Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Governmentium ... a NEW discovery!

I posted this first in December of 2014 because I thought it was entertaining although, sadly true. We've had some shake-ups in the political world since then in many countries and this is still entertaining and true.
We aren't getting what we pay for and paying for a great deal that the majority do not want.
It can still be a good day if you manage to have a laugh.

I must state that I did not write this.
I must then admit that I don't know who did or where it came from.
I was scrolling through some things from long ago and there it was.
Whoever wrote it, I thought it was funny, brilliant and, sadly, accurate.
Scientists at CERN in Geneva have announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new  element Governmentium (Gv). It has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces coiled morons which are surrounded by vast quantities of right-on-like particles called peons.
Since Governmentium has no electrons or protons, it is inert. However, it can be detected because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. Even a tiny amount of Governmentium causes a reaction which normally takes only a few days to complete to four years or more to finish or resolve.
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years. It does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium 's mass will actually increase over time since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientist to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical point of concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.
When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons. Vast sums of money are consumed in the exchange yet no other by-products are produced.

By the way, here is another page you can visit;
or
amazon.com/author/dmmcgowan
along with the videos and interviews off to the right.



Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Great Liquor War - a rhyme

Here is a rhyme I wrote which covers some of the story within the covers of my novel, "The Great Liquor War." I wrote it while delivering fuel in a dozen different places and since it was very rough, gave it to my wife who smoothed it out quite nicely.
Enjoy.
DMM



The Great Liquor War Notes
By D.M. McGowan & K.L. McGowan


Hank had a gold claim in Rossland
Where he got some color, enough to meet his needs.
But decided he’d had quite enough of freezing
And water up to the knees.

In town he met a BC policeman
Who gave him an inside tip
On a major local attraction
Where he bet his gold … every bit

The bet paid off big time
Enough for a business setup
He felt he owed the cop for the tip
This Constable Jack Kirkup

So he headed up to Farwell
That had not long been a town.
A place enjoying construction,
They where laying a rail bed down.

Hank rounded up some horses
Mules, pack saddles and such
For hauling tools, food and clothes
To the construction bunch

Then the BC Provincial Policemen
And the federal Northwest Mounties,
Faced off with conflicting laws,
Jurisdiction, enforcement and boundaries

The BC cops, small force that they were
Had help from citizens through out the years
Propped up their numbers when needed
With auxiliaries and volunteers

Auxiliary Constables where sworn and paid
Though pay didn’t amount to much,
While Assistant Constables where volunteers
Citizens concerned with safety and such.
  
Hank felt indebted to Jack
And stepped right into the breach.
He felt not helping the cop
Would be cowardly and cheap.

But it’s good to know you’re needed
And sometimes good to be asked.
But Jack didn’t acknowledge his helpers
As he issued mission or task.

As the two groups of lawmen
Feuded one with the other,
The outlaws did as they chose
Sometimes without any cover.

So Hank lost livestock to the outlaws
And interrupted his own daily work
To help Jack with law and order.
A duty he never shirked

The outlaws thus emboldened
By the law’s internal fighting
Planned to rob a pay-train resting
On a secluded local siding

So what became of Hank
His sweetheart and the rest?
You’ll have to read the novel
To see who passed the test.





Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Who is Responsible?

In 1865, during a time of violent unrest the Rocky Mountain Rangers where formed to ensure security for those living on the Canadian frontier in the southern part of what is now the province of Alberta. (At the time part of the North West Territories). These men were ranchers and farmers but knew that when the military and police where otherwise occupied they (along with 200 other citizens) where responsible for the well being of the community.



 RMR Commander, Major John Stewart                   RMR. Henry Boyle

RMR Jack Clarck and his 1873 Winchester
As parents, responsible parents at least we try to teach our children values that will result in their realizing sustainable development, longevity, productivity and happiness. A study of history, even a short history of perhaps half a lifetime will show that a moral approach to life is the most promising way to achieve those goals. More extensive study of generations, eras or eons will show that those following such teachings constantly enjoy better long term results than those who are cheating, lying, stealing, and generally destroying.
So is that what we, as a society, do? Do we support those who espouse morality, truth, brotherly love and charity?
No, not in any significant way.
Oh sure, a few of us get together because we are embarrassed by a general response and we see that someone who has made significant contributions to our community receive at least some recognition. We all know of someone who has given unselfishly of themselves by volunteering, raising foster kids, and generally stressing their own well-being for the betterment of others. These efforts are recognized by an article in the local newspaper or perhaps on a blog like this one that a few people take time to read.
Why is so much accomplished through volunteer efforts? Why is there no money for decent military pensions? What about the workers out there, the equipment operators, warehousemen, computer techs, nurses, why don’t they receive livable pensions on retirement?
The news media has also upset me more than once. Too often I see coverage of killers, rapist, terrorist, and other slightly less despicable low-lifes continued on for hours, days or weeks when all they deserve is a nameless mention in order to warn other potential victims. The lives of the victims, who should be made into societal heroes are the ones not mentioned.
I could continue in this vein but I’m getting depressed ….
The answer to all those questions is that we throw money at many things, places and people that don’t deserve it and didn’t earn it. Some one has done little (or nothing at all) productive is whining and complaining that “life isn’t fair” so we throw money at them – which they don’t fully appreciate and then they eventually want more.
So now we come to why I write the stories that I do.
Sure the primary reason is because I enjoy it, but I also enjoy having the “good guys” win. The characters sometimes do things that can be called questionable, but on the whole they are trying to do the “right” thing and because of that they defeat their opponents who often don’t care about right or wrong.
I find it comforting and entertaining when the people who should win do. I hope it relieves stress for readers. Above it should be entertaining.
Yes, it isn’t just the media, bureaucracy, or government that is responsible for the advancement of those who are unworthy.

We all are … including this writer of historical fiction despite my intentions.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Boys in the Battle of Britain




            This is a story I’ve posted before but I think it should appear again in recognition of Remembrance Day and of a very good friend with whom I loaded and unloaded many cartridges of a variety of calibers. I also had the pleasure of hearing his guitar behind my vocals on several occasions and playing both bass and guitar behind his excellent vocals.
            I’ve changed a few things but those who knew him will recognize the story and the man it portrays.
            Following the Battle of Britain he returned to Canada and taught fighter pilots for the last few years of WWII. Following the war he did not stay in the air and came to regret it. In the early seventies he saw an article about the “Great Lakes” biplane being re-licensed and made available to the public once again. He managed to qualify for a private pilot’s license and to solo in a “Great Lakes” before his death.
The aircraft on top is a P-51 Mustang the first of which finally appeared in Britain in October 1941. The first 93 shipped to England where equipped with 4 - 20 mm cannon (Mustang IA) unlike later versions which, like the US versions sported 4 - .50 cal. guns.
At the beginning of the Battle of Britain almost any aircraft available was used. The most successful and the one that could probably be said to have won the battle (if any single one did) is the Spitfire pictured on the bottom. They used 8 Browning machine guns chambered for the .303 British round.

