Tag Archives: commentary

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

This sculpture of a naked, laughing youth is on Vancouver’s waterfront.

He’s definitely carefree and just enjoying life, something I could appreciate as my M and I were doing the same thing!

There is a nearby plaque that is supposed to explain the sculpture’s background, but I found it to be worded in a rather convoluted, overly arty sort of way. I took a picture of it but I’ve decided to leave it out. I think it’s better to just let the viewer do the interpreting.

Happy weekend from Vancouver’s naked laughing guy!

Bill Murray Came to Visit

On Monday we had a snap federal election. Our fearless leader, Justin Trudeau, thought that his popularity could secure him a majority government, so he called for a quickie. “I have to do it fast,” he thought, “before I act like a bonehead again and people change their minds!”

Justin Trudeau

Actually, I don’t blame him for wanting a majority. That way, he can move more easily to carry out his government’s platform without deferring to the other parties. Any other leader would have, at the very least, thought about doing exactly the same. I believe that most would have seized the opportunity.

But two things really irritated me. The first is that he wouldn’t admit to the simple fact that a majority would have made governing a whole lot easier, and the second is that he went ahead with the election despite Canadians’ express desire that he not do so, and especially not with the pandemic still going on. Given that he had two more years left in his mandate, there was absolutely no need to put us through it, including having to pay for the costs of it.

So we slapped his hands, and deservedly so. We gifted him with his very own version of Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day in the form of another minority.

Trudeau and one of his children.

The new seat distribution in Parliament is almost identical to that of the 2019 election. There was little movement at all, although there may be some slight adjustments given that mail-ins are still being counted.

The cold hard fact is that the public has spoken, and we want a minority government. We are not going to turn over the shop to one party. In the end, we don’t trust any of them enough to do that. We have given them their marching orders: an expectation that the parties will work together to represent all of us and will stop trying to do what’s in their best interests instead of ours.

Good. They need to pay attention and go to work. All of them.

Blogging Experience

Salted Caramel https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2021/04/19/blogging-insights-blogging-experience/ asks the question What has your blogging experience taught you?

Well, good question. In blogging age, I’m an old timer. WP has been a second home for eight and a half years now, so I’ve been around a bit.

Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories

I think that through my blogging experience I have learned to get my thoughts out better. When I first started blogging, I hadn’t done much writing for quite a long time and I found the process cumbersome. Not the writing itself, but the thinking required to get a thought out in a streamlined or cogent manner (or maybe I’m just getting old). Whatever the problem was, blogging has been good for my brain. Writing, and in particular, reading the writing of others, has helped to keep my thinking sharper.

It has also taught me a lot about socialisation. I’m an introvert; in some ways, a rather big one. According to Myers-Briggs, I’m an INTP. The I stands for introverted. I don’t like parties, crowds or big gatherings. It’s not that I have any kind of discomfort; crowds don’t scare me or worry me; it’s more that I prefer to be with others in twos, or threes, or fours, and especially with those I know well.

Another thing is that I’m inept at small talk. I can’t stand around with a drink in one hand, a canapé in the other and wittily hold forth on the merits of Camembert over Brie. At a big party, I feel like I’m nowhere. I’m the one who will be sitting alone, reading my phone and wishing I was somewhere else having a glass of wine with a good friend.

But WP allows me to be in a crowd without being in a crowd. I don’t have to do small talk (I REALLY don’t like small talk). I can read interesting posts and then leave the room. 😉 There’s a lot about blogging that works well for an introvert.

Caribbean Sea, Dominican Republic

But my blogging experience has also taught me that there are drawbacks to it, too. You get to “know” someone, and then they disappear. Sometimes, they will say in a post or comment that they are leaving, but most of the time, there’s just … silence. Cue the tumbleweeds.

But that’s kind of the point, right? In blogging there’s an element of non-commitment commitment, like it’s not real life or a real thing. And maybe the person you’re chatting with isn’t real anyway. The “person” could be a construct, a complete lie designed to fool you, confuse you, or otherwise mule you.

