Friday, September 17, 2021

Post 4067 - Friday NIght Frolics

Well, hello there, handsome.

Another Friday night. Back when I was working, a Friday night would be so welcome. It would come at the end of another long work week, and during the height of my untreated sleep apnea, I would often collapse in bed at 7 or 7:30 and be down for the night. Now, at this late hour, I still feel relatively fresh and alert. 

I am sorry I did not write on Thursday. The day got away from me. I wish I could account for what happened, but all I remember is that I took one of my infrequent mid-afternoon naps. I was a little groggy when I got up and turned in relatively early. 

Today we did not go anywhere. I did finish the first coat of stain on the back deck, and the side of the privacy panel facing us. I will do the other side of the privacy panel, facing my neighbour's, in a few days. I will also do a second coat of stain on the back deck in the coming days. 

I was told to let the wood "season" a year ago when we first got the deck built. It has been looking a big peaked in the last couple of months, and I really felt I should get around to treating it, so I got to it in the last several days. I have applied several coats to the steps, along with the single coat to the rest of the deck along with the railing. I have one gallon of the stain left and will use it next week.

When I was younger I wondered what the big deal was with preserving wood. Dad would maybe use some varnish on something but would otherwise leave it alone. But as I have grown more... let's go with mature... I have found that preserving wood with a good semi-transparent stain makes wood pop and just looks so very much better. I think Dad would approve.

Saturday beckons. I am not sure what we will do just yet. The Archives are back to being open on Saturday again. There is a thing in Tatamagouche. The Valley is always there. So much to do, and only so many leisure hours in the day. 

You all have a good evening. Talk at you on Saturday.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Post 4066 - A Busy Day


A busy day, as the blog title says. Let me tell you about it.

We drove from here to the Homestead Cheese Factory store in Aylesford, using the route suggested to us by google maps on Patricia's phone. A more roundabout route, I daresay, could not be devised if one tried to. But we got there, and got some cheese and pitted black olives and some other things. From there, we drove to Berwick to get a big five pound bag of North Mountain Columbia coffee, probably our fave. From there we drove to Canning to the meat market and the grocery store. We filled up our insulated bags with goodies before trying to have dinner at Crystany's Brasserie, only to discover they are closed on Wednesdays. So we had dinner at the Applewood restaurant in New Minas

We got home something after 7pm. Newbie was tapping his paw on the floor and looking at the watch we got him for his birthday last year, wondering aloud where we had been all that time because we were late feeding him and cleaning out his litter box. We apologized and settled in for the evening.

The freezer is full again. The fridge is in a similar situation. 

It was a pretty good day, and like I said, a busy day. I don't know what Thursday will bring, yet, but I intend to find out.

Sorry this is so short. Long day. 

See you tomorrow.



Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Post 4065 - Follow Up

OK. I was wrong. Neptune Theatre is where the Finding Kenley documentary series will play in late October. It was partially rebranded as Scotiabank Neptune Theatre or some such. 


Today, I spent a couple of hours staining the back deck. I used about two thirds of a can of the semi-transparent stain that looks pretty good when it is dry, but looks anything but when it is wet. I hope to resume staining the deck either on Wednesday or Thursday. By then, what I did on Tuesday will be nice and dry so I can move the barbecue over to that spot and stain the area where the barbecue normally resides. I don't want any left over stain, so I will lay it on extra thick where people walk, as I always do.

On Wednesday we may do a day trip to Aylesford. Not sure just yet.

The lives we lead! Such excitement and drama. 

Time for beddy bye. 

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

Post 4064 - Missing Persons Documentary Series

One of the problems with not writing a blog post every single day (sorry about that!) is that sometimes an interesting update occurs and by the time I get around to writing about it here, I have forgotten about it. Earlier tonight though, I saw a tweet about the subject I am going to take a few paragraphs to write about. 

Kenley Matheson. Allan Kenley Matheson, to be exact, although he went by Kenley. He went missing from Wolfville on September 21, 1992. I did an article about the disappearance in my Frank cold case series, and it made the cover of the magazine, so there is that.

I did not know a whole bunch about the case. Just what I had read and the few things I had heard. But I certainly did know that a man named Ron Lamothe had done an online fundraising campaign to get enough money to do a documentary film about Kenley and what happened to him. That was back in 2013, nearly 8 full years ago. Sorry: "eight" because I am supposed to write out numbers less than 11 for the magazine, and the habit stays with me when I write something else.

I contacted Ron to see how the movie was going, probably four years ago now. He did not tell me much, as he had devoted years of his life to the story up to then, and was not finished by any means. But he thought of me and my offer to help him in any way by even writing an article for the magazine about, uh, certain things that had been hampering his production, shall we say. 

Back in I guess it was the Fall of 2017, he wrote me out of the blue and asked if he could interview me for the film, which he said then might become a multi-part documentary series along the lines of any of those true crime long form shows you see on Netflix when your spouse is out of town.

We agreed to meet in Wolfville at a particular location at a particular time. I was ushered up to the recording room/studio in a downtown location. I removed my glasses because Ron feared that the glare they gave off would be disruptive to the filming process. And he asked me some questions about Kenley and what had happened, and because I signed an NDA, I really can't get too much into what I was asked and what I said. 

After the recording, he and his producer and Patricia and I had lunch at Paddy's Pub. It was a pleasant enough lunch, but it was understood without having to say it, that we would not speak too much of the film/series. 

I saw Ron one more time after that, in Wolfville, probably a year later. I had to remind him who I was and he was clearly off to something else so it was a brief encounter.

I and probably a whole bunch of other people spent the last bunch of years wondering when this series would be over. Imagine my surprise when I got the following email on September 3rd:

Seven weeks from today is the world premiere of Missing Kenley!  

Ten years in the making—and now a 5-episode investigative docuseries, the first-ever screening of Missing Kenley will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at the Neptune Scotiabank Stage Theatre on October 22nd & 23rd.  

The release will be a two-night special event:  on Friday, October 22nd, we will show episodes 1–3 (with an intermission between episodes 2 & 3); and on Saturday, October 23rd, we will show episodes 4 & 5 (with a Q&A and reception following the screening).  Tickets will be available for purchase beginning in late September via the Neptune Theatre online box office.  

We will also be bringing the film to Wolfville, Nova Scotia—where Kenley's disappearance took place in 1992 and the home of Acadia University—the following weekend (10/29 & 10/30) for a similar two-night event.  This will take place at the historic Al Whittle Theatre on Main Street in downtown Wolfville.  Information on ticket sales for this event will be provided in the weeks to come.  

Right now we are very hopeful that Nova Scotia will enter Phase 5 of its COVID reopening plan on September 15th and that we will be able to hold these events at full seating capacity.  However, if Phase 5 is not achieved or the border between the USA and Canada closes, these screenings may have to be postponed.  

In any case, I am so excited to share this (long awaited, I know) news with all of you and look forward to seeing many of you in Halifax and/or Wolfville come October!

As for the film's broader distribution, what we can tell you now is that the worldwide rights for the series are being represented by the Toronto-based film sales agent SYNDICADO FILM SALES.  It is their intention to make Missing Kenley available as broadly as possible via a major streaming service or the CBC, with hopes of a 2022 online release and/or broadcast.  I will make that information available to everyone as soon as I am able.

In the meantime, you may be interested in taking a look at the Missing Kenley website ( or following our Missing Kenley Twitter (@MissingKenley) and/or FB page.  I will launch its Twitter feed this Sunday (9/5), the same date that 29 years ago Kenley and Kayrene left for Acadia.  I will be starting the FB page back up on that day as well.  And I intend to release the film's trailer online on September 21st—the anniversary date of Kenley's 1992 disappearance.  

Thanks again to so many of you who either participated in the making of the series or donated to its Kickstarter campaign all those years ago!  Without you this film could not have been made!


Ron Lamothe

producer-director of Missing Kenley

I am not sure what he means by the "Neptune Scotiabank Theatre". Neptune Theatre was a movie palace many years ago, but I am inclined to think he means the theatres in Bayer's Lake, not far from Casa Bevboy. I must ask him.

I did write him, and he told me that I appear in the series "several times", so whatever the hell I said was sufficiently interesting to him and his editor that they decided to use a portion of it. We will have to see.

I do hope that you decide to check out this series, either when it plays in theatres in Halifax or Al Whittle in Wolfville. I plan to go. 

By the way, after I did the interview with Ron and Emily a few years ago, I did hear a few more things about Kenley. It will be very interesting to see if what I heard, not reported in my article as I heard this stuff later on, turns out to be along the lines of what Ron has found out over the last decade(8 eight years since the fund raiser) he has been working on this. 

I write these cold case articles, and for the most part, I move on to the next one; but sometimes, they take a hold of me and do not let go. I can name several cases that have kept me awake at night as I pondered what might have happened, why, and even how.  I am not sure what has caused Ron to devote so many years of his life on this side project, when being a university professor should have been enough for anyone to handle, but I respect him for doing it. I look forward to seeing the finished project.

So should you.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Post 4063 - Wednesday Night Ramblings

Why, hello there.

Sorry I haven't written lately. Most nights, I collapse and that is that with that. 

On Friday we did drive to Petite Riviere. Patricia picked up her winnings at the rug hooking place. Then, we went to the winery up the street, and had a singularly unpleasant experience.

There was a wedding party there. They should have closed the place down for this private event, but out of a sense of... greed, I guess... they let us in. Patricia sampled some wines and bought two bottles. And then, they all but booted us out of there. We were there perhaps 20 minutes, which I think was 18 minutes longer than they wanted us there. We won't be back. There are lots of wineries in this province, likely too many, and we will check out the ones that actually want us to visit and hang out for a bit. A winery practically demands the type of slow down and smell the coffee/wine or whatever. Any winery that makes you feel like you're imposing on them by being there, is not a place we need to be.

We left in a bit of a huff and returned to the highway, checking out a store that sells a lot of used items. I found for $1.50 a book based upon the old "Hollywood" documentary series about silent films. A nice hardcover book with tons of photographs of old timey movies and stars. The thing is, I had no idea this book existed until Friday afternoon, and to find it in this store in Hebbville was a surprise unto itself. 

Kevin Brownlow, the mastermind behind the documentary series, which may yet be on YouTube, also produced this companion book. He also produced other documentary series and other books about the silent film era. The best known is "The Parade's Gone By", which I ordered on... abebooks or maybe Amazon quite a few years ago. I actually have nearly two copies of it. The first copy I got had a couple of pages missing, so I wrote them and they sent me another one for free. I forget which copy has the missing pages so I kept both copies. 

You really should seek out "Hollywood". If I ever get my Plex Server up and working again, it is on there, and you can watch it that way. 

We concluded the day by having an early dinner at the Blarney Stone Cafe. I had the seafood platter. Patricia had the porkchops. Everything was fine. We will go back there, some day.

The weekend went by quietly. Labour Day weekends are not the same now that I am all-but retired, but I still reflected on my working years and did my very best to think about the positive things that happened to me, and not the times when I was treated like garbage by people who learned their management techniques from Attila the Hun. I mostly succeeded.

Tuesday was the return to school. We live by one, and people delight in blocking driveways including ours and just by being boorish. But two days into it, we can report there is a bit less of that this year. I am confident it will return.

We drove to Kearney Lake Road on Wednesday afternoon. And in the morning we will go to the fish truck guy in Bayer's Lake, as he may have some cod in stock. If he does, we will get some and have a nice cod dinner. We like haddock a lot, too; but there is something about the taste and texture of cod that lingers with us in a very pleasant way. 

It is past 1 in the morning on Thursday. I think I will turn in. 

Talk at you tomorrow.


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Post 4062 - Thursday Things

 Well, hello again.

It rained most of the day, so I did not take the advice people gave me about mowing the lawn, front one day, and back on another day. Instead, I just watched it rain and rain and rain some more, and observe the grass seeming to grow ever longer. If the lawn ever dries up, I will tax my little piss pot electric lawn mower to its maximum 8 amps and beyond. 

We did go out today to get some groceries. Filled the gas tank as gas is supposed to go up Thursday night by several cents a litre. Returned home and I cooked some fish for dinner. 

Tonight we watched some stuff on the PVR including the season ender of The Good Fight. The show gets better and more eclectic every season, and this was no exception. 

Friday will be an interesting day in Halifax radio. After nearly 50 years working in the medium, Rick Howe is retiring. I have been listening to Rick for decades now. I proposed to Patricia on his old Hotline show years ago (she said yes). He graciously had me on the air discussing cold cases, twice, in 2020. 

I will miss listening to him. Todd Veinotte says he will be the "interim" host of the show, which leads me to think that Rogers has not made a decision yet as to who the permanent host will be. I don't know if they will spend some money and get a NAME to be the host or if they will look at Todd and give him the okay to continue. Maybe Norma Lee MacLeod, retired from the CBC for the last few years, will get a phone call and an invitation to try out. I don't know. 

I just know that I will miss listening to Rick. Enjoy your retirement, sir.

You all have a good evening. Talk at you tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Post 4061 - Wednesday Night Stuff

Why, hello there, handsome.

A day and a half later, and a dollar shorter, I am back.

I wish I could say I had done hell and all in the last day and a half, but such would not be the case. I really must develop more structure now that I am retired. 

A few years ago I attended a party at work for someone who was retiring or had a birthday or didn't have a birthday, or wasn't retiring, or whatever it was; but a guy I had worked with and who had retired attended that event. He loved retirement as much as he had hated his job, which was quite a bit. He said something that I have never forgotten, which was that if he did not feel like mowing his lawn today, he would just mow it tomorrow and that would be that with that. 

I know where he is coming from. The lawn, front and back, is getting shaggy. I really must tackle it. I have only applied one coat of semi-transparent stain to the front veranda, and should do the second one, as I have a second can of the stuff waiting to be deployed. I should then take on the duty of staining the back deck, which has never been done, before we lose the season and it becomes unreasonable to do the job. I don't want another season to slip away without this being done, as it cost me a lot of money a year ago to have the deck built. I have to protect my investment. 

But, I keep putting it off.

My friend may not have known it, but he was speaking to me metaphorically a few years ago as much as he was speaking literally. I must develop a bit more structure to my life, which allows me to mow that lawn tomorrow, but not the day after tomorrow, if you catch my drift. Procrastination can be fun, but not to the point where I destroy my infrastructure or am left with a lawn that my little piss pot lawnmower cannot handle. I don't want that situation.

So, let's get up a bit earlier on Thursday and maybe do that lawn or stain that deck. 



See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Post 4060 - Recent Museum Visits

Well, hello there.

Sorry I haven't written the last few days. Busy, especially over the weekend.

Saturday morning, we drove to the Valley for the day. We started at the Wolfville Farmer's Market where I chatted with a local author named David A. Wimsett, who writes fantasy novels. Almost by way of apology, I told him of my experience in university reading the Lord of the Rings, and my utter disdain and dislike for it. He was a nice man, and I wish him well; but I cannot see myself liking what he writes. I'm sorry.

From Wolfville, we drove to Port Williams and the Barrelling Tide Distillery. I got a couple bottles of their excellent vodka, completing one of their frequent buyer's cards, which entitled us to a free shot glass. From there we went up the road to the Wood'n'Hive honey store, run by my friend Alex Crouse. I got some creamed honey, which is terrific stuff.

We went up and around Starr's Point and ended up at Prescott House, a provincial museum. It is free to attend a provincial museum through the end of August 31st, and we were late to take advantage. I repeated to Patricia what I had told her many times: that when I was growing up, I would jump on my bicycle and drive from our house to Prescott House in the summer and look at the museum and then complete the drive back home. Yes. By myself. Cue the violins. 

We walked through the house. They had added a few new features since we had last been there, including some stuff related to the Prescott family during the first World War. I have been to Prescott House dozens of times over the decades, and always find something I had not noticed before. 

Afterward, we strolled through the lovely gardens on the property, known as Acacia Grove. Sat on the bench and imagined what life would have been like for Charles Prescott back in the 1830's until his death in the late 1850's. Lolling about his estate, creating and popularizing all these varieties of apples that are still used today such as the Gravenstein.

We meandered our way over to Canning, where we went to the local meat market and grocery store. The world's smallest liquor store is in that grocery store in Canning; you should go there to see it if nothing else.

We decided to have dinner in Kentville at the King's Arms Pub, which as been there since the late 1980's, when I was still in university. I had a steak; Patricia had the fish taco's, which I wish I had ordered instead of the steak.

We returned to Canning to get more chicken wings, which were heavily discounted at the grocery store, before returning to Halifax. A very long day, we turned in relatively early.

Sunday, we decided to go to the Valley again, this time to Windsor, and Haliburton House. Thomas Chandler Haliburton, among many other writings, created the character of Sam Slick. It is apparently horrendously racist even by the times he lived in, but I must confess that any attempt I have made to read the Sam Slick "sketches" has been spectacularly unsuccessful. For modern readers, the writing is overwrought and boring. At the time, they probably sparkled, and peopled loved that stuff. And, too, the content of the Sam Slick sketches is thinly-veiled satire and commentary on the times he lived in, and the politics of the day. I defy anyone who is not a scholar of Nova Scotia politics of the mid 1800's to make much sense of the Sam Slick tales. But I digress.

