Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category


One gets a perspective on the world when they are engaged working with those without voice to discover voice. Whether it is a certain population, community, spiritualist, sectarian or political movement… or a child. It is the little moments when kindess can be modeled and taught. It is a proven fact cited by many sources and many times over (learned while a mentor with the Alberta Mentor Foundation for Youth; and re-integration mentor with Calgary Young Offender’s Centre) that an adult committing 1 hour a week minimum in a positive way into a child/adolescent’s life can change that life for the better.

Yet too often as adults we drop the ball horribly. I am not yearning for yesteryear, but publicly there was accepted behaviours, privately–well I am glad the roof has been blown off the private abuse. BUT we still need to understand what it means to be, well, human and to be a good citizen. This is the investment, the colloquially it takes a village, for we all need to participate. Unfortunately the extremism of Right/Left political spectrum helicopter parenting/parents-rights movements have shattered this ability.

What am I speaking of?

We no longer understand the simplicity. And as a community will no longer call out and hold accountable bad behaviour, but rather will seek the most expedient method responsible for ending conflict, even (and usually does) mean removing the voice of the bullied.

If we can’t understand yes means yes, no means no in sharing toys of snacks…

In schools we tackle the “no sharing rule” or the “only sharing with those that you play with outside of school. Yet we do not address the harassment that comes with “No” for the person who brings the snack and maybe does not want to share with someone. It is the movement of independent rights, separated completely from interdependent responsibility.  Reaction is to cancel sharing, or to allow harrassment to continue until the resolution is for the afflicted to give in, or simply feel so scared not to bring something to school as a snack.

This is seen in play groups, when my child would start playing with something, and another child would want it and demand they share. Parents would say our child was mean when they would continue playing until done, then pass on. “That’s not sharing”. Yes, that is sharing, she/he did not want to play with your child, but the toy, the time was up, and passed on to the next in line. Watching your child harass the other child until they are reduced to tears or pass the toy over, or attempt to share only to have your child walk away without you saying anything teaches nothing but that the most important needs in the world are the ones of your child.

Same repeat story in the Public Libraries with technology, the card allows for x numbers of minutes for each cardholder. One child’s time is not more valuable than another, they may choose to play together (kids have a knack for finding friends adults will never see–a maybe or yes to creating a better world), but also no is a proper answer and waiting your turn is a proper answer. Child or adult harassing or shaming the one using the device is not the proper response to no or wait your turn please. Staff watching this behaviour and not interceding shows that this behaviour is acceptable and will be tolerated in public with no repercussions.

The other piece is the “teach abuser grooming behaviour for victim” where the apology is not actually acknowledging what was done was wrong (ala I am sorry you felt that way, or (insert rationale to my behaviour here) or blame the situation or purchase the “sorry you are mad at me present”.

These are behaviours in our children. If we cannot get them before adolescence to understand simple things like Yes means yes, no means no. Taking turns is sharing. You are not the only/most important individual in the world. In a community everyone has value.

HOW ARE WE TO GET THEM TO UNDERSTAND:

  1. Significant others do not owe you sex.
  2. When you ask someone out, you are not entitled to a yes…they can say no…then leave them be.
  3. Domestic violence is wrong.
  4. Emotional/verbal/spiritual harassment-abuse-manipulation is wrong
  5. Involuntary Celibates (or any other hate adjective) really is simply you are the ass no one wants to be around. It is time for self-reflection not violence (so no the van driver in Toronto and the Texas School shooter are not the victims, they are the violence bringers).

Consent is fairly simple. Yes many generations in general have struggled with it to the detriment of humanity, and harm of many persons. We are at a point in time where that needs to change, the movements have been subtle and overt to bring this change. How do I know this? Look at the resistance building to change, it is at a tipping point for a better world for our children.

The better world. That what is to be built upon the world we have for the next generation, 7 generations down.

Let old ideas melt away, new ones take root and grow fully. Learn from what is being born, and be the person.

As our village raises this generation, we need to be part of the positive tipping point.

Will you?

 

 

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A reader asked me to consider the question of including/welcoming the misfit. It should’ve been an easy question because that seems the whole underlying principle of “My Neighbour”. Yet we do need to pause and ask, what is meant by the term misfit?

What is a misfit?
Oxford dictionary defines misfit as:
NOUN
• 1A person whose behaviour or attitude sets them apart from others in an uncomfortably conspicuous way.
‘a motley collection of social misfits’
Synonyms: nonconformist, oddball, maverick, individualist, square peg in a round hole.

Canada in and of itself has been built as a collective of nations. A multiplicity of cultures, religions, ideologies and peoples from around the world, making their community in its inherent diversity one mosaic of many. Our binding principles are the Constitution Act 1982 (the re-patriated British North America Act 1867), the Charter of Rights and Freedoms 1982. Upheld by the Constitutional promise of Peace, Order and Good Governance with the final word resting with the Supreme Court of Canada. All this is precipitated on the ideal of personal freedoms and collective rights. One of the things that was foreseen by our founding fathers, was the idea of a global village, hence the provision of freedom of movement (i.e. provinces are not the land they are, but the citizens) which allows free movement for the citizenry. One of the challenges is how powers were broken up between levels of governance. In that which the Federal (or then Dominion) government did not want to deal with, was granted to the provinces/territories. Hence the patchwork of public education across our nation.
In other words, Canada is a collection of misfits. We as a collective have forgotten this in our rush to rugged individualism, and commodification of the human being. To answer the question posed will take a few posts, this one is to look at a corporate/communal response that may aid in belonging and inclusion. I look to the idea of public schools. Alberta’s system is a mess. I can already here those who use the Separate (Catholic) and private systems gearing up their arguments. Trying to point to money savings or charter/speciality schools. Or my personal favourite threat from a private school user parent—I will send my kids to your public school. Okay, I think we can handle it.
See public schools were designed constitutionally to allow for a benchmark. A starting point for every citizen to be guaranteed a certain level of education needed to pursue a good life. Yes we have capped that off in Canada to be K-12 (yes I realize with the decline in public schools, technical and university degrees have become more the norm that should be funded up to). What I am proposing is a system that is fiscally responsible, increases the critical thinking, global citizenry, and good citizenry of the students. It also alleviates the idea of misfit, for it is a system that allows a student to grow/explore who they are.
By collapsing all funding into one streamlined system of schools that I would dub “Public Generalist” would set a standard. Yes academic achievement, social and emotional IQ would also be part of achievement benchmarks. This would include healthy school-life balance. It would look at core curriculums including the humanities and STEM, but also the holistic person with shop classes, home economics, health, world religions, world views, Canadian History, Indigenous studies, Language classes (we are officially bilingual, but I would say once entering junior high perhaps an expansion into an indigenous language option, and in high school a few others); also the fine arts (choir, band, art, creative writing, drama). These should be courses available, or through community partnerships brought into schools through elders, and student practicums from the disciplines running lunch hour or after school clubs; physical education (structured with proper teachers) needs to be apart of it as well. All these things feed into a critical thinking person, and also acknowledge TRC points I believe because it looks a the holistic person. It allows room for exploration, growth, understanding and discovery of who you are on this journey. I would also encourage clubs can be open to other points of view, if the students want it, the volunteer can pass the screening it should be allowed. We had parallel religious clubs running in my schools (believe a Sikh, Christian and Muslim); model parliament which allowed for creation of political parties. There was science Olympics and fairs; entrepreneurship programs. Plus the sports teams.
None of this was determined by our socio-economics. This was apart of public education.
I would build into the front-end a before and after school program to make life more affordable for families, which can be done in partnership with local groups (Boys & Girls Clubs, Youth drop ins; religious communities, 4-H, other service clubs looking for new mission/visions). The public school can easily become the community hub for older and newer communities. When there is a decrease in enrollment due to aging demographics why can’t some space be created that is not in use for seniors’ clubs? The list can go on.
What happens when this begins to happen the focus of public education becomes the focus of functional, healthy citizenry celebrating the unity in our beautiful diversity? Misfit no longer exists, they are simply part of the community.
That is a global solution, one that would take the drive of policy, government, but also of the adults realizing what has been lost in our education and community systems. One that instead of using the grieving of loss/change to drive further entrenchment, segregation and means survival tests goes… screw that noise…we built forward on what was built by previous generations why are we allowing our children/grand children to suffer, lets create something that builds on the legacy left us, instead of constantly destroying based on the almighty dollar.
But is there willingness to see each other as persons of value?


The Rambler (2013) Movie…it was one of those discoveries in the Calgary Public Library catalog…so we are out no money (thankfully), and we were on the cusp of turning it off at the 15 minute mark we were about to do the usual “we are done, move on.” when that little sparkle of intrigue kept us going..and… well if you want a movie that leaves you thinking “WTH did I just watch?” then we present the Rambler to you.

