Wednesday, September 30, 2009

for a taste of your whisky ...

While looking at videos on youtube today I came across a number of absolutely wild music videos that left me marvelling at how amazing The Muppet Show was ... in addition to Alice Cooper's Welcome to My Nightmare and some funky stuff by Johnny Cash I found this one by Kenny Rogers and thought it was AWESOME:

Dunno Why ... but ...

Move the furniture ... crank the volume and

JUST LET IT HAPPEN ... the song is self explanatory:


Monday, September 28, 2009

Latest contribution to the Wheat City Journal ...

(Click to see/read a full size version)

Hmmmm ... interesting ... Stella Artois and the CBC logo ...

This is the iconic CBC logo,
sometimes called an exploding pizza,
but regardless of what it is called,
it has graced the CBC for nearly 40 years,
having been created in 1974 and used extensively since.
Tonight on CBC's As It Happens,
they picked up the story about beer maker
Stella Artois "borrowing" the logo
for its advertising campaign:
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,
I guess borrowing an iconic logo borders on imitation.
for more check out some of the links below:

WTF???!!! - a HOMELESS Doll ???

Meet Gwen, the Doll of the Year with the American Girl Doll collection. Isn't she lovely ...
Here's what Abby Zimet over at has to say about Gwen:
Oh, capitalism. Mattel's American Girl - creator of obscenely pricey dolls for up to $158, with bed another $118 - is now marketing Gwen, a homeless doll. For $95, you get Gwen with aforementioned dress, long blond hair and dark back story - she and her mom, fallen on hard times, live in their car before making their vinyl way to a homeless shelter. A $95 doll to celebrate the sorrowful fact that, every seven seconds, someone somewhere in this land of plenty will reportedly lose their home. What next. One of our readers suggests calling Mattel (608.836.4848) or emailing and asking them to donate profits from the sale of "Gwen" to homeless shelters and food banks.
Here's what it says on wikipedia about Gwen's background story:
Gwen Thompson is a shy and quiet girl in Chrissa's class with large brown eyes and blond hair she lets hang over her eyes (before it was cut). She has no friends until Chrissa befriends her. The Queen Bees--Tara, Sonali, and Jadyn--refer to her as the Loser Girl and play mean and spiteful pranks on her through the book. The bullying disturbs Sonali Matthews and soon after Tara maliciously cuts off Gwen's bangs, Sonali leaves the group and becomes friends with Gwen and Chrissa.

Gwen and her mother Janine fell on hard times when her father lost his job; they later lost the house as they were unable to keep up payments. Soon after, Gwen's father left them and they became homeless the fall before the start of the book's events. Initially, Gwen's mother has them live in their car until the winter comes; she then takes them to Sunrise House, a place for homeless women and children. Sunrise House helps them get on their feet and eventually get a new apartment.
I dunno, but I think Zimet has a point ... capitalism seemingly knows NO BOUNDS ...

Gee I hope they don't stop by my office ...

Okay - let's put this headline story in context ... Calgary is grappling with homelessness, a downturn in the economy, and like the rest of us the deepening effects of a recession ... BUT, are these "good" church people concerned about ANY of those things???

Heck no ... they're in a lather because the Calgary Zoo has a BEAUTIFUL sculpture of Ganesh outside the elephant house in the Asian area of their exhibits ... and not a sitting Ganesh, but a dancing Ganesh, that is not only Good Luck, but is a harbinger of the blessings of the Cosmos. And this group of "concerned" Christians wants this lovely sculpture removed.

CBC reports this story here - "Dancing Elephant Stays, says Calgary Zoo"

In the meantime, I hope these guys don't stop by my office anytime soon ... my dancing Ganesh is standing alongside a sitting Ganesh, a tiny Kali, a Bobble-headed Jesus, an Egyptian goddess, a couple of Orthodox icons and a St Rita statue ... AND I've been trying to FIND a replica of this statue since I first saw it in Calgary a couple of years ago ... guess I'm a bad Christian ...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Born this day ...

Jason Alexander,
(otherwise known as George from Seinfeld)

Mickey Rooney
Bruce Springsteen
Ray Charles


Ms. H.

and the number is ...

Happy Birthday Ms H. !!!

Happy B-day for Ms. H ...

Happy Birthday ...

Thirteen years ago, you came into the world in the Campbell River Hospital, and though he will deny it today, your brother was thrilled and PROUD to have a little sister ... you were welcomed by your Grandma within hours of your arrival ... and you were a beautiful baby girl ...

The nick name we gave you when you learned to crawl was "lava" because you were relentless and there was simply NO WAY to keep you out of the places YOU wanted to be ... especially if it was your brother's stuff !!!

You drove Noahkila to absolute craziness by insisting that "I was born first," and were older than he was ...

You looked beautiful in your "lovely dress" that you wore until it was nothing more than tattered rags ...

The last thirteen years are chocked full of memories of you, your sister, your brother and the many moments we've travelled together ... some are good ... some are not so good ... but ALL of them are recalled with love and fondness ...

In a moment like this, I am proud to be your dad, and I'm happy to have you as my daughter ...

I love you. And today I wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!!

One last one for a laugh ...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

UM ????? U.S. military action in Africa ... where's the headlines???

Pictured above is Ali Saleh Nabhan a senior member of al-Qaeda. He is on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted terrorists’ list for his alleged involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings that killed more than 250 people and injured 4,000 others in East Africa. Nabhan became a fugitive in 2006, wanted by the US Department of Justice for questioning in connection with the ‘02 attacks against a hotel and an Israeli airliner in Mombasa, Kenya. He was among six people shot and killed in a US military raid outside Baraawe, Somalia on September 14, 2009.

The question that ALL of this raises in my mind is simply this: why is there NOTHING in the media about the US Military conducting raids in Somalia against al-Qaeda???

It really makes me wonder what else is going on in our world that we hear NOTHING ABOUT ...
While I don

Monday, September 21, 2009

Birthday wishes across the 2400 kms ...

Happy Birthday to U ... no to L !!!!!

Born today ...

Alfonso Ribeirio who played Carlton opposite Will Smith in
Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Author Stephen King

Comic genius and actor Bill Murray
(YIKES!!! Bill turns 59 this year !!!)

The amazing and talented
Leonard Cohen,
AND there is also an
amazing selection of talented people
who mark today as their birthday including:
Rob Morrow, aka Dr Fleishmann from Northern Exposure,
Dave Coulier who played Joey on Full House,
David James Elliott who was Harmon Rabb on JAG,
Nicole Richie,
Faith Hill,
H.G. Wells,
Larry "J.R. Ewing" Hagman,
my personal favourite Birthday Girl today:
The beautiful, witty, brilliant and enchanting L !!

Hope your B-day is a Happy One !!!
Thinking of You

Just Because it's been on my mind lately:

Friday, September 18, 2009


Pte. Jonathan Couturier, aged 23
who was based in Valcartier, Que.
died Thursday morning
after the vehicle he was riding in
struck an IED southwest of Kandahar city.
Eleven others were injured in the explosion.
Thoughts and prayers for his family, his comrades and friends.
Lest We Forget.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Leave it to Obama ...

It is truly refreshing to have an American President who is articulate, intelligent, and who dares to call it like he sees it ... Today it would appear that President Obama, in a candid conversation with CNBC's John Harwood, called Kanye West a "JACKASS."

News of the presidential edict slipped out via Tweets from staff belonging to rival ABC.

One comment in particular caught my attention, and even if it was meant in jest, says is well:

"Terry Moran, a former White House correspondent, logged on to Twitter and typed: "Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a 'jackass' for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT'S presidential.""

I dunno ... I think President Obama is just saying what most reasonable people are already thinking ... Gotta like someone who has the nerve to call it like he sees it and call a spade a spade, or in this case a jackass a jackass.

To see what CTV has to say about this click here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

130 ...

Pte. Patrick Lormand, 21,
of the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment
based in Quebec City,
was killed and four others were injured
in a roadside blast from an improvised explosive device
on Sunday afternoon while patrolling in the Panjwaii district of Afghanistan.
Thoughts and prayers for his wounded comrades,
his fellow soldiers,
his family,
and those who grieve his passing ...
Lest We Forget.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

More scenes from along the way ...

Vote for Flute (and Ms. H)!!

Today Ms. H. submitted this photo to the Jones Soda company as a possibility for thier bottle labels ... help her out - head over to Jones Soda and vote for this and her other photos !! (as I write this she is busy submitting some of the other BEAUTIFUL photos she's taken as possiblities for label pics)

To find Flute's pic click here. Then when you've voted for the pic, check out some of the other images Ms. H has submitted and cast your vote there too !!

