Thursday, August 30, 2012

Secnarf Speaks from the Great Beyond

Francie:  Secnarf!  Is it really you?

Secnarf: Sort of.  I'm on the other side now.

Francie: Eek.  You mean you joined the Tories??

Secnarf: Hardly.  Everybody here is a Dipper. 

And it happened long before Jack Layton arrived.

Francie: Jack Layton!  You mean you are ...?

Secnarf: Just tell my fans that I'm at that big Rhinoceros Party of Canada Political Convention in the Great Beyond.

Francie:  Gosh, Secnarf, how did it happen? 

Last we heard you were in Ottawa having secret meetings with Justin Trudeau.

If I remember correctly you were thinking of running for the leadership of the Liberal Party.

Secnarf (sighs):  Yes I was going to call the new party the Progressive Resolute Erudite Persons Occupying Safe Territory Party.

When I combined it with the Rhinoceros Party it would have become the P.R.E.P.O.S.T.EROS PARTY of Canada.

It looked like I was on my way to the top.

But then Bev Oda pushed me into the Rideau Canal.

Francie: That's terrible.

Secnarf: I know. I never got to finish my orange juice.

Francie:  Well I'm sorry to get such terrible news.

Orange juice is just so expensive.

Secnarf:  And so political!

Oh, well I'm off to Quebec.

The provincial election is next week and I'm planning to present the new Rhinoceros Party of Canada platform.


We promise to solve the language issue by making everyone speak and write in Cree.


We also promise to solve the $16 per glass of orange juice for travelling Canadian politicians problem by annexing the state of Florida and making it our 11th province. 


Francie:  Well I'm not sure the Americans won't notice that Florida is missing but it's worth a try I guess.


But anyway, Secnarf, I thought you said you were... well, dead.


Secnarf:  Hey, I've been in Toronto all week.



Remember folks:


Vote Secnarf

the only politician who looks like a former Cabinet Minister.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shop Till You ...Win a BBQ?

Corner Grocery Store
Corner Grocery Store (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The most irritating commercials on television these days advertise lotteries.

They never show people who win 50 million dollars giving some of it to charity or going off to work with the poor in Haiti.  They show selfish people having picnics on mountain tops or on an endless set of holidays wondering where they should go next.

And that is because lotteries are a form of taxation and the government doesn't care about your soul.


So cultivating my usual 'holier than thou' persona I have made a point of not buying lottery tickets. (Thin pinched nose in air.)

However, I do occasionally buy tickets on other things if the money is for a good cause and I like the item being sold.  (Cars for Hospice Niagara, Quilts to raise money by church ladies for various causes.)

I never win but I never feel my money is wasted either.


So I was über surprised to learn that I had won a $700 BBQ this week from the grocery store where I usually shop.


This isn't the first time I've won something from this grocery store.


I finally figured out that it is my shopping habits that increase my odds of winning. 


Like most people I have a card that they swipe each time that I make a purchase. 
Each time I do that I accumulate points that I can redeem for free food somewhere down the line if the world economy doesn't collapse and civilization as we know it doesn't end.


But I'm not and never have been a weekly shopper.  I go every day or two for a few things.

And each time I dutifully hand over my card to be swiped.


And evidently the grocery store throws the card numbers in a hat and has random draws.




My number must go into the hat a bizzillion times.


The point of this longish blog, my hungry friends, is that you may want to change your shopping habits.


And by the way, anybody want to buy a BBQ?

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Sunday, August 19, 2012


flip flops
flip flops (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This puzzle turned up on my face book wall yesterday.

Put your thinking caps on, class!

Scroll down for the clues and the answer. 

But you'll kick yourself if you use them!

2 + 2 = fish

3 + 3 = eight

7 + 7 = diamond

First clue:

Think geometry

Second clue:

Think of the symols as shapes not numbers

Third clue

It's flipping easy!


You didn't really think I'd tell you, did you?
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Holy Mother Russia

It isn't the image of the three members of the punk band Pussy Riot smirking in the prisoners' box in the Russian Courtroom that sticks with me.

Anyone who has spent time in a classroom has seen bravado before.


It's an image that I didn't see.

An image so powerful that when I read about it, it took my breath away.


CBC news reported that in protest of the harsh punishment  

and the role the Russian Orthodox Church played in the whole fiasco,

a woman took a chain saw to a Christian cross that stood atop a hill
that overlooks Kiev.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chapeaux Off to the Parti Quebecois

English: Women's accessories for sale! ++Cafiy...
English: Women's accessories for sale! ++Cafiyas and other scarves, in JLM's old city within Damascus Gate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Separatist Parti Quebecois, which is leading in the polls right now as Quebec heads into a provincial election,
wants to ban any kind of religious clothing or jewelry in  government institutions.

That means

no hijabs, (head scarf); niqabs, (head scarf and veil); or burkas, (full body covering); 

in court rooms or government offices.

Although I do not believe the government has the right to legislate what a woman can or cannot wear in her daily life, I understand the importance of the separation of church and state.

There is no place for Sharia Law in Canada.

I like this idea and hope that it becomes the law of the land,

not just of one province.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Jailed Russian Pussies

NEW YORK CITY. President Vladimir Putin and hi...
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Occasionally I check to see where in the world people are reading my blog.

It's always a nice surprise to see a small but steady number from Russia.

Usually I assume it is an ESL class somewhere in Moscow.  Sometimes I hope it is a Russian teacher I corresponded with during the Cold War.

Our classes exchanged letters one year and I would love to know that she is well.

But whoever it is,  they need to know that we know about Pussy Riot. 

They've been in the news quite a bit recently.

For those who haven't heard about them, Pussy Riot is an all girl punk band that is opposed to the regime of the thuggish Vladimir Putin and his supporters in the Russian Orthodox church.

According to Wayne Kinsella's column, St. Catharines Standard, Monday, August 13, the young women spent 40 seconds inside an Orthodox Church sending a 'punk prayer',
(I don't know what it is either, but I'm guessing it involved a lot of noise and bad language),
to the Virgin Mary asking Her to get rid of Putin.

There was no church service going on but they have been in prison since March charged with blasphemy.

They have been starved, deprived of sleep, are not allowed to see their children and have been subjected to a unjust trial.

The verdict will be read August 17th and evidently the prosecution is seeking years of incarceration.

It seems like a bit of an overreaction on Stalin's part.

Oops, did I say Stalin?


His name is Vladimir Putin.

And, Mr. Vladimir Putin, the world is watching.



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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Perils of Condo Life in the City

I received a bill for $6,000 this week from my Condo Corporation

to be paid in three yearly $2,000 installments starting just before Christmas.

But I'm not alone.

Everyone in the complex got the same bill, plus or minus a few dollars depending on the size of their unit.

This is not a high end development.  It is at least 40 years old and as far as I can see most of the people who live here are retired, or lower wage earners, or new Canadians or families trying to save for a down payment for a larger home.

Good people.

My mother would have classified them as 'the salt of the Earth'.

Forty years ago unscrupulous builders, long gone by the way, built some of the units on unstable ground.

Now one of the units is condemned and 3 others need massive restoration.

Hence the bill we all received.

To say that people are upset would be an understatement.

The penalties for not paying are frightening,
especially for people who are just getting by
and may not understand what is going on because of language difficulties,
difficulties understanding the lawyer speak of the condo agreements,
or just the panic of not having an extra $6000 to kick around.

What happens when desperate people have not one penny to spare?

But people are trying. 
We are meeting and talking. 
Listening to each other.

A few leaders  have started to emerge.

I'm luckier, if you can classify it as being lucky, in that I may qualify for insurance coverage of the $6,000 but there is no guarantee and of course whatever we decide to do,

the problem remains that the complex is aging.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tar Dancing Thru Cyber Space

Okay, so there I was yesterday trying to figure out how to use Google+.

For the 900 bizzillionth time, I might add.

Anyway, this time I decided to read  a few instructions.

(Teachers don't believe they need to read instructions.)

Jeesh.  It worked!

I actually found a place that looked like a cross between face book and twitter AND there was a place for me to make a comment.

Figuring I was sending my words into a black cyber hole, I  wrote that I had just finished an oil pastel that I was calling 'Tar Dancing'.

Then I clicked on every name I saw that belonged to someone I knew.

Then I forgot about it.

I was totally shocked when I noticed half an hour later that 2 people had answered.

I was really glad I hadn't said something nasty like,  "Bev Oda wears army boots".

Anyway, it was two of the bloggers that I follow!!!

Jane from Jane's Jewels and Magaly from Pagan Culture.

Check out my side bar for these most excellent blogs!

It was nice  to have something like a face book wall upon which I could interact with my fellow bloggers.

If you think you would be interested in joining my (our) 'circle'  of bloggers the link is in the drop down bar on the Blogger dashboard right under 'COMMENTS.

Oh and about my oil pastel 'Tar Dancing'.

I lied.

It isn't really totally finished.

But it's close, so here it is:

Tar Dancing
India Ink and Oil Pastels
approx. 15.5" x 20 "

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Appeal of Dorothy Gale

Chapter 8  The Valley of Voices,  Chapter 9  They Fight the Invisible Bears  Chapter 10  The Bearded Man of Pyramid Mountain,  Chapter 11  They Meet the Wooden Gargoyles,  Chapter 12  A Wonderful Escape  Chapter 13  The Den of the Dragonettes

Dorothy, the Wizard, Zeb and the animals  find themselves in the beautiful Valley of Voe which is populated by invisible people and dangerous invisible bears.

An invisible bear attacks them and the Wizard kills it with his sword.

They meet the braided man who directs them to the land of the Gargoyles which may lead them back to the surface of the Earth. 

The Gargoyles are mute, wooden creatures with magical detachable wings. Zeb steals a few of their wings and they attach them to their carriage.  They escape to a cavern in a mountain. 

As they try to make their way to the top of the cavern they meet a den of baby dragons.

After they escape from the dragons, they find themselves trapped. 

They can see the surface of the Earth through a hole in the rock but have no way of reaching it.

They can't go back and they can't go forward.

They resign themselves to death by starvation.


Of course the story doesn't end there.

But that is the climax so that is where I will stop.

When I saw the "Celebrate Oz Day" at Oma Linda's blog,

I was immediately intrigued.

I read and reread the Oz books when I was a kid. 

When I was in university I bought the series. 

It is still one of my most treasured possessions. 

I think the books were important to me because I grew up at a time when little girls, generally, were less valued than little boys and were given fewer opportunities to speak or act freely. 

The intrepid Dorothy was a role model.

"But  I am one of the greatest humbug wizards that ever lived and you will realize it when we have all starved together and our bones are scattered over the floor of this lonely cave."

"I don't believe we'll realize anything, when it comes to that," remarked Dorothy who had been deep in thought. "But I'm not going to scatter my bones just yet because I need them and you'll prob'ly need yours, too."

She taught us things about being a girl that our parents and teachers either
didn't know or were reluctant to impart.   

Thanks to Oma Linda for giving me the idea of looking back and thanks to L. Frank Baum for telling the stories and John R. Neil for drawing the pictures.

What a ride!

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