Tuesday, July 17, 2018

It's a world world world MAD.

As Alfred E. Newman once said. And as my 2 1/2-year-old daughter once said when she dialed 911 for the second time, "Nothing 'citing ever happens around here".

I finished the second draft of my report for my long-suffering and patient client. 44 Tables. 220 charts. Excel is wonderful. When you start with 10,000 to 15,000 pieces of data, boiling it down takes some doing and charts if done right allow seeing the analysis at a glance. Much better than tables.

My sister came to visit last week and my second youngest over the weekend.  Hadn't seen my sister in 4 years.  Or my daughter in as many months. Not since she got her ring, wedding next July. I'll still be here at the rate things are progressing. Cheaper to stay longer than fly back for the wedding.

Hard to know what to rant about.  The world has gone insane. Even the onion has gone to straight journalism. You can't make this stuff up. No one would believe you.  All I see is Trump headlines and articles.  Is anyone watching to see what the GOP is stealing while you are watching Trump?

Today when I was reading the articles posted on FB, I couldn't even hit the angry button.  Just the sad. Three posts caught my attention, not in a good way.

This one:

Do Americans Understand They’re Beginning to Commit The Legal Definition of Genocide?

This one:

And this one of a young white woman calling for a genocide of all non-whites

And Canadians should not feel too smug. We have our own far-right terrorists, racist politicians,  and political parties with ties to the far-right running dog-whistle campaigns opposing "illegal" immigration

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Salt of the Earth

Still doctoring. Seemingly no nearer getting rid of my ileostomy pouch, which I have dubbed Donald Trump, than I was two months ago. Now I am supposed to cut back on salt intake.  OK.  I quit putting salt on eggs, tomatoes and corn on the cob which is about all I ever salted anyhow and laid off the salted peanuts which I only eat when other people buy them. Ah, but you have to avoid processed foods.

What the heck are processed foods? The health food sites talk about them like "avoid arsenic and ground glass". Turns out if you didn't kill it, pick it or dig it yourself, it is processed food. And the sodium (salt) levels are printed on the packages.  I should read them.  No I shouldn't as they are scary.

Just for the halibut, I went through my cupboards and fridge and wrote down the sodium levels based on my serving size. Like who uses one tbsp (15 ml) of salad dressing? "Real" food, I didn't bother with: eggs, pork, beef, chicken, potatoes, onions, turnips, lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, etc.. Or rice, macaroni and spaghetti. High salt content in too many things.  With no effort at all I could (and do from time to time) hit 3 or 4 times the sodium RDA and never touch the salt shaker.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sex is NOT Binary: People who are Transgender

How we arrive at who we are is far more complicated than many people will admit.  The biggest problem people are the Republican Jesus Christians who define their beliefs by whom they hate and whom they can use scripture to cause pain while causing none to themselves. . I have no intent of trying to change their minds as they are impervious to facts.  However other people may be puzzled by the LGBTQ group who make up about 5% of humanity.  I have been collecting articles intending to write a series of blogs about the issue of sex and sexual identity when I ran into this one written by Brettany Renée Blatchley, a Trans woman, and is reprinted here with permission.

When Does She Become He?


