The Hatfield – McCoy feud of George Christie and Sonny Barger…

and what it says about them and the Hells Angels as an organization…

I’ve sat through all of the George Christie interviews for the television program ‘Outlaw Chronicles.’  They’re readily available on youtube; you won’t have trouble finding them.

I’m no fan of the Hells Angels, but after thinking about what Christie had to say and doing a little research, I believe I have something worth saying on the matter of that 911 call at the core of their ongoing sniping at each other.

Here’s an excerpt from the program, which deals with the infamous 911 call Sonny Barger made after he clobbered his ex-wife so bad she evidently needed an ambulance:  Now, as an avowed unfriendly to the Hells Angels, you’d think I’d be favoring Christie’s version of the story, and frankly, it’s come as a shock to me too that I don’t.

Here’s why:

One.  Christie has said at various times that it’s against Hells Angels rules to call 911 for any reason.  In the tape excerpt above, he backtracks on that claim somewhat and says that Barger “should have called 911 and said his ex-wife needs an ambulance and then left it at that” without mentioning a pistol in her car.  But if you listen to the tape recording, it’s clear that once Barger had called 911 on behalf of his ex-wife, he was then immediately forced by the 911 operator to answer the question “Do either of you have any weapons?”  So, Christie was in essence calling out Barger for not having lied to the 911 operator.  Which, if he had been caught, would have put him in prison for sure.  As Christie must have known.

Two.  I don’t subscribe to the Hells Angel ‘code,’ and the rule, if it exists, that one must never call 911 is just plain stupid, but, even I can see that by any standard, Christie’s acquisition of the transcript and of the tape and using it to confront Barger was a Judas move.  What happened to never ratting out one’s fellow bikers?  There is no objectively good reason for ratting out someone for calling 911 to save a life.  What that says to me is that Christie most likely tried to use that 911 call to grab power away from Barger.

According to this article and in other online sources as well:  Christie has also repeatedly attacked Barger for not having been “violent” enough.  George Christie strikes me, after considerable thought on this subject, as being a classic ‘Judas’ figure:  enraged at the ‘failure’ of his leader to ‘live up’ to a code that he, Christie, had swallowed whole, and itching to take the Hells Angels helm away from Barger, convinced he could do it so much better than the latter.

I think there is a code that involves violence, embedded in the very being of the Hells Angels as an organization.  If there wasn’t, then Sonny Barger wouldn’t have ever felt the need to boast, as he evidently has, that he forced Keith Richards to play music at gunpoint:    nor would Barger have felt the need to wear a ‘filthy few’ patch:

Photo courtesy of George Christie to accompany story about his new book (September 2016)

which allegedly means someone has killed for the Hells Angels:   mmm  Whether he actually has killed anyone or not, whether he really did threaten Keith Richards or not, the point is that he clearly felt that saying he did those things would increase his stock with the Hells Angels.  And that tells me there is a code, an attitude, that fosters violence and defends it.

Given the difficulties that law enforcement has often had in trying to prove the Angels are a criminal organization, it might profit them to focus more on the shared state of mind and what that entails in terms of fostering criminal activities.  This perspective would also be useful, I think, in getting a legal handle on other groups that tend to operate as ‘cellular’ units,  such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, other outlaw biker groups.  It’s a critical element in ‘outlaw’ groups, and it should be made an element that can have validity in attempts to portray a portion of a group as being a criminal enterprise.

As for George Christie and Sonny Barger:  I don’t know the latter and I can’t read him.  I can’t read everybody, there are exceptions and he’s one of them.  But Christie I believe I can read:  He has no soul.  Oh, he has a personality, and he’s very articulate, but, there’s nothing on the inside in terms of objective values.  In my opinion, his attitude towards that 911 call, his attacks on Barger for not having been ‘violent enough,’ and his own violence-related conviction for firebombing tattoo parlours:   say to me that, given a choice as to which of the two men I would prefer to encounter in a dark alley, I’d choose Sonny Barger any day.

Well, that’s my take on it anyway, and I don’t have a dog in the hunt.

A section of the flood wall along the Tug Fork in Matewan, West Virginia, constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, depicts the Hatfield–McCoy feud.  photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual Library, public domain, courtesy of

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Teflon Don and the Hells Angels

Back in August of 2017, when I challenged Toronto Hells Angel Donny Petersen: as regards his Facebook rant on how cops had it all wrong when they used the term “one-percenter:”  he stayed cool, he didn’t scream like a little girl or anything. 🙂  In fact, ‘cool’ and ‘polite’ are probably watchwords of his, if his Facebook page, which is entirely open to the general public, is anything to go by.  He didn’t respond directly to me, but, a short time later, he posted an excerpt from a book that was then in the last stages of pre-publication, called Biker 101:  The Life of Don:  It was clear that the only honorable option open to me was to put my money where my mouth was and buy a copy forthwith, which I did.  This here is by way of a brief review, which I may expand upon at a later date.

Donny put a lot of work into the book; he writes well, and the book is designed to accommodate those with brief attention spans:  it’s broken up into many short chapters, all of which are carefully titled.  Of course, it’s kind of like eating Pringles:  hard to stop with just one story.  In a sense I kind of feel privileged, because the book is a window into a world that someone like myself, unswervingly hostile to the very existence of the Hells Angels, would normally never have access to.  It’s the best kind of writing in a sense, as if the reader is sitting in a living room just listening to an acquaintance tell stories about his life as an ‘outlaw’ biker.

Donny’s tried hard to tell his stories without giving the impression he’s doing an exposé on the Angels, understandably so.  Yet the result is an admixture of fairly riveting and often seamy stories, glossed over at times with excuses a high-schooler wouldn’t buy.  The boys are sometimes too busy with their own fun to hear a woman screaming at them to stop the gang-banging?  Yeah, sure,  Donny.  The Angels frown on rape and punish their own?  Yeah sure they do, just as soon as they can get their heads around that ‘no ratting out other members’ thing.

I thought I would at least learn what Don’s definition of a “one percenter is,” but in the end he pulled his punches even on that issue, saying that everybody had his own definition.  Where I’m learning what the term really means is by paying attention to his perspective in the book, such as his view of cops.  And in his strategies, how he broaches issues touching on the issue of criminality, and then dances away from them, promising to return later to the subject, and then never doing so, as far as I could determine.  He always comes out looking good in his stories.  It’s hard not to like the guy at least a little, but it’s also hard to see anything deeper than the appearance he maintains of intelligent civility.  ‘Teflon Don’ would be a good nickname for him, in my opinion.  Stuff just bounces off the guy and nothing sticks to him.  He could fall into a tar pit and climb out the other side snow white.

But don’t be looking for deep psychological insights into what makes him or the Angels tick, because those aren’t there, in the book or in the man himself, in my estimation.

Nevertheless, ‘Biker 101’ offers a searing bird’s-eye view into the life of ‘one-percenters,’ as well as into corruption in some of the places he’s familiar with, such as the Dominican Republic.

I think his book should be required reading for anyone interested in the world of the Hells Angels.  Women who are thinking of getting involved with an Angel should pay especial attention to the recurrent theme of violence in life with the Angels.

The books are shipped promptly, via Priority Post.  I should be so lucky to get service like that from some of the other sellers I’ve dealt with in the past few months.

Personal favorite quote from the book:

“The mountain**  does many things, but kidding is not one of them.”

