Boundaries Real and Imagined

The Canada/ U.S. border is the longest in the world between two countries, stretching some 8000 kilometres across some pretty challenging terrain. There are only 100 or so manned border checkpoints with customs officials;  the rest of the border is unmanned with only a concrete boundary marker to tell you which country you’re in–and sometimes, not even that.

Take the Haskell Library for example. It sits smack dab on the  Canada/U.S. border and has two separate entrances and addresses:  one American, and one Canadian.  The interior, however, is shared: a black line designates the border. The towns which straddle the library share the same water, sewer, and emergency systems, and there are at least three streets which criss-cross into the other country’s territory.


Haskell Library.  Right side of black line is Canada.


Most border crossings, however, are rural and unmanned, like this one:




The no touching zone

And along the 8000 kilometre border is the euphemistically named “no- touching zone”.  The no-touching zone is a 20-foot stretch of land which separates each country, cut out by hardy individuals in the early 1900’s as part of the International Boundary Commission.

Since the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States,  Canada has experienced an unprecedented increase in immigrants–most of whom were born in one of the seven countries on the ban list–crossing the unmanned border points into Canada.  Their refugee claims denied in the  U.S. and fearing deportation, these immigrants risk life and limb, walking for days in unbelievable winter conditions, toward the Canadian border. With spring around the corner, Canada anticipates those numbers increasing.

There’s a sad irony in looking at this man-made land boundary carved out almost 100 years ago:  a global “no-touch” zone has emerged. Countries around the world are standing at an ideological impasse with the Trump administration, resisting the relentless onslaught of divisiveness, xenophobia, and geopolitical exceptionalism. And in the middle of the chaos are millions of displaced people who are not a risk to anyone; people like you or I who simply want a better life for themselves and a safe place to raise their children.  As a civilization, we never seem to be able to learn from our past, and, in the words of George Santayana, we are forever doomed to repeat it.

I hope the world can get their act together before we end up in a real-life Orwellian nightmare.  In the meantime,  I take solace in the kindly face of this officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  For now, it seems to be all we have.


Mounties assisting a family of refugees crossing into Manitoba, Canada



Thy Beslubbering, Motley-eyed Pignut

There. I feel better already.


If you spend anytime on social media, you’ll know what I mean.

Take this typical facebook exchange, for example, regarding a CBS news article in which Trump’s claims regarding the size of his electoral college win was fact-checked by a NBC news reporter, Peter Alexander.

First, here’s the video of Alexander and Trump, upon which the article was based:

And here’s the facebook exchange about it:

Stephen M:  Hillarious!!  Media falls for obvious troll once again!  Everyone in America knew this would be the leftist propaganda machine’s takeaway, and sure the fuck enough, here we are. Please keep ignoring the ineptitude of your fellow “journalists” repeating questions that were already asked.

Mauricio C:  So you are OK with the president LYING to your face.. Got it 😉

Stephen M: You wouldn’t know trolling if it bit you on the ass. Trump trolled all you liberals and sure as shit, your damn panties are in a wad.

Cayden R: So being caught in a lie equates to trolling now? Ok gotcha. #alternativefacts

Mauricio C: Oh yeah, he trolled us, liberals, conservatives and actually the whole country big time… And yet people are still cheering for his lying Russian puppet’s ass.

Stephen M: Liking Iran, Iraq, Yemen et al is fine, but Russia is verboten.
Gotcha chief. 😉

Daniel M: Stephen, you’re an idiot.

While I agree with Daniel M’s assessment of Stephen M,  I wonder about the usefulness of engaging with people like Stephen M at all, who resort to ad hominem attacks because they have no basis upon which to challenge facts and information.

If people like Stephen M. must resort to mindless commentary in the absence of critical thinking, at least they should, I dunno, spruce it up a little.  The Shakespeare Insult Kit could be a step in that direction.

Alternatively, they could take a page out of JK Rowling’s book.  If you want to diss someone you think is an unmitigated imbecile, JK Rowling’s twitter exchange with Piers Morgan, regarding an heated exchange between Morgan and comedian Jeff Jefferies on Bill Maher’s Real Time, is a primer on exactly how it should be done:

Rowling:  Yes, watching Piers Morgan being told to fuck off on live tv is exactly as satisfying as I’d always  imagined.

Morgan:  This is why I’ve never read a single word of Harry Potter.

Rowling: Because you had a premination that the author would roar with laughter seeing you called out on your bullshit on live tv?

Morgan:  Everything I said was factual. [note:  it wasn’t.]  If you think screaming FUCK OFF! at me changes that, you’re mistaken.

Rowling: Would you like a couple of hours to mock up some pictures of refugees carrying explosives [note:  reference to Morgan’s firing] to substantiate you position?

Morgan: The superior, dismissive arrogance of rabid Remain/Clinton supporters like JK Rowling is, of course, precisely why both campaigns lost.

Rowling:  The fact-free, amoral, bigotry-apologism of celebrity toady Piers Morgan is, of course why it’s so delicious to see him told off.

And she didn’t leave it there.  The coup de grâce, Rowling style:

Rowling:  [after tweeting a glowing review of her as an author] Just been sent this!  Can the writer let me know who he is?  I’d like to thank him. [hashtag valentines]

Morgan didn’t take long to jump on it:

Morgan: Priceless #humblebrag BS. Nobody plays the celebrity game more abusively or ruthlessly than you, Ms ‘Intensely Private Billionaire’.

Rowling then posted the full article with the author’s name: Piers Morgan himself.

Rowling, 1; thy Joggerheaded Idle-headed Horn-beast, 0.