Friday, October 21, 2016

Toronto: Uneven Flooring

Uneven flooring sign, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Toronto was so solicitous to offer the above sign in a corridor somewhere, in which construction was occurring.


Some countries should have this sign at all of their border points.

Ethiopia.

Caucasus Georgia.

Guatemala.


And why not? The United States has this sign at one of its border crossings:

Beware poisonous snakes sign at US border, Antelope Wells, New Mexico. March 2013.



Thursday, October 20, 2016

Toronto: The Beaches


The Beaches, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. July 2016.


Toward the end of my two-week visit, Sandy took me to the Toronto neighborhood called The Beaches. It was like a drink of cool, clean water after the grit and the noise and the hardscapes of downtown Toronto. I could take a deep breath here, appreciating the shading greenery of Glen Stewart Park.

The Beaches has everything. Beaches along a massive body of water. Greenspaces. Smaller-town feel. Proximity to the Big City proper. ... Of course, all of this comes with a mighty price tag for those who want to live here.

But it's free for the visiting.


The Beaches, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. July 2016.






Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Toronto: Cheese

Mmmm, cheese.

Has there ever been a cheese I didn't like? Nope, don't think so. Strong, gentle, pungent, mild, hard, soft, spreadable, crumbly, curdly, white, yellow, orange, shot through with blue mold. Doesn't matter. C'est good.



Remember the cheese, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.



One day, Sandy and I walked, bused, and subway-ed to see her friend, Hilda, a woman who emigrated from Ecuador years ago. The photo above is of a bus stop near Hilda's place.

Hilda is a woman who takes pleasure in creating beautiful meals for herself and others; she prepared a three-course lunch for us in her petite apartment.

What pleasure there is in eating good food and drinking good wine in the company of vibrant people! Or, as I saw reference to recently: in the company of sparkling human beings!

Writing this reminds me of a lunch al fresco in Mtskheta outside of Tbilisi, Georgia. Sandy was there, too, along with another TLG comrade, Eberle - who, like Sandy, lives in Canada.


Lunch in Mtskheta with Sandy and Eberle, Caucasus Georgia. November 2011.
 







Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Toronto: And More Organs


Sandy and I walked down (up?) University Street on our way to see Jane Bunnet and Hilario Duran at the boutique department store on Bloor. The walk felt interminable.

As we proceeded up the congested sidewalk, I saw a wavery mirage on the side of a large building.

At first it made no sense. It was immense. It was some sort of graphic. Vibrant color. Undefined shape.

Heart on University Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Was it a huge photo that was actually inside the building and I was seeing it through a glass exterior? Or was it some sort of projection onto the side of the building? A reflection from another building that faced this one?

What was it? Gigantic, red, amorphous.

Finally, when we got close enough, I saw. A heart. Not a heart like a Valentine heart. Not a painterly rendition of a heart. An actual heart, as in ripped from a chest, heart. A real heart. Wha????


Heart on University Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Toronto! What kind of place are you?

And then there was this, I swear to God, on the sidewalk within sight of the Godzilla heart:

Across from heart on University Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Toronto?



Monday, October 17, 2016

Toronto: Swing, Swing, Swing at the Harbourfront

Swing at the Harbourfront, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.

If I were a religious sort, I'd say that one must add swing to the list of dance and music that make a "joyful noise to the Lord:"
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
    with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the rivers clap their hands;
    let the hills sing for joy together

In the summer, at Toronto's Harbourfront, there are regular dance events, each time featuring a different style. One evening, Sandy, her friend Heloise, and I partook of swing. Video below:



A joyful noise!

Swing at the Harbourfront, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.




Sunday, October 16, 2016

Toronto: Fish on the Underground Path

Fish, Toronto's PATH, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


A couple of times, Sandy and I walked the underground pedestrian highway (the PATH) to get from a point A to a point B.

As with Tbilisi and Istanbul, Toronto's underground system houses shops and restaurants. Ripped from this page are highlights of Toronto's PATH:
  • According to Guinness World Records, PATH is the largest underground shopping complex with 30 km (19 miles) of shopping arcades. It has 371,600 square meters (4 million square feet) of retail space. fact, the retail space connected to PATH rivals the West Edmonton Mall in size.
  • The approximate 1,200 shops and services found in PATH, employ about 5,000 people.
  • More than 50 buildings/office towers are connected through PATH. Twenty parking garages, six subway stations, two major department stores, eight major hotels, and a railway terminal.

I liked a collection of steel fish laid into the floor at one spot.

I like the imagery of us humans swimming desultorily through the PATH air stream, poking our heads in, around, under small pebbles and rocks as we make our way.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Toronto: Canada's Dark Secret

Did you read Shirley Jackson's short story, The Lottery, in high school?

Before most of my readers were born, there was a suspenseful TV mini-series starring Bette Davis, in her aged time. And a very young Rosanne Arquette, pre-Executioner's Song. The movie was The Dark Secret of Harvest Home. Mmm, the Corn King.

Two stories placed in locales and cultures seemingly bucolic and healthy, where the people are so gosh-darned salt-of-the-earth, so nice.

But then we learn there is a sinister secret beneath the pastoral pleasantness.

You can imagine my shock at seeing this ... this ..... altar .... in Toronto's City Hall.

Ritual altar, Toronto City Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Suddenly, it all became clear.

Those Canadians, so polite, mild-mannered, gentle, on the surface. Citizens of a country that seems to be in the good graces of all nations.

