Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

To make Comments write directly to Jim at jimt@quixotic.ca

 

27

Jan

2018

Allegations topple big names

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday morning, Patrick Brown resigned as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario over allegations of sexual misconduct.

            Wednesday night, Brown called a hasty news conference to deny the allegations. “These allegations are false,” Brown fumed. “Every one of them. I will defend myself as hard as I can, with all the means at my disposal.”

            If he wasn’t being honest, he was a damned good actor.

            Don’t misunderstand me -- I am not defending whatever Patrick Brown did or didn’t do. Or, for that matter, what any of the other host of men brought down by the #MeToo revelations may or may not have done.

            The parade of big names knocked off their pedestals grows daily.  But by my reading of news reports, Larry Nassar, former medical doctor for USA Gymnastics, is the only one who has actually been tried and convicted.

            All the rest have been toppled – whether fired, demoted, resigned -- by unproven allegations.


Comments (0) Number of views (452)

24

Jan

2018

Humans, the theory makers

Author: Jim Taylor

I was born without a theory. About anything. I didn’t know up from down – literally, since I had just emerged from a watery and weightless womb.

            But from that instant on, I started creating theories to help me make sense of the world I found myself in. Everyone does. We figure out that moms are warm, soft, and soothing. Floors are hard. Smiles make big people smile back.

            As time passes, we develop theories about everything. As we amass more experience, those theories get more sophisticated, better at predicting outcomes. We figure out that compliments generate more support than criticism, for example. That men and women are different. That blue-chip stocks are a safer investment than snake oil or swampland.

            And, for the most part, we modify our theories to take account of new facts as they emerge.



Comments (0) Number of views (457)

21

Jan

2018

Minimum wage is not a living wage

Author: Jim Taylor

Tim Hortons is in hot water – and I don’t mean coffee.

            When the Ontario government bumped the minimum wage up from $11.60 an hour to $14.00 an hour, some Tim Hortons outlets slashed hours and benefits for their staff, who ended up getting a pay cut instead of an increase.

            A deluge of criticism followed, in newspapers, and in online petitions.

            Disclosure: I do not own shares in Tim Hortons or its parent companies, Restaurant Brands International and 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment giant. But I am a Tim Hortons customer. And my daughter worked for Tim’s for a few years. 

            The policies that earned scathing editorial comments happened at a minority of Tim’s franchises – perhaps a couple of dozen, all in Ontario.


Comments (0) Number of views (366)

17

Jan

2018

Struggling with stereotypes

Author: Jim Taylor

 don’t expect much more snow. Not around here, anyway. Because I just bought a snowblower.

            In a sense, my snowblower symbolizes our social obsession with independence. 

            It starts young. We encourage our children to do things for themselves, instead of depending on their parents. We expect young adults to earn their own way, to plot their own course. We expect older adults to keep on looking after themselves, despite disabilities.

            A group of us guys get together, occasionally, to talk about growing older. We don’t have any choice about growing older, short of expiring. But we agree that we don’t want to grow “old.”

            “Old” implies weak. Helpless. Unable to cope with credit cards or iPhones. Forgetful. Needing someone to supply the word we knew perfectly well when we started that sentence. Needing help to carry bags of groceries out to the car. If we have a car at all. Tripping. Falling. 

            “Old” means losing our precious independence.


Comments (0) Number of views (424)

14

Jan

2018

Not everything old is worth preserving

Author: Jim Taylor

Here’s a challenge. What do these five objects have in common -- kryptonite; Sauron’s ring; canned spinach; Thor’s hammer; the sword Excalibur?

            Answer: they were all once associated with super-powers. Sauron’s ring made Bilbo and Frodo Baggins invisible, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series of novels. Thor’s hammer and the sword Excalibur made their owners invincible in battle. And spinach gave the cartoon character Popeye super-strength. 

            Kryptonite also deals with super-powers, but negatively. It robbed power from Superman. It rendered him helpless.

            Those five things also have one other common characteristic. Only an older generation finds them familiar. 

            In a word, they’re outdated.


