Friday, May 6, 2016

Sandhill cranes at Burnaby Lake: up and over!

Magical encounter: sandhill cranes at Burnaby Lake

Found, lost, and found

This spring was Paradise rediscovered: we stumbled on a place we found years ago, then lost. Then found again. It's a wildlife magnet called Piper Spit on Burnaby Lake, with a boardwalk, a huge expanse of warm shallow water, marshland for nesting, and birds.

I find birds restful and spiritually soothing. Their song seems to pour balm on the rawness in my soul. We used to have tons of them in the backyard: jays, juncos, chickadees, wrens, thrushes and nuthatches, even the odd flicker. We're not sure why they're not hanging around any more, unless it's the cat staring out the window at them. But Bentley didn't seem to scare them last year.

When we stumbled on this place again, I had a feeling I've experienced only a couple of times in my life: that I had found a sort of heaven on earth. The birds here are so tame that they walk up to you (no doubt because they've been human-fed, a practice I don't believe in, though it leads to some amazing close encounters.) Every time we go there, we see new species. I'm also posting video of our incredible encounter with two magnificent sandhill cranes. For some reason, red-winged blackbirds love the place, and I had my hand less than two inches away from one of them. Now I'm tempted to try to get one of them to eat out of my hand, which I know I shouldn't.

I need this. I always feel frazzled in my brain somewhere, and often feel I can't really express myself on this blog, so I result to satire and silliness. I hate the wildfires in Fort McMurray, I fear that we are next, and am sure we at least contributed to causing it with our brutality to nature. I feel completely powerless, and the homilies on Facebook and the "hey, get involved" exhortations ring hollow.

So I have this.

I have this, which was there all along, but we somehow never knew about it. Except that we did! We went there once, years and years ago. Then the area was closed by construction and we got distracted and never went back.

Do things happen at the right time? No, they don't. Humans impose that idea on reality, to reassure themselves that (a) we are in charge of everything, and/or (b) the Universe wraps itself around our own particular whims.

None of this is true.

But I have Piper Spit, and I have just begun to explore it. I get that strange heaven-feeling I've had maybe twice before in my life. It's an enchantment that lies very close to the source of life.

HOLY SHIT! It's those Pentecostal guys - IN 3D!

Hey, y'all! It's Friday, so I thought I'd post something idiotic that I made last night. 

A few years ago, somebody came up with a Revolutionary New Idea for gifs: 3D! Basically, the figure stands there moving minutely back and forth while the background shifts slightly, and to be honest, my Grandma Smith's old stereoscope gave me a better 3D image than this.

Then came the NEW, IMPROVED 3D gif. This is being touted as a revolution in giffery, but I don't see it. I hate those white lines, for one thing. This is almost as bad as the "improved" MP4 gif with sound. Imagine a 3-second, irrelevant sound bite repeating over, and over, and over again. What people don't seem to realize is that you can watch a repeating image ad infinitum, but chunks of nonsensical sound are about as pleasant to listen to as a parrot on speed. Anyway, those lines just don't seem to do it for me, but the other night, lost in yet another late night YouTube labyrinth, I discovered. . . 


These are every bit as primitive, and wobble back and forth just as stupidly, with lots of distortion. Distortion is what I live for. These gifs were taken from a 21-part (no kidding - each video running for half an hour) denouncement or annunciation of the Toronto Blessing, also called Holy Laughter. I've explored this phenomenon in past posts, as expressed by Kenneth Hagin and many other equally idiotic types. But as much as this gospel of lunacy has its proponents, it also has many (MANY) detractors who seem to believe that laughing and rolling around on the floor is demonic.

I think this is Kenneth Copeland, or maybe it's someone else - I think they're all interchangeable. Most of this video was shot in the mid-'90s (how I love mid-'90s video in all its flickering, grainy glory!), but the commentator, while debunking these Pentecostal practices as demonic, keeps on freezing the frame. Well, ALMOST freezing the frame. This is as frozen (speaking of!) as a frame got back then. I can't reproduce the sound here, thank God, but the debunker kept running the "speaking in tongues" (a lot of nonsensical blather) slower and slower to make out words like, "I love Satan!" "Fuck you!" and "I buried Paul!" I'm surprised he didn't play any of it backwards. Hey, The Donna Reed Show would sound demonic if you slowed it down that much.

