Log Cabin Chronicles Columns Menu Page

Log Cabin Chronicles | MAR 2017


Columns
PREVIOUS COLUMNS ARE ARCHIVED HERE

Father-daughter-Beyoncé bonding
Posted 03.27.17
ROSS MURRAY

Abby and I get under each other's skin these days -- the sneering, the glares, the sarcasm, the outbursts and eye rolls. And Abby's pretty ornery too.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

The one-quarter buck stops here
Posted 03.18.17
ROSS MURRAY

A Canadian quarter from 1907 turned up in my wife's change from the liquor store last weekend. I like to think it ended up there by way of a slow-moving nonagenarian war bride in a cardigan purchasing her bi-monthly supply of Harvey's Bristol Cream. She is also the last person in Canada to pay for items in small change, including pennies.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Coming out of the crawlspace
Posted 03.11.17
ROSS MURRAY

When I was little, my older brother and I would spend hours tunnelling into the piles of snow at the end of our driveway. This was back when we regularly got snowfalls of 17 feet at a time. Or something like that. I was a lot shorter then. And less metric.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

New guidelines for the coming in/going out of March
Posted 03.6.17
ROSS MURRAY

The management would like to inform you that, in accordance with our recently adopted policy on heightened inclusivity and respect for species fluidity, March is no longer exclusively required to come in like a lamb and go out like a lion (or vice versa, i.e. coming-lion/going-lamb).
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Coal Regulation Scuttled
Posted 03.06.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

President Trump has overturned the regulation that would prevent dumping of coal mining debris into nearby streams. He called it a "job-killing rule" before he signed the order to overturn it. Members of Congress from coal-mining states, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV stood around grinning.

Trumpwatch 2017: Guns for the Insane and Other Crazy Shit
Posted 3.4.17
JIM AUSTIN

CAPE BRETON, NS | As my legions of readers know (I estimate them to be well into the single digits), I have always had a thing about gun control. After several years of pursuing the goal of limiting handguns, universal registration, banning assault weapons, and closing the gun show loophole, I gave up.

A case of refugee envy
Posted 02.28.17
ROSS MURRAY

Dear Refugees Fleeing Would-Be American Oppression: I see on the news that you 've been crossing illegally from the U.S. into Canada along our vast and largely unprotected border. It 's been happening in Manitoba and it 's been happening about an hour away from here in Quebec.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

I want to be the guy who drives the snowplough
Posted 02.21.17
ROSS MURRAY

O, I want to be the guy who drives the snowplough through the town.
A vanquisher of snowstorms, mighty king of streets and roads.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Trumpwatch 2017: March to Oblivion
Posted 2.16.17
JIM AUSTIN

CAPE BRETON, NS | If you are a fan of salacious media you will have noted the googly eyes that Ivanka Trump was leveling at hunky Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. She was all dressed up in a slinky shift and her "fuck me" pumps when Trudy met with Agent Orange to discuss "Women in Business."

The furious incident of the stupid dog in the night time
Posted 02.14.17
ROSS MURRAY

The stupid dog goes to the door around 5:30 a.m., maybe earlier. Dogs can't tell time. Every night when I come up to bed, Deb reminds me, "Did you let The Beast out?" If I haven't, I do, even though I know it's probably pointless because, at 11 o'clock, the dog doesn't need out. The dog needs out at 5:30 a.m., maybe earlier. Stupid dog.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Carbon Tax Redux
Posted 02.12.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

James A. Baker III, Secretary of State and White House Chief of Staff under President George H. W. Bush, has advocated a good idea: a Carbon Tax (See Link). He is supported by Hank Paulson, Treasury Secretary for former President George W. Bush; Greg Mankiw, who chaired Bush's Council of Economic Advisers; and Marty Feldstein, Chairman of President Ronald Reagan's Council of Economic Advisors. Also in support are former Walmart chairman, Rob Walton; Thomas Stephenson, a partner at the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital; and Ted Halstead, founder of New America and the Climate Leadership Council.

Trumpwatch 2017: The Nightmare Continues
Posted 2.11.17
JIM AUSTIN

CAPE BRETON, NS | Don't like Trump? Think he's an unmitigated douchebag? There's a support group for that. It's called "Almost Everybody." I'll try to keep up with the atrocities unleashed by this administration but it's like trying to take cover from a cluster bomb. So many lies, so many unethical shenanigans in so little time.

Slime Politics
Posted 02.8.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Last year the Senate, under the leadership of Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, failed to do their job by denying President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, a hearing and a vote. One could even make the case that members of the majority party at that time violated their oath of office.

Trumped? Skunked!
Posted 02.7.17
ROSS MURRAY

I am carrying this live skunk to protest everything Donald Trump stands for. For the past weeks, as I've watched the presidency of Donald Trump unfurl like a deep-fried blooming onion at a county fair -- unhealthy, nauseating, greasy -- I have asked myself, how can I make my voice heard? How can one small person effectively express his utter loathing of Trump and his so-called policies? Also, what can I do with this live skunk I happen to have?
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Travel Ban
Posted 02.3.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The travel ban sprung by the Trump Administration initially looked to me like the typical blunder of a bunch of newbies that are out of their depth. Of course, President Trump is playing to his base and throwing these kind of bones will allow him to avoid his real promises of saving coal miners and other middle Americans from destitution.

Trumpwatch 2017: Homogenizing America
Posted 2.1.17
JIM AUSTIN

CAPE BRETON, NS | FDR had weekly "fireside chats" to discuss events in government and help people understand his decisions. Trump has decided to tweet out an atrocity of the week.

JOHNNY MUSN'T GRUMBLE
Posted 1.31.17
JOHN MAHONEY

Fever Dreams at -26 C

Canadian political leaders trip over tongues
Posted 1.30.17
PETER BLACK

QUEBEC CITY | Say what you will about former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper (insert snide or sentimental comment here: ... ), he made a determined effort from an early age to learn and speak French.

O, supplemented youth!
Posted 01.28.17
ROSS MURRAY

In the 1960s and early 70s, Canadian children did not regularly eat fresh fruit or vegetables during the winter months due to complex British Commonwealth rules that stated that all food must be grey or mush or both.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Trumpwatch 2017: Lighting the Fuse
CAPE BRETON, NS | I mention Canada's current Trudeau's hoo-raw only so we Canucks can be happy we are not south of the border these days. Some of you may be indulging in a bit of Schadenfreude but don't think the orange nightmare won't be having a profound affect on us as well. So, let's see what parade of atrocities has our bloviating buffoon saddled us with this week.

What Do We Do, Now?
Posted 01.23.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We, in the United States, have a government "of the People, by the People and for the People," which is aimed at helping the peoples of the nation and the world. We the People have just completed a very long process of choosing new leadership in both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch of that government.

This past weekend, we installed that leadership in its offices. Come Monday morning and we discover -- similar to the discovery we make after a long weekend drunk -- we have made a horrendous mistake.

Townshipsplaining the PM
Posted 01.21.17
ROSS MURRAY

Oh, hi there, Prime Minister Trudeau, or as we say here in Quebec's Eastern Townships, "hi there."You see, Justin (may I call you Justin? I think I may), the Eastern Townships is a pretty easygoing place when it comes to the whole English-French thing. Certainly we've had our battles -- sign complaints, bilingual status debates, health care access. But for the most part, even during difficult times, both linguistic communities have been fairly even-tempered, dare I say cooperative.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Bilingualish today, not so French tomorrow?
Posted 1.19.17
PETER BLACK

QUEBEC CITY | Most people these days likely would identity the acronym APEC as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, a group of Pacific Rim countries, including Canada and, for now, the United States, promoting free trade. For many years, though, APEC stood for something quite different Canada. The Alliance for the Preservation of English here was a group furiously opposed to the Official Languages Act of 1969.

Putin turns the tables
Posted 1.16.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Two or three years ago it seemed that Russia had been backed into a corner by the West - - from the Sochi Olympics to NATO's forces stationed along Russia's borders, including the very-provocative NATO move to rotate warships continually through the Black Sea, along the coasts of Russia and Iran. NATO was negotiating for use of what used to be Russia's largest naval base in the south, Sevastopol in the Crimea.

Eulogy for a big guy
Posted 01.15.17
ROSS MURRAY

I learned recently that an old university friend died. We spent two years together in Bennett House at Mount Allison University in the mid-80s. His name was Jim Morrison. Not that Jim Morrison. Not the Lizard King, though Jim was big like a T Rex, and he tended to lumber like one. He was also legally blind, but only in the sense that you wouldn't want to get behind the wheel with him.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

TRUMPWATCH 2017; From Obama Nation to Abomination
Posted 1.12.17
JIM AUSTIN

CAPE BRETON, NS | I'm sorry but I just can't get behind the crowd who says: "Let's just wait and see how he does" nor can I follow the advice of Kellyanne "Conjob" Conway, his female zombie minion who said, "don't worry about what comes out of his mouth, it's what in his heart that matters."

JANUARY NEWSLETTER OF RUSSIAN CYBER-HACKERS LOCAL 301
Posted 01.07.17
ROSS MURRAY

Holiday season is over in decadent West. Many bourgeois families woke on morning of Magical Jesus Holiday to find new electronic devices under freshly killed living room tree. It is musical ringtone to Mother Russia's eavesdropping ears. Soon all of West will be puppet for Russian master and all of Russian people will have free subscription to Netflix.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Winding down
Posted 01.06.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Viking Akun had cruised through the night on the Volga as it wandered through the Russian Plain, which is characterized by low hills and woods. We arrived in Yaroslavl just after breakfast about 8 a.m. . This city of about 600,000 was founded about 1000 CE on the banks of the Volga River on the site of a Viking village. The Volga turns south at this point. The Vikings used the river as their route to the Caspian Sea.

Thinking Huuugely in America
Posted 01.03.178
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Our President Elect, Donald Trump, has said that he is going to bring American manufacturing jobs back from overseas. I have argued that, while some jobs have gone overseas, the real problem is that jobs have disappeared due to new technology. The chart below, needless to say, supports my position.

How to do laundry in 2017
Posted 12.29.16
ROSS MURRAY

Get the dirt on soap: Your laundry detergent makes a lot of claims. It's going to spin. It's going to tell you it's better than all the other detergents. It might say the other detergents can't get the job done, have no moral fibre, don't have the temperament, are soft on grime. Some might go so far as to suggest the competing brands support ring around the collar.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Going North
Posted 12.23.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Viking Akun cruised north on the Moscow Canal through the newer parts of Moscow heading for the Volga River. All along this part of the route were new apartment buildings, cranes where apartments would be soon, green park areas and many recreational facilities, including amusement parks. What I read in the newspapers and magazines indicates that the Russian economy is in bad shape. However, that was not what I observed.

