Category Archives: Media

Nostalgia

hymn sing programI took my father to the Hymn Sing Reunion Concert on Sunday. For readers who don’t know, Hymn Sing was a Canadian television program from the 1960s to the 1990s.  Every year a group of promising young singers was chosen to present a weekly Sunday night concert of familiar Christian hymns.  The show, filmed in Winnipeg, was hugely popular across the country, sometimes garnering a viewership greater than that of Hockey Night in Canada.

hymn sing reunionI was definitely one of the younger people at the reunion concert at Bethel Mennonite Church on Sunday afternoon which featured sixty former Hymn Sing performers. It was sold out. What drew such a big audience to the concert?  I think it was nostalgia for hymns that may not be sung in churches very much anymore, nostalgia for the kind of religious and contemplative television programming we don’t see much of anymore, and perhaps nostalgia for a time when things were a little more black and white. 

Aga RSZ-50 - Diora - E070 (wiki)I noticed in the Hymn Sing Concert program that one of the event’s sponsors was Nostalgia Radio CJNU.  Last Thursday I gave a group of staff and board members from Nostalgia Radio a tour of the French Moderns Exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. I asked them about their radio station and they told me it is run by retired broadcasters and other folks who were nostalgic for music of bygone decades, music that is sometimes hard to find on other Winnipeg radio stations. They play that kind of music everyday as well as lend their support to a whole variety of community and cultural groups including the Winnipeg Art Gallery. 

shepherd tending his flock millet brooklyn museum

Shepherd Tending His Flock – Jean-François Millet- 1860

A painting I discussed with the Nostalgia radio crew was this one of a shepherd by Jean-Francois Millet.  Lisa Small, curator from the Brooklyn Museum where Millet’s painting makes its permanent home, says one of the reasons paintings like Millet’s of the shepherd were so popular in the late 1800s  was that the rapid rise of industrialization meant many families had left their farms and villages to move to the city. They were nostalgic for their country roots. Millet’s paintings took them back to their childhoods in rural France. 

This past week I’ve been reminded that music and art can be powerful inspirations for nostalgia. 

Other posts………..

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Filed under Art, Media, Music, winnipeg art gallery

That’s Not My Kind of God Either

I have been watching the American television series The Fosters on Netflix.  It frequently addresses current political issues as it tells the story of an American family in San Diego. In the fifth and final season of the drama many of the episodes revolve around immigration as two high school seniors from the Foster family provide support to a college student from a Mexican family.  Her name is Ximena. 

Callie, one of the girls from the Foster family holds a photo of her friend Ximena at a rally to support young people in the DACA program.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement have arrested Ximena’s parents who are illegal immigrants. ICE officers arrive at a highschool dance to take Ximena into custody too. Ximena is acting as a chaperone for her younger sister at the dance.  Ximena has had DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) status in the past but is waiting for her status to be renewed. The younger sister who was born in the United States is taken away by Child and Family services but two teenagers from the Foster family help Ximena slip out a back door and drive her to a church where she receives sanctuary. The pastor of the church provides the young woman with food, clothing and bedding. 

At one point the pastor says, “If you want to talk or pray, I’m here.”  The young woman replies, “I don’t want to pray to a God that would allow my family to be torn apart like this.”  The pastor replies, “I don’t pray to that kind of God either. I believe in Immanuel God with us and God is with you always, in your family’s strength to keep going, in your hope for the future and in the people who have helped you tonight.”  

I  think along the same lines that fictional pastor in the television program did. I find it really hard to understand people who say they believe in God and yet support the current American administration who are arresting desperate asylum seekers, separating refugee parents from their children, and refusing to fully respect and honour the DACA policy established by their country in the past.  I admit it makes me want to ask, “What kind of God are those people praying to?”  I realize of course that they are probably saying the same thing about me. 

