Would You Visit Earth-9?

Post 871

At the centre of the beating heart of the world of DC Comics is the multiverse, and trying to figure it out is about as easy as trying to figure out how trees work. Imagine the Earth is a blue marble. Now imagine you have lots of green marbles. Now scatter those marbles across and around the blue marble. That’s the multiverse. Lots of Earths in lots of fictional universes often interacting with one another and affecting one another in a way that makes one’s brain turn to mush. Some of them don’t even have names, in which case, I’ll step in and give them names, like Earth-Biff. Anywho, today we’re taking a trip to Earth-9. This is a world where Superman took control of the world and ruled with an iron fist for decades, causing waves of destruction and making all other superheroes illegal, imprisoning many and driving many more underground. It’s also a world where you’ll find the wonderfully named Kid Psycho. I could tell you more about him, but I think it’s best we all just bask in the magnificence of that name…

Harvey Dent was a normal man until, one day, somehow, he fell off the tallest building on Earth. Maybe he was sightseeing. Maybe he was pushed. Or maybe a seagull tried to steal his chips and, being distracted, he tumbled off the edge. For most people, this would be the end. But, strangely, Dent walked away from this with only a few scratches. The fall had unlocked something in his brain. It started to evolve faster than any other human brain had evolved in history. He developed telekinesis and telepathy, and could do anything he wanted. Literally. He could think, ‘I fancy a bagel’ and boom, one would appear. That is a pretty cool ability, when you think about it. Bacon sandwiches on tap. Lovely.

He became a superhero known as The Superman, and it wasn’t long before he figured out why he survived the fall. In the 1970s, Joseph Chill was a geneticist working for the American government trying to create superheroes. As you do. His aim was to create an army of super soldiers. He found a vigilante known as Nightwing to drug the inhabitants of a South Carolina town with a highly experimental evolutionary accelerant wonderfully named, Miraclo Solution. Which I agree does sound rather like a carpet cleaner…

Dent was the only survivor of the experiments. And his abilities continued to develop and evolve at an alarming rate. He fought the lords of the slums, local thugs and worked his way up to taking down the super villains of Earth-9. He became so popular he, now and again, even teamed up with the Atom and Flash, the most popular superheroes on Earth-9.

The Flash was one Lia Nelson, and yes, I too thought that was Liam Neeson when I first saw it. Adam Thompson, meanwhile, was the Atom, and was raised on the Moon by his father, also a superhero. Like many things today, it’s best not to ask too many questions.

But Atom was suspicious. In a television interview with one Karl Ferris, he admitted he was having doubts about The Superman. What were his intentions? Was he as altruistic as he appeared? Or was he a total bastard? He didn’t use those exact words, of course. Even Earth-9 has a watershed. By this time, Dent was starting to go a bit mad. He had gotten engaged, and no, that’s not the mad part, to a woman named Lola and managed to recreate the Miraclo Solution, so Lola could join him on his mad journey. Madness was prevalent here, though. The American government had created a taskforce known as the Justice League of America, a team of hunters with powers of their own, tasked with hunting down citizens with superpowers. Why? Well, the Atom’s grandfather got involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis. What did he do? Look, the American government formed a super powered team to hunt down those with superpowers and execute them. It’s safe to assume what Atom’s grandfather did wasn’t great…

Meanwhile, over in the Soviet Union, they had created a super powered villain all of their own, the almighty Ultra-Humanite. He was defeated, albeit on the Moon. It’s best if you try not to ask why. The one who defeated him was, of course, The Superman. He ripped Ultra-Humanite apart, literally, and, feeling rather chipper with his win, turned his attention to solving the problems of Earth. He believed he could do so, so clearly not a man without an ego. The world was suffering. The electromagnetic pulse generated when Ultra-Humanite was destroyed took out much of the modern world’s electronics, causing utter chaos. Communication and energy grids were down, and The Superman felt he was the only one who could save the Earth.

Little did he suspect the Infinite Crisis would happen, which is so complicated I shan’t describe it. Suffice to say, shit really hit the fan…

Afterwards, the Earth was in a much, much worse state. The Superman decided to not only bring back the old world, but make it better than ever before. So, as you’d expect, he showed up at the United Nations and declared himself President of the World. Well, they loved him so much, they didn’t really stand in his way. He decided to centralise the world’s resources and instituted the Global Peace Decree, declaring it illegal for all super powered humans to display, utilise or even talk about their abilities. People weren’t overly happy about this, so The Superman did what you’d expect, and launched the Purge. This immediately doesn’t sound all too rosy, does it?

The Purge was designed to weed out those speaking against his decree and his ruler ship, and would go on to create The Question, capable of monitoring every camera and data port on Earth. Opposing this new direction were The Secret Six, former allies of The Superman, but he defeated that coup rather easily. This defeat even led him to capture Mary Marvel, the hero known as The Joker. Oh, yes. She was a hero, here. She was also The Superman’s first victim, torturing her for information and then, then, stopped her heart. Needless to say, this Superman was a far cry from our beloved hero…

Dent tumbled down the rabbit hole and he would go on to murder many more people, all in an attempt to further his plans to ‘fix’ the world. His wife, Lola, wanted no more a part of it, and probably went off to work in the Copacabana. Ahem. Dent, by this point a weird mix of Hitler and King Henry, quickly remarried, this time vowing his undying love for another superhero, Powergirl.

Powergirl, as you’d expect, was an artificial being created by the communist government of China. Basically China’s response to the super humans cropping up everywhere. She was extracted from China by the Americans in the hope that they could use her as a weapon, but she refused, also as you’d expect. She ended up siding with The Superman as his enforcer and occasional hitman. They spent a lovely honeymoon in Switzerland, in case you’re wondering.

The Superman launched the New Era Indoctrination Program for those captured during the Purge in an attempt to bring them back into the society he wanted. He finally achieved global domination. That was until a Green Lantern from another universe popped up, an occult heroine. She was expecting nothing but smiles, yet found nothing but… torture. The Superman captured her and dealt out a bit of enhanced interrogation, as he called it, coming to the conclusion that the Green Lantern’s world was a threat to Earth-9. So he did what you’d expect him to do. He decided to go to New Earth, this other universe that the Green Lantern came from, and… kick the shit out of them. Oh, Supes. Oh, dear…

He found New Earth teeming with atrocity, corruption and misused resources. He found New Earth’s Superman, believing he was a ‘peacemaker’ too. Realising he wasn’t and was nowhere near as powerful, he defeated him and, with his new wife, took control of the world. He declared he would bring about a new world order, a world of peace and harmony. But, unlike his world, New Earth resisted, and resisted hard.