** Everest



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Borderline Personality help sources

As I write this (at 21:45 EDM on September 24, 2017), Patrick Fox of Burnaby, BC is awaiting sentencing for his conviction of having criminally harassed his ex-wife:  Although I’ve never met Mr. Fox, he would appear to me to be suffering from borderline personality on the face of it.  He’s not remorseful at all for having made his ex-wife’s life hell, to say nothing of his own young son’s life by persecuting the boy’s mother, as you can see from my own exchanges with him in the comments section on that post (above), and from reading the news reports of his trial.

He will probably go to prison, and it’s easy to say ‘good riddance.’  But what will happen to him in prison?  Will he get effective therapy there?  Probably not.  Borderline-personality sufferers are notoriously difficult to treat effectively.

Now, one of my own Facebook contacts, a Toronto hypnotherapist by the name of Allan Clews, has just posted a series of videos on a treatment for borderline personality, called ‘Dialectical Behavior Therapy,’ or DBT, which he says is “the only thing that has been scientifically proven to help those suffering from Borderline Personality;” and he has kindly given me permission to re-post his post here on wordpress:

Now I think you might need a Facebook profile to view that post, and not everybody has facebook, of course; so I am also going to take the liberty of embedding the first of his short videos here directly from youtube, so that anyone who can’t see the facebook post can hopefully link to the videos from youtube:  

So that’s one point of reference that may be helpful, and for those who are suffering from the sufferers of borderline personality and who may have decided that enough is enough, here is a useful book on divorcing a spouse who’s borderline.  Wordpress doesn’t like it when I link to Amazon here, but the book is readily available there.  It’s called ‘Splitting:  Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder,’ written by Bill Eddy and Randi Kreger, and published in 2011.  I’ve read it and it’s loaded with useful tips on dealing with people with those disorders, even if you’re not married to one of them.

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So, where’s the post on Vǫluspá’s Gullveig and Heiðr, eh?

I’m well aware it’s been well over a year since I first promised it was going to be done in “a few weeks.”  But, see, here’s the thing:  I was stupid, stupid, stupid, to make a promise like that, because the two (just two!!) stanzas in the some-sixty stanza-long Old Norse poem known as Vǫluspá are arguably the most difficult and among the most-debated in the poem.  I thought I had a handle a year ago on the research that had been done to date; laughable!  I knew nothing, nothing.  I’ve since learned that, to resolve the mystery of Gullveig and Heiðr, a deep understanding of the best-known and most powerful of the Eddic poems – Vǫluspá – would be a prerequisite.  If I’d known what I was in for, I would never have had the courage to start it.

But now that I’ve come this far, I’m determined to be the one to resolve the many hundreds of years-old mystery.

Just so my loyal readers can rest assured I haven’t spent the entire summer lolling on a lawn chair eating bonbons, here’s something of what you can expect to learn from my post when I have finished it:

  1.  The word ‘Gullveig’ was intended by the poet to be a symbol, and as such, it can never have a final meaning.  However, scholars such as John McKinnell and Sigurður Nordal have limited the meanings that can be discerned, by insisting that the first part of this made-up name, ‘Gull,’ ‘gold,’ can only mean the literal metal ‘gold,’ and it cannot mean ‘golden.’  I believe I can prove that this is not the case.  Moreover, the meaning of ‘brew,’ ‘liquid intoxicant,’ is better attested in Eddic sources than any other suggested meaning, such as McKinnell’s ‘woman,’ or ‘power;’ and moreover, there is a West Saxon cognate word with the meanings of ‘liquid,’ ‘river,’ which nobody else has mentioned, although Nordal cites other borrowings from West Saxon in the poem.
  2. The idea promulgated by a number of scholars that the burning of Gullveig is situated in a tradition of burning people for witchcraft is just nonsense.  Nordal and Ursula Dronke make a good case for the poem’s having been written in Iceland – where nobody was burned for witchcraft until several hundred years after Vǫluspá had been written!  There were other punishments for witches who crossed the wrong person, and the only story told of burning witches in accounts roughly contemporary with that of Vǫluspá is that of the burning of witches, not for being witches, but for being male witches; and that account is from Norway:  not from Iceland, which at that time was still possessed of a wary independence from Norway.
  3. There are numerous striking parallels between the figure of Heiðr the witch in Vǫluspá and that of the figure of Hildr in the eerie Scandinavian legend of  Hjaðningavíg the “battle of the Heodenings.”  Although several scholars such as Ursula Dronke have commented on some of those parallels, I propose to go into them more deeply.
  4.  Additionally, I will address the connection between the 14th cent. version of the “battle of the Heodenings,” namely, Sörla þáttr and that of the somewhat later Icelandic ‘rimur’ known as Skíðaríma and I will provide evidence to show that, contrary to scholarly assumptions about the latter poem being intended to “disrespect” the Old Norse pagan religion, in fact Skíðaríma is best understood as a satirical response to the Christian attempt by means of  Sörla þáttr to destroy the legend of ‘the eternal battle’ and the power of the old gods once and for all.  Understood as such, Skíðaríma is an absolute scream.
  5. I will look at other interpretations that have been made of the three mysterious figures from Vǫluspá: Gullveig, Heiðr and the seeress into whose mouth the entire recital of the poem has been placed, as well as the oft-debated questions of: whether or not the seeress is dead or alive, and whether or not she is human.  Of course it’s one thing to say one’s opinion, and another thing to support one’s opinion with evidence that will stand up to a careful inspection by people with many letters after their name.  And it is impossible to do the job well without really knowing very well everything else that has been written and thought about in connection with those stanzas (at least, everything for which I can find an English-language text or translation).
  6. I can assure you that if I don’t die or otherwise become seriously incapacitated, I will finish the work.  To paraphrase Gurdjieff’s Anatolian Turk says in “Beelzebub’s tales,” “Have I not spent all my money for this pepper that I thought was a delicious fruit?  I will go on eating it if it kills me!”  lol  So, too, having begun and spent rather a lot on the research, both of time and money, I intend to finish it, to do it well, and to make an original contribution to the knowledge of this subject.  Off to eat bonbons now.  :-p
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Were the dice loaded in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216?

February 12, 2018 update at 14:52 EDM:  I have begun a rundown of the issues on which the transcript fragments previously released to Dino Bottos have shed some light, on my Alberta Injustice Page:

January 05, 2018 update at 23:25 EDM:  I picked up a reply from J.Fraser this afternoon to my January 10 request to access the transcripts for the Barton appeal hearing.  Here is a screenshot of my request:  

and here is a screenshot of the reply:

which came in a plain envelope with 84 cents of postage, and not in the self-addressed federal express envelope which I had enclosed with my request, and which they presumably tossed in the garbage.  It is a small thing, just 15 dollars down the drain, but it is not a nothing; I could have used that envelope elsewhere, and to my mind, it goes to show a fundamental disrespect for me as a person, for my monies, and even for that of the court’s.

Here is a link to that court decision she references:  and I must day, I do look forward to discussing it an a request for a FOIP review of the Ministry of Justice’s response, which will tell me I have to get that transcript from J. Fraser.  I know this because the Alberta Ministry of Justice has informally responded by phone to that effect, and they will put it in writing.  I expect to hear from the Ministry soon in writing with its response to that and to the rest of my request for any correspondence from the Ministry to any of the judges involved in the overturning of the Barton appeal, at which time I will file a request with Alberta FOIP Commissioner to review the Ministry’s response.  I think I can make a case for ‘clearly in the public interest,’ although that will require an expansion of the currently prevailing definitions in government, which are very restrictive and serve to benefit secrecy, not transparency.

