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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.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Definitely "For Better. . ."

For years one could always depend on a smile over touching vignettes in the cartoon strip "For Better. . .For Worse" Well! it is coming to an end, in a way. There probably be no future episodes. Lynne Johnston, the creator of this wonderful strip is winding it down.Lynn Johnston winds down her famous comic strip - CBC Arts Media

Perhaps, it is fitting for it was a strip that paralleled her own family in the lives of the Patterson's. They were not timeless characters as the strip saw them develop in real time over the life of the Johnston family. The children are all grown, with children of their own and in recent years the strip has been extended by introducing additional characters. Ms Johnston has decided it is time to wind it down. Justifiably so. There will be reruns, special occasions and TV specials for years to come to keep us in touch with this wonderful strip.

The affable face of Lynne Johnston.

Lynne Johnston and her dentist husband have been a fixture around North Bay for many years after they moved to Corbeil from Lynn Lake, Manitoba (too remote to adequately promote and expand her cartoon strip.) There presence has been felt in the arts community in North Bay. At one point there were life sized statues of the cartoon, Paterson Family, downtown, (They may still be there ;I don't get to town often enough to know). Dr Johnston was instrumental in the creation of the two carousel's on the waterfront with the unique handcrafted animals (by local artists) I am sure their involvement in the community will go on.

click to enlarge

Lynne Johnston touched on lots of family and social issues. The above cartoon is just the kind of a reflective moment between a parent and child as the child's world is expanding.

She courageously tackled some issues like the Patterson, son's friend coming out as a homosexual. This strip saw her strip dropped from a couple of American papers, and criticism from the usual predictable quarters.

One of the nice things about Lynne Johnston strip was that it was clearly a Canadian comic strip including Canadian spellings and references to Canadian event and holidays. (Thanksgiving was always in October.) The activities and seasons of the year were typical for around here where the Johnston's live. In spite of this the strip was widely syndicated in the US and other countries. It was much loved and is The Official Website of Lynn Johnston's comic strip For Better o2 (Notice the reference to butter tarts. . .very Canadian and not available in the US)

While Lynne Johnston may be winding down her "For Better. . .For Worse" comic strip she has left us with a great body of work to revisit and enjoy. I suspect much of it will stand up over time for it is all so very human and authentic. is The Official Website of Lynn Johnston's comic strip For Better o
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Thursday, August 30, 2007


Solitude in Killarney Park with view of Silver Mountain (My cousin, who has a fondness for this lovely Provincial Park mistakenly say the mountain is highest point in the province. Not so, the Ishpatina Ridge, a two day's canoe trip upstream from where I live, is. Ishpatina Ridge, Temagami -

All summer I have read of the severe weather being experienced around the continent not to mention around the world. Heat in the southern United States(with the added insult of forest fires). Tornadoes and floods in the central United States. Hurricane threats to the Texas coast and East coast. Drought in the southeast and Pacific coast.

Canada's west coast has had both drought and floods. this year. The prairies has had some drought and the odd Tornato and even Northwest Ontario has had drought this year. The Maritimes always has more than its share of exciting weather as it get it weather not only off the continent but up the Atlantic coast.

Each morning, there seems to be "news of fresh disasters". I feel badly for my friends and family living in these area of dramatic weather. I also am glad I do not live there.

Where I live , on the southern edge of Northeastern Ontario, avoids most dramatic weather events. We get a lot of variable weather from heat to cool to rainy to sunny. Each season is about the same length of three months. Every day is a suprise. But truly bad weather is a rarity. Yes, it can be cold in the Winter with -20C and lower being not uncommon for two months and we can get a couple of weeks of 30C heat in the summer. Otherwise it is quite comfortable and manageable. (It would be nice if we had more than 100 days of frost free days.)

In a way were I live is protected by the Great Lakes. Most of our weather comes from the West or Southwest. When it comes from the West it crosses the length of Lake Superior which brings rain or snow leaving the lake at Wawa and traveling on a track north of us through Timmins. When the weather comes from the southwest it comes up the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys and crosses the great lakes tracking south of us travelling through cottage country and on through Ottawa. We are on the fringe of these two storm systems. Seldom do they track though here and leave heavy rains or snow. It was 1972 when the last serious Tornado tracked through here, right by the edge of the city of Sudbury and through our neighbour town of Field. The last time we had heavy Winter snows which thawed quickly under a warm rainly Spring we had the flood of 1979. It would have been less severe if the controls on the watershed had been managed better.

I like our variable weather with warm summers, long Spring and Fall and cold and limited snowfall (compared with places north and south of here) in Winter. I am glad not to have to deal with disasterous weather events in any season. It is fun to be surprised by the weather almost daily.

This is a good place to live.!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stephen Truscott, Justice Finally!

Virtually all my adult life I have been aware of the Stephen Truscott case, perhaps the first public issue I ever took a personal interest in.) As a 14 year old boy in 1959 he was rushed to judgement and convicted of raping and killing a classmate Lynne Harper. He was to be hanged! Later this was reduced to life imprisonment. He spent 10 years in jail before being paroled. He married and lived under another name. Only when his children were teenagers did he tell them of his real identity. He has spent the rest of his life trying to clear his name in spite of setbacks (including a court of appeal decision upholding his conviction.)CBC News In Depth: Steven Truscott

Yesterday he got "justice". The Court of Appeal of Ontario overturned his conviction and aquitted him. Of course, this is a most modest moral victory coming so late after a lifetime of damage had been done.

Stephen Truscott has proved himself to be a tenacious defender of the truth he knew. He is a quiet, modest unassuming man, who grew up in the harsh reality of an adult prison. He is a remarkable survivor.

Some of the credit for Canada doing away with the Death Penalty can go to the public outrage at the Truscott case and the idea of a child being hanged.

He does us all proud for only when individuals heroically fight for truth and justice are all our rights and right to justice defended.

It is time for the government to give him a heartfelt apology for wrongfully proseciting him and in the last several years virtually persecuting him as more facts of the case came out that ran counter to the evidence so many years ago.
The fact is, like in so many of the wrongful convictions in Canada, his case was a case of poor police work, a rush to judgement in an atmosphere of alarm and tunnel vision in looking at evidence.

What is a lifetime and a childhood lived in the shadow of the gallows and in an institution for criminals , worth??? It will be the governments responsibility to compensate him. Canadians should insist they do so without quibbling over the amount.

It must be a great relief to the Truscotts to no longer have to live under this shadow of a wrongful conviction. They have lived a quiet hardworking responsible life in Central Ontario, with dignity. Money will not change this. They do themselves and the rest of us proud.

I hope the life of the Truscotts go on in peace and nobility for we all know now of the innocence of Stephen Truscott of such a dreadful crime so many years ago.
Steven Truscott - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Harpers, the other family ruined by the Truscott case. Lynne Harper's family speaks out on Truscott


The telephone service has been down for two days. This length of interruption is unusual. I don't miss getting calls, in fact, I hate the intrusion of the phone ringing and then having to talk to people on it. It does keep me off the Internet, which I do miss. So if you missed me,(which I doubt) you know why.

I do need the phone for emergencies. I have actually asked the phone company if they had a service that allowed only outgoing calls. Living far away from emergency services, no phone service could be a problem. When my house caught fire, a few years back, my phone didn't work. Luckily I had a vehicle here so I could drive to two neighbours before I could make a call.

Now I have Dave living with me and he has needed ambulance service three time already. He is a lot better now the doctor has his diabetic medicine right.

Here are some views about the place:

click to enlarge

Here is my new flock of one!!!!! I incubated 45 eggs and only one hatched. I don't know what went wrong but in the meantime, I am trying again to get this chick some siblings. This one is getting spoiled. It thinks I am it's mother and will sit on my hand while we watch TV together. My kitttens have been very interested in this new resident. They will sit and watch it in its cage in the kitchen.

You are never too old to get a nuzzle from your mother. Babe, in white, is supposed to be a pet but right now she is just right for be hanging from a meat hook. I am a bit of a softy, (it is the suburban boy in me) so I think I will keep her and breed her. Besides, June would give me a hard time if I dared filled the freezer with pork.

Another one of my rabbits had a littler. It was her previous litter that my friend June, "loved to death". I think there are about 10 in this litter. I just peeled back one side to expose these 7 naked bunnies knowing there were a few more hidden in the fur. I expect the mother will successfully raise these as long as we resist interfering. The other rabbit that had a litter has raised all eight of them which are now cute beyond belief.

Wood, wood and more wood. I just began splitting my second wagon load of wood. In spite of my bad shoulder, (from dropping a tree on it when I worked as a logger, un bucheron) I can still swing a sturdy maul. This job should have been done in the Spring. It has come down to now or never. By next month, the Fall rains will be frequent and it will be hard to get it into the basement dry.

Dave likes to help. I am the log splitter and he is the trucker. He calls his walker, "my truck".
I think he also like to be outside doing man's work where he can see the animals. We spotted for the first time, the kittens my barn cat had. I expect them on the back porch for some food, when their mother decides they need to be weened.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Only in the last year have I been able to get American TV channels (being too cheap to pay for what I think one should be free to capture off of the airwaves). It is with some fascination that I have watched and realized Canadian and American TV reflects the differences in our cultures.
I actually have been keeping notes to write a longer blog entry on this but I cannot resist this one, small difference.

I am struck by the incessant ads dealing with ED. Yes, that scourge for all older men, erectile dysfunction. (or so they would have us believe.) These ads for several products to cure this condition fill the American airwaves but do not appear on Canadian TV. It is not that we are a modest lot or never suffer from this condition, it is that in Canada direct marketing to consumers for prescription drugs is not allowed.

These ads are as annoying as the ones for "female sanitary products", for which I also have no need. When they created the Woman's Network I hoped they would disappear off the free channel. Perhaps, the ED ads could move to the Men's Channel ( I almost added Sports Channel, how sexist is that)and give us all a rest, from being reminded if our present of eventual failings. Not likely!

Many times a day we are reminded that we are getting older and our bodies are not as responsive as they used to be. Any yet, they claim, we can be young and virile, (in an aging body) if we only take their product. You don't even have to take it just before doing "IT". The medication can be taken well in advance and last for several hours to be counted upon when the moment is just right. Sounds wonderful!

Then come the warnings.! if your erection last longer than four hours. . . . . .
Is this a problem? It seems it makes you feel too young, you are 17 again. Get a grip you used to know how to handle this without a doctor's help. What could she do anyway!

This obsession on American TV with male sexual function makes one wonder if this is really such a wide American problem. If it is; does it go some way to explain American love of guns. These too come in all sizes and calibers. They are forever rigid and at the ready. All one has to do is love them, keep them clean, load them at will and they will go off with just a gentle squeeze to everyones fright and delight. Hummm! makes one wonder.

Well here is the good news. ED is not the biggest male sexual problem. PE is. Yes, premature ejacualation is the biggest male dysfuction, (According to the questionaire I just finished. : Trivia & Quizzes - Science Fact or Fiction LiveScience ) It seems this is a secret. It seems we want to talk about this even less than ED. To return to our gun analogy, it is like always shooting ourselves in the foot, or accidentally discharging our weapon at the Bush. (Don't send the Secret Service this is a double entendre not a triple entendre.) Horror of horrors we might do a Dick Cheney and shoot a friend. We even see this on the battle field where for every Iraqi kill, 300,000 rounds have been fired, How premature is that!

