Sunday, December 31, 2023

No, Arthur wasn't called "Canada's Most Patriotic Village", at least not in 1942

 I did a story in 1995 for the Toronto Star about Arthur, Ontario (p. A10, August 4, 1995) - it was holding a Homecoming for WWII veterans, and people there were saying that the Star had called Arthur "Canada's most patriotic village" - I look at the November 2, 1942 front page story and it only called it "patriotic" - my editors put in that the press had called it "Canada's Most Patriotic Village", although I could not find any contemptorary reference to it being called that, but that was what they were putting on the plaque that day.  Some internet chatter yesterday reminded me of this.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Dottie enjoys Boxing Day.

Dottie enjoys a sunny Boxing Day

Friday, December 22, 2023

No, a woman didn't ride in a hearse smoking a pipe in Quebec City.

The story of a live woman in a hearse riding around and smoking a pipe in 19th century Quebec City that's been circulating on the Internet for a few years likely never happened. The sole source for it is from The Illustrated Police News, a sensational Victorian newspaper published in England that reads like the Weekly World News - fiction and fact mixed together. The short article gives no source for their story, no date and no name for the woman.

The Société historique de Québec (Quebec City Historical Society) called it "Fake News" in a Facebook post  after having searched all Quebec newspapers from several years of that period and finding nothing about it. The mystery woman's actions, as well as the owner of the hearse, would have attracted a lot of attention, and probably legal action. The street they were supposed to have driven on leads to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the oldest church in Canada, and they could easily have faced criminal charges. Professor Brigitte Garneau, who has written several books on the funeral industry in Quebec in the 19th Century, said she has never heard of it.

The churches were powerful in Canada - in the 1880s, at the request of the local curate, two shopkeepers were charged in Montreal after putting reproductions on display of statues by Michaelangelo, Night and Day, two nudes which are on the tomb of Giuliano de Medici in Florence. Jehovah's Witnesses were prohibited from distributing tracts in Quebec City (see Saumur v. Quebec City) in the 1940s and even as late as the 1950s Elvis was banned from performing in Montreal at the insistence of the church. One of my teachers told me that in 1950s in Toronto that the police would show up to disperse kids playing ball on Sundays because that was against the law.

April 11, 1872, "The Illustrated Police News
 London, England 

"A Quebec Woman Creates a Sensation, Riding Through St. John Street in a Hearse, Reclining on the Coffin-Bed, and Smoking a Pipe.

What will women do next to distinguish themselves, we wonder! A female in Quebec, the other day, perpetrated a ghastly joke, mocking death in his own domain, by lying down in a hearse and smoking a pipe in a funeral chariot was driven through the street.

If this exhibition had been made in the United States, our neighbours at the North would have made it the subject of very strong animadversions."

The "What will women do next..." is obviously refering to the growing women's suffrage movement, aimed at getting the vote for women in the UK. Quebec women were the last in Canada to get the vote, in 1940.

I'm nor sure what the last line refers to - perhaps it's a joke about some event that was current at the time.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Halloween Decoration at Christmas

You don't have to take down your Halloween decorations! Giant skeleton as Santa. Lancaster, Ontario


Thursday, December 14, 2023

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Algoma Equinox upstream


Algoma Equinox upstream, December 5, 2023, 1.30 PM. Just discovered my Micro SD card was counterfeit and only held 2 GB rather than the 32GB it had marked on it, and so had trouble getting this image off!

Monday, December 4, 2023

First snowfall


No, Elizabeth Taylor didn't have a 'double row' of eyelashes.


Elizabeth Taylor in classic eye makeup as Cleopatra

Actress Elizabeth Taylor was famous for her violet blue eyes and smoky eye makeup, but a claim has been circulating for several decades that she had a 'double row' of eyelashes on her upper and lower eyelids. Her lifelong friend Roddy McDowell said of her "Who has double eyelashes except a girl who was absolutely born to be on the big screen?” and in Slate in 2011 it was suggested that she had a mutation of the FOXC2 gene, which can cause this condition, called distichiasis.  It is associated with more serious conditions including congenital heart defects. Taylor died at 79 from congestive heart failure, but I could not find any reports it was due to a congenital condition. Close up photos of her eyes show only the usual single row of lashes. The second row of eyelashes in distichiasis grow from the meibomian glands that provide lubrication for the eyelids, and often grow inside of the eyelid, not outside, an uncomfortable condition that can require surgery. Medical article on the condition which has illustrations that may make some readers uncomfortable. An acquaintance has this condition and did go for surgery once but now just pulls them out herself.

Sally Morrison, Ms. Taylor's publicist, told me "...though the "double lash" story was widely repeated, I do not think it was true.  From my perspective it was likely propagated by a studio publicist early in her career!"

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Last Pogo 1978-2023

Riled up after watching The Last Pogo (1978).

Stacey showed a 16mm print of The Last Pogo - it was a punk show in 1978 at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, the last punk show for a while there that ended in a small riot. I was the only one in the room old enough to have gone to it! I think I even knew it was going on, but I didn't go.