I did the taxes today and am over the moon at getting them done.  On the other hand, I worry that I did them right.  Brandon had to pay five times as much as last year.  I only paid around 75.00 more.  I didn’t get confirmation that I would receive the Senior property tax rebate of 500.00 and am panicking a bit..I need it to pay down the 594.95 tax.  I borrowed on a credit card to pay the taxes right away.   I am awaiting a call from Bea to collect keys and contents of her fridge.  We were supposed to go to lunch but with packing and hair dresser and visits from her sons, it is too much for her.  She will probably give the ‘good’ stuff to her kids and I will get the leftover crap and dregs.  I am feeling a bit tired but have printed my coupon and must go for haircut tomorrow and pick up dog food and kibble and hamburger.  Stop at Zehrs first, Pet Value and LCBO.

247.0 and Ashley is 8.5..I am sure that is wrong…she was 7.5 last time and looks even skinnier.  Ken called CRA for T2201 forms to take to Dr. Goldberg and mail back to CRA for disability.  It expires this year.  Big kerfuffle with Ken when I told him I had asked him about T2201 in previous years and he got angry and totally denied that I had EVER mentioned it to him.  I KNOW differently for sure but did not argue.  You cannot fight other people’s mental handicaps.  Bea wants her car gassed up and washed…I can do that.  Really have to get back on diet.  By month end I will have finished all of the Darkover novels and all of the Pern books.  Plan to start Talents/Pegasus, The Ship Who Sang, Crystal Singer, The Rowan.  It will be a busy year reading through my personal library.  The television has been dark for three weeks and I do not miss it.  I really really do not miss Trump’s antics and I do not want to hear stupid shit about Trudeau eating a chocolate bar or the latest Doug Ford nastiness.  Politics the world over has become so sickening.  Just realized that Ken’s mortgage is up for renewal in January 2, 2020 so I shall contact the bank in December.  Nice to have a heads up.  Brandon to visit mid April and we plan to go to Costco together on a Saturday…nightmare city and finding a parking space is only the bloody beginning of the nightmare, the crowds, the line ups…why do I do this to myself?


Do Republicans Cause Economic Depression?

I have been thinking about this since Trump got it. As I watch my stocks lose money and slight panic sets in I did some checking myself on who was President when. I did not delve as deep as Congress. I think another research project into the actual policies and decisions by the Republicans in power leading up to the crashes would be interesting, as well as an in-depth look at the finances of the Republicans who held power during that time. How well did they manage to milk the system and line their pockets before everything crashed and everyone else suffered. I would like to see tax returns for all the Congressmen and President from before they took office till ten years after they leave to see just how much they are grifting from the job. It is like they are in power and doing favours for lobbyists for all these huge multi-national firms that are responsible for machine guns on the street, pollution of our water and air, then when they get out of office they get a really cushy job with huge huge money in salary and benefits for doing absolutely nothing…payback for favours rendered. This stuff should be tracked for every person who enters politics and tampers with the rights, freedoms, financial well-being and health of the people he was hired to serve.

nebulium on neith

I was watching tonight’s 60-minute spot on McCain & Obama, and started to reflect on the extensive coverage (and rhetoric) on the status of our economy and its effect (or blame) on politics.  One argument I hear over and over when someone is defending their own party (or damning another) during an economic crises is that the it is the result of the previous administration(s) and not the current one, or that Congress is to blame and not the President (or vice-versa), etc. So I thought I’d do a little exercise to see for myself.

The exercise was as follows: I looked up the dates of the 12 “sharp” recessions and depressions over the past century (including the current crisis), ignoring so-called “mild recessions” (such as the 1991-1992 downturn), as classified by Geoffrey Moore (note that the National Bureau of Economic Research lists 20 “downturns” since 1907, but not…

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The Toronto Sound Of The 60’s

I knew Sonny & the Sequins playing at the Brass Rail, owned by Irv Cooper brother to Zanzibar owner in 1966. Sandy was a go-go dancer there at the time.

Russ & Gary's "The Best Years of Music"

By Russ:

Well, with a lot of encouragement from my blog partner, Gary, I have agreed to try to write about some of my experiences performing as a musician and contributing to the Toronto Sound of the 60’s.  I am pleased to say that for a decade I was really active in this scene,  performing and recording music as a young sax player.

61RussSax Russ Strathdee (1961)

On Yonge Street, I played the Zanzibar, the Club Bluenote, Club 888 and the Hawk’s Nest. During those days, the saxophone was a very popular instrument. 

