Saturday, September 24, 2011


Bear has, for a very long time, been a writer, a broadcaster, a journalist. An award winning journalist, even.

So, from that perspective, Bear tends to treat his blogs as if they are journals of sorts.

Just the facts, ma'am, and stuff like that.

Solid, well-thought-out, well-expressed. Even the spelling is (usually) good.

Yada, yada, yada.

And kind readers leave the odd, thoughtful comment. Not that their comments are odd; they're not. They are delightful! (Then, there's the Blog Fodder, but that's another story entirely.*)

Anyhow, I did something different.

I published a light, fluffy piece, including a picture of Bear with a baby. (While I did that, I sat quaking, fearing my Writer's Licence would be revoked for doing such stuff and nonsense).

And what happened?

I've received more comments to that than to anything else that I've written. And, I've still got my Writer's Licence!

Well, then.

I understand that each literary type has it's own style, it's own conventions. Poetry and newspapers have very different styles. You know that.

Has journalist Bear not really understood the conventions of blogging? Has Bear be writing a blog like a journalist, instead of like a blogger? Should Bear be making changes? Should Bear work in multiple styles, on different blogs? Hmmmm.

I'm not sure where this will go, but it seems this is time to reconsider.

The story is told of a career sailor, who eventually retired from the Navy.
At the time of his retirement he thought back on his time as a painter.
On board, he had worked in the aft section of the ships on which he had served.
So he said he had left no stern untoned.

*The Blog Fodder is the only blogger who has met Bear in person. And that was decades (yes, decades) before there were such things as blogs, or Facebook, or Twitter. Meaning that BF knows way too much about Bear. Though, to tell the truth, he has been very gracious.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Bear was sniffing around and found some unhappy statistics about employment, unemployment, and poverty.
• About two-thirds of people in poverty are working full time.
• Over a third of poor families are headed by people in their 30s, or younger — a huge social shift from America's past.

If you want to know more, check the story on my Bears Noting blog. And check the comments, too; they are very insightful.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Today is Sunday, a restful day. Actually the Bear's whole week is often restful. But it has been particularly good.

First, autumn is in the air. Definitely. We've had an evening of frost, though it didn't bother the pumpkins. (We got those in the afternoon before the frost.)

But the leaves are changing. As more and more of them hit the ground,

the bright autumn colours

become much more dull.

Dr. Ron Banks, from Duke University and Duke Medical School (Durum, North Carolina) was up and did a couple of presentations related to medical research, and the place of animals in it. One of the presentations was to the university faculty; the other, at the main public library, for the community. Both were reasonably attended.

On Thursday, J's nephew and his wife came for a visit, bringing their four week old son with them.

Sleepy Bear; sleepy baby

It was not only a chance for us to see them, but for our son and his kids to visit with their cousins.

On Saturday, Bear celebrated another birthday (his 66th), our team won in the Canadian Football League game, and our daughter brought a birthday cake when she came to see the game with us. Bear also got a ton of birthday greetings from friends via Facebook; all much appreciated.

Bear thinks that was a good week.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The days were dark. Very dark indeed.

The Germans had already annexed Austria. Next came Czechoslovakia. Then the German blitzkrieg rolled across Poland like a giant tsunami. Come the following spring — 1940 — country after country would be inundated by the German might: Norway, Denmark, Belgium, The Netherlands, and finally France. 

But after Poland, everything stopped. Or seemed to stop. And so began the "Phony War," a title taken from a comment by U.S. Senator William Borah. There were a few naval battles, when Winston Churchill (later Sir Winston) was First Lord of the Admiralty. But little else.

But Churchill, and some others, knew what was likely to come next. And knew it would be terrible.

Christmas, 1939. King George VI of England prepares his message for Britain, the Commonwealth and the world.  The King's Christmas Message is a tradition which his father has started. What can he say for Christmas, in so difficult a time, to being some hope, reassurance, and cheer?

Eventually, he finds the words. And he includes a poem by a teacher at the London School of Economics, Minnie Louise Haskins.

And I said to the man

who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness 

and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light
and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God,

trod gladly into the night.

- - - - - - - -

For the background to this post, check here and here.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Today is 9/12/11 — a chance to make a fresh start on our collective life in the world,

Lydia at Writerquake, Sandie at Chatty Crone, and Ms. Moon at Bless our Hearts have, among many others, shared some challenging thoughts over the the last few days. Some delightful thoughts, but also challenging. At least for this Bear.

