Sunday, September 30, 2012

Third You Die by Scott Sherman

Third You Die (Kevin Connor Mystery #3)Third You Die by Scott Sherman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wrote to Scott Sherman after I finished the previous book in the Kevin series and we had a great email series going for a while, but then I mentioned two points of advice, after which I never heard from him again.

I don't imagine my email had much impact on him, but the fact is with this new book, he did take both those points and action them.

The first was to put more of Kevin into the character of Kevin and less of himself. In the second book there was a reference to a quarter not being worth what it used to be, something no 21 year old would say. There were numerous references to Judy Garland and the old Hollywood musicals. The problem was that Kevin sounded like a 45 year old man. The author seemed to be writing himself rather than his character and I wanted more Kevin, otherwise just write a book about yourself.

The second point I made was the moralizing. It was too much. In the second book there were pages of point form notes defending gay marriage. Whoever those notes were for, they weren't being read by whoever was reading the book. People against gay marriage and gays in general do not read books about a gay prostitute who solves crimes in his spare time. I encouraged the author to give his audience a little credit, that the people reading these books were sexually mature informed adults and the endless justification of the gay lifestyle needn't be so prevalent. Add to the moralizing the fact that Kevin worked for an AIDS service organization as a volunteer and a daycare manager at a church and, I don't know, saved the whales or whatever else he did, it was too much.

So the good news is that in this book all that stuff is gone. References to Judy Garland have been replaced with references to Lady Gaga. The moralizing toned down, the volunteer work finished. More realism and believability reign.

But unfortunately the problems aren't over in this, the weakest of the three books.

Part of why you read a book about a sex worker who solves murders is to hear about the life of a sex worker and for the juicy murders. Well, Kevin is no longer a sex worker and the murder doesn't show up until about 60% of the book is finished.

The double-edged sword with Scott Sherman is his earnestness. His character`s are so earnest, they could be used as the dictionary definition of the word. They try hard, they are ALWAYS sincere and they want to be liked. But at the same time they`re unsure of themselves and generally inconsistent.

For example, Kevin hates when his partner Tony criticizes his sex work or the sex industry. But he himself is quick to point out that many of his clients he never had sex with, that he did "clean" sex work, with no insertion, which somehow in his mind, and in Sherman's, allows Kevin to be on a holy pedestal. Kevin may have been a common hooker, but in Sherman's fantasy world, this involves men paying him to smell his hair or do things that involve not only no insertion, but generally no nudity. It's a justification used by weak people. I may be a whore, but I'm not one of THOSE whores. Tell it to the judge, sweetheart. This is the same line used by gays for a generation as they were looking for acceptance. I may be gay, but I'm not one of THOSE gays. I don't have sex and do drugs all night, I sit at home with my husband. Which is an understandable plea for acceptance, but also throws the others under the bus.

Then there's Kevin's love life. Quentin Crisp wrote of the "Great Dark Man." The man who will be aloof and masculine and straight and have eyes only for you, the man of gay men's dreams. The problem was that after he showed his vulnerabilities he wouldn't be those things any more. He wouldn't be strong and masculine and aloof. This concept is alive and well in this book.

Part of what keeps Kevin's relationship with Tony working is that tension. Kevin is always hoping he'll change, lead the pride parade and tell his son he's gay. But the reason Kevin likes him is his aloofness. Kevin lives for that tension, the moment where Tony makes a small concession to him. He treasures those moments, and then is constantly frustrated with the one step forward two steps back reality. Frankly without that tension, there would be no relationship. It seems Crisp was right, that Kevin wants something he doesn't actually want. And especially as Sherman draws him, Tony only exists to provide that tension. His character is the absence of fleshed-out, almost a footnote in the books.

I enjoyed seeing these characters again. I enjoyed the scene at the adoption agency, even if it could have been drawn out longer and even though Sherman used it for a "Julia Sugarbaker" style speech from the pulpit.

The plot of the book was the Brent Corrigan story, with the name of Brent even left unchanged. I would have preferred something more original.

I felt like with the escorting out, Kevin had to fill his days. I have no idea what his actual job is on his mother's show, he seems to just go in to work to advance the plot.

