William Berczy’s Plan a Brilliant Idea

by Rolf A. Piro

William Berczy’s plan to settle thousands of people in the Lake Erie Region was a brilliant idea to strengthen the British land forces by keeping the Americans at bay during an invasion attempt in Upper Canada.

Berczy 1 Mil 02 227x300 William Berczy’s Plan a Brilliant Idea
William Berczy’s petition to Governor Simcoe

This grand plan has been a vital element of the British American War of 1812, and while nearly forgotten deserves to be remembered

(rap) Toronto – 1794 was an eventful year in Ontario when the capital of Upper Canada was moved from Newark in the Niagara region to Toronto, thus making the capital less vulnerable to attack by the Americans. The war hawks in the United States spoke of a struggle with Britain that they believed resulted from previous war engagements.

George Washington, President of the United States of America (1789-1797) with military experience obtained in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary war was holding a peace conference with The Six Nations in 1794 hoping to win the loyalty of the First Nation in Ohio and Michigan and Upper Canada. Joseph Brant and his assistant Robert Nelles had been well informed about the political developments. The answer appeared to be in William Berczy’s proposal that would strengthen the weak land based defense forces in this sparsely populated area. In a letter to Governor Simcoe dated March 24, 1794 William Berczy submitted a petition for a land grant of 1 million acres to the Governor and Counsel of Upper Canada. The proposal foresaw settling part of that province of Ontario with German settlers from Europe and the United States Ambassador. Hammond had promised British ships and support. The Government Council found the water based initiative by the British Navy to control the Lake Erie Region to be sufficient in nature. Berczy’s proposal was to provide land settlement with people and therefore became an important element in the defense of the Great Lakes region. The failure to implement Berczy’s proposal ended in near disaster after the battle of Lake Erie on September 10, 1813 when the British Navy nearly lost control of Upper Canada. The weak defense force consisted mostly of Indians and a small number of military people that were no match for these large numbers of invading American land forces. General Procter’s supply lines were cut leaving his army without food, forcing him to retreat from Detroit and Amherstburg towards the western end of Lake Ontario for supplies.

 

Warning the British Forces Laura Secord style

John Christopher Reiffenstein, an army soldier, that came from the noble German family of Thurn and Taxis spent his military time with Proctor in Detroit and Amherstburg and saw Tecumseh the famous Shawnee Chief get killed at the battle of Moraviantown, at Fairfield (Schőnfeld) nearby. Reiffenstein understood the gravity of this situation and immediately hurried through the primeval forests to Burlington Heights to warn the British military in “Laura Secord style manner” of the impeding attacks, Reiffenstein was virtually doing the same as Laura Secord by reporting the military dangers of an invasion force what he believed to be 8,000 soldiers. Reiffenstein overstated the American invasion force by 2,000 American soldiers when a real count later turned out to be 6, 000. This inaccurate information apparently misled the military and a court martial was ordered that later Reiffenstein honourably acquitted. Berczy also known as the co-founder of Toronto’s plan deserves to be remembered as a strategist for his foresight in the historic developments of the Great Lakes region.

_________________________________________

The Berczy narratives concerning an Expedition in Upper Canada for settling a part of the Province of Ontario is located in the Baldwin Room of the Toronto Reference Library. The narratives constitute an important part of Canadian history that is to be included in the history books.

Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2014

Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2014

Airs on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances,

Friday, August 22 at 9 p.m. on PBS

 

Featuring piano virtuoso Lang Lang as special guest, symphonic poems by Berlioz and Richard Strauss dominate Vienna Philharmonic program on the occasion of the latter’s 150th birthday

 

Led for the first time by a guest conductor Christoph Eschenbach, the world-renowned Vienna Philharmonic returns for their 11th open-air concert in the magnificent gardens of Austria’s Imperial Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. The Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2014 airs on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, Friday, August 22 at 9 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)

 

The concert soloist will be the internationally acclaimed piano virtuoso Lang Lang who plays Strauss’ “Burleske.” As it happens, Eschenbach (a former star pianist himself) was one of the conductors who recognized and encouraged Lang Lang’s talent very early, initiating a long-standing artistic friendship. The Chinese pianist encores Mozart’s famous “Turkish March.”

Lang Lang has been heralded as the “hottest artist on the classical music planet” by The New York Times, has played sold out concerts in every major city in the world and is the first Chinese pianist to be engaged by the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic orchestras.

