Dale Evans (1912 – 2001)

Dale Evans on Buttermilk, Roy Rogers on Trigger.

In 2021, weblog posts were published about women songwriter-singers. Today, I would like to remember Dale Evans (1912-10-31 – 2001-02-07). She was a regular feature in my childhood as a television star of the Roy Rogers Show, which consisted of 100 episodes, originally shown from 1951 to 1957. Since, we only acquired a television in 1957, I must have watched these as re-runs. Set in and near a fictional Mineral City, Roy Rogers (1911 – 1998) appeared as a ranch owner, Dale Evans as the proprietress of the Eureka Café and Hotel. My personal favourite was Pat Brady (1914 – 1972), Roy’s sidekick and Dale’s cook. While there were animal stars such as Roy’s horse, Trigger, and dog, Bullet, as well as Dale’s horse, Buttermilk, it was Brady’s Jeep Nellybelle, that fascinated me most. The series included a mixture of 19th and 20th century technology.

Evans was born Frances Octavia Smith, but recorded as Lucille Wood Smith, in Uvalde, Texas. At the age of fourteen she eloped with her first husband, Thomas Frederick Fox in 1927, giving birth to a son, Tommy, at the age of fifteen in 1928 (?). It was a short lived marriage, ending in divorce in 1929. After this, she changed her name to Dale Evans. She then consecutively married and divorced two other husbands, in childless marriages: August Wayne Johns (married in 1929; divorced in 1935) and Robert Dale Butts (married in 1937; divorced in 1946).

Roy Rogers, who was born Leonard Franklin Slye in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was first known as one of the founders of the Western/ country singing group, Sons of the Pioneers, founded in 1933, and continuing to the present, but with an evolving membership. Rogers also performed in over 100 films. The initial Roy Rogers Show, was for radio from 1944 to 1955.

His first marriage to Lucile Ascolese in 1933 was childless, ending with divorce in 1936. In his second marriage to Grace Arline Wilkins in 1936, he and his wife adopted a daughter, Cheryl, followed by two children of their own, Linda Lou and Roy Rogers, Jr. later known as Dusty. Arline, died from complications after Dusty’s birth, in 1946.

Evans and Rogers married in 1947. They had one child together, Robin Elizabeth, born in 1949, who died in 1951 (?), of complications of Down syndrome shortly before her second birthday. Evans wrote a bestselling Angel Unaware (1953), that influences public perceptions of children with developmental disabilities. Angel Unaware is written from Robin’s perspective of life as she looks down from heaven. She speaks to God about the mission of love she just completed on earth. The reader sees how she brought her parents closer to God and encouraged them to help other children in need. This book initiated a change in the way Americans treated children with special needs. Evans served as a role model for many parents.

Later, Evans and Rogers adopted Mary Little Doe (Dodie), of Native American heritage: John David (Sandy), a battered child from an orphanage in Kentucky; Marion (Mimi), a foster child from Scotland; and Debbie, a Korean War orphan whose father was a G.I. of Puerto Rican ancestry. In addition to Robin, two other children died tragically: Debbie, in a church bus accident when she was twelve, and Sandy of an accidental death while serving with the military in Germany.

Both Evans and Rogers were very public Christians and members of the Republican party, as were many of their contemporaries.

As a songwriter, Evans authored about 200 songs. Her most popular was the Roy Rogers television show theme song, Happy Trails, released in 1952. It is based on another song with the same name, and the first three notes, written in 1951 by Foy Willing (1914 – 1978). Quicksilver Messenger Service released an album called Happy Trails (1969), on which the song appears.

I have fond memories of Dale Evans as she appeared on television, but I have no intention of watching any reruns. It was hard enough making it through a slow paced Happy Trails theme song!

Note: At one time there was a Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum in Victorville, California. In 2003, it moved to Branson, Missouri. It closed in 2015.

Hyundai Ioniq 5

Charles Justice in front of his new Hyundai Ioniq 5 in Lucid blue pearl paint.

