For my Catholic friends in Christ…

From Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Pænitentia (1984): A glance at certain aspects of contemporary culture can help us to understand the progressive weakening of the sense of sin, precisely because of the crisis of conscience and crisis of the sense of God already mentioned. “Secularism” is by nature and definition a movement […]

via Present-day culture weakens our sensitivity to sin — DC Latin Mass

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Culture of Celebrity: Guy Louis Debord

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Guy Louis Debord (French: [gi dəbɔʁ]; December 28, 1931 – November 30, 1994) was a French Marxist theorist, philosopher, and filmmaker.
French Marxist, Guy Debord, was considered to be slightly ahead of his time in analyzing celebrity. With work no longer giving life meaning, it is necessary that our “culture of celebrity” offers everyone “fifteen minutes of fame” to reconcile us to the “boredom of the rest of [our] lives.”

Debord wrote on the rising social importance of “media status”: “Where ‘media status’ has acquired infinitely more importance than the value of anything one might actually be capable of doing, it is normal for this status to be readily transferable…”

This quote gets at the heart of why Western society, especially Liberalism and the new liberalists tend to use and/or employ celebrities to get their message across.

Are pop singers and movie stars experts in the social, cultural, political, moral and ethical problems of our nation(s)?

If not, why is anyone paying attention to them? Well, because they are celebrities with high “media status,” and that status is “readily transferable” to any other field whatsoever.

Insanity…pure insanity!

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I don’t do STUPID any more…

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The first time I heard the statement, I don’t do stupid, I burst out laughing. A young man in his late twenties was expressing his exasperation at the stupidity of an individual who was attempting to enforce a set of ridiculous proceedures and methodology in the workplace.

The scene was a large automobile dealership. As a relatively new employee, the obviously intelligent young man asked a simple question:

Why do we do things this way, when there is a much simpler and easier way to go about it?

That is when the cow manure hit the proverbial fan. After all, new employees, especially young people, are not supposed to ask questions and challenge the holy grails of methodology and procedure in the workplace.

This is the way we have done it for thirty years…just shut up and do what I tell you to do!

The young man looked at his manager straight in the eye and said, “I don’t do stupid“. A week or so later, he handed in his resignation and went to work somewhere else.

Of course, this young person was correct in his idea(s), but could have used a little more finesse in his approach. Unfortunately, management did not see it that way. They were stuck back somewhere in the dinosaur age and were still micromanaging their employees like the 1950’s. Later, this young man was smeared as being lazy, unreliable, and insubordinate. In reality, the top-down management style of this particular dealership had just been put in its rightful place – stupid is as stupid does.

It was not much longer after that I began to signal my own intentions of leaving and my dissatisfaction with the high school mentality of some of the dealership management and many of its relatively uneducated employees. I felt disappointed in myself that I had put up with this nonsense for four years of my life, four long years that I could not get back. Being educated and underemployed in a situation where management and many of my co-worlers had barely got out of high school was NOT a fun situation to be in. This is NOT an expression of arrogance or elitism – it is an expression of frustration of having to work side by side, shoulder to shoulder with CAVEMEN 🙂

My father, a former high school teacher, once said to me, “Ignorance is no excuse”.

What he meant was that instead of wallowing in ignorance, making excuses as to why I couldn’t do something – figure it out. If I do not know how to do something correctly, instead of hanging on to “I don’t know how”, get out there and learn how to do it right.

I think I kind of went overboard on the “learning” part of the equation, spending some seven or eight years in post-secondary education, much to his chagrin 😉 Nevertheless, I do not regret taking the necessary time to get an education, as it has greatly enhanced my understanding of the world I live in. I am not referring to the mass of information that colleges and universities disseminate into the minds of the relatively young. I am talking about the ability to think critically, debate, and to research continually. If anything I have learned through all those years of learning, it was to be a life-long learner.

Unfortunately, for some, learning almost stops after high school. People may adapt to their chosen field of work (and obviously learn new things) but they often remain immersed in the same narrow social and cultural situations as they did in high school. They do not venture outside of that which is comfortable to them, and thus, they never really grow intellectually and often spiritually also.

Of course, one cannot apply this kind of generalization to all people everywhere, but it is certainly true in much of western society.

I have often heard the statement,

Who needs an education…I have street smarts!

