How do I know if I have a hearing problem?

Viking with Bluetooth

Viking with Bluetooth

Do you find people noticeably getting a little frustrated with you?  Always repeating themselves as if . . . I have a hearing problem. Well, I personally think  they should stop slurring their words like they were a bunch of drunken sailors, then maybe, I might be able to understand them better, or maybe and this is reach . . .  I have a hearing problem? …. “Nah”

Of coarse, this is  one of the Symptoms of a Hearing Impairment?

Working around heavy machinery all my life, I find that I’m saying, sorry I didn’t hear you a lot or “what’s that you said?”. As I was watching a movie I said to my wife “what did that actor say? I never heard that punch line” I watched a movie for 2 hours and I never heard the ending. Now my wife cautiously says,”You know, you should be getting t your hearing tested!”

What? There’s nothing wrong with my hearing! Eh!

Why shouldn’t I  expect to have a problem? My wife reminds me daily that she is tired of speaking so loud. Our TV has a natural setting of…10. Now that should have been a red flag!

Most of us, maybe, possibly, might have a hearing impairment and don’t know it. I’m not admitting to it, but maybe, we just don’t want to confess to having a problem.

Bulky looking things hanging out of your ear! What next, a hearing horn?

Nah. There is nothing wrong with my hearing.

I told my wife, “there’s nothing wrong with my hearing, it’s just fine” In most cases, I call it selective hearing, but she doesn’t buy it. IF I DO HAVE A PROBLEM and I am not admitting to it, I will blame my slight hearing impairment on the noisy 40 year work environment. Yeah, that’s it, my work place, but I’m still OK, I can hear just fine.

“What did you say?”

But the work environment was different 20 years back. As a trades-person working around deafening heavy equipment, that was the normal sound. The industry didn’t worry about noise pollution. The heavy roaring machines were just the way they were when designed and came off the assembly line like that, LOUD.

The trucks were all noisy, some pushing 90 to 12o decibels (dB).  Noisy, hell, most companies and employees never even thought of the long term hearing affect and in most cases, we were all just trying to make a living. Noise pollution was not part of the equation.

Could hanging around all those old noisy slot machines be what did it? (They weren’t only noisy they were winning!) I don’t hear that sound much anymore. That must be my hearing.

*Note: When the average person talks “one on one” it is around 40 decibels, and they say anything over 85 decibels could be HARMFUL.

*Decibels are a measurement the doctors use for sound. (1 being low, 40 normal, and 80 starts to be bad for you.”LOUD”

Things sure have changed at work places. You have to be suited with all the safety gear.

When your neighbor catches you going out the door, he says, “where are you off to, playing football with the guys?” “HELL NO, I’m going to work.”

Sure you knew loud noises were bad for you. But then the subtle and constant ringing in the ear was a dead giveaway that there was something wrong and your body is being affected with a  condition. But that did come with the work territory.

“OK” I say to myself, “I’ll get my hearing tested and I’ll bet the doctor will just tell me, “your hearing is gone”

OK, I humor my wife and go and get my hearing tested. But I’ll bet the doctor will take one look at me, and says to himself “yup, the guy’s over 50 and worked in a noisy environment. Yup, that’ll do it every time.” AND JUST LIKE CLOCKWORK, THE DOCTOR LOOKS AT YOU AND SAYS, “YUP, YOU’RE OVER 50 and worked in a NOISY ENVIRONMENT. THAT’LL DO IT EVERY TIME.” “You’ll have to sit in that booth right over there for a hearing test.” Your hearing is gone, never to return AGAIN.

Being a little mechanically inclined, I asked him how he could have diagnosed the problem so fast.

“I JUST KNOW” That was his stupid answer.

I don’t think I have a hearing problem. Sure all those things that were mentioned are true, but that could mean almost anything, right?

Audiologist VS Otolaryngologist



But I did humor the doctor (and my wife) and proceeded into this 4×4 ft sound proof cubicle. The Otolaryngologist lady was helping me put the head gear on. She spoke with a German accent of sorts. Now I’m not prejudice but if you’re checking my hearing for clarity, I at least wouldn’t mind a sporting chance.  “Now repeat the words after me” she says. “This is not a fair test!” I wouldn’t have understood her when I was 20.  So now I’m a little skeptical on the whole test. “Trust” is not my middle name and I still think my hearing is just . . . fine.

A Hearing aid Department (Audiologist) in the same office as an ear, nose, and throat Physician (Otolaryngologist) looks a little odd, but I guess not any different than Oral Surgeons and a Denture Clinic sharing the same office.

The hearing test, like any computer, can be manually manipulated to suit the results.

I went through the second part of the test. It had a muffled computer voice saying, “repeat the last word of the sentence” I had to pay real close attention to what this computer was saying. I thing the lady doing the test was playing with my head, “hearing”.

I thought to myself, “doesn’t anyone speak clearly anymore?” Not even the computer testing my hearing was clear.  I had trouble understanding the lady from Germany saying “repeat after me” with broken English and now a computer was mumbling its words that I didn’t understand.

“How do I know if I have a hearing problem”?

After all that fighting with my hearing issue, and I’m fighting it tooth and nail, possibly I do need some guidance in the hearing department.  I decided maybe I do need some help. (DID I SAY THAT?) I’m just saying maybe I need a little help.

Almost convinced that I need H…… A…

So almost convinced, I tried an in-house loaner set of hear-aids. They have such an unnatural sound. The Audiologist assured me my brain just needs to adapt to the new sound. I basically have no recourse. If my natural hearing is gone and they are right, NEVER to mend itself, never to return again. . . EVER.  . . Then I do need something.

“But, what’s that chirping sound?” as asked my wife. She says, “It’s the birds.” Eh!

*FACT – 4 out of 5 people do not wear their hearing aids, even after they purchase them, (LINK) AND MOST SHOULD.

*FACT – Recent University studies also suggest (Link)  Alzheimer’s or Dementia could possibly stem from hearing loss, “NOW, THAT’S A WAKE-UP CALL” Being a person going through a “slight” hearing loss and in my chosen trade, problem solving is what I did, I always looked for a common denominator (are those two problems linked to one area.) and this is how I looked at this hearing test thing. I personally can see a relationship between hearing loss and a form of Dementia because they somewhat have the same symptoms.

