All posts by Rondi Adamson

New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Always keep New Year’s resolutions.
  2. Get up early and get right out of bed and meditate for ten minutes before starting day (but only after coffee). Am already doing that this morning.
  3. Lose weight. Get more fit. Before this happens: 
  4. Cut down on wine intake, no matter how stressed I am. Find other ways to handle stress, such as herbal tea.
  5. Do something creative/career-oriented every day, and not just watch old episodes of ’70s TV shows on YouTube.
  6. Be more patient with other humans and also with myself.
  7. Be less gutless.
  8. Be less of a ridiculous person.
  9. Don’t buy any more lipsticks/lip glosses until have used up all the ones I have, which are myriad.
  10. Remember I am lucky to be alive and healthy (touch wood).
  11. Be a better girlfriend to Significant Other, who puts up with me for reasons I will never understand.
  12. Help as many animals as I can.
  13. Try to be as vegan as I can.
  14. Read Finnegans Wake (and don’t put an apostrophe in the title, even though I really want to. Joyce wanted the title that way, and yes, I realize it means something).
  15. Fight my natural introversion and actually go out sometimes to see friends and family instead of merely maintaining relationship with them over social media.
  16. Remember that life is just a bowl of cherries. Don’t take it serious. It’s too mysterious:

It is…not, but try to believe it is! Happy 2016, dear readers.

January 1, 2016

Born on this day in 1449, Lorenzo de Medici, “Il Magnifico.” He wrote — among other things — the following words:

Quant’ e bella giovinezza,

Che si fugge tuttavia!

Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:

di doman non c’e certezza.

If you know any romance languages, you can probably figure that out, but just in case, it says (more or less), “How beautiful is youth (or how beautiful is it to be young)/which nevertheless disappears (runs away)/Be happy all who wish to be/of tomorrow there is no certainty.”

Basically, “enjoy life while you can.”

I am currently reading this book, from which I am learning a good deal. Tim Parks’ non-fiction are always terrific. (Not saying his novels aren’t terrific, I just haven’t read any of them — yet.)

Update: Ok, I just finished the afore-linked Tim Parks book and it includes his translation of the bit of poetry above. His translation is, obviously, better than mine. Here it is: How fine youth is/Though it flee away/Let he who wishes, enjoy/Nothing’s certain tomorrow.

Best Christmas Movies

People might say such a list is subjective, but when it comes to the number one spot, it is decidedly not.

1)  A Christmas Carol, the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim. This is the greatest Christmas movie ever, the only version of the Dickens tale you need watch. Any other is inferior. This is so. There is no debate. If you disagree you are wrong. There is a colourized version which I would suggest avoiding.

2) Whistle Down the Wind. 1961. Young Hayley Mills, youngish Alan Bates. An unusual tale, very beautiful, about children and their ability to believe. Bonus marks for use of “We Three Kings,” an under-used carol and a brief role for Richard Attenborough (un-credited, I think).

3) The Bishop’s Wife. 1947. What is not to love? David Niven, Cary Grant, Loretta Young, Monty Woolley, Elsa Lanchester. A Bishop, an angel, faith, love and sacrifice. Sophisticated, smart, with plenty of humour.

4) Miracle on 34th Street, 1947 version. Wee Natalie Wood (her best role!), Maureen O’Hara and a wonderfully sophisticated look at marketing. The only good thing about the remake is Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle.

5) For this spot I’ll give a short list of honourary mentions: Three Godfathers – a John Wayne directed by John Ford Christmas tale, unusual, clever and quite touching; It’s a Wonderful Life (a movie one doesn’t really “get” when one is young — you need to have failed a lot to appreciate it!); I’ll Be Seeing You (I find this to be a major tearjerker); Holiday Inn/White Christmas (if only for the song and dance); Christmas in Connecticut (with a very funny Barbara Stanwyck and the ever pill-ish Dennis Morgan); The Sound of Music (yes, I know it isn’t a Christmas movie and it even has Nazis in it, making it extremely unfestive, but I love to watch it at Christmas).

And thus ends my list. I am certain I have forgotten some, but I urge any of you who have not seen the top three to do so, pronto.

 

Martin Amis Quote

A few years ago, my Better Half invited Martin Amis to Toronto to give a talk at a private venue. There was much that was delightful in that talk, but above all, what was noteworthy was this quote regarding the left and Islamism:

I take my hat off to the left in that they’ve found something to defend in a movement that is racist, misogynist, homophobic, totalitarian, inquisitorial, imperialist and genocidal. Perhaps it is their [Islamist’s] view on usury that is attractive to the left — low interest rates, or non-existent interest rates. 

I kept thinking about that quote during the Canadian election campaign this fall, as those about me shrieked and moaned about the niqab. In particular, what struck me were two women I know who call themselves “feminists” (and who would most definitely identify as leftists) and their views on the matter.

For the record, I wish the matter had not become such a focal point, and further, I don’t believe in “banning” niqabs or burqas. But I see a difference when it comes to a solemn oath in which someone is pledging their loyalty to their new and free and (presumably) chosen country. And the reason I feel that way is that I believe in the equality of the sexes, and in the importance of a civil society that protects that equality. So I sort of assumed any “feminist” would, at the very least, not treat wearing a niqab as though it were heroic and not, you know, say anything monstrously stupid on the matter.

Boy, was I disappointed. One of these feminists posted on one of her social media pages that not only should a niqab be accepted at a citizenship ceremony, but that it would be ok with her if someone wore a Nazi uniform at said ceremony. Lovely. (This is the sort of moral bankruptcy with which we are contending.)

The other posted a celebratory “Good for her” when the woman at the centre of the case took her oath with her face covered. Now, this latter person is a young woman who uses words like “patriarchy” unironically, and who took Women’s Studies courses at university unironically. She is always ranting about the “objectification” of women but then — in the heat of the election campaign — praised to the skies the First Nations woman who won Mrs. Universe and trashed Stephen Harper shortly thereafter. So I guess her anti-beauty pageant values were subject to change, if a beauty pageant allows an expression of Harper Derangement Syndrome.

Speaking of which, both of these ladies suffer from HDS, which was likely part of the reason for their pretzel-twisting logic about women’s equality/Nazi uniforms and so forth. But I really think the broader motivation was what Amis was describing — a noxious sort of anti-Western/anti-American worldview that renders all common sense-thinking disabled.