Monday, May 9, 2016

It's Only 2 Words, Dammit!

It appears that MP Mauril Bélanger's private member's bill to change two words in O'Canada has created a firestorm in that vitriolic haven known as Facebook. The following is a posting I recently made there because of the image below and all the hateful comments it generated.

With all those fine folk lamenting a potential change to the lyrics of the first verse of O'Canada, you'd think this had been the official anthem of Canada since Confederation and the country would disintegrate if any changes are made. Well folks, a few facts (adapted from numerous online history sites):

1. The song was originally commissioned by Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Théodore Robitaille for the 1880 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony; Calixa Lavallée composed the music, after which words were written by the poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. 

2. From 1867, The Maple Leaf Forever and God Save The Queen competed for the role of the Canadian anthem, until 1901 when the Richardson version of O'Canada finally joined the fray.

3. Robert Stanley Weir wrote another English version in 1908 which used the phrase "thou dost in us command". 

"O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love thou dost in us command.
We see thee rising fair, dear land,
The True North, strong and free;
And stand on guard, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
O Canada! O Canada!
O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.
O Canada! We stand on guard for thee.

4. The Weir version was changed in 1913, 1914, and 1916. In 1913, "The Common School Book of Vocal Music", published by the Educational Book Company of Toronto, used the phrase "in all thy sons command". (Hmmm.. might the Suffragette Movement or WWI had anything to do with that?)

5. In 1967, the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the National and Royal Anthems recommended the existing Weir version with a few minor changes, for the English words; two of the "stand on guard" phrases were replaced with "from far and wide" and "God keep our land."

6. It wasn't until the adoption of the National Anthem Act in 1980 and the official proclamation on July 1, 1980 that O'Canada became the official anthem. So it has been the Official Canadian Anthem for not quite 36 years.

7. The original French version (1st verse) has remained the same from the beginning.

So it appears to me that the change from "True patriot love thou dost in us command" to "True patriot love in all thy sons command" was either a snub to the females in the Suffragette Movement or flag-waving to the boys marching off to war. 

So as far as I'm concerned, it makes sense to finally go back to the original "in us command".

At least that's the way I see it  from Between Keyboard and Chair.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mmmmm... Nice Buns

A number of people have asked if they could have the recipe for the buns that Helen makes for family gatherings and other events involving the consumption of good food and drink. Therefore, we've decided to make it available on Between Keyboard and Chair. This recipe makes 3 - 4 dozen buns.

Helen White's Homemade Two-Hour White Buns

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Fleischmann's Quick-Rise Instant Yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 7-8 cups all-purpose flour - to make a workable dough
  1. Mix yeast and 4 cups flour.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil and water, mix well.
  3. Add flour and yeast.
  4. Blend well, add remaining flour and salt.
  5. Turn out on floured surface and knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Add more flour if necessary while kneading.
  7. Cover and let rise 15 minutes in a warm draft-free place.
  1. Punch down.
  2. Do not knead.
  3. Let rise again for 15 minutes, covered.
  4. Punch down and form into buns.
  1. Put buns on greased pans or in muffin tins.
  2. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Bake in 350°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes.

Looking at the pictures has made me hungry so I think it's time to leave my position Between Keyboard and Chair to have a delicious bun with my breakfast. See you again soon.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Quilt Story

My wife, Helen, has become an avid quilter since making her first quilt back in 2008. Prior to that she had helped her mother, Edna Ireton, with her quilting. Edna was restricted to a wheelchair for the last 15 years of her life as the result of a stoke which left her paralyzed on the left side so Helen and her sister, Barbara, would assist with the cutting and assembling. The Hands of the Quilter Stilled

Helen is an excellent seamstress and is frequently called upon by family members and friends to alter or repair garments. She also has over the past few years also been asked to refurbish old quilts. You Can't Throw That Out!

Following Edna's death, her quilts were being passed on to family members and her granddaughter, Hilary, just loved one old quilt. The quilt was quite tattered and worn around the edges because of the use it had gotten over the decades. Hilary approached her Aunt Helen to see if the quilt could be repaired and, as usual, Helen agreed to see what she could do with it to make it usable again.

Helen refurbished the quilt and attached the the following story for Hilary to the back so it wouldn't be lost.

A Treasure In Grandma Ireton's Cedar Chest
Flower Basket Quilt Story
Every quilt has a story and this is the story of the Flower Basket Quilt, and the surprise it delivered over seventy years later to Hilary Ireton, grand-daughter of Grandma Edna Gertrude Ireton (nee Gardiner).