*FACT– 47 % of all Canadians over 50 suffer from some form of hearing loss.

(The brain, not hearing the words properly, can’t decipher the meaning properly and through time just might get used to being confused, and miss-intrepid words. (Just because you can’t hear the words properly) I think I’m going to start wearing my new hearing aids when I get them. The alternative to getting that mind bending disease through pure stupidity. All because you don’t admit you have a hearing problem.


Short Story about hearing

When visiting my brother, the first thing he always did was hand me a bottle of my favorite beer. He got terminally ill and was very close to the end and he whispered in my ear…”did you get your beer”? I didn’t hear him. On his last breath, I just didn’t hear what he said. I have given that a lot of thought over the years and that’s, what he said. Just over a lousy set of hearing aids. . .  I will always remember that day.

SUMMERY: I’m not going to miss not hearing loud motorcycles go up and down our street with a noisy decibel reading of 130, which is really (LOUD),  but not hearing your family trying to have a heart to heart talk with you, or maybe a little guidance from you, that’s something you don’t want to miss out on.


How do I know if I have a hearing problem?

Ringing in the ear is often the first sign of hearing loss

  • Muffled  speech and sounds.
  • Difficulty understanding words, especially against background noise or in a crowd of people.
  • Frequently asking others to speak more slowly, clearly and loudly.
  • Most complain that people mumble or talk too fast.

“Know the early signs”

Common hearing aid styles 

5 differance hearing aids

5 difference hearing aids


Completely in the canal

In the canal

In the ear

Behind the ear

With the receiver in the canal or ear

Open fit


This might help you get over the phobia of wearing hearing aids!

compare a hearing aid to a blue tooth in the ear

compare a hearing aid to a blue tooth in the ear





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Sad Iron


the least you should know logo

# 17 of the series of 50

This is #17 installment of “The least You Should Know 50 Series” and it’s about simple Sad IRONS, or some people just call them FLAT IRONS.

Your question would be, “are these 70 year old or better sad irons collectables?” “I guess they are, and especially when mated with their counter part, the Trivets. (LINK)

As we know the first generation irons were hand forged hunks of metal made by underappreciated, hard working blacksmiths. They smoothed off the bottom and incorporated a crude looking iron handle on the top and voilà, a sad iron was born. But mated with the proper trivet, some sad irons could be a thing of beauty.

And Bonus! They all come with lots of history of an early and simpler life style.

NOW for you people that are asking yourself, what is this Canadian talking about?

four sad irons

Here is A Little History on Sad irons.

Many years ago Archaeologists in China unearthed remnants of what they believe were a sort of iron or stone apparatus that they pressed their clothes with. This ironing system dates back to the middle Ages. “Sadly” the SAD IRON wasn’t introduced to the rest of the known world until around the 12th century.

It was a godsend for some and a heavy, hot, hard job for others.

Sad irons were used in every household just to (LINK) IRON YOUR CLOTHES. That was their sole purpose. These heavy useful chunks of cast iron were placed on a wood stove or even on an open fire to get heated.

(They make for an interesting door stop).

When the iron reached the proper temperature, they were used to iron out your wrinkled clothing after washing. Sitting on a wood-stove  over a short period of time, the handles got so hot you had to wrap cloth around the handle just to hold on to the iron.

Sad Irons

First addition irons had a crude style handle. Then wire handles were attached that got hot but were a little more manageable.  It is hard to say when, but I would think very shortly after the first try at making sad irons, they started improving on them, “Starting with insulating those hot handles”.

Someone came up with new and improved irons that had removable handles or wooden insulated handles. Some irons, instead of setting them on the stove to heat up just had a compartment at the bottom of the iron to insert hot coals. This was good for twice the length of time before reheating.

And one iron on the stove for backup!

They also say, if you wanted your ironing done faster, most people in those days had 2 or 3 irons being heated at the same time. When one cooled down, a second one was a back-up, and when the second cooled, you had another one on the stove, one right after the other.

We’re talking about a simple household item that is still in use today and just for ironing your clothes.

These kitchen utensils as I said were a heavy, mostly cast iron made chunk of metal and their sole purpose was to iron your clothes.  They are called “Sad Irons” but some people just called them “Flat Irons”. They were designed to be smooth on the bottom and pointed on one end to go around buttons and some sad irons were pointed on both ends (so you could iron in both directions if it so pleased you)

It was also said if you wanted to get your job done faster, iron your clothes from the inside out, so your iron didn’t get caught up in and around the buttons sticking out. “Just a little information in case you want to give your new flat iron a test run”.

∞ ∞ In a late-1800s advertisement for new, detachable-handle irons shows a woman flinging her Hot handled sad iron to the floor as she shouts, “Barbaric relic. I DISCARD THEE” ∞ ∞

First addition irons had a crude style handle. Then wire handles that got very hot were a little better and over short periods of time, someone came up with new and improved irons that had removable handles or wooden insulated handles.

Just think, pointed at both ends so you can get more done and coals to keep the iron hotter longer. Life is good eh! Talking about efficiency!

  (LINK) –  SAD IRON in Old English means, [ Solid Heavy ]


The weight of these Sad Irons ranged from 1 LB to 11 LB (A small bag of potatoes is 10 lb)  and the estimated price today could range between $30 and $90. Rare Sad Irons could be in the thousands of dollars. Just to give you an idea of the value!

The least you should know about Sad Irons

Plain cast iron

Stove pipe irons

Charcoal irons

Asbestos Sad Irons

Top Hat Iron

Rolling Hand Flouter

Sleeve Iron

AND MANY MORE STYLES not mentioned.

If you are starting to get the itch to collect Sad Irons as your new found hobby, you can purchase these old pieces of sad history at most antique shops, garage sales, etc. You can always find them at flea markets and even the most unsuspecting places, like car swap meets.

They come in every weight, style, and even small toy ones for the little girls in the family. Through the clothes iron history, they changed or had different styles and options. There were just plain heavy cast iron ones, there are gas operated ones to keep the iron hotter longer, there were bottom charcoal loaded irons, etc.

