Category Archives: Life

Mandela Day

Mandela Free

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Filed under History, Liberty, Life

Searching For Sugar Man


Well, you are probably hearing about this film, this person, this story, and this music. The film is wonderful, the man is fascinating, the story is inspiring, and the music is great. See this film! (Thx to G-man for gifting this one to me.)

Here is the artist and subject of the film, Sixto Rodriguez, on Letterman.

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Filed under Film, Life, Music

Happy Father’s Day


Texas-style pork chops from the British Butcher counter at Pete’s Fruitique. Awesome cut of meat; yum.

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June 16, 2013 · 8:48 pm

Lake Banook panorama


A lovely dog walk along Lake Banook near my home in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; here’s a panorama of the lake from the southern side.

Banook is part of the Shubenacadie Waterway, the lake and river (and canal) system that cuts across the province of Nova Scotia from Halifax Harbour to the Bay of Fundy.

Yesterday, +9C and sunny.  Rather uncommon and pleasant weather for December 22nd.  😎

iPhone 4S photo.

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Filed under Canada, Halifax, Life, Photography, This and That

Ghost Rider

In August of 1997, just following the “Test for Echo” tour, Neil Peart’s daughter, his only child, was killed in a car accident.  Within a year, Neil’s wife died of cancer.  He felt broken and lost, and so he got on his BMW bike and hit the road on a journey that would, in many ways, become his healing road.  This intimate book chronicles that journey.

Maybe more for Rush fans, though it is also a great travel book; but I would certainly also recommend it for people who are grieving a loss.  That’s something I don’t really know much about, thankfully.  My Dad died earlier this year, a wonderful man of 80 years who was healthy right up to the near-end; its hard to have lost him, but I know he led a good, full life and left a fine legacy.  There’s suddenness and sadness and surreal-ness to all of that, but not the shock and life-changing impact of the kind Peart faced.  Still, there are bits there that helped me in that regard.

For Neil, it was to keep moving, in the hope that something would come up, to keep nurturing his ‘little baby soul’ and keep going.  He had no interest in music or his past life, he even thought of that guy as another person really, someone he didn’t know or could relate to.  So, it was the road that helped him.

And also writing many many letters to friends and loved ones, as well as some journal writing.

From a ‘travelogue’ aspect, this is also a very interesting book.  He traveled west from the Laurentians to western Canada, then up to Inuvik on a very sketchy road, then back down, through Alaska, then via ferry to southern BC then down through the western US to Mexico and Belize, and then some more travels besides.  Great descriptions of scenery, roads, towns and places where he stayed.  So many twists and turns.

I’ve read a few reviews where people complained about him hiding behind his glass of scotch, hoping to avoid fans (anyone who would know him), the ones whose patronage allowed him to head out on the road for two years and stay where he liked and drink nice scotch.  To stay away from those people.  Hmm.

At its core, I don’t think Peart is too far off on the whole ‘fame’ thing from how I think I would see it.  He and his mates wrote music and released their art as albums, people paid a fair price for buying that music so they could listen to at their leisure.  Peart and his mates sell tickets to live concert performances where they play their songs, and people pay a fair (though hefty) price to go see them perform and take enjoyment from that experience.  Done, right?

Yeah, I suppose.  But, Neil and Geddy and Alex aren’t selling luggage.  They’re selling personal, inspiring art that connects with people on deeply personal levels.  Patrons are touched by it and react differently to the makers of the product than they would to the makers of finely crafted luggage (ooo, Corinthian leather!).  There’s obviously a different connection and reaction that you should expect.

I know he understands that, and thinks those people are mostly fine; just that he isn’t hugely comfortable in dealing with them much of the time.  Fine.

I’m happy and proud to be one of those people (and I would probably just give him a nod, ‘hey’, if I saw him anywhere).  😎

Well, back to the book itself.  It’s worth checking out.  It’s a very intimate journey and communication of thoughts and feelings during a very difficult time in life; an intimate look at real human thoughts and feelings, and how life can right things again and make us whole.

Just keep moving.

When Neil finally returned to the band, the song Ghost Rider appeared on their next album, “Vapour Trails“.

“Ghost Rider”

Pack up all those phantoms
Shoulder that invisible load
Keep on riding North and West
Haunting that wilderness road
Like a ghost rider

Carry all those phantoms
Through bitter wind and stormy skies
From the desert to the mountain
From the lowest low to the highest high
Like a ghost rider

Keep on riding North and West
Then circle South and East
Show me beauty but there is no peace
For the ghost rider

Shadows on the road behind
Shadows on the road ahead
Nothing can stop you now

There’s a shadow on the road behind
There’s a shadow on the road ahead
Nothing can stop you now

Sunrise in the mirror
Lightens that invisible load
Riding on a nameless quest
Haunting that wilderness road
Like a ghost rider

Just an escape artist
Racing against the night
A wandering hermit
Racing toward the light

From the white sands
To the canyon lands
To the redwood stands
To the barren lands

Sunrise on the road behind
Sunset on the road ahead
There’s nothing to stop you now
Nothing can stop you now


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Filed under Americana, Books, Canada, Life, Music, Travel

RUSH – Air Canada Centre, Toronto (Oct14’12)

Yes, Neil Peart is from the future.

I’m 47 years old.  Well, after about 35 years of being a fan, I finally saw Rush in concert.  Mind. Blown.  Oh man, they were good.  Incredibly good.

Rush has meant so much to me, growing up and as adult-me.  Sure, there have been periods when I haven’t followed all their releases, but then have played catch-up for much of those times.  They’re just three cool, great guys; virtuoso musicians; massively talented songwriters.  Oh, and great performers.

I was having a discussion with a friend recently about live shows.  I’ve never seen Springsteen, but have been a fan (again, missing some stuff) – but I was a huge Bruce fan in my youth.  I’ve seen concert films, but I know that doesn’t cut it.  But I’m not sure you can compare Springsteen and Rush when comparing live shows.

Springsteen is the height of energy, entertainment, and the channeling of the heart & soul of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Rush is something entirely different.  Pure, driving rock power; virtuoso musicianship; playing songs that work on entirely different levels.

I don’t think anyone writes lyrics like Neil Peart.  Throughout his songwriting career, he has been incredible at describing and revealing the true basics of life experience and humanity in his songs.  I feel my life being celebrated when I listen to them.  I am sure many would scoff, but I think that – far down the road – people looking back will use Shakespeare’s and Peart’s names in the same breath.  It’s the human condition, baby.  Scoff all you want, but they will.  😎

For the first time ever, Rush has on-stage accompaniment for part of a set on this tour.

Ged, Alex, Neil — thanks for all of it.  I really mean it.

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Filed under Canada, Life, Music

Cavendish foxes

During our visit to Prince Edward Island in late August, we saw plenty of red fox.  But this one looked like he had some hyena mix in him (or maybe dog?); I’m sure it’s just normal.  No hyena running around loose on the Island.  Don’t mean to alarm anyone…

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Filed under Canada, Life, This and That, Travel