Thursday, December 22, 2016

31 days...

... hath December.

This is the second year that December sees me still in the saddle. My last jaunt on the Vespa in 2015 was on the 8th of December.

On Thursday the first of the month I rode downtown for a fruitful meeting at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Scribbled - Voting in a Democracy

Susan is a little concerned. She may be right.

Lately I have taken to sending e-mails to Toronto Star columnists. I have also written to the Prime Minister on two or three occasions.

We're not talking about angry Tweets, or dozens of e-mail messages, or about indiscriminate rants, much less unpleasant ad-hominen diatribes aimed at reporters and politicians. Still, Susan's concern is certainly warranted (she doesn't want me morphing into either Statler or Waldorf, those angry old muppet men).

That said, I may be done with the few topics that recently prompted me to take to my keyboard.

This morning I was ingesting my daily ration of news (Toronto Star, New York Times, and Quartz) and found it largely indigestible. This is a steady diet of worrisome stuff, after all. I can't write letters every time I read an item that rattles my cage. I'd spend my days doing nothing but. I certainly shouldn't devote too much time airing my concerns here, right? Who cares what I think, anyway?

So that may be it for a while.

Let me say this though.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

PMS

We humans are ruled by hormones, pheromones, and craveomones.

Many years ago we were sitting around the kitchen table. We were eating something good, but it couldn't have been entirely healthy. The kids began to read the ingredients on the labels of the jars and other containers on the table. That's when someone discovered that one of the condiments claimed it contained "flavonoids".

It only took mere fractions of a second for us to invent "tasterenes".

In that same vein, yesterday I discovered that craveomones were ruling my body.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Life after snow?

Winter is here.

I was rummaging in the storage locker today. For a brief moment I considered the Vespa's winter storage cover. Then I tossed it back on the shelf.

Snow, shmow. I'm in no mood to close the book on riding for 2016. It might happen, it might not.

The truth is that Toronto is new to me. I'm pinning my hopes on the lake effect.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fall riff

Summer lasted forever.

And then there was fall. As often happens, when summer ebbs and leaves us contemplating the looming winter, life gets busy.

What have we been up to? We've been busy.

In mid-October I joined fellow members of the Toronto Motor Scooter Club and headed northeast towards Georgian Bay.


This is the ride that marked the arrival of fall.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Requiem for an epoch

My life began as we emerged from horrible decades of genocide, world wars, and depression. The lessons we learned at unimaginable cost gave rise to an era of stability, growth, and prosperity accompanied by unprecedented international cooperation.

Today we stand at the edge of a precipice. A very dangerous time in history.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Canadians are a rare breed

If you are not yourself Canadian, the best way to understand what it means to be Canadian, is to study the ways of a quintessential Canadian.

It's a little like birding. You need to learn the habitat, haunts, and habits of the quintessential Canadian.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Scary story


The most remarkable totally scary thing is happening right before my eyes.

It's one of those massive fog-bound freeway pile ups in slow motion. It's a system with the rules tossed out the window. None of the usual strategies like steering or braking apply to ward off disaster.

Except it's not traffic that has me mesmerized like a King Cobra's afternoon snack.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A place to call...


A place is just a place, until it becomes something more.

It remains only a place until you find meaning there.

Meaning is a peculiar brew of knowledge and feelings. Isn't that the same basic recipe that defines every single one of us? Without that combination of knowledge and emotion, a person is not really a person, and a place is just a speck in the universe.

The stronger the emotions and the deeper the knowledge that bind us to a place, the more meaning we attach to it.

When the tug of emotion is strong, and the place is familiar, our bonds grow, with the most important places eventually looming large, punctuating the landscape of our feelings like so many villages, towns, and cities.

Ultimately, a place becomes home.

It's a simple four-letter word. Yet it means so much.

Leaving home is one of the most important transitions we make.

Leaving our parents' home, finding a home of our own, leaving our own home behind, and eventually finding another. None of this is easy, and it takes time.

It hasn't taken that long, all things considered.

Toronto is beginning to feel like home.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Eureka!!!

Toronto is not Montreal. I suppose that's painfully obvious, and it's a really good thing that that's the way it is. If Toronto were just like Montreal, that would mean be one less place worth visiting, and how sad would that be?

Wouldn't it be great though, if a passionate ex-Montrealer could get some really good Montreal comfort food in Toronto? 

That's how I came to my quest to find Montreal smoked meat in Toronto good enough to justify going out of my way to get it. A wiser more realistic person (not to say a pessimist) probably should have said to themself "if you really want good smoked meat, GO TO MONTREAL!" But I'm not one to give up quite so easily. That's why Susan and I headed to Caplansky's Delicatessen.






Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rider profile: Steve Liard

Name: Steve Liard
Find me on Earth: 43.6532° N, 79.3832° W
Find me Online: Aside from this interview and my Toronto Motor Scooter Club profile you'll have to find me on the road
Interview Date: October 10, 2016
Interview Location: Toronto Motor Scooter Club ride to Wasaga Beach




Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Free lunch, of a sort...

That's the way Ed put it, when he sent me a link to a call for participants in a 'popular Canadian culinary competition'.

They were looking for eaters not cookers, hence the 'free lunch'. I've been training for a chance like this three times a day for more than 60 years. You can imagine how quickly I took the bait.

http://masterchefcanada.ctv.ca/

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Scribbled - Vespas hauling stuff

Let's say you ride to the hardware store because, Vespa.

Well actually because you need some stuff to remediate the drippy thing that disposes of condensate from the heat exchanger thing-a-ma-jig on the home comfort system.

And let's say that you decide you need a four or five foot long piece of PVC. You kinda know you chose the Vespa over the SUV, but you feel that you need the PVC pipe, and so, what the hell, you buy it, because, well, Vespa.

Riding home I thought, what if I decided I needed an eight or even ten foot long section of PVC? I would have gone vertical.

You can haul telephone systems too. Oh, and by some accounts, Christmas trees.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Aliens among us!


It was late on a balmy summer evening. I was fifteen years old, hanging out with my friends and neighbors' kids on the street. The day's light was fading fast. Soon it was too dark to continue playing catch.

Someone glanced at the darkened sky "Hey guys, what the heck is that?"

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

An eyewitness account of Toronto's 2016 Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

If you need to raise a significant amount of cash to fund research and treatment, year after year, after year, you have to get creative. It's simply no longer enough to knock on doors and beg.

Getting it done means seizing the public's imagination.

The copyright in all text and photographs, except as noted, belongs to David Masse.