Next up is a request to the Prime Minister’s office for records showing what it did to verify the claims made in Justice Sheilah Martin’s SCC application, as well as for any correspondence between that Office and any of the judges involved in the overturning of the Barton acquittal.


January 03, 2018 update at 10:17 AM:  Maybe this racoon:   could sit as a judge on the Alberta Court of Appeal, because it seems to have a better memory than the judges who wrote in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216 that the defense had provided no information as to the steps taken to obtain consent, excepting for a question the court alleges the defense lawyer posed:  “what’s a man to do?”  See that excerpt from the Judgment here:  And this despite the fact that the Chief Justice, Catherine Fraser, appears to me to have conceded twice on page 101 of the court transcript of the hearing:  that the defense had in fact provided adequate information as to the steps taken at least to obtain consent to sexual acts.  As a tax-payer off of whose dollars those judges dine, I am outraged. I intend to follow up this matter via Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Privacy legislation for the identity of the person who wrote those two paragraphs in the Judgment, as well as for the trial judge’s instructions to the jury, which were also impugned severely by the ABACA, which used that to justify throwing out the jury’s finding of acquittal. And I think it’s a sad sad day, when a little old lady like me has to put down her stack of Old Norse court poetry and throw down the gauntlet to the ABCA, simply because: (i) it clearly needs doing; (ii) I think I can do it; (iii) I have been unable to fob the job off onto the shoulders of any “investigative” reporter worthy of the name.  I am requesting the identity of the individual who wrote those two paragraphs in the Judgment, as well as a copy of the trial judge’s instructions to the jury, w which were also impugned by the ABCA and used by the latter as grounds for throwing out the jury’s verdict of ‘not guilty.’  I also want to see the instructions given to the crown, the defense and the interveners as to what the reviewable issues were going to be in the Appeal hearing, including for any “supplementary” factotums.  I would like to get more, such as why J. Jack Watson appears to be speaking gibberish in one paragraph on page 71, and just how many times the judges interrupted the defense when he was speaking, but I probably wouldn’t get those.  But they won’t be able to argue successfully that my requests fall into the class of privileged deliberations.  So here we go.  Stay tuned.  It pisses me off that I can’t shrug this off.  I can see all too clearly in Turkey what happens when a judiciary becomes corrupted, and at least in twenty years if Canada suffers the same tragedy, my own daughter will have the knowledge that mom tried to do something to stop it.  But there was a time when there would have been investigative reporters all over this case, which stinks like a three-week-old herring.


December 13, 2017 update at 20:25 EDM:  On December 05, Supreme Court Justice nominee Sheilah Martin held a question-and-answer session with Members of Parliament, and she also gave a brief speech, which was uploaded to YouTube by the Canadian Press on Dec. 07:

At 00:28 – 00:32 approx.  Sheilah Martin states that she was “working on a team seeking compensation for David Milgaard, who was wrongfully convicted for the murder and rape of a Saskatchewan nurse.”

at 00:45 – 00:47 she says “that legal team [seeking compensation for Milgaard]” was headed by” Hersch Wolch.

On the web-site of Greg Rodin, a lawyer who worked with Wolch for years:   it is stated that Rodin was the “lead counsel” in the Milgaard compensation case.

at 01:03 – 01:05 she references “the Honourable Justice Gold,” who, she says, “did  the negotiations on behalf of the “federal government.”  It’s true Alan Gold was appointed to negotiate a settlement for the Milgaard case, but he did not represent the federal government; he represented the provincial government of Saskatchewan:

Neither Gavin Wolch, Hersch Wolch’s son:  nor Greg Rodin (see above) replied to an emailed request last weekend from me asking for confirmation that Justice Martin had worked on the compensation case for Milgaard.   The only place I could find any reference to her working on that case is on the University of Alberta site here: but the link they gave references only a much later case, a public inquiry into why Milgaard was convicted in the first place:  and that later inquiry was not either for compensation Nor was it headed up by Alan Gold.   Furthermore, the Cosgrove inquiry was also held in a Saskatchewan court, which makes me wonder:  if all one has to do to represent a client in another province is to simply show up, then why did her husband Hersch Wolch go to the trouble of getting admitted to the bar in three provinces, since there is no indication that I could find that Sheilah herself was ever admitted to the Saskatchewan bar.  It’s certainly not listed on her SCC application in her history timeline: , nor, for that matter, is there any mention of anything to do with the Milgaard cases.  She mentions having been an expert witness in another case on compensation, that of Thomas  Sophonow’s, in the year 2000, but nothing on the much better-known Milgaard case.  At the bottom of that application , in part 2 of a short essay, she states:  “I was part of a team of three lawyers who sought compensation for David Milgaard to address the losses he suffered when wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of Saskatchewan nurse Gail Miller. The Supreme Court concluded that David’s conviction was unsafe after a unique process, in which the Court heard evidence for five days, including the cross-examination of the man eventually convicted for this rape and murder. DNA testing subsequently confirmed that David Milgaard was innocent. As a result, the federal government appointed retired Chief Justice Alan Gold from Québec to negotiate compensation. What was contemplated was an ex gratia payment from the public purse, and there was therefore a pressing need for a principled approach to achieve a just and fair settlement.

She’s not mentioned in that Supreme Court case she references, either:  which gives as Milgaard’s solicitors of record as having been Herb Wolch’s Winnipeg law firm:  ” Solicitors for David Milgaard:  Wolch, Pinx, Tapper, Scurfield, Winnipeg.”

And at 01:15 – 01:22 in the video above, she states that working on the Milgaard case for compensation is where she recognized “the importance of the presumption of innocence.”  One might have thought she would have learned that in law school; but then one might also have thought she would remember which government had given ‘her’ client ten million dollars.

On September 20, 2017, Barton’s lawyer Dino Bottos stated publicly that the Alberta Court of Appeals had refused to give him the transcript of its hearing into the Barton case:  As of this writing, the court has apparently given Mr. Bottos mere scraps from the transcript, as well as some attitude:


November 30, 2017 update at 06:37 EDM:  This just in a few hours ago:  Justice Sheilah Martin, one of the judges in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216, has just been appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada:  PM picks feminist constitutional scholar from Alberta for SCC

No comment.


September 16, 2017 update at 09:35 EDM:  Well I did a little more thinking about that Globe and Mail article I just linked to, below.  In it, Justice Sheilah Martin says, of her late husband, Hersh Wolch:  “”Hersh was so supportive of his children. We would sit down regularly to ask: How is everybody doing? Did they need our support? How could we help? Hersh was a good and dutiful father,” Ms. Martin said.

(The couple created a blended family that included Ms. Martin’s two sons from a previous marriage, Rory and Sean.)”  His children.  Not ‘and my children, too,’ or ‘our children.’  And do you know, I almost fell for that, even though I’ve read the plaudits about Mr. Wolch’s having been among the kindest men in the world.  It strikes me now that Justice Martin has made a kind of living out of promulgating the idea that women are treated unequally in the justice system and presenting ways to fix that perceived problem.

Except that:  in R v Barton 2017 ABCA 216, which appears to me to carry on that tradition of highlighting perceived gender injustices as well as getting in a new proposal on how to fix that alleged problem in jury instructions, it would also appear to me that, at the exact same time the Court is crying ‘foul’ about how badly and condescendingly everybody had treated the female murder victim in the original trial, the same Court, of which Ms. Martin was a member, also ambushed the (male) defendant’s (male) criminal lawyer (see below for details).

