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 Right now, I have subfolders labelled "Published" and "Unpublished" for both unsolved murders and missing persons cases.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.


Sunday, July 18, 2021

Post 4040 - Sunday Night Slowdown

Well, hello there.

Another quiet day. I made brekky for Patricia, who left the house around 8:45 to go to her rug hooking course. I went back to bed and finally got up around 11.

Had the rest of yesterday's pasta for lunch. I don't want pasta for a while. Washed the dishes and came downstairs to tackle the recroom.

I went through I guess four boxes. Much of what I uncovered is either going to a thrift store or in the garbage, but I did find an old photo album with older family pictures. Keeping that for sure. And I found old back issues of The Beaver, Canada's history magazine. A friend and blog reader sent most of them to me several years ago. I was happy to find them again today. And I also found four of the five dvd collections of Looney Tunes cartoons. Bugs Bunny. Daffy Duck. All the others. And uncut with special features like audio commentaries. 

I don't know if these were ever issued in Blu-Ray or will make it to 4K or whatever the next iteration of digital technology will bring us, but it is nice to have these collections. They seldom broadcast these cartoons any more, and when they do, they are usually cut because some blue-rinsed, woke, pearl-clutching old biddies decided that it is offensive for Daffy Duck's beak to spin around on his face after he gets shot during hunting season. I never did anything more than laugh my rear end off at those cartoons when I was little, and an adult. I won't do anything more than that, now. Neither should you.

I don't even know if they did more than five of those collections, but I must have upwards of 200 of those cartoons now, which is pretty sweet. Will probably take those with me to the cottage this week. 

I am not sure what we will do on Monday. Tuesday night, we will be here to watch "America's Got Talent". Kateydayreick Katiereick, whom I always have known as Katie Day when she was on the radio and I interviewed her before she left town, swears she will be on this week, after a long and slow build up. She has a video where she cannot say how the audition goes, but she is smiling and urging people to tune and see for themselves. I think this means she will go through to the live shows. How that pans out beyond that, is anybody's guess.

Katie is a great person and vastly underrated as a radio personality and doesn't get her due as a blues singer either. She has been selling real estate for the last couple of years. 

Anyway, after we see "AGT" and rejoice in her success, we will pack things up and go to the cottage on Wednesday as things stand. Not sure how long we will stay. A week or so. We will figure it out.

I think I will turn in. 

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


Saturday, July 17, 2021

Post 4039 - Saturday Night Things

Ah. How was your day?

Patricia enjoyed the first day of her course. I hung back of course. Mowed the front lawn. Used the whipper snipper I got for five dollars last month to snip the weeds and grass in the back yard. I swear, it is the best five bucks I have spent in a long, long time. So much better than the other one I have had for years and years. Both the lawn mower and the whipper snipper are YardWorks, which is some kind of off-brand sold at Canadian Tire stores. I don't know who actually makes them, but they are good for what they are.

I also used the pound of hamburger I mentioned last night, to prepare some pasta with meat sauce. I watched "Master Chef: Legends" this week. The Italian chef guy on there says you should cook pasta in a pot with water that tastes like the ocean, so I resisted the urge to add old tires and tampon applicators to the water and put in plenty of salt instead. It helped a lot. I even put some of the pasta water in the meat sauce mixture, and I think it tasted even better.

It was just Spaghettini  from Sobeys purchased when it was on sale a few weeks ago. We stocked up like crazy. Each box was 88 cents, and I suppose I used about one third of a box today. The pasta sauce was on hand and purchased inexpensively when it was on sale. The hamburger was from a side of beef I purchased some time ago. I guess the meal cost about 8 dollars with the onions and mushrooms I used, and there is plenty left over for lunch on Sunday. I loved every bite of it.

I spent the afternoon finishing some laundry and doing the dishes and was about to throw some salmon on the barbecue for dinner when Patricia called and asked me not to cook it as she was still full from lunch. I put the salmon back in the fridge and surfed the web until she got home around 4:45. 

We watched some tv tonight. "Surreal Estate" is on Sci-Fi channel in Canada. I do not know if it is on American television yet. It stars Tim Rozon, late of "Schitt's Creek" and "Wynonna Earp" and probably a shampoo commercial or two, given the quality of his hair. It is fun and relatively smart and filmed in Newfoundland, so there is that. We will check out another episode or two and see where this thing is going.