The Crone's "Quote of the Week" is from Helen James. “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference.”

The sentiment is real. That's the perspective I try to take in every day of my life.

Ms. Crones other quote, from Kobi Yamada, got even more of my attention. Believe that there's light at the end of the tunnel. Believe that you might be that light for someone else.

I very much like idea, because I'm a "light at the end of the tunnel" kind of Bear.

Now, here are the questions.
• Has the light at the end of the tunnel been turned of as a deficit-reduction measure?
• If it has, does anyone remember where it is, so we can turn it back on?
• If we can't turn it back on, how will we move ahead?

Sorry if you find these thoughts depressing the day after 9/11. Those questions were on my mind all day yesterday.

Friday, September 9, 2011

AMERICA AT 9/11/11

Special greetings to my American friends and neighbours.

I was one of those who watched, in horror, the events of ten years ago. And as a former Fire Fighter, I understood the perils involved in the work of New York's Fire Department, with the help of many Fire Fighters from elsewhere, and their determination to help anyone they could.

We're ten years on, and you American folk are planning to recall and think about those events. (I don't think the word "celebrate" is perhaps the best word — especially when there are possibilities of "more of the same" happening this year in New York.)

I hope and pray that your collective remembrances on September 11 will be a worthy tribute to so many who died or were left with particular loss, and so many who served in an extraordinarily difficult time. I likewise hope these remembrances will help to heal your collective soul.

We Canadians will be remembering with you.

Blessings and Bear hugs.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


We're still in the Dog Days of Summer. Well at least summer; though, officially, I think the Dog days may have passed. Perhaps mentally still in the Dog days.

Now that we're into September, I've read some women bloggers who are finding time a bit long on their hands. These are SAHMs — stay at home moms. They are almost at the "hardly know what to do with myself" stage, now that their darlings have gone back to school. The house is empty all day, except for themselves, some Canines, and a few other Furry Creatures.

So, to bring some light into their lives, and perhaps yours, Bear has been rounding up some news. (You can take the Bear out of the newsroom, but you can't take the newsroom out of the Bear.)

Our top story: The Dog who thought he was a politician.

We also have a story about a Bear, who had a misadventure in the land of the Humans. (Thanks to our correspondent, Lydia, in Oregon, who dug up the Bear facts on this one.)

And, a major announcement from The Bear Party, my favourite politicians.

Turning to sports, the World Cup of Rugby begins this week in New Zealand. Canada, ever the non-contender, is up against some tough opposition. Our correspondent, Richard, in Brisbane, Australia, (also knows as BrisVegas) will have updates for us. If he doesn't over-celebrate.

And, that's the news.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


It is the beginning of autumn in the land of the Bear.

Yes, I know; autumn doesn't really start until September 21, or thereabouts. But, well, autumn is "in the air," so let's go with experienced reality, rather than some astronomic chart.

(BTW, the Australians share something of the same experience. They fervently believe that spring starts September first.  I'm not sure whether this is some kind of universal folie à deux, or something found entirely within the "British" Commonwealth.)

Yet the signs are all here. The "younglings" are returning to school.

(Nutana Collegiate — River City's first high school, located across the street from the Bears' den)

The green leaves of summer are turning to yellow, brown, and red.

It's also Labour Day in Canada, the annual holiday to celebrating the economic and social achievements of workers. In Canada, this has been a calendar event since about 1880.

Part of the Labour Day activity in River City is a big fireworks display. The incendiaries are launched from the Broadway Bridge, a couple of hundred yards downstream from the Bears' Den. They organize the display across the river from our place,

then haul everything up on to the Bridge.

We stand in our corporate box (our balcony) and get an ideal view of the whole thing. No pictures, though; need to keep a sharp eye on the sleepy grandkids.

Nice way to end the summer!

Sadly, I have learned that there will be no Labor (American spelling) Day events across the US this year. Our reporter, Andy Borowitz, tells us that the entire holiday has been outsourced. To China. We Canadians offer our condolences to our American kin, friends, and neighbours on this loss. We hope you don't lose Thanksgiving as well.

Blessings and Bear hugs to all.