Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Story of John James Brentnall

John James Brentnall was born in
Springfield New Brunswick in the
county of Kings in possibly 1845
to John M.L. and Sarah Wilson Brentnall.
In the census of 1871 he is listed
as a farmer/ shoemaker in the same town as his parents.
His wife is listed as Elizabeth even though
she is Almira Elizabeth Hamm.
This is the life of John James Brentnall,
,my great grandfather's brother,
and told through pedigree diagram
and story.

"The Brentnall Family listed in New Brunswick Census of 1900"

Brentnall John J. Head M May 1861 50
Brentnall Gertrude Wife M Jul 1880 30
Brentnall Annie Dau S Apr 1902 8
Brentnall Gladis Dau S Jul 1904 6
Brentnall William Son S Nov 1905 5
Brentnall Robert Son S Nov 1908 2

     "John James Brentnall and Almira Elizabeth Hamm"

John James Brentnall and Alvira Elizabeth Hamm were married in Springfield New Brunswick in the Year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and seventy one. Listed in the same town is John's father John M.L. Brentnall who emmigrated here in 1841 from Nottinghamshire with his brother Samuel E Brentnall. Living in the same abode with John M.L. is a daughter Sarah now 15 and a step daughter Maria Jane Wilson. Maria Jane is the daughter of John's wife Sarah who was a widow in 1841 before their marriage. To date it is not known if Wilson is Sarah's maiden name widowed name or other. Was Maria Jane born out of Wedlock?

…and now back to John James Brentnall
Their first child of John James Brentnall and Alvira is Ruth born in 1871 in New Brunswick and possibly Springfield. In 1881 they are listed on US census in the town of Chelsea Suffolk County in the state of Massachusetts. They live in Chelsea til at least 1890 when Lester, the fourth child, dies..maybe even later.

In 1900 John James marries Helena Gertrude Perry in Saint John New Brunswick so we know now that Alvira has died and he is a widower and she a spinster. He is listed as 49 years of age and she 19. Shame on you Great Uncle John!

John James died sometime between 1911-1918 because he is listed on the 1911 Census report as a resident of Saint John County N.B. and Helena marries Warren Herbert Sears in 1918.

And now for the clicker………………………!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Warren Herbert Sears was married to Helena's younger sister Alva Agatha Perry born 1885. By the time Alva died of consumption in 1915 she had bore 3 children with Herbert Warren Sears:
Robert 1907, Maude 1908, and Arthur 1909.

…and then!

Helena G. Perry Brentnall marries Warren Herbert Sears in Saint John New Brunswick on March 18 1918 in Saint John. I had an email many moons ago from another genealogist about the strange circumstances surrounding Helena and Herbert Sears. Wonder now if this is what they meant! Tis a mystery. You have to realize this is 1918 New Brunswick where people did not tolerate these kinds of actions. Silly really when you think of it but these were god-fearing people who put God above all else. Man and beasts!

Helena Gertrude Perry died in Calais Maine in 1946 but for some strange reason is buried in New Brunswick not terribly far from Warren Herbert Sears who died at and is buried in Milltown New Brunswick.

The best thing a man may leave is his word"

- Roderick Brentnall

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ronald Kelly was the log driver

This lighthearted, animated short is based on the song "The Log Driver's Waltz" by Wade Hemsworth. Easily one of the most often-requested films in the NFB collection, Kate and Anna McGarrigle sing along to the tale of a young girl who loves to dance and chooses to
marry a log driver over his more well-to-do competitor. Driving logs down the river has made the young man the best dancing partner to be found. Although the video says the young man it is actually an older man and thanks to friends and people who remembered him it is actually Ronald Kelly my paternal grandfather of Burnt Island Gambo and Grand Falls/Winsor. You'll see Pop Kelly at 00:32 minutes.Dad was so much like Pop ......even had the same jumpy moves.

And now for the video

About the author/maker of "The log drivers waltz"

 Wade Hemsworth grew up in Brantford, Ontario, and learned to play guitar and banjo as a youth. He graduated in 1939 from the Ontario College of Art, and then spent the Second World War in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was briefly stationed in Newfoundland, where he discovered traditional music. After the war, he worked as a surveyor in wilderness areas of Northern Ontario, Quebec and Labrador, a job which provided him with subject matter for many of his 20 original songs. He moved to Montreal in 1952, where he worked as a draftsman for the Canadian National Railway and performed in the city's folk music clubs at night.

More on this story

R Brentnall
Toronto Ont.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Facebook Annoyances

Do you constantly have 99 new notifications, marked with the little red button at the bottom right in your Facebook account? Would you like to only receive important notifications, such as comments from friends, and skip the stuff various applications send you? Read on.
This isn’t a new feature, but I’m always amazed at how many people simply endure thousands of notifications and updates from applications and pages, without ever bothering to simply turn them off. Here are a couple of ways to do it.
Click on the “Notifications” button at the bottom right corner in Facebook. Click on “See All.” On the right, you’ll see a long list of every application that sends you notifications, and you can turn them off by unchecking them. Be careful, Facebook’s own applications which are probably useful to you, such as feed comments, are also on the list, so you’ll probably want to leave them checked. 

