Sunday, May 23, 2010

Food First (May 29th) Column:

The next issue of the Westman Journal (coming out Tuesday) will contain a lovely yellow plastic bag that is part of the Food First campaign for Brandon's Samaritan House Ministries.

Food First asks every resident of Brandon to fill the plastic bag with non-perishable food items and then set the bag outside on their front step on Saturday morning (May 29th). A veritable army of volunteers supplied by the local Lions' Clubs and Neelin High School will canvass the entire community and pick up the yellow bags and bring them back to a central location where they will be unloaded, weighed, sorted and packed into the Samaritan House truck ... right now in both Brandon and Winnipeg the Food Banks have noted a ever increasing need for FOOD. Winnipeg Harvest is down to two days of food ... Samaritan House is not far off ... the demand is outstripping the supply, and the statistics tell us the problem is worsening ...

So, as part of the publicity effort leading into Food First, my monthly column in the Westman Journal reminded readers of the centrality of food to Canadian Culture and urged them to use the yellow bags next week:

Click here to read my latest column
- and if you live in Brandon don't forget to use the bag on Saturday!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

16 ... a good number ...

May 21st ... Born Today ...

Mr. T.

Baseball manager, Bobby Cox

Comedian, Actor, Politician
Al Franken

Carol Lawrence
(the voice of Sandy Cheeks on Sponge Bob Squarepants)

Noahkila, who turns 16 today !!!

Happy Birthday Young Man !!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A 'man' of few words ...

Noahkila is off in Ottawa with his school choir ... Trying to get info out of him on his trip is challenging as witnessed by the following exchange:

Dad's text:
Where are you?
You have anything to do with the bank?
How was the visit to the memorial?
Having fun?

Noahkila's reply:

Dad's text:
How's things?
Ready to come home yet?
Can you text or call your sister please?
You're making her crazy!

Noahkila's reply:
Not a chance.

11 is a good number ...

May 20th ... Born today ...

John Stuart Mills

Joe Cocker

Comedian, Actor - Dave Thomas (upper left),

Actor Jimmy Stewart

And my beloved Beetle !!

Happy Birthday !!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

144 ... 145 ...

144th Canadian Soldier to die in Afghanistan.
Private Kevin McKay
with the
1st Battalion of the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry
based out of Edmonton Alberta.
Died May 13th from an IED while on foot patrol.
He was 24.

The 145th Canadian Soldier to die in Afghanistan.
Colonel Geoff Parker
with the
Royal Canadian Regiment
died on May 18th when a suicide bomber
attacked a convoy of NATO vehicles,
killing 6 soldiers (5 Americans and Col. Parker)
12 Afghan civilians, and
wounding dozens of others.
Colonel Parker was 42
and is the highest ranking Canadian to die
in the Afghan mission.

Thoughts and prayers for the fallen soldier,
their comrades and their families,
thoughts and prayers for the Afghani civilians
who died and who were wounded,
thoughts and prayers for the people of Afghanistan
and their ongoing quest for a lasting and just peace
in their troubled country.

We remember the fallen,
we honour the wounded,
and we pray for PEACE.

Lest We Forget

Monday, May 17, 2010

Conservative Watch ... READ THIS BOOK !!!

Today (May 17th) is the International Anti-Homophobia Day ... so it is somewhat apt in an era when voices make the claim that some of the hard won freedoms like access to abortion, inclusion of everyone regardless of sexual orientation, same sex marriage, and other hot button issues to our more conservative and evangelical brothers and sisters, are on the verge of being limited, curtailed or turned back - that I would offer the latest installment of Conservative Watch with the invitation for you to find and read a book that says much of what I have long struggled with when I consider Harper and his Conservative ruling Government.

Like Michael Moore's films, I would offer the observation that "even if only 25% of what is said is 100% true - this is a truly frightening scenario."

The rise of the religious right in Canada is, in McDonald's opinion a slow, gradual and tactical sequence of events designed to not maintain the status quo, but return us to a faith-based retro-spective stance that moves us AWAY from the very things that have made Canada a welcome inclusive and liberal nation ... I find McDonald's book disturbing, provocative, thought provoking and amazing.

Find it. Read it.
Think about it.
And don't let complacency be the rule of the day ... Canada deserves better than what is essentially a simplistic answer to fears that have arisen from ignorance and mis-understanding on a cultural level.

The Armageddon Factor is a must read for anyone interested in modern politics and the place of Church in Society ... and on many levels it stands as a rallying cry to we of the left, to step up and stop hiding from our faith ...

