It’s All A Matter of Interpretation!

I know there is a better version of this out there but I can’t seem to find it.

But I still want to know – what the hell is the answer?

And thanks for my friend Shirli for putting me on to this.

On this day in 1794: Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin.

Lunedi Lunacy

In an earlier Monday Madness – yes faithful reader that’s what it means – I had posted Irish comedian Keith Farnan taking about, amongst other things, Irish dancing.  Farnan very astutely observes that Irish people really don’t know how to dance:  they just stand in one place until they get angry with the floor and start pounding on it chanting “I hate the floor.  I hate the floor!”.  Then they join a line of other people all hating the floor.  To which I will add a little goes a long way – in fact this example is just enough for me.

On this day in 1943: The Holocaust: German forces liquidate the Jewish ghetto in Kraków.

An Unbidden Memory

As you get older suddenly, unasked for, you recall the strangest vignettes from the passing parade.

A decade or so ago I was a member of a team going out to larger Canadian Airports to teach the use of a fingerprint scan system and also training staff on manual fingerprinting at smaller airports. A representative of the US company that manufactured the scanning equipment was with us to set up and trouble shot their product. In Winnipeg it was a rather hunky ex-prison guard who delighted in regaling us with dinner stories of knee capping prisoners with rubber bullets from the lookout tower after another guard had goaded them into doing something “suspect”.  It’s funny how hunky can turn into “bull necked and muscle-bound” in the short span it takes to tell a story and devour a cut of Prime A Canadian beef.

In Vancouver it was a lady of a certain age called Jolene – she sported (and none of this is made up) a shoe-black beehive with a mullet, finger nails painted with snowflakes, a heavy gold ankle bracelet and stiletto pumps. She also favoured a particularly strong “eau de toilet” as a total body wash and had to be told that she had to tone that down as several employees went into a coma when she tottered by.  She was pleasant enough to work with and an excellent training partner but….  and you just knew there had to be a but!

Jolene and I were sitting at lunch at one of the many eateries at Vancouver International Airport when she leaned over and in a conspiratorial tone began a conversation that went something like this:
“They’re everywhere.”
I looked around nervously.
Them A-rabs.
What Arabs?
Them A-rabs in the turbans!  All those Muslins!
I glanced around and saw a goodly number of  Sikh gentlemen wearing dastars.
Jolene, they aren’t Muslims, they’re Sikhs.  And there’s a chance some of them may not like Muslims anymore than you appear to.
Well it doesn’t matter they’re all dark skinned and you Canadians don’t seem to see the danger.  Why you let almost anybody into your country!
I have a feeling she missed the irony when I nodded and said “Sadly, yes we do.

On this day in 1689: The Williamite War in Ireland begins.

Spring Ahead

For Cathy, Faye, Darrell, Jeffrey and all my churchy friends to join in joyful chorus.

Though it may seem that we just set our clock back only months ago – to be honest it was less than five months ago – it’s time to spring gaily forward even though spring is still 10 days away.  Because we follow – often foolishly though in this case we are their biggest trading partner so needs must – our American cousins we are making that one hour adjustment tomorrow.  Our European friends are waiting until the last Sunday in March  after the official arrival of Spring while much of the Middle East will have jumped ahead a few days earlier on the Friday.  And let’s not even look at the Southern Hemisphere let alone Saskatchewan which doesn’t observe DST however since it is theoretically in the Mountain Time Zone but observes Central Time is actually on DST all year round.

Now there’s all sorts of discussions going on about the advantages and disadvantages of going on Daylight Savings Time and because, as I’ve often said, I don’t get involved in politics my question is “does it affect when the sun is over the yardarm?” That question is easily answered – it doesn’t because the “sun is always over the yardarm” someplace in the world.  However experience has taught me that there are two things that are seriously affected by the push of that hour  to and fro – animals and church attendance.

dog-dinner-dstWe are often told that dogs (and cats for those of you what has them) have no sense of time but any of our Hounds from Hell have always felt the time change.  And it’s  particularly apparent at feeding time; not so much the spring forward as that means earlier “mangers” which for dachshunds is any time you want to feed them.  But that “fall back” thing does take some adjusting.  The indignity of not being fed at the time god intended but an hour later can led to some interesting conversations (oh come of it you have conversations with your dog or cat so don’t get so bloody high-handed with me!) and interactions.

And church?  Well any priest/minister/teacher can tell you that the Sunday of the time change at least two or three people, if not entire families will show up late/early for mass/service/Sunday school.  I myself remember on particularly dreary morning standing on the back steps of Saint Thomas Huron Street surrounded by swirling autumn leaves like something out of one of those pathetic Dickens’ stories waiting for someone to come along to open the vestry door.  Or arriving on a bright sunny morning in time for the Gloria when I should have been madly swinging a thurible an hour earlier during the Credo.

And here for all my church choir/organist friends is a little something that you might want to add to tomorrow’s service.  It would be a fine hymn for that period of mediation that follows the nap most of us take during the sermon.  And it’s sung to one that lovely old Welsh hymn tune Cwm Rhondda.


On this day in 1927: In New York City, Samuel Roxy Rothafel opens the Roxy Theatre.

The Strength of the Mimosa

Traditionally on International Women’s Day I have presented the women in my life with a sprig of mimosa – real, when possible, or virtual through necessity.  It was a tradition I was introduced to during our time in Italy and one that I embraced willingly and enthusiastically.

And today I follow that tradition and present a feathery sprig of this small, seemingly fragile, yellow flower to all the women in my life.

I say “seemingly” because despite its delicate appearance the mimosa is known for its resilience and strength.  And to my mind it is the perfect flower to represent the many women in my life.  Thank you for being part of my life and allowing me to be a part of yours.  And with this sprig comes the wish that one day all women will be truly equal.

On this day in 1917: International Women’s Day protests in St. Petersburg mark the beginning of the February Revolution (February 23rd in the Julian calendar).