The Same Sad Story

confession-box

The recent scandal of the Catholic hierarchy covering up sexual allegations against priests, and moving them from post to post, only shows that the problem is neither new, nor restricted to the Catholic Church.

The first time I heard about a serial child molester was about 1960.  The United Church of Canada had defrocked a minister named Russell D. Horsburg, after he had been convicted in Windsor, Ontario.  He was an equal opportunity pedo, willing to debauch both boys and girls.

One of the wife’s older sisters had left the Catholic Church, to wed a New Order Mennonite boy.  As a compromise, they attended and were married in a local United Church.  Always paranoid and defensive about leaving the Catholic Church, and anxious to justify her actions, she is the only person I personally know, who put her marriage certificate in a silver frame, and hung it on her living room wall for all to see.

After we got married in 1967, and had a child, we sometimes visited.  One evening, after a washroom trip, I stopped to examine the certificate.  Sure enough, it was signed by Reverend Russell D. Horsburg.  Hmmm, so he practiced his craft here, before the United Church slyly shipped him 300 miles down the highway, to an unsuspecting parish.

She suspiciously wanted to know what I was looking at.  I told her that her officiating minister was later jailed for pedophilia.

WELL, THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT WE’RE NOT REALLY MARRIED!

No, but you’re probably lucky that he wasn’t still here in Kitchener, as your kids grew up.

Okay, I’ve described the problem.  Now it’s up to somebody (or somebodies) else to come up with a solution to it.  😳

Abuse

Because I Wrote About It

Margarine

Because I wrote about it, because I slipped it into several posts, because I even had a post titled “Oleo Olio”, I felt that I should set the record straight, and honor a local almost-hero.  The following is a reprint of an article in the Waterloo Region Record about margarine in Canada.  It is presented without their knowledge or permission, so, if I suddenly open a Patreon account for bail and lawyers, I hope that you will contribute generously.

THE MAN WHO MADE MARGARINE “SAFE”

Kitchener’s William Daum Euler championed butter substitute

Psst!  Want to buy some margarine?  Seventy years ago, that wasn’t a simple question.

As Canadians celebrate the legalization of marijuana this month, they may be forgetting that, just a few generations ago, this country was having a fierce debate about another controlled substance – that’s right, margarine.

Banned in Canada between 1886 and 1948, the oil-based butter substitute was once labelled a serious public health risk.  Its opponents vilified it, calling the spread a “compound of the most villainous character, which is often poisonous,” according to W.H.Heick, who wrote a book on the subject back in 1991.

Many people may remember mixing color packets into their margarine, since Ontario law used to require margarine only be sold in its natural white state.  But they may not know it was a tenacious politician from Waterloo Region who led the campaign to finally legalize it after the Second World War.

Margarine has had a complicated history since it was first created by French chemist Hippolyte Mėge-Mouriės in 1868, by churning beef tallow with milk.  Dairy producers, concerned about a cheaper, longer-lasting alternative to butter, lobbied hard to have it banned.

For decades, they succeeded, convincing law makers it was unsafe and unhealthy for consumers – and bad for their rural economy.  William D. Euler, a Liberal senator and former mayor of Kitchener, had the support of urban organizations like churches, unions and Boards of Trade, as he went to war for margarine.

As part owner of the Kitchener Daily Record, he pushed for editorials supporting the end of the ban.  In 1947, he introduced repeal legislation, and was met with fierce resistance from the dairy lobby.  He wrote letters to newspapers across Canada, pushing his position.  Polls suggested that half the country was behind him – and he leaned on women, veterans, and hospitals for support.

Many Canadians were already using and cooking with margarine, bought on the black market.  Often it was smuggled in from the Dominion of Newfoundland, where it was made from whale, seal and fish oil, by the Newfoundland Butter Company.

Newfoundland, which was still a British colony then, was busy churning out bootleg margarine at about half the price of butter.  Euler, who became the first chancellor of Waterloo Lutheran University, used legalization of margarine as a key bargaining chip in the negotiations with Newfoundland to enter into Confederation.

In November 1947, he got helped by a butter price increase, from 53 to 66 cents a pound, which only reinforced his campaign for a more affordable alternative.  In newspaper pages, town halls, and on Parliament Hill, the debate raged.  Senator James Murdoch accused the butter lobby of using “Communist tactics.”

“The wishes of 150,000 producers of milk had to give way to the desires of 13 Million consumers,” Heick wrote in his book, “A Propensity to Protect Butter – Margarine and the Rise of Urban Culture in Canada.”  The fight went to the Supreme Court, which struck down the ban, and left the control of margarine to the Provinces.  By this point, a poll suggested 68% of Canadians supported legalization – a shift in opinion owed in large part to Euler’s public relations campaign.

