LONDON, ONTARIO – That’s our firstborn daughter’s dog, Gummy, which is short for 'Montgomery'. He was named after Montgomery Clift - not the famous field marshal - and is sporting the protective cone that a British Columbia vet outfitted him with about ten years back so he’d stop licking and fussing with a wound that needed time to heal. Our daughter had acquired Gummy in the fall of 2008 when she and her partner and two thirds of our grandkids were living back in London for a spell. Gummy had attained a particularly gangly adolescence by the time we acquired a new puppy of our own on May 1st of 2009 and through that summer, Gummy taught Grace all of her essential life skills and the pair of them simultaneously destroyed our back garden through sheer canine exuberance.
LONDON, ONTARIO - With a particular focus on his more devotional writings, this month our Christian men’s reading group revisited the literary remains of Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801–90) for the first time since he was elevated to sainthood in October of 2019. The foremost Newman scholar in the world today, Fr. Ian Ker (now a senior research fellow at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford) was predicting Newman’s elevation to sainthood as early as the 1970s when he began work on his monumental biography, John Henry Newman which was first published in 1987. In the expanded edition of that work in 2009, Ker upped the ante even further and expressed his confidence that Newman will one day also be deemed a Doctor of the Church.
LONDON, ONTARIO – The death of Michael Nesmith this week at the age of 78, called forth a lot of mourning from ageing Monkees fans and a lot of sniping from half-informed curmudgeons who’d always regarded that deliberately manufactured group of ‘60s pop musicians (with their very own TV show and a line in commemorative lunch pails) as irredeemable capitalist stooges and soulless phonies. Yes, the Monkees were brought together in a totally inorganic way, contrived from the get-go to cash in on the success of The Beatles with a less discerning and younger audience. But the Monkees underwent a considerable evolution over the course of their short career and managed to provide more than a few decent tunes that stand up pretty well half a century later. And I look back with even deeper affection and regard for the much less celebrated work that Mike Nesmith produced once the Monkees had packed it in.
LONDON, ONTARIO - Only one year older than myself, when Tom Gosnell was elected mayor of London in 1985 at the age of 34, I doubt that I was the only member of that tiresome generation familiarly (and sometimes sneeringly) known as the Boomers who suddenly experienced a moment of slightly giddy uncertainty. (He had actually served seven years before that as an alderman but that hadn’t significantly registered on my consciousness.) Tom’s elevation to the city’s highest post could best be compared, I suppose, to the first time you find yourself entrusted to the care of a physician who’s roughly your own age or (perish the thought) even younger. It was a moment of realization that, ready or not, our lot was in charge now. Regardless of how ill-prepared we may have felt, we were now the responsible adults in the room. Were we really ready for this?
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THE AQUINAS LECTURE
G.K. CHESTERTON AND THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
ALL LIFE IS A GIFT :
THE IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION :