Tag Archives: miscellany

Stories to Distract

Overwhelmed by the news? Consumed with horror that someone you had previously thought to be sane is shrieking anti-Israel/antisemitic nonsense in the public square or pulling down posters of kidnapped children and stomping their feet till they get a ceasefire so that their friends at Hamas can commit October 7th over and over again (their stated desire)? I have a couple of lovely reads for you: 1) The Last Lighthouse Keeper in America, and 2) Baby Puffins in Iceland – cutely called pufflings – meet their saviours.

Noteworthy Items: Early 2023 Edition

Why are the aqueducts still standing while our roads are full of potholes? The secret to Roman concrete.

Ontario mum designs helmets for Sikh kids – impressive and useful.

This article about Malak Karsh is from a few years ago, but I just found it – a photo of my mum is featured!

Rescuers in Wales find a sheep by bleating. (Of course – when you are looking for a kitty, you meow, right?)

A film I want to see: two brothers in India trying to save Delhi’s Black Kites.

Terrific piece about Woody Allen.

Ian Tyson died. So much talent. I think Four Strong Winds is one of the great Canadian songs.

Berylette O’Links

So, not many links. A small barrel. An “ette.” But a few I like and think you will like. First, some fine writing and reporting in the New York Times about…bachelorette parties. I particularly admire that the writer avoids a sneering tone – it would be so easy, given the topic.

Preserved dinosaur leg found in North Dakota. Really! Wowza. Sort of creepy to see it, and makes you feel for the little guy.

Apparently, koala bears have fingerprints that are indistinguishable from ours! Yikes! Koalas can start framing us for eucalyptus theft.

Being the age that I am, I cannot help but be excited about the new Top Gun movie – here is an important piece about Top Gun, China and Hollywood.

And just a great photograph: when Bardot met Picasso, 1956. What an image (from Life magazine archives); what an iconic pair.

Beryl O’Links: Festive Edition

Some new; some old. Stories I’ve bookmarked and forgot about…until now, the bizarre lost week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Antarctic penguin shows up in New Zealand. They re-released him more or less where they found him, which struck me as ungenerous. Why not give him a little boat or plane trip back home?

The remains of a Catholic priest who died as a prisoner-of-war in Korea were identified earlier this year. Bless his memory. (Thousands turned out for his funeral in September.)

A man was reunited with his relatively unscathed kitty after the recent tornado in Kentucky.

The political origins of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” I have to admit, this is not one of my preferred carols, but its background is interesting, and the song itself is more recent than I had known.

A community in Northern Ontario steps up to save an injured fawn.

Why you should not learn history from TV or movies…though sadly, more and more do just that.

An Oklahoma sixth-grader saves two lives in one day.

Jurassic alert! Perfectly preserved baby dino found curled up inside egg.

The guy who inspired Joni Mitchell’s “Carey.” This profile confirms my contempt for Baby Boomers/hippies. Seriously, the worst group of people. That said, some of ’em (like Mitchell) were/are crazy-talented.

Finally, a joining together of two of my most beloved things: grammar and Christmas! Enjoy:

Keep Active!

I’m not 87 yet, or 72, but I hope to reach each age in decent health and in not too decayed a state. I think one way to achieve that is to keep active. Here are a couple of examples of people of a certain age making contributions, following inspirations and staying in the game (yes, I know, a rather cringey expression, but it suits here): Hazell Jacobs is an 87-year-old woman who, during the early days of pandemic, decided to do something creative with her time. A lover of scarves, she started a blog that has become internationally popular, even being featured in the New York Times; and Gerald Stratford is a 72-year-old man who has become the “king of ‘big veg’ gardening” and appears in a Gucci campaign. Curiously – or perhaps predictably – both are Brits.

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.