Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. B-Down Gobo Light Show – Memories. A Wordpress Production

EXPO 67

Thursday … He Met the Founders

1000 yearsThis book, published some time ago, tells 20 stories. Men and Women who had fifty years of sobriety, at the time of publishing. A few years ago, a founder gave me his copy to read. It made a definite impact on my life and my sobriety.

Tonight, we heard a man who has more than fifty years of sobriety. I imagine that he is in his eighties now. It was a different time then. He grew up, lived, loved and worked in Montreal.

But most of all, he learned how to drink here as well.

He learned how to drink early, and back then, beer was 50 cents a quart.

The drink devastated his life in many ways.

You could have heard a pin drop tonight, because of his soft spoken voice, people in the back of the room, probably did not catch every word, as we who were sitting up front may have.

Jobs were a dime a dozen, in his words, “you could get fired one night, and by the next afternoon, you’d find another job.”

Try that, while you are binge drinking.

He met his wife at age 22. They were both 22 years old.

Before they got married, his parents tried to warn her off because of his drinking history. Her response to this information was … “well, we love each other.”

They imagined that this marriage wouldn’t break the six month mark.

Our couple was married for fifty two years and had several children.

But the marriage was almost lost. His wife, could not speak to him, to tell him her fears and concerns, so she wrote them down, telling him that she was going to take the children and leave, it came to pass, that is was because of his children that he finally put down the drink.

The first time he put down the drink for a number of years, he did it by himself.

You know where this is going right?

One night in St. Eustache, he was stuck in a snow storm, and walked into a hotel and had “A” drink. That drink led to a binge over several days.

Which facilitated his return, (well, his introduction to) the rooms.

He said there were only FIVE meetings in the city back then. The founders were opening meetings in the city. He said that he had met the FOUNDERS.

That would be Dave B. in Montreal, and Bill and Bob, respectively.

Dave B. founded the first A.A. meeting in Montreal, in the year 1944.

What does an OLD TIMER say about the program?

He gets on his knees every day. And he thanks his creator. If that was the only take away, that would be enough. It was because of his children’s prayers for him, that they had faith in him, that he finally got sober.

In sobriety, he got an engineering job in 1966, working for Mayor Drapeau, prior to the opening of EXPO 67. Then we got a pearl. One Pearl.

One night, he was working on site.

Ille Notre Dame, and Ille St. Helen, are man made islands, that sit in the middle of the St. Lawrence Seaway on the East end of the city. When they dug the Metro System, the rock and debris they dug for the system was then used to create these Islands. Truck after truck of debris was brought out night after night. They built the islands to house some of the EXPO 67 displays.

Which is where you see, today, the remnants of Expo 67, on the river. Habitat 67 is on the South shore of the river which you can see from the islands and Old Montreal.

So back to the story …

One night he was sitting on the island as trucks brought rock from the tunnels.

He looked up into a star filled sky, all alone, by himself, and he said two simple words …

” Thank You…”

You never know when an OLD timer is going to get up and speak. There are not many Montreal founders left. And when they come out, and speak, you listen. And you listen good.

We’ve got a number of young people who are periphery squatters.

Those kids who come in at the last minute, sit in the back, and at the end, they are the first ones out the door. If this man, of more than fifty years of sobriety can stay sober, they can stay sober.

I hope for them, at least, that they got that message.

Many of our folks will never see fifty years sober. That is just a life fact for some.

Tonight we all were very grateful for the simple message, in very few words.

More to come, stay tuned …


Golden Boys Of Gymnastics Return

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by Nancy Armour, Associated Press

(San Jose, California) Paul and Morgan Hamm aren’t yet the gymnasts they were the last time they were on the floor.

Then again, the U.S. men aren’t what they were in 2004, either.

Competing for the first time since the Athens Olympics, the Hamms showed why they were among the best in the world. But it was clear they are still working their way back into competitive form.

“First one’s out of the way,” Paul said afterward.

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Paul, the Olympic champion, scored a 15.7 on floor that was not only best in the event, but among the highest of the competition. Morgan was solid on floor until he under-rotated his final tumbling pass, needing to take a few steps to steady himself. Even with the error, he scored a 14.950 that put him in eighth place.

