Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The Troll Doll Channel: DOUBLE RAINBOW!

A video from my "troll doll channel", which is a subset of ferociousgumby. I LOVE the Double Rainbow guy! 

(Note: for those who may be following this blog, I'm going to be posting some of my videos now just to get me through this ALMOST worst of all possible times. I have fun making these, and more fun sharing them, even if only a handful of people ever see them. For now, that is the energy I want to put out.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Christopher Walken as child actor in strange 1953 TV appearance


Though Christopher Walken insists he had a swell childhood, it looks as if he endured some nasty treatment as a child actor. Here Jerry Lewis acts like the asshole he is, shaking and shoving poor Chris (then known as Ronnie) in a way which I HOPE would not be tolerated today.

Monday, January 18, 2021

CLOWN RAGE! Clarabell throws HUGE temper tantrum

Clarabell the Clown throws a HUGE temper tantrum on Howdy Doody. Buffalo Bob has to physically restrain him. Clowns were creepy then, too. 

I was fascinated to learn in my Clarabell deep dive that he was played by three different actors during the show's (interminable) 13-year run. The first Clarabell was none other than Bob Keeshan, who went on to greater fame as Captain Kangaroo. I watched the Captain every day of my childhood and loved it, especially the primitive "hand-made" animations that were kind of similar to the things I do on YouTube. It involved a kind of stop-motion with pieces of construction paper pulled around on a board. 

I don't know which Clarabell this is, but I don't think it's Bob Keeshan. The few clips I've found show that he was a gentler, more whimsical character than his successors, relying on facial expressions rather than thick layers of rather hideous-looking makeup. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

KINESCOPE THEATRE: Whistling Clowns from 1940s TV

The Dumont Television Network was a very big deal in the 1940s - the ONLY deal, for that matter, with programming so crude it's hard to believe people were so excited about it. But it was the only game in town, so they had nothing to compare it to. Early TVs were always in a cabinet with folding doors that kept it hidden. People were not used to that big staring glass eye in their house, and thought it was ugly and had to be covered up. Many people actually believed the people in "TV Land" could see THEM, which made them uncomfortable. 

But Dumont programming is time travel at its finest. It was difficult for them to find enough programming to fill the six or eight hours or so of their broadcast day. Dramas were 15 minute long, but variety shows like the Admiral Broadway Revue (most shows were named after their sponsors, like the Autolite Suspense Theatre) went on forever and were performed on a stage like vaudeville. This astonishingly weird clown routine went on for more than FOUR minutes! For reasons I can't quite explain, I find these videos fascinating, and the grainier, blurrier and more primitive they are, the more I love them. 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Why the United States is self-destructing before our eyes

I have tried to remain as apolitical as possible over the years, mainly because there are elements of politics that make me so physically and mentally sick that I can't engage with the subject. But today is different.

I have some things to say to our neighbor to the South, as we watch all these atrocities in utter horror. Much has been made in the media about how the barbarians are "at the gate". Wrong. These thugs are not "AT" the gate. They trampled the gate down and ransacked the symbolic heart of government, putting everyone's lives at risk for hours while the cops stood back, posed for selfies with white supremacists, and even directed traffic, showing the mob the way to those offices that are so hard to find. Have you forgotten that already? How short is your attention span? 

Everyone is now talking in circles, "discussing" whether they "should" try to stop this monster right away rather than allow his white supremacist lackeys to re-organize and try it again, perhaps tomorrow or the next day, or even TODAY. But the Proud Boys and neo-Nazis will not just quietly retreat while you wait until Biden takes power. Biden (whom I have respected up to now) is putting the whole situation on hold and passing the buck on impeachment for six months so he will have a nice opportunity to establish his policies without "distractions".

Meanwhile, holding your breath for twelve more days (which was actually floated as a "strategy") doesn't sound too rational to me. When the next attack comes - WHEN, not if - more lives will be lost. Perhaps, astoundingly more. This time it was "only" five, and by US standards, five lives lost doesn't seem to even qualify as a mass shooting. It's small potatoes, perhaps the price of doing business with Trump. 

WAKE UP! Trump is a criminal and should be arrested and jailed NOW, in a maximum security prison. It is the only response that makes any sense at all. His followers are killers, and an even more formidable force now because a splinter group is forming which is furious with Trump and feel disillusioned and betrayed. They are capable of ANY kind of insurrection which comes to their evil minds. Remember history - Hitler's own henchmen tried to assassinate him more than once, not to free their country from tyranny but so that THEY could seize power.

Ruthless, soulless people will turn on the one they worshipped in a heartbeat, leading to incalculably more violence and bloodshed - while the "discussion" goes on and on, going in useless circles while nothing is done. COME ON, PEOPLE! Be responsible and sane, and ACT. Are you scared you'll maybe break one of the rules? WHAT RULES? They have been smashed all to pieces! Mass arrests are happening now, the guys wearing furs and horns and waving American flags with bayonets on them, but meanwhile the ringleader is humored and allowed to go on untouched for another 12 days - for the same reason he has gone on untouched for four years, even after he was formally impeached.


Everyone - the nation, the cops, the President-elect, and most especially, his own corrupt party - is terrified of this man, too terrified and paralyzed to DO anything. It is as if they are "waiting", buying themselves time and refusing to act quickly enough to save the nation.

