Archive for the ‘current events’ Category

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

March 28, 2017

Are Books Dead?

 

This question about the future of reading arises now because of an essay by Scottish fiction writer Ewan Morrison entitled “Are books dead and can authors survive?”

Morrison goes on to explain: “”E-books and e-publishing will mean the end of the ‘writer’ as  a profession.  He argues that every information stream that has become digitized has inexorably slid toward free no-charge access. We’ve seen it happen with music, we’ve seen it happen with movies, and even with long-distance telephone calls.

In other words, the public now demands its media to be free.

I must admit in my own case, I read fewer and fewer books.  Instead I read upwards of half a dozen newspapers a day including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Montreal Gazette, the Globe and Mail and the Irish Times.  I read the last to keep abreast of the dreadful Catholic sex abuse crisis in Ireland.

However, I do belong to a book club.  We meet once a month in each other’s home, have a lively discussion and enjoy refreshments.  Our last book was a biography of  Pierre Trudeau.  Our next book will be a biography of Lucy Maude Montgomery.

What was the last book you read?  Are you reading anything now?

Is reading in decline?

Are books dead?

What do you think?

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

March 21, 2017

Because spring has arrived, here is a poem translated to English from the Irish language.

Anois teacht an tEarraigh

Spring is now coming

Now with the springtime
The days will grow longer
And after St. Bride’s day’
My sail I’ll let go
I put my mind to it,
And I never will linger
Till I find myself back
In the County Mayo.

In Clare of Morris family
I will be the first night
and in the Wall on the side below it
I will begin to drink
to Maghs Woods I shall go
until I shall make a months visit there
two miles close
to the Mouth of the Big Ford.

I swear
that my heart rises up
as the wind rises up
or as the fog lifts
when I think about Ceara
or about Gaileang on the lower side of it
about Sceathach an Mhíle
or about the plains of Mayo.

Cill Liadain is the town
where everything grows
there are blackberries and raspberries there
and every sort of fruit
and were I to be standing
in the center of my people
age would depart from me
and I would be again young.

There is always wheat and oats
growing barley and flax there
rye in branch there
flower-bread and meat
the folks who make moonshine
without a licence selling it there
the pride of the country
playing and drinking.

There is sowing and plowing
and fertilizing without manure
and it’s many the thing there
of which I have not yet spoken
kilns and mills
working without rest there
with hardly any talk about a pennys rent
or about nothing of that sort.

 

 

Written by the famous Irish language poet, Antaine Ó Raifteirí.

RADIO WAVES

March 20, 2017

Exchange, with Neil McKenty.

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Neil takes another call

Montreal Symphony Orchestra Concert Hall.  Do you like classical music, have you been to the new and improved concert hall they’ve  just built in Montreal, should tax payers feed the new mayors plan. ( Drapeau then, Coderre now).

On today’s episode of Exchange, Neil touches the subject with live callers.

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

March 14, 2017

cover-inside

How in the world did Polly Noble, a bubbly little girl with freckles, born just outside Dromore in January 1837, live to become the subject of a biography more than a century later in Toronto.

It was on her father’s farm, an old Coach Road between Dromore and Enniskillen, that Polly spent an idyllic two years with her parents, George and Jane Noble.  Then disaster struck.  On January 6, 1839, the Big Wind rose out of the sea and swept across Ireland, wailing like a thousand banshees.  It flattened whole villages, burned down farm houses, and finally killed her father.  It changed Polly’s life forever.

Two years later, Polly’s mother, Jane, married William Fleming, the handsome widower across the road at Bridgewater Farm.  Soon Polly began to walk back and forth the mile or so to the one-room school run in Dromore by the Kildare Society.

But she also found time to plant potatoes, milk the cows, look after the goats, pull flax, chase the hens and run bare-foot in the meadows.

Then disaster struck again.  The potato crop failed and famine and typhus threatened Bridgewater Farm.  Like thousands of others the Fleming decided they must escape.

They packed what they could and traveled by horse and cart to Londonderry/Derry, drinking in their last views of the green fields and hills of Ireland.  On the 14th of May, 1847, along with four hundred and eighteen other passengers, they boarded the three-masted sailing ship Sesostris.

After an appalling voyage, during which some of the passengers, including Polly’s darling little brother and sister died, they docked at Grosse-Ile, the quarantine station on the St-Lawrence River, about an hour from Quebec.  After three years in Montreal,  where she met her future husband, Polly was now ready for her next adventure in a vast unknown land called Canada.  Her destiny would be linked with a dozen children who had called their mothers, one of them a future mayor of Toronto.

RADIO WAVES

March 13, 2017

Exchange on CJAD with host Neil McKenty.

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Neil takes another call

What’s on your mind?  On today’s show, a medley of different subjects being debated and discussed with live callers.

RADIO WAVES

March 1, 2017

Exchange on CJAD with host Neil McKenty.

