie The Long Wait. Or just hook one finger in your nose and shove the other one down the back of your pants. You know, relate to the common man

JUST TELL US WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR: We all think politicians lie. Not because they keep breaking promises, but because they never really cough up about why they want to run the country. "I want to improve your lives, I want to make Canada great again, I want to protect your family" Yeh, right. Be honest "I want to be the PM because holy mother of god I get to bathe in maple syrup with a supermodel!"

Wait, they can't do that? Huh

Well, they really aren't worth talking about then

Friday, October 16, 2015


The year turns. The days shorten. The leaves change colour. The wind comes thin and cold with promises of snow on its back. The geese begin to fly south. And some of them fall out of the sky and land in ovens and we stuff them with bread and cranberries

OK, mostly its turkeys and they don't really fly but you get my point. Thanksgiving is here and for us, that means Thanksgiving on Nares Inlet

And for the girls, it's holiday time too of course. This was Panda's second trip up to Springhaven Lodge and it's fair to say that she is fitting in just fine

We've discovered how much she enjoys the water but she's a little bush baby too. She loves going off and exploring and proving that old girls still know how to do some rock traversing.

Terra, of course, is a Springhaven pro and although she also loves the bush, there is nothing better than hunting frisbees on the beach

Back on the human front, the family gathered for the annual Thanksgiving tradition of boating out to an island to enjoy food, games and the environment. The day was sunny and warm but the wind was up and Dennis determined it was too risky to go out to the open bay. Instead we invaded, I mean, visited a public paddle tennis court built on it own rocky little island

A bit of food (OK more than a bit) a bit of game playing, a bit of beer (OK more than a bit) then it was time to go back to the lodge, more food lay ahead in the form of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Yeh, I'm gonna need a nap

Play the video but keep the sound down, I'm still napping

Thanksgiving on Georgian Bay 2015 from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


This may be a six degrees of sort of thing but it does not involve Kevin Bacon. Not that I know of. I suppose it's possible. Dude be slippery like that

Back when I was churning out corporate videos the way Tiny Tom churns out those little donuts at the fair, we used a few professional voice over guys to do the narration My favourite was a guy named Roger King

Roger would come into my studio at one in the morning, do a quick read of the script and burn through it flawlessly, usually in one read

He quickly got to know the rhythm of my writing and could give me what I wanted, no fuss no muss. Always a good guy too

I knew that Roger was not just a Voice, he also ripped a lot of other voice people. Well apparently he's a film maker as well

He has created a documentary. Roger has made a movie called I Am What I Play, focussing on a handful of famous radio DJs from back in the day when the voices you heard on the dial actually were responsible for the music they spun

I have yet to see the film, I certainly will, not just for my connection with Roger but the subject matter appeals to me. I grew up at the tail end of that era, when the DJs had influence about the music they played (can we spell Payola) and just before the music was programmed by the same sort of commerce oriented computer that picks the flavours for the McFlurry

Wasn't there a WKRP episode about that? Yes, Virginia, there was

At any rate, that's today's sortofkindofinaway brush with celebrity

Check out the trailer if you so desire. And you desire. You so, so desire

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Just a quick redirection post

Anyone who has any kind of interest in the creative process (or lack thereof) in creating videos/films may want to check out my video creation blog Idiot With a Camera. Starting a new series of posts on my first attempt to make a documentary

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


No, this is not a review of the Spike Lee film, Mo Better Blues

It is a review of Motown the Musical.

I think in the past I made a distinction between a stage musical and musical review. (Were you paying attention? Clearly I was not, otherwise I would remember) A stage musical is a story told in music and dance, usually original music and dance, like Les Miz or Chicago or Kinky Boots

A musical review is a showcase of established songs strung together with minimal story telling. The stage version of Buddy Holly was like that, the second act was pretty much a Buddy Holly tribute concert

I would never see Rain, the long running Beatles tribute but I very much enjoyed Backbeat, a musical that the Stu Sutcliffe story with, of course, Beatles songs It was a musical, Rain is a musical review

When I first heard about Motown the Musical I very much feared that it would be a musical review. It is not, it is a musical, and overall an effective one. But it poses some challenges.

First of all there's the music itself. Iconic, classic, so well known most of it, these days, provide the backdrop for TV commercials. We all know this music, every song, every melody

Then there are the artists. Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Jackson Five: Icons, legends, voices still heard sometimes decades after their deaths

Take for instance the Temptations, a group of guys with perfect harmony and slickly developed dance moves whose musical style continuously morphed over time. Get up there, sing those iconic songs and dance your ass off ... yeh, no challenge there

Overall the actors of Motown the Musical are up to the challenge. The Temptations were, indeed, very effective. As was Jarran Muse as Marvin Gaye. Besides capturing that voice, Muse was given to meat to work with as Gaye attempted to sell Motown's first protest album, the now classic What's Going On. His apace version of Mercy Me raised the hair on my arms.

