EPISODE 535 “All’S WELL” The power of misinformation dashed by a cartoonist pencil and five words.
Feb. 26, 2022
Sometimes misinformation is believed by the gullible. the ignorant, the wishful thinkers, the ‘wish it were so’…
but a dose of reality by a political cartoonist can demolish the illusions with a touch of the brush. This cartoon
was printed in a Canadian newspaper in World War Two. It is meaningful today. Delete Goebbels, the Nazi
Minister of Propaganda. Substitute Putin. The rubble of Ukraine. To what end? The truth comes out. Seems the people of Russia are aware of
the misinformation. More important it seems the power brokers in China are feeling uncomfortable in the same
bed with Vladimir Putin. I hope so.
Begin forwarded message:
From: ALAN SKEOCH <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: EPISODE 534 NO PLACE FOR REASON AS ONE MAN JEOPARDIZES THE WHOLE WORLDDate: February 25, 2022 at 9:08:44 PM ESTTo: John Wardle <email@example.com>, Marjorie Skeoch <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Alan Skeoch <email@example.com>, “Sam M.” <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com
Note: My story for today may best not be printed John…think about it.
Your thoughts…Marjorie, John, Sam, Dan, Owen? I am only sending this copy
to the five of you…need your opinion. I do not want to spread terror
which is what is happening on the other side of the world right now.
Maybe best to drop the story.
EPISODE 534 NO PLACE FOR REASON AS ONE MAN JEOPARDIZES THE WHOLE WORLD
George C/ Scott goes mad in Dr. Strangelove and takes joy in triggering a nuclear war. Here he simulates a B52 Norad nuclear bomber. We are on the verge.
Most often when I see Vladimir Putin on Television he seems impassive…no sign
of emotion. No smile…no frown…just like an inanimate Russian folderol doll.
But tis week his mask was dropped. He threatened any nation that interfered with
his invasion of Ukraine with devastation “like you have never seen before’. A chill
went up my spine. Was Putin talking about nuclear retaliation? Was he prepared
to launch World War Three? Was he insane? His face was contorted in anger…in hatred
…and he vented with lips curled like a madman in an asylum. Insane.
That word. Insane. That word has resurrected my greatest fear. A war with nuclear weapons.
An unwinnable war that will bring about a dark age like no other. This possibility…
The chance that a madman would get access to the nuclear codes. That was
the possibility made into a film called Dr. Strangelove where an American officer
went nuts and sent flights of B52 Norad nuclear bombers on a direct attack on
the Soviet Union. The presence of Peter Sellars, a comedian, in the war rooms
made for very dark humour. Just a movie! Just fantasy! To me it was real and
scared me deeply. Could never happen! Lots of checks and balances. Really?
Yet here we are on Feb. 25, 2022, where a madman holds the firing button of
such a war.
The United Nations has made a feeble attempt to stop the lunacy but they could
not get past the Russian Veto in the Security Council. Sane heads do not
seem able to prevail. Some Security Council.! Some Security!
Here we are. Leaderless. Surrounded by leaders who cannot lead.
Not their fault really. How can any leader do anything to suppress the madness
of this one man…one very angry man who has access to that button…one man who has descended into hell
and wants to take us all with him.
Even the Pope cannot help us. God, He tried, He met with the Russian ambassador,
Nothing resulted. God, if there is a god, we need divine intervention.
THREE HORSE HITCH
HERE is something you will likely never see. three horse hitch pulling a square bailing machine…normally pulled
by a 45 horsepower tractor or even larger tractor. In this case three heavy horses with the Amish driver sitting
on a makeshift seat. Pictures taken in central Ohio near Zanesville a few years ago.
About 30 years ago, perhaps even longer, we spent a few week ends getting pictures of
the Amish at work. They never got angry as long as they were not asked to pose.
With all the tension in the world right now I thought this would be soothing.
EPISODE 533 THREE HORSE HITCH
IF you prefer something sinister, imagine driving your buggy along a 60 mph highway when this red cs
leapt onto your backside.
