The Battle of Britain – Photo Series

An Observer Corps Spotter on a rooftop in London.
Spotter during the London Blitz

One of the people I follow on Twitter shared this article* from The Atlantic magazine.  In it are many pictures taken during the Battle of Britain in World War II.  I have always been interested in this period of history and noticed that I had not seen many of these pictures before.  If you rae interested in this, I highly recommend taking a look.

Europe’s Picturesque Towns

Brugges, the "Venice of the North" i...
Brugges - Venice of the North

Ran across this article a few weeks ago and wanted to share.  The gist is a rating of the 9 most picturesque towns in Europe.  I found it interesting as I had actually been to two of them, Bath, UK and Brugges, Belgium.  They were definitely impressive.  The Roman Baths in Bath were worth the trip and Brugges, what can you say.  Sitting along the square, drinking a Zot beer or a devilishly good hit chocolate is etched in my memory, not to mention thinking of Colin Farrell’s scene in “In Bruges” with the large American about to climb the tower.

Check it out, how many have you been to.

Roman Baths in Bath, UK

The Blue Tongues Update – August 28, 2011

Gold Coast Blue Tongues
Gold Coast Blue Tongues

It is with a heavy heart that I must report that the Gold Coast Blue Tongues have been eliminated from contention for the AIHL championship.  They split their series on the weekend with the Newcastle North Stars, losing the final game of the season in a nail-biter, 2-1.  A victory would not have changed things as the team they were chasing, the Adelaide Adrenaline won both their games on the final weekend.  The Tongues needed them to lose at least one of, if not both of their games in order to overtake them for 4th place.

All in all though, the season  was reasonably successful.  Matt Amado led the league in goals, setting a new league record on the way.  They were also the only team to beat the Melbourne Ice all season, and they did it twice.

This bodes well for next year if they can keep their nucleus and make a few tweaks.  This will be my last post on the Blue Tongues this eason, but I will follow the league championship and report on who will be the Champions for this season.  Best of luck to the top 4.

Final Standings

Ice 28 18 2 3 5 65
North Stars 28 18 6 1 3 59
Ice Dogs 28 17 9 2 0 55
Adrenaline 28 12 9 5 2 48
Blue Tongues 28 13 12 1 2 43
Mustangs 28 8 17 2 1 29
Knights 28 8 20 0 0 24
Bears 28 2 21 2 3 13

Ray Charles and Billy Preston – Very Cool

Backside Billy Preston - Late At Night
Billy Preston

Some rare footage of Billy Preston, a great keyboardist in his own right (Get Back – The Beatles), performing Agent Double O Soul with Ray Charles.  Awesome.  You have to be amazed by Ray’s feel for what Billy is doing, although I am thinking that the green suit may have been a bit much for him.  Enjoy.

Listening to Canadians – Ash Koley

Ash Koley at the Rio Theatre
Image by emmerogers via Flickr

Ash Koley is a Canadian talent, born and raised in Winnipeg.  Winnipeg is a major Canadian hotbed of musical talent having spawned the Guess Who, Crash Test Dummies, The Watchmen and  Chantal Kreviazuk just to name  few.  Ash Koley performs a mix of pop, alternative and a dash of new wave in her music.  The song I have chosen to introduce to you, the reader is “Brighter At Night”.  Not a chart topping monolithic anthem, but a light enjoyable summer type of song, heavy on the pop.  Hope you enjoy, even a little bit.

Elbow Falls and Cobble Flats, Alberta

Northern lights over the city of Calgary, Albe...
Northern Lights Over Calgary, Alberta

We have been spending the summer fairly close to home this year.  That may sound unlike someone who likes to travel and wonders “Is It Possible To See It All”, but one must remember that we live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a veritable smorgasbord of things to see and do, all within hours of our home.  On this journey, we travelled about an hour west to K-Country (Kananaskis Provincial Park) and visited Elbow Falls, and continued west to Cobble Flats where we lunched prior to returning home.  We were entertaining some guests from Winnipeg on this run and as we had never been here, we decided it was the place to go.

First stop, Elbow Falls.  The video doesn’t do justice.

The area is very tourist friendly with a paved path along the river, protected by guard rails.  There is a large picnic area, but one has to arrive very early to get a spot.  A nice peaceful area to spend a day though.

Roger and Wendy

As the picnic area was full, we left and headed a bit further west, ending up at Cobble Flats.  A beautiful spot for a nice lunch.  A beautiful creek with a picnic area along the creek.  we grabbed a spot and had a great time enjoying the surroundings and company.

