LONDON, ONTARIO – In 2007 Ralph McInerny, the late novelist (most popularly known for his Father Dowling mysteries), and also a translator, biographer and distinguished professor of philosophy at Notre Dame University, squeaked out one of the last and apparently one of the slightest of the more than 100 books he penned in his lifetime; a breezy 154-page literary survey almost offhandedly entitled Some Catholic Writers. Yet as the old saw says, “You cannot judge a book by its cover” (this one sports a reproduction of Sir Herbert Gunn’s famous group portrait of G.K. Chesterton, Maurice Baring and Hilaire Belloc), nor by its title or its lack of heft. Much meatier than it looks, this slim little volume contains short but profoundly well-informed and tantalizing essays on 35 very disparate writers, mostly of fiction, and is the book of its kind I return to most often when I’m casting about for new writers to check out.
LONDON, ONTARIO – London’s favourite feminist scold, Megan Walker, is revving up the publicity machine for the ninth installment of the Shine the Light on Women Abuse campaign which is promoted each year by the London Abused Women’s Centre which Walker has long served as executive director. My longstanding objection to Walker’s habitual approach to combating the evil of domestic violence is the unhelpful and irresponsible way in which she and her organization always posit violence as a male-only problem.
LONDON, ONTARIO – In addition to the beauty of their forms and the rich variety of their characters, no small part of the magnificence of dogs is the lessons they so effortlessly impart to us about the nature of reality itself. I’ve recently been thinking about two dogs from my youth and was suddenly struck by the book-ended lessons they inadvertently taught me about life and death and the way our world wags on.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Nearly 40 years into its existence, Museum London has wisely rejigged that never-optimally realized gallery space just north of the restaurant and down a flight of stairs that always felt like a dismal and under-attended adjunct to the rest of the building. There was a rather pointless reflecting pool down there when our spiffy new art gallery opened in 1980 but it was summarily sealed over when some poor blue-hair toppled into it at an opening. Thankfully, she didn’t sue, which seems to be a generational thing. Our ‘lady of the dunking’ didn’t come of age in a time as enlightened as our own when every witless mishap is routinely exploited for personal profit. But ever since her accidental baptism, that lower gallery has had the feeling of a poorly designed space that badly needed to be rethought.
THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :
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