Archives for: 2008


Permalink 03:57:59 pm, by Email , 140 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

Domain Names Are Going To Be Changing

I am happy to be announcing our move to Upper Canadian! If you link to this blog please change your listing to:

Pastyme With Good Companye

I am also going to move some of the memes I currently participate in like Nostalgic Saturday, and BYB Sunday to Pastymes!

Two other blogs I currently write for are also being moved to their own domains. So if you link to them one or all three please change these links too:

My Life In The Urban Zoo

Nuttin' But Pimp

Thanks for all of your patience while I sort these all out :) Change can be very trying, but usually ends up a good thing in the long run.

Don't forget to bookmark the new link! :D



Permalink 12:00:01 am, by Email , 64 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

Seven Days Off - Part Seven... Thursday

We just took seven consecutive days sort of off in order to catch up on other work... but we didn't leave you stranded and had one new picture posted here per day during that time. We hope you didn't mind us taking a little time off... and hope these images will spur you into looking more into their subject matter...

Pierre and Marie Curie


Permalink 12:00:01 am, by Email , 73 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

Seven Days Off - Part Six... Wednesday

For the next two days, we'll be only able to blog every so often as we catch up on other work... but we didn't want to leave you stranded, so for the next two days, we will have one new picture posted here per day. We hope you don't mind us taking a little time off... and hope these images will spur you into looking more into their subject matter...

The Magna Carta


Permalink 12:00:01 am, by Email , 78 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

Seven Days Off - Part Five... Tuesday

For the next three days, we'll be only able to blog every so often as we catch up on other work... but we didn't want to leave you stranded, so for the next three days, we will have one new picture posted here per day. We hope you don't mind us taking a little time off... and hope these images will spur you into looking more into their subject matter...

London Transport "Our Heritage" Poster of Lord Nelson


Permalink 12:00:01 am, by Email , 73 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

Seven Days Off - Part Four... Monday

For the next four days, we'll be only able to blog every so often as we catch up on other work... but we didn't want to leave you stranded, so for the next four days, we will have one new picture posted here per day. We hope you don't mind us taking a little time off... and hope these images will spur you into looking more into their subject matter...

John Graves Simcoe


Permalink 12:00:01 am, by Email , 75 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

Seven Days Off - Part Three... Sunday

For the next five days, we'll be only able to blog every so often as we catch up on other work... but we didn't want to leave you stranded, so for the next five days, we will have one new picture posted here per day. We hope you don't mind us taking a little time off... and hope these images will spur you into looking more into their subject matter...

The Fathers of Canadian Federation


Permalink 12:00:01 am, by Email , 77 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

Seven Days Off - Part Two... Saturday

For the next six days, we'll be only able to blog every so often as we catch up on other work... but we didn't want to leave you stranded, so for the next six days, we will have one new picture posted here per day. We hope you don't mind us taking a little time off... and hope these images will spur you into looking more into their subject matter...

Napoleon Bonaparte on the Bridge at Arcole


Permalink 12:00:01 am, by Email , 73 words   English (CA)
Categories: General

Seven Days Off - Part One... Friday

For the next seven days, we'll be only able to blog every so often as we catch up on other work... but we didn't want to leave you stranded, so for the next seven days, we will have one new picture posted here per day. We hope you don't mind us taking a little time off... and hope these images will spur you into looking more into their subject matter...

Benjamin Franklin's Grave...


Permalink 12:09:26 am, by Email , 127 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

Welcome Sign

I spent the past weekend at Sauble Beach with my sister, daughters, niece, and dear friend. Sauble Beach is about a three hour drive from my home through some lovely areas of Ontario, and I throughly enjoyed the scenic drive.

Sunset At Sauble

The beach, and nearby town hold historic significance within Ontario, but on a more personal note this is where my parents met in the 1950s, and where my grandparents once loved to vacation in summer. It was a pleasure to spend time with my children there.

Please note that this entry is for both the Tuesday, and Wednesday editions of WW. :D

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.



Permalink 06:20:44 pm, by Email , 245 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In Film & Television, History In The News, Religion and Spirituality

Life Of Brian Ban Should Be Lifted

I cannot believe that in 2008 one of my own favourite comedic films is still banned! In fact I am surprised that it was ever banned in the first place! I am talking about Monty Python's Life Of Brian, and in one of those odd quirks of fate the mayor of Aberystwyth, who just happened to have been featured in film, wants the town's near-30 year ban on the film finally lifted.

Mayor Sue Jones-Davies (centre) with the Monty Python team on the film's set

Here is a snippet from the BBC:

She's not the messiah, she's the mayor of Aberystwyth and she has a plan.

Sue Jones-Davies is trying to overturn a near 30-year ban imposed by the town on Monty Python's Life of Brian - the film in which she played a role.

Long before she donned her mayoral robes in the mid Wales town, she played Brian's girlfriend in the movie.

Opponents claimed it made fun of Jesus, but she says it is "amazing" that a town like hers still officially bars a movie now regarded as a comedy classic.

In 1979, however, it grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons, with critics accusing the Python team of blasphemy with its story about a Jewish man who was mistaken for the messiah and then crucified.

Some religious groups picketed cinemas which screened the film.

Full article here

I hope she has the ban this point it is just silly in my opinion.



Roman Emperor Hadrian Bust

A marble bust of the Roman Emperor Hadrian is carefully lowered into position for an exhibition at the British Museum, London.

Image Credit: BBC



Permalink 12:12:01 am, by Email , 144 words   English (CA)
Categories: British History, Museums And Historic Sites

Tales From The Grave

The BBC ran an article this past week on skeletons that were dug up from beneath London, England, and are now featured in a new exhibition, which will open this summer. Regulars around here should be aware of my love of skeletons, mummies, and bog people, and should not be surprised that I would LOVE to see this exhibit!

Here is a snippet from the BBC:

Beneath our feet, stories of the past lie waiting to be told.

Over the last 30 years, the Museum of London has excavated, examined and archived 17,000 skeletons. Now, 26 of them are to go on display at the Wellcome Trust in London.

They each have a story to tell about life in the capital hundreds of years ago.

Full BBC Article & Videos Here

Skeletons: London's Buried Bones
runs at the Wellcome Collection at 183 Euston Road from 23 July to 28 September



Permalink 05:26:53 pm, by Email , 736 words   English (CA)
Categories: Murder & Mayhem

Remembering Millions That Starved To Death

Maria Volkova's voice quivers as she recalls the Holodomor. As a six-year-old child, she survived the Ukrainian famine by eating dandelion roots, pumpkin flowers and even rats.

Maria, 82, who has lived in Wollaton for the past nine years, spoke of the famine which robbed her of her childhood, claimed the lives of her baby sister and two young cousins and saw her father branded a traitor and taken away to Siberia.

On her sixth birthday, she shared a feast of soup made out of pumpkin flowers at a party with children who had swollen bellies due to malnutrition.

During the Holodomor - often translated as "to inflict death by hunger" - children at school had lessons on how to collect grubs in exchange for grain.

The famine of 1932-33 was long denied by the Soviet Union, but most historians today agree with the Ukrainians that it was an act of genocide. But this has not been recognised by many governments in the world.

Maria said she was "was one of the lucky few who survived". Three million children are estimated to have died out of the seven to ten million believed to perished in the famine.

"We had no meat, so in the winter, we resorted to catching rats," she said. "At school, we were given a bucket and we girls would flush the rodents out. The boys would then catch them and we would have a feast," she said

Maria was one of several survivors of the Holodomor who took part in Keep the Flame Alive, a campaign to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Ukraine's famine-genocide at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Mansfield Road on July 2.

Food was already scarce when Stalin's policy of collectivisation saw farms seized and food sent to feed people in the factories.

Desperate to put food in his children's stomachs, Maria's father bought a bag of grain on the black market.

It was enough for the Communists to raid the house one night in 1930. A terrified Maria watched as her father was branded a traitor for hoarding food and arrested.

His wife walked 90km to visit him in prison before he was sent to work in Siberia. He was never seen again.

Maria, like all children whose parents had been taken away, had to wear signs saying "children of traitors".

Of the 28 children in Maria's school class that autumn, only 12 survived the winter. The rest had succumbed to the famine.

The family endured more pain when Maria's aunties and cousins were also sent to the work camps in Siberia.

Maria said: "During the collectivisation, they took everything, including my aunties' last horse. The head of the collective farm gave the horse to his son. The son was riding it and so she went to the stables and took it back.

"That night the Communists came and took the auntie and all of her family save two of her children and deported them all to Siberia.

"My mother had eight sisters who were also all deported. Afterwards we had word she was still alive and she wanted the children to go and live with her.

"They were taken by train and were reunited, but they only lived for six months."

At Nottingham's Ukrainian Cultural Centre, Maria is able to relax and feel at home. She left Ukraine when her daughter married an Englishman and she moved to Nottingham. She has been going to the centre ever since.

Around 200 people gathered at the event organised by the Ukrainian World Congress and the Association of Ukrainian's in Great Britain to remember the victims.

Ukraine today says the famine was an act of genocide orchestrated by Stalin.

The torch remembering its victims was carried by president of the Ukrainian World Congress, Askold Lozynskyj, and Ukraine ambassador Vladyslav Rohovyi.

Guests included Nottingham East MP John Heppell who has vowed to campaign for recognition of the Holodomor as an act of genocide.

He said: "We can see that this was not just a crime against Ukraine, but a crime against humanity and I find it impossible to see that as anything other than genocide."

A national commemorative event will be held on November 22 in London.

Our thanks to Michael Kachor for alerting us to this. My family were victims of this horrific tragedy, and it must never be forgotten. Through remembrance we Ukrainians throughout the world can heal, and make sure that this never happens again.



Permalink 12:27:19 am, by Email , 73 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday, British History

Wordless Wednesday

Knole House, Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent

Can you imagine what it might be like to have to tidy up a place of this size?! I certainly wouldn't mind giving it a try! Please note that this entry is for both the Tuesday, and Wednesday editions of WW. :D

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit: Digital



Permalink 02:14:13 pm, by Email , 278 words   English (CA)
Categories: Love & Romance

The Wedding Couple Who Are They?

I love to go to estate sales, and over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend one in my own neighbourhood. The sale was for the contents of a house that's owner had lived in for a very long time, and had recently passed on at the grand old age of 100.

I purchased a few wonderful pieces that I may blog about here in the future, but I definitely wanted to share this one photo I had bought that you see above.

Despite being in a very sturdy wooden frame the photo suffers from some scratches, and obvious nicotine damage. It is also in a fairly fragile state.

I often pick up old photos at sales, and wonder about who or what may be behind the images, and for some reason this couple held a sad attraction for me.

When I inquired who they maybe I was told by the lady's descendants that they believed the couple were in fact her grandparents, but had no real idea as to who they were, their names, or even where the photo may have been taken. They speculated it may have been England.

The only clue I have to its origin is this stamp at the bottom of the photo. It reads Davis & Lloy (probably Lloyd) Photos, I also purchased a few items that were definitely hand-made in Ireland so this couple may in fact be Irish?

Any thoughts, or ideas on where they may have come from or a date would be much appreciated. I do think they may be Edwardian, and if they were the owner's grandparents this photo may date to the turn of the century.



Afghan Caves Hide World's Oldest Oil Paintings...

From The BBC...

When the Buddhas of Bamiyan were carved out of the mountainside, the Roman Empire still dominated the globe.

They towered over a rich valley in what is now central Afghanistan, where caravans of traders would stop and rest on the Silk Road as they transported goods between east and west.

For centuries the two huge statues stood guard over Bamiyan.

But in 2001, just months before they were forced from power, the Taleban dynamited what they considered un-Islamic representations of the human form.

Today all that remains are the recesses where they stood, and the labyrinth of fragile caves surrounding them.

Today there isn't even a paved road connecting the valley to Kabul, but yet inside the caves are a reminder of Bamiyan's past wealth and glory and a new claim to fame that could put the province back on the map.

Inside those caves the steep, narrow steps are crumbling, there are cracks in the mud tunnels carved into the mountainside, and still visible high in the echoing chambers are pieces of Buddhist iconic art which are now thought to be the oldest oil paintings in the world.

Experts feel that the murals found in these caves date back to 650AD and therefore are the earliest representation of this form of art on the planet.

Even more incredible is this part at the end of the BBC article...

A Buddhist pilgrim wrote around the time the paintings were finished in the mid seventh century of the amazing statues - but he described three.

According to his account, the third reclining Buddha was a 1,000 feet long and lay on the valley floor.

It would be remarkable if it was buried beneath the river sediment and two teams of archaeologists, one from France another from Japan, are in a race to find it.



Permalink 08:12:02 am, by Email , 148 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Arts And Culture

Famous Canadians - Michael J Fox

The actor Michael J Fox was born in Edmonton Alberta in 1961. From 1982-1989 he played the character of Alex P. Keaton the neo-conservative, yuppie son of two ageing hippies in a US television show called Family Ties.

The actor saw big screen success in the Back To The Future film series playing time traveller Marty Mcfly (he might just make a good Dr Who companion). He had several successful movies afterwards, but returned to tv in the comedy Spin City from 1996-2000 and won an Emmy for his role. The show carried on for another two years after his departure due to Parkinson's disease.

Since leaving he has written a memoir called Lucky Man, and established the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

I was fortunate enough to meet Mr Fox briefly during the filming of Life with Mikey in 1993, and he was a super nice guy.



Permalink 12:59:31 pm, by Email , 231 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, Central & South American History

1600 Year Old Tomb Found In Peru

An amazing discovery has been recently made in Peru that will help us to better understand pre-Columbian people in that most facinating region of the world.

Here is a snippet from the CBC coverage:

Archeologists in northern Peru say they've unearthed a rare, well-preserved pre-Incan tomb dating back 1,600 years.

The tomb in Ucupe, 670 kilometres from Lima, had human remains as well as ceramics and jewelery, indicating the person was probably from nobility.

"It's clearly a first-rate find, because there is lots of iconography, which are elaborate," Canadian archeologist Steve Bourget told Reuters on Saturday.

"It will be a real pleasure to manipulate the data and compare them to sites like Sipan," said Bourget, who has worked in the area since 1986.