Dent knew it would be hard but underestimated just quite how difficult it would be. He was struggling, and was struggling even more when a group of super powered beings from his own world showed up to aid the defenders of New Earth, The Outsiders. The Superman amassed an army of super villains to aid him in battle, giving him enough time to unleash Ultra-Humanite on New Earth, who, as it turns out, wasn’t quite so dead. Bizzarely, The Superman’s decision to do this was so he could defeat him, thus, like on Earth-9, cause an electromagnetic wave to wipe out all the electronics.

It wasn’t enough, though. The defenders of New Earth won. Even Lola showed up and declared that she would not let Dent destroy another world. New Earth’s Superman captured The Superman and the Green Lantern stepped in, locking Dent, Powergirl and others in a gateway. The Superman’s last words before he was jailed? “I…. I only wanted to help…”

In no reality would I even contemplate a visit to Earth-9. What kind of fresh hell is that? You basically get your very own Superman and he turns out to be the greatest supervillain in history, and when I say great, I don’t mean gnarly, I mean, oh my God, he’s about to vaporise me with his laser vision because I bought the wrong kind of bagel. There is no way I could tolerate such mayhem, but, you know, well done to the Green Lantern for putting an end to it. It’s not often one thanks her, mainly because she’s utterly useless, but there we are…

So no, I would not consider a trip to Earth-9, but would you, readers?

Ciao :)(:


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In the Spotlight: 169 – British Virgin Islands

Post 870

Under British control since 1672 and a self-governing territory since 1967. Despite being British, its official currency is the US dollar, but they do drive on the correct side of the road, the left. Home of Beef Island, Fallen Jerusalem Island and Prickly Pear Island. You’ll find a red telephone box on Marina Cay, an island just eight square miles in size. It even has its own webcam. Seriously. There is a scuba dive site here on the southwest side of Ginger Island named Alice in Wonderland, on account of the giant mushrooms resembling those Alice stumbles upon on in the book. You’ll also find the Sydney Peace and Love Bar in Little Harbour on Jost Van Dyke Island, renowned for its tasty lobster. For decades, visitors have been coming here and hanging t-shirts up from the ceiling, and maybe you will one day, too. It’s where one will find Cow Wreck Beach on the island of Anegada. I know what you’re thinking, readers. I’ve never seen a cow wreck. Also, what is a cow wreck? In the late 19th century, cow bones were used to make buttons and various other things. A ship transporting a load of cow bones wrecked just off the northwest coast of Anegada, and, for the next decade, cow bones kept washing up on shore. So now you know. And it’s where you’ll find Salt Island, home of just three people who pay a rent of salt. I’d love it if that were my rent. This is absolutely true, by the way. Once a year, the Governor takes a pouch of salt to the Queen in London as a gift from the people of the territory. Ah, the perks of being a Queen. Today, we’re visiting Nature’s Little Secret, the British Virgin Islands.

The Virgin Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, just to the east of Puerto Rico and not far from Anguilla and Bermuda, consisting of the main islands of Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola and Virgin Gorda, along with over 60 other smaller islands and cays, 16 of which are inhabited. It is the eighth largest British Overseas Territory on Earth at 59 square miles, with the fifth largest population with 27,000 people. The motto of the territory is ‘Vigilate’, which is Latin for, ‘Be Vigilant’. Oh, that’s nice. Until you said that, I was busy being cavalier…

Christopher Columbus named the Virgin Islands so after the large group of islands reminded him of the 11,000 virgin maiden followers of Saint Ursula. Whether the story of Saint Ursula is true or not is beside the point, the point is that the Virgin Islands are actually named after virgins. 11,000 of ‘em. So taken with this story, those in charge created a shield for the Virgin Islands depicting Saint Ursula and 11 lamps, representing the 11,000, said to have been martyred alongside Saint Ursula. A shield now present on the modern day flag, a defaced Blue Ensign, no less.

The official name of the islands is the Virgin Islands, not the British Virgin Islands, which remains a colloquial name by outsiders to differentiate between our Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands, but needless to say, ours are the Virgin Islands and the Americans just copied us. What? Can’t argue with history, folks. To be fair to them, they didn’t like the name it had when they bought their islands. Danish West Indies. They like putting their name on things. So do we, to be fair. The less said about the Spanish Virgin Islands, the better. It’s said Columbus named several of the islands after the virgins, but not all of them. I mean, one of the islands is named Cockroach Island and I don’t think any parent would be so cruel as to name their child that. I hope.

The Virgin Islands are a tropical oasis, where you’ll find dry, hilly and rugged volcanic islands, such as Tortola and Virgin Gorda, and smaller, coral and limestone islands, such as Anegada and Sandy Spit. Many are drawn here by the allure of the nature, with coral reefs, scenic seaside villages and white sandy beaches enjoyed by many. Travellers from all walks of life often venture here, from the fishermen, to the sailors, to those looking to relax on the many gorgeous beaches lapping the serene sapphire seas, take a dip in one of the many sheltered lagoons or explore the numerous caves teeming with a variety of colourful fish. The Virgin Islands really are a secluded, underdeveloped and unspoiled paradise, very rarely visited by the tourists, all giving the islands a quaint and old world charm all of their own.

This is a land dominated by music, in particular, fungi, named after a local dish with the same name. The distinctive sounds of the banjos, bongos, calabash, guitars, saxophones, ukuleles and washboards, are a fusion of African and European music, a cherished expression of cultural folklore and history, so important the music is taught in schools across the islands. More than anything else, this entire place is an amalgamation of Arabian, Caribbean, European and Indian influences, plus the strongest cultural tie, that of the African slaves, enslaved to work the cane fields, bringing with them traditions from large swathes of Africa.

The eclectic mix of immigrants has also given rise to a land alive with dance and the traditions of a thousand peoples. Oral traditions passed down from the African slaves have spread a wave of creativity across the islands, with literature a particular love. Writers and poets from the Virgin Islands have gained much acclaim, from Alphaeus Norman to Patricia Turnbull.

Art is also a speciality here, with local artists works proudly displayed all over the islands. Performance arts are also prevalent, with many fungi and folk troupes performing regularly at the plethora of local cultural events one finds here. Alongside fungi, classical music, jazz and other Caribbean music, the likes of steel pan, for example, are also taught in schools. Music is deeply engrained into the very consciousness of the Islanders, and boy, they sure enjoy it.

The other fungi, the traditional boiled dish often made with okra and eaten with boiled fish or salt fish, isn’t the only food the Islanders love. Callaloo soup and roti, curried vegetables wrapped in thin dough, a dish of Indo-Trinidadian origin, are also popular. The locals are also partial to bush tea, a native herbal tea, and, on those warm days, cool down with the likes of maubi, made from sugar and fruit, and sea moss, often said to help with more, ahem, intimate matters. Rum, however, is the drink of choice, with unique specialities to be found wherever one goes on the islands.

