January 5, 2016

Neil McKenty Live! The lines are still blazing.


Building Community



Neil had a cross-cultural following; many of his listeners, like Marie-Anne Coté, were francophone.  Among Neil’s papers was a letter from Coté, who tuned in to his show in order to perfect her English.

I want to let you know that your radio show was some kind of school, where first, I learned my English, and secondly where I have learned a million things.  Your programs have always been so pertinent and so topical, no wonder the lines were always blazing.  A lot of my friends have started listening to you because I have encouraged them in order to get better ”educated” on a lot of things that were discussed on the blazing lines.  Personally, you made my day by informing me on so many things.  Your cute quips make me laugh very often.  Today’s subject in ”Is rudeness worse nowadays?” Yes.  It all started with the laisser-aller on the way people dress, no manners are taught in schools anymore.  It will get worse.

Another caller whose life was changed by Neil in a much more personal way was Cathy Robinson.

My first interaction with Neil was in the fall of 1980 when the subject of ”Exchange” was ”Babies, what’s your experience with them?”  I picked up the phone and called in.  I told Neil I had absolutely no knowledge of babies, but was on my way to the hospital to give birth.  My suitcase was packed; I was ready to go.  I know that I giggled my way through the conversation.  Neil wished me luck and off I went.

Friday morning there was an opportunity for follow-up calls, when topis which had been discussed all week were hashed over.  I phoned to let Neil know that my baby had arrived.  But there were complications.  Our daughter, Erin, had been born with a cleft lip and palate.  However, I did write to Neil to tell him about our girl, and about how many surgeries Erin would have to undergo in order to repair her mouth.



Here is the cover of the brand new edition available now!!







January 1, 2016

Neil's picture

It was my birthday, New Year’s Eve 1994, about six months after my depression had lifted for good and the happiest summer of summer of my life.  Catharine and I had spent the afternoon cross-country skiing and were relaxed before supper in the lounge of the Laurentian Lodge Club at Prévost, amid the soft rolling foothills.  Outside the frosted windows, the moonlight was glittering on the fresh snowfall; inside, a roaming fire flamed up the chimney of the large stone fireplace.  A splendid dinner was prepared by our talented chef, André.  I was presented with a birthday cake and a rousing chorus of three score year and ten.  I don’t remember feeling happier.  I felt connected in a way I had never felt connected before to these people who were my friends.  I laughed, and it was a genuine laugh.  In some measure I had become real.  I was comfortable in my skin.  As I sat there in the dancing light of the fireplace and happy sounds of singing, I thought of all the people including my family and the Jesuits and my friends who had helped me on this journey.  I thought of how God does indeed write straight with crooked lines.  And then I thought, with Catharine smiling beside me, the best is yet to be.

From Neil’s book, The Inside Story

Jean P.







December 25, 2015


On this Christmas day, I thought a little Irish Christmas songs would be a nice way to enjoy this day and also would have pleased my friend.

So with no further due, here are The Irish Rovers.




The Irish Rovers is a group of Irish musicians, half of whom now live in Canada. The Canadian Irish folk group created in 1963 and named after the traditional song ”The Irish Rover”.


Jean P.



December 24, 2015

Yes it’s Thursday, I did not make a mistake this morning, It’s Christmas!!

So let’s have fun.

Brain Tease!


1. Johnny’s mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child’s name?

2. A clerk at a butcher shop stands five feet ten inches tall and wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh?

3. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?

4. How much dirt is there in a hole that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?

5. What word in the English language is always spelled incorrectly?

6. Billie was born on December 28th, yet her birthday always falls in the summer. How is this possible?

7. In British Columbia you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not?

8. If you were running a race and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?

9. Which is correct to say, “The yolk of the egg is white” or “The yolk of the egg are white?”

10. A farmer has five haystacks in one field and four haystacks in another. How many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in one field?
















1. Johnny.

2. Meat.

3. Mt. Everest. It just wasn’t discovered yet.

4. There is no dirt in a hole.

5. Incorrectly (except when it is spelled incorrecktly).

6. Billie lives in the southern hemisphere.

7. You can’t take a picture with a wooden leg. You need a camera (or iPad or cell phone) to take a picture.

8. You would be in 2nd place. You passed the person in second place, not first.

9. Neither. Egg yolks are yellow.

10. One. If he combines all his haystacks, they all become one big stack.

Okay, some of these are a bit corny. But they all illustrate several brain idiosyncrasies that affect how we make decisions in the world.

Jean P.










December 23, 2015



Another episode of Exchange on CJAD.




Jean P.










December 22, 2015




Polly Of Bridgewater Farm, an unknown Irish story. We all know the book but much less the author.  Let me tell u a little bit about her.

AA CM Scrapbook

Catharine McKenty grew up on her grandparents’ farm, ”Donlands,” then eight miles outside the Toronto city limits on Don Mills Road.  She went in every day to Bishop Strachan School, where she won scholarships in French and German.  After taking a degree at Victoria College, University of Toronto, she spent four winters as a volunteer in the mining area of post-war Germany with an international group of young people involved in reconstruction.  Later she was Research Editor for Pace, a magazine for young people, based in Los Angeles and New York, and linked with the international musical group Up With People.