And there are other issues. Issues that are made of people’s worst characteristics.

I had only been on WP for a couple of months when I saw a “takedown.” A blogger announced in a post that another, very popular blogger had made unwanted sexual advances to her over email; apparently, he was taking advantage of her as a childhood sexual abuse survivor. I had only recently started following the popular blogger, and found him to be witty, funny and irreverent, but … I also found his comments section to be clubby, exclusive and arrogant. And there was something else, too. A sort of jockeying for position among the commenters that I found off-putting.

Pacific Ocean off North Vancouver, British Columbia

Just as I was thinking of dropping the popular blogger, the complaint around the unwanted sexual advances occurred. I had no idea who was right or wrong and felt very uncomfortable as people started taking sides and voicing their opinions back and forth.

So I backed off. I later learned that the popular blogger removed his three WP sites and stopped blogging, at least here or at least under that name. As a result, I considered dropping blogging altogether, because I wondered if this type of situation was more common. As someone who had fairly recently extricated herself from a relationship with a malignant narcissist, I was cautious.

And I suppose it is common. Like any other situation where there are humans, contretemps can, and does, occur. Blogging is a microcosm of the wider world. And as in the wider world, there are always going to be those who try to manipulate, obfuscate, lie, cheat, and otherwise cause mayhem, so you have to be as on guard as you normally would be in the real world while you find your feet in the blogging world.

And you? What has your blogging experience taught you?

Getting the Jabs

I haven’t written much about the Moderna jabs, the second of which I got almost two weeks ago.

While vaccine accessibility has been slow in some parts of Canada, initially owing to delays in shipments but also to what now seems like, from here anyway, a decided lack of organisation, in other parts it has been efficient and fast.

Some of this has been surprising. I work in the Northwest Territories, and we deal with enormous distances and a lot of the time, very scary weather where even the snowmen take shelter. If distribution can be streamlined here, then I would think it should be easier in places that don’t have to deal much with weather and distance.

As to the vaccine reaction, yes, I did get one. It lasted about 36 hours after my second shot, but it was eased by ibuprofen, lots of ice cream, really silly movies and naps. Basically, I felt like I had the flu. My husband, M, had a very minor reaction – he said that if he was still working, it wouldn’t have prevented him from going. Almost all of my employees, regardless of age, had reactions ranging from “what shot?” to “just let me crawl away and moan.” Everyone bounced back quickly though.

As far as I’m concerned, the reaction I had is loads better than getting coronavirus or inadvertently spreading it.

But, (there’s always one of these, right?) there’s been a lot of confusion around the Astra-Zeneca. That’s not surprising. This is a novel virus, and tons of data, on a world-wide level, keeps informing us of how this vaccine (and others) is functioning. When our patience for this pandemic is dropping by the micro-second, it’s hard to hang on to it while the research types keep trying to do their best to help us. We have to remember to do ours.

How is it in your area? Are you satisfied with the timeline and how the vaccine distribution has been organised?

And if you have had a shot or shots, how did you do? Any reaction? Or, are you at all concerned about getting the vaccine?

You sure you want to be a writer? Now? #humor #covid #writing

And the best way to know you’re a real writer? You get this gorgeous geek-writer QUERTY painting from the amazing, incredible, real painter-type …

You sure you want to be a writer? Now? #humor #covid #writing

Here’s a funny, wry, realistic piece about being a writer from Barb Taub. If you’re not familiar with Barb, please have a good visit at her blog. It will be time well spent. 🙂

Markle’s Sparkle … Or, Maybe not so Much

Ahead of Oprah’s big interview of Harry and Meghan, I have to say that I’m kind of tired of hearing about them and their so-called issues. It’s getting irritating.

Well, maybe there are issues, but really, are they that bad? Bad enough that after carrying on endlessly about privacy and media intrusion, they go to the absolute biggest doyen of celebrity journalism, Oprah Winfrey, to “tell their truth.” Am I missing something here, or isn’t that inviting more attention? Are they now invading their own privacy?