Ontario didn’t repeal its Oleomargarine Act until 1995, which made it illegal for companies to make or sell margarine that was colored yellow.  Quebec didn’t follow suit until 2008.  Margarine finally had equal footing with butter, at least in the eyes of the law.  And consumers had a senator from Kitchener to thank for it.

***

What??!  Businessmen would lie, and politicians would support them, for financial gain?  Tell me it ain’t so!  FAKE NEWS!  FAKE NEWS!  You can butter me up by stopping back again soon.  🙂

’18 A To Z Challenge – G

 

Challenge '18Letter G

For the letter G, I want to take you from Sheep to Socks, through

GADGETS

In my Rapunzel post, I told of my daughter, who is a spinster – literally a woman who spins yarns.  While she also does it with cotton, bamboo, milkweed silk, dog fur, angora, llama and other, more exotic fibers, she most often spins wool.  There’s a lot more to it than just spinning, so I thought I’d show you some of the gadgets necessary to get from a naked ewe, to a well-clad me.

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Most sheared fleece the daughter obtains, has already been washed.  If not, she has to soak it clean to remove dust, dirt, and the natural lanolin.  The above picture is of two hand carders.  Like giant, curved brushes, handfuls of the raw wool are placed on one of them, and then ‘combed,’ to align all the fibers.  Hand-carding is a long, tedious operation.  She also has a hand-cranked drum-carder, but needs the moved-away grandson, to run it.  Usually she just purchases ‘roving,’ which is a commercially produced, loose, fluffy rope of fiber, already for spinning.

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This is a drop-spindle.  Hung vertically, and brushed against the leg to rotate it, the yarn grows ‘up’ until it’s wound onto the spindle to hold it, and the process is repeated.  This one is fairly small, for producing delicate yarns.  Depending on the size, these can produce anything from the finest yarn, up to ships’ ropes.

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These are slightly larger drop-spindles for heavier yarns, one wound with thread the daughter has already produced.  These are all commercially made, but the daughter has several that she built herself from readily available household items.

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This is the smaller one of the daughter’s spinning wheels.  Her larger, better one has two foot treadles, to prevent a sore, tired leg from pumping with just one foot.  Through gear-ratio, the large wheel rotates the small spindle quite quickly, and the thread/yarn flows off as fast as the spinner can keep up.

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This little storage bobbin hangs off the side of the spinning wheel.  As the loose yarn accumulates, it can be temporarily wound on here, until the batch is finished.

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This is called a Knitty-Knotty.  The finished yarn is wound on from the bobbin, up-down, back and forth, then slipped off as a skein.  A loose skein of yarn is not handy to knit from.  The yarn can tangle, or it can fall to the floor.

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This gadget is known as a swift.  A skein can be held in the Vee of the center.  The shaft slides up and down to change its spread, and match the circumference of any skein.  You may notice that all these gadgets are made of wood.  Spinners and craftsmen developed and built their ancestors from wood, long before metal crafting became cheap and commonly possible, so there has been little reason to change what works in wood, into metal.  Steel/aluminum swifts are available, but they are not as inexpensive, tend to jam or tear yarn, and fall apart sooner.

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At this point, the daughter’s yarn reels off the wife’s swift, and goes onto her winder, to produce a small, firm, easy to find and control ball, that will sit on her lap, or drop into a knitting bag.  This is about the only gadget which has successfully been fabricated from plastic and metal.  Like a little sewing machine, the wire arm shuttles back and forth, to produce that round, even ball.

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The daughter knits a variety of things.  Her hand-spun yarns and knitted items can be viewed online at http://www.facebook.com/frogpondcollective .  In the past, the wife has also knitted a wide range of clothing items, but now concentrates on custom-fitted socks.  Non-elastic socks don’t ‘fit all.’  She makes them for the daughter, our son, the grandson and now his fiancée.  The above pair were lovingly crafted for me, when it became apparent that my aging body couldn’t pump enough blood to my feet at night to keep them warm enough so that I could sleep.

***

In last year’s A To Z Challenge – K I included information about Herbert, Lord Kitchener, for whom this city is now named.  While not a very nice man, he did accomplish one nice thing.  Hand-knit socks, the only kind available back then, were basically tubes.  The toes were sewn closed, leaving a protruding, rough ridge on the inside.

Kitchener found that, after marching his men for hundreds of miles, their toes were raw and bloody, and the men would refuse to march further, or be unable to manoeuvre when needed.  He went to some women who knitted socks, explained the problem, and asked if there was a solution.  At least one of them said that there was, and explained it to him (or his aide.)

Without being able to knit a stitch himself, he is given credit for “The Kitchener Stitch,” which is not really a stitch, but rather, a type of grafting, or weaving, which closes the ends of socks smoothly.  Of course, the wife knows all about it, and uses it on every pair she knits.