This quilt was created by Grandma Ireton and you can be sure a lot of love went into each stitch. Grandma was happiest when creating something beautiful with her hands.

Grandma Ireton would have made this quilt in the late 1930's. Great Grandma Mary Ellen Gardiner (nee Dowdall) would have, no doubt, helped Grandma cut the fabric into the pieces needed to complete the quilt top. The old fashioned prints used would probably be from shirts, aprons and curtains as well as flour sacks washed and bleached until the sacks were as white as snow. Grandma sewed the pieces of fabric together using a treadle sewing machine, using her feet to manipulate the machine treadle by pushing with her toes and heels in an even manner to create a smooth stitch line.

All quilts have three layers: the top fabric or quilt top, the batting layer, and the backing material. Grandma and Great Grandma hand quilted all three layers of the entire quilt using wooden hand quilting frames which made it easy to keep all three layers tight and together while hand quilting.

When the quilt was completed it was placed in Grandma's cedar chest only to be used after she was married. Grandpa and Grandma were married on May 20, 1942. Grandpa and Grandma lived on the family farm at Drummond Centre. The farm has been in the Ireton family name since April 1, 1896.

Grandma Ireton died on February 10, 2010, at the age 93 years. Much to Hilary's surprise Grandma's beautiful Flower Basket Quilt was passed down to Hilary to be used on her bed.

Grandma used the Flower Basket quilt for many years on their bed. In October 2012, Aunt Helen White (nee Ireton) refurbished the quilt replacing the original binding with new fabric to return the quilt to a usable state.

Hilary, when you sleep under Grandma's Flower Basket Quilt, you sleep under a blanket of love.

Good Night, Sweet Dreams

See you again soon from Between Keyboard and Chair


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Unassailable Logic

It's been quite awhile since I've sat down to write something for Between Keyboard and Chair but I felt that the logic in the following conversation was too good to let pass.

This conversation took place between my son and grandson on the Saturday before Mothers' Day. Nothing like a rational approach to gift giving.

Son: Did you buy your mother a Mothers Day gift?
Grandson: No.
Son: Why not?
Grandson: I don't have any money.
Son: Didn't your mother give you $20?
Grandson: Yes.
Son: What are you planning to buy with that money?
Grandson: An XBox card.
Son: Why not buy your mother a Mother's Day present with that money?
Grandson: That doesn't make any sense. That would be like just giving her back the money!

And later

Son: I'll take you out to buy a Mothers' Day card to give to your mother.
Grandson: I made one at school.
Son: You made on at school. That's nice.
Grandson: Yeh, it was either make a Mothers' Day card or do math!

You can't argue with that.

At least that's the way I see it from Between Keyboard and Chair.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Historical Miniature War Gaming

It's been a hot summer and I must admit to essentially taking it off from blogging or doing anything else work related on the 'Net. However, the time has come again to start writing for Between Keyboard and Chair.

In July I happened to be in Smiths Falls, Ontario and dropped by Monolith Architectural Models to visit my nephew, Noel White. For as long as I can remember, Noel has been entranced by historical miniature war gaming. It was a quiet day at Monlith and Noel was busy working on some of his models. I took one look and decided that he should guest author a blog article. So I now turn you over to Noel:

Miniature War Gaming

I was invited by Don White to write a short article for Between Keyboard and Chair on one of my hobbies - historical miniature war gaming. It's something I've enjoyed for at least 20 years, and I've found it a rewarding and relaxing hobby. Though my father had a small collection of miniature soldiers, it didn't really begin until a good friend and neighbour gave me a sci-fi figure and encouraged me to paint it. My first paint job was sloppy and crude, but I enjoyed it enough to purchase some of my own. I then discovered the various games that one could play with enough miniatures and a willing opponent. As a young teenager I was drawn to the fantasy and sci-fi variety but over the years I lost interest in fiction and moved on to historical games and miniatures. After all, anyone could invent fiction. I felt using my own imagination and doing my own research was far more rewarding than memorizing fantasy.

Just What Is It?

