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Scattered Heart …

Courtesy: Scattered Heart

Happy Canada Day for those of you across the great land, and those in the commonwealth. It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Blue skies, flecked with cloud, it was a great day to be out and about, as I was today.

I haven’t run since Wednesday, but I walked the lower Westmount route today in full, so I have had my exercise for the day.

It has been a quiet weekend. We finally reached the big time here at home, over the last ten years of our lives together hubby and I have replaced all of our defunct electronics and have achieved financial security over the last year or so. Or should I say the fear of financial insecurity has left us.

With that said, we finally were able to afford an air conditioner. Something we have lived without for so many years here at this address. Friday was the big shop day and the installation. Needless to say that air conditioner has worked famously since I turned it on on Friday afternoon.

Grasshopper celebrated his 9 months on Friday and he got his chip from my own personal collection. Next stop – 1 year.I’ve been making early meetings for the past few days – only adding to my sober bank of meetings.

This morning, grasshopper and I went to the Dorval Breakfast meeting for food and fellowship. It was a good morning. The topic was “Why do we go to meetings?”

There happened once again today, a newcomer who has been struggling to make sense of why she needs to go to meetings. She is fearful and maybe a bit resentful of the fact that she needs to come, but doesn’t know why?

Maybe she isn’t putting the effort by allowing her energy to mix with the meeting and the people in the meetings in general? And also that she isn’t getting the vibe of the meeting, so she is not taking anything from the meeting when she leaves, therefore the meeting was a waste of time and effort.

But the old timers warn us over and over that if we stop going to meetings we will drink again. And that’s what I had to say to the meeting this morning.

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings …

It doesn’t matter how much time you have or don’t have. And that advice comes from people who have been in the rooms longer than I have been alive. Some people have it harder than others, and I guess that reminds me to remember what it was like when I came in the second time, I really had to work for it.

I did tons of meetings that first year of sobriety. I did aftercare for a year on top of those meetings as well. I rooted myself at a home group and I stuck and stayed and to this day Tuesday Beginners has been my home group and it has served me well. My life revolves around my meetings. If I don’t have meetings I won’t have much of a life. I never want to get to the point that I say to myself that “Ah, I don’t need those meetings any more…” I can manage on my own.

I can’t … And I won’t …

That has been on my mind all day long.

I came home and watched a spate of “Comedy Gold” episodes of I Love Lucy. I don’t remember the last time I sat down and actually watched tv, other than our politics show every night.

My favorite episode is the VETA-VITA-VEGA-MIN episode. It brings back some great memories.

As a young gay boy who was enamored with drag queens in my life, I know of two artists who dared to perform this entire skit from beginning to end. Word for Word, action for action, for laugh after laugh.

Once was at a Drag Pageant Competition where the set on stage was of a large television screen that first was shown in black and white, and as the set spun on stage, the actors and television turned to color and she did this episode and just killed the competition and won the pageant. It was one of the great moments I have ever witnessed in drag competitions.

The second artist that I knew who was able to become Lucille Ball was at the end of my drinking the first time at the COPA in Ft. Lauderdale. Her name escapes me at the moment, but that was another class act. If you’ve ever seen Lucille Ball act this episode on tv, it is a riot.

Hello folks are you tired, listless, do you poop out at parties?
Are you unpopular ???

It is worth every moment invested in watching it.

I got ready and set off for my second meeting of the day, Sunday Nighter’s.

The Thursday night speaker from St. Matthias (Are you the Messiah???) post I wrote about it earlier in the week is still resonating with people.

I got to the meeting really early, so I got to talk with a few people that were there early as well and we talked about this mornings meeting, (Why do we go to meetings?) It was a small crowd tonight, and we read from Experience, Strength and Hope.

We read the second part of a longer story that appears in the 3rd edition of the Big Book. The first part was read two weeks ago, then the following week was a tradition meeting, and tonight we read the last part of the story.

But from the point of where we picked up, I immediately identified with the writer of the story. She was a lush, a barfly and troublesome. The depths that she writes about in her drinking, I could identify with. And to be honest, at age 21, I was a full fledged, whole hog, drinker.

I moved away from home the first time, with high hopes for myself. I rented a high end apartment that I just had to have because friends of mine had an apartment in the same complex in Orlando, just minutes from the Tragic Queendom.

I was 21… I had no street smarts. I was schooled in how to drink. When I left home, I knew how to cook, and clean and cut the grass. But I was woefully inept at responsibility. Who knew you had to pay bills, on time … Who knew you had to buy food… Who knew you had to be responsible for things now that we were on our own ???

I had a good job. Making good money. I drank high end liquor at Tragic Queendom clubs at what is now Downtown Disney. Back then it was a village of bars, theatres and eateries. I was a regular fixture at happy hour every night.

The Parliament House was not far, and that was my main haunt every weekend from the day I came out, until the day I moved away from Orlando, but I continued my irresponsible drinking career.

You know, I knew, early on, what an alcoholic was, I mean they existed in my family from birth, yet I failed to identify myself as one as a young man. When I came out, my shrink told me that in order to fit into gay society, that I would have to go to a bar and drink and see where it would lead, and that’s what I did, and kept doing for years until I finally stopped drinking the second time at age 34.

Nobody said to me that “Maybe you have a problem?” or “Maybe you should stop drinking (so much)?” Nobody said NO, or STOP.

Even when my car was repossessed from under neath me and my father bailed me out, this resentment I think still sticks in his brain to this day. My parents never said anything to me in the form of a caring request or question. Heaven forbid they help their gay son. Because I was an abomination …

But I digress …

I identify with the writers in the many editions of the Big Book. I have a disease that wants to kill me. And one of my friends shared at the meeting that if you relapse after a period of sobriety, it only gets WORSE !!! And for me that was truth. My relapse almost killed me.

And at meetings I am repeatedly warned that if I don’t maintain Constant Vigilance of my sobriety, I will drink again, and that I may not have another recovery in me.

I’ve been reminded of a great many things over the past few days, and that’s why I go to meetings. To reinforce my sobriety, to share with others like me, to help the newcomer, and to be a fellow to my fellows. Because we talk before and after a meeting and maybe something I have said today stuck in someone’s head and got them to think and therefore grow. That’s why fellowship is so important.

