Friday, November 29, 2019

New York Times November 1, 1970

New York Times

About the Archive

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Not far from home

It is assured that wherever one goes within a 15 km radius the particulars will amount to a distinction without a difference. Nonetheless the nascent human hankering provokes alteration in one’s daily habits. Living on this tiny barrier island the scope of adventure is largely north or south since the island is narrow and I can bear the deprivation of the mainland. I much prefer being surrounded by water.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Latest Rage

I have settled upon a highly rewarding late morning potion; viz., Mariani Premium Walnuts and Greenwise Organic 100% Maple Syrup (Amber Rich Taste) - accompanied by a chilled glass mug of Starbucks Espresso Roast 100% Arabica coffee!  This and the sonorous music of Sarasota's WSMR non-commercial classical FM radio station at 89.1 and103.9.  Oh what elation! Though I will deny the spiritual persuasion of the Church of England I will nonetheless confess its philosophic wheedling - to the extent that it encourages this toxic and august lapse only after a mandatory 15 km bicycle ride. The relieving punishment accelerates the permeation of the antioxidants from the caramel syrup and the narcotic inebriation of the caffeine. It insinuates a national pride as well. The Province of Quebec is by far the largest producer of the concentrated sap - 70% of the world's output.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

I couldn’t have been more superfluous...

I couldn’t have been more superfluous no matter how I tried
The morning, afternoon and sun were really in my stride
Today is tomorrow in Wellington, the egrets don't give a damn
After lounging for hours under the splendid sky, I bathed in the pool and swam!

I'm happily redundant and unjustified, these pleasures my wanton bliss
A profligate degenerate, the useless parts will hardly be amiss
In the awesome time I smugly linger like dinner by the sea
The palms and music, the espresso cup - a sacrament for me!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Going home from work...

When cycling back to the apartment late this afternoon from Bayfront Park I was oddly overtaken by the sensation of returning from the office. My day began promptly at 7:00 am.  I had an appointment to have my hair cut at nine o'clock. Afterwards I had another appointment with the chiropractor. Accordingly I wanted to ensure some nourishment before leaving the condominium. Each of these undertakings was duly accomplished. What transpired subsequently added to the day's commotion.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Women in my Life

In some respects - and without exaggerating the matter - I  grew up and lived in a predominantly male environment. I went to an all-boys boarding school at St. Andrew's College; I prolonged those prep school coalitions into undergraduate studies at Glendon Hall where I lived in an all-male residence; I studied law at Dalhousie University where the majority of my classmates were male and I lived in the all-male Domus Legis law fraternity; while attending Osgoode Hall for the Bar Admission I was a Don at Devonshire House, an all-male residence of the University of Toronto; I practiced law first at Macdonald, Affleck and then at Galligan & Sheffield where all the lawyers were men; I belonged to the predominantly male Lanark County Bar Association; my primary social venue throughout my 40 year career in Almonte was the Mississippi Golf Club which consisted initially at least of mostly men; I belonged to the exclusively male Masonic Lodge; I was on the Board of Directors of the all-male Mississippi River Power Corporation; and my closest friends have all been male.

Sunday Sunbathing by the Pool

Picasso's Amante
I won’t be so vulgar to suggest I spent the entire day lolling about the pool in the gloriously refreshing air of unparalleled clarity and dryness. Late this morning I expiated my Sabbath guilt for not having attended worship service by conducting the statutory 15 km cycle along Gulf of Mexico Drive to Bayfront Park.  The uncommon equilibrium of the day has seemingly provoked similarly acute recollections, unrelated thoughts and images: St Andrews By-the-Sea, Key Lime pie, my late precious parents, the fortuity of life’s affairs, the comedy of the past, the undeniable purity of the present, the duties to others, the measure of truth, people I’ve known including those who are no longer whinnying among us or estranged by disaffection or disfavour or doubt or misunderstanding, roast-of-beef and Yorkshire pudding for Sunday dinner in an ivy-covered Rosedale red brick townhouse, the penetrating shards of afternoon sunshine, the fleeting white clouds, the canopy of blue above white yachts and white buoys and placid emerald palms, James Carman Mainprize and private dinner clubs, the commonness of un-bejewelled hands, a black Thunderbird with narrow red, white and green stripes on the tires alongside the football field at Trinity College School, Winston cigarettes and vodka martinis, the promise of the wind and the seasons, the blue sea and the vast horizon.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Greetings from the United States of America

Greetings, Socialist Canadians! Greetings, Liberal Politeness Enthusiasts! From the alabaster gated community of Longboat Key amid Fanfare for the Common Man, Greetings One and All!

And the tiny geckos reel across the sidewalk.  The low slung black Bentley cabriolet a noiseless tributary on Gulf of Mexico Drive. The shimmering clay roofs against the azure western sky and the stately wavering palms.

Gratitude to the Town of Longboat Key for preserving the sidewalk patina and manicured Sea Grape bushes! A small wooden sign on the golf course, "No Fishing Private Property". Publix is secreted like a clubhouse against Sarasota Bay.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Rogue Adventure

Minutia was not only the substance of both my educational and professional life, it was  - and continues to be - the subsistence of my restoration, refinement and restitution. I live for detail! An odd corollary of this search for the finer points - or what some have mockingly called trivia - is a complete absorption in my immediate surroundings. We translate this "condition" to pragmatic - and dare I say instructive - rarefaction.  When for example we stayed at the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side of New York City we confined our entire furlough to the hotel for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the cabaret. Each event was in a separate and unique venue, one with white linen and silver service; another cast in a pub-style character; the other a nightclub atmosphere. We may have dwindled briefly on Madison Avenue to purchase a millefiori but for the most part it was entirely agreeable to remain within the Hotel which significantly opened in 1930 and was the popular platform of pianist Bobby Short and singer Elaine Stritch.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

No more than a whimsy

The condition precedent to today's morning animation entailed as it customarily does on the heels of a cup of strong black coffee, sliced green Granny apple, a wedge of Brie cheese and a bowl of steel cut oats a bicycle ride along Gulf of Mexico Drive to Bayfront Park. It is a jaunt which thanks to Mr. Apple's watch I can report with authority was a total of 15.92 kms.  While at the Park I lingered upon the bench overlooking Sarasota Bay. During my respite I met Lincoln a tiny and exceedingly friendly Havanese, the national dog of Cuba developed from the now extinct Blanquito de la Habana (itself descended from the also now extinct Bichón Tenerife, a cross-breed with the Bichon types including the Poodle).

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Quid Pro Quo

Everything in life it seems involves a trade-off in one measure or another.  It's a corollary to the stern caution that we can't have it all, that there are choices to be made. Frequently the decision to do one thing instead of another invokes an undesirable compromise. We may for example be obliged to give up something in order to gain another. Whatever the bias it nonetheless remains that the exchange is "something for something". The indignity which often attaches to the meaning is balanced by the feature that barter involves reciprocity, again reminiscent of that other popular adage that "life is a two-way street". Admittedly the aphorism captures what is occasionally considered unfair accommodation. The colourful details surrounding this Latin maxim thus vary from "give and take" to "one hand washes the other". The implication is thus not always favourable.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Getting in Focus

Serendipitously more than one event has fallen into focus within the last 24 hours. Unreservedly this constitutes an uptick.  Clarity is not always a welcome receipt but in this instance the fortuity is unanimously desirable. The scope is not only personal but more widespread, including the favourable local weather and extending as far abroad as remote friends.  In one case for example it was gleefully reported that chemotherapy works! Considering the understandable depth of that account, most of what followed, while agreeable, was of less significant import. Its corporate effect however was spaciously uplifting.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Relaxing by the pool...

Robert Krieger's life is quickly falling apart.

He’s been fired from his job, split with his sexy girlfriend, and has a controlling overbearing mother he feels obligated to call at least once a week. As a result, he’s developed a distressing anxiety disorder.

Robert lends money to an acquaintance across the hall in his building, a small-time drug dealer named Skids. When Skids is later assaulted by enforcers working for an inner-city drug gang, the Dragons, he hands Robert a package to hold for him until he either asks for it back, or dies.

Lonely but determined to find a new girlfriend, while jogging one morning Robert meets the beautiful and willowy Lindsay Marriott, whom he awkwardly begins to romance. Not long afterward, he finds himself in a bloody one-man war with the Dragons, who believe Robert possesses money Skids owes them.

Robert is soon juggling an increasing array of anxiety-heightening issues, which together conspire to wreak havoc on his fragile sanity.

Gritty and violent, ODDBALL IN 3G (by Marc Berlin) is a psychological thriller that’s also surprisingly funny.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Passing Time

Hi Bill

… thought you would appreciate this info. What a time this is!

Divorce is easier… burial of 90 year old parents is easier… this one not so much!

Hope you are enjoying the sunny south, my ducks on the bay are getting grumpy as the water is beginning to freeze. We’ve had our first significant snowfall - pretty… but chilly!


Saturday, November 16, 2019

A Day at the Circus!

What began innocently enough this morning soon descended into an Epicurean spectacle! The initial plan was no more sensual than a drive in the country, a proposal to identify a local optometrist's clinic in anticipation of scheduling a visit later this week to verify that my recent Toric lens implants are functioning properly. Having quickly located the venue - and assured the parking lot was equally convenient and manageable - the investigative event dissolved into something far more hedonistic. We decided to go to Anna Maria Island to put on the nosebag at Rod & Reel. Of especial allure were the onion rings succinctly described - and quite legitimately - as "Really Good".

Friday, November 15, 2019


Vindication can on occasion suffer the belittling appearance of a self-serving argument rather than a mere explanation. It can on the other hand be perceived more charitably as the difference between an apology and a justification. Even the most prestigious expression of human conduct is at times subject to clarification.

"The Church of England bore everywhere upon it the signs of human imperfection; it was the outcome of revolution and of compromise, of the exigencies of politicians and the caprices of princes, of the prejudices of theologians and the necessities of the State."

Giles Lytton Strachey “Eminent Victorians”

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Complexion for the Connection

Some things are just distasteful! We all live in this country together. That is why we have to get to know one another. This is not much of an issue in the average rural white community in Canada. Nor is it commonly table conversation in a gated community on a barrier island in Florida. What I do know however is that any time I have got  close to another person - whatever our differences - I come away not only better informed but also convinced how similar we are. It’s a start. But it can’t be overlooked that there are some differences which exist; and that sometimes they really matter.

Tiptoe through the tulips!

The steady dedication to one's personal preferences has long been recited with cautionary reservation. The risk of disclosing or exposing oneself to the potential humiliation or narrowness of such privacy invariably predominates. The enterprise has as well an undeniable element of isolationism which admittedly conflicts with normal social interaction. By contrast the well known source of Tiny Tim's rendition of the idiosyncratic adventure involves another, to all appearances a romantic liaison, though it hardly detracts from the indisputable peculiarity of the undertaking.

And if I kiss you in the garden
In the moonlight, will you pardon me?
And tip-toe through the tulips with me

Songwriter:  Al Dubin/Joseph A. Burke

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The King has no clothes!

Even without knowing the outcome of either the Congressional impeachment of the President of the United States or the deciding vote of the Republican controlled Senate, Trump has already suffered the superlative indignity. This is a collective, predictable and irreversible assault upon his fantasy-book march to monarchy.  He has had to endure the iconic demeaning constitutional ritual equating him with other discredited low-level or lascivious figures - a far cry from the royalty he has so frantically sought and mimicked. His impeachment (the 4th in American history) is certain to remain his sole and defining characteristic, an abrupt and distasteful compendium of his already notorious pattern of misbehaviour. Whatever else is said about Trump either now or in the future will rapidly dissolve to this public and political embarrassment.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A normal Tuesday...

Group Captain C. G. Wm. Chapman, dec'd April 8, 2014

Apparently I smell of the sea. And not in a good way, more fishy than salty!  I'll blame it on the red tide which reportedly has come our way. Oh well it's the least of my worries today.  Another Tuesday, another ho-hum day in Paradise as the saying goes!  Truly in the broad picture it couldn't possibly be more desirable!  Though I grudgingly extricated myself from the lair this morning (I remained glued to the mattress as though covered in an unctuous glob of honey) - and though I dawdled at the matutinal trough fully long enough to complete a protracted and most indulgent meal (including if you must know wedges of subtle Brie with my green apple slices and Kerrygold Naturally Softer Pure Irish Butter on my compatible Irish Oatmeal) - I at length resurrected myself from the grip of indolence. I mounted upon my trusty Sun bicycle and headed north along Gulf of Mexico Drive as seamlessly as if entering a tributary from Sloop Crescent.  I love by the way the collection of nautical/sailing names for the interjecting lanes in this area - Spinnaker Lane, Hornblower Lane, Gunwale Lane, Outrigger Lane, Cutter Lane, Yawl Lane, Schooner Lane. Ketch Lane and finally Sloop Lane and Channel Lane. Nothing like the seafaring element!

The Pollution of Merry Christmas

The December holiday ads have already begun the seasonal contamination of the television.  And with them the jingoism that in my opinion pollutes social media.

When considering this warlike foreign policy I have been bound to conclude an unsettling probability. There is a good chance - as I have unwittingly discovered - that wishing someone Merry Christmas will reflect a narrowness of mind and may indeed offend. Imagining that there is some superlative and redeeming quality which attends a preconceived entitlement to express one’s own unconsidered habits is upon reflection nothing short of shallow. There are currently two obvious transitions affecting traditional western culture. One can no longer chuff when confronted with the novelty of another's convention.  The day may come - and sooner than we think - when the customs to which we are fastened by years of popular usage are no longer either the fashion or the imperative.

Monday, November 11, 2019

The best sauce for any meal is an appetite

The benefit of necessity has been touted numerously and with great variety. Not unlike so many adages the deeper resource lies in the question, not the answer.  It has for example been asserted on the most far fetched level that conspiracy theories resolve untold manipulations, distortions, innuendo and nefarious undertakings. It may seem a wild step from appetite to politics but the product is the same. They both answer a need and the selection similarly comes down to taste. It remains however to ask what is the best decision. Granted you can only digest what is palatable;  a meal should not be tolerable merely because of the propelling appetite. But the aphorism ("The best sauce, etc.") contains inherent mischief; namely, appetite enhances the need but colours the substance.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

News from abroad...

Thanks again Bill!

Sounds (and looks) like an awesome bicycle ride. Seems like your weather is cooperating, much more so than ours. Your photos are amazing as always and we thoroughly enjoy the scenery.

Our backyard pond dried up/froze over, then we had one small dumping of snow, perhaps 5cm. It is gone now and we await a low pressure system packed with moisture and cold arctic air expected to arrive tomorrow, and last into Tuesday.

Commune Vulgaris

Vulgaris, a Latin adjective meaning common, or something that is derived from the masses of common people.

Commune: empathize, have a rapport, feel in close touch; feel at one, feel togetherness, identify, relate to. relate spiritually to, feel close to.

