Monday, September 29, 2014

THE AUTUMNAL EQUINOX IS HERE

This column is being written on the day of the September Equinox. In Saskatchewan, or more specifically…Regina, the precise time of the Autumnal Equinox is Monday, September 22 at 8:29 PM Central Standard Time. That is the exact time that “fall” begins.


I suppose that at some point in my life I was taught what the Autumnal Equinox really means, other than the fact that it’s the official end of summer and the start of autumn, but I can’t really recall all of the particulars so I looked it up and it’s kind of interesting. So get ready for a bit of a science lesson here.

“Equinox” literally means “equal night”, giving the impression that the night and day on the equinox are exactly the same length, but that’s not entirely true. It’s close but not exact. On this day in Regina the Sun rose at 6:45am and will set at 6:56pm giving us 12hours and 11 minutes of daylight. That’s about as close as we’ll get to an even split.

On any other day of the year, the Earth’s axis tilts a little away from or towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the Earth’s axis tilts neither away from or towards the Sun. The equinoxes occur the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator-the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator. This happens in March and September every year.

Equinoxes are opposite on either side of the equator, so the autumnal (fall) equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is the spring (vernal) equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and vice versa. Make sense? Hope so.

So, there you have it, the scientific explanation of when and why the spring and fall seasons officially change.

Mother Nature, on the other hand, doesn’t always comply with these equinox timetables to give us “seasonal” type weather, though. Sometimes, as her schizophrenic personality is wont to do, she will just as easily give us a snowstorm as a heat wave at this time of the year and I’ve seen my share of both. This year they are predicting a heat wave and I couldn’t be happier. Bring it on!

Equinox or no equinox there’s still a lot of stuff that needs to be done this fall. I don’t know about you but I didn’t get all of my summer fun in so I’m hoping for a nice long warm fall. There are still golf balls yet to be hit…numerous times, of course…the non-ending yard chores need to get done and I’d much prefer to do these types of activities while wearing short sleeves as opposed to toques and mitts. But time will tell.

As so many of “the glass is half empty” types were so anxious to point out back on June 22nd that “the days are getting shorter” it is no surprise that we will be losing more and more daylight as we move toward the inevitable December solstice. While we cannot change that fact, I, for one, will be doing my utmost to make the most of these dying daylight hours.

“Ho! For the leaves that eddy down, Crumpled yellow and withered brown, Hither and yonder and up the street And trampled under the passing feet; Swirling, billowing, drifting by, With a whisper soft and rustling sigh, Starting aloft to windy ways, Telling the coming of bonfire days.” Grace Strickler Dawson.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES!

What a difference a year can make. This time last year the farmer’s were trying to figure out where they were going to put all of the grain they were harvesting and this year they’re wondering if there’ll be a market for puffed wheat! Pre-puffed wheat, as it were. Yikes!


I don’t know how they do it. You plan and you plan and you plan and you work and you work and you work but everything you do depends completely on something entirely out of your control. I don’t know about you but I know it’d drive me nuts.

Although my livelihood was never at risk I can relate somewhat to having planned and planned and worked and worked at setting up an event of some kind and then have the weather completely spoil the day. Its frustration personified.

Then again…so what…big deal, your ball tournament or golf tournament or your family picnic was a little muddy and chilly but you can still slug through it and you can still have fun if you make the most of it but I’m not so sure how much fun a farmer would be having these days. Sorry if I’m rubbing salt in your wounds but I’ve got to talk about something, don’t I?

I had worked in the construction/building supply industry for many years and the weather plays a huge part in determining what task would be performed on any given day in that business, too, but, if you’re busy enough, there was always something productive that you could do until the weather turned favourable enough to get the work done.

Speaking of differences between years, I guess last year the golf course had to pay to get water pumped ONTO the course and this year you’d be hard pressed to hit a ball anywhere out there that didn’t send up a splash. And I’m not talking about the four big ponds that I routinely hit my shots into either. I’m talking…ANYWHERE! I’ve been golfing out there ever since the first ball was hit and I cannot recall that much water lying around…ever!

I guess this is why: I did a quick check of the old Government of Canada Daily Climate Data Report and the accumulated millimeters of rainfall in August 2014 for the Regina area saw 134.8mm of rainfall compared to 23.5mm in 2013. I know! To top it off 13.4mm of the 23.5mm last year fell in one day, too. No wonder there’s water laying everywhere and our sump pump is still doing double time.

Keep in mind that we’re still in Saskatchewan and any kind of weather can happen here at any time. The one thing about the weather in Saskatchewan is that it is consistently inconsistent. Saskatchewan weather years are like snowflakes…no two are ever the same.

Next year will be next year but we won’t have to deal with that until next year, will we? What will it be then? More moisture? Less? There is one thing that it will obviously be…and that is…different.

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”-John Ruskin (1819-1900).

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

SINCE MAY LONG WEEKEND??!! REALLY?

Here it is the 10th of September and I haven't had an entry on this site since May Long Weekend! How embarrassing!  Sorry about that.
Anyway, if anyone has tuned in recently I will tell you that I just posted about 15 columns that I wrote between that last posting in May and now.
I will strive to do better. You can't be a blogger if you don't blog.

EMILY MOVES TO KELOWNA.

