In The News, Not In Your Mind



Something very tragic and intensely sad happened yesterday in Toronto, yes, Canada. We’re more than just moose, donuts, Justin Bieber (I lean towards Celine Dion myself, please – don’t judge me) and igloos you know. We are also a country of those that have too much and those that don’t have enough.

I found the song by Billy Holiday I was looking for, “God Bless the child whose got his own”.

And so the story goes.

Cancer researcher, loving husband killed in stabbing near Ryerson

Friends of a man killed in a downtown stabbing want the world to know what’s been lost.

Mark Ernsting, a biomedical engineer, was a brilliant researcher at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research whose work held incredible promise, said Elaine Wilson, his friend of 20 years.

“The cure for cancer could have died yesterday,” she said Wednesday afternoon.

Ernsting, 39, was out for his routine nightly walk when he was attacked about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on McGill Street, just east of Yonge. Police arrested Calvin Michael Nimoh, 21, about an hour later at Yonge and Summerhill.

Nimoh has been charged with second-degree murder and police said he didn’t know the victim.

Ernsting’s husband, Rob Iseman, and the many others he left behind don’t know if the attack was random or a robbery gone bad. But, they want to know why he was killed, Wilson said.

“We want whoever did this to know that they took one of the most incredible people on the planet from us,” she said.

Ernsting wasn’t only brilliant, she said. He was kind and funny with an infectious laugh. He was a green-thumbed gardener and a singer in the Church of the Redeemer’s choir.

When someone needed a friend, Ernsting was there — like the time Wilson sliced her hand open and he came running.

Ernsting’s relationship with Iseman, who works for Metro, was a central part of his life.

“If I ever wanted to be in a relationship, I’d want it to be like Mark and Rob’s,” Wilson said. “They loved each other so much every day, and they were always so happy together. They’d do everything together.”

The world is full of sad stories and I am sure there are many other sad stories being told at this very moment. I am also quite sure that these stories become headlines, that fade, get replaced by something more sensationally, more current, and I seldom see the final story in the media, I rarely hear the true story. The stories stay sad, they are only headlines, they don’t become solutions, but there are sad stories under the sad stories. The killer probably has a sad story. I am intuiting that he had mental health issues that weren’t being treated because we don’t treat mental health. We incarcerate people with mental health or they fall deeper into the cracks of our drug based social support system and then in those cracks, dark stories begin. Once upon a time, we cared.

I could be completely wrong about the motive, the incident, I might very well be in left field but this story moved me to tears.

I wish that it never happened,

I think maybe there are more and more things happening day after day that I wish never happened.

I am not sure if hope is enough anymore.

I have been feeling a bit of melancholy with settling with my life and how I am seeing the word differently than I did when I was young, so tonight I decided to go out for a walk on a mild December night and listen to Hello by Adele 14 times because the song lifts and moves me. I needed a lift. I need to feel moved again.

I went to the pharmacy and there was a family of three taking “forever” at the cash register but then my frustration turned to empathy as I listened.  They didn’t have enough money to buy what they had picked out so they were trying to decide which combinations of items they could get by using their points. They left behind the toothpaste and the ice cream. It was a day of difficult news, difficult choices.

I was hoping they had Sports Illustrated on the newstand nearby because seeing Serena Williams being all that, so talented, so brave, such an inspiration – I’d give up toothpaste and ice cream for her. Role models, they are a good thing. Shame the news likes to spend their time cutting them apart, taking bad pictures instead of writing about their courage, determination and talent.

Talent has become a funny thing it seems. Anyway, no Serena in sight, but mental note, my first New Year’s Resolution, start thinking now about Senior’s Tennis.

Nice ace, Harlon.

People are in a hurry.

People behind me, people ahead of me get frustrated with me, but if we would only listen. This was a challenging and probably somewhat humiliating transaction for this family. I can wait five minutes for them to maximize their Optima points. I can listen to Adele one more time. They just aren’t blessed to have their own and I can get pretty tickled pink by my new musical find Andra Day.

As I got close to home and switched from Adele, to Andra to the WeekNd, feeling rather hip and cool, might I say, in spite of my achy joints, runny nose and well, that list does seem to go on.

And on. Which reminds me Erykah Baydu has a new album. If Beyoncé and her had a baby it would be me.

Part of me settling is being a bit silly because it wasn’t a very good day, so that analogy probably made no sense, but if I was stoned it probably would have.

Oh yes, Canada, true north and legalized medicinal marijuana. Hope it plays out well because there is therapeutic value, I am just concerned how healthcare has been so compromised by the profit seeking motive of corporations.


I stopped at a variety story to buy a lottery ticket. A lottery ticket is the best chance I have for a secure future. The odds of winning the lottery are, what, about one in a million? Again, what should have been a quick pick my six lucky numbers and go moment, turned into a stand and wait while the person in front of me was looking at their receipt and asking about a website on the printout that said something akin to fill this out and you can win $100.  He wanted to make sure he could read the website address correctly because the printing quality was pretty poor. I heard him say he would go to the library and fill out the survey tomorrow (been there, done that). I understand what it’s like not to be able to pay for internet and computer at home. Libraries may force you to pay for overdue books, and a few Parks and Recreation moments run through my mind and I giggle to myself, but libraries also provide free internet. The internet should be free for everyone. Fuck Bell. Double fuck Rogers.

The fellow at the counter was unsure of what the receipt was proposing. Would he get $100 just for filling out the survey?

No, his odds of getting that $100 are, hmm, I’d say about one in a million.

I walked home and thought of the loneliness I feel, the neglect I see, the civilization that has failed horribly at something that’s pretty darn easy – make the world a better place for the next generation. Empathy, that empathy that emerges because I’ve fallen through cracks, that empathy has become achy, inflamed liked my joints.

I turned out to be a mediocre story not a dark one. I’ve done well.

Better than most.

Them that’s got shall have

them’s that not shall lose.

A lot of hope has died in my heart in the last 24 hours.

It’s 11pm and the news from Buffalo is on and I can hear it from the TV downstairs, “do you know where your children are?”.

10 thoughts on “In The News, Not In Your Mind

  1. OMG…Harlon!!! I knew I hadn’t seen many posts from you lately and something finally jumped into my head to stop over and make sure…and darned if the screen came up and said I WAS NOT following you!!! How could this happen? I have heard of people saying it has happened to them but in two years of blogging it never happened to me before. I will now spend time to see all that I have missed…and press the follow button again. You must have thought I deserted you!!!! NEVER DEAR FRIEND!!! ❤ ❤


  2. Thank you for sharing your grief and the legacy cut short. It makes no sense. I hope his life will be celebrated and the light continues to peek through the darkness, shine through the darkness, so that is is not so dark.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a sad loss. He sounds like he was a man of dedication and courage. While it is possible that his assailant had some form of untreated mental illness it is also possible that other factors were at play. If it does turn out that this was a consequence of our culture’s unconscionable decision to let the mentally ill suffer on the streets then two lives were lost that day and the question we must ask is how our refusal to properly treat mental illness serves to enhance the safety and quality of our lives, and if it doesn’t; then the next question is when are we going to get off out collective butts and demand that it change.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes the strong get smart
    While the weak ones fade
    Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade
    Mama may have, Papa may have
    But God bless the child that’s got his own, that’s got his own

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So sad .. Yet life is full of tragedy as well as times to be grateful for. We will never really know what goes on in other people’s lives behind the journalism and social media… or closed doors. Always remember the media is not about reality but about stories that catch our attention and boost ratings. It takes us into a world bigger than our reality.
    On the other hand, think of a story of a simple guy who sees some people not being able to pay for a couple of items. Most people wouldn’t get involved, but this guy has empathy and understanding for their predicament. He steps forward and pays the difference. It’s a small gesture that has a big impact. The media find out because someone in the same checkout line is in the news business. He was very frustrated at the time, but this gesture really shifted his thinking. He decided to run a story about how we can all make a difference in the lives we come across every day, if only we were tuned to what was going on around us instead of being preoccupied with our own stuff.
    After all, we all have our own stuff.
    With love 💕

    Liked by 2 people

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