Our American friends…many good people having their images tarnished…by Chuck Duboff

 

© Chuck Duboff

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My friend, Big Mike, from Toledo, Ohio

These are very tumultuous times we are living in.  The United States has undergone  a transformation of epic proportions.  To state that the changes have been seismic in nature would, I suggest, be an understatement.  The election of Donald J. Trump has resulted in societal, political and geopolitical  shifts of gargantuan magnitude.  Cultural groups are being banned from the States, major media outlets are being shut out of news conferences and countries around the world are on standby, waiting for the next outburst from the American president.

All the while, the citizens of the United States are all being painted with the same brush, inundated with the same question; “how could you possibly elect that man?”  “what is wrong with Americans, do you realize your image around the world right now?”

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My wonderful friends, Spencer and Megan, from Washington, DC

I came down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, very intrigued to see what the reaction to the American tourists would be.  I noticed that the Americans were very subdued and mello.  I made a conscious effort to talk with our neighbours to the south.

I got to know Americans from Seattle, Minnesota, Washington D.C, Louisiana and Toledo, Ohio.  I can state categorically that each and everyone of these people were friendly and for the most part very embarrassed with what is happening in the States.  Though a few did  express tepid support for their president, this was countered by many expressions of disbelief as to what is happening in their country.  An over riding comment that I have heard is: “we didn’t have much choice, something had to change in our country.”

I came down to Mexico for a holiday, for two weeks of non-political conversations; for the most part I have stayed true to this…however, I have found it so very interesting talking with friends from the United States; whether from the deep south of Louisiana or just to the south of Winnipeg in Minnesota, remember these are all good people, friendly and just wanting better for their country.

I hope for their sake that things calm down in the United States and all people are treated with the kindness and respect they deserve.

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My friend Bob, a Vietnam War Vet, from Minnesota

 

RIP Leonard Cohen; “I’m Your Man”…Jewish Blues at its finest; an explanation of “Shivah” follows…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff: in our Jewish faith, there is a seven day mourning period called Shivah, when someone passes away.  During this time, family and friends gather to celebrate the life of the person who has moved on…Leonard Cohen was a devout Jew; he passed away last Monday, but family and friends kept it quiet.  His body was flown from Los Angeles to his home of Montreal and last Thursday the funeral was held at the synagogue which Leonard regularly attended.  As much as his music was spiritual in nature, his devotion to his culture and religion brought him great solace in life.

As a tribute to Leonard, I will post his wonderful music for seven days; this is my way of sitting Shivah for a man who deeply inspired me, whose insight into life, whose understanding and expression brought some clarity to this complex journey we are all on.  I was humbled by a former student the other day who sent me a message saying that she remembered how I used Cohen’s music and lyrics in class and that every time she hears or reads something about Leonard, she thinks of me”,

I’m Your Man
If you want a lover
I’ll do anything you ask me to
And if you want another kind of love
I’ll wear a mask for you
If you want a partner, take my hand, or
If you want to strike me down in anger
Here I stand
I’m your man
If you want a boxer
I will step into the ring for you
And if you want a doctor
I’ll examine every inch of you
If you want a driver, climb inside
Or if you want to take me for a ride
You know you can
I’m your man
Ah, the moon’s too bright
The chain’s too tight
The beast won’t go to sleep
I’ve been running through these promises to you
That I made and I could not keep
Ah, but a man never got a woman back
Not by begging on his knees
Or I’d crawl to you baby and I’d fall at your feet
And I’d howl at your beauty like a dog in heat
And I’d claw at your heart, and I’d tear at your sheet
I’d say please (please)
I’m your man
And if you’ve got to sleep a moment on the road
I will steer for you
And if you want to work the street alone
I’ll disappear for you
If you want a father for your child
Or only want to walk with me a while across the sand
I’m your man

RIP Leonard Cohen: “Closing Time” came far too soon.

