On the upcoming election: I love how in Canada, an election can be announced, campaigned, and settled within seven weeks, whereas our neighbours to the south have been in election mode for over a year and will continue to be for another few months. And the worst "scandals" in Canadian politics wouldn't even raise an eyebrow down there, amid all the prevailing stupidity.
Canadian politics are terribly boring, which is something we should all be thankful for.
On hockey and deciding: What on earth is Mats Sundin waiting for? If only he knew about istikhara.
On praying: When praying for something, one shouldn't ask for the means to an end; rather, ask for the end itself. If you are having financial difficulties, don't ask for lots of money; that money won't necessarily provide your solution, and may in fact bring about more difficulties. Simply ask for relief from your financial woes, and let Allah decide the means. If you're feeling sick or lonely, don't ask for a specific medicine or a specific companion; instead ask for relief from these afflictions, and insha-Allah, you will find what you need even if it is not what you expected.
Pompous uncles: This was supposed to be a post in itself, but just a few things have been on my mind of late. Often, Muslim scholars are often the subject of ridicule by uncles who think they know better. I have observed that, whenever an uncle begins to mock one of these scholars, he will switch over to English, as if speaking a Western language gives him more legitimacy in his tantrums. It is a sad reality that those scholars living in the West who are not well versed in English often get a bad rap, and are not taken seriously.
I understand the importance of speaking the local language, in order to be able to relate to the youth and the greater society. However, the inability to speak English should not detract from all the studies these scholars have pursued; what they have spent their lives learning is far more valuable than any basic language. It might take some time for them to integrate, but if we bear patiently and help them out, the community as a whole will prosper. Our 'ulema have a very high status according to many hadith, and we should appreciate that in its own right irrespective of language or background.
Furthermore, Muslim scholars are, by default, very studious individuals, and learning a simple language like English should not be a huge challenge for them. Many complained about a recent decision by a prominent local mosque to have an Arab government appoint their imam; the new imam speaks very little English right now, and I was among those who thought it was a poor decision. In retrospect, I realize that we should give him and all imported scholars a chance, and not let our pride in language get in the way of appreciating what they have accomplished; the language skills will come with time. I still find it bizarre that the decision came from a government, but that is a topic in itself.
On ignorance: Avoid it if you can.