The guy on the right is supposedly responsible for all this hell-on-earth: Rodney Howard Browne. He comes from South Africa, which is suspicious in itself, isn't it? All that voodoo. One day in the mid-'90s he showed up at the airport church in Toronto and unleashed all this rolling-on-the-floor mayhem, and soon it caught on, contagious, like some ludicrous brain-suspending religious disease.

Uhm. The freeze-frame portions of these (21!) videos were rather limited, focused mainly on the evangelists themselves. But this has got to be the strangest manifestation of the Holy Ghost I've seen.

I'm really not sure what's going on here. Dirty little secrets? Manifestations of Satan? Sweet nothings?

This one isn't quite as 3D as the others, but it gets the feeling across. This is one of the more sedate manifestations of the Toronto Blessing.

Can't you just see the Holy Ghost shining forth in this dude? . . . You can't? YOU just try making yourself appear and disappear like that.

This Toronto Blessing thing has apparently made a much-more-modest comeback, after being fiercely denounced as demonic by Christian conservatives for years and years. It has now been "rebranded" and given a new spin as Catch the Fire.  There are slickly-produced videos with testimonials from fresh-faced, attractive individuals who have been paid to insist how this loony laugh-fest (now, presumably, somewhat toned-down) has changed their lives. Someone has been hired to give all this a much more sanitary spin.

But I'm not buying it. It's all the work of the Devil. In 3D.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

My candidate for President (no, really)


. . . and his staff. . . 

WE HAVE THE PROOF: This is actually just a big ball of tin foil!!

Tennis-ball sized diamond found by Canadian firm could fetch $70M

A Sotheby's employee holds Lesedi La Rona Diamond on May 3, 2016 in New York City. (Donald Bowers / Getty Images for Sotheby's, via AP)

The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, May 4, 2016 7:07AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 4, 2016 11:48AM EDT

LONDON - A London auctioneer says a diamond the size of a tennis ball that was unearthed by a Vancouver-based mining company could sell for more than $70 million US.

Sotheby's says it will offer the Lesedi la Rona diamond in London on June 29.

The diamond was unearthed in November in Botswana at a mine owned by Lucara Diamond Corp. (TSX:LUC). It measured 1,109 carats, the second-largest gem-quality rough diamond ever discovered.

Canadian company unearths tennis ball-sized 1,111-carat diamond


An 1,111-carat diamond is shown in this undated handout photo. (Lucara Diamond Corp., Lucian Coman/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Its name means "our light" in the Tswana language. It is the largest discovered in more than a century.

The auctioneer said Wednesday that the rough gemstone could yield the largest top-quality diamond ever cut and polished.

Last year, Lucara sold a 341.9-carat diamond of the same type for US$20.55 million.

NEWS FLASH! Weekly World News reporter Horatio von Fraudster has peeled back the myth of the Lesedi diamond once and for all.  And you're not going to believe what he found. . . 

Kitty hides in the jaws of death!

11 Beautiful Japanese Words That Don't Exist In English

Image Credit:

11 Beautiful Japanese Words That Don't Exist In English
Untranslatable words from Japan, the polite and nature-loving country.

Marie Sugio in Lifestyle on Feb 16, 2016

Once, when I asked my friend from a small tribe in Burma how they would say “breakfast” there, she told me that they didn’t have a word for it because they only ate twice a day--lunch and dinner. I happen to have a lot of friends who speak English as their second language and that made me realize that a language has a lot to do with its culture’s uniqueness. Because of that there are some untranslatable words.

In Japanese culture, people have a lot of appreciation towards nature and it is very important to be polite towards others. That politeness and the nature appreciation reflected on to its language and created some beautiful words that are not translatable to English.

いただきます Itadakimasu

"Itadakimasu" means “I will have this.” It is used before eating any food to express appreciation and respect for life, nature, the person who prepared the food, the person who served the food, and everything else that is related to eating.

おつかれさま Otsukaresama

"Otsukaresama" means “you’re tired.” It is used to let someone know that you recognize his/her hard work and that you are thankful for it.

木漏れ日 Komorebi

"Komorebi" refers to the sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees.

木枯らし Kogarashi

"Kogarashi" is the cold wind that lets us know of the arrival of winter.

物の哀れ Mononoaware

"Monoaware" is "the pathos of things." It is the awareness of the impermanence of all things and the gentle sadness and wistfulness at their passing.

森林浴 Shinrinyoku

“Shinrinyoku” ("forest bathing") is to go deep into the woods where everything is silent and peaceful for a relaxation.

