My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Who Are Our Enemies?

Have you heard about the attacks? No, not the attacks in Paris.  Or Baghdad or Beirut for that matter, the attacks on Muslims.  Here’s one such attack.  Yesterday in Toronto, Canada, a Muslim woman was attacked by two men while picking up her young son from school.  They punched her to the ground while calling her a terrorist and telling her to go back home.  That’s’ the attacks I’m talking about here.  Muslims are finding the world very unwelcoming these days but is it deserving? Should we hate Muslims?

I have news for you.  Muslims are not your enemy.  The enemy lurks outside our doors. He is our neighbor, our friend, our family.  We know him but we really don’t know him.  No border security can stop him because he is already within the walls.  In fact, he was born within the walls. He doesn’t wear a turban or even knows the Koran.  The Governments promise to eradicate him and all those like him but how?  They don’t know him. He blends in.  He’s Canadian, French, American.  Then what can we do?  I would say pray but you don’t believe in God.  In fact you protest prayers in schools and think Christianity is the root of all evil.  The enemy outside your door is not a Christian but he is the root of some serious evil!

Many pray for peace, I pray for understanding, strength and faith. Understanding so I can understand why this is happening, strength to cope and faith to stand firm in my belief.  I wish for peace but it’s just a wish.  God’s will must be done.  Again, what can we do?  Love more, Hate less.  Would it stop those terrorists? Probably not but doesn’t hurt to try.

My Take




Beirut and Baghdad, The Ugly Step-Sisters

I love Paris. I have never been there but the name drips romance. A Paris vacation with that special someone?  Romantic.  Yes, Paris is Love.  How about Baghdad?    What I know about this place is gleaned from news about terror and the war on Saddam Hussein and his phantom weapons of mass destruction.  Baghdad conjures up images of smoking bomb craters, dead bodies and death lurking around every corner. A lovers’ utopia? Not unless you are Romeo and Juliet.  How about Beirut?  Where’s that? Baghdad?  Same images apply.  Bombings, Lebanon, Wars…Death lurks.

Beirut bombings

On Friday, November 13th, Within hours of each other, innocent civilians were murdered by ISIS terror group.  A suicide bombing at a memorial service and a road blast killed at least 47 people in Baghdad while coordinated attacks in different areas of Paris took the lives of 129 innocent civilians.  A day earlier, a pair of suicide blasts in Beirut killed 43 people and wounded close to 250. Except for Paris, you would be lucky to have heard anything about the other two. As they say, if a bomb falls in Baghdad or Beirut, does anyone hear it? Only the people who live there.

But there’s just something about Paris.  Something different.  Beirut and Baghdad are known for this type of violence, even though Beirut has been relatively safe for the last few years or so.  Paris is not a war zone.  Paris is Love.  And that’s why you probably didn’t hear of the same atrocities being carried out in Baghdad or Beirut at almost the same time.  There was no pledge by the Government to seek out and destroy the perpetrators in these countries.  The newspapers didn’t scream, “The World Mourns For Beirut/Baghdad”, of course not!  That would sound absurd.   But Paris…oui! oui! that’s a different story.

On Friday night, Iconic monuments in London, the USA, Canada and elsewhere around the world were lit up with the colors of France’s flag.  Facebook offered users the option to superimposed the red, white and blue over the profile photo, many did, in global solidarity for the fallen French.  A slap in the face to the other countries who were just not ‘pretty’ enough.  I imagine how they must feel to see us crying for Paris while ignoring their plight. The ugly step-sisters.

I know we are numbed to violence in places that are a hotbed for terrorists.  After the hundredth suicide bombings, we tuned out. Or should I say, our news agencies tune out.  Moving on the better things, like Paris, but we shouldn’t.

Remember, they are people too, killed by the same enemy.  In death they are united so let’s mourn for them all.








What Do They Know About Us?

On Friday November 13th, I sat down to watch a FIFA World Cup qualifying game between my birth country, St. Vincent and the United States.  To me and the other people who proudly call this little island home, it was epic. (Unfortunately, the cowardly attacks in Paris hours before kick-off lessened its significance).

This had the makings of a David and Goliath-type battle except for the fact that David would be the victor,  St. Vincent had no chance.  None whatsoever.  It was our first time playing the US team and being on center stage.  I was quite happy and satisfied with this accomplishment alone but still harbored a tiny ‘what if’ thought.

St. Vincent stunned the United States by scoring in the first 5 minutes.  They were stunned and I was ecstatic!  My ‘what if’ thought suddenly grew one size bigger.  Unfortunately it was not to be.  The Davids in the yellow jerseys without name bands, had apparently given their Goliath all they had in that first 5 minutes and now had assumed their rightful and expected position.  As the game progressed, my ‘what if’ shrank smaller and smaller.  By half time, I was just watching out of sheer allegiance.  The outcome was not in doubt.

One overly-biased, at least in my opinion and I’m entitled to have one, US commentator surgically and negatively dissected not only the Vincy team but the island as well.  He did not allow their listeners to forget the fact that here was an underdog team that didn’t deserve to be playing on the same field as the USMNT and stated that the US men’s team was made up of professionals who made a living playing soccer while the Vincentians were part-time players and in some cases, unemployed.  (Such glowing commentary!).  St. Vincent was describe as a poor country with a high rate of homelessness and unemployment. (Unlike the good old US of A).  No attempt was made to promote this gem of the Antilles. At least I didn’t hear any.  No mention that many movies, including Pirates of The Caribbean were filmed there.  How about it being one of the few true unspoiled locations with exceptional diving locales?   On the Grenadine island of Mustique, stars and royalties including Mick Jagger and Princess Margaret, have summer getaway homes there.   Too bad this Yankee didn’t know this.  Or maybe chose not to mention it.

The commentator was right on one thing, we are small.  With a population of just over 100,000, getting to a qualifying World Cup match is reason for a nation-wide celebration.  (Heck, the entire island celebrate our students’ successes!) Vincentians both at home and abroad were ecstatic and showed it on various social media.  That’s how we are.  We are small but we are proud.  We celebrate our little accomplishments.  That first goal was the goal heard around the world.  The US coming back to score 6 is forgotten.  Oalex Anderson’s sweet goal is what we will remember.

Hold on!  Make that two things that the commentator was right on.  Our players really are part-timers and are all 100% Vincies.  We do not have the financial means to support a full-time team so the players are gainfully employed.  We also cannot afford to import international players from different countries like some teams we know.  So when we celebrate, we truly and honestly celebrate a team that is 100% Vincy. The return match is set for next year on Vincy soil.  The USMNT will have a chance to experience warm Vincy hospitality. They would see that we are not all that bad.  Go Vincy Heat!

Note:  Some commenters assured me that the commentator did indeed mention that Pirates of The Caribbean was filmed in St. Vincent and that Jagger has a home there.  I never heard it. If indeed he did, that two seconds would not erase his pompous attitude.

Again, it’s just…MY TAKE!

Fill My Cup, Lord. My Starbucks Cup or I’ve Got 99 Problems And The Cup Ain’t One

I unfortunately overhead one of the most asinine things I’ve heard in a long time, on the radio while driving to work a few days ago.  I wish I could ‘unheard’ it but it was cemented in after various other media blasted it into my brain. It was the story about the Starbucks Christmas Cup Controversy.  Lucky you if this is your first time hearing about this. Some guy with obviously too much time on his hands and a penchant for igniting controversial discussions, made a video stating that Starbucks was out to wage a ‘war on Christmas’ because of its minimalistic Christmas coffee cups. They were not Christmassy enough for his liking.

Joshua Feuerstein, the guy behind all this, wrote, “Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus,” Yes, Josh, that’s a pure sign of hatred if I ever did see one.  It reeks of disdain and loathe for Jesus!

“I think in the age of political correctness we’ve become so open-minded our brains have literally fallen out of our head.” Feuerstein said in his Facebook video “Did you realize that Starbucks wanted to take Christ and Christmas off of their brand new cups? That’s why they are just plain red.”  I applaud you for bringing this to my attention Mr. Feuerstein, I knew my head was missing something, just never realized it was my brain.  I know a few others with missing brains.   Have you found yours yet, Josh?

