comment 0

Ruby’s first swim since knee surgery

Ruby has healed up very well since her knee surgery. She still has to strengthen her muscles over the next few months but she has the green light for fun stuff like swimming.

She was so excited when she saw the water and jumped right in. What great doggie joy.


comment 0

The Preacher Picked the Guitar

Here’s Roy Book Binder, talking about his days learning from and traveling with Rev. Gary Davis, and performing The Preacher Picked the Guitar…

This is from the GtrWorkShp channel on YouTube.


comment 0

Garden lettuce, kale, bok choi and loads of fresh herbs

The greens in our garden have been growing with a vengeance the past couple weeks. Today I picked lots of lettuce, kale, bok choi as well as 3 varieties of basil, some mint, parsley and some Vietnamese cilantro. I shared the wealth with some neighbours who were handy when I realized there was a lot more produce maturing than we could eat.

Tonight I steamed some kale and bok choi along with some broccoli in the bamboo steamer, grilled up some squid and proceeded to make the tastiest salad. I added some cherry tomatoes – not from the garden but pretty good none-the-less (I’ll have lots and lots of tomatoes later in the summer), English cucumber, half a red onion, lots of herbs, a handful of roasted, salted peanuts, and a commercial “Asian” sesame oil-based dressing.

I didn’t have fresh squid, but I did have some “pineapple-cut” frozen squid from Grant’s market. I skewered up the pieces, drizzled them with sesame oil and soy sauce, got some charcoal going on the bbq and grilled the squid for about a minute and a half on each side on a very very hot grill.

Delicious summer dinner.

Tomorrow I’ll make another big salad, and this time dig into the pile of lettuce I transferred from garden to refrigerator today.

comment 1

The Mayor of MacDougal Street

The cover of my copy of Dave Van Ronk’s memoirs, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, proclaims: “The life story that inspired the Coen Brothers Movie Inside Llewyn Davis”. That wasn’t enough to stop me from reading the book. Sure, Inside Llewyn Davis was an OK period piece, in a melancholy, over-rated sort of way, but if it was about Dave Van Ronk, it missed the mark, and certainly missed Van Ronk’s wicked sense of humour.

The book is a memoir, but it’s also a recollection of the “The Great Folk Scare”, a term Van Ronk borrowed from his friend U. Utah Phillips. I particularly enjoyed the chapters about the 50s in Greenwich Village – we don’t hear much about those days in that place because discussions about the folk scene tend to revolve around Bob Dylan, as he broke away from that scene to become a rock star.

One surprise to me was Van Ronk’s comments about Andy Warhol. “You could tell where things were headed when Andy Warhol and his “beautiful people” showed up at the Gaslight. That towhead was like a vulture – when he appeared, you knew the fun was over.” That’s a pretty strong opinion, I’d say.

Dave Van Ronk recorded quite a few collections of songs, and he was well enough known that I was aware of his music even in high school in the 70s in Toronto (although by the time I was in high school, I was actively searching for some musical nourishment in the form of some kind of antidote to radio pablum like The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac). He was a stalwart in the Village scene before there was a scene and he stuck around for the long haul. He was a great song interpreter, a fine guitarist, and he sure could deliver a song.

I enjoyed reading about Van Ronk’s adventures, his activism, and his perspective on the period when the Folk Scare exploded. I also really appreciated his recollections of his jazz days, before he started playing so-called “folk music.”

Excellent read.




comment 0

Duncan & Brady

Here’s an American murder ballad from the late 20s. It’s been recorded by lots of performers, including Leadbelly, Bob Dylan and Dave Van Ronk.  Here are two interesting versions…