EPISODE 531 THE HOLODOMOR : MASS STARVATION IN UKRAINE 1932 – 1933 CAUSED BY JOSEPH STALIN
Feb. 23 2022
1933 eviction of a Kulak (peasant farm) and her daughter from her home with limited possessions. To face death from starvation likely. From Donets region of Ukraine
UKRANIAN CONTACTS IN MY LIFE
Kent Farrow sent me a message yesterday. “Alan, could you write an Episode on Ukraine that would help readers
understand what is happening…roots of what is happening…” The Russian invasion of Ukraine has begun
and jeopardizes world peace. That much we all know. For those of us who are non-Ukrainian the whole Russian-Ukrainian
history is largely unknown.
Kent’s request is flattering. My ability to explain briefly the root origins of the conflict is listed because the
roots are deep and long…roots that twist and turn. My knowledge is limited and I hesitate to even begin because
the attempt will prompt responses from scholars far more informed than I am.
My high school years at Humberside Collegiate were shared by a large emigrant Ukrainian population of students
whose parents were Canadian refugees post 1845. I got to know them well. One of my best friends was Jim Romaniuk
whose father was a slaughter house worker at the Toronto stock yards and whose mother was a fine
intellectual. The Romaniuks were assimilated Ukrainian Canadians. Jim smiled and laughed a lot.
Warm hearted, gregarious, We were both second string team members in Grade 11. I was super nervous.
Would I do the right job? Coach Burford looked along the second string bench and there was Jim with
his hand up and finger pointing down at me. “Put Al on, coach.” That was Jim…always looking out for the other guy
in a nice way.
He rarely if ever talked about
Ukraine but I knew some facets of the dark history after reading a book titled “Documents
of the Expulsion” which described the horrific flight of many Ukrainians fleeing westward as the Russian army
was biting st the heels of the collapsing German army in 1945.. This was not pretty stuff to read. I do not recommend
the book as relaxed evening literature.
A large number of our high school football team were Ukrainian Canadians like Bob Cwirenko whom
I still associate with on our alumni group from the 1950’s. His parents were part of that flight. Many
did not make it to the western refugee camps. Bob Cwirenko became an engineer and played football
for SPS (U. of T.) He played outside corner backer and I got him once with a good cross body block
and was surprised to hear “nice block Al”. So many memories.
I even learned a few words in Ukrainian so I could
ask a Ukrainian girl to a school dance and she accepted. ‘Dobre’
My teaching career at Parkdale College was also touched by Ukrainian Canadians. The most memorable
to me was Taras Prociw. He was a very gentle, kind and thoughtful scholar whose parents were part of
a much earlier wave of Canadian Ukrainians in the wave period 1891 – 1914. Taras was deeply aware of the
Ukrainian nationalism that caused some of our students to practice with wooden guns for the eventual
liberation of Ukraine from the Soviet Union. Taras was part of the great wave of Ukrainians who settled
the Canadian west only his family took an urban route by settling in West Toronto.
There were other Ukrainian contacts as well. Amusing . Like Big Bill Mashtalar who took me joy riding in his
father’s new Oldmobile 98 one evening. We cruised through High Park in the dead of night with our lights
out searching for lovers. Stupid thing to do but teen ager can be stupid. Perhaps you did not know
that. Our idea was to flash our lights on romantic liaisons. It did not work out very well. The first flash
revealed a bunch of tough guys drinking beer.
“What the hell? Wo are those sons of bitche with the light…let’s get them.” A chase resulted that
I will never forget. We raced down the spine of High Park to the Queen Elizabeth Highway and then
accelerated westward chased by the beer drinkers. Fortunately Bill had the Olds 98 and we pulled
away…and lucky there were no cops. Why tell you this? Just to establish that I had lots of Ukrainian
friends. And I met some tough Ukrainian guys as well. One inside linebacker from St. Mike’s U. of T. team loved to knee me in
the mouth rather than trying to get our quarterback until my friend Ed Jackman kicked him in the balls. I played for Victoria
College at the time my mouth was hamburger. Growing up in Toronto was like that in the late 1950’s.
Later that year Bill Mashtlar asked me if I wanted to go to a camp. The word camp sounded like fun so
we drove with his parents to a Ukrainian social camp on the north side of the Dundas Highway where
it crosses 16 mile Creek. The camp life involved a lot of singing snd dancing … laughing, eating, perhaps
a little adult drinking. Very friendly to me for I only knew a few words of Ukrainian so they spoke English.
I did not know at the time that the camp was a socialist Ukrainian camp. Not religious. Socialists.
That experience helped me to crush the anti-communist attitudes that were sweeping Canada
in the 1950’s. These were not bad people.
Still later I became aware of another Ukrainian camp on the south side of the Dundas Highway at
16 mile Creek. This camp had a Ukrainian church at its centre…I am not sure if Orthodox or Catholic.
One of my fellow teachers st Parkdale was the daughter of a Ukrainian priest whose followers and
other attended this camp. Both camps…socialist and religious…did not like each other as
near as I could determine. I became aware however that Ukrainian history was very complex.
And that Ukrainian nationalism was strongest in the camp on the south side of Dundas.
“Why did the Ukrainians build their social camps opposite each other?” I have no idea. What
I did discover however was that unity was tenuous.
Ukrainians are part of the warp and weave of our society. Well over 1 million people. The
Ukraine itself has a population of 40 million.
Now to get back to the request from Kent. Basic question. The history is very complicated.
NASTY, violent, unforgiving, horrific, unending. Let me
select one event that explains the Ukrainian point of view. There are many other causes
of course. But I am not writing a history of Ukraine. I am trying to present a fact that might
be on the minds of Ukrainians as events unfold today in 2022…ninety years later.
Participants” Joseph Stalin, Ukrainian kulaks (farmers)
THE HOLODOMOR…STARVATION BY HUNGER
EXCERPT BY ANNE APPLEBAUM
KULAK grain being confiscated. Seed Grain gone. Future crop gone. Starvation on the way
THE HOLODOMOR…’EXTERMINATION BY HUMGER’
(Excerpt from book by Anne Applebaum titled Red Famine)
, man-made famine that convulsed the Soviet republic of Ukraine from 1932 to 1933, peaking in the late spring of 1933. It was part of a broader Soviet famine (1931–34) that also caused mass starvation in the grain-growing regions of Soviet Russia and Kazakhstan. The Ukrainian famine, however, was made deadlier by a series of political decrees and decisions that were aimed mostly or only at Ukraine. In acknowledgement of its scale, the famine of 1932–33 is often called the Holodomor, a term derived from the Ukrainian words for hunger (holod) and extermination (mor).
Causes of the famine
The rebellions worried Stalin because they were unfolding in provinces which had, a decade earlier, fought against the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. He was also concerned by anger and resistance to the state agricultural policy within the Ukrainian Communist Party. “If we don’t make an effort now to improve the situation in Ukraine,” he wrote to his colleague Lazar Kaganovich in August 1932, “we may lose Ukraine.” That autumn the Soviet Politburo, the elite leadership of the Soviet Communist Party, took a series of decisions that widened and deepened the famine in the Ukrainian countryside. Farms, villages, and whole towns in Ukraine were placed on blacklists and prevented from receiving food. Peasants were forbidden to leave the Ukrainian republic in search of food. Despite growing starvation, food requisitions were increased and aid was not provided in sufficient quantities. The crisis reached its peak in the winter of 1932–33, when organized groups of police and communist apparatchiks ransacked the homes of peasants and took everything edible, from crops to personal food supplies to pets. Hunger and fear drove these actions, but they were reinforced by more than a decade of hateful and conspiratorial rhetoric emanating from the highest levels of the Kremlin.