The house, which is also part of the provincial museum complex since the early 1940's, is one I had never visited in my life, although I had long wanted to. What I did not know was that the hockey heritage museum had also moved into Haliburton House, occupying much of the wing that ol' T.C. had lived in back in the day. The house is fascinating, with nooks and crannies and full access to most rooms, with "do not touch" or "do not sit" signs liberally sprinkled throughout. 

There are many Sam Slick framed cartoons, originally published in a Sam Slick compendium book after Haliburton's death, hanging on the walls. 

But I want to talk about the hockey stuff, which is nearly unique for me, I know, given my apathy about sports.

I have "The Puck Stops Here", Garth Vaughn's book arguing that the game of hockey began in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Haliburton references the game of "hurley" played on local Long Pond, way back in the 1840's, which I guess is how they justified putting the hockey stuff in that house in recent years.  I was fascinated by one local hockey team, and its name, and its insignia. One hundred years ago, nobody would have batted an eyelash, or cared, that a team by this name existed, except those who followed the team's exploits with some degree of interest and anticipation. 

I write, of course, of the Windsor Swastikas. 

There is a little area in the hockey section devoted to the Swastikas, including pictures of the team and the trophy they won, and even an old team jersey which has seen far better days. I took some snaps:

To see this stuff in 2021 it is disturbing, but once again, this team existed in the early 1900's, long before the swastika was forever corrupted by Hitler. The swastika was a very common and ancient symbol representing good luck, and there was nothing wrong at all with someone using that symbol, or deciding to name a hockey team after the symbol, or wearing it on a team jersey. 

I respect the folks at the museum for putting up this display rather than hiding from its past and pretending that it never happened. It is what museums are for: providing proper context to the past.  Ditto for all the Sam Slick content as well. While the racist aspects of Haliburton were not denied and freely mentioned, it is all in proper context and shows the times the man lived in.

The visit to Haliburton House was fascinating. I am embarrassed it took me so long to get there, and I promise not to take so long to get back. 

We returned home and turned in early. Monday, we stayed put and I am not sure what we did other than take things easy.

And now you are caught up. 

I think I will go begin my day. 

Talk to you tomorrow.



Friday, August 27, 2021

Post 4059 - Friday Night Stuff

So, is there a gas shortage in Nova Scotia, or not? Some say yes. Some say no. We will find out Saturday morning when we try to leave here for a day trip.

How was your day? I went to the archives this afternoon to research a 1932 murder-suicide that has many of the signs of a double murder. The story abruptly left the pages of the local papers a month and a half after the event, and I can find no updates, which only adds to the mystery. Reading more and more about it, I am inclined to think that it is a double murder, and that the murderer got away with it.

Murderers not getting caught is not overly unusual. Many police departments wash their hands of a case once they have handed off a suspect to prosecutors, who may not meet their burden of proof so the suspect is found not guilty, even if he did do it. The police usually do not count these cases as unsolved because they did their job. This happens relatively often. 

A few cases I have written about have been all-but scrubbed out of existence because the suspect was found not guilty, or the charges were dropped, or whatever; and the police feel there is nothing else to do, so they don't do anything. Arnold "Smiley" Bailey is a prime example. His 1988 murder resulted in more than one trial and more than one suspect, both of whom were found not guilty. But you will not find Bailey's case in the list of unsolved murders, and it will never be a part of the Rewards for Major Unsolved Crimes Program either. It is forgotten about. 

Much like the case I researched on Friday.

Anyway, we had salmon for dinner, and watched the last four episodes of "Clickbait" on Netflix. It is a pretty good whodunnit thriller, marred somewhat by the final episode, which did not play fair with the viewer. There was no realistic way for the viewer to figure out who killed the victim, so I felt a little cheated. You should see it for yourself and see if you agree.

And I must note that Rick Howe announced his retirement on News 95.7 on Friday morning. The news is not unexpected as he has been battling some illness; but it is still a sad day for fans of talk radio, of which there is far too little in Halifax. Rick built a good audience over quite a few years often with very little advertising. I will miss listening to him. His last day on the air is Friday, September 3rd. I will be recording it for posterity.

It is now 12:30 in the morning on Saturday. I think I will turn in. Plan to get up early and see if there is any gas to get.

See you tomorrow.




Thursday, August 26, 2021

Post 4058 - Halifax History That Will Interest You Not Even Slightly

 Well, hello again, my friends.

Please, consider the following photograph:

It shows a couple of Halifax police detectives back in the year 1933. They are holding a club they believed to be the one used to beat poor Marie Thibeault to death in 1932. The associated article leads one to believe that it was taken in front of the old Halifax city jail. 

Last night, I wrote about how I had visited that old city jail, or what was left of it, back around 2010, when then-councillor Dawn Sloane took me there from a non-descript door on Barrington Street, one which you may have passed hundreds of times over the years without knowing what it was, or what lay behind it. Here is that blog post.

Here is the door we used to enter what I thought was the old city jail:

Pretty boring door, ennit?

I mentioned that my friend Bruce MacNab had written a book about Harry Houdini's early years of honing his craft as an escapologist, and that he had spent some time touring in this part of the world. He actually did his first headline act in Dartmouth, in a building that has not existed in a long time. You really should read Bruce's book, called "The Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini". It is meticulously researched in a way that I respect the hell out of. 

Anyway, I mentioned last night, and Bruce read the post, that I had been in the city jail back in the day. He and I wrote each other back and forth earlier this evening. It turns out that I did not see the old cells at all. As he told me:

"You were in the sub-basement of City hall, not the basement where the jail cells once stood. The thick brick walls you saw in the sub-basement were actually the footings for the long ago brick walls of the cells on the floor above."

I blubbered that I remembered being in the cells. He pitied me.

"There is only one cell left and it is an equipment room. Don't feel bad. they showed the footings to Tom Selleck too. Gary Shutlak and I had a great laugh over this."

You may recall that Tom Selleck did several Jesse Stone movies here years ago. I seem to recall that he did an unrelated miniseries here as well. He spent quite a bit of time here in the 00's, and held a door open for me once when I was carrying something heavy. 

At any rate, Bruce explained to me more about my misunderstanding/error as to what I saw in December of 2010.

"The sub basement is about 8-feet in height at Barrington but the floor rises to a mere crawl space at Argyle. On the Barrington side the footings are tall but the space between them isn't wide enough for a cell. Footings are generally twice the size of the walls they support above."

That does make sense, because the pictures of me in what I thought were jail cells were really in the footings, because if they were cells they were awfully narrow ones. Read the blog post I linked to above and you will see what I mean.

Here's more from Bruce:

"For a time, they used the sub basement footing 'cells' to hold evidence and supplies. They were never used for prisoners. I was interviewed about this by allnovascotia in 2019 while they were renovating City Hall. The city's  architect claimed she had "discovered" the footprint of the old cell walls on the basement floor. I spent a day there in 2010 and had already explained to them where the cells actually were."

Suitably chastened, I asked Bruce about the picture of the two police detectives. Where was that taken? Once again, it was my strong impression that it was taken in front of the old city jail, which was in city hall along with the police department.

Bruce hunted around on google maps. He thinks, and I agree, that you will find it is here.

It is on Duke Street, very close to Barrington, just at the end of a black iron railing. Bruce tells me that the double doors just out of frame on the left, and even closer to Barrington Street, used to lead directly into the old police court/headquarters. 

Here it is:


The man accused to killing Marie Thibeault was named Douglas "Red" MacDonald, a retired boxer. The trial took place at Supreme Court, which back then was on Spring Garden Road, where the main Halifax court is now. The county jailer brought MacDonald into court for his trial. That jailer was named Malcolm Mitchell, who was the father to Verdun Mitchell, a man I have written about at length regarding another famous Halifax unsolved murder. 

MacDonald was found not guilty and disappeared from the public eye. I do not know what became of him. 

So, there you have it. I think we have discovered where those two police detectives were standing back in 1933. 

How many of you care about this stuff, other than Bruce and me? Uh, not many. But this is my blog and I will write about what pleases me, and that is that. 

I have a busy day of researching on Friday, so I think I will turn in.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Post 4057 - Wednesday Night Stuff

Hello. It is nearly 1:30, technically on Thursday morning.

We did not much today. Went for a drive in air-conditioned comfort in the afternoon and got some groceries. Returned home. I took a long nap in the recroom, as the humidity had sapped what strength I had. 

We watched some television tonight. Saw Anica/Katey Day not go forward on America's Got Talent. Watched Master Chef. 

I just spent 15 minutes looking through a copy of Metamorphosis: The Apprenticeship of Harry Houdini, by my friend Bruce MacNab. I missed the book when it first came out, so I was pleased to get a copy earlier this year. It is about Houdini's early years of learning his craft and how he honed much of his talent here in this part of the world, especially in Nova Scotia. Using a level of research which astonishes me, MacNab finds old newspaper articles and other reports to fill in this part of the man's life. 

I cannot get past my respect for someone who researches the living hell out of something, whatever the subject is. I know how hard it is to do that, and how hard it is to find anything, and how easy it is to miss stuff, too. 

I can add one little tidbit. Bruce shows a picture of the layout of Halifax City Hall from back in the day, showing where the old jail cells were. When I was researching the Marie Thibeault unsolved murder a few months ago, I found a picture of a couple of police detectives holding what they thought was her murder weapon (it wasn't). They were standing outside the Halifax city jail on Barrington Street. That old doorway still exists; it is just a few meters North of the entrance to the Grand Parade. Thousands of people walk past it every day and because it so old and the same drab colour as everything around it, they have no idea what it is. 

Around 2010, then-councillor Dawn Sloane took me on a tour of some of the parts of city hall that the average person doesn't get to see. I was up on top of city hall with my Christmas tie and down in the bowels of city hall, where I saw the old jail cells. From one of those jail cells, Harry Houdini escaped back in 1896. I think I still have those old jail cell pictures somewhere on my Dropbox.

So far as I know, those old jail cells still exist. They likely just store old crap that people have forgotten about. Their historical significance has been all-but forgotten as well. 

I think I will turn in. We may go for another day trip on Thursday and I should get some shut eye.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Post 4056 - A Day of Disappointment and Triumph

Why, hello there.

Tuesday was a day we planned to hit the road. And... we did. But the plans we made were not the best ones.

Let me explain. 

We headed out after 1pm, to drive to Windsor. We wanted to go to Haliburton House, where we had never been. Thomas Chandler Haliburton wrote the Sam Slick "sketches" in the 1840's or so. They were very popular in their day. Windsor had Sam Slick days for many years until some wokesters decided that they no longer fit with the times so it was quietly cancelled several years ago. The sketches themselves are written in a style that modern readers would find hard to get into. I sure do. Every time I have attempted to read one of those Sam Slick stories, I wake up hours later with Cheeto's dust on my shirt and the book on the floor. The thing is, I remember my Grade Six teacher going on about Sam Slick and Haliburton and it seems that I should read these tales and make an effort to like them. It will not happen.


We found Haliburton House in Windsor and discovered that the place is not open on Tuesdays. It is open Wednesday through Sunday 10-4pm. So we have to go back, soon.

Shand House is another museum in Windsor, but ditto for the hours. 


We drove to Reader's Haven in the downtown area, which was open. I got a couple of books that I hope to read someday. Hope. From there, we went to Lisa's Cafe not far from the bookstore, as the owner of the bookstore recommended it to us. Patricia had the clams and chips, and she loved them. I had the fish and chips, and I loved them. We started off with nachos which we very much enjoyed. Dessert was a chocolate pie. I asked and was told that every dessert is made from scratch in the cafe. The chocolate pie did not contain chocolate pudding from a box, but was made in the way that you would make chocolate pudding if you loved your children and had time on your hands.

Dinner was about $70 with tip. We will go back.

We returned to the city, learning that Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones had died on the car radio, and went to the local Sobeys. Got some essentials. After we got home we learned that some Costco's and likely other stores are running out of toilet paper and other required items because of increasing fear of the Covid-19 Delta variant. We are homebodies of the highest order, so if necessary we will hunker down again. 

It is 11pm. I think I will turn in early. The barbecue guy will be here tomorrow morning to fix the small problem with the barbecue we got from them last year.

See you tomorrow.


Monday, August 23, 2021

Post 4055 - Monday Night Nothings


I did nothing today. I slept in. Unusual for me at this time, I took a long nap in the afternoon. We ate leftovers for dinner.

Here it is, pushing midnight. I have spent the last hour or so lining up my next cold case article. I have narrowed it down to a couple of possibilities. Regardless, I will have to go to the archives to research them. Maybe I should book more than one visit. 

I have also been conversing with a source about a well known unsolved murder in this province. 

Nothing in life is easy. I will eventually run out of such articles to write about, at which time I suppose the series will end. Of course, I had no idea that I would still be writing this series five years after I started it, and after more than 60 articles. Most people who have done a series about unsolved crimes in Nova Scotia, or anywhere else, crap out after maybe six parts. So I should be proud of that accomplishment if nothing else.

I think I have solved one unsolved murder. I am pretty sure I have solved the mystery as to why Frank Johnson killed himself and his daughter in 1943. Tina Marie Barron's case had been forgotten by nearly everyone, likely even her own family, until I wrote about it and asked the police why Tina's case was not registered with the province's rewards for major unsolved crimes program. A month later, it was added to the list. There have been other small victories along the way.

I just don't know if the series matters to anyone other than me, my editor and my relatively few readers. 

Nothing lasts forever.

On that happy note, I think I will turn in. We plan to go on a Valley day trip on Tuesday.

See you then.


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Post 4054 - Sunday Night Things

Hello again, my friends.

Sunday night. Hurricane Henri is supposed to hit our shores in a day or so, although that trajectory may change. That is why I decided to tackle applying a coat of stain to the front veranda, the side steps and the back deck. The deck was done a year ago and should be plenty seasoned by now, and accept a couple of coats.

I finished a rough coat on the veranda and then started on the side steps, which are attached to the post that holds the clothes line. The new colour we selected two weeks ago is not compatible with the long-ago choice I made to use a red wood semi transparent stain. It is yellowish on the brown pressure treated wood, and does not look awesome on the old redwood stain. Whatever. Functionality is where it is at.

I allocated one gallon of stain for the side steps. I had plenty left over so I stared to stain the back deck until the gallon was gone. I still have a few gallons of stain for a proper couple of coats on the back deck. Will start that on Monday, unless I decide to apply a second coat to the veranda. Not sure just yet. 

So, that was my day. Staining a bunch of wood. All the people who think I am privileged because I have a house and they don't, can go stuff it. I dropped hundreds of dollars on that stain a couple of weeks ago and hundreds more to get the house pressure washed. Gee, that bothers me more than it should. They are just jealous but will not admit it. 

Patricia bought a small green house today, one that will live comfortably in an upstairs bedroom and be useful for starter plants and the like. I helped her take it out of the car and get it in the house. I know better than to touch it on a go forward basis. 

I think I will turn in. I want to get up relatively early and resume my staining work.

See you tomorrow.


Saturday, August 21, 2021

Post 4053 - A Week Later...

 Well, hello again, my friends.

Sorry that I haven't written in a week. We were both busy working the Nova Scotia elections over the past several days. We first heard about this opportunity when we went in to vote on August 12th. A friend was there who was also working the election and offered us a job as a Poll Supervisor. It meant that we would be in charge of a particular voting location. 

Not overwhelmed or anything, we attended a day long training on August 13th, from 9 in the morning until nearly 9:30 at night, when maybe 90 minutes off for lunch and dinner. Over the weekend we called the venue and the people who would be working with us. On the day before the election we went to the venue to check it out and started to set up tables and chairs. 

Election day itself, the 17th, we were on the go from five in the morning until 1 the following morning. We actually arrived at the venue at 6:30 and did not leave until nearly midnight, and then went to the district headquarters to debrief for another hour. 

Much of what we did, I cannot talk about as it is confidential. I can say though that election day was perhaps the busiest day I have had since I was in the throes of university, many years ago. Very little time to eat or drink water or even go to the washroom. Just go, go, go all day long. 

By the time we finally got home, around 1:20 on Wednesday morning, we were so tired, and sore and sweaty and hungry and parched, that it was difficult to get up the stairs. Finally turned in around 2.

Wednesday, we were so sore from having been on our feet all day, that we could barely walk. I actually considered using my father's old walking cane for a spell. 

Thursday, we were somewhat more ambulatory. Still sore.

Friday, we felt much better and considered going on a day trip, but the day got away from us.

And today, Saturday, we felt pretty good. Still didn't go anywhere or do too much. 

We will get paid for this work in the coming couple of weeks. It will not be life-altering money, but it will be a nice little bump, something to throw into my savings account, which has taken a beating in the last few months. 

Patricia kept saying she would never do this kind of job again, as it was too grueling for people of our advanced dotage. But I look back with some sense of exhilaration and accomplishment over August 17th. I did my small part to help keep democracy going. I appreciate the opportunity. And if something like this were offered to me again, I would at least consider it.

I would just wear better shoes next time.

I think I will turn in. Patricia is getting up relatively early in the morning and I promised to make us a nice breakfast. 

You all have a good night. See you tomorrow. I am well-rested and ready to resume regular blog posts!


Saturday, August 14, 2021

Post 4052 - Three Days Later

Uh, hello again, my friends.

Sorry I didn't write the last few days. Something came up on Thursday, which required our full attention on Friday, and from which we spent Saturday recovering.

I'll tell you about it sometime. Remind me.

Today was a quiet day, but I did head out for ice cream after dinner. The store by us, which I have told you about before, has quite a bit of stuff in it, but was depleted this evening. And the lady staff member, written about in a now-deleted Facebook post, was on duty this evening. She ended up charging me $44 for not many items, and since my receipt was not itemized, it is her word against mine. I just know that she had to rescan my items a couple of times. I heard the little beep each time, so it makes me think that some items were scanned more than once, but once again, it is her word against mine. I just know that the next time I go into the store, if she is on duty, I will just leave. Life it too short.

That makes two negative retail experiences in just over 24 hours. The first one was after dinner on Friday, when we went to the DQ in Bayer's Lake for ice cream. I waited a few minutes to order the sundaes and paid for them and had to wait for change. And then I joined a long line up of people waiting for their own food. And waited. And waited. We had to be somewhere by 6pm, and it was already 5:45 when I gave up. I gave the receipt to the fellow standing next to me and told him to enjoy the sundaes, and returned to the car, and we drove off to the Friday night thing we had to do. 

We slept in this morning and both took a nap this afternoon. Watched some of those "new" Roku channel shows that were released on the 13th. These are another batch of the shows produced by Quibi last year before that company folded because their business model was ridiculous and absurd. Those shows are seeing the light of day, for free, on the Roku channel. If you have a Roku device, then you have the Roku channel. 

It is past midnight, and I want to turn in. We have a busy few days ahead of us.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Post 4051 - What I Have Been Up To

Why, hello there, my friends.

Sorry I haven't written lately. The first few days, I was about getting ready to go to the cottage. Kept putting it off for various reasons. Finally, a week ago Tuesday, the 2nd of August, I went off there by myself. I took with me a big battery charger, a new lawn tractor battery we had just acquired, my laptop, some reading material, some food, some reading material. I got there mid-afternoon and hoped (hoped!) that I could mow the lawn down there. Due to Covid, and other factors, we had not been able to get there yet.

No such luck.

The battery I took down there was the wrong one. The positive thingy was on the left and it had to be on the right, as the wires in the lawn tractor work that way, and were too short to "cross". There was already a battery at the cottage with the correct polarity, but it turned out to be as dead as a doornail. The large charger didn't seem to work. Not sure why. But the lowly trickle charger we have had for several years down there worked fine. It was a slow process, running from about 7pm Tuesday until sometime in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. 

I got up early last Wednesday and noted that the trickle charger had charged and conditioned the battery, saving me a trip to the local hardware store to get a proper new battery. Carried it out to the shed where the lawn tractor lives. Installed the battery, tightening the screws with a small wrench we keep out there, and was very pleased that the lawn tractor started up perfectly. 

It took me hours to mow the lawn, from 9 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon, with a few short breaks along the way. When it was done, I decided to treat myself to dinner in the town of Pictou, so that is where I went, ended up at the Marina Bar and Grill, a pretty decent surf and turf restaurant along the waterfront. 

I had fish and chips. The fish was lightly battered, and not gross at all, like so many fish and chips are these days. The fries were delicious. That, and a Caesar salad for an appetizer, and I was happy, and very full. That did not stop me from driving to the local Acripole Pizza place and ordering two large pizzas. We finished eating that pizza here yesterday.

That may strike you as a strange thing to do, but I did not feel like making a special trip into town to get a Pictou County pizza. There is something special about PC pizza. They use a brown pizza sauce, made of God knows what, which totally changes the taste and even the texture of pizza parlour pizzas. 

People swear by this pizza place or that pizza place while in Pictou County. Acripole is good. The town of Pictou used to have another place, next to Karla MacFarlane's constituency office. Frigged if I can remember the name of the place. But Mammy's Pizza in River John was our fave, by a lot. The place closed last year, but there is an update. Keep reading.

Other towns in Pictou County have their own version of PC pizza. Some heretics eschew the brown sauce for a traditional red sauce in a vainglorious effort to produce something they deem to be special, a gourmet pizza if you will. While those pizza places have their... place, it is not PC pizza, which is supposed to have a brown sauce, made of God knows what. You can have variations of the brown sauce, made of variations of God knows what, but anything else made with variations of brown sauce, made of variations of God knows what, is simply not Pictou County pizza. Period.

Due to its popularity, some people in Halifax try to make Pictou County pizza, never with any degree of success or quality. Sobeys carries Pictou County pizza in the frozen pizza section of local stores, but it is barely more than competent. For some reason, you have to buy PC pizza in actual PC. I think that if a local pizza place made actual PC pizza and did it right, it would do smashingly well in Halifax. 

So, anyway, after my sojourn into Pictou for dinner and pizza, I returned to the cottage and turned in early. Being jostled and shaken and my testicles being nearly ripped out of my scrotum all while sitting on the lawn tractor for hours on end is tiring to a person, and almost literally emasculating to boot. That type of exhaustion carried over through Thursday, when I had to take naps just to get some strength back. Even my CPAP machine was telling me to stop sleeping so much, you're embarrassing yourself.

By Friday I was feeling more like myself, so in the afternoon I went to River John and drove around a bit. I ended up at the library and browsed and got to know the new librarian. Margaret retired a couple of years ago and Stephanie is there now. Margaret was wonderful. In 2010, my mother went to the cottage with Patricia. One night, Patricia wanted to go to the book club at the library and dragged Mom with her. Margaret waited on Mom hand and foot for the better part of two hours while the book club went on. She fetched Mom all the magazines and newspapers she wanted to read and had a wonderful time. Mom had the wonderful time. Maybe not so much Margaret.

I left the library and headed back to the car. Saw some guys working at the building next door to the library. One told me that they were going to open a bistro type place in the coming months and that the would serve... Mammy's Pizza pizza out of it. The business has been sold. Mammy would be like 90 now, so if she is still around, she is putting her feet up and enjoying life. I do so hope that they keep the recipes and at the same time spend some money on the business, as the building the shop ran out of was run down and decrepit. But I am thrilled that Mammy's will soon be back.

I drove down the road toward Tatamagouche and ended up at the Pork Shop, where I got a pound of bacon we are still eating and some beef jerky that I gnawed on that evening. 

While at the cottage when I wasn't running the road and was awake, I watched some stuff on a media player we keep down there. Old tv shows on a hard drive can really keep you entertained when there are few other options around. 

I decided to surprise Patricia by returning to Halifax Saturday morning. I hit the road just past seven ayem, and went into Pictou again for breakfast and to top up the gas tank. I left Pictou and drove for nearly the next two hours to return home just before 10. Patricia was surprised to see me. So was the guy who had stayed the night. 

Ha ha. Just kidding. It was actually a woman. 

Ha ha. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. 

We got caught up on the previous few days. I showered because I stank like a pole cat as my father used to say. 

The last few days have been about resting except Tuesday, when a local company came by and pressure washed the front veranda and sprayed down the house and shed. The house had never been washed (not pressure washing, soft bristles) in all the years I have lived here, which is in the number of 20. The back end of the house was quite dirty. The soffits were quite unsightly from the upstairs bathroom and master bedroom. Now, they are sparkling clean, along with the outside of the house. It was a bit pricey, but worth it. 

Add to that cost, the six cans of semi transparent stain I bought on Sunday, along with some brushes and rollers. The front veranda, just pressure washed, will be sanded down and stained from one end to the other. I figure I will need two cans of the stuff. The side steps, refurbished in 2020, will take one can. The back deck, now a year old, will need likely three cans of the stuff, once you take into account the privacy panel, my side and the side facing my neighbours. 

It is possible I will have to buy another can for the front and back, but I am hoping that is not the case. 

And, no, we will not hire someone to do the staining for us. We like to do the job in a certain way. That way may not fill someone's definition of "correct", but I am more concerned about functionality and laying on the stain "thick" in areas where there will be higher foot traffic. One time, I actually poured semi transparent stain on the front veranda from the front door, poking my head and torso through the screen window on the door and used the rest of a can of stain on the main entrance to the house. I brushed it out so it wasn't "goopy". And I also put lots extra, probably two more coats, on the front steps leading to the entrance as that is how we enter and leave the house and I wanted to make sure that when it rained, the wood would bead for a long time. Less-walked parts of the veranda could do with perhaps just one coat, and I only used one coat on the slats and posts. That's what I mean by doing it the way I want to do it. I am not sure if I hired someone to do this job that I would end up with things being done the way I wanted them done. 

Also on Tuesday I produced a draft for my next cold case article for Frank. This one... well, you should read it for yourself. It was disturbing less for the content of the unsolved murder, and more for the way the papers discussed nearly all of the players in the story. I had to mention it and comment on it. We will see how much of it survives the editing process. 

So, you are about caught up. Stargirl is back on the air, and we are happy for all the classic comics shout outs. Well, I am. I had to explain the "McNider" mailbox, and who Eclipso was, and who The Gentleman Ghost was, and why Green Lantern's daughter hanging around will not mean that Ryan Reynolds might make a cameo on the show. "Her father would have been the Alan Scott Green Lantern, dear, not the Hal Jordan Green Lantern. Hal Jordan was a member of the Justice League of America, and most definitely NOT the Justice Society of America. This is common knowledge and I am frankly disappointed you did not know this". Whereupon, a projectile mysteriously flew toward my head, and narrowly missed me. I guess The Gentleman Ghost was hanging around the house again. 

America's Got Talent is fun, as alway. We did not watch it for several years, and it occupies a vast amount of real estate on the schedule and therefore fills up a PVR quickly if you are not diligent in watching it. But Katey Day being on the show got us interested and we are enjoying it a lot. I just wish a Canadian channel carried it so we could watch it at the cottage.

It is nearly 12:30am on Thursday. I think I should turn in. This was a 2000 word blog post, so it likely took you longer than two minutes to read it for a change. And it sure was nice to sit down and talk with you again. I missed you. Let's do this again, tomorrow.

See you then.


Friday, July 30, 2021

Post 4050 - Friday Night Philosophical Thoughts

 Another day down. Yay!

The long weekend is here. Double yay!

Except, every weekend is a long weekend to me. So, there is that.

It was a quiet day. I picked up some meds at the local Guardian Drugs after lunch. Noticed that gas had gone up over three cents over night. Good thing I filled the gas tank on Thursday, eh?

We watched some stuff on the PVR today. Then watched MIB:International, the 2019 attempt to reboot the Men in Black films. It started off promisingly, but about half way through it succumbed to the silliness and absurdity of the original films. It also bored us. We finished watching it because we are not quitters, but it is a couple hours of my life that are gone forever with nothing to show for it.

I just spent 30 minutes or so investigating a 1932 double murder in Glace Bay. I can find no proof that anyone was ever arrested for the murders. I guess I need to go to the archives soon and find out.  

It occurred to me just now that I should add a third category of cold cases. Right now, I have subfolders labelled "Published" and "Unpublished" for both unsolved murders and missing persons cases. I should add a subfolder of, say, "Abandoned" for cases that have since been resolved or for which little or no reasonable information can be found, or there just doesn't seem any point of continuing. 

For an example of what I mean, this week, a missing persons case from 1999 was all-but solved when the woman's body was found. Her name was Arlene McLean. I have a note on my written file from a few years ago that her son did not want to talk to me, and I did not feel it would be fair to just rehash the same stuff from the newspapers that had been published over and over. Plus, Yvonne Colbert did a pretty good piece on the radio a few years ago about missing persons cases and spoke to Arlene's son. I felt I could not add anything to the case unless I could speak to someone about it or some other compelling information crossed my desk. It was in my list of things to do, a list that grows larger and not smaller. 

The only mysteries now are how her body ended up where it did, the water, and why it took the CBC and other media to report this story, since I heard about it nearly two weeks ago. There is little else to investigate here, so I will probably just put it in this proposed "Abandoned" category, as there is no article to write here and it is inappropriate to keep it in the "unpublished" subfolder and it will never be a "published" article. I have already moved the McLean paper file to one of my cold case binders with proper documentation spelling out what happened. Because I am an anal person and need to have this stuff documented, even though I am the only one who reads this stuff.

You see the things I think about? Hmm?

It is nearly 1:30 in the morning. I think I will turn in. Might be going for a car drive on Saturday.

See you then.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Post 4049 - Thursday NIght Things

Hello again.

We had a decent day.

We went to Humani-T Cafe this morning. They close part of their business a week from Saturday but will wind down other aspects of the business during the month of August, maybe even into September. Patricia will really miss the place. 

They have been around in one form or another since 1986, when Supernatural Foods opened in Maritime Centre, lower level. They eventually opened a second location in the North End, where they are now, and years later consolidated the business there, closing the Maritime Centre store. It was hard to get to for customers, who increasingly did not want to go downtown to get their health food. There was also a place further down on Hollis Street called Mary Jane's Alternative Tastes, so perhaps the competition was not fun.

Along the way, they rebranded to Humani-T Cafe. 

We had a sandwich. Patricia had a spicy chicken. I had chicken pesto. I had an vanilla Italian soda. Patricia had some kind of latte I think it was. We shared a gelato. 

From there we drove over to the Salvation Army store on Strawberry Hill. I got a couple books including a copy of "Dutch Oven", a fairly well known cookbook of recipes from Lunenburg County. Also got a couple shirts and a couple pairs of walking shorts. 

We made our way to Bayer's Lake to the Chapters store. I got a mystery novel by Max Allan Collins, whose work I have been reading since the 1980's. I looked high and low for that new Dean Jobb book, only to learn that they are about the only place that does not have it in stock yet. They didn't even know the book existed until I brought it to their attention. The earlier Jobb book I told you about the other night, they said they couldn't keep in stores over the holidays as it was selling so well. They can't wait to get the new one. 

We returned home. Watched some telly. After the news was over I drove to the Guardian Drugs to get my migraine pill subscription renewed. They were busy so I will pick them up tomorrow. Returned home and mowed the front and back lawn, and then whipper snipped the places I couldn't reach by lawnmower. That five dollar whipper snipper is the best money I spent in a long time. Works absolutely great. 

I returned inside. We watched Jeopardy! LeVar Burton's week is nearly over. He is not the one for the full time job. Then we watched this week's "The Good Fight", which is as good as ever.

The plan is to go to the cottage either Friday or Saturday. Let's see if we can keep this promise.

I think I will turn in. You all have a good evening.

Talk at you tomorrow.




Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Post 4048 - Wednesday Night Wanderings

It is all about the alliteration.

I did not wander anywhere, unless you count going out to get the mail, which is maybe 50 feet from my front door. I otherwise did not leave the property today. 

This means we have not gone to the cottage yet. The latest plan is to go on Friday, but that may change as well. We are retired and don't like to keep to a particular schedule, unless we have a meeting or something.

Because so many of you have asked: no, I still have not found any more of those delightful Model M keyboards out in the wild. It was pure happenstance, plain dumb luck, that I found this here one at that thrift store for 50 cents a couple of years ago. It was intact. No buttons missing. And working as beautifully now as it did when it was manufactured in 1989. I still go to thrift stores and look in the section that has old computer parts, because every thrift store has a section that sells old computer parts. I think it is the law.

I think part of the reason these keyboards are hard to come by around here is that people have got wise to their value and either sell them on ebay or whatever, or one of the many people who know what they're worth hoard them and sell them to people like me who want them, charging outrageous prices for the privilege. 

There is such a joy to typing on these keyboards. Takes me back to the 1980's when I used them all the time because there was no other type to use, unless you used one of those keyboards that came with those primitive laptops from the period. But, no, otherwise, you were using these clunky keyboards. These memories are tinged with bad times but plenty of good ones. 

The actual typing is a pleasure that is hard to describe to those who have not used such a keyboard. They use the crappy ones that come with desktop computers and which you can get for a couple of dollars in any store that sells used computer systems. People just think the new keyboards are the bomb, and have never had the experience of using an actual keyboard designed for typing on. 

Anyway, I am still looking for a couple good Model M keyboards. Let me know if you have anything like that on hand. You know how to reach me, but this is the best way

It is past one ayem. I think I will call it a night. Wanna get up sort of early to check out the Humani-T Cafe which is closing for good in a week.

See you tomorrow.



Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Post 4047 - Tuesday Night Thingies

And how was your day?

We both slept in later than we meant to. The CPAP machine has a funny effect on me. I wake up for a few minutes and decide to go back to bed "for a few minues". Next thing I know it is several hours later. If you care, my AHI, average hourly incidents, was 1.3, which is a far cry from the 42 it was in the Autumn when I had my sleep test.

Around mid-afternoon we realized we had taken nothing out of the freezer for dinner, and we needed to get some groceries, so we went to Swiss Chalet on Lacewood Drive for dinner. As far as we can recall, we had not been there since February or March when a few of us retirees had lunch there.

A great dinner under our belts, we went to the nearby Superstore. I bought the new Frank as I like to have a paper copy of my articles for my records. The article looks great. It is the type of content that if I were just a reader, I would want to read over and over again. I may not be a Dean Jobb, whom I fully acknowledge to be a superior researcher and writer, but I do my best. And since we are mining similar ground, super vintage Nova Scotia true crime, I feel I should be up on his latest work. My focus is on unsolved crimes, though. Dean doesn't do much of that. 

Speaking of Dean, I see that he has yet another book coming out. He has now two books of shorter pieces about crimes "from Nova Scotia's past". Here they are, side by side, taken from Dean's Twitter post.



