Sunday, August 31, 2008

My favourite view

One of the things I truly love about my home is the front patio-style window that faces out of the front of the house onto the street. We are fortunate to live in a neighbourhood that is old enough to have some mature trees on it and tends to be rather quiet in the morning.  It is the view from this window that comes to my mind whenever I am away on a trip and I think of home. 

I think of my wife sitting on the loveseat in front of the window every morning, curled up under a blanket, drinking coffee and reading her Bible.  Our grey and white cat is typically stretched out on her lap and our little black dog is sleeping beside her, rolled up in a little dark ball.  When I am overseas and missing Denita, it is this picture that I see.

Outside, black squirrels run around or jump from branch to branch, performing acrobatic feats that never cease to amaze me.  We have one squirrel across the road who seems determined to have the biggest and most elaborate nest in the neighbourhood.  We have witnessing him dragging entire pieces of newspapers and oversized plastic sheets up to his nest which easily exceeds any other nest on the street.

Across the street, lives a Tamil family from Sri Lanka.  Every morning, the grandfather goes out, dressed in his traditional garb, and has a cigarette.  Sometimes, he sits on the chair by the door but usually he stands out in front of the house, puffing away, hardly inhaling. I can tell that he enjoys it, which is probably why I like watching him smoke.  Or perhaps it is because it is because he is entirely predictable.  Every morning, only one cigarette, and dressed in the same clothes. At this time in my life when things are so unpredictable, I tend to gravitate towards things I can count on.  Regardless of why I enjoy watching him, I would be rather disappointed if he ever quit smoking.

Another constant in my universe is the tree in our front yard that I see every morning. It is a rather lazy tree. In our neighbourhood, it is the last tree in the spring to get its leaves and the first in the fall to drop them.  No idea why it acts this way, but every year it is the same. Endearing, annoying and entirely predictable. 

It's these little things that add colour to our life.  They are the things that make us long for home when away and make us glad to be home when we wish we were away. Over my life, I have seen many things in many countries.  But my favourite view is still the view from my front window.  

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fighting a cold

Pretty much slept the day away, trying to recuperate from a cold that I came down with a couple of days ago. One thing about being immuno suppressed; even the common cold hits you harder and differently than before.  They tend to go straight to my lungs (my weak spot now) and hang on for a long time. Add this to the chemo I am taking and I really wake up in the morning feeling like road kill. 

The thing is, I know that what will likely take me out is not the cancer; it will be pneumonia or something like that. As such, I tend to get concerned about every little sniffle.  Sometimes, I get hard on myself for feeling that way but it is life nowadays for me. There's no hiding from it or pretending that it is not what it is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Greg's new office

Greg Musselman is my good friend and colleague based in Edmonton. We at the head office have decided that Greg needs to downsize his office in Edmonton and make it a little more cost effective and environmentally friendly. Hence, this is the office we have decided to set up for him before he returns from vacation next week.  I hope he likes it.  Only the best for my buddy.










Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Office Policy at The Voice of the Martyrs

From: Glenn Penner (CEO)

Dress Code:
You are advised to come to work dressed according to your salary.

1) If we see you wearing Prada shoes and carrying a Gucci bag, we will assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.

2) If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise.

3) If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Sick Days:
We will no longer accept a doctor's statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Personal Days:
Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturdays & Sundays.

Bereavement Leave:
This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend the funeral arrangements in your place. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.

Bathroom Breaks:
Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict three-minute time limit in the washrooms. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the washroom door will open, and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on Sherry's bulletin board under the 'Chronic Offenders' category. Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be considered a possible violator of our ethical conduct policy.

Lunch Break:
1) Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch, as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy.

2) Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure.

3) Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that's all the time needed to drink a Slim-Fast.

Thank you for your loyalty to our organization. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.