It strikes me, now, re-reading that Globe and Mail interview with Justice Martin, that a mask can grow to one’s face, a posture can become habitual and hard to drop; and just perhaps, Ms. Martin is in a place of being unable to stop adopting a stance of victim-hood, professionally and personally – not even to honor the legacy of her late husband.  Kinda reminds me of Angelina Jolie in that way.


September 16, 2017 update at 04:14 EDM:  From this revealing and insightful mini-bio of the late Hersh Wolch:   ““He placed a premium on justice.”” “Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, summed up Mr. Wolch’s contributions to Canadian jurisprudence: “Hersh represented the highest ideals of our criminal law system – fairness, equity and a profound commitment to justice for all, whether high or low.“”  Yep, it must have really hit Mr. Wolch very hard, to hear fellow Calgary criminal defense lawyer Dino Bottos tell the world he was ambushed by the Court in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.  Oh sure, heavy workload and all that, but I bet the news about the alleged R v Barton ambush was enough to push him over the edge, too.

September 03, 2017 update at 07:50 EDM:  I have added an interesting and informative article on by thelawyersdaily on the passing of Hersh Wolch and his legacy (see 4th paragraph, below):  

August 02, 2017 Update at 06:24 EDM:  This just in:  A new trial was ordered yesterday in Edmonton for Bradley Barton:  to take place on February 25, 2019.  I reckon there was no money for an appeal to the Supreme Court of the June 30, 2017 ruling that: (i) threw out his acquittal; (ii) tossed in a new issue his lawyer had allegedly not been informed of prior to the Appeal hearing;  (iii) set out its own ‘draft proposal’ for jury instructions, (a proposal slammed by a university law professor for broadly over-reaching the court’s mandate in the case); and that (iv) repeatedly called Barton a liar at the same time it was ordering a new trial for him.  So much for ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ eh.


On June 30, 2017, the Alberta Court of Appeal, consisting of Chief Justice Catherine Fraser, Justice Jack Watson and Justice Sheilah Martin, threw out the jury acquittal of Bradley Barton on charges of murdering Cindy Gladue, and ordered a new trial for him.   Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, has roundly criticised the ruling, in essence accusing the Court of Appeal of political grand-standing and egregious over-reaching:   Bottos also sharply criticised the Court of Appeal for having taken the four grounds of appeal brought by the Crown and [adding] their own, additional ground of appeal – without any warning to the defense, calling it a “very unfair” move on the part of the Court:

In an article published on July 17, 2017, Alberta criminal law professor Steven Penney also criticised the Court of Appeal Judgment with respect to the issue of bias, saying that, although the Judgment  “… did a good job of outlining procedurally how the s. 276 rape shield process is supposed to work, and in emphasizing the importance of those protections in avoiding the prejudicial use of evidence of a complainant’s sexual history…” nevertheless, the Appeal Court also, he suggests, made a ““very restrictive” interpretation of s. 276 that is “out of step in many respects” with the appellate consensus that has emerged on how to interpret the rape shield…”  Suggesting that the Appeal Judgment is extremely unbalanced, “Penney highlighted the Supreme Court’s decision in R. v. Darrach 2000 SCC 46 — the leading case interpreting s. 276. “There I think the Supreme Court of Canada had a more flexible, and balanced, and pragmatic approach — one that I think fairly weighs the interests of both.”” You can read Professor Penney’s comments in full here:

Sept. 03/17 update:  From a July 20, 2017 thelawyersdaily article on Hersh Wolch and his legacy:  “… Wolch, who was married to Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Sheilah Martin, died of a heart attack in Calgary on July 17 at the age of 77…. “  “Hersh’s biggest legacy is that he was instrumental in changing the judicial and public consensus on issues of wrongful conviction and miscarriages of justice and helped make that an acceptable proposition in the criminal justice system,” said [Toronto criminal lawyer Daniel] Brodsky…  Best known as the dedicated defender of high-profile, wrongly convicted clients David Milgaard and Steven Truscott, iconic criminal defence lawyer Hersh Wolch is being remembered for the humanity and changes he brought to the way the law is administered and interpreted in Canada….”  Read the rest of the article, including interviews with one of his children, Gavin Wolch, who is also a practicing lawyer, Calgary criminal defence lawyer Greg Rodin and with Toronto criminal lawyer Daniel Brodsky, and others,  here:

[NOTE:  Calgary criminal defence lawyer Hersh Wolch collapsed at his home and died on Monday, July 17, 2017:   Wolch was married to Justice Sheilah Martin, one of the three judges in the Alberta Court of Appeal Judgment under discussion in this blog-post.  Frankly, I can’t help wondering what the very well respected Mr. Wolch must have thought on June 30, when fellow defence lawyer Dino Bottos alleged in the media that Mr. Wolch’s wife and the other two judges in the Appeal Judgment had in effect Ambushed Bottos in that Court of Appeal Judgment, saying, for example here:  that, “… in particular, [Bottos] was taken by surprise when the panel took the four grounds of appeal brought by the Crown and added their own, additional ground of appeal.  “The Court of Appeal believed the trial judge erred by instructing the jury incorrectly on post-offence misconduct,” Bottos said, adding it caught him unprepared, as counsel is usually given months’ notice as to what the issues are. “To have a fifth ground conjured up and thrown at you is very unfair…”

I also can’t help wondering, of the three judges in that Appeal, which of them its job was to ensure that notice of the fifth ground of appeal was given in a timely manner to Mr. Bottos, and just how, exactly, that notice [allegedly] did Not happen. R.I.P. Mr. Wolch.]

Defense lawyers in Alberta are not usually so vocal in their criticism of the Appeals Court; Dino Bottos’ remarks were the first about the case to catch my attention.   I decided to drop other things I was working on for the time being, and to take a good look at the case.

My Preliminary Observations                                                                                                                 I didn’t have to look far to see that, hell yeah the Court over-reaches – and it’s not shy about doing so, either.  Starting in S. 162:    they use the Judgment as a platform to set out their “draft proposal” for how judges should be instructing juries in (i) “cases involving race and/or gender:”  “[162] A caution in the opening instructions to the jury would be appropriate where, as here, the case involves not only gender (a woman) but also race (Aboriginal) and class (sex trade worker). A draft opening instruction could include the following. In making this suggestion, we stress that this is by way of example only. Further refinements may well be called for based on submissions by Crown and defence counsel…” and in (ii) cases involving evidence of prior sexual conduct:  [S. 163]  It seems to me that teaching other judges on how to instruct juries with a “draft proposal” would be more appropriate in a legal seminar, not in a court judgment. Putting it in a judgment sends a clear message, in my opinion, that:  “Judges better do things the way we want them to and never mind any established “pattern jury instruction [S. 201];”  we know best and you’d better do it our way, or we’ll rule against you on appeal – and we won’t be nice about it, either.”

I also find it very interesting that additionally in S. 163, the Court of Appeal states:  “As with all jury instructions, it is beneficial if the trial judge reviews drafts in advance with Crown and defence. This militates against the need to recharge the jury should the trial judge determine that either counsel has any legitimate concerns.”  That’s really interesting, because the Defense has repeatedly stated [most recently, here]:   that “in fact it was the Crown prosecutors at trial that agreed to this [jury] charge…” in the trial of Bradley Barton.

The contradistinction between the Court of Appeal’s remark in S. 163 and that last quoted statement by Dino Bottos raises a question in my mind of possible bias on the part of the Court, and it doesn’t take too long to find grounds for concern on that score either.

