Sunday, June 14, 2015

Shrine Hospitals for Children

Those reading this not in North America may not know or understand what Shriners are. Even many on this continent only see the small groups or “patrols” that will often appear in parades or at community functions and will only understand them as the “old guys” riding motorcycles (full size and min), small or model versions of a Model A (tin Lizzies) or as clowns. These groups are designed to heighten awareness of the Shrine and to offer some entertainment but they are not the primary function of the club.
            Yes, the Shrine is a club made up of members who have become members of the Antient Order of Free and Accepted Masons. Freemasons can be found through-out the world but the Shrine is a club unique to North America. The primary function is to assist children (and their families) who require specialized treatment for orthopedic and burn surgery.
            There are Shriner’s Hospitals throughout North America usually associated with a sister facility. We only have one here in Canada, in Montreal, which is affiliated with the Montreal Children’s Hospital. The Shrine Hospital (Shrine funded) contains some specialized equipment and personnel as does the Children’s Hospital (Provincial and Federal funding) and the two institutions share this expertise and equipment.
            Here in Western Canada the various Shrine clubs are primarily concerned with transportation and access to Shrine Hospitals in the US. Most of the patients here in British Columbia, for example are bussed or flown to Portland or Seattle depending on their specific needs.
            Lately I have seen tables showing the amounts as a percentage of charitable donations various groups direct toward their actual advertised function and how much goes toward administration. In the case of the Shrine the administration – all Shriners – are all volunteers.
            The following are excerpts from the Shriner’s Public Relations Voice for May.


June is National Safety Month, and the perfect time for Shriners Hospitals for Children to launch its annual On Track for a Safe Summer campaign. This campaign showcases our commitment to keeping kids safe and injury-free, and will continue throughout the summer. With the support of NASCAR driver, Shriner, father and national spokesperson for the campaign, David Ragan, we hope to educate the public about the important role our health care system plays in children’s health and their overall safety when participating in summer activities. The On Track for a Safe Summer campaign combines public service announcements, community outreach, media opportunities and local activation throughout the summer to help parents reduce the risks of life threatening and life-changing injuries to children.

 Three-year-old Sapphyre Johnson and her new puppy, Lt. Dan, have been tugging at the heartstrings of many people throughout the world recently, making them overnight celebrities. Sapphyre, who has been a patient at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Greenville since she was 3 months old, and her new furry friend, have been featured on USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, the Today show website, Huffington Post, New York Post, BuzzFeed, the Rachel Ray Show and more, bringing far-reaching exposure and attention to both the Greenville Shriners Hospital and the Shriners Hospitals health care system. When a breeder found she had a puppy born without a paw, she decided to give the hospital a call in hopes that he could become the special friend of a patient there, and a staff member instantly knew Sapphyre would be perfect for him. Born with only two fingers on each hand and one toe on each foot due to a congenital condition, Sapphyre had both her feet amputated as a baby so that she would be able to eventually walk with prosthetics. Sapphyre and Lt. Dan, named after the Forrest Gump character, formed an instant bond, and quickly became inseparable. Their story first appeared in the Greenville News and GreenvilleOnline before it took off nationally, and then internationally.

On May 8, Shriners Hospitals for Children was featured in an episode of the popular television show Hawaii Five-0, which aired on CBS. The heartwarming scene was filmed at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Honolulu, and provided a great opportunity for national exposure. During the show’s season finale, Danny, played by actor Scott Caan, learned he has a son with an autoimmune disease and came to the hospital to see if he was a bone marrow match. The scene showed the hospital's beautiful building with its sign and colorful lobby. The Silent Messenger statue and two Fezzy bears were also seen by viewers. To view the entire episode, please visit cbs.com/shows/hawaii_five_0/.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Great Liquor War with Partners and Homesteader

            As I’ve mentioned here and in other forms I’ve been working toward the release, or perhaps re-release of my first novel, “The Great Liquor War” and things are moving along. I have had another edit done and its surprising how many errors slipped through the three edits done the first time it was printed. However, done now.
            Once GLW is out, possibly by June or July I’ll have three available with “Partners” and “Homesteader”. I also have “Jake’s Justice” ready and a collection of short stories.
            I had thought about using the same cover as the first time. It is/was a sketch done by Marilyn Meikle and though it does not show liquor, or the two police forces involved in the disagreement it does show another important character in the story which is a railroad steam engine and a depot with a man standing between the two holding a rifle. It is also a cover I like very much. However I only have a copy of it as a document, which can not be manipulated to any degree and Marilyn is far too busy to attempt another one.
            As I mentioned in an earlier post I’ve been looking at a couple of other possibilities. One is a train and the other is two men holding a bottle from opposite sides. I have a designer/artist/editor extraordinaire (www.tracywandling.com) working on a new cover and should have something soon.
            A couple of ideas:





            Several people have said in a variety of places, “Why read fiction when it isn’t real?”
            There are several answers to that question. Sometimes, perhaps more often than not, a fictionalized version of events communicates a better understanding than the “facts” surrounding that event. One of the reasons for that is that fiction is often presented in such a way that it requires the reader to “fill out” some descriptions or actions with their own imagination. This allows that reader the opportunity to “picture” what is “happening” (or isn’t, really) in a way that person can better understand.
            As I’ve said many times, a reader of fiction can be their own director/cinematographer/actor with the development of some imagination. Make your own movie in your head.
            Studies have supported this contention and shown other benefits. It has been shown, for example that those who read fiction show far more empathy for and understanding of others.
            More about that at another time, but for now, click on the book covers over to the right to be taken to my SBPRA web page or go to www.amazon.com/books and type in one of the titles or D.M. McGowan. There you can have look inside to see what you think.
            I have a couple of reviews on the back cover of “The Great Liquor War” but a new one is from R. Hadland.
“Anyone who has ridden a horse, or enjoys the history of our pioneer era, will get a lot of enjoyment out of this story.”
From A.G.Wayne Ezeard, author of “Where Eagles Soar”:

“This book is a must read. Well researched and written with an accuracy of historical events. Highly Entertaining.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Learning New Tricks and an old novel

Last October I took a trip down to Red Deer, AB and spent 2 weeks trying to absorb information presented by two NACE (type that into Google and then click on NACE International and it will be explained) Level 3 Inspectors. Despite having been away from the business of fabrication for 28 years I managed, somehow, to pass the Level 1 course the first week and then, lo and behold, Level 2 the next week. I am therefore a NACE Certified Level 2 Coating Inspector.
            Just goes to prove you CAN teach an old dog a new trick.
            There is a need apparently since some of the coating manufacturers are finding that their products may or may not have been applied as recommended. If they should fail and item they are supposed to protect fails who is responsible, the fabricator, applicator or manufacturer? Was material substandard before fabrication?
            On the first day of the first course, during the introduction to Level 1 an explanation of Corrosion and its costs were outlined. For example, a 1998 study shows that 3.1% of the US gross domestic product was lost to corrosion. As a percentage that doesn’t sound like a great deal but expressed as a dollar value the loss was $276 billion.
Worse than the cost factor, however is the safety factor. Pipelines often contain volatile materials, sometime in a gaseous state. They are usually built for several decades of service with engineered safety factors far in excess of the expected lifetime. Despite those built in safety factors they often fail and it is most often due to corrosion which might be caused by failure of the pipe or the coating or unexpected changes in atmospheric conditions.
So the need for coating inspectors in manufacturing, shipping, both off-shore and on-shore petroleum production, in the transport of those petro-chemical products, in bridges and in critical concrete construction.
The information required to be a NACE Level 2 Inspector is not the type of thing I use in writing a novel, singing a song or hauling Diesel around the country. However I’m looking forward to using that information and my Positector.

Speaking of novels, I’m hoping my first novel, “The Great Liquor War” will be available once again by June or July. Right now I have Tracy Wandling (www.tracywandling.com/) working on a new cover design.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Discovery of a New Element


I must first state that I did not write this.
I must then admit that I don't know who did or where it came from.
I was scrolling through some things from long ago and there it was.
Whoever wrote it, I thought it was funny, brilliant and, saddly, accurate.
Scientists at CERN in Geneva have announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element Governmentium (Gv). It has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces coiled morons which are surrounded by vast quantities of right-on-like particles called peons.
Since Governmentium has no electrons or protons, it is inert. However, it can be detected because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. Even a tiny amount of Governmentium causes a reaction which normally takes only a few days to complete to four years or more to finish or resolve.
Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2- 6 years. It does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium 's mass will actually increase over time since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientist to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical point of concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.
When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons. Vast sums of money are consumed in the exchange yet no other by-products are produced.
 
By the way, here is another page you can check out;
along with the videos and interviews off to the right.
 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

David Milton McGowan: Remembering trips on the Heritage Highway

David Milton McGowan: Remembering trips on the Heritage Highway: I just found – through some help on FB – a link to some great videos of the country around Tumbler Ridge , BC . A couple of years ago I...

Remembering trips on the Heritage Highway


I just found – through some help on FB – a link to some great videos of the country around Tumbler Ridge, BC.
A couple of years ago I was going up there once a week or more but now don’t get up there much at all. These pictures will give you some idea of why I enjoyed the trip and why I elect to be in this country.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Corporal Nathan Cirillo, October 22, 2014


On October 22, 2014 a man shot one of Canada’s soldiers who at the time stood guard over the memorial for those who have defended our country and way of life and whose sacrifice is otherwise not recorded. He was also representing those men and women who have died to maintain the country and the freedom its citizens enjoy. As a serving member of Canadian forces he also represented those who did serve, survived and returned to life as a citizen and part of the fabric of this great country.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo. If you are a Canadian he represented YOU.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo. If you live in a country where you have the opportunity to express your views, however small and fleeting or large and long-standing that opportunity may be, then he represented YOU.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo. An attack on him was an attack on civilization.

Kevin Vickers, Sergeant-at-Arms within the Canadian Parliament buildings shot the attacker and brought to a halt this atrocity.

In Canada we have some of the best armourers and security training personnel to be found anywhere in the world. We have people with the fortitude – the “parts” if you will – and training to handle any situation that they may face.

Therefore the fact that Mr. Vickers stopped the attack before it became a massacre does not particularly surprise me.

The fact that Mr. Vickers had the training necessary does not surprise me too much since he is old enough to have, perhaps, received proper training such as is not usually enjoyed by some entering the security professions in the last few years. Perhaps he has had time to privately and at his own expense augment whatever initial training he did receive.

What does surprise me is that with the illogical and antiquated attitude toward firearms that is usually broadcast by Canada's traditional media Mr. Vickers was not only allowed to carry a firearm it was actually loaded and useful. I do expect our politicians will continue to spread false, misleading and un-supported information about firearms because they see such statements bringing votes ... even though it is obvious some of their lives were saved by a man with a firearm who knew how to use it.

I do hope a few real people (those who actually contribute thereby assuring the country grows and prospers) remember this event the next time firearms are vilified.

But more important, remember Corporal Nathan Cirillo.

RememberSergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers.

The attacker? Forget him. He was either a fool who believed lies or he was unbalanced ... probably both. His only contribution was providing a focal point to show how important real Canadians can be to each other and the continuation of the country.