Archive for April, 2008

100 Years Ago Today…

April 28th, 2008
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Oskar Schindler was born in Svitavy, Moravia, in Austria-Hungary, (now the Czech Republic) on this day in 1908.

A member of the Nazi party, in 1939 he took ownership of a Jewish owned factory in Kraków, Poland. He became friendly with many high ranking SS officers, and made a pile of money by using cheap (virtually free) Jewish labour. After a 1942 round-up of ghetto Jews for transport to the concentration camp at P?aszów, Schindler was appalled by the death of many of his workers. He then became an advocate for those Jews who worked for him, doing all he could to protect them from deportation/death.

Schindler saved 1,200 Jews from sure death and today there are more than 6,000 dependants of “Schindlerjews.” As one article stated it, “Oscar Schindler rose to the highest level of humanity.

Schindler’s story was told in the 1993 Steven Spielberg film Schindler’s List.

Below is the letter written in 1945 by Oscar Schindler’s former workers.

We, the undersigned Jews from Krakow, inmates of Plaszow concentration camp, have, since 1942, worked in Director Schindler’s business. Since Schindler took over management of the business, it was his exclusive goal to protect us from resettlement, which would have meant our ultimate liquidation. During the entire period in which we worked for Director Schindler he did everything possible to save the lives of the greatest possible number of Jews, in spite of the tremendous difficulties; especially during a time when receiving Jewish workers caused great difficulties with the authorities. Director Schindler took care of our sustenance, and as a result, during the whole period of our employment by him there was not a single case of unnatural death. All in all he employed more than 1,000 Jews in Krakow. As the Russian frontline approached and it became necessary to transfer us to a different concentration camp, Director Schindler relocated his business to Bruennlitz near Zwittau.

There were huge difficulties connected with the implementation of Director Schindler’s business, and he took great pains to introduce this plan. The fact that he attained permission to create a camp, in which not only women and men, but also families could stay together, is unique within the territory of the Reich. Special mention must be given to the fact that our resettlement to Bruennlitz was carried out by way of a list of names, put together in Krakow and approved by the Central Administration of all concentration camps in Oranienburg (a unique case). After the men had been interned in Gross-Rosen concentration camp for no more than a couple of days and the women for 3 weeks in Auschwitz concentration camp, we may claim with assertiveness that with our arrival in Bruennlitz we owe our lives solely to the efforts of Director Schindler and his humane treatment of his workers. Director Schindler took care of the improvement of our living standards by providing us with extra food and clothing. No money was spared and his one and only goal was the humanistic ideal of saving our lives from inevitable death.

It is only thanks to the ceaseless efforts and interventions of Director Schindler with the authorities in question, that we stayed in Bruennlitz, in spite of the existing danger, as, with the approaching frontline we would all have been moved away by the leaders of the camp, which would have meant our ultimate end. This we declare today, on this day of the declaration of the end of the war, as we await our official liberation and the opportunity to return to our destroyed families and homes. Here we are, a gathering of 1100 people, 800 men and 300 women.

All Jewish workers, that were inmates in the Gross-Rosen and Auschwitz concentration camps respectively declare wholeheartedly their gratitude towards Director Schindler, and we herewith state that it is exclusively due to his efforts, that we were permitted to witness this moment, the end of the war.

Concerning Director Schindler’s treatment of the Jews, one event that took place during our internment in Bruennlitz in January of this year which deserves special mention was coincidentally a transport of Jewish inmates, that had been evacuated from the Auschwitz concentration camp, Goleschow outpost, and ended up near us. This transport consisted exclusively of more than 100 sick people from a hospital which had been cleared during the liquidation of the camp. These people reached us frozen and almost unable to carry on living after having wandered for weeks. No other camp was willing to accept this transport and it was Director Schindler alone who personally took care of these people, while giving them shelter on his factory premises; even though there was not the slightest chance of them ever being employed. He gave considerable sums out of his own private funds, to enable their recovery as quick as possible. He organized medical aid and established a special hospital room for those people who were bedridden. It was only because of his personal care that it was possible to save 80 of these people from their inevitable death and to restore them to life.

We sincerely plead with you to help Director Schindler in any way possible, and especially to enable him to establish a new life, because of all he did for us both in Krakow and in Bruennlitz he sacrificed his entire fortune.

Bruennlitz, May 8, 1945.”

Oskar Schindler had a tough go of things after the war, passing away in October 1974 at the age of 66. His many pot-war ventures failed, and he was supported throughout his remaining days by Jewish organizations.

May he rest in peace.


Jewish Virtual Library
Schindler’s List


Saturday Fluffernutter: Bond Can’t Drive; Lohan Can’t Act; Aaron Shearer 1919 – 2008

April 26th, 2008
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The nutty stories from the fluffy world of celebrities.

