Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Montreal Spring

*to the tune of 'Favourite Things'*

Dogshit on pavement and torched police cruisers
Increasing influx of frat boys and losers
Vast flocks of herring-gulls taking to wing
These are the signs of a Montreal spring!

When the frost bites
And the wind stings
Winter sucks my nads
I count down the months still remaining till spring
And sometimes don't feel so bad.

Overpriced festivals and stanley cup playoffs
More and more people are taking sick days off
One day you're in shorts and the next it's snowing
What the fuck do I wear during Montreal's spring?

Monday, April 26, 2010


I just learnt a great new word, and I wanted to share it:

kyriarchy (N)

kyriarchy - a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza and derived from the Greek words for "lord" or "master" (kyrios) and "to rule or dominate" (archein) which seeks to redefine the analytic category of patriarchy in terms of multiplicative intersecting structures of domination...Kyriarchy is best theorized as a complex pyramidal system of intersecting multiplicative social structures of superordination and subordination, of ruling and oppression.

This is presented in contrast to the commonly used (and derided) term 'patriarchy' to describe the privileged and dominant class. In the same glossary, 'patriarchy' is defined as:

patriarchy - Literally means the rule of the father and is generally understood within feminist discourses in a dualistic sense as asserting the domination of all men over all women in equal terms. The theoretical adequacy of patriarchy has been challenged because, for instance, black men to not have control over white wo/men and some women (slave/mistresses) have power over subaltern women and men (slaves).

- Glossary, Wisdom Ways, Orbis Books New York 2001

Essentially, this is a word which is is far more useful than 'patriarchy' when discussing equality in this world where a complex hierarchical system of one's race, sex, sexual/gender orientation, faith (or lack thereof), cultural background, able-bodiedness, and social and/or educational class (amongst a myriad of other factors) interact to determine one's level of privilege and/or oppression.

To discuss the 'kyriarchy' is to discuss the institutionalised system which oppresses some whilst affording others a greater level of power and privilege. I would encourage anyone (who hasn't already) to read this article, as it was one of the many things which have caused me to recently re-examine my own experience of privilege.

I was prompted to write this after reading this post, along with many others, and was sparked by a comment on this site.

Sunday, April 18, 2010



The word 'toss', as morpheme, word, or part of a phrase, is highly
associated with the act of moving something with moderate energy
upwards, and then releasing it; or otherwise allowing it to continue
on its natural trajectory. Most related metaphorical idioms reflect this.

Main Definitions

to toss (V) - to throw gently/lightly

to toss (V) - to discard, to put (carelessly) aside or to (carelessly) place

to toss (V) - to mix or aerate (fluff) f by moving items upwards and
letting them fall

a toss (N) - 1. The act of throwing a coin up and catching it to
determine a decision based on which side of the coin lands face up.
2. A projected outcome which could end in one of two equally
possible results. (see 1) 3. (esp. in sports), the act of lightly throwing a ball or similar object (usually upward) to determine the direction of play


to toss a salad (VP) - to mix the different ingredients of a salad (usually
including dressing) by bringing ingredients from the bottom of the
bowl to the top, usually by raising ingredients above the bowl and
letting them fall back down. A 'tossed salad' is (usually) a green
salad which has already been mixed, probably including the
dressing. (N.B. - on the internet, this expression may be used in
relation to pornographic images, so be careful!

to toss and turn (VP) - to move restlessly whilst trying to fall asleep

to toss a coin (VP) - to make a decision by throwing a coin into the air and catching it, basing the decision on which side of the coin lands face up (see 'flip a coin', 'heads or tails')

toss-up (N) - a situation where the outcome could just as easily be on one side or the other.

to toss (one's) cookies (VP) - to vomit (it is possible to 'toss' other foodstuffs)

tosser (N) (slang, pejorative, mainly UK) - a very unpleasant person, someone you dislike/disagree with/are angry with for some reason. Lit.: s/o who masturbates. Not always a *severe* insult, frequently used in an affectionate, teasing way.

Examples -

"At first we were going to try a social networking model, but we tossed that idea once we got into the development phase."

"If you're looking for the remote, I think I tossed it beside the couch earlier."

"That new ride at LaRonde totally made me want to toss my cookies!"

"Sorry, I don't have that edition of the paper anymore - yesterday was recycling day, and I tossed it."

-"Do you want to eat at Belle Pro or Subway?"
-"I dunno, let's toss it [a coin]."

"....then Fernandez tossed the ball to Gruber to win the game!"

"I tossed* my pillows and duvet before I went to bed so I wouldn't be tossing and turning all night."

*(also: 'fluff (up)')

"Alex was supposed to go to the movie with me but he bailed out* at the
last minute. He's such a tosser!"

*('bail out' can mean many things; in this case it means 'to renege on
an engagement (probably social) that the agent had previously
committed to.')

-"Which would you prefer - a strawberry smoothie or a mango one?"
-"They're both so delicious I can't decide! - it's a toss-up"

So what do you think? Have I missed anything?

Friday, April 16, 2010


No real post. Just trying to remind myself that this thing exists. Am tired after a long week. First week on my new schedule, and though it's been manageable, it's still an adjustment, and a couple of my days are quite long. Highlights have included: attempting to engage a shy-in-any-language scientific professional in conversation (I hit jackpot when I asked him to explain the difference between diesel and petrol engines -no idea what he was talking about, but whatever the hell it was, it was in relatively grammatically correct English), and refereeing a group that includes an assertive and loquacious evangelically athiest person and a multiply degree-ed, religiously devout academic; who are both seemingly united in the common cause of talking about religion during class - I must desperately attempt to both redirect conversations and keep the rest of the group engaged. Or at least awake.