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…

Read full post »

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 »

OCTOBER 9, 2013 5:28PM

Kawasaki Lets The Good Times Roll




      I am, as they say Over the Pond, chuffed.
     The UK-based Kawasaki Owners Club I joined has decided to put out a 2014 calendar, and on the basis of a photo I sent of my much-loved 30-year-old 440LTD, thought they might like to… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 20, 2013 4:15PM

Death of the Family Farm

     It's no secret that family farms are dying, and have been for decades.
     More than 30 years ago, I wrote about increasing offshore ownership of farmland, and how attractive $3,500 an acre for tiled land seemed to -- especially -- European investors.
 … Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 5, 2013 6:50PM

Remember When The Music?




Remember when the music
Came from wooden boxes strung with silver wire
And as we sang the words, it would set our minds on fire,
For we believed in things, and so we'd sing.
-- Harry Chapin "Remember When The Music"

     Do you remember Harry Chapin's music?…

Read full post »

JULY 21, 2013 10:51AM

Justice at Last for Alan Turing?


 Alan Turing: "One of the fathers, if not the father,
of computer science."

-- Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, government whip

     It's a subject that crosses boundaries, uniting even such polar opposites as The Guardian and The Telegraph, ideological foes in… Read full post »

JULY 6, 2013 5:46PM

Understanding Banking

     Banks and their rules are easy to understand. Really. I'll prove it with two examples of a complex monetary conundrum, followed by a banker's response.

Conundrum No. 1:
     Three guys decide to stay the night in a motel, sharing a room.

Read full post »

     Any writer leaves stuff out. Well, you have to, for a variety of reasons -- length, relevance, good taste.
     I mean, when I was commissioned a few years ago to describe a 1981 tour of the old Triumph motorcycle plant in Meriden, England, I worked in a re… Read full post »

    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 of a promi… Read full post »

JANUARY 24, 2013 12:17PM

Our Revels Now Are Ended

We meet 'neath the sounding rafter,
And the walls all around are bare;
As they shout back our peals of laughter
It seems that the dead are there. 

     They're gone now. All of them. Fred, Geoff, Cec, Gladys, Don, Blair, Marcella and the rest. All… Read full post »

DECEMBER 23, 2012 11:42PM

The Christmas Truce

       It was 98 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 inRead full post »

DECEMBER 19, 2012 5:40PM

In Memoriam: Tink's Pamela

     Jason Giecek -- Tinkerertink69 -- was one of the earliest people on my Open Salon friends list.
     I consider him a littermate, since we joined OS about the same time, and his demented overnight posts from the bowels of gambling casino IT hell made me how… Read full post »

DECEMBER 4, 2012 9:28AM

The Echo In Open Salon's Halls

     Today is the fourth anniversary of my first comment on Open Salon (on a hysterical post by Tequila and Donuts).
     I strongly doubt there'll be a fifth.
     That has much to do with the long-term technical issues, of course, and the r

Read full post »

NOVEMBER 21, 2012 10:07AM

Our Balls Are Bigger




The Grey Cup (Wikicommons)

     And so it's down to this.
     Sunday, after an 18-game regular season and two playoff games, the Beast-in-the-East Toronto Argonauts will face the Best-in-the-West Calgary Stampeders for… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 11, 2012 3:49PM

Red 'n' Me

A mild-ish version of 'The Look', as explained below.
The message here? Don't mess with The Redhead,
in this case, by taking her picture.

     It's thirty years today, and I still don't know why she let me hitch my battered wagon to her thoroughbred self. 
OCTOBER 15, 2012 9:48AM

Death On The River: 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 evening, decreasing overnight to northwest 30 mph on Saturday."

-- Part of the Dominion Weather Offic… Read full post »
SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 5:43PM

The Devil's Brigade

   Ralph Mayville   

     There are damned few of them left, and not many of those who are will be fit enough to make it to Washington this week for the award of a long-overdue honour: the Congressional Gold Medal.
     They're/… Read full post »