Sipan is a Moche archeological site located in the same region, famous for the tomb of El Señor de Sipan (Lord of Sipan). It is considered to be one of the most important archeological discoveries in the past 30 years because the main tomb was found intact.

Bourget said the team also discovered some technologically sophisticated objects made from copper.

Full CBC Article Here

With the sheer volume of grave robbery that went on in Peru in the past, and still continues on today because of the high demand of collectors around the globe it is a wonder that this tomb even exists in such an intact state. Very exciting indeed!!



Permalink 08:59:46 am, by Email , 245 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, War And Conflict, Americana, History In The News, Museums And Historic Sites

Old Fort Niagara Attacked!

Old Fort Niagara as it was

The history of Old Fort Niagara spans more than 300 years, and in that time it survived countless attacks, and several wars. However, due to a possible stupid mistake made by the neighbouring US Coast Guard the old fort went up in flames.

Here is a news snippet:

The fort's staff was busy getting ready for their biggest weekend of the year, when a visitor sounded the alert.

Three nearby fire departments responded to the call and the Coast Guard, stationed next door, but witnesses told us, because of the difficulty getting the heavy equipment in, some park staff had to resort to using garden hoses.

Investigators are still looking into what started the fire, confined to minor roof damage to the Provisions Storehouse built by the British in 1762, including the possibility it was accidentally touched off by a Coast Guard emergency flare.

Coast Guardsmen were conducting training exercises, nearby and there was plenty of wind that could have sent one of the flares or hot embers from one off-course, despite the precautions.

Park officials can't say either, but the Coast Guard is credited with responding quickly.

Full article including video here

Here is a direct link to Old Fort Niagara which hopefully will be ok, and have suffered only very minor damage. This is a terrific historic site that must be preserved for future generations. If you have never been to the Old Fort I highly recommend a visit!



Permalink 11:03:00 am, by Email , 131 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana, Holidays And Traditions

I Guess King George Will Be Able To Read That!

I want to wish our American readers a very happy and safe Fourth of July holiday celebration! For non-Americans this is the day the USA celebrates their freedom, and independence.

Here is some Independence Day trivia for you!

"Trusted by the delegation with making some last minute revisions, John Hancock finished the Declaration of Independence with only the secretary of Congress, Charles Thompson, present. Though Hancock is popularly credited with having completed the last stroke of his bold signature with the phrase, "There, I guess King George will be able to read that," neither Hancock nor Thompson, the only ones who would have known, left any record of the famous one-liner."

I would make a joke about a current King George, but that would be in poor taste!

Happy Independence Day!!!



Permalink 09:56:35 am, by Email , 38 words   English (CA)
Categories: Going From Here To There, Folklore And Superstitions, Adventurers

A Replica Of The Argo

A replica of Argo, the mythical ship that bore Jason and the Argonauts on their quest for the Golden Fleece, sails through the Corinth Canal, Greece. The ship carries a crew from all 27 EU states.

Image Credit: BBC



Permalink 01:01:21 am, by Email , 57 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Wordless Wednesday, Holidays And Traditions

Happy Canada Day - Wordless Wednesday

Wishing all of our fellow Canadians a very Happy Canada Day!

Michelsen Farmstead a Provincial Historic Site of Alberta, located in Stirling Agricultural Village

This entry is for both the Tuesday, and Wednesday editions of WW. :D

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.



Permalink 04:28:23 pm, by Email , 73 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, European History

A Few Acres Of Snow

Perhaps the most colossal understatement in all of history was made by one François-Marie Arouet, better remembered by his pen name Voltaire.

Voltaire 1694-1778

Voltaire was a famed French writer, and philosopher who on learning that Canada had been taken from France by those pesky British said it was no great loss, after all Canada was only......

"A Few Acres Of Snow"

I wonder what he would say now...... ;)

Happy Canada Day!



Permalink 06:14:38 pm, by Email , 100 words   English (CA)
Categories: Going From Here To There, Travel & Tourism

A Dangerous Occupation

The work of the firemen on the early trains was a dangerous undertaking, and something I personally would never have been able to do no matter how great the pay. The firemen had to frequently crawl along the running boards as the engine thundered onwards. They had to do this in order to place grease in all of the bearings. This work became extremely dangerous in freezing or rainy weather. Yikes! 88|

Early Train Fireman At Work

For a great resource on old railroad jobs, and their descriptions have a look at this page located on the excellent genealogy website RootsWeb.



Permalink 12:16:59 am, by Email , 77 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

Massey Family Mausoleum

The Massey family were very prominent Toronto citizens that contributed greatly to arts, and culture within our fair city. The grand mausoleum you see above is their final resting place, which is fairly close to the Didier family plot. The latter is decidedly far less grand, but far more important, at least to us.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.



Permalink 11:36:11 am, by Email , 180 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Murder & Mayhem, Book Reviews

Life On Homicide

Over this past weekend I started reading former Toronto police chief William McCormack's memoir entitled Life On Homicide. The book gives a chilling series of accounts of Toronto the Good more darker side, specifically through the years 1969 - 1979.

So far it has helped in restoring my faith in Toronto coppers that was severely shaken after reading Derek Finkle's book on the Robert Baltovich case entitled No Claim To Mercy which ended up showing how bad policing amongst other problems within our Canadian criminal justice system can result in innocent people going to prison for crimes that they did not commit.

William McCormack writes of a different era, and a different Toronto that includes a city core that is long gone and pre-Eaton Centre.

He does not glamorise the job of a homicide detective at all, and gives a realistic, and in my opinion thus far a compassionate look at the way crimes such as murder have impacted our city. A great read so far, and a must for those interested in true crime, and the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Permalink 12:40:50 am, by Email , 249 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, British History, Museums And Historic Sites

The Cerne Abbas Giant

The Cerne Abbas Giant

A shortage of sheep has led to a famous landmark known as the Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset, U.K disappearing under vegetation and moss. How sad would it be to lose this sometimes controversial hill figure of a giant naked man a.k.a "the Rude Giant."

Here is a snippet from the BBC:

The 180ft (54.8m) famous fertility symbol Cerne Abbas Giant was also left struggling under plant life encouraged by a wet start to the summer.

A flock of 100 sheep is usually lent to the National Trust for a few weeks in May to graze on the land.

But a shortage has forced the trust to re-chalk the etching. It is hoped a flock will be on the hillside soon.

Rob Rhodes, National Trust head warden for west Dorset, said: "Every year we have sheep on the hillside eating the grass to keep the giant visible.

"We rely on local farmers and the way agriculture is going at the moment, there's hardly any sheep left in that part of Dorset."

He added that the wet weather had caused a lot of moss and lichen to grow on the giant making the white chalk a greeny colour.

"He is not completely invisible but he is quite overgrown," Mr Rhodes said.

Full BBC Article Here

Hopefully they will be able to do something. How hard could it be to find some sheep to import in, and prevent the loss of this very cool site.



Permalink 01:57:00 pm, by Email , 80 words   English (CA)
Categories: Hollywood Babylon, Arts And Culture, History In The News

The Real Marilyn Monroe

The BBC has posted a short video clip of never before seen footage of Marilyn Monroe.

The footage was taken in 1961 by an extra that was in her last movie entitled The Misfits.

The reels of footage are to be auctioned in Las Vegas this weekend.

They show a very relaxed, and seemingly happy Monroe along with her co-star in the film Clark Gable. He died soon after finishing work on The Misfits.

The video clip can be seen here.



Permalink 01:17:05 pm, by Email , 115 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, British History, Museums And Historic Sites

British Historic Sites That Are At Risk

According to a recent BBC news report six buildings and landscapes have been added to the English Heritage "at risk" register to save them for future generations.

Spray-painting has damaged Birkrigg Stone Circle, in Cumbria.

How sad is that?

Uxbridge Lido is the the second longest open-air swimming pool remaining in London.

Visually the above has to be the worst. :(

Lowther Castle has lain unoccupied for more than 60 years.

The lovely fairy-tale like castle was damaged by a tank regiment during the second world war. It has not had a roof since I believe 1957.

Hopefully the British government will step up, and do something to save these, and the other three sites on the list.



Permalink 12:19:25 am, by Email , 104 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

The Entrance To Petra

Petra is is an archaeological site in Arabah, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan, lying on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains, which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is renowned for its rock-cut architecture.

Petra is also one of the new wonders of the world. And one of the places I would love to travel to one day.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit: Wiki



Permalink 12:18:41 am, by Email , 294 words   English (CA)
Categories: Holidays And Traditions

It is That time Of Year Again.....

That is right! It is Father's Day! And just in case you are wondering I decided to do a replay of last year's ever popular Father's Day history lesson....also to be considered as I have decided to take a day off of rest myself.. ;)


"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was."
~Anne Sexton

The creation of a national day for Dads began back in the 1900s when a grateful daughter wanted to express her deep appreciation for her own father. A gentleman by the name of William Smart, a civil war veteran, was widowed when his wife died in childbirth. Mr. Smart raised his six children on a rural farm in eastern Washington State. When Sonora Louise Smart Dodd, one of Mr. Smart's children, was grown she wanted to show her appreciation for her father. He had shown her a great love and strength in raising her and her siblings as a single parent. So, in 1909, she proposed a day to honor her father in June (the month of her father's birth).

The very first Fathers' Day followed on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge showed support of this becoming a national holiday. However, it wasn't until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson officially proclaimed Fathers' Day a national holiday to be celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of June.

Harry C. Meek, president of the Lions Club in Chicago, was also a component in establishing Fathers' Day. He gave several speeches around the United States expressing the need for a day to honor our fathers. In 1920 the Lions Clubs of America presented him with a gold watch, with the inscription "Originator of Fathers' Day".

Source: Father's Day History

Have a Safe & Happy Father's Day!



Permalink 06:40:00 am, by Email , 136 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Going From Here To There

Timber Rafting In Canada

The Lumber Raft - watercolour and gouache over graphite on laid paper.

One of our countries first, and very important commercial industries was logging. Back in the old days huge rafts of squared logs were set up by the loggers. These would make the journey downstream along these vast rivers in the Springtime.

The loggers set up their living quarters right on the giant rafts, and many of them slept, and ate on the deck while travelling to their ports of call. Once there the rafts of timber were disassembled, and the logs shipped to England.

As early as the year 1790 a timber raft travelled all the way from Kingston, Ontario to Quebec City. Quite a feat in my opinion even today!

Image Credit: Hopkins, Frances Anne (1838-1919) Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. R9266-278



Permalink 06:24:22 am, by Email , 138 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Natural Disasters Past & Present

The Flying Bathtub

Regina, 1912 After the great tornado hit

For those of us living in tornado country the thought of these super storms that can create these monsters of swirling wind are quite frightening indeed! However, these are certainly not new, and I believe I may have found out why we were originally told that the bathtub was a good place to hide in.

When the city of Regina was struck by a giant twister in 1912, one man was taking his daily bath at the time. The tub was ripped from his disintegrating house, and went flying for a full half a kilometre.

The tub eventually landed on the rooftop of the historic Wascana Hotel, and the man thankfully was reported to have suffered no serious injury.

For a great online resource check out A Window into the Regina Tornado of 1912.



Permalink 04:16:52 pm, by Email , 115 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, European History, Religion and Spirituality

The Loss Of A Historic Church

The photo below is very dramatic, and heart-breaking in my opinion.

Romanian Church

What you are looking at is the steeple of Evangelist church being consumed by flames. The church is located in the city of Bistrita in Romania's Transylvania region, and it is over 700 years old. The steeple began to burn after a fire broke out in this historic place of worship.

I have no idea the condition of the church at this point nor if any of the building can be saved. Any time we lose a building such as this one my heart gives a little lurch...I guess that is true for anyone that loves, and appreciates history.

Image Credit: BBC

Permalink 09:48:38 am, by Email , 310 words   English (CA)
Categories: Holidays And Traditions

The Lost Art Of Thank You

A Distinguished Thank You Card

When we were growing up our Mother taught us the value, and importance of sending out thank you cards for different occasions. These occasions included the most obvious ones like appreciation for a birthday gift or a Christmas present, but also for perhaps not as obvious such as an act of kindness, or a thank you at the end of the school year to the teacher or our school bus driver. Those days seem rather far off now, but the giving of thank you cards is something that my siblings, and myself have passed on to the next generation.

It can be fun, and rewarding to teach children the value of sending out thank you cards. In our house we used to play a little game when the children were small like at Christmas time where you would devise your thank you card check list like Santa's elves preparing their great lists, and checking them twice. Then off on a mission to the post office we would go to have all of our cards stamped, and sent off to destinations sometimes faraway. The kids thought it was such great fun!

Today with electronic mail I worry that the giving, and receiving of thank you cards may one day become a lost art in the future.

To keep this wonderful tradition alive we can look to an online source such as Cards Direct that offer these wonderful cards at a fraction of the cost of buying individually at the store. What is great for the kids is that you can order these cards personalized, and include your return addresses on the envelopes giving them their very own unique cards to send to relatives, and friends right from their own desks at home.

Thank you cards are a lovely, and thoughtful tradition that will brighten anyone's day.



Permalink 05:07:06 pm, by Email , 240 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, History In The News

Canada Apologises To Aboriginal People

It was a historic moment today in Canada as our Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an official apology to former students of the government's native residential school program, and our First Nations people.

Here is a snippet from the CBC coverage:

In the first formal apology ever delivered by a Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper stood in the House of Commons on Wednesday to say sorry to former students of the government's native residential school program.

"Mr. Speaker, I stand before you today to offer an apology to former students of Indian residential schools," Harper said in Ottawa, surrounded by a small group of aboriginal leaders and former students, some of whom wept as he spoke.

"The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history.

"Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country," he said to applause.

"The government now recognizes that the consequences of the Indian residential schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on aboriginal culture, heritage and language," Harper said.

Full CBC Article Here

What was done to our Native people is akin to genocide, and no less in my mind. To read about the mass graves of children recently discovered please click on Genocide In Canada.

Let us hope this is a first step towards openness, and healing.