So what is historical miniature war gaming? Its usually 2 players, each with a collection of miniatures representing an army from a particular period in history. They are placed on a large table that is often decorated with simulated ground features (what we call “terrain”) and moved with the use of rulers or other templates. Dice are rolled to simulate the unpredictable factors of combat, and ultimately determine who wins and who loses. Often you'll receive advantages to your dice rolls if you can catch the enemy in unfavourable circumstances. For example, pikemen may enjoy an advantage versus cavalry, or the enemy may suffer if you attack him from behind. A complete game (or “battle”) can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days based on the set of rules you have agreed to use. My current favourite set of rules for ancient/medieval warfare simulation is Field of Glory, published in the UK, and it sits somewhere in the middle in terms of complexity and provides a reasonable degree of historical accuracy. A Field of Glory battle is usually over in 3-4 hours. Those who are interested can compete in tournaments at some of the larger gaming conventions.

Model Making and Research

Gaming aside, my favourite part of the hobby is the model-making and research. Within the restrictions of your chosen set of rules, you build an army of little soldiers that resemble its historical counterpart. There is lots of variety in scale and new manufacturers are emerging every year. The pewter or lead figurines are usually mail-ordered from a web-store, since few conventional retailers exist in Canada. You assemble and paint them yourself, after having researched the appropriate colours and battle formations in the translations of various ancient texts and excellent modern accounts. You can easily spend as much time reading as painting! You can also find tips and painting techniques that really bring the figures to life and make the tiny details much easier to handle. It can take many, many hours to put together an army of 100-200 figures and a great deal of time and patience is involved. You are also encouraged to make the terrain your army will fight across (such as villages, hills, forests, rivers and so on) as well as a suitably decorated game-table.

From Hobby To Career

This unusual hobby of mine has lead to other things including my unusual career! I operate my own a scale model-making business near Ottawa called Monolith Architectural Models. The majority of my clients are architects and real estate developers who need high quality scale models for sales offices and presentations. In a way, I turned my hobby into my business. I'm also considering a second business fabricating components and terrain for various war games, and possibly developing my own game.

I'm also involved in a play-testing group for Field of Glory version 2. We are all volunteers from all over the world testing the latest suggestions to improve the game. We record our battles and submit the results to the design team who make adjustments accordingly. There is lots of debate and research involved too!

I encourage any who are interested to seek out their local hobby club and ask some questions. It's a very rewarding pastime with plenty of opportunity for socializing, learning and fun.

Noel White,
Monolith Architectural Models

Monday, June 13, 2011

Don White Photography

After years and years of shooting photographs I've decided to try marketing some of them online. Granted, I've sold matted and framed photos locally but that has been as a result of word-of-mouth, so I've decided to see what the Internet can do for me. The site I've set up is Don White Photography. I also have accounts at Artist Websites and RedBubble. Photographs, cards, T-shirts and stickers can be purchased at these locations.

Art Prints

Art Prints

Buy art

Feel free to drop by Don White Photography or go directly to my accounts at Artist Websites and RedBubble.

If nothing else, I hope I bring some enjoyment to you with my pictures.

That's the way I see it from Between Keyboard and Chair


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Government of Canada Overthrown

Nothing raises the blood pressure more at Between Keyboard and Chair than the arrogance of little Stevie Harper and his drones. King Stevie and the PMO have decided there no longer is a Government of Canada.  Instead it's been replaced in government pronouncements by the HARPER GOVERNMENT.

Now this has been going on for quite some time but King Stevie has become more arrogant since the beginning of 2011. I did a search of the Government of Canada web site for the phrase "harper government" and the following numbers show the major increase in the use of Harper Government in departmental pronouncements since the beginning of the year.
  • 2011 (128)
  • 2010 (60)
  • 2009 (44)
  • 2008 (9)
  • 2007 (1)
  • 2002 (3)
This is just another example of King Stevie's contempt for the People of Canada and further exemplifies his goal of turn Canada in to Steven Harper's Canada.

At least that's how I see it from Between Keyboard and Chair.

Y'all come back now, eh?


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Walter Cameron's 75th Birthday Party

Walter and partner, Marlyn
On Saturday, January 29, I had the pleasure of attending the 75th Birthday Party for Walter Cameron in Almonte at the home of  his daughter, Wanda, and her partner, Rob. I also had the pleasure, at the invitation of Wanda, of being the MC during the sit-down meal. There had to be at least 40 people in attendance and many of them were accomplished musicians that Walter has played with over the years. Needless to say, the evening ended up with a lot of good music being played until we finally shut down around midnight. An excellent way to pass a Saturday night.

One nice touch to the evening was the presence of four generations: Walter, his daughter Wanda, grand-daughter Amanda, and great-grandson Dallas.

