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healthy skepticism?

perhaps it's an innate patriotism, but i really do love debating with neighbours south of the border about the state of health care in canada. it's quite amazing the myths that get propagated.

that said, there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved within canada, and it's sad that admitting to those is often seen as a criticism of the canadian system in itself.

i'm happy to see that someone has put together a listing of facts that actually acknowledges the realities of the situation very well.

a few facts from my own history:

1. i had no trouble finding a g.p. in toronto, although it's the largest city in canada. no one i know has had a problem with this.

2. montreal has a shortage of g.p.'s and, while it's true i didn't have one in my time there, this was not because i couldn't find one. the preponderance of clinics available to the average montrealer means that there is always somewhere you can go for treatment.

3. i did once spend 22 hours in the emergency ward of the montreal general hospital, which was, i'm given to understand, some kind of record at the time. one of the chief reasons for the delay in my treatment was that the one doctor and two nurses on duty were busy treating three american tourists who had been fairly seriously injured in a fight. i do think they did the right thing...

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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&…