Th-th-that’s all folks – for this time.  I hope to see your electronic footprints back here soon.  They could even be in a special pair of socks if you play your cards right.  😀

Peace Through Stupidity

Shock

Some years ago, shortly after Kitchener built its new (third) City Hall, I had cause to be walking in front of it. On the sidewalk were two earnest-looking young men, with a folding plastic table covered with papers.  Curious to see what was attracting a small group of people, I ambled over.

They were looking for signators for a petition to the Federal Government of Canada, for “Unilateral Nuclear Weapons Disarmament.” The woman beside me grabbed a pen and quickly filled in name, address, phone number and signed it.  Then she stuck the pen in my face, and said, “Here, sign!  It’s a really good idea.”

“I don’t really think so.” “Why not?” she demanded.  “Well, first of all, while Canada has nuclear power plants, we do not have nuclear weapons, or heavy bombers or ICBMs to deliver them.  Also, I don’t think it’s a good idea for ‘us’ to give ours up, if ‘the other guy’ doesn’t give his up.”  She replied, “That’s what this is all about.”

“No, the petition is for UNILATERAL action.  That means that we do, but they don’t.”  Almost crying, she blurted, “That’s not right!”  “No, it isn’t, but that’s what you were in such a hurry to sign up for.” and I watched the crowd dwindle before walking away.

After an 18-month hiatus, caused by a poor choice of restaurant, I recently attended a relocated Free Thinkers’ Sunday brunch. Somehow, they were conned into allowing a World Peace representative to give a ‘little’ talk.  He promised that it would be just a 15-minute AV presentation, but maundered on for over half an hour, killing most of my chances to interact with the other attendees.

First he attacked NATO. Up until 1991, they were a defense against Russia, and the Communist Bloc.  When they lost their raison d’etre, they just became big bullies, and spread out all over the world.  Now they were in Africa, and Asia, invading countries.

Then he segued to the United States, another big bully. The American General who was the liaison to NATO was recalled to the Pentagon.  How our mumbler would know this, I don’t know, but he told the possibly apocryphal story that, on his first morning, NATO guy was approached by another, excited General, who asked if he’d heard “The Plan” yet.

It seems that there was a list of 7 countries that the US would invade over the following 5 years.  He couldn’t seem to keep his facts and/or accusations straight.  First he claimed that they were to be invaded for their oil, then it became just so that America could show its power, and control them.

It turned out that the US only went into 6 of the 7. I don’t know or care who produces oil, but I’m sure of one, and suspicious of another, that they don’t.  Of course, that still leaves him his ‘bully excuse.’

Then he turned on Israel. The US didn’t need to invade, because they already controlled it.  I was going to ask how much oil Israel had, but I remembered that, also about 1991, the Prime Minister of Israel complained, “The Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years, and when Moses finally led them to their promised land, he picked the one spot in the region with no oil under it.”  And then, a couple of years later, a bit of oil was discovered offshore of their north-western tip.

If the Jews would just ignore those guys in the Gaza, who threw 18,000 rockets at them, and hid behind women and children, all would be peaceful. The Arabs pushed the Jews out of the region in a diaspora, centuries ago, but when the United Nations gave them back a little bit of territory, he felt sorry for the displaced Palestinians, and could support them in their frustration when they promised to use violence to push the Jews back into the sea.

It didn’t even surprise me when he became an apologist for North Korea, going through Libya and Iran to get there. Peter Paranoid Peacenik claimed that both Muammar Khadafy and Saddam Hussein had been threatened by the US, to give up their weapons of mass destruction.  They had given them up, and America had still invaded, and ruined both countries.  Kim Young Psychopath looks at this and sees what happens to countries that disarm, and decides to keep his nuclear weapons – strictly for peaceful protection.

Neither Khadafy nor Hussein, quietly, peacefully or obediently, gave up their weapons of mass destruction.  Libya didn’t even have them.  What they had, were training camps for terrorists, to spread death and mayhem among the Western, Christian countries.  Libya provided money, food, weapons, training and false documents, until a coalition of countries used bombers to convince Khadafy that it was not a good idea.

While Hussein didn’t have the WMDs that George W. was led to believe he had, he very un-peacefully used regular weapons to invade Kuwait, and set fire to hundreds of oil wells, before the United Nations-led coalition forced the Iranians out.

It’s difficult to understand how someone like this could acquire and justify these points of view. Is it ‘White Man’s Burden’, or is it just wishful thinking and terminal stupidity?  The pacifist, Neville Chamberlain returned to England from Berlin in 1938, claiming to have achieved “Peace for our time”, but instead, embroiled most of the Western World in 6 years of nasty war.

