An open letter to the Canadian Legion

Dear Canadian Legion:

In 1948 by Act of Parliament, the Canadian Legion came to own the Poppy as a trademark for marketing, advertising and fundraising activities.

These days, we encounter the poppy around the middle of October, usually outside a liquor store.

But I hate the thing. If I had a dime for every time I’ve stuck myself with a poppy pin, I could recover all the money I donated to the Legion to acquire one, usually once a year because they fall off.  It’s like they are designed to fall off and inflict pain, which certainly encourages remembrance, but I’m not sure it’s the right kind.

Since they are identical every year, cheapskates I know (including a member of my tribe) reuse them every year. I don’t, but I know people who do.

Please redesign your trademark so that you put the year on the center green bit, to encourage people to buy new ones.

PLEASE fix the fastener OR start making enamelled versions of the poppy.  It would be an effective year round fundraiser, especially if sold with branch numbers so local members could support their local with pride.  And instead of being, effectively, somewhat hazardous trash, once no longer worn, it would be beautiful jewelry.

With love and thanks to Canada’s veterans, and sincere appreciation for the work of the Legion,

AR Sloman

Put those Mennonites and Quakers on the rotisserie….

…. this is what I want my mother to knit me for Christmas.   And no, she doesn’t have to, and I’ll be fine if she doesn’t.


Just remember folks, I wrote a song once in which I said, “And my heart’s an 88” and I WAS referring to the forward cannon on a Panzer.  So nobody should be too surprised if I get all gooey over some artillery themed slippers.

Letter to Globe and Mail published 24 November 1993

I offer my gratitude, my sense of indebtedness and my daughterly respect to all those men and women who and lived, or fought and died, so that I may enjoy freedom in Canada.  It is right and proper that those who benefit from something should acknowledge it.

However, I think that Michael Coren dishonours the dead of many wars when he says, “There have also been atrocities in war, but only a tabloid historian would argue that this was common.”

I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it is hard for me to do.  How is he defining ‘atrocity’? How is he defining ‘common’?

I think of the bombers raining death upon the children of Baghdad not so long ago, the slaughter of East Timor, the firebombing of Dresden, the siege of Leningrad, the Trail of Tears, the levelling of Coventry, the 40 million (estimated) dead of the Chinese revolution, Andersonville, the internment of the Japanese and Italians (among others), the horror of the Eastern Front, the piles of skulls in Cambodia, the napalm and chemicals of Vietnam, the children playing with severed heads in the streets of El Salvador, the starvation of the Ukraine, the open-eyed children lying in the makeshift morgues of the Balkans, the legless children in Angola, and the tons and tons of buried death chemicals all over the Wets, and enduring legacy of war that may yet rise from the ground like an unquiet ghost.

And I sorrow for these dead with at least the same intensity as I respect those who knew what high ideals they were dying for, whoever and whenever in time they may be.

Are these not atrocities? Are they not common, indeed, pervasive? Are not atrocity and war bosom companions, however we may honour those who fight on our behalf?

It being Sunday morning, here, have some curse words

Stephen Fry on swearing. SPECIAL BONUS, Hugh Laurie in drag.

Attended a Jim Scott house concert at Tom and Peggy’s last night.  I am going to be in a minority here, but I think it’s possible to write songs about peace love light cooperation and the rain forest and still keep some edge in the lyrics. Let me recast that.  His choice of words irritated me a lot, also, too much repetition, please please please have more respect for the audience than that.  Oh, really it was an indoctrination session?  Why didn’t somebody tell me?  He has a lovely voice and a lot of Brazilian nylon string guitar style but I enjoyed the a capella song about peace the most.  There was lots of singing along and I couldn’t open my mouth or I just would have coughed through the entire concert.  Also a church member and his squeeze talked ALL the way through, and when everybody else is quiet and you’re the one sitting next to the rude people it doesn’t add to the joy. Since this person behaved rudely at the last event we both attended, I’ll let him know when he’s had his third strike. It would be polite… no sense bottling it up and when I can firmly and respectfully tell him he’s rude.

However, Al Sather’s mini mousse tarts put some life back into me.  MAN they were good.

Had a migraine by the time it ended, walked home in the rain and collapsed next to Keith on the downstairs sofa (I walked 6.4k last night, pouring rain both ways), while he groused his way through the new Assassin’s Creed II.  Bastards dicked with the UI AND the game play, so you spend a lot of time falling off things you didn’t intend to.  Also, Ezio walks as if he tucked a carrot into his ass crack and his jumps look… well I’ll let you see it, because I fell over the first time I saw it.  Someone’s going to do a mashup of all his moves to techno, and it will be funny.

I am still feeling odd. Part of it is irritation with myself over something I can’t speak of in public, but I think I’m genuinely sick, too.  I’ll see if church is still an option after I have my vitamins and some coffee.  I kinda want to boycott church until they fix the sound system, but really that’s not a sufficient reason.

Tomorrow I interview Denis, and I am so looking forward to it.

Watched these two movies over the last couple of days.  Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima.  HIGHLY recommended.

How do YOU set boundaries with loved ones?  Just asking.

Paul and Keith are back today

kira REALLY misses them.

(Cat and Parrot video.)  When they are little I just eat them.  When they’re big, they’re kinda hawt.