Comments (0) Number of views (448)

10

Jan

2018

One of my relations

Author: Jim Taylor

I have no sentimental feelings about California quail. But in my experience, they make chickens look like candidates for Mensa.

            We joke about chickens crossing the road. Around here, quail move in flocks. Sometimes so many they give an impression of the earth itself rippling in waves. 

            There is no such thing as a single quail. So if I see a solitary quail at the side of the road when I’m driving, I slow down.  That quail will certainly try to cross the road in front of me. At the last possible second. And it will equally certainly be followed by the rest of the flock. They could fly, but they won’t. They’ll erupt from the grass and underbrush like nerf balls, and scuttle on Roadrunner legs across the blacktop. 

            Except that when they’re almost across, they will decide they didn’t want to go there after all; they will turn, en masse, and head back — sometimes actually underneath my car. 

            No, I do not have a high opinion of quail intelligence. 



Comments (0) Number of views (461)

7

Jan

2018

A war is not over when a war ends

Author: Jim Taylor

“It ain’t over till it’s over,” New York Yankee’s famed catcher Yogi Berra once said. Berra may be right about baseball; he was wrong about wars. Wars don’t end when someone wins. They end only when the last generation of victims dies.

            That’s what makes the recent UNICEF report on child victims so disturbing. Child victims will live longer than adult victims. 

            UNICEF’s statistics are staggering. 

            The deaths are bad enough: 700 children killed by conflicts in Afghanistan; 135 children forced to act as suicide bombers in sub-Saharan West Africa. But – pardon me for even saying this – at least they’re now dead. They won’t carry their experiences with them for the rest of their lives. 

            Not so the survivors. In Ukraine, 220,000 still play amid landmines and unexploded ordnances. In Yemen, 5,000 children have been injured by war against terrorist factions. In Myanmar, almost half of the 650,000 Rohinga refugees forced from their homes into Bangladesh are children. In the (grossly misnamed) Democratic Republic of Congo, 850,000 children have been driven from their homes.



Comments (0) Number of views (412)

3

Jan

2018

Seeing the flow of time

Author: Jim Taylor

very day, the local TV channel fills a few seconds in its parade of commercials with a speeded-up panorama of downtown Kelowna. Clouds skid by, showers form, daylight darkens into night. On the highway through town, headlights blend into a fluid stream that ebbs and flows like waves on a shore.

            When we’re in that stream, we see only the immediate moment. Traffic either hurtles onward, or it goes nowhere. 

            That’s because we live in the “now”. We know there’s a past, through which we have come. We know there’s a future, which will probably arrive sooner than we want. But generally, we’re aware only of this moment in time. 

             The charm of historic sites -- like Barkerville or Vernon’s O’Keefe Ranch -- is that they let us see now, what was then. 

 


