Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Re: Why Neil Young’s got Big Oil worried


This is a really big moment in Canadian history where we can finally put human rights record in order in our own house. To start with, Harper's "Truth and Reconciliation" and Canadian's shameful treatment of the First Nations peoples.

The government and Big Oil are slamming Neil Young for speaking out on the Oil Sands. Click now to find out why they’re worried, and how you can add your voice: http://www.avaaz.org/en/neil_young_vs_big_oil_d/?kRbrkeb

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Open House & Yard Sale


Saturday Sept. 21st

8:00 am – 4:00 pm

1376 Bathurst Street
(on west side, 2 blocks south of St Clair, near Alcina)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Toronto Writers’ Co-operative
presents its 5th
Exchanging Notes: a literary cabaret

on Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Exchanging Notes is a singularly entertaining showcase of spoken word with live musical accompaniment.  Styles range from rap to rock to jazz to classical.  Alleycatz Jazz Bar provides an excellent menu (see below) and bar.  Join us for an evening of spoken word-music fusion.  The only show of its type!  And it's free!!

 Exchanging Notes: a literary cabaret

7 p.m.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Alleycatz Jazz Bar
2409 Yonge Street
(1.5 blocks north of Eglinton)


For more info: towc@live.com

Monday, December 10, 2012

I smell Stephen Harper in the kitchen with John Manley boiling 33,100,000 frogs.

Harper's Legacy: CNOOC- Nexen

We have been so conditioned to expect changes in four year political cycles, that we don't realise  we have a disability: seeing the long term pattern beyond 2015.

The Chinese, of course, don't work that way. Unlike Harper they have an energy strategy and its national oil companies spearhead that party-directed strategy. And unlike Canada’s witless Tories they also think 50 to 100 years down the road. As disciples of Sun Tzu, they typically prefer doing business with short-term fools.
Recklessly blind to ruthless aims of China's state-owned firms, PM treats them as any free market investors.
By Andrew Nikiforuk, 13 Nov 2012, TheTyee.ca

The years 2020 to 2025 is nearly beyond everyone's thinking at this point. To give Harper his due, not to mention the influence of Tom Flanagan's Calgary School and the American Political model, he has considered this modern human flaw. For several decades he very carefully micro-managed his path to power; from the Citizens Coalition, to the Reform Party to the new Conservative Party of Canada. Like his friend Rob Ford, he has a passionate dislike for opposition who represent a majority of Canadians, and rely on voter apathy to form governments and an unwavering determination to reverse Canada's global image of "honest broker".

Harper is at least astute enough to have seen his good fortune in having avoided the worst of the financial disaster of 2008 and the survivability of the Canadian economy. This was an inspiration to be bold and diversify our need to trade our natural resources and services with other Economic zones especially the emerging economic and political powers. Since 2009 he has been courting China, India and Brazil and signing trade deals with smaller countries such as Honduras, Panama, Columbia, etc.
The current American political model is a shambles and the Euro Zone is even worse. It seems like our only viable partner is China and the energy it is going to require in the next fifteen years. But we are seeing what only Harper wants us to see in this CNOOC- Nexen deal which is very little, and even he is unclear what it means in the future. It should be interesting to see the results of China's 18th Party Congress and its new political model.

On a Friday afternoon, Dec. 7th, Harper held a press conference and announced his approval of the deal and in the statement said "These were difficult decisions and there will be more difficult decisions in the future,” referring to the overwhelming resistance to the lack of information released. Also that the terms of the new FIPA legislation will be available soon. We will need this to learn what he means by "more difficult decisions", also "net benefit" and "exceptional circumstances" that will apply to any further major Canadian business buy-outs by foreign interests. Who decides? Harper, or an informed democracy?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

I am pleased to have been nominated for this Kreativ Blogger Award by Janet Koops from http://postcardfiction.com/. She has such a unique dexterity with words that her writing is insightful and reflective using so few of them. I am envious.

The rules for the Kreativ Blogger Award include:
Display the award image on your blog.
Acknowledge the nominator.
List ten things about yourself that readers probably don’t know.

