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.
Sunday, December 31, 2023
Tuesday, December 26, 2023
Friday, December 22, 2023
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.
Thursday, December 21, 2023
Sunday, December 17, 2023
Thursday, December 14, 2023
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Monday, December 4, 2023
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.
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!"