This could be a whole new market for drug companies. I suggest the new product be a rubbed on lotion entitled "HOLD ON". ( Remember you read it here first, I want a royalty)Is this not an ad man's dream. Think of the copy you could write:

When dreaming of far off places doesn't do it just wipe on "HOLD ON".

When it is out of hand, and the little woman needs time, "HOLD ON" is the answer.

Save on laundry, use "HOLD ON".

When you just want explore in the bush, "HOLD ON" is a man's best friend.

For the last line of defensive birth control, depend on double strength "HOLD ON".

Never have to say, OOPS, Damn or Sorry at those intimate moments, HOLD ON" works.

To love her fully, "HOLD ON".

. . . . . . . . . .Well, I am sure you can write your own copy.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I know some who read this blog are gardeners. This is for you in case you thought the Redneck jokes did not apply in your case. You Know You're a Redneck Gardener When.... -

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Have a Secret. . . .

I love Redneck jokes.!

I am a little embarassed at this fact since I dislike ethnic humour which pokes fun at groups of people. I am quick to tell those that like to tell such jokes that they are not funny, are racist, are cruel, etc.

And yet. . . . I laugh my head off at Redneck jokes. My only excuse is that some of them apply to me. "You know you are a redneck if more than half the vehicles in your yard do not run."

I choose to believe that redneckism is a state of mind, a weltenshauung (sorry, too many years of studying philosophy makes me use such words) and not a particular ethnic group.

Here is a list of redneck jokes.


Some are visual.

You Know You Are A Redneck When

If you are one of those who goes to the family reunion and "all the men their hit on your sister" you are definitely a Redneck.

Forgive me. . .

Friday, August 24, 2007

I am a Pisces

"Pisces are spiritual in nature and emotional in expression. Pisces intuition and imagination are at once Pisces strengths and weakness. Pisces are attracted to the mystical side of things, and herein lay potential danger, for when pulled beneath the currents of everyday life, the realms of imagination and the subconscious offer little structure. Without the foundation of reality, it becomes easy to flounder and to lose direction. Pisces own salvation, however, can come from helping others less fortunate that yourself, especially those who have fallen into the misty realms of drugs, alcohol or spiritual confusion.The Pisces motto might be "Reality is just a shared illusion," and, in a higher sense this may be true. Nevertheless, you still need to survive in this "shared illusion" of reality, and sometimes this becomes a struggle for you compassionate Fish, who can feel the pain of the world as if it were your own. There's no easy escape for you. Your best path is to follow a creative or spiritual pursuit while doing your work in the real world. "

I am not a true believer in anything: always the sceptic. This is particularly true of horoscopes.
And yet, mine always strangely and painfully seems to have a ring of truth to it.

I do know my life has been one of a "tortured soul", always wrestling with the ultimate questions of meaning but never willing to sign on to some easy formula of Faith. My mind is rational, trained in philosophical discourse and yet I am drawn to the wisdom of the mystics with their intuitive experiences of what Rudolf Otto called the "mysterium, tremendum et fascinas"
(the mystery that is both terrifying and fascinating).

There are those who would say that if I only accepted "-------" on Faith, the pain would go away and all would be well (forgiven, full of Grace, acceptance, love). It is tempting but for me the price would be too high. For me. my essential humanity requires that I be the eternal Seeker, searching, evaluating, doubting, hoping to glimpse the Divine, yet always knowing it will remain a Mystery.

Such is my fate: always the pilgrim, never the keeper of the Temple.


I no sooner wrote this blog entry than i read the news article about Mother Teresa. It seems I am in good company. Letters Reveal Mother Teresa's Secret - AOL News

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More Soldiers Die in Afghanistan

This week has seen three more Canadian soldiers die in Afghanistan. This is part of the price being paid as Canada, as part of Nato, tries to meets it commitment to help the Afghanistan government establish security and contribute to reconstruction efforts in than troubled land. Canada's National Newspaper

As a pacifist, I am of mixed feeling toward out effort in Afghanistan. I wish our country was contributing more toward the reconstruction effort than doing the fighting. In the Kandahar area, Canada finds itself in the thick of it; in an area where insurgents are concentrating their efforts. It would be wonderful if Afghanistan can be made secure and progress as a Nation. Military action will never accomplish this, a political solution needs to be found. In the meantime, military deaths occur.

The recent deaths are the results of trials by fire of the Vandoos, based in Valcartier Quebec. Le Royal 22e RegimentThey have relieved the Patricas. PPCLI Website

I am trying to avoid discussing the issue for Canada being involved in this foreign war. Most Canadians are opposed, particularly in Quebec. The commitment is to be there to 2009. There will be pressure by some to see this commitment extended. We all know the 69th soldier to die will not be the last.

I am pleased how Canada treats the death of soldiers and publically shows respect. The Harper Conservative government originally tried to emulate the American policy of the Bush Administration (this government seems to spend most of its time trying to garner favour with Bush and company, to their shame) by not allowing the press to cover the returning of the coffins of the dead soldiers.

Canadians would have none of it, particularly the families of the dead soldiers. The government were forced to reverse their decision. Now each soldier is honoured and the news covers their return to Canada. In Afghanistan, there is a public ceremony in which Canadian troops along with others, American, British, Dutch etc who are based near Kandahar, assemble to salute and see their fallen comrades off. Then when the coffin arrive in the Trenton Base, there is another ceremony at which the Canadian government is represented at the highest level. The Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers and very often Governor General. The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean Governor General of Canada / Gouverneur général du Canada is present to support of the grieving familym representing the rest of us. There is always , at least, a brief item of this on the National news.

The Canadian attitude seems to be "These are our young men." "Their deaths are deaths in the family." We want to know and support the family and honour the sacrifice in the name of Canada, in a very public way. As a nation we grieve and discuss the wisdom of this military commitment.

One thing that has impressed me are the comments by fellow soldiers, often officers responsibe for the dead soldiers. They are show obviously deeply moved and on the verge of crying. (Yes! big boys do cry!) Things are not smoothed over. After they praise the soldiers and acknowledge the pain they admit they are professional soldiers who "will grieve today, suck it up tomorrow and get on with the job they are well trained to do."

How Canada has handled this contrasts sharply with the way American's have handled the returning of there dead soldiers, largely our of public view. I assume to limit public debate of the wisdom of the military adventure. Canada decided this debate is not to be avoided and as a country we need to share in the pain of military loses incured in our name.

I invite you to read about some of these men and women who have died in Afghanistan Canada's Fallen

Monday, August 20, 2007

Our Brothers the Wolf and the Bear

Once one has experienced wolves or bears in the wild, one need not question the aboriginal peoples spiritual connection with them. They are both revered as totems for family clans.

I feel it a privilege to live where I can occasionally glimpse these wonderful animals in their natural habitat. Last night, standing on my front veranda I listened to the local wolf pack. I invited David to join me. At 85, and with a lifetime of living and working surrounded by Nature, his comment was, "they are talking to one another, like a group of women." It was not howling but a cacophony of sharp yelps and growls. I could visualize them gathered on a clearing about a quarter of a mile from the house.

People drive three hours from Toronto to sit by the highway 60, through Algonquin Park to hear the wolves. A park ranger howls to get the wolves to respond in kind. People always seem to be thrilled to hear this. The noble grey wolf is the epitome of "wildness": free, aloof, bonded in a pack for survival, willingly lead by the Alpha male and Alpha female, bonded for life, the strongest and the best.

While doing my dishes, alone with my thoughts, I glanced out the window to see a black bear saunter out onto the road. It stood there looking around as if not sure where it might go next, probably not caring for life is easy this time of year. It moves slowly as if to take in all that it can see. The dogs seemed to be excited at this stranger. they moved down the road toward it.
The bear stood its ground and the dogs chose not to rush up to it like they would another dog. In its good time the bear slowly returned to the bush. Only then the dogs went to seen where it had been, sniffing the ground but not following it into the bush. If people only chose to show the gentle bear such respect, and distance, we could all get along. The bear only wants it space, and no more, to live a quiet foraging life.

The Hiker's Notebook

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The End of the Gay Marriage Debate

A couple of weeks ago, I commented on the marriage of the Smithermans. George Smitherman , a provincial politician, married his same sex partner not far from here.

Well! the Feds did him one better. Scott Brison married his partner in his rural Nova Scotia riding. Brison celebrates historic wedding He is a much respected member of parliament who has sat on both sides of the house and who out of principle crossed the floor of the house when the historic Progressive Conservative Party dissolved itself into the Conservative Party. (not all that progressive). The guest list was remarkable with political friends present, including two former Prime Ministers of Canada and at least two former Premiers of provinces. In spite of this it proved to be a low key political event. It was after all the couple's big day.

What has impressed me is how little negative comment has been made and reported. It apprears the homophobic religious right (yes we do have a few of those, even in parliament) has decided to let this pass without comment. The local rural population was quite uneffected by all the goings on and seemed to wonder what all the fuss was about. Their attitude is one of live and let live and love is good no matter how it is packaged. It is hard to imagine such a scene ever taking place in the United States. We really are a different people.

Prime Minister Harper and his conservative government can give up on the idea of revisiting the "issue" of gay marriage. It is no longer an issue, it is an engrained part of the social fabric of Canada. Time to move on to issues of importance to Canadians.

For the moment, All the best to the Brisons. May life together be loving and long!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

About the Place

I have made several attempts at taking a picture of my young rabbits. With the flash failing and the bunnies moving I have not been very successful. Here is a picture of the cute brown one. the other seven are black. a couple with a tiny white spot on the nose. I placed them in this white cage to try to get a good picture. Sorry! it is the best I can do for now.

They are all doing well under the care of their mother. June wants me to give give her the brown one as a pet. I am afraid she will "love it to death", like she did to the last litter.

Here is a philosophical question! How many chickens make a flock??

I may have to decide this question, for I have had only one chick hatched out in the incubator. I have four dozen eggs in it.

Here is the lonely but noisy one.

I am not quite given up on there being more. This one is almost two days old with no hatch mates in sight. I will give it a couple of more days. I have an enormous bag of chick starter. . . .
I may have to try again to at least use up the feed. I wish I had more confidence in the incubator. Then again, at least I won't have to borrow my neighbours brooder. I was hoping to add to my laying flock.

Awe the leisure life of swine! (On my farm atleast). They are resting "apres the diner!" I wonder which one is in a snit, the "derriere a derriere" position is hostile, don't you think? Passive aggressive, at least. Reminds me of myself napping with a friend when I felt less than cuddly!

The cooler weather has insired me to split some more wood for the winter and get it in the basement before the rainy autumn. Dave got inspired to help. At 85, he can only come out for a little time to toss some faggots on the pile. But he does this several times a day, between rests, and thereby feels he is contibuting in a material way.