Time magazine recently included Lang Lang in the “Time 100,” the magazine’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, naming him as a symbol of the youth of China, and its future. Lang Lang is the cultural ambassador of the cities of Shenzhen and Shenyang. In July 2012 he relayed the London Olympic torch in London just before the opening of the XXX Olympiad.

Vienna Philharmonic at Austria’s Imperial Schönbrunn Palace. Photo Credit: Richard Schuster

 

The outdoor concert, recorded May 29 in the magnificent baroque gardens of the palace, is free to thousands of attendees in Vienna, and serves the orchestra’s objective of making classical music accessible to a broad spectrum of concertgoers beyond its usual, core audience.

No other great composer enjoyed a closer connection to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra than Richard Strauss, and on June 11, 2014, the music world celebrates Strauss’ 150th birthday. The friendship was so strong that Strauss celebrated his 75th and 80th birthday in the presence of the Philharmonic in Vienna. The two composers he greatly admired, Hector Berlioz and Franz Liszt, play their own part in the concert, while Strauss himself dominates the program with “Burlesque” and “Till Eulenspiegel.”

Strauss conducted both works at concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Following their first encounter in Salzburg in 1906, he invited the ensemble to take part in the “Richard Strauss Week” in 1910 in Munich, where he conducted 18 separate works among them being “Burlesque” and “Till Eulenspiegel.”

Hector Berlioz and Franz Liszt also met the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra personally. During the first of his stays in Vienna from 1845 to 1846, Berlioz attended many of the Philharmonic’s performances under the baton of its founder Otto Nicolai and went on to conduct the Philharmonic himself.

Franz Liszt worked repeatedly as both pianist and conductor with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra between the years 1846 and 1874.

The full musical program is as follows:

Franz Liszt
Mazeppa, Symphonic Poem

Richard Strauss
Burleske for Piano and Orchestra

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Turkish March

Hector Berlioz
Overture to the Opera Benvenuto Cellin

Richard Strauss
Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks

Johann Strauss
Wiener Blut “Viennese Spirit” Waltz

Johann Strauss
Furioso-Polka

In demand as a distinguished guest conductor with the finest orchestras and opera houses throughout the world, Eschenbach began his tenure in September 2010 as Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra as well as Music Director of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. A prolific recording artist over five decades, Christoph Eschenbach has an impressive discography as both a conductor and a pianist on a number of prominent labels. His many honors include the Légion d’Honneur; Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres; the Officer’s Cross with Star and Ribbon of the German Order of Merit; and the Commander’s Cross of the German Order of Merit for outstanding achievements as pianist and conductor. He also received the Leonard Bernstein Award from the Pacific Music Festival, where he was co-artistic director from 1992 to 1998.

Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its more than 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. The series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.

Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2014 is a production of ORF in collaboration with Wiener Philharmoniker in association with THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET.

Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2014 is directed by Henning Kasten, with Heidelinde Rudy and Sandra Marchart as executive producers. For Great Performances, John Walker and Richard R. Schilling are producers; Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.

Great Performances is funded by the Anne Ray Charitable Trust, Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Rosalind P. Walter, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Vera von Kuffner Eberstadt, and PBS. Exclusive corporate support for the concert is provided by Rolex.

Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/ for additional information about this and other programs.

SUMMER OPERA LYRIC THEATRE’s 29th SEASON

SUMMER OPERA LYRIC THEATRE ANNOUNCES 29th SEASON
Toronto’s Own Mini Summer Festival of Opera – August 1st – 10th

SOLT 300x40 SUMMER OPERA LYRIC THEATREs 29th SEASON

Toronto, June 20, 2014… Celebrating its Twenty-Ninth Year, Summer Opera Lyric Theatre announces a season featuring fully-staged productions of Mozart’s THE MAGIC FLUTE, Puccini’s MADAME BUTTERFLY and Samuel Barber’s great 20th century masterpiece, VANESSA. Since 1986, Founder and General Director Guillermo Silva Marin has led aspiring young artists through an intensive 8 week course of study concentrating on character development in opera through text and music. These weeks culminate in a series of performances showcasing the young artists at the Robert Gill Theatre, University of Toronto. A haven for opera lovers in late summer, SOLT is the only operatic training course of its kind in the Greater Toronto Area, and alumni include Etienne Dupuis, Frederique Vezina, David Pomeroy, Keith Klassen, Marc Boucher, Krisztina Szabo, Joseph Kaiser, Norah Sourouzian and Joshua Hopkins.