I also enjoyed the opportunity of being a recording session player to a small extent at places like ARC Sound – no earth shattering top hits, but one song (“Me and You” by the Regents) made Toronto’s CHUM charts and I have recording credits on several LP albums. I also got to appear on television (CBC’s “Where It’s…

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Was supposed to be a review of Jason – an Anita Blake book by Laurell K. Hamilton

Too much sex and no story at all.  There is nothing to say about Jason except girl on girl sex problem so I will comment on the ongoing theme of all of the books since the first few. Here is the thing folks, our poor author, LKH, has just thrown her last opus out to the slavering hordes  and the publisher offers her a nice juicy advance for the next in the series and just demands an outline now and a possible title as a teaser for the fans.  Now our writer has mouths to feed, lots of mouths, so she scrabbles around for an idea/plot and hands it over in exchange for the cheque and off she goes home, mind blank, well dry….what to do, what to do.   Okay, start the story with the idea/plot point she gave to the publisher…that takes up a couple pages.  Now what?  Let me see, she has already set up that her heroine has to have sex six times a day with different guys.  She has six different guys that she cannot kill off without her heroine dying, she has at hand countless boilerplate sex scenes of her own and can plagiarize others to her heart’s content because who the hell remembers details of sex scenes from other books.  So shift the order of movements, shift the order of who does what, when, where and to whom, change the partners, bring in new partners, describe their hair, eyes, clothes and penis size.  Put them in a new venue…describe the town, the room, the décor and the size and shape of the bed and colour of the rug.  Rinse, wash, and repeat for 500 pages.  Piss and moan about emotions and sluthood.   Almost done…ooops what about the plot.. scramble, scramble tie it up in half a page, leave many hanging chads, forget some of the people and story lines she has introduced but hell…who is going to notice.   This process might take two years, meanwhile the publisher and the addicted fans are clamoring and writing…we want more Anita, we want more Anita.   Like any alcoholic who needs that next drink even if he can’t get anything but wood alcohol,  the fans who got hooked on Blake are like alcoholics or like lottery ticket buyers at this point, they know in their hearts they can’t win but hope springs eternal …maybe this time lightning will strike.  The publisher, with something finally in hand, doesn’t take the time to actually proofread the thing or edit it…they know the fans will buy it no matter what and they want it yesterday.    So the addict gets his fix and the drug is cut so bad that nothing happens.  Talk about disappointment, talk about a rip off, talk about kicking yourself around the block for trusting that dealer.  Rant, rave, tell the world how unhappy you are, start begging author for next book, shot, bottle, or ticket and stand there money in hand ready to be kicked again.   Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes so he could break that cycle.  Fans are a bit like vampires, they will suck you dry and come back demanding more.  Publishers don’t care, they make money on dreck more easily than they do on masterpieces because they know how low the bar is set by their readers.  Just look at the crap on the best seller list year after year.   Can we say Valley of the Dolls, people?  Peyton Place?  James Patterson?  There are more morons than genius’ out there buying books.  If you have a good hook to start with, you can ride it till hell freezes over and the money will still come in.


Merlin fascinates me but he sure arrived late in the story. It is true that there was more sex and talking and emotional stuff than story line in this book but it held my attention and the sex was not too graphic. This book introduced London and Cookie and I like them. I find myself searching ahead to find out if she does Sampson and if he turns into a siren. I want to know what happens with Requiem…I wish she treated him better. I have hopes for London and wish I knew right now what happens to him in her life. That is the essence of a good writer, they make you invest yourself in the characters so that you want to know what happens to them in their future. It is why fan fiction exists…if the writer doesn’t give you the future you want you write your own. I find myself doing searches online for spoilers…only to find she never does resolve Sampson’s problem ten books out. Now that is a disappointing thought. So I am still deep into Anita’s world. I even bought myself a penguin mug and a penguin hand soap dispenser (both with Christmas scarves as a theme). My Anita character file just keeps getting bigger.

Okay, now on to 2018, rereading for the umpteenth time.

Readers sometimes forget or don’t grasp the timeline of the entire series of books. I was feeling a bit ticked about unfinished bits or lack of closure to many things in the Anita series. For example…did the Naga regrow his skin?

I was also thinking about the lack of actual fleshed out plotted stories in most of the later books. The comparison that came to mind was meeting a gorgeous woman in a layers and layers of poofy clothing. You proceed to undress her…and the clothes come off like peeling an onion and when you finally take the last piece off you are left with what looks like a famine victim….no no no you back away, in grave disappointment, I don’t like skeletons.

I write every day, reams and reams of journals, diaries, rants, reviews and emails. I do not go on Twitter because I am incapable of expressing myself in 140 characters. If you write me two or three lines in an email….you get two pages in return. I am a teal deer. People are always saying…you should write a novel. Well I can’t because I cannot plot to save my life. Oh sure, I could start with…someone died, the cops came, a thousand pages of something else, oh by the way this guy did it and we killed him/arrested him, case closed. I spent years reading fan fiction and even wrote a ton of it myself (it is my drawer fiction) that never saw the light of day and it all reads exactly like LKH’s current bunch of novels. I dug out one of the binders filled with printouts of stories and, I kid you not, there is no significant difference between my own overly descriptive, talky stories, right down to the sex (it was slash fan fiction after all) and I never shared it because I felt and still feel it is not worthy because there is no story. I, personally, do not feel that it is totally fair to a reader, especially a reader who has bought a specific genre, to give them next to nothing of that genre in the book. I also do not believe it is good writing.

