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eat the pain away?

nearly twenty years ago, an emergency room doctor took a look at the crushing muscle tension i was experiencing [they were clenched enough that a doctor at my regular clinic couldn't get a reflex reaction on my left side and thought i might be having a stroke] and told me she believed that i had fibromyalgia. a couple of weeks later, i went to see a family doctor that a coworker had recommended to me. when i told him what the other doctor had said, he snapped that i was being ridiculous, because, if i'd had fibromyalgia, "i wouldn't be able to move". after i moved to toronto, i got a new family doctor and told her what the other doctors had said. she said that she couldn't be sure, but it was better just to deal with any symptoms i had one at a time. then i came back to montreal and got a new family doctor, who didn't really buy into the whole idea of fibromyalgia and said there was no way to do any definitive test anyway. that doctor passed away, and my …
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what i hate about you [languages]

through my adventures in language learning, i have come to appreciate the magic of all the different ways we have of speaking to one another. i hate the thought of the cultural diversity lost whenever a language goes extinct and applaud efforts to keep any and all of them fresh in the public mind. i marvel at the ability of languages to persist in an ocean of difference and get hot under the collar when i hear about attempts by despots to repress a language as a way of showing dominance.

i've purchased a few books on the subject [and been given a few others], but my primary learning method has been through free education beacon duolingo, where i've completed four "trees" [courses] in the last two years, which has given me a basic grounding in german, spanish and swedish, and significantly helped my french. my preference then is to move on to listening to or reading newscasts in order to get a sense of the rhythms and flow of these languages, as well, of course, for …

long suffering

i've been meaning to write this post for a while, but, every time i get started, something happens that makes me rethink portions of it, to add or subtract or consider a different way of looking at things. the post was originally going to be my take on a #metoo statement, but i ended up making that post on my personal facebook page. [it's not that i don't love you all, but there are a few things i'm not comfortable putting in the entirely public sphere.] but beyond joining the #metoo juggernaut, i wanted to write something about the wave of sexual assault revelations that continues to swell over the north american media landscape that wasn't about me. then i realised that that was a little more complicated than just writing "so, lotta sex rapes happenin' these days, ain't there?" or whatever it was that i was going to say.

so i tried writing something about just a part of it: the media coverage or the entertainment industry or the politicians or …

making faces :: getting cheeky

blush might just be the last thing that a beauty lover comes to appreciate, seeing as it can be a matter of slight degrees that separates one product from another, and it's most difficult to tell from just swatching a product how it's going to look. and it did take me a long time to appreciate that, despite loving my refined pallor and believing that my natural rosy flush was more than enough of a blush for me, blush is my friend. it softens, sculpts, perfects and, although you might not see it at first blush [yuk yuk yuk], it is something that subtly harmonises with the other colours in a look to make it "complete". yes, it's the most tricky thing to pull off when you're wearing something that doesn't mesh with your own undertones. but it's also the thing that can take a face from gloomy to glowing with a swish of the magic wand known as a makeup brush.

highlighters are an even trickier lot, since many of the more brilliant ones have a tendency to e…

mental health mondays :: take our guns, please

i haven't done a mental health mondays post in a while, owing mostly to the fact that i felt like i didn't have enough time to properly research issues, which left me repeating a lot of what i'd already covered. but, as usually happens when i take a break, i end up seeing so many articles that inspire me that i get filled to the point of bursting and, eventually, this series gets resurrected. am i going to be able to continue this regularly? we shall see. but for the moment, i just had to say something.

as you might have guessed from the title, this post was inspired by the horrific mass shooting in texas, which already makes me feel like i'm repeating myself, because every time there's a massacre of this sort, politicians start trotting out mental illness as the main factor, in an attempt to avoid talking about gun control.

this time, however, the landscape is a little different, because the man in charge of policy making started his time in office by repealing le…

oh lord

a friend sent me this hilarious image, which illustrates why english is really a bullshit language:


ok, all languages evolve, and you really don't have to go back that far with most of them before you don't know what they're talking about, but really, if it weren't for the fact that the above languages were spoken in the same territories, would you say they were the same? [smarter people than you say they are -ed.]
but, as i look at the picture, a dark cloud descends upon me. aside from the change in language, it seems that god himself has undergone a pretty significant change. 
i'm not versed in old english, but i am reasonably well-versed in the others, and it seems that the middle english and king james version are pretty close to one another. the middle english christian was nourished by the waters, whereas, by the seventeenth century, god was just leading people to them and, presumably, going to collect some more. 
but in the middle and king james versions, i…

the world at war?

in my semi-smug but genuinely curious way, i posted a question on my facebook page earlier: how much of the world has to be at war before it counts as world war iii?



the first response i got raised the very legitimate point that this is the sort of question that gets answered by historians, once the haze of the present has faded. the other important factor is that people don't just declare war on each other the way that they used to. major powers entered both the of the world wars with the blessings of their own parliaments, whereas conflicts since world war ii have happened in coded language, sometimes circumventing the political process in the interests of expediency. president reagan never declared war on the nicaraguan government in the eighties, for example, but the united states was clearly in a state of armed conflict, even if most of the arms were being carried by their proxies, the contras.

whether or not we are living in a world at war is a tricky question. despite what…