It’s 2021 (!) and I’m still going to have thoughts. And then some of those thoughts will find their way here. So this is a series. Of thoughts. Published randomly. For no reason. Thank you for coming.

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Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

I have hit a wall. A large metaphorical wall. Of understanding, or wanting to understand, or the ability to understand. I have hit a wall in my limits. I have run into the thing like some cartoon character. It has flattened my face and dulled my senses.

It’s not the plague though I’m sure there’s that. Here in Montreal, we are under a curfew now and are forbidden from galavanting outside after 8 PM, which seems early, doesn’t it? Unless you have to walk your dog (no joke), or deliver a pizza or work in a hospital, or have some other job for which your employer has granted you a government issued pass. My friend is a professor and he has one. I have a dog but I’ve yet to use her as a legit curfew buster. …


There is something about the problem in Colombia that feels very symbolic

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In March, stories about the ecological benefits of Pablo Escobar’s hippos received good play in the world’s media. Someone is on their way to the PR Hall of Fame — there is one, for those asking, but there isn’t an actual building, which is too bad, because if there were, it would be the gaudiest piece of architecture imaginable — for managing to plant that story absolutely everywhere. So, ok, hippos in Colombia good. Check.

But now, suddenly, they are not so good. Now, they are “invasive,” and a threat to local wildlife and the broader environment. Their presence in Colombia, thousands of miles from their natural home, is now called an ecological “crisis.” So perhaps the PR Hall of Fame thing was premature. …


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Here we go:

Not knowing what day it is.

My Instant Pot

Sharing my Instant Pot thing (I’m not quite sure what to call it) with my friends, and then they each bought an IP, and then we formed a kind of club, involvement in which also involves denial, so kind of like Fight Club.

Not remembering what life was like pre-Covid, from about May forward.

Reading up on and getting obsessed by odd things, like bird poop “time machines.”

Birds. We bought a bird feeder and a giant sack of bird feed, and books, and watching them and learning about them and then tiring of the squirrels the birds brought to our yard. …


I’m going to have thoughts. And then some of those thoughts will find their way here. So this is a series. Of thoughts. Published randomly. For no reason. Thank you for coming.

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Can you hear them? They’re a rather chatty bunch. Photo by Sebastian Unrau on Unsplash

“Then we came to the end of another dull and lurid year.” — opening line of Don DeLillo’s first novel, Americana

As we enter Act Three of the most recent version of The Plague, I’m not so much looking ahead to our post-plague lives (which I am, for sure, don’t get me wrong), or to our immediate future (say, this time in 2021) as much as I’m looking ahead into something more mid- to long-term, say 30 -50 years out. Long before a bug started infecting people in Wuhan, I was thinking about our collective impact on the world, thinking about the planet my son would inhabit, about what happens when stresses are applied to a people (this usually results in bad things) and how these stresses make solutions seem more radical, or remote. And what the worldwide lockdown proved, or stressed, is this: much of the befoulment is systemic. Sure, we shouldn’t just throw everything out, and recycling is good, we should try and live more sustainable lives, we should favor products that have less of an impact on our water and soil and air, but we were all home for a few months, and our global emissions fell…10%. …


This is how it’s going to work. I’m going to have thoughts. And then those thoughts will find their way here. So this is a series. Of thoughts. Published randomly. For no reason. Thank you for coming.

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Perhaps it was never there

And just like that it’s gone. The monolith that stood in the Utah desert, that apparently was there for years, undiscovered, unseen, has now vanished. Like it was never there at all. And though we have the internet to tell us it was there, and that it was found, and inspected, and became a thing, I would prefer to think it was never there. Ever. That we all imagined it. A collective hallucination. Like the reign of The Orange One (fingers crossed he doesn’t stick around and come up like yesterday’s spicy pepperoni), or Brexit (sorry UK, you’re stuck with this one), or all of 2020 (the calendar still works, right?), …


This is how it’s going to work. I’m going to have thoughts. And then those thoughts will find their way here. So this is a series. Of thoughts. Published randomly. For no reason. Thank you for coming.

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Now that’s a fixer upper

A giant telescope in Puerto Rico was recently decommissioned and will be destroyed. Even if you couldn’t give a flying fuck about astronomy you’ve probably seen the telescope in a movie at some point. The star gazers, from amateur to professional, are sad about it. The saddest part? The telescope was still functioning. It was not age that did it in. …


This is how it’s going to work. I’m going to have thoughts. And then those thoughts will find their way here. So this is a series. Of thoughts. Published randomly. For no reason. Thank you for coming.

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Shrinkage is another kind of degrowth

The word of the day, or at least the word I’ve been thinking about lately is: degrowth. I know, I have a dirty little filthy perverted mind. But I’ve been thinking about degrowth because in many ways that’s what seems to be going on. Not everywhere, but certainly in much of the world. What is a plague but a hard stop? A reset of sorts. (In Quebec, because of the plague, deaths outnumbered births last spring for the first time on record — the population continues to grow because of immigration though I can’t imagine too many people are migrating anywhere by choice these days…). So degrowth. The term, when used, um, in a professional setting (and not, I don’t know, on a porn set) is normally heard among environmentalists as a strategy/philosophy to set things right in the world, to ensure the continued survival of the species because they have figured out the radical notion that you can’t continue to live in a house if that house is on fire. …


This is how it’s going to work. I’m going to have thoughts. And then those thoughts will find their way here. So this is a series. Of thoughts. Published randomly. For no reason. Thank you for coming.

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When London calls and rocks the casbah people might die

When Europeans were off “exploring” large parts of the world, and especially when they set upon the “New” World, two realities came together, two cultures, two world views, and when this happened the result was simple: millions of people died. This clash of realities produced the modern world. …


This is how it’s going to work. I’m going to have thoughts. And then those thoughts will find their way here. So this is a series. Of thoughts. Published randomly. For no reason. Thank you for coming.

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Except the dentist

Oh boy.

I have tried to avoid the news these past few days (correction: years.) and it’s not going well. The night of the American election, I told my downcast son, who was really quite downcast, to hold on, the numbers will swing Biden’s way because the votes from the cities needed to be counted. …


This is how it’s going to work. I’m going to have thoughts. And then those thoughts will find their way here. So this is a series. Of thoughts. Published randomly. For no reason. Thank you for coming.

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All our heroes die

I’ve been thinking of entropy lately. I’m not smart enough to explain this properly, but the (extremely condensed) explanation of entropy is that everything eventually degrades and dies (here for those of you who can digest this much smarts, and here and here for those of you who, like me, may require the aid of cartoons). This is the law of the universe (indeed, the universe is the ultimate example of entropy). Without it, we have no time, for example. Entropy is the second law of thermodynamics. Don’t make me try to explain thermodynamics. Please. …

About

Arjun Basu

Writer. Complainer. I drink bourbon. I have edited media, worked in content and branding and strategy, and chances are I’ll do those things again. @arjunbasu

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