Wednesday, January 24, 2007

For Whom the "Whitechapel Bell" tolls

A doctor friend of mine mentioned today a business of which was in his neighbourhood when he was younger .It's called the WhiteChapel Bell Foundry. And it was 500 years old in 1970. Imagine!
An entry in the Guinness Book of Records lists the Whitechapel Bell Foundry as Britain's oldest manufacturing company.
"Whitechapel Bell Foundry's business has always been, and still concentrates solely on, the manufacture of bells and their associated fittings. The manufacture of large bells for change ringing peals in church towers, single tolling bells, carrillon bells, and their complete range of accesories such as framework, wheels, clappers and their assembly in Church towers accounts for approximately four-fifths of the company output. The other fifth of the business lies in the manufacture of handbells for tune and change ringing, and other small bells of many shapes and sizes. "
Whitechapel's famous bells include the original Liberty Bell (1752), the Great Bell of Montreal and, probably best known of all, Big Ben at the Palace of Westminster. Cast in 1858, this is the largest bell ever cast at Whitechapel, weighing 13½ tons. To this day, a cross-section of the bell surrounds the entrance door to the Foundry.
Worldwide export began at an early date. A set of bells was sent to St.Petersburg, Russia in 1747 and the first transatlantic change ringing peal was sent to Christ Church, Philadelphia in 1754. The premises are now designated as Grade II listed buildings, and as such may not be altered in any way. Thus the frontage remains unchanged on a very busy East London road amongst many modern buildings..
Just amazing eh? 500 years, and such world reknown craftmanship, especially at a time when communication, especially across the Atlantic, must have been a very slow process. (Unlike our faxes and emails of today.)
There is your history lesson of today.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Ali

Happy belated 65th Birthday to Muhammad Ali. Now a senior citizen they say. I read his biography and was surprized to learn that in 67 a jury found Muhammad Ali guilty of refusing induction into the United States armed forces. Sentenced him to 3 years. Ali claimed that his religious beliefs were preventing him from joining the fighting in Vietnam. He is known for famously saying, "Man, I ain't got no quarrel with them Vietcong."

I heard the song about Ali this week on CJLS. I hadn't heard it in a long time. Some of the lyrics are as follows....

This here's the story of Cassius Clay
Who changed his name to Muhammad Ali
He knows how to talk and he knows how to fight
And all the contenders were beat out of sight
Sing, Muhammad, Muhammad Ali
He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee
Mohammed, the black superman
Who calls to the other guy
I'm Ali catch me if you can
Now all you fight fans, you've got to agree
There ain't no flies on Muhammad Ali
He fills the arena wherever he goes
And everyone gets what they paid for
Muhammad, was known to have said
You watch me shuffle and I'll jab off your head
He moves like the black superman
And calls to the other guy
I'm Ali catch me if you can
He says I'm the greatest the worlds ever seen
The heavyweight champion who came back again
My face is so pretty you don't see a scar
Which proves I'm the king of the ring by far

Parkinsons disease has quieted him more than any fighter ever did.
Happy Birthday Muhammad Ali

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

My blog smog for the day

First of all, how does one avoid stress when it has two feet and follows you all day?

Crimestoppers.... I get a kick out of their advertisement. You can remain totally anonymous. Then they say ...You are eligible for a reward. How the hell are they gonna mail that anonymous person a cheque?

Is school cancelled in Alaska all year ? How about Winnipeg? Calgary? How do they handle minus 15 temps and 2 cm snowfall? Hmmm....

Ernie Fage.... If I thought I was following him in the city, I would rear end him myself. Pissed off for all the news space he and his drunken accident has been taking up. Come on now. We couldn't care less who heard what on what day, or told who, or how many hours it was after the fact. What really is getting our goat is the amount of lease the government is paying for the car.

Let's thank the all mighty Canada Post. They are going to let our mail go for 51 cents despite the one cent increase. It's a gift from them to all of us who haven't rushed out and bought one cent stamps. Canada Post will honour 51-cent stamps on letters up to 30 grams mailed in Canada throughout 2007. Canada Post has now also introduced what it calls "permanent" stamps. So, quit emailing all your friends and use the friendly, 199 million in the black, corporation. (That's in the black, not in the red) Jacques Cote ,chief operating officer, said in 2006 , that he does not consider the business financially stable. My heart bleeds dishwater for Canada Post.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The morning after

The morning After the poker game we had here Sat afternoon. I feel fine, like a kitten. Last night I felt like an old tom cat after a fight. So sleepy.What a wonderful way to pass the afternoon. Some guests were past corona night members, some were new. We had many laughs thanks to the tequila lime margaritas, rum pina coladas & strawberry daquiris, red wine, corona beer, and a tiny bit of vodka. Thanks to la girl for the cheese ball, & la schemeuse for the shrimp ring. Congrats to Nanny, winner of the pot after an exciting wind down between her and la girl.