Trouble on the James Bond “Quantum of Solace set. In the last movie, Daniel Craig’s first as the British spy, the one car chase lasts all of ten seconds before rolling. It appears the Craig/Bond hasn’t improved as a driver. This week saw two crashes on the set, the last one sending a stunt man to hospital. The first accident saw an Aston Martin DBS, the only one available for shooting, into Lake Garda in Northern Italy last Saturday.

Doesn’t “high-class call girl” imply a level of class anymore?

Since I started doing the Saturday Fluffernutter, this may be my favourite quote. Rupert Grint, who plays Harry Potter’s sidekick Ron Weasly, was allegedly discussing moving to Los Angeles, and decided he didn’t really want to as he would end up bumping into people like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan:

“I haven’t met Paris and don’t want to either. She and Lindsay are the type of girls you need to stay away from. I met Lindsay last summer and she talked about herself a lot. She said she was going to win an Oscar before she turns 25. I just kept thinking, ‘But you can’t act’.”

The pity of the thing is, it appears to not be true:

In response to articles published this week, Rupert Grint wishes it to be known that he has never met Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton and has not nor would he make any negative comment about them as has been stated. He has also never made any negative comment about Los Angeles. He will be taking action against those parties spreading these falsehoods.

He may hit like Mays and run like Hayes, but actor Wesley Snipes pays taxes like s*%t. He was sentenced to three years prison this week for failing to file a tax return between 1999 and 2001. Judge William Terrell Hodges gave snipes the maximum sentence saying it was important to create a deterrent.

Somehow I fail to see how society is better off with Wesley Snipes sitting in prison.

If you have ever picked up a nylon string guitar, slapped it on your riased left knee and tried to sort out the difference between apoyando and tirando, you have probably used an Aaron Shearer book: His instructional books “Classic Guitar Technique” are the most widely used in the past 40 years. Shearer, was director of the guitar program at Baltimore’s Peabody Conservatory and North Carolina School of the Arts. His former students include some of the finest guitarists in the world today, including Manuel Barrueco, David Tanenbaum, and David Starobin. This past Monday Aaron Shearer passed away, aged 88.

Bond James Bond, Classical Guitar, Fluffernutter

TTC Strike On

April 25th, 2008
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It is being reported tonight that 65% of Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) members have rejected the contract reached last weekend between the TTC and their union. The TTC will, surprisingly shut down operations at midnight tonight: anybody who went into Toronto for the night will be be out of luck for getting home after midnight:

We have assessed the situation and decided that we will not expose our members to the dangers of assaults from angry and irrational members of the public,” said Bob Kinnear, ATU Local 113 President.

The big issue seems to be that maintenance staff did not receive the infamous highest paid in the GTA clause that front line TTC staff received.

Question for Bob Kinnear: who is going to protect the public from the irrational members of your union?


UPDATE: A “visibly angered’ David Miller, mayor of Toronto, called the strike “unacceptable and irresponsible.” He asked Bob Kinnear to give 48 hours notice but was refused. Miller has already talked to Premier Dalton McGuinty about back to work legislation, and is now “reconsidering his opposition to the idea of having the province declare the TTC an essential service, like police or firefighters, to take away the union’s right to strike permanently.”

As I suggested earlier, it sounds as though many people got caught downtown, with rumours of the strike circulating in the club district, and others arriving at locked subway stations after their night out.

TTC strike, unions


April 25th, 2008
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If Pine Beetles were ruining Ontario’s forests, dooming Canada’s Kyoto efforts and releasing “five times the annual emissions from all the cars, trucks, trains and planes in Canada,” we’d just ban the little buggers.

Problem solved!

Hey, B.C. give Dalton a call, I’m sure he’s got extra copies of the paperwork all ready to go.

Silly Politicians

Paris under the Nazi’s

April 24th, 2008

A small fuss is being raised in Paris as a photographic exhibit of “the only major collection of colour pictures taken during the 1940 to 1944 occupation of Paris.” The pictures, by French photographer Andre Zucca, who worked for the Nazi propaganda magazine Signal, are of Parisians enjoying life in the French capital during the German occupation of Paris.

Controversy has been ongoing as many want the pictures banned. The Parisian government has ordered that city historians provide additional information on the images to visitors:

Visitors are now handed an information sheet, written in French, English and Spanish, explaining that Zucca “has opted for a vision that doesn’t show — or hardly shows — the reality of occupation and its tragic aspects.”

While on the subject of World War II and Nazi’s, next Monday marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who is credited with saving the lives of almost 1,200 Jews during the German occupation of Poland, and the subject of the 1993 movie Schindler’s List.