Here, you will find a warm and welcoming people, proud to express a strong sense of their distinctiveness, enjoying the more serene and rural nature of their lives on the islands. They are proud of the beauty of their home and have a strong protective attitude toward their natural resources. Their economic well-being coupled with their independent and friendly character is world famous, a truly lovely people rightly proud of their divine and effervescent home.

This ravishingly beautiful place has it all, from the delightful and sumptuous Spring Bay, littered with astounding and splendacious boulders dropped near the shore, to the ethereal sands of Savannah Bay, both on Virgin Gorda, an eight square mile island. The grand beach encroaches on the land like a smudge in an oil painting, whilst the dramatic and dominant hills behind create a scenery of flawless charisma. Then there’s the mighty and enticing Smuggler’s Cove on the 21.5 square mile Tortola Island. The peace and quiet of this tranquil abode is glorious and magnificent, an alluring temptation of beautiful nature.

And then there’s the ineffable Eustatia, a 30 acre island isangelous and illecebrous. It rises triumphantly from the clear blue waters it resides in, a little ribbon of green so surreal and beyond imagination it leaves one breathless at the sight of such enchanting majesty. So great is Eustatia, resplendent and irresistible.

But my favourite sight of the Virgin Islands is the three square mile Peter Island, a quintessential topical island paradise, each corner of this place like a beautiful canvas calming one’s very soul like a soothing lullaby from the lips of one familiar and gorgeous. The bonére sky blue waters blend seamlessly with the radiant sky, atop hills of green, their curves flowing with ease, blanketed by an incicurable forest. And the white sandy beaches, lapping the edge of the wilderness, caressing the waves with as much beauty and grace as the entire vista oozes, a charming and unwelewable landscape, captivating one with one glimpse, a truly powerful and elysian wonder.

The British Virgin Islands. The territory of breathtaking gorgeousness, charming culture and cow wrecks.

Ciao :)(:


Images (Click on Them to Enlarge)
1) The flag of the British Virgin Islands
(credit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_the_British_Virgin_Islands.svg)

2) Peter Island
(credit: wildluxe.com/trip-idea-peter-island-british-virgin-islands/)

3) Eustatia Island
(credit: prweb.com/releases/eustatia-island/bvi/prweb4607804.htm)


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Was the Tooth Faerie Kind to You?

Post 869

You might think it’s a touch weird that some crazy tooth obsessed lady likes breaking into our homes, our children’s bedrooms, steals their baby teeth and leaves money underneath the pillows. It also doesn’t sound like a great business venture, probably recouping the loss in stolen merchandise. I bet it’s like the Green Lantern Corps. There’s probably lots of ‘em. A global gang of pirates lulling us into a false sense of optimism whilst they harvest our homes and cotton some loot. Aye, I’m on to you, so called ‘tooth faeries.’ Pirate faeries, more like, which, strangely, sounds absolutely terrifying and absolutely adorable at the same time. And that’s when they strike…

The tooth faerie, which is a crap name, if you ask me, is a fantasy figure of early childhood. I’d prefer ‘tooth daemon’, but hey-ho, they don’t put people like me in charge of the naming department of childhood fantasy figures, do they now? Nah. It’s all pen-pushing yes-men in that department, these days. So the legend goes, when a child loses a baby tooth, they should immediately place it underneath their pillows and the tooth faerie will come with a gift for the tooth. It’s not entirely clear why the tooth faerie feels the need to do this, is it? What does she get out of it?

You might think the tooth faerie is a myth as old as Santa or… male fidelity. Not so. However, traditions around our baby teeth go back for millennia. Early Norse and Europeans believed that when a child lost a tooth, it had to be buried to spare the child from hardships in the next life. The Vikings used their baby teeth in battle, as a symbol of good luck. They didn’t fashion tiny swords out of them, but I agree, that is an utterly adorable image…

In more recent times, it was common across Europe to give a child a gift when they lost their sixth tooth, which, as someone with OCD, does my absolute head in. Why six, huh? Why not a nice, round number? ARRGH! I can’t be the only one who that bothers, right? Irritating olden day people. During the 17th century in France, the gift was a rabbit. Being French, I assume it was less of a pet for life and more of a special supper. What? Have you been to France? I spent 24 hours there, once. I lived off chocolate bars. Top tip, that.

Most countries, however, gave a gift of a mouse, a type of sympathetic magic relating to the fact that the teeth of rodents continue to grow throughout their entire lives, so the mouse was a symbol of good luck to the child who lost their tooth. However, it wouldn’t comfort me a great deal. “I’ve lost a tooth, daddy. Should I be worried?” “Absolutely not, son. Here’s a mouse.” “Why?” “Good luck.” “Why do I need good luck if there’s nothing to worry about?” “Nobody likes a smart arse…”

One might think a rabbit or a mouse are pretty shit gifts, but other cultures gave other animals, too. Oh, yes. Cats. Dogs. Squirrels. Beavers. Ha, ha, ha… “Here, son. Have a beaver…” Tee, he, he… “Thomas, where’s our son?” “Well, I mean, there’s a… slight, slight possibility the beaver ate him.” Other people believed that one must dispose of baby teeth in certain ways to herald good luck and ward off misfortune. Place the tooth in a mouse hole. Bury it in the ground. Throw it on the roof. Throw it into the Sun. Throw it backwards between the legs. Get the mother to swallow it. I’m not making any of this up! Who came up with throwing a tooth between the legs for good luck! Or getting mum to swallow it! Or… throw it into the Sun! THROW IT INTO THE… How the hell are you supposed to manage that!

The tooth faerie as we know her was an American creation, and considering the fact that America is like, what, 20 minutes old, tells you the tooth faerie hasn’t been around all too long. The first reference to such comes from the Chicago Daily Tribune newspaper in an item quaintly named ‘Household Hints,’ dating back to 1908. ‘Many a refractory child will allow a loose tooth to be removed if he knows about the tooth fairy. If he takes his little tooth and puts it under the pillow when he goes to bed, the tooth fairy will come in the night and take it away, and in its place will leave some little gift. It is a nice plan for mothers to visit the 5 cent counter and lay in a supply of articles to be used on such occasions.’ I bet parents across the land were grateful for that…

It comes as no surprise to see that one Walter Elias Disney decided to get in on the act and started producing shit like Pinocchio and Cinderella, films that feature prominent faerie characters. What? They are shit! Have you ever read the original Pinocchio? Comparing that to Disney’s endeavour is like comparing Night of the Living Dead to the Teletubbies.

