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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The ultimate meaning of life is to embrace that which compels you to act in spite of fear.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Great news

I'm sure by now many of you have seen, heard, or read the news about the freeing of the CPT hostages in Iraq.

And after several months, Philly is blogging again.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

If these docks could talk

I enjoy reading stories like this one, which was published in the Toronto Star's GTA section. I dig any discovery (I know, a cheap pun) or image that forces me to look beyond the space around me and see it in the light of an imagined past (or how it might be in the future). Many times I've stood at St. Clair, which was countryside in the 19th century, and looked toward the lake, wondering what the city looked like, sounded like, and smelled like back in the 1800s.

How did the ships' crews and stevedores regard our fair city back then? Were they just glad to have work (as I would be right about now)? Did they drink at the Wheat Sheaf? Where did these men live? Did they have permanent homes? And where were the hookers (not what I'm looking for, by the way)? Did the men at Fort York look across the water and say, "Bloody Americans," as so many Canadians do today? (Note: I happen to like most Americans.)

Of course, there are many more questions than these, the most pressing of which is, what do we do with history when we uncover it? If at all possible, I would love to see this dock preserved as a lakeside park feature, so I can challenge my view of the lakeshore simply by walking through it whenever I wish.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Remembering Urban Carmichael

This past weekend I listened to a performance by Urban Carmichael on CBC Radio. Wow. I've heard him a few times now and he never ceases to amaze and entertain me. The legendary storyteller and comedian passed away in February at the age of 54. When I heard the news last month, I quietly acknowledged it with a few people, though I didn't blog about it at that time. Instead, I remembered my brief contact with this talented, brilliant man.

I had the great pleasure of speaking to Urban on the phone a few times this past summer while working as a researcher and writer for the TV documentary series Unexplained Canada, which just finished running on Space: The Imagination Station. I discovered Urban while looking for a storyteller from PEI. And he graciously agreed to participate in one our episodes.

The moment I heard his voice on the phone, I knew he was an exceptional person. I have spoken with or interviewed a number of people, many of them over the phone. None has engaged me quite like he did. The man breathed stories. I was laughing one or two sentences into our conversation! What a delight. What an inspiration.

Urban's positive energy put me at ease, and reminded me to relax and accept my membership in the human race, with all its foibles.

What a pleasure it was to have been part of the same production. I only wish I had met him earlier.