Authors 574 results

The old hacks who make The Ex-Press the glorious, old-school rag that it is.

Plum delicious!

Unpretentious, homey, rustic, yummy... Upside-Down Polenta Plum Cake is a concoction without affectation but plenty of taste thanks to caramelized fruit and just enough crunch from cornmeal to complete the caky texture By Louise Crosby Let me say right off the bat that I’m not that fond of fancy cakes layered with fillings and covered in sweet icing. Nor am I mad passionate crazy about chocolate, in a cake or otherwise. I prefer plain, simple buttery cakes fragrant with vanilla or citrus or spice, possibly containing poppy seeds, nuts or fruit, possibly with a nice caramel glaze. Unpretentious, homey, rustic, delicious. This Upside-Down Polenta Plum Cake, from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now, is one such cake. A batter with a touch of crunchy corn meal is spooned over a syrupy plum compote, then baked to saturate the two layers together into a kind of pudding cake deliciousness. Once out of the oven and cooled slightly, it is flipped over onto a plate, a thick jammy layer ...

The Sick Days – Part 4

Getting the scoop of my life The rheumatologist increases the dose of prednisone to 80 mg, enough to medicate an asthmatic elephant, but fails to mention the life-expectancy side of a lupus diagnosis By Shelley Page This is how the cover-up began. I showed up for my summer newspaper internship, signed some papers, found a desk, took an assignment, only cried in the bathroom. And after writing 1,000 words for a sidebar on a school board matter that should have been just 400—the Province is a tabloid–I slipped out to await my mother, driving up Granville Street in her Ford Pinto. That first week, and many after, my mom spent three hours each day as a chauffeur driving to and from the Province. She deserved a medal for driving; me, for acting. I didn’t tell anybody, editor or the veteran journalists sitting on either side of me, that I’d just been tentatively diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease. Operating instructions, please The truth is, I had ...

Mob Rule: Part 6

Our hero makes dinner plans for Meyer Lansky and sings the praises of Ossobuco, but thanks to a date with a lady friend, he's got more on his plate than veal shanks   By John Armstrong Since I’d now given my own car and staff away, I needed to replace them. I called one of the praetorians over from where he was waiting with the rest of my bodyguard detail. He was a few years older than me, maybe 30, and gave an impression of being more than just a set of muscles in a suit. “What’s your name.” I asked and he replied immediately:  “Ricardus Castellana, Mr. Kennedy - Ricco.” In general, when you single someone out of a group they usually react in one of two ways; either with that ‘uh oh, what did I do?’ look, or else they look eager, interested. Ricco looked happily expectant. A good sign. I didn’t know him at all but like I said, how could I? Like any big business, I know the people directly above me and below me and a few in ancillary positions. But ...

The Sick Days: Part 3

Who's afraid of the wolf? An aspiring reporter gets her first shot at daily journalism, along with a diagnosis that demands a daily dose of prednisone By Shelley Page If home is where the heart is, what about the hurt? Would it follow me there, too? Upon my return from university, I sat in my straight jacket of pain watching my parents take action. My dad pulled out the plaid sofa bed in the basement so I could sleep upright by leaning on the back of the couch. He moved the TV close, pushed the shuffleboard out of the way. My mom brought me warm towels to pack around my chest. When that didn’t ease the hurt, she wrapped her arms around me, trying to minimize the ripping pain that came with each breath. They’d booked me an appointment for the following day with our family doctor, but I was without hope. After five doctors and 18 months, I already viewed the medical profession with doubt and disappointment. But as I unspooled my story to our GP, he didn’t ...

Mob Rule: Part 5

Our anti-hero Jack Kennedy meets mob ruler Meyer Lansky, 'a rodent in golf clothes' who comes on like a Mensch, but is more like a snake on a hot rock -- lightning fast and ready to bite. By John Armstrong Chapter Five Remembering what he’d said at the airport, when we got to the office I took Meyer’s arm as we entered the building. “Let me show you to the executive washroom, Mr. Lansky. You probably want to clean up a bit after the trip.” “Thank God,’ he said. “I’m ready to plotz right here.” Charley and I waited outside the door until he came back out, then escorted him to Frank’s office. The two men said nothing when they saw each other but Frank hurried out from behind his desk and met Meyer for a hug that went on for some time. I once saw a documentary about the Civil War in a history class. It had some silent footage of the reenactment of a battle some 50 years later, with the original participants brought together again, the survivors ...

