Saturday, December 31, 2022

Lucky Pigs for the New Year!

A ladybug landing on you is also good luck! Four leaf clover obvious

Glücksschweinchen, little lucky pig

The marzipan pigs are a good luck token in Germany. "Schwein haben”
(literally, have a pig) means to have good luck. Historically, pigs were the luckiest place to move to in a medieval board game and Germanic tribes would carry images of boars into battle.
 The Niederegger candy shop was founded 200 years ago in Lübeck, the trading alliance The Hanseatic League's leading city-state. Lübeck retained some degree of independence from Germany into the 20th century, when it used one of its privileges to ban Hitler from organizing there in 1932. In revenge, he is said to have refused to ever utter the city's name and the Nazis abolished its status as a city-state and incorporated it into Schleswig-Holstein

Friday, December 30, 2022

Misty Evening

I like this kind of weather - warm weather over cold snow makes ground fog, soft rain falling. Willow tree.


Monday, December 26, 2022

CCGS Griffon, pulling up buoys

 CCGS Griffon, pulling up buoys in St. Lawrence Seaway before it closes for the season to shipping


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Monday, December 19, 2022

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

BOMARC Missile, caused the Diefenbaker government to fall.

Me 163B, rocket propelled fighter  - I could not find the Baron von Munchausen riding a canon ball used as an emblem by Jagdgeschwader 400, the squadron that this plane belonged to - I remember seeing one on display in Ottawa in the early 70s, either at the War Museum or the National Aviation Museum.  Valerie Wood, assistant curator at the museum, tells me that the design was painted over in 2001 to restore this plane to a more historically accurate paint job.
Nose art from another Komet that was on display in Berlin.
I asked the Canada Aviation and Space Museum about it, and they said the example of the plane that was in Canada in the early 70s is now at National Museum of the U. S. Air Force. 

If you are dropping secret agents into occupied territory, give them a folding bicycle to get them on their way!

Heinkel He 162, cheap jets made of plywood and metal - the position of the engine made ejecting from the cockpit very dangerous!

Nose of Avro Arrow - only partial reconstruction of plane at museum
l'Épervier, designed and built by engineering students in 2006 

Part of tetrahedral kite built by Alexander Graham Bell, 


Friday, December 16, 2022

No, those aren't Welsh witches at a tea party

Trinity Hospital, Castle Rising, Norfolk, England

These photos have been in circulation labelled as 'Witches Tea Party' or 'Welsh Witches'. They are really pensioners at Trinity Hospital, Castle Rising, Norfolk, England. This was a charity set up for the support of older women in the 17th century, and they were given a red cloak, in a similar colour to the scarlet coats of  of the Chelsea Pensioners and lived at the almshouse.

The most obvious difference between them and the traditional image of witches is that their hats have rounded tips, not pointed ones, although there are photoshopped images of these photos and of Welsh women in traditional dress that have pointed hats that are floating around on the internet. Their cloaks look black but this is because the photographers of the time used orthochromatic film, which is insensitive to red like the paper used in darkrooms, so red looks dark.

The traditional Welsh woman's dress has a flat topped hat, and instead of a cloak, an apron over a dress and usually a shawl worn over the shoulders:
Porcelain figure of Welsh tea party, three women in traditional dress

Trinity Hospital in Castle Rising still exists, although the pensioners no longer wear the red cloaks all the time, but do put them on on Founder's Day.

Pensioners in red cloaks, The Almshouse Association

In the 17th century the hospital required that the pensioners "...must be of honest life and conversation, religious, grave and discreet, able to read, if such a one be had, a single woman, her place to be void on marriage, to be of 56 years at least, no common beggar, harlot, scold, drunkard, haunter of taverns, inns and alehouses.”  It was founded by Henry Howard, the Earl of Northampton.

Photographer Howard Sykes took a series of photos in 2007 of the pensioners at Castle Rising wearing their red cloaks on Founders Day.


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

I had a Frightmare - the Forbidden Reviews

c. 2001 

I had a Frightmare - the Forbidden Reviews lets you write review of books.... well "lets you" should read "takes free copy from you". You think they'd at least send you a coffee mug... they don't edit for content or even appear to read them before they are posted to Amazon's website..... about two years ago people started posting rather creative reviews of Bil Keane's (Family Circus) book "I had a Frightmare". Shortly after the joke came to the attention of Tourbus (dead site) someone squealed to the principal and Amazon took down the reviews... I've got one here that I got the permission of the writer, Jason Zeaman, to publish... I just quoted the rest...... (from an old website - all links are dead)

Should be made into a movie, November 11, 1999

Reviewer: Steve Bruman from New York

The ghosts of Grandpa, Not Me, and Ida Know torment the dreams of poor Jeffy... until ....strange things start happening around the house.

