Some Thoughts on Lives Mattering.

All the time, I’m hearing people say: “Sure, Black Lives Matter, but really All Lives Matter! Let’s not discriminate!” (I also hear people say that only All Lives Matter which I suspect is really just code for “I’m very racist and should live on an island alone”).

Fellow white people: nobody is saying  or has ever said that your life is unimportant. This is demonstrated by the fact that we are in all the history books, we are not in danger when we come into contact with authorities, and the judicial system is probably going to be fair to us. You don’t need to shout that our lives matter because we have been absurdly aggressive about making them matter and making them matter more than other people’s.

There are groups of individuals for whom this is not true. Black people, for example. This is why we say that Black Lives Matter. It is not a threat. It is not divisive. It is simply saying “Hey, here are some people who matter and we are acting like they don’t. Maybe we should change that”. White person, we already know that your life matters so stop trying to be part of the tag line.

It’s like this. Say we go back to the time when women couldn’t vote. Then we have a rally that says women should be able to vote. Would you then be like “hmm.. I think these women are really saying that men shouldn’t have the right to vote, despite the fact that they are clearly just asking for their right to vote, so we should have a rally saying that men should still have the right to vote”. No because that’s stupid. If you would think that then may you be stung by a thousand bees.

For those of us white folk who say sure Black Lives Matter, but All Lives Matter, let’s be honest about what this is really saying: We feel very uncomfortable with (1) having to recognize that we are implicated in hundreds of years of racism, and (2) having to recognize that it is still happening today. The good news is that you can support the Black Lives Matter movement and rest assured that your life, and mine, will continue to matter. Our lives are irrelevant to this conversation except that we can use them to be allies.



Why do florists sell venus fly traps if they expect me not to put pocket lint in their little plant mouths? It’s like if a pet store had puppies and expected me not to roll them in maple syrup so that they smell like Canada. Or expected me not to open all the bird cages so that we’d know which ones are loyal.

Some world.


People say Canadians apologize too much. At first I thought U.S. Americans don’t apologize enough. Then I remembered the time a man tried to mug me at a bus stop and I apologized for having old gum wrappers in the bag he was trying to take. Then I apologized because I didn’t have any cash and my debit card didn’t work because I thought the strip on the back was one of those “scratch-n-save” things. Eventually I asked him for his phone number but he turned me down and left with my shoes.

They might be right.



I’m not sure why, but this picture perfectly captures how I’ve felt all day.


I think I’ve made my point.

Moving on, with dengue.

The creepiest thing about Facebook is how it knows exactly what I’m doing all the time. This is maybe because I google everything I’m about to do (“I am going to buy tortillas, google, see you later”), or because I send them postcards every day (“Hey facebook, going to buy tortillas today!”), but regardless, it is pretty damn creepy. Today it advertised a “how to get through a break-up” book at me which made me sad because it was like “we’re pretty sure this is your life always… or you might be interested in this book about rock formations. But the two probably go together”. Stupid facebook.

I looked at the book and it seemed terrible (the relationship one, not the rock one). It had all this advice like “exercise” and “find a new hobby”. This is nonsense. Having never had a successful relationship, I know what’s what when it comes to getting over someone. I have decided to share my wisdom in a *free* post. You’re welcome.


Step 1. Fly to India.
A particularly painful breakup once occurred about 3 weeks before I was scheduled to fly to India to do “research”. This was a secret blessing, but not because I met a bunch of new people and saw how big the world is and blah blah.

Step 2. Be jet-lagged and act weird and anti-social, maybe because of the break-up but maybe because you’re an economist, so that you aren’t invited to any social events.
This is important so that Step 3 can occur.

Step 3. Spend many evenings in your room that does not have any window screens. Do not sleep with a bed net.
You can spend these nights feeling sad and sorry for yourself if you’d like. If your window has screens, remove them.

Step 4. Get dengue fever. 
This is the turning point! By now you should no longer be thinking about your ex. You should be feeling sweaty and nauseous and you should be in the worst physical pain you’ve ever been in. Your only thoughts should be “I am probably going to die on this floor” and “I wish I had left my debt to my ex in my will” Congratulations – you are getting over him/her! If you are still thinking about your ex then you probably don’t have dengue.

