Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hey Tim Hortons ... Ammend Your Policies!

Short and sweet ... My son became ill while at school … I picked him up and brought him home … He called into Tim Horton’s Coffee Shop where he works to inform them that he will be unable to go to work after school due to his illness … He called five hours before his shift was to start. They tell him that he has to come in anyways at that time in order to call other staff in order to find a replacement …

Now what the heck is with that!?!?

Where does that Tim Horton’s manager get off making my son go to work sick and do something that she is (or sure as hell should be!) responsible for doing herself? If it wasn’t for my son insisting that I “keep out of it,” I would have a thing or two to say to his manager.

Some people have the gall to do things that most of us would refrain from doing. People like this individual should find jobs that deal with machines and not people. Anyways, Tim Horton’s … You need to either amend your policies or find managers with a little sympathy and consideration! You think you can handle that???

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Good Samaritan

"A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"

The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

Luke 10: 30-37

Monday, November 27, 2006

Looking At Our Lives with Regret or Satisfaction

I was sitting in Williams Coffee Pub with my mother this evening. Every so often we go there, have a chai tea and reminisce. While sitting there, she told me about how she met my father. It turns out that they met while at a New Years Eve Dance. He finally found the courage to ask her to dance at the stroke of midnight to the well known New Years Eve tune of Auld Lang Syne written by Scottish Poet Robert (Rabbie) Burns (1759 – 1796).

Now considering that we were reminiscing, it was ironic that we were talking about dancing to a song that spoke about old acquaintances and questions as to whether or not we should bring them to mind.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

Our conversation continued on with my mum mentioning that the person she had really wanted to dance with that night was this other “chap” who she had previously met. I couldn’t help but wonder what might have happened had she danced with that other guy. Now this point is purely conjecture but one can’t help but wonder how our lives would have turned out had we made different decisions throughout our lives.

As we reminisce, I suppose we can look back on our decisions with satisfaction or regret but regardless of how we view our past, hopefully we can look back and accept that we did the best we could and therefore make peace with ourselves knowing that we have the rest of our lives ahead of us and it is what we do now with our lives is what counts.

After reminiscing about that New Years Eve dance, my mother said that had she not met my father that night, she might never had married him and would therefore never have had my sister and I as her children… I think it is safe to say that she was definitely satisfied with her decision that night!

Actually, I am pretty glad as well!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Stop and Smell the Coffee

According to Wikipedia, most canyons originate by a process of long-time erosion from a plateau level. The cliffs form because harder rock strata that are resistant to erosion and weathering remain exposed on the valley walls. …

Somehow, I don’t think that the guy in this picture was thinking about this as he stood upon the ridge. Sometimes we simply need to take the time to look at and admire the beauty of what is before us without always trying to explain them away.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Canadian Soldier ... You Matter To Us!

I received this poem with author unknown ... I couldn't have said this better, even if I tried. Please take the time to read it ... Thank you!

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps Canadian, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Dieppe on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."

My dad stood his watch in that Korean Land',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
Something red and, white, ... a Canadian flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a trench with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Let's Help Get Rid Of Those Lines!

Back in the twenties was the Great Depression where soup kitchens abounded. Lines of people waiting for food snaked around blocks for hours if not sometimes days. Thousands of men lined up in desperation for some sort of employment ... anything that could put food on their family's table. Across the oceans, we see thousands of people in what sometimes appears to be God forgotten countries waiting in lines for fresh water and a handful of gruel. Throughout the world and throughout the ages desperate people have lined up for all sorts of things other than food such as shelter, medical treatment, safety … you name it. The one thing that connects all of these individuals of the masses in these lines is one word … Desperation. Each of them is desperate for survival.

This weekend, thousands of people in North American will be lining up for something other than food, shelter, medical treatment, safety … They will not be desperate in that their lives will be at risk nor that their survival would depend on it.

On this coming Friday, the Sony Playstation 3 will be hitting the store shelves. On this coming Sunday, the Nintendo Wii will be out for sale. It is being forecasted that thousands have already been waiting in line for days in order to scoop up one of the hottest presents of this Christmas season. Yes, these individuals in line may be desperate; they may think that their life is depending on the acquisition of their choice but they will not be fighting for their survival unless they get trampled once the doors open.

Times have most definitely changed. Our affluence and our taste for the acquisition of material wealth has definitely become our focus. Maybe this Christmas season, we should focus on the people in line for their survival … This should be our reason for the season.

Times around here sure have changed; our affluence has done that. Let’s hope that one day, times for people in places such as Africa, Haiti and parts of Europe and the streets of our major cities will change as well.

Let’s get rid of those lines.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Method To One's Generosity

I once had a friend who was an extremely hard worker and skilled professional. She was dedicated to her job and often went above and beyond what was expected of her. After working there for a few years, she approached her boss for a raise … something which she should have received prior to when she asked… after all, she certainly deserved it. After weeks of no affirmative response, she again humbled herself to ask a second time. Shortly after, her boss relented and gave her a small raise but not without stating …

“Now you are not going to leave me are you?”

