Category Archives: Blog

Further to my Previous

Adding to my comments in the post below, I will direct you to John Palmer’s post on the topic. It is worth your time. This last paragraph, in particular, resonates for me. I am reluctant to engage with anyone about this issue (or many others), as I hate the flame wars, but I have rarely unfriended due to differences of opinion.

I’m lucky. I have friends from all over the place, politically, geographically, religiously, racially, LGBTQ-wise, etc. I am confronted by conflicting arguments and flame wars all the time. They upset me and disturb me, but I rarely unfriend or block anyone involved in these events. And yet, they tear me apart inside.

Me too.

Anger, Fear and Loathing

Will keep my comments about the current anger, fear and loathing limited, but I will say the following: I am annoyed as heck at all the posturing and virtue-signalling. If I see one more person on social media put up that putrid meme that starts “In this House” and goes on to list all the wonderful things that go on in that house I will be ill. Truly ill. Especially since the last thing that is listed is something about “kindness.” It has been my painful, personal experience in life that those who talk about their own kindness are almost always deficient in it. Also tired of people talking about how they are going to “check their privilege.” Oh, shut up, already. Your self-importance does not help; I am immensely bothered by the misrepresentation/misuse of a Martin Luther King quote. You know the one. It’s about riots being the language of the unheard. Yeah, he wasn’t endorsing rioting; and how sad is it that this needs to be said? Terribly sad; and finally, just a really good column.

Beryl O’Links: Heat Wave Edition

It is very hot in Toronto. A week ago today I was still having to turn on the little heater in my office – now I am using a fan and contemplating taking my show and moving it downstairs, where ’tis a bit cooler. To the matter at hand – some links from past and present, far and wide, not all pandemic-related. In fact, very few.

Sad news – the apostrophe protection society admits defeat. I hate poor grammar but one of my biggest pet peeves in that regard is people who don’t know where to place apostrophes or commas. We have failed as a society when people pluralize family names, for example, with an apostrophe.

A great piece from Lionel Shriver about the tiresomeness of lefty lingo. 

Give this man an award – he (accidentally) hit a dog with his car, and drove it to safety. It turned out to be a coyote, no less deserving of compassion.

And give this man an award – Lebanese businessman bought Hitler artifacts and donated them to Israel.

Clive James and the greatness of Philip Larkin.

Another person deserving of an award – for saving Mongolia’s snow leopards.

A hero for the animals in Wuhan – yep, awards for him, too!

The first boy diagnosed as autistic – what a story.

The awakening of Norman Rockwell (seriously surprised that something this good was at Vox).

The British housewife who took on the Soviet Union – why had I not heard of her? And she deserved awards, as well!

Tragic history – again, why had I not heard of this? The “Reverse Freedom Rides.” Humans – so cruel.

Why plague doctors wore those strange beaked masks.

And – last link, as I want to end on a positive note – it is ok to drink wine by yourself! I already knew that, but it is now sanctioned by the New York Times.

Another Poem for a Pandemic

This is the third of my pandemic poetry trilogy (others are here and here) – so you can all breathe a sigh of relief. It is the last one! It is ripped off of a far better poem by John Betjeman, and there is a tribute herein to the wonderful Roz Chast. The reference to “Ol’ Mr. Corona” is something I stole from this cartoon – priceless!

In our Toronto Home: Poem for a Pandemic

Let me throw this disposable mask out
As my paranoia oozes.
Did I get too close to that guy in Loblaws?
Should I decontaminate my shoeses?
As I douse my hands in soap,
Listen to this lady’s hope.

Gracious God, please stop the virus
SARS-CoV-2, or Covid-19,
For whatever you might call it,
It is remarkably quite mean.
But dear God, whatever path you take,
Spare me from Ol’ Mr. Corona’s wake.

Keep my body hale and hardy,
Do your best with my heart and soul.
Oh, and also save my sweetheart
And the other folks I hold.
And, as we chat, sweet Jesus,
Save me and mine from all diseases.

Think of what dear Canada stands for:
Holding Americans in contempt;
Peacekeeping; multicult; and healthcare
Do make we Canucks verklempt.
But Lord, remember with all the muscle you flex
Protect this pair in the Annex.

I worship now on YouTube, Zoom, all that slew,
As no more than one shall gather in a pew.
So God, know my faith has not ceased,
Though I do not at all miss sharing the peace:
Handshakes, awkward smiles – delivered with no flair!
Things that make an introvert’s nightmare.

I miss the singing and King James –
For his version is the best.
None of that “Good News” heresy
Could ever offer me much rest.
I miss stained glass and Healey Willan’s organ,
And Johann Sebastian’s music – ach, JSB, guten morgen!

Now my worries are unburdened,
What a joy to talk with you.
Though these days seem filled with trials,
I know you will see me through.
And while, dear Lord, you do bewitch
I need to binge some more Netflix.

The Delight of Birds and Mozart

I have discovered something I probably already knew – that there was a great reason my cats used to keep their little noses pinned to the window when there was a bird in the vicinity. They are such a delight to behold (birds, I mean, though cats are, too)! We have a nest on our porch – will write more about it later, as until the babies have fledged, I shall not exhale. But in the meantime, enjoy this video of birds singing opera – oh yes, they are!