Ramalamamammogram

“So you just turned 40, I want you to go have a mammogram,” says my doctor at my annual physical just after my 40th birthday. “That’s not necessary is it?” I scrunch up my face. “What, it doesn’t hurt, don’t be a wimp,” she replies. “Oh, you’ve had one?” “Well, nooo…” Fucking doctors. Who’s with […]

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Grey Hair, Don’t Care

I got my first grey hair at seventeen. After screeching in horror and pulling it out, I found two more the following week. At that point I began surreptitiously colouring my hair with a black semi-permanent rinse. I was late to the hair colouring game in the 1980s, mostly living with mousy brown hair (and […]

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Book Review — The Great Believers

The Great Believers Rebecca Makkai I approached this one with trepidation. Set partially in 1985 – 1990 in Chicago’s gay scene, it deals with the early years of the AIDS epidemic and the devastation it caused within that community. My first job after high school was delivering meals in a hospital and although the gay […]

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June 2019 Reading List

There Are No Grown-Ups: A Mid-Life Coming of Age Story Pamela Druckerman The author of a best-selling book on French parenting, Druckerman’s take on turning 40 is less self-help or advice and more memoir. Which, despite having read most of the book, didn’t do much for me. As an old freak, I keep looking for […]

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May Media Musing

Some of the stuff I watched in May… Film Her Smell We almost bailed on this early in the film — the drugged-up, erratic Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss) wandering around the green room of a concert venue screaming at people was a real turn-off. However we stuck with it and were glad we did. Moss […]

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May Reading List

This month’s inadvertent theme is “all the British ladies”, as my Top 3 picks (pictured above) are all about British women. There’s the Tudor-era feminist who had to hide her work behind a man’s name, the fictional suffragettes who find themselves at loose ends once they achieve voting parity for women, and the five women […]

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April Reading List

Tete-a-Tete Hazel Rowley The biography of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir based on her journals and letters. Honestly, this is a DNF for me, as I just couldn’t get past what a dick Sartre was, both to Beauvoir and the many women he had relationships with. Plus Beauvoir grooming her young high school-aged students […]

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March Reading List

The German Girl Armando Lucas Correa Fascinating topic, but the execution is clunky. Based on the true story of the MS St. Louis, the ocean liner full of Jews fleeing Germany in 1939 that arrived in Cuba only to be turned back, with a mere 28 passengers (out of more than 900) permitted to disembark. […]

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Book Review — Vanishing New York

Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul Jeremiah Moss Hyper-gentrification. It’s happening in nearly every city, in varying degrees. Currently, there is almost zero affordable housing in most major cities around the globe, with New York probably being the worst scenario. Starting with the East Village, Jeremiah Moss, creator of a blog […]

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The Cold November Rain

I joke every year — in fact, with great seriousness — that the day after Autumn Daylight Saving should actually be a statutory holiday. In theory we’ve all got that Sunday to adjust to the changing schedule and light, but it’s never really enough. The “extra hour of sleep” everyone enthuses about never happens (I […]

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Book Review — Catharine Parr Traill’s The Female Emigrant’s Guide: Cooking with a Canadian Classic

Catharine Parr Traill’s The Female Emigrant’s Guide: Cooking with a Canadian Classic Edited by Nathalie Cooke and Fiona Lucas McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017 In our easy 21st century life, we think we’re “roughing it” when the power goes out for a few hours. But the first emigrants to Canada not only didn’t have power, they also didn’t have […]

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A Square Meal by Jane Ziegelman, Andrew Coe

Book Review — A Square Meal

A Square Meal Jane Ziegelman, Andrew Coe Harper Collins, 2016 The United States is known as “the land of plenty” but there were points in history when that was absolutely not the case. During most of the 1930s, unemployment was high, crops failed due to drought, and much of the US population was subjected to […]

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Book Review — How to Taste

How to Taste Becky Selengut Sasquatch Books, 2018 We spend a lot of time learning to taste beverages such as wine, beer, gin, and even coffee, but seldom are non-chefs taught the intricacies of tasting food. Or more specifically, how to cook food to maximize its taste. In How to Taste, food writer, chef and […]

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Cover of The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola

Book Review — The Belly of Paris

The Belly of Paris (Les Rougon-Macquart #3) Emile Zola originally published 1873, reprint with introduction and translation by Mark Kurlansky, Modern Library, 2009 We all have that one book that we feel that we should have read but just never got around to. For me, that book was Emile Zola’s The Belly of Paris or The Fat and the […]