You people are afraid of your own President, a direct result of allowing yourselves to be ruthlessly bullied and cowed for four years. It's too late for clever Randy Rainbow parodies and Alec Baldwin caricatures that have enabled people to laugh about and distance themselves from the horror for so many years. Humor is a distancing tool and a coping mechanism, but it is in shreds and tatters now. It's not funny any more, and trying to pretend it is will only make things worse.

As a Canadian, I have to watch all this, powerless and sickened and VERY afraid - not of Trump, but for the safety and even the existence of your nation, and, unavoidably, our own. You are on the brink, and having "ongoing discussions" and talking in endless circles while Biden sits on his hands and the fascist yahoos cry for more blood. What does it take for you to act?

"Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the halls
For he who gets hurt will be HE WHO HAS STALLED
The battle outside raging
Will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times, they are a-changin'."

- Bob Dylan (Nobel Laureate), 1963

Friday, January 8, 2021

Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin' (Audio)

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Bob Dylan

Come gather 'round people, wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'

Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide, the chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon, for the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'

Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin'
Will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don't criticize what you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'

The line it is drawn, the curse it is cast
The slow one now will later be fast
As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin'
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The $1,415.95 Troll!

Vintage Troll Figure. Tab Troll? Russ Troll? Dam Troll?

Item Information

US $1,000.00   (approximately C $1,274.20)
US $28.22     (approx. C $35.96) 

International Priority Shipping to Canada

Item location:
Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Ships to:
United States and many other countries
Import charges:
US $89.30 (amount confirmed at checkout) 

Vintage Troll Figure. Seemingly Rare. Tab Troll? Russ Troll? Dam Troll? Stands about 4 inches tall.

I’m not really sure what troll type it is. Never seen another of these ceramic figures. I’ve tried searching for it. Also tried looking for molds that would cast this little guy.

Don’t really want to sell it, so I went for a high price. I will package with extreme care if it sells. Thanks for looking.

(Blogger's note. This is the actual eBay listing for this unbelievable little spud. From the back, it looks like a ceramic mushroom. Adding all the charges together, and converting the amount to Canadian dollars, this little oddity totals $1,415.95. In my vast experience as a troll-hound/hoarder/frequent buyer, I have NEVER seen a price like this for a bitty ceramic thing that has no known origin. I honestly wonder if this guy hopes no one will bid on it, but it's a  pretty safe bet that no one will. BTW, I do know a bit about ceramic trolls, and run across them every couple of weeks, usually priced in the $50.00 - $100.00 range. So much for rare.)

Monday, January 4, 2021

Clyde Crashcup Invents Egypt

Clyde Crashcup was one of my favorite childhood cartoon series, and it wasn't even a series. It was a subset of the most DREADFUL cartoon show in animation history (even worse than the dregs of Hanna-Barbera, such as Breezly Bear, Lippy the Lion, Magilla Gorilla and Peter Potamus). I loathed Alvin and the Chipmunks, with their screechy little voices, lame jokes, the boredom of David Seville trying to keep order among the unruly 'monks (and his real name was Ross Bagdasarian) and utterly stupid "songs" which were like being tied to a chair and forced to listen to "Chri-i-i-i-istmas, Chri-i-i-i-istmas, ty-ee-em is nea-a-eearrr" until death.

But I looked forward every week to Clyde Crashcup the mad inventor and his silent sidekick, Leonardo, and was always disappointed when I searched YouTube for it every couple of years and never found a trace of it. Copyright problems? I was even willing to buy a DVD set, but one did not exist except for a sketchy-looking bootleg. When I found these - and they ARE sketchy-looking bootlegs featured on the kind of cartoon channel that suddenly disappears, so you'd better watch them fast - I rejoiced, binge-watched all 12 of them and was hoping for more. 

The thing is, I laughed out loud at many of these, remembered the bizarre quirks of the series as I saw them again, loved the music which was actually very cleverly-written, and especially LOVED Clyde himself. The cartoon's scope was limited, as any sub-category would be, but it had a certain exotic appeal because it was so completely original. No Sneezly Seal, no Goofy Guards or Ricochet Rabbit in sight. The nasal, pedantic voice of Crashcup, which I don't feel like looking up right now (sorry), carried the thing even when it bogged down a bit.

I cannot believe how vividly I remember the one in 
which Clyde Crashcup invents Egypt. Inventing a whole country and its long, mysterious history is truly remarkable, but when he begins to write rapidly on that blackboard while the frantic music plays, anything can happen. His name, in the era of the Pharaohs, was Puttintut Crashcup.

But what I remember most of all was the music written specifically for this episode. It's simply beautiful, and it did not disappoint, as so many things do that you loved "way back then". It's not that it aged well. It's that it's as funny as hell, STILL, due to its quirkiness, unlikeliness, sheer originality, and even due to the rarity of the episodes.

To find these again was to rediscover a treasure trove from my childhood. To laugh at them again (late at night, trying not to wake my husband) was a treat. And they won't be there long, so don't be surprised to see a blank space here where a video should be. It happens a lot with rare cartoons. Every episode of Top Cat (my absolute favorite of the Hanna-Barbera lineup) appeared on a fly-by-night channel that, yes, disappeared after violating every copyright rule in the book. THOSE episodes were of crystalline clarity and colour, and these are smudgy and faded, which only adds to their charm.