I am a Christian and I love Christmas.  I know that the day is not actually the day Christ was born but I use it to remember the BIRTH and celebrate accordingly.  I really don’t give two hoots about who wants to join me in celebrating or who choose not to. In fact, I barely notice the difference these days.  In this age of political correctness that Joshua refers to, I have seen ‘Christmas’ switched to ‘holiday’ for fear that it tramples the rights of those who choose not to celebrate this day.  Still, I see it as a non-issue.  It’s the way of the world.  Farther along we’ll understand why.

Making a issue over a company’s choice on how they want to adorn their cups is silly and a waste of thought.  Surprisingly, millions like-minded people agree that Starbucks is definitely out to kill Christmas! Astounding!  It’s only a cup. My Christmas does not hinge on a disposable cup.  Well maybe what’s inside when I wake up early on Christmas morning does help…so why are we discussing this?  Folks, there are more important things out there to worry about, like how do they get the caramilk inside one of those caramel bars.

When Jesus said ‘Take this cup away from me’, he wasn’t referring to a Starbucks cup. Or was he??


Just My Take


Excuse Me, I’m A Rookie Hockey-Dad

It’s been a couple of weeks since my two oldest sons started their foray into the hockey world and I am still lukewarm about this venture.   Coming from soccer to this organized mayhem, it’s a shock to the system.  Maybe next season, if there’s a next season, all that would change and I’ll plunge headlong into being a full-blooded hockey dad.  For now, let’s just go with lukewarm.

“Why don’t you like it?” You might ask.  “After all it’s fun.  The parents are very friendly and willing to help when needed, so why don’t you like hockey, Carlos?”  Maybe I’m cheap? I never thought I was but after paying a high price to sign up for this fun sport, I thought I was done dishing out the coin.  Not even close.  I didn’t reckon on the game ice fee and the jersey fee and the socks fee and the jacket fee and the practice ice fee and the…I gave up. I just take my checkbook to every game and do what I’m told.  It’s fun!  The first time it was announced in the dressing room that we had to bring $300 to the next practice, I tensed, preparing for the parental outbursts of opposition. To my amazement, no one questioned this request.  Good thing I didn’t.  It would have been a embarrassing rookie mistake.  The other parents took it right on the chin without flinching!

Did I mention the volunteer shifts?  Well duh! The team needs money to operate and volunteering either in the canteen or bingo games is a fun and easy way to earn the team some cash.  But what about all that money you pay? You must be a rookie for asking that question.  Like I said, THE TEAM NEEDS MONEY!  A couple of late evening shifts in the canteen never hurt anyone, has it? Shouting “50/50!” during games is fun too.  Too bad it’s so early on a weekend that your voice is still cracked and barely audible or you’d probably sell more tickets.  The team needs money.

It’s fun, that’s what they told me when I walked into the dressing room, kid in tow, for his first practice.  Maybe it was fun for them to watch this first time hockey dad trying to make sense of the puzzle-like pieces of his kids hockey equipment.  This looks like a elbow so it must be an elbow pad.  What’s this gladiatorial thing?  Oh it’s just a chest pad.  Skate tying is another thing.  I simply hate it.  After tying the laces for the first time, I stood up, proud of myself, until my son goes, “Daddy, it’s too loose.”  Well how could I make it any tighter?  I have pulled the laces as hard as I could.  Could one of you nice parent come help me with this instead of standing around laughing at me?  It also wasn’t much fun watching my first year skaters trudge around the ice like penguins while the other kids on the teams, obviously entrenched in the system since birth, glided like swans.  At this rate, I would consider it an accomplishment if they touched the puck once in a game.

Like a said, it’s been a couple of weeks.  Hold that, it’s been a month.  There have been some changes since the first week.  The boys not only touch the puck, they get shots on the net!  They do not look much like penguins anymore.  Not quite swans but definitely not penguins.  I also do not pay hidden fees quite as often anymore, in fact, I now leave my checkbook at home!  I still have a few shifts in the canteen to cover but from the last two that I did, they are not that bad.  You get to work alongside an unhappy teenager who is quite happy to have a gofer for the night.  Grab me a bottle of coke and a bag of popcorn!