The Commune, the group that seized the municipal government of Paris in the French Revolution and played a leading part in the Reign of Terror until suppressed in 1794.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Fatuous Pleasure

There's something almost moronic about my present disposition. Whether it's the taste of the coffee or the sweetness of the prunes; the breeziness of the air or the buoyancy of the sea; whether it's the clerk in the shop or the kindly driver at the intersection; the absence of agenda or the risible absorption with utter fluff, I simply can't stop getting a buzz out of things! I feel like Scrooge on Christmas morning!  I haven't however suffered any preliminary purgatory other than the tolerable prejudice of daily life.  Lest this temperament appears entirely peculiar, we both agreed earlier today that we've struck upon a bumper seam. Ours is an enviable lot to be sure!

The danger of criticism

At times I suffer the discredit of being called a "liberal".  In the United States of America (where I spend six months of the year and am therefore attuned to the inference) the term has an especially powerful flavour which distinguishes the accused from a "conservative".  Commonly the two terms are respectively aligned with Democrat and Republican.  The binary political choice in turn polarizes the associated adjectives. The popular argument is that liberals are wishful and diluted; conservatives are structured and rational.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Morning Cycle

My early morning nutrition was a Sumo mandarin orange, whole wedges in a small ceramic bowl. And strong black coffee, three cups. It was precisely 6:55 am when I left on my bicycle. The cool air was unfamiliar, soft and remarkably invigorating. Though it rapidly became warm, the air was so dry that not even a gentle glow was evident upon my skin. Already there were walkers, joggers and racing cyclists (clumps of them in a row) on the path and in the bicycle lanes. Little dogs sniffed about the grass; their owners absently holding the lead.

Striker succeeds...

"Striker succeeds in using Cicero against himself to show that he has misunderstood the nature of Epicurus' distinction between kinetic and katastematic pleasures. Epicurus did not, she argues, distinguish two different pleasures, but rather extended the meaning of pleasure to cover not only active movement away from pain and toward pleasure, but also states of body and mind characterized by aponia and atraxia. As he himself observes (Letter to Menoeceus 128 = Long and Sedley 21B,2), pleasure is what we want when we are in pain, and what we don't want (presumably because we have it) when we are not in pain. If, therefore, we are by nature creatures of appetite, as Epicurus believed, pleasure is both the arkhê (because all appetites can be referred to it) and the telos of human life. This move, Striker argues, "allowed Epicurus to identify the greatest pleasure with the good life" (p. 17). Striker's persuasive argument has the additional merit of illuminating Cicero's philosophical and doxographical technique and rehabilitating De Finibusas a source for Epicurean ethics."

Jacques Brunschwig and Martha C. Nussbaum (edd.) Passions and Perceptions: Studies in Hellenistic Philosophy of Mind. Cambridge: The University Press, 1993.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Sacrament of Heaven!

What delight has prevailed since awakening this morning shortly after 9:30 am!  For starters I had slept well and my back wasn't killing me when I rolled off the mattress. I then read with satisfaction emails confirming arrangement of two business matters initiated yesterday. My customary breakfast was rewarding in spite of its repetition. We then heard from our housekeeper concerning a matter for which we have been particularly anxious. Subsequently that topic was concluded.

Middle of the Night

Somewhere around 2 am this morning I abruptly awoke from what had been a comparatively restful night.  I recall having gone to bed not long after nine o'clock last evening so I had apparently exhausted the necessity of sleep. Nonetheless I mechanically lingered below the duvet. But the project was doomed.  Slowly I was overtaken by scattered ruminations, philosophic considerations of death and dying and then the more proximate issue of paying our bills with Florida Power & Light on-line and getting the statements by email.  This latter curiosity enlarged to an examination of what had been initiated yesterday through our Sarasota bank account.  It wasn't long before the inconclusive weight of the bureaucracy had me sitting upright on the edge of my bed.  There was no hope of further relaxation. I needed to set myself in front of my computer to resolve the contaminating concerns.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

11:11 am Simmer

Years of habit continue to provoke me to occupation. Now however I've reached the stage where inactivity is the primary goal. It has become almost unseemly to succumb to utility of any measurable description. Instead the current objective is loosely characterized “to enjoy oneself". Absent the focus of either need or desire I find the limitless ambition of enjoyment less than helpful.  I say helpful because I have traditionally equated performance with achievement of some purpose. Clearly I have yet to advance to that ethereal atmosphere of thinking which connotes inner bliss and pure spiritual contentment. I guess I am still caught up in objective goals.

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Bay Boys

It was three years ago that we first lingered upon the Gulf of Mexico on Longboat Key. That decidedly memorable occasion marked the commencement of what has proven to be our incremental descent from Hilton Head Island in South Carolina further along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean to the State of Florida. Most recently we've crossed over the peninsula to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. When we first visited Longboat Key we stayed at the the Resort at Longboat Key Club.  Its inexorable magic captured us immediately and we were lucky enough to secure an apartment rental for the following year at a property located on Longboat Club Road just down the road from the Resort.  That sojourn meant we were once again directly upon the Gulf of Mexico.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

My baptism is complete!

Our residence this year on Longboat Key is adjacent Sarasota Bay rather than the Gulf of Mexico. Longboat key is such a narrow barrier island that we are literally just steps from either the Bay or the Gulf; however because I have such an adversity to walking (a disinclination presently aggravated by neuropathy but reflective of what has been a lifelong prejudice) it has until now presented a moderate obstacle to my investigation of the sea. This is a barrier for me as I have always equated the sea with singular charm and magnetism surpassing even the most enchanting lake or river.  Like many others I lapse into uncontrolled imagination upon the mere thought of sailing ships, seaside surf and sandy beaches.  The narcotic constitutes an abuse if ignored.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Domestic Duties à la Longboat Key

Today is Saturday. We judiciously set our respective smartphone alarms last evening for seven o'clock this morning. We had an appointment scheduled at 9:00 am with the Vietnamese manicurists and pedicurists. The event though pleasurable by every standard nonetheless heralded what proved to be a series of functional obligations.  The cosmetic improvement by the young Vietnamese women was followed by grocery shopping at nearby Publix in the same mall.  Afterwards I paid my first visit of the season to the singularly colourful hair stylist (Michael) at The David Gregory Salon.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Victory at Every Turn

It isn't particularly galvanizing to characterize life as a battleground, each day of which is a theatre of forced combat, a situation of strife and conflict. However after the days we've had recently I can't completely dismiss the metaphor. As might be supposed I am waxing rather more metrical than fully warranted. Life within the present sphere is certainly not an entire defeat. What lingers at this juncture is the sting of the skirmish.  In my present state - tranquillized as I am by the withdrawal of the combative elements - I am reeling from the force and unpredictability of the various assaults which destabilized my being. The provocation thrived upon the standard bellicose attribute; namely, surprise. We were quite unprepared for the combined fronts of attack from realtors, bankers and internet providers.  Each of them appropriated to themselves the privilege to disturb our internal tranquillity. They adopted the righteous attitude of purveyors of information which we could quite willingly have survived without.  Yet we were obliged to button down and address the resulting morass, being as we are the primary object in the line of attack.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Now what?

In the middle of the night I strayed from my virginal lair and stole silently into the drawing room to look out the patio windows. The lights glimmered across Sarasota Bay and along the nearby boat slip. The midnight blue was calm and restful.  I ended making a coffee and puttering on my computer for an hour before returning to bed where I slept deeply and dreamlessly until mid-morning.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Subtropical Third World

The raw and sometimes spooky detail attaching a family is discernible to outsiders after quite moderate exposure, allowing for an expiry of the polite niceties and a revival of the more visceral ingredients. The disclosure is accelerated by the comparative lack of generosity which frequently thrives among related persons who themselves have long ago by-passed the extravagance of pretence in favour of what are the more hardened realities of society.

