If you are interested in continuing to follow my musings, I have begun a fresh blog here. It places greater emphasis on my wide variety of interests.
Hello all…or, you…hmm. Anyway, hi. So first off, I want to just say that what has happened in Boston is a terrible tragedy-people in Boston should know that we all the way up here in this beautiful land called Canada have you in our prayers.
I do struggle with the level of outrage that occurs during events such as this, however. It is a tragedy, but it is no more a tragedy then when people and innocents are killed in other countries throughout the world. It is no more a tragedy then when, albeit accidentally, America kills innocent civilians in Afghanistan while intervening. It is also not more of a tragedy than all of the deaths that occur in shootings in the United States every year. Yet, (I do not contend that this is always the case), often we feel the pain much more when we see someone like us-a responsible westerner-generally white and English-speaking, die in these events. I do not mean to be insensitive, but I do want to encourage more reflection, and not pure reflexivity, in this tragedy.
Anyway, I don’t want to belabor the point, because it is worthwhile to mourn these events. Macleans Magazine does point out something interesting the response, however. The magazine notes that the response indicates a change in atmosphere in the United States since the advent of 911. After the Trade Towers were brought down, there was absolute panic-everything across the nation was shut down, people were terrified and suspicious of everyone, and racism was elevated to new heights as people assumed anyone with a turban or an Indian accent was a terrorist. After the Boston attack, people were more reserved. They mourned, and were frightened and upset, but the emotion most commonly reflected on peoples’ faces was not panic, but instead resolve. People are used to the idea that events like this can happen anywhere in America. Enemies are beginning to outnumber friends, and this seems to be (rather than leading Americans to question their international behaviour), causing Americans to become more firmly dedicated to their nation’s ideological stances. This is probably a good and bad thing. Good, because America has a lot to be proud of, despite the common trend to bash American ideals as much as possible in our media. Bad, because a nation needs a people who is self-critical. That is what democracy is built on, as de Tocqueville pointed out long ago.
Anyway, I have three things listed in my title, and I’ve only talked about one. I built a new closet organizer that I purchased from Ikea yesterday-I will never NEVER purchase anything from Ikea ever again. My wife and I purchased a couch from Ikea a month or so ago (after driving all the way to Ikea and back home twice because Ikea misinformed us as to the availability). After building the couch, we discovered two manufacturers flaws-a hole that wasn’t finished, and a missing foot (we are currently propping up the back of our couch with a stack of books that I didn’t like). I also drove to Ikea for my workplace, only to discover that-again, Ikea had misinformed us on the availability of an item. What went wrong with the closet? Well, the “expert” on the system that we used (the Algott), had no idea what she was talking about, so we ended up getting some of the wrong parts. Not to mention, some of the parts were bent and warped-needlenose pliers can do wonders sometimes. I got it up, but it was tricky, and some of the drawers don’t slide very well. If you are starting to wonder whether or not this is a rant-yes, it is. Ikea may be cheap, but it is a massive corporation that sees customers as numbers. The store that I operate is small, and I know a lot of the names of my regular customers. It is this type of store that I will be sticking to. I don’t have a lot of money to push together, but I am willing to spend a little extra in the future if it means that I will be seen as a customer, and not simply another number walking in with money.
To finish-here’s a deliciously easy and very customizable quiche recipe that I have been using (especially since Quiche is one of my wife’s favourite foods!
- Beef, pork, or whatever you want to put in your quiche
- 1 Tablespoon Butter/Margarine
- 1 9-inch Pastry Shell (unbaked)
- 7 oz (roughly) Shredded cheese (whatever kind you prefer)
- 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper
- Your choice on seasonings (I use Oregano and Parsley most frequently)
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Cup Cream
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Place cooked meat in pastry shell with anything else you want
- Sprinkle cheese over filling
- Mix seasonings and pepper and sprinkle over cheese
- Beat eggs and cream together and pour over cheese
- Bake 40 minutes or until lightly browned and a knife inserted into the centre comes out cleanly
I have now finished the wheel of time. Actually, I finished it a couple weeks ago, but it sounds better in a blog-post to imply that I have literally just accomplished something and jumped onto the internet to tell you about it. Regardless, I’m done. It’s finished. It’s over. And…now what? The Wheel of Time was one of, if not the greatest fantasy series I have ever read (yes, I have read LOTR, and yes-I agree that it is the stuff of legend since it basically created the fantasy genre). For a series that continued for roughly 14 years, and that Robert Jordon began writing before I was born, the level of connectivity was astounding. I was always worried that, when a new book came out, I would not remember what had previously transpired. I found that, without fail, it did not take long for me to recover my memories of the series, and recall what my old friends Rand, Perrin, and Matt were up to. Yet, the story was grandiose, with a complexity of story-line unparalleled in anything I have ever encountered.
