Friday, November 1, 2019

The Deeper Questions of Life....

Top of the evening ladies, gentlemen, and non-binaries...

As a rabbi, people will often ask me the deeper questions of life. For example...

1. What happens after we die? (I do not know, but I want to rig my e-mail to send a note several months later complaining that something bit my toe.)
2. What is the meaning of life? 42
3. Is there an afterlife?
4. What is my purpose in life?
5. Does God really care about what I do?

These questions, as well as many others, are above my pay grade. They are also questions that do not cross my mind all that often. And what are the questions that cross my mind?

1. Why is it that when in a rush, it seems a requirement to hit every traffic light, sometimes being stuck for more than one cycle?
2. Why is it that I must look in the same spot four separate times, spread out over an hour, before finding the thing that fell there?

(Sigh) It has been a long day.

Good night.


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Canadian Jobs...

Good evening to all.

Mr. Trudeau came to this evening's debate. When the Lavalin issue came up, he repeated his oft-stated priority of protecting Canadian jobs. It is a laudable goal, and should be on the lips of everyone running for any office. However, after my trip to the supermarket last week, I am unimpressed.

I went to the Superstore at Dufferin and Steeles. One of the purchases was garlic. We go through a fair amount. The garlic from China was $4.98/kilo. The garlic from Canada was $3.98/pound. To work from equal weights and measures, $4.98/kilo = $2.26/pound. This means that the garlic from Canada was over 50% more expensive than the garlic from China.

Mr. Trudeau, we all want you to fight for Canadian jobs. May we humbly suggest that you fight as well for Canadian farmers?



Saturday, September 28, 2019

At Alice's Restaurant, Yes, But Not in my Backyard!!

Good evening all....

Over a period of about 18 hours, we have had guests for various meals. One just dropped in for takeout. The other had a picnic on my deck, and did not even clean up. This is really for the birds.

Thursday afternoon, I was on the phone and staring out the back window. All of a sudden, a large brown blur zipped across the yard. The angle was off, but I think that the large brown blur was a hawk, plucking something from a tree branch.

We have a picture of another(?) hawk having breakfast on the railing of our deck. Judging by the remaining feathers (and the leg), it was a blue jay. We have a broom. We would have loaned it to the hawk if s/he had wanted to clean up.

It is kind of neat to watch natural selection in my own backyard. I am not going to grouse about this. I would hate to see these hawks run a-fowl of natural law.

Please forgive my poultry attempts at humour.

On a side note, other possible titles for this blog entry were "I Am Not Running a Cafeteria" and "Takedown...Hawk...Two Points."

Go to sleep.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Another New Law....

Hi all...

The world of social media will not go away. And it should not. However, we have seen too much of what happens when a twitter war begins. Person A says something. Person B is offended, annoyed, or angry in some way. Person B fires back a nasty tweet, and then the entire world does a pile-on.

There has got to be a better way. There is a better way.

It is okay to be offended. It is okay to be annoyed. It is okay to get angry. There is nothing in the Bill of Rights or in the Charter that says you have an absolute right never to be angry or offended.

So be offended. Be annoyed. Be angry. I support you.

At this point, you are expecting me to tell you to count to ten before firing off what we always called a nasty-gram when I was in the Navy. Counting to ten is useless. Some count slowly. Some count quickly. I find it is better to have something more tangible than counting.

Here is my solution: before firing off the sharply-worded tweet, all offended, annoyed, and angry people must (must!!) eat a Hershey's kiss.

How can one be offended, annoyed, or angry after having consumed chocolate?

Have a good day everyone.


Monday, September 2, 2019

Mass Shootings...

Good evening everyone...

We are witness to yet another mass shooting in the United States. As such, we are also witness to yet another round of pontificating from both sides of the political spectrum.

In some manner of attempt to put an end to this mess, the President and the Department of Justice have decided to pursue capital charges in cases of mass shootings. I respectfully, but emphatically, disagree.

I wrote about this some years ago: My views have not changed.

With respect to the President, I commend this administration's attempts to put some element of regulation and law to the very deep, personal question of abortion. Bottom line is that with that question, no one will be completely satisfied with any answer. Finding a middle ground is a challenge on a good day.

That being said, those who oppose abortion, the President being among them, call themselves pro-life. Putting aside the fact that we are all pro-life, to be pro-life must mean that you are pro ALL life. Pro-life is not just about cute babies. Pro-life is also about the thug with a police record longer than my arm. If we are to say that we are only pro-life for certain people, then we are also pro-death for others. Sorry folks, but that is quite contradictory.

On the other side, to be anti-death penalty must mean that there should be no law allowing a live birth to die simply because that birth was intended to be an abortion. If one is anti-death, one must be anti-death in all cases. To limit our belief in life to the aforementioned thug but to exclude another living human being is also quite the contradiction.

I have a better idea all the way around. Let's find a way to talk to each other and figure out what the issues are. I do not think that it is the guns, but would love to talk to folks who think it is. I make no promise on being convinced, but I will share a promise to listen openly and politely.

Good night.


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Please Tell Me You Did Not Say That...

Top of the afternoon to all...

So there I was, reading the news on an unpopular news network. There was an article in the entertainment section recounting an interview with Alyssa Milano. For reasons that I cannot fathom, this is not the first time she has been mentioned in this blog. Please note at this time that this is not an honourable mention.

Here is the link:

She comments that she had had two (two!) abortions early on in her career.

She says at least three things in this article. "I would not have my career." We do not know that. She is quite talented. She might not have her career. She might have a different career. Or she might have said that kids are more important. We cannot know. When two roads diverge in a yellow wood, the best that we can do is keep one for another day. We cannot walk both simultaneously. Her flimsy reasoning though rules out the possibility that her life and yes, her career, might have turned out just as amazing had she not had the abortion. And it rules out the fact that we have no means of comparison, because our lives can only turn out in one way at any given moment.

"I would not have my children - my beautiful, perfect, loving, kind, and inquisitive children who have a mother who was so very, very ready for them." Perhaps, but instead Ms. Milano, you would have two different, beautiful, perfect, loving, kind, and inquisitive children. Or maybe you would have all four. And parent to parent, you would love them all. Again, there is no way of knowing what might have happened. We are human. We are not prophets or gods.

"I had done what I knew to do to prevent pregnancy." Clearly, not. But let us have an aside. Eating dairy often (but not always) causes digestive issues. The only foolproof way of avoiding those digestive issues is not to eat dairy. So I rarely eat dairy, and on those rare occasions that I do, even with a lactose pill, I am gambling. I know the risks, and I take my chances.

That might not have been so obvious to Ms. Milano. Folks, the act that brings about having children does not exist in and of itself. There are always results. That act can lead to children. If one does not know his or her partner, that act can bring about significant, long-term medical issues. It can bring about a closeness with the other person. If one does not want any of these results, there is only one foolproof way to avoid them - cease and desist.

My friends, that goes for everything. If you do not want the potential results of eating seven bags of potato chips while watching bad movies, then do not eat seven bags of potato chips while watching bad movies. If you do not want the potential results of consuming too much alcohol, do not consume too much alcohol. And if you know that you are not ready for children, it might be worth it to stick to the potato chips and the bad movies. This really is not rocket science.

Ms. Milano, whatever discussions we might wish to have about abortion, we will have to agree to disagree on this one. Sacrificing a potential life on the altar of a career is reprehensible.

So please tell me you did not say that.


Sunday, July 28, 2019

The Last Straw...

Top of the afternoon everyone...

I had trouble deciding on the title of this blog entry. It was either going to be the title I used, or something along the lines of "Still Trying Not to Become a Right Wing Zealot." "The Elephant in the Room" was also a possibility. It was a difficult choice.

We are all aware that plastic straws are the latest concern in the global war on climate change. Putting aside all of the questions that might develop from the sentence above, perhaps there is some merit. The use of non-biodegradable products with such limited usability is not good for the environment. It is also not good for the wallet. That being said, I do not believe for even an instant that banning plastic straws, which comprise 0.025% of the 8,000,000 tons of plastic that end up in our oceans, will have the tiniest effect on climate change (please note that I am not defining climate change in any way. There is no consensus on exactly what it is, let alone what causes it).

With such concern about this environmental scourge, many cities are banning the use of plastic straws. The Trudeau government wishes to ban them for Canada as of 2021. Here in Toronto, Yorkdale Mall will commence its ban in October.

Let us clarify some numbers. As mentioned, straws comprise 0.025% of the 8,000,000 metric tons of plastic that ends up in our oceans. 8,000,000 x 0.025% = 8,000,000 x 0.00025 = 2000. 2000 metric tons of plastic straws get into our oceans each year. I agree. This is a problem.

Again though, we ignore the elephant in the room. A study from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts find their way into the world's waters per year. That works out to approximately 765436 metric tons.

765436/2000...that means that the gross tonnage of cigarette butts in our oceans outweighs the gross tonnage of plastic straws by a factor of more than 380. And the number of poisons in those cigarette butts is also not easily discounted. Here is the link to the NIH study: There were too many poisons to list in this blog entry.

Henceforth, I will avoid the use of plastic straws. Is there perhaps one smoker out there who will avoid the use of cigarettes in return? Henceforth, I will avoid the use of plastic straws. In return, is there one politician willing to consider and react to the environmental lethality of tobacco?

Have a good day folks.