Tag Archives: Thinking Broadly

National Treasure #147: Harry Wasylyk

He gets one of of those really short Wikipedia entries: Harry Wasylyk, Winnipeg inventor, sort of, of the plastic garbage bag. Other sources are a little more expansive.

Enter Winnipeg inventor Harry Wasylyk who, after the Second World War, began experimenting with a new material called polyethylene. Harry made his first plastic bags in his kitchen and supplied them to the Winnipeg General Hospital to line their garbage cans. He quickly moved his kitchen production to a plant. – Library and Archives Canada  

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Filed under Through Canada

What It Is

At age 12, I was mildly startled to learn that French-speaking animals can make different noises than English-speaking ones.  While cows sound about the same in both of Canada’s Official Languages, Francophone mice don’t make a (perfectly reasonable) squeak, they make a (perfectly ridiculous) wee, wee, wee noise.

What, I wondered, was with that?   Continue reading

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Filed under Language and Communication

National Treasure #135: Norman Bethune

OK, he was a Communist.  That part doesn’t look so good.  Of course, being born in 1890 he came of age when fascism was seen as a threat to democracy, and before Soviet atrocities occurred.  He died before Chinese Communists even gained the totalitarian power that they then abused.  So let’s park the communism thing for a minute.

Norman Bethune was a physician and thoracic surgeon who could see the socioeconomic factors underlying disease, and gave free medical help to the poor in Montreal.
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Don’t Fence Me Out

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don’t fence me in
Let me be by myself in the evenin’ breezes
And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees
Send me off forever but I ask you please
Don’t fence me in.
– Robert Fletcher & Cole Porter

In today’s world, even in the wide open country that I love, being fenced out seems to be a bigger challenge than being fenced in.

Chain-link fence in foreground; desert in background.

Southern Arizona

 

Rusty fence in foregroun; copper pit in background.

Bisbee AZ

 

Chain-link fence with no trespassing sign

Bisbee AZ

 

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Filed under Photos of Built Stuff, Photos of Landscapes

National Treasure #120: Battle of Vimy Ridge

Dates: April 9 to 12, 1917

Canadians killed: 3,598

Canadians injured: 7,004

The battle became symbolic of Canada’s contributions and sacrifices in the war — more than 60,000 dead — and gave Prime Minister Robert Borden the postwar impetus to push for autonomous recognition for Canada from Britain. It led to Canada’s change of status from colony to dominion and Commonwealth member. – Canadian Encyclopedia
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