Thursday, October 14, 2010

26th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, prior to embarkation for Europe. St.John, New Brunswick, 1915.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Carleton County Colloquialisms

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ship at the Foot of King's Street, St. John, NB, 1915(?)
McCord Museum

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Maliseet and Passamaquoddy Territories

Map of Maliseet (maroon) and Passamaquoddy (grey) distribution. No date given.
Source: Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15, p.124.

A History of New Brunswick License Plates

Vehicles were first officially recorded in Fredericton (the capital) in 1905, but no plates were issued. Interestingly, this makes NB the third province, after Ontario and Quebec, to officially record motor vehicles. The province began registering vehicles in 1908 and, up until 1910, the plates were provided by the owner. These markers were often white on black, and made of leather, with the initials NB usually printed vertically after the serial number. A dated 1910 porcelain plate is known to exist but it too is provided by the owner as the province did not start officially supplying plates until 1911 when annual registration took effect. NB had a longer run of porcelain plates than any other province.
They lasted until 1917 and were in a beautiful array of colours. They are rare, and highly prized today.

Complete History and Image Resource here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

6:22 PM A: you know these cbc budget cuts?
I don't care.
B: no?
: no...
and it's not difficult to explain
6:23 PM I'm really sorry that a lot of people are out going to be out of work, particularly in jurisdictions like the maritimes that have small newsrooms as it is
but when I looked at the cuts
they're still keeping stuff like "wild roses" and "the border"
6:24 PM basically
B: yeah,
the cbc is going commercial
of course
that's what i hate
A: maintaining the directive of competing with private networks
B: but i just don't want them to cut
A: which is not the cbc
B: radio 3
and shit like that
which is being considered
A: I bet it is
because the cbc is not what it was
it's not cbc anymore
6:25 PM B: well,
on the radio it is...
it's the radio side of things
that i'm more concerned about
A: I really think people who say it's the jewel of canada are just being nostalgic
well, I don't know if you remember
but back in september
they took radio two
6:26 PM from an exclusively classical and jazz station
to something to compete with private networks
and when they do so
they're no providing the content we believe, out of habit, that they providing
B: yeah
nothing is the same
A: unique, intelligent, and nationally-reflective
B: as it used to be
canada is not
nothing is
6:27 PM but i will
involve myself in the occasional
symbolic gesture
which allows my voice to be heard in some small way
to symbolize
my discontent
A: such as?
B: such as complaining about cbc budget cuts
6:28 PM i know very well that the cbc is not what it used to be
they have fucking wheel of fortune
on tv now
but my bottom line is that
A: (like, clearly, the cuts are happening in the wrong places. but they're being used to supplement the same shit. the cbc has to change. it has nothing to do with the current government; this has been unfolding for years)
yeah, exactly
6:29 PM B: what is that?
(_______ ) ?
A: hmm? like a turn down commericial road?
B: no, i meant
6:30 PM why did you write that in brackets?
A: because it felt like an afterthought
B: but man, it DOES have something to do with the current governement
just as it did the liberals
and mulroney before
it has to do with certain fundamental
or what once were
canadian values
6:31 PM which cannot be sustained under economically neo-conservative governments
decades of cuts in every sector
lead to depletion in cultural
in canada
and man....
cbc radio three has been
way for independent canadian artists to be exposed
i'm not gonna scream about it
i know that the cbc is fucked
but it is still upsetting to me
6:33 PM A: yeah, well it is upsetting
I would listen to radio two day-in
and now I turn it off every day at 3pm
before buck 65 pollutes my living space
6:34 PM but I'm not sure I'm with you on the connection between eroding values and conversative trends
6:35 PM the cbc has a tendency to hire outside leadership
they want to make a profit
6:36 PM I don't think you could say that new the bbc has thrived when they're governments have necessary taken write turns in the past decade (think "new labour")
they survive because of different funding
and a commitment to original content
6:37 PM the cbc seems to want to take ANYTHING and put a made in canada stamp on it
6:38 PM the fact is, the incursion of US network programming shouldn't affect the orgnaization, because poeple should be able to take refuge there
instead they've tried to compete
and they lost.
and maybe, at rock bottom, they'll sort this out
6:39 PM B: yeah well, this is exactly what i wish wasn't happening
A: the fucking heritage minister said as much
B: obviously
you are suggesting
A: well, not that, but that a better system could be implemented on another model
B: no shit
6:40 PM anyways, i think that there are things worth salvaging even in the recent years of the cbc
which haven't been
like the show 'play'
like the different documentary programs on newsworld
