Fly Around my Pretty Little Miss

That was Born Old — Paul Gartner on banjo, Doug Van Gundy on fiddle

Fly Around my Pretty Little Miss is also known as Western Country or Susananna Gal. It’s one of my favourite Old Time tunes no matter what you call it. Here are some different takes on the same tune…

Here’s me trying to play it (about a year ago). It’s funny watching this now because I play the same tune differently now, faster and more freely, but here it is…

Finally here’s a version by the Whiskey Bent Valley Boys. I might have shared this one before. These guys do a really nice job on this one….


Do Not Touch

IMG_2961This was on the wall beside an installation at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. I’m sure it was there because the installation, by Kim Adams, Bruegel-Bosch Bus, just begged to be touched. When I saw the sign though, the first thing I thought of was Lawrence Weiner, the American Conceptual artist. Because I made this connection, I laughed aloud in the gallery. This is not meant as a slight to the installation, which was marvellous. It was like a fantasy train set, with all the modelling detail you might expect, all incorporated into a VW bus. It was very compelling and imaginative. I wonder if Kim Adams made the Lawrence Weiner connection too.

On the subject of touching works of art, I recall once, many years ago, touching an Anthony Caro sculpture at the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo. It was made of tons of metal. You couldn’t damage that puppy with a sledge. I guess the concern was that oil from skin would alter the patina. If I were a sculptor I think I’d want people to touch my work. In any case, a guard came bounding up to me. Sir, you can’t touch that. If you do it again, you will be ejected. Oh my. I promised to be more careful after that.

Toronto Tops

In the news today, the Economist has named Toronto and Montreal the top two places to live on the planet. Safety, livability (whatever that means) and cost were key factors considered. I’ve lived in and around Toronto all my life and I haven’t considered living anywhere else. I think we have a great city in many respects, but I’m a little surprised at the designation because it’s getting to be an expensive place to live; public transit hasn’t kept pace with the city while driving and parking in the city has become increasingly difficult; and we have a climate that can be inhospitable for a significant chunk of the year.

On the plus side, we enjoy a wealth of cultural resources, better safety than many cities of comparable size, loads of great places to dine out, a Great Lake, and wonderfully diverse neighbourhoods.

For my friends here in Toronto – are you surprised the Economist thinks we’re tops? And for those of you who live elsewhere, where do you live, and how do you think your city stacks up against Hogtown?

Pity the Fool

Our houseguest, Anthony Stagg from planet Chicago, has turned our handy Mr. T in your Pocket into an instrument of sorts. Presenting the Mr. T in your Pocket Stagg Remix AKA Stagg vs Mr T

Hamilton Hamilton wherefore art thou?


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Finally saw the snowy owl….

There have been snowy owls hanging out in our neighbourhood since early winter and just about everyone in our neighbourhood has seen them…except me. That is, until this morning…

IMG_2954Unfortunately I don’t have one of those lenses that are a foot and a half long. All I had with me was my iphone. The owl is sitting on the docks. If you look between the rectangular box items on the docks you’ll see an irregular shaped blob. Through my trusty binoculars, it turns out that’s a huge snowy owl. He was moving his head around quite a bit, as if he was preening himself.

“Knee Deep in the Hoopla” While in the Land of the Muskeg – Pilsen Quotation #1

After Wade Hemsworth songs, Huskies, Log Jams, Waltzes, etc. our guest from Pilsen exploded with the phrase Knee Deep in Hoopla! - and we are just getting this day started... heading for a walk with George and Memphis before hitting the road
After Wade Hemsworth songs, Huskies, Log Drivers Waltz, The Wild Goose and everything Mister Anchovy could muster,  Stagg explodes with the phrase: Knee Deep in the Hoopla – and we are just getting this day started… heading for a walk with George and Memphis before hitting the road

Long Branch Kitchen Party Jan 27th 9:28 am

A little south side Pilsen action in our kitchen this morning.  Staggman in town from Chicago.  Off to Nice Old Stuff in a few....
A little south side Pilsen action in our kitchen this morning. Staggman in town from Chicago. Off to Nice Old Stuff in a few….