Sunday, February 25, 2007

History Lesson

George Orwell fought for "democracy" during the mindless Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, prelude as were the Sino-Japanese War and Abyssinia, to World War II. He takes a dim view of the propaganda onslaught between the left wing Republicans and Franco's Fascists. The Anarchists, Communists and Socialists on the left engaged in internecine infighting which then undermined their common front against Franco, for whom the war was won by Nazi Germany and Italy. The international press often intentionally mislead in their reporting. Are there lessons from his writings about the state of the press to-day? He wrote, "no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed...... and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to the various 'party lines'. "
Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell, 1938.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

200,000 Clicks

200, 000 kms just rolled up and I still haven't named the old horse and buggy. Any suggestions? I was leaning towards Jane since I'm kinda fonda honda.

Dream Machine

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Planes, Trains and Snowmobiles

Gravenhurst has an airport which was home base, "Little Norway", for Norwegians who trained here for aerial combat in WWII. Our railway station, which connects directly with Toronto, although hardly Grand Central, does see a train in each direction once daily. The good thing is you can choose a bus with the same ticket, Northlands Ltd. operating both transportation modes out of the same building. The buses run six or seven times a day each direction. But the way of getting around here, par excellence, is by Arctic Cat, Polaris, or Bombardier to name just a few of the snowmobile makes. Some people will go for hundreds of kilometres on a weekend along staked out trails. Most trails are dependent on frozen water and until the lakes freeze it is no go. I should know because the lake next to me is a real thruway now after being tranquil until late January with the late onset of winter. Fortunately the sounds are muffled with all the snow. Up close the engines are noisy. In town the snowmobilers hunt in packs descending on restaurants and gas stations in groups. You have to be brazen to nip ahead of them. The local tv station was in one restaurant the other day, prersumably a snowmobile related item, and filmed my back although the blue eyed blonde opposite me was full frontal, pleasant for me. At night from the house it is sharp to trace the snaking course of the snowmobiles as their lights dance across distant lake highways. Snowmobiles are required to be back in port by 11 pm, not the story for blue eyed blondes I would hope.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Streamers for me used to evoke the days of Sunday school picnics on double-decker buses. Outings to a pond somewhere with paddle boats. Coloured paper strips or bunting hanging out of windows. Not in this neck of the woods however. Around here streamers are a meteorological phenomenon. Gravenhurst lies inshore from Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, significant bodies of water with lots of moisture to make snow. Now that we have averaged minus twenty overnight for the last two weeks the snow is building up (cold + moisture, hell even I can complete that equation). When winds pick up and snowsqualls move in off the lakes the oft whiteout conditions in distinct snowbelts are know as streamers. Last Saturday we got home late, but home indeed, after being caught in one on a night out at the Russian ballet. Bring on the picnic season. Incidentally upstate New York, to the leeward of Lakes Erie and Ontario, has been socked in by 250 cm of snow this week. Who can they send in to dig out the National Guard I ask?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Red Sky in Morning Shepherds Warning