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    Toronto’s slums had chickens in living rooms, leaky roofs, wet basements and cellars, overflowing outdoor privies, and high rents

    November 29th, 2013

    Chickens in the living room, nine children crowded in a single rag-covered bed, one outdoor water tap for 16 houses; these were among Toronto 1910 slum housing conditions described by Medical Director Dr. Charles Hasting in a talk to the Irish Benevolent Society. Six month’s later, Hastings spelled out more excruciating detail in a groundbreaking report. Read the rest of this entry »


    Winnipeg doctors cashed in on booze prescriptions

    September 17th, 2013

    At least some doctors made a good thing of prohibition. You could quench your thirst if you could get a doctor’s prescription for liquor for medicinal purposes. In Manitoba, some doctors were selling liquor prescriptions by the caseload, Read the rest of this entry »


    Sound of silence, and other noises

    April 19th, 2013

    The great compensating benefit of being hard of hearing is the easy ability to tune out. Unplug. Abolish noise pollution. Turn the roar of the world into meow. I speak from experience.

    Another benefit is that civic authorities would likely have much less trouble on their hands if more people were hearing impaired. Few things seem to occupy the authorities of big cities and small towns more than noise, judging by a Google search that yielded a score of news reports about noise, all dated within two days in mid-April, 2013.

    In Durham, North Carolina, police issued a citation to the New Hope Church Read the rest of this entry »


    Death-defying creativity

    August 8th, 2012

    I just thought right away that I wanted to work. This is a good job. It’s been a good job. Work is the most effective drug therapy there can be. Warren Zevon (1947-2003 ), U.S. songwriter, on being informed that he had mesothelioma cancer, and only months to live. Read the rest of this entry »


    The fatal perils of a lonely heart

    October 4th, 2011

    Loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day; as dangerous as being an alcoholic, as harmful as never exercising, and twice as dangerous as obesity.

    That’s one of the findings of researchers at Brigham Young University, who say you can die from loneliness Read the rest of this entry »


    Can you rope a better life?

    September 2nd, 2011

    My body needs exercise; my spirit yearns for connections with nature, neighbour and God; and my mind needs permission to ignore clocks, deadlines and to-do lists. To remember long-forgotten folk proverbs, a first kiss, or the poetry of Emily Dickinson. To discover all the wondrous things that lie hidden within my circle of rope.

    Writer  KathleenGibson credits 45-minute daily workouts with a skipping rope for helping her make personal and professional achievements.“ Within This Circle,” Reader’s Digest, January 2001.