I sometimes wish I could make money out of my fetishes, but then I read things like this and decide to stick with regular paid employment.

This story about Libyan freedom fighters, Gadhafi’s kid (Saif al Islam al Gadhafi) and a challenge to the moral leadership of al-Qaeda is remarkable, if true.

In a Brief History of Everything, Ken Wilber says I don’t mean to be crude, but it appears that testosterone basically has two, and only two, major drives: f*** it or kill it. Perhaps that is true, but I would add three items to that list: “Be First” and “Be Best” and “Submit your will to no one else”.  That is certainly how I have seen testosterone, properly utilized, play out in a man’s life.

On this Remembrance Day, let us remember the fallen dead, the falling dead, in all the past, present and future wars.  As the candles are lit, as the hiss of the wicks and the warm smell of beeswax fills the shrine, remember the dead.

The laundry list

Woke up at 2.

Eddie crying in my room again, but this time he let me pet him for about half an hour.

Could not for the life of me go back to sleep.

Did not want to go to work.  So…. tired….

Another commute to work in the drear rain, which magically transmuted to snow on the hill, and they are doing construction and thus diverted us onto a pathway that appeared to be clay mixed with greasy snow.  Almost fell four times on the way to work, again, the worst slip causing me to pull muscles.  Being diverted into a muck heap almost wrecked my shoes.  Complained to the site supervisor that where we were being forced to walk was a safety hazard, you bastard, have a nice day.

Got to work and everybody is asking me why I’m limping.  I wish I knew.  The last time I limped this much my back crapped out shortly afterward.  The pain in the top of my foot is worse when I walk and better when I climb or descend stairs, which makes NO SENSE to me. Why would flexing the foot hurt less?  The pain is markedly less when I do not wear footgear, which means I should hie me off and spend more money I don’t have on orthotics.  I used to get depressed when I was presented with yet another physical challenge, now I just set my jaw.

In the afternoon, Jeff got me at work and dropped me off at David Lam campus where – I had learned that morning – I was NOT going to get a contact lens fitting from my son but from a total stranger.  I stopped off in the campus bookstore and got Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell, and a really cool flashcard book about human anatomy, then went to my appointment and then learned that all the grudgy hopeless feelings melted – all Keith had had to do was say I was his mother, and they swapped things around so that I could get the fitting from him.  Got fitted – it was damned thorough – and walked away with saline and two new contact lenses, which fit great and which I wore for about three hours.  My eyes are a bit gummy today, but not significantly more than they are in the mornings anyway.  As we were commuting back home together I read bits of Homage aloud to Keith and the two of us were killing ourselves laughing, because grim as the subject is (Spanish Civil War), parts of it are screamingly funny.

Then Jeff went to a job interview which went well and he can news about it if he wants to, and then on the way home my cell rang and it was ScaryClown, saying OMG new kitty I’m coming over (reMARkable what getting a new animal does for your social life) as ScaryClown is crazy mad insane for cats and then we watched the 1929 ship around the Horn documentary, with ScaryClown occasionally emitting phrases of stunned appreciation, amusement and awe (JUST as I expected).

Then I cooked pierogies and fed them and then we watched some Robot Chicken including one I hadn’t previously seen, and then I went to bed because I keep having insomnia.  Thankfully, not last night.  Miss Margot slept with me voluntarily last night (she got up to explore in the night and then came back to bed) and I slept until just before six.  So I actually feel like a human being this morning, and my son is showing signs of turning into a professional, and a friend stopped by, and tonight I gotta fetch la Margot to the kitty hospital and get her booster shots.

I hope to go swimming with the folks from Planet Bachelor tonight.  I may feel subpar with all these aches and pains, but I still have to exercise and walking is turning out to be problematic.  I mean, bus drivers are stopping between stops to pick me up, how often does THAT happen?

Oh, and I fixed my hat so it sits on my head better.

Oh, and Katie called me voluntarily and without asking for money.  And she asked me for my opinion about her hair, which is like asking Miss Margot for an interpretive dance on the Berlin Air-lift.  I said, “You’re twenty years old and stunningly gorgeous, do your hair however the hell you like!”  Now that’s what I call solid parental advice.

Lee’s army is surrounded on three sides by Union troops

Surrender is inevitable.  Heavy sigh.  Such a gallant army.  Such an inglorious cause.

Anyway, I should drag myself away from the Rebel defeat long enough to comment on chicken breasts, curried rice and salad for dinner last night (v mild curry, due to Katie really not being a big fan).  Jeff’s doing the trash.  It’s all very domestic and boring, and frankly, that’s the way I likes it.  Katie left about 7:30 last night to parts unknown, but she had all her school crap with her and she’s supposed to text me when she’s on her way to school.  I’m not too worried; it would hardly help if I was.

I am now facing the prospect of doing scratch recordings of all the songs I have selected for inclusion in the musical, with some horror.  But it must be done….

On the highway, going fast….

And then this vehicle zips on past.

I especially like the sound effect of whoever’s holding the camera.  It is a sound of astonishment and wonder.  Scanged from Fark.

We are working our way through Ken Burn’s The Civil War.  I think Shelby Foote (who was court martialed for stealing a jeep during WWII to visit his gf, and never saw active service) was absolutely right when he said that without an understanding of the Civil War, an understanding of the American character is hardly possible.