Birth announcement

25 12 2006

Yep, I’ve got another blog and it just went live tonight. Uncanny Canada is a little side project of mine, a repository for Canadian Forteana, general weirdness, and whatever shiny things catch my eye. If this intrigues you, pop on over! More stories will be added soon — oof, it’s hard to get a new blog off the ground. We now return you to your regularly scheduled equine-ness.

Dappled things

25 12 2006

Starry Night Sky, originally uploaded by MaiKoh.

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89). Poems. 1918.

Draft-horse racing: Hokkaido’s vanishing tradition

25 12 2006

From today’s New York Times. More photos at the end of this post.

OBIHIRO, Japan, Dec. 18 — It was one of the last contests of the day at the draft-horse racetrack in this rural corner of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island. The spotlights glimmered in the snow-streaked evening sky as the gamblers, who had been inside huddling around strategically placed portable kerosene heaters, took their spots alongside the track.

The gates opened. Ten huge draft horses, each weighing about a ton and pulling an iron sled just as heavy, rumbled forward as the jockeys urged them on with cries and whips. After easily clearing the first mound, No. 10 took the lead and waited for the others to catch up before trying the second, higher mound.

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