Friday, February 23, 2007

Another CBC Prize

This is a CBC Radio Three shirt, featuring a Squirrel Moose.

My entry was

I hears all the clues and I thinks,
"That creature eats rabbits and minks."
So I google the name
From the basketball game
And the answer I find is the Sphinx.

Then I added "I mean, the lynx" because I didn't want to miss out on winning this beautiful prize.

My other choice was a Salmon Beaver.

The price tag says $24.99!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

St. Thomas' Anglican Pancake Supper: Feb. 20/07



Mardi Gras Medieval Murder Mystery (Feb. 17)

This was a Dinner Theatre fundraiser for St. John's Ambulance. I played King Roland the First (mythically) of England. I can't tell you much about it, because we might redo it next year at a different venue. This time I'll do a better job of advertising. (I'm in another Murder Mystery on Mar. 3, but it's sold out.)

Marnie, (my Queen beside me), Leon (the Fool) and Hanna the Servant Girl (at the front right, that is, downstage left) were all in the Merchant last year with me.

The belly dancers in the front had to perform for me. It's a rough life as an actor.

The play was improv and a last minute innovation I introduced involved the reappearance of my cow shorts.

Another baby boy for RP

This baby has no name, except "RealCare". My nephew's girlfriend had to care for it for the weekend for school. He got cranky pretty quickly (but he was well-behaved for me).

This worked for a little while.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Re. Previous Post (about Urban Legends)

Okay, in the scenario I gave, it's something of an extreme reaction to one "preacher story" told from the pulpit. (It's slippery slope thinking, which inevitably leads such a thinker into disaster.) I suppose I'm referring to a continuing pattern -- but patterns begin with one instance.

It's not my intention to embarrass anyone and so I will be deliberately vague: One preacher told some others the cigar arson urban legend and added that it "actually happened". Another pastor there repeated this assertion that it "actually happened".

On reflection I think that a better response by me would have been to have said "That sounds like an urban legend to me. I doubt very much that any insurance company would ever pay out for deliberate damage. But when you go back to your computer, remember this website: and look it up yourself."

This would have given them credit for believing as I do: that those in positions of responsibility for teaching the truth should not deliberately (or due to lack of effort) pass on fiction as fact. I say this, even though my experience leads me to believe that some Christian speakers do NOT share this belief.

Instead, I looked it up at home and sent the link to those who had been gathered at that time and added some of my own reflections about Christians passing on these hoaxes (which possibly was a mistake to do).

Perhaps it is a good sign that of the dozen or so gathered only one (who shall remain anon. and s/he was not the teller of the story) replied at all (so far) and said

"Even if it was just a story, we often tell 'stories' to illustrate a point.
Laugh at it brother and get over it.
You would think that this was the end of the world for you....
Sorry, but your perspective isn't mine...."

Since the events likely NEVER happened, I'm not sure what the point of this story could be, except possibly to remind us that, even though our insurance and judicial systems are stupid at times, we can thank God that they are not THAT stupid.

Another intended point might be that "cheaters never prosper".

However, then we should do the work of finding an example of something that ACTUALLY happened to illustrate this.

Else, maybe the point itself is NOT true. In fact, given as an absolute (in terms of NEVER prospering in THIS world) it is, in fact, NOT true -- as many cheaters do prosper. Be we might WANT to believe this story, because that crafty person (who is never me, of course) gets his BEFORE the end, requiring less patience and faith on our part.

If in fact this story had happened, a more complete presentation of the truth would still include reference to the crafty ones who are not caught in this world, but will face judgment in the next (which, by the way, WOULD be the end of the world).

Friday, February 16, 2007

Urban Legends

Okay, so I'm not a preacher, though I give sermons occasionally.

Usually, I sit in the pew and listen to sermons. Sometimes over the years they have contained "preacher stories". I'm not talking about their own amazing testimony or some other activity of God they have witnessed or of which they have heard.

I also don't mean a parable that symbolically represents some truth so that it touches our hearts or minds with freshness, one which we usually are told or can easily understand to be fictional. "There once was a man with two sons...."

I mean stories delivered as factual which often either illustrate God's amazing power, society's corruption, the limited knowledge of scientists or the stupidity of our government.

These days I can check them out at Now, I don't take everything they say there as "Gospel" either, but usually I find that they point out some logical flaw to the story, which should have been obvious to me.

Or in some cases, they are able to trace the story back to what is likely to be its original and possibly factual version. That way a preacher (or anyone) can repeat that story without its exaggerations and (in some cases) added falsehoods.

To be accurate I should say that these days most of these come to me by email and I take the thirty seconds I wish the sender had taken to Google key words and end up at Snopes or a similar site (or go straight to Snopes. I'm just suggesting what they should have done, if unaware of Snopes. Surely they know Google.)

However, if you are a preacher reading this, picture me sitting in your congregation (and people like me ARE there). I hear your story. I get suspicious. I go home and I do YOUR work for you.

I find out your story is bullshit. Hey, I think, maybe your testimony is bullshit. Maybe that miracle you heard about or claim to have seen is bullshit. Maybe that "Word from God" of His vision for our church is bullshit. Maybe almost everything you preach to me is bullshit.

Then you tell me "No. Sometimes fictional stories illustrate great truths about God." Okay, I can believe that, but because you presented the the "illustration" as fact, I actually now feel greatly relieved. Many of the miracles and other events of Scripture sound bogus to me, but are presented as fact (apparently). Whew! My pastor believes that some (all?) of them are illustrations, perhaps of the truth that God has the power to do great miracles (though He didn't do THIS one). What a relief! Now I can avoid being one of those crazy Bible-believers. That's what my pastor taught me -- by example -- about truth.
Later, without mentioning names I'll explain what gave rise to this post.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lamont Crushed

Over at Josh (of Dorion Township and Camp) explained re. the damage to what was my summer home at Camp Dorion for many years (pictured a couple of posts below):

"Yeah, poor Lamont took a beating after the tree had fallen on it. Charlie was trying to remove the tree when he accidentally crushed it a little more....
The beach sure looks a lot emptier with all those trees down. There's a lot less shade than when I was a kid going there. I remember those days, and can even picture (very faintly) the old dining hall. Things change quickly!

(Destruction intentional)

I hope you'll attend the Dorion dinner (in march?). I'm helping with music again, and told them that the only way I'd help was if we did the Dorion song, and I'm still helping... "

I'm not sure what the KA on the side is all about.

The signage around the entry road of the camp seems to have improved (signs on Motel 1 & 2 for instance. I could never remember which was which.) I am surprised to see that this old sign is still up. Despite the fact that I did the drawings for it, I felt that it had outlived its time and that the inside-joke of the Joel prophecy could be confusing to "outsiders".

But I don't want to be a whiner; it's nice to see the respect for history that it shows. I didn't find it in the garbage dump on the Conference Centre, for instance.

The man in the rocking chair is Andy James. The boys chasing each other are David and Jon James. The guy on the grass with glasses is Joe Gandier.

As you can see above, there is a rink where Tiny Treylr once was. Once it became too grungy for staff quarters, I used it to store some program stuff (Primary Christmas decor) and as a place to retreat to do tedious registration work on my laptop when the office became too loud. It couldn't be my permanent workplace as it didn't have a phone line.

Anyway, Tiny Treylr is now where you see it in this picture, storing Paintball equipment. That's Homsted in the background. The paintball field is to the left of the photographer of this pic, down below the Mosquito Sheds.

That's the archery net, but I think archery is still down behind the Dining Hall.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pix of Dorion Changes

While at the Men's Cursillo weekend at Dorion, I took some pix of
some of the places meaningful to me (not all of them) and also of
some changes of note.

Here are three of the latter.

Actually, the first is NOT a change. As far as I know, the use of *sacramental* wine (i.e. for communion) has never been prohibited at Eagles Nest. We did use non-alcoholic wine for one special meal in accordance with our contract with DBCCC and that's a perfectly reasonable request.

It's been my view for a long time (and some agree with me and some don't),
that, because secular groups wishing to rent the facilities would be perfectly
willing and able to abide by such codes of conduct (though I don't think
the prohibition against social dancing is or was useful), the rental clientele
should be increased beyond "Christian" groups. (Are there even realistically enough of the latter in the area to make the place cost-effective?)

This would not compromise the character of the place as a Christian conference centre, because it would be a place in which Christians extend hospitality to their neighbours and witness to Christ's love by their service. The revenue gained could be poured back into the more word-based evangelism of the summer camp.

The staff should be empowered to make the decisions about non-church groups, according to standing policies. (A friend of mine who phoned told me that it had to be referred to the Board.)

I'm not saying that smoking is good, but previously smokers had to leave the
property (theoretically). Prohibiting smoking inside is pretty standard now and therefore not inhospitable, but the existence of this ashtray now communicates a more hospitable and Christian attitude to our guests who struggle with one of the more "visible" sins (as a friend of mine started putting it years ago).

Theoretically the sins of gossip, power abuse and unforgiveness are prohibited on the property of Christian camps and churches, but provision is made (or exists) for them. The visible sinners shouldn't be in a separate category.

