Joe Campbell

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Smoke without fire

Light is Right Joe Campbell I  think I’ve been hugged and told “love you” more often in the last 10 to 20 years than ever before. A surge of these verbal and gestural flourishes has swept the most recent generations and threatens mine. Whenever they meet or depart from family, friends, acquaintances and even near strangers, the affected are liable to give forth. I’m not sure why ... (Continue reading)

I’m an animal, too

Light is Right Joe Campbell As I am not a frequent flyer, I learned only recently that Canadian and other airlines let emotional support animals travel free. Isn’t that generous of them? I can’t wait for my next flight. Oh, I don’t plan to fly with an emotional support animal. I plan to fly as an emotional support animal. Not only am I good at supporting ... (Continue reading)

Mixed messages

Light is Right Joe Campbell I can see that I haven’t kept up with our symbols and emblems. Only recently I discovered that Saskatchewan has had an official bird since 1945. That’s the year my province appointed the sharp-tailed grouse to represent us. What ornithologists call the sharp-tailed grouse, we call the prairie chicken. I’m not sure I want a chicken to represent me. It suggests that ... (Continue reading)

Going to pot

Light is Right Joe Campbell Oh, I know it can be addictive, especially if you start using it in your teens. But it’s also medicinal. Among other benefits, a compound it contains may reduce anxiety, ease symptoms of schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease, and prevent weight gain. Nevertheless, it’s still under a stigma. I’m not talking about marijuana. I’m talking about tobacco. After learning of its healing properties ... (Continue reading)

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Settled sense

Light is Right Joe Campbell I don’t agree with settled science. But I’m not entirely disagreeable. I do agree with settled sense. Settled science is unscientific, as new experiments commonly falsify old conclusions. Even children learn that unless a hypothesis is falsifiable, it’s not scientific. I thought everyone knew that all scientific theories, from macroevolution to global warming, are provisional. If they weren’t, we might still cling to ... (Continue reading)

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Naming or shaming

Medical matters confuse me. Among the most confusing are diseases with patients’ or doctors’ names. I didn’t know what to think when neurologists said that Lou Gehrig might not have had Lou Gehrig’s disease. I thought the disease belonged to him. Apparently it didn’t. It may belong to someone else. I don’t know who. I don’t even know whom. Maybe only medical names should identify diseases. It would be less confusing. The medical name for Lou Gehrig’s disease is – or ... (Continue reading)

The disorder of Canada

The disorder of Canada

Light is Right Joe Campbell I’ve been wondering, of late, why congregants mark July 1 by singing “O Canada” at the end of Mass. I haven’t noticed legislators mark Dec. 25 by singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” at the end of their proceedings. I realize the dates are not strictly comparable. Although Canada Day celebrates the birth of the State, Christmas day doesn’t celebrate the birth ... (Continue reading)

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Clashing symbols

Light is Right Joe Campbell I was surprised to learn that Canada has no official bird, fish, flower, fruit or mineral. Officially, our nation has only three: the maple tree, the beaver and the Canadian horse. Even Prince Edward Island, our smallest province, has four. The other provinces and territories have from three to eleven each. Nationally, the paucity of natural emblems is surprising enough. The tardiness ... (Continue reading)

A crucial distinction

Light is Right Joe Campbell "Don’t call it sin,” he declared, and proposed that, to describe someone’s immoral behaviour, I write objectively disordered. Preserve us from word-watchers, I thought. His lecture was a reminder of how much verbal clutter irritates me. Oh, I understand why he complained. I just don’t understand why he thought it necessary. It wouldn’t bother him if I wrote that certain acts are wrong. ... (Continue reading)

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Animal rights and human reason

When I was a boy, I heard nothing about animal rights. I guess that’s not surprising, as I also heard nothing about animal duties. In those days, the adults I associated with took for granted that duties and rights go together. As no one I heard of promoted animal duties, it would have seemed peculiar if someone had promoted animal rights. I mention this because as a youngster I both approved and abetted the killing of animals and birds. Whenever my ... (Continue reading)

Here’s to clarity

Here’s to clarity

Light is Right Joe Campbell Please don’t breed any more acronyms and initialisms. The speed with which they increase and multiply overwhelms me. Trying to figure out what these abbreviations mean, or don’t mean, is like puzzling over quotes from an unfamiliar language. Oh, I realize that some acronyms are widely understood, like OPEC, a political cartel and AIDS, a political disease. Why, they’re so commonplace that ... (Continue reading)

How wrong can they be?

Light is Right Joe Campbell Pity the poor legislators. Increasingly, Big Brother watches their every move. Well, not just Big Brother, Big Sister, too. Being constantly watched is intimidating. Having what you painstakingly put together repeatedly taken apart is demeaning. But that’s the fate of legislators under a judicial dictatorship. From time to time, I’ve called Big Brother/Sister, also known as the Supreme Court, the judicial magisterium. Not ... (Continue reading)

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Killers as caregivers

Light is Right Joe Campbell "Well, they’ve done it,” Dingwall said. “Done what?” I asked. “Removed the stigma from suicide,” he replied. “By letting doctors help patients kill themselves, the Supreme Court transformed a calamity into a cure.” “Some think the ruling is very restrictive,” I said, “requiring intolerable suffering, among other conditions.” “Maybe for now,” he said. “However, the learned judges stated that in prohibiting doctor-assisted suicide, the Criminal ... (Continue reading)

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Light is Right Joe Campbell Disloyalty spoils everything. Look what it’s done to professional sports. I’m not talking about things like fixing games or using performance-enhancing chemicals. I’m talking about shredding bonds between players and fans. I don’t know about you, but when I get interested in a sport, I commit seriously to particular teams and players. Because of roster turnovers, I find it increasingly difficult to ... (Continue reading)

Risky raiment

Light is Right Joe Campbell We were talking about the Ontario Human Rights Commission and how it appears to have betrayed its politically correct roots. We suspected that in warning about female dress in the workplace, the Commission violated a basic precept of feminism. “Oh, the shame of it!” my friend Dingwall said. “Not of the immodesty, let alone the unchastity, but of the admission that revealing ... (Continue reading)

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