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Canada War Museum acquires historic weapons


Spears fashioned hastily by Conservative caucus members when they barricaded themselves during the October attack on Parliament Hill will go on display as soon as curators have documented and preserved them properly, said museum director James Whitman. The weapons were made by breaking ceremonial flag poles that lined the caucus meeting room.

“An improvised spear may not seem like much of a weapon, but there was only one bad guy and at least 6 of us with sharp sticks,” said a Conservative spokesperson. “We could have skewered him pretty good, probably”.

The spears will be exhibited alongside the Inuit carving used by Mme. Chretien to defend her then-prime minister husband Jean from an intruder who had gained entry to their bedroom in the 24 Sussex Drive official residence.

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The Water Heater Rental That Will Not Die


It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I ever allowed Direct Energy to rent a water heater to me, but this year, I finally decided to stop wasting my money and buy a unit of my own. Owning is far cheaper and I meant to end my rental agreement years ago. A New Year’s resolution finally spurred me to action.

January 27th, my new heater was working and the old one was removed. Direct Energy made a parting  rip at my wallet, clawing out $75 plus tax to pick up their 12 year old heater, but I went along with it, just to be done with them. The city would haul the thing away for free, but Direct Energy insists upon return.

The rental charges kept coming.  I missed seeing the item on the February gas bill and paid it. Blinded by the $75 dollar removal charge, I guess. Anyway, I didn’t notice what they were doing until March, when I felt their bony fingers in my wallet again.

I called Direct Energy to stop the madness. They say they’ll credit me with the months I have been overcharged but want me to pay the March bill anyway, to avoid late payment charges! Will the rebate come? Will the billing stop? Will the rental agreement finally die? I’ll be back with news, one way or the other.

Dollarama drama


When Ian told me he wanted to get a pair of glasses with LED lights attached, I tagged along to the dollar store to see them for myself. Three bucks. They’re reading glasses, various strengths, and the lights actually do illuminate a page sufficiently to permit reading in a dark room.

I think Ian wants to wear his to be seen at night while riding his e-bike. I wonder what will happen if I wear mine in a public park?

A quick flit through the local Make It! Fair


The local public school has this fair annually and we like it. There were lots of electronic gadgets and wearables along with hovering photo drones and DIY Arduino computer kits, but I gravitate to the handmade things.

One friendly guy was selling carefully painted, bright enamel bicycle bells. He was good at making corrugated masks, too. Tubs of Lego for the kids, a TVO paints & crafts table and lots of school art projects on display.

For the record

For the record, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives do not represent me when they send warplanes into Syria. These acts of war are unauthorized by parliamentary consensus and without international sanction. I regret deeply Harper’s ill-advised use of Canada’s military to distract voters from his failure to manage our economy prudently.

Our trouble with Miele products

We own two Miele appliances; a vacuum cleaner and a dishwasher. On the whole, they are well made and convenient to use, but if they break down, parts are not readily available. Only Miele-approved repair people seem to be able to get them, snuffing out competitive services.

A Miele-authorized dealer told us that the parent company would withdraw his franchise if he was “caught” offering customers perfectly good, but less expensive replacement vacuum cleaner bags.

It’s something to consider when purchasing appliances. Corporate policy may put the company’s interests ahead yours. We are trying to get our dishwasher fixed. 🙁

Sacrificial fork
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Ever resourceful Danica turned to the internet for answers. Ordinary people band together there, defending one another against outrageous service bills. She found the story of the famous Miele Hook Tool and a demo of how to use it. A couple of twists and a stuck impeller would be free to run properly.

But where to get the Hook Tool? Sites said Miele had stopped selling them. Aftermarket sellers wanted $30 and weeks to deliver. Again, the internet vigilantes rode to the rescue. I followed the instruction Danica found, sacrificed an old fork and made our own hook tool (pictured above). Twist, twist, bingo!

Our dishwasher is running again, no problems at all. 😀

Abby, Queen of Keewatin Avenue, speaks …


“Everyone knows that the one true purpose of the internet is to display cat pictures. You may ignore all other posts, this is the one that matters. Naturally, as current monarch, my picture appears first, but only to introduce the timeless images of my two outstanding predecessors, Bonzai and Katie (featured doing her upside-down thing in a photo that is Danica’s favourite).”


Photos by Court Photographer Brian Hickey


Oh, THAT mail …

When John Robert said he was mailing a couple of pages from the New Yorker to me, I wondered why they never arrived. Today, they did … in the mailbox on our porch. It didn’t occur to me that John might use stamps.

I thought they’d come this way:



How mail has changed. Remember when we hyphenated and even capitalized E-mail, to differentiate it from real, regular mail? Now the electronic version is top dog and we have to say snail mail when we mean the paper kind.