From famine to extermination
The famine was accompanied by a broader assault on Ukrainian identity. While peasants were dying by the millions, agents of the Soviet secret police were targeting the Ukrainian political establishment and intelligentsia. The famine provided cover for a campaign of repression and persecution that was carried out against Ukrainian culture and Ukrainian religious leaders. The official policy of Ukrainization, which had encouraged the use of the Ukrainian language, was effectively halted. Moreover, anyone connected to the short-lived Ukrainian People’s Republic—an independent government that had been declared in June 1917 in the wake of the February Revolution but was dismantled after the Bolsheviks conquered Ukrainian territory—was subjected to vicious reprisals. All those targeted by this campaign were liable to be publicly vilified, jailed, sent to the Gulag (a system of Soviet prisons and forced-labour camps), or executed. Knowing that this Russification program would inevitably reach him, Mykola Skrypnyk, one of the best-known leaders of the Ukrainian Communist Party, committed suicide rather than submit to one of Stalin’s show trials.
EPISODE 540 “NEVER BE HOSTAGE TO FORTUNE”, Crooky said …APPLIED TODAY WHEN BARN COLLAPSED Feb. 18, 2022
Feb. 18, 2022
BARN LOOKS INTACT. LOOK CLOSER…TOP WELD HAS SNAPPED. ROOF HELD UP BY RACKS INSIDE BARN, HEAVY TRUSSES
HAVE BENT AND DROPPED.
ROOF TRUSSES COLLAPSED, WELDS SNAPPED, ROOF CAVED IN AND ONLY SUPPORTED BY RACKING INSIDE BARN. ALL
WILL EVENTUALLY FALL FARTHER. ALL CAUSED BY HEAVY WET SNOW FROM SUDDEN VIOLENT STORM feb. 18, 2022.
WITH REGARD TO THE LOSS OF MY BARN AND CONTENTS
Background: On the night of Feb. 18, 2022, a sudden snowstorm dumped heavy
snow on our farm. One building could not handle the weight and collapsed. The building
is packed tooth to yowl with historic artefacts many of which are used by the movie
industry. Interior racking is currently holding up parts of the barn but not for long.
Am I devastated.? No, I will get by.
I am not the only person in the world with troublesl. Mine are minuscule really so do not get
the feeling I am swimming in self-pity. No one was hurt. I cannot imagine the results of an injury were
that to occur. A teacher of mine long ago, Evan Cruickshank, head of history at Humberside and Parkdale
Collegiates once said to me:
“Alan, never be hostage to fortune.”
Think about that line. Never let the things in this world that you may acquire … never be a prisoner
to them. I have never forgotten that line. It has served me well. I was flattered when finishing
university by the offer of a job from “Crooky” at Parkdale C. I. He said the same ting that another
mentor of mine, John Ricker, said. “If you come to Parkdale, you will never leave.” Also true.
Good advice which I took to heart.
Bottom line: The Barn and its contents do not own me.
Note: My stories may be disrupted for a few days.
The huge snowfall has collapsed one of our barns which is loaded with our ancient machines.
We will be saving what we can while we can. Life always catches ua just when things seem to be getting better. The pandemic is less
threatening and the long winter is winding down. The truck convoy is over. We expected relief. We should have kept our guard up. Nothing goes smoothly all the time.
Maybe I can make a story out of the disaster.
EPISODE 538 PREDICTIONS of WHAT WORLD WOULD BE LIKKE IN 50 YEARS.. BY GRADE TEN STUDENTS IN YEAR 2000…Alan skeochFeb. 17, 2022
To celebrate the end of the second millennium in year 2000, the Toronto Board of Education
asked me to gather some Grade Ten students together to construct a special Millennial book
titled “A DAY IN THE LIFE….” In Part of the book these students their thoughts on what the world would be
like 50 years from the year 2000.
Below are their thoughts. Some of the things they forecast have already happened less
that 25 years into the future. Some happenings they produce are joyful. Some are frightening.
Some are ridiculous (done so deliberately as 15 year olds are prone to do).