The author talks about a fourth book which I see going one of two ways. Either the two leads skip down the yellow brick road to happiness land, yawn, or what I'm hoping is the series gets a reboot. Kevin goes back to hustling, and a new man comes in to his life that challenges him mentally, not just presses his buttons for his need for acceptance and to be liked. I'll be reading the back of book four to see which gets chosen before I commit to reading it.

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Nuit Blanche 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Why Not by Victor J. Banis

The Why NotThe Why Not by Victor J. Banis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great book.

Written as a series of connected vignettes, my only complaint is I didn't feel the characterizations were strong enough for me to follow who was who, or perhaps there were just too many short ideas. The main point though is the ideas all worked.

Some were happy, some were sad, a fantastic portrait of gay life in the early 1960's, possibly one of the best I've read. Such a wide range of people and ideas presented, it really made you feel like you were there. From drag queens and sex parties to a quiet couple's night in, clashes with the police and the vice squad, married men, single men, it was such a great well-rounded portrait of gay life.

Proof-reading would have been nice. A "fish crashing into his jaw" is less impressive than a "fist crashing into his jaw".

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Watercress File: Being the Further Adventures of That Man from C.A.M.P by Victor J. Banis

The Watercress File: Being the Further Adventures of That Man from C.A.M.PThe Watercress File: Being the Further Adventures of That Man from C.A.M.P by Victor J. Banis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Man from CAMP books keep getting better and better. I don't know if I'll be able to say that by the time Jackie is heading to the lost city of Atlantis, but it is definitely true in the first three in the series.

This book starts off slow, with Jackie once again teaming with a hot homophobic cop. I really am not reading these books to see homophobia, but considering it was written in 1967, four years after a US based publisher got 25 years in jail for publishing similar material, I suppose I have to let it pass.

The story picks up once Jackie gets to his Aunt's house and sees his whole wacky mischievous family. This colourful cast of characters really picks up the book, particularly when they decide to form a secret agent subsection to help with the case. Little old ladies solving crimes and staking out whore houses in comedy gold and the author plays it well.

Once again the story heats slowly building to a dramatic, over-the-top finish but I like that the author left some comedy in toward the end, too often in the past books the action gets ramped up to Schwarzenegger levels and it's a bit much. It's still a little crazy but more restrained here, less wild shootouts and explosions and car chases.

I look forward to Jackie's Aunt coming back in the series and am excited to see where the books head.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Happyland and Other Stories by Alexander Goodman

Happyland and Other StoriesHappyland and Other Stories by Alexander Goodman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A Twilight-Zone style story. Four young men appear naked in a white room with no doors and no walls. How did they get there? And what will they do to pass the time?

1. The Knight
A young knight’s lover dies. Will anything rouse him from his melancholy? How about a nude virgin? Complete with (IM)Moral.

2. The Princess
A young man knows how to liven up a boring party. Slip on a dress and see what the Royal Guards are up to in the bushes. Complete with (IM)Moral.

Reading this, it becomes clear the other stories are fillers. An excellent story of an amusement park named Happyland. The young guy who needs some cash, what is he willing to do to get it? The hustler with the quick temper. The park owner, being blackmailed for his gay sins, surely there’s a few minutes to spare and cruise the T-Room on the way to his meeting…
Mistaken identities, sixties vernacular and an extended session in a T-Room, an excellent work. The most erotic of Mr. Goodman’s works.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Prison Confidential by Prisoner X

Prison ConfidentialPrison Confidential by Prisoner X
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Yikes! I just finished Prison Confidential and what a doozy of an ending! I think I took one star away just for the ending as it was shocking.

The book was quite good, detailing prison life. Victor J. Banis, in the introduction says the book was smuggled out of an actual prison. He mentioned this in a recent interview as well, 40 years after the fact, so I am inclined to believe him but I do think several things were altered.

Banis admits names and locations and identifying details were altered for publication, but I think several other things were altered too. All the parts of the book are good, but put together as a whole it comes out uneven.

The book starts off while detailing daily prison life in the mid-1960's and introducing the characters who inhabit the jail. The characters are well fleshed out, although the narrator could allow a few flaws to be shown.

This moves into a long section covering prison violence and retaliation which doesn't really fit the more peaceful tone of the first half of the book. The violence escalates to riots and the explosive ending.