Comments (0) Number of views (440)
RSS

Tags

"gate of the year" #MeToo 150th birthday 1954 1972 3G 9/11 A God That Could Be Real abduction abortion Abrams abuse addiction Addis Ababa adoption Adrian Dix affirmative action aging Ahriman Ahura Mazda airport killings Alabama albinism albinos Alexa algorithms Allegations Almighty Almighty God ALS alt-right altruism Amanda Todd Amazon Amherst amnesia analysis Andrea Constant Andrew Copeland Taylor anniversaries antidote Ants aphrodisiac apoptosis App Store Archives Ardern armistice Armstrong Art artifacts astronomy atonement atropine Attawapiscat attitudes attraction audits authorities autism automation autumn B.C. election B.C. Health Ministry B.C. Legislature B-2 baby Bach bad news baggage Bahai Banda banning books Baptism Barabbas barbed wire barbers Bashar al Assad BC BC Conference Beans bears beauty Beaver Beethoven beginnings behaviour bel-2 belief systems beliefs benefits Bernardo Berners-Lee berries Bible biblical sex BioScience birds birth birthday birthdays Bitcoin Blackmore blood blood donors boar body Bohr bolide Bolivia Bolivian women bombing bombings bombs books border patrol both/and bottom up Bountiful Brahms brains Brazil breath breathe breathing Brexit broken bubbles Buber Buddha Buddhism Bulkley bulldozers bullets bullying bush pilots butterflies butterfly Calendar California Cambridge Analytica. Facebook cameras Canada Canada Day Canadian Blood services Canal Flats Canute caregivers caring Carnaval. Mardi Gras carousel cars Carter Commission cats cave CBC Cecil the lion. Zanda CentrePiece CF chance change Charlie Gard Charlottesville Charter of Compassion Checklists checkups chemical weapons Chesapeake Bay Retriever Child Advocacy Centre child trafficking chivalry chocolates choice choices choirs Christchurch Christian Christianity Christine Blasey Ford Christmas Christmas gathering Christmas lights Christmas trees church churches circle of life Clarissa Pinkola Estés Clichés cliffhanger climate change clocks close votes coastal tribes coffee collaboration collective work colonial mindset colonies Colten Boushie Columbia River Columbia River Treaty communication Communion community complexity composers computer processes conclusions Confederacy Confederate statues Confirmation confusion Congo Congress Conrad Black consciousness consensual consent conservative Conservative Party contraception Conversations conversion therapy coral Cornwallis corporations corruption Cosby Cougars counter-cultural Countercurrents courtesy courts Coventry Cathedral CPP CPR CRA Craig crashes creation creche creeds crescent Creston crime criminal crossbills cross-country skiing crucifixion crypto-currencies Cultural appropriation cuneiform Curie curling cyberbullying Cystic Fibrosis Dalai Lama Damocles Dan Rather Danforth dark matter darkness Darren Osburne Darwin data mining daughter David David Suzuki de Bono dead zone deaf deafness death deaths decision decisions Definitions Delhi Dementia democracy denial Denny's departure Depression Descartes despair determinism Devin Kelley dew dawn grass Diana Butler-Bass dinosaurs discussion dissent diversity division divorce dog dogs dominance Donald Trump Donna Sinclair doorways Doug Martindale Dr. Seuss dreaming dreams Drugs ducks Duvalier dying Dylan Thomas earth Earth Day Easter Eat Pray Love Ebola e-cigarettes eclipse economics Eden editing editing by committee Edwards-Sawatzky Egypt eight-track tapes Einstein either/or election Elizabeth Gilbert Ellithorpe email embassy emergent emotions encryption English Entropy epiphany epitaph Erika van Oyen erosion Esteban Santiago eternal life eternity ethics Ethiopia Eucharist eulogy eunuchs evacuation evacuation orders Eve Evelyn Glennie Every Note Played everything evil Evolution expectations experiment extinctions extremes extremism eye for an eye Eyes Facebook faith falling leaves False Creek fascist fate fear Fedex feel feminine hygiene Fentanyl Fibonacci Field figure skating Fire fireball fires First Nations Fitbit flirting flooding floods floppy disks flow chart flow charts flowers fluency flying Flying objects fog Folk sayings Food Bank forensic Forest fires forests forgiving Four Pests campaign fracking franchises free free speech free will freedom frequency friend Friendship friendships fruit fundamentalism future Gaia games Gandhi Garbage Garrison Keillor Geese genes genocide Gerald Stanley Gerard Manley Hopkins Ghomeshi girls glaciers global economy global warming go north God gods Golden Golden Rule Goldilocks good Good Friday good intentions goodness Google Google Play government Governor General grammar gravity Great Barrier Reef greatest story green Green Eggs Green Party Greta Thunberg Gretta Vosper grief Grinch Grounded Group of seven groups growth Guiado guilt guns Habits hackers Haidt haircuts Haiti Hal Niedzviecki Halloween handshake Harari harassment harem Harjit Sajjan harmony Haskins hate Hawaii health health plans hearing hearts heat heaven Heisenberg Hell helping herd instinct heroes heroin Higher Porpoise highway hijacking Hillary Clinton Hinduism history Homulka Honduras honesty Hong Kong hope
Copyright 2019 by Jim Taylor  |  Powered by: Churchweb Canada