Both got hung up on the pommel horse, and neither cracked 14.0, which is not a world-level score under the new scoring system.

At least they have an excuse. The rest of the men at the U.S. gymnastics championships have been working for three years, and had very little to show for it that will scare China, Japan or Romania.

David Durante had a few nice routines, Kevin Tan was spectacular on the still rings and Sasha Artemev looks good even when he’s faltering. Durante and Artemev were tied for the lead going into Friday night’s final competition. Other than that, though, there were too many spills and splats from guys who are expected to be leading the way.

 

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Which explains why everyone was so eager for the Hamms to come back.

Paul is the first U.S. man to win the Olympic title, and he and Morgan were the catalyst for the U.S. men’s resurgence in the sport. With the two on the team, the U.S. men won a silver medal at the 2003 world championships and the 2004 Olympics – the first U.S. team medal since the golden boys of 1984.

Without them, the Americans crashed to 13th place at last year’s worlds. Do that again at next month’s worlds in Stuttgart, Germany, and the United States won’t be able to send a full team to the Beijing Olympics. Only the top 12 teams will qualify for Beijing.

The Hamms aren’t planning to compete at worlds – floor and pommel horse are their only fine-tuned routines right now – and say they’re confident the Americans can qualify for Beijing without them. But it’s clear to see how badly the U.S. team will need them at the Olympics.

The rest of the Americans look as if they’re plodding through their routines, just trying to gut them out. There is none of China’s sheer power or any of Japan’s fluidity. And those aren’t the only teams the Americans have to worry about. Everyone in the world has gotten better; Switzerland finished ahead of the United States last year.

The Hamms, though, have undeniable star power. Always have. Their routines just look better – crisper, quicker and with more polished tricks. Their tumbling passes are bigger than anyone else’s, and even their mistakes don’t look as bad as some of the cringe-producing crashes that were out there.

In short, they look like Olympians while most of their competitors look like wannabes.

The twins decided to take some time off after the controversy that followed Paul’s gold medal, which he was forced to defend all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. They finished up their degrees at Ohio State, and got the chance to be “regular” guys.

They announced their comeback in February, and it was clear they were nervous about their first competition in three years.

“Typically, you don’t start off at the U.S. championships as your first competition,” Paul said Tuesday.

The sport has changed dramatically in their absence, thanks to the overhauled scoring system. The traditional 10.0 scale is out, and longer routines jam-packed with tough skills are in. The twins have spent hours evaluating the new scoring system and tweaking their routines, and this was their chance to see how the work they’d done in the gym translated to the competition floor.

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They may not have been perfect. But it’s a long road to Beijing, and this was a solid start.

©365Gay.com 2007


In a sports kind of mind …

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When I think about writing I need to find my way into a space to write, so I put on some music and I find some visuals to enhance my writing. Jake Herbert of Northwestern University’s Wrestling Team, is one of my favorite athletes. Jake Herbert, Wexford, Pa. (Wildcat WC) at 185 pounds. He competed for the U.S. world team. He will be a Senior in this years 2007-2008 Wrestling Season.

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Another Jake photograph…

I have opened an Ebay Store – here so that I could sell off my wrestling gear that I have collected for years and years and had from my days when I was at the gym all the time. Much of the items have sold, and I made a few bucks on the sales, which was good. I have put my Harry Potter Calligraphy set and an oldphoto book 2002 unopened calendar up for bidding, I’m sure in the coming days, that Harry Potter Mania is going to take off and we will all make a profit.

If you want to buy on Ebay, you must sell what you can. I bid on a few items over the last few days, but I am responsible as well. It’s all good. What a deal, I was looking for a specific style of adidas shoes and I found them on Ebay, brand new for half the suggested retail price!! Yes!!!

I was going to do some writing on Harry Potter, and then I thought not, because I don’t want to spoil it for my readers. So if you haven’t seen it then Go SEE IT!! Tomorrow I get to see one of my students and we will begin our Summer Photography Project. So look for new photography to make its way here in the coming weeks.

I spoke to Steve last night about the Best Personal Blog nominations for the future and we are going to sit down and discuss my thoughts in the coming days. We shall see where that leads as well.

