2) When I was in Youth Parliament I went to the annual dinner of former BC MLAs and heard an American journalist make an impassioned argument in favour of the Canadian system of federal elections -- that is, that they can be called by the governing party or if there is a vote of nonconfidence and are not on a pre-ordained schedule every fourth November. He said that this system of election made the campaigning period mercifully short and avoided the kind of mud-slinging that American elections quickly became. Now that I've been in each country for electoral mayhem, I think he might have been wrong. The mudslinging is ungracious and exhausting, yes, but you do get to know who you are dealing with as they complete their ultra-marathon of applying for the job. Anyway, Stephen Harper seems perfectly happy to sling mud, or guano or whatever is around on his happy way towards undoing Canada's progress towards becoming a more socially progressive, environmentally tolerant and brave country. It's hard to know who to dislike more: Harper or the Liberal party for messing up their streak.
3) David Foster Wallace. I read most of Brief Interviews at a pretty low point in my early twenties, to the point where I had to stop reading it and I actually stopped reading fiction for a long time soon after. That had more to do with me than him, but still, the man gave himself a pretty unforgiving errand. I saw Burn After Reading the other night and it's silly and doesn't mean anything and doesn't leave you with anything except a slight aspartame aftertaste, but maybe that's what the Coen boys had to do after making something as important and completely damning as No Country. In defense of the healing power of dumb art, or something.