No fear & loathing ‘round this old Christmas tree
Posted 12.05.16
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Since when did, "Have a safe Christmas!", become a seasonal greeting? Did you hear this as a kid? I didn't. Or if I did, it meant "don't drink too much", but today this so-called greeting encompasses the most horrendous threats.

The Donald does Christmas
Posted 12.21.16
ROSS MURRAY

1 AD @realBethlehemTrump Just read Old Testament. Not good. God did a very bad job. All smiting and pestilence, zero job creation. New Testament will be unbelievably world-class, trust me.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

SCHRODINGER'S CAT COMES TO LIFE IN SATURDAY'S NEW YORK TIMES
Posted 12.19.16
RON COHEN

NEAR WASHINGTON DC | I have been alive 79 years and 11 months without ever having encountered Schrodinger's Cat. That changed this weekend.

The coming of the coffee bean behemoth
Posted 12.13.16
ROSS MURRAY

The office where I work is in a former home set a fair distance from the rest of the school. I'm alone on the second floor, making me the most outlying member of the school staff. I'm the institutional Pluto. There are five of us in this building. Sometimes I hear them having a good time downstairs. Sometimes they leave and lock me in. When this occurs, I remind myself that I have a private bathroom.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Trumpwatch 2016: March to Oblivion
PUTNEY, VT | Trump's current parade of Fox hosts and lunatic fringe element contestants for his cabinet is chilling. The Donald is handling his appointments like a cheesy game show host. Most unappealing is the lineup of lickspittle former critics of Trump who are now panting for a cabinet post.

Your Basic Reverse Advent Calendar
Posted 12.01.16
ROSS MURRAY

From now until Christmas Eve, you get to open one small window a day and delight in the small treat inside -- unless the treats are tiny liqueur-filled chocolates, in which case you're probably going to eat/drink them all alone this Saturday night watching "Gilmore Girls" on Netflix. Friends don't let friends advent binge. Or watch "Gilmore Girls."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Beatles on the Border
Posted 11.23.16
ROSS MURRAY

Legend has it that back in the day the Beatles used to meet [at the Haskell Free Library on the Quebec/Vermont border]. John was banned from the US so he would enter the library from the Canadian side with George, Paul, and Ringo coming in from the US side. The locals claim that George, Paul, and Ringo used to stay to relax afterwards because they could walk around and everyone just treated them as regular people.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Trumped
PUTNEY, VT | I send you greetings from Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. If you will recall at the end of the movie "World War Z" Brad Pitt and his family took refuge from the zombie apocalypse in Nova Scotia. Now that much the same thing has happened in the U.S.A. Brad and I are here for the next four years at least.

Getting back to sexy business
Posted 11.14.16
ROSS MURRAY

As if Americans haven't been through enough gut-wrenching uncertainty, next week they must join the rest of the world as we anxiously await a vital decision: who will be People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

An unfocused look at optometry
Posted 11.09.16
ROSS MURRAY

Optometry is one of those professions where I think, "Hey, I could do do that." It doesn't seem that complicated. With some basic equipment and an instructive YouTube video, I'm sure I could manage it.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

'Mad as Hell'
Posted 11.11.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

All of the talking heads in Washington and elsewhere are trying to explain why there is so much anger in the U.S. voting public. I think that Bill Clinton got it right in his 1992 campaign when he said: "it's the economy stupid."

Scarebnb: A Halloween Review
Posted 10.30.16
ROSS MURRAY

OMG this place was literally a nightmare. If you have a choice between spending the night in an open grave filled with the corpses of murdered orphans or at Jaundiced Entrails B&B, well, I would say the B&B but only because it's closer to the airport.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Reading at a Literary Festival
Posted 10.24.16
ROSS MURRAY

For the last several months I've been enjoying house concerts in Stanstead. I get to go into someone's living room and enjoy performers as they stand in front of me playing intricate arrangements on instruments that I could never begin to master. I, on the other hand, read out loud to people.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

The Kremlin
Posted 10.22.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On our visits to Moscow city center we had been all around the Kremlin's red brick wall with its towers, and viewed it from all angles. As mentioned earlier, kremlin means fortress in Russian and many cities have kremlins. The area enclosed within the Kremlin wall in Moscow is over 68 acres and is almost in the form of a triangle. It includes five palaces, four cathedrals, and a number of office buildings.

Whither Democracy?
Posted 10.11.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We Americans pride ourselves on being exceptional and being the world's oldest democracy. In the last few years, we have not been setting an example for the rest of the world. Whatever happened to the shining city on the hill? In our domestic policies, we are disenfranchising voters, buying elections, and abandoning civility. These actions plus the dysfunction of our government causes the U.S. to lose its standing as a world leader. We see European countries like Poland and Hungary following the lead of Putin's Russia moving toward oligarchy.

Bend it like Bonehead
Posted 10.13.16
ROSS MURRAY

Over the years, I've mostly shied away from playing in these [student-teacher] games due to my medical condition: I'm allergic to humiliation.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Trumping myself
Posted 10.07.16
ROSS MURRAY

If there's one thing that the U.S. federal election campaign has taught me and that Monday night's debate in particular reinforced and that the mainstream media helpfully perpetuated and that my gut instinct kind of knew all along and that my mother warned me would probably happen, it's that run-on sentences are no big deal.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

My nude calendar
Posted 09.28.16
ROSS MURRAY

Earlier this year I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to help cover the cost of printing the debut novel that I will stop shamelessly referencing sometime in the middle-distant future. The campaign was a success, and the book is now for sale at better tanning salons near you.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

A Day in Moscow
Posted 09.20.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We disembarked at the Moscow airport and walked to get our luggage, and meet our transportation. The airport could have been anywhere, except for the signs in Cyrillic. Fortunately, most signs had English subtitles.

Book Launch Emergency Measures
Posted 09.15.16
ROSS MURRAY

QUEBEC'S EASTERN TOWSHIPS | This Saturday Sept. 17 at Townshippers' Day, I will officially launch my debut novel, A Hole in the Ground. Set in the fictional town of Beaverly, the plot hinges on a local disaster. And turtles. I can verify there are stampeding beavers. But mostly the disaster.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Explaining the ocean
Posted 09.13.16
ROSS MURRAY

So. Imagine a water. A big, big water. No, bigger than that. Think of all the bathtubs you will fill in your lifetime. Now multiply by infinity. Add salt. That's the ocean. It's where the land stops. There's land on the other side of it, but you can't see it. You just have to trust that it's there, and for a while a whole lot of people didn't. If you ever saw an ocean you would understand why. There are no crocodiles.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

The Trump - Putin Bromance
Posted 09.11.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

It appears as if we are getting used to Donald Trump's off-the-cuff statements describing Putin as a "strong leader" and saying that the United States gets "no respect" from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

This is your fight song
Posted 09.06.16
ROSS MURRAY

With classes beginning this week, it seems a shame that many schools no longer have fight songs to rev up the bloodlust against other schools differentiated only by their postal code. There's nothing quite like teenagers singing in unison as they call for the metaphorical death of their peers to make one feel pride in the ol' school colours.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

How I spent my summer staycation
Posted 08.31.16
ROSS MURRAY

Normally I would keep a journal of my annual vacation travels, but this year we stayed put. What to do? One option might be to post a Yelp review of my Ultimate Staycation Package. ("Directions were spot on: walk downstairs, turn left at the laundry basket and enter the kitchen. I appreciated the Unlimited Fridge Access and the Pants Optional Policy but customer service involved far too much eye-rolling. Also the house had a funny smell. Or so I'm told. I didn't notice.")
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

The Russians are not going gentle into that good night
Posted 08.23.16
ROSS MURRAY

Welcome back to Rio and the semi-final match of Famous Poets' Beach Volleyball. Coming up: the U.S. team of Robert Frost and Sylvia Plath versus T.S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas of Great Britain, what is sure to be an afternoon of all-around athleticism, artistry and alliteration.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Never underestimate the power of a bad idea
Posted 08.21.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In our current American political campaign there has been a drumbeat about manufacturing and manufacturing jobs being shipped overseas; both Hillary and Donald have had much to say in their speeches. The implication is that nothing is manufactured in the U.S. of A. today. The result, so goes the political story, is that shipping of manufacturing jobs overseas has resulted in HUGE layoffs and unemployment.

This old housepainter
Posted 08.17.16
ROSS MURRAY

If you ever want to see how your body changes over time, just paint your house every eight years or so.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

American Democracy Betrayed
Posted 08.15.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

the American philosophy and system of government was thus designed by the Founders, equally to prevent, the 'snob-rule' of a governing Elite and the 'mob-rule' of The Majority. This design was to preclude the existence in America of any governmental power capable of being misused so as to violate the individual's rights.

Welcome to your personal day
Posted 08.10.16
ROSS MURRAY

Good morning! I hope you enjoyed that extra 10 minutes of sleep. And not the cruel joke "snooze button" extra sleep but the kind from which you awaken gently, dreaming of a multi-handed masseuse singing The Carpenters' greatest hits, in a non-gooey, freshly re-evaluated way. This is your personal day. Everyone's getting one this year, and today is yours, all yours. "
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: TOURNON TO AVIGNON
Posted 08.08.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Tournon dates from Celtic times and is built on a narrow level area along the river right up against granite hills. In the 11th century a wealthy family of nobles, the Counts of Tournon, built a fort/castle on the granite rock overlooking the Rhone Valley. The castle is above the fortification in the picture and contains a museum, open to the public.

I See My First American Open-Carry Guy
Posted 08.08.16
JOHN MAHONEY

I saw him at Taft's Corners in Williston, Vermont, at the Majestic 10 Cinema on July 31. It was approximately 5:45 p.m. outside Theater No. 1 where the (new, bad) Jason Bourne flick was playing.

Summer self-lovin', happened so fast
Posted 08.05.16
ROSS MURRAY

I'll never forget that summer romance when I was 16. Neither can the girl involved, I suspect, except in her case it's probably "Why can't I forget that summer 'romance' when I was 16!"

I remember everything being so intense and wonderful: that first shy meeting, the hot-and-heavy hand-holding, finally getting to second base, which in 1982 meant acknowledging that your affection had reached the next level, or "base." [Editor's note: This is not what "second base" meant in 1982.]
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Closing speech of the Rossican National Convention
Posted 07.27.16
ROSS MURRAY

Thank you, everyone, thank you. Thank you for that kind ovation, not to mention the spontaneous singing of the national anthem. That it was the national anthem of Uruguay was a bit of a surprise, but stirring nonetheless.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: IN ANCIENT VIENNE
Posted 07.22.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Vienne is a really old Roman town that predates Caesar's conquest of Gaul by 60 years and the Roman town sprawled onto both sides of the river. On our walking tour after the cathedral, we visited the Temple of Augustus and Livia, which was built during the reign of Emperor Augustus.

