ltmurnau: (CX)
Nicked from [ profile] emmabovary, who picks good memes.

Tell us about your SENIOR year of high school!
The year was: 1982

1. Did you know your spouse? no
2. Did you car pool to school? No, I took the school bus.
3. What kind of car did you have? none
4. What kind of car do you have now? none
5. It's Saturday night...where were you? either playing games with friends or watching a movie.
6. What kind of job did you have in high school? Militia (Army reserve).
7. What kind of job do you have now? Education Officer.
8. Were you a party animal? Mmm, no.
9. Were you a cheerleader? No!
10. Were you considered a jock? Ha. No.
11. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? No.
12. Were you a nerd? I suppose.
13. Did you get suspended or expelled? No.
14. Can you sing the fight song? Canadian high school; we didn't have one.
15. Who was/were your favorite high school teacher? I liked Mr. Cross (English); we would talk about movies.
16. Where did you sit for lunch? In one of the chem labs, or the central amphitheatre.
17. What was your school's full name? Parkland.
18. What was your school mascot? A panther.
19. If you could go back and do it again, would you? God no, it was boring and futile. The only consistently valuable thing I learned in high school was touch typing.
20. Did you have fun at Prom? A bit; had to cut it short and go home and get some sleep, as I spent the rest of the weekend in the woods on a patrolling exercise.
21. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with? No.
22. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? No.
23. Are you still in contact with people from school? A couple, but we don't talk about school.
24. What are/were your school's colors? Damfino.
ltmurnau: (Default)
You may have heard, or not, that the Canadian Museum of Cvilization, once known as the Museum of Man, will be renamed, repurposed and cleaned out and moved into a new building in time for Canada Day 2017.

It will be renamed the Museum of Canadian History (NTS: check name later, the Net is acting up and I can't have mopre than one fershlugginer window open at a time) and will shift its focus to, well let's say more national topics, including highlighting Canada's military history and our relation with the British monarchy.

LAWRENCE MARTIN (yes, that's how he writes it) weighs in on this in today's Globe and Mail:


Don’t curate the peacemaking out of Canadian history

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012, 2:00 AM EDT

In keeping with their wish to refashion the national consciousness, our arch-conservatives have an eye on museums.

As reported in this newspaper, changes will see the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the largest museum in the land, become a history museum with an emphasis on showcasing our great deeds.

Other museums, according to the report, will be asked to do more to reflect past glories. It’s expected there will be an emphasis on the military and conflicts, such as the War of 1812. In keeping with this, the government has announced it is renaming buildings in Ottawa in honour of 1812 veterans. The monarchy will be given a greater place in museums, as will our sporting heritage, particularly hockey. At hockey games, we’re now expected to stand and cheer thunderously when military personnel are introduced, as though it’s the 1940s.

The retooling of museums – the Museum of Civilization, anthropologically dreary, does need a facelift – may well be a commendable exercise. There’s nothing wrong with making our past as storied as possible, especially given the historical vacuum in which large segments of the population reside.

But given the Conservatives’ proclivities, as reflected in their confrontational foreign policy and their affinity for old wars, there’s concern that they won’t get it right, that a lot of our history will go missing.

As fine an idea as it is to celebrate our armed forces and wartime contributions, what about our opposite inclinations? Our postwar history, before the arrival of the Harper government, is predominantly a story about Canada as peacemaker, bridger of differences, conciliator. We were never a bellicose, aggressor nation, not before this period either, and we should never be portrayed as one.

In Ottawa, we already have a big spanking new war museum. To go along with it, far be it from anyone to suggest we have something like a museum of peace. But if we did, we could fill it with some praiseworthy stuff.

For the half-century in question, we could start with the exemplary work of Lester Pearson, who, having urged restraint in Korea, was the key player in bringing about a close to the perilous Suez crisis. We could showcase his government’s opposition to the Vietnam War, particularly the Temple University speech calling on Lyndon Johnson to halt the bombing.

It’s curious that the Tories are naming an icebreaker after John Diefenbaker. Far from being a militarist, Mr. Diefenbaker, who had a peacenik foreign minister in Howard Green, went about opposing (though in a foolhardy manner) the stationing of nuclear warheads on Canadian soil and challenging John Kennedy’s adventurism at every turn.

Then came Pierre Trudeau. He pushed to slow the arms race, made an opening to China, got far too cozy with Fidel Castro and staged a world peace mission in the early 1980s. His efforts to get the superpowers to the bargaining table were ridiculed by some. But Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev eventually got around to the kind of consultation and co-operation Mr. Trudeau had advocated.