As Diana Ross, Allison Semmes has the entire diva attitude nailed perfectly, even as the teenage Diana she allows you to see the strength and determination that would, in time, morph into a kind of stubborn bitchiness. Diana's is a difficult voice to capture in a stage production, at first hearing fragile and whips but capable of soaring power. Overall, Semmes is able to capture it though when fronting the Supremes it sometimes gets lost

Special mention must be made of Nathaniel Cullors; a very young man who is tasked with performing the young Stevie Wonder and the young Michael Jackson. Yeh, no big deal at ... well it wasn't for Mr Cullors. His Jackson is a show stealer, he has the voice down perfectly and his dancing left me exhausted just watching

The show's best voice, though, ironically belongs to the character who was not a singer. Josh Tower's Barry Gordy is the heart of the story. We first meet the founder of Motown Records in 1985 as ABC is preparing to air a live concert event commemorating the 25th anniversary of his record company. He does want to attend and through flashbacks we learn his story and the story of Motown

Barry Gordy was a songwriter and early on he sings some classics-to-be and we first here Tower's voice. It is a superb musical theatre voice, capable of expressing the nuances of emotion in the song. Besides Motown standards, the Gordy character sings original songs to motivate the story.

There's a bit of rub here: In a show filled with classic songs we are now treated to originals. Such was the case in the stage version of Wizard of Oz, sandwiched around Over the Rainbow and Yellow Brick Road we had several original tunes whose duty was to move along the story. It comes across as being a bit awkward. In Motown, Tower's voice and performance are strong enough to make it work

The story of Motown is a fascinating one and not just as a tale of a man with no musical background who built up one of the greatest musical entities of all time. As time goes on and the society of the US begins to change, as race relations and the war in Vietnam fill the evening news, Motown had to change with it. The play does not shy away from these issues. A group of Black Power protesters serve up Edwin Starr's War (What is it good for) and it is indeed a spine tingling moment

There is a lot of story here that lifts it above the musical revue category: Barry's relationship with Diana Ross, his struggle to keep the artists whose careers when built from leaving the company, the pressure place upon him as one of the most successful black businessmen of his time. Through it all, through most of it, Smokey Robinson is Barry's right hand man, as powerful a relationship as the one he has with Ross

Like a musical revue the show ends with a concert, the Motown Anniversary show. It works though, the entire story leads us up to this point as Gordy is acknowledged not only by the artists he helped make into superstars but also buy a public who, at that point, probably were not truly aware of who this man was and what he had created

So, the show is indeed Mo, as in Motown. Is it better? Better than the original? No, of course it isn't how could it be. The music that came out of Motown was some of the greatest popular music ever created. Sitting there I did not think that I was actually watching Stevie Wonder and Mary Wells but I was still very very happy to watch the actors portraying them

Friday, September 18, 2015


Welcome to Toronto, lots of people, lots of traffic, lots of things to do.

Weather can vary from extremely hot to unpleasantly cold but lately, the climate around here, it's been a little shooty

Shooty and blue. Blue uniform that is. As in, the police

Last year here we had a cop standing in the middle of an intersection in Cabbagetown shooting at a coyote. He missed, by the way. Then we had the cop who emptied his pistol and his tazer at a kid on a stopped streetcar. Unfortunately, tragically, he did not miss

Yeh, our cops sure do like to shoot. When faced with the reality that during encounters with mentally stable and lightly armed (ie a knife or a hammer) people, a study found that the TO constabulary used just a tad too much deadly force.The cops came up with a solution: Let's find things that we can shoot that may not be quite as deadly But hey, we still want to shoot

But I don't want to be unfair here, the police in my city are not all about shooting their Glocks. They also love to drive their cars. Really fast. And chase shit

A few years back when we lived on Hillmount St in our nice quiet Jewish hood, some young punks robbed somebody and drove away. Huzzah said the cops and gave chase. They chased so fast and ardently that the bad guys mounted a curb on the sidewalk about 40 feet west of our house, slid sideways right past our lawn and breached their SUV on the other side of the house, crashing into our neighbour as he pulled out of his driveway. Neighbour was shook up but OK. But the scumbags bailed and took off on foot. Oh, huzzah and tally ho! Cops gave chase on foot and now we had a bunch of people running through the back yards with guns in their hands

