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IN VIETNAM

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SOME GIFT ADVICE
Posted 12.7.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | No editorial today on any of the grand subjects; no political affairs, no city management, arts & culture, leadership, none of those topics. No blogs, pronouncements, or sermons -- just a reminder, "have you considered this?" So, allow me to raise one not very grand topic: gift-giving. Specifically, gifts for seniors. Older relatives, parents, neighbours and elderly friends. All these people who, largely, have all they need after a lifetime of work -- and family gift-exchanges. Most of us have a senior or two on our list.
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PSST! LOOKING FOR A QUICKIE?
TODAY IN HISTORY
Posted 12.9.18
THOUGHT FOR TODAY
Posted 11.23.18

THIS SUCKS
Posted 11.8.18
I WISH I'D SAID THAT
Posted 11.19.18

I WISH I'D SAID THIS TOO
Posted 11.3.18

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DON'T FEEL POWERLESS IN THE FACE OF RACISM
Posted 12.5.18
ABBY MURRAY, GRADE 12
Stanstead College ~ Stanstead, Quebec

I work at the Haskell Free Library. It is built right on the Canada-US border, so there are lots of cameras and border agents, both Canadian and American. One day, while I was working, two Mexican families came to visit each other, one from Canada, the other from the US. Since they couldn't cross the border, they came to the library just to talk for a couple of hours.
Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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ONE MORE NIGHT, GIMME JUST ONE MORE NIGHT
Posted 12.1.18
ROSS MURRAY

The last thing I want is to be a bore. (Not true; the last thing I want is another biopsy, but I think I made that pretty clear already.) However, I did leave my post last week on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I thought I would give an update on my medical progress before returning to regular programming.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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ON DYING AND OTHER AUTUMNAL CONSIDERATIONS
Posted 11.27.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | These are a few reflections on our final autumns, on the end of life. We're all heading there, so sooner or later these lines might provide some understanding and, through that, comfort to all our readers -- but let's hope it's later!
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FRANCE ~ PARIS: DAY FIVE
Posted 11.25.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We woke up in our nice bed and breakfast in Concale to a pleasant, sunny day; and we were in Brittany -- Bretagne to the French and Breizh to the Bretons. Brittany is the western most region of France with a population of over 3 million. It forms a triangle poking out into the Atlantic; referred to as Finisterre or End of the Earth.
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I HAVE CANCER
Posted 11.23.18
ROSS MURRAY

It's rare you can put your finger on the precise moment your life changed. In my case, it involved an actual finger.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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CANADA'S POSTAL STRIKE: CROCODILE TEARS?
Posted 11.23.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | News of the stalemate in the labour dispute at Canada Post includes an announcement that 550 tractor trailer loads of parcels are waiting across the country to be sorted and delivered. With the union applying pressure where it would be most effective -- at Canada Post's few centralized big sorting centres -- the labour dispute has become something more.
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WHAT ABOUT AUTUMN?
Posted 11.21.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Autumn 2018 is/was the time for the U.S. elections and the airwaves and print were filled with propaganda, lies, and some information. If you got caught up in this Party-generated game, you could have believed that this game defined Autumn. But, you did not have to get caught up in the game: handicapping winners and losers, collecting stats, predicting outcomes based on polls, etc., and buying into a party line.
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PTSD AND YOU? AND US?
Posted 11.20.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | Around Remembrance Day, I was in a local Canadian Legion hall and saw on the wall a collage of photos of Canadian servicemen & women who have given their lives in Afghanistan; it was a simple yet noble statement of the terrible costs of war, something which should balance our tendency to rush off to foreign battlefields in the pursuit of grand ideals.
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FRANCE ~ PARIS: DAY FOUR
Posted 11.11.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The TGV was smooth and comfortable and at times reached 200 MPH; there was a speed display at the front of the car. The full trip of about 220 miles took us an hour and a half. Things were going great until the train station in Rennes, which was under serious reconstruction. This caused difficulty finding the Hertz office and subsequently finding the car. This took at least 45 minutes, and then we were off.
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TOGETHER? NOT.
Posted 11.9.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | Today we view our society under multiple fracturing -- we divide ourselves between immigrants and non-immigrants, among racial types, left-to-right political positions -- all the dimensions into which we force our communities, slicing and dicing ourselves, but one big divide we rarely heard about is the rural -- urban split.
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DOES ONE VOTE MATTER?
Posted 11.7.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On January 4, 2018, the race was decided by a coin toss and...

FRANCE ~ PARIS: DAY THREE
Posted 10.31.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

As I get older, I find that it is harder to remember things -- names are the worst. In doing my trip write-ups, I rely on photographs to remind me of where and when. On Day 2, I took the photo below at Notre-Dame; but it was on Jon's camera, so I lost the memory until a couple of days ago.
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FRANCE ~ PARIS: DAY TWO
Posted 10.21.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

We started the day with a nice breakfast buffet at Hotel du Parc. Then we set off on a beautiful sunny day to find the Metro station on Boulevard Raspail, and then to figure how use the Metro to get around in Paris. It was easy; the fare card machines were simple, and the maps and signs were clear.
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QUEBEC'S CAQ: NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK?
Posted 10.15.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | With the groaning following Quebec's October 1st election dying down, where's the thoughtful consideration of what just happened and why it did? Post-election analysis is an integral part of the election process -- if only to help us understand what voters really heard and wanted.
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FREE PRESS THREATENED
Posted 10.14.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The current news is full of stories about the possible murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent journalist who was seen entering -- but not exiting -- the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul last week. But Khashoggi is not alone.
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FRANCE ~ PARIS: DAY ONE
Posted 10.11.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

It was early Sunday morning when Julie, Jonathan, Kathy and I disembarked at Aéroport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and made our way to find a taxi. The airport seems to be continually under construction, based on our recent trips. As we neared the exit, wondering what to do, we spotted a Viking Tours booth. Given that we were going to take a Viking cruise later in this trip, I figured that they could help us. They did; the lead staff walked us to the taxi area and found a taxi large enough for the four of us plus four large suitcases. We loaded and were off to Paris. SO WHAT HAPPENED?
Posted 10.8.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | Post-election, are we to accustom ourselves to a new era of change for the sake of change? So it seems. Voters did want change, but every party offered changes, big lists of promises -- and yet a lot of voters had no idea what was on those lists. The voters knew mainly one thing: "change." This seemed to motivate voters in the US presidential election, in BC and Ontario elections, and now in Quebec. New era, or back to the 1800s?
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MORE CANADA POLITICS: GUNS 'N AMMO
Posted 10.4.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | However, if gun owners want guns to protect themselves from "big goverment" -- this is insurrection, clearly illegal. What's wrong with owning a gun or two or five, but keeping them in a regulated, secure environment? Is "gun control" even the issue?
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OH, LET'S BE REGIONABLE!
Posted 9.30.18
ROSS MURRAY

When I first moved to Quebec's Eastern Townships, I was thrilled to learn that there was a CBC Radio network dedicated to serving the English community outside Montreal. It wasn't long after this that I learned that CBC referred to all these non-Montreal places as "the regions."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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THE COMING CANADIAN DISASTER
Posted 9.27.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | The question isn't if the greatest disaster will occur, or a lesser one, or something far worse -- the question is, why are we even taking these chances? Why would we allow a gigantic radioactive mound in that location, and under these circumstances, at all? Why would we even take the chance?
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HOW DID THIS HAPPEN
Posted 9.24.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

As I've previously mentioned, I went to high school in Wiesbaden, Germany, arriving there in June 1948. The devastation was horrendous; piles of rubble where large apartments had been, smelled of the dead in the summer heat, and there were millions of Displaced Persons (DPs) in camps. This experience generated the question that I have studied all my life: How did these really smart, cultured and accomplished people go off the deep end and create this mess?
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NOTPETYA ~ A CAUTIONARY TALE
Posted 9.18.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | I stood for some time behind a couple paying for two coffees -- with a debit card. Next, a guy pulled out a fiver and paid for his in under two minutes. Did that couple really not have a few bucks between them? That seems a stretch, cashless out in the world, or maybe with a cell phone to make a payment.
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THANKS CANADA
Posted 09.8.189
Robert Meadows (Circuit Court Judge, Florida) wrote: "Have you ever stopped to consider how lucky we Americans are to have the neighbors we have? Look around the globe at who some folks have been stuck sharing a border with over the past half century..."
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YOUR ANCESTRY
Posted 8.2.18
DAVE LEPITRE

