Monday, December 31, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fancy Bohemian Architecture

The above picture shows the big contrast...the nice old architecture, practically hidden by power lines, cables, cars and light standards. Prague is not really alone in this!

Usually the streets were too narrow to really get a good snapshot of the multi coloured buildings. These are why I called Prague a city of gelatto coloured buildings! I like the little mermaid overlooking a narrow alley between the mint and lemon coloured buildings.

Normally it is much more crowded than this.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

More Prague

Pics from May of 2007, cllick on the images to see them in their true glory!

Patterened glass, forms the roof of a "close", or perhaps better called a "courtyard".
This is the 1920's style of the above courtyard....I had to increase the light in the picture, but it still looks dark and gloomy. Thats a shame, because in reality, it was not gloomy at all! All that glass let in a lot of light, and the sculptures were certainly special.

A business selling armour, swords, battle axes and stuff. Neat guys, but I could not communicate with them. I think the heavy plywood shutters make for a very interesting display area.

A random door downtown. I have no idea what is on the other side of it, but I bet its important! You really DO have to click on the above picture to get a real idea of how pretty that stone work is!
This is the tourist information centre. Funny enough, i think I only realized that was what it was when I was back in Canada...I was far too taken by the shields on the third floor.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas 2007

click on the images to enlarge...
Oh you and your dirty mind!
Too much egg nog?

Thats gotta bite the old carrot!

Thoughtful! Its ok Santa, we have a licence!

The nature of snow....

Hey, I LIKE fruitcake!

Have we not seen this roof before? Oh heck, thy all look alike in the dark!

Snow men. Always good for a giggle.

Merry Christmas....and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Prague 2007

I visited Prague in May of 2007. Here are some of my impressions.
click on these images to enlarge.
Above is sometehing you don't see everyday...a "Pro-America" rally. The sign in back says "Thank You America, 1918, 1945, and 1989" There was a band playing here at the head of Wenseslas square and thirty or forty people were milling about for the cameras. Contrast the structures armound the square.... the 1920's art deco glass building to the left, the communist concrete with the "workers unite" statues up top, and to the right, the 1930's "gotham city" buildings.

Above is a random church......this one dates back to the time when Bohemia was bordered by Silesia on the North, the Eastern Marches on the South, Moravia on the East, and Franconia on the West. Its okay if you don't know about those places....those nations (I hesitate to call them countries) don't exist any more as political entities, but they surely DO exist as cultural entities. It would be worth a morning to look each of these places up on google and see what they are all about,

Above is a remarkable little bit of stone carving. I have NO idea what event is being commemorated here, but I just love the armour, the heraldry (the Hapsburg Eagle is instantly recognizable) and how sharp, crisp and clean the carvings are. Otherwise the building was pretty much non remarkable. At least by Prague standards.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Day 1978

The nice thing about being in the Military is the routine. There is always a fish dish on Fridays in the Mess Hall, and downstairs in the wet mess, the beer is always cold. Not such a bad life, all in all, unless of course you are the Duty Corporal. There is always a "duty corporal" selling meal tickets to people who don't have meal passes, and he cards visitors at the wet mess all evening. He wears a hat all day, and is not allowed to drink.

Being a Duty Corporal is an all day job. That is to say, it starts at nine in the morning, and goes until nine in the morning. In Uplands Air Base, there was a billet in the barracks that the Duty Dog would attempt to sleep in. The Duty Corporal was one of those positions where you can mess up really easily, and get zero credit for doing things right.

Along with a handshake from my CO, my promotion to Corporal was accompanied by a request to see the Base Chief Warrant Officer. In the army, this fellow would be called the RSM, but in the Air Element, we called him the Base Chief, though not to his face of course. I expected to get my first Duty Dog Duty that day, and sure enough, thats what it was all about. Pick up the cash box, hang around the HQ for a briefing and a HUGE ring of keys, go draw my blankets and make my bed at the barracks, all the usual rigamarole which goes with a minor military duty like this. I remember this particular briefing quite clearly however because the Base Chief asked me to (get this!!!) "shut the door, sit down and I want to make you a deal".

Base Chiefs don't make deals with Corporals.

"Its coming up on Christmas next week, and I don't want to put a family guy in the job as Duty Corporal. Most of the other Cororals who are "living in" are on leave this Christmas...but you are in Aircraft Servicing, and THEY don't get holidays. Here's the work the Christmas Day, and I won't assign you to a Duty for a whole year!

I thought about that one for about 2 point five seconds. Secondary duties play havoc on shift workers, and to get out of this one for a year would mean at least 5 or 6 times that my schedule would not be thrown wonky by sudden sleep pattern changes. So, I agreed to it. Then, (OMG!) he actually shook my hand and congratulated me on my promotion!

So you guessed it. I was there for the next three years, and for the next three years I did Christmas Day Duty.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


(click on image to enlarge)


· You base the next purchase of your new vehicle on whether it will hold six kids, six sticks, and six hockey bags.

· You know the location of every Tim Horton's within a 400 mile radius.

· You relate directions to places by the nearest arena.

· Knows every single kid on every single team your child has ever played on... But doesn't have a clue who his school mates are.

· You feel lost when you have a free weekend.

· Your spouse waits until you decide where to sit and then chooses a spot on the opposite side of arena.

· You become a partner in a skate sharpening business to save money.

· Can justify complaining about someone who gives hundreds of hours of volunteer time to your son or daughter.

· You ground your kids for a week (except for hockey practice).

· Can rationalize spending $159 on a Synergy for a 9 year old but won't spend $5 on a Birthday card for his wife.

· When someone asks how old your children are you respond, "I have a '94 and a '97."

· Has had to use a grandparent to take kid #1 to a tournament because Dad was in a Different province with kid #2 at a tournament and Mom had kid #3 two provinces away in a 3rd tournament all in one weekend.

· Has more miles on '05 minivan than a '66 Chevy

· Practices make up a very large part of your social life.

· You buy gloves according to how loud you can clap in them.

· You find yourself missing the parents of your child's team mates during the off-season.

· You refuse to make any plans with your friends until you check your kids' hockey schedule. · Takes out a home loan to pay for all the equipment and expenses.

· All computer passwords begin with "hock ey" or contain child's number.

· Has been barred from more than one rink on more than one occasion

· Purchases new $135.00 stick because old one "didn't have any goals left in it."

· Knows a few 5 year olds that are good but "lack focus".

· Asked to decide between try-out and first communion - asked church what his options were.

· Received a letter from AAA Automobile Club and called for more info about tryouts.

See you at the rink!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


The Charles Bridge to your left, the beautiful river and the great castle on the other side. The castle is two kilometers long, and nearly a half kilometer wide, making it the biggest castle in Europe, and probably the world. The other side of the river is definitely the chi chi part of town. Its all cobblestone streets and half timbered buildings.
Tycho Brae lived and died over there, under the reign of the greatest of Renaissance Emperors, Rudolph the second. Alhough generally considered a bit of a backwater these days, only a couple of hundred years ago, this capital of Bohemia was the centre of culture for the world...a great rivalry with the city of Vienna only a hundred miles to the south helped to drive Bohemia to undreamed of heights of technology, music, and science. Now of course, we don't call it Bohemia any more, but rather, the Czech Republic, and it is STILL the centre of glass technology (who has NOT heard of Bohemian crystal?) and of course, hockey. The Czech Republic exports more hockey players than any other country except of course, for Canada.
I didn't take in a game when I was there. Pity.

Click on the images to enlarge. The top pic should be cropped to make it into a real postcard, but I rather liked the dichotomy of the ancient and the modern. That thing that looks like an anti-aircraft cannon covered in graffitti in front...well, its a telescope. And like most Eastern European items, it took my money and refused to work. Oh well, good thing the same can certainly not be said about the people who were as salt-of-the-earth as you can get! Somebody described the people in Prague as "battered but enduring". Maybe because I grew up in "next year country" out west and saw lots of the same kind of attitudes, I felt that I had a lot in common with them. Good people.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

December snow

I tried to get a picture of the pretty falling snow, but actually, it looks like dust on the camera lens! Oh well.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Effective Advertising

click to enlarge these images.
makes sense to me!
Cheesecake. its not just for supermodels any more.

Now THAT caught MY attention. But quickly now, are they advertising trains?

And who hasn't looked onto a glass of beer and found it looking back at you?