Friday, July 30, 2010


13 weeks on sabbatical. Good and bad moments. A bit of traveling. A bit of freelance work. Dark nights.

I'm still reflecting on last week - Woodstock was awesome! Running up “the Rocky Steps” was amazing. Seeing my good friend Tim Cardascia was great! Visiting other radio stations - always inspiring.

Today is the last (official) day of my sabbatical. I return to LIFE 100.3 on Tuesday. After 13 weeks, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

I hoped for something big to change inside of me - a new perspective, preferably spiritual. Maybe I'm missing the whole thing.

On the positive side, sigh, I’m waking up before my alarm each day. That’s miraculous. I’m also digging into the Word almost every morning, cross-referencing, journaling - a major improvement. One simple comment from my psycologist brought closure to the goofy midlife crisis.

Some of my devotions have been about marriage - being a good husband, honouring my wife, sharing, surrendering, shouldering burdens - all that stuff. But so many of my Christian friends are separated or divorced. In fact I would say, most (75%) of my Christian friends are on their second marriage.

Recently a good friend whom I’ve known for a long time told me that his martial relationship is shaky. It was the last thing I expected to hear from him. He’s one of those people who is more advanced in his walk with the Lord, taken risks I would never take - everything deeper than I could hope to be. And now HE is on the list of marriage failures.

My insides are aching for this guy. It just can’t be.

Of all the Christian couples I know, THIS GUY would be at the bottom of the marriage failure list.

I guess what really rattles me, is that, if he is near the bottom, what hope is there for me?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010


A quick vacation to PA last weekend to live out “a bucket list” dream - Woodstock!

In 1969 I was too young to go to the 3-day hippie fest, so now, 41 years later, the dream was still on my mind so I traveled to see the site where history was made.
If you are not aware of Woodstock-era, this is a time when the Vietnam War was being protested during the "flower power" generation. Love, peace .... and drugs.

The vision was to hold the concert in Woodstock, New York, just north of NYC where Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Band and other artists were living. But the permit was revoked by the town at the last minute. Meantime, 50 miles away, another concert permit was approved for a totally different arts festival. This local festival was in Bethel New York in the community of White Lake. The promoters of the “Woodstock” moved their show to Bethel.

The show was held on a farm owned by Max Yasgur. The field had a natural bowl shape for campers, dancers, hippie vans and tents. Max didn’t like the hippie look but he liked young people and he rented his field to the promoter.

Almost everyone came. Janis Joplin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, the Jefferson Airplane. The rumour is the Stones turned down the offer and the Beatles hadn’t played live in three years so they chickened out!

On the third day there was torrential rain, turning the field to mud. There was a shortage of food, toilets and medicine. There was one death and one birth and Bethel was named a National Disaster.

Bethel is a very small town, off every major highway and close to nothing.

(The photo of me and Janice marks the location overlooking the field. To the left is a rectangular flat area where the stage sat, and behind Janice is where the audience would have sat.)

A few years ago the town erected the Bethel Woods Centre For The Arts where a major outdoor theatre has been built, completely unrelated to Woodstock. Legendary artists perform regularly in the state of the art amphitheatre.

Inside, is a small but professionally assembled museum spotlighting the 60's culture including Woodstock videos, tickets, contracts, setlists and the program. The coolest item is a portion of the fence that surrounded the site. It's a good (pardon the pun) flashback to 1969 but it's too bad that "Bethel Woods Centre For The Arts has egotistically overshadowed the iconic "venue of the past" literally 100 feet next door. (To me, it's kind of like having a museum for bottled water built next to Niagara Falls - coz it’s there.)

Oh, and the souvenir shop - you won't find any t-shirts, or pens or flags about Woodstock. It's all labelled "1969 Bethel". But you can get a nice "Bethel Woods" over-priced hoodie!

But in 1969 it was real. It was the concert of all concerts - $8 a day, for three days in what is remembered by most as “3 Days Of Peace and Music”.

It's hard to imagine a concert about "peace" with 450,000 fans taking place now in this day and age. If there were to be a festival of this kind, I'm afraid it would be a haven for gang violence, bomb threats, rapes and looting - the complete opposite to everything Woodstock stood for - peace, baby.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Empty Cone Trick

You know what I hate?

Going into Harvey's and buying their delicious chocolate thick shakes and they never fill it to the top.