Meghan

Queen Elizabeth II of the UK is also queen of Canada, and Harry is her grandson, so as a Canadian, I think I can chat about this. After all, when they first escaped the British Royal Family, they hid out on Vancouver Island, and as I understand it, were for the most part unbothered by the media. Locals apparently tried their best to hide their location, and to be as unhelpful as possible to any paparazzi or other prying types.

But soon thereafter, they headed to the US, a country that Meghan said she would never set foot in while Trump was still president. Interesting. They played around with using their royal status to make money. They cut very lucrative deals with Netflix and Spotify, all the while releasing communiques about charity and public service and telling people how to live. Really, what qualifications do either of them have for telling people how to live?

By any measure, Meghan, a very cute but third-rate actress, has done very well out of her royal connections. Would she be making these deals if she were one of Harry’s ex-girlfriends? Unlikely.

Queen Elizabeth II of Canada

Which leads me to what I think happened with those two while they were still in UK. I think they wanted to run the show, so to speak. Playing second fiddle to Kate and William (for the rest of their lives!) was just not very palatable. Following royal protocols and doing what a 94 year-old woman wanted them to do was just not in their wheelhouse. Having the agenda set for them was just not their cup of tea.

So, they decided to leave. I admire them for that. If you don’t like the song, gather up your courage and change the channel. But what I find rather off-putting, aside from their seeming inability to stay out of the media spotlight, (if they really wanted privacy, all they had to do was stay on Vancouver Island or another place like it) is the way they did it. In my, well, unimportant opinion, they glow with hypocrisy.

I don’t doubt, not for a second, that they have legitimate complaints. But I think it’s probably a two-way street. And no matter which way you cut it, these two are amazingly privileged (mostly because of royal connections). So while most of the rest of us think about vaccines, masks, the economy, and how to get our kids through online high school, to say nothing of how we can help those who are less well off during this pandemic, these two are wallowing. Shouldn’t they be happy that they have done so well and gotten what they wanted?

Apparently not. One of the interview ads suggests that Harry is going to compare Meghan (and their situation) to Diana’s. Meghan accuses “the firm” of lying about them. So it seems that they are going to do some major bashing, going all the way back to the death of Harry’s mother.

Why would they feel they need to do this to a 94 year-old woman whose 99 year-old husband is in the hospital? For a couple who says that one of their missions of service is the development of compassion, this doesn’t seem very compassionate.

So, here’s what seems to be the reality. Harry and Meghan are very privileged people who are extracting further privilege out of the fact that they are connected to a very privileged institution. To me, doing an interview at the expense of Harry’s elderly grandparents (setting aside that they are at the head of the royal family) makes them look kind of mean, and more than a little self-centred.

While I’m sure they have issues with “the firm” I have no doubt that “the firm” has issues with them. Most things in life are not as one-sided as these two are trying to insist, including a completely saintly Diana or a completely villainous Charles.

Wild about Harry?

These two were given every opportunity to do what they wanted; now they should shut up, do it, stop whining and while they’re at it, drop the whole title bit (how can you continue to complain about the royal family when you keep using a royal title to facilitate your climb to the top?). He says, “Call me Harry.” She says, “Call me Meghan.” Harry and Meghan Windsor – maybe they should really follow through on that. It would certainly improve their credibility, especially in a country that threw out the monarchy a long time ago.

Meghan is no Diana, no matter how much Harry tries to say that she is. Meghan strikes me as a big-time toughie (isn’t acting a pretty tough gig?); Diana was much more vulnerable. I really can’t feature Meghan being chased to death by paparazzi, or some other similar scenario.

Meghan has been accused of bullying by some of her former employees, and I have no doubt there’s truth to it. On the other hand, has Meghan had to deal with racially motivated criticism? I have no doubt that there’s truth to that, too. All I have to do is think about that horrible Piers Morgan and the vindictive way he talks about her to see that there is, indeed, truth to it.