In the 2014 season, THE MAGIC FLUTE will be heard on August 1, 3 (mat), 6 (mat) and 9; MADAME BUTTERFLY on August 2 (mat), 5, 7 and 9 (mat) and VANESSA on August 2, 6, 8 and 10 (mat). “It is increasingly important that vocal artists excel in communicating the drama of the text in English”, says Silva-Marin, commenting on his English-only season. “Textual clarity is paramount in modern times as more and more operas are being written in the predominant North American idiom…and singers must take note of this trend.” THE MAGIC FLUTE, Mozart’s coming of age fantasy and Puccini’s verismo MADAME BUTTERFLY will be led by pianist/music director Narmina Afandiyeva while VANESSA will be in the hands of Raisa Nakhmanovich. Silva-Marin will be the stage director for the three presentations.

The 39 SOLT participants for this summer have been chosen after an extensive audition process and come from hometowns, conservatories and universities across Canada, including professionals already in the national and international arena. Guest lecturers include Wayne Gooding, Catherine Robbin, Stuart Hamilton, Diane Loeb, Kathy Domoney, Kevin Mallon, Derek Bate and Henry Ingram.

All performances at the Robert Gill Theatre, University of Toronto, 214 College St. (entrance on St. George). Single tickets are $28, students and seniors are $22. The theatre is air-conditioned and convenient to public parking and transit. For tickets, call 416-366-7723 (Mondays to Fridays 12 to 6 pm). For more information, call the SOLT Admin Office: 416-922-2912 (Weekdays 10 am to 5 pm).

SOLT is generously supported by the Jackman Foundation and donations from individual SUMMER PATRONS.

Harbourfront Centre’s FREE FLICKS

Harbourfront Centre’s FREE FLICKS film series is back with a Funny Girl lineup

(July 2–August 27)

TORONTO, ON (June 12, 2014) ––Come watch films under the stars by the water at Harbourfront Centre’s FREE FLICKS, presented by Redbox. All films are free and are screened every Wednesday night from July 2 – Aug. 27 at approximately 9 p.m. on the covered WestJet Stage (rain or shine).  This summer’s films feature women at the forefront of comedy, both classic and contemporary. From directors to writers to actors, women rule this summer film series. Kicking off the 2014 lineup on July 2nd is Tina Fey’s first screenplay, Mean Girls, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Written by Tina Fey and starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey and more, Mean Girls is sharp and witty comedy at its finest. Our selection of comedic films include In A World…, Bend it Like Beckham, Desk Set, Caramel, Clueless, and much more. All screenings are hosted by Now Magazine’s film critic Norm Wilner; select screenings will have special guests. Beverages and popcorn will be available for purchase at the Lakeside Local Patio. “This year especially, women in film are a hot topic. We see Jane Campion, Palme d’Or Winner and President of the Jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, speaking out against the lack of women being celebrated in the film industry,” says Jennifer McLeod, Artistic Associate. “Exploring concepts of ‘Legacy’ at Harbourfront Centre this season, the 2014 programming of films at FREE FLICKS brings female filmmakers, writers and actors front and centre, and demonstrates their important contributions, past and present, to comedic filmmaking.” The public can also vote for the final feature to be screened on Aug. 27. Audiences can choose from the following four films at harbourfrontcentre.com/freeflicks: • Private Benjamin – Goldie Hawn shines in this iconic comedy film for which she serves as both the star and executive producer. Private Benjamin immerses a society girl in the world of basic training, a classic “fish out of water” comedy, co-written by Nancy Meyers.

  • Juno – Juno follows the life of a teen (Ellen Page) trying to navigate pregnancy in her youth.  Sharp-tongued and quick-witted, this script by Diablo Cody spoke to a generation.
  • Bridesmaids – Annie (Kristen Wiig) is set to be the maid of honour for her best friend’s wedding, while her life spirals out of control she is having some trouble holding up her end of things. Through hilarious missteps, Annie takes us through her journey of life, love, and friendship.
  • But I’m a Cheerleader – A light satire about a girl who is sent to “straight camp” when her parents suspect her of being a lesbian. This cult film features Natasha Lyonne, RuPaul Charles and more.

