Art in Times of Emotion

I hesitate to discuss it, but once again ugliness and hate has shown it’s face in the form of a terrorist attack. I’m not going to spend time discussing the details – people with more details and knowledge will do that. I want, however, to talk about how people reacted after the event.

I went to Manchester a few years ago. I have family there. My favourite soccer (football!) team is there. I toured the city, the stadium, went for dinner, went shopping in a local mall, talked with people and generally had a great time. When it suddenly showed up in the news, it caught my attention.

One of the first things I saw about the attack in Manchester was something trending on Twitter called #RoomForManchester. I admit it – I smiled. It’s strange to say that one of my first reactions was to smile, but it was. I had tears in my eyes as I thought about the people caught up in it, but I smiled because ordinary people – shocked, upset, scared, but wanting to help – opened up their homes to strangers and offered them somewhere safe to spend the night.

The next day people came together to regroup, grieve, and comfort one another. Art played a significant role in this process as people created music, poetry, etc. Here’s a spoken word poem (below) created that night. Pay attention to the words – it’s littered with the history and emotion of the city of Manchester.

On this day in history: V-E Day

**Note: excerpt from The Canadian

Victory in Europe Remembered

Image result for Victory in Europe day - canadaVictory in Europe, on 8 May 1945, was a great celebration — for those who had suffered through Nazi occupation, and those who had liberated them.

Victory in Europe, on 8 May 1945, was a great celebration — for those who had suffered through Nazi occupation, and those who had liberated them. For Canadians, the VE-Day anniversary offers a chance to remember this country’s huge contribution and sacrifice in the Second World War

Food and Freedom for the Dutch

When Nazi Germany surrendered, unconditionally, on 8 May 1945, the First Canadian Army immediately moved forward to liberate the last German-held areas in the western Netherlands, including the great cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam (see Liberation of the Netherlands). “Every village, street and house,” reported the headquarters of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, “was decked with red, white and blue Dutch flags and orange streamers […] the Dutch people had heard a rumour of our arrival, and were lining the roads, streets in thousands to give us a tumultuous welcome. […] When the convoy reached the outskirts of Rotterdam, it lost all semblance of a military convoy […] a vehicle would be unable to move because of civilians surrounding it, climbing on it, throwing flowers — bestowing handshakes, hugs and even kisses.”

Stripped of resources by the Nazi occupiers, the Dutch were starving and cold. The First Canadian Army brought with it masses of food, coal and medical supplies.

This was the second part of the rescue mission. Since 29 April the heavy four-engine bombers of the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command, including No. 6 Group (Royal Canadian Air Force), had been dropping supplies to the Dutch population behind German lines. The bombers that had rained fiery death on so many German cities had become life-givers.

“When we flew over the occupied part of Holland,” recalled one Canadian flyer, “I was so relieved that I myself no longer had to be destructive, that I was not too concerned about the possibility of being fired upon by the German ground installations. […] And then the Dutch people would appear everywhere in the vicinity of the drop — on treetops, on rooftops, everywhere waving banners and caps — and I’m sure of it, you felt you could hear them cheering.” On 8 May, as the Army took over the supply duties, the bombers began another humanitarian task: flying to Britain thousands of Canadian and Allied prisoners of war from German camps.

Read the rest of the article at:


The Handmaid’s Tale

Have you noticed lately how The Handmaid’s Tale seems to be everywhere? The book is on the best seller’s list again,  it’s in the newspapers, magazines are talking about it, it shows up on signs at protest marches, and now it’s shown up as a new TV series! I love when a plan comes together! Except, of course, that I couldn’t have planned this if I’d tried.

Now that we’ve finished reading the book and analyzing it (mostly), you can see why it’s become such a big deal again. Hopefully in studying The Handmaid’s Tale you have learned something – about how to analyze a text, about yourself, people, society, our roles in society, the importance of using your voice, etc – and it will stick with you for years to come.

Don’t forget, however, that your essay is coming due shortly. You will need a paper copy to hand in AND upload a digital copy to D2L. Happy writing!

And because we all know I love memes…


Vimy Ridge: 100 Year Anniversary

If you are Canadian (or have taken modern Canadian History classes) you have heard of Vimy Ridge. You may, however, have forgotten what it was and why it matters.

This weekend is the 100 year anniversary of the battle. Hundreds of Canadians (including our own students) will be there and thousands of Canadians will be tuning in to the coverage of the 100 year anniversary ceremonies.

The battle is often discussed as the the point when Canada became recognized as an independent nation. Others, of course, argue against that position.

Take a look at some of the videos posted below (and the coverage this weekend) and decide for yourself. At the very least, take a moment and remember…


Why the Battle of Vimy Ridge Matters


Vimy Ridge: An overview


Vimy Ridge: 360 with Peter Mansbridge

Want to know the “secret” to success?

Wow.  Time sure flies, doesn’t it? We’re at the mid-point in the semester now!  For some people, that’s a good thing.  For others?  Not so much.

Regardless of which camp you fall into take a moment and think carefully about how things are going.  If things are going well – great!  How can things get better? What is working?  What isn’t?

For some people, things haven’t gone quite so well.  Things haven’t necessarily worked out the way you had hoped or planned.  To you I want to say something; I want you to listen very closely.


Don’t. Ever. Quit.

I’ve heard you – in the hallways, in classrooms, in the parking lot.  I’ve heard you.  You tell your friends that it’s not a big deal and that you don’t care but your eyes say differently.  You’ve started to think that you can’t succeed and that maybe you should just give up.  Don’t!

People talk about “the secret to success”.  The reality is that this so-called “secret” is pretty simple.  It’s just this – Don’t ever quit.

Success can be defined as getting up one time more than you’ve been knocked down.  Failure?  It’s a necessary stepping stone to it.  Failure or defeat teaches us something… but only if we don’t quit.

There are times that things just aren’t going to go right – sometimes things just happen and sometimes we make them happen due to our own actions (or inaction).

Don’t quit.

You want something?  You want more?  Prove it.  Want to be the best?  Earn it.  Decide that you CAN do something to fix things and then WORK for it.  Believe in yourself and your dreams or goals.  Want it? Go get it.  Stand up and reach for it.  …and keep reaching until you’ve got it.

Don’t. Ever. Quit!