Congratulations, Charles, on buying your first electric vehicle (EV), a Hyundai Ioniq 5. I was impressed when you told me that you only used CA$ 16/ US$ 11.50/ NOK 125, for electrical power to travel the 720 km (450 miles) between Prince George and Prince Rupert. That is a little over 2 cents CAD a kilometer, a little over 2.5 cents USD a mile.

A suitable 2022 EV in a developed country probably means that it is built on a dedicated EV platform, has a raised seating position typical of SUVs, receives a five-star (Euro) NCAP safety rating, holds five people comfortably and with enough space for luggage/ shopping in both a frunk and trunk, offers a minimum 400 km of range with sufficient power, torque and handling for local conditions, which in British Columbia and Norway implies mountain roads. Since people are all different, that means that everyone will have different perspectives on what constitutes important vehicle characteristics.

I was a little surprised at your choice of a compact crossover SUV, because I always think of you as a van/ multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) type of person, needing an EV replacement for your previously owned Mercury Villager. I find it very similar to the Citroën Evasion, that I once owned. Unfortunately, choice is often an illusion, because there is a need to compromise. There are not that many electric powered vans around. Those that do exist offer low range. On the horizon, one exception is the Volkswagen ID. Buzz. It has just started populating European streets (or at least VW Dealer showrooms), but it will not be coming to North America before 2024, in a slightly longer version.

With 155 mm (6.1″) of ground clearance, the Ioniq 5 is a good choice for a winter car, especially for driving on unplowed roads with snow. However, it is definitely not for offroading.

The Ioniq 5 is built on a dedicated electric platform, the Hyundai Electric – Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). This is important. It allows a long wheelbase, in relation to length. The floor is flat. This provides increased passenger comfort for five people, as well as improved ride characteristics. There is a generous amount of cargo space, initially 531 litres (18.75 cubic feet), but expanding to 1 600 litres (56.5 cubic feet), with the rear seats folded down. There is a frunk for storage at the front of the vehicle.

The battery can recharge 86 km (53 miles) of range in 5 minutes, or from 10 to 80% in 18 minutes, or 375 km (230 miles) in half an hour with its 800 V charging capabilities using a 350 kW charger. With electric motors providing torque at low speeds, EVs typically accelerate quickly. Regenerative braking produces electricity when braking, rather than wearing out brake pads.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 interior Photo: Hyundai Canada.

The dashboard houses two 300 mm (12″) screens, an instrument cluster display in front of the driver, and an infotainment system between the two front-seats.

Vehicle to load (V2L) function = bidirectional charging can provide up to 3.6 kW of power through a port mounted under the rear seats or from an outside port. This is important in areas with electrical power outages, because it allows refrigerators, freezers, hot water heaters, stoves and space heaters to continue operation. If necessary, and if the outage is local enough, the vehicle can be driven to a fast charger, then return to power the residence. If one lives in an area with electrical price changes throughout the day, V2L will allow a car to provide power to the household during periods when grid electricity is expensive, then recharge itself, when it is cheap.

Who buys a new EV? To find out, I tried to look up some basic demographic information. It didn’t provide all of the insights I wanted. One comment on age: the age of a new car or truck buyer has grown older over the past decade. It is now around 53 years old. They also note that among new vehicles buyers, the 55+ age group has a 15 percentage point increase since 2000. For most vehicle types, the gender difference favoured men, about 55% men/ 45% women. There were two exceptions. First, 14% of light-truck purchasers were women, and 86% were men. Second, 25 % of electric vehicle (EV) purchasers were women, and 75% were men. My Norwegian experience tells a very different story. Most of the EV owners I know are women. They purchase practical vehicles, notably Kia Soul EVs. Men tend to be more performance oriented vehicle owners, buying Audi, Polestar and Tesla EVs.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 specifications

Wheelbase3 000 mm
Length4 635 mm
Width1 890 mm
Height1 605 mm
Ground clearance155 mm
Mass (small – large)1830-1950 RWD/ 1905 – 2115 AWD kg
Battery capacity58 – 73 (Europe) – 77 (North America) kWh
Power125 – 168 (RWD)/ 173 – 239 (AWD North America) kW
Torque350 (RWD)/ 605 (AWD) Nm
Range384 — 488 (RWD)/ 319 – 412 (AWD) km
Top speed185 km/h
Accelleration (0 – 100 km/h)8.5 (small RWD) – 5.1 (large AWD) s
Specifications are provided for the two North American battery packs, but not the long-range European battery pack, with the exception of its battery capacity. Non-metric values can be found in the Wikipedia article on the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

EVs keep checking more boxes, except one – price! Some of these characteristics are: appearance, comfort, connectivity, performance, safety and size, in alphabetical order.