Fear of climate change, global pandemics, massive pollution, species extinctions, etc. …negative
feelings about the future are present.in the predictions. But there are also predictions that are
comforting, particularly the prediction of a future where we will take care of our planet much better
than the past.
WHAT WAS CANADA LIKE IN 1950? FIFTY YEARS IN THE PAST.
WHAT would I hav written if a teacher asked me to look into the future. What would you have written.
I think our outlook on life is the result of the times in which we live. For most of friends the times were good
Initially I felt my Grade Ten experiences were all joyful…school dances, football, basketball, drama club
Yearbook, etc. But there was a dark place in my mind back in 1954 that was underscored every afternoon
as I watched the vapour trails of B52 NORAD bombers fly North Westerly from Maine to North Dakota.
I was scared and even constructed a silly bomb shelter in our cellar and gave mom instructions to fill
the laundry tubs with water the moment a nuclear attack was imminent. My shelter food was basically
a dozen cans of tomato soup and some pork and beans. Quaker Oats in a tin so mice would not get it.
Some dried fruit and a few chocolate bars which were soon eaten before any attack.
No stove. One bed which was an old sofa.
The cellar windows were boarded up because we had no bricks. And I did not tell anyone because
there was only room for mom, dad, Eric and me. Selfishness…the dark cloud. IF an atom bomb
was dropped on Toronto City Hall then our house would be outside the area of total annihilation hence
the air raid shelter might help us survive. That was not true. The Hydrogen nuclear bomb, if dropped
on Toronto City Hall would annihilate us along with our school and friends. So the ir raid shelter
was forgotten except for the cans of tomato soup. I do not remember if I put a can opener in the
But really that fear was pushed to the back of my brain…so far back that by the 1960’s the fear was gone.
THERE was a lot of joy in the 1950’s and 60’s…outweighed the fears. They really were Happy Days.
As you read these predictions try to do two things. One: Are the students overwhelmingly optimistic
or pessimistic? Two: What was on your mind when you were in Grade Ten. Do you remember?
PREDICTIONS: WHAT WILL THE WORLD BE LIKE 50 YEARS FROM NOW (YEAR 2000)?
Below are the predictions of Toronto 15 year old students
Microchips imbedded in flesh would replace need for money on TTC.Cleaner energy sources will replace fossil fuels in cars because there isno way to survive without cars.There will be petroleum shortages and cars will be forced to use solar power or electricity.The air will be filled with flying vehicles. Transportation on the ground by car wouldonly be used by poor people.Cold fusion will be used to power our vehiclesCars will operate on voice command.Vehicles will travel underground in tunnels.Hydrogen will power cars.Human beings will go to the farthest reaches of space only to fine that we are, in Fact, alone.The world wil be united under a single currencyTechnology will replace people in jobs resulting in massive unemploymentIn 50 years we will no longer carry cash but use a card instead.In 2050 Kuwait’s oil will be gone plunging the world into extreme povertyPeople will start to prefer ‘no name’ brands amid a general distrust of corporationsThe rich will get richer and the poor wil get poorer…ghettoes will get larger.The Canadian dollar will be replaced by U.S. currencyThe world economy will falter and another world war will break outToronto will continue to sprawl swallowing up cities Markham and Durham.Toronto will in 50 years look like a huge piece of ice…glass and aluminumskyscrapers.Vacant land on waterfront will be hard to find.Work hours will be cut to five hours per day ro reduce unemploymentThe aging population will move back to cities and suburban houses will be abandonedPollution will be terrible….air quality reduced and garbage floating and sinking on andinto Lake Ontario.Three hundred storey apartment buildings for those who can affordpoorer housing, poorer food, poor people,No school blackboards. Big screens operated by push buttonsIn 50 years schools will no longer be necessary because children will be schooledat home on computers. As a result children will lack the skills needed to interact with each other.’Every student will have his or her own computer in the classroomNo need for schools. In the future children will swallow a knowledge pill which will transferall