He like to complain about my splitting maul which is too heavy for him and he cannot split the blocks. I am tempted to repeat the old adage, "a poor carpenter always blames it on his tools. " I am too kind to speak that out loud. In his life he has split more wood than I will ever split. I just say, "It works for me." (and smile).

This wood is just the beginning. I have another load of blocks like this to haul home and then my neighbour will skid out about 20 trees for me to cut up, split and pile. I wish I had done more in the Spring, when most wood is prepared. Around here splitting and piling wood is a art form. Oh how I wish I could pile those perfect rows of wood! I just admire them, in peoples yards, as I drive through the area.

Splitting wood, like doing dishes, is a form of meditation for me: moments of fullness of meaning in the midst of one'e aloneness.

My favourite quote from the mystics is from Evelyn Underhill, "Work is a form of prayer." I always think this is a wonderful text to draw inspiration from when confronted by a labourious repetitive task. Namaste!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Relationships and Loss

Romantic relationships are a mixed blessing for me. I have had my share, including one marriage to the love of my life. I have very fond memories of and the highest regard for the women I have know. Only one relationship did I ever end and it was because of the way a woman I dated treated her children, (in ways that undercut their sense of security in a life that was uncertain in other ways). I like to think of myself as loyal and caring and forgiving: elements that should nurture a relationship. For reasons, I shall never understand, it has not worked for me. Apparently, my passive nature (which has been called by some as passive-aggressive) and my desire to avoid conflict, eats away at the relationship, too much goes unsaid. In my more cynical moments I think after a realtionship is over. "If I had been more aggressive and slapped her around a little. . . .she would still be around." Seems to work for others. (Men I don't admire and women I don't understand for putting up with it.)

I am convinced that women "like the bad boys." They are exciting and dangerous. They also can be deadly.

I also find I like strong independent women who have the smarts. They stand up for themselves and speak their mind. In the end, many have said, "as much as I love you, I have to move on for myself."

Romantic relationships have always brought me great pain. I can still physically remember the feelings of the loss of my first girl friend. She was killed in a car accident. I never got over the insult of my second girl friend, taking up with another guy while she was away working at a summer camp. She chose a cruel moment to let me know it was over. And then their was my wife. . . .she chose being single over being a wife and mother. The only model I had ever had was that of a dutiful and loving wife and mother, my mother! I actually believed in a lifetime of marriage to the one person. I actually thought I was in control. The lesson I learned from this is that "The person that cares the least controls the relationship." I also realized that women are not trustworthy. This dreadful judgement (for I prefer the company of women to that of men)
has tainted every relationship since. There have been several, including a couple with marriage clearly in mind. One my son made clear he didn't like; my commitment to him was absolute and of the first other. We were a family and any woman would be joining our family. Another, I just let the most opportune moment pass. Foolish me.

I do not believe people heal from broken relationships. I haven't. It took be over 20 years of thinking of my wife coming home again. Then one day I realized she was a different woman. One I did not know for we had moved in different directions for two decades. I carry the scars of broken realtionships. I can remember vividly the moments when pieces were torn off my soul and my heart was broken. I do have lots of scar tissue, (which I regret for a cherish my tenderheartedness and vulnerability.) This is part of my essential humanity. I have learned to survive and be realistically tough at times of sadness and disappointment when relationships end.

I just had another of those moments. My cherished friend Veronica has moved on for good this time. She has apparently found another (I have actually know this for some time.) She has moved to Tennessee to share a rural life with this fellow. She is near Pulaski, birthplace of the KKK. (Almost tempts me to visit such a notorious place.)

Veronica and I had hope that we might work out a life together. She would not settle to be with someone willing and drawn to love her. She threw the gauntlet down and insisted on marriage.
I was more cautious and needed more time. She left, then came back for a second try. She then recently came for a visit. I guess to convince herself this was not the place for her. Although the last conversation we had was over how she could get residency in Canada and be able to be covered my the Universal Health Plan.

Yesterday, the email. "I have moved." I responded wishing her well and suggesting we should not continue to correspond. I think it would be unfair to the other fellow. So much for my plans to visit her at her home in Alabama. Life moves on. On top of this is the "ending" of my email friendship of long standing with a woman in Venezuela and the marriage of a young woman I have been a confidant with in Knoxville, ( for which I am very pleased)I feel particularly alone and abandonned. Years ago, I was told by a therapist that it would be like this if I did not go into long term therapy, intimate relationship that would end with a painful price. I have come to be reasonably tough and willing to find whatever fullfilment I can in my aloneness!

My friend Veronica, with her new fresh face look. I actually preferred her in her Amish bonnet and cape dress. (Perhaps, it all felt so naughty dating the Amish lady.

Happier times when I was enjoying the possibility of being part of a couple again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I just can't organize my thoughts today. Lots of ideas but nothing coherent so here are some random ideas.

We had another thunderstorm the other night which denied me access to the Internet. It happens every time there is a storm. I did the usual routine with the AOL tech guy in Moncton, NB but I knew it was a telephone company problem. I used to burn put modems regularly. I now have surge protector so the problem stays with Bell Telephone. 24 hours later it came back on it own. This seems to be a largely Ontario problem! I wish they could solve it.

The temperature on my back porch was about 35F. The heat has broken. Everything was fogged over as the cool temperature covered the warm land. By the time, the fog burned off the temperature was 40F. The cool was lovely I enjoyed my trip to the yard to feed the animals dress only is shorts and a tee shirt (me not the animals.)

