Canada’s "Dutch Disease"

Will Oremus:

It’s well known that America’s dependence on foreign oil forces us to partner with some pretty unsavory regimes. Take, for instance, the country that provides by far the largest share of our petroleum imports. Its regime, in thrall to big oil interests, has grown increasingly bellicose, labeling environmental activists “radicals” and “terrorists” and is considering a crackdown on nonprofits that oppose its policies. It blames political dissent on the influence of “foreigners,” while steamrolling domestic opposition to oil projects bankrolled entirely by overseas investors. Meanwhile, its skyrocketing oil exports have sent the value of its currency soaring, enriching energy industry barons but crippling other sectors of its economy.

Yes, Canada is becoming a jingoistic petro-state.

He could have dialed it back at times, but overall worth reading.

The forgotten manuals


At Practically Efficient:

Understanding people—the fundamental ingredient in any personal or professional pursuit—is probably the most practical knowledge you can have. And there’s probably no better place to read detailed descriptions of people than fictional stores.

He also says a lot about reading books vs. online. The entire post (and even comments) are worth it.

Keller: you never marry the right person


Tim Keller, on marriage:

In other words, some people in our culture want too much out of a marriage partner. They do not see marriage as two flawed people coming together to create a space of stability, love and consolation, a “haven in a heartless world,” as Christopher Lasch describes it.

The examples he gives are rather trite (which is part of the point, I suppose), but I’m still very interested in his book. And this after only having read one of his articles before this one. His mind leaves a mark.

He continues:

A marriage based not on self-denial but on self-fulfillment will require a low- or no-maintenance partner who meets your needs while making almost no claims on you. Simply put—today people are asking far too much in the marriage partner.

Love grows when you get out of your way.

Aside: Since when does Amazon price their zero-overhead e-books higher than their oh-look-we-manufactured-this hardcover editions?

email, ipods, and netbooks

I’ve had a netbook for nearly two months now, and it’s really cut down on my already abysmal email response/resolution time. While an iPod Touch definitely has its practical limits in terms of browsing and workflow, my seven months of nearly-exclusive mobile browsing on my iPod Touch has really killed the Gmail interface for me for email management.

Example: I triaged and deleted 600+ emails from my inbox tonight within minutes on my iPod, that had been piling up unread since using the netbook.

Experiment: iPod-only for day-to-day email in the next few weeks. Let’s see if this improves my correspondence.

celebration | photo challenge

This is a time of celebrations. Christmas is a few weeks out, the long weekend of New Year’s, a student’s birthday this weekend, two co-workers’ birthdays within the next week, and Kelly’s completion of her B.Ed today. But in all that, there was something that caught my ear last night. A celebration that I often walk past, and even more often overlook.

In the house across from my apartment, there is a group of people who sit outside every day and night, drinking and talking, and seemingly just enjoying life. They’re the type of people who invited me, a random foreigner who works down the street, to join them for drinks one night, even though the only way we could communicate with each other was through attempting charades.

I walk past this group at least once a day, but it wasn’t until last night that I really reflected on what I take to be their approach to life. What was different last night was the singalong happening to the tune of an acoustic guitar. Seeing and hearing them last night made me realize that the attitude they take toward life is one of joy and celebration. Their nature as individuals and as a group is to offer of themselves and to invite strangers in to enjoy life with them.

While this time of year can be a marathon of celebrations, it’s this attitude of celebration that we should be focusing on.

I don’t want to lose sight of that in my life.

waiting | photo challenge

There is much in Bangkok that jumps to mind when talking about waiting. There is sitting in a car in a traffic gridlock, sitting still for an hour over the course of a regularly 30-minute drive. Or waiting in lines in one government office or another. Or any number of other travel or traffic-related waits.

In this case, though, we see parents lining up, waiting to pick up their children at the end of a school day. This line of cars winds down the road and into the side-streets around the school twice a day, like clockwork. It then feeds into the gridlock of rush hour I mentioned earlier.

breakfast | photo challenge

Living in Thailand presents some interesting challenges when it comes to eating your favourite Western meals. While breakfast itself has often been an optional meal in my life, breakfast foods have been anything but. I remember fondly the years of 3-am runs (or six-hour sits that turned into late-night food orders) to our 24-hour Perkins for bottomless soft drinks and — for me, at least — pancakes.

I’ve expanded by breakfast repertoire over the years to include quite a few other standards, but I still love using my pancakes as a syrup sponge from time to time.

In Thailand, the option of Western breakfasts is always there, but sometimes there actually means way over there, or if you happen to live near a joint that offers “American breakfasts”, it will be at best very expensive.1 So in Bangkok, my breakfast on the way to work typically consists of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a personal-sized container of yogurt. And coffee.

Not having a kitchen severely limits what you can make for breakfast, but I’ve recently come to enjoy the simple breakfast of muesli on yogurt. The comfort of a nice cup of coffee is always a good addition, as well.

When the opportunity to have a cheap(ish) American or English breakfast comes up, I’ll still take it as a treat, but when it comes to breakfast I’m learning to not underestimate the small and simple.


This post is participating in The Daily Post’s #postaweek2011 weekly photo challenge. To find out more, see:


 


  1. An upside to not having easy daily access to the “bacon, ham, sausage, eggs, toast, hasbrowns, beans, roasted tomato, coffee, juice” breakfast is that you quickly realize how easy it is to overeat when eating in the Western style.