Guns on the Street

Written by Harold McNeill on January 15th, 2016. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Kids and Guns USA

January 9, 2016 (Web Source).  Over the past several week’s various media groups have posted video’s or photos of kids in the USA practicing with handguns and various high power weapons. Parents being interviewed made it clear that learning to protect one’s self is important.  Clearly, no bully will chance an encounter with this little girl in the playground.

President Obama’s Executive Order on Guns

This post flows from a FB post made by my nephew, Greg Yochim, showing a video of President Obama at a townhouse meeting on Anderson Cooper’s 360.  Greg also made the following comment “It’s no secret that I like Obama, and as I watched the town hall meeting on AC 360 I tried to imagine Trump in this forum and it just seemed so inconceivable. (Yes, I know what that word means.).”

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Spankings: Pros and Cons

Written by Harold McNeill on December 24th, 2015. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


 

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Drawing (Google Source):  A few may recognize this temper tantrum. In the photo, the young woman was likely having the tantrum resulted from her son doing something she did not like. We assume it is her child and we have no idea why she is striking him? Perhaps her favourite lamp was tipped over after he was told to stop roughhousing.  Hmm. That could have been me when I knocked over and broke Dad’s kerosene lantern at the fish camp. 

In the footer is a schoolmaster with “attitude switch” speaking to a couple of boys. Back in the day, his actions were considered good classroom discipline.  Also, in the last century, as late as the 1970s a man was also allowed to physically ‘discipline’ his wife, servants and apprentices.

Many, but not all, of the mom’s and dads who administered spankings, were likely following in the footsteps of their parents or grandparents as far as their parenting choices.  If the parents and grandparents did not spank their children, it would be far less likely their children would, in turn, spank their children.

The Good Old Days

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New Orleans: Peeling back the Mask

Written by Harold McNeill on August 26th, 2015. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Photos (Web Source, then merged and wrapped using Photoshop)

Peeling Back the Mask

This post is actually a Tale of Two Cities. While New Orleans is widely known as the Big Easy to tourists and the well-healed who call the city home, for a large and ever growing number who work and live in the city, life is anything but easy. When the tourism mask is peeled back New Orleans becomes a city in which nearly half the population lives in poverty. Remember, this is a city that sits proudly among the Top 10 tourist destinations in the United States attracting over ten million visitors each year (Link)
January 1, 2018 (5300)

November 9, 2016 (Update)
Victoria, B.C.

US Election: Donald Trump President

I woke early this morning to see what happened and cannot say I am the least bit surprised.  The US is a deeply divided nation and much of that division seems to lie along the fault line of poverty. Over the past few decades, we have all watched the well-heeled establishment in the US protect themselves again and again and again against being held accountable for their misdeeds. 2008 was just the latest in a series of financial disasters precipitated by greed.

The short trip Ed Walker (my son-in-law), Grayson (grandson) and I took to New Orleans in August 2015 clearly revealed a fault line along the “black and white”, “rich vs poor” axis.  The poverty, the desperation, the lack of hope in New Orleans was being repeated throughout the south and parts of almost every other State.  It was hard for me to believe that two cities, Victoria and New Orleans, or even Louisiana and British Columbia, could be so similar in many ways, yet very different when it came to a poverty that, in much of the south, has extinguished any hope for a better future for a significant portion of the population.

I don’t know the demographics of how the US Vote count flowed out, but almost every state across the southern US voted for Trump, a man who is as establishmentnt as you can get, and Clinton the very essence of all that is rich. For different reasons people of the mid-central US choose Trump over Clinton, and although she was well-qualified to lead the country, she simply never understood the anger that was enveloping the country along the fault line of poverty.

Perhaps Trump is the only person in a batch of rotting apples who may be able to shake the establishment to its core in a manner that allows the country to re-establish a society based upon the ideals on which it was founded – equality and equal opportunity. Trump may provide the impetus for change but it is more likely he will he will demonstrate once and for all that the rich and big business will look after their interests first, last and always. The country could very well descend into another civil war before the rich realized what was happening.

On a comparative note, my wife and I, along with two friends, Garth and Esther, recently returned from Viet Nam and Cambodia) where we were completely enamored of the people, a people that have lived through the worst the world has to offer, yet have come out the other end as a gentle and loving society where it does not appear large numbers of people are left behind.  Comments about those two countries appear in recent series of travel posts – Resilience of the Human Spirit – posted in November 2016.

What might the future hold the citizens of the United States? I don’t know, but hopefully, the coming four years become one those momentous times that leads to positive change rather than complete destruction.  Now, some observations of our visit to New Orleans.