On this episode of Exchange, Neil talks with a former Russian military officer and asks the question: Should we be worry of the Soviet Union?


https://neilmckentyweblog2.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/russian-military-deserter.wav

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

February 21, 2017

With the smart phone more and more popular and the increase in sales and the competition more fierce than ever:

Do we know everything about them?

Are they really a necessity in today’s world?

Are we getting a fair deal in Canada?

———————

Here is a post from Neil on the subject.

Posted on Exchange in May 2010

DO CELLPHONES CAUSE BRAIN CANCER?

After studying the matter for 10 years in 13 countries including Canada, the experts have come up with a puzzling answer about mobile phones and cancer.

Here is the bad news.  Heavy cellphone use, defined as chatting on mobiles for more than half an hour a day over 10 years,  was associated with a 40 per cent increase in risk of a rare and deadly brain cancer known as glioma, the same kind of cancer that killed Senator Kennedy.

The good news is that the study also found that low and moderate amounts of cellphone use seemed to offer a modest protection against developing the disease.

This means that the debate over cell[phone use is unlikely to go away soon.

The fact is that using a cellphone amounts to placing a small radio transmitter next to your head, exposing the brain and ears to microwave radiation.

Do you use cellphones?

Are you concerned about a risk of brain cancer?

Would you stop using cellphones for that reason.?

Article: Obamacare

February 20, 2017

A reprint from 2012 from Neil’s archives

Repealing Obamacare legislation is no winning ticket for Republicans

If President Barack Obama never passes another piece of legislation, he will go down in the history books as the president who brought universal health care to the American people.

For more than a century, Democratic presidents like Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson had been trying for universal health care. They all failed until Obama found a way to reshape the country’s social welfare system. Obama delivered the goods and he delivered change to believe in.

This change will bring health insurance to 32 million Americans who now don’t have it. And that’s just the beginning: Starting this year, insurers are forbidden from placing lifetime dollar limits on policies, denying coverage to children because of pre-existing conditions and cancelling policies because someone gets sick. In 2014, insurers will be forbidden from denying coverage to people with medical problems or charging them more.

Not a single Republican voted for this health bill. The party of “No” has fought the legislation every step of the way. (It is fighting in the Senate as of press time.) The Grand Old Party has cozied up to the yahoos in the Tea Party movement to derail health care, if not now, then at election time.

Still, there is the odd conservative voice that rejects this knee-jerk opposition to health care or anything else that Obama tries to do. (Senator John McCain boasts that the Republicans will not support Obama on anything for the rest of this year.)

One conservative voice that I have a lot of time for is David Brooks, a columnist for the New York Times. Brooks is informed, balanced and knows that if the Tea Partiers take over the Republican Party, then the party is done. It is telling that in the run-up to the November elections, the Tea Party is trying to back right-wingers who will try to knock off moderate Republicans. It they succeed, the GOP will become nothing but a Neanderthal rump.

Another conservative voice that I respect is that of our own David Frum, who lives in Washington. Frum is one of the very few on the right who think the Republicans all-out opposition to Obama’s health care bill has been a disaster. Instead of working with the Democrats for a bi-partisan bill, the Republicans decided to bring down the whole house of cards. They almost succeeded.

The Grand Old Party has cozied up to the yahoos in the Tea Party movement.

David Frum tries to explain the Republicans’ hysterical opposition to one of the great pieces of social legislation in American history: “There were leaders who would have liked to deal with Obama. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and on talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother?”

Yet the Republicans, egged on by the Tea Party, are determined to keep on fighting. They say they will make repeal of health care the centerpiece of their campaign for the off-year elections and argue the new health law is so unpopular that they will take back control of Congress.

It’s true that the party in power almost always loses seats in the off-year elections. And there is no doubt the Democrats will take a drop in the House of Representatives.

It would be a shame if Nancy Pelosi, the best speaker in American history, lost her majority. The chances of Republicans taking over the Senate is pretty much nil. Still, I hope the GOP goes all out against Obamacare this fall. I hope they promise to repeal it. How many votes would they get if they promised to repeal the law’s lower prescription drug prices? Would they argue that pre-existing conditions should prevent one from getting insurance? Would they try to bar children from using their parent’s insurance coverage? Would they repeal a cap on medical expenses? I don’t think repealing the health bill is a winning ticket for the Republicans. And when some of these health “goodies” kick in, I predict support for Obamacare will grow right across the country.

But suppose the Republicans won back both houses of Congress in November and proceeded to repeal the bill. Would Obama sign the repeal or veto it? Not much doubt there.

After a short break for the holidays, I hope the Obama administration will turn to tighter regulations on the financial industry. Then we can all watch the Republicans defend the bankers, investment dealers and hedge funds, the very people who got us into the financial mess in the first place.

Some of the pundits, especially on Fox, are predicting that Obama will be a one-term president. They also predicted his comprehensive health care would not pass. The Fox-bomb throwers will probably be as wrong on the first prediction as they were on the second.