For additional information and complete event listings, the public may visit harbourfrontcentre.com or call the Information Hotline at 416-973-4000. Harbourfront Centre is located at 235 Queens Quay West in the heart of downtown Toronto’s waterfront. For information about visiting Harbourfront Centre during the Queens Quay revitalization, visit harbourfrontcentre.com/gettinghere. ABOUT HARBOURFRONT CENTRE Harbourfront Centre is a Canadian charity operating the 10 prime acres of Toronto’s central waterfront as a free and open public site. We celebrate the multiplicities of cultures that comprise Canada and enliven the city through the creative imaginations of artists from across the country and around the globe.                            

FREE FLICKS Lineup

Mean Girls (PG) Wednesday, July 2 at approximately 9 p.m. (WestJet Stage) Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Tina Fey, Rachel McAdams, Amy Poehler Directed by: Mark Waters 2014 marks the 10-year anniversary of Mean Girls. Written by Tina Fey and starring Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey and more, Mean Girls is sharp, witty comedy at its finest. Bend it Like Beckham (PG) Wednesday, July 9 at approximately 9 p.m. (WestJet Stage) Starring: Keira Knightley, Parminder Nagra Directed by: Gurinder Chadha Bend it Like Beckham is a feel-good comedy about a young girl’s love of soccer and how she comes to terms with who she is while being a dutiful daughter in a strict orthodox Sikh family. Clueless (PG) Wednesday, July 16 at approximately 9 p.m. (WestJet Stage) Starring: Alicia Silverstone Directed by: Amy Heckerling Amy Heckerling wrote and directed this classic comedy following Cher (Alicia Silverstone’s) attempts to find love, be good to others and negotiate the politics of high school.  Inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma, Clueless is truly an example of female comedy spanning many generations and forms. Caramel (PG) Wednesday, July 23 at approximately 9 p.m. (WestJet Stage)Arabic with English Subtitles Starring & Directed by: Nadine Labaki A romantic comedy and tale of friendship based in a beauty shop in Beirut. Caramel is a warm, funny directorial debut from the multi-talented Nadine Labaki who co-wrote, directed and starred in the film. Desk Set (F) Wednesday, July 30 at approximately 9 p.m. (WestJet Stage) Starring:  Katharine Hepburn Directed by: Walter Lang The classic film Desk Set is a fun, smart, romantic comedy starring Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy and a whole cast of funny women. Penned by husband and wife team, Phoebe and Henry Ephron, (parents of Delia and Nora Ephron who are also quite prolific in film) Desk Set is a sharp, witty look at technology’s ‘invasion’ into the workplace in the 1950s. Kissing Jessica Stein (AA) Wednesday, August 6 at approximately 9 p.m. (WestJet Stage) Starring: Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen Directed by: Charles Herman-Wurmfeld Kissing Jessica Stein is a delightful indie comedy (written by and starring Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergensen) about a woman who is unlucky in love and trying to navigate the dating world.  Kissing Jessica Stein is a witty exploration of sexuality, acceptance and family discourse. In A World… (14A) Wednesday, August 13 at approximately 9 p.m. (WestJet Stage) Written, Starring & Directed by: Lake Bell Triple threat Lake Bell’s In A World… delivers on every level.  As writer, director and star of the film, which examines the emergence of a woman in the male-dominated industry of movie introduction voice-overs, Lake kills it as a funny, strong force to be reckoned with. Funny Girl (PG) Wednesday, August 20 at approximately 8:20pm. (WestJet Stage) Starring: Barbra Streisand Directed by: William Wyler Barbra Streisand’s first film, which stuck a chord with the viewing public, catapulted her to stardom and launched her career to unperceived heights. A truly iconic film, Funny Girl is timeless, captivating and thoroughly enjoyable. Voters’ Choice (TBC) Wednesday, August 27 at approximately 9 p.m. (WestJet Stage)

Benefizkonzert für Evergreen Hospice

Artikel für die Kirchengemeinde Christ the King – Dietrich Bonhoeffer Lutheran Church Thornhill