Dave's latest Your Ancestry column is posted regularly on the LCC. More people looking for ancestors...today: Border Marriage Laws in the past.
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NEED TO PREVENT KAVANAUGH POTENTIAL LAW DAMAGE
Posted 8.24.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I am of the opinion the Bret Kavanaugh will be even less constrained by 'settled law' than Justice Scalia. My opinion was reinforced by the piece by Arthur Alschuler in this morning's Washington Post, about one ruling that Bret Kavanaugh made as a justice on the US Court of Appeals, which over turned 'settled law'.
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OPPOSING KAVANAUGH'S APPOINTMENT
Posted 8.15.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Packing the courts with people with known and narrow political biases is not in the interest of the United States, a country with a diverse population. The nomination of Judge Kavanaugh is an example of this packing and his vetting by the Federalist Society is an example of how the packing process works.
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LETTER TO COUSIN MARJORIE
Posted 8.7.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | Cousin, think about that -- wouldn't you do exactly the same thing if you and Ronnie decided to emigrate, say, to Argentina? Tell me you wouldn't insist on real maple syrup!
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A PROJECT-BASED LIFESTYLE
Posted 7.28.18
ROBBY PORTER

It took longer to abandon the idea that I might someday have a career. Perhaps I would have accepted my lack of a career more readily if it had been a private failure, like obtaining happiness. But there it was in every introduction: "I'm a carpenter -- I'm a furniture maker -- I run the snow groomer -- We started a little business doing solar installations."
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POLITICAL DRUMBEATS
Posted 7.25.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The July 18 Gallop poll, indicates that 22 percent of Americans say immigration is the country's most important problem. Immigration replaced "Government", which had been the top problem in polls since January 2017.
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1968
Posted 7.23.18
ROSS MURRAY

1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. It was kind of a big year for Debbie Bishop.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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LETTER FROM MY FAMILY DOCTOR
Posted 6.27.18
ROSS MURRAY

"Unfortunately, due to family and personal reasons, I must close my clinic at the end of August 2018. I will be moving my medical practice to Abitibi, specifically the emergency room in the hospital at Rouyn-Noranda. I will remain responsible for your medical dossier in the coming years."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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FROM TRUMP TO FORD TO QUÉBEC?
Posted 6.23.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | Your safety belts fastened? We have an election coming - - in October, four quick months away. Growing parts of the world don't have elections, or they're for show. And we did hear plenty about Ontario's vote in early June, but you'd never know we'll be picking a new government, soon, in our own province.
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL GEMINIS!
Posted 6.21.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QC | What a birthday gift
to be born in this time of year...

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O CANADA, O DEFICIT
Posted 6.15.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Saturday, June 9 President Trump declared: "If they retaliate, they're making a mistake."
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FOR STUPIDITY, HOW ABOUT A UN MONUMENT?
Posted 6.21.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | When we think about Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, or Fukushima - - of dikes bursting, cities flooded, and infrastructure built on earthquake lines or on eroding sea cliffs - - and when the inevitable does then happen, we inevitably exclaim, "What were they thinking!"
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BOOKS, IN A SELFIE WAY
Posted 5.4.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Our reading group has a couple of classics on our upcoming list to read: Utopia by Thomas More and Demosthenes, which is one of Plutarch's biographical sketches. Neither of these is in our library.
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SONG FOR MUNICIPAL WORKERS
Posted 5.31.18
ROSS MURRAY

There are potholes aplenty just outside my house...
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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FIRST LINES FOR SOME POEMS ABOUT SPRING THAT ARE WAITING TO BE WRITTEN
Posted 5.29.18
NICHAEL CRAMER

Nichael Cramer makes poetry in Vermont.

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ONTARIO'S VOTE WILL AFFECT WEST QUEBEC
Posted 5.26.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | One thing the Liberal government in Ontario has accomplished is to keep Quebec tightly engaged with the federation -- as a deliberate policy. While this would likely be continued under an NDP or coalition government, it's unlikely that relations with Quebec are even on the Ford/Conservative radar.
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PSST! LOOKING FOR A QUICKIE?
TODAY IN HISTORY
Posted 6.10.18
THOUGHT FOR TODAY
Posted 5.26.18

THIS SUCKS
Posted 5.11.18
I WISH I'D SAID THAT
Posted 5.27.18

I WISH I'D SAID THIS TOO
Posted 5.17.18

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REALLY, A TRUMP-TRUDEAU AXIS?
Posted 5.10.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | When Mr Trump was elected many Canadians wondered how our avant-garde "feminist" leader would deal with the new president, already known for outrageous actions and views. Canada has historically walked a very thin line between what we profess and what our American protectors expect of us. This would surely challenge that relationship.
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MEET THE PETS
Posted 5.8.18
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | Over the years, I have frequently referenced the many pets that have roamed this house, not always in a flattering light. Not ever in a flattering light. Sometimes you can't even see the light because it's blocked by too many pets.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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FALSE-FLAGS RIGHT HERE AT HOME
Posted 5.5.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | The most cynical of false-flag events are "public consultations." It's a rare one that actually consults with anyone. Usually they're pubic announcements: "this is how it's going to be - - and how do you feel about it?". That's no consultation, although there's a smidgeon of feedback requested. Substantive changes rarely are birthed in public consultations except in very dramatic circumstances - - say, as a close election approaches.
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MAKE AMERICAN SCHOOLS GREAT AGAIN
Posted 4.28.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

My take on the learning of primary and secondary students is that we have been shorting the public school budgets for years.
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$1.2 BILLION MISDIRECTED IN CANADA
Posted 4.24.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | The Harper-Trudeau solution to our Canadian nation's nuclear waste over-flow - - dump it onto a mound, covered by a 'membrane' - - is going to backfire. Who doubts this?
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THOUGHTS ON ENLIGHTENMENT
Posted 4.20.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Many of the ideas and accomplishments attributed to the Enlightenment were developed prior to the period we call the Enlightenment. Contributions were made during the Renaissance and within organizations throughout Europe, including the church. Human beings have worked on governance throughout history, and what we have is a continuum. As far as we know, because we rely on the written word, it started with the Greeks: Pythagoras, Plato, etc.
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 15 ~ VISITING SLANO AND MOSTAR

Posted 4.12.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

La Perla's course from Korcula took her southeast along the Peljesac peninsula. The peninsula is over 40 miles long and the isthmus that joins it to the mainland is five miles wide. It is part of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, the southernmost part of Croatia. The county is broken in two by a 12-mile stretch of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which provides their only access to the sea.
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HOW TO FIGHT INERTIA, SWEATPANTS, AND GO OUT DANCING
Posted 4.10.18
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | My getting ready to go out face. Tweety is my wingman.
1. Are you already in sweatpants? Did you take your bra off? It's too late. You will not go dancing. Inertia has won. Start again.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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THE U.S. 2020 CENSUS ~ ACTION IS NEEDED
Posted 4.7.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The 2020 Census is fast approaching and is currently being given a test run in Rhode Island. At this late date, the Trump Administration and Congress have decided to play games with the decennial count of people in the U.S. required by the Constitution.
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IN THE GIG ECONOMY, WHERE'S THE SYNERGY?
Posted 4.4.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | We're constantly told that today's world is at a boundary. We've reached a no-return point, and life will be very different in the future. We heard this first via predictions about the changes digitization would be bringing us, and indeed that seems to fit -- in our homes, work, in businesses, the arts, sports, travel, etc.
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ON PLAGIARIZING NEWS
Posted 3.31.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | The Bulletin's discovery that one of its journalists has been plagiarizing material published in another newspaper, while very embarrassing, has an up-side, a lesson, as much for the reading public as for journalists everywhere.
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SCENARIOS IN WHICH I, ROSS MURRAY, MIGHT CONCEIVABLY NEED A GUN
Posted 3.31.18
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | 7. I need to provide food for my family, and all the grocery stores have been shut down due to an outbreak of e-Cola, the "New Live-Bacteria Beverage That's A Real Fresh-Maker!" but actually turned out to be a real death-maker, and so with no provision for provisions, I have to take to the woods (but not before letting my food-deprived eyes linger hungrily over the cats, until I recall what I've previously seen those cats licking)...
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 14 ~ A DAY IN TINY KORCULA

Posted 3.26.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

The Bura wind was still blowing when La Perla got under way at about 6 AM. The Bura makes for sunny, cool days on the Adriatic Sea. Our destination was the town of Korcula, which shares its name with the island. We arrive in the port of Korcula about 10 AM to find one of the smallest villages we had visited. We had an our tour of the town, which only took maybe 15 minutes to walk around. However, the pace in Korcula was slower than any other towns we visited, so maybe 25 minutes.
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THE WEARING OF THE OCHRE, OR HAPPY ST. PABLO'S DAY!
Posted 3.24.18
ROSS MURRAY