Prices. An article, in the New York Times states that many companies have increased prices because they have had increased costs, the past two years. This has improved their profitability, but it has also pressed inflation to higher levels. This applies to the automotive market, especially. Dealers have paid more for the vehicles they have purchased, but they take even more money for the cars they sell. They do this because they know that there are very many who want to buy cars, but there aren’t enough available, in part because of supply chain difficulties.

Historic internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle price data, and consumer price index (CPI) data, are insufficient to calculate a reasonable EV base price. Instead, one is forced to look at the prices of real world vehicles, discover/ compute/ invent shadow prices for the the most important features. After that, one is left with the task of picking out the most suitable vehicle, and accepting that its price is going to be higher than one originally hoped.

Part of EV pricing challenge has to do with batteries. Batteries make up a large proportion of an EV price. Some projections point to a downward trend in Li-ion battery components, then some unexpected expansion in demand results in an increase in prices. Because battery prices were so high, many of the first EVs produced had inadequate range, which increased anxiety. Larger batteries increase weight and vehicle price. In 2022, 300 km is often regarded as inadequate, 400 km as acceptable, and 500 km as ideal. In Europe, range is determined using the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). Wikipedia has an article about it.

Theodore Paul Wright (1895 – 1970) wrote a paper Factors affecting the costs of airplanes (1936) about the the learning curve effect = Wright’s Law, that has predicted the decline in production costs, for many technological products. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery cell costs fall by 28% for every cumulative doubling of units produced. The battery pack is the most expensive part of an electric vehicle. Consequently, the prices of EVs fall with declining battery costs. One prophecy was that by 2023, the cost of Li-ion batteries would fall to around US$ 100/ kWh. This would mean that EVs would be as cheap to make as ICE vehicles. By 2021, increased demand for EVs increased the demand for battery materials, which resulted in increased battery costs. Tea-leaf readers, crystal-ball gazers as well as others with insights, real or imaginary, are invited to provide more details about upcoming battery (and EV) price developments.

Appearance. The Ioniq 5 originated as the Hyundai 45 EV Concept, with 45 referring both to a common angle emphasized on the vehicle, as well as the 45th anniversary of the Hyundai Pony, manufactured from 1975 to 1985, that was South Korea’s first mass produced and exported vehicle. The concept’s sensuous sportiness design language, emphasized kinetic cube front and rear lights. Today, they are referred to as Parametric Pixel design, several sources inform that it is not just apparent in headlights and tail lights, but also in its wheels.

Comfort. Much of the well-being afforded by a vehicle relates to the volume of space available to passengers, in relation to their size. It should be proportional, neither too large nor too little. The Ioniq 5 offers more than adequate space, especially for people sitting in its front seats. People, big or small, will be able to sit comfortably. The front seats offer automatic two-zone air conditioning and massaging capability. One can wonder if these features make driving/ riding less stressful? The rear seats are more confining, especially if that space has to be divided between three people. All of the seats are suitably supportive. What many people appreciate most inside an EV, is quietness, especially noise suppression, at higher speeds. In its brochure, Hyundai inappropriately lists features under comfort that belong elsewhere: bidirectional charging, charging of phones and other devices, net-based services.

Connectivity. Hyundai has a greater focus on wireless interaction than comfort. Everything from loud-speakers to automatic emergency calls (911/ 112) is treated as a connectivity issue/ feature. It appears that it is not enough to have a display. The ignoble art of quantity and size comparisons asserts itself. Prioritizing silence over sound, I am not the right person to comment on the tainment half of a digital infotainment display. However, I would place the info half, under safety.

