The title kind of promises a random mix of ramblings, and so that is exactly what I plan on delivering.
1. As my previous post revealed, I was away for the weekend because I had to go discover who was going to be turning me into an uncle. I discovered him. He is adorable. I am most definitely going to enjoy this whole uncle deal. I'm going to have to find out if being an uncle gives me a free breakfast at Bernard's Waffle Hut of Pain. Because you know, being an uncle sure makes you peckish.
2. If you're a Canadian citizen and over the age of 18, then you got some voting to do today. Seriously, you really need to vote, because then it gives you a few years of being allowed to kvetch and moan about how awful the government is and you didn't vote for them (or that they tricked you into voting for them and you'll never vote for them again -- unless they trick you again with their pretty colours).
I know that most of Canada is probably on voting indigestion, because it seems like we've been doing it every other day for the last while now. It does look like we are once again heading towards a minority government, which likely hurts the chances of having 4 years of voting peace. I still really urge you to vote. Or more importantly, go read up on all the different party platforms and see which appeals to you, then go off to vote. Because your uninformed vote is about as harmful as a non vote. You need to know who you’re supporting and don't just go by your favourite colour (or even worse, just who you assume your parents or family or friends have always voted for).
I wanted to do an in-depth look at each of the different party campaigns, and offer up lots of great analysis of the election. My life hasn't really allowed me much opportunity for quality blogging lately, as I've whined about over and over again on this blog. I thought, I should at least throw some quickie thoughts up on here.
From reading this blog or just knowing me personally, you are likely aware I am not the biggest supporter of Steven Harper. I've actually been quoted as, "Harper seems like a cool guy to have a beer with, but he is likely the worst Prime Minister ever since I've been alive." Yes, that statement is hyperbole and I usually say it to get a reaction from the more stiff and staunch conservative type, but I also believe it. Now, you may totally think it is the stupidest belief ever, and that is actually completely fine with me. The joy of a free country is you can pretty much think and voice any opinion you want about the government. It’s pretty cool having different opinions, because it allows for a variety of views to be expressed from platforms like blogs or talk shows or interpretative dances. I recognize this would be a rather irritating world if all blogs were exactly like mine, with my exact feelings and beliefs. The thing is, I am sometimes not sure if Harper agrees with any of that. I believe he is sort of annoyed that he lives in a democratic country, where he is supposed to answer to the voters and the other seats in Parliament. He hates it so much that he tries to conceal information that should be open to the public (because again, this is a democracy and a country where we have the right to know what our government is doing) and he throw temper tantrums (or a prorogue of Parliament) when opposing parties don't listen to all his demands. Of course, there is his habit of pandering to the moral right and other similar special interest groups to the point it essentially alienates a huge portion of this diverse country, and his hobby of trying to put together a propaganda news network that promotes his party’s agendas. I really think Harper deep down wishes he was running a dictatorial government and is slightly annoyed he ended up being born in a free country. So, I think I've made it sort of clear who I am not voting for.
I actually think this election has potential to be a pretty exciting one. Or at least, as exciting as an election can be (it will get much better when they adopt the battle royal rule for determining government). The latest polls show the Conservatives are in the lead, but last reports said only by about 3% of the votes. And most followers of politics would assume the party right behind them are the Liberals, but that would make you oh so very wrong. In this little race, it is Jack Layton's NDPs that are chasing down the Conservatives, and this is essentially a massive shock to almost everybody. Or at least, not something predicted 5 weeks ago when the election was called. This surprising race is what makes it a very interesting election. For the first time ever, we actually have a chance for a fresh, new party on top. Canada has always been a multi party system, but in federal elections, you've essentially had Conservatives or Liberals take the majority of seats. The rest of the parties usually just do their part in either snagging away one of the big parties’ seats and/or causing for a minority government (which again, a minority seems incredibly likely again here based off early polls). This time, there seems to be a legitimate chance for a brand new party to be leading this country. I admit I am a little hesitant on the traditionally spend happy NDP to be running the show, but I am intrigued by the chance of something actually new happening. There is a lot about the NDP that I like, and if they can be reasonable with the budget (while maintaining their social roots), I would be happy to give Layton a shot.
Yes, I have voter's fatigue, and I haven't followed this election as much as I often do, but I am very excited about what could end up happening tonight. Or I could just be whining again tomorrow about how I've got a few more years to put up with the Stephen Harper show.
