Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Could Get a Gun

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) These...
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.) These dogs are wearing H-back freight harnesses. Photo from 1957. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



I could get a gun.

If I wanted to join a shooting club. 

I would have to apply for it, take a test, wait a while and there are stringent laws about storing weapons, but still, if I was so inclined, as a law abiding Canadian citizen, I could become a gun owner.

If I wasn't a law abiding Canadian, but  a member of the criminal world, I guess I could go downtown and buy a gun on the street.

 But, in general, Canadians don't want to be gun owners.

 So why the big difference between us and our BFF the Americans?

I mean we are small in population, sitting next to their massive, militaristic country that has invaded us once already. 

Why aren't we armed to the teeth?

 One explanation that has come up in my recent conversations with people, is that we always had the British army here keeping the peace in pre-Confederation days and behaving ourselves just became our norm.

Of course they weren't here to keep the peace, they were here protecting British interests, but law and order was a natural side bar activity.

And shortly after Confederation arrived in 1867 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, (Northwest Mounted Police in those days), with their red jackets so reminiscent of the British army, was established by an act of parliament.

 And if you are in any doubt about how they affected our Canadian identity, you must read some of the stories about the Yukon Gold Rush in 1898. 

Like a lot of the American west, Alaska was a crime ridden, death zone for the gold seekers, but when they reached the Canadian border at the top of the Chilcoot Pass they were met by Sam Steele of the NWMP. 

He and his small band of Mounties ensured the law was obeyed on this side of the border.

 The upshot of this is that we never developed a fear of other Canadians,
the way the Americans seem to fear each other.

And apparently we don't fear them either,

although I must say,
shopping stateside has become less appealing recently.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Santa is Canadian

Naturally because of our politeness, we do share him

- but only if you've been good!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Welcoming the Christmas Baby

English: One of the corridors on the lower lev...
English: One of the corridors on the lower level of the cloister with statues of the God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At the Viceregal Museum in Zinacantepec, Mexico State (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my small Muslim students once told me, (with great amusement), that God has no relatives.


The Christian God is a Trinity - the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, (aka Wisdom or Sophia).

God's human relatives are Mary, the Mother of God, Joseph who would be, (and this is the only palatable relationship), God's step-father and if you happen to be Protestant then the siblings of Jesus would be God's half brothers and sisters.

And of course there were probably cousins of God.

That's quite a gang around the cosmic dinner table

and I had never seen it through someone else's eyes until that moment.

How absurd Christianity must seem to non-Christians.
Especially to the children.

I threw back my head and laughed until the tears came.


I believe there are many good paths that one can follow in this life

(speaking of Christianity), 
there is one path that begins next week -
in the darkest, coldest, dead of winter.

The birth of a child.

A child who comes every year
and brings light and renewed hope to our deeply troubled world


and I hope that no matter what your path is,
or how strange it may seem,
that you take time this week

to welcome Him.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Blood of Lambs

Wiltipoll ewes and lambs.
Wiltipoll ewes and lambs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was living in Montreal when Marc Lapine shot and killed 14 female engineering students.

I remember how it was the next day.

Women were looking at each other.
Really looking.

Connecting without speaking.

We are still here.  Life will go on.

Today I haven't been able to stop looking at little kids.

And yes there is some comfort that the ones I see are still here
and life will go on,

but the slaughter of lambs yesterday

marked the end of the world as we knew it.

The Mayans were right.

Enhanced by ZemantaMy deepest sympathy goes out to the families, the community, and the American people.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Busy! Busy!

I've been watching this one little pansy for ages.

It has hung on, all alone for months now. 

As happy in the snow as in the hot summer sun.

Which seems forever ago.

I've been looking for a cartoon that made a joke about being busy at Christmas

but maybe this is better.  


Brave little flower ...

Sorry I've had to catch up on your blogs everybody.

I've been fricken BUSY!!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Beaver Wars

English: An Iroquois longhouse.
English: An Iroquois longhouse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Iroquois lived in the area that had the St. Lawrence as its northern
From there they spread south throughout what we would

identify today as New England.

Although not exactly happy with the arrival of smelly, hairy white people
they took advantage of the opportunity to obtain the interesting new

goods that the fur trade brought them.

Unfortunately the smelly, hairy people also brought guns which the
Iroquois quickly learned  to use and soon beavers were in short supply.

So the Iroquois started to look north at land along the
St. Lawrence River where their traditional enemy the

Huron tribe lived.

The Hurons were, if you remember, allied with the French.

They were also vulnerable because in 1639 a small pox epidemic
had killed at least half of them.

And pretty much the rest of them were gone after the Mohawk and other

Iroquois tribes got through with them.

Leery of the Iroquois, the French then started doing business with the

Algonquian speaking tribes - the Cree, the Mi'kmaq, etc. 

Fearful for their own survival and angry at the loss of this potential market
the Iroquois started to attack the French settlers.

This is the time of the horrific Indian raids which included scalping and killing
the men and carrying off the women and children.

Things got so bad that eventually the King of France sent in the troops
and the Iroquois decided to negotiate a peace.

And that is where we are as the 17th century ends.

The English* are in New England, the French are in New France
and the Iroquois are in the land between them.


Like this is going to last.



New England was settled mostly by Puritans and Pilgrims who left England after the English civil war in order to find a safe place to practise their faith.


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