What makes a woman and what makes a man; what is male and what is female? What was once a very taboo subject in our culture, only seriously (and quietly) contemplated by doctors and researchers, is becoming dinner-table talk with the new, greater visibility of transgender and intersex people. Perhaps a little thought experiment can add to this conversation?
Say that Sarah is an ordinary woman inside and out. When would she stop being a woman, a female, and what would it take to make her a male, a man? Consider:
DNA: Let’s exchange one of Sarah’s X chromosomes for a Y. Would this make her a male, a man? Not necessarily. Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome is an intersex condition in which a person’s body is unable to respond to testosterone. So their body does not masculinize from the default female form of all mammals, including humans. With Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (CAIS), Sarah is a girl to all outward appearances: she is assigned female, usually knows herself to be a girl, and is raised as a girl. Then as she approaches womanhood, it is discovered that she cannot menstruate and is sterile; further investigation reveals her to be a female with XY DNA.[1]
There are also instances where the SRY gene (the short arm of the Y gene) malfunctions[2] and does not stimulate the production of male internal genitalia, so this XY girl will never have testes, for example. And because she will not produce testosterone, her body will never take on male form and, like the CAIS child, she may discover she is an XY female when she reaches adulthood.
The Y chromosome has surprisingly little influence in humans and other mammals. We all start out life in female form. The first (and main) purpose of the Y chromosome is to “trigger” the creation of an initial burst of testosterone in a developing child (who will later pass on that gene in reproduction). The window for this is probably very small[3] and sometimes it doesn’t happen. With this “spark,” the body is changed so it can create more testosterone to do the rest of the work, much like the proverbial farmer pulling himself up by his own bootstraps.
Gonads: Okay, let’s give Sarah some testes. Various combinations of X and Y genes can do this, as can faulty XX genes. Another way Sarah could develop testes is because she might have the DNA of two (or more) people in her: chimerism,[4] which is quite rare, but happens. Yet another possibility is that her gonads might be a blend of ovaries and testes known as ovotestes,[5] and as their owner she would be hermaphrodite (an outdated term). Like virtually all of our sexual anatomy, male “bits” develop from existing female structures. Testes and ovaries develop from the same fetal tissue, for example.
Hormones: the two main groups of sex hormones in the animal kingdom are estrogens and androgens. These are amazingly similar chemically and like other hormones, their job is to “signal” various tissues in the body – they act as a catalyst, as switching agents. It is interesting to note that humans (and other mammals) produce both hormones, and our tissues are selectively sensitive to these hormones. For example, human breasts are very sensitive to estrogen, while our facial hair is very sensitive to testosterone (hormones cause permanent changes in both of these). Depending on when the exposure to one or the other happens, the path of internal and external development may be altered, and it matters not whether the hormones come from inside the body or from outside. For example, between weeks 9 and 11, testosterone will change the default female genitalia into male form.  In the next week after this, the female brain exposed to testosterone is rewired into male pattern.[6] It is because these changes are ordered in stages that a person can have the genitalia of one sex and the brain wiring of another. These things comprise our primary sex characteristics.
Puberty is the next big hormonal event, and during this period the body develops secondary sex characteristics: bone structure changes in male and female typical ways, testosterone enlarges the voice box, hair develops in male or female pattern and texture, and soft tissues like musculature and fat distribution make a child into the recognizable form of an adult woman or man. Again, if testosterone is absent, blocked or replaced, the child’s form (regardless of their primary sex characteristics) will develop along female lines in response to the estrogen normally produced by all humans. In puberty, some of these changes are essentially permanent: one’s skeletal structure is finalized, which determines things like one’s overall size, the width of hips, the lengths of arms and legs. Breasts normally develop under the influence of estrogen (or don’t when testosterone “swamps” the estrogen). Genitalia mature in size and shape; fertility begins. Puberty has an additional influence on the brain’s basic wiring, further pushing in the male direction or leaving it to further mature as female.
Hormones are the chief agent for making us female or male in our phenotype — they make us look and function like men or women. They also deeply influence our initial brain structure, which lays the biological foundation for how we think and feel as gendered humans.
Even after development, the loss or cross-replacement of hormones can change one’s secondary sex characteristics to the extent of changing soft tissues and developing undeveloped structures. Thus an XY person can re-shape into a female form with breasts, generally residing on the “boyish” end of appearances, and hormones can influence some of the plastic/pliable parts of the person’s brain.
Internal genitalia: What if Sarah did not develop a uterus or fallopian tubes? This can happen with various intersex conditions like Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia(CAH). In this condition, an XX person masculinizes, which can mean missing or undeveloped internal genitalia. And there are other, far more common, non-intersex reasons why women may be missing their inner “bits.” Does this make them a male, a man?[7]
External genitalia: Few people realize that our genitalia (both internal and external) develop from the same tissue. So, for example, the scrotum forms from tissue that would otherwise be a labia majora. The penis and clitoris are likewise related. Much of sex distinctive male and female anatomy is homologous.