           There were a lot of mixed emotions when we pulled out of Regina on the morning of August 30th. We were heading off to beautiful British Columbia and we were excited, nervous, happy and sad all at the same time. You see, we were moving our youngest daughter, Emily, to her new home in Kelowna and while we were happy she was going to further her education and enhance her Marketing Analyst career we were sad that it was going to be two provinces away. Sometimes, though, you’ve got to take the good with the bad.
            I had been out to the Left Coast only once a long, long time ago, when I was nine-years-old, and Deb had never been further into the Rockies than the Frank Slide site so we were pretty excited about the site-seeing and somewhat nervous about the mountain driving.
            Not so long ago Emily had driven to the coast and she is a competent and confident driver and was totally comfortable driving through the mountains. I, on the other hand, didn’t really know what to expect and I was just hopeful that I didn’t become part of the scenery while looking at it. So we headed out with me in one vehicle and Emily and Deb in Em’s car. Luckily, arrangements had been made for the largest amount of her belongings to arrive in Kelowna a day or two after we did so we didn’t have to pull a trailer or U-haul, or anything, so that was a blessing.
            We got off to an interesting start as we had picked Calgary as our first overnight stop and we booked a room online at “Calgary’s newest and hippest” hotel-Aloft. It was easily accessible off of Highway #1, affordable and looked pretty cool. It was a little disconcerting, though, when we pulled into the parking lot on Saturday night and it looked like we’d arrived at a “Ladies of the Evening” convention or a “Stripper’s Are Us” outlet. It was only a pre-University private pool party going on and it didn’t affect our stay too much. Debbie and Emily strongly suggested that I stick to “Nature’s Natural Wonders” for sightseeing on the rest of the trip, though. An argument could be made about the definition of “natural” but let’s not go there, shall we?
            The whole trip covered over 3200 kilometers of travel and the worst driving conditions we experienced were between Calgary and Canmore. Apparently, Labour Day Long Weekend Sunday could possibly be one of the worst times to pick to drive that piece of the Trans Canada Highway. It was side-by-side, bumper-to-bumper 130kms/hour for as far as the eye could see on the highway. The good news is that it made driving the rest of the 3000-odd kilometers a lot less nerve-racking.
            When they say “Beautiful” British Columbia they really mean it. We haven’t said “wow” that many times in a week for a long, long time. We were also blessed with great weather and the only non-sunny day happened to be the day that Bobby “Bouche” Byrnell arranged a helicopter ride for us over Shuswap Lake while we were visiting him, Bridgette and the girls in Scotch Creek. The description of that helicopter ride is a whole article in itself. Again…WOW!
            The Okanogan Valley runs from Valemount in the north of the valley to Osoyoos in the south. The scenery is some of the most majestic and beautiful in the world. The vineyards, orchards and resorts make it a must-see destination. We drove in the beauty, we walked in the beauty, we golfed in the beauty, we flew in the beauty and we sat and stared at the beauty.
            We travelled #1 highway out and #3 highway back in an attempt to make the most out of the limited time we had allowed ourselves. We packed a lot of activity into those seven days and we have already begun planning a return trip with more time penciled in to explore a lot of sites that we didn’t make time for this go around.
            As we watched the mountain beauty shrink in the rearview mirror there were no mixed emotions this time. There was only one…sadness. We were leaving the majestic, awesome beauty that is B.C and, more importantly, our daughter in her new surroundings in Kelowna. She’s in great hands, though, with her life-long best friend, Bethany Hilderman, living there, too, and her old Moose Jaw roommate sharing the living arrangements again but, still, we came home without her and that wasn’t an easy thing to do. Then again, on the other hand, it gives us the best reason to make a return trip.

            “The mountains are calling and I must go.”-John Muir-Scottish naturalist and preservationist (1838-1914).

"MY SUMMER VACATION"

             It’s been a long, long time since I was in school but I still remember one of the first class assignments of the new school year was to write an essay on “My Summer Vacation”.
The activities changed from year to year as I grew older, from going to Summer Camp and family vacations to hanging out at Kenosee Lake and playing football in the Little Schoolyard.
Of course, there were many of the activities that didn’t change like swimming and playing baseball and golfing, which I’ve been doing for years and years and years and I still got to do a lot of those activities again this summer in between the rains.
Reporting the types of activities in a school report also changed over time as some things you just didn’t want to tell your teacher that you or your peers did over the summer break. You know, changing names to protect the guilty and such. It’s one thing to tell everyone about playing hide-‘n-seek or kick the can or visiting Uncle Bill’s but it’s another to tell them about crab apple snitching, garden raiding or sneaking smokes. Some things are best left unsaid.
            As we age the priorities change and the days of care-free running and adventure seeking have morphed into home improvement chores and yard-work, which can sometimes become adventures, too, but they do not nearly have the appeal of one’s childhood and teen years’ adventures. There is, however, a certain amount of satisfaction that can be gained through hard work giving the relaxation and fun time more meaning.
            Now, we didn’t go zip-lining, or kayaking, or anything, but we packed a lot of fun time in over the last few months. There were two family reunions, a wedding, baseball provincials in Weyburn, with the Eden Valley Senators, a soaking wet and thoroughly enjoyable Seed Hawk golf tournament and our daughter Meghan camped here for two weeks while her son Treyton (5) and daughter Ava (2) were enrolled in swimming lessons.
            We really enjoyed watching the two little ones improve their swimming skills over the two weeks of lessons. And…I got to catch my grandson Treyton’s first ever jump off the diving board! So cool.
            The weekly Men’s and Ladies’ Nights at the Kingswood Golf Club were looked forward to with great anticipation with an end result of a mixed bag of exasperation, frustration and exhilaration. Good times, good times.
It wasn’t all fun ‘n games, though. There was a bit of a shaky start to the summer as we were inundated with a scary amount of rain over the July long weekend. We were this close to declaring an emergency in town and many communities in our area were devastated. Some more than once.
I know we had lots of water lying around our yard for a day or two but nothing compared to the flooding in the chain of lakes along the QuAppelle Valley. I know many people who were greatly affected by that flooding so I think, all in all, Kipling didn’t fair so bad through the stormy season.
For me, this busy, busy summer was filled with time well-spent. I guess it is what you make it, though, and if you try, just a little bit, you can make the very best of the too-short season and fill it with as many memories as you can.

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”-Dr. Seuss.

AAAAAHHHHH...LABOUR DAY WEEKEND...ALREADY!