Under Brian Mulroney and his effective foreign minister, Joe Clark, came a strong stand against apartheid and American intervention in Nicaragua. Through these decades, Ottawa pressed for multilateralism and disarmament, the prominent role played by the Chrétien government in the international treaty banning land mines being just one example.

Our current Prime Minister, given his initial enthusiasm for a coalition of the willing, won’t wish to see much museum space devoted to Jean Chrétien’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq. But we were on the right side of history there, as was the case with Vietnam.

We did fight in some conflicts, and admirably. Not all our efforts at peace-brokering can be said to have been well-advised. But there’s a lot of proud history in that half-century of restraint. Our museums and other accountings of the Canadian record should reflect it.


The thing that really upsets me about all this is the continual editiing, revising, and altering of our history, really rather blatantly when you think about it, in the service of a very particular mindset.

I suppose more people would be upset about this if they knew what was being changed, de-emphasized or just cut out, but they don't.

And now, like as not, they won't.
ltmurnau: (Default)
Some sobering thoughts in print, echoing what I have been thinking for some time now.

"Who controls the present controls the past;
Who controls the past controls the future."

- George Orwell, 1984

Making Canada's past a slave to power
From Friday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, May. 04, 2012 2:00AM EDT

Citizens can be almost certain that, when governments use public money to write history, the result will be a deformed version of the past. So it has proved to be with the Harper government, with more rewriting to come.

The Conservatives display two-facedness in the telling of history, systematically reducing the role of the informed and the neutral in explaining the country to Canadians, while enhancing the capacity of the government to cherry-pick what it chooses to highlight.

In the last budget, for example, funding was reduced for Library and Archives Canada, the CBC, Telefilm Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Parks Canada by a government that had already scrapped plans for a National Portrait Gallery. (The government also is eliminating support for scholars in other countries who study Canada.)

The government spared the National Gallery, the national museums in Ottawa and the Canada Council, but the net effect on the ability to explain history in an unfiltered way through people and projects funded by public institutions was reduced by the cuts.

By contrast, the government found money in a “restraint” budget for projects that will allow it to highlight those scattered and fading (or faded) remnants of our history that suit the government’s political agenda: recreations of the War of 1812 (a political civil war on each side and a cross-border military conflict), medals commemorating the Queen, and yet another royal visit, this one offering Canadians (or at least the handful of them who will care) the emotional surge of seeing their future king and queen: Charles and Camilla.

For the Harper Conservatives, there’s no sense of contributing to a new or evolved sense of Canadian identity, but rather a reaching back and dusting off of fragments of the past that suit their politics – which is why the military and the monarchy are their favoured subjects for historical attention.

There’s also the enigmatic legend of John Diefenbaker, the Progressive Conservative prime minister from 1957 to 1963. In reaching back for Mr. Diefenbaker, Canadian Conservatives are contorting themselves as U.S. Republicans do.

For them, the two Bush presidencies have been airbrushed from public incantations of Republican history. Instead, Ronald Reagan has been placed atop the pedestal of Republican adulation, his missteps resolutely forgotten, his triumphs retold, his rhetoric repeated, his ideology extolled, even if that ideology was frequently at variance with his deeds.

Mr. Diefenbaker was a weak prime minister, or at least that’s what Canadians came to believe after seeing him in office for a while. They handed him the largest majority then recorded in Canada in the 1958 election. Halfway through its mandate, his government was tearing itself apart, and Mr. Diefenbaker was flailing and failing.

By 1962, with the cabinet in revolt, his party was reduced to a minority. A year later, Canadians booted him and the Progressive Conservatives from office. It took four excruciating years to drag Mr. Diefenbaker from the party leadership.

Historian Denis Smith, who has written by far the best biography of the PC leader, Rogue Tory, said Mr. Diefenbaker lived a life of “turmoil, rebuff, failure, disappointment, and bitterness more than of triumph and satisfaction.”

Mr. Diefenbaker’s time in office was judged by a majority of his countrymen at the time, and by almost all historians, as largely a failure offset by a few triumphs. But by carefully selecting episodes from his life and certain of his successes, his admirers managed to construct a modest legend around Dief the Chief, a legend that does a disservice to historical fact but offers a fillip of inspiration to those who idealize his memory.

The legend leads the Conservatives to slap the Chief’s name on ships, buildings and other bits of contemporary Canada, a response, one presumes, to all those Liberal names across the country.

