The myth of Tory economic performance – The Globe and Mail.

Check out Lawrence Martin’s assessment of the Harper record. The out-of-control cuts and spending left us with a deficit where there had been a surplus. Martin puts it all together in this fine article. Politics is ever the same. The politicians “spin”, trying to convince us that up is down, black is white and guys who denied the economic downturn in ’08 are somehow our saviours in ’12.

Writing: I’m working on book three in my Dangerous Journey’s series. Anne is in Bermuda this time, fending off a police detective who thinks that Anne is a killer, and a killer who thinks she’s a nuisance that needs to be eliminated. I hope to be finished by the end of March, so watch for it next fall. Title, as always, pending.

Reading; I finished The Hare with the Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal. De Waal writes the biography of his family’s collection of netsuke and through it a memoir of his family of Russian Jewish bankers and their sad fate at the hands of Austrian Nazis. A fascinating and moving story, and a very good read.

Sunday Roundup2


My latest book went to the publisher some time ago. Two errors, both mine, merged to give both the editor and me headaches. First, I had sent the wrong version, unedited and unrevised. During May and June I had worked on the manuscript and then carefully saved it — to a usb drive. I didn’t remember that and sent the most recent one on the computer. The next mistake was in using Word. I didn’t know that there was a small button in the reviewing toolbar that I had to click in order to accept all my edits and create a final version. The editor received a file full of corrections, strike-throughs, and sidebar comments.  Once the Microsoft tech told me what to do — success. The publisher, Arline Chase of Write Words Inc. and  Cambridge Books, has been great about it and I have sent along the revised  version to the editor.

Tech Support

I needed support from both Apple and Microsoft to solve the problem, and both technicians were great. The wait time was brief and the information clear. It was Saturday evening, so not too much traffic at support, I imagine.

Another outfit that has an efficient website and great service is Rail Europe. I used them to book our tickets from Madrid to Seville in the fall. From booking to the UPS driver at my door took three days, including a border crossing!


Sakineh still waits in that prison in Iran, while they review her sentence for a murder she says she didn’t commit and of which she was acquitted. Through an intermediary she says that the international pressure is embarrassing Iran. I hope that this country, once such a pearl, can be saved, with Sakineh, from the madmen at the top. Please continue to embarrass them and sign the petition. Website follows.

The census, still.

This week, Sylvia Ostry, former chief of Stats Can and an internationally known economist is quoted in Michael Valpy’s article at the Globe and Mail, as saying it is “shocking” and “ridiculous” that Ottawa should have abandoned the long form census. She was receiving an award for public policy at the Couchiching Conference.

Why the government is staying with this sorry decision is difficult to understand, unless it is Harper’s ego in play again. Hubris best describes it I think.


I went to a summer theatre this week, to see a play, out of John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps, by way of Hitchcock’s film, filtered through an English music hall. The actors were excellent, but I didn’t enjoy seeing Buchan’s work turned into burlesque.

I hadn’t read the book for many years, so I reread it this week. It’s a cracking good yarn, with lots of adventure in the Scottish highlands of a century ago. John Buchan was also Lord Tweedsmuir and served as Canada’s fifteenth Governor-General from 1935-1940.

One thing I noticed, as I have in Christie, Naigo Marsh, Dorothy Sayers and other writers from England of that period is the pervasive and off-hand anti-semitism. Buchan, though, confines it to a character who is soon murdered, and whose attitude towards Jews is called “strange”.

The Internet Review of Books

Bob Sanchez reviewed my novel, Murderous Roots, today for the Internet Review of Books.
The Internet Review of Books is a great source for information about both fiction and non-fiction. Check it out before making your next run to the bookstore, or the download site. Murderous Roots is my first novel, and I’m grateful for the review.
My short story, Freddie’s Athabaska, was published today in The Other Herald, an arts broadsheet from Northern New York state.
I’ve finished editing the galley proofs for the print-on-demand version of Murderous Roots, coming soon to Write Words Inc.
Amazon has been granted the right to a “bricks and mortar” facility in Ontario. This is a warehouse they will use for their Canadian customers. As I live in a small town, I’ve used Amazon frequently(except during the period when our son owned a bookstore). I can appreciate the problems of the small bookseller who faces the competition from giants like Amazon and Chapters. When you buy the book from these guys, remember that they have used their vast buying power to bully the publisher into a 40% discount, while your neighbourhood bookseller is paying the full wholesale price.
The publisher and the author pay for your convenience.
All that being said, the publishing trade is in a state of flux, with the fastest growing segment that of electronic books. Does this mean the days of books in paper are coming to an end? I hope not, at least for the small format paperback that is the easiest to read in bed! I read for many reasons: to be entertained; to be informed; to learn my writing craft; to pursue an interest in the arts. Most of these are better served by a book on paper, I think now. I’m going to have a look at a friend’s ipad today, and perhaps my view will change.

Mr. Pip

Mr. Pip, by Loyd Jones. Alfred A. Knopf Canada, publisher. 2007.

This entrancing book comes with a distinguished record – winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for best book, and finalist for the Mann Booker Prize.
At first, we are offered a mysterious white man, married to a madwoman, who becomes the teacher for the children when the teachers are lost to one of those brutal island wars of rebellion in the South Pacific. He is a Mr. Chips if you will – whose only remaining book is Great Expectations. Matilda, a child of the village, soon to become an adult, takes us into her life and the life, and death of the village.
The many layers of this story, the beautiful language, the characters who will remain in memory long after the book has been closed, and the tragic denouement, are lessons in writing the literary novel. This is a book about the transforming power of literature and is itself an example of it.


Eight weeks left until I see my last patient. Every day brings a new goodbye.
Yesterday I submitted my CME for 2009. Because we are going to keep our licenses active, that means more CME in 2010. It’s difficult, but I think it would be harder to just stop and never read a word of medicine again.
Oh and the stock market has fallen again. Yet another reason to keep the license active, at least until next year.
Review: How Markets Fail, by John Cassidy – The Globe and Mail. An interesting review of this book about economists and their inability to predict, control or explain the markets.
This week was a good example of the emotional irrationality the rules those who buy and sell. Obama wishes to regulate the banks. A good thing, right. As far as I can see it was regulation that save the Canadian economy from the depths others have reached. But no. The young men in red suspenders have apparently learned nothing, and think the sky will fall if bankers aren’t allowed to pillage economies, paying themselves outrageous salaries as they play with the lives and money of others.
By the way, the US economy has made 5.7% increase in the GDP in last quarter, but the economists don’t expect it to last. Tell me why I should believe them.