Ben Stein, My Confessions for the Holidays (Revisited)

Written by Harold McNeill on December 15th, 2011. Posted in Editorials


Including a Discussion of the Points
Raised in the Stein Article

Above Photo: The Nativity Scene is likely one of the most enduring Christian Christmas symbols and while Christmas trees are much more in evidence during the season, they predate Christianity by many centuries and were of pagan origin. Trees are now representative of both Christian and non-Christian cultures. Finally, Christmas songs, both Christian and Secular, have become as much a part of Christmas as the Crèche and the tree.    (October 15, 2017, 3800) (Jan 2018, 3842)

Victoria, British Columbia
December 16, 2011

This is a post about how the words of people can be bent and twisted to serve the special interests of those who seek to tear our society apart. If you have a few minutes see how the words of Ben Stein were used in this manner.


The above photo with Ben appears on the Web Site, A Livingdog.comThe letter purported to be by Ben Stein, is posted as it was circulated.  Although the letter does use some quotes from Ben’s article, they were only added to give authenticity to the post. The other highly inflammatory words were added by an unknown author. The entire letter was designed to incite hate.  My commentary follows:

Re: Ben Stein’s ‘Confessions for Christmas’ (Most posts title it “Confessions for the ‘Holidays”‘). I have used both.

If we use Facebook, Twitter, other social media, use email, we will often receive attachments such as this Stein article. Many will be forwarded without the sender having given much thought as to the content or, after reading the beginning paragraphs, generally agreed, so post or send to family and friends.  All kinds of misinformation and outright lies are passed along in this manner

While some of these forwards provide reasonable commentary, others, such as the Ben Stien Christmas Post, make some pretty outlandish and inflammatory comments. After re-reading this article a couple of times, it struck me there was no real sense of cohesion, it was as if separate, unrelated statements were strung together to make the whole. This made me wonder whether Stein even wrote and published this article.

After completing a search of the Web, I am now satisfied a great deal of editing took place with respect to the original comments recited by Stein on the CBS Morning Show back in late 2005.

It also became evident some of the statements attributed to Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s ministering daughter) were used to modify the original Stein document. The statements made by Lotz, as opposed to those by Stein, were very negative and cynical.

Further checks revealed the entire second half of the document was made up of comments written by a person or persons unknown, seemingly with the intent of inciting as much dissent as possible. Whatever the source, it is interesting these statements, some of which I now believe to be outright fabrications, appear to have gained a widespread following over the past few years given the number of ‘forwards’ received at my end.

As mentioned, this is not the first time articles of this type have crossed my desk. Often, after doing a bit of research, I have found many to be doctored and falsely attributed before being posted on the Web and then circulated by email. An example is statements purported to have been made by the Australian Prime Minister about Muslims and other immigrants entering Australia. While a few statements were correctly attributed, many of the most highly inflammatory were inserted and distributed by unknown others.

There are several Web Sites that can be used as a means to check on the authenticity of articles such as this, one being: You can link to the discussion of the Stein article at Confessions.

With respect to the “Confessions” article, I do not think the majority of the statements serve to advance the interests of Christianity or of promoting “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men” as is befitting of the Christmas Season. I have taken time to address each statement with the hope that a few will again read the article and, perhaps, look at the statements from a different perspective.

Why, you might ask, would I take so much time to write a response to a transient item that flowed into my inbox? In short, I have a keen interest in many subjects and wish to clarify my own thoughts and beliefs. I do that best when I sit down and attempt to put my thoughts in written form as I have done for this post. Also, I wish to encourage people to take a less divisive approach to discussing these matters.

Many of you will likely have different thoughts on this particular subject or others on which I have written. I would appreciate hearing any comments you may feel inclined to share. You can do that at the foot of the article or, more privately, by email or FB, if you so wish.

Yours truly,

Harold McNeill

My Confessions for the Holidays

Stein’s article is now divided into three parts. In each part, whenever possible, the statements have been attributed to the author.

Part 1 Comments correctly attributed to Ben Stein although some were taken out of context.

Points Discussed: Joy of celebrating differences. Are Christians and Jews being pushed around? Have celebrities replaced God? Is the United States an explicitly atheist country?