An “electric flatiron” was invented by a US inventor called Henry W. Seeley and patented  on June 6, 1882. It weighed almost 15 pounds and they took a very long time to heat. But many rural places (hard to believe) still did not have hydro up till the 1950s.

I’m downplaying the roll that these sad irons took in our history. They where a much needed item like the silverware on your table. As I described these sad irons to be heavy pieces of cast iron, some were quite elaborate looking and far from being primitive. Some almost have a mystique look about them.

Today these heavy pieces of cast iron are a good add on to your collection of worthy items. These old Sad Irons are still a very collectable item and have quite a following.

Familiarize yourself on what they all look like. Search Google “Antique Sad Iron” for an interesting read and also search Google Images on Sad Irons. Eh!

Pinterest has a good collection of Sad Iron Pictures.

I hope you found this article useful and it is for entertainment purpose only, but if you think you’re not a collector, you thought wrong. Everyone is a collector of something. You just don’t think you are.

If you have any more than three items the same, “YOU ARE CONSIDERED A COLLECTOR




Can’t talk about Sad Irons without talking about MY POST ON (TRIVETS) (LINK)


Cast Iron Trivets

web logo

The least you should know # 18

We couldn’t talk about Collecting Antique Sad Irons unless we talked about something you put these hot things on. Just a simple thing called a TRIVET, and yes, they are mostly made of cast iron; however, they can be made of wire or stamped tin and yes, the CAST IRON TRIVETS are collectable. Check some of the photo’s and you can see why they are collectables.

  Everybody knows the term and everybody’s got some form of one at home, cork and bamboo. ETC.

The dictionary defines old sad iron “Trivets” as a decorative metal or wire stand that was used for HOT kettles, skillets, pots and of course (Sad irons).

Now, we are just talking about Antique Cast Iron Trivets and {tri – meaning three}  mostly because we’re talking about old “Sad Iron” in our previous blog post. Click on (LINK) to “Sad Irons”

These collector items come with either three or four legs. Three legged trivets were more stable on an uneven surface and were the most popular back in the day. Some of these Trivets were especially made for Sad Irons, custom fit the sad iron to the trivet by way of a lip, partial or all the way around the top of the casting, and that’s only so the iron didn’t slip off and onto the dry wood counter.

There are trivets that were made for Sad Irons and then the  flat trivets were made for hot skillets, frying pans, pot of hot water, ETC.

Some Trivets are very crude cast iron looking, “but practical no less” or they could be quite decorative and handy as well. Some of the elite trivets come with handles so you don’t burn your pinkies, “Oh, I already said that”  but most you will find do not. There are round ones, heart shaped ones, Lacey looking ones, and they all had the same purpose…just to keep the heat from the sad iron off the table or counter.

5 pictures antique trivets

Remember, mostly everything in the early days was made of wood. With a sad iron or flat iron in use they became quite hot, so the trivets were used to set a hot iron on, so you don’t burn your wood counter top, table, you or your cabin.

Fire was a big concern back then being everything was made from wood.

*Antique Trivet castings were generally smooth and not coarse. Reproduction.

*They will also have Sprue or Wedge casting marks on the bottom or sides to indicate earlier casting procedures.

*Antique trivets normally had long legs 1”-1 ½” inches high.

*There were Lacey looking trivets, advertising trivets with a foundry name on it.  Some had the city or town name that they were made in. They, by the way, are the most desirable by Advertising and Antique Kitchen Ware Collectors.

* Flat Iron Trivets can range from a price of $20 – to a hefty price of over a $100.

The sole purpose of a Trivet was used for setting hot items on.

Today we still use a form of insulator  to keep a hot pot or skillet off of your $3000. counter top and still today, they are  called a. . . Trivet.

Throw that cheap looking cork”trivet” hot pad awaycheap cork heat pads trivets and get something with a little history and a little more style. Antique Trivets are quite affordable and no comparison from the poorly made ones you buy today.

If nothing else, they make for a great conversation piece in any kitchen.

Many serious collectors look high and low for anything to do with “Antique Kitchen Related” hardware and utensils, decorative trivets especially the ones made for flat irons. All antique Trivets would fit into that collectable category.



Please check these interesting sites for more on “ Antique Kitchen Décor.”



Canada the 51st State of America


Signing of USMCA

Complements of CNN NEWS

Yes it’s finally over. The NAFTA is a done deal. I think it would have been simpler to make Canada the 51st State of America. But the old term “NAFTA” is signed, sealed and delivered, or is it?

Donald Trump calls it a new and improved USMCA deal and changed the old version of the outdated NAFTA to something more to his liking. Of course Mexico calls it MCUSA, CANADIANS call it CMUSA. In case you haven’t figured it out, the “C “stands for Canada. Eh!

(link) Day after Nafta.

Whatever they call it, the deal is done, RIGHT ??

Now if it wasn’t for the Donald Trump slanders on all of his “past friends” and trading partners, I would never have gone down this dark alley.

Avro Arrow

Avro Arrow

After doing research on my new e-book “What Really Happened to the Avro Arrow”, which is due out first of the year, I would not have known to what extent the rocky history Canada and the United States has had, (well not really)  I suspected?

Still to this day, things haven’t changed much behind the scenes.

As a Canadian, yes we have heard rumors, and yes everything you read in this country is American, and yes, we have all heard and read things passed down through the years. But Canadians always looked the other way. As the saying goes, “swept under the carpet” Some of our Prime Ministers tried swaying us away ever so slowly from that US mentality but, there is SLOW and then there is sloooow.

At one point Europeans thought we were the 51st State of America, and that was many years back.

Now why would anybody think any different of our two countries? Our societies are intertwined like 2 peas in a pod. We all have relatives on both sides of the border and our economies have been linked forever. We all know when the US sneezes and we Canadians come down with the cold. Many of our Canadian citizens have duel US passports and a big part of our Canadian government is run by politicians born in the US, so why would the rest of the world think any different?

That’s the problem. People around the world must question why is the US treating Canadians that way? How can we trust the US if?

In beautiful Amsterdam I ask a shopkeeper to send me a box of those fine cigars that he was selling “Where you would like them sent?” he asked. Canada, I said. He thought for a moment and said we don’t send anything to AMERICA. I assume he was referring to the United States. “No you got it wrong, CANADA I said.” “It’s all the same to me.”