Permalink 01:36:57 am, by Email , 81 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

The Mirror of Death, detail of the funerary monument of Philippe de Guèldre, duchess of Lorraine and queen of Sicily (1547). I have always had a special fondness for funerary art such as the wonderful example depicted above. I guess they bring back fond childhood memories of tending to the family plot with my Dad while growing up. :)

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit: Wiki



Machu Picchu Hit By Grave Robbers Much Earlier

I hate coming across articles like the one I will share with you in part below simply because over time I have developed a real dislike (not so much for the grave robbers who are usually very poor to begin with) for collectors of these types of antiquities.

Locals knew about Machu Picchu before Western explorers found it

Here is a snippet from a BBC report that puts the discovery of this magnificent place more than 40 years earlier than previously thought. And yes robbed far earlier as well.

Machu Picchu, now Peru's biggest tourist attraction, was famously believed to have been discovered in 1911 by US explorer Hiram Bingham.

The ruins are the crown jewel of Peru's archaeological sites in Peru and draw thousands of tourists every day.

Machu Pichu carries symbolic value for Peru's indigenous people.

It was built by one of the last Inca emperors, Pachacutec, in around 1450 and kept secret from the Spanish conquerors who invaded about 100 years later.

Now the story about its discovery by the western world has been shaken up by a team of historians who say a German businessman looted its treasures more than 40 years before.

They say the adventurer, Augusto Berns, who traded in Peru's wood and gold, raided the citadel's tombs in 1867 apparently with the blessing of the Peruvian government.

He had set up a sawmill at the foot of the forested mountain on which Machu Picchu stands and systematically robbed precious artefacts which he sold to European galleries and museums.

Only when one of the historians found a map in Peru's national museum were his activities traced.

Full BBC Article Here

How much of Machu Picchu's secrets, and treasures were lost not only to Peru, but to the world I think we will probably never know. And perhaps if we did it would only make it that much harder to have to accept.

If this subject interests you at all please have a look at my review of Stealing History, which helped to really open my eyes to this growing problem, particularly in countries such as Iraq.



Permalink 09:49:48 am, by Email , 221 words   English (CA)
Categories: Asian History

The Ainu People Finally Recognized

Can you imagine what it might be like if it was claimed your ancestors did not exist, and therefore you do not either? At least not officially.

That is exactly what happened to the Ainu people of Japan. Here is a snippet from a BBc article detailing their struggle for recognition.

In the 19th Century, Japanese people called the northern island of Hokkaido "Ezochi".

It meant "Land of the Ainu", a reference to the fair-skinned, long-haired people who had lived there for hundreds of years.

The Ainu were hunters and fishermen with animist beliefs.

But their communities and traditions were eroded by waves of Japanese settlement and subsequent assimilation policies.

Today only small numbers of Ainu remain, and they constitute one of Japan's most marginalised groups.

(This past) Friday they will have something to celebrate.

Japan's parliament is to adopt a resolution that, for the first time, formally recognises the Ainu as "an indigenous people with a distinct language, religion and culture".

Full BBC Article Here

I am almost ashamed to admit that as a Westerner I had never even heard of the Ainu before that in some ways remind me of the Inuit people here in Canada. I am very happy for them, and all I can add is that it by far about time.

Image: Ainu Museum - BBC



Permalink 09:19:49 am, by Email , 396 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Book Reviews

Mount Pleasant Cemetery - Toronto Ontario Canada

Last weekend we attended some of the Yard Sale For The Cure garage sales that were happening around Toronto as eager shoppers. Not only do proceeds from this annual event go to a very good cause, but you never know what little gem you may find. This year we were in luck to find a copy of Mike Filey's book Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide that we had foolishly loaned out to someone 6 years prior, and had never been returned.

Here is a snippet about the book:

"In Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide, Mike Filey brings us closer to the lives of those who are at rest in Ontario's most beautiful burial ground. Established in 1876 as a cemetery for all, irrespective of race or religion, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, (now stretching from Yonge Street to Bayview Avenue, north of Bloor between Merton Street and Moore Avenue) was immediately perceived as a city attraction, featured in the daily papers, and recommended by city guide books. As well the magnificent grounds (designed by German landscape architect Henry Englehardt) which attracted visitors at the end of the nineteenth century, the cemetery now has an exceptionally rich and textured history and tells the story of Toronto's growth and change.

Collected in this guide, and arranged according to the cemetery layout, are nearly three hundred short life stories, intended to round out the biographies the head stone inscriptions can only hint at. As well as such important Canadian figures as Glenn Gould and Timothy Eaton, the biographies of less well-known Canadians, whose mostly ordinary lives were ended in unusual ways, are also included. Explanations of the funereal stones, descriptions of the shrubs and trees, and detailed maps of the grounds, showing the approximate location of all markers, help the visitor to appreciate some of the cemetery's physical features.

With book in hand, the Mount Pleasant tourist can enjoy Mt. Pleasant's calm and beauty and discover the personal histories that make up Toronto's social past."

Aside from the rich, and the famous Mount Pleasant Cemetery is also the final resting place of the Didier family so it is close to our hearts.

Finding a copy of the guide book has inspired us to visit this magnificent cemetery perhaps over this very weekend, and photograph some of the more famous, and the more interesting, and unique monuments to share here on Pastymes.



Permalink 12:41:27 am, by Email , 76 words   English (CA)
Categories: War And Conflict, History In The News, European History

WWII Tank Discovered

A bizarre discovery was made recently in Chartres, France. And here is a pic:

Seen above is a World War II US tank that was discovered buried under a street. The M5 light tank was from the 31st Tank Battalion, and was a part of the 1944 D-Day invasion force. I wonder how it got buried where it did, and why it was left undisturbed, and undetected for so long?

Very cool find though.

Image Credit: BBC



Permalink 10:00:52 am, by Email , 96 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Prehistoric

How Canadian Prehistoric Wealth Was Found

In the pre-Confederation days prospectors crossing Northern Ontario were puzzled by the fact that their compasses spun crazily in the area of present day Sudbury.

The mystery of the spinning compasses was eventually solved during the 1880s when construction gangs were blasting with dynamite through the pre-Cambrian rock in order to lay down a road bed for the Canadian Pacific Railway or C.P.R.

What they found was was nickel deposits so vast in scope that it staggered the imagination of the entire world!

Mystery solved.


It Happened In Canada
By: Gordon Johnston



Permalink 12:16:16 am, by Email , 66 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

Something about this photo showing traditional attire from around the world being worn at the 28th International Congress of Midwives in Scotland is appealing to me. What can I say, but I love to dress up particularly if it is in period costume.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit: BBC



Permalink 06:05:30 am, by Email , 225 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, History In The News, British History

A Rare Princess Elizabeth Portrait Has Been Found

A very rare portrait of Princess Elizabeth who later become Queen Elizabeth I has been discovered within a historic British home.

Elizabeth with siblings Edward VI and Mary I, father Henry VIII and his jester, Will Somers.

I have enlarged, and cropped the above image so that you can have a better view of Princess Elizabeth who is on the right.

Here is a snippet from the BBC write-up on this amazing discovery!

The portrait, dating from 1650 to 1680, was found in the Duke of Buccleuch's collection at Boughton House.

It shows Elizabeth with siblings Edward VI and Mary I, father Henry VIII and his jester, Will Somers.

It is a copy of an original panel painting, which is thought to date back to the early 1550s.

The portrait was examined by historians Alison Weir and Tracy Borman after they were told of its existence by the director of Boughton House.

It will now be put on display at the stately home, and historians hope to trace the original through publicising the discovery.

Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I before her accession to the throne are extremely rare, with only two other proven portraits known - one at Hampton Court and the other at Windsor Castle.

Full BBC Article Here

This terrific piece of art depicting the Tudor era is to go on public display this August 2008.



Permalink 05:30:29 am, by Email , 215 words   English (CA)
Categories: Arts And Culture, History In The News, Folklore And Superstitions, British History

Shakespeare's Curse

I came across the following news bit regarding Shakespeare, and a possible curse, and it immediately caught my interest!

William Shakespeare's tombstone is set for an upgrade - despite bearing a warning curse! This is the first I had heard of a curse being placed on the bard's on.....

Photo of The Tomb.

William Shakespeare's tombstone is set for a makeover - despite bearing a curse against those who move it.

The grave is being restored as part of extensive repairs at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-on-Avon, Warks.

The stone, which renovators say will not be moved, warns: "Blessed be the man that spares these stones/ And cursed be he who moves my bones."

Shakespeare, who was baptised and buried at the church, is thought to have penned the warning epitaph.

The Bard's words have warned off the curious for almost four centuries as well as sending a plea to modern developers.

He was baptised at Holy Trinity in April 1564 and buried there 52 years later.

His grave slab in the chancel and a memorial to him are visited by thousands of tourists every year.

Full BBC Article Here

Would you be comfortable working at this location? Do you believe in curses? Will be interesting to see if anything noteworthy happens during the renovations.



Permalink 05:23:28 am, by Email , 149 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, British History, The Ancient World

The Holy Grail In The UK

A metal cup seen above that was acquired by a rag and bone man is revealed to be a pure gold goblet dating to the 4th Century BC. Now that is my kind of find! Here is a snippet from the BBC:

The vessel has two female faces looking in opposite directions with their foreheads decorated with a snake motif. William Sparks, who ran a scrap metal business in Taunton during the 1930s and 40s, left the ancient treasure to his young grandson John Webber.

The goblet is to be sold by Duke's auction house in Dorchester, Dorset.

Mr Webber, 70, said: "My grandfather was originally a proper rag and bone man from Romany stock and lived in a caravan.

Full BBC Article Here

The mug's value is estimated at up to £500,000 or one million dollars USA.

The BBC article also has a highly interesting video to go with it.



Permalink 02:42:54 pm, by Email , 194 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, Adventurers, African History, The Ancient World

Cleopatra's tomb has been found

Well according to this real-life Indiana Jones it has.

Zahi Hawass at work

He maybe considered the world's most flamboyant archaeologist, but I think that is definitely part of his charm. I love watching documentaries that feature Mr Hawass because his passion, and love of Egypt shine through each time. Here is a news snippet on his latest discovery:

With a team of 12 archeologists and 70 excavators, Zahi Hawass, 60, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, has started searching for the entrance to her tomb.

And after a breakthrough two weeks ago he hopes to find her lover, the Roman general Mark Antony, sharing her last resting place at the site of a temple, the Taposiris Magna, 28 miles west of Alexandria.

Hawass has discovered a 400ft tunnel beneath the temple containing clues that the supposedly beautiful queen may lie beneath. “We’ve found tunnels with statues of Cleopatra and many coins bearing her face, things you wouldn’t expect in a typical temple,” he said.

Full Article Here

How cool is this eh! I would love to be able to be there, and see these wonderful discoveries as they are being made. :D



Permalink 05:14:58 am, by Email , 88 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

After being closed for complete renovations, and a move to the new crystal wing the dinosaur exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum here in Toronto, Canada reopened this past winter. The James and Louise Temerty Galleries of the Age of Dinosaurs are an absolute must see for visitors in my own humble opinion. One of my own personal favourites of all the museum's collections.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit: My Sister



Permalink 03:02:52 pm, by Email , 249 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana, Science And Technology, Central & South American History

Science probe for space pistols

Yes....I said "space pistols"

The pistols you see above were said to be a gift to President Madison from General Ignacio Alvarez Thomas, Supreme Director of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, which would became the Republic of Argentina. They are over 200 years of age, and are part of an enduring mystery.....

Here is a snippet from the BBC:

The intricately decorated guns were said to have been forged from the iron of a fallen meteorite.

They were a unique gift from the commander of a South American region, which would later become Argentina, to the fourth US president, James Madison.

"Permit me therefore to present to your Excellency... a specimen of the first essays of the manufacture of arms established in the provinces of Buenos Ayres and Tucuman," wrote General Ignacio Alvarez in an accompanying 14-page letter.

Over time, they passed into the hands of Madison's successor - James Monroe - and are now on display at a museum dedicated to him.

Since that time, the story of their origin has gone unquestioned.

Now, scientists armed with a battery of hi-tech machines have probed the pistols in unprecedented detail.

Full BBC Article Here

The article goes on to relate how the scientists findings are casting a doubt on the folklore attached to these beautiful pistols, and goes on to detail their adventures in try to resolve the true story of the their origin.

To our American readers have a safe & happy Memorial Day!



Permalink 06:05:31 pm, by Email , 227 words   English (CA)
Categories: Arts And Culture, History In The News, Museums And Historic Sites

Crystal Skulls Are Fakes

I have always been fascinated by the crystal skulls, and thought it was a great plot idea for the new Indiana Jones film. Unfortunately, my belief in them has also recently been shattered as the two best examples in the world turn out to be modern day fakes.

The skulls were made with tools not available to Pre-Columbian cultures according to the BBC

Here is a snippet from a BBC news article on the skulls:

Two of the best known crystal skulls - artefacts once thought to be the work of ancient American civilisations - are modern fakes, a scientific study shows.

They are the focus of the story in the latest Indiana Jones film.

But experts say examples held at the British Museum in London and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC are anything but genuine.

Their results show the skulls were made using tools not available to the ancient Aztecs or Mayans.

Researchers say the work, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, should end decades of speculation over the origins of these controversial objects.

A team including Margaret Sax, from the British Museum in London, and Professor Ian Freestone, from Cardiff University, used sophisticated techniques to work out how the two skulls had been made.

Full BBC Article Here

Disappointing yes, but they are still beautiful works of art in this bloggers opinion anyway.



Permalink 12:44:57 am, by Email , 294 words   English (CA)
Categories: Murder & Mayhem, Americana, History In The News, Book Reviews

New Search For Bodies At Manson Family Ranch

Just reading about this gave me the creeps! According to the BBC Californian officials are searching for bodies at a ranch used by cult leader Charles Manson, nearly 40 years after his followers went on a killing spree.

Manson's ranch not much has changed over the four decades

Here is a snippet from the news report:

Manson and several members of his gang are serving life for the murders, which included that of actress Sharon Tate.

New tests at the remote hideout in Death Valley prompted the search for more victims.

Initial results found at least two potential grave sites, and prompted the local sheriff to allow new digging.

