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Tao Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "R Smith" journal:

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November 11th, 2008
07:24 am


Lest We Forget
Salute to our Nation

Reprinted here is a remarkable tribute written by Irishman Kevin Myers about Canada’s record of quiet valour in wartime. This article appeared in the April 21, 2002 edition of the Sunday Telegraph, one of Britain’s largest circulation newspapers and in Canada’s National Post on April 26, 2002.

Salute to a brave and modest nation

Until the deaths of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, probably almost no one outside their home country had been aware that Canadian troops are deployed in the region.
And as always, Canada will bury its dead, just as the rest of the world, as always will forget its sacrifice, just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does. It seems that Canada’s historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored. Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to come and ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers, and suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped, glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet again.
That is the price Canada pays for sharing the North American continent with the United States, and for being a selfless friend of Britain in two global conflicts.
For much of the 20th century, Canada was torn in two different directions: It seemed to be a part of the old world, yet had an address in the new one, and that divided identity ensured that it never fully got the gratitude it deserved.
Yet its purely voluntary contribution to the cause of freedom in two world wars was perhaps the greatest of any democracy. Almost 10% of Canada’s entire population of seven million people served in the armed forces during the First World War, and nearly 60,000 died. The great Allied victories of 1918 were spearheaded by Canadian troops, perhaps the most capable soldiers in the entire British order of battle.
Canada was repaid for its enormous sacrifice by downright neglect, its unique contribution to victory being absorbed into the popular memory as somehow or other the work of the ‘British.’
The Second World War provided a re-run. The Canadian navy began the war with a half dozen vessels, and ended up policing nearly half of the Atlantic against U-boat attacks. More than 120 Canadian warships participated in the Normandy landings, during which 15,000 Canadian soldiers went ashore on D-Day alone.
Canada finished the war with the third-largest navy and the fourth largest air force in the world. The world thanked Canada with the same sublime indifference as it had the previous time.
Canadian participation in the war was acknowledged in film only if it was necessary to give an American actor a part in a campaign in which the United States had clearly not participated - a touching scrupulousness which, of course, Hollywood has since abandoned, as it has any notion of a separate Canadian identity.
So it is a general rule that actors and filmmakers arriving in Hollywood keep their nationality - unless, that is, they are Canadian. Thus Mary Pickford, Walter Huston, Donald Sutherland, Michael J. Fox, William Shatner, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg, John Candy, Alex Trebek, Art Linkletter and Dan Aykroyd have in the popular perception become American, and Christopher Plummer, British.
It is as if, in the very act of becoming famous, a Canadian ceases to be Canadian, unless she is Margaret Atwood, who is as unshakably Canadian as a moose, or Celine Dion, for whom Canada has proved quite unable to find any takers.
Moreover, Canada is every bit as querulously alert to the achievements of its sons and daughters as the rest of the world is completely unaware of them. The Canadians proudly say of themselves - and are unheard by anyone else - that 1% of the world’s population has provided 10% of the world’s peacekeeping forces.
Canadian soldiers in the past half century have been the greatest peacekeepers on Earth - in 39 missions on UN mandates, and six on non-UN peacekeeping duties, from Vietnam to East Timor, from Sinai to Bosnia.
Yet the only foreign engagement that has entered the popular non-Canadian imagination was the sorry affair in Somalia, in which out-of-control paratroopers murdered two Somali infiltrators. Their regiment was then disbanded in disgrace - a uniquely Canadian act of self-abasement for which, naturally, the Canadians received no international credit.
So who today in the United States knows about the stoic and selfless friendship its northern neighbour has given it in Afghanistan?
Rather like Cyrano de Bergerac, Canada repeatedly does honourable things for honourable motives, but instead of being thanked, it remains something of a figure of fun. It is the Canadian way, for which Canadians should be proud, yet such honour comes at a high cost. This past year more grieving Canadian families know that cost all too tragically well.

Lest we forget.

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November 10th, 2008
07:33 pm


In Flander's Fields
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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March 11th, 2007
10:49 pm


Ugh, I hate when the time changes. It has always messed up my already messed up sleeping patterns.
The stupid thing is I've never been able to understand just what the point of the time change is supposed to be. Wouldn't it make more sense just to decide whatever the time is and then stick with it? At least then there wouldn't be so many zombies on the day after the time change.

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: The Shadow radio show

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November 9th, 2006
11:26 am


Nothing quite like going to bed to no snow, and waking up to approx two inches of fresh snow.

Current Mood: happyhappy

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October 29th, 2006
10:54 pm


Snow is falling. No idea yet if it'll stick.

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July 23rd, 2006
04:04 pm


I was in the valley for a short bit this afternoon.
According to a thermometer, at approx 3:30pm it was 45C. That is 113F.

That is just too bloody hot.

Current Location: hell is colder then here.
Current Mood: hothot

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May 30th, 2006
03:35 pm


Car stuff
Looks like I may be getting a different (better?) car.

D has lost his license for about a year due to stupidity and won't be getting it back till sometime in December. In the next couple weeks/month, he's planning to move out to Saskatoon for a job out there. Rather then deal with all of the headaches of moving a car he can't drive, registering it in saskatchewan, etc. He instead wants to swap cars with me, sell my 2001 chevy cavalier and use the money to buy a vehicle when he gets his license back, while I get the 1992 toyota camry that he has now.

1992 Camry history
-Bought in late 1991/early-mid? 1992
-Was used for several years by parent as main car. Running joke at the time was that the car was getting insufficient exercise/use.
-Approx 2004 or so, was given to D as he was commuting to school.

Cavalier history
-Bought Oct 2000.
-So far; has had part of the steering column replaced (key suddenly no longer worked for the ignition), there have been other problems, but I can't recall them at the moment.
-According to the dealer, my cavalier needs to be in the shop for a checkup approx 4-5 months.

-It's a Toyota, which means it isn't the chevy that I have now which has given me plenty of grief and headaches.

-It's was made in 1992, still runs great though. How relevant this is, I have no idea.
-Not sure how much mileage it has on it at the moment. My cavalier has approx 50,000km on it.
-No idea what paperwork/registration is involved, though it should all be very minimal.

In short, I know next to nothing about cars and am wondering if I'm missing anything.

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Something on the radio

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April 15th, 2006
08:12 pm


It's snowing.

Tiny little flakes, not sticking too well to the ground, but it is snowing, and they lasting longer and longer on the ground.

Current Mood: amusedamused

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March 10th, 2006
12:29 pm


To crzmslmaven

DSC01215, originally uploaded by smithphoenix.

Thank you for sending winter back, hope you enjoyed it the few days you had it.

Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful

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February 2nd, 2006
09:56 pm


Who knew?

jimbyrne, originally uploaded by smithphoenix.

Heh, who would have thought good stuff happens here?

Just noticed in a local paper that Jim Byrnes will be playing locally on Feb 5.


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