Tomorrow ...

Tomorrow ...
Just days before his 16th B-day, Noahkila is going to stand at the Memorial to Fallen Police and Peace Officers behind the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa where his grandfather's name is etched along with the hundreds of other officers who have fallen in service to their country.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Two MUST READ Books ...

One of the lingering legacies of my time in Langley at Sharron United Church has been the friendship with two absolutely fabulous people who have been "grandparents" to many young people, my three children included. Grandma Gwen has spent countless hours in the nursery at the church tending the newest and youngest members of the flock that gathers there, while Grandpa Norm and his propensity to be helpful to just about anyone in need, means that in countless ways they've touched the lives of the folks around them with care, compassion and love.

When I lived and worked at Sharron the Librarian was a delightfully curmudgeonly woman named Mavis ... Mavis on first blush was a bit crusty and borderline cranky - but the beneath the exterior beat a heart of gold. I look back with delight on many chats and conversations Mavis and I had in the amazing Church Library she and Norm tended carefully and thoughtfully - it was among one of the best stocked and maintained libraries I've ever encountered.

As I got to know these fine folks better I got to know their families too ... In addition to having once been neighbours in one of Langley's many village like hubs, Norm and Gwen and Mavis also shared a mutual family of grandkids ... Norm and Gwen's son Myles and Mavis' daughter Kathi had long ago gotten together and raises a family of for children, who were when I met them becoming adults.

The eldest son - Ryan has gone on to become a teacher and a very accomplished writer and commentator on a wide range of issues.

Ryan's first book - "Cockeyed" is a memoir of his journey as blindness claimed his eye sight.

Ryan's voice is blunt, raw and edgy. He doesn't shirk from saying what he thinks, and saying it in just the way he would over a glass of beer.

I love Ryan's first book. It is a refreshing read, and knowing many of the characters who make an appearance adds depth and meaning. But it is Ryan's writing that makes the book a MUST READ for me.

This past week Ms. H and I were at the local Coles looking for a book that has been highlighted on CBC Radio. As we stood in the line up at the cashier we simultaneously noticed Ryan's latest book in the Bio section behind us.

"Hey, that's Grandma Gwen and Grandpa Norm's grandson ..." Ms. H said pointing a the book pictured below:

I will confess that I haven't finished it yet ... but given happenings yesterday that compressed my entire weekend worth of plans into an intense two and half hours - I think I have time to lie on the couch today and read ... (bearing in mind what Lennon says about life - "life is what happens when you are busy making other plans" ... so time will tell.)

The second book C'Mon Papa is equally readable, and is just a frank as Ryan's first book. He doesn't mince words, he wrestles with events and thoughts that others might be hesitant to express, but in the process he provides and honest and open reflection on the experience of becoming a father while struggling with what it means to be blind.

I can not recommend this book highly enough. Ryan's voice is one that is worth spending time listening to. With humour, frustration, and poignant moments, he exposes fully the many dimensions of parenting that even sighted people might overlook without realizing it.

The bonus for me is that I know Ryan and his family. The three grandparents I knew were fabulous people with whom I've shared laughter and tears. (Click here to read more about Ryan's Grandparents) I feel blessed to have been able to call them friends. And Ryan's parents are themselves remarkable people who have left an indelible impression on me and on my life journey.

So - if you're looking for some solid summer reading I recommend searching out the works of Ryan Knighton. His books are amazing, and his view of the world is clearer than that expressed by many sighted people. Ryan's voice is fresh, clear and remarkable. In his works you will laugh, you will cry, and you will learn a lot about the world, and about yourself.

(For more on Ryan click here)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Flypast ...

The Snowbirds are in the area for The Memorial Cup celebration in Brandon, including a re-dedication of the storied cup in memory of soldiers who have fallen on the field of battle, and for the 140th Anniversary Homecoming Celebrations in Neepawa ... yesterday and today, the Snowbirds (Canada's Armed Forces Precision Flying Team) did a training fly over Brandon and rattled and roared their way through the sky ... It was AWESOME !!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I wonder ...

Anne Weems writes eloquently:

He said, "Feed my sheep."
There were no conditions:
Least of all, feed my sheep if they deserve it.
Feed my sheep if you feel like it.
Feed my sheep if you have any leftovers.
Feed my sheep if the mood strikes you.
if the economy's OK ...
if you're not too busy ...
No conditions ... just, "Feed my sheep."
Could it be that God's Kingdom will come
when each lamb is fed?
We who have agreed to keep covenant
are called to feed sheep
even when it means the grazing will be done
on our own front lawns.