Performance. Some people prioritize performance characteristics. They typically want a vehicle with fast acceleration and a high top speed. In Scandinavia, the Moose test is the ultimate performance tool. The term was first used in 1997 by journalists at Teknikens Varld, a Swedish magazine. This evasive maneuver test was originally used to assess tire adhesion. Later, it tested vehicle stability during an extreme maneuver. Another priority here is braking. It should happen quickly. There should be some form of dynamic braking available, coupled with FCA, which is mentioned under safety.

Safety. Older drivers should prioritize safety. This was emphasized at a driving course for people over 65 that Trish and I attended some years ago. It was pointed out that the same injury that barely affects a twenty year old, could potentially kill someone who was seventy. In addition, older people often have some cognitive issues.

Modern vehicles have a large number of features to help older drivers cope with traffic. These are often coded. Here are some of them that are provided as standard equipment on European versions of the Ioniq 5: DAW = Driver attention warning; NSCC = Navigation based smart cruise control; PA = Parking assist; PDW = Parking distance warning; LFA = Lane follow assist; LKA = Lane keep assist; LDW = Lane departure warning; LVDA = Leading vehicle departure alert; FCA-JT Forward collision avoidance (junction traffic); FCA = Forward collision avoidance; PCA = Reverse parking collision avoidance assist; RSPA = Remote smart parking assist; BCA = Blind spot collision avoidance; RCCA = Rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist; HDA II = Highway driving assistance with level 2 autonomy; SVM = Suround view monitoring; BVM = Blind spot video monitoring; SEA = Safe exit assist; ROA = Rear occupant alert; ISLA = Intelligent speed limit assistance.

Some of the other safety issues have to do with residential charging. Sandy Munro, for example, wondered if many of the fires blamed on EV batteries, might be the fault of inappropriately designed chargers.

Size. The most common way people define their vehicle needs is in terms of size. The North American neighbourhood electric vehicle, with speed and weight restrictions, is replaced by a quadracycle in Europe, where somewhat different speed and/ or weight restrictions may apply. There is also a distinction between passenger cars and trucks. In Europe passenger cars are divided into segments A – F: A = mini, B = small, C = medium, D = large, E = executive, F = luxury. In addition there are: J = sport utility, M = multi purpose and S = sport. It is arranged by consensus, rather than with fixed definitions. In North America, passenger car classes are defined on the basis of measured interior volume. Small pickup trucks, standard pickup trucks, vans, minivans and SUVs are defined on the basis of gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR). The Ioniq 5, as a passenger vehicle, is defined by its interior volume. Since it is a compact crossover SUV, it must meet the interior volume index of 100–109 cu ft (2.8–3.1 m3).

Just an hour before this post is to be published, I am checking the usual EV sources, and discover that the Ioniq 5 has been selected as Motortrend’s SUV of the year, 2023.

Motortrend writes: The SUV of the Year winner stood out from the formidable competition thanks to its stellar looks, wonderful driving capabilities, roomy and comfortable cabin, efficient battery, and amazing value. The Hyundai IONIQ 5 is a game-changing rethink on what an SUV can be and is the first EV to win MotorTrend’s SUV of the Year award.


Yes, I hope to convert everyone to metric system enthusiasts, but I also want to encourage electric vehicles. So, today only, I am adding some non-metric values in the main text. Non-metric units for almost all metric values stated here, can be found in the Wikipedia article about the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

In discussing this topic with my son, Alasdair, he reminded me that the purpose of a automotive sales person is not so much to encourage people to buy a particular product, but to reassure them that they have made the correct choice, once the contract is signed. Buyers’ regret is real!


