Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One small letter can make a huge difference when shared from your heart!

Joy Johnston, a friend of mine, penned this email that arrived today…

Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of Congo, September 2008. A pastor shared with me that he didn't understand why God had caused him to be born Congolese: "To be Congolese is to be born under a curse. This nation is nothing but destruction and corruption, poverty and death." But he held in his hand a stunning blue sapphire. He explained that in his home area, precious gems could be found just 6 feet underground. Hidden treasures! This one had been unearthed by his young daughter. He would sell it to provide food for his family and the orphans they care for.

I tried to encourage him that God has a hope and a future for his nation. I suggested that Congo, with it's tremendous people resources and rich natural resources, might also be a hidden treasure. That if some day “unearthed” and settled in God's hands, Congo could find itself not only blessed, but a source of great blessing to others. He so much wanted to hope!

I look forward to returning to Katanga in August, and again investing in the lives and ministries of some of Congo’s hidden treasures. These Christian leaders are working to bring a hope and a future to their nation – a hope and a future that will come only through Jesus’ power to transform and restore. Pray for Congo! Pray for me as I go!

P.S. Pray also for the August/September ministry in South Sudan and Uganda. These nations have their own "hidden treasures"!

* * * * * * * * *
Joy is an old friend of mine that is very young and vibrant in her ministry. We first met in Hong Kong a long, long time ago.

When my family and I lived in Hong Kong and worked with the Youth throughout the colony(at that time still under Britain’s guidance) – I met Joy.

Joy came as part of a team of young adults from Canada to assist us in any way possible to make our work easier and more profitable with the local folks we worked with.

Having the great group of young adults come to fit in wherever was a wonderful break from the daily grind of wondering if anything was happening. They were a pleasant diversion from the stuff of ordinary.

However some were a kind of special “royal pain” in that they could never really acclimatize to the new culture. Others fit in as if they were made for what was happening to them.

Joy was part of the second group – an easy fit and loved her stay.

When the team of young adults were leaving Hong Kong I hated to let them go home. It was always the same – every time a group left. They had become “my kids” and I loved them – but hated to let them go.

At times when a team came I was deeply stirred by what I had witnessed as they had worked with the folks in our community. More than anything I witnessed the potential that each one had within them. It was pure magic to see the ability of each as they reached out. Yet they were returning to Canada and a life of their ordinary – where they would fall back into the routine of their old lives.

You just never knew what was happening away back there in Canada. There as no email, no internet with FaceBook – only letters that took almost two weeks to get to some one back in Canada – and then if they decided to write back or remembered to write back – you might have kept in touch with them for at least a year.

Joy was among a group that was very busy with life.

I took a cue and wrote a letter to each team member before they left Hong Kong. With a thank you and some simple words that came from my heart I sealed the envelope and gave it to the young adults as they left us to return to Canada.

Generally my words included a thought for each one… and with it a prayer for them as they returned home. With it I guess I simply wanted them to not forget us.

Life whizzed by until 2008… about 25 years later… when I received an email from Joy Johnston, one of the young adults of so long ago. She is now a world traveller and speaker that travels to many countries around the globe. I know that she has gone to places I only dreamed of getting to in my life time. I could never make it to all those places – so Joy has taken up the challenge for me!

In our recent communication Joy shared with me about a letter that I had written to her after her trip and work with us in Hong Kong… and what it meant to her at that time.

I am amazed that she still had the copy of that old piece of paper… of over 26 years ago – or so.

The power of the idea of simply dropping someone a note, sharing your ideas in a letter… of opening your heart … is powerful.

The potential of one young adult like Joy is staggering in my mind. And you better believe it… I AM VERY PROUD OF JOY JOHNSTON!!!!

I love her emails and communications back to us now. She has me on her growing email list and contact list – and keeps me alongside of her work regularly.

BTW if you would like to get to know Joy Johnston you can email her at joy.johnst@gmail.com

If you write to her – tell her an old guy that she knew a long time ago bragged about her work. She would love to hear from you with a short note from you…..

One small letter can make a huge difference when shared from your heart!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Monday, June 29, 2009

"I’m not me minus anything; I’m me plus this experience"

Michael J. Fox’s words read…
“There are things that I can’t do to the extent that I used to do or, in some cases, at all. But there are more things that I do that I didn’t do before. We sometimes see subtractions when we are ill. They are not just subtractions. I’m not me minus anything; I’m me plus this experience. Whether it’s good or bad is a subjective thing, but this has assuredly changed my path…”

Certainly words to ponder in most of our cases.

As many know Michael J. Fox became aware of his Parkinson’s Disease when he was 40 years of age. He continued to work in TV and Movies as he had done for years – without telling anyone. For seven years he guarded his secret. Then realizing that he had maybe five years of public work left he let outsiders know his secret.

I have been reflecting on his statement above over these past weeks. The thoughts have been many.

Today is the start of the second year of my Non- Pastoral Life.

Yesterday was the anniversary of one year since that “Last Lasagna Dinner” (I hesitate to say the ‘Last Supper’ but it felt like it)…

It was the day that I tried my best to smile for cameras and act like I was headed out on a fine new adventure… a really long holiday. I had spoken in the morning and then “celebrated” my being laid off and start of my unemployment adventure for the next months to come.

Wow – what a year it has been!

During the year I can say that it has been an adventure to say the least.

During one the special classes that I attended to help with the new role that I was entering, the instructor had asked us to write down three things on a file card that would indicate “My Goals for the next three months” – or “…in three months”. She gave us an envelope with a stamp on it. We were asked to place these Goals in the envelope, seal it and address it to ourselves. She collected them and kept them for three months.

When the start of the fourth month arrived I collected our mail and there was letter addressed to me – from me – in my handwriting.

I had forgotten about the class exercise of three months ago as I opened the letter to me from me.

There on the file card I read the following…
1. Complete the ground work for building my Personal Business.
2. Secure and stabilize a steady source of income.
3. Maintain a balance of Life I have achieved by now being unemployed.

This moment of re-reading the file card was about 5 months from the “Last Lasagna Dinner”. I was already heading into my Self Employed Benefits program and the possibilities of a future were within my grasp.

The three goals that I had listed were mine… or well on the way to being complete.

It has been an amazing year – with many ups and some downs.

I/We have been supported by some amazing people that stood with us in so many ways. At just the right time they called, emailed, FaceBook-ed a comment and some even dropped in.

There were downers too… a friend walked out on a commitment that kind of crushed hope for a week or so… then a brand new door opened that was ten times better than the original plan. For that I am so thankful – a huge stress that was unnatural and not needed in any way was lifted. WOW! At the time I felt super down and terribly hurt – but within weeks and specially now – I see the wonderful wisdom of God in my diversion from that situation.

I can say with great confidence… “There are things that I can’t do to the extent that I used to do of, in some cases, at all. But there are more things that I do that I didn’t do before. We sometimes see subtractions when we are ill. They are not just subtractions. I’m not me minus anything…” (Thanks Michael J. Fox).

I have tried to separate my new “Misty Hollow Carving” (see www.murraylincoln.com ) from another growing ministry as the two seem to conflict in some folks eyes. Well I cannot do that any longer.

The growing ministry is “Ontario Provincial Chaplaincy” which puts me in contact with an amazing group of people that serve our province – our MPPs… Members of Provincial Parliament that serve in Ontario’s Queen’s Park in Toronto. I serve in a unique role of Chaplain to some amazing people. I connect with them and also with the supporting churches across Ontario.

I cannot write about all that I know. I do not speak about it either. I just know that an amazing group of people are being touched deeply by what God is doing in some very important places in our government of Ontario.

Further to this growing ministry of the Ontario Provincial Chaplaincy another door started to open in amazing way as well.

That new role is the one of a leading the “Mental Health Working Group for Ontario”. In this role I am entering perhaps one of the most important ones that I have ever done to date… that of carefully looking at, deeply caring for, and endeavouring to come up with some solid information about how the Correctional Services Canada is dealing with the Mental Health needs of men and women coming from the Federal Prison system. We are looking at what happens in Prison as well as what happens in the Community when folks are released to live on their own.

Just after the “Last Lasagna Dinner” I had been pretty sure that it was as good as over… life that I had known was never going to be there again. I was walking out of 35 years of wonderful experiences and great challenges mixed with heart aches of all kinds. It was called “Ministry” and it was over.

Little did I realize that it was just about to start – not end.

Today is a Brand New Day – the BND of Murray Lincoln’s life.

With Michael J. Fox’s help I finish this short Blog today…
“…I’m not me minus anything; I’m me plus this experience. Whether it’s good or bad is a subjective thing, but this has assuredly changed my path…”

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wiki Wiki to the Encyclopedia

On multiple occasions I have referred to “Wikipedia” as a source of information for an article or a quote that I am working on. Truly it is amazing as it fits into the present internet culture. Millions upon millions of bits of information catalogued by faithful contributors… edited all the time… updated whenever… and ready to access immediately by anyone with a computer.

From an article posted on Wikipedia itself – about Wikipedia… quote…
Wikipedia is a free, web-based multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its name is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites, from the Hawaiian word wiki, meaning "quick") and encyclopedia. Wikipedia's 13 million articles (2.9 million in the English Wikipedia) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone who can access the Wikipedia website. Launched in January 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, it is currently the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet.

There is the answer to a question that many have… the word Wikipedia – is “portmanteau” of the Hawaiian word “wiki” – meaning “quick” and the end of the word encyclopedia.
There are 2.9 Million article in the English edition of this growing resource. 13 million articles from all kinds fo language groups around the world. From Afrikaans to Žemaitėška – where it is called Vikipedėjė.

When searching the list of languages now available I found “Scots” and it says…
Wikipaedia is a wab-foondit, free beuk o knawledge (or encyclopedia) that onybody can cheenge gin thay like. Wikipaedia haes aboot a million an a hauf airticles, an a thrid o thaim's in Inglis.

Under Kiswahili – it states…
Kutoka Wikipedia, kamusi elezo huru
urambazaji, tafuta
Wikipedia ni kamusi elezo huru ya lugha nyingi katika mtandao. Inatumia taratibu wa wikiwiki. Ni bure kabisa, na inaweza kusomwa, kuandikwa, na kuhaririwa na mtu yeyote, popote pale. Yaani kila mtu anaweza kuchangia makala au kuwa na uhuru wa kuboresha makala zilizopo kwa kuzihariri.
Kamusi hii inajengwa kwa utaratibu huria ambao umejengwa juu ya falsafa ya ushirikiano inayokuwa kwa kasi. Falsafa hii inaonekana katika vuguvugu la
programu huria ya tarakilishi, mikutano huria, demokrasia huria, n.k.

What an amazing idea it is – to say the least. Any language group that is able to access a computer and keyboard in their language – can access the Wikipedia in their area… and can also add to the data base of information.

It is only 8 years old now. In world of the internet that is ancient – but in my own world that is a baby.

But Wikipedia is not the only source using this idea of sharing information – other groups or similar frame works have sprung up – for an example Enciclopedia Libre

A long time ago…
I think it was about Grade 10 when I discovered the magic in the corner of the Library at Central Collegiate Institute where I attended High School. Other guys were goofing off while we were to use the space and time as a study period.

I was bored. I walked over to this dusty set of maroon coloured books. One was open. I could see thousands of words on that two page spread. I remember wondering who would write this kind of thing. What kind of fun would it be? Were they nuts? Etc.

For a person of 16 years of age – I could not imagine what words could be of that much value to put in a book.

I cannot remember why I did it… but I turned the pages to “Gun Powder”… I think my friends and I were talking about it and the idea came to look it up in the Big Books… as I looked down on the pages.

Wikipedia has almost the exact same description that I read 49 years ago.
Black powder is a granular mixture of
* a nitrate, typically potassium nitrate (KNO3), which supplies oxygen for the reaction;
* Charcoal, which provides carbon and other fuel for the reaction, simplified as carbon (C);
* Sulfur (S), which, while also a fuel, lowers the temperature of ignition and increases the speed of combustion.

Now adding to this bit of information was a Chemistry Teacher that had mentioned that Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) was almost the same as Potassium Chlorate (KClO3 ) – which can be bought in a drug store.

BINGO! New idea… could we make a bomb with home made gun powder?

In one drug store we found sulfur. In another we found charcoal. And in the third we found some Potassium Chlorate.

After a small amount of mixing we found that a light gray colour was an extremely rapid burning mixture that flared up and filled the garage we were sitting in with a huge smoke cloud – instantly.

Now if you confine the grayish coloured mixture in a tight area – and light it… the volume of smoke and gases released try to break the container. The breaking of the container is instant… and a Kerboom happens to the delight of the young teens standing around.

We made our first Bomb in a toilet paper roll wrapped with tape tightly. Not bad… it blew upwards about 10 feet.

The evolution of containers worked up to a large copper pipe left over from a plumbing job that my dad had done in our house. It was ¾ of an inch in diameter… and about a foot long.

When it was ignited (by a special “Lincoln Invention” that will remain a secret)… the sound was beyond imagination and scared us out of Bomb making for a long time. None of us could hear right for days… and maybe even today. When the man from down the block came running to see what had happened… his mouth moved but none of us could hear what he said.

Wikipedia says…
Gunpowder, also called black powder, is an explosive mixture of sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate, KNO3 (also known as saltpetre/saltpeter) that burns rapidly, producing volumes of hot solids and gases which can be used as a propellant in firearms and as a pyrotechnic composition in fireworks. The term gunpowder is also often used more broadly to describe any propellant powder used in firearms. Modern firearms do not use the traditional gunpowder (black powder) described in this article, but instead use smokeless powder. Antique firearms or replicas of antique firearms are often used with black powder substitute propellants. In this article, the terms gunpowder and black powder are used interchangeably.

A while ago as my Grandsons were becoming so interested in knowing more Grandpa and what I did when I was a boy… I was so tempted to tell them a story of “Kerboom”. But my daughters made me promise that I would tell their sons any stories yet….

Wiki Wiki to the encyclopedia…

~ Murray Lincoln ~



Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kellogg Corn Flakes and My Dad

Kellogg Corn Flakes was my dad’s favourite snack in the evening. I remember it almost as a religious experience. He would plop down in his arm chair with a full bowl of corn flakes, sugar and milk. It seems that he did this every since I could remember.

Well actually that would not be the way it really was. It may have only been in my later times at home that this regiment took place. But it could have been all my life – because Corn Flakes were concocted as a registered patent on May 31, 1894 – under the name of “Granose”. Corn Flakes sounds better than Granose.

Its inventor was John Harvey Kellogg. In 1875 he graduated from New York University Medical College at Bellevue Hospital.

He and his wife Ella had no children of their own. Instead, they adopted 7 children and raising over 40.

Early in his life he was a believer/follower in the Seventh Day Adventists religion…which was strong on “a vegetarian diet, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco and a regimen of exercise”.

His greatest fascination seemed to be “the bowels” of an individual. In them he believed were the health of the individual – good or bad.

He ran the Battle Creek Sanatorium, a popular form of helping people get better. In the sanatorium setting was good food, exercise and the retreat mode – which would whisk people from their sometimes unhealthy life styles in the city. Doctors and specialists would treat their patients with a variety of methods.

Dr. Kellogg began his concoction of Granose as a solution for constipation from what I could glean. It was to help keep a person regular. The application of chopped/mushed up corn in a solution of cow’s milk should/would do the trick.

A quote from an article published on Wikipedia tells about other forms of keeping people regular… quote…
“Kellogg made sure that the bowel of each and every patient was plied with water, from above and below. His favorite device was an enema machine that could rapidly instill several gallons of water in a series of enemas. Every water enema was followed by a pint of yoghurt — half was eaten, the other half was administered by enema, “thus planting the protective germs where they are most needed and may render most effective service." The yogurt served to replace the intestinal flora of the bowel, creating what Kellogg claimed was a squeaky-clean intestine.

Kellogg believed that most disease is alleviated by a change in intestinal flora; that bacteria in the intestines can either help or hinder the body; that pathogenic bacteria produce toxins during the digestion of protein that poison the blood; that a poor diet favors harmful bacteria that can then infect other tissues in the body; that the intestinal flora is changed by diet and is generally changed for the better by a well-balanced vegetarian diet favoring low-protein, laxative and high-fibre foods; and that this natural change in flora could be sped by enemas seeded with favorable bacteria, or by various regimens of specific foods designed to heal specific ailments.”
End quote…

Well… the idea of eating a half pint of yogurt and then having the other pint planted firmly and squarely up you back side – after having been washed out by several gallons of water applied by a special machine… MADE CORN FLAKES a WONDERFUL alternative.

It wasn’t until 1955 when Norman Rockwell designed an illustration for the front of a Kellogg Corn Flakes boxes… that it became a possibility of a Children’s cereal.

But in Battle Creek’s Sanatorium another breakfast cereal was developed as a result of another person’s stay.

Charles William Post visited the Kellogg Sanatorium because of his ailing health. Having experienced the enemas of Dr. Kellogg and likely with lots of time to think – sitting on a toilet often – he came up with a new idea for a cereal.

Wikipedia states… quote…
He visited the Battle Creek Sanitarium operated by John Harvey Kellogg for his failing health. He was inspired to start his own cereal company based on the products used there.

In 1895, he founded Postum Cereal Co., with his first product, Postum cereal beverage. He was in the vanguard of print advertising and is said to have invented the cents-off coupon. Post's first breakfast cereal premiered in 1897, and he named the product Grape Nuts cereal because of the grape-like aroma noticed during the manufacturing process and the nutty crunch of the finished product.

In 1908, he followed up the Grape Nuts label with a brand of corn flakes first called Elijah's Manna that was later renamed Post Toasties.
End quote…

“Elijah’s Manna”? “Grape Nuts”?

Yep it all had something to do with keeping you regular. Imagine most of what we eat was developed as a relief to most human’s ailment… constipation.

Imagine building a whole business and a fortune on the fact that another human is bunged up?

There is big business in Pooping Regularly. What other conclusion can you one draw. There is also lots of time to re-think your day and plan ahead.

Way back on the farm that I remember was an outhouse. That is a not really a house… it is kind of a small shack that has one purpose. It is a receiver of all things fowl. Having it situated a distance from the house made sure that any fowl odours that might be emitted would waft away before it arrived anywhere near the house.

Side line… the idea of “regular people” at the Battle Creek Sanatorium would have all kinds of secondary side effects as well… and by products being produced… like scented oils and other stuff to make the rooms better to live in.

This morning as I looked into my bowl of corn flakes I had a new appreciation for evolution. My box today has a big rooster crowing loudly – to help wake me up. Yet more of us eat Corn Flakes before going to bed than in the morning. Just like my dad.

Too funny!

~ Murray Lincoln ~



Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson – 51,300,000 hits and climbing

It was 6:05 PM when I first learned of Michael Jackson’s death. The TV reporter locally had just uttered the words of the news flash – Michael Jackson was dead. Given that there is a 3 hour difference between California and Ontario – the news was very New… at about 2:36 PM in California from one report I read – the news of his death had just started to circulate.

To find out more I Googled – “Michael Jackson is dead” as a search phrase. At 6:10 PM there were 1140 responses to this phrase. At 11:04 I did the same thing to read more about it at that stage of the day – 5 hours later. The Google search produced 14,700,000 responses. This morning at 5:00 AM I repeated the same search phrase and received 51,300,000. In a short 12 hours it climbed to the huge number of responses from the search.

As a person that watches Media and all things Media it is absolutely stunning what is going on now.

To continue my “study” I also Googled, “Elvis Presley is dead” and the response was 3,510,000. Knowing that he is one of the biggest music industry/pop culture stories ever – it still was not what I expected.

I then tried “Farrah Fawcett is dead” and received a response of 3,300,000. For you that had not heard Farrah also passed away some time yesterday as well. She was also a person of high media attention.

Back to Jackson…
I have for years watched the story of Michael with great interest. A childhood star that could sing circles around everyone . Then as a young rising star on his own, to eventually become the still rising but very troubled star that people followed in his every move.

What could be said of the recent times to describe this man was at best – “weird”.

He could not accept his physical appearance so he changed it – leaving him as a kind of freak show. Yet most of what he did in life was finally that very thing – a freak show… a joke… an unkind world hating him.

The most tragic part of his life that we all watched but could not believe was the possibilities that he was a pedophile – a child molester.

On Wikipedia you will read the following…
People v. Jackson (full case name: The People of the State of California v. Michael Joseph Jackson) was a 2005 child sexual abuse trial involving the late recording artist Michael Jackson. The alleged victim was a boy, Gavin Arvizo, referred to as "The Accuser". Arvizo was 13 years old at the time of the alleged crimes. Michael Jackson was indicted for four counts of molesting a minor, four counts of intoxicating a minor, one count of abduction, and one count of conspiring to hold the boy and his family captive at his 2700-acre Neverland Ranch compound. He denied all counts and asserted that he himself was the victim of a failed extortion attempt. On June 13, 2005, the jury found Jackson not guilty on all charges.

From this paragraph it would seem that it was over. In actual fact the evidence presented pointed to a very sick world that Michael lived in… and even sicker were the parents – many of them – that allowed their children to be alone with Jackson for over night sleepovers – with him… not only with him but in bed with him.

When and if you read the link below – to Wikipedia and the full account of the trial of 2005 – you will be looking into one of the sickest worlds ever… where money quiets people… money buys what you want and the sickness continues.

I can only imagine at the amazement of men that have been convicted of sexual abuses of all kinds must think – when they read what is written.

Knowing that sexual abuse and also the acts of pedophilia often produce more abusers of all sorts… society has not seen the end of the Jackson era. What happened at “Neverland” is not over by a long shot.

Yet – “we” idolize this kind of person. We will read about (and even write about) him for a long time to come.

“Neverland Ranch” in Los Olivos, CA. will very likely become a huge money producer like “Graceland” in Memphis, TN.

Oddly enough both places had sordid pasts because of the people that lived there – and the public is fascinated with it.

I just shake my head… can you believe it? I wonder what God thinks of all of this? What a huge tragedy this all is… what a waste. God help us all…
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Finally…off the wall…
To make the “dead story” study more well rounded I popped in “Murray Lincoln is dead” in the Google search and came up with 106,000.

So I tried two more – I popped in “Winston Van Lier is dead” and “Terry Manley is dead” – both friends of mine. Shockingly Winston received 20,200 and Terry received 80,800. My rating was higher – but not in a good category.

~ Murray Lincoln ~


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Robinson Crusoe and Alexander Selkirk

When I first encountered the story of Robinson Crusoe it fascinated me. How could one man spend the time alone on the deserted island? The parts that I remembered were the isolation and the fact that he had friend named “Friday”.

Daniel Defoe was the author and captured this story before 1719 – when it was published.

According to Defoe’s account Crusoe was marooned on the island for 28 years – after a lifetime of sailing before hand. During the time alone on the Island he watches cannibal come ashore and eat people. He becomes a missionary at this stage (which would be very acceptable in 1719).

When one of the prisoners of the cannibals escapes Crusoe helps him, naming his new companion "Friday" after the day of the week he appeared. Crusoe then teaches him English and converts him to Christianity.

But the most recent account of this character known as Robinson Crusoe was in a movie of 1997 with Pierce Brosnan as Crusoe. But this movie was not even like the classic novel!

