Saturday, April 28, 2007

Okay… What’s With This?!?

Over the years, hiking and rollerblading have been staple ways of exercising one’s heart in an effort to keep the blood pressure down and the heart strong. Nothing is better than getting out there for some good clean fresh air and wholesome exercise… Don’t you agree?

I was in Toronto picking up my daughter from college this morning and, as I was driving past the boardwalk along the shores of Lake Ontario, I couldn’t help but notice a number of rollerbladers rolling up and down the boardwalk. Each one of them looked fit… Each one of them looked happy. Later on that day, as I cruised past some walking trails, I also noticed some hikers… young children and teenagers all the way up to senior citizens. Again, each of them, except for one man, again looked fit and happy.

Now what does that tell you? Well, what it tells me is that, in order to stay in shape; you must “work at it.” Now, this is not a post about keeping fit nor is it a post on staying happy… It’s a post on staying safe!

The rollerbladers were not on the streets rollerblading. They were safely on a boardwalk designed for such activity. The hikers were also on a hiking trail far from people who drive like my wife… and “no” she does not read my blog!

Shortly after arriving home from picking up my daughter, I picked up a flyer from our local Canadian Tire hardware store and perused through its pages. Page by page I made my way through it until I came across page ten. I looked at it for a while and then made my way to the proceeding pages. Something in the back of my head kept bugging me about page ten and so I returned to it… After taking another good look at the photograph and the product that they were selling, I couldn’t help but think that there was something definitely wrong with what I was looking at… An active hiker wearing rollerblades on a hiking trail. Now, if I am not mistaken, there is something definitely wrong with this form of exercise… it’s just downright unsafe!

Imagine flying down a trail of mixed surfaces with holes, debris, loose gravel, rocks cliffs, water and who knows what else when all of a sudden danger lurks … this lady in the photo would not survive! Oh, I know… she has a helmet! Well, at least she might remain conscious after her head bounces of the boulder… that way she would be very well aware of her body careening off the side of the embankment! I also suppose that she is also playing it safe with those knee, wrist and elbow protectors… they should really help as she rolls face first into a solid maple tree! You get my drift?

Upon closer inspection of these un-cool looking rollerblades, you would also notice that there appears to be no braking system on them! Now, call me a worry wart but I would think that, not having a braking system on this product would not be advantageous to one’s physical health!

The advertisement states that “these multi terrain skates with large wheels make dirt, gravel and grass easy to handle." I cannot ever imagine rollerblades on anything else than a hard debris-free surface ever being easy to handle or a safe or wholesome form of exercise… not unless you are desperate enough to find yourself in the local hospital physiotherapy centre after ripping out the tendons of your ankles as you failed to negotiate a curve in the trail.

Now, I don’t know about you but I think that I will pass up the opportunity to fork out $130 for these babies and the hundreds of dollars for the medical bills later.

What will they think of next?

Friday, April 27, 2007

I Have Not Totally Disappeared

Over these past seven months, I have spent much time in not only writing my posts but also reading and commenting on others as well. Due to things that are going on in my life at this time, I have had to scale back on exercising my creative juices. Though I really enjoy doing this, I have also had to scale back on commenting on each of the posts that many of you take time to submit. This does NOT mean that I have ceased to carry out my regular post reading at each of your blogs. I read your blogs because I find them interesting, enlightening and, in many cases, darn hilarious! All I ask is that you please don't think I have simply closed up shop and disappeared because I have not. I may be invisible for the time being but I am still around.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mad World

I first came across this song while watching an Xbox commercial for a particular game that Microsoft was endorsing. I am not sure as to what attracted me to this song other than its sad and lonely style. While listening to it, it was as if the words reached down into my heart and pulled out all of my insecurities, hurts and depressed feelings that I had ever felt throughout my life. I don’t consider myself to be a lonely person and yet I was caught off guard by the way I felt while listening to the song. Maybe I am not as secure as I thought. It was certainly not one of the happier songs that I enjoy but there was something so haunting in it that I just had to stop and take note.

Later on, while reading the lyrics, I couldn’t help but picture what message that the song writer was trying to paint in our mind. I had yet to see the video that went along with this video but I could imagine that in it, a boy would be standing alone on a crowded sidewalk while watching the throngs passed him without even knowing he was even there. Such a lonely feeling!