August 27, 2005, New Orleans was engulfed by Hurricane Katrina, a storm that carried a surge which breached the old and inadequate levees and flooded much of the city. It was one of the most destructive natural disasters in New Orleans history, yet much of the death and destruction was not caused by the storm but by wilful neglect — the failure to secure the city from the storm surge. That was a ‘black and white’ issue.  To what extent has the city recovered?

1. The Mask: What the tourists see.

For visitors, the city presents a year-round fantasyland of boisterous, round-the-clock carousing that caters to every taste and where musicians, singers, and various other entertainers compete with the best. For anyone who loves music, particularly jazz, statues-1366142999you will love New Orleans. Just spend an hour sitting in the open air Café Beignet (Three Statutes in the Musical Legends Park) on Bourbon Street and you will be treated to the sweet sounds of jazz as ever-changing groups of local artists pick up the beat.  (hdm photo files)

Wander along the Quarter to the north end where, on Frenchmen Street, you will likely find an ad hoc group of young men playing in a random brass group that will blow your socks off. Then, one day, walk along Basin Street to get a feel for the history of that fabled city.

For the more adventuresome, including the Catholics in our midst, Mardi Gras, “beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three King’s Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday,” is a celebration you should not miss. (Link)  The celebration, also referred to as “Fat Tuesday, reflects the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.”  Whether anyone other than the poor have ever fasted in New Orleans is questionable, and whether this is a destination of choice for the Lenten season, is doubtful. If, by this point, you have not struck the city off your ‘bucket list’ it will likely remain at or near the top until you finally decide to wade in. For most Canadians, it is less than a five-hour flight from any of our major centres.

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Warning to Immigrants Entering Canada

Written by Harold McNeill on July 31st, 2015. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


800px-Wawadit'la(Mungo_Martin_House)_a_Kwakwaka'wakw_big_house

This Victoria, B.C.  Big House is illustrative of a proud Aboriginal past where wealthy, prominent hosts would use it as longhouse for potlatching and housing guests. Potlatching was an innovative way for re-distributing wealth between families and clans, but the practice was brought to an abrupt end in 1884 in Canada through an amendment to the Indian Act. The same was done in the United States a decade later.

This was done at the urging of missionaries and government agents who considered the cultural practice to be “worse than a useless custom that was seen as wasteful, unproductive, and contrary to ‘civilized values’ of accumulation of wealth.” (Wiki Source). For those who didn’t know or may have forgotten, and that likely includes at least a third of the Canadian population, the Aboriginal people of Canada and the United States were the first to claim the Northern part of this continent as home.       

Note: September 8, 2015.  This pencil video narrative tells the story of early settlements in North Central America.  (LINK)

Introduction: Warning to Immigrants  

I felt compelled to write this post after receiving another of those wide circulation emails that spoke harshly of Muslims and others whose religious and cultural practices differed from that of white, english-speaking, middle class, Christians. Also, the fear mongering about the target groups and the harsh legislative agenda of various conservative leaning governments around the world over the past ten to fifteen years, has reached hysterical proportions.

In that vein, many Canadians may think Donald Trump an outlier, but it remains clear a significant number of people support him.   “This is our country not yours” is a refrain repeated over and over and fear mongering on a wide scale is a tactic used to cement the concept (e.g. “Mexicans are rapists”, “Muslims are terrorists”, etc.).  Make no mistake, when it comes to racism, Canadians can play that card with the best of them.

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Visions of the World

Written by Harold McNeill on June 22nd, 2015. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Harold holding new Canadian Passport

Harold holding his new Canadian Passport that was issued a few days back and is now valid until 2025.  About 53% of Canadians hold a passport, whereas the US stands at 20%. Given that most new Canadians apply for a Canadian passport (reference comments in footer), there must be a high percentage of natural born Canadians that have never bothered.

As many Canadians only use their passports for travel to the United States, Mexico, Cuba and other the Caribbean states, a large percentage of our population have never visited other parts of the world.

Visions of the World, was first written and posted on Facebook in early 2014. It is now updated and includes the following introduction. What prompted this re-post was a horrendous act of domestic terrorism in South Carolina carried out by a White Supremacist.  The case might make the front page of media outlets for a couple of days and will then drift off into history.

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‘Advocating Terror’ to become a Crime

Written by Harold McNeill on January 29th, 2015. Posted in Editorials, Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Home Grown Terrorists

Photo Collage:  A few of Canada’s notorious terrorists: The Bacon Brothers (BC), Maurice Bouchard (PQ), Eric Dejaeger (Nunavat), Vito Rizzuto (r)(PQ), Alan Legere (NB), Clifford Olsen (died in prison)(BC), Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka (Karla served 12 years after a plea deal) (ON), Willy Pickton (BC) and Russell Williams (ON).

