Monthly Archives: June 2017

Emergency Ready?

The City of Toronto’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) produced a booklet to help Torontonians prepare for an emergency. Here are some highlights from this guide:

Emergencies can happen any time and any place.

Really?  Emergencies can happen any time and any place?  I always thought that emergencies were planned.  I never knew that they could just happen.

During times of emergency there may be many people in need of assistance.

Wow!  People may need assistance during an emergency?  When did that start?

Most of the time, the best thing to do in a fire is leave the building as soon as possible.

No, I wouldn’t want to leave the building during a fire.   I always keep well-stocked in marshmallows in case of a fire.

Meet the firefighters when they arrive and tell then where the fire is

Obviously, they are not training firefighters the way they used to.

After an Emergency:

Check in and around your home or apartment for damage

Contact other family members to let them know that you are safe

Is there anyone who wouldn’t check his or her home for damage after an emergency?  Is there anyone who wouldn’t call family after an emergency?

There is good advice in this guide, but it’s too bad the OEM wrote it for people not as smart as rocks.



Yesterday, I was at a get-together with friends I have known since high school.  We went to Oakwood Collegiate Institute in Toronto.  Socrates was one of our teachers.  This gives you an idea as to how long we have been friends.

These are the friends who conspired, behind my back, to give me a fundraiser for my teeth.  I conspired with them to give support to another Oakwoodite who needed it.  He had no idea, when he arrived yesterday, what the real purpose of us getting together was all about.

What a supportive group of friends!  What a generous group of friends!  What a loving group of friends!

The other thing about my friends that makes me feel good is how culture and race are not issues, and were never issues.  We are Polish, German, Jewish, Italian, Chinese, Croatian, Hungarian, Jamaican, English, Irish, French, etc.  Not once did our backgrounds stop us from relating as friends.  We started out as friends at Oakwood, and we remain friends.  Being friends is all that matters.

In these times of fear, hatred and division, the world could use a lot more people like my friends.

Four Questions

Where does imagination live?

Where do thoughts go after we think them?

Where does creativity come from?  Does it come from anywhere?  Is it always around us?

Do we have the energy to be inspired and creative all the time?

Missing Time

Where does the time go?  I’m not talking about the centuries that whizzed by since my youth. I’m talking about the time that disappears in a blink when I focus on something.

I will be getting ready in the morning, or writing, or teaching myself mathematics.  I will look at the clock.  A few minutes later I’ll look at the clock again and an hour has passed!  Where did the hour go?  It only seemed as if a few minutes had passed.  Sometimes I don’t have to do anything except sit and stare.  And then several hours are gone.

This missing time is happening a lot more now than before.  Am I so focused on whatever I am doing that I am in the Eternal Moment?  Or am I the victim of time bandits?


Plan A and Plan B

Some people always have excuses for not showing up when they plan to do something with me.  They will promise to be at a place at a certain time, and then not show.  Their excuses are valid, but they always have excuses.  They insist that they want to see me and do things with me, but they rarely do.

I used to get upset because I would set aside my plans, to meet them for whatever we were going to do, and then they didn’t show.  I no longer get upset.  I stopped expecting them to keep their promises of showing up. When these people are my Plan A, I always have a Plan B.

I make another plan when these people plan to see me. If they show up, then okay.  If not, then I carry on with Plan B.  To paraphrase Alexander Pope, those who expect nothing can never be disappointed.

Extraordinary Moments

My life is a series of extraordinary moments, but sometimes I forget this.  Actually, more than sometimes I forget this.  I allow superficial circumstances to distract me from the miracles.

What miracles?  Reading and writing come to mind.  You are reading black marks on a screen that I first put down on paper with a pencil.  And then I typed and posted them.  Time and distance separates us, yet I am still able to communicate my thoughts to you. The same applies when we read a book of black marks written by someone from a distant time and place.  Time and distance cannot stop communication.  Isn’t that extraordinary?

I don’t appreciate the extraordinary moments when I get annoyed because I don’t get a seat on the crowded subway.  I forget that I am traveling distances and speeds my ancestors could never have conceived of.  I get irritated at standing in a line at the grocery store instead of focusing on how wonderful it is that I can walk and stand.  I worry about not having enough money forgetting that I have always survived by money showing up out of nowhere, and through the generosity family and friends.

It is in my best interests to look past the daily trivialities, and be grateful that every day my life is full of extraordinary moments.


In all my banana-eating life, I always called those stringy things on bananas stringy things on bananas.  I never knew their name was phloem (pronounced floem).  They are like veins and carry nutrients to the banana.

How did I learn this?  Today while I was doing some Algebra, a voice in my head said, “What do they call those stringy things on bananas?”  The Algebra problem I was solving had nothing to do with bananas.  I was not eating a banana, and there were no bananas in sight.  So I said to the voice, “I’m dividing polynomials.  What made you ask me a question about bananas?”

“I don’t know,” said the voice. “Obviously you don’t know the answer.  Why don’t you google my question?”

I did.

“Wow!  I never knew that.”

“See?” said the voice. “Aren’t you glad I asked?”


Those stringy things on bananas never bothered me.  I always ate them.  But some people gag when they see phloem.

I knew that we peeled bananas the wrong way by snapping the stem.  The myth is that monkeys peel bananas the right way:  by pinching and peeling from the bottom (which is actually the top).  What I didn’t know is that you will not get any phloem on bananas if you peel them the right way.

Amazing!  I learned about phloem and how to prevent it while dividing polynomials.

It Was A Plot!

It was a plot!  The wireless at the library and the computer gremlins conspired to make sure that I had difficulty trying to post anything yesterday.  I finally managed to post an out-of-order sign and the leave the library.

Once I left the library, the Gods conspired to make sure I got caught in the heavy rain Saturday afternoon.  They had made sure I got caught in the heavy rain Friday night.  And they made sure I got caught in the heavy rain this morning.   Will this be a daily amusement for them?

So, I was in a most foul mood when I went to my parents’ grave yesterday after it stopped raining.  I went to honor my father’s birthday June 18th.

I stood at the grave and remembered my Mommy and my Daddy. I didn’t cry, but sometime during the memories my most foul mood left. I don’t know where it went.  My parents’ plot undid the effects of the plot by the library Internet, computer gremlins and the Gods.  I left the cemetery feeling peaceful.

Two Shootings

On Wednesday June 14, James T. Hodgkinson shot Congressman Steve Scalise in a baseball park in Alexandria, Virginia.

On Wednesday June 14, Jimmy Lam shot and killed Benson Louie, Wayne Chan and Michael Lefiti at a United Parcel Service (UPS) facility in San Francisco, California.

Two shootings in the United States on the same day.  These shootings were not the lead stories on some radio and television news broadcasts, and did not make the front pages of some newspapers.

What if James T. Hodgkinson and Jimmy Lam had been Muslims?  Would both shootings be lead stories on radio and television news, and on all front pages of newspapers?  Would leaders around the world condemn the shootings, and express sympathy for the victims’ families?   Would people around the world hold vigils for the victims and state, “We stand in solidarity with the people of Alexandria and San Francisco.”?

The UPS shooter was identified as Jimmy Lam.  Was his first name James?  The baseball-park shooter’s first name was James. Should authorities pass laws against, and arrest and imprison all men whose first name is James to make sure that their violence never happens again?

Fortunately, neither James T. Hodgkinson nor Jimmy Lam was a Muslim.  We can assume this, but we don’t know because their religion was never mentioned.  So, there is no need for the media to report much more on these shootings; there is no need for world leaders to address the violence in Alexandria and San Francisco; there is no need for any worldwide vigils for the victims; and there is no need for authorities to pass laws and arrest and imprison anyone since both Hodgkinson and Lam are dead.  And the victims’ families feel good knowing that their loved ones were not killed by Muslims.