Pass the award along by nominating at least six other blogs you enjoy reading. Although it’s a little bit “chain letter”ish in that regard, it is a nice way to show others you appreciate and enjoy their dedicated words.

So, here are ten things you may not know about me 
1. I was born in a snow bank. Well, not actually but I was born in Canada where there used to be snow banks.

2. When I first got a guitar to impress the girls, I learned by ear the bass lick from Peter Gunn – very sexy!

3. When I was in high school, I was on the swim team in my skimpy speedos. Girls came to watch our practise.

4. Also when I was in high school, I had a reputation amongst the girls in other schools that they scored with me – totally untrue! I was a virgin until I was 19.

5. I used to be shy.

6. I have developed platonic relationships with trees.

7. I have a very special tree that adopted me.

8. I am darthcricket.

9. I have knac for being a pest.

10. My life's work is to work out "Toccata & Blues in Em".

My personal ‘best of’ blogs are:
Kai Nagata 
bored but not broken 
Postcard Fiction 
Murray Dobbin
James Laxer 
Hogtown Scribble & Daub

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Angus Effect

My daily reading consists of having several books on the go, one for assembling information that I intend to morph in the future, one to search for a particular language that will metamorphosize this information into something relatively coherent, and one to give my mind a breath of fresh humour that clears out the guck that can accumulate in the corners.

For example, I am working on a book, a photo-journal, titled From the Perspective of a Tree. I have photographed many leafy characters that, as individuals, also have a voice and something to say – thus one book to inform me of their message. At present I am reading Gaia: an Atlas of Planet Management.

I know what I have to say, and I think I know what they, the trees in this case, have to say, but the problem is in communication and the translation – therefore, at the moment, I’m reading primarily, North American Indian Reader, as what’s left of their language is far closer to the source I’m looking for than the mind-set that we invaded with 500 years ago.

So you can see that I require a mental disk cleaner and a defrag to keep the synapses in good firing order, and for this I require humourous reading. In this case I will tell you about two books that I have just finished by Terry Fallis, his first novel, The Best Laid Plans, and the second, The High Road, so much so that I have suspended all my reading just to absorb and laugh at a superbly accurate political satire which is only the surface delivery of a very crucial message for our current crises - the disease in our political and corporate institutions.

Terry Fallis doesn’t rely on cynical, political satire as fodder for the publishing industry, but more important here is a very strong, clear and urgent message to a public that is resisting to be dumbed down. I will quote from The High Road:

*Chapter two: (Lindsay, Daniel’s girlfriend) “Was it different working with Angus?”
(Daniel, Angus’ EA in the first election) “Completely different. He’s unlike any politician I’ve ever known. He has more common sense than any politician that I’ve ever known. He doesn’t care what people think. He seems congenitally programmed to do what’s right even if it costs him support. And he’s as honest as they come. He refused to play the political game. Instead, he changed the rules. And he made it work. One man against a powerful political system more than a century in the making. There are time-honoured forces at play on the Hill that Angus simply defied. One man.”

And in the last chapter:
“(Angus to his Prime Minister) Yet you sacrificed your Finance Minister and delayed the tax cuts. Why?” asked Angus.”
“In the silence and dark of night, while the city slept, I simply asked myself the  one question that seems to have guided your foray into public life. ‘What is right for the country?’ It won’t be always so easy to answer that question, but in this case, it was quite straightforward, as you know,” explained the Prime Minister.
“Aye, the course was clear, sir. I commend your decision,” replied Angus.

The standard response to any proposal of this belief, fictional or otherwise, is ‘Yes, but it takes political will!’, in other words, ‘not bloody likely’ which is purely lazy thinking and a just plain dumb response.
What I have learned from Terry Fallis’ Angus is that simply takes ‘personal will’ so we don’t have to wait for someone else to kick this donkey in the butt because we can more readily kick our own butt, saving the time and expense of going to the farm if you are rural voter, or going to the zoo if you are an urban voter.
I highly recommend this humour-coated, political meds to put right whatever ails you or to reconnect your addled brains.
*Quotes generously permitted by the Author, Terry Fallis

Monday, January 02, 2012

“Making the Scene” - A Beatnik Revival

You are invited to join the action and be the ‘Beat’ that you wished you might have been!

