Chop Wood

Taking care of a 3-year-old on one’s own is hard. To show N that I recognize and appreciate it, and also in order to give him a bit of a break, I got Klara’s favorite teacher Ms Stephanie to come over and babysit for 4 hours.

Can you guess what N decided to do with his four hours of freedom?

Go to a bar? Watch a game? Sleep? Go out for a meal?

No, no, no, and no.

He’s going to chop wood. Like, for real. He’ll take big pieces of wood and chop them up into firewood. Because it’s important to prepare firewood in advance.

Every Russian speaker who’s reading this is now heaving with laughter. There is a very famous quote from a very famous novel about chopping wood to sublimate. I can’t explain it better than this. It’s very very funny.

Class Resentment

People will say, like they said about the Iraq War, that everyone just let this happen. They’ll say it to let themselves off the hook — nobody ELSE was protesting, so I didn’t do it either — but the work these young men and women are doing should not be erased.

Actually, I’ll say that a bunch of dumb rich kids are entertaining themselves in dumb rich kid ways. I have a lot of class resentment towards this kind of people.

Let’s Stare Impotently

This is extremely disturbing:

As two-thirds of the United States grapples with dangerously high temperatures this weekend, climatologists are now sounding the alarm over another blast of warm weather further to the north.

On Tuesday, an Arctic heatwave hit the settlement of Alert, Canada causing temperatures to reach 70 degrees (21 degrees Celsius) for the very first time.

The news has shocked even the most hardened environmental experts, with Alert located less than 500 miles from North Pole.

It’s really funny how so many people – both in the denialist camp and among the anti-denialists – hide from this kind of news behind some glib slogan that gives them mental comfort and makes them feel protected by the superior power of their intellect that, they are convinced, really understands things.

I don’t have such superpowers, so I’ll just stare impotently at the quote.

Here Is Better

It’s at most 73°F here. And in Montreal it gets all the way to 110°F.

The Basque Country wins. And not only in terms of the climate. Take clothing. Montreal has a lot of interesting, quirky clothing. But good luck finding anything over size 8. Maybe there’s a stray 10 somewhere but salespeople laugh in your face when you ask for it. My sister recently got mocked by a pissy salesperson for asking about one-size clothing. And here everything is talla única, and nobody gets cranky about it.

Coffee is obviously better here than in Montreal. Orange juice and bread are in another category. People are similar but it’s easier to be around the Basques.

I’m comparing the Basque Country to Montreal because that’s the most European place in North America that I know.

Where’s the Line?

Here is a question. If it’s ok for employers to “data mine” your social media for cues about your beliefs, is it also ok to access the info gathered by your smartphone? Your Alexa device? Your smart TV? Your Google searches? Your Amazon book purchases? The content of your text messages? Skype conversations?

Who will draw a line and where will it be drawn?