Yes, Charles, despite attempts to look forward, both you and I are influenced by our childhood experiences. They have shaped our preferences later in life. Twenty years ago there were still remnants of a population that refused to use seatbelts: It is better to be thrown clear in an accident, than to be crushed to death! They no longer exist. Today, there is a younger generation of drivers that use hand-held devices while driving. It is difficult to look objectively at one’s own generation. I encourage younger people to comment on the more irritating driving traits of you, I and others born in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

I remember being impressed by four vehicles on our lane in New Westminster: a Volkswagen bus, two Nash Metropolitans, and a Hillman Husky, all from the late 1950s/ early 1960s. There were also vehicles that should have impressed me, but didn’t, such as an Edsel hardtop (convertible ?). Away from the lane, I also remember being impressed with a Nash Rambler, driven by my widowed aunt Millie’s friend. I suspect that you, too, Charles were influenced by your father’s Rambler. For me, nothing surpassed the spaciousness of another aunt’s car, Molly’s 1939 Plymouth 4-door sedan. She owned a small farm in Okanagan Mission, outside Kelowna, British Columbia. A few farm fields away, I began my driving career with a 1953 Chevrolet Advanced Design 3100 pickup, probably at the age of 14.

Sometimes I wonder why I have never owned an American car. I suspect Molly’s Plymouth was so much more comfortable to sit in than those lower, sleeker cars from the late 1950s/ early 1960s. That had a significant impact on my perceptions. Yet, sometimes, I allow myself to appreciate the lowlife, usually various iterations of a Studebaker Hawk. Other American vehicles that have appealed include the International Harvester Metro step vans, and their Scout and Travelall SUVs, are all on my top ten list of vintage vehicles. Somehow, I find it difficult to be enthusiastic about mainstream brands, like Ford or GM.

While many people in our generation acquire relics from the past, the beginning of the end of my ICE era, dates to 2012, with my purchase of one last ICE vehicle. Already then, I knew it would be the last one. The problem was that EVs were just a little too expensive, and batteries were just a little too small. Yet, the writing was on the wall: Future vehicles would be electric.

In fifty years time (2072), your descendant who inherits this car, will inherit a gem: one of the first vehicles built on a dedicated EV platform, with mass market appeal, comfort, performance, safety features and range. Congratulations, Charles, on your purchase of an impressive car, a Hyundai Ioniq 5!

Cockades & Roundels

The National Cockade of India = The National Cockade of Ireland. They are identical! Sharing a national cockade is a common occurrence. Source: Tibetan Pop Rocks, Wikimedia.

A cockade is a knot of ribbons, or other circular, sometimes oval, symbol of distinctive colours which is usually worn on a hat, cap or lapel. In addition, women traditionally had the option of wearing one in their hair. The noun, cockade, dates from 1650 – 60; It comes from French cocarde = a knot of ribbons, (from its resemblance to a cock’s crest), from Middle French cocquard = boastful, silly, cocky = the boastful behavior of a rooster, from coq = a rooster, and especially to the bird’s crête (Fr.) = comb (Eng.) = fleshy growth/ crest on the top of its head. In modern français québécois, the term cocarde is an identification badge.

Starting in the 15th century, these were originally derived from identity ribbons used by medieval knights. By the 18th and 19th centuries, these became common, and showed: the allegiance of their wearers to a political faction, their social status or rank or (by wearing colours of a particular livery) their subordinate status. Because of the confusing multiplicity of military uniforms, cockades became a de facto and cheap mechanism to show a person’s (national) identity. Colours are listed from the centre to the outside ring.


In pre-revolutionary France, the Bourbons used white cockades. Their Jabobite supporters in Scotland, also used white. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the Hanoverians had taken over the monarchy, starting with George I, in 1714. They used black cockades. Periodically, after the French revolution, and since 1830, French cockades have been blue – white – red. The Hanoverian dynasty ended in the UK at the death of Victoria in 1901. Her eldest son Edward VII, was a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which later changed its name to Windsor. At some time after the adoption of the Union Jack/ Union Flag in 1801, British cockades became red – white – blue, the opposite of the French. Since its independence in 1922, Ireland has used cockades of green – white – orange. India has used the same colours, in the same order, although India refers to its green as India green and its orange as saffron.

Until the Russian revolution in 1917, Russia has used cockades of black – orange – black – orange – white, featured in the Order of Saint George, originally from 1769, but with the Russian Federation revival dating from 2000. Modern Russian cockade colours are black – orange – black – orange. Ukraine uses light blue – yellow.