Saturday, October 26, 2019


Given that we haven’t much of anything planned for the next six months - or for the rest of our lives come to think of it - I hesitate to speak disparagingly of travel of any description. The context here is our putatively lacklustre drive from home in Ontario to Longboat Key in Florida for the winter. The journey hardly qualifies as a Mediterranean cruise. Though I have to say in defence of its functionality that the autumn leaves in Shenandoah Valley were spectacular!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Not the same as moving

In spite of the lengthy motor vehicle trundle (driving is my confessed obsession) relocating to Longboat Key for six months is thankfully nothing compared to the industry of a standard move.  The primary difference naturally is that we have only clothing, toiletries, pills and credit cards to transport.  With some hesitation I crow that we've established an orderly routine for this semi-annual undertaking - essentially having trained ourselves to bring less. I should however add that I tote feather pillows (I despise foam) and a lightweight duvet (so much less hassle than having to deal with a sheet and blanket each morning when making the bed).  As well we cart along a Canon printer/scanner for which we paid the astronomic price of $58 at Target years ago. This tireless device may eventually qualify for the "less is more" axiom in view of the regularity we receive almost every communication electronically but there remain sparse occasions on which the printer and scanner are useful. I've given up hauling my electronic piano.  My repertoire is painfully limited.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Rounding the corner...

Looking back upon our enterprise for the past several days is akin to watching a pot about to boil - initially terribly slow, but perceptibly incremental and finally at risk of sudden fruition. I won't say that everything we've done lately is directed to our impending departure but there has been an unexpressed undercurrent associated with looming absence. Gradually the moorings of our present convention are becoming unfastened.  Recent social gatherings have noticeably blended with the spectacle of evaporation. Meanwhile we count these penultimate rallies as markers for our exit.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

2 Flights of Stairs

Climbing stairs is not what I would call my preferred activity.  Increasingly as part of my curmudgeonly evolution I have wilfully identified those undertakings from which I instinctively resile. The scope of abandonment primarily encompasses social conventions but I as willingly condemn other enterprises which for one reason or another I dislike or of which from some more complicated motive I disapprove.  This evening as we dined at Heirloom Café on the Mississippi River I was obliged to descend a winding flight of stairs in order to "check the children"; the main floor loo was occupied. I discovered upon returning to table that my Apple watch had recorded my climb on the two flights of stairs.  This bit of intelligence captures the competing philosophic message surrounding the performances of necessity and preference; that is, some things while undesirable are nonetheless imperative.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Cosmetic Change Only

The sum of what I accomplished today - though welcome and relieving - amounts to little more than cosmetic change only. It is perhaps this boring moderation which characterizes most my days.  Perhaps too I must be thankful I haven't anything especially piquant by which to recall my quotidian adventures - having avoided for the time being at least the lottery risk of an unfavourable gambit. Whatever the summation of this similarly abstruse navel gazing the deeper analysis is that there is a want of predictability on balance. Astonishingly this causal chaos is routinely overlooked as we mindlessly equate our existence with the foreseeability of a car wash.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Up the Valley

This afternoon we began our bi-weekly recreational journey along Wolf Grove Road to the Village of Middleville then northward along Hwy 511 to Calabogie. From there we travelled to Matawatchan - Hwys 71 - 41 - 132 - Renfrew - Arnprior - Almonte. The journey is essentially one big circle from Burnstown on Centennial Lake Road to Arnprior. The roads are entirely newly paved and therefore exceedingly comfortable akin to driving on silk.  Passing up and down the rolling hills of the Township of Lanark Highlands was a panoramic treat on this ideal autumn day. The orange colours blended beautifully with the traditional red and yellow contrasting with the verdant coniferous trees. I couldn't help but question the competition of the Gatineaux Hills. This was a superb picture!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Lorna Isobel Johnson (nee Jamieson)

Mrs. Lorna Johnson died October 14, 2019 at Smiths Falls, Ontario. The historic fountain-pen sketch of my acquaintance with Mrs. Johnson is faint but indelible. My primary connection is through her father, Raymond A. Jamieson, QC in whose former law office at 74 Mill Street, Almonte I began my own career. The last time I spoke with Mrs. Johnson was immediately following the death of her father as we reminisced about his lengthy career spanning 1921 - 1976. Enlargement of the dynamic local personalities included Mrs. Johnson’s beloved spouse, Donald Patterson Johnson who, aside from being a maverick accountant, represented John Hawley Kerry. Mr. Kerry had been taken under the arm of Mr. R. A. Jamieson upon his arrival in Almonte many years ago. Mr. Kerry extended similar favour to me upon my arrival in Almonte. I understand that in the 1960s both John H. Kerry and Mrs. Evelyn Jamieson (Lorna’s mother) were separately named Citizen of the Year for the Town of Almonte. Completing this network of inspiring personalities is my acquaintance with Mrs. Johnson’s brother, John G. Jamieson who has that familiar flair which characterizes the family. Mrs. Johnson’s death has revived these important recollections of which I am honoured to have been a part howsoever fleeting.

Monday, October 14, 2019

See the world before you die!

From: pierre
Date: October 13, 2019 at 9:32:25 PM EDT
To: lgwilliamchapman
Subject: greetings

Fortunately they agreed to give me back my deposit and I have booked a trip to Ethiopia in January for 12 days and another one to Botswana in April for 16 days. I am also going to the Galapagos Islands in February. When Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier, Aristotle Onassis gave her as a wedding present a yacht and it is on that yacht that I will be doing my cruise for one week and it is limited to 16 persons. As such I will be spending 2 days prior to the cruise in Quito and 2 days on my return from the cruise in Guayaquil. In December I will be going for one week to Anguilla in the Caribbean and will stay at the 4 Seasons for R&R with my books.

I should be around tomorrow.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day has been officially celebrated as an annual holiday in Canada since November 6, 1879. Following the proclamation of Governor General of Canada Vincent Massey on January 31, 1957 the particular day on which Thanksgiving ("Action de grâce") is celebrated is now the second Monday in October, being historically a celebration of the harvest season and other blessings. Though the liturgical theme of the day is now often overlooked the spiritual alliance with family persists. In deference to this paramount element Canadians gather for their Thanksgiving feast on any day during the long weekend; however Sunday is considered the most common.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Generic RGB Profile

"Mac OS X will assume a Generic RGB colour space for legacy untagged images that may have been created with an assumed Apple RGB colour space."

It's hard to know just how to identify the perfect picture but we always know when the colour is just right! On this Thanksgiving Weekend it is not unexpected that thousands will be tooling about the countryside to capture a moment of the ephemeral autumn colours. Our own agenda is less motivated. A more earnest project this morning was the purchase of a pair of shorts which fit.  Lately I have succumbed to every wantonness possible - crusty bread and butter, pasta, gooey chocolate tarts, pecan pie, peanut butter, walnuts and honey, maple syrup and anything. It is per chance the misfortune of having lately switched to a new drug for my neuropathy that I am putting on weight but whatever the reason I cannot but align the effect with the cause - that is, not only going up to the trough but also getting into it!

Friday, October 11, 2019


I'm guessing it was the Golden Maples syrup. I was awake throughout the night. To my discredit I was slurping the stuff from the jug before going to bed. Somewhere I recall having read that maple syrup performs magic so I am wholeheartedly committed to the possibility.

"Yes, pure maple syrup is not only high in antioxidants, but every spoonful offers nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. According to Helen Thomas of the New York State Maple Association, maple syrup has a higher concentration of minerals and antioxidants, yet fewer calories than honey."

