What do you think this hyena at the Toronto Zoo was looking at? If the expression on its face suggests that it was seeing something odd, well, maybe it was. As I was taking that photo, a group of 4-5 adult people on my left were talking animatedly as they engaged in taking selfies, and … Continue reading Hyenas and Selfie Culture
Like many people, I used to be sceptical of the Warren Commission finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was nothing more than a misfit loner, who shot JFK. I had always assumed that there was at least one other shooter. I didn't realize until recently that Oswald may not have shot anyone. Besides documentaries, there have … Continue reading Rescuing Lee Harvey Oswald
Have you read Thomas Hardy's 1895 novel, Jude the Obscure? If you haven't, it's the story of Jude Fawley, a shy, intelligent, sensitive boy, then man, who is too shy, intelligent and sensitive to fit into a callous, indifferent and hypocritical world. Jude is working class, but he longs to become a Greek and Latin scholar … Continue reading Rescuing Jude
Recently I came upon a post by a Toronto journalist celebrating the many ravines in Toronto, the refuge of much local wildlife, valleys created by the rivers that run south through our city. As someone who has been exploring those places since the 1960s, I know them well and I celebrate them too. But when … Continue reading Wild New York
In my 2009 essay For Madmen Only (now a page on this site), I presented my idea that the ending of Herman Hesse's novel Steppenwolf isn't at the end of the book, but at the beginning. For several years that was a page on the previous Alan Conrad/Shy Highway website where it received more visits than the rest … Continue reading Steppenwolf vs Herman Hesse
When I had my previous website, The Loner's Highway, it was accompanied by a secondary blog known as The Society for the Protection of Fictional Characters, or, in short, the SPFC. I liked that name, and the acronym, but the acronym presented a problem. A web search found that SPFC includes: São Paol FC, a football/soccer … Continue reading Rescuing Fiction
Do you know about Dunbar's number? A British anthropologist, Robin Dunbar, studied the size of stable social groups and concluded in the 1990s that an individual's preferred number of people is 150. Neolithic farming villages supposedly were that size, the basic operating units of armies since Roman times have been and are that size, and … Continue reading What is your Dunbar number?