3. The other major news of the day is the United States Government has announced they killed and have the body of Osama Bin Laden. Though, unless you live in a shack in the woods with no running water or electricity, but just happened to stumble upon something that had internet access (a magic fern?) to access this blog, you already knew this fact. I am sure this is a fact that you'll be made aware of for days and days on every American station, and I don't say that in a way to insinuate this is necessarily a bad thing (unless it ends up interrupting the NBA playoffs -- sort of kidding). The United States finally caught its white rabbit, and are now able to get some much needed closure on the tragedy that was 9/11. Essentially, this capture/killing means the Afghanistan war is no longer going to be viewed as Vietnam Part 2. No matter the real reason for the war (which depends on how cynical or 'patriotic' or George Bush you are), the publicly promoted reason has always been to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice for the atrocity he masterminded. For many people now, United States has achieved what was the biggest goal and has to be a morale boost for many. It will give a little closure and a small bit of peace to those who lost dear loved ones on 9/11.
It doesn't mean the 'war' is now officially over, because it never was just about getting Osama. The reality is, Osama Bin Laden was never the lynch pin of Al Qaeda. His death doesn't mean the terrorist organization just disbands and starts sucking their thumbs in a cave somewhere. It is a well organized and highly structured assemblage, and Osama was never the central leader that kept things together. It has been constructed in a way that if one falls then another is right there to keep the horrid plan going forward. This isn't marking the end of terrorism. The United States recognizes this fact by putting diplomatic buildings on high alert and preparing for some type of awful counterattack.
On the other hand, if you agree or don't agree with the war, you have to admit this was a win for the United States or essentially any country (including Canada) that was at war in Afghanistan. No matter the degree of blow, it was still a blow to Al Qaeda. Their 'victory' for the last 10 years has been that Osama remained safe and that they were elusive to the armies. That isn't the case anymore.
I think the most important thing is what this death will mean to the entire Middle East. You may have noticed, a lot of shit has been going down in that region lately. Dictatorships have fallen and the people have been standing up to oppression. To the point, that I feel we are in the midst of one of the biggest turning points in history and I honestly believe that this is not an overstatement by any means. I think that this blow against Al Qaeda could really add to the resurgence of revolutionaries in this area and continue for a bigger push against the oppression and authoritarian rule. Of course, this is the type of uprising that is going to be continually supported by the west, and now the people will see that the west does get things done. It will continue to be an interesting time, for sure.
4. Okay Rangers, do you see what Tampa Bay is currently doing to the Washington Capitals? This is exactly what I was expecting from you guys. You had won the regular season series against them and had a legitimate shot to pull off the playoff upset and knock out the top seeded team in your conference. But no, you seem to have left that for Tampa Bay to do. Oh guys, I shake my head at you.
5. I have been watching Survivor this season, and I am going on record that this is one of the best seasons ever (of the whole 4 I've watched). Phillip is continually reasserting himself as the craziest and best character ever on Survivor (again, competing against the whole 4 seasons I've seen). The guy is a nutbar but so thoroughly entertaining. Plus I'm impressed by how Rob has been getting away with completely running this season and essentially dictating who goes and who stays. I'm sensing he is going to make a miscalculation somewhere and get sent packing in a few episodes. I'm also digging the Redemption Island concept, and it leaves a lot of intriguing possibilities. Even though one tribe has been wiped out, there is potential that one of the three members aren't completely out of the game since they can win their chance back in. Plus there is Matt, who just refuses to call it a game.
6. I saw Source Code last week, I hope to write up a review of it soon. In case I don't, I want to recommend you to check this movie out. It is a great science fiction action film that also makes you think. But it doesn't make you think too hard, and it is always willing to distract your thinking with explosions and violence. So, that makes a pretty damn good movie in my books. Plus Emily really liked it, so you're not just going with my word on this.
7. On the writing front, this is my first official week where my writing business is now my main source of income and work time. I've got an agreement in place where I will occasionally work elsewhere while continuing to grow this business, but for the most part, I am officially self employed. Very exciting and a little scary. Real soon, I'll have some cool stuff to reveal to you guys, but for now you just have to trust me that I am writing and being paid for it. That is the downside of doing ghostwriting for companies, you can't really take credit for it, but you do get to cash the cheques -- so it's all good to me.
So, those are my random thoughts for Monday. You try to go have some fun now, and don't forget to vote if you happen to be an 18+ Canadian folk.