So enjoy this, if you have an inclination, and most of all, enjoy that mysteriously beautiful music, written by who-knows-who (because I don't feel like looking it up on a dismally dark, delugingly rainy, awfully depressing day in early January during a - well, I won't say it. But I don't have to - do I?)

Thursday, December 31, 2020

IT'S HERE! Official guidelines for safe sex in 2021

Somehow I missed this one! I had to blink twice when I saw it. There were many other suggestions for "safe sex" that made no sense to me, but I couldn't bear to list all of them - including, horrors, the "m-word", which the article recommended for men. This is in case it didn't occur to them, or they needed government approval to do so.

The hole-in-the-wall/f***-a-chicken thing (or cut a hole in a watermelon?) is also meant specifically for MEN to find sexual release. All the tips named were oriented thusly, since it goes without saying that women (well, maybe "good" women) are too busy trotting around looking after everyone else to even THINK about "s - e - x".

Try ‘glory holes’ for safer sex during coronavirus, B.C. CDC says

By Josh K. Elliott Global News

B.C. health officials are recommending an age-old, occasionally cutting-edge tactic for sex during the coronavirus pandemic: “glory holes.”

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control added new recommendations for socially distant sex to its COVID-19 website this week. One of those tips was to try using a “glory hole” — a hole cut into a wall that’s only large enough for a penis to slip through.

Glory holes are typically used for anonymous oral or penetrative sex, according to Urban Dictionary, but they’re also an excellent way to limit physical contact during intercourse, the B.C. CDC says.

“Use barriers, like walls (e.g., glory holes), that allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact,” the health organization writes on its website

The recommendation is just a tip and not a firm rule, according to the website.


NOTE: the "tip/firm rule" thing is pretty funny, after all. My mind won't go there when I try to envision any kind of partner on the other side of the drill-hole in the wall, trying desperately to find "something" on the other side. I'm also trying NOT to picture the bizarre arguments between couples: "My God, Ralph, you're going to drill a HOLE in the living room wall?" "But B. C. Health officials said I should." Some men with insecurities may worry it may soon pass into law, with fines or even arrests for "normal" missionary sex with no pesky need to please a partner.

This may lead to yet another uniquely pandemic-related shortage. Will power-drills soon be gone off the shelves? And doesn't this sort of lend credence to calling sex "drilling"? Just thinking out loud. But in this Brave New World, sex partners may well be a thing (pardon the expression) of the past - SOLVING the overpopulation problem once and for all! So there's definitely a silver lining. 

But once this is all over, if it ever is, sales of drywall and Polyfilla will go through the roof - so to speak - as embarrassed men realize just what it is they've been doing for so many months. And doctors may be facing a whole new medical issue in men, which I cannot and will not get into.


Monday, December 28, 2020

Newborn Goat Hector Makes Friends with Barn Kittens

When things get grim, I gots to get me some Sunflower Farm baby goat videos. And kittens that are bigger than the kids! I am beginning to think that videos like these, along with sour peach rings from the Superstore and getting a video of a cormorant on my walk, are what is helping us survive these desperately awful times. What's helping YOU get through? 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas - and GOODBYE, 2020!

Merry Christmas from The Blogger (and Bentley)!

1950s Hospital Of The Future, With Sliding Baby Drawer

Of all the horrendously dated, unenlightened videos I've ever seen, this one takes the cake - and the candles, too. In fact, it takes the whole birthday. EVERY feature of this new, state-of-the-art hospital, from bombarding the entire body to 360-degree x-rays to keeping a newborn baby in a sliding drawer, now seems like something out of a horrifying George Orwell novel. But it reveals the roots of impersonal, even dehumanized and dehumanizing hospital "care" which I believe is still the norm. Herd 'em in, and slide 'em out. Imagine if your very first experience after your birth was being stored in a drawer! 

Monday, December 21, 2020

The Chipmunk Song Slowed Down

Ye-e-e-e-e-ss, it's those crazy, wacky chipmunks again, singing The Chipmunk Song, which sounds about as festive as hitting yourself on the head with a hammer. Repeatedly. So that you never have to listen to it again. BUT - and this is a big but - this video reveals what the song would sound like if the chipmunks were on normal speed. It's pretty scary, especially at the end when it becomes downright disturbing. Low, slow voices and normal men's voices (actually, ONE man, David Seville, born with an ethnic-sounding name which I forget) begin to bellow at each other aggressively. A bunch of thugs! Happy listening. 

P. S. His name was Ross Bagdasarian, and I am not sure what nationality he was! Assuming he's dead by now. Here's Wiki:

David Seville is a fictional character, the producer and manager of the fictional singing group Alvin and the Chipmunks. The character was created by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. Bagdasarian had used the name "David Seville" as his stage name prior to the creation of the Chipmunks, while writing and recording novelty records in the 1950s. One of the records, recorded in 1958 under the David Seville stage name, was "Witch Doctor", featuring a sped-up high-pitched vocal technique. Bagdasarian would later use that technique in "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)", which would introduce both Alvin and the Chipmunks as a singing group and Bagdasarian's music producer "Dave". Bagdasarian would go on to create The Alvin Show, based on the Alvin and the Chipmunks group, where he voiced the semi-fictional character David Seville based largely on himself, with Alvin based on Ross's sometimes rebellious son Adam.