So doing some research on my upcoming e-book, and we all know, one door opens another, and then another. It was taking me down a dark alley of the shady, behind the scenes dealings with our “brothers” to the south. Maybe some people chalk it up to “that’s only Business.” Eh!

I’m starting to realize that only Canadians think of the US as our brothers. I’m not sure if they consider us as “brothers” the same way. We’ve all heard these jokes ……. “Canadians still live in Igloo’s” And here is a good one, “Canada is where all the cold weather comes from” I can take a silly joke like everybody else, but I’m starting to see that maybe it wasn’t a joke. The Americans do think we live in Igloos and are pushovers, with a “lead the lamb to the slaughter” mentality.

Americans through the years have very subtly steered and pushed Canadians in a direction of their choosing. Like I said, we all have seen changes in our world and it’s mostly in the US favor. The funny thing is, when Donald Trump says to his followers, “Canadians are taking full advantage of the United States of America “Hospitality” That in my estimation is totally, false.

The US President with his threats is a wake-up call, that all Canadians need to hear or we could just consider the #2 option.

#2 OPTION, Canada the 51st State of America.

In order to write my e-book with as much accuracy as possible, I had to go back at least 70 years in history. Times were different then, the mood on both sides of the boarder was different. Like I wrote in one of my other posts, crossing the border from either side was an inconvenience at best. So yeah, things have changed.

But the story just keeps getting better.

Today the NAFTA or USMCA as Trump calls it is like déjàvu with two rocky personalities, Trump and our Prime Minister Trudeau. One titan clashes against the other, the US does not like to lose, or being pushed around, and the US wants to do the pushing.

In my research,  (link) John F Kennedy, showed in public, his total dislike for our former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.  JFK ridiculed our former PM most times, every chance he got and not behind the scenes, but in public no less and that was 60 years ago. He JFK & J Diefenbakerridiculed our former Prime Minister in one hand and asked for help to ward off his arch enemy over the Arctic, in the same sentence. Very few people in this world have the knack of doing such a thing, and with a straight face. Apparently JFK had that talent.

“The rumor goes, the bitterness came from John Diefenbaker Heritage no less, which I really found interesting, knowing the JFK story.

So, its official, President Kennedy, sad to say, is off my list of favorite Presidents, and that list … is getting shorter. So, does history repeat itself or maybe things have never changed.


Canadians are starting to be aware and certainly, some of the ugliness would never have come to the forefront at a dinner table if it wasn’t for the US Leader Donald Trump’s unprofessional rederick with Canada, which surely is not becoming from any world Statesman.

We would, like all Canadians “that where really famous for doing” swept the rederick under the rug, and, let him be, he’s just having a bad hair day … Eh!

Yes we have been trading partners, “brothers” forever, and maybe like Donald Trump said, the gravy train is over and it’s time for Canada to step up to the plate. Eh!

One last note on some of our woes in Canada, Yes I believe that we have been pushed around and yes our Prime Ministers have fallen under the spell of the United States and kept us under their mercy as long as I can remember. But that’s OK. We are brothers. . . RIGHT?

But maybe Canada should start thinking of different options. I am relatively pleased with our PM Justin Trudeau. He, at face value, looks to be fighting for the rights of all Canadians and if he and his government would stop giving away Millions of dollars to all the (LINK) Omar Khadrs in this country, we could perhaps have enough money left to design, implement, build and learn new ideas for Canada’s future. Maybe we can be leaders on the world stage again.

Maybe we can start with the GM Car Plant in Oshawa, the one the US is closing after 100 years; I heard that building will be vacant soon and that’s a good place for Canadian investment. ?????

I don’t blame Donald Trump for being protective of the United States Interest. That’s what he was elected to do and maybe he is doing a good job. “It just depends what side of the fence you’re on”

If you see a wolf at the door in sheep’s clothing and he whispers sweet nothings in your ear, “We will take care of you good buddy”, close the door in his face.

Canada, the 51st State of America.

Canada being the 51st State of America would save a lot of cross border problems, but I think the U.S. should be our 13th Province or Territory of Canada. That sounds even better. Eh!

And for the rest of Canada, GOOGLE  “NonProliferation Treaty”  interesting read on how Canada’s hands are tied.


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Useful, maybe even a little Patriotic at times.

Please consider donating to a starving Canadian blogger.

Pay through Secured PayPal

Thank you in advance.


Christmas Tree Ornaments

Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments

Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments and decorations, or anything Christmas, is a real serious passion for many group of people. These Christmas goods collectors take more than just a fancy to the little round objects they call Christmas Tree Ornaments. They look at anything Christmas through different eyes than most people. It’s a passion for many of these people. NO! . . . It’s an obsession.

You the collector have been hunting down and Collecting oldKugels Ornaments Christmas Tree Ornaments all year long and its finally time to show off your fine collection to the “VERLD” I mean world.

It’s Christmas Time in Canada at last Eh!

Hell, Collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments and the likes is an addiction of sorts.

We all know there’s not a proper way of decorating your Christmas tree. There’s no book of rules. As long as you make it pleasurable looking for you and your family, that’s all that counts. Your kids bring home ornaments they have made a school and you hang these personalized drawings on the tree. Christmas cards are strategically placed between the branches along with the lights, tinsel and the beautiful colored hanging decorations that come in every shape and size. This is a special time of year for a lot of folks.

People take this Special Day of the year quite seriously.

The tradition comes alive but sadly only once a year, except, for this one fella on U Tube video . . . .”Christmas is all year long.”

Please watch an excellent U Tube video on collecting Christmas Tree Ornaments.

Did you know that the way we spend Christmas in the modern world,  wasn’t always like that? Some old documentations date decorating Christmas trees back to the 1600’s. But Christmas as we know it today didn’t really become popular until much later on, around the 1800’s. But I’m sure people celebrated Saint Nickolas Day in some form of celebration.


German Santa was called the Belsnickel and says Belsnickel means;

German for to wallop or to drub and Nickel being a hypocorism of the given name Nikolaus) is a crotchety, fur-clad Christmas gift-bringer figure in the folklore of the Palatinate region of southwestern Germany along the Rhine, the Saarland, and the Odenwald area of Baden-Württemberg. The figure is also preserved in Pennsylvania Dutch communities in the USA.