On the way home I walked home with a fellow member who is dealing with Cancer treatment and I was able to talk to him and give him some of my life advice having dealt with a life threatening illness myself – other than alcoholism.

Being sick because we are an alcoholic is one thing.

But being sick with a life threatening disease other than alcoholism is another beast entirely. And sometimes going to meetings for one, doesn’t serve the other and we have to step up and be counted on to help our fellows through the tough spots.

And I was able to do that tonight.

I did not spend one moment celebrating Canada Day. I Did not spend one moment watching any of the national broadcast. Many of my Canadian friends in other places have become really disillusioned at where we are as a Country and as a people. I am really thankful that I am a Canadian. Because coming here has saved my life many times over …

And all this success over the last ten years would never have happened had I kept drinking like I was. Only since I got sober has my life flourished.

And then some, and for that I am forever grateful.


Thursday Notes …

Courtesy: JackAnthony

This photo would be more appropriate if there were train tracks near here, and there are, not far off but one doesn’t really go walking on the tracks because they are busy all day long.

*** *** *** ***

There have been marches every night here in the city. The cops are getting creative with their “Kettling” of the crowds, and though other police forces in other cities have been cited for using this drastic tactic, Montreal police are fearing for their lives on a nightly basis.

Hundreds were arrested last night after a Kettling, and even innocent passersby have been getting caught up in the dragnet. We are told that talks will resume and that they really need to reach consensus, and they need to do it now.

The Grand Prix is starting to suffer as groups have begun to cancel their appearances here because they fear for their lives and the well being of the cars and those who would be coming.

Festival season is just days away now and students are holding the city hostage and the Premier is shuffling his cabinet in the attempt to bring fresh eyes and ideas into the mix to try and end this conflict with students.

The protests have morphed into what is called Casseroling. People sit on their balconies and on street corners banging pots and pans in civil disobedience to voice their displeasure with Bill 78.

Social media is firing all these protests in our city, and even though I support the students, something has to give and it better give soon.

We don’t venture out into the neighborhood very often and we sure as shit don’t travel to the East end or the village because that is where all the nightly troubles start. Marchers are fucking with the city by marching up and down streets Against traffic which creates nightmares for pedestrians and drivers and buses.

They marched against traffic down Ste. Catherine’s Street earlier today which stopped traffic for hours while cops drove behind them the wrong way all the way to Westmount.

I don’t see an end in sight and this needs to end because if it doesn’t the summer tourism season will be heavily affected and the city will loose big because tourism is a huge draw during the summer with the Grand Prix, The Fireworks Festival, the Jazz Fest, Just for Laughs, and on and on …

If students are marching in the streets blocking traffic, fucking with the Metro, blocking bridges and streets en masse, how are we supposed to go on with our lives – it’s not only the tourists who are loosing, it is Montrealer’s just as well.

We will keep you posted …

*** *** *** ***

It has been a quiet couple of days. I had lunch with my mentor yesterday and we chatted about a great many things. Lots of ideas are on the table but nothing looks really good at the moment. I’ve been told by more than one sober person that I should wait to see what presents itself and not to rush to do anything big just yet. I’ve been making a list of “Things to do or Things I would like to do.”

And all these things involve other people and all of those people are out living their lives and doing their jobs and ministering to their folks. How do you go about asking someone to devote some time to you when it seems that their plates are full already? Time is precious and I don’t want to waste someones time or be a burden on them or their community.

All my EBAY items for sale will end tomorrow. Which means I will have to cart those boxes downstairs for pricing and shipping again. I contacted all the bidders to get some information from them and I am waiting on them to respond. It’s all about timing right now.

I was sitting on the balcony earlier today and the sun was shining and dark clouds closed in from the South Shore and it poured down rain just before I was getting ready to head out for a meeting. And glad that I arrived when I did to see arching over the sky from one end of the sky to the other was a huge bright and beautiful rainbow – I took photos of it with my phone. It was the first time in recent memory that I have seen a rainbow that big in the sky.

Not a bad photo !!!  Courtesy of Android HTC Hero.

The speaker at tonight’s meeting talked about God, and his conscious contact and how God had moved in his life. All the stories are somewhat the same. We came, we drank, we couldn’t stop things get ugly and only finding God as a result of working the steps, does one finally get sober.

A friend of mine asks the questions …

How much recovery is enough?  My answer to this question is another question…. how much is there?

Our man has been part of the program for more than 25 years. But he dabbled, drank and drugged in sobriety. So how much is enough? I don’t think we ever get “enough” but we have to come each day and fill our cups with living water, hope and serenity. It isn’t enough to stop drinking – but a constant daily necessity of getting what we need as we need it.

It was a good meeting. Here is today’s reflection…

Happy, Joyous, and Free

We are sure God wants us to be happy, joyous, and free. We cannot subscribe to the belief that this life is a vale of tears, though it once was just that for many of us. But it is clear that we made our own misery. God didn’t do it. Avoid then, the deliberate manufacture of misery, but if trouble comes, cheerfully capitalize it as an opportunity to demonstrate His omnipotence.

Alcoholics Anonymous P.133

No matter how bad it gets (Grasshopper) there is always a solution. It may take some time – but we will find the solution. Just don’t drink. One day at a time.

That’s all for tonight.


And things in Montreal are not good …

Courtesy: Noneedtoaskmyname

The Premier and the legislature in Quebec City tabled a new law, Bill 78. The debate lasted all night Thursday night and into Friday evening. And because of the Liberal Majority, the bill passed and became law.

  • The school year has been shut down, in opt for a return in August to give protesters time to relax and regroup and calm down.
  • There is a ban on numbers of protesters that can gather to protest (sounds like Professor Umbridge is running things in Quebec City).
  • Student groups larger than 50 people are banned ( A very Snape move)
  • Here in Montreal, masks have been outlawed for all protestors.
  • Steep fines will be imposed on students who protest($1,000 to $5,000 for individuals), and even steeper fines upwards of $125,000 for student unions who support such protests or protestors.
  • This is all set to allow student access to class and to keep protestors from blocking or picketing campuses and classrooms.