I am not going to enter detail into the story-line, because if you haven’t read it…you should. What I am interested in is how I responded to the ending, and how I have seen my friends respond. Previously, whenever we all finished a book, we would all yammer away about it and all of the different aspects of the story. We would expound our hypothesis for the future, and try to figure out all of the secrets that Robert Jordon and Brandon Sanderson embedded in the story-line for us to discover as we read on. You would think, then, that after we complete the entire series, we would be bursting to talk about what happened with each-other. Today, however, I mentioned to one of my friends that I had finished the series. I knew he had already done so from another friend. We briefly discussed when it had come out, and how long it had taken, and how we had gotten access to the books, and then we moved on to another conversation. Not a word was expressed about what happened in the book. Why?
To start us off-I made some muffins last night to eat for breakfast this morning! Very easy, and very delicious-although I didn’t dump enough of the mixture in each muffin slot, so they are very short muffins. If you are looking for something to break the mundane of cereal each morning-I’d give this a try-again, very easy, and you most-likely already have the ingredients in your kitchen somewhere. Here’s the Recipe:
- 1 Cup: Milk
- 1/2 Cup: Melted Butter
- 1 Egg
- 2 Cups: Flour
- 1/3 Cup: Granulated Sugar
- 1 tbsp: Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp: Salt
- 1 Cup: Raspberries, or blueberries, or whatever you want to add!
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Beat milk, melted butter, and egg thoroughly in a large mixing bowl
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir into liquid ingredients until just combined. Fold in raspberries (or whatever). Spoon into greased muffin pan.
- Sprinkle sugar over top of muffins (if desired) for a sugary topping
- Bake for 20-25 min. or until tops spring back when lightly touched
Hello anyone who has been faithful enough to remain subscribed to my blog after a very long time of inaction on my part. A great deal has happened in my life since I was operating this blog, so very little time has been spent on activities such as this. However, I have decided to return to the blog, and make an attempt at continuing. I am intending on reinventing the blog in a small way however-hence the name change from Trit’s Politics to Trit’s Bits. I will continue to post on political stories that interest me and that I believe are important. However, I am also going to expand into posting on other hobbies that I have. In particular, it is my intention to (at least partly), begin posting about food and cooking on occasion, as this is a particular passion of mine. In other words, you will see bits of my life cropping up in this blog, dependent upon what it is that I am currently fascinated with. I doubt that I will ever reach the readership that I have previously attained, since blogs seem less popular and random info may be less interesting then pure politics, but we will see how things go. I encourage you to comment on any of my posts, as comments are my favourite aspect of blogging.
When reading a recent article by Reuters on the Syrian conflict, a particular phrase caught my eye. The article referenced a Syrian newscast, which explained that “troops were still pursuing remaining “terrorists” [in Salaheddine]– its usual way of describing rebel fighters”. This reference to the difference in terminology is both intensely insightful, and infinitely confusing. Why does Reuters, and most western news publications refer to the insurgents as rebels, and not as terrorists? It seems that the insurgents have received the label of “good guys” in this particular conflict, but why? The simple answer could be that we in the west can relate to the insurgents. By “we”, of course, I mean Americans. Yes, I know, I am Canadian and do not have the same history of fighting for freedom. But Canadian culture has, for better or for worse, been heavily saturated with American ideals and unconscious conceptions of the world. What throws a kink into this feeling of empathy is the involvement of al Qaida in the Syrian “rebel” movement. The guardian pointed out that al Qaida has been a turning point for the success of the insurgents, and the organization is working closely with the leaders of the movement.