‘We,’ – our countries, our militaries, our politicians – are far from perfect (and Donald Trump is pushing the envelope), but I’d far sooner live with/under them, because I can live with them, and not be exterminated simply for having the wrong race, religion or skin color.  I’m not stupid.  🙄

2017 A To Z Challenge – Kitchener – Krug Street

Challenge2017

We’ve had enough History, so this post is just a little background (With me in the foreground, of course) of where I’ve lived for half a century.  Both Kitchener, and Krug Street fit in the

Letter K category.

The cheapest way to honor someone, is to name something after them.
So, Henry Hudson, you discovered a gigantic bay at the top of North American. It’s just a big hole in the continent that lets all the cold in. It’s covered with ice and polar bears.  It’s not good for anything, and you found it while you were searching for something else for us that you never did locate.  I’ve got it – we’ll name it after you.  That way, you’ll be forever associated with an expensive, pretentious Canadian department store.  Aren’t you honored??
So it is with both Kitchener, and Krug Street.

When the first white explorers came here, over two centuries ago, they called their pitiful little collection of huts, ‘Sand Hills,’ because that’s all that was here – a collection of minor hummocks that would bleed sand if you scraped the thin topsoil off. It first officially became Ebytown, to honor Benjamin Eby, a take-charge (and anything that wasn’t nailed down) early settler.

Later, as more hard-working Germanic, Mennonite and Pennsylvania-Dutch settlers arrived, they renamed the burgeoning, now-prosperous town, ‘Berlin’, to honor the capital of the country that they’d been driven out of. By 1912 it had grown large enough to become a city.

In 1916, in the middle of a World War that the honored country had started, it was felt that a more English name would better show Canadian, and British Empire loyalties….by the now-increasing numbers of English-descended citizens.

By late June, the final shortlist of new names were: Adanac, (Canada, spelled backwards) Brock, Benton, Corona, Keowana and Kitchener. Kitchener was a late addition to the shortlist of possible names, as it was added shortly after the death of Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a difficult and controversial man, who had died June 5, 1916. This is perhaps an understatement.  He was an entitled, arrogant, martinet of a man, who had invented the concentration camp during the Boer War.  I’m not sure how much ‘honor’ was involved, and he didn’t live to know about it

Kitchener

This is the darling lad that the city was eventually named for, in a recruiting poster for the Boer war.  As my American readers may realize, this was the inspiration for the “Uncle Sam needs you!” poster of the first and second World Wars.

While more than 15,000 people lived in the city at the time, 346 people voted for the name “Kitchener” on June 28, 1916, from approximately 5,000 eligible voters.

The Krug (kroog) family has been a moving force in Berlin/Kitchener for many years, both politically, and industrially.  In 1887, Hartman Krug established a furniture factory opposite the G.T.R. (Grand Trunk Railway) which he built up into a large institution.  He was also a charter member of the Interior Hardwood Company, and subsequently purchased the Doon Twine plant, and brought it into the city.  His son Henry was President of this company, and his son Rudolph succeeded him at the H. Krug Furniture Company.

I guess when you bring half a keg of gold coins with you from Pennsylvania, and use them to build a company, expand two more, and provide employment for hundreds of people, the least the frugal burghers could do, is name something after you – and the sewage treatment plant was already taken.

Krug Street forms part of one of Kitchener’s famed 5-point intersections. It approaches the 4-lane feeder road at a 45° angle, while Lancaster Street wanders in at 45° from the opposite direction.  After confused and delayed drivers manage to cross at the lights, they/it become(s) Cedar Street.

He decided to build a home about a mile from city center, away from the hoi polloi who toiled in his factories. Soon, the town council, made up of other rich, privileged white men, decided to assume responsibility for the oddly-angled lane that his estate, and now several others, was situated on.  They improved the road, and, in thanks for what he’d done for them and their town, named it after him and his family.

Krug Street

A To Z – History And Hi-Way Market

Challenge2017   Letter H

About 125 years ago, just at the turn of the 20th Century, in the heyday of Ontario manufacturing, Kitchener was not yet a city.  It was still a town, a booming, industrial town, full of Germanic Mennonites and Pennsylvania Dutch, called Berlin.

A bit over a mile (a long way in those days) north of ‘City Hall’, toward Waterloo our Twin City, two companies were established, and two buildings were erected. The nearest was Kaufman Footwear, making slippers, shoes and boots.  A square, three-storey structure went up.  Over the next 50 years, three more additions produced a plant a half a block wide and a city block long, right where the main street crossed the old highway.  At its height, it employed hundreds of men (and later women).

I applied for a job as a lab assistant in 1965, when I first came here, but was turned down. I worked for Kaufman for two years, 25 years later, after they’d moved storage and most of the manufacturing to a new plant at the edge of town.

Another block further north, a rubber company was formed. This was the plant I retired from.  It began as Merchant’s Rubber, then became Dominion Rubber, then Uniroyal bought it, and later amalgamated to become Goodrich/Uniroyal, though it never produced tires.