I wonder why there is such strong opposition to change in the Church.

I wonder why those voices, like mine, that speak out in favour of change are subject to such harsh and angry criticism when we speak up and speak out.

I wonder why it is, when we dare to name the truths that has long been identified by people like J. Russell Hale, Gordon Turner, and the writers who have explored the topic of clergy abuse, dysfunctional congregational life, and cultures of toxicity in church communities, are told to "move on," to "let it go," and other empty platitudes that serve only empower the dysfunction, and perpetuate it.

While the common response in a community to a threat against the status quo is to circle the wagons, and to shoot the proverbial messenger, I have to wonder why the response of The Church - the place called to a Covenant outlined so succinctly by Ms. Weems, will almost ALWAYS respond to this happening by supporting those huddled in the wagons, and actively participating in the demonizing of the messenger, regardless of the validity and truth of what the messenger has to say ...

I wonder how the Church and our society, and our world would be today if we succeeded in shooting the many messengers who dared to speak up and speak out about the toxic dysfunction of the status quo, and who refused to take their place at the back of the figurative bus ...

I wonder how different the world would be if those prophetic voices were silenced by the so-called majority, who were insistent that 'everything was fine' and that these voices were nothing more than minority outsider opinions that should be silenced rather than heeded.

I wonder what would have happened if the advice to "shut up," "let it go," "move on," and "don't try to change things," had been listened to by people who brought REAL CHANGE to our Faith and our world ...

What if Jesus listened to his critics and stopped preaching, teaching and healing ?

What if Peter and Paul abandoned the mission to the Gentiles, and instead kept the sharing of The Gospel ONLY to a Jewish audience ?

What if Rosa Parks gave up her seat and went to the back of the bus?

What if Martin Luther King Jr listened to his colleagues in Birmingham telling him to stop agitating for change?

What if The Reverend Lydia Gurchy (pictured above) listened to the voices that told her that she could NEVER be ordained in the United Church of Canada because of her gender?

What if The Reverend Tim Stevenson listened to the voices that told him he couldn't be ordained in the United Church of Canada because he chose to be open about his sexuality?

What if The Reverend Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela listened to the voices that told them that it was UNFAITHFUL to oppose the racism of Apartheid, and that they should stop fighting against Apartheid?

What if The Reverend Cle-alls (Peter Kelly) the son of a Haida Chief had listened to the voices that told him as a First Person, he couldn't aspire to ministry in the United Church of Canada?

What if Jim Wallis listened to the voices like Glenn Beck and others who label him as unfaithful and un-Christian for speaking out on issues of disarmament, poverty, political power and empowerment ?

What if The Dalai Lama went along with the Communist Party Line in China and left Tibet and it people to their fate?

What if Mother Theresa has listened to the counsel of The Church when she felt the call to minister to the poor, the dying and the outcast ?

What if Dietrich Bonhoeffer had gone along with the rest of the German Churches who capitulated to Hitler and his rise to power, and did nothing to oppose him?

What if people like Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, Mennos Simon and the other reformers who forever altered the course of the Church, had chosen to simply go along with the edicts from Rome rather than listen to their hearts that said - "SOMETHING IS BROKEN AND IT NEEDS TO BE FIXED !!!"?

What if there were no prophetic voices that dared to speak up and identify the toxicity, and dysfunction in our church and our society ?

What if we simply went along with the status quo and those who have experienced the harm that a toxic culture of dysfunction can do (and this is not to paint them as blameless), followed the advice to "let it go," "move on," and "stop trying to change things," and instead gave into the complacency and inaction that such counsel represents.

Fortunately, in The Church, we are called to be covenant keepers. And foundational to that covenant is the Resurrection. The resurrection - a moment of transformative power that is breath taking, and life altering ...

The Resurrection tells us that change is not only possible - change is foundational to our common faith.

If we accept that things can not and will not change, then we are being unfaithful and we are ignoring the clarion call of the Spirit who calls us to more than just sitting and accepting the way things are ...

I wonder what it would be like if The Church took seriously its call to "Feed My Sheep" that echoes across the millenia, not as a quaint statement of some historical moment, but as a calling to ACT NOW.

I wonder ... maybe one day people will stop trying to avoid change, and will accept that it is inavoidable and unstoppable ...

As Weems says - "where change is possible, new resurrections loom !!"

Maybe one day people will get THAT ...

"SWAN !!!"

