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When I left America two years ago, it was in pretty good condition. Sure, poverty was abundant and Justin Bieber was culturally relevant, but our riots were minimal and public servants could be expected not to casually joke about banging their own daughters.

For all the rock dwellers and foreigners, here’s a basic summation of the last eight years of American politics:

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You may call this an oversimplification, but I call it a cartoon on the internet I made in five minutes.

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The point is this – The Left got so used to calling themselves open-minded that a vocal section of them forgot to actually keep an open mind. Through this process “open-mindedness” became less about accepting others and more about villainizing and idealizing large groups of people based on race and gender – the exact thing they used to be against.

Here’s some simple truths:

if you’re judging someone based on their race, you’re being racist.

If you judge someone based on their sex, you’re being sexist.

It doesn’t matter how many liberal arts degrees you slap around those definitions.

How can you claim moral high ground over a racist if you judge them for their race? How can you lay judgement on a sexist if you judge them for their sex?

The last time I touched on these ideas I made so many personal friends angry that I stopped writing for over a year. I did this not because I thought what I said was untruthful, but because I didn’t want to feel I was contributing to the growing political division in America. But Donald Trump’s election represents a dangerous precedent that can’t be ignored.

He’s not Right or Left.

He’s a toddler with nukes. A self-aggrandizing populist who sees leading the most powerful country in the world not as a civic duty, but just another notch in the belt his father purchased. In his extensively documented seventy years of life, he’s proven to serve no one but himself, and will take on any belief he thinks will win him the most applause in that moment.

If racism makes him popular he’ll talk about building walls.

If gay rights make him popular he’ll wear a rainbow lapel.

If war makes him popular he’ll incite global violence.

Leaders who appeal to popular desires and prejudices rather than rationality are called Demagogues, and they have a long history with very few good results. But you can’t fight ignorance with more ignorance. Pretending The Left’s modern bigotry is a solution to The Right’s classical bigotry is not a solution. We won’t survive the next four years if we pretend it is.

I mean, I might. But a lot of my friends won’t, and a lot of my friends are pretty nice people. I know Americans do dumb things like electing Trump, but we also do smart things, like inventing the internet. So if the rest of world promise to let us off the hook for the next four years, I promise we’ll invent something at least as revolutionary as the internet once the next president rolls around.

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~Fin

More Canada

I’m back in North North America until school starts up. Canada is nice place to vacation, because everyone does their best to ignore you, especially if you’re the kind of person who looks a little troublesome.

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I went to see a movie with Sister One. It was more difficult than you’d think, because in Canada, days that are close to holidays count as holidays.

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In order to travel to the movie, we took this magical train not available in Real America called the Skytrain. Cars are the transportation of land, airplanes are the transportation of the air, and the Skytrain is transportation of the middle.

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In case you couldn’t figure out what a Skytrain is by the name or that helpful diagram, a Skytrain is a train whose tracks are suspended in the sky rather than bolted into the ground.

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A lot of Canada’s culture is based around doing the opposite of whatever Real America is doing. It’s like those teenage boys who hate Justin Bieber so much that they pay $500 dollars to go to his concert to throw an empty water bottle at him. Justin Bieber doesn’t care where the money comes from. All he cares about is that people keep saying his name. (YOU’RE WELCOME FOR THE FREE PUBLICITY, JUSTIN BIEBER’S MARKETING TEAM.)

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I always enjoy my time here, but I think I’m about ready to return to Real America, where the only Canadians you see pretend like they don’t hate you.

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~Fin

Personal Failure, Part II

(Click the picture below to read the first part. It’s not a requirement. You are free to make your own choices.)

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Now that everyone has completed the first part of my tragedy, I feel confident in giving you the conclusion. Here it goes:

I took financial mathematics because I needed a math credit and I thought the practical application of finances would lend to a practical learning environment.

I was incorrect.

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I turned in assignment after assignment with answers correct down to the decimal point, but would constantly receive zeroes on assignments for doing it the incorrect way (the way the book does it). Eight out of ten answers on the first test were correct. By my math this is an 80 percent. By his math it was a 10 percent.

After the first test was graded, about half the students dropped the class. This moment would have been perfect for me to leave this professor and his ego in the math department where it belonged. No one would blame me if I left.

Instead I took it as a challenge.

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Academia had usually provided little challenge for me, and in the rare instances where I was challenged, a few dedicated study sessions pulled me out of even the most dire of situations. Hell, senior year of high school I had less than half attendance and still managed to pass all my classes. I think technically I shouldn’t have been allowed to receive credit due to my absences, but they let it slide on account of my consistently high grades (and I think it would have required paperwork they didn’t want to do.) I would have even received honors if I attended the mandatory meetings (I didn’t, and they kicked me out.) Before I took financial mathematics, I had never failed a test.

Now I’ve failed four.