The book was published in 1969 and I feel most of the sex scenes were written to make them more explicit following the recent verdict of that time which allowed this description under law. A few of the scenes still play out as touching and explosions and fusions of togetherness, following the mid-sixties rules, but most get right into it, which was I imagine added afterward for titillation and as a jump on the explicit bandwagon. I think more physique magazines came out in late 1967 and 1968 than in the seven years previous, everyone jumping on the nudity bandwagon.

There's also the issue of how quickly and when someone straight would "go gay" in prison. The narrator seemed to turn pretty quickly, but I don't really understand why everyone isn't gay, so I wasn't sure how believable that aspect was.

I think the story is still relevant for today's audience and was well written, even if not always by "Prisoner X" himself.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Writing class # 1

  • Have empathy for your characters, not sympathy
  • If you’re having trouble writing from a perspective other than your own, give your characters problems you don’t have
  • Create tension. Example: Betty lives to get married and can’t wait for it. Veronica hates marriage. Instant tension.
  • Non-fiction today is “This is my problem” followed by 400 pages and then “This is how I solved it”
  • Writing that someone’s eyes are darting around says something. It’s better than just saying someone was nervous.
  • Pick an appropriate name, it can say a lot about your characters. For example, two lawyers: one named Franklin, the other named Jim-Bob.
  • Know your character: what they had for breakfast, if they chew their nails, but don’t include it all.
  • Let the reader form their own opinions. For example, “Sally was biting her way through her fourth nail of the morning” is better than “Sally was nervous”. It engages the reader, gives them something to do.
  • Know the character’s goals – long term and short.
  • To make your story relatable, include a situation that everyone’s been through. For example, have your character just miss their bus and have to wait a long time for the next one. People will be like “I’ve done that!”
  • While reading other books, try to figure out what lured you in to books you like. Make notes about that and use it in your own work.
  • When writing about yourself, make sure you come from an authentic place. Present yourself warts and all.
You can find inspiration for characters anywhere. For example, this newspaper article from yesterday’s Toronto Star.
A grieving Mississauga father fed up with the repeated vandalism of his dead son’s highway-side memorial hired a private investigator to keep watch over the site and identify who’s responsible.

On Sunday, the investigator caught a hooded man on film dismantling the site with a hammer. He reported the incident to OPP Monday.

But in a cruel twist, the act of tearing down the family’s painstakingly reassembled memorial may not be a matter police will act upon, since the site isn’t on the family’s own property.

“It’s bad enough that a person has to live with the grief,” said Tony Jasinski, whose son Thomas was killed in April 2009 when his Jeep Wrangler careened into the ditch, went airborne and slammed into the Glen Erin Dr. overpass that crosses Highway 403 in Mississauga.

“I’m struggling every day. And then to have something like this happen, it just knocks the wind out of you,” he said.

It was the 11th time since June the memorial has been damaged or entirely removed — sometimes just hours after his family rebuilt it.

Matthew Romanik, an ex-cop and president of Star Quality Investigations, filmed the unidentified man ripping down flowers and a cross from a wooden post identifying the overpass. He also removed a lantern, candles and a model angel, all of which had been erected just hours earlier by Thomas’s mother, Ursula.

“He was ripping all this stuff off and shoving it into a yellow, plastic shopping bag,” Romanik said.

The former Peel police sergeant then approached the man, who Romanik said wore dark glasses, and asked him what he was doing. Romanik said the man told him he didn’t approve of roadside memorials.

“I would say he was angry, definitely,” Romanik said.

After two previous incidents, notes — one signed “concerned citizen” — were left at the site explaining it had been destroyed because of the perpetrator’s dislike for roadside memorials. Strangely, a cross taken from another memorial near Ajax was also once left behind, Ursula said.

She said she also left notes at the site after she rebuilt it, urging whoever was wrecking the memorial to stop, or at least accept a smaller display. On Sept. 1, after it was tampered with again, she said someone had written on the note: “Stop while you’re ahead.”

Romanik’s video footage, along with a description of the hooded man’s black pickup truck and licence plate number, has been given to the OPP’s Port Credit division.

But it’s not clear whether they will pursue the lead, since police don’t take third-party complaints, said a police spokesperson. They only respond to those filed by the owners of the damaged property — in this case the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, which owns the highway.