“Closing Time”

Ah we’re drinking and we’re dancing
and the band is really happening
and the Johnny Walker wisdom running high
And my very sweet companion
she’s the Angel of Compassion
she’s rubbing half the world against her thigh
And every drinker every dancer
lifts a happy face to thank her
the fiddler fiddles something so sublime
all the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops:
it’s CLOSING TIME
Yeah the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
and it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops:
it’s CLOSING TIMEAh we’re lonely, we’re romantic
and the cider’s laced with acid
and the Holy Spirit’s crying, “Where’s the beef?”
And the moon is swimming naked
and the summer night is fragrant
with a mighty expectation of relief
So we struggle and we stagger
down the snakes and up the ladder
to the tower where the blessed hours chime
and I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
the Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can’t say much has happened since
but CLOSING TIME

I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
the Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can’t say much has happened since
CLOSING TIME

I loved you for your beauty
but that doesn’t make a fool of me:
you were in it for your beauty too
and I loved you for your body
there’s a voice that sounds like God to me
declaring, declaring, declaring that your body’s really you
And I loved you when our love was blessed
and I love you now there’s nothing left
but sorrow and a sense of overtime
and I missed you since the place got wrecked
And I just don’t care what happens next
looks like freedom but it feels like death
it’s something in between, I guess
it’s CLOSING TIME

Yeah I missed you since the place got wrecked
By the winds of change and the weeds of sex
looks like freedom but it feels like death
it’s something in between, I guess
it’s CLOSING TIME

Yeah we’re drinking and we’re dancing
but there’s nothing really happening
and the place is dead as Heaven on a Saturday night
And my very close companion
gets me fumbling gets me laughing
she’s a hundred but she’s wearing
something tight
and I lift my glass to the Awful Truth
which you can’t reveal to the Ears of Youth
except to say it isn’t worth a dime
And the whole damn place goes crazy twice
and it’s once for the devil and once for Christ
but the Boss don’t like these dizzy heights
we’re busted in the blinding lights,
busted in the blinding lights
of CLOSING TIME

The whole damn place goes crazy twice
and it’s once for the devil and once for Christ
but the Boss don’t like these dizzy heights
we’re busted in the blinding lights,
busted in the blinding lights
of CLOSING TIME

Oh the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots
It’s CLOSING TIME
And it’s partner found, it’s partner lost
and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops
It’s CLOSING TIME
I swear it happened just like this:
a sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
It’s CLOSING TIME
The Gates of Love they budged an inch
I can’t say much has happened since
But CLOSING TIME
I loved you when our love was blessed
I love you now there’s nothing left
But CLOSING TIME
I miss you since the place got wrecked
By the winds of change and the weeds of sex.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…an important document for all Canadians. A must read.

© Chuck Duboff

Recently, I have had the good fortune to meet Leah ProudLakota Gazan.  We have had some interesting, intense conversations about the plight of the Indigenous peoples of Canada.  She has opened my eyes to The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…a document which I believe should be required reading for all students in Canadian schools.  The plight of Indigenous Peoples in Canada is a scar on our wonderful country.  Please take 20 minutes to read this document…and ask yourself why these actions are not being taken.  I read through the whole document, word by word, line by line and shook my head in disbelief to the complete disregard with which our new government is acting towards our First Nations population.  Will you take some time to read this?

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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Article 1 Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights4 and international human rights law.

Article 2 Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.

Article 3 Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

Article 4 Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to 4.Resolution 217 A (III). 5 their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

Article 5 Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.

Article 6 Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.

Article 7 1. Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person. 2. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group.

Article 8 1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture. 2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for: (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities; (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources; (c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights; (d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration; (e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them. 6

Article 9 Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned. No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.

Article 10 Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.

Article 11 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature. 2. States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.

Article 12 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practise, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains. 2. States shall seek to enable the access and/or repatriation of ceremonial objects and human remains in their possession through fair, transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 13 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons. 2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.

Article 14 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning. 2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination. 3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.

Article 15 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information. 2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.

Article 16 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination. 8 2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of expression, should encourage privately owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural diversity.

Article 17 1. Indigenous individuals and peoples have the right to enjoy fully all rights established under applicable international and domestic labour law. 2. States shall in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples take specific measures to protect indigenous children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development, taking into account their special vulnerability and the importance of education for their empowerment. 3. Indigenous individuals have the right not to be subjected to any discriminatory conditions of labour and, inter alia, employment or salary.

Article 18 Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision making institutions.

Article 19 States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

Article 20 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities. 9 2. Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and development are entitled to just and fair redress.