But what they are about to do is probably very unwise. It’s something that they will never be able to take back; a very public airing of their problems and issues. To me, this is totally unnecessary. They have already made their point with their feet. What’s the use of rubbing salt in the wound? Are they trying to bring down the royal family? Cause their demise? Actually, they’re probably just trying to be right, and a lot of wrong has been done in the name of trying to be right.

Kate and William

Almost certainly, Meghan will cry or be teary-eyed during this interview, but I don’t think she really has all that much to cry about; they will wring themselves out for the public, to get “their version out there.” But why does their “version” need to be “out there?” If they cared about their privacy, they wouldn’t need the public to know. It all just sounds like they are trying to persuade the public, especially the American public, of how awful the royal family is and how badly they have been treated.

The public’s opinion is clearly very important to them, and they feel they need to do some convincing. But their actions have already spoken much louder than their words. Can’t they continue that approach and earn the good opinion of the public through their hard work? They keep saying they are committed to public service; why don’t they just start doing that?

These two are rich and famous and living in one of the priciest and most exclusive areas of the US. They are about to release an interview that may contain something important (support for Black Lives Matter, maybe, or other important movements?) but more likely, is going to contain drivel, and spun in a way that attempts to make them look like saints and the royal family look like devils on speed.

As for me, I’m royalled out. Ms Markle has lost her sparkle. I am not going to watch their interview. I am going to try to avoid reading about them or other royal types. The only royal I want to see is the picture of Elizabeth on the 20 dollar bill. And frankly, when Elizabeth passes on, I would like to see the end of monarchy in Canada.

The bottom line is that in the scheme of things, these two just aren’t that important, not unless they really do something to change that. They are second-fiddle chairs in an outdated orchestra that’s struggling to find relevance in the modern world. They say they have “stepped back” from that orchestra, but in the end, what does that even mean? I’m just not seeing it. Do you?

2020: A Retrospective

I recently saw a sign that said “2020. Written by Stephen King. Directed by Quentin Tarantino.”

Apt, yes?

The calm before the storm.

Well, yes and no. For all its tragedies, fears, stresses, economic disasters, fires. floods, storms, inconveniences and annoyances, 2020 could have been a lot worse. In fact, history has recorded quite a number of years that were much worse than this one. 1944 was the worst year of WW II; June 8, D-Day, saw the deaths of almost 7000 allied soldiers (British, Canadian and American) in that 24-hour period alone.

1918 was the start of the Spanish flu. That plague went on to kill 50 million people world-wide. Whole communities were wiped out.

And let’s not forget WW I. On August 22, 1914, 27000 were killed during The Battle of the Frontiers. That was a single day’s losses. In total, that war killed 1.35 million soldiers; that number doesn’t include civilian deaths.

I could give many other examples, but you get the idea.

In the scheme of things, 2020 just wasn’t that bad. In common with others, though, I did a lot of moaning and complaining. But really, I haven’t been that badly affected. It’s more precise to say that I’ve been inconvenienced.

I kept my job. I didn’t lose anyone to coronavirus. I had to stay locked up and quarantined for weeks, but Spouse and I are both introverts. It wasn’t really that difficult.

Given that situation, a spotlight has been focussed on some things to which we need to pay attention; it’s like we’ve been given a second chance. Let’s not blow it.

So in that spirit, here are some realisations, appreciations and habits I hope to take with me:

The worst may be over. For now.

1. Respect for nature. We don’t need to spread ourselves over every single millimetre of this planet. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that this is the attitude that lead to (probably) bat, snake and pangolin DNA combining to bring about coronavirus.

2. Mindful travelling. (https://mindfultravelco.com/5-steps-to-mindful-travel/). Trying to cram an entire continent into a 10-day package tour where the point is to post as many braggy photos to Instagram as possible? That’s not travel. To me, that sounds like a lot of gobbling and very little appreciation. Much of this type of travel is causing extreme damage to the very things people want to see. And the environmental injury is becoming enormous.

