Day 6 of Spring Break 

1. Had my Annual Conference with the departmental Chair. 

2. Cleaned the office.

3. Prepared my literature of crisis class for the next 2 weeks. 

4. Had an appointment with the doctor. 

5. Took Klara shopping. 

6. Cooked fregola.

7. Worked on the edited volume abstract. It’s only 250 words but it still needs work.

8. Helped Klara practice walking on the verandah.

9. Played building blocks with Klara and taught her to say “apple.”

10. Reading: Dr. Thorne and Rosa Montero.

11. Success: finally cleaned my workspace at home. 


A Secret Russian 

“Look, here’s Daddy!” I tell Klara. 

“Papa!” she says. 

“No, he’s Daddy,” I explain. 

“Papa! Papa! Papa!” she chants. 

I don’t know where she could have possibly gotten this but she calls N “papa” or “papeh” and completely disregards my exhortations to say “Daddy.” 

I swear to God, one of these days I’ll find her reading a volume of Pushkin. 

Illinois News

The news from Springfield is that there won’t be any budget until the next election. Which will take place in November of 2018. So if the people of Illinois will manage to get over their puppy love for dumb, greedy and lazy millionaires and decide not to return Rauner, we might get a budget in the winter of 2019.

It’s by no means certain, though, that Rauner won’t be returned. Because – get that – most people around here have no idea we have no budget in the state. They are convinced that Rauner is working hard on their behalf. 

Here is what I will ask you to do if you live in Illinois. Please, please try to tell at least one new person a week the truth about Rauner. I’m the most unsocial person in the universe but I’m telling people at the grocery checkout, in the line at the post-office, in the gym’s locker room. The point I keep making is, “Rauner is too lazy to do any work and we have no budget as a result.”

A good trick to start a conversation is to look at your phone, sigh loudly, say, “Ay ay ay!”, lift your eyes, catch somebody’s stare and ask, “Have you heard the news about Governor Rauner?” As of now, there hasn’t been a single person who refused to listen or didn’t participate in the conversation.

Heroin and the Specter of Uselessness

Here is a great article on the heroin epidemic in the US that results in many more overdoses than the crack epidemic of the 1980s.

The mental health field is so useless at dealing with addiction that directors of mental health programs send out lists of “correct” terminology to describe addiction:

We are not supposed to say “drug abuse”; use “substance use disorder” instead. To say that an addict’s urine sample is “clean” is to use “words that wound”; better to say he had a “negative drug test.” “Binge drinking” is out—“heavy alcohol use” is what you should say. Bizarrely, “attempted suicide” is deemed unacceptable; we need to call it an “unsuccessful suicide.”

Fuss about language is all they can do, it seems. 

Heroin, it turns out, kills 4 times more people each year than gun homicide. The attention it gets, however, is incomparable with the attention paid to gun violence. 

This wave of drug overdoses is a real tragedy, a real horror. The surplus people with whom the specter of uselessness has caught up are being eliminated through addiction. There are not nearly enough conversations about this.