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Michael Johnson

Old Contemptible
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Blog Comments posted by Michael Johnson

  1. In the summer of 1972 I became bored with going to the cottage with my parents; I was shy and never met any girls there (many were from Buffalo NY and I was in Toronto, so a non-starter there) - I resolved to find a summer job next year.

    After seeing a newspaper item of a young man being awarded "Guard of the Year" at Old Fort York, I applied and was hired.  We drilled with old Snider-Enfields, there were Martini-Henrys in the barracks racks, and we were issued repro Brown Besses (the quality wasn't great - once when mine was in for repairs I was issued an original Bess).

    I started off collecting British military longarms, before I finished university.  Badges were an adjunct. Then came medals, which became my focus. The photo is me in 1975 with a SMLE and CFA uniform.

    My collection does not give me happiness - I am old enough to have learned that things can only give you pleasure.  But that's enough.

    Plus I am a fairly talented researcher, which has enabled me to bag some "sleeper" items.



  2. I hate gardening as well.

    My wife and I fill many, many bags as we try to eradicate invasive species.  Unfortunately we find that when we put them out to the street, there are some dog owners who feel that their plastic bags of dog crap qualify as "garden waste" and so deposit them to save the hassle of carrying them home for disposal.


  3. "In my defence and as I pointed out to my father there were no witness to the alleged explosion; none that were over the age of majority that was. So really it was simple hear say that I was anywhere near this unfortunate set of coincidences, and therefore inadmissible as evidence.  It surely couldn’t be that small bit of misadventure and besides I was the injured party in that I served a period of grounding for an offence that the prosecution (aka parents) failed to prove, due to lack of evidence, and then denied me an appeal process."

    As the son of a Q.C., in the years before I attended Law School, I soon learned that although he practised corporate law, my father was no slouch at cross-examination.  My elder son (who just wrote his Bar Exams) still thinks he can argue law with me.  This Court is not bound by the laws of evidence, or indeed any laws.  It is pure "palm tree justice".


  4. I was spared that - two boys - who still have had their challenges.

    I grew up at the ROM (we were about four blocks away) - I remember when I wan't tall enough to see into those table displays, and had to stop for a rest before the next set of galleries.  I also remember studying Classics at the University of Toronto - and all the classical galleries were closed.

    I'm coming to terms, barely, with the fact that I'm now a senior - albeit a working one.


  5. Incredible as it might seem to some liberals, other religions aren't offended by Christians celebrating Christmas.  I saw a posting where a Sikh had a large sign wishing us a Merry Christmas.

    My wife retired recently after teaching several years up in Brampton, which is heavily East Indian.  Her school was the only publicly-funded girl's school in either the public or the Catholic Board, and so had a very large number of Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims.  After she did "A Man for All Seasons" - St. Thomas More - with her English class, one Sikh girl reported that she had attended her temple and told them the story, as someone who had put his faith first, although it cost him his life.  A Muslim girl chewed out the chaplain for having other books above the Bible on his shelf - "That's your holy book - nothing should be higher than it!'  All of these girls respected the Catholic religion, and appreciated it, while never losing their own faith.

    It is well-meaning, but misguided. persons who worry about "offensive" - and others who are offended by anyone having a religion. My two cents' worth.

    Oh, and Brian - Merry Christmas!

    Michael (who isn't ashamed of being a European Christian)

  6. Yes, I know that feeling all to well. In my case it is WW1 French Memorial scrolls. Some framed, as they must have hung in his parent's home, but showing wear and damage from years of being consigned to the attic or cellar by subsequent generations with their own wars and concerns.

    Some I've even managed to get service records for. All handwritten, and in French script at that.


  7. The hobby has changed a lot too. Thirty years ago in Toronto I had a choice of militaria shops (Wellington House, Ed Denby, Academy, etc.). All gone now (Richard moved to Oakville, same as me, but works from home). I used to get to the CSMMI show almost every month. Ever since I joined my church choir that's a rare event.

    On the plus side though, research is easier than ever, and one has the luxury of researching before buying. Three hours after spotting a pair to an R.G.A. casualty I knew his family story.

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