1. Everything Belongs to the Future, Laurie Penny
2. Wake of Vultures, Lila Bowen
3. We Are the Ants, Shaun David Hutchinson
4. Waiting for Gertrude: A Graveyard Gothic, Bill Richardson
5. The Pastel City, M. John Harrison
6. 13 Ways of Looking At a Fat Girl, Mona Awad
7. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
8. Rise: A Newsflesh Collection, Mira Grant
9. The Stealer of Souls, Michael Moorcock
10. Seven Surrenders, Ada Palmer
11. Amiable With Big Teeth, Claude McKay
12. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
13. The Stone House, A.K. Benedict
14. The Female of the Species, Mindy McGinnis
15. It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis
16. Moonglow, Michael Chabon
17. When Everything Feels Like the Movies, Raziel Reid
18. Walkaway, Cory Doctorow
19. Feed, M.T. Anderson
20. Kids of Appetite, David Arnold
21. The Collapsing Empire, John Scalzi
22. Crossing the Distance, Evan Solomon
1. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers
2. Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Jane Mayer
3. Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, Cathy O'Neil
4. Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner: A Story About Women and Economics, Katrine Marçal
5. Indefensible: Seven Myths That Sustain the Global Arms Trade, Paul Holden et. al.
6. October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, China Miéville
Books What Have Pictures In Them
1. Missing Nimâmâ, Melanie Florence and François Thisdale
2. Mayday, Alex de Campi, Blond, Tony Parker
Remember that hilarious story about the Parkdale gentrifiers? Did you think that after Jesse Brown tweeted the Parkdale Tinies that the story couldn't possibly get any funnier?
How long can Toronto keep a thing going, you might wonder. Surely not this long...
"Back when I was in academia and enamoured by writers like Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler, I was particularly in to the idea of origins, and where exactly we can trace origins back to."Oh, just read the whole thing, trust me.
"My mum emigrated to the UK in 1939 from Germany. Yes, that’s right, she was a Jew, or at least somewhat Jewish."
"[My counsellor] then proceeded to give me a lecture on cell biology, including how many bookshelves it would take to hold all the information contained in a single human cell. The lesson being, we are endlessly complex beings, and attempting to oversimplify both ourselves and the world is foolish."
"I did try to clean myself up at one point, attending a 10-day silent retreat in Southern Thailand. But the switch from partying on a Thai beach to sitting quietly for 12 hours a day in a Thai monastery was too dramatic, and I only lasted 5 days before I was back to Bangkok and their opiated grass."
"So let me explain what really went down during our reno from hell. Not that my wife mis-represented the facts – for the most part, she didn’t. But a) she was at home looking after our newborn for most of the year of our reno, so doesn’t know first-hand what really went on; b) she was constrained by a word limit of 4000 words; and c) she was working closely with an editor at Toronto Life, who clearly had his own agenda that overwhelmed her own."
"I had concerns about how I would come across in the piece, but I was prepared to put my ego aside for the sake of a good story and in support of my wife’s career. "
"Looking back on that telephone conversation now, I realize that Malcolm never did assure me that he would look out for my wife’s best interests."
"Although I could see the literary merit of these additions, a mean-spiritedness was entering into the article that was not in the original draft."
"I also didn’t like the photo because in reality my wife is much more attractive than she appears in that photo."
"Criticisms of capitalism presented by the bourgeoisie are nearly always duplicitous, masquerading as in solidarity with the proletariat while cutting off real protest at the knees. And this was exactly what was going on here. By seeming to sympathize with the downtrodden, Malcolm was hoping to humanize us just enough to avoid a revolution, while dehumanizing us enough to garner clicks."
"We could have called an ambulance, I guess, but that, in my mind, would have been a gross invasion of his privacy."
"My wife does, however, say that we were ‘a young family without a lot of money’ and whether this is true or not depends on what you consider ‘money.’"
"[O]n the one hand yes, I made some bad decisions. And yet we came out ahead. Was this luck? Or strategy?"
"It’s better to move forward without all the answers in place than to not move forward at all, an assumption best expressed in this quote attributed to Goethe..."
