Freedom or Just Free-Dumb?

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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 hot buttons to get their followers riled into a frenzy over perceived slights against alleged freedoms, you seldom hear … click below for more ↓

Should Candidates and Officials Disclose Criminal Records?

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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 and convictions? Should candidates or officeholders disclose when they have been or are being sued and why? Would you … click below for more ↓

The Cancer Diaries, Part 30

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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 someone who had had a radical prostatectomy. Like me: If the cancer is tangled with the nerves, it may … click below for more ↓

How Can Anyone Afford a New House Here?

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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 minimum down-payment for a house selling at more than $1 million requires a $230,000 (20%) down-payment, plus another $19,000 … click below for more ↓

Ammon Shea is My New Hero

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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 been to write “yall” instead of “guys” (thus removing any actual words from the post) I tire of the … click below for more ↓

Are Secular Nations Happier?

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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 live much more happily without their disruptive, often vicious, pseudo-religious behaviour. But as a democratic, liberal society we are … click below for more ↓

Musings on Swearing and Vulgar Language

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(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 of decades of experience that has left me with a weary recognition that the world has gone to hell … click below for more ↓

Montaigne on Ketchup-Flavoured Cheetos

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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 je?” (What do I know? Book II, Ch. 12). I did it again: I used the name of my … click below for more ↓

Musings on The Tempest and Council

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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 and passengers, while the panicked elites run around like headless chickens on the deck, wailing and bemoaning, afraid for … click below for more ↓

Montaigne on Ice Cream

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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 digestibility.  Unfortunately, while Montaigne does mention food and eating several times, he really didn’t write any gastronomic essays, much … click below for more ↓

Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and Kong

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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 monster fights, should be a delight for any kaiju aficionado (as readers here know I am…), and I always … click below for more ↓

The Beatles: Songs and Lives

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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 this is the only one I’ve re-read. And it was well worth it, to recall in such detail those years. Almost … click below for more ↓

Musings on Reading Literature

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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. For the very same reason, I enjoy reading the leaflets that come with medication, the respite provided by the precision of … click below for more ↓

Musings on the Complete Works

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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 other editions I don’t own (but may in the future). This is meant to help me select which version I might … click below for more ↓

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