DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream: 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Here's Babe

Soo Wee, Here Babe!!!

click on pictures to enlarge

She comes running when we call. This is Babe, June's pet pig. She defies the electric fence and lets herself out whenever she wants. A call is a promise of food.

June like to talk it up with Babe just before she gives her a treat. Today it is apple pieces.

Then, the get away. While she is eating you need to move away from Babe or she will continue to follow you until you give her some feed.

Now I have a ramp to the verandah I live in dread she will use it and we will then have a pig at the front door wanting to come in. I am not sure I want her in the house, although it would be interesting. She is bigger now than my Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pig, who I used to keep in the house. But, I am not sure I want a 400 plus size pig wanting to climb into bed with me.:))

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Those Steps Had to Go

For some time my front verandah has been in need of repair. The first task has been to repair the steps. They were too steep for my aging friends and they were beginning to decay. Having taken a few tumbles off them myself, I approach them with caution but others are at greater risk. They were particularly hazardous in the Winter or when wet. The biggest complaint was there was no handrail. Over a year ago, I promised Veronica, the fair Floridian, that I would make them safer for her. Well, that necessity passed but now June is nervous of them. So. . . . . . .

On the east side I removed the steps and will be developing a garden instead of replacing them.

On the west side, most of the work has been done. I put in a ramp for Dave so he can easily reach the ground unaided. And I have put in new steps, with a handrail. They are still fairly steep but a lot safer. So on to more improvements, a new porch roof, some repairs and painting all.

In spite of my modest carpentry skills and my normal inertia on getting things done, I feel satisfied with my efforts. I am one of those people who can tolerate a problem about the place. (witness the long time I will haul water before I fix the pump). I usually need a crisis or someone to light a fire under me to get at it, dreamer that I am. I saw June coming with the matches so I got at it. Too bad Veronica isn't here to try the steps out. Alas!


Here is some more interesting information about Meagan MacGrath's climbing of Mount Everest which I wrote about on May 25. On her way down the mountain she was instrumental in rescuing another climber who was suffering from cerebral edema, from which she would have died without help. Here is an article about it. Canadian Everest climber who saved fellow mountaineer honored in Nepal - Inter

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Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day USA

Over the weekend I have been watching some of the remembrances and special programs for Memorial Day in the US. My fascination for history and political affairs keeps me watching .

I am a bit of a sentimental sap when it comes to the horrors of war and the sacrifices people, military and civilian, make during these dreadful human enterprises. I get quite weepy over them in spite of my personal disapproval of militarism and my commitment to pacifism and non-violent protest. War seems such a wasteful enterprise, of human and material treasure. It is seldom justified.

This does not denigrate the sacrifice some are willing to make when their government of the country calls, even when it is to support an illegal and criminal war of aggression such as the War in Iraq.

It is easier for me to look back to WWII, which may have been the last war, for which there is some honourable justification. In those years, the American's were reluctant to get involved in what they saw as a foreign European war. They did at last join in and did so whole heartedly and in the end probably guaranteed victory for the Allies. This could be debated as a good case could be that the Russians turned the tide in the war by defeating Germany in the East and chasing their army all the way back to Berlin. With the loss of 20 million people they certainly paid the price for victory.

But I digress!

It occured to me that little on TV was making reference to wars other than Iraq. Canada, on Remembrance Day (Armitice Day) is used to looking back to previous wars, as we have had little agressive war experience since WWII (and Korea). It has also been our tradition, until recently, to bury our dead in the countries in which they died. (Only recently, has Canada developed a National Military Cemetary.) Canada's fallen are in places like France and the Netherlands. In these places, there are many cemetaries lovingly maintained.

The US has such cemetaries as well and it is too bad that there is not more reference to them on Memorial Day. It seems Iraq is all consuming. I found this article on Radio Netherlands web site with is worth reading. Memorial Day at Margraten: conflicts past and present - Radio Netherlands Worl Here is the website for Marraten Cemetary Gemeente Margraten - American War Cemetry.

I also just discovered that On June 6 there will be the opening of a new US memorial in Normandy. American Battle Monuments Commission2 This is a similar effort to Canada recent creation of the Juno Beach Memorial. Juno Beach Centre - Canada's Second World War Museum in France I encourage you to view the video in this website American Battle Monuments Commission.

Perhaps, there will be some significant coverage of the Normandy event next month and thereby remembering the American sacrifice made there.

Friday, May 25, 2007

On Top of the World

Last Sunday, May 20, a local woman climbed to the top of Mount Everest. Meagan MacGrath is her name. With the exception of the local radio station playing an audio message from her from the top of the World and some promotional material through the Sudbury Science Centre, which had an exhibit on her and followed her progress daily, there has been little mention of her achievement in the news. I have been waiting to read more. I guess there was not time or space among the "news of fresh disasters" to celebrate Meagan's achievement.

Meagan MacGrath on top of Mount Everest.

These days a lot of people climb to the top of Mount Everest, a truly dangerous and strenuous achievement. What makes Meagan achievement exceptional is that it is the last of her climbs. She has now climbed the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents. Now that is truly a remarkable achievement showing skill, determination and fulfilment of a dream.

Meagan is a Captain in the Canadian Air Force. She is an aerospeace engineer. Climbing Mount Everest is the first time a member of the Canadian Forces has achieved this. Also, at 29, she is the youngest Canadian woman to summit Everest and achieve the seven summits. (Here is a geography challenge, "Can you name them all?)

Way to go Captain MacGrath!

To read a little more about Meagan's achievement and listen to her little audio broadcast visit the Science Centres web pages
Science North Cool Science Meagan MacGrath's Everest Adventure

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Saying "No" to the President

To say "No" to the President of the United States must be a very difficult thing to do. The Democratic controlled Congress has just failed to do so in spite of wide spread public opinion that the War in Iraq should be abandoned as a lost cause, a failed, ill conceived adventure.

Jean Chretien, when he was Prime Minister of Canada, found the courage to say "No" to Canada joining in in the Iraq War in spite of the pressure of "you are either with us or against us". As the US's best friend and economic partner Canada was expected to stand by the US even if the war was illegal and immoral. "That is what friends do." according to Ambassador Paul Cerrutti. Well, the answer was still "No" and for Chretien it may be the one thing he will be remembered for in a long career in government. He has already said it is the thing of which he is most proud.

Recently, we were apprised of such courage by James B. Comey as he gave testimony of an incident when he was temporarily Attorney General when Ashcroft was ill in the hospital. As the story goes Mrs Ashcroft was called by the President and told that Alberto Gonzalez and Andrew Card were coming over the get John Ashcroft to sign a document over her objection that her husband should not be disturbed. Comey got wind of this and showed up. He was fulfiling to duties of the Attorney General while Ashcroft was ill.. Gonzales and Card tried to get the sedated incapacitated Ashcroft to sign an approval for the illegal wiretapping program. To his credit he said "No" and it was Comey's responsibility to carry out the duties of the Attorney General. Comey said "No" and threatened to resign. It appears he is a man of high principle and a respecter of the law. As a result the the wiretap program was modified
.Worse Than Watergate, Part II - - Breaking News & Views for t
(This article is an interesting account of the incident)

This act of defiance reminded me of Elliot Richardson's similar declaration of "No" to the President. Richard Nixon had called him to the Oval office and told him to fire the special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, investigating Watergate. Elliot Richardson said "No" and immediately resigned. His Assistant William Ruchelshaus likewise said "No" and resigned. Finally, Robert Borg reluctantly did the deed.Elliot Richardson, Watergate Hero, Dies, 79 [December 31, 1999] This came to be known as the Saturaday Night massacre.

I was privileged to know Elliot Richardson a little, (enough to chat over coffee and pecan pie at a church function) . He was active in the historic First Church of Boston (Unitarian) in those days. While active in government he even managed to teach some Sunday school. He was a Boston Brahmin and a man of great charm and integrity. He would have made a wonderful President.
Elliot Richardson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Richardson had a distinquished career in and out of government.)

These incidents of courage in the face of power are few and far between. They are worth noting and honouring. Perhaps, there will be another chance for the US Congress to find the courage to say, "No" to President Bush. He has had his way far too long all ready to everyone's detriment.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Medical Emergency Transport

My friend, David, had another drop in his sugar which required calling for an ambulance to take him to the hospital, This is the third time we have had to do this. I find it all very stressful, knowing little about the care of diabetics. June seems to know what she is doing. I

We live about 26 miles from the closest "hospital" in Sturgeon Falls. The full service hospitals are 50 to 60 miles away in North Bay and Sudbury.

I am impressed with the response to our call to the emergency number 911. Within a half hour we had the First Responders here (a volunteer group from the next town), an ambulance from Sturgeon Falls and the Air Ambulance from Sudbury.

There may be a modest charge for transport, or no charge at all depending on your ability to pay. When I was taken by ambulance to Sturgeon Falls I was charged $45, which was waived by the hospital. The cost of the doctors and hospital are fully covered by the government health plan.

All praise to Tommy Douglas, the Babtist minister, who founded the New Democratic Party and first introduced socialized medicine in Saskatewan years ago and then inspired the National Universal Health Plan. - The Greatest Canadian - Top Ten Greatest Canadians - Tommy Douglas Religiously, he was rooted in what is know as the social gospel movement. He was a populist out of western Canada and a political socialist. He was recently voted as the Greatest Canadian. He so deserves it for his efforts did much to shape our vision of Canada as a humaine nation where people care for each other through social programs. This requires a view of government that is that it exists to serve the people in as broad a way as possible.

Universal Health Care is Canada's most revered social program and, ironically the one we most often complain about while those in other countries admire it. We know it can be even better.

Even our Conservative government, who ideologically would like to privatize this program on an American model, know it would be political suicide to do so. So they along with private interests in the US put pressure on the system to turn it into a two tier system with may privately run elements. The strength of our program is that it is universal with all people being given the best service available without consideration for ability to pay. Good health care must be protected as a right to the privilege of the wealthy.

As a result, a humble 84 year old man, who has worked at hard manual work all his life and raising 10 children, can with dignity depend on good service, even if he lives out in the boondocks.

These are the First Responders vehicle and the ambulance.

This is the air ambulance landing in front of our house.

Just yesterday Dave was outside sitting at the end of the ramp I built for him. He wanted to help a little so he shoveled about a 1/2 dozen shovel fulls of trash into the wheel barrow. I sat with him and we had a lovely chat. I hope he will be back shortly once the doctors get his sugar level right.Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 21, 2007

Happy Victoria Day

Queen Victoria (r. 1837-1901)

"The 24th of May is the Queen's birthday. If you don't give us a holiday we will all run away."

As a child I used to chant the above couplet. With English grandparents and a mother interested in British history, our family acknowledged this special day to honour Queen Victoria and the current Queen, Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Victoria was a remarkable woman during the time of British industrialization and Empire building. She ruled for 64 years, the longest of any British monarch. If our current queen remains healthy she may come to rule even longer.

Queen Elizabeth II has ruled during the final years of the British Empire and the Commonwealth of Nations around the World. Britain now is comng to terms with being part of Europe within the European Union rather than a nation island Empire.

Queen Victoria married her first cousin Alfred, the Prince Consort. Together they had nine children who virtually all married into the nobility of Europe from Russia to Spain.

Her reign was a remarkable period in history, worth reading about and studying. - British Royal History - Queen Victoria and Her Family

Perhaps, the greatest contribution of Queen Victoria was her establishment of the idea of "constitutional monarchy", where nobility rules by influence, service and example. This tradition is carried on with our current Queen.

So have a cup of tea and raise it to Monarchy, "God Save the Queen, Long May She Reign."

History of the Monarchy > The Hanoverians > Victoria

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fire and Water

Yesterday we had a long soaking rain, which was much needed and will encourage the final emergence of the leaves on the trees and stimulate growth of plants including my lawn. The days of twice a week grass cutting are upon us. This is not my favourite activity.

For yesterday I spent a great deal of time on the couch relaxing as are three of my cats in the photo below. Two of them are grooming the third. When I come back let it be as a cat. I did manage to do a couple of repairs in the house and spend an hour cleaning manure out of my shed. I was not a total couch potato.

I have been watching the fires and flooding in the US. These are dreadful experiences for those who are threatened. I wonder how much if it is in part caused by human intervention. I am sure flooding in the Mississippi watershed is aggrevated by the agriculture that has drained so much of the land so that the run off is too fast. Clearing the land right up to the river and channelling the river through built up areas also must be part of the problem.

Fires can be started by people but most are started by lightening. In very dry conditions there is a great risk. One human intervention that contributes to forest fires is years of supressing fires leaving lots of debris fuel on the forest floor, when fire does occur it is much worse than it need be. Fire is normally part of the ecological cycle of forests. Letting them burn is not an option in built up area, but more and more they are being allowed to burn in Wilderness areas.

A great deal of research in the use and abuse of fire and the restoration of watershed to limit flooding is needed. Last week the Ministry of Natural Resources started a study to see how fire behaves in very dry conditions, (in spite of the greening up of everything the forest is very dry due to Winter drought conditions.) They were to burn a hectare of forest under a controlled burn. Well, it got away from them. We now have a raging 15 square kilometer forest fire. So far far fire has not been a problem around here yet. The forest fire season is ahead of us.

This a a young white pine we planted three years ago.
My modest contribution to maintaining the watershed I live on is the planting of 10,000 trees along the mile frontage of the river I have stewartship over. Years ago, I signed a agreement with the MNR to have them plant 8700 trees which I have protected for 20 years. More recently, I have had my son's students come on two occasions to plant trees as a geography/ecological project. They planted an additional 4000 trees. Complimenting this I have also gone to great lengths to keep cattle from having access to the river. They can do enormous damage in a short period of time.
To protect the Earth we need to more skillfully learn to live with nature and understand the place of fire and water in our environment.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Special Mother's Day

On Mother's Day my brother and his family were celebrating at the graduation of Andrea (the youngest) at the University of North Carolina in Willmington. Andrea graduated with high honours in psychology and will attend The College of William and Mary next Fall to study for advanced degrees. She aspires to teach at the University level. We are all proud of my brother's girls and their accomplishments as human beings and students. Laura is a lawyer and Heather is studying to be a psychotherapist.

I think of my mother on these occasions. She would have been so pleased and enthusiastic about such a family celebration. For her, education was very important in fulfilling a person and shaping a knowledgeable and useful citizen.

These are the Robinson's of Charlotte, North Carolina from left to right, Heather, Carole (the Mom) , Andrea, Richard and Laura.
Well done y'all! you all look great in this photo.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

A New Neighbour

My neighbour just got a horse. It is a mare and she is not very big. I walked down to see her and welcomed her to the neighbourhood. Her temperament is calm. I expect she is a riding horse.

This is a picture over the fence. If your click on it, it will enlarge and you can see the roof of the cabin on the right. The evergreen trees are some of the 10,000 I have planted along the river. They are white spruce and are growing nicely now. The river runs in a 25 foot trench in front of the trees and the cabin.

With a little barley I encouraged the mare to come closer for a better view. She has been going up and down the fence line since she arrived looking over at the cows and pigs I have in my yard. I think she would like to join my herd. A solitary horse is a lonely site. They need companionship.

It will be nice to look out the back window and see this one every day. I miss my horses. I still have two saddles and tack stored away hoping I some day might get another horse. It would be nice if my grandchildren could ride.

The landscape is greening up nicely. This is a view of my neighbour Leo's place. it is 1/4 mile away across my side field. This week the poplar trees are devleoping light green leaves to contrast with the dark green of the evergreens. The grass wil be growing quickly beteen now and July when haying will be underway. I will have to cut the lawn once or twice a week for some time until the really hot days of summer.
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Thursday, May 10, 2007

What is the Minimum for a Victory in Iraq

In trying to figure out the objective in the War of Iraq and what would be the minimum requirements for an American victory one should consider a couple of things that don't get much attention in the American press. One is the building of a massive American Embassy, in the heart of Baghdad along with several large military bases and the new oil law the American's want the Iraqi government to approve.