"Theodore. Simon. Adam. Adam.     . . . AAAA-DAAAAAAMMMM!" 
(Just doesn't sound quite the same, does it?)

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Weird dream #496: on the bayou

Weird dream #496. This one seems more pandemic-related, like everything these days. I had a hair appointment AT LAST, after nearly a year of cutting my own hair. But even though I had been going there for fifteen years, I couldn’t seem to find the salon. “Someone” pointed and said, “You have to walk that way.” Stretched out in front of me, I saw a long, long foot bridge – almost a rope bridge – suspended over a flooded area. Half the bridge was underwater, and I said, “I can’t walk over that!” “Someone” said, “This IS the bayou,” as if I was being silly and demanding. I kept thinking of Hurricane Katrina and wondering how it could have come here. Then “someone else” (looked like a nurse!) told me, “Oh for heaven’s sake, THAT’S not how you get there!” Then I was on a boat. I thought “water taxi?” (thinking of Venice), but it was more like a small pleasure craft. We zoomed along on choppy waters for a long time. Then I realized we were going nowhere. I woke up, got out the razor comb, and trimmed my own hair. AGAIN.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Dreamy ducks: reflections on the lake

This is one of my loveliest duck videos from Como Lake. Pure poetry on the water. Being in nature is the one thing keeping me more-or-less sane during these unbalanced, unbelievable times. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Christopher Walken's FIRST movie role!

Most of my videos get, like, 27 views if I'm lucky (they're a "success" if they break ten), but this one is fast approaching 100,000. If you're a Walken fan, you  may enjoy this curiosity, in which he out-performs everyone else in this rather silly movie.

Compare and contrast. . . I made this slideshow as a tribute to his delightful weirdness. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Hula Cats Christmas - again!

YESSSS, it's the Hula Cats Christmas - again. The cat singing or meowing Silent Night was the inspiration for the Jingle Cats - or should I say, the Jingle Cats were a direct ripoff - except THOSE meows were heavily synthesized. The hula dance is nothing less than inspired, but I can't find the name of the original animator anywhere. As usual, it has been posted and re-posted into oblivion. Right now, it's the only Christmas reference I can bear. Wouldn't be Christmas (which it isn't) without the Hula Cats! (As an aside, I overheard someone sum up the year 2020 as follows: "January, February, PANDEMIC, December." Just about right.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Making A Sh*tty Dress To Mark The End of a Sh*tty Year

I haven't even watched this yet, but the title was irresistible! I love this woman's videos - she's a costume historian from Poland, and very funny as well as knowledgeable. Hope you enjoy this! If it's not so good, I'll take it down. I promise. 

Monday, December 14, 2020

I've been looking for this all my LIFE!


This was on the back page of a teeny little 2020 calendar that I got free from a realtor. You no longer get free calendars, but just as I was about to pitch it out, I saw this! I scanned/blew it up and could not believe how good it looked, so have been sharing it far and wide. I have waited most of my life for a handy, clear conversion chart for the most common measurements. And it was here all the time! 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

CHRISTOPHER WALKEN: People are strange

FINALLY, at long bloody last, this has posted, and I think it's OK. It was totally mangled by YouTube. When  it had been up for 2 years, to my horror, I discovered that all the edits had "come off" and all I had was raw footage, with the soundtrack in the wrong place (ending 30 seconds before the end!). YT would not allow me any further edits and indicated the soundtrack had been muted, which it hadn't. All I could do to salvage it was film it off my monitor with my ancient camcorder, then delete the original, which gave it a second-generation look. But maybe that's OK. Walken has that, too. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

MANDARIN DUCKS; incredibly rare sighting on Burnaby Lake! (part one)

More Mandarin ducks on Burnaby Lake! Since there are NO birds in the back yard (a bear once again ripped our feeders apart), this makes up for it, sort of. The birds will be back, I hope.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Kitty cat gif from long ago


MANDARIN DUCKS : incredibly rare sighting on Burnaby Lake! (part five)

I took 45 minutes of footage of this incredible duck sighting on Burnaby Lake. Broke it up into 8 videos, all of which were good enough not to edit. I'll be posting them here when the mood strikes. This makes up for, partially, the fact that my third or fourth bird feeder (this time, brand new) has just been trashed by ANOTHER bear in the yard. No birds at all out there now. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Cats on TV: Bentley wants in!

My cat Bentley has done some strangely wonderful things, and he tends to be smarter and more sensitive and tuned-in than any of the other family cats. But this was truly extraordinary. For the first time, he became interactive with a TV program, and it was all about cats. He had never done this before - leaped up to paw at the images on the screen and literally try to climb inside it and be part of it. He DID pose majestically in a couple of scenes, giving the shots an oddly 3D look. BTW, he has never done this again, not even with shows featuring cats. He blinks once, then walks away. TV is such a waste of time. 

Monday, December 7, 2020

Glorious Amelie!


Amélie Diéterle (20 February 1871 – 20 January 1941) was a French actress and opera singer. She was one of the popular actresses of the Belle Époque until the beginning of the Années Folles. Amélie Diéterle inspired the poets Léon Dierx and Stéphane Mallarmé and the painters Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Alfred Philippe Roll.