While listening to the second verse, I imagined this same young boy sitting alone in a class full of students and yet being ignored by those around him including his teacher. Again, such a lonely feeling!

Throughout our society today, there are millions of lonely people spread out amongst the billions of others around them and yet, the unbearable feeling of loneliness that they experience is a cruel and crushing reminder of how one can feel so alienated in a fast moving world we live in.

If we would just stop for a moment and look around us, we would quickly see these individuals in our homes, schools and work places. When an opportunity arises, take time to walk by and observe children in your neighbourhood schoolyard and you would immediately see those children sitting by themselves while those around them are busy playing with their friends. If we would simply take the time to filter out the schoolyard noises and take time to listen to the silence of the lonely we could at least get a glimpse of the loneliness that they are experiencing.

While at work, if we would just take the time to look at those lonely people around us instead of worrying about looking at our watches, smoking our cigarettes, drinking our coffee or flirting with our co-workers, we would get a glimpse of what it would be like if we were the ones on the other side of the fence. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

These feelings of isolation, loneliness and invisibility can be very depressing and with the masses walking by the lonely on the crowded sidewalks of our lives without even a glimpse towards the one standing alone can be a crushing experience to them as they watch the others rush by.

Sometimes we need to “stop and smell the coffee.” We need to become empathetic individuals by taking the time to look out for our fellow man and help them feel that they too are important as well.

Sometimes we just need to show that we care… How difficult can that be?

Just a thought.

Mad World
Gary Jules

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World
Mad world

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
And I feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen
Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me what's my lesson
Look right through me, look right through me
And I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I'm dying
Are the best I've ever had
I find it hard to tell you
I find it hard to take
When people run in circles
It's a very, very
Mad World
Mad World
Enlarging your world
Mad World.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

History's Evil - Rasputin

The ‘Mad Monk’ who brought down a dynasty

On April 4th of this year, I submitted a post regarding a book I was reading titled “The Most Evil Men and Women in History” by Miranda Twiss. I promised that, as I make my way through this book, I would report to you what I had learned about the some of the individuals covered. I have not made much headway into this book but I have completed a few chapters on a number of individuals. I must admit that, though I thought I knew all about the one’s I have covered so far, I was soon to learn how wrong I was.

The first “evil individual” that I read about was Rasputin.

Rasputin was born around the year of 1869 in Serbia Russia. Not much is recorded about his early life other than some trivia regarding his family and childhood. He was born into a peasant family in Pokrovskoe.

As he reached adulthood, he made his way up from the lowest rung of society to become one of the most hated men in Russia. Prior to his death, he was instrumental in setting in motion the annihilation of the 300 year old Romanov dynasty and thereby changing the future of the Russian citizens in ways that have adversely affected them even to this day.

To many Russians, he was considered to be a holy man. He was uneducated as he never attended school. He was also virtually illiterate, a heavy drinker, a brawler and a thief. He was regarded a saint, a sinner and a devil by all those who knew him.

His influence upon many powerful people in Russia was cause for grave concern. Even Nicholas II and his wife Alexandria were taken in by his influence to the point that many decisions made by the Monarchy, were directly influenced by this so called “holy man” who advocated religious beliefs that promoted murder, corruption, extortion and debauchery. His influence upon them caused thousands of Russian soldiers to perish in wars against countries such as Germany. His advice caused the citizens of Russia to lose confidence in their Monarchy as well as their government.

Over the years when Rasputin was on a wave of control over much of the country's leaders, people tried to unsuccessfully “dethrone” his influence but failed resulting in thier death. No matter what, he was kept in the highest regards and thereby protected by the members of the Romanov Dynasty.

In December 1916, his bloated and castrated body was dragged from the freezing waters of the River Neva in St. Petersburg. Upon the notice of his death, millions of Russians celebrated the death of this ‘mad monk.’

In a letter written before his death, he predicted demise of the Tsar and his family. 74 days after his death, on July 18, 1918 the prediction came true as the Tsar’s entire family was assassinated in the basement of an isolated farmhouse. Since then, Rasputin’s name has been associated with disaster of an empire.

