Archive for the ‘Historic blog entry’ Category

NEIL’S RADIO SHOW

May 3, 2017

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Exchange on CJAD  with host Neil McKenty.

The Lines Are Still Blazing!

What’ a on your mind?


https://neilmckentyweblog2.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/whats-on-your-mind.wav

BLAST FROM THE PAST

May 1, 2017

 

McKenty Live with host Neil McKenty.

On today’s program, Neil talks about the environment with guest David Suzuki.

CAN SCIENCE EXPLAIN THE BIG BANG?

April 13, 2017

 

Thousands of physicists at a vast underground complex near Geneva have begun a project to try to reenact the “Big Bang” to try to explain the origins of the universe and how it came to harbour life. The scientists plan to smash particles together to create, on a small scale, re-enactments of the event that started up the cosmos.

Cosmologists say the Big Bang occurred some 15 billion years ago when an unimaginably dense and hot object the size of a small coin exploded in what was then a void, spewing out matter that expanded rapidly to create stars, planets and eventually Life on Earth.

Scientists will try to produce tiny collision that will recreate the heat and energy of the Big Bang. Protons will collide at nearly the speed of light, and the enormous energy will shatter them and turn matter briefly into energy. As this energy reforms into matter, the physics world hopes to see – briefly – particles that are believed to have come into existence after the Big Bang, 15 billion years ago. Particle detectors will collect the flying fragments the way a windshield collects bugs.

The scientists will be looking for one particle that has never yet been seen, the “Higgs boson” that would confirm what matter is made of. It is also known as the “God particle”.

So in the coming months, beams of particles will crash together in the giant tube, and scientists will sift through the wreckage looking for the secrets of the universe.

Do you think they will succeed? Stephen Hawking (the “black hole guy”) doesn’t. He is willing to bet they will not find the “God particle”, the elusive particle seen as a holy grail of cosmic science.

What do you think?

Will science eventually be able to explain the “Big Bang” and the origins of the universe?

Even if they did, would that tell us how the “Big Bang” occurred. Was it spontaneous combustion or was God the cause?

And if God is the cause, why did He create the universe? One answer is that God created us to test us, to give us a chance to choose him or reject him. The result of our choice is eternal life in heaven or hell.

But if God is the cause of the universe, can science tell us anything about its origins? I shouldn’t have thought so.

What do you think?

 

Walter and Victoria Turnbull

April 12, 2017

 

It is an amazing gift for me to watch this silent footage of my parent’s wedding, July 25th 1929 at Donlands Farm. The farm stretched way back to the Don River from Don Mills Road, then a two-lane country road on the eastern edge of Toronto.

It is such fun to see all the guests arriving in their distinctive Twenties outfits.

There is my dad, Walter Turnbull, serenely happy standing beside his bride, Victoria Turnbull. As a young man he was quite a rebel. At Stoney Lake in Ontario, he would go out in the family canoe alone, give a great war-whoop and fall overboard backwards just to scare his poor mother. There was one apple tree in the backyard at the home of his parents in Peterborough, Ontario where his dad owned the local hardware store. When the Baptist minister opened the basket of apples from Mr Turnbull, he found an indignant bite had been taken out of each one.

Later my dad and his brothers built an orphanage in India during the great famine. His first wife died in childbirth after their return on the long voyage home from India. He went on foot through South America looking for locations for missions, then became Dean of men at Nyack, the headquarters of the Christian Missionary Alliance.

My grandmother still could not quite believe that this famous man — who had spoken from platforms across the US and Canada – was about to marry her rebel daughter Victoria, who wanted to wear bloomers on Sunday of all things. Grandmother, whom we see in her distinctive peaked hat, insisted the wedding be a quiet one, out at the farm, no white dress or long train for this bride. The minimum of fuss, which suited my mother to a T. Later my grandmother would go three times on that long ocean voyage to India, where she was supporting medical services for women, along with her surgeon-daughter, my aunt Evelyn.

We also catch glimpses in the film of my uncle Russell, then still a stockbroker in New York, dapper uncle Murray and their brother Goldie. There are the blissfully engaged couple, Agnes, my aunt, and her fiancée Eric Bentley.

A very special moment in time. My parents spent their honeymoon in Quebec, part of it on the Peribonka River, which later provided the name for their cottage on Lake Simcoe, where I enjoyed many happy days as a child. Mother and Dad made their home in Nyack, New York where they bought a house, and Dad continued his work as the much-loved teacher who thought nothing of the occasional pillow-fight with his students. He had found a whole radio station on a Russian ship, established it in New York, and used it to broadcast a message of faith, hope and love to South America.