So, the one on the right, "Daring, Devious & Deadly", I already have. The second one, "Madness, Mayhem & Murder", I only learned about this evening. I will probably get it, but I am pretty much convinced that he is just repackaging content from three earlier books he published in the 1980's and 1990's. Those books, in turn, were reprints of articles he did for the Chronicle Herald for many years. These more recent books will consist of reprints of reprints in other words.

That is, assuming that the new book is reprinted material from back in the day. I have seen the list of content for this new book and I have to compare it with the earlier trilogy of books to see if there is anything in the new book not in the older ones. 

I am not upset about this. I know what I am getting. I just wish he had stated that the 2020 book contained stuff from earlier books. And if this new one continues that tradition, he should come out and state that, too. I can't be the only one who knows about these old books, and owns them. It is hard to avoid these books at church rummage sales and fleamarkets.

I am keeping the earlier books, Bluenose Justice, Crime Wave, and Shades of Justice". At least one of them contains some pretty good research tips and named some Nova Scotia newspapers I had not heard of before, most of which are at the Archives for easy perusal. 

Anyway, I will come across as a bitter person if I keep going down this path. I wish Dean Jobb nothing but success. And in ten years or so, he can re-package the books yet again and I will still be here noting the re-re-re-reprints.

We got home and watched the news and then Jeopardy! LeVar Burton had apparently got some constructive feedback after he taped his first episode recently. He decided to dial things back a bit, but it had mixed results. He still sounds overly excited when someone gets something right. 

Off topic, I know, not that this blog has a particular topic, but I think Burton's behaviour about how much he wants the Jeopardy! gig to be unseemly. He has been everywhere open lobbying for the full time job. I do not consider him to be the best candidate, though. Several others I felt did a much better job. We'll see if his wife gave him more feedback after the second taping and whether his performance when the show is broadcast on Wednesday night.

We also watched a few episodes of "Schitt's Creek" tonight. We did not really watch the original broadcast. Just thought it was one of those unfunny cBC comedies, of which there is a multitude. But all the EMMY wins and the adulation made us decide to watch it from the beginning on Netflix. It remains a hard slog in places, but we have made it to season four. 

The show is seldom laugh-out-loud funny but maybe it was never designed to be that way, which is fine. I was never designed to be a sports jock, a fact beaten into me when I was young and which I cheerfully acknowledge to anyone who will listen. That is all fine. The show has a sweetness to it. Some of the ancillary characters are fun to watch, especially the guy who plays Bob, the man who owns the garage that the patriarch used for a work space. Did you ever notice that he almost always half runs into a scene? 

But here we are in season four, and we still don't get why the show is so revered. Does something happen in the second half of the show's run that will convince us that we are doing the right thing in investing all this time to watch this show? 

It is now pushing one ayem. I think I will turn in. You all take care of yourselves and see you tomorrow.


Monday, July 26, 2021

Post 4046 - Monday Night Ramblings

Well, here it is, past 12:30am, technically Tuesday morning.

I had a quiet day. We did not go to the cottage today. In a day or two, I guess. 

We watched some stuff on the telly. I made dinner, consisting of barbecued salmon, mashed potatoes and mixed veggies. The potatoes I used, while purchased recently, were developing a fair amount of rot already. I don't know if that is characteristic of potatoes at Sobeys this summer or not. I am glad we only got a small bag of them.

I have the subject for my next cold case article. I just have to assemble my notes and write the thing. A hint as to its subject: I will incorporate a line or two from an email from the executive director of the Atlantic Jewish Council.

Over the weekend I put away the Frank Johnson notes and his service records and Vava's death certificate in the binder I keep for them. Yes. I have so many notes, and printed off so many copies of Stephen Kimber's murder-suicide pdf that I filled an actual binder! 

For those who care, I have seven binders in my home office full of notes about cases I have already written. There is another binder with notes about cases I need to research more and then write about.  And I have an "active" clipboard I got a church rummage sale a few years ago for about 25 cents, which has notes on cases I am actively working on. I carry it with me when I go to the archives or the library. I have a second, similar clipboard for when I do my occasional media interviews and podcast appearances. Let us not mention the dropbox cold case folder with thousands of documents in it, okay? Okay. We won't. 

Yeah. I know. A bit much, ennit?  

I am going to turn in. Long day, with not much accomplished. I like these days sometimes.

See you tomorrow.


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Post 4045 - One Last Thing About Frank and Vava and Nadia Johnson

I forgot to mention this last night. 

After my article with all the good information about Frank and Vava Johnson went live, I received an email from the British Ministry of Defence. It was in response to an email I had sent them a few days earlier, asking if they knew anything that could point to Frank and/or Vava being spies against the British government. 

Royal Navy Report Writer Clive Clarke wrote back and stated that what they had sent me was the "only documentation" they had on hand. There was nothing else to send along. "There was not a specific file" on Frank Mills Johnson, other than the military service records they had sent me in May. 

They looked through what they sent me in the same way I did. Clive wrote that this document "gives no indication... of what could be considered treasonous activity". This activity "would have resulted in criminal proceedings of the most serious nature". 

He then suggested I contact the National Archives, and sent me to a broken link, but I googled it and found them. 

Clive went on to tell me that "certain materials regarding courtmartials" and so on are at those Archives. If I cannot get there myself, I can engage a researcher to search on my behalf, and at my expense. There is also some content online, and that can be requested at no cost during the pandemic. That is, assuming that I googled the correct website. 

The last things he told me were that "some documentation... may still be subject to secrecy legislation", and that he could not offer any more suggestions. 

I wrote back and thanked him for his time and asked him to verify the website link but haven't heard back. I likely will not. I gather they get a lot of emails and a guy writing from "across the pond" is not a big priority for them, especially when it concerns a local case from nearly 80 years ago. 

So, unless I poke around in the archives, or get someone to do it for me, this is likely the end of the line. But since there is nothing in Frank Johnson's military service records mentioning anything treasonous, or any kind of spy work, or anything like that, just the inappropriate things I did see on the service records and reported in Frank Magazine the other week, I do not think there is anything to find. The talk that either Frank or Vava, or both, were spies, was just a juicy tidbit one of the detectives on the case mentioned in an old police report that Ron Grantham picked up on years later and reported to Stephen Kimber, who included it in his e-book about the Johnson murder-suicide.

It is also possible that Eric Dennis, whose diaries and notes Kimber was able to scrutinize, scribbled something about them being spies, based upon scuttlebutt, rumour and innuendo he had heard but wisely chose not to report. That would have been a rumour in Halifax at the time of the murder, and the deeply unfortunate timing of Vava's accident fueled such speculation. 

The truth is much more prosaic, but still ultimately tragic for all parties. Frank Johnson did what he did for the reasons I specified in my piece. They were not spies. Nadia was a pure victim caught between Vava's aloof indifference toward her, and her father's evil intentions and mental health issues. 

Read the article in the current Frank and you will see for yourself.

Like I said last night, unless something concrete comes up, or my editor tells me to spend a bunch of time and money on this file to chase down the spy angle, then I believe this decades-old mystery to be solved.

See you tomorrow.




Saturday, July 24, 2021

Post 4044 - Finding Nadia's Grave and Other Saturday Things

Hope you had a good day. We did.

We went to the Windsor Street Farmer's Market, where we only got a bag of coffee from the new roastery in Beaver Bank, which we had never heard of before. 

From there we drove to Carlton Street and parked the car. I wanted to drop by and say hello to Nadia Johnson. Let her know that we think we solved the mystery behind her murder.

The new issue of Frank Magazine lays out all my research, which took months to wait for and quite a bit of time to sift through and then write. You will have to buy the magazine or read it online to see these details, but suffice to say that I feel it dispels most of the mystery behind this 1943 murder-suicide. Read it and let me know what you think.

It occurred to me that some of you may give enough of a darn that you might want to visit their graves, to spit on his and respect hers. Just know that Frank is not literally buried there. Record keeping was faulty back in the day, especially for the pauper's section of the cemetery, and Frank's actual burial spot is unknown, but is apparently within 10 feet of Nadia's. 

So, on Saturday, I recorded the following video, which shows you just where they are buried. I left a couple blog business cards at her headstone, so you'll know you're in the right place if you go there in the next day or so.

Make sure you start at the Carlton Street entrance or you will have a much more difficult time finding their graves.

Patricia thinks I am obsessed with Nadia. I would not be the first person to do so. Retired Halifax cop, the late Ron Grantham, certainly was back in the day. They used to play together, and he continued to sneak access to the official file long after he became an officer. I think he was the one who popularized the theory that Frank and his wife Vava were spies, based upon what he said he found in those old police files. 

