And With These Words, You Found My Site?

Posted in Observations on December 29th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: I’m checking statistics for my site, and decided to see what phrases people are searching that brings them to my site. Here are a few gems:

    laugh it up fuzzball – someone searching for Harrison Ford?
    cibc sucks – who doesn’t know?
    sore shoulder blade – that would be mine, lately
    sk8ter shoes – Avril helped me buy them
    krispy kreme edmonton – soon, I hope
    why cows hate winter – because it’s cold?
    my eye hurts – stop sticking needles in it
    animal testicles – no comment
    the worst version of o holy night – it’s bad, real bad
    posh spice saskatchewan – wasn’t aware she’d moved there
    funny ebay beanie babies – aren’t they all?
    reichardt duck farm – for all your California duck needs
    gratuitous umlaut – one too many dots
    jimmy mackenzie is hot – could be, but he does nothing for me
    winter in google – google is a place, now?
    its coming sshhh – walk on your tippy toes
    amanda bynes email adress phone – how’d they know she’s my roommate?
    teh passion-mel gibson – is that the sequel to The Passion?
    shampooed in ketchup – fetish revealed!
    my car spun – sorry to hear that
    distended stomach worms – watch for their new album, out in January
    day bing cosby died – Bing Cosby? Did Bill and Bing have a kid?
    lyrics of shout shout let it all out – these are the things I can do without
    sack of wet mice – “He’s about as sharp as a…”
    beanie baby ex-wife – beanie baby divorces are the worst
    bank of montreal sucks – I sense a theme here
    frustrated pissed off screaming – try Zoloft or Prozac
    ass wipe greeting cards – new Hallmark division?
    the boobs of jennifer lopes – can’t anyone spell anymore?
    bill o reilly door mat – I’ll take one
    self-cleaning dinner table – I’ll take one
    the pain the pain – Dr Smith is in the house
    rocky and bullwinkle in edmonton – they put on a great show!
    the actress of the ord of the rings – “Ord of the Rings”? Can’t anyone spell anymore?
    randy randy randy randy randy randy lyrics – what?
    stainless steel testicles – must belong to Ah-nold
    where can i find information on my eye and why it hurts? – I told you, take out the needles
    randy librarian alberta – i’m right here
    free funny christmas vidios – spelling, please!
    the matrix blows jon stewart – I hope he’s ok

The internet is a weird, wacky, wonderful place.

Stuff from Time Out New York and Elsewhere

Posted in Music, Pop Culture, Random Thoughts on December 29th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: Did you see School of Rock? I was pleased to learn that there is a real such movement, called Little Kids Rock. It was started in 1996 by David Wish, an elementary school teacher who at the time, was frustrated with the lack of funding for music education in his school.

:: Some of you may be familiar with This Modern World, by Tom Tomorrow, aka Dan Perkins. Mr Tom Tomorrow was interviewed in a recent issue of Time Out New York.

:: For dinner this evening, I had the first of four delicious Nova Scotia lobsters, flown in from Halifax yesterday. The lobsters were in the luggage of a friend I picked up at the airport, the second year in a row she has returned from her Christmas trip with this delicacy that is my favorite food. *sigh* Thank you, K!

:: Fans of Steve Earle will be interested in this new documentary, Steve Earle: Just an American Boy. Earle stirred up much controversy when his 2002 album, Jerusalem, featured a song called John Walker’s Blues, about the American Taliban fighter. A double-CD functioning as a companion piece to the movie has also been released. Time Out New York reviewed the movie favorably. I really like Jerusalem, and hope the film makes its way to Edmonton in 2004.


Posted in Film, Random Thoughts on December 29th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: I’ve been very lazy the past few days. I was in Calgary on Christmas Day, visiting my brother Chris and his girlfriend, Debra, where they treated me to a fine Christmas dinner and great company. I returned on Boxing Day (Dec 26 for my non-Canadian friends), and have been doing a lot of nothing since then, except seeing movies.

:: I wanted to see at least 100 films this year, and reached that number yesterday. In the past few days, I’ve seen Peter Pan, Morvern Callar, Paycheck (ok, so I needed to see a fluff film), 21 Grams, House of Sand and Fog, The Barbarian Invasions, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and LOTR: TROTK. I’ll see Elf this afternoon with friends. Despite my best attempts to keep a master list of the films I see, I believe I always forget to list a title or two each year.

:: In the remaining week away from work, I hope to get some cleaning done in the house, but given how lazy I’m feeling, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll get anything done!

Of Winters Past

Posted in Family History, My Mother's Stories on December 24th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: I was talking on the phone with my mother, Loretta Reichardt, the other day, and the conversation turned to how we lived in the 50s, and how we heated our home in the winter. I recall that we had a coal furnace, and remember watching my Dad shovel coal into the large, mysterious vessel that lived in our basement on Gareau Street, in St Boniface, Manitoba. I asked my Mom what it was like in the 1930s, when she lived in a little house with her three sisters and two brothers. How did they heat their house in the winter?, and other questions emerged. I asked Mom to detail this for me, and I present to you her words below:

    This afternoon when you called, we had a conversation about our first home when you were just three, and Chris was 6 months old. Yes, we had a furnace in our basement that burned coal. We lived with that furnace for several years before natural gas finally arrived in our neighbourhood. That was, indeed, a red letter day for all of us.