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Kovels Antiques and Collectable Guide says.

Christmas collectables include not only Christmas trees and ornaments, but they also include. Santa Claus figures, special dishes,, games, wrapping paper. Belsnickle is a 19th century figure of Father Christmas, made of paper mache

A popular Kugel is an early, heavy ornament made of thick blown glass, lined with zinc or lead and often covered with colored wax. Christmas cards, tin toys are also highly collectable. I was personally  collecting still banks. The Santa Clause cast iron bank were a hard find, but they were my favorite. So Christmas décor comes in many different shapes, sizes and themes.

Something to look for on Kugel tree ornaments.

1840s-1900s they were heavy, blown glass. (Kugel in Germany) means round ball but don’t let that fool you. They came in different shapes and styles like fruits, apples, berries and the like. The older additions had their name stamped on the steel collar of the ornament. (like many other makes) A very light chrome coating covered some, so look for flaking  or the worn tarnish after many years. The spring clips that attached the string to the ornament were attached inside the top of the bulb. Not like today’s push on attachment.  During the war years, the ornaments and decorations had a paper or cardboard collar (instead of steel), mainly because of the mass shortage in material, due to the war effort.

** Point to remember in collecting anything. The war years changed how many things were made or not made due to the war machine.  “Steel, paints and most or all material in general were cut back for public use. Etc”.

Christmas Snow Baby

Christmas Snow Baby

(1864) Early Snow babies are highly collectable. They were made of candy and used as Christmas decorations. In later years they were made from bisque and spattered with glitter sand. There are also Snow babies tableware  made by Royal Bayreuth. Copies of the small Snow Babies figurines are being made today in a line called “Snow-Babies” re- pro. But that’s not a bad thing.

The least you should know on Christmas Tree Ornaments. ∞

Imposed identifying marks on the ring or, some people call them caps.

The older caps were smaller than the newer versions.

Look for a paper /cardboard ring/ cap.  That will date it into the war years.

Look for a tarnished ring.

Check the lip under the ring. Is the glass flush or has it a lip. Older ones are flush.

Plastic is a dead giveaway of newer ornaments.

Countries to look for when collecting old Christmas Tree Ornaments

*Czechoslovakia *Poland *Germany

Shiny Brites Ornaments

Shiny Brites Ornaments

Shiny Brite Tree ORNAMENTS 1930-1960s seem to be the most popular for collectors. Before the war they were just plain decorative balls for the tree. After the war, they became a little more colorful. Some came with concave starburst (reflectors) with lots of glitter, different  shapes and styles .


Advertising SIGNS- Example – “Coca Cola sign with Santa drinking a coke”

DISHES- glassware with a Christmas theme.

Decorative hand painted balls and shapes like animals and little, hand- carved people, etc.

Decorative bells

Hanging lanterns

Snowbabies are highly collectables

Cardboard cutout of St. Nickolas figurine

Betty Boop hanging ornament.

Novelty hanging decorations.

“German Dresden ornaments are embossed cardboard with very fine detailing.”

Christmas post cards come in pages of 4 and you just cut out the one you want. They’re collectable!

There is no written rule on decorating your tree but there are some real neat old looking ornaments and decorations out there to be uncovered.


“When I grew up in Europe there were no artificial trees nor electric lights to brighten up the tree. The Christmas decorations were mostly passed down from generation to generation and were hand painted, small ornaments, about 3-4 inches in diameter.

There were also many bird- shaped ornaments with angel hair tails, fancy home made cookies, strings of various nuts, and of course with real candles about 3 inches high.

The candles were only lit for a half hour or so, because it was so dangerous and one of the adults would be on watch with a candle snuffer and water, in case the tree caught fire.”

  Author Unknown


Rare Santa Bank

Very Rare Santa clause Bank

Do your research on Christmas Collectables. You will find a wealth of information on Christmas Tree Ornaments and oddities on the web.  So don’t be too surprised if you get hooked on this interesting hobby. Bonus, you can show off your fine Christmas collection the same time, every year.

”So let’s get started.” Eh!

Old Christmas postcard

Old Christmas Post Card

Lots of places to find treasures: the thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and church bazaars. Nobody thinks of Christmas in the off season, (summer), but that is the best time to buy. Do your research now,  get armed with what to look for, get ready for the off season, and remember in any collecting,

 “Knowledge is power”.

Let’s get started! Oh, I already said that Eh.  Remember, they’re everywhere. You just have to look and find them.

“Please leave me a comment or any suggestions.”



Pictorial Guide To Christmas Ornaments & Collectibles, Identification and Values (BOOK)


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Match Box


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#48 in a Series of 50

Vintage Match Stick Holder or collecting Match Boxes  is one of those upcoming fads for new collectors. As in a reference book, (address at the bottom)  there are something like 4000 different varieties of match holders of sorts.

two match holders

Two match Holders

Match Boxes, I like to call them have  been around for a long time. they’ve been sitting there,  all by themselves, lonely on some old shelf at your friendly antique shop or flea market.  Hell, you will even find them at any Good Will or used clothing outlet.

match safe

gas filled lighter and a match holder

We have all seen them, but paid little or no attention to them.  Then when you spot one, you say “WHAT IS THAT THING?” They are small, don’t take up a lot of room, and they’re different. Some look like an old fluid style Zippo lighter but without the lighter inside. “Someone stole the lighter” and left the case! No, now they call it a match box/holder. They would even make good conversation pieces!

Match Boxes are just fun to collect and could be a lucrative hobby.

What is a Match Holder you say?  WELL let me tell you. First you have to understand their purpose and their use. Here is a few pictures to get you acquainted with what they look like. Now you’re going to say,  “yeah”  I’ve seen hundreds” and yes, you have. They are overlooked by most of  the general public. These little match holders, which some just call match safes, were made to store friction matches. (ordinary match sticks)

The match revolutionized the way people started fires in the mid 18oos

We all have read stories of inventions that changed the world, but you will not find matches on that list.  You should have! Penicillin changed the lives “saved lives” as we knew it and I hate to say it, the silly old simple match stick/holders should be at least in the top 10, “Somewhere”.

