Nice stuff

Art directors are always on the lookout for novel, appealing ways to render words and the interest doesn’t end upon retirement, apparently. I would love to have found a place to use the work of Sabeenu Karnik.

Look at the way her pieces exploit “local colour”, reflecting off the paper strips onto the white background. Enchanting. Of course, works like these must be photographed with some skill, too.

The craft is called quilling. Karnik’s examples are particularly beautiful. This video shows how hobbyists quill.

Do you want to know?


I think most Canadians would like to know what really happened during the 160 years (!) when aboriginal children were taken from their parents and sent to residential schools. Thanks to this well written, illustrated summary, it’s pretty easy to find out now.

Even if you don’t intend to read the whole thing, the stories are engaging enough to hold your interest and deepen your understanding. Get a free copy and read it on your Kindle or Kobo or iPad or Android device.

It’s quite an eye-opener!

Speaking of Colombo

uncommonplaces-350pxI count John Robert Colombo and his wife Ruth Colombo as friends, which surely colours my readings of their books. JRC has worked very hard, all his life, doing service to Canadian literature before many people thought it worth the trouble.

For his enormous output in the way of ghost stories, joke collections, mystery books, poems, criticism, research, essays and articles, he has been appointed to the Order of Canada. He has compiled large collections of Canadian quotations, earning his place as Canada’s Master Gatherer.

In this latest publication, John quotes himself. The man knows a LOT of words and he loves to play with them, sometimes to my amusement, sometimes to my bewilderment. His “aphoristic expressions” encapsulate opinions, observations, musings and feelings about everything from Abilities to Zombies, organized alphabetically, of course.

At the end of the book, he includes brief, personal comments on People I Have Known. Not all are flattering. I recognize many of the names instantly, others vaguely and many not at all. Whether I know the person or not, the descriptions are interesting and often surprising.

Here’s one that made me smile:

Frederik Pohl
He made a mistake once, on January 16, 1961, as I now recall, his former wife Judith Merril once told me.

I wondered at this one, “What was the topic and who was the other one?”

Paul Duval
One of the two people who angered me so much on the phone that I hung up on him.

Leonard Cohen may be the most famous name in the long list, but there are many more you would recognize; mostly writers and artists.

Uncommomplaces: Aphorisms of John Robert Colombo is newly published as a paperback but is also available as a Kindle ebook.

The Walkers dropped in from Victoria

walkers-andersens-budapestPhoto by Kaitlin

Crawf and Ulli (right) took us for dinner at the Budapest Restaurant (thank you both) and it wasn’t until after they left the next day that I realized how perfect their meal choice had been. Gypsy steaks. You see, the Walkers have been constant travellers for the past few years, following their growing family across Canada, from Nova Scotia, to Ontario, to Alberta, to British Columbia and even to Korea.

I’ve known Crawf since high school days. He and Ulli are fun to be with and endlessly interesting conversationalists. We love their company, even when they are just flying by.

The gypsy steaks, BTW, were pronounced delicious, covered in onions and mushrooms. Danica and I were happy, too, with our wiener schnitzel choices.

StreetFest is my favourite part

The Beaches Jazz Festival goes on for weeks, most of that on the Woodbine Park main stage, but I like it best when they close Queen Street to car traffic and bands play in front of stores. This happens all day today and tomorrow, Thursday and Friday evenings, too.

I like all of the performers, just for being out there and I like the variety of music, but if I had to pick a favourite group, it would be the Sultans of String. This year they added a sitar guy from Pakistan. The Sultans fuse music from around the world.

Harold dresses all Beachers

The creator of “ENDS” clothing store sits outside the shop on a Jazz Festival Friday evening. A likeable fellow, he’s easy to chat with and pleasantly modest.


Beachers are sometimes kidded about their fashion uniformity … whatever Harold has on sale at his discount clothing store on Queen Street East is what we wear. Of course! Harold has a genius for finding odd lots of designer label clothing and sells great stuff, brand new, for incredibly low prices.

Uhhhh, who are you thinking of in those, Danica?

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