Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Yesterday in High Park

I love fall, but you can feel it quickly passing---this year perhaps more quickly than others. With work and the baby, we're so busy (and utterly exhausted). It would even be hard to keep track of the seasons if it wasn't so brilliant outside.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Nine Months Old!

Yesterday Amadisto reached the grand old age of 9 months! He seems so big to us, but really he's just a little guy.

Good Morning Toronto V

Time change or no time change, Amadisto and I are up to catch the sunrise.

post woes

I can't seem to upload anything today....or it gets posted twice (see below). But there are some new Flickr pics if you check out the badge to the right.

I might as well step away from the computer anyway. It's a beautiful fall day here.


Moose Steaks

OK, since I lost my bet with my Mom about the winner of the World Series, now I'm going have to come up with some moose steaks.....

Is it just me, or was that the most boring World Series ever? I'm not just saying that because the Tigers lost. It just seemed like there was no action. The Tigers didn't even show up! Really the most exciting thing that happened was Kenny Rodger's pine tar incident in Game 1. And man, that was exciting.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Good Morning Toronto IV

Reduced to 'I'

This poem is a clear indictment on blog culture and its obsession with "I".... and, yes, "I" include "myself" among the guilty....

Reduced to 'I'
by Adrienne Rich

In those years, people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of 'we,' of 'you'
we found ourselves
reduced to 'I'
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to

But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged
into our personal weather
They were headed somewhere else but their beaks and pinions drove
along the shore, through the rags of fog
where we stood, saying I

Source: Inward/Outward

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Good Morning Toronto III

Another Reason I'm Proud of The United Church of Canada

Churches Mount Massive Lobby On Canadian Gay Marriage Vote

(Ottawa) Leaders from Canada's two largest denominations are treading the hallways on Parliament Hill today, presenting two differing views on a government plan to revisit the legalization of same-sex marriage.

On the one side are the Roman Catholic Church and a dozen socially conservative evangelical groups urging members of Parliament to vote to re-open the marriage debate and support repeal of the law enacted last year by the former Liberal government.

Opposing them is Canada's largest Protestant denomination, the United Church of Canada, which supports same-sex marriage.

The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to present a motion in the current session asking MPs if they want to re-open the marriage debate. It fulfills a campaign promise to religious conservatives made by Harper but survey's of MPs show it is likely to fail.

The two smaller parties in Parliament - the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democrats - have pledged to vote in a block against the motion. All but about 30 of the Liberals also have said they would vote against the measure. At least 11 members of Harper's own party have voiced their opposition to revisiting the issue.

Catholic and evangelical leaders say they are targeting about 50 MPs they say can be swayed to vote for reopening the debate. United Church and gay rights groups say they intend to lobby the same group today.

The UCC also has sent a letter to all Members of Parliament stating its support for equal marriage.

"To reopen the debate and deny the right to equal marriage would be a violation of the religious freedom of faith communities, such as ours, who wish to recognize same-sex marriage as part of their religious practice," said the United Church's Moderator, the Right Rev. David Giuliano, in the letter.

Giuliano said that the current Civil Marriage Act strikes a good balance by protecting the rights of gay and lesbian persons, while not interfering with the rights of religious groups to practice their faith as they choose.

"It is our understanding that God's intention for all relationships is that they be faithful, responsible, just, loving, health-giving, healing, and sustaining of community and self," Giuliano's letter said.

"These standards apply to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. The United Church recognizes that gay and lesbian members of our faith communities want to make lifelong commitments and have these commitments recognized in their faith communities. They seek to make their solemn vows with communities of faith who will support them in their commitments."

Globe & Mail
CNW Wire

Places I've Lived: Otto St., Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

I don't have the actual address for this place, but I'm pretty sure it's right around here. By my estimate we lived there sometime in 1971, though it couldn't have been for more than a couple of months. It was another creepy house behind a hamburger stand in the eastern suburbs of LA.

One time my brother and I were home alone in the evening, waiting for my mom to return from work. Something scared us and made us think there was a ghost in the house (I don't remember what it was). We ran outside and wouldn't go back in the house until mom got home. To pass the time, we smashed ketchup packets which we had stolen from the hamburger place on the sidewalk, pretending it was splattered blood.

Mom got home and told us we were silly, so we believed her and went back in for the night.


Google link

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Was This Child Born a Carnivore?

Changes are happening so fast. It seems like every three weeks since Amado was born he has completely changed, each time with brand new and surprising skills. Just in the last week or so, he has become a fast crawler---flying across the floor with amazing speed. He is also starting to pull himself up on things---including his crib rails with the threat of jumping out. That would not be good.