The Toronto Writers Co-operative are staging its 4th “Exchanging Notes: a literary cabaret”.  The format is that musicians & writers team up for spoken word-music collaborative performance.

The Toronto Writers Co-operative are going to do their best to recreate the Kerouac/Ginsberg Era at the Allecatz Jazz Bar on Tuesday, January 24th starting at 8 pm and going to the small hours. We are calling upon the muses of literature and music to trance the light fantastic.

It’s all happening at 2409 Yonge Street, 2.5 blocks north of Eglinton. Alleycatz features a full bar and kitchen so it will be a dinner theatre atmosphere this year!

 Best yet – there is no cover charge!

And even better, I will be doing my number on stage around 8:30 and backed up by a stand up bass and trumpet. Does this spark your curiousity?


Ps. If you know anyone else who would be interested, please feel free to invite them.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

RSVP: Lord and Lady Black Regret

Lord and Lady Conrad Black of Crossharbour; PC, OC, KCSG
December 24th, 2011

Dear (insert name)

Holidays now seem to have taken on a new implication in Babs and my life. The frivolity of this convivial season is now replaced by profound, nay epiphanic reflection. Looking back on the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous billions’, I (I’m not sure about we) have gained a renewed, multi-faceted dimensional perspective of the social and moral impact on the undercultures and subcultures having inundated their deeper psychodynamics and subsequent wounded egos rendering total futility on the current shallow, assured rectitude and pompousness – the almost raffish image – of the 99% in all its zesty coinages. Ya know what I’m sayin’?

As I gaze beyond the confines of my esteemed mind and observe an almost most fecund assemblage of humanity below, different in their appearances as much as in their and circumstances, noteworthy is my ascertainment of their commonality, their social milieu, their shtick. It is heartwarming for such an old lion as I, and familiarity with a renewed angelic rationality that inundates me these days, that I have come to even consider your kind invitation.

If it weren’t for our previous commitments, Babs and I would drop our lesser undertakings at a jot, I say, to avail ourselves of your charitable offer of hearth and board. But those who have responsibility to a greater society have burdens beyond mere comprehension and alas such is the case.

As my new acquaintances say, and I quote, “Yo beatch!” Gotta go….

Wishing you all the best without us,

Connie & Babs


P.O. BOX 1031
COLEMAN, FL  33521

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Volunteer Today For Eco-Gift Wrapping Program!!

The success of this program depends entirely on volunteers like you to help increase awareness about reducing holiday waste, promoting our organization, and raise funds in support of our work throughout the year.

This is a fantastic volunteer opportunity, with lots of flexibility that suits students, seniors, employee groups and all enthusiastic environmentalists!

If you would like to participate in this fun & creative volunteer opportunity, contact us by email at:


2011 Locations for Eco-Gift Wrapping:

Dufferin Mall -- 900 Dufferin Street: November 21 to December 24

Mountain Equipment Co-op -- 400 King Street West: December 15-24

Yonge Eglinton Center -- 20 Eglinton Ave. West: December 9-24

We are providing Training Workshops for all volunteers. The schedule and locations for training are as follows:

November 21: Deer Park Library, 40 St. Clair Ave. East, Room 204

Workshop: 5:30pm

December 6: Deer Park Library, 40 St. Clair Ave. East, Room 204
Workshop: 2:30pm
Workshop: 5:30pm

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Remembrance Day 11/11/11

Lest We Forget

All those who have fallen in the Wars of the 20th and 21st Century; 100's of millions of military and civilian alike. 99% of them believed they were fighting to protect democracy and freedom at home. God have mercy on them.

Lest You Forget 
All those 100's of millions who have fallen to the economic sword of Wall Street and Global Corporate Greed since Reagan's 'Trickle Down Economics' to 'Bush's Shock and Awe'.

Let Us Be Mindful

Of the wilful destruction by the 1% to Mother Earth and the mindless state that we have been driven to by our debt and consumerist state of mind.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Occupy Toronto Oct 15th 2011

Protesting in Toronto is a rainy day event;

the 25 in 5 Poverty Protest,

the G20,

and now the Occupy Toronto.

