Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Debate on Wind Turbines

Dr. Reza Kazemi was kind enough to give me permission to videotape the following event, so I am including some of the promotional material here on the Badi' Blog.




It is all about power A debate on wind turbines in Haldimand County




Dunnville, Ont.


DREAM presents


Its all about POWER; Wind or No Wind


A debate on wind turbines in Haldimand


Industrial wind turbine are a hot topic in Haldimand since the news broke that Samsung, a Korean company, will be investing 7 billion dollars in this industry throughout Ontario. Overnight, citizens worried about the size of these electrical generating structures, their effect on property values and their health.


On Friday, Sept. 30th, 2011 at 7pm in the cafeteria of Dunnville Secondary School, dream presents Its all About Power: Wind or No Wind to create a dialogue and raise awareness on industrial wind turbines.


Dream has invited a strong opponent of wind mills, John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario, as well as a proponent of this type of energy production.


This opening event of dream's seventh season of raising awareness will be moderated by Wayne Nyomtato.  At the end of this town hall meeting, dream hopes that the community will better understand the issue and be able to reach a consensus with a vision and guiding values that will be published in all three regional papers.


Raising Awareness presents a series of film and guest speakers running from September to May at Dunnville Secondary School.


On film nights, dream presents a social justice, community awareness, or life-planning film. On speaker nights, dream presents an engaging guest speaker or an eclectic panel of guests ranging from published authors and social activists to civically responsible members of the community.




This Year's DREAM Presentations


Members of the Haldimand community should mark the following Friday nights on their calendars. All presentations take place at Dunnville Secondary School's Cafeteria:




Friday Sept. 30th


It’s All about Power: Wind or No Wind; A debate on industrial wind turbines


The seventh Season of Raising Awareness begins with a debate on wind turbines with guest speaker: John Laforte, Wind Concerns Ontario; Green Peace Canada




Friday Nov. 4th  An American Marine's Experience in Iraq


Guest Speaker: Jake Davis




Friday Feb 10th  Preserving Our Planet: Garbage


This night features dream Grade 8 Environment Contest.




Friday Mar 30th; Film: Lets Make Money


Where is our money? In the bank? Think again!




Friday April 27th;  Hope Through Action


Guest Speaker: Mark Zelinski, Photography to Enlighten, Educate & Entertain




Friday May 25th  Street Drugs of Dunnville


Exploring the problems and its solutions




For more information on how you can purchase season tickets to dream's raising awareness: film & speaker series or join as a volunteer or community sponsor contact Dr. Kazemi at 905.774-8841, or or visit




DREAM is a community-based organization of volunteers that builds Dunnville's capacity to better serve its youth by providing academic, social and financial support to secondary school students. DREAM offers a four-year, youth mentorship program and hosts other community services that include a field school program in Ek Balam, Mexico to promote global literacy.




Australian broadcast at the Sydney Baha'i Temple

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thoughts from an Evening at Home

Strained Mercy, and Other Musings


By John Taylor; 2011 Sep 23, 'Izzat , 168 BE






I have been relaxing, having finished my first draft of Cosmopolis Earth, and sent it off to a copy editor. Last night was a typical evening.




The Spirit Within Club

Sam; In Memoriam

Two Pre-prandial Prayers

Warm his cool heart

Comment on the Qiblih




The Spirit Within Club


For Tommy's almost daily Baha'i class (Silvie, at 17 years, no longer deigns to attend) I continued reading aloud from a youth novel called "The Spirit Within Club," by Sahar Sabati, a Montreal believer now serving in the Holy Land. I typically read a chapter, but Tomaso always insists on hearing two or three more chapters, which shows what a good writer this fellow is, I guess. The Spirit Within Club was written to point the way the Ruhi program sees kids leading the community and the faith, and it seems to do a pretty good job of that. I am actually quite surprised that Tomaso takes such an interest in it, what with all the explosions and hijinks in the books, movies and games he usually likes.


The author contacted me through the now largely dormant Badi Blog, and sent us a prepublication copy of this novel, targeted at 8 - 14 year olds, which, he tells me, has been published by George Ronald and should already be available in your friendly national BDS. When we are done reading it, Tommy and I will be interviewing Mr. Sabati by Skype. I hope to share the results with you on this blog.


Sam; In Memoriam


When the Baha'i class was over we said a prayer for Sam, a member of our Baha'i community who just passed on. Sam was totally paralyzed by a brain stem stroke, but when his wife declared and they asked him if he wanted to be a Baha'i too, he said yes. I do not know how they communicated that, or anything else, since he is totally motionless. He reminds me of one of my most admired believers, Evelyn Knight, of whom I often speak here. She was a victim of Down's Syndrome, yet she was an active believer in a big city where it was hard to be an active believer, even for those with far more natural abilities.


Evelyn was always an inspiration to me, but not Sam, at least not when he was around. I must say, Sam was quite a test.