I have wondered about this story for a long time. I have thought of the person of Daniel Defoe and his active imagination. By the time that I enjoyed it as a boy – it had become a “classic novel”.

The actual story of the real Robinson Crusoe was entirely different than the movie or even the book.

The real story was about a real man named Alexander Selkirk (born Alexander Selcraig), born in 1676 and died on December 13, 1721. After a not so good record in life he ended up as a sailor. Eventually trying to convince a group of sailors to desert the ship they served on, no one would listen to him and the Captain granted his wish by leaving him on the Island of Juan Fernandez off the coast of Chile – now named Robinson Crusoe Island (map below)
The story that Defoe wrote had him off the coast of Venezuelan – probably on Tobago.

Selkirk survived and lived on the Island for four years. The account of this is actually better than the Defoe account. It is thought that the Defoe account is one that was developed after Defoe heard the Selkirk account.

Fascinating to say the least. I love a good story. But when the story has another story behind it – it is even better.

In the world that I am in… I live a story that is or will be written by someone. Likely the grandkids will put something together some day. Who knows maybe the grandkids will actually create another kind of “Grandpa Robinson Crusoe” out of my life.

What I have gleaned in these short years of mine – there is always another story behind the story. There is always more to the story than I hear.

Last Sunday…
I sat in the Hastie carpenter’s shop in the Lang Pioneer Village. As people came by to talk and share their stories it was amazing. I literally heard a dozen stories an hour from the old fellows that stopped to talk.

One older man struck a conversation with me as he leaned on the rough beam that stands beside the entrance door. He had to be in his early 90s. He was leathered and worn with the years. Much like the old tools that I held he had been well used.

He asked me how I sharpened the tools that I used. This of course was a question that I knew didn’t really need an answer from me… rather he was about to tell me how I should do it.

He explained how he sharpened tools in his day. He was the person that everyone came to get their tools sharpened – the best there was in his days.

He said something that will stick with me for a long time…
“The tool doesn’t have to always be shiny to be sharp.”

Wow! What a thought.

The story of Robinson Crusoe was shiny – but maybe not sharp. The story of Alexander Selkirk was not the shiniest – but it was true and it was sharp… sharp enough to spark Daniel Defoe to write a “classic”.

Then I thought… is my life shiny or sharp?


~ Murray Lincoln ~



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Doug Elniski must be a Minister

Doug Elniski must be a Minister. You know like a Minister in a Church some where. He just has to be.

If he isn’t – then all Ministers must be MPPs or MLAs. And if that isn’t the case they certainly have a lot in common.

Who is Doug Elniski? People in Alberta and Saskatchewan will know him. He serves in the Alberta Legislative Assembly under Premier Ed Stelmach. And recently he has stepped into good old Alberta Bovine Used Alfalfa – or “ABUA” for short. In Saskatchewan it is SBUA and Ontario OBUA

It seems that he has opened his mind up and stated some rather unacceptable things that the general public have become aware of by way of a Blog that he wrote or commented in.

Then just a while before that he did a Tweet to some friends on Tweeter – and enraged quite a few others at a bad time.

On his personal Blog he had said, “Men are attracted to smiles, so smile and don't give me that 'treated equal' stuff, if you want equal it comes in little packages at Starbucks," he had written on his personal Conservative MLA blog, referring to packages of coffee sweetener.”

Now taking his words as stated above – the man is a rascal to say the least. He appears to put women down. And after all these years of women trying so hard to become men’s equal – they feel they are not.

But perhaps where Mr. Elniski lives the folk have a different way of seeing it or maybe a different way of doing it.

Now before I wonder off in a different direction – back to Mr. Doug Elniski’s further enraging comments…

Quote from the Edmonton Sun…
During a June 13 Gay Pride parade, Elniski posted on Twitter: "I am surrounded by bumping and grinding lesbians waiit (sic) 20 then send help."
End Quote…

Now get this… the guy Doug Elniski is at a Gay Pride Parade that has the potential to be a bit outlandish… usually in Ontario at least… they tend to try to dress and act as weird as decency will allow them to… especially in front of a TV camera… because that is what we get at the Dinner Time news we were watching….

My Granddaughter asked, “Grandpa, who ARE THOSE PEOPLE?” I couldn’t answer. Or rather should I have said, “Well honey, they are ordinary people like you and I, normal Canadian Citizens…” But I couldn’t.

Now it so happens that Dougie E… is caught that day doing his MPP – MLA thingie as an official… his friend Tweets him on his Blackberry… and asks, “Hey Dougie E… whatcha doin?” And Dougie E comes back with a crack like he made…

Makes perfect sense to me.

I mean … if you are at a Gay Pride Parade where every Tom, Dick, Harriet and Louise are half dressed… wiggling their stuff for every one to see… what would your wise crack be to a Tweeting world out there?

Now maybe I better back off the Gay Pride Parade stuff – at least showing their stuff. In Edmonton they have far more mosquitoes than Toronto… and Toronto is the place that lots of stuff is shown for all of us to see.

Hey Dougie E… I am from the Prairie…and I understand a good joke that is needed in some situations. I can empathise with the quips and clips that you let loose with. It is a TENSION release when a whole lot of silly stuff is happening around you.

Personal Story…
Dougie E… when I was pasturing a church in Yorkton, Saskatchewan I had a most embarrassing thing happen to me.

It was Sunday morning during the Service I was leading. I was praying for the people that needed special prayers. Ministers do this kind of stuff all the time. In our church it is normal for people to come forward to the front of the church – and then their friends surround them in prayer – and good things happen.

Granted that is a little unusual for some churches – but our church was and is quite expressive to say the least. Hey we were Pentecostal!

One woman that arrived that day, shall I say, well endowed. She was taller than me, heavier than me, and had lots more dark black hair…which I think came from a bottle colour. She was expressive in many ways – even when she spoke with you about ordinary things. She was also, I think, Russian with a heavy accent and her BRIGHT RED SWEATER – was well… BRIGHT in colour.

Now get the picture clearly… I have stepped down off the main platform… to stand to the left side of the pulpit area… my heals are kind of tucked up against the first of two steps leading to the top of the platform…

My dear “Expressive Sister” stepped forward for her turn to be prayed for. I laid my hands carefully on her forehead and began to pray for her. She became excited… and made small chirping sounds that became louder and louder… Oh boy… what next? Then she fell forward on to my being.

My heals were locked solid against the stairs and I couldn’t move backwards avoiding her advancing human form or a BRIGHT RED SWEATER…

YEP! You guessed right – she landed smack dab on top of me. Being taller than me – her BRIGHT RED SWEATER was all I could see… as my nose was squarely placed in the middle of her chest.

Sheesh… Dougie E. I am blushing again as I write this. Right in front of an almost full church I was sandwiched between a big woman in a bright red sweater and the FLOOR…. and I couldn’t move.

People later, suppressing below a grin and outright belly laughs, asked if I was okay… and wondered at my blood pressure problems in that my face was way past RED – ranging on scarlet… and my ears were so hot you could do marshmallows on them.

And Dougie E – no matter what I said in a church – anywhere – some one would be there to correct, challenge, object, ridicule and outright make sure that I never forgot that THEY WERE RIGHT AND THAT YOU ARE WRONG…. Yikes!

So Doug Elniski, you must be a Minister… or at least qualify now to take the role on.

I have only one bit of advice for you… women are more than equal to you and your ideas… and they are down right dangerous in BRIGHT RED SWEATERS!!!! Way more equal than you… WAY, WAY, WAY more Equal!

~ Murray Lincoln ~


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You have got to wonder!

I mean it is a logical question. What happens to the International Space Station crew – when the Space Shuttle can’t get there to pick them up? That question has been bothering me for the past week after they had to scrap the blast off the June launch of the Shuttle. It was said that it was rescheduled for July.

And a July launch is going to be possible if there are no lightening storms. If there is no hydrogen leaks like the last time – maybe.

