Tuesday, January 30, 2018


     In recent days a cartoon with a pendulum showing females suffering the results and the swing now showing males being caught.

    The pendulum is a good metaphor to show how the present situation has changed and that men are paying a price for their behavior. The pendulum tries to bring up the idea of a balance.  

     I'm not sure that there is any way to think of a balance in this situation. Both males and females lose a tremendous amount in this situation. Females lose physically, emotionally and it carries on throughout life. Males lose their position and power. They are very different types of losses and I don't see a comparison or equality in the situation. 

     People have been talking about a balance? I'm not sure what that balance would be. When the behavior is taken out of the courts and reported on line any control the justice system had is gone.

    The other point is that inappropriate behavior still goes on. With recent reporting of assaults people think that might put a stop to it. It won't. There will be many males who still behave in a very inappropriate manner. 

    One of the comments in my last post mentioned that we have to look at each other as people rather than male/female. We should look at ourselves as people with characteristics describing character and ability. I like this idea although it is so huge that it will never happen. 

    I hope that we do move to a situation where there is less sexual assault and that there is a more definite understanding by all as to what various behaviors are.

Friday, January 26, 2018


   The reporting of numerous high profile sexual charges has taken us by surprise. It was always known that there were sexual assaults and more that occurred and were never reported. The rate of reporting is extremely low. The rate of conviction for offenders is again extremely low. 

    There would be numerous reasons why the very few assault charges were laid.

     Our justice system is woefully inadequate to process sexual assaults. Women are unwilling to report and lay  charges as the system doesn't work with respect to sexual charges. It's difficult for a complainant to give evidence regarding an assault. It's a personal and hurtful experience. Then a cross examination can add another layer of stress. The offender then gives his side of the story. So you have two stories. Which one does the justice system accept. Historically it's been very difficult to get a conviction on a sexual assault.
     So the justice system has limped along making a very poor job of cases. 

    Too many males and very few females have been involved in setting up a legal system that works better than what we have now. The justice system until recently was mainly male and they set up and ran a very ineffective system. One judge in Alberta asked a rape victim why she didn't keep her legs together during the assault..

    Now since some women have skirted the justice system and reported assault many more women feel confident enough to report what has happened to them. That is good.

     So now we have men who are publicly accused of sexual misconduct . Many men have lost their positions without going through due process. So again the justice system fails us. 

    The patriarchal system we have leads to male behavior of dominance. I wonder if matriarchal systems have been looked at as far as their issues with sexual assault is concerned. 

     We are a highly competitive society. People who desire leadership rolls compete vigorously for the position. No holds  barred. Many politicians are now accused of misconduct. Politicians are able to negate half of their rivals with inappropriate sexual conduct.

   The justice system is only one piece of the puzzle. Education? Social behavior?

    We have a long way to go on this one before an acceptable level of justice and equality are achieved.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


     I have written on this topic before but, today I was listening to a phone in radio show and the topic was friendly letters. It got me thinking about friendly letters again.

     Now I'm old enough to know what a friendly letter is. I'm also old enough to have written many friendly letters. I grew up during the 40's and 50's. I had excellent mentors as far as friendly letter writing was concerned. My mother and Grandmother corresponded weekly. As little kids we would gather around Mom to hear Grandma's letter. 

     So when I left home I tried to write my mother a weekly letter.  I kept it up for about 5 years and then it gradually dwindled to nothing.

    Up until my mother-in-law's death we got friendly letters. Now about once every two or three years I get a friendly letter from a sister-in-law. It is an excellent letter and I like to see it come.

    So that covers that. Friendly letter writing has dwindled to nothing.

    Back to the phone in show. There are people who still write friendly letters but it seems that they are special projects. For example, one husband went through his wife's address book and asked people to write his wife a friendly letter for her birthday. She got fifty letters and is still excited today. The conclusion on the show was that friendly letter writing is dead.

     The Internet became part of the topic...emails, face book , twitter. The feeling was that these devices were part of the problem for killing the friendly letter. However, writing in these formats did not give a good letter.  Another enemy of friendly letters is the phone. There are very economical long distance rates compared to 50 or 60 years ago. It is literally cheaper to phone than write.

    Now with blogging there is more room for detailed information. The goal of some blogs is to keep friends and family informed. Some blogs consist of posts that describe daily life. They tell the story well enough to make it interesting enough to read. 

