December 7th, 2002

Terry Pratchett

I like Terry Pratchett's writing very much. He combines, I find, the comic with the mordant. And this article--originally taken from the Washington Post should, hopefully, signal the American critical realization of his literary excellence:

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Life Principles Unexpectedly Discovered


While I was at work in the Children's Library, a woman came over and asked me what my principles were for leading a "great life." Her name was Sandra Lore; she was taking part in a workshop led by one Chris Walker in the Arts Guild, across the street. she wanted ten positive principles and ten negatives ones. Surprisingly, I managed to give them all to her.

And here they are:

Positive Principles

1. Be willing to learn from other people.
2. Examine your own life.
3. Seek advice from other people.
4. Don't be afraid of acting on this advice.
5. Don't let fear inhibit you.
6. Experiment.
7. Balance the sorts of achievements you'd put on your resume with more personal achievements--keep a happy balance.
8. Have a sense of humour.
9. Don't be afraid to cry.
10. Relax.

And, the negative principles:

1. Don't be preemptively afraid of other people.
2. Don't be afraid of examining your own life.
3. Don't be afraid of anything you might discover about yourself and your relationships with other people.
4. Don't be afraid of experiencing personal pain.
5. Don't be afraid of changing.
6. Don't take physically dangerous risks.
7. Try not be lazy.
8. Don't be nihilistic; believe in something.
9. Don't be afraid of revealing yourself.
10. Don't be afraid.

For whatever it's worth.
  • Current Mood

Preliminary Winter Break Schedule

  • Decide which graduate schools to apply to, and send out E-mail probes of professors.

  • Investigate student loans for graduate school.

  • Prepare applications for selected graduate schools.

  • Do revisions on the Ringuet and MacLennan elements of my Honours thesis.

  • Complete second drafts of the Atwood and introductory elements of my Honours thesis.

  • Revamp my website.

  • Do more work on my Tripartite Alliance Earth alternate history, ideally completing it.

  • Try to get my relations with my parents on a semi-stable keel.

  • Continue expanding my social existence.

Well. That isn't too ambitious, I hope.

A Blog

For consideration:

I have a blogspot reserved, at

So far, there's nothing there; there might continue to be nothing there. Still, I've been mulling over the idea of a blogspot to hold my more political/social postings, and this wonderful LJ to deal with more mundane areas.

  • Current Music
    Prince, "Purple Rain"

POLITICS: Israel/Palestine

I was visiting Israpundit when I noticed this post. I replied to it as follows:

The critical paragraph in the linked document, I think, is here:

"As a result of the construction of railroad lines that led to the sea, the population of Haifa tripled and that of Jaffa more than doubled from 1880 to 1910. But while the population shifted toward these areas, the overall growth rates for the country stayed low. According to British investigations, there were 689,275 persons in Palestine in 1915, about 590,000 of whom were Arabs. Given a population in 1890 of 532,000 (473,000 Arab), this still represents only a 0.8% per year growth rate."

So, this produces an Arab majority of more than 80% in the space of Israel/Palestine, about as strong an Arab majority as the French majority in Québec.

The whole argument of "who's first" strikes me as ridiculous. The Jewish majority in the modern-day territory of Israel was--we can agree--a product of massive immigration from outside the region. Many ancestors of modern-day Palestinians may have come from Egypt or Transjordan or Syria; but proportionally and absolutely far more ancestors of modern-day Israelis have come from Europe and Russia and the Americas and even Australia.

Does this mean that Israel is a colonial state? No more than Canada, or Argentina, or New Zealand. Regardless of the circumstances of how one-third of the world's Jews arrived in Israel, they live there now, they aren't going anywhere, and no one's expecting them to go anyway (at least not legitimately). The fact that a Jewish nation-state exists in the Levant is a fact that every party--even every party hostile to Israel--is going to have to accept.

But similarly, every party supportive of Israel is going to have to accept the fact that in the course of Israel's creation, a very large number of Arabs who now call themselves Palestinians were displaced. It isn't particularly relevant how they were displaced, though I agree with Jonathan Edelstein ( that there were sins commited by both sides. What matters is that they have just as legitimate a claim to their portion of Israel/Palestine as Jews do to their portion. Trying to discredit the existence of the other major party in a dispute hardly bodes well for said dispute's peaceful resolution.
  • Current Music
    Prince, "Kiss"