History is never written in stone; it’s always being checked and rechecked, written and rewritten. Arguments about the past never cease, and it’s intellectually worthwhile for such arguments to be made by those who learn history and/or write it, often with the support of the very institutions the government’s now cutting.

When governments take up the pen, fill it with the ink of public money, and start rewriting the past, political agendas chase the search for historical understanding.
ltmurnau: (Default)
The most unusual death notice I'll ever read, I think, from May 11 Times-Colonist:

Read more... )
ltmurnau: (Default)
Last night was the third Circuit Breaker of the year, and there were even colour flyers and posters this time to advertise it - first time I've been on one of those. My set list:

Sleep Chamber - Warm Leatherette
Nash the Slash - Wolf
Psychic TV - I Believe What You Said
Severed Heads - We Have Come to Bless This House
Laibach - Geburt Einer Nation
Blutengel - Das Blut der Ewigkeit
Ad:Key - Hoch Die Hammer
Pankow - Me and my Ding-Dong
Front Line Assembly - Provision
Greater Than One - Now Is The Time
Einsturzende Neubauten - Tanz Debil
New Order - Video 586
Cyberaktif - Nothing Stays
Test Department - Fuckhead
Birmingham 6 - Who Do You Love?
Ad:Key - Frostengel
Neuroticfish - They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-ha
Nah the Slash - Children of the Night
A:Grumh - New Fashion
Chris and Cosey - October Love Song

It was good fun and intermittently had people out there stomping away. As usual, I took the first 90 minute set so it didn't matter what I played, at least for the first hour.

Midway during the night we had a moment of NOISE to commemmorate our friend Scott, who died suddenly last week. In life, one gets to meet at least a few people who both awe and inspire. People who are hugely and relentlessly intelligent, creative, driven, friendly and generous, interesting and interested at the same time. People who make their own luck and way in life, but no one can be jealous of them or wish them ill. Scott was one of these people - every time I talked to him I came away wanting to know him better and talk more. And now I can't talk to him any more, at all.

Farewell, Scott.
ltmurnau: (Default)
Memestructions: Take the first paragraph of the first post of each month this year, and post it here.

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Damn, man, I do a lot of memes. C'mon, is this LJ of mine getting boring?
ltmurnau: (Default)
I wasn't gonna say anything but:

The Canadian Border Security Agency says it will take ten years to train and equip every officer with a sidearm. The first two years will cost $101 million (

Conspicuous by its absence is any reportage of the number of Canadian border guards who have been shot by desperadoes raging to hop the line into the Great White North. That's because there haven't been any: among the 730 names in the Canadian Police and Peace Officers Memorial Honour Roll, going back to 1804, there are only four entries for customs officers: one in 1980 (no one seems to know how he died, but a boardroom in the Customs Excise Union building is named after him) and three in 1994 (two drowned in a flood, and one was killed when a drunk driver hit her car).

I am not convinced this is a good idea, when I cross the border and look at the college students doing their summer term with CBSA, asking me about where I've been and do I have any cigarettes.

It kind of reminds me of the late 1980s when I was working in Ottawa, around Parliament Hill and the Governor-General's residence. The RCMP was tasked with a lot of public security duties and as usual was very short-staffed. So, they hired 3-400 "Special Constables" who mostly did airport security, VIP security, and institutional security at Parliament Hill and the residences of the Prime Minister and G-G.

They all had sidearms and many of them were armed with the Heckler and Koch MP-5 9mm submachine gun, a short-barreled compact weapon then used by many SWAT and counter-terrorist units. These were taken away from them within two years, because of the many instances of SCs shooting themselves in the foot or leg with them!
ltmurnau: (Default)
Let's start with this:

Read more... )

Funny typo aside, this story reminds me of one of my stories, namely the last time I read any of my writing in public.

There once was a gallery on Government Street down by Cascadia Bakery, around Herald Street - I can't recall what's there now. It was called the Well Hung Gallery, and it was started in 1996 (?) by some then-recent arts graduates from UVic.

One night there was a sort of open-mike reading going on at the gallery, and my friend Robin invited me to come and read. It was in the basement, which was a single large room full of chairs and IIRC maybe even larger than the gallery space upstairs. I went with Gary, and it soon became apparent as the audience filed in that we were, at age 33 or so, by far the oldest people in the room. I read my bit about halfway through the evening. There was no mike stand so I bent up a coat hanger to support the mike on the table at which I sat to read.

