Tuesday, November 29, 2011

4 Days of my Life, Day #2

3 years ago tonight was the last night of me not being a father. Labour kicked in late in the morning hours, and my daughter's mother and I gathered our things and headed to the hospital and started making the calls to our family to know that the time has come.

We knew that we were having a baby girl, yet all the possibilities kick in when this is your first pregnancy of hoping that everything goes well, and everyone is healthy. A healthy baby is all I wanted coupled with a same delivery for all.

The next night at 7:22pm, November 30, Kennedy Lauren Bastie was born to us. She weighed 7 pounds even and she caused the most amazing feeling to her daddy that I had ever experienced. I'll never forget seeing her come into this world and holding her for the first time as her father. It's just something that can't be put into words. -And yes, I cried like a little baby myself.

Passing Kennedy to my mother was something that left me with a feeling of complete amazement. There are only a handful of moments that one could ever remember at any time in your life that had as much as an impact as that. Truly, anyone who has gone through the same process for the first time can relate to what I am talking about so I don't want to spoil it for you who haven't, but it will be the most spiritual moment of your life.

These 4 days in my life starting from November 28 when I first met my wife, to today when it was the Eve of Kennedy's birth, tomorrow, November 30th which is the day when Kennedy was born, and finally Dec. 1 is the day I lost my grandmother in 1991. These 4 days are together in my life and every year that these go by, I get a little sentimental.

So I thought I would share these with you since they are so important in my life and who I turned out to be...

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Night I Met My Wife

There are nights that I look back on in my life that I remember like they were yesterday. They appear timeless, and you will never age from that moment. It will always be a part of you because the connection is just one of those ties that bind.

Then there are those nights such as these that it seemed like it was magical.

"It wasn't supposed to happen like this" is how the story usually goes. Then, there is a mysterious unravelling of how the event actually occurred, and how the obstacles that were in the way seemingly parted and allowed the universe to make miracles happen.

Well, today is the day 13 years ago that this happened. It was the night I met my wife, and it happened exactly like this...

It was a night just as I have explained above how things were not supposed to have happened. I was away on a road trip that had been extended, and I was tired coming home to Toronto. I had been away for a couple weeks and my blood-alcohol level was hovering somewhere around 99, so the last thing I wanted to do was go out on the town and meet up with my friend Pavanne, and her California girlfriends.

Yet, as the universe works, things came together, and I met my future wife that night. 28 days later we were engaged, and then just over 6 months later we were married. We're not together anymore, but if I look back on this night and ask myself  "Chuck, would you do that over again?" The answer would be, "In a heartbeat"

Sometimes things in life don't always go the way we want them to go. However, the moments and the learning experience that we get from them are the points in our lives that we can celebrate. I became a man by meeting my wife. She taught me areas of my life that I never knew existed inside of me, and she gave me inspiration to create things that I never dreamed possible. For that, I will be forever grateful.

And like everything in life, it has it's time and place. That time and place has moved on in my life, yet I have never forgotten the lessons I've learned.

And that has made all the difference.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Remembering JFK

There are moments that you would remember in your life simply by the date on the calendar. Weddings, Anniversaries, Birthdays, and other important days.

Then there are the Historic ones...

Sept. 11th, Nov. 11th, June 6, July 20th, and of course, today, November 22. -The one that really defined the question, "Where were you on the day Kennedy was shot?"

Never before had such an event happened in history, as the live TV coverage that day caught the Crime of the Century, as President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. The debate of who actually delivered the fatal headshot that killed him is debated to this very day. There are hundreds of conspiracy theories about the event that day, and until the year 2017, the "truth" will remain a closely guarded secret.

I still think it is the worst lie a government has passed on to its people, and I find it insulting that the government would expect their people to swallow such a laughable untruth. But I guess it's the people who have accepted this "truth" and haven't pressed their government for the real answers, so we have no right to complain about it.

Lastly, I find it ironic that the Presidential image of JFK that hangs in the White House of each President, is this one below. I look at this picture and can't help but think that this is JFK posthumously being dejected that he died in vain, and nobody brought his assassination to justice...

But today, on November 22nd, I remember your place in history John Fitzgerald Kennedy...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Penn State Child Abuse Scandal

For the past few years now, I have written blogs about why there are child abusers.

I understand that there are issues with people who commit crimes, and there are many explanations as to why they do what they do, and of course sometimes there are no explanations as to why they do it at all.

Committing murder is the capital sin in society, and it gets a lot of attention and deservedly so. Sometimes, people can come to grips with murder, and the victims which paid for these actions. It takes a whole lot of time, but sometimes, time heals all wounds. However, where the wound that never heals is the one that hurts the soul of an innocent child.

In the senseless abuse of a child, the perpetrator actually alters how the future will look for the victim in a dramatic sense. Simply put, that child will never ever be the same. They will now live their life as that abused victim, and affect others around them as they deal with that abuse. It's such a terrible spin that sometimes death is viewed as preferable and we see these victims take their own lives because they simply can't live with the guilt and vision of what's become their lives.

