Showing posts from December, 2016

Money Can Buy Happiness. The Question Is: “How Much Happiness Is Enough?”

How much money buys happiness? Thanks to Malcolm Gladwell we can now say that increased wealth correlates with an increase in happiness up to an annual salary of $75,000 USD—that’s $100,000 Canadian  (See Good Teachers Are Always Underdogs ).  After $100,000 CAD, more money produces less and less happiness, until wealth eventually causes more problems than pleasures.         = < $100,000 CAD We are left with the question: “How much happiness is enough?”  Strange question?  I hope so.   Being unhappy is not a mental illness Listening to a lecture given by Thomas Szasz, the psychiatrist who denied the existence of anything that could be called a “mental illness” (see also Terrorism and Madness:  Between Sympathy and Understanding ), I was struck by his description of people who came to him thinking that they were mentally ill because they were not happy.  As Szasz reported, being unhappy is a perfectly reasonable, sane response to some of life’s events and circ

Lies, Lies, Nothing but Lies! Oh, Wait a Minute, There’s a Bit of Truth There . . .

Analyzing Fiction There has never been a better time to be a specialist in analyzing fiction.  Alvin Kernan’s The Death of Literature notwithstanding, there may still be hope for the study of “literature”; a.k.a., “the lies that tell the truth.” Sarah Palin in a bikini!  [click the link please!] Fake News Is News In the wake of the American presidential election, there has been a tidal wave of discussion online, on television and in the press about “fake news.”  One television news show I saw recently claimed that fake news stories outnumber “real” news stories (whatever “real” means) by a ratio of three to one, and fake news is viewed online tens times as frequently as its conservative cousin. Of course, the television news show in question was quoting online sources, raising the question “Is the news about ‘fake news’ fake?” Fraudsters Target the Illiterate and Less Literate Have you noticed that when you receive one of those fraudulent email mes

When It Comes to Democracy, Who Are Canadians to Talk?

Trump, Trudeau and the popular vote   When some of my Canadian Facebook friends seemed outraged that Donald Trump won the American presidency without winning the popular vote, I felt compelled to point out that the Trudeau Liberals only won 39.5% of the popular vote (Oct. 19, 2015) which translated into 54% of the parliamentary seats—which in Canada means 100% of the power.   Trump tweets that he won a "rigged" election Of course, being elected to the single most powerful position on the planet isn’t quite enough to satisfy Trump’s mega-ego, so his team has been pursuing claims that he did, in fact, win the popular vote, pursuant to Trump’s typical strategy of simply Tweeting that he, in fact, won the popular vote and that the voting was rigged.  Yes, he claims that the election which he won was rigged.  We live in dark comedic times.     "There is a crack in everything" As a Canadian, it’s difficult not to notice that Leonard Cohen died the day