I had written just for this event a piece called "The Cane-Raisers", inspired by something I had been reading about William Burroughs. It started and ended with two quotes from I can't remember what, maybe Nova Express, and it was about old people who got tired of being shoved around and threatened by youngsters. They learned from "The Old Colonel" methods of exterminating them singly by means of exotic weapons like ultrasonic-vibrating sword canes, igniting their ridiculous hairdos, crowding them off subway platforms onto the third rail, and like that until their community became a well-ordered and polite place to live.

It wasn't a long piece, but about halfway through I became aware of an odd sound in the otherwise silent room. It was a sort of sniffing-snuffling, and after a moment I identified it as that sort of laugh-through-the-nose people do when they're not sure they can laugh out loud about something, but at the same time don't want to appear uncool by doing nothing. Most of the audience was doing it, and I guess it was because they weren't quite sure whether the old codger at the mike was being serious or not.

I drawled my way to the end, got a good hand, and the night wound to its conclusion. Most of the young 'uns then went off to go dancing at that gay bar up the street (I forget what it was called then), while Gary and I went off home to our respective dog and kid. I haven't bothered reading in public since then.
ltmurnau: (Default)
I like to tell the story about how I was one of the last people to be refused entry into East Berlin.

It was October 7, 1989, not quite a month before the Wall actually came down. October 7 is East Germany's "Foundation Day", the commemoration of the date of the founding of the country in 1949. National holiday, with big parades and so forth in Berlin.

My friends and I took the elevated train from West Berlin - you get on in the West and travel non-stop to Friedrichstrasse, a station about half a mile inside East Berlin, and go through the border there. We got out and the station platform was full of border guards, many more than the time I had gone over the year before - there were even police dogs. A big beefy guard and two others came up to us - he shoved out his hand and demanded:
We handed them over. He looked at them.
"Ja, sie sind Amerikaner, ich bin Kanadisch."
(I, the Canadian, was the only one who spoke German.)
He snapped them shut and poked them back at me.
"Keine Einreise!" (No entry!)
No point in arguing, so we stuck around for 15 minutes until the train went back to the West.

We found out later that no one was being allowed in from the West on that day, because Gorbachev (who was then the poster child for freedom and reform throughout the Warsaw Pact) was in town for the holiday, and big anti-government demonstrations were expected. This was reinforced by what had happened a few days before in Leipzig: the city police had refused to put down anti-government demonstrations, so factory militia had to be trucked in from outside the city to break them up. This was the first visible breakdown in the authority of the East German government.

As it turned out, the East Berliners had a nice holiday with no riots, I'm sure Gorbachev enjoyed himself, and we went to the open-air flea market.

A few days later, I left Berlin. And a few days after that, people began to travel through the Wall without hindrance. I had missed the Freight Train of History by a couple of weeks.

The End.
ltmurnau: (Default)
I looked up what I was doing or writing about at this time one and two years ago.

2004 - writing about going to Luminara, and about Diogenes.

2003 - writing about being in pain from my broken foot, and having ice cream with [ profile] scuttle

What am I doing now? Short sitrep:

The papers were signed on Thursday the 14. I initialled each page (26 of them) and signed it all, in duplicate, in purple ink. It always enraged her whenever I used anything other than black ink to sign something - she thought you could get in trouble for signing cheques in green ink, for example. Maybe you do in Japan, except they don't even use cheques. I don't think she ever got used to the relative anarchy that is Canada.

Friday I took off work to spend with Aki. I dropped off at my lawyer's office a bank draft for a very large amount of $$$, all that was left of my ICBC money for my gimpy leg and a bit more, signed more papers then we had BBQ pork on rice at Wah Lai Yuen. Then we went to Fernwood and hung around, watched movies made brownies played games including hours of late night poker (he won $6.05). Sunday we went to Gyro Park for the Gothnic, it was fun!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) my mom and I will spend the day with him. Wednesday AM he takes off. We decided it was best I not see him off at the airport - too traumatic. I'd prefer that his last hours spent with me this year be nice ones.

He will be back in less than a year, and depending on how he's done and how he's feeling, I may apply to keep him here. My lawyer very astutely and not for the first time pointed out, when I was freaking out a couple of weeks ago, that here and now is not the right time to fight a battle for him.

Beginning Wednesday I start moving back into Toothpaste Acres, I don't want the house to be empty even for a night. The following month will see a massive cleanout and cleanup and loads of work, not least in getting ready for the Nevada trip. I don't want to sit and brood, I have done enough of that over the last few years.

Meanwhile, Luminara - anyone planning on going? I have a great idea for a costume of a "rokuro-kubi", a Japanese ghost or demon with an extendable neck:

Apparently, unlike most ghosts and monsters, these are fun to have around:


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