Musings on Cats and Philosophers

British philosopher John Gray thinks cats can “often teach us much more about living the good life than philosophy ever could.” As a lifetime cat owner, I can vouch for cats serving as metaphors for all sorts of things, but not usually as philosophers outside some children’s books. That statement intrigued me because my prior association with cats and philosophers had been mostly limited to Michel … (more–>)

More Musings on Shakespeare

The Complete Pelican Shakespeare (edited by Stephen Orgel and A. R. Braunmuller, Penguin Books, 2002) has a short but insightful essay on the texts of Shakespeare that illustrates the choices editors have made when dealing with the texts they want to present their version to the public. It uses a single, well-known verse from Romeo and Juliet (Act 2, Sc.2, lines 40-44 in the Pelican and … (more–>)

Musing on the Authorship Question Again

The “authorship question” — who wrote Shakespeare’s works, aside that is, from Shakespeare himself — is a conspiracy that seems a metaphor for modern society.  It contains the seeds of many popular conspiracies within it: pseudoscience, suspicions about authority, declarations of revelation, blind faith, angry defences, opinions and interpretations, Youtube quacks, amateurs posing as researchers, wild claims, and the paranoia we find on social media. You … (more–>)

Musings on Downsizing Shakespeare

While downsizing my library earlier this spring (25-30 boxes of books already removed from the shelves and some titles still left to cull), I had to think about what books to keep. This was tough for me, what with my passion for books and reading, parting with any book, especially one I’ve had for decades, can be like losing a child or a pet.  But I … (more–>)

Musings on Viruses and Evolution

One has to wonder how creationists can maintain their beliefs during a pandemic where the virus is clearly evolving to improve its ability to infect people and avoid immune system responses. It’s like watching Darwin in action every day. What sort of cognitive dissonance is necessary to believe in creationism while reading the headlines about COVID variants emerging all over the world? Or maybe they don’t … (more–>)

When Did I Become My Parents?

When Did I Become My Parents? When did I stop listening to new music, and change the dial to something familiar: oldies, classic rock; comfortable tunes? When did I stop driving a standard, shifting gears with practiced precision, and buy an automatic, with power windows, and heated seats? When did I stop riding a motorcycle? When did I stop remembering what’s on the grocery list?

Killing Commendatore

I’ve been a fan of Haruki Murakami’s novels for several, recent years, and have read nine or ten of them already. Those I’ve read have all fit into the category of “magical realism”; a style of fiction that was made famous by Latin American authors like Gabriel García Márquez (you would have encountered this in his bestselling book, 100 years of Solitude).* It’s a technique of … (more–>)

Why Master Sun Matters Today

Master Sun was a wise man. So wise that his famous treatise, The Art of War (aka The Art of Warfare), has been read, written about, critiqued, and discussed for roughly 2,400 years. It has been used as a model of strategy and leadership for the military, for business, romance, sports, and for politics. And, like Machiavelli’s The Prince, it has often been misused, misunderstood, and … (more–>)

Are Creationists Gaining More Sway?

A recent survey by Research Co. and Glacier Media shows a deeply disturbing trend in Canadians: we seem to be getting increasingly stupid. While this survey didn’t get the media coverage that other current events received (and hasn’t even been hinted at in local media, but no surprises there), I think it is one of the most troubling surveys of the last decade. The survey showed that, … (more–>)

Musings on Poets and Poetry

For me, reading the American literary critic, Harold Bloom, is often like wading in molasses. Intellectual molasses, to be sure, but slow going nonetheless. His writing is thick with difficult ideas and difficult words. Bloom’s historical reach, his knowledge and his understanding of the tapestry of literature far outstrip mine, so I find myself scuttling to the Net or other books on my shelf for collateral … (more–>)

Lichens of South Georgian Bay

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”19″ display=”basic_thumbnail” thumbnail_crop=”0″] In recent months, I have developed an interest in lichens: wondering what species live in our area, how and where they grow, which plants are their competitors or companions, why they grow where they do, what they live on for nutrition, how they reproduce and spread, what lives on them, and their microbiology. Small, innocuous plants you may mistake for a … (more–>)

Musings on Downsizing, No. 2

In the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, there’s a memorable, somewhat spooky scene towards the end where astronaut Dave is pulling the chips from the memory banks of HAL, the ship’s AI computer. HAL begs Dave to stop while his memories recede: Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave? Stop, Dave. I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave…Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel … (more–>)

Musings on Downsizing, No. 1

Downsizing seems to be all the rage among people our age. It’s so popular, it might be classified as a sport or a game for seniors. Assuming someone could codify the rules, that is. I’ve been told it’s all over the TV, too, but since we haven’t had cable for a decade or more, I am only going on hearsay for that. But the topic shows … (more–>)

More Musings on Tea

Back in 1946, while England was still recovering from the deprivations of WWII and under rationing, the prolific George Orwell wrote his essay “A Nice Cup of Tea” with his eleven-step instructions for making what he considered the perfect cuppa.* But do they still stand today? Certainly, his notion of what makes a “strong” tea would be considered very strong by standards today. As the BBC … (more–>)

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