Day: February 27, 2017

Not all Veterans wore uniforms
Memoirs

Not all Veterans wore uniforms

Story by Brian Purdy Son of Gordon Purdy Through the worst years of the Great Depression my father slogged away, first getting a degree in chemistry, then a post-graduate degree. That led to a job in a chemistry lab, then marriage to Mom, and his first child—me. That was his situation in July 1941, a time when German bombers were dropping incendiary bombs on London and setting the city ablaze. Dad was on loan to the Canadian government from Imperial Oil, and worked in the Sarnia lab. He was developing a formula to fireproof the asphalt shingles on London rooftops, so they would not burn even if hit by a thermite bomb. In order to test his compound, Dad had to manufacture the ingredients of a German thermite bomb in the lab. He was stirring the ingredients in a mortar with a pestle w...
Night terrors
Artifacts

Night terrors

In moonless nights, silent as clouds, Zeppelins floated over Britain, the original stealth bombers, raining destruction on military targets and unsuspecting civilians. They flew so high it took planes of the day an hour to climb to their height, and when they got there, their bullets just poked holes in the air bags. Initially, Germany’s First World War airships provoked helpless outrage. Zeppelin crews called themselves Knights of the Air; the British called them baby killers. High-altitude bombing by the German navy’s Zeppelins and the army’s Schütte-Lanz airships was meant not only to damage factories, but to sap the Allies’ will for war. The second goal went unmet, but Zeppelin raids destroyed an estimated one-sixth of British munitions output to 1916. But by the fall of 191...
57 is the new 40
Humour Hunt

57 is the new 40

One night a week, from early April until late October, about 90 great guys from all walks of life sneer at Old Man Time and play ball hockey on an outdoor pad in a quiet Toronto neighbourhood. Tuesday nights, residents in the area can hear the familiar sounds of our games reverberating throughout the park. You know, a slap shot, a referee’s whistle, the chirping between the benches, and the beep, beep, beep of the defibrillator (kidding… so far). And Wednesday mornings my neighbours can hear the familiar sounds of a man in full-on anguish and agony as I engage in tense negotiations with my muscles in the hopes of eventually hauling myself out of bed. It wasn’t always like this. You see, I’m now 57. And before any of you claim that there’s nothing unusual about middle-aged men playi...

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