Faith, Hope and Love – these themes resonate for me as I watch this film — this eternal moment in time. This footage is the closest I have ever come to seeing my dad alive, as others saw him. Ten months later, my mother was four months pregnant with me when she received the news in the middle of the night that dad had been killed instantly in a car crash.

At crucial times in my life I have felt his presence. Most notable was an occasion when I was suddenly called on to speak to a large and intimidating audience in England following my husband Neil. Shaking in my boots, I walked up the steps to the platform. Suddenly I knew exactly how dad felt — as though I was standing in his shoes. I was able to handle the microphone with ease, and was told afterwards I had riveted my audience.

Not long ago, I was shown a letter that my mother wrote her brother Goldie at the time of dad’s death. In it she wrote of her determination not to go under, and her sense of a spiritual strength being given. She ended with the words “grateful beyond measure”. I can only repeat those words as I think of the enduring legacy left to me by both my parents, faith, hope and love.

Catharine Fleming McKenty

BLAST FROM THE PAST

April 10, 2017

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McKenty Live with host Neil McKenty.

On this episode of McKenty Live, Neil talks about alcoholism, especially children of alcoholics, with guests: Ann Denis and Heather Webster.

Neil interviewed about John Main

April 3, 2017

Ric Peterson talks to Neil McKenty about John Main


https://neilmckentyweblog2.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/16-3-neil-discussing-dom-john-main.mp3

The visit of H.H. The Dalai Lama to the Vendôme Priory in 1980. From left to right: Laurence Freeman, Dalai Lama, John Main.

Journalist, soldier, barrister and Benedictine monk, John Main’s spiritual odyssey was a deep seated quest for an authentic life of prayer. The door finally opened when he met an Indian swami who taught him to meditate using a mantra, only to close again when he entered the Benedictine noviciate and adopted a more traditional form of prayer.

Long after ordination in 1963, John Main discovered that the form of prayer advocated by the swami already existed within the mainstream of Western Christianity but had fallen into disuse. From then on, he was to devote his life to restoring this form of christian meditation to its rightful place within the Church. His work began with the foundation of a meditation centre at Ealing Abbey in London and led, some years later, to the foundation of the Benedictine Priory of Montreal and the establishment of a worldwide spiritual family linked through the daily practice of meditation.

Neil McKenty paints an attractive portrait of this compelling Irish monk whose teaching and writing on meditation were to transform the lives of thousands of men and women.

Cover of the new edition

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Coming soon: new edition from McKenty Books, special pre-order price $15 for one copy, $20 for two copies. To order send an email to linesarestillblazing [at] gmail.com.

7. “The Zaniest Show I Ever Did”

No one in talk radio knows for certain what will resonate with listeners. Or why. To Neil’s consternation and surprise, one of his most popular “Exchange” programs was “Driving With your Mate.” These are his crib notes for the program, which elicited comments from callers for two months running.

Did you ever get lost, really lost? How did you get unlost?

Why are male drivers reluctant to ask directions?

Are men better than women at driving? I know my own wife, Catharine, gives up as a map reader and as a navigator at least once on every trip we take.

Do you think men change personalities when they get behind the wheel?

I do most of the driving in my family. I consider myself a good driver, and I am uncomfortable with someone else behind the wheel. I wonder why that is? I don’t like driving with drivers I don’t know. It makes me nervous. I feel more comfortable behind the wheel than sitting in the passenger seat.

There is something darn funny about how a car affects people. Why do we always pack so much luggage? Going, let’s say, to Las Cruces we have enough luggage in the trunk to go on a cruise around the world on the Queen Mary. Why do we need so much luggage?

Catharine’s reply:

The darling man was directionally challenged, Known to go through the occasional stop sign or red light unless the navigator, me, could stop him. Never a dull moment! The luggage, on the other hand, was mostly mine, and never ceased to amaze him. Can you believe we made it?

Click below to listen to Driving with your mate.

https://neilmckentyweblog2.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/driving-with-your-mates.mp3

PIT STOP

March 29, 2017

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Irish vote puts new Europe on horizon.

After Ireland recently ratified the Lisbon Treaty, Europe has moved one step closer to being a full-fledged federation.

The potential significance for Europe of Ireland’s Yes vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum may not yet be fully clear, but it is of major import. If the Lisbon Treaty now comes into force, the Irish electorate’s rethink will have rescued the viability of European unity, probably for a generation.

If the No side had prevailed in the referendum (as it did in the first one) the European Union would have suffered a massive, morale-sapping blow.

Not only would the Lisbon Treaty itself have been killed off, but so, too, would the prospect of reforming the EU for years, given that this time next year David Cameron and the Tories – a party and a leader both skeptical to Europe – would be in power in England.

With a Conservative-ruled UK vetoing every attempt to improve the EU, it is more than likely that Europe would be divided between states advocating further integration and states opposing it – a disaster for the continent.