During meetings, every fifteen minutes or so, Sam's wind pipe got clogged, his breathing became heavy and obstructed and it sounded like he was about to suffocate. His nurse or wife would then fool around with some tubes, switch on a loud machine and it would clean out whatever it was that was clogged. He was a Baha'i about three years, and no matter how many feasts and firesides I attended with him, I never got used to that. I was always convinced that he was about to die, the adrenaline would pump through my system and I lost track of whatever else was going on in the meeting.


But again, the fact that this fellow, who evidently was an accomplished artist and craftsman before the stroke hit, even became a believer and stuck to it to his last day, is itself testimony to some kind of spiritual current running deep down things, way beyond the comprehension of us dwellers of conscious material life.


Two Pre-prandial Prayers


I guess we do not call them "grace," like Christians do, but the Master did reveal two mealtime benedictions when he was staying at the fantasy ranch of Phoebe Hearst, where the meals must have been pretty big and formal. It was 99 years ago, almost to the day that this happened (16 September). Here they are, from Balyuzi's bio,




Mrs. Hearst recollected also the effect that the chanting of an Arabic prayer had had on her all those years ago in 'Akka, and expressed her ardent desire to hear such a prayer once again. 'Abdu'l-Baha's voice rang out powerfully as He acceded to her wish and chanted a prayer in Arabic. The other guests sat spellbound, although they were not familiar with the  308  language. The second day at the luncheon table, when asked to say a benediction, He uttered this prayer:


"He is God! Behold us, O Lord, gathered at this board, thankful for Thy bounty, our gaze turned to Thy Kingdom. O Lord! Send down unto us Thy heavenly food and blessing from Thee. Verily, Thou art the Generous, and verily, Thou art the Beneficent, the Merciful."




And at dinner on the 15th He spoke this prayer:




"He is God! O Lord! How shall we thank Thee! Thy bounties are limitless, and our gratitude but limited. How can the limited render thanks to the limitless? Incapable are we of offering thanks for Thy mercies. Utterly powerless, we turn unto Thy Kingdom, and beg Thee to increase Thy bestowal and bounty. Thou art the Giver, Thou art the Bestower, Thou art the Powerful."




Before departing for San Francisco on the 16th, 'Abdu'l-Baha asked to see all those who served in Mrs Hearst's household: maids, pages, groom, cook.


(H.M. Balyuzi, Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 307-308)




"Warm his cool heart," A Portrait of Portia and Shylock


The Merchant of Venice, The Sequel


After reading the Baha'i stuff, Silvie and I continued our reading of Shakespeare's play about racism, The Merchant of Venice. I took most of the male roles and Silvie the female ones, except when she did not, in which case the drama came from our disputes as to who reads what role. Last night we covered acts three and four, with the action climaxing in two sub-plots. It was so gripping, in spite of the often obscure references and word play, that Tomaso stayed at the table to quietly play with some walnuts and Mom ceased her Czech blogging to discretely listen in.


I have been kind of stuck on the idea of writing a series of sequels to Shakespeare's plays. We all enjoyed "Hamlet II," an indie film about a play about an artsy English lit teacher who writes an indulgent ego piece about Hamlet II and stages it in the local high school. In November there is a "write your own novel in a month" challenge, and I am kind of thinking of doing a novel about events after one of the Bard's plays, now that my main book is written. Silvie was thinking along similar lines, because she stayed up late to draw the following drawing.





This is her idea of what happened after Shylock had been deprived of his fortune (by Portia's ruling) and forced to become a Christian. Portia comes to him discretely and passes over to him the ring that his dead wife, Leah, had given him during their courtship. A touching proof that she had meant it when she said, "The quality of mercy is not strained..."



Comment on the Qiblih


This site is going the rounds, a way to find out for sure, no matter where you may be,  in what direction to pray.


This is an amazing device. Turns out that for all these years I have been praying to a bathroom in Tunis rather than the correct point of adoration, which is in Bahji.

Such is human frailty.


But, as the Qur'an (24:35) says, God's revelation is "neither of the East nor the West," so It must be in every direction. So I guess I could not have been that far off.


By the way, do not confuse the Badi Blog with Badi's blog, No relation.



Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Nine Baha'i Temples

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On Tattoos and Other Things

On Tattoos
My son Tomaso asked out of the blue, “How long have people been tattooing their bodies?” Having been born in an age when you learned early to bluff an answer to such questions since it took so long to get an authoritative answer, I opened mymouth to say something, but this time I knew that I had nothing. So I took the few seconds it takes to look it up on a search engine and found that the earliest known example is the iceman found in the Austrian Alps, about 3000 BCEThe wikipedia article went on to talk about tattooing in various religions, including Judaism:

"You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselvesI am the Lord." (Lev 19:28)
Actually, this confirmed an opinion that I had been forming in my head about tattooingOur body is a temple of God, and putting a tattoo on it is a bit of an offenceIt is like walking into the Wilmette Mashriq and spray-painting my own design on the wallGod made the temple,what right have I to start painting graffiti on it?

