Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Spider - possible fakelore ?

According to the supposedly German (or Ukrainian or Finnish) legend, the Christmas spider story is about some spiders who decorate a Christmas tree with their webs during the night, and Jesus, not wanting to disappoint the people in the house or insult the spiders' artwork, turning the webs into golden threads.
Christmas trees were first introduced into Canada at a party given by Frederika Charlotte Louise von Massow, Baroness (Freifrau) Riedesel zu Eisenbach in Sorel during 1781. She and her husband had just been released by the American revolutionaries, after spending years in captivity after being captured  while commanding German and First Nations troops in New York during the Revolutionary War.

The spider was bought at the annual Christmas market at the Maple Leaf – Almrausch Club near Ottawa.

(Update, Dec 17 - I've heard back from some Germans (and a Finn) that they have never heard of this story, and all the references to this legend are in English - I myself only got the story from the vendor's table, and that was only a few years ago. I also thought that spiders would be dormant in houses in Germany at Christmas back when houses were only heated with fires.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Panasonic RQ-84 Karaoke Songmate with cassettes and 8 tracks

In Value Village, Cornwall, Ontario, Dec 9, 2014

Looks like new! About the size of a stage amplifier. I've read that it dates to 1974, but it can't be that old, from looking at the paper label still attached to the front. It has two 8 tracks, one for play and one for rewind, and cassettes for recording so I guess the backing music was on the 8 tracks, surprisingly, since 8 tracks were being replaced by cassettes by the mid 70s. It has the original mike, and it appears to be unused! Karaoke bars didn't really become popular in Canada until the 1980s, so I wonder how this came to Canada. It has a CSA sticker on the back, which means it had been approved for sale in Canada, so maybe it was a demo item that had been sent here and was never used.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Grand juries in Canada

Grand juries, of the same type that gave the controversial decisions in the Ferguson and Staten Island police shootings, used to be used in Canada, the last one in 1984. In Ontario they were 24 person juries that in addition to deciding whether to send someone to trial would do things like checking on how the county jail was being administered. I was in a old courtroom in Ontario (maybe in Woodstock, but I've been to lots!) that had two jury boxes, with 12 places each, and the bailiff said that it was for when different juries in two trials would hear the same evidence, but it must have been for when they had a grand jury hearing. They were phased out in favor of preliminary hearings in front of a judge. Grand juries are supposed to have the problem that they would send almost everybody to trial except police officers, since the jurors did not have any legal experience that would tell them whether a case should go to trial or not, and, except for police, they think anyone before them were likely guilty.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Scots Jacket

Vendor said it was 100 years old - label was from Glasgow. Probably something that a band member of the local Glengarry Highland regiment wore.

5070 County Road 31 (Bank Street)
Morrisburg ON

Snowy Owl

Snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus)
On utility pole by old Highway 2, Ontario, at Morrisburg Airport, next to Upper Canada Golf Course, Morrisburg, 3.45pm, November 30, 2014. Bird is camera shy if approached on foot, but can get fairly close (15m) in car.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Round Church (really an octogon) Dalhousie Mills, Ontario

St. Andrew's United Church, called the round church, really an octogon. 21873 Round Church Drive, Dalhousie Mills, Canada - the interior walls that seem to have been added later make the layout of the interior of the worship area of the church rectangular.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fall colors, October 15, 2014

Higginson Tower, Vankleek Hill
Trinity Graveyard, 2nd St., Cornwall
Acorns, probably red oak - these can be eaten, but they have a lot of tannin so they should be leached in water.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Maple Reflections

Joe Nickell speaking in Montreal

Joe Nickell points out the error.

 I didn't get much of what the guy was saying to Joe - I'd only moved in when I saw Joe making that gesture and I wanted to capture it - they sounded like they were religious but I couldn't be sure. Joe was immediately afterwards charming to a little girl who wanted his autograph - he did a bunch of magic tricks with a wooden nickel he gave her. He gave me one after I told him I'd interviewed him for a story I wrote about the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull.
There should be video of the presentations some time at this address:
Here's a clip of Joe explaining the Phoenix Arizona lights and the argument from ignorance:

Birds, fall 2014

 Golden Eagle next to dead fish (could be immature bald eagle)
 Great Egret, Blue Heron
Great Egret

Woolly Bear

Rusty No Thumbs

Rusty reaches for knobs and handles when he wants something open

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Old and new energy technology

Oil well and wind turbines in fields by Highway 3. The crane was not moving, and looks quite old, so perhaps it's dry. This part of Ontario is about 50km from the first commercial oil well in the world, in Oil Springs, Ontario..

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Radios of yesteryear

McHaffie Flea Market

5070 Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry 31

Morrisburg, ON K0C 1X0



turns into Passion fruit - bit of a surprise - first time it's happened - this one's label said the fruit was inedible, but I'll see.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Grandfather clock 8 track stereo and turntable!

This was in a Value Village shop - sorry, it's long gone now!  Please note I have no information other than what's here about this item. If you have one for sale, leave contact information in your comment, otherwise nobody has any way of getting in touch with you!

An ordinary 70s version of a grandfather clock? Hardly!

 Inside was a state of the art home entertainment centre, with 8 track and...
...a turntable!
label on back - looks like it was assembled in Canada, I'd guess for a department store like Eaton's or Sears. 4D sound AM FM Stereo Receiver, 8-track and turntable Morse Electro Products Corps, made the brand Electrophonic, seems to have had a plant in Brooklyn, NY. in the 1960s and 70s. 4D Sound System just meant it could be switched to run a second pair of speakers, not quadrophonic sound