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68 very long days and counting...

since i like to be aware of whose fingers will be hovering over the nuclear button in the home of our neighbours to the south, i've been following some of the political theatre that's unfolding in denver.

this is going to be a very, very long autumn if what's appeared so far is anything to go by.

personally, i cringe at the overt phoniness of the convention, to say nothing of the sums of money involved in staging it (perhaps i should say buying it). both parties with a snowball's chance in hell of winning play this game and, given the number of people in the united states- let alone in poorer countries- who suffer real deprivation, the idea that it is necessary to lavish such amounts on a spectacle that purports to nominate someone to represent the populace is beyond cynical.

in the spirit of the season, both parties have ramped up their ad campaigns substantially, so that every few minutes i'm advised that someone who is smart and well-educated enough to know better has approved an advertisement that is a bare linguistic notch above schoolyard name calling.

there is nothing substantive in these announcements, of course- their fifteen to thirty second duration makes any sort of meaningful content an impossibility. instead, they are full of snide innuendo about the other party's shortcomings, goading the electorate to vote out of fear.

of course, the presence of around the clock news stations should, in theory, offer some space for analysis. i'll wait for you to stop laughing.

as part of its crack reportage, cnn has been handing over its airwaves to republican party strategists and supporters to comment on the democratic convention. because in order to get an honest, unscripted, cogent reaction to the proceedings, the best place to look is in the camps of those whose livelihood depends on the democrats losing the election. don't worry, i'm sure that the democratic commentary on the republican convention will be equally riveting.

normally, i love the autumn. it's my favourite season. it's not just that my birthday falls then. i love watching the changing of the leaves. i love the crisp weather. i love the smoky scent in the air. but i have to say that this fall, i'm really tempted to hibernate. although i normally cringe at the first sighting of a candy cane, this may be one year when i'll be happy to see those christmas decorations roll out.

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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&…