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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the day “October 5, 2017”

Arguing about Weapons

Trump supporters both in RL and on FB are telling me that thanks to Trump you can no longer purchase automatic weapons. And that makes them very happy because Trump solved a serious problem. Where are they getting this? It’s got to be based on something, right? These are completely unrelated people. 

I need something to tell them but this is one argument I didn’t anticipate.

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Google Headphones to the Rescue

​But tucked into the tail end of the presentation, Google quietly revealed that it had changed the world with a pair of wireless headphones. Not to be outdone by Apple’s Air Pods and their wirelessly-charging TicTac storage case, Google packed its headphones with the power to translate between 40 languages, literally in real-time. The company has finally done what science fiction and countless Kickstarters have been promising us, but failing to deliver on, for years. This technology could fundamentally change how we communicate across the global community.

Oh, I hope it works. At least, some day. 

Yes, I’m really tired of teaching language.

Russian Potatoes

A Russian activist is militating against imported goods:

“For thousands of years Russian people ate nothing but potatoes! We don’t need American things to survive!”

Snake

Nature lovers, can you help me identify this snake that is sitting in front of my door and tell me if it’s dangerous. I’m freaking out here because I have a toddler who loves playing in the grass outside.

The Nazi ACLU

Executive director of the ACLU in Virginia was shouted down shortly after she began speaking.
Students holding signs lined up in front of the stage where Gastañaga was speaking, chanting, “ACLU, you protect Hitler, too,” “ACLU, free speech for who?” and “the oppressed are not impressed.”

I have my issues with the ACLU but I’m quite confident they are not huge fans of Hitler. I’m also pretty confident that the organization is not in the business of oppressing anybody.

The oppressed at this expensive college have totally lost their marbles. It must be all that horrible oppression messing up their tender psyches. 

Baby Books

Klara is obsessed with books right now. Whenever she is having a meltdown, I can always switch it off by offering to read one of her favorites. (Which tells me these are not real meltdowns).

The books she prefers are the ones where she can point out objects and name them or the ones that rhyme. Yesterday, I was reading her current favorite from our Kindermusik class. When I got to the part that says, “here comes my yum-yum, a delightful treat,” I substituted yum-yum with “lentil soup” because that’s what she’d had for dinner. Klara didn’t like the substitution at all (although she’d loved the soup.) She exclaimed “yum-yum! Yum-yum!”, pointing at the page as if to say, “Read what it says! Pay attention to the text!” And she didn’t let me turn the page until I read it correctly.

She also loves numbers and geometric shapes. I had to look up words like pentagon and octagon because it’s a bit of a shame that she knows what they are while I’m kind of uncertain. I mean, I know what they are but only after I actually count each angle. 

Kazuo Ishiguro Gets the Nobel!

Yes! This is fantastic news. Ishiguro is a sensational author and if you haven’t read him yet, do yourself a huge favor and get acquainted with this great writer. 

The easiest choice is, of course, his famous novel The Remains of the Day. It is a beautiful novel and I love it. I gave it to N as our first-month anniversary because I needed to know if he was going to like it. Being with somebody who wouldn’t get it wasn’t an option. (He gave me Haruki Murakami for that anniversary. We both went Japanese for the occasion with the only Japanese authors we knew.)

My favorite novel by Ishiguro, however, is The Unconsoled. I read it 20 years ago, but I still think about it often. I truly wish he stayed with that kind of writing instead of sliding into the overly moralistic sci-fi and fantasy stuff of his later novels. Never Let Me Go, for instance, is very weak and also redundant. The whole thing had already been done by Isaac Asimov and a lot more elegantly, too. Let’s see if the Nobel gives Ishiguro some freedom from the need to moralize as aggressively as he’s been doing and lets him go back to exploring the beauty of the language.

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