Goodbye Old Email

Today marks the last time you may email my email of many years, good old, which replaced and another elal before that. Each became a spammers dream and all have now been entirely replaced by gmail accounts. I deleted three or four years worth of archives and felt so good afterwards.

So send it one last message if you like. Try to invent some new type of spam other than viagara, Rolexes, 3.25% mortgage and Canadian pharmaceuticals. A prize for the best one to use the words “maple”, “Siam”, “carboy” and “cufflink”. And see if you can top the name of one spammer today “hung monaghan”.

Scissor Sisters

Listening to this for the first time, I am struck how my Elton John, Queen and disco pre-teen pre-punk junior high self was as entirely immersed in what gay culture made it to Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia AM radio. It does make one want to revisit the discography from Captain Fantastic… and back.

Interesting to compare the similar trajectories yet quite distinct 70s nostalgia choices of these folk, The Darkness and Franz Ferdinand.

Arar’s Plane

The New York Times reports that it has found a plane that followed the path Maher Arar has alleged he was flown to Syria for interrogation:

The discovery of the aircraft, in a database compiled from Federal Aviation Agency records, appears to corroborate part of the story Mr. Arar has told many times since his release in 2003. The records show that a Gulfstream III jet, tail number N829MG, followed a flight path matching the route he described. The flight, hopscotching from New Jersey to an airport near Washington to Maine to Rome and beyond, took place on Oct. 8, 2002, the day after Mr. Arar’s deportation order was signed.

And here it is. Old N829MG has been a lot of places. It is not registered with the FAA. In April 2003 and June 2002, it was spotted by nerds at an Airport near Amsterdam under the ownership of MJG Aviation even though in the report it is stated to be owned by Presidential Aviation as this record shows. Here are its specs. The interior was fairly new:

New Feb 2002, 14 pax interior Beige leather seats with Gold and Black accents, DVD, CD, VHS and Airshow. Fwd galley. Fwd and aft lavs. Fireblocked. Immaculate.

In October 2002, the month after Arar’s flight, it appears on this listing which I do not understand – likely more plane spotting nerds. Interesting to read this October 2001 USA Today article quoting the head of Presidential Aviation:

…convenience is the very reason the rich are opting for private planes, says Nigel England, director of operations at Presidential Aviation in Fort Lauderdale. “You have absolute control over who gets on that aircraft,” he says. “We don’t subject you or your bags to humiliating checks.” While chartering less lavish aircraft for short distances can rival commercial prices, the price of airborne exclusivity can be high: about $20,000 for a coast-to-coast flight aboard Presidential’s eight-seat Lear 55; double that for a 14-seat Gulfstream III. “You can’t justify the cost on a numbers basis,” he says. “It’s about convenience and security.”

It would be interesting to check the air radio logs for the plane from that time as they would have had to report to air traffic control along the way. I wonder of the flight records or the radio reports will indicate who want on board or how many or who booked it. Why did it backtrack to Washington?


Yesterday’s disasterous quake has been stated to have been 8.7. I have been in a 5.2 in Quebec in early November 1997 and that was frightening enough. If I understand the exponential aspect to the scale used, this one was something like 5000% more powerful though, thankfully ten times weaker than Dec. 26th and relatively – but only relatively – less deadly.


Wandering around even a smaller Borders shop in the southern land is a revelation and when the credit card has been paid down, or a near enough facsimilie thereof, it is a candy store. I walked around and gathered an armful, looked at it and realized I had proposed to myself the procurement of a stack of CDs from my twenties, replacements of their vinyl clones. I put most of them back, except for the Pretenders Learning to Crawl and Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music For Airports both of which are among the most important works in my experience of growing up into the present state. An elder Swick had the Eno in my grade 11 and Learning to Crawlwas the soundtrack of the second half of my undergrad. Buy either now if you do not know them. Leave your workplace mid-shift if necessary.

But I did not stop there. I recall a reference or two toThe Decemberists and picked up their 2003 CD Her Majesty. This led me to a review of their very recently released follow up at and also to the question of whether that site preceeded the CD and book of poetry by the frontman of the Tragically Hip, Gordie Down…or Gord Downie, or the other way around. I used “Coke machine glow” in a conversation the other day to describe the experience of being in the exercise room without the light on, reading a magazine as I cycled to nowhere as someone who was there first did some yoga like thing. Anyway, the CD is good, an interesting voice, something of the Ben Folds Five with piano but also some art rock self-indulgences.

I also bought The Beginning Stage of…The Polyphonic Spree, the Jesus Freaks meets Supertramp and small college revival of the musical Godspell as it might have been presented by and only to the members of some lesser 1970s Christian cult, one that never got to the purple Kool-aid. Freaky webs site. They were on Austin City Limits three weeks back. It had the kids complaining on the drive home. They all sounded the same they shouted from the back seat but it reminded me of being their age when yet another troupe of Jesus freaks in a old school bus passed through the Maritimes filling United Church Halls like Dad’s more than thirty years ago during my pre-teen summers, them sleeping on sleeping bags on the floor, surviving on sandwiches and squares made the elderly widows of WWI vets who in turn were somewhat stunned and amused by all the hair on the boys. Plus it has French horn among all the other horns and once upon a time I took French horn and, after grade eight, I even went to band camp to become excellent at French horn only to be returned to my parents with a note about my fatal overbite. I suspect they had wished that the overbite test occurred prior to the application and cheque being forwarded. The next summer I went to basketball camp and, moving before the new school year, I dropped that, too, in favour of typical anxieties and the gang including the one with a Hagstrom Swede electric guitar. I seem to have picked up my present habits of ale, ska and soccer only in grade eleven when I started to become mostly the me I am now.

Best of all perhaps is my acquisition of “Conquering Dub” by Yabby You Meets King Tubby off ofThe Rough Guide to Dub, recorded around 1974 somewhere between the Jesus freaks and band camp. Is it just me or was this what The Clash was listening to on the bus?

Easter Monday

In the UK today is called a bank holiday but here the banks were even open. Is there a country more keep to drop holidays than Canada? It is on all the evidence the best day to buy meat as the entire A&P meat section was on about 50% off and, so, it has been a day or roasting and braising and stockmaking and freezing amongst a bout of keen spring cleaning.

The day has not been without personal growth. This morning, on NPR, there was a discussion of the short lived genre of boogaloo. I don’t think I knew there was in fact a genre as I only really knew the word from “Back off Boogaloo” by Ringo Starr on one of those really poor early 70s albums he foisted on unsuspecting tweens to mid-teens. Apparently it was a word used by pal to Ringo, Marc Bolan of T-Rex – the greatest band no one much listens to anymore. Not even me as I only have lps and the turntable is in storage. But this is not about Ringo but the recent release of The Rough Guide to Boogaloo:

Boogaloo originated in New York’s inner-cities in the late 1960s and spawned an array of excellent bands and vocalists, but it has never received much broad recognition. The Rough Guide to Boogaloo aims to change that, nicely showcasing the trademark blend of Cuban salsa rhythms and American soul.

I have and enjoyed the introduction to the first wave provided by The Rough Guide to Ska and have just bought but not listened to The Rough Guide to Dub. This series serves as a preliminary step to deeper obsessions which often require hunting out Trojan Records compilations.

Denmark, New York

There are places you hit the brakes. It can be a view but more often than not it is the question of what the heck was going on here. As you can see from these pictures, there are three great stone houses in a row on a rather quite back country road in Lewis County New York. The afternoon shadow across their fronts confirm their eastern orientation facing across the valley. But why, away from a river where mills could develop, did this small hamlet have such a grand life almost 200 years ago. The sign next to the pink sided Freedom Wright’s Inn gives some indication of the importance of the place at one time, as does the solid but closed up church.








The first occupation by Europeans of the area comes relatively late or so sayeth the 1927 The History of New York State (pub., Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc.):

The settlement of the northern section of New York was greatly delayed by the ignorance concerning it. Old maps of the section named it Irocoicia. “The Land of the Iroquois,” or Coughsagraga, “The Dismal Wilderness.” Travelers who skirted the edges said it was a region of swamps and mountain barrens. Sauthier’s map, published in England in 1777 and supposed to be the beat and latest in its information, mentions it as “This marshy tract is full of beavers and otters.” There is no map earlier than 1795 that shows a trace of the Black River. Soldiers, possibly those of Sullivan’s expedition, knew something of the territory. But it is in no way surprising that when offers were made to the land commissioners of New York for these supposed waste barrens, that they should be accepted readily, and the land sold for mere pittances and on the easiest of terms. One of the many sales, and the, was that to Macomb. On June 22, 1791, Alexander Macomb made an offer for certain lands, the payment to be one-sixth part of the purchase price yearly until the account was complete, no interest to be charged. The price offered was eight pence an acre. Macomb secured net 3,670,715 acres, divided into six great tracts. The one numbered four included the larger part of the counties of Jefferson and Lewis. Macomb conveyed this tract, with others, to William constable, and he in turn part to others sop that the deeds to Lewis County are traced back to nine great tracts known as: Black River, Inmans’ Triangle, Constable’s Four Towns, Brantingham, Brown’s, Watson’s, Castorland, and Great Tract Number Four.

Early settlers included Bedells and many others. Denmark was the first township to be constituted in 1807 after the founding of the county two years before. Someone of local legal note – who attened Denmark Academy and who studied law… in Lowville – was born there in 1825 as was an Iowa banker in 1833 as well as a Mayor of Ottawa. It wasn’t until about 40 years after its founding that the now larger towns formed in the valley below:

In 1848, the towns of Croghan and New Bremen were formed by French, German, and Swiss immigrants.

These towns were likely created as part of the development of the Black River canal, an unprofitable spur off the Erie, which opened in 1855. Denmark was on one branch of the underground railroad, moving slaves from the US south to Canada. A golf club formed in 1925.

Double Dare

Having been embarassed for his failure to vote against the budget and leading the Conservative Party to nowhere in the convention, apparently Tory leader Stephen Harper thinks he has found a spine within his own corporeal form:

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said Thursday the party will vote against the budget if the government goes ahead with an omnibus budget bill that includes an amendment allowing environmental legislation to be used to control greenhouse gas emissions. “This is an attempt by the government to get unlimited power to impose multimillion-dollar fines on any basis, without any parliamentary approval or discussion, whatsoever. It is completely unacceptable,” he said.

Apparently it is now unacceptable unlike two weeks ago when he let the budget pass unchallenged even though it included Kyoto funding. I hope Martin calls his bluff and makes Harper have an election over this. Harper has shown he cares nothing for the constitution and has the gall to say what have the Liberals done in a convention speech moment that made me think of that moment in The Life of Brian when it is asked “what have the Romans done?” Other than balancing and surplussing the budget, protecting the Charter of Rights, removing us from the 80s and 90s Tory nightmare of unending division of power disputes and settling the Quebec issue all the while balancing military participations and health care – and staying out of that missile defence as 60% of Canadians want.

Make the election now Harper and lose ten seats in Ontario and a few out East. You will have the same result in the West and the same Quebec. Almost a Liberal majority. Go on. Pull the trigger. Then resign after, you dull git. If Martin calls the bluff and Harper falters, he might as well quit then and there.