Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sugarloaf Pond In November

Georges and I spent another wonderful weekend with friends in the Townships. 
Couldn't have asked for better weather in November.

I hope you enjoy these photos.

Road down Mountain. Townships
November road

Colours reflected on Sugarloaf Pond
Reflected late fall colours

"November comes 
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows."
Walking the dogs in November woods
Walking the dogs

Ruby on path in Township woods
Ruby foraging in forest

"With night coming early, 
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate."

"The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."

"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. 

The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air."
Mirror pond
Mirror pond

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Don't Forget to Remember

Sacrificing two minutes of our time is the least we can do in remembrance of so many that have sacrificed so much.
Dad, Alex Meunier on upper left ,1939

(The following is a repost from November, 2010)

The fact that Remembrance Day isn't  recognized as a statutory day of observance in Ontario, Manitoba and Québec is outrageous. 

If we can take a day off to celebrate Queen Victoria with a 2-4; we can certainly take a day off to remember and observe the sacrifice of generations of Canadians who paid dearly for the country we have today.
How we feel about the politics and ideologies that precipitated these global conflicts is irrelevant.  

Whether we are peace-niks or raving warmongers, Remembrance Day is about saluting our veterans not the wars they fought in.

My Grandfather and Father served in both WWI and WW2 respectively.  They rarely spoke of their experiences.  If I did hear of anything of what happened overseas, it was from a family friend and usually after a few beers ( and by few, I mean cases).  There was only one time that I asked my father the proverbial: “What did you do in the war, Dad?”

The reply was quick and short: " I drove a motorcycle through the fucking mud in Sicily.

He was a bike courier in Italy with the 8th Canadian Hussars (Princess Louise's) and served in France and Holland as well.  

November the 11th was a big deal growing up. During the late fifties and middle sixties in Moncton, we all took 11/11/11 very seriously. My parent's social life revolved around the local Legion.  In school, we prepared for the day in class by making poppy cut-outs and drawing white crosses with the words "Lest We Forget" on faux parchment paper.  We stood in class and recited "In Flanders Field" then kept a two minute silence which was effectively policed by Nuns with rulers. 

In Flanders Fields 
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) 
Canadian Army 

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Later, as I entered the Beatles generation, the whole sixties anti-war movement was in full form. We were anti-war, anti-authority, anti-establishment. We perversely viewed veterans as the honour guard for the military machine. What we didn't see was that the universal soldier was as much victim as victor. Ironic then, that at the dawn of the enlightened age of Aquarius, life was so black and white; so good guys and bad guys. 

World War I was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Greed and revenge ensured that wasn't to happen. After a brief time-out for a global depression, the world blew up again.

The world will likely not change. As long as men are greedy for power and money, we will have the abomination of war. The world even more dangerous now. There are no rules of engagement, only rules of terror.
But the human spirit is resilient.

My Father and I were never close. I wasn't the tool carryin', car fixin' kind of son he could relate to.  Nevertheless, with age, I have come to appreciate how difficult it must have been to have served six years of his young life in a land so far away; so strange and so dangerous. 

I wonder what future my Dad must have imagined as he boarded that train in 1939 or how it might have been if he hadn't.

How will you remember?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Want to see my vacation photos?

First poutine Caissie Cape
Enjoying the first of many poutine rapées.
Sometimes it's nice to hang up the keyboard and hang out with people in the real world.

We did just that this summer and not to bore you with vacation photos - well, ok, I will. It's a short compilation and takes just a few minutes.

I wrote about this trip on my post on NewRayCom so won't go on about it here.

Seeing my family after so long and visiting the countryside that was my playground left a indelible impression on me.

I can’t wait to go back.

(Oh, and Georges liked it too!).

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thank You Arthur Laurents

050203Celebs23ARI'm sad at the news of the death of Arthur Laurents. I understand that while he wasn't universally loved as a person; he was respected by everyone that could hum a Broadway tune.

In the fifties, with West Side Story and Gypsy, Arthur Laurents made theatrical history. Later he became famous for his lacerating tongue. At 91, both he and it made a comeback.

Arthur Laurents was famous for saying what was on his mind and doing what he thought was best. These traits made his work courageous and his personal life prickly.

Arthur Laurents met Tom Hatcher in LA in 1954. They moved to NYC, beginning an openly romantic relationship during a time when the practice was far from common, or safe.
Mr. Laurents, whose partner of 52 years,Tom Hatcher passed away in 2006, had this to say about their relationship:
"I had the most marvellous life that anybody could have with another person - that I’m proud of. That’s an achievement - ‘cause most people quit on each other, and we never did. "
In a New York Times Magazine article, Tom Hatcher was described as  part enforcer, part enabler, and part keeper of Arthur's flame and of the grudges. Hatcher made Laurent's writing life possible.

Arthur Laurents, the director, playwright and screenwriter who wrote such enduring stage musicals as "West Side Story" and "Gypsy," as well as the movie classics "Rope" and "The Way We Were," died Thursday. He was 93.

This is one of my favourite sequences from the movie version of "Gypsy".

Friday, April 15, 2011

What Colour is Your Hanky?

Everyone knows that Montreal is one of the gayest destinations in the world. And it's a fact that Tourism Montreal is very eager to promote. 

When I was a young homosexual-in-training and gays had yet to march out of the closet twirling batons and blowing trumpets, I was educated in the refined skill of "code-reading". Upon meeting someone for the first time, there were ways to discern whether your new acquaintance was also "on the bus". 
Was there a copy of Oscar Wilde on the bookshelf?  Does he wear a pinky ring? 

These were the days before decriminalization, before rainbow flags and pink triangle pins. Before the state was kicked out of our bedrooms.
Coding is a common way to show affinity to a group or tribe, i.e. secret handshakes, passwords, Louis Vuitton bags.

In the seventies a subset of gays very ingeniously used a hanky colour code to signal their sexual activity preference. Surprisingly, it was one of the few things that straights hadn't appropriated.

In this article, Alex Dunphy who is waaaay too young to remember the original codes, comes up with some new ones of his own in this Tourism Montréal article.
  • BLACK HANKY – INTO S&M: For all those interesting in the black hanky, sounds like your kind of place would be L’Aigle Noire on Sainte-Catherine. Full of all the leather and chainmail you could wish for, it’s definitely the place to get your kink on.
    GREY FLANNEL HANKY – LEFT: OWNS A SUIT, RIGHT: LIKES MEN IN SUITS: Grey flannel means you love a nice crisp suit. Worn in the left pocket means you own and like wearing suits. 
    Hanky Code - Peaches

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