Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Overcompensation and Inferiority Complexes

The overcompensation comes from the fact that this is both my second post of the day and my second (real) post of the month. And it's the thirtieth. And I didn't post at all last month.

Which brings me to the inferiority complex bit: I think I've figured out a contributing factor in my delinquency. See, while I wasn't blogging I also wasn't blog-reading, and now that I'm blogging again I'm also catching up on my blog-reading, and while doing so I've come to the inescapable conclusion that there are a whole lot of blogs on my blogroll that are just plain *better* than mine. I certainly don't feel the need to be the best at everything (I'd be surprised if there was a single reader out there who wasn't more capable in the field of performing layups than I am, and I'm just fine with that), but blogging, at least within my extended circle, used to be sort of my thing - I wasn't the only U of A hack blogger, but I was pretty sure I was close to the best. Oh, sure, there was Nick Tam, whose blog was clearly better than mine, but I could at least take consolation in the fact that it was so well-written as to be nearly unreadable. But now my sidebar includes the likes of Don Iveson and Anonymotron and Shannon Phillips and Lord knows who else - what chance do I have?

Were I better man, this realization would make me strive to become a better writer, technically and stylistically, and to keep my posting frequency respectable. Of course, I'm not a better man than I am (being so would be a logical impossibility - I just took a practise LSAT last night), hence my recent absence.

More mediocre posts to follow.

Well, the Sidebar's Still Been Useful, Right?

So, I seem to have returned. How much of my return was due to my having had sufficient sabbatical, how much was due to the federal election and how much was due to, ah, other factors is up for debate, but here I am nevertheless. It's going to take me a few posts to shake of the rust, but you may all rest assured that I'll be back making over-long and poorly-proofread posts about electoral politics in countries you'll never visit in no time. You may also rest assured that these posts will live up to the quality you've come to expect, where "quality" means "abundance of commas".

On the subject of electoral politics in this country, I feel quite safe in predicting that this will be the first election in which a minority government is made less stable - generally minority governments going into elections either win majorities (think Deifenbaker in '58 and Trudeau in '74) or lose entirely (think Meighen in '26 and Clark in '80). The only exception to this rule was the 1965 election in which Lester Pearson's minority Liberal government basically retained its minority (of course, that case was different from the present one in that Pearson was expected to win a majority, but managed not to). In that case, the Parliament formed after the '65 elections were basically the same as the Parliament dissolved to make way for them.

That won't be the case this time. Seat counts won't change appreciably, but, in a Parliament in which the Liberal and New Democratic caucuses were able to combine with two thirds of the independents to form a bare majority, a small change in seat count can radically change the face of Parliament. All three opposition parties will gain slightly at the expense of the Liberals (Paul Wells' daring and probably inaccurate prediction of Bloc losses notwithstanding), meaning that New Democratic gains will be eclipsed by Liberal losses, resulting in a situation in which no motion will pass without the support of two of the Liberals, Conservatives, or Bloc (it is an oddity of partisan politics that the New Democrats will be rewarded for the best performance in Parliament of any party with an increase seat count and total Parliamentary irrelevance). Since Canadian political tradition seems to dictate the the party with the most seats automatically gets to form government and that no other party gets to try to do so (King-Byng notwithstanding), Paul Martin will remain Prime Minister. To do so for longer than a few months, however, he'll have to cobble together some sort of compromise with the Conservatives or Bloc, which will certainly be an entertaining spectacle.

Another observation, this one falling under the heading of "Things That Make Steve Sad", is that we're witnessing the end of the all-too-brief Age of Independents. In the last Parliament, the stars aligned so perfectly that Chuck Cadman got to decide whether or not we had an election, and David Kilgour, Carolyn Parrish, and Pat O'Brien were able to pose a genuine threat to the Liberals they abandoned, rather than fading abruptly away like most MPs with the courage to abandon the comforting, enforced unanimity of a caucus. I'd like to think that the high regard in which these independents - Cadman especially - grew to be held by the electorate would lead said electorate to elect a few independents, but I don't see any possibilities at this juncture (none of Kilgour, Parrish, or O'Brien are seeking re-election, and former anti-gay marriage New Democrat MP Bev Desjarlais is in extremely tough to retain her Churchill riding).

Plenty more election talk to come, obviously.

(Incidentally, to those of you who live in Edmonton-Strathcona, I'm starting a bit of a resource site for voters in that riding, at http://edmontonstrathcona.blogspot.com - sort of the same thing I did for last year's St. Albert municipal election - pass it on.)

So, during this entire prolonged absence, do you know what gave me the greatest urge to blog? Steve Armitage's absolutely brutal interviewing of Danny Maciocia during the Western Semifinal and Grey Cup. During the Western Semi half-time:

Armitage: So your offense has been completely impotent during the first half; what do you have to do to change that?
Maciocia: We have to make some plays.
Armitage: Are you anywhere considering a quarterbacking change?
Maciocia: Yes, Jason will be starting the second half.
Armitage: Why?
Maciocia's Jaw: (Drops)

During the Grey Cup half-time, with the Esks up by a 10-1 score and the offense clicking pretty well:

Armitage: Will you be bringing in Jason Maas for the second half?

Brutal, I tells ya.

Anyway, it's good to be back, and I'm either gratified or alarmed to see that my hit count has remained in the vicinity of forty per day during my entire absence. You're losers, and I love you for it.


Monday, November 28, 2005


"Alright. That's it! No sex until you blog."
- Catrin Berghoff, November 2005

Real post to follow.


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