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.