The American Embassy under construction will be the largest Embassy in the World. In the midst of a war zone it is being built, a virtual self contained fortress for 25,000 people. You can be sure this is one project that will not be shoddily built. Similarly, there is no slowdown in building permanent military bases in Iraq.

The New Oil law will privatise the oil industry turning over the exploration and development for the Iraqis' Oil Resource to corporations agreeable to the US, and guarantee that Iraq will continue to deal in oil using US dollars. (Before the war they were going to switch to the Euro.) was a socialist State in which the government owned and controlled the country's oil resource. We now know for certain the war was about oil. From the beginning when the oil ministry building was the only one guarded by the US against vandalism it was obvious to many.

Ignore all the noble talk about bringing security and democracy to Iraq. ( The US has long been comfortable with some of the worst autocratic cruel goveernments around the world as long as it served their interest.) This is just a nice distraction if they can be achieved; but not essential for a victory. Likewise, ignore the fear mongering about al-Qaeda having to be defeated there rather than on US soil. Al-Qaeda is there because the Americans are there. The Iraqis didn't want anything to do with them before the war and after the Americans leave the Iraqi's will rid their country of these extremists. The notion that fighting in Iraq is the only and last defense of America against extremists is nonsense. The Americans have resources, overt and covert and diplomatic and policing to deal with those who might seek to cause the US harm. They could take lessons from the Israeli Mossad who for years has quietly murdered "enemies" of Israel. Do you remember the raid on Entebbe or the fact that all the militants involved in the 1972 massacre of Israeli Olympic atheletes were systematically hunted down and murdered.

What the US wants from Iraq is control over the oil resource so it comes to the US rather than China and they want permanent military bases in Iraq so they can have military away over the Middle East and Central Asia.

Both Democrats and Republicans want these two objectives. Otherwise, the Democrats would be trying to cut off funding for Bushes Palace of an Embassy and the permanent military bases. Not a word about this by the Democrats. All the talk about bring the troops home is referring to combat troups. ALL IS NOT ALL. There will be large numbers of troups left behind "At the invitiation of the Iraqi government", to guard the massive US Embassy and man the US miliary bases, train Iraqi troups and even off support. It is significant that the US in building the Iraqi military has not helped them build a tank corp or an effective Air Force, the two things necessary to fight an effective insurgency. Could those roles mean that the Iraqi government will be dependent on the US to survive.?

When the US is granted long term leases for permanent military bases and the oil industry is privatized, the US can declare victory and withdraw from the civil war they fostered. This is a long way from the pie in the shy vision of rebuilding Iraq on the American model of democracy and neo-liberal economics. Sometimes you have to settle for what you can get. In this case, it will be essentially what they wanted all along.

The day after I wrote this blog the following article appeared which reflects my essential points and gives a greater detailed explanation. Iraq War Is All About Controlling The Oil - - Breaking News &

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I Feel Badly for George Bush

There is little sympathize about with George Bush. I do feel sorry for his inability to master the Queen's English and public speaking. It seems he cannot make a public speech without making a malapropism, use an incorrect word, a major grammatical error or even loose his train of thought.
Even with speech writers, who should be skillful wordsmiths he bumbles along. I don't think he can follow a written text very well and tries to adlib, which makes it worse.

MY God! he mangled his thought in front of the Queen! With a little hunour and the Queen's gracious forebearance he recovered. I am sure the Queen has seen it all but I think she would be sympathetic. Her father, King George, who did not intend to be King, suffered from a stutter. With great effort he largely overcame it for public speaking.

George Bush must have a significant learning difficulty. I assume he has made some effort to overcome it. His handlers must have a fit every time he stumbles in a public speech.

Here are some examples of his gaffs.

I am sympathetic for I was not a fluid reader and easy public speaker when I went off to seminary. I spent a lot of time alone practicing reading out loud and training my eyes to follow the text with understanding . Before giving a sermon or public speech I practiced several times. I even had my own system of marking the speech into segments so when I read it it made sense and had the correct inflection of voice. This was hard work but I think in the end I mastered the craft. I wonder if George made the effort.

