Thursday: Skets and More

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As the latest Nor’Easter wreaked havoc in points South and East of Montreal, we did not escape getting a bit of snow this week. It snowed for two days, on and off, and a considerable amount of snow is on the ground. So much snow, that crews are out at this hour, clearing snow off streets and highways.

This week, a year ago, Montreal was hit by a severe snow storm, a snow storm so severe that it rendered city management, the Police, and Fire Rescue, unable to make conscious decisions about saving motorists that were stuck, “IN THE HUNDREDS” on highways inundated by snow for more than TWELVE HOURS or MORE.

It was not pretty at all. That bungle at the highest levels of city government and public service, told the citizens of this city, that we really don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.

But that was last year. This is today.

Sunday is the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This year, the track of the parade was shifted to another artery, namely De Maisonneuve. A street that runs East – West, With traffic coming One Way, Westward. For the parade, the traffic will be reversed moving Eastward, with the step off, beginning one block West, On St. Mark.

St. Mark is the drainage point for the Highway off ramp in this neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the city continues highway rebuilding over the weekend, as the new Champlain Bridge is not yet complete, and the continuing demolition of the raised highway, that runs East – West (the Ville Marie Highway).

The rebuild of the arteries of the Turcot Exchange has been going on for years now, and is far from being complete. With the Parade changes, and the Step Off being moved to an artery that takes traffic OFF the highway, and the entire closures of highway ramps for access to and access from the highway, are going to paralyze the city for the entire weekend, with the parade on Sunday afternoon.

The weather will be good, however a bit cold at (-3c) the low Sunday night dropping to (-16c). On Parade Sunday, in the past, it had been much colder, with snow. At least the snow that is on the ground, will be cleaned up by Sunday. It should be alright.

Tuesday and Wednesday are my days off. And I take full advantage of not having to be anywhere or have any work that needs to be done, save chores and grocery shopping.

This afternoon my new Skets came in the mail. Ebay had been telling me that they would not be here for another week. I do know that the Ebay collection Center in Erlangar, Kentucky had been snowed in for many days, and I was sure the mail would be hung up until things cleared out.

Nothing usually stops the USPS from delivering the mail. Through rain, sleet, snow and blizzards, nothing stops the USPS from delivering the mail …

Got to see old friends tonight, and one of them spoke for us.

I have not seen this particular friend in a long time. He hangs on the West end of town, and does not usually come East, into Westmount or up on to the Plateau where I hit meetings. This friend is just a few months older than I am. But what shocked me, when he walked in tonight, was that he went totally grey. I was like Holy Shit …

Is that what 51 looks like ?

I mean, I have a shock of grey hair that hangs in the middle of my forehead.

I call it my Jamie Lee Curtis grey look. I love that she accepted her ageing process and welcomed it, unlike so many in “the business” who color their hair to death, to stave off even the littlest bit of hair going grey.

My stylist and I joke about my streak of grey, it is stylish I think.

Tomorrow is Friday. The nest day/night of the week.

More to come.

Monday: IN ALL THY SONS COMMAND

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When does Political Correctness need to stop ?

When do we, as people, get to say, enough already with your penny ante bullshit needs for everything good and right needing to be changed because of the way you wipe your ass ?

The fluidity discussion has only grown in the last year or so, and I have seen this across many social platforms, and in my social groupings in the rooms I attend weekly. The classification of who you are, the color your skin, your nationality, your heritage, your background, your sexual identity, or lack thereof … has caused much fracas in these social circles.

Everybody is vying for a piece of the pie, so to speak.

We all want to be recognized, and respected, and equally represented, in all areas of life. Most importantly in our homes and in our communities.

Racism and Exclusion are very serious problems here in Canada.

And I am tired of having to prune my words in public and lately, when in conversation with friends, about many things, I have to actually, consciously “THINK” of what words I use in conversations that used to be so easily had. I cannot speak to friends like I used to speak to them before the P.C. Sexual Orientation/Fluidity topics have come to the fore.