Regardless of what police do, Jasinski says he will stop at nothing to prevent this vandalism from continuing.

“I don’t intend to have a shrine,” he says. “A little picture, a little tree growing right by the pole, that’s all I want.”

There are a lot of characters you could write as from this story. You could write as the parents, the detective, the deceased as a ghost, or the man taking the memorial down. With all the characters we understand their motivations, it’s clear why they’re doing what they’re doing, except for the man taking the memorial apart.
You could write from his perspective. What motivates him? Perhaps he knew the deceased and didn’t like him. Perhaps he had a close relative or spouse die in a car crash and seeing this every day near his house reminds him of it. Perhaps he killed someone in a car crash and is feeling the guilt. There are many different ways it could go.
1. Think about someone in your life you really care for.
2. Write a description of their hands.
3. Write about something they are doing with their hands.
4. Write a metaphor about a remote, far-away place. (Don’t get too hung up on definitions – write whatever you think a metaphor is).
5. Ask the person with the hands a question.
6. Write their response in a way that shows they weren’t really listening.
7. Write for 10 minutes.
Sarah’s hands are young but scarred. They look their 23 years but only at first glance. Look deeper and you will see more.
She twists her hands, one in the other, thinking, waiting. She wishes she weren’t here. Somewhere else. Like Hawaii.
“What are you thinking” I ask.
Sarah looks up, noticing me for the first time. She looks lost, confused.
“Sorry, what? Did you say something?”
She looks around. At me. Through me. I don’t exist.
“Nothing, never mind,” I say, and she’s already back to the hands, and the turning. Over and over. I’m not there.
How long can results take?, I wonder
I’ve seen them in the Dollarama downtown. First response, for when you need to be sure. But how can anyone be sure when your test kit costs one dollar? I suppose they may be good for teenagers, young kids on an allowance. Thirteen and fourteen year-old girls who can’t face the truth, can’t tell anyone and can’t afford a proper test. Getting all the piece of mind $1 can buy.
Sarah was there once. But this is different. She’s older now, happier. Part of a couple. We’re in a real doctor’s office now.
But there are times in life where you look at the woman and see the girl. She who she was before time marched on.
And sitting here now, I watch her waiting, and I see the youth at heart.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lemonade Stand Reviews by Michael Murray

Lemonade Stand Reviews
by Michael Murray
September 17, 2012

It’s my custom at the end of each summer to do a seasonal review of all the lemonade stands I’ve visited. This is my offering for the summer of 2012.

Donnie’s Lemonade Stand

It’s hard to know where to start in critiquing this atrociously run operation, so I’ll just begin with the lemonade. Stale powder dumped in lukewarm water, it was an utter disaster that featured clumps of lemon mix floating about the surface like little islands. Could Donnie have bothered to stir the drink a little? No, Donnie could not, because Donnie was a sausage-fingered brat with a bad haircut. Inattentive and lazy, Donnie got his nanny Malaya to do all his work, handing out Styrafoam cups (like you get in hospital) to the customers and collecting the money, the small change of which Donnie then threw at squirrels roaming about his parent’s estate. Donnie’s Lemonade Stand is an ugly and entitled money grab vacant of any sense of customer service, and could not come with a lower recommendation.

Lemonade Amy

Most Lemonade stands show no imagination. They follow a boring and predictable formula with the child’s name, followed by “Lemonade Stand,” scrawled in barely legible crayon on a piece of paper that’s been taped to a piece of Ikea furniture the parents no longer need. But Lemonade Amy promised something different. I should tell you that I loved the name, not only did it personalize the operation but it playfully conjured a counter-cultural spirit. When I arrived at Lemonade Amy’s Stand I was pleasantly surprised to find that Amy was using a reclaimed moving box, which she had decorated with painted flowers and butterflies. It was homey, like a fort you’d make from a chair and a blanket. Not only that, but Amy offered freshly squeezed lemonade, as well as pink lemonade and bottled water. Classy. Amy, a precocious six year-old with a splash of curly hair, was born for “front-of-house” work in the service industry, and her knock-knock jokes were awesome.

Amy: Knock-knock.

Me: Who’s there.