And yesterday, he started taking baby steps while we were holding his arms. Not really walking, but it's clear that he knows what he wants to do and he's going to do it. Also yesterday he ate some meat (I can hear his Gramma Coop's *gasp* now, all the way from California). It was just a bit from a jar, and by advice of a Toronto Public Health brochure, but still a step closer to complicity in the moral ambiguities of being human.

Watching him grow, it's easy to see how all his changes and growth are brought about by a state that must be innate to humans:

"I want..."

Good Morning Toronto II

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Go Tigers!

Just in case anybody is wondering....here are six reasons I'm rooting for the Detroit Tigers in this year's World Series:

1) Detroit is right down the road from us, so how can you not root for them?
2) Detroit is a city that needs all the help it can get, including world championships.
3) For years the Tigers have been perennial losers, and I always like redemption stories.
4) They have a great legacy, including several world championships and players like Hank Greenberg (above) who played for the Tigers in the 1930s and 1940s and is one of the greatest Jewish players in the history of baseball.
5) The St. Louis Cardinals shouldn't even be in the series...the Mets were the better team!
6) Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa is a vegetarian! (that one is just for my Mom!)

Friday, October 20, 2006


Amadisto is on the move these days and becoming quite the handful. I know, I know, just wait until he becomes a teenager and we will see what a handful really is.....that's what all our friends with teenage kids are telling us anyway.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Church Man in the World of Addicts and Hustlers

To honour my father-in-law's birthday, which was yesterday, I thought I would post a snippet from this 1963 cover story in the United Church Observer on him and his street ministry in downtown Toronto. Kenneth Bagnell, the writer, really got into it and wrote the whole thing in a steamy crime noir style. No doubt very cool for the United Church Observer, then or even now.

The irony---sad I guess, though it's something I'm very proud of---is that Wendy, Paul's daughter, works the exact same streets today reaching out to the same "clientele," in her job as an addiction and mental health counsellor.

A Church Man in the World of Addicts and Hustlers: How Paul McCarroll meets the night people of Toronto's sin strip.

by Kenneth Bagnell
The United Church Observer
Feb. 15, 1963

"One night last month, Paul McCarroll, 27, parked his car in a cluttered alley in Toronto, got out and began his work as perhaps the most daring student minister in Canada. For he stood in a wasteland of drug addiction, a neighbourhood of heroin and hypodermic needles, pushers and prostitutes."

"Every week for three years, virtually unknown to the church, he has spent one night, sometimes three, away from his college books, sitting in sleazy restaurants of Chinatown or walking beneath the garish signs, where Jarvis slices Dundas. He stays until the fingers of dawn creep into the streets, on a mission to "revive and redeem" young people his own age, who are down at the count of nine...."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ready to Rumble (in the Fall Leaves)

Yesterday's Top Ten

Another crazy run on the iPod shuffle....

1. Chaung Tzu's Dream – William Parker & Hamid Drake
2. Juanita – Rachel Smith (absolutely beautiful....I almost turned the iPod off after this song, I was so stunned)
3. Bobby-a-Go-Go – Bobby Parker (so funky, you can almost smell it....)
4. Too Much To Lose – Jeff Beck
5. Corrido de Boxero – Ry Cooder
6. The Real Revolution is Love – Joy Harjo & Poetic Justice
7. Up From the Skies – Jimi Hendrix
8. I and I Dub – Abyssinians
9. Sanctuary – Mahavishnu Orchestra
10. Safety Zone – The Gospel Hummingbirds ("Jesus keep me in the safety zone, I know I gotta be there just to make it home.")

Tempting Faith

Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction
by former Bush-advisor, David Kuo

This looks like a very, very interesting book....glad to see somebody, especially a conservative Christian, calling it like it is when it comes to the Bush White House. However, at this point, it may be the progressive Christians who need to watch out that they are not tempted when it comes to getting in bed with the political powers. Conservative Christians have been down this road already and should already know better.

From Newsweek:
Q. Are Christian leaders being naïve in their dealings with the White House or do they understand the nature of the exchange?

Kuo: "It’s a little bit of both. In some ways White House power is like [J.R.R.] Tolkien’s ring of power. When you put it on, it feels good and it’s dazzling. But after a while it begins to consume you in ways you don’t realize. That’s the nature of White House power. I have no doubt that Christian political leaders have gotten involved for all the right reasons. I just think over time it becomes harder and harder to stand up against that ring of power and the White House, to say no and walk away.... "

"I personally think it should take two years from after this election to the presidential election—evangelical Christians should take a fast from giving their money to political causes and from giving much of their time as well. Take that money that is currently fueling all those wonderful hate-filled ads, the hundreds of millions being spent, and spend that money on the poor and inner-city kids. Instead of spending time lobbying, spend your time with your neighbor, saying love your neighbor as yourself.... "

"At what point do you become so captive to one particular political party that you lose your influence and your power?"

These are just some selections from the full article, which you can read at:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Adios Freddy

Even though I was just a kid, I feel like I spent a lot of time in the mid-70s at Phelan's T-Bird partying as Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" played over and over again on the juke box. For me, it's the perfect theme song for those days and nights spent at the bar hanging out with my Mom and her friends---an almost surreal collection of local desert characters and Mexicans who worked at the chicken ranch. The only thing missing in Fender's recording is the smack of the cue ball during a break and the smell of Joyce's questionable burgers and fries.

Obit: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/arts/AP-Obit-Fender.html

Friday, October 13, 2006

Local Weather

You may have heard that in Buffalo, New York---just 50 miles from our house---there was about 15 inches of snow overnight. But here in Toronto there has been nary a flurry (though I saw a couple of flakes yesterday afternoon). In fact, it's still storming in Buffalo this morning, but here on the other side of the lake, it's cold, but sunny. That's fine we us. We love snow, but we got things to do, such as find warm winter outfits for Mijo Amado!

The cool activity drawing above comes from this funny blog.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving (which should be obvious to you Canadians, but I'm just filling in my U.S. readers). We will be up north and out of blog-range for a couple of days, where I will be giving thanks for you, all of my blog readers.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Still Healing

America's civil rights struggle is history that no one should forget...

From The New York Times:

"...Rev. James M. Lawson Jr., 78, returned to teach at Vanderbilt this fall, 46 years after the university expelled him for his role in lunch-counter sit-ins that made Nashville a springboard for a generation of civil rights activists...."


Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Sushi Birthday Bash

Amado went to sleep right on schedule (7:30 p.m.) last night and Wendy and I got to enjoy a nice plate...no, it was a whole platter...of sushi from "Yumi's" for her birthday. It was delicious!

I was so into it (poor fish) I forgot to take a picture, so I'll borrow one from Rev. Shawn's blog instead. Hope he won't mind!

We also had cake and ice cream, but we forgot to eat the cake.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Happy Birthday Wendy!!!

....to the most beautiful person I've ever met.

Where the homeless and the CEO kneel together

The "secret project" I am working on with the United Church was featured in another newspaper article this weekend, this one by Kevin Little. Here are some excerpts:

The United Church of Canada has embarked on an expensive campaign called Emerging Spirit to attract 30- to 45-year-olds. Some grumble that this money would be better spent on social justice work or hiring additional staff, but I disagree. The fact is, our land of affluence, greed and narcissism needs to hear the radical "good news" of Jesus (See Matthew 25 and 28)....

...Let's be clear that this age group is interested in spirituality, not religion, and it's easy to see why. To attract my generation, the churches must make every effort to free themselves of patriarchy, racism and homophobia. And amen to that....

...While it is true the church must do more to reach out to those who hunger for God but are allergic to religion, it is also true that deep spiritual yearning can only be satisfied by a message that actually has something to say to the culture....

...Instead of asking the congregation to stand up and give themselves a hug (I was a witness to this one vacation Sunday), we should ask them to reach into their wallets and examine their credit card receipts. As it says in Matthew 6:21 "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." And we need more connections to the lives of people on the margins, here in Canada and around the world (Matthew 25)....

...Our churches can share the positive message that within their walls is a different community, where the homeless and the CEO kneel to receive the Sacraments together, where the mentally challenged and the workaholic hand out bulletins together, where the convicted criminal who has done her time and the president of the United Church Women can count the collection together. It is a church where success is not measured by attendance or how happy we feel when we leave. Instead it is a place where we learn to love our neighbour as God loved us, as we love ourselves....

Monday, October 02, 2006

Not My Fault

...and there is nothing I can do about it.

From Every Cover Tells a Story

It's a Small World After All

My mom noted this harmonic convergence:

At 3:20 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday...
...the temperature in Santa Cruz (where my mom lives) is 61.
...in Phelan (where my brother lives) it's 61 degrees.
...and in Toronto (were we live) it is 61!

What she doesn't know, is at this exact same time (6:20 Eastern time), I was watching Lawrence Welk's musicians on T.V. do a polka rendition of "It's a Small World After All."

Yes, it's true.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Cam McCarroll, Jazz Guitarist

Wendy's cousin Cam is a very serious jazz guitarist. And like any very serious jazz guitarist in the 21st century, Cam has a site on MySpace. Go there to check out his original compositions, "Dog Trip," "Song for G.Y.," and "Takai." Amazingly beautiful music.

Folks in the Toronto area can catch Cam on Wednesdays in October at the Rex. 6:30 p.m. Don't be late!