When someone decides to end our innocence for us, no words can explain the sadness that goes along with this end. This happens naturally to us in so many ways, as we age we lose that innocence. We no longer look at our parents or older siblings as heroes; we start to see their flaws and short comings. This is not the innocence I am talking about, the innocence I am talking about is the loss felt by a community, city or even a country. This has happened far too often since the terror attacks in New York City on September 11, 2001. On that day the USA lost her innocence and since that Tuesday in September the world has been slowly losing her innocence.
The latest is Oslo, Norway, with the bombing of a government building earlier today and then the shooting and murder of 10 young people who were on a retreat. The shooting appears to be connected to the bombing earlier in the day, the shooter arrived at the youth camp dressed as a police officer and claimed to doing security after the bombing in Oslo. I don’t know who is responsible for these events in Oslo, Norway as no group has claimed responsibility; all I do know is that Norway has joined the group of nations to lose her innocence.
My son is at work with me today doing some odd jobs for me and he asked me why this has happened. Norway is a peaceful country, nice people live there, he said. I don’t have an answer for him. He is old enough that he understands people have differences, country’s go to war and the world is not always a peaceful place. He does not understand why someone would or some group would kill and hurt so many people for no reason. These people went to work today and this is what happened, these young people went to a summer camp and this is what happened.
I have no answer for him. He will be going to summer camp in a week and I can only hope that this is not something that occupies his mind. I hope my children and yours can keep their innocence for as long as possible. The innocence of America, Britain, Afghanistan, Iraq, Philippines and many other nations are gone as is mine.
The end of an era has come. The space shuttle Atlantis undocked from the International Space Station on its final mission in space. The space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to land at the Kennedy Space Centre on Thursday. The end of a glorious era, one that generations and generations will remember.
I was ten when the first shuttle touched off from earth and I can remember it so vividly as if it were yesterday. The hype, excitement, anticipation, hopes and dreams all rushing towards space on that day. My children and there generation have not had the same excitement about space travel as my generation had. I contribute that to them thinking this is normal everyday things we do. Travel around the world as quickly as we do and travel into space to live on the international space station. My dream is for us humans to not only continue to travel to space, but to continue to do it as a whole world and not just as nations. Imagine if we all worked together on space travel and living. We could accomplish so much more then all of us working alone.
That is one thing my children’s generation has my generation and the generations before me beat on, they are willing to work with each other. They don’t see the differences as clearly as generations before did. They are the lucky ones, they can see past religion, ethnic origins and colour. They are our future and it is as bright as the future of space travel can be.
The shuttle space program
1981 – 2011
That’s the old saying we hear all the time. We hear it from our waiter, doctor, dentist, friends and family all the time. 53 years late is something else entirely. 53 years late is a life time, half a life time or even ¾’s of one. 53 years is a long time to wait for a letter from your old college sweetheart. A letter written in 1958 is finally being delivered to the addressee
Now I am sure some of you are wondering why this is even relevant in today’s news, let me tell you. First some of you (I hope) have wondered where my blog has been for the past week. Well that’s what vacation will do to you, however I am back and think I have figured out how to write and post on my blackberry so less disruptions. Secondly, in today’s world of email, blogs, twitter and facebook the art of actually writing a letter and mailing it are all but gone. We could even go on more about the art of conversation has almost gone, but that is for another day. So I am confident that you will all receive this almost as soon as I send this out.
Thirdly, go home and take 20 minutes to write a love letter to your wife, husband, or love interest. Then decide which way you would like to deliver it, email, mail or hand deliver. I am going to hand deliver mine tonight.
Wouldn’t it be great if William and Kate were to wear a couple of Red Coats for their visit to California? The famous line credited to Paul Revere brings images of the British Army of that time. By all accounts the Americans are going to be much more welcoming to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they visit. The couple are heading out of Canada for two days in California where they will be greeted by the former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger and I am sure David and Victoria Beckham. No real plans have been released yet on where the couple will visit, only suggestions they will take in the Golden Gate Bridge and Yosemite National Park.
This visit will be somewhat different from the visit to Canada. The Canadian visit saw the Royals walking among the crowds, talking to the ordinary citizens and sharing laughs with the young children. I hope they receive the same great reception they have had here in Canada when they arrive in the US. This will be Kate’s first visit to the United States of America and the first time William will be in the US in an official capacity.
Thank you for visiting my home of Canada, by all accounts, we have enjoyed your visit with us as much as you seem to have. Your welcome back as often as you can make it officially or unofficially. We would love for you to visit in winter and enjoy the skiing or summer at one of our many lakes. So till next time, cheers.