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: IN BEAUTIFUL LYON
Posted 07.14.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The region around Lyon is predominantly agricultural with tourism working up to second place. Cows are much in evidence and are used both for meat and milk, which is made into a number of well-known cheeses: Bleu d'Auvergne, Cantal, Fourme d'Ambert and Saint-Nectaire. Cheese and wine are all that is needed to make Lyon's reputation as a culinary capital.

More National Parks funding needed
Posted 07.13.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The inefficiency involved in having one federal agency apply to another for partial funding for a project that both the executive and legislative branches have long recognized as necessary, is appalling. Further, the grant will not complete this necessary job; estimated to cost $250 million. This situation will lead to further inefficiencies because of the effort required by the project team in the National Park Service to piece together the rest of the required funding.

10 things you should never say to the parent of a child who is pure evil
Posted 07.11.16
ROSS MURRAY

1. Why can't your child stop being pure evil?

Because his evil is pure, can't you see? It's not a little evil, not part-time evil, not a little over the top evil. Pure evil. The essence of evil. It cannot be stopped or contained. You might as well ask him to stop conjuring the minions of Satan or demanding we read him I Love You Forever each and every single night. I mean, it's a tearjerker at first but after a while you just want to claw your eyeballs out. But we have to read it, otherwise he'll smite us.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Ol' Catfish in the house, ladies!
Posted 07.01.16
ROSS MURRAY

I'm kind of funny looking. I see it most in photographs. "Wow," I'll say. "My head is huge." On good days, I like to describe my body as "streamlined." Wrists like chopsticks with veins like The Hulk. My son will never forgive me for his nose.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

ONE WAY TO MAKE A (SHAKUHACHI) QUIVVER
Posted 06.26.156
JOHN MAHONEY

I settled on this low-cost method of carrying a flute(s) on my daily meditation/play/walk up the Muskrat Lake shoreline path to the local park overlook, and other treks. This includes our annual week's vacation in July at Newport, Vermont, overlooking beautiful Lake Memphremagog, where each day at sunrise I play shakuhachi and NAFs from the high front steps of St. Mary's church looking down the lake for miles into Quebec.
John Mahoney is the publisher of the Log Cabin Chronicles. This is the third in a projected series on his Shakuhachi journey.

His column archives: Click Here

E-mail anxiety
Posted 06.25.16
ROSS MURRAY

It wasn't necessarily being served in English that sealed the deal but it didn't hurt. Deb and I had been considering changing our phone and Internet provider for some time, so when a representative from a company we'll call Cabletron phoned out of the blue on Saturday, I didn't react the way I normally do when a telemarketer calls:
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]
Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: LYON DAYS
Posted 06.21.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

After breakfast we went by coach north to the Beaujolais region, which produces one of France's most famous wines. The vineyards stretch for ten miles along the Saône River and up the rolling hills. Wine was first produced here by the Romans; and then through the Middle Ages, winemaking was done by the Benedictine monks. Our goal was the Chateau Ravatys (see below) for a tour of the vineyard and the cellar followed by a wine tasting.

House of strippers
Posted 06.13.16
ROSS MURRAY

I don't know if years ago they used special NASA-grade paint for kitchen woodwork, but this door frame required much straining, grunting, and sweating, which also sounds like a fun night out but I can assure you was not. Was lead-based paint actually a coat of lead, because it sure felt like it.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]
Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Cap in hand for A Hole in the Ground
Posted 06.09.16
ROSS MURRAY

I did something recently that I'm not very comfortable doing. No, not that! Disgusting! No, I asked people for money. I'm normally much more comfortable passively hinting for money or sighing heavily about money until eventually people give me money to make me go away.

I launched a Kickstarter campaign to ask people to help me affray the up-front printing costs for the publication of my debut novel, A Hole in the Ground. This is serious business. I know because I'm using business-y words like "affray" and "up-front."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: PARIS DAYS
Posted 06.06.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Wine in hand, we all chose typical fare for petite déjeuner -- Croque Monsieur, soupe à l'oignon, and Quiche Lorraine -- while seated in the enclosed sidewalk café enjoying the passing scene. The bright yellow Lamborghini playing Grand Prix on the Avenue de Suffren was a hit.

Death and the double bed
Posted 05.25.16
ROSS MURRAY

As I was cursing the person who installed the wallpaper border in our hallway 22 years ago and wondering whether it would have been easier if I'd removed it 21 years ago, a song popped into my head.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

My soap has let me down
Posted 05.25.16
ROSS MURRAY

I had such high hopes for my soap. It had a revitalizing formula. Not merely a revitalizing blueprint or a revitalizing vague idea but a formula. That's science, math, the stuff babies drink -- any which way, very serious business!
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

How to talk to humans
Posted 05.16.16
ROSS MURRAY

In the brain are thousands of thinkifiers that are triggered by external stimulus and celebrity news stories. These thinkifiers can be active or dormant, depending on such variables as barometric pressure and the proximity of Steve Buscemi. It's good to have a thought in advance of speaking to a human because social situations depress the thinkifier, rendering it next to impossible to come up with something to contribute to a conversation, especially if the human is totally cute or has something distracting hanging from her nostril.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Gluten for punishment
Posted 05.11.16
ROSS MURRAY

There have been rumours for years. This time they're true. People said it would never happen, but it's already in the works. Stanstead, Quebec, is to be the home of an industrial gluten repository.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Doris and the Broken Leg
Posted 05.10.16
RON COHEN

NEAR WASHINGTON DC | Doris Kraus, my classmate at Nassau School in East Orange, N.J., was a sweet girl whose parents came from Germany. It was kind of exotic having a German-American friend during World War II, when every adult we knew was saying bad things about those awful "Krauts." But you couldn't regard her wildly bouncing blond curls and her shy smile and think anything except, "How cute!" This is an excerpt from Ron Cohen's forthcoming memoir, "Of Course You Can Have Ice Cream for Breakfast: Love Letters to My Grandkids". Cohen retired after four decades with United Press International and Gannett News Service, and is the author of the award-winning "Down to the Wire: UPI's Fight for Survival."

Being part of The Process
Posted 04.26.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

After a search on the Senate website, I found no phone number for the Majority Leader of the Senate. So, I tried to call Senator Mitch McConnell at his office in the Russell Senate Office Building; his number is 202-224-2541. I got a robo-answer saying that his office was experiencing a large number of calls and please send an e-mail.

How to make a superhero movie
Posted 04.25.16
ROSS MURRAY

You start with an Exposition: It's a dark time. It's a dangerous time. It's lunch time. There's a global food crisis, and by "global" we mean the United States, which is the same thing. The government and military have teamed up in an implicitly sinister way with a mega-corporation to manage the crisis using robo-soldiers powered by the world's stockpile of personal deodorants. It's a smelly time.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Steal this look
Posted 04.13.16
ROSS MURRAY

Sweater: Woolrich, neutral, bumpy -- The sweater, of course, anchors the ensemble. Woolly, bland and shapeless, like its owner, the sweater's neutral tones cry out, "This once belonged to my father-in-law, and the fact that it was free is its finest quality."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

When cliffs attack
Posted 04.1 3.16
ROSS MURRAY

On Sunday, a 20-year-old woman in St. John's, Newfoundland drove over the cliffs of Signal Hill in her Toyota Echo (ECHO, Echo, echo...). The woman escaped from the plummeting vehicle before it came to a stop 90 metres down the cliff face. The victim was lucky, for if she had fallen into the sea, she would have been a-salted.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Who really gets punished in the IRS game?
Posted 04.12.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Fortunately, I did not have a question for the IRS because last year only 37 percent of those that called the IRS got through. If I had called and gotten through, my wait would have averaged 23 minutes. Snail mail is worse; the IRS backlog for letters waiting to be answered is currently over 900,000.

Then Came the Gunshots and a Hell of a Story That Monday Afternoon
Posted 04.07.16
RON COHEN

NEAR WASHINGTON DC | "The President has been shot!"

In 40-plus years in journalism, I heard these words twice. The first time was on November 22, 1963, and nobody alive then will forget where they were and what they were doing when John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in an open limousine in a presidential motorcade in Dallas.This is an excerpt from Ron Cohen's forthcoming memoir, "Of Course You Can Have Ice Cream for Breakfast: Love Letters to My Grandkids". Cohen retired after four decades with United Press International and Gannett News Service, and is the author of the award-winning "Down to the Wire: UPI's Fight for Survival."

The Sleep Contract
Posted 04.04.16
ROSS MURRAY

Whereas the parties referred to herein have shared a bed on a nocturnal basis for considerable time in accordance to accepted socio-marital norms and sleeping patterns, notwithstanding that as time passes, said sleeping patterns are becoming increasingly weird; and whereas the parties wish to maintain peaceful relations pursuant to the good governance of a decent night's sleep; the parties do willingly and without prejudice agree to the following terms and conditions:
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

How to be irritating
Posted 03.28.16
ROSS MURRAY

Hello, I'm Ross Murray, but I insist you call me by the nickname I've given myself, "Ponchy." Giving yourself a nickname is just one of many simple and mostly inexpensive ways to be irritating. Today, Ponchy is going to share some of these ways with you. Ponchy knows what he's talking about.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Dance like everybody's watching
Posted 03.22.16
ROSS MURRAY

Next, you must create the Facebook event, with a catchy name like "Me So Dance-y!" or "There Is No 'I' In 'Dance' But There Should Be!" What was life like before the Facebook event? Those were sad days of candlelight and rotary phones and people dancing with hardly anybody watching them at all. But now they have you. It is you they will watch dance, and their lives will never be the same.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Whatever happened to Owen?
Posted 03.14.16
ROSS MURRAY

One of the perks of having children is being able to watch an alternate version of your life unfold before your very eyes. It's like some Hollywood remake with different actors, contemporary references and better hair, but the story and themes are more or less the same. "I've seen this before," you say. "I know how it turns out."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

How many U.S. Supremes should America have?
Posted 03.13.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Additionally, Judge Posner points out, -- contrary to what Justice Roberts said -- that the justices bring their attitudes and suppositions, which they have derived from their upbringing, training, personal and career experience, religion and national origin.

My Canada Gross coat
Posted 03.07.16
ROSS MURRAY

I've long been of the belief that our craving for stuff is what's killing our planet. Consequently, I tend to hang onto things until they're worn beyond use rather than replace them with something new. I'm good for the environment, terrible for the economy.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

In Washington, a debate of sorts
Posted 03.05.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Recently, I went to Capitol Hill to watch a debate entitled The Executive Branch VS. Congressional Prerogatives in National Security Decisions. This was sponsored by the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC). I had been invited by my friend Liz who is affiliated with AFPC.