Sarah might be a one of the approximately 1 in 100 children born with ambiguous genitalia. It might be hard to tell if she is a girl or a boy at birth, and it may require further testing to get an idea of where Sarah resides on the spectrum of male and female sex characteristics. Regardless, early in childhood, Sarah will naturally begin to manifest an innate gender identity — the brain wiring will begin to be revealed with Sarah’s self expression as it blossoms in its social environment.
Social rearing: What if Sarah is raised as a boy? What if her genitalia were ambiguous enough that she was “marked” as a boy and everyone treated her that way? The social pressures involved are as insidious and pervasive as they are powerful, and anyone who deviates from these expectations (in many cultures) can expect generally harsh, even lethal treatment. Does Sarah’s rearing determine whether she is a girl or boy, and whether she will grow to be a woman or man?  
Gender expression: Now let’s say that Sarah likes boy stuff, she’s “rough and tumble,” is always “hanging with the boys” and generally eschews girl things. Does this make her a male, or a boy, and if she continues into adulthood, does this make her a man?
Thinking patterns: What if Sarah likes math and science and is really good at it. What if she makes up in spatial reasoning what she lacks linguistically? What if she doesn’t seem to take interest in children and domestic life? What if her “maternal instinct” is all but missing? What if she relates to things more than people? Does this make her a boy or a man?
Sexual orientation: What if Sarah has no interest boys? What if her sexual interest is in girls, and later, women? Does this make her a boy or man?
So far we have listed many things about Sarah, and our hypothetical female is representative of millions of actual women alive today. Female people could have any or many of the aforementioned things missing and/or going on in their lives and still be women.
So when does Sarah become Sam?
Gender identity: this is our innate sense of who we are as a person. Do we sense (think/feel) ourselves to be female or male (or something else)? Our sense of who we are is core to our selves as human beings, and after decades of research and clinical experience, the consensus is that prenatal biology is the largest determiner of our sense of our gender. Parents and society can support or undermine a person’s gender identity, but cannot fundamentally change it. Like other innate parts of our personhood that we discover about ourselves, we can be forced to suppress or repress this, but we cannot change our “spots” at that deep a level — as a “computer system,” our BIOS chips are fixed.[8]
A few decades ago, it was all the rage in psychology and medicine to assume that one’s sense of gendered self could be changed through child rearing and cosmetic surgery. Amazingly, this ground-shaking view was based on a single study of two children, twins, and it ended in the tragic suicides of both people when one of the twins underwent a forced sex change.[9] This tragedy, through its failed assumptions, has hurt uncounted people to this day, no doubt contributing to many suicides.
Who gets to say what a given person’s gender identity is? Only that person can speak for themself. How often are we reminded that the brain is the body’s largest, most important sex organ?
And if Sarah identifies as Sam? What if this person, who to everyone else seems to be Sarah, the girl, the woman, knows themself to be Sam? Sam is the head of a complex being of many parts; none of those parts are able to think, feel or speak to Sam about who Sam is as a person. Neither Sam’s vagina, nor uterus, nor ovaries think, feel or speak for the rest of the human being who knows himself to be Sam. How much less can a parent, a friend, a government, a church, a society tell Sam that he is really Sarah? That Sam has probably been negatively pressured by all of these entities will be a major source of Sam’s difficulty in moving past the “Sarah presumption” to live his life as himself. Sam is a man, and so whatever else may be said about Sam’s body, it is the body of a man …
… or as pediatrician William Reiner, formerly of Johns Hopkins, expressed:
“In the end it is only the children themselves who can and must identify who and what they are. It is for us as clinicians and researchers to listen and to learn. Clinical decisions must ultimately be based not on anatomical predictions, nor on the ‘correctness’ of sexual function, for this is neither a question of morality nor of social consequence, but on that path most appropriate to the likeliest psychosexual developmental pattern of the child. In other words, the organ that appears to be critical to psychosexual development and adaptation is not the external genitalia, but the brain.”[10]
And now we know when she becomes he.
Here are some places where interested readers may learn more. Caution! Many of the pictures in these articles are Not Safe For Work (NSFW).
First, there is a great introductory documentary to intersex conditions that may be viewed for free online called: “Me, My Sex and I.” http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/me-my-sex-and-i
The US Library of Medicine has general information on the topic of Intersex: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001669.htm.
  1. ^ The Wikipedia entry on Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome has a detailed summary of this condition with pictures and numerous scholarly references.
  2. ^
  3. ^ A critical time window of Sry action in gonadal sex determination in mice, Ryuji Hiramatsu, Shogo Matoba, Masami Kanai-Azuma, Naoki Tsunekawa, Yuko Katoh-Fukui, Masamichi Kurohmaru, Ken-ichirou Morohashi, Dagmar Wilhelm, Peter Koopman, Yoshiakira Kanai. Development 2009 136: 129-138; doi: 10.1242/dev.029587. http://dev.biologists.org/content/136/1/129.short
  4. ^ Chimerism, http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/chimerism
  5. ^ Ovotestes, http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/ovotestes
  6. ^ Sexual differentiation of the human brain: Relation to gender identity, sexual orientation and neuropsychiatric disorders, Bao, Ai-Min; Dick F. Swaab (18 February 2011). Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 32 (2): 214–226.
  7. ^ In extreme AIS cases XX people become phenotypically male much as CAIS people become phenotypically female, again due to hormonal influences.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Wikipedia has a good summary of the “John/Joan” case of David Reimer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer.
  10. ^ To Be Male or Female-That is the Question, William Reiner, MD. http://web.missouri.edu/~segerti/2210/GenderIdentity.pdf