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Book Review — Incorrigible

Incorrigible Velma Demerson The Mercer Reformatory for Females is gone now, torn down in the late 1960s and replaced with Lamport Stadium near the intersection of King West and Dufferin in Toronto. I live nearby and walk past the place a few times every week. Since reading Incorrigible by Velma Demerson, I am haunted by what […]

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Book Review — Shrewed

Shrewed Elizabeth Renzetti Aw dudes, I suck so much at keeping my 2018 reading list up to date, mostly because it’s all food books and cookbooks (not all of them good, either!), but I want to mention this book somewhere that people see it (because while I seldom update here, this blog still gets a […]

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Book Review — Pomegranate Soup

Pomegranate Soup Marsha Mehran Random House, 2006 It’s 1986 and three Iranian sisters find themselves in the small town of Ballinacroagh, County Mayo, Ireland. They arrive suddenly, taking over a long-closed bakery space with plans to rush an opening of a Persian-themed cafe in only five days. They have escaped Iran via Pakistan and London, […]

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Book Review — Sourdough

Sourdough Robin Sloan MCD Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017 It might be too early to call it, being only February and all, but Sourdough is already a contender for my top fiction pick of the year. This work of Magical Realism (a genre that combines fact with magical elements) is subtle enough on the weirdness […]

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Book Review — The Ghost Orchard

The Ghost Orchard Helen Humphreys Harper Collins, 2017 While it first appears to be a simple exploration of lost North American apple varieties, The Ghost Orchard dredges up other kinds of ghosts and other types of loss in a lacy web of colonialism, agriculture, and human relationships. Taken on when her friend Joanne Page was […]

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Book Review — The Cake Therapist

The Cake Therapist Judith Fertig Berkeley, 2015 There are many genres of food fiction that we’ll explore on this site as we go along, but the most prominent are the food-themed mysteries and food-themed romances. Cookbook writer Judith Fertig makes an attempt at combining the two in her first novel The Cake Therapist. After a […]

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Best Non-Fiction of 2017

There was less non-fiction in my 2017 reading list, but so much of it was incredibly inspiring, and I really had trouble coming up with my favourites, although #1 and #2 just blew me away. 1. Les Parisiennes Anne Sebba This is a wholly comprehensive look at Parisienne women during WW2. Edith Piaf, for instance, worked with […]

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Best Fiction of 2017

Last year, I managed to read 111 books. It was actually closer to 120 but there were a few I didn’t include on my big list, either for personal reasons (self-help or psychology books), or because I bailed less than halfway through. But I wanted to take a look back at my favourite titles and […]

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Just Say No to Fashion Mags

This started as a book review of Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women’s Lives by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano. And, I admit it – before I write a book review, I usually head over to GoodReads to see what other people thought of it. Not to crib their thoughts but to get a general consensus […]

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The Man in the Blue Jacket

I never met Bill Cunningham. He never took my photo and published in in the New York Times. But like millions of people around the world, the news of his death at 87 this past Saturday brought me to tears. He seemed – from the 2010 documentary about him and from the voice-overs he did […]

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Book Review – The Lost Art of Dress

The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski If I ran the world, every child, starting at about age 10, would be required to take some kind of “home”-related course. I hesitate to call this home ec, because there are certain connotations to “home economics” of olde tymes, […]

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Book Review – Please Kill Me

Please Kill Me – The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain With apologies to junkies past and present, fuck me, junkies are tiresome. Nevermind that the majority of the most creative talents of the punk generation were hooked on something, and that the junk might have had some bearing on the […]

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Four Books on Goth

In my exploration of Nu Goth and Dark Mori recently, one of the points I kept coming across was that the Goth kids of today just didn’t take the time to learn about the origins of their subculture. And while there is plenty of information online for anyone capable of using the Goggle box, for […]

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What Are You, Nu?

While it’s heartening to see young people still dressing in a Goth style, are these kids in their floppy black hats and crucifixes “real” Goths? The debate over Nu Goth has been taking place for a few years now, a weird conversation really, given the misuse of “nu” to denote a resurgence of something that never really went away. […]

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Book Review – Fear and Clothing

Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style Cintra Wilson Style is the collision point between our fantasies of who we are, the larger realities we live with and the way we are perceived by others. As much as I appreciate the sincerity and empowerment behind style campaigns like #fuckflattering or “I wear what I want”, I […]

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One of a Kind Fashion Finds

The One Of a Kind artisan show takes place in Toronto twice a year (there’s also a version in Chicago), and the holiday event attracts almost 800 artisans, designers and craftspeople. While the goods range from tasty to twee, OOAK has become a major event for many indie clothing and accessory designers from across Canada. We […]

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