Rostered On great comedy series being streamed on Netflix Canada. Believe it is out of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Faux Documentry style around the life of minimum wage workers, corporate culture and manager levels. Those that work their for a living, those that work their to make ends meet while propping up a passion and family. Really a good look at bursting the myth minimum wage work is only “entry level teenager jobs” that the Right-wing-(un)fiscal conservatives try to pop out. It is also funny as hell.

Star Trek: New Visions by John Byrne (IDW Publishing)-Okay 21 issues in I am late to the purchase party here. It has intrigued me seeing it on the shelf, but the price tag is a bit daunting ($7.99 USD, which with conversion at one local shop here + tax was $10.83). Why is it an intriguing merger of artistic forms? Byrne (yes I remember going to the original comic cons in Calgary at the Carpenter’s Hall where he would spend hours with us few huddled geeks) carries on the original 5 year mission. It is a photoplay, images from sci-fi and the original television series to tell stories in a hybrid photo essay/comic book/television medium. It was a curiousity, it was fun, and yes issue 21’s team up of Kirk and Kor was fun (the back up feature on Pike’s Enterprise and H.G. Wells was also fun). I would encourage you to track down a copy at your local comic shop, or a collection at your book store. If your local shop doesn’t carry, ask them to order you issue #22 coming out in June.

Broadchurch- 3 and done (currently streaming on Netflix). It is what I appreciate about the BBC. They do not flog shows until what made them special ends. Yes I would love more of the mystery solving duo of Hardy and Miller. I cannot reveal much of these 3 seasons, 24 episodes without giving away too much, but here is what you need to know. A big city DI moves to a small sea-side town of Broadchurch whose usual big crime is drink driving or vandalism…then a local 10 year old boy is found dead on the beach- homicide. Suddenly the journey through loss of innocence, media, and the cycle of change/grief is tracked throughout the 3 seasons. Watch it with friends so you can talk about it.

Sometimes pop culture illuminates…sometimes it challenges…sometimes it is fun…sometimes it is all of the above.

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Vulcan, AB. A small prairie town that a few decades ago realized the greatest tourist option ever— the birthplace of Spock. For a Trekkie a great place, they have an information star base with souveniers and once every few years we go by and I pick up a few new things. One year my Dad’s day gift the kids got me a preaching hoody “Keep Khan and Klingon”. This year my daughter who wants to be a veterinarian got herself a doctor t-shirt; and my son got a shirt with a Spock head made from a famous McCoyism “are you out of your Vulcan Mind?”

One of the t-shirts from the 50th celebration sums up though the small minded ableism/elitism of the world, and how I feel in the fray. A caricature of McCoy with a word bubble, “50 years, Damn it Jim I am tired.”

Why you ask?

Because I see my son as a miracle worker, things he was not supposed to be able to do due to his blessings of life (tri-spastic CP, Epilepsy, ADHD, Global Delay)–well to quote Brad Paisley’s song– he’s been crushin’ it and breaking glass-kicking ass. Beside where my daughter got her t-shirt that looks like an original series medical/science uniform…they had an engineering one.

scottyThe fabled and joked in pop culture Red Shirt. My son, who I see as Scotty what a perfect gift, yet I didn’t. Why? Simple, I let the elitist ass hats get in my brain and stop me. Years ago my son so loved Superman that he wanted to be him for Halloween. He got the suit, and was so happy with his cape trailing after his wheel chair. And… adults ruined it for him in their nastiness.

“How could he mock Christopher Reeve so?”

“What a hateful costume?”

Really? A child (in a wheelchair) wanted to be Superman and you caused him to cry.

ac3Now another time to celebrate him, and I let these haters get in my head… I did not buy it because I did not need the negative “you know the red shirts always die first” crap. Not seeing beyond the scope and picture. Uhura was a red shirt. Scotty was a red shirt. The ones that beat the odds.

So yes, I am tired that they finally wore me down. I am tired that I let people like the Halloween haters win. The hateful families that had pushed us out of churches. The Minister that raged at my son from the pulpit. I am tired that in a moment I let them win.

I am tired, but I think another road trip to Vulcan is do.

Why?

Damn it Jim, the idjits aren’t going to beat us.


Ok I admit I do love an incendiary editorial title. It grips you, but it also should get you to question accepted norms. We are an entrenching and/or entrenched ideological society. In 21st Century Canada with the accumulated human wisdom and knowledge literally available on your smart phone, that is sad. The algorithms do not allow you to have your own held beliefs challenged which allows for more tribalism than before exploration.

Which is also why in the 21st century we are still wasting time dickering over the believability of the science of climate change (formerly global warming). Yes, the climate of the earth is constantly changing (anyone who holds to old earth theory—you know actual science not creationism-literalism) knows there are cycles. What has been observed and recorded since the Industrial Revolution is that our actions as humans is speeding up the process. It may not become a problem until my great grandkids, but something needs to change. One cannot continually consume without their own body getting ill (hence old Roman Empire Vomitorium’s) and the same it is for ol’ Mother Nature. Indigenous peoples have held the wisdom to look at decisions as they affect 7 generations down the road, got advice to heed as we look at caring for Mother Earth and Father Sky.

And before those of the Abrahamic-Sarah Covenantal religions (Judaism-Christianities-Islam and all that encompasses) by-pass me as some science not spirit individual. Nope. In the creation stories, God gave creation to Adam & Eve as caretakers, much like each new generation entrusts their lives, and the lives of their grandkids to their kids (reading the ancients stories through a psycho-social lifespan development is quite enlightening). But I digress.

The latest call to arms is banning plastics for the harm it is doing. This months United Church Observer is all over it, the British PM at G7 is attempting to get that group on board, and locally Councillor Druh Farrell is talking about it as well. Great sound bites, sounds all fine and good. But it is much like the old prohibition days (remember under SoCreds when liquor service had to stop in Alberta air space? Moose Jaw, SK know where those tunnels came from? {and yes I realize one set was a human atrocity against Chinese slave-labour brought over to build our railroad, I am speaking to the Capone one’s)}. It was a short-sighted solution for a societal ill that failed. It looked at the symptom not the cause, and that is where the current environmentalist fever is.

Plastics are a symptom. It is not the cause, any elder of the war years knows recycling and re-use better than anyone. Any one from Gen X or younger was inundated with the 3R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We know it, but it is not wisdom, like what is available on your smart phone. It is paid lip service, and we do our due diligence with the blue and green bins, but are we doing more than treating the latest open sore from the bar room brawl?

Have we invested properly in STEM to look at better ways of converting existing (currently in Calgary, encased in concrete sarcophagus,) waste into cleaner forms of energy and matter? Explored how to recycle more of what we use more expertly? How do we create something out of once use plastics?

But better yet. How do we tackle a true western world disease of over consumption? I used the term classist in my by-line because we are chastised for needing to reduce consumption quite a bit, and it is usually targeted to the working classes, where the wealthier get opt outs, or ways around or the tried and true, well they have money so of course. Want to know the last time I bought a new cell phone? Well mine is still a flip phone. Last television? Christmas 2017-as the flat screen I inherited died after 9 years, before that? 2001 with my first cheque for being a pastor, others before that were used or passed down. New vehicle? Uhm my family has had 3 mini-vans, all older, all kept going until they needed to go to the recyclers… clothes, worn and donated, and yes I know they don’t end up in the landfill because I am usually also one of the ones giving them out (though it was funny when someone thanked me for finally becoming charitable and giving).

The wrong classes are being targeted with the reduce message, but it will not change under a system created to sell products where things have to be upgraded constantly to keep economies floating. A message that your value is not in who you are, but in what new toy you are able to get. Where there is no international standards, so laws used in some countries whole companies can go elsewhere and create worse pollution scenarios by having their products made their and shipped back.

It speaks to a system that has to admit, it takes all jobs to make an economy work, and there is no shameful work. That the classist system is the highest consumers, and discarders of product are the ones that need to be targeted, not the lowest consumers.  That we need to invest in our STEM future and find ways to reclaim polluted waterways, soils and air…as well as cleanse and reuse the already buried wastes. That is useful environmentalism.

City planners that allow city growth to outstrip resourcing for healthy public services-including transit, shoppes, and schools so you are forced into a driver commuter scenario, extra monetary burdens come as work is never within your own area either. Municipalities need to take responsibility for feeding the consumption dragon by not setting appropriate limits, and ensuring key infrastructure for citizens on those areas can be reached via more than one modality (i.e. not just by driving the country mile urbanly– yes City of Calgary I am speaking to you).

