Slavic Saturday

In the spirit of the season I would like to mention one Czech tradition today. This week, Thursday December 6. was Saint Nicholas day. Name of the saint is in Czech “Mikuláš” and the evening before Saint Nicolas day Mikuláš travels through the country with an angel and a devil to reward children accordingly. Good children get sweets, bad children get coal etcetera. Santa Claus is nothing else than a poorly written spinoff.

The trio is usually either paid actors or volunteers who go from door-to-door for arranged visits to children, there are also visits to Kindergarten and to lower classes in School. Children are sometimes expected to recite a rhyme to Mikuláš to prove they are good, some children opt to being tongue-tied or hiding behind their mother.

I remember, as a pre-school child, being absolutely terrified by the whole trio. My parents never taught me that devils are real or anything such, nevertheless I still to this day remember how I was supposed to say a rhyme to Mikuláš but not being able to get anything out of me but a bawling scream of horror. I do not remember being confronted with the trio for the rest of my childhood afterwards.

Two of my friends have two beautiful, intelligent and lively sons, three and four years. When they were preparing them for Mikuláš’s visit at the kindergarten, they explained to them carefully and patiently that the visitors will be only actors, ordinary people dressed up and pretending. They also explicitly forbade the teacher to tell them otherwise and to scare the children. Even so, both boys were clearly afraid of the devil and in awe with Mikuláš and the angel and the experience was something for them to talk about afterwards.

Children’s power of make-believe at this age is so strong that lying to them is not necessary for them to enjoy (or being terrified by) the holiday at all.

This is why I wish for a Succesful war on Christmass

A teacher has told kids that Santa ain’t real and she got fired. And one of the parents bemoans on Facebook:

“Many of us parents have been doing damage control since the kids get home from school,” parent Lisa Simek posted to Facebook on Thursday.

I disrespectfully disagree with this nonsense and consider the parent to be a whiny fuckwit. The damage is not being done by the teacher, but by the parent. Anyway, lying to children about the existence of Santa gives you a guarantee that one day, one place, they will find out that  you have lied to them. What has happened here is that it merely was perhaps a year early.

There are many, many things that I hate about this vapid holiday as it is currently celebrated – the incessant playing of absolutely awful music everywhere, the fact that for two months I cannot order anything over the internet without the delivery being delayed, the overcrowding,  the religious garbage that is associated with it – but what I perhaps hate the most is how the holiday makes a virtue out of lying to children.

Some of my friends do this and I do not go out of my way to debunk Santa (or Jesus child, which is more traditional here) to their children, but I still disagree with them on this issue. I do not think it adds anything valuable to childhood being lied to. I know from personal experience that children can enjoy Christmas trees and presents immensely even when they do not believe in magic and/or religious mumbo-jumbo.

I really wish this nonsense went away. Nobody should be fired for telling children truth. Believing in known and obvious lies should never be encouraged and promulgated, ever.

Landsknecht and Death

I was looking for inspiration for a dagger&sword project for next year, and during my web crawl I found this image. And I was immediately reminded of Caine and the “Dance with Death”series she posted this year. I think she would love it.

I would like to provide you with the translation of the german text, but I cannot read the font no matter what so I cannot even reliably transcribe the original – I understand about a half. On top of it I suspect it is poetry and that gives me trouble even in my native language, let alone in archaic German.

Strauch, Wolfgang: Landsknecht und Tod

Source -click-

Jack’s Walk

It’s a white winter wonderland in Ontario today, but Jack and I are hiding out in the house avoiding the snow. It looks like it’s going to stick around for a while, though, so Jack will be able to frolic to his heart’s content on Tuesday. In the meantime, I thought today I’d share some winter photos of the Gaspe Coast. This is sunset on the Perce Rock and it’s magical to watch. Mt. St. Anne sits directly behind Perce in the west and as the sun slowly sets it casts a shadow that rises up the rock. Every day the sun shines, the show goes on. These photos were taken in October of 2016 on North Beach.

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

©voyager, all rights reserved

Let’s end the week with roses

These bright, cheerful photos are from Ruston’s Roses courtesy of DavidinOz. This area of the gardens looks perfectly set to host a wedding. The path is lined with pure, white roses and at its end is a lush canopy of deep red roses signifying love. David didn’t specify, but I think Ruston’s must host a few weddings here. I was most delighted by the wandering red rose who has traveled far from home alone. Perhaps it was for love.

©David Brindley, all rights reserved

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Jack’s Walk

Riviere Peche, ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s been snowing here since last night and Jack is chuffed. He wants to go out and play, but he’s isn’t allowed any exercise until next week when the stitches come out. Jack does not like this and he’s been making his displeasure known. He sits wistfully looking out the windows and whenever we pass by he looks up and makes little crying noises. When we tell him he has to wait he heaves a heavy sigh and lays his big, bowling ball of a head down dramatically with a thunk. He hates the word wait and his patience has worn thin. He was full-on giddy with excitement this morning when I took him out to the yard for business and even the promise of cookies couldn’t lure him in. I had to promise ice cream (a rare treat) before he even paid me any mind. It’s going to be a long few days until Tuesday.

