The Plague-Ground – Can you be creative and clean too?

We all do dumb things when we’re young, and my list is very long. But I never smoked cigarettes. I must have had one drag back when I was 12, hacked my lungs out and concluded: “This is disgusting.” But I did work for a tobacco company,…

The Plague-Ground – What Happens When You Finally Leave Your Abuser

Every expert says this is the most dangerous time. You have crossed the man who has stolen your life. His rage is volcanic; his hurt, vast and eternal. You flinch at every sound; look back at everyone walking behind you. Is it him? This…

The Plague-Ground – Virus and Vaccine: Charting our death and resurrection

Back on Friday, March 13th, we were all so doe-eyed and naive. COVID was killing thousands in Italy and in Canada we’d all just been sent to our rooms. It took only that weekend for most of us to frantically look for ways to divert ourselves. This…

The Plague-Ground – One Person, Two Genders. Two People, One Life.

The great Jan Morris, died on Thursday at the age of 94 at Ysbyty Bryn Beryl Hospital near her home on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales. She'd written more than 50 books, including Booker Prize-nominated fiction; broke one of the great stories of…

The Plague-Ground – Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

These are a few of my favourite things. They’ve been spotted, cut and pasted in my “Maybe a blog?” folder. But with the arrival of snow, I’m cleaning out that cupboard to store thicker, furrier ideas for the Winter. Snow place like…

The Plague-Ground – The world’s best young writer

Margaret Atwood woke up this morning to her 81st birthday. For her this past year has been both an annus horribilis and an annus mirabilis. Horribilis because her beloved husband, Graeme Gibson, died last September at age 85. Two years…

The Plague-Ground – You’re at a movie in a packed theatre. You smell smoke.

You see flames flicker up from an empty seat in front of you. You’re tempted to stand up and yell “Fire!” But you don’t because that may cause a stampede and trample people. In fact, isn’t that why it’s against the law to yell “Fire!”…

The Plague-Ground – More Money Than Brains

But oh, what very big brains they have. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci are the scientists whose company, BioNTech, is partnering with Pfizer to produce the vaccine that is 90% effective against a virus that’s already killed a million of…

The Plague-Ground – When is a good time to die?

Remember that guy who said years ago he wanted to die at 75 because he was 75? And that we should all think about doing the same at 75 because, as he wrote in The Atlantic in 2014, “… doubtless, death is a loss…but living too long is also…

The Plague-Ground – In our Whole Foods, the poppies blow….

Only a few countries use poppies to remember their servicemen and women killed in conflict. The Royal British Legion started this tradition 1921 and today Canada, Australia and New Zealand and parts of the United States continue it. This…

The Plague-Ground – Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

Seventy million Americans voted for Donald Trump. As Wade Davis noted, that’s “4 million more than did so in 2016, inspired, one can only assume, by his personal and political record over the past four years.” Many Canadians, myself…

The Plague-Ground – Morning in America

In 1984, Ronald Reagan unleashed one of the most devastating commercials in American campaign history. It helped him swamp Democrat Walter Mondale in a landslide, 525 electoral votes to 13. That ad, like that very age 36 years ago, is touchingly…

The Plague-Ground – Let’s Kill All the Lawyers

While the play Shakespeare wrote that line for (Henry VI, Part 2) is hardly ever performed, the sentiment is not only enduring, it’s growing in Shakespeare’s not so green and pleasant land. Back on September 3rd, Britain’s Home Secretary…

The Plague-Ground – Survival of the friendliest

Now is the weekend of our discontent. Cases are spiking, leaves are falling, the wind is up, the market’s down – and organizing coffee is like planning an assault on Everest. By Monday, our mornings will start darker and by Tuesday, America…

The Plague-Ground – Are We Digitally Dominant or Submissive?

The e-mails sent to Democrats last week, seemingly from the Proud Boys, but really from Iran, made up in clarity for what they lacked in subtlety. “You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you. Change your party affiliation…

The Plague-Ground – The Binge Club

Last night, I turned away from the Trump-Biden debate, not because it was another train-wreck, but because it wasn’t. My appetite for viewing curated chaos is now so refined that, not seeing any, I quickly left, the future of America be…

The Plague-Ground – The right to bully voters is under threat

The First Amendment lets Americans say pretty much anything to anyone, anywhere. The Second Amendment lets them keep and bear arms. So can they turn up at polling stations on November 3rd, armed and belligerent and, in the words of their…

The Plague-Ground – The Unmasking

Finally, someone not only fact-shamed Donald Trump in real-time, she wiped the smile off his face. Until yesterday, I’d never heard of Savannah Guthrie, the host of last night’s Town Hall on NBC. Today, she’s my hero. She did what no…