So, there you go… a mad monk who destroyed a nation. I cannot help but wonder how the history of Russia would have been different had Rasputin not had so much influence in that country. It is my opinion that nothing good can come from when a person is given so much power and influence upon those in leadership. There is something to be said of “for the people…by the people.”

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Before I Die.

Some of you may have preciously read this post before but for some reason I had pulled it. I am not sure why but none the less, I found it in my drafts. The topic of this post is very dear to me in that it is something I have imagined on many occasion. Maybe one day my dream for this to happen will come true!

In my dream, I am a very old man. I look over the crowd ... I am about to speak. This is the day I have been waiting for all of my life and it has finally come. If I were to die tomorrow, I would die happily as I would have fulfilled a dream. All ages out there in the audience … all wondering what I am about to say ... all waiting in silence. I can't see them all in the slightly darkened room since my eyesight isn't as clear as it once was many years ago. I have to stay seated because my hips and knees are all but shot and my strength isn't as it once was. I find it hard to breath, stand and talk all at the same time for very long.

Nervously, I clear my throat and proceed to speak into the microphone. The crowd is startled by the squelch from the microphone. I begin again.

“I have been waiting many years to impart on you what is on in my heart and in my soul…”

The people in the room listen to what I have to say. They are more than casually interested in what I am about to impart … They are personally interested for they are my family … three, four, five generations worth … all of them about to hear what may be my last words ever to the group … at least that is what I have dreamed about for many a year.

If this dream was to come true, I would take the opportunity to tell each one of them about how proud I am of them. I would tell them that I love each and every one of them with every piece of my being. I would encourage each of them to live their life to the fullest. I would encourage them to always remain a family. I would explain to them the importance of being there for each other for support and encouragement. I would tell them to never miss an opportunity to tell the family around them that they love them and will always be there for them.

I would speak clearly. I would speak slowly. I would speak with such a love in my heart. I would speak with tears in my eyes.

I don’t have much of a legacy to give to my family; I have made many mistakes and have a few regrets, but I do have one thing I could give them and that is the love I have for them and the pride I have of them. This pride and Love I have is not for what they have or have not done but for who they are … My family!

So, maybe, now that I think about it, I will have a legacy to share after all! It is called Love. Maybe my dreams will be fulfilled in that, when I die, my family will remember me for what I have been to them throughout my life … a family member who loved them and was very proud of them.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Comments and Opinions Shared and Respected

The other day, I had the opportunity to read an “Easter related” post from a fellow blogger who I read from often. Her position was to question of the validity of Christ being the true Son of God. I couldn’t help but read the comments afterwards and was amazed to find that all of the posts tended to agree with the blog’s author and took turns to take their shots at Christianity, Easter along with any other topic they could think of regarding Christianity. Now the beauty of blogging is that everyone out there has the right to their opinion and therefore, in the spirit of blogging, I choose to respect theirs but that does not mean that I have to agree in what they say.

In turn, I chose to comment on not only the blog but also on the comments. Below is how I commented…

"It surprises me how so many take so much time in slamming Jesus Christ if all he was fake or a phoney. Which also makes me wonder... How does a "fake god" command so much attention of billions of people throughout the ages of time (thousands of years.) You would think that if all he is is fake then why even bother writing about Him and commenting about him. I also find it disappointing that there are no "believing bloggers" taking the time to fight up for those who slam their Saviour. I for one believe.
To each their own I suppose. That is what this world is about... Respecting each other's opinions and beliefs.

Have a Happy Easter! :-)"

Now the author of the blog was gracious to respond to my comment and this is what she said…

"Dave - Probably there are not many believing bloggers reading my blog. Or those that are, unlike you don't dare speak up. Good for you then for saying your piece. Life would be boring if everyone thought the same. And your opinion is respected here."

Now that is what blogging is all about … respecting others opinions and I truly appreciate her comment. Thank you Jazz.

This morning it occurred to me that, though I did comment regarding my belief in Christ, I was somewhat guilty of doing exactly what I was critical towards others were doing or, should I say, failing to do… Tell others what Eater means to me. Now, if you want to head to a blog that did, in my estimation a phenomenal job at this, then I suggest that you go to Lone Grey Squirrel’s blog! LGS, thanks so much for your photos, videos and words exclaiming the story of God’s sacrifice of delivering his Son for our sins. I think you deserve a “Christian Blogger’s Award” if there ever was one (is there?).