Swan picture

Sunset picture

Thanks !!

A Tale of Four Emails ...

This is Lingelbach United Church. It stands in rural Ontario on the north side of Hwy 7&8 between New Hamburg and Shakespeare. The year 2010 will mark Lingelbach's 170th Anniversary as a worshipping community. The year 2010 will also mark Lingelbach's LAST year as a worshipping community.

In the grand scheme of things, the pending closure of Lingelbach United Church is just the loss of yet another rural pastoral charge that can no longer sustain itself. But on a personal scale the loss of this worshipping community renders me completely homeless spiritually.

Kitty corner to the Lingelbach Church is the Cemetary where my father, my uncles, my cousin, my grandparents, my great-grandparents and numerous members of my extended family rest. Across the road from Lingelbach, opposite the cemetary is the rolling farm that my paternal family called home for close to 150 years before it passed from our family hands ... Lingelbach is where my Grandparents were married, my father was baptized, my parents were married, my brother was baptized, my father was buried, I was dedicated in the Evangelical United Brethren Church, my grandparents were buried, and my extended family marked all of life's passages from burials to baptisms to weddings, and attended Church, Sunday School and other special events for decades ...

And soon, it will be yet another foot note in history ...

As I learned of Lingelbach's fate joining the other significant sanctuaries in my life that have moved from real to memory, I read an astounding column from Michael Coren in the Toronto Sun. Coren wrote of the election of the new Moderator for the United Church, noting the failure of the Church to be a Church.

Read the article by clicking here.

I was struck by the line in Coren's column that read:

"Behind the smiles and the hugs is a nasty, exclusive ideology that speaks of tolerance and love but is in fact rigid and harsh."

When I read that line I laughed and I cried ... it rings too true, and for many of the folks in the United Church, particularly the leadership - they fail utterly to see the truth of this statement. A statement offered by a voice from OUTSIDE. We ignore such warnings at our peril.

I wrote Mr. Coren to thank him for his thoughtful and thought-provoking piece and received a prompt reply. Coren noted in his email to me: "The response to my column from the United Church was quite abusive. Says a great deal."

Yup. Abusive replies from within the Church who would all fociferously deny that they are nasty, exclusive, rigid or harsh doesn't surprise me in the least. I've lived that journey for the last three years, and any time I open my mouth, or put words to "paper" that imply that the response is swift, brutish and nasty.

The notion of owning up to the short-comings of the Church is simply and utterly lost on the leadership, both lay and clergy, in the United Church of Canada. Yet the evidence of this reality is compelling and enormous.

Some of this evidence arrived in my inbox within minutes of the reply from Mr. Coren when I recieved an invitation to the ground-breaking for the new Minnedosa United Church.

Aside from wondering WHY??? I had to shake my head in sadness.

Minnedosa United Church has become a shadow of its former self. The planned building is a fraction of what could of, and would have been if JUSTICE had prevailed instead of a biased, one-sided dog and pony show that was designed to remove me and appease a toxic leadership that had once again decided it was time to heave a minister who could not be tethered and controlled by them ... Instead of wrestling with the inter-generational conflict and toxicity that marks Minnedosa United Church, the Church took the easy road and piled the sins and misdeeds on MY shoulders and drove me out into the wilderness ...

The proof of this was underscored in a third email I received today from a friend in Minnedosa who chronicled the repeating pattern of a "gentleman" in Minnedosa who is nothing short of a toxic Drama Queen who has become very edept at blaming everyone else for his failures and short-comings rather than taking a much needed look in the mirror and owning his crap. Once again, rather than owning his responsibility and involvement in the miserable outcome of his life, he is again blaming someone else for what's wrong in his life - choosing to spread his toxic nonsense around by trying to destroy the reputation and life of another person ...

As I read the email I couldn't help but think of the line delivered by Kevin Klein in "My Life as a House" when he notes of his character's father "It didn't matter how small he was, he had to tear me down lower than he was ..."

This clown falsely blamed me for everything that was going wrong in his life instead of going and getting the help he needed and his wife and children deserved. He was instrumental in destroying my reputation and my career by falsely accusing me of things ... I am pretty sure he was responsible for the violence against my house, my van and my person ... and he was quietly supported by the leadership of the Church who not only listened to him, but actively encouraged him, all the while denying any contact and/or involvement with him ... and when the moment came when the Board and Leadership of the Church SHOULD have stood up and said - "Enough, this is false and we'll have none of it ..." THEY instead shrugged and went on spreading these rumours, and falsehoods at the curling rink, the hockey rink, coffee row, and wherever they could find an opportunity to spread their salacious crap.

And ALL the while, the Greater Church did nothing ... they chose to ignore the blantantly obvious, and continue to pretend Minnedosa was fine and the problem rested solely on MY shoulders ...

Well people of the United Church - today we have proof that the source of information about ME is clearly a deeply troubled and likely disturbed individual who is STILL spreading lies and nonsense about ANYONE who he deems "responsible" for his pathetic existence. The good Church folks who listened to him and his family, and who took what they had to say seriously should be deeply ashamed of themselves, and should be asking some hard questions of themselves, their leadership and the outcome of the kangaroo court that began by noting many pre-existent problems in Minnedosa and ended 48 pages later by blaming me for EVERY problem past, present and future ...

Then came the fourth email, from one of the few colleagues I respect and love in the United Church. They noted dryly of my reply to the invitation to the Ground Breaking in Minnedosa:

"Your bitter bone is poking through. Sorry about that but this is one of those times when you have to lose your life to find it, I think. Let it go and bless them in their efforts. God doesn't judge nearly as harshly as you do."

I'll own that my bitter bone is poking through.

AND I know why.

I can look back on a 40 year history with the United Church and count too many moments when the Church has utterly failed me ... my home congregation of Centennial United Church in Stratford was simply awesome. They were a rag tag group of loving and lovable mis-fits who
wrestled with thier demons and struggled with their issues and at the end of the day LIVED THEIR FAITH with humility, love and care. They set me up for failure because they were NOT like any Church Congregation I've encountered since save one.

Since then I've been battered, beaten and bloodied by the United Church, and through it all I've picked myself up, wiped my wounded, and gone back in the fray committed deeply to the Gospel and to sharing my faith through the Ministry I've been called to. And every step of the way the Church has repeatedly failed me, itself, the people I've been ministering amongst, and those who seek something more than warm pink fuzzies from the Church ... and instead of doing ANYTHING to address those failings the Church blames me for having expectations that are TOO high, or denies its mis-deeds and failures.

I remember being TOLD that I couldn't preside at a wedding happening days after my disciplinary process had begun because "rules are rules." The outcome of that daft decision by the powers that be, was not justice. It was adherence to an archaic rule that left a Bridal couple, their family and over 300 friends and family members laughing at the STUPIDITY of the United Church ... Any outreach among that group of close to 350 people would now be pointless. They've witnessed what the Church is about, and they want NONE OF IT.

It is this very thing Mr Coren is speaking of. So obsessed with the latest cause, fad or how-to-process, the Church has lost sight of its mission to be the living Body of Christ to the World.

Rather than wrestling with the cries from the margins, and hearing the prophetic voices amongst us, the leadership instead demonizes those who ruffle feathers and who make the status quo untenable, and we drive out those who won't simply play nice.

Instead of seeking justice - true earth shattering justice - we smile nod and do NOTHING.

My reply to my colleague was as follows:

One day I would like you to read the Friedman book Generation to Generation - AND - some of Bruggemann's stuff on prophetic preaching ... when you read Friedman ask youself 'what could Presbytery have done DIFFERENTLY in Minnedosa ?' that wouldn't have left half the community and congregation sighing and saying - "here we go again ..." while the SAME three or four families invoke THEIR will on the rest of the congregation ...

My bitterness is about the FAILURE of the Church at ALL levels to truly wrestle with the issues that were unfolding in Minnedosa ... I was the lightning rod - NOT to sole problem ... I did what was asked of me - but NO ONE else was CALLED to task for thier sins ... where's the justice in THAT?

I had people --- standing in thier self-righteousness judging me ... the whole concept of speck, log and eyes comes into play ...

I bore my sins ... I still bear my sins ... I've been driven out like the good and dutiful scapegoat, and like J.H. said - the difference between me and the biblical scapegoat is that I refuse to bear my load with graciousness and subservience AND I refuse to just wander off and die ...I'll gladly bear my sins - I've taken my lumps, I've watched as almost everything has been stripped from me ... but I WILL NEVER stand silently while others who are equally culpable and responsible are left free of consequences.

