Wednesday, November 02, 2005


It started coming on late last night: a scratchy throat, a creeping ache, a sniffle or two. Allergies, I thought it was, or just a hint of a cold. Humouring myself, I took a capsule of echinacea and went straight to bed.

This morning—and with a ten-hour day looming ahead of me, it was, unfortunately, morning—I awoke to discover that I had contracted the Martian Death Flu. My symptoms: fever, chills, swollen glands, and a pervasive sense of malaise that is qualitatively different from my usual sense of malaise. Oogier.

As luck would have it, the first thing on my agenda was a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment, which I booked nearly a month ago. Humouring me, the doctor dutifully swabbed my throat and instructed me to rest for a few days. I thanked her for her trouble and pencilled in “rest” for Friday.

Predictably, my illness worsened while I was at work, and I soon realized that the likelihood that I would survive a late student council meeting was slim to non-existent. So, I did something that I almost never do. I bailed.

When I got home, I dove into my favourite pyjamas, retrieved my fuzzy orange blanket, and fired up the TV. For the next three hours, I stared catatonically into its gaping maw, pausing only long enough to order hot lemongrass soup from Chu Chai. (Mmm, Chu Chai...)

In any case, I was starting to feel pretty good for someone who had the Martian Death Flu. Then, I happened upon an MSNBC story, originally reported in The Washington Post, about this: covert CIA prison camps housed in former Soviet detention facilities in Eastern Europe.

These camps are known as “black sites,” which I can only assume is a loose translation of the Russian term, gulag. Although the Post declined to name the specific countries involved, Human Rights Watch alleges that they include Poland and Romania, which are, nominally, democracies.

Suddenly, I'm feeling oogy again. If I were well, I'd rant at great length about the state of the world, and, probably, about the mind-numbing hypocrisy of the Bush administration. But since I am not well, I am going to go lie down.

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