Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Book ~ "Off the Record" (2021) Peter Mansbridge

From Goodreads ~ Peter Mansbridge invites us to walk the beat with him in this entertaining and revealing look into his life and career, from his early broadcasting days in the remote northern Manitoba community of Churchill to the fast-paced news desk of CBC’s flagship show, The National, where he reported on stories from around the world.

Today, Peter Mansbridge is often recognized for his distinctive deep voice, which calmly delivered the news for over fifty years. But ironically, he never considered becoming a broadcaster. In some ways, though, Peter was prepared for a life as a newscaster from an early age. Every night around the dinner table, his family would debate the news of the day, from Cold War scandals and Vietnam to Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

So in 1968, when by chance a CBC radio manager in Churchill, Manitoba, offered him a spot hosting the local late night music program, Peter embraced the opportunity. Without a teacher, he tuned into broadcasts from across Canada, the US, and the UK to learn the basic skills of a journalist and he eventually parlayed his position into his first news job. Less than twenty years later, he became the chief correspondent and anchor of The National.

With humour and heart, Peter shares never-before-told stories from his distinguished career, including reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall and the horror of 9/11, walking the beaches of Normandy with Tom Brokaw, and talking with Canadian prime ministers from John Diefenbaker to Justin Trudeau. But it’s far from all serious. Peter also writes about finding the “cure” for baldness in China and landing the role of Peter Moosebridge in Disney’s Zootopia. From the first (and only) time he was late to broadcast to his poignant interview with the late Gord Downie, these are the moments that have stuck with him.

After years of interviewing others, Peter turns the lens on himself and takes us behind the scenes of his life on the frontlines of journalism as he reflects on the toll of being in the spotlight, the importance of diversity in the newsroom, the role of the media then and now, and the responsibilities we all bear as citizens in an increasingly global world.


Peter Mansbridge was born in England and moved to Ottawa, ON, with his family when he was young.  He didn't graduated from high school and instead joined the Royal Canadian for a couple years.  Looking for a job, he ended up as a ticket agent/baggage handler in at the small Churchill Airport in Churchill, MB.  The manager of a local CBC radio station liked his voice when he was doing announcements and hired him part time as a night time host.  From there, he moved up and eventually became news anchor of CBC’s The National (from which he retired in 2017).

This book is full of his random stories, starting with his family and childhood, moving from England to Malaya and finally Ottawa.  He then tells us how he ended up with a broadcasting career, which no education or formal training.  From there he tells of the wide variety of stories he has covered over the years, including the wars in the Middle East, being on an icebreaker in the Northern Passage, covering Princess Diana's death and 9/11, meeting world leaders and even telling of the Friendly Giant's death.

I liked this book and the writing style.  It is written at a high level and with honesty and at times humor.

Monday, 20 September 2021

KC's tree, Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto, ON

Gord and I voted this morning at the community centre in Trinity Bellwoods Park and afterwards we checked out KC's tree.

It's hard to believe but it's been a few months since I've been there.


The leaves on some of the trees are starting to change colours ... KC's tree is always one of the last to do that.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Liberty Village Terry Fox Run/Walk, Liberty Village Park, Toronto, ON

The annual Terry Fox Run was today and this is my fourth year as a volunteer/organizer of the Liberty Village Terry Fox Run (it's the sixth year for the Liberty Village Terry Fox Run).  Because the Terry Fox Runs were virtual again this year, most of it was happening on social media, which is what I took care of.  Plus my friend and neighbour, Dawn, and I put 300+ posters up around the neighbourhood.

Terry Fox (1958 – 1981) was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian and cancer research activist.  In 1980, he began the Marathon of Hope, a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research.  He hoped to raise one dollar from each of Canada's 24 million people.  He began in St. John's, Newfoundland, in April and ran the equivalent of a full marathon every day. After 143 days and 5,373km/3,339 miles, he was forced to end his run outside Thunder Bay, ON, when the cancer spread to his lungs. His hopes of overcoming the disease and completing his marathon ended when he died nine months later.

The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.  Almost $800 million has been raised in his name.

Because it was virtual this year, there was no gathering in Liberty Village Park as in past years.  Gord and I walked to Liberty Village Park where the run usually starts and ends.  Red shirts signify "Terry's Team" ... people who have or have had cancer (both Gord and I have).


When we left Liberty Village Park, Gord and I headed south to Coronation Park.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Book ~ "Mocha, She Wrote" (2021) Ellie Alexander

From Goodreads ~ Summer has ushered in a new season in the charming hamlet of Ashland, Oregon. Torte is bustling with tourists taking in star-drenched shows at the Elizabethan, setting out to hike in the surrounding Siskiyou Mountains, and sampling the bakeshop’s summer lineup of raspberry lemon tarts and mint mojito cold brews. Jules and the team are buzzing with excitement when they learn that Andy, Torte’s head barista, has been selected to compete in the West Coast Barista Cup.