Thursday, October 10, 2019


I have long acknowledged these trifling entries of mine constitute a catharsis. After a day such as I have had today it serves enormous release to dwell upon the particulars. Be assured I have no intention of trying your good nature by submerging the discourse into the muck! Instead my resolve is to summarize the events sufficiently to disclose the thrust of what transpired while at the same time permitting me to deliver myself from the emotion. To a degree the enterprise is not far removed from the ceremony of the evening cocktail.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Signs of Imperfection

"The Church of England bore everywhere upon it the signs of human imperfection; it was the outcome of revolution and of compromise, of the exigencies of politicians and the caprices of princes, of the prejudices of theologians and the necessities of the State. How had it happened that this piece of patchwork had become the receptacle for the august and infinite mysteries of the Christian Faith? This was the problem with which Newman and his friends found themselves confronted. Other men might, and apparently did, see nothing very strange in such a situation; but other men saw in Christianity itself scarcely more than a convenient and respectable appendage to existence, by which a sound system of morals was inculcated, and through which one might hope to attain to everlasting bliss."

Excerpt from Giles Lytton Strachey, "Eminent Victorians"

Sunday, October 6, 2019

It's lovely when it works!

As fulfilling and exceptional as so many of our routine performances and daily obligations may be fashioned, it's a treat when things work out without all the effort. A young life dedicated to study, self-improvement and work may yield distinction in a trade or profession, a sense of accomplishment and the reward of money. Some never know when or how to quit but rather insist upon extracting everything they can from the flower to the root. In other instances the endurance is remodelled to the ethereal ointment of borderless care for another. Each of these undertakings and commitments exacts its own price. Certainly the expansion of intellect and skill is an unquestionable application. One cannot but admire the perseverance of another. And charity of any description is redoubtable. But anyone on the wrong side of seventy knows that those erstwhile achievements are poor fodder in the declining years. Where precisely one draws the red line for the diminution of age is always going to be variable. But it is patently clear that no matter what your status or what you've accomplished, when things go swimmingly for no other reason than the sun in the sky, the wind in your hair and the unwitting collision of time, place and company, there's nothing can compete!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Americano, Special and Cookies

At Neat Café in Burnstown, Renfrew County resisting any item on the menu is challenge enough - I swear whoever crafted the narrative was a relative of the poet Wordsworth - but the further beguilement is that you're made to feel part of the family! Unless you can withstand the equivalent of a Jewish mother's invitation to dine, be prepared to submit to a hearty but healthful repast! The particular culprit to whom I refer is Chef Dawn who for the past number of years has been concocting what are unsurpassable meals for locals and visitors in the Ottawa Valley.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Just Killing Time

After a terribly brief repose in the comfortable red leather chair this morning following our 13 km bicycle ride I pushed off to nowhere in particular - unless you include collecting the two blankets from the dry cleaners. The afternoon was upon us. I never like to adjourn the day's proceedings beyond 2:00 pm because everything else becomes impossibly congested and potentially disjointed. There are familiar adventures to be conducted every day, most of which occur predictably at roughly the same times. It is imperative to accomplish a minimum of duties if only for the reason to expiate the guilt of inactivity which might otherwise prevail.

3:00 am

We have a history of arising in the middle of the night, carrying on where we left off basically. The pendulous chimes of the grandfather clock dongs its variable proclamations. We click the buttons of the coffee maker. And carve pieces of crisp apple from Maclaren Orchards in Renfrew. The oak dining table where I position my laptop computer is cluttered with W. H. Bartlett placemat prints and a Crown Darby porcelain plate for the apple slices. We're ready to go!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Don't ask!

When at last I get to what I believe is the end of my day of activity, make myself a cup of espresso coffee and position myself at my desk to review my calendar and whatever it was I intended to do throughout the day, the dilemmas of politicians and real estate agents are at the outer extreme of my compass. The incredible incompetency and inadequacy of some of those people amounts to hyperbolic intrusion in the lives of others.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Moving onward...

Nothing it appears will impair our intended transit! Promoted by the finest thread of eruption we are responding to those faint glimmers of the future by preparing ourselves. The enterprise was this morning exceedingly functional. We clinched one undertaking after another not only as desired but at times better than hoped. In the midst of the undisturbed agenda was a momentary diversion which proved mildly annoying as it rekindled the plaintiff differences between mankind - the inescapable frustrations which make one wonder why do anything! But I plodded on propelled by purely rational resolve - the exclusivity of age - to ignore the competing restrictions.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Swaggering on...

I adore complacency! It is a gloating triumph which so greedily surpasses dissatisfaction! Normally the affliction arises from a smug or uncritical approval of one's achievements but in my case it is nothing but a cheerful regard of the universe, a narrow but pleasing gander at life's swirling orbit. I have unwittingly landed upon a select nexus of time and place which is utterly convenient. All the ingredients of my manufacture have coincided with welcome fortuity. The clouds evaporated in the sky; the wind surrounding the car was winsome; the sheep and alpaca in the field were sylvan; the bike trail on the former railway line was smooth and enchanting; the espresso was strong and tasteful; our trifling personal undertakings were speedily and efficiently accomplished; and even my evening meal composition is inviting!

Sunday, September 29, 2019


By my reckoning it has been three months since I last bicycled. The combination throughout that period of tooth surgery, hernia surgery and eye surgeries has kept me metaphorically flat on my back.  Each of the surgeons recommended restraint from exercise; and I had no inclination to contradict their advice for fear of contaminating my recovery.  Two days ago I completed the final program of eye drops, the last in the series of outstanding medical attendances.  Upon the breaking of a sunny day today I resolved to put myself back on the saddle and to reacquaint myself with the ineluctable benefit of moderate physical activity.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Saturday Cocktails

The day has been a gusty autumnal Saturday. The closest I shall approach the once celebrated evening cocktails is by listening to American jazz pianist Bill Evans. This is "You Must Believe in Spring" his seventieth studio album recorded in August 1977 and released after his death in September 1980. The album's two original songs by Evans are dedicated to his common law wife Elaine Schultz ("B Minor Waltz") and his brother Harry ("We Will Meet Again") both of whom had taken their own lives. The disconsolate theme of jazz (including the theme song from M*A*S*H - "Suicide is Painless") can nonetheless be comforting.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Dressing for Dinner

The ceremony of dressing for dinner has long held sway with me. It is as crucial to an evening's preparation as brushing one's teeth upon awakening. Making ready to dine with others is similarly surrounded by multiple conventions. Many of the spin-offs related to either morning ablutions or an evening foregathering are predictably alike, such as washing, combing, putting on fresh clothing, inspecting for freckles and deciding upon what jewellery if any to adorn the carcass. Refreshment is the driving theme. Fervency is the aquifer stream.

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Only yesterday I contemplated getting rid of my Korg electronic piano.  It's taking up space in the bedroom - which is the only place in the apartment available for it. This isn't however solely an interior decorating dilemma. Like so many other amateur pianists I have fallen into the habit of overlooking the industry associated with the keyboard.  Fortunately it isn't the result of having retired to the country "with my book and my bottle".  While I continue to appreciate reading, I have given up drinking booze. Nor is my ignorance merely a result of having sold my grand piano when we downsized from the house to an apartment - though to a degree the downturn of performance reflects the lesser instrument. But even that is not altogether fair because the electronic device has the merit of strings and violins at the push of a button - a feature which undeniably appeals to my schmaltzy inclination. The decline was already undergoing a natural progression.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019


My agenda today was so unaccountable that I had to examine my diary to recall what I did.  Naturally the abnormality of my day involved nothing exotic. Eye-catching behaviour long ago ended. Rather the list of items was a trifling collection of unrelated obligations. I expect too that my focus was muddled by the news swirling about CNN, MSNBC and Fox News that the president of the United States of America faces impeachment - predictably an event of astronomic implication.  Reportedly Wall Street was reacting to the news - but strangely with less than utter disappointment. Things apparently were not however as inconclusive for the president. As several of the media reporters toxically proclaimed, it's not the end of the beginning but the beginning of the end. The Democrats have at last done more than gnaw on the bone of discontent; they're now running with it. Trump meanwhile reacted like hunted prey and held a news conference wherein he displayed his characteristic madness which only succeeded to exemplify his demise and mental torture.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Impeachment of Trump and the Age of Reason

Though the enquiry process is unlikely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate it could not go unnoticed today that top Democrat Nancy Pelosi opened her call for presidential accountability by referring to Thomas Paine.  Paine, in addition to expounding so cogently upon constitutional gravity, wrote forcefully about the threat of religion.  Paine died on June 8, 1809 at 59 Grove Street in Greenwich Village, New York City. Pointedly his benefactor Benjamin Franklin failed to attend Paine's funeral - at which there were only six mourners, two of whom were black (most likely freedmen).

Monday, September 23, 2019

"Tell me something I don't know!"

My mother died in 2018 at 92 years of age mere weeks after a stroke. Her final respite was I am informed in an exceedingly attractive hospice though I never saw her there after she left the hospital. By that time I was on Longboat Key in Florida for the winter and had no intention of returning to Canada for a token funeral. I had done what I could for her while she was alive.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A question of persuasion

To argue against the noticeable effect of one's current idiom is useless - and it is certainly not limited to language or turn of phrase but instead decorates everything from mode of expression to religion, philosophy, law and fashion. In a word (or close to it), we're influenced by our surroundings.  Obviously. And yet so many of us blithely presume to have escaped the popular trends, imagining that we portray our own dialect and manifestation of character. This is plainly absurd. Instead each of us is very much a product of our environment and associations. Obviously.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The insuperable days of autumn

A silvery mist shrouded the fields on the distant horizon early this morning. Geese honked above. The sky was faintly blue. Though the air was cool the forecast was for a warm afternoon. Our planned outing to the golf club for breakfast coincided favourably with the routine awakening.

Friday, September 20, 2019

IMPARK00110087U $12.00

Today is not the first occasion our credit card has been charged surreptitiously. Whether the relatively small debit of $12 is a mere accident or by design is not especially pertinent to what I understand from having previously endured larger violations is not an entirely uncommon event.  When I spoke with the bank representative late this afternoon she thanked me for having notified the bank of the indiscretion and informed me that often the culprit who abuses the card initially tests a small amount to see whether the card number works. In any event my card has been cancelled and I must get a replacement.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The rapture of it!

With my car windows down and the landau roof open I wended my way home late this afternoon along the rural roads from Arnprior. I passed through the tiny villages which dot the countryside.  Some - like White Lake and Waba - are too small even to be seen on a Google map without significant enlargement.  Close towards Pakenham there were five or six historic tractors parked in a row parallel the road in a field adjoining a farm house.  The declining amber sunshine captured their rusted, copper tones which reflected the awakening autumnal colours of some of the trees. The vividness of the hues was captivating, full-bodied yet silken. The perfectly clear sky was a dome of turquoise. I regretted not having stopped to take a photograph of the unique site but I had whirred by too quickly to regain the window of opportunity.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Respice Finem

Respice Finem: that is to say, in all your actions, look often upon what you would have, as the thing that directs all your thoughts in the way to attain it.

Excerpt from Leviathan (1651) by Thomas Hobbes

Look to the end; consider the final outcome.

Monday, September 16, 2019

What was your first clue?

Inadequacy is not normally something which occurs entirely unexpectedly. There are usually clues. What makes the evolution so frustrating is that we often pig-headedly refuse to respond to those indicia of inferiority at the outset.  The reason is likely that we're hoping against the odds that things will work out - but they seldom do (at least not without a measure of penalty). Not uncommonly it is our failure to equate the primary unpleasantness with the secondary product; but the two are intertwined. Naturally by the time we accept our instinct or whatever it is that has predicted the unfavourable outcome, the damage is already done.  Thankfully the result is frequently tolerable without the refinement; but the torture of the adventure lingers painfully.

Jason Bourne

While it is fashionable among thinking persons to discredit conspiracy theories generally it is difficult to deny the hidden objective behind Jason Bourne movies.  Robert Ludlum (May 25, 1927 - March 12, 2001) was the American author of 27 thriller novels best known as the creator of Jason Bourne from the original The Bourne Trilogy series. Ludlum's background as an Alpha Delta Phi fraternity member and theatrical experience contributed to his understanding of energy, escapism and action that the public wanted in a novel. The number of copies of his books in print is estimated between 300 - 500 million, published in 33 languages and 40 countries.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Differentiation - the Perfect Placebo

The process of differentiating is not merely about polarity.  While it is rightly characterized as distinguishing between two or more people or things, it is as importantly a process of becoming different by growth.  In its strictly scientific sphere for example it is "the process by which cells, tissue and organs acquire specialized features during development".  It is this latter interpretation which captures my curiosity in particular.

Friday, September 13, 2019

I barely have time for myself anymore!

This manifestly tedious day is only more outrageously discredited by my patent self-indulgence. I at last have succeeded to that triumph of activity to proclaim I have virtually nothing to do! Laughable though it may sound there nonetheless resonates a particle of discernment in the otherwise mocking tale. If I were to confess a haunting fear which has forever propelled itself within my being it is the preoccupation with accomplishment. Accordingly I have allowed commercialism to sustain its approbation.  So enthused was I with the object and purpose of that conviction that I seldom explored (much less discovered) the alternative revelation surrounding "that magic feeling, nothing to do, nowhere to go". What I have learned however is that neither project is simpler than the other. Unconditioned as I am to observation (as opposed to performance) concentration is essential to surmount even the most inconsequential disruption of one's customary field of passage.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Circus Food

Altering one's habits is a dangerous undertaking.  Like an old dog I have become set in my ways and ill-fitted to variation. Specifically I have learned that the unaccustomed frivolity of social gatherings is to be conducted with heedfulness. Still lingering in my memory this morning is the plaintive image of an overweight young woman seated in the corner of an A&W restaurant eating her hamburger and fries. She was the server who last evening took our own order, the distasteful repercussions of which arose in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Back to school

This afternoon at 1:00 pm at the Almonte Public Library I attended the first of six scheduled lectures ("Tom Shoebridge: The Magic of Cinema IV") organized by Learning in Almonte.

The Learning in Almonte series of lectures was originally conceived and founded by Dr. Don Wiles, Professor Emeritus at Carleton University in 2008. The program is now managed by Claire ApSimon, Marny McCook and Glenda Jones, providing lectures for a senior audience from September to April. Each series consists of 6 weekly lectures and have (sic) covered a wide range of popular topics.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Not exactly cheering...

In spite of having had an agreeable breakfast at the golf club this morning, and notwithstanding the perfect azure sky and refreshing autumnal air, my frame of mind was nonetheless grainy. I suffered that bristling energy characteristic of an impending dispute - though apart from the occasional driver who pressed to pass (and always with the most laughable and inconsequential results) it was only life in its most generalized rendition that disturbed me. It may therefore have been serendipitous that upon regaining the fold I read an email from my accountant which contained those never cherished words "Canada Revenue Agency".

