Yearly Archive: 2018

The Tao of Pooh

I was lucky as a lad. My father read to me every bedtime. By the time I was four I could read aloud myself although I can remember mispronouncing “gnaw” in the The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse by Thornton W. Burgess as “g-naw” with a hard “g” rather than silent. But of all the books that I read in my young life, I would put A. A. Milne’s work at the top of the list for lyrics and characters. Who else could write a poem about a boy called “James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree who took great care of his...

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By my so potent art

Martha Henry is spectacular in The Tempest, my favourite Shakespearean play, at Stratford this summer. Prospero was written as a male role, but a few words changed here and there and it suits an actress of Henry’s breadth just fine. It’s also a role that many thespians take on later in life, but at 80 Henry looks as if she has many great years left. As a side note, the first time she was on the Stratford stage was in 1962 – playing Miranda, Prospero’s daughter. The Tempest is a busy play with multiple subplots, but among all of Shakespeare’s works, it...

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Second thoughts

Previously when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke, if only briefly, about his alleged groping eighteen years ago, it didn’t seem as if he remembered it. He talked about the day, and the music festival, but the incident? Nothing, nada, rien. Today, following his meeting with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Trudeau was more responsive and answered several questions from the media on the touchy topic. Correct me if I got the wrong impression, but didn’t it seem that his selective amnesia had abated somewhat? Upon reflection, he now appeared to recall an interaction but concluded that it was not untoward. He even admitted that what a...

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Anything to declare?

It’s alright for Donald Trump to call Justin Trudeau “weak” and “dishonest.” It’s even OK for the president to threaten that there will be no NAFTA. But to claim that Canadians smuggle shoes into Canada that they’ve bought in the U.S., now that’s really hitting close to home. Because it’s true. It is our metier. You can always tell the Canadians in the shopping mall parking lot. They take everything out of the J.C. Penney bags and dump the empty bags in the garbage can. Next, they clip off the price tags, scuff the shoes, and stuff the other purchases into the...

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Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

The first sign what a Doug Ford administration would look like came when the premier-elect decided he would forgo protocol and speak first after polls closed on election night. Rather than be gracious and allow Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath to thank supporters and concede defeat, he played Bigfoot, and launched into his televised remarks less than a minute after Wynne had begun hers. He knew exactly what he was doing; it was a graceless gesture. The second scary thought is that a key advisor to the Ford administration will be former premier Mike Harris. When Harris was in power, he treated Toronto...

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Lessons from ancient lore

Few could pull it off. Stephen Fry’s one-man performance in Mythos at the Shaw Festival is beyond entertaining, it is spell-binding. In this world premiere of a trilogy based on his book Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold, published last year, we saw Heroes. The other two offerings are Gods and Men. Alone on the stage, sitting in an arm chair, speaking without notes for two hours, Fry manages – for the most part – to keep the audience’s rapt attention. In the opening half-hour when Fry demonstrated his encyclopedic knowledge of Greek myths, I have to admit I got a bit of a...

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Statues and a bust

At this time of year, the portion of the University of Toronto campus near me is a beautiful place to walk. Beds of daffodils and tulips bloomed in abundance followed by pungent lilacs, flowering crab and the tall candles of horse chestnut trees. Amid the floral splendour around St. Michael’s and Victoria College are representations and remembrances of people from the university’s past who were global figures in their fields. Here one finds the coachhouse that beginning in 1968 served as the centre for Marshall McLuhan’s program in culture and technology. McLuhan’s foresight on so many topics was daunting. Nearby is one of...

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Healing the frazzled mind

You remember Yoko Ono? The one who broke up The Beatles? Or rode the death of John Lennon to fame? But what people forget is that Yoko Ono was an accomplished artist long before meeting Lennon in 1966. To paraphrase The Ballad of John and Yoko, “You know you didn’t even give her a chance.” Yoko Ono’s exhibition at Toronto’s Gardiner Museum, The Riverbed, is fun, interactive, and makes you think. The room is divided into three parts. The first is a scree of rocks collected from the Colorado River, hundreds of them, weighing three tons in all. But they’re...

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