Just the other day, I was talking to a friend, and within that conversation, he mentioned someone I know well and care about. Said person is on the S.O. spectrum (sexual orientation) spectrum. And as I was talking, I had to carefully MINE my words, having to actually choose words wisely, so as not to be offensive to them.

Do you know what kind of mental gymnastics that is ???

Having to carefully choose ones words, that do not come naturally, and having to think on ones feet, so to speak, making sure one uses the right pronouns or identifiers, is a real pain in the ass.

It’s like OOOPS, what did I just say ?

Did I use the wrong word there, because I cannot speak naturally, like I had been able for the whole of my life ?

They changed the National Anthem of Canada … Oh Canada …
The old version, written before W.W. I reads “IN ALL THY SONS COMMAND”
it now reads “IN ALL OF US COMMAND.”

The reference was put there to honor the memory of the great sacrifices that the many men who fought for this country in wars far and wide, that we remember them, respect them, and honor them for all eternity in song, every time we sing the anthem.

Now that has all changed.

Honor stripped from the Anthem. The memory lost to a bunch of tree hugging, politically correct pin heads, who bent over backwards and got fucked to make community more inclusive, because they just could not help themselves, could they?

  • Oh, I feel oppressed.
  • I don’t feel accepted.
  • I’m socially inept and sexually dysfunctional, and these days,
  • It is a Sin to be a MAN.
  • I mean really,
  • What the fuck WOMEN ?

Let’s just punish all the men in the world for the shortcomings of a few really bad apples. And while we are at it, let’s just change the whole fucking National Anthem for good measure!

When is enough ENOUGH already ?

I’ve spent HOURS walking the Canadian National War Museum in Ottawa with my best friend. If you’ve never been, you really need to see it.

I find it REPUGNANT that the national anthem was changed. Because the Honor, Respect and Memory of all those who died in service of Canada, have been just tossed aside for expediency and political correctness and for the whim of the female population, because they are SO HARD DONE BY, us men.

We should just RAZE the God Damned building for heavens sake now, because the hallowed honor of that building has been desecrated for sure.

I am all for respecting everyone … I mean we pray it over and over in the long version of the Serenity Prayer every night.

But enough is enough already.

This truly pisses me off to no end.

It sucks being a man. But I won’t stay silent for expediency and the fragile temperament of women who have their endless axes to grind with us.

There is a limit to my willingness to be accepting of social norms. But when you cross the line and begin to strip away honor, respect and memory from men who died for my country, you have taken a STEP TOO FAR …

The NEWS…

The Senate passed a bill that renders the national anthem gender neutral Wednesday despite the entrenched opposition of some Conservative senators.

The House of Commons overwhelmingly passed a private member’s bill in 2016 that would alter the national anthem by replacing “in all thy sons command” with “in all of us command” as part of a push to strike gendered language from O Canada.

The bill was first introduced by Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, who died in 2016. It now must receive royal assent by the Governor General before it officially becomes law.

Since 1980, when O Canada officially became the country’s anthem, 12 bills have been introduced in the House to strip the gendered reference to “sons,” which some have argued is discriminatory. All attempts have failed until now.

The song was written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908 and has been changed before — including an update that dates back to before the First World War when the author added the line that later sparked so much debate. Weir, a poet and judge, changed “thou dost in us command” to “in all thy sons command.”

‘Very, very happy’

Independent Ontario Sen. Frances Lankin, the sponsor of Bélanger’s bill the upper house, said she was elated after the bill’s passage.

“I’m very, very happy. There’s been 30 years plus of activity trying to make our national anthem, this important thing about our country, inclusive of all of us,” she said. “This may be small, it’s about two words, but it’s huge … we can now sing it with pride knowing the law will support us in terms of the language. I’m proud to be part of the group that made this happen.”

