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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Manners, bloody manners

I was in a local grocery store not long ago, standing mid-aisle and peering at shelves of canned products, trying to find the ones I wanted for my cart. As I reached out to snag a can in front of me, a cart appeared between me and the display. To my right, a woman – talking […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Sunny with a chance of squirrels

What is going on in that furry little head of yours? I was standing on the porch one day last fall watching Bella, our terrier-cross dog, and latest addition to the Chadwick pack. She was watching Diego, our ginger tom cat who was watching something in the trees. Bella stared, then turned to look where […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Litter, litter, everywhere

Pop cans. Coffee cups. Candy bar wrappers. Fast food wrappers. Cigarette packages. Cigarette butts. Dog feces. Bags of dog feces. Flyers. Cellophane package wrap. Water bottles. Juice bottles. Chip bags. Beer cans and bottles. Disposable lighters and pens. Cardboard beer boxes. Discarded newspapers and junk mail. Plastic grocery bags. I just don’t get littering. I’ve […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Conspiracy Theories: 2014 Update

It’s time to update a piece I wrote in December, 2012, outlining the secret deals, backroom negotiations and “barbecue politics” that our council has been involved in since that date, more than a year ago. So here comes the update, the emperor without his clothes: Secret meetings: none Backroom negotiations: none Barbecue deals: none Sorry, […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Time to get serious with distracted drivers

In March, the fine for being caught texting, talking on your cell phone, or tinkering with your MP3 player while driving will jump from $155 to $280 in Ontario. That’s better, but not good enough. Distracted drivers are a growing threat to everyone sharing the road – other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. We are all […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: To err is human. And bureaucratic.

Errare humanum est, perseverare diabolicum, et tertium non datur. To err is human; to persevere in error is diabolical; there is no third option. Bit of a tough love phrase, that one. Most of us know this as the later paraphrase of Alexander Pope: to err is humane, to forgive divine. Yes, he wrote “humane” […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Psychics 2013: the silly, the scams, the failed predictions

Action News, an ABC affiliate, ran a late-year story with the headline “Psychics interpret pets’ thoughts.” No, it’s not April Fools’ Day: this was December 26. Yet the reporter treated it seriously; just like it was a real story; actual news, rather than a steaming heap of superstitious dung. That reporters for any media outlet […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: American belief in evolution is growing: poll

A new Harris poll released this month shows that Americans apparently are losing their belief in miracles and gaining it in science. The recent poll showed that American belief in evolution had risen to 47% from its previous poll level of 42%, in 2005. True, it’s not an overwhelming increase, and it’s still less than half […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Canada Post writes its own obituary

Headline news this week: Canada Post moves to end home delivery. End home delivery? For me, both as a writer, a lay historian, and growing up in an era where letters were important for communication, business, family and for art, that’s just crazy. I mean really, seriously, way-more-insane-than-the-OLG crazy. But, in an age of declining letter […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Bread, Madness and Christianity

The witch craze of Europe is a popular, albeit often misrepresented, part of our collective history. Everyone knows witches were hunted, tortured and often killed – burned at the stake, a particularly repulsive method of murder. While not a uniquely Christian form of killing, it was practiced widely by Christians throughout history in every European […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty together again. That children’s nursery rhyme says a lot about the situation Toronto Mayor Rob Ford finds himself in, following the release of police reports, yesterday. The mayor is in, to […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Random Acts of Kindness

It goes by almost unrecognized, but for some, it is a special day that reflects the way we should all behave, to everyone, every day. It’s called Random Acts of Kindness Day, and it will be celebrated in Collingwood, on Friday, November 1. Council has contributed by making downtown parking free all day, as we […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Burning Books, Burning Bibles

Pastor Marc Grizzard, of Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, NC is back in the news this week, but I’m not really sure if it’s because of something he did or something that was dredged up online from a few years back and has just been regurgitated. This week, a story in The Telegraph about Grizzard resurfaced […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: How to Break Your Election Promises

Taxman: I was thinking of this Beatles’ song, recently, after council received the pre-budget report from the treasurer at last Monday’s council meeting. It’s dated, the song that is, but still eerily appropriate (I will have to learn to play it on my ukulele). Last election, all of us who got elected ran on a […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Bread the Old-Fashioned Way

For all the reading, the reviewing and the researching for the best bread maker these past few days, it’s somewhat ironic that instead I turned back to the old-fashioned method and made a couple of loaves by hand, this morning. Not perfect – I haven’t made bread these past twenty-odd years, and have forgotten the […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Hijack the Starship

Nineteen seventy. A great year for music, and a sad year, too. The death of Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin.* Many of the great acts were kicked off their record labels and would struggle to find new publishers.** The great psychedelic band, Jefferson Airplane was breaking up, but before it did, Paul Kantner and […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: 1927, a Year to Remember

1927. It was the year America sent troops to Nicaragua, forcing a US-supervised election. The year Alfred Hitchcock released his first movie. And the year when Fritz Lang released his masterpiece, Metropolis. Buster Keaton released The General that year, although it bombed at the box office. Clara Bow starred in Wings. Sergei Eisenstein released October: Ten […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Internet Surveys: Bad Data, Bad Science and Big Bias

Back in 2012, I wrote a blog piece about internet polls and surveys, asking whether internet polls and surveys could be – or should be – considered valid or scientific. I concluded, after researching the question, that, since the vast majority lack any scientific basis and are created by amateurs – often with a goal […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: 50 Years: Has Anything Changed?

I remember that day, in 1963. I was in high school. Penmanship class, after lunch. I think it was the last year for penmanship in Ontario high school, but even if not, I never took it again.* We used those long wooden pens with the fancy metal nibs, removable nibs that had to be periodically […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Why Spelling Matters

Sometimes I despair when I surf through the social media. Technology has empowered everyone to be able to comment, to post their stories, to share their opinion. Yet it has not enabled their ability to compose a sentence, or to spell the words correctly. It has not made us better grammarians, better spellers. And in […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Chemtrails redux: the attack of the tin-foil hat brigade

My earlier post on the nonsensical chemtrail conspiracy has generated quite a lot of activity recently (more than 1,000 views in a few days – thanks!). So much so that I decided to look online again to see why – had this silliness abated? Were people waking up and laughing at their former craziness? Or […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Should Latin Return to Ontario Schools?

When I was a young lad, all I ever wanted to be was a paleontologist. Dinosaurs were the most important thing in my life until around age 14 or 15. That’s when I barely scraped through my high-school Latin course. After that, my interests shifted to other, more attainable career goals. Basic Latin was, at […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Of Type and Typography

Humans have remarkable ability that is shared by – as far as we know – no other animal. We can turn abstract images and symbols into meaning. Words are, of course, the prime example, as old as our history. We can turn a word like dog, tree, table or vacation into a broad and deep […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Empire of Illusion and the End of Literacy

I don’t know whether to feel vindicated, delighted, frightened or depressed as I read through Chris Hedges’s book, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. Much of what he says reflects many of my own observations and opinions. I started reading this book in part as research for my upcoming […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: An Indoor Year-Round Rec Facility for Seniors and More

Monday night, I asked for a staff report on covering our lawn bowling rinks, and making it into a year-round facility for Collingwood. This facility would provide recreational opportunities for seniors and older adults. It could include other sports like horseshoes, shuffleboard and croquet. Perhaps badminton and a walking area (since we will lose our […]