Having just spent some time reading about the thread of the "rural idyll" in European Rural Development research and study, I found this movie HILARIOUS on many many levels ... It was German playwright Brecht who showed us that a good comedy farce will, through laughter show us the absurdity of our actions and the actions of others around us. His legacy of plays warning of the danger of the rise of Fascism continue to ring true in the modern as they did when we put pen to paper and created memorable characters like Mother Courage and Umberto Ui to parody the downward spiral of "civilized" Europe prior to World War Two.

They may not have set out with such noble Brecht-like aspirations, but from the same crew that brought us the black comedy "Shaun of the Dead" a movie about zombies taking over and spreading their infection - Hot Fuzz manages to parody the danger of small town life that is unchecked by outside balances.

Hot Fuzz is a movie about an over achieving super cop being dispatched from London to a small rural village that has a cast of characters that could have stepped out of an episode of The Vicar of Dibley ... but all is not well in the village.

A series of mysterious deaths brought about by black hooded grim reapers sends Sgt Angel on a search for order and justice ... Alas, all is not what it seems in the idyllic village of Sandford with the lowest crime rate in the country ... There is an ominous reason for this idyllic setting ...

This film is a MUST watch for ANYONE involved in any way in Rural Development - be it as a student, a teacher or just someone interested in the field ... AND I would dare to say that it is a must watch for anyone involved in Rural Ministry as well. Toxic and dysfunctional systems fold over upon themselves and perpetuate themselves in incestuous ways that block out the outsider and prevent any change that is deemed unhealthy for the "common good."

This movie, with tongue firmly in cheek, pokes fun at the idyll of rural life, and serves as a warning of what can happen is one fails to take seriously the impact of things I've identified in my so-called ravings about stratification, exclusion and so on ... After watching Hot Fuzz, let's sit down over a beverage and talk about the profound truth that this comedy points to ... small towns have this kind of thing happening all the time - fortunately, they seldom go to the extremes of Sandford ... but they do unfortunately do very bizarre things from time to time, and we sometimes need a Sgt Angel to come and restore balance!!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

141 ... 142 ... 143 ...

Cpl Darren Fitzpatrick, age 21
a member of the 3rd Battalion
of the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry
died on
March 6th in an Edmonton Hospital
from wounds received while serving in

Pte. Tyler William Todd, age 26,
of the 1st Battalion
of the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry
died on April 11th 2010 while
on a foot patrol south west of Kandahar City.
Pte Todd stepped on an
IED(Improvised Explosive Device).

On the day our Country marked the 100th Anniversary
of the Royal Canadian Navy,
MAY 3rd 2010,
we acknowledged the death of the
First Sailor to die in Afghanistan
when Petty Officer 2nd Class Craig Blake,
aged 37, who had been serving with the
Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic)
and was part of a bomb disposal team who were returning
from having successfully disarmed an IED, when
a second IED detonated taking the life of Petty Officer Blake.

Fitzpatrick, Todd, and Blake
represent the 141st, 142nd, and 143rd
casualties of the Canadian Armed Forces
while serving in Afghanistan,
on this weekend of Remembrance, as
we recall the
65th Anniversary
of the liberation of Holland by
Canadian Forces serving in the European Theatre
of World War Two,
and the 65th Anniversary
of the cessation of conflict
in Europe,
it is important to remember
the fallen,
and those who continue to serve in uniform.

We pray this day for peace,
we pray for the comfort of the
families and comrades of the fallen,
and we pray
for all the people in our world who know
the presence of violence and conflict
on a daily basis ...

... Lest we forget !!

(click here for CBC's full listing of Canada's Fallen in Afghanistan)

Lessons on being a welcoming community ...

Last Sunday, for the first time in over 18 months, I received and accepted an invitation to preach in the pulpit of a United Church Congregation - in this case, it was three services from 9:30 through to 1pm ... I realized as I drove home that for over a year I had the same departure and arrival schedule every Sunday Morning as I made the 120 km drive to Portage for services, then returned home. This week, it was three services, a lunch of muffins, apples, water and bananas as I drove between the three communities outside of Brandon ... Other than coming home at 3pm utterly and totally exhausted, it was good ... it was nice to come home after a three year absence ...

Since then the topic of my sermon (which is posted at Meditative Moments) has been rattling around in me as I've thought more and more about the gap between the perception of inclusivity that the United Church promotes, and the reality of that Inclusivity. Along the way I've been continuing my reading of J. Russell Hale and his book "The Unchurched: who they are and why they stay away."

