Hi all, journalist photographer, Blogging since 1996. Written for Toronto Star, Cité Libre, Toronto and Ottawa Sun and Ottawa Citizen. email email@example.com, enjoy!
Sunday, October 31, 1999
Go-go dancer, Plastique Lounge, 128 Peter Street, Toronto, Hallowe'en, 1999
Wednesday, October 6, 1999
To do list
THINGS TO DO TODAY
Save World from nuclear destruction
Call Porky Schneider
Actual entry for Oct 6, 1999
Thursday, September 30, 1999
COUPLE FINISHES CROSS-COUNTRY TREK STARTED IN 1967 IN 1923 CAR
COUPLE FINISHES CROSS-COUNTRY TREK STARTED IN 1967 IN 1923 CAR
copyright 1999 Mark Bellis WOODSTOCK, SEPT 30, 1999 - It took more than 32 years, but a Woodstock couple has completed a cross-Canada tour in a car built three-quarters of a century ago in Toronto.
"We were proud - there was a real feeling of accomplishment" said Betty and Lou Phelps, speaking pretty much in chorus on their rambling spread near Woodstock that has two stables filled with car parts, tools, road signs, a 1909 model T, an antique fire engine, and a 1923 Star that was the Phelps first classic car which they drove back from Newfoundland this summer to finish a trip started in 1967.
The Star was part of a convoy of vintage cars that started off from Victoria in 1967 to celebrate Canada's centennial. Betty, Lou and their three girls could only take 6 weeks off for the trip in 1967 and had to interrupt the trip in Montreal at the Expo 67 world fair.
Lou Phelps bought the car in the early 60s from a St. Thomas man whose wife told him to sell it after it cost him $ 500 to get the fenders repaired, a process which involved delicate soldering with lead and tin. Lou paid $ 700 for the whole car, which coincidently was the suggested retail price of a new Star in 1923.
Rebuilding the Star took a few years, but Lou said it was not hard finding parts, as the four cylinder Continental motor in the Star was used in many other agricultural and industrial applications and some are still in service today, as are the bearings and other parts. The clincher tires, resembling fat bicycle tires, are also still sold commercially. Lou and Betty had to make a new fabric roof, do some body work, and replace the original cast iron pistons with steel ones.
The Star was a "working man's car", Betty says. It was a bit more comfortable and expensive than the model T Ford that it was built to compete against, and had room for a farmer or mechanic, his wife in the front and a few kids in the back, which is exactly how Lou and Betty travelled part-way across Canada in 1967, with their three daughters as part of a convoy that started.
Lou, however, calls the Star a "Courtin' car", since the front passenger was wedged against the stick shift on a narrow bank seat. "You couldn't help touching the girl's leg!".
No sooner had the convoy started off with three dozen other vintage car enthusiasts in Victoria than a passer-by offered the Phelps' steel disk wheels from an old Star to replace the wooden spoked ones they feared might break in the Rockies.
The Star completed both legs of the journey across Canada without any major mechanical failure apart from a brush having to be replaced on the generator.
The Star could only make 12 mph going through the Rockies because it relied on a vacuum tank that forced the gas from the main tank to the engine and would start to lose the vacuum going up a slope at high altitudes. On flat terrain, cruising speed was 30 mph, but the Phelps' prefer to run during the daytime and be off the road by 4 pm to avoid sharing the road with fast drivers.
The Phelps' family camped with the other classic car drivers during the 1967 trip and their three daughters, ages 2, 6 and 11 made life-long friends with the other drivers children.
During the 1999 trip, the Phelps' stayed at bed and breakfasts and participated in classic car shows.
"We were proud - it was a real feeling of accomplishment after 32 year to be able to look back and say we did it.".
Betty and Lou and their children still drive the Star and their other antiques in rallies and car shows. Their son David, who was conceived on the 1967 trip ("Another centennial project!" Betty jokes) collects antique fire engines and their daughter Patricia is a curator at Annadale, a 19th century mansion now a historical site in Tillsonburg.
The Star was built in Leaside, now part of Toronto, by Durant Motors, a company started by Billy Durant, a flamboyant Michigan entrepreneur who had founded General Motors at the start of this century, but lost control of it for the second time and was trying to recoup his fortune.
