Instead of the support group that we were supposed to attend, we ended up at a bar. Well, I guess a charcuterie plate and a glass of wine are good therapy, too.
I’m posting the photo because the set-up reminded me of Quebec.
Writing is a great method of psychological hygiene. If you use the National Novel Writing Month for the purpose of unburdening yourself psychologically in preparation for the emotionally taxing winter months, that’s great. However, the moment that even the slightest whiff of a fantasy about eventually publishing the product of this writing and making money from it attaches to the endeavor, you need to know that you have walked into the realm of pathology.
Many people escape from the realization that they are not very happy with their lives using fantasies of writing a bestseller, becoming a rock star, inventing something that would make them millions, etc. If you need to hide from reality in these fantasies, that’s not a good sign. It would be a lot more effective to invest the time you waste each November on churning out the words nobody ever wanted to read into figuring out why you dislike your actual life so much.
People who suffer from midlife crises are precisely the ones who kept avoiding the realization that they hated their lives until such an avoidance became impossible.
I agree with this blogger that the opposition to Obama’s policies cannot be reduced to racism. It is based on racism but also on a lot more: “That’s why nothing Obama can do is right. It isn’t that he has the wrong policies or writes the wrong numbers into his budget proposals. It’s that he belongs to the wrong tribe. Who that tribe is, exactly, varies from person to person and situation to situation. Sometimes it’s racial and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s cultural — the whole guns-and-religion thing. Sometimes it’s the Makers vs. the Takers. But what unites them all is a sense of tribal grievance. People-Like-Me used to own American and need to take it back.”
I hate distracted cellphone-obsessed walkers even though I’m one of them.
I adore these posts by a Dutch guy who moved to the Midwest and is discovering America: “Before I ever came to Missouri, I asked my then-girlfriend what things one could do for fun in Saint Louis. Without a blink, she said, ‘Go to a baseball game’. Then it was silent for a long time.” I’ve been living here for 4 years, and I still don’t have a better answer. I’m kidding, I’m kidding, this area is not that bad.
White bean stew with winter squash and kale. A great recipe. Just make sure you substitute “a teaspoon of salt” (what a barbarity to put a teaspoon of salt into anything but a pickling mix) with just a pinch of salt. Seriously, folks, if I glopped salt by the spoonful into my soups, I’d be dead of a heart attack already. I promise that two weeks after you cut your insanely American intake of salt by 90%, you will discover who amazing food actually tastes.
“After WW II we decided it was the Commies who were out to get us. Now it’s the Muslim terrorists. We go on and on about mental hygiene, but what about the pressure of constant wars and mass killings on the collective psyche?” Good question.
“Thus the advance of machine intelligence will cause a surge in income inequality, but will also level the playing field for opportunity. In a recent interview with NPR Cowen predicted that “for a lot of people upward mobility will be a lot easier.”” Everybody is talking about this guy’s prognosis for the future but I find it reductive and silly. What do you think?
Peru doesn’t seem to have any real problems to resolve, so it’s turning to Internet censorship. In a piss-poor country with insane racism and no opportunities for young people, this preoccupation with the scary, mean Internet looks quite idiotic. (In Spanish.) Peruvians, if you want to “protect children”, try feeding them first.
Russians are not as poor as Peruvians but they are even more unhinged in what concerns “protecting the children” by censoring the Internet. A bunch of crazed freakazoids in Russia wants to ban swearing from the Internet. In Russia, this amounts to banning the Internet altogether.
How do you feel about the White House going pink to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month? I really think it’s quite stupid.
Translators, beware! This is how publishers might try to defraud you.
It is insane what some universities waste money on. I’m sure that if I check, I will discover that these schools have absolutely no money for their French, Russian, and Italian programs.
It’s shocking how easily people in my profession believe vicious gossip even about the colleagues they love and respect. I’ve seen it happen time and again: folks who know you well and whom you expect to stand up for you, fall over themselves to believe and promote the most ridiculous gossip about you.
This is my experience, too. Students with bizarrely bad writing skills cannot be persuaded to listen to my suggestions because they think that being a native speaker guarantees a beautiful writing style.
I agree completely with this sentiment about the intensely stupid NaNoWriMo: “Sometimes when I wander over to writers’ blogs where they’re talking about writing a novel in a week or how many words they write a day, I wonder about a couple of things, especially with NaNoWriMo and its children coming up in November: 1. Who’s reading those words? 2. Are those words worth reading?” Do you know that people actually use writing apps that punish them for stopping to think for more than a couple of seconds?
And the post of the week says something sorely needed: “I understand the rules of supply and demand perfectly well. I just don’t think they should govern how universities are run, because universities are not businesses. Universities don’t need to make a profit (at least legitimate ones don’t), and as such they should not be so subject to the idiotic whims of a general populace that thinks a bachelor’s degree should be 100% vocational training.” Yes. One million times yes.
These days, whenever you start doing anything, you always end up doing sales. I developed a great new course but now I have to write an ad for it in order to sell it to colleagues and students. I started working on a translation order for a petroleum company but it turned out that what they want me to do is translate an endless series of sales pitches.
By the way, these sales pitches I’m translating are very effective. After a week of work, I’m experiencing a profound desire to buy compressor fluid for my air turbine.