On the bottom of page 03 in the same judgment is the note that, even though Cindy Gladue’s official date of death is June 22, the Court of Appeal nevertheless refers to “June 21 as the night Gladue died since that is when the interactions with Barton began that led to her death on June 22. “  This, mind you, is from the same judgment that goes on to order a fresh trial for Barton on murder charges.  And in S. 185 of that judgment, the Court of Appeal states that:  “… the real issue was whether she consented to what the jury determined that Barton actually did that caused her death.”

Okay, is it just me, or does it also sound to other people as if the Court had in fact already convicted Barton in their heads, even though they had ostensibly ordered a new trial for him?  Particularly so, in view of the facts that:  in the original trial, (i)  there was a real issue of whether or not the statements made by Bradley to the cops came while he was in what a judge euphemistically termed an “unofficial investigative detention:   and (ii)  several witnesses had testified to the presence of other people in the vicinity of the room where Gladue’s body was found near the time of her death, including that of Gladue’s boyfriend:   both of said which factors could very well have a significant bearing both on the jury’s decision to acquit as well as in any future trial.

In R v Barton, 2013 ABQB 673 concerning statements made by the accused to cops and the concomitant issue of whether or not he was under investigative detention,   I see problems with the judge’s perspective.  It appears to me from the judge’s summary that Barton was indeed under investigative detention at the time and I would say that his statements to the cops should have perhaps been suppressed, and that they may well be suppressed in a new trial.

The issue in the original trial of the admissibility of Barton’s statements doesn’t bother the Court of Appeal at all, however; the Court flat-out calls pretty much all of the defendant’s own statements “lies:”  “[72] Had the jury been properly instructed, many of Barton’s after the fact actions and statements might have impacted the jury’s assessment of his honesty, trustworthiness and believability. That included lies to Sullivan; the hotel clerk; the 911 operator; the initial investigating officer; Constable Jones, Atkins; and an undercover officer.

But wouldn’t the defendant be entitled to a fresh presumption of innocence on all counts, in the new trial the Court of Appeal ordered in that self-same Judgment?

So then I took a quick look at the judges involved in the 2017 Court of Appeal Judgment:

Justice Jack Watson is the most familiar of the names to me personally.  Of the first three cases I have to date discussed here:  Jack Watson was a judge in all three of them.

1.  In R. v. Crazyboy, 2012 ABCA 228    Justice Peter Martin stated [s.10] “the trial judge seemed to think that the respondent was automatically entitled to a discounted sentence because of his aboriginal ancestry,” a statement Justice Constant Hunt “concurred in.”

Jack Watson, who concurred in the “result” of the Appeal, demurs somewhat on the issue of what the trial judge thought about the ‘race factor,’ saying

“[s.  [31]  “As pointed out in Ipeelee, even at the respondent’s mature age, the court must pay respectful obeisance to Parliament’s directives concerning restraint in the imposition of sentences as set out in ss. 718.2(d) and (e) of the Code, in particular. What the sentencing judge said was this:

 [35]   I must say that although I have some concerns, as stated above, I cannot ignore the Accused’s unfortunate background as an aboriginal offender, and I give it particular attention in the circumstances of this case.

 [32]   The statement that he would “give it particular attention” is not explained in the reasons. It is to be recalled that Ipeelee took pains to repeat that “Section 718.2(e) does not create a racebased discount on sentencing. The provision does not ask courts to remedy the over-representation of Aboriginal people in prisons by artificially reducing incarceration rates.”

However, what the trial judge actually says  is:

“[33]    During the course of argument, the Court raised with Counsel the application of the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court of Canada, in R. v. Gladue, (1999) 1999 CanLII 679 (SCC), 133 CCC (3d) 385 and R. v. Wells, (2000) 2000 SCC 10 (CanLII), 141 CCC (3d) 368 in this case.

 [34]   Crown Counsel submitted, that any consideration by the Court of Section 718.2(e) of the Code, and the Accused being treated more leniently because he is an aboriginal offender with a dysfunctional developmental history, has been lost because of the seriousness of the present offences and the Accused’s extensive and related criminal record.

 [35]   I must say that although I have some concerns, as stated above, I cannot ignore the Accused’s unfortunate background as an aboriginal offender, and I give it particular attention in the circumstances of this case.”

And the discerning will note that it was the Crown that had raised the issue of whether or not the Aboriginal ancestry of the defendant should “automatically entitle him” to a break in sentencing, not the trial judge.

2.  In 321665 Alberta Ltd. v. Husky Oil Operations Ltd., 2013 ABCA 221  .it’s best to read my summary here:  as I can’t condense it anymore than I already have on that page.

3.  Shuchuk v. Alberta (Workers’ Compensation Board), 2012 ABCA 50 in essence allowed the Appeals Commission to consider once again whether or not “whether the MVA contributed to the continuation of his condition after December 1996…”  – thereby  just handing back to the Commission the very power to choose December 1996 as a cut-off date that was taken away from them in a 2005 decision by Justice Lefsrud – the subsequent appeal of which decision was, as Justice Martin himself states in writing for the Court in the 2012 decision,  unsuccessful: “[10] The WCB unsuccessfully appealed the reviewing judge’s decision to this Court.”  Logically, this would mean that in fact the one thing the Commission cannot reasonably do is to consider December 1996 as a potential cut-off date, but the power to do so is exactly what 2012 Alberta Court of Appeal decision gave the Commission.  See my full analysis of the case here:

Chief Justice Catherine Fraser    In R. v. Gashikanyi, 2017 ABCA 194  Justice Ronald Berger roundly trashes another decision, R v Hajar, 2016 ABCA 222  in which both Catherine Fraser and Jack Watson were among the judges, stating:  at S. 19 that:  “…the majority reasons [including both Fraser and Watson] in Hajar fail to provide meaningful guidance to sentencing judges in Alberta. The abandonment of sentencing ranges and substitution by this Court  of starting points without first determining the “acceptable range of sentence” before fixing the starting point, operates in practical terms as a constraint on the discretion afforded to sentencing judges to impose individualized sentences. After all, sentencing ranges are, as the Supreme Court of Canada has made clear, “historical portraits” for the use of sentencing judges whose discretion should not be interfered with absent demonstrable unfitness…”  and at S. [20] that:  “The majority in Hajar not only failed to conduct a detailed, comprehensive review of the minimum and maximum sentences for sexual interference imposed in the past by both trial and appellate judges, but also summarily resiled from the established sentencing range with the admonition that “…the Reasons [of the sentencing judge] overlook the fact that sentencing precedents from this Court are of limited precedential value.” (at para. 150)…”

There’s more along that vein.  A lot more.  But that’s not all.  Justice Berger also raises as a significant potential issue what he perceives to be a bias in the selection of judges to hear sentencing panels, the selection of whom is one of the primary responsibilities of the Chief Justice.  Who is Catherine Fraser.  J. Berger goes on to say:  “[70]   As noted in the introduction to this judgment, this Court has failed to establish and abide by a protocol that provides for the random assignment of judges to sentencing panels.  [71]  The presence of individual discretion in a system of assignment poses a risk that some may think that panelists will be selected based on their perceived predispositions.[1] An appellate court that utilizes discretionary non-random methods to assign (or to replace an assigned judge) leaves open the potential for manipulation. It is this potential that is problematic because, even if manipulation is not actually occurring, the lack of objective guarantees or protections against such abuse can breed suspicions or perceptions of want of impartiality, thereby eroding the integrity of, and public confidence in, the administration of justice….