3. Solidarity. We’ve all been hit by this. The whole world. Focussing on our commonalities is much better than focussing on our differences.

4. We are a lot more capable than we have let ourselves become. We figured out some amazing, innovative, and environmentally friendly solutions to the coronavirus issues. And those vaccines! So amazing and so fast!

5. There are wonderful people from all walks of life who have stepped forward during this crisis. And sometimes, I was very surprised by who did (and who didn’t). For all we think we know people, we really don’t …

What do you think?

Tiger Hug

This amazing photograph of a Siberian tiger hugging a tree was taken in the wild with a hidden camera. The camera was set up in the forest and then left to be triggered when the tiger came by.

Sergey Gorshkov’s winning Wildlife Photography of the Year image is called “The Embrace.”

As you can imagine, pictures of these extremely rare tigers are difficult to get and this one has very deservedly won the Wildlife Photography of the Year competition for photographer Sergey Gorshkov.

To read the original article, click here: https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/science-environment-54518336

Enjoy the rest of your week. 🙂

Blogging Insights – What Are Your Reading Habits?

The idea for this post comes from Dr Tanya at Salted Caramel. Thank you, Dr. Tanya. 🙂

Please see the original post: https://saltedcaramel670.wordpress.com/2020/06/08/blogging-insights-32-your-reading-habits/

Northern Autumn Morning

1. How often do you visit the WordPress Reader?

I always use my reader. Wherever possible, I’ve disabled email notifications (it’s strange that I sometimes get them anyway) and I rarely use or check the Gmail that’s attached to WP. So, if you’re trying to contact me through WP email, leave me a comment letting me know. 🙂

I unfortunately already get about 150 work-related emails a day in addition to my personal email, so more emails? No thanks. If someone I follow has posted, the post shows up in my reader, usually, unless there is a mysterious glitch that results in an undirected “unfollow.” But, if that happens, I won’t get an email notification anyway, so …

And, an aside: isn’t that strange? Sometimes I just “unfollow” someone I’ve followed, in some cases, for years. The link seems to drop or fail or something. Or another thing is that people’s posts may suddenly stop arriving in my reader. It will occur to me that I haven’t seen someone for a bit and then I’ll go looking. Anyone else experience this?

One Yellow Flower

2. What kind of blog posts are you more likely to read?

I will read anything that strikes me as interesting or humourous, and of course, I look at a lot of photographic blogs. When I first started (almost eight years ago; I can’t believe it’s been that long!), I read many blogs about narcissism. I had had a miserable (but very short) marriage to a narcissist followed by an ugly divorce, and I was doing some of my homework through reading up on people’s experiences with the narcissistic element.

It’s interesting that I now don’t read any blogs that are completely devoted to narcissism, or at least, not very often. The last blogger I followed who used to write with some regularity about narcissism stopped posting in December; she started other projects. What that tells me is that I don’t need to do that any more; I’ve moved on, and that’s partially due to the reading I’ve done here.

I recently watched the first season of Dirty John (a true story) on Netflix (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_John_(TV_series) ) and a couple of times had an intense feeling of déjà vu as I watched Debra Newell deal with the narcissistic sociopath she had married. Her experience was much, much worse than mine, but mine paralleled hers in some very important, definitive ways. I was able to predict what she should have been doing and when and found myself willing her to take action or act differently. It was an edifying viewing experience, in more ways than one.

I regularly read the blogs that I follow, so I don’t follow more blogs than I can handle. I skip around to read many single posts, however. I don’t find WP’s “Discover” to be very interesting or appealing (some of it is) and I’ve stopped taking a look at it. I used to enjoy Freshly Pressed (remember that?) much more, but it had issues too (I was floored by the poor quality that sometimes showed up there).

Dominican Republic

How about you? What are your reading habits?