Sunday, September 8, 2019

The days are getting shorter

Unbelievably I slept until 11:45 am today! This in spite of having gone to bed around ten o'clock last night.  I shamelessly slept surprisingly well until then! My slumber was not one of those restless distortions riddled with care and concern, fearful to rise and face the world. I can only imagine that the recent evaporation of my dutiful agenda has afforded me the singular privilege of indolence - or more likely the overwhelming need to succumb to transparency at last. It is undeniable that I haven't any further biddings within my immediate sights. The only onerous tasks in the foreground are a cinema lecture, an oyster fest, a park dedication, the usual communications with pharmacist, insurance agent and accountant, routine attendances upon physician, neurologist, optometrist and dentist, notifications to Bell and Hydro, flu shots and packing.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Wrestling with life

Once again a person (female, 68 years of age, resident of Mississippi Mills) has died in a car accident on March Road. Aside from being sick about the incident, I am angry. Yesterday's drama unfolded more closely to Almonte than others in the past. The incremental proximity has provoked a commensurately heightened repugnance. The venue where it happened is without question one in which it should not have occurred with such catastrophic consequence. Right or wrong I am disturbed by repeated impatience and speeding in this particular area.  While I certainly don't want to make an inductive leap about the reasons for the disaster, I cannot help but feel a sense of outrage. The roundabout on the edge of Town has become a launch pad for senseless drivers.

Friday, September 6, 2019

No more Zymar!

Though Acuvail and Pred Forte (post-surgical eye drops) continue up to four times per day for three weeks for my left eye (the second of the two operations for Refractive Lens Exchange) I have thankfully now concluded Zymar and all other drops for the right eye. Yesterday I met with the optometrist who wants to review the condition of my left eye in three weeks before recommending a magnifying strength for reading glasses which I will continue to require in spite of now having 20/20 vision for distance.  This was a deliberate choice made at the outset for two reasons: one, I have been wearing glasses since I was ten years old and they have accordingly become part of my accustomed vernacular and costume; and two, the ophthalmologist agreed that the risk of correcting distance vision only is less than attempting to resolve both distance and reading. Decades ago similar operations were considered riskier than today but I saw no need to augment the exposure.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Fine tuning

My world lately has been dominated (or should I say contaminated) by varying degrees of clarity. This is predominantly a factual observation - only coincidentally metaphorical - arising upon the completion of eye surgery to remove cataracts, install new lenses and correct astigmatism. The optometrist pronounced today upon withdrawing the mobile device from the front of my face that my vision for distance is 20/20. He assures me that the faint blemishes (what he called "floaters") which occasionally appear in my sight will disappear (or, more accurately as he stated, become less noticeable) with time. In the same breath he cautioned that no vision is completely perfect; and that the two eyes behave differently.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Casual Acquaintance

While going about my petty duties I remarked for the second time in as many days that the weather is changing. Autumn is approaching. Yesterday it was the glimpse of a large maple tree whose leaves have begun to burnish. This afternoon when seated near an open window, reading the History of Law in Canada, I became chilled by the wind billowing through the shears and ended retrieving my red woollen cardigan from the closet. We quipped that a martini would complete the picture!  As well it might - but mournfully not without inducing an early retirement. The object is never a drink but rather to get drunk.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Cold Blue

A documentary about allied bomber pilots in World War II provoked speculation about my late father’s wartime experiences - not the least of which was having been shot down by a German submarine in the North Atlantic. Apparently the submarine sank and the plane crashed into the sea. Of the small aircrew who clung alternately in and out of the dinghy for nine hours three died. The memory of that event must have burnished my father’s mind and seriously altered his view of this world. As I remarked today upon watching HBO’s documentary The Cold Blue it is no wonder my father was seldom visibly inspired. After that sequence of horrors all else pales.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Sequel - Technical Change

It was shortly after 2:00 pm this afternoon that I recommenced yesterday's project of a small technical alteration of a personal web site on my computer. It is now five minutes before 11:00 pm.  I stopped in between for an hour and a half for dinner.  Otherwise it has been a non-stop and largely tedious exercise.  I at least have at last the pleasure to report its completion.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Starting Over

There must be a psychological necessity - or a hidden stimulant - which compels me constantly to seek to attach mathematical relevance to events. Perhaps it is the axiomatic purity of numbers. More often than not the absorption merely reflects the current date, time or age of whatever is at hand. Today for example is the 1st day of September.  This innocuous fact nonetheless captures for me the significance of a threshold of change. It relates to the historic return to school (a growth phenomenon which touches society every year). It may however simply mark a change of month and thus an excuse or opportunity to categorize some anticipated or intended alteration.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Sweet corn, butter & salt

On Labour Day weekend corn-on-the-cob is standard fare. Given its indescribable freshness, having anything more than a piece of bread with it is superfluous. The condiments of butter and salt naturally go without saying! The recipe obviously hasn't the complexity of Osso Buco but both are monarchs of peasant dishes. The secret is the employment of fresh ingredients. It is a lesson in simplicity and a reminder that supply-and-demand is not the key to every success.

Friday, August 30, 2019


Trickery of almost any order is not gleefully tolerated though as a species of conduct it may perhaps escape outright condemnation if the object of the deceit doesn't affect others. As I am not above the confession of an element of dissimulation in my own conduct - or at the very least a degree of posturing - I prefer to dilute the abuse by characterizing it as imaginative conjecture without the actual taint of falsity. Though this may amount to distinction without a difference it nonetheless relieves me in my own mind of complete betrayal - either to myself or to others. Furthermore it captures the benign ambition of whimsy, that fanciful humour with which I adorn my reality.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

From Blasphemy to Blasé

Last night I slept well. After 48 hours of disorder the tenor of my sterile existence returned to Middle-C. The events transpired miraculously though I know not without industry.  What disguises the draining handiwork is the extraordinary relief upon turning the corner. I'm today in a different universe, wallowing in my own ineffable greatness. Mine is predominantly an unblemished life. I don't aspire to commotion.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


Okay, I'll admit it, I've impatient! Yet whenever I am reminded of this - as I routinely am - it provokes within me a moderate revolution.  I accept the endowment of allowing things to unfold. What threatens the largesse is the discovery that nothing is being done. The unearthing of the immobility is as regularly preceded by an assurance to do the exact opposite. Pshaw! Mendacious utterances! Regrettably this clinical reasoning is seemingly for my benefit only and represents a Pyrrhic Victory at best.  Apparently prosecution has more than one meaning!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Who writes this stuff!

It is treacherous to pretend ever to have ironed out the affairs of the world. The stratum below the perceptible veneer is teeming with commotion. Like the cicada it suddenly emerges after prolonged absence and frequently with overwhelming effect. Similarly the cycles of these satiating influences are not synchronized.  Consider the unfolding events of today. The only thing approaching predicability is that they transpired in the dog days of summer. Nor is the paradox lost on me that "when the Skolymus flowers the tuneful Tettix sitting on his tree in the weary summer season pours forth from under his wings his shrill song".

Another well-known song "La Cigarra" (The Cicada) written by Raymundo Perez Soto is a song in the mariachi tradition that romanticizes the insect as a creature that sings until it dies.

Surely there's a lesson here.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Artistic Influence

Shopping and sugar are abominations and addictions of a frightful order.  The dependency can however be quelled. A measure of restful sleep unquestionably aids in the recovery. While the variable of restraint can be added I'm afraid that accommodation doesn't work especially well for me. I'm far too obsessive. Instead I prefer to tranquillize my excesses by adopting the reasoned conviction that I can never consume all that there is so I am prudent to confine my indulgences to endorsement of what I already have. In summary if I never frequent a furniture store again it will be too soon; and my larder is already replete with raw fruit, nuts and vegetables.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Nasty Innuendo

Not everyone values the shrill drone of cicadas. For me however their drum-like tymbals mark the final and spellbinding days of summer when the humidity drops and the skies are clear. The hum is to my ear almost soporific. Being on the threshold of harvest and the edge of summer a divinely narrow avenue.

