Sunday, January 29, 2006

FDR - Warm Springs

Franklin D. Roosevelt is one of my heroes. I believe he had greatest impact in the history of the 20th Century.

Disease was paramount in shaping his leadership. There is some doubt now whether he had polio. Researchers in a 2003 article in a medical journal suggested there was evidence that Guillain-Barre syndrome -- not polio - may have been the cause of Roosevelt's (FDR's) paralysis. No one will ever know for sure.

The important aspect is how this disease shaped the man. He spent time in a place called Warm Springs that offered warm buoyant mineralized waters. His time in Warm Springs brought him into contact with everyday people with difficult problems.

If interested in learning more pick up the Warm Springs DVD. It tells a story in history that few people know about.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Voices in my Head

by BB

There are legion and personally I wouldn’t want it any other way. There are many advantages. One is that I am never lonely. I’m suspicious of those who claim to have only one voice in their head. It suggests to me that they are only interested in themselves. They are never wrong and always blame others for what ever goes wrong. Many of the one voice type tend to be right wing and fundamental. Canada has many voices and they all deserve consideration.

A disadvantage I see in the many voice type of people is sometimes indecision. They get caught in a loop of questioning whether a decision is right.

I don’t suffer that loop. I make a decision – I have listened to the internal debate then I decide quickly but not in a knee jerk impulse.

And if I am wrong? So what!

If I were afraid of being wrong I would be paralysed. There is seldom any harm in being wrong. The only harm is not reworking the decision to make it right.

Course there is another side of the many voices… A dangerous side.

A man with a homeless appearance is ravaged within. He has a caved in look and his mouth working out loud reveals those who now inhabit him and who now stare out upon the world. I don’t make eye contact, aware of my own path, I know he is lost in the shadow world and therefore I will give him no sign.

That may seem cruel to you my fellow bloggers but to engage such a person in the wrong place at the wrong time is dangerous. Of course if that same man is lying in the street give aid. But to engage someone who has the appearance of a mad preacher is pure folly.

Despite my own advice I sometimes engage. It is my own damn curiosity about life and the world that draws these lost souls to me. I can’t hide it. They see it in me. On one such occasion as a person was telling me that I was cursed and was going to die a horrible painful death I began to sing a lullaby “Rock a by Baby”. Every situation is different what might work in one might not work in another. In this situation the man joined me in the chorus of the lullaby. Then we went our separate ways.

Poor fearful lost souls…

It’s not the voices that are the problem. They have an illness. I have neither the skill nor the ability to deal with their illness.

We had one such gentleman at the CAA conference that I had to engage. I took him by the arm and led him out to the street. I locked arms with him. He accused me of trying push him down the steps. I was firm but gentle with him.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Blogger Tree

There once grew a tree, a blogger tree. It was small. It grew from a seed, in furtile ground. The roots went deep into the earth. Branches reached up to the sky. From the branches grew twigs. A network of twigs. And in spring the twigs grew leaves. Tender green leaves. In summer the leaves matured to a darker green. Many, many leaves that in autumn turned to golden, auburn, ocre, scarlet... a celebration of colours. Leaves started to loosen from the twigs, dancing in the wind, drooping in the rain, making thick tapestries to tread on for poets and writers to nourish the tree. Among the leaves, also many seeds had come down. Winter came with blankets of snow. The seeds slept comfortably and warm in the ground under the snow. Came spring again, many of them grew into new trees. New trees, new blogger trees, fed and nourished by writers and poets. They are telling their tales to the trees. There grew a forest called Dove Tale forest. The trees grow and grow with roots reaching deeper into the furtile ground, and branches and twigs expanding, bearing stories, sending them up into cyber sky.

Come all you poets and writers, join the feeders of the forest and help the Dove Tale Forest grow and link to other forests.

Monday, January 09, 2006

So, you think you CanWrite!

That's the title of the Canadian Authors Association's 2006 conference short story contest. It's pretty catchy, huh? But, of course we think we can write, right?

I'm still recovering from co-chairing the 2005 version of the conference, so it will be pleasant to go the next conference solely as a registrant. No responsibilities! The location is Peterborough, in July, and you can get more info at the Canadian Authors Association website. (I should tell you that M@ is responsible for the conference's moniker "CanWrite!" That guy's pretty witty, huh? What a way with words!).

The deadline for the contest (winners get free registration, cash, and the top ten stories are published in an anthology) is February 28. You can find out more at

Anyway, the conference wasn't my original reason for writing this posting. I was thinking about proofreading.... At the last writer's circle, I ran a story by the group for the contest - it was quite polished in the sense it's been through the group for feedback a few times before - and sure enough, the DT clan found a couple of typos, and made a few suggestions that improved the story immensely and were really simple to make. The story went off into the mail this morning...

I'm writing this blog post because proofreading and contests are on my mind for another reason. I recently placed second in a poetry contest run by Craigleigh Press, and the award ceremony was this past weekend. I read the poem and received a chapbook with the poem in it. It was a delightful afternoon spent with fellow poets. Anyway, the judge came to chat with me. The poem she had chosen for second had been part of a numbered series of three poems. She really liked the series, but her preferred poem wasn't the one that had placed second - it was another one she had to "throw out" of the judging because of a typo! Write/right in the first line!!! Lol! So you think you can write, huh, Marianne? My eye never picked that up, although I had been very careful with that submission. The submission was sent away in the summer - when our group doesn't meet....

Dear editing circle, those Thursday night sessions are invaluable - no matter how polished a story is. So thank you! (Oh, btw, the judge also preferred another poem in the series of three, but it was a bit too "provocative" for the publication. Now I've got your attention, huh?).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Irving Layton 1912-2006


Swiftly darting in the setting light,
The doomed sparrow feels the falcon's wings.
How beautiful are they both in flight.

Larry sez a case could be made that Irving Layton was the first one to introduce him to real poetry. Others there were...Yevtushenko, later Kerouac...but Layton was the one. When Larry was in his midteens working at the Lunchbucket Library, Layton fell into his hands and impressed him with his wit, his bite, his Canadianity!

The CBC obituary sez he died suffering from Alzheimer's in a geriatric home. What a shame. It also sez he was a lesser poet than he claimed to be. And much of his personal life was a shambles. Never mind. At least he can say that he played a part in putting at least one person into the Yoni School for Wayward Poets.
(The poem is Irving's.)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Deep River Research - Bob

German prisoners-of-war in 1944 built the Town of Deep River. The town was the result of Winston Churchill's decision (made at the Quebec Conference) that Canada would contribute to the Manhattan Project. Precisely what that contribution might have been is vague. I suspect that the Nuclear Laboratories in nearby Chalk River produced plutonium used in the Manhattan Project. There is no historical reference that I have found to support my suspicion. It may have been just theoretical research that was fed into the project.

The struggle for Heavy Water production was a pivotal part of WW II. Heavy Water produces plutonium from natural uranium. Germany struggled to produce Heavy Water in a Hydro plant in Norway. Between 1942 and 1944 a sequence of sabotage by the Norwegian resistance movement as well as Allied bombing ensured the loss of the heavy water produced. These operations: "Freshman", "Grouse" and "Gunnerside" knocked the plant out of production in 1943 and frustrated German efforts.

This is of interest because much of nuclear research in Deep River revolved around heavy water as opposed to method for plutonium production in the USA. In 1944 Churchill was beginning to think beyond the Germans to the Russians. A plant in wartime Britain was more vulnerable than a plant in the backwoods of Canada.