Now I know that it is super important that they deal with safety issues. But what about the guys and gals that are riding around in the Space Station waiting for relief?

I mean they can’t get out and go for a walk to the corner grocery store for a treat. There is no Dairy Queen just over a few blocks for that tasty Milk Shake. Talk about a bunch of crazys!

It appears that they are going to be another month at least before the two Canadians can hug on board the Space Station.

What if the Space Shuttle doesn’t get there – or can’t get there until say September? How much food do they have on board the Station?

There are three of us living in our house. And it would seem that the bathroom is the busiest place for all of us. Maybe it is the Bran that does it – but we are regular to say it simply… some more than others.

What happens on the Space Station with an extra month’s time of regularity – or irregularity for that matter?

The City of Toronto has started their new season of strikes for more money for Garbage pick up people. When they don’t pick it up – it piles up.

So on the Space Station it is going to have an extra month or so of garbage and waste piling up. If you are the new replacement astronauts – would you like to move into that mess?

Now don’t tell me they “flush” in space!? You mean that there is an exorbitant amount for frozen goodies floating out there some where?

And people on earth are upset at the plastic bottles that are filling our city landfills – or land mountains.

I mean – I just wonder at this stuff… don’t you?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gentle Giants Passing

As I stood watching the Gentle Giants pass – time was frozen. It was a boyhood dream for all the boys in the crowd. We watched with wonder the magic of generations pass in front of us.

Tractor after tractor of all ages and kinds slowly passed through the Lang Village lead by a 1921 Giant – a 1921 Sawyer Massey Steam Engine – manufactured in Hamilton, Ontario. This gentle giant generates up to 17 horsepower!

Tractors of all kinds passed us as if we were royalty on a reviewing stand. They were saluting as they passed.

Even more important were the men that were guiding the giants along the solemn procession. They were young men, middle aged men and some much older men. Most of the men had spent millions of hours on restoring the gentle giants – making it possible for the gentle giants to work again. Even if it was to only drive down the streets of a very old village on its dirt road – that was good enough.

I was caught up in the special moment as I stood outside the 1856 Hastie Carpenter’s Shop in the Lang Pioneer Village. In my role of the carpenter of 1856 I stood looking into the future of farming in Canada. As an 1856 Carpenter I could only dream of the possibilities.

In the 1850s steam power on farms was restricted to stationary work. The machine didn’t move – the work came to the machine.

A Long Time Ago…
I think it was probably about 1954 or so that my Grandpa Kirkpatrick came into the City of Regina that one day. He was on his way to the Saskatchewan Provincial Exhibition held each year in Regina. Somehow I was included in the trip to the fair with my Grandpa. I am not sure how it happened or why it happened… I just remember that it was very exciting and a very big deal to be included with his plans that day.

The Exhibition had rides and fun of all kinds. I knew that. I had not been that often – but knew something about it. It was a magical place to say the least with the smell of popcorn and the sound of the carnies yelling out the great merits of their stalls.

We didn’t go on any rides but rather walked through the farm exhibits inside of really old buildings. The murals on the walls had been painted eons ago. The baked goods, the quilts hanging and the different kinds of farm competitions were all on display. At 10 years old it made little sense – but I followed grandpa anyway.

We exited the hot building and headed across the road. There in front of us were brand new tractors and farm machinery of all kinds. The bright red ones stood beside bright green ones. Shiny new implements of all kinds were arranged among the new tractors and combines. Streamers fluttered on twine strung between the farm machinery giving it all a party feeling.

I followed Grandpa Charles Simon Kirkpatrick around the machines saying nothing. Grandpa didn’t say much either but it was his actions that gave the interpretation. If he was impressed we stopped and he looked longer than if he wasn’t. He would look hard and long at the motor area. He would feel the huge tires with his hand. He walked around the tractor looking at every area if he liked it. The other tractors that were not his favourites he simply gave a summary glance and a little “Humph…’ meaning I supposed that it wasn’t as good as the first one that he had led me to see.

We walked back to the first red tractor and looked again. I asked if I could sit on the tractor and “drive it”? He agreed and helped me climb on board. The smell of new paint, the feel of the giant below me sitting so still and waiting for someone to start it up – was simply amazing. I remember placing my hands around the black steering wheel and trying to turn it a little bit…. Moving it every so little was not possible as my strength was not that of my uncle’s. There was no power steering on that beast – just muscle power and the steering wheel could be turned a little while sitting still. But a 10 year old could not budge it.

I was happy sitting their “driving it” imagining that I was in control of the beast... the gentle giant below me.

I remember looking at Grandpa Kirk and he was smiling. I wasn’t sure why he was enjoying watching his oldest grandson “drive it”. I just knew he smiled at me.

A Long, Long Time ago…
In the early 1900s he had arrived with his father and family from Iowa to the south part of Saskatchewan by train. On board the train was all the equipment that they needed to farm the 4 farms that my Great Grandpa Kirkpatrick had bought. With him were his two sons, Charles and Roy Kirkpatrick and his daughter Effie. He would have one of the farms for himself and the kids would each get one of the three farms. Each would have their own land.

One of the implements was a giant steam tractor.

Later on Charles’ would buy his own tractor, a McCormich Deering (1920 something I think), steel lugged wheel, gasoline powered tractor. Taking the lugs off he drove the tractor in the soft ditch from Regina to Truax Saskatchewan… very slowly… breaking in his new prized possession… all the way back to the farm. I may not remember this part of the story perfectly well… but I think that it took him 8 hours to drive the 60 miles.

Why so long to drive that far? Well my guess is that he was grinning all the way… and it was plain fun to drive by other farms on the way showing off what he had been able to buy from his profits on his farm.

In Lang Village yesterday…
As I watched from the sideline with the Gentle Giants passing me… there was no McCormich Deering Tractor… nothing like Grandpa Kirk’s old tractor. I wonder… could it be possible… every… maybe if I could rent a trailer… maybe if we went on a holiday to Regina and then drove south to Truax… I wonder how many hour it would take to restore that old Gentle Giant that rests in a quiet field west of the town… with quiet grass blowing and bending in the prairie winds.. I wonder…

~ Murray Lincoln ~


Jeff Leal

Today we are praying for our leaders…

Ontario Government

Jeff Leal, MPP (Peterborough)

Current Parliamentary Roles

Member, Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions
Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Justice Policy
Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs

Ontario Liberal Party

Please pray for the Riding of Peterborough

Jeremiah 29:7
7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you... Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."

"Heavenly Father, I pray that Jeff would know your great blessing for his Life and Work today. I ask that the staff working in the Riding Office and doing the work for the community would also know God’s blessing on each one of them. May this day be a GREAT DAY for each one and that they would know “the peace and prosperity” that we pray for them. ~ Amen"

This Blog is part of the Ontario Provincial Chaplaincy ministry. It is committed to encouraging people to pray for and support our Leaders across Ontario. We pray for each of our MPPs and also each local and regional leader.

If you have a local leader that needs prayer today please share it in the Comments section – or email directly to prayforleaderstoday@gmail.com or ontario.chaplain@gmail.com

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father’s Day – Bill and Bruce

Today I want to honour Dads. Two Dads that stand out in my mind are named Bill and Bruce. What amazing men they are.

I first met Bill and Bruce when they were about my Grandsons Clifford’s or Jonathan’s age. Both boys were full of energy and spunk.

Both of these “boys” – married my daughters.

Now I apologize to both guys if I don’t get it exactly right before writing this note. I am sure that you will correct me – if this old guy is wrong or his memory is fading.

First account…
Bruce came from a family of four kids. He was number two in the line with an older brother and two younger – twin sisters.

As I write this today I am not sure which story to write about.

The one about Bruce and his brother placing one or both of their sisters in the dryer to give them a ride – round and round and round… could be one. Now I may have that story a bit twisted…

Or the one about him and his brother setting the field of grass on fire near the church his dad was the Minister at – may be another.

To understand you need to know that a busy minister’s family sometimes gets away with stuff that other families do not.

Now Bruce’s dad and mom were our close friends… and STILL ARE! I am not saying anything bad about Bruce…or his family… just commenting on the pieces of his life that I have gleaned over these years of listening and watching him. Ahem….

At one point it was decided that it would be good for Bruce to attend a private boy’s school. So off he went to the remote wilderness north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Now it is not really that remote – but it is a long ways from Scarborough, Ontario!

At that school Bruce picked up the many talents and abilities that he owns today. His outdoorsman stuff likely came about with his extensive canoe adventures into Manitoba’s wilderness areas. His knowledge of Bees and Bee Keeping comes from working with the Apiculture in an Apiary of the school. His ability to snowshoe also came as result of taking part in this boy’s school.

He has no problem climbing on to a dog sled and “mushing” his team to victory across frozen tundra… feeding and harnessing and whatever else is involved in working with the kind of “trained wolves” that pull the sleigh.

He arrived at the school when he was 14 – the same age as his son is now.

The first thing they did was to launch out on a 350 MILE canoe trip. He had to borrow someone’s better suited pieces of clothing to take on this endeavour.

Later on he did 48 mile snow shoe race at 14 or 15 as well.

Bruce is amazing. He is a great dad and he is my friend… as well as being my son-in-law.

The Second Account
Today when I called Bill to wish him a Happy Father’s Day he wasn’t home. He had been out on a series of Baseball Diamonds that the kids play on… since 5 AM… trying to clean up the surface and repair the damage done by the big rains of yesterday. In about an hour he would be home to have breakfast with his four sons.

Bill never knew his father Bill personally. His dad was a Minister in a church in British Columbia. His dad died in an airplane crash in the mountains as he piloted the airplane up a canyon surrounded by mountains. As near as they can guess, a downdraft took the plane into the mountain side.

Bill’s mom was about 5 months pregnant with Bill.

Bill’s mom was helped by her parents Rev. and Mrs Harold Barnes to raise their grandson “Billy”. The Barnes became his parents as well as he grew up.

As I knew Rev. Barnes he was never an athlete or and out-of-doors kind of guy. His wife was definitely not – nor was his mom, Lois. Yet through the other men in the church that Bill attended he picked up all the right kind of stuff to help him survive in the great out of doors.

I am sure that men like Mr. Jim Crawford were the strength and example that was needed in Bill’s boyhood years as he grew up. There was also a host of other men that fit alongside to help Bill know what manhood and fatherhood was about.

Bill really came into my life when he was a young man just out of high school. I was the Youth Pastor at the church he attended. And through a number of church activities I came to know him.

The fact that I had another cute daughter helped to attract him into my life as well – I am sure.

Bill had heard that I worked with wood and that I was repairing furniture of all kinds.

One day he brought his father’s gun to show me the damage to the rifle. The rifle had been in the airplane that had crashed when his father died. Firearms experts had told Bill that they couldn’t repair the rifle stock that had been shattered from the impact. He asked me what I thought.

Before long the rifle was like new. You can hardly tell where the break used to be. It is a treasure that he and I share together… a moment when I think I adopted him into my life… long before he made his planes to marry my daughter.

As I watch him enjoy all the things that his dad once so much enjoyed, he now is a great dad to his four sons – enjoying it with them. Together there are enjoying the outdoors and the sports that they so much love together.

Bill is amazing. He is a great dad and he is my friend… as well as being my son-in-law.

If you can sense pride in what I write today… well you are correct in sensing it. I am proud of my “boys” – first the two of them – Bruce and Bill – my son-in-laws. I don’t want to wait until I am near death to say that.

I am also proud of my five other boys – my grandsons… Clifford, Jonathan, Thomas, Michael and Christopher… all great dads-to-be – someday. (AND I can’t forget Emma – who will be an amazing mom!)

Bill and Bruce – Happy Fathers Day!


* * * * * * * * * * *
~ Murray Lincoln ~

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Visiting the Old Carpenter’s Shop Again

The early morning sunbeams bounced across the floor of the shop. It almost danced with glee as the day arrived.

I am early for my day’s appointment with visitors to the Village. I am not sure who will come to share the events of the day. This is before time begins.

This is one of the most amazing scenes – just before the activity starts.
Outside the birds are singing their clear and crisp day song. They have been in bed long enough. It is time to start the day.

As I stood watching the scene open before I was reflecting of this small village and all that it has meant to the folk that began here. I thought of their kids as they played on the very old and unpaved street. So many dreams over the years – some many fulfilled and some unfulfilled. Time has moved on.

The Lang Pioneer Village is a pause in time from the bustle of the “Other Ontario” where all things move at a million miles an hour.

Lang Village started in and around 1856 with the first folk came from Scotland and the other areas of the British Aisles. They came with hope and vision – and sometimes little more. With this H & V factor they carved out a special place for their generations to follow.

On this day I become a part of the life of the Village by becoming the carpenter of 1856 again.

It wasn’t long for the reverie. It was broken by, “WOW! Let’s go in here…” Excited young voices danced over each other to find a place in my Carpenter Shop. Their bight eyes watched my every move as I demonstrated the things that the ancient carpenters once held in their husky hands.
I began my day with, “Welcome to the Hastie Carpenter Shop. My name is Grandpa Lincoln….”

During the morning at a lull I couldn’t help think of the original Grandpa that had stood in this shop and welcomed his grandkids. That man died almost 100 years ago… but some how it felt as if he was still there. NO – I did not see a ghost of an old carpenter! By the imagination that God gave me is very active.

I couldn’t help thinking that the Old Scott, Mr. Hastie, was happy again to see his shop field with bright eyes again. I think he grinned when the skinny little guy tried to hold the large wooden mallet.

May you find a place to savour some memories this summer.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mr. Michael Ignatieff

Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mr. Michael Ignatieff:

I am, and we are, impressed to say the least! Dialogue! WOW! And not just a little political posturing – you guys actually talked about the issues at hand and the ones that are important to all of us.

As a Canadian I “THANK YOU” for being able to talk before acting in the way that the Media said you would.

The Media certainly had us frightened that we would be spending huge amounts of money again on an election that none of us wanted.

By the way if you have noticed the NDP and BLOQ leaders have not been quoted in the News Media about what you have accomplished. It is unlikely that they don’t want to comment. Mr. Layton is likely going to have an uncomfortable weekend because you talked.

If you haven’t noticed yet… every time your parties go to the polls you drop in numbers from the last time that you went. I believe the vote goes to the NDP in English Canada – and the BLOQ in French Canada gain more votes. People that are tired of the bickering between the “Big Parties” simply go over to the other guys.

Locally I have had people tell me that they intend to do just that to punish the so called leadership.

What’s that you say? A Wasted Vote? I asked that question too… The answer was, “No way – it’s not wasted. It was wasted last time I voted. The leadership again is not working together to Make Canada Grow. So the next time I will definitely make a move to the way out parties!”

Every time we don’t get along or show the innate hatred for each other – some one slips in and takes away something we value. That is sad.

Another man in a coffee shop meeting this week stated an even scarier thing. He said, “Vote…? Who ever will Vote again? Not me. It is a perfectly good waste of time to go to that silly voting station. They never do what I ask them to do anyway!”

The fact is that we are tired of the silliness that has been portrayed so often by the Media.

I am holding my breath today because I know that you guys are dealing with the really big issues and the VOTE in the House.

Sorry I cannot wait around to see if you finally do/did agree. I have to go speak to Hundreds of Kids at Lang Pioneer Village. I am going to share with them how Canada started in the Back Woods of Ontario(and all the rest of the Provinces). I will be telling them how everyone worked together to build their community. I will share with them how everyone got together and helped everyone else to build their houses and barns and stores and even the chicken coup. They were community – they were together.

In the 1856 Carpenter Shop there is an old stove that sits in the middle of the room. It appears to warm the shop. But it did way more than that.

