Friday, January 18, 2013

The Royal Society of Edinburgh

Our Hero is bringing John Rae back to Scotland, figuratively speaking. Ken has been invited to lecture about Rae at the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), Scotland's National Academy. On April 22, he will give a talk entitled John Rae: The Forgotten Hero of Arctic Exploration.  Rae was born in Orkney, northern Scotland, in September, 1813 -- 200 years ago. Having grown up hunting and fishing, he trained in Edinburgh as a doctor, sailed with the Hudson’s Bay Company, and became an outstanding northern traveller. In 1854, while mapping the Arctic coastline, slogging overland through snow and ice with an Inuk and an Ojibway, Rae discovered a strait that proved to be the final link in the Northwest Passage. Returning to camp, he encountered Inuit hunters who informed him that the long-lost expedition of Sir John Franklin had ended in disaster and cannibalism. Ken's book Fatal Passage tells the whole story. In September, Ken will travel to Orkney to participate in a conference on Rae. More on that later.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This writing instructor has no shame!


In the beginning, I had doubts about teaching online. In a classroom situation, I could rely on my good looks,
augmented by one-liners. Working online meant losing these resources. But, hey, good news! Judging from the latest report card, online is working wonderfully.
Out of seventeen categories in this latest report card, sixteen were straight 5.0, and one was a hair's breadth away. And you have to love some of  the answers to, "What were the most positive aspects of the course? They include:
"Critical assessment of writing skills / assignments.
Clarity in objectives and methodology.
Knowledgeable and experienced instructor.
Open attitude."
And here, blushing, I offer my favorite: "In two words: Ken McGoogan. He was inspiring, encouraging, thoughtful, insightful -- an all-round superb instructor. Best writing course I've taken."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Robbie Burns Bash Looms!

Thanks to How the Scots Invented Canada, we had a pretty good run, Sheena Fraser McGoogan and I, with bagpipers piping us into one event or another. Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal . . . who knew the Scots were so keen to party? They're at it again, and us along with them, on Jan. 23, this time in Hamilton at the 92nd annual Robbie Burns night at the Scottish Rite Club. The Grand master of the Grand Lodge of Canada will be there, and Liam McLashan will play celtic fiddle. I'll give the "toast to the 'twa lands," and I will speak for an hour. OK, OK, ten minutes. Maybe see you there! www.scottishriteclub.ca.