In and around the year 1830 a chemist named John Walker from England mistakenly invented the match tip or matches. Hard to believe but in the earlier days before the match and match holders, you basically had to rub two sticks together, or just keep the fire burning.

The silliest part of the match stick story is the match holder was not debued until the 1850s, 20 years later.

But the invention of a silly friction match did change the way we lived. And having said all that,three figurine match holders people needed someplace to safely store their matches. Sure when you buy them they come in small cardboard boxes, and in most part that’s all you needed. Some people would just throw a couple of match sticks in their pocket and when needed, they just pulled them out, struck it on something abrasive and you’re in business.

The ingredient of the match stick was so flammable in their first stages of invention, they would just light up from the friction of movement in your pocket. They were very unpredictable at best and probably, burnt more houses down from premature combustion.

Which brings us up to the MATCH HOLDERS.

To clarify what the difference is, match box or a match safe, I would like to think of as a match box, just an open container that you put your matches in.

Maybe a match holder with a lid (simple right) I would also consider a match safe as being a closed container of sorts, as per pictures. And that would make more sense around an open flame, or wood stoves.

To throw another curve, England sometimes called match holders, match boxes and match safes, “Vesta Boxes”   Only the English language can have 4 completely different words, meaning the same thing.

“England uses proper English” so we’re all pronouncing match boxes, “WRONG”. . . Eh!


Now we know that the match box was made for the storage of flammable match sticks. Just to store your matches safely! A common place most people kept their match sticks was near the old wood stove,  for easy access to start the fire. So on its own, match boxes were a welcoming invention.

Match holders come in a variety of styles to choose from. There are ceramic ones, just ordinary stamped tin ones and there are fancy decorative ones for the rich and famous. My all time favorites are just the old rustic looking cast iron ones. They had a small pocket on the one side for your matches and would hold 10 or so matches.

NOT  a lot of information out there.

Sorry to say, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on match boxes, but these feverish, die hard collectors they know what they’re looking for.  You should be learning, research more and help these serious collectors out. Hunt them down, There out there or maybe just for save them for yourself. Eh

Hope I helped you out some.

I hope I helped you, armed you with a little information on, as the English would say. . . “Vesta Boxes” “MATCH BOXES to the  ORDINARY GUY” So next time you’re at one of these used antique shops, look down on the selves, look up, they’re there, just waiting for you.  Eh!

Just remember, this would be an excellent hobby to start and in most cases, like any collecting “IT’S THE FUN OF THE HUNT!”   Eh!

Note, People use –

Vintage Decorative Match Holders for, “Toothpicks”

Please check out more fascinating stories and history of Match Holders. I recommend this excellent reference book with hundreds of images,  “Match Holders by Denis B Alsford” 

Reference ∞ 



This is part 7 of



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Cast Iron Collectables


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#47 of a Series of 50

Comparing good and bad casting

Comparing Good and Bad Casting


In order to understand the difference between an older piece of cast iron and a newer piece (reproduction), you have to somewhat understand what cast iron is and how it’s made. Especially cast iron Collectables and antiques.

Very general rules

In the olden, golden days talented wood craftsmen would have carved out the perfect shape of a item with fine detailing and then heated up molted metal to around 2000 decrease (give or take) and pour it into the mold. When cooled the two or more parts of the mold are separated and wa-la, the shape of whatever you designed is made. Most wood molds are generally only used once due to the heat.

Cast or casting is generally referring to a mold. People that do ceramics in most part use molds and they blow hot glass into it to get it’s shape and what it’s going to look like is determined by the shape of the mold.

Cast iron is the same

Now having said that, cost effective reusable molds would be made of sand and water Solutions, which are referred to as “SAND MOLDS” They’re more widely used especially on smaller items, such as toys, banks etc.


I never understood this part of today’s technology. By far our way of casting exceeds the casting from 50 or 200 years back. But the cast iron parts made today are coarser to the touch, crudely made, and in most part, in my thinking, not really attractive looking. In other words, they’re cheaply machine made, especially on reproduction antique and collectable Parts.

Cast Iron Collectables

So if we’re talking old cast iron money banks, cast iron door stops, door hammers, even cast iron toys, frying pans anything that has been molded, check the surface for fine or rough texture.

When I’m referring to casting, once you make that mold, you could theoretically pour molted aluminum instead of iron. That would make it cast aluminum. Many everyday items are cast aluminum.

If you look at any bottle, (pop bottle to beer bottle) look at the side from the bottom to the top, see and feel the 2 lines, one on each side of the bottle. That’s from where the two half’s of the mold met and separated to make the bottle.

That’s one way of telling how old the bottle is, but that’s a different subject all together.

There are many things that are made from molds. Fiberglass boats and cars parts, to name a few, are made from molds. So that technology is widely used today.


By the way, iron is a very cheap “metal” by-product of steel.

Seven fast ways I check the age of cast iron.

  • Check the smoothness of the piece.



  • Check how parts fit together, tight with very little to no gaps, that’s a  good thing. Remember craftsmanship, real people assembled these pieces not machines.
  • Check inside of the part. Sometimes the casting is reasonably smooth on the outside but very coarse on the inside. That would be a red flag.
  • Check the quality of paint. In most cases, depending on the manufacturer, they dip the items in paint, which makes the paint thicker. Today items are sprayed on with very low quality paint and thickness.
  • 100 year old paint would in most part still look like last week’s paint job.
  • Check the screw or screws holding the sections/parts together. Older items before and around the industrial evolution were slotted screw heads, and, don’t get me wrong
    Slotted Screw HEAD on old cast iron banks


    (that’s not saying the screw was not changed), but it does devalue the piece no less and could just throw you off from thinking it’s not an original.

  • They say compare the size of the part to a known authentic WHAT EVER. The reproduction one would be a different size than the original. There are some reference books that will give you measurements and  that’s only if you’re really concerned or paying large dollars for the item.

Once you get used to a few simple tricks, you might have a better understanding what to look for. There are more good reproductions of cast iron parts out there than the old authentic ones.  But you will at least  be armed with a few general things to look for.

