Monday, April 22, 2013

Lunedi Lunacy

With what is currently happening in Canadian politics - and for that matter world politics in general - there is very little to laugh about.  However given the series of sleazy, badly Photo Shopped and flagrantly misleading attack ads recently released by our Great Leader's party against the new leader of an opposition party its good to see one that has at least some truth in it.

April 22 - 1993: Version 1.0 of the Mosaic web browser is released.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

For West

For my darling Jackiesue and all those I've come to know, if only by name, through her. The people of West give meaning to the word "community".

I'm holding you in my heart, my thoughts, my prayers and I ask all my friends to do the same.

18 April

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mercoledi Musicale

Goodbye Dear Heart

Canada and music lost one of its bright shining stars yesterday.  Rita MacNeil, whose story is a familiar one to most Canadians of my generation, died yesterday.  She was a gentle loving person with a voice of silver and a heart of gold.  She released 24 albums between the first in 1975 and her most recent in 2012.  Eight of those albums went Platinum and 2 went gold.  She was proud of the fact that at 42 she was voted "Most Promising Newcomer" but even more proud of the relationship she had with her audience - they loved her and she repaid that love 10 fold.  No video could ever capture the honest love fest that was a Rita McNeil concert.

Back in 1990 I was working at Ottawa airport for Air Canada and the particular day that I have in mind I must have been working as an assistant agent on flight 113.  The flight started in Halifax, came through Ottawa and continued on to Calgary and Vancouver.  Most of the passengers had disembarked when I got a call from the In-Charge flight attendant.  He said:  I've got Rita (he didnt' have to say Rita who) on board and she'd like to get off.  She doesn't want a wheelchair, she just wants to stretch her legs and needs a bit of a hand.   Well he didn't have to say much more - I was down at the aircraft in record time and next thing I knew I was escorting Ms McNeil to the departure lounge.  She was wearing one of her kaftans - she once joked that it showed her figure to its best advantage - and her signature big floppy purple hat.  We chatted as we came up the jetway - she had just had an operation and was headed for Calgary for the first of a series of concerts out west.  In the lounge a few people approached her shyly and she - almost as shyly - chatted and signed autographs.   Come boarding time I took her down to the aircraft and mentioned to her that I had spent Christmas that year in Cairo with my partner who was working there.  I told her that we had played her Christmas album and that it really made us feel that we were home and just a bit homesick.  She squeezed my arm and in that soft voice said:  Well dear heart, for me that makes the recording of it all worthwhile.  She said thank you and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

Here she is on George Stroumboulopoulos in December 2012 as she started another cross country tour.

And I know many people are posting Working Man as a tribute but if anything tells Rita's story it has to be her anthem Flying On Your Own.

Goodbye Dear Heart, everything you did was worthwhile.
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17 April -1397: Geoffrey Chaucer tells the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II. Chaucer scholars have also identified this date (in 1387) as the start of the book's pilgrimage to Canterbury.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In the Face of Grief

I met Elizabeth several years back when I received a request to use a photo I had taken for a series of frankly silly pictures she was featuring on a Flickr page.  Through that request I started reading her blog and being struck by the humour and grace with which she greeted much of what the world handed her - good and bad.  And often the bad was extremely bad - and often she turned that into a source of creativity.  In response to yesterday's sadness in Boston she wrote a poem that expresses the "communal national grief" that is being felt by so many.  She has given me permission to post her  poem as a way of allowing you and I share that grief.

The Thorn Tree

The thorn tree in my yard
is six feet high and wide, with a crop
of inch-long needles bristling
along its branches. Yet it holds, within it,
a flock of trilling fluttering
sparrows. When I walk by
they quiet. But one foot past and they begin
again, caroling and chuckling.
In its dangerous arms they dart, turn,
then light unscathed
beside spiked teeth that bite me
bloody when I have tried
to trim it. I am so blundering, so
soft, so easy to wound.
The small deft birds laugh
behind my back and I long
for their winged grace
in this world of thorns.

April 15, 2013

 March 2012 - Her Word's Say It All
 October 2010 - Job's Wife

April 16 - 1170 BC - The calculated date of the Greek king Odysseus' return home from the Trojan War.
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Lunedi Lunacy

I'm sure we've all read about the new HR procedures - I always hated that term HR, I mean what the hell are Human Resources???? Sounds so impersonal doesn't it? What am I saying?  Of course it's impersonal but then it probably always was; its just that when it was called Personnel it sounded a bit less clinical.  At least Personnel was close enough to personal that it sounded user friendly; resources sounds like something you dig out of the ground, process and then throw out when you've done with it.   Well okay maybe it is closer to the truth but damn it who wants the truth???

However I digress.  Here's a little video about a process that many companies seem to go through these days - after they've checked your FaceBook profile, Twitter account and X-Tube videos!

Gives a new meaning to Head Hunter doesn't it?

April 15 - 1924: Rand McNally publishes its first road atlas.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Oh for heaven's sake get your minds out of the gutter - this is a family blog!!!  Well sort of a family blog.  And brief as it will be this post is more like a word of warning than anything else.  I'm back!

I received so many e-mails and comments from friends and family about being MIA for the past month - well okay two e-mails and one comment in passing! - that I felt it was necessary I assure my fan base that I am alive and, if not quite 100%, well.  Though I've had all kinds of ideas for postings - some of which I actually started - I've found that after a day spent hunkered in front of not one but two screens writing and editing, the appeal of doing the same thing when I come home to my chaste and vacant couch is not all that great.

So of late I have been returning to the comfort of the home fires, having a cup of tea, playing with the HFH, having  a little nap, eating our simple meal with a glass of vin ordinaire, playing with the HFH, taking the medications that will if not cure then lessen what ails me, walking the HFH, then heading to the comforts of our big old four poster to fall asleep over a chapter of whatever book I happen to be reading.

However in the past few days I've felt a need to get back to postings of some sort, if not with the alarming regularity of the past.  Its not that there is a lack of things happening in Ottawa - though life here is not as crowded with incident as it was when we lived overseas it still has more than its share of pleasures.  There have been evenings of dance, drama and music; exhibitions to see and ponder over; restaurants and eateries; and friends and colleagues to enjoy good times with.  No it isn't Europe and it may not be as exciting as it once was but my life is still pretty damned good.

So I'll attempt to finish off some of those finer posts that taunt me in their drafted state,  perhaps do a few new things and see if I can get back into the swing of things.

So it appears that, for the moment at least,  I'M BACK!

April 14 - 1828:  Noah Webster copyrights the first edition of his dictionary.