Deacon

Before men started shooting at him with 7.92 mm bullets Harry Burnside had been a singer. He stood in front of fifteen, twenty and sometimes thirty-man orchestras and sang the Dorsey, Kenton, or Ellington songs or whatever else the crowd in front and the band behind wanted to hear. He had worked his magic in Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and his home town, Windsor, Ontario. Harry thought it was only right to use his natural talent, his voice to make at least part of his living. It had also been a great way to start a young life and learn the music and entertainment business from professionals. It was only incidental that it was the perfect place for a teenager to learn from the masters how to party.
Sometimes horrendous events are necessary to save a young man from himself. In Harry’s case it was the war in Europe that brought a young man’s party life to a close, at least temporarily. Of course it also accelerated the danger in that life.
Not that Harry rushed to a recruiting station in the autumn of 1939. Some of his young friends and even the older men he worked with certainly did. It was one of the older musicians who convinced him signing up for service was the thing to do.
“Folks ‘r sayin’ this here war is gonna be over in no time,” Marvin, a trumpet player said. “They is sorely mistaken. I bin readin’ up on these here Germans an’ they got ‘em an army. British ain’t got nothin’ an’ they’s gonna get whacked.”
“Are you suggesting we Canadian boys should go over there and get whacked, as you say, right along with them?” Harry asked.
“First off, I ain’t a Canuk, I’m a southern boy,” Marvin said. “Second, when things get tough they’ll be comin’ for us anyway. Might as well sign up for somethin’ you want t’ do instead o’ somethin’ the government thinks you’d be good at.”
“You’re country isn’t in it,” Harry pointed out.
“Not yet,” Marvin responded. “Now, you’ve been workin’ here an’ there along with singin’. I don’t got no income but my trumpet. A man signs up he’ll get three squares a day an’ a cot.”
Harry took a drink of his whiskey and water and cast his gaze around the musicians gathered in the late night or, to those who were not musicians, early morning booze hall.
“You know, Marv, I’ve always wanted to learn to fly a plane,” Harry said.
Marvin clapped him on the shoulder. “Now you’re talkin’, boy. Royal Canadian Air Force. What say we go sign up first thing in the mornin’?”
Harry looked at his watch. “Might I suggest early this afternoon? I might be awake by then.”

Somewhere between Windsor, Ontario and Ashford, Kent, Harry lost touch with Marvin, but not with men from the southern States. Almost half the men stationed on the airfield were Americans who had travelled north to Canada and signed on with the RCAF.
Though they wore Canadian uniforms and insignia they were technically in Royal Air Force squadrons. Their squadron commander was a British major, and Harry’s wing commander a Canadian Lieutenant. The other two Canadian pilots presently assigned to their understaffed wing were actually from Arkansas. In the two man barracks enjoyed by RAF pilots one of those southerners, Otis Tyler was Harry’s bunk mate.
“Ah hear we all getting’ new radios next month,” Otis said as the two pilots walked down the hall one early morning in late August.
Harry shrugged with one shoulder as he held the door open with the other hand and let Otis out into the humid dawn. “Be fine if they’re better than the T9. But if they aren’t, well, I’m starting to get used to being up there all by myself.”
“Mighty handy fur tellin’ somebody where you’s ‘bout t’ crash,” Otis noted.
“As long as they work and you’re no more than a mile away” Harry countered. “The T9 is good for about that far. You’re probably better off depending on a farmer seeing you go down.”
Otis chuckled.
As they approached the mess hall their wing leader, Lieutenant Mapes reached the door and opened it for them.
“Good news chaps,” the officer said as the two non-coms passed through the door he held open for them. “Just spoke with the CO. We stand down today.”
“Excellent!” Harry said. “Now I can have some real breakfast and more than one cup of coffee.”
“Yuh all worry too much ‘bout that coffee thing,” Otis said.
“Quite good policy,” the Lieutenant said.
“Nothin’ to it,” Otis responded. “Yuh all just take an empty cola bottle up with yuh.”
“I say, old boy, a bit hard to pee in a bottle when one is trying to avoid the 109 that is glued to your tail. Not to mention that bottle flying around loose in the cockpit.”
“Yuh all make sure yuh strap it in so it don’ fly ‘round,” Otis said. “As fur takin’ a leak when Gerry’s on muh tail an fillin’ my magic carpet full o’ holes, why ‘bout then I don’ have no trouble passin’ water.”
Lieutenant Mapes laughed. Harry grinned and shook his head in resignation.
“Since we aren’t going up to be shot at, perhaps we could talk about something else?” Harry suggested.
“Our Calm Colonial boy is right once again,” Mapes said. “We have a day to repair gear.”
“And talk about new radios,” Harry suggested.
“There isn’t anything to talk about,” Mapes said. “I’ve heard the same rumours as you men. However, I haven’t heard anything from the Old Man and I haven’t seen any radios. Other than the 9 in my Spit that quit working entirely the last time I was up.”