Canada has another new territory. Quebec Inuit to sign historic self-governance agreement It is the northern third of Quebec called Nunavit. It is where 10,000 Inuit live along with about 1,000 other people largely Cree and Naskapi, spread over 14 communities. This territory is larger than California. (Damn! Canada is big.) It is the arctic zone of taiga, the tundra.Nunavik - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Don't confuse is with Nunavut, which is the other larger Inuit territory,(If it were a country it would be the 13 largest) established a few years ago across the Hudson's Bay.Nunavut - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Hopefuly in these two arctic territories the Inuit will control their destiny and benefit from the great arctic resources.
It is fascinating to read about these northern territories that very few Canadians will ever get to visit. Just once in my life I would love to go the the Arctic. I also wish I could learn to pronounce the place names.

The new territory of Nunavit.

Speaking of the North, My friend Denis is away in Labrador working a drill in mining exploration. He is right by the ocean where he can see whales go by and i assume icebergs as well. Labrador is to the east and south of Nunavit.

It is no secret that my friend Denis drinks and smoke to much. I don't do either! In spite of our may differences we remain friends and I am glad to give him a place to stay when he is in the area.

This squirrel reminded me of Denis! Smile Denis.

It is berry season. Here is some raspberry jam we made. Wild raspberries are so good and there are so many on my land.

(I dropped my digital camera once too often. I don't think the flash works so the quality of my indoor pictures is not as good as I would like. Otherwise, you might have got a picture this morning of my lovely baby rabbits which are doing find and getting quite active.)

The chokecherries and blueberries are ready for picking. Later in the season blackberries can be found. Jelly can also be made from the haws on the hawthorne bush, the rose hips on the wild roses and the wild mint along the river. After the first frost, the high bush cranberries are ready as are the proper cranberries in the Cache Bay cranberry bog. Nature has a bountiful harvest if you are privilege to easily access it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

No Fool Like An Old Fool!

Well I am smitten! I am thoroughly fascinated by the delightful actress Nicole Arbour.

Here are some of her promotional photos Viewer . Oh my! need I say more.

This young actress does commercials for pay for view TV. She is not only cute but impish as she play off against the male actor in the commercials. I think I watch TV just so I can see their commercials advertising the weeks " pay for vu" movies, which repeat several times a day. They always make me smile.

Neither is it the most sophisticated humour nor does it enchant me like her commercials for pay for view, I never thought she would turn out to be Canada's Sexiest Comic.

I knew nothing about this young actress, not even her name. With a little clever Internet exploration I found out some things about her. ( Don't you just love the Internet!) She is a comedienne, a graduate of Humber College's comedy program. She is from Hamilton Ontario.

Forgive an old man for his obsession. Humour me! In the meantime, back to the TV to see Nicole in another commercial.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Cost of a Criminal War

"One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic" Joseph Stalin

In the last day the number of Iraqis who have died as a result of the criminal invasion and occupation of that country by the United States has passed one million. (see accumulating total in sidebar). And it continues unabated. How many is too many!

There are those who see the million who died as a result of the First American/Iraqi war and the resulting embargo(as many as a half million children died) and a million who died in the Iraq/Iran war in which the US supported its friend Sadaam Hussein with intelligence and chemical weapons, as part of the three million "genocide" in Iraq. History will judge.American Genocide In The Middle East: Three Million and Counting - CommonDream

When you add the 7 million refugees to these totals the war in Iraq is the single largest human tragedy in the world today.It is worse than the tragedy of Darfur.

I need someone to explain to me that the cost in lives of the war in Iraq is justifiable! It isn't, or course. This criminal war brings shame on us all for not doing more to prevent it. And still we do not do enough to end it!

Stalin was right. People cannot empathize with a large statistic. What we don't seem to emotionally understand is that statistics do not die! Individual human being die and leave pain and suffering for those left behind. We need to spend some time thinking or and learning of the deaths of Iraqis. I doubt it their are any Iraqi families or tribes that have not lost significant numbers of members.

The United States needs to end this unjustifiable war. (Even when a majority of Americans have come to this conclusion is doesn't happen) Make reparations! Then put the leadership of the Bush administration on trial for war crimes. Only this way can the damage to America's reputation begin to be repaired.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

New Faces Around the Place

I have been adopted. This pigeon showed up and has decided to stay. It is quite tame. I caught it while it ate alongside the pigs.
I is banded. if I can find out how who you notify i shall try to return it to its owner, somewhere in Sudbury. There must be a pigeon club with a registry!!

click on photos to enlarge

Here is an update on my bunnies. There are eight of them and not nine as I originally thought. They are three weeks old and getting quite active. Here they are in their nesting box. I have moved them and the mother to a larger cage.

Here they are in their new home. They seem to have accepted this shallow cardboard box as their nest. There is lots of room so if their mother decided to move them she will have space. Seven are black, one of these has a small white spot on it's head. The eighth is ligh brown and white. I love the way if glows in this picture .

The mother rabbit would not stop eating long enough for me to get a clear picture. Here she is chowing down on some bird's foot trefoil, fresh picked. The mother and offspring have been in their new digs for a day and are doing just fine. The grandchildren dropped by and I showed them the new bunnies. Dylan who aspires to be a veterinarian is always very interested in the animals. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Parker 8/8/69

Today is my son, Parker's birthday. He is 38 today! Where do the years go.?

We never did have a little baby, as he was over 10 pounds at birth. Here he is at a week old. The mole on the side of his head is like I put my brand on him as I have countless numbers of these spots.

He very gracefully came into this World when we lived in Boston. I remember the excitement of it all, although I don't show "excitement" very much . Luckily, our friend Johnny Frazier was beyond himself and excited enough for both of us.

Very conveniently he hold duel citizenship, an Ameradian, as a "Canadian Born Abroad".