This is all supposed to STOP the nightly protest marches. Well, that did not go over very well here in Montreal tonight as Tens of Thousands of students marched in the streets once again tonight, tossing bottles, rocks and Molotov cocktails at police which deemed the protest illegal.

A group of protestors marched from our end of town through the core to the east end of the city with at least twenty cop cars following them from behind.

With the summer festival season upon us the first big week up first is the Grand Prix of Montreal. This multi- million dollar event will bring much needed tourism and money to the city come the beginning of June, and all we need is some nasty marchers to disrupt the party from within.

These nightly marches are steeped in more than just protests against tuition being raised over the next five years and I don’t begin to know all the facets of all of what is going on. But all this violence needs to be stopped.

Montrealer’s want their city back. Over the last 14 weeks, one never knows where one can go safely because of nightly marches from one end of the city to another. And because of the violent aspect of these demonstrations, the downtown core has been hit very hard and it is time for us to take back our streets once and for all.

All this blocking of schools, stoppage of traffic, blocking of tunnels, bridges and the metro system, we have all had enough. If these kids keep it up, they are going to pay in huge ways after tonight. It has been said by some on television that these kids are not fully thinking through their actions, because once you get arrested and it goes on your record, the rest of your life is fucked.

They say that this has been the darkest day in Quebec in recent memory, when the government passed draconian laws to stop the protestors and bring order to the city. Student groups and as well, groups in the National Assembly are up in arms and students vow to break the law until they end the new law legally or the government concedes to the wishes and negotiations of student groups.

It does not bode well for Montreal. But it remains to be seen just how much force will be meted out for protestors come the weekend. 14 weeks of protests have not abated in any way and today’s law passage has only fired up the base into furious responses. Students are mad as hell, and they aren’t going to take what the Premier has set down for them.

So it will be a battle of wills here – may the best man win.

This also does not bode well for the Premier with a looming election coming not far off into the future. Charest may have dealt his death blow to the province of Quebec in Bill 78 to cull the protests at their heart, but he may loose big when the next election is called. Students vote and tonight they made their voices clear, they will remember tonight come the next election.

*** *** *** ***

Nothing else exciting is going on here. I hit St. Matthias last night and it was an ok meeting, but I zoned out halfway through the speaker. Another old timer, gone slipping story. They are coming a dime a dozen lately.

I got all my grades for the semester and I aced all my finals. I also aced my final paper on Colony Collapse Syndrome for Geography and it got a great review. So the grades are in, I am finished for the term. No more writing papers or going to class… YAY !!!

It is the weekend. We’ll see what happens and if we partake in weekend events in the city. Say a prayer for us, we sure need it right now.

Goodnight from Montreal.

 

 


Montreal mayor livid over metro smoke bomb attacks

McGill Metro Station – Green Line – Montreal

The Mayor is pissed, the Premier is pissed and Montrealer’s are getting pissed as well. Who’s to blame for this action today? Nobody is sure. But these kids are adamant and just hitting their stride. This could go on for months. I’ve seen marches like this before, and once a movement gets galvanized, there is little that they can do about it unless the authorities get drastic and the government moves its ass and changes their tune …

The summer festivals will begin soon and the city doesn’t want this taint on our city, nor do we residents. Somethings got to give, and give soon, or else Montreal is at the mercy of the angry student movement.

CBCNEWS.CA

Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay is urging people to “take back their city” after a series of smoke bombs paralyzed the public metro system, sending the island’s transit service into chaos at the peak of rush hour.

“No cause, legitimate or not, can justify any criminal action that jeopardizes public security,” a livid-looking Tremblay told reporters at a news conference.

Although the attacks haven’t been directly linked to ongoing student protests, Tremblay also urged students and politicians to get back to the negotiating table to settle their tuition dispute, and restore civil order.

(more…)


Neil Patrick Harris Covers ‘Out’ With His Love Story

Lifted from: DanNation.Org

“There’s something kinetic about him and his being. He’s classically sexy, yet he’s very much a boy in his energy. It’s a great dynamic. When I see people who are equally attractive, they tend to seem more quiet and kind of Marlboro Man-y, and David’s the antithesis of that. He’s more like Tigger. I’m, in turn, very introspective — the thinker, rather than the doer. I tend to weigh options before making decisions, and David is the polar opposite of that. We’re hyper similar and also incredibly opposite. We share a wardrobe. We have the same shoe size, body size, height, and weight. We’re both Gemini. We both like the idea of family — not a nuclear family, but a social family. Yet, we’re incredibly opposite in the way we process information.”

Neil Patrick Harris on partner David Burtka, in Out magazine.

I love this piece. Hubby and I are very similar. I will have to get a copy of this.


“The Chair …”

The last weekend of Summer has come and gone. The kids should be in bed already so that they can get up on time for school tomorrow. Backpacks should be packed and lunches made and new school clothes waiting to be worn.

It was always an exciting time getting ready for school back in the day. Lots of good memories shopping for new clothes and getting ready for new school years. I am reminded of what it was like tonight since most of the news casts had stories about going “back to school.”

This week marks new beginnings in the News World. With Lloyd Robertson’s departure from the CTV National News chair last week, we welcome a new anchor to the chair tonight.

The new CTV National news with Lisa Laflamme began tonight with a new desk, new graphics and a very exciting news reporting. Lisa has been a fixture at CTV covering world affairs from all the major hot spots around the world. It was an exciting news cast and I think that she will do well in her new role as the main anchor for the National News. Lisa writes a new column called “The Desk:”

Hi everyone,

This is a big day for the CTV National News team. The first, in our new story as we step across the bridge and into the future.

Tonight, I will sit in ‘The Chair’ for the first time as Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor. It’s a new role for me, but I’m happily surrounded by the same team I have been part of my entire professional life.

People have asked me, what will change?

Well, let me tell you first what will NOT change: what we do better than anyone.

Acting as witness to events in our own country and around the world.

Making sense of facts – some of which are easier to establish than others, so at the kitchen tables of Canada, EVERYBODY understands.

Investigating beyond the bare facts – we nail bad guys and celebrate the good guys.

So what will change? The truth is, it already has.

The dizzying pace of the daily news cycle online and on TV is only going to accelerate.

I see this as good news because 140 characters does not a news story make. It means that at the end of the day, more and more people will NEED what we do best. Context, credibility and basic reporting have never been more important than they are today.

We’re already using social media to share our stories with an even wider audience, to alert you of breaking stories and as a place we can see YOUR crucial feedback and ideas. I’m excited to take greater advantage of all the digital tools at our disposal in order to tell our stories in new ways, on exciting new platforms. (Have you checked out our new FREE CTV News iPad App!)

Back to today, or rather, tonight. So many people have worked so hard to make this launch a success. From the editorial brainstorming to the production artistry, to the magical construction of the incredible new set – our own Special Forces!

And finally, I want to thank you all for your incredible support. Your notes, tweets, and emails have been overwhelming, and I promise we won’t let you down.

Lisa

*** *** *** ***

Tomorrow the local CTV news channel here in Montreal begins its new news casts from their new Studio twelve. There are no photos of the new studio up yet and my local reporter friend has not updated his news stories feed just yet, so maybe I will be able to post some of those shots in the coming days.

It is going to be an exciting week for all. Hubby goes back to teaching next Monday in the department of sociology at Concordia, he and a few of his friends were hand picked to teach tutorials for the department this fall. It is a new chapter for him in his commitment to his education and the education of new students in the department.

It being a holiday today – we did not have to be anywhere so I slept in again and hubby went out to meet with his fellow teachers for a few hours. When he got home we prepared some dinner and that is always fun.

I’ve been noticing a lot lately that my hair has been steadily going grey in many places and I don’t fathom going grey this early in my life so the other day I went by Pharmaprix to get some Loreal Excellence hair color. This is my only vain vein in my body … grey hair is unacceptable. So that’s one thing that got done tonight.

Tomorrow is Tuesday and it will be an exciting day. Hopefully the sun will shine because it is raining a bit tonight.

Sty tuned, more to come…

 


At least 91 dead in Norway shooting, bomb attack

My thoughts and prayers go out to Norway and their people. A very sad day today. The killing of innocents and children in any case is reprehensible.

*** *** ***

OSLO (Reuters) – A gunman dressed in police uniform shot dead at least 84 people at a youth summer camp of Norway’s ruling political party, hours after a bomb killed seven in the government district in the capital Oslo.

Witnesses said the gunman, identified by police as a 32-year-old Norwegian who they believed was also linked to the bombing, moved across the small, wooded Utoeya holiday island on Friday firing at random as young people scattered in fear.

Norwegian television TV2 said the gunman detained by police was tall and blond and had links to right-wing extremism. Police said on Saturday the man had been charged for the bomb blast and the shooting.

“A paradise island has been transformed into a hell,” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference on Saturday.

(more…)


Keith Olbermann leaving MSNBC, suddenly exiting nightly show; no further explanation given

NEW YORK, N.Y. – MSNBC TV host Keith Olbermann announced Friday that he is leaving the network and has taped his last “Countdown” show.

MSNBC issued a statement that it had ended its contract with the controversial host, with no further explanation. Olbermann hosted the network’s most popular show, but his combative liberal opinions often made him a target of critics.

Olbermann did not explain why he was leaving.

“MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavours,” the network said.

A spokesman said Phil Griffin, MSNBC’s president, would not comment on Olbermann’s exit. Spokesman Jeremy Gaines would say only that the acquistion of NBC Universal by Comcast, which received regulatory approval this week, had nothing to do with the decision.

Olbermann was suspended without pay from the network for two days in November for donating to three Democratic candidates, which violated NBC News’ policy on political donations. Olbermann complained that he was being punished for mistakenly violating an inconsistently applied rule that he had known nothing about.

The host apologized to fans — but not to the network.

Olbermann, before leaving the show with a final signature toss of his script toward the camera, thanked his audience for sticking with him and read a James Thurber poem.

“This may be the only television program where the host was much more in awe of the audience than vice versa,” he said.

He thanked a series of people, including the late Tim Russert, but pointedly not Griffin or NBC News President Steve Capus.

Olbermann’s prime-time show is the network’s top-rated. His evolution from a humorous look at the day’s headlines into a pointedly liberal show in the last half of George W. Bush’s administration led MSNBC to largely shift the tone of the network in his direction, with the hirings or Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell in primetime.

But Olbermann was known for a mercurial personality behind the scenes and he was almost fired last year for the political donations. He quit a prime-time show on MSNBC in the late 1990s, complaining that management was making him report too much on President Bill Clinton’s impeachment scandal.

He was particularly critical of Fox News Channel and his direct competitor, Bill O’Reilly, frequently naming him his “Worst Person in the World” in a segment popular with his fans. Bosses at NBC had discussed trying to keep the tone of the vitriol down.

MSNBC announced that O’Donnell, who had frequently filled in for Olbermann before starting his own 10 p.m. show, will take over Olbermann’s time slot starting Monday. “The Ed Show,” with Ed Schultz, would move to 10 p.m. Cenk Uygur of the Web show “The Young Turks,” will fill Schultz’s vacated 6 p.m. time slot.

Olbermann had signed a new four-year contract with MSNBC two years ago. It’s unclear what his plans are now.

He could give a boost to struggling CNN’s prime-time lineup, but Olbermann would mean CNN would make an abrupt shift in its nonpartisan policy. It was not immediately known how quickly Olbermann could switch to another job if he wanted to.

*** *** *** *** ***

I have read through all the blogs. The Huffington Post and The Daily Kos. There are theories and speculations about what happened and why, and what may happen next. Suffice to say Keith is finished at MSNBC, it is possible that Keith made a lump of money if they bought him out, but certain specifics may hamper being told what those finer points are.

Keith was a nightly event in this house. MSNBC as a whole network ran every night here, he will be missed. I hope he got away with enough money to keep him happy for a long time.

You can visit The Daily Kos or The Huffington Post. I am sure they will be updating as news leaks out.