A chilling look at the world of the demonic, July 20, 2000

Reviewer: A reader from St. Louis, MO

A true horror classic! Keane fictionalized the true story of a child's demonic possession in the 1940s

Wonderful read, July 26, 2000

Reviewer: Joshua Lobo (see more about me) from New Haven, Ct

"When Young Jeffy woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin."

Roll over Edgar Allen and tell Stephen King the news., August 3, 2000

Reviewer: Len Luxor from A safer place

The child's slow descent into madness results in a tasty hodgepodge of existential torment and rage. (Think "Hamlet" as told by Stephen Dadelus on his way to William Burrough's pad to score some bad crystal meth, before taking Carrie to the ice cream social.)

I had to change my underwear, August 3, 2000

Reviewer: William Bennett from Joe, Montana

The catharsis of Bil Keane's decades-long fight with drugs

The publisher, Eugene Kim , August 9, 2000

from 'Nam, to his battle against heroin addiction, even to his occasional acid flashbacks, Keane exorcises all the demons of his life and, as a consequence, of America's life since the 60's. Move over Hunter S. Thompson,

The author, Embittered Old Cyril , August 17, 2000 I Don't Know What I Was Thinking

It just kind of vomited itself out of my brain.

Who cares if Shultz is dead...we've got Keane, August 25, 2000

Reviewer: Rek of X (see more about me) from the Mall of America

Before "Frightmare" I was a nobody, a loser, a lonely, pathetic man with no one to hold me. Now, by simply repeating "Frightmare's" puns at strategic moments in bars or at bus stops, I have become every woman's treasure.

Strong Anti-Drug Message, January 11, 2001

Reviewer: Albert Lee Esse from Andissa, Greece

.......while Daddy is always brutally raped, all of the assailants always wear a condom. I have about 16 000 pornographic comic books, and this one is easily within the top twenty per cent.

I have to disagree, April 15, 2001

Reviewer: Jason Zeaman (see more about me) from Valley Forge, WA

While I enjoyed it as much as the rest of those who reviewed it I have to think that we were reading different books.

Jeffy doesn't slowly descend "into madness" and there isn't anything existential about this book. This is simply a fine, though definitely allegorical, retelling of the great American coming of age story. When one steps back a bit and focuses through the story, very much like a 3-D stereoscopic painting, the symbols and allusions become much clearer.

Lil' Jeffy's killing spree suddenly becomes not "random acts of violence...gruesome and inexplicable" but a brave and inevitable part of his maturation process from boy to man.

Take the disembowlment of Not Me. Think about it for a moment. No I mean it, really think. Who is Not Me? The question alone echoes the first lines of Hamlet, "Who's there?" as the castle guard addresses what he thinks is the ghost of Hamlet's father and more directly is asking the very question of identity itself. All that is outside of myself or not myself. To kill, to completely and very viscerally destroy, all that is Not Me is to assert that which is Me in the clearest way possible. What Keane is doing here, as do most great authors, is bringing the intangible into tangible. By allowing Jeffy to destroy, murder and bludgeon his family, his playmates and his God he is simply illustrating the very real, but intangible process of destruction and creation that we must all go through as we create a self.

While on a business trip to SF last year associates of mine visited the wonderful Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco (don't miss it!) where they had an outstanding collection of Keane's early works, possibly the finest state-side collection ever put together. Interestingly enough the one panel that really stuck with them for long after they had left the exhibition was a rare unpublished strip. It featured a nude Bill Keane turning toward the reader from his drawing table, a quick glance down and the caption, "And they call me little Jeffy...". Perhaps with this look into Keane's soul "I Had a Frightmare" more easily comes into focus.

