Postcards From the Edge will return next week, as the Dean of Graduate Studies is out of town, and away from her computer
August 30th, 2013

At the turn of the last century French artist August Rodin celebrated the very act of thinking with this bronze sculpture.
August 23rd, 2013

At the turn of the last century French artist August Rodin celebrated the very act of thinking with this bronze sculpture. Little did he know just how iconic the pose would become, an elegant, literal representation of the contemplative life. The sculpture has been copied, imitated, and parodied for a century (my favourite is a Steve Colbert-headed truthiness version). To our jaded eyes it has achieved the order of kitsch, but anyone who went to high school still recognizes the original. (more…)

The Fogo Island Inn.
August 16th, 2013

The Fogo Island Inn. That’s what you’re looking at—or at least the front end of it. I was snapping pictures with my iPhone and, as wonderful a device as it is, it could not possibly take in the magnificence of this structure, perched on the edge of a point of the land in the community of Joe Batt’s Arm. I just returned from a trip to this astonishing hotel and the environment from which it springs. Never mind pictures. Words will fail me, too, if I don’t calm down. I am still quite buzzed from the whole experience and have vowed to return first chance I get. For a much better selection of photos just visit the web site: http://www.fogoislandinn.ca/

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A few years ago I got to know a Science graduate student…
August 8th, 2013

A few years ago I got to know a Science graduate student. Despite a certain self-admitted clumsiness, she came to my aerobics classes, regularly giddily flailing about as I barked orders to move this way and kick that way. When she first arrived at Memorial she wore a headscarf or hijab, even through fitness classes. She was Egyptian, had grown up in a religious household with lots of brothers and a stern father, or so she said. She was deeply shy by nature and very fragile, but she clearly wanted to open up about her childhood and current state of confusion. Adjusting to secular society was challenging and she felt the need to talk it all out. One day she showed up to aerobics without her hijab. It was kind of shocking to me, and probably to her, too. She declared that after a long struggle she had decided to abandon it altogether. I was never sure what that said about her faith, but she had made a strong decision about her appearance. She seemed happier and excited about her future, if worried about what her father would think if he ever found out. I haven’t seen her in a year or so and often wonder where she is and where her graduate degree has taken her. (more…)

A horribly distressing thing happened on the way to Toronto the other day.
August 2nd, 2013

A horribly distressing thing happened on the way to Toronto the other day. It was a hideously early flight and I kept drifting asleep on the flight. When we landed at Pearson and were waiting for the signal to disembark, I spotted a colleague across the aisle. We started yakking away and continued the conversation all the way through to the baggage claim area. Following that distraction I was soon in a cab to the hotel, still punchy sleepy. After settling in my room I reached into my purse for my iPad, only to realize in one crushingly vivid moment that I had left it on the plane in the seat pocket. You can imagine how quickly I jolted myself into full wakefulness at that moment.

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