This morning, though a few days too late, I was going to submit a post on my belief of the Easter story but posting one would not do justice to what LGS submitted. I would feel like I was reinventing the wheel. So, I shall wait for another opportunity to proclaim my faith in Jesus Christ.

Anyways, for those who celebrate the true meaning of Easter… I sincerely hope that you had a wonderful Easter by celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Saviour!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Cranes and Billboards

A number of years ago, a main highway consisting of three lanes each way made its way through our city. Before that, all we had were smaller highways. Ever since we were "blessed" with increased traffic, we were also “blessed” with increased construction. Over the past couple of months buildings have been cropping up in every part of our city. I was driving down one of the main roads the other day when I observed six tall cranes in the vicinity of one intersection. Now, keep in mind that I drive that way a number of times every day and this was the first time I noticed this many cranes. I do not consider myself to be blind in one eye and unable to see out of the other but I swear that I never saw any of these cranes being built. I drive by in the morning. I drive by twice in the afternoon and I drive by after work but I never had the opportunity to see them rise from the ground.

Come to think of it, of all the cranes I have seen in my lifetime, I have never seen a single one being put together. So... What really happens? Do they just like appear out of nowhere? Does someone just finger snap them into existence? Have any of you ever seen them built before? Or have they simply just appeared?

Something else seems to simply appear without my knowing… New billboards. The reason billboards are constructed is so that people such as us regular folk will notice them as we drive by. They are built in areas where we are bound to notice them and yet... How many of us have ever seen someone putting them up or stripping them off? I mean, I swear that a different one goes up every week on billboards throughout the city but I only seem to notice them when they are already up. I can almost guarantee that I have yet to see a billboard guy in the past year or two years or three or...

So what is it? Am I again blind? Am I simply unobservant to these phenomenons? Or do they just happen to grow and appear?

I have often sworn that I would sit in front of a billboard and wait for some guy to come along and change it but I assume that it would be a waste of time. Have you ever tried watching a pot of water boil? Have you ever tried to watch a clock change? Remember the saying? A watched pot never boils or a watched clock never changes? Well I think that there is some truth to those sayings.

Maybe at least once this summer I can be a witness to an historic event like the “changing of the sign” or the “growing of the cranes” and when I do, I shall report them to you. I suppose that if I am going to do all this, I should also witness the “boiling of the pot” and “changing of the clock.”

I think I need to get a life!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Memories Brought back to Life

Kodak slides…You remember those things? Little pieces positive film in a cardboard frame? Well, it has been a long time since I pulled out my old slide projector to view them and it wasn’t until I found a small collection of them while snooping around in one of my father’s desk drawers did I have reason to do so. Well… I wasn’t really snooping as I was really looking for something that my dad needed and had lost. Fortunately I looked there because had I not, I would have missed out on memories that I had forgotten all about.

Coming across this small collection of memories, I pulled each of them out and peered at them hoping to see the content of these slides. I couldn’t really see them very well so I brought them home and slid them into the projector for proper viewing. Though it was fairly difficult to see them on my coloured wall, it didn’t take me very long to realize that I had never seen them before.

My next plan was to scan them in order to have them turned into photographs. Later that day I went to the local computer store and purchased a scanner that had the ability to scan slides. Within a 24 hour period, I had the digital product there on my screen and 24 hours later I had the 4 by 6 prints in my hand. My final task was to return the scanner to the store as I no longer needed it. Okay! Okay! Please don’t be “hatin’ me” for my questionable actions but I just figure that as long as big box stores are willing to have a satisfaction guaranteed promotion I might as well take them up on it… I was satisfied and so I returned it! Yah, I know! I know! Just trying to justify my actions…

Anyways… Back to the slides I was mentioning (changing the subject…).

The photographs turned out to be photographs that nobody had seen before. You see, in my experience, when you take slide photos, you only really see them once unless you are prepared to take the slide projector out, rack up the slides in the carousel, focus the projector, set up the screen, turn on the projector only to realize that you inserted the slides in upside down, yank them out and reposition them, put the lights out, trip over the power cord … and now you know why we ever saw them at all let alone once. It is also quite possible that we never saw them in the first place since my parents never owned a slide projector and the slides were taken only months before we left England for Canada at my ripe old age of six.

