1 IN THE FUTURE, YOUR WARTIME OBITUARY WILL BE 140 CHARACTERS. The Israeli Defense Forces are keeping up with the times by live-tweeting their assault on Gaza and keeping the world apprised with quotable sound-bites (“Ahmed Jabari. Eliminated.”) and video footage. I don’t know which side you’re rooting for in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the thought of death and blood and fire and loss being reduced to a blip of data on a social networking site… is unappetizing. On the other hand, it clears up the “fog of war” quite nicely. Twitter itself has been silent on the matter.
2 THE MITT WHO WOULD BE KING. American Hispanics react unfavourably to Mitt Romney’s leaked post-election call with donors, in which he claimed that Obama had courted the “ethnic vote” (ie. the American vote) with “gifts.” Gifts such as health care. It says something when a presidential candidate views the most basic social policies of an industrialized nation as largesse.
3 A LITTLE SOMETHING FROM BURMA. The government of Myanmar has ordered the release of 452 prisoners just days before a visit from Barack Obama. There’s no word on whether any of the pardoned are political prisoners, which comes as a disappointment to human rights groups.
On a related topic, it drives me nuts when people who escape from prison are described as “escapees.” As Irish author Flann O’Brien once said, it implies that prison jumped up and ran away from the prisoners.
4 SLOW YOUR ROLL, REGINA. Everyone knows that Regina has been growing at unprecedented rate over the last five years, with new buildings going up, new neighbourhoods emerging from swamps and the chime of many languages freshening the air. Statistician Doug Elliott would like to remind us that we’re in “the middle of the pack” compared to eight other Canadian cities. The leader of said pack? Some city to the north of us that’s all lousy with bridges.
5 FIVE HOURS OF ENERGY. A LIFETIME IN THE GRAVE? The snazzy little caffeine drink known as 5-Hour Energy has been linked to 13 deaths in the United States. Also linked to: heart attacks, convulsions, and one spontaneous abortion. Don’t worry, you can still buy it in Canada.
6 SNOW NEWS. I love stories about the difficulty of snow removal in Regina. That’s when you learn that roads have categories and the city has graders and cars were designed to litter the streets and spin their wheels uselessly in snow-slick gutters. Eventually we’re going to have to install giant fans in the sky to blow all the snow over to Moose Jaw.