We’re Doomed! A Star Wars Guide to Canada’s Election

The force of apathy awakens, but if you see it as Darth Harper versus Justin Trudeauwalker, things almost look dramatic From the Sith Lord Mike Duffy's allegiance with Darth Harper to rebel insurgents sporting plaid shirts and carrying a cup of Timmy's in their holsters, the election has turned into a stellar war of ideologies featuring a leader who lives behind a mask By Chris Lackner Now, in a galaxy far, far too close. There. Got your attention? My Star Wars ploy worked? Now stay focused, Canada. When it comes to our election, I know most of you are either bored, indifferent, disgusted – or blissfully unaware it even started. Much like the Death Star, I’m going to blow your mind in one shot. With only months to go before the franchise reboot, we can all agree the space opera is waaaaay more interesting than politics. But what if our election was a Star Wars movie?! (Given the cookie-cutter dialogue of recent debates, it already feels like the election was written ...

Yogi Berra: More than Mr. Malaprop

The late legend was a perennial MVP and one of few good reasons to root for the New York Yankees Sure, Mantle might hit a homer, but he might just as easily strike out. Berra, notorious for swinging at balls so far out of the strike zone they might have been in Poughkeepsie, almost never fanned – just 414 times in 19 seasons, writes Rod Mickleburgh By Rod Mickleburgh A few words on the late, great Lawrence Peter Berra, known to one and all, except Yankee manager Casey Stengel, as  Yogi. The Old Perfessor always referred to him as “my man” or “Mr. Berra.” It was his show of respect for the team’s catcher and long-time clean-up hitter. While others might mock and deride Berra’s squat stature, homely mug and lack of verbal sophistication, wise Casey knew just how key Berra was to the success of the Yankees in those long-ago years when they seemed to win the World Series every year. From behind the plate, he guided the team’s often far from brilliant pitching staff ...

Mob Rule: Part 4

By John Armstrong I was still giving off steam from the shower when Joey hit the buzzer and when I pushed the intercom button on my end, that unmistakable Red Hook honk came over the speaker loud enough to push me into the far wall: “Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight - And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught the Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light. Get outta bed, you sleepyhead.” Try that at 7 a.m. with a full-on dese, dem and dose Brooklyn accent, in a voice that sounded like he’d been gargling with broken lightbulbs and molasses. If Vanessa wanted to hear the real thing, here he was. Crazy Joe Gallo, the one and only. God didn’t dare make two of him. They called him Crazy Joe because to almost everyone in the business, he had to be. This is a guy who not only does business with the moulinyans, he’s friends with them. And when he’s not up in Harlem listening to jazz and smoking reefer with the moolies, ...

Mob Rule: Part 3

Going to the mattresses John Armstrong's novel continues with a quick lesson in mob warfare and an ancient saying that prophecies a turbulent tomorrow     By John Armstrong Vito Genovese is, like my uncle, one of the last of the originals, the men who founded the organization and saved the country when it was ready to go up in flames. Maranzano, Lansky, Siegel, Costello, Anastasia – they were giants, let’s face it. And a good thing they were there, too, or we might all be speaking Russian or Chinese. Personally, I find English hard enough. I found Frank in his office, on the phone, with a dozen soldiers scattered throughout the foyer and gunmen posted around the mezzanine. There were more outside the front doors, young, tight-jawed men with black eyes, hard as stones from the river bottom. For them, this was an opportunity to shine, to be noticed by the higher-ups. It’s hard for a gunsel to make an impression when there’s no shooting going on. Frank ...

It’s not jazz camp ’til I cry

Sleep deprivation and the democratization of the arts Charley Gordon finds his groove at jazz camp but suffers whiplash on re-entry into the real world, where the noise isn't always joyful and the pros are competing for gigs with the wide-eyed amateurs By Charley Gordon LAC MCDONALD, Quebec -- It’s about two hours before the final concert is to begin at the jazz camp. I’ve finished warming up in one of a dozen cabins set in the woods beside Lac McDonald in the Laurentians. I step out and hesitate on the step. There’s a light breeze and but music is everywhere, floating on it. From every cabin comes music — an accidental meshing of saxophones, pianos, guitars, basses, voices, each playing something different yet somehow blending into a complicated melody that has a simple theme: nothing matters but music and all’s right with the world.   This particular jazz camp, run by an organization called Ottawa JazzWorks (disclosure:I’m a former board member), ...