I wonder where all my readers went! Last week we were getting over 200 hits a day, that has dropped to less than 100 now, in the last three days.


Are you for real (Revisited)

 

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The day that Memere presented me to God in that church in my early childhood, little did I know how much that would make a difference in my life today. Hindsight is our best teacher. I have always been open to anything and everything. I have never put blinders on my brain or my senses. I guess you could say that I am multi-talented.

Early in my childhood I was predisposed to the paranormal. I would become the medium of my family and my parents thought that I was insane and stupid so I will relate to you some stories to illustrate.

I was in Junior High when my Uncle Paul died in Connecticut and a blue jay appeared at my cousin’s house where her father (my uncle) as I had always believed, he was my father’s cousin, but he was uncle John to the rest of us. Uncle John would be the go between for my father and his parents final resting places. anyways, I digress…

The bird… yes, blue jays are not known for interpersonal skills, yet this bird was different. He followed my uncle around the house (outside) he pecked at the windows for months, and answered to the name Paul when shooed away or invoked after his death. This went on for months until my grandfather died in Florida.

Al was a bitter, sick, demented and sad man – my father’s father died unceremoniously and we did not mourn him for the abuse he heaped upon all of us in this family. But he came back to me. I had a bedroom in the back of the house against my favorite climbing trees and a view of the backyard and patio. After grampy died the bird appeared at my window one day and he pecked and he pecked.

He followed me to the bus stop and back home, he knew when I was home and when we all were in which room. The red headed woodpecker answered to the name of Al when we got tired of his pecking we could open the window and say “get lost Al!” and he would come whenever I called him. This went on for about six months. At one point the bird disappeared…

My uncle shared with us his adventures on his end. 1500 miles away. And then one day he called and said a second bird appeared on the back porch – it was a red headed wood pecker with the blue jay. They visited for a while and then they both disappeared. They were never seen again.

When my paternal grandmother died, it crushed my father emotionally, not to mention me as well. She was a great woman, who loved me and protected me from my abusive father over the years. When she died, I was living out of the house at that point. I came home for the funeral and had to take care of the final send off to the crematorium for my father because he couldn’t handle it.

That afternoon I had brought flowers from her funeral home with me – and that is when she appeared to me. She still appears to me today, many years later. Jeannie stands at the foot of my bed, she never says anything, but she brings with her a scent that only she could bring – and I know the scent. She scared the shit out of me the first night she came to stand vigil at my bedside. She has followed me all over the world as I have moved.

After I was diagnosed HIV positive in 1994, I started seeing a “reader” who taught me the art of divination and card reading, because you know, I am gonna die, I wanna know what’s on the other side, right? I had a small apartment in Ft. Lauderdale that was given to me by some friends when my family decided that I was “untouchable.” My bedroom had a wall unit A/C and I would sleep with my door closed each night. I did not make the connection here until certain things happened. The pictures on the wall would be crooked in the morning. Magazines on the coffee table would be tossed about my apartment, which wasn’t very big at all. I had no pets and I lived alone.

Miguel came over one afternoon and drew a circle and confronted the spirit in the room. Jeannie had not appeared as she had in the past. He told me that a red headed woman was in the apartment and that she did not know how to get through the bedroom door. That I should sleep with the door open from now on, which I did. He described Jeannie to a “t” and so I knew she was still watching me.

Many years later – and I had lived, my maternal grandmother, the lifeblood of all that I am and the maker of faith for me as a man, died. She was in Connecticut and I was in Florida. I had pulled all of the cash I had to buy a plane ticket for the funeral and my mother informed me that I was not to attend the funeral for God Forbid her family find out that I had AIDS. You can imagine my horror and revulsion at her insistance that I comply with her wishes. I had…

Soon after the funeral had passed, I started to commune with Camille in my sleep. She would talk to me and I wrote letters to my mother in her pen and in her handwriting, I am sure my mother kept all these letters, but she never admitted to anyone what they were or who they came from.

She once told me that she had saved my rant letters in a safety deposit box to prove that I was insane. I was an unlucky bastard to my family and nothing I did or said to them ever changed the way they saw me. Camille and I still commune to this very day.

