Saturday, July 20, 2019

Flip Flop - the summer sound

I heard this summer sound yesterday:  "flip flop, flip flop, flip flop".  The person ahead of me was walking along in her flip-flops.   So I asked everyone I talked to yesterday about flip-flops and when did they become part of our popular culture. My proposed answer was after the war with the great economic growth and the widespread adoption of popular culture trends in the U.S. and Canada.  

That doesn't answer the question of where did they come from or how did it start?  What happened was the U.S. soldiers brought Japanese zori with them.  And this caught on in the 1950s during the postwar boom.  They were redesigned and changed into bright colours in keeping with the vivid 50s. In the 1960s they became associated with California beach style.  They have continued and expanded ever since, so much so that they are an accepted shoe style.

They have an ancient beginning. There is a picture of thong sandals from the New Kingdom of Egypt dated 1550 - 1307 BC.  We know intuitively that this makes sense and that the Greeks and Romans wore versions of flip-flops.  I seem to know this from the sand and sandals epics we saw as children.  Or maybe they were wearing sandals in the movies.  I just checked - no flip-flops - fabulous sandals.

Today there is discussion on flip-flops as casual wear.    Here's the advice on when not to wear them:
  • Restaurants with cloth napkins
  • Red carpet events
  • Churches
  • Funerals
  • Business meetings
  • First dates and blind dates
Isn't that delightful? The advice seems consistent with when flip-flops originated in the 1950s.  Can you imagine deciding ahead of time what to wear in a restaurant "with cloth napkins."  And decide to wear "nice shoes" on a first date.  What is missing from the list?  Can you wear flip-flops to weddings?  Here you go...
 
 Image result for flip flops at weddings


Image result for flip flops at weddings


Our picture today is a close-up of a leaf pattern.  This is the leaf of a Prayer Plant. Maranta leuconeura, also known as prayer plant, is a species of flowering plant in the family Marantaceae, native to the Brazilian tropical forests.

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Toronto Flooding

Yesterday's storm in Ontario caused flash flooding.  Here are the pictures from CP24. I recognize many of the streets in the pictures - particularly the underpass on King Street in the Liberty Village section - full of water. 

Etobicoke was hit and I looked to find out if our street Orchard Crescent was flooded.  It backed onto Mimico Creek which was a source of flooding in Hurricane Hazel and then a serious one in 2013 - two years after we moved.  

Specific questions like this seem hard to answer.  News media cover what is most dramatic and show-worthy.  Like the skyline above over Toronto, or the car in the flooded highway ramp close to our old neighbourhood in Toronto.  There are pictures of GO Trains in water and flooded subway cars flooded with people sitting in their seats.  There's dramatic coverage at the Toronto Star site. This was a couple trapped in an elevator with water rising. 

This wasn't a major flood like Hurricane Hazel in which 81 people killed in that surprise flood and much work was done on storm water management afterwards, but it is hard to win with water.  Anyone with a pond knows this story.
And our picture of the day is a Grimsby garden that is noteworthy.  Is it the intense plantings of flowers and shrubs, filling every single space?  No, it is the artificial turf.  Once you look at it, you realize it is too perfect to be living grass.  It looks like one of the premium brands - Namgrass Serenity Artificial Grass.  I can't imagine there actually is serenity - you must sweep and vacuum it to keep it grass-like. That would likely have to happen every day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Lawrence Welk is on PBS every Sunday and this past Sunday his special guest was Henry Mancini, who played a beautiful piano rendition of Days of Wine and Roses.  The show was made in 1973.

The show has its kitschy combinations of dance numbers, accordion solos, bouncy vocal duets, and then striking big band jazz numbers. On this show, they performed a wonderful version of the Mancini song Laura.  That's the song that was so popular, they made the movie to go with it.

Henry Mancini had a look on his face that seemed to say "I know this show is kitsch".  At the same time, he seemed to also be enjoying himself.

