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Sunday March 27, 2022
Some magpies in Australia proved themselves smarter than a group of scientists. Magpies are known for their intelligence; they belong the corvid family which also includes crows and ravens.
A month ago, Australian ornithologists hoped to learn more about how wild magpies socialize. So they devised miniature backpack transmitters, weighing less than a gram, that they could strap onto individual magpies.
They designed the backpack so that the magpie carrying it couldn’t possibly remove it.
They reckoned without the intervention of other magpies.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: altruism, Magpies, Australia
Thursday February 24, 2022
I took my bicycle for a ride along the Mission Creek Greenway in Kelowna, not long ago. I didn’t bother checking a map –why bother? The creek runs down to the lake; the Greenway follows the creek; what could go wrong?
Except that the trail I was riding along abruptly ended at a wire fence.
Clearly, the main trail had diverged somewhere, but I was so preoccupied with my own ride that I didn’t notice. It must be somewhere to my left. And fortunately, there was a trail of sorts leading that direction.
The trail was rough, but passable. Until I got to a little stream, seeping down through millennia of rotting vegetation, just too wide to leap across.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: God, Job, bicycle, Satan
Sunday March 20, 2022
For St. Patrick’s Day earlier this week, I wore a green T-shirt and an Aran Islands sweater. And orange underwear. Covering all my bases, so to speak.
Ireland, as I’m sure you’re aware, has been troubled by conflict between the orange and the green. The Protestant and the Catholics. The north and the south. Monarchy and republic.
Today, Ireland is relatively peaceful. The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 largely eliminated the violence of “The Troubles” – 30 years of bombings and shootings.
Unfortunately, bombings and shootings continue in other places. Most notably these days in Ukraine.
And the suspicion, the ill-feeling, that plagued Northern Ireland for generations now shifts to other groups.
The CBC’s National newscast reported a few nights ago that over 600,000 people who have Russian connections, or Russian names, or who sell Russian products, are finding themselves treated with same suspicion
Tags: Russians, internment, suspicion
Thursday February 17, 2022
From my office chair, I can look up and see a an eight-foot shelf filled with books I helped to publish. I recognize every title. I know every author. I remember delving into every subject.
I had a hand – or at least a pencil – in every one of those books.
And then, abruptly, the authors, the subjects, the textual content, are all strangers. They’re still good books. Still worth reading. But they’re not mine anymore.
In serious discussions of faith and doctrine, a friend frequently ventures something like: “I’m not sure that I know what I’m talking about, but isn’t this all about ego somehow?”
Yes it is. It’s almost always about ego.
Tags: God, books, ego
Sunday March 13, 2022
I love coincidences. Today’s coincidence is the name Volodymyr. Or Vladimir, if you prefer the anglicized Russian spelling. As a person who intuitively roots for underdogs, I’ll use the Ukrainian spelling. But it’s the same thing, either way.
There are four Volodymyrs involved in this coincidence.
There’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the comedian with no political experience who came out of nowhere to become Ukraine’s president, and has since shown himself to have leadership qualities many other nations might envy.
There’s Volodymyr Putin – yes, same name, but usually with a different spelling – who sees the burgeoning democracy led by Zelenskyy as a threat and wants to take Ukraine back into Mother Russia.
Tags: Putin, Ukraine, Saint, Zelenskyy
Thursday March 10, 2022
The “Golden Guys” meet on Mondays. Mostly, we talk about what it feels like to grow older.
On a recent Zoom call, we talked about how our lives have changed.
There were six of us:
· One university professor, no longer teaching any students.
· One high-school principal, no longer administering anything.
· One orchardist, no longer tending trees.
· One business executive, no longer running any business.
· One minister, no longer offering leadership in any kind of pastorate.
· And me, the only one of us still doing what I had done most of my life – writing – although at a significantly reduced level.
We all wondered who we were, now that age and circumstance decreed that we could no longer be what we used to be.
Tags: Yahweh, Tetragrammaton. names
Sunday March 6, 2022
I love coincidences. Coincidences are like bits of information floating on an ocean of meaninglessness until they drift up onto a beach and a passer-by – me – fits them into some kind of pattern.
Today’s coincidence is the name Volodymyr. Or Vladimir, if you prefer the anglicized Russian spelling. As a person who intuitively roots for underdogs, I’ll use the Ukrainian spelling. But it’s the same thing, either way.
There’s Volodymyr Putin....
Tags: Putin, Ukraine, Volodymyr, Vladimir, Saint
The “Golden Guys” meet on Mondays. Mostly, we talk about what it feels like to grow older. On a recent Zoom call, we talked about how our lives have changed. There were six of us:
Tags: God, Moses, Exodus, YHWH, Yahweh, names
The last two weeks, I’ve tried to keep up with the changing scene in Ukraine, and our reactions to it. First, Russian forces were merely threatening to invade Ukraine. Then they invaded, but ostensibly to enable two eastern regions to breakaway from the rest of Ukraine. Then they clearly invaded all of Ukraine, from the north, east and south.
I’m shocked. Appalled. Disgusted with Vladimir Putin.
Let me be clear -- I am 100% opposed to the Russian invasion.
I’m less confident about the effectiveness of the western deterrents.
Tags: Putin, Ukraine, shunning, excommunication
Thursday March 3, 2022
Dear Mr. Amazon Prime,
Thank you so much for looking after the best interests of your customers. The other morning, before I was even out of bed, one of your Customer Service Representatives called to inform me that they had detected suspicious activity on one of my credit cards.
Someone in Dayton Ohio had used my credit card to make a purchase of $197.33.
I asked her to wait a minute, while I checked my wallet. Both of my credit cards were safely there. But when I got back to the phone, she had hung up on me.
That wasn’t very courteous of her.
Tags: scams, Amazon, Prime, robocalls, spam