As a June 27, 2017 report in ‘The Lawyers Daily’  remarks:  “Justice Berger’s ruling is also remarkable for its arguments against the unfettered discretion of chief justices to assign cases — an issue puisne judges at all court levels, and likely in all courts, have complained about at various times over the years — but almost never in public…”  (There’s a lot more there, too, on J. Berger’s comments.)

Justice Sheilah Martin.  Sheilah Martin is a relatively recent appointee to the Alberta Court of Appeal.  “Sheilah Martin, the other Alberta appeal court appointee, was the law dean at the University of Calgary with a long list of publishing credits to her name focused on the equality section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She, too, was promoted from the Court of Queen’s Bench.”  Quoted from the article:  .  I don’t read as much law as I used to.   I’ve quickly scanned a few QB judgments in which Martin was one of the judges; they looked okay to me.  I chiefly remember her from the Kellog, Brown & Root (Canada) QB ruling [later overturned] on drug testing.  Sadly, that judgment no longer appears to be online; it must have fallen through the cracks when the Alberta Courts web-site turned over trusteeship of its Judgments to  But here’s a good run-down of the KBR drug-testing saga:

More recently, Justice Martin gave the ‘conference overview speech:’  at the 2012 conference “The Courts and Beyond: The Architecture of Justice in Transition,” held by the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice.   At around 09:50 in her speech, it starts to become clear that Justice Martin, one of the conference co-chairs, thinks of herself and her fellow judges as being ‘architects of justice.’ Speaking for myself alone, I personally don’t see judges as being ‘architects of justice.’ I see that as being the role of those who draft legislature and policy, and the role of law-Makers, generally, including politicians, whose role in the ‘building of justice,’ Ms. Martin deprecates about a minute beforehand, saying that politicians generally try to devise a justice plan that is a ‘big tent’ that tries to fit everyone under it. MS. Martin’s perspective on the role of judges in the justice system is of interest to me, because Bradley Barton’s lawyer, Dino Bottos, has in essence accused the Court of Appeal of overstepping its bounds, saying in the Edmonton Journal article:  that “”…the appeal court is making a political statement, as much as a legal one.””

But there is also, to my mind, a telling moment about Justice Martin right at the beginning of that ‘conference overview speech,’ in her reaction to the applause she reaps for a lame joke that she tells badly.

The self-approval is strong in this one.

And there is another telling moment at about 06:02 in that conference video, where Justice Martin chooses not to thank the person who brings her a glass of water.  It’s a startling instance of rudeness on the part of a public speaker, to my mind.  Small moments can be very telling, with respect to a person’s fundamental character.   How do people treat those from whom they think they have nothing to gain?  Not to thank someone who brings you a glass of water is under any circumstances a marked act of discourtesy.  To my mind, it suggests a grasping character, one which considers its own advantage first, which would also accord with Dino Bottos’ claim of political grandstanding on the part of the Court in R v Barton 2016 ABCA 68.

From all of the foregoing, I concluded there was a distinct possibility of bias in the 2017 Court of Appeal decision, so I took a look at the law, starting with the 2016 decision in which Leave to Appeal the jury acquittal was given:  .


From  R. v. Barton, 2016 ABCA 68:  “[S. 2] The Crown has appealed. The grounds of appeal as framed by the appellant are the following:

1) The trial judge erred in law in his instruction to the jury with respect to manslaughter.

2) The trial judge erred in law in his instruction to the jury with respect to motive.

3) The trial judge erred in law in making a ruling under s. 276 of the Criminal Code after the close of evidence without any application having been brought by the defence and without a hearing on the issue.

4) The trial judge erred in law in instructing the jury that the complainant’s consent on a previous occasion could be used to support a finding of honest but mistaken belief in consent on this occasion.

5) Such further and other good grounds as counsel may advise.

Additionally, leave to the interveners to join the appeal was also granted, on the grounds that:  “S. [12]   In the case at bar, the arguments which the proposed interveners intend to proffer, as counsel explained, will focus on the definition of “sexual activity” in s. 273.1(1) of the Criminal Code. I am told that the proposed interveners intend to provide a substantive equality analysis of the meaning of consent and also observations on the procedure required by s. 276 of the Criminal Code. The relief prayed for is that they be permitted to file one joint factum of 20 pages or less and to make oral submissions not exceeding 20 minutes.

In the Respondent’s [Dino Bottos for the accused, Bradley Barton] Memorandum of Argument] against the interveners’ being allowed in the Appeal,  he stated:  “[S.3] … “an intervener must take the case as she finds it and cannot, to the prejudice of the parties, argue new issues which require the introduction of fresh evidence;”  and further, in [S.5] that this is exactly what the interveners intended to do.  He states that the first ground of appeal argued by the interveners:  as to whether or not the trial judge erred in law with respect to his instructions to the jury on manslaughter “does not adhere to the ground of appeal being argued by the Crown.”  In [S. 6] Bottos indicates that the intervener’s ground of appeal on liability is overly broad and intended to effectively upend “the prevailing law in Canada” on liability.  In [S. 7] Bottos flat-out accused the interveners of trying to sneak their way into ‘legal party status,’ just so that they could help get Botto’s client convicted.  This is a really serious allegation, basically accusing the interveners of malicious prosecution.  In [S.9], Bottos also accuses the interveners of having “failed to comply with their promise” not to introduce new facts or evidence.”  I don’t know where the interveners would have made that promise.   I don’t see any indication of it in their ‘factotum,’ (which of course certainly doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t make the promise).  He goes on to say in S.9 that the Intervener’s Approach represents a markedly different approach from that of the Crown’s at trial.

Perhaps most significantly, there is no indication in Bottos’ Memorandum that he was aware that the trial judge’s instructions to the jury on post-offence conduct were going to be a grounds for appeal.   But there it is in the Appeal Decision:  starting at “V. Errors in Jury Charge on Barton’s After the Fact Conduct

  1. Introduction

[54] “After the fact conduct” or, as it is sometimes called “post offence conduct”, refers to anything said or done by an accused after the commission of the offence alleged. It includes a vast array of words and conduct. In his charge to the jury, the trial judge defined this category of evidence as “things that Mr. Barton is alleged to have said or done after the incident charged in the indictment”.26”  

And the Court goes on to say exactly when, apparently, Dino Bottos first heard that the ‘after the fact conduct’ was even going to be an issue in the Appeal.  It was at the hearing of the Appeal itself:  “[55] Both Crown and defence acknowledged at the hearing of this appeal that the trial judge erred in law in his treatment of this nuanced subject. But counsel disagreed about the significance of that error.”

The Court even goes on to make the admission that the issue would involve the introduction of evidence“[57] “After the fact conduct” or “post offence conduct” – which includes actions and words – is a form of circumstantial evidence.”

So, yes, I would say that Dino Bottos was ambushed by the Alberta Court of Appeal in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.

Further with respect to that Judgment, this here is the Supreme Court of Canada Judgment  said by University of Alberta criminal law professor Steven Penney to have “a more flexible, and balanced, and pragmatic approach [to s.276 of the Criminal Code] — one that I think fairly weighs the interests of both –“ in contradistinction to the analysis that takes up much of the Alberta Court of Appeals’ Judgment in  R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.  .

