Strange anecdote #02.018.020

On my way to work this morning (it WAS morning since it wasn’t noon yet) I had a strange experience. Going down the subway station, I was at the bottom of the first flight of stairs to the train platform when the metro started signalling it was about to close its doors and leave the station. Of course, like everyone does, I started to run in the hope to catch it before the doors close. Then I heard a man shouting way behind me “Sir, if you can make it please hold the door. Hold the door!”

He was screaming in a kind of desperate manner. However, it was not my intention to acquiesce to his request because holding the door is illegal (as it can cause unnecessary delays) and doing so could incur a steep fine. Anyway, I made it to the train in time and so did the man. No action (or inaction) was required after all. I never even noticed who had made the request. I thought the incident was closed. Still, for the whole length of the trip, the man’s words kept echoing in my mind: “Hold the door! Hold the door! Hold… door… Hodor! Hodor!”

What a weird experience!

(And damn you George R. R. Martin !)

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Faux Ziegler but not fake humour

Last week on Facebook I stumbled upon this piece of cartoon signed “Ziegler”:


I found it extremely funny (but also quite sad) because it embodies everything that is wrong in Washington right now and particularly the Republicans’ hypocrisy (they pledged to never raise taxes but they do; they say they are against raising the deficit but they always  make it worse; they try to impeach a president on moral grounds but elect a treasonous crookserial sexual harasser and bully as president and want to put a child molester in the senate ! They always said they would removed those entitlement and, well, they kind of did… Where’s their moral high-ground now? How can they claim to be “good Christian” and allow this? They should be ashamed of themselves!).

So, kudos to the “cartoonist” for this excellent idea that pinpoint Washington’s ethical fallacies. Or is it? I noticed that the style of the cartoon is quite similar to what we find in magazine like The New Yorker, but the font used for the caption is totally wrong for this style — such cartoons usually put the caption in a italicized serif font… So the creator of this piece must have “repurposed” (meaning stole) a previous cartoon in order to create this hilarious concept by adding his own caption.

RealZieglerCartoonConsidering that the drawing is signed, it didn’t take me long to find the original. The concept is quite similar, so the “thief” just adapted it to the current political situation.

The original was created by Jack Ziegler and was indeed published in The New Yorker, a magazine well known for this style of cartoon. Unfortunately, Ziegler died last March. You can read tributes to his life and work in The New Yorker,  The New York Times and The Washington Post.

You can find many compilations of The New Yorker‘s cartoons in your local public library.

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Monthly notable news (w26-33)

On the domestic front, in the last month or so, the condition were still rather horrible at work: it was way too hot (ventilation is working but there’s absolutely no air conditioning so we regularly work at temperature of 28~33 ? including the humidex — 23~25 ? with 45%~55% humidity) and we are still running like crazy… Therefore, most of the time, I come back home totally exhausted.

When I was not busy chasing quotes for the balcony and masonry repairs on the duplex, I was taking care of the stray cats, but this year’s cat saga has finally concluded: the two females have been sterilized & released and their kittens have been adopted through a good samaritan shelter. Despite all this (and maybe thanks to the omega 3 supplement I am taking? Nah…) I wrote much more than the previous months (many capsule reviews including commentaries on the Ghost in the Shell and Valerian live-action movies, as well as the superb Pline manga)  and I also started contributing to the Irrésistibles blog (with a version of my commentaries on Animeland #214 & #215, dBD #115, Pline #1, and the movie Silence).

In the news, everything was about the Trump circus. I was literally consumed by the news of this train wreck in the making, like watching an accident where you know you shouldn’t but just can’t turn you gaze from it. So we’ve spent countless hours watching news reports on MSNBC (mainly Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell shows) about the latest trump scandals — and there’s a new one almost every day! It never stops: the Buzzfeed Russian “dossier” (Wikipedia, document), the possible election tempering collusion and financial involvement with Russia, the healthcare repeal & replace disaster, the sabre-rattling with North Korea and, finally, the controversial comments following the Charlottesville violence contributing to inflame the supremacist and racist agenda! When will the republicans realize they have bet on the wrong horse and decide to put him out of his misery? I can’t believe it has gone this far…

I have also watched today’s partial eclipse of the sun (58%) on TV and with my own eyes (using a home-made filter) but, unfortunately, I was not able to take any respectable pictures (by lack of preparation and appropriate equipment). But, at least, the weather was cooperating and I was able to see it. The next opportunities for such event will be June 10 2021 (partial at 85%), October 14 2023 (partial at 29%) and on April 8 2024 (a total solar eclipse!).