My Line in the Sand has been drawn, when it comes to Political Correctness.

I’ve had enough !!!

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Lest, we never FORGET the brave sacrifices of our men who fought for this country in wars far and wide, and forever HONOR them. This is our anthem as it SHOULD be sung.

Canada symbol on a flagpole

Diana – My Story August 31, 1997

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I had turned 30 years old just a month prior on July 31st, 1997.

Little did I know how the age of thirty would change my life forever, then.

I remember that night vividly. It was a Sunday night, around nine or ten that night. I was home in my apartment in South Miami, watching tv, when the news that Diana, Princess of Wales was injured in a car crash in Paris, and would later die from her injuries.

My next door neighbors were from London. I remember being in shock. I quickly got dressed and ran to the local neighborhood bar, around the corner, that was in full swing of Sunday T-Dance.

I ran into the bar, the lights were flashing in the ceiling and people were dancing and partying without a care. I jumped into the DJ Booth, and called to the DJ to stop the music and put the televisions on full blast.

The party stopped.

The news was flashing across the screens in the bar. And the sobs began. We stood there for what seemed like hours, as the international news told the story of Diana being trailed by paparazzi through the streets of Paris, and Henri Paul at the wheel.

In one fateful entry of a Parisian Tunnel, Henri Paul’s car hit a pylon in the tunnel and Diana was fatally wounded in that crash, and would later die in Pitie-Salpetnere Hospital in Paris France.

When I was a boy, on July 29, 1981 I remember getting up at the crack of dawn, and watching the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana. That day I had gone to work with my father. And I had a television in the car, that I could plug into the car lighter for power so I did not miss a moment of the wedding ceremony.

Diana was part of my life, she was part of my being. In those years from 1994 to 1998, I was waiting to die from AIDS. I was so very sick back then. But Diana, in her simple loving way, embraced the sick and dying in a way nobody we knew had before.

In her own way, from afar, I knew that she loved me and cared for me, by extension, the men she knew, who were fighting the same battle an ocean away.

The News of Diana did not stop. The American press, at the time, had non stop coverage of all the sordid details of the night before the accident. Parsing every word, scrutinizing every action, looking for that smoking gun, of Who Done It.

September 6th 1997 – was the funeral…

We know today, what Prince William and Prince Harry have said about that day. We’ve heard the stories re-told with insight of all these years, through the eyes and hearts of her sons, William and Harry.

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Watching those young boys walk behind their mothers flag draped casket, being carried by a cortege of horses and guards, was heart wrenching. I just could not imagine what was going through their young minds during that very long and arduous walk to Westminster Abbey.

I’ve walked inside of Westminster Abbey myself when I was in London, many years hence.It is a beautiful space.

The entire world stopped for those few hours to pay our respects to Diana, Princess of Wales, The People’s Princess. The words of her brother, The Earl Spencer, were pointed and biting. The message he sent to the world was this …

“We your family, pledge that William and Harry would grow up without the fear of cameras in their faces, and they would grow up as normal boys, come hell or high water.”

Well, we know today all that happened since that fateful day.

William and Harry, did indeed grow up, into fine young and noble men.

I think to myself, his thought … There in Miami, at a church downtown, was held a memorial mass for Diana, Princess of Wales. While there, memorial books were placed for mourners to sign. I had written letters to both Prince William and Prince Harry. And I stuck those letters, within the book, that would be sent to London, with the millions of others, from all over the world.

I wonder if William and Harry ever got to see any of those letters, and if they read them?

I watched several special presentations herein Montreal, over the past few weeks. And as I listened to them talk, I wondered if they read any of the millions of greetings that were sent to them specifically?

We all know the stories. We all know the speculation and the conspiracy theories.

William and Harry carry their mother’s legacies as best they can. And now that William is a father, and Harry an uncle, one day, Prince George and Princess Charlotte will one day know who their grandmother had been, and how much she loved her boys.