The Alberta Court of Appeals also goes on and on about how unfair and prejudicial it was to call the victim, Cindy Gladue, a prostitute.  However, testimony offered in the original trial:  from several credible witnesses including Gladue’s own boyfriend, would lead a reasonable person to conclude that Cindy Gladue was a prostitute, in my opinion, and that, moreover, her relationship with the defendant was that of a prostitute and a client.  Furthermore, the prosecution also called Gladue a prostitute repeatedly, so it seems a bit rich for the Court of Appeals to suddenly take it upon themselves to decide that it’s no longer politically correct to state what would appear to have been a fact agreed to by both the defence and the prosecution in the original trial.  I also think it’s actually incredibly patronizing for the Court of Appeal to conclude that a jury would somehow think it was more okay for someone to murder a prostitute than to murder anyone else – ironic, since the Court of Appeal threw the word ‘patronizing’ around at pretty much everyone else who was involved in the original trial.

So yes, from all of the foregoing, I would say the dice were loaded in R v Barton, 2017 ABCA 216.

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SOURCES CITED For Vǫluspá’s Gullveig, Heiðr and narrator: one, two or three?

It’s commminnng… As I write this, the last source I have in mind to cite for my upcoming blog-post on Gullveig & Co is  SKIÐARIMA, by Theo Homan, a copy of which is crossing the border from Illinois post-haste.  As is my wont for lengthy posts, I am publishing the list of sources separately.  I am confident that the last year’s intensive study and thought will pay off in a plausible and original model for the three elements in the poem I have named in the title.

Boyer, Régis.  ‘On the Composition of Vǫluspá,’ in Edda:  A Collection of Essays.  R.J. Glendinning, Haraldur Bessason, Editors.  University of Manitoba Press, 1985. Pages 117 – 133

Cleasby, Richard, Vigfússon, Guðbrandur (and supplement by Sir William A. Craigie).  An Icelandic-English Dictionary, Second Edition.  Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1957, reprinted 1962.

Dronke, Ursula (1).  Transl.  The Poetic Edda: Volume II Mythological Poems.  Oxford University Press, reprinted 2001.

Dronke, Ursula (2).  Translator. The Poetic Edda: Volume III Mythological Poems II.  Oxford University Press, 2011

Eggertsson, Jochum Magnús (Skuggi).  Sorcerer’s Screed:  The Icelandic Book of Magic Spells.  English translation by Philip Roughton.  Lesstofan, 2016

Faulkes, Anthony (1).  Translator.  Snorri Sturluson:  Edda.  Everyman edition, pub. by J.M. Dent, London and Charles E. Tuttle, Vermont, paperback reissued, 1995.  ISBN-10: 0460876163; ISBN-13: 978-0460876162  (I’ve included the ISBN numbers for this source because it can be difficult to discern which of the ‘Edda’ editions has all three parts of Snorri’s work: Gylfaginning, Skáldskaparmál and Háttatal.  Very few editions in English of Snorri’s ‘Prose Edda’ include Háttatal.

Faulkes, Anthony (2). Snorri Sturluson’s Edda: Háttatal  2nd edition.  Anthony Faulkes, Editor.  Viking Society for Northern Research, London, 2007.

Flowers, Stephen.  (ed./trans.) The Rune-Poems, Vol I: Introduction, Texts, Translations and Glossary.  Rûna-Raven Press, 2002.

Flowers, Stephen E.  (B)  Icelandic Magic:  Practical Secrets of the Northern Grimoires.  Inner Traditions, 2016

Formanna  Sögur [Legendary Sagas] Volume IX:  Sögur Hákonar Sverrissonar, Guttorms Sigurðarsonar,

Ínga Bárðarsonar and  Hákonar Hákonarsonar til falls Skúla hertoga.  Edited by F. Magnússon and C.C. Rafn.  Kaupmannahöfn, 1835.  Links to all free downloads of the Legendary Sagas may be found here:

Frankis, John.  ‘The Hild-story (Hjaðningavíg) as a saga-motif.’  Pre-print paper from The Fourth International Saga Conference, 1979.

Hallberg, Peter.  ‘Elements of Imagery’ in Edda:  A Collection of Essays.  R.J. Glendinning, Haraldur Bessason, Editors.  University of Manitoba Press, 1985.  Pages 47 – 85

Hollander, Lee M. (a) transl.  Heimskringla:  History of the Kings of Norway by Snorri Sturluson.  University of Texas Press, Austin, paperback, 2013.

Hollander, Lee M.  (b) transl.  The Poetic Edda, Second Edition, Revised.  University of Texas Press, Austin, paperback, 2011

Homan, Theo.  SKIÐARIMA. An Inquiry into the Written and Printed Texts, References and Commentaries. With an Edition and an English Translation.  Amsterdamer Publikationen zur Sprache und Literatur, 1975

Guðmundsdóttir, Aðalheiður.  ‘Saga Motifs on Gotland Picture Stones:  The Case of Hildr Högnadóttir,’ in Gotland’s Picture Stones:  Bearers of an Enigmatic Legacy.  Gotländskt Arkiv, (2012), Reprints from the Friends of the Historical Museum Association, Volume 84.

Heide, Eldar.  ‘Spinning seiðr’ in Old Norse religion in long-term perspectives.  Anders Andrén, Kristina Jennbertand Catharina Raudvere, Editors.  Nordic Academic Press, 2006.  Pages 164 – 170,%20Lund%20conf%20Heide.pdf

Kirby, W.F.  ‘The Vǫluspá:  the Sybil’s Lay in the Edda of Sæmund,’ in Saga-Book of the Viking Society for Northern Research, Volume VIII.  (1913 – 1914)

Krell, Sydney A.  ‘Exploring the Emotive versus the Scholarly:  an Investigation of the Kennings in Ragnarsdrápa and Øxarflokkr,’ Master Thesis in Nordic Viking and Medieval Culture, Universitet i Oslo, Fall 2013

Jakobsdóttir, Svava.  ‘”Gunnlǫð and the Precious Mead” (Hávamál),’ in The Poetic Edda:  Essays on Old Norse Mythology.  Paul Acker and Carolyne Larrington, Editors.  Routledge, 2002.  Pages 27 – 57

Liestøl, Knut.  The Origin of the Icelandic Family Sagas.  Transl. by A.G. Jayne.  Aschehoug & Co. 1930

Lindow, John.  Norse Mythology:  a Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals and Beliefs.  Oxford University Press paperback, 2002.

Lönnroth, Lars.  ‘The Riddles of the Rök-Stone: A Structural Approach (1977),’ in The Academy of Odin by Lars Lönnroth, p. 279 – 356.  University Press of Southern Denmark, 2011

Markey, Tom. ‘Studies in Runic Origins 2: From Gods to Men,’ in American Journal of Germanic Linguistics & Literatures 11.2 (1999): 131-203  Available for purchase from:

Malone, Kemp.  ‘An Anglo-Latin Version of the Hjađningavíg,’ Speculum, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Jan., 1964), pp. 35-44, Stable URL:

McKinnell, John.  (1) ‘On Heiðr and Gullveig,’ in Saga Book Volume XXV.  Viking Society for Northern Research, University College, London, 1998 – 2001.  [Downloadable for free here:    ]

McKinnell, John.  (2)  Meeting the Other in Norse Myth and Legend.  D.S. Brewer, Cambridge, 2005.

McKinnell, John.  (3)  Essays on Eddic Poetry.  University of Toronto Press, 2014.

McKinnell, John.  (4)  ‘Heathenism in Vǫluspá:  A Preliminary Survey,’ in The Nordic Apocalypse:  Approaches to Vǫluspá and Nordic Days of Judgement.  Pages 93 – 110.  Brepols, Belgium, 2013.