Great advice comes from great men and women. We lost a great man on July 5th of this year; Gordon Tootoosis was a great Canadian actor of Cree and Stoney descent. I was all ready to write about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today and their visit to Calgary, but after hearing the story of Gordon’s passing, I feel compelled to write about him. He helped preserve his culture and told his people’s stories. On October 29th, 2004 he was awarded the Order of Canada, which is a fantastic achievement, one most of us in Canada will never receive.
Those who knew Gordon, remember a passionate man who was devoted to his family. Married since the early 60’s with 3 daughters, two adopted sons and several grandchildren. He endured a harsh childhood after being taken from his home and forced into a residential school where he was not allowed to speak his language and treated very poorly. He grew to be a strong man devoted to helping others, becoming a social worker and chief of his band and a vice-president of FSIN (Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations). An actor, and was in many films over the years. A great man I wish I had the opportunity to sit, talk to and learn from.
Now to the part of great advice, advice for aspiring actors.” If you want to be an actor, don’t try and be the star. There are only a few of them in Hollywood, the rest of us are artist.” This is great advice for all people who aspire for greatness in the Hollywood lights, be the artist and enjoy your craft.
1941 - 2011
I can recall the media coverage over the past 9 years of our Canadian forces contribution to the war in Afghanistan vividly. The good stories, the sad stories and the eye opening stories. This war, like most wars will be talked about and debated for many years to come. There are many things that will stick out in my mind for the rest of my life. Each time one of our soldiers died in Afghanistan and was taken home, they landed in Trenton, Ontario. On arrival, they were met by the family, friends, community and the funeral home. We did this in broad day light, rain or shine, with dignity, respect and honour. We never hid the fact that our soldiers died, we embraced each and every one of them as they came home. I think the thing that most of my friends from around the world remarked to me was not only did we do this in publicly, but the number of Canadian who would line the Hwy of Heroes as the motorcade drove from Trenton to Toronto. Cars were pulled over to the side of the road; veterans would stand on overpasses along side of ordinary Canadians. We would hold our flag high, bow our heads and many, many of us would shed some tears.
Each one of our soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice, they gave their life. We Canadians, who did not know each of these soldiers personally, only knew them as soldiers who died. The families of these soldiers will remember them not just as soldiers; they will remember them as husbands, wives, parents, children and friends. Each one of these family members will have very personal memories to cherish throughout their lives. I would like to thank each and every one of our soldiers and their families for the sacrifice they have made. Today marks the end of Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan. As our troops start to leave Afghanistan and arrive home to the waiting arms of family and friends, I think it would be great if we would honour them. The next time you see a soldier, thank them for everything they have done for us and the world. You can visit the 7th Book of Remembrance, this is a living document dedicated to honouring our soldiers who died serving our country. You can visit it at http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/sub.cfm?source=collections/books/7thbook
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in Canada and the first thing they do is honour our veterans. They made their way to our National War Memorial and laid a wreath and a bouquet of flowers. The Duke and Duchess are so very young, yet spent the time to visit such an important place and then spent some time talking with veterans. They have a busy schedule while they are on this side of the pond and they will see so very much of our Country before heading to the US, but I do think this is a great start.
Over the next few days, weeks, months and years we will hear lots of debate in Canada about cutting our ties with the Monarchy. So I thought I should weigh in on the conversation, for what it is worth. I believe we should not cut ties with the Monarchy. I am asked often what makes me Canadian and I proudly speak of the great things our nation has done and is doing. The wars we have fought and are fighting in for justice not just for us and our citizens, but also for the global village. We as Canadians stand tall; we stand up for those who are not able to stand for themselves. Those are all things which make this a great country. We are so much more than a vast great land of water, ice, plains, valleys and mountains. Canada is a country of people who are just as strong as the land we call home.
Why keep our ties with the Monarchy? Simple, it is part of our history, part of what makes Canada, Canada. We are a country who is tolerant to others; we welcome people from all around the world to come and join us and live among us peacefully. Part of the reason we are able to do this I feel is because of who we are and our history and traditions.
So we have a choice, we can either embrace our history or we can decide to turn another path without it. Change our traditions of government, currency and who we are. I say we embrace it our history, traditions and the Monarchy. Welcome William and Kate, enjoy your time here in Canada and please do come and visit again and again. 30 June: Arrival in Ottawa.
The title say’s it all. Early yesterday morning as most of us in the GTA were waking up, a young Police Officer died. York Regional Police Constable Garrett Styles was killed in the line of duty. This was not the story I wanted to be writing today, that was not the news the York Regional Police wanted to hear yesterday and his family should not have had to hear. This was senseless, stomach turning news. Most of us go to work each day and never think this is the last kiss we will give to our spouse or child before we walk out the door. Too many people in this day and age die while doing their job, from construction, transportation, military, firefighters and police. Each time it is sad news to hear for all of us, especially the family, friends and coworkers.
When a Police Officer or Firefighter dies in the line of duty, I believe we as a society all for a brief moment join each officer from around the country and share in the pain. I never had the honour of meeting Constable Garrett Styles and now I like most of you only get a glimpse of his life in his death. Garrett, from all accounts, sounds like someone who I would have been proud to have called a friend. So many of his fellow officers, former teachers and others who knew Garrett, have coloured a vivid picture of someone who cared for his family, friends and community. They all have been shaped by Garrett in more ways than they will know.
What impressed me immensely was his SERVICE ABOVE SELF. In his call for help which many of us have heard or read here is what he said;
“I’ve got a van on my waist, I don’t know… it hurts, and I’ve got some people inside the can. I don’t know how they’re doing,” the dying officer told the dispatcher.
Even in all his pain, fear and suffering Constable Garrett Styles was concerned for others. He was not only calling for help for himself, he was calling help for others who may have been hurt. As it turns out, his call for help may have saved the very person who may be responsible for his death.
Last night, as I tucked my children in to bed, comforted my baby girl and said good night to my wife I said a prayer for Garrett and his family. I thanked him for watching over us and keeping us safe as we went about of lives. I woke today feeling so sad; sad because Garrett was not able to share a meal with his family, tell a bedtime story to his children, comfort his baby or spend time with his wife. So much has been taken away from him and his family. So next Tuesday, I hope each of us will take a small amount of time and think of Const. Garrett Styles, his family, his friends and his community. And I hope the next time you see a Police Officer doing his or her job, you will appreciate and respect them for what they are doing.
Condolences may be placed on this facebook page which was set up at https://www.facebook.com/ripgarrettstyles
1978 - 2011
Some of the members of Monty Python will be heard again soon. They are working on a 3D animated film based on the Autobiography of the late Graham Chapman. A Liar’s Autobiography will also feature recordings that Chapman made prior to his death in 1989. For those of you who don’t know who or what is Monty Python’s Flying Circus or the Monty Python franchise, here’s a quick history lesson. The group John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Graham Chapman who all made up Monty Python paved the way for some of the greatest British Comedy. From the BBC television show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and big screen movies of the likes of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the Life of Brian. Any fan of the Circus will remember the Dead Parrot sketch with a wry smile, as I have on my face right now. Why am I even writing about this you may ask, well let me tell you. As I channel surf most nights I often find myself yearning for the TV of old. The show’s that we would watch as a family, the comedy’s, drama’s and the documentaries. This is evident every time another actor dies such as Peter Falk, the commentary which followed on how the world misses Columbo and the show’s with substance and characters. I know times have changed and I know what was funny years ago does not make the young chuckle like it did, however I do know that our memories are great places to hangout. So every now and then I hangout in my memory. I turn the TV off, turn the computer off, turn off the cell phone and just share some memories with friends and family. This is an art form I want my children to learn. They have mastered Facebook and now I want to make sure they master Facetime. Yes the time you spend with friends, neighbours and family. Now that you have read this today, turn off the Computer, TV, phones and spend the important Facetime with those you still can.
1941 - 1989
Who is Billy the Kid and why is he worth so much money? His only known authenticated picture was just sold in an auction for $ 2.3M over the weekend. Now most people know that Billy the Kid was a notorious outlaw who stole and murdered his way through the American West back in the late 1800’s. He has been made famous in a few Hollywood films over the years. In those films we rooted for him, hoped he would beat the lawman of the time. Just this year the governor of New Mexico turned down a request to posthumous pardon Billy for the killing of a county sheriff in 1878. In the end, he was hunted down, ambushed and killed by Sheriff Patrick Floyd Garrett. I wonder if anyone today would spend $2.3M on a portrait of the Sheriff who in doing his job killed Billy the Kid. Why do we idolize the outlaw and ignore the lawman of that time? I really don’t know the answer to that question and I don’t know why anyone would pay that much money for a picture of someone who is not related to them. Especially now that you can view it online and print it with the same or better quality as the original. I myself will go home, put my memory stick from my camera in the computer and print some great pictures of my family. Each one of them is priceless, the pictures and the people. Let’s go out and celebrate the people who are truly important to us.
1859 - 1881