Archive for September 2011

Victorian Bedtime Stories to Traumatize Your Children With

September 28, 2011

These are actually real,  I didn’t make these up.

I got these stories from a very old children’s book I found at an estate auction a few years ago…



Nothing like a nice, cheerful bedtime story about a dying sibling,  to send the kids off to dream-land,  I always say.



Ah.   Another bedtime story of a very sick child, who appears to undergoing a near-death experience.

But she apparently got better because of a wonderful, happy dream about angels.

(Probably induced from the morphine they used to put in kids’ cough syrup back then..)




This is one of my favorites.    In this case, someone DID die…a little girls’ mother.

And on her deathbed, Mommy says  “Don’t count on your father to help you…he’s a drunk!”


So the kid is left to fend for herself, and take care of an infant sister.

Today, Child Protective Services would have been involved.

But back then, the entire village just back and did nothing.    Except marvel at how clean Aggie kept the cottage.

Ahhh…to be a child in the Gay Nineties.

How wonderful that must have been, I dare say.




The one isn’t part of any story, this is all there is:    just a one-page illustration of a cow, with a  caption.

Yet they still manage to turn it into something sad and disturbing for the kids.

“Once upon a time, there was a Mommy cow who loved her baby cow very much.   Look at how happy they are….TOO BAD they will be seperated soon”.

Enjoy your veal, kiddies.

And maybe one day, you might seperated from your Mommy too.




This one isn’t traumatic, but I find it interesting. as a commentary on the sign of the times.

Oh…Great Auks aren’t seen any more, but maybe we can find some, if we go REALLY far north.


Great Auks were hunted to extinction by the 1850’s.

You guys just didnt’ realize it yet.



I love the last sentence:  “How happy Granny seems to be!”

Yeah…she’s so CHEERFUL looking.

Not to mention, she’s not even focussing anywhere near Little Nan’s direction.

It must be either a stroke, or an advanced case of Alzheimers.



My, what a cute, cuddly picture of a demon-gorilla, guaranteed to make the little ones wake up screaming in a cold sweat.

Don’t worry, kids.  You can always sleep with a night-light.

(Whoops…sorry, I forgot, you didn’t have electricity back then.)

Oh well…




“The girl in the picture skates very well.   The man in the sleigh is looking at as if he thinks so”

No.  The man in the sleigh is GLARING at her.

And, I dare say,  he looks like he is thinking of dragging her off into the frosty woods, and cleaving her skull with his ice-pick.




Umm…who the HELL is “Mademoiselle Claire” ?

Because again, this is not part of a story.  It’s just the one illustration again, with a caption.

But what a wonderful moral this teaches the children:

“Always judge a book by its cover.”



A cat.  Something as simple as a  CAT.

But they cant’ even tell a story about that, without turning into something sad and horrific.

“Hey, kids.  This is my cat.   My other DIED.   But it’s his own fault.

But here is my new cat.

And he wants to KILL my pretty pet bird.

So it will probably DIE too.

The End. ”


The best part of the book is on the back cover, with ads for the medicines available at the time.

Click on the photo and look at “Chlorodyne”.

It’s good for coughs, consumption, bronchitis, ashtma, diptheria, fever, croup, ague, diarrhea, chorlera, dysentery, epilepsy, hysteria, palpiation, spams, neuralgia, rheumatism, gout, toothaches, and meningitis.

Good LORD.

What DIDN’T people catch back then?

No wonder all those kids are dying in that story book.


Also check out  the “American Sugar Coated Pills”.

Wow.  What medical science they had back then.

Though I guess they must have been effective, because look:  there’s a picture of a wise, white European ministering to the “savages”.


This makes me realize how lucky we all are to be alive right now.

Because it’s a miracle our great-grandparents survived that era.


More beliefs that are contrary to what you might think…

September 22, 2011

Driving the actual speed limit will not result in the end of Civilization and Life As We Know It.


Those plastic diplomas they give you for taking those one-day courses at work are  NOT real degrees.


Your environmentally-friendly electric car is only as “green” as the method used to generate the electricity in the first place.


Even though it’s only WalMart, you might want to still consider disciplining  your screaming Demon-Spawn in public.


Sorry.  Any pizza with broccoli on it is NOT a real pizza.


Ending world hunger or saving the dolphins from drowning  takes a bit more involvement than just clicking your moral support on Facebook.



Plus-Three Sigma Fishing

September 20, 2011

Anyone who’s read my blog knows I fish a lot.

I can’t count how many hours I put in each summer.

And during that time, I might get one big fish.    One giant lunker bass.


But not last weekend…

when I got not just one…

…not two…

…not even THREE…

…but FOUR !!!

FOUR big lunkers!!!

All in the same evening.


In 20 years of fishing, I’ve never seen anything like it.

But if you put in enough time,

sooner or later everything falls into place,

and you’ll get lucky.


This was one of those times.


And I let ’em all go.

So I can catch them one day, all over again.


But don’t worry.

We kept enough “small” ones for the frying pan.


Contrary to what you may think…

September 15, 2011

It’s OKAY to break a bill.  You don’t always have to pay with exact change.


Coming up with a fancy new corporate acronym will not necessarily improve your company’s finances.


Not everyone is as thrilled as you are, when your newborn infant comes to the movies with you.