The have a clear glass cone that goes over the cup and your straw goes in the top. Ok. But inside the cone, there's just air - no chocolate.

So either fill the freaking cup and fill the cone, or put a flat lid over the cup so it doesn't look half empty.

Otherwise, I see an empty cone and I feel like you're ripping me off!

Yes, I complained to head office. Of course. Power to the people! Uh huh.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lance, Andy and Ryder

Lance is gonna lose the Tour de France. I know, I know. He probably won't crack the top 30. That's ok. He's still to biking what Gretzky was to hockey - amazing and inspiring.

After today, Alberto Contador is in first place but not by much. I think Andy Schleck is gonna win it. I hope he does.

Contador is the kind of sportsman who plays selfish and unfairly. I hope he blows a tire.

Have you noticed the Canadian in the Tour? Ryder Hesjedal - from B.C.! He's been on the Garmin team for a few years, never the leader, always a support rider and the American TV commentators never interview him, of course. (Where's Canada!?) Now he's in #10 place and leading his team! Yeah!

Yeah Ryder! (see photo)

Go Andy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Republic at the Phoenix - Toronto

Last night, Thursday, I went to the Phoenix in Toronto to see One Republic. I gotta tell ya - Ryan Tedder is one brilliant showman. In the 70 minute set - he nailed it!

LIFE 100.3 plays a couple of their songs. They are one of the bands with Christian roots but not recognized by most Christian radio stations. I don't know if you have a problem with that - I don't think every Christian band has the gifting to preach about Jesus from the stage. Just like not every pastor is called to be a worship leader.

The Houston Chronicle interviewed Tedder in 2009

Q: You were raised by an extended family of missionaries and pastors. Has that played into your music?

A: I got offered a Christian record deal. I'm Christian, I grew up in the church. But I'm not going to tour churches. I was raised in Oklahoma. Tulsa's like the buckle of the Bible Belt. I grew up in that environment.

I was in Nashville for two years, (and) I quickly became friends with
probably half a dozen of some of the biggest Christian recording artists. Every
single one of them was absolutely miserable with the fact that they were
"Christian" recording artists. I saw some stuff in Nashville that turned my

"Stop and Stare", "Say (All I Need)" are two of the songs you might recognize on LIFE. We did not play "Apologize" because of the key line "It's too late to apologize - it's too late". Some people confuse apologizing with forgiveness - it's never too late for forgiveness, but as life moves forward, I agree, apologizing can expire. Sorry for the preaching.

Ryan Tedder was a fabulous frontman. He wore a fedora, deep v-neck black t and danced around the stage, juggling 3 mics depending on his position on the stage, jamming with the band, talking to the Toronto crowd, making us all feel like we knew each other.

Ryan says One Republic is touring with U2 in October - great gig!

I can't believe, that a band with only two full albums, are this polished!

Best songs: "All The Right Moves", "Stand By Me" (encore), "Stop and Stare".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Today's Devo

Doing devotions before a ride to Orillia. I'm using the "Experiencing God" devo to get me started and then I wander (spiritually) from there.

Today the message talks about God hearing my prayers even before I cry out.

"Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear." Isaiah 65:24
That's pretty cool.

The devo goes on to say:

Don't ever assume that God is more concerned with the needs of other more significant, more spiritual people than He is of yours.

Man, that is so easy to feel. I'm lil me, sitting at this table while the world spins with all of its problems and people like Billy Graham, Bono and James MacDonald are praying up a storm - by comparison my words are puny. I know He cares about us all. I know.

This devo lifts me up. It reminds me - I am special to God.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lance - Don't Give Up

I've been following the Tour de France on OLN - Cable 57 in Barrie. Thank goodness for the PVR or I'd be up real early every day!

This been a really bad year for Lance. He's gotten wrapped up in two crashes and had one flat. The flat really messed up his timing.

Today Lance is in 31st position and after 1,000km or so he's only behind first place by 15 minutes! 15 minutes! That's amazing!

Going into the race he said he was in great shape but ready to retire. (Again) I guess he figures his days in the sun are done, and at age 39, maybe he can't win. Maybe he can't place in the top ten.

So what. I have a thought for Lance, in case he's reading my blog.