Note: Just in case a few may think I am a left wing apologist for terrorists, you would be wrong.  Terrorists, whether they be of the criminal type or of the religious type, are despicable scum who deserve to be removed from civil society wherever in the world they may seek to practice their murderous ways. What I do not think we should do is give them a platform on which to spread their vile messages, nor should we re-direct billions in scarce funds away from those things that could make a real difference in reducing crime in whatever form it may present itself.

Introduction

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Facebook Photo Albums Easy Access

Written by Harold McNeill on November 14th, 2014. Posted in Editorials


Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 9.29.13 AM

Facebook Screen Shot
(Double Click to Open in Full Size)

Facebook Photo Albums Easy Access

Have you ever tried to locate a specific Photo Album in your Facebook files?  When writing stories, as well as at times on the request of others, I have had to locate a specific photo album. If the file was a few years back, it can be a tedious process. Those who are more experienced in the technology, you may have a quicker method, but after sitting down one day in an seemingly endless search for one album in the 400 or so on my regular FB and another 150 on McNeill Life Stories FB pages, I decided to index.   It took me only an 45 minutes.  Given I have wasted that much time on a single search, I can now do the search in less than a minute.  How?

Bookmarking: Am I just slow or what?

Starting at the top (or bottom if you wish), hover over the name of the album, and the drop down box allows you to index on your Bookmarks Page.  Simple stuff I know, but until I figured this out I had wasted dozens of hours finding specific albums.  Below is one same of the albums uploaded back in 2008 at Mom’s 90th Birthday Party.  It is so nice just to be able to click on the specific file and be taken back six years to the exact file.

Cheers,

Harold

Facebook Screen Shot

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Local Communities: Keeping the Spirit Alive

Written by Harold McNeill on November 3rd, 2014. Posted in Amalgamation Posts, Editorials


 

 

13 Young PeopleNew Years Eve 2013 (Brentwood Inn):  While young people are always a big part of the spirit of every community, the current demographic is a new breed committed to maintaining and improving small communities and they have the power to greatly influence how life in the Capital Region will unfold by Keeping the Spirit Alive.
By coincidence, there are thirteen young people in this photograph. We have worked, travelled and partied with many of these young people during a good part of their lives.
(March 3, 2018, 535)

November 9, 2014: A new post on McNeill Life Stories Facebook Page:
Thirteen Communities and Ninety-Two largely Volunteer Councillors 

The Real Costs of Amalgamation (Time Colonist November 23, 2014)

Another Post on this Blog: Amalgamation, Searching for the Truth

To our younger family members and friends in the Capital Region,

Do you think it possible that one morning you might wake up and your community, as you know it, was suddenly changed forever?  I am not referring to a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane, but to a political change that would affect the fabric of your community and the social glue that holds it together.  Please take a few minutes to digest the attached post and other links provided in the footer.

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    August 16, 2019 |

    Many thanks for reviewing the article Elizabeth. There are so many areas of our society in which populism carries the day, although I think what is happening with the ICBC is that groups having a vested interest in private insurance would dearly love to dislodge ICBC from their preferred position. That being said, I think was a good move to have only portions of the insurance coverage in BC being held by ICBC and other portions being made available through private enterprise.

  • Elizabeth Mary McInnes, CAIB

    August 15, 2019 |

    It’s a breath of fresh air to see a resident of British Columbia look to review all the facts over believing what is reported in the news or just following along with the negative stigma of the masses. Your article truly showcases that with a little reform to ICBC’s provincial system – British Columbia could be a true leader for other provinces in Canada. Very well written article!

  • Harold McNeill

    August 13, 2019 |

    August 13, 2019. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), a private enterprise group not unlike the Fraser Institute, is again on the campaign trail. They state ICBC rates are the highest in Canada, but, thankfully, Global BC inserted a section indicating the Insurance Bureau cherry-picked the highest number in BC and the lowest numbers in AB, ON and other Eastern Provinces. If you take a few minutes to check reliable sources you will find BC rates, are the lowest in Canada.

  • Andrew Dunn

    May 14, 2019 |

    Thank you so much for all your help thus far Harold, aka. Tractor guy! I could not have done without you!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 25, 2019 |

    I find it interesting to contemplate how a small community evolves in general isolation from the rest of the world. We have a similar situation in the northern communities in Canada to which access is limited. The inclusion of the world wide web and mass media has changed things, but these communities are still left pretty much to their own devices when it comes to personal interaction.

  • 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.