Sunday, November 7, 2010

Margin Notes: Veteran's Week, Quarters, HAL

An example of a 2008 "Remembrance Day 90th Anniversary" Canadian quarter was photographed on 7-November-2010

TORONTO, ONTARIO - In the United States, Veteran's Day is this coming Thursday (in Canada, it's called Remembrance Day), but I don't recall hearing the phrase "Veteran's Week" until this year, referring to the week before 11-November. Here in Toronto, everyone is wearing poppies in support of veterans, so it seemed entirely appropriate that I would stumble upon a quarter with a poppy on it (pictured above) at the beginning of Veteran's Week. Canada issued 11 million such coins in 2008 in honor of the 90th anniversary of Remembrance Day, and it was a essentially a re-issue of a 2004 coin that had been the first colored coin placed in circulation in the world.

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My poppy has been pinned on my winter jacket, which I started wearing as a result of the snowfall last Sunday. It occurred to me that I've never put a poppy on anything other than a winter jacket--the fact that I didn't wear one until nearly November was the strange thing this year.

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As the month turned to November, the picture on my Swansea Historical Society calendar changed to one showing construction on the old streetcar loop near Bloor and Jane here in Toronto--ironic, considering that Bloor street is currently torn up in the same location for re-construction. Sometimes history just repeats itself. The 2011 Swansea Historical Society calendar is now available at Swansea Town Hall and other neighborhood locations for just $8.00, featuring photos of such lost locations in the area as Harvey's Pond and the Minnies.

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That calendar was produced with the help of a computer. I only learned this week from an article in an alumni magazine that the most famous of movie computers, the HAL 9000 from "2001" was named after IBM. Move each letter of IBM back one in the alphabet, and it becomes HAL. As my Bellevue High School math club predecessor Jim Ferry once put it, "It's obvious if you think about it."

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