My parents – once said that if I had died that I would have no funeral and be buried somewhere off on my own, which led me to do something seriously drastic to keep them from ever having any control, or ability to touch me in life or in death…

Jeremiah came to be…

The prophet is never welcome in his own town or listened to, but Jeremiah Preached his sermon to deaf ears. Years would pass and insanity would rule and the family resentment would carry out to this very day.

Camille once gave me a scapular that I carried in my wallet for decades until I moved to Montreal in 2002, and realized what that key to faith that would play into my life, with the finding of Sister Georgette soon after and the stories she would tell me about my past and of Camille’s life and the room she stayed in AT the Mother House when she lived here in Montreal.

It so happened that one day I was at the Mother House standing in Camille’s cell and she appeared to me and I told sister Georgette that she was in visitation, Sister G never denied that that was possible. Over the last five years Camille has visited us at the Mother House and here at home. She brings with her a scent as well. That I would recognize.

Jeannie still comes in visitation to the house here and she stands at the foot of my bed and watches over us now. Hubby knows of this and he welcomed her into his home when we started living together, because she used to freak him out in the beginning.

So this little innocent Catholic boy practices the Wiccan circle and read his cards for certain people and never for personal gain. My bedroom is a shrine – the bookcase holds all the sacred objects given to me by sister G, and it holds the gifts given to me by the nuns upon her death in August.

I believe that there is an ever after, because when I went across on my NDE the last time I was in the hospital in 1997, I was told so. My family that surrounded me and protected me from my parents and their abuse, surround me today and have been here, because unlike some of you, I have no blood kin that will participate in my life today. Blood is not thicker than water in my family and resentments and anger rules the hearts of the adults in my family.

I study religion and the ever after because when I die, all those folks whom I honor in my life today will be there to welcome me into the kingdom when my card comes up. I am not the same man I was a mere 10 years ago. I am much older and wiser and I grew up and I forgave and I moved on.

I pray that sad prayer every day, God if it is in your power to grant me one miracle – this is the one that I would wish for. God has yet to respond. Sobriety has taught me a lot about prayer and expectations from God. Eesh, I know that all too well…

On the eve of my first wedding anniversary in 2005, my mother came to me here in Montreal. She appeared in my bedroom on the 19th of November. We were married on the 20th, her birthday. She told me that she came to say goodbye and that she was going to die. Then she departed and I never saw her again.

I have only a memory of my mother from that day in 2001. I have no pictures nor has she attempted to maintain contact with me since I moved here, because she is fiercely loyal to my abusive father. I never called to confirm her death, because I have said that if she had died and my father kept it from me, I would no doubt go insane and drink!

Last year, on the eve of my second wedding anniversary she appeared again to me in my bedroom, but she did not speak. I have practiced the art of scrying her in my sleep and that has failed to give me results. I have begged her to join me in dream space because that is where we could find each other – alas, I never dream about my mother or see her like I see others, for some reason. I don’t have that answer.

All I know is that when I had my near death experience and met that man afterwards who spoke to me because I was incensed that I asked all my questions on the other side and came back with no answers, this man looked at me and said…

“Why wait till you are dead to ask your questions, at that point it is too late to do anything about them, ask them now while you are alive and be ready for answers.”

Ghosts, a good thing or a bad thing, for me its a good thing. I am somewhat empathic to a degree which is a gift and a curse, however you look at it, on any given full moon cycle, which I think we are in at the moment. We are at 62% of full tonight, which is why I am feeling the way I do, I am speeding and writing like a mad man about the paranormal!!

I believe – you don’t have to believe one word that I wrote here, but that’s my story and I am sticking to it…

David

I tell the story of David, my best friend. He died in the Spring of 1987. I had spoken to him prior to his death and I knew he loved me. On the night of his wake, at the funeral home, the priest had a seizure and I had to finish the prayer service for the attendees. Upon my arrival back at the seminary, it was stormy outside. I was bereft in my sadness and grief. It was really not pretty. I was kneeling in the front (right) pew in front of the altar. It was late, and dark outside.

I heard one of the confessional doors open and close in the right of the transept. I heard footsteps come around the altar stones, the floor is stone and marble. The foot steps stopped in the center of the main aisle in front of the altar. The Altar Candle exploded and lit up the mural you see behind it, it was a most glorious vision. David was standing there before me, and told me not to weep, that he was ok, and that he would watch over me. To this day, I have his Glorious Mary Medallion which I never leave the house without. It hangs on a chain I wear with my other medallions.

Every time I look at this picture, I am reminded of this story…

So in his memory, I share it with you…

I love you David…


Expo 67 was inaugurated 40 years ago today!

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The Quebec Pavilion

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The United States Pavilion – now the Biodome

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The French Pavilion – now the Casino du Montreal.

EXPO 67 Library Archives

I had not been born yet, but the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Expo 67 started this afternoon. If you come to Montreal, you can visit the islands where Expo took place. The Biodome on Iles Sainte-Helene and Iles Notre Dame now house beaches, a race track, casino and other public events arenas. Very beautiful parks in the Spring and Summer months to go out and enjoy.


Images of a Champion… Just "Jake"

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184: Many fans were salivating at the idea of a title bout between the two top seeds, Jake Herbert and Roger Kish. But Jake Varner of Iowa State had other plans, and knocked the Minnesotan out of title contention in the semifinals.

The Cyclone freshman — a two-time California high school state champ carried in a 29-6 record to the finals along with considerable pressure to secure a win, and boost his team into first place. Herbert, a junior at Northwestern, put a 30-0 record on the line.

Varner was the aggressor right off the bat, going for the takedown. However, Herbert scored the first takedown to make the score 2-0 at the end of the first period. In the second, with the Iowa Stater taking top, Herbert escaped and immediately followed that with another takedown to rack up a 5-0 lead. Herbert was assessed one point for fleeing the mat, making the score 5-1 at the conclusion of the second. No actual scoring in the third, so, with over three minutes of riding time, the Wildcat got the 6-1 victory helping Northwestern secure fourth place in the team race.

Asked if this title vindicated his loss to Ben Askren in the 2006 finals, Herbert said, “Yes and no. It’s never really going to erase that loss. I can’t ever be a three-time national champ. All I can look forward to is keeping my streak alive and winning it again next year for the Wildcats.”

Six of the twenty finalists entered the Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday night with undefeated records. Of these, four left the arena still perfect: Derek Moore, Ben Askren, Jake Herbert, and Cole Konrad.


Images of a Champion… Just “Jake”

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184: Many fans were salivating at the idea of a title bout between the two top seeds, Jake Herbert and Roger Kish. But Jake Varner of Iowa State had other plans, and knocked the Minnesotan out of title contention in the semifinals.

The Cyclone freshman — a two-time California high school state champ carried in a 29-6 record to the finals along with considerable pressure to secure a win, and boost his team into first place. Herbert, a junior at Northwestern, put a 30-0 record on the line.

Varner was the aggressor right off the bat, going for the takedown. However, Herbert scored the first takedown to make the score 2-0 at the end of the first period. In the second, with the Iowa Stater taking top, Herbert escaped and immediately followed that with another takedown to rack up a 5-0 lead. Herbert was assessed one point for fleeing the mat, making the score 5-1 at the conclusion of the second. No actual scoring in the third, so, with over three minutes of riding time, the Wildcat got the 6-1 victory helping Northwestern secure fourth place in the team race.

Asked if this title vindicated his loss to Ben Askren in the 2006 finals, Herbert said, “Yes and no. It’s never really going to erase that loss. I can’t ever be a three-time national champ. All I can look forward to is keeping my streak alive and winning it again next year for the Wildcats.”

Six of the twenty finalists entered the Palace of Auburn Hills on Saturday night with undefeated records. Of these, four left the arena still perfect: Derek Moore, Ben Askren, Jake Herbert, and Cole Konrad.


NCAA Wrestling Championships: 2007

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F A N T A S T I C !!! The CHAMPION… Jake Herbert…

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Northwestern’s Jake Herbert, a North Allegheny High School graduate, ended a drought for the Wildcats last night.

A redshirt junior, Herbert decisioned Iowa State freshman Jake Varner, 6-1, to win the 184-pound class at the NCAA wrestling championships at The Palace of Auburn Hills. He is Northwestern’s first individual winner since 1990 and finished a perfect 32-0.