Alternatively, in the small notifications roll-up window on the bottom right, an “x” will appear as you hover the mouse pointer over individual notifications. Clicking on it will remove any further notifications from that application.
Finally, for additional fine tuning, you can click on Settings in the main menu, then on “Application Settings”. Choose “Authorized” from the drop down menu. Many applications actually have quite a lot of privileges. For example, some are able to “Access my data even when I’m not using the application,” “Send me emails” and “Publish recent activity to my wall.” From here, you can turn all of those off without actually removing the application. If you want to really make sure the application will never bother you again, you can completely remove it by clicking the “x” next to its name. 

Now, you can do the same for Updates. Click on “Updates” in the menu on the same page (you can reach the page by clicking on “Inbox” from the main menu), and then click on “Updates Settings” on the right. From there, you can control which updates you receive. Save changes, and you’re done. That’s all! Enjoy your new, nag-free Facebook.Don't thank me "Tell ya Mudder"............................................

Monday, August 29, 2011

Celine Dion on Larry King 1998

This is such a great video and interview. Someone was graciasly nice enough to post this.
Celine at her best.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Carpenters Nightmare

Particle board, or particleboard (or chipboard in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and some other countries), is an engineered wood product manufactured from wood particles, such as wood chips, sawmill shavings, or even saw dust, and a synthetic resin or other suitable binder, which is pressed and extruded. Particleboard is a composite material.

Particleboard is cheaper, denser and more uniform than conventional wood and plywood and is substituted for them when appearance and strength are less important than cost. However, particleboard can be made more attractive by painting or the use of wood veneers that are glued onto surfaces that will be visible. Though it is denser than conventional wood, it is the lightest and weakest type of fiberboard, except for insulation board. Medium-density fibreboard and hardboard, also called high-density fiberboard, are stronger and denser than particleboard. Different grades of particleboard have different densities, with higher density connoting greater strength and greater resistance to failure of screw fasteners.

A major disadvantage of particleboard is that it is very prone to expansion and discoloration due to moisture, particularly when it is not covered with paint or another sealer. Therefore, it is rarely used outdoors or places that have high levels of moisture, with the exception of some bathrooms, kitchens and laundries, where it is commonly used as an underlayment beneath a continuous sheet of vinyl floor coverings.

Modern plywood, as an alternative to natural wood, was invented in the 19th century, but by the end of the 1940s there was not enough lumber around to manufacture plywood affordably. Particleboard was intended to be a replacement. Its inventor was Max Himmelheber of Germany. The first commercial piece was produced during World War II at a factory in Bremen, Germany. It used waste material such as planer shavings, offcuts or sawdust, hammer-milled into chips, and bound together with a phenolic resin. Hammer-milling involves smashing material into smaller and smaller pieces until they pass out through a screen. Most other early particleboard manufacturers used similar processes, though often with slightly different resins.

It was found that better strength, appearance and resin economy could be achieved by using more uniform, manufactured chips. Manufacturers began processing solid birch, beech, alder, pine and spruce into consistent chips and flakes. These finer layers were then placed on the outsides of the board, with the central section composed of coarser, cheaper chips. This type of board is known as three-layer particleboard.

More recently, graded-density particleboard has also evolved. It contains particles that gradually become smaller as they get closer to the surface.

Particleboard is manufactured by mixing wood particles or flakes together with a resin and forming the mix into a sheet. The raw material to be used for the particles is fed into a disc chipper with between four and sixteen radially arranged blades. The particles are first dried, after which any oversized or undersized particles are screened out.

Resin, in liquid form, is then sprayed through nozzles onto the particles. There are several types of resins that are commonly used. Amino, formaldehyde based resins ( OMG! The people of the world are in deep shit) are the best performing when considering cost and ease of use. Urea Melamine resins are used to offer water resistance with increased melamine offering enhanced resistance. Phenol formaldehyde is typically used where the panel is used in external applications due to the increased water resistance offered by phenolic resins and also the colour of the resin resulting in a darker panel. Melamine Urea phenolic formaldehyde resins exist as a compromise. To enhance the panel properties even further the use of resorcinol resins typically mixed with phenolic resins are used, but this is usually used with plywood for marine applications and a rare occasion in panel production.

Panel production involves various other chemicals — including wax, dyes, wetting agents, release agents — to make the final product water resistant, fireproof, insect proof, or to give it some other quality.

Once the resin has been mixed with the particles, the liquid mixture is made into a sheet. A weighing device notes the weight of flakes, and they are distributed into position by rotating rakes. In graded-density particleboard, the flakes are spread by an air jet that throws finer particles further than coarse ones. Two such jets, reversed, allow the particles to build up from fine to coarse and back to fine.

