Meet me with your black drawers on….

Jackie Richardson sang Meet me with your Black Drawers On tonight at the Salah Bachir show, fronting the Toronto All-Star Big Band – a show-stopper, and just one of many highlights at this gala to support the Bachir Yerex Family Dialysis Centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre here in Toronto.

Gavin Crawford did some stand-up, Louise Pitre sang, Billy Newton Davis sang, Theo Tams sang, Lorraine Segato sang. Then there was Man Murray…

Tuffy P with Deb Pierce AKA Man Murray
Tuffy P with Deb Pearce AKA Man Murray

To explain what Deb Pearce AKA Man Murray does on stage does not do it justice. Man appears in full polyester regalia and lip-syncs to Ann Murray songs. It is disarmingly funny and wonderful.

Of course the important thing is that Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex are making the new dialysis centre at St. Joseph’s happen, with a little help from their friends and the broader community. Great job guys!

Big Night Tonight

Stepping OutThe Big One – benefit for The Bachir Yerex Family Dialysis Centre at St. Joseph’s Health Centre Toronto is tonight.  Going to be amazing!Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 9.51.58 AM




Landing in Toronto

IMG_3034I seem to be a magnet for unfortunate flying experiences lately. Today my flight from Ottawa to Toronto was (according to the web) delayed, but when I got to the airport, the folks at the counter knew nothing about that. One of them said, “Do you believe everything you read online?” Then came the announcement we were to take off on-time, followed a few minutes later by the announcement that we were waiting for the flight attendants to arrive so we would be delayed (they likely checked online just like I did).

Finally they loaded us on the plane…..only to park on the tarmac. The captain told us only one runway was operating at Pearson due to the weather so they couldn’t take off. He promised us an update in half an hour. At some point a flight attendant came around and offered us water, which I welcomed. Eventually we did take off, but that isn’t the end of the story.

We circled Toronto for a while, then came in close for a landing but aborted, and climbed back up in the sky. The flight attendant announced that we did this because another plane had not cleared the runway. Scary. So we circled for a while longer and finally landed. There was no in-flight service on this flight outside of the water. My flight was scheduled for 6:30 and it was after 10:00 when we pulled up to the gate.

IMG_3038I had an interesting experience at the airport going to Ottawa as well. At security, Buddy scanned my boarding pass and told me my gate had changed to Gate 20 from Gate 35. He was a busy guy and told this to many people. The only problem is that it wasn’t true. I mentioned it to the person at the desk and asked what happened. She said, “I guess somebody made an honest mistake.”

IMG_3033Finally, I would like to mention a restaurant experience in Ottawa. It was at a popular brew-pub/restaurant. The food was actually pretty good. The problem came when I ordered coffee. It tasted foul to me, and I thought it was because I had just finished a beer and perhaps the flavours clashed. However, I continued to drink this foul brew and when I got near the bottom, there was a whitish gelitanous mass about 1 inch in diameter bobbing around in my cup. It was disgusting. I have no idea what it was.

I’m happy to report I did not get sick from drinking this concoction at least, and I’m thankful for that.  I gave the cup to the waitress who took it to her manager and returned in a few minutes. She told me since I already paid she couldn’t comp me anything I had ordered but she would be happy to offer me a free dessert. Really what I was expecting was for the manager to come out of his cave and apologize for the goo in my coffee. I think they should have been as horrified as I was.  After all, it was unidentified and I might have become very ill as a result. We were leaving and I declined the dessert. I don’t think I’ll go back to The 3 Brewers in Ottawa.

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?

Fiction on Ello

I’ve been messing about with a bit of fiction for some time, since approximately the dawn of the last ice age. One day I hope to finish it. The story is set in 1982 in Toronto. The narrator is Lazarus Allen, but we just call him Lazy. Lazy is a burnt out musician working in a bottling plant who becomes involved with a polka-punk band.

From time to time I plan to publish either an excerpt or a related story over on my Ello page. I just want to see how bits of it sit on a page. For those of you who visit that space, you can find me @eugeneknapik. I posted a story over there a few minutes ago. For now, I’m only sharing these infrequent excerpts on Ello.

If you need an Ello invitation, by the way, I have a few. I can fix you up until they’re gone.

Mr. T on a Sunday morning

So, I roll out of bet at around 6:30 to find Tuffy P re-organizing the junk drawer, cleaning the coffee-maker and waiting for me to haul my butt out of the sack to take the dogs out for their Sunday morning constitutional. The junk drawer is like a tardis, modest in size from the outside but infinite on the inside, and yes it does have time travel capability. She found this in the drawer….

Saturday afternoon shopping

For some reason I enjoy the chaos which is Starsky’s on a Saturday afternoon…

Samples at the sausage counter
Samples at the sausage counter


Getting out in one piece
Getting out in one piece…

Boxing Day

DSC07395For some, Boxing Day might be about shopping, but for us it’s all about enjoying a laid back day. We took the Newfs out for a good walk – it’s a beautiful day – and in a short while we’re going to a movie -The Imitation Game.

We enjoyed a feast at our house last night. It was great to gather some family together, and enjoy great company over way too much food. It was also a dog-o-rama kind of evening. As well as the two Newfs, we had my brother’s dog Vibe (an adorable border collie) and my nephew Terence’s Rotty, Luther.

4 dogs, 9 humans, loads of food – what could go wrong? In fact, mishaps were minor. There was a lot of excitement, but the four canines got on pretty well and it was a pleasure to host a crazy doggie play-date while attempting to also orchestrate a huge dinner for humans.