I think it would be a good weekend for a Steven Spielberg movie.

Paris, Pictures

Picture of the Day – Martin, Aston Martin

April 21st, 2008
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Saturday Fluffernutter: Danny Federici – 1950 – 2008

April 19th, 2008
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Three days after Warren Zevon passed away in 2003 Bruce Springsteen opened his Toronto Skydome show with the song My Ride’s Here. Standing centre-stage accompanied only by violinist Suzie Tyrell on his left and keyboardist Danny Federici playing accordion on his right, Springsteen paid tribute to an old friend, and began the best of six Springsteen shows I have seen. Two days ago, Federici himself succumbed to cancer. The last Springsteen show I saw occured last October, a mere month before Federici would leave the E-Street Band to pursue treatment for his melanoma.

Federici was with Springsteen almost from the beginning, making his first E-Street Band appearance on Springsteen’s 2nd release, 1973’s The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. He would spend the better part of the next 35 years playing organ, and occasional accordion, with them. But he turns up before that, in an earlier Springsteen band called Steel Mill


“Danny and I worked together for 40 years – he was the most wonderfully fluid keyboard player and a pure natural musician. I loved him very much…we grew up together.”
—Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen also has a video up of the last Federici performance, on March 20, 2008 in Indianapolis:

E Street Band keyboardist Danny Federici treated Indianapolis fans to a special appearance at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 20th. Danny’s performance was a profound expression of the healing power of music and community, all the more poignant in light of his death just a few weeks later. Here, from the Indie show, is an excerpt from one of Danny’s signature accordion performances on the rarely-played Sandy.

One of my favourite Springsteen moments, a video of him playing Fire at an acoustic benefit put on by Neil Young for The Bridge, “a San Fransisco – based program that would make available vocal computers for severely handicapped children who otherwise had no way of speaking.” (Glory Days, page 443). It is Springsteen on guitar and singing, Nils Lofgren on guitar and Federici on accordion:

RIP Danny Federici, and thanks for the memories.

I was staying at the Marriott
With Jesus and John Wayne
I was waiting for a chariot
They were waiting for a train
The sky was full of carrion
“I’ll take the mazuma”
Said Jesus to Marion
“That’s the 3:10 to Yuma
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here”

The Houston sky was changeless
We galloped through bluebonnets
I was wrestling with an angel
You were working on a sonnet
You said, “I believe the seraphim
Will gather up my pinto
And carry us away, Jim
Across the San Jacinto
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here”

Shelley and Keats were out in the street
And even Lord Byron was leaving for Greece
While back at the Hilton, last but not least
Milton was holding his sides
Saying, “You bravos had better be
ready to fight
Or we’ll never get out of East Texas tonight
The trail is long and the river is wide
And my ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here”

I was staying at the Westin
I was playing to a draw
When in walked Charlton Heston
With the Tablets of the Law
He said, “It’s still the Greatest Story”
I said, “Man, I’d like to stay
But I’m bound for glory
I’m on my way
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here
My ride’s here

Fluffernutter, RIP, Springsteen is still Boss

Saturday Fluffernutter: Betyonce’s wedding; Air Farce and Corner Gas; Moses and Rockford.

April 12th, 2008

The nutty stories from the fluffy world of celebrities.

Singer Beyonce and some guy called Jay-Z got married this week at Jay-Z’s Manhatten apartment amid rumours Beyonce may be pregnant. In fact she may be married, as the wedding was so hush hush nobody can prove it happened. It was a small quiet, private affair, with 100,000 cream coloured orchids flown in specially from Thailand, a 5’8″ wedding cake and two dresses, making the “apartment like a heaven, like a palace”. Of course, when you have a small wedding in a 9,000 sq foot apartment, you need flowers and cake to fill the space.
Bad couple of weeks for Canadian comedy lovers. First it was announced The Royal Canadian Air Farce would finish it’s 14 year run on New Years Eve. On Friday came the news that Corner Gas, Canada’s most successful sit-com, would be finished after the next season. Brett Butt, the guy who runs Corner Gas, both the show and the gas station, has decided to put an end to the show. Corner gas begins production on it’s 6th and final season on May 15th. As for the Air Farce, it’s news to me that it wasn’t cancelled 10 years ago, and stunning that it wasn’t cancelled 13½ years ago.

Farewell to Charlton Heston, who passed away this week aged 84. And a very happy birthday to James “Jim Rockford” Garner, who turned 80 this past week.


Happy 150th birthday…

April 11th, 2008
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Stephen Harper and the "Almighty Dollar"

April 11th, 2008

Prime Minister Harper’s much touted consumer protection law announcement this past Tuesday came with the usual editorial comments politicians throw into these things. For at least the 2nd time during his Prime Ministership Harper has uttered the pejorative phrase “the almighty dollar.” Here’s the quote, as given by the National Post’s lead editorial on Thursday:

He detailed new regulation that will “improve our safety and our health,” while getting tough with nasty companies “who care more about the almighty dollar than the safety of their customers.”

As I pointed out last time he used it, the almighty dollar is the kind of “Hargrovian” comment you would find Michael Moore using. It is a leftist phrase meant to demean scary capitalists like Harper.

After using the phrase twice, and after Tuesday’s legislation and yesterdays aerospace announcement, I’m beginning to think Jean Cretien was right all along, Harper has a scary hidden agenda – if your conservative.

pimply minions of bureaucracy, Stephen Harper

So Much For That Idea

April 10th, 2008

Yesterday at work I decided to put an end to At Home in Hespeler. It was done, had run it’s course, and was clearly not a growth operation. Furthermore, blogger fatigue set in some time ago, and it has been a monumental chore to sit and type something, anything for the better part of a year if not longer. Then when I got home I checked my usual blogs (see sidebar) and what did I find?

Richard “The Boy Named Sue” Warman has finally filed his statement of claim.

Canada’s busiest litigant, serial “human rights” complainant and — the guy Mark Steyn has called “Canada’s most sensitive man” — Richard Warman is now suing his most vocal critics — including me.

The suit names:

• Ezra Levant (famous for his stirring YouTube video of his confrontation with the Canadian Human Rights tribunal after he published the “Mohammed Cartoons”)
• (Canada’s answer to
• Kate McMillan of
• Jonathan Kay of the National Post daily newspaper and its in-house blog
• and me, Kathy Shaidle of

Well walking out on a day like that felt wrong and after a days thought, I’ve changed my mind. This fight is my fight too. It is a fight for free speech, it is a fight for the blogosphere in Canada. My small part is to keep talking, to accept the responsibility that comes with freedom of speech, and to add some money into the paypal accounts of the four blogs involved:

Kathy Shaidle of Five Feet Of Fury
Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals
Free Dominion
Ezra Levant

All four have donation buttons and could use the help right now.

It should also be noted that the National Post, and it’s writer Jonathan Kay have also been named, although I’m guessing they aren’t looking for donations for a defence fund.

For more

Buy a t-shirt, support the cause.
We are men, free and spirited men and we will not allow even the Dominion of Canada to trample on our rights.
Red Tory.
A bore and a war.
No Libs – Richard Warman’s pants.

freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy, human rights

Ostéphane Bin Dion

April 9th, 2008
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Every once in a while someone pulls out a TV camera or a microphone, and he rails about about some indignity, large or small, perceived or real, ancient history or yesterdays news. Threats are made, breath is held, then he crawls into some cave and hides.

Silly Liberals, Stephane Dion

Mark Steyn on Richard Evans

April 7th, 2008

Richard at Let Freedom Reign has a post today, via Mitchieville, about some same sex books being removed from a Bristol classroom due to Muslim complaints. As Richard says at the end of his post:

Can’t say that we didn’t see this coming…

I wonder if the gay activists will continue to show up and proudly wave their flags at the pro-terrorist rallys.

Note to Richard: I was going to comment at LFR, but couldn’t figure out commenting on your new format (which I like by the way). So here is what I was going to say:

As Mark Steyn wrote in the prologue to America Alone:

I’m a “social conservative.” When the mullahs take over, I’ll grow my beard a little fuller, get a couple of extra wives, and keep my head down. It’s the feminists and gays who’ll have a tougher time. (page xxvii, hardback edition, published 2006)

Like you said Richard, can’t say we didn’t see this coming.

Oh, and sorry Richard, Mark Steyn wasn’t really talking about you.

Mark Stein, mullahs

Sunday Digest (or Farewell to a Favourite)

April 6th, 2008
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A month or more ago I was cleaning up my sidebar and decided to take the link to The Road Hammer off due to inactivity. Prior to today, his last post was Dec 4th. Before that, we go to September, but really, steady, thoughtful blogging had stopped in mid-August.

I checked in today for the first time since removing him from my blogroll, and discover today was day zero: this morning The Road Hammer officially signed off.

Hammer provided quick political hits, some pop culture, plus book, movie and CD reviews. I always enjoyed his writing, and more so the style of his blog. The daily digests were a great way to state your piece without blowing out 2,000 words. And the cartoons, I loved the cartoons!

Hammer if you still stop by here, know that your work was enjoyed, and has been missed. Know also that I fully understand why you would do as you have, that I wish you well, and that Led Zeppelin was great.

fare thee well

Picture of the Day – The First Blue Jay of Spring (Non-Baseball)

April 5th, 2008
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