Strunk and White and Trump: The Elements of the Style
Posted 02.21.16
ROSS MURRAY

The active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive. People love the vigor. I have been very successful with the vigor. Everybody loves it. Hillary Clinton was the worst Secretary of State in the history of the country. So much better, a thousand times better than I think what's happening to this country is unbelievably bad; we're no longer a respected country. What's wrong with that sentence is so obviously President Obama. Incredibly passive.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Writing the write, reading the read
Posted 02.15.16
ROSS MURRAY

I was sitting in my office, working the work, when the sole of my foot started vibrating. It was very subtle, like maybe there was machinery operating under the floor. It wasn't a steady vibration but starting and stopping, with the rhythm of an oscillating fan.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Safe drinking water, toxic lead levels, and slashing safety spending
Posted 02.13.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The anti-regulation industry and the "government is the problem" folks have been attacking EPA for years. Adjusted for inflation, the $100 million annual budget of the EPA's drinking water office has fallen 15 percent since 2006, resulting in a more than 10 percent reduction of its staff.

Happy Days in Canada
Posted 02.08.16
ROSS MURRAY

According to a recent poll, two-thirds of Canadians are "pretty happy." This to me is the perfect Canadian answer. When you ask a Canadian "How are you?" nine times out of ten, the answer will be "pretty good." Not "great," not "lousy," not "get off my porch before I call the cops," but "pretty good." It's that kind of contained enthusiasm that has made Canada the mostly all right country it is today.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Murray of Atholl: be careful how you thay it
Posted 02.01.16
ROSS MURRAY

I love the Scottish language, because it's almost English. I can understand just enough to get the gist of what's being said. This is also, by the way, how I've lived my life in French Quebec for the last 26 years.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Talking Dirty: U.S. Water And The EPA
Posted 01.31.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

So why didn't EPA solve this problem before so many people in Flint, Michigan, were exposed?

All-purpose rock star obituary
Posted 01.26.16
ROSS MURRAY

Music lovers were (A) saddened (B) shocked (C) not surprised at all today to learn that (A) rock legend (B) one-hit wonder (C) bong aficionado XYZ had died after a courageous battle against (A) cancer (B) Alzheimer's (C) a small pack of Girl Guides. He was [insert age; probably 69].
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Out of my cold, gelled hands
Posted 01.17.16
ROSS MURRAY

It was painful hearing Barack Obama dance around the issue of gun ownership at his town hall meeting last week. The U.S. president had to come across as anti-gun but not too anti-gun. It was like watching a dad tell the kids he's super-chill but, hey, rules are cool, yo!
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

The element in the room
Posted 01.10.16
ROSS MURRAY

Scientists recently discovered four new chemical elements. It's unclear to me whether these elements already existed but hadn't yet been tracked down or whether the scientists created them, God-like, out of thin air by toying with the very fabric of the universe, a sentence that often ends with " -- and then things went horribly, horribly wrong."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

New Year's Resolutions -- or questions
Posted 01.08.16
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | I had little success in convincing my granddaughters that New Year's resolutions are appropriate -- or helpful.

My year in review
Posted 01.03.16
ROSS MURRAY

January: My peace mission to Syria was fraught with complications after my seeing-eye Pomeranian was seized at Customs for violating national thresholds of froufrou-ness. This was followed by further scurrying about and logistical recalibration after I realized I was not in Syria but Sarnia. Thanks a lot, Google Maps!
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Tolerance resolution needed
Posted 01.02.16
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The New Year's resolution is a tradition in our democracy. Given some of the events and words spoken in 2015, I think a resolution for 2016, based on Tolerance, might be appropriate.

AMERICAN DESERT DAYS PART 3
Posted 12.30.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We were headed to the Pipe Spring National Monument almost two hours away in Arizona. This small facility, 40 acres, is administered by the Park Service and has a long history, which includes the Paiutes Indians, Spanish explorers, and Mormon pioneers.

About our new kitchen counter
Posted 12.27.15
ROSS MURRAY

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree that a new kitchen counter would be installed a week before Christmas. And all were on board, each in his own way, because it was a professional doing it and not Dad.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

How do you rate America?
Posted 12.20.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We Americans claim that we have the greatest democracy that the world has ever seen. We refer to the high principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And we suggest that the rest of the world follow our lead.

Save Rooney
Posted 12.15.15
ROSS MURRAY

When I was in Grade 11 there was -- how shall I say -- an incident. It involved the high school band, an overnight stay, a third-floor window, and some water balloons. It was not the perfect crime.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Looking into the genetic crystal ball
Posted 12.07.15
ROSS MURRAY

When I was quite young, I watched The Illustrated Man on television in the middle of the afternoon. It terrified me, and not just because it starred a mostly naked Rod Steiger. Among other things, the film hinted at the end of the world, depicted the mercy-killing of children and showed one character bashing another's head with a rock. Worst of all, if you looked deeply into the empty space of one of Steiger's tattoos ("Not that empty space, a little to the left."), you could see how you would die. This raises the question: where was my mother and why was she letting me watch this trash!
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

TRUMPWATCH 2016: MARCH TO OBLIVION
Posted 12.03.16
JIM AUSTIN

PUTNEY, VT | Trump's current parade of Fox hosts and lunatic fringe element contestants for his cabinet is chilling. The Donald is handling his appointments like a cheesy game show host. Most unappealing is the lineup of lickspittle former critics of Trump who are now panting for a cabinet post.

50 phrases I didn't hear on my 50th birthday
Posted 12.01.15
ROSS MURRAY

"How lucky to have been born in the sixties but have absolutely no memories of them."


Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

AMERICAN DESERT DAYS PART 2
Posted 11.29.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Our itinerary said that this was "a dramatic flightseeing excursion" and it was. We flew over the Canyonlands National Park where the Colorado River doubles back on itself several times, as shown in the "Badlands." In a moment of geologic time the river will break through the low spot in the picture center and change course once more. We dodged the peaks of the Escalante and Henry Mountains, and had a great view of the Waterpocket Fold and other sandstone formations. Without oxygen our planes had a height limit of 10,000 feet and the mountains were over 11,000. The terrain was varied to say the least; changing every minute.

Stop the sky from falling
Posted 11.23.15
ROSS MURRAY

We're sitting ducks, I tell you. Blind. We're gambling with our lives, like blind ducks -- blind ducks sitting at a roulette table where the prize is also a duck. But this isn't about ducks. It's about the lax astronomy that puts our lives at risk every single day and most nights as well.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Refugee report from one German city
Posted 11.21.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Freiburg has taken in 5000 refugees in the last year, which amounts to 2 percent of our local population. This even though Freiburg has a housing shortage that is the worst in Germany, based on percent of income devoted to housing costs. We are getting an additional 150 refugees per week. But it is working out.

A country of migrants
Posted 11.19.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We are a country of migrants; everyone or their family came from somewhere else. Even the American Indians migrated, just earlier than the rest of us.

Hello, Drake? It's Adele.
Posted 11.16.15
ROSS MURRAY

My daughter Abby looked up at me, puzzled, appalled. "How do you know that song?" she asked, which, now that I think about it, might have been code for, "Please stop singing that song." "I'm hip. I'm cool. I know Drake," I said.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Why your next employee should be a former non-athlete and probably the one after that too
Posted 11.10.15
ROSS MURRAY

Employment-wise, it's a dog-eat-dog world out there. And why are the dogs eating dog? Because they're out of dog food. But surely they could they eat something else, like garbage. Dogs eat garbage all the time. Good dogs, bad dogs, they can't get enough of garbage. Why do dogs have to resort to gobbling other dogs? The answer, you probably don't know, is that dogs are delicious. Dogs, strangely enough, do know this.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

AMERICAN DESERT DAYS
Posted 11.09.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The train from Chicago, the California Zephyr, was a half hour late arriving in Grand Junction, CO. We missed the sunset, but the sky was clear with plenty of daylight. We located Rob and his black Suburban in front of the train station; and he took us to the Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, Utah.

The Egging
Posted 11.02.15
ROSS MURRAY

Troy "The Boil" Doyle blamed society. Consequently, he felt justified in being a jerk, and there was no better time to let your jerk flag fly than Halloween. The little reprobate took full opportunity of the holiday to soap, smash, TP and make smaller kids cry through trick or treachery.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Remembering Hallowe'en with Longie of Murder, Incorporated
Posted 10.31.15
RON COHEN

NEAR WASHINGTON CD | Up to the Penthouse I go -- because I couldn't reach the top button, Uncle Sam punches it and slips out before the elevator door closes. Longie answers the doorbell in a red smoking jacket. "Whaddya want, kid?"
This is an excerpt from Ron Cohen's forthcoming memoir, "Of Course You Can Have Ice Cream for Breakfast: Love Letters to My Grandkids". Cohen retired after four decades with United Press International and Gannett News Service, and is the author of the award-winning "Down to the Wire: UPI's Fight for Survival."

Night train to Hog Butcher
Posted 10.30.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Bernie, our faithful limo man, let us out right in front of Union Station to catch the 4:05 p.m. Capital Limited to Chicago. Cars and seats were assigned based on destination; this all took ten minutes, max. No TSA agents, no scanners, and no pat downs were endured

US Congressmen should live in Washington
Posted 10.28.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

It appears as if Paul Ryan is going to be Speaker of the House of Representatives. In his pronouncements about the speakership, I think that he exemplifies one of the things wrong with the Congress.

We are all 50 together forever!
Posted 10.27.15
ROSS MURRAY

Now that the federal election is over and we've wiped the rabid foam off our television and computer screens, we can all stop pretending we know what we're talking about and get back to what's really important in this country: my birthday.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Raise the US gas tax
Posted 10.22.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The cost to improve our America's highways by making all investments with a positive benefit-cost ratio would have been $161.7 billion in FY 2014. This cost will grow to $184.2 billion in five (5) years. So far, Congress has done nothing.

What to do in the event you wake up Tuesday morning and Stephen Harper is still Prime Minister of Canada
Posted 10.17.15
ROSS MURRAY

While it may be difficult to differentiate Liberals from Conservatives, note that Liberals will have glazed, stunned expressions on their faces and be walking in a daze, completely susceptible to others' commands -- in other words acting completely normal. Gently take any lost Liberals by the hand and settle them under the nearest tree and tell them everything will be okay. If you're charming and good looking, they'll believe you.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

I feel inspired! Let's have a drink.
Posted 10.14.15
ROSS MURRAY

There was a time when I felt it would probably be a good idea if we let our local SAQ [QCbooze store] clerk know we were going on vacation; you know: so he wouldn't worry about us. This is what happens when you live in a one-hooch town, where there's only a single place to buy your wine and booze unless you cross municipal boundaries or state lines.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Tuesday, 2:46 p.m.
Posted 10.5.15
ROSS MURRAY

I heard on the radio that men and women dream differently, especially their nightmares. Women have bad dreams about interpersonal relationships. Men dream about disasters and external threats. Great. Now even my dreams aren't manly enough.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

For pennies more
Posted 09.25.15
ROSS MURRAY

HEY THERE! Get the freshest, sleekest, wordiest Ross Murray with Ross Murray Premium! No more interruptions like this one in the middle of wonderful heartwarming stories, like the time everybody accidently ate a whole tub of Noxema and nearly died. And it was all because of the cats! Oh, those cats! Always trying to kill us. Heartwarming and wonderful and nearly fatal!
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Recalling your life
Posted 09.23.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | Looking back at life, it's strange how all the pieces come together. There is a myth that in our last moments our lives pass before our eyes. Unfortunately, no one has ever come back from the dead to tell us whether or not this is true.

