Swipes #39: Great Lakes?

A little bit of bathroom humo(u)r for today’s swipes file:

From Jogfree of Canada, a gift from KB.

From Charlie Farquharson’s Jogfree of Canada (1974), a birthday gift from KB.

"Lake Urine" by Isaac Bikerstaff, from my tour of the Bikerstaff collection at Johns Hopkins in DC.

“Lake Urine” by Isaac Bikerstaff, from my tour of the Bikerstaff collection at Johns Hopkins in DC.

More Great Lakes imagery if you follow the link!



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Things to do / see / eat in Ottawa

A friend asked, so here are some Greatest Hits of Ottawa (According to Amanda) in the form of a partial and evolving list of thing to do / see / eat for future visitors and / or residents and other interested parties:

- Byward Market is touristy, but fun to poke around, especially if you like to eat Beaver Tails or Obama Cookies and drink exciting teas.


- If you are looking for French books to supplement your meagre collection, Librairie Du Soleil is a lovely shop to check out. There are other great independent and / or used book shops in Ottawa, as well as two comic book shops on Bank that may interest the nerd-minded.

- Volunteer at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, or one of the many volunteer agencies in Ottawa. (This is more useful for those of you who may be living in or relocating to the area.)

- Question Period is just delightfully hilarious. The Members of Parliament are constantly trying to find work arounds to the “no swearing” rules and it’s just democracy (in)action, folks.


- Mooney’s Bay has a pirate ship sometimes for no reason that I can ascertain.

- Walking the locks is pretty nice. The canal is beautiful, summer or winter (kayaking or ice skating!).

- The Peace Tower has some pretty nice views of the city, if you are into looking at things. The tour of Parliament is generally delightful for aficionados of Canadian history. Don’t bring scissors, though, because you have to go through a metal detector.

- When someone else is paying, I like to go to Taylor’s Genuine Food and Wine Bar on Bank Street.

- The Mayfair Theatre, also on Bank, has a pretty varied assortment of indie films and fun events.

- Performances at the National Arts Centre are excellent, in my experience, and you can get reduced rate Live Rush tickets if you or someone you know is a student. (Students can generally purchase two tickets at the reduced rate.) They have music, theatre, talks, all sorts of great goings ons. There are also other performances around the city – improv, live bands, community theatre productions. Basically haters gonna hate is what I’m saying, but Ottawa has lots going on!

- Ottawa is lousy with museums. Do you like nature? Stamps? Civilization? War? History? Pick any topic you like and check out some of the exhibits all over town. Sometimes there are free days and / or student discounts. The Canadian Museum of Civilization (rename or no rename!) is pretty awesome, architecturally and otherwise.

- Aww, nuts, I was going to recommend Ada’s Diner on Bank Street, but Yelp informs me that it is closed. Instead, I will suggest Kettleman’s for a cheap bagel fix, and Wild Oat Bakery Cafe for a more expensive (but delicious) bagel fix.

- Ottawa is also lousy with shwarma places. I love all of them. Enjoy!

- There is a fancy cupcake shop (or possibly a proliferation of cupcake shops) on Bank, if you are feeling festive.

- Setting aside Tim Hortons for just a moment, Bridgehead is a bit more local / fair-trade / generally more glamourous, and a nice place to hang out.

- The bar I am most familiar with in Ottawa is Mike’s Place at Carleton University, but there are trivia nights and happy hours all over the place.

- Ottawa apparently has a farmer’s market (probably more than one!). I’ve never made it to any, but if you let me know how they are, then I can update accordingly.

- Parc Gatineau Park isn’t too far away (if you have a car! It’s like 2 hours on the bus). It is fun to climb on the ruins at Moorside that William Lyon Mackenzie King collected. (His weirdness benefits future generations of Canadians other other visitors.) Plus, Meech Lake! How historical! (Warning: Explaining Meech Lake to everyone in the car who doesn’t care about Canadian political history might get you left at one of the parking lots along the way.) According to Wikipedia, there’s a nude beach in Gatineau, too! Amazing

- The Black Sheep in Wakefield has concerts. I’ve heard good things about the place, but never made it that far (as I am generally sans car in Ottawa).

