Showing posts from March, 2020

The Grapes of Wrath

Number 10 on the list of top 100 novels John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath is number 10 on the Modern Library's list of the 100 Top Novels of the 20th Century.  After a couple of years trying to convince my students of the virtues of Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury (#6 on the list ), I gave up and substituted the more accessible, single-third-person narrative, not-stream-of-consciousness Steinbeck novel.  In the process of teaching it, my admiration for the novel grew.  But what does "Grapes of Wrath" mean? The title was suggested by Carol Steinbeck It is widely reported that the title was suggested by Faulkner's first wife , Carol Henning Steinbeck . The expression “Grapes of Wrath” comes from the Bible: Revelation 14:19–20 (New Testament) and Isaiah 63 (Old Testament). The expression was re-used in the lyrics of “ The Battle Hymn of the Republic ” written during the American Civil War. "Wrath" means anger  In the si

How the World Ends

"This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but with a whimper."                                             T. S. Eliot  " The Hollow Men" Asteroids and comets The world will end.  The only questions are how and when.  On average, the earth is struck by an asteroid big enough to reshape if not devastate the planet every 100 million years.  The last major impact was 66 million years ago.  You might want to keep an eye on the sky for the next 34 million years or so.  Sudbury was hit nearly 2 billion years ago, so maybe we in Ontario, Canada, will be spared next time. The Grapes of Wrath Even if you are one of those people who believe that the speck of space dust we all live on, and everything else, was created by a fair-skinned old man with a long beard who made us "in his image and likeness" (though vice versa seems more likely to me), you must still accept that his Angel of Death will eventually cut us down with his sickle and cast us

Why Is the Coronavirus Getting So Much Attention?

Coronavirus disease versus the flu According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine web site , as of February 6, 2020, the Coronavirus disease has caused 2, 810 deaths worldwide.  In comparison, the flu kills between 291,000 and 646,00 people every year.  Why has the Coronavirus gotten so much attention?  According to Dr. Bonnie Henry, a BC Health Inspector, the objective is to contain the virus.  In theory, once it has nowhere to spread, it will be restricted to the animal population from which it first emerged. "The Truth about PHEICs" ( P ublic H ealth E mergency of I nternational C oncern) Containment is a nice idea, but it has become obvious that containment and quarantine haven't been working and generally don't work.  In an opinion piece on the Ebola crisis, entitled " The Truth about PHEICs ," Professor Emeritus Johan Giesecke, writing on behalf of the WHO [ W orld H ealth O rganization] Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Hazards,