The Management

Monday, August 25, 2008

My church

Sometimes people ask where I go to church. Probably part of the reason is an attempt to classify me somehow (good luck with that!). If you want to know where I fit in theologically, take a look at my doctrinal statement . I am, without apology, a conservative evangelical. As for where my wife and I go to church, we have been members for the past 10+ years at City Centre Baptist Church (which is a Fellowship Baptist Church). We never attended Baptist churches before moving to Mississauga and neither of us grew up as Baptists (both my wife and I grew up in the same Evangelical Missionary Church back in Didsbury, Alberta) but when we moved here in 1997, we found that there was not a great choice on churches here (which was surprising for a city of 700,000). Anyway, we fit in here at City Centre now, despite a couple of rough patches. We love our new pastor and are encouraged by some of the changes that we have seen. We have friends here who pray for us and have really stood behind us during the past few years. And that, to my mind, is a big part of what church is. We may not see eye to eye about election, predestination, and eternal security (I am more Arminian that the typical Fellowship Baptist is) but we pray and worship together even when things are rough.

Saturday, August 23, 2008



Woke up this morning with a headache, much as I do almost every morning since I started this round of chemo (every evening I take four tablets of a drug called Leukeran). Usually, it goes away with a cup of two of coffee and maybe a couple of Tylenol , but not today. Been feeling a but nauseous, with a headache all day. Read the newspapers this morning, had brunch and then went back to bed where I napped and read until a few minutes ago when I decided to check my email.

In a nutshell, I feel "bleccchh". I suspect that I will have more days like this. I am grateful that most days I can function fairly normally, but the last 2-3 days have not been so good. Hope that this chemo will do some good so that I don't have to keep on it for too long. It does tend to wear you down little by little

Friday, August 22, 2008

A quote of a quote of a quote of a quote

You've got to wonder about the future of Christian journalism when, in press release today, a journalist in a rather well-known Christian news service quoted a journalist who quoted another journalist who quoted me in an interview on Wednesday.  As Todd Nettleton, my friend at VOM-USA wrote to me, "Apparently original sources are passé." 


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Who wants to be a billionaire?

Actually, it is really easy in Zimbabwe, where the inflation rate rocketed to 11 million percent in June. 


Olympic disciple


Must be a Canadian. Satisfied to settle for third best.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I have to admit that I have been a little down for the past couple of days. Probably a result of coming off of the very powerful steroids that I was on (I was operating like I was on jet fuel for the past few weeks) and the decision we made on Monday (see below). I am still convinced that we made the right decision. Prior to my stem cell transplant, I had pretty much accepted that there was no cure for my cancer. And I was at peace with it. Then the stem cell transplant provided a seed of hope and after a year and a half to be told that there was no trace of it... well, despite my best efforts to restrain my enthusiasm, I had begun to hope that perhaps I would have a reasonably normal life again (at least healthwise).

Now those hopes have been put to rest for good. There is no aggressive treatment left that probably won't either make make me an invalid or kill me off for good. The best I can hope for is remission if the less aggressive chemo I will take from time to time is effective. I will be starting a round of treatments tomorrow (just some pills on a daily basis for now).

Don't get me wrong; I haven't ruled out God. I do believe that He could heal me. But I have never been convinced that this is His plan for me. Some will accuse me of a lack of faith undoubtedly for even saying that. But the truth is, my walk with God has never been stronger than it has been the last few years and I believe that His call on my life had been to trust Him in the midst of this affliction, not despite it or in hopes of deliverance. In the midst of it.

One of my hopes in taking this approach is my hope that it will be easier on Denita. It is hard on her having to care for me when I am so sick or trying to be with me when I am in the hospital. Those days will be coming again, I know. But perhaps we can put them off for a while. Being a caregiver, I think, really is as hard or harder than being the one in need of being cared for. The last few years have been hard on my love.

Continue to uphold us in your prayers. Facing one's mortality or the mortality of one's loved one is never easy. I have no idea how much time I have. Could be a few years. Could be many. But I want them to count. This is why I decided not to spend them fighting to stay alive. There is more to life than fighting for life.

Monday, August 11, 2008

As normal as possible for as long as possible

Over the past six years, I have learned that my wife often explains my health situation far better than I do. Besides, I am not really sure what to write right now; as Denita says below, we are still "processing" what we learned today. Anyway, here is Denita's email to our friends and family updating them (and you) on our consulation with our oncologist today, as we seek a way forward: was the day we saw the doctor and got some answers. We're not really sure if it was good news or not so good news - we're still processing all that. Let me back up a bit. When Credit Valley said they didn't want to take Glenn on, we were referred to another hematology clinic in Princess Margaret. The doctor who will be in charge of Glenn's care there is a doctor we have seen on occasion in the transplant clinic, and we liked him, so we were happy about that. Today when he talked with us, he told us that to him the results of the tests are irrevelant. The fact that Glenn's cancer came back even after transplant means that it is stubborn and aggressive. What he wanted to find out is how aggressive we wanted to be in dealing with it. He pointed out that over the last 6 years the doctors have basically tried all the chemo drugs that are used to treat CLL and either they weren't effective, or Glenn developed a serious side effect that meant the chemo had to be stopped. He told us that if we got really aggressive Glenn could look forward to being very sick and possibly dying from complications of the treatment. Then he asked Glenn what he wanted, and Glenn said he wanted to "live as normal of a life as I can for as long as I can." When Glenn said that, the doctor agreed and told us that would be his preferred approach too. So....we have basically decided we will manage Glenn's cancer and deal with issues as they arise. That means another transplant is out. For now Glenn will be taking a chemo drug in pill form every day for the next month. We will then see the doctor again in a month and assess the situation. At that time we will decide further what else to do. Just another reminder that we need to live a day at a time and thank God for the strength he gives along the way.

This has been a tough day for us. We were really hoping we could beat this monster. Instead we will have to continue on in the battle. We covet your prayers as all of us are battle weary. The road ahead doesn't look rosy, but I'm confident that God walks with us and he will continue to strengthen us and use us in our weakness. Thank you for standing with us.

Love, Denita

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What is chronic lymphocytic leukemia?

chronic_lymphocytic_leukemia When people hear that I have cancer, I typically get one of two responses: 1) shock and an assumption that I must be virtually an invalid, living in pain (and staying home in bed), and 2) a testimony of some herbal remedy or treatment that really worked in someone they knew who had a different kind of cancer. I have yet to hear of one that worked on CLL.

While CLL is a rather common kind of cancer, most people know virtually nothing about it.  Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is a condition characterized by an accumulation of abnormal lymphocytes in the blood and the bone marrow.  These lymphocytes do not perform their functions as normal ones would and interfere with the production of other blood cells necessary for the normal functioning of the blood.  This leads to complications like deficiency of the immune system, coagulation problems, swollen lymph nodes, and a number of other conditions.  There is no known cure for CLL.  It mostly occurs in people over 50 years old (I was diagnosed at 40; I am 46 now).

May I add that while it is not the most virulent form of cancer out there, CLL is not a "good" kind of cancer to have, as some well-meaning people have sometimes put it.  Perhaps they would like to take it out for a spin?  Bruises, foot and leg cramps, bleeding, anemia, night sweats, lethargy, tiredness, swelling of the neck, concerns over nodes in the abdomen interfering with vital organs....

Saturday, August 9, 2008

It's raining again...

This has been the wettest summer on record here in Mississauga. Every day, rain, rain, and more rain.  As I write this, we are experiencing our third torrential rainfall today.  And this song came to mind....

Thank you for praying

sleeping I want to thank those of you who have been praying that I would sleep better (see my blog from earlier this week).  I am glad to report that the last two nights have been the most restful that I have had for a while.  I even slept in until after 8:00 am this morning.

On Monday I go into Princess Margaret for our first consultation regarding treatment to take on the cancer again.  I would ask that you pray for wisdom for the oncologist.  I would also ask that you pray that I would be able to go to a meeting that I am supposed to go to in London, England in mid-September. I would really like to go, but if I start treatments before then, it is unlikely.  Not that I want to delay treatment if this is the best course of action.  But that is my desire; to be able to go.  I will also need to know whether it is safe to fly given my diaphragm/lung issues.  What a pain this body of death is sometimes!  I look forward to my new, glorified one.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Glenn's Interview on CBC Edmonton

cbcYesterday I was interviewed on CBC Edmonton regarding the situation facing Christians in China.  Take a listen if you like.

Be careful what you pray for


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Trinitarian Praying

In Eccles. 5:1-2, we read, “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.”

These words came home to roost for me during my first year of seminary. Sitting in a theology class taught by William Eichorst, the seminary president at the time, he mentioned that one of the school’s Board members had complained to him about how one of seminary’s students had recently preached at his church and had proceeded to thank God the Father for dying on the cross. The concern was then raised that we needed to be sure that we did not simply go on autopilot when we pray but conscious of what we were saying and to Whom we were praying. Keeping the members of the Trinity straight was the very least that we could do.

As I sat there, I was inwardly embarrassed because I knew that I had likely been that student since I had been providing pulpit supply for this church rather regularly as they were looking for a new pastor. It’s been 20 years since that took place and I still remember the lesson that I learned that day. Prayer is first and foremost communication with the Triune God. It behooves us to pray with both our mind and our heart.

I have since learned that I am not the only one who makes this mistake, of course. Like me, I have heard numbers of sincere believers - men and women, leadership and laity, old and young – thank the Father for coming to earth, suffering and dying on the cross for us or praising the Spirit for sending His Son. I have also heard the Father referred to in a way that, from my research, has no biblical and little historical precedent.

It probably began in the 1980’s when the Fatherhood of God or the “Father heart of God” gained prominence in many circles. Recognizing the need that many believers have for a loving father figure, Christians began referring to God the Father as “Father God.” The phrase always struck me as peculiar, but I didn’t give it much thought until it dawned on me one day as to why. Imagine referring to Jesus as “Son God” or the Holy Spirit as “Spirit God.” It just doesn’t sound right, does it? Nowhere in Scripture and rarely in church history is such phraseology used for any member of the Trinity and I think for good reason. As well intentioned as the phrase may be, it suggests that there is a father god, a son god and a spirit god, inadvertently suggesting division in the Trinity. By referring, however, to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, it is more obvious that we are referring to one God in three persons.

Some might say, as my wife did when we were chatting over lunch one Sunday a while back, “I don’t think that anyone who prays ‘Father God’ is even thinking about that.”

Which is my (and the author of Ecclesiastes’) point exactly! We are not supposed to be praying without thinking about what we are saying, even with the very best of intentions. As a final note, it is interesting to observe that the phrase “Father God” is quite popular with some modern day Gnostics like Sylvia Browne who suggest that God is also a Mother.

Of course, even carefully referring to God as God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit can still lead to error. Some Christians come alarmingly close to modalism which probably the most common theological error concerning the nature of God. Modalism denies the Trinity by stating that God is a single person who, throughout biblical history, has revealed Himself in three modes, or forms. Recently I read a doctrinal statement by an Indian church leader whose doctrinal statement said that he believed that the one true God reveals himself in three persons; The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The correct teaching of the Trinity is one God in three eternal coexistent persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is not biblical Christianity.

I am often reminded of John Stott’s observation in his book Knowing God that we are not free to think of God any way that we like, but only to the extent that He has revealed Himself to be. Only God can reveal God. I would suggest that in our prayer to God, that perhaps it might be wisest to address Him as we find God’s people doing so in His revelation to us, the Bible. We may happily and with confidence refer to our heavenly Father as “Father” knowing that this is exactly what the Son commanded us to do under the inspiration of the Spirit (see Matthew 6:8 and Luke 11:2). And when we do, we are sure to thank Him for sending His Son to die for us and for sending the Spirit to guide us into all truth and to conform us into the image of His Son. Trinitarian prayer is a privilege for the child of God; one that can be emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually transforming as we enter into fellowship with the triune God.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pray that I can sleep

I have a rather specific prayer request. Please pray that I can sleep. The steroids that I have been taking over the past few weeks have a rather nasty side effect of disrupting sleep patterns. I sometimes have difficulty getting to sleep and once I am asleep, I have a tough time staying asleep. I tend to wake up around 3:00 a.m. and then wake up every 45 minutes or so. Makes for very early mornings often times. As result, I am really rather tired out and in real need of a solid night's sleep. If you could pray to that end, I would sure be grateful.

Winnipeg health officials to admit mistakes and apologize

Having been an active medical patient on a rather regular basis over the past several years, I was amazed to read a recent report that said that Winnipeg health officials, in what is billed as the first of its kind in Canada, have been instructed to acknowledge mistakes openly, tell injured patients they are sorry and have the authority pay for its errors when appropriate.  These apologizes cannot be used in court, but apparently this abandoning of the medical community's age-old tendency to shut up and refuse to admit fault when blunders occur, is a growing trend in both Canada and the US and proving to very successful.  In the States, hospitals that are doing this have actually reporting a decline in malpractice suits.

