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Niblet Publishing

Occasional Observation #62

I’m afraid I don’t share the literary world’s near-boundless admiration for the prose style of Ernest Hemingway. If affect-free prose were what I was after, I would go and read a blueprint. Writing without affect is like cooking without spices.

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Niblet Publishing

Occasional Observation #61

John McPhee was, quite simply, the previous generation’s Ken Burns, working on a much smaller canvas and using print rather than film.

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Niblet Publishing

Occasional Observation #60

I’ve always eaten lots of canned tuna. . .which may account for my sometimes mercurial personality.

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Niblet Publishing

Occasional Observation #59

Overkill?

Fully masked, the young angler fishes the dank, muddy waters of the Gatineau. He’s at least 30 metres away from the walking-biking path along Jacques-Cartier, which in any event is being used by almost no one other than yours truly on this cold, blowy April afternoon.

Even given more seasonable temperatures and the path’s normal volume of traffic–about one person or couple every two minutes–he would be at far greater risk from eating his catch than from contracting any sort of disease from passers-by.

At the end of the day, is he more concerned about catching or not catching something?

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Niblet Publishing

Occasional Observation #58

From the Canadian Humane Society: Dogs are our friends, not food. Such a pointed ambiguity that it is beyond punctuation. Even the author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves couldn’t figure this one out.

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Niblet Publishing

Occasional Observation #57

I have many, many things to do today, and throughout the weekend. One of them is not watching Prince Philip being laid to rest. While I do feel sorry for his widow, Queen Elizabeth, they’ve both had more than a good run. When she goes, which I would imagine will be quite soon, it will be time for Canada to make a serious re-evaluation of its relationship with an institution–the British monarchy–which has changed less over the time of Elizabeth’s reign than even the Papacy, and which is in dire need of major renovations.

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Occasional Observation #56

Today’s sad commentary: We put a man on the moon a full quarter century before we thought to put wheels on suitcases.

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Niblet Publishing

Occasional Observation #55

Returning down Jacques-Cartier from my walk up to Highway #307 late yesterday afternoon, I saw what looked like the same Pileated Woodpecker I’d seen there a couple of months ago. Just like before, he was pecking away at a telephone pole, in search of God knew what. But this time, he had a partner–another Pileated waiting for him at one of the mini-landings that adorn Jacques-Cartier. While the two obviously knew each other, they didn’t seem quite like a full-fledged couple. So what were they, then? Tree-tapping buddies? Siblings? Perhaps even a gay Pileated couple? All I know is that when they flew off, they were quite majestic in their modest way, even though both seemed on the small side for Pileateds. And that both the birds and my contemplation of what might have been their relationship to one another greatly enlivened an otherwise mundane walk.

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Niblet Publishing

Occasional Observation #54

Just as patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, political correctness is the last refuge of the charlatan and the dunce. It gelds language, suffocates vigorous inquiry, and makes honest evaluation of the past virtually impossible. As if all that were not enough, it lacks all sense of proportion, banishing poor kindly old Dr. Seuss from the literary pale for offenses that are trivial even by today’s standards, but pointedly ignoring both Rudyard Kipling’s racist imperialism and the ongoing racist assaults being directed daily against Black and Indigenous people and members of other minority groups.

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Niblet Publishing

Occasional Observation #53

I am a committed socialist. At the same time, I have to admit that if offered the services of a full-time maid, I wouldn’t refuse. Who was that Waldo Emerson guy, and what was it he said about consistency?