Shopping carts, masks, and morality

The shopping cart theory — or rather the S.C. hypothesis, since it really isn’t a theory in the proper scientific sense — is a test of our humanity, or so the notion goes: The shopping cart is ultimate litmus test for whether a person is capable of self-governing. But it’s more than that: it’s a test of civility, social conscience, morality, community, and ultimately our level … (more–>)

Why Science Fiction Matters

In the past two years, we’ve watched all the Star Trek series (on Netflix) from start to finish, and all the ST movies (on DVD). We just started watching the Battlestar Galactica series on Blu-Ray this past week (which we had seen some years back, but with long gaps between seasons). Both of us love scifi. Although the first ST series was often more space opera … (more–>)

The Cancer Diaries, part 5

The resilience of the human body is truly amazing. Here I am, three weeks after major surgery, and much of my daily life is back to normal. I can drive, walk the dog, unpack the dishwasher, cook meals, pour the wine, feed the cats, walk upright… a far cry from my crabbed old-man style of a week or two ago. Not that I am fully recovered. … (more–>)

The Cancer Diaries, Part 4

A home is not a sterile environment. Not mine, anyway. With two cats, a dog, numerous houseplants,  rooms full of books, and my sometimes lackadaisical attitude toward cleaning, our home will never be sterile. Not to mention the microbiome we all carry around with us: 100 trillion microbes live on or in each one of us: only 10% of the cells we carry around are our … (more–>)

The Cancer Diaries, Part 3

The operating room was cold. Not merely cool: winter cold. In my thin hospital gown, I felt the chill and shivered a bit. The nurse told me it’s kept cold to help discourage bacteria from thriving. I wanted to ask her about this, to chat about bacteria and their lives. I’d been reading about microbiology and the microbiome a lot of late, so I’m curious. But … (more–>)

The Cancer Diaries, Part 2

There was an episode in the original Star Trek series called The Deadly Years in which Captain Kirk and some of his companions aged rapidly. At one point, the ship’s computer pegs Kirk’s age at between 60 and 72: he stumbles around clumsily, bent, shuffling, is forgetful, has anger issues on the edge of senility. He’s a caricature old man. Watching it recently, we laughed at … (more–>)

The Cancer Diaries Part 1

I should have started this a while ago. Perhaps when I received the first news something as wrong. But it took a while to really sink in. And then it was upon me. Although this is personal, I wanted to share it, in the hope others might find it useful. There’s a psychological process called the Kübler-Ross model, or the Five Stages of Grief, which is … (more–>)

Big G and Me

One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting between my parents on a warm summer night, on the front seat of the family car, watching a movie through the windshield, above the dashboard. A single, metal-wrapped speaker hung from the glass of the half-opened window on the driver’s side. A box of salty popcorn passed between us, soft drinks too. Around us were dozens of other … (more–>)

Of dictionaries, memories, and friends

When a copy of this selection from Samuel Johnson’s famous dictionary arrived last week, I was delighted, and immediately reminded of my late, and well-loved friend, Bill. He would have appreciated the book, chuckled over Johnson’s witty definitions, delighted in the words at play. We would have sat around the kitchen counter, alternately reading random definitions from the book, in between sips of wine. Like every … (more–>)

2018 in review

As the year 2018 closes, it’s time for my customary review of what I wrote. It’s also time to thank every reader for participating, for reading my humble musings, for sharing my posts and sending me emails about them. I appreciate your presence and your comments. Twenty eighteen was another good year for my blog. I wrote almost 180,000 words  and saw one-two percent more visitors … (more–>)

Dictionary vs Dictionary.com

Did you know that doxastic is a philosophical adjective relating to an individual’s beliefs? Or that doxorubicin was an antibiotic used in treating leukemia? Or that doxy is a 16th century word for mistress and prostitute? That drack is Australian slang for unattractive or dreary? Drabble means to make wet and dirty in muddy water? A downwarp is a broad depression in the earth’s surface? Drail … (more–>)

Imperialism and razors

I’m looking at my recently-acquired, matte black, Weishi adjustable, TTO (Twist To Open, aka butterfly-head) razor. Quite attractive, smart even, and a solid heft in the hand. Chinese-made, Amazon-sold. I am still bemused by my ability to buy products – especially household items, things I use daily – from half a world away with a simple click. Especially when I can’t find any of those items … (more–>)

The sharp edge: razors and rituals

Since I switched to using a safety razor, as I wrote about last spring, I’ve continued to pursue my explorations into razors, blades, technologies and techniques about shaving. I’ve learned much, but still want more hands-on experience. Nothing teaches like hands-on. I followed up that post with another one on shaving, a month later, about what I’d learned since that first piece. Now, four months later, … (more–>)

Relevant poetry

I was standing in a bookstore in downtown Toronto a couple of weeks back, and opened The Essential Ginsberg, a collection of poems, songs and other writing by the late Allen Ginsberg, he of Howl fame*. I open the book at random and read the opening Ginsberg’s poem, Capital Air, which starts: I don’t like the government where I live I don’t like dictatorship of the … (more–>)

Back to Top
Skip to content