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Showing posts from April, 2017

presidenting is hard

i'm caught in a new sort of anguish. on the one hand, i'm hearing the apparent leader of the united states tell one of the world's largest journalism organisations that his new job is harder than he thought it would be, and that he assumed it would be easier than his life as a businessman [where, let's face it, he'd long since ceased to be an active daily participant] and reality television star. i mean, one look at the before and after pictures of the last three presidents should be enough evidence that, yes, the job is really goddamned hard. all three of those men began their two terms looking somewhat younger than their actual age, and left looking like elder statesmen. come on, there's a reason they do those presidential portraits right after you're elected.

on the other hand, i'm a little surprised at his candour, which is as close to the man admitting he was wrong about something as we're likely to get over the next four or, god forbid, eight…

homeward bound, or, curious and terrible things i have learned while hunting for an apartment

for some months, dom and i have known that we have to move when our lease is up, at the end of june. after years of struggling with multiple sclerosis, dom is basically confined to a wheelchair, and we live in a third floor walk-up. this is dangerous, but it's also depressing, because it means that he's confined to the apartment 24/7. and what someone with multiple sclerosis absolutely does not need is something to push him more and more towards depression. with the vast majority of montreal leases rolling over on the same date, the 1st of july is a moving nightmare. you'll pay through the nose, because movers cannot cope with the number of customers they have on that day. you'll run hours late, because there's always some hitch that stops things dead in their tracks, that then cascades down to all the others who are waiting for the same movers. you'll face frayed tempers that border on murderous the later it gets, because you have new tenants arriving before …

making faces :: inspired by fire and ice

i don't know why, perhaps because i'm starting to worry that the end of the world is nigh, but i found myself thinking about this verse earlier in the week:

Some say the world will end in fire, 
Some say in ice. 
From what I’ve tasted of desire 
I hold with those who favor fire. 
But if it had to perish twice, 
I think I know enough of hate 
To say that for destruction ice 
Is also great 
And would suffice.

i've always held robert frost at a bit of a distance, although i do love "stopping by woods on a snowy evening" and especially "acquainted with the night". [no self-respecting insomniac can exist without loving that poem. if you don't, you're an insomnia dilettante.] but there's something about the short piece above that strikes me as a kind of saying, like "a stitch in time makes nine", except that it makes more sense. it's almost too short to be a poem, and falls closer to the part of an axiom.

how we get from robert frost to makeu…

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…