Archive for the ‘Thought for the day’ Category

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

May 23, 2017

Resolution Blessing

by

Mattie J.T. Stepanek

Let our breath be gentle wind,

Let our ears be of those who listen,

Let our hearts be not ones

that rage so quickly and

Thus blow dramatically,

And useless.

Let our spirits attend and be

Most diligent to the soft

Yet desperate whisper of

Hope and peace for our world.

Let our souls be those

Which watch for the Lord,

Waiting with wonder and want.

Let our eyes be attentive

With interest and respect,

Let our minds be committed

To health and happiness,

Let our hands join

In helpful resolution

To being our best person,

Praying and playing and

Passing through moments

Of pain or memory-

Makers of pleasure

Touching the future, together.

Mattie’s poem is a shy reminder of our self-worth and potential as we shrive for a more beautiful future.  The music is appreciable, beautiful and engaging.

What’s on your mind? Victoria Day, Dollard Day or Empire Day and much much more

May 22, 2017

What’s on your mind? on Exchange. Discussion of various subjects, including Montreal and Ottawa conference of the United Church and the ordination of homosexuals.


https://neilmckentyweblog2.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/whats-on-your-mind.mp3

BLAST FROM THE PAST!

May 18, 2017

Here is Neil on the other side of the microphone taking part with another guest for a program discussing  »learning in retirement ».

Haven’t lost his touch!!

 

 »Montreal AM Live » Originally broadcast on 01/28/93

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

May 16, 2017

 

The Senior Times

Pit Stop by Neil McKenty

On the Shrivers, the Special Olympics and floor hockey.

I was enjoying a winter holiday in Palm Spins, California, when it was announced that Sargent Shriver gad died.  I met Shriver, married to President John Kennedy’s sister Eunice, in the early 70’s.  I’ll come back to that in a moment.

Mr. Shriver was the founding director of the Peace Corps, the signature success of Kennedy’s New Frontier.  He directed Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, founded Head Start, created the Jobs Corp and Legal Services for the Poor.

He served as President of the Special Olympics, which was founded by his wife.

Writing in the New York Times, Bob Herbert said that  »Mr. Shriver affected more people in a positive way than any American since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. »

When I met Mr. Shriver in 1971, he struck me as an enormously enthusiastic and energetic man.  I met him to discuss an award the Kennedys were making to Jean Vanier, the son of the former governor-general.  Mr. Vanier was being honoured by the Kennedys for his work with the mentally challenged.

My boss at the time, the Toronto philanthropist and sportsman Harry  »Red » Foster, thought it would be appropriate if Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau wrote a short statement to be delivered at the awards ceremony in Washington.

I called Mr. Trudeau’s office and he agreed to send a short statement to honour Vanier.  There was, however, one condition: The statement would be in both English and French and must be read that way.

I explained Mr. Trudeau’s condition to Mr. Shriver and he readily agreed to find someone who would be able to handle the French.

At the event, however, somebody dropped the ball.  To my exasperation, the statement did not get read in French.

I expressed my anger to Mr. Shriver.  He was upset as I was and apologized profusely.

As this was playing out, we were negotiating with Mr. Shirver’s wife, Eunice, for Canada to play a larger role in the Special Olympics.  We had a Canadian Special Olympics at Exhibition Park in Toronto and we had been invited to join the Kennedys for the first international Special Olympics in Chicago.

One of the most successful elements of our own Olympics was floor hockey.  We had convinced the National Hockey League to get behind this project and we were eager that Mrs. Shriver accept floor hockey into the American Special Olympics.

To that end, I had several meetings with Mrs. Shriver in Washington.

What a though lady she turned out to be-though in the sense she knew what she wanted and used any means to get there.  Smart, too.

I was not the only person who thought if Mrs. Shriver had been born later she might well have become the first female president of the United States.

She questioned me carefully about the suitability of floor hockey for the Special Olympics program.

I am writing this wile still in Palm Springs.  While here, I’ve talked to a number of Americans about the Obama presidency.

Most people seem all for it or all against it.  There is no middle ground.  As one of the naysayers put it:  »My husband had a job under George Bush and he lost his job under Obama. »

My own view is unchanged.  If the unemployment rate comes down one full point or more, Obama will win a second term fairly easily.  I mean, who is likely to beat him?  Michelle Bachmann, the poor person’s Sarah Palin?

Published in February 2011.

Jean P.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ONE AND ALL

May 14, 2017

 

 

I can scarcely believe the privilege it is for me to see this film after all these years.