U-turns at the halfway house
Posted 09.15.15
ROSS MURRAY

We are now one child away from having an empty nest -- only it's not so much a nest. More like a temporary storage facility. If the imaginary volcano in our backyard were to erupt and spew hot ash over our lot in life, future archeologists would conclude that there were 3.89 people living in this house. They'd also wonder what kind of crazy people would let their cats outnumber them.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

D-I-Y equals Madness, I say
Posted 09.10.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | After visiting the Home Depot store just off St-Jean Boulevard in Pointe-Claire, I am always amazed at how deeply the do-it-yourself culture has permeated our lives. I enjoy looking at all the possibilities I have of becoming a carpenter, a plumber or an electrician, but that's not what I am. To tell you the truth, I don't think I have ever tried to fix anything that I haven't then had to completely take apart and start over. I am really no good at it.

Take Back America: Can you Trump this?
Posted 09.7.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In the U.S. we have many people enthusiastically supporting Donald Trump for president. The Donald claims that he will make America great again.

Back to School Lunch Time
Posted 09.5.15
ROSS MURRAY

It's Back-To-School time, and you know what that means. Surrendering your child to teachers, who everyone agrees 100-percent-no-question do the most noble job in the world, though, sure, there are bad ones, just like there are incompetent doctors or "too gropey" masseurs, and this is your child we're talking about after all, so you can never 100-percent-no-question give your child's teachers the benefit of the doubt, but still you don't want to let on because, you know, why make your kid a target, which is why you wear that silly grin on Parent-Teacher Night?
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Illegals? Refugees? What's in a name?
Posted 09.1.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In the United States we do not seem to have any "refugees" or "migrants". We have "illegal immigrants" or "illegals", and too many of them, according to The Donald and other presidential candidates.

Four things God wants you to know about your car
Posted 08.31.15
ROSS MURRAY

Balanced on the deck of a carved wooden boat on the top of a toilet tank at a pitstop in Newfoundland, there was a small pamphlet. The cover announced, "Four Things GOD Wants You to Know." I didn't get a chance to read the full pamphlet because it wasn't that type of pitstop.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

A perfect day in Maine
Posted 08.29.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | Each summer I go to Maine for a week. The ocean has a Zen-like effect on me. As I say to my American cousins: "First there is a sandbar, then there is no sandbar, then there is." And because they are baby boomers, they get the Donovan reference. The ocean is a healing place. Just the smell of the air alone is worth the seven-hour drive. I sit and watch the tide come in and then go out, all the time blissfully aware that I am breathing.

Just a little kindness, my dear
Posted 08.26.15
ROSS MURRAY

SOMEWHERE IN NEWFOUNDLAND | During our last two weeks in Newfoundland, I saw moose, caribou, hares, shooting stars, an iceberg, and an old man's white rump.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

The Shakuhachi journey continues
Posted 08.24.15
JOHN MAHONEY

.
John Mahoney is the publisher of the Log Cabin Chronicles. This is the second in a projected series on his Shakuhachi journey.

His column archives: Click Here

In Canada, I could get used to Prime Minister Mulcair
Posted 08.21.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | There was an article in the National Post recently about how Tom Mulcair mortgaged his house many times. I imagine the implication was that if he became Prime Minister he might mortgage our country many times as well. The charge that the NDP is a spendthrift party is not new. But that was not what interested me. It was that the house was in Beaconsfield, not far from my own. It even gave his address which I thought was a bit unfair. Next they'll be giving out phone numbers.

Chaos in Paradise
Posted 08.20.15
ROSS MURRAY

SOMEWHERE IN NEWFOUNDLAND | People like the edges of things. Newfoundland is all about the edges, the seacoasts that positively shout,"How's she goin', baey, I'm rugged."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Bomb Iran?
Posted 08.15.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

According to the Washington Institute, Iran's current lead time to develop a nuclear bomb, Breakout Time, is three months (1). And it could be less. Also, Iran has developed the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile, which has a range of 1,200 miles, which is the distance from Tehran to Tel Aviv.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Could Canadian senate scandal really be work of mastermind Prime Minister Harper?
Posted 08.07.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | Over the last nine months it has been informative to read journalists report on the scandals of the [appointed] Canadian Senate. It is not just the facts of the cases; it is the mood of their reports. They seem to all contain a sense of overwhelming disgust and weariness. As if the whole thing is a depressing exercise in human failure.

There is no "I" in "ego"
Posted 08.02.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | At the school where I work, the staff sometimes organizes games against the students. If anyone asks me why I don't participate, I'll explain, "I have a medical condition." If they press me further, I'll say, "I'm allergic to humiliation."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Ahhh, summer evenings
Posted 07.28.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | So I walk out of my surburban house on a sweet summer night. And I have to stop. I have to ask myself: "What am I feeling? And why?" There is something sensual about a summer night. I was going to say "erotic," but I realize this is a family section and -- never mind, too late!

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: THE FINAL DAY
Posted 07.22.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Viking Pride got underway as we were eating breakfast on Day 6 of our trip. For a change of pace, I had my first Eggs Benedict of the trip; they were delicious.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Ankle-deep in marriage
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | My wife and I cringe as we tiptoe onto the first step of our swimming pool. We're up to our ankles, and that's where we'll stand for some time, because it's scientifically proven that cold water is way colder than it used to be.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives:
Click Here

With my luck I'd only be maimed
Posted 07.22.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | Knowing how you're going to die would be terrible -- for the insurance companies. If people knew for sure they were going to slip away in their sleep, for example, why would anyone bother taking out accidental death protection? But if you knew your fate was to die, say, in a Cuisinart explosion, you'd likely take out a whopping accidental death policy, which, of course, would make it all worthwhile. Either way, the insurance companies would lose money, and we can't have that.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Montreal's Empty Nesters: The Big Question
Posted 07.19.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | Here, empty nesters find themselves asking the inevitable question: Do we stay in the West Island or move?

A toast to Fifi
Posted 07.15.15
RON COHEN

NEAR WASHINGTON CD | Every July 14, Bastille Day, I raise a glass of vin ordinaire to Thelma V. Allen.
This is an excerpt from Ron Cohen's forthcoming memoir, "Of Course You Can Have Ice Cream for Breakfast: Love Letters to My Grandkids". Cohen retired after four decades with United Press International and Gannett News Service, and is the author of the award-winning "Down to the Wire: UPI's Fight for Survival."

Unfriendly grammar tips
Posted 07.14.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | How do you know whether to use "which" or "that"?
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: A RENDEZVOUS WTH MONET
Posted 07.13.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Day five of our trip was the highlight for many of our fellow passengers; it was a full day excursion to the D-Day beaches of Normandy.When many Americans think of Normandy, D-Day is what comes to mind.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Montreal anglos know the power of irreverence
Posted 06.29.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | And another thing I noticed about life in Montreal not long after I arrived here as an anglophone is the importance of our local Jewish community. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that, being a minority in Quebec, regulated by discriminatory laws meant to render us invisible because we are considered a "threat," and constantly in danger of losing our national identity, we anglos are all Jews here in Quebec.

With my luck I'd only be maimed
Posted 06.27.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | Knowing how you're going to die would be terrible -- for the insurance companies. If people knew for sure they were going to slip away in their sleep, for example, why would anyone bother taking out accidental death protection? But if you knew your fate was to die, say, in a Cuisinart explosion, you'd likely take out a whopping accidental death policy, which, of course, would make it all worthwhile. Either way, the insurance companies would lose money, and we can't have that.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

In Canada, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair will have to deal with the Clarity Act issue in the coming federal election
Posted 06.19.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | The Clarity Act is a bulwark against the duplicitous strategy the separatists have been using for the last forty years. It states that the government of Canada will not negotiate the succession of a province unless a referendum provides a clear majority to a clear question.

It strikes at the very heart of the separatist ruse. Separatists claim that a majority of 50-per-cent-plus-one is enough to break up the country. That means they think they can start a new country even if 49.9 per cent of the population is against it.

Imagine the chaos that could ensue? The Canadian government would be forced to protect Canadian citizens in Quebec. Partition would surely be a given.

Inequality
Posted 06.17.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The federal government of the United States is projected to be a $3.9 trillion operation in fiscal year 2016. This makes the Executive Branch of federal government the largest organization in the world with almost three million civilian employees; uniformed military are not included. Not counted as employees are the 10.5 million contractor employees that, according to Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA.), work for the federal government.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Sometimes I answer questions
Posted 06.16.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | What advice do you have for the Class of 2015?

Walk through life like you're carrying two cups of hot coffee.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Weighing in on lobsters
Posted 06.09.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | We had planned to have lobster for Mother's Day, but I didn't reserve the day before as Deb had suggested, and then a shipment failed to arrive in Magog, causing a run on lobsters at the Stanstead store -- or, more specifically, a scuttle on lobsters. Either way, no lobsters for Mother's Day. My memory is vague but I believe I ate crow.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: AND ON TO ROUEN
Posted 06.04.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

One of the first treats was passing through the locks at Notre Dame de la Garenne. These river boats are designed to just fit into the locks; there was about a foot clearance on each side. The dam linked to the locks had seven weirs to control river flow; these are gates between the towers in the photo. One fed a hydro generation station but there were no above-ground high tension lines visible.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Cruisefunding
Posted 05.31.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | Later this year, my wife and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary. I think we can all agree she deserves something nice. For many years, Deb has said she would love to go on a cruise. And not just any cruise. An Alaskan cruise. That's Alaska, USA, by the way, not Alaska, Greece or Alaska, Barbados.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

CANAL BOAT JOURNEY: A RENDEZVOUS WTH MONET
Posted 05.27.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Monet paintings in the house were copies; the originals are in museums to keep them from being damaged. Monet's amazing collection of Japanese woodblock prints was still in the house and many had faded. We were told by our Paris guide, Thierry, to make sure we visited the kitchen of Monet's house; it was great.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

From Paris in style and comfort, on a canal boat
Posted 05.22.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On the internet it seems like everyone wants to sell Paris. We looked at hotels, tours, and packages. Then I received a special eight-day river cruse from Viking for a river cruise starting in Paris, right near the Tour d'Eiffel. Kathy and I signed up and left for Paris on May 2.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Go to university -- why do it?
Posted 05.21.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | The value of a college education has skyrocketed since I went to university. That is, in monetary terms. I am not so sure whether its value has increased in human terms.

