Fort McMurray and Ottawa

Fort McMurray and Ottawa

What do Fort McMurray and Ottawa have in common? Well, not much, except that my wife has a brother living in each city. As pictures describe at least a thousand words, here’s a few pictures we took with our new Nikon camera while spending one week of our holidays at Ft. McMurray and another week in Ottawa and environs. You can enlarge these pictures by clicking on my Flickr on the sidebar.


Oil Sands Museum

My wife Julianna and yours truly in front of the Oil Sands Museum.





This sign gives you an idea of the enormity of the machines used to mine and process the tar sands.



Me in front of the bucket.


Conveyor Wheel

Julianna in front of the conveyor wheel.


Earth moving machine

Brother-in-law George and his wife Merabel in cab of earth moving machine, which was about two stories high.



Ottawa brother-in-law John performing a mini concert for us on the piano, with his daughter Jahna smiling, and to the left their dog Toto on my lap.



Reindeer in Omega Park.



A noble bison bull in Omega Park.



Beaver dam in marsh area of the Rideau River.



Centre Block with Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.



Changing of the Guard.



Changing of the Guard.



Julianna, our daughter Anna, me, & front row, Jahna, in front of the main door into the Centre Block Parliament Building.



Anna and me with two of the Famous Five, who succeeded in gaining women the right to vote.



The Rideau Canal locks



The Museum of Civilization



Me in front of artist Norval Morrisseau’s masterpiece, “A Separate Reality.” This is a breathtakingly beautiful painting, depicting the interconnectedness and peace of humankind with the whole creation. One could spend two, three or more days in the Museum of Civilization in order to appreciate more fully its rich, diverse exhibits.



The Royal Canadian Mint, building on the right, inside the fence. Did you know that in addition to printing Canadian currency, our Canadian Mint prints currency for one-quarter of the world’s nations?



A bird’s eye view of Ottawa taken from the Peace Tower. Across the Ottawa River you can see Canada’s National Art Gallery, and across for it, Notre Dame Cathedral.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures. We are truly a blessed nation, rich in geographical and cultural diversity.



October Sky

October Sky

The time was the 1950s, the place, a coal-mining town in West Virginia. After learning of the Russians successfully launching Sputnik, a high school student, Homer Hickham becomes determined to build a successful rocket. With the inspiration and encouragement of a high school teacher, Miss Riley, and the friendship of three other classmates, they build one unsuccessful rocket after another. After overcoming much taunting by most of their high school peers; the resistance of Homer’s father, who discourages his son at every turn and insists that Homer should focus on following in his dad’s footsteps and work in the mine; and the principal of the high school’s narrow-mindedness and stereotyping of his students; the four students continue with their experiments and chase their dream. Eventually a rocket is built that wins at a local science fair; then wins first prize at a national science fair. The win was Homer’s and his fellow students’ ticket to college. After this success and numerous confrontations with his father, the latter finally shows up to support his son by witnessing a rocket launch.

There is no question that the movie is sentimental. However, I think it goes deeper than the usual stereotypes of traditional parenting; and working class, hillbilly American values and lifestyle. The movie is full of moral lessons like: the importance of living with hopes and dreams and following where they lead; the importance of friendship and mentoring and cooperation to accomplish life’s goals; the discerning of one’s life-calling and vocation, which brings with it meaning and purpose for one’s life. All four students left their mining community to attend college. Homer was employed by NASA. Theologically, this movie reminds me a little of the sceptics who say of Jesus: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” God calls and chooses people whom others would write off and overlook. Oh yes, I think I’ll try to find the soundtrack of this movie too.

Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced again

Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced again

The Burma Nobel Prize Winner and human rights activist, Aung San Suu Kyi (pronounced Chi) has been sentenced once again to another 18 months of house arrest. She has spent 14 of the last 20 years in Burma either in prison or under house arrest, even though she won a democratically held election back in the 90s. Over against the hue and cry of world opinion, the Burma military state refuses to unconditionally release her, when there were no legitimate grounds for arresting her in the first place. Yet, she is gifted and graced with an indomitable spirit, passionately striving for justice and peace, and democracy in her native land. U2 recently paid her tribute in this YouTube video, which really rocks, check it out here. Amnesty International honoured Aung San Suu Kyi this year with the Ambassador of Conscience award. Readers can call for her release by signing AI’s petition here. Thank you! May God grant Aung San Suu Kyi her long awaited freedom and may God bless all of her endeavours to continue the righteous quest for peace, justice and democracy in Burma.

Dr. Viktor Frankl and incredible human being

Dr. Viktor Frankl an incredible human being

The psychiatrist, whom I respect by far more than any others, is Dr. Viktor Frankl. Readers may remember him as a Holocaust survivor, and father of a type of psychotherapy called logotherapy, and author of books such as Man’s Search for Meaning. Over against other psychiatrists and psychologists who said that the will to power and the pursuit of pleasure are what ultimately motivate human beings; Dr. Frankl believed that the will to meaning is what ultimately motivates human beings. His logotherapy was born out of his own existential experiences in the World War II concentration camps. He said that according to logotherapy, meaning can be discovered by three ways: “(1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.” Even though Dr. Frankl didn’t publicly declare himself to be an adherent of any religion (he was an Austrian Jew, though I’m not aware that he attended synagogue, his wife apparently was a Catholic) nonetheless, he said that religion is concerned with ultimate meaning, or supermeaning and self-transcendence. For me, this has parallels with the Lutheran theology of the cross; which, of course, originates with Jesus himself, when he taught and lived for others and made the ultimate self sacrifice for humankind.


Readers may be interested in the following links to explore further the life and teachings of Dr. Viktor Frankl: You Tube has several interviews here. Readers can also check out the Viktor Frankl Institute here, where there are also some interviews. What shines through for me is the deep insights into the human condition and the profound authenticity of Dr. Frankl. He obviously practiced what he preached, even though his suffering during the Holocaust must have been horrific, he still lived to the ripe old age of 92 years.






Our picnic at Echo Dale Park

Our picnic at Echo Dale Park 

Today we went out to Echo Dale Park for a picnic. Echo Dale is located along the South Saskatchewan River, close to Redcliff and Medicine Hat, Alberta. It was a sizzling-hot summer’s day—in the thirties Celsius—so finding refuge under the trees was a necessity. Unfortunately, our digital camera is not a high-end model, so we couldn’t take pictures of the many species of birds that we saw on our walk along the river—we even saw an eagle in flight, gliding gracefully above the cliffs. The food we ate was barbecued chicken, potato salad, carrot salad, and cucumber salad. For dessert we had fruit melange—a perfect menu for a picnic. Yummy! Enough said, here’s a few pictures.


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My wife Julianna enjoying our picnic dinner.

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DimLamp enjoying the meal.

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Echo Dale pond.

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Orange-red cliffs across the South Saskatchewan River.

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Echo Dale antique farm machinery.

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Echo Dale farm horses.


For more pictures, check out my flickr.