STANSTEAD, QUEBEC | I recently received the results of my ancestry DNA testing, and in addition to 70 percent of my genetic roots originating in Great Britain, and Scotland, I was very excited to learn that 12 percent of my genetic makeup springs from the Iberian Peninsula! I was even more excited after I looked at a map and found out exactly where the Iberian Peninsula is!
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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FACEBOOK & ORWELL, TONGUE-IN-CHEEK-ISHLY
Posted 3.21.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | "One of any citizen's rights is the right to copyright material in our possession, generated by our processes and devices. We have the legal right to copyright all information, photos, data, numbers, and recordings generated by our various systems. The purpose of this Notice is to inform you personally, as our valued client, that Facebook has copyrighted your life."
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ARE WE IN THE MIDST OF WORLD WAR III?
Posted 3.17.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | While we await, certainly with trepidation, for the US President's next Twitter threat against North Korea (or Iran, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia, Niger ... ) it's worth considering that America's "War on Terror" is actually a third World War. Add to Trump's crazy threats, his threats to end trade agreements that don't favour America, and it seems hard to say that we are not there.
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ALL CLUTTERED UP AND NO PLACE TO GO
Posted 3.13.18
ROSS MURRAY

When our son came home for his break, he began to chuckle as he looked around the kitchen, as if it were all strange to him. And that was his point: everything was strange.

"You ever look at the things in this house and wonder why they're there?"
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 13 ~ A DAY AROUND HVAR

Posted 3.11.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

This morning we sailed from Split to the island of Hvar and the town of the same name -- a journey of about 40 miles. It is a very small town with about 3,500 inhabitants -- the island has about 4,700. The town of Hvar has a lovely, sheltered harbor, which was welcome because part of the "ride" over was pretty rough. A couple people complained of being seasick. Not surprising since the Bura wind was pretty strong until we got on the lee side of the island.
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PROM DURESS
Posted 3.8.18
ROSS MURRAY

I am currently on my third daughter in search of a prom dress. It's February. The prom is in June. I point this out, but Abby looks at me like I know nothing. It's the usual look she gives me these days, but in this case she backs it up with fact: "This is the time you get your dress, Dad." I can't argue with that.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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WITHDRAW SPONSORSHIP OF PRO-BANK CODDLING BILL
Posted 03.7.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

It is clear that the practices of banks and financial institutions were responsible for causing the Great Recession and despite the obvious malfeasance of the bankers in this, no one went to jail. Now, Senator Kaine, you propose to take away bank oversight. You claim that the small banks in Virginia need help but that does not appear to be true.


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THE ICE WAS TWO FEET THICK, THE WATER COLD, BUT A LOT OF FUN WAS HAD BY ALL
GORDON ALEXANDER

NEWPORT, VERMONT | During Winter's last gasp at the end of February, some 75 avid winter swimmers -- all members of the Memphremagog Winter Swimming Society -- hung out, wetly, in a two-lane 25-meter pool chainsawed out of the ice just offshore from the Eastside Restaurant hereon Lake Memphremagog.
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 12 ~ ON TO SPLIT

Posted 2.27.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

The Greeks established Solona, about two miles from Split, as a colony in the 2nd Century BCE. Salona became the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia because it sided with Julius Caesar in the civil war against Pompius and Crassus in 54 BCE. Salona was largely destroyed in the invasions of the Slavs in the seventh century CE, and the refugees from Salona settled inside Diocletian's Palace in what is now Split.
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IS READING OVERRATED?
Posted 2.23.18
ROSS MURRAY

Chances are if you're reading this that's all you're doing. You might be eating breakfast or possibly doing a chore. Maybe you're folding laundry and glancing back and forth at these words. If so, you're not giving it your full attention, so you might miss the part where I mention the lima beans, and later when I refer again to the lima beans, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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AH, STEREOTYPES
Posted 2.21.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | We're constantly reminded to avoid stereotyping, but I can't get through a single day without making a stereotype of one kind or another, especially to myself. I've tried to stop, but, to be frank, it seems most conversations would grind to a halt. (Or else blow into long-winded storms of convoluted verbiage.)
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 11 ~ LEAVING OPATIJA

Posted 2.17.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

On part of the journey over the mountains, we passed near the birthplace of Nikola Tesla. His name had come up several times already during the trip because Croatia claims him. It took a look at Wikipedia to understand the claims about Tesla's nationality. It turns out he had Serbian parents. His father and both of his grandfathers were Serbian priests.
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LUDIS VERUS*
Posted 2.16.18
JIM AUSTIN

CAPE BRETON, NS | It makes me gag when columnists and TV sports show pinheads ignore the world's greatest sporting event. Nationally known sports guys Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon only give cursory coverage to the Olympics all the while bloviating about the possibility of their favorite baseball teams getting a high draft choice. Even Gaye Desveaux, local gasbag and columnist for the Possum Tussle Monitor, cannot bring himself to mention the Olympics.
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VALENTINE'S DAY: LOVE'S CHANGING NUMBERS ARE WRITTEN ON WATER
Posted 2.13.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | This arithmetic of romance is highly emotional and usually calculated in-the-moment, not from an calm moment. Any estimation of costs - - or benefits - - of a relationship is ethereal and shifting; love's changing numbers are written on water.
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DEATH GOALS
Posted 2.10.18
ROSS MURRAY

"What do you want to do," I asked Deb, "when you die?"
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 10 ~ DOING THE ISTRAIN PENINSULA

Posted 2.8.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

Another lovely autumn day with sun and cool temperatures. We were picked up by the coach for a tour of the Istrain Peninsula, which is the largest peninsula in the Adriadic, and is triangular. The towns at the angles are: Savudrija, Opatija and Medulan, which is just south of Pula. This area is heavily influence by Italy, of which it was a part between the two World Wars. The highway signs have the town/city names in Croatian and Italian.
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"GIVE US THE MONEY, BUT NOT YOUR RULES"
Posted 2.8.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | But look at the implications. Does the Conference of Bishops (all unmarried males) really believe that any appeal to "freedom of religion" trumps federal law? Where and when did we agree that our charters and legal heritage are subservient to religious beliefs?
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THAT I CAN TELL YOU
Posted 2.4.17
JIM AUSTIN

CAPE BRETON, NS | Joseph Goebbels was Hitler's Minister of Propaganda during the WW2 years. If he had not committed suicide the day after Adolf he might have obtained a position at FOX news. Sean Hannity, whose head seems to be morphing into one of those squarish chipped beef cans, could be the reincarnation of Goebbels. Case in point, the Nunes memo.
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TALKING WITH SONS ABOUT BEING BETTER MEN
Posted 2.2.18
ROSS MURRAY

Boys, you probably feel bad these days about being male, and you should. We've been terrible. Not you, specifically, but the rest of us. My generation definitely. But it wasn't our fault. It was... the patriarchy. And the funny thing is, back then, we didn't even know the patriarchy existed, but it did, boy oh boy! And was it fun.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

CLEAN, CLEAR, EASY TO FIND AND UNDERSTAND
Posted 1.27.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Accountability? The public deserves the project's details. Details of managerial salaries, consultant fees, contracting-out fees -- the big costs. Quarterly reports. We have to know what the managers are being paid, to assess the projects. (Sorry but privacy concerns their private lives, not our tax dollars.)

VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 9 ~ IN OPATIJA

Posted 1.31.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

Opatija, a small city of 12,000, is surrounded by beautiful woods of bay laurel. The city is located on a rocky and picturesque sea-coast and home to many resorts. In Roman times, the area was home to several patrician villas connected to the nearby town of Castrum Laureana, the modern Lovran.
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 8 ~ FROM ZAGREB TO OPATIJA

Posted 1.27.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

The rain had stopped and we had a sunny, cool, and very windy day. The last stop before leaving Zagreb was Mirogoj, Zagreb's central cemetery. It is known as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe and was built by the famous linguist and leading person of the Croatian national reformation, or the Illyrian Movement, Ljudevit Gaj.
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CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT THE ONLY PROBLEM, FOLKS
Posted 1.27.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | "It won't re-charge," he argued. Even if the next ten years were as wet as the last were dry, and this because the soil structure holding the aquifer has by now silted up and collapsed; there is no longer much storage capacity down deep. Even if the Americans were able to divert an entire Canadian river down there, the aquifer no longer exists as it once did. The river would run off, drain away.

