Russian Troops in the Ukraine?

Written by Harold McNeill on April 23rd, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Russian Troops in Ukraine, 2014. Pictures such as this have been used to suggest Russian Troops are being surreptitiously infiltrated into the Eastern Ukraine. Why do the media and others continue to spread these vicious rumours?

The Myth of Covert Operations

Of course Russia does not have troops in the Crimea, nor Eastern Ukraine!  How do we know? Well, the President of Russia has assured that is the case. Why on earth would he want to secretly place troops there and then lie about it.  Russia is just a peace loving country like any other.

Of course the USA, France, Britain, Canada and other peace loving countries would never think of secretly infiltrating troops or military operatives into another country. In the past century people suggested the USA had troops in Laos, Cambodia, Iran, Iraq or dozens of other middle and far east countries. It was not true then and it is not true now. Neither did they carry out covert operations in Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia or dozens other Central and South American countries in an attempt to destabilize the existing governments. It just doesn’t make sense why they would do such a thing.  Besides, we have the assurance of successive US Presidents and other world leaders that it was not done.

We know this just as we know that NSA, CSIS, M16, Mossad and dozens of other agencies do not carry out illegal covert surveillance of the citizens of their their own country.

Give it a rest folks, this stuff is not happening and if you think it is, you are just being paranoid.



Some have suggested that US Special Forces trainers were secretly supervising military assault drills for units of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army.  Don’t you believe it folks. The the USA would never carry out such operations.
Link Here to see how these rumours are being spread. 

Just this morning more of these vicious rumours were being spread by a friend on Facebook.  Link here to a story about why Latin Americans are flocking to the United States.


RAWthenic Eatery – Royal Oak Shopping Centre

Written by Harold McNeill on April 18th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts

Rawthentic-Eatery_07-01-2014_PM_v2Raw food is a term used to describe food that has not been processed or altered, including having stayed at a temperature below 105° F. It can refer to fruits, vegetables, and nuts in their original forms, or combined to create unique dishes that often mimic some of your favourite cooked foods. (Link Here)

The Times they are a Changing

Wow!  Fifty years ago this year Bob Dylan’s The Times They are a Changin’ (lyrics in footer) hit the top of the pop charts in England. It seems certain the song carries as much relevance today as it did in 1964, when a Raw Food, Vegan style restaurant boldly dared to wedge itself between MacDonald’s, Pizza Hut and Tim Hortons in the heart of he Royal Oak Shopping Centre.

While the RAWthentic Eatery only opened its doors in the Royal Oak Shopping Centre on March 20, 2014, it is quickly becoming a favourite.  While the menu contains an array of Vegan, Raw, Gluten and Dairy Free products, there is plenty more on theIMG_7118 menu to temp your palate.

Smoothies and fresh blended drinks like Goji Sunrise and Raspberry Zinger, Wheat Grass and a dozen other raw juices; the Combos, Salads and Entrees stand out on the long list and as you continue down the menu you will find desserts to die for.

With plenty of locally grown (whenever possible) eatery Manager Chantelle Shah-Poulin (photo left) and her staff, will soon be on a first name basis with a rapidly growing line of customers seeking a healthy diet alternative.

The Eatery continues a growing trend towards providing greater food choice for those who wish to move away from traditional fast foods, fast foods that are high in sugar, fat, salt and other additives that have come to so negatively define an entire industry that has been slow to recognize that change was in the air. (168)

Vaccines and the Good Old Days

Written by Harold McNeill on April 17th, 2014. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


If you have a child, it is your decision whether or not to vaccinate. But, you might stand by the strength of your conviction and stop taking your own preventative medications. Why would you want to risk falling prey to one of the side effects of those medications even if the danger is minimal?  There is no better way to show you love your child than standing side-by-side with them if your decision is to not vaccinate.

Children of the 1940′s

My sister and I grew up at a time when many childhood communicable diseases such as measles, whooping cough and others were feared by every parent.  While vaccines had been developed for polio, scarlet fever and others, many killers still remained.  In PolioCrusade_t614every community, children were dying for lack of effective vaccines and over the course of the 18th  and 19th  centuries, millions of children and adults around the world died. Millions more were left with debilitating, life long scars. Except for Chicken Pox, my sister Louise and I luckily escaped the most serious.

Photo (Web): In this polio campaign photo a nurse stands with a recovering child.  Millions of children were afflicted with that dreaded disease and while many died, just as many were left with life long after effects.

After decades of careful medical research more and more vaccines (and safer, more effective vaccines) were being developed. By the 1980’s most childhood killer diseases, including measles, were on the brink of extinction. Many others had already been taken out of existence.

Was the world was safe? Well, almost.  It did not take many years after the rate of infection had dropped to very low levels, for a few to begin to question the possible side effects. It was then parents stopped vaccinating because they feared the side effects more than the disease, after all none of them had ever seen anyone with the disease. It seemed that a few pseudoscientists and celebrities carried more weight than mainstream doctors and scientists. (278)

A Canadian Version of Planet China

Written by Harold McNeill on March 16th, 2014. Posted in Travelogue

Lorin, Jean and Cousins

It would not be many days into our visit that we understood food would become a key part of our China experience.
Here we were hosted to a sumptuous home cooked meal by the cousins (centre) of Lorin and Jin.

