Holiday Free Culture Fun

Merry Christmas

Looking for something to fill your down time (or keep the kids occupied) on the holidays?

After you’ve watched all your favourite Christmas movies, you will probably be in the mood for a change.  That’s when I’d break out some awesome free culture cartoons.  I love the Dave Fleisher Superman shorts; fortunately for us, they fell into the public domain, this emancipation makes them free to watch, share, copy.  Woo hoo!

[download all the Fleisher Superman films here for better quality]

There are many more, and many more free culture animated shorts to be found in the Internet Archive… like this Roger Ramjet flashback to my childhood:


This one was the cause of a lawsuit by the Fleischer Studios because shirts, coffee mugs and other materials had Betty Boop’s likeness on them. This film is still public domain and the studio lost in court.

Betty Boop: “Let Me Call You Sweetheart:”

As Nina Paley reminds us:

If you haven’t seen Nina’s Sita Sings the Blues, make sure to carve out an hour and a half to watch the most awesome breakup movie ever told:

Find these and more on the pages of Internet Archive’s Animation Shorts
They’ve got a pretty decent collection of Feature Films, too.

Merry Christmas!   Joyeux Noël!   Rõõmsaid Jõulupühi!   Geseënde Kersfees!   عيد ميلاد مجيد  
Frohe Weihnachten!   Gleðileg jól!   Mitho Makosi Kesikansi!  Sretan Božić  
Niibaa’ Anami’egiizhigad & Aabita Biboo
Prettige Feestdagen



Sun Tea

sun tea bottles in the sun

At 5:00pm on July 6th the temperature here in Southern Ontario was:

32.8°C with a 38.7°C Humidex reading.

I get my reports from the nearby University of Waterloo Weather Station. Last month, the Weather Station blog reported the past twelve months was “the warmest in the almost 100 years of recorded weather data in the region.”

Like most people, I don’t keep records like the weather station does. But as one who has lived all my life in these parts, subjectively it certainly feels much warmer than what I consider “seasonal.”

In fact, we had our first unseasonable warm spell in February. And according to the vegetation, summer started more than a month early this year, although the baby ducks in the park seem the same size they were this time last year.

This is the second winter in the last decade where I only had to shovel snow twice. Contrast that with having to climb the snow bank beside my sidewalk and shovel the pile further into the front yard because it was so high I couldn’t throw the snow over it anymore. That was in the last decade too.

I grumble and complain a lot, because my favourite seasons were always spring and fall. Not too hot, not too cold. Even when I was a kid I never much cared for extreme heat unless I could spend it swimming. (Of course one of my three worst sunburns was acquired while swimming.)

Growing up with pasty white skin in a Coppertone worshipping world, I was never a fan of sunbathing.  A pasty white friend suggested I get a base tan from a tanning salon. Although it may have worked for her, all I got was heat rash.

I’m not a scientist, but in my subjective experience, the wild weather fluctuations resulting in increased weather problems ranging from ice storms to tornadoes sure lends credence to climate change theory.

The  weather has been dramatically weird all over the world in recent years.  The other day I was chatting with a friend in Califiornia who was horrified that our temperatures here in Canada were warmer than what they were getting in the Mojave Desert. Doesn’t seem right somehow.

The only thing to do in such extreme heat is to make sun tea.

Nick at the left, Murray at the right, bottles of sun tea at back of the garden

The Kittens’ First Snow

I remember being shocked when a vet told me that cats who are allowed out doors on their own have a 3 year life expectancy. Even just for short bits. Because outside is dangerous. So we were resolved that the kittens would be indoor cats. The only time they are allowed out is in harness. This also ought to be much safer for squirrels and chipmunks and birds.

Ginger cat (Murray) wades through snow

They were still quite small last winter, so although they’ve looked out the window at it, they’d never been out in snow. Still, our kittens have been lobbying to go our doors. There has been the odd escape attempt, but so far they’ve been easy to catch. But they see all the other critters out there, including neighbor cats. And of course squirrels and chipmunks and birds. So they’ve been out on harness this past summer, but this is the first time they’ve been up close and personal with snow.

Two leashed & harnessed ginger cats discover snow

ginger cat's leash is wound around

ginger cat in snow
It's cold!

Indoor Cat

ginger cat watches snow falling
It's wet!

The boys made it pretty clear that they would rather be indoor cats, thanks. Right Murray?