    Then you asked me what it was like in my home when I was just a young girl. How did grandma and grandpa heat our home?, you asked. We had two different types of stoves in our home. My dad put one of the stoves up in the living room in the winter. It was called a Booker furnace. It was your typical pot-bellied little furnace that had the pipes going up through the ceiling, and into one of the upstairs bedrooms and then out through the chimney. At night, my Dad would stoke the furnace until it was unbelievably hot in the house, then my Mother would say to us, “Sneak upstairs and open the bathroom window.” So one of us would open the window, and five minutes later, my Dad would yell, “Who opened the bathroom window?”, and we’d all say, “Nobody, it wasn’t me, Dad!” Then the stove would burn out in the middle of the night, and when it was -30 outside, the house would begin to cool down within an hour, to a very cold temperature. We had many blankets to keep us warm during those nights.

    By the time my Dad woke at 6:00 am, he’d start the fire again in the Booker furnace, and one in the kitchen stove. My younger sister, Carol, and I, wore navy blue bloomers and black stockings to school with our tunics and white blouses. When it was really cold at night, we tried to sneak the bloomers and stockings on before bed so that when we woke up in the morning, we wouldn’t have to step on a freezing cold floor. But before we’d get to sleep, my Mom would check on us first; she’d toss the covers back, check our feet and see the stockings sticking our from our pajama bottoms, and order us to, “Get those off immediately, you cannot sleep in your bloomers.” We would respond, “But we don’t like stepping on the cold floor with our bare feet in the morning”, and she’d say, “You’re not babies, stop crying and just do it”, and sometimes she’d give us a story about her growing up on the farm, and how much harder it was then, and how much easier life was now.

    In the kitchen was a large stove with a warming oven at the top. The stove itself had several rounds on the top which one could open to place the wood in. These were located to the left side of the stove. On the extreme right side of the stove was a reservoir which my parents would keep filled with water. This water would then become hot whenever the stove was lit and you had a good fire burning. There was the oven in the centre of the stove. It had a thermometer on the front and my mother would regulate the heat whenever she was baking bread, cookies, cakes, pies, or cooking meat such as a roast, chicken, turkey, etc. Looking back, it amazes me how she managed to keep the fire in the stove at the right temperature, so as not to overcook or over bake anything.

    We didn’t have a hot water tap in our home so we were always grateful to have the hot water in the reservoir for washing ourselves before bedtime and then again in the morning. We did not have the luxury of a bathtub or shower. We had to bathe in a huge galvanized tub which my dad would place in the downstairs bedroom which was located just off the kitchen. My father would fill a large copper double boiler on the top of the stove. I am not too sure just how many gallons of water it held, but it was enough to fill the tub in the bedroom where we could bathe in privacy. You were always happy if it was your turn to be first in the tub. Being that we were a large family, one tub full of water had to do for three of us, one after another. We took turns being first. Then my father had the job of emptying the tub and then refilling it again with more hot water for the next set of children.

    This was a common practice among those of us who were considered the poor in the community. However, although we were truly poor as far as dollars and cents go, were very rich in so many other areas. My mother kept her six children spotless, our home was always immaculately clean, and because she was so gifted, she sewed most of our clothes. I lie in bed even now and sometimes can almost hear her treadle sewing machine working into the late hours of the night. When we awoke in the morning, there would be a new coat for one of us that mom had made from an old coat someone had given her. She would get these coats, take a razor blade and invite one of us to hold the coat at one end while she carefully ripped the seams open with her trusty razor blade. Then she would take a piece of white chalk, have us stand in front of her while she measured and marked just where she knew she would have to cut and sew. Voila! A masterpiece awaited one of us by morning. My mother was a real genius. We were truly blessed.

After reading this, and after talking with my Mom, I looked around my house, and considered how easy life is in terms of what my Mother describes – I have running hot and cold water, toilets and showers, a dishwasher, a furnace, a washer and dryer, stove and fridge, microwave, computer, television, CD player, tape player, VHS player, DVD player; oh, and clothes and food, too. I never have to step on a cold floor, and only need one extra blanket in the winter. My furnace hums along quietly, and I seldom think about it. For Christmas 2003, I can give thanks for those things, for my health, my family, my good friends and colleagues, my place of work, the city and country in which I live. I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and hope you, too, can find many reasons to be thankful. Oh, and watch for more writing from my Mom – I’ve asked her for further contributions about life in the 30s in Winnipeg.

Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays, and Such

Posted in Miscellaneous on December 24th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: I wasn’t really aware until this “holiday season”, of how Politically Correct we’ve become in North America, regarding saying Merry Christmas and mentioning Jesus Christ at this time of the year (gosh, it’s his birthday), instead saying “Happy Holidays”, and especially not mentioning anything connected with Christianity and the like, so as not to offend anyone. I was raised Catholic and still consider myself to be a small “c” Christian, and find myself more than a bit annoyed at this trend. A Christmas tree at the law school at Indiana University was removed so as to ensure that the University remains “an inclusive area in which no-one felt offended or left out.” I find this astonishing. Christmas trees and nativity scenes are not offensive religious symbols, but represent tradition and beliefs of, in this case, the majority of North Americans. Political correctness runs the risk of sucking dry whatever non-commercial-based joy there is left at Christmas time.

This letter from a local Devon pastor says it all: “However, I find a peculiar solace in one thing: I can now wish salespeople a “Merry Christmas” and consider it not only an act of faith, but an act of sheer political defiance.”

I hope you are not offended by my best wishes to you for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2004!

Michael Musto’s Felix Awards

Posted in Pop Culture on December 24th 2003 by Randy Reichardt

:: Speaking of the Village VOICE, regular columnist Michael Musto reveals his 2003 Felix Awards, and they are worth the read!

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