After hearing about former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky alleged child abuse history, and it's cover up,  I was wondering when we as a society are finally gonna get our shit together and simply make child abuse the #1 most heinous crime, period.

Do you want to abuse little boys or girls? Fine. Upon conviction of this crime, you are to be neutered. Once you recover from this surgery, we get to corral you into a pit of unfed, territorial, horny gorillas and let them have their way with you. -Sort of the same way that you had your way with innocent little kids. Once we have shown everyone the example of how we treat child abusers, I imagine the cases of them will disappear. Just so it won't be a surprise, we will let everyone know who you are, and how deranged a person that you would have to be to make such an unfathomable choice. And hopefully, we make such an example out of you that it won't ever be a choice to abuse little boys and girls EVER AGAIN. Make the punishment so harsh, that it won't ever be comptemplated as a choice afterall. And then maybe the people who are mentally ill and "can't help themselves" will actually take that consequence to mind and actually seek out professional help.

But I'm tired of watching case after case of these poor kids have to pay for our stupidity as a society. We need to stop being "Nice" to these child abusers and start honouring our commitment to our kids that they can be guaranteed a future free from people sexually abusing them!! -That should be a right in society, not a privilege!

So first thing I am going to do on Monday morning is to find out who to talk to in my neighbourhood to start the process of toughening up the child abuse laws in my country. I think children everywhere deserve the right to be free from such atrocities, and I am going to see how we can make that happen.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Re-Distribution of Wealth

I sometimes look at the Re-Distribution of Wealth as a love for country above love for anything else. Plain and simple.

A person who has amassed an empire of wealth has done so simply because there has been a country that has allowed him to prosper in it. You can take a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet and allow them to grow up and be educated in Siberia and see them prosper as a great employee, but never amount to the success and potential that a country like the United States enables them to be.

Recently, I visited the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This city was formerly known for it's massive Steel Industry. In fact, just the city of Pittsburgh produced more steel itself in WW2 than the Axis nations combined. One of the men in history that built that empire was a man named Andrew Carnegie. A respected businessman, Carnegie was the 2nd most wealthy man in the World at the time (after the controversial JD Rockefeller) At the time of his death in 1919, Carnegie had managed to give away over $350,000,000 of his amassed fortune to foundations, universities, hospitals, libraries, museums that count in the thousands in numbers and literally cover the map in area of influence. That number in present day dollars would represent about 6 billion dollars. -And this is the money he simply GAVE AWAY.

If you look at the scope of the fortune that Carnegie invested in the infrastructure of his foundations, it often surpassed government subsidies in many nations of their own ability to contribute. But why would this man simply give away this hard earned fortune? It's simple. He had a vision for contribution and he felt it was his duty as a human being to do so. He was interested in development of business, nation, arts, education because they develop the human spirit which drives the reason for existence.

You can see where Carnegie has his hand in today's society almost 100 years after his death because his influence is still present. Yet, he was only one man. An extremely wealthy man, no doubt, yet he set an example that any person could follow in principle of contribution. And still all I see in the world of finance is the rich wanting to expand their greed and not contribute back to the country which enabled them to amass that lifestyle.

Collectively, if the wealthy populace of the United States would combine its forces, you would see an action plan unrivalled in history about where it's focus and contribution would impact, and how it would make a difference. The development of such an action plan would last over a 100 years, just as Carnegie's legacy has been preserved today, and it would develop the human spirit again in the process.

Yet sadly, all these people want to do is contribute to themselves and their families which will have far less impact in society and their country. They complain about having to share their fortune via taxes to support the lazy, uneducated masses rather than seeing the greater contribution larger than themselves that they could ever attain.

And while this goes on, the wealthiest nation on earth is divided between a class system that clearly doesn't work anymore, and just gets wider to bridge as time progresses. Policies get broader and reach fewer people, and less gets done. The term "many people make light work" doesn't occur to the wealthy in the sense of what it can do for them.

If you truly loved your country, society, and way of life, protect it by contributing to the people who will ensure its survival. The last time I checked there are no pockets on a casket, and you can't take your money with you.

Creating a place for your legacy to reach others is really the only reason we are on this planet. So it just makes sense to broaden your contribution to make a difference in anything you wish. You only live once, right? Do you want to be remembered as an Andrew Carnegie or as an Ebenezer Scrooge?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remembrance Day 11/11/11

Remembrance Day

This is always my most treasured day of the year. In fact, there really isn't a close second.

As a kid, I grew up as the son of father in the Military. They call us Base Brats. I grew up on bases and stations in Canada and in the United States. I grew up in a time of peace, when the Cold War was coming to a slow halt. I never have known war personally, and have only seen it in the eyes of those who have suffered loss.

The fact that I have never known war is a testament as to how fortunate the continent of North America has been in the past 150 years or so. Standing with our American brothers, and being part of the British Empire, Canada has a long history of being a country of peacekeeping. On other days in the calendar year, the Americans revere certain days of importance to them, and it shows. However, on November 11th, you see Canadians in every form take this day very seriously, and I love that.