It's good to see that recycling is now practised. While I was there I tried
to get it going, but the fact that there was no local program required me to
take it home in my car. In my role I didn't feel I could impose it on the
maintenance person. That would require an executive decision. I don't know how it came to be, but I gather that such a decision has now been made (at least re. aluminum cans) and that's commendable.

(PS re. poster in the wine bottle pic. Keith handed out this year's display and cards and they are pretty impressive. I found last year's rather dark and cluttered, but still a step in the right direction. This year's are very bright and attractive.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Sort of Homecoming (Sort of)

This past weekend I attended the Anglican Cursillo Weekend for Men. The nature of the weekend is such that I'm not really allowed to tell you much about it; what with its sick, twisted rituals, secret handshakes and oh the blood!!

I've said too much already.

Actually, the only torture that goes on during the weekend has to do with a certain song. (I just throw that in for any Cursillistas who might have surfed in.)

It was held at ... Eagles Nest ... at Dorion Bible [Camp and ]Conference Centre. Ta da!

This was my first time back since being let go from Dorion Bible Camp and CSSM Ministries April 19, 2004, not quite at the end of my Health Leave and so I had conflicting emotions about it.

I expected to feel very strange driving down that road and walking around the site (once we had free time), but instead -- sorry, folks -- it felt very natural,like home. It felt like it was my home, but that changes had been made to it while I slept, by other people.

But the changes ranged (in my mind) from neutral to good. I suppose some were puzzling to me, but I lack enough info to judge. I'm talking about physical changes and therefore can only guess at what philosophical changes they may or may not represent.

In my view, some significant philosophical changes needed to be tried to reverse the precipitous slide in numbers we were experiencing since 2000, and I don't have enough of an inside view to assess whether they've been made. (FWIW I gather that the numbers plateaued the last two summers at c. 370 and could be poised to rise once more.)

Kelly wanted to make it clear to me that the damage to Lamont had been accidental (a falling tree this past summer I think). It appears now to be a doorless warm-up shack for the Adams Family rink.

I had intended not to visit the camp side until the day I know they are truly happy to have me, but, when I heard this, I wanted to see Lamont up close, fearing it will be torn down in the Spring. I didn't think it would be right to remove a tile or something for a souvenir, since it's not my property (and never was), but I was tempted.

I didn't even go over to the Dining Hall or Chapel or past the inner gates down to Lookout Lodge or the spot where Old Parkdale Place stood which is where I put my faith in Jesus. Again I'll leave that for the later day, but I'm not ready to see my absent desk (moved, I'm told, the summer I was put on Leave). Plus, even if those bldgs were unlocked, it would have been intrusive for me to go inside.

The food for the weekend was good, of course. It was nice to chat with Inez and show her the 2000 Blooper book in which she has a page. (I had all the Books with me, but didn't want to push it.)

The Kitchen Staff were friendly with me. Kelly has been decent and human all along, showing empathy without ever giving a hint of insubordination to her family or employer. Keith was helping in the kitchen only at the beginning and end of the weekend, because (said Kelly) he was feeling sick (and so were the boys) and so our exchange was brief, but cordial.

Being there was made easier by the fact that the one who persuaded the Board to reverse their decision to reintegrate me back to work in a Reconciliation process has since moved on. Those who remain, especially the volunteers or new staff, I regard as people who were given little or inaccurate information and yet I can understand that they are not particularly interested in having me clear it up for them. So our conversations didn't go in that direction.

I have some more pix that represent changes there that I may post later.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Take Two

I was trying for Spielberg and Lucas.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

David James' conversation in Russian

I thought this conversation with a Babushka in Russia was a fascinating insight into David and Erin's life there.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

End of Jan. pix

The "Tim Tam Slam"
Apparently of Australian origin, this feat involves making a straw out of a Tim Tam cookie by biting off diagonal corners, sucking coffee into it and swallowing it quickly once it becomes mushy. This was at supper on Jan. 27 at the Suttons' with LUCF students Kara and Kevin.

At the LUCF Retreat at Round Lake Bible Camp

Now, why didn't I think of this?
(People kept calling it "life-size" Jenga, which I found amusing.)

From the top of Round Lake's mountain.

JerPer, guest speaker and Senior Director of Program
at Manitoba Pioneer Camp.

I've added a correction below re. my Mum's TV show in the 60's. Apparently, she got the gig because she submitted a recipe they liked and they wanted her to demonstrate it. This led to more appearances and THAT led to her gas stove demonstrating job. (I don't think we ever had a gas stove during that time.)