In these movies, we have benevolent, maternal faeries that have the power to make any wish come true. But this pop culture did not make the tooth faerie as prominent as you may realise. Whilst the tooth faerie did become a part of a few family traditions across America, most simply shrugged it off as yet another character from yet another Disney heap of horridness. Is it coming across like I don’t like Disney? Good. Couldn’t be truer…

So when did it become that tradition everyone goes through as a child? Try and guess. Remember, Disney was going hard on the tooth faerie marketing malarkey in the ‘40s and early ‘50s. 1960, you say? Keep guessing. 1965? Oh, nope. Try again. 1970? Nearly there. 1975? Absolutely correct. Yes, in 1975, a radio show in Chicago made reference to the tooth faerie and, within 10 minutes, the station was bombarded with thousands of calls from confused listeners who had absolutely no idea what the host was waffling on about. In a panic, he turned to his staff in some kind of horribly misjudged hope that they would be able to help him out. They hadn’t heard of it, either, and this was the ‘70s in Chicago.

But this is just in the developed, modern and sophisticated world. So what about France? Well, there they believe La Petite Souris, a little mouse, visits the children in the night for the tooth and leaves behind money or sweets. This comes from a 17th century tale of a faerie turning into a mouse to help the Queen defeat an evil King. That’s just stupid. Why not turn into a lion? Didn’t think of that, did you! Actually, a lion in children’s bedrooms is probably a bad idea. Unless you don’t like children and therefore would want to see them eaten by a lion. I like it.

In Ireland, they’re not all about the faerie, the mouse or the base, but instead believe in Anna Bogle, a mischievous young leprechaun who knocked out her front tooth whilst playing in the forest. Feeling self-conscious, Bogle sneaked around Ireland taking the discarded teeth of human children looking for a perfect fit, sort of an even bloodier Cinderella. It’s said she leaves behind leprechaun gold… and a trail of blood from where she’s jammed children’s teeth in her gums. Probably.

In Belarus, children put their lost teeth in mouse holes in the fervent hope the mouse will give them a strong tooth as a replacement. Now that’s nice, isn’t it? They believe the mice work every day of the year, except Christmas Day. If the tooth is given to the mouse on Christmas Day, the mouse is said to die. Oh. It’s not so nice, anymore. Still, could be worse. In Japan, they throw their lost teeth into the air. That’s it. I assume their wear goggles. Nobody wants to be known as tooth-eye. Actually, that does sound rather gnarly.

They also believe in the mouse in Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela. Some children even chant, “Rat! Rat! Rat! I give you a beautiful tooth. Send me back an old tooth.” I assume it sounds nicer in Spanish. In South Africa, they throw the tooth on a roof and chant, “Take sow my tooth and give me an iron one so that I can chew rusks.” You see, that’s a chant. South Africans do this for the pigs to take them. I mean… do they get a lot of pigs on roofs in South Africa? Hmm…

In Sweden and Argentina, they put their baby teeth in a glass of water and one dollar is put in the glass in exchange. The equivalent, not an actual one dollar bill. I think it would go a bit soggy. Things get even stranger in Turkey, where they bury the tooth where they want their child to work in the future. So in the grounds of a hospital, underneath Ikea, next to a mall cop shack, things like that…

We in the western world like to think our way of doing it is the most common, but throwing them is, in fact, the most common way people dispose of their baby teeth. They do it in India, across Africa, in Sri Lanka and across Asia. In Central America, they make jewellery out of their teeth, going back to Viking traditions, a time when a tooth fee was paid to children so the adult in question could use the child’s tooth.

The tooth faerie, however, remains a prevalent tradition. You’ll find this across England, America, Canada, Australia and even Denmark. A simple tradition to make a child less scared about losing a tooth. Failing to realise a child may be equally as scared by a strange lady entering their room during the night…

Nobody quite knows what the fictional tooth faerie looks like, although most portray her as a winged female sprite or pixie, often carrying a wand and trailing sparkles, which, if I were a parent, would frustrate the hell out of me. “HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO GET SPARKLES OUT OF THE RUG!” In 1984, 74% of Americans saw the tooth faerie as female, whereas 12% thought she was neither male nor female. Others thought she looked more like a dragon, a bat or even a bear. Oh, yeah. Great parenting. “No son, the tooth faerie isn’t a sweet little pixie with lots of gold for your tooth, IT’S A GIANT BEAR WHO WILL EAT YOU IF YOU WAKE UP! FEAR THE BEAR! FEAR IT!” Good gosh.

In America, a dime was the going rate for a tooth in the ‘40s, a half dollar by the ‘60s and today, an average of $4.66 for a tooth, whereas in the UK, you’ll be lucky to see more than 50p. About 65 American cents. I would have loved if I had gotten £3.60 for a tooth, but I stopped getting money for teeth long before I’d lost all my baby teeth. Around 85% of households receive a visit from the tooth faerie, and in 89%, the children receive money, which does make you feel a bit sorry for the 11% who get hipster hippy gifts, like hemp and ‘imagination.’ Bah.

National Tooth Fairy day is held each year on February 28th. Or August 22nd. Depends who you ask. August 22nd is a compelling date because the second week of August is National Smile Week, but, that said, February 27th is Sword Swallower’s Day, so it would be appropriate that the tooth faerie would have a bit more work to do. That said, I don’t see that many child sword swallowers these days, so, you know, take your pick…

Like most ‘90s kids, I got a 50p for a tooth until I hit about eight, and then it stopped. I wasn’t too bothered by it all, really. So, yes and no, mum and dad, a.k.a. the tooth faerie, did pay me a visit now and again, but wasn’t too bothered by my baby teeth.

What? Did… did you not know the tooth faerie is actually your parents?

Oh, boy…

Ciao :)(:


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Would X-Ray Vision Really Be So Good?

Post 868

The perverts among you will undoubtedly be imagining a life of x-ray vision to be one rather gnarly in nature, clearly failing to realise that all you’d actually see is the skeleton of the person you’re staring at on the bus. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met anyone turned on by a skeleton. Well, I mean, there was this one guy… actually, it’s not important. X-ray vision! Of course, human beings do not have x-ray vision. In fact, such is a fundamental misunderstanding of how our vision works. To see anything, light must travel from said something into our eye, a receiver of light. Nothing comes from our eyes, especially x-ray vision. In fact, if you woke up one day and things started coming out of your eyeballs, I’d seriously consider a trip to the doctors…

So there’s that preventing our super life of x-ray vision. Then there’s the x-rays themselves. X-rays are high speed electrons fired at a metal surface. Meaning even if one had managed to overcome the problems of our eyes not emitting anything, one would be faced with the dilemma of needing an x-ray source. Let’s forget the illogical for a moment and say yes, someone out there can shoot x-rays out of his or her eyes. But without that metal surface behind, all she’d be detecting were natural x-rays, and that would be like a strobe light going off an inch away from your eyeballs. This does not sound so rosy.