We also watched a few episodes of "Schitt's Creek", because once again, we did not really fall prey to its many charms when it was first broadcast. It binges quite well on Netflix. We are nearly at the end of season two. I can now understand why people are so passionate about the show, and why it has had such acclaim. I do not understand, however, why they decided to shut down the show after a relatively short run. 

Patricia has to get up early for the second day of her rughooking course, and I promised to get up early and cook breakfast for her, so I think I will turn in.

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




Friday, July 16, 2021

Post 4038 - Friday Night Things

 This one will be brief. I just had an online chat with an old friend that ran for a spell. It is now past one in the morning and I should probably turn in relatively soon.

Had a quiet day. Patricia had a coffee meeting thingy with a friend from her previous job, returning in time for me to go to my dentist appointment at four. The appointment was just scaling and cleaning thank goodness. After that, I walked across the street to the Timberlea Beverage Room.

The food was acceptable, which is all I can ever expect from the TBR. I had a burger, which fell apart as I ate it. Patricia had a steak, and said she liked it. The dessert of a chocolate peanut butter pie was terrific. Meal came to $65 plus tip. 

We go there from time to time. We won't be back any time soon. It is the only tavern in the area and it knows it. That is why everything about the place is just... acceptable. But it has its devotees and if they see this they may yell at me, so let's move on.

Returned home. Watched Jeopardy! The guest hosts are down to just one week each now, rather than two. That means that they record five shows in one day and then return to their day jobs. 

We watched the revival of "Leverage" this evening as well. It is fun, but I sure miss Timothy Hutton, who got #METOO'd last year, so they didn't have him back and killed off his character, although they did not say that he died. It was heavily implied, so I suppose they could bring him back. But you don't care, so why don't we move on?

Patricia has a two day course this weekend, so I will be batching it. I have taken a pound of hamburger out of the freezer and will cook something I want and frigging eat it and enjoy every morsel and that will be that with that. 

I think I will turn in now. Got lots to do in the morning, which it technically is now.

See you tomorrow.


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Post 4037 - Thursday Night Shenanigans

(Did I spell "shenanigans" correctly? I think so...)

Anyway, hello again, my lovelies.

I wish I could say I did hell and all the last couple of days. But I can't, because I would be fibbin'. The car hasn't left the driveway since Thursday, which is fine, because I drove it a lot over the weekend. 

Patricia is heading off to have lunch with a former work friend on Friday. It leaves me to my own devices. I am not sure what I will do with myself. My mind is teeming with possibilities. Brush my teeth? Comb my hair? Both? Neither? Something else entirely? Go all nuts and prepare an extra piece of toast? I just don't know yet.

Say, here is a key difference between men and women. Humour. We started to watch a Bill Burr stand up special on Netflix earlier tonight. 90 seconds in, I was roaring with laughter. My strawberry shortcake was getting stuck in my throat. I was coughing so hard I feared I would choke to death. Tears were running down my face. I reached for the water but there wasn't any in my glass.

Seven minutes into it, Patricia gave me the stink eye and asked me what was so damned funny about that sexist pig. My words. Not hers. I just said that his filter-free, say-whatever-is-on-his-mind approach to humour and stand up was refreshing in these days of cancel culture and people being scared to death to say anything for fear of offending someone, somewhere, somehow. 

After a harrumph, and a sigh, and "what the hell", I decided that the show was something I should watch on my own. So, I will, likely on Friday morning after she leaves for that lunch date.

I am pragmatic.

I believe that Netflix has at least two Bill Burr specials. I may watch them both, when I am not eating anything.

I also spent some time this evening noodling with the next cold case article, even though I sent it to my editor last week and he made his edits and changes and it is all but ready to publish. It is one of those cold cases from a long time ago that I cannot shake. It is a rare day when I do not think of that long ago murder. I visit the victim's grave from time to time because I am convinced that nobody else does. Maybe I should ask him if I can add a paragraph spelling out how to find it. Or maybe I will keep it the information to myself. I don't know.

It is nearly 1:30. I guess I should turn in.

You all have a good rest of the evening. Talk at you tomorrow/later on today.


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Post 4036 - Tuesday Night Stuff

Well, hello again.

