William Powell ... the name ring a bell? No? Well, maybe you have to be a certain age.
Oh wait -- I see a couple of you furtively heading for the exits. I know who you are, so don't bother.
Powell was the author -- at age 19 no less -- of the (in)famous Anarchist Cookbook, a sort of three-part treatise on black ops, bomb-making and agitprop.
Banned in some countries, the Cookbook is readily available online (I'd suggest using a proxy browser if you want to…
It's not much to look at on an army ordnance map -- a sort of whaleback feature in Nord-Pas-de-Calais that's less than five miles long and nowhere even 500 feet above sea level, overlooking a broad plain of small villages, roads, trees and…Continue
Call me mechanically declined.
I don't mind -- I'm used to it. Although it's not true I can't screw in a lightbulb all by myself. I can, and there's about a 75-25 chance I won't break anything in the process.
But it wasn't entirely my fault that replacing the garage door opener remote was so damned difficult.
Earlier in the week, I noticed that the remote would only work if I was basically sitting within two feet of the door. Had to be the battery, I figured,…
“Canada is not merely a neighbour of Negroes.
Deep in our history of struggle for freedom, Canada was the North Star.”
-- Martin Luther King Jr., 1967
Most everyone has heard of the Underground Railroad that brought so many fugitive slaves to Canada, all of them following the hope that was "The North Star".
I'm going to be 70 this year, which is about twice the life span I anticipated once upon a time, given the nature of my wretched excesses back then.
That was before I met the girl with the sunset hair, and life took a dramatic turn to the right.
Imagine the sun going down in the west, beaming fiery red and shot through with gold. That's what her hair looked like the day I met her. For that matter, that's what she's like period.
The other day, I stood in the…
My God, but we were a disreputable bunch of gibbering, ink-stained hacks. Well hell, we were expected to be, and we worked very hard at it.
That tradition is long gone,…Continue
Red and I won't be attending the Remembrance Day ceremony in our small fishing village on Friday. It's likely we won't watch CBC's televised coverage from Parliament Hill, either.
Here it takes place around a small cenotaph in front of the library, one that has far too many names on it for a community that has never numbered more than 2,000. In Ottawa, tens of thousands will turn out in front of the Tomb of the Unknown and the awe-inspiring, yet…
(There's a suggestion that Tropical Storm Nicole may push Hurricane Mathew back to Florida. That's a real possibility -- it's happened before, although much farther north and west. This repost is about the events of Oct. 15, 1954.)
"For Lake Ontario and Niagara regions, Toronto and Hamilton cities: Rain tonight. Cloudy, with occasional showers Saturday. Little change in temperature. Winds north 40 to 50 mph (64 to 80 km/h)…
(This was originally posted long ago on another website far, far away, when I thought I'd go for funny, or at least wry. But you know ... really, it wasn't either of those things. And before you ask, yes, it actually happened.)
Knowing one is to be hanged in a fortnight wonderfully concentrates the mind, observed Samuel Johnson. So, I discovered, does staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.
The second time it happened, I was on…
Canadians, comedian Craig Ferguson once observed, are the nicest people in the world ... until someone hands us a hockey stick.
Well, to a certain extent that's true, because our sports are something of a metaphor for our national psyche. That is to say usually skilful, often blockheaded and sometimes brutal, whether it's hockey, lacrosse or football. When they're played by men, it's even worse.
But we can in fact be nice too, in our eccentric way.…
At 7:30 a.m. one hundred years ago today, British troops went over the top along the Somme River on the Western Front in France trying to break through the German trench system.
By noon, 20,000 of…
It's April 25 in Australia and New Zealand, and the two countries are locked in collective solemn remembrance of the fate of their First World War soldiers during the bloodbaths that began with Gallipoli in modern-day Turkey.
The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) -- along with British, French and Indian troops -- landed at what is now called Anzac Bay on this day in 1915 in their first major campaign. When the Allies withdrew eight months later, the Anzacs left…
There are rules in life, you know.
I mean, there's heeding the social contract, being nice to dogs and cats, obeying the many and various laws of the land and so on.
One rule you never, ever break is asking…
In the beginning, the man who lit the fuse on the Cold War timebomb couldn't get anyone to listen to him.
Igor Gouzenko was a relatively low-level cipher clerk at the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa when, faced with an order to return to Russia with his family, he opted in September 1945 to…
We Canucks seldom, if ever, honour our heroes and heroines -- no Davy Crocketts or Jim Bridgers or Alvin Yorks here.
It doesn't matter much to us that we had a prime minister who won the Nobel Peace…Continue
It's a late fall evening on the depressing field where two semi-pro teams are squaring off. I've had to sign a waiver both to be on the sidelines and in the dangerously decrepit press box on the roof of the rickety stadium. Smoke from a foundry across the road belches yellow fumes; it stinks right out loud.
Armed with a Rolleicord twin-lens reflex camera and Graflex strobe, I stare down, following the…Continue
There are those who say that "Witch of November" is misspelled. I'm one of them.
It's nearly impossible for anyone who's not seen it to understand what it's like when the Great Lakes get angry. It can be unnerving to look at from the land; on the water,…
When James Chaney Palms showed up at the Essex Scottish Regiment's recruiting office one fine fall day to volunteer for the Second World War, he was wearing his riding boots.
It might have been expected from an irrepressible young man who was the offspring of a prominent and wealthy family, likeable, well-educated and, as they say, well set-up. He was eager to enlist, although as an infantryman, he wouldn't spend any time on horseback.
The Windsor-based regiment,…