Friday, 30 August 2013

High Park Hillside Gardens (Toronto)

On a recent visit to High Park located in west central Toronto on 161 hectares (400 acres), I walked about half way into the park to the Hillside Gardens to enjoy the cool breeze while staying in the shade. Due to the extreme temperature my camera phone kept taking hazy photos.

A series of three ponds with fountains fenced in by trimmed hedges. This would have been an excellent location to meditate except for other visitors to the pools, some whom tended to be quite vocal.

More information about High Park can be found at:

Photo Credits: BE Martin All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Runnymede Public Library - Toronto

Early in July I paused outside the Runnymede Public Library, at Bloor St West and Glendonwynne, where the art deco around the front door caught my eye. Inside one of the librarians was kind enough to assist me in locating information about the architect, one, John M. Lyle.

Mr. Lyle was born in Ireland in 1872, came to Canada at an early age. He was the first architect to use Canadian style, designing the high pitched French Canadian type of roof tiled with the ordinary small black slats used in France. The walls of the library were constructed from the local Credit Valley limestone, grey stone with hints of yellow and red in its texture. Construction began in 1929 and was completed in 1930.

The art deco around the front door was done in a First Nations totem motif: the raven, the beaver and the bear on the bottom.

On the west side of the library is a door that once led into the children’s portion of the library where special spaces (club rooms) were allocated for their activities.

A few of Mr. Lyle’s other creative works in Toronto are the Royal Alexandra Theatre and Union Station which share the similar style of the Runnymede Public Library.


John M. Lyle: Toward A Canadian Architecture by Geoffrey Hunt, Publisher Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario 1982: pp.6, 10.

A Progressive Traditionalist John M. Lyle, Architect by Glenn McArthur, Coach House Books, Toronto, 2009. pp. 152.

Photo Credit: B E Martin All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Kafkaesque Anthology- Book Review

“THE TOURIST SHOPS OF PRAGUE SELL DOZENS OF ITEMS COMMEMORATING FRANZ KAFKA. You can drink a latte in the CafĂ© Kafka, add sugar to it from a packet with Kafka’s face on it, and then light your cigarette from a box of Kafka matches.

“Franz Kafka died in obscurity in 1936, publishing only a handful of bizarre stories in little known literary magazines. Yet today he persists in our collective imaginations. Even those who have never read any of Kafka’s fiction describe their tribulations with the Department of Motor Vehicles as “Kafkaesque” How did this happen?

“Kafkaesque explores the fiction of generations of authors inspired by Kafka’s work. These dystopic, comedic, and ironic tales include T.C. Boyle’s roadside garage that is a never ending trial, Philip Roth’s alternate history in which Kafka immigrates to America to date his aunt, Jorge Luis Borges’ labyrinthine public lottery that redefines reality, Carol Ernshwiller’s testimony by the first female to earn the right to call herself a “man,” and Paul Di Filippo’s unfamiliar Kafka—journalist by day, costumed crime fighter by night.

“Also included is Kafka’s classic story “The Hunger Artist,” appearing both in a brand-new translation and in an illustrated version by legendary cartoonist R. Crumb (Fritz the Cat). Additionally, each author discusses Kafka’s writing, its relevance, its personal influence, and Kafka’s enduring legacy.”

The stories listed below were some of the most bizarre but ingenious I have ever read. They work on repetitive themes Franz Kafka incorporated in his own work.

A Hunger Artist by Franz Kafka

The title introduces the topic of the unfolding story of a man on exhibition, fasting. Initially I wondered where it was going, and soon was mesmerized by the words and the story.

The Drowned Giant by J.G. Ballard

A rendition of Gulliver’s Travels with macabre twists.

The Cockroach Hat by Terry Bisson

Love, death and misdirection as told in an alternate reality by a cockroach.

Hymenophera by Michael Blumlein

A clothes designer discovers an eight-foot wasp in his salon.

The Lottery in Babylon by Jorge Luis Borges

As was in Babylon of old with wanton and unusual tastes, the lottery fulfilled most of the buyers’ dreams with its prizes.

The Big Garage by T. Coraghessan Boyle

An Audi owner joins three bedraggled car owners living in a garage while waiting for repairs that may never come.

The Jackdaw's Last Case by Paul Di Filippo

A journalist turns crime fighter by night in Kafaesque style.

Report to the Men’s Club by Carol Emshwiller

A feminine take on living in a patriarchal society.

Bright Morning by Jeffrey Ford

An escape story with a twist, of a fantasy/science fiction writer implementing Kafka elements.

The Rapid Advance of Sorrow by Theodora Goss

A surreal look at communism in eastern Europe.

Stable Strategies for Middle Management by Eileen Gunn

Bioengineering has its disadvantages when applying insect genes to facilitate organizational abilities.

The Handler by Damon Knight

A story difficult to interpret except to stay it has the aspect of a Trojan horse.

Receding Horizon by Jonathan Lethem & Carter Scholz

A parody on “It’s A Wonderful Life”.

A Hunger Artist by David Mairowitz and Robert Crumb

A pictorial version of the story by Franz Kafka.

“I Always Wanted You to Admire My Fasting” or, Looking at Kafka by Philip Roth

Humourous reminiscences of a boy’s Hebrew-school teacher being invited to dinner.

The 57th Franz Kafka by Rudy Rucker

Not my type of story. Someone else may find it entertaining.

The Amount to Carry by Carter Scholz

An insurance broker composes music meets Mr. Kafka of Workman’s Accident Insurance Institute.

Kafka in Bronteland by Tamar Yellin

In reflection of her Jewish upbringing, a Yorkshire woman encounters Kafka on the moors.

JOHN KESSEL and JAMES PATRICK KELLY are the award winning co-editors of canon-defining anthologies, including Feeling Very Strange, The Slipstream Anthology, Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, and The Secret History of Science Fiction.

The review copy was provided by Charlene Brusso, with many thanks.

Book format: paperback, 288 pages
Publisher: Tachyon Publications