This post was originally published on LGBT Perspectives.
Image via Pixabay.

About Brettany Renée Blatchley
Renée Blatchley is a fifty-three year old, married transgender woman of faith. She blogs at Gracefully Trans.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sorry I was AWOL; Reporting for Duty, Sir

It has been a month. Operation went well.  40 cm of colon removed so they got all the bad stuff.  They put me in the same room I was in when I was sick in January so I had all the same nurses. That was nice. Home in 5 days to recover.  Next Dr appointment June 12, maybe get a date for next surgery.

Email from a client I had to drop when I got sick last year. How am I doing and can I work? Number crunching and analysis of trends. Pick up from where I left off last year. Deadline three weeks. I gave myself another week to recover and went at it.  Powered out after one week. Took another week to do three days work.  So far I have 104 charts on 60 pages. Just finishing the write ups. Wish I had another week, I would tear it apart and reorganize it.

Tanya is going to Ukraine for 4 months. She has lots to do, though our friend Katya who has been looking after our house loves flowers as much as Tanya and has enjoyed looking after our yard.  She sent pictures. The Iris are going great guns. We missed the tulips but Tanya will be home for the roses.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Light at the end of the tunnel

Things have been aa bit hectic around here these past couple weeks.  Two weeks ago, I finally got a surgery date.  Tomorrow April 25th. So have been busy getting stuff caught up that I had been putting off.  Like taxes and correspondence.  Blogging kind of took a back seat.  I read blogs posted to Facebook because I can do that late at night when I cant sleep.

We are also moving apartments on April 28th.  After giving notice March 31 we had to find a place and then start packing, change addresses, arrange for electric service to be stopped and started and internet service as well. Lots of paper work, now done on the internet but still takes time. Since I can't lift anything heavier than 12 pounds, I won't be missed during the move anyhow.

Pre-Op was last week.  Essentially a nurse asked me a large number of questions and the anesthesiologist sized me up as to how much ether to put me under.  I had to laugh.  The nurse came in and said "My name is ___ and I'll be your nurse today".  I asked if she ever waited tables with an opening line like that. She had, briefly, and decided nursing was more her style.

One of the things the nurse asked me to do was make a living will.  This is always a good thing to have so people know what you want if things go south.  Since I am having three surgeries before they finish with me, they will keep it on file. 

Tomorrow the surgeon will remove the section of gut that has tried to kill me twice already so there is no third time and out.  Diverticular disease  means my cast iron innards have finally started rusting through. Then in a couple months he will reverse the ostomy, reconnecting my top and bottom.  THIS is what I am waiting for.  To get rid of the damn ostomy pouch that has controlled my life for the past many months.  For those who have never seen an ostomy, I should illustrate this with photos.  Put you off your food for a while.  Then when I am all healed up and fully functional, my doctor will attempt to repair my incision hernia which runs from stem to gudgeon, a reminder of my July surgery in Ukraine. That is a difficult job and when it happens no idea but as long as I am rid of the stoma, I don't care how long it takes.

The living will is fairly simple and if you haven't done one you really should.  I put on paper who speaks for me if I a cannot.  Since I am too healthy for a DNR (do not resuscitate), they should keep trying to keep me alive until it doesn't make sense and then if there are any spare parts they can salvage, go ahead. Not sure about useful spare parts, as if I were a vehicle, I'd have jacked up the radiator cap and run a new car under it long ago. I talked this all over with my wife and oldest daughter so we are all on the same page more or less, i.e .no violent disagreements.