McKinnell, John.  (5)  ‘Why Did Christians Continue to Find Pagan Myths Useful?’ in Reflections on Old Norse Myths. Studies in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia (VMSS 1)).  (P. Hermann, J. P. Schjødt, R. Tranum Kristensen, Editors.  Brepols, 2007.

McKinnell, John (6).  Both one and many : essays on change and variety in Late Norse Heathenism.  Il calamo (1994)

Mitchell, Stephen A.  Witchcraft and Magic in the Nordic Middle Ages.  University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.

Ólason, Vésteinn, ‘Vǫluspá and Time,’ in The Nordic Apocalypse:  Approaches to Vǫluspá and Nordic Days of Judgment.  Terry Gunnell, Annette Lassen, Editors.  Brepols Publishers, Turnhout Belgium, 2013.  Pages 25 – 44

Pétursson, Pétur.  ‘Manifest and latent Biblical Themes in Vǫluspá,’ in in The Nordic Apocalypse:  Approaches to Vǫluspá and Nordic Days of Judgement.  Pages 185 – 201.  Brepols, Belgium, 2013.

Motz, Lotte.  ‘Gullveig’s Ordeal:  A New Interpretation’ in  Arkiv för nordisk filologi 108:80-92 [ Article is available for free as a downloadable PDF:  ]

Nordal, Sigurður.  ‘Three Essays on Völuspá,’ translated by B.S. Benedikz and J.S. McKinnell, in Saga –Book XVIII (1970 – 71), p. 79 – 135.

Nordal, Sigurður.  (B)  ed.  Vǫluspá, text, commentary, notes and glossary.  English translation of notes, commentary and glossary by B. S. Benedikz and John McKinnell.  Durham and St. Andrews Medieval Texts Number 1,  reprinted with corrections 1980

North, Richard.  Ed. and transl. ‘Heðinn’s Everlasting Battle’ in ‘Bragi’s Eulogy on Ragnarr,’ in Longman Anthology of Old English, Old Icelandic and Anglo-Norman Literatures.  Editors, Richard North, Joe Allard, Patricia Gillies.  Longman of Pearson Education Limited, 2011, p. 131 – 133

Quinn, Judy (1).  ‘Hildr Prepares a Bed for Most-Helmet Damagers…’ in Reflections on Old Norse Myths. Studies in Viking and Medieval Scandinavia (VMSS 1)) (P. Hermann, J. P. Schjødt, R. Tranum Kristensen, Editors.  Brepols, 2007.  Pages 95 – 118

Quinn, Judy (2).  ‘Sǫrla þáttr and the rewriting of the revivification myth,’ preprint paper from The Thirteenth International Saga Conference, Durham / York.  John McKinnell, David Ashurst and Donata Kick, Editors. (Durham: Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2006).

Rowe, Elizabeth Ashman.  ‘Sörla þáttr:  The Literary Adaptation of Myth and Legend,’ in Saga-Book Vol. XXVI. p. 38 – 66.  The Viking Society for Northern Research, 2002 available as a free download here:

Samplonius, Kees.  ‘The War of the Æsir and the Vanir:  A Note on Sources,’  in TijdSchrift voor Skandinavistiek vol. 22 (2001), nr. 1.

Saga Sverris konúngs

Sögur Noregs konúnga frá Magnúsi Berfætta til Magnúss Erlíngssonar

Strid, Jean Paul (with Olof Erikson, photos).  Text translated from Swedish into English by Lennart Strid.  Rune Stones.  Edition Erikson, Malmö, Sweden, 1991

Ström, Folke.  ‘Nīð, Ergi and Old Norse Moral Attitudes.’  The Dorothea Coke Memorial Lecture, delivered at University College in London, May 10, 1973.  Published for the College by the Viking Society for Northern Research, London.  [downloadable for free here:,%20ergi%20and%20Old%20Norse%20moral%20attitudes.pdf  ]

Tolley, Clive.  Shamanism in Norse Myth and Magic, Volumes I and II.   (FF Communications, vol. cxliv2, no 297)  Academia Scientiarum Fennica (2009)

Vigfússon, Gudbrand and Powell, F. York, editors and translators.  Corpus Poeticum Boreale, The Poetry of the Old Northern Tongue, from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century, Vol. I Eddic Poetry and Vol.  II, Court Poetry.   Oxford at Clarendon, 1883

background by ; eye by ; bottle by ; wolf by ; raven courtesy of ; silhouette by 


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The Real Reason Sears Faces Extinction

UPDATE March 25, 2017:  Well, the Advertising Standards folks were a little bit slow, but eventually they got around to my complaint, and the outcome of their investigation was that last week Sears Canada and I reached a happy settlement of my complaint.   (Happy for me, anyway.)  It’ll probably still be awhile before I shop for clothes at Sears Kingsway, but I don’t have a problem with shopping at the Sears West Edmonton Mall location.  I’ve never had a problem there, and have always found the store staff there to be friendly and professional.


When I was growing up in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada back in the seventies, (point of disclosure:  I’m actually fifty-eight years old but I have few memories of shopping before that decade), the department stores were the cat’s meow for clothes, furniture and appliances.  Twice a year the Sears catalogue would be thumped down by our front door and we would eagerly scan it.  Going to the stores, Sears, Woodward’s, Eaton’s and the Bay, there would always be staff on hand to help you.  Contrast memories of days gone bye with my experience on Sunday, November 13, 2016, at the Sears in Kingsway Mall, Edmonton:  I stood in line at the cashier’s in women’s wear for fifteen minutes, only to be told that the Carroll Reed items I had were not in fact on sale, even though a huge sign on the rack said they were.

See that sign?  The writing under it says “all Carroll Reed wear,” which is the only outfit on that rack, in varying sizes.  When I demanded to speak to a manager, I was told he was “too busy to talk to me.”  A “floor manager” named Alisha arrived, and told me I “should have read the sign” because in very very tiny print, as it turns out, it says that the exception is any clothing where the price ends in .97 (cents).  But the only items on that rack were all priced with the same price, as they were all jackets and pants of the same leisure outfit.  Every item was priced $32.97, jackets and pants.  I complained a few days later online, and spoke to one Tyler in Sears Canada’s Toronto head office.  He told me he would write a report and I would hear back from the Edmonton district manager within a week. I heard nothing.  (I have since placed a complaint with Advertising Standards Canada:  )  This is not the first time I’ve had a problem with Sears.  A few months ago I set up an online account and ordered two different pairs of pants.  Both pairs came in the wrong size, and Sears Kingsway was surly when I returned them.  Contrast these experiences with Northern Reflections:  whom I order from at least half a dozen times a year, often multiple items, who never get an order wrong, ship promptly with tracking information, with clearly marked sales and signs and friendly, gracious clerks in their stores.  Not occasionally.  All the time.

Some heavy financial analysts are predicting a bad ending for Sears:

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert bewails the “unfairness” of the gloomy predictions:

But I’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go in my lifetime, and there’s one sure-fire way of dying in retail:  ignoring the customer.  Ignoring complaints.  Ignoring changes in customer buying patterns.  Ignoring them on the floor.  I’ve walked through Sears Kingsway and said hello with a friendly smile to floor people only to have them just give me a stony stare.

I worked as a cashier for almost a decade.

It’s all about how you treat people.  If you don’t understand that, or you’ve forgotten it, then the end is coming for you; you just don’t see it yet…

A structure in Galena, Illinois with old Sears signage.  photo by, creative attribution, share-alike license; dinosaur by



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