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Sunday November 14, 2021
I don’t get it. How, and why, in the world of professional sports, is a ten-year-old sexual encounter considered a more serious offence than constant physical violence?
My ruminations are, of course, founded on the lawsuit launched by former Chicago Blackhawks player Kyle Beach that former video-coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him and another player during the team’s run to the 2010 Stanley Cup.
As a result, at least three executives have lost or quit their jobs.
But no executive has ever lost his job because his players gave superstar Sidney Crosby a concussion – four concussions, officially, probably more never diagnosed.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: sex, NHL, violence
Sunday November 7, 2021
One week into COP26 – the UN’s annual Conference of the Parties on climate change – the event makes me think of a hairdresser’s appointment: lots of fuss at the top, and nothing happening farther down.
This year’s Conference, in Glasgow, Scotland, loudly proclaims a couple of significant agreements.
First, 165 countries signed an agreement to phase out coal as an energy source. But the world’s three biggest coal burners – China, the U.S., and India -- did not sign.
The 39,000 national representatives thronging into Glasgow arecarefully avoiding the one crucial issue that underlies all other crises – population growth.
It’s no accident, I suggest, that the three biggest coal-burning nations, who refused to commit to eliminating coal fuels, are also the three most populous nations in the world.
Tags: COP26, climate crisis, Glasgow
Sunday October 31, 2021
When did I grow old? I knew aging had to happen, but I thought it would take longer.
When I was young, the inevitability of growing old never occurred to me. I was Peter Pan; aging was never-never.
Even into my seventies, I didn’t think of myself as old. Sure, my hair developed what an internet wit called “wisdom highlights.” But I still had employable skills. My mind and my muscles still worked. I still had a future stretching ahead of me.
And then one day, I realized that things had changed.
I didn’t think of myself as old. But I couldn’t think of myself as young either.
And the future contained more of the same. Or, more likely, less of the same.
Tags: aging, Ralph Milton, platinum years
Sunday October 24, 2021
Jill Sanghvi wrote her thesis in India, for Vrije Universiteit in Brussels, Belgium.
Sanghvi recognized that most studies treated autism as a “deficit.” That is, it rendered the person less than normal. Handicapped. Victim of a disability.
The words themselves have negative connotations.
So if that’s what you’re looking for, that’s what you will find.
These studies were all by non-autistic adults. Writing ABOUT, or FOR, people with autism.
Sanghvi resolved to do something different. Young people themselves would tell their stories. And she would not ask them about the “deficits” they experienced as objects of ridicule, bullying, or pity. She would ask about their “wonderfulness.”
Tags: autism, India, Sanghvi
Sunday October 17, 2021
We who live in the enlightened western nations tend to heap scorn on the Hindu caste system. We don’t recognize that we have our own caste systems.
Indigenous communities scattered across the boreal north are our Dalits, the outcastes, the untouchables. “At any given time,” writes the Council of Canadians, “there are drinking water advisories in dozens of First Nations communities across Canada.”
Most recently, Iqaluit residents were assured their water was safe, even though it smelled of diesel. Then this week that assurance was reversed – it was now unsafe even when boiled.
Can you imagine an entire city, like, say, Regina, being told its tap water was unsafe for drinking, for cooking, for washing, even for washing your hands in? There’d be hell to pay.
But this is Iqaluit, not Regina.
Tags: COVID-19, Iqaluit, castes, Molokai, Damien
Sunday October 10, 2021
A rising tide of people in this country apparently believe – body, mind, and spirit – that they are called overthrow the established powers-that-be. By any means. Including physical insurrection.
They seem to buy into some kind of conspiracy which they – and they alone – know about.
I have a deep suspicion of all conspiracy theories. I find it far simpler to blame basic human emotions –greed, anger, ignorance, even stupidity – than to imagine vast numbers of people somehow collaborating in a mass movement to take over the world.
But that works the other way, too. I do not believe that the mainstream media – television, radio, newspapers, and magazines – conspire to censor negative information about masks and vaccines.
Tags: algorithms, Facebook, conspiracies, Haugen
Saturday October 2, 2021
Today happens to be my old schoolmate David Bryson’s birthday. It prompts me to venture deep into nostalgia.
Our childhoods were so different from anything anyone might experience today, that occasionally I have to write my memories down. Otherwise, I fear, the day may come when I won’t believe them myself.
For one thing, we went to school in India. In one of the hill stations where the British Civil Service and other expatriates fled to escape the heat and humidity of an Indian summer.
The school was – and still is – Woodstock, 7,000 feet up in the foothills of the Himalayas. It was also a boarding school. In Canada, think of the infamous residential schools for indigenous children. Unless our parents came up to the hills for a holiday, we children lived the entire school year in dormitories.
Tags: India, Woodstock, Himalayas, boarding school
Sunday September 26, 2021
A small news item, tucked in the back pages of my newspaper, said that across the U.S. more and more people were citing “religious exemptions” to avoid -- well, to avoid almost anything they don’t like.
The current issue is COVID-19 vaccinations. In the past, the “religious exemption” has been used by employers to exclude abortion and family planning from health plans. To refuse to hire gays and lesbians. To reject same-sex marriages.
And so on.
According to Associated Press, “Religious objections, once used sparingly around the country… are becoming a much more widely used loophole…”
Tags: religions, exemptions
Sunday September 19, 2021
We’ve had a vaccination passport for slightly under a week here in B.C. Obviously, it’s causing problems for the stores and restaurants that have to check patrons at the door – especially when some of those patrons, who should know better, verbally abuse a high school kid 30 years their junior.
Lest there be any doubt where I stand on this issue, I have no sympathy for the protest mobs that have travelled – sometimes right across the country – to demonstrate in front of hospitals and medical clinics.
Protest at political rallies if you will – though I wish you wouldn’t. But you’ve gone too far when you start harassing healthcare workers already on the thin edge of burnout after 18 months of busting their butts to save patients from a disease that you claim doesn’t exist.
Your actions wipe out any tolerance I used to have for you.
Tags: Masks, Vaccinations, protesters, passport
Sunday September 12, 2021
With a Canadian federal election drawing near to voting day, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 bombings, the Taliban taking over in Afghanistan and Texas, and the Delta variant running rampant through the un-vaccinated, you’d think I couldn’t run short of things to write about.
And you’d be right. There’s no lack of things to write about. The trouble is, they all weave together. Every time I start writing on one subject, I find I have to drag in another, and another. And it’s sufficiently laced with profanity that any spam filter worth its subscription price would instantly flag and quarantine the message.
So all you’re getting this week is your own responses to my 85th birthday column last week. There’s lots of reading, here, and I think you’ll enjoy the readers’ comments.