SECRETARY ZINKE'S FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE
Posted 1.25.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

After improperly billing the government for personal travel expenses, Zinke received a Fitness Report in 1999 that blocked him from being promoted to a commanding officer position, or to the rank of captain.
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 7 ~ OUTSKIRTS OF ZAGREB

Posted 1.22.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

I learned I didn't even know Marshall Tito's full name - - Josip Broz Tito. Today, he is loved by many, ignored by many, and unknown, apparently, to some of the younger people. The village of Kumrovec is now a museum - - the whole small village - - and it is being restored as it was in 1892 at Tito's birth.
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JUST DO YOUR JOB
Posted 1.21.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In the past, Speaker Ryan, you have said: "We will not duck the tough issues, we will lead ... we will not spend four years blaming others, we will take responsibility."
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THE ME SPECIES
Posted 1.19.18
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Making one nation great is clan-thought. Nations, tribes, even families, religions, languages : each means one nation really can be separate. Yet it's obvious the world is a network, and it's hard to imagine that changing.
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 6 ~ AND IN DOWNTOWN ZAGREB

Posted 1.16.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

We woke up to grey skies, cool temperatures, and wind in Zagreb. Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of Croatia, with 800,000 people. It has a history dating back Roman times; the Roman town of Andautonia was just southeast of Zagreb on the Sava River. We toured Zagreb by bus for about 20 minutes and then met our local tour guide.
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 5 ~ ON TO ZAGREB

Posted 1.14.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

With five rivers in the town, there are lots of bridges. One bridge we did cross was the Zmajski Most or 'dragon' bridge, which has two dragons at each end of the bridge. The Ljubljana Dragon is symbol of the city and is depicted on the city coat of arms as well as the Dragon Bridge.
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THE SPIT IS IN THE MAIL
Posted 1.13.18
ROSS MURRAY

For Christmas, our eldest daughter ordered me an ancestry DNA kit. Through analysis of my genetic source code, I will soon know exactly where I come from and whom to blame. That's really what we look for when we begin researching our ancestry: culpability. Up to now, I've only been able to attribute my shortcomings to my parents, but soon I'll have an entire Old World to pin them on.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 4 ~ ON TO ZAGREB, BUT FIRST TO LJUBLJANA

Posted 1.10.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

Our first stop, on our tour of the city, was Republic Square, which is the largest square in Ljubljana and where on 26 June 1991, the independence of Slovenia was declared.  It is the location of the Academia Philharmonicorum from whose open windows we could hear the students practicing their scales.
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IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO START A CAR
Posted 1.6.18
ROSS MURRAY

When it came to our car battery, I knew we were playing with fire. Or rather lack of fire. It had come to the point where simply leaving the key in the ignition would drain it. But we had a solution: don't leave the key in the ignition.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 3 ~ VISIT TO LARGEST NORDIC SKI CENTRE

Posted 11.3.18
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

We visited the Planica Nordic Center, a very interesting place. It has one ski-flying hill, seven ski-jumping hills, and indoor cross-country skiing track in Planica, Slovenia. It is the largest Nordic Centre in the world.
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HOW THE LAST JEDI MADE ME A LITTLE LESS STUPID
Posted 12.30.17
ROSS MURRAY

Without giving away spoilers, I liked the film. It took the series in a new direction and undermined certain assumptions about the Star Wars universe. It certainly had its faults, but I was entertained and had popcorn as a meal, which is about all you can ask of an evening out. The biggest flaw I saw was my purchase of a large root beer without considering the absence of a pause button.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA:
PART 2 ~ DAY AROUND BLED

Posted 12.28.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL & KATHY CAVANAUGH

The next morning, we met Sasha and the others at 9 a.m. to go on a tour. Our first stop -- Bled Castle, which was first mentioned in writing in the year 1011.
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BEAST MODE
Posted 12.22.17
JIM AUSTIN

CAPE BRETON, NS | The USA is, at present, a writhing beast tearing its own guts out with claws from the right and the left. Its agony will, without doubt, be suffered by those of us who don't have solid gold bathroom fixtures on our yachts. That's most of us.
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WHEN MY BARBER RETIRES, I'M OUT OF HERE
Posted 12.21.17
ROSS MURRAY

Data released this month revealed that more people are leaving Quebec than arriving. This came the same week that the provincial legislature unanimously passed a motion ostensibly discouraging Quebec merchants (read: Montreal merchants) from saying "Bonjour-hi" to customers.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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LIMERICK FOR KELLYANNE CONWAY
Posted 12.20.17
NICHAEL CRAMER

Nichael Cramer makes poetry in Vermont.
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VISITING WHAT WAS ONCE YUGOSLAVIA
Posted 12.18.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

In 2017, from October 19 through November 7, Kathy and I traveled in what used to be Yugoslavia. We traveled with my brother and sister-in-law (Dave and Mary) on a Vantage tour, which included a small boat cruise down the Dalmatian Coast. Yugoslavia, which was a federation of eight provinces, was formed as a kingdom after WWI with the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After WWII it became the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Marshal Tito.
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"I'M FROM THE GOVERNMENT, HOW CAN I HELP?"
Posted 12.16.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | The Quebec government just announced a budget to help "traditional media," including small community newspapers. Great idea! The help? Oh, that community newspapers stop being newspapers.
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THE YAPPING DOGS OF DISCORD
Posted 12.14.17
JIM AUSTIN

CAPE BRETON, NS | The talking heads on MSNBC and CNN cannot suppress their glee at the Moore defeat. The Democratic win in a blood-red state is a sure sign that Trump's base - - the "Yapping Dogs of Discord" - - are having second thoughts about their alpha dog. Not that a victory over an animated rat turd like Moore can be called historic. If the Republicans had run a tree stump instead of Moore they would have won handily.
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THAT SO-CALLED TAX REFORM STADIUM SCAM
Posted 12.12.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

What is in the American tax bill, that is the question. Some good news -- in the House bill there is a provision that ends the federal tax subsidy for private sports stadiums. Who would have guessed it!.
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HAVE YOURSELF A MURRAY LITTLE CHRISTMAS
Posted 12.9.17
ROSS MURRAY

As a newly elected Stanstead town councillor in Quebec, my wife was invited to the town hall annual Christmas dinner, and as her spouse, I was invited along. That's right: I was political arm candy, and I've never been prouder.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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POEM: A LETTER
Posted 01.31.13
ROBERT SEARLES

You were talking on the phone
tonight about being 71
in less than 6 weeks...
Robert Searles runs and writes in Hyde Park, Vermont

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FIXING THE AMERICAN BOOZE TAX MESS
Posted 12.7.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The U.S. tax reform bill introduced in Mitch McConnell's Senate in November includes deep cuts to federal excise taxes on alcohol producers. Does this have anything to do with Kentucky being a major producer of bourbon whisky?
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YOU ARE ALL INVITED
Posted 12.1.17
JOHN MAHONEY

COBDEN, ONTARIO | Some of my old portrait work is being featured in the December issue of Dek Unu Magazine, out of Florida. The website is at Dek Unu Magazine. Four current issues are on-line. Please have a look, and read the short interview, if you are so inclined.
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THE INTERNET AND NO COMMUNICATIONS
Posted 11.28.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Quebec's federation of municipal governments -- the FQM -- this week announced it's support of efforts to extend high-speed internet to all rural municipalities in the province. The FQM claims there are 244,000 households without real access.
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SAFE JOURNEY, PETE
Posted11.27.17
JOHN MAHONEY

They buried my old friend Pete Burlton on Wednesday, November 22 in the Vermont Veterans' Cemetetry in Randolph, Vermont. He had turned 82 on October 28 and died on November 16, following a lengthy illness.
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AT LEAST I DIDN'T MENTION DADDY'S HOME 2
Posted 11.26.17
ROSS MURRAY

My wife and I recently took advantage of a much-needed getaway weekend, and we did what most couples do when they ditch the kids and the pets and the chores and find themselves alone in a hotel room: we watched a movie.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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ON BEING THANKFUL
Posted 11.25.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

I woke up about 4 AM, thinking about Thanksgiving. The American myth that I learned in grade school came to mind.
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PROUD TO BE CANADIAN
Posted 11.22.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Canadian patriotism is big in 2017. National celebrations on July 1, and the 150th projects and festivities have been inspirational, but just what do they mean to us, as patriotic Canadians?
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BACK TO WIESBADEN, GERMANY
Posted 11.18.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

On Sunday, November 5 we (Kathy, brother Dave, his wife, Mary, and I) had to change planes in Frankfurt, Germany on our way home from Croatia. We decided to stay a couple of days and visit Wiesbaden to see what had changed since my brother and I had lived there (1948 - 1951). Kathy and I had visited Wiesbaden briefly 15 years ago, but it had been 40 years for Dave.
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WEST QUEBEC IN PROVINCIAL CABINET?
Posted 11.16.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Even on the federal level, Pontiac had, for years, the senior minister in Prime Minister Harper's government - - Harper's Quebec lieutenant, no less - - and is there one project in the Pontiac which was helped by "having a seat at the table"?
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YOUR ANCESTRY
Posted 11.14.17
DAVE LEPITRE

Dave's latest Your Ancestry column is posted regularly on the LCC. More people looking for ancestors...today: Border Marriage Laws in the past.
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BRANDING: NOT JUST FOR CATTLE ANYMORE
Posted 11.13.17
ROSS MURRAY

The Ross Murray brand was first established over 50 years ago and has undergone several iterations - - Bad Haircut Ross Murray, Artsy Ross Murray, Ladies'Man Ross Murray (recalled), Bad Haircut Ross Murray 2.0 - - until finally settling into the Classic Vanilla Ross Murray we have come to know and tolerate.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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CRITICS! METHINKS THOU DOST WHINE TOO MUCH.
Posted 11.8.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Not only does Canada have a new Governor-General, an astronaut-scientist-engineer, but she's not shy. One of Mme Julie Payette's first speeches -- to a science forum -- has generated an uproar. Most GG's avoid controversy, and many conservatives are complaining.