I have spent the last 90 minutes frigging around with the webcam on this here desktop. I am here in my home office, where the lighting is poor. The webcam could only capture poor video, which was choppy and out of sync. I decided to see what I could do about it. Many of the tips I found online spoke of using natural lighting and to be by an open window with the light behind the camera. Not doable in this room, so I got the brightest usb light I could find and shone it directly on the webcam, which helped quite a bit. I can now get serviceable video and audio, but it will likely not get much better.

I slept in this morning in a big time way. After lunch, Patricia and I went out on the back deck for a spell. She was reading a book while I dawdled for a spell. I ended up making a chicken dinner for us. She continued reading after the news was over and I cleared up some space on the PVR. I watched an episode of The Unxplained, a show about unexplained phenomena hosted by William Shatner. 

The Shat has been all over the media in the last couple of weeks defending his decision to be the host of a show on Russian television. He is not known for turning down any acting or hosting role presented to him, so this is not out of character for him. His lashing out at people who are critical of his decision is. I do not know what this means for the future of The Unxplained, but I guess it means it is toast.

One less thing to occupy my time.

We had planned to go for a drive today. Just an aimless wander in the car, with no destination in mind. But books and resting were more paramount today. Perhaps Wednesday.

Still thinking about moving out of the city. I do not want to spend the next 20 years thinking about it. By then we will be so old we will need every service the city has to provide. Best to do it as soon as possible if we do it at all. Advice is welcome.

I am going to turn in. Newbie is fixing me with a baleful eye, his default expression. 

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


Monday, July 12, 2021

Post 4035 - Monday Night Things

Hello again, my lovelies.

I did not write on Sunday because by the time we got back from a quick Valley trip, it was quite late. Exhausted, we crawled off to bed comparatively early.

We had decided to go down there as someone was selling a house and we decided to check it out. Against all logic, the owners allowed us to walk through the place even though they were not home, and nobody else was, either. This would not happen in the city. At all.

The place was nice. We liked it. Not sure if it is for us yet. We have a short list of certain amenities that we want in an abode. Things like a second bathroom. A workshop of some kind so we can bang things with a hammer. A place where Patricia can do some stained glass work or other kinds of craft work. A large room for my books and computer equipment. A nice deck. An area for us to look out and contemplate the world and our place in it. One or two other things.

We drove around for a while. Ended up in Canning and went to its meat market. Spent perhaps too much money. Drove around some more and ended up in Baxter's Harbour, where I quickly found my maternal grandparents' graves. She died in 1989; he, in 1996. There is a big back story there. They had lived in Baxter's Harbour for many years. By the time my own parents were married and settled in the Port Williams area, and my father's job as a carpenter was underway, my mother's parents decided to pull up stakes and move to Beaver Harbour, New Brunswick, for work. The remaining kids, my uncles, were all very young and went along. Two of the three uncles eventually had families, and most of them remain in NB. I very seldom see them. The first cousins now a few times removed, I would not know if I fell over them. Nor they, me. Which is a little sad.

Also in that cemetery was a reminder of a story my father told me long ago. There is a grave for a couple of young girls. Turns out they were murdered by their father. And he is also buried in that cemetery. I do not know if he was charged with their murder, or died out of shame or what happened. I would love to know. A friend reads this blog and lives in the area. Perhaps she will see this and let me know.

We drove out to the Hall's Harbour Lobster Pound and had dinner. It was costly, and I am not sure if it was worth it. I justified it by telling myself that we were sort of on vacation and my bills are all paid. So there is that. 

After dinner, while Patricia was powdering her nose, I waddled into the gift shop and found an interesting book that I had heard about but which I had never seen. It is by Laura Churchill Duke and is called Two Crows Sorrow. It is about the 1904 murder of a woman on the North Mountain. Duke admits that she does things like extrapolate dialogue and expands characters, but swears that the story is otherwise 100% true. 

I have also recently found a graphic novel about Nova Scotia which has a "chapter" about this long-ago murder. And there is a book about Burlington, where the murder happened, which has a lengthy segment about the murder. Since it is not unsolved, I will not be doing an article about it for Frank; but it is nice to see that there is so much interest in this story.

With this book, I likely have close to all that has been written about this case, unless I go to the Archives or something and source the original newspaper articles.

We left for home around 7:20 and arrived at Noggins Corner 8 minutes before they would close at 8. Got some tea biscuits and a bottle of water and some strawberries and finally drove home, arriving here around 9:10. It was a long 9 hours or so since we had left the house and returned to it. That is why I was so fatigued.

Today we just kinda hung out. Rested from the trip yesterday. Watched an HBO movie about Pancho Villa before deciding to turn in early. I only came down here to surf the web and bring you guys up to date.

I think I will now turn in. You all have a good evening. I will bark at you tomorrow.


Saturday, July 10, 2021

Post 4034 - Saturday Night Musings

Well, hello again, my lovelies.

Sorry I didn't write the last few days. One thing after another.

We had every plan to go to the Valley on Friday morning. Had a thing down there. But we got as far as Mount Uniacke and then the rain hit, hard, so we called our friend, made our apologies, and returned home. 

On the way back home we drove through Bayer's Lake and bought some scallops, the last of which I consumed this evening, and some veggies, some of which will go bad in the fridge even though we curse ourselves every time that happens. No excuses. 

We also dropped off to the Sobeys in Timberlea. The rumours surrounding the construction in front of the store are coalescing around it being a gas station of some kind, likely with an A&W in it. You know, the place with the furry onion rings and the "family" of hamburgers. The impending construction behind the grocery store will likely not be retail based, but rather, more housing. 

The city is crying for affordable housing. A group in the city created little sheds for homeless folks to move into, and placed them illegally in various locations. The city is going to tear them down in the coming days. These folks will be allowed to stay in hotels for a short period of time before being thrown out in the street again, only this time they will not have those sheds to move into. So it grinds my gears something fierce when I hear about new housing coming to an area of the HRM that needs housing, but the cost of that housing is out of reach for an awful lot of people. Even when I was working full time, I could never afford $800, 000 for a house, and would blanch at paying 50% of that for a house. But $800K is the going rate for these new houses by the Sobeys, and I don't think they're worth it, and also don't think there are enough people around to support that kind of housing. But I could be dead wrong about that last point, although I am dead right about their not being enough housing for those who have nowhere else to go.

The city is getting on my nerves in a way that makes me want to leave it, every day. There are fewer and fewer reasons to stay here. There are asinine decisions made by some of the municipal politicians that make me wonder where their priorities are. I don't remember people clamouring for bicycle lanes, but we have them, and about 23 people use them. Public roads are being closed off to people who want to drive on them as a shortcut or whatever, which just makes other roads all the busier. They replaced a perfectly-working parking system consisting of parking meters, with one that involves zones and registering your vehicle and I refuse to use it. The few times I go downtown, are either by bus, outside of parking enforcement hours, or I park in a building's parkade. I avoid the downtown as much as possible. I get the feeling they don't especially want me there.

And if they don't want me there, or don't exactly encourage me to go downtown, and make these and other foolish decisions, and waste my money, and don't build enough affordable housing, then why the hell am I here at all? I am not especially enjoying my time in the city any more. I haven't for quite some time.

I'm from the Valley. Maybe it's time to consider moving back.

Just sayin'.

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


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Post 4033 - Wednesday Night Stuff

Well hello again, my lovelies.

I did not write on Tuesday. Sorry about that. Was up late and then I was tired so I went beddy-bye. 

Wednesday was another quiet day around here. It has been hot and humid lately, but the doors and windows I installed last year have come through like a champ. We have great air circulation in the house now and even on the hottest of days we are not that uncomfortable. We would probably be even more comfy if we had a heatpump, but that is not in the cards right now. 

We ordered Chinese food for dinner tonight. A note on the menu said they delivered, so we took advantage. Egg rolls. Spring rolls. Lemon chicken. Beef and mushrooms. Singapore noodles. More MSG than a person should have in 1000 lifetimes. 

I sent off my most recent cold case article to my editor on Monday. I am already working on the next one. After that, I am not sure what I will work on. I had no idea when I started this series that I would have produced in excess of 60 articles over the last five years, but here I am. I keep finding ever more obscure cases that are on nobody's radar because they happened more than 100 years ago and everybody who knew the victims is long dead.

Think about it. In each of these cases, people went through the rest of their lives without knowing who killed their loved one. The police files would long since have been thrown out. Nobody is investigating the case. I am likely the only one who knows about the case and the only one who cares enough to write an article about it. It is deeply sad on all counts.

Anyway, the case I am working on now was one I discovered by looking up some stuff on Newspapers DOT Com a couple of months ago. A headline intrigued me. I found a few more articles on the service and then followed up with trips to the archives, both before and after the most recent shut down. I now have a dozen or so newspaper articles and found a picture of the man accused of murdering the victim. Can't find a pic of the victim, though, which is unfortunate.