The boys still need to learn how to stop. No, not stop playing hockey, come to a stop while skating.  I thought of asking the coach to maybe give them some pointers in this regard as they apparently haven’t noticed this slight blip but I didn’t feel like writing a check for extra skating lessons.  These coaches from what I understand, are not paid for their work.  The new-hockey-dad in me wanted to point out to the coaches that maybe they should work on getting the team to be a ‘team’, like say have them introduce themselves to each other or have some team-building exercises so they could be more cohesive on the ice instead of a few pockets of friends but that would be so not the way to do things in organized kids hockey.  And hello!  They are not real coaches!  Just some nice fellas helping out.  A true hockey dad wouldn’t notice that his son still seem like he’s playing a free-for-all than a team sport.  If it’s good enough for Sidney Crosby, it’s good enough for my kids.  Who cares if the kids on the same team barely know the teammate lining up beside them? As least they are all on the ice having fun.

So yeah, organized kids hockey is fun.  I am just being cynical and a party pooper.  All the other parents are fine with it.  They seem like they are having fun and other than the visible cups of coffee at the early morning games, you’d never suspect they were up way too early.  I should just relax and think about the big payoff when one or both boys make it to the big leagues.  After all, that’s what this is all about isn’t it?  I can like this.  I can really like this…Just not right now.

My Take


Why Our Kids Lose Or Misplace Their Stuff

During the first week of school, our 5 year-old came home without his jacket.  How does one forget their jacket that they wore to keep warm? Wouldn’t the sudden drop in temperature be an instant reminder?  Apparently not to these kids who lose their gloves on the coldest of days.

I asked Treyton to check his school lost-and-found as I had no time to drop by his school to look myself.  He claimed that he did but it wasn’t there.  That was in September.  A week ago, I got a call from his school that he didn’t have a lunch.  Yes, he forgot it at home.  I went to his school bringing him MacDonald’s.  While there, I took the opportunity to inquire about his missing jacket.  I was sent to look in the lost-and-found.  It wasn’t hard spotting his jacket almost immediately.  I also saw one that looked suspiciously familiar. I debated taking it but didn’t.

That evening I was telling the family of my find and described the other jacket that looked familiar.  My 9 year-old sheepishly confessed that he had lost two jackets, including the one I described.  He brought them both home the next day.

As parents, one of our biggest issues is our children losing or misplacing their personal belongings.  Whether it’s books, clothes or lunches.  It’s irritating and even though we try to help them, it never works.  We get mad because we can’t understand why.  This morning while having another such talk with the boys, my wife added that as a kid she never lost anything, and that’s when I had the aha moment!

Our children today has so much that it’s difficult not to lose anything.  As a kid I never lost anything.  I always knew where the few things I had were. I never had more than one jacket at a  time, not more than two pairs of shoes or one hat.  It was very easy to keep track of my personal belonging.  As for lunch, sometimes I had none so it’s impossible to lose what you don’t have.  When I did have a lunch, I kept it close to me all the time.

My boys each has about four different jackets, they are found in the car, van, kitchen, everywhere.  That’s why we never realized that our 9 year-old was missing 2 jackets!  They have more hats than I could count, also found everywhere except on their heads.  With such a huge inventory, should we really blame them for not knowing where everything is?

It’s our fault, not theirs.


Exercise Your Right, Vote!

Canadians are gearing up to vote for the candidate who is best suited to run the country.  In their opinion.  It’s a difficult process and sometimes, much like choosing your poison.  Many of us would rather not choose our poison, thanks to those candidates who make big promises that they never fill, but as bad as these men and women might be, someone has to run the country and no matter how hard we try, we would never find one that’s perfect.

No vote is a bad vote except a ‘no vote’.  Don’t feel inclined or pressured to vote based on who your friends are voting for or who the ads tell you to vote for.  Vote for the person YOU think would be the least to renege on their promises, the one who addresses the issues that you need addressed.  Economy? Healthcare? Child Benefits?  What you hold dear is not necessarily what everyone holds dear.  Research if you are not sure.

