Thursday, May 26, 2016

World Grows Better, 1941 article

The World Grows Better 
Record of Inhumanities That Have Been Corrected Proves That Human Nature Has Improved  

Roger William Rule, In Liberty, 

from: The Milwaukie Journal, December 10, 1941, p. 17

A healthy perspective on history  gives convincing testimony that human naturehaschanged,andis changing. for the better. When Shakespeare wrote and Drake sailed every man carried a lethal weapon and went about prepared to kill or be killed. Nobles sported three foot swords, the lesser gentry 12 inch daggers or ponderous clubs. Cut-throats roamed through London, plundering and killing with impunity. The strong were boastful, drunken and murderous; the weak were voiceless and unchampioned.  

Care of the insane, the halt and the blind was unknown. Lunatics were chained in dungeons or exposed in cages to public view: sometimes they were thrown into a pit of snakes "to bring them back to their senses." Sadism disfigured the games of the day. At local fairs men fought each other with heavy clubs, the combat ending when one was beaten to insensibility.  

The cruelties of yesterday were  nowhere better exhibited than on the high seas. Herman Melville's "White Jacket" describes how in the United States navy a man could be flogged till his bones gleamed white. Publication of "White Jacket" in 1850 led our navy to abolish flogging, but merchant sailors were shredded piecemeal by the "cat" as late as 1870. 

More murderous yet was the practice of keelhauling, common among American whaling shipsduring the first half of the nineteenth century.  To keelhaul a man, you tied him to a rope that had been passed under the ship's bottom. His shipmates pulled at the other end or the rope, drugging the victim overboard under the keel and up the other side of the hull, while the barnacles lacerated him to ribbons. Sometimes, mercifully, he was drowned. 

As late as 1820 indentured servants were virtual slaves; years of hard labor had to be served before the wretch could win his freedom.  Meanwhile, the master could beat him, systematically starve him, and shoot him if he tried to escape. Popular punishment for minor offenses was the chopping of ears, maiming and branding. 

In the England of Charles Dickens the lot of the apprentice was  drudgery and frank physical abuse. Children of 4 worked in coal mines. In New York during Theodore Roosevelt's early manhood the "padrone" system enabled unscrupulous men to send small boys into the streets as bootblacks and peddlers, then collect their small earnings and herd the children into a filthy pen for the night. 

Imprisonment for debt was universal in the United States until 1820. In foul prisons debtors were locked in the same cell with murderers. thieves and degenerates; they starved, froze androtted together -- unless they could purchase favors from the warden. 
For all its jangling discords. human nature is becoming a mellower, better toned instrument.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Writer of paranoid nonsense shot down

We are living in the days of the wild west when it comes to the reliability of information. Soon, I hope, it will be very hard to get people to listen when you spout nonsense. Until that happens, it will be up to ordinary individuals to shoot down flying half baked disinformation that should never have taken wing in the first place. Here is an example.

Our local vegan restaurant shared a preposterous article on their website called: "Chew Gum? You Definitely Need to Read This. If you are still purchasing chewing gum from conventional manufacturers, STOP TODAY!" Here, a purveyor of paranoia posited that because formaldehyde is produced when you chew gum, we are being poisoned if we chew. I enjoyed the way that this fellow, one Allen Pearson, destroyed the argument.

Allen Pearson: "Formaldehyde is a natural by-product of many types of digestion in the body. Nothing unusual there. You might also find it curious to know that an ounce of tomato contains more methanol than a 12 pack of soda sweetened with aspartame. Try not to think so narrowly, the difference between a benign substance and a poison is in the dose. Water and oxygen are toxic just like aspartame." 

DK: "Yes, but water and oxygen is there by nature, and we consume that by the habits of nature, aspartame surely not, they force us to consume that!"

Allen Pearson: If you think natural means healthy, I invite you to go on a walk through the woods and snack on every mushrooms and berry you find. You'll find quite quickly that nature is more likely to kill you than any man made substance. 

DK: "People lived many years healthy in past with all that dangerous nature things and survive. Now we have the sick people like never before that because off mushrooms or berries..?! No ... farmaco-industry of killing is developing and finish the job. Dangerous is everywhere can slip on soap and be killed in bath..not to wash ourselves ?!...but the main difference is when somebody consciously put the poison in our life..(food, air, water)...that's the big difference..."

Allen Pearson: Strange that our life expectancy has done nothing but continue to rise with all of this poison being intentionally put into our food! Maybe the cause of more sickness is more people, living longer, thanks to modern agriculture and medicine. 

DK: "Ok, lets finish with and your family start (to) drink Coca Cola Zero from now and many years in the future....just dose you like...little, but non stop, every day...if you do this, give that to your children...not dangerous doses, cup of glasses, I will shut up and apologize (to) you..."

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Dunnville's Unique Museum

Our Unique Museum

Submitted to the Dunnville Free Press, 1 May, 2016

On April 27 the Dunnville and District Heritage Association (Motto: "There is no dust on this history") held its second public talk this year, entitled: "The No. 6 Service Flying Training School." Featured speaker was the new curator there, Peter Gay, son of Flight Sergeant H.E. Gay, who underwent flight training at that facility during the Second World War. His father had told him tales about his adventures. After he died, Peter Gay researched his father's war record and discovered our No. 6 RCAF Dunnville Museum. Now he is its vice-president. 

Gay discussed the role of the training program in the grand strategy of Winston Churchill and Prime Minister Mackenzie King. Canadians should be proud, he said, of the rapid implementation of a program that took advantage of our safe distance from Europe by training the flight crews for the air forces that defeated Hitler. Over 17,000 aircraft were used and thirty thousand pilots were trained, of whom over eleven thousand were Canadians. The entire training facility here was built in less than a year, under harrowing conditions of mud and cold.  

He shared many of the stories told to him by the old timers and relatives who regularly visit the museum from around the world. For example, sports played a great role in life on the base. The men of the school actually won the Grey Cup. They held a hockey league with its own version of the Stanley Cup." The base featured a large victory garden. Even the camp mascot, whose name was "Rochester," a Labrador retriever has his own memorial stone on site. The museum is currently installing new LED hanger lights and will soon open a new display area and entrance way. One of its planes that crashed in Lake Erie will soon be salvaged and restored.  

Gay described its rapid progress of this Museum after its opening in 2003. As a flight school it had a huge impact on our small town during the war. Many visitors to the Museum and members of the audience recalled the airplane flyovers. Many had relatives who worked there, and attended dances and other events. Some played as children in a derelict bomber abandoned in a local woodlot. 

There are ambitious plans to expand and restore the entire site to its original wartime condition. In many ways, it is unique. It is the only part of a vast training program to have been preserved relatively intact. This part of our Canadian heritage was almost lost, however. When the flying school was closed down in 1945, the buildings turned into a storage depot and eventually sold to become a turkey farm -- to the great resentment of the veterans who had trained there.

The Heritage Society plans three talks for the fall. A local explorer visits in September, we will hear about native poet Pauline Johnson in October and in November will be the conclusion of a series on the fates of Dunnville soldiers in World War One.

These and other photos for this article are available at: