seasonal depression

Fall Line or Fault Line?

Autumn officially landed three weeks ago on September 22.

But September was one of the two bonus months (along with May) we were blessed to call summer this year in Ontario.

But if you feel sad because our five-month-long summer is now officially gone, spare a thought for those people who are starting to feel SAD. They have Seasonal Affective Disorder. As this Mayo clinic paper notes, SAD doesn’t make people sadder in the dead of winter. Their depression starts in the Fall, i.e. now. So, in this, Year Two of the pandemic, when 70% of Torontonians say we are anxious, think about who you’ll talk to about being seasonally sad.

But before you do, here are this weekend’s tidbits:

1. Still the Men’s Club. This year’s Nobel Prize winners have been announced, and of the 13 winners in Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Economics and Peace, are 12 men.

So maybe now’s a good time to watch the 17-minute documentary by Canadian Ben Proudfoot about Northern Irish astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell who discovered pulsars while working for Antony Hewish and Martin Ryle at Cambridge. Both men shared the Nobel Prize for this discovery in 1974.

A highly entertaining version of men robbing women of their Nobels is the 2017 feature film, The Wife, starring Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce.

2. So, you’ve been accused of witchcraft. Follow this handy chart and you can be saved from eternal damnation.

3. The online book launch that drew 8,000 people. This month, the luscious magazine Orion released Old Growth, an anthology of essays and poems about the lives of trees. They invited renowned tree-writers (and tree-talkers) Robin Wall Kimmerer, Robert Macfarlane and David Haskell, authors of Braiding Sweetgrass, Underland, and The Song of Trees, respectively, to discuss the personhood of trees, root communities, and how we can foster the growth of our canopy. There are few more mind-expanding ways to spend 70 minutes of your life.

4. Giant gifts save symphony orchestras. Of all the arts on the ropes, classical music is one of the most threatened. But in America in the past two weeks, three organizations have received eye-watering donations: on October 1st, the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra received the largest gift ever given to any orchestra, $50 million from the Mandel Foundation. Two hours later, the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra received $7.5 million from the Piper Trust; and then the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia got an anonymous $20 million donation. It’s time Canadian donors started thinking that way.

5. Best restos? Among this year’s Top 50 restaurants are no Canadians and lots of Scandinavians, including Numbers 1 and 2 Noma and Geranium from Copenhagen. Toronto’s Alo was 98th in the Top 100.

6. No reservations. Here’s a 3,000-word theory on the idea of just turning up instead of booking. “Reservations are a way to increase prices, since you can often pay to skip the queue. Usually this is artfully hidden to prevent normal customers from becoming too annoyed, but not so hidden that customers don’t realise the benefits of paying more.”

7. Moths in slow-motion. A lot of you loved bugs cleaning themselves. Now, enjoy moths in flight, at 6,000 frames-a-second.

8. Dog shows for chickens. It’s the Westminster Dog show, but for …well, all the best breeders are here and they bring their best birds. It’s hard to beat America for variety.

9. Dangerous feelings. Morgan Housel writes on how cockiness is a man’s worst friend. As he says: “Success has a nasty tendency to increase confidence more than ability. It’s why getting rich and staying rich are different skills.”

10. You are the champions. 44 years ago this month, Queen released We are the Champions (Side A, with We Will Rock You on Side B). Those were the days.

Forbidden Words: The word you may no longer use in polite company is docents.

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