The time: 1969. The place: California, where a social revolution was under way, fuelled by sex, drugs and rock'n roll.

Charles Manson was a career criminal who believed a race war was coming. He called it Helter Skelter, after a song by The Beatles.

To kick-start this war Manson ordered his followers - known as The Family - to murder.

Over two nights in Los Angeles they killed seven people, including Sharon Tate, who was pregnant.

Their hideout was a remote ranch 300 miles (500km) away - in Death Valley.

Manson was found there hiding under a sink. He and four others are still serving life in jail.

Rumours have persisted of bodies at the ranch, of hikers gone missing, followers who fell out of favour.

Full BBC Article Here

I first read Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by the prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi as a teen, and these crimes still horrify me that many years later.

It is a chilling must-read for anyone interested in true American crime, serial, cult murders, and the real end of the flower-power era.



Permalink 01:00:16 am, by Email , 191 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

Modern memorial for the victims of the Soviet terror of 1937–1938 close to Gorky park, Vinnytsia.

The Vinnytsia massacre was a mass execution of people in the Ukrainian town of Vinnytsia by the Soviet secret police NKVD during Joseph Stalin's Great Purge in 1937–1938. Mass graves in Vinnytsia were discovered during the German occupation of Ukraine in 1943. The investigation of this site coincided with the discovery of a similar site in Katyn. Because the Germans wanted to use this evidence of Communist terror to discredit the Soviet Union, it became one of the better researched sites of mass murder among many in Ukraine.

My Grandfather was a victim of this genocide, and is buried somewhere near this memorial. I hope to one day visit as part of my own genealogical studies, and to bring a sense of closure for our family.

It makes us (our family) happy to see that the people of this city have erected a monument in remembrance of those who died there under such horrendous circumstances.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit Wiki



Permalink 12:11:22 am, by Email , 130 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Holidays And Traditions, British History

Her Majesty's Birthday Queen Victoria Day

Victoria, first sovereign of a confederated Canada

Victoria Day is a Canadian statutory holiday celebrated on the last Monday before or on May 24 in honour of both Queen Victoria's birthday and the current reigning Canadian sovereign's birthday.

In some parts of Canada, the holiday is colloquially known as May Two-Four. This phrase has two meanings: the holiday always falls near the date of May 24, and a two-four is Canadian slang for a case of 24 bottles of beer, a common packaging of the drink in Canada (and a common purchase of those planning to celebrate the weekend).

So let us hoist up a brew in honour of our monarch!

Happy Queen Victoria Day!

Sources, and further reading please see:

Queen Victoria Day Wiki

The Government of Canada's page on Victoria Day



Permalink 08:14:39 am, by Email , 424 words   English (CA)
Categories: War And Conflict, Arts And Culture, European History

Walter Duranty and The Holodomor

The topic of Mr. Duranty is a very difficult one for me at best. My family background is Ukrainian, and my great grandmother starved to death because of the Holodomor. It was a horrific time frame. Most of our extended family my grandmother's siblings we have no idea what happened to them. My grandfather is buried in a mass grave somewhere near Vinnytsia.

Walter Duranty was a British journalist who won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for a series of 5 stories written as the correspondent for the New York Times in Moscow. These stories covered Stalin's Five Year Plan to industrialize the Soviet Union. Part of that plan was to collectivize farming, to which the majority of Ukrainians were opposed.

He described those who opposed collectivization of farming as an "almost privileged class" that had been created by mistake by Lenin. He said that the same logic that led to the overthrow of the Czarist regime must inevitably lead to the destruction of these people, whom he numbered at 5,000,000.

He said that these people had to be "liquidated or melted in the hot fire of exile and labor into the proletarian mass". Duranty claimed that the Siberian labor camps were a means of giving individuals a chance to rejoin Soviet society but also said that for those who could not accept the system, "the final fate of such enemies is death.".

On March 31, 1933, Walter Duranty denounced the famine stories in the New York Times. In the piece, he described the situation under the title "Russians Hungry, But Not Starving" as follows: "In the middle of the diplomatic duel between Great Britain and the Soviet Union over the accused British engineers, there appears from a British source a big scare story in the American press about famine in the Soviet Union, with 'thousands already dead and millions menaced by death from starvation."

Contradicting what he had written in the New York Times, on September 26, 1933 in a private conversation with British Diplomat William Strang, Duranty said, "it is quite possible that as many as 10 million people may have died directly or indirectly from lack of food in the Soviet Union during the past year."

Walter Duranty mislead the world by writing deliberate falsehoods about the Holodomor, which has been decreed an act of genocide by the Verkhovna Rada Ukrajiny.

It is time in my opinion that this historical event be made right by revoking the Pulitzer Prize awarded to this man.


Holodomor Wiki

Revoke Walter Duranty's 1932 Pulitzer Prize

Join The Facebook Group - Revoke Walter Duranty's 1932 Pulitzer Prize



Permalink 12:23:59 am, by Email , 208 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, British History

Catherine Howard

Portrait miniature of Catherine Howard, by Hans Holbein the Younger.

Out of all of Henry's wives my heart goes out to his fifth Catherine Howard also known as Katherine, or Kathryn Howard, and by the King's nickname for her "the rose without a thorn". Henry became infatuated with the teenage Catherine soon after he annulled his marriage to Anne of Cleves. Catherine was Anne Boleyn's second cousin, but had a much different upbringing then her older relation.

She spent all of her life in England, and from the age of 15 had had a series of serious relationships with different men, which her family desperately tried to cover up, especially once the king began to express interest in her. She was accused by her enemies of not having ceased her reportedly wanton behaviour after her marriage, and Henry was soon made aware of these allegations. He was not amused.

Catherine, her lovers, and her lady-in-waiting were all found guilty of treason executed. Catherine had been queen for 18 months, was never crowned, and had not yet reached her 21st birthday in my mind a terrible waste, and tragedy as none of the claims against her were ever adequately proven in my opinion let alone so terrible by 21st century standards.



Permalink 01:01:37 pm, by Email , 398 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Murder & Mayhem

Genocide In Canada

Last month news broke of grave sites across the country that have been hidden for years. They have finally publicly released some of the grave site locations. I sincerely hope that this can be a first step in the healing of our Aboriginal people who have suffered through what can only be termed in my opinion as a genocide.

At a public ceremony and press conference held today outside the colonial 'Indian Affairs' building in downtown Vancouver, the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) released a list of twenty eight mass graves across Canada holding the remains of untold numbers of aboriginal children who died in Indian Residential Schools.

The list was distributed today to the world media and to United Nations agencies, as the first act of the newly-formed International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), a non-governmental body established by indigenous elders.

In a statement read by FRD spokesperson Eagle Strong Voice, it was declared that the IHRTGC would commence its investigations on April 15, 2008, the fourth Annual Aboriginal Holocaust Memorial Day. This inquiry will involve international human rights observers from Guatemala and Cyprus , and will convene aboriginal courts of justice where those persons and institutions responsible for the death and suffering of residential school children will be tried and sentenced. (The complete Statement and List of Mass Graves is reproduced below).

Eagle Strong Voice and IHRTGC elders will present the Mass Graves List at the United Nations on April 19, and will ask United Nations agencies to protect and monitor the mass graves as part of a genuine inquiry and judicial prosecution of those responsible for this Canadian Genocide.

Eyewitness Sylvester Greene spoke to the media at today's event, and described how he helped bury a young Inuit boy at the United Church's Edmonton residential school in 1953.

'We were told never to tell anyone by Jim Ludford, the Principal, who got me and three other boys to bury him. But a lot more kids got buried all the time in that big grave next to the school.'

For more information:

My thanks to our dear friend Penny who has worked very hard, and volunteered her time, and skills to a northern Ontario reserve for bringing this to our attention. This horrific bit of Canadian history must not be swept up under a rug, nor should these innocent victims be forgotten.



Permalink 07:07:37 am, by Email , 47 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

People carry a sculpture of the Madonna of the Dew through the streets of the village of El Rocio, southern Spain, during a festival.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit BBC



Permalink 10:43:04 am, by Email , 156 words   English (CA)
Categories: Murder & Mayhem, History In The News, British History

Genealogy Meets Criminology!

Well not exactly, but would you want to know if your great, great grandfather or grandmother was a murderer? Family skeletons have been toppling out of closets since the searchable details of more than 200 years of Old Bailey trails went online last month. So how does it feel to idly type a name into a search box and be presented with more than you bargained for? Some people have uncovered such info, and some are not truly overly concerned by it, others have had much different reactions.

Here is a snippet from the BBC:

"When I typed the surname in, I thought I might find offences like petty theft, breach of the peace, being drunk and disorderly, that sort of thing."

"First I saw the name 'Alexander', and I thought 'fantastic'. But then I read the next word, 'killing'. I was so shocked I nearly fell off my stool."

Full BBC article can be accessed here.



Permalink 03:20:14 pm, by Email , 282 words   English (CA)
Categories: Natural Disasters Past & Present

Reports Of 100,000 Dead In Burma

Aid is now getting through to some parts of the Irawaddy Delta region - but still not to the most remote areas.

I was just listening to a radio news report on the situation in Myanmar also known as Burma. The report claimed that the death toll would reach 100,000 since the Cyclone Nargis hit the southern delta region on May 2nd.

Tens of thousands of people are believed to have been killed, and about a million left homeless by last week's storm.

The time to put all politics aside is now. We in the West must try to help these people.

Reports from the devastated town of Labutta speak of many hungry refugees gathering there, amid the stench of dead bodies.

I know it looks overwhelming, and people really get frustrated sitting in their offices, or at their home computers not knowing how they can help.

I would like to suggest to anyone that can spare even a few dollars please make a donation to the Red Cross just click on the link to read about their efforts in Burma. Why I decided to post up the Red Cross website is because they can and do help. My mother was a DP or Displaced Person, and grew up in a refugee camp. She would not be alive today if people in the West had not opened their hearts, and wallets, and helped organizations like the Red Cross, which she has never forgotten in her 73 years.

I plan to donate to the Red Cross in the memory of my Grandmother who was also a refugee, and I hope other will consider making a donation no matter what the amount as well.

Photos Courtesy BBC



Permalink 04:29:25 am, by Email , 173 words   English (CA)
Categories: Arts And Culture, Wordless Wednesday, British History

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

A morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music.

Morris Men saw in the dawn on One Tree Hill, Somerset, England.

It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers. Implements such as sticks, swords, and handkerchiefs may also be wielded by the dancers. In a small number of dances for one or two men, steps are performed near and across a pair of clay tobacco pipes laid across each other on the floor.

There are claims that English records of the morris dance dating back to 1448 exist, but these are open to dispute. There is no mention of "morris" dancing earlier than the late 15th century, although early records such as Bishops' "Visitation Articles" mention sword dancing, guising and other dancing activities as well as mumming plays. For further info please see Morris Dance wiki entry.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit BBC



Permalink 05:21:02 pm, by Email , 217 words   English (CA)
Categories: Arts And Culture

Time Travel Through Opera

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, March 4, 1678 – July 28, 1741, nicknamed il Prete Rosso ("The Red Priest"), was a Venetian priest and Baroque music composer, as well as a famous virtuoso violinist; he was born and raised in the Republic of Venice. The Four Seasons, a series of four violin concerti, is his best-known work and a highly popular Baroque piece.

Vivaldi is in the news again today as a long-lost opera by the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi has been performed for the first time in 278 years, in the city of Prague.

Argippo was written for the Czech capital and premiered there in 1730.

But the opera - a tale of "passion, love and trickery" in an Indian maharaja's court - later disappeared without trace.

Most of the score was discovered in Germany by a young Czech musician who completed the missing parts.

Full BBC Article Here

This is actually not as unique as it may sound as quite recently, four sacred vocal works by Vivaldi have been re-discovered in the Saxon State Library in Dresden. These compositions were improperly attributed to Baldassare Galuppi, a Venetian composer of the early classical period, mostly famous for his choral works.

To read more on Vivaldi please check the following sources:

Vivaldi wiki entry

Michael Talbot: Recent Vivaldi Discoveries

Long-lost Vivaldi opera 'Argippo' returns to Prague after 278 years



Permalink 10:55:20 am, by Email , 459 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Murder & Mayhem

No Claim To Mercy

I am a lover of true crime stories, but to be honest I have put off reading No Claim to Mercy: The Controversial Case for Murder Against Robert Baltovich by Derek Finkle for almost a decade.

The crime itself, the murder of Elizabeth Bain hit very close to home at the time. Liz or Lisa Bain as she was also called was not only my age (we were both born in 1967) but I lived at Morningside & Ellesmere Ave in Toronto at the time, about 5 minutes away from where she had lived with her parents.

We did not know Elizabeth or her family personally, but her disappearance was chilling, and my now ex volunteered during two of the searches for her in Morningside Park. The bridge pictured in the book cover above was one that I had personally crossed on many occasions.

Just this past month Robert Baltovich, Elizabeth's boyfriend at the time was cleared of all murder charges against him. He has spent the past 18 years fighting to prove his innocence.

Here is a news snippet:

Robert Baltovich walked out of court Tuesday a free man, following a nearly 20 year ordeal in which he served eight years in prison for the murder of his girlfriend Elizabeth Bain.

Within an hour of the start of his retrial on a charge of second-degree murder, the Ontario man was found not guilty. The Crown told the court it didn't have any evidence and wasn't planning to bring forward any witnesses, which led to the jury's decision.

The soft-spoken Baltovich called it an "unbelievable relief" outside court.

Complete New Article Here

While I am left to wonder how an innocent man can be charged, and convicted of a crime he did not commit, my heart also goes out to the family of Elizabeth Bain who over the past 18 years have had no closure if that is even possible, and most certainly no peace. I cannot even begin to fathom what they have been through, and continue to suffer because of this horrendous crime.

It is now known that Paul Bernardo a serial rapist, and school girl sex killer lived in the same area of Scarborough at the same time. Did he murder Elizabeth Bain? When questioned the killer says no...but a pack of his brand of cigarettes were found in her car. Both Robert, and Elizabeth were non-smokers.