The sheets formed are then cold-compressed to reduce their thickness and make them easier to transport. Later, they are compressed again, under pressures between two and three megapascals and temperatures between 140 °C and 220 °C. This process sets and hardens the glue. All aspects of this entire process must be carefully controlled to ensure the correct size, density and consistency of the board.

The boards are then cooled, trimmed and sanded. They can then be sold as raw board or surface improved through the addition of a wood veneer or laminate surface.

Particle board has had an enormous influence on furniture design. In the early 1950s, particle board kitchens started to come into use in furniture construction but, in many cases, it remained more expensive than solid wood. A particle board kitchen was only available to the very wealthy. Once the technology was more developed, particle board became cheaper.

Large companies such as IKEA (Particleboard Central) and Fantastic Furniture base their strategies around providing well-designed furniture at a low price. In almost all cases, this means particle board or MDF or similar. IKEA’s stated mission is to “create well-designed home furniture at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford it”. They do this by using the cheapest materials possible, as do most other major furniture providers. However, manufacturers, in order to maintain a reputation for quality at low cost, may use higher grades of particle board, e.g., higher density particle board, thicker particle board, or particle board using higher-quality resins. One may note the amount of sag in a shelf of a given width.

In general, the much lower cost of sheet goods (particle board, medium density fiberboard, and other engineered wood products), has helped to displace solid wood from many cabinetry applications. As a result, solid wood furniture has become an expensive luxury and particle board or MDF or similar is the norm.

Safety concerns are two part, one being fine dust released when particleboard is machined (e.g., sawing or routing. Get ready to change your blade cheap or expensive for every 35 feet you cut.Personal experience!), and occupational exposure limits exist in many countries recognizing the hazard of wood dusts. The other concern is with the release of formaldehyde. Help! In 1984 concerns about the initial indoor level of formaldehyde led the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to set standards for construction of manufactured homes. This however was not solely because of the large amounts of pressed wood products that manufactured homes contain but also because of other building materials such as Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation. Formaldehyde is classified by the WHO as a known human carcinogen.

Particleboard’s selling points compared to solid timber are its low cost, its availability in large flat sheets, and its ability to be decorated with melamine based overlays.

Solid wood has structural advantages over particleboard. It is stronger, particularly in extension (as required for horizontal spans), allowing it to support greater weights as shelves or other furniture; unless braced or built with thick material, particleboard shelves may visibly sag over time or snap near the fasteners.

Screw fasteners should be installed with caution, taking into account the specific mechanical properties of particleboard. Otherwise, a fastener may not provide the correct holding power in particleboard over time. There is a tendency for improperly installed screw threads to strip. For example, over-torquing a screw installed in particleboard would lead to premature failure of the fastener. The tolerance to over-torque during installation is less-forgiving for particleboard as compared to plywood or to solid wood. Portions of the particleboard may "blow out" when subjected to extension stress. In part, this arises from the lack of elasticity in particleboard resins as compared to the long strands and compressible voids contained in solid wood, a feature that, while preserved in the manufacture of plywood, is compromised in particleboard. Ikea had a good idea back in the 80's when they came out with the cam screw and lock.

The strength of particleboard, in the context of the application and cost, can offer advantages over solid wood on a cost basis. In cabinet carcase construction, relatively thick particleboard is used (typically ¾"), particularly in the sidewalls to support compressive loads of countertops and appliances, where its lower cost and adequate strength make it a frequent choice. ¾ inch plywood laid along the top of your cabinets are recommended for heavier counter tops  such as granite and marble.

Solid wood is more durable than particleboard. Damage to solid wood can be repaired by removing and replacing damaged material then refinishing using known wood treatments that can be matched. Since particleboard is typically faced with by a non-wood veneer, it may be impossible to match the original finish. In addition, damage to particleboard is typified by structural failure and exposure of sizable jagged faults. Damage to particleboard is therefore normally very difficult to repair, usually requiring replacement of the damaged particleboard elements.

The reduced durability of particleboard furniture is a consequence of reduced strength in extension. This drawback contributes to damage when furniture is moved; if possible, the furniture should be disassembled to eliminate the possibility of damage in transit.

Most people consider solid wood furniture to be more attractive than particleboard. Recognizing this, furniture makers often cover particleboard with real or imitation veneers, in an effort to simulate the look of solid wood.

Some particleboard today is manufactured of rubber wood, mainly from Thailand and some regions of Malaysia. Tropical-mix wood accounts for a smaller percentage of the total production of particleboard from the Asian Region.

Tropical-mix wood's main differences with rubber-wood particleboard is its color, strength, moisture resistance and density.

