Culloden and the Family Tree, 267 Years Later

It doesn’t begin with Culloden. History is seldom so neat and precise that a single event can be identified as the start or end of a thing. Rather, Culloden was a hinge, a point at which events changed direction, when the door to the past was closed and one to a very different future opened. You might say it really begins centuries earlier, in … (more)

The Dreamtime

I don’t dream very much, Susan once said to me. We were having a talk about some crazy dream I was recalling. They’re always crazy, of course. But the conversation was about whether we dream – all of us – whenever we sleep. I argued yes, we all do. We just don’t always remember them. I remember a lot of mine, at least for … (more)

Enter Christopher Marlowe – Again

Back in the late 1990s, I wrote an essay about the “controversy” over who actually wrote the works of Shakespeare. I wrote, then, Not everyone agrees that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare. The challenge to his authorship isn’t new: for the last three centuries it’s been the most popular whodunit of literature: trying to uncover the true identity of the author of the world’s greatest dramas … (more)

Speaking with the dead

Can the dead speak to us from beyond the grave? No, of course not. But that doesn’t stop literally millions of superstitious people from believing they do. And some think they can use technology to facilitate the conversation. Of course, when you put technology into the mix, it simply cements the belief in place, no matter how ludicrous. And the internet has provided a … (more)

The Municipal Act and Recorded Votes

A recent motion was made to make all council votes recorded votes. This has generated some confusion among council watchers about voting and both what we can and cannot do. The Municipal Act makes it clear that calling for a recorded vote is every councillor’s right. It is not staff’s right. See Section 246: Recorded vote 246. (1) If a member present at a … (more)

Clawing our way back up the ladder?

In 2006, Moneysense listed Collingwood as the 11th best place to live in Canada. The other ten above us on that list were all major cities. We were the number one town. Mayor Geddes beamed. Today we’re a lot further down the list. Numero 54 to be exact, out of 200. I wrote about that list back in 2011. We plummeted from the giddy … (more)

Understanding the Municipal Act

Among the many pieces of legislation, bylaws and policies that guide and inform municipal councils in Ontario, the Municipal Act is the most important.* This 238-page, 140,000-word, 474-section document covers most of the things that govern municipal councils: powers, duties, highways, public utilities, waste management, fences and signs, animals, economic development, environment, licensing, municipal reorganization, municipal service boards, BIAs, boards and committees, integrity commissioners, … (more)

Shaolin: the film

I like Chinese films, particularly the epic wuxia films. They are often a refreshing change from the effects-driven/CGI monstrosities pumped out by Hollywood. They remind me of the westerns of the 1950s, usually with good and bad sides in stark relief. Subtitles don’t bother me (better them than dubbed). I’ve watched the Chinese film industry mature over the past three decades and the quality has … (more)

The Consolation of Literature

For Boethius, it was the Consolation of Philosophy*. For me, it’s literature. Not to write about it so much as to read it. Consolation from the act of reading. And read about literature. Sometimes literature is made more meaningful, brought into sharper focus by analysis and deconstruction. I started reading Shakespeare’s Shakespeare: How the Plays Were Made (John C Meagher, Continuum, New York, 2000) … (more)

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