Ginger cat sits in the snow looking at camera


Online Recalibration

Like I need another blog…. but really there wasn’t much choice. I had to start Oh! Canada to keep politics from swamping in the wind. Which is supposed to be my personal blog darn it!   This is supposed to be for fun.   Politics is hard work. Oh! Canada will be primarily for political musings, which at the very least should provide in the wind with its own prorogation vacation. The kick-off post for Oh! Canada is, coincidentally enough, called Prorogation Vacation.

I will also be posting photographs I took at both the Waterloo and Guelph January 23rd CAPP (Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament) rallies in Oh! Canada in the next few days. After I’ve had a chance to get some work in on my novel.

adventures in micro-blogging

When I began in the wind, my first blog, I was advised to set up an account and then to start a Twitter account, which could be linked with the account. Since the two accounts talk to one another, if I write something on my account, it will also go out over my Twitter account, so I only need to say things once. At that point I’d been resistant to the idea of Twitter, largely due to the fact that I have no desire to type anything on a phone beyond a phone number. The fact that I can use these things online makes all the difference. And as it turned out the advice was good as and Twitter have proven useful not only for me to announce my new blog posts, but also for finding all kinds of useful information.

Of course nothing is perfect, and it seems that everything I see on one account does not show up on the other. Re-Tweets and Re-Dents don’t seem to cross over at all, so if it’s something one of my Twitter friends has said that I think my friends would benefit from, I’ll sometimes cut and paste. I’ve also discovered that shortened URLs from Twitter don’t always come out correctly in, so if I’m including a URL, I’ll usually post from

twitter logoOn Twitter you can “find people” so that you can follow them. Sometimes they will decide to follow you back. In this way we build communities. Twitter offers #tags, so you can find out what other people are saying by searching for the #tagged word in the “find a person” tab. came after, and so has an additional capability that I find handy: !groups. When you join a group, you will have the group conversation appear in your timeline, but you also have the option of going into the group area where all the group conversation is.

On, you don’t “follow” people, you “subscribe” to them. If you have an area of particular interest, you can either join a !group, or start your own !group. That was actually where I first began figuring how to connect with people. Signing up for the !quote group was the best thing I could have done; you can tell stuff about people based on who and what they quote. Sometimes I just look at the public timeline, or search for something I’m interested in. Twiiter seems more about sharing info and links, and that’s where I get a great deal of my political info. seems to be more about conversation. When someone you’ve subscribed to is having a conversation with others you may not be subscribed to, you can select to see the comment “in context” so you will be able to join in if you chose.

TypePad logoI decided to try out TypePad.   Although they offer a blogging service, you have to pay for it, which I am not inclined to do, particularlyt since I am very happy here with WordPress. But TypePad. offers free micro-blogging.   Now, what they call micro-blogging is different than what and Twitter do. Both Twitter and describe themselves as “micro-blogging” sites, and the TypePad. micro-blogging layout actually looks very similar, but the key difference is that there is no 140 character limit. I thought I’d try it out, so I’ve written a couple of micro-blog posts starting with sharing a book can be a struggle over there just to see how it goes.

I guess ordinarily I could have made those posts here on WordPress. After all I’m quite happy with WordPress blogging, and in fact keep suggesting it to people who are considering starting a blog. But I’ve been pretty busy housecleaning… er– recalibrating– over here. However, I’m experiencing some problems in TypePad. For instance, I have yet to figure out how to “follow” people other than the ones they indicate are stars. So at the moment I am following Bill Cosby. I haven’t quite figured out what that gets me 🙂

Also, although it gives me the option to “preview” it doesn’t actually work, so the only way I have to preview is to publish. Fortunately I don’t have any readers there yet so I can change things with impunity. It’s probably some java script thing. My operating system is currently Windows XP, and there are a zillion things wrong, one being that “NoScript” doesn’t work properly. I’m working up to switching over to an open source OS instead.

down to a dull roar…er meow

I’ll try to reign in the blogs some so I can get my novel finished. Maybe while I’m doing that I can let my computer guy lose on my main computer to get things sorted out and working properly, with a GNU Linux operating system up and running. Just to keep life interesting, I came back from my accountant friend Paul’s place with a rocking bonus:

Nick the Kitten Murray

These little brothers needed a home together, and we’ve been sadly without a pet since last summer… needless to say, thanks Paul.   (And they did finally come out from behind the furniture!)

So I kind of think there is a very good possibility that my life will be undergoing even more recalibration than my blogs…