Chicago to St.Louis

Can somebody explain to me why the evening flight from Chicago to St.Louis always gets delayed? It’s such a short flight, let’s just go already. I’ve been traveling since 11 am today (via Burlington, VT) and it’s no fun when you are sick with a virus. If N. weren’t waiting for me, I’d totally stay at the airport hotel tonight and take the flight tomorrow.

A Touching Airplane Story

People won’t believe this story is true because it happened right after I published posts on the importance of reading for kids. The story is true, though, so I’ll publish it.

A couple with 2 small kids was sitting next to me on my flight. The father was reading to his son of about 4 years of age. Several children’s books they dropped were strewn around in the aisle. A little girl observed the father and the son for a while, picked up a book and stood next to them hoping to be read to as well. Another little boy from two rows ahead of us saw what was going on. He came up timidly, picked up a book for himself and took his place in line.

These kids really wanted an adult to read to them. So the father of the 4-year-old read to all of them in turn.

All the kids were traveling with their own parents.

Yes, This Is My Blog

I have received two emails and a comment stating that this blog doesn’t belong to me and that I “just happen to moderate this public forum.”

I’m sorry to disappoint people but this is, indeed, my blog. I started it as a personal hobby, and it belongs to no one but me. If you believe that “this blog belongs to the people”, you have a problem in your head. The blog is mine and I can delete it or shut it down whenever I want. (I’m not planning to do so, of course, but I could if I felt like it). I will publish whatever I want here and ban whomever I want.

The good news, though, is that you can start your own blog any time and run it any way you see fit. If what I write traumatizes you in any way, you can move on to other websites. You might find this hard to believe, but they do exist.

And, please, let’s just put the silliness of telling me how to practice my hobby to rest, OK?

Montreal’s Bois-Franc

And this is one of my favorite places around Montreal’s Bois-Franc area. The pond has water lilies, big colorful fishes you can feed, ducks, and turtles. The only problem with this area is that you can’t live there without a car which, in Montreal, is really rare.

I wouldn’t mind living in the building you see in the photo. Imagine the blogging treasures I could create sitting on a balcony and looking at the pond.

This entire area was built very recently and it keeps expanding like crazy. This is expensive real estate, but the condos and houses are bought even before they are built. Most of the residents here are immigrants.

Now that I’m finally back in the US, I will bug my readers with photos I took in Montreal. 🙂

HIV Status and Rape

I heard the following story from an activist who defends the rights of HIV-positive people. A man slept with a woman. The morning after, she revealed to him she was HIV positive. He says he was shocked and terrified. Still, they stayed together for 4 years. Then, he beat her and pushed her small child. She turned him in to the authorities.

At the trial, the guy stated he had been raped the first time they had sex because it was sex under false pretenses. He also said he stayed with her this entire time because he had been traumatized by the revelation she was HIV-positive and had put him at risk.

So now the guy is free and the woman is in jail for rape. She is filing an appeal and the HIV foundation is supporting her because they don’t want a precedent to be set where anybody can inflict harm on an HIV-positive person under the pretext that they were traumatized by the initial non-disclosure of the person’s HIV status.

This is obviously a complex and painful issue. What do you, dear readers, think about it?

Those Hilarious MRAs

Some silly MRA apparently linked to my blog from his. As a result, crowds of desperate woman-haters have been trying to leave comments on the blog. I simply delete them in bulk without even looking at them but the silly little sexists keep trying.

As a result, the blog has had its greatest number of hits ever. This is great because the more popular a blog is, the higher it is indexed by Google. Then, it’s easier for valuable new readers to find their way here.

So the lesson is: even deluded sexists can serve a useful purpose if handled intelligently. 🙂

You Can’t Buy Taste

We went driving through the area of Montreal where millionaires are building new houses (it’s Ville St. Laurent next to Bois-Franc). And I just had to take a picture of this house. You can only see the front here because it’s too huge. Please observe the statues coupled with the black lanterns.

I’m loving this, people.

How I Learned to Read

I have a horrible cold and my throat hurts very badly. The baby didn’t sleep well tonight, and I’m tired but I still have a whole day of traveling ahead of me. I will only arrive in St. Louis at 11 pm. And in the midst of all this, I have to awaken to some spoiled rich brat accusing me of “privilege” on my blog because I suggested that parents who don’t even teach their own kids to read are irresponsible. So let me tell you how my uber-privileged Soviet parents taught me to read.

In the USSR, my father, a linguist by profession who worked at a research institution, made 110 rubles per month before taxes. Just to compare, a pair of winter boots cost upwards of 200 rubles, a pair of jeans upwards of 150 rubles. (And you had to travel all the way to Moscow to get them, which cost extra). There was no food in the stores, so you had to pay insane prices at the black market even for basic things like butter.

Both my parents worked day and night to provide for us. I barely even saw my mother who had to teach 10 classes a day six days a week (those among us who teach will understand how hard this is). And then there was grading, class planning, and the endless Soviet bureaucracy.

So to teach me to read, my mother put up a board on the wall where she would leave a short message for me before going to work. I missed my mamma whom I never got to see, so all day long I worked on deciphering her message. And then I’d try to leave my own message for her.

This is how we, the children of privilege, acquire our knowledge.

What’s the most enjoyable hour of your typical weekday?

This is another one of those blogging suggestions from WordPress.

During the semester, my favorite time is when I arrive at my office two hours before class, check my blog, go over the class plan, have a coffee. The campus is usually still very quiet and empty. This is the time when I can sit back, relax and contemplate the great fortune of loving my work the way I do.

During the holidays, the best moment of the day is early in the morning when I breathe in the fresh morning air and open the document I’m working on.

So in both cases, I guess the most enjoyable moment is right before I begin working. The hour right after (the classes or the writing sessions) is the one when I feel most satisfied and kind of self-righteous.

What about you?