So what have you learned in 72 years?

While I don’t believe there is any magical date by which one imagines having reached the pinnacle of human knowledge, there is nonetheless a moment at which one achieves licence to detailed reflection upon the subject. Curiously I have always been attracted to summaries – whether of impending deals (when I was practicing law), of completed tasks or of something as mundane as money in the bank. It was as much a process of organization as mere repetition (part of my obsessive nature no doubt).  I accept the philosophic conclusion that there is no past or future, only the present, but I persist to itemize both the past and the future as though they materially affected the present.

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Herd Mentality

Herd mentality is noticeably an inescapable subject throughout both the Trump succession and the COVID-19 pandemic. How else explain the percolating chaos that has overtaken the United States of America and the globe?

Herd mentality, mob mentality and pack mentality, also lesser known as gang mentality, describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. When individuals are affected by mob mentality, they may make different decisions than they would have individually.

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Stare decisis

Listening to the Senate confirmation hearing of Madam Justice Amy Coney Barrett is not for the pusillanimous. The use of the most fundamental debating tactics is either absent or curiously prevalent. Something else governs the performance. And Justice Barrett is noticeably making a calculated decision to preserve her advertised veneer of legitimacy and capacity by refusing to acknowledge what is the patent purpose of her nomination; namely, to defeat so-called “leftist” thinking in American society. To imagine (as Justice Barrett has mockingly done) that the appointees to the highest court in the United States of America are inexplicably sheltered from their religious or other cultural beliefs is utterly monstrous and illegitimate or at the very least glowingly inauthentic. It also defies both logic and instinct. To expect that a Trump appointee will do anything other than what they’ve been hired to do is preposterous.

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Thanksgiving dinner with the family

This is a tiny retrospective. Significantly it echoes memories of my parents whom I indisputably miss.  My father died in his 96th year in 2014.  My mother died in her 92nd year in 2018.  Both as fas as I know died a quiet death triggered by natural deteriorations. There was accordingly no excessive despair surrounding their deaths. Perhaps because of the general immediacy of my behaviour and an overall concern about their health, I had regularly visited my parents with a view to ensuring they were being well attended at their respective retirement residences. I never had what I would characterize as a “close relationship” with my parents. Visits with them were decidedly familial without the drama of an afternoon TV show. Granted I tended a bit more to the succinct with my father than my mother.  But it could never have been said that any one of us trespassed upon the borders of privacy or social delicacy. No doubt this contributed to my business-like association with my parents for whom I had drawn their joint deeds, wills, powers of attorney and trust agreements.

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Sunday Thanksgiving

The serendipity of life has never escaped me. An event today for example has coincidentally marked a revival of the religious theme which is astonishingly appropriate for what customarily surrounds the Thanksgiving weekend – family, food and togetherness – a foregathering significantly associated with the first Americans (the Pilgrims) and their brethren (the native Indians). Typically paintings of the first Thanksgiving somehow align with traditional Christian values though as regularly with about as much real diversity or legitimacy.

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Okay, here’s why I’m not voting for God!

There were two pillars upon which I was elevated to my current astronomic view of the world: the Anglican Communion in Canada and Freemasonry.  Both suffer the reputed contamination of White Anglo Saxon Protestants and North York Toronto generally. Over the years I’ve had the privilege to travel from the local parish and lodge to the General Synod and Grand Lodge of my respective guides. In every instance I was more overwhelmed by the ceremony than the substance. Interestingly these two prongs of propriety are putatively at least based upon a similar prerequisite; namely, a belief in God (in the case of the Christian theory) or the belief in a supreme being (in the case of Freemasonry). Both are equally uncompromising in that particular.

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Small town living

Years ago when studying law at Dalhousie University in Halifax I heard it said that in Nova Scotia everyone knows everybody.  In particular the example pointed to was the inevitable casual acquaintance of locals with their members of parliament and the provincial legislature.  The comment was certainly not far off the mark.  My late father for example told me stories about the late Eric Balcom whom I visited at his residence along the Atlantic Ocean in my second year at law school.

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Thanksgiving Weekend 2020

The dazzling sunshine this morning ensured I was showered, dressed and astride my bicycle shortly after abandoning the lair. It was noticeably chilly, near freezing. Accordingly in addition to donning a T-shirt, Polo shirt and hoody I outfitted myself with a silk scarf from my tired collection of a former régime. Once mechanized I nonchalantly munched a crisp Empire apple then discarded the core in a verdant cedar hedge adjoining the property of the late Bessie Smolkin, Land Registrar for Lanark County. In the background lingered my recollection of the trendy butter I had bought yesterday.  And the awaiting baguette bagel for breakfast! Already I am contemplating how many days remain before snow falls. Because I have no intention of cycling in the snow I am wondering what I shall do for exercise and general distraction.

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Here we go!

Trailing his rival Biden — in some national polls by double digits — the President seemed to be grasping at last-ditch attack lines, including implying the 77-year-old Biden would not last a full term in office.

“Biden won’t be president for two months,” he baselessly claimed. “He’s not mentally capable.”

By comparison, Trump portrayed himself a picture of health, even though he is the candidate who last week struggled to breathe and required supplemental oxygen.

“I’m back because I am a perfect physical specimen and I’m extremely young. And so I’m lucky in that way,” Trump said. Trump, at 74, is clinically obese and has known heart issues.

“I could’ve been out of the hospital in one day,” he added, attributing his recovery to the experimental monoclonal antibody therapy produced by Regeneron.

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Okay, what’s really going on here?

Let me understand. This is the man who blatantly lied repeatedly about the size of crowds at his presidential inauguration; who had his now imprisoned personal lawyer pay $130,000 to a porn star to quiet her; who told Americans that the COVID-19 pandemic would be gone by the summer; who denies knowing anyone in Russia (except if preceded by the code: “PP“); who has endured bankruptcy trusteeship on more than one occasion. Is this the guy? There is notably one common element to each of those accounts: the man himself! And I mean the one in the driver’s seat; the one driven by calculated self-interest.

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