Sometimes a line, or two…

…says more than a book. Came across a couple like that:

I write plays because writing dialogue is the only respectable way of contradicting yourself.

Tom Stoppard, as quoted by Keith Garebian in “A lifetime of roles”. Review of Ira Nadel, Tom Stoppard: A Life. Globe and Mail, September 14, 2002: D6.

The road of excess may lead to the palace of wisdom, but it can be as much about falling in the gutter as staring up at the stars.

James Adams, “The Dead keep on truckin'”. Review of Dennis McNally, A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead. Globe and Mail, September 14, 2002: D3.

Posted in Biography, Music, Theatre | Leave a comment

Jane Vasey

Out of the blue, a friend sent me a link to Jane Vasey, as follows:

Here’s one for you…

She was sadly taken far too soon.

Agreed. Dead from leukemia at 32 or 33. Dead for 32 years now.

Found someone had started a Wikpedia page on her, stating “I don’t have a lot of detail, but she deserves a page. I’m hoping other fans will add more detail”. So added to it.

She died in Toronto, on July 7, 1982. She was at the funeral home near home of first year of married life (mine, not hers). Wanted to go up the street to pay respects, but didn’t. Didn’t feel I was close enough to be other than a mourning pretender. One of a number of life experiences missed, with later regret.

Hopefully a compilation of her recordings will find release in some form.

Here she is…

Posted in Music, Toronto Reflections | Leave a comment

(Un)likely News


Have written about arrest, trial and acquittal, 1969. Also referenced the fact that, to the best of recollection, it was news in the third page of the Ottawa Citizen. There is a link to it being on page 52 of the Ottawa Journal of Tuesday, September 20, 1969. This would have followed the court appearance on Monday. And the arrest, jailing and bailing on Sunday morning.

Don’t recall saving this clipping. At least one person did. My former high school classmate, Michael Toth, who taught me how to play guitar, became a high school teacher of music, Teaching others, since his early teens. Also a professional musician for some 45 years now. Recently told me he was going through some boxes, in preparation for a family move to a new house, and found his old high school yearbooks. This clipping was saved in one of them. Sent a copy of it to me.

When one considers how things once were. Adult criminal responsibility at 16. RCMP responsibility for local drug arrests. Newspaper publication that included the address of the accused. A requirement to enter a plea at the first appearance, or shortly thereafter. Development of greater fairness, over the years.

Was also quite the way to make an impression in the first month of the new school year. Part of the reason to look for a means to a fast exit. Shame and label. And as for the change of name

Posted in Criminal Justice Issues, Ottawa Reflections | Leave a comment

Shaghayeh Djodat

Recently watching this 1996 Persian film, Gabbeh. Fascinated by actress who plays the principal character, being a spirit, muse, or both: Shaghayeh Djodat. Image from the film that captures the sprit:


A mood that won’t let go:

Posted in Film, Iran | Leave a comment

George Michael: Sense of Father Figure

Love can be mistaken
For a crime

Find the video to George Michael’sFather Figure” (1987) to be particularly effective, and remaining so, over time. Now find out the model in the video is Tania Coleridge, who was an actual model at the time, particularly favoured by photogorapher Helmut Newton. Won 1998 MTV Video Music Award for best direction, where George Michael was co-director of the video, with Andy Morahan. Also nominated for best cinematography (where director of photography was Peter Mackay) and best art direction (where art director was Bryan Jones):

Much emotion throughout. Power and honesty in the image.

That’s all I wanted
Something special
Something sacred
In your eyes


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Respite, Refuge

View from Texada Island, British ColumbiaPhoto by Neil Remington Abramson

View from Texada Island, British Columbia
Photo by Neil Remington Abramson

Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows (reproduced with permission):

We are at our cottage on Texada Island. The unending world crises seem remote here. It’s as if the world takes a break. We press a circumstantial “pause” button, and the pictures and warning commentaries cease, for the moment.

When we get back to Vancouver, the traffic and the beating drums of the news will resume. All the crises we left will be as if nothing had changed in our absence: Gaza, ISIS, Ferguson.

As if they had waited for us to return.

Out here, the world has a different heartbeat. The gulls cry. The tides gurgle in and out. You can see the stars at night. The water is cold, but swimmable, and the sun dries you off. The drumbeat of fear and moral outrage that illuminates our civilization is so muted that it recedes from consciousness.

And I find that I don’t miss it much.

Postscript, August 23, 2014:

Daylight Texada, courtesy of Neil Remington Abramson:


Posted in British Columbia, Various life philosophies | Leave a comment

Front Lines of Education

As with many occupations, there are those who live it and live to make it better. Came across this 2002 story about then teacher Kim MacDonald. Portrait of teacher dedication, as follows:

Passion and urgency greet funding panel
Tess Kalinowski
Toronto Star, September 10, 2002: A4

After three days of cleaning and disinfecting her kindergarten classroom in August, Kim MacDonald was fed up with the cutbacks at Carleton Heights Public School.

In disgust, the teacher took her story to the Ontario Education Equality Task Force yesterday.

Because of custodial cuts, her school was closed until August 19, and no cleaning had been done, when MacDonald began preparing for class.

“When you consider the number of students with severe allergies in our schools, this level of service is far from adequate,” she told the task force, as it began 10 days of public hearings across the province.

She also explained how, because of cuts to the number of teaching assistants, she is now alone in making sure her class of about 30 students dresses warmly for the Ottawa winters, gets to the bathroom, and experiences the nurturing young children need.

“How can one person ensure the safety and emotional well-being of that many children?” she asked.

MacDonald added she spends $2,500 to $3,000 a year out of her own pocket to make sure every child has the materials to participate in activities and field trips school funding no longer covers.

Task Force chair Mordechai Rozanski thanked Macdonald for her presentation–and her passion. It was the kind of response he had expected from the front lines of education…

MacDonald later became the vice-principal of Carleton Heights Public School.

Posted in Education - Primary and Secondary | Leave a comment