There is my beloved Mum serenely happy on her wedding day, July 25, 1929. There is my dad in contented attendance. From what people tell me, Dad was simply an amazing human being. On my desk I have a picture of him at his graduation from McMaster University, Toronto, Canada. His stated aim was – ‘‘to sail beyond the sunrise’’. And indeed he did.

He and his brothers started an orphanage in India, in the early 1920s. Dad went around to the mill owners asking for jobs for the orphans. He and his brothers used to pray all night for the food and supplies they needed. As he told my mother, the next morning there would be a knock at the door, and there would be someone with a basketful. He also told her that the first time he laid eyes on her, when he was giving a talk at the Christian Mission Alliance College in Nyack, New York, he went back to his room, got down on his knees and prayed ‘Lord, give me a chance to meet this woman or take her out of my mind.’ A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door. There was my mother holding in her hand an invitation to Dr. Turnbull to speak at a gathering in Toronto. The letter was signed by my beloved granny, Lydia Orford Fleming. You can see her in the film with her peaked black hat.

Needless to say, Dr. Turnbull found many an occasion to come to Toronto for speaking engagements. He had spoken on platforms across Canada and the U.S. and was known as the dress code of the Alliance. When he proposed, my grandmother was in total shock. Her daughter Queenie, as she was known, (born in Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year, 1897), was a rebel who wanted to wear bloomers on Sunday of all things, and had begged her mother to take her to China with her where she stayed for two years with her missionary sister Stella and brother-in-law Murdoch Mackenzie.

Granny arranged for a quiet wedding on Donlands farm, no white dress or big wedding for this rebel daughter. A choice that obviously suited this happy couple. There is Uncle Murdoch with his white beard welcoming the guests as they arrive by car. He is just back from China where he walked on foot among a people he loved for 30 years.

I first saw this film just about a year ago when Jean P. found it among a box of assorted tapes including some of Neil’s radio tapes. Interestingly, Dad was also a radio broadcaster. He had walked on foot in South America for many years, looking for locations for missions. Then he found a radio station on a Russian ship and brought it back to New York, where it allowed him and others to broadcast a message of love and hope to people that needed both.

The night of Mother’s Day 1930, he was being driven by one of his students back to Nyack from a broadcasting session in New York to be with my Mum who was four months pregnant with me. It was a dark night. The car turned a corner, hit a pileup of sand and skewered into a ditch, smashing up against a stonewall. Dad, asleep in the back seat, was killed instantly.

Granny was staying with my mother and came quietly in the night to tell her the news. Since Dad had little money in the bank, my mother had no other choice but to sell the home they had just bought on campus in Nyack. Then she packed up her bags and returned to Donlands to live with her mother and two older sisters. Just four years ago, I read for the first time a letter she wrote to her brother, Goldie, “I am determined not to go under. I feel a spiritual strength being given. I am grateful beyond measure.’’

The night before Neil’s funeral, I entered his now empty room and was about to break down completely. Those words ‘’Grateful beyond measure’’ floated into my consciousness. It carried me through the next days and weeks. At the funeral a friend of Neil’s and mine, Delores Kumps, came up to me and said, “Catharine, I had the most amazing dream last night. There was Neil, large as life, and he said to me, “Delores, be happy!” I knew it was a message for me as well. I can just hear Mum and Dad cheering.

Neil could always make me laugh. Never will I forget the time the red sleeve of his dressing gown caught fire during our supper. To read the full story, look on the blog two days ago or at the end of the book put together by our friend Alan Hustak. Neil McKenty Live! 

MEMORIES OF NEIL

May 12, 2017

McKenty LiveIMGNeil and a  guess at CFCF

NEIL MCKENTY

Dec. 31, 1924 – May 12, 2012

The Lines are still blazing !

Neil’s life and work continues to inspire people on both side of the Atlantic, through new editions of his books and an ongoing blog (www.neilmckenty.com)that carries some of his radio shows at CJAD.  Neil courageous battle with bipolar and depression haven given a rise to the Neil McKenty Memorial Lecture which will be given, again this October at the Health Care Conference Canada Event.

mck020011-12-2012-3Neil and René Lévesque at CJAD 1983

08-31-2012-4

at CJAD

aislin

neil in a white suit

 

———————————————————————-Neil and Catharine McKenty on the dance floor

”Catharine, Don’t Panic”

”In the end, no matter what, Neil could always make me laugh.  I remember one particular December evening in our beloved farmhouse home in the heart of Victoria Village.  On dark nights such as this one I always made sure to place candles of all sizes on an ancient dining room table which we bought for $35 from neighbours who were moving out as we were moving in.  On this winter evening I had set a scrumptious shepherd’s pie in front of Neil so he could serve us both.  As he reached across the table to hand me my plateful, the fuzzy sleeve of his bright red dressing gown caught fire.

To my horror the flames began to run up his arm.  Neil quietly stood up, stepped out from the table, and moved steadly towards the kitchen saying calmly to me ”Catharine, don’t panic.”

I followed him out to the kitchen, picked up a big green canister of flour from the counter and threw the contents over himself.  The fire went out.  Neil returned to the meal as though nothing had happened, sitting there in his black-tinged dressing gown while I dissolved in near hysterical laughter.

Many times since, in moments of crisis, I hear those words, ”Catharine, don’t panic!”.

They have often returned to stand me in good stead.

 

 

 

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

May 2, 2017

 

The Wild Swans at Coole.

by

W.B. Yeats

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

Any suggestions of subject for the blog or just comments and ideas. linesarestillblazing@gmail.com

TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

April 25, 2017

Even in Portsmouth

by

John McKenty

I was born in Peterborough, Ontario, in 1948, but moved with my family to the village of Portsmouth shortly after it was annexed by the city of Kingston in 1952.  It was a union, I later discovered, given little attention by the villagers who went about their daily lives as if they were still a recognizable entity unto themselves.

While Portsmouth, with a scant population of five hundred, had the usual small-town amenities, such as a grocery store, a drug store and a barber shop, it also had two rather rowdy hotels and two maximum security prisons, one for the men and one for the women.  Many a parent in the village reminded their male off-spring that staying too long in the former could result in a stay in the latter.

With the prisons standings as a stark reminder of what can happen when one’s life goes astray, it was around this same that Kingston building contractor Harold Harvey, troubled by the frequent sight of children playing in the streets or just hanging around with nothing to do, founded the Church Athletic League, an organization that offered youngsters the opportunity to play recreational hockey, softball, basketball and bowling.

The one stipulation was that all participants must attend church or Sunday school 80 percent of the time.  Based on his belief that ”a child brought up in church is seldom brought up short,” the Church Athletic League was Harvey’s valiant attempt to set the youngsters of Portsmouth and the city, as a whole, in the right direction.

When the Church Athletic League began its first season of hockey in 1951, it had 100 boys registered.  From there the number grew at a rapid rate causing Harvey to come up with a plan for a new outdoor rink to be built in the old quarry in Portsmouth, the same site where inmates from the men’s maximum security prison had once hammered limestone into building blocks.  It was here where hard labour had once been intended to teach the incorrigible about the error of their ways, that young boys were now to learn the rules of fairness, co-operation and team work.

It would be the summer of 1960 that the Harold Harvey Arena was constructed at 42 Church Street, directly across from where my family lived.  Being close at hand it wasn’t long before my two brothers and I became ”rink-rats” at the venerable old arena which began life as an open-air affair, before eventually being closed in.

As rink rats our job was to sign the team in and out and collect their rental fee and then at the end of the day to clear the ice of snow and put on a fresh flood for the next day’s activities.  When there was public skating, we were to don the official rink sweaters and go out on the ice in a bid to impress the girls and to discourage the boys from playing tag.

In exchange for our meager efforts we were given free ice time and a bit of money.  With the money I made, I saved up to buy my first set of CCM ”Tacks”, the skate of the pros, the skate of my dreams.  Unfortunately, the price of my dreams was always greater than the size of my savings and, as a result, my first pair of ”Tacks” turned out to be a used set.  They were beat-up and far too small, but it didn’t matter.  They were ”Tacks” and I was going to cram my feet into them no matter what.

Back in those days, everyone in Portsmouth had their skates sharpened at Baiden’s Hardware, a retail operation overseen by Henry Baiden and his younger brother Bill.  The only problem, according to the villagers, was that Bill knew how to sharpen skates correctly, but Henry, on the other hand, didn’t.  Thus, before anyone took their skates I to be done, they peered cautiously around the corner of the store’s front window to ensure that Henry was busy, while Bill wasn’t.

It was a ritual I followed faithfully for I didn’t want just anyone messing around with my ”Tacks.”  That’s the way it was back then.  Little did I know back then that my infatuation with my skates would eventually lead me to write a history of the CCM company.  But life can be like that.  You never know what will happen when you follow your passion.  Even in Portsmouth.

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?

 

PIT STOP

March 29, 2017

pit-stop-oct1

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.