6:41 PM most of which just show commercial garbage now
i mean,
obviously i know that the network is going to go in the direction its going to go in, anyways
because the execs
don't care
about preserving those things
have been unique about the cbc
but the reason, one might say,
6:42 PM that the cuts could be protested
has to do with the fact that the harper gov't
is bailing out canwest
and the fact that we have a government which is willing to do that and not help the cbc
6:43 PM suggests the reality of a political environment which supports networks which draw their audience
from the mainstream and commercial
6:44 PM a political environment in which it makes sense for the cbc to become more commercial and lame and stupid because that seems to be the direction in which the mainstream audience wishes to go
and which therefore the body politic
will defend
in the name of being populistic
A: that's interesting
6:45 PM I would have said that it follows
B: populism kills democracy
A: that in the desire t promote competition
B: tyranny of the majority
A: they woudl do so
would do so
you know
6:46 PM I sometimes think that "canadian values" are defined by intellegentsia
and sometimes that they belong only to independent communities
6:47 PM B: yes, well,
A: and it leads me to think that
in some cases
B: i honestly think that this is a just reality...
for canadian values to stem from an elite class...
because this class of 'elites'
A: the people who incubate these values with their lives are not considered canadians in their values and consumption habits
B: provide the only opportunity for the defending of
minority opinion
6:48 PM which is the most interesting and vibrant source of cultural strength
in this country at least
almost every truly democratic political act, in my opinion, involved forsightedness...
in the sense that, for example,
6:49 PM years ago the majority of canadians would not have been in favour of a woman's right to choose
it was an ELITE opinion
held by those who had it
A: right
B: but in order to protect the rights of a minority
and to allow canada to maintain its reality
6:50 PM as a (at least in terms of legalities and human rights)
progressive nation
there needs to be an elite class
of individuals
who are able to fight for the rights of marginalized canadians
6:51 PM and take political action that is not in the least populistic
avoiding a tyranny of the majority
and, for example,
the idea that senators should be elected is trite...
6:52 PM senators should be there to represent the rights of canadians whos rights may otherwise fall to the wayside in light of the strength of the majority
and if canadians elected senators
they would be representing the majority of canadians
6:53 PM and therefore not fulfilling their obligation to defend the charter and use it to help disadvantaged canadians
so, for example,
6:54 PM pierre trudeau was certainly an intellectual elitist.... he was not an average canadian. he came from a position of privilege and used that position to open the country to a kind of (potential, not actualized) diversity....
point being....
YES, canadian culture at its best
comes from an elite group of people
6:55 PM and this is how an independence in canadian thought can be preserved
and also how the rights of less privileged canadians can be defended
and the vital existence of our cultural institutions
A: it at least is constituted by an elite
6:56 PM B: of which the cbc has traditionally been one of those institutions..
i mean, really..
A: or, in some instances, a creative class
B: there most certainly is a connection between
A: this is nuance
B: the harper gov't
and the state of the cbc
A: and cultural erosion, yes
B: the cbc does not function in a vacume
A: but I think the cbc's problems are insidious
6:57 PM you can't liken it to
as I heard today
the closure of the museum of contemporary photography in ottawa
or even the fabled national portrait gallery which harper wanted to build in calgary or, apparently, not build at all
6:58 PM B: obviously the cbc are doing most of this to themselves,
but what i mean is
6:59 PM that if the elite class of culture-bearing canadians had not been forced to the sidelines by decades of cultural erosion... the cbc would not be justified in ruining what it used to be, in defaming its own spirit
7:00 PM and no, i don't think that it's the beacon of canadian culture or anything
or that it ever has been
but i mean
look at cbc archives
on the website
and the extent to which there used to be such a vastly more discernable canadian culture
7:01 PM which the cbc was on the pulse of
i lament the cuts not because i think that the cbc is doing a good job and shouldn't have to do this
i lament the cuts because the are indicative of an outward reality
7:02 PM A: indeed
above all
B: yes
A: the cbc
7:03 PM that unifying culture element
that maintain an edge of intelligence
you could argue
that because canadian culture is necessarily a feeble idea
7:04 PM a weakened cbc is a weakened canada
7:05 PM B: yes, we have lost our sense of order....
7:06 PM the sense that we were a more civilized and intellectual and ordered society than those worshipers of 'freedom,' the americans
our conservatism
and our socialism,
in days of old
gave canada its unifying strength, i do think
7:07 PM but now conservatism is modern and american
and a social democrat in canada
is the equilvalent of a liberal democrat
from the states
man, i'm such a weiner