She dared to question creationism and embrace evolution.

And that was just the beginning. She restated the science of climate change, lamented the quackery of cancer panaceas, and dismissed astrology as junk science.
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THE TROUBLE WITH STORIES
Posted 11.2.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | This is not about turning the profession of journalism into story-telling. Nor is it about the stories we continually tell ourselves to explain our actions, urges, mistakes, and achievements. No, this is about surrounding ourselves with stories, drowning in them - - and shouldn't that be a concern for us, coping with an evolving world?
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SPOOK-ULAR VALUES: A HALLOWEEN PARABLE
Posted 10.30.17
ROSS MURRAY

It started with a body on a bus. This was followed by a second body on a bus. The interval between the discoveries was so brief that it felt like it couldn't be a coincidence, though it proved to be so. Still, there was no getting over the public perception that there was now an epidemic of bodies on buses.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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EXPROPRIATE THE OLD RAIL LINE?
Posted 10.28.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | However, the Municipality of Pontiac declined, and sold off the old rail line to the line's neighbours, effectively strangling the Route's access to the Ottawa Valley, and killing any chance of the municipality's own fledgling tourism businesses profit fro this popular tourist link.
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GUSHING OVER QUEBEC TAP WATER
Posted 10.23.17
ROSS MURRAY

With the clarity of a professionally maintained aquarium, St-Étienne's water offers up the delicate aroma of fresh snow, wet leaves and the slightest hint of bowling shoes. Triggering nostalgic memories of drinking from the garden hose and strange stirrings after spying your friend's mom in a bikini, our sample starts with a sharpness at the front of the tongue due to calcium deposits, then finishes at the back of the throat due to gravity. However, we remarked a certain shortfall in overall wetness, and thus found it quenched our physical thirst yet not our thirst for greater meaning in a relentlessly cruel world. 8.1/10
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

LOONY ANTHROPOLOGY
Posted 10.19.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Following the last full moon, I watched it rise and sail eastward each evening - - until one night I was out before the moon. All the stars! All exceptionally clear and bright - - and everywhere! Perhaps there was less humidity on the air.
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DéJà VU ALL OVER AGAIN
Posted 10.16.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Last Friday -- that was Friday the 13th by the way -- President Trump announced he would not certify Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, which imposes restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief. The President said: "We will see what happens with Iran. We're very unhappy with Iran. They have not treated us with the kind of respect that they should be treating."
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THE CAT WHO CANCELLED THANKSGIVING
Posted 10.14.17
ROSS MURRAY

Regular readers know that I harbour a certain prejudice against cats, and like most prejudices, it's defined by my own narrow experience. But this summer, our middle daughter Katie moved back home along with her own two cats, Lincoln and Chandler. That's when I discovered not all cats are jerks; only our cats are jerks.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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PIECES OF FALL
Posted 10.6.17
NICHAEL CRAMER

Nichael Cramer makes poetry in Vermont.
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I AM RUNNING FOR TOWN HALL IN STANSTEAD, QUEBEC?
Posted 10.9.17
ROSS MURRAY

A number of people have asked me about a rumour going around that I plan to run for municipal council. If ever there was a time to address such a rumour -- right before the nomination deadline -- this would be the time. It gives me great pleasure, therefore, to confirm today that I have also heard the rumour and that the rumour is, indeed, going around.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD
Posted 10.2.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The U.S. was just hit by two HUGE hurricanes. Minimizing the damage done by these storms depends on knowing where and when they are going to hit; that is weather forecasting. The Washington Post reported that the Gulfstream jet that collects high altitude data by flying through hurricanes aborted its flight through Maria.
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BYE-BYE POOL
Posted 09.29.17
ROSS MURRAY

We warned the children we were getting rid of the swimming pool. I swear we warned them. Maybe they didn't believe us, thinking it was one of our idle threats, like "We're going to move to the country!" or "We're going to organize the yogurt containers under the sink!"
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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QUEBEC DAY-CARE STRIKE
Posted 9.25.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Four hundred educators in the Outaouais have been without a contract since March, 2015. There are 11,000 unionized workers in Quebec working with no or with expired contracts. Is this the way to run an economy? How can this be considered good government and good business management? How family-friendly is it to push day-care workers to strike?
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NAFTA: WILL QUEBEC'S PONTIAC REGION GET MILK - - OR MILKED?
Posted 9.19.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Meanwhile Canada is re-negotiating the NAFTA pact with the US and Mexico, and this "revision" will directly harm - - or help - - the Pontiac. Is NAFTA not news because Canada's farm supply-management system is not high on Ottawa's priority list?
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LITERARY GIANT? A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS
Posted 09.16.17
ROSS MURRAY

On the way back from Prince Edward Island this summer, we passed Shediac, NB, home of the world's largest lobster. Children climb on it. Don't worry, it's made of concrete. Watching children climb on a real giant lobster, now that I would pull off the highway for.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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IS CBC RADIO OUT OF THE NEWS BUSINESS?
Posted 9.12.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Radio-heads will answer that there's a news minute or two at the top of every hour on our national broadcaster, and they're right. But if the fans call those few minutes "news reporting," are they actually listening?
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NOT THE FAIR'S SIDESHOW -- he's our president, too
Posted 9.6.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | In the old days, when farm fairs began, there were side shows with weirdos and wonders in which we'd find Trump-like buffoons, orange comb-over, all mouth, little Napoleons - - that sort of thing - - and we'd all marvel, laugh, and go home feeling smug and superior. Today, the real show has taken over centre stage and there's no going home to avoid it.
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CARBON TAX: STILL A GOOD IDEA
Posted 09.1.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

A carbon tax is a fee imposed on carbon-based fuels (coal, oil, gas, etc.). The purpose of a carbon tax is to reduce damage to the environment and eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels.
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GOT WOOD?
Posted 09.1.17
ROSS MURRAY

In the 20-plus years my wife and I have been tent camping, we've barely changed our routine. We still pile our kitchen gear in a laundry basket - - as portable as it is inefficient. We use grocery bags to transport our dry goods, which before the end of the day are spread across the back seat. And our original luggage carrier doesn't so much sit on the roof as cling for dear life.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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PHOENIX POLICE OPPRESSION
Posted 08.26.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The cops stood on the their side of the street in full riot gear and gas masks with two barricades and a street between us, before they descended on the crowd. We were pushed, bullied, and assaulted without provocation or warning.
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A CHALLENGE FOR ANTI-IMMIGRANTS
Posted 8.2 4.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | The spectacular media circus created by, largely, alt-Trump supporters in the US has caught our attention - - how could it not? But less attention, as usual, seems to be on events and issues closer to home. Specifically, in Quebec - - and not that our province has a worse record - - the mosque shootings in Quebec, the anti-Muslim cemetery campaign, and more recent demonstrations of anti-immigrant feelings by groups, like La Meute, "the pack", or individuals who put up large anti-immigrant banners outside the venues housing immigrants make it clear that we Canadians still carry old fears and prejudices.
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FLUSHING TIPS FOR GUESTS
Posted 08.18.17
ROSS MURRAY

Welcome to our home and, more specifically, this little corner of personal hygiene privacy we like to call the guest bathroom. Please make yourself comfortable and avail yourself of whatever you need. We have provided a wide variety of reading material, from an assortment of Archie digests to a well-thumbed Victoria's Secret catalogue, a subtle acknowledgement by your hosts that, here, your business is none of ours.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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AMERICA'S GROWING NEO-FASCISTS
Posted 8.16.17
FRED RYAN

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA | Again the leader of the "free world" is caught up in violence and racism -- the Charlottesville, Virginia, rally by America's growing neo-fascists was last week's top news.
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GREAT REPUBLICAN CON JOB
Posted 08.12.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Wake up America! You are being conned! President Trump, with the help of Congress and the media, is pulling the oldest trick in the book -- distract everyone with the threat of war with some other country. In this case, North Korea.
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NORTHERN VERMONT | The Clan of the Hawk recently hosted its 28th Intertribal Powwow here on tribal grounds on Route 58 in Evansville.
Posted 08.8.17
GORDON ALEXANDER

The opening ceremonies ritual Smudging, the grand parade and ceremonial dances took place, despite threats of rain.
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WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS US "RECOVERY"?
Posted 08.8.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The employment figures for July have arrived and the numbers exceeded expectations. Some 209,000 new jobs were created and the unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent. That brings the total to more than 1 million new jobs since President Trump took office, who proudly tweeted: Excellent Jobs Numbers just released -- and I have only just begun.
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THE GHOST OF STUART MCLEAN DESCRIBES CANADA'S SUMMER OF 2017
(Look, it's a Canadian thing, eh?)

