PhotoHunter: “Furry”

Benjamin (aka Mr. Fluffypants)

Benjamin (aka Mr. Fluffypants)

I should mention that Benjamin is called “Mr. Fluffypants” because when he was a kitten, he was very fuzzy and from the back end, looked as though he was wearing a pair of very furry pants… Not so any more, but the nickname stuck.

He was getting ticked off at my taking photos and the succession of them clearly shows him getting more and more pissed off…

Amber.... Furrier and fatter....

Amber.... Furrier and fatter....

Amber is my Mom’s cat who is fat and lazy and stupid and very sweet but he and Benjamin do NOT get along.


PlayingForChange’s Channel

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Playing For Change: Song Around the World “Stand By Me” – From the award-winning documentary, “Playing For Change: Peace Through Music”, comes the first of many “songs around the world” being released independently. Featured…

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PhotoHunter: Chipped


PhotoHunter: Chipped


This is a Raku pot I made some years ago. I bisque-fired it and then deliberately broke it before placing it in the Raku kiln. I wanted to see what it would look like when it was fired and then glued back together.

It is a piece I loved. In the end, though, I gave it away to my therapist who I had seen for two years.

For me, it represented the idea that something can be broken and still beautiful.

Interestingly, my therapist, a gerontological psychiatrist who fit me in because I needed to see someone, told me that she found that the pot provided a stimulus to conversation with her other patients, some of whom were generally uncommunicative. She said that it elicited very insightful conversations with them.

I was very pleased that something I did touched people I would never know in such a profound way.


The piece is fired (normally, pottery is fired and left in the kiln overnight to cool. Raku is fired for a short period and removed from the kiln). The piece is removed from the kiln while red hot and either exposed to the air to allow oxygen to reach with the glaze and then placed in a closed container for what is called “reduction”, or immediately reduced. The piece is placed in a container with a combustible material (leaves, newspaper, sawdust, pine needles, etc) in order to “reduce” the oxygen within the container and change the chemical reaction of the glaze. The piece is then cooled by immersing in water to stop the process of reduction and then cleaned of soot and creosote.

These will give you an idea of how Raku is done and some of the results.

Further Chipping…

I was originally thinking of using something slightly different in this post and I can’t seem to shake the original idea so thought I would throw it in for good measure….

Fowl plate

When my step-father and my mother married, I inherited a family history. My birth father was an unknown as he left when I was three and stayed out of my life until I was in my 20s. As a result, aside from a few stories my mother could recollect my father mentioning, I had half a family history missing.

My step-father (“Dad” to me) was a Parsi from Mumbai, India. His family had, at one time, been wealthy. The last vestiges of the wealth were a few items given him by his parents before they effectively disowned him for marrying outside the community not once, but twice. The family had more or less litigated the wealth away after the death of my father’s grandfather. Every time someone died, G-Grandfather’s will was hauled out to see if someone could wring one more penny out of it. Even after my father died, one of my aunts called to ask if we had found a copy of G-Grandfather’s will.


The family had been fabulously wealthy, once upon a time, and even when my grandmother married my grandfather, she was considered the second wealthiest woman in Bombay…. and that is saying something. In marrying my grandfather, she married a rung below her on the social ladder and never let him forget it. The family made their money in banking, law, and the East India trade.

Meat plate

Meat plate



One of the few item left were a set of dishes, or rather a quarter of a set of dishes. We had a set of 20 place settings for something like a 10-course meal, with two tea and coffee services, cookie and desert services. On special occasions, we used the dishes and when we were sick, Mom would serve soup in the delicate porcelain soup cups with their two handles and separate lid.

Teacup (what's left of it)
Teacup (what’s left of it)

Over the years, though, many had gotten broken or chipped. Now my brother has the dishes, or the bulk of them, and we have many of the chipped and broken ones along with a few favorites that we have.

Dessert plate

Each service has its own motif… Fish has fish and crustaceans, Rice has scenes of Japan, Fowl has birds of all kinds and meat (for some strange reason) have images of Japanese people on them. The dessert dishes have sparrows and flowers and  the tea services have wisteria and other flowers. All the dishes are monogrammed to match the initials of the eldest son, which is always SDD or DSD.



