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Archive for December, 2005

I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY

December 25th, 2005


I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’ unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
‘There is no peace on earth’, I said,
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men’.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men’.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

1864

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The Oxen – Christmas Poem by Thomas Hardy

December 24th, 2005
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Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!

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Marry Christmas to All…

December 24th, 2005
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I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

Here are some Christmas links for you to enjoy

Norad Santa Tracker

Santa’s Home Page

Christmas Carol Lyrics

Complete Christmas Carol – A complete publishing of the original Disken’s book.

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Picture of the Day – Christmas Drink

December 24th, 2005
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The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 12

December 23rd, 2005

The Rink is Dead – Long Live the Rink.

OK it’s not dead yet, but it’s not skatable any more. Unless the weather freezes up soon, Christmas Eve on the ice pad is not going to happen.

The temperature all day has been around freezing. Alas, we had some rain, possibly by the look of the surface, freezing rain. The surface is now very bumpy, like an orange peel. Now, if the temp can drop a degree, maybe two, I could get out with the hose and maybe salvage a skateable surface. In truth, I don’t know how much ice has melted, also I don’t know how strong the ice is. Can it take the pounds/square inch that skates put on a surface? I just don’t know. It’s probably moot anyway, as the forecasts call for temps to stay at or above freezing until the afternoon of Christmas day.

Maybe we can have a nice skate on New Years Eve.

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Picture Of The Day – Learning To Skate

December 23rd, 2005
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Picture of the Day – Tree More Days ‘Till Christmas

December 22nd, 2005
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The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 11

December 21st, 2005

Hey,we did it! Tonight we tentatively stepped out, Neil Armstrong like, on the barren tundra that is currently our backyard. The rink is people ready! Although still a touch bumpy, and somewhat uneven, the ice is strong and excellent in about 1/2 the rink. Assuming the weather holds, and it still looks good, not great for the weekend, then we should have a good time skating Saturday night – not to mention the rest of the holidays.

But there is work yet to do. Besides as many floods as I can get in there is outdoor lighting to hook up, seating arrangements to be made, and music to be piped outside. The ice is only half the battle, making things as annoying as possible for as many neighbours as possible is part of the fun (no I’m not being selfish. They all – ALL – have pools, I’m just repaying the summer favours). The weather also holds a second problem. While warm and wet may not ruin what I have, it can prevent me from adding to it on that crucial last day. Literally, what I get by tomorrow night may be what I have Saturday. Above freezing temperatures make for bad ice making, and I could use all the extra ice making time I can get.

None the less, I’ve had a skate, my young fellow had a longer one: In the nearly 10 years I have been rink making, this is the earliest ever (by 2 days). Usually it’s late January before we’re skating, so I guess I’m pleased. Not as pleased as I would be if it was 80 degrees and humid, but I’ll take what I can get, and skating on Christmas Eve is pretty good!

The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 1
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 2

The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 3
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 4

The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 5
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 6
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 7
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 8
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 9
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 10

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A couple of Links

December 21st, 2005
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A couple of items that have found their way across my desk this week.

First up is the “Stop Martin” button you see on the left from Brandon Langhjelm at A La Derecha. Good Work Brandon. If I ever figure out how to anchor it on my page, I will. Meanwhile, Brandon says to feel free to use it as you wish.

Next up comes from Mike, who sent me information on the candidacy of Avery Ant. Personally, I stopped voting for animals when the hippopotamus party folded, but hey, better a cartoon ant than Paul Martin.

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Picture of the Day – On Guard For Thee

December 21st, 2005
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Sophist’s Saga for Tuesday December 20th, 2005

December 20th, 2005

The Sophist?s Saga:

To the dentist today for the rendezvous I was supposed to have last week. After my appointment I went to the coffee shop for a hot smoothie. Being frozen in the gums I had trouble conveying my order to the girl. Eventually she apologized and explained she was a little hard of hearing; I replied that I was just at the dentist and was a little hard of talking.

The Sophist?s Saga updates every Tuesday and Friday.
Please forward the Sophist’s Saga to all who you think may enjoy it.

The sophist?s on-line presence is at: http://ca.geocities.com/thesophist@rogers.com/

Next Sophist’s Saga: Thursday December 22nd, 2005.

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The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 10

December 20th, 2005
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Sometimes life happens in the details, sometimes in the broader strokes. Case in point: this weekends weather forecast. The National Post gives me these details:

Friday
3/2
Variably Cloudy.
40% POP.
Saturday 3/2
Cloudy with light rain
90% POP
Sunday
Cloudy with light rain
90% POP

Now here’s what meteorologist Michael Kuss has to say right beside the above details:

There’s going to be a slow warming trend from Thursday to Christmas Eve Saturday. Temperatures should hover at or slightly above freezing which will melt a little snow but not all of it so at this point a white Christmas is pretty much guaranteed.
See what I mean? The details say forget turning the Christmas Eve BBQ into a skating party and start planning the pool party in the basement. But it’s clear from Kuss’ broad stroke statement that I have little, if anything to worry about.

Further fueling my burning desire to get to a skate sharpener’s (why don’t those guys have a cool title like ‘ice smith’ – Smitty for short. Now that’s a hockey nickname), is the Sun’s forecasts, which run a couple of degrees cooler than the Post’s, as do Environment Canada’s forecast.

Thus armed with expert opinion and Yuletide optimism, I return to my ice patch hose in hand. There was a bit more snow today, but I was able to shovel without issues. The strength of the ice is definitely improving, as is the smoothness. A good half of the ice is skate ready, a quarter is perfectly smooth and ready for some hockey. Give it two days and real hockey is a possibility: Presuming those pesky details don’t get in the way.

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Picture of the Day – The Christmas Concert

December 20th, 2005
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Adscam Explained

December 20th, 2005
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This is my country… and you are not going to take my country away from me …

Paul Martin
Friday December 16th, 2005
Televised Leaders debate

So there you have it. No theft! No mismanagement by the person in charge of the treasury!

It’s Paul Martin’s country, and he let them take the money.

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The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 9

December 19th, 2005
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I know how Stephen Harper must be feeling. He’s worked hard, set his agenda, paced his campaign and not given in to the usual bad habits that befall him, yet the polls still say he’s lagging behind. Me? I have “worked hard, set my agenda, paced my watering campaign and not given in to the usual bad habits that befall me”. And the long range forecasts say… Rain, and above freezing for 24 hours on the day I want the rink to be ready by. I could wake up Christmas Eve to skateable ice, and by the time of the BBQ have a slush pit (or worse, a swimming pool in the basement). Now long range forecasts are usually about as accurate as mid-election polls, and there is a long way to go between now and then, but the prospect isn’t amusing.

Still, we can’t allow some bad tidings from afar to stop us in our useful progress. Last week at this time they were calling for 11 degrees on the weekend. Ask the nice folks in Montreal what happened to that 5 day forecast. So chin up and optimism is the rule. If there off by even a couple of degrees I should be OK. So it is back to work tonight. Hot water instead of cold – it freezes smoother. I don’t know why, my guess is it stays liquid longer so has a chance to spread out more evenly. The cold water gives you bumpy ice, unless you dump a lot of it at once. This would be the garbage pail method, as advised in the back yard skating rink book “Thanks, Dad!” Here’s what Murray Feick advises in Thanks, Dad!:

Fill up your large garbage pail with water and dump it (I call this the rapid flood approach and it works well). Do this once or twice per flood, depending on your rink size, but only when the temperature is below -8 C.

This does work, but flooding with hot water works as well, and is easier, especially if you use the large garbage pail for garbage. For hot water, I just hook my hose to the laundry room sink and run it through the house, out the back door. This works well if you have an understanding spouse, and your hose connections are tight. I have learnt to verify this last point before turning on the water (verifying the bit about the understanding spouse is recommended before tying the knot). Still, it costs more to spread hot water on the lawn, even if it is a snowy lawn, so I see the attraction to the garbage pail method. But for now, it’s my old stand by, tried and true methods, which seem to be paying off so well. If only the damn weather would play nice.

The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 1
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 2

The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 3
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 4
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 5
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 6
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 7
The Ice Rink Chronicles Part 8

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