Who knew Canada was under the dark protection of an alien god which feeds on regular sacrifices of unwitting tourists?

It explains the brains.



Friday, October 14, 2016

Toronto: Jazz Festival 2016: KC and the Sunshine Band


KC and the Sunshine Band, 2016 Toronto Jazz Festival. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


KC and the Sunshine Band, a group that peaked in the mid-1970s, performed at the Toronto Jazz Festival 2016.

KC and the Sunshine Band, 2016 Toronto Jazz Festival. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


It was kinda cool to be up so close to the stage. Well, on one side of the stage.


KC and the Sunshine Band, 2016 Toronto Jazz Festival. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


The band put on a serviceable performance.

KC and the Sunshine Band, 2016 Toronto Jazz Festival. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.

KC and the Sunshine Band, 2016 Toronto Jazz Festival. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


KC and the Sunshine Band, 2016 Toronto Jazz Festival. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Toronto: More Organs


Pig intestines. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Mmmm, pig intestines.

It's funny how tourism works. Oh, right, excuse me: traveling.

We take pictures of things we find extraordinary, but which local folks find ordinary.

Like, ooh, pig intestines! Or toe-biters!

Nothing wrong with this, just human nature. Animal nature, in fact. We stare at or draw closer to that which is different and curious to us.

Toronto seems to like its organs. Like those brains.

And these uteri:

Uteri. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


I'm sure uteri must be tasty, but I don't know. Kind of primal, like a new mother eating the placenta of her newborn. Does a woman feel the same about eating a uterus as a man feels about eating a uterus? Maybe this question also applies to eating fried scrota.

Is there a different flavor between a uterus that has never carried a fetus versus one that has?

Below is an excerpt from a Village Voice article on pig uteri:
The reproductive organs are slippery and crunchy--again, not unlike overcooked squid. But, like beef penis, uterus doesn't have much flavor, except a whiff of very wet dog, and an aftertaste of musky, murky piggishness.

Pig tails. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


The above pig tails don't fall into the organ category, but I've got to put them somewhere. Consider them a lagniappe. Brings back memories of the Step 'n Strut Trail Ride in Plaisance, Louisiana, a few years ago, at which fried pig tails were available. I regret I didn't try them then.


Fried pig tails, Step n Strut, Plaisance, Louisiana. November 2014.


While we're reminiscing, and speaking of brains, I remember those sizzling brains in Kutaisi, in Caucasus Georgia, which Sandy and I visited together.

Brains, Kutaisi, Caucasus Georgia. March 2012.








Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Toronto: Jazz Festival 2016: Swing v. Street

Street v. swing, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Oh, the energy! Love.

Street v. swing, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


My favorite number - street dancers from KeepRockinYou; band is Worst Pop Group Ever in video below:




Street v. swing, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Street v. swing, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.



It makes me happy to see the women dancers!


Street v. swing, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.



A teeny but mighty video below:




Street v. swing, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.



Street v. swing, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


A dance-off between swing and street below:





Street v. swing, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Street v. swing, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.



Street v. swing, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.

Going by the visuals, you might get the idea that the band, The Worst Pop Group Ever, was just background for the dancing. No. This band popped.




Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Toronto: Standing


Man Standing. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


Toronto, standing.

The Jury, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.




Toronto: From the Other Side

 
Toronto skyline from Toronto Islands, Toronto, Canada. June 2016.


One day, Sandy and I took the ferry over to the Toronto Islands.

OSM-Toronto Islands with labels.png
Toronto Islands. Source: Wikipedia.

We rented bicycles and got in a good workout while exploring the terrain.

Toronto Islands, Toronto, Canada. June 2016.

Boardwalk, Toronto Islands, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


 There's touristy stuff a-plenty on the islands, but there's also a village community

Village cottage on Toronto Islands, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


A narrow black-top in the village swings a generous curve, where there are well-tended garden beds on the island edge, framing views of the Toronto skyline across the water. 

Toronto skyline from Toronto Islands, Toronto, Canada. June 2016.



Toronto skyline from Toronto Islands, Toronto, Canada. June 2016.

Toronto skyline from Toronto Islands, Toronto, Canada. June 2016.

Toronto skyline from Toronto Islands, Toronto, Canada. June 2016.

 A little further past this bend and the foliage gives way to rocks and a wide-open view of the city. 

Toronto skyline from Toronto Islands, Toronto, Canada. June 2016.

Toronto skyline from Toronto Islands, Toronto, Canada. June 2016.



Monday, October 10, 2016

Toronto: Jazz Festival 2016: Toronto Mass Choir


Toronto Mass Choir, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.


I am a sucker for the union of many voices. How many eons of humanity are there in which we have curled the sounds we can make with our throats, mouths, tongues, and the manipulation of air through our lips - in unison or in harmony - to effect a communal one-ness?

In listening to gospel music specifically, it evokes for me strength, surrender, hope, determination, acceptance, love, exuberance, action, declaration, courage, unity.  

The Toronto Mass Choir performed at the Jazz Festival.

A sample here:



And here:




Toronto Mass Choir, Jazz Festival 2016, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.





Sunday, October 9, 2016

Toronto: AGO: Watching


I like the peace in the original artwork and in the quiet looking upon the artwork. The contemplator's head is slightly tilted, like the little girl's.




One of my favorite paintings at the AGO is below. It's by William Kurulek. I can't decide which photographic version I prefer, and I don't have to.

William Kurulek, Home on the Range, AGO, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.

William Kurulek, Home on the Range, AGO, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. June 2016.