Amy: Itukup.

Me: Itukupwho?

Amy: You took a poo!!

Very funny stuff.

The lemonade may have lacked complexity, but it delivered a tart sincerity that was well appreciated on a hot summer day, as was Amy’s natural charisma and charm. Come for the lemonade, but stay for the knock-knock jokes!

Sammy’s Lemonade Stand

When I got there on a blazing hot day, Sammy had run out of lemonade. This was the height of unprofessionalism, and when I told this to the boy, raising my parched voice to make my point clear, he began to cry. This simply served to underscore my observation, which I forcefully pointed out to him. His mother—who was not a MILF and had a voice like rust—intervened and offered me a warm apple juice box, if I would just, and I quote, “Stop bullying my son and get off my property before I call the police!” The first rule in the service industry is that the customer is always right, and as I’m not a man to be bullied I called her a fascist and threw the apple juice box at her before leaving. In short, Sammy’s Lemonade Stand is amateur hour and I’d never recommend it to anyone.

Boris Lemon Drink

Boris was big for his age. Although he was only 11, he could have easily passed for 19 and he had the sophistication and entrepreneurial spirit to match. Not only was he serving premium brand lemonade, but he also had a reserve stock for adults that he had spiked with vodka. The vibe at Boris Lemon Drink was of a lawn party, with Daft Punk playing out of an old school ghetto blaster and his sister, Grusha, and a few of her other high school friends, conducting a kind of improvisational yoga class in the driveway. After making an inquiry about this to Boris, I was told that private yoga lessons were available in the garage. Boris Lemon Drink is an intriguing business very much worth a second visit.

Charlie’s Lemonade Stand

Although Charlie served competent lemonade (no ice cubes, this, a consistent failure in almost all of the stands I visited), his communication skills were completely inadequate due to the goalie mask that he wore. I could barely make out a word he said, and as I couldn’t see his face, I didn’t feel any sort of sincere connection. His mother told me he wore the mask because he was shy and once bitten on the face by a dog, but if Charlie wants to succeed, he’s going to have to get over his social anxiety.

Kelly’s Lemonade Stand

Kelly was crying when I arrived with my guests. Business was not going as well as she had hoped and she wanted to close for the day and go play. Her parents, insisting that she “learn a lesson about real life,” were forcing her to adhere to her posted hours of operations, which is merely a common courtesy to the customer. As it turned out, her lemonade was excellent and those little girl tears might be the elixir that elevates an average drink to an extraordinary one. This lemonade stand is highly recommended. A real foodie find.

Niagara Falls - September 14-15, 2012


Color Him Gay by Victor J. Banis

Color Him Gay: The Further Adventures of The Man from C.A.M.P.Color Him Gay: The Further Adventures of The Man from C.A.M.P. by Victor J. Banis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Better than the first book in the series, The Man From C.A.M.P., but still not quite camp enough for me.

These books, there's lots of fun elements but at times they take themselves too seriously. I would like to see the fun and the camp amped up.

One line: "Even in a city as liberal as San Francisco, it was still illegal for two men to dance together." This really got me. I can't begin to imagine my coming out and late teens and early twenties at this time. So it's nice that these stories of a gay secret agent who fights against the homophobes were written and published pre-Stonewall.

I liked the story more, a blackmail scandal, and the book was more fun the the previous one in the series, which focused too much on explosions, following people with tracking devices so out of date I don't even understand them, and fist-fights. This one had more sex, more camp, more double agents and more setting, taking place in San Francisco in the mid-1960's.

There was a couple of preaching parts about tolerance for homsexuals at the beginning which I didn't like and overall the tone is still a little too serious.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Madonna Plays Toronto: Oh, the Humanity

There has always been something a little off about Madonna.

I get the impression when she was less famous and more reigned in, those were the times she really shone.  I think the height of her fame was the Like a Prayer era, or even just after, with Blond Ambition or Vogue. But the video for Like a Prayer is a great starting point for this discussion.  No one wanted to see Madonna dancing with burning crosses, but they looked, it was a spectacle, the song was great, and it all became part of the show.  Despite her supposed protests, the spectacle portion of her act has increased with time and actually now takes over the show, and as in Like a Prayer, it's still a spectacle no one wants to see.