Friday, March 27, 2009

Univeristy of Fredericton

There is indeed such a place. Based out suite 101, 371 Queen Street, the University of Fredericton's programme's are nonetheless administered entirely online. They seem particularly enthusiastic about their Executive Masters In Business Administration. An MBA is a popular degree, particularly for its networking opportunities, so this is understandable. But, you ask, this is a correspondence program. And, the minimum GPA is 2.5 our of 4. And, tuition for this programme is $24,000.

Their slogan, as you'll see, is "Accessible. Affordable. Accredited."
Yes, we were curious.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

this month's edition, hot off the press

Just thought I would post this post-produced news feed from the forerunners of grassroots media, volunteer radio-style.

This month's edition of Groundwire.

Molly's IV.

A friend I worked with in 2003 told me that she'd gone into Molly's one summer when the popcorn machine in the doorway was working. My friend had bought some popcorn, but had accidentally spilled a fair amount on the floor. Molly, irate, had made her sweep it up herself.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Woodlot trumps Woodside: Costco poll favours new location

An online poll initiated last week by Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside and circulated on Facebook produced some unexpected results. Pushed primarily through a Facebook group set up to gauge public sentiment toward a Costco on the UNB woodlot, the poll initially favoured the proposed location. The group was overwhelmingly visited by consumers, most largely indifferent to economic or environmental impact. The poll then swung from an enormous lead to favour a Costco at another location. This seemed to test the patience of organizers, who wrote

It was taken down when it was brought to my attention that the same response was repeatly (sic) being selected. The poll registered more than 300 votes for "Not in the woodlot" in less than 15 minutes.

A response repeatedly selected is something that generally happens when people vote, Mayor Woodside.

But regardless, a mobilized opposition should do nothing to effect the validity of the result; the fact (we're speculating here) that the folks at Woodlot Watch may have turned the tables by soliciting votes on their mailing list should not nullify it. If the poll was technically flawed, it was probably being exploited by both sides. The City, it seems, thinks undesired results are not a results.

Friday, March 13, 2009

UNB Woodlot: Costco Poll

A poll that appears to have been informally organized by the city of Fredericton is circulating on Facebook.

A Facebook group called Costco for Fredericton is inviting feedback on its wall and forum and asks that people take time to vote here. It would appear that they're encouraging readers to vote yes to Costco.

We encourage you to vote no.
And, to do so as many times as you like.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Molly's III.

Sunday, supper time. I hadn’t slept, eaten or bathed since Friday morning. I’d spent all my money trying to be the same place as him last term. All he'd done in the week I'd been back at school was wave once. The past weekend had been spent in suspension. No hope, no lesson.