"His gift substantially changed my life, and I show my gratitude by honoring his generosity as best I can. I could have snorted $100,000 of cocaine, but instead used it to prepare myself, however tangentially, for a career in which I feel I make a positive difference."
Bonus: Here is his Twitter.
The latter is, to me, the starkest depiction of austerity and late-stage capitalism in action. The residents called for repairs. Labour called for tighter safety regulations. Boris Johnson literally told them to go stuff themselves. The cladding, which was probably a major factor in the deaths of 100 or so people, was installed not to protect the building's tenants—low-income, many of them racialized, many of them Syrian refugees—but to hide the unsightly nature of the tower from wealthy neighbours.
I kind of get why people lose their shit over terrorist attacks and mass shootings, but this gets me more. There's a lot we can do as a culture to reduce terrorism and mass shootings, and of course we tend to do the opposite of that, but even in a perfect world, not every act of senseless violence would be preventable. Norway still produced Anders Breivik—even a utopia would have its madmen.
But a situation where you have people saying, "this tragedy is going to happen if you don't fix the thing," and those in charge do not fix the thing, because money is more important than human lives—that is totally preventable and entirely foreseeable. There was an obvious, simple way to prevent those 100 deaths, if our civilization valued people as much as it valued profits.
There are death tolls to tell you how many people died because of communism. There are no tallies of deaths under capitalism, as if starvation because of collectivization is somehow less preferable to starvation because of austerity, or a firing squad is worse than a fire.
This is the very heart of my politics. This is why I fight, even though it doesn't affect me, even though I don't really know how to, even though I'm exhausted. Sometimes fury is the only thing that keeps me going.
Earlier in the day, she'd received a phone call from an unlisted number. There was a pause when she picked up, and she said it sounded like a call centre in India. The man claimed that he was calling from Windows, and there was something wrong with her computer—could she turn it on for him?
"Do you think I'm an idiot?" she asked.
"Yes," he said. "I think you are an idiot, and a motherfucker, and an asshole." And then he hung up.
She was fucking thrilled and was so excited about it that she had to tell everyone because it was that delightful.
There are No Trespassing signs all over the place, but let's be honest; if they wanted to keep people out, they'd put some barbed wire or guards around. We ran into two other people wandering around the premises who had the same idea we did.
Narrowing down which pictures to show you folks was brutal—I hope you appreciate that I got it down to around 20 from over 100. (Okay, so more because Photobucket has ceased to work for me and DW's image hosting is brutal, but also to spare your browsers.
( +22 )
Hope feels kind of weird. I mean, you still have a shitty government in power, but it's a shitty government without a sweeping mandate, and for the UK, that's saying a lot. It's too soon to say that the tide is starting to turn against global reaction, but it's something.
The story gripping the city is of the Toronto Life story about a pair of self-involved, clueless rich kids who bought a Parkdale rooming house, sight unseen, and were shocked that people still lived there and also that you can't hire a contractor based on the fact that he's cycling by. This is all in the context of violent purging of the poor in the Parkdale neighbourhood, most notably an asshole landlord attempting to murder a tenant for striking against deplorable conditions. Quite a lot of pixels have been spilled over this issue, but the best response was my friend Todd's GoFundMe page (you can still donate), and the Metro interview with him that followed. Great stuff, and perfect timing—the Parkdale Rent Strike has the potential to be the most successful political action since BLM-TO forced Pride to ban uniformed, armed cops from getting paid to march in a parade that celebrated the very folks they like to beat up.
The Tories have a new Head Asshole, Andrew Scheer. No one has heard of this guy, and he conveniently had a lot of his more disgusting positions wiped from the intertubes. However, the Streisand Effect is still in play, so you can totally go and read what he's about. Spoiler: It ain't good. Fortunately, he has all the charisma of a mysteriously damp toilet paper roll, so I don't think he has much of a chance against Prince Justin or whoever the NDP nominates.
Do I have a clear preference for an NDP leader? I am shocked to say that no, I do not. I actually like multiple candidates. This is weird. I would be happy if Charlie Angus, Jagmeet Singh (with some reservations), or Niki Ashton won. I tend not to put a lot of hope in electoral politics but I do like having someone I can vote for and campaign for happily rather than someone who's the lesser of three evils.
