(2018 April 18) – People can forget how to spell bigot but remember how to be bigoted. I was reminded of this when I read a recent article by Harriet Sherwood, religion correspondent for The Guardian. Members of the Muslim community in the Scottish town of Stornoway are building a mosque. Good for them. If they feel they need one, which they do, and have raised the money to build it, which they have, they should have their mosque, and they will. Stornoway is on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. It has a lengthy history of bigotry. It is normally exercised againstRead More →

A fellow from the Green Party came knocking on my door last Thursday. He was canvassing for Mike Schreiner, their provincial leader and the Party’s candidate in Guelph for the coming provincial election. The Green Party has a way of parachuting its leaders into a riding they view as winnable. Then they shift resources from other campaigns to concentrate on the leader. They did it with Elizabeth May, finally landing her in British Columbia. I’m not sure where the idea came from, but there’s a belief that Guelph is the most environmentally conscious and committed place in Ontario. It’s nonsense, of course. We do ourRead More →

I have decided. We all love to hate Facebook, and for good reason. It has a warm and fuzzy exterior which is the only thing we usually see. It covers up a dark and sinister underbelly. So I have decided. We all know that Facebook is highly addictive. The fentanyl of social media. I have a habit of falling into some bad habits while avoiding worse ones. So I have decided. We all tend to give Facebook a free pass because of the friendly nature of its public persona. Accepting Facebook because it helps build community is a lot like accepting Mussolini because he madeRead More →

Remarks to the Guelph City Council special meeting on the new main library, 13 February 2018. Thank you, Mayor Guthrie and Councillors and staff for the recommendation to endorse the New Main Library Business Case as developed by KPMG and adopted last month by the Guelph Public Library Board. It is very encouraging to see this level of support at this juncture. I hope we are still in this position after the election in October Sometimes it seems like whenever there is a change in city council, or in the upper echelons of city management, or even in the assignment of staff to the BakerRead More →

December 16 2017 was the centenary of my mother’s birth. She lived from 16 December 1917 until 02 December 2002. I have assembled a few old photographic memories that illustrate her life a little bit. She was always a very strong-willed and determined woman. This lasted her right through to the end when the fog of Alzheimer’s had closed right in, but not entirely. In her final years she could remember every grievance she ever suffered as a child, but almost nothing of what happened yesterday. Her most repetitive topic of conversation was that she wanted to see her mother and her sister again. SheRead More →

I was looking for something completely unrelated to this particular memory. I know it is somewhere in my home office, possibly in a crowded desk drawer or an even busier bookcase. Maybe it’s near the bottom of a pile of papers in the closet. I don’t know, because I haven’t found it yet. But I will. It’s an old address book my mother kept. A lot of the entries were made when we still lived in England, and that was 60 years ago. Some were made after we came to Canada. I stopped looking for it when I was sidetracked by the discovery of Lynne’sRead More →

“There’s an old and faded picture on the wall That’s been a-hanging there for many a year ‘Tis a picture of my mother for I know there is no other That can take the place of mother on the wall” That’s the first verse of an old and faded song by the Carter Family. I bet most people have a mother photo hanging on a wall somewhere in the home. I know I do. In fact, one hangs on the wall in our computer room. It’s old, but it isn’t faded. It’s an old black and white head and shoulders shot. I’m not certain of whenRead More →

For International Women’s Day 2017, I have resurrected and updated a column I had in the Guelph Tribune on this day in 2012. It sometimes feels like we are five years further forward and fifty years further back. ***** Misogyny is the hatred of women. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about today, International Women’s Day, but it just won’t go away . It would be nice to think we could get through at least one day in relative peace, but we won’t. Today, somewhere in Guelph, more than one man will lash out in anger. More than one wife, daughter, sister or motherRead More →

It was a nice day for a walk. The sky was blue, with dots of white clouds here and there. The ground was snow white, with dots of yellow here and there. I always look for the blue sky. Charlie always looks for the yellow snow. He found some right away at the base of the hydro pole that stands at the mouth of our driveway. After he had finished exploring it, he looked up at me. “Was I a rescue dog?” he asked. “No,” I said. “We got you from a breeder. Why do you ask?” Charlie set his back leg on the groundRead More →

I discovered Duane Eddy around the time I turned 13 in 1959. When I turned 19 in 1965, the Rolling Stones brought me out of my teenage years. Throughout that six year passage Chuck Berry was always at my side. Until I got out of high school in 1963, I thought I was Duane Eddy’s biggest fan. Maybe I was. I never met very many others. I had all his records, mostly 45 rpm singles in the early days, and albums as my weekly allowance rose to meet the challenge. There was Cannonball, Rebel Rouser, Ramrod, Forty Miles of Bad Road, and a whole lotRead More →