Clearly this is a man grappling with his own rocky, but ultimately triumphant, passage through puberty. I'm just so profoundly glad that he chose to take us all along for the ride.

you should all be ashamed of yourselves!, September 28, 2001

Reviewer: Zingty Farven (see more about me) from Copenhagen

IT IS CLEAR THAT THE OTHER REVIEWERS HAVE NEVER LIVED IN AMERICA - THEY ARE PROBABLY ALL FROM JAPAN.....Just because of all the graphic bestality you label him a pornographer; just because of all the demonic ramblings and pictorialized ritual murder you label him a horror writer. Get a life!

Suburban Psycho, October 3, 2001

Reviewer: Stanley Duke

Bill Keane is back again to show the literary punks how it's done.... whether it's Dolly sealing up PJ's rear with a hot glue-gun to hide the evidence or Mommy forcing raw hunks of still-squirming Barfy down Jeffy's throat as the rest of the coven watches....the blowtorch ferocity of Bill Keane, daring to live as he writes despite the possibility of execution or at least chemical castration, leaves weak-willed pansies in the dust.

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Monday, December 12, 2022

Tiny, 12/12/2022

Tiny (black cat) just passed on! She was around 20. She went peacefully at home. She was a wild cat born outside and liked to sit in the flowerpot with her brother Spotty. 

Friday, December 9, 2022

This is better than what I can do....

 From ChatGPI Artificial Intelligence program:

I gave it the command

"write an episode of a TV sitcom set in Tokugawa era Japan" and it did this immediately:

"2 / 2

Title: "Samurai Shenanigans"

In a small village in Tokugawa era Japan, a group of samurai warriors are sitting around in their barracks, chatting and laughing.

The leader of the group, a stern but fair samurai named Tanaka, is telling a story about his latest mission.

"So I was out on patrol, and I came across this group of bandits trying to steal some rice from a nearby farm," Tanaka says, a grin on his face. "I took them down in a single stroke!"

The other samurai cheer and clap, impressed by Tanaka's skill.

But one of the younger samurai, a hot-headed and brash warrior named Kato, isn't impressed.

"That's nothing," Kato says, puffing out his chest. "I once took on five bandits at once and came out victorious!"

The other samurai roll their eyes at Kato's boastful claims.

Just then, the door to the barracks bursts open and a messenger enters, panting and out of breath.

"Tanaka-san, Kato-san, there's been a disturbance at the castle," the messenger says. "The shogun requests your presence immediately."

Tanaka and Kato exchange a look before standing up and following the messenger out of the barracks.

As they make their way to the castle, Kato can't help but boast about how he'll handle the situation.

"I'll take care of it in no time," Kato says confidently. "Just watch me in action!"

But when they arrive at the castle, they find that the disturbance is actually a group of mischievous monkeys who have stolen the shogun's prized tea set.

Tanaka and Kato team up to retrieve the tea set, but their clashing egos and bickering cause them to make a mess of things.

In the end, they manage to retrieve the tea set, but not before causing a hilarious mishap that leaves the shogun and his guards in fits of laughter.

The two samurai return to their barracks, humbled and embarrassed by their antics.

But despite their blunders, they know they'll always have each other's backs in times of trouble.

The episode ends with the samurai sitting around the barracks, laughing and sharing stories once again."

I asked it what to do if someone with diabetes feels dizzy after taking their insulin, and it gave the right (according to my limited knowledge) response - check blood sugar, and if low, give something like glucose or fruit juice to raise blood sugar, but I responded it should have given a warning that it is best to consult a health professional and it answered: "You are correct, and I apologize for not including that in my response. It is always best to consult a health professional for any medical concerns or questions. While I provided some general advice for managing low blood sugar, every individual's situation is different and may require different treatment or management. It is important to consult a doctor or other healthcare provider for personalized advice and care."

Sproud! Totally not made from people!

At 88 cents,(UPDATE - now at 25 cents a litre!, Dec 21, a week before the expiry date!) who can argue with the feeling that it's a prop from a dystopian film? Made from peas, and honestly pretty good. Bargain store find. Still might be made in abandoned Soviet era biowarfare lab by mutants.


Thursday, December 8, 2022

Muskrat tooth marks on weeping willow trunk.

Muskrat tooth marks on weeping willow trunk. Marques de dents de rat musqué sur le tronc du saule pleureur. Salix babylonica, Ondatra zibethicus


Sunday, December 4, 2022

Surprise strawberry

Last strawberry of the year! I took the plants in and found this a week ago. Some aphids seemed to have tried unsuccessfully getting out the window.