Although this isn’t directly related to the issue, there is a connection, so I do feel it belongs in the same post: Pakistan has recently been pushing for intelligence sharing with the United States, largely as a response to the continual use of spy drones by the U.S. over Pakistani air space. Pakistani Lieutenant-General Zaheer ul-Islam has argued that the drones are a violation of Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty and, to be entirely honest, he is completely right. Imagine if Canada began to send spy drones over the United States because of the fear of terrorism in their land. Of course, we would be correct in assuming that terrorism in the U.S. will impact us, and that there does exist a strong likelihood that there are terrorists in American borders. Does this mean that America would concede our right to use spy drones? Of course, the idea is almost laughable. Language again rears its head. The discussion of difference in sovereignty rights and the right to interfere is riddled with ambiguity and confusion. Will Kymlicka and John Rawls have both taken a stab at the issue-two of the world’s most brilliant political theorists. Both were unable to escape the inevitable problem of cultural elitism and line-drawing, although we owe them respect for bringing us closer. Yet, the world continues to experience seemingly infinite conflict. We must, as responsible citizens, continue to do our best at muddling through the issues-getting things wrong more often then not. Perhaps having a cause is a possession of self-evident worth.
Yemen is still struggling to find itself among the tragic turmoil which it is forced to endure. Countless tragedies occur on a regular basis among every home within Yemen borders, and it is still very difficult to understand who is right and who is wrong (if anybody). We in the west like to pick sides, and declare certain groups as the just ones. However, war, especially internal war, is never that simple. I admit, I am new to the conflict to a great extent. I have not taken the opportunity to educate myself a great deal on what is going on. But, from what I can see, there are religious, civic, and historic conflicts that are interwoven throughout the entire situation. This means that there is no easy answer, nor is there a “just” actor and unjust actors.
I do believe, however, that the recent memorial in Yemen is a good sign. TimeWorld describes a memorial recently created to commemorate 100 newly graduated soldiers who were killed by a suicide bomber. In the article, “In Yemen, a Controversial Memorial Makes an Important Point“, Bobby Ghosh explains that the memorial has received controversial responses, since it may be providing the suicide bombers with what they are after-public recognition and the creation of terror. However, I believe that a fundamental aspect of nation-building is shared experience. Thus, although difficult, it may be that Yemen can use these bombings and tragedies as a way to bring people together in solidarity. 9/11 in America was an act of terror, but it resulted in the strengthening of the bonds between American citizens, and the bonds between America and other nations-beyond a diplomatic level. Canadians, for example, gained a great deal of sympathy for the American people. Thus, 9/11, while an unimaginable tragedy, can easily be viewed as backfiring on the perpetrators, given the strength which it resulted in. Beyond this, if a nation is to be strong and republic, it must not conceal its hurts, else paternalism develops. As J.S. Mill has pointed out-people must be allowed to engage in public affairs, in order to learn how to use their own liberty. Thus, secrecy in salient public issues (such as suicide bombings), can have a very negative impact on the way in which a people develops. I do hope that Yemen is able to build infrastructure and economic progress, but they must build their people first. And it must be the people of Yemen who do this, not the western world.
U.S. report rips China, Russia on economic espionage, hacking – http://pulse.me/s/2NP4T
This article really feels like an effort by America to hold onto their claim to supremacy. China needs to use espionage in order to try to catch up with America. Apparently they missed the part where Chinese technological developments passed American developments? I mean what, in the end, would China steal that they don’t already have? Sure, there are a few tech ingenuities that China hadn’t acquired, but I’m pretty sure American companies try just as hard to rip off of Chinese companies and development, if not harder.
Canada’s military seeks a strategy to fit 2011 budget realities – http://pulse.me/s/2MxO9
I’m no neoconservative, and I am not a fan of excessive spending on military, but it does seem like this is the wrong time for military cuts, since America is planning on doing some pretty big cuts as well. We won’t be able to rely on their fending for our interests the way we have been, so I do think it is necessary that we maintain a decent military. Not to mention, I am a strong endorser of Canada’s peacekeeping, or peacemaking role, whatever you want to call it.
Canada to cease ‘voluntary payments’ to UNESCO – http://pulse.me/s/2K0Mu
This is simply a question because I honestly don’t know…what’s wrong with including the Palestinians?
- Climate Change
- Law and Crime
- Michael Ignatieff
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
- United Nations
- United States
- Vladimir Putin