It was not long before the little boy was out and about. I always like this picture of him when we lived on Long Island Sound in East Haven, Connecticut. He is not only such a cute little tow head but he is pictured with my second most cherished thing, my canoe.

When his mother decided, when he was two, that she wanted something else out of life than being a wife and mother, we were left as a small family, just Parker and I. I raised him until he went off to University to create a life of his own. They were good years, particularly the one's here on the farm.

Parker was easy to raise, as he was healthy, bright, responsible and independent. One has no right to ask for more blessings than these.

Life unfolded as it should. This is what we got. Parker and Sandra and their three lovely children, Dylan, Olivia and Travis. (This is taken at the recent family reunion in Toronto at my sister's home. I didn't want anyone to think I am a suburbanite.)
Parker is not only a responsible citizen but also a good husband, excellent parent and a teacher.
He continues to make me and his mother proud (I think I can risk speaking for her).
Happy Birthday, son. 38 years old. . . .damn! where do the years go.
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Monday, August 06, 2007

August 6, 1945 A Day of Terror

"A terrorist is the one with the smallest bomb." Brendan Behan

The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and three days later another one on Nagasaki was a dreadful act of terror. It targeted a city of people with the most powerful and destructive man made explosion ever created.

The United States remains the only country to ever use this only truly "weapon of mass destruction". It is a painful irony to know that a country that the country that preceives itself as a special country which was moral, humane and "under God". Of course, it is none of those things. It is a flawed human political creation.

The justification for this dreadful bombing has always been that it would shorten the war against a fanatical enemy, the Japanese, who would not surrender.

When you read the actual documents about the incident this view of the reason for dropping the bomb is questionable. President Truman and not the military made the decision.

In fact, most of the generals were against it and believed the Japanese would soon surrender.

Guide to Decision: Part I

They had already suffered fire bombings of their cities. Hiroshima was spared this so that the Americans could more clearly measure the effect of the bomb which would kill and destroy everything within a three mile radius. (It had been less than a month since the first, and only, test atomic bomb had been exploded. ). The full affect of the bomb was not known. (For decades after, radiation poisoning would continue to kill people. You find very little reference to radiation poisoning in the literature. The bombing was an experiment!

More accurately the dropping of the bomb was a political act. It was meant to prove three things:

It was an act of revenge. The Japanese were inferior fanatical human beings who would only surrender by this act of terror. The Americans had just suffered dreadful losses in fighting over the Pacific Islands. Correspondence between Harry S. Truman and Samuel Cavert

It was a real life test. The United States had just spent 2 billion dollars to create this weapon and their was pressure to use it.

It was a threat to the Soviets. The United States wanted to send the Soviet Union a message that they had this weapon and would use it. It could be seen as the beginning of the cold war.

Sadly the Japanese had been willing to surrender as long as the Allies would promise not to depose the Emperor. They insisted on an unconditional surrender. The final surrender, after the bombings, did in fact leave the Emperor in place. Guide to Decision: Part II

This dreadful act of war and terror will always remain contraversial. I am sure many will continue to argue it shortened the war and saved lives. This may not be true but in any case, the reasons were much more complicated.

The dropping of the atomic bomb has changed all our lives. We have had to live with the threat of nuclear war ever since. The first social action group I ever joined was the Ban the Bomb efforts. I remember vividly the hysteria over how to survive a nuclear explosion. It was taught in school, bomb shelters were built and warning sirens were testing regularly. There was also the dreadful period of testing of bigger and better bombs. We now know the dreadful effect of radiation of killing people, poisoning the land for human habitation and affecting future generations.

The thousands of much more powerful bomb that exist today and are armed hanging as a threat over us all.

It is troubling, indeed, to know that the United States is willing to use nuclear weapons as a first strike unilateral action. To hear American politicians who aspire to take on the responsibility of the Presidency talk casually of actually using a nuclear weapon against countries like Iran, North Korea or Pakistan is terrifying. One has to question their insanity or dreadfully ignorance of history and the nature of Nuclear warfare. They should be disqualified as a serious contender for the office of Presidency of the United States.

Read the Hiroshima Peace Declaration for 2007

Dropping of the Atomic Bomb

Harry S. Truman's Announcement Of the Dropping Of An Atomic Bomb On Hiroshima,

Hiroshima: Was It Necessary? The Atomic Bombing of Japan

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Congratulations to the Smithermans

Today at a lodge not far from here George Smitherman, the Ontario government Health Minister is getting married to his partner Christopher Peloso, a former local Sudburian.

Here is an article in the upscale Toronto Life Magazine (which used to be my bible for choosing great dining places when , a life time ago, I fancied myself a sophisticated urbanite.)
Toronto Life: Groom With a View

It has been nearly forty years since I celebrated a wedding ceremony for a gay couple. I still find it remarkable how easily Canada has accepted the reality of gay marriage. The Smitherman/Peloso wedding certain sees the establishment acceptance of this change in the way we understand civil rights.

The present Conservative federal government of Stephen Harper has threatened to revisit this issue. The reality is. . . .it is not an issue. Their regressive threat will die a-borning! Tory win could change wedding date: Smitherman

It seems Smitherman has a good sense of humour. When asked what he would wear he said. . . "a thong!" I just can't get that image out of my head. Ont. cabinet minister to wed gay partner

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Another Busy Day at the Airport?

My friend Denis called. He needed to be picked up at the Sudbury city airport. He is coming home for a couple of days after working at a driller in a mining exploration site near Marathon. He is off to Labrador in a few days. An hour and a half later I am at the airport on another busy holiday weekend Saturday.

