Do you take for philosophy this twaddle, this intolerable pettifoggery adorned with a few scholastic trimmings?

P.-J. Proudhan

Who among us hasn’t occasionally circulated by the stratagem of sharp practice or hair-splitting a distinction without a difference? The innuendo though frequently founded upon earnest pursuit is more often a mark of a trivial quarrel or squabble. Seldom does the skulduggery reach the height of malicious calculation. Where however the pettifoggery descends into corruption or deceit it is intolerable. Continue reading

Sunday Valley Drive

Everyone’s talking about the weather!  It has been fabulous! For the past month we’ve had an unmitigated run of yellow sunshine, blue skies and warm temps!  It’s the summer we never had.  I believe next week we’re headed for stormy skies and lower temperatures but we’ve certainly had nothing to complain about lately.  Frankly I adore a lovely autumn day.  The air is clearer and drier than in the summer.  And if I can get away with wearing a light sweater that’s a plus too (which if you care to know is not strictly a fashion choice but rather a lamentable accommodation of my protuberant belly). Continue reading


Stand back, Columbus!  Settle down, John Glenn!  After weeks of failed attempts to log in to the back end of this web site I have at last discovered the key.  Which is hardly a secret since I only did what GoogleⓇ told me to do in the first place.  But I’m still taking some of the credit because as with any other fortuity the collision of time and place has proven once again to be essential to its evolution.  The truth be told, I only stumbled upon the way to do it. But isn’t that how so many of even the greatest discoveries unfold? Continue reading

Not getting along

As fortune would have it I am currently reading a very odd book recommended to me by an exceedingly erudite ancient friend who has a string of degrees after his name from some of the world’s renowned universities. While his professional occupation is that of a litigation lawyer he is exceptionally well-read and excels in matters literary of every description (as well as being a published author on some very narrow points of law). His literary curiosity is however vast. More than once he has steered me to scintillating manuscripts which, like the one I am reading now, go back a very long way.  The book at hand is Marcus Aurelius’ “The Meditations” translated by George Long.

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Le Weekend

Today is Sunday. For some reason this afternoon as I drove home from visiting my elderly mother at her retirement residence (or what she prefers to call the “Nut House”) the traffic on Baseline Road from Carleton University to Bells Corners was bumper-to-bumper, utterly clogged in syrup.  It went on for miles. At first I thought it might have been the Sunday shoppers flooding the malls along the way.  Then I imagined people jamming the highways to get to the Palladium in Kanata where normally there are events like NHL hockey games and rock concerts. By the time I reached Terry Fox Drive (which essentially separates Kanata from Stittsville) the traffic had abated but I still had no inkling of the reason for either the swell or the dip. It had taken me at least an hour to cover about fifteen kilometres at the most.

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Although I aim to steer myself upon smooth roads inevitably I happen upon the grit and gravel of consternation. It’s rather like taking a summer drive in the country hoping not to encounter road construction. I suppose there are some for whom the recurring disturbance of life is not an unbalancing condition – though I can’t imagine why it would be desirable. Perhaps because the alternative of stability and assuredness suffers the perceived want of novelty or dynamism. Some people are born dare-devils and risk-takers. My preference is far less robust; I am not by any stretch an Indiana Jones model. Instead I’ve always opted for a controlled environment (though I hasten to add one based on reason not blind submission or unqualified behaviour).

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Canada Day (July 1st, 2017)

One naturally becomes introspective about being Canadian on July 1st, Canada Day (or what in my memory was once called “Dominion Day”). The holiday was renamed Canada Day by Act of Parliament on October 27th, 1982, sidelining the name of the holiday commemorating the formation of Canada as a colonial territory of England on July 1st, 1867.

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More than nodding acquaintances

Seemingly it is part of my cognitive blueprint to crave an historical account. Yesterday afternoon on a warm summer day my inner yearning was appeased by a lengthy conversation with local personage John Hawley Kerry while sitting on the veranda of his sprawling Elgin Street residence in the Town of Almonte. Our fortuitous conference was entirely extemporaneous. Initially my intention was to return to him two plastic key chains which he (as our Landlord) had provided three years ago when we rented a condominium apartment from him and his wife Donna Nield-Kerry. We subsequently purchased smaller versions of the chains suitable to our needs. Though this was the nominal mission the real purpose was to share with him my new Lincoln Continental automobile. John and I are shameless car buffs.

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Ephemeral bliss

It would hardly instil alarm to observe that the bliss of perfection is short-lived (assuming naturally that one has even had the occasion to savour the nectar). Whether one is talking about a superlative meal or a scintillating relationship, a marvellous voyage or a sparkling new acquisition, just about anything we do – no matter how ecstatic – is destined to wane. This is not a dreadful thing. I mean the whole idea of perfection – at least in the kerfuffle of daily human flurry – is all wrapped up in novelty which by definition has a limited shelf life. And further I reckon that even if the initial manifestation were to continue uninterrupted its enchantment and pungency would presently slump, exhausted by time if nothing else. Yet discounting gratification however fleeting runs against the grain. It would indeed be a hard-edged philosophy that dismisses lotus-eating as futile because of its predictable sequel.

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In the shallows

While on occasion I compliment myself to suppose I possess a degree of polish, it is likely nearer the cold truth that I am at best a plagiarist and at worse a sham. I regularly seek to submerge my confessed want of depth by expropriating what is recognizably the superior productions of others  – redoubtables such as Jane Austin or Edward Gibbon (though shamefully I draw the line at Tolstoy for reasons yet unclear). Living vicariously through the brilliance of others is perhaps bordering on deceit but it’s the best I’ve been able to come up with so far.

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