It just goes to show that if you treat people decently, they tend to reciprocate similarly.  Of course, there are exceptions, but I really think that what makes people angry about the medical profession is the perception that it is growing more and more impersonal and that people need to fight for decent care.  Maybe this is a step in the right direction.

You can read the full article here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The day without a name

civichol Today is the oddest day off in Ontario and perhaps in Canada. It is day off for almost everyone (though not officially a statutory holiday). The VOMC staff, for instance, is taking today off. But what really surprised when I first moved here from Alberta 11 years ago was how no one in Ontario really knows what to call the day.

Most everywhere in Ontario (including Mississauga), it is given the wonderfully creative name of Civic Holiday (and no, it is not the celebration of the best-selling Honda compact, even though it is a very fine car; I am on my second one). But in Toronto (and a few other communities) it is called Simcoe Day, named after was the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe. But that is not the only name this day goes by. It is called Colonel By Day in Ottawa, Joseph Brant Day in Burlington, Founders' Day in Brantford, McLaughlin Day in Oshawa, Alexander Mackenzie Day in Sarnia, James Cockburn Day in Cobourg, and John Galt Day in Guelph.

Whatever it is called, it is a welcome break in the summer.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Duties of Being a Citizen of Canada

It isn't often that I agree with much that is opined about in the Toronto Star. But in today's paper there an excellent opinion article written by Angelo Persechilli in which he asks if Canadians have neglected the duties of citizenship in our emphasis on our rights and freedoms. He notes:

We have treaties signed with aboriginals that we rarely respect. We have natives living on reserves in conditions worse than those in Third-World countries, despite Ottawa's annual expenditure of more than $12 billion.

We had Canadian Omar Khadr in Afghanistan fighting against principles that Canadian soldiers are now dying for, and we have Canadians permanently living in the Middle East asking us to bail them out in case of problems. We have more than 250,000 Canadian citizens permanently living in Hong Kong, hoping that nothing happens to the former British colony. We also have Canadian citizens in the Italian Parliament in Rome elected by Canadian residents in Canada, and we have Canadians raising money for terrorist organizations that have nothing to do with our country.

All of us enjoy the protection of the Charter whenever we need it and wherever we are and wherever we are....

And then he drops the axe:

but now we also need a new set of rules establishing, for example, a direct relationship between citizenship and permanent residence, or addressing activities of criminal or terrorist nature when Canadian citizenship is clearly used as a cover.

From John A. Macdonald on, our leaders have done a good job defining a geographic area called Canada, but were not very successful with the definition of Canadian citizenship. They were too busy protecting the rights of the "distinct societies" or "celebrating the differences," believing that the geographic boundaries were enough protection for their rights.

For more than a century it was Canada that protected its citizens. Now, with globalization crushing geographic boundaries, it is Canada that is in need of its citizens.

He is absolutely right. This fuzziness did start from the very beginning of this country, as John A. desperately wanted to keep Canada within the British fold. This led to Canada not truly developing its own sense of nationhood until the 1960's and even since then, there remains a confusion as to just how much we can expect from those who call themselves "Canadian" (again a legacy of confederation as the protection of minority language and cultural rights were protected right from the start).

Persichilli's suggestions of starting with a new set of rules establishing a direct relationship between citizenship and permanent residence and addressing activities of criminal or terrorist nature when Canadian citizenship is clearly used as a cover are good places to start.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Over $10 for a coffee?

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am an avid coffee lover. However, the next time I visit Moscow, I may take a rain check or a cup of tea instead. According to a new survey by the London office of U.S. consulting firm Mercer, the average cup of joe in Moscow is now US$10.19!! Mind you this is the same city that boasts having 74 billionaires, the most in the world.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A black eye for the IOC

I don't know about you, but I am entirely disgusted by the very thought of the Beijing Olympics.  The behaviour of China and the International Olympic Committee has been reprehensible from the start and recent days have only revealed just how rotten to the core the whole thing is. I have decided that I am simply not going to watch the Olympics this time around.  The only hope is that these Games will be such a mess that the world will see the real China rather than the one the communist government wants to protray on television; edited, scripted, controlled and censored. This editorial published in the National Post really says it well, I think.

