Category: Omnium-Gatherum

“Most successful people are just a walking anxiety disorder harnessed for productivity.”

Andrew Wilkinson’s idea won’t leave my head as I scratch it to come up with any successful person it doesn’t describe. Which got me to thinking about that other earwig, Donald Trump. He doesn’t seem anxious, except maybe this week he finally will, as New York Attorney General

Letitia James filed a 222-page lawsuit claiming he and his kids have engaged in massive fraud over many years. The document makes astringent reading. And speaking of reports, Wachtell Lipton’s on the racist and misogynist actions of Robert Sarver, the owner of the NBA Phoenix Suns, exemplifies how law firms are now policing workplace misconduct. But the most shocking of this week’s reports comes from the US Congress which revealed just how much energy companies have misled Americans on the industry’s role in climate change. 

Meanwhile…

“A Canadian citizen is a British subject.”

I’ve read this for decades on my passport, feeling even today that we enjoy special privileges in far-off lands. But it’s a testament to how fast things change now that one week the Queen dies, and the next, the King is having to shore up membership in the Commonwealth. Maybe Charles will be a different kind of King. As The Guardian notes, “Prince Charles is eccentric, impassioned, impatient, indiscreet — which, while manageable faults in a prince, are difficult ones in a king.”

Here is this week’s Omnium-Gatherum…

“A tiger doesn’t proclaim his tigritude, he pounces.”

Wole Soyinka‌ said this to remind us that “all hat and no cattle” is the true plague of our age. So I was surprised to see that “hating August” is an excellent reason to make bad choices or delay putting them off until the one we’ve just begun.  

And speaking of the Fall, the death this week of Mikhail Gorbachev recalls how quickly after the fall of the Soviet Union he became a capitalist.

Here’s to the start of Fall….

Femfiring.

There’s a scientific reason the Dog Days of Summer describe these hot sultry days. There’s also a market reason; a movie reason; and of course now is when Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. As Noel Coward wrote: “…though the English are effete, they’re quite impervious to heat.”

Meanwhile…

Dog Days

There’s a scientific reason the Dog Days of Summer describe these hot sultry days. There’s also a market reason; a movie reason; and of course now is when Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. As Noel Coward wrote: “…though the English are effete, they’re quite impervious to heat.”

Meanwhile…

How to.

Yes. Although the end is getting easier. You can choose the time and place of your exit. You can memorialize your life more memorably. You can demystify death by filming it. You can put death at one remove with the 50 greatest fictional deaths of all time. If you live in Chicago, where “no one gets shot just once anymore”, you can walk out of the ER. You can even turn one of the most enduring touchstones of music and popular culture, Don McLean’s American Pie, into a movie, The Day the Music Died.

Meanwhile, back among the living…

Does death still have dominion?

Yes. Although the end is getting easier. You can choose the time and place of your exit. You can memorialize your life more memorably. You can demystify death by filming it. You can put death at one remove with the 50 greatest fictional deaths of all time. If you live in Chicago, where “no one gets shot just once anymore”, you can walk out of the ER. You can even turn one of the most enduring touchstones of music and popular culture, Don McLean’s American Pie, into a movie, The Day the Music Died.

Meanwhile, back among the living…

If you’re depressed, you’re living in the past. If you’re anxious, you’re living in the future.

Lao Tzu said this in 525 BC when anxiety didn’t yet define an entire age of human existence.

But as temperatures boil over actually and politically, what has us in its thrall isn’t anxiety, but high anxiety. How else to describe Umair Haque’s mordant prediction that We’re Not Going to Make It to 2050. Or even the “best of times, worst of times” predictor, Max Fisher writing in The New York Times, who asked: “Has the world entered a time of unusual turbulence, or does it just feel that way?”

The outrage after the outage.

H.L. Mencken said that for every complex problem there’s an answer that is clear, simple and wrong. It’s tempting to link the problems of Rogers, Air Canada, and our hospital emergency units to this epigram. Just ask anyone who’s actually had to find “more staff” or to “fix tech” how hard it can be. But what is glaringly clear in these failures is how badly they’ve been communicated and how easily all of us could have been told the bad news sooner and better. In the same way that “it’s not the crime, but the coverup,” it’s also not the crisis, but the follow-up that dooms you in the court of public opinion. Meanwhile, a site to check that your network/flight/ER or credit card company really is down.

Mass murder isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.

People can get used to anything. Cannibalism if you’re hungry enough. Genocide if you’re evil enough. Driving to Buffalo for surgery if your hip is screaming enough. Cheating on your Harvard application if you’re ambitious enough. But the incidence of mass killings in America is now so mundane and predictable that there’s a 200-page handbook for Mayors and city managers to use when the daily slaughter of the innocents hits their city. And it is daily. So far this year, there have been 351 mass shootings in America, but that figure will be out of date depending on what day you’re reading this. While it’s small consolation that in Canada, we measure mass shootings in decades vs. days, it speaks to America’s extreme and lethal worship of its constitution where “We the people” feels like “Let us pray.”

Meanwhile…

Count our blessings, Canada

Grab those 155 candles to put on the birthday cake, and when you sing “O Canada” you’ll want to face south to our neighbour who is hurting badly these days. Maybe tell your friends how to immigrate to Canada. Or check out the companies who will pay for their employees to travel out of state to get an abortion.

Birthdays are times to move on as well. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re a small country and a young one. We’re neither. With 38 million people, Canada has six times the people as other small rich countries like Sweden or Finland or New Zealand. Canada is also middle-aged. Dozens and dozens of countries are newer than Canada. So can we please cast off those myths and start acting our age and size?

And now…this week’s items:

RamsayWrites

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