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Three Things from Edmonton podcast: Italy, garages, long play

Ciao, ecco tre cose della mia piccola vita che questa settimana hanno lasciato tracce di felicità e gratitudine, or something like that. Here's Three Things from Edmonton, episode 141:                                   1. Italy      Shelagh is off to Italy soon for a couple of weeks. It will be a belated milestone birthday vacation celebration with her friend Sheryl. I’m staying home to keep an eye on the tomatoes. If it frosts, someone has to cover the plants. Italy as a holiday destination makes deep sense for Shelagh. She took night-class Italian lessons a decade ago at Ainlay. Her accent is a-pretty good. She studied the literature and the architecture of the country as an undergrad. She spoke real Latin, actually. She made me watch Don’t Look Now with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. She shops at Spinelli’s in Little Italy. She knows Moonstruck by heart. A favourite exchange:   Cosmo: Well, stick around, don’t go on any long trips. Johnny: I don’t know what you mean! Cosm

Three Things from Edmonton podcast -- Episode 140: experts, tomatoes, relay

If I had a happiness and gratitude sonar, these would be the three pings from last week.   Three Things, episode 140:                               1. Experts   Before social media and the democratization of knowledge made everyone an expert, there was a class of people called, well, for lack of a better term, experts. Newspaper editors. Doctors. Politicians. University professors. Civil servants.   It wasn’t necessarily the best of times. Many other voices weren’t heard, lots of experience was somehow ruled to be of no value.   I worked in newspapers as the hierarchy of knowledge came crashing down on some bewildered gatekeepers who I can still see walking out through the debris of fallen pillars as the influencers sashayed in. Those technocrats are not the experts I want back, but I do miss some experts. Or, at least, one specific category of expert. I miss the disc jockey. I still prefer my music to be served up by a human being in voice. Or, at least, a human being I know or can pi

Three Things from Edmonton podcast -- Episode 139: sounds of summer, replay, poets

Here are three things that moved the needle of happiness and gratitude in the week that was. Three Things from Edmonton, episode 139:                               1. Sounds of summer   When the snow comes and the land in this part of the country sounds its long steady note of winter, other sounds will drift out of range for a time. That’s why I ignored the voice inside me that said get up and go do something productive, and, instead, stayed where I was, sitting in a chair in the backyard, listening to rain falling down onto the gazebo roof overhead.   When the snow comes and the side streets and back roads are shined up like glass, access to other sounds will lie buried for a time. To prepare, I looked down and listened to my bike tires bite into a gravel road at the University Farm as I pedalled to pick up a dozen fresh eggs. Not a bite as much as a sizzle, to hear it. When the snow forces bare feet back inside socks back inside boots, the delicate sound of the badminton birdie pingi

Three Things from Edmonton podcast -- Episode 138: microscopes, jackknife, drama

Back to school is in the air. Hope you all have your duo-tangs, hole reinforcements for binders and your inky-pink erasers, or have helped others get the same. Here are three other things from the past (week) that left behind traces of happiness and gratitude.   Three Things, episode 138:                                 1. Microscopes I remember the moment so vividly still because it was pickled in the brine of junior high school fear and doubt. Grade 7 science class. Mr. Litwin was our teacher. He wore colourful silk scarves around his neck to hide, he said, the marks of the stitches left behind when his head was completely severed and sewn back on after a plane crash in the war. He would tell that story and gauge our reactions and smile. We were studying cellular structure one week. There were illustrations in our biology textbook showing the differences between plant cells and animal cells. It was our job as budding scientists to determine if the cells we saw through a microscope we