The theory that Comcast fired Olbermann to calm the heads at Fox is something I am sure of. We hope that Lawrence and Rachel and Ed keep their jobs, if they fall, then you know something is up with the stifling of political opinion …

Rachel was on Bill Maher tonight and she did not have much to say about the end of Countdown.

We shall see what we get over the weekend. Stay tuned…


Chile’s 33 trapped miners all rescued in “miracle”

By Cesar Illiano and Terry Wade

COPIAPO, Chile (Reuters) – All of Chile’s 33 trapped miners were rescued from the bowels of the earth in a special capsule on Wednesday as a extraordinary two-month survival story many call a miracle triggered wild celebrations.

Luis Urzua, 54, who was leading the shift at the time of the collapse, was the last of the miners to travel through 2,050 feet of rock to the surface in a capsule barely wider than a man’s shoulders.

Celebrations erupted across the country as he emerged to a hero’s welcome above the San Jose gold and copper mine in Chile’s northern Atacama desert, wearing his hard-hat and dark shades to protect his eyes after spending 69 days in a dimly-lit tunnel.

Urzua beamed as an elated crowd chanted, yelled, sobbed and waved red, white and blue Chilean flags. The miners have set a new world record for survival trapped underground.

Rescue workers opened the capsule door and hugged Urzua, who had insisted throughout that he would not leave the tunnel until all the other miners were safely evacuated.

They are now all safe, thanks to a meticulously-planned rescue operation that went quicker and more smoothly than anyone dared to believe.

Now the rescue workers who traveled the down the shaft to help evacuate them will themselves be winched to the surface in the metal capsule, named Phoenix after the mythical bird that rose from the ashes.

Church bells rang out in Chile when the first miner was extricated and Chileans were glued to their televisions, proud of their nation’s ability to save the men in a world class rescue operation.

“This was the toughest match of my life,” said Franklin Lobos, a former professional soccer player who turned to mining and driving a taxi to make ends meet, as he emerged from the mine.

The miners were whisked away for medical check ups and were found to be in good health, except for one who has pneumonia and is being treated with antibiotics.

“This is a miracle from God,” said Alberto Avalos, the uncle of Florencio Avalos, a father of two who was the first to emerge shortly after midnight.

EUPHORIA

Euphoric rescuers, relatives and friends broke into cheers — and tears — as the miners emerged to breathe fresh air for the first time since the mine caved in on Aug 5.

They were all initially believed to be dead but rescue teams found the men 17 days after the collapse with a bore hole the width of a grapefruit. The tiny hole then became an umbilical cord used to pass hydration gels, water and food to keep them alive during one of the world’s most ambitious rescue operations.

Their story of survival captured global attention. Some 1,500 journalists were at the mine to report on the rescue operation, which was broadcast live around the world, including dramatic live images of the miners hugging rescuers who traveled down the shaft to their refuge deep in the mine.

The flawless rescue was a big success for Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, who waited at the mouth of the shaft through the night and day to greet and hug the men as they emerged from the red, white and blue capsule — the Chilean colors.

Pinera, a billionaire entrepreneur who took office in March, ordered an overhaul of Chile’s mine safety regulations after the accident. His popularity ratings have surged and his government has won praise for its handling of the crisis.

Among millions of people who watched television coverage of the rescue of the first miner was U.S. President Barack Obama, who hailed the operation as an inspiration to the world.

“This rescue is a tribute not only to the determination of the rescue workers and the Chilean government but also the unity and resolve of the Chilean people who have inspired the world,” Obama said in Washington.

Thirty-two of the miners are Chilean but one is from neighboring Bolivia and the rescue has helped improve ties between the two countries, locked in a bitter dispute for more than a century over Bolivia’s demands for access to the Pacific.

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales was at the mine to welcome the Bolivian miner, Carlos Mamani, as he was lifted to safety and he thanked Pinera and his government for rescuing him.

Chile will continue to shut old, decrepit mines after the miners’ saga, but the clampdown is unlikely to hit output in the world’s top copper producer, industry insiders say.

The mining industry has played a central and often tragic role in Latin American history, starting with the hunger for gold and silver that drove the Spanish conquest and led to the enslavement of indigenous peoples.


Bolivian among 33 trapped miners rescued in Chile

At 10:00 p.m. the rescue of 32 Chilean/and 1 Bolivian Miner(s) began. We have been watching live coverage now for 5 hours. The 5th Chilean Miner is in the capsule and is on his way to the surface. Miner #5 has since made his way out of the mine as I am watching this transpire live on television.

The capsule is making roundtrips by the hour it seems, and everything seems to be going fantastically well. They say over a billion people world wide are watching this night unfold in Chile.

The Fenix capsule has been making the 2,040 foot trip between the mine and the surface. This is nothing short of a miracle, all are alive and over the next 30 hours we will see all miners make it to the surface.

By Michael Warren, The Associated Press

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile – Chile has rescued its fourth miner: the lone Bolivian among 33 men trapped underground for the past 69 days.

Carlos Mamani was greeted by his wife, Veronica, with a hug and kiss that knocked off her white hardhat as Chile’s president and first lady held small Bolivian flags.

Mamani also gestured with both forefingers at the Chilean flag on his T-shirt and shouted “Gracias, Chile!” before a round of back-slapping with his rescuers.

Mamani had just started working as a heavy-equipment operator at the mine when it it collapsed. He was recruited by his father-in-law, Johnny Quispe, who told The Associated Press that he narrowly escaped being crushed himself when the rocks fell, and that everyone at the mine knew it was dangerously overworked.

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By Michael Warren, The Associated Press

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile – The first of 33 men was rescued Tuesday night after 69 days trapped in a collapsed mine, pulled to fresh air and freedom at last in a missile-like escape capsule to the cheers of his family and countrymen.

Florencio Avalos, wearing a helmet and sunglasses to protect him from the glare of rescue lights, smiled broadly as he emerged and hugged his sobbing 7-year-old son, Bairo, and wife. He also embraced Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and rescuers.

Also on hand was Avalos’ other son and father.

