Monday, October 25, 2021

Lives of the Philosophers, Pt. 8

Pangloss sounds like a dishwashing liquid, but it’s the name of a guy in a book. His entire purpose is to say foolish things with which Voltaire disagrees. Kind of a cheap shot; it’s easy to win a debate when you write your opponent’s lines. "But wait," I hear you say, "You do that yourself." To which I reply, "No. No I don’t." The most famous Pangloss statement defines ours as the "best of all possible worlds," which is horrifying if true because it would mean not that we haven’t reached our full potential but that we already have.

Monday, October 11, 2021

October is National Diversity Awareness Month

It’s Columbus Day! I don’t know what plans you’ve made, but in my family we like to mark the occasion by traveling uninvited to a stranger’s house to exchange smallpox for syphilis. Plus, it’s also Indigenous Peoples’ Day – same day. To celebrate that, I’d dearly love to travel to Alberta for a visit to the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site Interpretive Centre. But what I’ll probably actually do is cook up a nice tomato sauce and serve it over polenta, a meal that syncretizes Cristoforo Colombo’s Genoese roots with Native American crops. Then I’ll play “Apache” on Spanish guitar.

Monday, October 4, 2021

This is not a toy

Open other end. No user serviceable parts inside. Close cover before striking. Insert flap here. Dry clean only. Keep out of reach of children. Keep hands clear of rollers. Keep frozen. Shake well before using. Watch overhead lines. Do not touch. Do not dispose of in fire. Do not use bleach. Do not insert in ear canal. Do not stand on or above. Do not eat silica gel. Do not drink contents. Do not breath vapors. Do not ingest. Do not stare into beam. Do not hold in hand – light fuse and get away. We are slaves to our stuff.