This fills me up with such a wonderful pride that it completely moves me to tears.

Canadians have long had a generalization for being quiet, polite, and nice. We are mostly comprised of a middle class majority, and we live a wonderful life of comfort that very few countries in the world could ever dream about. We may not be a military or economic superpower, yet we live like one every single day.

And this all comes with a cost, and the cost of freedom is indeed a heavy one to bear.

So on this Remembrance day 2011, you will see crowds of Canadians quietly making their ways to churches, cenotaphs, town and city halls and sit in silence for 2 minutes, to reflect on why it is that we have these choices to live our lives the ways we choose to live them.

Do you want to worship any God you choose? Do you want to be able to express yourself as a human being, and voice what is important to you without fear of the consequences that church and state could have on your life? Do you want to choose which way you will rear your family in the values you see fit? Pick any career, and not even think about having to be controlled in any manner. Does have the right to peaceful demonstration and assembly, and hold your elected government accountable sound great to you? These are but a handful of important freedoms that we enjoy that are a rarity in the world in other countries. Do you know that?

If so, take 2 minutes out of your day on November 11th to show it amongst others who feel the same way.

I love my country. I love the fact that I feel safe and secure, and free to build any future for myself and my family in any way I choose. I may not agree with others in their beliefs which don't share mine, yet I am always committed to their freedom to express it in any peaceful way they choose because that is a truly wonderful gift.

It's actually SO wonderful that most of us take it for granted because it has always been this way, and we have never actually known anything else. And yet every Remembrance Day that I walk down to a cenotaph to pay my respects to the countless known and unknown people who paid for these freedoms, I carry that knowledge and appreciation of extreme sacrifice which was paid in the face of fear and tyranny. All of this burden wears heavy on my soul. -To think that a small person such as me has had such a wonderful gift given to me before I was born, and maintained by those who are commited to see that every generation has the same gift.

And that's why I love my country. I love Canadians. I love Americans for being so passionate about their freedoms and defending our ways of life. And if you took the time to read my blog, I want to thank you for your commitment to this cause. It says the world about you and the type of person you are. You are to be commended for your love of freedom and compassion that every individual living in our country has the same rights and freedoms without bias or prejudices.

And for this, I will always be eternally grateful for the gift that cannot ever be repaid.

Lest We Forget.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Night With Katarina Witt

Katarina Witt.

Clutch the pearls, there is not a single woman out there on the face of God's green earth that I wouldn't walk across broken glass (barefoot) just to kiss the random hand that touched her last. Sorry Scarlett Johansson. Kate Beckinsale, I'll call you back; Katarina Witt is calling on the other line.

I love this woman. Sigh!!

And the day came where the clouds parted, the calming of the storm subsided, and the sun came out in my life, and then walked in Katarina Witt.

My life will never be there same. Double Sigh!!

I spent the day in preparation in meeting Kat like I was a little 12 year old. I went and got a shirt all markered up with the words I LOVE Kat! with an arrow pointed over the the left so I could get a picture with her. It was truly shameless, I realize, but I didn't care. Call me nuts, but there was NO WAY I was missing this opportunity. I've dreamed of meeting Kat since her and I got married (in my mind) after Carmen on Ice.

She was the guest judge on CBC's Battle of the Blades, and the stage was set. I walked into the make up dressing room to meet my buddy Jeremy Roenick and he casually points over to the next chair and says, "Kat, this is my friend Chuck"
I turn around and there she is. In the flesh. -Be still my fucking heart. In my mind, I'm trying to keep my shit together, but man, I KNOW I'm just gonna fail 150%.

So I pull off the greatest acting performance, and simply just say "Hi Kat, I'm Chuck" and then look behind her to her hairstylist Justine, and say "Hey Justine!! How are Yoooooooooooou?!" (in the gayest voice ever)
So now that Katarina knows that I'm not going to be a psycho stalker (partially true;) I can just be cool, right? WRONG.

God, sometimes I hate being me. It's just so damn hard to keep my shit together when Katarina Witt is standing in front of you!!

So, there was business to do, but my friend Sian (Thank you Sian!!) was able to take a bunch of pictures of Katarina and me. It was wonderful. It was a moment that you play in your head over and over again. And when the moments were over, I was able to see the pictures which were etched in my mind, and will remain there forever. And Katarina couldn't have been more cool! She was playful, funny, sexy and cute all wrapped up in one. She was exactly how you would always want your most beloved celebrity crush to be. She even held my shirt so the arrow could point out to her! How amazing.

It's just so refreshing when stars are real and authentic when you meet them. And maybe that's why I love her so much; because she always appears so real and down to earth. Oh, and I forgot to mention one more thing... after we hugged it out and I left, she left this behind for me...

It says, "Chuck  I know how to straighten your curls! prrrrr Katarina Witt"

I'm officially ruined now. What woman could ever come into my life and replace my love for Katarina Witt?

The Answer is: No one...