American Cockades

During the American revolutionary war (1775 – 1783), the Continental Army was the army of the thirteen American colonies. They had no uniforms. George Washington (1732 – 1799) attempted to use cockades to differentiate ranks: red/ pink = field officer; yellow/ buff = captain; green = subaltern. Several sources note that there was a substantial use of black cockades, identical to those used by the British. When France allied itself with the Americans, the Bourbon white cockades were added to create a black and white cockade. The French reciprocated, adding black cockades. This is generally referred to as the union cockade.

Yet, the term union can be confusing in an American context. During the American civil war (1861 – 1865) there were both confederate and union cockades. There was no single standardized design. Confederate/ southern versions tended to be one color (often red or blue). Union/ northern cockades often incorporated red, white and blue. Some designs were embellished with buttons depicting palmettos = fan-leaved palm trees, eagles, Union president Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865), Confederacy president Jefferson Davis (1808 – 1889). In Texas, they often incorporated a metal star.

Nordic Cockades

In Sweden, the military used yellow cockades, while civilians used blue and yellow. This contrasts with Denmark, that used red – white – red. Norway used red – white – blue – white; Iceland: blue – white – red – white – blue; Finland: white – blue – white.


France began the first Aéronautique Militaire = Air Force, in 1909. Roundels were mandated on military planes, starting in 1912. They were based on the blue – white – red of the French national cockade. In addition, aircraft rudders were painted the same colours in vertical stripes, with the blue forwardmost. During World War I, other countries adopted national cockades and used these as roundels on their military aircraft.

Some of the more interesting roundels include Australia, Canada and New Zealand, with the centre red of the Royal Air Force replaced with a kangaroo (Family Macropodidae), sugar maple leaf (Acer saccharum) and kiwi (Apteryx sp.), respectively. In the Nordic countries, Sweden has three yellow crowns displayed on light blue background, with an outer ring of yellow.

Swedish Air Force Roundel

Corporate Roundels

Corporations/ organizations that have made use of roundels in their branding, include: Transport for London, and the London Underground specifically. It was trademarked for the London General Omnibus Company, in 1905, but was first used on the Underground in 1908.

London Underground Roundel.

Use of the BMW roundel required both the circumvention of laws, as well as the creation of myths, to become successful. The Wikipedia article section on BMW’s logo and its slogan – The Ultimate Driving Machine – tells the story.

The Tide trademark is an orange and yellow roundel, sometimes referred to as a bull’s eye. It was designed by architect and industrial designer Donald Deskey (1894 – 1989).

The Tide Roundel, dating from 1946.

The London rock band, The Who, formed in 1964, used Royal Air Force (RAF) roundels on stage. Later, this roundel symbolized British Mod culture, with its emphasis on fashion and Italian scooters.


This weblog post was inspired by the Sabaton music video, The Uprising, about the Warsaw Uprising = powstanie warszawskie (Polish) in the summer of 1944. It was the single largest military effort undertaken by any European resistance movement during World War II. It unsuccessfully attempted to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. It involved 63 days of fighting in the summer of 1944, and it was led by the Polish resistance Home Army = Armia Krajowa (Polish). This operation extracted a massive human cost. It is estimated that about 16 000 members of the Polish resistance were killed and about 6 000 badly wounded. In addition, between 150 000 and 200 000 Polish civilians died, mostly from mass executions. This is mentioned in part because the Allies refused to offer military assistance to Poland at this decisive moment in history. In contrast, Poland is offering massive support to Ukraine in the current war, and illegal occupation of Ukraine territory by Russia.

In the Sabaton video there are glimpses of the Polish two-finger salute, as well as of improvised red and white replacement of the cockade, shown on Polish helmets and other military headgear. These are similar to the blue and/ or yellow marking used on Ukrainian military headgear in 2022.

The rogatywka, sometimes translated as peaked cap, is an asymmetrical, peaked, four-pointed cap used by various Polish military formations. Some people see it as forming the basis for the Polish roundel, which is anything but round. Warszawo Walcz = Warsaw fight!

Polish Air Force Roundel.