Autor: Eike Schamburek

Evergreen Benficeconcert 300x168  Benefizkonzert für Evergreen Hospice
Evergreen-Beneficekonzert von der Kirchengemeinde Christ the King – Dietrich Bonhoeffer Lutheran Church Thornhill
Pastor musiziert mit Vater und William Aide für das Evergreen Hospiz

Mit Musik Menschen helfen: Pastor Sebastian Meadows-Helmer hat mit seinem Vater Paul Helmer und dem Pianisten William Aide am Samstag ein eindrucksvolles Benefizkonzert gegeben. Die Musiker spielten in der Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Kirche in Thornhill Stücke von Fauré, Chausson und Chopin. Die Einnahmen des Konzertes kommen der Hospizgemeinschaft Evergreen zugute. Das Konzert lockte Gemeindemitglieder und zahlreiche Anwohner aus Thornhill in die Kirche. Paul Helmer und William Aide sind als Pianisten in Kanada und Europa bekannt, Sebastian Meadows-Helmer ist studierter Violinist und gilt über die Gemeinde hinaus als Musik-Pastor. Die Abendsonne schien durch die die Buntglasfenster und warf sein Licht auf die Musiker im Altarraum. Die Zuschauer saßen direkt vor den Musikern und konnten deren Spiel hautnah erleben. Pastor Meadows-Helmer und sein Vater hatten sich anspruchsvolle Stücke ausgesucht: Die Sonata No. 1 für Violine und Piano von Gabriel Fauré und das Poème von Ernest Chausson. Sowohl in Faurés als auch in Chaussons Kompositionen spiegelt sich der romantische Zeitgeist wider. Faurés Sonata No.1 ist sehr bildlich und zeigt Einflüsse von Camille Saint-Saëns. Das Poème von Chausson ist dagegen schwermütig und erinnert an die dramatische Musik von Richard Wagner. Das Helmer-Duo präsentierte beide Kompositionen meisterhaft. Zwischen den Sätzen raunten die Zuschauer „Wow!“ und am Ende belohnten sie die Musiker mit lang anhaltendem Applaus. Vater und Sohn sind musikalisch gut aufeinander eingespielt. „Manche Väter spielen mit ihren Söhnen Eishockey – wir machen Musik zusammen“, erklärte Sebastian Meadows-Helmer und sein Vater ergänzte. „Sebastian ist immer aufgeschlossen für neue Ideen und Anregungen, es macht ausgesprochen Spaß mit ihm zu arbeiten.“ Nach einer Pause setzte sich William Aide an den Flügel. Für das Benefizkonzert spielte er von Fréderic Chopin die Ballade in A-flat, die Berceuse und das Scherzo in B minor. Einfühlsam erklärte der 76-Jährige dem Publikum vorab die Besonderheit jedes Stückes. Dann ließ er seine Finger mit dem Temperament eines 20-Jährigen über die Tasten flitzen und riss die Zuhörer in seinen Bann. „Großartig!“, äußerte sich eine Gruppe älterer Damen am Ende des Konzertes. Für das Helmer-Duo war es bereits das dritte gemeinsame Benefizkonzert, jedes Mal haben sie mit anderen Gastmusikern gespielt. Sebastian Helmer-Meadows plant bereits weitere Konzerte für die Zukunft. Er sieht darin einen Ansporn, neben seiner Arbeit als Pastor regelmäßig professionell zu musizieren – auch außerhalb seiner Gottesdienste. „Wahrscheinlich geben wir nächstes Jahr wieder ein Benefizkonzert“, sagte er. „Das hängt davon ab, wie sehr ich in der Gemeinde und mit meiner Familie beschäftigt bin.“ www.lutheran-church-thornhill.org

Deutsche Welle wieder da / available again

Liebe Freunde des deutschsprachigen DW-Programms,

nach längeren Verhandlungen mit Rogers Cable können wir Ihnen nunmehr mitteilen, dass Rogers Cable ab sofort zwei Kanäle der Deutschen Welle anbietet:

Der deutsche Kanal DW (Amerika) ist bis zum 27.05.2014 im Rahmen einer Free Preview im digitalen Kabelangebot von Rogers Cable in Ontario auf Kanal 172 frei empfangbar.

Nach dem 27.05.2014 kann DW (Amerika) als Einzelprogramm/á la carte abonniert werden.

Anmeldungen für das DW (Amerika) Abonnement sind ab dem 20. Mai bei Rogers Cable möglich.