Well…what can I say to that? I have street smarts too, and an education! I went back to pursue a post-secondary education later in life BECAUSE of what I learned on the street.

Sorry bud, but street smarts alone do not cut it in the real world.

Again, this particular individual is justifying, for whatever reason(s), that education has no value and that learning on the street, including experiencing the hard knocks of life, is the best approach. I just happen to disagree.

One of the things I learned while working in a far northern health district is that former addicts do NOT always make the best drug and alcohol addiction counsellors. It was a cultural norm and acceptable social reality in the North to hire former addicts with a minimal educational background (certificate or diploma) to serve as addiction counsellors to their own people (the Metis and Aboriginal or Indigenous people of the North). The reality was that a few of these counsellors had an extraordinary high rate of absenteeism in the workplace. When a formal inquiry was made as to why this was happening, nine times out of ten the individual(s) concerned had fallen off the wagon and were once again deep in the grip of their alcohol or drug addiction. The pressures of the workplace, including the normal expectation of the counsellors fulfilling the requirements of their job was too much for some. As soon as management would zero in on a problematic employee, they would go on stress leave for six months costing the health district and the taxpayer a disproportionately large amount of money – only for the cycle to repeat itself over and over again.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I feel great compassion for many of these individuals – one or two of which I would consider to be friends. Addiction of any kind is a horrible thing to overcome. But, the decisions the health district made in hiring and then carrying these ineffectual employees over a long period of time was just plain STUPID, in my opinion. The concept that a supposedly recovered addict with street smarts and a minimal education is ideal as an addiction counsellor is ludicrous to me. The best counsellor we had in the entire health district was an educated young person from another country half way around the world. To the hiring managers and board who held to the old and ineffectual ways of doing things, this came as a great surprise. This person’s success as an addictions counsellor only seemed to amplify management’s own ineffectiveness and narrow point of view.

There is so much more that I would like to write about publicly, but unfortunately I am bound in perpetuity to privacy and procedural contractual obligations, not to mention personal ethics. There is much we can learn from life and living. If we possess a broader framework to comprehensively understand the philosophical, cultural, and religious underpinnings of society, we will do even better. Does any of the above necessitate that everyone should pursue some sort of formal post-secondary education? Of course not! But I can highly recommend venturing out of that which you are accustomed to and comfortable with, in order to truly become a life-long learner – a seeker of truth. Consider developing critical thinking and debating skills, and taking the necessary time to develop research skills – that alone will serve you well your entire life.

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God…we will talk…just as soon as I finish being busy…

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This morning I woke up feeling a little out of sorts. My dreams were a bit of a mishmash of movies that I had recently watched and real life experiences all thrown together in a high-speed blender. The colours and seeming distortion of people and events was rather psychedelic almost like an impressionist painting.

I have learned over many years to pay attention to my dreams – no matter how bizarre they may be. I am certain that there is some sort of scientific explanation for our dreams and many old wives tales as to their meaning, nevertheless, I also believe that God can and does communicate to us through our dreams.

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Acts 2:15 NIV

Continue reading “God…we will talk…just as soon as I finish being busy…”

History of Condie Nature Refuge

History of Condie 

Human History

Before European settlement of the park and surrounding area, Cree, Assiniboine, and Saulteaux tribes utilized the area for camping. It is not sure how extensively the area was used by the tribes, but since there were buffalo in the area, it can be assumed that it was frequented often. The buffalo wallows that have been pawed out by these great beasts are evidence that they grazed on the slopes. Boggy Creek was a source of water for the herds, which in turn were a source of livelihood for the Indian tribes.

The arrival of the railway to the area brought European settlement. At the same time, the nomadic First Nations way of life was disappearing from the plains. The roaming herds of bison were replaced by the settlers’ domestic herds of cattle and the breaking of the sod and cultivation followed. In the Boggy Creek area, the European settlers actually preceded the railway. The first settlers to arrive in the Condie area in the spring of 1882 came by Canadian Pacific Railway to Brandon, Manitoba. From there they used ox carts to travel the remaining distance. In this same year, when the first owner sold the homestead property to another pioneer, 30 acres of land were broken bordering the creek. The heavy surface gumbo left by the glacial deposits of Regina Lake was ideal for producing high yield grain crops. The grassy depression of the creek was used for grazing cattle.

Robert Condie, was one of the first settlers and for whom the town of Condie was named and hence, Condie Nature Refuge. John Dougan, who was born in Condie in 1884, recalls the “old swimming hole”, as the depression in Boggy Creek was then called. At that time his father owned the land where the locals used to go for a dip on hot summer days. It was then just a 30 yard long, seven yard wide and eight foot deep hole.

Other settlers included George Burns, Thomas Cullum, Adam Traynor, W.C. and C.E. Michael, G.W. and Thomas Brown, Thomas Bredin, Sylvester Conn, and Russell and Len Purdy. The offspring of some of these families still reside in the Regina area. In fact, much of the present acreage of the refuge was purchased from the Pearce family, one of the original families. A son of the Pearce family still lives nearby.

The first crops harvested by these settlers had to be hauled by wagons to Regina, some 15 miles away. The C.P.R. had reached Regina by 1882. By 1885 a private firm, the Qu’Appelle-Long Lake Sask. Railway and Steamboat Company, had plans to load the trains onto barges to transport grain and goods to the northern end of Long Lake and then by rail. Many difficulties were encountered and finally the line was leased to the C.P.R. Then the C.P.R. extended a line as far as the hamlet of Condie, which became the first point on a rail line that later extended as far as Saskatoon. The Condie farmers built a grade and had the C.P.R. build loading platforms at Condie. It should be noted that Condie siding was about two miles from the present Refuge.

During the decade and a half from 1895 to 1910, Condie attained its peak as a commercial and grain shipment point. Wagonloads of wheat were no longer bagged but unloaded at four crude elevators. The hamlet also boasted a station, store, restaurant, church, skating rink, and sports field which serviced the whole area.

Practically all the virgin prairie was brought under the plow during this period. During one year over one million bushels of grain were shipped from Condie – surpassed in the province only by Indian Head. Proof of the richness of the area is indicated by the fact that as the automobile began to make an appearance, around 1908, practically every farmer in the Condie area bought one of these ‘contraptions’. Since this enabled them to go further afield to larger centers for goods and services, it heralded the beginning of the decline of the hamlet of Condie.

This was also about the time that the steam locomotive began to bring changes to the area. The most lastingly significant of these changes was that in 1924 the C.N.R. built a dam on Boggy Creek to provide water for their engines. Gravel was taken from the creek bank for construction of the dam known as the Condie Reservoir.  The water was piped by the C.N.R. into storage tanks in Regina. As the steam locomotive was replaced by the diesel engine in 1958 the reservoir was no longer needed. However, it remained although no longer serving its original purpose. It became a haven for water fowl and many other forms of wildlife.

Park Establishment

The reservoir and the surrounding lands remained in this state until it caught the attention of Dr. Fred Bard, then director of the Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History (Royal Sask. Museum). To most people this area represented only a swamp or mosquito-ridden marsh. But Dr. Bard knew and understood nature and her beauty. He appreciated the peace of mind that nature could offer to those willing to observe her. However, his efforts to have a refuge established through government sponsorship met with some opposition and a certain amount of controversy. It was questioned whether the area was large enough for a refuge and whether it was worth the purchase price and expense of maintenance and development. Dr. Bard persisted in his efforts and it is largely through his instigation that the refuge was finally established in its initial stages.

In 1961, the Department of Agriculture purchased 287 acres from the C.N.R. for the Department of Natural Resources. Additional acreage was purchased from the surrounding farmers. The Refuge was established by Order-in-Council in July, 1963.

Historical account courtesy Regina Public Schools Outdoor Education Program (http://outdoored.rbe.sk.ca).

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Eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?

Denial of the social and religious conflicts western societies are facing leads to confusion and chaos. As Canadians, if we refuse to recognize and peacefully address the problems we are having, we too will enter into a very chaotic, backwards, and dangerous society. One of the signs of an impending cultural crisis and chaos is the aligning of the political left with radical ideology in Canada.

Canadians have fought for so long to ensure basic human rights in this great country of ours, only to have that eroded away almost overnight by the politically correct and regressive left. Like days gone by, these issues can only be resolved through peaceful public discourse and sincere political debate – that is what freedom of speech is all about. 

To resort to violence, hatred, and intolerance only adds fuel to the fire and destroys our society from within.