Tag Archives: news

Swashbucklers and Anniversaries

I was talking to a friend about my mother and how she had a big crush on Moshe Dayan – she kept his picture on our fridge for the longest time. I think that Zelenskyy is in Dayan’s league there – a leader who becomes an object of admiration and who is madly crush-worthy. It’s a good thing, though, of course, the reason both men were/are famous is that their countries were/are under attack, which is not a good thing. The news from Ukraine continues to depress.

On another note – about another kind of war – it was two years ago today that Toronto went into a lockdown which we thought would last two weeks. I’ve written this before, I’m sure, but I’m extremely introverted and had it not been for all the death (including in my family) and economic destruction, I would have thoroughly enjoyed the pandemic. But restrictions are currently loosening in the Toronto area and I am not sure I am ready for all the humans out there. One podcast I enjoy is Andrew Sullivan’s Dishcast, and a few months ago he was predicting that when the Covid pandemic was over we would all go wild. From what I’ve been witnessing, his prediction is coming to pass. Case in point: I attended an event at a pub last Thursday and I arrived fairly early on in the evening. People had been there maybe forty minutes and yet the majority of them were hammered and dancing like idiots. It got worse (or better, depending on your attitude) from there. And this was a business event where most attendees were over 40. This won’t be pretty, people.

Another anniversary – my birthday last week: it is Pisces season and a fellow Pisces friend of mine has written a terrific piece to mark his own special day. In it, he makes mention of George Harrison – yet another Pisces – who happens to be my favourite Beatle. I think his All Things Must Pass album is better than all of the music created by the other three Beatles (post-breakup) put together. Don’t @ me, John/Paul/Ringo fans.

Happy almost spring, dear readers.

Protesters

I have been vaccinated and boosted. I am also someone with enough of a libertarian streak that I don’t mind debate about most matters, including vaccine mandates – in fact, I think it’s healthy to have such debates. But when protesters start behaving like this, one can only assume they are a bunch of unserious yahoos.

Update: I should add that I feel the same way about protesters on the left when they knock down statues of Sir John A. or Queen Victoria. Unserious yahoos. But, of course, they rarely get the sort of condemnation this current crowd is receiving.

Tutu and Didion

Too lazy to write two posts, so I will include both of these very different people here. Bishop Tutu died and the laudatory headlines were everywhere. Would anyone, I wondered, have the courage to write about his, er, uncomfortable relationship with Jews and the Jewish state? Melanie Phillips to the rescue with this must-read. (I had not been aware with just how vile some of Tutu’s views were. Now I – distressingly – am.) Apart from Phillips, though, there has been little criticism or challenging of Tutu – it reminds me of when Helen Thomas died and nobody would mention the antisemitic elephant in the room. It was all, what a feminist icon, blah blah blah zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

My internet friend Rick McGinnis (still have not met him, but hope that I will, one day, post-pandemic) wrote about Joan Didion three years ago. An original take – as he calls it, her “uncomfortable fit” in American (counter) culture.

Good 2021 News

Twenty-one scientific discoveries – in other words, the year has not been entirely about the plague, even if the headlines might indicate that it has been so. Obviously, vaccine news – both about COVID and malaria – is at the forefront, but there is more. What I find particularly fascinating (and not unrelated to Kennewick Man):

Between 23,000 and 21,000 years ago, a teen ambled across wet sand near the shores of an ancient lake in what is now New Mexico’s White Sands National Park. The fossilized prints from this slightly flat-footed youth are challenging theories of when humans first crossed into the Americas. The prints, described in September in the journal Science, date to a time when scientists think towering glaciers had walled off human passage to the continent from Asia.

Read about all twenty-one.

Beryl O’Links: First 2021 Edition

The case against the Iran Deal (to which, stupidly, the Biden administration apparently longs to return) – by Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael Oren, two gentlemen I was fortunate to lunch with on a press trip I took to Israel in the aughts.

Nervana Mahmoud’s beautiful tribute to her mother, who died of Covid. I imagine I would be touched by this eulogy at any point, but perhaps due to the death of my brother from the same virus I feel a special connection to Mahmoud’s words.

Rats are playful, feeling, living creatures – heck, they giggle! We should not be torturing them in labs (or anywhere).

A fair and thorough analysis of why Trump lost, from the Claremont Review of Books.

A vegan restaurant gets a Michelin star. Take that, snooty anti-veganites!

Silvia Foti’s grandfather was a Nazi. But in Lithuania, he has been celebrated as a war hero.

As human birth rates fall, a rewilding is unfolding. (I rather like this.)

Navalny is all-in on bringing down Putinism. I hope he succeeds. If he does it will be with the help of courageous protesters in Russia.

A wolverine caught on camera in Yellowstone for the first time. Extraordinarily cute little gaffer.

So cool: Caligula’s Garden of Delights, unearthed and restored.

And finally, Cloris Leachman died a few days ago. Enjoy what I think is one of her funniest MTM moments (from the episode where Phyllis’ husband is cheating on her with Sue Ann Nivens – yes, I have encyclopaedic knowledge of MTM):

Beryl O’Links: Thanksgiving Edition

Friends, I posted yesterday – see my previous post, “Sunday Sanity” – about how a certain kind of article (a rational, historically accurate article that challenges a beloved-by-the-chattering-classes narrative) could never appear in The New York Times. Turns out I was wrong – Bret Stephens on the 1619 Chronicles.

More on the wonderful Stanley Crouch.

Noor bin Ladin on how being Osama’s niece has caused her less grief than her support of Trump.

On Philip Larkin’s heartwarming side.

To be filed under “Duh!”: alcohol consumption rises sharply during pandemic.

Sue me: I like BHL!

Why T. S. Eliot still matters.

Though it’s hard for some to admit – seriously, I have seen people tying themselves into pretzels to not admit this – the Abraham Accords are a positive and huge development.

Grizzly kills hunter: the animals are done with us, part one.

Parrots curse visitors to wildlife park: the animals are done with us, part two.

More Lionel Shriver

There is sanity out there:

Maybe we should enlarge the lens. Frankly, I’m weary of the whole category ‘white people’, which throws folks of wildly different backgrounds, from Russians to Jews to Scots, into one big indiscriminate pot. So let’s talk about people, full stop. As a species, we’ve been treating each other like shit from the year dot. The horrors to which we’ve subjected one another, including slavery but a great deal else, are so incomprehensibly dreadful that no one, as an individual, could conceivably bear the crushing weight of all that torture, mass murder and sadism. If guilt is inherited, then every last one of us should be condemned to Dante’s nine circles of hell.

None of us chose the world in which we emerged. We didn’t pick our race, sex or natal nationality; any inbuilt leg-up or disadvantage these traits conferred at birth was not of our making. We didn’t select which awful history soaks the ground at our feet. It’s insensible to feel ‘guilty’ or ‘ashamed’ about something you didn’t do. It’s entirely sensible to feel regret, sorrow and abhorrence about the likes of slavery. It’s commendable to be informed about the past and to try to understand the nature of its wretchedness, as it’s also commendable to strain to leave the world a little better than you found it. But claiming that what happened before you were born is all your fault is not only ridiculous. It’s vain.