           I am going to rehash an old column for you again this week. My apologies, Dear Reader, but this year’s summer has been as busy as or busier than any in recent memory. This past month has been particularly crazy with activities at our household and I am feeling a little time-crunched, so I going to republish the Labour Day column that I wrote last year. Here you go.
            Once again, the Labour Day Weekend is upon us so the time has come, (ALREADY), for me to do my annual “the summer is over” whiny schtick. Any of you regular readers of this column will be all too familiar with my love of summer and hatred of its ending but I won’t bore you with any more details than that this time around. For a detailed view of my humble opinion on the matter you can go to my blog site: http://pnhubbard.blogspot.com/ and search out last year’s write-up and save us both some time. Thanks.
            The summer of 2013 will actually end on September 21st but for all intents and purposes the Labour Day Weekend will signify the unofficial and symbolic end to the summer season. According to traditions of old, after this weekend it’s time to put away the white outfits and break out the backpacks and book-bags. But before that happens you should hit the cottage, the lake, the swimming pool, the water-slides and the vacations spots one more time before getting back to “normal”. Yes, like it or not, summer has passed us by one more time. There might still be some “summer-like” weather conditions for a while but once the calendar flips to September, boy, she’s all downhill from there. For summer lovers, that is.
            If the last long weekend of the hot season is summer’s last gasp…why is it called Labour Day? Funny you should ask…I was just wondering the same thing.
            According to my research Labour Day has been celebrated here in Canada on the first Monday of September since the late 1800’s. The origins of Labour Day can be traced back to December of 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union’s strike for a 58-hour work-week. At that time many workers were working at least twelve hours a day. The Toronto Trades Assembly called its twenty-seven unions to demonstrate in support of the Typographical Union who had been on strike since March 25th.
            George Brown, Canadian politician and editor of the Toronto Globe, hit back at his striking employees pressing police to charge the Typographical Union with “conspiracy”. Although the laws criminalizing union activity were outdated and had already been abolished in Great Britain, they were still on the books in Canada and police arrested twenty-four leaders of the Typographical Union.
Labour leaders decided to call another demonstration on September 3rd to protest the arrests. Seven unions marched in Ottawa prompting a promise by Canadian Prime Minister, and Brown’s political foe, Sir John A. MacDonald, to repeal the “barbarous” anti-union laws. Parliament passed the Trade Union Act the following June.
The parades in support of the printer’s strike became a yearly event. After attending one of these labour festivals in Toronto, United States labour leader, Peter J. McGuire went back to New York and established the first U.S. Labour Day on September 5th, 1882. It took a while, but in July of 1894 the Conservative government of Prime Minister Sir John Thompson officially made Labour Day a national holiday.
I am not promoting this column as a pro-union statement but, historically and factually, without the sacrifices of past union labourers and leaders there would be few workers’ rights today. So while you float around the pool or lounge on your cottage deck or take in the Labour Day Classic you could give a little silent thank you to the many people whose vision and sacrifices have made it possible for so many workers to enjoy weekends, (long and short), a standard 40-hour work week, overtime, coffee and lunch breaks, paid vacation, sick leave, minimum wage, maternity leave, Child Labour Laws, Occupational Health and Safety, Worker’s Compensation, pensions, wrongful termination laws…

“Without labour nothing prospers.”-Sophocles.

A LITTLE BIT OF LOWELL AND ROSE HUBBARD'S FAMILY HISTORY

          Lowell and Rose Hubbard spent the full decade of the 1970’s in Kipling and this community was always near and dear to their hearts. Mom’s family had farmed here in the 1920’s and 30’s so it was a bit of a home coming for Mom when Dad accepted the position as the Minister of the United Church of Canada’s Kipling/Windthorst Pastoral Charge in the spring of 1970. Dad, Mom and the three youngest of their nine children, Gordon, Perry and Shelly moved into the Manse house in Kipling on a scorching hot July 1st day in 1970.
            As coincidence would have it, when Dad and Mom came to Kipling for the job interview and the acceptance of the position, the head of the Official Church Board was D. A. (Alex) Cunningham who happened to live in a big house located at 617 Main Street in Kipling. While Dad and D.A. went to the church to meet with the other board members Mom and Mrs. Cunningham, May, stayed back at the house visiting and May and D.A. hosted a celebratory supper for Dad and Mom at their residence later that evening. Debbie and I have lived in that exact house for the past twenty-one years!
Mom passed on to me the correspondence letters between Dad and D.A. that led to Dad and Mom’s decision to accept the Kipling/Windthorst Pastoral Charge offer and I still have Dad’s copy of the contract that he and the church members signed in the spring of 1970.
            Dad ministered here until the fall of 1980 and during that decade they made many life-long friends and they continued to visit and stay in touch with the community until their deaths, Dad on June 21st, 1990 and Mom on June 21st, 2013. Yes, that’s right, the very same day of the year, their favourite day of the year, by the way…the first day of summer!
            Over the years, after they left Kipling in 1980, returning to Kipling was easy for them as brother Gordie married a Kipling girl, Val Bousfield, and Gord was Kipling’s Town Administrator for a number of years in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Our sister Margo married Kipling boy, Mark Krecsy, and they lived in Kipling for a number of years of years, too, in the 80’s and 90’s. I married a Windthorst girl, Debbie Lewis, and we moved back to Kipling in 1985 and have been here ever since allowing Mom and Dad to keep their ties to the community that they loved with many, many visits here.
            As our ninety-three-year-old mother’s health began to fail in the late spring of 2013 she called her children to her home in Medicine Hat, where she had been residing for the previous twenty years, and requested that her children and their children and their children, some seventy-plus, (and growing yearly), direct decedents meet annually for a family reunion. We readily obliged and, appropriately, Kipling was the chosen site for the very first Lowell and Rose Hubbard Family Reunion, (without Dad or Mom), on August 15th, 16th and 17th 2014.
             So sixty-one members of the family converged on the Town of Kipling this past weekend and we had a blast. Many of the people have been here many times and some hadn’t been here for years so it was really special for them to see what a great little community we have and how much it has changed and grown over past forty-four years.
Lowell and Rose Hubbard’s family will meet again next year in a new host community but the memories that we made this past weekend in Kipling will last forever.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”- Michael J. Fox (1961-).

SUPERMOON

Mankind has had a fascination with astrology and star/sky gazing for thousands of years. How can you not? Don’t you remember lying in the grass in the backyard or the schoolyard or whatever-yard and staring at the moon and the stars? Or the aurora borealis? Or picking out shapes from the clouds passing over? The skies are fascinating so it was kind of neat when we were treated to the Supermoon that lit up the sky over the last full moon cycle on Sunday the 10th of August.
            There are Harvest moons and Black moons, Blue moons and New moons and, apparently, there are also Supermoons. The name Supermoon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and I may have heard of the term before but I can’t really recall…but then again, half of the time I can’t remember why I went down to the basement.
            The moon on Sunday was the biggest and brightest of the year as it was 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than a regular full moon. This Supermoon was also the largest of the three consecutive celestial beauties of the summer. The first one was on 12th of July and the next one will be on September 9th. But this was the biggest and the brightest and I’m sure glad it wasn’t cloudy or I’d have missed it.
            During a Supermoon, the moon is closer to the Earth than it is during a regular full moon because the moon’s orbit around the Earth is elliptical, so that it’s closer to the Earth on one side of the orbit than the other. On average, the moon is 384,000 kilometers away at the closest point, its perigee, and is around 406,000 kilometers away at its furthest point, or apogee.
            Supermoons are moons that take place on the same day as the perigee, and on average, they happen about once every 13 ½ months but on Sunday, the moon turned full during the same hour as the perigee making it an extra-super moon. The August 10th Supermoon was the closest of the year and the moon was only 356,896 kilometers away making it bigger and brighter.
             My fixation with the celestial bodies and the moon may be linked to growing up in the 1960’s when the Americans and the USSR were in a Space Race. American President John F. Kennedy set a national goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" by the end of the 1960s, which he proposed in a May 25, 1961, address to the American Congress. A goal that the Americans achieved with NASA’s Apollo 11landing on the moon on July 20th, 1969.
Something unachievable was achieved and as Astronaut and the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, so aptly said, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
           

            

INTERESTING STUFF.

