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Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

A very dear friend of mine sent me this photo, knowing it combined two of my favourite flavours…

kraft-banana-granola-peanut

Peanut butter and banana!

It appears that the sorcerers over at Kraft Canada Inc. have put something together especially for me!

Needless to say, I ran right out and bought myself a jar.

kraft-banana-granola-peanut-2

This morning, I toasted up a whole wheat bagel and applied the new BGP peanut butter liberally thereon.

Oh… my… goodness! It’s just great!

I added some thinly sliced bananas on top which only made it even more deliciouser!!

You have to try this stuff!!

aa-kendo-kanji-red

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A few weeks ago, I broke down and got a Twitter account.

One of the things I’m following on Twitter is a series of tweets called Life After Z Day.

The premise is elegantly simple. The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse has smacked us in the face like a bloody severed hand. Despite things hitting the fan in a major way, someone out there has access to Twitter and tweets his journal entries several times a day.

Here are a few examples from this month…

  • 1 Apr:   Sorry for the inactivity, my brother and I had run out of ammunition and canned food… We had to venture into the city.
  • 3 Apr:   What a night last night, we drove the rzr into a small town and broke into a boarded up bar… It’s funny to say, but I missed hangovers.
  • 4 Apr: Hung over today, and my brother and I are being lazy and bunked down… but tomorrow we gotta get out and work on our fences.
  • 6 Apr:   Just after we had got to sleep the dog heard something and woke us up… It was a nomad walker cought (sic) up in one of our perimeter fences.
  • 8 Apr:  as soon as the door opened up i thought maybe there was a reason the door was locked from the outside.. thats (sic) when we heard the moans inside.
  • 10 Apr:  we came across a sworm (sic) of walkers, and in the middle of the swarm there was an SUV with what looked to be two girls in trouble…
  • 11 Apr:  We have been busy all day patrolling the perimeter of the farm, there was an abnormal amount of walkers caught on the fence…
  • 11 Apr:  But I suppose these days there is no such thing as ‘normal’.

Some days, there is only one entry… or two. Other days, there can be several. April 10th had about 30 entries.

It’s like reading a diary. Or rather, reading a journal over the shoulder of the person writing it, while he is writing it.

I’m hooked… like a walker on a barbed wire fence.

Check it out.

If, like me, you a zombie kinda person and you tend to drift on over to Twitter whenever you’re bored and have a few minutes to spare… give Life After Z Day a go.

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I like reading the comics. And by comics, I mean the comic strips one finds in newspapers. [1]

Dilbert, Garfield, Doonesbury, Rudy Park, Pooch Cafe, Non Sequitur, Heart of the City [2]… these are the little snippets of fun with which I start my day.

But there is one character in one particular comic strip that tickles me more than any other.

Sedgwick Nuttingham IV (aka Master Sedgwick, aka Sedgie) in the comic strip Monty by Jim Meddick.

(Master Sedgwick and Jarvis encounter snowball-throwing ruffians)

As per the Gospel according to Wikipedia…

Sedgwick Nuttingham IV is a privileged child who inhabits a mansion somewhere in Monty’s neighborhood. His only companion is his faithful manservant Jarvis, who does anything that Sedgwick desires, from carrying ammunition as Sedgwick hunts Fleshy, to serving as a human target for snowballs, darts etc. Sedgwick’s parents are totally absent. The only other characters that Sedgwick interacts with besides Fleshy are various doctors and psychologists. Sedgwick is convinced of his innate superiority to all others.

(Sedgie at Valentines Day)

Part of the appeal of Master Sedgwick is his singularly repellent aspect. He is an utterly repulsive little toad. The googly eyes, the potato nose, the thick lips… and those teeth! Yeuch. He is a self-centred, self-absorbed, snobby little over-privileged worm. He seems completely motivated by greed and self-interest. How could you not love that?

Even when he does display a glimpse of a ‘better self’, it is soon overshadowed by… well… him!

But I think what I love most about Sedgie is the stilted ‘P.G. Wodehouse’ style of dialogue, especially between him and his manservant, Jarvis. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for that kind of speech. I’ve ready about 50 of Mr. Wodehouse’s novels and collections of short stories and that has held me in good stead throughout my life.

(Sedgie is taken to The Trilateral Council… the Ultra-Secret Society that runs the world!)

So here’s to Master Sedgwick. Though even many fans of the Monty comic strip hate the sight of your pug-ugly face, I think you’re the bee’s knees!

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[1] I must confess that, aside from two or three English language Jewish weekly publications, I don’t buy newspapers anymore. When I do want to check out the New York Times, the Jerusalem Post or whatever, I go to their online editions.

[2] All the rest of which can be found at GoComics.com.

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When I first saw a photo of this little treat the other day, I said, “WOW!”

A pizza cone. What a stroke of genius!

Pizza dough, formed into the shape of a cone and filled with pizza toppings!

This is the best thing since the calzone… basically a pizza turnover!

While not nearly in the Out Of Control category of foods like deep-fried Twinkies or those bacon triple cheeseburgers with Krispy Kreme glazed donuts for buns… the pizza cone does speak to the heart of a ‘fast food with a bit of an edge’ fan. Just the idea of it immediately finds a home in most junk food lovers’ hearts.

And the best thing is that, just as regular pizza can be made kosher, so too can a pizza cone!

The whole milk-meat prohibition can be easily side-stepped with meatless pepperoni, chorizo or deli slices. I myself prefer the kosher products made by Yves Veggie Cuisine. They are available at any good grocery store. Kosher mozzarella and parmesan cheeses are easy to get at any kosher food outlet.

I suppose it’s just a matter of time before I try to whip up one of these little wonders.

I somehow cannot see myself being disappointed!

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If I ever need to set up a quick, informal yet special rendezvous with someone near and dear to me, I choose Sadie’s Diner & Juice Bar in downtown Toronto.

Sadie’s is on the northwest corner of Portland and Adelaide streets. One block east of Bathurst and two blocks south of Queen Street West.

My dearly beloved friend, CC, introduced me to the place when she and I set up a lunch date just before she moved to Toronto from Ottawa. As an extra bonus attraction, CC brought along her daughter, EC (aka CC Jr, aka Volume 2).

My darling CC is the one you can blame for getting me started with this whole blogging thing. She herself is a top-knotch writer and I have often encouraged her (i.e. nagged her) to send her writing to The New Yorker. I feel her writing is as good as most of the Shouts & Murmurs articles I’ve read and enjoyed at the back of the magazine.

The get-together with my dear CC was my first time at Sadie’s Diner and CC was right on the money about choosing that as the perfect spot. She and I had a wonderful get-together and I sincerely hoped that EC wasn’t too bored out of her mind.

A few months later, when my own daughter (Exhibit One) and I planned a bit of a downtown rendezvous, I immediately suggested Sadie’s. Once again, it was the perfect choice. She and I sat at a table near the front window. The service was wonderful, my daughter loved the food and the atmosphere and I had one of my best times with her.

She thought the place was just wonderful. One of the things that simply tickled my daughter to death was a plastic cow milk dispenser.

(Exhibit Two’s favourite milk dispenser. Note my wallet absent-mindedly left on the table)

Together, we carefully plotted my daughter’s emigration to Israel at that tiny little table. I am sure that in due course, I will arrange a clandestine meeting with my son, Exhibit Two, and begin plotting his emigration to Israel. I have no doubt that he and I will meet at Sadie’s Diner, hopefully at that same little table near the front window. That spot has brought me much luck in the past.

The good times I’ve had there have endeared Sadie’s Diner & Juice Bar to me. It holds a special place in my heart.

Sadie’s is cozy, informal, yet at the same time very chic and hip in a quirky downtown way. Each time I’ve been there, it has been a wonderful experience shared by those nearest and dearest to me. But take some free advice on this subject… don’t waste Sadie’s on ordinary, average, dull, boring people. Save it for the quirky, exciting people in your life. Share it with that special friend who is the artist, photographer, writer, adventurer, actor or just the one that’s odd and weird but in a good way. Save it for that certain loonie in your life without whom you simple cannot do.

I have promised another dearly beloved friend, AC, a get-together in Toronto. She too is a most talented writer and would, no doubt, get a kick out of Sadie’s. I am long overdue for a face to face tête-à-tête with her.

AC has recently threatened to interview me and I feel I should take her up on her ill-conceived offer. I am in favour of and try actively to encourage reckless behaviour in others and I want to show my support however and whenever I can.

So next time you are in the Bathurst and Queen neighbourhood… or even if you just want to plan a lunch downtown with that special beloved oddball in your life, I recommend Sadie’s Diner.

I’ve never regretted it and I am sure you won’t either.

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Sadie’s Diner & Juice Bar
504 Adelaide Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5V 1T5
 
416-777-2343
416-77-SADIE

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Until last year, I had never heard of the band Finger Eleven.

There is a song they did (Paralyzer) that does, however, sound familiar to me.

But the name ‘Finger Eleven’ did not become burned into my memory until one lovely Sunday afternoon when my dear friends Ray, JM and JM’s son were enjoying a lazy lunch at Mossimo’s, a local pizza place.

As sometimes happens, the topic rolled around to music and bands and who was on tour and what was coming to Toronto, Hamilton or Buffalo. We chatted about the bands we’ve seen and the concerts we’d attended.

It was about the point – mid-pizza, I would say – that JM’s son mentioned the band Finger Eleven.

The reaction was swift and severe.

“F#@k Finger Eleven!” Ray shouted.

Mossimo’s ground to a halt.

The three of us froze for a moment, shocked into silence and a bit stunned.