Next came a stint as a speechwriter for the Ontario Minister of Education in Toronto.  It was on the dance floor that she met her future husband, author-broadcaster Neil McKenty.  They moved to Montreal when Neil was offered a job at CJAD Radio.  Catharine worked at the Reader’s Digest.  Later she and her husband co-authored a bestseller on the early days of Quebec skiing: Skiing Legends and the Laurentian Lodge Club.


In 2002, Catharine set out to find the Fleming family farm in Northern Ireland, where the Corey family welcomed her and shared their knowledge of the old Irish ways.  Catharine did much of her research in Omagh Public Library (Tyrone Constitution 1844-47, and 100th and 150th anniversary editions), the Ulster American Folk Park; the Ulster Folk and transport Museum, and linen Hall Library, Belfast.

Go check out the bookstore: click here

Jean P.


December 21, 2015




Let’s take a look in history and see interesting facts that occurred on December 20th.


In 69 AD. General Vespasian’s troops occupy Rome after defeating the Emperor Vitellius.

In 1192, Richard the Lionhearted was captured in Vienna.

In 1600, Ottario Rinuccini/Giulio Caccini’s opera “Euridice” is published.

In 1661, Russian Tsar Peter the Great ordered Russian New Year changed from Sept 1 to Jan 1.

In 1780, Britain declares war on Holland.

Getting closer to our time now…

In 1803, French flag lowered in New Orleans to mark formal transfer of Louisiana Purchase from France to US for $27M.

In 1879, Tom Edison privately demonstrated incandescent light at Menlo Park.

In 1880, NY’s Broadway lit by electricity, becomes known as “Great White Way”.

In 1891, Strongman Louis Cyr withstands pull of 4 horses.

In 1928, 1st international dogsled mail leaves Minot, Maine for Montreal, Quebec.

In 1957, Elvis Presley given draft notice to join US Army for National Service.

In 1972, Five civilians (four Catholics, one Protestant) killed in gun attack on the Top of the Hill Bar in Derry, North Ireland.

And it all happened on a December 20th.




Jean P.






December 16, 2015


Hosted by Neil McKenty on CJAD.

This episode focused on child day care.

* Adjust your volume.



Jean P.


December 15, 2015

The Other Key

An Inspector Julian Main Mystery




A glimpse.

It was January 4, 2003, when Inspector Julian Main was jolted from a deep sleep by his telephone ringing, like a warning.  Groggily, he looked at his watch.  2:15.  his mouth felt dry and rancid like sour wine.  ”Commander Durocher here, Inspector.  I’ve just been informed that Louise Branson, the wealthy socialite, has been murdered in her home at 76 Forden Road in Westmount.  I want you to take charge of the case and I think you should get over there right away.”

For the next two months, Inspector Main, Homicide Division, Montreal Police, tracked the killer like a leopard stalking a gazelle.  The hunt took to London, where he had been attached to Scotland Yard, and to Dublin, where his sister had been sexually assaulted.  In the end it brought him back to Montreal where he and his sidekick, the gum chewing Detective Roy Marchand, uncover the other key.



Get your copy here:bookstore



Jean P.



December 14, 2015
A re-post, from Neil.





Canada, an officially bilingual country, is a world leader in the promotion of second language knowledge.  We should also note that Ottawa and the provinces spend more than $2-billion a year offering government services in both French and English.

Yet the actual ability of our population to speak both French and English remains stubbornly low.  While 35 per cent of francophone  in Quebec speak English, only 7.4 per cent of anglophones outside speak French.

In the United States 9 per cent of the population speaks two languages – to say nothing of the European Union where 56 per cent of citizens can hold a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue and nearly one-third have mastered a third language.

No fewer than one-third of people from British Columbia and Alberta think Spanish and Mandarin might be better choices as a second language than French.

Is there resentment in parts of the country at the push for French?  Mastering both of Canada’s official languages may be wrongly perceived as an historic anomaly, or an expensive government-imposed obligation.  The fact of the matter is there is no official requirement for anybody to learn French and English  except for public servants.

If  you don’t like French on your cereal box just turn it around.

Was there anything more ridiculous in the GOP than criticizing Romney for speaking French or Huntsman for speaking Mandarin?

Surely learning a second language should be viewed as a gift to society that confers significant global advantages and bridges cultural divides. Bilingual employees are more likely to be better paid, especially in Quebec, and in the public sector.

Canadians should feel blessed – not cursed – to be home to two of the world’s great languages.  Our bilingualism reflects our fundamental history.

Is bilingualism worth the money?

What do you think?



On another subject!!

For the brand new edition of Neil McKenty Live! The lines are still blazing.

The paperback is available here: click here  as for the e-book version, it will be available in January.

Thank you for your support.



Jean P.


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