Friday, November 03, 2006

Spin, Spin, You Ball of Yarn!

My life is unraveling, it seems. It's not happening fast, but that would only be a bonus if there had been more thread in the metaphorical knitted thing (sweater, blanket, whatever) to begin with.

Star came to school today, but I was in the library working (successfully, much to my surprise) and apparently unworthy of her interest.
In the end, that didn't bother me. I said it best later on in the day: "This sounds terrible, but [she]'s the least of my worries right now". Or near enough, I suppose.

A couple of friends were driving off just as I was leaving school. I don't know where they were headed, but at least they had something to do. Sure, I have better things to do than go out and maybe get drunk...oh, wait, no I don't. I'm blogging on what is soon to be a Friday evening.

Those things I don't mind so terribly, though. The real kick in the nuts was my 29/40 on the latest World Issues assignment. I suppose it was from a boot of my own design, but when you put solid effort into something for the better part of a week, even to the detriment of other subjects...that boot is solid steel. In terms of cost/benefit, I could have done a truly mediocre job on that assignment, and lost fewer marks in other courses (where I will need all the marks I can get). 29/40. I feel like an average, and that for me is a worse failure than failure itself. Failure is generally a lack of capability. Greatness is the result of hard work, and a little talent. Mediocrity is failed greatness, worthless attempts. Nothing Special: "Decent work, here's your 72.5% and here's to your unremarkable future in an unremarkable suit, with an unremarkable tie, in a very, very unremarkable cubicle", says 29/40, with breath that smells of unsweetened oatmeal.

The only mark I have that could be > 70% on my report card is World Issues, and even then I have my doubts. With marks like that, who needs a con artist?

I was kinda hoping to be left alone today, but fate has conspired against me even there. Damn.


Let's see what's in the paper today, shall we?

"Visions of Ottawa Future"

So Incumbent Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli is trying to regain some support. He wants to play up his low taxes, and his 'vision' for our city. That would be great, if there was vision at all. 'Low taxes' is well-known slang for "budget cuts", and 'vision' is a cheap substitute for "platform, but without all those fancy-schmancy specifics that prove you can do it". Finally, he says "I'm not flashy, but I share your values". Funny, that. See "unremarkable", above.

Vision would be stopping the lowest-bidder contractors building acre after acre of distant suburb. It would be investing in renewable energy for our city, even if only by offering those much-vaunted tax cuts to firms developing biofuels, solar, and wind power if they set up shop here (I know that there is at least one biofuels company here already -
Iogen). I had a look at the environmental plan on the official website, and there is much of this spirit present. That's encouraging, but have a look at rival Alex Munter's page. Chiarelli has had 9 years to govern this city, and what does he have to show for it? Light Rail, low taxes, and 'vision'. Change is looking pretty good, I'd say. Now, delivery is the important thing (witness the Liberal government in Ontario), which is why this kind of election is tricky: one candidate has a record, and no one else can prove they are capable of better.

"We Told 'Em Good!"

The Ottawa Citizen seems extremely proud that Canada's UN envoy denounced the myriad "thugs and tyrants" which "make a mockery" of the UN agenda. 'We told 'em good' is the mantra, we "punch above our weight" here in Canuckstan (pronounced like 'Kazakhstan'). They claim it is an honour to be denounced in return by these oppressive regimes, because if they were ever to side with us, it would mean something was very wrong with our country.

What. A. Joke.

Do you want to know which countries are really punching above their weight right now? Iran and North Korea. Both are impoverished, and have leaders of questionable sanity. They are each trying to hold the world hostage by developing internally or acquiring externally WMDs. Canada, by comparison, has a high average quality of life, democratic institutions, and has an under-funded military for the peacekeeping roles it claims to embrace. And the best we can do against these threats to the planet, to us, and to their own people? We can call them names. On the world stage. How very mature of us (well, ok, it isn't name calling per se...but it's just about as effective).

I'm not suggesting we go out and invade Iran, NK, Sudan, or any of the other global menaces. I'm saying we should not take so much pride in telling them to stop torturing, killing, getting Nukes...again, pick your favourite crime against peace/the planet/human rights/other. That means nothing to a political dissident being, say, electrocuted and beaten daily* in an Iranian prison. It means we care enough to talk about it, but not enough to actively help him, and people like him out. What we're doing right now is most likely what tyrants everywhere want us to do: talk about it. Now, you may say "Well, just talk/write about stuff...why are you disparaging the government for doing the same?". I don't have an army, and I don't have political , nor economic clout of any kind. If all Canada can do is talk, it confirms that it doesn't, either.

That being said, I'm glad we actually said something. If we actually DO something, it will have meant a damn.

*I don't know if this actually happens, but it would not surprise me if it did.

"To No A-Veil"

There's some ongoing debate about Muslim women wearing the full burka in Western society. Twice I have seen arguments saying that it interferes with communication, trust, and law enforcement. I think these are all excuses, attempts to put practical objections to something we know is not right. Let's be frank: a woman can wear what she likes, when she likes. She does not 'invite' sexual assault when she dresses in a 'provocative' manner. The Burka is an imposition upon this freedom, and is an insult to women. Call it a "choice" all you want, I don't buy it. The REAL issue is not "is the burka an expression of religious freedom?", the issue is this: if we ban the Burka as 'degrading to women' we have an obligation to rid our OWN culture of its own implements of degradation. I don't mean banning stuff, but educating new generations to be neither misogynistic, nor male-apologetic. If men and women were truly equal, the burka would be a matter of choice, not a political issue.

Now, there is a certain cultural isolationism attached to the Burka. I say that taking steps to make immigrant women realize that they are no longer second-class citizens is a good start to ending such isolation.

Fingers crossed, and hoping that no one will take to the streets demanding my head on a plate**,

** No disrespect meant. Just pointing out that sending an angry letter is cool, but demanding deadly violence...not so much.

EDIT: I now have a dedicated email for this blog, for feedback and submissions. Go to the profile page if you want to send me stuff. Use discretion, please. Politically sensitive opinions are great. Random thoughts, game reviews, whatever...that's all cool. If it doesn't belong on this blog, however, keep it OUT of my Blogocentric email, huh? Thanks in advance.

1 comment:

GoldMatenes said...

Sorry we just drove off, but we were going over to JJ's house and even I wasn't really supposed to be going, just C.

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to explain, but I literally had to run straight from the weight room, and I got out early too.

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