Poem For Battle of Britain Day

September 15, 2021

We Shall….

 

If a miracle

or the toss of a coin

could have summoned peace

and coated our wounds with a soothing balm

we would not have been tardy

to accept it

in those forlorn days of 1939 and 1940

but as the umber clouds of autumn

turned first to dusky grey and then to the darkest night

of wartime winter

and then it’s spring again

and our boys again

are battling for the open blue skies again

and we settle in for the long haul

we accept that their sacrifice

shall not be in vain

and we pray not for a miracle

or a coin toss

but for victory

 

 

The original Battle of Britain Day was 15 September 1940.


9/11 and the Death of Democracy

September 11, 2021

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.

allende

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.


Happy Birthday Victoria!

September 9, 2021

Happy birthday to the most wonderful daughter a father could ever wish for, and a fabulous mother to our grand-daughter!


Shanah Tovah!

September 6, 2021

On Labour Day Remember the Wobblies!

September 6, 2021

IWW


Still Remembering Sacco & Vanzetti

August 23, 2021

This is the 94th anniversary of the murder by the State of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for the crime of being anarchists.

fe992-sacco_and_vanzetti_protest

“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

Lest we forget.


To Be A Canadian

August 18, 2021

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.


A Great Day To Remember

August 12, 2021

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.


Remembering Hiroshima, 76 Years Ago

August 6, 2021

Today we need to remember the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their people, utterly destroyed by atomic bombs this week in 1945.

I spent my early life in Europe during the hottest days of the Cold War, worried every single day that these scenes would be repeated in London and Berlin and Moscow.

Let us continue to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and do whatever we can to ensure that such events never happen again.


Dada and the Everloving

July 14, 2021

dada 2On 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.

handsExactly 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.

Happy birthday sweetheart!


Happy Tau Day!

June 28, 2021

I have for many years enjoyed celebrating each 14th March as Pi Day, in honour of pi = 3.14….  However, I have been persuaded that Tau Day is at least as important if not more so.

The value of Tau = 2pi and is thus celebrated on 28th June (6.28).  Why this is important is explained in this good short piece from ScienceNews.

“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.”

So, Happy Tau Day to you all!


Happy Birthday, Son!

June 26, 2021

My youngest, Sam, is now 45.  Wow, that doesn’t make me feel old at all!


Happy Father’s Day 2021, Dad!

June 20, 2021

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.


Bloomsday 2021

June 16, 2021
Bloomsday 2021! - Wellington - Eventfinda

Today we celebrate one of the great works of modern literature — James Joyce’s Ulysses which takes place on 16th June 1904.

I forgot in advance and so did not prepare my grilled kidneys for breakfast — maybe next year.


June

June 1, 2021

“Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”

― Pablo Neruda


The Longest of Memories and the Highest of Mountains

May 29, 2021

everestToday 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!


Nakba Day

May 15, 2021

On Nakba Day — the day of the catastrophe — we remember the millions of Palestinians violently displaced from their homes at the creation of Israel in 1948.

We remember this year with especial importance as the carnage continues in full force this week.


America Eating Its Young

May 4, 2021

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.

Lest we forget.


International Day of the Worker

May 1, 2021

 

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.


To Everyone Celebrating 420 Today …

April 20, 2021

… have a great day, even though we can’t gather together!