The summer photo for today is of Riviere Peche, or Fish River. The river empties into the sea at the bottom of the hill where it meets the beach at Smuggler’s Cove.

Remember Montreal

As chigau pointed out, it’s been 29 years since the École polytechnique massacre in Montreal, yet the story is all too common almost 30 years later. A white man who thought the world owed him a certain place went out to kill women, because he thought they were taking what was rightfully his, denying him his due.

While the event shocked not only the Canadian public, the ideology that led to it is far from eradicated. From Elliot Rogers over the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High to Alek Minassian killing women in Toronto, the pattern of entitlement and violence continues. And these are only the cases that make headlines, the cases where the victims were more or less randomly chosen. It doesn#t even get into the thousands of cases where men kill their (ex) partners or just a woman they hardly knew for turning them down.

And whenever these cases happen, the discussion is the same: mental illness is blamed*, women themselves are blamed. It’s a well practised dance around the violent misogynist mass murderer in the room.

This is why on this day of all, I have no moment of silence, but loud anger. For all of our sisters who have died and who will still die at the hands of men who think they are owed the world, and at the words of those who always have more empathy for the murderer than his victim.

 

*Before somebody feels the need to mention that X, Y, and Z had a history of mental illness, spare yourselves the time, I’ve got none for that discussion. While mental illness may make it easier for those men to turn to more extreme actions, it didn’t instil a hateful ideology into them and no mental illness ever forged a gun.

Jack’s Walk

This is a bit of an extended Jack’s Walk with a few photos we took while traveling through the Matapedia Valley on our way east. The area is world renowned for salmon and trout fishing and the river is dotted with high end fly fishing resorts. The Mr. and I fish with rod and reel, but we’d both like to try our hand at fly fishing. Most resorts are now catch and release (after the photo, of course) and there are strict limits on what can be kept. There are also fishery officials out and about watching. I know from personal experience, but that’s a story for another time. The last three photos were taken from the car.

Passing over the great rivers of the Matapedia Valley, ©voyager, all rights reserved

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Contortions

Many things have fascinated me over the course of my life, not necessarily because I understood or understand them fully, but usually because there is some element of incomprehension – the idea of Schrödinger’s cat, for example, or a mysterious book that is actually a treasure hunt. While the first led to many… odd creations of art that included cats perched pensively in boxes in outer space surrounded by snakes and spiral galaxies, the second had gorgeous paintings of their own that I can still remember clearly (though I never solved the riddle itself).

About a year ago, I found myself returning to the paintings of Masquerade – though subconsciously. I was playing around with cats contorted into unusual positions by virtue of being forced into a small box: the frame, as it were. The whole idea was that you could place it any way you like, there was no proper up-down orientation. Later, as it happened, I had to adjust the subject matter to more closely align to a colleague’s preferences, and the final painting is of a horse (of course), about 10cm x 15cm.

It even works when upside down.
©rq, all rights reserved.

And although one’s own paintings should look familiar, there was something more to it that wouldn’t stop poking at the back of my brain, until I remembered this image:

A page from Masquerade by Kit Williams.

Not quite the contortioning example of equine flexibility I came up with, but one can see the signs of influence. And it’s always fascinating how these sorts of little things can come together to become something new and different.

Anyway, I like my horse-in-a-box, and one day I will also complete the originally-intended cat-in-a-box.

To be honest, I always pictured Schrödinger’s poor cat as something of an unfortunate astronaut.

Wednesday Wings

David sends these wonderful images of pelicans.  Plus a bonus cormorant, I think.

I don’t think there can ever be too many Pelicans, so here is a bunch
roosting on a submerged tree, Murray River, Loxton, South Australia.

pelicans

©David Brindley, all rights reserved

pelicans

©David Brindley, all rights reserved

pelicans

©David Brindley, all rights reserved

Jack’s Walk

Fashionista with a happy tail, ©voyager, all rights reserved

This is Jack this morning and you’ll notice that his tail is out of focus. That’s because he was wagging it for the first time since his surgery last week. He had a few post-op complications, including a vein that popped out and bled for 2 days before the vet had to add 3 staples to his incision. Even after the staples were inserted the area oozed for another few days. That finally stopped on Sunday, but it wasn’t until this morning that Jack looked up at me and smiled his goofy guy smile. Now I can relax a bit. It’s another week before the stitches come out, but the incision is looking good and Jack is his usual happy self again. I’ve never been happier to have an out of focus photo.