But wait a minute! Aren’t there already x-rays floating around? Yes. Oh, you didn’t know that? Yeah, right about now, you’re getting bombarded with x-rays, but the intensity is so tiny you’ll never know it. So it’s not very useful. The truth is, our eyes simply don’t have the focusing optics or the detection capabilities to see x-rays. I don’t know if you’d want to even if you could. I mean, in 1896 scientists started to experiment with x-rays and had to stop in 1906 because most of them were dead. “Well Billy, it’s just the two of us left. Should we bravely soldier on in the name of advancing scientific research? Billy… BILLY! Billy… oh, no. Ah, crap, not again…”

In fact, the only human beings who regularly see x-rays are cancer patients undergoing megavoltage radiotherapy around the head or neck area. All they see are blue lights, greenish-grey sparkles, bright blue and red hues, and, often, brilliant white. I’m sorry for being so logical, but, really, x-ray vision sounds more like a death sentence than anything else.

In truth, most people referring to x-ray vision are probably referring being able to see through things. True x-ray vision will mean you just give people cancer, and that’s not nice at all. So, would it be good to see through things at will?

I can’t think of any reason why it would. It would be the nirvana of perverts and creeps, plus Peeping Toms and the underhanded desperate to get a leg up in society. People desperate to find a lucky scratch card. It cannot be a force for good, only a force for evil. I mean, sure, some would argue that it would come in handy if something was wrong with their car engines or… if they were a superhero. You might see things that are wrong with people, like tumours or an ingrown nail. You might uncover lost treasures buried in the Earth. But human beings cannot be trusted. How many times is new technology created with promises of wonder, like the internet, and soon, it was a porn empire. Just one person misuses it and that’s it, nobody can have it. And someone would misuse it. Give humans the world, and they’ll screw it up. Screw it up real bad…

“You can’t go on ‘seeing through’ things forever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. To ‘see through’ all things is the same as not to see,” one said C.S. Lewis.

Would x-ray vision really be so good? No. Absolutely not. It’s nothing but a bad, bad omen…

But what about you, readers? Do you think x-ray vision would be a good eye-dea?

Ciao :)(:


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Does the Pope Lick Monster Exist?

Post 867

Pope Lick Creek, a quiet and unassuming opening deep in a forest in Kentucky, America, dominated by an ancient dark and rusty lonely railroad bridge, ageing and rickety, looming large over the gentle waters that flow beneath, hidden by trees. Creepiness permeates this place, a foreboding aura dominating like a cold breath on the back of your neck, surrounded by nothing but wilderness and silence. And is it here where a monster haunts. As the story goes, ringmaster Colonel Beauregard Schildknecht was a legend all of his own. The owner of a travelling circus touring America in the 1930s, a man of ill repute, a cheat, a charlatan and a liar. His entourage of carnies and clowns were little more than a gang of pirates, leaving behind a wake of thefts and even deaths in each town they visited. One stormy night, the infamous Madame Bristelles, a bearded lady, discovered an infant abandoned in a hay filled crate outside her tent. A child severely malformed with stubs protruding from his forehead, with feet more akin to cloven hooves. A devil was born, the monster of Pope Lick Creek…

Bristelles fed and watered the child, and took him to the Colonel. Being little more than a businessman, the Colonel saw gold and exclaimed that he had found the star attraction of his show. “It will make me rich, rich beyond my wildest dreams!” He took the child in and raised him, waiting for the cruel day he could exploit the poor boy. He grew in size and strength, his stubs developing into fully grown horns. His temperament as filthy as his treatment by the hands of the carnies. He was chained to a wall and whipped into submission, fed little more than gruel and scraps from the grease pits.

Then, one night, many, many years later, a night as stormy as the night of the child’s discovery, the circus train was rolling through Fisherville to a performance in Louisville, when a bolt of lightning suddenly struck the train, causing it to derail only yards before the bridge at Pope Lick. The train plummeted the 90 feet off the 742 foot long bridge and collided with the ground, a twisted wreck from which only one survived. Body parts were found across the site, but there was no deformed child. He had fled his life of torment and, as some believe, murdered the Colonel, ripping him to shreds…

A story of legend, but one many believe. In the years since 1930, deaths, missing persons and missing animals have all been reported to be because of the Pope Lick Monster. He never left the creek, after all. It’s alleged that he lives in a cave, perhaps, or maybe some ramshackle dwelling far from the beaten track. A creature said to be feared, a bloodthirsty and dangerous monster still enraged by his treatment by the most cruel and foul of people.

It’s said that the monster can mimic human speech, and uses hypnosis to draw people to the top of the bridge, luring them onto the tracks just as a train barrels into view, killing the trespassers instantly. It might be a myth, but many have died climbing the bridge, trying to catch a glimpse of the infamous beast. Many have also died jumping from the bridge to avoid a train. Two people died after colliding with a train in 1987 and 1988. One, Jack Bahm II, 17-years-old, with ‘JC, we love and miss you’ to this day spray painted on the base of the bridge. And David Bryant, who leapt from the bridge to avoid a train but later died from his injuries. Their doom sealed by a belief in a creature of unimaginable horror…

The monster is often described as part goat, whilst other descriptions portray it as a goat-sheep hybrid. Its horns are said to be short and sharp, nestled in long, greasy hair. Fur is said to cover its muscular legs, too, and some think it has a porcelain coloured face. It’s even said to carry a bloody axe, and really, the reason why is best left to one’s imagination. In some versions of the story, it’s not the train that kills the victims, but suicide, driven to madness by the sight of such a beast. Some even say it’s half man, the offspring of a perverted farmer, or perhaps the resurrection of another farmer said to have sacrificed goats to Satan in the hope of immortality. As you do.