Part 11 Comments correctly attributed to Anne Graham Lotz (daughter of Billy Graham). These comments were not part of Stein’s original article.

Points Discussed: Has God been pushed out of government and out of our schools? Did many people die after Hurricane Katrina (or the WTC) because God backed away from his people? Is that why so many people around the world have died in natural and man-made catastrophes?

Part 111 Comments by unknown authors inserted in the Stein article.

Points Discussed: Has the suggestion by Dr. Spock that spanking children is a poor method of discipline lead to a ‘permissive’ generation? Are children today killers without conscience? About spreading hate through jokes and inflammatory statements. Are times getting worse?

Part 1 (Stein)

Ben Stein: I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

Harold Response: The above photo shows Ben getting ready to celebrate Christmas. It looks to me as if the Santa hat has been photoshopped into the scene -perhaps not, as Ben is known to have a keen sense of humour.

Many of my family and ancestors were/are Christians and it does not bother me a bit to watch, listen, discuss or participate in the celebrations of others. No one should feel threatened unless they choose to feel threatened.

Many groups have different beliefs and traditions that are worth celebrating and we agree that respecting the beliefs of others, even when those beliefs diverge from our own, is important. This includes atheists respecting the beliefs of theists and vice versa. Highly inflammatory remarks from either side do not help.

Ben Stein: It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crèche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

Harold Comment: I agree. Most of the controversy about Christmas trees and other Christmas themes being excluded from the public
is largely created through unfounded rumour. Within those countries that celebrate the Christian Christmas, traditional practices permeate the culture. I know many non-Christians who participate and even attend Christmas church services because the words (for the most part), songs (always) and traditions (usually) are warm, welcoming and comforting.

Photo: President and Mrs. Obama stand with the White House Christmas Tree. Occasional emails and posts state Christmas Tree’s are either not allowed or have been renamed ‘Holiday Trees”. That is simply not true.

Ben Stein: I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Harold Comment: Ben, you are demonstrating a good bit of paranoia. Over the many years, I was a practicing Christian I never once felt threatened or ‘pushed around’ because of my beliefs. To the contrary, I met many, many wonderful people from many faiths as well as others who were non-believers. Not one person ever threatened or pushed me around. I bet not one of the Christians within our extended family have ever been ‘threatened’ or ‘pushed around’ because of their sincerely held beliefs. I am not sure why you should feel so set upon.

Canada and United States (the United States in particular) is far from being Atheist. Do you perhaps confuse ‘Atheism’ with an attempt by democracies to maintain a separation of church and state? Perhaps you consider everyone who is not a practicing Christian or Jew, to be an Atheist? In your original article, I did not see any reference to other theists.

Many developing countries that have faith-based systems are desperately trying to achieve a separation between church (or faith) and state in an attempt to remove the sectarian violence as various faith-based groups seek to control the political agenda. I think many religious leaders in democratic countries (Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc.) would agree it is important to maintain a fairly clear divide.

In Canada, Quebec is probably the best example of a Province that was largely run by a church as recently as two or three decades back. Quebec is now among the most secular of our Provinces. That does not mean religious groups have faded away, it just means that one particular group does not control the political agenda to the exclusion of all others. Freedom to participate (or not participate) in the religion of one’s choice is at the core of our democratic system. I think most would agree it would be wrong to use one particular religion or set of religious values as the framework for our system of government.

As for the USA, religion remains a ‘hot button’ issue when it comes to separation of church and state. You likely watched the multi-part PBS series “God in American”. The series tracked four centuries of conflict between various Christian groups and leaders as each sought to become the dominant faith controlling the country with their ‘particular’ brand of religion. That that long battle is still being waged tends to reinforce the need for maintaining a clear separation between church and state.

A present-day example of religion being twisted to political ends is highlighted in the current Republican leadership contest. The contenders are willing to say or do anything to woo the religious right into their camp. For the men and woman seeking the leadership of the party, it seems God is little more than a means to an end, that being leadership of the party and a shot at gaining the Presidency.

In Canada, the Conservatives have largely shelved the religious ideologies that were very much a part of their early platforms when it became crystal clear the majority of Canadians would not support any party that attempted to push those ideologies to the forefront.

Note: From this point forward, someone modified Stein’s comments by removing humorous references to two individuals known as ‘Nick and Jessica’ whose faces appeared on a cereal box cover. Instead, they became referenced as “celebrities”.

The following comment is the actual lead-in comment made by Stein in the CBS interview (it was not included in the forwarded article):

Ben Stein: Here we are at this happy time of year, a few confessions from my beating heart. I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica are. I see them on the cover of People and Us constantly when I’m buying my dog biscuits. I still don’t know. I often ask checkers at the grocery stores who they are. They don’t know who Nick and Jessica are, either. Who are they? Will it change my life if I know who they are and why they’ve broken up? Why are they so darned important? I don’t know who Lindsay Lohan is either, and I don’t care at all about Tom Cruise’s baby.

Harold: Ben, I must agree. I have no freaking clue who Nick and Jessica might be and why they are so noteworthy. Maybe if I purchased more dog biscuits I might learn the answer. I like your sense of humour.

Following are the above comments as inserted in the Stein article and, at this point, a contrast to God is introduced:

Unknown Editor: Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

Harold: Now where did this come from? This transition appears to have been inserted in order to suggest the worshiping of “Celebrities versus God” as a means to ratchet up the rhetoric.

It is my guess, if you surveyed a large group of Christians, Jews, Muslims or any number of other faiths versus a similar sized group of non-believers, you would find an equal number in each group that placed celebrities far too high on a pedestal.

Whether we like it or not, celebrities, in one form or another, have been with us for centuries. While there is nothing particularly right or wrong with that, collectively we seem to pay too much attention to the words and actions of those with celebrity status.

Using Stein as an example, think about this for a moment. If an ordinary person wrote that which was written in in the original Stein ‘confession’, do you think it would ever see the light of day let alone be read on the CBS Morning Show? Probably not as the article was at best just some talk show humour by a “celebrity” guest.

Now spice that original with some inflammatory and highly controversial comments and this cleverly rejigged article will draw far more attention. I have used part of this technique in the title of this post. It is now indexed on Page 2 of Google in an area that will provide a greater chance of a ‘hit’ than if I had titled it Harold McNeill Revisits Christmas Confessions. Like, who is Harold McNeill and what is his claim to fame? (Google Link)  Even as of October 2017 (7 years since it was posted) it is now posted on Page 1.

Part II (Graham-Lotz)

Statements made by Anne Graham Lotz, were not part of Ben Stein’s original comments. Along with other comments, they were added by a person or persons unknown and then first distributed before Christmas in 2005.

The following comments (properly attributed to Anne Graham Lotz) were made during a National TV show shortly after the WTC attacks of 2001 when Anne was being interviewed by Jane Clayson. Again, only parts of Anne’s comments were inserted and a few of the lead-in statements were altered by persons unknown.

Anne: In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Harold: I agree Anne. There are far too many tasteless, insensitive jokes, not just about religious groups, but also about other minorities (Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Aboriginals, etc). I have been guilty of the practice myself. In past centuries similar type jokes have been passed around. Which reminds me, did you hear the one about the Saxon Warrior…?

Many messages landing in my inbox since 2001 relate to Muslims, immigrants and generally visible minorities. In any case we both agree it’s not right and as for getting me thinking about the issues, your words have certainly accomplished that Anne.

Moderator Clayson: How could God let something like this happen? (regarding Hurricane Katrina) Note: The original reference was to the World Trade Centre attack of 2001, not to Hurricane Katrina. The comments made in the Clayson/Lotz interview were made well before Hurricane Katrina. Anne then continues with her original comments.

Anne: I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

Harold: It is my observation and experience that God is well represented in our schools. Just down the street from our home is the large Pacific Christian School and a little further on, the Catholic, St Andrews School.

I have spent time in both and they wonderful schools with motivated and caring teachers as well as attentive students. Across Canada Christian Schools and Universities seem to be well represented and well populated. I just read a report yesterday that over 600,000 kids attend Catholic Schools in Ontario. That is a sizeable school population for just one faith-based system in one Province.

Christine (our  youngest daughter) just finished two years of teaching Grade 6 (one of eight Grade 6 classes) at the Khalsa Sihk School in Surrey, BC. Students in the school study their holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, as well as attending weekly prayer sessions. Many parents actively sought to have their child placed in Christine’s class even though she did not practice their faith.