Article 21 1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions, including, inter alia, in the areas of education, employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security. 2. States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.

Article 22 1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration. 2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Article 23 Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to be actively involved in developing and determining health, housing and other economic and social programmes affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programmes through their own institutions.

Article 24 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services. 2. Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right. 10

Article 25 Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

Article 26 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired. 2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired. 3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 27 States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.

Article 28 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include restitution or, when this is not possible, just, fair and equitable compensation, for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent. 2. Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources 11 equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary compensation or other appropriate redress.

Article 29 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination. 2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent. 3. States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programmes for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented.

Article 30 1. Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples, unless justified by a relevant public interest or otherwise freely agreed with or requested by the indigenous peoples concerned. 2. States shall undertake effective consultations with the indigenous peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions, prior to using their lands or territories for military activities.

Article 31 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions. 12 2. In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.

Article 32 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources. 2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources. 3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual impact.

Article 33 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live. 2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.

Article 34 Indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional structures and their distinctive customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs, in accordance with international human rights standards.

Article 35 Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities. 13

Article 36 1. Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples across borders. 2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right.

Article 37 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements. 2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements.

Article 38 States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this Declaration.

Article 39 Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and technical assistance from States and through international cooperation, for the enjoyment of the rights contained in this Declaration.

Article 40 Indigenous peoples have the right to access to and prompt decision through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, as well as to effective remedies for all infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a decision shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules and legal systems of the indigenous peoples concerned and international human rights. 14

Article 41 The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this Declaration through the mobilization, inter alia, of financial cooperation and technical assistance. Ways and means of ensuring participation of indigenous peoples on issues affecting them shall be established.

Article 42 The United Nations, its bodies, including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and specialized agencies, including at the country level, and States shall promote respect for and full application of the provisions of this Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration.

Article 43 The rights recognized herein constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.

Article 44 All the rights and freedoms recognized herein are equally guaranteed to male and female indigenous individuals.

Article 45 Nothing in this Declaration may be construed as diminishing or extinguishing the rights indigenous peoples have now or may acquire in the future.

Article 46 1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States. 2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in the present Declaration, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected. The exercise of the rights set forth in this Declaration shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law 15 and in accordance with international human rights obligations. Any such limitations shall be non-discriminatory and strictly necessary solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for meeting the just and most compelling requirements of a democratic society. 3. The provisions set forth in this Declaration shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith.

The Jets, the Hip & my two amazing kids…a day I’ll never forget (in pictures); by Chuck Duboff

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Gord Downie, on stage by himself, to a thunderous, prolonged ovation.                    Now that is a man of true courage.

 

© Chuck Duboff

You’ve got to cherish those special days…you know they’re special, but often they pass by so quickly we don’t truly live the moments.
I had one of those days yesterday…lunch hour saw me at Portage & Main celebrating our Winnipeg Jets announcements about the Heritage Classic…seeing Hawerchuk, Steen and Wheeler up there, I was reminded that just six short years ago we didn’t even have our Jets.  Later in the afternoon I had a fabulous dinner with Carly and Matt on the rooftop of Tavern United…so wonderful having the three of us together!!  Then we went across the street to the MTS Centre for the concert of a lifetime.  Treated my self to 2 Hip t-shirts and a hat…then we eagerly waited in building anticipation for Gord and the boys!!  To say it was an amazing concert would be a gross understatement!! It was spectacular, just spectacular…Canadian Rock at its best, all the while 16,000 fans sending their collective love to Gord Downie; the strength and courage he displayed while rocking the MTS Centre was so humbling!!

It was a day I know I will never forget…and an evening spent with my two wonderful kids, Carly and Matt.

Enjoy the pix…I hope they convey how special the day was. ( a special thanks to Matt for taking the videos last night…you nailed Carly’s favourite song, Wheat Kings..and mine, Poets!!  Thank you.)

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Life doesn’t get any better; with Carly & Matt, rooftop of Tavern!!

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Thanks to Matt for getting the video of Wheat Kings!!

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Thank you for this Matt…Poets…my favourite Hip song!!!!

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Thank you Gord.

Summertime meant Calder Sports Day…by Al Bryski.