幽玄 Yuugen

"Yuugen" is an awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses that are too mysterious and deep for words.

しょうがない Shoganai

The literal meaning of "Shoganai" is “it cannot be helped.” However, it is not discouraging or despairing. It means to accept that something was out of your control. It encourages people to realize that it wasn’t their fault and to move on with no regret.

金継ぎ/金繕い kintsuki/kintsukuroi

"Kintsukuroi" is the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver joining the pieces and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

わびさび Wabi-sabi

"Wabi-sabi" refers to a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and peacefully accepting the natural cycle of growth and decay.

擬音語 All the onomatopoeia

English has onomatopoeia, but Japanese has far more. For example, we have “om-nom-nom” for eating and they have “paku-paku” for eating normally, “baku-baku” for eating wildly, “gatsu-gatsu” for eating fast, “mogu-mogu” for chewing a lot, etc. Doesn’t it make your head spin? The onomatopoeia for that kind of dizziness is “kurukuru” by the way. The image above is showing some of those onomatopoeia. As you can see, Japanese onomatopoeia is usually a repetitive sound. Although it might be a very difficult concept to understand, it adds a melody and an emotional meaning to a word. Japanese sounds poetic because of the onomatopoeia.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Breaking Anne

'Breaking Bad' scribe on her 'deeper' take on 'Anne of Green Gables'


Screenwriter Moira Walley Beckett, for the upcoming CBC television show "Anne of Green
Gables", who also a writer for the series "Breaking Bad", poses for a picture in front of studio
in the CBC building in Toronto, Friday April 29, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

TORONTO - The former "Breaking Bad" writer in charge of CBC-TV's "Anne of Green Gables" adaptation says she's on the hunt for "a 12-year-old female Bryan Cranston."

Emmy Award-winning writer Moira Walley-Beckett notes her version of the Lucy Maud Montgomery classic includes "a very, very demanding role" for a yet-to-be-cast leading lady.

Beckett's spin on the coming-of-age tale will be "deeper" and won't shy away from Montgomery's references to a dark and difficult past.
"Anne is damaged, she never wasn't. I'm not reinventing the wheel here in that regard," Walley-Beckett says of delving into lesser known aspects of Anne's tumultuous life pre-Green Gables.

"There's this one line that she says: 'Am I talking too much? Everybody always tells me that I do. It seems to cause no end of aggravation.' When you look at that, what does that mean? What's happened in the past?

"What's happened in the past ... is that she's been smacked across the face for talking too much or she's been punished. And I want those real aspects to inform this modern Anne."

There will be flashbacks to Anne's younger days, as well as backstories for her elderly sibling caregivers, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert.

"I'm hoping to bring many, many more layers to the story that we love," says Walley-Beckett, who will executive produce with Miranda de Pencier of Northwood Entertainment.

"That's sort of my mantra for this whole project: Why are these people the way they are? What's happened, what's come before and how does that inform how they're dealing with the situation?"

Walley-Beckett is known for dark and twisted tales, most notably her work on the meth-making odyssey "Breaking Bad," starring Cranston.

She won an Emmy for the devastating "Ozymandias" episode — the third-to-last one in which (spoiler alert!) Hank is killed, Walt Jr. finally learns the truth and Walt kidnaps baby Holly, among other things.

The Vancouver native followed that up with Super Channel's "Flesh and Bone," centred on an emotionally damaged ballet dancer.

Both featured desperate, disturbing characters but neither show is all that dissimilar from Walley-Beckett's plans for "Anne," she insists.

The story will still be set in 1900s Prince Edward Island, but it will explore contemporary issues including sexism, bullying, puberty, empowerment and prejudice.

"What I'm interested in about Anne are the realities of her situation," says Walley-Beckett, who moved to Los Angeles about 15 years ago.

"What's her original wounding and what is the baggage that she's carrying in this situation and how has she been affected by the detriments of her life so far? ... You've got to think of her sort of as a rescue dog — as this pup who's been kicked around for years, been in shelters, been abused, hasn't had a safe place to be, hasn't ever been nurtured, and suddenly has an opportunity to find a forever home."

Producers are embarking on a worldwide search for their star.

Open casting calls will be held in Toronto on May 7 and 8, Vancouver on May 14 and 15, Charlottetown on May 28, and Halifax on May 29 and 30.

More casting calls will take place in the United States and Europe. Production is expected to begin this summer.

