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The Sunday Edition for February 16, 2020

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Baseball and I are no longer an item — Michael's essay

“I am cutting the umbilical, moving out of the House of Baseball and giving my glove to the Sally Ann thrift store. Baseball and I are no longer an item. Quitting a passion for baseball is going to be harder for me than quitting smoking. But it has to be done. Reasons? It's not the Astros sign-stealing scandal. It's not even the outrageous salaries. It's the accretion, the weight of so many frustrated sighs over the years.”

Mark Carney, named UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, says the smart money is on transition from fossil fuels

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England and former Governor of the Bank of Canada, warns corporations and governments that if they do not have a strategy for mitigating climate change they will face financial consequences. Carney, who begins his next role as the United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Change in March, says the smart money is on a transition from fossil fuels and that “it’s time to get on with it.”

'Made to last': More than 100 years old, Canadian wool company thrives in changing knitting market

Located in York Mills, N.B., the mill started in 1857 and changed ownership and names over the years. In 1916, the business became Briggs & Little Woolen Mills Ltd., making it Canada's oldest continuously-operating woollen mill.

How urban design affects mental health

City life can be hard on the nerves — the noise, the lights, the bustle, the endless miles of glass and concrete. And the traffic — just crossing the street can be a terrifying experience with hulking vehicles hurtling down thoroughfares. Robin Mazumder is a PhD student in cognitive neuroscience, and he researches the toll that bad urban design takes on human psychology — and how urban spaces could be made into sources of delight and solace instead of stress.

'Reconciliation cannot be achieved at gunpoint': B.C. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip on Wet'suwet'en stand-off

Where there are plans for pipelines in this country, there are protests. The latest flashpoint: the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, the President of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, explains his support for the hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation who oppose the pipeline, and he addresses questions about the laws and the rights of Indigenous people.

An English major is not destined to be a barista, these professors say

What will be the most important skills to have in the economy of the future? Things like critical thinking, deep analysis and creativity, according to experts and CEOs — skills acquired by studying the humanities. And yet, those are exactly the programs where enrollment is declining and universities are cutting. But according to the University of Toronto’s Nick Mount, “Attacks on the humanities are as old as the humanities.” He and two other English profs — Jessica Riddell of Bishop's University and Lisa Dickson of the University of Northern B.C. — talk about the enduring value of a humanities degree.

The Sunday Edition for February 9, 2020

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Michael's essay - Recalling the ancient art of flushing a toilet or turning on a tap

Technology is fine in theory, but — as Michael asks in his essay — do we need it for everything? And why are instruction manuals incomprehensible? He describes one for a kitchen appliance that “reads like the pre-flight checklist for the space shuttle.”

Democrats, not Republicans, are now strangers in their own land

Almost ten years ago, sociologist Arlie Hochschild ventured into the state of Louisiana and embedded herself for about five years with staunch Republicans determined to elect Donald Trump. With the Democratic primaries now underway and the impeachment trial finally over, we check in with Hochschild about the current electoral landscape.
Personal Essay

Sometimes, it's good to be a nuisance

We think of nuisance as a negative word. In this essay, Ruth Miller of Toronto explains how she discovered a whole new meaning for it, when she heard it uttered at a funeral by her rabbi.

Need an empathetic listener? Head over to Montreal's Vent Over Tea

"Why not get great listeners who are willing to donate their time and build a platform where you can connect them with people who need to vent?" The story behind Montreal's Vent Over Tea.

Not just diseases but ideas can plague us, says this political scientist

How people behave in times of great uncertainty and fear — such as the current scare over coronavirus — is the focus of Emily Nacol’s research. She teaches political theory at the University of Toronto and is currently studying accounts of plagues in fiction.

Artists grapple with the complicated relationship between addiction and art

The image of the tortured, addicted, brilliant artist has deep historical roots, and has long held a touch of romance. In the age of the opioid crisis, it's losing its lustre. Peterborough's Electric City Culture Council recently hosted a roundtable discussion about art and addiction, including visual artists, actors, musicians and frontline workers. We share some of that conversation.

Renowned dancer Bill T. Jones on James Baldwin's life and legacy

James Baldwin, who died in 1987, was one of the most charismatic, important African-American writers of the 20th century. A new documentary film about his life and legacy opened in Canada this week. We revisit Michael's interview with renowned dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones about Baldwin's legacy.

The Sunday Edition for February 2, 2020

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Fear, panic, preparedness and the new coronavirus — Michael's essay

“I would suggest that we are better armed in many ways because of the work of one man — an Ontario judge named Archie Campbell. After the SARS episode subsided, Justice Campbell investigated every element of the crisis and underlined the systemic failures of different health and government agencies, many of whom were not even talking to one another. Most of his recommendations were implemented.”

'Collateral to someone else's national story': A view from Northern Ireland on the Brexit saga

Brexit is finally a reality, but the future remains murky, particularly in Northern Ireland. Garrett Carr has walked the entire length of the Irish border — journeys he chronicled in his book, The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland's Border. He joined Michael Enright to talk about what Brexit means for that border and the people on either side of it.
Personal Essay

From whitewater to dishwater: a summer job leads to a profound education

University student Isaac Finkelstein was excited about landing a summer job as a whitewater rafting guide. But he soon discovered a more profound education was in store when he found himself working as a dishwasher. His essay is called “A Flickering Path.”

'This is the lifeline. This is the friend': Why pets matter to homeless people

David Gutnick tells the story of some of the bonds between the homeless and their canine and feline companions in his documentary, The Guardians.

How do we think about categories? This anthropologist started drawing sketches to find out

In a new book of drawings called Things That Art: A Graphic Menagerie of Enchanting Curiosity, Lochlann Jain invites us as readers to question our taken-for-granted assumptions about how we make sense of the world.

The carnal exploits and rebellious behaviour of music's bad boys — Bach and Beethoven

Music historian Ted Gioia argues that while classical behemoths like Bach and Beethoven should be admired, it’s also important to note that they were flawed. “When we treat them with too much respect, we lose the very essence that allowed them to be the great innovators that they are,” he says.

The Sunday Edition for January 26, 2020

Listen to this week's episode with host Michael Enright.

Canadians are a winter people and we know the indifference of nature — Michael's essay

"Humans have been praying to the weather gods since we slouched out of the primordial ooze. The gods haven’t been listening. But we humans are nothing if not resilient. Canadians are a winter people, and we know the indifference of nature. It does its worst and we prevail. This is especially true of Newfoundlanders.”

Housing is a human right: How Finland is eradicating homelessness

As part of The Sunday Edition's continuing coverage of homelessness in Canada, Michael speaks with Juha Kaakinen, the architect of Finland's national Housing First program. Its premise could hardly be simpler: If the problem is that people don't have homes, the solution is to give them homes. Period. There have been naysayers, of course, but in Finland, at least, it's been a spectacular success. And the model is catching on in municipalities across Europe, Asia and North America.