There's a reason we find Lawrence Welk kitschy and compelling.  Here are Lawrence Welk-isms compiled by Dick Wilson, a sound mixer who worked on the show. They are HERE:
"There are good days and there are bad days,
and this is one of them."

Introducing a guest performer: "His act may start out
slow, but it tapers off."
To the band just before going on the air:
"Boys, look like you're having
fun, but don't have any."
"I just had an idea that went right over my head."

"Whenever you have a minute I'd like to see you right now."

To a performer who apologized for
being late and said he had no excuse:
"That's no excuse"
To the pianist who was rehearsing:
"Why do you do that?
You play too many notes already."

"That's what really broke the camel's straw."

After a jet plane flew over and disrupted rehearsal:
You know, those jet planes make masonic booms."


Monday, July 15, 2019

Get the Lowdown

Is there something where you'd like to really know how it works?  You want to get the truth, facts, and most pertinent information about something.  That's what it means to 'get the lowdown'.  What about the favourite smells in the world?  The UK's top 20 include:
1. Freshly baked bread
2. Bacon
3. Freshly cut grass
4. Coffee
5. Cakes baking in the oven
6. The Seaside
7. Freshly washed clothes
9. Fish and chips
10. Fresh flowers
11. A real Christmas tree
12. Roses
13. Vanilla
14. Scented candles
15. Log fires
16. Lavender
17. Lemon
18. Chocolate
19. Barbeques
20. Cinnamon

Compare that with Reader's Digest 8 favourite smells:
1. pine
2. citrus
3. sunscreen
4. fresh-cut grass
5. flowers
6. rosemary
7. peppermint
8. baby powder

How about what scientists have found that smell good to nearly everyone?

This comes from https://io9.gizmodo.com/scientists-discover-five-things-that-smell-good-to-near-5515453
1. lime (fruit)
2. grapefruit (fruit)
3. bergamot (similar to an orange in scent)
4. orange (fruit)
5. peppermint
6. freesia (flower)
7. amyl acetate (a molecule that smells like apples and bananas)
8. cassia (similar to cinnamon)
9. mimosa (flowering tree)
10. fir (tree)
This last list comes from tests of smells on people in Israel and Ethiopia. They considered these groups culturally diverse so the results are considered general across all populations.

Our picture of the day is from the garden tour - this one an invitation to appreciate a garden masterpiece.


 

Friday, July 12, 2019

This Day in History is about Berta

Sometimes I look at this day in history, and today I wonder how it is decided that it is on this day in history, given all the calendar date shifts that we have experienced.  there must be experts for this task.

This day in history - July 12
783        Jul 12, Bertha "with the great feet", wife of French king Pippin III, died.

Priscilla Howe tells us a little  about Bertha (Berta) in her blog - storytelling notes.blogspot.com HERE  Her synopsis is: "Queen Berta's identity is stolen, she's taken to the forest to be killed, she escapes only to face brigands, bears and brambles. How will her big feet save her from this terrible treachery?"

On the other hand, Wikipedia propositions that she may have had a clubfoot, as they indicate her nickname is Bertha Broadfoot rather than 'with great feet'.

Today I am wondering how we know she died on July 12th, 783.  
AskHistorians has this question:  It must be really confusing with all these different systems. When one source for a date concerning an event is in the Jewish calendar, another in the Arabic calendar and another in the Gregorian.
The answer:  Usually historians can convert dates from entirely different calendrical systems into their Gregorian equivalents as needed; for example historians writing on Islamic history will often list dates in both the Islamic calendar and their Gregorian conversion and Mesoamericanists can use an established correlation(most notably the GMT correlation used for Mayan long count dates) to convert Long Count or Calendar Round dates into their Gregorian equivalents. 

This sounds like a lot of mathematical equations and calculations.  To me it looks like too many to hope they got them all correct.  To the person who answered the question,  it seems routine.  

I can tell you that everyone loves to see bees on Lavender.  I've been told by Lavender growers that bees are known to fall asleep amongst the Lavender.  It is considered to have calming and sedative effects for humans as well.