Mademoiselle Amélie Diéterle par Auguste Renoir  

Mademoiselle Amélie Diéterle (Tea Time 1911) par Auguste Renoir 

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Friday, December 4, 2020

My cat sleeps with his eyes open!


I can't say for sure. But his ever-open glassine orbs give me the shivers late at night, when he seldom blinks and sometimes grunts, nodding his head sharply at me, wanting neither attention nor food. WHAT DOES HE WANT??

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Trump praised QAnon during meeting about keeping the Senate

Trump praised QAnon during meeting about keeping the Senate 

BLOGGER'S NOTE. Not everyone feels safe clicking on links, no matter how scrupulously careful you are - so I copied and pasted this short piece for all to see. Some of T-Rump's most rabid Republican supporters, including the most influential in the party,  are now pleading with him to step down, or at least shut up, as he seems increasingly out of touch with reality. Even FOX NEWS has supposedly turned against him - and they uncritically run tories of alien invasions and "dark web" intrigue. Should I feel hopeful about this? I'm into feeling hopeful as much as I can, and astonished that the vaccine is actually being delivered and administered RIGHT NOW, not a year from now as I always assumed. So I hold on to that, and Biden's clear and dignified win, and the hope that 2021 CANNOT be as wretched as this past year, which T-Rump still insists was his best year ever because he WON BY A LANDSLIDE.

Trump praised QAnon during meeting about keeping the Senate 

By Manu Raju and Sam Fossum, CNN

Updated 1:55 PM ET, Thu December 3, 2020

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump brought up Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene's support for the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory during a meeting on keeping the Senate with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other aides, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to CNN.

This person confirmed that Trump told those present that QAnon consists of people who "basically believe in good government," which led to silence in the room. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows then said he had not heard the group described as such.


Trump's comments were first reported by The Washington Post.

QAnon's prevailing conspiracy theories -- none based in fact -- claim that dozens of Satan-worshipping politicians and A-list celebrities work in tandem with governments around the globe to engage in child sex abuse. The group also peddles conspiracies about coronavirus and mass shootings -- none grounded in reality.

Followers also believe there is a "deep state" effort to annihilate Trump.

The group has been labeled a domestic terror threat by the FBI. In public, Trump has claimed he doesn't "know much about the movement, other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate," while repeatedly declining opportunities to condemn the organization's extremism. 

As for Greene, Trump has called her a "future Republican star." But she has a history of prejudice and a proclivity for amplifying conspiracies. She said that George Soros, a Holocaust survivor, collaborated with Nazis. She called "Q" a "patriot" who is "worth listening to." She said that the deadly White supremacist rally held in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, was an "inside job" to "further the agenda of the elites."

Greene said on Facebook that "there is an Islamic invasion into our government offices right now" and urged adherents of Islam and Sharia law to "stay over there in the Middle East," according to Politico. She said that Black people "are held slaves to the Democratic Party," while White males are "the most mistreated group of people in the United States today."

Greene backed away from some of those comments during her campaign. In August, she told Fox News that QAnon "wasn't part of my campaign" and that once she "started finding misinformation," she "chose another path." 

But Greene has continued to spread misinformation and court controversy. In September, Greene asserted in a tweet that "children should not wear masks," rejecting the recommendation of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health professionals. She also posted on Facebook an image of herself holding a gun alongside images of Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, encouraging "strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists who want to rip our country apart." Facebook removed the photo by the following day, saying it violated the social network's policies.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Troll Doll Channel: Sugar Plum Trollies!



I would normally go all soft and sentimental at this time of year, but I don't know. . . this year it's hard. I don't need to explain why. Melancholy sweeps over me, but it's a damn sight better than depression, which has miraculously left me alone for quite a while now. 

This feeling is reactive, it is actual, not some phantom of my brain - so real that it seems to touch absolutely everyone. We're all in this together, we hear every day (all day), and yet, each of us is "in it" alone, on some level that is absolutely private. 

I think I have gone mad sometimes with the trolls and the dollies, but I cannot tell you how much pleasure the collection has given me, what a wonderful escape and sanctuary it is for me to enter my office and come upon Trollandia in all its glory, with its suburbs Trollville and Troll Towers, not to mention the veritable rock garden of trolls living around my keyboard. This thing has evolved, pieces have been added (and hardly anything taken away), it has expanded and grown more various, and I've taken huge comfort in it - because SOMETHING has to be good at this supposedly-festive time of year that is quickly turning into a soggy mattress of non-celebration.

So here are a few of my Sugar Plum trollies, with - probably - many many (TOO many) more to come.


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Bullwinkle's Corner - the 1961 commercials

In times of trouble, in times of horror and dismay, what do I turn to? Old ads, of course. And these are classics from the Rocky and Bullwinkle era: Cheerios commercials that were actually better than the show itself. It's not that I don't trust you, William Tell. . . (and we even have guest appearances by Boris Badenov and Dudley Do-right!).

