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

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29

Oct

2020

A saint for every purpose

Author: Jim Taylor

There’s a patron saint for almost everything. Even Protestants carry medals of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travellers. St. Veronica has become the patron saint of photography.

            There’s even a patron saint for the coronavirus. St. Corona, the saint for epidemics, plagues, and pestilence.

            St. Corona was a 16-year-old girl in Syria, in the second century A.D. According to the legend, she saw a Roman soldier being tortured for converting to Christianity. She defended him. She claimed a vision of the two of them wearing crowns -- hence her name, St. Corona.

            For becoming Christian, the soldier had his fingers chopped off, his eyes put out, and was beheaded.

            For offering compassion, St. Corona had her ankles lashed to the tops of two palm trees that had been forcibly bent to the ground. When the trees were released,


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20

Oct

2020

Hope

Author: Jim Taylor

In the night, a firefly blinks

once

a single speck of light, a mote, a flake

flung into a slow, black, sloe-black

river of loneliness

rippling through

the gnarled fingers of the darkling forest

seeking a silent echo


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Categories: Poetry

Tags: hope, future, fireflies

18

Oct

2020

Apologies need teeth

Author: Jim Taylor

           So what’s with apologies, anyway?

            Over the last few years, we’ve heard lots of apologies. 

            In June 2008, then Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered a formal apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools, on behalf of the government and people of Canada.

            The United Church of Canada formally apologized – twice, in 1986 and in 1998 – for failing to respect traditional indigenous values and beliefs. All other major denominations have done something similar, confessing their complicity in an unjust system that they failed to question.

            Maple Leaf Foods apologized for producing meats tainted with listeriosis. 

 


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15

Oct

2020

Counting my unexpected blessings

Author: Jim Taylor

I wanted to buy an airline ticket for my 16-year-old granddaughter, to come home for (Canadian) Thanksgiving, using the points on my credit card. 

           I found the flights online. I chose the dates. I couldn’t complete the booking.  The program denied access. It slapped my wrist, so to speak. 

            So I dialed the number on the back of my credit card. 

            I was expecting trouble. Sadly, I expect any negotiation with a giant corporation to be more a curse than a blessing. Especially if I have to converse with a synthetic voice that’s supposed to pick up key words and respond intelligently.

            Instead, I got an amazing agent. 


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10

Oct

2020

You can’t reason yourself out of pain

Author: Jim Taylor

I started writing this column on Thursday morning, as I emerged from a haze of pain and pain medications. The day before, Wednesday, I had plastic surgery on my face to remove pre-cancerous basal-cell lesions brought on by too much sun in my youth.

            This was my third session. Originally I had seven spots removed. Then I had to have four of them done over, because the first session didn’t get all the suspicious cells.

            As surgery goes, these were minor -- certainly when compared to organ transplants and amputations. As pain goes, though, these surgeries were an eye-opener.

            Another writer once sent me this line: “There is no such thing as a pain thermometer.”

            That is, there’s no objective way to measure the pain someone is feeling. 


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Categories: Sharp Edges

Tags: pain, morphine, surgery

10

Oct

2020

An Alternative Alphabet

Author: Jim Taylor

A is for Apple. That’s how Alphabet books usually start -- not with A for Alphabet. Because Apples are red and round, and make a striking image on the page.

            And A is for Autumn. The time when apples ripen and when we set aside summer dreams, summer romances, summer indolence, and settle into the labour of daily living.

            A is for Adam, too –although I think “Adam-and-Eve” should be a single hyphenated unity. Whatever they did, they did it together. They had no choice – there was no one else to do anything with, or to. 

            Also because of that Apple, says the second story of creation, Adam-and-Eve were expelled from their summer garden and condemned to hard labour for the Autumn of their lives.

            Although I think they got a bum deal. After all, God put them there in the garden. Naked. Young people, naked? What did God expect? 

 

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4

Oct

2020

Shift focus onto Covid transmitters

Author: Jim Taylor

           I pulled some figures from the BC Ministry of Health webpage. I correlated them with B.C. population figures from the last census..

            Surprise, surprise! The elderly are NOT the most at risk for infection.

            Certainly they’re most at risk for death. As of a month ago, three-quarters of all deaths were among those over 70.

            That shouldn’t be a surprise. They’re already on their last legs. I suspect the same would hold true if I took statistics for almost any disease, illness, or disability.

            But not for infection. The infection rate among those over 60 is significantly lower than for younger adults. Among those over 60, the infection rate is about 1.4 per 1000. Among the 20-29 age group, the infection rate is more than twice as high -- 3.5 per 1000.



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2

Oct

2020

Watching the winds make waves

Author: Jim Taylor

In the Okanagan Valley, summer winds are predictable. The south wind blows up the valley. The north wind blows down the valley -- “up” and “down” depending on how you orient a map, because a lake surface has no up or down.

            In spring and fall, we also have west winds, which ride over the Coast Mountains and gather speed as they whoosh down the slopes to the lake.

            They hit the lake like a physical punch. The lake reels. Its surface darkens. Waves form, long lines of foaming combers, marching in formation across the lake.

            I’ve often wondered what’s happening at the front of the gust, at its intersection with the existing airflow.


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