People still report ‘sightings.’ Police have received calls of car mirrors broken off during a lonely drive down the lonely country roads nearby, cars said to be attacked by the beast. Others have blamed claw marks on their vehicles are also the work of the creature. Belief grew so strong that, in the 1970s, a satanic cult engaging in demonic rituals set up in a farm near Pope Lick Creek, worshipping the Pope Lick Monster. Nearby residents often heard strange tribal drum beats, and say they were armed. Throughout the 1980s and in to the 1990s, The Four Winds Farm was surrounded by a red and black fence and, at the entrance gate, a sign, warning trespassers of prosecution…

In 1993, nine people, four teenagers and five adults, narrowly avoided death after loitering on the tracks searching for the monster. One young girl was rescued clinging on the side of the bridge, barely. In 2000, 19-year-old Nicholas Jewell died after falling from the bridge, trying to hang from the edge when he saw a train coming. As recently as 2016, just last year, a couple chasing the legend faced tragedy when, not realising the train tracks were still in use, found themselves staring down a train coming right for them. The bridge looked so old they thought it was out of commission. Whilst 41-year-old martial arts instructor David Knee was saved, jumping from the bridge and holding on to the edge until the train had passed, only suffering a minor graze, his girlfriend, Roquel Bain, a 26-year-old surgical assistant and mother of a boy who was just one-year-old at the time, was struck by the train. She was unable to escape, and died when she hit the ground. Local deputy coroner Jack Arnold said that, whilst he had investigated many, many deaths at the bridge before, Bain’s death was the first officially recorded to have happened chasing the monster.

Does this myth exist? No. It doesn’t. It can’t. But it’s a legend all of its own. One that has spanned decades of belief and strange worship, from cults to the crazy youth venturing on to an active train line, costing many their lives. Sightings in a dark wood could be anything, but naturally, many would apportion blame to the monster. It’s easy for the mind to wander. And as for missing people and other such occurrences, such things are not unusual, although a cult killing the livestock most blame the monster for most certainly is unusual. Indeed, there are stories of the youth of the area going around banging on doors and scratching cars, trying to spread fear of a beast that does not even exist. And since 1930, the internet has happened, spreading rumours and tales galore, distorting any truths buried in the legend. Despite all this, one cannot deny this is a fascinating story, but likely just that. A story that will, most certainly, never, ever go away. Yet one thing is for sure. For the love of God, stay off the tracks…

So I’ll give this cryptid a 59 on my patented Cryptid-o-Meter, putting it bottom of the list of 57, with the Beast of Gévauden still holding top spot.

The Pope Lick Monster. A fascinating cryptid indeed.

Ciao :)(:


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What Would You Do If You Were the Last Person on Earth?

Post 866

I’d be most certainly wondering who was gonna make my breakfast, for a start. No, I’m kidding. Mummy doesn’t make my breakfast any more, come on, I’m nearly 27. Daddy does my din-dins, though, so that’s a concern. All that said, imagine the day. You go to bed in a world full of people and when you wake, you’re the only one left. Every single human has vanished overnight. Oh golly, that sure sucks. An entire world with a population consisting of just me. Oh dear, oh the humanity, oh, I’m so sad… actually, no it sounds rather gnarly. Imagine that. Only me. YIPPEE! I don’t have to talk to anyone ever again! And all the world’s bacon is mine! MINE! MINE! Mwa, ha, ha, ha…

I do wonder how long it would take me to realise I was the only one left. I’ll probably start to suspect things are awry when I venture into the kitchen for my morning toast. I may see something unusual that would draw my eye to the fact everyone is gone. The toaster won’t come on. There’s a downed plane in the back garden. I’m stood there frantically turning the light switch on and off again. It’s a very British thing to do when the lights won’t come on. Keep trying the switch. “Why won’t the lights come on?” “I’m trying damn it! On, off, on, off, on, off!” “Is it working?” “NO! I’ve tried everything and I’m all outta ideas!”

You go outside and all you can hear is the wind and the birds high up in the trees. Your morning peeping into your neighbour’s windows doesn’t herald the usual scream and sirens. Ahem. One slowly comes to the realisation that one is the last one alive and one can now say one to refer to oneself as much as one likes because there’s no-one left to complain about it… ONE! Ha, ha, ha! Try and stop me now!

For a hermit like one, it does sound rather joyful. Sure, I’d miss my family and my television programmes, but in a world where no-one is around to make them, there isn’t anything to watch anyway. I might keep making them, in fact. I’ll finish The Walking Dead. What if they were dead all along and the finale is all them meeting up in a church in the afterlife? What? Stupidest idea you’ve ever heard of? I agree. Nobody would do that. Ahem.

But things wouldn’t be so rosy for so long. The rugged and tough survivalist types, such as Edward Grylls, might cope, but people like me, well, we might struggle. Edward Grylls is Bear Grylls, in case you’re wondering. His real name. Nobody would be stupid enough to call their child Bear. In another life, he could’ve had his own range of grills, but I digress.

On top of this, one must contend with the shock of losing those one loved, and the utter bewilderment of the rest of one’s life all alone. We can’t do anything anymore in the western world. I don’t know how to light a fire, although I’d probably just collect some lighters. I can’t even rewire a plug. I know there’s a thing called a chocolate box, but other than that. And don’t tell me we won’t need rewiring skills. What about solar power, hmm? Eugh, a world with just me in it has turned me into a hippy. I feel so dirty…

I need water, food and shelter. Now, the shelter is the easy part. I might set off for that dome thing down in Cornwall. It has plants, right? I could grow anything in there and it’s solar powered. I could collect rainwater easily enough, too. I think I’m doing well, so far. Soon, I’ll have a menagerie of animals to gorge on. I mean, bacon can’t be too hard to rustle up, right? There are only so many ways to skin a cat. Or… a pig, I suppose…

Human beings can survive six weeks without food but only six days without water. Oh God, don’t tell me I’m gonna have to start drinking my own… eugh, I’m even more of a hippy now. I assume that’s what they do. “Oh, we don’t drink rainwater, it belongs to nature, man!” Oh God. Soon, with everyone gone, the electricity will go off. Pumping stations will stop working and treatment works will shut down. Not a problem. I’ll just crap in the ocean and hope Cornwall doesn’t have any sharks. I mean, a 25 foot shark did just wash up on a Cornwall beach, but it was dead, so there…

Water in domestic tanks would fall stale after only a few hours and will be riddled with naughty germs after a few more. Bottled water will be what I’ll survive on, thousands of gallons at my disposal. I’ll also have tinned food, like meats and vegetables, food that will keep for decades and decades. In 2010, a couple who married in 1956 ate a tin of chicken they were given as a present on their wedding, all of 54 years previously. 1956 they married! Just goes to show how long supermarket food really lasts. Also, who gives someone a tin of chicken for their wedding? Also, a tin of chicken? Is that a thing? I assume it’s chicken chunks and not an entire chicken stuffed in a can, but who knows for sure?