The asshole brother-in-law worked there for almost 25 years. After he left, I joined it as Becker’s Lay-Tech, then it became Perstorp Components, and finally, Collins and Aikman drove it and its sister plant down the street where my brother worked for Dominion Textile in 1965/66, into bankruptcy.  During its Uniroyal heyday, there were 3600 people working around three shifts.  It didn’t grow as neatly as Kaufman.  Over 50 years there were 13 ‘buildings’ which became another half-block wide X block-long X 4-storey plant.

A mile further north, in the open fields and meadows between the two cities, dozens – hundreds – of stout little homes were built to house all the men who walked or biked to work at these plants. The wife was born in a sturdy brick house, three doors north of the imaginary boundary of Waterloo.

This neighborhood was once called the North Ward, home to the blue-collar families who worked in these factories. The North Ward is slipping away.  The area is called Mid-Town now, and it’s the up-and-coming place for young professionals to move to.

Of course, not everyone in the subdivision could be a mindless plant drone. Her father built a barber shop a block and a half from the Uniroyal plant, and raised 9 kids by cutting hair for men going to or from work.

Two nearby young brothers tried plant work, but found they were more interested in installing and adjusting machinery, so they started a millwrighting/rigging firm in their dad’s garage, to service the two firms. Years later they built a facility further out of town than the Kaufman plant.

I worked for them for two years, and the engineer down the hall, was the guy who didn’t hire me at Kaufman. The structure is now the plastics plant where the son works, and they rent warehouse/assembly space at the nearby ex-Kaufman building, where I once cut shoe/boot parts.

The man whose Portuguese wife sent him to work with delicious sandwiches, started providing them for a friend – or two – or more – soon dozens. He quit the company and started his own catering business, eventually stocking the vending machines, and running the three-shift, hot meal cafeteria in the plant he no longer worked at.

The greatest success story was the local grocer. He also couldn’t take the plant work, but had an inspiration.  If it was a mile walk for the men to go to work, it was a lot further trudge, dragging children, to go shopping.

He turned his front living-room into a little ‘corner store’, when such a thing didn’t exist locally, and stocked it with the essentials. GENIUS!  He had a captive audience.  Soon, he expanded the ‘living-room,’ and then added on….and added on again.

Then he had another flash of genius. In the late 1950s, more families owned cars, and the rise of shopping malls was beginning.  In order to get around an hours-of-opening bylaw, a mile outside the city limit, he built Hi-Way Market.  In the days of two-lane highways, you could just drive out to the A & W, and turn left across the road.  Today, it’s two exit ramps and an access road.

This was the Costco/Price Club of its day, 20 years before Costco was born. He erected a huge big barn of a building, as big as any Costco.  Like Costco, he sold everything, and much of it in bulk – canned and boxed goods, produce, meat, bakery, clothing, hardware, electrical.  He had a sit-down lunch bar where both the wife and her brother worked, and a postal, and a banking facility.

There were actually two floors, but much of the upstairs was used for storage and staff/administration. He put a photography department up there, which later went independent, and still exists in town.  Aside from the main-floor diner counter, he tried a slightly upscale restaurant upstairs.  It became famous in the region, as The Charcoal Steakhouse.  It built a fancy new home a block further up the street recently, when the original building was torn down.

So much history! So much local commerce emerged from the wife’s neighborhood.  The Kaufman plant is now a preppy downtown condo, and my C&A plant had a tiara added and is home to a bunch of Google gremlins.

Jeep goiing up

And so, the ugly duckling has become a swan.    😉

Google Building

 

He Said – She….Mumbled

Grammar Text

PENDARVIS’ THEOREM OF WHY THINGS WENT WRONG
It’s only a little bit off

As an OCD Word Nazi, I appreciate precision in all things, but especially in written and spoken English usage. I used to delight in watching the British comic, Benny Hill, not merely because he was a king of slapstick comedy, but because of his consummate control of language while doing it.

He also showed his dedication to linguistic precision with lines like, “When he said he was bent on seeing her, he meant he was bent on seeing her, not that the sight of her doubled him up.”  He complained that he had a bent wood chair in his dressing room; not a Bentwood chair, but a bent, wood chair, because of the damp in the basement.

A character with a funny accent could refer to the crime of man’s laughter, instead of manslaughter.  A skit might show an incorrectly hung sign for

Doctor Johnson, The
rapist

when it was really Doctor Johnson, Therapist.

I once had an aunt who was the epitome of imprecision. She often started conversations in the middle and worked toward each end, usually not reaching either.  It was common for her to toss out the likes of, “We went over to see him, but, of course, they weren’t home.  He wanted to go down there, but I said it was too late.  We walked to it, but I was right; it was Tuesday.”