After the capsule was pulled out of a manhole-sized opening, Avalos emerged as bystanders cheered, clapped and broke into a chant of “Chi! Chi! Chi! Le! Le! Le!” — the country’s name.

Avalos gave a thumbs-up as he was led to an ambulance and medical tests after his more than two months deep below the Chilean desert — the longest anyone has ever been trapped underground and survived.

Avalos, the 31-year-old second-in-command of the miners, was chosen to be first because he was in the best condition. He has been so shy that he volunteered to handle the camera rescuers sent down so he wouldn’t have to appear on the videos that the miners sent up.

Pinera described how lovely it was to see Avalos’ sons greet their father, especially young Bairo.

“I told Florencio, that few times have I ever seen a son show so much love for his father,” the president said.

“This won’t be over until all 33 are out,” Pinera added. “Hopefully the spirit of these miners will remain forever with us. … This country is capable of great things.”

Minutes earlier, mine rescue expert Manuel Gonzalez of the state copper company Codelco grinned and made the sign of the cross as he was lowered into the shaft to the trapped men — apparently without incident. He was followed by Roberto Ros, a paramedic with the Chilean navy’s special forces. Together they will prepare the miners for their rescue — expected to take as many as 36 hours for all to surface.

“We made a promise to never surrender, and we kept it,” Pinera said as he waited to greet the miners, whose endurance and unity captivated the world as Chile meticulously prepared their rescue.

The last miner out has been decided: Shift foreman Luis Urzua, whose leadership was credited for helping the men endure 17 days with no outside contact after the collapse. The men made 48 hours’ worth of rations last before rescuers reached them with a narrow borehole to send down more food.

Janette Marin, sister-in-law of miner Dario Segovia, said the order of rescue didn’t matter.

“This won’t be a success unless they all get out,” she said, echoing the solidarity that the miners and people across Chile have expressed.

The paramedics can change the order of rescue based on a brief medical check once they’re in the mine. First out will be those best able to handle any difficulties and tell their comrades what to expect. Then, the weakest and the ill — in this case, about 10 suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dental and respiratory infections and skin lesions from the mine’s oppressive humidity. The last should be people who are both physically fit and strong of character.

Chile has taken extensive precautions to ensure the miners’ privacy, using a screen to block the top of the shaft from the more than 1,000 journalists at the scene.

The miners will be ushered through an inflatable tunnel, like those used in sports stadiums, to an ambulance for a trip of several hundred yards (meters) to a triage station for a medical check. They will gather with a few relatives in an area also closed to the media, before being taken by helicopter to a hospital.

Each ride up the shaft is expected to take about 20 minutes, and authorities expect they can haul up one miner per hour. When the last man surfaces, it promises to end a national crisis that began when 700,000 tons of rock collapsed Aug. 5, sealing the miners into the lower reaches of the mine.

The only media allowed to record them coming out of the shaft will be a government photographer and Chile’s state TV channel, whose live broadcast will be delayed by 30 seconds or more to prevent the release of anything unexpected. Photographers and camera operators are on a platform more than 300 feet (90 metres) away.

The worst technical problem that could happen, rescue co-ordinator Andre Sougarett told The Associated Press, is that “a rock could fall,” potentially jamming the capsule partly up the shaft.

Panic attacks are the rescuers’ biggest concern. The miners will not be sedated — they need to be alert in case something goes wrong. If a miner must get out more quickly, rescuers will accelerate the capsule to a maximum 3 metres per second, Health Minister Jaime Manalich said.

The rescue is risky simply because no one else has ever tried to extract miners from such depths, said Davitt McAteer, who directed the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration in the Clinton administration. A miner could get claustrophobic and do something to damage the capsule. Or a falling rock could wedge it in the shaft. Or the cable could get hung up. Or the rig that pulls the cable could overheat.

“You can be good and you can be lucky. And they’ve been good and lucky,” McAteer told the AP. “Knock on wood that this luck holds out for the next 33 hours.”

Mining Minister Laurence Golborne, whose management of the crisis has made him a media star in Chile, said authorities had already thought of everything.

“There is no need to try to start guessing what could go wrong. We have done that job,” Golborne said. “We have hundreds of different contingencies.”

As for the miners, Manalich said, “It remains a paradox — they’re actually much more relaxed than we are.”

Rescuers finished reinforcing the top of the 2,041-foot (622-meter) escape shaft Monday, and the 13-foot (four-meter) capsule descended flawlessly in tests. The capsule — the biggest of three built by Chilean navy engineers — was named Phoenix for the mythical bird that rises from ashes. It is painted in the white, blue and red of the Chilean flag.

The miners were to be closely monitored from the moment they’re strapped in the capsule. They were given a high-calorie liquid diet donated by NASA, designed to keep them from vomiting as the capsule rotates 10 to 12 times through curves in the 28-inch-diameter escape hole.

A video camera in the escape capsule would watch for panic attacks. The miners will wear oxygen masks and have two-way voice communication.

Their pulse, skin temperature and respiration rate will be constantly measured through a biomonitor around their abdomens. To prevent blood clotting from the quick ascent, they took aspirin and will wear compression socks.

The miners will also wear sweaters because they’ll experience a shift in climate from about 90 degrees underground to near freezing on the surface after nightfall. Those coming out during daylight hours will wear sunglasses.

Engineers inserted steel piping at the top of the shaft, which is angled 11 degrees off vertical before plunging like a waterfall. Drillers had to curve the shaft to pass through “virgin” rock, narrowly avoiding collapsed areas and underground open spaces in the overexploited mine, which had operated since 1885.

Seconds before each miner surfaces, a siren will sound and a light will flash for a minute to alert doctors to an arriving miner.

After medical checks and visits with family members selected by the miners, the men will be flown to the hospital in Copiapo, a 10-minute ride away. Two floors were prepared where the miners will receive physical and psychological exams and be kept under observation in a ward as dark as a movie theatre.

Chilean air force Lt. Col. Aldo Carbone said helicopter pilots have night-vision goggles but won’t fly unless it is clear of the thick Pacific Ocean fog that rolls in at night.