The book will most certainly offer no clue as to what really happened on that fateful afternoon of June 19, 1990, but what I hope it will do is give me some insight into how our Canadian justice system failed all of those involved.

I picked it up yesterday, and began to read it. I'll let you know what I think.............

Rest In Peace Elizabeth.



Permalink 05:31:55 pm, by Email , 238 words   English (CA)
Categories: Hollywood Babylon, Americana, Arts And Culture

The Jimi Hendrix Sex Tape

Last week the auction featuring a newly resurfaced Marilyn Monroe sex tape was all the the talk....

....this week it's the Jimi Hendrix sex-tape that is grabbing headlines. Read on:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Vivid Entertainment is releasing a sex tape allegedly starring Jimi Hendrix. The Los Angeles-based adult entertainment company said they obtained the sex tape from a memorabilia collector.

The 11 minutes of footage, reportedly shot in a hotel room about 40 years ago, features Hendrix — or someone who looks like him — engaged in various sexual acts with two women.

The company said they consulted with experts to authenticate the footage. But Charles R. Cross, author of the Hendrix biography "Room Full of Mirrors," has seen the film and doubts the man is Hendrix.

Cross said the face and nostrils of the man depicted in the video don't match Hendrix. He also said the man in the tape is wearing more rings that Hendrix was known to wear.

"This is somebody that looks like Jimi or is pretending to look like him, but it certainly didn't look like a dead-on match to me," Cross told The Associated Press during a telephone interview Tuesday.

Hendrix, who headlined the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969, died of a drug overdose in 1970.

Full article here

What is it with dead celebs sex-tapes lately?! It goes to show that the modern sex-tape is nothing new.....

If you are here for WW please see entry below.

Permalink 12:57:37 am, by Email , 63 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Arts And Culture, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

Lucy Maud Montgomery, (always called "Maud" by family and friends) and publicly known as L. M. Montgomery, (1874–April 24, 1942) was a Canadian author, best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908. The above photo is self explanatory.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.



Permalink 05:35:25 pm, by Email , 148 words   English (CA)
Categories: Arts And Culture, British History, Adventurers, Central & South American History

The Real Robinson Crusoe

An 1835 book inspired by Alexander Selkirk's life

Alexander Selkirk (1676-1721) was born in Largo, Scotland. He became a seaman under Capt. William Dampier. In 1704 objecting to the condition of the ship he was on , Selkirk asked to be put ashore on Mas a Tierra, a tiny deserted island in the Pacific Ocean off of S. America.

He lived completely alone on this island for four years, and four months before being returned to England. A free-lance writer Daniel Dafoe read about him, and may have met him, and in 1719 published a book based on Selkirk entitled The Life And Strange Surprising Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner.

Around 2000 an expedition led by the Japanese Daisuke Takahashi, searching for Selkirk's camp on the island, found an early 18th (or late 17th) century nautical instrument that almost certainly belonged to Selkirk.

For further reading please see Alexander Selkirk wiki entry.

Permalink 05:09:43 pm, by Email , 262 words   English (CA)
Categories: Science And Technology, Website Reviews

What is Exterminate It!

What is Exterminate It! ? That was the question I was asking myself earlier this past afternoon. Call me silly or use this statement to assist in determing my age, but whenever I hear the word exterminate..I think EX-TER-MIN-ATE, and thoughts of Daleks go swimming through my head.....

If you are not a fan of Doctor Who never mind, and just read on as this is not a Doctor Who post, it is a review of a website, which brings me back to the question what exactly is Exterminate It! ?

Exterminate It! is a spyware removal tool that works much like the Doctor's arch nemesis, and remove all that should not be on your computer from spyware, to malware, to viruses.

If you have ever had a mysterious slow down on your PC that turned out to be a computer virus than you will definitely see the value in this product. I have had a problem just this past year with a Trojan that got past my security settings, and it wreaked havoc on my system, which needed three full days worth of repair. Perhaps had I had Exterminate It! at that point in time I would have saved myself days worth of downtime, and much aggravation. >:(

If this sounds like something that might interest you, you may have a look at the site I was checking out earlier by clicking on the link within this entry. The site is easy to use, and can give you a lot more info via their FAQ, and purchasing pages.

Thank you to the sponsor.

Permalink 01:17:19 pm, by Email , 54 words   English (CA)
Categories: Science And Technology

Spamiversary - 30 Years Of Spam


Hard to believe that Spam as we all know, and loathe today actually originated 30 years ago on May 2 1978, and was sent to 393 users of ARPANET by someone from computing pioneers DEC.

Reading the archived "first spam" message and it's responses is actually very interesting...

Read more:


New Scientist



Permalink 01:04:42 pm, by Email , 165 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana, Arts And Culture

Happy Birthday Shirley

It is hard to believe that the sweet little girl pictured above turns 80 years of age today!

Shirley Jane Temple (born April 23, 1928) is an Academy Award-winning actress most famous for being an iconic American child actor of the 1930s, who enjoyed a notable career as a diplomat as an adult. After rising to fame at the age of six with her breakthrough performance in Bright Eyes in 1934, she starred in a series of highly successful films which won her widespread public adulation and saw her become the top grossing star at the American box-office during the height of the Depression. She went on to star in films as a young adult in the 1940s. In later life, she became a United States ambassador and diplomat.

For further information please see her wiki entry, and the Shirley Temple Official fan site.

As I child I really loved her films, and she is a reminder to me of a kinder, and gentler time as an eternal child :)



Permalink 03:37:12 am, by Email , 73 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

The Great Wall of China is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Great Wall stretches over approximately 6,400 km (4,000 miles from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia, but stretches to over 6,700 km (4,160 miles) in total.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit: Wiki



Permalink 12:48:37 pm, by Email , 104 words   English (CA)
Categories: Science And Technology

John Wheeler Dies At Age 96

Legendary American physicist John Wheeler, who coined the term "black hole", helped build the first generations of US atomic bombs, and worked with some of the most fabled names in 20th century physics, has died. The famous professor passed away from pneumonia at his home in New Jersey, aged 96.

Wheeler was described by Max Tegmark of MIT, speaking to the New York Times, as having been "the last Titan, the only physics superhero still standing". As a young man, having gained his PhD in Physics at the age of 21, Wheeler argued with Einstein and collaborated with Niels Bohr on quantum theory.

Source: The Register



Permalink 11:37:16 am, by Email , 142 words   English (CA)
Categories: Hollywood Babylon, Americana, Arts And Culture

Marilyn Monroe Sex Tape Auction

"An employee of Butterfields auction house displays a copy of a model release signed by Marilyn Monore in front of one of the photographs of Monroe during a Hollywood photo shoot in 1949, in Los Angeles, March 22, 2001. A 15-minute film of Marilyn Monroe engaging in an oral sex act with an unidentified man will be kept from public view by a New York businessman who has bought it for $1.5 million, the broker of the deal said on Monday."

The times really do not change do they? I was just happy to read that the auction winner has decided not to profit off of this tape or release it to the internet.

I do have to admit I find it amazing how so many people both men, and women are so enamoured of someone who has been dead for over 40 years!

Source: Yahoo News



Permalink 12:10:06 am, by Email , 45 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

A computer-generated depiction of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 which buried Pompeii. I was inspired to post this by last weekend's episode of Dr. Who.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.



Permalink 08:54:51 am, by Email , 139 words   English (CA)
Categories: British History

Stonehenge dig

Some very interesting things are being found at the latest Stonehenge dig that is being currently conducted.

Midsummer sunrise at Stonehenge

Is it possible this ancient site was a hospital or place of healing? Read on:

Archaeologists carrying out an excavation at Stonehenge say they have broken through to a layer that may finally explain why the site was built.

The team has reached sockets that once held bluestones - smaller stones, most now missing or uprooted, which formed the site's original structure.

The researchers believe that the bluestones could reveal that Stonehenge was once a place of healing.

The dig is the first to take place at Stonehenge for more than 40 years.

You can visit the BBC for up-to-date information on this dig, including videos of some of the more interesting items that have been uncovered at the site.



Permalink 12:59:24 am, by Email , 37 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday, Travel & Tourism

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

"Beautiful Harbor of St. Thomas, West Indies"

Scanned from period stereoptical view card, c. 1900

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit: WIKI



Permalink 12:13:30 pm, by Email , 187 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana

Martin Luther King Jr.

I cannot believe it has been forty years.......

"Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was one of the pivotal leaders of the American civil rights movement. King was a Baptist minister, one of the few leadership roles available to black men at the time. He became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–1956) and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957), serving as its first president. His efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Here he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter in 1977."

Martin Luther King's & Coretta Scott King's tomb, located on the grounds of the King Center

Rest in peace....

Sources: Wiki

Image Credits: Wiki



Permalink 04:23:04 pm, by Email , 123 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, British History

Jane Seymour

Portrait of Jane Seymour, third wife of Henry VIII of England, by Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.

Jane Seymour was the third of King Henry VIII wives, and a replacement for Anne Boleyn. History has recorded her as a pious, docile, well-born lady from a powerful family, who married the King because her brothers told her to.

Jane was queen for about 18 months, and she never had a coronation ceremony. She died of puerperal fever just 12 days after delivering Henry's long awaited boy, Edward.

Above her grave, there was for a time the following inscription:

"Here lieth a Phoenix, by whose death
Another Phoenix life gave breath:
It is to be lamented much
The world at once ne'er knew two such."



Permalink 09:06:04 am, by Email , 219 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, British History

Catherine Parr Queen Consort of England and Ireland

Catherine Parr (c. 1512 – 5 September 1548), also known as Katherine or Katharine Parr(e)

Catherine Parr was the last of King Henry VIII wives. It is believed she was more a nurse than a wife, in his old and sick state, although this has been challenged by historian David Starkey in his book Six Wives. Either way it is almost certain Henry did not make much of a husband.

Catherine had been twice widowed, and, though childless, loved children, and was the one wife who truly embraced Henry's children and tried to normalize relations between them and the king. She was very intelligent, and taught herself Latin as an adult. She was the only queen who was able to save herself when she did something to greatly offend the king.

After Henry's death she married Thomas Seymour, the younger of Jane's brothers, and Lord Admiral. She died after delivering the only child she ever had, Mary Seymour. The last mention of Mary Seymour on record is on her second birthday, and although stories circulated that she eventually married and had children, most historians today believe she died as a child.

A recent news item on an auction that included a lock of Catherine Parr's hair.

Wiki entry on Catherine Parr

Sudeley Castle - One time home, and burial place of Catherine Parr



Permalink 10:34:39 am, by Email , 242 words   English (CA)
Categories: War And Conflict, British History

Make Love Not War

The peace symbol turns 50........

It started life as the emblem of the British anti-nuclear movement but it has become an international sign for peace, and arguably the most widely used protest symbol in the world. It has also been adapted, attacked and commercialised.

The BBC has a terrific article this week devoted to the history of the peace symbol. Here is a snippet:

It had its first public outing 50 years ago on a chilly Good Friday as thousands of British anti-nuclear campaigners set off from London's Trafalgar Square on a 50-mile march to the weapons factory at Aldermaston.

The demonstration had been organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined in.

Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The "Ban the Bomb" symbol was born.

He considered using a Christian cross motif but, instead, settled on using letters from the semaphore - or flag-signalling - alphabet, super-imposing N (uclear) on D (isarmament) and placing them within a circle symbolising Earth.

The sign was quickly adopted by CND.

Holtom later explained that the design was "to mean a human being in despair" with arms outstretched downwards.

Full article here

Wishing all of our readers who celebrate it a Happy Easter Weekend, and a hope for true peace in our lifetimes. :D



Permalink 03:48:40 am, by Email , 28 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday, Museums And Historic Sites

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

The National Gallery in London.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit: WIKI



Permalink 08:59:36 am, by Email , 111 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana, Holidays And Traditions, British History

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Postcard mailed in the United States in 1912

Saint Patrick's Day is an annual feast day which celebrates Saint Patrick (circa 385–461 AD), one of the patron saints of Ireland, and is generally celebrated on March 17.

May the blessing of the rain be on you—
the soft sweet rain.
May it fall upon your spirit
so that all the little flowers may spring up,
and shed their sweetness on the air.
May the blessing of the great rains be on you,
may they beat upon your spirit
and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there many a shining pool
where the blue of heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.

Saint Patrick's Day!



Permalink 09:55:48 am, by Email , 129 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, British History

Catherine of Aragon

Katherine of Aragon (16 December 1485 – 7 January 1536)

Catherine of Aragon was the daughter of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, and the first of English King Henry VIII's wives. Catherine first married Henry's older brother Arthur, who died only months after the wedding. Henry married her shortly after he came to the throne. Though she was often pregnant during their long marriage, only one of her children, Mary, survived. In the 1530s, Henry broke with the Catholic church to get an annulment to his and Catherine's marriage. He wanted to marry a younger woman who could give him a son.

"Katherine of Aragon" as a young widow

Please note that Katherine is the spelling accepted by scholars, and used by the queen herself. Catherine is the popular, but modernized spelling.



Permalink 08:12:07 pm, by Email , 30 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday, The Ancient World

Wordless Wednesday

Augustus Caesar - Emperor of the Roman Empire

Happy Wordless Wednesday! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit: WIKI



Permalink 01:39:39 pm, by Email , 149 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, British History

Anne Boleyn

Portrait of Anne Boleyn by an unknown artist, 1525.

Anne Boleyn was the second wife of King Henry VIII, and the younger woman who it had been hoped for would give him a son. Anne was in her 20s when Henry began to court her. She had lived much of her life in Burgundy and France, and was well versed in courtly behaviour.

After a more than 10 year ordeal of breaking with the church and annulling his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, Henry secretly married Anne. She was a few months pregnant at the time.

The baby was a girl, Elizabeth, future Queen and namesake to the Elizabethan age.

Anne, too had failed Henry in the eyes of his court, as she went on to miscarry her next pregnancies. Eventually the powerful nobles turned Henry against her, and, after 1000 days as queen, she was executed for adultery, incest, and witchcraft.