Tropical-mix wood particleboard, made from timber residues and wood waste, gives it a competitive edge over rubber-wood particleboard with its high bending strength. Tropical-mix wood furniture reduces wear and tear of a furniture, including common issues such as dented edges after minor collision, chipping of the sides, which rubber wood particleboard are prone to. Tropical-mix wood particleboard has strengths comparable to MDF, however at a fraction of the cost, therefore it is widely used in the market today, gaining higher popularity. Tropical-mix wood has a higher moisture resistance as compared to rubber-wood, however glue type also plays an important role in it. High moisture/humidity resistance will greatly reduce the chance of mold growing on the particleboard, and applicable in conditions where humidity level is slightly higher than usual (without direct exposure to any form of liquid.)

Tropical-mix wood is usually heavier in weight due to its difference in raw material and density (more compact in density).

Rubber wood has a bright look (yellowish) due to the color of rubber wood with black dots, tropical-mix wood has a consistent light brown finish.

Both products are great for lamination purposes, furniture making, speaker boxes, and other industries but for the right price and furniture that lasts a life time invest in the real deal. Wood.

R Brentnall

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

10 Reasons to switch to Gmail...The best in Email

12 Reasons To Switch To Gmail

1. Gmail spam filters block 99% of the spam that usually makes it to your inbox. Although Outlook 2007 had a good spam filter, I still usually got around 2 or 3 emails a week sneaking into my inbox… not with Gmail.
2. With Gmail you get to keep your old email account, and all incoming emails will be forwarded to your new Gmail account . Also, emails that you send from your new account will have your old email account in the from area.
3. You can create Word docs, PDF’s and spread sheets with Gmail via the use of GoogleDocs.
4. Gmail allows you to schedule events with the Google Calendar that will notify you by email to remind you of an appointment or meeting. It can also send a reminder to the person or persons that you will be meeting with.
5. Gmail has something called ‘Stars’ and which allows you to tag emails you find important. You can actually do a search for ‘Starred‘ emails and they all pop up, and as quick as a normal google search!
6. Your emails are tabbed into a thread, which means you no longer have to look for old emails… it is more like a conversation window.
7. You can set up filters and labels to keep your Inbox organised and clutter free.
8. It has a fast, easy search function which means you will never lose an email again. The search is as fast a normal google search which is ace.

9. Update: Forgot to mention how much space there is with Gmail… you will never have to delete an email again.
10. Update: The ‘Canned Responses’ aka drafts feature is great. When you need to email something over and over, this function will save you a lot of time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Facebook is crap! ................with a capital C

Over the years we’ve all seen technological trends come and go (I’m older so I’ve seen more come and go than some others). I regard Facebook as one of these fads that will fade soon.

As a reader/writer I have been interested in the study of random graphs that arise from social phenomena. Examples include the link graph of the web, the email graph connecting email addresses together, the sexual contact graph, the co-authorship graph, the coworker’s graph, etc. In trying to understand how these graphs evolve, I’ve noticed a lot of buzz surrounding websites that try to build explicitly upon this phenomonen, namely social network sites like LinkedIn and Orkut. In the past I even joined a couple of these to see what the hype was about. In each case, after screwing around with them for about ten minutes I’ve been thorougly underwhelmed with the technology and the privacy compromises that they involve. I predict that these will go the way of geocities (or at least they should).

First of all, they offer a walled garden model, where only people who surrender their privacy are allowed to participate. In order for any of these sites to have any value to you, you have to put some energy into surrendering your information to the control of the closed network. If your friends choose to put their effort into the same network, then you can benefit from it. On the other hand, if your friends put their effort into another network (e.g., myspace or orkut or 360 or linkedin), then you end up having your friends walled off from each other. I have friends all over the world, and I don’t see any value in having them walled off from each other. If the web taught us anything, it is that walled gardens are inferior to gardens without walls.

The privacy issue is a confusing one to many people. Some people are attracted to Facebook because they perceive that it offers some control for them over the information that they share with friends. What they overlook is that in order to gain this control, they have to surrender other forms of their privacy. In particular, in order to join the Google group at Facebook, I have to give my work email address to Facebook. In exchange for surrendering this information to a faceless corporation, I would get to exercise some control over the sharing of information that I put into facebook. Specifically you can limit your data to those who you declare to be in your list of friends. It even offers some fine-grain control over which of your friends can see certain pieces of information. Whoopdy doo.

By contrast, when you create a web site like this one, you have no control over who can read it or what use can be made of it. That drives some control freaks and fearful people crazy. The advantage of giving away control is that you don’t limit your ability to communicate. As a social animal, I like to share information with my friends, but I’m not particularly interested in using a crude web tool to exercise limited control over who gets to see what. I adopt the notion that if you don’t want to say it in public, then you probably shouldn’t type it at all.

In my opinion there is far too much paranoia in this world about privacy, and sites like facebook prey upon this paranoia in a cynical way to exploit the data of others. There is a lot of data about us as individuals that circulates in this world, and sometimes that data gets used against you in ways you may not like. I see sites like Facebook as a placebo against this trend.

I can take or leave Facebook. Just don’t expect me to put any time into building my network – I like my gardens without walls.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Rogers: Friendly Neighbourhood Cable Company or Diabolical Crooks?

