Friday, November 5, 2010

Guy Fawkes Day


Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip Hoorah !
Hip hip Hoorah !

A penny loaf to feed ol' Pope,
A farthing cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him.

Burn him in a tub of tar,
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head,
Then we'll say: ol' Pope is dead.

- Traditional British Guy Fawkes Day chant


Okay Sixteeners, come along with me to the England of 1605 and we’ll travel to another world (at least from the point of view of most countries in the 21st century). We'll visit another era with different sensibilities, a time when there was no freedom of religion in England.  Roman Catholics could not openly practise their faith. They were bound by law to attend the services of the Church of England. Catholic Masses had to be celebrated in secret. Those who refused to attend Anglican services faced fines, imprisonment and the confiscation of their property.

In November of 1605, James I was the King of England. James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots who had been executed in 1587 for plotting against her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. James arrived from Scotland in 1603 to ascend to the English throne after the death of the childless Elizabeth. Against this backdrop, a group of Catholics concocted a plot to blow up the Parliament buildings with gunpowder and kill James I and his family. Their purpose was to restore a Catholic monarch to the throne.

The plot was thwarted when Guy Fawkes (also known as Guido Fawkes) was caught with the gunpowder. The conspirators had stockpiled the explosives in a secret place beneath the House of Lords. In the early hours of November 5, 1605, authorities, acting on a tip from an anonymous letter, searched Westminster and discovered Guy Fawkes guarding over the gunpowder. Fawkes was arrested, questioned and tortured. On January 31, 1606, he faced execution. He dramatically jumped from the scaffold from which he was to be hanged and broke his neck.

Guy Fawkes Day is commemorated in England every November 5th with bonfires and fireworks. The unfortunate Guy Fawkes is burned in effigy. Although Fawkes is forever linked with the Gunpowder Plot, he was not the leader or the driving force. It was a man named Robert Catesby who really set the plot in motion. British historian Antonia Fraser points this out in an excellent book on the Gunpowder Plot entitled Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot. I recommend it

To watch a video about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, click on the link below.


“Dreamt” is the only word in the English language that ends in “mt.”



Yesterday, baseball lost a great one. George “Sparky” Anderson died at the age of 76 at his home in Thousand Oaks, California. He suffered from dementia.

Sparky was one of the best managers in the game. He led Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine to two World Series victories in 1975 and 1976. He won a third World Series in 1984 as manager of the Detroit Tigers and became the first manager in the history of Major League Baseball to win the championship of both the National League and the American League. Tony La Russa later accomplished the same feat.

Sparky Anderson retired from managing at the end of the 1995 season with 2,194 wins to his credit and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown in the year 2000. He wears the cap of the Cincinnati Reds in his Hall of Fame portrait.

Sparky had a strong connection to Canada. He spent six seasons playing minor-league ball here. In 1956 and 1958, he played for the Montreal Royals, the Triple-A affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1958, the feisty second baseman helped the Royals win their final International League title. Sparky also played four seasons for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League. It was Leafs owner Jack Kent Cooke who noticed his abilities and encouraged him to become a manager.

At the end of the 1963 season Sparky Anderson retired as a player. In 1964, at the age of 30, he made his managerial debut with Toronto. Even though the team had a record of 80-72, he was fired. In 2007, Sparky Anderson was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Sparky acquired his nickname in the minors due to his spirited play. We’ll miss the man with the shock of white hair and the rugged face.

- Joanne