The Sunday Edition for May 5, 2019
Barack Obama was a greater enemy of the free press than Donald Trump — Michael's essay: "Trump may have made rumblings and grumblings, threatening all kinds of confrontation. But he has never done anything but talk. Obama tapped reporters' phones and dragged them into court."
Portraits of elderly farm animals explore existential questions about animals, and about ourselves: Most farm animals are kept alive just long enough to be useful to us. They rarely are given the chance to age, or to die with quiet dignity. Artist and photographer Isa Leshko focuses on aging and animal rights. Michael talks to her about her extraordinary book, Allowed to Grow Old: Portraits of Elderly Animals from Farm Sanctuaries.
"This violence was meant to rob people of something precious, to cut off their legs," says Said Akjour: Four friends, all survivors of the deadly shooting at a Quebec City mosque in 2017, went to the Boston Marathon in solidarity with other victims of terror. Said ran the race; the others found comfort, purpose and connection just being there. In 2013, two bombs exploded near the finish line, killing three people and injuring several hundred others. Julia Page's documentary is called Second Wind. Read the story on Sunday.
Why do we put up with the ear-splitting obnoxiousness of leaf blowers? Lawn maintenance companies and some homeowners are devoted to leaf blowers as the best way to get rid of grass clippings, leaves and debris. Not only do leaf blowers shatter the peace, they also spew noxious fumes. Efforts to ban them have been largely unsuccessful, but that hasn't stopped retired engineer Monty McDonald, who has been on an anti-leaf-blower campaign for years.
The Rubik's Cube is a 1970s toy perfectly suited to the 21st century: They're known as "speedcubers" — young people who can solve the puzzles presented by the colourful, six-sided cubes in just a few short seconds. Alisa Siegel takes us to an auditorium where 200 young people, mostly boys, compete for the fastest time.
Everything you ever wanted to know about cryptocurrency but were afraid to ask: Cryptocurrency turned 10 years old this year and billions of ephemeral dollars are sloshing around the world. But what is cryptocurrency anyway, and how does it work? How is it possible that $180 million just disappeared, when a Canadian cryptocurrency company owner died without leaving anyone his password? Neha Narula is director of the Digital Currency Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
To shave or not to shave? That is the question: David Elenbaas answered in the affirmative, only to rediscover why he had resisted shaving for so many decades. David's personal essay is called About Face.
Your reaction to: The lost art of writing letters, and our series The Backlist, about Canadian novels from the past that deserve a second look. Last week, we profiled As For Me and My House, the 1941 novel by Saskatchewan writer Sinclair Ross.
Music this week by: Johannes Brahms, Bruce Cockburn, Cannonball Adderley, Tanika Charles, Nat King Cole, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Duke Ellington and Henry Mancini.