- Venus Envy is possibly Not Safe For Grandmas (depending on the grandma), but has lots of interesting talks, books, and activities (among other things).

- Montreal isn’t too far away! ;-) (It’s been said that the best thing about Ottawa is the two-hour train ride to Montreal, but hatters gonna hat.)

haters gonna hate

This list is a bit short because I spend most of my time in Ottawa on campus, crying that Ada’s is closed, walking (check out the annual Jane’s Walks for free guided tours of different neighbourhoods!), or visiting with all my besties that live in Ottawa as we scheme for ways that I can move there and be their neighbour. That being said, I’d welcome additions to this list from other locals and visitors!

More suggestions culled from Ye Olde Facebook Comments:

- Ottawa on Canada Day is amazing. (DM)

- Remembrance Day in Ottawa at the War Memorial is always very emotional. (DM)

- I’ve heard great things about El Camino (tacos!) and people line up everyday before it opens at 5:30pm. (DM)

- The Green Door, vegetarian restaurant on Main Street across from St. Paul’s University, is a make-everything-from-scratch kind of place that is usually packed and not just by vegetarians. The food is local, mainly organic (I think) and the ingredients clearly stated for each item. Wonderful. Food is sold by weight and can be pricey if you insist upon buying the heavier items. (CO/JH)

- The Seminary attached to St. Paul’s takes in roomers, I believe, so you may be able to stay there. (CO/JH)

Disambiguation: Not to be confused with Ottawa in Illinois. “Ottawa” is derived from an Algonquin word meaning “trade,” “traders,” or possibly “trading place.” So that should tell you something about Illinois (a French-ificiation of the name of the Illinois) and Ontario (derived from the Iroquois word for “sparkling water”).

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Things to do / see / eat in San Diego

So far, the best thing about living in SoCal (Southern California) is when people visit, which they do with some frequency due to Nicest Weather Ever Syndrome, because then we get to go do fun things. Keep in mind, the weather is constantly amazing / perfect / drought-y, so outdoor activities are the major focus.

Here’s a partial and evolving list of thing to do / see / eat in San Diego for future visitors and / or other interested parties:

— The drive from the OC (don’t call it that) to San Diego is very nice; scenic, coastal, and passes through a sometimes-on-fire military base.

— A good Canadian friend of mine (I say that like I have any non-Canadian friends) and I went to San Diego Comic Con one year, which was definitely an experience. We stayed at the Banana Bungalow Hostel, which I would recommend for being both made out of surfboards and strategically located on the beach / next door to Trader Joe’s.

— The Gas Lamp district is touristy, since it’s beside the convention center. It’s cool to walk around. I liked Coffee & Art on 6th Street.

— Stone Brewing Tap Room, beside the PetCo Center (what an innovative name), is really nice if you like beer tastings (which autocorrected to “tastiness,” so that, too).

Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens at Liberty Station is also pretty great. (Hey, what can I say, I got invited to two different Stone Brewing places by two different folks!) There’s indoor and outdoor seating and some really good “slow food.” (I had the steam buns – five stars, would eat again – although the buns at Playground in Santa Ana have my heart.)

— Liberty Station in general is pretty cool. There’s a nice park area, and a bunch of cute shops, including a children’s book store, a tea shop, a paint-your-own-pottery place, the Women’s Museum, and some other restaurants and boutiques. They have an event called Friday Night Liberty on the first Friday of each month where all the shops stay open late and showcase their wares. Sounds like a fun time if your travels take you to town at the right time.

— Balboa Park is pretty huge and fantastic to walk around.

— Haven’t been to the San Diego Zoo, but if you do the zoo thing, I would recommend the San Diego Safari Park (outside of the city).

Nearby Attractions

— Mexico is really close, if you want to go be a medical tourist or just get your passport stamped. (We have yet to try out either of these activities – I’ll update when we do!)

Los Angeles.

Orange County.

— Santa Barbara.

Side note: San Diego is full of maps!

