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Monday, September 29, 2003

Maturity of a Country

I just watched a show on CBC Newsworld called Hemispheres which had on a guest commentator from Australia. As one would expect, he compared and contrasted our two countries. He used the analogy that the two were like a pair of teenagers (I guess being relatively young countries) that had started to "grow up" as it were. And what was his examples of "growing up"? Cases where the two countries opposed the US. (e.g. opposition to Vietnam, etc.) He then expressed his satisfaction with our PM Jean Chretien for opposing the recent war in Iraq and his displeasure with Australia for siding with the Americans, implying that Canada was better than Australia (hence more "grown up") in this regard. Why is it that the maturity of a country is determined by the criteria that it "opposes the US"? Does that make any sense? Are we really so much better than Australia because our PM opposed a war that resulted in the removal of a very evil person and arguably made life better for the people of Iraq? Does that really demonstrate maturity? Needless to say, the comments fit in very well with the CBC's regular viewpoints.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

A Good Year To All

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish anyone reading this a happy, healthy, New Year, 5764. May we all be inscribed in the sefer hachaim (Book of Life). Speaking of Rosh Hashana, I'll be spending it this year in yeshiva as usual. Ever since I started Grade 9 (long time ago already), I've been there every year except two (one year when I was in Israel and the first year of my marriage). By now, I'm very, very used to it. Normally, the average Rosh Hashana morning davening (prayer services) takes around 4-5 hours. Yeshiva takes, on average, around 7 hours. And, that is without a drasha (sermon) or a break! But as mentioned, I'm used to it and I also enjoy it as well. Part of me starts thinking back to when I was a kid in elementary school. The Passover seder lasts late into the night, many times well past midnight. Next time we were together in school, the lateness of the seder gave the kids some "bragging rights". Typical conversation: "When did your seder last until?" "12:30 in the morning!" "12:30? That's it? We stayed up until 1!" Passerby overhears and interjects: "1? That's nothing. We stayed up until 2!" "No way." "Don't believe me? Ask my dad!" And so on... Of course, it is not the quantity that matters, or how long something takes, but the quality.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Do Not Feed the Reptilian Kitten-Eater

Just when you thought Canadian politics was too bland, along comes the weirdest political insult one can possibly think of. Here in Ontario, we are going to have a provincial election in less than a month from now. The campaigning is out in full swing. One of the campaigners in the camp of Ernie Eves (Progressive Conservatives, aka the "Tories") had sent out an email describing rival Dalton McGuinty of the Liberal party, as an "evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet". McGuinty has since gone on record to explain that he in fact does not like to eat kittens, puppy dogs, or anything else that is cute and furry. As you'd expect, there is a picture available of the monster. My only question is, is the kitten served on rye or whole wheat?

Is He In or Out?

Will Israel kick Arafat out? Will they actually kill him, as some have said they are prepared to do? Or, will they let him stay? My feelings at this point is that I honestly do not know what they are going to do. My advice is if they are in fact going to exile him they should wait a while until things calm down a bit (since when are things calm there anyways?) and then go in when they least expect it. That way, casualties would be minimized or avoided altogether.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

What Is a Moderate?

Reading through the article from my last post, I came across a very familiar and tiring word. Moderate. As in, Ahmed Qureia, aka Abbas II, Arafat's new appointee, is labeled a "moderate". My only question is, "moderate to what?" There was a time when Arafat was labeled a "moderate". Then, he was "sidelined" (or so they say) and then Abbas came onto the scene, the "moderate". Now, he's gone and now they have another "moderate". I suppose if you are comparing them to Hamas then I suppose they are more "moderate". Speaking of Hamas, it seems they have learned the same labeling tricks. One of their leaders who was killed not to long ago, part of the so called "political wing" (another label), was also called a moderate. By whom? By Hamas. What is scary is that if those people who label a leader of a terrorist organization, which engages in the most despicable murders, a "moderate", what do they consider "extreme"? What would they consider to be "too much"? I think it is time for people to clearly define what exactly is a moderate if they are going to use the word in any meaningful way. Otherwise, they might as well as drop its usage altogether.

Monday, September 8, 2003

His Own Man

This headline from the Toronto Star, which I saw on the way to work, made me laugh. Arafat chooses own man for PM And what is Abbas? Was he not also an Arafat appointee, thus also "Arafat's own man"? Since when would Arafat appoint anyone for any role who is not "his own man"?

Sunday, September 7, 2003

The Move Is On

I moved with my family this past week. Before this, we were living in a three bedroom apartment and now we are in a three bedroom townhouse. Over all, we have much more space, considering that we now have a garage, basement, backyard (tiny, though), and three floors, all of which we did not have in the apartment. Nevertheless, many specific rooms are actually smaller than they were in our apartment. The bedrooms are smaller, specifically the master bedroom where there is now hardly any room to move. The dining room is smaller and the living room is smaller, where there is not enough room for all of our couches. Fortunately, the kitchen is bigger. That's right, we will now be able to actually put a kitchen table in there and actually eat in the kitchen (about time). I can't imagine what my cousin did in his old apartment which had one of those "galley style" kitchens. We were all glad to get out of the apartment. It got to be a little too much after a while. To illustrate the point, we had an incident last motzai shabbos (Saturday night), before our move. The woman in the aparment directly below us went on to her balconey and started screaming. She asked for people to call the police, call 911 etc. etc. She claimed that someone had a gun and was trying to kill her. And, she went on repeating this. So, my wife called 911. At first, they felt it may be some kid trying to pull a stunt (a possibility). Eventually, after making sure it was not a prank, they sent the police to check it out. The police came and used our balconey to talk to her. This did not prove to be fruitful. She refused to answer any questions and kept on asking for help, call 911, etc. She did not open the door to her apartment. She also began throwing things off the balconey like chairs, a table and some clothing. Eventually, four members of the police's ETF (Emergency Task Force) arrived in full gear (helmets, bulletproof vests, etc.) in our apartment and prepared to rappel off our balconey by tying a rope around our kitchen wall. Before they were able to do so, the other police on the scene managed to get through her front door by using a key provided by the super. She was alone and was not in any danger. Our son was woken up by the commotion. He, of course, absolutely loved all the excitement and it was very hard to restrain him so he wouldn't get in the cops way. Hopefully, out new neighborhood will be more "normal". Anyways, going through a move, I've come to learn some fairly obvious truisms.
  • Moving is expensive
  • Moving is very tiring
  • Moving is annoying
  • On the day that you are supposed to move, the service elevator will break down
  • After the move, you will not be able to find anything you need, regardless of how much you have unpacked.
  • And did I mention, moving is annoying?