Please check out my blog on “Cast Iron Trivets” (LINK)


By the way, small cast iron items such as banks, toy figurine, kitchen ware, skillets, anything small are good sellers, or on the other hand, just good collector items. Just remember, collecting cast iron “anything”, doesn’t take up a lot of room.

I’m not an expert by any means, This is just a simple guide on how I check, “anything cast iron”. Do your research, and learn more

Please check out my post on Collecting Space Age Toys.

Collecting Space Age Memorabellia.

This is part of of a series of 50


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Pardon me

pardon me cartoon

Guilty-Bad Ass-Pardon Cartoon

Pardon me! I wish it was that simple but what if I wanted a real pardon to remove my past dirty deeds? How would I go about getting a pardon? Do you even know what a pardon is? Wikipedia says, “A pardon is a government decision to allow a person to be absolved of guilt for an alleged crime or other legal offense”

This post as per cartoon was to make fun of US President Trump.


“Talk about being above the law”!  He just sends a bad message of the democratic system and totally makes a mockery of all hard working Americans that believe in equal rights.

My plan was to make fun of the US President and the PARDON issue, but the pardon topic took a different direction on its own.

This is a very important topic with many people and these people take the pardon issue quite seriously. Listening to the American president make light of the pardon issue is disheartening to them, as well as to myself, and I don’t need one. Eh!

There is a Canadian FUN Connection

∞∞ So the “PARDON ME” term probably originated in Canada.

Canadian flag

Canadian Flag

As you’re going through heavily congested malls, you are rubbing shoulders with anybody and everybody. The first thing that comes out of a Canadian’s mouth is pardon me . . .  pardon me, … No, “PARDON ME”  Eh! ∞∞

But this is not a laughing matter. What if a lot of people are very serious about a “REAL PARDON”, you know the one your government gives you when you/they think that you should be exonerated from your shady past.

Pardon Me

So, as President Trump is handing out pardons like they were traffic tickets, he is saving the last for himself. You are just a normal working person/Schmoe, ( Al Capone used that term)  it just means, you have to go through the proper channels.

Depending on the severity of your past crimes, you might have to wait 5 to 10 years and that’s after you paid your debt to society. So you really have to plan ahead and make sure you do it. This information came right out of a Canadian Law website and maybe its a US law site also.


FIRST OFF- do you really want a pardon, do you even need one.

SECOND- Do you know how to go about getting a pardon?

Most people with a shady past couldn’t care less about a pardon, not worth the effort. Not unless I can get a Donald Trump pass, I’m not interested.

Other people would like a clean slate. They paid their debt to society. It was part of the past and would like to leave it there. It’s history and gone like it never happened.

It’s hard to look into the future but if you could, you would say. “A pardon in a small way, is part of the healing process from your gloomy past”. And looking into the future, you don’t want your dirty deeds stopping you from fulfilling your hopes, dreams, love and relationships, all the good things in life.

My question would be,

On a job application with your pardon firmly in place, when filling out the application form for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police position, you get asked,” do you or have you ever had a criminal record?”

Would you answer yes or no to that question?

No, would mean that if an institution dug deep enough and they did dig up something of your past they would now accuse you of falsifying a legal document. Then you’re in deep do-do.  If you say yes, way way back before the caveman, and yes I have paid my debt and have been totally exonerated of my past dirty deeds.

Could they still hold that against you? Could you still get a high paying government job? With a past or current criminal record even with a pardon, you could still be limited to certain jobs?

Government jobs as an MP, PRIME MINISTER OR PRESIDENT of U.S.A or child welfare would be totally out. (I think?) There are many high profile positions  that companies or government agencies would do a thorough back ground and security check on you. By having a pardon you will eliminate most of your problem.

That’s a question you would want to ask a Pardon Lawyer.

Did you also know, your criminal record is public domain?

skeletons in your closet

Do you have skeletons in your closet?

Did you know your criminal record is public domain, public information to anybody that wants or is interested in spending the fee to pull your file? And as the story goes, even with a pardon, and yes, now your record is squeaky clean and hidden from public scrutiny, someone, digging hard enough can still come up with your past dirty deeds. (depending on the severity of the crime)

And I’m sure some Politicians aren’t squeaky clean either. They too probably have skeletons in their closet. They just never told anyone.

How would I go about getting a pardon?

Here are a few web addresses that could help you be an honorary citizen again.


Information On, “Do Other Country Have Pardons “



Most Powerful L Canadian Lawyer’s


Google, how to get on the Donald Trump’s pardons list, it would be a faster way to go.


∞ Short Pardon Story ∞

Many years back this nice looking lady came up to me at my work place. She introduces herself as a RCMP officer and that she was from the Canadian Government Pardons Office.

She spoke in a very soft voice; I never, ever suspected she was a law enforcement officer.The lady spoke like we were old time buddies. Through the conversation, she mentioned a friend of mine was applying for a pardon. This was one of the procedures our government  go through to see if the person in question deserves a pardon.

Laughing, I asked her which one of my “bad actor friends” was going for a clean slate.  The person on my list of friends, the least I would have ever suspected had the criminal record.

RCMP lady asked a few simple question like, “how long have you known this person, and on a personal level” “what did I think of him as a upstanding citizen.” Silly questions really, 20 minutes from start to finish of the questions, she was gone and he got his pardon shortly after.

I would like to think in a small way I helped him get his pardon. He turned out to be a Minister of a local Church and oversees many of the church projects. On Sundays, he always had interesting stories to tell his congregation.

Good Luck on your Pardon!



Canada’s Prime Minister is pardoning thousands for bad guys with drug related offenses do to the latest law change?

United States Presidents, pardon hundreds of people in their term in office, some Presidents, thousands.

“Do research on how to get on the list of Pardons?”


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Wearing motorcycle helmets “IS” the law in Canada?

four motorcycle riders

With and without motorcycle helmets

Question, is wearing motorcycle helmets the law in Canada?

. . . The answer to the Canada Helmet Law is yes! . . . IN MOST PART?   The law was, when riding your motorcycle on a public highway, helmets were mandatory and yes, even if you’re under the age of 18 and riding a tricycle, you had to again abide by the law. . . “Wear a helmet”

Wearing motorcycle helmets is the law in Canada?