As always, I tried to remain acquainted with the affairs of the world and gathered oven an hundred notable news & links — which I share with you (in both french or english, and roughly separated in a few categories of interest), after the jump.

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How to save the planet

You’re feeling good because you think you are saving the environment by recycling and switching to LED light bulbs? Well,  don’t (feel good, I mean). It is totally useless.

Last week-end, I read an interesting article in The Gazette titled “Want to save the planet?” (also from the National Post via PressReader). A study by the University of British Columbia is showing that what we are told to do to reduce climate change is rarely the most effective way.  We’re told that “making a difference doesn’t have to be difficult” when, in truth, making a real impact demands some major sacrifices!

The most interesting part of the article is found in a graphic that was available only in the print version. What high school textbooks suggest students to do for the environment is not very effective: using reusable shopping bags instead of plastic ones represent only a saving of 0.005 tonne (5 kg) of carbon dioxide per person per year, while upgrading light bulbs saves 0.1 tonne, hanging your laundry to dry in the sun saves 0.21 tonne, recycling saves 0.213 tonne and washing your clothes in cold water saves 0.247 tonne. Small changes.

In opposite, the more effective actions for helping the environment represents only four per cent of the suggestions given to students. The best tactics are eating less meat with a plant-based diet (saving of 0.8 tonne per year), buying green energy (saving 1.5 tonne per year), taking one less transatlantic flight per year (saves 1.6 tonne), and going car-free (saving 2.4 tonne per year — note that switching from an electric car to car-free saves 1.15 tonne per year and buying a more efficient car saves 1.19 tonne per year!). However, the most effective way to be environmentally friendly is to have one less child: you would save 58.6 tonne of CO2 emission per year! I always said that those kids are killing the planet.

I am really happy because I am already doing all those things (switching light bulbs, washing in cold water, hang-drying, using reusable bags, hydro-electricity, having a plant-based diet, no flying, no car, no kid) and I hope you will consider it too. I won’t go as far as some sci-fi shows and suggest, as some sort of Sophie’s Choice, that we should reduce the children population (or even the general population) — it would surely make the environment quieter — but please copulate with moderation (I would say “practice abstinence” but that would be inconsiderate: just don’t have four or five kids and think of it as a planetary-wide one-child policy)! There are already too many people on earth…

That would certainly be a good way to save the planet.

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Vie de bibliothèque

En bibliothèque on observe l’Humain sous toutes ses formes, du meilleur au pire, en passant par toutes les couleurs de l’absurde. Évidemment, on a inévitablement le désir de partager une telle expérience transcendante que ce soit par l’anecdote humoristique ou la thèse philosophique. Certains écrivent des livres, comme le Quiet, Please: Dispatches From A Public Librarian de Scott Douglas, mais l’on voit aussi beaucoup de blogues où les gens qui oeuvrent en bibliothèque à tous les niveaux s’expriment et s’épanchent par le rire, la rage ou l’aberration, par souci de partager ou besoin thérapeutique. On retrouve donc le blogue anecdotique, le blogue d’information, et le blogue collaboratif. De l’autre côté du miroir, il y a aussi le blogue de lecteur: dans le style blogue “club de lecture” (comme Les Irrésistibles, où j’ai récemment commencé à collaborer) ou simplement les blogues “coup de coeur” (comme le font Prospérine, Fractale Framboise, Sophie LitMon Coin Lecture et tant d’autres). Il y a aussi les innombrables pages Facebook

La nouvelle tendance est aux web comics dont le plus connu et apprécié était unshelved (par Gene Ambaum et Bill Barnes, et dont j’ai déjà amplement parlé), qui a finalement été remplacé par Library Comic (par Gene Ambaum et Chris Hallbeck, beaucoup moins intéressant que la version précédente) et, l’objet de ce billet, j’ai récemment découvert Vie de Bibliothèque (par San?) qui a le sublime avantage d’être local — quoique mes lectures m’ont apprise que la vie de bibliothèque semble similaire (et tout aussi absurde) où que l’on soi dans le monde… En voici un exemple (voir la page FB pour plus):

Le livre mal classé

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Le suffrage de la marmotte

Une élection partielle s’est tenu aujourd’hui dans 6e district de Géorgie. Les démocrates pensaient bien profiter de la vague d’insatisfaction envers l’administration Trump pour y faire élire leur candidat, Jon Ossoff, et ainsi offrir un excellent présage en prévision des élections de mi-mandat de l’an prochain.

Hélas, ce n’était pas écrit dans les astres, car la marmotte démocrate a eut peur de son ombre. Cela laisse donc présager huit ans de Trump! L’hiver s’en vient et il sera long!

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