(Note: See the announcement of my upcoming solo art show, http://www.marvynejenoff.com.)

(from Montage, The Toronto Mensa Newsletter, June, 2013)


There was recently a small item on the news that Toronto has surpassed Chicago in population and is now the fourth largest city* in North America. Something to be proud of, I suppose. But the most prominent Toronto feature in the news these many days is our mayor. Conclusion: size doesn’t matter.


By the time this is posted I should be walking normally, having survived hip replacement surgery in late March. In late April as I write this, I am weaning myself away from a walker to two canes, which make me nervous: it is too easy to kick one of them as I walk.

Having to stay close to home and needing a lot of rest has meant an opportunity to enjoy daytime TV, even with limited access to channels. Programs that have to do with purchasing and renovating homes provide me with geographical and sociological interest and a colour and design fix. At the same time I remain thankful for my small, low-maintenance apartment with a lot of pale bare walls, a clean visual slate as a backdrop for doing artwork.


Design, visual art, what we like to look at–this segues nicely into an opinion I’ve been saving for a summer issue when tee-shirts begin to show outdoors.

As we age our upper backs tend to curve forward. This shape is not attractive in a tee-shirt, particularly the kind with a neckline that cuts straight across the middle of the curve and emphasizes it. Solution: a light-weight shirt with a collar, that draws the attention upward, is more flattering and equally comfortable. A shirt worn over a tee-shirt is also a good option.

I am not pointing the finger here. I came to this when I noticed my own profile in the mirror. The following is my long-held opinion about a worldwide practice I am not inclined to adopt: wearing tee-shirts with stuff printed on them. Often chosen without much thought, they nevertheless serve as billboards: as will all our attire, they represent the wearer for good or ill.

An example: The Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons, goes on a date (yes!). He wears a tee-shirt that says, in large black letters on white, “My other tee-shirt is clean.” Surely anyone sitting across the dinner table deserves better literary and visual stimulation than that, or else a neutral canvas. I can understand wearing a bit of text that is worth pondering. But who wants something stupid to be burned on their retina?

Someone in the public eye whose tee-shirts I enjoy is the character Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. He has quite a colourful variety of them with intriguing images of what his mother would call “science-y stuff.”

A related point I remember from one of the ten-year-defunct Sunday trivia evenings at the Artful Dodger. In a group which included tee-shirt wearers, the concensus was that dark-coloured ones stand up better to laundering and look good for longer than white ones do.

Fashion is what’s available; style is what we choose. That statement is not original with me, and I regret now remembering where I read it—I’d like to give credit. My point here is that each of us has a personal style in the eyes of others, regardless of whether we are aware of how we look.

Applied Mathematics

Feedback about my April post: I mentioned that the fastest-growing age segment of the population is the over 100’s, and I was surprised to discover this. A reader pointed out that in a small segment any increase is proportionally a large one. Maybe there aren’t so many of them after all.

Another reader pointed out that the Romans didn’t number the days of the month as we do. Their months were divided into markers according to the phases of the moon, the ides being the full moon. Each day was referred to by how many days it fell before one of these markers. Surely it is more complicated, with various emperors adding extra days to the months named after them. But serious research has no place in this light-hearted column, so I’ll leave it at that.

*In case you were puzzled, as I was, the size ranking of North American cities is: Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto.