As a teenager and before, I was a prodigious reader. I read fiction and non-fiction. There was no television, so when we read fiction we had to use our brains to create the characters (casting function) and our imagination to visualize the set. (Set Design). We had to draw on our own cultural background to discriminate between good and evil. Discriminate was a good word and meant to be able to tell the difference between things, particularly between good and bad. It was a parent's job. to teach their children to discriminate. We certainly had no difficulty in distinguishing the good guys from the baddys. Most do not want to do that anymore and they have changed the meaning of that word because it made them accountable. They want all to be the same, but all are not the same at all. The tragedy today is that the evil ,have succeeded in convincing the good that there is no difference between good and evil.. Maintaining that all cultures are equal is insane. Some cultures unquestionably place much greater value on life than others. Reading transmits depth of information and understanding in a way that sound-bytes and news clips never can and my reading of the National Post and the Economist offers a quality of comprehension that television cannot. At least they make an attempt to present the facts fairly.
"How can I know what I think till I see what I say?"
Attributed to E.M.Forster in answer to the question - 'why do you write? I've been a scribbler for years, often in moments of frustration or tension for precisely that reason. Somehow, writing it down seems to clarify and sometimes stabilize a series of thoughts. The scribbles and thoughts are directed to myself only, although at times I have thought that I might have been able to scratch out a living as a writer. I discussed this with a very frank friend of mine long ago after having him read some of my stuff. Here's what he said, "To be a great writer you have to be prepared to strip yourself naked in public-and you have to be prepared to reveal things about yourself and others that may be distressing to both yourself and them." He was right, so I contented myself with an occasional short anecdote usually of a medical nature and even published a few. Now that I have more time I occasionally sort through some of my deeply buried notes and may yet try to put together "The Great Canadian Novel". I also spend some time crafting my blog Medicalmanes.com, mainly for myself, but which my children and brother and sister occasionally read.
It's easy to explain this one. I cashed in my pension when I left the University of Saskatchewan and I manage it myself, so this accounts for a few hours a week.
MISCELLANEOUS. Pen Time. www.londonpenclub.com The London (Canada) Pen Club has a long and distinguished history. It meets every Saturday and as far as I know, it is the only pen club in the entire world to meet weekly, We have been doing this for well over twenty (yes 20!) years. We meet in a local coffee pub, called Williams Coffee Club. After the Coronavirus hit and the Coffee Pub shut down I got a call from one of our club members with a software background. "We are going to carry on our meetings on line," he said. "I am going to set up a meeting every Saturday morning at nine a.m." So Covid or no Covid the meetings continue. Only last Saturday we spent two hours discussing black inks! Go figger!
When my brother became obsessed with genealogy, little did I think his disorder was going to affect the whole family, but this disorder is more contagious than Covid! It really is in our genes. I come from a family of early twentieth century pioneer professional photographers. My father was an avid photographer as was his best friend - a gifted amateur movie photographer. (see his movie starring me at pics.medicalmanes.com.) This led to the unearthing of enormous caches of photographs that various family members had safely stashed out of sight in their basements. Unfortunately, some of them were so old that individuals could not be identified. Being the Grand Patriarch i.e. the oldest living member of the Smith Family, that honour fell on me, I was elected chief identifier and commentator on photos that were peopled with unrecognizables. I accepted the responsibility gracefully notwithstanding the fact that it cuts into my already crowded schedule. All of this stimulated my dormant interest in photography and I found myself using my smart phone camera increasingly, as I don't have a regular camera any more. Now I'm looking for a smart phone with an excellent camera that doesn't cost $1000. And now that my short-term memory isn't quite what it used to be I think I may re-start my brain-training exercises. Despite all the skepticism I felt it was some use. It was a bit time consuming but now I may be able to find some time for it in my busy schedule. All in all, I wonder how I ever found time to work!! .
Dealing with 'modern messages."
My phone woke me up at seven o'clock this morning. The days when I got up at seven are long since past and I was sorely tempted to ignore it. But I was awake so I picked it up. The conversation went like this, the caller was female with a foreign accent. "Mr Smith, this is Visa calling. We have some concerns that some false calls have been put through on your card." Visa calling me at seven a.m. to tell me about a possible false credit card. A likely story! "Have you got your card handy?"
"No," said I.
"Well, we need to check it out."
"You just tell me the purchases you are concerned about."
"'Well there are two. There is a meal here for fifty-eight dollars and a gift certificate for twelve hundred dollars."
I was starting to enjoy this. "No, I didn't make any purchases like that," I exclaimed in my most horrified voice. "What do I do now?" "Oh, we can correct that for you. We just need your card number and the three digit security number on the back of the card."
I tried to sound relieved. "Thank goodness. Can you just hold on while I try to find my card?"
"Certainly, sir." " I'll just be a couple of minutes."
I gently put the phone down and said to my fast asleep wife, "Honey, just get the RCMP bunco squad on the other line for me." I could hear the holding party slam down the phone. For those don't know a Bunko squad was a police division that investigated fraud. Obviously the scammers knew what it was. I then phoned Visa to let them know. They weren't surprised and just wanted to make sure I didn't give them any card information, which I didn't. "I knew it wasn't Visa calling." He laughed heartily. "You'll never get a call from us at seven a.m. We have very strict rules about calling clients in the morning, before they know what they're doing. I guess the crooks know the best time to get a hit!"
The previous phishing expedition I was exposed to was supposed to be from the tax department - Revenue Canada.
"This is Revenue Canada, sir." Hmmm, CRA (Revenue Canada) never called me SIR before. This must be really serious - or a scam.
"What's the problem?" said I.
"The Department is about to launch proceedings against you unless you are paid up in the next forty -eight hours. If you do that it will save you a lot of trouble and money. It's a fairly small amount but once proceeding get started it could end up costing you a lot in legal fees." "Oh okay," I said, "it will probably save me a lot of aggravation and money." I could visualize them licking their lips at finding such an easy mark. "Yes it will be much better for you." said the voice at the other end.