Durant went broke again, and finished his days running a bowling alley and diner in Flint, Michigan, the town that General Motors pretty much built. But so many Stars were sold that the Canadian branch plant was able to survive and became independent of Durant as the Dominion Motors Company. Run with a patriotic bent, It began building the Frontenac, a more luxurious car named after Count Frontenac, Governor-General of New France. The Frontenac was rolled out, literally to fanfare, at the 1931 CNE. The roll-out featured actors dressed as the Count and 17th Century French courtiers. But the Frontenac did not sell well during the depression and the company ceased production in the early Thirties.
There were about 500 Frontenacs built - Gord Curl of Guelph owns a 6-70 which still runs and is interested in speaking to anyone who has information or memoribilia about the Leaside Plant and the cars that were built there. His phone is 519-823-5837. Curl is the Eastern Canada representative of the Durant Motors Automobile Club, which includes owners of Durants, De Vauxs, Rugbys, Flints as well as the Stars and Frontenacs. The club is headed by:
Lance Haynes ,
4672 Mount Gaywas Drive
San Diego, CA 92117-3927
Durant Motors Automobile Club http://www.durantmotors.com
Wednesday, September 29, 1999
Plutonium on way to Canada
CORNWALL, SEPT 29 - Neither the Mohawk reserve of Akwesasne or the City of Cornwall want a shipment of plutonium from Russian nuclear weapons scheduled to arrive in their community before the end of the year.
"Why does it have to be here?" asked Mike Mitchell, Grand Chief of the Canadian side of the Mohawk reserve which is across from Cornwall at a conference hosted by the federal government to address community concerns in Cornwall Wednesday.
132 grams of plutonium will arrive by ship from St. Petersburg, Russia sometime in the near future, said Brian Moore, director of the Nuclear Energy Division of Natural Resources Canada. The plutonium, mixed with uranium, will be taken by road from Cornwall to the nuclear research centre at Chalk River, north of Ottawa and used in test in a nuclear reactor along with plutonium from American nuclear weapons which will arrived from Los Alamos via road through Sault Ste-Marie at about the same time.
Moore said the plutonium cannot produce a nuclear explosion and is shipped in a special disaster resistant container with a locator beacon that will allow it to be recovered if lost underwater.
Mitchell said the shipments would further degrade the image of Akwesasne, which has suffered for years from violence associated with smuggling and illegal gambling and would frustrate their attempts to attract legitimate business investments. Cornwall Mayor Brian Sylvester said he and Cornwall city council feared that the experimental shipments, three in all, from Russia, would lead to Cornwall becoming the port of entry for Russian Plutonium if Canada started a commercial program to use plutonium from weapons in nuclear reactors. The Interational Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Mayors' Conference, which represents communities near the shipment routes and the council of the Mohawk reserve at Kahnawake on the Seaway near Montreal by which the shipment from Russia will come have both passed resolutions opposing the shipments.
Russia and the United Started have declared they have a surplus of 50 tonnes each of plutonium from weapons they have destroyed under the START I nuclear arms reduction program signed in 1991, and Sylvester worried more of the 50 tonnes would pass through Cornwall.
But Moore said that Canada has no commercial reactor licensed to use the plutonium fuel being tested at Chalk River.
Thursday, July 29, 1999
Stuffed Duck taken into custody
copyright 1999 Mark Bellis
GUELPH JULY 29 - "Why a duck?" is the question that a Guelph curio dealer is asking himself after being served with a summons for putting a stuffed mallard up for sale in his shop window.
"They're environmentally friendly, once you get over the fact that someone's slaughtered them." says Ray Mitchell, 37, about the other animals in his shop, which he says are legal. Mitchell runs an antique shop on the main street of Guelph. The shop features a line of stuffed animals and birds that has included a boar's head, a cougar, muskrats, deer heads, bears, alligators, several frogs, including one riding a unicycle, two skeletal human feet and one elephant's foot, which he does not display. "It's kind of gross - they just took the foot and threw away the rest". But it was the mallard that he put in the window that got him into trouble July 11, when he was served with a summons which charged that he did "expose for sale a migratory Game Bird - to wit: one mallard duck ".
Rick Pratt, Manager of Wildlife Conservation for Environment Canada, says that one of his officers saw the duck on display for sale in the window and charged Mitchell under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, which he says covers most migratory birds, even the common mallard and robin, and prohibits their ownership or sale, even if they are stuffed. "Charges for selling are not common" for stuffed birds, says Pratt, but do happen, and even sales of feathers of migratory birds attached to hats may be illegal.
Mitchell could face a fine of up to 50,000 or five years in jail.
Mitchell says his other animals, which he has posed in a protest group in his window under a "Free Huey" poster, are legal, except for another mallard. "Huey", the mallard that caused the problem in thefirst place, remains in custody, pending the trial.
Mitchell says his collection are like his friends. "He's like one of the family" he says, refering to a black bear cub posed next to a log. "He watches TV with us, he likes everything we put on (the TV)" and says his wife and four kids don't "actually mind" the taxidermified wildlife, which includes a monkey's paw that he says his grandfather got in the Amazon in 1910. "I never have made a wish on it - you could make a wish for publicity and get charged with having a mallard duck!" he quips.
Mitchell says he has sold around 50 stuffed mallards during his 20 years as an antique dealer.
Monday, May 17, 1999
Diary 1999 - Right Here, Right Now
RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW
Mayish - Atom and his package... review coming up.....
News reports - school and bus stop....
July 1, Canada Day I stopped to watch the fireworks from my car. An Old Old Woman watch TV in the house in front of me. Fireworks going off behind her, band playing string of pearls. After a few minutes she hobbles out, having heard them.....
July 3 - The neighbour has a cut out wooden figure of a little boy with a painted yellow wire coming from the crotch which indicates a stream of urine, I believe. May go to BC....
July 9 Little sunfish, in the shallows, standing guard over a pile of rocks, perhaps it had built it for eggs? It would bite at my hand when I put it near....
July 10 - Sat next to Gino Empry at theatre...... yes, even more unpleasant than Frank magazine makes him out to be..... promoter of events and people, little man, in 50s, with ring that looks like a 1 oz ingot of gold and more gold everywhere topped by artificial hair......saw Greg MacDonald from Loogie at a restaurant where he's the Maitre d'... everyone's underemployed.....went to see the Rusty Nails again...... beautiful peppermint pattie sort of girl bumped into me, looked at me...... achhh, couldn't think of anything to say... ran into two women I did know from 5 year ago..... old.tired, like myself and drunker....they weren't interested in me... Later - worked! Gay Pride thing in London - oddball protester in London blonde guy who looked just like a Tom of Finland character wearing a Blue (hmmmmm.... one of Ernst Zundel's (Noted producer of holocaust denial material in Toronto) boys??) helmet and tight t-shirt. Lubby, the pint-sized revolutionary and part-time wigger is there and ragging on the anti-gays while he films them - later he tells me some of them were supposed to have been Zundel fans too.
Sat in Liquor store parking lot to write story. Guy comes up to me. Wants to know where the nearest gas station is. I tell him. "I've been there, won't give me a gas can. Got my wife and kids with me. Come down from Sudbury. Walked to 5 gas stations." I'm about to give him my gas can when he want money..... I come back to the parking lot later and see him sitting with his wife and kids, which all seem to be adult male alcoholics." I see 'Run, Lola, Run" a German film. Near Hwy 7 in subdivision with Chinese 'massage parlours' tucked away in strip mall. Three or four of them...Chicago -railway platforms people all black then all white..... reminds me of a navy frigate I saw entering the Eisenhower locks back from the Gulf with the latest model guns on it and white sailors sitting on one side, black sailors on the other, white officers at one end and the only black officer standing by himself......vodka in a plastic water bottle walking through the graveyard.....
|Wallace Idaho, Publisher of the Idaho News Observer|
Wallace, Idaho has The Oasis Bordello Museum, which was a brothel that was in use up to 1988. Brothels were always illegal in Idaho but tolerated in many communities, especially in the northern part where there were a lot of mining towns - this was on the main street, so everyone in town would have known it was there.
|matchbooks and other promotional items - some just had the first name of the prostitute and a phone number|
Harleys begin to appear in great number after crossing the Mississippi into Minnesota.......(2018 - Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in North Dakota - passed it looking at hundreds of thousands of Harleys lined up) I start eating those little ma huang pills that truckers take.......in S. Dakota town with Corn Palace.....looking at teen agers driving around in pick ups - the ones in fron gesture at a black kid walking down the street in a daze- I ignore thinking they're annoying the town negro....one looks at me, points at his eyes and points at him.... looking over I see he's pissing on the wall....somewhere further on in Livingston find a cafe, next to a museum, something making skeletons of dinosaurs, sabre-toothed beavers (no joke) ..... Seattle..Tacoma.. Fort Lewis looks like a dreary place to grow up....Tillamook Naval Air Base - old blimp hangar - gigantic structure - filled with old planes -- see sand dunes, grey whales, sea lions giant redwoods......back through whore ridden Vancouver, the old whorehouses of Idaho...one now a museum ...great lakes, an old old man who collected strangely shaped stones pressed from clay.
September - Punch had stroke.. mother saying to him in gentle voice we all have to die sometime... He got better.
Big double rainbow Sept 29 - Handled weapon grade Plutonium..... Russia and USA want to ship the stuff to Chalk River for a test to see if they can use the material from old bombs they've dismantled under arms treaties....little microdot sample - the man said you could just walk into the facility in Moscow where they store 50 tonnes of the stuff after passing one man who didn't even check their passes....
Funny trip to an antique mart in Cambridge - top floor of an old factory - errgghhh lots of racist Black Sambo memoribilia - also there was a tree trunk carved into the virgin and child by a Spaniard living in Hamilton who'd died intestate - M. Girona - he'd also carved the fence posts of his home, the man who'd bought it - he said the government appointed executors had destroyed the posts. At the mall I saw a young man who was disguised rather well as an old man. A church was doing a human scavenger hunt and he was hiding in plain sight..... Nov 5 - Saw Ken Wiwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa's son - he said that Nelson Mandela had house built in shape of prison he was in South Africa - he thought it might be that great men like Saro-Wiwa and Mandela sometimes have great lives because they can't face home.
Saturday, April 17, 1999
Man converts car to run on used oil from french fries.
WATERLOO, APRIL 17, 1999 - A Waterloo man hopes that running his car on oil derived from the cannabis plant and other vegetable oil is more than a pipe dream.
"Hemp's the best vegetable oil" for running his car, says Tony Giovinazzo, self described "Environmental Mechanic" who shows off his 1986 VW Golf Diesel at hemp, alternative energy and environmental festivals around Southwest Ontario.
The Golf is powered by jugs of vegetable oil that came straight off the store shelf and sit on the floor boards on the passenger side with a siphon tube running out of them and into the fuel line. All that Giovinazzo had to do to convert was install a diverter on his fuel line that he salvaged from a used truck for $ 50 and drill some holes. The engine must be started and allowed to run down before stopping on regular diesel fuel since the vegetable oil will clog the injectors if the engine is cold.
Although retail vegetable oil is several times more expensive than diesel fuel, Giovinazzo says that if he can find oil that restaurants have used and are throwing out, he can ride for free. Some vegetable oil used commercially has dimethyl polysolaxane, an antifoaming agent used to prevent spillovers when cold wet food is added to hot oil, and Giovinazzo avoids this type of vegetable oil because some sources say it can foul the engine, but he has also heard from other sources that this is not a critical problem. He has yet to experiment with dimethyl polysolaxane added oil.
Vegetable oil can be refined into 'biodiesel' by removing the glycerides, which cause cold starting problems, from the oil, which can be done at home by adding lye and methanol to heated oil. The glycerides separate out and can be used in soap making. Giovinazzo says he has made and used 5 litres of biodiesel using a recipe he downloaded from the internet. Biodiesel is available commercially in Europe and Japan and in limited amounts in North America. In March, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy announced they had developed a more efficient method of producing a higher grade of biodiesel from vegetable oil.
Joshua and Kaia Tickell, a U.S. couple, have been touring the US in a biodiesel powered Winnebago that had its own mobile refinery for making biodiesel from used oil donated from restaurants.
Giovinazzo got the idea from an article from High Times, a magazine for those interested in recreational and commercial uses of marijuana, that was given him by Joe Stroebl, an Ontario hemp grower. Commercial growing of hemp, a term used to describe varieties cannabis too low in THC to get anyone high, was legalized in Canada last year. It is primarily being grown to produce fibre, but the seeds also produce oil.
Giovinazzo says his best mileage on the highway on canola oil is 24 km/l. He has driven about 720 km on vegetable oil and biodiesel.
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Monday, February 1, 1999
BLACK ICE DETECTOR DEVELOPED
BLACK ICE DETECTOR DEVELOPED
copyright 1999, 2015 - Mark Bellis
BOSTON, FEB 1, 1999 - Two Ontario inventors have developed a device that may stop deadly skids before they start.
In 1983, high school chemistry teacher Don Giles was riding in a semi truck driven by his brother's-in-law which was carrying with 15 tons of lumber to a mill in Pennsylvania when it hit a patch of ice and began fishtailing on the curve of a mountain road. "It was only 10 or 15 seconds before he got it under control but it seemed like forever." says Giles, now retired after 32 years of teaching. Giles wrote down in his journal that day, Christmas Eve, that there had to be a way to detect black ice before a vehicle started skidding.
He started working on ideas in earnest after three of his friends all died on the same winter morning in 1994 in separate auto accidents caused by black ice. He developed an idea with a former student, David Kemp, now an electronic engineering graduate working for a software company in Simcoe. The two started improvising a device that uses infrared beams to detect black ice, oil slicks or water over 1/8 of an inch deep, which they say is the depth where a car's tires can hydroplane, sending the car into a skid. The device, called the Black Ice Sentinel, is mounted facing downwards on the chassis and shines an invisible beam onto the road, which reflects back when it strikes a smooth, shiny surface. The inventors admit it will give 'false positive' alerts when it crosses things like railway tracks, expansion joints and sometimes even white lines.
Much of the work was done in Giles' crowded workshop in back of his home, which Giles designed himself, in Boston, near Simcoe. Giles made the lenses for the detectors by melting bits of clear Lexan rods that Kemp's wife used to build wedding cakes, into a mold lined with Pam, an aerosol cooking oil substitute, and Giles made the photoresists for the electronic boards in his own darkroom. The inventors also built their own calibration system, a turntable the size of a family pizza divided into six sections, paved with different types of asphalt and cement, that can be chilled and covered in ice or water to simulate different road conditions.
Four of the prototypes are mounted on the bumper of Giles' 1990 Toyota Camry for road tests.
The inventors have it set up to light up a bright green light when the outside temperature is below zero, a yellow light when the car passes over a shiny patch at above zero temperatures and red when it passes over shiny patches below zero.
Giles says that black ice often forms on "Nice spring and fall mornings - it's basically frozen dew." and that people go into skids before they are even aware of the road being slippery.
He said he was driving one morning with the air temperature at 40 F when the detector light up and he slowed down, with other cars "flying by me", but says on his return journey he counted three cars that had slipped off the road due to black ice.
Conversely, he says the device can detect when a surface is not slippery - he says he came to a hill that had been covered with frozen rain and he thought the hill would be too slippery to get up, but found that the detector wasn't going off, and that he could climb the hill easily. He said the frozen rain had formed a rough surface that his tires had no trouble gripping. "I just accelerated up the hill" he said.
The device can detect ice through a thin layer of snow, and the sentinel began going off as soon as he left the garage on a test drive, since his driveway was so slippery under a new coat of fallen snow it was tricky to walk down.
The inventors say getting to the prototype stage cost $ 23,000, $ 18,000 of which was spent on getting the US patent, and the Canadian patent is still pending. Kemp says doing the patent search is far easier now that recent US patents are available online.
White Line Distributors, which supplies Truck parts, will be fitting out the test prototypes on some of its customer trucks. The inventors say they have a temporary distribution deal worked out with the company, but are still looking for distributors for the auto, bus and emergency vehicle industry. Interested parties should call 519-443-8068