The New York Times featured two stories on the priestly sex abuse scandal exploding across the Catholic world. For the first time, the sex scandal is beginning to envelop Pope Benedict himself. What did he know and when did he know it? A priest in Wisconsin, Lawrence Murphy, sexually abused upward of 200 boys at a school for the deaf. Catholic Church authorities in Milwaukee, including Archbishop Rembert Weakland, wrote to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was in charge of dealing with abuse cases. Ratzinger did not respond.

Finally, canonical charges were brought against Murphy. He then wrote to Ratzinger, asking to be spared. Suddenly all action against him was halted. This scandal is the biggest crisis in the Church since the Reformation. Will the pope be able to lead the Church out of this quagmire? And if he cannot, will he resign? The jury is still out.

from theseniortimes.com

What do you think is really going to happen under Trump’s administration ?

BLAST FROM THE PAST

February 9, 2017

With the recent controversial nomination of U.S. Educational Secretary Betsy Devos, I thought an episode of McKenty Live! on the subject of education with guest Quebec Minister of Education, Claude Ryan would be nice.

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MAPLE SYRUP AND TABLE SYRUP?

January 30, 2017

maple_syrup

Catharine and I often have brunch at a well-known Montreal restaurant named Beauty’s. We always order the same items. Fresh orange juice, blueberry pancakes and bacon. Catharine orders the more expensive real maple syrup. I use the regular table syrup and it is perfectly satisfactory to me.

It is true, however, that it is all too easy to misrepresent real maple syrup. Rigtht now two American senators have a bill in the hopper that would impose tougher sanctions for the marketing of other syrups as maple syrup.

Table syrup is sickly sweet. While maple syrup may be expensive, even a small amount transforms a plain waffle or pancake, a simple slice of ham or cube of tofu, or a mustardy salad dressing.

But does Canada do enough to protect maple syrup? Quebec forbids the use of the word “maple” or of maple-leaf shapes or pictures, on any bottle that does not contain 100 per-cent pure maple syrup. But Quebec is the only province that does this? Some restaurants still pass off inferior syrups and most customers do not notice or they acquiesce.

Should there be more protection for pure maple syrup?

Is there a difference between maple syrup and table syrup?

What do you think?

Published by Neil McKenty on November 27, 2011

Here are the comments that followed:

philsfancy Says:
I like brown sugar,actually.  Put enough ketchup on anything and it works out.

Posted on November 27, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Lady Janus Says:
There’s a definite difference between maple syrup and its many copy-cats (I learned how to make one of those copy-cats for myself a few years ago). And the expense of it is only part of the difference. But yes, like with wines, a lot of people have trouble tasting the difference, and sweet is sweet.

But I don’t know what you mean by “protection.” Other than accurate labelling, what else could be done?

Posted on November 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Tony Kondaks Says:
Coke, Pepsi, no-name brand.  Blindfold a volunteer and see if they can tell the difference in a taste test. Whenever I’ve read about this being done, no one can by any significant statistical amount.

I’d like to think that there’s a discernable difference between real maple syrup and maple-flavoured table syrup but I don’t have much confidence I could tell the difference in a blind test.

Sugar is sugar…whether it’s refined from cane sugar in some factory in North Carolina or from boiling boiling forty gallons of sap down to one gallon of maple syrup in a quaint log cabin outside of Knowlton. And for all I know disreputable purveyors have been cutting the latter with the former for years and I have been none the wiser.

Posted on November 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Neil McKenty Says:
One thought. Agriculture and Agi-Food Canada and the Quebec maple syrup industry have developed a “flavour wheel” for maple products, adding descriptors such as clove, butter, or roasted dandelion root, which enables Canadians to develop a finer appreciation of pure maple syrup.

Posted on November 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Jim Says:
Table syrup is corn starch colored with caramel, and has never seen sap, except the sap who thinks it’s maple syrup. Why anyone thinks it’s maple, except for the colour, is beyond me. When I was knee high to a peephole I would chill the sap right out of the tree and drink it as I would a glass of water. That was a real thirst quencher. I must admit, however, that I drank more beer. The reason was that I could only knock off a few glasses of sap in a day, whereas with beer I could knock off 24 pints in a day. Isn’t it odd that we can knock off 24 beers in a day, but not the equivalent in milk or whatever.

Posted on November 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm

littlepatti Says:
I was surprised recently to find Quebec maple syrup in the USA for $3.99 in a maple leaf shaped bottle that sells for 7.99 here. I suggest that Canada is subsidizing Maple Syrup to that extent.
I use a sugar-free syrup, and very little because I like strawberries & whipped cream on my pancake or waffle.
I wouldn’t pass a taste test-
Years ago I shipped a case of syrup to clients in Florida. They had never tasted the real thing and I was the most popular person, for awhile.
I think that Canada should increase our exports.
There’s no point in more product protection.

Posted on November 28, 2011 at 8:21 am