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i was never a particularly huge fan of tony blair's. i know a lot of people who were high on him early on, because he was shaking up the crusty old labour party in the united kingdom, but mostly because he was actually making it possible for them to get elected again. myself, i'm a little suspicious of any change that is based primarily on making yourself more palatable to the masses, but i guess that's why i'm writing this blog and not running a country.

but even blair's most die hard fans, and i'm assuming they still exist, would have to wince at his desperation to be named the new middle east envoy. myself, i can't even fathom why he would want the job, but it seems to me like someone might not want to stray to far from the spotlight (whether that's because he likes the attention or because he's plotting a comeback is anyone's guess).

now that his good (only?) friend george w. bush has strong-armed him into the position, the rest of the world can sit back and feel nauseated at the pure cynicism it represents.

blair replaces former world bank president james wolfensohn, who, no matter what you might think of him, could at least claim to have a modicum of respect from all parties in the region. blair, being one of the leaders responsible for the invasion of iraq, can have no hope of claiming respect or even credibility when dealing with key players in the middle east. appointing him seems to be nothing short of an acknowledgment that the task of diplomacy in the middle east is seen as a lost cause and there is no plan to put a serious effort into it.

chalk up another victory for the politics of hope.

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the world at war?

in my semi-smug but genuinely curious way, i posted a question on my facebook page earlier: how much of the world has to be at war before it counts as world war iii?



the first response i got raised the very legitimate point that this is the sort of question that gets answered by historians, once the haze of the present has faded. the other important factor is that people don't just declare war on each other the way that they used to. major powers entered both the of the world wars with the blessings of their own parliaments, whereas conflicts since world war ii have happened in coded language, sometimes circumventing the political process in the interests of expediency. president reagan never declared war on the nicaraguan government in the eighties, for example, but the united states was clearly in a state of armed conflict, even if most of the arms were being carried by their proxies, the contras.

whether or not we are living in a world at war is a tricky question. despite what…

jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

diet diary, part 2

so the battle with the bulge continues. i'm actually becoming used to the pace, although for some reason my stomach still seems to think it needs far more food than it actually does.

week days, when eating is more of a functional than a festive activity, are fairly easy to cope with. weekends are a challenge, especially living in a city that has as many good restaurants as toronto. i'm not restricting myself to the home, but i am finding that i have to pay careul attention when i go out. last night, i overindulged on injera atthe ethiopian house. injera (the soft, moist, spongy bread that serves as food and cutlery in ethiopian cuisine) makes food fun by forcing you to eat with your fingers. it's hard to exercise restraint in such conditions.

when i first moved to toronto, i was expecting to find it much as i remembered it from years ago- with a dearth of good eating places. apparently, things have changed. there are great places to eat just about every kind of food you&…