Yet I also touched upon the word ABLEIST. What is that? Simple, discrimination against persons with disabilities. In darker forms, it is eugenics. The breeding practices of live stock brought to creating the perfect human being through selective breeding, abortion, and homicide (passive or active) to remove the weak from the gene pool. And yes, in the more social media ends of the world from any movements extreme this still exists (left or right, ya both raise idjits).

And I see signs of ableism within the neo-environmentalist movement. There is an assumption everyone can use public transit (does not take into account ruralism); or walk/bike (does not take into account clear pathways and connecting points for ones mobility devices). Does not take into account that something needs to be figured out for medical waste, and that includes incontinent products. BUT…

And this one is not going to make me friends. The single use straw, the current “evil” to be banned. Well, hate to burst the progressive or conservative, it is a useful tool for a person with disabilities to get liquids. As one twitter convo pointed out to me, the paper ones can create choking hazards. Reusable ones become breeding grounds for bacteria (have you ever tried to truly get one sanitary and clean?); and metal/stainless steel? C’mon does that sound like a safe thing in the cold or with a hot bevvie?

What continually seeking the greatest soundbite reminder has done in the movement is create a constant chase of symptoms. It has not encouraged growth, respect, understanding, inclusion or belonging for all those in the human family with the creation we share. That is where neo-environmentalism is failing. I yearn for a movement that moves beyond the simple, to truly attack at the core issue of the crisis… over consumption, and anything for a profit mentality over the sanctity of life.

We are the caretakers of creation for our children, and six generations on. Can it survive our consumption? Are we willing to get production slowed so all can come along safely? Are we willing to call out the over-consumer? Are we willing to not shame the one who needs something for a life aid?

Are we willing to be one another’s neighbour and not adversary?


Humboldt- A small trucking company (1 driver, and 1 owner) had one of their 2 trucks accidentally go through a hockey bus on a snow-covered Saskatchewan high way killing many. A nation is in mourning, as in a country the land mass of Canada regardless of your extra-curricular growing up, you have been the child on the bus, and your parents have been the parent awaiting the arrival. Yet the on-set of social media which can do good, and allow connectedness can even twist this to their own gain. Freelance writers with dumb tweets, special interest group memes trying to get their issues back in national focus, alternative media fundraising, and those Nazi fringes spinning conspiracy theories because of the ethnicity of the company owner.  Then there is the backlash SJW’s (the extremists within the political spectrum) threatening violence from fisticuffs to murder to rape against those that were by any moral or ethical compass being uncivilized.

Now, seriously folks, why are we making the dumbass personal gainers the superstars? Why are you sharing their info to “fame-shame”? Therefore, social media has complaint processes, let it die in the dust bin, report, and move on the focus to where it should be. Let the light shine and confuse/destroy the darkness, not let the darkness envelope.

Show some humanity, and keep the focus on those involved and the ripples it has created of grief and mourning as we process through.

Syria- Violence should always be a last resort. This weekend we were shown what making a decision between two bad choices can look like. Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada and Vice President Pence stated it best (my summation) no one wants to see bombing, but something has to be done in this situation. President Trump of the USA was shamed, lets be honest into leading the air strike France and Britain were already planning, and Canada was supporting.

Why? Assad’s chemicalized weapon gassing of his own civilians (Sarin the type used).  For those who feel it should’ve been a UN mission, this would not historically have been possible, because you would not have gotten Russian onside, which is a historic supporter of Syria. The first Cold War created a slew of issues around the world, with Syria being the latest to have a light shone on it.

Yet, when left with the atrocity, the world needed to respond to show evil that it will not go unpunished. Sadly, evil also hides its factories of death (much like the rest of the world) amongst civilians. These people are not collateral damage, they are humans, that need aid. It is a crisis that once again shows the entrenchment of the extremes. From those cheering Trump and his, Mission accomplished tweet, egging on more violence; to the other extreme trying to make comparisons that Syria should bomb the western world for tear gas/pepper spray of protesters, dirty drinking water and/or mandating vaccines.

What would be helpful, is what Pope Francis always states, first you pray (Contemplate) then you act. Acknowledge the horror, acknowledge the hard choice made…then get the money needed to the on the ground aid organizations to aid the innocents trapped in the middle of it whether it be MSF, Red Cross, Red Cresecent or another…do the research and donate if you are able. If not able to get aid there, do something to make your community better, more welcoming of those displaced. Writer your government officials pointing out that we need to help those who are in need and displaced, create spaces of education, understanding, and well, be neighbourly. Actually, act humanely, and if you claim a religious belief and your response is on either of the extremes, I challenge you to truly go into your master teacher/gurus/prophets/saviours teachings and see what they would do.

Calgary Board of Education– During the summer bussing crisis I was on the news with my fairly blunt statement that the CBE (Board and Administration) do not see Complex Learning needs (nee special needs; kids with disabilities) as full persons with the way they are always scape goated; short changed and treated. The waffling on mandatory vaccinations shows this for those with compromised immune systems. The trickling out of audit results showing misappropriation of funds that was blamed on sky rocketing CLN enrollment they were not expecting (despite decades of data showing this trend to hit) to now CLN transitions, having schools post newsletters to websites without the announcement e-mail as usual, as transition planning is up in the air. The CBE is stating a downturn in enrollment within the community, yet just in October was crying crisis… Transition is hard for CLN families, you are trusting an institution completely with your child, who may or may not have the complete ability to communicate in a way that other children can; change can be hard so as you prepare for a transition year (ala grade 6, grade 9) to go into something new, to have it dashed it creates turmoil in a community that thrives in structure.  CBE, I am tired of the lies and coverups…I am tired of my kid and his friends being your emotional puppets…get it together and show you give a damn.

UCP/WRP– Bill 9, the buffer bill was debated in the Alberta Legislature this week. It is for safe zones around abortion clinics to stop the harassment, threats, abuse and assaults on patients and staff from the “Anti-Abortionists” (nothing pro-life about them). The UCP, her majesty’s Loyal Opposition provincially, walked out, would not go on the record one way or the other. Even though Leader Kenney stated votes like this would be left to his MLA’s conscience. Follow up was Kenney posting a video mansplaining what women need in Alberta (what a train wreck).  I am not a fan of the PC/WRP/UCP. I have served and seen the devastation Kleinonomics caused in Alberta infrastructure and those in need, and creating a bursting poverty service industry. I saw parallels in the UCP Movement, with the CPC movement federally, and feel for Red Tories provincially shoved out (I was one of you federally working on policy shoved out). But it does not surprise me. I remember a few provincial elections ago in my riding (honestly I cannot remember which candidate I was supporting NDP/Liberal/Communist), but we came home and the WRP Candidate’s campaign had been by, seeing our sign, they vandalized our yard leaving their literature nailed to trees and house. Phoning the WRP office the response was “what do you want us to do about it, free speech”.  My only hope is in 2020, Albertans vote for the moderation and discussion of ideas, not ideological entrenchment and screaming matches. Check the rage, and get back to the constitutional responsibility of good governance, the opposition is there to propose improvements or alternatives, not simply oppose.

Reproductive Rights– The attestation box has got the religious right in Canada in a bit of a tizzy. It essentially covers that you won’t contravene the Constitution or Charter or reproductive rights. Some of my alma matters have lost out on summer students because they won’t check the box. And as someone who has been a pastor, spiritual leader, and once (and still struggles to be in) the tribe of Christianities. I am tired of it.

  1. If you are going to say it is only about abortion—well then do your work to create a world where every baby conceived is wanted. Do your work to silence those that are the cause of the buffer zone bill.
  2. It is about more than that though. It is about the autonomy and control of one’s own body. As I have written before it is about control over one’s own body and decision whether to breed. It is about deciding if you want to be fixed or not, regardless of your specialists’ religiosity. More than that, it is also an acknowledgement of the Christianities detrimental and harmful behaviour of perpetuating domestic violence and control; of leading the charge of sterilization of whom they viewed as inferior during the eugenics time (which in Alberta was up into the 1980’s) and included persons with disabilities. Before we meme a black and white pity party martyrdom, let us actually sit and listen, and understand what we have done to do harm.

 

Olympic Bid- With the information the City Council has made available I am firmly against an Olympic bid. I am not in favour of a plebiscite on the issue, what I would like is the city non-partisanly providing the information for Calgarians to then make a decision via contacting their elected official, or online polling much like we do with census. The key is the information. I have a hunch, that the city is yearning for a return to the volunteerism magic of 1988. It was great, I was a kid, the energy was amazing. We were a city coming out of recession, reclaiming glory, and having a good time showing the world our stuff.