However, the Lisbon Treaty is not quite a done deal. Two other states have not yet ratified: Poland and the Czech Republic. Both countries’ parliaments have voted approval but their Eurosceptical presidents have withheld their signatures.

Polish president Lech Kaczynski, however, promised last July to consent to ratification if Ireland voted Yes and he has now done so. This leaves Czech president Vaclav Klaus, who more than once said he would try to keep the treaty from coming into force.

Some have speculated that he wanted to delay signing until after the general election in Britain, in the hope the Conservatives would win and call a referendum on the treaty.

Now Mr. Klaus admits he cannot wait for a British election.

“They would have to hold it in the coming days or weeks. However, the train has now traveled so fast and so far I guess it will not be possible to stop it or turn it around, however much we would wish to.”

The treaty was designed to streamline the EU’s decision-making process following its expansion from 15 to 27 members. Critics, including Klaus, have described it as an attempt to create a European superstate that would rob individual nations of their sovereignty.

Some months ago, Klaus said he he would be the “last politician” in Europe to sign the the Lisbon Treaty. This has come true – but ironically his signature will now be the one that enables the treaty he despises to come into force.

That leaves British Conservative leader David Cameron.

Gavin Barrett, a senior lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin, specializing in European Union law, asks what Cameron’s chances are of blocking the treaty by calling a referendum in England once the Conservatives achieve power. “The answer, very simply,” Barrett writes, “is that it will end them. Once the Lisbon Treaty comes into force it will be irreversible. The new institutional architecture will be there to stay.” Part of that architecture might well be Tony Blair, considered by many to be the front-runner for the new position of EU president.

Much to the chagrin of the more Euro-phobic supporters, Cameron will have to abandon a now legally pointless referendum on Lisbon in favor of a concerted effort to repatriate certain powers to Britain – in social, employment, justice and home affairs. Whether he succeeds remains to be seen, although the UK could threaten to block the accession of new member states if it does not get its way.

Cameron’s hardest job will probably be managing Euro-phobia within his own party: An astonishing 40 per cent of Conservative supporters favor leaving the EU altogether.

Be that as it may, Ireland on its second try has broken the logjam preventing a new Europe.

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?

PIT STOP

March 16, 2017

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What language debate? Blog comments reflect a peaceful Quebec.

About three years ago I began blogging. This means I got myself an address on the Internet (anyone can do this in three easy steps) and started to post daily comments.

The major themes of these comments usually involve politics, morality and religion. I usually put these comments in the form of a question: Is Michael Ignatieff ready to be prime minister? Should lesbians conceive children? Is religion a hoax?

The records for my blog show that about 300 people check it out every day. But fewer than five per cent actually leave comments on my original postings. The most comments I ever had was 90 on whether Dr. Morgentaler should have received the Order of Canada.

I have had comments from as nearby as my neighbors in Westmount and as far away as South Korea and Latvia. The comments are generally informed and civil even when they deal with contentious subjects. Two of the most contentious are the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the language tensions in Quebec.

Because of the PQ’s language policies, one of my blogmates left the province and moved to the United States. He is still bitter and whenever Quebec comes up on my blog he makes no bones about his contempt for the province.

I bring this up now, not because I think this expatriate is typical of Quebecers on the language issue. The point is, I think he is atypical.

As Hubert Bach recently pointed out in a comprehensive article in The Gazette, there are signs all over the place that language peace has broken out in Quebec. One current example of that was the banning of two anglo bands from a Fête Nationale concert. Several artists in the sovereignist camp spoke out in protest. As a result, the two anglo bands participated in the concert. What a change that is from the time there were fights in the street about the Eaton’s apostrophe.

What seems to have replaced the bitterness in the language war of the late ’70s and ’80s is a realization that the accommodation between the two groups is working well for both. The French are more secure in their majority. The English are more comfortable as a minority.

This language peace is visible in the two national holidays that begin our summer. In both the Fête Nationale and Canada Day there is more fun and less politics. Instead of two duelling communities there is a sense of welcome all over the province.

Just imagine if Howard Galganov were to return from his exile in Ontario and tried his old game of fanning animosities. I don’t think he’d get far. That kind of demagoguery just doesn’t cut it here any more. There are, of course, a small group of angryphones remaining in the province, but they operate on the political fringes and are largely irrelevant.

Having said all that, the PQ option of separation for Quebecers is still on the books. PQ leader Pauline Marois has been doing her best to inject some life into that option. She has outlined a program to chip away at the federal system in the province by fighting to take various powers back from Ottawa, specifically in cultural affairs.

No sooner had Marois outlined her program than former premier Parizeau weighed in. Wouldn’t you know it. Parizeau has become a kind of frenchified Colonel Blimp. He told Marois she might provoke crises with Ottawa on a series of contentious issues.This would put the sovereignist troops on their metal.

So what happens? A few days after Parizeau’s ill-chosen remarks, the PQ was shut out in two by-elections, one of which they thought they could win.

Now we can take a break from politics at least until Labour Day. There are no constitutional questions buzzing around Ottawa, no referendums on the horizon in Quebec.

The Gazette caught the mood in a recent editorial on June 26: “Look around the world. There might be no place anywhere that manages diversity-in-unity as well as Quebec-inCanada. Where is it as easy to understand that there’s no need to choose between one sense of belonging and the other? In fact we do so well that we really need two days – or even the whole week in between – to celebrate how lucky we are.”

 Have a great summer.

PIT STOP

March 2, 2017

Here’s Neil with his column in the Senior Times

Pit Stop

Look to Northern Ireland for a way to peace in Middle East

The recent outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland seemed at first like a black cloud threatening the fragile peace process. Until the silver lining appeared.

What happened after two British soldiers and an Irish policeman were murdered by a discredited IRA dissident group is almost unimaginable. The forces that had been at each other’s throats for decades came together to publicly denounce the killings.

Thousands of people, Catholic and Protestant alike, took to the streets to express their outrage and abhorrence. And the republican splinter groups who have claimed responsibility have been roundly condemned by the mainstream republican organization, Sinn Fein. Martin McGuinness, deputy first minister in the power-sharing executive, stood shoulder to shoulder with the protestant first minister, Peter Robinson, to condemn the killings: “We were elected to lead and, through democratic institutions, deliver for everyone throughout the community. We will not allow a tiny mindless minority to set our political agenda or divert us.”

McGuinness called those responsible “traitors to Ireland” and urged Catholics to cooperate with police in catching the culprits. Such an unambiguous display of support for the Northern Ireland Police Service from the leadership of Sinn Fein is unprecedented. As the London journal The Tablet wrote: “Twenty years ago they would have been plotting the killing of soldiers and policemen themselves.”

Those responsible for the bloodshed plainly intended to destroy the power-sharing structure of the Assembly at Stormont and escalate sectarian tensions across the community. However, the response from politicians and even more importantly from ordinary citizens, who took to the streets in significant numbers at short notice to support vigils and peace rallies, made clear that any attempt to turn back the clock on the peace process would not be tolerated.

These public displays were followed by the unprecedented image of Catholic republicans and Protestant loyalists attending the funeral of Stephen Carroll, the murdered Ulster police officer. In a highly personal address at the end of the service, in the presence of Carroll’s widow, the head of the Police Service, Sir Hugh Orde, told her:

“He will not be forgotten, Kate. I promise you. My staff and officers will not forget what he did. I know the community will not forget what he did.”

The hard fact is there will be no united Ireland for the foreseeable future. But the blinkered IRA dissidents refuse to recognize that. They first demonstrated their hostility to the peace process when they planted a car bomb in Omagh in August 1998 that killed 29 people in the main shopping street. (I walked on this street in a trip to Ulster a couple of years ago. The Omagh blast is still fresh in the minds of the citizens there).

Undeterred by the hostile reaction, pockets of disgruntled republican activists throughout Northern Ireland vowed to defy majority public opinion, re-arm and revive “physical force” republicanism as the traditional and only effective means they could see of ever achieving a united Ireland.

For a time there was nothing much more than propaganda stunts with armed, hooded figures on manoeuvres in remote Irish boglands. From time to time police on both sides of the border intercepted arms and explosives in transit to a planned atrocity. The dissidents suspected that the mainstream IRA was double-crossing them by infiltrating its own people into their ranks to betray them.

But several well-planned ambushes over a year ago, in which police officers were wounded, underlined the growing dissident threat. Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde warned that the dissidents were intent on killing a police officer, a grim prophecy that has now been fulfilled.

Still, tragic as the killings were, what remains is the virtual universal condemnation of them in Ulster by the ordinary people and their elected leaders. Remember these same leaders had been fighting each other for decades. Now they are united for peace, an extraordinary accomplishment and a way forward for others.

It is no coincidence that U.S. President Barack Obama chose as his new envoy to the Middle East the very man who played a large role in bringing the warring Irish factions together in the Good Friday Agreement. Former democratic senator George Mitchell now brings his negotiating skills, honed in Ulster, to building peace between Israel and the Palestinians, whose enmity is perhaps the most dangerous in the world.

But the peace process in Ulster is a paradigm for a similar development in the Middle East. There are dissimilarities of course, but if the hard men in Ulster can unite for peace, so can those other warring factions – the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The peace process in Ulster points a way to peace in the Middle East.

The Senior Times

Pit Stop April 2009