Other posts………

Tolerating Other Christians

Standing Up For Children

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Filed under Media, Politics

Doing Something

I am so dismayed at what is going in the United States.  A man seemingly without a moral compass in his personal, business or political life is leading the country and………… nearly half of its citizens have no problem with that. The members of his party follow their immoral leader like fearful sheep anxious that not doing so might cost them their own political jobs.  An American speaker in our church on Sunday said it is hard to have hope in a time like this, hard to believe that God’s love will triumph when vulnerable people are being placed in ever greater jeopardy and racism of many kinds flourishes in a way many Americans thought was relegated to the past.  

As a Canadian who wants to help people like our speaker have hope, and as someone who could have my own life effected by the president’s actions on climate change, free trade, immigration, and military action I feel helpless.  What can I do?  I decided one little thing I could do was to buy subscriptions to a couple American periodicals that seem to report with integrity. 

I decided to subscribe to The Atlantic and The Washington Post since both I believe offer a fairly measured and honest view of what is happening in America.  I admit I was attracted to The Washington Post by the recent movie about it and also by the fact they just won a Pulitzer Prize for their story about defeated Republican candidate Roy Moore of Alabama.   I figure by supporting the efforts of the free American press with my subscription money I can encourage  journalists to keep reporting the news in an honest way even when their country’s president is constantly calling them ‘fakes.’  

Purchasing a couple of news subscriptions isn’t doing a whole lot.  But it’s doing something. 

Other posts………..

Seeing The Post in Lisbon With People Who Truly Understand What Freedom of the Press Is

A Prayer for Journalists

Her Worship

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The End

One of my favorite pages in Macleans magazine was the last one called The End. It featured the obituary of an interesting Canadian, not a famous Canadian, but one who had lived their life in a special way.  Macleans will no longer publish the beloved feature. 

As a kind of farewell for The End writer Michael Friscolanti read twelve years worth of obituaries and  made a short list of life lessons gleaned  from other peoples’ lives. 

  1. Find love.  It is life’s greatest privilege and reward. 

    family picture

    My parents with their family in 2008

  2. Be yourself.  Follow your own path. 

    pointing out the hieroglypics

    My niece climbing a steep path on her own on a Arizona hike.

  3. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. 

    mom in hospital

    My Mom dealt with severe health problems for many years but remained our greatest cheerleader till her dying day.

Good advice from people who lived their legacy.  

Other posts……….

A Life That Adds Up To Something

Lessons from Leonard

Lessons from the Sydney Opera House

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The 4 Ms

Dave and I had supper at an Academy Road restaurant last week.  Adjacent to us a young family was having a meal.  Throughout the supper the parents were talking with one another but the two children were on their i-pads the whole time.   They put down their devices only to take bites of their food.  That’s a phenomena I also observe often with children who are traveling on the bus with their parents.  Both parent and child have their eyes fixated on their phones and don’t interact at all.  

canadian pediatric society screen timeThe Canadian Paediatric Society has published sensible guidelines for the use of electronic devices for kids with warnings to minimize, mitigate, be mindful and model  behavior when it comes to screen time.  Sometimes I feel like printing  copies and handing them out in restaurants, on buses and in other public places. 

Other posts…………

Technology and Family Time at a Resort

Technology Transforms Travel

What’s the Best Way to Raise Children? 

 

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Filed under Childhood, Media

Sorry but I Like Facebook

“Facebook is evil.”  I was having lunch with a colleague not long ago and was somewhat shocked when she made that judgemental statement. 

I know are many good reasons NOT to spend time on Facebook but……………. I like spending time on Facebook for many  good reasons too.  

Last week I spent an evening helping my seventy-nine year old aunt upload photos to her Facebook page.  She was excited to share images from the three trips she made this past year with her friends and family.  I had a nice evening visiting with her and she made me a great supper.  Thank you Facebook.

me and hannahLast week my niece Hannah who lives in Ontario sent me a message via Facebook. She was desperate for some new books to read.  Did I have any recommendations?  I sent Hannah a list of books I had enjoyed in the last year or so and she told me she was going to start at the top of the list and read her way down.  I look forward to talking to her about the books she’s reading and compare notes.  Thank you Facebook. 

lake winnipeg al loeppky

Lake Winnipeg-photo by Al Loeppky

My cousin Al has a house on Lake Winnipeg and he is always posting these absolutely gorgeous photos of the lake and surrounding area on Facebook.  They make me appreciate the created world.  Thank you Facebook. 