Posted 08.5.17
ROSS MURRAY

It's a beautiful morning. The kind of morning that makes you want to leap out of bed, put on an old record and wake the children so they can watch you shimmy. It's the kind of morning that makes you think of your childhood growing up in Cape Breton, and the only plaything you had was an orange.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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HARM REDUCTION, A SAFE INJECTION SITE?
Posted 8.2.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | It is good news that a safe injection site has been approved for Ottawa's Sandy Hill area, and that Ontario has offered funding. It's important to note that it will be part of an existing drug and alcohol treatment centre, one with a good record on all counts. The elephant in the room, and not a silent one, are community fears that such a service will attract more drug users and contribute to local criminality. Surveys have shown that this is unlikely.
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ME, AGE 110, EXPLAINING THE SECRET OF MY LONGEVITY
Posted 07.31.17
ROSS MURRAY

It's so nice to have you reporterbots from GoogleThought drilling into my consciousness for an interview. I remember when I was a flesh reporter and I had to do these stories by actually talking to old people. Human contact was so uncomfortable back then. This is much easier, and I don't even have to get dressed or unhook myself from SeniorFeed.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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LET THE US CONGRESS GET TO WORK ON REAL TAX REFORM
Posted 07.29.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

The next high priority item in the Republican governing agenda is Tax Reform. Given the Republican's track record on health care, I thought they could use some help on Tax Reform. First I thought, WE (As in "We the People" acting as stated in Article I, through the Congress) need some goals for Tax Reform: (1) raise revenue (2) simplify tax filings, (3) eliminate favorable treatments that some receive, (4) lower tax rates, and (5) make taxation more fair.
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JOHNNY MUSN'T GRUMBLE
Posted 7.27.17
JOHN MAHONEY

A Certain Vermont Death
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book

OF COURSE YOU CAN HAVE ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST
Posted 7.26.17
RON COHEN

Excerpt from Ron's newly published memoirs of more than 40 years as top-flight American journalist.
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A LITTLE R-E-S-P-E-C-T, OR A LOT
Posted 7.22.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Just back from a Zydeco festival in Louisiana, a musician friend was steamed up - - about garbage, not music. "When the music was over and everyone rolled up their blankets, the venue was 10 inches deep in trash! Wasn't our generation past all that?" (expletives omitted).
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AND A 5 6 7 8...DANCE!
Posted 07.20.17
ROSS MURRAY

As part of our constant quest for innovation and funkiness, Drinking Tips for Teens is pleased to present the world's first choreographed blog post. What's black and white and ready to boogie all over? Read on!
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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LIONS AND TIGERS AND TICKS, OH MY!
Posted 06.26.17
ROSS MURRAY

If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, is it because everyone's afraid they're going to get lyme disease? Probably. This summer, the tiniest of insects are public enemy number one and people are avoiding the woods in droves.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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NEW PROPOSAL FOR THE NUCLEAR DUMP ON ONTARIO'S OTTAWA RIVER
Posted 6.23.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (non-government) announced a year ago their proposal to build a very large above-ground dump for nuclear wastes, near a fault-line, not far from the Ottawa River, up-stream from Aylmer, Gatineau and our nation's capital.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Our LCC home in Cobden, Ontario, is on Muskrat Lake, which feeds into the Ottawa River. We buy our daily drinking water from the Culligan plant in Pembroke, which is just down river from the proposed nuclear dump site at Chalk River.]

Apart from local newspapers, this project has received almost no attention, and even less from our political leaders. Isn't their silence unsettling?
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MY APPROPRIATION APOLOGY
Posted 06.21.17
ROSS MURRAY

In 2016, I published a novel entitled A Hole in the Ground. In this novel, I referred to a First Nations people, the Muskawatipaq, as well as their ancestral territory, Petawodimocto. These references were entirely fictional, created for the purposes of establishing a setting for my story and making up words that sounded kind of cool. I regret that I culturally appropriated faux-native culture.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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poet

NEW BOOK, 2ND POEM
HOME WAS ELSEWHERE

Posted 06.17.17
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

There is a lady lying north and south
with head breast and thigh
rising...
Stanley Fefferman makes poems and photographs in Toronto. More poems to follow in days to come.

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WE'RE ALL NEWSPAPER PEOPLE
Posted 6.14.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Over the years we've all noticed that: Radio was killed off by cinema. Movies were then killed by TV. Television was wiped out by video cartridges. And VCRs were destroyed by DVDs. Vinyl succumbed to cassettes, which in turn were killed off by CDs. CDs themselves fell under multiple streaming sites. E-books have ended hard-copy books (which mysteriously increased 17 percent over e-book sales last year); flaming fake news has built social media, and now real news is hammering social media.
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DOROTHY LEAVES KANSAS FOR OZ
Posted 06.11.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

Sam Brownback has been a star of the Tea Party, both in Congress and since he was elected Governor of Kansas. In May 2012, he instituted a package of drastic tax cuts to produce what he predicted would be "a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy."
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WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR CAR? WHERE TO START?
Posted 06.8.17
ROSS MURRAY

As requested, we have given your automobile a thorough inspection and are pleased to report to you our findings. In a nutshell -- or as we mechanics like to say, "in a DIN 6923 swivel flange nut" (ha-ha!) -- you have made the fundamental mistake that 9 out of 10 drivers make: you have driven your car.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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NEW POEM: TRUMPED
Posted 06.5.17
NICHAEL CRAMER

In Samoan to swear, you say "Kefe."
Nichael Cramer writes in Vermont..

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OUR CELEBRITY COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER IS UNAVAILABLE
Posted 05.26.17
ROSS MURRAY

I know you are expecting me at this point to introduce our celebrity commencement speaker. After all, the least we can do after your three to five years of academic struggle and astronomical student loans is to provide you with some sort of A-list entertainer offering high-minded bromides to create the illusion that at long last you got your money's worth.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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IN CANADA, THE MONARCHY'S A GOOD THING
Posted 5.23.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | The old argument about Canada being -- or not -- a monarchy has indeed grown old. It's no longer a burning issue, except, probably, within the Monarchist League and in various republican grouplets. Yet it's still worth some thought.
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MAY SONG
Posted 05.22.17
NICHAEL CRAMER

May we
hear the
phoebes
out back?
Nichael Cramer writes in Vermont..

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THE PERENNIAL FIRST SIGN OF SPRING
Posted 05.21.17
NICHAEL CRAMER

My wife grins and...
Nichael Cramer writes in Vermont..

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TERMINATE THIS CHARADE
Posted 05.20.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

President Trump has ordered a review of all National Monuments established since 1996, and you are responsible for this review. This review effort is a diversion of the Department's efforts and a waste of resources. The restricted budget of the Department of the Interior is insufficient to meet the maintenance needs of the parks and monuments. The deferred maintenance in 2015 was estimated to be $12 billion by GAO. A glaring example of the deferred maintenance is the Memorial Bridge, which alone needs $250 million in repairs.
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TRUMPWATCH 2017: THE MAD TODDLER
Posted 5.18.17
JIM AUSTIN

CAPE BRETON, NS | Those of us with frost on our collective pumpkins will remember the reign of Idi Amin of Uganda. In the 70s Amin rose to power and instituted an "psycho-ocracy" in Uganda. Among the many peccadillos that Amin was known for was a propensity for cannibalism. To say his grip on reality was tenuous is an understatement.