Now if I had been standing there witnessing his assault of guilt, I would have responded …

“Hey pal … You gave her that raise not as an incentive to indentured servitude … you gave her that raise because she was worth it … You gave it to her because she deserved it … you most certainly didn’t give it to her to tie her down because if you wanted to do that then you should have locked her into a well paid contract!”

At least I would have liked to have said that!

Why is it that whenever somebody does something for someone, they expected reparation? Why can’t people do deserving things for others without making them feel indentured afterwards? Making people feel guilty for being on the receiving end has been a tool of persuasion since the dawn of man but that doesn’t make it right!

I once had another friend whose boss gave him the day off simply because he had worked hard all month … Now which boss would you rather have?

For a change, do something for someone not because you want something in return but because they deserve it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remember to Thank Our War Heroes

In Flanders Fields

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Here in Canada, on and around November 11 of every year, we take time to recognize the men and women who fought for our freedom and celebrate their courage and they gave their lives for their fellow Canadian.

This time of year, every department store, grocery store, coffee shop and wherever else we visit has a war vet standing at the front holding a tray full of poppies for us to purchase one. In a matter of a few years, most of our WW2 vets will have passed on and we will lose the opportunity to thank them for their courage and love for the county in which we live.

So remember, when you buy a poppy and the war hero says “thank you”, please think about who it is who is speaking to you and respond back to them …. “No ….. Thank YOU!”

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Lesson in the Parking Lot

A while ago, as I was driving, sensibly I might add, through a department store parking lot, a white van flew through the isles almost taking the side out of my car. As any road rage type person, I hit my horn furiously and continued on my way. I was justified! I was the sensible driver and he was the reckless one. Yes, I was justified because this “idiot” was being just that … an idiot! Or was he?

As I drove off, I couldn’t help but glance in my rear view mirror to see what his reaction was to my horn. To my surprise, he stopped his vehicle, hopped out and jogged towards me while motioning me to stop. Hmmm … I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear what he had to say … probably one more thing I could add to my account of this experience as I told my buddies about it later on.

Preparing a response in my mind to his expectant tirade, I rolled down my window ready to justify my actions when all of a sudden he said, “Hey look, sorry for what happened back there … I should have been more careful.”

I was speechless for a moment as my prepared speech on careful driving was not to be the appropriate words of wisdom for that day. Accepting his apology, I weakly smiled and drove off. Thoroughly impressed at this gentleman’s attitude and response to this affair, I drove back to him as he got back into his vehicle and commended him on his classy behaviour. This, to me, was class and it deserved to be acknowledged.

As I left the parking lot that day, I promised myself that the next time I run across a driver making a careless mistake, I will think twice before hit that horn, curse under my breath and give him a dirty stare. Maybe then, I could be a classy individual as well!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Son

In Douglas Preston’s novel, The Codex, Philip, one of the novel’s main characters stated, regarding his father, that “that’s what happens when you are a bad father – your sons leave you.” Once I read that statement, I couldn’t help but put the book down and reflect on what I had just read. As a father of one son, my mind focused on my 16 year old son. How does he see his “old man?” How does he rate me as a father? Does he love me? Does he want to be around me? Will he one day leave me?

Not only as a father, but also as a man, I have made many mistakes. As a father, I have a number of regrets about how I raised my son. As I look at him now, I am amazed how great a son he is despite my own shortcomings. He is not a perfect son, mind you, but he is a great son none-the-less and is quickly growing into a fine man. He is someone whom I am very proud of and love dearly.

As I look towards the future, I sometimes fear, almost to a point of paranoia that, one day, he will leave me because of all of my shortcomings. I suppose it is a fear that I have had for a long time. One day, a few years back, I was told that I was becoming a lot like someone else in the family by the way I was towards my son. I could have ignored such a criticism but deep inside me, I somehow knew they were right. Wisdom told me to heed those words and I did. This, I will never regret!

In the past number of years, a day hasn’t gone by where I haven’t told my son that I love him and a day doesn’t go by where I haven’t had some physical contact with him as well. Hugs and words of love help our children become secure in the fact that their father loves them … and I sincerely love him.

I am not a perfect person and certainly not a perfect father but I sincerely hope that, one day as I look back at my life, I will see that my son loved me not for what I am but for who I am and that we will be in each other’s lives for as long as we both should live.

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Daughter Says She's "Got It Under Control"

Do you have a teenage daughter like mine who knows everything? You know … the kind of kid who assures you that she knows what she is talking about and that her “old man” needs to back off because she’s “got it under control.” Well if you do happen to be one of these parents, you will know what I am talking about when I tell you what happened last night.

Over the past week, my almost 19 year old daughter who attends a college in Toronto, Ontario, Canada has been planning to visit a girlfriend at the other end of Toronto. Her plan was to take the subway and a connecting bus. That was fine on the way down to her friends but when she informed me that she would be returning via the same way around midnight, that was a different story all together. For those who live in a large metropolis know what I am talking about. Nobody and I mean NOBODY needs to be travelling the rails and busses at that time of night alone … especially an almost 19 year old female… It is just not safe … as a matter of fact, it is just down right dangerous!

We had finally heard from our daughter around midnight. Picking up the phone, we discovered that she was still in downtown Toronto trying to figure out which bus to take home! So, here we were on the Internet trying to do this for her. So much for our “independent almost 19 year old daughter who knows everything and has everything under control”! When it became apparent to me that she may have missed the last bus out of the Greater Toronto Area, I hopped into my car ready to make the one hour trip to rescue her sorry butt. Fortunately, things finally got straightened out and I didn’t have to make the trip. She got back to her residence safe and I could go to sleep knowing that my little girl would survive yet another day.

Daughters! You just gotta love 'em!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What Goes Around Comes Around

Ain’t that the truth! A good friend of mine who has spent many years dedicating her life to the betterment of Canada’s Young Offenders has also spent as many years putting up with a tyrant of a boss. On every occasion possible, her boss has done nothing except to undermine her, insult her and discourage her. A very condescending man, he has been the bane of her to the point where she doesn’t know whether or not she is coming or going. He has taken away much of her self esteem as well as disempowered her in front of her subordinates.

He has now lost his job! It is now his turn to feel the wrath of a supervisor. I don’t feel sorry for the man (if you can call him that!) He has had this coming for a long time.

This situation only serves to bolster my belief in the phrase “What goes around comes around.” If you treat others well with the respect that they deserve and if you live your life in consideration and appreciation of others, others will treat you in a similar fashion. On the other hand, if you are an ass and treat others with disrespect simply because you appear to be incapable of respecting others, then expect similar treatment in due course.

I congratulate my friend on sticking with her job over the past 15+ years despite having a tyrant of a boss. All the best in the remainder of your career!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Will You Be Missed When You Are Gone?

Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been … Lives in a dream Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door … Who is it for?

Father McKenzie writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear … No one comes near.

Look at him working. darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there … What does he care?

Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name … Nobody came
Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave … No one was saved

All the lonely people ... Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people ... Where do they all belong?

Eleanor Rigby

The Beatles

How many friends do you have? I am not speaking about people who you pass on the way to work or even the people you simply work with. I am referring to people who want to be around you all the time because of the type of person you are. I am talking about people who love you, respect you, protect you, miss you when you are not around and spend time with you when you are.

Awhile ago, as I was driving through a cemetery in my home town, I observed a minister presiding over a grave site. Off in the distance was the maintenance pickup truck waiting for the service to conclude. There was no one else there to pay their final respects to this individual. After the minister departed, the truck came by and filled up the grave and moved on its way to its next area of responsibility.

How sad it would be to die alone in this world … To spend a lifetime on Earth and to have no one grieve for you or even miss you… How lonely! I cannot wonder what type of person he or she was to have no friends or no loved ones at their funeral.

I just hope that one day when my time is up, I will have friends and loved who will miss me when I am gone … only time will tell.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Did You Tip the Barber?

Gratuities are becoming more and more of a common place in our society. More commonly known as tipping, we flip over anywhere from a couple of dollars on up to bell hops, luggage carriers, waiters and waitresses, barbers and hairstylists … you name it!

Now I am most certainly not against tipping the standard professions but what about the guy behind the McDonald’s counter? What about the gal serving you your coffee at Starbucks? What about the bus driver? The taxi guy? What about everyone else who does anything for you? When does it stop?

From what I hear, tipping is a multi-billion dollar industry and yet if you ask ten different people as to how much you should tip, you will get eleven different answers (there’s always someone who can’t just give one answer!) and you will probably find that at least one of them would expect some gratuity for giving you their opinion!

Like I said, I am not opposed to tipping but I try to keep it to the main service sector such as sit down food restaurants, airport terminals, bell hops and barbers. So all you Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Burger Kings, Starbucks and Horton’s employees, don’t expect a tip from me because I gave all my cold hard change to my barber, my waitress at The Keg Steakhouse and my luggage carrier at Toronto International Airport!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Star Trek ... Stargate ... They're all the Same!

Have you ever watched Star Trek? It really doesn’t matter which series. Have you ever watched Stargate? The series here doesn’t really matter either. So, whether it be Enterprise, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, SG1 or Atlantis, they all have the same similarity … Every friggen planet they go to always have civilizations of no more than 50! C’mon now … do you really expect me to believe that all these civilization that have been around for a millennia can only have 50+ individuals? Man alive! These producers really got to give us more credit than that!

Another thing is that, especially in the Stargates, most of the civilizations visited are a backwards, nomadic tribe. What I want to know is why don’t any of these planets have houses like ours? Why don’t they drive cars or watch TV? Also, they all talk English! And with the Star Treks … same thing … All the planets visited have bipeds with two of everything just like us humans … two eyes, two ears, two legs, two breasts, one … anyways, you get the idea!

Yah, I know … get a life! Live long and prosper!