Ponder John Ware

Following the George Zimmerman verdict my thoughts turned to considerable ponders of the differences between the United States and Canada .Slap you in the face points like gun legislation, healthcare, employment standards or education have been beaten to death. I searched my mind for just the right angle to approach the subject from a different perspective.  The name John Ware kept floating to the surface; not one to discount a gut feeling, John Ware stands as my attempt to clear rather muddy ideological waters.

John Ware was born a slave on the cotton plantations of South Carolina.  A free man after the civil war he made his way to Texas, finding work as a ranch hand. In 1882 he was part of a cattle drive moving 3000 cattle across the border to the North West Cattle Co. Bar U Ranch outside Calgary Alberta. Ware decided to stay in Canada; in 1884 he found work at Quorn Ranch, and put in charge of raising horses destined for the English market. The legend of John Ware was born.

In 1885 Ware took part in a massive cattle round-up from Fort Macleod  to the Montana border. An article in the Macleod Gazette wrote “not only one of the best natured and most obliging fellows in the country, but he is one of the shrewdest cow men, and the man considered pretty lucky who has him to look after his interests. The horse is not running the prairie which John cannot ride”

Hard work and saving every penny allowed Ware to register his own cattle brand; by 1890 he had his own ranch. Two years later he married Mildred Lewis.Their first home was wiped out in the flood of 1902, they resettled with their five children near Brooks, Alberta. In 1905 Mildred died of Pneumonia, the next fall Ware died when thrown from his horse after it tripped in a Badger hole.

Held in Calgary, the funeral of John Ware was the largest in history up to that point. The minister is quoted as saying – “John Ware was a man with beautiful skin. Every human skin is as beautiful as the person who wears it. To know John Ware was to know a gentleman – one of Gods gentlemen”

Ask yourself, in what corner of 1905 America would a black cowboy have received this tribute?


John Ware stamp

John Ware stamp issued by Canada Post in 2012

Secret Canadian Research

As if the legacy of Canadian residential schools wasn’t enough; a sickening new chapter in this horror story has surfaced. In 1942 researchers visiting native reservations in northern Manitoba reported malnourished populations. Rather than move to improve conditions, the Canadian government funded research on malnutrition using these “captive” test subjects.

Ian Mosby from the University of Guelph discovered “vague references to studies conducted on Indians” while researching documents for development of health policy in Canada.It seems the government conducted experiments into the need for vitamins, jumping on the opportunity to use already malnourished children as test subjects.  Aboriginal children across the country were “starved” to create a “baseline” for changes that occurred when proper nutrition became available. The first experiment in 1942 was conducted on 300 residents of Norway House Cree, 125 were given vitamin supplements. At the time residents survived on 1500 calories a day – well under the 2000 calories recommended to maintain body weight. By 1947 tests were being conducted at residential school children across the country. Children had milk rations cut in half – at one school for 2 years before increasing it to normal, and documenting their findings. Some schools gave half the children supplements of vitamins, iron, and iodine; another school withheld vitamin B1 to create a baseline for when it was added. Yet another school gave no supplements and minimal food to create a baseline. Regardless of school – dental care was denied as researchers felt it would muddy baselines.


Anyone who doesn’t know about Canada’s residential school shame should read this post….


I can’t say this story shocks me, history has proven it sucks to be an aboriginal person of any country.My ponder lies more with the hope my government does the right thing by acknowledging how messed up our thinking was. Stephen Harper needs to “man up” and start dealing with simmering anger from our aboriginal population.

Lester Chambers Attacked

I’m going to let this video do most of the talking. Taken at the Hayward-Russell City Blues Festival in Hayward California shortly before the Trayvon Martin verdict. Seventy three year old blues legend Lester Chambers dedicated Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” to Trayvon Martin. Without warning, 43 year old Dinalynn Andrews Potter climbed on stage, knocking Chambers down while beating him. It’s hard to make out in the clip but witnesses reported her shouting “it’s all your fault”. Potter has been charged with assault – Chambers was treated in hospital.

While completely understanding American perspectives – not wanting to stir up trouble; I find it fascinating the incident received little or no coverage in the U.S. Most news coverage comes from the UK or foreign press. I ponder how many Americans were even aware of this racial out burst.

Federal Department of Well Being

The other night I opened my post on Scientology with a paragraph about ” sensible Canada.” Standing behind my opinion and reasons for this assertion isn’t difficult; my dilemma stems from use of the word “sensible” – I would like to change that to “reasonable” – the examples I gave where reasonable in my mind. There is nothing “sensible” about a nation with a Department of Well Being. Forget the fact it sounds like Communist propaganda; in many ways that would be easier to swallow than the mission to make Canadian federal workplaces “”inclusive to all, offensive to none”.

Susan Bonhart heads the Dept. of Well Being, her goal to include all while offending none, might just have blown my mind. Don’t get me wrong; inclusion is good, offensive is bad, yet much like the distinction between opinion and rant, where do you draw the line? At what point does it become silly?

I’ll go out on a limb by saying this is silly enough to force an amendment from “sensible” to “reasonable” – and only reasonable on a case by case basis. My Canada is nuts and I can’t stop laughing. Tomorrow I may be shaking my head but for now laughter fuels this ponder.

Listening to CBC rradio this afternoon I caught an interview with Susan Bonhart. I have to say, I kind of liked her. She came across as a grade 3 substitute teacher, trying to win over the class with exaggerated enthusiasm. Obviously a woman who takes her job seriously, scary as this may seem, I believe she means well. Good intentions and earnest delivery aside, her message was just plain silly.

The Department of Well Being was formed to govern practices for federal employees. Under the direction of Bonhart these phrases are banned in the federal workplace.”bless you”, “for heavens sake”, “oh my God”, and “cheers”. “Bless you” infers “God bless you”, is offensive as it marginalizes with the message “I believe in God, my God” When a government employee sneezes at work the suggested replacement for banned bless you is – “Oh no, I heard that”. Bonhart reasoned this response let the sneezer know they where heard and showed empathy for their sneeze. Also acceptable is the wave of a hand or pat on the back; she recommends using hand sanitizer after back contact.

“For heavens sake” is deemed offensive as it “opens up debate of an afterlife”. “Oh my God” or” OMG” implies “if you don’t share the same God as I do you have no right to be surprised” , her suggested replacements -” wow”,” oh”,” well, huh.” “Cheers” offends simply because it belongs in a bar not the office. My drive ended before any further enlightenment. If you have 5 minutes to spare, listening to the audio clip on this link will explode your head; well worth the lost few minutes of your life.


When Does Opinion Become Rant?

At work today one of my friends told me he saw the title of the post I wrote last night – “Scientology – You Don’t Fool Me”, and didn’t read it because he thought it would be another “rant”. His disclosure hit me on the head like a hammer – I rant?  In my mind I have strong opinions and always try to give reasons or facts to back them up. Sure, I visit topics of religion quite often – but rant, this was disturbing.

In my mind a rant is what happens when I comment on a post about abortion or sex abuse within the church and am told to “go kill some babies” or asked ” does loving Jesus make a man gay”. To me a rant just doesn’t make sense; it’s an eruption of emotion based on bias and designed to be hurtful. I see a rant as opinion without thought or regard.

  1. rant


    Speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way.
    A spell of ranting; a tirade.

    Pondering “rant” all day has failed to clarify things or make me feel any better.Rant is such an ugly word; it eludes to ignorance, short tempers, and bias. The thought I could be perceived as any of those things is driving me out of my mind. Strong opinions certainly fuel some of my posts – the idea it might be viewed as ranting and raving has stopped me dead in my tracks.

    1. o·pin·ion


      1. A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
      2. The beliefs or views of a large number or majority of people about a particular thing.
      view – judgement – judgment – mind – notion – idea

      In my pondering mind the “opinions” I write about are simply that. My point of view backed up by my reasoning, facts, and hopefully points to think about. Not in a million years had it crossed my mind that I may have ranted. The holy crap moment came when I realized those people who I considered “ranters” probably feel the same way.

      My question is – when does opinion become rant? Does opinion become rant if you disagree with the point of view, or it contradicts your morals? Does “rant” rear it’s ugly head when you visit the same topic over again, or does “rant” simply mean you don’t want to read about a certain topic?  When does “opinion” cross the line to become “rant”? Are rant and opinion strictly reserved for judgement by a reader? I need help on this matter – my world is in tatters.

Scientology – You Don’t Fool Me.

Canada is a sensible place; far from perfect, yet undeniably sensible in matters of gun legislation, the death penalty, same sex marriage, political contributions, and religion. Our border guards were only issued fire arms a few years ago, security guards are not allowed to carry weapons, and other than a hunting rifle – forget it. Canada’s last execution took place in 1962, by 1966 capital punishment was limited to the murder of on duty police officers and prison guards. In 1976 capital punishment was removed from Canada’s criminal code and replaced with a mandatory 25 year sentence. Same sex marriage has been legal since 2005, although some provinces recognized it much earlier. Strict caps are placed on political contributions,  business are not allowed to contribute to election campaigns, and lobbyist is not a profession. Canada drops the religious ball from time to time; a prime example would be the polygamist colony of Bountiful, yet sensibly refuses to recognize Scientology.

This might explain the flyer Scientology put in my mail box today. Lacking official recognition in Canada; therefore denied non- profit or tax exempt status, this business is free to show their true colours. Without the burden of pretending their “free personality test” fulfils America’s requirement for a church to prove they have a “mission”, they can drop the façade.  L. Ron Hubbard’s obvious “joke” is something any country who recognizes and rolls out the tax exempt carpet, should be ashamed of.

The front side of the flyer showed the cover of a book titled Clear Mind. Over a background picture of lush green and a waterfall were the words “clear body clear mind.com.”. Flipping it over I found an order form asking me to send 24.00 per copy for this purification program to improve IQ and personality. Prominently displayed Visa and Mastercard icons were larger than two before and after graphs which I can only ponder must have represented personality and IQ.

“If you want to make a little money write a book, if you want to make a lot start a religion” – L. Ron Hubbard

Science fiction writer Hubbard started Scientology in 1954, their “bible” is Dianetics,The Modern Science of Mental Health, and name their “deity” the Supreme Being. They claim the human mind is restricted by subconscious thoughts, needing to be freed from negative thoughts called “engrams, under the “guidance” of an “auditor” the mind is cleared to release an everlasting spirit (aka – thetan). Or if you prefer – my favourite episode of South Park explaining humans are actually the spirits of a lost race from the planet Xenu.


Since 1993 Scientology has basked in tax exempt glory in America.  Taiwan, Sweden, South Africa, Slovenia, New Zealand, Australia, Croatia, Austria, and Argentina also recognize the Supreme Being of Xenu. Countries like Israel and France consider it a cult, while Russia, when slapped on the wrist by the European Human Rights Commission for refusing to recognize Scientology retaliated by banning books written by Hubbard as “extremist material”.

I’m no expert on religion but was born with a head on my shoulders. This “pyramid scheme” would be comical if the reality wasn’t so astounding. Americans wail about taxes then look away as these snake oil salesmen laugh all the way to the bank. I could care less what Tom Cruise or John Travolta do with their money – that said, come on people! Tax exempt status for marketing a book to improve IQ and personality? Has the world gone mad?