He once said: "Sometimes people mistake the way I talk for what I am thinking. "

Does that remind you of anyone?
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ONE BRIEF SHINING TOILET
Posted 05.15.17
ROSS MURRAY

Last year, I moved into an office on the second floor because, logistically, logically, it made sense. Six months later, logisticallyer, logicallyer, it makes more sense for me to move back where I came from. It's kind of like getting deported, except I don't fear for my life and the greatest inconvenience is having to hang my pictures again.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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THE PRESIDENT'S TAX PLAN
Posted 05.14.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

President Trump has proposed a plan to overhaul the tax code. I think that this effort is timely. Overall, he proposes to reduce taxes. His plan for individuals proposes to eliminate targeted tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest taxpayers and to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax are good ideas, but insufficient.

ONTARIO'S CHALK RIVER PLANT: NUKE WASTE RISK, WITH NO GAIN
Posted 5.11.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | It is strange, indeed, if any good can come from the flooding we've experienced almost everywhere in our region. There will be many individual stories of bravery and perseverance, certainly, but I am marvelling at the coincidence of these floods and a great decision that is facing us -- the decision on the proposal for a massive nuclear waste dump in Chalk River, upstream from much of Ontario and also West Quebec. This is our decision, not only that of a "panel of experts.
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poet

NEW BOOK, FIRST POEM
HOME WAS ELSEWHERE

Posted 05.10.17
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

There are still wild horses in Colorado
with shaggy coats the colour of earth.

There are still hairy lavender flowers
with hearts of gold closed against the rain...
Stanley Fefferman makes poems and photographs in Toronto. More poems to follow in days to come.

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THE MAN WITH HIS HANDS ON HIS HIPS
Posted 05.8.17
ROSS MURRAY

I want to be the man in the room with his hands on his hips, and not in a swishy way, nor with my hands balled into fists like I'm Charles Atlas, but sturdy and confident. A man who seems to say, "Neckties are for chumps or for strangling terrorists who make the mistake of infiltrating this facility, which happened this morning, and I didn't even crease my shirt, though I did ruin a tie. It was my assistant Barlow's tie, because I don't wear them, not being in the least bit chumpish."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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CANADA'S FIRST 150 YEARS!
Posted 5.3.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Wouldn't it be interesting to read readers' reflections on what Canada means to them, as we look back over our nation's first 150 years? It's a safe bet we'd prefer to remain Canadian and not "American", despite our admiration for America's achievements. Canadians admire Americans' openness, friendliness, and optimism.
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NEW POT FOR OLD FARTS: A GUIDE
Posted 04.30.17
ROSS MURRAY

So, you've decided you're going to start smoking pot again. Congratulations! First, though, stop calling it "pot." These days, the cool kids call it "weed," and that's 30 percent the point of this entire exercise, right? To be cool again, just like you were in your twenties when you wore a bandana and regularly smoking doobies.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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ARE GOVERNMENTS ENEMIES OF DEMOCRACY?
Posted 4.21.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | In early April the CBC reported the closure of a reputable Mexican newspaper, El Norte, in Cuidad Juarez, opposite El Paso, Texas. The interview with the publisher focused on the assassination of one of the paper's reporters, a woman specializing in political stories, including government corruption.

Her murder was a message to journalists. She was the third Mexican journalist murdered in March alone. The CBC interview focused on the murder. Rightly so for two reasons -- one, to congratulate ourselves that no matter how inexplicable things might be at home, they are surely worse elsewhere. That's the Canadian mantra.
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RESIST. NOW.
Posted 03.20.17
FRANK BERNHEISEL

As some of you know, I went to high school in Germany as US military dependant, arriving there in June of 1948. The damage from WWII was starkly evident -- think of the pictures of Syria you see, on steroids. I once visited a residential section of Hamburg that had been firebombed; nothing burnable was left and the bricks from the houses had exploded from the heat, resulting in a brick-red sea as far as one could see.
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TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT LEGAL DRUGS
Posted 04.17.17
ROSS MURRAY

Sit down, son. I'd like to talk to you about a difficult subject. No, not sex. No, not why all the rock stars are dying off. I want to talk to you about marijuana. Now that it's legal in Canada, you may be tempted to try it for the first time.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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PUMP RAGE
Posted 04.7.17
ROSS MURRAY

My general state of being whenever I wait for a gas pump to free up can best be described as "seething." I'm not great with waiting, even in a car surrounded by the endless possibilities of radio entertainment because, as it happens, I also seethe at commercial radio.
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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IT'S NOT "FOR FAMILIES" AT ALL
Posted 4.11.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | When I was a young man, one fashionable idea was that the family is the key to any society's success. "Family units" were considered a community's building blocks -- social organization seem to grow from this format, therefore all energies should go to protecting and encouraging "the family."
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NEW POEM: WOUNDED JUNIPERS
Posted 04.1.76
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

Birdsong in the wide air
and on the fence
a silent robin.
Stanley Fefferman writes and make photographs in Toronto.

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RISKY DAYS FOR COLUMNISTS
Posted 03.31.17
ROSS MURRAY

Hi there. How's tricks? Does anyone say that anymore? "How's tricks? " Sounds Damon Runyon-esque. That's Damon Runyon, the American writer, not Damon Runyan, the Canadian actor and star of "Degrassi: The Next Generation," though, honestly, what kind of parent does that to a child? It would be like if my last name were "Frankenstein" and I named my child "Brideof."
Ross Murray is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, QC. He can be reached at rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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OH, THE CHALK RIVER NUCLEAR PLANT -- WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
Posted 3.30.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | An 18-foot high mound, the size of multiple football fields, all above ground - - not far from the once-mighty Ottawa River, the source of life for much of the Valley - - picture it. Of course it's covered tightly, under and over with a membrane. A high-tech membrane. There are pumps to suck out leaking - - what, you ask?

Here's the kicker - - this big mound will be filled with radioactive waste. What exactly, we can't tell
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MORE THAN 993,000 VIEWERS AND COUNTING
LCC's ORIGINAL 'BABY LAKE MONSTER CAPTURED' ON YOU TUBE
If you haven't yet viewed it,
you can join the throng of folks who have.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNFMHKIT0-s
Seeing is believing, eh? Or not.

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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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NEW POEM: BLACK SPRUCE
Posted 3.26.17
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

Black spruce sway in the wind
I turn to them for solace
because they never complain
Stanley Fefferman writes and make photographs in Toronto.

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IGNORE TRUMP, WATCH RYAN
Posted 3.22.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Reader Joanne Forsythe recent letter voiced her frustration with the media's wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump, and that's probably media of every stripe, shade, or ownership. "It's Trump, Trump, Trump!", she writes, expressing an anger many people share. Surely there's important news, not this man's idiocies!
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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YOUR ANCESTRY
Posted 3.13.17
DAVE LEPITRE

Dave's latest Your Ancestry column is posted regularly on the LCC. More people looking for ancestors...
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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U.S. 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.
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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.
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IN CANADA: BROKEN PROMISE -- OR UNEXPLAINED CHANGE?
Posted 3.1.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | The latest big topic in our region has been the federal Liberals' plan to walk away from their promise to reform the Canadian electoral system.
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here

NEW POEM: MUSIC IS IN THE AIR
Posted 2.26.17
ADRIENNE FISHER

Gregorian chants fill the scented blue air
Rolling over me, seeping into me
I breathe, I sigh, I am simplicity with no frills
absorbing their sounds like dye colors silk
Adrienne Fisher makes poetry in Jericho, Vermont

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REVOLUTION IS IN THE AIR
Posted 2.22.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | The Brexit vote in Britain, Trump's win in the US, the Hungarian and Polish extreme-right regimes, plus Putin's promotion of Great Russia nationalism, all point to a political lurch to the right underway in the world today. There are many explanations, and most may be correct within their frame of reference, but the fact that these nationalisms seem to be rising everywhere at the same time should indicate that there's even more at play here than a single, local explanation.
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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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."
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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A NEW REGIME SOUTH OF THE BORDER -- OR NOT?
Posted 2.6.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Approaching the new regime in Washington, analyst Gwynne Dyer borrowed Rene Levesque's famous prescription: "OK, everybody, take a valium!"
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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.
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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.
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JOHNNY MUSN'T GRUMBLE
Posted 1.31.17
JOHN MAHONEY

Fever Dreams at -26 C
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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.
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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TRUMPWATCH 2017: LIGHTING THE FUSE
Posted 1.12.17
JIM AUSTIN

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.
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WOMEN MARCHING
Posted 1.23.17
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | The participation rate in the "women's march" in Washington, the day following the inauguration of Donald Trump, certainly upstaged the official celebration. It is not difficult to gasp why so many women -- and men -- came out for this protest; the response of Mr. Trump's press secretary to a question about the size of the women's march demonstrated in the clearest way why they were making a statement with their presence: "there were more people at Mr. Trump's inauguration than had ever come out -- but the press covered it up" or something to that effect. A bold-faced lie, which he later retreated from. Too many lies … was one element being protested.
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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.
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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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.
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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.
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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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."
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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 rossgrantmurray@gmail.com

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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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.
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JOHNNY MUSN'T GRUMBLE
Posted 1.4.17
JOHN MAHONEY

Don't do a Cliff, eh?
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IN RUSSIA: 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.
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'MAD AS HELL'
Posted 11.01.16
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."
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WE NEED IMMIGRANTS!
Posted 11.01.16
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | There are few villages and towns across West Quebec which are not in decline. Given the exhaustion of our forest resources, the marginality of tourism, the lack of infrastructure (even the internet!), the flight of younger generations to the cities, given all this, is there any wonder that Outaouais towns are almost zombie-towns?
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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.
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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.
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YOUR ANCESTRY
Posted 10.05.16
DAVE LEPITRE

Dave's latest Your Ancestry column is posted regularly on the LCC. More people looking for ancestors...
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POEM: THE LISTENER
Posted 09.30.15
LUCY BRENNAN

I watch the sky.
I am an expert on skies.
Every morning I open my eyes
on a square of window...
Lucy Brennan makes poetry in Canada.