Speaking of Niki, she's preggers. Yay Niki! She announced it on Twitter, because we live in the darkest possible timeline, and minor douchecanoe Brian Lilley got upset because she did not specify that she was pregnant with a human fetus. What else might she be pregnant with? Speculation abounded. Was it an alien? A tank-human hybrid? A dinosaur? No one knew until she clarified, kinda.
The coolest thing to happen around these parts is that the Ontario Liberals—who I don't even tend to like—announced that the minimum wage would rise to $15 by 2019, along with several other good labour reforms. This is great news, though in Toronto, where the cost of living is stupidly high compared to the rest of the province, it doesn't go far enough for my liking. Almost everyone is in favour, except for this whiny fuckhead, who is such an incompetent businessman that he can't afford to pay people to work for him. He was shocked and appalled to find himself the target of a boycott, and put up an even whinier sign that was immediately mocked for obvious reasons.
I try not to ever think about Barbara Kay, but a hero at Canadaland read that pro-genocide book that she recommended so that you don't have to.
Speaking of genocide against the First Nations, guess how much Trudeau's government spent fighting against indigenous rights in court? #sunnyways #colonialismbutfromtheheartoutwards
In international news, though I hate to go there:
Ivanka Trump makes her shoes in a Chinese sweatshop (no surprise there) and three activists have been disappeared for looking into it.
Laurie Penny continues to be my internet girlfriend. Here's a scathing editorial about freezed peach.
Finally, it is extremely important that we know about whether Melania is getting, and I quote, "federally-funded side peen." Yeah, you're welcome.
"Hold my beer!"
Yeah, we're all fucked.
I normally get pretty depressed around my birthday for reasons, but this one was Quite Good. Had a not-shit day at work, enough notifications from friends to crash the FB app on my phone, and dinner with mum at Hogtown Vegan, complete with a Caesar so I'm also a bit drunk.
I am an Old though. It's time to yell at the kids to get off my lawn and stop wasting their money on smashed avocado post.
I've been away from news all day; did Cheeto Benito piss off the Mossad now?
I almost never make anything super-fancy just for myself these days—seriously, half my meals come out of a can—but fiddlehead season comes but once a year, and my mom brought me some, so I got to make some of these tasty-but-dangerous delights.
Here is a recipe for how to make fiddleheads.
It came out excellently, holy shit.
The Southwestern salad is my own recipe, more or less. Sauteéd jalapenos, avocados, grape tomatoes, cilantro, and walnuts. The dressing is olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, black pepper, and lime juice.
Other delicious things I have made or participated in making this weekend: Homemade falafel balls, pear-walnut pie, and more of that avocado pasta that I am obsessed with at the moment.
In other, related news, my apple tree is blossoming!
And Cocoa is looking extra-cute:
Here is some background on the Nazis involved: Ronny Cameron (the organizer of yesterday's pitiful LARP module), and Eric Brazau.
• 12 ounces spaghetti
• 2 ripe avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
• 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 cup canned corn kernels, drained and rinsed
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
2. To make the avocado sauce, combine avocados, basil, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor;
season with salt and pepper, to taste. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until emulsified;
3. In a large bowl, combine pasta, avocado sauce, cherry tomatoes and corn.
4. Serve immediately.
This is delicious and dead easy. A++ would cook again, especially if I were using my own awesome blender and not the school's shitty one.
MEDIUM SHOTS OF SIX INDIVIDUALS ON A WHITE BACKDROP, SPEAKING DIRECTLY INTO THE CAMERA.
I would describe my political views as the new right.
I'd say that I'm left.
Title: TWO STRANGERS DIVIDED BY THEIR BELIEFS.
She believed that she was a full person entitled to human rights. He believed that she should be making him a sandwich. Is it possible that the truth lay somewhere in the middle?
A buzzer, much like one you might hear in a prison, buzzes.
Title: MEET FOR THE FIRST TIME
Each pair faces each other over a pile of flat pack IKEA boxes.
Feminism today is man hating.
I would describe myself as a feminist 100%
Title: EACH KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT THE OTHER OR WHAT THIS EXPERIMENT INVOLVES
I don't believe that climate change exists.
