Helpful Signs – An Educational Series

As a public service, I will be posting a series of helpful hints and educational signs that will be helpful in our daily lives.  Enjoy today’s helpful sign that may actually save you some horrific injuries.  Helpful hint for budding photographers, try not to do a selfie while capturing the shot.


Road Trip – Saskatchewan

One of my favourite places is also an unlikely choice,  We lived in Saskatchewan for many years and only left with trepidation and regrets.  Having said that we made many life friends there, and a joyous occasion caused us to make the trek to our old home.  The daughter of some very close friends was married in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and most of our old group of friends were in attendance.

The first part of our journey was a 7 hour drive to Martensville, Saskatchewan, guided by my son’s intrepid guide dog, Vader.

Vader shows us the way
Vader shows us the way

He led us to Kindersley, Saskatchewan, where we stopped for lunch.

Kindersley, Saskatchewan
Kindersley, Saskatchewan

Garden spot isn’t it.  Actually a very nice town, with a typical highway frontage.  Nothing to see here.

Vader did eventually lead us to the wedding in Prince Albert, where we had a great time, catching up with many old friends.

Prince Albert with Friends
Prince Albert with Friends

The next morning, Vader took us to Candle Lake, and the lakefront cottage of some friends.  Great time, and I’ll let some pictures do the talking.

cropped-pa-and-candle-lake-aug-2013-010.jpgSunset At Candle Lake

More Sunset
More Sunset

We ran into a local trapper.

PA and Candle Lake Aug 2013 003

Vader even got his opportunity to get in some beach time with his new buddy, Mowgli.


Random Songs From My Phone – Cookie Duster – “Two Feet Stand Up”

2011 JUNO Awards - Brendan Canning
2011 JUNO Awards – Brendan Canning (Photo credit: TonyFelgueiras)

A little surprised this one was on my iPhone (Lori???) (free Single of the Week??).  No matter, I must be true to the random generator.  This upbeat pop tune comes from Cookie Duster.  The Canadian group formed in the late 1990’s, but went on hiatus when Brendan Canning‘s other group, Broken Social Scene, took off.  When this project went on hiatus, Cookie Duster reformed and released an album in 2012.  Nice tune.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree

The task this week from WordPress is “Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree”.  This was especially hard to come up with something.  I mean. 9 bajillion pictures and finding one that epitomizes carefree, a toughie.  Then I ran across this beauty from our trip into Barcelona in October 2012.  We were at a restaurant with some friends from the UK, when, quite suddenly, a pretty good thunderstorm rolled in.  We were seated outdoors, under a bit of a covered part of the sidewalk.  Wasn’t helping a lot, so we backed off closer to the walls of the building.  John decided to stick it out, showing not a care as he downed his tea in the driving rain.  Check the pounding rain on the pavement on the street, and a few very wet people.  Classic.


Interesting Covers – “Dear Prudence”

Decided to change the name to “Interesting” from “Unusual”.  I’d say that a lot of covers are more interesting than strange.  My first post on this involved Jackie Wilson doing the Doors “Light My Fire”.  Not really unusual, although a soul icon doing what became a rock classic was somewhat strange, it was truly much more interesting.

Dear Prudence
Dear Prudence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we are going to take a look at something that is definitely interesting, and maybe a bit unusual as well.  Siouxsie and the Banshees were a 70’s punk band that expanded into a more adventuresome style of music.  Some would call it post-punk, others might say glam.  Personally, I never got into them very much.  I did find it kind of cool that they did a cover of one of my favourite Beatles tunes, “Dear Prudence”.  I have been a John Lennon fan since the early days of my musical odyssey, and many of his songs could be classified as soundtrack of my life.  Dear Prudence was on the Beatles Whit Album, released in 1968 and tells the tale of Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence.  She was studying with the  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the same time as Lennon, and he wrote the song to encourage to come out and socialize as she had turned into a bit of a recluse.  ( I pretend to be an informative blog haha.).