Friday, November 27, 2020

As long as there is a ray of hope

A Ray of Hope

The Rascals

Most people got soul if they want to try
Let love be your goal and let it fly
'Cause it's easy to hate and to draw a line
But error is human forgiveness is divine
I know a lot of people who think like me
That this world can be a place that's filled with harmony
First there's a lot of things we've got to rearrange
Put an end to hate and lies
So peace can come and truth shall reign

As long as there is a ray of hope
Lord, I don't mind going out and doin' my work
Light up the way to brotherhood
Help us to make His dream understood

Sometimes the road gets a little bit rough
Your strength is all gone, you had enough
But there's people who win without making fists
Our world won't survive lest we think like this
I can't imagine any greater need
To treat each other as we'd like to be
It's a gas just knowing what is yet to come
Not unless we get together
Got to get together one by one

As long as there is a ray of hope
Lord, I don't mind goin out and doin my work
Light up the way to brotherhood
I got to keep on searchin, keep on searchin
'Til I find out
Keep on searchin, keep on searchin
'Til I find out
Keep on searchin, keep on searchin
'Til I find out

Gonna take a little look way down inside
Gotta find out Lord, why I'm alive
We'll pray for a day when all men are free
And people can live like they're meant to be
Meanwhile it's all up to you and me
Start working together towards this dream

As long as there is a ray of hope
Lord, I don't mind goin out and doin my work
Light up the way to brotherhood
Help us to make His dream understood
As long as there is a ray of hope
As long as there is a ray of hope

Blogger's note. This song breaks into my conscious mind sometimes, issuing from some cheery synapse left in there which hasn't been fried by a combination of grief, stress and despair. This has been a wonky, sometimes grotesque year, punctuated by the horrifyingly macabre - not a great combination for the coming festive season, which looks like it's going to be a total bust.

To me, Christmas means getting together with my family. All else is window-dressing. This year, we won't be able to do that. My husband and I are quietly making plans for spending the day with each other, and it will probably be OK - we're having a turkey dinner just for two, some movies we both love, snacks, etc. And I AM going to decorate the house, specifically because Bill wondered out loud if we should even bother.

I bother. WE will bother. We shall overcome, or at least make an effort, as the world seems to unravel all around us. Biden won. Kamala Harris KICKS ASS, and if Biden kicks off, as seems likely in the next couple of years, she'll be President and we'll hear somebody tell the truth from the White House, at long (very long) last.

Why should I even give a rip? I live in Canada, I'm distant from all that - hell, I don't even care how it pans out so long as we can Stand On Guard and keep our borders safe. If ever there were a good place to build a "Great Big Beautiful Wall", it would be all along the 49th parallel,  the longest "unguarded" border in the world. But that statistic fell apart this year, as did everything else I can think of.

But this song comes into my head anyway! As long as there is a ray of hope (Kamala Harris, the vaccine, and I'm afraid I can't think of a third one, but two is a start), we might stagger through all this and come out the other side, gasping for air that isn't filled with toxic fumes. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Snow Hen of Jostedal

The Snow Hen of Jostedal

A story of lust and unspeakable sin


Once there was a little legend walking about, that we will name Jostedalsrypa.

Why such a long handle, you may ask? when it would be a lot easier to name him (her!) Junie or Jolie or some such other two-syllable name?

Because Jostedalsrypa is a myth.

Jostedal, as we will now call her (given that the other name is just too long to remember) is sometimes called the Snow Hen of Jostedal. I first encountered her yesterday, though her myth (reality?) goes back to the 1300s, when the Black Plague was harvesting Europe with a scythe as lethal as the Reaper’s.

When all was said and done, when all the ploughing up to make graves and the burning down to make sanitary lodgings had passed, when the few people left on the earth were breathing little sighs of relief here and there, Nordrik walked the sylvan glades and frosted peaks of Scandinavia. He looked up with tears of gratitude at Scandy’s burning skies and thanked the Norse gods that he had been –

But enough of this, it's getting in the way of the story.

Back to Jostedalsrypa. While this Nordrik (or Norhan, or Norvasken, depending on which scholar you quote) was beating the bushes for edible mushrooms, he heard a stirring sound.

Not like you’d stir your coffee, but more of a feather-on-leaf stir, very frail, a shaking of the bushes so minute that it might just be the stirrings of a bug.

With his ailegaard (walking pole), he gently parted the bushes. Nothing.

Then he kicked the quivering bush with his foot.

This provoked a whooshwhooshwhooshwhooshwhooshwhooshwhooshwhooshwhoosh
sound, akin to the whirring of doves spiralling upwards, of partridges flushed from the bush.

But the wings of this creature (if creature it was!) did not carry it far, as just a few feet off the ground it fell with a dismal thud.

He looked at the strange thing.

It was shaped like a hen. It looked like a hen. It flapped like a hen. It was partially camouflaged by snow, dirty snow that was half-melting and had formed around the hen as a sort of protective covering, an ice nest.

“I will call her Jostedal, after Lake Jostedal and the City of Jostedal and Jostedal Canyon," said Norrdka, lifting the terrified bird from the snow and marvelling at how heavy she seemed in his arms.

Her head jerked this way and that. A snow hen! Imagine that. So those silly legends must've been true after all. She seemed to have the intelligence of a – well, of a hen. Her feet paddled the air. Still Norrdka trudged, wondering how she would taste stewed up with a side dish of mushrooms.

The Black Plague had left its survivors with a keen appetite.

Nothing that moved was ever wasted, but because the Snow Hen was displaying nesting behaviour, the family held back on eating her. Everyone clucked with joy when Jostedal produced her first egg. “But do not eat it yet!” cried Gromkin, the snow-crowned patriarch of the family and the one who had suspiciously survived the Plague by hoarding quail eggs in his pockets.