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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.
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POEM: SUMMER RAIN
Posted 08.29.15
BERIT LUNDH

There's a warm summer rain
Falling on me now...
Berit Lundh makes poetry in Canada.

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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.
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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.

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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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 Ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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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.

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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."
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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."
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LINES COMPOSED SPONTANEOUSLY ON-STAGE AT YORK UNIVERSITY'S SAMUEL BECKETT THEATRE
Posted 03.06.16
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

This is a theatre
Every move is real
The world is watching
You are naked
The darkness is all around

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REMEMBERING SHIMON ASH
Posted 03.04.16
JOHN MAHONEY

1930 ~ 2016. Artist, Musician, Friend.
His column archives: Click Here
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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
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AMERICA, EXAMPLE TO THE WORLD?
Posted 02.27.16
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | We seem to avoid meddling in foreign nations (most of the time), or we may be really good at camouflage, but anyone watching the American presidential primaries will have wondered what might happen if the likes of Trump or Ted Cruz end up in the White House, unleashing their macho rage-culture on the world. We may have to reconsider our hands-off attitude toward other governments.
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ANY GOOD NEWS?
Posted 02.16.16
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | There is good news in the news; it's not as rare as we think. There's plenty -- read through this newspaper! But bad news gets our attention -- disasters, with warnings and scary items at the top of the list. Especially scary. Good news can be medical discoveries that'll save millions of lives, eventually, but this becomes invisible next to a gunman massacring school children -- because it's awful and it's today.
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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 Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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ADDENDUM TO: SAFE DRINKING WATER, TOXIC LEAD LEVELS, AND SLASHING SAFETY SPENDING
Posted 02.19.16
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.
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COSMIC WEATHER
Posted 02.16.16
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | I'm convinced there's something like "emotional weather.". It's not weather at all -- there are no clouds rolling in, no blizzards or sunny days, except as metaphors, and as for metaphors, "weather" will have to do.
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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 Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED DEPRESSION
Posted 02.11.16
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | However, there remains a big question, one raised last year by an American surgeon, who asked why are we opting for a longer life, without any thought of the quality of that long life? If life is painful and incapacitated, due to terminal illnesses, or cancer, what is the purpose in prolonging it?
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HAIKU-ISH STRING
Posted 02.09.16
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

Trembling aspen hairs
quick tail of squirrel
move in you
Stanley Fefferman writes and make photographs in Toronto.

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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 Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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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 Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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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?
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HISTORY PHOTO: THE STEAMER SS ANTHEMIS
Posted 01.28.16
GENEALOGIST DAVE LEPITRE

She faithfully plied the summer waters of Lake Memphemagog from Newport, Vermont, to Magog, Quebec, from 1900 to 1954. Here she is near the end of her days at the Magog Wharf. Does anyone have a story or two about this steamer they can share?
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REAL CHANGE IN OTTAWA?
Posted 01.27.16
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | While we, and apparently much of Canada, are still happy with the results of last fall's federal election, it's worthwhile to consider that election in terms of Canada's electoral history. The most common view is that Mr Trudeau's convincing victory marks a significant shift in popular feeling and in the country's vision of its future.
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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 Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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EDITOR'S NOTE: Alex Liepmann is a brave, courageous, and strong young woman who has faced, and coped with, more than her share of challenges in the last half-decade. Here, she shares her story in the hope that perhaps it will help others deal with their own particular circumstances. My hat is off to this young athlete.

MY STORY: EATING DISORDER/DEPRESSION TRIGGER WARNING
Posted 01.25.16
ALEX LIEPMANN

I was in grade 7 and had turned 13 a couple of months earlier. I was still using MSN and was the biggest fan girl on Justin Bieber, but here I was starving myself, worrying about my weight when really a 12-13 year old girl should only be worrying about how's she's going marry Justin Bieber.
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PROMOTING CONFLICT TO PROMOTE SALES
Posted 01.19.16
FRED RYAN

SHAWVILLE, QUEBEC | Obviously the incredible influence -- power -- of the NRA to prevent and derail legislation aimed at tightening gun possession laws is foreign to us in Canada. At least we think this.
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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 Ross_murray@sympatico.ca

Ross Murray's column archives: Click Here
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CAROLINE'S LAUGHTER
Posted 01.12.16
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

Caroline's laughter
is jackhammer yammer
is mack truck grinding gears...
Stanley Fefferman writes and make photographs in Toronto.

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NO CONSOLATION
Posted 01.05.15
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

There are still wild horses in Colorado...
Stanley Fefferman writes and make photographs in Toronto.

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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.
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ENVOI
Posted 12.18.15
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

Taos Mountain, black-crowned peak...
Stanley Fefferman writes and make photographs in Toronto.

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CRECHE MUSIC
Posted 12.24.15
ROBERT CARNEVALE

As long as that little heart beats the tune will not lack for guidance
Robert Carnevale writes and makes music in America.

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EVERGREEN HILLS RISING
Posted 12.18.15
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

morning mist, grey...
Stanley Fefferman writes and make photographs in Toronto.

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WHO?
Posted 12.13.15
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

On the North Valmont Road are three trees...
Stanley Fefferman writes and make photographs in Toronto.

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MEDITATION: WHAT'S IT LIKE?
Posted 12.06.15
STANLEY FEFFERMAN

it's like sitting on a blowtorch...
Stanley Fefferman writes and make photographs in Toronto.

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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.
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POEM: PRESENTS
Posted 11.26.15
ADRIENNE FISHER

With both hands around my Chinese blue mug
I revel in the aroma of coffee
Leisurely sipping its steamy comfort
in the soft quiet of early morning.
Adrienne Fisher makes poetry in Jericho, Vermont

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YOUR ANCESTRY
Posted 11.24.15
DAVE LEPITRE

Dave's latest Your Ancestry column is posted regularly on the LCC. More people looking for ancestors...
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POEM: ODE TO SMALL THINGS
Posted 11.18.15
ADRIENNE FISHER

It is a small thing, but maybe not so small, if it is a sign of civility when oncoming drivers dim their lights as they approach each other at nightfall.
Adrienne Fisher makes poetry in Jericho, Vermont.

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KUBA, THE LONE SURVIVOR OF HIS FAMILY, 1944
Posted 11.12.15
ADRIENNE FISHER

I was his wife for 54 years
and I tell you,
he died a broken man.
Adrienne Fisher makes poetry in Jericho, Vermont.

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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.
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THE SHAKUHACHI JOURNEY CONTINUES
Posted 08.24.15
JOHN MAHONEY

Some years ago, back in Quebec, two of my musical buddies coalesced into the duo Country Subway. Their motto: "It's not going anywhere, and it's leaving right now..." And they made some fine music in those days. Five years ago, when I was 75, I hopped aboard my own train knowing full well that I didn't have 10,000 hours left to become a halfway decent shakuhachi player. However, I reckoned that if I put in one to two hours every day I might be able to play a mindful Ro or three, learn to breathe, and experience Ma regularly before I take my last kick at the can.
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
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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."

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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
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SOMETIMES, WE GET E-MAIL
Posted 07.06.14
LCC Columnist Frank Berheisel, in just four sentences, has brilliantly summed up...(click link to read on)
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JANE DOES THE LAUNDRY

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GALLERIES

WINTER SOLSTICE
This is one of 30 short poems in the chapbook Placing No Markers by Jason Krpan. You can download the book for free at Bookfellows.