Full Photo Series Link Here

Link Here for Part II of this Story

Hello China, Here we Come (Footnote 1) Part 1

This past August Lynn and I had an opportunity to take a whirlwind tour of China. As it worked out, our amazing nephew Lorin (2), his wife Jin and son Laur were living in Beijing, so it was an easy decision.  We often wondered about that mysterious country and felt a visit was a perfect way to sort fact from fiction.

Is the country completely polluted and is the traffic any worse than Vancouver? Are the people pushy or polite? Are the Chinese soNezha Conquers the Dragon King clever and determined they will one day dominate the world?  Could anyone or anything stand in the way of a technologically advanced country with a population of 1.5 billion and so much money they have no idea how to spend it?  Are they on their way owning the United States as well as all the oil in Canada? How about a simple question like, can a stray dog or cat survive in China?

Insert (Web): Top 10 in China:  Nezha Conquers the Dragon King. The flower, bottom centre, was often observed floating in water filled ponds in many temples.

Fiction, fact and myths about China are so thoroughly intertwined, that no one seems to know for sure and everyone has an opinion.  While we cannot explore every facet of life in China, we will sort out what we can.

So with Passports, Visa’s and maps in hand, we donned our Canadian ‘rose coloured glasses’ and caught an Air China flight out of Tokyo.  Just to make certain we could see things clearly, we each grabbed a pair of polarizer clip-ons. Thank you for joining us in Part I of this three-part series.  We have taken plenty of pictures to back up our observations.


A Canadian Vision of Planet China: Part II

Written by Harold McNeill on April 12th, 2014. Posted in Travelogue


Harold and Lynn in August 2013 waiting to board the Bullet Train for  Shijiazhuang, China. Join us for the continuation of our adventure with nephew Lorin Yochim.

April 12, 2014,  This post is currently under construction. Photos to be added by Sunday, April 13.

Link Here to Part 1 of the China Story

Link Here to Full Photo Story leading to and in Shijiazhuang, China

Introduction to Part II

As a partnership between a senior ‘wannabe’ and one who is well established, Lynn and I are pretty adept at handling ‘free-style’ travelling. China, however, presented a few challenges, not the least of which was the language barrier.

While foreign tourism in China is growing at an exponential rate, most tourism is still domestic; therefore, the need for local English and other language service remains very low.  Even at the main airports and train stations, it can be difficult to find an English-speaking attendant so, for a visit shorter than five years, learning the language is not an option.

Because we had such close contact with Lorin, his family and friends, our trip was turned from one in which we would have been stuck in the usual ‘tourist’ pack to one filled with continuous adventure.  Join us for Part II as we head out from Beijing on a train that will soon touch a third the speed of sound and take us through a countryside filled with the old and new.  In our travels to date, China provides the best example of a country where modernity is extinguishing the past at the breakneck speed of a Bullet Train.


Farming in Pibroch, Alberta

Written by Harold McNeill on January 28th, 2014. Posted in Family 1940 1965


Photo (From Web)  Pibroch, AB, main street as it looked in 1951 when we arrived. During a trip to that area in 2010,
the main street had not changed all that much.

Chapter 14  The Gypsy Years Continue


After bidding a final farewell his youth, the years used up toiling away on a rock farm near Birch Lake, Saskatchewan, Dad was being drawn back to farming. In the spring he had taken over as foreman on the Murfitt spread in Pibroch, Alberta, a mixed farm with 200 head of cattle and about half the 640 acres under cultivation. It provided an opportunity to reconnect to animals and the land.

While horses had given way to tractors during the intervening years, Dad still had plenty of farming skills that made his services eagerly sought after and, as well, Mom would again be working in unison Dad. Taking over the farm kitchen she would work her magic as she cooked for a half dozen full time farmhands in the off-season and twice that many during the harvest.

For Louise and me, it would be a new school and new friends, something we were becoming accustomed to as we shifted from pillar to post over the past two years. The great news about this move – Louise and I would be reunited with Mom and Dad in a country setting that was reminiscent of our early years. Our time at HA Gray and the big city was rapidly coming to an end as we would be heading North as soon as the school year was complete. (1722)

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    Thanks Maggie. I wish more people who went through those times and who either had first hand experience with one of those childhood diseases, or had a family or friend go through the trauma, would speak up as you have. Parents need to be made aware of the real dangers. Harold

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    Wow! Just a great article, Harold McNeill! This is a subject very dear to my heart. When I was in grade 1 I missed half the year! I had whooping cough, then about a month later I had measles (I still remember my mom making me stay in a dark bedroom because she was afraid I’d go blind), went back to school for less than two weeks then had chicken pox and right after that the flu and bronchial pneumonia! I had curtains that had farm animals on them, and I still remember being delirious with fever with one of those illnesses and the animals came jumping out of the curtains and started stampeding towards my bed – frightening!!!

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