          Our summer season is passing by too quickly, as usual, but there has been some eventful and interesting stuff going on around here lately. Highway 48 is this close to finally being completed from Kipling to the junction of Highways 48 and 9. I was a witness to a hole-in-one that technically wasn’t a hole-in-one. The Stanley Cup was in Whitewood last Wednesday and I was able to put my arm around it at last. And I even got to don the old spikes and ball gear after a four year hiatus last weekend and after all was said and done I didn’t even need to be hospitalized or heavily medicated or anything. Good times, good times.
            I didn’t take the time to investigate the full history of 48 Highway but if my memory serves me right I think they finished the portion of the highway all the way from White City to Kipling about forty years ago or so.
I don’t know if anyone knows why they came all this way and then didn’t finish the 27 kilometers, (or 17 miles to us older folks), of highway from Kipling, through Kennedy and then on to the junction of 48 and 9. It’s like someone said, “That’s it, we’re done”, and that was that.
Did they run out of money? Gravel? Asphalt? Political will? Ambition? What was it? Funding was probably the biggest hold back but c’mon, forty years? Sheesh. I guess the old idiom, “better late than never” applies but it’s small consolation to all of the people who have worn out their vehicles running up and down that wretched road over the years while the political football was being tossed around and no work was being done. But it’s done now and we are happier for it.
 Last Thursday at the weekly Men’s Night at the Kingswood Golf Course I was in a foursome with Jason Balogh when a rare shot occurred. We were teeing it up on hole number 3, which is a short par 3, and Jason hit his first shot way over the green and into the bush. Jason decided he’d shoot a provisional shot in case he couldn’t find his first ball and be darned if it didn’t go right into the hole! It was a hole-in-one but technically it was a 3 on his scorecard! It was an amazing shot regardless of the score and I got to witness it!
Brent McEwen is from Whitewood and an old Pipestone Beaver alumnus and he is also a scout for the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings of the NHL. As a team member he was able to bring the Stanley Cup to his hometown and show it off. Over 400 people attended an event at the Whitewood Arena to get their picture taken with the hallowed trophy, which is the holy grail of hockey. To be that close to that trophy was a great thrill indeed!
            On the weekend of July 25th, 26th and 27th the Masters Twilight Ball Tournament was held in Weyburn. The Masters is the Saskatchewan Baseball Association’s over 42 years-old (42?, but I digress), baseball championship tournament. The Eden Valley Senators, a hybrid of Edenland and Hazelwood district descendents, are a baseball team that Daryle Roth assembled a number of years ago and its players, spouses and children have evolved it into a close-knit, family-like unit. We don’t win a lot of ball games but we lead every tournament in camaraderie and fun.
Due to injury and scheduling conflicts I hadn’t been able to play for four years and I made the commitment to be at this year’s event come hell or high water and I’m sure glad I did. It was great to be back in the fold. We played at the lighted Tom Laing field of dreams ballpark in Weyburn and it was a great experience. I won’t tell you how many games we did or didn’t win but we had a fantastic time and we’ve already started our plans for next year’s tourney.
The summer’s going by fast but there’s still a ways to go and if the memories keep piling up like they’ve been doing the last little while it’ll be a great summer to remember.

“Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.-“ Bob Dylan 

HAPPY SASKATCHEWAN DAY!

           Happy Saskatchewan Day folks! Here’s hoping that you will have a great long weekend in good ol’ Sask-atch-ee-wan.
            This year’s Saskatchewan Day Civic Holiday is on August 4th. I know it’s sad to see July go but when it leads into a holiday long weekend it might be a lot less tough to take. I’m very certain that there will be some appropriate way for everyone to celebrate our wonderful province.
            If the Land of the Living Skies can’t provide you with enough inspiration to celebrate this vast province of ours, and its many, many amenities, then I don’t know if anything will.
There are so many things that we can celebrate and be thankful for in this vast province like the beautiful sunsets, the varied geographical beauty, the historical sites, amazing parks, golf courses, beaches, lakes and rivers, mineral spas, ‘Riders, country fairs and city exhibitions…and on and on it goes.
I know Saskatchewan has kind of been the “little brother” of the country. You know, the other provinces had to let it tag along even though it couldn’t keep up for the longest time, and everything, and nobody really paid any attention to it and didn’t even know, or care, where it was half of the time and then the next thing you know it’s growing up and people are paying attention to it because it’s pretty attractive and it’s getting a little affluent and it’s not so easy to ignore now and like many things that take a while to blossom, once it does…wow!
I’ve got mixed feelings on the anonymity of the place, though. I almost liked the fact that we could fly under everybody’s radar and keep our humble small-town feel. I like the fact that it’s not so crowded and everywhere you go you know somebody who knows somebody. I don’t mind growth as long as it doesn’t take away from our personality.
If you aren’t able to think of a reason to celebrate Saskatchewan go to the websie- clubsask.com-and you’ll find their list of 100 reasons to Celebrate Saskatchewan. I cannot possibly reproduce all 100 here but I will list off some of my favourite things from their list:
  • It is the easiest province in the country to draw.
  • There are more doilies per capita than any other province.
  • More hockey players than you can shake a stick at, among them, Olympic gold medallist in women's hockey, Hayley Wickenheiser, judged the best female hockey player in the world.
  • More former hockey greats from Saskatchewan are- Gordie Howe (Floral), Wendell Clark (Kelvington), Bryan Trottier (Val Marie), Johnny Bower (Prince Albert) and Eddie Shore (Fort Qu'Appelle), Doug Wickenheiser (Regina), Theoren Fleury (Oxbow), Glen Hall (Humboldt) to name a few.
  • There are 427 documented species of birds in Saskatchewan and it is one of the few places in North America where you can see magnificent whooping cranes relatively up close.
  • 100,000 lakes (beat that, Minnesota!).
  • The Saskatchewan Roughriders.
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders fans.
According to the United Nations Human Development Index Saskatchewan is one of the best places in the world to live, but we already knew that, didn’t we? Now go out and celebrate your reason why! Have fun and stay safe.