Bitte weisen Sie ausdrücklich darauf hin, dass Sie DW (Amerika) abonnieren möchten, um Verwechslungen zu vermeiden.

Der englische Kanal „DW“ ist im englischen News Package enthalten.

Über Cogeco Cable kann ab sofort wieder der deutsche Kanal DW (Amerika) empfangen werden.

Sollte dies nicht der Fall sein, informieren Sie uns bitte unter info@dw.de oder wenden Sie sich direkt an Cogeco Cable.

 

Dear friends of DW’s German programming

After longer negotiations with Rogers Cable we can announce that Rogers Cable will offer two Deutsche Welle channels with immediate effect.

The German programming DW (Amerika) can be received free of charge until May 27, 2014 in the digital package on channel  172 in Ontario. After May 27, 2014 DW (Amerika) can be ordered as an á la carte channel/single subscription.

Subscription for DW (Amerika) starting May 20, 2014 at Rogers Cable.

Please state explicitly that you wish to subscribe to DW (Amerika) to avoid mix-ups.

The English programming “DW” is part of the English News Package.

The German programming is also available again via Cogeco Cable.

If this is not the case for you, please inform us by writing to info@dw.de or contact Cogeco Cable directly.

“The more things change the more they stay the same.”

A Horse’s Behind and the Space Shuttle

Does the statement “We’ve always done it that way” ring a bell?

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.7 inches. That’s an exceedingly odd number.

Why was that gauge used?

Because that’s the way they built them in England, and English expatriates built the US Railroads.

Why did the English build them like that?

Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that’s the gauge they used.

Why did “they” use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that’s the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads?

Imperial Rome built the first long distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have been ever used since.

And what about the ruts in the roads?

Roman war chariots formed the initial ruts, which everyone had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

So…the United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman war chariot. And bureaucracies live forever.

So the next time you are a handed a specification, or task or event and wonder what horse’s behind came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

And now the twist of the story…

When you see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the side of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses’ behinds.

So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world’s most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a horse’s behind.

…and you thought being a HORSE’S ASS wasn’t important!

(story told by Tany Rahn Kubata)

Holler for Health Care

Canadian artists sound off on end of Health Accord

TORONTO, March 28, 2014 – Over 30 Canadian performers all have their reasons for Hollering 4 Health Care on March 31st, the day that the Conservative government will allow the Health Accord to expire. They are hollering because:

“Hollering is one of the only things I’m actually good at doing. I urge Stephen Harper to skip even just one band practice so he can sit down with provincial leaders and negotiate something that works for all Canadians.” Rick Mercer

“I’m hollering for health care because it has saved my life.” Andrew Moodie

“I want universal health care in Canada to BE universal, and not have a system in which provinces pick and choose what they want to support, and privatize the rest.” Fiona Reid

“What is the federal government thinking? ARE they thinking? Whose hand is steering this devastating operation? I’m hollering because I can’t afford to buy a bus ad.” Nancy White

“We’re hollering for health care because we’re moving into the procedure years.” Women Fully Clothed (Kathryn Greenwood, Jayne Eastwood, Robin Duke, Teresa Pavlinek)

“My grandfather Tommy Douglas believed passionately that access to health care is the right of every citizen. He warned us to be vigilant in order to preserve that legacy Šwe’re going to make our governments sit up, and tell them that our parents and grandparents worked, fought, and suffered to get us Medicare and we’re not going to let anybody take it away.” Kiefer Sutherland

Everyone is invited to HOLLER 4 HEALTH CARE!, a musical, comical protest filled with merry maladies and malady melodies this Monday March 31st, 8 pm at Trinity-St Paul’s United Church, 427 Bloor Street West. Tickets are $12 – $25 cash-at-the-door or through Eventbrite.ca 

Performers: John Alcorn, Ben Bass, Brent Carver, Shirley Douglas, Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Mary Lou Fallis, Kathryn Greenwood, Art Hindle, David Huband, Tabby Johnson, Ray Landry, Jani Lauzon, Napalm-the-Magnificent, Judy Marshak, Nora McLellan, Amy Matysio, Rick Mercer (video), Andrew Moodie, Teresa Pavlinek, The Polka Dogs, Fiona Reid, Jackie Richardson, Julian Richings, Rick Roberts, John Roby, Mike Ross, Michael Therriault, Adrian Truss, Kiefer Sutherland (video), Viva! Youth Singers, David Warrick, Nancy White.