“Why, old man? Why not eat the egg as a side dish with the chicken and mushrooms?” cried Norrdka.

“I have a recipe for Chicken Eggskongg,” Mama chimed in.

“Hatch this egg. Nurture it. It will be extraordinary.”

Even those who did not agree with Gromkin decided they had better listen to him (he would whack them on the side of the head if they didn't), and keep the Snow Hen around as a renewable resource for food. Meantime, they had this egg, which seemed somehow magical in their sight.

They could not sit on the egg, so after a meagre dinner of wood fungi they coaxed the chicken to sit down and incubate it. It took a lot of shoelaces to tie her down.

But something very strange happened in the night.


Norrdka wasn’t the first to discover what had happened to her. It was the old man, Gromkin. He saw the two of them over in the corner. The old man had a stick in his hand and was poking at her.

Squatting in the corner with not a stitch of clothing on her comely body was a beautiful young maiden!

Could this be the Snow Hen of ancient tales and stories? How was that possible? Were they all seeing the same apparition?

The beautiful naked maiden whom they soon dubbed Shnowen had grown a sort of covering of white feathers over its body. And to think they had nearly eaten her the night before!

“ARE YOU HERE TO GRANT US THREE WISHES?” shouted the old man to the perplexed-looking chicken-lady.

She turned her head this way and that and made low, barely-perceptible clucking noises.


“Do be quiet, Father,” Mother cautioned him. “She is perplexed. Besides, she has already laid an egg which may be of inestimable value to us.”

And lo, it was.

As Shnownen walked around the bare cottage pecking the floor and flapping her arms. a crack began to form in the egg. The whole family, all seventeen of them, gathered around it in anxiety and hope.

The crack was very slow to form, and Grandfather Gromkin wanted to whack at it with his splinggboln, but the rest of them held him back.

And just as they were all about to give up and serve up this egg with a side dish of roasted fowl, lo!

Out popped, not a genie or a monster or an apparition or a dybbuk or a djinn. It was a child.

It was as child so tiny and radiant that no one could believe it. “That’s a chick,” declared Seventeenth Brother.

“It’s never a chick. It’s a homunculus.”

“An automaton, I’ve seen one of those, it was an old monk that could walk around.”

“Silence!” cried the magical child, who seemed to be made of purest gold.

“State your business,” bellowed the old man, who was very direct.

“I have come here not by accident, but by design. I am here to refine human nature. I see cruelty everywhere, I see grabbing at food that belongs to others, I even see people eating each other’s flesh.”

“NO! It never happened”

“How can you even think such a thing!”

“You must be evil. How can you abuse us like this?”

But the family felt a deep and secret shame. The Black Plague had certainly brought out the worst in everybody.

“Here is the test,” the magic child replied. “For forty-seven days, you shall have no food. The doors of your humble cabin will all be locked. This is a test of your character and of your ability to be selfless, and will redeem you for the black sins you committed during the Time of Pestilence.”

“Forty-seven days? Whoever heard of THAT? Why not forty days and forty nights?”

“Shhhh, Grandpa Gromkin, maybe he’s joking.”

“No. It’s not like that,” broke in one of the many anonymous brothers. “It means forty days, like Noah's rain in the Scriptures, PLUS the seven days it took for God to create the Universe.”

“Ohhhhhhhh.” They all relaxed a little.

The first few days were rather exciting, as the tiny golden child talked non-stop about many amazing things while Shnowen, now called Shwenon, picked and plucked and made hen noises. A few times Eldest Brother pursued her around the cabin, and no one could tell if it was for food, or some other purpose too dark to mention.

After a while, that bird began to look better and better.

Grandfather nagged the magic child day and night. “Are you sure you really meant FORTY-SEVEN days?” he asked him. “Maybe you only meant seven.” There was a faint clinking sound in the background as the family tightened their belts.

On the thirteenth day, they decided to kill the chicken.

Why not kill the chicken? They would not survive unless they did. But the axe and the knife and the other implements of cold-blooded murder were all outside, so they would have to corner and strangle her. This was a nearly-impossible task with a human-sized bird.

So they began to tame her. Here, chicken, chicken, chicken! Nice chicken. Because she was starving to death, she would do just about anything they asked of her, including the unspeakable act I mentioned before.

But I shall draw a veil over such evil.

One day, however, in spite of the brain fog of famine, one of them had an idea.

“Wait!” Sixteenth Brother cried. “If we can last out this wretched forty-seven days, imagine what this bird will be worth for us.”

“We can put her on display.”

“Make her do tricks!”

"All sorts of tricks."

”And she’s beautiful, and naked. So you know how people will respond.”

“But forty-seven days. . . “

“Listen,” said Grandfather. “I’m close to a deal.”

For along with greed and pride and lust, and anger and envy, and all those other things we’re not supposed to do, Grandfather excelled at crooked wheeling and dealing. Soon he had bargained the child down to twenty-four days. With his mother held hostage, about to be roasted on a spit, he was in no position to argue.

The force-field around the cabin began to waver.

The family wondered if they could hold out much longer, as the chicken was getting skinnier and skinnier and sat listlessly in the corner pulling her feathers out. She looked bad and would not enchant or even scare anyone.

