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Showing posts from July, 2019

Recalling the moon landing, July, 1969

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As I remember, the machine was called the Lektriever. The device was from another age of recall. It was a giant electronic carousel of a contraption that contained terraces of newspaper clippings organized in files according to the reporter's name and subject matter. Under the eye of the Edmonton Sun librarians, John and Bruce, it would wheeze and kerchunk around until arriving at its destination. Summoning the Lektriever was how you would find, say, a news story by Quig or Roberta Staley or Dean Bennett that you would need as background for the story you were working on that night for the next day's newspaper. 
I loved how the archeological Lektriever spun and dug into and served up the past. 


The old Lektriever spun back into view yesterday, unexpectedly. Like memories do. I had phoned my mom with a request. Do you remember the old photograph of me when the men landed on the moon? She remembered. I grew up in a family of photograph takers. Everything was captured on film. S…

Quarryman on 142 St

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Unlike a book held by the person reading it, a smartphone—opaque, impenetrable, typically black in colour—does not betray the content being consumed by the person holding it. I knew, for instance, that the MacEwan University student we met outside the Dirtbag Cafe last week had given his attention to Finders Keepers by Stephen King. Roddy Doyle was the companion of the woman walking across the Groat Bridge as we pedalled by this afternoon. The man sitting in a red chair at the downtown farmer's market was considering Harari's argument about the future of humakind in Homo Deus. What the teenager at the table across from ours at Filistix was looking at while his mother and grandmother talked to each other, no clue.

Compared to the protective casing of a smartphone, a book, with its illustrated and printed dust jacket, is a giant-sized billboard, and an invitation to engage in small-talk conversation. "What are you reading?" is easier to ask when you already know a lit…

Sitting at the intersection of 109 St and 87 Ave

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That is my old Miyata Six Ten leaning against the trash can. This is my fave piece of sidewalk.
Behind the white chair I’m sitting on is Transcend Coffee, and behind and below Transcend Coffee is Pharos Pizza. Great Popeye there. 


Pharos sat on the corner of 109 St and 87 Ave, and it was west along 87 Ave that we would take Sunday drives with my grandfather in his 1965 Ford Custom. When motoring mattered. He would take us through the University of Alberta campus. Years later, I got glimpses of Athens and Jerusalem there. I saw Shelagh in Dewey’s there. 
South down 109 St was Miami Pizza. We’d take food back to J + M’s place and listen to Neil Young. 
Across 109 St sits the building that housed the restaurant I had breakfast in the morning Shelagh and I got married. I think. I can’t remember what it was called. Thirty years ago this summer. 
To the left of the restaurant building and back 45 years or so was the Kinsmen golf course on the other side of Walterdale Hill. We’d bus out ther…

A note from Edmonton

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Halfway through my second beer of the Edmonton Jazz Ensemble's reunion at the Yardbird Suite, I saw it all quite clearly. I know, I know.  A jazz club on a June 30 afternoon is a peculiar place for illumination in Edmonton. It was 23C outside, blue sky, soft wind, the kind of gentle weekend day that Edmontonians pine for during the winter months up here on latitude 53, the kind of day to be outside in the river valley—or, at least, to luxuriate in the walk across the warming asphalt from the car to the mall. But there I sat, inside, in a kind of reverse hibernation den, and, with 150 others,  listened to the sextet dig into songs from 30 years ago.

The music was superb, as far as I understand jazz, which is not far. I love jazz, I marvel at the way its practitioners are able, to my ear, to detonate single notes and then walk around and play in the fallout. Like they are inside a snow dome of their own shaking. I love the horns, especially. Watching Jim Pinchin on tenor saxophone,…