Diana lives in the heart of her children today. And every time I see both William and Harry, I see a little bit of Diana in each of them.

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We honor Diana, The People’s Princess today.

Sunday Sundries: Ottawa Trip

 

It was very moving to see the First People’s of Canada led the parade ahead of our Prime Minster and his guests. The Indigenous community has first place of honor in our Pride Parades this year, both here in Montreal and in Ottawa today.

 

I am home from a Whirl Wind trip to Ottawa to visit my best friend.

I took an early bus out, because I arrived at the station earlier than I had anticipated, so they let me on an early bus.

Pictured above … The Pride Parade in Ottawa this afternoon. The Honorable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, fellow Parliamentarians, and The Honorable Kathryn Wynne, the Premier of Ontario, led today’s parade through the streets of the Gay Village in Ottawa.

You can see the Private Security AND the POLICE. And I have to say there was one particularly HUMPY officer on a bike … WOOF !!

As the Prime Minister marched past us, a counter demonstration was coming back at us from the wrong direction, chanting “NO COPS in the PRIDE PARADE …” As many Officers on their bikes were riding with them in the opposite direction.

There were TWO Counter COP protest groups in today’s parade.

If I had the chance, several of them would have had broken limbs, had the cops not been escorting them, against the tide.

Nuff said about those asshole …

Unlike last year, the sun was out and we got quite burned standing on the sidewalk on the sunny side of the street. We took up several positions as the parade came past us.

It was much bigger, and many more groups marched this year. Last year it pissed down rain all afternoon.

All of the Political Parties had groups marching. The Canadian Military Services also marched, and one of their buses was in the parade itself. And we thought this funny that the Military Band that marched in the parade was playing … wait for it …

IT’S RAINING MEN ….

By the Weather Girls. My bestie said to me as they came past that they should have been playing “In the Navy” by the Village People. Both songs would have been appropriate.

We have some seriously good-looking men in uniform.

It was a good day, that ended in a Second Cup over coffee and conversation.

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Friday …

I arrived around 5 o’clock into Ottawa, and we had reservations to see Kontinuum.

Ontario is building a METRO system in Ottawa Proper. due to open next year.

There are two lines, A North – South Branch and an East West Branch running through downtown Ottawa, Several Stations will be servicing Parliament Hill, in the area, almost adjacent to The Hill.

Kontinuum, is a Multi Sensory, Light, Video and Sound show that was built to highlight the Metro System, under ground. The stations are not yet complete. So as we entered the System, we came in on One Side of the station, where we were greeted by a sensory overload light show that began above ground with a movie, sound and light show.

Over the next half hour we moved underground, into that station, as light, sound and video showcased the Metro System. On the Track platform, which hosted both sides of the station, like we have here, an inbound and an outbound track. Sound and light served both sides of the platform.

It was quite dynamic.

I have video of the tunnel, but this blog does not have video functions …

UGH .

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Saturday …

 

Saturday was a full plate kind of day. With my friends Parliament Hill Access, and an invitation from a Member of Parliament, we got in to see Parliament Hill, from the Inside. A beautiful day.

 

Parliament Hill is a beautiful building, with many different rooms. Every part of the building and every sculpture, column, room, carving and marble floor tile, has a specific meaning. Elements from ALL over Canada went into building the site. As Parliament Hill went up, and Canada grew into Confederation, and all the provinces and territories were at some point, all are represented in the building itself.

We saw the House of Commons, which is done in shades of green. Each seat in the room is party specific. The murals on the walls, and the wood carvings around the room as well, all have stories attached to them.

 

The Senate Chamber is Red. And also there as well, there are meanings carved in the wood, the murals in the hall, and as well, in both committee meeting rooms, that are used during the week for consultations and deliberations of House Business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Parliament Hill, we Toured the Canadian National War Museum.

