The Book of Knowledge: 1

When I was growing up in the Fifties and Sixties, having an encyclopedia in your home was the bee’s knees, to use my grandmother’s phrase. It was a sign of sophistication and learning, of culture and wisdom. And being reasonably well-off, because encyclopedias were not inexpensive. I can still hear Jimminy Cricket singing the song (it’s how I learned to spell encyclopedia). Many school libraries had … (more–>)

Smith, Rock, and the Trivialization of Western Culture

If Neil Postman were alive today, sitting in a bar or café with Chris Hedges, I wonder which one would say “I told you so!” first after seeing social media this past week? The story that clogged the social media pipes this week was the slap one actor gave another on stage during the performance of the annual onanism festival called the Oscars. And as soon … (more–>)

Kerouac’s Haikus

Haiku is like a razor blade: small, light, but yet strong and incredibly sharp. Haiku says “Look over there!” and then smacks you from the other side. Haiku is the neutron star of poetry: stunning density combined with astounding brightness. Haiku swims in a sea of metaphor, darting like quick, bright fish among the forest of words. Haiku has a formal definition: “an unrhymed verse form of … (more–>)

Freedom or Just Free-Dumb?

It’s a sad statement on modern affairs that the word “freedom” has been reduced to a generally meaningless term, thanks to the constant gaslighting by the right.  Every rule, regulation, protocol that the right doesn’t like, doesn’t agree with their ideology or that hurts their feelings is trumped up as an attack on freedom. The right thrive on such conspiracies. But while they press all the … (more–>)

Should Candidates and Officials Disclose Criminal Records?

Some questions about openness and truth to consider as we start a year in which we have both a provincial and municipal election coming… Should a candidate for office disclose their criminal records when they campaign? Should they disclose it only if they were convicted of an offence or should they disclose charges as well? For full public transparency and accountability, should officeholders disclose any charges … (more–>)

The Cancer Diaries, Part 30

The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together… (Shakespeare: All’s Well That Ends Well, Act IV, Sc II.) Elumbated.* It’s an archaic word meaning “weakened in the loins” according to the OED. It apparently derives from the Latin elumbis “having a dislocated hip (from e out + lumbus loin).” I thought that the word itself might be well resurrected to describe … (more–>)

How Can Anyone Afford a New House Here?

My sources suggest that a local retailer recently bought the Blue Shores house shown on the right, paying more than $100,000 over the asking price, for a total of $1.15 million By my standards, that’s a helluva lot of money. Where would anyone working in retail get the funds to buy and maintain a home that sold for that much? I did some rough calculations. The … (more–>)

Ammon Shea is My New Hero

Eyyyyyyy Wssup guys This was the entire first post that started a thread in a group I belonged to on Facebook. I think seeing it aged me a decade, and encouraged me to leave the group afterwards. Walking barefoot on broken glass would cause me less distress. All the poster needed to do to make me despair enough to seriously consider slitting my wrists would have … (more–>)

Are Secular Nations Happier?

Are less-religious or more secular nations happier than religious ones? Studies suggest yes. Personally, I would certainly be happier in a more secular nation if it meant fewer angry, nasty, fanatic believers like the Westboro Baptist congregation (see picture, right), or the faux-faith anti-mask/anti-vaccine, pro-disease protestors,* or any of the frothing anti-choice, anti-abortion protestors who appear around medical clinics. I suspect many among us would also … (more–>)

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 the result … (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, “Que sais … (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 the ship … (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, ingredients, and … (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, with tremendous … (more–>)

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