(I hope)There was a lot going on inside her head that didn’t leak out through her mouth. I know there was a lot of alcohol involved, on both sides.  She was a ‘Lady’, and Ladies didn’t ‘drink’, although she wouldn’t refuse 6 or 8 medicinal toddies in an afternoon – or evening.  I often wondered if my Mother’s brother understood what she was talking about, or even cared.

Baby grammar seals

I recently read an article on the usages of ‘different from’ vs. ‘different than.’ It stated that ‘different from’ was accepted in all cases.  ‘Different than’ was considered proper usage only about 10% of the time – “so, one is more correct than the other.”

In the comments thread beneath, Polly Pedantic immediately struck like a stooping hawk. “Don’t you mean more nearly correct?”  No dear, they don’t!  If she’d paid a little more attention to both the article, and her own comment, she’d have seen that.

‘Nearly correct’ means incorrect, and the article plainly said that each was correct, only one more often accepted than the other.  It even gave rare examples of ‘different as’, and ‘different to.’

One single recent newspaper almost had me in tears. The headline read, ’Two youths killed when car sideswipes power pole.”  And there was the photo.  The car was wrapped around the pole in a C-shape, or a U, so, the writer doesn’t understand ‘sideswipe.’

The pole holds up a streetlight, and a traffic light, but there are no electrical wires attached to it. It’s a light standard, so the writer also doesn’t understand ‘power pole.’  The lone survivor was ejected through a rear window, which means he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, in contravention of the clearly-written Highway Traffic Act.  Stupidity, and lack of comprehension, carries the death penalty.

The next article spoke of ten intersections that would be closed for work on the new street railroad. They included King Street at Breithaupt, and King Street at Moore Ave.  This is where I worked for almost 20 years.  It’s only one location, another of Kitchener’s fabled K-intersections.  Two side streets each approach the main drag from opposing 45° angles.  Actually, Breithaupt runs into Moore, behind the McDonald’s, and only Moore reaches King.  Ten intersections closed??  I can’t count on precision.

A brief read, “Accident sends man to hospital south of Port Elgin.” There is no hospital ‘south of Port Elgin,’ but an “Accident, south of Port Elgin, sends a man to hospital.”

Then, on to the crossword, where the clue was ‘clammering up.’ Hmm??  Do they mean ‘clamoring,’ or ‘clambering?’  Apparently it was clambering, because the solution was ‘shinning,’ but clambering doesn’t mean shinning, in the same way that trotting does not mean galloping.

It’s only a little bit off??  I am bent on seeing this drivel – by which, I precisely mean that the sight of it doubles me up. Gaakk   😳

Hurt Feelings

*Crying

The problem is world-wide, but North America in particular has turned into a bunch of whimpering, whining, wimpy, wussy, wieners. I’m all for being respectful, and not intentionally hurting feelings, but more and more, within any larger group, is a smaller sect, driven by the usual ego and insecurity, who make an industry out of being offended.

Quebec flag

In Quebec, Canada, there are actually provincial government agents – Language Police – who drive the streets with notebook, dictionaries, and tape measures, to assure that theirs isn’t bigger than ours.  Signs of all kinds in stores and shops are examined.  The French language must come first and be shown above any others.  English is the most censored and censured.  All non-French lettering must be less than ¾ the size of the French.

Indian

In the past, in the USA, the whites were contemptuous of the Native Americans. Over the years, things have improved greatly.  It’s not perfect.  Nothing is.  At least now, whites aren’t giving Indians smallpox-infected blankets.  Within the Indigenous community, rather than accepting that sports teams’ names like Washington Redskins are now a show of respect and acceptance for a different kind of warrior, there are strident ‘Native American’ voices insisting that these names be changed.  If you want insult, how ‘bout The Washington Lawyers, or -Congressmen?

Confederate flag

Last year there was a big fooferaw about the display of a version of the CSA flag on State properties. South Carolina was forced to remove it from the Capital Building.  While the ancestors of the white citizens may have owned Negro slaves, the flag is a symbol of White resisting White, cultural independence, in a political situation, having little to do with slavery, in the modern day.

Still – down it came. The goofy little, long-rerunning show, The Dukes of Hazzard, has now been removed from the airwaves, because the car – the real star of the show – is named The General Lee, after a Confederate leader, and displays the Rebel flag.

Ion Wall Design

My city, Kitchener Ontario, used to be known as Berlin. It still has a strong Germanic population and feel.  In 1916, in an effort to not offend surrounding non-Germans, it changed its name.  Recently the Twin Cities have been pushing the infrastructure, in an effort to imitate some of the bigger cities.

Among other things, we are installing a street-railroad, down the length of an already overcrowded main artery. A non-German design engineer has been hired to produce design themes for stops, including the one shown above, across from the coming new train/bus station.