     So are you involved in any way with friendly letter writing? Has blogging taken over friendly letter writing to some extent?

    A stamp dealer was telling me that stamp collecting has almost disappeared. Young people are not interested in it. They don't write and have little to do with stamps.

Saturday, January 20, 2018


    One of the American bloggers I follow , occasionally mumbles about the metric system and the lack of it's use in the States. She wonders why the US is not adopting the metric system.

     The post got me thinking about Canada's change to the metric system. The change began in 1970 and it's still going on. The change was ugly but we can say that we have adopted the metric system of measurement.

     Our change happened in an awkward fashion. The plan was to phase different parts of the economy into the use of the metric system. A special ministry was set up by the government to oversee the process.

    It's difficult to make an overall change as some sections of the economy just can't change that easily.

     Our land survey system is difficult so it took a while and is still in progress. Miles are part of the legal land system. Most of the agricultural system now uses hectares.

     As  a country we automatically use Celsius and kilometers.  We buy gas by the liter.

     I was a teacher during the seventies so the education system was charged with teaching the metric system. We did a poor job. We taught conversion of the English system to the metric system. Poor plan. Don't teach conversion from the old system to the new. Teach the kids about the size of the basic units in the metric system and then how the system is based on tens.

    So now almost everything is metric. We by groceries by grams and liters  or some form of them. One problem is that some groceries are also sold in pounds and priced in both pounds and grams. This gets to be a problem.

   We had some major sieges. One old guy wouldn't change his gas pumps to liters. He fought a long fight but in the end he lost.

    Lumber is still a problem because historically the English system was used so all old buildings were in that system. Most lumber is in English, but some dimensions have changed. Plywood thickness is in millimeters but length and width are in feet.

    Somehow, we muddle along. The biggest advantage is that we fit in with the rest of the world. The worst of the change for me was listening to people complain about it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


      Today it was plus 1 C (33 F) so I went for a walk. It was also a good day to take the camera as it wasn't too cold on the hands.

      Going for a walk is a good way to come home with a few photos.

      We've had a good winter to this point. Yes we've had some very cold weather ...minus 30 C. We've had more wind than usual. But we did have a very pleasant six week mild spell. Not much snow melted. It was just very pleasant to have warmer than usual temperatures.

      So today I walked over to one of my favorite natural areas and found a few things to photograph.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


    Today I had a big dose of the I didn't think "aheads".

    Now I'll have to take you back a bit. Yes a way back.

     When the Micro Manager and I got married in 1966 the thing to do was to record your wedding ceremony on an audio tape recorder. That's right folks ...non of the video stuff. We used a reel to reel tape recorder. That was before cassette tapes. I bought the reel to reel tape recorder in 1965. I used it for listening to music. At that time it was pretty good sound. You could borrow somebody's LP and record it. Now the recording went like this. You'd set up  couple of microphones attached to the tape recorder. Then you would start the record player and tape recorder at the same time and you taped somebody's LP.

    Since this technology was just about obsolete I bought something else for listening to music. I haven't touched my old reel to reel tape recorder for at least 40 years.

      Fast forward to today. The micro Manager wanted to get the wedding tapes changed to cassette. Well, she said it would be easy. Turn on the reel to reel tapes and turn on the boom box and hit record! I should have been listening a little closer. There is no input on my boom box so I can play my tapes forever and nothing will be recorded.

  So today I turned the machine on.  It ran but was too slow so the sound was distorted. After cleaning a few things it ran close to the proper speed but the sound was awful.

     What now? The micro manager is not one to give up. My ipad has a microphone. But then she said how would we get the music to cassette ? CD wouldn't be for her.

    So look for some more obsolete technology in the house. Yes, the so called stereo which hasn't been turned on for more than twenty years. We found a microphone and input jacks. so that should work.

    Well, that will have to be tomorrow because with all the fooling around today there was no time left.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


     When I arrived at the little Louisville school in early September of 1958, I had not had my 19th birthday.  Yes, a teenager had been hired to teach in  school for one year.

     So I had to get busy. I had to find books and supplies that had been dropped off over the summer. It had been impressed on us in Teachers' College that the school register was a very important legal document. I also had to find the last year school register to see who my students would be and what grades they were in.

     I also had to set up a timetable. Since there were seven different grades there had to be time for each grade in each time period. I also had to know how many minutes per day for math and all the other subjects.