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Things to do / see / eat in Los Angeles

So far, the best thing about living in SoCal (Southern California) is when people visit, which they do with some frequency due to Nicest Weather Ever Syndrome, because then we get to go do fun things. Keep in mind, the weather is constantly amazing / perfect / drought-y, so outdoor activities are the major focus.

Here’s a partial and evolving list of thing to do / see / eat in the LA area for future visitors and / or interested travelers:

— LA is a 1 ish hour train ride away from us in the OC (don’t call it that), or a 1 ish hour drive away (depending on the ubiquitous traffic, which I kind of thought was just a thing that people said, but seriously, there are 4-story, 20-lane highways here and traffic dictates what I do and when).

— Studio tours that come highly recommended by NP: Paramount Pictures Studios and Warner Brothers (reservations required, or at least strongly encouraged, for both).

— NP also recommends the Griffith Observatory.

— We haven’t been to the LaBrea Tar Pits yet, but my dad Will. Not. Shut. Up. About how great they are. (Other people think they are great, too.)

— There are wine tastings and breweries all around.

— Haven’t gone to any show tapings yet, but that is always an option (depending on schedules / availability / patience of people standing in line). If you’re lucky, you could win some money on The Price is Right like DJ!

— The Hop On, Hop Off tour is a reasonable way to see (a tiny percentage of) the city, and learn way more than you ever wanted to know about O.J. Simpson. Perks: someone else drives you around LA for not that much money. Cons: The ear buds that they provide you with suck. Also, you can really only hop off once or twice if you want to make it back to your car / destination within 24 hours, because LA is sprawlingly massively huge.

— The Getty and LACMA, or just cultural pursuits in general – there are museums and loads of shows, musicals, concerts, theaters, the Philharmonic, and other events, from comedy to impromptu jugglers in the road. I’d recommend using the magic of the internet to find out what’s going on while you’re in town because it changes so frequently.

— K-town. We haven’t been, but BH better take us there because he won’t shut up about how great the food is.

— Little Tokyo has a really fun book, anime, stationery shop.

— Chinatown has good food, sad turtles for sale, and neat nicknacks.

WoodSpoon (on 9th Street) was an amazingly delicious find. (Thanks, AR!)

— Climb the secret staircases!

— We have not done much touristy stuff, like the Hollywood sign or anything, but I’ll update this list when we figure out the city a bit more.

— Venice Beach is supposed to be great for people watching (and there’s a bookstore there I’m hoping to check out – I’ll keep you posted).

— The Los Angeles Conservancy offers walking tours.

— Other stuff I found listed elsewhere: Runyon Canyon Park; Zuma Beach; Watts Towers Arts Center; La Tuna Canyon Park; Saved By the Bell Topanga State Park; Malibu Bluffs Open Space; Hollywood Bowl; Farmers Market; Arclight; Mahatma Gandhi World Peace Memorial; Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. Have yet to check all of these out, but it’s my bucket list for when we have visitors (which seems to happen a lot), so I’ll add details when I get ‘em.

Other Cool Nearby Spots to Visit

— Santa Monica has a nice pier, nice restaurants, and suspiciously cheap parking. ($5 for the entire day?!?!?!!?! [weekends only] Coming from Chicago, that is basically the equivalent of free to me.)

— The only thing I’ve done in Long Beach is the Monday happy hour (happy day?) at Congregation Ale House. It was nice because we sat outside in the ever-perfect weather and had a mini-IMSA reunion. Another town with suspiciously cheap parking.

— San Bernardino Mountains. Big Bear allegedly has skiing (when it snows!).

— Pasadena is a super fun, walkable town. Cafe Verde (appropriately enough, on Green Street) has a great brunch.

— For the research minded, the Huntington Library comes recommended. I’ve heard good things about the gardens, too.

— Claremont is also neat, and very walkable. I particularly enjoyed poking around the Books to Prisoners bookshop.

The Donut Man in Glendora has a fantastic strawberry doughnut. (More like a personal strawberry cake / pie situation.) It is amazing. (Recommended / provided by EC.)

— We’re going to a tea house in Seal Cove, so I’ll let you know how that goes. (Good old LiveSocial coupons, introducing me to strange activities.)

Santa Barbara.

San Diego.