The War museum is a HUGE building. And tells the story of the men who served Canada in all of the wars and conflicts, around the world, over time. I do not know, on my grandmothers side of the Canadian branch of family, if anyone in that branch, served in any military campaigns. I need to go look through my family tree. I do have one here at home.

The museum is beautiful and tragic. Sad and Sorrow filled. So many men lost their lives over the century. And the War Museum gives their stories, tells of their service, and honors their sacrifice to a grateful nation that is Canada.

At Parliament Hill, in the Memorial Hall, is listed every soul who lost his life serving our country. We saw the Peace Tower on my last trip.

Myself as well as my best friend, we are both immigrants to Canada.

Both of us Citizens of Canada.

One can get misty eyed while walking those hallowed halls of memory, and think of all those men, who took on the evil of war, many died, but also many came back. And Canada honors their service to our country.

It was an amazing experience. Last Summer when I went to Ottawa, we were both on the hill together, watching a light show on Parliament Hill, and as new citizens, together at the same time, ON the HILL, as they played Oh Canada … I wept.

That was the most important night of my Canadian Life.

I did not get a citizenship meetings, nor a hand shake, nor the anthem, when I got my papers in the mail, just a Welcome to Canada letter, from our Now Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, who was serving as Immigration Minister when I became a citizen.

As we exited the Museum, I said to my friend that, unlike many Canadians, we did not have any blood connection to anyone represented in that museum. But nonetheless, we were moved to tears in the halls, and we honored their memories, by sharing in this tour together.

We Honored all the men and women who served our Country.

Because War is not just a male oriented duty. Because we know that when a man went to war, his wife, girlfriend, family, and community did their fair share of service, IN service of the war and the men fighting over seas.

We all played a part in the success of the men who served, by doing what we could to serve the greater good, when it mattered. And in death, there are MANY memorials scattered all over Ottawa, for us to visit and REMEMBER …

Right across the street from the War Museum a monument to the Holocaust is going up. It will be another beautiful monument to the survivors and all of those who died in the worst genocide the world has ever seen.

The unspoken genocide that took place right here in our Country was the eradication of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The Government, and we as citizens, are on the road to mending those very valuable relationships, and the people who survived that very hushed genocide of those who were here First. Which is why they are front and center of Pride Parades in Canada this year.

Every time I go to Ottawa, my visits are always educational oriented.

With every step in Ottawa you take, you walk on hallowed ground. Every stone in the ground, every building that is restored or maintained, every monument that goes up, every park you sit in, and every street you walk down, has a connection to the history of the men, women, and indigenous Peoples who inhabited this land, well before the white man came to this area of Ontario.

There are thousands of stories to learn, and to be heard. There are many, MANY lessons to be learned about the history of Canada and her people’s.

Ottawa is a city of Remembrance.

And we are making slow but serious strides to heal the rift that exists between its First People’s and what we took from them, and returning what is rightly theirs to begin with by honoring their stories and their people, from yesterday and today.

And tonight, I am a lot more grateful to the country I call home.

Because of the sacrifice of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect this nation and the world at large from the evils and horrors of war.

We also must commend all the men and women and their service to build this wonderful city of Ottawa, and its myriad of museums, so that no story goes untold, nor forgotten.

We Remember …

Monday: Remember …

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A long time ago, in a jungle far far away, a man perished in the Viet Nam War.

He is a ghost in my life. A man I remember today. I may not have known him but my father did. Love has no boundaries in the theatre of war, and strangers fighting in a common fight, find companionship, security, honor and valor, together.

I carried his name, until the burden of never ever living up to his valor, courage and honor, drove me to wipe him away, the only way I knew how.

I never figured out why a man would name his son after a soldier who died in the heat of war, then tell that child, he was a mistake, and should never have been born.

It is an indictment of my father, and besmirches the name of that man who died.

Honor has its place.

I remember …

Holocaust Memorial Day: In the Words of Primo Levy…

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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz