Three blobs of words

Hit and Miss #89

Good evening!

The long weekend happily surprised me. In my head, today’s Saturday—hence this letter’s late hour, hence its slapdash contents. I’m not itching to say anything in particular, so I turn to the reliable rule of three.

s.74 of City of Ottawa’s Animal Care and Control by-law describes where you can keep livestock in the city. Subsection (2) includes a list of innocuous locations such as: the universities; Lansdowne Park; the Experimental Farm; and veterinary facilities. But it also includes one specific address: 113 York Street.

I scratched my head when I saw the address. Doubly so when I pulled it up in Google Maps. 113 York is right beside Origin, a familiar cafe. Why would a by-law permit keeping livestock there?

Turns out, the backyard of 113 York includes Ottawa’s last downtown stable, operated by John Cundell. The business has been in his family since the late 1800s, though the work and surroundings alike have changed considerably over the years.

(This finally explains why there’s sometimes a man standing with a horse in front of Origin—it’s John Cundell taking one of his horses for a walk!)

Andrea Eidinger publishes a weekly roundup of articles and news in Canadian history. I’m awed by the number and variety of pieces that Eidinger surfaces. Also, my number of open tabs just doubled.

Do you want book recommendations? Here are three that I’m digging right now:

  • In altre parole by Jhumpa Lahiri. Lahiri describes her journey learning Italian. For those that like reflections on the connections between language and thought (cf. Arrival) and between language and writing, this is a treat. (Originally written in Italian, it’s translated side-by-side into English, so you can try reading it in Italian. Mi piace.)
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson. This is one of those massive popular biographies of a historical male figure. It’s not earth shattering, but if you’re looking for a not-particularly-critical-but-decently-comprehensive look at Franklin’s life, this works well.
  • The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin. MIND BENDING. I’m on a Le Guin kick right now (I have six of her books piled beside me), but this one struck me. Its relevance to today’s environmental challenges (hello human adaptation to increasingly normalized climate disaster) hit close to home—the additional layer of “whaaaa” from the central premise that dreams reshape reality seals the deal.

Look at that: I nested a list of three things within my list of three things. Wowa!

Here’s to you, friend. I hope you’re doing well. These are crazy times, but we find our corners and make do as we can. All the best for the week ahead!