Lancy, buddy, - we don't expect you to win. You've brought attention to the sport, you've encouraged cancer survivors, you've encouraged people to ride their bikes. And - despite the pain of the sport and the variable weather conditions - you don't give up.

We all know you won 7 Tours in a row, which is miraculous after having had cancer. Now, there's younger guys, and stronger guys and that's ok.

You have nothing to prove. So why not be modest and let someone else on your team be the leader? It's time for someone else to take that position of honour and you can ride along side on the team and still enjoy the sport you love.

If Mick Jagger can keep touring the world at age 68 and not give up after all he's been through, you, Lance, can keep pedaling in the Tour because every time we see "the older guys", we see perseverence and "living history". We admire you for doing what we only dream of.

If you love it, why quit?

Wait a minute.... am I talking to myself???

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

I'm in a situation right now where I am waiting on the Lord.

If you're like me, waiting is hard. You want everything right now. We have drive-thru banking, and drive-thru restaurants so we can have it - now. We eat on the run, rush around, texting and phoning on the run so we can have our answers - now.

The faster we want stuff, the more technology we make to get what we want. And then, it's still not fast enough!

My devotions today took me to Isaiah. Since my situation is health-based and I've tried "everything" available and chased after everyone's perfect solution for my life, I am now waiting on the Lord. For an anxious person, this is hard to do.

When I watched the movie "To Save A Life" there's a scene where things go wrong and the character wonders - "where is God in all of this?"

The pastor explains that God is not a genie or a vending machine. And He isn't there to make your life all better. But - He is there.

The next line in this scene is - "God wants so much more for you than fine. You just have to trust him through it".

Wasn't it Tom Petty who sang "The waiting is the hardest part..." ? Ya, I think so.

I'm going thru my junk. And I'm thankful to say, that in the last week or so, I've got some stuff figured out - like being thankful for the people in my life who pray for me, ask me how I'm doing, the person I'm becoming and the good stuff I have.

While I wait, I know God is working behind the scenes. (Would somebody remind me of that the next time I get anxious!?)

Reading: Isaiah 40
Thinking about: Waiting on the Lord for healing.
Praying about: the good things I have and the patience for what is to come.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Without Ryan Seacrest Idol Is Nothing

The American Idol tour rolled into Hamilton last night. The concert features the top 10 contestants from this season.

All of the performers are better now, than they were on TV. I guess the tour has amped up their show. Each singer did two songs and a couple of group songs.

Thinking of highlights - and I really need to grapple to find any - Siobhan Magnus opened her 3- song set with "Paint It Black". Her outfit was a bit undescribable - a combination of a ballerina gone punk. Her famous vocal scream could shame Maria Carey and it's amazing that she can find the pitch so effortlessly. But - as good as she was - it was expected.

Aaron Kelly - the young kid - never liked him on TV but I think he might have a career in country. He looked comfortable on stage.

Lee DeWyze - the Idol finalist - is solid, but he's just another David Cook/Chris Daughtry/Nickleback sound alike. Good - but who really cares? His runner up is Crystal Bowersox who has a definite style which is a Janis Joplin of the 21st Century. And of course she sang "Piece of My Heart" - a song I love by Janis but if I hear it one more time, it will lose all the anti-establishment/60's angst and meaning.

The highlight of the show was Casey James. His soloing on guitar is far better than I picked up from the TV series and he seemed to be directing the band, rather than the band directing the singers. I think of all the performers, Casey is it. He handles himself well in interviews and he can rock out like you'd expect at a concert. He's a good package. That was the only part of the show I liked.

Setwise, it looked like the budget was cut way back. So much so, that you wouldn't think the creators of American Idol had anything to do with the live show.

No emcee, no cool effects, just a video countdown to each artist.

The singers said nothing more than "We love you" and the very annoying "Hello Canada! Only one singer said "hello Hamilton", letting us know she knew what city she was in. Big pet peeve of mine - Why is it that Americans come to Canada and address the audience like they're talking to our entire country? Imagine Hawk Nelson going to Miami for a concert and saying "Hello United States Of America!". Haha! Get with program!

Ticket sales were so small they did half price sales. There were big gaps of empty seats in the middle section and no fans in the top balcony. If there were 5,000 fans I'd be surprised.

So what does all this mean? It was a concert of cover songs that we already enjoyed on TV and we're tired of them. But mostly, without Ryan Seacrest the show is nothing.