@Al Bryski

I always looked forward to the Calder and District Board of Trade Sports day which usually occurred in the early part of June. It was a day filled with excitement and it was a day away from the usual routine of the farm.

Calder Sports Day

The Sports Day was held south of the CNR tracks on the Calder Sports Grounds, a field which was fenced off from the surrounding area. The grounds had 3 ball diamonds on it. Two were for baseball, or hardball, and one was for fastball, or softball, as they were respectively called back then. Baseball was played by the men and softball was reserved for the women because “it was a gentler sport for the gentler and fairer sex”.

Entry to the grounds was by general admission. For youths it was a quarter and for adults it was half a buck. You received a ribbon which was pinned onto your shirt or jacket to show that you had paid and had not sneaked in over or under the woven wire fence. You could leave the grounds but you needed to have your hand stamped for readmission so that ribbons were not handed off to other people for using to gain admission by those who were leaving.

The calibre of the baseball teams that paid an entrance fee depended on the size of the prizes. The larger the winnings, the better the teams that were attracted. At the larger centres’ Sports Days, purses were often in the amount of a $1000 for first. Calder’s prizes for the baseball portion back then were more in the line of $100 to $200 for first, $75 for second, $50 for third, and $25 for fourth. Teams were guaranteed at least two games. In the softball portion, the prizes, like wages for women  were also considerably less. Most of the women’s teams were pickup teams from the area and from surrounding towns. Their entry fee was about $5 a team and first prize was about $25. They were usually guaranteed only one game.

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The men’s games were played on the two baseball diamonds. The main baseball diamond was carefully manicured in the days before the tournament. It also had small grandstand that stretched from first base, around home to third base. The stands had bench seating and were about 8 rows high. Games in front of the grandstand were usually between the higher seeded teams. As well, the semi-finals and finals were played here. When the grandstand was filled, as it often was at sports days, fans would also sit on the grass along the foul lines. Every inning or so the base umpires would move the fans back about 2 metres from the line so that they wouldn’t interfere in a ball’s progress. As well fans had to scatter when a fall ball was hit sharply along the ground or when a player came in search of a foul pop-up.

Cars were parked along the fences or in an area away from the field if they didn’t want their cars to be hit by stray foul balls. Many a person who chose close-to-the-field parking ended up with a dent in the roof of the car from pop fouls that cleared the high wire mesh fences that surrounded the infield area. Occasionally an unlucky family would come back to their car to find that the windshield had been shattered by a direct hit from a foul ball. Foul balls provide a source of income for groups of teens wearing baseball gloves who competed with each other to retrieve the foul balls and turn them in for a ten cent reward. This was good money in the days when soda pop, or soft drinks as they were called then, were only a dime, hot dogs were fifteen cents, and an ice cream cone was ten cents. These prices were from the 50’s and they had inflated by a 100% from the 40’s.

The previously mentioned foods were bought at a booth from town residents who were volunteering their labor for the day. Salted sunflower seeds were in big demand and one could always tell the size of the crowd the next day by the amount of sunflower seed shells lying on the ground. Chocolate bars cost a dime, and, if you were lucky and Texas watermelons were available, you could buy a nice thick slice of ice-cold watermelon for a dime. There was many a war waged between young boys with pieces of watermelon rind.

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People would sit and watch the games and cheer on their favorite teams. Everyone especially liked to cheer against the teams from larger centres who often came in with a superior attitude. They thought they would show these “hayseeds” or “bumpkins’ how baseball was really played in the city. More often than not, they ran into some very talented “farmboys” who sent them home on the short end of the score at the end of the game.

For the children and for those adults who weren’t embarrassed at being seen in taking part, there were races and contests of many types. Prizes were usually monetary – fifteen cents for first, a dime for second, and a nickel for a third place finish. There were tug-of-war contests and horseshoe pitching competitions. Calder’s Sports Day was too small to qualify, but the larger towns and small cities hosting a Sports Day would often have a midway show as well.