Scarcely had the artist’s drawing hit the internet, than there were howls of complaint. “How dare he produce a design with a Nazi Swastika in it??!” Don’t you see it?  It’s as plain as the nose on your easily offended face.

These all remind me of the story of the little old lady who phoned the police, to see if they could do anything about the guy in the apartment across from hers, who wandered around in the nude. The Police detective carefully looked out her window and said, “I don’t see anybody nude.”  She replied, “You have to go into the bathroom and stand on the toilet and use these binoculars.”  😳

This really is a First World problem. Too bad we can’t still use Australia as a penal colony.  We don’t hear this kind of entitled shit coming from down there.  I’d like to see how much complaining we’d get if these easily-offended butt-wipes were scrabbling to survive with subsistence farming.  ‘Take a pill and get over yourself.  Life’s a bitch.  Don’t be another!’

Homeward! Bound?

zoes tale

What books I can’t get for free from the Library, I pay half-price for at the book-exchange stall at the St. Jacob’s Farmers’ Market, or reluctantly buy at full retail from the Chapters Bookstore nearby. Also, a few trickle down from the son, Shimoniac.  One of the ways I enticed him to accompany me on the recent Buffalo/Batavia trip, was to guarantee him a visit to both a large bookstore and/or second-hand book exchange.

Everything is relative. Cordelia’s Mom informed me that the large second-hand bookstore I found online in Buffalo, was just outside the University, and dealt with buying and reselling text-books. The Galleria Mall she led us to, listed ‘Bookstores – 3’ online, if you consider Hallmark Cards a bookstore.

A second was a Christian bookstore, more interested in selling Bibles, rosaries and Holy Water pendants than Sci-Fi or Romance. The last was a New Age-y thing with books on Yoga, weight loss, DIY, and Chicken Soup for the Confused Psyche.  We spent a couple of hours people-watching, and then headed to Batavia, where I assured him there was a Barnes and Noble store.

After our Sunday photographic downtown tour, we allowed Ethel, the GPS, to lead us three miles out of town to 1 College Road. This turned out to be the main administration building of the Genesee State College.  The store might have been run by Barnes and Noble, but it was identified simply as ‘Campus Bookstore’, slightly bigger than a Volkswagen van, full of more textbooks, and closed on Sunday.

“Never fear!” I said.  “I know where there’s a giant Barnes and Noble in Buffalo, as big as the huge Chapters we recently visited in Toronto’s Eaton’s Center.”  (Grump, grump, grump muttered the son.  I’ll bet.)

The next day, after checking out, we headed back to Buffalo. Since ‘I knew where I was going,’ the son hadn’t turned Ethel back on.  There was a post with two curved arrows to the right as we approached Niagara Falls Boulevard.  I drove over it, expecting to take the far ramp down, to go south.  There is no far ramp.

The following is for CM, and any others familiar with Buffalo, to tell her how lost I was, and where.  The rest of you can skip it and just read “Lost, lost, lost, blah, blah, blah.”

A mile and a quarter down I-90, to Colvin – north a mile and a quarter till I encountered a main cross-street, Ellicott Creek Rd. – a mile and a quarter back to Niagara Falls Blvd. and there was The Grapevine, our restaurant of two days ago – south a mile and a quarter, till I was back where I should have been. Moses wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.  I only went 5 useless miles out of my way.

I found the Barnes and Noble, and parked in a handicap spot right in front, because my arthritic hip was bothering me – and then hobbled a 100 yards around the corner to where they put the entrance. The son spent a glorious hour and a half, picking up almost as much ink as if he’d got a tattoo, while I lazed in an easy chair in front of their indoor gas campfire.  Finally sated, but without actually purchasing one book, we headed home.

Back up the Boulevard we went, toward I-90. Again, there were two arrows, one curved, and one L-shaped.  I didn’t want to get caught as I had coming in.  The son was desperately trying to find the GPS.  Just as I decided to merge right, the son yelled, “Take the ramp!”  I did – and off we went in the wrong direction – again.  More ‘Lost, lost, blah, blah.’

The last exit back dumped right into the University of Buffalo. After navigating parking lots and ring road, we finally won free to a surface street.  The son said, “We’re on Maple Road.”  Well, Maple Rd. Is where the Red Roof is that we should have stayed at. “I know where we are.  We’re lost, but we’re making good time.”

Continuing onward, the son said, “We must be getting near civilization. There’s a Taco Bell.  At least we won’t starve to death.”  (As if!)  Ethel the GPS had finally recovered her satellites, and her voice, but I beat her to it.  “Turn right on Sheridan Drive.” I know! I followed the turbo-charged soccer-momobile here last year.  This takes us back to CM’s place.

