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

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Twenty-nine years and still counting

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday July 28, 2022


Last weekend marked a significant anniversary. Twenty-nine years ago, on July 23, 1993, Joan and I moved into our new home here in the Okanagan Valley.

            It’s the longest I have ever lived in one place. 

            The previous longest was 25 years in Toronto – equivalent, I sometimes joke, to a life sentence without parole. Then we moved west. Back west, actually, since I had grown up in Vancouver, and Joan in the Kootenays. 

            So we watched our worldly possessions disappear into a moving company’s container, locked up our now-empty home, and set out across the country in a Honda Accord packed full of suitcases, house plants, and two panicky cats. 

            The cats yowled for 100 miles, and then became – dare I put it this way? – catatonic. They shut down. They didn’t eat, drink, pee or poo for five days.

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Fisheries Dept. needs to think like a fish

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday July 24, 2022


Earlier this week, the B.C. Wildlife Society released a disturbing report. Steelhead are headed for extinction. 

            If you’re addicted to fishing, you’ll know what a steelhead is. It is considered a world-class sport fish for its spectacular size and fighting capabilities,

            Steelhead fall into the crack between migratory fish and resident fish. Indeed, the federal Department of Fisheries (DFO) oscillates between defining them as salmon and as trout. 

            DFO has historically based its classification on the “looks like a duck” principle -- if it looks like a salmon, and acts like a salmon, it must be a salmon. 

            Except that it’s not.

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Birds and trees want to be appreciated

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday July 21, 2022


One morning this last spring, I went out for my morning walk. Unexpectedly, bird song surrounded me. 

            “Where did all these birds come from?” I wondered. 

            Then I realized they had been there all along. I just hadn’t been able to hear them. Because I had new hearing aids that let me hear the higher frequencies of bird songs. 

            As time has passed, I’ve learned to recognize some characteristic songs. The American Robin’s cheer-up, cheer-up, cheer-up. The goldfinch’s ti-dee-dee-dee. The doves, always in pairs, making cooing sounds at each other. And, of course, the magpies, which are capable of imitating every other bird, but prefer to sound like nails on a blackboard. 

            They were all there before. I just couldn’t hear them.

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Poster child for emergency ward closures

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday July 17, 2022


I have a soft spot in my heart for the community of Clearwater, about 125 km north of Kamloops on the North Thompson River. The Clearwater River runs deep and clear (of course) out of Wells Gray Provincial Park – one of the best fly-fishing rivers in British Columbia. 

            The town of Clearwater is postcard pretty.

            Sadly, though, Clearwater has become a poster child for emergency ward closures. 

            The hospital is supposed to have eight full-time nurses on staff. It currently has four. 

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Pronouns display our language proficiency

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday July 14, 2022


The other day, I heard a CBC announcer intone, “between you and me.”

            I was shocked. He got it right!

            Pronouns, it seems, have become the litmus test of language competency.

            Back when Joan I and I were buying our first house, the real estate representative told me, oozing sincerity, “I would like for you and I to be friends.”

            I considered any such friendship unlikely. Him and I were not grammatically compatible.

            Back in high school, English teacher Jean Skelton made our entire class chant, over and over, “between you and me… between you and me… between you and me…”

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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: Language, pronouns

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