Step 5. Go to the hospital and get better.
They will give you some drugs and I’m still not sure what they are for, but you should take them. This is because they will both keep you alive and they will make you delusional. Instead of wondering about your ex, you’re wondering where the hell am I and also why is that peg-legged spider playing cards with that giant toad? Why is that man poking my arm and could you please turn down the thunder on the second floor?

Step 6. Go back to your apartment and be super paranoid and start taking all of the anti-malarials you were given but didn’t take before.
This prolongs Step 5. If you got the cheap anti-malarials, you will be preoccupied with keeping the angry broomstick away from your passport and have no time to think about breakups.

Step 7. Fly back home.
Fly back to your friends and family who love you. Tell them about the broomstick and the toad and the thunder. They will probably still like you and these are the people you should surround yourself with. If they don’t like you then slip your leftover medication into their cereal*.



Edit: I have been told that this post is too personal and will make people uncomfortable and I’m unemployable. I knew all these things before.

Ghosts and people with chainsaws.

For various unknown reasons, I have been spending a lot of time collecting data on movies. I am struck by the number of horror films that are produced in a year. It really is too much. I think we can shut down Saw XXXIIV5 and use the money to bail out Greece.

In any case, I have a weird thing where I am terrified of watching horror films but still want to know what happens in them. After looking through all of this movie data today, I started reading short plot summaries of the horror movies in the dataset on wikipedia [also why it will take me 18 years to finish the PhD. So productive!]. This turned out not to be a good strategy as my overly-active imagination conjured up images of creepy ghosts and I will probably never sleep again.

I was struck, though, at how unimaginative all of the movies are. There are two basic plot lines:

(1) Something happens to child at young age. Child becomes nutty and starts creeping people out, haunting them, falling down wells and haunting people, etc. You can’t get away from the child because they can hide in cupboards or something [it is actually unclear to me why you can’t just put the child on one of those child leashes and tie it to a tree. I’ll assume there is good reason]. Also of note is that the child is usually a girl (hmm…)
(2) White man is upset for unsaid reasons and goes Jack the Ripper on everything [sometimes this hits a little too close to reality].

Gruesome as the films may be, these plots really make no sense at all. First of all, if you are an angry child ghost and want people to suffer, you do not need to do creepy things. As someone who has no children, I believe I am authorized to say that children are bad enough as is. They cost so much money, hide in the grocery store which causes parents everywhere to have panic attacks, and spit up cheerios. No need to act like a ghost. Just hide on your parents while they are shopping in target. You will cause damage.

If you must act like a ghost, why do you need an elaborate plot to kill others? Crawling through a TV screen if and only if people watch a movie is inefficient. You obviously have the power to destroy us all. Just do it. Don’t hide in a videotape.

For the white men wielding chainsaws: YOU ARE THE MOST PRIVILEGED PERSON ON THE PLANET. New plan for you: calm down, put down your axe, and go get a job and/or promotion. It will happen for you. No need to be a weirdo.

So really I have nothing to worry about with these movies. If a ghost or childcreep ever comes at me, I will tell him/her to read this blog post. If that doesn’t work, I will jump into a sharky ocean. These nutjobs are always covered with blood or carrying a corpse or slaughtering a chicken or some such, so the sharks will for sure go after them while I make a getaway on a dolphin’s back. Flipper — now that’s an underrated movie.

Quick thoughts on things I saw in London today

1. Small children with British accents

2. Old people with British accents
Love them.

3. Other people with British accents
Could do without.

4. Stern looking man in sweater

5. Fifty thousand statues of men on horses
Every other one should be knocked down and replaced with a statue of a woman riding a horse and/or lion and/or dragon.

6. Door knockers in the shape of a lion’s head
Excessive unless resident is Scrooge McDuck.

7. Two weddings in parks
Unfortunate that one will probably end in divorce.

8. Many pigeons
3 of them reminded me of people I know. The rest were meh.

9. Street called Bread Street
Not enough actual bread on street. Should be similar to opening scene from Beauty and the Beast where a baker is wheeling around a cart of bread. Might be misremembering opening scene.

10. Person wearing Canada t-shirt
Heart explosion.