My first experience with Rogers should have sent me running for the hills…or at least to the cancellation desk in an attempt to void the deal I just made with the devil. Unfortunately for us mere mortals, the gods sitting atop Mount Rogers know exactly how crooked they really are and gleefully revel in it. Their army of shady lawyers carefully hide clauses in the microscopic print on the bottom of all their contracts to figuratively hog tie and gag their customers so you are powerless to stop them from gouging every red cent they can out of you by means of hidden fees, extortionate pricing and so-called “bundled savings”. They also ensure as many people as possible sign up for the more expensive services by making the cheaper options so absurdly inadequate that customers are left with little choice.
They buy up blocks of time from television stations who, in exchange, air flashy commercials that highlight how Rogers is the master of the universe while blatantly demeaning the competition. After all, Rogers has the fastest, most reliable wireless network, cheapest home phone packages and unbeatable digital cable options in the country, right? Why not sign your life away and enjoy the benefits?
So you spend hours reviewing your options on their snazzy, highly efficient website and carefully build a Better Choice Bundle consisting of home phone, internet and cable. This saves me 10%, you think happily as you click away. Better than nothing!
You do some quick math. If a basic home phone costs $27.95 per month, basic cable is $29.99 and internet is $27.99, add tax and the 10% bundle discount and your bill should hover somewhere around the $88.93 ballpark, give or take a few bucks for system fees, etc. Not bad for three amazing Rogers services. You’re now anxious to speak to a helpful customer service representative to get the ball rolling so you can take full advantage of this great deal. And said customer service representative is only too happy to oblige you.
What they don’t tell you is getting your hands on one of these “great deals” is damn near impossible because they don’t exist. Your $28 telephone is great – if everyone you know and are likely to ever talk to for the rest of your life lives within a thirty-block radius of your house. If not, you have to add a long-distance package which will cost you another $19.95 each month or upgrade to a more expensive option.
That awesome $30 cable is great too – if you only watch CBC News and the fireplace channel in four different time zones. More than a quarter of the thirty or so channels you pay for are time shifted stations broadcasting the same programs you watched an hour before. It also does not include many of the more popular television stations. If you want more visual stimulation, you have to choose a more expensive package – Digital Plus at $47 or VIP at $57.49 are your only sensible options. If you want the Godfather of all cable packages, VIP Ultimate is available. It includes VIP channels plus movie packages, specialty channels and theme packs but at an extortionate price of $99.46 a month, who the hell can afford it? You also have the option to add specific channels to your package but that option is unavailable with your basic $30 cable so you’re shit out of luck.
The $28 internet is an amazing deal as well if the only thing you ever do is open and close Internet Explorer all day. At the absurdly slow download speed of 500 Kbps, you could deliver that letter to your pen-pal in Germany quicker by walking there than trying to e-mail it using this dinosaur. In fact, you could probably walk there and back before the hotmail page even loads. If you don’t like the idea of decaying at your desk with dead lice falling off you while you wait for a web page to appear, you are forced to upgrade again to a more expensive package. These range anywhere from $35.99 for something slightly quicker than cold molasses to $99.99 for internet so fast, that your e-mail to your pen pal in Germany is rocketed to her Inbox three days before you even thought about writing it.
So after you’ve tweaked your Better Choice Bundle to include services that are a little more acceptable to your busy lifestyle, you now have Express internet at $46.99, VIP cable at $57.49, basic home phone with no calling features for $27.95 and the long-distance package for $19.95. Add tax and 10% bundle discount and your bill should now be hovering around in the $157.71 ballpark….more than $60 more than you originally thought. Suddenly these “great deals” you see advertised on television don’t seem go great after all.
But your bank account doesn’t stop hemorrhaging there. You must also take into account the one-time installation charges, pro-rated billing, modem rental, terminal fees and one-month advance billing. Once these have been tacked on, the initial hundred-dollar bundle that you were so excited about is now costing you three times more than you were willing to pay in the first place and you suddenly feel like you’ve been raped with a machete. Not to mention that you are now stuck in an iron-clad 12-month contract that had been forged in the fires of Mount Doom and feels like a lead ball and chain around your ankle.
 I was one of those customers but little did I know that the trouble hadn’t even begun yet.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Joys of Burglary