As at games played in front of large crowds today, there were the ever present “hecklers” who would shout out their “witty sayings” at ball players they had selected for whatever reason to be their targets. If these hecklers were truly funny, they were fun to listen to. However some were just mean-spirited, and even though the targets of their barbs were players of the “hated” opposing team, most home-town fans knew when the rules of proper conduct had been broken and would not encourage these baiters. Occasionally after a player had been the target of their barbs all game and could take it no more, there would be a confrontation and punches would be exchanged. Usually though, the players on opposing teams knew this was their fate as the visiting team and good-naturedly took the ribbing. The odd player gave back as good as he got and this was often enough to shut a heckler up. Occasionally the banter between the hecklers and the heckled was better than even the ball game being played.

negro-league-team-(national-baseball-hall-of-fame-photo)

The calibre of the baseball that was played at this sports day and others like it was very good. In the days before television, young men played baseball as a form of entertainment from the time they were old enough to understand the game. As they got older, they got better at it and smarter. There was much baseball savvy out there as well as excellent physical skills. Each town had their hometown heroes.

In the United States, Afro-Americans were not allowed to play in the American or National Baseball Leagues because of a color barrier. So they formed teams of their own and leagues of their own, the Negro American League and the Negro National League. The National League folded in 1948. The Negro American league folded at the end of 1951, when full integration of black players into the previously white American and National Leagues took place. First a trickle and then a flood of players signed with Major League Baseball teams. Most signed minor league contracts and many languished, shuttled from one bush league team to another, despite their success at previous high levels. Those that were either too old or had become disenchanted with their failure to rise from the minor leagues headed to Canada. Here they were signed by teams who played in the larger centres. They received a salary for the season and many of them held jobs. As well, most were integrated into the white communities and many did not go back to the States when their playing days were over.

Our young men often played against these teams with their stacked rosters and they held their own. Their calibre of play stood the test. Some of these farm boys were good enough to play in the majors but they did not have any scouts to notice them. Occasionally some went to tryout camps on the States and signed minor league contracts. Yes, the calibre of baseball at these Sports Days was good.

After the games were over, most adults attended a dance at the local hall where a notable band had been hired by the local Board of Trade to provide the music. Admission often include a lunch provided by the Board of Trade who had sponsored the Sports Day. The hotel in town did a booming business as did the stores which stayed open late for the crowds of visitors. If the Sports Day was well-run, had a good supply of volunteers, and the weather co-operated, then the Board of Trade would be able to add a substantial amount of money into the general income which was to the benefit of the town and its citizens and to those people from the surrounding farms who did their shopping in the town.

Sports Days are a thing of the past. There are still tournaments that occur, but in almost all cases the game being played for cash prizes is fastball, what the old-timers in their day referred to as softball, or in some extreme cases, “baseball for sissies”!

Saturday Morning Random Thoughts (a special section added at the end)…by Chuck Duboff

@Chuck Duboff

  • Sitting here at a cafe on Broadway…sun shining, snow melting +11 Celsius; spring is in the air.
  • I admire the strength that both my very good friends, Geoff and Al, are displaying right now.  Proud of you…you give me strength in my battle.
  • With spring being in the air…it’s time for baseball, baseball, baseball!!!d  Love watching spring training games…seeing raw rookies trying to make it and then realizing that 39 year old Reed Johnson is still hanging on…trying to enjoy one more season of being paid to play baseball.Casey
  • Yes, that’s the ol’ professor, Casey Stengel, getting the Yankees ready for the season, back in the ’60’s.  Bring back memories Mick?  Al?
  • Please, somebody, explain to me: Donald Trump and the millions who blindly follow him.  He seems to be doing his best Hitler 2.0 imitation and nobody seems to be able to stop him.  Somebody please explain.  If this next picture doesn’t scare you:Hi Hitler.jpg
  • Contrasting the buffoonery, racism and intimidation of the Trump campaign, I present to you:Barak and Justin.jpg
  • It is so wonderful to see our two countries getting along so well.  Decency, common sense, respect…Barak and Justin seem like soul brothers.  It is a shame that Obama’s time in office will end in January.
  • I do not trust a word which Brian Pallister utters; he refuses to explain how he will cut the PST and other taxes, all the while continuing to improve infrastructure.  I lived through Pallister’s time in Filmon’s cabinet, when they so ruthlessly cut teachers and nurses.  I was part of that purge…it was not fun.
  • By the same token, Greg Selinger has destroyed the provincial NDP…had he cared first about the party, he would have retired and allowed Theresa Oswald to take over, consequently giving the NDP a real chance in the upcoming election.
  • Though I voted Liberal in the federal election…I see the provincial Liberal Party not ready for prime time.
  • Not sure whom I shall vote for..
  • So freakin excited about the Heritage Classic next October…right here in the ‘peg!!  The regular season game on October 23 at IGF will be awesome, BUT, the Saturday Alumni game…featuring the Jets and Oilers greats:  Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nillson,  Teemu Selanne, Dale Hawerchuk, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier…WOW!!  There’s going to be a Gala dinner on the Friday night at the new part of the  Convention Centre…that ill be awesome!!!  Have already started saving up for the wknd!!
  • Blessed to have some pretty amazing friends.