A black eye for the IOC

National Post  Published: Friday, August 01, 2008

Kevan Gosper, an Olympic si lver medallist with Australia's 4x400 track relay team in the 1956 Summer Games, was forced to whack the panic button yesterday. Mr. Gosper is the top press liaison for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and is the man who had assured the international media for months that the Chinese government had agreed not to impose censorship on foreign reporters covering the Beijing Olympics. Naturally, it was pretty awkward for Mr. Gosper when China announced earlier this week that it would do exactly that.

Just two weeks ago, IOC president Jacques Rogge had repeated assurances that "there will be no censorship of the Internet" in sections of Olympics venues used by foreign reporters. The issue had been considered an important one, not because foreign reporters will have any trouble evading the so-called "Great Firewall of China," but because it was China's chance to demonstrate to the world that it understands Western free speech norms, recognizes them to some degree as an ideal and is capable of letting foreigners report on its country without the restrictions that it still chooses to impose on its own media.

Mr. Gosper had to admit to the world press that China was not stabbing the IOC in the back by changing tack on censorship with just over a week to go before the opening ceremonies. In fact, unidentified IOC members had reached a behind-the-scenes accord permitting censorship several months ago, yet allowed Mr. Gosper and his boss, Mr. Rogge, to go on making asses of themselves. (Hein Verbruggen, the head of a "co-ordination commission" to whom Mr. Gosper reports, has attracted suspicion by virtue of both his position and his reaction to the news; he calmly told an Olympic house newspaper that no promises of "full access" had ever been made by China, suggesting that he saw no reason for fuss.)

"I regret," a visibly angry Mr. Gosper was forced to acknowledge in a press conference, "that it now appears [the Beijing organizing committee] has announced that there will be limitations on Web site access during Games time … I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games-related." The "sensitive sites" turned out to include some belonging to the BBC and Deutsche Welle, as well as Wikipedia, which has quietly become a staple resource for journalists over the years.

The black eye is one of the greatest ever for the IOC, which has, to put it mildly, not always covered itself in glory in the past. It appears that the organization was content to let lies be spread by its representatives in order to attract the world press to China under false pretenses. The IOC's business depends on our continued appetite for the myth of the Olympics as a place for fair play and the pursuit of excellence. In the long run, if it pays no attention to these norms as an institution, it cannot dream of being respected as a peddler of them.

Increasingly, the Beijing Games appear to be a trainwreck in the making; the censorship controversy has been compounded by fears that efforts to guarantee outdoor competitors a breathable atmosphere will fail; by a last-minute algae invasion of an aquatic venue; and by accusations that Chinese selectors may have violated age limits for gymnasts. At this moment, one would surely have trouble finding an Olympics viewer, an athlete or a national official who does not consider the awarding of the Games to Beijing to be a mistake.

The good news, if any is to be found, is that a series of humiliations may do more to create real pressure for openness in China than a squeaky-clean, smooth-running Games ever could. It is possible that the Leninist maxim "The worse, the better" applies. China has invested enormous national prestige in the Olympics -- there must be those in officialdom whose lives are (literally) at stake -- but has apparently decided to proceed using the Communist tools of central planning, deception and state-imposed "harmony" of thought and action.

Very well: Let's see whether a Western commercial spectacle can be successfully staged under such circumstances. Like the old division of West and East Berlin, it has become a rare laboratory experiment in comparing ways of life. And, as with Berlin, the existing Chinese government may not be fully prepared for the implications of the result.

Latest Email Update from Denita

Here is the latest email update from Denita (that's my wife, for those who don't know. My hero...)

Well...we found out today that Credit Valley won't be able to accomodate Glenn, so we'll be going back to Princess Maragret. Glenn has an appointment on Aug. 11, so hopefully we'll be able to give you a more detailed update then. On Wednesday we went to Toronto General to get Glenn started on the blood thinner shots. He is giving himself 2 shots each day and will have to continue that for six months. We are thankful that we have extended health insurance. Without it, we would have to pay over $1500 each month. As it is, it is costing us a bundle. Oh well...that's life.

By the way, Glenn has set up a blog sight to record his thoughts on this journey he is on. If any of you are interested in reading his blogs, you can find them at

More to come in a couple of weeks....