“Saskatchewan is much like Texas…except it’s more friendly to the United States”-Adlai E. Stevenson (1900-1965).

HOW TO RATE YOUR PARENTING SKILLS.

          You know, there’s no instruction manual for raising a child. Sure, there are thousands of resources now but even back thirty years ago, when my wife and I were experiencing parenting for the first time, the resources were somewhat limited compared to today’s computer age with the internet and everything and whole TV channels devoted to parenting. We used our parents’ behaviour and tactics as our guideline, like so many generations before us, and tried to keep the good stuff and discard the bad, or as it may be termed…“flying by the seat of our pants”.
There was Dr. Benjamin Spock, of course, not to be confused with Star Trek’s Mr. Spock or you’d really be raising a weirdo, who, along with his wife Jane Cheney, (Doctor Spock’s wife that is), penned the 1946 book, Dr. Spock's Baby & Child Care. The book has sold 50 million copies in 49 countries and if you Google “#1 Child Rearing Doctor”, Dr. Benjamin Spock’s name still comes up first.
Then again, with a brand new baby in the house who had time to read a book anyway? What with the feeding and the diaper changes, and to start with we used cloth ones if you can possibly imagine, and bathing and dressing and undressing and feeding and diaper changes and bathing and rocking and walking them to sleep…then along comes baby number two and then number three and years and years go by and we’re like… “where’d that book go? You know the one…the Mr. Spock book or whatever it’s called…the one that tells you how to do this stuff.”
And time, as it is wont to do, passes by so quickly and the children are graduating high school already and none of them has done jail time, or anything, so maybe you didn’t do such a bad job anyway and you continue on your merry way because what’s the sense in looking up how to raise a child now that you’re almost done. But…you’re never done. You are always a parent and they are always a child…your child.
So what’s the litmus test? What are the indicators that you have performed the task properly? The above mentioned jail time could be considered an indicator. How they care for their own children is another indicator. Of course, they won’t do it as good as you did it but neither did you to your parents, if you know what I mean. School marks, extracurricular activities, interaction with others, maturity, ethics, (work and otherwise) are all clear indicators of how well your parenting skills are.
Without breaking my arm patting myself on the back I think Debbie and I did a pretty good job with our parenting. None of our three children have been to jail…too long…just kidding…and they are hard-working, well-adjusted, civilized adults with two out of our three children raising their children and improving on the parenting they were, and are, subjected to.
But you don’t have to believe me. If there was ever a doubt that we were worthy of our parenting skills it was cast aside last week when we toured Casino Regina with our youngest daughter, Emily, who has been employed there as a Marketing Analyst for the past three-and-a-half years and will be leaving her job and her Casino family at the end of August to further her education. The interaction with her fellow employees and their true affection and respect for her was quite evident. They impressed upon us time and again how she will be terribly missed and what a “wonderful young woman you’ve raised there”. That…was all the litmus we needed.


“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”-Jackie Kennedy. (1929-1994).

RAIN, RAIN,RAIN!!

            Say…does anyone know a decent Ark builder? Nobody local comes to mind? It’s a little too late anyhow. Maybe? Yikes! Can you believe this stuff? Me neither.
            My apologies for appearing flippant while so many people are suffering in ways that I can only imagine but sometimes levity may also provide a bit of relief. I hope the above comment will make you smile just a wee bit despite the devastation of the flooding that has been so widespread across our region and our neighbouring province to the East.
            In comparison to the loss of property, houses, complete cottages, roads, crops, majestic trees, vehicles, etc etc our house was hardly inconvenienced at all. We are very, very lucky. The little bit of leakage coming in our basement was easily handled by a few ShopVac-fulls of water. We also lost a few bean plants because of the flooding, (I know…big deal), but other than that we came away virtually unscathed. I don’t know why it missed us but it did and we are thankful.
            We have good friends that have had unbelievable losses and the stories that are being told could be the stuff of a Stephen King novel. Especially the stories from the Crooked and Round Lake areas where we know a number of home and cottage owners.
Many of those owners worked tirelessly for days building dikes and taking belongings to higher ground and were just beginning to feel somewhat safe until the Saturday evening’s nasty thunderstorm/tornado put an end to any hope that many of the lake-front properties were going to be able to hold off the flood waters. Until that storm hit some of the property owners were feeling confident that the damage had been minimalized. And then, just like a Stephen King novel, right when you think you are the safest…the worst was yet to come.
            Before all this crazy rain I had had a conversation with an older couple from Roche Percee who had lost their house in the big flood of 2011 and they are still feeling the effects of the loss of property, community and their way of life three years after the fact. That’s the reality of devastation like this. You might be able to repair, rebuild, or relocate but it’s so very difficult to rebound completely from so great a loss. Thankfully, and touch wood, I can only imagine.
            At times like these, though, other stories come out about bravery and selflessness and compassion and giving and sacrifice. So many people rush to the aid of their friends, neighbours and complete strangers with a solidarity rarely seen in everyday life. It’s takes an event, or events, like this to bring out the best of humankind it seems.
            As we move along with our regular, daily lives the floods’ damage is still being felt in many, many communities. There were 87 communities that declared a State of Emergency in Saskatchewan and Manitoba since the rain started on the July long weekend and so many are still in need of help.
The Canadian Red Cross is there to help in situations just like this but even they have limits to their resources. If you want to help those in need one of the best ways is to contact The Canadian Red Cross at http://www.redcross.ca or for General or Donation Inquiries: email-WeCare@redcross.ca or 1-800-418-1111. Any amount and all donations we be gratefully accepted.

“Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.”-Mason Cooley-(1927-2002).