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By last month, I was mathematically failing this class. By this I mean that even if I were to magically receive perfect scores on every subsequent assignment and test, I would still not have enough points to pass the class. The amount of people attending the class on any given day had dropped from the initial fifty or so to about eight.

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So why did I continue to stick around even when, mathematically, I had no way of succeeding?

I’ll tell you:

It’s called a grading curve.

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Yes, in order not to feel like terrible teachers, sometimes educators will employ this magical device to curve the grades. F’s become C’s, B’s become A’s, and A’s stay the same because fuck you if you’re getting an A when everyone else is failing.

You see kids, if everyone is failing, than failing is the average, and an average is a C, not an F, you silly, silly children.

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I chatted up the few remaining students, and most of them seemed to be failing or at least close to failing. A beautiful grading curve was inevitable.

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Now, I’d like to tell you that even though I wasn’t the strongest or smartest, even though all the odds were stacked against me, I stuck it out. And because I stuck it out, working hard, studying into the wee hours of the night, turning in failed assignment after failed assignment, my god-damned determination paid off in the end.

I’d like to tell you that.

But I can’t.

Because it didn’t.

I fucking failed and I just have to live with that.

And so do you.

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~Fin

Motivation for Future

As the year begins to unwind and the days grow short and dark, I find myself unable to summon motivation to perform the simplest of tasks – even if these tasks are essential to my survival.

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I think this is a pretty relatable feeling for all of us who have no one to take care of but ourselves. If parents get this way, they go to jail.

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As the sole guardian and caregiver of myself, I have to admit, I am quite negligent. If I could fire myself, I wouldn’t, because that would mean I’m being paid just to stay alive. That would be awesome. However, I would give myself a stern talk about my future employment, which I often do anyway.

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If I spend too long thinking about the future – even twenty-minutes-from-now-future – I feel like I’m falling into a void. The future is full of possibilities, but most possibilities are pretty unappealing.

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Even if I, by some miracle, manage to rise above the ever-growing pool of mediocrity and rise to a grand realm of aesthetic and emotional success, you could still die alone and forgotten. It happens all the fucking time. Just try to think of all the formally successful people who died alone and forgotten. Can’t think of one?

THAT’S BECAUSE YOU FORGOT THEM!

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~Fin

I Drop Truth-Bombs on Canada

I hope you’re in a shelter, because I’m about to drop some drone-bombs on the middle-east of your ignorance about Canada.

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A year or so after I started college, my entire family decided it would be a great idea to move to Canada now that I was trapped in America for three years. Was this abandonment? I definitely assume so.

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So off they went in a plane, and landed in the city called Burnaby, which is kind of like a suburb of Vancouver – two towns which mean nothing to be because they’re not in Real America.

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When I went to help my family move into the Great White North, many stereotypes about the Canadian people were quickly dispelled. The most important one I will discuss here today.

For some reason, everyone in Real America thinks Canadians are super nice and polite. We need to stop telling them that. You know how you’re not supposed to tell kids they’re special because then they grow up thinking they’re just inherently special without doing anything of value or even being a half-decent person? That’s what we’re doing to the Canadians.

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We’re allowing Canada to become a nation of self-righteous assholes, and I am NOT going to allow them to steal our thunder. So let me set the record straight right here and right now:

Canadians ARE NOT nice.

Canadians are NON-CONFRONTATIONAL.

There is a HUGE difference. 

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Yep. They’re not nice. They’re just as evil as all of us. The only difference is they’d rather kill themselves than insult you to your face. I hope too many innocents weren’t lost in my drone-strike of truth, but if my president is to be believed (WHICH HE IS, ALWAYS), this is unavoidable.

~Fin

Yelling at People During Meetings

Sometimes in my line of work, I end up yelling at people. Not that yelling is technically in the job description. I’m not a foreman or middle-manager, where yelling is essentially your defining characteristic (that, and a deep-seated sorrow, although that’s something I do have, thank you very much.)

            If I were in a job that requires me to be exploitative, like a congress-human (note the gender-neutralization – I’m very inclusive) or if I was the president, I think my yelling might be justified. The president has to spend all day of his or her day trying to wrangle in a slithering herd of psychopaths and liars, hoping to milk their venom into something semi-useful. If you’re a congress-human, you’re a snake who spends all day yelling about how everyone else is probably a snake. If the president yells, everyone pays attention because it probably means China has finally decided to invade using their perfectly synchronized gymnast-girls. If congress-humans yell, it means they’re just trying to fit in. Yelling in the case of both of these professions would be considered appropriate.

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When I get passionate about something, I don’t speak.

I pontificate.

A paper isn’t bad, it’s an opaque mess of troglodytic drivel.

A performance isn’t unsatisfactory, it’s sub-par to the point of non-existence.

An idea isn’t poor, it’s an insult to the intelligence of every organism born over three-minutes ago.