necessary information to their brains.Fewerr students will enter university because of increasing difficulty learning the latesttechnologies.There will be teachers in the classrooms but their role will be to explain computers.Computerized classrooms will have around 200 students.Books will become electronicCanada will become a world leaderFace recognition and retinal scanning will be the way we are identifiedWomen may go back to being housewives with large familiesHousehold chores will be done by computers.Democracy will be abolished and fascist governments will rule the world.New laws will limit peoples’ freedomThe human population will exceed 15 billionWomen will be considered the dominant sex.50 years from now there will be perfect pace.Colonies will be built on other planetsGene therapy will become widespread enhancing immune systems, intelligenceand strength.There will be more need for psychiatrists and psychologists as technologytyrannizes our lives and replaces human contact.There will be cures for every disease including AIDS and cancer.There will be much more mixed race breedingMen will be able to give birthScientists will come up with a method to control overpopulation.New diseases will appear and wipe out legions of living things.Public nudity will be legalizedCommon cold will become much more infectiousMaybe there will be no world at all. Maybe it will have ended by the apocalypse of a third world war.On the other hand disease might wipe out whole populations within days or even hours.Medical science will have difficulty catching up with new diseases.People will live longerMutations will change human beings.Cryogenic freezing will successfully prevent death.Animal lovers will present thousands of species from becoming extinct.In the near future a human will be cloned, sparking a huge mortal and ethical debate.In just 25 years, not 50 years, our environment will be in horrendous shape. Manyanimals will become extinct. There will be far fewer trees due to deforestation, a lackof raw materials and fuels such as natural gas and oil, and an even larger hole in the ozone layer.The world will toon be overpopulated, and this will lead to drought, mass disease, lack of foodand squalid living conditions.Severe climate change is going to alter our food production
Scientists will figure a way to live comfortably in the Arctic regions.
Rapid urbanization of the world will cause cities to not have enough food and
farms will need to triple their production.
New power plants will provide cleaner energy
There will be a nuclear disaster that will create deformities in plants and animals
Concern over increasing pollution will startle world government into massive and successful
efforts to clean up our planet.
Solar energy will be our main power source
The Great Lakes will dry up…disaster.
The theory of continental drift will be proven correct because Britain wil be 30 km off the coast
Biologicsl weapons could destroy most of the earth’s wild and human populations.
A detonated nuclear bomb will act as a warning
Z00s wil become essential for preserving and protecting growing numbers of
The Toronto Maple Leafs will win two Stanley Cups in next 50 years.
The moon will become a retirement resort with golfing. Many golf balls will
be lost in space.
Due tp danger of sports injuries all sports will be simulated by computer with no human
AND SO THEY SPOKE…REMEMBER THESE PREDICTIONS WERE MADE IN YEAR 2000…
MANY ARE ACCEPTED AS NORMAL TODAY.
Begin forwarded message:
From: marjorie skeoch <firstname.lastname@example.org>Subject: Fwd: Saturday Feb 19 2022Date: February 20, 2022 at 10:11:43 AM ESTTo: ALAN SKEOCH <email@example.com>
Dateline: Feb. 20, 2022
EPISODE 539 LOOPY DEMOCRACY — THE TRUCK CONVOY AND CHAOS IN CANADA, Saturday Feb 19 2022
To John and any others who have time to read today.
My story will be hard to understand today…I cannot understand it myself..
I am trying to get a mental handle on the events. Marjorie and I took photos
as things unfolded on Saturday. February 19, 2022. These pictures are astounding to us. Like a
movie … a piece of fiction. In midst of it alll my mouse failed. It just would not
move just like the protesters. Eventually my nephew Robert got us a new mouse…a
But I am still processing events. Frankly the whole mess in Ottawa makes no
sense at all. Irrational actions in the extreme category that confirms some of
my earlier teaching efforts regarding democracy.
“Democracy is a troubled spirit whose dream, if it dream, presents only visions of hell.”
