We’re all doomed

I hadn’t Tweeted in weeks, not since January 23rd, other than RTing an announcement that my buddy Daniel Ford’s book is coming out soon and that you ought to pre-order it, and that was a pure RT; I didn’t even add anything to what he’d said. But I couldn’t resist a quick RT of this picture of the Pope. It was fucking hilarious, and I didn’t see any harm in it; there’s no one out there who is going to go after me for the massive hypocrisy of Leaving Twitter and then jumping back for one silly RT of a viral image that made me laugh.

The Goddamn thing is completely fake, and I didn’t notice it, and that alarms the shit out of me. Not only did I not notice it, I didn’t even suspect it. Nothing about the image set off any kind of bullshit detector. Is it ridiculous? Yeah, it’s ridiculous, but it’s the Pope, and dressing ridiculously is kind of part of his thing. Granted, the last guy was worse about it than Francis, but … surely he goes outside when it’s cold, right? He has to have a coat. So maybe he has a ridiculous coat? Hell, I don’t know.

I had noticed his right hand, but it didn’t scream FAKE IMAGE to me, although I almost asked why he was holding a jar of syrup from IHOP when I RTed the picture. It just looks kind of funny, at least at first glance, like the angle is weird or something, and the hand is halfway inside the sleeve, after all. Only later (just before writing this, in fact) did I zoom in a bit and notice that his right eye and glasses are definitely not right and his right ear is partially doubled. But that and his hand are it. I can’t see anything else about the image that might have tipped someone off that it was fake other than that it’s ridiculous.

There were viral faked pictures of That Man being arrested circulating around earlier this week too, but those are all obvious fakes from the jump, but those are all immediately and obviously fake. Like, I’d make fun of you if you didn’t realize they were fake within a minute or two. And you’d deserve it. But this? This is fucking scary.

We are rapidly entering– hell, we are clearly there already– an era where “photographic proof” of something simply isn’t going to be possible any longer, and I don’t know what the world looks like when there’s no reason to even really try to prove things to people any longer. I don’t remember asking for this when I was looking forward to Living in the Future when I was a kid, and I’m pretty sure it can’t be stopped, and it can’t be avoided either.

So. Yeah. Despair it is.

On Arabic and learning to read

ليس لدي فكرة عما يقوله هذا

According to Duolingo, I have been studying Arabic daily for one hundred and forty-seven days. And Duolingo does a lot of things, but one of the things that Duolingo has not managed to do in 147 days of daily practice is teach me to read Arabic. One would think that would be an early priority! It is not. Duolingo teaches almost exclusively through word recognition– what teachers used to call the “whole language” method of teaching reading, and for the most part genuinely seems uninterested in actually providing explanations for things unless absolutely necessary. Even then it kind of hides them in corners of the app and finds ways to make them useless anyway. There is actually a “Learn the letters” section! I have been doing lessons in there for months and it still hasn’t gotten to half the letters.

Whole language is bullshit, y’all. Even as an interested adult it’s an insanely rough way to learn a new language. It means that in-context I can recognize words but if you throw a sentence at me with no context I may not even be able to figure out all the letters. After five months. Keep in mind I already read Hebrew and once taught myself to read German from essentially scratch over a weekend so that I could pass a mandatory translation exam for my degree. I’m good at languages! But this isn’t it. And I also take issue with some of Duolingo’s choices for the sentences and phrases they’re throwing at us. For example:

تلفازي داخل أسدي

Which means “My television is inside my lion” and I swear to God is a sentence that has shown up in my exercises, I believe in a unit called “Express a problem.” That’s not a joke. It’s a real thing. Or this one, during the unit on prepositions, which consisted exclusively of things being in front of or behind things:

هناك زوجتك مع رجل خلف المطعم

That means “There is your wife with a man behind the restaurant,” and … okay! Sure! That’s a thing that has probably happened. But I don’t know how to say “hello” or introduce myself yet. They have literally not taught “Hi, my name is _____, how are you?” but I can express trepidation about the eating habits of my lion.

Anyway, over the last few days– because there is no problem so minor that I won’t try to solve it by throwing money at it– I have acquired both a fine set of Arabic alphabet flash cards and a new textbook dedicated specifically to teaching reading. I have learned more about the alphabet in an hour of perusing that book between today and yesterday than I have in five months of Duolingo. Sadly, I have not received further instructions about how to express my feelings about my lion:

أنا أحب أسدي لكني لا أحب أسد جاري.

That’s “I love my lion but I do not love my neighbor’s lion,” and again, no, that’s not a joke.

LOL, Whoops

I was gonna blog tonight but instead I live-streamed Diablo IV for an hour and a half? That wasn’t actually part of the plan.

Taking tonight off

Tomorrow is going to be either exceptionally easy or a huge pain in the ass. Take bets in comments!

Exhausted and crabby

Something they don’t tell you about the CPAP: it’s gonna lead to occasional times where you don’t feel like you’re getting enough oxygen just for the hell of it. I’m having one right now. Objectively, I’m fine; I’ve actually taken pulse ox measurements during these times and they’re fine. According to my watch right now I’m at 93%, which is a little low, admittedly, but the Apple Watch is not exactly a precision medical instrument, right?

I was going to blame panic attacks, but who the hell knows; maybe I’m dying. At any rate I’ve reached the point where if the thing didn’t tether me to my bed (it’s not exactly portable) I’d wear it all the time just for the hell of it. There’s something weirdly comforting about having oxygen shoved into your lungs whether you want it there or not.

At any rate, according to the device I’ve been sleeping just fine lately, but hell if I wasn’t tired and irritated all day today, at one point breaking up what was heading toward a fight in the hallway without breaking my stride, swatting a phone out of one kid’s hand and simply bullying the other one along in my path until they gave up and walked away on their own. You wanna get expelled, go ahead, but they’re gonna learn not to do it around me. Go upstairs if you wanna fight. Being home has improved my mood somewhat but not the tired; it’s 7:15 right now and I’m seriously considering just going the hell to bed as soon as I finish this.

I was not, for the record, expecting That Man to be arrested today, and in fact as soon as he announced that it was imminent I decided that it was going to happen any day but today. The more in the know than the former president seem to be suggesting that tomorrow is the earliest possible day an indictment could be handed down, and while the fact that they’re literally erecting metal barricades around the courthouse in New York indicates that this time this should probably be taken with a degree of seriousness I’m still not– forgive me for this, given the first two paragraphs– holding my breath. An indictment is definitely progress but at this point I won’t be satisfied until the fucker dies in jail. It can’t happen soon enough.