The helmet law was implemented in Canada under the “Traffic Safety Act” in the early 60’s.  Dr. Eric Kung, a neurologist at Stamford Hospital specializing in head injuries. “Motorcycle accidents are the most common causes of traumatic brain injury,” and or death. Wearing  helmets when riding would drastically reduce the force of impact on the brain and skull.

Behind the scenes (which means they don’t talk about it), there is the extravagant cost load to the health care system due to such injuries, and they are considered preventable accidents. That’s two good reasons why Canada has (had) the helmet law.

As per article on Canada Helmet Law

Canada’s motorcycle helmet laws were easy to understand because they were fairly uniform across all 10 provinces and three territories: all operators and passengers on a motorcycle or motor-assisted bicycle must wear helmets at all times securely fastened under the chin. It is for our own health and welfare.


On listening to the national news, there was an article about the safety of wearing helmets and it led up to the story that some of the minority groups of our citizens are crying foul. They would like an exemption to the law, and the right not to wear helmets due to religious reasons, and it was,  just “discriminatory” besides.

The groups in question can (as the story goes) wear a helmet as long as their head was covered but they chose not to because of the inconvenience of taking the head gear on and off in a private setting. Inconvenience? Yes. “I understand”, but to change Canadian laws because it’s an “inconvenience” to the operator.?


That helmet law has been challenged and changed in 3 provinces and now, challenged and supposedly going to be changed by our new government in Ontario. The Sikhs minority are “now” allowed to ride their motorcycles without a helmet in the provinces of-

British Columbia




If our new Ontario government grants this group an exemption, then the rest of cyclists in Ontario should also be exempt from wearing the helmets by choice rather than by law.

“The health and safety issue doesn’t seem to be a valid argument anymore”.

The law change is grossly unfair to all Canadian Cyclists that are forced into wearing the helmet when some citizens do not.

Now remember, the helmet law was introduced for our own safety

grim reaper cartoon

I’d love to go for a ride with you, but I never get on one of those things “WITHOUT A HELMET”

(HEAD INJURIES) and of course, the cost of overloading the health care system, due to head injuries. What was not mentioned was that the cyclist insurance rates will probably go up because of fatalities or injuries due to not wearing your helmet.

∞∞ “If our government persists on changing laws to appease the selected few and not for all Canadian citizens as a whole, then “how” can they expect equality in this country from its people if they themselves do not set the “example”.  By, “NOT” treating all citizens equally, “Canada is”, part of the big problem” ∞∞

It is a choice to Ride or not to Ride and to abide by all rules and lawsCanadian flag of the road, set down for the safety of all citizens of Canada, not the select few.


This article is NOT about majority, minority OR choice of religions. It’s not even about the helmet law, it’s about equality for all, and I think . . . “This is at the root of our problems”, OR WILL BE.


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Is Cannabis legal in Canada?

marijuana logo

Official Canadian Weed Logo

Yes to the question, Is Cannabis legal in Canada, or at least by the time of my posting it will be legal (Oct. 17). Some of the general public can hardly wait. Legalizing the pot industry will bring most of these smokers out of the closet, not like they need to be, they been doing it forever anyway. The people can just do it legally now.

The marijuana industry is gearing up, the stores are ready to open, the 115 or so pot producers in Canada are spending money like they already have it. They,  like our government are expecting a major economic win fall.

Morbid topic, but this is true no less.

Upstanding person as I am, do not partake in such activities. . . but, “Is it even safe to smoke?”  You know they banned cigarettes because scientifically it’s proven that it’s bad for your health, breathing in all those chemicals.  Their reasoning is sound, all the chemicals and the oils / nicotine from smoking cigarettes just clogged up the blood vessels in your lungs. If that happens then the oxygen supply to the brain or body has been reduced and will and can just create a lot of health problems.


How many times have you heard that quotation?  “Smoking is bad for you” Now, this is coming from a person that knows virtually nothing about the body anatomy. But as an ordinary person, outside the box looking in, I still have to wonder if any research was done on the long term effects on smoking cannabis, pot. So you still have to see it at face value.

Is Cannabis OK to smoke?

Cannabis in most part gets smoked, inhaled, and still goes into your blood stream through your lungs. As a matter of fact, the same way as smoking cigarettes. It’s bad enough that you have to breathe polluted air, but the oils from the cannabis should surely work the same way over time as nicotine.

Just saying.   Could I be right?

Now, the new law has been passed in legalizing pot in Canada, and I’m totally amazed that articles on the health and welfare of smoking pot are few and far between.

But going back to my lung theory and the nicotine plugged blood vessels in your lungs, and now Cannabis plugging the arteries / blood vessels with Cannabis oil.

I don’t see a difference.

Doctors/physicians are staying relatively quiet on the issue of marijuana. The cancer society is not addressing any concerns of smoking pot, so I wonder, why do I see a difference? I’m far from being a medical  practitioner or an expert in the field. It just makes sense.

On a lighter note:

Our government made it law and by making it law, they put a lot of our citizens on a cloud without even lighting a match to a joint. Some people are ecstatically happy in most part with the new law. “Well maybe some and not all”.

The younger groups calls them,  doobies so,

I better get with the lingo, I’m assuming this pot will be around long after I’m gone, so I better get used to the talk, Eh!

Let’s see if I got this right.

MARIJUANA is the same as Cannabis which is the same as




Marijuana sticks.


Big fatties




Sticky Icky

My all time favorite,


And the list goes on?

If anybody can think of any other colorful names, please let me know. I want to be accurate.

“I mean, cool when I’m asking for some over the counter.”


Our brothers to the south, better beware.

Marijuana smoke in Canada

Marijuana smoke in Canada

There will be one big cloud over Canada for a while, and it won’t be from a forest fire. It will be that fine Canadian aroma. Eh!


Please check out my first posting on Canada Pot industry.

Is Canada Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

From the movie Cheech and Chong – Up in Smoke, MY all time favorite.


Did you know that marijuana and hemp plants are closely related, like in the family of “WEED”…

Adding insult to injury, they make rope out of hemp/weed?

You’re probably saying “this Canadian is already on some bad stuff” eh! — WEED

Please,  check out my other post on legalizing marijuana in Canada

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