Families were urged to wait and prepare to greet the miners at home after a 48-hour hospital stay. Manalich said no cameras or interviews will be allowed until the miners are released, unless the miners expressly desire it.

Neighbours looked forward to barbecues and parties to replace the vigils held since their friends were trapped.

Urzua’s neighbours told the AP he probably insisted on being the last one up.

“He’s a very good guy — he keeps everybody’s spirits up and is so responsible — he’s going to see this through to the end,” said neighbour Angelica Vicencio, who has led a nightly vigil outside the Urzua home in Copiapo.

U.S. President Barack Obama praised rescuers, who include many Americans. “While that rescue is far from over and difficult work remains, we pray that by God’s grace, the miners will be able to emerge safely and return to their families soon,” he said.

Chile has promised that its care of the miners won’t end for six months at least — not until they can be sure that each miner has readjusted.

Psychiatrists and other experts in surviving extreme situations predict their lives will be anything but normal.

Since Aug. 22, when a narrow bore hole broke through to their refuge and the miners stunned the world with a note, scrawled in red pen, disclosing their survival, their families have been exposed in ways they never imagined. Miners had to describe their physical and mental health in minute detail with teams of doctors and psychologists. In some cases, when both wives and lovers claimed the same man, everyone involved had to face the consequences.

___

Associated Press writers Frank Bajak and Vivian Sequera contributed to this report.


F/V Cornelia Marie Sets Course for Discovery’s DEADLIEST CATCH Once Again

Article Link here

— Boat skippered by late Captain Phil Harris returns w/ Josh and Jake Harris on board —

October 4, 2010

Silver Spring, Md.) – Discovery Channel President and General Manager Clark Bunting announced F/V Cornelia Marie, the crab fishing vessel that late Captain Phil Harris called home, will return with deckhands Josh and Jake Harris to fish the icy Bering Sea as DEADLIEST CATCH begins filming its seventh season.

“Our Dad made a tremendous connection with so many fans and it is such a fitting tribute to his life that we, his sons, can remain fishing on the boat that he skippered for so many years” said Josh and Jake Harris.

Josh and Jake head to Dutch Harbor, Alaska for the beginning of king crab fishing series and the start of production on DEADLIEST CATCH in mid-October. Captain Derrick Ray, who stepped in as relief skipper last winter following Captain Phil’s stroke, returns as captain along with engineer Steve Ward, and deckhands Freddie Maughtai and Ryan Simpson.

“We are excited to be once again working with Discovery Channel and Original Productions.  I know Captain Phil would be happy to know the crew is back in business,” said F/V Cornelia Marie principal owner Cornelia Devlin.

DEADLIEST CATCH is produced for Discovery Channel by Original Productions. Thom Beers, Jeff Conroy, Matt Renner are executive producers. For Discovery Channel, Paul Gasek and Tracy Rudolph are executive producers.


It was a "Phil" sort of day…

Sunday has come and gone. The day was beautiful, the sky was blue, very little cloud, a nice breeze… And I stayed in all day. Looking at the tv today brought a “Deadliest Catch” Marathon and everybody who knows me knows that on Tuesday Night’s, The Deadliest Catch is always on here.

I’ve been watching the “After the Catch” shows that have been airing here all month long. It was nice that they spread After the Catch over several episodes and did right by each boat, captain and crew.

Hubby had things to do today, and he went out with friends for the evening, which left me home alone with my remote control. I got to see the entire season in one shot. This season was truly emotional with the death of Phil Harris, but seeing the season in one shot in one night was cathartic. Watching week to week broke up the drama and the story into manageable portions.

Tonight’s marathon gave it to you up front. It still made me cry just like the first time the episode aired. At the end of the marathon, they showed a behind the scenes look at the cinematography and we got to see the filming teams and what they went through to get the stories on film. It is truly a remarkable feat of cinematography with all the technology employed to tell stories. And matching up the right producer/camera operator to each boat and team.

All of the teams are important. But I have my favorite boat, that’s for sure. But this season everybody was a favorite I think.

So hubby went out and I had house chores to do like vacuuming and scrubbing the bathroom, and cooking some dinner for myself. Staying in the day today was easy. I enjoyed the day and the night.

It was a good day.


It was a “Phil” sort of day…

Sunday has come and gone. The day was beautiful, the sky was blue, very little cloud, a nice breeze… And I stayed in all day. Looking at the tv today brought a “Deadliest Catch” Marathon and everybody who knows me knows that on Tuesday Night’s, The Deadliest Catch is always on here.

I’ve been watching the “After the Catch” shows that have been airing here all month long. It was nice that they spread After the Catch over several episodes and did right by each boat, captain and crew.

Hubby had things to do today, and he went out with friends for the evening, which left me home alone with my remote control. I got to see the entire season in one shot. This season was truly emotional with the death of Phil Harris, but seeing the season in one shot in one night was cathartic. Watching week to week broke up the drama and the story into manageable portions.

Tonight’s marathon gave it to you up front. It still made me cry just like the first time the episode aired. At the end of the marathon, they showed a behind the scenes look at the cinematography and we got to see the filming teams and what they went through to get the stories on film. It is truly a remarkable feat of cinematography with all the technology employed to tell stories. And matching up the right producer/camera operator to each boat and team.

All of the teams are important. But I have my favorite boat, that’s for sure. But this season everybody was a favorite I think.

So hubby went out and I had house chores to do like vacuuming and scrubbing the bathroom, and cooking some dinner for myself. Staying in the day today was easy. I enjoyed the day and the night.

It was a good day.


Valhalla …

Valhalla has just concluded. The fleet mourns the loss of Captain Phil. It was quite an emotional episode. But I think it was done with class and honesty.

“If you see the seagulls, they are the image of the sailor who is gone…”

Sig Hansen, Northwestern.

We send our thoughts and prayers to the Harris family. Eternal rest grant him and may perpetual light shine upon him.

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So the day today was a good day. Things did not go according to plan for either one of us, but, at the end of the day we survived those issues. Thank God for sobriety and a program to guide us. These little graces remind us just how precious the journey through sobriety is. Tomorrow the sun will rise and things will be better.