  • Speaking of blessed…it’ll be one year on May 14th that Fools & Horses Cafe opened…Broadway & Edmonton…15 steps from my condo…my writing home…a place where I feel authentic (like in Mexico)…and a very special thanks to two great women…Lauren & Amy…you guys are the best!!  If you haven’t been there yet…check it out!!  (Lauren on the left, Amy on the right)
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  • It’s amazing to watch my selection of cable stations get whittled down…having both Netflix and Crave TV, there is so little need for extra cable stations…all part of the ever changing media landscape.
  • Pierre Trudeau, Justin’s father, was one of my heroes while in high school!!  I so clearly remember Trudeaumania…and a parade down Jefferson Ave, right in front of Garden City Collegiate…Pierre Trudeau.  His liberal politics, his aura, his place on the world stage!!!  It’s so wonderful watching Justin following in his footsteps.  Pierre Trudeau and Richard Nixon…two ends of the political spectrum:Pierre and Dick.JPG
  • Join in the fun…leave your addition to this fun list which follows, in the comments section:
  • What if Bruce Springsteen wasn’t Born to Run?
  • What if Journey Stopped Believin?
    What if Pink Floyd hadn’t gone to The Dark Side of the Moon?
    What if the Beatles hadn’t joined Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club?
    What if the Eagles hadn’t gone to the Hotel California? (my favourite)
    What if Neil Young hadn’t shot her Down by the River?
    What if Led Zeppelin hadn’t had a Whole Lotta Love?
    What if David Bowie hadn’t met Ziggy Stardust?
    What if Springsteen wasn’t Born in the USA?
    What if CSNY had not met Suite Judy Blue Eyes?
  • And…what if…Kurt Cobain hadn’t smelled Teen Spirit?
  • And…what if…Deep Purple hadn’t seen the Smoke on the Water?
  • And…what if Jefferson Airplane hadn’t seen the White Rabbit?
  • Jimi Hendrix would have been lost had the Haze been Blue.
  • What if John Lennon didn’t have an Imagination?
  • What if Jimmy Buffett didn’t like Margaritas?
  • What if Neil Diamond met Nasty Caroline?
  • What if The Who knew who you were?
  • What if it was a foggy day and The Who couldn’t see for miles?

ATM fees…Bank profits…do we even pay attention?…by Chuck Duboff

© Chuck Duboff

I recently needed to withdraw some cash.  Within my condo building there is a grocery mart which has an ATM…I went to this machine and was informed by the store manager that it wasn’t in operation.  The withdrawal rate for this machine is $2 per transaction.  Upon further discussion, I learned that this fee goes to the person who rents the space within the store.

Being across the street from a Scotia Bank, I ventured over to withdraw some cash from their Automated Teller Machine.  I inserted my card and was told by the “impersonal” machine that the service fee would be $3.  I did a double take…$3 for what.  For the person who helped me with this transaction?  Ummm, NO!!!  For the cost of the electricity for the 20 second transaction?  Ummm, NO!!!!  If I went during business hours and actually spoke to a human being…there wouldn’t be a withdrawal charge.   Upon further reflection, it also brought to mind the fact that I must pay a $1.25 fee to transfer money in my online bank account to another individual.  That fee would be for????

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I don’t know why people don’t speak up about this?  Why do we have to pay $3 to withdraw our own money?  Why do we have to pay $1.25 when we want to make a transfer?

GREED!!!   GREED!!!!    GREED!!!    Read the following numbers reported by Scotia Bank: (source: the Globe and Mail)

“Bank of Nova Scotia reported that its profit in the fourth quarter rose to $1.8-billion, or $1.45 a share, kicking off the quarterly reporting season for the Big Six Canadian banks with results that demonstrated ongoing growth in spite of a slow Canadian economy.

