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let’s not forget

, musiclovas and tidebuckas, the horrendous oil spill in the Ecuadorian Amazon, also caused by cost-cutting installation of substandard drilling and refining infrastructure.

Here’ s a grisly reminder that this ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is not the first time by a long shot Big Oil has poisoned  our Earth :


When is it going to stop ? When are these guys going to be held accountable ? I think the book should be thrown at BP. There really needs to be an international tribunal that punishes crimes against the planet.

On the global warming front, in another example of the relentless spread of life on earth poleward, away from the Equator , as temperatures increase, the best evidence that global warming is real, in my opinion,  Lyme Disease has hit Quebec. I remember when it first broke out, in Lyme, Connecticut, in l975. I was living in Westchester County. One of my friends I waited at the Katonah station and rode into Manhattan with was an Egyptian guy whose son was one of the first victims and because he was diagnosed late, his palsy-like symptoms were probably incurable. This is not good news for La Belle Province, but there is not a lot of good news anywhere these days. Look out for the tell-tale red ring around the bite. If you hit it with antibiotics at this primary stage, you can still knock it out. This was the case with my son Zachary, who got bitten by several of the ticks, which are the size of a period made by a soft graphite pencil, on Cape Cod in the nineties. We got him the antibiotics even before the ring had formed, and he never developed symptoms.

On the linguistic front, French is dying in its native land, according to conservative, anti-immigrant and Muslim commentator Eric Zemmour (as Michael Kimmelman reports in the New York Times).

“The end of French political power has brought the end of French,” Zemmour laments. “Now even the French elite have given up. They don’t care any more. They all speak English. And the working class. I’m not just talking about immigrants, they don’t care about preserving the integrity of the language either.” And “defending our language, defending the values it represents– that is a battle for cultural diversity in the world.” 200 million people speak French, but only 60 million are in France. The bulk of them are in Africa, Haiti and the other Francophone islands of the Caribbean, Quebec,  and Asia. Kimmelman writes that “culture in general– and not just French culture– has become increasingly unfixed, unstable, fragmentary, and elective. Globalization has hastened the desire of more people, groups and individuals alike, to differentiate themselves from one another to claim a distinct place in the world, and language has long been an obvious means to do so.

“In Canada, Quebec has tried to use legislation  to promote the use of French in the province [like the children of immigrants have to go to French school, every sign has to be bilingual, with  the French version in larger letters, etc.]. Basque separatists have been killing Spaniards in the name of political, linguistic and cultural independence, just as Franco imprisoned anyone who spoke Basque or Catalan. In Belgium, the split between French and Dutch speakers have divided the country for ages.”  The future of French, like that of Christianity, is in Africa. Except Rwanda, which has become anglophone and where French is not the third language, after Kinyawranda and English.

Maybe languages are subject to natural selection, too. French is more elegant than English. Compare pamplemousse and grapefruit, for instance. But English is much more straightforward and efficient. You don’t have to worry about whether a noun is masculine or feminine (a pretty meaningless distinction and a throwback to Latin) and make everything conform to it. It’s like a business or a country. The ones with the most efficient systems win out. Which is part of why France has lost its political power in the first place. It’s very hard to buck the tide where dying out languages are concerned.