On the web:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A story of lust and unspeakable sin

The Snow Hen of Jostedal

A story of lust and unspeakable sin


Once there was a little legend walking about, that we will name Jostedalsrypa.

Why such a long handle, you may ask? when it would be a lot easier to name him (her!) Junie or Jolie or some such other two-syllable name?

Because Jostedalsrypa is a myth.

Jostedal, as we will now call her (given that the other name is just too long to remember) is sometimes called the Snow Hen of Jostedal. I first encountered her yesterday, though her myth (reality?) goes back to the 1300s, when the Black Plague was harvesting Europe with a scythe as lethal as the Reaper’s.

When all was said and done, when all the ploughing up to make graves and the burning down to make sanitary lodgings had passed, when the few people left on the earth were breathing little sighs of relief here and there,  Nordrik walked the sylvan glades and frosted peaks of Scandinavia. He looked up with tears of gratitude at Scandy’s burning skies and thanked the Norse gods that he had been –

But enough of this, it's getting in the way of the story.

Back to Jostedalsrypa. While this Nordrik (or Norhan, or Norvasken, depending on which scholar you quote) was beating the bushes for edible mushrooms, he heard a stirring sound.

Not like you’d stir your coffee, but more of a feather-on-leaf stir, very frail, a shaking of the bushes so minute that it might just be the stirrings of a bug.

With his ailegaard (walking pole), he gently parted the bushes. Nothing.

Then he kicked the quivering bush with his foot.

This provoked a whooshwhooshwhooshwhooshwhooshwhooshwhooshwhooshwhoosh
sound, akin to the whirring of doves spiralling upwards, of partridges flushed from the bush.

But the wings of this creature (if creature it was!) did not carry it far, as just a few feet off the ground it fell with a dismal thud.

He looked at the strange thing.

It was shaped like a hen. It looked like a hen. It flapped like a hen. It was partially camouflaged by snow, dirty snow that was half-melting and had formed around the hen as a sort of protective covering, an ice nest.

“I will call her Jostedal, after Lake Jostedal and the City of Jostedal and Jostedal Canyon," said Norrdka, lifting the terrified bird from the snow and marvelling at how heavy she seemed in his arms.

Her head jerked this way and that. A snow hen!  Imagine that. So those silly legends must've been true after all. She seemed to have the intelligence of a – well, of a hen. Her feet paddled the air. Still Norrdka trudged, wondering how she would taste stewed up with a side dish of mushrooms.

The Black Plague had left its survivors with a keen appetite.

Nothing that moved was ever wasted,  but because the Snow Hen was displaying nesting behaviour, the family  held back on eating her.  Everyone clucked with joy when  Jostedal produced her first egg. “But do not eat it yet!” cried Gromkin, the snow-crowned patriarch of the family and the one who had suspiciously survived the Plague by hoarding quail eggs in his pockets.

“Why, old man? Why not eat the egg as a side dish with the chicken and mushrooms?” cried Norrdka.

“I have a recipe for Chicken Eggskongg,” Mama chimed in.

“Hatch this egg. Nurture it. It will be extraordinary.”

Even those who did not agree with Gromkin decided they had better listen to him (he would whack them on the side of the head if they didn't), and keep the Snow Hen around as a renewable resource for food.  Meantime, they had this egg, which seemed somehow magical in their sight.

They could not sit on the egg, so after a meagre dinner of wood fungi they coaxed the chicken to sit down and incubate it. It took a lot of shoelaces to tie her down.

But something very strange happened in the night. 


Norrdka wasn’t the first to discover what had happened to her.  It was the old man, Gromkin. He saw the two of them over in the corner. The old man had a stick in his hand and was poking at her.

Squatting in the corner with not a stitch of clothing on her comely body was a beautiful young maiden!

Could this be the Snow Hen of  ancient  tales and stories? How was that possible?  Were they all seeing the same apparition?

The beautiful naked maiden whom they soon dubbed Shnowen had grown a sort of covering of white feathers over its body. And to think they had nearly eaten her the night before!

“ARE YOU HERE TO GRANT US THREE WISHES?” shouted the old man to the perplexed-looking chicken-lady.

She turned her head this way and that and made low, barely-perceptible clucking noises.


“Do be quiet, Father,” Mother cautioned him. “She is perplexed. Besides, she has already laid an egg which may be of inestimable value to us.”

And lo, it was.

As Shnownen walked around the bare cottage pecking the floor and flapping her arms. a crack began to form in the egg. The whole family, all seventeen of them, gathered around it in anxiety and hope.

