A look at the top (and bottom) five the last week in the world of politics, sports, and culture.
1. Boy, this is painful. Congratulations to the Ottawa Senators. I've told everyone all along that this was a different team, and now I'll have to hear about it after last night's 4-3 2OT win in Buffalo. Personal feelings aside, this is a good team with grit, character and speed. I still think that the Sens will need 6 games to beat Buffalo, but this series is over.
2. A special congratulations to the non-conformists in our society who are making an effort to speak the truth. There is a movement, not confined to religious circles, of people who are tired of being told what they can and can not say. In Canada, bureaucracy is a big part of culture, in everything from government to church to education, and the road to 'success' is often paved with covering your **s and dishonesty. A special shout to those who have decided it isn't worth it, and face hardships for their dedication to the truth.
3. I was relieved to see Sarkosky win the French presidency. The last thing Europe needs, especially the French, is another socialist ruler (like Royale). No matter what you say about conservatives, and sometimes they can be difficult to stomach, is that they are more apt to defend their roots than socialists. Aren't you tired of Western leaders abasing themselves? Yes, we've made mistakes in the past, but let's not throw out everything, especially when it comes to human rights. I am hopeful...
4. A special thank you to the New York Yankees for being so terrible. They signed Roger Clemens, who will cost them more this season than other major league franchises entire payrolls! It's not that I hate the Yankees, but I hate a system that allows one team to spend $240 million dollars on its payroll, while most teams work on a payroll of about $75 million. How is that fair?
5. A special shout to some people who are really making a difference, despite heavy opposition. The guys at XXX Church.com are doing some good work, and being pounded by some traditional Christians in the process. My wish is that the church would open up and see what they are trying to do. They are, in my mind, the picture of what Jesus would be doing now. Taking a segment of society everybody hates on... and loving them.
1. A culture that preys on its loved ones. There is a lack of intimacy in North America, a lack of community, and it's not hard to see why. Working in a high school, I am witness every day how friends pick on friends. I see it in adults too. How can we build community if we are going to rip the very people we're supposed to love. This week, try to step back when you're 'teasing' your friend, and see if they really think your 'teasing' is truly funny. Or are they covering up? Sometimes, our words do great damage, and we can destroy people and not even realize it.
2. The NBA selected Dirk Nowitzki as its MVP. They're are too many reasons to list, not including the first round of the playoffs, but Nowitizki and Steve Nash, no matter what some members of the media said, were not 1a and 1b. Nash should have won it. Period. He is the best player on the second best team in the league, who simply are not that good without him. This was a case of politics (not wanting to enshrine a Canadian three times in a row). Brutal.
3. The culture of laziness inherent in large government. The City of Ottawa came out with a report this week that highlighted how much money is wasted by city employees who don't work a whole lot. I still don't understand how this is a surprise. People like myself who argue for small government do so vigorously because we know that bulky bureaucracy produces laziness and incompetence. I have many friends who work in government, who file stuff and make $50,000 a year. I'm not sure what's worse, the shock of so many people, or the fact my hard earned tax dollars are spent on work crews who don't work.
4. The unwillingness for those in education to take risks. These next six weeks will perhaps be the last weeks of my career working for the Ottawa school board. I've seen many good things over the years, but I am less convinced now than I was six years ago that public education is a good thing. The schools have become too feminine, too safe, and too cowardly. Students are not disciplined because the school board has become fearful of complaining parents, and responsibility rarely flows to the top. Instead, it flows downward. I don't know what the solution is...
5. A quick shout to the federal Liberals for the continued and incessant pestering for Canada on Afghanistan. Thank you, Stephane Dion, for showing us what Charlie Brown would look like if he was the leader of a federal party. Please take your academic, stand for nothing, whatever way the wind blows, reactions, somewhere else. You had your turn. Let a real Liberal leader with strength and fortitude take over.
Despite the misses, remember that God is good. Have a good week everyone. Enjoy the sun.