THE ENDOSCOPY DEPARTMENT BLUES

I’m a pretty superstitious guy so I took it as an omen when I got assigned to bed #13 in the pre-op area prior to my scheduled gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures recently at the General Hospital in Regina. I didn’t know exactly what the process would entail, and, like almost everyone else in the world, I was a little unnerved going into the tests anyway but the #13 thingy added a little more stress to the situation for me.
Humans’ greatest fear is the fear of the unknown and I was heading into unknown territory. I don’t think the procedures are exactly dangerous or risky, per se, but anytime they’re putting you in a hospital gown and feeding you the real good drugs the chances increase that anything could happen…good, bad or otherwise.
            It could be classified as either good or bad luck, depending on your point of view, to have both procedures scheduled on the same day. On one hand it saved us a second trip into the city and another go-round through the healthcare system but on the other hand I was going to be probed from both ends nearly at the same time and I wasn’t exactly thrilled by that prospect at all. 
             I think I’ll pass on the details of the liquid/low residue diet that you’re forced to be on the day before the tests or the mandatory laxative cocktail, and its ensuing effects, that one has to take the night before and the morning of the procedures, but suffice to say that the industrial strength colon cleanser is most effective. ‘Nuff said.
            I went to admitting as scheduled at 11:00AM hoping that the laxative’s effects were completely over but thinking it and knowing it are two different things so my forehead was a little beaded over with sweat as my stomach gurgled and I debated running to the john one more time or waiting it out for #61 to be called out while #59 was lit up in the red led lights above the Admitting desk. Ding went the bell and the lights went to #60 so my decision was made for me. There’s no way I was going to give up my place in line unless absolutely necessary. Fortunately I made it through Admitting without soiling myself. Whew.
            I then went to the next waiting room in the Endoscopy Department and nearly every chair was taken but half of the people in the waiting room were the patient’s rides so the wait wasn’t very long there. But the next station was a completely different story.
            That’s when I got led to bed #13 where my assigned nurse greeted me with all the necessary items, gown, robe, paper booties, plastic bag for my stuff and I was directed to one of three dressing room/bathrooms at the far end of the room. I glanced at the #13 light above my assigned bed and my stomach did a tiny flip. I don’t like this; I thought to myself, something’ll happen.
            I went across the room and picked the door in the middle and opened it up to a bare-naked man who was “door-lock challenged”, apparently, but his nurse standing outside the door, clipboard in hand, pointed up at the OCCUPIED sign and then said, “That one over there is unoccupied. The one that DOESN’T have a sign saying ‘occupied’.” Thankfully, she didn’t laugh too loudly at my embarrassment. Choosing the wrong door…bad luck? Or just stupidity?
            I got changed and processed without further incident by 11:30. As the procedures and the time schedule were described to me I was thinking that I’ll be out of here in a couple of hours for sure. Shouldn’t have thought it. Jinxed myself. I should have known better. Bad luck or stupid? There seemed to be a theme developing.
            For the next two-and-a-half hours I lay on bed #13 staring at the ceiling and watching the clock tick away as other patients came and went. No book, no magazine, no cell phone, no radio, no music…just me on the bed listening to Nurse Ratched, or whoever, answering the phone and badgering the callers on the other end of the line, the interaction of the staff with each other and the other patients and finding patterns and faces in the ceiling tile. For TWO-AND-A-HALF hours. Was that John Lennon or Jesus? Hard to tell…hmmm. There’s a teddy bear and a ball glove and a…
            Again, I will not bore you with the gory details of the uncomfortable test procedures or the loss of dignity in the “Flatulence Room”, (about the only place I know of where breaking wind is actually encouraged), but they sent me home with pictures, (ewwww), from the camera shots they took in both orifices and with any luck, “touch wood”, I’ll be given a clean bill of health when the final results come back.

“My feeling about fears is, if you voice your fears, they may come true. I’m superstitious enough to believe that.” Meryl Streep (1949-).

LOUD MOUTH SCHNOOK SHOOTIN' OFF

           I waited and waited to see if there might be another loudmouth schnook among the 500+ mailboxes in Kipling representing approximately 1500 men, women and children who would, like this loudmouth schnook, take exception to the message delivered by the Kipling AND DISTRICT Health Foundation in the June 6th edition of The Citizen in the “It’s Rally Time” article. As no one else has come forward, at least not in this publication in the form of a Letter to the Editor, or anything, I will offer up my opinion and reaction to the article submitted by the KDHF. I am not speaking on behalf of any of the above residents cited but I am confident that I won’t be alone in the opinion I am sharing.
            First off, though, I would like to offer my congratulations and express my deepest gratitude to all of the current and former members of the Kipling and District Health Foundation for their hard work, dedication and commitment in their efforts to have a new integrated health care facility constructed in the Town of Kipling.
That said, as a resident of the Town of Kipling the wording and the tone of the “It’s Rally Time” article more than rankled my feathers a little. I take exception to the statement that singles out and defines “Community” as persons with a mail box at the Kipling Post Office. Where’s the AND DISTRICT in that? Is the Health Foundation’s definition of “Community” restricted to residents of the Town of Kipling and the closest two Rural Municipalities only? Was this the deal from the get-go? That the “Community’s” share of $7.1 million dollars was to come from the occupants of THIS post office address alone?
Listen to this: “Funding to complete the project has progressed well because of several generous contributions from a FEW individuals and a FEW corporate businesses. Unfortunately, the general local population and the local business interests have NOT been supportive to date”.
Excuse me? Have NOT been supportive to date? According to the Kipling and District Health Foundation’s statistics-to date the “Community” has raised $6.8 million dollars out of the $7.1 million dollar objective falling .042253521% short of that target. All of these funds have been raised by a FEW individuals and a FEW corporate citizens? Really? All of it?
If the KDHF is stating that “Community” individuals haven’t taken out their personal or business cheque-books and stroked a cash donation directly to the “Community’s” share of the fund say that but stating that, “the general local population and the local business interests have NOT been supportive to date” cannot be further from the truth.
Stroking a personal cheque may be their definition of support but it sure isn’t mine. How about the funds that have been raised through municipal taxes since 1998? Every taxable dwelling, office, store, service center etc. has contributed to this fund for over 15 years…no exceptions.
How about fund-raiser after fund-raiser after fund-raiser using local businesses’ discounted or free services and supplies and donations? Or the exorbitant, inflated amounts of money that so many businesses and residents spent on auction items time and time again to raise funds for the cause. Only a few? I think not.
How about the hundreds of hours of personal time that have been given as well? How many volunteer hours does it take to make it a worthwhile contribution? Not enough is the answer, I guess.
I am reminded of the spoiled child who stamps their feet and cries and cries because they didn’t get the tenth gift, all the while forgetting about the previous nine that are stacked around them!
            The KDHF comments in the article also insinuate that the Town of Kipling alone stands to reap the benefits of such a facility within the confines of its town limits. It says nothing about the mail boxes in other jurisdictions that receive a pay-cheque from the hospital, care home and medical clinic. How many other goods and services are supplied to this facility from vendors outside the “Community”? Who benefits from that? It’s safe to say that the residents of the Town of Kipling and its immediate area will benefit the most from the building of this new facility but they definitely won’t be the only ones.
            I do not expect a rebuttal or an apology. It’s too late anyhow. The damage is done. The insult delivered. Good thing guilting the “Community” members into contributing more personal funds wasn’t the marketing strategy from the start or there’d be no need for this article at all.
The cursory and obligatory “KDHF greatly appreciates the contributions made to date” at the end of the article does little to erase the earlier statement that “local population and business interests have not been supportive to date”. Which is it?
I have gone beyond being angry about the statements that were made despite what you’ve just read. I’m merely disappointed that despite the extent of the “Community’s” efforts, apparently, it will never be enough.
“An ungrateful man is like a hog under a tree eating acorns, but never looking up to see where they come from.”-Timothy Dexter ( 1748-1806)
               