The only workout you'll never need
Posted 05.20.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | In the eleven years I've been writing this column, I've received hate mail only two times. These being Townships readers, though, it was more like strong-dislike mail. Peevish mail, tops. The first was when I suggested that curling, like golf and bowling, was a game that improved with drinking. I realize now that such a statement is ridiculous; I forgot darts. The second angry letter came when I wrote about my two older daughters having taken up rugby.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Working on the railroad
Posted 05.16.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Kathy and I were scheduled to go to New York from Washington for my granddaughter's, graduation. We had tickets on Amtrak Northeast Regional run at 8:10 on Saturday morning. Tuesday evening the Northeast Regional went off the rails and crashed. Eight people were killed. The railroad is closed and we've made other arrangements.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

The only workout you'll never need
Posted 05.12.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | One of the main reasons people avoid going to the gym is because gyms are stupid.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Pants, or Don't get your nickers in a twist, eh?
Posted 05.09.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | Recently I was in Napoli, Italy. And one day, as we walked down its version of Ste-Catherine Street, we couldn't help but notice that every men's clothing store we passed featured a whole new look. They are called men's harem pants, or "drop crotch" pants. The crotch is down around the knees, and from the knees down, the pants are skin tight.

A kick in the aphorism
Posted 05.04.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | If you're in search of inspirational quotations, the Internet is a source of infinite examples, along with infinite accompanying photos of sunrises, seascapes and rainbows. Strangely, you rarely see an inspirational message paired with a photo of a cup of coffee, which really, most of the time, is all the inspiration any of us need.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Flute Pilgrim, Shakuhachi Wanderer
Posted 04.29.15
JOHN MAHONEY

I came under the spell of the shakuhachi some 45 years ago, during the same period that I was introduced to Zen Buddhism and the teachings of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi by Mark Abrams, one of my photography students at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. I shall be forever grateful.
John Mahoney is the publisher of the Log Cabin Chronicles. This is the first in a projected series on his Shakuhachi journey.

His column archives: Click Here

Art: Recent Acquisitions
Posted 04.28.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | Gallery Parsnippy is delighted and positively damp with pleasure to present new artistic works this spring.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Austerity is upon us. But who is to blame?
Posted 04.23.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | The time of austerity is upon us. Why now? Whose fault is it? Well, consider this. There was a time back in the day when politicians were famous for buying votes. But they would buy them individually. "Hey buddy, here's a fiver, go and vote for (name of local strong man)."

Musings on the Middle East
Posted 04.22.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The United States has been involved in the Middle East and North Africa for its entire history. Cast your mind back to high school history and you will remember the Barbary Pirates and the Barbary Coast Wars; one in 1801 and the other in 1815. These activities essentially led to the development of the U.S. Navy. (The Barbary Coast includes Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunisia.)
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Time stands still in a book
Posted 04.21.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | The strangest thing happened to me the other day. Well, maybe not the strangest thing. The strangest thing would be if a pie plate floated into the room and started singing show tunes in the voice of Abe Lincoln.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

She couldn't just get a T-shirt...
Posted 04.14.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | Jail, was my first thought. His Europe-jaunting sister Katie is in jail. Midnight Express, Turkish prison. Or even midnight prison, Turkish express. Or maybe she got married. To a Turkish prison guard. At midnight.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

It would be nice if Canada was as independent-minded as Barbados
Posted 04.08.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | Recently I was in the United States, and an American came up to me and asked: "Why do you Canadians have pictures of Helen Mirren on all your money?" Of course he was joking. But in some ways we might as well have a picture of actress Helen Mirren on our money. She's British. She has never lived in Canada. She is acting out an anachronistic role. And she has very little to do with our lives.

Basketball & Son
Posted 04.07.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | I'm watching basketball right now. There have been a couple of times in the past when I should have been writing but, you know, there was a basketball game on. So tonight I figured, why not watch this Toronto-Houston game and write. That's good time-management, and exactly how my son James does his homework.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Vacation envy
Posted 03.30.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | My wife and I were discussing whether envy could be positive. She was of the mind that envy could be a motivator, that seeing what others have can spur ambition. I felt that the resentment inherent in envy undermined any positive outcome. After all, envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, not one of the Seven Really-Not-So-Bad Sins.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

We could have died out there
Posted 03.21.15
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | It was shortly after I said to Deb, "We should have brought a compass," that I began to wonder who would eat whom.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Opportunities missed can define your life
Posted 03.26.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | Interesting how a life can take turns. How opportunities can be missed -- and how that can define the rest of your life.

It does take a village to raise a child
Posted 03.16.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | MONTREAL | It started as an "Aw" moment. I received a text out of the blue that said simply: "I love you, Dad."

Equal Justice Under American Law?
Posted 03.14.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

US General Petraeus is a smart and capable guy. But General Petraeus screwed up. And it looks like he will receive a slap on the wrist.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

IGA equals It's Gone Away
Posted 03.10.14
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | You don't understand. This is about more than our only grocery store changing ownership. It's about more than the parent company Sobeys demoting our local IGA down to a second-tier Marché Tradition because there aren't enough clients to support the IGA brand. It's about more than the fact that too many people on this side of the border shop in the United States. It's not that.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Bill C-51: The 'C' Stands for Conniving
Posted 03.02.14
ROSS MURRAY

Canada's proposed anti-terrorism law, Bill C-51 ("The 'C' Stands for 'Could Happen' ") is receiving wide support across the country. There are some, though, who say it doesn't go far enough, while others feel the Harper government is both exploiting and propagating a climate of fear. I feel the bill doesn't go far enough in defining how fearful I should be.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Alan Turing, and early computing
Posted 02.28.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In 1960 I graduated from George Washington University with a degree in Mathematical Statistics and went to work for the UNIVAC Division of Sperry Rand. I was immediately sent to classes to learn to program the company's scientific computers, Univac 1103 and Univac 1105. We learned binary machine language and assembly language to program these machines. We also learned the history of the programmable digital computers.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Summer is not a season, it's a place.
Posted 02.19.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | I just returned from a tour of Florida, Texas and Arizona with the Canadian Snowbirds Association. Apparently, it was a good time to go. Montreal, and indeed the whole northeast, is experiencing another one of the kind of winters for which we are famous.

A reading from the Book of Recycling
Posted 02.17.14
ROSS MURRAY

And perched upon their blue bins in the field, the people did cry out, "O, Master, show us the true path of recycling. Tell us what is pleasing in your sight and what must be cast into the abyss of municipal landfill. And the rolling out of the wheely bins, we beseech you, be it the second Friday of the month or the third? We can never remember."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Katie's Adventure in Europe
Posted 02.08.14
ROSS MURRAY

"You should have brought a deck of cards," my wife said on the way to the airport. Deb did the Europe thing twenty-five years ago with a friend, almost at the same age and along the same route that our middle daughter Katie was set to embark on.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

A US Government service, well run
Posted 02.03.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Living here in Washington DC we hear from Congress and others that the federal government is staffed with quot;bureaucratsquot; who are perpetrators of quot;waste, fraud and abuse.quot;. We hear that we should be quot;Running government like a businessquot; from such leaders as John Kasich, Rick Scott, and Nikki Haley.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

If the freedom to insult is left only to comedians, is it really free?
Posted 02.02.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | After the recent Paris murders, there was much discussion on Facebook about whether freedom of speech should be limited by the duty to never insult anyone. The immediate controversy was stirred by the reluctance of many periodicals and TV outlets to not show the cartoons that were the cause of the murders. Their reasoning was that it would insult other Muslims. But those of us who practice the art of comedy know full well the value of insults. In fact, there is an entire genre of offensive material known as "insult jokes." And the publication in question, Hebdo Charlie, made full use of it.

Cheap shots: photo booth memories
Posted 01.28.14
ROSS MURRAY

Parent-wise, there are certain things I've done a reasonable job of avoiding, mall-wise: gumball machines, claw machines, coin-operated hippos, lingerie shops, and photo booths.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

The new woman is a man -- at least on Netflix
Posted 01.26.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | There is so much that can be learned from Netflix. And I am not just referring to the documentaries. For years now in dramatic TV series, writers have been creating crusty but benign, imperfect but fiercely moral male leading characters who struggle to balance their jobs as heroic protectors of society with the chaos of their personal lives. They still write those characters. But now they are women.

Ebola at the Canadian border


Posted 01.18.14
ROSS MURRAY

The World Health Organization pleaded with countries not to bar visitors because it would only compel them to find non-official routes into the country, unmonitored, and next thing you know we have body parts falling off in the streets and only Brad Pitt can save us. But Canada has turned away nearly 180 people so far and is not the compassionate country I grew up in, your polite approach to border security notwithstanding, Mr. Customs Officer.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

An Obama war on coal?
Posted 01.13.15
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The coal-mining industry seems to be a tight little club where mines and staff are rotated around to confuse the opposition. Also, while mines get citations and fined, they just keep on operating. Recent data from MSHA indicates that the nine most delinquent mines owe fines of more than $1 million each and mines that don't pay their penalties have injury rates 50 percent higher than those that do.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Le stuff, c'est moi


Posted 01.08.14
ROSS MURRAY

We own things not simply to survive but sometimes just because. The post-Christmas hangover is a good time to look at this proliferation of stuff, much of which we really don't need, a lot of which is plain crap. The only purpose it serves is to define who we are, both as givers and getters.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at [email protected]

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

In the heart of winter, we seek to light up the night
Posted 01.03.15
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | I felt it begin a couple of months ago as I noticed the days getting shorter. I realized that I had to replace lightbulbs that had burned out in rooms that I normally only used during the day, now that the day was becoming more and more dark. And lightbulb replacement isn't as easy as it used to be. There are so many different kinds and sizes of halogen bulbs that I had to go to Reno-Depot with the old bulb in my pocket.

I left my fudge in church


Posted 12.28.14
ROSS MURRAY

Last Sunday morning, it's possible a member of your congregation may have found a small piece of fudge wrapped in a napkin in the back of one of the pews. If that's the case, then you probably already know about it. I know if I found someone's discarded dessert in a hymnbook holder, I would be all, "Hey, stewards! Some schmuck left sugar in the sanctuary." And the stewards would be like, "Say it, don't spray it," because stewards are funny -- in a good way, of course.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

What to do about [dirty] coal
Posted 12.24.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

"There's a War on Coal " was a rallying cry from Mich McConnell in his bid for re-election. However, there should be a war on coal because coal is dirty. Unfortunately, people in the industry will be out of a job if the coal mines and fired power plants are shut down.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

The Christmas parcel
Posted 12.16.14
ROSS MURRAY

The parcel, I know, will be a box wrapped in brown paper and taped up like a hostage. We'll have a team of Navy SEALs on standby to breach the packing tape if need be. Our address will be clearly marked on the paper. When we penetrate the paper and packing tape, the address will also be written on the box itself.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Like animals, we are products of our environment
Posted 12.14.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | Most of us are well aware of the shortcomings of our species. History is full of horror and folly. But I prefer to accentuate the positive. We have many accomplishments. And I am grateful for them. Then again, I live in the suburbs, not the city.

