Musings on Swearing and Vulgar Language

(Warning: I swear in this post… frequently. You can’t write about swearing without actually swearing a bit. Or a lot. Easily offended folks might want to look elsewhere.) I find myself swearing more often these days than I ever did in the past, at least at home (not at my wife, of course). I’m not sure whether that’s a condition of my age, or … (more)

Montaigne on Ketchup-Flavoured Cheetos

In his famous work, Essays, Michel de Montaigne, channelling the Epicureans, wrote that, “All the opinions in the world point out that pleasure is our aim. (Book I: On the Power of Imagination).” And I have to admit that what we euphemistically call “junk food” is a widespread pleasure that many of us enjoy these days. Of course, Montaigne, ever the skeptic, also wrote, … (more)

Musings on The Tempest and Council

It was a dark and stormy night… Shakespeare’s last solo-authored play, The Tempest, opens with a storm (the eponymous tempest) in which a group of elite passengers (a king, a duke, relatives, and courtly hangers-on) gets washed overboard (or jump) while the working sailors remain safe onboard their ship. In fact, the working class are sturdy, brave, and steadfast as they struggle to save … (more)

Montaigne on Ice Cream

No, Michel de Montaigne did not write about ice cream. I just used his name to entice you into this musing. But given the wide variety of topics he did write about, you’d think he might have at least penned a few words on it. Had it been available in his time, that is. It would suit his style to muse on its flavours, texture, … (more)

Is Bigger Better? In TVs, Maybe Not.

I read on several websites that for a distance of about 3.6 m (12 ft) from the screen to the viewer, the optimum size of a television should be 85 inches (220 cm, measured on the diagonal). That’s also the distance between someone sitting on our couch and our current (much smaller) TV screen. The mind boggles. A TV set that large (74 by … (more)

The Cancer Diaries, Part 29

I began to write this post on the anniversary of my prostate surgery, July 8. Anniversaries are a time to reflect on the past and look to the future, even for events that are not always the happiest to recall. I took some time for such reflection and contemplation this week, and here are some of my thoughts. Twenty twenty was a tough year … (more)

A Cup of Darjeeling

With characteristic brightness frequently likened to newly minted coins, fragrant aromas, and sophisticated, complex flavours — delicate, even flowery (more stem than petal, as one expert blender put it), with hints of apricots and peaches, muscat grapes, and tasty nuts — it’s the world’s premium tea, the “champagne of tea.”… Darjeeling tea is often sold not just by single estate like wines, but also … (more)

Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and Kong

I’m not sure if I should be elated or disappointed after watching Godzilla vs. Kong (GvK), the latest film (2021) in the Legendary/Universal, Godzilla/MonsterVerse saga. That’s Kong, not King Kong, by the way, because of a squabble over licensing rights, but, yes, it’s that Kong in person if not name. The kaiju formerly known as… Almost two hours of Godzilla and the gang onscreen, … (more)

The Beatles: Songs and Lives

This week I finished re-reading The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz, the best biography I’ve read of the group that defined music, culture, and style in the Sixties: the era I grew up in. I’ve read several other bios in the past, both of the band and of the individual members, although there are many more in print that I haven’t read. But … (more)

Musings on Reading Literature

There’s a passage from the novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog (by Muriel Barbery, Europa Editions, 2008, p. 116-117) that so delighted me when I came across it that I read it aloud to Susan: “Mildly hemorrhagic urine” is, to me, a form of light entertainment: it has a nice ring to it and evokes a singular world, a brief refreshing change from literature. … (more)

Musings on Reading the Bard Over a Year

Wonderful thing, the internet. You can type “complete works reading list Shakespeare” into a search engine and come up with dozens of lists with a recommended order for reading The Bard’s plays and poems over the period of a year. And none of them the same or seemingly made with the same logic. But, it seems, many have taken up the challenge. In almost … (more)

Musings on the Complete Works

When the Arden Shakespeare: Complete Works arrived this week (an early birthday gift from my wife who might have wanted to hide it until the actual date… oops… I saw the postie arrive…), I thought it might be time to put together a spreadsheet identifying some of the key differences between the various versions of the “complete works” in my library, and among those … (more)

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