Later that day, Otis asked Harry to join him and some other airmen to study and review the local ladies and pubs. However, Harry had grown out of the need to wake up with a pounding hangover. He had already had years of partying. Besides, bringing in bullet scarred Spitfires had made the drinking bouts seem very unimportant. His mates, often a year younger still asked him even though he seldom went with them.
An hour after the other pilots had gone into town Harry walked off the base and caught a ride into Ashford. He walked the streets for awhile admiring the buildings and the history.
Occasionally a Junkers 88 would fly across the English Channel very close to the water, start a steep climb to miss the Cliffs of Dover and release a bomb mounted to its belly at the end of that climb. The speed of the bomber combined with the force of the climb would cast that bomb for a very long way and it would land wherever the laws of physics, geology, and aerodynamics might decide and no man could say. On that beautiful day in late August, 1940 a building Harry had admired moments before and at that moment was no more than a block and a half away, disappeared in a cloud of dust, smoke and noise.
Harry Burnside had been flying over Britain for three months. He had been as far as France on a half dozen occasions. He had no idea how many dog fights he had been in but had shot down three Me 109s and crash landed twice. He had landed successfully in Spitfires that probably should have quit flying several minutes before. He had been scared out of his mind on those occasions but had worked his way through it.
That day, on the streets of Ashford, after the completely random bombing of a very historic building, Harry Burnside could not control the choking fear.
Looking around he saw the sign for a pub, the Anvil and Hammer. He stepped through the door and saw ale glasses stacked on the bar. He turned the pint glass over and said to the barman, “Whiskey.”
The barman could see by the look on Harry’s face that discussion might be dangerous. He poured a shot into the ale glass.
“Fill it,” Harry ordered.
The inn keeper complied.
Harry downed the whiskey and noticed only in passing that it was smooth, single malt.
            He put the glass back down on the bar and said, “Again.”
            Once it was full, he downed the second glass.
            He remembered opening the door to his barrack, but very little after that.
            Much later Otis Tyler returned to find his bunk mate, the man who usually refused to go drinking with his mates, passed out on the floor.
            “Burnside,” he said, as he picked Harry up and placed him on the bunk, “yuh all just like them travelin’ preachers back t’ home; Preachin’ hell fire an’ brimstone then next thing yuh got some farmer’s daughter out behind the tent.”
            And that is how Sergeant Pilot Harold Burnside became known as “Deacon.”





Friday, November 4, 2016

Remembering Canadian Celebrities

This posting is originally from November 2014 and I repeated it in 2015. I am repeating it again this year and will probably do so in years to come since I don't want it and the two men mentioned to be forgotten.

In a few days I will re-post a story about a very good friend of mine, a vocalist, guitar player, marshal arts practitioner, insurance investigator and excellent pistol shot who served with the RCAF and was seconded to the RAF during the Battle of Britain.