Shooty shooty

Earlier this year a couple of hoods did a little smash and grab, mounted their getaway vehicles and sped off through Regent Park. And you guessed it .. tally ho! Only, the cops were huaazhing in their cruisers and the bad guys? Um they were on bikes. Not Harleys. Bikes. Bicycles. Chains, gears, little metal bells. Homeboys tried to elude the cars by rolling across a brand new community basketball court. Cops stayed in their cars, busted through a chain link fence and went all Audy Murphy (in Hell Bent for Leather) across the basketball court, fucking it up


Where is all this coming from? Well, from yesterday actually. I have a client dog down in the Distillery District. For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Distillery District is, well, an old distillery dating from Toronto's Victorian past, a huge complex of cobble stone lanes, red brick Gothic buildings and black shuttered limestone edifices. It's quite elaborate and quite beautiful. And unlike most of Toronto's history it was not paved over into a parking lot or immediately filled with terribly banal condo high rises

The Distillery has been preserved as public space with shops, pubs, bakeries and a theatre; concerts and events of all kinds are staged there. It is indeed surrounded by coma inducing condo's but the bones and the heart of the place has been maintained for us to enjoy

And lots of people enjoy it. It is a major tourist attraction, south of Front Street, not far from the Lake. Recently it was right beside the Athlete's Village (the ugliest of all condo's in the cities, as if Ugly Condo was a Pan Am event) for the Pan Am Games

It always seems to be busy but naturaly it is teeming on a hot summer day. As it was the other day. My client dog Gracie lives right beside the main entrance to the Distillery, on Mill St, a short block away from Parliment

That intersection itself is always busy. There are parking lots there where people park to walk across the street into the district. There is a school there, its fenced playground looking towards the Victorian structures. I enter Mill Street from Trinity, looking down towards Parliment; and what I saw that day was the yellow caution tape fluttering in the balmy breeze

I had just missed, by about 30 minutes, a very chasey shooty day in my city.

Some dude stole a car. The cops somehow actually got on to him as he sped along in his little grey Toyota. Huzzah! Tally ho! Several cruisers gave chase. Right up Parliment; teeming, pedestrian laden Parliment. Lots of cars here too, and a lane cut off by road work. And kids playing over there in the school yard

Perfect place, the cops seem to conclude, to block in the stolen car and force him up against the curb. I missed the event itself but I've seen the video. Two, perhaps three cruisers jam the car in, wedging it between the two cop cars Cops jump out, pistols in hand

Home boy's car is not moving, it ain't going nowhere. And there are three cops, two right by the driver door. So huzzah you motherfuckers, Cop Three jumps over to the front of the car, staring at the windshield and what does our fine constable do? Aims his semi auto at the hood of the stolen car and empties the mag into it

Yeh he shoots the car. Pop pop pop. Ten or more rounds into the hood of the car. Yes, these are soft nosed 9 mm rounds, less likely to ricochet but there are people all over the street. There are kids fleeing across the school yard. And there are his fellow officers right there by the passenger door

Shooty shooty

The official explaination for this is that the cop wanted to disable the stolen vehicle. Two points. One, that car wasn't going anywhere. And two, many many mechanics have agreed that where the cop was shooting was not going to "disable" that car. Probably he shot up the battery

But you can see him, crouched in the classic Weaver stance, two hands on the gun, just blasting away. As the other cops yanked open the driver's door, Dirty Harry is actually ejecting his expended clip and slapping in a fresh one

Yeh. There's a Sequeway parked over there. Never know when you may to shoot that too

So, a gorgeous hot sultry sunny September day, one of Toronto's most quaint tourist locations, locals and tourists alike enjoying the light breeze skirling off of the Lake ...

But the weather suddenly changed. Dark blue skies, with a high degree of shootiness

Monday, September 14, 2015


The water is on fire. The ripples on the inlet catching the reflections of the setting sun, yellow and gold and tinges of auburn spreading across the otherwise dark water. Look up and see the ruddy orb caught on the crenelated barbs of the pine trees. The sun is setting on the Georgian Bay

Here in the inlet the sun seems constrained, caught on the trees, rubbing hard against the great shoulders of the Canadian Shield. Let's go now, let's load up the boat and go find it, let's chase the sunset on this still summer night

Dennis runs the boats down the narrow inlets on our way to the open bay, channels forged by the alchemy of water and time, deep through the smooth hulking rocks where the obdurate trees find purchase and life in the stone, bowed by the winds but twisting up towards the sun, the spiny branches glowing in the sunset

We come out into the bay, the water still calm but the wind bringing us the breath of the deep open water, whipping back our hair. Dennis takes us around to the Pointe au Baril lighthouse, an unassuming wooden structure that at one point served a powerful purpose, warning vessels off the rocks and shoals that lurk here, hidden and dangerous in the deep dark water

Past the lighthouse, out where the necklace of rocky islands has spread into random clumps of darkness, we can see it now; the sun, a glowing hole in the sky and a ruddy smear of light across the water

Come chase the sunset with us

Chasing the Sunset Georgian Bay from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Here's the question I ask myself (well I ask myself lots of questions but most of them, if publicly expressed would see me end up in some form of national instituion) when we go on holiday with the dogs, is the holiday for us, for for the them?