I could start fishing for fresh food but I’m not fond of fish. Although in this new world, I guess one can’t be too picky. I’ve also never fished before, so that’s an issue. Also, we Roman Catholics aren’t allowed to eat fish on a Friday. What? I fully intend to maintain religion. Nothing wrong with that. Heck, I could even start my own religion. The Church of Alan. That doesn’t mean I’ve gone crazy, readers, it really doesn’t. I’m perfectly sane. Just ask Rosie. Oh, Rosie is my girlfriend. She’s basically a broom with a wig…

The other source of food would be dear, but can you really kill and spit roast Bambi? Absolutely. I wouldn’t have a problem with that at all. I’ve never fired a gun before, though. I’ve been shot with a BB gun by someone who was bored, but that’s a different story. I’ll cope. I’d have to get out of the cities, though. It wouldn’t take long before the buildings and monuments would start to crumble and nature would start to reclaim what was once hers.

Older structures would be swell, but the modern glass and steel endeavours would perish within a few years. Within a decade, many would have collapsed. I want to be there when Big Ben falls over. Imagine the sound when it hits the deck. “THE BELL TOLLS FOR THEE!” I’ll shout. Unless it hits the Thames. “Aww, buggering ‘ell, it took me seven weeks to get here on horseback, have you any idea how chaffed I am!” Indeed. Fire would also be an issue, and not just for me trying to start it. One lightning bolt and boom, kiss goodbye to the entire city. And I’m not the fire brigade. John is in charge of that. John is a toaster I painted a smiley face on. It’s Rosie’s dad, don’t you know. Yeah, I know exactly what you’re thinking right about now. How can a broom have a father who’s a toaster? Funny story…

You might think heading to the countryside would be a good idea. Not so fast. We have nuclear reactors in the countryside for a reason. If they go boom, nobody will miss a few cows anywhere near as a city full of millions will miss their lives. The cooling pumps will fail and they will go into meltdown. You see, I said all along they were a bad idea and nobody ever listens to me. Sniff. Not a problem anymore, not a problem anymore…

It would be a good idea to get the hell out of Britain as several Chernobyl’s in the first year alone would happen and… that really doesn’t sound all too pleasant, does it now? Life would return to some sense of normality, though. I’ve got the basics, sure. Don’t need to bother with washing myself, I’ll just go for a walk in the rain. And as for cleaning my clothes, well, have you any idea how many clothes stores there are around the world? Billions. Probably. Or I’ll just go naked. Who’s gonna complain? The cockroaches? Golly, I sure hope they’re not called that for a reason.

Disease is an issue, of course. With nobody around anymore, infectious diseases are unlikely to spread, but one small accident would be ever present threat. One broken limb could mean death. And I failed first aid class when I was in the Cubs, like, so many times. Let’s gloss over the fact I was in the Cubs and the only badge I ever got was for ‘participation in unspecified event.’ Sigh.

Since I’m not accident prone at all (ahem) let’s move on to transportation. I’ve got a horse, somehow. I don’t know how to ride it but I presume it’ll do most of the heavy lifting. Traversing roads would become a nightmare, though. After a decade, most would become massively overgrown with weeds, and after 20, most would be impassable for most methods of transportation. After half a century, trees would be sprouting up though the motorways, although, that said, how many of us have been travelling down a motorway and fancied an apple? Hmm? Positives in everything, readers. “Stop Mad Rick, I want an apple!” That’s what I called my horse. Mad Rick. Bruce really likes him. Oh, Bruce is the name of I and Rosie’s son, by the way. He’s basically a cantaloupe, but that’s not important…

Books would serve me well, too. Everything I ever need to know is in them, except how to get into libraries with locked doors. I’d struggle to break the windows. I mean, vandalism is illegal and I would have a hard time breaking the law even though I’m the only damn sheriff in town. Life would be hard in this new world, sure. I mean, how long before the zoo animals break free? “Ah shit, it’s an armada of lions and giraffes!” I don’t know about you, but I’m more worried about the giraffes…

It’s fun to think, then, just what one would do between all this surviving. It’s hard to say, really. So much of what we do to pass the time involves electricity. Whether it’s our games consoles, television, vibrators, the internet, driving – you know, the usual. I mean, what would you do?

Explore Area 51. That’s nice. Maybe I’d find some juicy aliens… to have for supper one night. I could hit golf balls off the top of buildings. I could make it my mission to burn down every Trump Tower. He, he, he… Speaking of which, sadly, I could go and see if there really is a big red button in the White House. I wonder what it does. It would be funny if it blew up the Moon. Not for the Moon, obviously…

I could travel the world and see wonders nobody could afford to see, before they collapse. I could stand atop the Empire State Building and sing ‘Danny Boy’, for some reason. I could party like it’s 1999. I could even try to figure out how to get the good folks up on the International Space Station back down to Earth. I should probably have done that first, come to think of it.

I mean, the most logical answer is to run around in a circle screaming, but I can’t go for that. You know what? I think, most of all, what I’d like to do, is to catch up on my sleep. What? I’m a very tired person! It’s not a boring answer. SHUT UP, it isn’t boring! Alright then, I’ll steal the Mona Lisa and put it up in the bog…

There would be fun to be had, amongst the misery. Sure, there’s the threat of attacks by wild animals. Radiation. Madness. And loneliness. But none of that would compare to the fun of being alone, something I’ve strived for my entire life. To be left alone. What would I do if I were the last human on Earth? I’d be in my own personal heaven and I really couldn’t ask for anything better…

But what would you do if you were the last person on Earth, readers?

Ciao :)(:


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In the Spotlight: 320 – Manitoba

Post 865

Founded as a province on July 15th, 1870. It’s where you’ll find the town of Churchill, the self-proclaimed Polar Bear Capital of the World. Residents are advised to leave their car doors unlocked in case a polar bear turns on a pedestrian and said pedestrian needs to escape, sharpish. Happens now and again. They have a polar bear prison for those naughty bears. I’m actually not kidding, either. In fact, during Halloween, Churchill children are advised against dressing up as polar bears so the police can tell them apart from actual polar bears. Tee, he, he… Churchill is also where Isotelus rex was found, the largest trilobite ever discovered, 27 inches long and 455 million years old. Where you’ll also find the community of Gimli, the largest Icelandic community in the world outside of Iceland. The most common names include Olivia, Emma and Emily, for women, and Liam, William and Benjamin, for men. It’s where you’ll find the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre, in the city of Morden, holding the word record for the largest publicly displayed Mosasaur, woefully named Bruce. Sigh. The capital city, Winnipeg, has the largest amount of Slurpee consumers in the world, with an estimated total of 1.5 million Slurpees sold since the first 7-Eleven opened in the province in 1970. In fact, in 2015, Slurpee erected the largest Slurpee statue in the world, in Winnipeg. It’s kinda sweet, when you think about it. Winnipeg is also where Winnie the Pooh gets his name from. And it’s where you’ll find places named Starbuck, Finger, Red Sucker Lake, Windygates, Snowflake, Flin Flon, Cranberry Portage and Bacon Ridge. Mmm… bacon. Today, we’re visiting The Keystone Province, Manitoba.