Permalink 09:58:00 am, by Email , 281 words   English (CA)
Categories: Arts And Culture, History In The News, British History, Museums And Historic Sites

Cash opens up literary treasures

A map presented to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and understood to have possibly been used in their discussions with Columbus in advance of his discovery of the New World in 1492

British treasures - including the earliest book written in the English language - are to go on display following a £5m gift the BBC is reporting. Read on:

The artefacts at the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library are currently accessible only to a few scholars.

The gift, from Oxford publisher Julian Blackwell, will go towards the creation of an exhibition hall at one of the library's sites.

Other treasures include an embroidered handwritten book by Queen Elizabeth I.

The Bodleian Library has a copy of almost every book printed and an extra 5,000 books are added to its catalogue each week.

It is the main research library for the University of Oxford and occupies several sites across the city.

The new centre will be named the Blackwell Hall in recognition of the donation and will form part of a £70m redevelopment of the New Bodleian Library.

Four original copies of the Magna Carta, written in the 13th Century, and one of only eight Gutenberg Bibles are among the artefacts held by the library.

The earliest complete book written in English, Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care, translated by King Alfred in about 890 AD is another of the treasures.

There are also many original handwritten texts of popular classics such as Frankenstein, as well as more than 10,000 medieval manuscripts.

Full BBC article here

This is very exciting!

A handwritten and hand embroidered volume by Queen Elizabeth I, dated 1545

What a wonderful gift to students, and those of us who just love QEI! :D



Permalink 04:11:30 pm, by Email , 159 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, British History

Catherine of Valois - Kissing A Dead Body

Catherine of Valois

Henry V's queen Catherine of Valois died in 1437. Her grandson King Henry VII made major alterations to Westminster Abbey, which involved moving her embalmed body.

She was placed in a crude coffin constructed of flimsy boards, and was left above ground. Ew.

Marriage of Henry V and Catherine of Valois

Catherine remained a public spectacle in the Abbey for over 200 years!!!

Vergers used to charge a shilling to take off the coffin's lid so curious visitors could view her corpse for themselves. However, seeing was not enough for some of the guests to Westminster, one Samuel Pepys, who went to the Abbey on his 36th birthday did more than just look.

Portrait of Samuel Pepys by J. Hayls. Oil on canvas, 1666.

"I had the upper part of her body in my hands, and I did kiss her mouth, reflecting upon that I did first kiss a Queene."

Catherine's body was finally removed from public display in 1776.......



Permalink 03:46:37 pm, by Email , 53 words   English (CA)
Categories: Central & South American History

Child Mummies Of Peru

Peru's Nazca dead were most often buried in a fetal position with the lower limbs folded under the chin. Sand rich in salts and nitrates preserved the bodies for more than 1500 years.

The image above is entitled Nazca Child, and is part of a terrific online pictorial of mummies from around the world.



Permalink 12:35:31 am, by Email , 89 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday, European History

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

The Arc de Triomphe is a monument in Paris that stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, also known as the Place de l'Étoile (Star Square). It is at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. The arch honours those who fought for France, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars, and today also includes the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Happy Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit: WIKI



Permalink 04:00:50 pm, by Email , 253 words   English (CA)
Categories: European History, Science And Technology

The Very First Photograph

One of the world's very first photographs. Taken in 1839, it is a picture of Port Ripetta, Rome in Italy.

"The birth of photography happened in 1826 when a French scientist, Joseph Nicephore Niepce, put a plate coated with bitumen (an asphalt used in ancient times as a cement or mortar) in a camera obscura. He put the camera obscura facing his house for eight hours and made a photograph! It is the earliest camera photograph that we still have today. Here is a photograph of that first photograph!

Niepce began sharing his findings with Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre, and artist who owned a theatre in Paris. They became partners three years later. Daguerre's most important discovery came in 1835, two years after Niepce died. Daguerre found that the chemical compound silver iodide was much more sensitive to light than Niepce's bitumen. He put a copper plate coated with silver iodide in a camera obscura, exposed this plate to light for a short time, then to fumes of mercury and an image appeared! One problem remained, the image darkened over time. Two years later he solved this problem by washing away remaining silver iodide with a solution of warm water and table salt.

Daguerre's process, which he named the daguerreotype, was announced to the world on January 7, 1839. Half a year later the French government gave Daguerre and Niepce's son, Isidore, lifetime pensions in exchange for all rights to their invention. The daguerreotype was to become France's gift to the world."

Source: The Amazing History Of Photography



Permalink 05:11:44 am, by Email , 129 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

In Egyptian mythology, Bastet is an ancient solar and war goddess, worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty. The centre of her cult was in Per-Bast (Bubastis in Greek), which was named after her. Originally she was viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt, and consequently depicted as a fierce lioness. Indeed, her name means (female) devourer. As protector, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, and consequently of the later chief male deity, Ra, who was a solar deity also, gaining her the titles Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra.

This sculpture of Bastet reminds me a lot of Dragonheart and Merlin. Gorgeous!

Happy Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.



Permalink 12:01:29 pm, by Email , 667 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana

A sort-of political comment on Canada and history...


Quick history lesson... In the mid-1500's through the mid-1700's, France set up colonies in what is now Canada. The French government funded these expeditions... often sending food and resources to help those in this new and often unforgiving land. Canadian's may remember this from their history books...

From 1764 through 1867, the British then looked after colonists... both French and English... and even native... to ensure stability through the North American colonies. Land was given, as were farming tools and a plethora of other help... the concept was to help a family or person make a life and livelihood for themselves, they would create a functioning and happy society that benefitted the "common wealth".

While our neighbours to the South rebelled, Canadian stayed ordered and agreeable to a form of benevolent dictatorship... which was tempered further by the rebellions of 1837. (William Lyon Mackenzie and Louis-Joseph Papineau fought for better representation in government... Mackenzie was even an admitted monarchist, but wanted rid of "appointed public servants" from the crown... and fought the entrenched Tories on the side of the "New Grits"...)

In 1867, with the country's Confederation, land privilleges and financial assistance was available to all those who wished to come to the new Commonwealth country of "The Dominion of Canada"... the concept of the "benevolent leadership" combined with democracy mixed with a genuine concern for everyone's fellow man (we were all passengers on the ship "Canada" and we all felt it when anyone had to weather a storm...) was made effectively "official".

Between then and now, institutions such as universal public health-care, welfare to protect against poverty, a national police force that shaped the very structure of our country, limited franchise with various companies were established and even re-established from before...

Basically, the concepts of our motto Peace, Order, and Good Government were enshrined...

Effectively, Canada has always been a "nanny-state"... things haven't changed... and unlike some would have us believe, "government insertion" into our lives is lower than it was 150 years ago.

Sure, life was harder then... and despite government intervention, people still starved, got sick, and died... in some cases, needlessly... but that was more because of a lack of infrastructure and the lack of modern techniques in growing crops, medicines, and transportation.

There are cases and cases of various "colonial" government situations where medicine and food were "rushed" to places that needed them (think of Wop May's flight to Fort Vermilion as an example,) where I didn't see anyone suggesting these efforts be ceased because of "wasted tax dollars" or "governmental intrusion into our daily lives".

In essence, certain bloggers and pundits bandy about this horrible "Nanny-State" of Canada... not realising that if you like Canada... if you LOVE Canada... then you have to accept, despite the tales of hardship, Canada has ALWAYS been a nanny-state... and to say otherwise is a misnomer and a lie.

Sadly, as any historian knows, to hate the "nanny-state" is to hate Canada... past and present... and most likely future.

...and many of our institutions... those that make us distinctly Canadian... are either directly or indirectly the result of our "Nanny-State"...

From Mounties to Bush-Pilots... from Insulin to Peacekeepers... Canada should be proud, not hate our "Nanny-State". It was a lifestyle our forefathers chose... and in many ways, it's what makes us who we are.

In Addenda... As a personal note, one government "contract job" in Canada that was being worked on in the 1950's would have seen the front-lines of aviation technology and development land squarely in this country... and was cancelled by a Conservative government that railed against the "Nanny-State"... thus causing a massive brain-drain sending our best and brightest engineers and scientists of the time to the United States and Britain... and the begining of the end of Canada's ultimate aviation industry (which still lives, but no where near where it should be,) and even our armed air services... and it was one of our first posts on this blog.



Permalink 11:15:48 am, by Email , 383 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana

The Canadian Flag

Today marks the 43rd birthday of Canada's flag!

At the time of Confederation, Canada's national flag remained the Royal Union Flag or the Union Jack. However, Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister, flew the Canadian Red Ensign as a distinctive flag of Canada. Following the Second World War, in 1945, an Order in Council authorized the flying of the Canadian Red Ensign from federal government buildings, in Canada and abroad.

In 1964, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson made the creation of a new Canadian flag a priority. John Matheson, Member of Parliament, was Prime Minister Pearson's key advisor and supporter in this objective. On June 15, 1964, the Prime Minister presented his proposed flag to the House of Commons, launching a divisive Canadian flag debate. After three months without resolution, the question of a national flag was referred to an all-party committee.

In October 1964, after eliminating thousands of proposals, the Special Committee on a Canadian Flag was left with three possible designs: one incorporating three red maple leaves with blue bars (nicknamed the "Pearson Pennant"), a flag with a single stylized red maple leaf on a white square with red bars, and another version that contained both the Union Jack and three fleurs-de-lis.

On October 29, 1964, the committee recommended to the House of Commons that the single-leaf, red and white design be adopted. Debate in Parliament continued, however, and it was only at the early hour of 2:15 a.m. on December 15, 1964, that the motion to adopt the National Flag of Canada was carried by a vote of 163 to 78. Approval by the Senate came on December 17, 1964, and on January 28, 1965, the National Flag of Canada was proclaimed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to take effect on February 15, 1965.

The inspiration for a red and white flag came from Dr. George Stanley, Dean of Arts at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. Impressed by the Commandant's flag at the College (a mailed fist holding three maple leaves on a red and white ground), Dr. Stanley suggested to Mr. John Matheson a similar design with a single red maple leaf at the centre. This red - white - red pattern bore a strong sense of Canadian history: the combination had been used as early as 1899 on the General Service Medal issued by Queen Victoria.

Happy Flag Day Canada!!!!!


Canadian Heritage



Permalink 01:52:24 am, by Email , 15 words   English (CA)
Categories: Holidays And Traditions

Happy Valentines Day From The History Buffs

Valentine's Day postcard, circa 1910

Wishing all of our readers a lovely day!

Matthew & Sue



Permalink 02:09:42 pm, by Email , 142 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana, Arts And Culture

Country Joe & The Fish

Country Joe & the Fish Live at the Monterey Pop Festival '67

"Not so Sweet Martha Lorraine" is an organ-drenched classic that is about a reclusive woman who is unpredictable and is obsessed with death.

Their full-length debut is their most joyous and cohesive statement and one of the most important and enduring documents of the psychedelic era, the band's swirl of distorted guitar and organ at its most inventive.

In contrast to Jefferson Airplane, who were at their best working within conventional song structures, and the Grateful Dead, who hadn't quite yet figured out how to transpose their music to the recording studio, Country Joe & the Fish delivered a fully formed, uncompromising, and yet utterly accessible -- in fact, often delightfully witty -- body of psychedelic music the first time out. Ranging in mood from good-timey to downright apocalyptic.




Permalink 05:46:40 am, by Email , 47 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition

Stonehenge, United Kingdom.

Stonehenge itself is owned and managed by English Heritage whilst the surrounding downland is owned by the National Trust.

Happy Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Image Credit WIKI



Permalink 09:45:47 am, by Email , 509 words   English (CA)
Categories: Historical Recipes

Food That Is Fit For A Pharaoh

Egyptian Flat Bread

Makes about 8 pita

500 g /1 1/2 lb spelt or other strong bread flour (brown or white)
1/2 tsp salt
7-g/ 1/3-oz sachet easy-blend dried yeast (1 packet)
300 ml /1/2 pint/ 1 1/2 cups tepid water (one-third boiling to two-thirds cold)

Mix the flour with the salt and yeast in a large bols. Make a well in the centre and our in the water. Gradually draw the flour into the water and mix to a soft dough. Knead by hand on a floured board for 15 minutes, or for 10 minutes in a food processor fitted with a dough hook. Pour a little oil into the bottom of a bowl, roll the dough in it and cover the bol with a clean damp cloth or cling film. Put in a warm place for 1 1/2-2 hours or until the dough has almost doubled in size. Remove the dough from the bowl and 'knock back' or punch it down. Knead it again for another 3-4 minutes, then cut into eight pieces. On a floured board, flatten out each piece into a round (about 5 mm / 1/2 inch thick) with your hand or a rolling pin. Transfer to a floured baking tray and bake in a preheated hot oven (220 degrees C/ 425 degrees F/ Gas mark 7) for 8-10 minutes. Do not open the oven door while the bread is baking. each bread should puff up, leaving a pocket in the middle. Remove from teh oven adn cool slightly on a wire rack."

Sesame Rings

Makes 2 rings

500 g /1 1/2 lb strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
7-g/ 1/3-oz sachet easy-blend dried yeast (1 packet)
300 ml/ 1/2 pint/ 1 1/2 cups tepid water (one-third boiling to two thirds cold)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 egg
sesame seeds for sprinkling

Mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the water and oil and gradually draw in the flour. Knead on a floured board for 15 minutes, or for 10 minutes in a food processor fitted with a dough hook. Pour a little oil into a bowl, roll the dough in it and cover the bowl with a clean damp cloth or cling film. Put in a warm place for 1 1/2 -2 hours or until the dough has almost doubled in size. Take the dough out of the bowl, 'knock back' or punch it down and knead again for a further 5 minutes. Cut the dough in half and roll each half into a sausage shape that you can form into a ring with a diameter of about 20 cm/ 8 in, about 5 cm/ 2 in thick. Lay the rings on an oiled baking tray. Bweat the egg wtih 2 tbsp water and glaze the tops of the rings. Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds and bake in a preheated hot oven (220 degrees C/ 425 degrees F/ Gas Mark 7) for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 150 degrees C/ 300 degrees F/ Gas Mark 23 for a further 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack."