It is hard to believe he is a graduate of two of the leading US Universities, Yale and Harvard. In fact, it is hard to imagine he was even accepted as a student there. Family connections obviously count. I have taken courses at both Yale and Harvard and I aways found the students to be very bright. Poor George, he must be smarter than he sounds but he must be an embarassment to these august Universities. I look forward to the day when the US has a President who can deliver a powerful and moving speech.

Going's On

Testerday, Daisy the dog, not Daisy the cow, went to the doggy beautician and had a hair cut. Looks different!

She still can growl if you get to close to Dave. What a guard dog.

Grrrrrr! Giving me the evil eye.

Today, I am cleaning out the hen house. Not a pleasant job. Smelly! I am surprised how much droppings can accumulate over the Winter. I am spreading it on the vegetable garden before my neighbour tills it with his large tiller behind his tractor.

The last pig I sold, Nuts, was finally crated up (with no further injuries to me) and taken to his new home. In the end, coaxing him in did not work so I grabed him by the hind legs and man handled him into the crate. It was a race to one of two conclusions: he would go in or I would drop down dead for the effort. It took me a couple of hours to recover but he went in and is now someonelse's challenge. I feel guilty as I know a painful and most unpleasant castration will be inflictected on this 100 pound pig.

I will miss him in a way, He sure was interesting to have around. As the runt, he took a beating. Three times he was mauled by a neighbour's dog leaving him with bleeding wounds. Luckily pigs are tough and heal quickly.
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Friday, May 04, 2007

Royal Visit

HRH Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen is visiting the US these days bringing pomp and ceremony to the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is present at the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement.
It is nice to share our "gracious Queen" with our American cousins. I think Americans are fascinated with Royalty. I suspect a little sorry at times they do not have any of their own. Over the years they have raised movie stars to such a plateau of admiration. They once even viewed a political family as if they were regal, President Kennedy and his family.
I am sure that many Americans are unaware that the Queen is Queen of Canada as well as of Great Britain. This is a lovely institution which differentiates us from the Americans. In practical terms, it separates the ceremonial head government from the executive head of government. It allows us to more easily disagree with the government without sounding disloyal to the country. The Monarch, like the flag, is a symbol of national unity which endures through time.
I am a bit of a Royalist. I come by it honestly as my mother was. She was very knowledgeable about the Royal family and British history. My grandparents came from Britain in 1903. It took my grandmother a long time before she considered herself a Canadian. I remember her once telling me that whenever I felt down I should find comfort in knowing I was "a member of the British Empire". I smile at this still. I never did find it very comforting.
I remember my family standing beside the road from the airport in 1951 to wave at Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip as they passed by on their first visit to Canada taking the place of her father ,King George, who was not well. It was not long after that, he died; and, she became Queen.
The Royal family, particularly, the Queen deserve our respect for their devotion to duty. The Queen, has faithfully carried out her duties with grace all these years. She seems determined to do so for the rest of her life, which may deprive Prince Charles from ever being King as she seems to be healthy at 81 and may enjoy the long life of the Queen Mom who lived to be 100.
King George was never meant to be king. His brother abdicated and the duty fell to him. He rose to the occasion. During the second World War the royal family including the children, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret remained at risk in Britain rather than seek safety in another country like Canada, where the Dutch Royal family was living. They stood firm as a symbol of courage to the beseiged British people. The princesses even helped nurse the injured.
For this they shall always be remembered and honoured.
I hope our American cousins enjoy the Queen's visit. Hopefully, thye can seen past the silly CNN coverage. It would be nice for to know some of her history and that her grandson, Prince Harry is about to go to Iraq to answer the call of Britain to serve in that ill conceived war. He could have easily avoided it but it seems the aristocratic sense of duty has been passed on. I suspect some of that also is a result of his mother's influence as well as that Royal Family tradition of service, for as a Spencer she had even greater aristocratic credentials than the Queen.
There is a lesson to be learned here which I suspect the American don't get. When the Nation is at risk the aristocrats should be the first to step forward in her defense. This does not happen in the US. Virtually, no member of the governments' family rose to the occasion. I personally think it a disgrace that the President's two daughters did not find a way to serve if the country was really at risk. Instead, the economic elite was more than willing to have others answer the call, professional soldiers drawn from the economically less well off and mercentaries, like Blackwater, Inc, the new private armies. War profiteering and tax cuts for the rich in a time of war is not an admirable sight and should immediately bring to mind the question "For what are we fighting and dying?" if those with the most to loose don't step up.
Few wars are ever fought for "God and Country". WWII may be the last such just war. The Royal family remain a symbol of courage and national unity in the face of a true threat. It makes it easy to sing the words, "God save our gracious Queen, long live our noble Queen. . .",
I hope our American neighbours may be tempted to hum along when the Anthem is played.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Another Boo Boo!

