Saturday, 31 October 2015

Saturday Photo: Halloween...

Spent Wednesday afternoon making pumpkins with Jeanne.  It's very nice to have grandchildren since you have license to do all the artsy-craftsy things that you are supposedly too old to do.

Now back to work on Road through Time.  The completed manuscript is promised for the University of Regina Press on Monday.  Almost got it done!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Saturday Photo: Burning Bush, Montreal Style

Justin Trudeau started out his stint as PM by telling the world on behalf of 35 million Canadians: "We're back!"

Those were good words to hear after nearly ten years of Harperite stupidity.  Can't imagine that JT will deliver on half of his promises, but there have been moments this last week when I could dream we were headed for a promised land.

This lovely shrub, whose name I don't know, is at its height right now, and it would be nice to think it was a Sign!  Not very likely, but hope is a good thing...

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

They Ran from the Left, Will They Govern from the Right?

Canadians' basic decency won yesterday, with the decisive defeat of Stephen Harper's politics of fear and hate.  Thank goodness!

Now, however, Justin Trudeau's Liberals will have to hold to their promises to invest in infrastructure, run deficits and amend the terrible C-51 anti-terrorism law.  As often happens with the Liberals, they ran from the left. It remains to be seen if they govern from there.

The NDP is going to have to do some real soul searching about where they're going and who is their leader.  This time around I, a long NDP militant,  effectively sat on my hands.  Oh, I raised several thousand bucks for various candidates, but that's it, even though Mulcair is my MP and I was chair of his riding association back in 2010-2012.  The party on his watch as moved right, espousing dubious economic policies--he doesn't seem to realize that deficit spending should often be viewed as investment in the future--and not standing up for programs that really matter.  When it comes to the cornerstone of the NDP heritage, he made some noises near the end about  protecting the Canada Health Act which guarantees universal health care with penalties for provinces who allow extra billing. but that's about it.

Mulcair is said to be going to spend the day recuperating.  Good.  So should the folks behind this crushing defeat for him and the party.  Some changes are in order.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Saturday Photo: Even the Leaves Votes Red, Orange or Green

The election is on Monday, and it looks from here like a minority Liberal (red) government.  The NDP (orange) stands to lose much of what it gained in the Orange Wave of 2011 for reasons that I might go into later (has to do with letting the Liberals out flank them on the left, I'm convinced).  The Greens (green, of course) ran an honourable campaign, but if they get more than two or three seats they'll be lucky.

And it is fall of course.  We had our first snow this morning.  It melted as if fell, but still it's clear that time is moving faster than we realize.  The leaves aren't all off the trees, nor off the vines climbing the walls.  The effect is beautiful.  No wonder this is the favourite season of many--particularly when you  see the blue (Conservative, up there on the roofline) being challenged successfully.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Saturday Photo: The Path to Thanksgiving and a New Government

The leaves are beginning to turn colour here, and the sky is the brilliant blue that always makes me think of my mother quoting Helen Hunt Jackson's poem about "October's bright blue weather."

The poem is rather schmaltzy, but the line certainly describes what it's like outside.  This photo also gives an idea of the uphill road we're all travelling in Canada this week, toward an election when we get rid of Stephen Harper and his Cons.  There will be a lot of heated conversation this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend  as tens of thousands of people debate what is the best way to do that.

If you feel the need to retreat from the fray, here's  the poem which is both dated and too sentimental, but can get your mind off the dilemmas of democracy.

 October's Bright Blue Weather
    O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
        And flowers of June together,
    Ye cannot rival for one hour
        October's bright blue weather;
    When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
        Belated, thriftless vagrant,
    And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
        And lanes with grapes are fragrant;
    When Gentians roll their fringes tight
        To save them for the morning,
    And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
        Without a sound of warning;
    When on the ground red apples lie
        In piles like jewels shining,
    And redder still on old stone walls
        Are leaves of woodbine twining;
    When all the lovely wayside things
        Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
    And in the fields, still green and fair,
        Late aftermaths are growing;
    When springs run low, and on the brooks,
        In idle golden freighting,
    Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
        Of woods, for winter waiting;
    When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
        By twos and twos together,
    And count like misers, hour by hour,
        October's bright blue weather.
    O suns and skies and flowers of June,
        Count all your boasts together,
    Love loveth best of all the year
        October's bright blue weather.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Saturday Photo: Roman Road and Road through Time

Here's a photo of the Roman road at Conimbriga in central Portugal.  It's only one of the many roads I'm thinking about now, as I go back to the preliminary manuscript just accepted by the University of Regina Press.  Lots of fun in prospect!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Up Next: Road through Time

Pleased to say that I've just signed a contract with the University of Regina Press to publish my next non-fiction book Road through Time, probably in Spring 2017. It's about roads as vectors for change and exchange over time. The photo is of the Andes cordillera that I crossed on a bus just two years ago shortly after the new highway from Cuzco into Brazil was opened.