In the coming days I will sit down and write that story, even though I know it will not run until the latter part of August. Such is life and deadlines.

It is after one ayem. The Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup, so hockey is over for another year, thank goodness. When my mother was alive, and my parents only had three channels, she would grow so frustrated when hockey playoffs were on because they interfered with her shows such as "Dallas", which actually ran on the CBC. When the playoffs were over, she would beam beatifically because she knew she could see her shows again.

She must be smiling now.

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


Monday, July 5, 2021

Post 4032 - Monday Night Stuff

Hello again, my lovelies.

Sorry I didn't write over the weekend. I wasn't feeling well on Saturday and pretty much went to bed in the afternoon and didn't get up again until the next morning. On Sunday, I produced a draft of my next cold case article. Today, I made a bunch of changes to the draft and sent it off to my editor around supper time. After that, I drank a beer from my father's beer stein, which I found in a box a week or two again. One of the boxes from the Valley house that I finally got around to looking at recently. One of quite a few.

The weekend was quiet. The CPAP machine regulates my sleep, which is very helpful. Even so, though, there is the odd day when my body requires a bit more rest, and one of those days was Saturday. Pre-CPAP, I would fall asleep in front of the tv, at work, and sleep in on weekends, only to require more rest in the afternoons. Happened all the time. Trust me. My situation is far better now.

I told you we were going to go for a day trip on Saturday, but that did not happen. Instead, now that I have the next cold case article under my belt, I have some justified downtime, so we may do a day trip on Tuesday. 

We are still thinking about the pluses and minuses of moving out of the city. A major plus would be having a bigger property for less money. A major minus was spelled out by a Twitter friend whose husband recently had to go to the hospital. She lives down Annapolis way. When he had to go to emergency the other night, the hospitals in their area were all closed for lack of Emergency doctors, so they ended up having to go to Kentville, a good 45 minutes away. The last thing we want is to end up in a part of the province that has sub-par medical service. But, then again, here I am in the city and I have no physician, because he retired in January. 

See? Pluses and minuses.

On that lovely note, I think I will turn in. Pushing one in the morning and I want to get up at a decent hour. 

See you tomorrow.


Friday, July 2, 2021

Post 4031 - Friday Night Stuff

Hello again.

Sorry I haven't written in the last few days. I have been well, but rested quite a bit after the Monday morning vaccine shot.

We got there to the Timberlea Guardian Drugs around 8:10 and went in a few minutes later, which was still early. They took us right in for our shots. By 8:35, we left and drove to Tantallon for some breakfast and then got some groceries at the Superstore and returned home. By mid-afternoon, I was tired and my arm, where the shot had gone, was sore, so I decided to take a nap. I really didn't get up again until late Tuesday morning. By the afternoon I was feeling well enough to do some work around the house.

By Wednesday I was feeling pretty damned good. And by Thursday afternoon, the carpenters had finished the new ramp leading to the backyard, and had laid the stones and made a lovely path from the ramp leading to the back deck. They also put in a step leading to Patricia's she-shed and created a raised bed in front of the she-shed where the Veg Trug now rests. The Veg Trug was meant to make things easier to grow veggies; think of it as a super raised garden bed. But it is not impervious to the elements. Not many years after it was purchased, it is falling apart. What a shame.

Anyway, here I am, Friday night, and I feel like a million bucks. I don't look like a million bucks. I look like someone's grandfather and am closing in on feeling like one. 

Despite all the money I have spent on the house over the last year, and even this week, we are still thinking about selling the place and getting out of Dodge. The city is moving in a direction that I find discomfiting. Too many woke politicians afraid to say anything. Too many head scratching decisions from Council afraid to upset anyone. Just. Too. Much. Of most anything.

I am from the Valley. Patricia is from Pictou County. Either place is a possibility. So is most anywhere, really. Just as long as we end up in a house with the amenities we want at a price point that will not kill us. We want to end up in a house where there is either no mortgage or one that can be paid off in short order. The market has been crazy lately but seems to be coming back to some semblance of reality, so we don't know if what we want will be at variance with reality.

I am turning in relatively early for a Friday night. We have some plans for Saturday that preclude me staying up too late.

You all take care of each other. I will bark at you tomorrow.