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After receiving federal funding for a bold new production of The Ugly Duckling, Magdalena Popa of the National Ballet, had tremendous difficulty recruiting a competent artistic director for this production.

After countless interviews and several trips abroad the National Ballet was still no closer to finding a qualified director. With funding now in jeopardy, one last desperate measure was contemplated. Magdalena Popa flew into Grassy Narrows, Ontario to visit with famed though temperamental artist Mildred Duck.

Sapphire took this photo of Mildred on opening night in Toronto, Ontario Canada.



Rifle manufacturer, Remington, recently hired the Australian firm BMF to work on a project to “soften” the rifle manufacture’s image.

The above pictured duck was chosen as lead actor for a series of commercials now running on Australian television.

Cricket took this photo while the duck was between shoots and relaxing near a small waterfall.



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In the late 1970s the East German Stasi had infiltrated the British Foreign Service, MI6, to the point where daily communication between MI6 offices and field operatives was suspect.

A botanist working at the fringes of the spy world, developed a team of bees outfitted with micro chips that were used to enhance communication between various MI6 locations.

Sapphire took this photo of a bee persistently hovering outside her hotel window. The concierge says the hotel is a long-abandoned MI6 safe house and the bee is most likely a “generational throw-back” to the bees of the 1970’s.




While walking along Oak St. in Vancouver, B.C., near the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, the bee pictured above and several of his compadres were seen fleeing down the street and into the gardens.

Ambulances arrived shortly thereafter and took Hugh Grant, the CEO of Monsanto, to hospital.







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During a much-needed vacation to beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Cricket and I spent an entire day at Pier 21, the wonderfully historic Museum of Immigration located on the waterfront. After nearly eight hours on our feet, we still wanted to stroll down to Pier 12, a more commercial/industrial area of the harbour.

This is when we first saw Ellie, disheveled and propped up against the side of a rusty container that had recently arrived from Shandong, China. As Cricket took this photo, I rushed toward her with every intent of calling her my own. Before I reached her, a burly stevedore grabbed Ellie and stuffed her into a box and threw the box into the back of an eighteen- wheeler.

I begged him to sell me the teddy bear, but he could not…would not. It was not his job.  In fact, he said he could lose his job if he did such a thing. The stevedore did tell me that the shipment of boxes was destined for cities in Northern Ontario, Canada.

Months passed.  Every time I found myself in North Bay, Timmins or Sudbury,  I rummaged through the Walmarts and Thrift stores looking for Ellie. One day, in a Salvation Army thrift store in Sudbury, Ontario Canada…


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After a long-delay the Amtrak left Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania for Washington, D.C. Cricket and I were visiting the National Aeronautics Space Administration headquarters to witness the unveiling of a housing structure that NASA intended for use on the planet Mars.

After an exhaustive search involving hundreds of the world’s best architects and engineers, a biologist from Weyburn, Saskatchewan suggested the structure of a common dandelion was best suited for the hostile climate on the planet Mars.

Plans to build the first prototype are in the works as this is written.




Recently a caddy at Glenn Abby golf course in Oakville, Ontario Canada revealed a process he discovered to “freeze-dry” dandelion seed heads and use them as golf balls.

Apparently, in the early spring, he and his buddies patrol the greater Oakville area producing hundreds of golf balls and then selling the product to golf courses all over southern Ontario.

Cricket took this photo shortly after picking himself up off the pavement, legs twisted and entangled with his bike frame. He was “beaned” by a freeze-dried golf ball while cycling along Dorval Drive in Oakville, Ontario.


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The Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco is an elegant hotel, that Cricket and I rarely visit when staying on the west coast.  However, on one occasion, we found ourselves lounging around the pool when all hell broke out in the hotel’s restaurant.

The entire kitchen staff was attacked by a swarm of insects. The staff made it out of the kitchen with assorted bites, bruises, and stings.

The subsequent investigation revealed the ring leader of the insects, pictured above, is a leading activist who organizes attacks on establishments which feature insects on their menus.

Now on the FBI’s ten most wanted insect list, this guy is believed to be on the run somewhere near Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.





The girls field hockey team in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia Canada have adopted this insect as the team mascot.

The team, known as the A.V. Insects, have a tradition of releasing a swarm of various insects before each Friday night game. Although the swarm is encouraged to not directly contact the opposing team, things have been known to get out of hand.

Sapphire snapped this photo after being stung by one of these critters…presumably because she was dressed somewhat like a Truro Turkey.






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Sapphire insisted we take a side trip to Magdalena Island National Park. She was taking a course to support her masters degree thesis dealing with penguin mating habits in and around Puento Cisnes, Chili.

Our tour guide, Sofia Zuniga, was a sixty- year- old woman who was steeped in local lore and history. This was most fortunate for Sapphire because after she was bitten by a disgruntled spider, Sofia crushed up this plant and applied it to the bite mark. Sapphire took this photo of an identical plant…after she “came to”.




This delicate spring plant is so poisonous that Kejimkujik National Park supervisor, Mikey J. Jones, has ordered staff to erect small fences around this flora. In addition to the fencing, small solar panels provide an electrical “shock” at the top of the fences if anyone should try to get over the fences. Thus far, students have built sixteen mini white picket fences with some 800 more to go.


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Cricket and I often take the Amtrak to Washington DC to listen to the annual speech delivered by the head of the National Parks Service. On one such trip, we were delayed in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

We wandered around the beautiful town for a couple of hours when we came across a well attended picnic of civic dignitaries.

Cameras in hand, we asked the gathered folks if we could take a photo of all the Beaver Falls officials. After a few pictures, we realized the town mayor was absent from the festivities and were told by the town treasurer that the mayor was rarely seen in public and disliked having his picture taken.

Some weeks later, a plain brown envelope containing this photo arrived at our Wahnapitai home.



Parks Canada recently enlisted the services of several Canadian beavers to help in the detection and elimination if invasive species throughout wetland areas in Canada.

After several weeks of intense training at the National Bird and Mammal Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, these beavers are assigned to various areas around the country.

The beaver in this photo is assigned to the Georgian Bay area of Ontario and has a specialty in detecting purple loosestrife and dam building.