The head of my school programs department at the Winnipeg Art Gallery has started a Facebook page where all the  guides share ideas and information about our tours with each other.  It is very helpful!  Thank you Facebook. 

My cousin Dirk and his partner just moved back to Taiwan and his Facebook posts are keeping me up to date on his life there.  I miss my cousins and it is nice to see glimpses of their life in Asia. 

me and aunt vi- summer 2011My aunt Vi is celebrating her 95th birthday at the beginning of December.  I am flying to Saskatoon to host a party for her.  I used Facebook messenger to announce the party to all my cousins and invite them to attend. Thank you Facebook. 

hong kong student farewell

At a farewell lunch some of our students hosted for us before we left Hong Kong.

We lived and worked in Hong Kong for six years and via Facebook I am able to keep up with the activities, careers and families of my Hong Kong highschool students and colleagues.  I learn about marriages, births and new jobs.  Then when we travel to places where our former colleagues and students live and get together with them I have lots of topics for conversation because I have been following their lives on Facebook.  Thank you Facebook. 

This week I used Facebook to give my niece Stephanie some help with buying a Christmas gift for her daughter.  

I used Facebook to publicize a book club I am leading at the art gallery.  

I used Facebook to bid on some items being auctioned as a fundraiser for the Manitoba Writers Guild 

I used Facebook to provide links to the blog posts I wrote.  

I used Facebook to brag a little about an award won by my son’s music group.  

Thank you Facebook. 

I know there is talk that Facebook was partially responsible for electing Donald Trump President of the United States and I may never forgive them for that, but I do like Facebook.  I can’t help it. 

Other posts………..

To Unfriend or Not? 

Retweeting

Technology and Family Time

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Born A Crime

Every morning my husband Dave hand grinds beans to make our coffee.  This takes him ten minutes or so. While he grinds he sits in the livingroom and starts watching The Daily Show with Trevor Noah which he has PVR’d from the night before.  He presses the pause button while he goes to the kitchen to aero press our coffee into our mugs and then once I have my yogurt ready and he has his toast ready we watch some more of Trevor Noah while we eat our breakfast.

Trevor is intelligent, funny and an advocate of social justice. He provides a ray of hope in the current darkness that is the American political scene.  I know Trevor’s voice well and I could hear it on every page of his autobiography Born a Crime

The reason Trevor Noah was born a crime was because he was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother during apartheid in South Africa when his parents’ relationship was a punishable offence.  

Trevor’s life was very hard in South Africa.  He was prevented from having a close relationship with his Dad, had a very violent step father and he and his mother often lived just one step away from poverty.  The fact that he has become the first black comedian to host a major comedy show in the United States is so impressive considering the difficulties he faced during his childhood and teens. He credits his mother who taught him to fight and ignore ‘the system’, to pursue his dreams and be tough.  She always made sure he had lots of books to read and that he had all kinds of rich experiences that helped him develop an open mind. Trevor speaks at least a half a dozen languages. 

Born a Crime is divided into essays and you don’t necessarily need to read them all in order.  For example I read the three essays about the girlfriends of his youth one right after the other.  

 I admired Trevor’s mother very much and he has dedicated the book to her, but she made some decisions I find hard to understand.  I felt a little sorry for his father who I think really loved him, but some of his Mom’s choices even after apartheid made their relationship impossible. 

One thing the book does not do is trace Trevor’s career as a comedian and his rise to fame.  That is just mentioned tangentially as it relates to his personal and family story. 

Even though the subject matter of the book is fairly dire Trevor Noah is a comedian and his sense of humour is definitely inherited from his Mom. Between the two of them they see the humour in even the darkest of situations.   This book will make you cry but it will also make you laugh. 

Other posts………..

Hunger by Roxane Gay

The Lost Diaries of Susanna Moody by Cecily Ross

A Different Kind of Daughter by Maria Toorpakai

 

 

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Filed under Books, Media