Yesterday I read the following quotation from Hale:

"The pictures the Locked Out draw pose a challenge to the church's claim of inclusiveness, a universal tenant of the Christian faith. They also document the findings of numerous research studies that conclude that the churches tend to be stratified according to class and caste. These pictures, then, do not produce stories that are new. They do document the persistence of this pattern in American Communities and reveal the deep hurt and hostility that felt rejection by the churches produce. The dissonance between the outsiders' perception of what it means to be "out" and the church's self-understanding in official proclamation that ALL are invited "is" is marked. The stories also put flesh and blood on the bones of statistical findings. " (The Unchurched. P. 131)

As I read Hale's comments I reflected on the MANY judgmental comments - most of which are anonymous - that have been left here as I've spoken of my pain and my hurt from the rejection I've experienced, not just from the self-appointed leadership of Minnedosa United Church, but from their supporters, the people of Presbytery, my colleagues and members of This United Church of ours ... over and over, I've been told to 'move on' ... I've been told to 'let it go' ... I've been cast in the role of villan and I've been BLAMED for everything ... and yet, NO ONE within the United Church of Canada has stopped to ask me why I feel the way I do, or to honestly and openly listen to my story ... over and over I have been pushed out and pushed away and told in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS THAT I WAS THE PROBLEM.

As I've read Hale and others who dare to dance at the margins where those who are UN-churched linger, I have found a deep resonance with my journey in the Church over the last 20 some years ... I believe in the core of my being that being inclusive and welcoming is the ONLY option for the Church. However, in the Church too often that inclusive welcome is completely and utterly CONDITIONAL.

The proof of this came some years ago when the AGM of Conference was discussing their desire to be a AFFIRMING entity. (AFFIRM being the acceptance and welcoming of Lesbian, Gay, and Bi-sexual persons into full membership and activity of the life and ministry of the Church). Over and over speakers stood and talked about the struggle they had experienced and gave the assembly a collective pat on the back for a 'job well done.' Then one of the very prominent members of the order of ministry who has long been an advocate for the inclusion of Gays, Lesbians, and bi-sexuals in the life of the Church rose and shared his experience.

He spoke of feeling excluded ... he spoke of feeling outside ... he spoke of his personal experience and noted that he felt empowered to speak up but expressed a concern for friends and colleagues who do not feel comfortable or safe enough to speak out ... he ended his sharing by saying "we may not be as inclusive as we think we are ..."

The reply from the floor was speaker after speaker who rose to their feet and said that he was wrong ... "we are welcoming ..." they say ... "we are inclusive ... " they shouted ... "we are NOT what you present ..." they protested. And with each response the utter FAILURE to see that if even ONE person feels excluded and unwelcomed - we are NOT INCLUSIVE.

If there is ONE person who feels unsafe - we are not welcoming.
If there is ONE person who feels the disconnect between the words and ideas of the Church and their actual experience - there is work to do !!!

Being a welcoming and inclusive community is not easy. It's hard work and it requires constant vigilance to hear what is being said, what is being experienced and what people are thinking and feeling - not just the outsiders and the Un-Churched, but the people like me, and my colleague who have stood up and dared to share their experience.

When Father Chacour began his ministry in Ibillin, in the Galilean mountains not far from Nazareth, he engaged in actively bringing healing and reconciliation, not just to the Palestinians (of which he is), but within the Community of Ibillin between Christians and Muslims, and within his own Melikite Catholic Church as well.

Chacour's decision one Sunday to chain and lock the door was bold and courageous, but he was motivated by an understanding that a Church community that pretended that divisions and exclusions didn't exist was UNFAITHFUL. He locked the door and told those assembled that he would not unlock the door until reconciliation was achieved ... he trembled in fear as the first olive branches of healing were offered across the divide and the rends that tore families apart were healed ...

In time Abuna, as his village calls him, unlocked the door and the community left that day stronger and united and HEALED ... such is the power of the Holy Spirit at work when the community is HONEST enough to admit, name and OWN their short-comings.

In the United Church of Canada, the stratification by class and caste has become so entrenched that we fail to see how it excludes many and how by failing to even admit this stratification and this exclusionary behaviour exists, we are being profoundly unfaithful.

As one who has been locked out for over three years, I have begun moving back "home" with some trepidation and fear ... Mine is a prophetic voice that takes SERIOUSLY the words of Scriptures, and the examples of people like Elias Chacour, Jim Wallis, Martin Luther King, Mohandas Gandhi, and others who live their faith by acting boldly and pushing the envelope.