I drive a Prius with Bernie Sanders stickers on it!
I'm, like, a person and stuff.
I'm more obsessed with strangers' genitals than a normal person should be.
Title: IS THERE MORE THAT UNITES THAN DIVIDES?
WHITE CISMALE HETEROSEXIST SUPREMACY
The pairs are presented with the flat pack boxes.
I got this. I am a man and therefore an expert in IKEA.
Montage of each pair struggling over the instructions.
I think this is in some kind of furrin' language or some such.
What *is* a KUGGALLÂ, anyway?
I think this is missing a piece. Maybe all the pieces.
Close-up of shelf, assembled with all of the pieces facing the wrong way and some random bit dangling.
Aaaah, just hold the—this thing—for an—OWWW.
This has to go in that hole, there's no other hole that it can go in.
DOUCHE, screaming his head off, tosses a board into the wall.
SMUG ENVIRONMENTALIST sinks sadly into a pile of cardboard boxes, his face in his hands.
TRANS WOMAN stabs TRANSPHOBE in the eye with an Allen key.
Sooooo much for the tolerant left...
I...can't. I just...can't do it.
Long shot. Everyone is crying and/or bleeding. Clawing herself across the floor, FEMINIST finds a case of Heineken and cracks one open. DOUCHE reaches for her.
You! Stay away! I will fucking glass you.
Montage of everyone sobbing into a beer amongst the wreckage of half-assembled furniture and battered cardboard boxes.
Title: HEINEKEN: IT CAN'T SOLVE RACISM, SEXISM, TRANSPHOBIA, OR CLIMATE CHANGE DENIALISM, BUT IT WILL EASE THE PAIN OF YOUR COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE.
Apparently my little design got famous enough to be tweeted by local fascist nutjob Greg "the Goof" Renouf!
I would be flattered were it not for three critical errors in his sentence-long tweet:
1) I'm not actually an anarchist, nor am I part of any anarchist group, nor does this design have anything to do with or benefit any anarchist group. I'm not even sure which anarchist group he's talking about. I mean, I like (some) anarchists and I have broad ideological agreements and commonalities with them, but I lived in a cooperative house for too long to actually be an anarchist, as I'm quite fussy about dishes and such.
2) It says right in the product description that the graphic refers to peacefully dealing with fascism through fun sports like baseball.
3) And this is the weirdest one—I am not nor have I ever been a Christian. I mean, this commemorates a battle primarily fought by Jews, albeit with some Christian allies. But while I've been accused of belonging to all sorts of beliefs and causes that I have nothing to do with, I don't think I have ever in my life been mistaken for a Christian.
So that's neat.
You may have heard of it as "that dystopian novel written in 1935 that suddenly ended up on the bestseller list again because it predicted Trump's presidency." It is, basically, that—written to warn Americans, well before WWII, about the dangers of fascism in a populist mask. It's not the only such book, but there's something particularly resonant in it—probably because the weird-looking, jovial, outsider president is just so very Cheeto Benito that it's deeply chilling to read.
I also very much related to the protagonist, despite the fact that he's completely a liberal who complains at great length about how the Marxists are a bit shit. (I have to say, as a commie myself, the book's scathing portrayal of communists is pretty much accurate.) This guy has to be one of my favourite dystopian fiction protagonists, as he really just wants to be left alone to sleep in, get laid, and read proper literature, but people keep being fascist at him so he has to actually go out and fight. That's me in a nutshell, or would be before Netflix was invented.
It does pretty well on gender—again, 1935, just in case you're ever inclined to write off a lack of interesting and complex female characters in a book as a product of its time—there are multiple overtly feminist women, one of whom gets to kick way more ass than any of the male characters. It's worse on sexual orientation, if only because the only prominent queer character is based on Ernst Röhm and meets a similar fate (it's unknown whether the writing of the book was completed before the Night of the Long Knives, but one doesn't have to be all that prescient to guess at what happens to people like Röhm under fascist regimes, or Milo Yiannopoulos, for that matter).
At any rate, I was absolutely engrossed and if you want a likely portrait of what the next four years will bring, give this book written over 80 years ago a read. And never sleep again.