I never share jokes on my blog, but I really liked this one.

A distinguished young woman on a flight from Switzerland asked thePriest beside her, "Father, may I ask a favor?"

"Of course, what may I do for you?"
"Well, I bought an expensive woman's electronic hair dryer for mymother's birthday that is unopened and well over Customs' limits,And I'm afraid they'll confiscate it. Is there any way you could carryIt through Customs for me? Under your robes perhaps?"
"I would love to help you, dear, but I must warn you: I will not lie."
"With your honest face, Father, no one will question you."
When they got to Customs, she let the priest go ahead of her.

The official asked, "Father, do you have anything to declare?"
"From the top of my head down to my waist, I have nothing to declare."
The official thought this answer strange, so asked, "And what do you Have to declare from your waist to the floor?"
"I have a marvelous instrument designed to be used on a woman, but Which is, to date, unused."
Roaring with laughter, the official said, "Go ahead, Father. Next!"

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cuba Memories

Been thinking of Cuba a lot today. Homeland of my friend Fidel, and a very friendly place for Canadians to visit. Beautiful water, and nice warm breezes. The island is loaded with talent. Most are just wonderful dancers and I had the opportunity to dance with a very talented one infront of a live band. If I remember the singer's name was Javier Iglesias, or something like that. Thank God no one video taped that segment. Unlike the Cuban women, I got no booty to shake. But I did take dance lessons just the same.
Even with free housing and health care, most Cubans find difficult to make ends meet." The government opened the door to free enterprise but only slightly. It issued licenses that would allow some to operate their own private businesses from restaurants to repair shops and farmers' markets. "
Some private economy workers earn more in a day than the average state worker earns in a month. The food is very bland for the most part. I ate delicious lamb however. Years ago , when first visited Cuba, I had a horse burger. It was very disgusting. There were many flies and that is pretty gross too. The eggs yolks were white on my first trip. but yellow the second time I visited. Chicken and eggs are for tourists and pregnant Cubans. Both times we visited schools and brought school supplies. It was much appreciated. There appears to be a great difference in the economy from 1995 and 2003. I wonder if there will be political unrest after Fidel fades away??
How I long for a warm sun bath on the sandy beach.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

2006 gains & losses

Well 2006 has past and as usual its time for making new resolutions we plan not to keep, and to reflect on the year gone by.

The news was dominated by the war in Afghanistan. It's sad to think that hearing of Canadian soldiers killed is now becoming less and less of a news story. It's one headline that we are getting accustomed too. Very sad. Bad news is heard all day, everyday. Murders, molesters, terrorism, & government scandals. Who the hell cares about Belinda Stonachs love life? Stephen Harper made the top ten news list, but he's not on my list. Peter McKay and Ms Rice had cute coverage however. I have to admit however that I was impressed that they actually did hang Saddam Hussein. I figured it would be months of appeals and wasted time and money to house criminals. They surprised me... they aren't like the justice system in the Americas. Here, we jailed Martha S. for doing what all of us would have done, but child molesters are freed, and travel across three provinces doing their thing. Bad news can be found any where. Good news is a rarity.

Now, Pluto was a story that not only caught my interest but the entire family . Poor old Pluto, downgraded to a dwarf planet, shunned by the other 8. Classroom mobiles all over the world had to be altered...(snip, snip, get Pluto out of there) I enjoyed the Pluto story in the National Geographic, and the kids really liked the solar system map that came with it. Pluto was my favorite story of the year. I am pretty simple eh?

Personally, I had some gains and losses as we all do. A little gain in investments, a little gain in blood pressure, both gains and losses in weight. I gained a position on the trivia team and an interest in Trivia. I loss comfort when I threw out my old nightie. I gained love for the taste of draught beer. I loss patience with mosquitoes and am fighting back with a screen tent that follows me wherever I go. I gained much knowledge with the new camper. I loss my desire to sleep under the stars in a cold tent. I gained dollars by not needing to buy feminine products as all the world knows I now use a menstrual cup, which I love. I loss confidence in slow male store clerks. I loss a dragonfly painted gold that was very dear to me. I loss, due to a cartwheel, a wedding gift I treasured. I gained confidence when I won a little battle with the Department of Health. I loss the freedom of having sex at 9:30 pm, between the 2nd and 3rd periods of the hockey game, as the kids are now usually still awake & watching the game. I met several new people whom I enjoyed. I loss several people I enjoyed.

And that, is my year in review.