Minnedosa deserves better than it has gotten. ---- has been co-opted by the very process -- should have been confronting - but then -- is of the opinion that Friedman and his view of the generational transmission of conflict and victimizing doesn't happen in the UCC - and sadly they are NOT alone ... --- shares that view as do others ...

I will say it AGAIN - listen to the voices of those who are broken and hurt by the "good church folks" in Minnedosa and hear what they have to say ... Gord Turner outlined in his work in the 80's when he struggled with the concept of "outside looking in" - and listened to the stories of hurt, alienation and outright ABUSE that drove people away.

The Church is NOT a democracy.

Just because a small segment used fear and gossip to prevail doesn't make them right. Just because they are still the Board doesn't make them just.

The Church is about being faithful - and God's judgement is harsh - read the Prophets, read Jesus' own words - read Rabbi Heschel ... a church that tries to pretend everything is warm and pink and fuzzy WILL die ...

Sometimes we have to be harsh to be faithful ... we of the UCC have generally forgotten that - we've become a nice country club for complacency that says swilling a couple of bottles of wine every night in your hot tub is fine and NOT problematic and NOT a sign of alcoholism and dysfunction ...

Instead of holding a morality everything has become relative ...

Funny, but when I read the Scriptures, I don't see a relative Gospel - I see a Gospel that calls people to transform their lives, their relationships and the world to what GOD wants, not what our egos want ... but that's just me.

Today I'm in a good place ... the four emails I've received over the last 24 hours have shown me that the Truth WILL in time prevail and those who believe they have been faithful and loyal will be surprised ... My one regret is that Minnedosa and Minnedosa United Church was never given the help it needed and deserved to overcome the hurt and grief that has marked the last twenty or thirty years ... If the United Church was truly a place of tolerance, acceptance and faith Minnedosa would be breaking ground on the building they DESERVE not the building the current Board and Leadership can afford ...

Me thinks they ousted the WRONG folks ... but what do I know ... I'm no longer welcome in the Inclusive and Friendly United Church !!!

Fortunately, all of this in the hands of the Holy Spirit ... thanks be to God !!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight years ago today ...

I remember eight years ago today, hearing the news that a jetliner had flown into one of the towers of the World Trade Centre ... I went to the tv and turned it on ... the image was stark and startling ...
I called Noahkila to come and see the dramatic image of the World Trade Centre with a gaping smoking hole ... he arrived just in time to see the second plane hit the second tower ...
"Oh my God," I gasped, "these are intentional crashes ..."
Noahkila went back to his cereal ... my heart fell ...
I remember over the day watching ... praying ... weeping ... and fearing not further attacks by the unknown terrorists, but fearing the response by the Bush Administration ...
But what I remember most of all was driving south on Hwy 10 and seeing a CLEAR BLUE sky with no jet contrails ... only blue and white ... I remember thinking that for the first time in decades the sky world wide was clear of jet contrails, as flights were grounded and countless travellers were taken in to private homes in far flung corners of the globe like Gander ...
I remember ... and today, continue to pray for peace ... a lasting and just peace for our world and for ALL its citizens ...
Maybe one day it will come to pass ...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Back in the Headlines ...

The man on the right is named Feron Hall.

He lives in Winnipeg.

In May, I wrote about him after he leapt into the Red River and rescued a young man who had fallen in the swollen icy waters.

At the time, Feron was homeless and was heralded as a HERO for his selfless actions. He was touted by leaders and media alike for his actions. He was apparently given a seasons' ticket to the Winnipeg Gold Eyes Baseball team by team owner and Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz. Feron was even given medals and commendations by just about everyone ...

Since then Feron has found an apartment, and has continued to keep in touch with his community ...

Last week Feron landed in the headlines again when he once again plunged into the waters of the Red River and rescued a woman who had fallen in the river and was in danger of drowning ... Unfortunately, her husband who had also jumped in the river perished before he could be rescued, then when Feron and the woman recovered from the trauma both we arrested ... she for breaching her probation, and he for public drunkeness ...

I guess even heroes have their faults ...

128 ... 129 ...

Maj. Yannick Pepin, 36, and Cpl. Jean-Francois Drouin, 31,
were killed by roadside bomb blast in Afghanistan
on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2009.
Both fallen soldiers were members of
the 5 Combat Engineer Regiment out of Valcartier, Que.
Thoughts and prayers for their families and comrades.
Lest We Forget

Scenes from along the way ...