The Plague-Ground – Yearning to breathe free

It’s Christmas. The vaccine is working, as are most of us. Much is calm. Much is bright. Mainly because Joe Biden won the Presidency a month ago and Donald Trump agreed to go quietly, wrapped in blanket immunity for himself and his…

The Plague-Ground – We need a new Best Friend Forever.

Last week Russia celebrated its biggest public holiday, Victory Day, with tanks, missile launchers, and bluster from President Putin. It’s usually held on May 9th, but was derailed by the pandemic. Nonetheless, Putin insisted it happen…

The Plague-Ground – The herd has moved.

You can scratch and claw and fight and hope and despair, and for years nothing changes. Then one day, everything changes. We are living one of those days now. Malcolm Gladwell called it The Tipping Point, “the moment of critical mass,…

The Plague-Ground – Yanqui Stay Home

This week, the European Union will ban Americans from traveling there. Why? Because America is the worst country on earth in stopping COVID-19 – and is only getting worse. When Europe opens its borders on Wednesday, the citizens of 11…

The Plague-Ground – Plants Have Ears Too

This week in Barcelona, a string quartet played to a full house of plants. The 10-minute concert was put on to reinforce how important art, music and nature are as life opens again across Europe. It was a weird and brilliant idea to give…

The Plague-Ground – Cooped up with someone you dread?

Abuse is awful at the best of times, and these are the worst of times. Whether that abuse is verbal, emotional, physical or sexual, it’s hard to flee when you’re ordered to stay at home – or get sick and possibly die. By mid-April,…

The Plague-Ground – IT’S A LOT EASIER TO SAY “HEROES” THAN TO PAY THEM

Especially the most heroic front-liners of all: the nurses. And most especially, the 68,000 nurses working in Ontario hospitals who still haven’t seen a penny of their $4.00 an hour pandemic pay, who are forbidden from taking vacation and…

The Plague-Ground – We’ll Meet Again

Architecture has a new word to describe skyscrapers that are so high they really do scrape the sky. They’re called SuperTalls, and most of them are over 100 storeys. There are no SuperTalls in Canada. Our tallest building is rising 85-storeys…

The Plague-Ground – What were you doing at 5:43 p.m. on Saturday?

At that moment, the sun was the highest it will be in the Northern Hemisphere this year and it was also The Longest Day. In fact, it was light long past 9:00 p.m. and the sun set not so much in the west, but in the north. Saturday was…

The Plague-Ground – It’s an “and-and” thing.

Toronto is one of the last places in North America still largely closed by the pandemic. Good. Because saving our lives or saving our economy isn’t an ‘either-or’ thing, though we seem hard-wired to think that way. And lord knows,…

The Plague-Ground – Stand Proud. Ok, Sit Proud then.

In America these days, pride doesn’t cometh before the fall. Lack of pride does. Yesterday, Gallup released a poll that said US National Pride Falls to Record Low. That headline caught me because I’d always thought Americans are the…

The Plague-Ground – I Didn’t Know

Denial constantly evolves in order to fulfill its destiny, which is hiding the truth. One form of denial claims: “I was just following orders,” and we all know what that was hiding. Another is: “I didn’t know.” This short list…

The Plague-Ground – What We Didn’t Know

Today is 13 weeks exactly since millions of us were told not to come back to our offices and stay home. Three months exactly. One quarter of the year exactly. A quarter of the fiscal. A season of the year. On Friday, March 13th, Jean…

The Plague-Ground – The Rise of the Online Intellectual

There’s a flood of online courses, experts and self-improvers out there, all vying for time on my screen and my day. Frankly,  I'm exhausted from all the ways I can be even better than I am. Forget “can be better.” Must! So I…

The Plague-Ground – As white as the driven snow.

Those 8 minutes and 46 seconds Derek Chauvin spent crushing the neck of George Floyd reveals another police problem that’s hiding in plain sight in Toronto as much as in Minneapolis and New York. How many policewomen have killed Black people…

The Plague-Ground – What could stop rogue cops? Insurance.

Doctors and lawyers have liability insurance. So do hairdressers and barbers. In fact, so does anyone who owns a car. Get a few speeding tickets and suddenly your premiums rocket – and either you slow down or you stop driving because the…

The Plague-Ground – Take your picture, mister?

Back in 2007 some Apple engineers fiercely resisted adding a camera to the new iPhone. “Who would ever take a picture with their phone?” It seems of the 1,436,300,000,000 digital photos and videos shot this year, enough of them are of…

The Plague-Ground – Generals

Georges Clemenceau said that war is too important to be left to the generals. But civil war? Or even civil unrest? Not if General James Mattis has his way. When Mattis resigned as Donald Trump’s hand-picked Secretary of Defense in…