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Showing posts from July, 2015

literary #tbt :: marcel duchamp descending a staircase

dom suggested that i should do a "greatest hits" of blog posts in honour of throw-back thursdays, which seems to be what the kids are into these days. when i pointed out to him that i do periodically re-post content [because i'm lazy], he made the more specific suggestion that i re-post some of the stories and poetry i've published here, since that's kind of an important part of what i do. that seemed like a clever idea, so i've decided to take his suggestion and offer a "#tbt story corner". not sure this will be every week, but it's something i'll be doing from time to time. [if you like it, there's always a permanent page with links to all of the stories i've published here.]

i've chosen the story "marcel duchamp descending a staircase, because it's the thing that i've written that's gotten the strangest reactions. despite the fact that it's tagged as "fiction", i've had a number of people ap…

world wide wednesdays :: friend and foe

a lot of people have heard of the kurds, but many of them couldn't say much about who they are or where they come from, save that they seem to be involved in conflicts all over the middle east, which is largely because they come from all over the middle east. the kurds are one of the largest ethnic groups on earth to not have a nation of their own. there are nearly 40 million kurds worldwide, with the vast majority living in western asia, spread out over four different countries: iran, iraq, syria and turkey. [side note :: there is also a small but significant kurdish population in armenia, although their numbers have dwindled considerably after forced displacements by stalin in the 1930s and during the armenia- azerbaijan war over the territory of ngorno-karabakh.]

the west has difficulty dealing with the kurds and their nationalist movement because of the different relationships western governments have with the countries where they live. there is a shocking hypocrisy in how the…

mental health mondays [rewind] :: problem or no problem?

mental health mondays is on summer vacation, but that doesn't mean that i'm not thinking about these issues. it's practically a full-time job just bookmarking and reading things for its triumphant return in the fall.

in the meantime, i thought i'd share an older post, just to reassure you that, yes, it's always mental health mondays here in more like space land and because the subject of mental health has been on my mind a lot lately.



the first time i heard about "social anxiety disorder" was in a discussion with my mother. at the time, i believe that both of us gave a derisive snort and one of us said "great, now shyness is a mental disorder". frankly, i suspect that a lot of people had that reaction, because many of us have some level of social anxiety. what we missed in the initial evaluation is that the important part of the name, however, is that the emphasis should be placed on the third word. disorder means that something…

r.i.p. flora

a funny thing happened to me back in 2008, when i moved back to montreal. i was in the city, looking for an apartment and i met a prospective landlord. he looked at me and remarked "you know, you look like a politician who had your same last name. she ran for conservative leader once." i realised immediately that he was talking about my aunt flora macdonald and was sort of shocked. my grandfather used to insist that there was a resemblance between us, but it's a very different thing to hear it from a complete stranger. i still can't see it [and i suspect it's harder to spot now that i'm dark-haired], but when someone says that without knowing a thing about you, it's sort of hard to tell yourself there's nothing to it.

i felt flattered, because i've always welcomed any comparison with my more famous relative. since i was very young, basically since i can remember anything, i was always aware of her as a slightly larger than life figure. she became …

making faces :: as canadian as a maple leaf

in honour of their canadian-ness, bite beauty has launched a limited, canada-only collection of five lipsticks in a new "matte crème" finish, plus a new version of their popular agave lip mask, all with the heady, addictive scent of maple syrup. [there's also a new opalescent lipstick and gloss, which are not maple scented, nor are they exclusive to canada. i'm a little unclear on whether or not these are also limited.] new bite lipsticks + maple syrup was a little too much to resist, which meant that i ran to pick one up the very first day they were available [which is now last week, because i've been slack about posting here this week, mostly because a couple of ferocious bouts with insomnia have knocked me flat for much of the last few days].

the five lipsticks available include three reds- a bright cardinal [candied maple], an earthy browned red [braised maple] and a deep burgundy [mulled maple]- and two "next door neighbours" of red: a bright, tang…


the non-news is that i had insomnia last night. that was probably because i'd had a short nap earlier in the day, which was a bad idea, but i was so tired i quite literally couldn't see straight [who knew that actually happened??] because i'd had insomnia the night before, because i'd dozed off for a little while in the evening after supper, because i was exhausted from not having slept the previous night.

when i did manage to doze off, i slept deeply and merrily, and i had a dream that, despite the usual load of dream-world non sequitur-ization and webby logic, presented me with an amazing story. all the writers' block i've been suffering apparently took the night off and every backed up idea in my cerebral drain came bursting through. it was exciting.

when i woke up [late] i immediately gestured to dom [who was just trying to tell me that there was coffee made] not to say a word, because dreams are fragile when you try to carry them and any errant arrangeme…

paranoid theory of the week :: did russia shoot down flight mh17?

it's been a year since malaysian airways flight mh17 exploded and crashed in the eastern ukraine and still, investigators aren't certain what happened. well, some people are certain. some people are very certain indeed, but they're not the people charged with uncovering what actually happened [not that they'd trust those people anyway]. a year on, there are still abundant, ill-documented theories as to what might have happened. i thought about trying to cover all of them, but i decided, no, best to stick with the one that is actually the least conspiratorial and most widely believed of all. does being widely believed mean that it passes muster? let's find out...

the theory ::
flight mh17 was shot down either by russian-armed separatists in the eastern ukraine or by the russian soldiers, more than likely by accident.

the origin ::
ukraine. newly minted president petro poroshenko was quoted in the associated press the day of the disaster calling the crash an act of ter…

making faces :: summertime goth or golden?

this is sort of an update on a post that i did a few years back, a contrast of a sunnier, warmer look with a paler, more dramatic and typically "gothic" look [also known as "what i'm more comfortable wearing"]. although i like the post itself, i've always felt like it was sort of imbalanced, because the photos of the summery, "tanned" look are much worse photos which tends to sort of bias the preference to one side. also, the bronzed look was paired with blue eye shadow, which is often pretty unfortunate on me.

since this summer has seen the introduction of a couple of products from guerlain and yves st. laurent that are more flattering at giving a sunlit glow to pale faces, i thought it might be time to revisit the theme. also, the original pale/ gothic look, while i like it very much, is something that i'd be inclined to wear more in the winter. i don't necessarily follow rules about what one can or can't wear at a particular time o…

world wide wednesdays :: iran so far away

if i ever meet president barack obama, i'm going to have to thank him for twice timing important foreign policy announcements just in time for me to capitalize with a world wide wednesdays post. first it was cuba. now it's iran. i haven't read through the details of the new agreement on nuclear development [although unlike a lot of american politicians and israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu, i admit that i haven't read it], but i'm already prepared to make one statement: it is the first meaningful step forward in american-iranian relations since the revolution of 1979. for more than thirty-five years, iran has been a pariah in the west, although it's unlikely that many would be able to tell you why that's the case. but chances are that iran, characterised not so long ago by president george w. bush [really by his speechwriter david frum] as part of the "axis of evil" alongside iraq and north korea, is going to play an increasingly importan…