I would love to say round 2 would be just as great, yet do we have the substantial volunteer base? Business sponsorship? Many things to be asked, that no one (at least being reported in a transparent way) is willing to get out there.  But much like populist politics to the south migrating north, what we have is a shouting match of buffoonery.  Please just provide info and allow for citizens input or no matter what happens it will become a cluster because the other entrenchment will seek to ensure failure.

IOOFLet’s end with some, did you know trivia. Travelling in Vulcan, Alberta (yes my Trekkie is showing and I am proud). First, having supper with a buddy one night we were talking about the shrinking service organization/fraternal organization/mainline church membership and how shared space may be a solution. Low and behold the wife chuckles as she sees the Lions and Masons sharing a hall, then we loop a corner by Quark’s and see IOOF. The curiousity kicks in. What is that?

A google search at home: Independent Order of Odd Fellows (and Rebekahs) one of them fraternal orders, historically out of 19th century England. A response to the Christianities Empire of only doing good works for praise and paradise. The response was simply to be apart of an organization to do good without praise. Hence they were termed by mainstream society as Odd Fellows. To which my wife laughed and said, “always said you were an odd fellow.”

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Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) was a prolific (to put it mildly) writer of fiction, and mystery-adventures. Usually character driven not suspense. Most will know of his because of the 1980’s t.v. show Spenser for Hire (and the 1990’s t.v. movies), which followed the exploits of super-sleuth, Spenser, his partner the enigmatic Hawk, and Spenser’s life partner Susan Silverman. Whose adventures have been continued since Parker’s passing by Ace Atkins rather admirably. That was on pocket of Parker’s universe, his writing also spawned the Sunny Randall series; many stand alone works. He also crafted the western series Hitch & Cole, which the first novel was used as the basis for the western movie Appaloosa (2008), with the novels being continued and this pocket of Parkerverse growing with the writings of Robert Knott.

Yet there is one series that I keep being drawn back to. It was started as Parker wanted to consider writing a series from third person perspective. It was the story of an LAPD Homicide detective, former minor league ball player, and active alcoholic hired by a corrupt town council for a fresh start in Paradise, just outside of Boston. Jess Stone was the character. He is complex and simple all at the same time. He is an alcoholic seeking redemption, still trapped in a weird co-dependence cycle with his ex-wife (who he slips up and calls wife). His psychologist, Dix, is also a former cop that is the inverse of the alcoholism of Jesse. Where Jesse drinks less because of the work, it was the work that caused Dix to drink.

That is just a sliver of the colourful characters that inhabit paradise. From Hastie Hathaway to Suitcase Simpson to Dr. Perkins to Molly to Rose State Homicide Detective Healy to a colourful repertoire of rogues that work for and against the work of angels. It is a journey of a man that has filled 9 movies, and 16 books. Told on the page by Parker, Michael Brandman and currently, Reed Farrell Coleman.  It is a series that shows the struggle of addiction from triggers to habit:

“I’m having 2 drinks at night.”

-Jesse Stone explaining his system to Dix

To what it means to allow people inside the armour that has been built to survive in the darkness, and the price that is paid when it backfires. That loss is not simply death, it can be losing touch, or not realizing when something has happened because you are lost in your own muck. It is also those moments of stepping outside of the norm, and seeing the person behind the behavior.

“You have a hyper-inflated sense of responsibility”

-Dix to Jesse

For taking responsibility for everything that happens in your world. It is an intriguing story, for he can be read as a tragic character, a failed human being or even someone that may not be highly likable.

“I am very fond of you Jesse”

-Hasty Hathaway

Hired to be easily controlled by the corrupt powers, yet having his own drive to prove he was not the fall down drunk he once was on the job. Not the failed short stop with the torn shoulder. Always willing to give someone else a second chance, but crawling into a bottle at his own failures and refusing to let go.

Image result for jesse stone 2018Following, reading, enjoying the story of Jesse Stone, is a story of a man on a journey of redemption. It is not outward redemption. But an inward redemption that needs to begin with himself. Will he ever truly find a release from his alcohol? Will he ever see that he is forgivable? Loveable? Redeemable?

Will Jesse ever have a moment of true reconciliation with himself. That is being able to accept his past scars and all, and enter into the fresh start he sought in Paradise, Massachusetts?

It is the story of you or I?

Are we able to begin a new?

Truly?