THE 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF D-DAY!

In the past I have mentioned that it is sometimes difficult to submit columns to a weekly newspaper and be time-appropriate with the subject matter every week. So many times when I sit down to peck out an article for the paper I forget to look at a calendar so I end up missing some important date in history or a local event or something.
            Case in point: the June 6th edition of The Citizen where I’m yammering on about priorities and everything and it just happens to be the 70th Anniversary of D-Day! Are you kidding me? Where the heck were my priorities? One of the most famous days in the history of Canada and the world and I let it slip by? Tsk, tsk, tsk.
            From Wikipedia: “The Normandy Landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations on 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the invasion of German-occupied Western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic and contributed to an Allied victory in the war.”
            As time marches on and the survivors become fewer and fewer and the memories of the event grow dimmer we need a reminder of just how important that day in history is. Our country grew up that day. A lot of sacrifice was required for that to happen and we need to remember that.
            In a world where women are kidnapped for receiving an education and citizens are persecuted for sharing their thoughts and violence and oppression are standard operating procedures we need to know what we have in this country. Many of us do…so many more don’t.
             I had the great fortune of being able to talk to a veteran who had been wounded storming the beach that day. Many of the former soldiers who saw the kind of action that he had didn’t often talk about their war years but so many years removed from the carnage I think he was finally happy to share his experiences.
            As detailed as his tales were I cannot for the life of me put myself in his place at that time. It is impossible. I’ve seen my share of war movies and documentaries but there can be no substitute for the real thing.
            He told me he lay in an army hospital tent for days as shells flew over and around him and he said he wondered when the next whistling bomb would explode in his tent. Can you imagine? He was eventually transferred to a hospital in London where he recovered and then went back into action instead of heading home, which had been an option.
I asked him why he went back into combat instead of going home and he nonchalantly stated, “Well, that’s just what you did. You couldn’t let the boys down” and, he says, “I’m one of the lucky ones. I did come home.”
It’s easy to become complacent. It’s easy to think that living in this country is a right not a privilege. Every now and then we need a reset. It is becoming harder and harder to sit down and share these kinds of experiences with World War II veterans but read a book, watch a documentary or talk to one of today’s soldiers who’ve seen some action and maybe your perspective will change. Maybe, even for just a little while, you will appreciate the country that you live in today and remember the ultimate sacrifices that have been made on your behalf.
“The patriot volunteer, fighting for country and his rights, makes the most reliable soldier on Earth.”- General Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863).



PRIORITIZATION?

            What to do first? Build the deck? Cut out those bloody caraganas? Watch more hockey? Finish the staining on the staircase? Play some baseball? Fix or replace the front steps? Decisions, decisions, decisions. Therein lies the dilemma. What to prioritize.
            I’m fairly certain that regular readers of this column would be able to guess which of the above questions would be priority #’s 1 and 2 to me. I am also confident that you, Dear Reader, would be able to guess which of the above items would be priority #’s 1, 2, 3 and 4 to my wife. Numbers 5 and 6, (that’d be the hockey and baseball for all you bad guessers out there), wouldn’t even make the ol’ To-Do List to start with. Anyway, there’s that old wants and needs thing rearing its ugly head again, eh? I know what I WANT to do but I also know what I NEED to do.
            Now don’t confuse prioritizing with production, okay? That’s why we make priority lists. Just because we have determined which order things SHOULD be done doesn’t necessarily mean that’s WHEN they’ll get done. There are just too many variables to determine the actual finishing date of any given project. There are weather considerations, financial considerations, product availability considerations, ambition considerations, health considerations, (which may or may not be confused with the “ambition” considerations), as in… “I can’t possibly start that thing today I’ve got…um…something…uh…I’m hurt…yes, that’s it, I’m hurt. No, no it’s not because game six is on…no, no, you got it all wrong, I’ve got this…this…thing…and…it…uh…it…hurts.”
            Okay, I may have used a bit of literary license there but things sometimes get put off for various reasonable reasons, (some say excuses), but at least I know the order of importance of the things that I am putting off.        
            According to my dictionary
: pri-or-i-tize; verb/: to organize (things) so that the most important thing is done or dealt with first.
: to make (something) the most important thing in a group.
            You see, there are different kinds of prioritization. My To-Do list is part of the first part of the definition--identifying the first thing that most needs to be done…and try to do it first.
Things like…say…government spending fall into the second category of the definition--identifying the most important needs of our rate-payers…and then waste the funding somewhere else.
            Take health care for instance. I recently drove by the hospital that is being constructed in Kipling right now and I’m a bit confused by the structure. First off, I want to say that I am extremely happy that we are now getting this facility built in Kipling but if someone had had their priorities in order I thing we could have skipped the fancy schmancy roof lines and Star Trekky look for a plain-looking functional health care facility. Just saying.
            Thankfully it hasn’t been too often but I have had the unfortunate experience of being in a hospital in a lot of pain and I couldn’t have given a red-rat’s derriere as to the roof line or the “architect’s signature” or how appealing the exterior plaza is as long as my ailment was being looked after. What we need is function over form and performance over aesthetics.
            Then we’ve got the STARS Ambulance Lotteries and the Hospitals of Saskatchewan Lotteries and the Children’s Hospital Foundation Parade of Homes Lottery and bake sales and bingos and bottle-drives…to provide HEALTH CARE!! In the meantime CEO’s and managers and consultants and contractors are making zillions of dollars.
            Yes, yes, yes…go ahead and roll out your overpaid government accountant to do their scritcha-scritcha number crunching and tell me that the tax dollars returned to the public coffers via taxation of the upper-level executives who also pour their money into investments which fund the companies that employ the multitudes…blah, blah, blah…Explain it away. Justify it as you must. I don’t care how many numbers you throw at me…my opinion will not waver. In my humble opinion…our priorities are very clearly…out of sync.