Cereals that are 75% marshmallow do not make up “part of a good breakfast”.


Putting a “Baby on Board” sticker on your car does not make you look like a concerned parent.

Actually, it makes you look like an idiot.


Driving your Daddy’s $50,000 SUV to the mall while cranking hip-hop tunes does not mean you’re from the ‘hood.  Nor does it give you “street cred”.


Oprah’s farts don’t always smell like oven-fresh cinnamon buns.


The planet can live without your Facebook photos about what you ate for lunch.



My Latest Northern Ontario Back-Roads Adventure With The Bear

September 12, 2011

This is downtown Espanola, a mill town located just west of Sudbury, near the north shore of Lake Huron.  This town is the gateway to Manitoulin Island.

It’s other claim to fame is the paper will, which apparently spilled a bunch of toxins in the Spanish River back in the 80s and killed off tons of fish.  People still talk about it.

See this lake?  It’s pretty big…you almost can’t see the other side.

This is Lake Manitou, which is located on Manitoulin Island,  which itself is located in Lake Huron.

Which makes this lake the worlds largest freshwater lake, within a freshwater lake.

Which I think is pretty cool.

Here’s Lake Huron itself, on Providence Bay on Manitoulin Island.     It was stinking hot…and the water was swimmable.  Just barely.



This is Downtown Thessalon, on a Saturday night.

It just doesn’t get any better than this.


Here’s Wawa (two hours North of the Soo).  I’ve blogged about it before.   This is an aerial view from the bush plane that returned me back from my fishing trip.

Just outside of Wawa is this old ski hill.

It boggles my mind…no matter how remote, or how small a town is…you can always find some kind of ski hill of some sort. Seems this was the thing to do in the 60’s and 70’s.

But now, as course, as you can see from the trees, it’s long since been abandoned.   A sign of prosperous times long since past.


Next, is the town of Dubreuville.   This is your proverbial company town,  named after the lumber company which founded it. It’s on the end of a 30-km dead-end road,  Northeast of Lake Superior.

I wasn’t really excited about being here.   I just went to say I’d been.  Another place to tick off on the map.

I must admit, I’m a bit biased against the town.  They’re located south of the fishing lodge I like to go to, which is in a protected wilderness area.     But the Dubreuvillers apparently want to change that, and gain access to the lake with ATV trails and such.  They’ve been feuding with the lodges and the provincial government for years.

I have no sympathy for Dubreuville.   There are hundreds of miles of trails, and hundreds of other lakes in the area.  If they’ve already spoiled those areas with over-hunting and over-fishing, that’s their problem.    Don’t ruin the few remaining unspoiled areas.  Leave them alone,  I say.

Anyway, the town isn’t doing that great.  The only industry is the sawmill, which recently shut down because of lack of a lumber supply.

  You can already see the signs of decay (empty apartments, etc.).   This might become another ghost town, if things don’t pick up.



I’ve also blogged about White River before, which  is the birthplace of Winnie the Pooh.    Junior Bear and I always stop and pay our respects at the Pooh statue.

White River is basically a railway town in the bush Northeast of Superior.   And it, too, has seen better days.

I wonder what it was like when this hotel was still running, or the S_andoni Bros. department store was still open?

Though I hear the town is starting to take off again.   They just got a contract for some air service to some fishing lodges, which means more people will be staying in the hotels there.  Tourism in the area is starting to grow.   I wish them well.


Here’s the Michipicoten First Nation village, on the Northeast shore of Lake Superior, just outside of Wawa.

I like the bilingual signs…there were a whole bunch of the on the road, welcoming tourists.   It felt friendly.

At the end of the the village, there is a picnic/camping area right by Superior.   The signs indicate this as a “sacred place”.

Given the wilderness setting and the beauty of the place, I have to agree.


Highway 101 crosses the Northeastern part of Ontario.

This is typical, when driving through Northern Ontario.    All you see are …trees, trees, trees….

And more trees…trees…trees.

(Just be careful not to hit a moose along the way!)

And then every hundred kilometers of so, you come across a town, like Foleyet (pop. ~ 200).

 The is another railway town, in the middle of the bush.

Downtown Foleyet, on Labour Day Monday:

(Not exactly a prime cottage country/tourist area).

 I wonder how long ago this burger/fries restaurant was open?


After hours of  driving through the bush,  I finally hit my first “Big City”:   the town of Timmins (pop. 43,000).

It was a novelty to see a “real city”, with multiple traffic lights, a water tower, and “high-rise” buildings greater than four storeys.

Timmins’ claim to fame (aside from being the birthplace of Shania Twain) is it’s gold mining, which is still on-going.

You can also see old derelicts too… This is a boom-and-bust town.


Heading home, I always like to stop at the Arctic Watershed:  the point at which the water drains into either the Great Lakes, or Hudson’s Bay.

Point of trivia:  the Arctic Watershed lies mostly in Canada, but it also includes parts of the States (mainly Northern Minnesota and North Dakota).

Aside from being of geological interest, the watershed has had historic significance, in delineating boundaries for the fur-trading industry…

I always feel sad heading south of the watershead, because it means I’m leaving the “North” and my vacation is ending and soon I’ll be home.

Even though home is still hundreds of km away and I won’t be getting in till midnight!…