It is a modest airport indeed. Not your hurley burley international aerodrome I managed to park right in front.

This is the departure lounge. When you already live in "God's Country" at the height of the summer, why would you want to leave.

Finally the Bearskin airline plane arrived from Thunder Bay. Denis had to travel five hours by bus going westward to catch this plane coming east. Such is travel in Northern Ontario.

Here is the happy traveler getting ready jostle with the crowd to pick up his back pack.
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Friday, August 03, 2007

United States of North America! Nay, Nay!!

For the past twenty year or so Vive le Canada - Timeline of the Progress Toward a North American Union (NAU) there have been efforts to integrate the three largest countries of North American. NAfTA (North American Free Trade Association) was the most successful effort so far. News Release: A Blueprint for a North American Community
Slowly and deliberately there are those working, largely out of the public eye to eventually bring about the North American Union, similar to the European Union in which Trade, Labour, Security and Laws would be integrated fully. Vive le Canada - Deep Integration Planned at Secret Conference Ignored by the
I am opposed to this idea and think it is well past time for there to be a public and full discussion of this idea. It is time the economic and political elite pushing this idea shared it fully with the rest of us.
It is a plan to build upon the Free Trade agreement and expand it beyond mere trade. I am willing to admit there have been some economic successes under free trade but it has also created real problems for some. Here are some of my concerns:
During free trade there has developed a super rich class, beyond the mere rich, expanded the poor class and shrunk the middle class. What is economically beneficial to a country is not always economically beneficial to all within it. Trickle down economic theory is a myth put forward by the rich laissez-faire economists.
Capital chases the lowest labour costs. Free trade has seen manufacturing relocate to low pay areas. As a result jobs that once could support middle class families have disappeared. Fewer people are sharing in the national prosperity. Now service jobs are following this pattern.
Behind the idea of North American integration is a single ideology of laissez-faire economics, one world wide global economy and "democratic" states. Well I believe there are many ways of polity which can serve a society. "Democracy" is often used as nothing more than a fraudulant mantra to make the mass of people believe they have some say and control. If we really believed in democracy Aristide would still be the President of Haiti, Hamas would still be the government of the Palestinians, efforts would not be going on the overthrow the Iranian government, and the Chavez government of Venezuela would be celebrated as a great transforming democratic state, to name just a few.
There may be good arguments to recommend economic integration of Nations but Nations are more than economics. Nations are histories, traditions, languages, unique legalities, attitudes toward responsibilities within a Nation toward each other and of course national pride and patriotism. What would "union" do to Canada's bilingual/multicultural ethos, gay marriage, common law marriage, socialized medicine, gun control, the Queen, acceptance of marijuana usage, rule of law (which has been abandoned in the US in some sectors) parliamentary democracy, limits to election spending etc. Here is what some Americans who have decided Canada was a better place for them. think. (read theccomments following the article)O, Canada! More Americans Heading NorthThe Number of Americans Moving to Canad
In an economic union of Canada, United States and Mexico the largest and dominant member would be the United States. There would be forces at work to to have their standard set for all.
In Canada, a country friendly with the US, we have felt the relentless pressure of US interests. The US is not a country that takes compromise easily. In negotiations the US always play's hardball. Even when the US loses, in agreed upon tribunals, they seek ways to ignore the rulings. i.e. the softwood lumber agreement. LP: Military To Crackdown On North American Union Protesters
I can never imagine identifying myself as a North American. Frankly, it is even harder to imagine Americans, with their mythology about themselves using the term "I am a North American".
I fear the day will come when North American Union will be put forward as a "done deal" which must be voted up or down by our legislatures before there has been sufficient debate. I am not alone, Much has been written about this in the bogging world but little discussion has been raised in the main stream media. This should concern us.! North American union plan headed to Congress in fall
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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

More Rabbits

A few weeks ago, I reported the birth of a litter of rabbits. I now have a second litter.

The first litter all died. It is a sad and painful tale which I try not to think about for I might become angry.

I left for the family reunion for two days and left the litter in the care of my friend June. I left her with a healthy bunch of 9 little ones about the same as the one's below. When I phoned in two days there were only three left. I am not sure what happened but there was distress in the bunny cage. A couple died then. Instead of relieving the problem. June thought she could care for the bunnies better than their mother. She removed them and tried to hand feed them. By the next day there were three left and one of those was not doing well. Then there were two. It took June three weeks to "love them to death".

It is very difficult to intervene in the raising of young animals. It takes skill and knowledge and just plain luck. Removing young from their mother should be the absolute last thing.

Unfortunately, I think June doesn't fully understand her capabilities. And, I think she was doing what she did at least in part to satisfy a need in herself as well as a perceived need for the rabbits.

It has been a sad lesson. I feel badly for June as she thought she could accomplish something. On the other hand, I am mad as hell, at both myself and her.

But life goes one.

click on pictures to enlarge

Here is my new litter of bunnies. I think there are nine. None have died. All are doing well at 6 days old in the care of their mother. They are nearly all black or gray with one, which I think is light brown with some white on it. In a couple of weeks they will be up and about so I will know for sure. To take this picture I lifted the lid off the nesting box attached to the rabbit cage. I have not told June yet about this litter, yet!

This is the doe peeking it to see what raised the roof on her nesting box nursery.

Meanwhile, out in the yard the two pigs are enjoying a little feed. Ruby is the red duroc sow and Babe is the last of her litter of ten. ( Note the single strand of electric fencing which keeps them in the farm yard)

Babe is supposed to be June's pet pig. She has not spent enough time with it to really tame it. It is really at the age and size to be slaughtered for human consumption. Hummm! What would June say!!!
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