My birthday is quickly approaching on Saturday. I went out of my way to plan a little party with a few choice friends, and right now, I cannot guarantee that the main attraction will show up. And I am powerless over people, places and things. But if this does not go off like I hope, you bet I will be a bit resentful, for a spell. But plan B is in my back pocket.

Like I said things did not go according to plan, but with those lemons, we made lemonade. I had to shop for the group on the way out. I get to Zeller’s to buy coffee and it was on sale. But what store does not stock decaf coffee? I had to buy it at Five Seasons at a much higher rate, because that is a boutique Westmount store. Oh well.

It was our business meeting tonight. We were short a few bodies. Our chair did not show up for the last meeting of the month, so we had to improvise a topic and Rick chaired instead. No Call, No show.

It was a good topic… H.A.L.T.
Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired… What do you do each day living one day at a time to stay sober? Do you use the slogans? Do they mean anything to you?

I have a routine to my day. It begins quietly and proceeds that way. I keep my friends close. I don’t carry around baggage nor do I carry anyone else’s baggage. I keep to my side of the street, and I keep it clean. I am powerless over people, places and things. I don’t get caught up in others business. I follow a couple of principles and procedures.

The weather outside tonight was amazing. Blue sky with a breeze. The birds were singing, and the squirrels were squirreling. We should have had the meeting outside it was so nice. We had low numbers at the early meeting, but what we lacked in number we gained in open, honest gratitude.

I don’t get why people come to the meeting, sit for ten minutes and then get up and leave. I mean you committed coming here, why not commit to the whole hour? I got that excuse during the break looking for readers for my later meeting. “If I read, that means I have to commit to the whole meeting and I am not ready to do that!”

You win some, You loose some.

Our speaker tonight was fresh. Six months fresh. But what she lacked in time, she made up in spades during her share. She began with, “I am nervous and I don’t know how long I will talk,” and slowly progressed into speaking for the rest of the hour.Nobody moved. Nobody left. Everybody was glued to their seats for the entire hour.

We didn’t close the meeting till after 9p.m. We went long tonight. But that’s ok. We have a good group of hangers after the meeting, which facilitates sharing and communication between members. Katie knocked it out of the park tonight. We were so proud of her.

It was a good night. It was a sad night. It was night.

Tomorrow the sun shall rise and it will be glorious.


I met a man …

It is a full plate kind of night. It is Tuesday on top of that. I had a lot to do today and a full day to do it.First, I had to take some time to do my readings and pray. And I start my day reading a sober blog written by a man named Dan. […And I am Somebody]. He is a member from Minneapolis. He has a blog that he is writing on from Mexico right now. We have been on lake Atitlan for the last 2 weeks. You can click the link and go read him. It is a fabulous read.

After I caught up on my daily readings I set off for the afternoon.

This afternoon I did my housework and shopping done for the meeting and hurried out at 4 p.m.

I just had a feeling.

I got to the church, it was just me and God for almost 1.5 hours. I set up quietly and efficiently. And then went upstairs to sit outside and people watch in the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day today. Not too hot or humid. But just right.

We had a good showing for the early meeting. And a few newcomers attending their first meeting. And lucky us, one of our old timers came to visit us today, which was a real treat. It is good to see friends come to visit, even if they were on a 12 step mission.

The room was buzzing with spirituality. It was great. We did the swap out and readied for the late meeting. And tonight’s speaker came to us from Friday Finchley.

I’ve never heard someone of another culture share at a meeting before. And I have a lot to write about this topic. Our speaker got sober in the 90’s and is originally from Iran. He has been in Canada for many years, having fled the country after the revolution.

He spoke of Shah time, a time when the Shah of Iran was in power and Iran was more Western than it is today under the hard line regime. Iran, he told us, was more European. Men and women could socialize in the same spaces, go to school together and alcohol was not forbidden as hard line Islam decrees. The eldest of seven children he grew up in an oppressive home with a father who was in the military.

He lost his father at 43, and military service was mandatory. He shared bits and pieces of his life story, and I was captivated with his story. When alcohol was forbidden opium became easier to get.

Cultures are very different. Yet our speaker tonight told us a story about fear, hatred, misery and addiction. After the revolution, he sent one of the brothers to the UK for university because that was not an option for many in Iran. He fled the country via a second country to get to Canada.

This is where things get interesting. And I have to ask him about this at a later time, but he did not explain his religious practice at this time, being a Muslim man in Montreal. But alcohol is forbidden in Islamic custom.

Coming to Canada did not stop him from starting a bender that almost killed him, and ended him up in the pen. He got out of the pen and went to rehab and started doing meetings. And you could tell that there was passion in his voice about gratitude, thanks and just how serious he takes his program today.

I was speechless at the end of his share. I was so touched by his story and his courage to persist, to stay sober, to be connected to meetings, a home group and service. He truly carried the message, from one side of the world to another. It was a great honor to have him speak for us tonight.

We had newbies at the late meeting, We gave one chip away, we had one silent pick up from the desk while I was counting money and we sold a Big Book, which I let go for half price, Rick is gonna kick my ass. But that boy I sold it to promised he would return to the meeting next week.

Redemption

Hubby downloaded the next episode of Deadliest Catch, Redemption the other day and I skimmed through it but did not concentrate on the last 5 minutes of the show word for word. Tonight we watched it on tv. I am glad I saw it on tv tonight and not a few days ago, even if I know what happens in the end.

In the last moments of the episode Phil looses his life after having a second incident. After doctors worked on him for a long while there came a point that a decision had to be made to end life saving procedures.

Jake is off to rehab. Josh now is in Anchorage taking care of dad, who has passed away. The crews on the Bering Sea are facing a 1000 km size storm at sea. And Next week, Valhalla, Josh will contact the fleet about his fathers passing. That much I know.

Hopefully Jake won’t go crazy and get all up in the bottle. We shall see, if he stays or he returns to Anchorage. Hopefully he stays on the straight and narrow.

That was my day in a nutshell. Goodness, sadness, and gratitude for a good day spent with friends and fellows in the program. I am very glad that I am sober today because I get to do fantastic things like I shared with you tonight.

more to come, stay tuned…