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

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

 

17

Jun

2022

The right is wrong; the left is rarely right

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday May 29, 2022

 

Yet another school shooting in the U.S. Nineteen children and two teachers dead -- plus the shooter himself.

            As I write this column, authorities are still trying to fathom the teenaged shooter’s motives. Was he influenced by extremist ideologies? By prejudice? By social media?

            I suggest that the terms we use, in examining motives, are themselves part of the problem. Traditional interpretations of “right” and “left,” liberal and conservative, get in the way of understanding.

            We need to start again.

            Try these definitions on for size. The right worships the individual. The left worships the group.


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17

Jun

2022

Playing around with earworms

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday May 26, 2022

 

A rhythm was running through my head when I woke up: “Dah dit dah dit dah dit dah…” No words, just a mesmerizing beat.

            Ever had one of those earworms that won’t go away?

            During my shower, a word inserted itself to the relentless rhythm: “Patsy.” Then the rest of the words came trickling back: “Patsy Atsy Or-ee-ay… Workin’ on the railroad.”

            I cannot imagine where that memory came from. It wasn’t in any of my dreams that night. The last time I remember singing it, I was a teenager, sitting around a campfire, each of us trying to holler louder than everyone else.


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17

Jun

2022

It’s about choice, not theories

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday May 22, 2022

 

This May, Americans are all riled up about abortion. A leaked draft of a forthcoming judgement, written by the conservative judges on the U.S. Supreme Court, suggests that the Court is likely to overturn the 1973 Roe vs Wadedecision that has, for almost 50 years, allowed American women to have safe and legal abortions. 

            In Canada, May is Cystic Fibrosis Month. Cystic Fibrosis is a much less divisive issue than abortion. But the two are linked together for me. You’ll see why. 

            Our son was born with Cystic Fibrosis, CF. It’s a hereditary illness. Both my wife and I had to be carriers of a recessive gene. Our two genes combined to give our son CF. He had nothing to do with it – he was the innocent victim. 


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20

May

2022

The wasp who lives with me

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday May 19, 2022

 

I don’t live alone anymore. For the past few days, I have shared my home with a wasp. A black-and-yellow wasp, that is, not a White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant WASP. 

            I don’t know how this particular insect got into the house. I keep my doors closed. I have screens on all my windows. Nevertheless, the other day, a wasp came buzzing into my office. It circled around me a few times, settled on my screen, watched the cursor go by, circled me again, peered at my face, and flew off. 

            It did a similar routine that evening, when I was cooking supper.

            Almost as if it was looking for company.

            I wonder if it’s lonely.


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: prayer, lonely, Wasp

20

May

2022

Offender disciplined, victim abandoned

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday May 15, 2022

 

 The small congregation to which I belong, Winfield United Church, got national attention in Broadview, a national magazine.

            Winfield is a relatively successful congregation. It is not, for the moment, threatened by closure or amalgamation. It raised more than half the cost of its new building, right beside the famed Okanagan Rail Trail, by donations. Its Thrift Shop provides outreach to the whole community.

            But the Broadview article didn’t deal with any of those. It was about a woman “emotionally and sexually abused” by her minister -- 37 years ago.


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13

May

2022

Pow! How Batman led me astray

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday May 12, 2022

 

We all know about life’s major decisions. You know this decision will affect you for the rest of your life. 

            I am only realizing, late in my life, that smaller decisions, things I didn’t bother thinking twice about at the time, can also affect the rest of one’s life. 

            When I was ten, I regularly went to a barbershop a couple of blocks away. The barber kept a stack of comic books for his customers to look at while they waited. 

            I got hooked on Batman. I loved the way he dispatched his foes with a single mighty uppercut that came all the way up from the floor. Ka-Pow! Blam! Smash!

            My family moved away from that barbershop, but I never lost that mental image of Batman’s invincible fists. 


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13

May

2022

Corporate defence mode

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday May 8, 2022

 

Small stories open up into bigger stories. The CBC’s Go Public” series investigated a small incident where an Uber driver called one of his passengers a nigger. 

            When the passenger’s girlfriend defended him, the driver ordered her to shut up. 

            All captured on video. 

            It should have been an open-and-shut case. The girlfriend sent the video to Uber. 

            But Uber didn’t apologize. It shifted into corporate defence mode. 


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13

May

2022

The gap between cause and correspondence

Author: Jim Taylor

Thursday May 5, 2022

 

The coyotes were howling on the hill above my home, the other night. A. howl echoed through the woods. Then another. And several more. Accompanied by a multitude of something like barks. Punctuated by a whole series of high-pitched yips, which I assumed was coyote pups joining in with their elders.

            Not long after, a magnificent full moon rose over the hill.

            I’m sure some of you immediately thought, “They were howling at the moon!”

            No, they weren’t. They started howling long before the moon appeared. 

 

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3

May

2022

Invisible bath of radiation

Author: Jim Taylor

Sweden is building a road that recharges batteries on an electric bus, as the bus passes over it. 

            The project is an experiment. 

            I gather that transmitter will be buried in the asphalt. When the designated bus passes over a transmitter, it will emit a blast -- sorry, I can’t think of a better word -- of wireless radiation that will boost the bus’s battery storage, much like the wireless charging devices for your cell phone. Or your hearing aids. Only much stronger.

            Promotional blurbs released about the Swedish experiments gloat that this process -- if successful -- will eventually eliminate the need for charging stations. The highway will recharge your Tesla or Ioniq as you drive. 

            Wait a minute… What about the humans in those vehicles?


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3

May

2022

Invisible bath of radiation

Author: Jim Taylor

Sunday May 1, 2022

 

Sweden is building a road that recharges batteries on an electric bus, as the bus passes over it. 

            The project is an experiment. 

            I gather that transmitter will be buried in the asphalt. When the designated bus passes over a transmitter, it will emit a blast -- sorry, I can’t think of a better word -- of wireless radiation that will boost the bus’s battery storage, much like the wireless charging devices for your cell phone. Or your hearing aids. Only much stronger.

            Promotional blurbs released about the Swedish experiments gloat that this process -- if successful -- will eventually eliminate the need for charging stations. The highway will recharge your Tesla or Ioniq as you drive. 

            Wait a minute… What about the humans in those vehicles?


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