When I was a boy my Grandpa had a shop almost like the one at Lang Pioneer Village. And in the shop there was a stove. Around the stove the men gathered to talk and share ideas. In my imagination today it was the basis for what Canada’s Government was all about. Talking together and sharing common purpose.

I want to say thank you again. I admire you for taking what appears to be three whole days to talk to each other.

In a year or so when hopefully the Next Election comes along – I am going to vote for both of you!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

PS – I likely won’t get much reaction or response from you on this post… but have a great day anyway!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

So what is the best way to swat a fly?

Working in my garage in the last little while as the warm weather is coming along – I have had visitors. The mosquitoes and flies have arrived from wherever they were hiding during the cold months.

Summer is here this weekend and so are the bugs.

Now carving wood entails the use of very sharp knives. Trying to swat a mosquito or a fly with a super sharp blade in your hand is not good – specially if the bug lands on your own leg. One swat here would sever an important artery for sure. The thought makes me shudder a little.

The other night I swung the blade at the fly in a Zorro fashion – swish swish swish – and the fly laughed at me, come back again and again.

I did acquire a powerful bug zapper that simply does the little bugs in – and big ones too. Hornets and Wasps will come down in a daze after meeting my super swatter. But then you need to apply a little shoe leather to dispatch the sucker.

Oddly enough as I have been inventing new ways to kill the little buggers… this morning’s news release is so good that I couldn’t miss sharing what is the most important fly in the world.

In a recent interview President Obama was being bothered by a fly. It was a big day and anything that the President of the USA says is powerful and important. The Black Fly interrupted the procedure.

The night before the small Black Fly had enjoyed an evening out with his friends, doing what Black Flies do best… enjoying the sights, the smells and the food stuff that they had found near a large White House. In all likelihood they had been discovering some of the presents left behind by “Bo”, the President’s Dog. “Bo” had been out walking the day before and had deposited some Presidential Gifts for Secret Service Men to discover as they patrol the White House Lawns for terrorists and such.

The morning sun had come and the late sleeping Black Fly had found some warmth in the Sun Shine… and then leapt into flight with the kick of his tiny legs – and he was off on another day of discovery.

It may have been a lapse in security or simply an open window when the folk of that day entered the White House in Washington. I am not sure – he had arrived where no fly had flown before – at least that day.

Within the hour he had found a room of bright lights, electrical chords and people. Sitting in a dark suit was a man of focus. He was answering questions and presenting policy to the world. This black suited individual was more powerful than any person that Mr. Black Fly had ever circled before. He even smelled good.

Within seconds of the Black Fly’s discovery of the smell and the object of his new affection – he learned to manoeuvre the air current and the spittle of the suited man. Shoulder… nose… head… hair… arm… leg… back and front… Black Fly savoured the man.

This Black Fly was flying where no Fly had been before… all around the President of the USA. Close up and personal.

No person or being in the World would ever be allowed this close kind of visit. Security personnel would be all over them if they touched the President.

Black Fly was also being filmed so that Billions would see his abilities to make an impression on the President.

The camera fixed its lens on the President as the Black Fly swished by… the President excused himself because of his attention being drawn to Black Fly…

Then with careful concentration, the President of the USA, on camera, with absolute precision – SMACK he got Black Fly as he landed on the man’s left hand.

Believe it or not – the million dollar interview was stalled by a Black Fly… but then in seconds he was laying on the hard floor beside the President of the USA. The camera zoomed into the catch this important dead Black Fly…

Tom Geoghegan, of the BBC News magazine told me the story and showed the actual footage that was captured with a President Killing a Fly. Too cool!

To complete the start of my day he suggested the following 10 steps to Kill a Fly. I hope you enjoy them.

Hey – have great big wonderful day!!!!

So what is the best way to swat a fly? Here are 10 suggestions.

1. Do it early in the day, says Max Barclay, an insect expert at the Natural History Museum. "Because they are cold-blooded, the reactions of insects depend on the temperature of the air. Early in the morning or in the evening they will be a bit dopey, but in the heat of the day they will be very quick." But expect failure. Barack Obama was probably quite lucky, unless he's been practising. "Nine times out of 10, a human will come off second best. Flies have a phenomenal barrage of senses, half of which we don't have."

2. Approach from behind, goes one theory, because flies take off backwards. Anecdotal evidence suggests some people find this a successful method. But the fact that flies have 360-degree vision and can jump in any direction makes it improbable.

3. Aim ahead, rather than at, the fly say researchers in the US, who found that within milliseconds of sensing a threat, flies get their body ready to take off forward, backwards or sideways. "Given that they are going to be jumping away from the swat, it's best to aim slightly ahead of it," says Michael Dickinson, of the California Institute of Technology. Although how far ahead depends on the speed of the fly. He's been studying take-offs for five years, using video that provides 5,400 frames a second of a fly's precise motion when threatened with a swatting.

4. The old-fashioned slap , now known as The Barack. Stay still, keep focused, take aim and attack. Ideal for a fast hand and if the fly is stationary. And if the world's media is in attendance. YouTube fame beckons.

5. Implements with holes are more effective, says Dr Peter Barnard, director of science at the Royal Entomological Society. "It's the air pressure they detect and fly away from. It's not so much that they see something coming, but they feel the pressure wave in front of the object." This is due to their coating of microscopic hairs, highly sensitive to air movement. Practising what he preaches, Dr Barnard uses a plastic pistol that fires a holed circular device. A fly swat gun, if you will.

6. Use chopsticks, like the Karate Kid. Under guidance from his instructor Mr Miyagi, teenager Daniel LaRusso demonstrates his speed and hand-eye coordination, and learns an important life lesson at the same time. Mr Miyagi's advice - "Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything" - features on T-shirts in homage to the 1984 film.

7. Put hands either side of the fly, facing each other, so it doesn't know where the threat comes from, then clap the air a few inches above it. Wash hands immediately to remove the contents of the fly's stomach (don't ask).

8. Get a gadget. At the hi-tech end of the market there's an electric-powered mesh, a dome complete with pheromone and an insecticide aerosol. For those on a budget, there are decorative window stickers or pens to coat windows with transparent insecticide, and fly-swats cost as little as £2. Animal rights organisation PETA, which advocates compassion for flies, says there are humane bug-catching devices available too.

9. Improvise with a rolled-up newspaper (bear in mind point five, above), or a spray window-cleaner.

10. The humane approach - to capture but not kill. "I like to grab them in my hands," says Mr Barclay, who's had plenty of practice. "When you want them for a collection you don't want them damaged. Hit them with the palm of your hand and close your fingers over it." And if you're not an entomologist, release the fly outside. It will make you feel better.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

“Streee-ike Three… the Batters out!”

I am the Grandpa to two Teenagers now. Wow!

Yesterday my second Grandson, Jonathan Rourke, had his 13th Birthday. Two months ago my first Grandson Clifford Lindsay had his 14th Birthday.

Where did the time go? They are both as big as me now and growing very quickly to become much, much taller. I know that I would not try to wrestle them now as some part of me would hurt for days after… with each of them only getting slightly red in the face.

Did I mention that both are handsome young men now?

I remember the day that they arrived. My heart beat faster as the final announcement came about each birth. What a happy day each was.

We had been the proud parents of two daughters… no sons. I had no idea what to do with boys. And everyday since these guys have been teaching me what should have been done… should be done… or might happen soon.

Today Clifford is in Quebec City. Jonathan is off to the last few days of school for this week. They are both soon to be men. One will enter Grade Nine and the other will enter Grade Eight.

Both of these years of school I remember vividly in my own life. There were hundreds of awakenings for me in these two years they are facing. Some I did well in and others were not so good.

I imagine that will happen for these guys too.

Grad is coming for Clifford next week. It has been rumoured that he has made a Dean’s List. I knew he was bright – but that is way past bright, it is brilliant – if it happens.