My son says I better not die on the operating table and cheat the gallows. However, on the subject of funerals, I want to be cremated as it is cheap. Black garbage bags in a dumpster is cheaper but tends to be frowned upon by the authorities.  Since I live in two countries and love both, the suggestion was made that half the cremains go to Ukraine and half to the little family plot near where i grew up, where my parents, grandparents and great grandparents are buried.

That way my kids can put on my stone, "Here lies our half-ashed father".

I can wait.

Friday, April 13, 2018

To D(NA) or not to D(NA)

Ads for personal DNA analysis come across my Facebook feed on an almost daily basis and it is tempting.  The movement of peoples around the earth fascinate me. Mitochondrial DNA, inherited solely from the maternal line, and the Y chromosome, inherited solely from the male line, tell you a great deal about your ancestors and where they came from.  Hence books such as "Y Chromosome Adam and Mitochondrial Eve".

That is what I would dearly love to learn about myself.  I don't need more relatives, though they are nice to have, as we have a pretty good handle on all our parent's cousins and most of our second cousins.  But where did they come from, not in the near past but in the distant past?

Technically my one set of grandparents came from County Cork, Ireland to Canada in 1906, one came from Holland, via Iowa roughly the same time and one came from Yorkshire emigrants to Canada a hundred years earlier. But their more distant genetic antecedents are pretty much unknown.

It is highly unlikely I have any Irish blood in me at all. The first Hingstons in Ireland arrived in the late 1650's as part of Cromwell's replacement of the heathen Papist Irish with God-fearing English and Scots (Never ask an Irishman his opinion of Butcher Cromwell).  My paternal grandmother is a Ross which is a Scottish name. Though we have not much information on the family's history, I would suggest it is not much different than the Hingstons.  There was mingling of the newcomers and the Irish over time but not much until more recently and given the fiercely religious attitudes of my grandparents, I doubt there was any in their families.

My maternal grandfather came from Holland.  Unless his relatives in the States (he was the only one who moved on to Canada) have family history, we have no further information on his ancestors.

It is my maternal grandmother, of the Bielby family, originally of Yorkshire , that interests me the most.  There is a village and parish in eastern Yorkshire named Bielby.  According to Wikipedia, for what it is worth, there is a Roman fortress near by and the place was over run by Vikings in the late 9th century and the remnants settled there and ruled the place for about a century until 954.

Source Wikipedia
Wiki says that Bielby (spelled Belebi in the Doomsday book) is taken from a Scandinavian name of Beli and means farm or village belonging to Beli.  I have my own theory about that.  The Russian word for white is белый (pronounced belyy or in poor Russian beli).  So maybe Bielby or Belebi means White Farm and has a Slavic link.  My reasoning is based on the fact that not only were the Vikings raiding (and settling) up and down the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, they were also trading (and settling) up and down the Dnieper and other rivers from the Baltic into the Black Sea. They were known as the Varangians by the Greeks, Rus' and Ruthenians.  They became the aristocracy in Kyiv and were the first rulers thereof according to the histories I read.

Now maybe one or many of the Varangians returned from the Slavic countries bringing some of the local language, or leaving some of theirs behind, and were part of the raiders and settlers in Yorkshire and maybe I have some genetic links to Ukraine via Vikings/Varangians?

I hesitate to get a DNA analysis for several reasons.  I have no idea which company is best.  I do not have $100 dollars or more at the moment.  There is a huge amount of information available from DNA analysis and once the company have your DNA they own it regardless of the fine print which likely says they own it anyhow.

DNA analysis not only affects you, it affects everyone you are linked to for many generations both laterally and vertically.  That is scary.  What might they know about me and all my relatives near and far and what might they do with the information?

I asked one of my daughters and her answer was don't do it. I guess that settles it.  I'll never know, I'll just speculate.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dr. Charles M. 'Red' Williams 1925-2018

Dr. Williams in front of the Stone Barn
Dr. Charles M. 'Red' Williams was born in Richardson Sask in 1925. He passed away recently in Saskatoon at the age of 93.

Red joined the Royal Canadian Navy at age 17and served on HMCS Sioux, a Fleet Class Destroyer, protecting convoys on the Murmansk run and on D-Day provided covering fire on Juno Beach when the Canadians went in. The Canadian War Museum, Ottawa had a diorama view from a German pill box on the cliffs overlooking Juno Beach, HMCS Sioux was visible in the background.  Red said it hit him that he was seeing it from the German side for the first time.

