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Showing posts from January, 2014

Romanian Culture 101: Romania's Major Lazer

Of all the habits and baggage that one assimilates by moving to a new country, embracing Culture is the final threshold before 'going native'. Someone can learn a foreign language and still remain far removed its associated culture. It takes an amalgam of shared local experiences, relationships, and a daily dose of local customs before culture is assimilated - and incorporated. But I'm just scratching the surface here. There are countless other micro factors involved. And because we're dealing with a qualitative question, measuring the 'amount' of culture is at best subjective, and this preamble is, at best, casual.

Though born here, I've been gone so long that, very often, seemingly obvious cultural references go right over my head and I have to turn to my traditions consultant/girlfriend for guidance. This is especially the case where music is concerned. I confuse Enescu and Porumbescu, I have no idea what the lyrics are to the most popular campfire song…

Johnny Angel And The Stray Dogs Of Romania

There's this bullshit petition that's been floating around on twitter. An update to Romania's laws on stray dogs is going to result in the euthanasia of Romania's stray dog population. The animal activist set is in an uproar. In other words, in a country where a significant number of people survive on subsistence wages, and where they suffer the added indignity of being attacked by flea-bitten strays, this is the primary focus of the international civil society. I'm not going to link the actual petition because it has zero merit, but I'm going to address the absolutely false, misleading, and pretty much insane claims that it makes, one point at a time.

Let's start with the law itself. It defines a several new provisions to an already existing 2001 law that deals with "ownerless dogs" aka. 'Maidanezi' in Romanian, aka. Strays. I'm not going to put every single bit of it, just the clearly relevant aspects of it. Also added emphasis in bo…

2014: The Year To Build

One of the posts I wrote at the end of last year predicted that 2013 was going to be awesome. It was. On a scale of 1 to 10 it was a solid 9 - because nothing is ever perfect. I achieved some personal goals I didn't think possible a few short years ago when I was still freezing my ass off in Toronto: traveling to some of Europe's most beautiful cities, catching my favourite DJs at music festivals, and learning to drive stick - an essential skill in any car chase. I said I would walk on hot coals, and, in a sense, I did as I adapted to a new role at work and became more friendly with the Romanian language and with life here.

I also said I'd stand up against injustice.

But did I?

We, the people, are treated with as much disdain as ever: Bankers are in cahoots with drug cartels. Politicians are creating self-serving laws while they spout lie after lie, and governments are spying on their citizens with impunity - and protecting aforementioned banks. That's only the tip …