Below is a repeat of something I posted a year ago to honor (specifically) two remarkable and (generally) a few hundred thousand.
Since November 11th has only been "Remembrance Day" (under more than one name) since 1919 and the end of WWI we tend to think it only applies to those who lost their lives in the wars since that date.
I disagree!
It applies to all those who put themselves in danger for their fellow citizens (not for some fool who told them it was "their duty.") and most especially to those who did not survive. That is to say it applies to many "enemies" as well as "allies" and includes those who came back.
Remember that those who came back seldom did so in the same way they left. All were wounded in some manner either physically or mentally. That is why the figure from above (a few hundred thousand) should probably be changed to a few million.
Remembering war and death will do more than anything else to ensure it does not happen again. Paying attention might help to make it not happen again.
Having ranted for awhile, here is the post from two years ago.
On October 22, 2014 a man shot one of Canada’s soldiers who at the time stood guard over the memorial for those who have defended our country and way of life and whose sacrifice is otherwise not recorded. He was also representing those men and women who have died to maintain the country and the freedom its citizens enjoy. As a serving member of Canadian forces he also represented those who did serve, survived and returned to live as a citizen and part of the fabric of this great country.
Corporal Nathan Cirillo. If you are a Canadian he represented YOU.
Corporal Nathan Cirillo. If you live in a country where you have the opportunity to express your views, however small and fleeting or large and long-standing that opportunity may be, then he represented YOU.
Corporal Nathan Cirillo. An attack on him was an attack on civilization.
Kevin Vickers, Sergeant-at-Arms within the Canadian Parliament buildings shot the attacker and brought to a halt this atrocity.
In Canada we have some of the best armourers and security training personnel to be found anywhere in the world. We have people with the fortitude – the “parts” if you will – and training to handle any situation that they may face.
Therefore the fact that Mr. Vickers stopped the attack before it became a massacre does not particularly surprise me.
The fact that Mr. Vickers had the training necessary does not surprise me too much since he is old enough to have, perhaps, received proper training such as is not usually enjoyed by some entering the security professions in the last few years. Perhaps he has had time to privately and at his own expense augment whatever initial training he did receive.
What does surprise me is that with the illogical and antiquated attitude toward firearms that is usually broadcast by the Canadian media Mr. Vickers was not only allowed to carry a firearm it was actually loaded and useful. I do expect our politicians will continue to spread false, misleading and un-supported information about firearms because they see such statements bringing votes ... even though it is obvious some of their lives were saved by a man with a firearm who knew how to use it.
I do hope a few real people (those who actually contribute thereby assuring the country grows and prospers) remember this event the next time firearms are vilified.
But more important, remember Corporal Nathan Cirillo.
Remember Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers.

The attacker? Forget him. He was either a fool who believed lies or he was unbalanced ... probably both. His only contribution was to provide a focal point to show how important real Canadians can be to each other and the continuation of the country.

In more than one of my novels I try to include characters who might represent those who have served. In “Partners” it is Thomas Simco Brash, born in Canada, who supposedly served with the British army in a variety of locations including India. In the same story are those who served on both sides of the US Civil War. Two characters in “The Making of Jake McTavish” are on their way to join Lord Strathcona’s Horse and many others.
Mankind has been doing this for a long time.


Monday, October 24, 2016

A Place at the Table

A week or more ago I posted … somewhere … about an event that the Peace Region Songwriters are putting on December 2nd, 2016 with the assistance of the First Baptist Church, at 1400 – 113th Ave. in Dawson Creek. We put together a concert with performances by some of the members and support of others. We also have door prizes donated by local business. Admission is by donation and proceeds go to charity in an effort to see that at least some of the less fortunate have “a place at the table” during the Christmas season.
The doors are scheduled to open at 6:30 pm with presentation to begin at 7:00.
I have with the help of Brady MacTavish (edit) and Duart Stark (posting) some excerpts of “A Place at the Table” from 2015, primarily my own contribution (since clearance isn’t a problem) but with the theme song itself written by Linda and Bill Studley.
You can get an idea of what we offer at https://youtu.be/UxbFY7zebrQ


Monday, October 17, 2016

More early Alaska Highway

Here are a few pictures I've come across over the years of the way things looked when the Alaska Highway was built. After the first rough trail was opened, a trail that took several days and often several weeks to negotiate, freight was hauled as was required. Sometimes to the various army camps, most of which where US Army but there where also civilian camps for those who followed the first trail and in later years Canadian Army camps.
Once there was a pioneer road that would (almost, or sometimes) hold up a truck there where civilian trucks hauling for commercial enterprises, trading posts and the army.
Both the US Army and the several civilian contractors who followed them used similar equipment so the Cat in this picture could be from either source. However, since there doesn't appear to be very many stumps in the trail I suspect this one is civilian.

Mechanics from the 93rd Engineers, 1942

341st Engineers on a structure they undoubtedly built and ...

... what it looks like driving over such a structure.
This depicts early attempts at civilian travel in 1943.
A great many things have changed since '43 such as the pavement that can be seen between the snow banks from this picture of Km 1639 taken on Feb.26, 2013. Something that hasn't changed is the marvelous scenery; that is the St. Elias Mountains in the background.