DECEMBER 24, 2011 9:50AM

The Christmas Truce

      It was 97 years ago tonight, Christmas Eve, that two armies faced each other in hastily dug trenches in the mud of France and Flanders. The opening salvos of the First World War had been fired, and the race to outflank each other had ended in stalemate.… Read full post »

DECEMBER 20, 2011 9:58AM

In the Wind

 


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 "... 124, 126, 128 ... The dotted white lines are almost a solid streak a few inches below my left foot. ... A great surge of sheer joy electrifies me, adrenaline a wire in my blood, a 560-pound flesh-and-blood, steel-and-alloy, fire-spitting arrow shafting throughRead full post »

 

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     Let's see now. Mickey's big hand is on the 11 and his little hand on the 5, so it must be ... ahhhhh ... three years since I joined Open Salon. More or less. I think it was today, anyway.

     Someone (it's Scarlett Sumac's fault) cal… Read full post »

AUGUST 9, 2011 10:48AM

My Friend Bill

     Every year, a number of Canadians, most of them ex-service personnel, are awarded a Veterans Affairs Minister's Commendation for their efforts to honour or help or commemorate our veterans.

     This year, one of a handful of civilian recipients is my frie… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 2, 2011 4:53PM

It's Snow Fun

     Snowmageddon it wasn't. At least, not for us.

     OK, I mean we got maybe eight inches, all told, around here (not counting two-to-three-foot high drifts) – not nearly as much as predicted, and probably a lot less than other parts of the region.

&nb… Read full post »

JANUARY 28, 2011 11:03AM

Meet The Real-Life 'Uncle Tom'

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It was the 28th of October, 1830, in the morning,
when my feet first touched the Canada shore.
I threw myself on the ground, rolled in the sand,
seized handfuls of it and kissed them...."

– Rev. Josiah Henson

 

     England abolished slavery acros… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 19, 2011 3:22PM

Hazards of the Game: Shooting Football

     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 belchesRead full post »

DECEMBER 24, 2010 10:03AM

The Christmas Truce Updated

 
    It was 96 years ago tonight, Christmas Eve, that two armies faced each other in hastily dug trenches in the mud of France and Flanders. The opening salvos of the First World War had been fired, and the race to outflank each other had ended in stalemate.…

Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 20, 2010 10:12AM

Christmas In The Darkroom

 

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     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 lot of other newspaper eccentri… Read full post »

DECEMBER 6, 2010 1:23PM

Untold Stories

     On or about Dec. 6, 2008, as they say in court, I stumbled across OpenSalon.

     I'd been a regular reader of Salon, thanks to links from Fark.com and other aggregators, and it was via the tab at the top of the page that I first encountered this bewilder… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 30, 2010 4:43PM

Take It From Me

Those of you who have read my (mercifully infrequent) ramblings know that I have done remarkably stupid things on two wheels and four.

That I survived was a combination of good fortune and a semi-demented skill.

Sometimes, those things were done in a state of altered consciousness; I won't… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 26, 2010 2:03PM

I Heard The Ice Sing

      It's late winter, a few months before I am to retire, and we're about to go for a walk along the still-frozen shoreline of Lake Erie. The pack ice has retreated, but there are overlapping thin plates, perhaps a quarter of an inch thick and a couple of feetRead full post »

NOVEMBER 20, 2010 4:55PM

Ode To The Pirate Wimmin

There are strange things done 'neath the wint'ring sun

By those who moil with words

Meandering roads have their secret codes

That sometimes seem absurd

The big city lights have seen strange sights

But the strangest they ever once knew

Was that night on the marge of utter farkage

When they… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 17, 2010 5:26PM

This Is How We Catch The Torch?

      I'm so angry I could spit.

      As some of you know, I'm something of a military history maven, particularly Canadian military history, and a supporter of the good works of the Royal Canadian Legion and our service men and women, especially th… Read full post »

     Today is the 92nd anniversary of the end of the Great War. Normally, I'd try to write something meaningful about it, like I did last year here.
     But Nov. 11, Armistice Day, is also our anniversary -- and yes, the date was chosen deliberately.
 &nbs
Read full post »

OCTOBER 22, 2010 10:39AM

Old Man, Take A Look At My Life....

     He's 87 today, and I know there are times he's surprised he made it to 20.

     We had our rows when I was young (and stupid), but I grew up with the knowledge that he, like most of the men in the neighbourhood -- and like most of… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 21, 2010 12:10PM

A Clarification

I was chagrined to learn that some of my friends on Open Salon seem to think I'm a veteran.

I'm not.

Yes, I have an abiding interest in and have written extensively about things military, whether it's the lore and traditions of various branches of the service or the impact of certain battles… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 9, 2010 10:00AM

Passionate Pursuits

     It's amazing how the past can come back to unsettle you, even if in a good way.
     This week, I got an e-mail from the editor of a classic motorcycle magazine who's been contacted by someone writing a book. That person had seen a feature I'd written two y… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 6, 2010 10:03AM

Gender Bending

     Kathy Riordan has put up an open call about who you would be if you were a member of the opposite sex.
     And I'm having trouble with that.
     See, I'd most like to be The Redhead, but none of you knows her, and I could spend an eon t… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 4, 2010 12:18PM

Music To Live By

OK, since everyone else is getting in on the act, herewith my Top 15 that I'd like to be marooned with, if I had to be marooned.

Harry Chapin: Just about anything, but especially the albums Greatest Stories Live and Legends of the Lost and Found. Chapin was a great humanitarian and… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 3, 2010 10:36AM

Witless For The Crown

       "All rise," the bailiff said as the magistrate swept in, black robe billowing behind him.
      Obediently, we got to our feet, Crown attorney to the right, defence counsel to the left, court regulars murmuring behind, me thinking how the hell
Read full post »

AUGUST 26, 2010 2:49PM

A Personal Observation

Ever hear of Ross Macdonald? How about Richard Stark? Richard Bachmann? Penelope Ashe?

Yes? No? They all share one thing: They're pseudonyms -- alter egos, if you prefer.

Ross Macdonald's name was actually Kenneth Millar. According to various websites, he used a pseudonym to avoid confusion with his w… Read full post »

AUGUST 18, 2010 10:47PM

The Haunted Beach

 

SCOTTISH AT DIEPPE
Blazing Bloody Battle Of France Is Described
Sees Canadian Army Fight Hun
--Front page headline and subheads
Windsor Daily Star, Aug. 20, 1942

"No Essex officer returned. ... Out of 30 officers who lived together at Aldershot and previously, I am the only original. Others…

Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 13, 2010 1:06PM

Rescuing The Freak Press

Come with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear as the Lone Derangers ride again....

Rescuing the Freak Press pic

 

It was March 1972, and the university's student-run weekly newspaper had just printed its annual parody edition of the local daily.

Called "The Freak Press", the satire was declared so obscene, s… Read full post »

...there were Telex machines, mad reporters and tyrannical bosses. And George. A repost of one of my earliest OS submissions....

 

  So it's 1 a.m., and nearly the end of another long day of Adventures in Bureau Journalism. Couple of accidents caused by the snow in the morning, court case… Read full post »