The Best Summer Purchase Ever

I’ve promised the link to several people, so I think it makes sense to put it here to let everyone discover the best summer purchase ever at the ridiculously low price of $7.99.

This amazing product is a colossal foot rasp. People in need of a rasp are those who spend a lot of awake time without socks on. Which means women and casually dressing men.

Folks, forget expensive foot masks, scary buzzing devices, and frustrating pumice stones. This rasp changed my life like no other beauty product ever. And I don’t have a dire situation in the feet area because I go to a pedicurist once a month. I hear that people with those scary troll feet that shred the sheets are practically praying to this object.

And hey, I don’t blame them. I’m leaving for a 3-day trip, and I’m already feeling separation anxiety from my rasp.

I’m not getting paid to promote the product. I simply want to share my joy at this wonderful discovery with the world.

The Mystery of the Exclusionary Swing

OK, so I asked the local FB group, as people suggested, and here’s the deal on the inaccessible wheelchair-accessible swing.

It was built by parents of a disabled boy. They got a grant and some donations from local students to build it. So the swing is for their son to use, and they don’t mind other disabled kids using it in their presence.

People are very proprietary.

This is a very sick boy with a rare brain disorder, so I don’t want to criticize the parents.

Let’s Burn Books by Meanies

I can’t believe this person ever read any works of literature, let alone taught them:

When you are a writer who learns a beloved author has a dark side, you experience waves of disillusionment. When you teach that author’s work, you feel an additional stab of concern: What about my syllabus? Do we continue to teach the work of people we now suspect of behaving unethically or abusively?

This is so insane, it’s not even funny. Trying to find a writer from 20 years ago, let alone a couple of centuries, who, by today’s standards, wasn’t a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, or an all-around jerkwad, is pretty impossible. If you don’t know how to separate works of art from their authors, you shouldn’t be a literary critic, period.

And this part is simply crazy:

To put someone on a syllabus is to privilege them with our attention. We’re saying, This is worth your time. Unless we actively complicate the conversation, our students will perceive that as a form of admiration.

I put Fidel Castro and Che Guevara on my syllabi. I teach the accounts of the Spanish conquerors and the medieval texts that argue female evilness and inferiority. I assign Franco-era propaganda. My teaching is not about what I admire. It’s about what I consider important to know.

What’s really funny is that the author is also a writer. How she can guarantee that absolutely everything she said and did in her life won’t be considered beyond the pale 100 or even 10 years from now is a mystery.

When Nationalism Defeats Racism

Ukraine is celebrating the National Vyshyvanka Day. Vyshyvanka is Ukraine’s famous embroidery that you can see on the men’s shirts and vests in the photo. Every region has its own vyshyvanka type, and there are coded messages in the embroidery, so it’s like a language of its own.

Today, everybody is posting the photos from the massive vyshyvanka marches in every region of Ukraine. I’ve seen this particular photo on a couple of resources, and I’m happy to report that there wasn’t a single racist comment under it. All of the comments are in the vein of “I’m so proud of our boys!” and “I always said our region had the best vyshyvankas.”

Five years ago it would have been very different. There would be racist comments, stupid jokes, and all kinds of dumb assholery. But as a result of the revolution and then the war, there’s been a nationalist awakening. And now people feel such gratitude towards anybody who embraces the Ukrainian culture that it erases racist feelings.

Vicious and unapologetic racism is the most intolerable and disgusting aspect of my culture, so this is big. And it makes me happy that the Ukrainian revolution has led to a sudden interest in anti-racist discourse, in feminist thought, in attempts to address homophobia. Even if for the most part it’s done to differentiate oneself from Russians, it’s still good. Who cares why it happens as long as it does?

If you are not from my culture, I don’t even know how to explain how big this is.


I got an email at my work address from the Alumni Association at McGill university. They want my home address to send me promotional materials. The weird part is that they insistently address me as “Miss” (a total of four times.)

The only way to get my work email is from my college website or, both of which make it clear that I’m a professor. But forget that. I had no idea anybody still addressed anybody, let alone women of my age as Miss. They know I’m class of 2001. How old do they think I am to be a Miss?

I’m ok with both Ms and Mrs, except when addressed by students or colleagues. But Miss? I’m forty-fucking-two and, unlike the weird NYTimes reporter I read recently, I don’t think being called Mrs and not Miss at my age means being “downgraded.” Quite the opposite.

When I was 22, I loved being called “mademoiselle” (I lived in Quebec then.) But 20 years later, it’s ridiculous.

Mothers Have Fun

I’m going to Seattle tomorrow to visit my BFF.

“So what are your plans?” N asks. “What are you going to do in Seattle?”

“We will lie in beds and watch Law & Order reruns,” I explain.

“But why?” he asks.

“Because we are mothers of small children,” I say.

“But what’s the point of going all the way to Seattle to stay in bed and watch TV?”

“Because we are mothers of small children,” I say.

“But you could do something fun, visit museums, go on a hike,” he perseveres.


Show me a mother of small children whose idea of fun is something other than to lie in bed and space out, and I’ll show you a pink unicorn.

TV Dinners

One thing where I was always Americanized is my love of TV dinners. Like in those boxes that you microwave and then eat out of the box. I especially like the Hungry Man brand because those meals are huge.

I haven’t had a single one for 11 years because N is horrified by them. I have no idea why because they are very nice.

It’s actually very common among people who are great cooks to like to indulge in something very junky. Of course, now that I’m gastrointestinally challenged it’s all gone but I used to enjoy McDonald’s meals once a year. I always wanted to try KFC and never got to it, and now it’s too late.

OK, this is getting depressing. Tempus fugit, folks, so carpe diem and get yourselves to KFC while you still can.


I constantly oscillate between “wow, I’m completely Americanized, that’s so cool” and “shit, I’ll never figure out this country, I’m a total alien.”

I not only understand the expression “a cereal-for-dinner kind of person” but it’s now actually a great pleasure of mine to experiment with cereals at night. I’m completely Americanized!

Nothing seems more natural to me than buying The Atlantic and The National Review together but people have a very weird reaction. This is hopeless, I’ll never get it!

I recently understood a Star Wars joke. And it was funny! I laughed! I’m completely Americanized!

I’m not getting the Junot Diaz controversy. It feels like it’s easier to learn another language than to figure it out. This is hopeless, I’ll never get it!

I wore yoga pants to the store. And I loved it. I’m completely Americanized!

The lady at the park is asking if Klara likes chocolate milk. What’s chocolate milk? Does she mean milk chocolate? This is hopeless, I’ll never get it!

I bought underwear at Walmart. And it’s really good. I’m completely Americanized!

I decided to be frugal and clip coupons. But the coupon sheet seemed more confusing than a medieval Castilian chronicle. This is hopeless, I’ll never get it!

The best lunches I ever had happen in my office and there’s a lot of pushing around of the keyboard involved. I’m completely Americanized!

When I tell people I’m going on a beach vacation for three weeks, they look stunned and keep repeating, “how long?? But why??” This is hopeless, I’ll never get it!

And it goes on and on.