Manitoba is a province in central Canada, bordered by Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Ontario and Saskatchewan, plus North Dakota and Minnesota. It is the eighth largest province or territory at 250,000 square miles, with the fifth largest population with 1.2 million people. The name ‘Manitoba’ is thought to come from the Ojibwa word ‘manito-bah’ or the Cree words ‘manito-wapow’ or ‘man-into-wahpaow,’ meaning, ‘the straits of Manitou, the Great Spirit,’ referring to Lake Manitoba. On the north shore, the waves lapping against the loose rocks creates a bell-like, wailing sound, which the Aboriginals believed came from a huge drum beaten by Manitou, the Great Spirit. It was chosen by Sir John Macdonald in 1870 as the name of the new province for its ‘pleasant sound and its associations with the original inhabitants of the area,’ suggested by Louis Riel, the leader of Métis, a French-speaking people with mixed European and Aboriginal ancestry. The motto of this place is ‘Gloriosus et liber,’ taken from the English lyrics of the Canadian national anthem, which is Latin for, ‘Glorious and Free.’ Ah, lovely…

The flag of Manitoba is based on the Red Ensign, bearing the shield of the provincial coat of arms. Much like with Ontario, Manitobans were outraged when the national flag, the Canadian Red Ensign, was replaced with the Maple Leaf flag, and so Manitoba ended up with a flag designed to resemble the Red Ensign, seen as a way to preserve the heritage that many felt was lost when the national flag was changed. The shield contains the Cross of Saint George, a symbol of England, whilst the bison is a symbolic reminder of the bison that once roamed the province. I assume we didn’t kill them and eat them all and, instead, they left of their own free will. Ahem…

Manitoba is an Aboriginal land occupied for thousands of years, a place greatly influenced by the traditional Aboriginal and Métis arts plus the hotchpotch of people from around the world that make up a richly eclectic mix of immigrants. A strong music scene here also traces its roots back to the Aboriginal peoples, in particular, the old-time fiddling of the Métis. Many traditions here have strong influence from Europe, too. Manitoba is internationally renowned for its ballets, outstanding theatres, visual arts, writers, and world-class symphonies. Classical and contemporary dance and music can be found everywhere, here, with arts galleries, exhibitions, music and writers’ festivals also well-liked, along with architecture and homemade handicrafts. And many of these things can trace their roots back to those Aboriginal peoples. Intertwined with modern Manitoba rather beautifully.

The ballet and theatre companies here are prominent, as is the love of such, with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet the oldest in Canada and the longest running in North America, the Winnipeg Art Gallery the sixth largest in the country and with the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art, and the Le Cercle Molière the oldest French language theatre in Canada. Arts and heritage go hand in hand here, a partnership eternal and ever bright. Here you’ll find countless schools of theatre nourishing the Manitoban youth’s desire for the arts and the joy it brings.

This place oozes a radiant heartbeat of sound and festivity, too, with festivals taking place throughout the province, such as the Winnipeg Folk Festival today attracting around 80,000 people over five days. The Festival du Voyageur is a 10 day celebration of French-Canadian culture and heritage, held in Saint-Boniface, Canada’s largest winter festival. The Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival is the second largest of its kind in North America, featuring folk artists from around the world. And Folklorama is often described as the largest and longest-running cultural festival in the world, receiving 400,000 visitors each year. The love and passion for the arts and festivals knows no bounds…

This is a beautiful place to visit and to live in, full of breathtaking beauty, clean, modern and wonderful cities, wide open spaces and farmlands, and mesmerising locations. Here, you’ll find more than 110,000 lakes, including Lake Winnipeg, the 10th largest freshwater lake in the world. Whilst it is a mostly flat land, with plains and plateaus aplenty, you will find a few hills and mountains in the southwest. You’ll find coniferous forests in this land, crisscrossed and blanketed by those famous lakes, from Cedar to Nueltin, and rivers, many wonderfully named, from Bloodvein to Wolverine. This is a place known by the kind and warm locals as a slice of heaven on Earth, and rightly so.

Manitoba is a land of a thousand different cultures, all made to feel welcome and at home. It’s the most culturally diverse province in Canada, welcoming people from every corner of the globe, with more than 100 languages spoken here. A place proud of this multicultural heritage, celebrating their diversity whilst embracing their similarities. A province with an Aboriginal history thousands of years old, with a population famed for their friendliness and community spirit, gladly welcoming visitors for centuries gone and centuries to come, I’m sure. A place truly gorgeous in every sense of the word…

There are sights to love such as the canny and beautiful Old Kildonan Presbyterian Church in Winnipeg, and Bloodvein River, the striking and sublime waters nestled amongst bonére greenery, astonishing and majestic, breathtaking in the extreme.

And then there’s the exquisite and meritorious wonder that is the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg, its neoclassical form gentle and soothing to the eye, a flawless and irresistible gem, opening in 1920.

Then there’s the testament to exemplary modernism that is the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, the only museum in the world dedicated to such, in Winnipeg. Opening in 2014, its luscious curves and effervescent form titillate the senses and warp one’s perception, a building seemingly melting yet mighty and charismatic. A striking and splendiferous structure indeed.

But my favourite sight of Manitoba is the ethereal majesty of Saint Boniface Cathedral, a beacon radiating a gorgeous and supreme grace, a mesmeric icon of Winnipeg. This grand and imposing structure dominated the landscape for six decades, a resplendent monument to incredible human art and craft, not unlike the province it calls home. Sadly, in 1968, a fire destroyed almost all of the cathedral, leaving little more than a leviathan edifice at the front, with a new, smaller cathedral built in the ruins. Today it stands as a remarkable and bonny jewel, oozing rustic charm and captivating onlookers with its endless enchanting form, sitting in glorious kempt grounds, together forming a complex as stunning as one could hope for considering what happened in 1968. Still the heart, beating proud and strong.

Manitoba. The province of heritage, arts and Flin Flon…

Ciao :)(:


Images (Click on Them to Enlarge)
1) The flag of Manitoba
(credit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Manitoba)

2) Saint Boniface
(credit: thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/st-boniface/)

3) The Canadian Museum of Human Rights
(credit: newswire.ca/news-releases/canadian-museum-for-human-rights-receives-global-best-project-award-514115211.html)


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