Saturday, August 25, 2012

Why are the flyover states flown over?

Because nobody gives a fuck.

A Ukranian based web-development firm, Vetraline, has been isolating profane terms of twitter posts across the country, such as Fuck you, and turning the results into a heat map.

Thanks Vetraline for the map and The Atlantic Magazine for informing me.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I've just started reading Boswell's "Life of Johnson" and I fear that I in my 23rd year am going through a rather similar change as that which Johnson went through in his 20th.  I let Boswell explain:

While he was at Lichfield, in the college vacation of the year 1729, he felt himself overwhelmed with an horrible hypochondria, with perpetual irritation, fretfulness, and impatience; and with a dejection, gloom, and despair, which made existence misery.  From this dimal malady he never afterwards was perfectly relieved; and all his labours, and all his enjoyments, were but temporary interruptions of its baleful influence.

Indeed, I am currently in such a state of misery that I hope and pray to God that my affliction is like that of Johnson's and that my hypochondria is no more founded than that of Johnson's.  For I do not think Johnson's hypochondria completely unfounded, for any misery as great as this must have a cause, but that perhaps the cause is, as Boswell later posits, "in some degree, occasioned by a defect in his nervous system, that inexplicable part of our frame."

Indeed, I hope my hypochondria is unfounded, and that my misery is a mental defect.  And I pray that it leads not to madness.  But it is a pity, too, that I should have the same misery as Johnson but none of the wit.

Anyway, at least to be sure, I will return to the physicians.  Maybe I'll have a neurological work-up.  And maybe something will come of it, some sort of knowledge as to the origins of my misery.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Scandinavian Exceptionalism

If you've read James Wood's review in the New Yorker of Karl Ove Knausgaard's "My Struggle" [yes, the title is Hitlerian, Woods explained why but I still don't get it] then you may know that nearly half a million Norwegians have read the novel, a novel that is merely the first of a whopping 6 volumes of autobiographical novel.  To put this in a little perspective, there are slightly less than 5 million people in Norway, so about 1 in every 8 Norwegians has read (or at least bought) this book.  This book is a Proustian exploration of time and past and whatever.  What what really strikes me about it are passages like the following, which Woods cited in the review:

"Inside, it is a question of getting through the morning, the three hours of diapers that have to be changed, clothes that have to be put on, breakfast that has to be served, faces that have to be washed, hair that has to be combed and pinned up, teeth that have to be brushed, squabbles that have to be nipped in the bud, slaps that have to be averted, rompers and boots that have to be wriggled into, before I, with the collapsible double stroller in one hand and nudging the two small girls forward with the other, step into the elevator, which as often as not resounds to the noise of shoving and shouting on its descent, and into the hall where I ease them into the stroller, put on their hats and mittens and emerge onto the street already crowded with people heading for work and deliver them to the nursery ten minutes later, whereupon I have the next five hours for writing until the mandatory routines for the children resume."

What an incredible routine!  What a struggle!  Only 5 straight hours a day to smoke cigarettes and stare at the ceiling and think about death.  It's like being a Chinese worker assembling iPhones for 12 hours a day.

But it is kind of sweet to think that half a million Norwegians have read this.  Psychologically, I don't know what that means.  Do they want the validation to view their life as a struggle?  Because, despite my sarcasm, I'm not saying it isn't.  You can compare your lot with that of others all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that even with the best childcare in the world life might still be a struggle.