For more information or to
arrange interviews/photo ops contact:

Valerie Dugale, holler4healthcaremedia@gmail.com or 416-948-0195

 

Dictatorship and Democracy in the Age of Extremes

Dictatorship and Democracy in the Age of Extremes

March 10 – 18, 2014

Exhibition of 190 rare photographs, newspaper clippings, political cartoons
at the

Cloister of the Munk School of Global Affairs,
Trinity College
1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON   M5S 3K7

“In 2014 we remember several historic anniversaries: The 100th anniversary of World War I, 75 years of World War II, 25 years since the Berlin Wall came down, and 10 years of eastward enlargement of the European Union.

From March 10 to 28, 2014 the German Consulate General Toronto and the Goethe Institut Toronto presents an exhibition at Toronto’s Munk School for Global Affairs to commemorate these significant events.

The exhibition “Dictatorship and Democracy in the Age of Extremes. Spotlights on the History of Europe in the Twentieth Century” tells the tale of Europe’s 20th century as a dramatic story oscillating between freedom and tyranny, democracy and dictatorship. It opened on March 10 at Toronto’s Munk Centre, and the German Consulate Toronto invites you to visit it and take home a few insights not only on our past, but also on our future.

Beginning with the outbreak of World War I, the exhibition illustrates the rise of Italian Fascism and Soviet Communism, the world economic crisis and the takeover of the Nazi regime in Germany, leading to the catastrophe of World War II. It continues with the struggle of newly formed democracies after decades of dictatorships, and depicts Europe’s journey from the Cold War to the Peaceful Revolution. In its complexity, the exhibition is a detailed historic localisation of Europe as we know it today.

The exhibition includes a total of 190 rare photographs, newspaper clippings and political cartoons from different European archives.

The exhibition was developed by the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich, the Deutschland Radio Kultur and the Federal Foundation for the Reappraisal of the SED Dictatorship.”

K-W & Beyond – Twist and Shout – British Invasion

K-W & Beyond
by Irena Syrokomla

Twist and Shout – British Invasion at Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge

It was 1963 when The Beatles crossed the Atlantic and appeared at The Ed Sullivan Show. For North America the Brits with their long hair, noisy guitars and innovative melodies were shocking. I read somewhere that one of the reasons why their music was so appealing was that the rhythm and the beat is exactly the same as the beat of human heart. So it is subconsciously and naturally appealing to humans. Good story.

Dunfield Theatre, the new Cambridge location of the Drayton Entertainment is presenting this innovative music assembly to the joy of the Boomers generation who were singing, swaying to the music, clapping and re-living their young days.

The show opens with All My Loving by The Beatles, followed by She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand. Very appropriate. And then come The Animals, The Searchers, The Draemers and eventually The Rolling Stones. The world has never been the same since. The show is interwoven with the commercials from the 60-ties, not any more bizarre than to-days commercials, comments from The Roy Solomon Shaw (Ted Simonett occasionally imitating Ed Sullivan) and some circus-like tricks performed by Nick Settimi. The main singers are remarkable, their style and voices so much like the originals it is hard to believe. Yvan Pedneault in his rendition of The House of the Rising Sun (original by The Animals) is exceptional, so is Gerrard Everard in his final dance and song performance of The Rolling Stones. Christne Glen singing Shirley Bassey’s Goldfinger was great, her voice so strong and carrying. Among more than 70 songs everyone can find something they remember from those days, be it Yesterday, Mellow Yellow, You Don’t Own Me, Georgy Girl – the memories come back and the performance is superb. How do those young people get into such spirit!

The credits go to Alex Mustakas who came with this idea, written and directed it, Robert Foster – Music Director, Gino Berti – for choreography and Jessica Bray for costume design. They must have had fun, day after day for several months putting it together. And the audience, after initial moments of surprise watching black and white commercials and very 60-tish movements and dance style – just too off and joined in singing and massive applause. It is good to see and hear it again!

Twist and Shout continues at Dunfield in Cambridge till March 30 and then in from August 7 to 30 at King’s Wharf Theatre in Grand Bend. Cambridge box office 519-621-8000 or toll free 1-855-372-9866. Have fun!

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