“It is not an arrogant government that chooses priorities; it is an irresponsible government that fails to choose.”-Tony Blair (1953-).

FROM THE JETSONS TO CRACKBERRYS

Over fifty years ago, in 1962 to be exact, Hanna-Barbera Productions released a cartoon show called “The Jetsons”. Hanna-Barbera was an American animation studio that dominated American television animation for nearly four decades in the mid-to-late 20th century creating such iconic cartoon shows as The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo and many, many others.
The Jetsons were a space-aged family living in the 2062. Father George, his wife Jane and their two children, Judy and Elroy lived in Orbit City with their dog Astro and cleaning robot Rosie. Hard to believe as it is, the Jetsons only lasted one season with 24 episodes and while it was revived briefly in the 1980’s, it was the original 1962-63 season that has made the term “Jetsons” synonymous with “the future” to this day.
There were a lot of futuristic devices in the show that seemed pretty far-fetched to the early 1960’s viewers but in retrospect so many of the things that were marvelled at back then seem to have come to fruition.
Take the very first episode where Jane is at home working out to an in-home exercise video on her futuristic large 3D flat-screen television or how about George sitting in his easy chair reading his evening paper on a computer screen? Sound familiar?
In other episodes George has to fix something called a “computer virus” at work and everyone on the show uses video phones. A tanning bed, which wasn’t introduced to North America until 1979, was used in one show with tanning settings that included “Miami” and “Riviera”. And while flying space cars have yet to land in our lives, the Jetsons show had moving sidewalks, like we now have in airports, treadmills, that didn't hit the consumer market until 1969, and their repairman had a piece of technology called...Mac. Hmmm.
Although it’s not 2062, yet, we are now living in the 21st Century and the amount of change brought to our lives, thus far, is staggering. The changes in computer technology, the Internet, Smart phones, e-readers, e-cigarettes, social media-(i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube et al), and reality television are all products and services that weren’t available prior to 1999; or if they were offered before the turn of the century they would have been in their infancy.
So much change in so little time. I can recall living in the little hamlet of Marquis in 1969 and our telephone number was 26 and the phone came complete with a hand crank on the side that you rang to get an operator who then placed your call for you.
Now, I’m holding my Crackberry and it’s a phone and a camera and I can get the internet and emails on it and I can text with it and I have a library of photos on it and it’s a video and voice recorder and a flashlight and a weather forecaster and calculator and a clock and a calendar and a filing cabinet…oh, how far old Alexander Graham Bell’s invention has come.
At this rapid pace of change, your guess is a good as mine as to what we might be seeing in technological advances in the very near future. Suffice to say that if we are as forward thinking as the writers of the Jetsons show were back in the 60’s then the sky is, literally, the limit.


“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”-Heraclitus, (534BCE-474BCE).

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

            Happy Victoria Day everyone! It’s a gloomy, rainy, long-weekend Monday which makes it a good day to relax and put the feet up and be thankful that we’re not big campers or we’d be out there packing everything up in this nasty weather. I have experienced my share of packing up the camp in the drizzling rain and I don’t miss it today at all. To me, having another Victoria Day-May Long Weekend come and go by so quickly is depressing enough so closing out the weekend on a rainy, gloomy note kind of fits the mood.  
            Turns out that it could be worse, I guess. I could have been Anne Boleyn. You remember Anne don’t you? King Henry VIII’s second wife? On this very day in 1588 she lost her head…literally. She was beheaded for treason. I was curious to know what other people were up to on this day in history and this was the first item that came up. Poor Anne.
            Or I could have been in New England or Eastern Canada in 1780 when everything went dark in the middle of the day. The day is referred to as “New England’s Dark Day”. The event occurred on May 19th, 1780 when an unusual darkening of the day sky was observed over the New England states and parts of Canada. The primary cause of the event is believed to have been a combination of smoke from forest fires, a thick fog and cloud cover. The darkness was so complete that candles were required at noon. It did not disperse until the middle of the next night. Since the communication technology of the day was so primitive, most people found the darkness to be baffling, inexplicable and more than a little disconcerting.
            Of course there’s always a little bit of irony in history, you know? The date of May 19th was both the date of Marilyn Monroe’s famous, or infamous as it were, sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday To You” which she had sung to US President John F. Kennedy at a celebration of his forty-fifth birthday in 1962 amid rumours that JFK had an affair with the blonde bombshell and May 19th also happens to be the day that JFK’s widow, Jacqeline, passed away in 1994. Hmmm…
            Other notable events from this day in history include the day French explorer Jacques Cartier set sail for North America in 1535. Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big settlements that he saw at Stadacona (Quebec City) and at Hochelaga (Montreal Island). Thanks Jacques.
            More historical events from May 19th: The Spanish Armada, with its 130 warships, set sail from Lisbon, bound for England in 1588. In the United States in 1864 the Union and Confederate armies launched their last attacks against each other at Spotsylvania in Virginia. Spotsylvania? Whatever.
In 1911 the first American criminal conviction that was based on fingerprint evidence occurred in New York City. Thomas Edison spoke on the radio for the first time on May 19th, 1926. T.E. Lawrence, "Lawrence of Arabia", died from injuries in a motorcycle crash in England on this day in 1935. And last but not least…who could forget that tragic day in 1992 when Mary Jo Buttafuoco was shot and seriously wounded by Amy Fisher who was Mary Jo’s husband Joey’s teen-aged lover? Got it? I know it doesn’t rank up there with Jacques Cartier or Lawrence of Arabia or anything but it dominated the news for weeks and weeks and weeks.
            My boring, gloomy May 19th won’t compete with these kinds of historical events but reading about them has kind of brightened my day a little. As we all know, in so many cases, as bad as we have it…it can always be worse.
“I get a bit gloomy when it’s gloomy.”-Catherine Zeta-Jones (1969-).


Howdy folks. I am in the process of upgrading my blog page so you may have to look around a bit to find what you're looking for. At the ...