Felipe Gonzalez’s Open Letter

If you read Spanish, do check out this poignant open letter that Felipe Gonzalez, Spain ‘ s first Socialist president, wrote to Catalonia’s idiot independentists.

For all his faults, Gonzalez did a lot to bring democracy to Spain and to ensure that after two centuries of military uprisings and civil wars the country finally got a constitution. Gonzalez and his generation were hoping that this constitution would finally stick. But less than 40 years later it’s about to be torn up and used for toilet paper by a bunch of smug, Trump-like idiots who believe that dumb jingoism is the order of the day.

Book Notes: Kent Haruf’s Plainsong

As you know, my attempt to read books in English during this vacation has not been very successful. Kent Haruf’s novel Plainsong has offered a timid improvement over the books I have read so far. It’s very far from perfect but at least it isn’t desperately bad.

The novel is set in rural Colorado and narrates the lives of a bunch of very limited, simple-minded folks who exist in a sort of an unthinking animal-like stupor. Some are inexplicably, irreflexively mean. Others are as unthinkingly kind. There is no explanation for anybody’s actions. Things simply are.

The only certainty that organizes this existence is the inevitable badness of all mothers. The unmitigated horribleness of the mothers, however, is offset by the niceness of everyone else. There is no explanation for why mothers are so bad while most other people are kind. This is presented as a fact of life not worthy of discussion.

The author must have been aware of the insufficiency of this worldview and tried adding cachet to his novel by messing with punctuation in a way that makes it hard to read. Direct speech, for instance, is not marked off by quotation marks. The characters’ words and the narrator’s voice all come in a jumble that the reader has to sort out.

In spite of all these unendearing characteristics, though, the novel is better than my preceding attempts to read in English.

Ask Tigers

In Siberia, a tiger needs to be alone on 600 square kilometers of territory in order to avoid starving. In India, on the other hand, a tiger only needs 22 square kilometers of territory to provide itself with food. The reason for the difference is obvious. Nothing grows in Siberia because of the climate. As a result, there are very few deer for the Siberian tigers to hunt and eat. India is obviously known for its lush vegetation, so tigers don’t face this problem.

This is why I detest the stupid map that idiots are eagerly circulating and that shows the “unfairly” uninhabited territories in the Northern hemisphere. Yes, most of Russia is empty of people and even animals. And India is bursting at the seams with people and natural variety. But that’s because of the obvious climatic and geographic differences and not an injustice of any kind.

Just ask the tigers.

Revisions

The editors of my edited volume #1 got back to me with suggested revisions. The revisions are exactly what I anticipated. The paragraph they say should be removed is the one I knew should not be there this entire time. The sentence the editors suggest to move to the beginning always felt like it should be at the beginning. And so on. The question arises as to why I didn’t do all this to begin with.

Stubborn old cow.

Idiotic Spectacle

I met yet another person who is declaring that she is planning to solve her psychological problems with reading and self-analysis.

Somehow, it does not occur to anybody to bore others with stories of how they will solve their dental problems on their own. I don’t care what people do about their psychological issues as long as they keep them away from me. But this infantile dishonesty offered for display is annoying. One can’t even conduct a lousy little massage on oneself. How likely is one to be able to reach inside one’s own psyche?

Conclusion: feel free to be an idiot in private but don’t make a,spectacle out of it.

Saturday Link Encyclopedia

It would never occur to me to use this weepy, emotional language in my tenure documents. People are too weird.

If you are looking for a life coach, check out this guy. He might be young but he’s good and he knows what he’s doing.

The man who created the House of Books.

Yet another story of a student’s tender religious sensibilities wounded by a literature class.

Two women in India were sentenced to rape for their brother’s actions.

How stupid does one have to be to tell Yale students how to combat “the ruling class”? God, people are dumb. What’s next? Visiting Goldman Sachs with suggestions on how to organize Occupy Wall Street more effectively?

And another idiot blabs stupidly: “Demonstrating an ability to “defeat” ISIS or “roll back” Iranian influence doesn’t tell Russia and China anything about U.S. commitments in their respective regions.” Actually, yes it does tell them a lot. Putin knew everything he needed to know about Obama when the US President swallowed his condescending letter on Syria. And immediately invaded Ukraine.

A massive win for labor rights!

A new species of crayfish has been named after Snowden. Knowing the connotations of the word crayfish in Russian, I can say it’s very fitting.

Uber has invented. . . a bus.

Gluten sensitivity does not exist. It’s all a ploy to sell “gluten-free apples” at a markup.