One of the neat things Christine found particularly inspiring about the school was the fact they promoted the idea that a ‘belief in God’ was more important than the particular religious group to which one belonged. Not many faith-based systems are that generous.

Muslims, as well as many other groups, also provide private schools for members who wish to help their children become better acquainted with the history of their people and the beliefs of their forefathers. In Victoria, we have a very fine Chinese School (est. 1908) with about 300-400 students. This is a wonderful part of living in a multicultural society.

As for our Public Schools and Universities, it is true they do not hold prayer sessions or have religious studies (other than generic courses such as the History of Religion). This is done for a very good reason – if you wished to hold religious services, which God and what particular set of books would one study – the Koran, Bible, the Book of Mormon (this is an issue as the Republicans search for a leader), the Guru Granth Sahib or some other text and which prayers would be approved?

In Christianity alone, there are hundreds upon hundreds of belief sub-sets holding very diverse beliefs. I think it would be chaotic to give every system time to spread the word of their particular brand of faith in our Public Schools and Universities. What do you think?

Now, Ms. Graham, as for suggesting that God failed to prevent the tragedy of Katrina because “being a gentleman, he backed away” seems to suggest your God is a bit petulant. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson made similar claims about why the World Trade Centre bombing occurred. It must be nice to have the inside track to God’s thoughts about these tragic events.

Photo: Whether it was the 9/11 attack or Hurricane Katrina, the effects were the same. Hundreds of people died. Perhaps the woman in this picture was a Christian, perhaps not and her baby is certainly to young to understand the concept of God.

In the case of Katrina, as well as thousands of natural disasters that have occurred over past two thousand years, it seems someone is always compelled to list the cause as a ‘lack of faith’ and, perhaps, link that with God abandoning His people. Today more people are dying in single major events simply because there are now more people living on earth than having lived in the entire history of our planet.

In my mind, many hundreds of thousands of those who have died in the past, or will die in future catastrophic events, were or will be strong believers in Christianity, Judaism or some other faith teaching. Why would their God hold those hundreds of thousands of faithful responsible for the ‘misdeeds’ of others to say nothing about the thousands of innocent children that have died? I cannot believe any God worth his salt would hold children responsible for the sins of their father, let alone those of some stranger. To me, your statements are uncaring, insensitive, and not befitting of a woman who takes to the pulpit and purports to be a spokesperson for God.

December 17, 2011.
Dear Anne,

Today hundreds of men, women, and children were killed when a typhoon hit one of the Philippine Islands. By your way of thinking those poor people died simply because their God abandoned them. Do you think this is a reasonable assessment of your position for any of the hundreds of thousands of people that die each in natural disasters or is it just the people of the United States that fall into this category?

Part III (Authors Unknown)

As far as I can ascertain, everything from this point onward was either a modified version of what Anne Graham Lotz stated or was entirely made up by a person or persons unknown. Over the years several different comments, all along the same theme, have been inserted in what was purported to be the Stein confession.  As of 2017, the comment flow still remains on the original website, A

Author Unknown: In light of recent events…. terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Photo: Madalyn Murray O’Hair (note the correct spelling) was a well known American Atheist and founder of the Organization of American Atheists.

Harold: So you are not saying it was ‘everyone’ who was at fault, it was just Madalyn Murray O’Hair and perhaps others who held beliefs similar to hers. Personally, I think you are laying a lot of responsibility on that woman. She must have been a powerful voice in order to get God so upset that he backed away from everyone, including his loyal Christian and Jewish followers! Her tragic death had nothing to do with her Atheist beliefs.

On the final sentence of the paragraph, you make a good point. If theists and others would spend more time practicing the many good things that appear in the Bible or their particular books of teachings, and choose to love their neighbors as themselves, particularly those who do not share their beliefs, there would be a lot less strife in the world. Most of the messages in this crafted ‘Confessions’ article certainly does nothing to bring that value to the forefront.

Author Unknown: Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Harold: Ok, I guess we are now leaving the Christian/Jewish discussion and moving on to a discussion about disciplining children.

I don’t particularly subscribe to Mr. Spock’s suggestions but he does have a message and he took the time to write a book about something in which he strongly believed. That’s not a bad thing to do and is far more than most of us will ever do. Thousands upon thousands of books have been written about child rearing.

At one point in my life, I taught a program called “Developing Capable People”. I liked the program message and so did the several hundred parents who participated in the series.
Spankings were not a recommended means of discipline, however, as individuals everyone is free to accept some points about parenting and reject others. The same can be said about Christian teachings.

Photo: Dr. Benjamin Spock (1903 -1998), a graduate of Yale University and an Olympic Gold Medalist, wrote his book “The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care” in 1946. It became an instant best seller with over 50 million copies sold worldwide after it was translated into 39 languages. He later wrote three more books about parenting and in each case, he was attacked a promoting ‘permissiveness’, a claim he soundly denied.

As far as spankings are concerned, I don’t think it is the best method to handle discipline but, I confess, I handed out a few during the time we raised four children. Our children, four in number, are no worse for it but I choose to think they simply overcame my bad example and it was the thousand other factors that were part of parenting that lead to what I think is a very good result.

Take a look at the extended family that surrounds our mother in the Introduction to this Blog. A lot of different methods were used to raise those children, some received spankings, others did not, yet they are all wonderful, caring people. It was the totality of the parenting, not just one particular aspect, that led to that result.

Just as a side issue, within Canada a man could physically discipline domestic help (usually a female) for poor performance and misbehaviour as late as the 1970s. The law was finally changed. Not many years before that those same men could discipline their wives for similar transgressions. We can observe that the discipline of woman and children is still prevalent in many male dominated societies. I think it is good that our society finally decided to make those acts illegal. Do you really think not spanking a child would lead to the downfall of our society?

As for throwing in the suicide bit, I find that is contemptable particularly as it never happened. A grandson (Dr. Spock’s son’s son) did commit suicide and while the full reason for that suicide has never been fully understood, it is reported in a biography that the young man, twenty-two at the time, was schizophrenic. Do you not think there may be a good many ‘god fearing’ Christians and Jews who wrote books on some aspect of religion and whose children later committed suicide for some reason or other? Would it be fair to suggest they did so because their dad or mom had written that book? I think not.

Author Unknown: Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Harold: During my lifetime (71 years next month) I have known a large number of the children within our extended family and over the decades have met hundreds of children and teens through sports, school, and my time in the police service. The vast (vast) majority were good kids and over the decades I believe kids have been steadily getting better. They are better educated, have much more experience in the world and have largely been raised by caring, thoughtful parents.

Yes, we still face many challenges, but for someone to make a general statement that children have “have no conscience … they don’t know right from wrong and … it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves” is simply wrong.

In thirty years of policing, I met some very bad people including a few young people who did terrible things and will be spending most of their lives in jail. An article appeared in the Times Colonist today (Dec 16, 2011) about one such person. Thankfully, I did not let that young man colour my view toward the majority. I hope the person who wrote this statement did not become a policeperson, social worker, teacher, or enter any of the other ‘caring’ professions.

Author Unknown: Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Harold: Whoever wrote this appears to be a very cynical Christian. Most of the Christians I know try to remain positive by focusing on the good things in the world rather than the bad. If we all tried a little harder to do that, do you not think the world would be a much more peaceful and caring place? Do you not think the world is gradually getting better?

Given a choice, who of us would prefer to live in any other past century, perhaps as a Christian in the Roman Empire, or during the Dark Ages? Perhaps, during the Crusades, or at the time of the Black Plague or one of the many other diseases that killed fathers, mothers, children, Christians, Jews, Atheists and others without discrimination?

How about during any of the dozens of centuries when death would was likely to visit sometime before a person’s late twenties, or even early in the last century when millions upon millions of innocent people were killed in just two World Wars? I think not.

While extreme poverty still exists in some parts of the world, a great majority of the people are much better off now than at any time in the history of our planet. The challenges we face will best be solved when Christians, Jews, Muslim’s, Atheists, Agnostics and others play the positive cards to which we all have access rather than taking the view that the world ‘is going to hell in a handbasket”.

What possible harm could it do to accent the positive rather than negative? We are all free to take issue with things we perceive to be wrong or with which we disagree, but we must do so in a respectful manner, not as a ‘rant’ as is so evident in most of this fraudulent Stein article.

Unknown: Are you laughing yet?