When I knew he wanted to see me I was ready in 20 minutes. I grabbed a copy of Slaughterhouse Five, which I had finished for the second time last week, because I knew it would fit in my coat pocket. I paid for a cab and was breathless on his doorstep because he said he and his friend were going to study and I could come hang out if I wanted. I sat self-conscious, the basement room smelling like raisins. Those boys always smelled like raisins.

Us three tripped into the hall. I’d forgotten a hat. I pulled my fox tail hood over my eyes and the snow fell warm like down. I tried to tell him about Billy Pilgrim, shouting against the falling insulation in the empty street. I started to just plod along behind the boys, wet gripping at my long pants.

We climbed the stairs to the upper level. Dusty rafters, dusty kites. Peter Gabriel was on the hi-fi. A small card was on one of the thrift-store bed-stands that served as dining tables: “There is a seating fee of $2. Please spare us the embarrassment of asking.”

I stared at the same page for an hour. He got up and put his jacket on without a word. He left me with his friend. I wouldn’t allow myself to ask what was going on. I saw that it was nothing.

On the way back to my dorm, I broke into his bedroom. I left a photo of us together, as a last gesture, and slept thickly that night. When he wrote the next day to confess his infatuation, my heart sank as it does when another part of life ceases to make sense. I refused to control what happened between us in the years after. For that reason, it is all my fault.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Train bridge

There, on the wood that spans the always surprisingly great river, it was tempting to look forward, and to look back, but most tempting to stay in suspension. Nostalgia and hope were poised above the water and ready to dive in and disappear, or maybe they were the supports, or the substructure. It is tempting to extend the analogy, but then to call it an analogy isn't even quite right, because, as I remember, the physical character of the bridge bore marks, scars, and memorials of other's hopes and memories and jokes. Its body retained so much wisdom and confusion and nonsense. It was that, not just an analogy of that.

And meanwhile this wood deserved to be danced upon: the sound was perfect, and it did not matter who passed, who was ahead or behind watching, because over the water everyone with a passionate spirit became just a little tipsy, even if the deep lead-coloured sobriety lurked beneath. Maybe it was sobriety that functioned as the substructure, keeping people from falling in.

The passersby, if they stopped midstream, might be tempted to forget their direction of movement and be drawn to a standstill by the colours instead. Even on a grey day the iron stood out brilliant in its revelation of fiery reds and oranges, the wood of softer browns, greens, and greys, and the water reflecting or even foreshadowing the mood of the sky, sometimes an uncanny blue, sometimes industrial grey. In one of the slowest places I've lived, change was always just beneath the bridge.

And I wonder, being now a fair distance from that place above the water, if it's still frozen in winter's grip, or if islands of ice are flowing towards the ocean. And what is it carrying with it?

Bridges are clichés, and like many clichés, they are still important: they are still powerful symbols of passage, of change, of forgetting; and yet they tend to stand (unless we burn or otherwise destroy them) longer than the life of an individual, longer than the life of a childhood, an adolescence, a university "career", an adult's mid-life crisis, or a an old woman's Sunday walks to the cathedral, one of the few times in the week she might breathe the fresh air and say hello to the younger ones, the ones who wouldn't initiate a greeting like that nowadays, but are willing to return one most of the time. It is an image of forgetting, but of our forgetting; and yet so often it bears the harsh wounds or gentle touches of its builders, its present and sometime users. Its body is shaped and aged, by water and by hands, and it holds what we may have forgotten, for a little while longer, at least, as long as someone is there to walk on it.

And yes, this is the sort of bridge that captures the eye because of its picturesque placement over a wide river between a still thickly wooded north and a colourful south side. It was the subject of one of my first photographs in Fredericton, and one of my last long walks. And for however many times it's been the subject of yet another tourist's (or resident's) photographic mediocrity, it is still a brilliant, present thing.