Needless to say, this hurts people feeling beyond the recommended threshold for not receiving murderous glares. If I was a politician, this kind of dense yet vague criticism would not only be encouraged, it would be essential.

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I, however, do not have a job in politics. Many people say I don’t have a job at all.

What is it exactly?

Sit down and I’ll tell you, friend.

What I have is an internship at a research journal.

To what does that entail, exactly? To put it in Layman’s terms (Larry Layman – a dumb guy I know):

I provide an outlet for cocksure nerds to publish their thoughts regarding schoolwork. Also I hurt people’s feelings during meetings.

It’s a tough job, but some has to be unpaid to do it.

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~Fin

Spooky Impulse Purchases

The best thing about this time of the year is everything starts having a theme. Coffee isn’t just coffee, it’s Pumpkin-Spice Coffee. Sugar cookies aren’t just sugar cookies, they’re Pumpkin-Spice sugar cookies. Orange gourds aren’t just orange gourds; they’re Pumpkin-Spice Pumpkins.

If you don’t live in America, first off, I’m sorry. Make fun of our imperialistic, oligarcian nature all you want, but we fucking know how to market a season. We can take something as gross as the orange-lard-goop from a pumpkin and make it seem like the greatest thing since manna fell from heaven. It doesn’t matter what the product is – slap a pumpkin on it during this time of year and it will sell. That’s called stimulating the economy, motherfuckers.

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So, as is my duty, I make sure to stimulate the economy all I can around this time of year. I bought a bag of candy corn, even though it tastes awful. I bought cookies with spooky bats on them even though, once cooked, the bats just look like black blobs. I even bought the Halloween-only cereals that come out this time of year.

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(YOU’RE WELCOME FOR THE FREE ADVERTISING, BOO BERRY!!!)

Of course, dry cereal is slightly-sweet fodder as far as I’m concerned, so I had to purchase milk as well. This is where I crossed the line.

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That’s right. I purchased orange milk, the most unappetizing color you could possibly give to a liquid. If you’re revolted, that means you have good, human instincts. But, before you judge me, please take a closer look.

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See it? Look again.

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No artificial growth hormones and No high fructose corn syrup. In terms of the dairy industry, this might as well be a three hundred-year old bottle of wine made of grapes harvested by Napoleon himself.

Did you think this was a morality tale about the fallacy of marketing?

WRONG!

This is a morality tale about me being AWESOME!!!

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

~Fin

Anarchy, Week 2

As we close in on the second week without a government, my fellow citizens and I begin to see the repercussions. I’m living on nothing but cheap canned beans and half dollar ramen noodles. Was this basically my diet before the government left? Who can tell? All the days blend together in this post-democracy hellscape.

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If I work out my dumb citizen head-brain, I can almost remember how this government shutdown began. Of course, as a non-politician with limited funds, I can’t even begin to possibly comprehend the complexities of such decisions. Such things require amazing mental gymnastics to make even the slightest sense, and my brain ego is just too human-sized to perform such incredible feats of self-rationalization. I believe it had something to do with how letting poor people see doctors will explode the country with an atomic death bomb of deadly, unsafe human compassion.

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What then?

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There is no ideology so perfect it can take precedent over basic human compassion. How can you promote the religion of Jesus in one breath and advocate against healing the sick in the next? What would Jesus of the bible (that kind hearted hippie who hung out with vagrants and wanted everyone to love each other) have to say in this situation?

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But I suppose none of that matters now. The government is gone, and as far as I reckon, they ain’t coming back. Only a matter of time before Cormac’s McCarthy’s road winds through the once vibrant and beautiful streets of our land. All we left to remember our once great nation is the post office. Allelujah, brothers without leaders.

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~Fin

America Finally Ends

So guess what? I’m living in an anarchist state.

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A couple of days ago, the American government officially shut its doors. And then locked those doors, and flipped their country off, and then went off to enjoy the paychecks they’re still receiving thanks to the 27th amendment to our constitution. In this way, the 27th amendment is kind of the perfect allegory for the American Government itself. That is:

On paper it has good intentions

In practice it’s selfish and juvenile

It took over 200 years to get done.

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That’s what I don’t understand. Democratic and Republicans both love the same things – eating expensive foodstuffs, gerrymandering districts, taking pictures of their dicks – they’re like the two kids in school fighting over Star Wars and Star Trek. You’re both a bunch of fucking nerds who like stars! Stop arguing over whether the stars are going on a trek or going to war!

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Everyone should have figured out that America is the greatest country in the world – if you’re already rich. Otherwise it kind of blows. We have to go into personal debt to receive what places like Canada and France take as basic human rights.

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But I suppose none of that matters now that I expect to buy medicine with cookie-dough protein bars and recently deceased rat pelts. Rest in peace.

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~Fin