Archives for: August 2007, 19

08/19/07

Permalink 08:05:43 am, by Email , 1460 words   English (CA)
Categories: BlogTalkers

BlogTalkers: The Curse of Being a Historian...

BlogTalkers!

This week's question/request...

What historical time period would you most like to visit? Why?

Catching Time (Time Flies)

Y'know how often we've been asked this...? Y'know how often we've asked this of others?

I hate to take this literally, but I can't take it otherwise... it's a curse.

Well, once I take into consideration that I want my visit to be a peaceable one, that limits my options.

Because I want to understand those around me and have them understand me, there's another limitation.

Because I want to stay healthy, this REALLY limits me.

Consider this...

  • Before 1400, you probably wouldn't understand anyone in Europe as they would be speaking the "old tongue". Old English, when you found it for example, is ne þæt easy eac forstandan. Heck, if you wanted to hang out with royalty and the upper crust, you'd probably be best served to speak French... even in England! (...and Old French is as easy to comprehend for modern Français speakers as Old English is to us.
  • Bathing wasn't "in vogue" outside the far East (and in ancient Rome and Greece) until about 1780. Mmmm! What a pleasant smell that would be!
  • Remember small-pox? The plague? "Augue"? Oh so many ailments!
  • Dental hygiene? Up until the late 1700's, they'd wonder what you were talking about. "Jungle mouth" would be an appropriate choice of words.
  • Not to be rude or cause a stir... but I know some would say "I want to be with Jesus." I am someone who believes that Jesus existed... but I also except the fact that he'd be Arabic in appearance and, again, I cannot speak ancient Persian, Aramaic, nor is my Hebrew up to snuff, I would have issues understanding him. For all I know, his "apparent" blessing to me could be him saying You've got some shmutz on your shirt.
  • The Court of King Arthur? Well, again, bad teeth and stinky people who are harbouring many diseases aside, he didn't really exist. Sorry, there is NO historical documentation that he wandered around at all. You can blame fellows like a Welsh monk named Nennius who simply listed twelve battles that "Arthur" (we don't know who Arthur is in these,) too part in, Geoffrey of Monmouth (I have his book... it's Old English, but thoughtfully was translated and only brushed against Arthur in his writings really... and his "facts" are a bit... um... skewed,) then Thomas Malory picked up the ball in 1485 (long after Arthur, had he been around, would be reasonably close to becoming 10W40,) and "modernized" Arthur (to fifteenth-century standards,) and gave him some silly English kinnigits. Truth is, there MAY have been a "King Arthur"... but don't bet on Gwenhyver or Guinivere... or however you may choose to spell it... and Merlin, forget about it! For a real giggle and accuracy, "Merlin" is awfully close to another French and Latin word... merde... meaning... um... excrement. Oh, and Arthur, if he existed, would look at someone in plate-armour (shining armour) that way we might look at an armoured robot... "Shining Armour" didn't come around until the late 1300's.
  • Want to go back to Revolutionary times in America? Are you prepared to find out that 1/3 of the population was actually loyal? 1/3 of the population was indifferent, and the last third was "patriots"? Where'd I get these horrible numbers??? Benjamin Franklin documented them... but hey, he and the founding fathers DIDN'T want YOU to have the vote... they wanted only the ruling elite and oligarchy to have it! This way, intelligent people (HAHAHAHA!) would be the only voters ensuring (HAHAHAHA!) that the best person for the office was in... not the ill-educated "rabble"! (They changed this stance to try and lure more people to their cause... it worked a little...)
  • The American Civil War... so poetic and sad... Well, yeah. We did have a lot of sad and poetic moments, but we also had a LOT of blood and venom. Also, most in the North were NOT abolitionists. In fact, when Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation, several units in the field threatened to quit en masse rather than fight for that cause.
  • You might think, as a War of 1812 re-enactor, I'd be tempted to say, "TAKE ME BACK THERE!"... but no... it was a paranoid time where, due to my lack of "authentic" British accent, my guys would probably assume I was a "dreaded Yankee"... and the other side would not be happy because I was a "Canadian"... which to them, was French Canadian only. Actually, "Canadian" was only specific to French Canada... on both sides... as the "Upper Canadians" (as we call them now,) were staunchly British. Also, health concerns and hygiene would be another factor to slam my brakes on for this trip. Gen. Winfield Scott, when reporting on the state of the food fed to American soldiers, mentioned the water for bread being drawn from a stagnant pond near a pile of rotting limbs severed by the surgeons and right by a latrine... and he commented he had found chunks of "fecal matter" baked into the bread. A simpler time before microbes like "germs" and "bacteria"!

I guess, for me, this limits my "time travelling" to safer moments in the late Victorian era to modern times... and I'm not THAT interested.

...well, save maybe ONE lonely instance...

I've often said that I would love to be a witness to the explosion of the first atomic bomb in Alamagordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945.

Legend has it that while watching the explosion, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who was spearheading the project, realised what he had created... and quoted from the Hindu scriptures...

I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

As he put it later... We knew the world would not be the same.

I am a student of the human condition... and to look into the face of the man who completely understood that he had just helped create the first weapon of absolute global destruction must have been a sight to see... Oppenheimer, after the war, became a staunch peace advocate. His advocacy of not developing the more powerful hydrogen bomb was viewed as "Communist Sympathies" and his security clearance and livelihood was removed. For the record, and for those who wish to correct me, he did have "friends" who were communists... from his work in the Anti-Facist movement in the 1930's. It was a convenient piece of evidence to get him out of the way.

He spent the rest of his life writing books on intellectual ethics and morality.

...that said, this "moment" I've picked is a shaky one too... after all, MOST of the people that witnessed the explosion passed away from forms of cancer... and being irradiated just to watch a man's realization is not high on my list of things to do.

ANYWAY, to sum up...

I don't think I want to "time travel" myself... I'd be content to watch major events documented properly from a nice, safe distance, thank you very much...

Now, if the question had been, What time and event in history would you want to see videotaped like a reality television show or true documentary to show you what REALLY happened?, I could write a book of answers.

A Quick Note: Part of me would prefer to travel to the future... but part of me, like Charles Dickens, would realise that knowing the future could be more traumatic than anticipated... How would you feel if you went ahead a couple of centuries to find out that Oppenheimer's worst nightmare had been enacted?

For now, I'll do my normal time travelling... I go, as do you, at one second per second.

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The standard last note on the old blog... PLEASE SUPPORT THE DREAM!

This blog is here to help promote a dream that an entire family shares... that dream is to rescue an old London Double-Decker bus.

RLH 3

Please, if you have a few minutes, take some time to find out more about this bus and the kooky dream by clicking here.

This bus is VERY special to myself and the whole family, and any help any person can lend us would be most gratefully accepted.

If you or someone you know might be interested, there's our tiny banner site, HelpCoverTheBus.Com and a PayPal donation button (see the upper-right hand side of the blog) and, of course, a Cafe Press shop for T-Shirts and shtuff!
(...and who doesn't need some shtuff!)

Please help us make this dream a reality and save a piece of history!

We thank you for your support!

Please Note: We are also hoping for help from a public relations/marketing standpoint... If you might be able to assist OR know someone who might be willing to, please click here and read this entry...

Spacer

Permalink 12:00:01 am, by Email , 1171 words   English (CA)
Categories: Blog Your Blessings Sundays

Blog Your Blessings Sundays: Who do I model my blog after?

Blog yer Blessings

First off, I am now feeling better from my illness of yesterday and Friday night for those wondering... I am recovering nicely... which is sad as I have to go back to work tomorrow and being sick on the weekend is the pits.

As a caveat, this post features a lot of audio. I've done my best to make it not-so-stressing on your computer... taxing your RAM and CPU... but it's necessary...

If you ever wonder where my writing style comes from, let me start with my first brief audio clip...

If you clicked play above, and you're a Canadian over the age of thirty-five who, like me, had the radio on a fair bit, you may recognise that theme... but let me explain why that theme is important to me and this post...

When I write a blog entry, most times, I have a voice in my head.

It was a voice I most often heard when my mother and I were together when I was younger... she would listen to the radio while going about her morning... all of this starting when I was fifteen, and right through for many moons.

The voice on the radio never left... I picked it up when I was no longer home and listened to that voice religiously every morning... right up until 1997 when it was gone... and I honestly wept a little when, in 2002, I heard that the voice had been stilled.

Peter Gzowski

Peter Gzowski was a unique individual. Although in and about broadcasting an publishing since the 1950's, his radio program, Morningside, was a staple with many Canadians on The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

While many of my contemporaries and friends were listening to rock and pop stations to start their day, I was listening to Mr. Gzowski interviewing people or reciting one of his (almost) famous five-minute essays.

Gzowski was infamous for asking questions that were longer than his interviewees answers... he had an easy, laid-back voice that had the wonderful sound that, unfortunately, smoking seventy-five Rothmans a day will get a person... by mellowing the vocal chords. He came across, on air, somewhere between a "learned friend" and a "favourite uncle" telling stories and news that otherwise, we may not have known about.

For me, he was fascinating... he was a morning window into what was being talked about in Vancouver, Montreal, Halifax, Yellow Knife, and yes, of course, Toronto.

He made me care about the whole of Canada... and see it's intrinsic politeness and hominess... to appreciate the whole country, not just my little corner of it.

He shaped, in many ways, the way I try to write... I write like you would hear me speak... in my tempo and in my own voice's tenor. I try add the emphasis when needed and try to make you feel what I see as important... in order for you to share my passions and to maybe care about what I care about... even if it's for just a short time while you're reading my entries.

Gzowski interviewed with equal weight, prime ministers...

...and school principals who had to eat worms.

He had a national forum and used it to simply tell stories, interview people, and introduce the nation to each other, and often himself...