Source: Food Fit for Pharoahs: An Ancient Egyptian Cookbook Michelle Berridale-Johnson British Museum Press:London 1999

Photo Credit: Great Pyramid of Giza from a 19th century stereopticon card photo



Permalink 10:25:14 am, by Email , 395 words   English (CA)
Categories: War And Conflict, Americana

This Amused Me! (From a Yahoo! Historical Mail Group)

From the Yahoo! War of 1812 mailgroup...

Sent: Fri, 8 Feb 2008 6:45 am
Subject: [War Of 1812] Pirate bicentennial

This July will be the inaugural event to begin the commemoration of Jean Lafitte and his pirates involvement in the War of 1812. Jefferson Parish is planning to build en event that will lead to a museum to be placed in the State Park at Grand Isle and a re-creation of the pirate
base on its actual site at Grand Tere.

Though this year will be little more than an announcement of what is to come in the future the plan is to develop an event that will involve not just pirates but also US and British naval units and military.

This event will initially be combined with the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo (a fishing competition) and will take place in July of this year. If anyone would like to know more please contact me off line.



...this was followed by...

Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2008 18:25:06 -0500
Subject: Re: [War Of 1812] Pirate bicentennial

So no one feels left out due to misunderstandings in language, I will translate the below missive into "Pirate talk":

Avast, me hearties! In the middl o the summer swells, will be the inarrgural rouse to begin the commemarrration of Capn Jean Lafitte and his band o sea borne brethern taking the first crack out o the box in the Warrr of 1812.Jefferson Parish, the scurvey lanlubbers, is chummying up to build a frolic that will steer a course to a museum to be placed in the State Parrk at Grand Isle and a re-crearrtion of the pirate base on her actual site at Grand Tere, by thunder.

To sum up the rest: arr, arr, Jim lad, dead men tell no tales, yo ho ho, pieces o eight, wi' a will an yarely bedamned arr...and arr.

I hope the pirate populace is pleased to be able to now read what should be of most interest.


...and people say historians don't have a sense of humour!

This is the SAME mailgroup that spawned THIS posting from a Canadian "Red Coat" re-enactor on The Fourth of July in 2006...

To my American friends,

(with tongue planted firmly in cheek)

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday Dear rebellious-upstart-republicans....
Happy birthday to you!

Have a great forth of July!

(PS, I wish I could be in Boston tonight!)



Permalink 09:11:30 am, by Email , 218 words   English (CA)
Categories: Holidays And Traditions, Asian History

The Year Of The Rat Has Arrived

Chinese New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year, especially by people outside China. It is an important holiday in East Asia. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month, and in 2008 that would mean today!

According to Wiki:

It is unclear when the beginning of the year was celebrated before the Qin Dynasty. Traditionally, the year was said to have begun with month 1 during the Xia Dynasty, month 12 during the Shang Dynasty, and month 11 during the Zhou Dynasty. However, records show that the Zhou Dynasty began its year with month 1. Intercalary months, used to keep the lunar calendar synchronized with the sun, were added after month 12 during both the Shang Dynasty (according to surviving oracle bones) and the Zhou Dynasty (according to Sima Qian). The first Emperor of China Qin Shi Huang changed the beginning of the year to month 10 in 221 BC, also changing the location of the intercalary month to after month 9. Whether the New Year was celebrated at the beginning of month 10, of month 1, or both is unknown. In 104 BC, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty established month 1 as the beginning of the year, where it remains.

Happy Chinese New Year to all those who celebrate it!

Sources: Wiki



Permalink 09:22:48 am, by Email , 49 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Nakht"

Not normally on display is Nakht, he is believed to be a teenager. Taken Royal Ontario Museum Saturday February 2nd, 2008. It was a treat to see him!

Happy Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.



Permalink 12:37:40 am, by Email , 311 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In Film & Television, European History

Children Underground - Homeless Romanian Children

"Beneath the streets of Bucharest, thousands of Romanian children sleep on cardboard beds, beg for food and water and sniff toxic paint fumes to forget their troubles. They are the discarded legacy of the fall of a Communist regime -- and the focus of an Oscar-nominated documentary film, Children Underground.

Former Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu outlawed abortion and contraception and ordered women to bear as many children as possible in his failed effort to increase the Romanian workforce. He was executed on Christmas Day, 1989, but today Romanians live with the fallout from that edict -- and as the film shows, the children are mostly ignored."

This is probably the most disturbing film I have ever seen in regards to homeless children. Above you will see just a small sampling. It was very difficult to watch, and despite nearly a decade old I would recommend it to any one who even remotely cares about the welfare of children in poorer countries around the world. It left me bereft of speech. At the end of the film I went into the bathroom, and broke is that powerful.

Why is it, I wonder, that the reality that was delivered in this film, brutal, and harsh as it is, was rejected by every major network at the time it was released? These same networks have brought us such wonderful "reality" crap like Temptation Island, The Glutton Bowl, and Celebrity Ghost Hunters to name just three wastes of time in my opinion.

Are we as a society that hungry for "scripted reality" or is it that actual reality such as the subject matter of street children in Eastern Europe is so distasteful to the masses that the networks figured it was better to sweep it under the rug....and forget about it?

Sometimes I hate this world we live in.......



Permalink 12:14:10 am, by Email , 433 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Arts And Culture, History In The News

Canada's Oldest Book Shop To Close Forever

Book Room to close after 169 years

It survived two World Wars and the Great Depression. But it couldn't survive the onslaught of online ordering, big-box stores such as Chapters and the expansion of books into grocery stores and drugstores. The Book Room in Halifax - billed as the oldest bookstore in Canada - is shutting its doors after 169 years.

"The staff and I are both really sad about having to do this," Charles Burchell, president of The Book Room Ltd., said Tuesday. "But we just realized that after watching the sales for the last year that it just wasn't viable anymore, as far as we were concerned. There were too many other factors at work."

Business started slipping in the last couple of years, culminating this December in "the worst Christmas ever," said Burchell, who has been with the store 42 years. The final nail in the coffin was the dual pricing of books, with higher sticker prices in Canada than in the United States. The recent higher Canadian dollar made smaller bookstores such as The Book Room unable to match the savings offered by some larger book chains.

Publishers couldn't react quickly enough to the change, Burchell said, pointing out that books are begun about three years before they reach the market. It's the only retail industry he knows of where the selling price is already set, he added. "The only way you can make any profit is to control that margin in between, and that has to pay for everything."

The Book Room, located at 1546 Barrington St., tried bringing in gift items such as clip-on reading lights and fancy bookmarks, but that failed.

The closing puts seven employees out of work. Staff declined to comment Tuesday, other than to say they will really miss one another when the doors close for good at the end of March. The wholesale operations will continue. Burchell said they'll start selling off the inventory and even the fixtures over the next month or two.

"It's a very dark day in the book industry," bookseller Heidi Hallett said Tuesday, "and we are really, really sad to see them close. It's definitely a sign of the times, with people shopping online and big-box stores and all that, but it's just so incredibly sad, because we need independent bookstores."

Hallett felt so strongly about customer selection that she bought Frog Hollow Books, one of the city's few remaining independent bookstores, a couple of years ago.

Full Article Here

As a history lover, book lover, and a supporter of Canadian independent business I just find this really sad, and a bloody shame. :(



Permalink 02:49:17 pm, by Email , 134 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In Film & Television, Murder & Mayhem, War And Conflict, European History

Holodomor Ukraine's Genocide

In the early 1930's, Ukraine was the breadbasket of Eastern Europe, had bountiful crops of grain, yet its people were dying of starvation. In order to crush the will of the independent-minded Ukrainian peasants and secure collectivization of all Ukrainian lands, Joseph Stalin ordered an army of ruthless, well-fed Communist Party activists to confiscate all harvested grain and seize all the foodstuffs in the villages. As a result of this genocidal decree, by the end of 1933 nearly 25 percent of the Ukrainian population - over 10 million people, including 3 million children - had perished.

In the face of terror, Ukrainians had little possibility of escaping their horrific fate or even to create another type of life elsewhere. Travel was banned for Ukrainians, keeping them confined in a prison of starvation within their own villages.



Permalink 12:57:22 pm, by Email , 37 words   English (CA)
Categories: British History

The Father Of Cremation - William Price

Scott Michaels of Dearly Departed Tours and helps tell the story of William Price, the Welsh "Father of Cremation" This is too cool, and who says history can not be fun!




Permalink 03:56:56 pm, by Email , 185 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, Book Reviews, British History

Henry's Six Wives

No one in history had a more eventful career in matrimony than Henry VIII. His marriages were daring and tumultuous, and made instant legends of six very different women. In this remarkable study, David Starkey argues that the king was not a depraved philanderer but someone seeking happiness -- and a son. Knowingly or not, he elevated a group of women to extraordinary heights and changed the way a nation was governed.

Six Wives is a masterful work of history that intimately examines the rituals of diplomacy, marriage, pregnancy, and religion that were part of daily life for women at the Tudor Court. Weaving new facts and fresh interpretations into a spellbinding account of the emotional drama surrounding Henry's six marriages, David Starkey reveals the central role that the queens played in determining policy. With an equally keen eye for romantic and political intrigue, he brilliantly recaptures the story of Henry's wives and the England they ruled.

And now you can grab a copy for as little as $2.40 US from our History Nook => featuring some of our fave pics, and cool items related to history. Enjoy!



Permalink 08:50:13 am, by Email , 32 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

Lovely Older Building In Stratford Ontario. Taken This Past Weekend.

Happy Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.



Permalink 08:04:54 am, by Email , 186 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, British History, Museums And Historic Sites

Bog Man Is On The Move

The remains of Iron Age "bog body" Lindow Man as pictured above are leaving the British Museum to go on display in Manchester. Here is a snippet from the BBC:

The remains of an Iron Age man found in a peat bog are leaving the British Museum for the first time in 17 years.

Lindow Man was found in a Cheshire marsh in 1984, nearly 2,000 years after his horrific death.

Chemicals in the bog preserved the body and researchers found his throat was slit and he was garrotted, possibly as a sacrificial victim.

Lindow Man is being moved from London to the Manchester Museum, on long-term loan, and will be displayed from April.

He was found on Lindow Moss near Wilmslow and is the best preserved body of its era in the UK.

Study of the remains by scientists has improved knowledge of Iron Age activities and made it possible to see the face of a person from the prehistoric past.

Full BBC Article Here

I have always been fascinated by the "bog people" and hope to see Lindow Man in person in the not too distant future.



Permalink 11:19:22 am, by Email , 60 words   English (CA)
Categories: Interesting Lists

What is it?

According to The Book of Lists, what am I talking about below? (Answer in the comments section...)

(Prices as of 1977...)

Julius Caesar's is/was worth $2,000,000.00
William Shakespeare's is/was worth $1,500,000.00
Christopher Colombus' is/was worth $500,000.00
Joan of Arc's is/was worth $125,000.00
William the Conqueror's is/was worth $75,000.00
Charlemagne's is/was worth $75,000.00

Mine, currently, isn't worth much of anything... so far... :)



Permalink 02:16:29 pm, by Email , 89 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Health And Sciences

No I Am Not That Sick But.......

A poster issued by Alberta's provincial board of health alerting the public to the influenza epidemic. The poster gives information on the Spanish flu, and instructions on how to make a mask.

Just a quick note to say I am off battling a flu bug. I know ew! Will be back and blogging as soon as my tummy settles, and it stops feeling so damn cold in here.

Hope you are all feeling goodly, and if I don't have a chance to say it tomorrow, have a great weekend!



Permalink 12:11:48 am, by Email , 81 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday, European History, Religion and Spirituality

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

A man rides through a bonfire in San Bartolome de Pinares in Spain. Horses are ridden through bonfires on the eve of the Festival of San Anton, the patron saint of animals.

As spectacular as the above image is, I sincerely hope that no harm comes to these beautiful animals because of this practise.

Source & Image Credit: BBC

Happy Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.



Olympic and Britannic

Real "Titanic" fans know that the ill fated ship was the largest and best appointed ship in the White Star fleet.

What some people don't know is that Titanic was one of three sisters...

There was RMS Brittanic and...

RMS Olympic.


Olympic's hull is almost completed and Titanic's is en route (just started) next to it in this photo... Thanks to Lost Liners for the image...

...and for the record, the oldest sister was Olympic!


Interestingly enough, Brittanic was lost also before her time... she struck a mine in WWI while acting as a hospital ship and sank with the loss of thirty lives. The loss of life would have been far worse, but thankfully, she had no patients on board when she went down.

Olympic had an interesting claim to fame as the only "civilian ship" (she was acting as a troop transport,) to sink a U-Boat when she rammed U-103. Her war service of transporting more than 200,000 soldiers earned her the nickname of Old Reliable... kind of shocking when you think of what happened to her middle sister, Titanic!

After the war, Olympic resumed acting as a transatlantic liner until the bottom fell out of the trade and in 1934, she was retired from service in favour of newer more economical vessels.

In 1935, the breaking up of Olympic was started... by 1937, even her hull was scrapped... and this ended the "Olympic-Class" liners...

Olympic, Titanic, and Brittanic.


Of note, Brittanic might have been destined to be "Gigantic"... but White Star changed their minds. Some period print-ads (before their launch) list "Brittanic" as "Gigantic"... but who know what might have been...


The "death tolls" of the three sisters are...

Olympic: 1 (someone jumped overboard on one cruise.)

Titanic: 1,496 (collision with iceberg) and 1 man was crushed to death on her launching...

Brittanic: 30 (on hitting the mine)


Titanic and her Sisters
Lost Liners



Permalink 03:54:48 pm, by Email , 73 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In Film & Television, History In The News, British History

New Lady Godiva Film

"Stunt rider Emily Cox rides her horse Legend through St Ann's Square in Manchester, as part of a promotion for a new film about the legendary naked ride of Lady Godiva in Coventry in the 11th Century."

I blogged a little bit about a modern day Lady Godiva as well as the legendary one last Spring, and some of the mythos surrounding this interesting character.

The lovely photo above is from the BBC.

Permalink 03:13:31 pm, by Email , 81 words   English (CA)
Categories: Americana, Heroic Women, Who Am I

Who Am I

I was born in Tuskegee Alabama in the year 1913. On December 1st 1955 when coming home from my job as a seamstress in a department store I refused to give up my seat to a white man while on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. I was arrested, and thrown in a jail. This started a 381 day bus boycott led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped to inspire civil-rights activities around America.