     A school board member did drop in to introduce himself and welcome me and give support.

     So the first day of school arrived and this nervous teenager was willing to give his best shot for these kids. All kids were dropped off by parents. Two kids arrived on a small pony. I rang the bell promptly at 9:00. My mind is blank after that. Somehow we got organized. 

     These kids were used to a brief lesson and then working on their own. The older kids could spend more time on their own. The little guys needed attention. Plasticine kept them occupied for only  short time. The primary program was detailed in guide books. I had to consult the guide book the night before and then I was ready for the little guys. I also found an old window blind that I carefully printed their vocabulary on and drilled them whether they needed or not. Something that came to me years after is that many kids come to school knowing how to read. As I look back George, knew how to read but he stilled jumped through all the hoops. I'll never for get one day how he played the dummy and pretended he didn't know the words. He screwed up his eyes and acted as if he didn't know the words. The rest of the kids were watching and burst out laughing as they knew he was faking it.

     I also had drills in math for kids to learn their time tables.

     These kids were extremely well behaved. Now the teacher before me had serious problems and kids had misbehaved. I was warned by some of the people to be stern. I think I scared these little guys.

     I had no ability in art or music. I faked my way through these subjects. The powers that be were satisfied if I tried. At that time the department of education had a weekly music program. I would turn the radio on and we would have our weekly music lesson.

    Recess and noon hour were great times. Sometimes I went out and organized activities but most of the times they just loved to play.

    The old school building was in pathetic condition. It was very cold in the winter. There was a wood and coal stove but it would go out over night and when I got to school in the morning I would have to light a fire. Many days we pulled the desks around the stove and worked until noon when the room had warmed up. 

    There were people in the district who didn't have children. I remember two farm guys who were pretty rough and crude around the edges. They would go through the school yard when they were hauling hay and stop in to visit me. They were harmless but very unsophisticated.

     At that time there were school superintendents who usually made a yearly inspection. This made teachers rather nervous. One day in September I happened to notice a gentleman looking in the doorway. I thought he might be the superintendent and he was. I just kept on teaching and he stood and watched. When there was a little break , he gave me a nod to come outside. What now. We sat down on the step and had a chat. He just wanted to know how things were going. He had a few directions to give me. He had delivered some supplies. He was very encouraging. I've never forgotten Harry Smith who as so helpful in my first year of teaching.

    I usually went back to school after supper to do some marking and prepare for the next day. There was no electricity in the school so I had to light the gas lamp. It was pleasant working in the very quiet of the room. When I finished my work the lamp went out and I walked the half mile home in the dark. In the winter there were huge snowbanks to walk over. Moonlight nights were awesome and often there were northern lights.

    When I came back after Easter. I had a big surprise. The people I was boarding with had sold their farm and were moving. No problem . They decided where I would stay. The second place I stayed was fantastic. What meals! In three months I gained lots of weight.

    The farmer would hire aboriginals to pick stones off his land. They would come to the farm with their horses and live in a tent. One night they came to the house and wanted to go back to the reserve. The farmer didn't want to take them back as he knew he might lose his workers. I didn't know that so I said I would take these guys back. What an adventure! It was later in the evening and was dark. Reserves in those days didn't have roads or electricity. They would tell me to drive to one place and they all went into the house and I stayed in the car. They were visiting and getting clothes and food. This happened for all four guys I had in the car. One guy didn't come back and I picked up a new guy. I got back about midnight. Everybody in the district had a good laugh about my experience.

     At the new place I was sometimes given a very ancient army truck to drive to school. Sometimes I couldn't shift gears and drove the four miles to school in first gear.

   The learning curve in my first year of teaching was steep. I was quite proud on myself and I'm sure I had matured a great deal.


Monday, January 8, 2018


      My math yesterday was terrible. It was 40 years ago Elvis died not 50.

       So no wonder some of you felt very old.

      Two sharp eyed bloggers caught my error. The first was Steve at Shadows and light and the second was Bill at Somewhere in Ireland.

      Thanks to the two sharp eyed bloggers and thanks to readers for putting up with me.

Sunday, January 7, 2018


        Tomorrow would have been Elvis's 83rd birthday! It's hard to believe that he died in 1977 ...50 years ago.