Harold: No, I most certainly am not. I was born into a world in which we have been afforded opportunities beyond our wildest imagination. It is and has been a life about which many in the world could only dream. Most of us have two pairs of shoes; we have freedom and can practice the religion of our choice without fear of persecution. For myself, I love the people in my extended family as well people in general and I have people who love me in return. What more could I ask?

Author Unknown: Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it. no one will know you
did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t
sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is

Harold: I will forward this message as far as possible and I have no fear that anyone who knows me will think less of me for having done so.

Whoever crafted this message did so with a great deal of malice and, apparently, with the goal of sowing the seeds of dissent among people. I suppose in many ways that person has succeeded as this same message has been circulated far and wide at just before Christmas for the past six years.

What kind of person would surreptitiously build a message of despair and then use the names of relatively well-known persons to ensure the message gained widespread attention? That is nothing short of contemptible and we should, at the very least, attempt to correct this wrong by alerting others.

Harold McNeill

A few photos from Christmas in our Neighbourhood
















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Comments (1)

  • Dianne McNeill
    December 29, 2011 at 7:43 pm |

    Thanks for taking the time to research this article, and to provide the thoughtful responses you did to each of the areas. I was struck by how intolerant and …. as you say …. dissension building so many of the statements were. I was saddened by this, but didn’t really know how to respond. I was one of the people that assumed the article was the genuine thing, and because of that, I had judged Ben Stein quite harshly (ie chaotic thinking, illogical, dissension-focussed, etc). I have learned a valuable lesson this year. Thanks for the Kissmass gift! lol.

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  • Harold McNeill

    March 19, 2019 |

    Hi Dave. Not that I am aware and I have a fairly comprehensive family tree for the McNeill side of the family. I will pull it up and scan. Cheers, Harold. Great chatting with you and I will give Ben a nudge.

  • Dave Cassels

    March 16, 2019 |

    Were you related to Guy McNeill who owned the Bruin Inn in St. Albert in the late 40’s or early 50’s? Guy was a close friend of my father-in-law who was the first President of the Royal Glenora Club. My phone number is 780 940 1175. Thank you.

  • Harold McNeill

    March 15, 2019 |

    So glad you found the story and enjoyed. Indeed, they were memorable times. I did a fair amount of searching but never managed to contact any of the Murffit kids. However, it was neat to make contact with the Colony and someone I knew from back in the day. I have enjoyed writing these stories from back in the 1940s and 50s and have made contact with a lot of friends from those early years. I will give you a call over the weekend. Cheers, Harold

  • Yvonne (Couture) Richardson

    March 7, 2019 |

    I enjoyed your story. I too, lived in Pibroch in 1951, as my parents owned the hotel there. I was a very close friend of Bonnie Murfitt at the time. I moved to Edmonton in 1952, however, and have not seen her since. I would like to be in touch with you to talk about your story. My email is listed above and my phone number is 780-475-3873.

  • Laureen Kosch/Patry

    March 5, 2019 |

    I grew up in Pibroch and would not trade those years for anything. “ Kids don’t know how to play anymore” Never was a truer statement made. During the summer we were out the door by 8am, home for lunch, and back when it got dark. For the most part our only toys were our bikes and maybe a baseball mitt. I will never forget the times when all the kids got together in “Finks field” for a game of scrub baseball. Everybody was welcome, kids from 8 to 18. I didn’t know it then but I guess I had a childhood most dream of. Drove thru town last summer. It all looked a lot smaller.

  • Harold McNeill

    January 13, 2019 |

    Well, my dear, it’s that time again. How the years fly by and the little ones grow but try as you may you will have a hard time catching up to your Daddy. Lots of love young lady and may your day be special
    Love, Dad

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Guess what? My response went to the Spam folder. Hmm, do you suppose the system is trying to tell me something?

  • Harold McNeill

    January 5, 2019 |

    Thanks, Terrance. Your comment came through but went to the Spam folder. Have pulled it out and approved. Can you send another on this post to see if you name is now removed from Spam? I’m not sure why it does that. Cheers, Harold

  • Terrance

    January 5, 2019 |


  • Harold McNeill

    December 23, 2018 |

    Thanks Sis. I will be uploading as Hi-Def so the photos can be viewed full screen. Brother