U.S. Priority Number One: Pass A Budget
Posted 12.09.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In 1974 Congress passed The Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act, which established the federal government's fiscal year as the 12-month period beginning on October 1 and ending on 30 September of the next year. We are now over two months into fiscal year 2015 and there is no Budget. Congress has not passed the Budget before October first since before 2000.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

The meatloaf, and the ruination thereof
Posted 12.06.14
ROSS MURRAY

And we must ask ourselves, what is the meatloaf? Be it meat or loaf? The French declare it to be pain de viande, which translates as "meat bread." Does this settle the question or confound, for how can bread -- cherished dual conveyor of hand-held meats -- also be the meat? Should we not instead call it buche de viande? Should we perhaps not have translated the French at all, especially now that we know that buche de viande means "meat log"? C'est possible, mon cher lait de pouleu.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Forever 41: A Company Prospectus
Posted 11.30.14
ROSS MURRAY

Forever 41 is a clothing and lifestyle retailer for people who grew up in the eighties wishing they were growing up in the sixties and are glad they aren't growing up now. Tapping into that nostalgia for feeling nostalgic, Forever 41 espouses a retail attitude that is fun without being silly, serious without being boring and edgy without staying up too late. At Forever 41, we provide fashion makeovers for those who don't know what to make of themselves.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Picking losers, and winners
Posted 11.28.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In 2011 Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer, went bankrupt. Normally this would not be big news, however Solyndra had received a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a $535 million loan and DOE would lose money. Needless to say, the anti-government types went ape.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

25 Reasons dogs are better than people
Posted 11.23.14
ROSS MURRAY

Dogs are always excited to see you, even if you've been gone for only five minutes.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Revisiting your past for meaning
Posted 11.16.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | As my generation ages I see how our common interest in the past increases -- at least our past. There are Facebook pages, school and family reunions. Somehow we would like to contact the past one more time, hoping that it can throw some light on what has happened to us since. Or perhaps to give the dramatic arc of our lives some meaning.

Am I stupid?
Posted 11.13.14
ROSS MURRAY

It's important to check whether you're stupid, because if you are stupid, you might want to avoid certain activities, like operating heavy machinery, running for office or using social media. You might also want to avoid sporting events or using a handgun or parenting, unless you’re counterbalanced by a spouse who is not stupid. She will let you know.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

ON TO DRESDEN
Posted 11.11.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Journey Continues: The Fontane had docked at night. In the morning we could see that we were right on the edge of the old city of Dresden, within easy walking distance to many attractions. After breakfast we did a coach and walking tour of the city with a local guide. Almost all the damage to the central city from the WWII bombing by the British and Americans had been rebuilt
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Cleaning out the garage not always easy -- or straightforward
Posted 11.09.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | It's that time of year again. The icy claws of winter are about to grab me around the neck and squeeze. I can feel them. And so there is an annual task with which I am once again struggling.

Phook, Phline, and Phsinker
Posted 11.03.14
ROSS MURRAY

This is one of the more embarrassing things I've done -- at least one of the more embarrassing that I can write about in a public forum. That thing with the parakeet and the margarine -- that's not getting airplay anytime soon. But this, there may be a lesson in here, so I feel the need to spill. I have no excuses for what I did, but I'm going to make them anyway. I was tired. I had a lot on my mind. I was in a rush. We had recently made some changes to our Bell account. Our credit card had acted up at the gas station the night before. It was a perfect storm of stupidity.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

FROM MAGDEBURG TO DRESDEN
Posted 10.28.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Journey Continues: On Sunday morning, the full touring group of 112 travelers set out in three coaches; we were informed that coaches are different from buses because they have a bathroom. The group came from America, Australia, England, and Scotland. We left the Hilton Berlin headed for the Viking ship, Fontane, in Magdeburg, which is almost 100 miles from Berlin.On the way to Magdeburg we stopped in Potsdam and toured the Schloss Sanssouci -- our first of many palaces -- which was built by Frederick the Great in about 1750.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here Smoke Defective
Posted 10.24.14
ROSS MURRAY

The smoke detector went off just before 3 a.m. and I leaped out of bed like it was an Olympic event. If there had been an actual fire, the tumultuous flapping of the blankets would have fed the flames to a frenzy.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

In praise of anecdotal evidence
Posted 10.21.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | As we enter our brave new world of secular science, there is one thing that bothers me. It is not the loss of the spiritual, or the dismissal of magic that can take away all our poetic wonder. It is the minimization of our individual experience. Or, as it is often referred to in a derogatory manner, "anecdotal evidence."

Back to Berlin, and beyond
Posted 10.10.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I was last in Berlin in December 1950 as an American military dependent high school senior from Wiesbaden to play football. It was one of those grey north German days with snow showers and a little over a year after the end of the Berlin Airlift. This past September I came as a tourist on a glorious fall day with blue sky and bright sunshine.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Acting. My age.
Posted 10.07.14
ROSS MURRAY

At one point in this play I'm rehearsing, I have to make a leap. It's not a dance leap, not a plié. More like a pàté. A gristly splat. The springing is okay; I can still spring. It's the landing that's rough. Not right away -- I'm in the moment, in character, and he don't care about no stinkin' bruises. But later, and the next day, oooh, it feels like a sacrifice for my art.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Why You Drive So Loud?
Posted 10.01.14
ROSS MURRAY

O, tender youth with ball cap perched, And moustache like a wisp of dirt --
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Call me Mr. Polyester
Posted 09.29.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | When I was younger, polyester was a joke. It was what old people wore.

On dying and dignity
Posted 09.26.14
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Canada's doctors proposed at the their annual convention this summer that euthanasia be left to individual doctors. Those who disagree with assisted suicide would not be required to assist their patients. Sounds good and democratic -- for doctors.
Fred Ryans column archives: Click Here

The cellphone holdout
Posted 09.24.14
ROSS MURRAY

An acquaintance reacted to news that I don't own a cell phone with the combination of ridicule and disbelief normally reserved for people who vote for the Green Party.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

From Newfoundland -- Greetings from George Street
Posted 09.21.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | It's Saturday night on George Street, in St. John's, Newfoundland. It's 11 o'clock and the small street, only a few blocks long, is beginning to cook. There are twenty-five pubs and they all seem to have live music.

Buying dirty books
Posted 09.16.14
ROSS MURRAY

The last thing you expect when you go to Old Orchard Beach in Maine on the long Labour Day weekend is to keep your sanity. The second-last thing you expect, among the tourists, souvenir shops, fried-everything stands, and carnival rides, is a book store. But there it is, right on the strip.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Where does the money go?
Posted 09.15.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

According to the U.S. Census, the median family income in 2012 was $51,371.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

WE INHABIT A BRAVE NEW PLANET
Posted 09.10.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | "Hey, if you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world..." These words from a country song by Charlie Rich in 1974 reveal a phrase that I grew up with. The phrase is: "In the world." This phrase pretty much described all we knew. Bye Bye Beardy
Posted 09.03.14
ROSS MURRAY

It's been facial trauma, I tell you, ever since I shaved my beard off last week. I walk by a mirror and instead of my usual "Hey there, handsome" it's "Aggh! Who are you?" And then I remember it's me, only smoother.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Dear President Obama
Posted 09.02.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

My, how things have changed since 2009. You came to the presidency with broad support as a president of peace, determined to get our military out of Iraq, to finish the war in Afghanistan, and resolve the country's domestic problems (there were several). Fast forward -- many on the home front are unhappy with you, or worse. Abroad, the situation is dire, which is why I write.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Happy Hour at the Sand Bar
Posted 08.30.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | It is the morning after the storm. Last night the wind and the rain were pounding on the windows and the roof. Someone said it was a nor'easter. That brought about the philosophical question, can you wear a sou'wester during a nor'easter?

Watching China Watch
Posted 08.29.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Today's China Watch above-the-fold front-page story is about the 'Comfort Women' that were captured and forced to provide sex to the Japanese army during World War II. Estimates of the number of Comfort Women ranges between 100,000 and 400,000 and included women from Korea, China, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and elsewhere.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

House of strippers
Posted 08.26.14
ROSS MURRAY

What I learned at the hardware store this week -- besides the realization that a career as a paint-colour namer is my roller not taken -- is that late August is not the time for home renovations that I thought it was.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Quiet Hours
Posted 08.20.14
ROSS MURRAY

I want to be buried in one of those deep-sea diving suits, the metal kind, like Sylvester the Cat might wear in some over-complicated and ill-fated attempt to eat Tweety
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Uniforms? We don't need no stinkin' uniforms!
Posted 08.10.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | One question I would ask is this: Do they [cops] really have the right to enforce laws dressed like that? Could a citizen who received a $165 ticket for not making a complete stop from a guy wearing camouflage pants and a red hat successfully contest that ticket in court?

Reform taxes now
Posted 08.01.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Until 2007, the US economy grew pretty well each year with growth staying above four percent per year or so. The chart below shows clearly the impact of the Great Recession. As we have heard from our leaders and our wonderful media the growth since coming out of the Great Recession has not been that great -- the preliminary data for 2014 shows zero (0) growth. The House of Representatives needs pass a bill to change the tax system to stimulate growth.


Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Yoga A-Go-Go
Posted 07.29.14
ROSS MURRAY

I clicked on a photo this week of actor Alec Baldwin's wife striking a yoga pose in order to roast a marshmallow on the beach while bent over backwards. I regret nothing.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Tournament weekends are rough in the end
Posted 07.24.14
ROSS MURRAY

For years I bought into the myth. I even preached it myself. "I'm so glad my kids are into basketball instead of hockey. It's so much cheaper. All they need is a ball and a pair of sneakers and they're good to go." Well, that's a lie.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Notes from the Nasty Show
Posted 07.22.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | What is interesting is that it is usually the older folks who object to this form of entertainment. They were raised under a value system that was traditional. One which is fast fading into the past. Young people have no problem with it. In fact, they crave it.

That religion test
Posted 07.18.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Recently, five justices of the Supreme Court held that for-profit corporations have a right to religious freedom that trumps individual religious freedom. Further, the Court held that the Greece, NY Town Council can begin its governmental sessions with sectarian Christian prayers overriding the religious freedom of the assembled citizens.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Google's got me
Posted 07.15.14
ROSS MURRAY

It is with great pleasure and a scoop of ice cream on the side that I announce today that I have been acquired by Google.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Conscience, Choices, and the US Constitution
Posted 07.05.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The Supreme Court in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. threw out a lot of smoke. It elaborated on its opinion that corporations are persons so that now corporations have religious beliefs. Worse than that, corporations have religious rights. Also, that the religious beliefs and rights of corporations take precedence over the rights of employees.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

An Idea For Canada Day(S)
Posted 07.02.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | I travel quite a bit in this country and spend far too much time in hotel rooms. But what I like to do while I am there is watch the local news of whichever city I am in. I find that I can learn a lot about a place by its local news broadcast.