The crack was very slow to form, and Grandfather Gromkin wanted to whack at it with his splinggboln, but the rest of them held him back.

And just as they were all about to give up and serve up this egg with a side dish of roasted fowl, lo!

Out popped, not a genie or a monster or an apparition or a dybbuk or a djinn. It was a child.

It was as child so tiny and radiant that no one could believe it. “That’s achick,” declared Seventeenth Brother.

“It’s never a chick. It’s a homunculus.”

“An automaton, I’ve seen one of those, it was an old monk that could walk around.”

“Silence!” cried the magical child, who seemed to be made of purest gold.

“State your business,” bellowed the old man, who was very direct.

“I have come here not by accident, but by design. I am here to refine human nature. I see cruelty everywhere, I see grabbing at food that belongs to others, I even see people eating each other’s flesh.”

“NO! It never happened”

“How can you even think such a thing!”

“You must be evil. How can you abuse us like this?”
But the family felt a deep and secret shame.  The Black Plague had certainly brought out the worst in everybody.

“Here is the test,” the magic child replied. “For forty-seven days, you shall have no food. The doors of your humble cabin will all be locked. This is a test of your character and of your ability to be selfless, and will redeem you for the black sins you committed during the Time of Pestilence.”

“Forty-seven days? Whover heard of THAT? Why not forty days and forty nights?”

“Shhhh, Grandpa Gromkin, maybe he’s joking.”

“No. It’s not like that,” broke in one of the many anonymous brothers.  “It means forty days, like Noah's rain in the Scriptures, PLUS the seven days it took for God to create the Universe.”

Ohhhhhhhh.” They all relaxed a little.

The first few days were rather exciting, as the tiny golden child talked non-stop about many amazing things while Shnowen, now called Shwenon, picked and plucked and made hen noises. A few times Eldest Brother pursued her around the cabin, and no one could tell if it was for food, or some other purpose too dark to mention.

After a while, that bird began to look better and better.

Grandfather nagged the magic child day and night. “Are you sure you really meant FORTY-SEVEN days?” he asked him. “Maybe you only meant seven.” There was a faint clinking sound in the background as the family tightened their belts.

On the thirteenth day, they decided to kill the chicken.

Why not kill the chicken? They would not survive unless they did. But the axe and the knife and the other implements of cold-blooded murder were all outside, so they would have to corner and strangle her. This was a nearly-impossible task with a human-sized bird.

So they began to tame her. Here, chicken, chicken, chicken! Nice chicken. Because she was starving to death, she would do just about anything they asked of her, including the unspeakable act I mentioned before.

But I shall draw a veil over such evil.

One day, however, in spite of the brain fog of famine, one of them had an idea.

“Wait!” Sixteenth Brother cried. “If we can last out this wretched forty-seven days, imagine what this bird will be worth for us.”

“We can put her on display.”

“Make her do tricks!”
"All sorts of tricks." 

”And she’s beautiful, and naked. So you know how people will respond.”

“But forty-seven days. . . “

“Listen,” said Grandfather. “I’m close to a deal.”

For along with greed and pride and lust, and anger and envy, and all those other things we’re not supposed to do, Grandfather excelled at crooked wheeling and dealing. Soon he had bargained the child down to twenty-four days. With his mother held hostage, about to be roasted on a spit, he was in no position to argue.

The force-field around the cabin began to waver.

The family wondered if they could hold out much longer, as the chicken was getting skinnier and skinnier and sat listlessly in the corner pulling her feathers out. She looked bad and would not enchant or even scare anyone.

“Goddamn you, Snow Hen,” cried Norrdka, cursing the day he had ever found her. “You started this. You’ll finish it.” He rushed at her with every intention of strangling her.  But she was too feeble to resist, and collapsed with a drawn-out cry.

“NOW have we passed the test?” asked Fourth Brother hopefully. They had, after all, not KILLED the chicken. They had resisted killing the chicken, who had obviously died of natural causes.

“You failed it a long time ago,” the child answered. “What is more, there isno spell. You could have left the cabin any time you wanted to. So you committed yet another sin."
"What could that be?"

”Mountebank!” cried Grandfather.

“Look at your Snow Hen, once so beautiful and so full of promise. She has died of hunger and despair. Not only that, there is no meat on her bones to sustain you.”

“I could make a good stock,” Mother suggested.

