Wasps, Vancouver BC

Taking photos on the D-Day anniversary, in a completely unsustainable crouch, I got distant shots of skittish wasps: tiny images even at max zoom.

Not all photos are great art.  And that’s OK.

Wasp flattened against leaf.

Belly flop!


Wasp tangled up with stalk of lupin

Who put this lupin in my flight path?


Wasp landing head first on leaf

Face plant!


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Filed under Photos of Fauna

National Treasure #148: Oscar Peterson

One of Canada’s most honoured musicians, Oscar Peterson was widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. A highly accomplished soloist renowned for his remarkable speed and dexterity, meticulous and ornate technique, and dazzling, swinging style, he earned the nicknames “the brown bomber of boogie-woogie” and “master of swing.”
The Canadian Encyclopedia

Like Harry Wasylyk, Oscar Peterson was born in 1925. There the comparisons stop. While Wasylyk gets one of those 4-line Wikipedia entries, Peterson gets one of the longest entries in The Canadian Encyclopedia that I’ve seen:

  • Early years and education
  • Early career
  • Canada’s first jazz star
  • American introduction
  • Career highlights (focused on his performing career)
  • Compositions
  • Style and approach
  • Praise and criticism
  • Influence on other pianists
  • Career as educator
  • Radio and TV broadcasts
  • Canadian sideman
  • Personal life
  • Honours
  • Awards
  • Writings
  • Discography

About those awards:

  • 2 Juno awards
  • 8 Grammy awards, including one for lifetime achievement
  • 15 honorary degrees
  • 41 other awards

The miscellaneous honours are interesting for their diversity alone.

In 2002, he became the first person inducted into the Canadian Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award from the Urban Music Association of Canada. In 2003, Mississauga named a street Oscar Peterson Boulevard, and the government of Austria issued a stamp in his honour. In 2005, a public school in Mississauga was named after him, and Canada Post made him the first living person other than a reigning monarch to appear on a stamp. – The Canadian Encyclopedia

The discography is also a little startling.

. . . a prolific recording artist, he typically released several albums a year from the 1950s until his death [in 2007] . . . and “He also appeared on more than 200 albums by other artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, who called him “the man with four hands.”

Want more?  Check out his site, read this biography, and watch these YouTube videos:

Piano Lesson

C Jam Blues

Hymn to Freedom (Peterson composition)

Honky Tonk Train Blues (with Keith Emerson)



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Filed under Through Canada

Western Grebe, Gilbert AZ

Sitting on the shore of an artificial pond at Gilbert Water Ranch, I hear an odd tone that I’ve never heard before.  As it gets closer, I get more excited.  What can it be?

As the bird floats into view only a few feet from me, I realize that I don’t know it.  Woohoo!   Continue reading

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National Treasure #147: Harry Wasylyk

He gets one of of those really short Wikipedia entries: Harry Wasylyk, Winnipeg inventor, sort of, of the plastic garbage bag. Other sources are a little more expansive.

Enter Winnipeg inventor Harry Wasylyk who, after the Second World War, began experimenting with a new material called polyethylene. Harry made his first plastic bags in his kitchen and supplied them to the Winnipeg General Hospital to line their garbage cans. He quickly moved his kitchen production to a plant. – Library and Archives Canada  

Continue reading

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The Only Things

Stay home.  Go out.
Sit still.  Exercise.
Tolerate clutter.  Tidy up.
Stay awake.  Sleep soundly.

These are the things, the only things.

Walk smartly.  Drive safely.
Read a book.  Write a blog.
Plan a meal.  Choose take-out.
Talk freely.  Keep quiet.

These are the things, the only things.

Think without drifting.
Talk without babbling.
Laugh without crying.
Breathe without aching.

These are the things, the only things
That I can’t do while my mother is dying.

Marjorie Mae Gibson died 10 June 2017.


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Filed under Mortality