Who wants to play Cake-tionary?
Posted 07.01.14
ROSS MURRAY

The children get bowls of icing to decorate their own cupcake. But wait. There's also a lazy Susan loaded with gobs of candy and sprinkles that the children can use to garnish their cupcakes. They can pile on as much as candy as they want! And then we send them home to their parents.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Let us now praise little sandwiches
Posted 06.18.14
ROSS MURRAY

Is there a more perfect food, in circumstances that require as many fingers free as possible, than the little sandwich? Finger sandwiches, they call them, and not without reason.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

TENNIS, ANYONE?
Posted 06.16.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | The scoring in tennis is like the scoring in life. The idea that you accumulate points over a set time on a clock and win or lose on that basis is a less realistic way to see things. Life constantly gives you second chances.

Carbon taxes, and why
Posted 06.11.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

This [carbon] pollution is a negative externality -- that is, it is a cost imposed on the whole of society and not just the individual who consumes a certain product. For example, if you drive a car, the pollution generated in building and driving the car affects everyone, drivers and non-drivers alike.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Creativi-Tips are like Q-Tips for your brain!
Posted 06.09.14
ROSS MURRAY

Creativity is not a tap you turn on and off. Creativity is not something that takes four to six weeks for delivery. Creativity is not a sack filled with live eels that someone dropped on your doorstep knowing full well your intense fear of eels and burlap. In fact, creativity is not a lot of things too numerous to mention.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Westfalia, like nouveau hippiedom, is not an option
Posted 05.29.14
ROSS MURRAY

I was walking through town on the weekend when I noticed a Volkswagen Westfalia for sale -- old, drab, not the least bit sexy, and the van was pretty unspectacular as well. "We should buy it," said Deb, who usually doesn't take much interest in these things (and, again, to be clear, I'm talking about the van). But Westalias are different.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

A brief note on Memorial Day
Posted 05.27.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Memorial Day in the US was created to honor the Civil War dead.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

When Pigs Do Fly
Posted 05.22.14
ROSS MURRAY

I can count on one hand the number of trips I've taken by airplane. It helps that I have six fingers, but that's not the point. The point is that because I'm relatively unjaded, I still approach air travel with a mixture of awe, trepidation, and general mistrust.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Old MacDonald had a life, SEO-E-O
Posted 05.13.14
ROSS MURRAY

What is every North American's dream? Long lustrous hair that flows in slow motion like a summer breeze, of course. But the other dream is to be number one at whatever it is we do. And the one thing that everyone does is exist.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

The struggle of this century
Posted 05.12.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | I am worried about the environmental movement. I think they may have painted themselves into a corner.

My full report
Posted 05.06.14
ROSS MURRAY

Sat at every stop sign for a full five seconds to compensate for individuals/drivers who do the slow-and-go. Balance restored in this small corner of the universe.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

See anyone you know?
Posted 05.05.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The U.S. Department of Education has released a list of fifty-five colleges and universities that are under Title IX investigation. The fifty-five higher education institutions are currently under review by the department's Office for Civil Rights for allegedly mishandling sexual assault and harassment on campus in violation of the gender equity law Title IX.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

The play was a 'three'
Posted 04.28.14
ROSS MURRAY

I've spent so much time watching our children play sports that sitting down to watch the youngest do theatre took some acclimatizing. How many quarters are there? How long is halftime? How do you know who wins?
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Quebec grows up at last
Posted 04.25.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | There was a time when being cool was everything. You didn't have to have much of anything else, as long as you had that -- you were in.

Going on Nineteen Years
Posted 04.24.14
JOHN MAHONEY

COBDEN, ONTARIO | The daily Log Cabin Chronicles is now in its 19th year on-line.

Bathed in Bubba's tears
Posted 04.23.14
ROSS MURRAY

It was clear by the 17th hole that, barring an unthinkable collapse, Bubba Watson was going to win the 2014 Masters. And yet I stuck it out, not necessarily to watch the conclusive putt but because I wanted to see if Bubba would once again weep like an emotionally fragile bridesmaid. He did not disappoint.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Not-so-good reads
Posted 04.15.14
ROSS MURRAY

We're still three months away from Summer Beach Reading Season, but you don't have to wait that long to read the books that everyone else is reading because other people told them to read them and you should too. That's because it's Spring Snow Bank Reading Season!
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Guaranteed annual income and universal draft, for all
Posted 04.10.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In Switzerland, a group called Generation Basic Income has gathered more than the 100,000 signatures necessary to put a ballot initiative before the country's voters. If passed, the initiative would amend Switzerland's constitution to guarantee every citizen a yearly unconditional income.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Quebec grows up at last
Posted 04.09.14
RICK BLUE

MONTREAL | I always found it ironic that the Parti Quebecois claimed the 'Yes' side in their separation referendum. They are the ones who reject the status quo. They are the party of the 'No.'

Home alone -- with pets
Posted 04.02.14
ROSS MURRAY

Whatever you do, don't compliment dads on their parenting skills. I've read a couple of moms who have been outraged -- outraged, I tell you! -- because their menfolk were publicly commended for parenting tasks such as tying their daughters' braids or attending their kids' school events or not driving away with the baby on top of the car, basic stuff like that.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Remember the old coat hanger days
Posted 04.01.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

According to the Supreme Court, abortions are legal in the United States and they should be available, safe, and infrequent. Both Justice Kennedy and I are old enough to remember when the only option was a coat hanger.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

The ten-year column: Now with extra self-indulgence!
Posted 03.25.14
ROSS MURRAY

I can't believe I was only 19 years old when I started this column. How young I was, not to mention firm, fit, and at my textual peak. As you can see from the headshot accompanying this column, the last ten years have been exceedingly rough on me, which probably means I should ask for a raise, if for no other reason than to afford some judiciously applied Botox.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

A small price to pay for fairness
Posted 03.23.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I just bought a new Dodge Caravan to replace the 1997 Caravan with 160,000 miles. The new one cost $22,000 including taxes, etc. The new Caravan was assembled in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I purchased the Caravan though a dealer and talk about a big waste of time -- but I digress.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Blame Canada
Posted 03.12.14
ROSS MURRAY

With this winter showing no inclinations of ending anytime soon, I think we can add "polar vortex" to the category of "Phrases We Could Have Lived Without."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Oh yay...tougher language laws
Posted 03.03.14
ROSS MURRAY

Clearly, Quebec's language laws have been too lax of late, as evidenced by people more or less getting along (unless you're unfortunate enough to be wearing a hijab). Instead of taking the broad view, a majority PQ government is likely to narrow its focus on language. Yes, a more narrow-minded approach is exactly what we need.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Bad Drugs Equals Health Problems
Posted 02.24.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Recently, I was reading the labels on the containers of the pills and other medicines that I take and have taken. Most of the vitamins, medicines (those with 'real' labels and not just the pharmacy label) say "distributed by" but not where they are made. The aspirin says "Made in Canada," and some of the supplements are labeled "Made in USA." None of the pharmaceuticals have origin labels. Is this a problem?
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Sleeping on it
Posted 02.17.14
ROSS MURRAY

I keep a pen and paper at my bedside for when I come up with some brilliant idea as I float between sleep and wakefulness or in case I want to write down a dream. For example, one night not long ago I dreamed that the military had devised a weapon called Pleasure Popcorn that clung to people like that annoying packing Styrofoam and in doing so induced waves of ecstasy so strong that it left the enemy incapacitated, though presumably quite satisfied.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

If a skier falls in the forest, does it make you laugh?
Posted 02.10.14
ROSS MURRAY

What I like about the solitude of cross-country skiing, then, is that hardly anyone sees you fall on your face. There's my wife, of course, but she's used to seeing me fall on my face, literally and metaphorically.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Flooding oceans deep and stormy. And expensive.
Posted 02.07.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The waters are definitely rising -- in the 20th century the sea level rose about 20 centimeters or eight inches. Scientists say that this rise is a major factor in the damage done by storms like Katrina, Irene, Isaac, and Sandy.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

End NFL tax-exempt status
Posted 01.27.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Tax earmarks are essentially tax increases for everyone who doesn't receive the benefit…in this case, working Americans are paying artificially high rates in order to subsidize special breaks for sports leagues. This is hardly fair.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

You had me at "psychopath"
Posted 01.30.14
ROSS MURRAY

In fact, I considered acting as a career until I realized I'd have to spend a lot of time around actors. That's not as mean as it sounds. I was and am an introvert at heart. For actors, everything is huge and broad and arms in the air. I discovered I couldn't pull that off for long periods. I also discovered that there were other ways to get girls, so naturally I put acting aside.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Don't support Iran Sanctions
Posted 01.27.14
FRANK BERNHEISEL

If Iran develops nuclear weapons, its neighbors will feel that they need them also. These would include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. This proliferation would increase the likelihood of nuclear material and eventually weapons falling into the hands of terrorists. The negotiated resolution has the potential for a solution and deserves support.
Frank Bernheisel's column archives: Click Here

Answers from the press conference
Posted 03.01.16
ROSS MURRAY

"Well, obviously we would have liked things to go a little differently out there today. We came prepared, we had the training, all the robot warriors were in place, but sometimes there are things you can't control, like the weather and gastrointestinal discomfort. I'm proud of the work we did. I don't think anyone should hang their head. Hold their nose, maybe, but definitely not hang their head."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Steal this nap
Posted 05.03.16
ROSS MURRAY

What happened to naps? One minute you're snoozing at daycare, and the next they're pumping you full of coffee in grade school. Or least that's how things worked where I went, at Sacred Palpitating Heart Elementary.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

Prefrontal cortex means sound judgement -- you think?
Posted 01.20.14
ROSS MURRAY

The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that decides good from bad, socially acceptable responses from unacceptable responses, Coke from Pepsi, and so on. Scientists tell us that this part of the brain does not fully mature until age 21 to 25. Actually, scientists didn't tell us this directly but wrote it on a Post-It and left it on our desk. So shy, those scientists.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

You get the quest of my love
Posted 01.10.14
ROSS MURRAY

Things were simpler before they invented love. Once upon a time, if a young man was interested in a young woman, he would simply seek out the girl's father and say, "Do you mind?" The father would say "Be my guest," and everyone would walk away happy. Not the girl necessarily, but this was also long before they invented equality.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here


PREVIOUS COLUMNS ARE ARCHIVED
HERE

Home | Features | Fiction | Poetry | Old Columns | Opinion



Copyright © John Mahoney 2017 /Log Cabin Chronicles 3.17