With that quote we would discuss the perils of Direct democracy where Everyman and
everywoman believe that their ideas matter most and must be expressed. Today we
have a great example of ‘loopy democracy’ where the least well informed ten percent
of our nation attempted to seize control of the state in a confused bubble of loopy dangerous ideas.
So what about our real system of representative democracy? I believed in that.
Until recently. Our politicians let us down big time. Some of them even embracing
the loopy democrats in the protest who wanted the Governor General to seize
the reins of government snd then turn the reins over to them. insanity on the march.
All of us stunned and might profit from a time on the bouncy castle.
Sent from my iPhone
EPISODE 537 HORSE DRAWN HAY ACART GOES TO MOVIES….NEW TRACKED SNOWPLOW MOVES IN
Feb. 17, 2022
EPISODE 536 PREDICTIONS MADE BY GR. 10 TORONTO STUDENTS IN THE MILLENNIAL YEAR 2000
Feb. 17, 2022
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF GRADE TEN STUDENTS
In the year 2000, the second millennium began. I was asked to gather a cross section of Grade Ten students
in Toronto schools to see how they viewed themselves and, particularly, to predict the future. What they thought
would happen 50 years from the year 2000.
And then to describe what a typical day was like…a TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF A GRADE TEN TORONTO STUDENT
By chance a friend gave me a copy of the book we made. I had forgotten all about it and was rather pleasantly
startled by the comments of these young people.
ROSY PREDICTIONS, were there many? Yes, there were, many of them spot on. And it did not take
50 years for these predictions to happen.
DIRE PREDICTIONS, were there many? Yes, there were and many of those were spot on.
FUNNY PREDICTIONS? were there many? Yes, Enough to keep us smiling. Such as the prediction
by Bobby Foley that the squirrels of Queen’s park will be the dominant life creatures and we will be
‘legions of maids and janitors”. We had a lot of laughs doing this project.
HOW TO TRIGGER STUDENT PREDICTIONS
SOME disturbing predictions by were made by futurist John L. Peterson, ‘Out of the Blue: Wild Cards
in our Future: I thought his ridiculous comments would trigger the students. I really did not need any
adult input though. Peterson’s predictions in 2000 seemed way out of whack! But , lo and behold, here
we are in the year 2022 and his precautions already seem fulfilled. Downers for sure.
DIRE PREDICTION IN YEAR 2000 THAT COULD NOT POSSIBLY COME TRUE?
( OR COULD THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN…WITHOUT WAITING 50 YEARS?…Guess what,
these predictions seem to have happened or are happening right now.!!)
THE final book is 134 pages long. Each of the students was asked to describe one day in his or her life. Not in the past or the future.
But a day like May 30, year 2000….MY LIFE.
What comforting days there were in the daily life of this cross section of Grade Ten students. Affectionate, caring, humorous, humdrum,
social, involved, intelligent…overwhelmingly positive.
I would hope that the same is true today. I fear that the positive predictions and positive daily life would
both be very difficult to find.
DO YOU WANT TO HEAR MORE OF THEIR PREDICTIONS?
DO YOU WANT TO READ WHAT ONE DAY, YEAR 2000, OF A TYPICAL STUDENT?
Feb. 17, 2022
Post Script: I think this project deserves another Episode…so joyful. Any teacher who has had the profile of teaching
Grade Ten students knows that the future will be in good hands. At least that was my experience as a teacher. And
it was confirmed by this gang of kids we gathered together to describe one day in each of their lives.
One student,Adam Nathanson, made a prediction that I have often quoted. “Fifty years from now, human beings will
go to the furthest reaches of space only to find that re, in fact, alone.” That fact, if true, should make us value all the
wonders of our world and marvel at the spark of life within each of us.
EPISODE 534 DATELINE MAY 30, 1686 — PIERRE DE TROYES, Temiskaiming forest fire — dateline 1957: Sam Markou, firefighter -dateline 1970:
Red Skeoch, fire starter
SAM MARKOU: Dateline : summer day 1957
SAM MARKOU’S fire was likely not this big but it was burning and ready to jump across the gap by which they got into the lake.
