So, so sad about John McCain. 

Fuck cancer. 

Raising Snowflakes 

Schools in my district are canceling classes on the day of the solar eclipse on August 21 “for safety reasons.” The eclipse will last for 3 minutes but the school board says the “danger window” for children will last for 3 hours. They will not have time and resources to train the teachers to deal with the danger. 

What the danger actually is remains unexplained. I kind of thought that the fear of eclipses has been put to rest a few hundred years ago but apparently not in this country. As somebody said, the little snowflakes probably run the danger of melting when the sun reappears. 

No, I’m not inventing this shit. 

Fake Bias 

God, I hate these inane “studies”, irrespective of what direction the “bias” they “find” lies:

2,100 Australian public servants participate in a gigantic resume experiment to assess unconscious bias against women and minorities; finds that there is in fact bias in favor of women and minorities, and that gender-blind or race-blind assessments cause more whites and men to be hired.

It makes zero sense to extrapolate the biases of a tiny and highly eccentric group in a very eccentric country onto anything else. 

One can find a bunch of people somewhere to confirm absolutely anything at all. And then you word the questions differently and get the opposite result with the same group. The only value of this fake research is to confirm the dumb as dirt beliefs of some group or another. 

Babel by the Pool

It’s funny but almost nobody speaks English at this Southwest Florida resort. Most visitors are from Europe. We hear a ton of German and the Scandinavian languages by the pool. There is also an Italian family and a group of cigar-smoking and rowdy Portuguese. And right now I saw a Czech couple walking next to the pool. 

And it’s not just our hotel. We went to the town centre and heard a lot of German, Dutch, Danish, and either Swedish or Norwegian (I’m not good at telling these two apart.)

What puzzles me is why Europeans travel so far and pay so much to come all the way to Florida when they have beaches much closer to them in Europe. 

Writer and Language

Hans Fallada has been shunned by readers and critics because he didn’t leave Germany when the Nazis came to power. The reason why Fallada didn’t emigrate wasn’t, however, that he supported Hitler but simply that there are no other German-speaking countries in the world. And a writer can’t live outside of the language he writes in. 

For Spanish writers who went into exile after the Civil War, it was easy. They just went to Latin America. Same language, same culture, easy peasy. But for Germans it was the same as for Russian writers who left in droves after the 1917 revolution but then all ran back into Stalin’s arms because even the knowledge of what awaited them there couldn’t defeat the need to by surrounded by the language again.