Who Am I?

The answer is in the comments section.



Permalink 10:44:39 am, by Email , 423 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, History In The News, British History

A Lock Of A Tudor Queens Hair

This lock of hair reportedly beloning to English Queen Catherine Parr was recently auctioned off. Details of the auction are given in a BBC article. Here is a snippet:

An almost 500-year-old lock of hair thought to have come from one of Henry VIII's wives has sold for £2,160.

Its buyer, Charles Hudson, lives on the Wyke Manor estate in Worcestershire, which he said was once home to the hair's original owner, Catherine Parr.

The blonde hair, which is mounted in an oval frame, sold for almost 15 times the estimated price of £150.

Mr Hudson, 56, said he was "pleased to be able to bring it home". Catherine Parr outlived her Royal husband.

He added that Wyke Manor had been given to Catherine, Henry's sixth wife, as a present from her husband.

Mr Hudson said that after Catherine died, the estate passed to Anthony Babington, who was later executed for treason after plotting to kill Queen Elizabeth I.

The property then passed to Sir Walter Raleigh, who was also executed.

Full BBC Article Here

As a Tudor nut I would have paid far more ... that is if I had the cash to do so...sigh....

Catherine or in some accounts Katherine Parr was the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII. She was queen consort of England during 1543–1547, then dowager queen of England until her death due to complications of childbirth on September 5th 1548. She was 35 years of age.

An interesting story surrounds the discovery of Queen Catherine's body more than 200 years after her death.

In 1782, a gentleman by the name of John Locust discovered the coffin of Queen Catherine at the ruins of the Sudeley Castle chapel. He opened the coffin and observed that the body, after 234 years, was in a surprisingly good condition. Reportedly the flesh on one of her arms was still white and moist. After taking a few locks of her hair, he closed the coffin and returned it to the grave.

The coffin was opened a few more times in the next ten years and in 1792 some drunken men buried it upside down and in a rough way. When the coffin was officially reopened in 1817, nothing but a skeleton remained. Her remains were then moved to the tomb of Lord Chandos whose family owned the castle at that time. In later years the chapel was rebuilt by Sir John Scott and a proper altar-tomb was erected for Queen Catherine.

Perhaps that is where the lock of hair recently auctioned off came from?


Catherine Parr Wiki

BBC News Article



Permalink 09:26:18 am, by Email , 81 words   English (CA)
Categories: Canadiana, Arts And Culture, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition

The Death of General Wolfe at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, part of the Seven Years' War. The Death of General Wolfe is a well-known 1770 painting by artist Benjamin West depicting the final moments of James Wolfe during the 1759 Battle of Quebec. It is an oil on canvas of the Neoclassical era.

Source & Image Credit: Wiki

Happy Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Permalink 09:22:34 am, by Email , 75 words   English (CA)
Categories: Website Reviews

A Review Of Zenni Optical

Great Discovry:$ 8 Prescription Glasses From Zenni Optical I could not believe it until I visited the website for myself. These are stylish good quality frames at very good prices. I found that the Zenni Optical site has a large selection to choose from, and is very easy to use. They also carry bifocals, and other speciality products. Payments are secured, and I hope they start taking Paypal shorty. :)

Thanks to the sponsor of this post.



Permalink 11:32:40 am, by Email , 311 words   English (CA)
Categories: History In The News, Going From Here To There

Cunard Ships Historic Rendezvous

I would have loved to have been able to attend this historic event! Here is a snippet from CNN's coverage:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Thousands of New Yorkers turned out to watch the historic rendezvous of Cunard's three Queen ships -- the Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 -- in the waters off Lower Manhattan.

The three grand ships with the trademark red-and-black smokestacks lined up in front of the Statue of Liberty while colorful fireworks lit up the winter darkness for the once-in-a-lifetime event Sunday night.

"This is amazing," said John Stella of Staten Island, part of the crowd watching the spectacle from the Manhattan waterfront. "You'll never see it like this again."

The QE2 is being decommissioned later this year and turned into a floating five-star hotel in the United Arab Emirates. The Queen Victoria was launched just last month. The two vessels sailed in tandem across the Atlantic to New York, then met up with the QM2, which homeports in Brooklyn.

On Monday, the Queen Victoria and the QE2 continued their world tour together. They were due to arrive in their next port of call, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Wednesday. This is the Queen Victoria's first trip around the world and the QE2's 26th and last.

The ships encountered rough seas on their trip from England to New York last week, including waves so high that they washed over the bow of the Queen Victoria. No one was injured, according to Cunard spokesman Brian O'Connor. The waves did not wash over the bow of the QE2, which is taller in front than the newer ships.

Full CNN Article Here

If you were there, and took some photos I would love to see them! It is sad to see an era come to an end, but at least QE2 will be open to the public for many years to come.

Permalink 11:04:03 am, by Email , 239 words   English (CA)
Categories: Website Reviews

Online Writing Tools

If you are a fellow writer or blogger you will definitely understand how at times it can be very handy to be able to utilise online writing tools in order to punch up your own articles, reports, school papers, blog entries etc.

One of the areas I always need help in within my own writing is finding the right word to use within certain sentences, and I often rely on a thesaurus. Today I had the opportunity to check out a new online thesaurus, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to introduce it to you gentle readers as well. :)

The site is called TextMorph Jan. 08, and I found it to be very easy to use. Basically what you do is take a few words or a complete sentence, and put these into a box via copy/paste function. You then click a "morph it" button, and in the opposite box your sentence, words, etc will appear with drop down boxes, and alternate words that you can use in place of the ones you already have input into the site. You can preview what your new sentence, words, will look like, and play around with the site until you get it just right.

I found this writing tool to be handy, and you might too. Just click on the link I have added into this entry to check it out for yourself.

My thanks to my sponsor.



Permalink 05:40:03 pm, by Email , 235 words   English (CA)
Categories: Arts And Culture, History In The News

Drunken Vandals Ruin Robert Frost Cabin

I came across this news item, and it greatly saddened me as it would all who have enjoyed, and appreciated Robert Frost's poems. How disgusting is is a snippet from the CBC:

Vermont police are investigating what they suspect was an illicit drinking party at the former summer home of poet Robert Frost.

Intruders broke into Homer Noble Farm, where Frost spent his summers from 1939 until his death in 1963, either late Friday or early Saturday morning and ransacked the historic site, leaving empty beer bottles, cans and plastic cups strewn about, police said Monday.

Tables, chairs, windows, light fixtures and dishes were among the items smashed, destroyed or set ablaze as firewood inside the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet's two-storey residence.

The vandals also discharged fire extinguishers and left vomit around the building, according to Sgt. Lee Hodsden.

Police have tracked down some minors whom they believe attended what appeared to be the underage drinking party held at the house.

However, no arrests have been made, Hodsden said.

A hiker discovered the damage Saturday afternoon and notified Middlebury College, which owns and maintains the site. The caretaker responsible for the site had last stopped at Homer Noble Farm Friday morning, police said.

Full CBC Article Here

We here in Canada have also had our fair share of historic sites either ruined or outright destroyed by idiotic youth who are obviously in need of some parenting. :-/



Permalink 12:57:10 pm, by Email , 344 words   English (CA)
Categories: Kings And Queens, History In The News

Elizabeth On Elizabeth

"Frankly, I do not myself feel at all like my Tudor forebear, who was blessed with neither husband nor children, who ruled as a despot and was never able to leave her native shores."

- QE II during her 1953 Christmas address

I have to admit I was rather shocked by the above quote. It is in my opinion a rather harsh, and completely inaccurate statement in regards to Elizabeth I.

Is it any wonder then that Tudor historian - mega star David Starkey had this to say about Her Majesty, "The Queen is uncultured and poorly educated." He says a lot more in this article that was featured last month in Pink News. Here is a snippet:

The openly gay historian Dr David Starkey has said the Queen is uninterested in her predecessors because she was poorly educated.

He told the Guardian: "I think she's got elements a bit like Goebbels in her attitude to culture.
"You remember: 'Every time I hear the word culture I reach for my revolver'."

He recounted an occasion where he showed Her Majesty around an exhibition he had curated about Elizabeth I at the National Maritime Museum in 2003, where he found her more-preoccupied with the late arrival of a her drink, a gin and Dubonnet than the works of art on display. He claims that her only comment was that one of the objects belonged to her

Dr Starkey said that reminded him of "a housewife" who had been left some possessions: "She'd looked after them, she'd put in place much better arrangements for their care, but again - I suppose it's this absence of any kind of, to be blunt, serious education."

He compared her to Elizabeth I, who also acceded the throne at 25, "was 20 times as well educated. And had either five or six languages".

Full Article Here

Wow! He might as well have called her an ignorant, Nazi! I think he did!

NO O.B.E for Starkey any time soon I think....better then what would have happened to him during Elizabeth I reign me thinks :p



Permalink 10:09:02 am, by Email , 65 words   English (CA)
Categories: Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday - "Tuesday Edition"

The above image is of the Kremlin towers in the 19th century. The Kremlin and Red Square, Moscow are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I have always wanted to visit Moscow in order to see, and photograph the Kremlin.

Image Credit: Wiki

Happy Wordless Wednesday - Tuesday Edition! And Thank You For Stopping By!

For a list of other Wordless Wednesday participants please click here.

Permalink 10:07:24 am, by Email , 76 words   English (CA)
Categories: Website Reviews

In The Spirit Of Christianity

In the spirit Of Christianity the Christian Faith Financial website aids those in financial trouble in finding services such as payday loans in order to help people find the right product or service for their needs. If you are in need of Christian financial assistance you can have a look at their easy to use site by surfing to Christian Faith, and find more information on how they can help you out. Best wishes!



Permalink 02:10:38 pm, by Email , 305 words   English (CA)
Categories: Murder & Mayhem, Folklore And Superstitions, European History, British History

If the corpse don't bleed, you must concede!

I'd like to think that the title of this entry is something a medieval Johnny Cochrane might say about this test of Jurisprudence.

Way back when in Scotland, a sheriff could try someone accused of murder within three days... and at his disposal to see justice done, he could use something called bierricht.

This is when the judge could force the accused to touch the corpse... if the corpse bled, you had your murderer!

We have OFFICIAL reports of a beggar named "Bell" who was hanged in 1685 after being found to make his victim's corpse bleed... and in 1687, Phillip Stanfield also was hanged of fresh blood emanated from his victim on his touch.

Of course, there was a snag in this tested form of absolute justice... and that is, if the corpse DID NOT bleed, it didn't necessarily mean that the accused was innocent!

I know, you're shocked.

Well, apparently in 1658, a certain Major Strangeways (what an appropriate name!) was required to touch the corpse of his murdered brother in law at a coroners inquest... and no blood!

Well, the case proceeded to trial anyway, but as Maj. Strangeways refused to plead guilty or not guilty, he was tortured with "pressing"... the gradual adding of weights onto a human body until the accused "pleads" their case... well, Maj. Strangeways didn't plead... in fact, he was crushed to death. This death was seen to ALSO prove his guilt! (Surely God would keep him from death from the pressing if he was truly innocent, right?) Either way, Strangeways' case tossed a spanner into the perfect and scientific way of determining the guilt of a murderer... bierricht.

Still, I'm sure an ancient Scots version of Johnny Cochrane would say...

If the corpse don't bleed, you must concede!



Source: The Strange Laws of Old England by Nigel Cawthorne



Permalink 07:48:05 pm, by Email , 94 words   English (CA)
Categories: Who Am I, Science And Technology

Who Am I

Most within my field consider me to be one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists of our time. How cool is that!

My key areas of study are the astronomical bodies known as black holes, and my research that supports the big bang theory. Yes, I am brilliant!

In 1988 I wrote a best seller named A Brief History Of Time. I must use a wheelchair, and because of muscle disease I can barely move or speak, but that has never stopped me from achieving.

Who Am I?

The answer is in the comments section.



Permalink 11:30:38 am, by Email , 116 words   English (CA)
Categories: Holidays And Traditions

Happy Hogmanay 2008

Hogmanay party in Edinburgh

"The roots of Hogmanay perhaps reach back to the celebration of the winter solstice among the Norse, as well as incorporating customs from the Gaelic New Year's celebration of Samhain. In Europe, winter solstice evolved into the ancient celebration of Saturnalia, a great Roman winter festival, where people celebrated completely free of restraint and inhibition. The Vikings celebrated Yule, which later contributed to the Twelve Days of Christmas, or the "Daft Days" as they were sometimes called in Scotland. The winter festival went underground with the Protestant Reformation and ensuing years, but re-emerged near the end of the 17th century."

Wishing you all the best for 2008!!!

Source: Wiki Hogmanay

Image Credit BBC 2008


Pastime with Good Company

Pastyme With Good Companye

Welcome to the blog of amateur historians Matthew James Didier and Sue Darroch. Partners in life and in crime, we endeavor to entertain you with snippets from our combined historical research. Past time with good company indeed, as we shall introduce you to Kings and Knaves, Queens and Mistresses, Cons and Heroes, from our collective past......from events well known to those perhaps all but forgotten, we will do our best to bring you interesting historical factoids from around the globe. It is our belief that through understanding our past we will all gain a better perspective on our future.

Related Links

Disclosure Policy

Meet The History Buff

Ask The History Buff

Sticky Note For Historians

The History Nook - History Themed Items & Books At Great Prices

The Paranormal Blog

Nuttin' But Pimp

Life in the Urban Zoo

One Old Green Bus

Demeter SRC - My Genealogy Website

Friends and Acquaintances

Life At The Edge

The Spicy Cauldron

Eileens Free Tips

Pointless Directives

Musings of Khlari

What Will I Know Tomorrow?

Robin's Blog Blather


The Educational Tour Marm

Grokodile Blog Directory - Add Your Blog

Blog Soldiers

Sponsored Links and Businesses

MYLOT-Get Paid To Write

Text Link Ads

Mechincal Nonsense

<<  Current  
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec



XML Feeds

What is RSS?

powered by

Click here for the...


Click here for the...


Click here for the...


Click here for the...