Sabaton = part of a knight’s body armor that covers the foot. The Swedish power metal band Sabaton is noted for their albums about wars and battles. It originated in 1999 in Falun, about 600 km, and 8 hours driving from Cliff Cottage (depending on the specific route). It involves an eastward journey on the E14, across the Norwegian – Swedish border, and then onwards, almost to Östersund, followed by a southern leg on highway 45 to Falun. Falun’s Great Copper Mountain area has been designated a World Heritage Site since 2002.

If anyone should wonder why I take an interest in Warsaw, and Poland more generally, it is because it keeps asserting itself into my life. Historically there is: Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543), Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 1849), Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski (1857 – 1924), Marie Salomea Skłodowska–Curie (1867 – 1934), Grażyna Bacewicz (1909 – 1969), Henryk Górecki (1933 – 2010), Wayne Gretski (1961 – ), Olga Tokarczuk (1962 – ), Kinga Baranowska (1975 – ) and Agata Zubel (1978 – ). Alasdair spent six months living in Warsaw. One of our closest neighbours is from Poland. One of our friends specializes in relationships with Polish women. My only sister-in-law has Polish origins.

I have previously written about redneck(erchiefs), that have a similar function to cockades.


The Therevox ET-4.3 Synthesizer, Canadian made in Techumseh, Ontario. Photo: Therevox.

Inspired by the Ondes Martenot (1928) and the Electro-Theremin (1950), the Therevox ET-4 is controlled by moving a finger along a reference keyboard shaped to provide tactile feedback. Dual pressure sensitive intensity keys control the amplitude of the ET-4‘s two independent analogue oscillators. Combined with a low-pass filter, white noise generator and internal spring reverb the ET-4 is an expressive and versatile performance instrument.

Therevox began building custom instruments in 2004. Their first product was the ET-1, a modern version of an Electro-Theremin. The Electro-Theremin was designed by Paul Tanner (1917 – 2013). It was constructed by Bob Whitsell (1930 – 2009). Tanner then played the instrument. It can be heard on the theme song of My Favorite Martian (1963 – 1966) and The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations and I just wasn’t made for these times (both, 1966) .

In 2008 a limited edition of twelve updated ET-3‘s went to musicians and studios in North America and Europe.

In 2012 they released another continuous pitch analog instrument inspired by the Ondes Martenot and early analog synthesizers. This ET-4 is the current model.

  • The ET-4.1 is the standard model,
  • The ET-4.2 adds an effects loop and some other features
  • The ET-4.3 adds MIDI over USB output.

Every ET-4 is individually hand crafted in Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada, “using high quality components and select North American Walnut. With less than 20 made a year the Therevox ET4 is an exclusive instrument. All soldering, calibrating and assembling is also done in the Tecumseh workshop.”

The ET-4.1 is the standard model, the ET-4.2 adds an effects loop and other features and the ET-4.3 also adds MIDI over USB output.

The instruments are designed to be versatile and durable. It has been featured on several albums and film soundtracks. Composer Adam Taylor (1942 – ) used an ET-4.1 to compose the theme and incidental music for The Handmaid’s Tale.


The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), written by Margret Atwood (1939 – ), is a futuristic dystopian novel set in a near-future patriarchal, totalitarian, theonomic Republic of Gilead, located somewhere in New England, where the federal United States government has been replaced. Some of the themes taken up in the novel are the subjugated of women and their loss of agency and individuality, the suppression of their reproductive rights, more specifically the subjection of fertile women to child-bearing slavery. More positively, the novel explores the various means by which women resist, attempting to gain individuality and independence.

The television series, based on the novel, consists of six series, developed from 2017. The last season will be shown in 2023. These were made in Toronto, and other locations in Ontario.

Atwood’s partner, from 1973 until his death, was Graham Gibson (1935 – 2019). Together, they had one daughter. Gibson was particularly noted for his interest in birds, having written The Bedside Book of Birds (2005) and The Bedside Book of Beasts (2009). He was a founder and chair of the Pelee Island Bird Observatory.

Tecumseh and Pelee Island are both locations in Essex County, Ontario. Windsor, where I originated, is also in Essex County, about 17 km from Tecumseh.