LONDON, ONTARIO – Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801–90) who was elevated to sainthood on Sunday, October 13, is widely regarded as one of the supreme prose stylists of the English language; a distinction which is avidly accorded him by temperaments as diverse as G.K. Chesterton and James Joyce. Less central to the reputation of this remarkably prodigious thinker and writer is the poetry he occasionally tossed off on the side. Newman had no illusions that his poetic gifts were of any accomplishment or significance. He took to poetry as nothing more than a form of recreation; a different modality in which to exercise his literary inclinations.
HAMILTON, ONTARIO – My wife and I went down to Hamilton last Sunday in a bus full of supporters from the London Ontario area to attend a fund-raising rally for the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) being held at the McIntyre Art Centre on the campus of Mohawk College. Though the party – founded last fall by breakaway Conservative Quebec MP Maxime Bernier – has candidates running in every riding in the country, they had to fight to get Bernier a slot in the two nationally televised leaders’ debates taking place this week (one in English and one in French) and the party and its candidates are routinely given short shrift in both local and national news coverage.
LONDON, ONTARIO – In the final analysis, eco-warrior Greta Thunberg’s greatest gift to mankind might turn out to be her uncanny powers of clarification. Those powers are most certainly not manifested in anything that the George Soros-scripted, 16 year-old puppet actually says. Indeed, all of her alarmist tirades of imminent ecological Armageddon have been heard before ad nauseam. They long predate what we can only hope will turn out to be her fleeting notoriety. They also predate her birth and are not growing one iota more convincing by dint of their endless and hysterically escalating reiteration.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Faithful readers of the Hermaneutics blog may recall our second essay from January 2018, in which I rose to the defense of a London Police officer who was being hounded by the witless jackals of political correctness for the crime of dressing up in African ceremonial garb for Hallowe’en during her student years – a full decade before joining the London Force. I won’t recapitulate my argument here; suffice it to say that I do not accept the calumny that racial hatred is the invariable (or even a common) inspiration for dressing up like someone you are not. Incredibly enough I think it’s got a lot more to do with a sense of fun and adventure and even admiration. You can check out that essay at this link if you’d care for a refresher: http://www.hermangoodden.ca/blog/making-the-case-for-insensitivity-training
LONDON, ONTARIO – Saturday night was the seventh evening in the last ten days when our household’s quality of life was seriously impinged by seven-hour blasts of blaring tedium emanating from Harris Park which is situated a mere four doors and one river to our east. The closing night of Park Jam was the loudest of them all and as it was futile to push against the aural onslaught with in-house programming of any subtlety or nuance, we fought back in a culturally masochistic way by electing to watch – and cranking – a 2001 concert film on YouTube, entitled Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration.
To commemorate the 144th edition of London, Ontario's Western Fair, here’s an old short story of mine (at least 50% fiction) inspired by a childhood visit to the Fair circa 1960.
It was unusually cold that night at the Fair, more like Hallowe’en than early September, and I felt the excitement of any eight year-old who suddenly detects the approach of another season.
LONDON, ONTARIO – With the death on August 12th of Bishop John Michael Sherlock at the age of 93, I expect that I am not the only member of the sprawling Diocese of London, whose sense of bereavement has been mixed with bursts of jubilation at a race that was so very well run. I shall indeed miss his steadying presence in the day to day life of our local Church but it would seem ungrateful and even myopic to only express regret at a death which came at such a good age; or to wish for the prolongation of a life which the Bishop himself was willing and prepared to let go.
LONDON, ONTARIO – When I came into the Roman Catholic Church in 1984, my decision to convert was at least partially influenced by the testimony and example of people I admired who happened to be Catholic. Naturally enough, friends and associates held some sway, as well as public figures and artists of every stripe. But, incorrigibly bookish soul that I am, I was most particularly influenced by a mixed flock of congenial writers as temperamentally and politically diverse as John Henry Newman, Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, Evelyn Waugh, Ronald Knox, Flannery O’Connor and Dorothy Day.
LONDON, ONTARIO – In the end they couldn’t get a 50th anniversary edition of the Woodstock festival off the ground last weekend in upstate New York and perhaps that’s just as well. I was not relishing the prospect of watching that saucy young minx, Katy Perry, share a bill with however many surviving members of Country Joe and the Fish could still manage to cradle an instrument in their laps and croak out the never-more imminent proclamation, “Whoopee, we’re all gonna die”.
Distracted once again with the rigours of summer holidaying, here’s a five year-old piece from The London Yodeller about summer reading and outfitting the rising generation with an appreciation for the classics.
LONDON, ONTARIO – Can we all agree that at least until they achieve something resembling the age of reason, grandchildren can be a bit of a challenge to shop for? Early in my marriage I learned (frankly with great relief) that men – or at least this one – should never try to buy clothes for other human beings. I don’t seem to have an eye or a sense for the whole size and ‘will it fit?’ thing. And, even more fundamental than that not inconsiderable flaw, I am reliably informed (and reluctantly convinced) that I have perfectly appalling taste in matters sartorial anyway. Just because it’s the kind of garment I’d like to see people wear, doesn’t mean any sane person would willingly put it on except at gunpoint.
If you would like to contribute to the ongoing operations of Hermaneutics, there are now a few options available.
THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :