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Welcome to the personal website of Andrew Turnbull. This outpost features tons of stupefying and trivial things pertaining to various and diverse interests of mine. Chances are, if there's something I know about or like that doesn't much other representation on the 'net...there's a bit of it here.

April-June 2020 Archive

112 March 2020 (or 20 June 2020, 157th anniversary of statehood)

West Virginia flag

I am a native West Virginian, born and raised in the US state of West Virginia. My relationship with my home state is "difficult" to say the least, and I've wrestled with the implications for years. But today, I want to be positive.

For starters, "being a West Virginian" is something that not a lot of people are. It's unique. It's even more unique in Canada.

I'd like to think that "being a West Virginian" endowed me with less materialism, and more determination and grit.

I'm proud that the state was founded by radical leftists who seceded from Virginia in opposition to the "Make Slavery Great Again" Confederacy.

I learned about West Virginia's labour history in school, and was filled with awe at the bravery of the participants in the Paint Creek Mine War and the Battle of Blair Mountain. I remember basking with pride when I read that West Virginia's mines at their height were almost 100 percent union.

I'm proud that West Virginia has the most stringent, secular, and forward vaccination policy in the US.

I'm proud that West Virginia abolished the death penalty in 1965, ahead of the curve of all but 6 states and 12 world countries.

I'm proud that West Virginia repealed its sodomy law in 1976...which is something that states like Michigan STILL refuse to do.

I'm proud that the people of West Virginia voted for Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Michael Dukakis in 1988.

And growing up in West Virginia, I was absolutely exasperated that so few of the people who surrounded me saw these qualities as the virtues that they are.

I was also exasperated by West Virginia's negative qualities. These are nothing new: "Dixiecrat" Confederate sympathizers seized control of the state's government in 1870, reversing the progressive reforms of the state's founders and making a mockery of its claim for existence. West Virginia was an apartheid state, with racial segregation that ended in conflict and acrimony (if it ever ended de facto at all). West Virginia is the third-whitest state in the nation. Its economy was wed at the hip to the lung-blackening, labour-exploiting, climate-destroying scourge of coal...and it still is, despite the fact that the industry has been dying since the 1940s.

The bad used to be balanced by the good. But since the 1990s, I've watched helplessly as West Virginia's identity became couched in the language of "All homophobic, antisemitic, white-supremacist Christian fascism, all the time," and a determination to drive everyone to the left of Pinochet out on a rail.

In four years of high school in West Virginia, I never heard a single pro-gay, pro-queer, or pro-atheist comment from anyone in either the student or faculty body. I did, however, hear "faggot" jokes on a semiweekly basis and see skinheads dressed in Confederate flags from head to toe. My enemies outnumbered me, they owned guns, and they knew how to use them. That was in 2000.

I miss West Virginia's rolling hills, its winding rivers, its fantastic views, its charming streetscapes. I miss the feeling of being in a place that had endeared itself through a lifetime of familiarity. I still have an interest in West Virginia history. But I don't regret leaving, because I had to for the sake of my own survival.

107 March 2020 (time is meaningless)

[Safeway store]

This building is definitely, indisputably the site of the first Safeway store in Fort Frances, Ontario. An absolutely identical building stands in Kenora, also in northwest Ontario. If Endless March ever ends, I'll get a picture of it. Someday.

It's been a long time since I last made an update to the Supermartifacts project. Writing and maintaining a website is hard work...especially when you insist, as I do, on writing every bit of code yourself. But with that said, here are some new and updated locations to enjoy:

The Artifacts of A&P, Part 1

  • 161 Court St. S., Thunder Bay, ON
  • 640 River St., Thunder Bay, ON
  • 570 Syndicate Ave. S., Thunder Bay, ON

The Artifacts of A&P, Part 2

  • 505 Arthur St. W., Thunder Bay, ON

The Artifacts of Dominion

  • 154 Talbot St. W., Aylmer, ON
  • 319 Blake St., Barrie, ON
  • 770 Upper James St., Hamilton, ON
  • 1020 Dawson Rd., Thunder Bay, ON
  • 425 Edward St. N., Thunder Bay, ON
  • 2491 Dougall Ave., Windsor, ON (picture added)

The Artifacts of Kroger, Part 1

  • 4626 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN

The Artifacts of Loblaws, Part 1

  • 15 S. 13th Ave. E., Duluth, MN
  • 2224 W. Superior St., Duluth, MN

The Artifacts of Loblaws, Part 2

  • 1101 Arthur St. W., Thunder Bay, ON
  • 600 Harbour Expwy., Thunder Bay, ON

The Artifacts of Loblaws, Part 3

  • 191 Silvercreek Pkwy. N., Guelph, ON
  • 123 Pioneer Park, Kitchener, ON (picture added)
  • 400 Manning Rd., Tecumseh, ON (picture added)
  • 2430 Dougall Ave., Windsor, ON (picture added)

The Artifacts of Safeway

  • 334 Scott St., Fort Frances, ON
  • 417 Scott St., Fort Frances, ON

The Artifacts of Sentry

  • 801 N. Wisconsin St., Elkhorn, WI

A special thanks to Jacob Nelson, Ryan Wellborn, and David Gwynn for their help and submissions.

99 March 2020 (time is meaningless)

School's out.

[school bus]

The History of School Transportation in Mercer County, WV.

79 March 2020 (time is meaningless)

[Safeway trailer]

I'm 99 and 44/100 percent sure that this is an old Safeway trailer. And lest you get worked up over that remaining 0.56%, there's absolutely no doubt about the provenance of this:

[Safeway trailer]

As an added bonus, it even had this Franco-Ontarian gem from 1980 on the back!

65 March 2020 (time is meaningless)

[Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover] [Thunder Bay manhole cover]

37 March 2020

The month of April has been cancelled until further notice.

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