On translating Chaucer and the joys of Middle English

In my last two visits to the nearby Chapters, I picked up from the bargain books section two recent, hardcover, versions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. One is a new verse translation by Burton Raffel published in 2008, the other a prose translation by Peter Ackroyd, from 2009. These join the dozen or so other versions of Chaucer’s works I already have on my bookshelves: the Riverside … (more–>)

It wasn’t Einstein who said it…

Yet another incorrectly attributed quotation is being passed around the Internet, this time on Facebook. This one is, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” A saccharine, touchy-feely, warm-puppy quote that appeals to some who take comfort in them, but Einstein never said that. … (more–>)

Was Marx right after all?

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0″] While Marx didn’t say exactly that the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” he did state that under capitalism, poverty would inevitably increase while more and more wealth would concentrate in fewer hands. Increasing profits and increasing wages, he claimed, were contradictory. Adam Smith – the “father” of capitalism – said much of the same thing, by the way. They were right. Marx’s … (more–>)

Santorum’s ‘faith’ attack incomprehensible

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyIZIiY81Ek”]I really don’t understand American politics. Watching the current campaign for the Republican Party’s nomination for presidential candidacy only baffles me further. It’s stunning that so many of the Republican candidates appeal – and do so loudly and consistently – to the lowest common denominator among the population. Topping my list of Republicans who bemuse me is Rick Santorum. His campaign only proves that you don’t … (more–>)

Why not a Napoleon theme park?

There’s a sarcastic, somewhat-tongue-in-cheek commentary in the Guardian this week, called, “Why not have a Napoleon theme park?” In it, Agnès C. Poirier editorializes on a recent proposal by a French MP to build a theme park in France dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte. She writes, Abroad, observers could be forgiven for almost choking on hearing this news: why not a Stalin or a Kim Jong-il theme … (more–>)

What Shall We Do With the Mountain View?

Here’s a new song for Collingwood, sung to the tune of What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor? Unbeknownst to council, the town wants to own the Mountain View Hotel for $1.9 million. This little-known fact appeared in the 600-plus page budget document without any fanfare. or even any other sort of notice. You’d have to dig through page after page of mind-numbing arrays of … (more–>)

Let’s get the terms of this debate correct

There’s a recent story in the Winnipeg Free Press with the headlines that, “Liberals fear pro-lifers trying to take over weakened federal party.” Gawd, I hate such inaccurate, slanted reporting. It’s bad enough when politicians engage in it, but the media should be more objective. Let’s get the terms straight, shall we? Then we can try for objectivity. To call one side “pro-life” is to give … (more–>)

Collingwood’s population on the rise, faster than Canada’s

Statistics Canada has released some of the key data data from its 2011 Census. In the five years since our last census (2006), Canada has grown in population size almost 6% to 33,476,688. That’s ten times larger than we were in 1861. Once again, our growth rate was the highest among G8 countries. According to the StatsCan analysis of the data, “every province and most territories … (more–>)

Bad Lao Tzu meme adds to growing list of mis-identified quotes online

This bad meme is going the Internet rounds: “If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself, if you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” Lao Tzu Well, although deep – if a bit saccharine – … (more–>)

Why Admiral Collingwood should go ahead

Juxtaposition. That’s the issue Collingwood Council has to wrestle with, Monday: what effect will the juxtaposition of the proposed development’s size and height have on the existing, smaller buildings? Some people are afraid our existing heritage buildings will be diminished by this project. Last week I was in Toronto. At the corner of York and Wellington Streets, I saw the Toronto Club; a beautifully preserved, late … (more–>)

Mayor Ford’s troubles a lesson for all Canadian mayors

On days like this, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford must be banging his head against the wall. This week he – and indeed every Canadian mayor – was reminded that a mayor’s powers are limited to a single vote. That point was driven home when Councillor Joe Mihevc asked for a legal opinion on Ford’s unilateral decision to kill the Transit City plan, in December 2010, without … (more–>)

The colour of the herd

I felt not so much like I was in a city full of undertakers, but rather in a city that was in casual but widespread mourning. A sombre, solemn city where everyone dressed in black in recognition of some great death, but one of which visitors were unaware. Standing at an intersection, the light would change and a wall of dark would approach, like a funeral … (more–>)

The return of measles a threat to us all

Here’s a scary fact: measles seems to be returning to the West. There has been a rise in the number of outbreaks in the last few years, including in Canada: Quebec and recently in London, Ontario. According to the Middlesex-London Health Unit, there have been recent outbreaks of both measles and mumps in many countries, including, “US states (including New York), United Kingdom, New Zealand, Spain, … (more–>)

Why does yogurt aid digestion?

I’ve always wondered why probiotic yogurt was good for you. Yes, it aids digestions, as many clinical studies have shown, but exactly why has never been explained to my satisfaction. Until recently, that is. According to a story reported in The Scientist last fall, “The bacteria found in some fermented dairy products, such as yogurt, may alter gene expression in human gut microbes…” One of the … (more–>)

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