"The paired tymbals of a cicada are located on the sides of the abdominal base. The "singing" of a cicada is not stridulation as in many other familiar sound-producing insects like crickets  (where one structure is rubbed against another): the tymbals are regions of the exoskeleton that are modified to form a complex membrane with thin, membranous portions and thickened "ribs". These membranes vibrate rapidly, and enlarged chambers derived from the tracheae make the cicada's body serve as a resonance chamber, greatly amplifying the sound. Some cicadas produce sounds louder than 106 dB (SPL), among the loudest of all insect-produced sounds. They modulate their noise by positioning their abdomens toward or away from the substrate."

Friday, August 23, 2019

Spittoons and Cigars

It’s all part of a sweeping shift into SUVs and crossovers, which offer more space, a higher stance and fuel economy that’s vastly better than a decade ago. About 1 in 2 vehicles sold in 2019 will be SUVs or crossovers, according to projections by car-buying advice site Edmunds. “Primarily it’s a shift away from passenger cars – compacts, hatchbacks, those types of vehicles,” said Matt DeLorenzo, senior managing editor of Kelley Blue Book.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Afternoon Outing

Living as we do in the rapturous Ottawa Valley the only difficulty finding an agreeable place for a pit stop on a balmy summer afternoon is deciding what direction to go. We've literally canvassed venues at every point of the compass and never been disappointed. Today the initial magnetism came from the south on the St. Lawrence Seaway specifically the Ivy Lea Club. However we didn't make it that far.  Instead we detoured en route for some focaccia bread in the Village of Spencerville.  One thing led to another and we ended diminishing our erstwhile fervency.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Nice Stuff!

Astonishingly even Country Life - what some have called "real estate porn" - has begun to document the allure of downsizing.  An article in a recent number under the Interiors heading entitled "Master in miniature" spoke about how "the tiniest estate buildings can make wonderful homes".  John Tanner - who transformed a 600sq ft gardener's bothy at Gunton Hall - wrote that "Breathing life into unloved estate buildings is an immensely satisfying task". Adding to this vulgarity, he referenced country estates diversifying income streams and the rise in popularity of using short-let services such as Airbnb by which owners are looking more creatively at how to make the most of their properties, turning unremarkable or pokey buildings into successful businesses.  What he failed to mention is what has been an historical predicament attending the British manor house and mansion - namely, decay and deterioration.  It is now a worldwide evolution of accelerating scope.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Blissful Summer Day

Today was an unsurpassable summer's day - cloudless sky, dry air, soaring temperature and a light breeze! No doubt it helped that my mental and physical mechanics were equally exceeded.  I seriously believe that one's personal dynamics are as mercurial as the weather - both as to predictability and sublimity. There is arguably be some stock in what led up to today's explosion of delight but I count that not as entitlement so much as fortuity.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Backbone of the Law - the Modern Legacy

Since the seventeenth century one of the most significant achievements of emerging Canadian law was the successful transplantation from Europe and adaptation to local circumstances of the British common law and French code civil to marriage, family, property and succession. While providing opportunities for capital accumulation, the European law (as opposed to Indigenous law) "was concerned to establish a complex balance among competing goals; namely, to uphold the authority of husbands over wives and parents (mostly fathers) over children while also aiming at the equality of siblings (of both genders) and the protection of the interests of widows and minor children" (A History of Law in Canada, Vol. 1 beginnings to 1866). Otherwise the primary focus of contract law was that devoted to indentured labourers whose distinct legality was essentially that of a servant ("a man obliged to go wherever and do whatever his master commanded like a slave during the time of his indentureship", reported Governor Frontenac in 1681).

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Your card expires in 59 days

We've begun looking at alternatives - places to go in the winter.  The latest gander is Texas, along the Gulf naturally, not inland. While it is more distant than Florida we're already contemplating a preference for flying instead of driving.  Quite honestly as much as I adore driving, the jaunt from Canada to Florida is fundamentally a freeway excursion at best, not exactly a scenic tour. In any event the more compelling reality is that travel after a certain age is work. And yes, we've considered exotic destinations like Costa Rica and Argentina and places as far afield as New Zealand.  Third World countries are out of the question.  Europe seems terribly busy; and the temperatures there are not as attractive mid-winter. In any event the contemplation at this stage is pure entertainment in response to curiosity. We're already committed for the upcoming season and we have no complaint whatsoever about our present venue or arrangement. Besides who knows what the state of things will be a year from now?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Clean windshield and a full tank of gas...

Many years ago a young friend of mine - whom in retrospect I now adjudge to have been uncommonly prescient - said "All you need in life is a clean windshield and a full tank of gas!" He clearly derived a measure of poetic inspiration from the retail motor vehicle dealership where he worked. His foresight not only captured his boyish vigour but was on balance insightful - especially since he tragically died in a car accident one winter's eve on the edge of town at 19 years of age.  He further qualified the narrowness of his foreknowing by also having said, "The first thing you do with a new car is beat it with a baseball bat then drive it through a barbed wire fence!"  Today as I drove along the ribbon of highway through the countryside in my recently cleaned and fully-maintained automobile I awoke to the genius of what my late friend had said.  The combination of hopeful prospective (a clean windshield),  the energy to go forward (a full tank of gas) and a battered carcass (the damaged automobile) said it all, not only as a digestible reality but also as a reminder that the status of the present has little truck with the dynamic of the future.  If one were so inclined the paradigm also urges the insignificance of materialism (a theoretical manifestation to which I confess I have yet fully to ascend).

Thursday, August 15, 2019


For me the unflattering result of society  - more specifically, social engagement - is the necessity of recovery. I have become such a tarsome habitué of my own insular scope that I can no longer manage the fallout without earnest readjustment.  The reclamation is reminiscent of my erstwhile housekeeping following a dinner party - though happily without the physical demands of alcohol poisoning.  Apart from that physical recuperation the psychical rally is no less directed to purgation.  In short I have become a convict of my personal obsessions - which even more disparagingly will not alarm anyone who knows me. By way of defence I have the arrogance of excusing my incapacity by confidently asserting it is my posture of preference! Increasingly I have lapsed into what some might more generously - and metaphorically - label "retirement to the country with his book and bottle".  However the descent is characterized the hard truth is that - perhaps without the stimulus of blended whiskey (and certainly without the infection of youth and all that that entails) - I have instead willingly succumbed to a quiet and repetitive lifestyle, a confessed mediocrity.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Paddling through the marsh - the draff and dross of my day

The remnants of my day reflect the moderately peculiar crusades undertaken. This isn't to say I did anything especially grave. The adventures lacked both purpose and ambition - heralded in part by my uncommonly late arising at precisely ten o'clock this morning when I could no longer endure the embarrassment of inactivity. I did however rejoice in the unusual vernacular. Its whimsical nature inspired playfulness - even a forbearing sense of entitlement. I mustn't take credit for the relaxation.  It was motivated by the exigencies of my ophthalmologist on the heels of  lens replacement in the right eye. The surgery is a refined alteration I haven’t the wish to disturb. Bicycling is right out. Lethargy is preferred.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Swaying to the motion

The imperative of one's bounded being is both magical and unimaginatively systemic. Yet to say that one is undeservedly dynamic dilutes the gratuitous power of nature. Though we cannot take credit for much of what transpires in our daily lives it nonetheless warrants our marvel and acclaim. We are alike as vehicles of the sublime as a flower is of heavenliness and wonder. In short I've had a superbly pleasant day in spite of myself!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Erin & Julien

Erin and Julien
The Epithalamic Union

As a relic of the legal art
I’m still aroused by words.
And never to the point to say
That law is for the birds.