Last week, Bostonians gathered on their Commons for the annual lighting of the city's Christmas tree.
Not unusual, that -- it happens in cities and towns everywhere. But this tree is special. It didn't come from Massachusetts, or anywhere else in New England.
Instead, it came from a foreign country, an annual "thank you" to the city and people of Boston for their help during a catastrophe 100 years ago today.…
(This is among the first things I wrote online, and still is only one of three posts
that feature The Redhead (aka "The Girl with the Sunset Hair").
I'm posting it here in honour of our 35th anniversary today.
Yes, I know, it's Armistice Day, and yes, it was deliberate.)
Back in the spring of 1985, The Redhead and I took the only travelling vacation we have ever had.
We were planning to move to…
Gordon Downie, front man for the seminal group The Tragically Hip, finally died of the brain cancer that was afflicting him. It was not before he led one final triumphant tour with the Hip and led the way for the rest of the country to come to terms with our treatment of indigenous peoples.
"The place of honor that Mr. Downie occupies in Canada’s national imagination has no parallel in the United States. Imagine Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Michael Stipe combined into one…Continue
This is the end section of a much longer essay I wrote for the sadly missed Fictionique (later cross-posted to Open Salon) about what life was like for a hard news reporter/photographer. I put this up here for two reasons: It's been 10 years since I last walked out of the newsroom, five today since I formally retired; and it perhaps gives outsiders an insight into how it all fell to pieces over the last 25 years. "Flash, wind" was a constant that ran through the…Continue
"No Essex officer returned. ... Out of 30 officers who lived together at Aldershot and previously, I am the only original. Others had been transferred or were shot down in France.... Lads say they are glad I…
“Are we going to let these peckerwood motherfuckers
come down here any time they want and mess us around?”
-- William Walter Scott III, 19,
shouting from the rooftop of a car,
just before he hurled a bottle…
I've spent a fair amount of time lately wondering why I'm having recurring bouts of deja vu about politics in general -- and US politics in particular. Then I remember: I've seen this all before, especially when it comes to right-wing "talking points".
My proof? Take a look at this column by satirist Art Buchwald, written in 1973, as "advice" for those poor downtrodden Nixonians and other cement-heads who found themselves beset by moderate and left-wing Americans. Change a…Continue
I said I was going to write something to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday today, but I'm kind of stuck.
See, everything that should be said has been said -- and far more eloquently and at far greater lengths than I ever could. So I'll just hit some high -- and low -- points.
We so-called "Found-Ins" are all…Continue
(Note: My father died Valentine's Day 2012 at 88. This is what I wrote about him soon after.)
I almost lost it. Just the one time.
It was when the trumpeter blew "The Last Post", the traditional bugle call that marks the end of the military day and…
You have to love the English.
I certainly do, and not just because I'm married to one (well, OK, Anglo-Irish). I mean, look how they've responded to the recent attacks by deranged terrorists -- and deranged politicians:
Late Sunday afternooon, after a violent but brief thunderstorm, we caught sight of something Red had never seen and I only once: A double rainbow.
Figuring I wouldn't have time to fire up the Nikon DSLR, I grabbed a Canon point-and-shoot and got this:Continue
My submission: "Guess which person just farted." I'm sure you clever lot can do better.
OK, on to this, also from Fark and written by a poster named Twilight Zone, whom I would very much like to meet in real life. If I met people in real life, that is.
These EYES!. That is the terror of it. These gloved hands I now look at, steering the motorcycle down the road, were once his! And if you can understand the feeling that comes from that, then you can understand real fear ... the fear that comes from knowing there is nowhere you can…Continue
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…