Hey, Republican Party faithful, have you seen the big light in the daytime sky? It’s pretty damn bright and I am very sorry to be one to tell you but it is coming for you. Straight down in megaton fashion. And when it lands —


You see, scientists figure it will have a large effect on the entire health and well-being of the party planet and for a long time. They say that it will land; rather, collide with the surface of Earth and ecological calamity will result. …

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor

On Sunday, December 1, 2018, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei Technologies executive and Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, at Vancouver International Airport. She was enroute to Mexico from Asia. Ms. Meng was detained at the behest of the United States government following an extradition request. A warrant for her arrest was issued in a New York court on August 22, 2018, alleging that she had lied to American banks in order to circumvent American economic sanctions against Iran.

Ms. Weng appeared in court in Vancouver on December 7 where the allegations of fraud were presented. A flurry of activity involving Chinese…

On November 3, U.S. Election Day 2020, Americans will have the opportunity of a lifetime. Whatever the results, they will get to decide on the future of the nation unlike any other election in it’s 400 year history and set the country upon a path never before taken.

This is a electoral mandate for the ages. There is much at stake. Will Americans vote and decide to keep their democracy intact, such as it is today, or elect to hand over their freedoms to an autocracy instead? Will every American who wants to vote be able to? It stands to…

(From your neighbour up north)

Map of the Pandemic

Well, neighbour, it’s time for that back yard chat over the fence. Fact is, there are a number of things to talk about but let’s deal with the pandemic and your nation’s complete and total inability to manage it and to stave it off. Truth is, it’s kind of pissed off most of us here in Canada.

The damned virus came ashore in both of our nations at about the same time early in the year and that is where the comparison ends. Our politicians and public officials, including health experts and scientists, actually got…

As seen in Asheville, North Carolina, August 2019

Unable, unwilling, uninspired, uncaring, is he, the 45th President of the United States of America. Not to mention unfaithful and faithless, uncouth and unsympathetic. He even said he might be “unnice”. He has ushered in a great unease across the land.

The plain truth is this — the U.S.A. is more ‘un-united’ than ever these days and has become the de facto Divided States of America. Mr. Trump, as POTUS, has failed his moral obligation to bring the nation together in this time of pandemic and civil unrest and distress following the killing of George Floyd. It is bewildering and…

Working on the railroads (Part 7) The Hunter Effect

Ewing Hunter Harrison

Following is a story that’s been in the making for 20 years. It’s special to me — an edition from my memories about a working life spent in the railroad industry. The story ahead of you is pretty much about one person.

A glowing testimonial, a sumptuous tribute, an effusive expression of devotion; it is not. Rather, it’s an indictment of sorts. Truth is, I despised the man and everything he stood for. I refer to the late Ewing Hunter Harrison, born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1944. He died in December…

Working on the railroads (Part 6) The Management Years

The management era — pretty much 30 years of swimming upstream.

At the conclusion of “Part 5”, I mentioned that I would provide an article on old time railroad hand signals and some of jargon in the industry in this instalment. I have changed my mind and will instead delve into a more meaningful and meaty dissertation about a career in rail operations management.

Overall, if I were to give a grade on the effectiveness of management behaviour and performance that I have witnessed over many years I would be hard pressed to bestow a mark better than 7 out of 10…

Working on the railroads (Part 5) Safety First

Busy CN Lynn Creek Yard, North Vancouver, with Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and Pioneer Grain Elevators in the background.

A role in the running trades; as engineman/driver, conductor, brakeman, trainman and switchman is fraught with danger. While there is no end in recorded railway history of accidents, mishaps, catastrophes, fatalities and other related events it is a great career and rewarding in many ways. True, there is shift work aplenty, fatigue that drapes the railwayman and woman at times like a parachute enfolding over them.

Working on the railroads (Part 4) Northern B.C. — a sequel

I was hard pressed to finish Part 3, as I thought I might lose the entire effort when I received a message from my friends at Medium advising me that they could no longer save my project. (Truth to be told, I had probably edited it far too many times) I therefore published it with pieces missing so here is the rest of it.

Here, again, is the map illustrating the territory from Jasper, Alberta, and into British Columbia, across the great continental divide and onto Prince Rupert, a distance of 722 rail miles

Greg Spaetgens

Married, retired, and a grandfather enjoying life in Northern British Columbia.

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