The area is surrounded by beauty in every direction.  It is great to live in this part of the world.

The Creek
The View

Remembering Jack Layton

Jack Layton making NDP transit announcement.
Jack Layton

Jack Layton, leader of the NDP, Canada’s official opposition party. passed away this morning at the age of 61.  He had stepped down as leader in July to fight his personal battle with cancer and vowed to be back in time for the next parliament in September.

On a national level, he was likely Canada’s most popular political figure.  His style was very personable and he seemed to above the fray.  He connected with people with his down to earth personality.  He projected honesty and stirred a belief that he deeply cared about people, which was reflected in his policies and beliefs.  He dragged the NDP from oblivion to its’ current status.  He forced them from being the “Left Wing” soldiers to being a viable alternative to Canada’s Liberal Party, the strategy that transformed from perennial 4th or 5th place finishes to second place.

On a personal level, there is not a chance that I could ever vote for him, and in fact, the very idea that he was head of Canada’s government in waiting scared me.  This had nothing to do with him, but with his politics.  I always enjoyed listening to him.  I didn’t agree with 99,9% of what he said, but he said it well. In many respects, I have been one of his and his parties more vocal critics.  That , though is the very nature of politics.  One speaks out against or for what you or someone else believes.  This discourse usually creates consensus and moves our society down the path to the future.  Jack Layton definitely tried to move the discussion down his road, and I respected him for that.

Canada has lost a great personality in it’s political rainbow.  He will certainly be missed by most everybody.  So long Jack.

The Blue Tongues Update – August 21, 2011

Gold Coast Blue Tongues
Gold Coast Blue Tongues

Houston, we have a problem.  After splitting their games on August 13 and 14, only to see Adelaide win both theirs, we see the Gold Coast Blue Tongues in 5th place, looking up at the 4th place Adelaide Adrenaline.  They are 2 points down with 2 games to go (wins are worth 3 points in this league) and have a tough series on the road next weekend against the second place Newcastle North Stars.  The Adrenaline play 2 at home, one against the 7th place Canberra Knights, the other facing the 8th and last place Sydney ice Dogs.  The Blue Tongues need to win at least one and have the Adrenaline lose both, or one if the Tongues sweep.  If not, the season is over for our heroes.

In Blue Tongue news, Matt Amado set an AIHL record with his 41st goal of the season.  He held the previous record of 39, which he also held and set in 2007 in only 20 games.  He currently has 41, with 2 games to go.  It would be great if he scored 10 next weekend.

Good luck next weekend.


Hanging Out at Heritage Park – Calgary, AB

The pathway along Glenmore Reservoir
Glenmore reservoir Image by elliottzone via Flickr

One of Calgary‘s major attractions is one of the biggest outdoor museums in the world, Heritage Park.  It is basically a town from the early 20th century set along the Glenmore Reservoir.  A beautiful setting for an outstanding piece of history.  The buildings on site are historical  and have been donated or purchased and moved to the park.  Once here they have been restored and turned into exhibits.

When one enters the park, the first exhibit is Gasoline Alley, a museum of restored vehicles and pieces from early gas stations.

Gasoline Alley

Restored vehicle in Gasoline AlleyFrom Gasoline Alley, it is off to the town site itself.  There is everything from fully staffed general stores, candy shops and bakeries to a pool hall and post office.  Each is staffed with well informed park personnel who are willing to answer questions and point out the features and history of each building.

Main Street - Heritage Park

The video below is taken in the Blacksmith shop and is indicative of what happens here to teach people about our history.

Then there are the vistas where one can sit and watch sailboats and the bustle on the reservoir.

Glenmore Reservoir

All in all, Heritage Park is a great way to spend a quiet day in the middle of a large city, without knowing you are in a big city.  There is something for everybody, whether it is history, antique cars or old trains.  If you are in Calgary, make it a point to visit this terrific exhibit.

Remembering Rick Rypien

Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien prior to...
Rick Rypien

Rick Rypien was laid to rest on August 20.  The funeral was held at Albert Stella Arena in Blairmore, Alberta.  Around 1,000 people attended to pay their respects.  I add my respect and offer my condolences to the family.  Rick was one heck of a hockey player.  The prototype Canadian player, hard nosed with a strong commitment to team and winning.  It is a tragedy that he suffered from depression and it finally took him from the world.  He will be missed.  I was looking forward to seeing him in a Winnipeg Jets uniform.

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