I have read the entire series right up to the latest oeuvre ‘Serpentine’ and I have been bothered by questions all along. At this point, when I realized the timeline was so short, I thought okay, she can still tie up loose ends like the naga, and we will get to see whether Sampson is a siren, and whether Narcissus actually manages to give birth, does Dolph’s son become a vampire (maybe they can have a surrogate have that much desired grandchild), and on and on and on…endless questions that I realized today…if my memory serves….by book number 25 were still not answered. People come and go so quickly. I want to know London’s backstory. I want to know what happens to him in the end since what I did get in the existing novels is not enough for me. We got more on Requiem but I still want to know about his future. Some of the things I want to know still have a chance of being told…since the timeline is so short at the moment but some I know LKH has probably just left behind forever.

LKH felt that her critics should just quit reading her books if they didn’t like where she was taking them but readers become invested in characters and want closure with those characters and so we keep returning book after book hoping for tidbits of information about the characters we have come to care about. She fails us time and time again and so we bitch about all the sex and angst and …well you get the picture. I, as a reader, am already fairly accepting of the 20% rushed story line to 80% emotional angst fests…since that is what I write myself so it is very familiar to me. But, as a reader I want closure, I want answers to my questions; I want all the ends tied up neatly. Okay, so sue me, I want a happy ending for all my favourite people or at least an ending. LKH has created a world of characters, so many of which need more fleshing out, so many of which have interesting catches, almost all of which leave the reader wanting more information. That is fine, we can be patient, if we had the idea that the writer was actually going to come across and fill in the details. I think a lot of the readers have lost faith that she will do it or have forgotten the timeline is still very short.

What I would really like is a book of short stories, each story about a single event or character to revisit them and tell what happened to them from some time in the future…like looking back through a family album and telling someone who the people are, what happened to them, where they are now, how they are doing and what happened to them in between. Just a tiny gift (maybe posted online just for download) specifically for long term fans who have spent all that money year after year after year for everything she has ever written.

I sometimes think LKH has forgotten us, that we are an important part of her life. As someone who has to write (and read) every day like a compulsion, I have met a lot of people who write like it is an addiction. Perhaps, LKH is like that and out of the millions of us writing fan fiction and drawer fiction, she got lucky and got published and is making money from her addiction. She is nothing special, she is lucky and we are part of that luck. As a reader, I am grateful to her for feeding my second addiction…so maybe she thinks it should be one sided…I should be the only one grateful in the exchange and accept whatever she puts out without quibble of any kind. Some of her critics are really more nasty than she deserves and some don’t seem to have read the same book I did or see events totally different from me. I understand that is like ten people watching a car accident from different points on the street…you will get ten different witness statements. Readers are the same…their lives, their affiliations and opinions (feminism, misogyny, homophobia, fundamentalist religionist) all their different points of view and they bring those opinions and views to her books and see through the glass darkly sometimes. LKH is just another point of view and sometimes they clash but just as there are trolls in cyberspace that get pleasure out of causing pain and confusion, I feel there are reviewers who have the same mindset.

I hate that Haven dies.


Only half way through and riveted.  What is amazing about this  book is the name dropping meshes so well with all my favourite people.    I love reading that one of his friends (anecdote attached) is so and so and it just so happens ..if it is a writer I have all his books, if it is an actor..I have been following his career forever.  It almost feels like ..if we met…we would have been sympatico.    Such an interesting man.  I do confess, that, even though I have kept every one of his books and read them…they are not exactly the kind I would reread..not because I didn’t find them great the first time around but because they are dark and sometimes give me nightmares.


It is unbelievable. The rich and powerful Republicans are dismantling every protection put in place in the USA in the last one hundred years. Protections put in place for the safety of the average American. The doors are being opened for them to rape and pillage at will. One by one every obstruction is being removed from their path to total control. The air, water, monuments, and environment are being exposed to abuse of the worse kind. People’s health, women’s rights, gay rights, children’s rights, education, financial protections are being stripped away at a pace so fast there is barely a breath between the pen strokes wiping them out. They are gutting every single law, rolling back financing to every single assistance. They have stripped you of every safeguard right up to and including the cyber protection from America’s most powerful and long standing enemy…Russia. The rich in Russia have colluded with the rich in America and elsewhere in the world where the big money flows to take away every security ever put in place to protect the vulnerable land, air, water, people and animals of the world from those who would, in their greed, destroy everything. You are standing by and applauding while vandals are taking paint and knives to every painting in the Louvre. Fully realizing that many are being lost forever you stand there with mouths open egging them on…to do more damage. The rest of the world who have looked to America as a beacon of light stand aghast and equally vulnerable knowing the domino effect will come for them sooner or later. When are you going to wake up and stop this wave of destruction. The lies you are being force fed by your leaders through your media will kill you, are killing you. Stop being sheep. The world criticized the Germans for being sheep in the second World War and continued questioning how it happened…well it is happening again and this time you are the sheep. The wolves are no longer at the door…they are inside taking chunks out of your family…do something…you have a weapon…vote. Get out, get ID, mobilize into groups to go to the polls. Do something….I am shrieking here…DO SOMETHING.