Feb 22 2009

From Petrarcha’s Trionfo del Tempo

Your triumphs and your pomp transpire,
The nobility passes and kingdoms crumble,
Time brings low all mortal things;
And what he reaps from those less good, he does not pass to those more worthy:
And not only the superficial things are laid waste by time,
But also your eloquence and works of genius.
Thus sped along, the world moves with him;
He takes no time to rest; neither does he stop nor turn from his appointed course,
Until in the end he has transformed you back to your essence: a bit of dust.

–Francesco Petrarca, Trionfo del Tempo (The Triumph of Time), v. 112-120 (S.H. transl.) (ca. 1352)

Swiped from Harper’s - visit and see the wonderful detail from a tapestry illustrating the poem

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Nov 2 2008

Sarah Palin: laughing at the nightmare

Sarah Palin is at best a painful embarrassment and at worst the person who may destroy the whole world. In the run up to the election, the inability to vote (not American) makes the suspense even worse, so it was a great relief to have a laugh again.

“…given the way the McCain campaign has controlled access to Palin, the prank feels like just plain good journalism — almost as good as the real thing delivered by Katie Couric last month. The prank audio is entertaining, informative and damning, at least if you think the nation’s leaders should be a little more sophisticated than, say, an excitable (and gullible) 10-year-old.”

If your French is rusty, check out the translations in the transcript here. I love the seals and the bread-under-the-arm bits. And the “special American Advisor Johnny Hallyday” mentioned is France’s equivalent of Elvis. Only with a lot more plastic surgery.

Thank you Les Justiciers Masques!

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Jan 31 2008

May I speak to God please?…Do you know when he’ll be back?

Why, oh why, is that Canada only makes international news with bizarro stories?

Our serial killers are… pig farmers, which is grisly yet efficient (if you don’t know, you don’t want to), albeit not very glamorous. Our departing prime ministers try to sell off the furnishings of the government-owned official residence.

… an attempt by the Mulroneys in 1993 to sell the furniture, decorations and drapery they had accumulated at 24 Sussex Drive … for about $150,000. [more Mulroney corruption here]

We also harbour “rogue elves” that impersonate Santa and write shocking letters to small children in his name.

Each Santa letter Canada Post delivers contains the same main message with a hand-written personal postscript.

[2-year-old child recipient] Maya’s personal “P.S.” said: “This letter is too long, you dumb s - - t. [full article]

And now the latest — just in case you were thinking of flying Air Canada:

… the co-pilot was carried into the cabin with his hands and ankles cuffed after he was restrained by cabin crew and a passenger.

“He was very, very distraught. He was yelling loudly,” Finucane told Canadian broadcaster CBC. “His voice was clear, he didn’t sound like he was drunk or anything, but he was swearing and asking for God. He specifically said he wants to talk to God.” [full article]

I read a few different articles and it sounds like the Air Canada co-pilot removed his shoes and was running about the airplane screaming. Not good for nervous fliers.

Why is it that small children and the insane love taking their shoes off?

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Dec 28 2007

Mass arrests…

I’m not American, but everyone knows that America bills itself as “The Land of The Free.” And for a long time the whole world has enjoyed pointing to that in admiration or disgust, idealizing or vilifying.

The latest pin in the balloon is from a NYT article:

“Former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had a plan to suspend the rules against illegal detention and arrest up to 12,000 Americans he suspected of being disloyal…”

Disloyal in what sense? They bought cheap Chinese imports instead of American Made? Maybe they liked those foreign movies from countries that spoke funny so’s you had tuh read the words at the bottom an’ it done gave yuh a head-ayche.

Disloyal to who? To what? It’s hard for it not to sound disturbingly paranoid.

No matter where we live, we always tell ourselves that fascism/totalitarianism happens elsewhere. And that assumption, of course, is what allows it enough time to get its foot firmly wedged in the doorway.

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