Anyway, it was then that I wondered what theWritings said about tattooing for Baha’isAgain, a second or two on a search engine turned up the answer, nothing, one way or another (look it up yourself) The House ruled that that means that no Baha’i law applies, for or againstCertainly, since tattooing is part of hundreds of cultures around the world, so it would be impolitic of a Baha’i to object to the custom. Still, to me the ruling of Moses still should hold weight, at least in our own conscience. 

To me, it is an offence to the principle of one God to be marking up His temple for anything but a very good reason — an example of an acceptable tattoo would be the medical kind, used as an aid to medication, as discussed in the Wikipedia article. Recall, that although tattooing is widespread among the world’s cultures, it is a lot less widespread among monotheistic cultures, including Jews and Muslims.
On this Bayan Font
As I write, I am formatting this in a font that turned up on this new Mini Mac called “al Bayan.” I do not know if it will survive the many permutations my text undergoes to get to you, but I suppose this was not made up by a Baha’i or Babi, since the word “bayan” in Arabic means something like reveal — what am I doing? Look it up in Wikipedia! Bayan means clarity or eloquence in Arabic, it means lady in Turkish, it is a drum, a newspaper, a political party, and, oh yes, a couple of books revealed by the Bab. 
On Cosmopolis Earth
As my Facebook friends all know, I finished my 6th draft of my book last week. Since then I have submitted the manuscript to a professional editor for review. Meantime, I am learning a new program, Scrivener, which is an outliner written by a writer for writers. It seems pretty good, it churned up my 50,000 word book pretty well, and can spit it out in any number of formats, from non-fiction manuscript to an ebook, all ready to be sold on Amazon. I will never give up on my antediluvian DOS dinosaur, Maxthink, written back in the 1980’s, but now I feel a little less antiquated. 

Ride in a Glider
My son Thomas recently joined Air Cadets, Canada’s largest youth organization, and got a ride in a glider. My wife Marie took the trouble of filming his first flight and putting it onto YouTube. She calls it: Let na větroni / A flight on a glider ( 
I filmed it too on my Flip camera, but as always I was too lazy to look over my footage, much less edit and post it.
Portrait of Silvie
Silvie and I have been amusing ourselves with dramatic readings of Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.” For her, nothing is more fun than playing several roles as we go through the play. We did it with Macbeth last year. As I told her, several famous people, including Abe Lincoln, got their education mostly by studying carefully the works of the Bard. Anyway, I posted what I think is the best portrait of my daughter extant. It was taken by Marie, her mother, on a trampoline, a perfect black background with the dog Amber. It is at:  I used it as her Facebook portrait.
Two books read aloud
This summer I read aloud to my son Robinson Crusoe, and its spiritual sequel, Swiss Family Robinson. 

The latter book was a surprise. 

We think of environmental degradation as a recent thing, but I was shocked to see that humanity was virtually at war with the animal kingdom from way back. Every large animal they come across is killed, skinned, eaten, or otherwise used for their ends. The father in the story arms his boys to the teeth, and whenever they come upon a new, interesting animal, one of them inevitably up and shoots it. Being a pious pastor, he admonishes the boy, but condones it. 

Another thing that has changed since this was written in the 19th Century is the concern for children’s safety. One of his kids has trouble climbing a palm tree and instead of forbidding him, he shows him how to put on sharkskin chaps to grip the wood better. An amazing book, but not for the reasons it became popular back then.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thursday, September 01, 2011

An Exemplary Life

A very special presentation will be given in the Garfield Disher Room of our Library on Wednesday, September 14th at 8:00 p.m. Charlotte Letkemann from Niagara Falls, speaker and retired teacher, will speak about the visit of ‘Abdu’l-Baha (son of Baha’u’llah, Founder of the Baha’i Faith). In 1912 He came to the west to speak of the Faith and spent some time in Montreal. Charlotte sent us a glowing picture of this outstanding individual.


“Not often does one find a life filled with compassion and generosity, yet uncompromising in defense of the truth. To all without distinction—officials, scientists, workers, children, parents, exiles, activists, clerics, skeptics—He imparted love, wisdom, comfort, whatever the particular need. While elevating their souls, He challenged their assumptions, reoriented their perspectives, expanded their consciousness, and focused their energies. He demonstrated by word and deed such compassion and generosity that hearts were utterly transformed. No one was turned away.”





She added that such a life we are all encouraged to emulate.


Following the talk there will be a short presentation of pictures taken during his Western tour. You are cordially invited to hear about this remarkable visit, to ask any questions which come to mind and to take part in the social period which, of course,  includes some refreshments.



Haldimand Baha’i Community

Betty Frost

This Month’s Discussion in Wainfleet