19 June 2018

Trivial matters.

A few members of my merry band and I ran a trivia night last Saturday. I was in charge of the actual trivia part of the evening. I did a lot of web searches into trivia nights and such, looking for some good questions. One of the oddities I found was that most of the trivia pages I found were British, which were replete with questions like 'what brand of cigars did Winston Churchill smoke?' and 'who was king when...?' And Gardens. The British do love their gardens.

It went fairly well, though I probably should have had a few more questions at the easy end of the spectrum. As I have said before, my knowledge base is somewhat skewed, so my idea of what is easy and what is hard is a bit off. For example, I had one token sports question (In what year did the Leafs last win the Stanley Cup?) but there are a lot of people out there who would have eaten up the sports questions, whereas that field would have been very difficult for me. 
It was fun, and we had a couple of laughs. For example, there was this question: "How many official members were in the Group of Seven?" There was a brief laugh, and someone asked: "Is that a trick question?"

Me: Oddly enough, yes. But I'll give you a hint: not seven.

The night was not as successful as we would have liked, but it was not a catastrophe, so we'll be trying it again in the fall.

13 June 2018

In memorium

I was going through another one of the boxes I had brought home from mother's. This one was filled with letters from her favourite cousin in the early 1940's. He had signed up to serve in the RCAH and trained a as bomber navigator, flying in a Short Stirling bomber. Those planes were reportedly hated by their crews, as it had a short ceiling, had difficulty climbing, and were frequently destroyed on bombing missions as they would be hit by bombs droped by higher flying planes. But Mother's cousin, or 'cuzzin' as he called himself, was thrilled to be in the air.
There were several letters from the young man. Many came with in RAF letterhead, complete with the motto per ardua ad astra- with effort, to the heavens. In a letter from May of 1942 he reported that the men were getting crewed up, and he wrote the names of his crew home to mother. They were as fine a group of men as had ever been, and he was proud to be counted among them.
He and those fine men would be dead two months later. They were flying a training mission and flew into a cliff in the north of England. Eyewitnesses said the crew had been throwing heavy equipment out of the plane in order to make it a little lighter and help the plane to climb just a little higher. Only the tail gunner survived the crash, and not for long.
RIP, cousin I never knew.

4 June 2018

The debt we have wasted.

On Memorial Day, 1945, the Americans held a ceremony at an American military cemetery in Italy to mark the day. The chief speaker was General Lucian Truscott jr. The general mounted the podium to give a speech, but, to the surprise of all assembled, he turned his back on the gathered crowd and instead addressed the dead. He apologized to them, and begged their forgiveness if his mistakes lead to their deaths, though he knew he was asking for a lot. He also said that he found nothing glorious in the death of young men, and he promised the dead that if he heard anyone saying otherwise, he would straighten them out.

I think of that moment often, especially during election years. I think we Canadians should send a delegation to our war graves in Europe and elsewhere, and apologize to our dead.

Start with those of the First World War, our bloodiest war with over 67,000 dead- nearly one per cent of our population at that time. These young men believed they were fighting for something greater than themselves, a chance to rebuild the world anew. But the old men who sent them and the incompetents who lead them merely spilled their blood pointlessly, time after time after time after time, and with the chance bought by these young men with their blood, those old men merely made the old world all over again, and made certain another war would come.

And so our men fought again, this time against one of the greatest evils Man has ever created. The believed they were protecting future generations and preserving democracy for their children, and their children's children. And so they did. with over 30,000 men paying the ultimate price for this cause. And what have we done with their gift?

Horvath, Wynne and Ford. That's what we have done. Our people now are more ignorant that ever about how the government works or is supposed to work. They no longer know nor care who their actually representative may be, are no longer interested that a government of one person with a bunch of flunkies may not be in the best interest of our land. We have betrayed the democracy our honored dead died to preserve to parties who care not for the welfare of the people, but only for their select little groups of preferred citizens, the useful idiots who vote for these parasites out of the hope for some crumbs.

As a people we deserve nothing more than to hang our heads in shame, fall on our knees, and beg forgiveness of the dead for wasting their lives.

12 May 2018

Fun with Frodo

For all the trouble we have with and for the kid, it is that much more important to take time to have some fun with him, and he is a fun kid.

Today I decided to try and teach him a new life skill: baking brownies.  I have long been convinced that many of life's problems may be significantly ameliorated through the liberal application of brownies.  I don't normally like Frodo being in the kitchen when the oven and stove is hot, as he is both curious and unpredictable, but I called down Younger for an extra pair of eyes and decided to give it my best shot.

It was not a complete disaster.  He seems to like stirring, and we ended up with brownies.  I'm going to call this a 'win'.

11 May 2018

My son's teacher.

The following was posted by my wife. It rather neatly encapsulates some of the issues our son is having with school/teacher:

"My son is autistic
Autism causes Stimming
Frodo stims by headbanging .
Instead of headbanging people we taught him to rap his forehead
His ME teacher thinks rapping his head is Self injurious - though I told her he doesn’t hurt himself , but rapping his own head bothered her so she went about to stop it
Now he is back to headbanging people and things.

 Great just great.

 She wants me to see the BT again - there is a report in his OSR - I sent her another copy
I also said I will speak the the Autism teacher on Frodo’s team and work with her to better help the ME teacher

She finds Frodo’s stimming socially unacceptable- understand that my son’s stimming - an expression of his autism, she considers socially unacceptable."

I would like to add that this is the teacher who replaced his really, really good teacher when that teacher was transferred. One of her many - peculiarities- is that she will not allow us to talk to Frodo's Educational Assistants. Keep in mind that it is the educational assistants that have the most contact with him and spend the most time with him. They are the ones closest to him and see his behaviour and the issues he confronts the most, and she will not let them speak to us, and will interrupt us any time we try and speak to them, and send them away and remind us that we are to speak to her.

A second peculiarity we learned from one of the few times we managed to have some words together with an EA: she also will not let them talk to each other. She interrupts them, or will corner them separately after she has spotted them speaking and demand to know what they were talking about. In particular, she wants to know if they were gossiping about her.

Meanwhile, my son flounders.

4 May 2018

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine;

Domine, exaudi vocem meam.
Fiant aures tuæ intendentes
in vocem deprecationis meæ.
Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine,
Domine, quis sustinebit?
Quia apud te propitiatio est;
et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.
Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus:
Speravit anima mea in Domino.
A custodia matutina usque ad noctem,
speret Israël in Domino.
Quia apud Dominum misericordia,
et copiosa apud eum redemptio.
Et ipse redimet Israël
ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.

3 May 2018

A little window to the past

Here is the announcement in The Canadian Freeman of May 26, 1864 that had a hand in the Corpus Christi Riot of that year, which I previously wrote about here.  Take a look at the order of the procession and the demands on the faithful.  Interesting what was once expected, what was once done, and what we have lost.