Roseanne has a similar career path, where as she got more famous, she got more control, but she also lost touch with reality and ruined her show.  Madonna has crossed that line herself, and there's really no going back from that point. 

Last night's show at the ACC, in support or her new album, MDNA, was a train wreck.  Elton John has been talking a lot of crap about Madonna lately and she proved him right last night.

MDNA is Madonna's second worst album, and a great example of what I've been saying.  When a 55 year old mother of four decides to name her album after a recreational drug, where is someone in her life telling her no?  When, with her worst album, American Life, Madge decides to protest the Iraqi war by doing a rap about yoga (!?!?!?), someone needs to smack her in the face and say "Look, bitch!  You're ruining your career!"

A smack in the face was sorrowly missing last night.

The 8 pm show opened 2 hours and 20 minutes late with a group of monks swinging a large lantern over the crowd while chanting for ten minutes.

Just let that sink in a minute.

Madge finally shows up in a leather cat suit with a large firearm and sings some song from her new album that no one in the whole place knows.  She shoots her fake gun at everyone with blood splattering on the screen for 10 minutes, switching guns as she goes.

This ends with her heading back to a sleazy motel and sitting on a bed drinking a bottle of whiskey while shooting more people as they try to enter her room and singing "My love's a revolver - Do you want to get happy?" which makes no sense.

Why she would think that anyone would want to see this is beyond me.  No one did.  It was a train wreck. She has completely lost touch with reality.

Moving on thankfully from there, we get Madonna in a cheerleader outfit.  Picture an evening at grandmother's house where she starts talking about her glory days and how she used to be a cheerleader in high school.  Everyone just keeps their mouth shut and humours the old broad - for a while.  Until she says "Here, let me get in to my costume and do one of my old routines!"  This is when everyone comes to life and says thing like "No, gramma" or "Stop, gramma" or "Oh, the humanity!"

This is what the crowd was chanting last night.

Madge sang several songs from her new terrible album, dropping very occasionally into hits like "Holiday" which she played for only 30 seconds with a whole new beat and missing most of the words.

The highlight for me was seeing her son Rocco looking very grown up.

At about the hour mark she launched into most of the song Vogue while wearing something slightly resembling a pointed bra.  Even though she ruined the ending by cutting it off too quick, this was the only one of the five hits she sang last night which even resembled the original and I knew that was the best it was going to get. We left about 11:30, vowing never to return. As we were leaving we heard her singing a song about visiting the candy store, as "sugar is sweet". A candy store.  A 55 year old woman.  Yikes.

Many in the stands last night were women, about 40, wanting a night to escape their day and step back in time for a minute to their youth.  They weren't getting that.

Many on the floor last night were gay men who came to see their idol be the empowering feminist singing her disco songs.  They weren't getting that.

What everyone got was a tired woman looking older than her years, sitting on a bed and drinking Whiskey straight from the bottle while shooting people in the head and splattering their blood.

Oh, the humanity.

The end of an era.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Fab magazine

Re: Bitchy letter from John Samuels

I love Kids on TV. They're my favourite band. I think it's so cool that you can go to a concert and actually talk to the band afterwards, it's like getting to meet rock stars. I have a real appreciation for local musicians and artists and writers, they're telling my story and we share similar experiences. Thank you for promoting them, they're the coolest band on earth!

As for the John Samels letter, Mary, take a pill. I am tired of people saying "I wouldn't touch" your magazine, and then talking about the last issue they read.

For this bar magazine, in between the ads for porn and laser hair removal, he wants to see "an article that discusses possibilities for all marganilized people to come together." Perhaps this would be better left to Xtra, which covers this topic every issue. One does not write to Modern Bride magazine asking why they are so few articles for seniors.

Love your magazine, love the local coverage that really makes a difference to my life, love the pictures and the sense of fun. Keep it up.

Adam Dunn, Toronto

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Signed: The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst

I met Dirk Hayhurst at the Jays shop in Sears in the Eaton Centre in Toronto a couple of years ago.  He was recently signed to the Blue Jays as a relief pitcher brought up from the minors.
I had read a few internet articles he had written and they all were hilarious and a great insight into modern baseball life so I bought this book and he signed it.  Haven't had a chance to read it yet.