“I could stuff her, you know, put her on display.. . . “

Silence!  You people do not deserve to be in the presence of magic, because your souls are dark and selfish and full of corruption. You abuse the thing you claim to love the most and keep her captive in terror.”

“No one will know.”

“YOU will know. The knowledge will suck the strength from your soul and blight all your days, and continue for seventeen generations."

“But this is why they made Jesus.! If we repent, he will take all our sins away."

“Not this one.” Disgusted, the child burst into a ball of flame that grew and grew and grew until it consumed the entire cabin.

There was but one person spared. As white smoke surged up from the chimney, a bird with dazzling white feathers emerged and grew larger and larger until she seemed to fill the whole sky. The Snow Hen of Jostedal had freed herself from the prison of human darkness, never to return.

POSTLUDE. The provenance of this piece is strange. Years and years ago, I saw a NOVA program on PBS about a girl named Genie, a "wild child" who had been tied up in a dark room for an incredible thirteen years by her sadistic brute of a father.

The girl couldn't speak, could barely walk, and was the size of a seven-year-old. While the public may have seen a horribly damaged child, the scientific community saw a blank slate - that is, blank except for a lot of dollar signs.

The documentary recounts the stampede of interest from scientist, linguists, neurologists, sociologists, and many other ologists who scrambled for research grants to "study" Genie. This was in 1972, and NOT ONE person believed that it would be preferable for Genie's welfare to be placed in loving foster care until she gained enough stability to work with the scientists. 

It did not even occur to them.

I can't recount all of this heartbreaking story because it's too complex, except to say that the girl was eventually abandoned by the scientists who had so greedily fallen on her when she was released from her thirteen-year prison. When she was finally de-institutionalized, she was taken home by two of the research scientists like some sort of shelter dog, then abandoned a few years later when the grant money ran out. 

At the end of this wretched story, Genie is "put away" in a nursing home, and that's the end of it. Since she's younger than me, she is probably still there, in another sort of prison. I did find a reference from some time in the '90s, when an observer insisted she was "happy and content" in the home she had never chosen. Certainly she has no power to object.

I recently watched the NOVA program again - I'll try to find a link to it, it's riveting - and then acquired a book called Genie: A Scientific Tragedy by Russ Rymer. I was sure this book would be spellbinding, but 50 pages in I began to wonder whose side he was on.

He spent pages and pages on the work of Noam Chomsky, a pop icon and pseudo-linguist who believes there is only one language in all of human experience. As far as I can see, this demented idea has nothing at all to do with Genie and her difficult, halting acquisition of language, but it helps the author distance himself from all that mess and align himself with someone trendy.

But there's something else here, and I have to admit when I first read it I groaned. "I've been diddled," I thought. He listed various "feral" children that had been found roaming the woods over the centuries, and the farther I got into the list the more sure I was that he was having us on, making the whole thing up as a way of disrespecting his readers and jerking the leash.

“Among the cases of wild children discovered over the last seven centuries, more than fifty have been documented. The list includes the Hesse wolf-child; the Irish sheep-child; Kasper Hauser; the first Lithuanian bear-child; Peter of Hanover; the second Lithuanian bear-child; the third; the Karpfen bear-girl; Tomko of Zips; the Salzburg sow-girl; Clemens, the Overdyke pig-child; Dina Sanichar of Sekandra; the Indian panther-child; the Justedal snow-hen; the Mauretanian gazelle-child; the Teheran ape-child; Lucas, the South African baboon-child; and Edith of Ohio.”

I think it was Edith of Ohio that did it. This HAD to be a mean form of satire designed to jerk the reader around. But like the diligent little Googlist that I am,  I did a search for each and every one of these names, and lo, they WERE mentioned somewhere, even if briefly, as part of a list of "wild" children. Most of them are considered myths, an extension of the ancient story of Romulus and Remus who were suckled by wolves.
I'm not sure quite how that led to the story of the Snow Hen, except that the name really grabbed me: it really seemed like something out of Hans Christian Andersen.

The arc of the story is pretty crazy, because there IS no arc: I literally took it word by word with no forethought at all, no sense of what might come next. At various moments you have to stop and try to shape the story a bit, and then of course edit it later for inconsistencies. But I did very little of this.

It occurred to me while making my lunch today that perhaps the Snow Hen is Mary, Mother of God, and the golden child is her son  Jesus Christ, holding those wicked people in the cabin accountable for their sins. He doesn't let them get away with anything, not even throwing the Bible back in his face.  I hope Jesus would approve.