Even though he died in 2002, I was reminded of him recently with the news report about author Stephen King being accused, in an Australian bookshop, of defacing books. They didn't recognise the famed author and were very disturbed to see a man taking a pen and writing in the books... he was signing them.

Many heard that and thought, How nice! Stephen King was pre-autographing books!... I, being a cynic, remembered a letter read out at Gzowski's memorial about him doing something similar... and you SHOULD listen to it...

Hmm... what exactly WAS Mr. King up to, eh?

...Anyway...

I wish I could share more, but a friend at CBC kinda warned me about going too far... like playing interviews of Gzowski with a thirteen-year-old Wayne Gretzky... or John Diefenbaker... or W.O. Mitchell... or countless great Canadians...

Suffice to say that, if you're interested, the CBC has many "archived" on their site at http://www.cbc.ca/news/obit/gzowski_peter/

My Blessing is Having Been Able to Listen To and Read Peter Gzowski's Work.

At a young age, he made me care about Canada... and people... even when they were "out of sight" and no where near me.


This blessing was originally going to be about people that can convey passion... and as I was on the CBC remembering Justin Trudeau's eulogy to his father... which is another must see... I came back to Gzowski... and hence what you read above...

Honestly, Pierre Elliot Trudeau is both hated and loved here in Canada... but he is STILL, even after his death, not ignored... and no one can deny that he loved this country... the one he ran for so long... and although many didn't agree with HIS vision, it was undeniable. Even the true intellectual Conservative pundits hate his legacy as far as policies and governance... they will defend him as a Canadian... and I've heard some of the most "right-wing" Canadians jump to his defence when people who don't know and don't understand him try to take a "shot" at his politics.

Only from some very "polarized" people have I heard anyone say he hated Canada... and they are wrong... and I know the people that those folks venerate as their saviours know this too.

Justin has just entered politics... and if you watch that eulogy, you'll agree... Canada is apt to have King Trudeau II... he's as amazing a speaker as his father was.

Click here to see that eulogy.

I admit, and perhaps it's because I lost my own father at an early age, when he ends with the words, J'taime, papa.... I got and get bleary-eyed.

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The standard last note on the old blog... PLEASE SUPPORT THE DREAM!

This blog is here to help promote a dream that an entire family shares... that dream is to rescue an old London Double-Decker bus.

RLH 3

Please, if you have a few minutes, take some time to find out more about this bus and the kooky dream by clicking here.

This bus is VERY special to myself and the whole family, and any help any person can lend us would be most gratefully accepted.

If you or someone you know might be interested, there's our tiny banner site, HelpCoverTheBus.Com and a PayPal donation button (see the upper-right hand side of the blog) and, of course, a Cafe Press shop for T-Shirts and shtuff!
(...and who doesn't need some shtuff!)

Please help us make this dream a reality and save a piece of history!

We thank you for your support!

Please Note: We are also hoping for help from a public relations/marketing standpoint... If you might be able to assist OR know someone who might be willing to, please click here and read this entry...

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D O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V. M
Et In Arcadia Ego

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The Current Time in Toronto is...


One Old Green Bus

This blog was started in April of 2006... its original itent was really twofold. One was to be a "sounding board" for it's author... and the other... well...

At the time we started this, your humble author was unemployed and going through the usual crisis situations that arise from being jobless.

We (my wife, stepdaughter, and I,) used to "amuse" ourselves (read: Take our minds off our troubles) by more-or-less fantasizing as a family about what we'd do when things "turned around". Along this route, we discussed going to England on a vacation... and in that, alighted on "double-decker buses".

We kind of adopted one bus... Regent Low Height 3... as Our Bus... and we used to talk about what we'd do with "our bus" if we got it... from fixing it up to the trips we'd take on it.

Along the way, we became students of the history of this bus which HONESTLY seemd it was truly for us... trouble was, we couldn't afford the bus and weren't in a position to work towards the bus... so we had a couple of options...

Since the bus' position was sketchy (there's a chance she might be sold for scrap or "carved up" in other ways,) we could forget about her and pretend she didn't exist...

...or we could TRY... ask for help... put our dream of owning and saving "One Old Green Bus" into the universe and see what happens...

As of February, 2008, we knew that there was a perspective buyer for the bus (not us, obviously,) and made some difficult decisions... The first was that we wouldn't "beg" for help anymore and give the little money we received to a few different charities both online and off... and the second was simply hope that either we find a corporate sponsor (for an "ad" idea we have, click here to about read that,) or even a patron who see's the value in a silly family's dream...

But, if the bus is about to be purchased by someone who's planning on restoring it and they "get there first", we wish them well and are glad that at least Our One Old Green Bus is in a safe place being looked after.

For now, though, we are still hoping WE might be the ones to get our One Old Green Bus and see a family dream come true...

Regardless, this blog WILL continue... and we will still "go for" a bus of our own... but this blog will ALWAYS be dedicated to our own One Old Green Bus.

Want to know more about Regent Low Height buses? Click here!

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