Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rain 'Drops'

From bitter cold and snow storms to rain and flooding in one week.
Nothing like Ontario in the winter.
I don't care, but Flynn is hydrophobic. Hates water.
Last night she wouldn't go out to do her business and held it all night.
I took drastic action this morning.



But the mission was accomplished!

A 48 pounder as my Dad would have said.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If Only I Could Sing As Well As I Can Dance

Here's the picture I'm working on at the mo.

It's called, "If only I could sing as well as I can dance"

which is quite funny because in real life I can do neither.

I was trying to express how the wave structure of

matter and standing wave interactions,  

explains the quantum energy states of matter and light 'quanta'

just the way Albert Einstein said in 1905.


Oh wait. 


Maybe I was wondering if I should bother going to the gym today

because it's raining.



It isn't finished yet but I like all of the chaos and movement

around the dancer and her skirt.


It explains the quantum energy states of matter quite clearly, I think.

Or maybe my subconscious is telling me that I need more exercise.

It's so hard to understand art.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

We've Got a Lesbian Premier

English: Minister Wynne at the Ontario Liberal...
English: Minister Wynne at the Ontario Liberal AGM. Photo taken by myself. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imagine that!

 Ontario, home of the Family Compact, that group of joyless

Methodist Loyalists which had absolute control of Upper

Canada's business, politics and religious affairs

for the first half of the ninetieth century, has a female Premier.

 And not only that, our Premier is a lesbian!

Premier Kathleen Wynne!

The first in Canada.

I don't mean the first lesbian in Canada,

I mean the first gay Premier.


Take that you other provinces and territories!

We're not the dour old curmudgeons you think we are!

Of course she wasn't elected and she is a member of the

same party that seems to be bringing Ontario to its knees, 

but never mind that.

We've got a lesbian premier

and you don't!

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Harriet and The Promised Land

It doesn't look like much, this stretch of Geneva Street in central St. Catharines.

Down-at-the-heel, seedy remnant of better times would be a more apt

But from 1850 to the end of the American Civil War it was a Paradise.
Slavery was abolished in Canada in 1834 and any slaves who made it to the border were given citizenship and protection under the law.
This is where they came.
This was The Promised Land.

Harriet Tubman made St. Catharines her secret headquarters for the Underground Rail Road after the American Congress passed a law in 1850 that forced Northerners to capture and return fugitive slaves.
She risked her life time and time again bringing blacks to Canada.

Last Thursday night I went to the British Methodist Episcopal Church,
the church that Harriet Tubman attended, to hear Dr. Kate Larson of Boston speak about Mrs. Tubman's life.

Evidently Harriet Tubman sat in the back pew,

a tiny woman who could neither read nor write.

But Harriet Tubman was a historical giant and the church was packed to hear what Dr. Larson had to say.

I have to tell you it isn't easy to sit and listen and accept the inhumanity of those times.

And Canadians cannot be smug.

The ex-slaves faced terrible discrimination after they arrived. 

The only difference being that here they were free.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Harriet Tubman.

I think she would be pleased at how things have changed.

But I think she would also tell us to be vigilant.
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

St. Catharine's Well

Father Hennepin
Father Hennepin (Photo credit: massdistraction)


It is a bit difficult to get around in St. Catharines because so many of

the main roads were built on Indian trails and the urban grid was later

superimposed on top of them. 

Some people whip around here like they are reincarnated Mohawk

warriors, but for me, even after a year of living in the North End,

I still get lost.

Flynn was very relieved when I bought a GPS for the spy car.  She

was missing walk time while I drove in circles trying to find my way.

But the thing that has always puzzled me about the city is the s on the

end of Caharine.

Could there have been two Catharines?

But then we would say 'The City of the Saintes Catharine'.


Our hockey teams would have a hard time fitting that on their jerseys.

 I wondered why it wasn't named St. Catharine if only one woman was

being honoured??

Then I read in John Jackson's book, St. Catharines, the early years,  

this totally unverified story:

In the 1600s the French explorer LaSalle came to this area with a Catholic

priest by the name of Father Hennepin. 

When they found a beautiful freshwater spring they decided to camp

for the night and Father Hennepin said mass. 

He noted that it was the Feast Day of St. Catharine and so he and LaSalle

named the place St. Catharine's Well.

The problem with this story is that the name St. Catharines doesn't  

turn up again in any records for 100 years and by that time it was

the British who were here because New France had fallen.

But I love the story!
 And it sure does explain that s.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Farewell to the Copper

This is my piggy bank.  I've had him for, hmmm, at leat 10 years.

I bought him naked and then painted him green, added sparkles and a pretty ribbon.

He usually  sits on my landing under my pen and ink drawing called "The Fence".

Unfortuantely being in such a heavy traffic area he gets a few scrapes and bumps now and again.

But whenever I've had any spare pennies I've fed him and he cheers up.

Well, at first it was only pennies,

but when I realized I wasn't likely to manage my old age on pennies I started

giving him nickels and dimes too!

He gets around.

Here he is getting a little too friendly with Flynn the dog.

Sometimes when I'm sitting on the floor taking my own picture, he comes in for a hug.

He often discusses the national budget with  the only cat in the house that doesn't use

the litter box and eat me out of house and home.

When he learned that his days are numbered because the Federal government is going
 to phase out the penny he tried to run away.

But I assured him that I will glue him back together because I luvs him.