I have tried to find more information about the makers of these dishes but aside from knowing they are over 100 years old, I can’t find any info.


One of my favorites

I know that my G-Grandfather or possibly my G-G-Grandfather brought them back from Japan on one of his business voyages. He is reputed to have been allowed by the Emperor to set up a Fire temple for the use of  Zoroastrian traders and merchants on Japan, one of the only religions to have been allowed to do so.

Guantanamo Bay closing… Bring Khadr home, Mr. Harper…

In one of his first orders of business, President Obama has ordered the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

However, Stephen Harper, who steadfastly refuses to face up to Canada’s responsibilities as a signatory of the United Nations Protocols dealing with Child Soldiers (despite the fact that Canada continues to follow the protocols in other nations when acting in a Peacekeeping role) and refuses to understand that Omar Khadr was a child soldier at the time that he was taken into custody. In fact, Canada was the first signatory of the Convention and the protocol dealing with Child Soldiers.

He was and continues to be not culpable for his actions in Iraq because he was a child soldier.

Canada and Harper know that, as a child soldier, like all other child soldiers Canada has dealt with in conflicts since it signed the Protocols, Khadr should have been removed from the conflict zone, rehabilitated and returned to Canada. Under international law, he was entitled to age-appropriate treatment, which should have barred his detention among adults, his prolonged periods of solitary confinement, and the countless, brutal interrogations of him.

Some sections of the protocol should be of interest to Mr. Harper:

Noting the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, in particular, the inclusion therein as a war crime, of conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years or using them to participate actively in hostilities in both international and non-international armed conflict,

Noting that article 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child specifies that, for the purposes of that Convention, a child means every human being below the age of 18 years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier,

Condemning with the gravest concern the recruitment, training and use within and across national borders of children in hostilities by armed groups distinct from the armed forces of a State, and recognizing the responsibility of those who recruit, train and use children in this regard,

1. Each State Party shall take all necessary legal, administrative and other measures to ensure the effective implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the present Protocol within its jurisdiction.

2. States Parties undertake to make the principles and provisions of the present Protocol widely known and promoted by appropriate means, to adults and children alike.

3. States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that persons within their jurisdiction recruited or used in hostilities contrary to the present Protocol are demobilized or otherwise released from service. States Parties shall, when necessary, accord to such persons all appropriate assistance for their physical and psychological recovery and their social reintegration.

I am not sure what Mr. Harper thinks a child soldier is… Does he think because Khadr actually (allegedly) killed “one of the good guys” he doesn’t have the same rights as a child in Rwanda or Indonesia? Does he think that because Canada is an ally of the United States  (also a signatory, though with its usual “covering our asses” obfuscating exceptions, of the Protocol) and because the United States has abrogated its responsibilities under international law, Canada can just do the same? Does he think that because Khadr’s father took him to Iraq and assisted in indoctrinating him that Omar Khadr does not have the same rights as a child kidnapped and indoctrinated against his parents’ will?

Khadr was a child whose parent’s failed him. Now, he is an adult whose country is failing him.

It is time to bring him home.


Today, I purchased my very own copy of “Goodnight Bush“.

I will be reading it in bed…..

“….and a quiet Dick Cheney whispering ‘Hush’…”

Goodnight Bush… wherever you are.

Goodnight Bush

On my way in to work this morning, I heard a lovely reading of the new book “Goodnight Bush, by Erich Origen and Gan Golan, the witty parody of the classic childrens book “Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown.


There is even a song to go with it….

You can hear the lovely reading by 7-year-old Kaya here (scroll to the bottom of the page to the recording of “part 3” and go to 24:00 minutes — or you can listen to the interesting interview with Curtis Roosevelt, grandson of FDR, which makes up the first 23+ minutes of the recording).

Goodnight Bush…..

Cold, Crisp Day














Rain Music: “Lazy Eye”

The beat of the windshield wipers fit just right this lovely some by HEM….Yet another beautiful sky (and rainstorm!) in the Ottawa area, this time just south of Manotick.

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PhotoHunter: Hats

Lion avec un tres jolie chapeau

Lion avec un tres jolie chapeau!

A favorite subject of mine. Sadly, the lion has now lost his jaunty little boater…

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