Terra always loves going up to Springhaven Lodge but this would be Panda's first trip. It would also be the first time we've had her on any water. All of our border collies have enjoyed playing in the water; Terra does not enjoy it, she basically grows gills and tries to live in the lake. Panda was an unknown quantity, but no longer. In the words of Collette's brother Dennis "She's a fish"

So, success. Our newest BC is following the path of those who came before her "Yeh, this lodge place with this big ass lake, it's pretty good"

Perhaps Panda enjoyed the lake a little much. Play play play, swim swim swim. The weather was perfect when we were there, hot air temps and balmy water temps but an old girl has a tendency to overdo things. And when an old girl gets a little too chilly, well she earns up some pampering

Needless to say, Terra also enjoyed herself, she always does. I don't think dogs actually look forward to things but if she could, I'm sure she was looking forward to one of her favorite pastimes, froggin, splashing around trying to make the frogs jump

And yeh, there was some frisbee catching to be done

And in between all the playing, there is ... waiting to be playing

And for Panda, there is stealth waiting to be playing. "Yeh, don't look over here, there's not a Panda over here, there's just a rock with nothing behind it, so if you were to throw that ball over here, it wouldn't be caught by a border collie, not at all ..."

Sneaky sneaky border collies. Here's the video
A Dog's Life On the Georgian Bay from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


The sky is different here: Huge and pale and striped with clouds soft as feathers.

The air is different here: Even on this warm sunny day you can feel the coolness to it, an edge to it, as if it has come from some place far away, from some place beyond the horizon, some place where winter dreams even in the summer

The water is different here: Clear as it eddies around the rocks but even in the shallows you can sense its power, its depth, its cold power; even sedate and quiet you are aware of its strength, sleeping now but capable of a terrible strength when awakened

The rock is different here: Ancient and stained and carved by the wind and the water and time. The great rocks push up out of the water, like the backs of giant turtles, to form these islands on which we walk

The is the Georgian Bay

An Afteroon On Georgian Bay from Victor Kellar on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Look! Up in the sky! Is a bird? Is it a plane? Um, yeh it's a plane

Lots and lots of planes

It's the CNE Air Show

Lots and lots of jets in this year's show. Private jet teams have become more and more popular and this year the Breitling team came over from France. They bill themselves as the world's largest private performing jet teams, flying Czech built L-39C Albatros training jets. That's not unusual in the private jet team universe, teams flying planes made in the former Soviet bloc

More than just jets of course. One of my favorite returning performers to the show is acrobatic pilot Mike Wiskus. He flies a custom made Pitts biplane and the things that he does with it, well, those old WW I pilots would be half envious and half "what the fuck did he just do"

Another stunt pilot was was Dave Mathieson, who flies a monowing MX2. If you watch the TV series Air Show you will better know him as Super Dave. He also showed up another series, Dangerous Flights, about the guys who ferry planes around the world

More jets of course, including the the F/A 28C Hornet from the US Navy. They were going to fly the Canadian navy's hottest plane, but the damn rubber band snapped

Every year the Air Show features what it calls the Heritage Flight, where they combine a contemporary military plane with a vintage one. This year it was an F-16 flying alongside one of my favorite WW II planes, the P-51 Mustang. I'm always impressed how planes so dissimilar, a modern jet and a classic prop plane, can match speeds and fly so effortlessly together

This was not the show's only combination of jet and propeller propulsion. John Klatt brought another biplane to the show, a very special one that he calls the Screamin Sasquatch Jet Waco. The basis of it is a barnstorming style Taperwing biplane but he added a little something something .. that being a jet engine. Along side the propeller engine. Yeh, kind of a schizo aircraft

The usual suspects were there, from the Cadet gliding demonstration (the pulse pounding spectacle of a glider being towed by a plane, I know I know, almost too much to bear) but the way more fun Sea King helicopter doing a demo with a rescue diver

And of course, it can't be the Air Show without the Snowbirds. I've seen the Snowbirds well over a dozen times, both at the CNE and in other places. Really, their act has not changed that much over time and I keep thinking I will tire of it. But when you see that precision flying, the perfect symmetry of their flying patterns, well it's always impressive

All of the photo's above are, of course, Collette's. The video below is mine .. with more of her photo's. I ain't no dummy
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