 The cops arrived about two hours after I phoned. In the meantime, I really had to use the bathroom because I'd been on the plane and subway all day, but the burglars had urinated in my toilet, and I wondered if I'd be destroying evidence. Could they get DNA from pee? I didn't know.
Sound irrational? Maybe. But I was sitting in an empty house and I had to pee really bad; that can make you crazy. I decided to hold out, and sat down with my legs crossed to piece together the holiday mail. The burglars had ripped all the cards in half searching for cash.
The cops showed up long after I'd given up and relieved myself. They were both rookies. One was a round, short woman so overweight she could hardly walk (which irritated me, I mean how can you respect any cop you can out walk?), and the other was a guy who spelled "also" as "all so" on the report. When the fingerprint detective arrived, the first thing he asked was, "Are you sure your roommate didn't do this?" He was suspicious because the burglars had taken everything, including the coffee table and rugs. Crackheads don't bother with home furnishings. So we got hit by pros. The cops said that pros wait for you to replace everything with your insurance money and then they come back after a few months. That didn't happen, but I watched for them for months.
Besides our stereos, computers, leather, compact discs, telephones, cash, televisions, VCRs and porch furniture, the burglars stole my nail file set, a nice one that I received as a present. I hope they like it. They loaded their bounty into my a 1986 Chevrolet Astro minivan according to neighbours and stole that too probably.
The fingerprint guy was the most interesting of the cops (Laurel and Hardy) who showed up:  a detective who questioned neighbors and the fingerprint guy. He poked around, covering everything with a metallic dust that stripped paint off metal. He also was the last one to leave.
"How long you been a fingerprint guy?"
"Twelve years."
"Any common elements among all the burglaries?"
"Crack addicts. Kids. Not very smart. Don't wear gloves, so we catch 'em. Always eat something."
I noticed a carton of orange juice and a cup of blueberry yogurt on the kitchen floor. I pointed them out. The fingerprint guy picked up the yogurt.
"Plastic doesn't work that well," he told me. He tried anyway. He dusted my yogurt.
"If burglars always eat something," I asked, "could we leave behind some poisoned beer?"
He didn't answer, and I thought he was concentrating on the yogurt. Then he turned in the chair and fixed me with a cold stare. "Ever hear of manslaughter?" he said.
I didn't ask about the legality of a shotgun booby trap.
After the fingerprint guy had gone, I fixed the door as best I could and tried to sleep. I had the heeby-jeebies for months, even after my housemate installed an alarm system. Every sound became the echo of steps, every creak was a crowbar. The radiators popped without warning, that breaking-of-glass sound when you're not expecting it. You only needed to believe it for a moment and your heart jumped and you have to talk yourself out of it and try to sleep.
As the weeks passed, I became angrier that I suffered this anguish, tiptoeing around the house, not playing the radio because of my (irrational, certainly) fear that I wouldn't hear the crooks returning to tie me to a chair and say, "What should we do with him?" It's a strange leap, it was just a burglary and happens all the time and I was insured and it's certainly not as traumatic as being shot or raped or beaten. But when you've been violated in whatever way and you read about some guy on death row who killed two teenagers in cold blood and now wants a stay of his execution and has Mother Teresa asking people to pray for him, you think why not a fucking prayer for me?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

7 Methods to Traffic

Getting repeated traffic is very crucial when it comes to an online business, whether it’s a monetized blog, an e-commerce site or anything that generates income for you. At some point, generating initial traffic can become an easier task compared to maintaining the tempo of the traffic and keeping them going back to your site the next time.

To help you, here are 7 methods to help bring repeat traffic:

be constant on your post and try to follow a schedule. This usually alarms visitors that liked your recent articles about the time for the post. Not only does this help your blog grow, it also shows how diligent you are in updating the blog.

Make things simple for your visitors by adding a link to your primary page with a “Book Mark” or “Add this site to your Favorites” script.

To attract customers and make them repeated ones, use the “Recommend this post or blog to a Friend” function to make that easier. Remember, this link does not only function to send mail to the new users but most of the times have option to send a copy to the send himself. But in doing so make sure to have your blog updated as well, a list would be very useful for organization purposes.

By properly branding your site or blog, you can easily make people remember your site with less effort. Each time a reader thinks about your blog, all they simply need to do is to remember a photo, a figure, logo or simply a color. This will create a presence and feel for your customers and visitors that they are at your site.

The sending of unsolicited emails to your mail subscribers if the list is maintained separately. This should be the least expected thing for your readers to think of. It’s advisable that you give them options to opt out from mailing list for every mail you send to each of them. Always make an assurance that you honor their request/s and take them off your mailing list/s. constan

flooding of your reader’s mails will only result to the damage of your site and reputation, avoid this as much as possible.

Try to optimize your blog post pages to the fullest, so that search engines in such a way that the subject or topic of your blog post/s, if searched on your blog should be appearing in the first two pages of search engine/s. always remember the contents quality and the keywords that match right into it, since these play a huge role in contributing to your site’s success.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Being an actor does not merit the ability to direct