Sam Markou and I have shared the last half of the the 20th century and the first quarter of
the 21st century. We did not share this forest fire though.
Sam Markou called me yesterday after reading the story of the great forest fires of
1911 and 1916. “Alan, that story reminded me of the summer I worked near the
Manitoba border of Ontario as a teen ager. I was part of a small team sent to douse
a forest fire. Small fire it was thought so we were given a lot of hand pumped backpack
equipment. The fire was burning close to a small lake. Just as we were filling the
backpacks we noticed the fire had got bigger and was burning down both sides of
the lake. We dropped our gear and sped by canoe to the the gap. We got out in the nick
of time. I don’t know what happened to our gear.” Sam and I have shared a lot of
adventures in our lives. Teen agers of the same lucky generation. Maybe this summer
we will paddle from Toronto to Kenora and then NW to Caliper Lake just to see if
his fire fighting gear is still there. Maybe not.
TEMISKAMING FOREST FIRE: dateline May 30, 1686
FORESTS OF TEMISKAMING ARE PRONE TO FIRE…NOT JUST THEN OR NOW BUT ALWAYS
Anyone who believes those great Temiskaming forest fires were the only such
conflagrations will be wrong. Granted the piles of slash left by homesteaders and
miners provided fuel for the fires of 1911,1916 and 1922. But forest fires
in the Boreal Forests of Canada are as old as time. At least it seemed that
way when I cam across this account by Pierre de Troyes, dated May 30, 1686:
“The fire burned into the woods with great fierceness pushed along by
a very strong wind … Whirlwinds of flame swept swept the length of the portage …
we were obliged to run with all our strength, while the fire while the fire pressed
so closely that the sleeve of shirt was burned by the shower of sparks and burning
cinders … We hurriedly climbed into our canoes … and moved to the centre of the
lake, which at that spot was only thirty feet wide. The fire then became so furious
that the flames swept like a torrent over our heads. and set fire to the bush on
the other side of the lake.”
North of Lake Temiskaming, May 30, 1686, Pierre de Troyes
GRASS FIRE, FIFTH LINE, ERN TOWNSHIP, WELLINGTON COUNTY, 1970
Dogs do talk, Peter certainly did the day of the grass fire. “Red started a fire today…lost control of it…we gave up!…where is my dinner”
Grass fires happen every springtime. The causes are often human centred.
Arnold “Red” Skeoch came home to Toronto from a day at the farm
in early spring around 1970. His pantlegs were black. His bare legs
were black. His arms were black. Everything else was wet with sweat. His dog, Pete, was
concerned. We could tell by the way the dog reported to us. Dad’s
comment was longer and larded with curse words. “The goddamn grass fire
got out of hand. I started the fire just to clear a patch of the garden but the
wind caught it. I tried to stamp it out…ran back and forth using my coat but
the fire got bigger and bigger. I let it burn…exhausted. Burned like a son
of a bitch all the way to the tree line in the back field.” When we drove
up to the farm the next day the front fields were all black and later became
a rich green with new growth feeding on the ashes. The tree line at the back
had held and quashed the fire. That was the biggest grass fire that dad
started but it was not the last. We should have kept dad on the dog leash
rather than Pete.
Mom love dad, in spite of all the reasons not to do so. When he got in trouble, which was often, she had one word for him. “Oh, Red,
you Fathead.” This was one of those days.
SOME SAY THE WORLD WILL END IN FIRE, SOME SAY IN HATE
Robert Frost’s popular poem on the world ending in fire is thought to be a
compression of Dante’s Inferno. Hell in other words where humans
are trapped by ice as the forest of hell burns towards their expose heads…or
something line that. Not a pleasant prospect. The poem has even deeper
origins. But let’s keep it simple. Red Skeoch must have felt his little
world of agriculture was about to be incinerated the day. And I believe
he used the word ‘hell’ often. “How in hell can I get this goddamned fire out?”