If you listen to the media and even family and friends, you would be hard-pressed to find a suitable party.  Trudeau is too young, Mulcair’s party is in disarray, Harper is for the rich, etc.  So who is left?

Maybe they are all the same, or maybe not.  Maybe the one who was NOT the same lost because YOU didn’t vote.  Get out there and vote! It’s your right.


My Take

Unplugging From God

Last night I felt too hot to be comfortable so I got up in the middle of the night and opened the window, letting in some much-needed cool air.  My wife awoke to my rustling and warned me that it wasn’t a good idea as it would get extremely cold in the room.  I didn’t listen.

It didn’t take long for my wife’s words to prove prophetic.  I tried to hide under the blanket and the sheet to get warm.  The thought of getting up and closing the window crossed my mind but the idea of getting out from the covers was not appealing. My face was cold and so were my fingers and toes but I couldn’t risk a total body chill so I chose to stew in my own stupidity.

While I lay there fighting against the smart thing to do, which would have been to get up and close the window, I thought to myself that what I did was like unplugging a heater that was keeping a room warm.  Then I drew a parallel.  Unplugging the heater was like unplugging from God.  We are warm when we are plugged into him but sometimes we feel like it is not comfortable enough.  We want it our way.  So we unplug.  We live with the consequences of unplugging, coldness, distant, lost…We try to cope by seeking comfort elsewhere or by other quick-fix means other than just re-plugging in, even though our families and friends urge us to just plug back in.

Stay warm, stay plugged in.


Hey, Look Who Showed Up To Church!

English: St Michael's Church, Llanvihangel Pon...

English: St Michael’s Church, Llanvihangel Pontymoel St Michael’s Church at Llanvihangel Pontymoel. Services are held here on two Sundays each month, three if a month includes five Sundays. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate missing church.  But I do.  We all do. In a perfect world, nothing we do should supersede God but we still let our personal agendas interfere with HIS schedule. So yes, there are times when I miss church to attend personal and pressing matters.  Don’t you?  Now don’t you hate when there’s that one Sunday you just cannot get your worshiping mojo on?   You just don’t feel it.  Even playing some religious music is not doing it.  Going to church is perhaps the least thing you feel like doing and you would stay at home but you have missed the last two Sundays and the regulars, including the pastor would surely notice your extended absence.  At least you think they would.   So off to church you go.  Decision made based solely on not wanting to let your brothers and sisters down rather than a motivation to give praises to God from whom all blessings come.

Now don’t feel bad. We are humans and I am sure that even our pastors have days where they feel like staying in bed.  The thing is, it’s not how you go, it’s that you go.  People have wandered into church quite by chance and found Christ.   The times when I have dragged my butt out the door, I have actually had the best worshiping experiences.

If you have taken a more than a few Sundays off, don’t feel bad and give up altogether.  Go back next Sunday.  Or the next.  No one will judge you.  At least they shouldn’t.

My Take.


God vs The Rainbow

Older LGBT Community

Older LGBT Community (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently in Calgary Alberta, Canada, a city transit driver was taken to task for refusing to drive a bus that was draped in the rainbow colors supporting the gays and lesbian pride festival.  He cited that it went against his Christian beliefs.  Fair enough.  Last time I checked one cannot be forced to do work that contravenes their beliefs.  We live in an accepting society, right? We accommodate.  He doesn’t feel right driving the bus, we get him a non-pride bus and get another guy to take the wheel, right? No biggie.  Everyone’s happy.

In Dallas, the police have taken to putting decals on their cars with the words, “In God We Trust”.  Apparently this is in response to escalating violence against cops.  You guessed it, they are being taken to task for promoting God.  How dare them put a religious decal on their cars?

So the impression I’m getting here is that it is becoming more acceptable to advertise homosexuality than it is to advertise God.   If God was painted on that bus, it would have been acceptable for the bus driver to refuse to drive it.  In fact, he would have been encouraged to do so.  How do we then explain this double standard?  This hypocrisy?

I want to advertise my God, you want to advertise your sexual orientation.  The stage is big enough so can’t we all just get along?


In God We Trust, He made the rainbow.


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