Famous Last Words or Can Your Epitaph Change the World?

Your thoughts?

Aging Capriciously


Once upon a time at the Frederic library, a group of people who met regularly over coffee were discussing the reported last words of Voltaire.  The  discussion soon wandered into the last words of other famous people.  Several of us could think of comments made by some well-known people on their death beds.  Many of these comments are very interesting; perhaps because you don’t think anyone is going to lie when they only have a few minutes to live.  Or perhaps, we are fascinated because of some irony that these last words provide.

Voltaire is alleged to have refused to repent his sins because “He did not want to make any more enemies before he died.”  He was referring to the fact that Satan would be upset if he now recanted on his lack of belief in religion or Christianity.  Socrates last words were:  “Crito, we owe a rooster to…

View original post 686 more words

So you want to be a 90-year-old runner

The runners are out there.

Robby Robin's Journey

Hmm, my guess is that being able to run at 90 isn’t at the top of most people’s wish lists.  Maybe being alive and healthy at 90?  Maybe being alive at 90 only if healthy?  But running, not so much so.  [I do understand that more people than not can’t imagine wanting to run at any age!]

However, being a runner*, I sat up and took notice when this article appeared in the New York Times last month: These 90-year-old runners have some advice for you.  Their main advice: Stay consistent, stay persistent, and stay in motion.


This article was inspired by the U.S. National Senior Games held recently, which included events ranging from the 50 m to the 1500 m.  My favourite paragraph describing the scene was:

Many of the runners were 75 to 99 years old and didn’t pick up running until they were in their 60s…

View original post 475 more words

Today – Summer Solstice – is National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada

Robby Robin's Journey

National Indigenous Peoples Day is an important day in Canada, one in which Indigenous peoples celebrate their heritage and non-Indigenous Canadians are encouraged to reflect on the critical importance of turning around the devastation the effects of colonialism have had on Indigenous peoples.  “Colonialism” is a polite way of speaking of the brutal treatment of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples by government, police, and churches over centuries.  Slowly, very slowly, Indigenous peoples are taking back their culture, their languages, their pride, and self-determination.  We can all help that process by learning the truth of our colonial past (which hasn’t quite ended yet) and helping our Indigenous neighbours celebrate their heritage.

Last June (2021) I wrote weekly blog posts on Indigenous issues, in honour of the whole month of June being Indigenous History Month (along with Pride Month).  In reading over those posts, I’ve decided it’s appropriate to post an…

View original post 1,228 more words

The art of colourising old photographs

Artistic endeavour or?

Matthew Wright

Of late there has been a huge upswing in the trend towards ‘colourising’ old monochrome photos. Adding colour to monochrome isn’t new, of course – there was a whole industry devoted to ‘hand tinting’ back in the day. It was done to give people the feel of being there. Special oil paints were manufactured for this purpose. They also came in suitable grey tones to touch up monochrome prints. These days Photoshop does the job, and there’s a growing range of ‘AI’ software that automates the colourising process. Sort of.

The problem, of course, is that we don’t know the precise colours of the day. We have a good idea, obviously – I mean, grass is usually likely to be green. But the literal shades aren’t known. So a colourised photo is not literally what the scene of the day showed. Yet it is still worth doing, I think. To…

View original post 723 more words

Did a Google chatbot just “come to life”?

Interesting question.

Robby Robin's Journey

In the news this past week: Google engineer put on leave after saying AI chatbot has become sentient (Guardian) and No, Google’s AI is not sentient (CNN).  What’s this all about?  [For those not familiar with the term, a chatbot is simply a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.  Like Siri or Alexa.]

As I described in an earlier post entitled Is Artificial Intelligence really artificial?, there are no categorical answers to any of the questions behind the basic philosophical and biological questions of:

  • What is intelligence?
  • What is consciousness?
  • What is thinking?
  • What is understanding?


  • What does it mean to be sentient?

We think we know what these things mean, but none of us can define any of them with absolute authority.  We’re not really sure what we mean ourselves when we say that we have consciousness. We think that…

View original post 967 more words

The late Bronze Age collapse and our future

Sounds familiar to today’s environment.

Matthew Wright

Between about 1250 and 1150 BCE an essentially ‘globalised’ and multi-national civilisation based around the eastern Mediterranean collapsed into ruin. The collapse was violent, relatively swift, and marked the effective end not just of the age in which bronze was the primary alloy, but of multiple nations including the Hittite Empire, Mycenaean Greece, Kassite-era Babylonia, and Egypt’s New Kingdom.

It was a much more serious collapse than other ‘collapses’ of history such as the ‘fall’ of the Roman Empire, because it encompassed such a wide range of nations. In one frenetic burst a multi-national, multi-cultural civilisation with large complex societies, cities, trade, education, roads, accountants, transport networks and all the rest fell over, leaving burned cities and ruin where vigorous populations and brisk international trade had once flourished. Dark ages followed in which even the art of writing was lost in some places.

The late Bronze Age ‘global’ environment, via…

View original post 679 more words

Golf, greed, gambling, and … a force for good in the world?!

Ah yes the enticement of money!

Robby Robin's Journey

It’s true, I don’t post about sports very often, except for running, of course.  And when I do, it’s usually been to laud statements on human rights that professional athletes have made, using their voice to fight hatred and discrimination.  But – and this may come as a surprise to those of you who only know me through this blog – my husband and I watch LOTS of sports, continually.  Pretty well everything except for the NFL.  My favourites to have on while reading and thinking are tennis, Raptors basketball, Blue Jays baseball, curling, and golf.

I’ve been following PGA golf closely (aka most weekends) for the past 30 years.  And, while I had never thought of golf as a force for good in the world, as Graeme McDowell tried to claim in one of several awkward interviews with some of the world’s best – and turncoat – golfers…

View original post 998 more words

Getting old and enjoying it just fine – in song

Indeed getting old is not for wimps and that is what makes it fun!

Robby Robin's Journey

Recently New Zealand blogger Rachel McAlpine, at blog Write Into Life, published a post entitled 3 Songs About Getting Old. I’d been thinking about this same topic for a while now, so I thought I’d build on Rachel’s observations.

She expressed exactly what I’ve been noticing, that songs about aging are usually written and performed by younger people … and they almost exclusively focus on what they see as the diminishing physical qualities of the aged, defining us by the horror of wrinkly skin and various aches and pains.  Little to nothing about the richness of seeing life through the lens of someone who has 70, 80, or even 90 years of life experience to draw on for strength and wisdom.  Nothing about the joy of watching the lives of children and grandchildren unfold without the day-to-day busyness and worry their parents have.  Nothing of the joy of sharing…

View original post 1,158 more words

Why A Gun Will Not Make You Safer!

Excellent article on gun ownership.

Aging Capriciously


Every gun sold in America makes you less safe than you were the minute before that gun was sold. The gun lobbies and Second Amendment devotees want you to believe the opposite. There are two motives for this. One is to sell more guns. This is a motive for the gun lobbyists, gun manufacturers and NRA. The second motive is by the Second Amendment advocates who seriously believe that guns will protect you from “bad” guys with a gun. This is wishful thinking which more often than not is false. However, there are many cases on record where guns have protected people from criminals and other deviants. Nevertheless, statistically speaking, you are not safer with more guns. In fact, you are less safe as each gun sale adds to the growing epidemic of gun violence in USA America. You will only be safer when there are less guns to be…

View original post 1,771 more words