I'm going to crack him open on my birthday, Feb. 5th.

He's ablut 1/3 full. 

Mostly pennies.

I'm going to roll the pennies, take them to the bank while they are still worth something

 and donate the money to the Out of theCold breakfast programme.

So here's the thing. 

For every person who guesses within $2 of the actual amount

I will throw in an extra toonie.  ($2 dollar Canadian coin)

You are allowed one guess, but you can change it at anytime.

And I promise I will post a picture of green pig after his surgery!


My own guess, not that I'm good at this sort of thing is  $21.17

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Quick, Somebody Phone the Queen!

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We don't see the Queen as having any say in how we conduct our business
today in Canada, but since 1793 it has been the Crown with whom the
Indians have signed binding treaties that affect them to this day.

This is why Chief Spence is continuing her hunger strike until the
Governor General agrees to attend the current discussions.

He represents the Queen.

There were 31 treaties signed before Confederation.

When you hear talk of the numbered treaties, the speakers are referring to
treaties that came after 1867.

It seems that the Indians approached this business at first with a willingness
to share what they had. 

Then as diseases like small pox and alcoholism raged at the same
time that  their traditional food sources were drying up, they seem
to have signed treaties in order to get help.

As I write this I know that tomorrow the First Nations are planning blockades
of the various main arteries that bring goods and services into the country.

They are pissed.

I would be too. 

They have been treated abdominally.

But the truth is we can't afford to pay them the money that is owed

and we can't give them back all that they lost.

I'm worried.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food

English: People eating at a soup kitchen. Mont...
English: People eating at a soup kitchen. Montreal, Canada Français : Personnes mangeant dans une soupe populaire. Montréal, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friend Nadine called me up yesterday and said, "What are you doing

tomorrow morning at 6:30?"

"Well, Nadine, I expect I'll be getting ready to go to the Museum,"

I said into the phone with raised eyebrows.

I know phones don't have eyebrows, but you get my drift.

Nadine belongs to a church that is part of a large number of city churches

that provide breakfast to the hungry every morning of the year.

And they needed some extra help this morning.

I didn't have to be at the Museum till nine so I said I'd do it.


As far as I know there were no ministers or priests in attendance. 

It was just local men and women coming out in the cold, dark, early morning

to help other people.

There was no praying, no biblical messages - just bare walls, tables, chairs

and tons of toast, peanut butter, jam, cheeze wiz, porridge, cereal, juice,

milk and coffee.

The thing I didn't see this morning, the thing I was dreading -
was shame.  

The young man with schizophrenia, the woman with the black eye, the man
who couldn't eat bread crusts because he had no teeth, - they all felt safe in
that church basement.

They brought their tired faces and their bad smells in with their hunger

and were welcomed.

I felt honoured to have been able to help.

For all the good folks in the world who do this regularly:
Matthew 25:35-40

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Indian Winter

Idle No More: Attawapiskat protester
Idle No More: Attawapiskat protester (Photo credit: jonathonreed)


Billions of dollars are owed to the First Nations people according to the
treaties that have been signed between them and the Federal Government

since Confederation.

Today they are knocking on the door asking for their money and demanding
to be free of Federal Government inept monitoring and control.

The Conservative Government, however, would rather put the money

If you are like me and your home town newspaper is controlled by the Sun
Media right wing conglomerate, it is sometimes difficult to get the other side
of a story.

You can watch for opinion columns like the one written by Warren Kinsella. 

He is intelligent, amusing and refers to himself as the Sun's 'token

Jeesh.  That's an understatement.

To me he often sounds like the only journalist over at Sun who isn't frothing

at the mouth and afraid of water.


Reason is out there. 

The article, Attawapiskat: Firing back at the racist rants and ignorant
responses with facts, on is a must-read.

It was written by Âpihtawikosâ, a  Métis originally from Alberta now studying

Civil Law in Montreal.  You can read it here.


An essay, entitled Truth is more complex than Attawapiskat audit can tell us,
(sorry you'll have to google the title to read it), by John Ibbitson at

the Globe is also worth your attention. 

But whatever else you do, tie your tent down tightly.

 It could be a long bitter winter.

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Phone Smarts

IPhone First Generation 8GB (3680455198)
IPhone First Generation 8GB (3680455198) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I survived the switch in internet providers.

But I must tell you that when the Bell service man asked if I had a smart phone I wasn't exactly sure what he meant.

I mean I know an iphone is a smart phone but I wasn't totally sure if other phones fell into the smart category or even if 'smart phone' was a brand name.
And I didn't want him to know that I didn't know.

So I just told him that I didn't have an iphone. 

"I just have a cheap phone ... from Bell,"  I added quickly lest he confuse me with the blogger who uses my name and always complains about his employer.

"So you don't have an iphone?"

"No I don't have an iphone." 

I relaxed.  We were communicating quite well I thought.

Then he looked at me the way a person who is paid to be polite looks at the imbecile to whom he is forced to explain the theory of relativity and said,

"But  you do have a smart phone."

It was a question although his voice didn't go up.


We were back to square one.

 "Welll,"  I said studying his face for a clue that might lead to the right answer,

 "It's definitely smarter than I am."

 No argument from him, my friends.

 Anyway, I survived, the Bell service man survived, my computer survived and even my phone survived.

But my image of myself as a baby boomer techno wizard sure took a beating.



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