Odd moment

Taken at the Chihuly exhibit in Montreal, June, 2013

Taken at the Chihuly exhibit in Montreal, June, 2013. Totally unrelated to blog post. I just happen to like the photo.

Earlier this week, I was on the treadmill next to an Asian woman of about my own age who was listening to a television program using her headphones while she worked out. There were only three or four of us in the entire exercise area.

The woman’s workout ended and as her treadmill began to slow, she started to sing along with the television program. She was not singing in English so I didn’t understand the words, but I recognized the tune. It was “Nearer my God to Thee.”

The treadmill came to a stop but she continued until the end of the verse, loudly. She wasn’t hitting the notes exactly right, but she was passionate, leaning in toward the TV screen.

As the next verse started, another woman climbed down from a nearby  elliptical, came over, and told the woman to stop singing. She did.


Big Brother 2013

Big Brother IS watching us, but WE (with our hand-held cameras and recording devices) ARE Big Brother. Interesting.


This news item defines when I will lose the will to live.

“Coffee beans burn towards extinction.”

That gives me 68 years to get the rest of my work done. Not enough time, of course, but it will have to do.

*Orders an Americano, black.*

Some recent thoughts on Email, Smoke Detectors, and The Secret Joys of Editors

An Unexpected Benefit of The Invention of Email

I love the internet. I have just facilitated an email conversation between a cousin who is 82 and my (deceased) aunt’s best friend (92) (both of them sharp as tacks). They live thousands of miles apart, and they are now happily sharing memories of my aunt and other relatives of the long-ago past on email with copies to me!

Smoke Detectors

Makes me laugh with sympathy and relief when I hear the sound of the smoke detector going off in someone else’s apartment for a few minutes and then the sound of a “Smash” and then silence. It is a miracle any of the smoke detectors in any of my apartments I have ever lived in have not been permanently broken. They must be built to withstand abuse.

On Being An Editor

Yesterday I found myself stopped in the street to admire a billboard that promotes Don Equis. And, for a change, I was not admiring the most interesting man in the world – I was admiring a pronoun. It said, “He once rode a bull until it fell asleep.” Total genius not to use the accurate pronoun there. Hats off to the editor.

One time I admired a period on the cover of an Esquire magazine for several days. It was when Jack Nicholson was in more of his heyday than he is now, and it was a cover story about him, and there was his photo on a black background and under it the word “Jack” in white, and then the period in white. And that was all.


I hope that Canada never warms up so much that robins no longer migrate. The sound of a robin’s song when they first return in the spring fills me with such happiness and hope that it almost hurts. The feeling would not be the same if they were here year-round.

Faustian Thinking

Off to see Gounod’s FAUST at the Cineplex/MetOpera — want to see if I can pick up any tips on selling my soul to the devil. It’s an expensive time of year…

“I am confused,” Mary said sweetly.

In the airport the other evening, I heard a mom say to her young son as they walked by, “…because you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”

This is an expression I also learned at my mother’s knee when I was about the same age as that boy — i.e., around seven. But it never occurred to me until I heard that mom to wonder how that expression ever came into being in the first place. I mean, who wants to catch flies? They are dirty, bothersome creatures and should keep to themselves.

Maybe the expression means, “If you want to squish flies, you can catch them more easily if you put out a plate of honey than if you put out a plate of vinegar.” But that is never what I understood it to mean. I always thought it meant that the goal was to catch flies.

I think this is just another one of those confusing adages wherein I understand the meaning but not the words.