Soon, we’re back to the Boulevard, and heading for I-90. Another wasted 5 miles.  Moses’ ass, and mine, are getting tired.  Finally facing toward Canada, we head home.  Near Grand Island, the highway runs across the top of a dam.  Suddenly, the light goes on.  This is the entrance to the fabled Erie Canal.

I paid a dollar toll to get onto the island, and another to take the bridge over the gorge. I pulled up to the Canadian Customs booth – and that’s when the trouble started.

I misjudged my approach, and when I went to hand out our passports, I couldn’t reach by two feet. The young Border Guard could have stepped out of his booth, but instead insisted, “Get out of the car!”, which I was happy to do, because I needed to ease my right hip again.  Immediately, I was ordered to, “Get back in your car!”  “Okay, as soon as I can move.”

What the son saw, but I didn’t, was the Free Safety behind the adjacent booth suddenly head toward us with his hand on his Glock. Once the car door was closed, things calmed down – a bit.  Now the Inquisition started.

Why’d you go to the States?
To visit some friends, and do a bit of shopping.
How long were you gone?
(He’s got it on the computer screen in front of him.)  Two days.
Where are you from?
Kitchener.
How much are you bringing back?
For both of us, about $75 US, no alcohol, no tobacco.
Then what did you buy?
Some clothes, some food.
Where do your friends live?
In Tonawanda.
Where did you stay?
Out in Batavia.  It was the nearest place that wasn’t full of football fans.
Do you have a receipt?
Why yes officer, right here beside me.
So you two brothers just went over for a visit?
We are not brothers.  We are father and son.
Have you ever had any trouble getting into the States?
No, officer.
Are you known by any other names?
(Other than Stupid, or Asshole??)  No sir.

He looked across the car at the son and asked for a drivers’ licence, for proof of address, which we passed out, and he examined thoroughly. We just sat there, grinning like the rubes we are.  I asked, “Which name set you off?”  “I can’t tell you that.” But it was the son’s licence he asked for.  Like the TSA No-Fly list, it’s probable that someone with the same name is wanted for something.  We may have this problem in any future trips, but now we are warned.

Now he can step out of the booth, to return all the documents.  No “Thank you, have a nice day sir.” Just, “Okay, away you go.”  Surly enough to be an American.  Did Tim Horton’s refuse to serve you?  Well, we’re back in the Land of the Bland and the Home of the Subservient.

Plastic Surgery

#446

Just over two years ago, I wrote a Coming Home piece about how my old auto-parts plant was being given a cosmetic makeover.  An engineering firm was ready to move in, and an electronics firm was considering renting space.

Google had set up in a nearby, refurbished, gentrified tannery building, steadily increasing their local presence till they occupied the entire top floor, but was looking for still more room, and was considering a move to my old plant.

Google Building  Google’s ultimate dream

‘Considering’ is over, and money is being spent.  Not satisfied with mere lipstick and eye shadow, they are paying for a pair of implants.  On top of the three-storey section where I used to make Jeep parts, they are installing a partial two storey addition, set at a rakish, artistic angle.  They plan to occupy this entire ‘new’ (1956) end, as well as the complete top floor of the older 1906 brick section.

Prehistoric section  front

Indoors  rebuilt inside

SDC10700rear

It fronts on a street named for a German pioneer, Henry Breithaupt (brite-up), so it’s now called the Breithaupt Block, 200 feet wide and a block long.  The tank which was white, and held vinyl chips when I worked there, has been painted Gawdawful Orange, and now probably holds enough Starbucks coffee to fuel all the offices.  Note the gorgeous new (expensive) Thermo-pane windows.

Nothing is too good for Google employees.  They will have a spa, a gym, a nap/rest/reading room, several lunch rooms, c/w microwaves, stoves and refrigerators, and a staff of fulltime cooks in a cafeteria.

I have taken, and lifted, several pictures for those few who are interested, showing then, now, and near future, above.  The second photo below, shows the deteriorating brick facing and cracked windows.  During several really cold spells over the years, we would come in, to a couple of rented, jet-engine-type propane heaters on each floor.  Other photos show the facings stripped off, and the new upper floors, getting ready for a new look, taken from several angles.

SDC10701  New joining old.

Jeep building  Old Girl with her clothes on.

Jeep stripped  Stripping down to essentials.

SDC10698Standing on the shoulders of giants.

Jeep goiing upEnd-on from the main drag.

The strange angle is because the side street doesn’t meet the main one at 90 degrees.  The bus is crossing railroad tracks, and the road is currently being dug up to lay tracks for the new LRT.

This is all located right beside the upcoming bus/train/LRT transit hub, and just at the edge of the Technology Circle, envisioned, promoted and coming to fruition in the core of Kitchener, Ontario.

The old girl looked pretty good when I visited her a couple of years ago.  These new additions and improvements proceed apace.  She’s looking so much better and more functional now, and may be open for Google business by the time I publish this post.