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Me On Canada 150   Leave a comment

Since I live in Saint-Lazare-de-Vaudreuil, Québec, Harper sort of arm-twisted me — uh, make that “sweet-talked”; I can feel Harper staring at me as I write this, and she’s across most of a continent — into writing about Canada on its sesquicentennial birthday.  I don’t know if I’m really the right person for this; I may live in Québec, but I’m not native Canadian.  (I was born in upstate New York, and then my parents moved here some years ago.)  But I’m the closest thing to a Canadian on hand, so I suppose I’m anointed.  (I was also supposed to publish this on July 1, but Second Life must wait for the RL working schedule.)

And there’s really a lot to be proud of as a citizen of a country as great as Canada is, even if I wasn’t raised on hockey and poutine.  Harper actually said a lot of good things about us last year, when she happened to write a piece in this blog for our 149th birthday.  And she got it mostly right.  But there’s always a few exceptions to quick observations, some missed at the time, some which slip in later.  For instance, our eminent publisher didn’t really catch the ambivalence of many here in Québec toward being part of a country whose original rulers kicked out the king and government that founded us years before — specifically, France.  A separatist referendum back in 1995 was defeated — by only 1.16%.  Stresses exist to this day between Québec and the other provinces, and Québec has never approved the 1982 Constitution.

And then there are the relations with the First Nations peoples, who in the US are called Native Americans or Indians.  There have been few wars of “pacification,” along the line of the Indian Wars of the American 19th century.  Great efforts have been expended in modern days to work with tribal leaders.  But there have been many rocky moments as well, with promises broken by the white man; the British and Canadian governments of the 19th and early 20th centuries did have a history of land dispossession, Indian residential schools and forced assimilation.  A “reoccupation” tent was raised on Parliament Hill by an indigenous group in the days before the Canada Day celebration in Ottawa, as a reminder of these past blots on the Canadian copybook.  In a politically shrewd move, the tent was not ejected, but moved closer to the Centre Block Peace Tower — and the celebration stage.  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited it as a gesture.

And things like this are actually a sign that gives Canadians hope for their country.  In the long run, Canadians have tried to live up to the more noble aspects of their country and culture.  The country itself (more properly, the Dominion of Canada) was confederated in 1867 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on the principles of “peace, order and good government,” and the full patriation of its Constitution from British control (in 1982) included a Charter of Rights and Freedoms that codifies constitutionally Canadians’ protections — aside from one interesting “notwithstanding” section that can be invoked, but rarely is due to political costs.  Outside of, perhaps, the House of Commons and the provincial legislatures, there’s usually a real attempt to find dialogue and consensus between sides of a question.  And the old chestnut about Canadians being just plain nicer than other peoples has a lot of truth to it.  (Aside from, maybe, Stanley and Grey Cup championship games.)

So yeah, I’m glad to be a Canadian in many ways.  It’s not the perfect place to live; but what country is?  And it strives to be better than many other places are around the world.  Canadians have worked hard for 150 years now to hold their place among the other countries of the world, and we’ve made our contributions, to politics, science, medicine, economics, and entertainment.  We’re gonna keep on working hard, and we should be here in some form or another for a few more decades.  Maybe we can even help keep the rest of the world from destroying itself, if we can export a little “Canadianness” to other places around.  Our children will find that out for us.

Evening On the Plain of Jars

evening-the-plain-of-jars

For Our Veterans

veterans-day

Harper put up an excellent pair of pieces for her Veterans Day writing this week, but I decided to do something of my own.  In Canada, we call this Remembrance Day, and it’s more specifically to honour the soldiers and sailors who have fallen, like America’s Memorial Day, since the day’s origin lies in the end of what was then called the Great War, now World War I.  The Flanders poppy in my lapel derives from the poppies that dotted the northern European landscape, thus the inspiration for Canadian army doctor John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields.”

Je me souviens….

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Rest In My Arms, Beloved

rest-at-peace-in-my-arms-beloved

Posted September 13, 2016 by Conan Bankersbox in Arts, Photographs

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Formal Portrait

Conan -- 2016 portrait

Well, I never was one to turn down a challenge, and I’ve been picking up formal wear lately, partly for me, partly for Harper’s storyboarding.  Here’s my own portrait, taken at the site of The Spoils of Annwn.  Harper plans to hang all three portraits on our office wall; one of us will probably photograph it and write it up when she gets it done.  (I’m wearing Balen by Heth Haute Couture, for those who are going shopping.)

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The Spoils of Annwn

One of the book series I’ve enjoyed was the Copper Crown series by Patricia Kennealy-Morrison — The Copper Crown, The Throne of Scone and The Silver Branch (actually a prequel), which blend science fiction, medieval fantasy, adventure and romance into a fantastic whole.  Part of the story was derived from Preiddeu Annwn, or The Spoils of Annwn, a medieval Welsh song-poem.  There’s lots of puzzles in this piece, and it’s beauty holds up well in the translation I’ve heard recited of it.

I heard it recited here in Second Life, specifically.  An exhibit built by a class at the University of Rochester celebrates this poem in high style and multimedia.  Teleport to the sim and follow the instructions carefully to enjoy the whole experience!

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Revisiting Light Thoughts 2

Jem visited an LEA exhibit called Light Thoughts 2 back in March.  I took a pass through there this past week, and found that it had been added to considerably since then, so I shot some fresh photos:

Light Thoughts 2, LEA20 - 4

More on the following page….

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