Friday, April 13, 2007

A Spot of Gratitude - Good Neighbours

In this instance, it's for my former neighbour Steve, who lived above me for three years and never made a peep.

Steve recently moved out. Why my landlords decided to rent to a roller-skating rhinoceros is beyond me. Why she insists on juggling those bowling balls when she clearly sucks at it is also beyond me; she should stick to the tap-dancing, at which she excels.

If you have good neighbours, take this moment to thank your lucky stars you don't have plaster raining down on you like I do.
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Dream Analysis, Anyone?

I'm sitting on the ground in a certain plaza at the edge of Stanley Park, despite the fact that there are benches. It's dark, obviously the middle of the night, but not cold. Pamela Anderson and a very hot young guy who looks a bit like Mika are there, also sitting on the ground. She's ignoring him, he's ignoring me, and all three of us are apparently waiting for something, not saying much. Suddenly, what looks like a very fat ferret comes scurrying out of the undergrowth and up on my lap, where it starts to nuzzle me. Soon, he's joined by a half a dozen others, and they all start peeping. The hot young guy is staring at Pam and trying to touch her breasts, but aside from swatting him away she ignores him, as she cheerfully tells me all about these friendly animals, which she called Furbies, but which actually look like a cross between a ferret and a weasel.
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Belinda Calls It Quits

It was with a certain amount of shock that I read Belinda Stronach is leaving politics so soon after entering it. Not alot, but some.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIdealism, however, doesn't seem to have motivated her. Citing the need to spend more time with her teenaged children, she recently whined that being in opposition is still a full-time job. Well, duh! Given the government we have, everyone in opposition should be working overtime. I'm sure the corporate sector won't be such a drain on her time; plutocrats are known for their support of working mothers.

I suspect the fact that the Conservatives look poised to take the next majority played no part in her decision. Magna, the business her father runs and which she one day hopes to run, is making some moves to take over Chrysler/Daimler. Her father may be looking to step down soon, so the conclusions can be drawn not from what she says but from what she does.

Nevertheless, a couple of years in government has definitely made the Belinda brand less Newmarket and more up-market. High-profile relationships with Bill Clinton (strictly platonic - she's too pretty for him), Tie Domi, and Peter MacKay were the talk of the papers for weeks, and so the decision may have more to do with finding that private/public balance with which many celebrities struggle.

It's always a shame to lose a female politician, even one as shallow and dissembling as Belinda Stronach. As shallow and dissembling as she is, she could have been one of the greats.

Still, I wouldn't count her out; if she could only marry a Trudeau (not to mention stay Liberal) she might be Prime Minister yet.
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A Humble Attempt To Ease International Tension

I'll admit it, when I was younger I indulged in it quite a bit. I mean, all the other kids were doing it - I thought it would make me look cool. As I've gotten older, though, I've begun to regret it more and more.

I'm talking, of course, about anti-Americanism. Why? What did you think I meant?

The fact of the matter is, as I've read more and more history, I've come to the conclusion that anti-nationalism is about as inevitable as nationalism. If any country sticks their head over the parapet and proclaims "We're number one" a whole host of other countries will be just as likely to begin throwing number two.

As complicated as human lives are, with their unspoken motivations and constant myth-making, the lives of nations are even more so. It's very easy to emphasize what is most disliked and thus present a very unbalanced view of things. Yet few nations on Earth are not guilty of exactly the sorts of things they're most likely to condemn the United States for doing.

That's especially easy when the regime in question is as venal as the one currently toppling in Washington. Yet within each specific criticism is the answer to why it was made. "Zey're bullies" say the French, having never heard of Napoleon, and conveniently forgetting their own head-waiters as well. "Raging imperialists," the British might sniff, no doubt jealous, yet without a hint of irony. "Don't forget greedy," Canada might be eager to add, as it clings like cream (or scum) to the 100 mile strip above their common border, quietly slurping its economy northwards in exchange for abundant raw materials.

Each of these accusations may be true, but in making them much more has been revealed about the accuser than the accused. If I call a coworker "lazy", chances are it's to deflect attention from me, since I've been a little slack at my job, only he's been worse. At best, it's passive-aggressive, and when the best thing you can say about something is that it's passive-agressive, it's not that great.

There may be bigotry in the United States but there is bigotry everywhere; Europeans are able to sit on their comfortable duffs and bitch today specifically because America has been relieving its previously medieval overcrowding for the last 200 years. The solution is in understanding, not name-calling.

It's easy for non-Americans to admire, say, FDR, without admiring the national circumstances which fostered him; it's even easier to criticize all of America for the indiscretions of a few politicians rather than the politicians themselves. Sure, there are over 62 million people who voted for George W. Bush in the last election, which leaves about 138 million who didn't.

In this day and age, when real problems threaten the lives of everyone on the planet, standing around pointing fingers at this one and that one really does get in the way of solutions. As I've always said, it doesn't matter who has caused a problem, so much as who fixes it, since we are all to blame, in our own way. That doesn't automatically absolve the guilty parties of their crime, but when the crime committed (be it terrorism, global warming, or whatever) is an equal threat to those who caused it, solutions are more important than accusations.

So, if you'll just pop my Nobel Peace Prize in the mail, that'd be lovely.

[BBC via Seumas]
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