JM and I then burst our laughing. Poor JM’s son was still nonplussed which, of course, only made me and JM laugh even harder.

Ray, as always, put on his customary boyish smile, grabbed a piece of pizza and ate, enjoying the reaction to his over-reaction.

It is too easy these days to lose friends. Ray and JM are too important to me. I don’t want us to drift apart and find out that several months have gone by without one of us reaching out to the other, even to get together for a coffee.

So that is why, ever since that lazy Sunday afternoon, Ray and I have used “F#@k Finger Eleven!” (or FF11 for short) as a kind of rallying cry. It makes for a nice text message and is a fun way for us to keep track of each other and to remind ourselves of who our friends are.

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Finger Eleven is a Canadian rock band from Burlington, Ontario, formed in 1989.[1] They have currently released five studio albums, with their album The Greyest of Blue Skies bringing them into the mainstream. The 2003 self-titled album achieved Gold status in the United States and Platinum in Canada, largely from the success of the single “One Thing“, which marked the band’s first placing on the US Hot 100 Chart at number 16. Their 2007 album Them vs. You vs. Me launched the single “Paralyzer“, which went on to top numerous charts including the Canadian Hot 100 and both US rock charts, as well as reaching #6 on the US Hot 100 and #12 on the Australian Singles Chart. They won the Juno Award for Rock Album of the Year in 2008.[2] (Wikepedia)

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A few weeks ago, I signed up with a program called Partners in Torah.

It is run by that fabulous adult Jewish education organization, Aish HaTorah. [1]

The premise is quite simple. People who, for various reasons, cannot get together with a study partner to learn Torah, Jewish history, Hebrew, Talmud, Halacha (Jewish law), and so on, can get connected with an appropriate person and, together, they study on the phone for 30 to 60 minutes a week.

(I saw this at Aish HaTorah’s Village Shul in Toronto)

As per their website…

Partners in Torah’s signature phone study program offers Jewish adults of all backgrounds across North America a cost-free learning opportunity to discover Judaism – its culture, history, and traditions – at their pace and their schedule. Jewish men and women with an interest in acquiring specific skills or who simply want to build on their Jewish knowledge-base, are matched, one-to-one, with a carefully selected personal Torah trainer or “mentor” for up to an hour a week of over-the-phone study and discussion. Participants can choose any topic including Hebrew, Jewish philosophy, or history. In its decade and a half of operation, Partners in Torah has engaged more than 40,000 intellectually curious Jews across North America, and today supports some 4,000 weekly study partnerships (over 8,000 individuals!).

I emailed Partners in Torah and very shortly thereafter received a phone call from a charming young lady who asked me several questions confirming my status as a Jew, a bit of my background, what I was interested in studying and why, etc.

I told her that while I spend about half of my week in a Orthodox neighbourhood in Toronto, the other half of my week I practice as a criminal defence lawyer down in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario. Not exactly The Heart of the Old World and certainly not a bastion of Torah Study. In fact, you can count all the Orthodox Jewish men in the entire region on one hand. So I was very keen on being able to learn with someone as opposed to studying on my own (not the ideal method, by any means).

I also indicated to the young lady that I wasn’t all that interested in Talmudic civil law. If a wall crumbles and collapses and a person gets injured, trust me, I could not care less who is liable to pay damages. I went to law school for three years. I hated tort law then and nothing since has improved my outlook on the topic. Bunch of ambulance chasers, if you ask me.

(A page from the Mishnah Berurah, this one dealing with the laws of Passover)

I told her that what I was interested in was the practical day-to-day application of Jewish law. When asked to be more specific, I suggested studying the Mishnah Berurah (the Chofetz Chaim‘s commentary on the Shulchan Aruch [2]), especially Hilchos Shabbos (Sabbath Laws).

Surprisingly, she said, “I know just the person for you!” She then set me up with one of their volunteers, a guy in New Jersey.

He and I emailed back and forth a few times, and spoke on the phone the next day regarding what I was interested in learning and what would be a mutually convenient time for us to learn.

We agreed to study together Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 8:30 pm.

The first study session went really well, I thought. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be. I couldn’t have been more pleased. I am looking forward to the next study session!

As the poster above says, “There’s happy. And then there’s ‘I have my very own Partner in Torah’ happy!”

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[1] For those of you who follow this blog even semi-regularly, you will probably recognize the name Aish HaTorah as also being the international organization that runs, among other things, the Jerusalem Fellowships program which my daughter Exhibit One, attended in August 2011 and which my son, Exhibit Two, will attend this coming May 2012 in Jerusalem.

[2] Mishna Berurah (“Clarified Teachings”) is an important and widely used commentary, consisting of six volumes, on the Orach Chayim section of Yosef Karo‘s digested compilation of practical Jewish Law, the Shulchan Aruch. It combines his own elucidations and differing opinions with those of otherAharonim (post-medieval authorities.)

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