“Goddamn you, Snow Hen,” cried Norrdka, cursing the day he had ever found her. “You started this. You’ll finish it.” He rushed at her with every intention of strangling her. But she was too feeble to resist, and collapsed with a drawn-out cry.

“NOW have we passed the test?” asked Fourth Brother hopefully. They had, after all, not KILLED the chicken. They had resisted killing the chicken, who had obviously died of natural causes.

“You failed it a long time ago,” the child answered. “What is more, there is no spell. You could have left the cabin any time you wanted to. So you committed yet another sin."

"What could that be?"


”Mountebank!” cried Grandfather.

“Look at your Snow Hen, once so beautiful and so full of promise. She has died of hunger and despair. Not only that, there is no meat on her bones to sustain you.”

“I could make a good stock,” Mother suggested.

“I could stuff her, you know, put her on display.. . . “

“Silence! You people do not deserve to be in the presence of magic, because your souls are dark and selfish and full of corruption. You abuse the thing you claim to love the most and keep her captive in terror.”

“No one will know.”

“YOU will know. The knowledge will suck the strength from your soul and blight all your days, and continue for seventeen generations."

“But this is why they made Jesus.! If we repent, he will take all our sins away."

“Not this one.” Disgusted, the child burst into a ball of flame that grew and grew and grew until it consumed the entire cabin.

There was but one person spared. As white smoke surged up from the chimney, a bird with dazzling white feathers emerged and grew larger and larger until she seemed to fill the whole sky. The Snow Hen of Jostedal had freed herself from the prison of human darkness, never to return.

POSTLUDE. The provenance of this piece is strange. Years and years ago, I saw a NOVA program on PBS about a girl named Genie, a "wild child" who had been tied up in a dark room for an incredible thirteen years by her sadistic brute of a father.

The girl couldn't speak, could barely walk, and was the size of a seven-year-old. While the public may have seen a horribly damaged child, the scientific community saw a blank slate - that is, blank except for a lot of dollar signs.

The documentary recounts the stampede of interest from scientist, linguists, neurologists, sociologists, and many other ologists who scrambled for research grants to "study" Genie. This was in 1972, and NOT ONE person believed that it would be preferable for Genie's welfare to be placed in loving foster care until she gained enough stability to work with the scientists.

It did not even occur to them.

I can't recount all of this heartbreaking story because it's too complex, except to say that the girl was eventually abandoned by the scientists who had so greedily fallen on her when she was released from her thirteen-year prison. When she was finally de-institutionalized, she was taken home by two of the research scientists like some sort of shelter dog, then abandoned a few years later when the grant money ran out.

At the end of this wretched story, Genie is "put away" in a nursing home, and that's the end of it. Since she's younger than me, she is probably still there, in another sort of prison. I did find a reference from some time in the '90s, when an observer insisted she was "happy and content" in the home she had never chosen. Certainly she has no power to object.

I recently watched the NOVA program again - I'll try to find a link to it, it's riveting - and then acquired a book called Genie: A Scientific Tragedy by Russ Rymer. I was sure this book would be spellbinding, but 50 pages in I began to wonder whose side he was on.

He spent pages and pages on the work of Noam Chomsky, a pop icon and pseudo-linguist who believes there is only one language in all of human experience. As far as I can see, this demented idea has nothing at all to do with Genie and her difficult, halting acquisition of language, but it helps the author distance himself from all that mess and align himself with someone trendy.

But there's something else here, and I have to admit when I first read it I groaned. "I've been diddled," I thought. He listed various "feral" children that had been found roaming the woods over the centuries, and the farther I got into the list the more sure I was that he was having us on, making the whole thing up as a way of disrespecting his readers and jerking the leash.

“Among the cases of wild children discovered over the last seven centuries, more than fifty have been documented. The list includes the Hesse wolf-child; the Irish sheep-child; Kasper Hauser; the first Lithuanian bear-child; Peter of Hanover; the second Lithuanian bear-child; the third; the Karpfen bear-girl; Tomko of Zips; the Salzburg sow-girl; Clemens, the Overdyke pig-child; Dina Sanichar of Sekandra; the Indian panther-child; the Justedal snow-hen; the Mauretanian gazelle-child; the Teheran ape-child; Lucas, the South African baboon-child; and Edith of Ohio.”

I think it was Edith of Ohio that did it. This HAD to be a mean form of satire designed to jerk the reader around. But like the diligent little Googlist that I am, I did a search for each and every one of these names, and lo, they WERE mentioned somewhere, even if briefly, as part of a list of "wild" children. Most of them are considered myths, an extension of the ancient story of Romulus and Remus who were suckled by wolves.

I'm not sure quite how that led to the story of the Snow Hen, except that the name really grabbed me: it seemed like something out of Hans Christian Andersen.

The arc of the story is pretty crazy, because there IS no arc: I literally took it word by word with no forethought at all, no sense of what might come next. At various moments you have to stop and try to shape the story a bit, and then of course edit it later for inconsistencies. But I did very little of this.

It occurred to me while making my lunch today that perhaps the Snow Hen is Mary, Mother of God, and the golden child is her son Jesus Christ, holding those wicked people in the cabin accountable for their sins. He doesn't let them get away with anything, not even throwing the Bible back in his face. 

 I hope Jesus would approve.