I stood at the WalMart Photo Center flipping through the photos that I had just picked up… Talk about taking one back to their childhood! There were a few photos of my sister and I arm in arm, photos of my parents younger than what I am now as well as a number of family photos. There was also a photograph of me holding the same camera that I spoke of in my post on March 8, 2007 titled “The Family Camera.” Once I saw how well they looked, I turned around and ordered duplicates for the rest of my family. My parent’s were close to tears after receiving them from me and it wasn’t long before they had them up on the shelves in frames.

It is amazing how pieces of memories printed on paper can warm hearts and put smiles on faces! Photographs are important to me as it passes memories down through the family tree and reminds us all of the good times, hard times and precious times that we had.

As the saying goes … “A picture can paint a thousand words!” ... or is it "A photo can't paint a million memories!"

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

History's Evil

Now I am not one to dwell in the dungeons of the depraved or one to fixate on evil but I am certainly one who firmly believes that if we ignore the past we are condemned to repeat it. History has recorded as far back as 37AD where evil men and women, fuelled by power, religion, sadism or lust, have reined terror throughout society in the form of terror. It is because of this belief that governments today have put checks and balances in place in order to attempt to avoid such mistakes in the future… or at least try to.

On Wednesday, December 06, 2006, I submitted a post titled “those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.” In it, I shared my belief that if we are to protect the rights and freedoms that our ancestors spilt their blood for, we need to remember our past to protect our future. My concluding paragraph was as follows:

“If we, as members of humanity, take a stand for human rights and do what it takes to stop monsters such as these, we could stop them dead in their tracks. Now is the time to fight for the oppressed, the tortured and the hungry. What will it take for us to learn from our mistakes of apathy before we take a stand? What will it take for us to learn that indifference is not the answer? We need to remember the mistakes made by others in the past if we are to protect humanity in the future.”

Recently, I came across a book titled The Most Evil Men and Women in History authored by Miranda Twiss. In it, are biographies on 16 of the most evil men and women our world has ever known. As far back as Nero, the fifth emperor of Rome, to Torquemada, the Spanish Inquisitor down through Pol Pot, the architect of genocide, the book paints a grim picture of our society’s not so proud past.

I have just begun this book and as time goes on, I plan to introduce you to some of these monsters of our history books. The purpose will not be to glorify these individuals or concentrate on their atrocities but instead to bring to light of what happens if we allow people like these a free reign to terrorize citizens of our countries.

And “yes,” this is still occurring throughout our societies today… Can you think of any? I am very sure you can.

And so… Welcome to the monsters of our past.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Reach Out and Touch Someone!

It ceases to amaze me how it can be so easy to “reach out and touch someone” nowadays! It also amazes me how people can actually show genuine concern for others who they simply meet over the Internet. It has been over a week since I posted here on and people have already sent comments of concern and this is not the first time. I also have no doubt that there are others who are concerned as it seems to me that most people I have communicated with here are a friendly and concerned group of people. I still wonder what ever happened to “freedom French fries” here on as many of you no doubt wonder as well… I wish her well. I suppose we just have to look out for each other.

The other day, I jumped onto another form of Internet communication called facebook ( and I came across a number of my old high school and university friends… amazing! I have yet to hear back from them but I have no doubt that I will be hearing from them soon. The Internet is an amazing tool and I will continue to take advantage of it.

Another way I have used the Internet is for genealogical research. I have reached as far back as into the 16th century and have come up with ancestors throughout the world. I have made connections with people from all continents who can trace their blood lines to family members of mine. Am I connected to famous people? Who knows! I do strongly suspect, however, that my children are related to a step father of one of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence and I also believe that they are also related to the founders of a large corporation but as for me … no such luck there yet!

Like I have mentioned, I haven’t been on blogspot for a short while but I am getting back on board. I never really quit working on, I just needed a break as I was hitting a writer’s block as well as hitting the wall on other responsibilities that took vast amounts of my time as well.

So… hopefully I am back for good (“good” not meaning life however!) And I look forward to not only me hearing from you but also you hearing from me!