Siouxsie and the Banshees recorded the song in 1983 and released it as a single.  It became one of their biggest hits.  Without further adieu, “Dear Prudence”.

And of course, the original.

Song Of The Day – John Hiatt – “Cry Love”

English: John Hiatt performing at South by Sou...
English: John Hiatt performing at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2010. Photo by Ron Baker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Thought I’d drop in with a song.  Summer hit Calgary, had to push away.  Heard this on CBC the other day.  Classic John Hiatt, but then what isn’t.



Song of the Day – Jenn Grant – “I’ve Got Your Fire”

English: Jenn Grant performing at the New Capi...
English: Jenn Grant performing at the New Capital Music Hall in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Today’s tune, “I’ve Got Your Fire” is by Prince Edward Island born, Halifax based singer song writer, Jenn Grant.  I seem to be posting a lot of Canadian maritime singers and bands lately, which is indicative of a thriving music scene in this beautiful part of Canada. She is a recording veteran now with 2 EP’s and 4 albums since 2005, including her latest, “The Beautiful Wild” in 2012.  The featured song is off that album.  In all honesty, when CBC began playing this several months ago, I didn’t care for it all that much, but, it eventually grew on me.  Give it a listen and tell me what you think.


Jenn Grant Homepage


Jenn Grant iTunes


Jenn Grant on Amazon


Jenn Grant on CBC Music



Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways

This week we have “Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways”.  An interesting concept.  With digital cameras, most pictures we take are multiple shots of the same vista, done in different ways.  This makes it very hard to come up with the perfect set.  We’ll give it a go though.

I took these shots at Waterton Lake, Alberta in Canada.  They are of a 1920’s vintage railway hotel known as the Prince Of Wales Hotel.  Quite a stunning site.  Waterton is part of the Canadian National Park System.  It straddles the Canada-USA border and borders Glacier National Park in Montana.  It was created in 1895m as Canada’s 4th national park.  It was October when we were there and it was not a classic weekend weatherwise.  Added to the photos though.

Prince of Wales Hotel
Prince of Wales Hotel

Waterton Lake


Some Logic For Sunday

In case you were wondering.


Railways Gauge
Railways Gauge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The U.S. Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.


Why was that gauge used?


Because that’s the way they built them in England , and English expatriates designed the U.S. Railroads.


Why did the English build them like that?


Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.


Why did ‘they’ use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they had used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

English: Spoked wheel of chariot at Airavatesw...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why did the wagons have that particular Odd wheel spacing?Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England , because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So, who built those old rutted roads?

Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (including England ) for their legions. Those roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts in the roads?

Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels..

Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome , they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Therefore, the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. In other words, bureaucracies live forever.

Roman Forum
Roman Forum (Photo credit: MarcelGermain)

So the next time you are handed a specification, procedure, or process, and wonder,

‘What horse’s ass came up with this?’, you may be exactly right.

Imperial Roman army chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.

Now, the twist to the story:

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, you will notice that there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs.

The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah.

The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit larger, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains, and the SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature
Of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two
Thousand years ago
 by the width of a horse’s ass.

And you thought being a horse’s ass wasn’t important!

Now you know, Horses’ Asses control almost everything…….Explains a whole lot of stuff, doesn’t it?


Unusual Cover Versions – “Light My Fire”

I Get the Sweetest Feeling
I Get the Sweetest Feeling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Playing with YouTube this morning and got inspired to note some, what some may think, unusual covers of some great songs.  To qualify as an unusual cover, it must be a reasonably famous original redone by reasonably famous act.  My first attempt into the world of unusual covers is one done by soul great, Jackie Wilson.  Jackie has a resounding resume of hits, dating back to the 1950’s.  He died in 1984, leaving a legacy that included such hits as Lonely Teardrops and Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher.  He also left us this cover of The Doors classic, Light My Fire.  He recorded it in 1969.  Check it out.

And for comparison, here is the Doors performing the song live on The Ed Sullivan Show.

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