clip_image002After watching "Young Triffie" for the first time on CBC's latenight yesterday I can safely say that I did not miss a hellova lot when the film debuted in Halifax back in 2005.From her crusading stint on CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes as Marg, Princess Warrior, to the way she put a certain highly-placed Nova Scotia MP in his place for mistaking Halifax for Hogtown, it seems there's nothing that Mary Walsh can't do -- and do brilliantly. Then again, having endured Young Triffie, the movie that marks Walsh's feature-film directorial debut, maybe we should make that "almost nothing she can't do." Turns out, when it comes to directing movies, Martin Scorsese and John Ford need not lose much sleep over competition from Walsh. As a movie, Young Triffie no doubt made a damn fine play, which is precisely how it started out.
Written by Ray Guy under the title "Young Triffie's Been Made Away With," it seems to have enjoyed quite a success among discerning theatre goers on The Rock during its stage incarnation. As a film though it could have read "Young Triffie has been made away with by Mary Walsh." and nobody with a sense of the theatre would have even noticed. Mr. Guy may never sleep the same after seeing one of his great masterpieces being thrown to the dogs.
But then that's where Young Triffie, both play and subsequent movie, is set, specifically in Swyers Harbour -- a small, fictional Newfoundland outport, circa 1947.
It is to Swyers Harbour that an inept Newfoundland Ranger (Corner Gas' Fred Ewanuick) is sent packing to investigate what appears to be the ritual sacrifice of a sheep.
This being 1947 Newfoundland, and the Ranger being particularly inept, he arrives in town blissfully unaware that circumstances have outstripped him. He will now be investigating the murder of young Triffie herself, she being the unfortunate and simple young daughter of a local crackpot evangelist (wonderfully played by Andy Jones).
Adapted from the stage play by Christian Murray, Young Tiffie boasts a plot that embraces not only murder but pedophilia, incest, drug addiction, religious zealotry and a host of other societal ills. All serve as comic fodder for a cast that also includes Remy Girard (as the local doctor) and Andrea Martin (forever miscast; as his meddling wife), Colin Mochrie (as Ewaniuck's commanding officer), Cathy Jones (as a local busy-body) and Walsh herself, cast as post mistress and purveyor of red herring, which in this case is a darn sight more prevalent than cod.
In short, it's the kind of comedy that a more experienced director might mind from a cast of dramatic actors, as opposed to a clutch of comedians.
With the comics in control there is no bit of comic business too picayune, no characterization too over-the-top, to allow it to go to waste, even at the expense of paltry considerations such as dramatic arc and storyline.
So instead of a cracking good yarn with comedic overtones, viewers are subjected to Ewaniuk's best impersonation of Mr. Bean does Buena Vista (the portugese name for Bonavista Bay aka "Oh Happy Site") , while Martin does her best to keep up with the tightly wound Joneses. Of all the roles I have seen Andy Jones perform in this is by far I think his gem. He did not just play the part he was the part. Then again that being said Ronald Reagan played the lead in "King Rat" and we all know that cutting a man's leg off well it does give one a wonderful prop. In the end, almost everybody -- except perhaps Newfoundland itself -- comes off looking totally daft.
And to think that it previewed with the words…"See some of Newfoundlands finest actors strut their stuff." Scarey! Bloody Scarey!
God forbid that Mr. Guy would allow anyone from this friendly circus to touch "That Far Greater Bay."

"Paws off! Paws off! The lot a ye"

As a film director, Walsh still needs to learn what she apparently already knows as an actor: Concentrate on telling the story, and trust your audience to find the humour. Talk about Filme Horribilis.

"She's not the same since the Doctor put her on the new pills............nor will she ever be"
R. Brentnall

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Christmas in Brampton

Gloria is Gloria Paul duke of Gambo who now resides in Brampton Ontario. A couple of weeks ago we talked about the possibility of me going for a visit for a couple of days during the Christmas season. This was my first Christmas in many years that I decided not to go to Fort McMurray or Newfoundland Boston New York or Montreal. The fact that I have therapy 3 days a week for a dislocated shoulder made it impossible to travel outside my native Toronto for a long period of time. Taking the Go Bus would be a lot wiser than having to travel the #401 this time of year not to mention the bad driving habits of this multicultural society.

Got there around 2pm on Christmas Eve and after trying to track Gloria down for half an hour we ran into each other via cell phone. Not hard to spot her though as all the Paul sisters are similar in Look. Of them all I probably knew Pamela best as we had been students at the old United School Junior High as well as the well known Smallwood Academy. I've known that family since I was a wee lad growing up in Gambo in the 60's and 70's. Henry and Marie Paul had from who I remember Ella(Granter) Mary (Collins) Rhoda(Lane) Idella(Lane) Nina(?) Gloria(Duke) and 2  brothers John and Henry(Jr.) who was tragically killed by a drunk driver back in 1978. I remember being in Montreal at the time and having been told by brother Norman about the incident. The feeling well you can imagine it was like someone from our own circle having his life shortened by what I would define as a bleeding idiot. I will not mention the culprit but you know who you are and like most writers I don't wish to be sued for slander.

Brampton had so much snow! Wow! Now this is Christmas the way it should be celebrated. Samantha and Jarrett were in the back seat of the car and good as gold for about 5 minutes and then the questions started and here I was thinking they were Gloria's little angels. Actually they are. Good as gold both of them.