The prestigious competition draws coffee aficionados from up and down the coast to Ashland. The winner will not only claim to be best-in-brew, but also be awarded a hefty cash prize. Andy’s nervous about his chances, but Jules is confident that her star barista will shine. However, things take a grim turn when head judge Benson Vargas spits out Andy’s first offering, claiming it to be the worst thing to ever touch his lips - and hours later, is found dead clutching Andy’s creamy latte. Suddenly Torte’s favorite barista becomes the number one suspect. There’s no roast for the weary. Jules will have to sleuth out whodunit to clear Andy’s name and catch a killer before she ends up with one foot in the grounds. 

Juliet (aka Jules) was raised in small town Ashland, OR.  She grew up helping her parents in their bakery and went on to culinary school.  After working for many years on a cruise line, where she met her husband, Carlos, she moved back home to take over the family bakery.  She now shares ownership of it with her mother, who recently married the local head of police.  After a two year separation, Jules has worked things out with Carlos and he is running the winery they have majority ownership of.

Andy, one of Jules' employees, is really into coffee and has been selected to compete in the West Coast Barista Cup.  He's nervous but ready to go.  Benson is one of the judges and has a flair for dramatics and not in a good way.  He takes a dislike to Andy and even spits out one of his offerings during the competition.  A few hours later, Benson is dead and Andy is the number one suspect.  But Benson was not a nice man and disliked by many so anyone could have killed him.  Because of loyalty to her employee, Jules and her friend, Lance, set out to find out who hated Benson enough to kill him so they can clear Andy's name.

This is the thirteenth in the Bakeshop Mystery series (I've read them all) and I thought it was okay.  It's written in first person perspective in Jules' voice.  It was a quick light read and is a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity.  I suspect there will probably not be many more in this series as everyone is settling down happily and Jules is thinking about having a baby.

There are recipes at the end.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Nova Scotia's Community Haul ~ September 2021

I received my September Nova Scotia's Community Haul subscription box today.

Weddings and school concerts, charity bake sales and chase-the-ace - our community halls are where Nova Scotians have come together for generations to celebrate and support one another. Since we’re together apart for the foreseeable future, we’ve transformed the community hall into a Community Haul. 

Community Haul, partnered with Symplicity Designs set out to create a safe and fun way to help the small business community through the next year. Our product forges connection, creates community, and offers you the opportunity to explore Nova Scotia - all from the safety of your home. 

We've launched a local subscription box to celebrate Nova Scotia business owners and help reboot the regional economy. By pledging your community support with a subscription, you can help keep the lights on for dozen of small businesses during these economically stressful times. What's more, every box sold will support the IWK Foundation to provide care for the women and children in the Maritimes.  

I'm originally from Nova Scotia and have been enjoying receiving stuff from "back home" and helping support their economy.

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Book ~ "Cat Lover's Trivia: Weird and Wacky Facts About Our Furry Friends" (2021) Mike Darton

From Goodreads ~ Schott’s Original Miscellany was a publishing phenomenon. It sired a host of sequels and parodies. But no matter how patiently and for how many years they waited, the potential feline readership was overlooked. Until now.

"Cat Lover’s Trivia" is how the original would have appeared had its creator been an obsessive cat owner. Or, indeed, a very curious cat. It parodies the randomness of entry and stylishness of design of the original, but is created entirely for cats and their obedient owners and admirers. The result is a fascinating outpouring of feline facts, including such gems as:
  • Sir Isaac Newton’s invention of the cat flap or kitty door
  • The origins and popularity of cat names
  • The power of catmint
  • How long cats spend asleep each day
  • T. S. Eliot’s Practical Cats
  • And the famous Chopin waltz that was in fact composed by the composer’s cat

I love cats (I have two) and that's why this book caught my eye.  This book is a quick read and is full of very random trivia about cats.  I found most of it interesting.

The book was originally published in 2009 and some of the stats, like popular cat names, are from 2007.  It would have been nice if they had updated these stats to current times rather than 14 year old information as it's probably no longer relevant.  In addition, there are no sources for the stats so who knows if the information is true and how dated it is.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Book ~ "Dog Lover's Trivia: Weird and Wacky Facts About Our Furry Friends" (2021) Mike Darton

From Goodreads ~ Schott’s Original Miscellany was a publishing phenomenon. It sired a host of sequels and parodies. But no matter how patiently and for how many years they begged, the potential canine readership was continually left to pine. Until now.

"Dog Lover’s Trivia" is how the original would have appeared had its creator been an obsessive dog owner. Or, indeed, a very literate dog. It parodies the randomness of entry and stylishness of design of the original, but is created entirely for dogs and their doting owners and admirers. The result is a fascinating collection of dog-related facts, including gems such as:
  • Dog epigraphs
  • The origins of dog names
  • An international guide to the word “dog”
  • The oldest dog
  • Weights and breeds
  • Crufts winners
  • Aesop’s fabled dogs
  • Most popular breeds
  • Dog bite statistics
  • Lassie
  • And dogs on the Titanic

I'm a dog lover and that's why this book caught my eye.  This book is a quick read and is full of very random trivia about dogs.  I found most of it interesting.

The book was originally published in 2009 and some of the stats, like popular dog names, are from 2007.  It would have been nice if they had updated these stats to current times rather than 14 year old information as it's probably no longer relevant.  In addition, there are no sources for the stats so who knows if the information is true (the couple of things I Googled were correct) and how dated it is.