Forty-eight years ago, on 9/11 in 1973, the US-financed-and-organized plan to overthrow the legally elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile was put into action.
Crowds in Santiago celebrating the electoral victory of Salvador Allende
During the violent military assault, the President died (assassinated or committed suicide to avoid capture) and over the next few years of the vicious and inhuman dictatorship of US-supported Pinochet, thousands of Chileans were imprisoned, tortured, and killed.
What happened in New York on this day 28 years later was also vicious and inhuman. However, it is about time for some reconciliation and regret for the extraordinary litany of war crimes the US has committed. If any US network or major media even mentions the Chilean anniversary during what will almost certainly be today’s spasm of Trump-like breast-beating, that would be a tiny start.
This is the 94th anniversary of the murder by the State of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for the crime of being anarchists.
“What from the splendid dead
We have inherited –
Furrows sweet to the grain, and the weed subdued –
See now the slug and the mildew plunder.
Evil does not overwhelm
The larkspur and the corn;
We have seen them go under.
Let us sit here, sit still,
Here in the sitting-room until we die;
At the step of Death on the walk, rise and go;
Leaving to our children’s children this beautiful doorway,
And this elm,
And a blighted earth to till
With a broken hoe.”
— Edna St Vincent Millay “Justice Denied in Massachusetts”
Thirty-five years ago today I became a Canadian citizen. perhaps the proudest and most satisfying day of my life. In about two months from now, I will have lived in Canada, in Vancouver, for forty-two years — much more than half my life.
These lengths of time seem strangely enormous to me looking back because I had had a quite long and interesting life (with wives and children and a career) in England and Europe before I ever came here. And that previous life — during the fascinating 1950s, 60s and 70s — now seems like a necessary and irreplaceable prologue to what my life became afterwards.
There were seriously important people and things that I left behind; but I don’t believe in regrets because they have no value. Even if I did, I cannot imagine that my life was anything but greatly enhanced by moving to Vancouver. I am still a proud Brit, an unreconstructed Welsh Londoner, but I am prouder still of being — by choice — a Vancouverite, of being Canadian.
Twenty-one years ago today, at sunset, the Everloving and I stood on the dock at Trout Lake and plighted our troth. There were a few friends with us, we sang “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life“, and we had our wedding supper at Wazubbee’s.
Her mother said it wouldn’t last a year. My mother said it wouldn’t last a year. Just goes to show, mothers are not always right.
On July 14th 1916, one hundred and five years ago today, Hugo Ball, a poet, inaugurated the public life of the Dada art movement by reading the First Manifesto during a soiree at the Waag Hall in Zurich. This followed along with Marcel Duchamps “anti-art” of 1913. As Ball expressed it, “For us, art is not an end in itself … but it is an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in.”
Dada was always intended to upset, perhaps even offend. It was left-wing, it was anti-war and it was anti-bourgeois.
Exactly thirty years later, the everloving was born. Simple coincidence? That’s not for me to say. But she is definitly left-leaning and anti-war.
Born in the industrial northeast, raised in and finally escaped from Kansas — where women are chattel and a genuine throwback is Governor — she is a very bright spot in our Grandview world today and everyday.
“The simplest way to see the failure of pi is to consider angles, which in mathematics are typically measured in radians. Pi is the number of radians in half a circle, not a whole circle. That makes things confusing: For example, the angle at the tip of a slice of pizza — an eighth of a pie — isn’t π/8, but π/4. In contrast, using tau, the pizza-slice angle is simply τ/8. Put another way, tau is the number of radians in a full circle.
That factor of two is a big deal. Trigonometry — the study of the angles and lines found in shapes such as triangles — can be a confusing whirlwind for students, full of blindly plugging numbers into calculators. That’s especially true when it comes to sine and cosine, two important functions in trigonometry. Many trigonometry problems involve calculating the sine or cosine of an angle. When graphed, the two functions look like a series of wiggles, shaped a bit like an “S” on its side, that repeat the same values every 2π. That means pi covers only half of an S. Tau, on the other hand, covers the full wiggle, a more intuitive measure.”
He has been gone 21 years now, but I seem to speak with him more often these days than I ever did when he was alive. He was a wonderful man who saved my ass more times than I can count, and was, I now recognize, a marvelously supportive parent; an attribute that I was too dumb to notice far too often when I was younger.
Today is the 68th anniversary of the first successful climbing of Mount Everest by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary. News of the success arrived in England the day of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and I remember my father, who was very excited by the news, telling me all about it. For years thereafter Edmund Hillary was the greatest hero of my young imagination.
I have one or two memories about my brother and me that pre-date May 1953, but Hillary on Everest is the earliest I can recall anything outside the family. I know from photographs that there were massive street parties I attended to celebrate the new Queen: I remember none of that. But Hillary on Everest has stuck with me all these years.
The picture is of Tensing Norgay taken by Hillary. There are no pictures of Hillary on the summit because Tensing didn’t know how to work the camera and, as Hillary said, the summit of Everest was no place to start teaching him!
Today is the 51st anniversary of Ohio National Guardsman shooting dead four unarmed students at Kent State. Eleven other kids were injured.
Although the President’s Commission on Campus Violence equivocated and blamed both Guardsmen and students, it did finally conclude that “the indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”
It was murder, pure and simple, though the US justice system refused to press charges against the Guardsmen. After all, as Nixon himself said just a few days before the massacre, student protesters were just bums.
In most parts of the world, May 1st is recognized as the International Day of the Worker and we celebrate it as such. Labor Day in September is a North American tradition, encouraged by President Grover Cleveland so as to distance American labour from socialists and anarchists.