I got another injury to my face. The same side as my torn eyelid. You can tell I am left handed as I injure the left side of my face most often.

If I were a child there would be someone to kiss it better. As a single parent, certainly did my share of magical comfort kissing. Now I just have to tough it out, alas!

My sow Ruby did this to me. I was trying to cox the last of my boar piglets, Nuts, (June named him, tee, hee.) into a crate to I could transport him to his new owner. Ruby decided she wanted some of the feed I put inside. She put her nose under the edge and lifted the crate while my attention was on slamming the door shut. The corner caught me in the face and left a cut the shape of the corner. Oh! I have hurt myself!!! (almost enough to make me swear.)

Needless to say, I did not get Nuts crated up. I have been trying for a week to do so. I am trying to be smarter that a pig, so far he has managed to best me and push his way out before I can get the door closed. I will try again today.

No matter how familiar and calm you and your pet are, when they are big and powerful there is always a risk of them hurting you just doing what they naturally do. A pigs snout is a formidable digging and lifting tool.
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Day for All

Today is May Day, a day of celebration with many and varied meanings.

It's orgins are probably in the European pagan past. In Northern Europe St Walpurgis Day seems to have been the inspiration for much of the coming of Spring celebrations. (In the North real Spring does not normally correspond with the Spring Equinox.) Walpurgis Night - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia So Happy Walpurgisnacht!

For the Czechs, this is the Day of the Witches. It has elements of love and romance for young people. For example, a young girl if kissed under a cherry tree in blossom will always be beautiful. Lonely Planet Theme Guides Festivals Day of the Witches, Czech Republic

I tend to think of this being a day to celebrate the better weather. A picnic in the park and a frolic around a Maypole, (an English tradition is a wonderful use of the day.} Maypole dance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In this traditon, I wish all a Happy May Day. I trust the sun is shining on you.

I still like to remember this as the International Labour Day. A day to remember the sacrifices of workers around the World. So many of them are still exploited, even to the point of slavery. The Soviet Union used this day as a political excuse to parade its military might and uphold their vision of Socialist domination of the World. So far Capitalism has not such special day. Perhaps, in the future we might have World Globalization Day.

In the US this is Loyalty Day. Loyalty Day - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia It really did not catch on as a major holiday. It seems the Americans have so may patriotic days another one is not really needed. It was meant to counteract the Soviet Union's May Day. Unofficially, May Day in thr US has been used by various groups from labour, to civil rights, to antiwar, to (this year) the plight of Immigrants. Immigrant Rights :: Immigrant Solidarity Network for Immigrant Rights:: NO CLE

Perhaps, Loyalty Day should be we shaped as a day to reflect upon how citizens' loyalty and love if country is manipulated by the ruling class to fulfill their economic agenda. George Bush certainly was in full propaganda mode four years ago. "Mission Accomplished" Now we know the truth. "Mission a lie, Nothing Good Accomplished" I suspect in his quiet moment, he is saying to himself (assuming he is a sane person) "Ooops, I misspoke myself!"

On a lighter note. This is Elvis and Pricilla Presley wedding anniversary. Listen to a couple of Elvis's more sentimental songs.

Happy May Day! Just a lovely day to caw about and scratch about the yard as preparation for the lazy days of summer.
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