I am using Clifford more in this story today in that I have a recent photo of his latest achievement of Umpiring Baseball games.

A few years ago we watched a little squirt walk out to a home plate and shoulder a bat for the first time – swinging and sometimes hitting. Then I witnessed a young boy grow with his speed and ability and become a cool baseball player that can really hit, can pitch well, is an outstanding out fielder and all round great kid.

Two days ago I saw that same little tyke, small boy, growing baseball player, sharp and alert teen ball player – take a new step. He is now a paid Umpire with a much deeper voice.

The ball swished by the batter and I heard, “Stree-ike”, loud and clear from a husky voice that is changing quickly. I looked at Alida and shook my head saying, “That is our Clifford! Can you believe it?”

Some one walked by Grandpa and Grandma Lincoln and asked us if our grandson was on one of the teams. “No, we are here for the Umpire” was my reply – which brought an odd response. Not every Ump has his grandparents sitting there for him.

I have found that you can’t really help the Ump by cheering him on.

I had told Clifford that I would yell out, “Kill the Umpire!” He grinned and told me kindly that he could throw me out of the game now. And he meant what he said. He has the power with this new job!!!

Just as the game was about to start I did walk up behind the chain link fence and yell it out for him to get the idea that I was there. Too funny. People did look at me strangely in that there had been now Umpire Calls yet.

As I reflect on what is happening with my Grandkids – all six of them – there is a Bound that has taken place that is amazing.

Emma, Jonathan, Thomas, Michael and Christopher all come to give both Grandpa and Grandma a hug. They are still young – so it is not un-cool to do so. But a time will come when we stop hugging. Clifford is there now.

I mean – how un-cool would it be for a hulk of an Umpire to stop the game and come over to hug an old geezer that just yelled out “Kill the Umpire!”

I was in Youth Court not long ago. One young and dishevelled youngster was standing before the Judge. His head was hung down as the things were said about him and to him. Beside him was a young man that was identified as his “youth worker”. There was no mom or dad, no grandpa or grandma, simply no one. He was 13 years old. And I nearly cried out loud in court for the young boy with no one to give a ding dong to even show up for him.

“Streee-ike Three… the Batters out!” the husky voice called out.

And I wanted to stand up and yell at the top of my lungs… “THAT IS MY GRANDSON!” – but I couldn’t get out of the lawn chair without some effort and then again I had tears in my eyes… so I muttered with a grin on my face… “That is MY grandson and I am so proud of him!”

When I called Jonathan yesterday to wish him Happy Birthday… I could hear him grin on the phone. Too cool… way too cool… for old guys like me.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
Clifford Ross Lindsay
Jonathan William Rourke

Monday, June 15, 2009

Billy the Bee and a Space Shuttle

High above the earth the Space Shuttle carries out its work. The very act of getting this great vehicle into orbit around the earth to do the work that it does gets great media fan fare. When the final moments of leaving the earth takes place cameras click wildly to capture the instant success of this great machine leaving the confines of its terrestrial ball.

It is amazing as to say the least – this idea of flight of something so large moving out against the odds of its size and weight and wind span.

Yesterday… Yesterday while sitting on the front porch and listening to the world go by the familiar hum of a very large bumble bee came into our zone. It hummed happily around the large flower pots that hand from the edge of the porch.

I gave him the logical name of “Billy the Bee” and he has become one of our other pets now. He comes frequently to attend to his duties of messing with the flowers.
Recently when the cold air came rushing in during the evening I found him laying beside the van. He was moving but not very well so I picked him up and lifted him to the side of the driveway to rest out of the way of danger. The next morning he was up and at it again when the warm sun made movement easier.

As I watched him manoeuvre from flower to flower and then to the next pot it was amazing. Such ease and ability shown in this fuzzy ball of an insect! How does he do it?
When he finally landed it was again getting cool and my guess is his flying mechanism was tiring and slowing down again. But why wouldn’t it – he had been at it since early in the morning?

I had told the story about the Bee not being able to fly because of its weight and structure recently. I began to wonder if that story was true or not. So I did a little searching and Bingo… there was and answer or sorts.

From Ken Zetie… quote…
But how did the myth about bees not being able to fly start? When does the story date back to? J McMasters states that the story was prevalent in the German technical universities in the 1930s, starting with the students of the aerodynamicist Ludwig Prandtl at Gottingen. The story goes that a noted Swiss aerodynamicist, whom McMasters does not name, was talking to a biologist at dinner. The biologist asked about the flight of bees and the Swiss gentleman did a "back-of-the-napkin" calculation of the kind I described earlier, assuming a rigid, smooth wing and so on. Of course, he found that there was insufficient lift and went off to find out the correct answer.

In the meantime, the biologist put the word around that bees could not fly, presumably to show that nature was greater than engineering, and the media picked up the story. The truth, then as now, wasn't newsworthy, so a correction was never publicized. The people I meet, therefore, continue to tell me that science is a load of crock because it once proved that bumblebees cannot fly. And they will not hear otherwise, especially not from a scientist.
End quote…

Ken Zetie did offer a great explanation… quote…
So how do bees fly then? And why do they need to flap their wings while jumbo jets don't? These turn out to be very interesting questions that reveal a lot of physics. Jumbo jets have fixed wings because their wing area and speed are large enough to satisfy the lift equations for flight. But the small wings on a bumble-bee are much less efficient. Coupled with low speeds and the high drag on a wing when flapping, it might appear, at first glance, that insects cannot fly and that most birds can't get off the ground either.

However, some brilliant work by Torkel Weis-Fogh, professor of zoology at Cambridge University in the 1970s, showed us how small insects fly. His ideas also lead to some rather neat insights into nature's cunning. An insect's wing works by encouraging air to flow over it in such a way that when the air leaves the rear edge of the wing it moves downwards. The resultant eddy produces an upwards thrust on the wing. Unfortunately, it takes time to make a good eddy, and the wing has to move a distance a few times its length to get things started. This makes it tricky if you are going to flap, as the maximum travel of a wing is roughly its length and very little lift is generated for most of the stroke.
Nature has come up with a number of interesting solutions to this problem, of which the "clap-fling" is a good example.
When a small bird or insect wants to take off, it needs a lot of lift. It therefore brings its wings together above its back so that they clap, expelling air from between them. When the wings then separate, air is quickly drawn in to fill the void. The wings are flung apart and lift is immediately generated because the air is already moving in the correct way. You can even hear the clap, for example, in the characteristic whirring of a pheasant taking off. Almost 2000 years ago Virgil recorded in The Aeneid that a rock dove claps its wings as it takes off. (In fact he stole the passage from Homer, but added the bit about the clapping.)
End quote…

Now I feel better…
The rocket that takes the Space Shuttle’s massive weight is big enough that it explodes to break all the gravitational pull on it to keep it on earth. When it leaves there is a might roar or air turbulence.

The Bumble Bee simply beats the air around his wings until lift is created… breaking the gravitational pull on its body. the resultant hum is likely some of the clapping and wind turbulence that is created. Every time he flies he creates a small tornado.

(My contention is that the Bee can still beat the Space Shuttle in a proportionate race. But that is another thought rolling around.)

What is important about my story today? Bees? Space Shuttle? Nope – neither matter that much to me.

What is important is the front porch after a warm day of “doing”… I simply sat and did my “being”… by doing nothing.

I love that front porch and the peace that comes there. The sun is setting on the other side of the house where it is quite warm. The porch side is cool, quiet and my place of solitude. The Bee’s hum was the only thing that breaks that reverie.

This morning I slipped out early to meet the Sun again. He arrived on time and my world began again.

For 10 years of doing in Peterborough I was too busy to sit and listen. People stuff clouded good days and bad days – and brought both together. Now I can sit and listen… to what was there all the time.

What was I thinking? I should have retired 9 years and 364 days ago!

This is all good… very, very good. I’m loving it!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Space Shuttle
Ken Zetie