After making some adjustments, the lender’s operating earnings for the quarter rose to $1.46 a share, up 8 per cent and ahead of the $1.44 that analysts had been expecting. It maintained its quarterly dividend at 70 cents a share.

For the full fiscal 2015, Scotiabank reported profit of $7.2-billion, or $5.67 a share, up 4.4 per cent from last year on an adjusted basis.

“The bank’s earnings growth in 2015 was driven by very good performances in our personal, commercial and wealth businesses, both in Canada and internationally,” Brian Porter, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.”

The Bank of Nova Scotia made $1.8 billion in just three months and $7.2 billion for 2015.   As CEO and President Brian Porter indicated…”we had very good performances in our personal…businesses.”      

Put that into laymen’s speak…and that $7.2 billion was largely as a result of charging $3 to withdraw my own money from a machine and $1.25 to transfer money to somebody else.

Canada needs a Bernie Sanders to speak up for the little man, to stand up to the greedy Banks and to stop the ridiculous fees which banks charge to individuals.

Aboriginal community leader, Rebecca Chartrand,speaks up.

 

© Chuck Duboff   The following piece was written by my friend, and former teaching colleague, Rebecca Chartrand.  Rebecca and I taught together at Maples Collegiate; during this time we had many discussions about human rights and the challenges facing the Aboriginal community in Canada.  Since our teaching time together, Rebecca and I have met many times to discuss issues and it was with great pride that I watched Rebecca enter politics and run in this past federal election.  I know that Rebecca will continue to be an advocate for the Aboriginal community and a roll model from the next generation of Aboriginal leaders.

© Rebecca Chartrand

It’s time to speak up. I’ve contemplated what I learned from running in a federal election and there are many things that I continue to process. The one thing I am sure of is that it is time to speak up. I’ve recently declined an offer to run in the provincial election but realized we don’t need to be running in politics to speak out about important issues. Putting my name on a ballot gave me a broader and more definite audience but in meeting people you realize every voice matters and as a politicians these are the voices you must amplify. The issues and challenges I heard visiting communities are also my own- they become ours to address when you’re willing to share your time and your voice to speak up and to vote. Now is the time to do just that, speak up.

abor leaders

Politicians are currently attempting to get your vote, or not. Perhaps your voice and your vote is being taken for granted. Point is, make every vote count let people know what matters. There were issues that came up time and time again, like CFS and the outrageous number of our children that are in care

The fact is, this is a CRISES. We have too many of our children in care and it’s so difficult to reunite families. This system is not working and something has to be done. Ask yourself, who is speaking up about this issue that is currently running for a seat in provincial politics? If we don’t speak up now we will miss an opportunity for change. From now till election time politicians will be out making promises attempting to win your vote. After the election and the votes are counted those promises become the issues that government must work to implement. So whatever issues are important to you at this time whether it’s water management-such as ongoing flooding or the impacts of hydro on hunting, fishing or trapping, or a need to access essential services for your community -raise your voice. Create the conversation if it’s not happening, use your Facebook pages, weigh in on other conversations that may be taking place, read the paper, listen to the news.

stolen sisters

For too long many people, and especially Aboriginal people have felt voiceless, overlooked and for good reason. We were only given the right to vote in the 60’s. I learned that many of our people still don’t know the difference between a provincial and federal election, and part of the issue is because we have marginalized in our our homeland, which is why we need to keep this conversation going. Other nations of people who immigrate to Canada have a better turn out at the polls when they are given the right to vote. I believe this is based on their understanding of the importance of engaging in democratic processes- because those democratic processes afford them the opportunity to immigrate to Canada, and it is therefore one that should not be taken for granted. Whether we agree or not with how Canada founded we are all Canadians as much as we are All Treaty people. If we don’t understand this concept it’s all the more reason to keep the conversation going. The fact is, we can all benefit by raising our voices, by engaging in conversations that are meaningful and important. People felt empowered this time around because of efforts like Rock The Vote, because of your efforts and my own. I hope we each keep the fire burning. The provincial election takes place in April. Do you know what types of supports and services the province oversees? Do you know who is attempting to represent you in your area? Get involved, stay connected, your family and community deserve to be considered. They matter and so do you.