We popped into the Beer store that had very few people; unusual for Christmas Eve but then again this was Brampton and not Toronto. Pulling into Wall mart an hour later was another story. One felt like saying "Get out for the love of god..... you've spent enough!"
I remember suggesting to Gloria to just grab me a few gift certificates for the kids. At least with those they could still buy what they wanted and also think that Santa Claus brought them. As long as we had to line up to pay I may as well grab a couple toberone chocolate bars for their stockings too. Gotta love kids! After all they are what Christmas is all about."Alright", I said "Lets head home my dear and off we went.

There are many things that one might see when a door to a garage is opened but this one might give anybody the woolies. Have a guess? Give up? A prop left over from Hallowe'en in the rear of the garage. It was a coffin made from tin that you can place on your lawn along with other things for crazy halloweeners. It's just that it looked so darned real! Wicked...

That night we spent most of the time talking of old times in Gambo and how different it was then as opposed to now.When Gloria put the kids to bed for the night we started on our wine and grub and spent a fine evening shooting the poop about nothing that can be changed anyway. Wonder why it is that the Newfoundlanders favourite pastime is spent conversing of things that happened 25-30 years ago. Probably because the culture that we come from has done it for 500 years and so it's what we do.

When Jarrett went to bed he went to sleep but not our Little Miss Muffett...oh no...If she came down once she cane down 10 times. Why? because she had to make sure that Santa had enough to eat when he arrived down the chimney on Christmas Morning.There it was on her last visit……..a huge 1 foot carrot on the plate. I laughed til I cried. That was it! Gloria's patience was being tried.
"Now my Lady...." well say no more she was gone and Santa would just have to settle for a five course dinner. HA Ha HA!

Went to bed I think it must have been around 2 but for anyone who has slept on a couch and was not comfortable this one was no exception. It probably was comfortable but when you are so used to your own bed the Queens parlour would not have replaced it. I went to bed blinked and got up so it seemed. Woke up to the sound of little children scrunching wrapping paper ribbons and christmas tape to all the gifts that Santa can muster. You can say what you want but there is nothing in this world so beautiful and exciting as watching the little ones open their Christmas gifts. I remember saying to Gloria "Poor little things...they're so deprived. We got a chuckle out of that one. Jarett got a guitar that was similar to the amplifier in days of old and Samantha got new pink skates among the more than 20 other gifts from Mommy and Daddy and all the others in their family.

Christmas always brings me back to a day in 1963 when all I talked about was a plastic Dump truck in Uncle Peter Paul’s window to anyone who would listen. I even wrote a letter to Santa Claus himself because before I was 10 he really did exist. The story or the myth always seemed so real. My Santa Claus that one particular year came in the form of my beautiful Aunt who was also as I later learned much later to be exact my Godmother as my own mother on the day of my christening had been ill. Aunt Joan who is also an Aunt to Gloria came over to visit and under her arm was something in a brown paper bag and with what I knew was something for somebody because she sat to the kitchen table with Mother sipping Tea and eating raisin buns and the bag just sat there unopened. Now if it was something for Mother or Dad it would have been opened by now. What was in that bag? I had to know. It couldn’t have been baked bread because there were too many wrinkles. Not cookies it was too high. Okay that’s it…I’m asking and so now here is the surprise.

“Aunt Joan…..what’s in the bag?”Nothing like being inquisitive when you’re 7 and not even blinking. “Well, I don’t know my baby.That all depends on whether you’ve been a good little boy or whether or not you’ve been a bad little boy.” Well whatever it was I may have been only 7 but smart enough to know that whatever it was it must have been meant for me because Aunt Joan would not have asked that question if she had not gotten that for me. Could it be? I wonder? Is it? Is it possible that Santa and Aunt Joan were one and the same. On that she picked me up on her knee and said
“Don’t touch Roddy, let Aunt Joan unwrap it. ” Out came the little toy truck and the most awestruck child of 7 that if you were in attendance in that small Irish kitchen you never saw or maybe never will see the likes since. There was a god; there was a Santa; and there are miracles. It was a Green truck with a white dumpster as well as a small green shovel to complete the set. You can imagine the smile and joy on a childs face and in his heart at that moment. Yippee! It was by far in my memory the very best of Christmases ever. To this day I cannot even fathom visiting a friend with children and not bringing them something for their big day. A little kindness goes so far.

10 years later on a sunny June morning in 1973 I watched my Mother cry her eyes out glaring through a picture window as the body of my beloved Aunt was driven down the old road of Gambo. By then Santa Claus was dead but as great notions go I became Santa myself to any child within my reach at this most emotional and giving time of year. Aunt Joan is still with me in my heart as is Uncle Watson whenever I feel the need for guidance joy and direction. They are always with me.

Sharing Christmas with friends and family is the very best to those of us who experience it. They are not now what they were when I was a boy but then again nothing is. Thanx to all who made this Christmas a joyous one for me and oh so many others and may the New Year bring you hope understanding prosperity and a love of yourself and all those around you.

“Gloria….Turn off the kettle fore she burns”

Roderick Brentnall is a freelance writer and lives in Toronto.