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only good news today

Calgary has a new mayor – a Muslim by the name of Naheed Nenshi! Described by Christopher Hume in the “Star” as “sophisticated, articulate and decidedly intellectual, he is everything (Rob) Ford isn’t.” Imagine – if Calgary, previously a nest of redneck right-wingers, has an intellectual mayor who talks about the importance of the arts and sustainability, and Toronto elects the redneck idiot whose only platform is rage, who says, “I like arts” and whose solution to car pollution is to get rid of traffic humps. What is happening in the world? France is on fire, and in the States, television pundits like Glenn Beck, unfortunately, and the sublime Jon Stewart have all the power. It’s mighty crazy.

Oh yes, good news only. Okay. Thanks to my friend in the COC chorus who emails when cheap opera seats are available, I saw “Death in Venice” last night, by Benjamin Britten. It’s difficult musically, atonal, slow, with a ponderous libretto – but this is a brilliant production, haunting, the singing, acting, dancing, sets, costumes beautifully done. A British tenor called Alan Oke plays Baron von Aschenbach, and he’s stunning, completely believable as a character even as he sings an extremely difficult score. I was proud that this world-class production has landed onstage in Toronto. Particularly if we’re about the elect a right-wing red … Oh, enough.
I had my eyes tested this morning and I do not have glaucoma, that’s also good news. It’s hereditary: my father had it, and so did my grandmother. My grandmother also had severe Alzheimer’s before she died; she used to talk to Lawrence Welk. When Dad was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer, he said, “Well, at least I don’t have to worry about Alzheimer’s.” What a brave spirit, my father.
And speaking of brave spirits, my mother is going to test drive several Ottawa retirement residences in the next few weeks – four days at one starting tomorrow, and four days at another shortly after. So let’s see what happens, on this next phase of that particular journey.
The bad news is everywhere, of course, as we’re forced to read about the insane murderous colonel with his neatly filed collection of women’s underwear. Imagine, he was a base commander. Does this say something about the kind of man who goes into the air force? We’ve learned too much, as well, about the kind of man who becomes a priest. I guess there are sickos everywhere – but maybe particularly in the armed forces and the priesthood?
No, let’s move on. That story is too ghastly to contemplate. More good news: I took myself shopping after the ophthalmologist (just spent five minutes searching for the right spelling of that word…) and bought myself a much-needed treat. I’m sixty, I’m a professional writer, and it’s time I had one. What? An electric pencil sharpener! Enough with the fiddly little plastic things. All my pencils are now really, really sharp. And it’s the dusk chorus outside as the sun goes down, all the birds singing out the end of day in the ivy. Now that’s happiness.
And here’s happiness for you: check out Gordon Pinsent on YouTube, reading from Justin Bieber’s memoirs. It’s priceless.
Bravo to a trio of fine men – Naheed Nenshi, Alan Oke and the still-handsome Mr. Pinsent. I’d like to give you all a gift of some really sharp pencils.



One response to “only good news today”

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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