      There are certain events which happen and you remember the exact place and time you heard the news. I remember hearing about Elvis. I had a recreation property that I was developing the hard way...by hand. As I was working cutting brush and trees , I always listened to my favorite talk radio.  The two hosts announced Elvis's death. I always remember my 8 year old son being shocked by Elvis's death. It was some unbelievable news. Of course, Elvis dominated the rest of the day's news.

      Elvis was at the peak of his game from the mid 50's to mid 60's. There aren't many people left who remember Elvis when he was king.

     I was a fan of Elvis but not outrageously so. I liked his music. We didn't have TV so I didn't see him. I didn't even see the Ed Sullivan show with Elvis.

    Elvis's career ended long before his death.

    So tonight I'm going to listen to a little Elvis Presley music to remember the King.

Elvis, Elvis Presley, Musician

Friday, January 5, 2018


      I don't know about you, but I have difficulty reading the faces of black appliances. 

      It came to a head recently when I bought a new computer. The tower is below the top of my desk so the vision is difficult to start with. On the front of the tower is a tray to load DVDs,  2 USB ports, Two sound jacks and another port that have no idea of what it is. However, the problem is to see any of this stuff. At times in the daytime it's visible At all other times in the day I cannot see these connections. I have my trusty flash light on my desk to see the computer face.

     When I started to think about this situation , I realized I had another color option for the computer but never gave it a thought at the time.

    Then I started to look around in the room and all appliances are black. I have a black stereo, a black boom box, black radio and black phone. Oh yes the interior of my car is black.

    What's going on with all the black?

Even my flashlight is black!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


       I would like to recommend that you go over and have a look Yorkshire Pudding

       This is a well done blog and is written everyday. There's a good balance in different posts which makes things interesting.

      Excellent photos of Northern England. Some of his photos are chosen to be published in a magazine.

     Some great poetry...not enough though.

    Some strongly worded and well reasoned opinions.

    Some wicked humor.

    Each year Mr Pudding, as he calls himself, sets up an elaborate awards program. The awards are called "Laughing Horse."  Weeks before the awards show there is chatter that gets you thinking. Then there's an announcement about the location of the awards and all followers are invited. Then the big event occurs and bloggers who follow Uncle pudding are described as they enter the awards program. Now he's really whipped up the excitement. We can barely remain seated. Announcements are made.

    It's a fun series of blogs.

    Look on the top right hand corner of my blog.

    Be sure to drop over and visit Mr Pudding.

Monday, January 1, 2018


     The morning after my last post the son-in-law phoned to wish ma a happy new year.

      It didn't take long for us to get on the family history topic. Some how or other I let it out that I had a biography in the back of my head.  Now he was on a roll and the next thing you know he had got me enthusiastic about my biography.

     Now much of what's on this blog could be easily used in a biography.  Previously I've written about my Arctic experience,  in particular,  getting there. I did not go into the actual teaching experience.

     Now I'm the first to admit that I'm a random chaotic sort of soul. I know what I want to tell in the first few chapters , but here I am writing about things the happened at  the start of my professional career. I'm also an optimist to a fault so some how or other later on, I should be able to put all the bits and pieces together.

    Sound like a plan? 

    So my first year teaching?  

    I had finished my one year teacher training. Had I applied for a job? No.

    Now many people in my class had applied for jobs and been hired long before we finished the course.  I had to wait until I got my marks and new for sure that I had passed the course. Now it was getting late and about three weeks before school started.

    Fortunately jobs were a dime a dozen so I was hired to teach in a one room country school. Many things were set up. the community just said I would be boarding at Enn's because they needed the money from boarding the teacher

     The school was named Louisville and was 11 miles from one small village and nine mils from another village. There was post office and country store about three miles away.

   The school was old and maintenance and upkeep had been lacking for years.

    I got to the school a few days before school opening and rooted around the place to find things. I found text books and school supplies. I stored these in convenient locations. 

    On school opening day ten little beaners showed up. Yes, ten students. I had three gr. ones,  two grade twos and one each in gr three, four, five, seven and nine.

     Since I had attended such a school I knew how things worked. I made up a time table so that I could conveniently move from grade to grade.These kids had to do most of heir work independently and they were good at it.

    Now I had no music ability at all so these poor kids didn't get any music. 

    So I kept the fire going so we kept warm and we all worked together. 

    Now these kids taught me a great deal. The community was very supportive and gave me much encouragement.  . I felt good about that year and so decided that I would continue in education. I resigned after that one year so that I could go to university.