After the war, Red completed highschool and then did his BSA and MSc at UBC and PhD at Oregon, studying ammonia metabolism in cattle. He joined the University of Saskatchewan Animal Science Department in 1954, where he was one of three professors at the time. In the 1970’s he was Department Head for 8 years. He retired officially in 1991 but continued to teach, eventually totaling about 60 years.

Dr. Williams speaks to the crowd
He was very active in Extension, and likely spoke at every town in Saskatchewan.  He piloted his own plane for years to get around the province.  He did a weekly newspaper column and a daily radio commentary for over 35 years. It was in his Extension role that I first encountered him at the age of 12 in 1959. Alan Rugg, long time Ag Rep in Wilkie, put on a three-day short course every February and my father would pull me out of school to go to the livestock day where Red was one of the speakers.

His research included some of the original work with 20% porosity windbreaks for cattle yards, as well as cold temperature effects on dairy cattle, bull fertility and the dwarf gene in Herefords.  He and Dr. Roy Berg from the University of Alberta were avid promoters of cross breeding, earning him the enmity of all the purebreds and the provincial government at the time.  “Don’t mess with our perfect purebreds”. Eventually they got over it. The Herford breeders went from wanting him drawn and quartered to inviting him to speak at the World Herford Congress in Rio de Janeiro.

Red was active internationally, in over 30 development projects, beginning in Uganda in the early 70’s and then in China among other places.

He was a life-long Liberal and served as President of both the Saskatchewan and National Liberal Party. Policy and Politics were his forte. His advice was sought after by Premiers and provincial and national Ministers of Agriculture.  One time he was staying at a hotel in rural China when he got a phone call at 2:00 am.  The clerk did not want to wake him, but it was suggested she should as it was Prime Minister Jean Chretien wanting to speak to him.

He also served as president of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, chaired Canadian University Students Overseas, was a founder of the Canadian Council on Animal Care, chaired the Crown Lands Committee, the Action Committee for the Rural Economy, and the Sherbrooke Community Centre.

Red RCN 1942
His awards are too numerous to remember them all but include the Order of Canada, Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Saskatchewan Agriculture Hall of Fame, Queen’s Jubilee Medal. Most recently he was named by the Republic of France as a Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour Sept 28 2016.

It was as a teacher that I and thousands of other students knew him best.  Students loved his lectures.  There was never a dull moment in his classes as he called ‘em as he saw ‘em. Show judging was one of his pet hates. Memorable lines such as “All those of you who were in 4-H, forget everything they taught you”; and “The Ayrshire breed was selected solely on conformation of the udder, which is also how we select our movie stars” endeared him to us forever.

Red was on my MSc committee. In 1978 I was working in Cumberland House and desperately trying to get my thesis written up and approved before the five-year limit.  I wrote it out once and my late wife typed it on her IBM Selectric, bought especially for the purpose.  My supervisor, Dr. Dave Christensen, didn’t like how it was organized.  My boss had died in January and I was flying to La Ronge three days a week to do his job too, so Ella and Dave sorted things out over the phone and she retyped it twice more.  When I went to my oral defense, Red said, “I think we have the wrong person here”.  He was not wrong as Ella was familiar with all of it and could have defended it every bit as well as I.

Ever after graduating, if I were in Saskatoon, I would drop in to see Red and argue about the world in general.  Best advice I ever got, when he said I should never seek public office as with my world view even my own mother wouldn’t vote for me. Tanya and I were able to have lunch with Red when we were in Canada in 2014 which I will always remember as it was the last time I saw him.

Dr. Charles M. ‘Red’ Williams lived “from steam engines to combines and GPS” and left a giant legacy in Saskatchewan and around the world.  He was my friend, my hero and my role model. When he received his PhD in 1954, friends wrote this tribute in a book they gave him as a graduation gift.  They knew him well. The little poem sums up his life in eight lines.

Dr. Williams at age 88 in the
Agriculture Building U of S

Divine Discontent

Ever insurgent let me be
Make me more daring than devout
From sleek contentment keep me free
And fill me with a buoyant doubt.

From compromise and things half done
Keep me with stern and stubborn pride
But when at last the fight is won
God, keep me still unsatisfied.
                    Louis Untermeyer