Jul. 10th, 2006

rfmcdonald: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] nhw's link to Carl Bildt's blog, I've had a chance to read Ralph Peters' article in the latest issue of Armed Forces Journal"Blood borders". Yes, Peters does argue that the boundaries of every country east of Israel and Greece, north of the Indian Ocean, west of India, south of Armenia, and excluding the Gulf States should be redrawn according to his amateur expertise in ethnography and wish-fulfillment.

People interested in Ralph Peters' mentality might be interested in an an article of his I fisked way back in March 2003. Suffice it to say he's far too convinced of his homeland's inerrant rightness and the moral corruption of anyone opposing it ("it," in his case, being the hard truth about the ways things area that only the military knows) to make especially impressive or interesting arguments. He might as well be a Nazi ideologue eagerly charting a map of the future Reichostland's frontiers based on ethnographic patterns, natural resources, geopolitics, and the prevalence of typically German beech trees. I'm just thankful that Peters' vision is far less likely to come true. (Who does he expect will want to partition Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia?)
rfmcdonald: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] nancylebov, a posting by PZ Myers at Pharyngula about the remarkable workings of octopus brains. The ways in which convergent evolution has produced a quite recognizable intelligence despite hundreds of millions of years of steady divergence in others domains are remarkable indeed.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
Instead of getting off at the Dufferin TTC station this evening after work, I opted instead to get off the subway two stops west at the Dundas West TTC station and to make my way to Roncesvalles Village for only the second time since my February visit. There was a brief period of disorientation after I disembarked from the Dundas streetcar and wound my way into a residential district, but kind pedestrians' directions soon steered me back.

The street didn't look that different, the differences between a February evening's cold darkness and this July evening's overcast warm brightness. It rained throughout my hour-long walk south on Roncesvalles and east along Queen, but the rain was light and warm enough to be enjoyable. On the west side of the street, storefronts on either side of the Revue Cinema (400 Roncesvalles Avenue) had advertisements for the ongoing campaign to save the from permanent closure. Just a block down, the excellent Alternate Grounds coffee shop (333 Roncesvalles Avenue) beckoned.

When I reached the Warmia Deli (301 Roncesvalles Avenue), named after the Polish province of that name, I knew that I was now in the territory of Polonia, the Polish diaspora. Roncesvalles Village has been a heavily Polish area since at least the 1940s, as evidenced by (among other things) the location of the national headquarters of the Canadian Polish Congress (288 Roncesvalles Avenue), the presence of St. Stanislaus - St. Casimir's Polish Parishes Credit Union Limited and the substantial complex around St. Casimir Roman Catholic Church, the various Polish book stores, delis, and video shops, and the substantial Polish-language collection held by the High Park branch of the Toronto public library system. Rick B├ębout's writings on Toronto's Polish community provide what seems to be a good overview of the dynamics of Roncesvalles' Poles, if you're curious about this community's history.

Forty minutes after I began my walk, I reached the southern terminus of Roncesvalles a further twenty minutes' walk west of my residence. There, where the red-fringed street signs of Roncesvalles give way to the yellow-fringed signs of Parkdale, where King Street ends, and where
urban Queen Street West meets with the decidedly suburban/periurban Queensway, I bid adieu to the neighbourhood. I really should go back there, and in less than five months' time.
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