Let no one tell you that we are fair-weather activists!

I got out of the subway at King and headed east to Jarvis St. where I was to meet up later with a friend at the main doors to the St. James Cathedral. The church had generously permitted the occupiers use of the adjoining St. James Park.

When I arrived at the corner I was struck by the delicious irony of seeing a big, white, antique Bentley and a black stretch limo curbed at the foot of the walk leading to the cathedral with the Occupy Toronto as a background. This was the first shot that I took but unfortunately I deleted it to make room for another, otherwise I would happily send it to the newlyweds. One can only imagine the delight of the bride and her parents when they discovered their precious moment to be blessed by the “99%”. I had to smile.

I made a beeline right into the thick of the crowd to feel out the vibes and soon caught up with this character, a cross between Moses, Yasser Arafat, Ray Charles and the NHL! This, my friends, is the Prophet of Anti-Profit in his ‘coat-of-many-slogans’. I think he is one of Toronto’s hundreds of fringe, unelected politicians, truly a one-of-a-kind. But man he could please the crowd.

At this point I was getting caught up in the drumming, chanting, banners in many colours, signs of all shapes and sizes and very clever slogans and cartoons. These people had brought their sense of humour to the party not just righteous indignation at the “1%”.

I bisected the core and began browsing around the outer edges and marveled at the variety of smaller gatherings voicing their concerns. The gathering was a healthy diversity of humanity, families with children, students of all ages, First Nations (whose land we are occupying), adults, seniors, LGBT, people in full costume, people wearing funny objects, People in for the long haul with their tents and gear, people here for the day (the day-after-day). I thought there were about 1,000 people but I heard later there were 2,000 – 3,000 in the march in the morning.

We are the 99%

The Organization of this group was incredible; bathrooms (donated porta potties), logistics tent, food tent, medical tent, info tent, legal tent, gazebo (where general assemblies are held and entertainment, media tent and LIBRARY!!

The atmosphere in general was other-worldly; snippets of Wonderland, flashes of Oz, wisps of a 1001 Nights (incense, etc), traces of Turtle Island, snatches of the Lord of the Rings, the Tao, Buddhism, Gandhi, Jesus (being next to the cathedral)…
“The Cathedral did not invite the protesters into the Park. The Cathedral is not involved in the protest. We have, however, treated the protesters in the way that our faith and sense of humanity directs: with respect and dignity. For over 200 years, St. James Cathedral has been a place where divergent opinions have come to be expressed in a safe and respectful environment.”
            The Very Reverend Douglas A. Stoute
Dean of Toronto and Rector of St. James Cathedral

The Global Occupation is Too Big to Fail

At the time of this writing there are over 1500 Occupations and growing all over the world. According to Michael Moore there are more than 59% of Americans support the Occupy Movement. It has a very powerful energy that is popping up like mushrooms all over the place on a damp fall morning, unpredictable, small but each one capable of releasing millions of spores.

The last time there was a movement similar to this was born in the 60’s that rode on the electric current of love, sex, drugs and Rock and Roll, but yet it succeeded in bringing global awareness to injustices of that time, Civil Rights, Feminist Equality, War, corruption.  You could argue that the issues of those days are still not solved, but we were fighting on a battlefield chosen by our adversary, and the only victory that we can truly claim is that freedom of the spirit is unconquerable.

The beauty of the Occupations is the diversity of causes that is impossible for the adversaries to divide and conquer, to isolate the vulnerable and crush it – we are divided, and intentionally so. We have weaved our diverse conversations to concentrate our force against the target of injustice, and like the mushroom, we are popping up everywhere and releasing billions of spores.

Having completed almost the circle this granite stone I happened to see just in front of me when a crowd parted after listening to a speech. I call it Memorial to the Unknown Person. The fragments of script indicate a final, bittersweet letter to a person who would never read it but wrote it anyway as a form of closure and a call to keep the torch of justice alight.

I never did meet up with my friend but knowing that he would be experiencing this serves as my having been there with him. This is an experience shared by all who are involved.

Please share the experience if you can’t actually go there by visiting the following links:

·                                 Website
·                                 Facebook Page
·                                 Facebook - Events
·                                 Twitter - General
·                                 Twitter - Media Support Team
·                                 Twitter - Live From The Media Tent
·                                 Twitter - Occupy Canada

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Laugh for the Environment"

Join the Toronto Green Community at our 2nd Annual
"Laugh for the Environment" 
     Comedy Fundraiser


Date: Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Time: Show starts at 

Second City99 Blue Jays WayToronto

Tickets: $20, available through 
Second City:
online at 

call the box office at 

Invite your friends and Buy your tickets today!! We’ll turn you green with laughter!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Toronto Writers’ Co-operative launches their members’ anthology

Hi all

Very exciting and I am thrilled! I have two poems and one song lyric published in VOICES by the Toronto Writers' Co-op. See the details below. I'll also be reading one of the poems/lyrics at the launch. Join us if you can. It will be a great TOWC event. You can pick up a copy for $5 - very worthwhile - or order a copy from me (signed of course), the local shipping rate will be around $5 also.

Toronto Writers’ Co-operative
launches their members’ anthology
Thursday, September 29
7 PM
Elizabeth Beeton Auditorium
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St., 1st Flr.
The TPL’s writers’ community launches its 4th anthology.  Co-operative authors will read selections from their work—a wide variety of poetry and prose.
Copies of Voices will be available for sale.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jack We Hardly Knew Ye

The people of Canada have been given the opportunity to freely exercise a vote of their conscience and the heart song rings across this nation in tribute to Jack Layton. He was a fighter and a lover for the earth and her people. He was a leader who knew the ropes and how to tie the knots binding opposites and bringing them together for the goals they all had in common. He cared for the future and well being of all his family down to the seventh generation. He was a person who never swerved of his vision. He was a person of great compassion, and of energy, integrity and persistence.

As was said at his funeral, he represented the “ordinary Canadian”. He made Canadians feel comfortable with his unassuming ordinariness. As an extraordinary effect, he made those of us he touched feel more than ordinary.

Ordinary Canadians count for the greatest part of the population of this country. They are students looking for a future, they are working people comprising the majority of the core of the economy, they are self-employed and small businesses, they are the marginalized and unemployed struggling to become something different, they are the First Nations from whom we can learn many truths, they are the diverse cultures that brighten the fabric of Canada, they are the men and women of the Police and Armed Forces putting themselves in harms way for their convictions, they are our first responders, they are our own spiritual leaders and elders who have the experiences of life to share, and so many more.

Ordinary people are the heart and soul of Canada.

Funerals have a way of drawing diverse people together and they become intimately aware of being in the presence of profound truth. I was down at Toronto City Hall and there was such an intensely, gentle power of the collective spirit, and hovering in the infinite space, the presence of profound truth.

Not just the citizens of Toronto filled every possible space with messages in chalk but people from far and wide chalked their hearts on the concrete. Last week even Nature provided another fresh page so that we had to search for a faded spot to chalk our thanks.

In many other places across Canada this was the experience during the last week, and in their unbounded freedom voted their honest appreciation for Jack.

This, Jack is what we knew of ye.

What if?...what if on the mountaintop and seeing the “the promised land” he could lead his people down. But sadly, this was not to be and we can only say, “Jack we hardly knew ye.”

But he said to us, we can all rise to the challenge of making a better Canada in the world. We are buoyed by his great spirit, and can continue to stand on the shoulders of giants. By this Jack, we know ye, and by this we will know again who Canadians are and the way to go.

Thank you Jack for showing us the way.

Jack's Strawberry Patch

I was making a 2' sq. bed for strawberries today and 2" below the topsoil was a 6" layer of stony rubble and all I had was this trowel. After 3 hours of stabbing, levering, scraping and picking the job was satisfactorily completed. I was thinking all the while of Jack Layton and his challenges.

A challenge this certainly was, and we agreed that we did this for Jack. Next year the patch will bear the fruits of Jack's inspiration.

Thank you Jack.

John & Marie