Orange County.

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Swipes — er, Fist Bump — File

Check out a variation on the Swipes File over at Bado’s Blog. The post, “I have a nightmare” from 30 August 2013, shows Obama offering a variation on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.

Obama is often shown with Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, or both figures in cartoons:


Here are a few Obama / Lincoln fist bumps:

lincoln victory-bump-sac1105cd large_Barack_Obama_Abe_Lincoln

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6 August 1945

Today, I invite you to read “Hiroshima” from The New Yorker, August 1946.

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Nelvana of the Northern Swipes!

Er, I mean, Nelvana of the Northern Lights arrived the other day (thanks, Hope!), so here’s your swipes file for today from the 1940s…

* Trigger Warning: There will be a trigger warning and I don’t care if you don’t like trigger warnings. *

* Trigger Warning: This post contains black and white comic book images of suicide completion. *


There’s the villainous Chicago Sade (on the left) shooting herself while Nelvana calls this “a fitting end.” (Because Canadians hate Americans.) (By Adrian Dingle.)

IMG_0879 copy

p 23 in Masked Heroes copy

And there’s the villainous Dr. Vreekill choosing self-electrocution over the death penalty, while Batman remarks “Well, he saved the state the job!” (Because America is tough on crime, etc.) (By Bob Kane, found in Superheroes by Richard Reynolds, 1992.)

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Adventures on a Farm

Read all about Bubba’s time at Rainfield Farm. (Links to her post!)

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By Nate Klug

By new names
and then no names
at all, their laws
will reach your land,

Lorine, to feed
on your much loved
marshy spaces
whose occasional faces

discern a stranger
from far off
but like to take
a break from well

or welding just
to talk. We can-
not extricate
a place from those

it’s made of, the sounds
it makes. But now
from Blackhawk
Island to Madison

to Washington,
thin; more things
sound or work

the same. Their laws
will reach your land,
Lorine, by new names
then no names at all.

From Poetry (April 2012)

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Last Spikes! (Not to be confused with swipes.)

While we were learning about railroads from Richard White at the Newberry Library NEH summer seminar, he showed us a picture of the “last spike” from the U.S. transcontinental railroad.


Here’s an 1881 rendition of the “Last Spike” ceremony in the territory known today as the United States:


And here’s an alternative:


The Golden Spike Ceremony in Utah Territory on 10 May 1869 completed what the U.S. National Park Service calls “The Joining of a Nation:”

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.32.30 AM

In some active banal colonialism symbolism, you can find the “Last Spike” on currency:


This all got me thinking about (what else?) Canada.

I read that the “Last Spike” on the Canadian transcontinental railway was removed to save it from souvenir hunters, and was subsequently turned into a knife:


Here’s an 1885 photograph of the “Last Spike” in the territory known today as Canada:


There’s also an “unofficial” version:


The “Last Spike” photo opps in British Columbia on 7 November 1885 were what the Canadian Encyclopedia calls “a gloomy spectacle:”

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.46.46 AM

(Aside: If the Canadian Encyclopedia says that Canadian history is “dull,” they maybe that’s why you need to talk about how it’s not boring in the National Post and TED talks.)

The plaque is a little more enthusiastic:


It’s interesting that both nations were metaphorically (and, I guess, actually) welded together through the railroads.

These events give us to think about in terms of settler colonialism, banal colonialism, political economy, geography, the role of cartography in nation-state expansion… and also spikes!

Further Reading:


- Four Special Spikes (National Park Service)

- “Separating Fact From Tradition At Golden Spike National Historic Site” by Jim Burnett (2013)

- “Driving the Last Spike at Promontory, 1869” by  J.N. Bowman (1957)

- “When East Meets West: The Last Spike of the Transcontinental Railroad” on Mental Floss (2009)


- “The ‘Other’ Last Spike” in the Canadian Encyclopedia

- “The Kid’s Site of Canadian Trains” (Library and Archives Canada)

The Last Spike by Pierre Berton (2001)

- “Canadian Pacific Railways Last Spike, Craigellachie, BC

Richard White’s projects

- Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America (2011)

- Spatial History Project (Stanford University)

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