Saturday, December 3, 2022

Friday, December 2, 2022

Dunbar Free Library

 Nicely designed Little Library, 24 Dunbar Street, Cornwall, Ontario, December 1, 2022.

Dottie finds cricket

Dottie finds a cricket - I don't know where it came from as it's too cold outside for them. Might have come in on groceries.

Kanye's Swastika sex and UFO cult symbol

Ye, aka Kanye West, was suspended from Twitter this December after he tweeted a swastika inside a Star of David that was the symbol that the Raëlians used to use. They are a Geneva based cult founded by Claude Vorilhon, a French former race car driver known as Raël to his followers, that do things like have topless protests that attract a lot of single male potential converts, and believe in UFOs and cloning of humans. I remember they put up posters saying   "Oui à la masturbation !" (as if we needed any encouragement) around my university in Quebec City. They used to have their HQ near Montreal but sold it a few years ago. 

former Raelian symbol, from Wikipedia

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Oh, man....

 I left the house yesterday with not only mismatched shoes, but two left shoes...I needed to get something done at the bank so I was out like this for two or three hours!

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Alexa plays the news.

 Listening to a story on the radio over Alexa about a scriptwriter too busy to play with his daughter and so he tells Alexa to play some Disney songs. I thought "Oh, no!" and I cringed, expecting some of the sappier songs from the 50s and 60s. All the Alexas in my home switch over to "I can't wait to be King" from the Lion King, followed by Hakune Matata, which sounded a lot better than the Disney I remembered.

Free library, Agape Centre, Cornwall, Ontario


40 Fifth St W, Cornwall, ON K6J 2T4

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Treasure hunt with Melissa Yi

Author and physician Melissa Yi (Yuan-Innes) wearing blue male monarch butterfly wings.

She organized a treasure hunt with hidden clues in the room - lots of fun!


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

A History Of Salem Church And The Summerstown [Ontario, Canada] Area, Mabel MacLean, 1975

 This is a pdf of a self-published book by Mabel MacLean. It gives a history of Salem Church and the Summerstown area. The first minister was John Bethune, a loyalist originally from the Isle of Skye who was a chaplain with a loyalist regiment in South Carolina, and came to Canada after being a prisoner of war during the American revolution. His great-great-grandson was the famous Canadian surgeon Norman BethuneA History Of Salem Church And The Summerstown [Ontario, Canada] Area, Mabel MacLean, 1975

Sunday, November 20, 2022

No, that's not a Nazi era mandatory "Health Pass"


Image source AKG Images

This has been promoted by antivaxxers as a Nazi era "Health Pass" that Germans had to have to get into places like shops, and has compared to proof of vaccination that were required for admission to some places during the height of the COVID-19 epidemic. It really is a card for members of the Nazi Party (clearly written around the swastika and on the second line as N.S.D.A.P.) that let them access their party's health program (even health spas) - all the examples I found didn't even have anything that showed the bearer had been vaccinated. Carrying the card wasn't mandatory for anybody, and it is really a log book that showed visits the bearer made to medical facilities. The word 'Gesundheitspass' can be used for things like books for diabetics to monitor their own health or even for taking care of pet rabbits. The Nazi Party's Das Hauptamt für Volksgesundheit (Main Office  for Public Health) ran it, and the office did have a much more sinister function of 'racial hygiene' - purifying the party of members that had Jewish or other 'non-Aryan' ancestry, but this was done with other documentation than this card. 
'Gau Hamburg' was from a Nazi revival of an archaic word used to divide the Nazi Party in Germany into administrative districts. Each Gau was lead by a Nazi party 'Gauleiter'.

(In English)

(In German)

(In Spanish)

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Moon, Friday, November 4, 2022


Moon, Friday, November 4, 2022. My camera has a great setting for the moon that gets the exposure and focus, but it won't let you widen out - Jupiter was very close to it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Halloween 2022

Martintown, Ontario

503 James Street, Cornwall
Things that go Bump in the Night
organized by Melissa McPhail and Stacy McPhail

St Matthews Evangelical Lutheran Church, candy table outside church, Cornwall, Ontario

Couple, Dollarama

Halloween 2022 - Valleyfield

 Halloween Experience sur la Rue Edouard - street party, Matthew Matt - DJ on the balcony, dismantling set after a street party. October 31, 2022 #EdouardHalloween

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Elmo rides again

Taking home a big box of kitty litter on his scooter! Elmo helmet cover.