Wanda, Walter, Dallas and Amanda
I've known Walter for almost as long as I can remember. In fact the first time we ever met we attended a dance together in Canonto, Ontario.  Apparently, Walter wasn't too impressed with my vocal capabilities at that event. However, I was only about 18 months old at the time and he had to look after me while my parents and his older sister were up dancing. He was somewhat underwhelmed that he had to entertain a squalling kid.

Walter in 1961
We lost touch with one another after that inauspicious start to our friendship and we didn't really connect again until 1960 when Walter joined the Mississippi River Boys as a vocalist and guitar player. The Mississippi River Boys was a country dance band that played throughout Lanark, Renfrew, Frontenac and Carleton counties in Eastern Ontario from 1956 to 1985.  I had been playing with the band since New Years Eve 1958. Walter and worked together from 1960 until 1977 when he left to play with the late Ron McMunn.  Since then we've run into one another at various events but as we've gotten older those meetups have become all too infrequent.  About three years ago we had the good fortune to have Walter sit in with Grateful We're Not Dead at a show we were doing at a Western Games event at Drummond Center. Maybe we can arrange for him to make another guest appearance.

As I mentioned, there were a large number of talented musicians at Walter's party and everyone had a chance to perform. Of course, the night would not have been complete without getting Walter up to the mic and he finished off the entertainment for the evening.  I had my iPod Touch with me and was able to catch him on video.

Performing with Walter are Ray Donaldson - peddle steel, Mac Knowles - lead, Wayne Munroe - drums, and Tom Gardiner - bass.

So Walter, I expect to be invited to your 80th, 85th, 90th and 95th birthday parties. And if you make 100, I'll see to it that Grateful We're Not Dead is there to entertain you.

And a final insight garnered at the party: As young bucks, all the guitar players I knew had belt buckle scratches on the back of their guitars. As I looked around the room on Saturday night, I realized that none of us has to worry about scratching the back of our guitar anymore.  There's a lot more padding now.

At least that's how I see it from Between Keyboard and Chair.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Fifty Six Seconds

Well I'll be damned!!! It's amazing how things eventually connect together. Recently, from my position Between Keyboard and Chair I came across an article that states:
"FIFTY SIX SECONDS is all the time a person will spend watching your loading animation, clicking through your site, reading your copy, and watching your content. A 60-second spot."
This article was posted in 2009 on Annoying Design.

Back in 2006 I read an article in the Ottawa Citizen which quoted a study that had shown:
"women think of sex once every two weeks whereas men think of sex every 58 seconds"
and as a result, in 2007 I wrote a song for Grateful We're Not Dead entitled At Least Once Every Minute.

Needless to say, it's likely the men surfing the 'Net who have had the greatest impact in generating the 56 second statistic. It then allows them 2 seconds to switch over into thinking about sex.

At least that's how I see it from Between Keyboard and Chair.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jeff White - Masking Tape Sculptor

Masking Tape - Not Just For Painting

How often do you think of masking tape? If you're like me, only when you decide to do some painting around the house and in my case, that's very infrequently. However, there are people who look at masking tape as a medium for creativity. One such person is Jeff White, an Ottawa-based storyboard artist and animator. Jeff has adopted masking tape as his medium for sculpting.

Jeff and the Cowboy Gecko

The Hobbyist

Jeff has dabbled in wood carving and sculpting as a hobby for a number of years. He has created short-lived sand sculptures on the Pacific beaches of Ecuador and set his hand to paper mache sculpting as well. It is just recently that he opted for masking tape as his material of choice.

Haida Mask Turtle


His first major projects were face masks suitable for wall hangings. It was during his work with these that he developed his technique for simulating hair.

Collection of Masks

Facial Hair

Caricature, Cartoon and Fantasy Characters

Being involved in the animation industry, it is only natural that Jeff creates caricatures, cartoon and fantasy characters using masking tape.

A Rose By Any Other Name...

The Dragon

The Band

The Artist

Jeff can frequently be seen at local hockey rinks, pockets filled with rolls of masking tape as he works on a sculpture while attending his son's hockey games and practices. Or possibly you'll come across him sculpting as he enjoys a coffee at Tim Horton's or sitting in a shopping mall. He's hard to miss. If you do see him, feel free to say "Hello" and I'm sure he'll be glad to expound on the enjoyment and techniques of masking tape sculpting.

The Guru

And I guarantee, you'll never look at masking tape as just paper and adhesive again.

At least that's how I see it from Between Keyboard and Chair.


P.S. More of Jeff's work can be seen on Flickr and Picasa