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friday favourites 22.02.13

image of the week
i had a strange moment earlier this week on the bus. that's kind of remarkable in itself, because this week was apparently some sort of experiment at the stm where you got to win a prize if you could guess within fifteen minutes the arrival time of the next bus, you got a prize. mostly likely that prize was that you got to ride the bus to work and have people there wonder what the hell was wrong with you that you couldn't manage to show up less than half an hour late.

but my moment was that i glanced down, since the only muscles on my body i could move on a bus that packed with late commuters were the ones in my eyelids and i saw a young lady reading a book, which is what i normally like to do, when i have enough space to remove one from my messenger bag. but when i looked at the text of her book [don't judge me, i couldn't move], i knew it was familiar. in fact, i quickly realised that she was reading umberto eco's "foucault's pendulum", one of my favourite books of all time. it was a sort of magical moment, where i realised someone else was likely experiencing that book as i had, discovering its mystery, its sly humour, its beautiful humanity and i found myself hoping that she was getting some of the same joy from it that i did. unfortunately, i'll never know, because it was too crowded for me to move the muscles in my lips.

here are some other things that struck me as interesting in the last week...

good news :: things i can't make up from around the internet

hey, remember the "boy fights" videos from "arrested development"? apparently, someone thought that would be hilarious to try in real life.

welcome to the nineteenth century, mississippi. could you maybe get around to the whole giving women the right to vote now?

remember the mythbusters episode about what things could stop a bullet? they missed one.

the nietzsche family circus.

i live in a province that frowns on english words like "pasta". [we made cnn with this one, people. we're officially an international embarrassment.]

musical notes

really, the only music i've been in the mood to hear lately has been the symphony created by blood spilling from someone's severed carotid artery, but that doesn't work for everyone. i also like this.



quote of the week


"I have difficulty with the accused not appreciating the whereabouts of his girlfriend when he got off the bed"
- pretoria chief magistrate desmond nair, reacting to "blade runner" oscar pistorius' account of events the night he shot and killed his model girlfriend, reeva steenkamp
[i have to admit that i almost gave this one to dom's completely politically incorrect expression of incredulity about the fall of pistorius from olympic hero to accused murderer: "he's like the guy who had everything. except legs."]

follow-up and shameless self promotion

i was wrong.



and given the views it's received this week, it seems that we all love muff. good to know.

kitteh of the week

our new addition has done a phenomenal job of making herself at home and illustrating that confidence is as powerful as many armies [note: please don't practice this against actual armies]. she strutted out of the carrier as if she owned the place and has basically spent the last week waiting for the rest of us, human and feline, to realise that, apparently, she does own the place.

so far, she seems to like... everything other than taking a bath. in particular, she likes eggs. scrambled eggs. eggs in pancake batter... eggs are a big think with this little lady...




that's all for this week's favourites, folks! thanks for reading and stay tuned... there is always more to come.

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as long as you're here, why not read more?

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…

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 …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …