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Well in about 5 weeks I will become officially a senior citizen, a golden ager, entitled to all kinds of coupons and discounts and will be able to complain and accuse anyone not doing what I want of discrimination and playing the victim card. Sounds like fun to me. Making up excuses, like my hearing is not good, my health is shot, I can’t see clearly like Mr Magoo, appearing confused and muttering under my breath. A rich vein to be exploited.

I was thinking of a cake for my birthday, I discovered a recipe for Sicilian Orange Cake with a frosting of cream cheese with Grand Marnier, simple and delicious. Apparently the cake uses the whole orange, rind and al. I like the idea of Grand Marnier in the frosting. Certainly beats Betty Crocker chocolate cake, though I must confess as a child, my Mom use to make us such cakes and they were quite good, her secret recipe no doubt.

So tomorrow is Lent and usually in the old ways of observing it, you would give up meat and sweets. Fish was a substitute, lucky us in New Brunswick a local fellow has a Sturgeon fish farm and of course Caviar is the product. What a good substitute for meat, add a little Oysters and voilà, the perfect Lenten diet.

Lent today starting with Ash Wednesday is somewhat of a forgotten period of the year. It is not mentioned anywhere unless you attend religious services. The concept also of Ash Wednesday which I always thought was a good reminder that we must remain humble, you are ashes and will return to ashes, is not a popular message in a society where no one dies, you pass. The use of pass as a action verb is odd at best. People appear unable to say he died or she died. Passing is to me going into another room, or walking by.

Lent also could in this time of Pandemic be a chance to reflect on our society and its values as a whole. A society who is in a constant search for excitement, where only the individual matters, the self is everything. Despite easy restrictions, many have displayed extreme selfishness, not caring for family or friends or community. Making up excuses for not following simple sanitary rules, at the moment its mental health, everyone suffers from some kind or other metal problem. One teacher said to me that she did not understand the extreme reactions of students who complain loudly of feeling anxious, about what exactly she wondered? They cannot learn online, they need tons of support, no self-discipline. In Canada, 21,000 people have died so far, of that total 50% live in the Province of Quebec, again widespread resistance to guidelines led to tragedy. Just off the coast of PEI are 2 sandbanks called the Magdalene Islands a nice tourist spot in the Summer, population 12,000, also part of Quebec. It is largely a windswept place in the middle of the Gulf of St-Lawrence. 60% of the population is sick with COVID19. A very sad situation. There has to be a sociological explanation and a psychological one for the type of Covidiots we have seen all around Canada.

This painting by Carl Spitzweg, in the Stuttgart Art gallery, entitled Ash Wednesday c.1860. Arlecchino reflecting on life in a monk’s cel. is a propos. Harlequin from the Commedia del’Arte is usually portrayed as a dim-wit, silly, simple person, always hungry, somehow corresponds to our society in this time of crisis, refusing facts or science and in quest of absolute and entertainment.