Winnipeg. September 29, 2015.

Liberal candidate for riding of Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, Rebecca Chartrand, speaks with Liberal leader Justin Trudaeu in Winnipeg on Sept 29th, 2015. (Adam Scotti/Liberal Party)

What is it that makes us Canadian?…by Geoff Brookes

canadian-mosaic-flag
© Geoff Brookes
What is it that makes us “Canadian”?
Do we Canadians have a set of core values? Do we have a set of principles on which we can all agree?
As I grow older, I find myself becoming progressively less interested in polarizing debates that attempt to force everyone to take one side or the other. Usually, these debates are created by making a false dichotomy. I’m getting better at finding the middle ground that eludes the extremes.
I’m disappointed that so many public issues seem to quickly degenerate into choice A or choice B, as if we were playing the old game show “Let’s make a deal”. Almost always, there are other alternatives available. Or, the best solution might be parts of different solutions (a bit of A with a bit of B) that might actually work better when they are implemented together as complimentary strategies.
So is there a common set of Canadian values?
Rights and Freedoms
Well, we do have this thing called the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. No-one in Canada seems to have disliked it to the point that they felt like they really needed to change it for the last 33 years, even if it is hard to change. If there was a will to change it, people would be complaining about it. I haven’t heard a lot of complaining. So I think we can say it probably reflects our core values…more or less, anyway.
It’s right at the beginning of our constitution. You can find it online here:
The language really isn’t difficult. I’m not a lawyer, but the words seem clear to me. Here’s some of the key parts:

“CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

 Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:”

Interesting. I don’t think “God” is defined anywhere (insert wink emoticon here). The colon at the end is interesting, because it means that we should keep reading to get more insight on these principles.

“Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

Marginal note:Rights and freedoms in Canada

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

The language here is more difficult, but it basically says if you’re going to limit someone’s “rights” and “freedoms”, you’d better have a really good reason, in our “free and democratic society”.

“Fundamental Freedoms

Marginal note:Fundamental freedoms

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

  • (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
  • (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
  • (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
  • (d) freedom of association.”I noticed the word “religion” here. I like the idea that some of the early European groups to settle North America were seeking religious freedom  – for example, the Quakers, albeit in the United States, not Canada.In Manitoba, we can look to many groups who came here for freedom to practice religion, including Mennonites (part of my wife’s heritage), but so many others as well.  Even in my own British heritage, part of my ancestry traces back to the channel islands between England and France. Some of my ancestors were likely part of a group (the Huguenots) that were fleeing religious persecution in France, many centuries ago.

    I’m going to skip a few parts, and go down the page to:

  • “Equality Rights

    Marginal note:Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law
    • 15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”Note that it says “everyone” under the heading “Fundamental Freedoms”, and “Every individual” under “Equality Rights”. You might say that this means citizens of Canada, but it doesn’t say that. It says “everyone” and “every individual”.Later in the charter, under “Democratic Rights” and “Mobility Rights” it says “Every citizen”. In another place it says “permanent resident”.If it says “every citizen”, or “permanent resident”, that’s what it means.

      But, under “Fundamental Freedoms” it says “everyone”, and it means, well…everyone.

    There are many other details and sections of the Charter, but I think that these few short sections of the Charter might be the nearest thing to a common set of Canadian principles. I know you could debate the legalities for hours, but the key question is:

    “What does it mean?”

    Here’s my answer:

    I think anytime we’re being asked to state our preference in terms of a choice between two extremes, as we often hear in public these days, we should think twice before we answer.Canadian Charter

  • We should ask ourselves what we think our core values are, as Canadians. If we don’t think the Charter gets it exactly right, let’s at least think about what those values are, before we decide.

    Let’s think about what other choices there might be, and whether they would fit better with our values.

    When it comes to matters of conscience, let’s err on the side of compassion. Let’s remember that our neighbour – or our potential neighbour – is another man or woman with much joy and many heartbreaks in their lives, just like us.

    Let’s defend our country vigorously, because it might just be the very best country in the world.

    Let’s defend our values even more vigorously, because they define who we are.

Protest-Get-Up-Stand-Up-FOr-Your-Rights