The previous Northwestern wrestler to win a NCAA title was Jack Griffin in ’90.

Herbert, who lost to Missouri’s Ben Askren in the 174-pound final last year, scored a takedown in each of the first two periods on the way to the victory. He built a 5-0 lead before Varner managed a point.

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Herbert’s win helped Northwestern to a fourth-place finish and 71.5 points in the team standings. It also helped Minnesota edged Iowa State, 98-88.5, for the team title.

Report: HERE


The Other Side…

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Many years ago, during the ‘sickest’ era of my AIDS experience, things were really bad for me. I was hospitalized many times from 1995-1998. Tonight on Coast to Coast, they are talking about (O.B.E.’s and N.D.E.’s) This was last nights show, since we are 24 hour tape delay here in Canada.

Below is one of my tether experiences.

The N.D.E. I talk about is the one that happened when I was last in the hospital, I was having severe migraines that were so bad, that I would crawl around on the floor banging my head against the walls of my apartment trying to alleviate the pain. In such cases, I would have to call for help and usually end up in the E.R. for a shot of Toradol I.M. to stop the session from progressing to fruition.

I remember being in the isolation ward, that’s where they always put me – for fear that I would catch something from someone in the E.R. they were very careful with me, because I was a repeat patient. I was laying on the gurney and the doc had been in for triage and he left me to go get the meds I needed.

I was in so much pain, that at one point I separated from my body and rose out of the room, I could see myself and it was up through the tunnel and into a place that was peaceful. I landed on my feet in a garden of immense beauty. I could smell the flowers, I could see hills and green grass as far as the eye could see. I must be sitting in the garden because I was met by a feeling of immense ‘Godliness.’ The garden was beautiful, I can still see it in my minds eye. The closest we come to this is a visual from “What Dreams May Come.”

You know at that point, we have our list of questions to ask the almighty, that’s where I figured I was. I wasn’t at the gate yet, but I thought I should get the questions out before that experienced either ended or I died on the table.

I asked my questions, that was then. And afterwards, they sent me back to my body, telling me that “it wasn’t time yet.” I returned to my body, and in the time that I left my body and returned, they had come back with the shot for me and it was given to me, and I had about an hour to myself to recharge my steam and they would release me to go home.

I returned to the world – minus the answers to my questions. Needless to say I was mift! I went back to my life, and proceeded to live. I guess that experience did not change me in ways that most are changed when they go across and return to talk about it. I made several really bad choices, that I came up a real looser. It took another ‘near death experience’ to get my attention – and that one had nothing to do with heaven, but closer to hell.

It was years later that I was at a workshop with a friend, and I met this man who walked up to me and told me he knew where I had been, and he saw that I was ‘frustrated’ it was like he looked into my soul and saw everything that had happened to me since. And he told me these wise words: “You went across and you asked your questions, and you came back unfulfilled, didn’t you?  I told him yes. He then told me that I should take those questions and ask them to the living, and not wait until I was dead to seek the answers. Because once you are dead, there is no need for questions is there?

Since then I have always had those “soul” questions in the front of my brain. And I communicate those questions as they come up to the universe and I wait. I guess there is a reason I am re-printing these stories for you, because life is a journey. The more questions we have, the greater need we have to answer them now, rather than later.

I saw that man once, I never saw him again after that.

I once met a man who knew things about me and spoke to me and told me something wise in a public place once before, when I was much younger. I was working in a grocery store, my first job, to be more exact. I was in junior high school then. I was bagging groceries in a store by my home. The cashier I was bagging for was being stubborn to a woman who did not speak very good English. This elderly man with a black beret and a red and black checked jacket and black pants walked up to me and said “You speak a second language, you should use it because it is a gift for you. Don’t waste the gifts given to you.” Ok, I said, and I translated for the woman standing there.

That elderly man walked into the store and never walked out, he had to pass me to get out of the store because there were no other exits. At the end of the shift I went looking for him, and never found him. He disappeared and I never ever saw him again…

Ok, so now, he’s gone off the deep end…

No not really. These are my experiences. Maybe someone else has had them too…