Robert MacNeil of the PBS MacNeil-Lehrer Report spent the first dozen or so years of his life in Halifax, and also knew the story of the murder, and I think knew Nadia. In recent years, he tried to solve the mystery and hit a brick wall or three. His hope was to write some kind of historical novel about the case.

And Stephen Kimber's e-book about the murder-suicide was extremely thorough and one could get the impression that he was, at least for a time, obsessed with the story. If I ever see him again at Superstore, I will ask him. 

So, am I obsessed? I think I was, but now that the story seems to be nearly solved, I think I can let it go, or at least give it the old college try. 

This video, shot on Saturday, I hope to be my last word on the subject, unless something extraordinary on the case presents itself.

From there, we went to the Public Gardens for 90 minutes or so. I have visited the Gardens for more than 30 years, and I swear, every time I go, I find something I hadn't noticed before. This all made for thirsty work, so we had a couple of Italian sodas. 

We wandered over to Jean's Restaurant on Spring Garden Road. I had been there before. Patricia said she had and seems to remember the time we were both there together, but I don't recall that. At any rate, we both had a small wonton soup, which could have been a meal. We also each had the Saturday special, chicken or beef hunan with chicken fried rice and egg roll or spring roll. Ten dollars. A heaping plate of food was put in front of each of us. I ate somewhat more of mine than Patricia did of hers but a large portion of our victual went home with us. 

I have not been to every Chinese food place in town, but Jean's is clearly one of the best and provides excellent food value. We will go back there, soon. The server told me that they will actually deliver to Timberlea as well, if you pay an extra $5 surcharge. Good to know!

We returned to the car and made our way back home. Stopped off at the drugstore. Noticed there will be a couple of yardsales on Sunday. And then returned here. Watched the last two episodes of "Good Girls", which ended disappointingly. The show is no more. There was hope of returning for one last abbreviated season, but apparently Christina Hendricks and Manny Montana hated each other so much that NBC decided to use it as an excuse to cancel the show. 

Tonight we watched "Gunpowder Milkshake" on Netflix. The stylish aspects of the violence were highly reminiscent of Tarantino's earlier work, but the violence was offputting to Patricia. I think there will be a sequel. And then we watched "Night School", starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish. A decent time filler on a gloomy and foggy Saturday night.

It is now 1:30 in the morning. Really should turn in and get up and pack for the cottage. 

You all have a good evening. Talk at you tomorrow.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Post 4043 - Friday Night Mystery

 Had a pretty good day, and found another little mystery. Let me tell you about everything.

After lunch, we hit the road and ended up in Tantallon, where we visited the Antiques, Books and Collectibles store. They have a pretty darned good collection of Nova Scotia books, and I confess I spent a bit too much money there. One tome cost me a mere five dollars and contains over 200 pages of Nova Scotia recipes. Published in 1976, 45 years ago. 

One chapter is recipes donated by "notable Nova Scotians" including John Buchanan, Gerry Regan, Bill Ozard, Rube Hornstein, and a woman named Jill Robinson. Here is a page from that cookbook:

Yep. "Jill's Meat Loaf", an artery clogging delicacy. Jill is Jill Robinson, a "radio and TV personality", and I have never heard of this woman. It is not Jill Kropp, because she is not nearly that old to have been on the radio and the tv 45 years ago. 

I have asked about her on my Facebook and the on the Halifax and Area Radio Memories page on FB. So far, people are not sure, so I am asking my blog buddies if they have any idea. 

Jill's other recipes were for "black gingerbread" and "scalloped tomatoes". 

If you know, let me know. I try to keep up on these things and am embarrassed never to have heard of her.

We left and made our way to the Labor Day Picnic coffeeshop. They call it that because it is a converted church hall and when they were doing their renovations they discovered this old sign that stated "Labor Day Picnic", so they kept the sign, on display, and named the business that. 

I had the North Mountain Columbian, a dry roast. Patricia had a latte. She had a date square, so large it was actually a date rectangle. I had a peanut butter cookie. Loved everything.

From there we went to the Finer Diner. We shared onion rings. I had a lobster clubhouse and Patricia had a grilled chicken breast sandwich, which she could not finish so the rest of it went home with us. Great meal and a wonderful location. I keep wondering what that building used to be. 

We returned to Timberlea and went to the Sobeys and got a few things. We learned that they no longer produce the good haven bread in store as it was a poor seller, even though it was our fave. That did not stop us from stocking up on 88 cent cans of beans and pasta and tomatoes. There was a good piece of salmon for ten dollars off and we got that. It is now resting comfortably in our freezer. It will make four meals for us. 

We watched "The Good Fight" this evening. It is a terrific show that runs on the W channel in Canada. It has commercials but is uncut. And we also watched the second episode of the Leverage reboot. Already, another actor has left the show. It amounts to bait and switch when a show comes back and a beloved character is on it. Then, in the second episode that character's sister appears out of nowhere and the main guy leaves. I think I wrote before that now that Timothy Hutton will not face any legal wrangling over these allegations of sexual abuse, that he should try to get his job back on "Leverage", or be told exactly why. 

It is one ayem. I wanna get up early so we can go to a farmer's market. I should have been in bed a long time ago. 

You all have a good evening. Talk at you tomorrow.


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Post 4042 - Before I Forget


I meant to write about this last night, because it happened last night. But things got away from me, like they always seem to.

So, it was about midnight last night, I decided to go out on the back deck to get some air. It was a cool, overcast night, and I was enjoying the air. Patricia called my name and I responded. Went on staring out at the night.

The next thing I knew, she was locking the sliding door to the deck! She didn't see me out there. I knocked on the door. She screamed and hollered and nearly fainted. She turned on the light and saw me, which made her become even more upset. A middle finger or two may have come up. 

A moment later, she let me back in. I reminded her that she had locked me out of my own house and, you know, not a good idea. She allowed that that perhaps it was a good idea to let her know I was outside, and I said I had told her that but she had not heard me. 

This went back and forth until we forgot what we were talking about and that was that. 

I had a vision of having to sleep outside, and being devoured by raccoons or maybe even a coyote roaming around. Perhaps a roving teenager would pounce upon me and steal my watch and glasses. But, no. Things worked out.

Like they usually do.

I am turning in. Don't want Patricia to think I left again.

See you tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Post 4041 - Wednesday Night Musings

 Hello again, my friends.

Sorry I didn't write the last couple of nights. I could barely stay awake on Tuesday for some reason. Monday I turned in late and did not bother to write you a post. Please forgive me.

Obviously, we have not gone to the cottage yet. Still here in the big old city. 

We have expressed some interest in leaving the city and moving to, say, the Valley in the coming little while, but reality is making me feel otherwise. The housing market is not as hot as it was, but it is still on fire, and the embers are scaring us away. Properties that seemed to be within our price range are "collecting offers" from people, meaning they will almost certainly go over the asking price. It is an aspect of the market that I find particularly distasteful. We want no truck with it. 

This place we saw online had some intriguing aspects to it, but there were some questions, so we contacted our realtor to set up a viewing for us. But as soon as we heard they were collecting offers, we walked. 

And I fear we will sit on the sidelines for a while. 

I am trying to be diplomatic and philosophical about this. We have a roof over our heads. I have spent quite a bit of money on the place in the last year to improve the place, so maybe we should stick around for a while to enjoy those improvements. There are other things we can do to improve the place that will not cost much money, so why not do those things? You know. Incremental improvements to make the place better and therefore more saleable. 

I have been reading about the housing market in Nova Scotia, and throughout other parts of the country. The problem with housing is likely throughout most of the globe. Too many people chasing too little housing stock, driving up prices and pushing many people out of the market, so they are stuck where they are. Sometimes where they are is a rental situation, and rents are going up into the ionosphere. 

And I have been hearing more and more unpleasant things about the Yarmouth area of the province. A friend told me this evening that the area is rife with crime and even human trafficking. I was trying to get my friend to tell me more, perhaps drop a name or two, to justify perhaps an article for the magazine. But my friend did not budge. I will keep trying. 

All the above is making me think it is time for us to sit back and watch the market implode. That may not happen, but it is utterly unsustainable, what the market is growing through. When things calm down somewhat, we will think long and hard about just where we want to live. Maybe Halifax is where we were "meant" to be.

Let's finish the blog post on a happier note. I have been going through old boxes of stuff from the Valley house, these past few days. Found some old photo albums and some loose photos as well. It has been a while since I posted this photo of me when I was 11, in late 1975, when I was in Grade Six at Port Williams Elementary School. So, here it goes:

A cute little devil, aren't I? The cuteness never stops, though. Here I am four and a half years earlier, when I was seven. Grade One. Same school:

A studious and handsome kid, was I? Where did things go off the rails?

On that happier note, I call it a night. You all have a good evening. I think we will still be here on Thursday, so I will write you then.

Ciao for now.