The end of 2003


As I mentioned previously on this blog, the end of 2003 is nearly here and I couldn’t be happier. I’m staying optimistic that 2004 will be a better year!

IRAN: The horror of the earthquake is truly unbelievable. Here are some pictures from the BBC’s web site from the wreckage of Bam.

Marijuana Laws


Today the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 6-3 that Canada’s marijuana laws are constitutional, and that jailing someone for small amounts of pot is not against the constitution.

I’m upset by this ruling. The onus is on Paul Martin now to make the pot bill – which was prorogued by Jean Chretien, effectively killing the bill – come to life again and be passed this spring. Hopefully it will be, because Canadians in general don’t seem particularly against the idea of decriminalization.

HOLIDAY CHAOS: Okay, Christmas is a lovely time of year but man I could do without the chaos and crowds! I don’t know a single person who enjoys the traffic and people in malls, on the roads, et al. Once Christmas is over, things will start to calm down.



Okay, the big news on the weekend was the Department of Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge raising the terror alert in the U.S. from “elevated” (yellow on the colour scheme chart of terror levels) to “high” (orange). This is only the fourth time that the terror alert has been raised to high, and of course, people are sharply divided on this issue and whether or not this is a legitimate threat.

With the capture of Saddam Hussein, one could make the argument that the onus on the U.S. to find Osama Bin Laden has increased. However, if Al-Qaeda’s intelligence “chatter” which has supposedly increased recently in lieu of a major attack on an American port city of some kind during the holidays is for real, then maybe this isn’t such a bad idea. However, every time that this terror alert has been raised, nothing has happened. Some leftist friends of mine have been saying that this is just a way for the U.S. government to scare the populace into submission and to instill a permanent state of fear and dread. They may be right. However, you can’t get overly complacent with thinking there won’t be another attack on the U.S. ever again, because it has happened before. Still, it would be nice if Tom Ridge was more forthcoming on details and less vague on his descriptions of “increased chatter” and “intercepted communiques” from various Al-Qaeda cells operating in and around Europe and Central Asia.

CHRISTMAS CHEER: Okay, just three days before Christmas! I’m looking forward to seeing friends and family over the next few weeks; it’s a nice way to finish off 2003. Here’s best wishes to everyone for a great 2004!

THE EVENTS OF 2003: In my mind, here were the events that made 2003 such a crazy, crazy year. These events are not in any particular order of importance.

1) Space Shuttle Columbia being destroyed in February;

2) SARS shutting down the tourism industry in Toronto;

3) The War in Iraq;

4) Mike Weir winning the Master’s;

5) Mad Cow affecting the Canadian beef industry;

6) Gay marriage being recognized;

7) Katherine Hepburn/Bob Hope/Johnny Cash/Gregory Peck’s death;

8) Vancouver-Whisler’s successful 2010 Winter Olympics’ bid;

9) SARStock, a.k.a. The Rolling Stones’ Concert at Downsview;

10) The Power Blackout;

11) The Economist calling Canada “cool”

12) The Liberal victory in Ontario’s provincial election;

13) The merger of the PC Party and the Canadian Alliance into the Conservative Party of Canada;

14) David Miller elected as the new mayor of Toronto;

15) Jean Chretien quitting as PM;

16) Paul Martin finally becoming PM;

17) Robert Stanfield’s death;

18) Saddam Hussein’s capture;

19) All the provinces and territories of Canada except B.C. and Alberta and Nunavut having elections;

20) The resignation of George Radwanski.

So all in all, 2003 was a very crazy year. It was a bloody year, a year of change, a year of massive upheaval around the world. So what do I expect for 2004? I think it will be a much less crazy year but two very significant events will happen…

1) A Canadian federal election around May or June…

2) The tech industry begins a major revival and finally gets out the troubles it has been plagued with since 2000;

3) The U.S. Presidential election in November;

4) The gradual restoration of order in Iraq…

5) The Summer Olympics in Athens in August…

For me personally, 2004 will be a much better year. It’s been an intensely difficult year for me and my family and we’re looking forward to better times ahead in 2004.

1) Hopefully get accepted to graduate school…

2) Buy a laptop

3) Reflect on my good health and realize that I’ve got a lot going for me and to not think negatively about what a difficult year 2003 has been.

So on New Year’s Eve, drink to your health and celebrate that Canada is strong and healthy, you’re strong and healthy and 2004 will be a great year!




I saw Lord of the Rings: Return of the King last night. It was everything I had hoped for and then some.

It was arguably one of the most emotional, intense films I have ever seen (and considering I’m a film nut, that is really saying something). The battle scene at Minas Tirth was truly incredible, given the epic scale of the confrontation between the Orcs and Man. Some of the climaxes we’d been waiting for nearly three years – Frodo dumping the ring into Mount Doom, Gollum getting his just rewards, Aragorn being crowned the new King of Gondor – were definitely worth it. You felt just like you did at the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – a tremendous sense of victory but with a bittersweet, somewhat emotional ending. It’s going to be sad to see it all end, given that it was one of those pleasures you’d look forward to over the past three Christmas seasons.

I nearly cried twice (and I never cry at movies) with the collapse of Sauron’s tower at the end of the film and with the goodbyes of Frodo and Sam. I guess it’s so affecting because director Peter Jackson managed to create film versions of characters so compelling, so rich in depth and detail, that you can’t bear to part with them. It’s amazing – three years ago, I was a fan of the books but I was admittedly nervous about film versions of LOTR due to previously poor film adaptions. Now, I can’t imagine anyone else making these films.

It’s also amazing how every actor fit their roles perfectly. I can’t imagine anyone else but Elijah Wood being Frodo, Sean Astin as Sam, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn (which is all the more amazing considering Stuart Townsend was supposed to have that role before he was replaced in 1999), Orlando Bloom as Legolas, et al. It’s going to be tough to imagine the books without them in mind.

Well, that’s it for LOTR on the big screen. I haven’t gotten the DVDs of Fellowship of the Ring or Two Towers yet but I’ve heard that Peter Jackson is planning a mega-DVD, 16-disc collection on LOTR for Christmas 2004. I’ll wait for that, given that this is the best movie trilogy of all time. Go see this movie. But make sure you see FOTR and TTT before you see ROTK! (if you have to ask what those acronyms mean, you’re not a true fan!).

BECKIE SCOTT: Who says that justice is hard to come by with the International Olympic Committee? Our great x-country ski champion, Beckie Scott, was upgraded to a gold medal for her performance in Salt Lake City in 2002. Admittedly, it came with a high cost financially but the Court of Arbitration will make the I.O.C. pay for Beckie’s legal costs. It seems pretty self-evident that when someone cheats and wins a medal, they should be stripped of that medal. But in the world of the I.O.C. – hardly a place where truth, justice and equality of athletes reigns true – the Russian winner was to originally keep her medal. It’s hard to maintain your sense of fairness at the Olympics when big countries interests constantly outweigh smaller countries interests like Canada. But what’s done is done. Beckie wins the first gold medal for North American women in x-country ever! Congrats Beckie!

Okay, Christmas is only a few days away now, so I’ll make another post before Christmas but then I’ll be taking a few days away from the web. Have a great weekend!