FEBRUARY 22, 2015 4:02PM

A Burning Question

     The Supreme Court of Canada has given the federal government a year to come up with a law that will permit physician-assisted suicide.
     The unanimous decision of the four-woman, five-man, high court clears the way for something most reasonable people wo
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FEBRUARY 5, 2015 3:36PM

Life With Moggy D. Cat

(Boot, thump, rattle)
     So what does it take to turn two confirmed dog people around?
     The sight of a starving, ailing, freezing kitten abandoned to her fate in the middle of the coldest winter in years.
     We'd sworn "no more d… Read full post »

JANUARY 22, 2015 9:04AM

Hard News Junkie

1-TrainWreck 001


    "Hey, you! The kid with the camera! Over here."

    The fat railroad cop was standing beside the shattered ruin of the train. Portable arc lights threw the scene into sharp blacks and whites, highlighting splintered pieces of wood and metal a/
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JANUARY 5, 2015 5:07PM

The Last Best Ride



     Halfway through a leisurely bend in third on a beautiful fall day, one of those glorious afternoons when the heat of summer has passed and the cold northern winds haven't started.

     There's a tang in the clear air, and I'm… Read full post »

DECEMBER 24, 2014 8:29AM

Stille Nacht: The Christmas Truce


British and German troops meeting in No Man's Land during
the unofficial truce (British troops from the Northumberland Hussars,
7th Division, Bridoux-Rouge Banc Sector)
                &n… Read full post »
DECEMBER 11, 2014 12:03PM

Christmas in the Darkroom


     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, of course, along with a

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DECEMBER 4, 2014 8:44AM

Six Years On Open Saloon's Floor

     Well, who'd a thunk -- six years on Open Salon. Amazing, considering I almost didn't make it past six weeks, and after all the problems, that OS would still be here.
     Anyway, today's the anniversary of my first comment. I'm not sure exactly when I joine… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 30, 2014 8:54AM

Our Balls Are Bigger



The Grey Cup (Wikicommons)

     And so it's down to this.
     Today, after an 18-game regular season and two playoff games, the Beast-in-the-East Hamilton Tiger-Cats will face the Best-in-the-West Calgary Stampeders for the 102nd Grey Cup mat/… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 11, 2014 8:59AM

Armistice Day: Dulce Et Decorum Est?

    They called it The Great War, and they were right about that. They also called it The War to End All Wars, and about that ... well, they were wrong.
    Laurence Stallings, a U.S. Marine captain who lost a leg in the Belleau Wood fighting in 1918,… Read full post »

AUGUST 4, 2014 9:13AM

The Guns of August


"The lamps are going out all over Europe;

we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."
-- Sir Edward Grey, British Foreign Secretary
at 11 p.m., Aug. 4, 1914

     There is a call in Great Britain for people to turn off… Read full post »

JUNE 23, 2014 9:08AM

The Kindness of Strangers

     Since I first started riding more than 50 years ago, I have been aware of the fellowship that exists among motorcyclists.
     There have been times when I've stopped to help others who had broken down, and a couple of occasions when I was in need, someone&… Read full post »

MAY 25, 2014 3:52PM

A Repost For My American Friends

     When  James Chaney Palms showed up at the Essex Scottish Regiment's recruiting office 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 o… Read full post »

MAY 13, 2014 9:07AM

In Memoriam: 338171 A/C Shaw

“All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night
in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find
that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
for they may act out their dreams with open eyes,/
Read full post »
MAY 10, 2014 6:08PM

Cold Comfort

     I have a guilty secret.
     No, nothing like that -- get your minds out of the gutter. It's this: I'd rather deal with cold weather than hot.
     Like everyone else affected by the "polar vortex", I did my fair share of complaining this… Read full post »

APRIL 24, 2014 9:31AM


    April 25 is pretty much like any other day in most of the world, but not in Australia and New Zealand.
    There it's known as ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in both countries that commemorates their nearly 11,000 men killed in the… Read full post »

APRIL 9, 2014 9:21AM

Canada's Day

"It was Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific on parade. I thought then ... that in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation."
-- Brig.-Gen. Alexander Ross, commanding officer,
the 28th (North-West) Battalion at Vimy


Read full post »
FEBRUARY 15, 2014 5:08PM

Feck, I Hate Humans

     We could hear it from half a block away, a tiny kitten sitting on someone's front porch bawling its heart out.
     "What kind of jerk would leave a cat outside on a day like this?" I asked The Redhead, as we interrupted our daily walk.
   &nb… Read full post »

JANUARY 30, 2014 4:33PM

'Nothing Deceives Like A Document'


stephenson LAC
William Samuel Clouston Stanger
aka William Samuel Stephenson
aka "Intrepid"
                                     … Read full post »
JANUARY 2, 2014 3:18PM

Diary of a Demented Snow Shoveller

(I didn't write this, but I wish I had because IT'S JUST STOPPED BLOODY SNOWING after two solid days. But fear not, another front is on the way. And the *$#%&# snowplow just went by. Again. Sun Parlour of Canada my arse. Haven't seen

Read full post »
DECEMBER 30, 2013 9:46AM

'Royal Mercy': A Pardon for Alan Turing


Alan Turing


     Well, they finally did it.
     Only 59 years too late, the Queen, at the request of Britain's justice minister, used the Royal Prerogative of Mercy to pardon computer genius and Second War codebreaking hero Alan Turing fo… Read full post »

DECEMBER 24, 2013 9:38AM

Christmas in the Trenches

(Note: My annual Christmas post, made more sombre by the realisation
that 2014 marks the centenary of the start of the First World War.

1-SidLee 001

 A soldier of the Great War. This one came home; 10 million didn't.    

     It was 99 years ago tonight, Christma… Read full post »

DECEMBER 13, 2013 4:40PM

On Nelson Mandela


1-MandelaPass 001

                              One of the few mementoes I kept after I retired

     It was obvious the man was tired. Small wonder -- he was 71, his day had begun in the rain in…

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DECEMBER 3, 2013 5:09PM

Five Years on Open Salon


Collage of images from some of my posts.

     I really hadn't planned to write anything to mark my fifth anniversary here.
     In fact, I didn't think in December 2012 that either I or Open Salon would be around by now.
 &/… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 11, 2013 9:29AM

Remembrance Day in a Small Town



     She stands there, a woman made smaller by her years; erect, but holding a multi-coloured cane. A jaunty hat sits on her head, and the black coat with its red poppy over her heart would later be open on this bright November day to reveal a plaid dress… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 1, 2013 10:19AM

The Witch of November

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave broke over the railing.
And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too,
'Twas the Witch of November come stealin'.

     There are those who say that "Witch of November" is misspelled. I'm one of them.
   &nbs/… Read full post »