To me, the Church is a place where we MUST listen to the voices of those outside so we can reflect critically and accurately on who we are ... I learned a lot about myself by sitting with a circle of learned colleagues who shared their impressions and helped me see myself more accurately ... having them share their vision of me helped me understand myself much better, and helped me engage in the work of healing and wholeness I needed.

I have no problem acknowledging that my journey of healing and wholeness continues, and that I still have long way to go ... but along the way, I've learned that being able to hear the stinging critique of others is the ONLY WAY we will ever find wholeness. Like an alcoholic - my final healing will come when I pass from this life to the next, until then I keep moving forward and keep seeking healing, wholeness and wellness!

Today the United Church of Canada ignores the voices of those on the margins, those who have been pushed out and those who have been locked out at its peril ... The voices - and I am not ashamed to cite my experience as one of those voices - who share their experiences of pain and rejection and all the stuff that runs contrary to the welcome and inclusiveness that is supposed to be the heart of who we are, are voices we MUST have the COURAGE to hear even if they make us uncomfortable. Even if they make us squirm. Even if they hold up a very difficult mirror to gaze into ...

The Church is NOT ours. The Church belongs to God, and our job is to tear down the barriers and walls that keep people out, and welcome in ALL people without condition ... it is an easy statement to make ... it's a harder statement to live !!!

BUT it is fundamental to our calling of faith - to be an open, welcoming community !!

In the meantime ... check out my sermon over at Meditative Moments and stay tuned ... this notion of BEING a WELCOMING and INCLUSIVE community remains one that is near and dear to my heart, and undergirds ALL that I am and ALL that I do in ministry ... and as I draw closer to coming home, it will loom ever larger on the horizon ...


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Remember Darrel Stinson ???

This is a retrospective Conservative Watch entry for The Laughing Pastor, who made the comment about Canadians being polite ... by and large we are a polite people, though in some corners that is changing fast and regrettably we have more than our fair share of rednecks amongst us ...

For me the shining example of parliamentary redneck behaviour remains the former Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Shuswap, Darrel Stinson who, during his first term as a Reform Party MP stood in the House of Commons and asked an opposing MP - "Do you have the fortitude or the gonads to stand up and come across here and say that to me, you son of a bitch?"

Stinson has also suggested that the way to prevent spousal abuse was to give women hand guns AND he called then Progressive Conservative leader Jean Charest (now the Liberal premier of Quebec) a "fat little, chubby, little sucker". Then Stinson put the icing on the cake by challenging a Liberal MP to a fight in the House of Commons.

So, let us not lose sight of the fact that we have boorish red necks among us, and sometimes they manage to find a seat in the House of Commons ... so Senator Ruth's comments really shouldn't come as a surprise.

To be fair though - the Wikipedia entry on Mr. Stinson notes he's been battling bladder cancer since 2004, and retired as MP in 2005 as a result of this illness, so despite his past antics in the House of Commons, I for one can only offer my thoughts and prayers for his recovery and healing ... it's the least I can do for a colourful MP who made parliament memorable !!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Conservative Watch ... The F-bomb from a SENATOR!?!?!

Hmmm ... not even sure what to add to this story (Tory Senator to women's groups: shut up!) ... it seems that Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth strongly suggested that Womens' Groups in Canada "shut the f--- up" about the anti-abortion stance that our Government is making in regards to maternal health in developing nations at the upcoming G8 meeting ...

The stuff that keeps coming up around the Conservative Government in Ottawa is simply breath-taking ... the Afghan detainee issue and the debate around documents, Jaffer-Geurgis, and now this ... interesting to say the very least !!

Three movies worth renting ...

We laughed ...
... we cried ...
... we saw the world differently.

Recent Reads ...

Written by David Thewlis, better known as Remus Lupin from the
Harry Potter series of movies, has penned a book that is ...
... well ... different.
A thoroughly interesting and entertaining read,
The Late Hector Kipling is one of the most odd
books I think I've ever read, but I couldn't put it down,
and found myself wincing and laughing - sometimes at the same time,
and would recommend it for someone looking for a book
that takes you on a literary adventure that is a bit dark, a little twisted,
and down right different.

Written by Winnipeg writer Tom Jokinen, Curtains explores the
Canadian Funeral Industry from in the inside, and offers a
poignant, critical and entertaining reflections
on our society's strange relationship with death, and the
industries that have developed around it.

(BOTH books are available through Brandon's
Pennywise Books, on Rosser)