mardi 25 août 2009

Head in the clouds

I have always been fascinated by clouds. Not in any scientific or meteorological way but the sheer poetry and fantasy potential they have. Last week being a rather cloudy week where we were traveling I took some pictures of cloud formations that struck my fancy. I can't resist sharing them with you hoping they will wake your fancies also.

Hope you enjoy!

dimanche 23 août 2009

A trip in history.

The wife and I took a short trip last week. We drove down the St-Lawrence valley, to begin with. We stopped overnight in St-Jean-Port-Joli. The town is home to the Bourgault sculptors dynasty. The Three Bérets, as the 3 founding brothers were known, have been succeeded by their sons and daughters and the place is brimming with sculptors and sculptures, wood of course. A sculpture biennial is held there in a park named after the Three Bérets.
They also happen to have a beautiful 1779 church. It has been adorned, of course, since the 1930s with several Bourgaults and disciples sculptures. If you wonder about the way it is built, there is a reason to it. The building is parrallel with the river and rounded at the back to shelter the front from northearsterly winds blowing in from the river, the rounded back spreads the snow around acting as a plow. The river here is some 20 miles wide, it has sizable tides and the water is salted.
The town also boasts a reconstuction af Philippe Aubert de Gaspé's manor house. It is a museum celebrating the town's people and history. It is called le Musée de la mémoire vivante because people have contributed artifacts and live taped and videotaped testimonys of life in the region.

From there we drove to Rivière-du-Loup where we took the 60 minutes ferry crossing to St-Siméon. There the river has gone to 25 miles across.

Out there you see a small whale sightseeing boat. We saw several from our room's balcony in St-Siméon...and for free.
The sun rises over the sand bar halfway to Rivière-du-Loup. Clouds held us company much of the time. From St-Siméon, we drove to Tadoussac, one of the very first fur trading post in the colony. There is still a chapel there dating from 1687.
Tadoussac is at the confluence of the Saguenay Fjord and the St-Laurent river. Highway 138 is cut by the Saguenay and the province operates a free ferry crossing:

We then went to Lac St-Jean whence the Saguenay river takes it's source, the lake is almost a perfect circle 31 miles in diameter and is famous for the ouananniche fish and its swimming crossing competition.
You have here a view of the shore from our motel unit. we then headed home via the St-Maurice valley down to Trois-Rivière home of the first metal industry in New France. The federal governement maintains a park there: le Parc national des Forges du St-Maurice.
This is a view of what is left of the furnace. The mill was shut down in 1853 and it operated almost 200 years.
We then headed home...and the sun showed up.

dimanche 16 août 2009


In Canada the law calls for truth in labeling. You have to call things as they are. For instance 100% beef sausages have to be just that: 100% beef. A beef hamburger can not be 30% tofu but only beef otherwise you can not call it a hamburger.
So why does it not apply to our laws and politicians? We have an Health Act that is a socialist measure to some degree but allows for a percentage of free enterprise medecine. Should we post the mixture's content and proportions. We have politicians who call themselves Liberals or Conservatives or something else...but when comes time to apply their ideologies (or have they any) they act as though these Ideologies were not relevant. Should we sue them for false advertising or for false pretense?
A case in point: this weekend in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the New Democratic Party is considering changing it's name and producing a political platform nearer to the center. Would that make them lefter leaning Liberals? If so let's call a horse a horse and merge the parties. Some brilliant PR man, probably, even suggested they change from New Democratic Party of Canada to the Democrat Party of Canada? Will they be running Obama or Clinton in the next federal election?
Come on guys, let's have some clear concepts and choices please.

mardi 11 août 2009


Un de mes employé m'a déjà reproché de faire circuler trop d'informations. Il n'avait pas, disait-il, le temps de lire tout ça. Que dirait-il aujourd'hui?
With the newspapers on internet and all the blogs vying for attention he would be sick. And we have not touched Emails and other means of communication.
My grandson is glued to his laptop uploading and downloading, chatting with friends. My son spends an inordinate amount of time, wherever he is checking on his Emails from the university, from London College, from Finland, Sweden and Iceland, not to mention Buffalo and his friend in Boston.
My daughters have their load also. One has almost to go to bed with the company Blackberry, the other, soon as she sets foot in the house, checks her SPCA Emails to update their stray cats and dogs list and to put online their foster families' notes about animals up for adoption; she works all day on a computer since her office is in Montreal but all her colleagues and her boss are in Toronto.
I follow Al Jazeera, the BBC, CNN, le Monde, Haaretz, Radio-Canada on line and several blogs.
Mon épouse, plus modestement, se cherche de la documentation sur le site de Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
Today, two bloggers that I follow were considering slacking a bit...the fun had run out; they both run several blogs. That is a full time job, no wonder they consider retiring. As we say:"trop, c'est trop". In other words: enough is enough. Let's relax and take it easy...but, please, keep checking on me.

dimanche 9 août 2009

Canadian diversity

Meet my grandchildren, Alexis and Arianne. Although 10 years apart they have the same Mom and dad. Alexis is the fifth direct male descendent of Andreas and Georgette; Arianne is the first female in three generations. Andreas arrived sometime in 1924 from his native Patras and, in 1930, married a French Canadian girl whose ancestors were French, English and Dutch. Of their three boys, I'm the only one with children. I married a French Canadian girl whose ancestors are French, Algonquin, Scot and Swiss German.
My son married a girl whose father is French Canadian and her mother a German from Essen. Nicole was born in Paris while her father was posted in Moscow as a commercial attaché at the Canadian embassy. Does this represent the Canadian diversity or not?
The children are here playing in our backyard, our little greek corner. It's not Lakeviewer's garden but there we forget the 6 lane boulevard in front of the house and we can imagine that we are in the country.

Enjoy the good time wherever it is available.

Au revoir.

jeudi 6 août 2009

Viva Italia

This week in Montreal it's Italian week. Canadians of Italian origins, immigrants and second and third generation of Italian descent represent the largest ethnic group in Montreal, some 300 000 people. Probably a population larger than many Italian towns. Many activities are held in around little Italy and even the weather seems compliant.
A tutti gli Italiani, megliori auguri e buon settimana.

samedi 1 août 2009

One size fits all

Not long ago I wrote about our politicians changing parties and allegiance. We have a fresh new example of this interchangebility. In another life our Qébec Liberal Premier was a progressive Conservative minister in Brian Mulroney's government, at one point he was even a canditate to succeed Brian. He lost the leadership race and reappeared as a saviour for the then embattled Québec Liberals. As such he has won three straight mandates (majority/minority/majority).
Lately we have learned that he will be co-presiding over a celebration of Mulroney's political accomplishments. We all know that Mulroney is now persona non grata for Mr Harper who has forbidden his ministers from having any but private relations with Brian because the Schreiber affair.
Harpoon himself is having his very own problems with the progressive wing of his party and could be in for a rough time should he lose the next election or even stay in minority territory. Could Charest be positioning himself for another "saviour" operation only this time with the Federal conservatives? No Québec Premier, since Maurice Duplessis has ever won a fourth mandate.
As they say on TV: "Watch the next episode.